"It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all." - Laura Ingalls Wilder

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Welcome to the Lybarger Homestead!

 Hello, friends!  It has been a "coon's age" since posting on my blog spot, so I have decided to give it another shot.  If you previously followed my blog, you will notice that I have changed the name from "Simply Tori Lynne" to "Lybarger Homestead".  Why the change?  Well, I was greatly inspired and rejuvenated a couple weeks ago after making a trip to the "Ijams Homestead" in IL, to visit my dear friend, Stephanie.  The Ijams own a few acres and are working toward a self sufficient lifestyle.  Can you guess where they caught the homesteading bug?  They caught it from the Lybarger's!  Yep!  We left IL and moved to a 50 acre farm in Sigourney, IA.  The Ijams helped us move and visited us several times.  That homesteading bug sure is contagious!  Caused the Ijams to aspire the country life.  A few years later, they left small town living and became country folk; and we left the country to become small town folk.  Not by choice mind you.

I am going to fast forward through details and give you the skinny...  I have been pining away for the country life again, missing it something fierce.  Many tears that first year.  We talked about moving back out, but feel it is not our time to sell yet.  So 5 years ago, we began bringing some of our country living ways to town by starting a garden.  We have extended it every year, and have also planted fruit trees and many varieties of berry bushes.  I started canning as well.  But, it just hasn't felt the same, ya know?  Well, after my visit to IL, I had a renewed vision of what once was and what could be.

You do not need to live in the country to have a homestead.  You can live in an apartment in the city, suburbia, a few acres, or a nice, large corner lot in a small Amish town like me. ;) "The homesteading spirit is really about returning to our roots of simplicity, of making do with what you have."  - The Prairie Homestead.

On this blog I will talk about everything "home".  After all, as Laura Ingalls Wilder says, "Home is the nicest word there is."  I will talk about our homestead, homeschool, things homemade, Lybarger happenings with my hubby, children, and grandchildren, my times with God, share pics... you get the picture.  Home.

I did not erase any of my prior blog posts.  There are years worth.   I encourage you to go back and read some of them.  You will get to know me better that way.  The most popular posts read were the ones from 2016.  I did a series on Miracles, which starts with the post, "Come and See What God Will Do."  I love re-reading that series.  God is so faithful.

If I set this up right, you should be able to click to follow my blog and share comments as well.  I hope to catch you all up on the "Lybarger Homestead" once or twice a week.

Have a great rest of your week!  

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Ushering in the Presence of God...

When I woke up Monday morning, I stayed in bed for a while to pray.  I began thinking about the Sunday morning service and our evening growth group get together.  Both were a blessing and refreshment to me.  As I was pondering the word given in the service and our discussion that followed that evening, I believe God put this on my heart - “The word given and worship experience is a small foretaste of a greater ushering.  These times do not change your heart, rather, your change of heart will usher in more of Me.”  I started to pray for God to change my heart, then He began to show me a beautiful picture of the fruit of the Spirit.

LOVE – To fully be able to love others, I need to believe that God truly does love and accept me.

JOY – “This is My commandment that you love one another, that your joy may be full.”  When I believe that God truly loves and accepts me, it brings forth an abundance of joy.

PEACE – By embracing the Father’s love and experiencing abundant joy, I have a peace in knowing Whose I am.

PATIENCE – Embracing the Father’s love, experiencing abundant joy, and having peace in knowing Whose I am, brings security to be patient with myself and others, which gives a willingness to wait and tarry.

KINDNESS – Embracing the Father’s love, experiencing abundant joy, having peace in knowing Whose I am, and being patient with myself and others, allows me to understand how to show kindness to others.

SELF CONTROL - Embracing the Father’s love, experiencing abundant joy, having peace in knowing Whose I am, being patient with myself and others, showing kindness to others, walking in righteousness (by grace alone), being faithful toward God, as He was faithful toward me by sowing Goodness in my heart, allowing me to be a full extension of the same gentleness with others, as my Father is with me when crushing and pressing to make new wine, rids the urge of indulgences as there is no room left for idols.

God is so good to us.  He loves us.  He forgives us.  He refines us.  He fills us with His Sprit.  He gives us spiritual gifts to edify the body of Christ.  He uses us to be an extension of Himself to others through the fruit of the spirit. He gives us weapons for battle.  May we earnestly seek His face and be willing to lay ourselves and our traditions down, and allow His Spirit to move in this place.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Capture My Heart

 I have enjoyed Christmas break, especially being able to linger in bed in the morning to spend time with God. This morning, I woke up with a song on my heart, and this one phrase kept repeating in my mind - “Holy Spirit, capture my heart”. I began to meditate on that and was led to pray, asking God to free me from “self”. From what I want. From how I feel. From what I crave. From what I desire. To deliver me from ME. After praying, I could see an image of prison bars in my mind.  Directly after, this is what I heard - "Prison bars are continuous rows of the capital letter "I".  I began to ponder and and chew on that.  How easy it is to get locked behind the prison bars of loving self more.  Protecting self.  Serving self.  Being behind prison bars creates an emptiness, a loneliness, and an inability to love others well.  This truly is the default of our flesh - to love ourselves most.  I am so thankful that God had, and perfectly executed, a plan to save us from our own self destruction.  Through Christ alone, we are over comers.  We need to allow the Holy Spirit to capture our hearts and set us free.  Father, I beg of you to help me take my eyes off of "me" and focus my eyes upon You.  I want to love You with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength, AND love my neighbor MORE THAN myself- that my joy may be full in You.
The still, small voice is a beautiful one.  Let us take time to not only petition, but also to listen.  God desires intimacy with us.  He is faithful.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Forever Family - Our Adoption Journey Part 1

Adoption.  A beautiful picture of the Gospel.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.  - Romans 8:14-17

Adoption.  Messy.

My husband and I hear these types of comments all the time:

 - "You are such wonderful people to take in a child with special needs." 
 - "It takes special people to do what you did." 
 - "You two are so strong to take this on." 
 - "You are so unselfish and patient." 
 - "I could never deal with what you do every day"

My husband, Brent, and I do not want anyone to think those things of us.  None of them are true.  We are broken, messy, selfish, sinful people that God used to save a special, little girl from an orphanage in Guatemala, to bring glory to Himself and draw us closer to Him.

This is our story about how "Glendy Yulissa Hernandez" became "Brooklynne Emily Elise Lybarger".  I hope to write in an honest, transparent way, so there will be no doubt after reading, that this wonderful miracle of adoption was not because of us; rather in spite of us.  Nothing is impossible with God.

This is our daughter, Brooklynne.  Adopted from Guatemala, December 2006.  Brooklynne will turn 13 next week, the 16th of September.  Her real birth date was unknown; given an estimated birth date according to dental records.  Abused by her biological mother and grandmother.  Father unknown.  Has severe disabilities caused from brain damage (thought to be shaken baby syndrome).

In part 2, I will share how it all began over 10 years ago...  

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Stop and Smell the Lilacs...

Hello, Friends!  It sure has been a long while since my last post. I have decided not to continue where I left off regarding our move from IL to IA.  Rather, I wanted to share with you what God has done with me the past six months.

God has really softened my hard and bitter heart, and He reminded me of that when on a walk with my hubby last week.  Just down the block, is a big lilac bush.  It was starting to bloom.  I LOVE LILACS!  They are my absolute favorite.  I asked hubby to stop for a minute.  I walked up close to the lilac bush and deeply inhaled the lovely lilac scent - quite a few times, I may add.  :)  I heard a woman say, "You can pick some if you would like."

"I am sorry that I was on your property smelling the lilacs," was my reply.

"No problem.  You can come pick some any time."

Hubby chimed in, "Do not tell her that, or she will strip the bush bare!"  LOL!

Well, he really is right, you know.  ;)

It is so peaceful and calming to take time to stop and enjoy what God has made and appreciate who He is...even amidst suffering, stress, and strife.  It puts things in perspective and also reminds us how important slowing down is.  Not just our physical bodies, but our minds as well.

Who I was six months ago is not who I am today.  Then, in the midst of many trials, I was angry, stressed, confused, worked up, depressed, with a "Woe is me!" and a "How much more am I supposed to take?" mindset.  I was not taking time to stop, rest, and enjoy the life God has given me.  I was complaining all the time.  I wanted control of my circumstances and had none.  There are so many times, just as a young girl is with her father, that I stomp my feet, whining, and wanting my way.  Well, let me tell you - in my 22 years of being a Christian, fit throwing never works with the Father.  He loves me enough to always fulfill His purposes in my life and not give in to my complaints.  I sure do love Him for that.  His ways are always best.

Let me give you some examples of how, through God's grace, I have been able to "let go and let God", as the saying goes:

1)  I used to be a taskmaster with keeping my home spotless and getting annoyed when it isn't.  Partly OCD/partly to have order - i.e. control.  I have really relaxed in this area.  Instead of barking orders at the children when they wake up, I take time to just talk and enjoy them.  I give up chores on weekends to spend as much time with my husband as possible.  I quit working on Sundays for the most part.

2)  Last August, my second oldest son told me he was enlisting in the Navy.  I went crazy!  You can't!  It is dangerous!  The world is a mess!  What am I going to do if I lose you?  My response to him caused him to not talk to me for a while, and I was heartbroken over it.  God let that happen, so that I would learn to trust Him with the future of my children.  My son ended up changing his mind at that time.  But just last week, he let us know he was going to join the Air Force.  The job he wants is a dangerous one.  I supported him 100%.  He is a man.  He loves God.  God knows exactly what He is doing.

3)  Sometimes, my oldest son will come to me and say that I am not going to like what he is going to tell me.  Before, I would have no problem spouting off my opinion.  With yelling of course.  Now, I just try to love him very well.

4)  Over the years, my relationship was strained with my mother-in-law.  She is battling cancer.  It is moving again.  The cancer is terminal.  Just a couple weeks ago, I asked her to forgive me for my anger and selfishness over the years, and told her that to see how she battles this cancer with her faith is an inspiration to me.  I have let the past go.  Last week, we all got together for family pictures.  It was a wonderful day.  I felt free to be me.  All weights lifted.

5)  I have had legalistic tendencies in the past and iron-fisted parenting behavior on some issues, that now I have much grace in.  Again, it is freeing.

6)  I was so mad at the "organized church" that I rebelled quite a bit at times.  Now we are members of such a loving fellowship, that I never want to miss a Sunday.

7)  Before, it seemed so burdensome to care for Brooklynne.  Now I appreciate her more and love to give her hugs and make her smile.

I used to always worry about tomorrow, but am getting a little better at taking one day at a time.

That day I stopped to smell the lilacs, I was reminded of all these things.  To just enjoy the moment.  Take each as it comes.  Enjoy my children.  Love others.

Six months ago, I hated my life.  Today, I am very content.  I would not change anything.  God had and still has good plans for me,  whether in times of joy or suffering. To Him I give all the glory.

I know difficult times will come again.  I am praying that during those times, I will stop to smell the lilacs.

*Take time to enjoy a walk.  Take your children to a park.  Go outside and visit with the neighbor.  Keep your calendar less filled with worldly things so you can minster the spiritual ones.  Roll down your windows when you are driving, and sing a song for everyone to hear.  Wave at the crossing guard you pass everyday when taking your children to school.  (I do.  :) )  Go on dates with your spouse.  Learn to laugh again.

It feels so good to smile and laugh again, folks.  Have a great evening!