A journal of Saturday

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Well, I was planning a more in-depth post, so to speak, of our Saturday adventures, but I was obliged to move all the pictures from my phone beforehand and now have only a few, besides the fact that it is late, I am tired, and have a headache!

So, I think I’ll follow the example of some of my blogging friends and do a journal-type post with only a few pictures – more precisely, with just one picture.

The biggest thing that happened today was selling our eldest doe, Joy Mary, to a very friendly animal-loving gentleman from down the road. We’ve had her for sale for a spell, but those who showed interest in her we did not feel comfortable selling her to. We’re very particular about our girls’ homes, especially our milkers and the ones we know best.
We were giving up on selling her, feeling we’d rather keep her than sell her to an unknowledgable person who mightn’t respect her, but this evening The Lord Jesus sent a warm-hearted man who has had goats all his life and who was really excited about getting Joy. ❤ praise The Lord! His blessing are so sweet, and so small sometimes; just little things throughout our days to allow us a little joy to press on.

Otherwise, my day consisted of;

Chores
Milk Processing
Fecal testing
Cleaning
Planting watermelon, Hubbard squash, banana pepper, and chamomile in our hill and "garage" garden
Making yogurt
Making cajeta
Making a venison roast for tomorrow
Making a double batch of lavender/rosehip soap
Supper (sausage burgers with tomato gravy, baked beans, and potato and macoroni salads; Mama and K mainly made those dishes)
Dishes and clean up
Evening chores
And then the fellow coming for Joy

A full day, but a restful day and an emotional refreshing after the strain of the week.
Our vehicles are doing a bit better, by the way. I thank The Lord for that! The family van is at the shop, Daddy replaced the tires on the work van, and re-did the breaks on the standard. So, we're driving again, anyhow! Phew!

I pray everyone had a blessed Saturday.
Very much looking forward to the rest of the Lord's Day.

Goodnight! (or morning, depending on hemisphere! 🙂 )

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Pure, Old-fashioned, Handmade Goats’ Milk Soap!

“Thou art my Hiding Place, and my Shield: I hope in Thy Word.”

Psalm 119:113

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Well, after too long procrastinating – maybe not procrastinating, I just had too many posts to write in between – I finally share with you our latest adventure in using the products of our farm and turning them into usable items.

Our dream – as I’m sure most of you who have been following my blog for a while well know – is to to have a working, raw milk dairy.

Laws and regulations, however, make that very difficult for a family like ours so progress towards products we can sell to eat or drink is very slow.

But we can make soap!

Making soap is something I have long romanced, but only lately have we been able to really find a recipe that suites our tastes and creates a lovely, moisturizing bar of soap, and seems to turn our well every time!

We’re so thankful to the Lord Jesus for opening this way to us, and opening it in something both my sister and I (who run the farm) enjoy doing so much.

It is so much fun to make soap!

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So, after many months of working and struggling with our herd (please don’t remind me of February!), the Lord has finally allowed us to turn out some lovely soaps, and also to purchase molds for those who are looking for more decorative styles – as opposed to our all-natural, square-formed, wooden-mold soaps which is all we are using ourselves right now. 🙂

We are offering Unscented, Lilac, English Rose, Gardenia, and Oranges and Creme varieties with many more to come.

(Do you think we’d stop here? 🙂 )

There are the designed varietes and the all natural style, all made with all-natural ingredients; gentle oils to soften and moisturize skin, and our own farm-produced raw goats’ milk that is so richly nourishing to the skin.

(If fact its nourishing to everything in your body! We love our goats’ milk! 🙂 Yum!!)

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We are offering 4 oz bars of soap at $6.00 a bar which we believe is fair considering others’ going prices for goats’ milk soap – not to mention all the effort and love that goes into making each bar; starting with kidding season in February and moving right on up ’till September or October when our cramping hands milk the last quart from our once-again-pregnant does! 😀

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I’m going to look into how I could offer soap for sale directly from my blog, but until then, we are selling it from our Etsy store, “Bouties of His Goodness“, with a starting price of $5.00 a bar.

Our first batches are running out fast, so if you’re interested in trying skin-nourishing, all-natural soap that is made the way our grandmothers used to make it, then hurry over (following the above link), and get your bar!

Leave us a message on the order form telling us what design/scent you prefer.

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I know this isn’t my usual blogpost, but we’re so excited about our new soap – and this new adventure in attempting to sell items made from our farm. 🙂

Its a beautiful Saturday though and my sister and I have wonderful plans for our day at home. I’ll probably post again with news of our day – a more-like-me post. 🙂

Until then, the Lord Jesus bless you all, and enjoy your Saturday!!

Special Saturday with Friends

“This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.”

John 15:12

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After many days of preparation, the day of the big visit finally came. 🙂

Our friends, the H. Family came to spend the day with us yesterday, make bread, cheese, pizza, cookies, soap, and spend some time with the goats.

It was a full, busy day – but full of laughs and the love of Jesus. It was a beautiful day, in short, and we all enjoyed it…all….ten of us.

Doesn’t sound like a large crowd to most of you, I know. 🙂 But ten is a lot people to have at the Lyons’ house at one time! 😀

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The first thing we did was make mozzarella cheese – from two gallons of milk. One turned out well the other didn’t but we used it all on pizza later that evening! 🙂

We used the whey to make up a batch of 8 loaves of bread, and also used like three loaves worth of dough for the pizza crust.

We had plenty of little hands to help out. 🙂 The H. Family has a set of triplets and a little one not yet a year old. Having the sound of children in the house was very different for us four, but a refreshing change from the solemnity of the Lyons’ home and so much fun.

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We loved holding the littlest H. baby. ❤ Carra and I couldn’t get our fill of him even if our not-used-to-children-arms were sore! 🙂

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Half way through the day the little H. girls knocked off as we say, and took a nap. I think the day was a full one for them! 🙂 They helped with the bread dough, made miniature pizza crusts, tasted the cheese and mushrooms and bell peppers, and walked all the way to the barn (we carried them back 🙂 ), and rolled around in the den with their triplet brother playing…whatever games little three year old minds can imagine to play!

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We went down to the barn and visited the goats. Mama H. worked on milking again – this is the family that bought little Mercy and Tot at the beginning of the month. Mama H. wants to learn to milk so that when the girls have freshened she’ll be able to get fresh milk for her sweet family. She’s getting the hang of it too!

Watching her, I remembered a lot of our own adventure in learning how to milk. It makes me so thankful to the Lord that we had our Daisy back then. She was so patient and let us work with her for what seemed like hours. Rosie (the doe Mama H. is milking here) is just like Daisy; very patient.

Its amazing the things we put animals through for our own use….

but I’m off the subject. 🙂

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Dad H. finished up the milking; he’s had practice before on goats some years ago.

I think both of them working together they’ll have a home dairy in no time when their little ones freshen. 🙂

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I don’t think I got any pictures of our cookie making. Or maybe I did but not on my phone….

Well, after the cookie making and the trip to the barn we put the sauce together and fixed the pizzas then all sat down to a hearty meal – which was lovely. 🙂

Daddy had been mowing for most of this time while we showed the Hs. our kitchen work, but the men enjoyed conversation over supper and afterwards took the triplets out and planted tomato plants.

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After supper, when all the kids were outside, we mixed up a batch of Lilac and Lilies soap with Mama H. for the family to take home.

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By this time it was getting late, and after a good long chat and packing the H. Family car we saw our friends off.

It was a lovely day, and we’re already thinking of some way to get them back here again! 😀

I am thankful for the dear friends the Lord Jesus brings into our lives – in the most unusual of ways, such as our goats. 🙂

And I’m thankful for the special bond that forms between those who are truly seeking to serve and honor Him. The bond of His love and life.

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(A sign done for our family by sweet Mama H. ❤ Thank you, dear friend!)

May Jesus always be our lives and may He shine forth through us in everything we do, say, and share.

Thankful Thursday – with a few words on how unthankful I am.

“Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.”

Psalm 69:1-3

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I was going to write a post about our soapmaking this morning, as we unmolded our first designed soaps last night and Carra and I are so excited about them, but I just couldn’t get the words to come.

I kept remembering today was Thursday, and generally the day for my Thankful Thursday posts if I’m keeping up with my blog as I ought, and I feel the Lord is impressing on me to write one, especially because this week in particular has been so hard for me – for us all, but I speak for myself.

Everyday this week has dealt our family a new struggle of some sort, and as we’ve drudged through each day I’ve felt there is little in my life to cause me joy or to be thankful for – I wonder often what it feel like to be truly happy again.

But whenever – well, usually… – I write to my silent friend, or I scribble on this blog it makes me feel so much better as I find myself seeking the Lord to guide me in my writing – and my words to my silent friend often become written prayers.

I leave my writing feeling refreshed, renewed, and closer to my Jesus.

Because, through my writing, I have been seeking Him.

What if I were to seek Him so everyday, through the difficulties and troubles – not just the good moments and easy times – and truly seek His Word and seek His Face, not rely on my own strength and ability to handle a situation?

If I were to do this with my everyday life as well as I do it with my pen, how much more joy would be mine – in Him. For in Him are all things good, and in Him is Life bound up. If we don’t seek Him – every moment of every day – we are seeking of ourselves to live life by our own methods and natural ability. Thus, we fall into traps, we trip over rough places, and we become disillusioned by the difficulties when we find ourselves bogged down in the mire of this world.

This week I have so much truly to be thankful for.

Even if I haven’t known it or claimed any of it.

  • The right to come before my Jesus, to seek Him as I would seek an earthly friend, to trust Him as my Beloved – my Protector, my Guide.
  • His Ability to be with me, to instruct and guide me each moment; to protect me and be my Joy and Grace – despite what my flesh tells me is wrong or is right.
  • My life. The fact that I’m actually living and breathing – all by His Will! If He did not desire it, I wouldn’t even be here writing this today.
  • My family. We are all healthy and well, still able to work with our hands.
  • Our farm. Its still here! We can spend time with our animals, and are refreshed each time we visit the barn.

The Lord Jesus knows what is best for us – way before we even see things coming.

He knows how He will deal with problems before they even arise in the dimmest of our imaginations.

If Jesus can raise a man from the dead, if He can still storms – if He can protect people when terrific, deadly tornadoes rip through entire hospitals and schools and homes – why can’t He deal with our little problems day to day?

He can!

But only if we believe.

The Lord’s Day

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.”

Psalm 121:1

Yesterday was such a beautiful Lord’s Day that I must share it with you all.

Usually on the Lord’s Day we make a special effort not to do any kind of labor that is not especially required (such as chores, cooking dishes, and sometimes laundry). We aren’t legalistic about what to do or what not to do – sometimes we even make an exception and sell/buy something on the Lord’s Day – but we try to set aside a special day for Jesus; especially from the usual work and labor of the week (like cleaning house, doing yard work, working on our jobs/paper work for our jobs, even usually sewing or doing things like making soap etc. – you get the idea.)

Yesterday was a special day for all of us, though. We have visitors coming next Saturday and will be working all week, so only able to fit in preparations for their visit late in the evenings when we come home and are so tired. So yesterday, even if it was the Lord’s Day, we did a little special sewing and a few other things.

And enjoyed it. 🙂 I think the important thing about reverencing the Lord’s Day is that we set it aside for Him. If we do have to work, it should be something that is not all-consuming; something we can set aside if need be, and something we can enjoy as we do it.

And I don’t think I have to mention how much we enjoy sewing, cheesemaking, trying new things, cooking, or anything else that pertains to homemaking. 😀

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Of course we had our usual chores.

We have begun weaning our seven bottle babies, so even with the cow drinking two gallons a day we’re getting much more fresh, delicious, rich goats’ milk than we can ever use!

We’re keeping most of the milk in the mornings and making cheese out of it in preparation for Saturday – as well as making soap and hopefully later this week we’ll get to make Mama some cajeta! 🙂 She loves caramel. 🙂

We did have a sad side of chores yesterday morning though.

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Excuse the bad picture, but this is trying to show the eggshells and feathers we found from our destroyed hen and her brood of 20 or so eggs. Some varmint got in the barn last night and busted up all the eggs with chicks in them and made off with the hen as well. Needless to say, this was very discouraging.

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The cheesemaking as well was discouraging.

Simple mozzarella gone wrong. Sigh…. Just wasn’t our day I guess. We accidentally left the curd too long in the rennet while we were dressing and preparing for morning services. It was difficult to cut and stretching was impossible. But still, its cheese. It mightn’t be mozzarella  but its cheese and we’ll enjoy it on onion sandwiches – or maybe even pizza! 😀

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The rest of the day, however, was a quiet joy.

(Excuse the tiny pictures; Iphone has its own mind sometimes….)

We went out and picked roses and lemon balm to try our hand at essential oils and Daddy showed us the plants he’s been working on in his spare time.

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We both enjoyed wearing our new dresses we finished Saturday. 🙂

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The roses and lemon balm were cut up, bruised and cooked for long hours in olive oil in the oven and crock pot.

We poured it up into jars last night but did not remove the leaves.

We’ll do that today, Lordwilling, and see how it turns out. Our roses were not very aromatic, but it did smell ok by the time it was done cooking but the lemon balm oil smelled much better!

While that was cooking we had a nice, sweet visit with some very dear friends, the Clarkes. They visit about once every two weeks and buy eggs from us and we sit and chat and exchange plants. 🙂 Daddy and Mrs. Clarke are both very avid gardeners. 🙂

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Daddy came down to the barn in the evening and helped us block off the remaining broody hen’s nest with all her eggs in it. She had deserted them and was laying on new ones. All we can do is pray that the older ones weren’t chilled; we put them back under her.

It was a blessing having Daddy down at the barn last night. He’s not all that involved in the animals – goats aren’t his favorite four-leggers 🙂 – but I think he really saw the work and love we put into the animals last night; we stood around at least a half hour just petting the goats and talking about their individualities.

It was a lovely evening.

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Before evening service we cut up the batch of soap we made Saturday. (Its the batch in the front). Our supplies are supposed to come Tuesday. I can’t wait – we’ll be soapmaking like crazy then! 🙂

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After service we finished the evening with a family movie time; Abbot and Cosetllo’s Who done it? 

It was a special time we all enjoyed together – and the movie was great. 😀

I love my family, and I love the times we spend together – surrounded by the things we love and the animals we love and the things we love to do.

At home.

A Look Back, So We Can Look Ahead

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but them shall I know even as also I am known. 

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

I Corinthians 13:12-13

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Going through pictures yesterday, I was reminded of how things change.

I guess everyone is inclined to do that when they look through pictures – even if their not really old, per se.

I was looking through pictures of a couple years ago. 2011.

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Carra was 18, I was 19, going to turn 19 and 20 later on in the year.

Daddy had taken a day job in town for the first time in our memories, and us girls were at home most of the time; cooking, canning, and doing things we later would come to love (though at the time it was mainly work).

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 This was the year we began doing some outside jobs; four or five in this year actually.

Daddy had begun working on getting his GC license again and we were picking up a few small jobs for individuals.

Earlier in the year we had traveled so far as Statesville NC to work.

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It was also the year of the big snow (something very rare for South Carolina!).

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That was the last time I remember sledding – and the first time I remember sledding since 2003 when we had a huge snow over in Gaffney, SC.

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Our herd of goats was still small; Daisy, her two daughters Joy and Princess, and our buck Silver. We had scores of chickens though! And we loved every minute of chores. 🙂 I don’t think the goats liked the snow as much as we did though! 😀

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It was the first year we had more than one goat give birth at once (and the last year that kidding season was not so exhausting). It was also the year our little Rosie was born. 🙂

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We would take long walks on the dam behind our house, Carra and I together, and K would read to me.

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We had a special mothers’ day – of course, this was before we knew how much we would need to use that grill when a huge storm came through shortly afterwards and took away our electricity for two or three days! 😀

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Things were changing in our family; so slowly, but they were.

We weren’t always happy with the changes, but come they would, and the things that went on in this year, and the years before that, the Lord put within our lives to change us into better servants for Him.

Of course we didn’t know it at the time, and still are not often aware of it when He is working.

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I could go on and on about the changes of 2011. The things we went through; all the learning we did – a lot of it in cooking and canning! We had tons of pickles that year and preserves.

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Carra, I’m sure you’ll remember this blurry picture!

We thought this was the very pits of life, didn’t we? The month or more we spent at this home, working – and learning so much about our work!

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Glazing windows.

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And painting them – then trying to get them unstuck! 😀

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We thought this was just the worst part of our lives that could be imagined.

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It was the first time in 11 years that my sister and I ventured to have separate rooms.

And it worked.

Mainly because one sister was on the computer a lot at the time, while the other wanted to sleep!!

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And though we thought we were so, so unhappy….

We can look back now and see the joy that’s hidden in these pictures; the joy we didn’t really know that we had.

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It was a year of learning; of doing things we’d never done before, of experiencing changes we never imagined would come, and of touching new relationships that for a while seemed to send our family on rollercoasters – when really all the were doing was showing us hills and valleys that weren’t really all that deep or tall.

If only we could have seen this then.

If only we could have seen the Lord’s Hand in our circumstances, and learned then to love everyday as if it were our last, and to put our most into each moment for the glory of our Lord Jesus and the love of each other.

If only we could have seen this then.

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And today; as we work…trudging through hours of labor we outright despise, having no time at home as we think we ought, and struggling with relationships – within our family and without – as well as laboring in our own personal relationships with our Jesus….

If today we would just look up.

If we would take a lesson from our past.

All those hours we could have enjoyed and rejoiced in, even in trials and trouble, if only we would have seen Jesus’ working.

And what of today?

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In the simple things in life – and the most difficult – He is still here, still working.

Why can’t we just trust Him?

Why don’t we ever learn this lesson?

Instead of being downcast and depressed and drug down because of tribulation and struggles? Why can’t we embrace these hardships and hold onto Christ, knowing His is always a better plan?

May

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my Strength, and my Redeemer.”

Psalm 19:14

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I’m sorry I haven’t kept up with my blog as I really should have. Things have been busy round here – not so much in events, as in my mind and in atmosphere.

I’ve also been writing a lot – and when that happens every other writing requirement seems to go to the wind…whether it be diary, blog, or letters!

We have a new job starting up next week as well, so unless i find time to do mobile blogging I doubt I’ll be able to scribble much here then.

Before our job however, our week begins with a trip to NC for a relative’s surgery. We’re praying very much for Randy and his family through this time and that we may be a blessing in going and staying with them through the operation. We’ll be seeing many other family members as well, so even under the sad circumstances, we’ll have a chance to catch up here and there.

But I still mean to write.

My story, that is. 🙂

There’s only a couple things I wanted to share with you that have gone on of late. Mostly around the goat barn.

I wrote the following on the first of May, but I’ve decided to share it now – as its not something I want to leave out!!

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May,  the fifth month of the year, and the first month ever since March 15th 2009 that Princess Tender has not lived here on Goshen’s Plenty Dairy.

April 30th, a very nice older gentleman came and bought her – quite unexpectedly! – and she went to live at a new home to provide milk for another family.

We weren’t quite planning to sell her just yet – I guess we’re holding on to our girls. 🙂 We had planned to sell her sister, Joy, who has a dangerous horn and has been spearing the kids and causing us to be anxious for them. But the Lord knows best and we do plan to sell all the unregistered does – with the exception of Rosie – so we have to make a start I guess.

So, May begins with one less familiar face in the barnyard, but one more step towards achieving our goal; to have an all-registered herd of quality dairy goats.

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If all goes well, in an hour or so, these two little girls should be going to their new home too. As the beginning stock for a family herd.

I love to see people getting into goats – especially families with young children. I think its beautiful to see children growing up learning the ways of the land.

All did go well, thank the Lord, and Tot and Merciful (now named Mercy) went to their new home on May 1st, and through it the Lord led us together with a family that loves Him and seeks to serve Him, and a young woman (the Mama of that family) who has now become a dear friend of ours.

I think it is so beautiful how the Lord works, bringing His servants together at the times He knows are perfect.

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Well…I guess more has happened in May than I give the poor month credit for already! 🙂

Things are growing like crazy (you should see our hay field!), we sold two dear little goaties, Princess went to a new home on the last of April, we made new friends in Jesus, and Enslaved to Freedom is going on 200,000 words and (as of this morning) hit 300 pages. ( I don’t usually pay attention to page numbers, as the finished, published product will not be the same size (8.5×11″) but 300 is a nice number to notice, I think! And I thank Jesus for bringing it along this far!)

I have so been wanting to share with you about Sullivan’s story (but honestly have slipped into that…maybe they don’t want to read it?…mode again and have been putting it off…..) So many things are truly happening though, at sea again in Part Four (did I mention Part Three was finished – thank Jesus!).

That I will have to save for another day, though.

Oh! But one thing about writing.

As an attempt….what of I don’t know…I started a short story ‘series’ (actually chapters from a bigger book) that I’ve put up for sale on Etsy (VERY self published, I’d say). Anyways, the first installment is very small and there probably will only be a few more (longer, I promise!) ones following it before they are all strung together and put in a book for sale via Amazon.

But that’ll be in the future. For now, I’m sharing these sections (as I write them!) for sale as PDF downloads on Etsy for $0.99

The story’s title is Wilma and it is another pirate romance (but about a woman this time…. 🙂 )

If you’d like to check it out, here’s the link;  https://www.etsy.com/listing/150183341/christian-pirate-fiction-short-short?

Have a wonderful Lord’s Day everyone!!

Five Minute Friday

Five-Minute-Friday.

A blog idea where you pick a subject and write about it for five minutes.

Simple, huh?

I got the idea from my dear sister, Carra, and have decided to try to implement it onto my blog – some, if not most Fridays…we’ll see how it goes! 🙂

My first topic for Five-Minute-Friday is the one who gave me the idea, my sister, Carra. 🙂

So, here are my five-minute thoughts about my sister, Carra. 🙂

These are out-of-order, as you can see, but I decided to leave them they way they are.

The added-in thoughts are in italics.

Enjoy!

  • Loves to crochet. {She has crocheted some of the most beautiful work I’ve ever seen. I think, if she were back in France in the 18th century, someone would track her down and pay her some very fine fortune to make lace for the Versailles – sounds silly, but I really mean it!}
  • Loves to help others – even to a fault at times. {Sweet Carra, before you protest, you must confess, helping has gotten you into some…well….. 😀 }
  • Is out going – she drags me to things that are really very good for us, but that I’d otherwise shun if not for her willingness to try something new. {Like…ahem…that small ruminant convention up in western NC. I would have never gone if not for K. Thanks, sissy!}
  • Loves to cook – Oh! does she love to cook! {Cakes, sweets, main dishes, side dishes, dessert dishes – anything that’s difficult and complicated is game for her!}
  • Decorates cakes. {Lovely. And someone’s birthday is coming up…time to start thinking and having fun with sugar and color again!}
  • Can figure math in her head like a whiz. 🙂 I don’t even try to compete (unless I have a calculator! 🙂
  • Will drive us places, even if she doesn’t particularly want to drive, because she knows I don’t like to drive. {Isn’t she so sweet – but you should tell me when you don’t want to drive more, sissy! I’ll drive for you.}
  • Is very giving; she’ll give her time, her effort, her things, her work to others with so much love. {Crocheted afgahns, blankets, tablecoths (and these aren’t cheap gifts if you were to buy them!}
  • Loves farming. I think that’s her truest love in life (apart from her service to her Savior!) is her farming. She loves working with the goats, dreams of farming a cattle dairy with hundreds of cows, loves the hard, hot work, the quiet days.
  • Loves to read. {When she has a good book you can hardly tear her from it!}
  • Loves to write poems.
  • Loves to play music. {Piano, Violin, and singing; she has a beautiful singing voice.}
  • Loves to meet new people.
  • Loves. {She loves to just love people; her family and friends, people in need. One day this gift will be used, sissy! Just trust Jesus for it!} 

And that’s one of my two very dear sisters in a five-minute nutshell. 🙂

 Love you bunches, K!

Thankful Thursday

“Quicken me, O Lord, for Thy Name’s sake:

for Thy righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.”

Psalm 143:11

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This Thankful Thursday, I am thankful to my Lord Jesus for;

A herd of healthy goats numbering 31 head.

Fresh goats’ milk to drink and enjoy.

Homemade yogurt.

Spring coming – however slowly.

Warm coffee on cold mornings.

Work.

A truck to drive – even when the van goes out.

Scrapbooks.

My story.

Thoughts on my story, even if I’m unable to write at the moment.

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What are you thankful for today?