Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011 ~ Welcome 2012

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind here, and it seems like the coming of 2012 has taken me by surprise . . . can tomorrow really be the start of a new year? How 2011 has flown by! Looking back on this past year, the central theme that comes to the forefront is God's great faithfulness. As mentioned in a recent post, there have been many trials and testings for us this year, including one of the most difficult things I have ever gone through. Yet, I look back on this past year with thankfulness . . . it really was a wonderful year.

~ I learned in a deeper and fuller way how very near the Lord can be.

~ I learned that His peace truly is one "that passes understanding" . . . when human fear
s try to overwhelm, when things look so dark, His peace can come in like a flood surrounding, filling, and encompassing. There are no words to describe how beautiful, how restful, it is.

~ I learned in a so much deeper way that He is truly faithful. Over and over and over. All the time. No matter how many times 'bad' things happen, no matter what sorrows or pains are suffered . . . He is faithful. And I have realized that in a very real and personal way this past year.

~ I learned, in beautiful ways, how special, and what a blessing, the body of Christ is
. Our church family especially this past year . . . I never knew that people outside of physical family, could give and love and serve and help and support and be there in times of need like what our church family has been for us. It has been amazing . . . and several times, I couldn't stop the tears, when yet again, such love and care was shown to us. How beautiful is the body of Christ! And how thankful I am for these dear ones that we are blessed to know here.

Outside of all of these, there are the physical blessings that the Lord has given . . . our little farm has grown significantly this past year (dairy and meat goats, rabbits, and bees), so many of our goals and dreams are coming to fruition, our garden produced abundantly despite the long drought, and so much more.

And the definite highlight that marks 2011 for us was the precious, precious blessi
ng of Adelyn. Words fail me to describe how very welcomed and loved she is, and how very thankful we are for this special gift from the Lord. She brings such joy to our lives, and it will be exciting to watch her grow and change over this coming year!

The Lord has indeed been good to us . . . in so very many ways.

"The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul, 'Therefore I have hope in Him.'" (Lamentations 3:22-24)

And now the chapter of 2011 is coming to a close, and a whole new empty year lies before us . . . it reminds me of a book with blank pages. Each empty page is just waiting to be written on . . . and what will fill its pages? What joys and sorrows and blessings will be written in it?

I am looking forward to this coming year, excited to see what it will bring for us and what the Lord will do in it. And ever longing that this next year will continue to be one of learning, growing and deepening in my relationship with my Lord and Savior. My prayer is for not only myself, but for all of you as well, that we will seek the Lord first in our lives, that we will hunger for His word, that we will ever seek to bring our lives more into harmony with His word, walking in obedience to Him and bringing glory to Him. Living lives that are fully, completely, and unreservedly consecrated to Him and for His use.

May the Lord's blessings, guidance and wisdom be yours in this next year as you seek to walk in His ways!

"For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord." (Ephesians 5:8-10.)

*All of the photos shared in this post were ones taken during a much enjoyed afternoon walk today in the beautiful 60 degree, sunny weather that marked the close of 2011.


What a week! The days have been so full and thus why this blog has been a little quiet. There is a lot to share, but there just hasn't been the time to put posts together! But now with a lot of the work behind us, here is 'part 2' of the waterline saga . . . .

First of all, thank you all so much for your prayers for us during the past several days . . . they were appreciated!

On Monday, Dad dug another hole right next to our house, and he found the waterline yet again. Only this time, he was able to determine that the waterline went underneath of our house (and not around it like we thought) and that the leak was actually under the house. So . . . what to do next?

Pumping water out of the hole that Dad dug

One quick fix would be to run a flexible smaller pipe through the larger pipe underneath of our house and then just connect it inside to the household plumbing, thus no longer using the underground pipe with the leaks. Mr. M. came out to help us with that on Tuesday (a great blessing!), and he also put a new shut-off valve inside of our house which is nice . . .

Mr. M. putting on the new shut-off valve

Then came time to thread the new waterline through the old . . . and it stopped short after about 18 inches. There was a coupler down in the foundation which was too small for the pipe to go through!

Time for plan C (or was it D now?) Since the weather was going to be dipping just barely below freezing for all of this week, Dad and Mr. M. ran a temporary waterline on top of the ground and joined it up to where Dad had found the main waterline right before it went underneath of the house.

Mr. M. made the valve and then Dad put it on the pipe

All that is left here is to put the temporary line into the valve

It was really nice to have running water again!

Then it was time to start digging . . . and digging . . . and digging . . . and digging some more. After several days out there moving who knows how many pounds of dirt and clay, my body is definitely feeling the effects!

A long line of dirt . . . and there is another one along the other side of the house, too

The end result is a 36 inch deep trench around the house from where the waterline comes into the house to right where we can connect the new line to the old.

The temporary line down in the trench - we put it there on the colder nights so that it wouldn't freeze

And now, we're almost ready to close this chapter . . . all that is left is to attach a new line to the existing line in the house, run it through the trench, attach it to the existing old line that doesn't leak, and then fill in the trench.

We are so thankful that the Lord blessed us with unusually mild weather this week, as it worked out perfectly for this big project!

*If anything in this post is a little . . . non-understandable (which is likely!), it's due to the fact that I am very un-knowledgeable about plumbing! Though, I do know a lot more now that what I used to. :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Weekend Water Adventure

The calm, quiet weekend that we had been expecting started off rather different than that! Saturday morning we awoke to very little water pressure . . . and to back up a bit to explain why that was more of a concern for us, before my Dad had his emergency appendectomy a few weeks ago, we found out that our waterline was leaking somewhere (and we have around 100 yards of waterline). Dad was in the process of trying to find the leak which is really difficult since no water was leaching to the surface anywhere between the water meter and our house. But then he had to have his surgery so we put the waterline out of our minds to wait until after Dad was all healed up and could begin work on it again.

Well . . . when we awoke Saturday with very little water pressure, the first thought was that our leak must have gotten a lot worse. Dad went down to the meter to check and see if the little dial was spinning faster and on his way, stopped in surprise to see our woods just below the water meter full of water!

One of our brush piles surrounded by water now

He raced back to the house to get some pliers so he could turn off our water at the meter while through his head the figures were running of what our next water bill could be. After getting the water turned off, he heard a gushing noise coming from the road . . . it turned out that it wasn't our line at all that had leaked all that water, but there was a break in the main line!

Looking down the road . . . and you can see the two places where the water was bubbling up (our place is directly to the left so that is why all of the water was draining onto it.)

This is the larger of the two holes and was about 4-inches across

After discovering this, Dad came in to call the water company wondering if he was even going to be able to get a hold of anyone given it being a holiday weekend. Eventually, he was able to talk to a real person and about an hour and half later, a crew arrived and were out fixing the main line.

I went down to give them some brownies around lunchtime and talked with them for a bit about the leak . . . it turns out that the main line had completely snapped in two and the force of the water had pushed up through about 5 feet of ground (including a hard packed gravel road) and who knows how many gallons it put out during that time. A LOT! After several hours of working on it, the line was repaired and their giant hole was filled back in.

And while the water company guys worked on the main line break, up at our house we started once again trying to find our own leak . . . when Dad had gone down to the water meter, he saw (by how many gallons of water that had been used) that our leak had gotten quite a bit worse.

Do you know how hard it is to find a water leak when no water is perking to the surface anywhere? It is really hard. Dad started digging in a place where he thought the leak might be . . . and one big hole later that slowly filled up about halfway with water and that had the waterline down in it still yielded no insight. The water wasn't filling the hole like what it should be if it was coming from a waterline leak nearby. So we guessed that the leak must be further up.

Saturday evening then, while Dad ran to town to get the parts that would be needed if we found the leak, I dug a bunch of smaller 'postholes' along where we thought the waterline ran to try to help find where the leak might be. Due to how the water was coming into the holes, we thought we had figured out the general location of the leak.

One of the series of postholes that I dug

So Ryan and our friend Mr. M. came out to help Dad dig in the place where we thought the leak was and after digging one big deep hole (and Dad later dug another), we still came up empty. They dug another hole further down, found the waterline, put in a valve, and from that, determined that the leak was somewhere between by our driveway to up where the waterline connects into the house.

So the saga of the waterline leak search continues . . . anyone have a back hoe and want to come help dig some holes? :)

Mr. M. probing in one of the holes

Daddy digging

And once again, I find myself looking for the blessings (though I will admit to getting a little discouraged there for awhile!) . . . at least we still have water (granted, we're turning it off except for a bit in the evenings for showers, filling up containers with water for our use during the day, etc.), we're having fun working together as a family and with friends, and now at least, we have somewhat narrowed down where the leak is. :) And if you all wouldn't mind praying that we would be able to find it soon and get it fixed, it would be appreciated!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Homemade Peppermint Patties

The other day I felt like making something special and sweet, so pulled out a recipe that I hadn't made in a long time . . .

While a little more messy to make, these are so good and worth the messy fingers. :) Below is the recipe for them with my notes in italics . . . hope you enjoy!

Perfect Peppermint Patties

-3-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
(I use more)
-3 tablespoons butter, softened

-2 to 3 teaspoons peppermint extract

-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

-1/4 cup evaporated milk

-2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

-2 tablespoons shortening

In a large bowl, combine the first four ingredients. Add milk and mix well. Roll into 1-in. balls (I always need quite a bit more powdered sugar to get the 'dough' to a rolling consistency . . . so keep adding it until it's right for you!) and place balls on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet.

Flatten with a glass to 1/4-in (and if they stick to the bottom of the glass, use a spatula to scrap them off the bottom of the glass before lifting it up.) Cover and freeze for 30 minutes.

In a heavy saucepan, melt chocolate chips and shortening over low heat; stir until smooth. (Before the next step, allow your chocolate to cool somewhat otherwise it is much more difficult to do! (speaking from experience there :) Dip patties, allowing excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper; let stand until set (I always put them into the refrigerator so that they harden fully and then that's where I store them as well.)

And that's it!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More Gathered Gems

Recently I was able to finish reading the book Kept for the Master's Use, and what a book! I found it to be so encouraging, convicting and uplifting. A book that I will definitely be recommending to others and one that I will be reading again and again. (And just as a little disclaimer . . . while there were a few things in it that I did not agree with [which seems to be pretty typical with most books other than the Bible :)] overall, it is an excellent book.)

When the last page of the last chapter was finished, I went back and read through all of the quotes that I had written down (and the large sections that I had written down page numbers for) . . . so many gems of wisdom that yet again, spoke to my heart. It is interesting to look back and see which chapters I gleaned the most from, and I wasn't surprised that "My Lips Kept for Him" was one of those!

Reading this chapter really spoke to my heart as being a person who is more of a 'talker' and who loves to visit with others, to have deep, thought provoking discussions, and more, and yet also one who has weaknesses in this area such as sometimes not thinking before I speak and times of being too passionate and/or not having my words be with grace, there was just so much encouragement and wisdom for me in these pages! Another aspect of it that was so applicable is with having a heart for evangelism and a desire to share about the Lord with others, there was much in this chapter that encouraged that.

Anyway, I hope that these selected portions from several of the chapters will be a blessing to you as they have been to me . . . .


"'How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things!' [Romans 10:15]. . . if we want to have these beautiful feet, we must have the tidings ready which they are to bear. Let us ask Him to keep our hearts so freshly full of His good news of salvation, that our mouths may speak out of their abundance." (pg. 63)


"And this is the way the Master keeps the lips of His servants, by so filling their hearts with His love that the outflow cannot be unloving, by so filling their thoughts that the utterance can not be un-Christlike. There must be filling before there can be pouring out; and if there is filling, there must be pouring out, for He hath said, 'Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.' (pg. 91-92; emphasis in the original)


"Not one sentence that passes these lips of ours but must be an invisibly prolonged influence, not dying away into silence, but living away into the words and deeds of others." (pg. 95)


"Literally, a consecrated life is and must be a life of denial of self. But all the effort and pain of it is changed into very delight. We love our Master; we know, surely and absolutely, that He is listening and watching our every word and way, and that He has called us to the privilege of walking 'worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing.' And in so far as this is a reality to us, the identical things which are still self-denial in one sense, become actual self-delight in another." (pg. 115-116; emphasis in the original)


"The love of Christ is not an absorbing, but a radiating, love. The more we love Him, the more we shall certainly love others." (pg. 154-155)


"'For Thee!' That is the beginning and the end of the whole matter of consecration." (pg. 159)


"For the Lord is our Keeper, and He is the Almighty and the Everlasting God, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. He will never change His mind about keeping us, and no man is able to pluck us out of His hand. Neither will Christ let us pluck us out of His hand . . . He that keepeth us will not slumber. Once having undertaken His vineyard, He will keep it night and day, till all the days and nights are over, and we know the full meaning of the salvation ready to be revealed in the last time, unto which we are kept by His power.

And then, forever for Him! passing from the gracious keeping by faith for this little while to the glorious keeping in His presence for all eternity! . . . we showing forth His praise, and He showing the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness towards us in the ages to come! He for us, and we for Him forever!"
(pg. 168-169; emphasis in the original)


" . . . . henceforth it must be, shall be, and by His grace will be our true-hearted, whole-hearted cry -

Take myself, and I will be
Ever, ONLY, ALL for Thee!"

(pg. 185; emphasis in the original.)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Sunday Hymn ~ Living for Jesus

Living for Jesus a life that is true,
Striving to please Him in all that I do;
Yielding allegiance, glad hearted and free,
This is the pathway of blessing for me.

O Jesus, Lord and Savior,
I give myself to Thee;
For Thou, in Thy atonement,
Didst give Thyself for me;
I own no other Master,
My heart shall be Thy throne;
My life I give, henceforth to live,
O Christ, for Thee alone.

Living for Jesus who died in my place,
Bearing on Calv'ry my sin and disgrace;
Such love constrains me to answer His call,
Follow His leading and give Him my all.

O Jesus, Lord and Savior,
I give myself to Thee;
For Thou, in Thy atonement,
Didst give Thyself for me;
I own no other Master,
My heart shall be Thy throne;
My life I give, henceforth to live,
O Christ, for Thee alone.

Living for Jesus wherever I am,
Doing each duty in His holy name;
Willing to suffer affliction and loss,
Taking each trial as part of my cross.

O Jesus, Lord and Savior,
I give myself to Thee;
For Thou, in Thy atonement,
Didst give Thyself for me;
I own no other Master,
My heart shall be Thy throne;
My life I give, henceforth to live,
O Christ, for Thee alone.

Living for Jesus thru earth's little while,
My dearest treasure, the light of His smile;
Seeking the lost ones He died to redeem,
Bringing the weary to find rest in Him.

O Jesus, Lord and Savior,
I give myself to Thee;
For Thou, in Thy atonement,
Didst give Thyself for me;
I own no other Master,
My heart shall be Thy throne;
My life I give, henceforth to live,
O Christ, for Thee alone.

Words by: Thomas O. Chisholm


"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:1-2

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Little Visitor

Look who came to visit!

Ryan and Ashley needed someone to watch Adelyn yesterday afternoon, and Leah and I were more than willing!

We had a wonderful time together . . . 'talking', playing, snuggling . . . and then towards the end of our time together, she began getting really tired and wanted
Mommy. As we walked and rocked her in hopes of having her fall asleep, she would let out these little whimpers from time to time. Singing to her helped her to quiet and relax, but it wouldn't last very long. Leah and I took turns trying to rock and sing her to sleep, and eventually, the little whimpers began to escalate and little tears tracked down her cheeks.

Leah was trying to comfort her when a thought came to my mind . . . our singing generally quiets her, so what about piano music? I sat down at the piano, opened the hymnal and began to play. Almost instantly her crying ceased and by the end of the song her head was nestled on Leah's shoulder and her eyes were shut. But as soon as I would stop, her eyes would pop back open again. So I played until she was in a deep sleep, and then gradually let the playing slow down and get softer and then stop.

Our precious, tired niece was finally getting the sleep that she needed. She slept until our Dad and Mom got home and just a few minutes before Ryan and Ashley arrived as well. With the little nap and then seeing Mommy, everything was all right again!

Leah and Adelyn enjoying time together before Adelyn got tired and fussy - she was really interested in the camera here :)

What a precious little blessing she is . . . a very special gift from the Lord!

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Lending Library

Books. One type of item that it seems that I could always use more of :) . . . I don't know what it is about them, but even just looking at a bookshelf full of books gives me a little thrill. Perhaps it is because inside of those books can be treasures of wisdom, enjoyment, insight, instruction, encouragement, inspiration and more. Or perhaps it is because the types of books I like are generally antiques or Lamplighter books and those types of books have such beauty in the covers and pages!

Either way, I love books. :) And I have really enjoyed over the years to gradually be adding to my collection. From antique stores, thrift stores, garage sales, and library book sales
(you can hardly beat prices of $0.25 and $0.50!), and buying online from places like e-bay and goodwill (where we got most of our Lamplighters.)

One main impetus for both Leah and I to be building our libraries now is for if/when the Lord should bless us with families of our own someday. It would be so much easier to build up a nice collection now rather than later when one might need the books! Now, we can take our time, watch for good deals, and also be v
ery selective and try to build a well balanced collection . . . good, moral, God-honoring fiction; books on science, history, math and more; different grade levels of readers; and the list goes on.

Some of my Lamplighters, plus a few other books, too

And as books are added, we slowly make our way through reading all of them, and first, see if the book is worth keeping. Generally, by the time it has gone past the original perusal before purchasing it, it is most likely a 'keeper'! If the book is one we will keep, we may do some editing in it using a handy dandy tip that was shared with me by my friend, Joy (thank you, Joy! :) . . .

Wite-out! Now even if a book might have small objectionable parts in it, we can simply white them out (or sometimes we even glue pages together or remove whole pages.) It is surprising som
etimes what is put in books for children! So little by little, Leah and I are reading through all of our books and editing them. Right now I am primarily reading history books (of which I have a lot!), and I am enjoying it as history is something that I have always been interested in.

Some of the history books

Yet, neither Leah or I want our books to just sit on our shelves until a possible 'someday' . . . so not only do we read the books to little friends who come to visit and to our sweet niece, Adelyn, but we started our own 'lending library'!

Some of the Eloise Wilkin's Golden Books . . . her books are really nice

It sounds more official than what it really is :), but basically, we're loaning out books a few at a time to some of the children that we know. It has been so wonderful doing this, and then hearing how much they enjoyed the books and their favorite parts, and then their excitement when they can take new ones home with them!

Some recent ones that were just returned

It is so nice seeing the books being used and enjoyed by others!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Doll Making

In spare hours here and there the past few weeks (mainly the 'empty' spots between morning and afternoon/evening chores and making dinner), the sewing room has been a buzz with activity! Doll making has been the theme, and most of my leisure evening projects (like hand quilting) had been set aside so that I could do things such as embroider faces, sew snaps on the doll dresses, stuff the doll bodies and sew them closed, etc. And here are a few of the ones created recently . . .

A custom order Betsy doll that went to Australia

Remember the post with photos of doll clothing that I was making? Well, now this dress has a doll to wear it! She's in the shop right now.

This is probably my favorite of all the doll dresses I have made so far. Leah helped pick out the fabrics, and I love the combination!

It has been fun making all of these, and also to start selling internationally. I hadn't really thought about that taking place, but in the past several weeks, quite a few dolls were mailed to Australia and one to Israel as well. It hasn't even been a year yet since I first introduced the Annie and Betsy dolls, and I have been pleased with how it has gone so far and how much I enjoy it. I think I may have found my 'niche'. :)

Has anyone else been creating things in the sewing room lately? Or have any
other projects you are working on?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

When Things Go Wrong

This post was written Thursday morning before I knew my Dad was not feeling well (and it was interesting timing as you'll probably see through some of what is written here!), and I didn't have time to get it posted until now . . . .

With living on a farm, one thing that is quickly learned is that things don't go perfectly smoothly without any problems (isn't that pretty much how all of life is, though? :) . . . crops fail, bugs destroy
produce, equipment breaks, animals get sick, injured or die. Difficulties arise that need to be figured out and taken care of. And there are so many opportunities to learn and grow . . . to cultivate and practice having a heart of joy at all times and trusting in the Lord no matter how many times 'bad' things happen. Even if they come in quick succession which seems to be the story of our past year. I am thankful, though, that the Lord uses these bumps in the road to grow us, and it has almost become something we smile about now when yet *another* thing arises!

So the beginning of last week when our goat Sadie went down (as in, she couldn't walk or stand at all), while it was quite hard to see her like that, we worked together to care for her, and to try to
figure out what was going on and how to fix it . . . researching online, e-mailing the breeder that we got her from (who has been raising hundreds of Boer goats for years), posting on a goat forum . . . and we narrowed it down to only three possibilities. All lead to death if not treated, and the third could lead to death or permanent paralysis even with treatment. We were really hoping it wasn't the latter!

Sadie's living quarters right now . . . Dad had built this wooden 'crate' for putting in the back of the truck to haul goats in. Now it's inside the hoop house for Sadie to stay in until she's well, or until it's time to move her to the barn when it's her kidding time.

First was treating for low calcium which can come up in late pregnancy . . . treatment for that is one dose of calcium given through five different shots followed by another round later. (Leah has become very good at giving shots now!) If this was it, improvement should be seen within 24 hours . . . 24 hours passed, and she was still down.

We also tested her for option number two, Ketosis (pregnancy toxemia), which was negative.

It looked like, then, that the worst case scenario was what she had . . . meningeal deer worms. I had never even heard of these before, and now I know more than I would have liked to. They are transfer
red by snails and slugs, and when a goat gets them, they enter the spinal column and travel to the central nervous system. This causes the paralysis in the back legs which eventually spreads to the front and then to the death of the goat. And even if the worms are killed through treatment, the damage they caused is most times permanent.

With our goat Sadie, her front legs didn't seem to be affected much at all yet, one of her hind legs wasn't too bad as she could still put a little bit of weight on it and she could move it. The other, however, was completely limp (including the muscles themselves) which is what made it so that she couldn't stand up at all.

The treatment for this is three and four rounds of very heavy doses of two different wormers and then a heavy dose of an injectable anti-inflammatory. These can cause complications with pregnancy (including loss of kids), but at this point, we were willing to risk the kids in hopes of saving Sadie and hopefully the kids as well.

Comfortable and cozy on her bed of hay

We began the treatment four days ago and are also giving Sadie's legs a thorough rubbing a couple of times a day to help keep them from atrophying. We are also using a sheet underneath her belly to hoist her up once a day so that she can stand for a bit, and then so we can rub her hind legs even more thoroughly.

And yesterday we saw the tiniest glimmer of improvement . . . Leah and I had gotten the sheet underneath of her and lifted her up while Dad pulled up on her horns to get her front end up so that she was standing. While Leah and I held her up (which is a job since she is around 200 lbs right now!), Dad rubb
ed and rubbed both of her back legs. She was putting a bit of weight on the better of her hind legs and her front legs were stronger and more stable as well which we were glad to see.

While she stood, Dad was
really working the limp leg, and as he was pushing it up and pulling it down, he felt the slightest bit of resistance . . . not much, but there was something! And unlike other 'exercise times', Sadie seemed a bit sensitive to the movement which means that she just might be starting to get some feeling back in the leg! It certainly isn't much progress, but it is something which is more than what we thought she would have.

Then later in the day when I was massaging her limp leg, she actually pulled it just a bit away from me. Progress again! The muscles are also starting to feel like there is a bit of firmness to them instead of being 'mushy'. Who knows how far she will be able to progress in her recovery, but every little bit is most welcome.

So that's one little adventure that we have been dealing with lately. And why, as mentioned in a post earlier this week, chores are taking a lot longer now! In the midst of dealing with this, though, there were things of encouragement . . . like being able to feel Chloe's babies moving all around inside of her. And then twice this week, Dad has felt Sadie's babies moving as well! That was really encouraging as with all of her falls, treatments, etc., we weren't sure how the kids would have fared. Now it's only 5 weeks and 1 day until her due date! We're really hoping she is able to make it that long, and even more so, that she makes a full recovery

Sweet Sadie curious as to what I was doing

The other evening as I was thinking about Sadie and all of the other things going on, I was reminded of the verse in James: "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance" (James 1:2-3.) Even trials, no matter how big or small, have blessings for they can be used for growing in, and being strengthened in, our faith in the Lord. What a wonderful reminder no matter what circumstances we may be going through!

Friday, December 9, 2011

So Thankful to the Lord . . .

. . . that my Dad is all right.

Yesterday morning he wasn't feeling too well and by evening, was wondering if he had appendicitis. What followed was a trip to the emergency room for he and my mom while Leah and I stayed home to do all of the animal chores.

After running some tests, they found that it was appendicitis, and he needed immediate surgery.
The appendix had not burst yet, thankfully, but it wasn't far away from doing so. We were so thankful that the doctor on call was one who is very good at these types of surgeries! He got Dad in right away and the surgery went quickly and smoothly.

Dad was already out of surgery by the time that Ryan, Ashley, Adelyn, Leah and I were able to arrive. Our dear friends, Mr. and Mrs. M. had also gone to the hospital, and it was so nice to have them there. And I am so glad that they went, too, as since they could get there before we could, then Mom didn't have to be there all by herself sitting in an empty waiting room during the surgery.

Late last night then after Dad had spent some time in the recovery room, we were all able to see him for a bit. He was doing great . . . and after a night and morning spent at the hospital, now he is home recovering! It has been a whirlwind past day, and we are so thankful to the Lord for how well things went and that he made it through everything all right!
"Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation . . . an ever present help in trouble." (Psalm 68:19; 46:1)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Snow, Little Friends, and More

Yesterday morning, we awoke to a thin blanket of snow on the ground and big, beautiful flakes falling from the sky. Since the snow had been taken out of our forecast earlier, it was a bit of a surprise to see! The first snow of the year gave us about an inch, and since it didn't even get above freezing yesterday, it was still on the ground this morning. By afternoon, though, most of it melted off as we had a welcome day of sunshine.

A snow covered pinecone

The quiet beehive . . . though if you put your ear up next to it, you can hear the hum of them inside

Chloe taking a peek at me from inside the hoop house . . . but she decided that it wasn't worth it to venture out into the snow!

Little by little the grass and the fallen leaves are getting covered up

It seems a bit funny to have snow on the ground, as we just harvested a December salad a few days ago!

Mom had planted some lettuce this past fall, and I covered it with plastic, and it has made it through below 20 degree temperatures so far . . . it will be interesting to see how long it lasts!

With the cold temps and the snow on the ground yesterday morning, we bundled up warm and had an enjoyable time taking care of the animals in the snow. Though chores take much longer now with needing to unfreeze all of the animal waterers! We also have another aspect of chores that takes a long time, but I plan to post more about that a little later. Once chores were finally finished, I headed indoors and worked on sewing a doll order until the afternoon. And then some of our little friends came over to spend a couple of hours with us, and we had a wonderful time!

What started as a duet by Leah and the oldest girl, became a four part song :)

After talking and playing a bit in the living room , we went into the dining room for painting, drawing and whatever else their imaginations might want to do . . .

Making a snowman out of construction paper

While her older sister paints one

And while her older brother draws a number of different instruments

Leah painted with the two oldest girls, their brother worked on pencil drawing, and the littlest one and I did coloring together . . . and used lots of stickers. :) She loves those!

Everyone was having such a fun time, and I think we spent about an hour and a half doing various crafts. There was laughter, pleasant conversations, and good discussions, too. At one point, the littlest one told me that all of the things that she was making were for her Mom because she loved her. Then she said something about how she would give one to God, too, but He is in heaven. One of her sisters made the comment, then, that God is also right here with us, which led to us talking about God always being with us, hearing what we are saying, knowing what we are thinking, seeing what is in our hearts, and more. It was wonderful!

The littlest one's finished snowman . . . all decked out with flower stickers. :)

Towards the end of working on the crafts, I had a memory come back of something that my Mom did for us when we were little and how much fun we had with it . . . Indian outfits! Out came red, green, yellow, and brown construction paper for little headresses that each of the girls was excited to wear, and when the comment was made by them that all they needed now was matching clothes, out came paper sacks! The end result was three adorable little Indians who had so much fun in their "outfits" . . .

Towards the end of their time with us, the children had a really fun time with both of our parents!

After getting everything cleaned up on the table, we played the 'bottle toss' game that we used to do in our girls group. Only this time, when we tossed the bottle around, whoever caught it shared one thing that they were thankful for. The children loved this, and I loved hearing their answers! Especially when the little three year old lisped out that she was thankful that God gave her eyes. :)

Before long, their mother arrived to pick them up so we said our goodbyes until the next time that we see each other!