Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We are so blessed to have such a wonderful Savior who loved us so much that He became one of us in order that He might give His life to save us from our sin. We are so truly blessed!!

And God has been so gracious to us this last year and blessed us in so many ways. Here is a video recap of our year. We hope you enjoy it!

2010 Mena Family Video from Steven Mena on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Liberty Belle & Rob Roy

I just realized that I never posted to say that our goats arrived!  That was 2 1/2 weeks ago.  I guess I've been a little busy :)  I'm milking morning and evening and have been hanging all our clothes on the line for about a month while our dryer was out of order.  I now have a working dryer (as of a couple days ago) and am sitting down at the computer for the first time in a loooong time!  But since I still have to make this short, I will just say I'm really enjoying our little farm.  I love milking our goat.  Jake and Zack are taking turns coming with me in the morning and learning (hopefully) how to care for them and even milk one day.  Steven and I have made the evening milking our new daily "date night".  We head out with our head-lights on and get some good laughs.  Here is a video of my first milking the night Liberty Belle arrived.  It was so funny! I'm milking in the chicken coop and the chickens had their feathers ruffled with the new guest in the house...

We also got a little boy goat as a companion for Liberty.  His name is Rob Roy.  He's such a sweetie.  And for those of you who know about goats, don't worry, he's wethered (castrated) so he won't be stinking up the place.
Rob Roy

Liberty Belle
Our first taste of the milk! Straight from the goat.  It was delicious.

Lazin' around...

Isn't he the cutest?
 For more pictures of our goats, check out our boys' blog - (in sidebar links).

Well, that's it for now. Until next time...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Our First Goat!!!

I'm so excited, I just had to stop and write this blog to let you know that we are getting our first goat!

As many of you know, I've always wanted to live out in the country and have some land, animals, etc. and live a more back-to-the-basics lifestyle.  It's been 2 years now since we moved from the busy city of Ontario, CA to slow-paced southern country in Terry, MS.  We love our little 3 1/2 acres. We have wide open space next to us on one side and lots of trees on the other, and wonderful neighbors back behind us a little ways.  Last November we got a flock of chickens from a friend who was moving and needed to get rid of her beautiful, diverse flock (15 of them).  We've really enjoyed getting eggs in the morning and watching all their antics.  We've had our hand at gardening the last 2 years and this year we even have a pumpkin patch growing!! Right now the pumpkins are still tiny, so I'll have to post some pics when they get bigger. I've always wanted a pumpkin patch!!

I've been wanting to get goats ever since we moved out here, but it just hasn't been the right time.  But now we have friends who are giving us a wonderful little milk goat for free! They got it as a buy-1-get-one-free deal when they got a new little doe recently.  So, they thought of us and are giving it to us! This was a real answer to prayer for me.  I've been praying that God would allow me to get a goat, and recently had to pass up a great opportunity because we didn't have the money to invest in it right now.  When I told the lady who was selling them that it wasn't going to work out, she said, "Just wait and see what God has planned!!! Remember, his ways are always best!"  Boy was she right!  God's desire was to GIVE me a goat as a special gift.  He just loves doing things like that for me! He loves to convince me over and over again of His steadfast love for me...and His friendship!  This morning I read Ps. 24 and these verses really spoke to me, "All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies." (vs. 10) and "The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him.." (vs. 14).  My Lord is so sweet to me!

Ok, back to the goat! She is a purebred Alpine, first freshener yearling, registered with a good pedigree.  Now, for all you non-goat people out there (I'm just figuring this all out for myself!) that means she was born last year and had her first babies this spring and is now giving milk. She is registered which means both her parents were registered purebred Alpines (this is good if you want to show them in 4-H or sell her babies).  So, it's a good goat!  Our friends are keeping her at their place for us until we get the little shelter built.  So, we went over there last night for "goat training 101."  They even had goat cheese for us to eat, homemade goat ice cream and goat milk and cookies!  Oh, and lots of varieties of goat milk soap!

Here she is... 

On the milk stand
Here I am trying to figure out how to trim her hair! She was a mess and needed a good haircut. I said, "I guess God was preparing me for this with all the boys heads I buzz every year!"
My first attempt at milking her.  It was fun!!
Jake's turn.  They were fighting over who got to go next!  I think I'm going to have some good helpers (although everything is exciting the first time around...just wait till it's every morning and evening!)
Zack's turn.  They learned really fast!
Yep, Daddy wanted a turn too.  His hands are so big it was a little hard but he figured it out.
We are still deciding on a name.  Her registered name is Bell, but we have a cat named Annabelle, so that may get a little confusing, especially because Hailey now calls all cats "Bell."  We are thinking about adding a name to Bell, like Liberty Bell...and call her Liberty.  What do you think?  Let's hear your vote.  And give us some of your name ideas and we'll have a family vote and let you know!

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Peaceable Peacemaker

James 3:17-18, "But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.  And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."

A friend of mine showed me this verse yesterday, specifically vs 18.  We were looking at it in relation to training our children.  I SO want a harvest of righteousness in my children's hearts.  In this verse we see that it is sown in PEACE by those who make PEACE.  I feel like my whole day is spent trying to make peace in my home- from settling arguments between the kids, teaching them to share, get along, think of others before themselves to trying to create a peaceful environment by keeping the home running smoothly- keeping the food coming, the laundry clean and the place in some sense of order and cleanliness.  I believe that all of this is part of being a peacemaker in my home.  But to go back to the verse: "And a harvest of righteousness is sown IN PEACE by those who make peace." The problem is that I don't always do this "peacemaking" in a peaceful way!  I can get frustrated, impatient and angry when things aren't peaceful.  Kind of ironic, isn't it? This verse has been an encouragement to me to sow in peace.  And what a wonderful promise that God has given that as I sow in peace (by His grace and strength!) I will reap a harvest of righteousness! (not only in my children, but in myself as well). 

Galatians 6:9, "And let us not grown weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."

Philipians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

2 Corinthians 12:9, "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

So be encouraged with me today to be a Peaceable Peacemaker!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Controlling our Tongues & Training our Ears

I am reading James right now and have been sharing with the boys about our tongues (ch.3) and the huge effect such a small part of our body can have. “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.  How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.” (vs.5-6) “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.  Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives. Or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.” (10-12)  We talked about how we can be singing praises to God one moment and then the next moment turn and yell at our brother. This is not how it should be!  It has been a good lesson for all of us. We are focusing on using soft, gentle voices and kind words.  I am continually reminding them of this throughout the day, as well as myself.  I am teaching them to listen for my soft voice, that I will not yell or say things twice. They need to train their ears to hear my soft voice and act after the first time I say something.  It’s been kind of a fun game we’ve been playing.  I will give them a warning by gently touching them to get their attention and reminding them to listen for my voice.  I also told them that if I raise my voice or say things more than once, that they can gently touch me and say, “Mom, you don’t have to raise your voice, we will listen for your soft voice!” or “Mom, you don’t have to say it twice, we will obey the first time.”  :) The little ones really respond well with this and think it’s fun!  They really do love to please us and do what’s right.  They just need our help. 

We've also looked at Ephesians 4:29, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."  I share this one often with the boys throughout the day.  I ask them if the words they were using were encouraging to their brother.  They know the answer right away.  And even as the words are coming out of my mouth I am be reminded about my own words and how everything I say should build up my children and give grace to their little hearts.

I feel like I am constantly learning and working in this area!  It has to be a daily, conscious focus in order for me to not live in the flesh and be the mother I don't want to be.  By the Lord's grace and strength I feel like I am making steps in the right direction.  Two steps forward, one step back.  One step at a time. :)

I'd love to hear from some of you.  What is God teaching you as you raise your little arrows?  Let's start a dialogue.  "But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." (Heb. 3:13)

Monday, May 24, 2010

We had Kittens!

Ok, so as most of you know, I LOVE anything to do with pregnancy and birth. Kinda strange, I know. But I do! I love feeling pregnant bellies, watching babies be born and even giving birth. I even remember when I was a little girl, sitting next to my pregnant cat Snuggles with my hands glued to her belly so I could feel the kittens moving around inside. So ever since we got our little kitty Annabelle last year I've been looking forward to her getting pregnant! (You can imagine poor Steven...he's so good to me) A couple of weeks ago Jake mentioned that Annabelle's belly looked bigger and that she had been laying around a lot (she's an outdoor cat that roams our land so I hadn't noticed). I ran outside and sat there with my hands glued to her belly and sure enough I felt kicks!!! And her belly was definitely round. I was so excited. I couldn't wait until we could watch her give birth. I thought it would be a great experience for the kids too. But I thought we had a while to wait still.

Well, about a week later Jake (our observant one) mentioned that Annabelle's belly didn't look big anymore and she wasn't laying around like she used to. I didn't think anything of it. I knew I hadn't imagined it all (especially since I had to feel her babies kick at least once a day!) Her babies couldn't just disappear! Ok, I admit I'm a little dense at times. It took me while to come to the realization that she could have had her babies! I just didn't think she was that far along. But sure enough, when I looked at her I could tell she had given birth. I was so disappointed! We missed it! And even worse, where were they? I was sure they were dead. I guess mainly cause Annabelle was just having the grandest time wandering around, chasing chipmunks and bathing in the sun. If her kittens were alive, she'd be a good mama and be taking care of them! And I didn't see how she could have carried them long enough. I mean, we just found out she was pregnant! I followed her around for way too long to see if she would lead me to them and finally gave up. I was sure they were dead.

So, when Steven came home that night he got the pleasant job of crawling under the house (in our not-so-fun crawl space) to see if the kittens were under there, since that is Annabelle's favorite spot. The kids and I were all huddled at the small opening trying to peer inside to see with our flashlights, yelling, "Do you see anything yet?" Poor Steven...he's SO good to us! Finally we heard back, "I found them." "Are they alive?" "Yes." Cheers go up from the crowd!!! "How many?" "Two." So, that's why she wasn't that big- I thought. "Are they cute?" "Yes." Steven's answers were short. Lol. "What do they look like? Are they nursing? What color are they? Do they look healthy?" Ok, way too many questions. Let's just wait till Dad can crawl out with them.

And here they are....

The pictures don't do them justice. They are so adorable. It's so fun to have little kitties to hold. The kids love them. We will probably keep one and give one away....we'll see. But we are enjoying them. Their eyes just started to open. It's a fun experience for the kids to watch the process. Oh, who am I kidding. It's fun for me! I guess I just love babies of all kinds :)

The Trail of Honor

Today we headed over to Jackson to participate in the Trail of Honor, a yearly event to honor those who have served and are serving our country in the military. It was quite amazing. The boys had a blast climbing into tanks, watching the helicopter show and Cavalry demonstration, and seeing all kinds of military paraphernalia.

We also walked the Trail of Honor, which takes you through all the wars of our American history, with live soldiers in costume and even demonstrations of canons from the Civil War (it was sooo loud!) They even had the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall with all the names of those who died. It was very sobering.

Half way through the day we watched 500 motorcycle riders (mostly veterans) come down the highway and join the event. They are on their way to Washington DC. It's the annual Run for the Wall. They travel across the country from California to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC, arriving on Memorial Day. They ride for those who can't.

It was a great day. We are so thankful for all those who have served our country. We thank God for this great land of America and pray that He will show His grace to us and preserve the freedoms that we have known here...that many have laid down their lives to protect. So that our children and our children's children will still be able to say, "I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free!"

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Stinking Milestone

The other day while I was talking to Jake I got a whiff of something. It wasn't pleasant. In fact, it made me stop. It couldn't be.... no......"Jake, lift your arm." I leaned over and stuck my nose in his armpit. Oh my goodness! "Jake, you've got B.O!" He jumped up and started trying to stick his own nose in his armpit. He was giggling. "You know what that means?" I said. "What?" "You need to wear deodorant!" He looked at me with excitement in his eye and said, "YES!!" I just busted up. "You've graduated into Stinkhood!! Woo hoo!" Needless to say, this has created quite the stir around here. It's a common sight to see someone's nose in someone else's armpit. Zack is regularly asking me to smell his armpit to see is he smells yet. He's just dying to wear deodorant. Jake now smells manly, with his Old Spice deodorant that we bought him. And I'm thinking that we need to store it in an "out-of-reach" place because the other night Ben came into the room giggling and said, "Sam put deodorant on my bottom! Now my bottom smells good."...giggle, giggle..."He put in on one bun and then the other bun." Sorry, I'm not smelling that one!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Here's What You Get

Here's what you get when you leave a 3 year old alone with Mr. Potato Head...

Here's what you get when you leave your 7 year old Star Wars fan (Zack) alone with these stick things - "Yoda"
Here's what I get to see when my little girl wakes up from her nap...
Here's what you get when you take the Mena family and subtract the boys...
Here's what happens when the baby gets too big to take baths in the sink...
Here's what happens when Ben decides to pick Hailey up and run with her...ouch!
Here's what you get when Mr. Mountain Man finally shaves but decides to leave a mullet to remind him of the "good ole days"...
I guess that's a nice one to leave you with! Ha! Sweet dreams! I'm going to bed :)

P.S. You can stop pitying me, the mullet is gone.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Latest

So what's new with the Mena's since Jed was born? Well, January passed slowly as I spent most of my time snuggling my newborn. I make it a point to hold my babies as much as possible in those early weeks because I know there will soon come a time when life will get back to normal and I won't have the time to just sit and enjoy him. Not to mention, they grow so fast and before I know it they're not that tiny little newborn anymore...and soon, they won't sleep on my chest anymore either. So, I savor every minute!! In fact, already (at 8 weeks old) he isn't my tiny little newborn. He's more like my stout little man! He's weighing in at 14 lbs.

Isn't he just the cutest? I took some pictures of him today and couldn't decide which ones to post, so I'm posting them all. I just love all his faces. And he's smiling all the time now and even giggling!

Here's our little newborn...Wow he's grown!
Of course everyone else has enjoyed cuddling him too.
Here's Jake getting his turn...
and Zack...and Ben...and Hailey...and Sam...
and Daddy too!

And guess what other wonderful new thing I've been enjoying! An amazing new dishwasher!! I can't tell you how exciting this has been for me! I know that most people around the world live without a dishwasher, and I was very willing to continue doing so. But what a blessing to not have to! It's amazing the hours it saves me. I get giddy with excitement after the meal when the dishes just go straight into this big upright tub and you just close the door and it actually washes your dishes for you! And they come out even cleaner than if i did it myself. It's simply wonderful. What an invention!

On February 12th, Jake had his 9th birthday. Grandma Donna (Steven's mom) was able to come for a visit and was here to celebrate with us. Jake wanted to go for a hike for his birthday so Daddy took the four boys to the Clinton Nature Center and they had a great time hiking the trails in the cold snowy weather.

That's right! God gave Jake a special gift this year for his birthday...SNOW!! And lots of it too! This makes the third snow this winter, which is unheard of in Mississippi. We've really enjoyed it! (That's our chicken coop in the back. Yes, we got chickens! I started writing a long blog about it back in Nov. and never finished it. Sad. Anyway, maybe I'll get around to posting it one day)
Jake's birthday dinner was his favorite: Mom's meatloaf & mashed potatoes, plus we added in some brocolli :) We had a surprise theme this year (we've never done that before). It was "Growing in Wisdom & Stature" from the verse in the Bible that talks about Jesus when he was a boy, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man." Luke 2:52. We've seen Jake growing in godliness and in his love for Jesus and we are so thankful for the fruit that we are seeing in his life. Daddy made the sign and we wrote all the godly character traits that we see in him on the green leaves. And as a gift, we gave him a brand new "grown-up" Bible...just what he wanted!

A few days later Grandma Donna went home. We had a great time visiting with her and we're so glad she was able to visit.
The next day we were able to take the boys to the Dixie National Rodeo (courtesy of very special friends who wanted to bless our family!). It was really cool! The boys loved it. Ben and Sam keep telling me they want to go back to the "Radio." Oh, and we got to see Tanya Tucker in concert too.

That's about it for our adventures these last few months. Here are some common scenes around our place:
I had to throw in this great picture of my hubby smilin' at me from across the table!
He's so handsome!! (Even if he is looking a little "Grizzly Adams")

Here is Ben nursing his baby. Guess he's been watching Mama!
Here is Sam nursing his baby (monkey) lying down.
Here are all 6!