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

057

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.

075

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).

064

 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.

 327

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

007

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.

056

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! 😀

carra moved these 003

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. 🙂

091

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

013

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! 😀

039 044

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.

177

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.

062

096

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!

261

Glazing windows.

346

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

353

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

389

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!!

369

114

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.

115

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.

073

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?

037

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?

Advertisements

Working in the Gas Chambers

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving Cavour than silver and gold.”

This is going to be another one of those mobile posts. (Mainly because I got up late and haven’t time to upload all the pictures to my computer! Errr….the folly of being tired!)
But yesterday as we were working I promised myself I’d do a blogpost on our latest achievement, so here I am! 🙂

Insulation.
Not the blown in kind by any means…the bales, you cut into strips, push up between the floor joists, and pin in place with tiger teeth.
Not the green, cotton kind
The fiberglass type.

We often put in insulation. Blown in above, and whatever-this-is-called beneath. But yesterday was so full of laughing – even amidst all the work, itching, burning, and squeezing in (sometimes the spaces between the floor and ceiling were only 2 feet or less), that I just had to write about it. 🙂

I only went under for short periods. Asthma keeps me from doing things that are so dusty (or shall we say fibery), but I did go under some to deliver things, and I have a good reputation as a gopher. 🙂

Carra and I joked that we were working in the gas chambers (pictures I took of them thru the foundation vents show why. 🙂 )

Also, I included here the rare picture of one of us girls in pants. (Carra). As I shared on fb, we wear skirts (ie mainly dresses) for modesty even on the farm, mucking out, trimming goat hooves, attending goat births, giving vaccines, disbudding, or at work painting, putting up vinyl siding, muddying, Sheetrock, roofing, etc. or doing any job at home from cookie to mowing grass and anything in between. But sometimes (as at work when crawling under houses or at home hen tending bees) over/coveralls are a must have, even for girls. Of course, it is so rare we use them that we wear Daddy’s.

Hope you enjoy these pictures!

What did you spend your Monday doing?

20130514-072550.jpg

20130514-072604.jpg

20130514-072627.jpg

20130514-072658.jpg

20130514-072718.jpg

20130514-072737.jpg

20130514-072752.jpg

20130514-072815.jpg

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

007

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!!

255

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.

1021 1572

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.

111

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!!

What I do

“Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.”

Proverbs 23:4-5

678

I know I talk a lot about our work; renovating low-income houses for the government. And I share a lot of pictures, and updates about our jobs (Hemlock is almost done by the way 🙂 ), but it seems it can still be rather confusing what we really do. I guess because from the time we started in it again ’till now I’ve never really sat down and explained it, other than that we do construction work.

So…I’m going to explain it now. 🙂

Our job starts with getting bid packages from the city government. (To do this you must attend a pre-bid conference. If you are not at the pre-bid conference then you do not get a package and do not get to bid; its really a strict system.)

After you’ve got the packages (i.e. write-ups) you visit the houses.

I look forward to visiting houses. 🙂 Its fun to go into town and see communities you never knew were there – get a glimpse as to how city people live. Seeing kids riding their bikes on the streets, playing ball, and making friends with neighbors brings me back to my own one year of city life when I was young. Nostalgic in a way…in another very repulsive…but I’m off the subject….

Anyways, we all four go to look at houses together. Generally there’s more than three – last time there was seven, time before that twelve – so we make a day of it, usually eat-out and all that. 🙂

725

Then there’s the part of getting up the bids. Daddy does most of this, but usually we all look them over, pray about it, and give our opinionsWe try to let the Lord Jesus guide us in this – as in all that we do – our natural logic and figuring is never equal to what His Will may be.

I pray we never lose this conviction.

378

Then there’s bid meeting. Everyone brings their sealed bids to the city meeting, signs in (you have to be there on time), and then they are read aloud. The lowest bidder – within 10% above or below the Public Body Estimate – gets the job, after it is approved by the state.

383

Some of the homes we work in are rough. We try not to get jobs that are in too bad of neighborhoods. With a family of three girls and one man, its not always best to spend weeks in a bad area, even if you’re getting paid.

So far I thank the Lord that we’ve worked in pretty decent areas. The jobs have been hard, but not overcoming, and we’ve been able to handle them.

There’s a lot of painting involved, some carpentry, a lot of replacing HV/AC systems, some windows, pouring concrete, building handicap ramps, and other things like that if you are sort of getting the idea. Complete renovations, but not gutting the houses (thank the Lord!)

722

723

You’re generally given between 45 to 60 days to do the work. This time frame seems to do well for us. Weekends off and we take some week days off too if we’re pushing too hard and need a break. It really provides us a free schedule, the ability to set our own hours, and work other things in if we need to.

I am beginning to actually enjoy this work. I don’t like the work itself, mind you, but the whole atmosphere of having a family business, working hard with your hands to make a living, going to new communities, seeing things you’ve never seen before, “living” per se at another house for a month or two, cooking and packing healthy lunches (or eating out 🙂 ), scribbling in my diary at lunch time, listening to our music as we work, updating facebook on the job, taking tons of pictures (between one and two hundred a day actually 🙂 ), even working on my stories sometimes when there’s slow moments and I’m not hollered at or my job threatened. 🙂

Construction work isn’t a girl’s job. That’s true. But who says a girl can’t be in it, enjoy it, do her best, help her family make a living, and be doing something most girls never even imagine doing? I mean, most girls my age would never dream of helping re-screen a porch, hang ceiling fans, paint a whole house, help bust up a segment of concrete drive-way, or lay carpet and vinyl flooring – no more than they would ever imagine living on a farm, helping haul in 200+ square bales of hay two or three times a year (in the hottest days of summer), helping a doe give birth to tangled twins or triplets, milking nine does by hand every day, or even drinking goats’ milk period!

I’m beginning to see the beauty in, and appreciate very much, my out-of-the-normal lifestyle.

220

516

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!

Lately.

“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God.”

Psalm 42:1

296

Seeing: The fresh, morning sunshine peeling into my bedroom windows. A bright blue sky outside. A slight, soft frost tinting the ground a gentle white. The smooth edges of my new coffee cup; the dark depiction of a snowy cabin landscape painted on the side. My pink-covered Iphone going on standby. The stickers we bought for scrapbooking yesterday.

Hearing: The hum of my space heater. The tap of the computer keyboard. The gentle cries of the five-day-old goatie romping with Missy in Carra’s room.

Smelling: Fresh brewed coffee. Fresh laundry. The smell of a heater burning.

Tasting: The strong, nutty flavor of fresh, black decaf.

Feeling: Tired – I usually feel tired in the morning. A little like I need to clean up the house, take care of goats, write, blog, and go to work all at once; what’s that called? Confused or disorganized? But happy. Enjoying life – even with its hard, low spots. Enjoying life as the Lord Jesus gives it to me.

Learning: To be content. To be happy where I am, whatever I’m doing, because the Lord Jesus has put me there for a reason. To be myself. Whatever that entails.

439

439

447