Wednesday, December 14, 2016

what would you say?

       When we first bought The Noah Farm just over two years ago now, it was late November and I couldn't help think about Christmas coming.  Nothing had been updated  on our farm house or barn yet except new barn doors because the old ones just fell off.    

      The first few times we went into the barn were a little bit freaky, not just for me, but for our sons as well.  They called it the "spooky barn" because the left side of it was closed off with no light and small stalls.  They said it might have a dead body way in the back. I was afraid of running into rats or skunks, but thankfully the snakes were hibernating this time of year.

      Here is what it looks like after you slide open the barn doors.


      Why did I show you these inside pictures of our barn? Because that first Christmas we owned the farm, I  couldn't help but think of Mary giving birth in a barn like ours.  I didn't want to live in the house the way it was, let alone give birth in the barn after riding a donkey for days.  I had been nine months pregnant with our youngest son over the Christmas holiday many years ago.  I couldn't imagine sacrificing the way Mary did.  I'd sit in my nice, warm, home back in town and say to myself, "No, God. No way I'd be out in the spooky barn at night." 

        Then I found out  a donkey is not even mentioned in the Bible, nor is a barn. Huh?  She more than likely walked the 90 miles to Bethlehem.  Joseph and Mary were lower class folks and even if they could have rented a donkey, I'm not sure  one would have been available with so many other people traveling then too.   Whether she rode or walked, the trip was an incredibly difficult one.     

          Scripture also doesn't say when they started their walk, only that her time arrived to give birth once they reached Bethlehem.  The reason we picture them in a barn is because the Bible says she laid Jesus in a manger (Luke 2:7).

       We don't have all the specifics surrounding this event, but we have enough to know it wasn't a pleasant, comfortable trip or a home delivery.  Mary could have been in a cold, dark, dirty stable with animal smells all around her.  I'm sure she was a little afraid this being her first birth and it doesn't mention her mother, relatives, or any friends were nearby.  
       Perhaps she wondered where God was.  Why did the government have to call for this trip now? How was she going to make it all those miles?    How would they deliver a baby in a strange town?  Who would help? I know I would have had lots of anxiety before and during that trip to Bethlehem.    I would have cried and questioned if God loved me, if He was still with me?  But there is no indication that Mary did any of that.

      Recently, I read the statement, "What if Mary had said 'no' when the angel visited her and told her what God wanted to do in and through her?"  And I wonder what I would have said if the angel had appeared to me.    If I had known what was ahead, I probably would have asked God to choose someone else, but she didn't.  She just simply said "yes". 

      Perhaps God has placed a dream in your heart or is calling you to an adventure that seems impossible.  But a voice in your head is saying things like, "Someone else can do it better," or "I'm not qualified."   If this is true in your life,  I encourage you to take a risk and say "yes" to what you feel God is saying to your heart.  All those voices you are hearing are true, but that doesn't matter if God has chosen you to birth a new invention, idea, art, music, book,  etc.  He just needs you to say "yes" and start the journey.  And He'll be with you each step of the way.

        Mary's "yes" made all the difference in the world and who knows how many lives you will touch if you say "yes" too. 

       Here are two books I highly recommend  if you or someone you love needs encouragement to say "yes."

And have yourself a merry little Christmas!  

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

our carriage house

       It's that time of year again when we might get to take a romantic horse drawn carriage ride in a winter wonderland.  

       If you've never taken a winter carriage ride, it is worth every penny.  You must put it on your bucket list.   Grab a friend or spouse  and a blanket and enjoy winter and the Christmas lights.    

       One fall day while I was resting on the front porch of our farmhouse after hours of cleaning out underbrush with my family,  I heard a car driving very slowly past our house.  I lifted my head and one eye towards the road and a young lady shouted out at me, "I used to live here!"  Instantly my energy was back and I invited her to come in and look around.  One of the things she told me was that
there used to be a carriage house on the edge of our circle driveway.   It's roof was caving in and her father  removed it.  Maybe it looked something like this.  
        I love horses and winter sleigh rides and it's neat to think that horses and carriages and wagons loads from town were once part of life here.  But . . . I'm also  thankful for vehicles with heated seats that travel faster than 4 miles an hour!  Our modern day carriage house is under construction currently and we will have room for three vehicles.  

       The exciting part of this project was watching the trusses go up for the second floor apartment.  I got there just in time to see the first truss being lifted and I heard someone shout, "be careful not to hit the house!"  Oh yes, please . . . and don't let the truss knock you off the wall either.

          The guy  in the lower right corner of the picture below is holding a rope that is tied to the end of the truss.  It is his job to control the swinging of the truss.  Fortunately it wasn't too windy the day they did this job, but the truss was still swaying.

  After several trusses had been hosted, the first end piece was put up.

        The opening that you see in the middle will be the area of the living quarters above the garage.
    The below pictures are from the next days progress.  All the trusses are up and they are starting to put in walls, floor, and the ceiling.

         Standing inside the garage watching the floor of the upstairs going in and below a view of the entire house from the back yard.

      Wow!  It looks like we added on another house, doesn't it?  So much fun to see this all coming together. 
      Before I end this post I wanted to share with you two of our favorite Christmas movies.  I also want to say these are not just chick flicks either, because my husband has already watched one of these movies twice with me this season.

      The first is  Trading Christmas by Debbie Macomber.  It is a romantic comedy that is a little different than the traditional fall-in-love Hallmark Christmas movies.

       The second is a black and white movie released in 1947 that is on the Turner Classics Movie channel.  We found it by chance one Christmas and have looked for it every year since.  I think it is better than "It's Wonderful Life".   It's called It Happened on Fifth Avenue  and it too is a romantic comedy.

       I hope you get a chance to watch them and let me know if you like them or share with me your favorite Christmas movies.  I'm always looking for another favorite.