The Straight Story

lessons from The Straight Story

“The Straight Story” starring Richard Farnsworth, Sissy Spacek, and Harry Dean Stanton was trending lately so we decided to watch it, too. We were glad we did!

movie of the week The Straight Story

It was based on a true story of two brothers who had been estranged for over ten years. Now getting up in years, they lived over 300 miles apart. Until the day one of them had a stroke. The story is about the second brother trying to get to his brother to make amends while he still had a chance.

No longer able to drive, Alvin Straight travels the 260 miles on his lawnmower, pulling a trailer. Along the way, he meets and converses with many people. These meetings, in my book, were God-ordained as he shares wisdom with them about family and other things.

Other than an exciting ride down a hill with no breaks, there is not a lot of excitement in the film but there are many lessons each of us can take to heart.

Some Wisdom from the Movie

  1. You can break one stick but bundle them together and they are unbreakable. That bundle is family.
  2. The worst part of getting old is remembering when you were young.
  3. On Getting Old: Learn to separate the wheat from the chaff. Let the little stuff go.
  4. A brother is a brother.
Straight Story - live together in harmony

In Conclusion

Go find this one and watch it together as a family. I think you might learn something.

Mandy Signature

Rent the Straight Story on Amazon Prime

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Was That Supposed to Hurt?

It can probably be said that I was always sassily truthful in my younger years. I am probably lucky to have survived many a spanking from my dad’s 2×4 hands as well as “long-distance” kicks to the seat of my pants from dad’s Frankenstein size twelves.

Can’t believe I just said that

dad and daughter

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

I can’t remember the circumstances under which I received my due penalty of a sound spanking from my dad, but spanked I was. I can still feel the sting on my hind end. Almost as if I could see the red spreading out on both “cheeks”. It stung but what came next( I am belly laughing as I type) was pure sass.

After dad had finished spanking me and turned me up off his knee, I looked him square in the eye and said “Was that supposed to hurt?”. There seemed to be dead silence in the room as my mouth closed, and the statement finished.

I could see my dad’s eyebrows raise, the skin between his eyes began to furrow and his jaw began to set. I was quite sure the fiery gates of Hades had opened up behind him and smoke began to pour out from underneath his chair.

In no time flat, my mother appeared out of thin air and yanked me from the living room so fast I thought my eyeballs were left mid-air and my shoes in place right there on the living room floor, directly in front of my dad.

Fire on the mountain, run girl run

Image by Jan Steiner from Pixabay

Like a flash, my mother had grabbed me, was into and through the kitchen, opened the door to the pantry/coat room, out the door to the back yard, and set my shoed feet on the garage floor.

There we stood, I and my mom. We stayed in the garage for some time. I chose to stand and wait out whatever we were waiting out because my hind end was not quite ready to be sat upon.

My mom chose to keep a careful eye on the garage door. I tried to admire the wood support beams and various sparrows that had found their way inside and made nests as well as “deposits” all over the family car. It was not a time for talking. That much was clear. So I occupied myself with my imagination as the time ticked away.

Upon further review

I guess enough time had passed, so mom took me by the hand and we walked back into the house. She sat me down at the kitchen table and fed me a snack. I chose to sit half and half, one cheek on and one cheek off. That way it hurt less.

As I ate my snack my mother walked back into the living room. My dad was still in there, but now the T.V. was turned on and the smoke from Hades had receded.

I could hear hushed voices talking, then an occasional assurance from my mother that ” this was a normal part of growing up…”. I continued to munch happily on my snack. After finishing my dad asked to speak to me. I told him I was sorry I sassed and that I wouldn’t do it again. I’m quite sure that probably wasn’t the last “discussion” he had with me either.

When dad got in some t-r-o-u-b-l-e

Image by 41330 from Pixabay

Fast forward a few years. I’m in 5th grade and having trouble spelling the word “impossible”. My dad worked and worked with me and my spelling list. Back and forth we went, taking the whole test over and over again. I am sure my mother’s eyes were rolling as she was a teacher and here my dad was “teaching me” to spell.

I had come to a point of exhaustion and my mother told me to go sit in the living room a few minutes before returning for the last spelling test. Having had a small break to rest my head I returned to the kitchen. Mom had started washing dishes and dad said I only had to spell impossible. And IF, I could spell impossible, I could have a (wait for it…) PONY!

Gasp! Oh my goodness. I was pie eyed at this giant promise. I loved horses. My mom said I had “horse fever” and that I drove her nuts with all my horse questions and begging.

My mom was now strangely silent, standing erect at the sink, hand still dangling in the hot sudsy dish water. She stared blankly through the window out into the street.

My dad was certain that this would be great motivation, but he also was betting I couldn’t spell impossible as I had missed it 6 other times. I am sure confidence was on overload for my dad, but I was about to win the biggest spelling bee of my entire life.

I’d like to buy a vowel please

Image by 41330 from Pixabay

Smiling, my dad asked me to spell impossible. Smiling back, I stood and delivered. Impossible. I.M.P.O. ( paused for a moment thinking to myself). Is there a double S or just one? Hmm. S. S. I. B. L.- this is probably the point where my mom began to wad up her dishcloth.

She knew d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r lay ahead with one more vowel. E! Yes! Yes! I spelled it right! Right, Dad? I-m-p-o-s-s-i-b-l-e! Impossible. My dad’s head hung low and at that very second a very soapy dishcloth flew past my face and hit him square in the head, followed by “RUSS!”.

I was asked to leave the kitchen as my mom proceeded to chew my dad out. There was absolutely no place we had to go with a horse. We lived in town, had a relatively small yard, and least of all, mom was not getting caught up in horse chores with two little ones still in diapers! Then I heard her tell him he needed to fix it.

Hope seen trotting away

I could tell by the conversation in the kitchen, things were not sounding so good for dad, never mind the fact that hope on having a pony was trotting away as well.

Dad explained that he made a promise he could not keep. He was sorry, but there would be no pony. I sat dejected on the couch, tears rolling down my face. I was robbed!

Time has a way of mellowing hurts and jokingly I would remind him of his thievery but it still seemed to pain him each time I mentioned it. That got me some great mileage though, as I could talk him into riding the neighbor’s horses with me.

One of the best memories of my dad is just me and my dad riding horses out in the country. Riding through woods, fields, and over the old railroad. Great memories to fill my mind with his absence.

I will never forget the time his stirrup came undone and flew off the horse or the time his horse decided to stop, drop, and roll with him still in the saddle. Luckily he just walked right off before the horse decided to roll. Good times to be thankful for.

Till next time. Here is to good food, good friends, great memories of a good life.

Michele
wedding

How I Managed Fibro/FMS/RA and Survived my Daughter’s Wedding

This being the two year anniversary of my daughter’s wedding, I thought it appropriated to update this post about how I managed fibromyalgia and enjoyed my daughter’s wedding.

divider
curleque by Coffee at pixabay

Dear Friend;

You asked me recently how I am doing after my daughter’s wedding. It took me until now (about 6 weeks) to recover but it was worth it! It was the most beautiful day and I was able to be right there and most importantly, not in pain! I shared about the wedding on my family page The Farmers Place. [Just in case you are curious. 🙂 ]

Mandy & Mikaela
Mandy with her daughter before the wedding

To be honest, I was really concerned that I would be in a lot of pain on the wedding day. I asked all my chronic pain friends for their suggestions and took as many as I could into consideration.  One thing I know, whether a person has a chronic illness or not, is that a wedding can quickly get out of hand. My strongest advice to anyone planning a wedding is to

KISS – KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID

So here are a few things that I did:

Set Your Goals

If worse comes to worst, what is the very least you want to be able to enjoy? What are the most important things concerning the wedding? I had one goal in mind. To walk down the aisle as the mother-of-the-bride pain-free and possibly without my cane! And I made this happen.

Mandy ecorted in by son #1, Daniel
Mandy ecorted in by oldest son, Daniel

Clear Your Schedule for the months preceding the wedding.

The wedding was in May. I decided the first of the year to do nothing that didn’t have to do with the wedding. I scheduled guest writers on my blog (See My Series Letters-To-Friends) and I turned down speaking engagements. Even some of the smaller opportunities were given a “No” response in order to keep my energy for the big goal.

Get on an Anti-inflammatory Diet

I struggled with this one because, in all truthfulness, I am a sugarholic. But I stuck to my guns pretty well for 5 months. And it truly did help me have not just a good wedding day, but all the planning days went pretty well too! I even lost 10 pounds. [I hate to admit it but after the wedding, I kinda fell off the wagon again. So I’m struggling with more pain now but trying to get straightened out again.] I guess that shows that getting on the right diet does, in fact, help a lot.

Prioritize the Wedding Events

Which events do you really, really want to attend? You may have to be selective about which events are most important to you, especially during the week of the wedding. Let’s be honest, we just can’t go like this without paying the price. If we go to everything planned for the week, we could likely miss the wedding altogether. I skipped out on the bridesmaids’ lingerie shower.

Also, plan to block out a day or two after each event because you will probably need it. In our case, both the groom’s mom and I have a chronic illness. She and I got together to address invitations. Who knew that just a simple job of writing addresses on envelopes would be so taxing. Both of us were worthless for a day or two. I might suggest getting the addresses printed on the envelopes. If you are savvy with the computer, you can do this yourself much easier.

Plan Your Doctor Visits Wisely and in Advance

I get an injection in my neck at Mayo Clinic every 4-6 months. Typically, by the time I get to the next appointment, I am usually in a lot of pain. This is a long day trip for us and I am usually down for the count that night and the next day. So when I was there last December, I asked if we could go ahead and schedule for the spring about a month before the wedding. My doctor was happy to oblige me. And I had no neck pain the entire month of May!

Delegate Responsibilities

Leaving the ceremony with son #3, Brett

Another tough one to follow. I am a Type-A personality. Apparently, most fibro warriors are Type-A. We want to be right in the middle of all the planning and doing. Thankfully, I have family members and very good friends that took on much of the work. Our daughter-in-law is a go-getter and also doesn’t let people get by with too much slack. She did a lot of the running and directing for me. The wedding gown was being altered about a 1.5-hour drive away. I was able to attend all the fittings but the last one. It was the week of the wedding. Our Daughter-in-law went with our daughter and picked up the gown. She got the instructions for steaming it and such. This saved me that day trip the week of the wedding. Sure, I hated not going, but it kept me in good shape for the most important day .. the wedding!

We found other people that we trusted for things such as flowers and decorations and reception. We gave them basic instructions and then let them run with it. I did have a few sleepless nights because I wondered if they were doing everything just right. But it all turned out beautiful.

By the way, be sure that you delegate people to specific clean-up duties for after the wedding. Especially if this is at your church, it will likely be your responsibility to get everything back in order. With chronic illness, by this time, you will be too tired to do it and everyone will have gone home leaving it to you. For example,

  • the sanctuary platform furniture returned to normal places,
  • reception hall cleaned and returned to normalcy,
  • kitchen cleaned
  • bathrooms cleaned
  • and other rooms used by the bride and groom all straightened and clean, waste cans emptied. 

[As a pastor’s wife, I know from experience that these are often forgotten. The regular janitor did his work BEFORE  the wedding for you, it’s your responsibility to do it after the wedding or pay them to do it again before Sunday worship – which is often the next morning.]

Have Your People Come to You

A friend arranged for someone to do my hair. We actually went and did some hair trials. But then I learned that I was going to have to get up early and go to her house to get it done. I knew this would be too taxing on the day of the wedding, so I decided to fix my own hair at home and arrive at the church in time for pictures with my daughter. My neighbor ran around town looking for a pretty barrette and voila! we had it done. Sure it could have been nicer but I got to enjoy the wedding.

If your beautician can come to your house it will make your day so much easier. I’ve also heard that nowadays there is such a thing as a mobile hairstylist. This would be awesome if you can afford it.

Bring Your Own Chair

I knew that the church had no comfortable chairs. So I had my son transport my chair and footrest to the church the day before. We had this in the bride’s room so that I would have a comfortable place to rest and get my feet up before the ceremony.

I was also concerned about sitting on a hard folding chair during the reception. I had a padded folding chair at the house so we took it in as well. You might take something even better than that. I considered renting comfortable chairs for both family tables and then rent chair covers for them. This really wouldn’t be that great of an expense in the whole scheme of things especially if you are already renting linens.

Provide Accommodations to Visiting Guests Other Than in your Own Home

I have no family nearby. This meant everyone was traveling in for the wedding. In order to keep my home a peaceful place to retreat, I arranged for other accommodations for family members. Check out vacation condos or a bed and breakfast. I went to Airbnb and found a townhouse right in our neighborhood that could house all the bridesmaids and another family just a mile or so away that was renting a suite in their home which was perfect for my parents.

Honestly, I had a wonderful day at the wedding. I was tired, for sure, but who wouldn’t be? It’s taken me some time to get back into my old and new routines but I’m getting there. I hope that your wedding plans go just as perfectly as ours did.

Just Remember to KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid!

The Farmer Family

With Love and Kisses;

Mandy Farmer

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#surrogate mom

An Interview With A Surrogate Mom


Years ago I saw a movie about a mother who became a surrogate for her daughter who wasn’t able to conceive a child. I thought, “What a wonderful gift of love; a wonderful gift of legacy.”

What a wonderful gift of love and legacy. #surrogacy #surrogatemom Click To Tweet

Surrogacy is probably something most of us haven’t really thought about unless you are struggling with infertility. Other than seeing that movie, I know I haven’t really given it much thought. And still, I never thought that surrogacy would touch my life until a few years ago.

My nephew’s wife, after having their own three children, Chelsie decided she wanted to be a surrogate mother.

Chelsie was more than happy to share her experience as a surrogate mom. So, we will do that today in a Q & A format. If you have more questions. I am sure that Chelsie would be willing to answer them in the comments.

NOTE: There is much debate about whether surrogacy is a good thing or not. We are not here to debate the right or wrong today, but rather to share in the joy that Chelsie gets from being a surrogate mother.

So, Let’s Get Started

Chelsie thank you for talking with me today about your experience as a surrogate mother. I am excited to share it with my readers.

Tell us a bit about you and your family

I’m 32 years old. I have 3 of my own children. Morgan is 14, Braylon is 13, & Nolan is almost 12. My husband Landon and I have been married for 14 almost 15 years. He works full time, is going to college, is the football & wrestling coach for our son Nolan’s teams.

I work full time also, & am also currently take a few college classes. My favorite things to do are to spend time with my family, running/working out/hiking, traveling, reading &  anything outside.

Wow! You have a busy life! How did you become interested in surrogacy?

I first became interested in surrogacy after reading a book. It was a surrogate telling her story. I then met people through one of my jobs & they really inspired me. Landon also had 2 close friends who were experiencing fertility issues.

I looked into it when Nolan was just a baby. And I realized how much time & energy I would have to devote to it & decided now was not the time.

6 years later, I had a conversation with Landon and said that I still had been thinking about it and really, really, truly wanted to be a surrogate. Landon still to this day doesn’t understand my desire to be a surrogate. He thinks it’s a little weird & that’s okay, a lot of people do. 

I’m glad that your husband is supportive of your dream to be a surrogate mom. It’s important in any marriage to be supportive of one another’s dreams.

How many times have you become a surrogate mother?

I have been a surrogate twice. The first time I delivered twins for intended parents that live in Prague, Czech Republic. I also delivered a singleton with parents that live in Wisconsin.

Yes, I plan on doing it again. As a matter of fact, I have just started medications last week to hopefully become pregnant again. I always get my husband’s & children’s blessings before I start on the long surrogacy journey. 

So, how did you find a family for whom to be a surrogate?

I used a surrogacy agency. I researched multiple agencies. After finding the one that I liked best, I completed an online application, they responded and we made an appointment to meet with the agency.

The meeting was 6 to 7 hours long! We discussed everything you could think of. For example, how many embryos are you willing to carry, what are your thoughts on selective reduction, how much interaction would you like with the intended parents before, during & after pregnancy.

Landon & I had each took a 2.5-hour long psychology tests, verbal and oral.

The selection process to become a surrogate

After the long appointment at the surrogacy agency we waited to see if they would accept us. I got the phone call that they accepted me a few days later. We had to wait for the psych tests to come back.
Then you wait until the agency calls you and tells you that they think they have found intended parents that would be a good match with you.

Getting a Match.

They tell you about the couple & if the surrogate is interested & thinks the couple might be a good fit the agency sends the surrogate a letter the intended parents wrote along with a picture.
The surrogate tells the agency yes or no. If yes, then the intended parents would then get the surrogates letter and photo, if no then the agency would let you know when they think they might have found different intended couple.

The Match Meeting.

If the intended parents say yes to your letter and photos a match meeting date is set. The match meeting takes place at the agency. I was so nervous! There you meet & discuss everything that will eventually go into your contract.

Medical Approval.

If you agree on everything and decide to move forward, the next step would be getting medically approved by the intended parents choice of infertility doctors and clinic. Once you get medically approved and your contract is signed, a transfer date is set, your medications will get delivered, and you’ll begin your medications & set all of your upcoming appointments with the fertility clinic.

Did they use your eggs to create the embryos?

The agency that I decided to work with only works with gestational surrogates. That means that the surrogate is not using her eggs. The intended parents can either us their own egg or sometimes they have to use a donor egg. In my 2 surrogacy journeys we have used the intended mother’s egg. The other intended parents had to use donor eggs. 

I could never give up my baby, how can you do that?

It was never my baby. You go into it with a completely different mindset. I felt more pressure for my surrogate babies to be healthy than my own. The parents are trusting you with the most important thing in their lives! I didn’t take that responsibility lightly.

Do you think about the babies?

Yes, I do. I always explain the relationship as me being an aunt. I love them, I think about them, I wonder & worry about them. The most amazing part though is that then I usually get a picture or a video of them, if not I’ll text the parents.

Did you get to hold and see the Intended parents holding their baby/babies after you gave birth?

Yes! It was always the most important thing in our match meeting with the intended parents. My children must be allowed to go to the hospital and see the intended parents holding their baby. I felt it was really important for my children to be able to see the baby with their parents. We are very fortunate to still have great relationships with the families and still get to see the babies and their families.

That’s awesome that your children can have a part in the whole process.

What is the best part of your surrogacy experience?

This is my favorite question that makes me get tears in my eyes! Seeing the parents holding their babies. Then as they grow, just watching them with their children. It makes my heart melt. I love that I’ve taught my children it’s okay to do something different and that not everyone agrees with.

Chelsie, thanks for opening up your heart with us today. This has certainly helped me understand more about surrogacy. And I feel it has for others as well. We wish you well on this next journey of surrogacy you are beginning.

I’m happy to share with you. If you have questions please ask. I am sometimes amazed at what people think surrogacy is. “I know I have made a huge impact on so many people’s lives.”

“I know I have made a huge impact on so many people’s lives.” #surrogacy #surrogatemother Click To Tweet

To learn more about surrogacy, go to Hope Surrogacy. Or feel free to asked Chelsie your questions in the comments. She will be glad to respond.

Mandy Farmer

There’s Still Time to Link-Up

New Legacy Through Adoption #legacylinkup #infertility #adoption #surrogatemom
Click here to Link-up your Adoption and Surrogacy Stories Here until August 31, 2019

adoption changed my legacy

Adoption Changed My Legacy & the Legacy LinkUp

Adoption Made Me A Momma

So MY legacy changed. And, of course, my kids’ legacy changed when we brought them into our family and received paperwork that said they officially belonged to us.

Likewise, God chose me.

Because He chose me, glorious grace is poured into my everyday life and inheritance is prepared for me. My life and legacy would be different if I didn’t recognize my identity in Christ and follow Him.

Ephesians 1:11 from The Message:

“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.”

Ephesians 1:11

Other translations of that verse say

  • we were chosen (NIV), we are
  • united with Christ (NLT),
  • we were made a heritage (ASV),
  • and we have obtained an inheritance (ESV).
God adopted me and changed my legacy! #adoption #familyofgod @kristinhtaylor Click To Tweet

God made our family possible.

Consequently, His legacy gets to continue through us to our children. I didn’t grow my three kids in my womb, but my husband Greg and I prepared for them and embraced them from the beginning. We named them and prayed for them before we held them in our arms.

Adoption Changed Their Legacy & Mine

HIll Family
Kristin’s family

Our legacy is shaped by them and their legacy is shaped by us. Cate, Ben, and Rachel to do anything to be our children. They’re named in our will and called daughters and son long before the court recognized that truth with new birth certificates. We chose them in the beginning and we have chosen them every day since – even when they’re loud and wild and grumpy and inconsiderate and obviously still learning like we all are. Adoption changed their legacy!

We chose them in the beginning and we have chosen them every day since. #adoption @kristinhtaylor Click To Tweet

God Chose us

Likewise, God chose me in the beginning and still chooses me today – even when I stumble. Jesus says people will know we are in His family by our love. Of course, sometimes I don’t do a good job of representing my eternal family name, but this truth is my foundation and I want it to be my family’s legacy.

God chose me in the beginning and still chooses me today – even when I stumble. #adoptioninChrist #adoption @kristinhtaylor Click To Tweet

Just like Greg and I gave Cate, Ben, and Rachel our last name, God calls us His own. Just like we welcomed our kids into the responsibilities and privileges of being in a family, God welcomes us into His home.

Yes, there are glimpses of His kingdom here on earth,

God Adopts Us into His Family
image created by Kristin Hill Taylor

but there’s also a promise of the eternal home Jesus is preparing for us. Because…

  • we are God’s.
  • our names have been changed and our covenants sealed.
  • we serve a God who believes in life.

We adopted our children because the God who gives us all life made that possible – and, thankfully, our legacy will never be the same.

Kristin

Our Legacy will never be the same. #adoption #familyofGod @kristinhtaylor Click To Tweet

Thank you, Kristin, for sharing a piece of your adoption story.

Lastly, this month we are focusing on adoption. Adoption changes our Legacy. How has adoption changed your legacy? It’s time for the Legacy Link-Up. Come and tell your adoption legacy story.

New Legacy Through Adoption
Image credit: free on Canva.com Modified by Mandy
  • Have you received a new legacy through adoption?
  • Do you have the pleasure of being an adoptive parent?
  • Did you create a new legacy for your child through adoption?
  • Family of God?

We want to hear your legacy story. Please share it here on the link-up.

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A Different Legacy ~ Adoption

A man and woman in love. 

They get married, experience a positive pregnancy test. It’s an exciting time! A well-planned “gender reveal” on Instagram or Facebook. Pictures of the growing belly, a baby shower, or maybe two baby showers. The baby makes their appearance in the world. The posts continue chronicling the life of this tiny human as they grow into toddler-hood, grade school, high school and more. Hopefully, the baby is loved and cared for in a way that nurtures them to grow into strong, responsible adults. But that doesn’t always happen.

Imagine a different story.

Unexpected Pregancy.

In contrast, a young man and woman enraptured by love find themselves tangled in a relationship far beyond where they meant to be or maybe they did mean to be here but thought themselves immune to pregnancy. Her period is late. She takes a home pregnancy test, the lines appear as she was hoping they wouldn’t. Boy dumps girl. The girl is alone and afraid. A girl born in China. A child removed from their home because of suspected neglect or abuse. A child can be brought into the world of adoption in many ways.

Adoption ~ A Different Legacy

God’s perfect plan even from the beginning. He knew Adam and Eve would choose to eat from the tree. God knew Jesus would die for the sins of the world and he knew that Christ would make it possible for people from every tribe and tongue to know His saving grace. He planned for his people to be adopted into his family because of His son, our Savior, and brother. Of course, in a perfect world, Eve would not have even been tempted to eat.

In a perfect world, marriage first and parents excited to grow their family. We don’t live in a perfect world and that makes adoption necessary and beautiful for those of us in relationship with our Heavenly Father through the blood of our adopted brother, and for those children that need a forever home. A legacy changed by adoption. For every tribe and tongue and for children born in imperfect situations.

We are “Back to the Future” fans.

boy future
image credit Rubylia at pixabay

In the movies, what Doc and Marty do in the past changes the world ahead. Adoption changes the world ahead for a child. Hopefully, each adopted child has a better chance at a successful life than they might have had with their biological parents. I believe that is the hope for all parties involved with adoption, if not, what would be the purpose of adoption?

I am an adoptive mom.

It’s never at the forefront of my mind because this is my family and this is my normal. Our four kids are ours and I truly can’t imagine my life any different. I do know that these four children would not be ours had it not been for loving birth mothers. Yes, especially in the world we live in today, my opinion is that any mother that chooses life for their child is a loving mother.

Any mother that chooses life for their child is a loving mother. #adoption Click To Tweet

Adoption changes the trajectory of life to a different legacy

Each of my children’s legacy is different than it would have been because their biological mother chose life.  Every adopted child’s legacy is different than it would have been.

All of our children were raised in a safe, loving environment with imperfect parents that love and serve Jesus. Adoption has given them stability and allowed the best of their God-given traits to shine through. They all love Jesus and are thriving where God has them.

  • One still has a mother, and a father too. She has had a thriving online business because she taught herself the skills necessary to do it and is currently moving up the ranks in a job she loves. She is fierce yet gentle and is the underdogs biggest fan.
  • Another is rising in the ranks of leadership and has traveled the country working with a ministry that uses state government to teach kids leadership skills.
  • The third spent 10 years running track and cross country and has amazing friends from the time he spent with his team.
  • The last survived and thrived. Living in this country will give her opportunities that never would have been possible if she had stayed where she was born.
Every adopted child's legacy is different than it would have been. #adoption #legacy Click To Tweet

Praise God for Birth Mothers

birth mothers
image credit free at Canva

The fact is, none of these things would be true if they had been raised with their biological families. We have a pretty good idea what would have happened to them and are fairly certain it would not have looked anything like it is today.  Praise God for that truth.  Praise God for birth mothers that chose life.  We praise God for birth mothers that chose adoption. Above all, we praise God that we have been blessed with a beautiful family that God chose for us.

We praise God for birth mothers that chose life. #birthmothers #adoption Click To Tweet

Has adoption always been easy?

Not at all. Raising kids is hard. Adopted kids deal with grief and loss that they often don’t understand when they’re young. Walking that with them can be difficult. But let’s face it, parenting any child is hard. Maybe our struggles were different, but family is family. God is not surprised! Every child is a child wanted by God and every child is fearfully and wonderfully made in His image.

In conclusion, adoption makes it possible for every child to have a different legacy.

Christy Richardson
Christy Richardson

Thank you Christy Richardson for sharing your adoption story.

August Legacy Theme is Adoption

legacy Linkup Adoptions
Link-Up Opens August 12

Hey friends! Let’s talk adoption this month… Natural and Spiritual. Do you have an adoption story? Are you adopted? Did you place you child for adoption? Have you adopted a child?

We would love for you to link-up with us next week! Kristen Taylor will be our guest writer sharing her story. You will be able to link-up on that post. Can’t wait to read it.

In the Meantime,

Have you found the Better Together Show on TBN? They come on at noon-ish every weekday. You need to check in with them for some awesome Christian encouragement.

Watch this Better Together Christian Women Talk Show on TBN. They discuss, “Why is adoption a reflection of God’s love for us?” Let’s talk -natural and spiritual adoption.

Multi blossom Tree

Grafted Into God’s Family and Producing Fruit

How Does Grafting Relate to the Family of God?

Most of my adult life, I have ministered to children. I love to creatively find ways to get the children to interact with older adults in our church. So when I saw a chance to have a local farmer from our congregation come share with the children, I jumped at it. He came and showed the children how to graft apple trees. Then he related that to being grafted into God’s family.

I don’t know if the children learned anything from it but it excited me to see just how it correlates to salvation.

Start with the roots

A sprout from the stump of Jesseom  Image Credit: Brita Seifert at Pixabay
Image Credit: Brita Seifert at Pixabay

A Branch from David’s Line
11 Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—
    yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.

Isaiah 11:1

God promised long ago that a shoot would grow up out of the stump of Jesse. Wow! a stump. When I think of a stump I think of a tree that has been cut down or has fallen down. The possibility of new growth seems unachievable. But hidden underground is an elaborate root system that is still alive and strong… The perfect place for a sprout.

The root system of the stump of Jesse has many branches. All the patriarchs of the Old Testament each grew a root deep. These roots would be the source of power and strength for all Christians coming afterward. Jesus was that shoot that grew into a New Branch from the old root. Then each of us, through salvation, are also grafted into the same root system.

We Can All Be Grafted In

17 But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree. 

Romans 11:17
Stages of grafting
Photo credit: Fruit Mentor

What is Grafting? And Why Is It Done?

Grafted in to One Family


Definition – What does Grafting mean?
Grafting is the process of joining two plants together (an upper portion and a lower portion) to grow as one. The upper portion of the plant is known as the scion, which is attached to the lower portion known as the rootstock.

https://www.maximumyield.com/definition/58/grafting

Two Become One

“Joining two plants together to grow as one” – We need the Family of God growing together in unity as one church in order to grow strong. We feed on one another and the older stronger roots nourish the younger, weaker sprouts. (See John 17:23)

Grafted in Produces His Image

Bolded words are my emphasis.

This is most often done for fruit trees, and virtually all trees in orchards are grafted. Grafting in the orchard is done because the seeds of a fruit tree cannot reproduce true to their genetics. Therefore, the branch of a desirable tree is grafted to a suitable rootstock.

https://www.maximumyield.com/definition/58/grafting

We are all made in the image of God, but ever since the fall of man, we cannot produce our true genetics on our own (the fruits of the Spirit). Grafting into God’s Family provides nourishment from the body of Christ. Then the Holy Spirit transforms us into the image of God. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Take note here that a graft may be ugly at first but the results will be quite wonderful.

Grafted In Does Not Take Away Our Identity

Multiple varieties can be grafted to the same rootstock to produce a novelty tree that will produce several different fruits on the same tree. Most roses are also a product of grafting to a different rootstock.

https://www.maximumyield.com/definition/58/grafting

Isn’t that marvelous? It still produces its own variety of fruit. We don’t lose our identity when we give our lives to God. We just get our source of strength from Him. Our strengths and abilities remain and we add to the beauty of the family tree and the root adds to our strength. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14)

Sam Van Aken's grafted fruit trees are still quite young, but this artist rendering shows what he expects the "Tree of 40 Fruit" to look like in springtime in a few years.
Courtesy of Sam Van Aken
Sam Van Aken’s grafted fruit trees are still quite young, but this artist rendering shows what he expects the “Tree of 40 Fruit” to look like in springtime in a few years.
Courtesy of Sam Van Aken

Grafting in Takes Time and Patience

When grafting a plant one must take care to do it properly.

  • Cutting the root
  • Carefully placing the scion (twig).
  • Binding the graft with rubber bands, graft clips, tie tape, and plastic.
  • Then we wait 30 days or more. Some grafts take a year or more before they begin to produce fruit.

I found it interesting that the graft must remain tightly bound for a while until the graft is successful. The graft must grow with the root to become one with it. (Ephesians 3:14-19) (This reminds me of raising our children. We must apply stiff rules until the child matures.

How often do we throw new Christians right into ministry before allowing them to grow in faith? Other times we just praise the Lord but never disciple them at all. Then we wonder why they fell away from their faith or why we don’t see transformed lives. We need to take care to place new Christians where they will receive the most needed nourishment. It takes time to realize new growth and productibility.

We must take care to nourish new Christians before expecting new fruit to begin to bud in their lives. Click To Tweet
graft by Abeidomi at Pixabay
Photo credit: Abeidomi at Pixabay

Grafting is Use to Repair Damaged Plants

Repair damaged plants. Large trees or specimen plants can be damaged easily at or slightly above the soil line. The damage may be caused by maintenance equipment (such as lawnmowers, trenchers, or construction equipment), or by disease, rodents, or winter storms. The damage can often be repaired by planting several seedlings of the same species around the injured tree and grafting them above the injury. This procedure is referred to as inarching, approach grafting, or bridge grafting.

https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/grafting-and-budding-nursery-crop-plants

Storms of life can damage Christians severely. At these times, a strong community of Christians should nurture them back to health; pulling them in close and away for the storms so they have time to heal. How often do we expect one (even ourselves) to keep keeping on when we should pull in and just let God and His family love us back to health.

We have the wrong idea if we believe Christians are like the Energizer bunny. Ca we keep going and going and going? No! We need refueling. We need time for repairs and definitely rest.

Grafting Causes Faster Growth

Increase the growth rate of seedlings. The seedling progeny of many fruit and nut breeding programs, if left to develop naturally, may require 8 to 12 years to become fruitful. However, if these progeny are grafted onto established plants, the time required for them to flower and fruit is reduced dramatically. Another way to increase the growth rate of seedlings is to graft more than one seedling onto a mature plant. Using this procedure as a breeding tool saves time, space, and money.

What? A fruit tree on it’s own may take up to 12 years to begin to produce. But if grafted into another older tree it will mature much faster.

Ok, then. Let’s talk fellowship with other believers. It’s true: We can grow on our own just reading the Bible and praying, but fellowship with other Christians helps us grow faster. It’s why James encourages us to “not stop meeting together.”

Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near.

Hebrews 10:25-27 Common English Bible (CEB)

Grafting in is Highly Important For Our Faith

In Conclusion, we all need to work together grafting new stems into the family of God: Bringing in new believers, watching for believers who have been hurt or been through a storm.

Let’s Review

  • Grafting makes us all one in Christ.
  • It transforms us into His Image.
  • We don’t lose our identity, but rather, grafting strengthens it.
  • Grafting heals our wounds and diseases.
  • Our wounds and diseases are healed.
  • We grow faster!
6 reasons we must be grafted into God's Family. #christians #familyofGod Click To Tweet
Legacy Linkup Blended Families and God Stories
Click Now – Legacy Link-up for Blended Families & God Stories

Are you “grafted in” to God’s family? If not, you can begin the process by knowing Christ.

Mandy Farmer
blended families linkup feature

Blended Family LinkUp: The 21st Century Family

Leaving a Legacy through Blended Families

This month, let’s celebrate the blended family and how stepfamilies are working together to leave positive legacies for their children. And how they exemplify the Family of God.

But First Our Featured Post from June

I'm a Soldier's Mom Feature post

It’s appropriate, being the 4th of July, to share Kim Turner McCauley’s post, I’m a Soldier’s Mom.

I love our military and appreciate all they and their families sacrifice to keep us safe. If you missed Kim’s post, please take a moment to go read it.


And Now … My Blended Family

Things have changed drastically since I was a child. I grew up in a traditional family with  5 siblings all from the same two parents. From the time my oldest brother started school to when my youngest brother attended high school, society changed from families having two parents and lots of kids to lots of parents having a few kids. While this adds an extra challenge to the picture, families can be successful in leaving a wonderful legacy for their children. 

Blended Families can be successful in leaving a wonderful legacy #blendedfamilies #christianhomes #stepparents #stepfamilies Click To Tweet

Grafted in the Family

While we did have a traditional family, our home had an open door policy. Visitors came from the city and from faraway nations to visit the farm. Some stayed a short time; others became a part of the family.

This opened all our hearts to love everyone no matter their race or socioeconomic status. Five of the six of us siblings, at one time or another, welcomed step or foster children or adopted children from nearly every race. You can read this story on my memoirs blog, Grafted Into the Family.

As for myself, when I married, I found myself grafted into a blended family that took me in as their own. My husband lost his first wife and daughter in a car accident and was left raising two young boys, 9 and 14. The oldest had been adopted out of the foster system and the youngest was their biological child. Later, two children (a son and a daughter) joined the family.

A True 21st Century Blended Family

The beautiful part is that our family meshed together as one. The words “step” nor “half” never came into a conversation. Well, occasionally it did; to explain how a 28-year old mom had a 14-year-old son. 🙂

When I joined the family, the first question asked was would I adopt them. (That’s a story for another time). They immediately began calling me “Mom” and never turned back.

A Mom For Life

Now as adults, I have been their mom longer than any other. The boys always speak of me as their mom and the siblings as brother or sister. Our daughter-in-law can verify that Daniel thinks of me as Mom. Early in their marriage, she often heard things like, “Mom doesn’t do it that way.” LOL!

flowers form Brian
Flowers from my son

Our second son, Brian remembers me not only on Mother’s Day but on the anniversary of that terrible accident when he lost his mother. He sends me flowers with a note, “Thanks for being my Mom!”. A few days later (anniversary of when his big sister died) his little sister receives a gift with a note, “Thanks for being my sister.”

Oh! We did use the word “step” when referring to stairs. Brian wrote this post for me a while back about meeting my family. Icy Front Steps

I know in some ways, I had it a bit easier because there were no passing kids back and forth, two homes, two sets of rules, etc. etc. However, there was this “ghost” in the room that at times seemed to be more and more of a saint mom. In reality, I believe these thoughts were created in my mind. Often when I talked with other mothers of teens, I found that the issues my boys and I had were typical teen-mom problems.

My One Tip for Blended Families

Looking back, I’d say the best tip I would give is for parents to have a united front. This tip goes for any kind of family. Dad and Mom must back each other up. Don’t let the kids play you against each other.

My husband sat down with the boys when he and I got engaged. He spoke plainly with them and said, “Mandy will be your mother longer than your biological mother. What she says goes and I will back her up. Even if I don’t agree with her you will never see me disagree in front of you.” And he kept that promise. We might talk later and I might change my mind. But it would be me that made the changes.

My Tip for Blended Families. Keep a United Front, #LegacyLinkup #blendedfamilies #stepfamilies Click To Tweet

Do you have a story to share or tips for blended families?

The following linkup is all about blended families. Please feel free to share your story or tips for blended families by linking your post below.

We would also love to see posts about the Family of God. We are all one family, joined together in love with the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. This link will be opened all month. Feel free to link up weekly, if you have more than one post on the topic. Of course, we hope that you will also read and share other posts. Thank you.

It's Legacy Linkup Time! Come share your blended family story or tip. #legacylinkup Click To Tweet

Did You Miss the Last Legacy Link-up?

You can still read them all by clicking through below.

inspiring men
inspiring women

Now, It’s Your Turn; Link-Up Time!

blended families link up

Add your post about the blended family and how stepfamilies are working together to leave positive legacies for their children. And how they exemplify the Family of God.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter



Kitchen Catastrophe Number Two

THAT DARN CAT!

That darn cat!  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  If you read my articles faithfully, you would have read about my  “Kitchen Catastrophe” with brownies.  Well, as luck would have it, the cats have struck again.  This time they upped the game.  But before I can tell you the rest of the story, I have to take you on a short “rabbit trail” of storytelling sorts.

This is how it all began

I signed up late last year to take an online baking class( more on this later).  As part of the class, our instructor Tessa Arias from Handle the Heat has been sharing with her students baking products that she recommends.   One of her recommendations was to get a Cuisinart 1 1/2 quart ice cream maker.  I really like ice cream, so I jotted it down on my list of products to watch for on sale.

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Reunions: The Whole Family Together

I’m writing on the prompt, WHOLE family inspired by Write 13 days challenge and the Five Minute Friday crew. We’ve almost made it to 31 days. You can see what we have written here and what others have written here.

I have 5 siblings.

Here’s a picture of our family maybe in 1966. back row: Mom, Doug, Dad Front Row: Marcy, Kandy, Mandy, Alex.  Too be added later a few years later .. LeAdam.

Dawson family before LeAdam

There’s me – in the blue dress.

. the whole group

Oh, here’s all 6 of us ..me on the top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that we are all grown and have families of our own. We all live in a different state … Wisconsin, Texas, Georgia, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Kentucky. So you can imagine how difficult it is to get the whole family together at the same time.

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