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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hay

Abby and Justin stack another 40 bales in the barn.
















Friday, April 18, 2014

A Good Thing, But A Hard Thing

I just spent the first of what will end up being a few days of having very few children and no husband around. It doesn't happen often. Abby is off to her classes, her job, her babysitting obligations, her date with Justin. Nathalie is, of course, at school in South Carolina. Hannah is visiting my brother's family and Rachel and Samantha are on a trip to Kansas with my parents to visit my sisters. Sam is working. And so I am alone. 

Yesterday I cleaned. Washed floors and counters, which stayed clean! In the evening I visited a friend's opening at an art show and was reminded how I enjoy looking at art, especially young people's art. I should make more time for that. I made myself a salad for dinner and tucked myself up with a book. I should make more time for that too.

Today... the shine on being alone has dimmed and I am feeling... hmmm... the word that comes to mind is obsolete. Obsolete is an interesting word with several definitions and I think several apply to me here:
1)  no longer in general use; fallen into disuse. As time goes by my kids no longer NEED me. Not like that deep need that infants and small children have for their mother. Now it seems I am more of a convenience. Food, clean clothes, the occasional encouraging word or reining back in. They are all growing up and making decisions on their own. And while this is EXACTLY what we raised them to do, it still pricks the heart to not be included in their sisterly powwows and tete-a-tetes. Being obsolete is a good thing, but a hard thing.

2) effaced by wearing down or away; worn out. As time goes by I find myself feeling more exposed, more vulnerable. I find I cry more easily, get frustrated more quickly, and feel things more deeply. Circumstances have worn me down, exposing my raw nerves and edges. I have to remind myself that just because something or someone hurts me, it doesn't mean they are in the wrong. It may just mean that God is drawing my attention to another area in my heart that needs to be dealt with. It is these times when my soul cries, "I am so tired of running this race. When will You come for me? How much longer Lord until I am Home?" Being obsolete is both a good thing and a hard thing. 

3) imperfectly developed or rudimentary in comparison with the corresponding character in 
other individuals. As time goes by I am more aware of how woefully inept, flawed, and "imperfectly developed" that I am. Spending time in God's word and in prayer, I see how "rudimentary" my faith is when compared to the character of others. And then I am also given so many more opportunities to face my lack of faith in "real life" circumstances. I wish I could say I am a fast learner, but it seems I am making the same stumbles and falls over and over again. It keeps me remembering that I am not alone in this and I have a hope that is greater than this world (emphasis is mine):

 2 Corinthians 4:7-15 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you.
 But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “believed, therefore I spoke,” we also believe, therefore we also speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.
And here lies my hope, my joy, my resting place:
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

And so being obsolete keeps me humble; a good thing and a hard thing. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Ups and Downs

Farm life, even small scale hobby farm life, has its ups and downs. Sometimes it seems more downs than ups. Kidding season started off poorly with a bad kidding which ended with both the kid and the doe dying. Then a few days later a surprise set of triplets were delivered with no issues other than the doe decided that, out in 2 degree weather, was the perfect place to have her babies.

Barcelona (the mom) Buttercup, Humperdink, and Westley.


Humperdink

Westley

A few days ago one of Samantha's does needed an emergency c-section. Thankfully the two kids were delivered alive and healthy; a buckling and a doeling. We have an amazing vet who understands how and why we do things. She takes all of our successes and all of our failures to heart and stands beside us in all of them. She's practically family and we love her dearly. We thought we were going to lose the dam, but this morning Jessie was perky and eating hay. While we are not yet out of the woods with her, we are cautiously optimistic.
Anyonewanna Peanut and Andre the Giant at less than 24 hours old.


Samantha and the babies do homeschool in the basement (aka goat ward).

Justin helps to feed the babies.


Jessie stood and walked to her hay!

Another recent "up" comes from in the house, rather than in the barn. Abigail is engaged! Her fiance is Justin (seen in the above pictures) and he is wonderful. He got a crash course in goats during the c-section and managed to not faint, or be sick, while helping to pull the babies out. He's a hard worker, loves God, and adores our Abby, which are really what matters most. A Summer 2015 wedding is the current plan.

With five more goats left to kid between now and the beginning of June, I know we will have many more ups and downs. I am hoping for more on the up side rather than the down side, but God teaches us in all things to lean on Him. So we continue on, leaning on Him for our wisdom and understanding.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sheep and Waves

No wonder the Bible calls us sheep. Sheep aren't very bright. I am a pretty stubborn sheep sometimes.

Have you ever had one of those moments, where it's as if you have been handed a mirror and you suddenly can view yourself, and it isn't pretty?
When you remember something you did, even if it was years ago. Something you had forgotten about until that very moment. When you see it in a whole new light and that glaring spotlight reveals to you that you did something really ugly?
That moment that happens when you are speaking, and there is a small voice in your head saying, "Excuuuuse me! Helloooo! Do you hear yourself?!?"
I have. 

I always find it fascinating how God works. I suppose I shouldn't be amazed at it, but then again, I pray I am never so aloof that I am not awed by Him. 
I am awed how in those quiet times with God, He shows me things in my life, parts of who I am that need some adjusting, and then that very day something happens to hammer the point home. 
That's what happened a few weeks ago. Only it was more than a hammer. More like crashing wave after crashing wave.I tried to convince God (as if it were even possible) that I am right and He simply had the wrong idea. Did I mention I am like a sheep and not so bright? I did? Ahh. 

And God held fast to me and my heart. He just didn't let go. Every time I read my Bible, every sermon I heard preached, every time I turned around it seemed, I bumped into this "thing".

And that "thing" that God was telling me I needed to get right?

My tongue. A specific incident that had occurred years ago kept coming to my mind. I saw it in a new way. A way that did not sit well in my heart. 

James in the Bible wrote a whole chapter about the tongue. It's a fire that burns everything in its path. The book of Proverbs is chock full of admonitions regarding our words. You would think that with all that good instruction, I'd have figured it out by now. Nope. Baaaa.

The first few times I felt this conviction about my words, I blew it off. Lip service to God, in a sense. And then, like Jacob, I wrestled with God. 

I argued with God for weeks. 
Really. 
Weeks. 
Baaaa.

Then something happened which initially, seemed completely unconnected. I was defending myself to someone and words that were so full of self-pride, self-love, self-everything, came out of my mouth. And they literally echoed in my head. 
Seriously. I can still hear them echoing. Like a crashing wave pounding on the shore.

Later that very same day, someone said something about me that hurt. They didn't say it to me directly, but it got back to me, as those things often do. And God pricked my conscience again. Another crashing wave. 

Do you know, I still argued with God about it? I rationalized and justified myself and my actions. Stupid sheep. Baaaa.

I'll never begin to understand how the Lord does this, but He brought me to a passage of scripture that stopped all my arguments:
Psalm 50: 16-21
 16 But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?
17 Seeing thou hatest instruction, and casteth my words behind thee.
18 When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers.
19 Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit.
20 Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son.
21 These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.

Whoa! I knew in that moment that I was wrong. Very, very wrong. Confessing it to God was easy once I stopped arguing with Him and admitted I was wrong. 1 John told me that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all our unrighteousness.
Yesterday afternoon I was reading through the book of Matthew and came across a passage I have read so many times:
 Matthew 5: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Do you know that stupid sheep within me, tried to argue with what I knew God was telling me to do? I really didn't want to go through that struggle again. So I did what I should always do. I prayed for strength and then did what God was teaching me to do. 

God isn't done with me yet. I am still a sheep in so many ways. Baaaa.










Sunday, December 15, 2013

Legacy

A legacy is defined by the dictionary as "something received from an ancestor or predecessor." Our girls have inherited an amazing legacy from their great grandfather. A legacy, I pray, they will never lose sight of; one they will strive to live up to all their lives.

My grandfather was known as a powerhouse. It's the one word that has been repeated over and over when describing him. Always moving, working, tinkering. Very little could slow him down. When he was younger, from the stories told, that got him into trouble often. He fought in World War II, became an electrician and a self-taught engineer. He created and ran his own business. He raised nine children in a huge house with fields, animals, and barns. He was always working on a project for that house. I can still smell his basement workshop: paint, wood, soil, turpentine, all mixed with the moldy mustiness of being underground.

One day when I was about eight or nine. Grandpa and my dad were in the workshop and I was allowed to go down with them. Grandpa gave me a hammer and told me to close up the paint can. I banged on that lid and splattered paint all over my grandfather. I remember the stunned look on his face and the thought that I was going to get yelled at and banished from the workshop. He calmly pulled out the rag, that was always in his pocket, wiped the paint splatter from his face and glasses, and then showed me how to clean the groove with a paintbrush, cover the can lid with a rag, and then hammer it closed. 


In that basement, Grandpa would give us pieces of scrap lumber, jars of nails, and hammers. We would all build boats, with turrets, the bigger the better. Then we would take the boats to the stream and float them down under the little bridge Grandpa had built. We'd retrieve them, run back, and do it again. It didn't take long before Grandpa was suggesting we bomb those boats. We would find the biggest rocks we could carry, and stand on that bridge waiting for the boats to appear. The race was to see who could demolish the boats the quickest and with the most splash. My mother, in the background, would be reminding him that we had a two hour ride home and no changes of clothes. He pretty much ignored her and would yell, "Man the torpedoes!" all the louder.

I have memories of painting fences, scraping paint off the house, painting the house, building cement and stone steps, burning trash at the "dump", and pruning apple trees. Whenever we went to grandma and grandpa's house, we worked. And we were happy to do it because it meant we heard stories.

Grandpa was a story teller. If the story wasn't big enough, he made it bigger. Gestures and a big booming voice punctuated his points. We loved it when we were young and he told us the story of Brer Rabbit and Tar Baby. He would stand in the middle of the living room while we sat on the couch, and he would act out the story with punching fists, kicking feet, and sound effects to illustrate that rabbit getting stuck in the tar. 

As we grew older his stories became ones of family history. His days in grade school, in the Navy, and stories of the "original" Meme and Pepe Cormier and his aunts. His stories were long with many side stories, often with exaggerations and embellishments, but always with a life lesson embedded in them. 

Grandpa loved food. Especially sweets. We knew a trip to grandpa and grandma's house meant candy bars and "Super-Dupers". My parents knew that at least one of us would be sick on the way home. After dinner, Grandpa would pull out the ice cream and then with dramatic flair start hauling out the super-duper toppings: jimmies of every kind imaginable, cherries, whip cream, bananas. Every sauce or ice cream topping ever imagined and a few he invented himself! 

He would make himself a glass of "Indiankickapoo juice" (it took me well into my teens to figure out what that really was), we would take turns climbing onto the "bread drawer" and dictate to him what we wanted on our ice cream. Grandpa would heap on the toppings while my mother, in the background, would be reminding him that we had a two hour ride home and all of us were prone to motion sickness. He pretty much ignored her and would squirt on another mound of whip cream. Always with a cherry on top. 

Grandpa leaves us all the legacy of a good work ethic, story telling, patience and longsuffering, and the most amazing super-duper ice cream sundaes ever constructed. He set the bar high for each of us. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Decorating the Tree

The Naked Tree













Samantha demonstrates the latest in "Garland apparel".






We left Nathalie's special ornament off the tree so she can put it on when she gets home from college.

We tried a new kind of tree this year: Scotch pine. OUCH!!


Justin puts the angel on top. He was the only who could do it without getting poked by the tree!


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