Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Two New Babies

If anyone is around me very long, it becomes very obvious that I, yes ME, am a baby hog. I LOVE babies and children. There is nothing more precious than a brand new little one. I love to hold them, and snuggle them and kiss them and smell them and listen to them... There are 2 new ones in my life. A couple of weeks ago friends of ours had a bouncing (read 11.5 lbs.) baby boy (Fritz). Then on the 21st, Michael's baby sister had her third girl, Franny, who weighed in at a wee 6 lbs. 14 oz.

We have had so much going on here. Good friends of ours are moving to Kentucky. We went over to hug their neck and say goodbye on Monday night. Then last night we went to have birthday cake and ice cream with friends. Miss Lydia turned 8 years old. Michael was off last week and no one did his desk while he was gone. They were supposed to, but no one did. They are switching over to a new system this coming weekend and everything has to be current, so he went in early and worked late yesterday and today. He is still not home.

Today we had some rain, and then some sunshine and then some rain. Now, it is not raining, but still overcast. It gets dark so early now.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Abundant Blessings

Michael, my husband was off all of last week. It is always so good to have him home. We were really enjoying one another's company. He had a long list of things he wanted to get done around here. He did not get near done what he wanted to. There were lots of things going on. Tuesday was turkey day. That was the day the turkeys we raised were butchered and people came to pick them up. Thursday was Thanksgiving and we spent most of the day with family. We had errands to run and things to do on some of the other days. Saturday morning, he got up and started mucking out the goat barn. It was going to be a huge job, since we do the deep bedding method. He had done the sheep side of the barn a couple of weeks ago. It always amazes me how much muck he gets out of so small of a space. There were huge piles sitting at the edge of the garden from just the sheep side. Besides mucking out the barn, he also needed to cut some more firewood. I was talking to one of the ladies we fellowship with. She asked me what we were doing that day and I told her. She shared with her husband what was going on here. They decided to see if either of their older sons wanted to come and help. The one son volunteered to come over and help my husband. He just showed up with a pitch fork in hand and headed toward the barn. Pretty soon, here came the Father with a couple more sons. They ended up spending the whole day over here working hard. They pulled out our tomato stakes and stored them for the winter. They graded the entrance to the goat barn which was always soggy. The barn had to be mucked out by pitchfork and wheelbarrow. It is too small for a tractor or skid steer to be able to get into. They ended up going and getting a couple of tractors from a local farmer and a friend's manure spreader. They took all the manure and straw from the goat barn and also the piles from the sheep barn and spread it over our garden. At one point there were 4 tractors here (one was ours). One had a front bucket on it. They used it to load the manure into the spreader. Another larger tractor was used to pull the manure spreader. They used our tractor to pull trees out of the woods to cut up. There were tractors going every which way. After pulling the trees out, the men helped to cut and split fire wood. Our neighbors also came and helped with the wood cutting. We had the one family over for dinner and then we watched a video together. In our fellowship time yesterday, my husband thanked the Lord for the abundant blessings. He said that they helped him to get done what would have taken him 6 weeks to have accomplished. We are very thankful for good friends.

The first 2 pictures are of the guys spreading manure on the garden. The other picture is of their tractor that was also used.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Drawing Winner

Karen won the drawing. Karen, please send me your address via email. Thanks to all who entered. There is so much for us to be thankful for, isn't there.

The Christmas season is here. We have not done a whole lot the last few years. Two years in a row, we went to Florida to be with my parents. When we are going to be gone like that, we do not put up a tree or decorate. Then last year, my Mom had just died and we did not feel like celebrating much. This year, we were going to do a tree, but with all the issues going on here, I am not sure if that will even happen. It does not seem like a time to celebrate.

For those of you with little ones, I heard of a wonderful idea called the Jesse Tree. I have a 5 page Word document listing Old Testament prophecies and their fullfilment in the New Testament. There is also a Word document that gives a title for each day in December up to the 25th. Each day has a title, scripture to read to go with it and a small craft to do. It leads up to the birth of Christ. If anyone is interested, send me an email at marci at amazinggrazefarm dot com with Jesse Tree in the subject line. I will send you a copy.

Does anyone else do anything special to bring attention to the upcoming birthday of our Lord? If so, please tell us about it.

Drawing!! What are you Thankful for?

This post will stay on top. To read the new posts, scroll on down.

Thanksgiving Day is coming up next week. Many people give thanks, but they really don't think about being thankful to God for all the blessings in their lives. So in honor of Thanksgiving Day, we are giving away another book. This book is called Hedge of Thorns It is a nice hard back (padded cover) book from Lamplighter Publishing. It is written for children, but is a good book for all of us to read. In order to be entered into the drawing, please list 5 things that you are thankful to God for, in the comments section of this post. We will put all the names in the hat on Thursday evening (Nov. 23, 2006) and post the winner's name on Friday. I will end this post with my list.

I am thankful to God for:

The gift of His son so that I might spend eternity with Him.
My wonderful husband who has truly been my better half for almost 28 years.
My son who is my special gift from God.
Being brought up in a Christian home.
Allowing me to live on a farm with all my animals.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving Feast!!

We try and eat fairly healthy. We raise all of our own meats and try and make things from scratch, use organic when we can, etc. My Mom was the jello queen. She made some really good jello salads. Her cranberry jello salad was always on the table at Thanksgiving. Healthy or not, I am now making it. Here is my Mom's cranberry jello salad recipe as she wrote it to me.

Holiday Cranberry Salad

1 - 6 oz. pkg. cranberry jello
1 – 6 oz. pkg. raspberry jello
1 – 20 oz. can crushed pineapple (in syrup)
1- 11 oz. can mandarin oranges
½ c. orange juice or juice of 1 orange
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Dissolve jellos in 1 ½ cup boiling water. Add the pineapples, oranges and all their juice. Mix in cranberries crushing the large pieces. Mix in nuts. Refrigerate and stir several times before it sets everything does not float on top.

Enjoy…. Love, Mom

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Happy Birthday Mom!!

Today, my Mom would have been 75 years old. This is her second birthday celebration in heaven. I really miss her and especially so these past few weeks, when I would have loved to talk to her and had her pray with me about things going on in our life. She was a great Mom and she left behind a legacy for us. I just pray that all of her family will come to know and love the Savior that she loved and served so faithfully. That was her deepest desire and wish. She wanted to see each one of us seeking God and serving Him faithfully and being a light in this dark world. Thanks for letting me share my Mom with you today.

Today was turkey butchering day. They are all now chilling in ice waiting for people to pick them up. One less chore on the farm for the winter.

May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Don't forget to take time to thank the Lord for the many blessings in your life.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Life on the Farm

There is so many things going on in our lives these days. Some of them are very hard and break our hearts. Some of them are just life's normal happenings. The Lord allows things into our lives to refine us. He promises us that He won't give us more than we can bear. Through it all, life goes on and there are daily things that need to be taken care of. I want to thank those of you who have sent me notes, emails or called me with encouragement. I look at each instance of that as a warm hug from God through you.

If I had to describe this morning with one word, it would be soggy. We have had lots of rain. When I went out to do my chores, I was very thankful for my muck boots. The ground is squishy and wet, with the mud coming up through the grass. It makes walking a new adventure. Grass and mud can be very slippery. The rain quit and we actually had a couple of hours of sunshine. Now the skies are overcast again and we are expecting more rain. I am thankful for the time of sunshine though. We have a mouse that must have died inside our walls. I have the windows open and the fans on, as it was not smelling too nice in here.

The cows went to the butchers. We pick up our beef this Saturday. The pigs will be going in early December. The turkeys are being butchered next week for Thanksgiving. I know if we had raised 200 turkeys, they would all be sold. I get phone calls every day from people looking for healthy, pasture raised turkeys. All of ours have been spoken for since August. After the pigs go, things will slow down a bit around here. We picked up the buck goat last weekend. We already have one of our does bred and are watching the other for signs of heat. We still need to get a ram here for the sheep, but we don't have a truck right now. We are looking at one on ebay that we will bid on. We have been looking for awhile and hope to have one soon.

The pictures above are of our dog, Star. She is the best dog on the world (as far as we are concerned any way). She is a red=tri Australian Shepherd. She is very obedient and gentle. She loves all types of babies. She lets kittens try to nurse off of her. She trembles with excitement every time we get new chicks. She just stands there and watches them run all around. If you hold one up to her, she gives it kisses. She loves baby goats and lambs. She even loves baby calves. One of her favorite things is to try and get pigeons in our big barn. We don't like having pigeons in the barn since they poop all over our hay. The dogs run in there and climb up on the hay bales and dive for the pigeons that fly by. Star has caught her fair share. She gets so excited. Then she eats the ones she catches. She thinks this is great sport. She just turned 9 in December and is still very agile and spry.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Everlasting Arms

2 Corinthians 4:7-12 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

Psalm 121 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

I am so thankful that I have the Lord to lean on. Praise His name!! His mercies are new every day. He has plans for us. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Place of Refuge

In the midst of the hurt and the feel of the waves of trials splashing around me, I want to rest like a weaned child against the breast of my Master. May I get there and stay there contented.

Psalm 131 LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Lessons from the Lord

It was a bit foggy when I went out to do chores this morning. When I look at the fog, I am reminded of the verse in 1 Corinthians 13. Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face. Many things go on in this world that don't seem to make sense. That is where our faith comes in. Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. We have to believe and have faith that God is sovereign. I have had lots of practice with this concept. I am barren. My son is not a home-made baby, but is an adopted one. He is still the dear son of my heart. God has given me a great love for babies and children. Since I was young, I have loved babies and wanted 12. I don't understand why He has not given us anymore... yet :). However, I do believe that it has been for my good, because the Bible tells me that. I also believe that one second on the other side of the grave that I will see clearly why and will say, "Oh, thank you, Heavenly Father." To me faith is saying thank you on this side of the grave. I am 47 years old. I will be 48 in December, but would still love more children and still hope for more. With all that is going on in our lives right now, I have to keep reminding myself that we are seeing through the glass darkly right now. God already knows the end and it is for our good.

Each morning when I go out to do my chores, my dogs, sheep and goats come running. I know that a big part of it is because I am going to give them feed or hay. However, they do respond to me. My sheep are very leery of everyone else besides my husband and I and are even more comfortable with me, than him. Honeysuckle our goat loves to be scratched and brushed by us and will stand there in total ecstasy. However, if anyone else is near, she is very nervous and dances about and jumps if touched. Magnolia (in the picture above) has her head over the gate because she wants me to give her a peanut. Sometimes her lower lip gets pulled back and it looks like she is smiling at me. However, if anyone else walked in with me, she might not even come into the goat shed. They know their master and they trust us. If it is dark and they hear us out there, they stand really still listening. If we call out to them, they relax, because they know our voice and they trust. Oh, how many pictures in nature did God give to show us how we are to relate with Him. Sunday morning, I opened the Daily Bread and read it. It was a direct word from God to me. I heard my Great Shepherd's voice and I knew Him. I was able to relax and have peace in my situation. Listen for the Shepherd in the midst of your trials and troubles. Feast on the Word. He delights in answering our prayers and longs for fellowship with us.

This last picture intrigued me. I really have not seen a lesson in it yet. These are 2 of my chickens that at this time of day are either busy scratching around for bugs and food, or they are laying eggs. These 2 hens are sitting up on a fallen tree. I just thought it would make a good picture. If you can see a lesson here, please share. I am trying to be more spiritually minded. To see God in the things that are around me. To see the model He has for my life and roles in nature or the trials and troubles that come. I belive time is short. Oh, how I want to hear... "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Polished Stone in the Making

The above pictures are what I saw as I was walking back to the house from chores this morning. Our neighbors were burning brush or something. As I looked to the right of my house big clouds of smoke were billowing up. When I looked to the left of our house, I saw the smoke hanging thick, lazy and close to the ground as the breeze carried it out towards the pasture. It made me think of the smoke coming from our chimney. I love the smell of wood smoke. It is a homey smell to me. The fragrance comes from the destruction of something for our good. The smoke started out as a living tree. Either we cut it down or it was blown down by the wind. Then it is cut into smaller pieces and those pieces are chopped into even smaller pieces. Then we take that cut wood and throw it in a stove or fireplace and set it on fire. It spreads through the house giving us warmth.

Have you or your child ever had a rock polisher? My son got one from his grandparents. They send you a bag of stones with it. They look like ordinary rocks that you could find outside in your driveway. You put a hand full of them together in the tumbler with some pretty heavy duty grit to start with. Then you turn it on. For days, that tumbler turns and those rocks are thrown together and the grit goes between them wearing away the outer layer. Then you take them out and rinse them. It does not end there. They go back in for days with another grade of grit and the process continues. It is a hard grating away of the outward ugliness. When you take the stones out in the end, they are polished smooth and are beautiful not only to the eye, but also to hold in your hand.

A pearl is a beautiful thing. However, it starts out as an irritant. A piece of grit or sand gets in where it is not supposed to be. The oyster keeps trying to coat it and we get a beautiful pearl to hold or wear.

Trials and testings are what polishes us. We have lots of ugliness and things that are not good in us. God allows trials to come our way to fit us for His purpose. My Mom had a Gaither CD that was all about going home to heaven. One of the songs on it was When He Cometh. After the song Joni Earickson Tada comes on and tells about learning that song as a child along with the verse 1 Kings 6:7 And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready at the quarry; and there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building. She said that our time here on earth is the quarry where we are chiseled, hammered, honed, refined and polished to fit us to be jewels in His crown. My family is in the quarry. We have had many trials and testings over this last 2 years and we are in the midst of another severe testing time right now. I pray that the Lord will use all that is going on to make the 3 of us into jewels fit for His crown. There are many going through the fires of testing. I think of Brian and Christina Fuller We need to pray for one another, encourage one another, spur one another on. Are you a polished stone in the making? Are you feeling discouraged because of trials in your life right now? Share them with us. Let us pray one for another. James 5:16b The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Are you a Cackling Hen?

This kitten is a butterball. I am not sure what all he is eating, but I hope the mother cat is feeding it mice. My son named it Gino. We had a cat that he really liked named Ginny, but she got run over, so this is her male namesake. He thinks he belongs wherever the dogs do. You really have to watch when you open the door for the dogs to come in. This little goof comes prancing right in with them.

This morning when I went out to do chores, I was especially aware of the sounds. The wind was blowing and I could hear the dry leaves still on the tree rattling together. You could barely hear the clip clop of horse hooves over the rattle of the steel wheeled wagon the Amish were pulling down the road. Then when I got to the goat shed, the hen you see above was in a crate in the milk parlor. She has just started to lay and she was settling in for today's output. The goat feed can is just over to the right of where this picture was taken. I was trying not to disturb her while she was getting ready to lay. I moved really slow and stayed as far from her as I could. I was filling the second goat feeder when she started moving off the nest. From that point until I was done out there, she fussed and fumed at me. =) I believe she may have been cussin' a blue streak. She would jump back up in the window ledge above this nest to see if I was done yet and out of her way and then she would fuss louder, because I was still there. I even offered her some grain. She was too busy making her unhappiness known to even see there was grain there. She missed a blessing. When I finished, she was outside the goat shed in the pasture still a fussin' for all she was worth. You can see her to the right and behind the goats in the third picture.

It makes me think about how often when we are disturbed , we start a fussin' and a fumin' because we think we have been put out. When all along, if we had stayed quiet and resting all would have been well and we would have received a blessing. I would not have harmed that hen, or even attempted to touch her. She was a worry wart and it ruined her morning. Are you ever a cackling hen? I know there are times I am. I need to remember to rest and wait and allow the Lord to work.

Here is a current picture of what our woods look like. What leaves are left are mostly brown and already dry.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Are you a Giver or a Taker?

At church this morning, we watched a video of a preacher named John Morgan give a message. He said there are 2 kinds of people in this world. Those who give and those who take. He gave many good examples of each. He talked about in the work place... when you get off at 4:30, are you already packed up and walking out the door, or are you finishing your work up so you can leave? When you are on the freeway and someone wants to get in your lane, do you allow them in or try to cut them off? If you complain a lot, you are probably a taker. We need to ask those around us if we are complainers. Most complainers don't even look at themselves as one. He said to think about the most loved person you know. Someone that everyone loves. They are very good at giving love. It comes back to them in a bigger way than they give. The world's wisdom tells us to get more things, make more money, take all that we think is due us. Jesus was a giver. He was always giving and we are to imitate Christ. Godly wisdom is the more you give, the more you are blessed. There was too much shared to be able to tell it all or even to do a good job in telling what little I have, but he encouraged us to be giving. Give of our time, our money, our love, ourselves. Give to our children, our spouses, our extended family and friends. Give to the people you come into contact with everywhere you go. You can't out give God. It will come back to you in greater proportion than you could ever give. Do you see someone with a need.... Fill it. It is easy to do that for people who are nice to us, but we are to do it even to those that are not so nice. There was so much he talked about that hit home with me. What are you doing for the Lord? Many of us go to church and have a devotional time, and even pray for family and friends. However, the rest of our time is about us and what pleases us. I want to be able to stand before the Lord and have Him say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant!" I want to take all that he has given me and use it to give to others. He said that to be a giver is part of character. He said to draw close to the Lord. As you get closer in your relationship to Him, you will start to be a giver without even trying. Oh Father, may I see each situation this coming week of where to be a giver. May I spend time each day with you. Not just reading a bit and praying so I can say I had my quiet time, but to truly sit at your feet.

I don't know how many of my family reads this blog, but I am going to tell a true story about one of them. I have a niece named Carli who LOVES horses. When she was 11 or 12 years old, she was saving her money to buy a horse. I don't remember how much she had, but she had been working hard at it. There church was starting a building program and Carli felt like the Lord wanted her to give her horse money. She very cheerfully and willingly gave all of her savings to the Lord. One of the pastor's heard about it and was sharing it with his son who worked with horses. His son said, one day there is going to be a horse for that girl. After she gave the money, she would pray every night that the Lord would give her a horse. Awhile later, she came to her dad and told him that she was wondering if it was wrong to pray for a horse every night. She felt that maybe the Lord did not want her to have a horse and to continue to ask every night might be selfish. Her dad told her that it was between her and God, but if she felt that God did not want her to pray anymore then she should stop. So, she decided that she would stop praying. If God did not want her to have a horse, then she needed to be content with that. What Carli didn't know is that God did want her to have a horse, but He also wanted her heart. About 15 mins. after telling her dad that she was not going to pray anymore, the phone rang. It was that pastor. His son had not one, but 2 horses for Carli. Another woman heard about it and gave them a years worth of hay, 2 saddles and all the tack that they needed. They already had a barn, so all that they had to do, was to put up some fencing. Carli cheerfully and freely gave up her dream and God gave way above and beyond. Now Carli works for the World Reigning Champion, Stacy Westfall and is able to work full time with horses, plus is gaining all sorts of training and knowledge from the best.

The pictures are just more fall pictures. I think these are actually from another year. =) Most of the leaves are gone around here. I will have to take some more pictures.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Are There Holes In Your Armor?

Our Light Brahma chickens are starting to lay. They are over 6 months old. This is the longest it has ever taken for any of our chickens to start to lay. Yesterday morning, my husband went out to open the chicken coop before work. He found 3 dead chickens inside. Something had killed them, but had not eaten them. There were a couple of small holes that something could get in, so we were thinking weasels. There was a slightly larger hole up high, but he did not think anything came through that one. He went out last night after work, to plug the holes that he had seen. It was dark by the time he got out there, but the light was on because of the timer. He found 2 possums in the coop. The door had not been shut yet for the night, so it is easy to see how they got in. He came back up to the house for something just as my son arrived home. Joshua went out and took care of the problem. I am hoping that this will not put them off laying for awhile due to fright. There were no dead birds this morning. Praise the Lord!!!

This reminds me of our lives. We leave little openings in our spiritual armor. We think that those areas are not so bad. We continue to flirt with things that we have no business being around. However, we allow the enemy to enter through those areas. May we listen to the Holy Spirit and His leading in all areas of our lives. It saves us so much heartache. Often times when the heartache comes then we ask for the Lord to deliver us, or say "Why Me?" Instead, we should start in humble repentance and ask the Lord's forgiveness and then go back and allow the Lord to help us plug the holes we left. There is still heartache, but He will help you to walk through it and he will bear you up in it.

I love the picture someone showed me one time. They drew a circle and put a dot in the center. They said that the circle was the Christian life. The dot in the center was Jesus. Then they took an eraser and smeared the outer circle into a big smudge. They said that in today's world, that the defined circle is no more. Christianity has been watered down in today's world. Many Christians try to see how far into the smudged area they can live and still be a Christian, instead of what else could they change or get rid of to get closer to the center. This kind of thinking is where the holes in our armor come from. May we all listen for the Holy Spirit's prompting to move closer to that center. I am reading a book by John Piper. It is called, "Don't Waste Your Life." I would highly recommend it. I believe that most of us who claim the name of Christ are wasting our lives. We are caught up in the affairs of the everyday life. 2 Timothy 2:3,4 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier May we be about the Master's Business.

The pictures are just some fall pictures and one of our chickens.