Friday, January 18, 2019

A Blanket of Snow & New Years

This past weekend, a two day snow storm left us with around 2 feet of snow on the ground! It was the most snow I ever remember getting here, and it was a very wet one which coated everything in a thick blanket. It was so beautiful!

Dad and Kymber out for a walk on Friday morning . . . it continued to snow all that night and the next day, too, so the amount of snow in this picture is just the start

My does weren't quite sure about all the snow! Dad and I were out at 4 in the morning on Saturday clearing off animal shelters, but some damage was already done by the time we got out there. As you can see, these girls' hoop house is now bent due to the weight of the snow collapsing it before I scooped it off. It bounced back up once the snow was off, but kind of crooked!

Snow coated fences

And it keeps climbing higher!

A lot of snow had already fallen off the fence at this time . . . before that, you literally could not see through the 6 ft. chain link fence at all.

"Is it feeding time?"
Not quite yet :) . . . photography time!

Rimrock in one of his favorite positions - standing on the cattle panel fence (there is another fence in the foreground)

So beautiful!

A winter wonderland

Beehives covered in snow. Dad got all the entrances cleared once it finally stopped snowing.

Sweet gum balls

Looking down our driveway . . . the snow took its toll on the trees, and there were a lot of broken branches, and a fallen tree that had to be cleared before someone could get in and plow our driveway.

Looking up the driveway . . . I so enjoyed my walk soaking in the beauty of the fresh snowfall!

The digging out process has begun! It was quite a job getting the snow cleared off all the animal shelters, vehicles, and the part of the driveway the plow couldn't get to. We sure got our exercise in those days!

Due to warm ground and day-time temperatures in the mid-30's since the weekend, a lot of the snow has melted which is nice. Just in time for another winter storm this weekend and much colder temperatures. It looks like winter weather is here to stay for awhile!

Changing topics now and backing up a bit in the history of 2019 :) . . . actually a bit before that - mid December and then New Years! I had forgotten that Mom had taken some pictures from one of the times that Ivan and Leah and family were at our place in December . . . .

Eva is often the center of attention!

Puzzle time! For mom and Leah anyway, and Abel helped some, too. I think I put in the grand total of one piece :) - puzzles aren't quite my thing!

It might look like a hug, but this is a wrestling and tickling match!

Dad won :)

Now on to New Years! Ivan, Leah, and Eva came and stayed with us which was so fun, and then some friends of ours joined us New Years eve as well. It was a wonderful and much enjoyed start to the New Year!

Her serious face as she studied one of the toys on the play mat

She loves when people talk with her . . . .

Evidenced by the grin in response!

But she especially loves when her Mommy talks with her. Leah can really get her talking and laughing! Eva is growing and changing so much, and we are loving seeing her little personality developing. She is so precious!

Dad reading a book to the little girl of our friends

Someone said something funny! Our New Years Eve and the following day were filled with laughter, fun times, some serious and deep conversations, planning/goal making for the New Year, and games. A relaxed and much enjoyed family time for sure!

Special times and good conversation with a friend (and her daughter and my sleeping niece :)

While my mom was taking pictures, Phin wanted to be like her and take some, too, so his mom let him use her phone . . . it was cute to see him imitating my Mom!

Game time! Ticket to Ride was a game that Ivan got and taught us, and it was fun! 

She loves bright colored books, and will look at a page for the longest time.

It has been a wonderful start to the New Year so far! The times with family and friends have definitely been highlights, and I have been excited and thankful to see progress being made on my 2019 goals and a lot being accomplished, too. I hope that you all have enjoyed a great start to your New Year as well!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!

May you all have a blessed and wonderful New Year!

I came across the below poem recently in my 'favorite quotes' folder on my computer and thought I would share it here as it is fitting as we begin 2019!

Dear Master for this coming year 
Just one request I bring: 
I do not pray for happiness, 
Or any earthly thing— 
I do not ask to understand 
The way Thou leadest me, 
But this I ask: Teach me to do 
The thing that pleaseth Thee. 

I want to know Thy guiding voice, 
To walk with Thee each day. 
Dear Master make me swift to hear 
And ready to obey. 
And thus the year I now begin 
A happy year will be— 
If I am seeking just to do 
The thing that pleaseth Thee.

- Author Unknown

Sunday, December 30, 2018

A New Year is Coming

In just a couple days the year 2018 will reach its end! I always like to look back over the past year and consider all that was done, learned, etc. during the year as well as areas to grow and improve in. Overall, the year 2018 was a wonderful one, filled with special family times and memories. Plus many blessings including the greatest being my precious niece, Eva!

It was also a year that held much growth for me in learning to trust and rest in the Lord more with my future and whatever He has ahead of me (and there is still room for growth!) He is always so good to us and faithful! It seems with each passing year, I realize this to even greater depths. As I look back on this past year, I am so thankful for the blessings! And I also see areas where I very much want to grow and improve in this next year.

While very busy with work the past few months, my mind was filled with thoughts and plans, some of which have already been implemented, others which I hope to put into practice in the New Year. With the seasonal slow down with my business the last week or so, I have been loving having the time to sit down and put many of these down onto paper and begin planning for the year of 2019 of which this will be a great help . . .

I love this Bloom Vision Planner! While some aspects of it are more self-helpish, those can easily be skipped over. Leah and I are going to be getting together this week and will be making goals and filling in our planners together which will be fun! Here is a glimpse into some of the currently blank pages just waiting for inspiration and goals to be filled in:

This last year was one of transition as it was our first year without Leah living here, and you never fully realize how much one does or adds to day-to-day life until they aren't within your home anymore! :) Plus, recovering from the hip surgery was a lengthy process and limited what I was able to do for the spring and summer months (as far as garden/outdoor work.) It makes me all the more excited to enter into a new year and to get busy on our little homestead!

With this in mind, this past week found me pulling out my Home Management Binder and my Homesteading Binder. They had sat unused this past year to the detriment of my organization! I updated them by printing the covers and dividers in color and then updated the daily schedule and things like that . . . .

Both binders 

The colorful pictures just make me happy :) In this section, I keep track of the eggs laid per day as well as feed purchases. 

There will be lots to do outdoors on our place this year! And on the warmer days in the coming months, I will be getting started on some of them. Mostly just clean up, hauling compost to the garden, and various other 'preparation' type tasks for the coming spring.

So that is a glimpse into my homesteading binder! My homemaking binder was refreshed as well . . .

Daily inspiration as I open the binder

Good reminders at the beginning of each day! I love having a loose schedule for the day, and also have lists of 'kitchen tasks', 'business tasks', 'office tasks', etc. that I can refer to. This is especially helpful for keeping on top of those irregular tasks that aren't daily or weekly

This quote continues to be one of my favorites . . . it is right in the front of my binder serving as a good reminder

As I have been planning out this year in a practical sense with my business, home tasks, homestead tasks, personal goals with exercise, etc., it has been overshadowed by what is on my heart even more: my walk with the Lord. I can see areas where I have fallen short over the last several months which has been sobering and convicting. Already I have been working on growing in these areas, and I am determined to continue that growth and 'bloom' even more in the new year.

With how full life has been, it can be easy to get so focused on the here and now - or my long-term plans and goals that I am working towards - that I can lose sight of what was in the quote by Andrew Murray in my last post and what one of my favorite passages of Scripture teaches:

"Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God, and when Christ, who is our life, is revealed then you also will be revealed with Him in glory." Colossians 3:1-4

As I was going through files on my computer to find the documents for my binders, I came across something I had written just for myself back in 2011 . . .

As I read through the searching questions I had asked myself seven years ago, they impacted me strongly. Already similar thoughts were on my heart and mind, yet each question seemed like it went deeper and deeper, convicting and challenging me.

I printed this sheet out and added it to my homemaking binder to keep these questions fresh in my heart and mind in this coming year. To help keep my focus and foundation for my days heavenward on my Savior, to see each moment as one that can be used for His service, each person who crosses my path as one to be the light of Christ to, my goals and dreams as secondary to God's kingdom and the work He has for me, and also, to use those goals and dreams for His glory.

So as I dream and plan and continue to grow, I enter this new year with determination and anticipation! Excited to see how God uses it, what all will be accomplished in it and what growth will be made, and to also hopefully be more organized and balanced with all that life is filled with!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Times of Refreshment & a Recipe to Share

Quiet, peaceful, productive, restful, and inspiring days at home . . . how I have been enjoying them!

A 'new' to me book . . . finally found an antique copy of "Cunning Workmen" by Isabella Alden! Published in 1875 and still in quite good shape. It is a good and convicting book! And it has played a part in inspiring me as I look forward to this new year. 

Once the holiday rush with my business came to a close, I have been loving curling up reading some good books, sometimes with a cup of hot tea, going out and spending time with my goats, doing some winter-time baking, crocheting, deep-cleaning/re-arranging my work area and room, and planning and preparing for the New Year (the latter of which will be in a future post.)

A little afghan for Eva getting close to being done!

Aurora out basking in the warm sunshine

Peanut Butter Balls

Wintertime just seems like the time to make some special sweet treats! I had found this recipe weeks ago on Taste of Home and had the opportunity to make it this week. It is so simple! And peanut butter is healthy, right? ;)

Peanut Butter Balls

- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3 Tbsp. butter softened
- 1 lb. white candy coating, coarsely chopped (I used a little less than 3/4 lb. white almond bark)

Combine powdered sugar, peanut butter, and butter. Stir until well combined (a fork works great for this.) Shape into 1" balls and chill for at least 30 minutes. Melt candy coating in a microwave safe bowl. Dip chilled balls in coating and place on wax paper. Let set and then enjoy! Yield: 2 dozen

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

And to close, a convicting and inspiring quote that has really been speaking to my heart - it is one that I had written down years ago and came across again recently . . .

"If we are abiding in Jesus, let us begin to work. Let us first seek to influence those around us in daily life. Let us accept distinctly and joyfully our holy calling, that we are even now to live as the servants of the love of Jesus to our fellow-men. Our daily life must have for its object the making of an impression favourable to Jesus. When you look at the branch, you see at once the likeness to the Vine. We must live so that somewhat of the holiness and the gentleness of Jesus may shine out in us. We must live to represent Him . . . .

Living so, with our hearts longing to have Jesus glorified in the souls He is seeking after, let us offer ourselves to Him for direct work. There is work in our own home. There is work among the sick, the poor, and the outcast. There is work in a hundred different paths which the Spirit of Christ opens up through those who allow themselves to be led by Him . . . . Abiding in Christ, let us work." 
- Andrew Murray

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Thanksgiving, A Wedding, and Days at Home

The last month has been eventful to say the least! It started off with a Thanksgiving trip up to Illinois as Ivan, Leah, Abel, and Eva were going to be spending the holiday with his family, and his parents invited us to join them. It was a wonderful day together! I didn't take many pictures, but here are a few . . . .

Little Miss Eva sound asleep on my lap

We enjoyed a few fun games of darts! Guys against the girls . . . Mom and Leah beat Ivan and Abel the first time, and then Leah and I played them and we lost . . . I think I need some practice at darts. :) OR it could be that Ivan had warmed up by then and quickly scored lots of points!

Leah took this mirror pic :) . . . Loved all the baby snuggles! Eva certainly didn't lack for anyone to hold her - she has so many who love her!

Eva and her Grandpa having a little chat before we headed out

Six days after getting back home, Mom, Leah, Eva, and I were on the road again, only this time to Kentucky for the wedding of a dear friend of mine. Eva was a great little traveler, and we had so much fun road tripping all together! Leah and I have traveled together often, though it had been awhile, but this was the first time we had done a 'girls trip' with our Mom, plus with a precious baby girl, too!

All bright eyed and just about ready for the adventure of going to a wedding rehearsal for the first time

Smiles and play time with her Mommy after driving all morning

The rehearsal and wedding day were very special! It is wonderful to see how God has worked in Laura and Benjamin's lives in bringing them together, and it was a joy to be there with them as they became one before the Lord in marriage. So happy for them and excited to see how God continues to guide them and now uses them as a married couple!

Emily and I starting to decorate for the wedding

Pausing for smiles - it was so good to spend time together again!

Loved being a part of the wedding with each of these special women

Laura and her Dad during the rehearsal when he was walking her down the aisle . . . the expressions on their faces are priceless!

I don't think their smiles could have gotten any bigger the whole weekend! 

An enjoyable time of fellowship during the rehearsal dinner

Happy smiles on the wedding morning

Leah and I before the wedding

With Emily - the Maid-of-Honor, the bride's sister, and a dear friend

The bridesmaids and maid of honor with the beautiful bride! Excited and ready (and a little emotional!) as the minutes ticked by until the wedding was to begin

One of the professional photos - we had so much fun together!

All in all, it was a much enjoyed, special, and memorable weekend! We headed for home early Sunday morning, and the drive went by quickly and easily which we were glad for. On arriving home, we were welcomed in to a freshly cleaned house, dishes and laundry all done, and candles burning. My Dad is quite the guy! :)

On a dreary day recently, Dad learned through a Missouri Rare Bird alert that at a University Farm Pond nearby, there were several rare Black Scoters (they are an ocean bird - not inland.) Dad, Mom and I went out to see if we could spot them, and they were up quite close! It was neat to see them and now we have another 'lifer' added to our bird lists . . . .

December has been a very busy month business-wise which was a blessing! Here are a few snapshots from the past few weeks . . .

A new gift set (and as always, the customers can pick which scent varieties and ribbon color they would like.)

Making more lavender bath salts

Shipping supplies are now restocked for awhile . . . not quite as exciting of a shipment as what is typically delivered for my business, BUT, these are what get the orders sent out!

When you cut a batch of Cedarwood soap, and it smiles back at you!

Enjoying a lovely fall afternoon

One weekend Ivan, Leah, Abel and Eva came to stay with us. It had been awhile since we had had a weekend like this together, and it was much enjoyed! (I forgot to take many pictures so you'll have to imagine the good conversations, playing games, etc. :) . . . .

These two! ♥ 

Little grins for her Aunt Sarah! I was tickling her feet and talking to her, and she just started grinning and almost laughed. It was so sweet!

Dad took Abel out to a nearby University Farm pond to collect some pond water for a science project. Abel sure had fun using the pick ax to break through the ice!

Back home, Mom put the pond water on a slide, and he got to look at the little creatures in the water. Mom also had some other slides to show him. He thought it was pretty cool to look through the microscope at everything!

In the midst of working on this post, Leah called and we had one of our good chats, and then she sent me these two recent snapshots of Eva . . . little sweetheart is growing and changing so much!

"Oh, hi mom!" Just chilling on her mommy's lap

Our weather here has been beautiful the last few days with sunshine and highs in the 50's! We have been enjoying our times outdoors, and the goats are liking the warmer temps and lack of snow on the ground.

This is Primrose's doeling and since we no longer have Primrose (we sold her), I am passing down her name to her doeling

She and the other doeling, Daisy, were a little entertaining when I tried to get pictures of them . . . .

"Oh, you want pictures of us? How about I get right up in your camera" 

"Or better yet, we'll get really close and chew on your camera strap and skirt!"

She finally stayed far enough away from me for a few seconds so I could snap a couple :)

A warm day means the bees are out flying 

My little flock of laying hens . . . there are six of them, and they have been laying six eggs nearly every day! Any guesses what is for dinner tonight? Eggs :) We have been enjoying their eggs for breakfast, sometimes for dinner, and giving them away, too

Looking down our driveway

It is a little hard to believe that 2018 is nearly to a close . . . didn't this year just start?! I have been thinking about and making plans and goals for the coming year and am excited and looking forward to it all. There is something about starting a new year that always seems so fresh and inspiring!