Abundant Harvest

There is something very satisfying about harvesting your own food.

Especially when the harvest was years in the making.

Like these luscious peaches – which were just picked from our orchard.


I could almost weep at the abundance.

We’ve had several years of discouragement.

Rainy years.

Dry years.

Years full of blight.

Years of trusting that someday these trees would bear fruit.

And this year – they did – in abundance.

homegrown peaches

It was a harvest worth waiting for.

I see similarities to parenting.

You invest years in your children.

Planting seeds of character and righteousness.

Watering them with prayer.

Waiting for fruit.

There are years of drought when you feel that you are not heard.

There are  years that are flooded with discouragement.

Then – finally – you see fruit.

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-Control.

And you weep in the abundance knowing that your labor was not in vain in the Lord.

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”


Wandering Calves and Life Lessons

I happened to look out the window yesterday morning and saw Belle – the youngest of our calves  – walking across the yard.

It was a cold, drizzly and windy day. Not a good time for a little gal to be away from her mama.

The problem was – she was short enough to walk right under the electric fence. To her – that fence wasn’t a boundary – just a mere suggestion.

Maybe the grass did look greener on the other side.

Maybe she just wanted a little adventure.

Maybe she wasn’t paying attention.

But there she was on the wrong side of the fence walked away from the safety, protection, and life-giving nourishment of her mama.

I quickly found my shoes and went out to round her up.

But she didn’t want to be rounded up, and took off running in the other direction.

She was down the hill and almost to the ravine before she stopped for a breath. When she did, she realized she was lost.

She let a scared little bellow for her mama – but it was lost in the hollowing wind.

She had gone too far.

She was wet, cold, hungry and alone in a big scary world.
Baby Calf
I have to admit – it brought tears to my eyes.

I quietly walked behind her and got her turned around and running in the right direction.

It was several minutes – and a few false turns before she ran back under the electric fence – and several more before she found her mama.

The whole incident was eye-opening for me.

I saw her danger. I wanted to help. But I couldn’t make her go in the pen. I just kept pointing her in the right direction until she finally crossed the fence.

As a mother – I could see so many lessons in Belle’s little romp.

How can I make sure my kids see Biblical boundaries as safeguards and not suggestions?

How can I stay faithful in pointing them in the right direction, even when they don’t always want to listen?

How can I stress them to them the importance of staying near so they can hear their Master’s voice – no matter how loudly the world tries to drown it out?

This morning as I looked out the window, I witnessed a very different scene.

Little Belle was standing right next to her mama when the cows walked in for water. She nursed for a long time , doing little happy dances as she went from one side to the other.

Then, with a bulging tummy full of warm milk,  she jumped and twirled and kicked up her feet as she followed her mama all the way back to the pasture.

And I thought to myself, that’s what I want for my children.

Safety at the Savior’s side.

Joy and contentment in obedience.

It’s Habit Forming – Part 2

Messed Up Sheets You may remember the post I wrote a few weeks ago describing how I kidnapped my children’s clean clothes to teach them to put them away.

My good friend Kim read that post – and put it into practice. But I’m afraid it caused her son great discomfort.

He was so bummed about it – he sent me this email.

Uhhh…. thanks Mrs. Shervheim, now my mom has all my stuff and I’ll have to have a fortune or do a LOT of jobs to get it back.  But at least I learned my lesson.”

I replied, “That’s great B – just wait till I tell her how I got my kids to make their beds!”

His response was a simple, but emphatic, “NOOOOOOOOOO!!!”

So of course – I couldn’t resist!

Sorry B.  I can just hear your mom laughing right now. I bet you can too! 🙂

Now Mr. B – you may ask me  (like my children did) what’s the big deal about making your bed – after all – you’re just going to climb back into it in a few hours – right?!

To me – it’s all about personal responsibility. It’s a daily discipline.

If you use something  – put it away. If you mess something up – you fix it. If you make something dirty – you clean it.

So – if you slept in a bed, you make it up again.

I guess you could call it character building.

That’s why this momma made a new rule: all beds must be made before school every morning.

So of course my kids asked, “What will happen if it isn’t?”

I just smiled and said, “You’ll see!”

It took a couple of weeks for one of the kids to slip up – but I was ready. I stripped the entire bed – right down to removing the pillow case – and left the pile of bedding on a heap on the floor.

My kids learned quickly that it was a lot faster to pull the sheets up and straighten the blankets right away – then it was to remake the entire bed.

So there you have it Mr. B.

I feel like I should apologize in advance for any pain and discomfort I might be causing you – but I won’t. You’re a smart kid – if my kids can learn this one – I know you can.

It’ll be good for you.

After all – your mom and I both know that we aren’t raising children – we’re raising adults.

Now get in there quick and make your bed before your Momma sees it!

Someday you’ll thank me.  😉

I’ve linked this post up with Works for Me Wednesday at We Are That Family.

The Water Challenge

It’s already started – dry skin season.

Every year I have kids who really suffer during the cold months. Every year I tell them that they need to moisturize from the inside out – which means that they need to drink more water.

Every year my words fall on deaf ears.

Until this year. This year a miracle happened. One child listened.

She actually asked how much water she should drink. I told her 8 – 8 ounce glasses.

There was a pause while she did the math. “You mean I have to drink 64 ounces of water every day?”

Yep. (Extra points for doing the math correctly!)

I do it every day. It’s totally possible.

She pondered this for a day or two, then on Sunday she pulled out her water bottle, did some calculating and determined that if she drank 2 of those every day, she would reach her quota.

She then filled it and put it in the fridge so she was ready for the next day.

Monday was a success and the dry spots on her shoulders were gone.

By Tuesday her hands were starting to heal.

By Wednesday she noticed that she actually sweated when she worked out.

At the supper table, she shared her new found wisdom with her siblings – who listened better when it came from one of their own.

Then she issued a challenge – which of them would join her in drinking 64 ounces of water the next day?

After supper there was a flurry to find water bottles and get them filled.


The kids decided that whoever didn’t drink their quota of H2O would be subject to PT (physical training) inflicted on them by those who did finish.

Thursday was a success (although a couple of kids chugged about a quart in the evening to finish up!)

Friday was also a success.

I’m not sure how much longer this can last – but as a Mom – I definitely feel vindicated.

Momma’s always right.

PS – How much water did you drink today?

Caution: Student Driver

800px-Centerline_Rumble_StripMy kids are learning to drive.

And I thought potty-training was hard! Ha!

Now they are careening down the highway in a moving vehicle with passengers.

The scary thing about teaching someone to drive is that to learn they have to actually <gulp> drive.

They can study the books, watch the videos and ask all they questions they want – but until they actually get behind the wheel and start the vehicle, they will never know how to drive.

A few weeks ago my husband let our oldest drive the entire family to my sisters house – 3 hours away – at night – on New Year’s Eve – in frigidly cold temperatures and snow – on the interstate – and through the city.

I sat in the back seat and prayed.

As I prayed, I heard my husband telling our son what route to take to get there, and I realized that although he had been there thousands of times before – my son had always gone as a passenger.

He had never been in the driver’s seat.

He had never paid attention to the route. He never needed too – Dad was driving.

But now he was behind the wheel. He was the one assessing the road conditions, watching the traffic, following the route and making the decisions.

Just like his life.

From birth, his dad and I have been instructing and training him. But now he’s moving to the driver’s seat.

It won’t be long until he’s out on his own – making his own decisions.

It will be our turn to take the back seat and watch him choose the route he takes.

But believe me – we’ll be praying!

Hey Moms – Need Some “Alone Time”?

As a mom of five, I know very well the need we moms have to be alone.

We love our children,  but to be continually needed by someone and always on call is tiring.

Sometimes we’re looking to get away for a few minutes, to sit in silence, to rest our minds.

Sound impossible? If you have young children – it is. They are hard wired to need you. They want to be with you – all the time.

You don’t dare close the door when you go to the bathroom because it’s just asking for a catastrophe to happen!

But – if you have older children – it’s actually easier than you think.

After years of trial and error, I have discovered 10 foolproof statements that are sure to get you some privacy.

All you need to do is announce any one of these and the room will clear instantly as your older children will disappear like leaves in the wind.

1. “I’m looking for someone to wash dishes”

2. “The bathroom needs to be cleaned”

3. “I’m heading out to the garden to weed”

4. “I’m heading out to the garden to pick green beans, or tomatoes, or peppers, or anything”

5. “There’s laundry waiting to hung on the clothes line”

6. “There’s laundry to be folded”

7. “I think we should start cleaning the basement after lunch”

8. “The garbage needs to be taken out”

9.  “I need help canning tomatoes (or apples or green beans)”

10. “Dad said we were butchering chickens this afternoon”

Try one and see for yourself!

Teenagers in the House

Birthday cake with the letter 'P'

With Pedro’s 13th birthday last week, I now have three teenagers in the house.

No wonder my grocery bills have been climbing – really climbing.  (By the way, I now believe in the “hollow legs” theory.)

My computer is always in use with someone else’s email logged in and weird music playing.

My laundry piles are bigger and the clothes in the piles are bigger. My son is taller than my husband and I can almost share clothes with my daughter.

The shower is always in use and the remote control is a hot commodity.

And my schedule is crazy!

I thought it was hard having babies and toddlers in the house! Hah! They were a piece of cake – at least they went down for a nap every afternoon, went to bed before midnight and didn’t use all the hot water!

But I wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s exciting to see these kids growing up – maturing – becoming the adults that God meant them to be.

And I have a front row seat to cheer them on.

How blessed I am!

Yard Fill (or Why I Have Very Creative Children and a Very Messy Yard!)

A dear friend of mine was the first to name it “yard fill.” I looked at her blankly until she explained that yard fill was all the stuff that fills up the yard when you have children. You know…bikes, little tike’s cars, jump ropes, soccer goals, t-ball sets, toy lawnmowers, etc….

Since our sand box area has become a playhouse of sorts, I have noticed that most of our yard fill originates from the sand box and tends to stretch through-out the yard.

Our sand box was made from some old landscape timbers and sits under the pine trees where it is always shady and cool. It also provides great needles and pine cones to play with. My husband made a little shed beside it to hold all of the sand box toys, but they rarely make it there.

Our sand box toys include the normal array of “big machines” like bulldozers and cranes, but the majority of the toys are a motley collection of old kitchen items. There are frying pans, sauce pans, plates, strainers, utensils of every shape and size, old muffin tins and bread pans, etc…

My children spend hours with these “toys” to create amazing dishes. They use whatever they can scrounge up to cook with, including pine cones, pine needles, sand, rocks, wood, grass, weeds, and even flowers. The picture above is of a chicken-fried steak (a piece of wood covered with sand) with hash browns (wood chips) on the side.

But these “toys” don’t just stay in the sand box! After a rain they get taken to the deepest mud puddle and used to dig ditches, or to the place where the soil is clay-like to help mold pottery. Sometimes a wagon load of stuff is hauled to the “Green Forest” where the children have created a camp site under the silver maples.

During the winter the same “toys” are hauled around the yard wherever the snow is deepest to be used to create snow sculptures and snow men.

So, if you should happen to drive into my yard and see a soup ladle by the back door where someone dropped it on his way into lunch, or an old cooking pot sitting by the mud puddle, or a sandbox covered with plates of dried grass and mud, don’t be alarmed. It’s only our “yard fill”.

Someday I will have a beautiful lawn with flower beds and lovely landscaping. But for today, I’m a mother who wants my children to have the freedom to create and to play, even if it means a messy yard and very dirty children.

Check out more sand box creations in our original movie “An Ode to Yard Fill”.