Der Regen

Hello everyone!
It seems like the South is notorious for humidity – but isn’t it ironic how we always suffer from lack of rain in the summer time?

We had a terrific thunderstorm last night (woke me up at a little after three this morning) I thought; “Oh, Thank the Lord! Rain for Daddy’s garden!” Well, when we got up this morning and went out to do our chores at the barn the normal dissapointment struck – it hadn’t rained enough to soak anything. I’m sure what little rain we got did help the plants and I’m thankful for that but Daddy still had to water the garden this morning.
Maybe it’ll rain yet. We can pray so anyways – it sure is cloudy enough for it!
So, I know I titled this entry “the rain” but, I guess that’ll have to do for just the first part.
We’ve rearranged! that’s always an excited time for me – I know a few people who aren’t too fond of changing their rooms around but…I feel sorry for them.
Rearranging gives me a chance to see things in a new, fresh perspective – and it tends to help me get rid of all the dust that’s piled up in the corners and crevases (and that likes to irritate my allergies and asthma!), and make new resolutions to keep my room clean – even if I have a hard time doing that!
And, I’ve not been ignoring my cooking duties. I made a new lasagna recipe yesterday evening and I thank the Lord it turned into an even better success than my last attempt at a made-up recipe. Here it is;

9 lasgna noodles cooked to your taste, drained, rinsed, and buttered
a quart of tomatoes in their own juice (we home-can)
onions
Italian seasoning
salt
pepper
tomato paste
a little garlic powder
a little chilli powder
turkey sausage (venison would be perfered!)
cheese (I used a mixture of colby&jack, home-made mozerella, and parmessan)

I took the quart of tomatoes with a little water (just enough to rinse the jar clean), some onion to taste, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and chilli powder and let that cook over a pretty high heat while I prepared the noodles and cooked the sausage done (don’t slice, just cook the sausage like hamburger). (All this is to taste.) Put in the can of tomato paste and let the sause cook ’till it’s the consistency you want.
To prepare the lasagna I put a small amount of sause in a casserole dish (any oven-safe dish that will accomodate a row of three noodles). Then I put down three noodles, covered them with sause, a layer of sausage, and grated cheese on to taste. I did this with the next layer of noodles (which you lay opposite the first layer) and on the top layer (which is laid like the first) I simply put a little sause and another layer of cheese (a little thicker than the under layers).
When you’re assembling the lasagna would be a good time to experiement. I’d like to try things like mushrooms, celery, shredded carrot, sliced squash, cabbage, bannana peppers, bell peppers – things like that would add nutrition and an extra twist.
You bake it just long enough to nicely brown the cheese on top. (350*)

(I wish I had a picture but…sorry!)

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Some Struggles from Life

I’ve been having a very hard time lately, struggling with feelings, hopes, dreams that are common to girls my age – but they’re like a “common” cold. If you caught it, it may give other people relief when they hear your complaint is just the “common” cold but when you’re lying in bed shivering from head to toe, aching chest, and burning eyes to hear you just have a “common” cold is no comfort; your complaint is still very serious, painful, and burdensome. So it is, I’m learning, with many girls in my age group. Things they take very serious are dubbed “adolescent problems” – “Everyone has them” “it’s nothing new”, but to them the feelings they are fighting are very new, very painful, and more often than not, very crushing.
     For many, many girls- and I suppose boys too – going through the transition between child and adult can be very hard; it is a time of growing, learning experiencing, but it can also be a time of pain, mistakes, fighting – inside one’s soul and outside – discouragement – oh, life in every way can seem so hopeless, so lost, so useless.
      
            I used to think because I was a Christian I’d never have such struggles – what’s so hard about growing up anyhow? Does being a Christian raise any mortal to a status of immortality? Does having Christ in you totally transform this worrying, struggling, emotional being into a bundle of complete peace, joy, love, forgiveness and trust – constant abiding in the things of the Lord?
            The Bible says Jesus promises all these wonderful gifts to His children – He says He and the Father “will make our abode in you.” Jesus, God, is nothing but Love – love.
            “Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never faileth.”
            Isn’t this the picture of Christ? Isn’t this the true meaning of love? Do I possess this sort of love? Do I function in this love?
            Love is Christ, Christ dwells in us. If we let Him He will be the very wellspring of our lives – then His Life – this Love – will come forth and operate – without us being aware of it. His Life will replace our life; His thinking our thinking, God is Love.
I accepted Jesus, I’ve been baptized, Jesus nailed my sinful nature to His cross, I’m free. Jesus did all things – now I can do all things through Christ Who strengtheneth me.
            As a Christian – even if I’m a young girl (or boy ) growing up, finding myself – making the transition all youth make – or if I’m a parent dealing with such a child or a wife supporting her husband, or a husband providing for his wife; all things are well and easy. Life is like a smooth sleigh ride across a level white world. All things are beautiful, life is easy. Why? Because I’m a Christian! Jesus lives in me.
It’s that easy. Is it?
            A young Christian girl suddenly finds herself crying herself to sleep over worries she knows are silly but she can’t get away from. She prays, she pours over her Bible – no comfort. Frustration, confusion, she blames herself.
A young Christian boy – frustrated with life. Confused by feeling, dreams his dad says “God’ll take care of “ or “Everyone has them” or “You’re just growing up”. Why is he fighting inside – feeling like a pot of water is boiling over deep in the pit of his stomach? Isn’t Jesus with him? Isn’t he a Christian anymore?
            How about parents? Through the economic crisis Dad’s lost his job, times are tough – joy is gone. Where is Jesus? He promised us peace, joy, happiness – security in Him. Why are we struggling through each week? Why can’t we keep food in the pantry? Why’s the lights going off because we can’t pay the bill? Why are our children so discontented? Why’s our family feeling like it’s falling apart?
Where is Jesus now?
Believe not those who say,
The upward path is smooth
Lest though should stumble in the way
And faint before the truth.
To labor and to love
To pardon and endure
To lift thy heart to God above,
And keep thy conscience pure.
Be this thy constant aim
Thy hope, thy chief delight,
What matter who should whisper blame,
Or who should scorn or slight.
If but thy God approve
And if within thy breast
Thou feel the comfort of His love
The earnest of His rest.
Believe not those who say, the upward path is smooth.
How profound.
When one thinks of Christianity they think of hope, joy, peace fullness, eternal life.
            But if all of a Christians life was “tea and scones” why was the apostle Paul so distraught?
            “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present in me, but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would, I do not, but the evil which I would not, that I do. O wretched man that I am who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
            Oh it is so natural for human beings to do that which is natural for human beings
            A young boy finds himself full of lust, a young girl discovers that she can’t quit thinking about getting married, or she’s obsessed with the idea of having a baby, parents can’t make themselves quit worrying about their children mothers are amazed to learn that their main thoughts aren’t on Jesus and His love at all – all they think about is getting food on the table, keeping clean clothes, or taking their child to a Dr. Dad’s can’t believe they are so possessed with family finances, business, farm job… nothing that has anything to do with Jesus!
            But we’re human! Don’t we still live on earth? Jesus dwells in us, we’re Christians, but does that mean we’re angels in heaven already? We still need clothes, food, money – we’re still growing up, we’re still parents, family, we’re still humans!
            So where’s all the peace, joy, and fullness Jesus promised? How are we to be human without being overcome by all these worries?
            “Take no thought for tomorrow”
“Trust in the Lord thy God”
Such simple commandments, aren’t they? But jump into the hub-bub of the world today and those commandments are like asking a deaf person to listen – is seems impossible, impolitic.
            So we go on, pushing our way among millions of unbelievers, fighting to survive, just like they do and then turn around and say, “Jesus! Where are you? Where’s the peace and joy You promised?
            “We never can prove the delights of His love, ‘till all on the alter we lay. For the favor He shows, and the joy He bestows are for all who will trust and obey. Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.”
            How many of us have the joy, peace, fullness, that Jesus promised us in this life? How many of us truly “trust and obey” Him? It’s so easy to be caught up in the struggles of life. We are still humans. We do require certain necessities for survival, we do have a time of storms where we “grow up”, we do have a life of trials ahead of us.
            But Jesus said He knows the number of hairs on our heads – He said take no thought; He said He knows when the smallest sparrow dies – and how much more are we to God than thousands of sparrows?
            Jesus knows what we are going to do before we even think it, He sees our thoughts, our motives;  He knows what is in man and He loves us just as we are.
            Oh how true that little saying is, “A pound of worry never yet cancelled a single ounce of debt.”
            Jesus has our lives as His first concern. He knows what is going to happen. If we allow Him, He has everything planned according to His purpose.
            So why do we sit and worry? Why do we get up and try to run away? Why do we panic and try to figure out what to do? Why do we beg and beg to know God’s will? Why can’t we just trust our Father to know how to care for His children?
            I know you still say this is impossible. But when you really think of it, isn’t it sort of stupid to try to figure out what to do when Jesus already has the plans laid out? It’s not only stupid, it’s dangerous – we can make so many mistakes trying to “fix” something we think is wrong – not realizing that all these troubles are in Jesus’ plan!
            When I think of myself and the trouble I’ve put myself and my family through with my worries, thoughts, frets – I can laugh and cry too! Oh the stupidity!
            Jesus has my life planned out! He knows what to do – all I have to do is trust Him, like a child his parent and what comfort it is to know that my Father will never be wrong!
Don’t try to run from burdens. Don’t try to escape. Don’t try to figure it out. Don’t even pray your burden will be removed.
            Pray that Jesus will be your grace, your ability to rise above the burden. Pray that Jesus’ Life in you will come forth – He never doubts, never worries, never struggles, or fights. He is love. Peace . Joy. Fullness – Trust.
Look at each new trial as a lesson, an opportunity, to see your Father work.
            Life will truly then be all “tea and scones”.
            You may fall still. You may still stumble and yield to the pressure of your circumstances but look to Jesus – even from your place in the mire that has tripped you up – never despond – call on your Father.
            “Yield not to temptation for yielding is sin; each victory will help you, some other to win. Fight manfully onward, dark passion subdue. Look ever to Jesus He’ll carry you through.”
            “To Him that o’re cometh, God giveth a crown. Through faith we will conquer, though often cast down. He who is our Savior, our strength will renew. Look ever to Jesus. He’ll carry you through.”
            “Ask the Savior to help you, comfort, strengthen and keep you. He is willing to aid you. He will carry you through.”

Charity

On our way home from town yesterday in our family van we all decided we’d prefer taking the back roads rather than interstate – it was quicker, and we just felt like having the ride. Well…if things had been a little different fifteen minutes after we turned on that two-lane highway all four of us might not even be here.

Little incidents in our lives can make us really thankful – can make us realize how our very existance is actually held in the hands of a very loving Savior, Who loves us enough to keep us here on earth for His purposes when it could be just as easy for Him to snuff our lives out in a second; like a dim, flickering candle is snuffed out in a dark room.
As we all rode in silence (my sister and I reading, Dad driving, Mama watching the scenery) in the not-too-distant distance Mama caught sight of a semi-truck’s left turn signal flashing. As she watched it she realized that the signal was in our lane and as we got closer she and Dad both realized the truck was in our lane. Dad put on the breaks and was prepared to veer off the highway – come what may – to avoid a fatal head-on collision. But, thank Jesus, the little pick up the semi-driver was passing saw what was going on and slowed down. The huge truck swung into its lane and whized passed us – doing something like sixty or sevnty miles an hour on a SC backroad.
We were all very sobered by this near-accident. All this happened in less than a minute and we were headed on toward home as usual. But that less-than-a-minute interlude could have ended one, two, three, four, or more lives and changed other lives forever.
What makes Jesus protect us? When the human race is so entirely evil, so selfish – some of us never even accept Him as our Savior, never confess Him as our Lord. What makes Jesus keep our lives going?

“Nun aber bleiben Glaube, Hoffnung, Liebe, diese drei; aber die Liebe is the grosste unter ihnen.”
But now abides faith, hope, love, these three, but the love is the greatest of them all.”
Love. Charity.
Jesus loves us – He protects us, even if we so often ignore Him, abuse His Name, and shun His gifts. He still loves us.
I am so thankful for my Jesus, for the Life He is in me, for the family He has given me and for these gifts He continually sustains. I only pray that my love for Him can in some small way reflect His own for me.

Busy, Busy Day

“Howdy Everybody!” says my sister Carra and our little
doeling, Rosie.

Guten Tag!
It’s been a busy, busy day around here for me! The weather’s lovely – bright blue skies, sunshine, and warmth – but I’ve been busy.
Aside from usual chores at the barn and around the house I’ve cleaned, did three loads of clothes, cooked supper, sewed, walked, and practiced piano (really just played and sang) – oh, I also snuck in some reading. 🙂

So…I’ll talk about supper first!
I’m not going to post the recipes just yet – I think the soup especially needs some perfecting – but the Three Fruit Cobbler was really nice.
I prayed a lot while I cooked this afternoon. I’m the nervous type – especially when I’m doing things for other people. Cooking is a horror for me – even if I love to cook. I worry so much I can’t enjoy myself, or what I make ’cause I’m always afraid of messing up, making a mess, or people not liking my food (even if I do!). This is especially true when I cook the way I like to cook – no measurements, make up your own recipe-style cooking.


This is my Dad – I thought this was a perfect pose for him. 🙂
(Ignore the headless goat please – she ducked when
 the camera flashed.:) )

But, I dove in this afternoon.
I made a type of soup/stew. It’s a clear broth style soup with plenty of vegies and only a little meat. It was very good but I think it would have been even better if I could have added fresh mushrooms or something like squash.
Everyone liked it, even if I thought it should’ve been worked on some, and that was nice – very nice! All that frantic loosing my head right as everyone was sitting down to table paid off! (Sitting down to eat is harder for me than cooking!)
I liked the Three Fruit Dumplings, and thought they turned out very well – maybe even better than the soup. It started out as apple dumplings but turned into apple and raisin, then apple, raisin, and prune dumplings. It had other things in it – and nobody was able to guess! 🙂 I like that…when you add spices and things to dishes just enough to change the flavor, but not enough where it stands out and people are like – Oh! You put such-and-such in that!
I’ll post the recipes for today’s supper and pictures (Lordwilling! – pictures of food are hard for me to get!), in the near future.


This is my Mom – with our matriarch doe. Mama taught me
and Carra how to sew – and she relied on the Lord
to teach her; she wasn’t raised with sewing.

And…what have I been sewing? My newest dress – a combination of a pattern-made civil-war style blouse, and our own dress-style-skirt (simply because I didn’t have enough material for the huge five-yard skirt in the original pattern). I’m excited to see how it turns out. If all goes as it should its going to have a brown skirt with a white blouse, large, cuffed sleeves, and probably a white (or cream-color) collar. I love dresses that are long, full, and very old-fashioned looking. Most of the dresses I wear now are straight-skirted, not allowing for billowing material wrapping around your legs. This dress also has a waistband instead of elastic – I’ve been wanting to get away from the elastic look but I’m sure scared of this new waistband. I’m not sure I can handle it – but…pray, pray, pray!
That’s what I’ve been doing all day; sewing and cooking I pray, pray, pray. Helps me get through it, knowing the Lord is there with me, listening to me, and willing to teach me even the simple things of life.


This is me – with Rosie.
(I’m in a jumper here – don’t wear them often, don’t like them. 🙂 )

That’s one thing I’ve noticed how people tend to think Jesus only counts in ‘religous’ life – only when it’s time for church etc. I’ve learned so much since I’ve asked Jesus to teach me of Himself through my everyday life. I know it sounds silly to ask the Lord to help me in my cooking or sewing but…He’s my Father; doesn’t a Father take care of His children – all the time?

Der Garten

Well, spring is time for picnics, Mama’s Birthday (Happy Birthday Mama!), fishing trips, camping…and  gardening! The fresh smell of soil, the beauty of newly emerging plants, the tasty hope of summer evenings strolling through the garden eating tomatoes. 🙂 Bliss! 

Some tomato plants Daddy’s been working on

Our garden didn’t do so well last year but the weather, our land’s position, and a scheduel in the air worked against us. We’re praying it’ll do better this year.
Daddy’s been working hard for several weeks on germinating seeds for the tomatoes, cucumbers, and cabbage, and Monday he went to work with the tiller. He transforms our little red trailer into a greenhouse every year to harden the young plants off and let them get sunlight.
Here are the young plants in the ‘greenhouse’
I’m hoping we can have plenty of vegetables – squash, corn, green beans, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes – ’cause our family cans a lot of food, and because I like to eat it! 🙂
But…we have several ditches to jump this year in our gardening expedition.
1. Not enough sunlight (we live in the woods)
2. Clay soil
3. Chickens
Hmmm…chickens. They don’t sound like a gardening pest but…they are. They eat everything and anything – it’s next to impossible to have a garden with chickens.
So. We have two choices of how to deal with them;

1. Lock up the chickens
2. Fence in the garden
Right now we’ve deffinately decided on the latter. Locking up chickens comes with a hoard of cons that well outnumber the pros. You might get all your eggs in one nest but if a possom or fox gets wind of your communal chicken camp you might find yourself sorry you put all your eggs in one basket! Then there’s the problem with feed – chickens eat less if they’re allowed to forage, which not only brings feed costs down but also brings saturated fat content down in your eggs. Chickens tend to pick on each other when they’re locked up – they get bored and turn cannibal. Yuk! and Ouch! And last, but far from least, you’ve got the trouble of cleaning out that hen pen every week or so – or smelling fleur de hen everywhere you go.
So, we’re deffinately going to fence in the garden. Right now we’re juggling the different fencing options. We had thought chicken wire was the way to go but a friend of ours recently mentioned electric wire six inches from the ground.

Some of our laying hens

Well…hmmm…we fence our goats in electric wire. The chickens tend to avoid it as best they can. But, they’ve become skilled at slipping under it, letting their thick coat of feathers protect them from any shock. Humbug. Think, think!
We’ve almost settled on electric wire, three inches from the ground, with another wire above that about two or three inches, and maybe a third story. We’ll have to see how that goes. If there’s something in the garden the chickens really want they’re likely to fly over any fence we build – uh-oh.
We’ll stick with the fence for now, and find out what we’ll do about flying chickens later!

Happy gardening and may Jesus bless!

Living in the Light

“Denn bei dir ist die Quelle des Lebens, und in deinem Licht sehen wir das Licht.”
This is Pslam 36:10 in German. When I penned this verse out to memorize it, I liked the way the German sounded as it rolled off my tongue and I know the verse well – it’s a favorite in our home. Other wise, it meant very little to me. But, shortly after that I fell into a spiritual battle. I felt dry and empty inside, and on the outside so many things were swirling around me I felt like I was caught up in a great huricane out at sea.
 I didn’t know what the Lord’s will was, what the Lord’s will wasn’t, and it seemed like He had vanished. I felt like the testimony of so many Christian had become my own – the testimony I didn’t want to have – that my Christian life resembled a ride through the mountians. Up and down. I’ve never liked that testimony, never wanted it to be mine. But here I was, struggling with myself, and now admitting defeat as satan fastened me into the car for a mountian ride. 

I love to play piano, and I love to sing. I may not do either very well, and know I need a lot more practice than I get, but my main motive in playing is to draw closer to Jesus. My time at the piano is, more often than not, a time of communion with my Lord and not a practice session. So that’s where I went several weeks ago when I felt confused and alone. I played and sang for a long, long time. Praying. “Lord, why can’t I hear You? What is Your will?” I was answered by silence. Discouraged, I left the piano and took my violin outside to practice. A thought crossed my mind – what if Jesus doesn’t want me to practice right now? “Oh!” I scoffed at myself, “Certianly He wants you to practice – you have to practice!” So, I pushed the thought out of my mind and started playing. Well…I hadn’t gotten passed the first few measures when, POP!, my ‘E’ string slipped out of tune. “Maybe He doesn’t want you to play after all?” “Bah!” I answered myself and set to tuning my little ‘E’ string. Before I had it even close to tune, its nearest neighbor – ‘A’ – slipped down to more like a ‘C’ or a ‘B’. “Alright!” I gave up, “I’ll just not play.” I came back in the house and put my instrument away. I had a nagging feeling inside me – a constant pushing, maybe? – like someone was saying, “I want You to do such-and-such”. Confused, I sat back down at the piano and started playing again. I didn’t sing much, just played hymns. “I want You to do such-and-such”. “O.K., Lord,” I resigned myself, “What do You want me to do?” No answer. “Lord Jesus why can’t I hear You?” my fingers played away on the ivory keys as irritation built up inside me – what was wrong with me? how had I sinned? why couldn’t I hear Jesus? “Lord Jesus, what do You want me to do?” Silence. 
Frustrated, I left the piano. But still I had that nagging feeling. “I want You to do such and such”. Groaning I slipped into the bedroom I share with my sister. “Alright Lord,” I leaned against the wall and closed my eyes, “Carra’s going to want me to go on a walk with her; it’s after four o’clock – and I still don’t know what You want me to do!” Silence. “Lord Jesus, why can’t I hear You?” No words came to me. No voice, even silently to my spirit, reached my ears. But an impression, slight and gentle, grasped my mind. “Look at that verse you sticky-noted to your desk.” “What?! That’s in German! What good will that do me?” But I turned and read it. 
“Denn bei dir ist die Quelle des Lebens, und in deinem Licht sehen wir das Licht.”
Stunned, I read the verse over and over. 
“Then by you is the fountian of Life, and in Thy Light see we the Light.” 
Immediatly, I knew what Jesus was saying. “Stay in the Light, April. Only by staying in Me can you hear my voice. Only by completely loosing yourself in My Light will you ever have Light to see the way you must go.” 
I hadn’t sinned. Jesus hadn’t gone anywhere. My mind had wandered – like minds are prone to do – wandered into realms of reason, realms of thought, realms of….the day to day life we all march through every single day we live on this earth. I wasn’t stayed on Jesus – wasn’t drinking from the Fountian of Life, wasn’t blinded by His glorious Light. That’s why I couldn’t hear Him – it wasn’t that Jesus wouldn’t speak to me. It was only that I, too engulfed in reasoning out my own life on the earth, would not take the time to listen. 
“Denn bei dir ist die Quelle des Lebens, und in deinem Licht sehen wir das Licht.” 
     

It’s almost time for lunch.

                                                                              

Well, friends, as the title suggests, it’s almost time for lunch (known as supper in our house) – so…I don’t have long to write. But, I wanted to say hello at least!
Spring is here, the weather’s warmed up, the suns out (well, it was out for the last three days – clouds are gathering today), birds are singing, and…the irises are blooming. The sweet smell of dogwood blossoms is in the air (as well as a thousand different kinds of pollens – goodbey cold winter, hello allergies!).

It’s beautiful, warm, and makes one want to flee the confines of a stuffy house and dive into the rich freedom of the great outdoors. At least I don’t think I’m the only one who feels like this in spring. (I know of several groups of fishermen who certianly don’t feel like staying indoors – this weather is perfect for catching bass in the lake behind our little farm).
So, with so much spring energy inside me, I thought it would be the best time to start a blog. I’ve been praying about it a lot and decided just to sit down today and do it (there’s nothing I dislike more than sitting in a chair for hours at a computer). I’ve blogged before but with no success. I’m being more careful this time, working prayerfully, and maybe Jesus will be my ability to pen (i.e. type) my enteries with the subject matter, voice, and constancy they deserve!
That’s one thing I think as a Christian I fail in the most. I often get an idea, jump on it, act on it, and then sit back, my face red as sumac berries, and wonder – why, oh why, did I do that? Patience. Ye have need of patience. Doesn’t James say that? Patience. I think if, when an idea comes to mind, if I’d wait, be quiet and be still before the Lord humbly asking His will, He would show me; “April, go ahead, this is My Will for you right now but…do it this way” or “No, do not do that – the time is not right” or “No, that thing is not in My Will”. If I could just learn to wait patiently before the Lord and move only when He says move, talk only when He says talk…things would be so much easier for everybody involved! 
Do you have a story to share along this line? A verse of scripture? Or just your opinion? 

For now my friends, Auf Wiedersehn!

P.S. I’m not German, by the way. 🙂 I do admire the German language though, and am struggling to learn it. So…I’m fond of chattering out what little I do know. Tchuss!