Thursday 9 November 2023

Trials Begin

Why are we shocked when things don't go as planned. Not even two days even there's a complication.  We had a permit for the pond from 2017 which is such a cool thing as we didn't know we would need it in 2023 when we first applied for it.  So we went ahead and started digging.  We were still waiting on Site Plan Approval for the buildings, but we figured we had the pond permit so we went for it.  We received some comments back on the on our application yesterday and one of the comments was from the fire department saying things that needed to be changed and no digging can start before those changes are made.  Oh dear.  At first, I felt a twinge of fear and then, I admit, doubt about my husband's choices crept in, which is a classic Satan move.  But then as we talked we really didn't panic too badly.  RM is masterfully dealing with the architect and the junior designer and is helping keep her in line as she keeps stepping out of line.  I'm not exactly sure what the attack was, but I think the bottom line for me is always fear and for RM it's epic physical pain from the workload he's carrying as he processed grapes till midnight the night before, received the grapes all day and then project managed the pond starting as well as managing the stained glass all at the same time.  Is he living his best life?  Yes, but it's taking a toll on him for sure.

How I pray that one day he'll be able to relax and not be in so much pain all the time.  I wish I knew if that was even a possibility.

How I thank God for my kids and how they come alongside him in his workload.  So grateful for them.  I've been reading in 1 John how if we abide in Him the He will teach us everything.  I surely need help teaching everything.  I'm quite overwhelmed by school, the amount of prep work and all the additional things on the side that I want to do in the church.  I'm asked daily if I will ever send them to school.  I don't know!  I sure  hope by abiding that I will know.  I'm in a bit of a desert wasteland, that's all I know

My heart condemns me all day long about so many things I'm insecure about from the order in my home, to my education choices, to the reno, involvement in church, etc., etc., 1 John speaks of how He can reassure our hearts and that He is greater than he who is in the world.  How I need that reassurance.

We'll be at Brock today for our son's university fair.  My prayer is once again that the Lord will guide.  So much uncertainty about next fall as well.  Praying, praying, praying

Winery Reno Begins

 I am determined to attempt blogging again.  Not because anyone is reading this, but I just want to document the faith journey again.  Today marks the official day of alleged renovations.  There, I showed my lack of faith again by saying “alleged”.  I want to believe they’ll happen, I just have such a hard time picturing this whole thing that we’ve been planning for months to actually happen.

Today it’ll be machinery being moved on to the property and then tomorrow the pond digging will begin.  Deep down I’m super excited because at the very least we’re going to have a beautiful water feature, but at the same time, deep down, I’m afraid that’s all we’ll have.

However, if things move ahead like we hope and dream, then following the pond being dug, and permits being issued, then buildings will be cleaned up, parking lots will be made and possibly even landscaping will take place.  Then, ideally, that will fund potential home renos, Lord willing.  And that’s the whole thing, does God care about renovations?  Well, as I studied the whole Old Testament, oddly enough, I noticed that He loves construction and He loves making things new, so I am trusting Him, even though this is a very new stretch for us.

Last night as we sat in the church Vision meeting as they shared with the congregation about their dreams for the church building, it seemed oddly familiar.  Their budget, their hopes, the way they see the building as a tool.  I wanted it for them, too, because I know how it feels.  I long to have my home and property used in the same way.  For some reason it isn’t happening quite as fast as I hoped, but as the study of 1 John goes, God is like a parent who knows us better and what we need better than I do, so I have to faithfully sit back and wait while my house falls apart.

The church shared how the building on Scott St. was falling apart which ultimately led them to this building on Arlington.  This week alone, more things fell apart here - the mudroom door came right off its hinges.  I have to lift it up from the bottom to make it work.  This adds to my already broken washer, stove, fridge, water cooler, floors, heat, clogged sink, stinky rugs, furniture, dog pen where they’re chewing up the house….blah, blah, blah.  But none of this is new to God, so I try to keep the kids happy.  I try to show them how God is still blessing us.  I try to be positive even though the cloud hovers over me and I can’t seem to shake it except by doing the next right thing.

Starting in a week and a half we’ll have a new financial load that will be funded by the winery if all goes as we hope.  That kind of boggles my mind.  I can’t quite picture it except that we’ve been able to make it so far.  Again, this isn’t a surprise to God so I’m excited to trust Him.  What choice do I have?

It’s going to be fun to see what direction these two renovations take - will people give what they need?  Will the money come in for our renovation as well?  We don’t have a church congregation to support us.  We don’t have any secret sources of money.  Can’t wait to see what will happen.  Trusting God is fun and hard at the same time.

Thursday 23 February 2023


"Rebuilding the ruins" is my theme for 2023.  Some people choose a word and last year we did - "focus", but this year, for me, it was a phrase.  My phrase comes right out of Scripture.  Over and over since I started re-reading from the beginning, I found myself in Chronicles, Ezra and now Nehemiah and the theme is rebuilding the ruins, over and over.  

This morning as I read in Nehemiah I saw the words, "rebuilt", "restore", "repair" repeated all throughout the chapter.  I circled the words each time I saw them.  Family after family was named, each one restoring the wall in front of them.   They weren't worried about the wall space beside them or down the street, just the wall in front of them.  Focused.  They laid down beams, set doors, bolts and bars.  And, it seems, they just did it, no obvious complaining written down or recorded.

The whole timed I'm reading this, I remember years ago how I was reading in this same area of the Bible and I was struck then how we had purchased "ruins" and how I longed even then to rebuild them.  We literally have a sawmill on our property from the 1930s and I met an old couple a long time ago who knew the property we lived on and said they used to get their wood milled at our place.  You would never know that now.  The buildings were standing when we moved in here and fell down after a major windstorm.  We've always wanted not to rebuild them, but to remove them!  They are kind of an eyesore now.  But the rest of our property is definitely needing rebuilding.

Even as we plan for this and a designer is officially hired and working on an overall plan, we've been watching a hilarious series called Island of Bryan.  This couple from the town near to the one we moved from, bought a dilapidated resort in the Bahamas and attempted to fix it up and bring it back to life.  Right from the beginning we felt we could relate to these people on many levels.  They risked all their financial resources, brought the kids along for the ride whether they liked it or not, went against all the worldly wisdom that told them they were nuts, fought one another and yet were on the same page throughout the experience, went through wild highs and wild lows and yet managed to succeed (though we haven't finished the series, we know from the internet that the resort is open for business!).  We don't quite have the resources they had, but we have lots in common with them, including the drive, the willingness to take on things that make no sense to anyone else, dragging our kids along for the ride, etc.  Our story could have been a mini-series, too, but we didn't document it quite the same way, though if we had it would have been a VERY long show as we've stopped all renovations to plant vines, have babies, homeschool, plant gardens and the list goes on.  But now that we are in the potential renovation stage and we see how much they took on and how much they accomplished (with what seemed like an unlimited budget), we are starting to think our renovation is small!  In fact, this Island of Bryan guy, aka, Bryan, is the one we've sent our application to for his next show which doesn't even have a name.  Now that he's done his own start-up renovation, he realized there are probably other people out there wanting to do a similar start up, but lack the resources and he wants to be the guy to come in and help AND get it done fast.  Man, that's what we want.  Let this be the day he contacts us!!!!

All this to say, there seems to be a theme in our lives and all throughout Scripture.  In fact, I even had my son put on a playlist this week and as I was listening, I saw on the screen the name of the song, "Ruins".  I was immediately curious what it was about and sure enough the lyrics were all about rebuilding, restoring, repairing what has been broken, what has been stolen and that God is the God of repairing the ruins.  I couldn't believe it as I sat there listening to this amazing song.  Lord, you are the God who repairs the ruins.  Can you help us repair ours?  Of course it's a much bigger picture when Scripture speaks of rebuilding the ruins - treasure in heaven, not treasure on earth.  I know this, but I also see our farm as a symbol, a picture of what God can do, what He is doing, so I still pray and I still hope that He'll restore our place, always wanting Him to get the glory, not us.

So, even though I sit among ruins and literally see ruins from my window, I see how slowly but surely God is bringing the ruins back to life and I'm so grateful for these themes in my life and these real life pictures all around me. 

Sunday 12 February 2023

Jan/Feb Recap.....Keeping Records of the Blessings

I'm tracking our year this year.  By that, I mean I want an actual written record that we can look back over on December 31 without everyone sitting around saying, "I can't remember what happened this year!"  So far, it's only February 12 (I can't believe we're midway through February already....) and a lot has happened.

January was the continuation of stained glass classes which are sustaining us on a level we could never have predicted.  The classes keep getting filled up and the people keep buying wine so we are in awe of what God has done with those classes.

Our son did his first set of exams with the school he's attending and we officially signed him up full time for the next semester.  Will we send all of our kids?  I don't think so.  I'm enjoying the Classical Conversations so much that I really think I'll try to go the distance with that program.  

My daughter entered her last semester of her program at the college and began interning with us at the winery.  She is an amazing addition and brings in sales like a pro.  She'll start full-time with us in the Spring.

In a surprise twist, the college wanted RM back teaching at the high number of hours he used to have before they told him he wasn't allowed to teach that many hours....what a joke.  At first we didn't want to take the hours as is was going to impact the winery and classes.  How would he be able to do all the work if he was driving into the college every day, so he gave them his ideal schedule which was to do all his in-class teaching on one day and everything else had to be online.  After a bit of back and forth, they agreed to all his conditions and even upped his pay to compensate for the prep he would need to do.  This amazing turn of events has allowed us to buy a (used) truck to replace our seriously dying truck.  We'll pick it up this week and all of us are so excited.  I have to explain how our old truck is more like a joke truck and why we are so excited.  Our joke truck is a joke for sooooo many reasons:

Only two of the doors really work.  One of them doesn't even have a handle so you have to go around the other side to get in.  There is no a/c.  In fact, not only does it not have a/c, it blows HOT AIR during the summer on your feet only on the driver's side which makes for super fun summer driving.  The driver's side window also didn't open or lock properly, so while the hot air was blowing, you couldn't even roll the window down!  The radio/cd player stopped working ages ago, so no music, no nothing.  The driver's seat was ripped and poking in all the wrong places.  Oh my goodness, I could go on and on except that I won't because this truck taught our kids so much.  Be grateful.  This truck continued to start day after day (well, after many repairs) and it made us so happy.  For 20 years (that's a LOOOONNNG time to have a truck work) it took us and our animals many places more or less safely.  We ran that truck literally into the ground and we drove it to its death basically.  That kind of feels good when you wear a truck out.  We definitely feel we got our money's worth out of it.  It also kind of feels like the sandals in the Israelite desert that never wore out.  Every day when it started, I just said, "Thank you, Lord" and I really meant it!  So now, our new truck is about 7 years old which is basically new to us.  All of us keep joking, "So you mean the windows work?"  "Yes, son....isn't that great?"  "And what about the heat on our feet....?"  "It has a/c."  "What?!"  This truck by most people's standards is still a basic truck, but to us, it's a luxury truck that has all the bells and whistles and by that I mean, locks, tires, chairs, radio......This is why I love living the way we do.  The kids will appreciate this "new" truck on a level most just wouldn't.  We've been double-buckling here and there over the years, because our other Honda also died.  This truck has a seatbelt for all the younger kids....very exciting.  So I'm grateful to the Lord for this as well.  Such a gift.

February brought another strange series of gifts.  We had hoped that we would hear from HGTV in January, but we didn't.  At least not yet.  We then applied for another show that hasn't even come out yet, but haven't heard back from them either.  So then, we sought out a designer/acquaintance from the area because we can't wait to hear from these potential shows when the spring is around the corner and we're getting behind on potential construction windows.  This lady is yet another gift.  Last summer she drove by and stopped her truck packed with adorable two year old twins and a toddler.  They ran around the property while she and I chatted.  Within a few minutes she found out what we were all about and vice versa.  Turns out she has a farmhouse just like ours, but they went ahead and renovated it making it look like my dreamhouse.  We started following her on instagram and she followed us.  As we saw what she was up to we started to think maybe she could be the designer for us.  We had her come over last week and it seems like she just might be the person we need, Lord willing.  The amazing thing is that she is new to doing this for other people.  She works for a builder, but doesn't normally do individual homes, so her pricing isn't as high as it normally would be as she needs us for the experience as well.  It looks like not only will she be designing and giving us a plan for our house, but also for the winery and then ultimately the landscaping, exterior finishes as well.  This isn't because we'll do it all in one year or even five, it's just so that we have a plan and then as we can afford it we'll do phase by phase.  So essentially we're hiring her for the plan.  Will we ever be able to do all that we want?  Only if a miracle happens.  We are working super hard to hopefully be able to do some of her design this summer.  We'll see how far we can get.  It's free to dream.  And there's always monopoly money which I really love using.

This month also saw our first official employee hired besides our kids.  We use them all the time and a lot of the time, it's for free.  What great kids.  Last summer we met a lady at one of our events who has turned out to be such a gift to us.  She can do almost anything we need her for.  If we need a charcuterie box made for our movie nights?  She's the one.  If we need a stained glass assistant instructor?  She's it.  She even does plumbing and has ran a restaurant....she is literally a Jane-of-all-trades.  And, she seems to like working with us and for us and comes whenever we need her.  We're amazed at her willingness to help us and we are so grateful for God's provision again by bringing her into our lives.  So we hired her for our large class yesterday and she was amazing.  Everything finished on time and it went so well.  Everyone was happy with their dragonfly project and we weren't stressed running around trying to help people.  She's open to more work with us and that means RM is freed up to do more winery work as the season is ramping up with farming and so on.  How does one find someone available and talented enough to teach stained glass and who has actually taught it before????  Only God.

So a lot has happened, but one thing we noticed was that in the many blessings we're experiencing, we've also felt privilege to be a part of the blessing for others.  When RM bought the truck last week, he found out it was the first sale for a new guy at the dealership.  We had to be his easiest and best customer because RM knew exactly the truck he wanted.  He had seen it online and literally walked into the dealership and said, "I want that truck".  It had to be the easiest sale of his life and what a great way to start off his new career in sales.  That was fun for RM to help the guy out.  Then, our new designer friend.  She's so excited to be doing this for us as she wanted to get into doing more of this kind of work.  She literally drove into our lives last summer and we could never have predicted what was going to come out of that random visit, but not only does this bless us, but her and her family as well.  Lastly, our new stained glass instructor.  She is a busy lady, but a lonely one.  We're hoping over time that we'll get to know her better and that by God's grace we can share Christ with her and these other people who are in our lives.  In each case, we were able to bless these people financially which is never the case with us.  We are usually the ones needing the financial blessing.....what an amazing turn of events to be able to do it for others.  Thank you, Lord.

So we're only 6 weeks into the year and already I'm in awe of what God has done.  I keep lifting the year much more has happened, but I could be here all day.

Saturday 21 January 2023


Twelve years ago we brought home Kody, our new crazy collie puppy.  The boys were so happy to have a new dog that they were even willing to sleep with him in the basement of our new house we were building, just so he wouldn't whine at night.  They attempted to train him with a thousand treats.

We all say that we learned so much from him.  The boys, especially.  Our minds are full of memories.  I have a picture in my head of them faithfully walking him down our country road day after day in the freezing snow, wind and rain, no matter what.  They talked and talked as they walked.  I'm convinced this is where their friendship as brothers was solidified, all because of that dog.

He had really no health issues his whole life other than a rash here and there.  I was so grateful for that.  There was really only one time where he was unwell with some kind of fever and this made him bark at night until someone would go out and see him.  I didn't know what to do because I was the only one who heard him.  I was already getting up at night with young children, I had no interest in waking up and going outside as well.  My husband said to go and wake up my son to check on the dog.  I felt so bad, but I did it anyway and to my shock and awe, he would go and take care of him, taking him for a short walk, giving him water, putting him on his leash and leaving him outside in the fresh air (it was summer).  Night after night this happened until we got him some meds.  And each night, I would go to sleep dreading what was coming, but each night my son would say to me, "If he starts barking, come and get me."  And I would, and he would faithfully wake up and take care of him for me.  I was so amazed.  He loved the dog and he was kind to me.  

We had a "funeral" last night for him where we went around and talked about our funny memories of him.  It was actually kind of special as we have a lot.  God used him in our life, a dog, to teach us patience, responsibility, kindness and so many other things.  Why did God create pets?  They are amazing!  They add so much to our lives.  I'm not sure I can convince my husband to get another one yet, but we are working on it.  Dogs and cats are quite different.  But it'll take some time....if we do decide to get another one, it might just be one that we can breed so that's a bigger decision.  In the meantime, we walk around seeing traces of him everywhere and we keep missing him.

I'm convinced God even led us to how to make the decision.  I saw God through the whole day in helping me work things out in our complicated life.  I saw God work so that my son could be with him in his final minutes.  I saw God guide the vet to walk us through the decision.  I just see how God cares about all these big decisions, even with our pets.

Friday 13 January 2023

Ramsey Talks, Vacation, a New Thing

Last night was fascinating.  Let me explain.  I think I've written about worshiping Dave Ramsey before - the "get out of debt" guy that was basically the reason I started this whole blog in the first place.  I've had his app on my phone before where you record everything you spend, etc.  As a result of signing up for his app he sends me emails every so often and this past week he sent one about a free seminar on building wealth.  We have been doing a lot of talk about investing and other money related topics with the kids a lot lately, so I thought, what a great idea.  I'll sign up the whole family and we'll watch together.  I did not expect the reactions I saw and heard.

The talk was basically what his first book was about, getting out of debt and how to do it.  I still loved it, but it also made me feel bad, because one of his speakers talked about timelines and what the average timeline is for paying off this or that, saving up for an emergency fund, and so on.  We hadn't experienced the timelines he was speaking about and so I immediately felt discouragement.  My husband wasn't in the room because he was still teaching stained glass, but my oldest son was.  When he heard the guy talking and he immediately started to disagree with him.  "This is for your average 9-5 guy who works the same job for 40 years."  It was as if my husband was right there, he was talking just like him.  Then RM did come in and we watched the last few minutes with him.  I told him all the things he hates hearing from me that always come out of me after hearing or reading anything from Ramsey, basically how Ramsey makes me feel we've done everything wrong.  My son stopped me in my tracks and again said, "....then we wouldn't have a winery, 8 kids, or have done all the things we've done.....Ramsey is for the average guy..."  My daughter, who I didn't realize was listening to me just said, "Mom.  Stop."

So, that is why it was such a fascinating night.  My kids are smarter than I am.  They see things more clearly than I do.  They understand what we're about even better than me sometimes.  It was great and shocking all at the same time.  And this is what it comes down to.  We compared old aquaintances of ours who did the Ramsey stuff, paying off small debts to big debts, building an emergency fund, getting a paper route to get a little extra money in the budget, having the same job for the whole time, etc.  I have no idea if they are debt-free now, but we just pretended they were for the sake of discussion.  Then we talked about ourselves.  We haven't followed Ramsey's ideal plan, which always makes me nuts as I still secretly love Ramsey, in fact, we've even incurred debt to do a lot of things and probably will need to do that again in the future, however, at the end of the day, we've added assets to our life that make our net worth much higher than it was at the beginning of this journey.  So, oddly enough, we're in a better place now without following his formula.  Drives me nuts as I love his formula.

My 10 year old came up to me and said this week, "I know what an asset is."  My husband would have been so proud.  I told him later and he was.  We went through all the things in our house or property that he thought was an asset and he got it.  He sees all the reptiles that he wants to buy as assets because he wants to ultimately have a reptile show this summer.  They'll help make him money he thinks.  We're actually encouraging him to do this.

The other irony is Dave Ramsey probably made 2 million dollars last night.  He doesn't follow his own plan.  He's entrepreneurial about his approach to making money.  He didn't sit at home putting 15% into a mutual fund.  He created a whole seminar with a "bundle" that he sold last night at "the lowest price he's ever offered".  Genius.  Everyone probably signed up and now he's counting his money this morning.  So, we're following his actual plan - being entrepreneurial and doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing.  I roll my eyes.  That, to me, is the harder way, but I will admit, more fun and exciting.

In other exciting of my greatest desires is happening.  We're going away for a vacation in March for a week - the whole gang of us, spending time in Florida in a condo with all 11 of us before the baby comes in April.  It's going to be so great and we can't wait.  The youngest one pulled out his suitcase almost immediately.  We managed to save a lot of points so most of us are flying down on points.  The last big trip was 7 years's time.

Yet, even in all the exciting things going on, I still have those days where I can feel discouragement.  I realized what my problem is - it's the calendar.  Since we built the house way back in 2009, each month that started, March 1, April 1, May 1, I would start to look at each month passing by and I would say to myself, "We aren't where I thought we would be at this time."  And then, the enemy would attack me and my thoughts and I would hear the lie "you're behind".  Instead of thinking, "Look how far you've come!" I would only focus on the negative and it would turn to sadness, discouragement and just generally feeling down because of some arbitrary timeline that I had made up in my head.  We did have goals set, but they were fluid.  Just because they weren't being met exactly didn't mean they weren't being met.  We were doing all that we could do and if they were slightly adjusted, so what?  My problem is that when my husband says something, I hold him to it. And then, when the goals he mentions are delayed, I get upset.  This has to stop or I'll drive him and myself crazy.  

This past year I heard him mention a goal and we've now already passed it.  I started to feel the discouragement set in, but then I saw what was happening and I'm really trying to not do that anymore.  Then, this morning, my verse of the day came up on my phone and it has to be one of my favourites, 

Isaiah 43:19

19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

And, I just stopped.  I love this verse so much.  "See?"  That word alone makes me stop.  It's like God is saying, "Look - stop doing what you're doing and just look around you - actually SEE.  Open your eyes because they are closed."  Why else would He use the word "see"!?  Because the person He's talking to (me) is blind and doesn't see.  That's what I do all the time.  I walk around seeing for sure, but not what He's doing.  I walk around seeing only what isn't happening.  As the verse goes on it's reminding me there is stuff going on - "I AM doing a new thing!"  A NEW thing.  It doesn't say I am NOT doing a new thing, but I AM doing a new thing.  Written in the positive, not the negative form.  I am, I am, I am.  It goes on.  "NOW it springs up" - I have to stop again.  I must stop waiting for a future thing to happen because it's happening NOW.  Not tomorrow.  This means God is not late.  I always feel late.  I always feel behind.  And it's always because I've got a manmade deadline and I feel God isn't following my plan.  Turns out I'm right.  He isn't following my plan because He has a better one - His.  And, His plan is "springing up".  Do I not perceive it?  That question cracks me up because it's kind of like He's saying, "You're so dumb.  So blind.  Why can't you see anything I'm doing?"  It's because I don't wear the right glasses sometimes.  I don't perceive it.  I don't see the new thing, only the old thing.  It's a pattern of negative thinking instead of positive thinking.  But this verse says, stop doing that!  Shakes my shoulders and yells in my face - STOP!  Then, after the shaking shoulders, God says, "I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."  What a beautiful image - a way and a stream.  Maybe He uses two different images just so we don't miss it.  Our farm is a bit of a wasteland with it's old dilapidated buildings, yet there are things springing up in it and around it that are making it feel like it's coming to life.  The verse doesn't say it happens overnight, but it's starting, remember the "now" word?  So, I'm clinging to this verse today.  It helps me with my negative thoughts.  I'm asking God to help me see, to show me the new thing, where it is springing up, with perceiving it, and that I'll believe He is making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

As always, so grateful for His Word.  


Thursday 15 December 2022

Trying 7 Ventures, yes, 8 - Learning Who We Are and Embracing It

I recently listened to a sermon on Ecclesiastes 11 that I had missed because we were away.  Often you listen to a sermon and feel conviction and know there is much to change in your life.  That's a good thing and the power of God's Word.  However, once in a while, the sermon can also serve to encourage you and help keep you on your path.  It can reaffirm the choices you've made and encourage you.  That's what this sermon did for me.  

RM and I have done a lot of crazy things in our life and sometimes it's a little much even for me, so I can see why people might have a few opinions on us.  But Ecclesiastes made me feel like maybe we aren't as nuts as we feel sometimes.  In fact, some of the things we've done might just be Biblical! 

Here's the first two verses in NIV:

Ship your grain across the sea;
    after many days you may receive a return.
Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight;
    you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.

Now ESV:

Cast your bread upon the waters,
    for you will find it after many days.
Give a portion to seven, or even to eight,
    for you know not what disaster may happen on earth.

I'll explain a little more later why I love these verses, but first I have to explain what I have come to realize.  I'm very influenced by certain books.  For example, the book by Dave Ramsey on debt, The Total Money Makeover.  His book was all about killing debt.  It was one of the main reasons I started this blog.  Basically all debt is bad.  And it is, mostly.  There are times when it can be used to grow your money, too, when done wisely.  He recommended all the ways to get rid of debt.  But he doesn't take into account there are different ways to do this.  We don't all have the same approach to life.  His book is written for the one type of person, a Mr. Steady type, who needs it all written out with steps and rules.  The danger of his book is that he isn't married to my husband.  My problem is that once I read that book, if we didn't do everything Ramsey said, I figured we were doing it all wrong.

As we keep going along in life, I'm realizing just how differently we're doing things.  Ramsey's book is still really good and I still highly recommend it for everyone, but it's also a vanilla approach to life.  Had we listened to everything he wrote, we wouldn't have done any of the things we've done as they didn't follow the "rules".

Back to Ecclesiastes 11.  Solomon's (most assume he's the author) advice is to try a bunch of things, "cast your bread upon the waters....give a portion to seven, or even eight....ship your grain across the sea...invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight...."  I'm married to someone who doesn't like to do things like everyone else.  I tease people who are married to Mr. Steadys because I know that their life must be so much more calm than mine, but what I realized recently when I say that is that I am a Mrs. Steady, a least a little.  My life is a whirlwind.  Yes, every day is an adventure - literally - but books like Dave Ramsey's can ruin it for me.  I end up coveting the "normal" person's life instead of enjoying my own.  I long for a husband who follows the rules so I can check off the boxes!  But my husband takes his book and throws it across the room!  He sees good in it - for a normal, no-risking taking kind of person.  Why can't he just follow the rules!!!  BUT, 27 years of marriage later, I'm slowly, just now, starting to figure him out.  I'm starting to figure out our marriage!  And it's more like Eccesiastes 11, way less than Ramsey's way.

We've made "wealth" by trying "7 ventures, yes, 8", or how about "20 ventures, yes, 30" or more!  Some of it has been accidental, others on purpose, all in God's providence.  We've loved real estate and have bought and sold a few times, always doing well with that.  That's one major way we've moved forward.  We've done multiple side hustles, including buying and selling on ebay, never knowing what will succeed and what won't, as chapter 11 goes on to say, "Sow your seed in the morning,
    and at evening let your hands not be idle,
for you do not know which will succeed,
    whether this or that,
    or whether both will do equally well."

We've worked for others, getting paid for odd jobs early on in our marriage.  We've worked for other employers, started our own engineering business, back to working for others by being at the college.  We've built and sold a house.  We've done farming, selling meat as well as hay and then moved into grapes.  We've sold vegetables and did a market garden.  We most recently started up a winery and then the stained glass business and store.  This winter will start the AirBnB business, Lord willing.  It is a way more exciting life, though it adds a level of uncertainty, which I'll call "faith" and stress, but it has allowed us to buy land and lots of it.  If we needed to sell we would be able to sell it for a good price as we're in such a good location by God's grace.  My Mr. Steady friends and my Mrs. Steady friends can't breathe after they hear what we're doing and I have to admit it's hard at times for me, too,  because, just like the verse says, "you do not know which will succeed".  I wish we knew the future, though I know we don't really want to.  I wish we knew that all we did would succeed, but we don't.  So we just keep trying things.  We are having such a hayday with the stained glass classes we can't believe it.  So those seem to be succeeding the most right now.  Our winery took off at the end of the summer last year.  This year we will be able to start months earlier so we hope to have even more success this spring and summer along with movies on the shed and other events, again, Lord willing.  All this to say, had we done it the way Ramsey says, we would have perhaps been debt-free, but we would have lived a life that went contrary to how we are wired.  

I told RM yesterday, "You have to write a book that explains the pros and cons of Dave Ramsey's book".  He needs to write a book that takes all the books and all the financial philosophies and puts them in one place.  He needs to write a book for wives married to people like him.  I read a book on marriage that really helped me understand my husband years ago, but it didn't have a financial element to it.  So, in the back of my mind, I've always kind of thought, he's doing it wrong.  And, because of that, there's been a tension because I secretly wished he'd do it the way Ramsey had said!  I've had to just keep trusting the process, trusting my husband, trusting God and the way He's made my husband.  And, I've had to learn who I am!  I love taking risks, but as I've gotten older, I get a little more cautious.  All the things I've done have taught me so much about my fears and how to manage them so I'm not living in a state of fear all the time.  I've also learned the power of two people working together.  Apart, we could never have achieved what we've achieved, to God be the glory.  I would NEVER have done any of these things on my own, but because we're together, we do it and we get stronger in our marriage as a result.  What a mystery marriage is!

Whoever watches the wind will not plant;
    whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.

Those verses speak of taking your "talents" and burying them in the sand.  That is way safer and way less risk.  I love burying my talents.  But that is wrong.  We're supposed to invest and bring back more talents.  These verses speak of standing around and doing nothing because it might be too risky.  I will say, we have planted despite how risky it may appear, no standing around watching clouds and wind.  Again to God be the glory - my husband moves forward even though the world thinks he's nuts.  And, though it isn't flowing quite like a waterfall, we're seeing the reaping slowly but surely and we praise God for His goodness to us.  We still cannot say what will succeed for sure or not, but we keep sowing "morning till night" and we are trusting God to fulfill these promises.  When you read them backwards, which I love to do, it says when you plant you will reap.  We plant a lot.  

So, as I heard the sermon on these verses, though there were many applications, I heard God encouraging me.  He was telling me "Your husband isn't nuts.  You aren't crazy.  Keep doing what you're doing.  You'll reap."  I felt so encouraged as I listened to these words.  Ramsey's approach is fine and I still kind of wish we had followed his program to the letter of the law, but I'm also glad we didn't.