14 thoughts on turning 40

Forty is a landmark.

No big deal was made of today, but I feel like it is a big deal. I'm forty. I've been thinking a lot about what that means.

Here's fourteen of my thoughts and desires upon turning 40:

1.  According to the average life expectancy of a woman in the U.S.  I've lived half my life already.

2.  According to the Bible that's about half the life of hot breath on a cold window-  a fraction of a vapor.
Indeed, You have made my days [as] handbreadths, And my age [is] as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state [is] but vapor. Selah -Psalm 39:5

3.  If I'm half way through my life, I'm taking on the motto, "It's all uphill from here!"  Not downhill.  I want the high country for the last half.  I don't want to coast my way to the end.

4.  Forty feels... comfortable in my own skin with a deep ache for Who I was made for.

5.  I want the gospel of Christ to be more precious, and treasured, and beautiful to me than ever before.

6.  I want to love my husband well.

7.  I remember standing in the bathroom, looking at my 13 year old self in the mirror thinking, "I wonder what I'll look like when I'm 30?"  I never even thought I'd be forty.

8.  I want to speak of Christ and the good news of what he's done to reconcile man to God boldly and with love.

9.  I want to be rid of the fear of man.  It's snare has been attached to my foot too many of these forty years.

10.  I want to learn how to use power tools.

11.  I want to plant a garden and reap a harvest.

12.  I want my kids to see God's power to save!  "Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children." -Psalm 90:16

13.  "And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you [and] test you, to know what [was] in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not." - Deut. 8:2

14.  Moses was simply a dweller for forty years before God made him a deliverer.   "Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a dweller in the land of Midian, where he had two sons.  And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai." - Acts 7:30

This is only the beginning.  You can do anything God... even with a half breath like me.  I want to be spent for You!  Apart from you I can't do that.  May the last half of my days bring you more glory than the first.


Milk, eggs, and Providence-dependence.

It's beautiful outside right now. The stars are easily seen out here in the desert away from the city lights.  It hasn't gotten so hot yet that even when the sun goes down the heat radiates from the baked ground and you find no cool breeze anywhere except next to the air conditioning vent in the house.  It's still really nice in the mornings too when I get up to milk Darla.

Have I said how much I'm enjoying having dairy goats?  Having laying hens is definitely a close runner up on my enjoyment meter.  There's just something very satisfying about getting milk and eggs from my own back yard every morning.

Today I trimmed hooves on both my buck and doe.  The buck is getting very big.  Trying to wrestle a 250 pound goat onto a milk stand so you can trim his hooves is definitely a two person job.  Thank goodness I have good neighbors and one who always seems to show up just when I need a hand.  Said neighbor and his wife also trimmed their pecan trees today and gave me all their clippings so I could give my goats what sends them into instant nirvana:  browse.

 Duke and Danny digging into Salt Cedar Shrub

Darla and her girls, Daylight and Daisy (now 9 weeks old) enjoying the shrub too.

Goats aren't grazers.  They're browsers.  They don't like to eat with their heads down, rather, they're designed to reach up into tree branches.  Besides their alfalfa pellets, hay, fresh water, free choice minerals and grain feed (which only goes to my does), I like to give them three or four branches with leaves daily to nibble on.  I weave them in the fencing on their pens so that they get the more natural method of browsing they enjoy.  The pecan tree branches and leaves were a hit!  They also like salt cedar scrub bushes, pine branches, dandelion weeds and rose bush trimmings.  I haven't found anyone to donate rose bush trimmings yet but I did notice a house in the neighborhood the other day who has a plethora of rose bushes in her yard.  I think I'll have to stop and introduce myself soon.

Getting to know my farm animals, observing their behaviors, reading about their needs has opened up an entire world to me.  I don't look at any plant the same anymore and my compost pile is getting perfected.  Chickens love compost piles!  It's a total win, win.  They turn the compost for me with all their scratching a burrowing and they get the nutrients their egg-producing bodies need.  And I get more fresh eggs.

I created a very make-shift, temporary hen house for my chickens over the past week using pallets, bale twine, bungee cords and shade cloth.  The Clampetts would be proud.  Today I put together a perch for the hens to roost on at night.  They had been sleeping in the "coop" that came with them, which also served as their nesting box.  But this makes for a messy clean-up every morning, plus,  I read that hens tend to sleep better and be happier if they can get about 36 inches off the ground onto a perch to sleep at night.  For the last two nights I've had to go out there and put them on the perch myself as they keep wanting to go to the nesting box to sleep.  Tonight they stayed, all except one hen, on the perch.  It made me happy.

I'm looking forward to planting a garden next, but since summer is upon us and we don't have the property ready for gardening a plot yet, it'll have to wait till fall.

I guess we're on our way to being a little homestead, which is right up my alley.  I was thinking the other day about why I like doing this so much.  Am I just looking to be more self-sufficient?  Am I trying to free myself and my family from factory farm food products and Walmart?  In part yes, I guess.  But rather than striving for self-sufficiency I think what I'm really experiencing is the joy of Providence-dependency.

Every morning when I milk my doe and collect eggs from my hens, I am putting myself and my family in the position of being more aware of our dependence upon the One who created dairy goats and milk and laying hens.  Of course, I'm no more dependent upon God when I milk my own goat and collect my own eggs than I am when I pick up a jug and a dozen at Walmart.  He provides that milk and those eggs too.  You don't have to have a homestead or a farm to be aware of your dependence upon God for your food. Doing the morning on the farm routine around here, is just making me more aware of that dependence.  As are my kids.  And that's a good thing.

The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. - Psalm 145:15-17


Meditation on Psalm 17

I posted a little blurb on Facebook this morning regarding my disappointing Mother's Day and shared the priceless card my 11 year old son gave me this morning.

He didn't write it after feeling bad about yesterday. I hadn't laid into him or his brother for the grief they gave me yesterday. He simply ran into the card he had made at school, probably at the prompting of his teacher, while cleaning out his binder in getting ready for today's school day.  It wasn't a Hallmark moment.  It was a, "Oh, yeah, mom, here.  I forgot to give this to you yesterday," moment as he rushed downstairs to play for a few minutes before school.

His words on the card are priceless.  The flowers he drew I'm sure came out of a desire to give me something he knew I really wanted.  (He's a great artist and draws great war scenes and I'm always asking him to draw me something nice for a change, like flowers.  His response is usually, "Mom!  Boys don't draw flowers!")  I'll treasure the card as long as I live and my boys will continue to be my heart walking around outside my body.  But the most priceless thing about yesterday and this morning was not the card or the Happy Mother's Day sentiments.  The reality check I got this morning while reading my Bible was the most satisfying treasure of all!

"Arise, O Lord!... Deliver my soul... from men of the world whose portion is in this life.  You fill their womb with treasure, they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants.  As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness, when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness."  - excerpts from Psalm 17:13,14,15

Psalm 127 says:

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.

God gives children.  They are a treasure.  They are a gift from God to be embraced as blessings and riches.  So what's with Psalm 17?

As much as children are a treasure from the womb and gift from God, they cannot satisfy the mom, or dad, who has been awakened to the treasure of Christ and being made like him.

It is a total gift to be a mom.  It is one of my greatest joys.  But it is also a source of great sorrow, probably one of the greatest sorrows.  And I'm glad.  I'm glad there are disappointing Mother's Days and half-hearted givings of sentimental words. (Not that my son's words were half-hearted.  I believe they were very sincere.)  I'm glad because the painful things of motherhood give me pause.  They cause me to stop and think, "Am I merely a woman of the world, satisfied with children?  Or am I a woman of God, thankful for children, treasuring them as a gift and a stewardship, but satisfied only in the glorious promise of seeing my Lord face to face... and not in shame and fear, but in righteousness?  To actually possess Christ's righteousness.  To really be like Him!  Then, oh then.  Then and only then will I be fully satisfied.

Motherhood is an opportunity to taste and see that the LORD, not just having children, is good.

May our children see that our hope for satisfaction is in Christ and not feel the unbearable weight of having to be our satisfaction.  May they look to us as we look to Christ.


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