Tuesday, November 5, 2013


There have been so many times when I've tried to do it all - whatever needed to be done, and then some.  Seeking fulfillment in "getting things done."  Searching for meaning in my own life by seeking to be a blessing to others.  But the truth is that I cannot do it all on my own.  The Lord has been teaching me in His gentle, persistent way that I can't live life in my own strength.  I cannot do even what I know needs to be done without His grace and mercy to keep and sustain me.  I am not sufficient.  But He is.  No matter how hard I try on my own to seek to obey His directions,  I fail because I forget that these things have to be done in the Lord's strength and trusting in His Holy Spirit for the outcome. Resting in the Lord, being patient with my slow progress, seeking first His glory and kingdom, and consciously seeking to trust Him for the blessings of life instead of trying to earn them by obeying:  this is something I thought I'd learned long ago, but recently have been convicted of on a new depth. But what a Lord!  How kind He is!  He doesn't tell His people to earn their salvation, but rather to obey Him as a way of showing gratitude for what He has accomplished for and gifted to them. What a gracious, merciful, mighty God!  How can I ever praise Him enough?  He is holy and righteous and true, and His ways are good.  May I be given grace to follow Him more closely, and put no confidence in faulty flesh. 


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Various quotes

Just some random quotes that I've been thinking about the last few weeks.  

Ephesians 6:2-4
Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

"Sometimes we want things we were not meant to have. Because He loves us, the Father says no. Faith trusts that no. Faith is willing not to have what God is not willing to give. Furthermore, faith does not insist upon an explanation. It is enough to know his promise to give what is good--He knows so much more about that than we do."
~ Elisabeth Elliot

"...(P)eople  also need to be filled with some sort of strong drive to have a family life no matter how much work and sacrifice it may take, to demonstrate what it to that is being lost!"
~Edith Schaeffer

"Running away is the easy way out, Charlie Brown!" Charles Schultz

"The modern young man will never change his environment; for he will always change his mind."
~G. K. Chesterton

Matthew 6:9-15
Pray, therefore, like this: Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed (kept holy) be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors.
13 And lead (bring) us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
14 For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.

"A faith untried is no faith at all," someone has said. Today I declared my faith before a hundred women and came home to a startling piece of bad news. Hopes were dashed, plans ruined, over a seemingly trivial thing. We did not know what to do. "Trust me" is always the word at such a time. "But Lord, we did trust You. You answered us and everything was working so beautifully. Now this. What shall we do?" "Keep on trusting me. That is my assignment for you tonight. Commit your way to Me; trust in Me; stand still and see."
Why, of course, Lord! I see what You mean. How could I be sure I'm trusting You unless You keep giving me "pop quizzes"? These are the exams in the school of faith.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Reason I Raise Sheep

*Warning: part of this post is not for the squeamish! If necessary, skip to the ****. Thank you!*

A couple of days ago one of the sheep had flystrike on his head - between his horns.  Apparently they'd not been there long enough to start hurting him, because he wasn't in distress yet.  (Flystrike happens when there is a patch of wet wool, or raw skin like a wound.  The flies lay eggs and the maggots hatch out and start eating decaying matter. The real trouble starts when they begin eating the healthy tissues.)  In the Lord's great kindness, all we had to do was spray the area with some stuff to kill the maggots and keep flies away, and he is (almost) back to normal - we just have to wait for the blue dye to wear off!  :)


This latest episode in the sheep saga has reminded me of a question I got recently which caught me rather off guard: why do I keep sheep if they are so much trouble? Wouldn't it be much easier to just get rid of them, or keep some other animal that wouldn't require so much work, or have so many problems?

The short answer is, of course it would be easier not to raise sheep.  It would be so simple to choose  not to go through the pain and heartache that accompanies raising animals who often end up on the predator's plate.  So why go through it?

The long answer:  Originally I started with sheep because my parents said I needed to learn responsibility, and sheep were (and are!) much less expensive than a horse, which was my first choice.  But the sheep we got became pets, and when I got older it became apparent to me that I would miss them very much if I had to sell them.  More than that, in learning responsibility the Lord taught me commitment.  It doesn't matter if I want to go out and check on each of them every day - that is the job description.  I agreed to do that by keeping them.  Even in the winter.  Even in a storm.  Even when I don't feel like it. I am responsible before the Lord for their lives on my farm, and were I to neglect them it would be a sin. And you know what?  The Lord gives grace even to adjust my attitude to feel like doing my duty when I ask Him to with a willing and open heart. 

It may be easier to get away from what makes me uncomfortable, like dealing with some of the problems the sheep get sometimes, but running away is not an option for a Christian.  The Lord calls us to deal with the problems He allows us to face, and teaches us how to deal with them in the Bible.  For the sheep, who know my voice and come when I call, my duty is to protect them to the best of my ability and to treat their problems to the best of my ability.  No, I do not accomplish this perfectly in this life.  But one lesson the sheep have taught me how important it is not to take the easy way out.  Difficult situations are hard to face, but often when they are met with God's grace and dealt with God's way they become the basis for something so much better than I could have imagined before.  The animals can be affectionate, and I still consider most of them my pets.  They provide wool for me to spin, and help me see the bigger picture when my life feels claustrophobic.  And the lambs are so cute each spring!


Monday, July 1, 2013

RFBC 2013

Two weeks ago my family and I had the opportunity to attend the 11th  Reformed Family Bible Conference.  The theme this year was the book of Hebrews.  Eight different pastors took turns preaching through the book over the course of four days, covering ten lectures.

It was encouraging on many levels.  The teaching was pertinent and applicable to our times and to me personally, besides having the joy of seeing good friends that I usually only see at conference.  

The sermons this year were expounding the book of Hebrews, extending courage and perseverance for weary Christians tempted to turn away from the faith.  

Here are two links to different sermons from the week.



Monday, June 10, 2013

God Does All Things Well

These last few weeks have been difficult, to say the least.  

Friday a week ago the courtship of which I was a part ended abruptly and unexpectedly.  The next day, Saturday, a large dog attacked my sheep and ended up killing four of the lambs.  It was heartbreaking to see the flock scattered and shaken, and the bereaved ewes calling for their babies.  My father was the brave one, burying the dead lambs for me.  He shows me how much he cares for me by taking care of the practical difficulties so that I do not have to, and I am very thankful for him.  My brother also did some of the hard things, and encouraged me by his willingness to bear the load of icky jobs that come along with raising any animals. 

God does all things well.  I cannot see the reasons for these hard times, but if I could, God's plans would only be proven more glorious and the end result better than I can dream right now.  He has planned out history marvelously well, and all things, even (especially?) the difficult things work together for the good of His people and the glory of His Name.  "Scripture invariably treats us a morally responsible agents," as John Stott put it in The Cross Of Christ. 

We grow closer to God in the stressful, difficult, heart-wrenching times because it is then that He shows us how we are not in control of our lives.  It is then that He displays to us our need of Him to make it through another day.  He uses our sins and the sins of others to grow us to maturity because we are basically lazy, and usually grow only when we are pushed to do so.  To use a different metaphor, the shepherd uses some dogs to nip at the heels of the flock in order to keep them from the cliff, while at the same time calling the sheep to himself so that they know which way safety lies.  

According to Paul David Tripp, often times of waiting are sent to give us opportunity to grow in knowing God, to grow in knowing self (how sinful and selfish I really am apart from the grace of God), and new ability to serve others by sympathizing with them when they go through similar trials.   

So, although I do not understand, by the grace of God I do accept and will cling to Him as each earthly hope and wish fails.  May His name be ever blessed, and ever honored.    

Monday, April 22, 2013

Recent happenings

Hello, everyone!

Wow, I really did seem to fall off the face of the planet, didn't I?  Life has been very busy these last few months, and we are enjoying lambing season again. So far the Lord has blessed us with four white ewe lambs

Above are Matilda's lambs Sophy (left) and Helen (right).

 Here is one of Anna's lambs: Jessie.
Anna with her twin ewe lambs Jessie and Flora (on my lap).
Flora (yes, one ear is a bit floppy - this should correct itself in a few more days)

This winter the Lord has been teaching me patience and trust in Him in totally new, exciting ways.  For me personally, spring came early this year.  It is one thing to know that God is good and kind in the difficult times, but watching Him work in the sweet times and feeling His blessing being poured out on us is so wonderful and satisfying in a different way.  Truly, a season of courtship is serious and sobering time, but I never dreamed that there would be so much fun getting to know a fellow! 
A vibrant forsythia bush in a nearby field.  It was so pretty! 


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Of gardens and sheep

 Recently while studying different methods of making a small farm productive I came across several books by Joel Salatin.  His ready (slightly sarcastic) wit and willingness to work the land and animals in a symbiotic relationship kept me reaching for Salad Bar Beef and Folks, This Ain't Normal 
even after I'd read the principles and agreed with them.

In an attempt to apply his ideas to our farm we are feeding the sheep in our garden area this winter:  temporary wire fence around our garden space (which is in the yard), and a runway to the pasture.  They come and go as they please, but are fed in the garden space each day.  This encourages a buildup of straw stalks which will get tilled under in the spring, as well as enriching the soil with the manure.

 (The ewes think they are going to get something more to eat - that is why they are following the camera so closely!)

The plan for the moment is to feed them here until the first part of April, and then till the garden, let it sit for a month or so, and till it again.  The sheep have no problem with being in this space, but sometimes they forget how to get in for a minute, and stand on the outside of the yard looking in at the hay and sprouted grain.  Then panic kicks in  ("I won't get my share!") and they remember very quickly.  :)   It is a riot to watch.

Last year's lambs are nearly as big as their mothers now (see the white one in the middle?), and the wethers should go to the packing plant sometime next month.

On a different note, Lord willing I'll start work at a local museum later this week!  I've worked there before, several years ago, and I look forward to being there again.


I am not getting anything for recommending Salatin's books. 

Monday, January 21, 2013


Today was the public ceremony marking the beginning of our president's second term. 

As we face another four years with the present administration, it is important to remember that the Lord is sovereign above and beyond all the leaders of the earth.  He warns those who seek to give lip service to Him without sincerity that He is in a position to laugh at them. 

Psalm 2  
Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
    and cast away their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
    the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
    and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
    on Zion, my holy hill.”
I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
    today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
    and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
    and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”
10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
    be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
    and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,
    lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
    for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

These next four years offer a huge opportunity for Christians to reach out to those around us to show the love of Christ.  With the rising costs of healthcare and insurance, along with inflation and the general devaluation of the American monetary system, more and more people will be caught in a downward spiral if they try to do everything on their own.  It is a temptation to live "The American Dream" and pull ourselves up by the bootstraps, but the hard truth is that we cannot do it on our own.  Pride is a large part of the reason we're in this mess today.

 Our trust is to be in God alone, not putting any confidence in ourselves or other people.  It is so easy to live as "practical atheists" who know that the Lord is sovereign, but neglect to act like it in daily life. I am just as guilty of this as everyone else.  But the Lord is kind to remind me that I can't go through life without Him, and gently draws His straying lamb back to Himself.   How can we neglect to praise Him and obey Him? 


Monday, January 14, 2013

Flexibility vs. Productivity

Frankly, this is a huge challenge for me.  Productivity (tatting Etsy stuff, learning marketing skills for lace and sheep businesses, chores and fun stuff) often takes a back burner to flexibility (being available to change plans at the last minute, even to the point of all day or all week plans at the last minute).  Now, it is important to be flexible, but I need to implement more of a schedule in my life.  Too often flexibility becomes an excuse to be lazy, or at least, to have nothing to show for the day's time.  So, I'm in the market for a part time job.  It is going to be interesting, as I've not worked outside a home for over six years (cooking and teaching sewing not included), but the Lord seems to be directing that this is the proper time, so full steam ahead.  Of course I still plan to continue Etsy and Tophatter, and if anyone is interested in naturally raised lamb, please let me know, but this is an adventure.  I just have to remember to treat it as such. :) 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Silk thread review

Silk threads vs. Cotton threads in jewelry tatting

Here are a few things I've found after using both silk embroidery floss and size 20 cord:

Silk threads stick to rough spots on hands like crazy!  Cotton threads can do that too, but not nearly as badly.

Silk threads are very luxurious, and super soft.  Cotton can be almost as shiny, but the softness of silk is unequaled.

Tatting with silk threads takes more patience than tatting with cotton threads, mostly because of the issue of silk wanting to stick to itself.  There is a fine line between closing the ring securely and pulling and breaking the thread.

Overall, I've been a bit disappointed with the silk 20 thread, as it isn't as shiny as I'd hoped, but that was more my unrealistic expectations than anything wrong with the thread itself. 


P.S.  I should get pictures uploaded later this week, Lord willing!