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.

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?

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Mother’s Day

I know yesterday was Mother’s Day.

But I was too busy with my Mother to do a post about it on the very day!

So, here it is a day late. 🙂

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My Mama is very special to me.

She is the encouragement and the hope from the Lord that helps me through each day. The gift from my Jesus to encourage and establish my faith, even in the darkest moments, and the one person who WILL listen to me and pray with me, no matter what!

The life lessons she has shared with us, and continue to share with us will go with us throughout our lives. They will come to remembrance when we are faced with questionable circumstances and we’ll remember what she has taught us.

I am so thankful for my Mama. Jesus truly gave me a wonderful, special, and unique gift when He chose her to be my mother.

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My sister and I and our Dad worked to make the day special for Mama.

Daddy went out with her while she picked flowers (as well as brought in a bunch of roses for her last night. 🙂

I think Mama really enjoyed arranging all the flowers in vases and putting them in different rooms in the evening. 🙂

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After morning service we took her down to visit the goats.

She and Daddy hardly ever get down there during the week – only on Sundays.

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Then we made a special meal for her – her favorite. 🙂

BLTs.

Mama LOVES bacon sandwiches! 🙂

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We set our best silverware out. 🙂

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And then had Brownies for dessert.

She loves brownies – and homemade are always the best, of course!

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Then there was the opening-gifts-time. 🙂

Mama loves to fix up the house and decorate; we got her things she could work with.

Covers for her bed, candles, and K made a hand-embroidered sampler and framed it for her.

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I think she really liked that one. 🙂

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And the new quilt for her bed.

(one day this will be handmade too!)

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We worked hard to make it special.

Because we love our Mama.

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And because….unlike other things in your life where you can buy a replacement or pick up another copy.

With Mamas,

you only have just one.

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

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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. 🙂

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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.

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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.

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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!)

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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.

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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

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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.

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A Song for Sunday

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There’s a long black train
Coming down the line
Feeding off the souls that are lost and crying
Tails of sin only evil remains
Watch out brother for that long Black Train

Look to the heavens
You can look to the skies
You can find redemption
Staring back into your eyes
There is protection and there’s peace the same burnin your ticket for that Long Black Train

Cause there’s victory in the Lord I say
Victory in the Lord
Cling to the Father and His Holy Name
And don’t go ridin on that long Black Train

There’s an engineer on that Long Black Train
Makin you wonder if the ride is worth the pain
He’s just a waitin on your heart to say
Let me ride on that long black train

But you know there’s victory in the Lord I say
Victory in the Lord
Cling to the Father and His Holy Name
And don’t go ridin on that long Black Train

Well I can hear the whistle from a mile away
It sounds so good
But I must stay away
That train is a beauty making everybody stare
But its only destination is the middle of nowhere

But you know there’s victory in the Lord I say
Victory in the Lord
Cling to the Father and His Holy Name
And don’t go ridin on that long Black Train

I said cling to the Father and His Holy Name and don’t go ridin on that black train
Yes watch out brother for that long black train
The devils a drivin that long black train.

Josh Turner