Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Barnyard Blessings

In my recent Bible studies, I've been learning about complaining.  And mumbling.  And grumbling.  And about how we aren't supposed to do those things.  About how our tongue can get us in a lot of trouble.

The Israelites are the focus of my study.  My how they grumbled.  I can hardly believe their response in some situations.  They are receiving numerous blessings from the Lord and they still aren't happy.  Instead of manna, they want meat.  Instead of walking through faith with Moses, they desire the captivity of Egypt. It's like they just can't see the blessings.  They focus on what they want.  On how tired they are from all the walking.  On the sameness of life.  It's crazy! These are God's chosen people.  And they are mumbling.

And then I start thinking...I'm just like those Israelites.  I've been doing my fair share of complaining lately.  About being tired.  About my husband being gone a lot because he's working overtime.  About Owen not sleeping.  About getting up to milk the cows. About life in general.  I take the blessings that God has given my family, and I mumble.

I complain that I have to milk twice a day.  Instead of enjoying each day, I'm eagerly counting down until the calves are weaned (at three months) and I can switch to my preferred method of once a day milking.   I complain about it being dark for both milking sessions now.  I complain that I have to pack the hay and water.  I complain about frozen water tanks...I think you get the picture.

Convicted...again.  That seems to be a theme in my life lately.  So, I felt lead to focus on all the good God has given us.  Today's blessings are in the barnyard, since that's the area of life that seems to be causing me to grumble the most right now.

Barnyard Blessings


 A husband who is willing to get his hands dirty.  He cleans the chicken coop out for me.  And chases rouge cows.  And is just a blessing in so many other areas!
Bryan in the freshly cleaned laying hen coop!

My cows.  I really am thankful for my cows.  They are Dexters, and smaller than many cows. Most important...they don't have horns.  (Those kind of scare me!)

My milk.  Creamy, raw milk sure tastes delicious.  I love knowing that it's good for the kids and everyone else in the family.

 The dairy products.  Milk and cream can be so useful!  White sauce, ice cream, cottage cheese, mozzarella, yogurt.  And I know I haven't even begun to skim the surface of possibilities! 

Our meat cows.  These are really scary to me.  (They have horns.  And are MUCH bigger than my Dexters.)  But...oh they will taste so good!  I'm definitely thankful for them. 

 Homegrown meat in general and eggs!  Store bought stuff is even scarier than those horns.  Pink slime?  Not in my hamburger! The chickens in the summer are a pain.  But they are tasty!

Opportunities to spend time with my kids.  When Owen is awake at 5 and I can't get him to go back to sleep, he gets bundled up and strapped into his wheelchair and accompanies on my chore mission.  He enjoys petting the cows and helping hold the bottles for the babies.  Jayme gets up and helps me in the mornings, and we have some great conversations.  These wouldn't happen as naturally if it weren't for our chores.

Ability to teach my kids good work habits. The cows need milked.  The animals need fed.  They need bedding and water.  By taking our farm responsibilities seriously, the kids will learn to have a great work ethic.

 Opportunities for creativity! Seriously.  When you are in the barn for an hour, you can get bored.  Sledding in the straw is one of the many ways my kids have kept themselves entertained.They sure keep me entertained with all they come up with!

 My milking parlor.  I've seen many pictures of homesteaders milking in the pasture or other less than ideal environments.  I have a beautiful parlor, and don't have to squat!

Time for prayer.  When it's quiet in the barnyard, it's a wonderful time to spend in prayer! 

 Time for singing.  The cow like music.  They don't complain if I'm off tune (which I usually am!)  I've been trying to practice all of the hymns we've memorized.  When the kids are out with me, we all sing together--making a joyful noise unto the Lord.

 Opportunity to practice memory verses.  When we're working together, I can ask one of the kids to say a verse for me.  We can take turns reciting them together.  We can play a game to see who can do the most.  You don't need free hands for learning like this, which is good when you're busy milking or feeding!

 Grouse Creek Farm. It really is a beautiful land the Lord placed us on.  I grew up here, and have so many memories.  I'm thankful to be back. We have a creek with a waterfall.  We have the remnants of a beaver pond.  We have forests.  We have fields.  So much to see and do.  Who needs to pay for entertainment when we have all that?  Thank you Lord!

There are many more barnyard blessings, but I'm going to stop there for today.  My goal is to focus on these when I feel like complaining.  I'll practice taking my thoughts into captivity and stop letting the blessings that God has given me turn into reasons to grumble.  I'll choose to learn from the Israelites instead of being just like them.

Any advice for someone trying to stop complaining?

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