Let’s Be Real // Personal

“The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

“I suppose you are real?” said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.

“The Boy’s Uncle made me Real,” he said. “That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”
Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

Yesterday, I opened up our blog and started scrolling through the pages.  I read a little here and a little there, fixing some minor typos that I saw.  I looked through older posts and laughed away a good 5 minutes.  Then, I heard Elise calling me for dish duty, so I closed the tab and ran upstairs.

I turned on the hot water tap, squeezed some soap on to my sponge and starting
washing and humming.  I have always thought that soaps suds and songs were made for each other.  One can think of the silliest rhymes in a jiffy and give them an equally jubilant tune in a moment.  It has been proven in our house that the creativity levels rise when soaps suds and songs bomb the schedule.  But lets not bore you.  Back to our story.  Where was I?  Hellooooo.  Ah!  So, I started washing dishes and singing silly rhymes.  I also began to think.
I was scrolling through those blog pages again in my mind, searching for something.  I was looking for the heart of people, but I couldn’t find it.  Those pages were almost lifeless.  Colorless and dull.  Oh sure, there were many bright pictures and funny lines, but when I stood back and surveyed the whole picture, I found that there was a lack of personality.  One would think we were perfect, that we had it all together and that we never let each other down.  There was always a smile, always a word of encouragement – but never a “I have had a long day.”  Or a “Life’s been rough.”
Being a optomist, I sometimes find it hard to admit that things went wrong.  That people let me down or that I made a mistake with consequences.  I tend to look for the next dot of color, the next shower of confetti and the next bit of glitter.
And yet, there comes a point when you have to be honest; when you cannot run from your problems and hide them under a smile.  There comes a time to be real.

Is life grand?  It’s more than grand! Is life an adventure? It’s the biggest adventure on which I have embarked!
And yet every journey has its trials.  Every trip includes a fall. {wow … unintentional pun there, folks!}
So today I am here to be real.  I want to be honest with you and help you to see that we too are just sinners, saved by grace, redeemed with blood, striving to live our lives in such a way that we glorify our Creator.
You know what I think is funny?  I have never had a hard time being real.  I was never afraid to hit life’s issues over the head  – I would rather talk it all out and deal with it.  Sometimes I think I make myself too busy to deal with life as it comes.  There is always something more important than the issues of daily life, so they get pushed to the back of the shelf for another day.  Well, my shelf is too full to hold anymore, and I want to share with you some of the ways the Lord has worked in our lives.

Topics we have covered in evening devotions …

{Romans 12:1-2} – Being a living sacrifice does not mean that you have to go to the Congo, contract malaria and die as a missionary there.  In our family, we can make it applicable by serving our siblings and our parents with Christ-like love.  We can be a sacrifice by being humble and thinking of others needs before our own.

{Romans 12:3-8} – We as a family need to work together as a team, just like the members of the body, to serve the Lord with our various gifts.  It can be easy to get jealous of others when they have been blessed in a way or with a talent that we have not, but we need to focus on the Lord and give Him everything we have.  If each person does the best they can do as unto the Lord, together we make a complete team.

{Romans 12:9} – We defined loving without hypocrisy as loving others and not expecting recognition and service back.  Serving and loving others in hopes of a reward is not true love.  Christ was the greatest example of this – He came down and gave up His life for us that we might be reconciled with God, knowing that we could never pay the debt ourselves nor repay Him for His love towards us.   We also looked up the word “evil” and found that in the original Greek, it was a broad term meaning anything that was worthless, of no value, etc.  Therefore, we should not only stay away from those things that are evil, but also those things that waste our time and do not draw us closer to God.  Cling to what is good!

As we go through the book of Romans, chapter 12 has definitely prompted many long conversations.  I encourage you to read the entire thing – it is applicable in so many ways.

Other “real” tidbits …
How about a story from our lives?  I will warn you that we are craaazy folks.  I wrote this story the day after it happened.  Also, the date of this story is with-held for …. well, various reasons.  I WILL say that it was not too recent however. ;)  ohh boyyy.

“Yesterday, Elise, Lydia and I went to sewing lessons (we go every Tuesday.)  And I am walking to the back room to iron my quilt squares and I come to a corner.  Well, Lydia was back there ironing her apron pieces and she hid behind the corner with the what-I-thought-was-a-hot iron and as I came around, she jumped out and stuck it 2 inches in front of my face.  My mind did some rapid thinking and I could see myself looking like an escaped convict with this huge iron print on my face, so I screamed and said, “NO! NO!”  Turns out, the whole house heard me, but they didn’t know what I screamed about.
So later, I am ironing more quilt squares in the back room and I hear someone coming.  I quickly grab an iron and get into position, right around the corner.  *thinking – oh boyyy, won’t Lydia jump!*  It seemed like I was waiting for hours as the person seemed to be cautiously approaching.  Just when my patience runs out, I hear footsteps right around the corner, so I take a deep breath, brandish my iron and shout “HA!”  My sewing teacher stares at me and the what-she-thinks-is-a-hot iron.
I quickly slam the iron on the ironing board, pretending to iron and whipping it around and humming loudly.  I have to add an occasional “HA!” in the song so she won’t be wondering.  When I am finished in a matter of seconds, I say “I am sorry to keep you waiting.” and flash her a sweet smile.  She continues to stare at me as though I AM an escaped convict and my sweet smile turns into laughter.  I must have looked insane as I stumbled out the back room, collided into the computer desk and doubled over with laughter.  Doing a 365 degree turn, I slam into the huge mirror and catch sight of a hysterical maniac. I fly towards the kitchen and away from the probing eyes of my sewing teacher, but somehow, I manage to run into the telephone just as it rings and then slip and slide on the electrical cord which catapults me into my seat.  My sisters don’t notice a thing, because me is being crazy is as common as the sun rising in the morning.  When my sewing teacher comes out a few minutes later, I look up from my sewing machine.  “It’s a beautiful day outside.”  But there was a growing smirk on her face.  After all, she is a kindred spirit and I generally amuse her.
Nevertheless, she canceled next weeks lesson because of a shopping trip she is making.  It is my belief that she needs another week to steel her nerves before I walk in that door again!  Oh, the places I go and things I do!  I believe I am known around town.  Oh dear!”

Are we craaazy or what?  *ahem*  For the audiences benefit, neither iron was hot ;)

That’s probably my limit of what I can share today.  I probably lost everyone on that story.  You all still there? ;D   I probably should give you the option to rate our story.  Let’s see … “Oh. My. Goodness!” – “Whoa.” – “Umm, really??” – “Girlllll.” – “You guys are nuts.” – “Craaaaziness!” …. those are all acceptable ratings.  And if none of those responses were yours, we may need to give you further evidence.  That would be painful!

Don’t forget to slow down sometimes.  Don’t forget to think as you do your chores, or as you wash your dishes.  Our culture tries to cover up and ignore the ups and downs of life.   When you have your ear buds in and your video-games going 24-7, it’s easy to tune out and forget what it’s like to think and reason, to be honest and down-right real.  But being real and owning up is part of growing.  Admitting our shortcomings and how we learned from them is how we learn.  We are not perfect.  But we serve a perfect Lord who is interested in and in control of every aspect of our lives.  To God be the Glory great things He hath done!

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2014 in Review

2014 has come and gone and so much has happened in so little time. It’s hard for me to put it all in words for y’all, because so much of it was just…life. How do you give a summary of what you have done and lived through as a family? I’m not quite sure, but I will do my best.

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Last January, we lost our first baby goat during kidding season due to being in the sack a few minutes too long after birth. It doesn’t sound like much, but it was the first time we had ever lost a goat and it made us better “farmers”.  We learned how important it is to pay attention to even the smallest details!
We also got a lot of snow last year; in fact, it was the biggest snow storm that we have had here in the past seven years.  We got 19 inches; that’s a lot for us down here in the south!

February 2014 – seems that is was just a few months ago! We girls helped Mom and  a few other ladies put on a big Valentines banquet for about 40-50 couples. We had a guest speaker come in from out of town who was a blessing to all who attended. We forgot to get pictures of that event in the flurry of kitchen activity and waiting on tables, but we were encouraged to be able to serve others and be a blessing to them.

March – Elise started a little early garden and found a source of free horse manure so we all got busy loading and hauling several full trailers to be used in our garden! We made some funny memories doing that!  You can go here to watch the video Olivia made during the process =)  We got a few projects finished, a chicken house repaired as well as getting a few songs recorded as a family ( done with an app in our living room ;P ) and uploading them to you tube. Check out this to see the videos we have uploaded!  And.. . . Nathan had a birthday! {wow, just 2 months before its here again!}

April 2014 – Elijah had his cows loaded up and taken to a friends farm because we did not have enough pasture. It was sad to see them go, but that’s farm life.  Joshua, Sophia and Olivia had a birthday as well!    Other highlights of the month included staying with friends while our parents had a day off and a visit with Dr. Black.  We were blessed to be able to see him again!
And, as we do every year, we sold all our baby goats born in 2014.

May –  As a family, we were able to help celebrate the home-coming of a dear friend, Mrs. Becky Black. It’s hard to lose a loved one, but we were reminded that though absent in body, her spirit is with the Lord!  We were also able to spend some time with our friends, the Fuhrmann’s!  Helping them with their Open House/Farm day and getting together for Easter was a blast =)

June – Tabitha was warmly welcomed “into” our family.  And, Micah and Kristen had a birthday!!  We took a few family trips to the local park and played baseball, volleyball, soccer and tennis as a family – making memories that will last for a life time! Elijah was also able to take a trip with a friend up the north coast to visit many of the battle fields from the Civil War. We were blessed to be able to glean from a strawberry patch near us and put up lots of strawberries last May, FOR FREE !  We were also able to attend two graduations and witness two friends move to the next step in life!  Elise was excited to hold her first piano recital for her eight piano students.

July –  We were so happy to have family down from Delaware! They were able to visit for a little while and we made the most out the time we had. We look forward to another visit this year!  We also hosted an Independence Day celebration at our home which was a blast!
Elijah and Olivia were also able to help our friend, Dr. Black, by watching his farm for a week. We had a splendid time with dear friends, The Bowman’s, when the children came for an afternoon while our mothers went shopping! Beets were also plentiful this past year and I pickled about two dozen quarts of them!   We were able to take a few hikes this past summer and spend some time as a family enjoying God’s creation which is always a blessing!   As a church, we were able to help others in our fellowship with outside work by organizing work days. Those are always a lot of fun.  Elise also bought a banjo and added some variety to our blue grass band!  AND. . . . Dad and Charis had a birthday!

August – seemed so busy, filled with so many little things that big families have to do; but we were able to take some time off and go camping near Virginia beach.  On the way home, we stopped and spent a couple of hours with dear friends which was a blast!  Elijah was also given a compound bow and he let some of us try our hand at some archery. Elise had the opportunity to spend some time with some of the young mothers for church and was able to help them with their load of work. Mom and Dad were able to take a trip to the mountains of North Carolina for their anniversary.
We were also able to take an afternoon and go swimming in the lake near us with good friends of ours which proved to be something wonderful!

September – was a month long awaited! We were able to attend the Smokey Mountain NGJ Shindig!! Special times in Gatlinburg and Smokey Mountain National Park were also included during the week. View the post here.  We were also able to paint our new school room. It is no longer a play room! Should have done that last year… : ) We were blessed to have a wonderful family we met at the Shindig come and see us on their way back up north. Also, some of our older children were able to attend a civil war reenactment near us which was an interesting experience!    We were able to buy a mandolin which Olivia has been learning as we add to our band.  We only had one birthday person this month, Elise.  So, that concludes September.

October – we four older girls were able to attend a girls camp in NC, which was a blessing! We as a church was also able to fit in two more work days! Elijah, Olivia, Mom and I were able to attend Shosanna Easling’s “journey back to health seminar that was held not too far from us. That proved to be a wonderful learning experience as well as a time of meeting up with friends we had not seen for a while. We as a church took a trip down to NC and spent a weekend camping, spending time with each other and listening to some good teaching. And so October passed.

November already! Lydia and Mom had a birthday!! Elijah and Elise started a monthly prayer meeting in our church where they specifically pray for the persecuted church.  We were also excited to be able to attend a bran dance at a friends farm! We look forward to going next year as well. =) And this past November, we bought our first milk cow!! We plan to sell our goats and keep a cow instead. We look forward to a calf coming in May 2015!
We had the joy of spending a day full of fun at a local place in town where we went GoKarting, did some mini golf, and tried out the batting cages! And the nice thing was we got a huge sale price on the whole day!

December – busy, busy, busy! We made a trip up to Delaware for Christmas, to see family. We had a wonderful time, and also visited some pretty spots and enjoyed the wildlife while we were up there. And, we celebrated the last birthday of the year, Elijah’s!!
The ladies at church were able to get together and have some fun while learning about hair products =)  The young people of our church also got together and worked on special music for our Christmas Service which was a joy.
Our uncle blessed us by giving us a “new” refrigerator and dishwasher!  For those of you out there who have large families, you know how fast you can go through appliances! And so, I think that concludes December as well as 2014!!

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We have posted about many of the things we have mentioned in this update. Check the archives to see older posts from this page.

Hope you all are having a wonderful start to your new year!

~ Elise, for the Meggs Family

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well folks, i haven’t had time to write up posts galore on all our recent adventures. instead, i have been catching up on uploading videos from 2014 onto youtube. if you have a moment, feel free to check them out.

{did you know that it can take my computer 2 hours to upload a 3 minute video? stinker. but praise the lord for our faithful little computer that has cooperated with uploading videos non stop despite the many repairs!}

—>>> this is me on youtube. <<<—

and that’s it. cheerio!

Where are you going?

2014 is now officially history.  Another year has passed and in spite of the busy days and all too short nights, it seems appropriate, even necessary perhaps, to pause for a moment and contemplate . . . to wonder what it means to be another year older . . . to consider what we have accomplished – or maybe failed to accomplish – in the last 365 days . . . and certainly to reevaluate our goals and priorities.

When you are young, life is an unending delight; every week, month, and year offers challenges to be conquered and experiences to savor as we doggedly pursue our dreams.  All the world is fresh and interesting, optimism is in the air and excitement is only natural. This is the way that our Creator intended for it to be, it is young people who build railroads, sign up for expeditions to foreign lands, win wars, care for those who are less capable than themselves, insist that justice be done, blaze new trails for the world to criticize, and create new homes as they raise the next generation. But there will come a day when you will stop to catch your breath . . . and then you will notice the view. You will realize that the roughest part of your journey is over and you will suddenly realize that the summit of all you have worked for and pursued is not very distant after all. Then you will have to look around you – not at the immediate scenery – but at that vast expanse that surrounds your mountain. Will you have toiled (however joyfully and enthusiastically) towards an isolated peak with no reward but the scenery? Will you have spent your life pursuing a dream that, in the end is after all, only as beautiful and transient as the clouds that soar beyond the end of the trail? Will you sigh alone on the summit of your dreams only to wish that you had climbed another whose steps, though more humble, led to a more exalted, meaningful destination?

Twenty-one years have passed in my short life. In terms of life experience, I have experienced more than most young men my age but I fall very short of qualifying as ‘experienced’. Many things have interested me at one time or another and I have seriously considered climbing many mountains. All of them were scenic, and interesting, most were off the beaten track, and a few particularly interesting ones were virtually unexplored. I carefully weighed my options, always scanning the horizon as I sought to expand my frontiers. I finally chose to pursue a dream that led to a completely unexplored peak. The risks were high and almost everyone told me it couldn’t be done. It was so far removed from the popular destinations that it was actually off the map. But, it had great potential and I was determined to blaze a trail that might one day become a highway. And then I was allowed by God’s grace to see what I and everyone else my age usually miss. I thought back over my nineteen years and realized that, if I lived to be eighty years old, my life was almost a quarter of the way over – and a lot of people don’t live to see their eightieth birthday. I realized that dreams die with you but highways last as long as people seek and use them. I saw that in the end it really didn’t matter if I blazed a new trail . . . what mattered was how my destination affected the rest of humanity. Few people choose their paths for the impact their destination will have on others and fewer still choose such a path out of a sincere desire to assist others – even to the point of losing all.

So pause for a moment. Let the rush of life move on past. Think back over the year; begin in January and re-live the last year; remember all the happy memories that were made, celebrate again the achievements, feel the touching moments, and thank the Lord for allowing you to live another year and praise Him for all the blessings He poured out upon it. And now look forward – where are you going? Why? Where were you going last January? It is a little sobering to know that you are living a limited life that will someday end and that you are expected as a believer in the Lord Jesus to walk a trail that leads to a worthy destination. I am no longer blazing the trail of my former dreams – it isn’t worth my numbered days on this earth. It still interests me and I sometimes find myself looking longingly over my shoulder towards its mysterious and enticing peak. (And I still believe I could do it in spite of the numerous naysayers ;) ). I have chosen instead to pursue a rough trail that leads to a summit that is far from glamorous or respected but that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt will lead to a meaningful destination.

Where will you go? What is your dream and how will it affect those around you or around the world?

Stay tuned for Part 2.