Sunday, August 25, 2019

Summertime Days

What a busy and good summer this has been so far! Ever since the farmers market moved out to the new pavilion, sales have increased quite a bit (which is a blessing!), and hence, so has the workload, leaving not much 'free time'. (What is that anyway?! ;D) Over the last weeks, I have gotten into a better rhythm, streamlined processes more, etc. which has helped. Plus it is the break now at the therapeutic riding center so I have enjoyed taking the one day a week that is usually spent out there, more for rest and relaxation, doing something fun with family or friends, or catching up on home life.

Throughout this time, pictures have been accumulating and now I have the opportunity to get almost all of them into a post!

The Beauty Outdoors

One of my very favorite things to do in the mornings, and especially in the evenings, is to enjoy the beauty outside. There is always a feast of sights and sounds to experience! I love the quietness and peacefulness and just soaking it all in . . . .

Brown-Eyed Susans growing along the electric fence

An empty bird nest discovered after my goats ate their way through a large patch of Ragweed

When the work is done for the day, I love getting outside and enjoying this! My goats out happily grazing/browsing in the evening sunlight while the cicadas 'sang' away in the treetops and a Barred Owl called nearby. The beauty and peacefulness plus sweet goats to watch and pet makes it hard to ever make myself go back inside! :)

This guy isn't so little anymore! He has been growing quickly and is a nice looking buckling. He is due to be weaned and sold in a few weeks.

A regular evening treat . . . a doe and fawn coming up into the yard to eat corn that my dad puts out for them

Such intricacy and beauty in a spider web! 

A Luna Moth - it is always neat to see one of these. And this time, there were four of them! 

Trip to the Bulk Food Store

Back in July, Mom and I took a morning to make the drive to a bulk food store about an hour from us. We usually go there a couple of times a year, and both she and I were in need of some things. We had a fun time together! And drove through a storm on our way home . . . .

Remnants of Mid-Missouri Flooding

Thankfully nearly all of the flood waters have receded! Yet they have left damage behind. My parents took these photos one day of areas that we often drive by . . .

The waterline on one of the buildings that was flooded

This road isn't going to be open anytime soon!

Little Visitors to See the Goats

Every year after kidding season, we like having our friend Molly and her children out to see the goat kids. This year it took longer than planned as it was hard to find a time that worked for us both. It was so nice when it finally did work out, though, and Leah and Eva were able to come, too! This time we also made some brownies which the children had fun helping with - and of course, they liked eating them!

Molly, holding Eva, and one of her daughters

The children loved Eva

And they really loved spending time with the goats and feeding them branches! I kept busy breaking off a fresh supply of them for eager children. :)

Family Times

While times with family are pretty regular, taking pictures during them isn't! Here are a few, though, that were captured recently . . . .

She likes 'playing' the piano!

Enjoying the play kitchen things that Leah and I had when we were little

She really likes doing this puzzle with her Poppy!

And playing the piano with her Nana. :)

My dinner making helper one night

Storytime with her mommy

Niobrara Naturals

A post about the summer wouldn't be complete without at least a few photos of business related things! There aren't any new photos from the market (I have been staying too busy there to take any), but here are a few of the processes . . .

Natural goat milk soaps curing on the shelves - Grapefruit - Peppermint Tea Tree - Meadow Grove - Rosemary Peppermint - Citrus - Lemongrass - Lavender Oatmeal - Cedarwood

Another soap-making day! First batch of the morning was Meadow Grove . . . I snapped this photo in the middle of mixing in the Rose Kaolin clay (a natural colorant). Once it was finished, it was all a pretty pink and ready to pour into molds.

Time to cut some soap logs into bars . . . Meadow Grove - Lavender Oatmeal - and Rosemary Peppermint

Lavender Oatmeal Goat Milk Soap is a Customer Favorite, more of which is now cut into bars and curing 

Candle making day
- Cedarwood Vanilla - Sea Salt & Orchid - Peppermint Eucalyptus - English Garden
- Rain Water - Honeysuckle Jasmine - Blackberry Sage - Pumpkin Souffle - Lilac - Ocean Breeze

Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center

There aren't really words to describe what it is like volunteering here! I really love it. I am now volunteer instructing regularly, and it is so rewarding. Seeing the joy on faces, smiles, excited participation, skills developing and progressing, bodies strengthening, riders engaging more, words spoken more frequently, and much more.

With a special rider and friend and 'his' horse

Playing a game on horseback involving water on a hot summer day

Leah and Eva came one day to see everyone again! As you can see, Eva was the center of attention with the little girls. :)

Heading out for a trail ride with the Veteran's class (it is always an honor to work with them!)

I wasn't the one instructing this class so had fun sidewalking again with Will! He was one of the first riders I ever sidewalked with when I first started volunteering, and we have since formed quite a friendship and with his mom and sisters, too (they are the ones who came out to see the baby goat)

The State Fair Day that Wasn't

For weeks, Leah and I had been planning a fun sister day out at the State Fair at a time when Mom was free to watch Eva so it could be just us two. We were both really looking forward to it, and were excited once the day came and we were on our way! 

It is about an hour drive and when we were only about 5 miles away, my van started having issues. Significant ones. As in, we had to pull off and call a tow truck. So, as close as we got to the state fair was riding in a "State Fair Towing" tow truck back to my town and a vehicle repair shop! We had to laugh about that and make the best of it all! And we were able to have some good conversations with the driver (he was really nice) and share a booklet by Mark Cahill with him, too.

Dad picked us up at the repair shop, and then came deciding what to do with the rest of the time we had left. We opted to go to a nearby State Park, stopping on the way at Hobby Lobby as Leah needed some things. Our time ended up being so good and special! We had quiet afternoon together out in the peacefulness and beauty of the outdoors to talk deeply, connect, and enjoy the great blessing of being sisters. 

I didn't even think of taking pictures until we were ready to go and snapped this one real quick.

The State Fair Day that *Was* :)

There wasn't another day that would work for Leah to go to the State Fair, and it didn't look like there was for me either . . . and I have to say, I was disappointed. With how very busy it had been the last month, I had been looking forward to a relaxing and fun day away.

When the alarm went off early Saturday morning the last weekend of the fair, though, I was greeted by the sound of thunder and rain on the roof. A rainy, windy morning meant no farmers market for me since my products and rain aren't a good mix. So . . . my dear, spontaneous Mom said, "let's you and I go to the fair"! Which was quickly seconded by my dad.

She and Dad had their planned date morning together, and then she and I headed out for a much enjoyed mother/daughter time at the fair. We walked through nearly all the buildings, most of the horse stables and cattle barns, watched dairy cattle and dairy goat judging, visited the rabbit barn, watched a pony pull, sat and enjoyed a 'fair tradition' for us: a funnel cake and later state fair corn dogs, and the closing highlight was watching the Budweiser Clydesdales parade by right in front of us and then later watch them give us quite a show when they opened up the draft horse hitches. We had a great time together!

Some of the quilts in the Home-Ec building

Restored antique tractors on display - as you can see, the storms moved through and the afternoon was beautiful

We both loved seeing so many draft horses in the stables! Some of them, like this beautiful Belgian, liked being scratched.

A sleepy Brown Swiss. When we were walking through the dairy cow barns, I was admiring a Jersey when its owner asked if I would like to pet it. That cow was just like my goats and loved neck scratches!

The Clydesdales! Such stately and beautiful animals

In the arena showing how they could all maneuver together around to the other side, 180*, without the wagon moving. It was impressive! After this they made a couple more passes and figure eights around the arena at a trot and then cantered out of the arena. So neat to watch!

The start of the draft horse hitches began with the carts and children drivers age 7-12. We had hoped to be able to see the 6-horse draft hitches, but it was getting late so we headed for home after this class finished.

And there is a brief catch-up of some of the happenings the last couple months!

To close, this encouraging quote by Dave Hunt from The Berean Call came across my facebook newsfeed recently, and I hope it will be an encouragement to you as well:

"Yes, we dare not just mouth doctrine, but must live it. Don't forget, however, it is doctrine, God's truth, that we must live. Truth held in the head that is expressed only in words but not in deeds is hypocrisy. On the other hand, love without truth is sentimentality. Parents who fail to discipline their children (a veritable plague these days) do not really love them. "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten," Christ says (Rev:3:19). Must we not do the same if His love is in us?

"How thrilling to know that God has a purpose for our lives. Yet many Christians sink into discouragement, discontent, depression and despair, feeling that their lives are too difficult, unhappy and meaningless. That should never be the case for any true believer. But what of the elderly, bedridden, or just ordinary Christians with seemingly little influence upon others?

"A life which is devoted to loving and praising God (no matter how lonely and hidden from men's eyes) may bring a greater reward in heaven than that of someone who is on radio, television, writes books, and is known worldwide. Be true to God first in all purity of heart devotion to Him, in diligent study of His Word and in prayer "without ceasing" (1 Thes:5:17). Trust Him to be your strength, to live His very life through you in the power of His Holy Spirit. Such a life of faith brings joy beyond expression!"

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Eva's Exciting News

They say a picture is worth a thousand words! ❤️❤️❤️

I am so excited and thankful to be an aunt again to this newest precious blessing from the Lord! All of our hearts are so full and thankful, and we are looking forward to meeting baby girl in January 2020!

(And could Eva get any cuter?! Leah took this adorable picture for their announcement, and I love how it turned out!)

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Grand Opening!

7,800+. That is how many customers came through the market during the Grand Opening of the Agricultural Park and Columbia Farmers Market Pavilion three Saturdays ago! To say it was a busy day would be an understatement! It was exciting to finally be out at our permanent location, and the atmosphere had a level excitement and fun all day as customers poured through the market.

Phase 1 of the construction is nearly complete! The central third of the pavilion, restrooms, a concrete pad for the entire length, and more parking. My annual stall location is just two spots down from the west side of the pavilion and thanks to that, I have shade for most of the morning, which is most welcome during these hot summer Saturdays.

Once the Saturday markets begin, I don't have opportunity to take pictures so all of these are from before the start of the opening bell . . . .

Inside the pavilion, and vendors are busy finishing setting up! 

My stall (I was moved up one space this particular Saturday so was right next to the pavilion)

It has been so nice to be out at the new pavilion! There has continued to be great customer turnouts on Saturdays, and I stay very busy and the hours fly by as I take care of customers, visit with them, answer questions, restock product, etc. The weekday market is also slowly growing and as it is quite a bit smaller than Saturday markets, I am under the roof then which is nice! No worries about rain or sun damaging products then. :)

A couple of the produce vendors

A fun farm-themed playground for the children

I really enjoy being a part of this market, and it will be exciting to see the progress at the Agricultural Park as Phase 1 is completed and construction begins on Phase 2!

Sunday, July 7, 2019

"God of All My Days" ~ Sunday Thoughts

Summertime at dusk . . . fireflies flashing. . . the slow, almost mournful, call of a Wood Pewee breaking the stillness . . . crickets chirping in the grass at my feet . . . evening bird songs . . . the soft bleat of River to her buckling . . . leaves stirring as a cool evening breeze moves through the trees. 

The other evening I was outdoors enjoying each of these and more as the sun slowly sank below the treetops and darkness fell. The peace, the stillness, the sounds, my heart thrilled with these reflections of my Creator and God who made such beauty and that reflect His "eternal power and divine nature" (Romans 1:20.) He is worthy of all our awe and praise!

Storm clouds rolling in awhile back

Not only did He make the changes of the seasons, but changes as day turns to night and night to morning, or from storms to sunny skies, and there is beauty to be found every moment along the way.

Beauty in the daytime - a picture from a bike ride this past week. I love riding on country roads! The wind on my face and the sound of it in the grasses, Dickcissels singing all along the way, Barn swallows flying and chattering overhead, and the wide array of colorful wildflowers blooming along the road and in the fields - again, a reflection of "the eternal power and divine nature" of our Creator.

I couldn't capture the evening sights and sounds in pictures :), but did of some of those during the day (and two are my dad's photos - the baby raccoon that was up in a tree on our place and a fawn.) Intermixed with the photos are lyrics from several songs . . . over the past few months, I have found quite a few praise and worship songs on Youtube that I really like and have been enjoying listening to while I work. Anyway, I thought I would share some of them with you, and I hope they will be a blessing to you as well!

Lord, I Need You

"Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You're the One that guides my heart

"Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

"Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
Where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

"Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You"

"So teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
When I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus, You're my hope and stay

"Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You"
Matt Maher

Living Hope

"How great the chasm that lay between us
How high the mountain I could not climb
In desperation, I turned to heaven
And spoke Your name into the night
Then through the darkness, Your loving-kindness
Tore through the shadows of my soul
The work is finished, the end is written
Jesus Christ, my living hope

"Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There's salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope"
Phil Wickham

 When seeing this sunflower growing among the rocks, and finally blooming just a few days ago, it reminded me of something an elderly lady shared with me many years ago: "Bloom where you're planted". This sunflower might be tiny due to its challenging growing conditions, but it grew and it bloomed right where it was planted. And it made me smile to see it . . . an encouraging reminder to always bloom right where God has us!

Only Jesus

"All the kingdoms built, all the trophies won
Will crumble into dust when it's said and done
'Cause all that really mattered
Did I live the truth to the ones I love?
Was my life the proof that there is only One
Whose name will last forever?

"And I, I don't want to leave a legacy
I don't care if they remember me
Only Jesus
And I, I've only got one life to live
I'll let every second point to Him
Only Jesus"
Casting Crowns

 God of All My Days

"I came to You with my heart in pieces
And found the God with healing in His hands
I turned to You, put everything behind me
And found the God who makes all things new
I looked to You, drowning in my questions
And found the God who holds all wisdom
And I trusted You and stepped out on the ocean
You caught my hand among the waves
'Cause You're the God of all my days

"Each step I take You make a way 
And I will give You all my praise 
My seasons change, 
You stay the same 
You’re the God of all my days" 
Casting Crowns 

It made me smile to see how well the verse for July in my calendar fit with all of this! Not only was it fitting, so was much of the teaching that Ivan gave at our house church. I had Eva in my lap during it and wasn't able to take notes, so this will be a quick summary of what I can remember that specifically stood out to me. There were many Scriptures taught on and convicting words spoken by Ivan and the input that all the other men added.  

The teaching was on "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21) and about not storing up treasure here on earth, with application going to all things that we fix our eyes on ahead of, or instead of, Christ. For we "cannot serve two masters" (Matthew 6:24.) Is our treasure the things of this earth, material possessions, prestige, success, achievements? Or is our treasure heavenly? 

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;" 1 Peter 1:3-7

All of this earth will pass away, and any wealth or possessions accumulated, yet our inheritance is in heaven! And we are to be storing up treasure in heaven, not here on earth (Matthew 6:19-21.) 

In Luke, Christ shares a parable of a rich man whose crops increased even more, so he built bigger barns and storehouses for himself, yet God's response was "'You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?' So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God" (Luke 12:16-21.)

The one, sole goal and purpose of our lives - and our resources - is for God's glory and as service always for Him (which yes, would include provision for one's family, too.) Whatever we do is to be done as for Him:

"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve." Colossians 3:23-24

Whatever season, whatever circumstances may Jesus Christ be our Living Hope, may we live in such a way that the world sees in us Only Jesus, may we not strive after wealth or men's applause, but our heart cry being instead Lord I Need You and then relying on Him, serving Him, glorifying Him. And may we surrender ourselves to Him, recognizing that He is indeed the God of All Our Days.