Way down yonder in Tennessee, we have been busy this past year as we just finished our 13th move in the 19 years of marriage! I tell you, I am getting so sick of moving, you have no idea! If I never have to load another box and tape it, I will be happy. Just so you know, we moved into the same house that we moved into 3 years ago. Yup! And it is the 3rd time we lived here, if you can believe that! They say 3 times is a charm! That is what I am hoping anyhow. Must be that we are meant to live here if we keep coming back to the same place.
I guess I am also learning to make Heaven my forever home as we have never been able to grow roots at any one place. On the flip side, it is always an adventure. Joy is not always in where you are but in what you make of where you are. I have found that wherever my family is, that is my HOME.
The place we moved from was a barn with a lot of little one room cabins littered about it, we called it Shackville. It just looked like a stream of shacks on the creek. There were ticks everywhere and those little naughty chiggers. Mark fixed it up pretty nice. He boarded the walls, put new windows, flooring, and a HUGE kitchen sink. On the last move, we moved everything, BUT the kitchen sink, but I am going back for that thing! That was a killer sink, folks. It is 7 foot long with 3 bays, it is coming to this new place, mark my words! The barn became livable but was still on no foundation. Very drafty. When Junior would stomp up the steps the whole house would shake. Oh, did I mention that we did not have kitchen cabinets? That’s right. I used old dressers, shelfs I found out in the other barn, but it was hard to cook with no counter tops. We tried to make it work. The kids complained about it all the time anyhow. Cabin fever was taking on a new meaning for us stuffed into that little barn. We did have a really nice garden over there. Canned up a lot of the produce or froze it. It was amazing!
We moved back in the beginning of October. The kids are happy, they each have their own bedroom! I am happy! I have kitchen counter tops and cabinets again!
This past year was filled with lots of travels and adventure. Early in the year we traveled to Wisconsin for a speaking arrangement for my book as an author, Maryland for business, and by June we were headed to Colorado where we dropped off Miles at an organic produce farm where he worked for the summer. On from there Mark and I drove to Vegas again for business. This past year as we had been working our home business, Mark took off work so we could focus on that. It was really neat to have him home all the time. We homeschooled the kids together, worked in the garden, canned, and went for lots of lovely walks together. It was my little piece of heaven. We decided to live on a tighter budget to achieve this so that we could work towards a promotion. After a year of very hard work, we ended up getting that promotion in July which we earned an all expense paid trip to Hawaii. That was fun until we got the call that Molly was having a diabetic seizure. The meter was reading higher so she was giving more insulin than needed so it made her very low. YIKES! Thankfully my mother was there to help! But that was a nightmare not being able to be there for my daughter. We have been working on getting Molly a help dog. The dog will sense and alert before she gets too low and things start to get dangerous. They are expensive so thank you to all that helped contribute. We surely appreciate it. Molly gets the dog in about one week so that is really exciting for her!
We only made that promotion in July with our business so it was time for Mark to go back to the work force to help make the ends meet. It has sure been an adjustment for us to not have dad here all the time, but we are making the most of it and enjoying lots of homeschooling. Even our adopted grandfather, Owen can walk over each day to help teach the kids. It has been fun! We did not get to drive that fancy Lexus which is okay, in business there are ups and downs. We still drive around our old beater trucks which we are so thankful for. They get us where we need to go. We are blessed to have went to Hawaii which was a trip of a lifetime. Mark and I have never gone on a honeymoon so this was a blessing to us!
We have been so thankful for the supplemental income of our home based business, but with Molly having issues with not being able to sense her blood sugars, our focus had to be more on working with her. Lots of planning and education has been involved in getting her a service dog. We are excited that she will be able to attain more independence with havng this dog that will be able to sense her low blood sugars before they get dangerous. In fact, in one week we get to go to boot camp. Molly and I will be spending 10 days in training to learn all the dog is capable of doing, have time to bond, and for her to get used to working with the alerts. It is going to be an adventure. He has been in training for 3 years 24/7 and the company switched to him due to his keen ability to sense sugar changes. I have been very impressed with the quality and attention to detail that Retrieving Independance has had on behalf of our daughter. They want to be sure that she is with the dog that will help the most. It is a great extra layer of protection. This is the photo of TEDDY, her help dog. He was on Furlow with some volunteers training at the bowling alley. He is a Labrodoodle.
All the 5 kids are doing great but are completely different. Miles has the comical side, and is learning the trade of home construction part time and loving it after he returned from Colorado. He shot two deer and we canned all the meat. Molly loves music and is taking piano lessons in which she is doing quite well. She said she would love to study at a university for Music and Biology (maybe a medical field that helps diabetics). Megan loves drawing pictures and want to go to school to be a cosmetologist. The girls are both in their sophomore year of High School. Michael is in 6th grade and loves technology. He always keeps his room perfectly tidy because he is a meticulous. And Junior, well, he is the loud one. He is in 5th grade this year. We think he is a little McGuyver because he can figure anything out. He is very mechanical and inventive. One day he came in with a knife he made, carved his own handle out of wood. We live on a beautiful creek so they look forward to swimming.
We still have a milk cow, lots of fresh milk, a flock of laying hens, 3 sheep, another cow, and 2 steers we raise for beef. We will be having a garden this coming spring. Mark planted Diacon Radishes for a cover crop this year. It draw nutrients up from deep in the soil. You just till and plant in the spring. It is like a green manure. Lots to prepare for this coming year on the homestead.
We were able to go to Wisconsin for our yearly Winter visit over the holiday with our family. We enjoyed lots of fun times and pretty white snow. It was great to see all of our loved ones but always nice to return to our homestead. It is has been a very blessed year. God has been so good to us. Thank you to all that have made our life easier by contributing towards Molly’s servive dog. We could not have done this without your generous help. May God bless each hand that has been put together to make this possible including all the wonderful people that are helping with the benefit coming this Sunday. A special thanks to all the local businesses of Linden and Lobelville, Miss Martha Mitchener from the bank in Linden, Poochie Keeton, Marlene Tarkington, Miss Janet Marshal for all your hard work in helping us put the benefit together.
Other than all our sweet blessings and adventures we continue to have, we are enjoying life way down yonder in Tennessee. May God bless your new year as well! Love to you all.