August 31, 2010

preparing a place

The Lord has brought to mind an analogy that has been such a
great comfort during these last couple of weeks.

As I deal with the mixed emotions of already missing our home,
and yet feeling really sick and longing to be moved out -
I had to smile.

It's so similar to the longing I often have to be in Heaven.

I'm not in any extreme hurry to get there, mind you!
But as I look around at a world hurting and full of pain,
as beautiful as it is,
and as much as I'm attached to it, human that I am;
I still greatly look forward to Heaven,
knowing it will be unimaginably better than anything I
will have to leave behind.

Jesus promised that He was going to prepare a place for us;
and in the mean time, we're experiencing that on a miniature scale
as we wait and watch the progress on our new home.

I love my home;
it's a place brimming full with memories.
Part of me thinks I could stay in this old house forever.
But I'm sick, and worn out;
and everyday leaves me a little more ready to move on to what's ahead.

As our moving day gets closer and closer,
our anticipation continues to grow;
and we're more and more ready to leave what's making us sick behind.

We have great peace looking forward -
as we wait for the place being prepared for us.

"Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed,
we have a building from God,
an eternal house in Heaven, not built by human hands."

II Corinthians 5:1

August 30, 2010

drywall and dry humor

The drywall happened Friday;
not as exciting as I'd hoped -
because now that we have walls,
I'm already moving on to needing them to have the
cracks filled and nails covered...
and once that's all finished up,
my mind will already have moved on to paint,
and flooring,
and so -
patience is a virtue;
and waiting until today for that next step
has been great opportunity for exercising it!

On to the drywall pics...

The view from the front door

The kitchen area (to the left)

And, the view to the right...

On the way back from documenting the progress on our home,
I spied Scooter all nice and posed for a picture.
This is rare, because she's a spastic little sweetie,
and most of her photos are far from flattering...
She always resembles a gray meercat or something.

But, this time, I got one.

Then those ears went back...

Boy doesn't she look grumpy; and here's why.

Spencer started chomping on a stick right behind her;
and that is so annoying.
He really does torture her,
the facial expressions basically say everything...


If looks could kill....

I really shouldn't post this -
it doesn't represent her well, but I can't help it.

That's seriously just a yawn,
I have no idea why our cats look so freaky when they do that.

This is Huck's "worried" look...

Nickle was giving all of the dogs the evil eye from the
back porch...
It was obviously a bad day to be a gray cat.

The forecast for being orange?

Sunny as usual.

There's definitely something to be said for being
care-free and oblivious;
all of the time.
Not that anyone could do it as well as this Favorite cat does.

Chomp away, Spencer.

August 26, 2010

My Madeline

I'll admit, I hate letting go.
I love change when it sweeps me along and carries me off,
I'm all for change, in the form of adventure, and newness.
The kind of change that lets you embrace what's fresh,
but keep and treasure all that's old.
Change that gives.

But there's more than one kind of change.

There's the change that one-by-one deprives you of the
things you deeply treasure and wanted to keep. Forever.
The change that wipes away what's past,
and leaves you empty handed.
Change that doesn't give you much choice or warning.
Change that takes. And takes.

I hate that kind of change.

But it has visited me often this Summer just the same.
The house bad news, Haggai dying, Fiffen disappearing.
And I'm finally swallowing something else;
I've lost an old friend.

Madeline was my first real pet.
When we knew for sure that we had a home in the country,
Dad and Mom finally told us we could have the long-awaited cats.
And Maddy was the kitten that filled my seven-year-old heart.

I dressed her up in doll clothes,
and loved her to pieces;
and she put up with it, sometimes grudgingly,
but she was my cat.
And she always seemed to know it.

She was moody.
She used to smack horses, and scratch little kids.
But she and I had an understanding,
and there was something special about it.

She was lovely, dignified, feminine.
Always a little aloof; once she became an outdoor cat -
she refused to eat with the other cats in the back,
she had to have her dinner in a special dish on the front porch.
She was always there for dinner, always on time.

For thirteen years.

One night about a month ago,
Madeline never came for dinner;
nor the next night, or any night since.

For awhile,
I refused to give up hope that she might be back;
just be there waiting like she's supposed to.
I've dreamed that more times than I can count.
But I'm slowly accepting it;
I don't think she's coming back.

Maddy was old and tired;
she probably curled up under a bush somewhere,
and never woke up.
She didn't want us to find her;
that's so like my Madeline.

I look around, and I know there's more of this to come.
All my pets are getting old on me.
Slowing down, getting gray.
I'll admit, sometimes I want to question why the Lord would
ask me to let go of so much at once.
I feel guilty, knowing that others around me are having to
give up much, much, more.
But God has blessed me with just a tiny glimpse of His view -
that the emptier my life becomes,
the more room there is for His will in it.
As much as I hate it,
He's freeing me up for whatever is next.
As I one by one am releasing what I have long dreaded
having to live without -
God is showing me how faithful He is,
and assuring me-
that even if I had to part with every last speck of all
that I hold dear, I would still have Him.
And He would be more than enough.
There is such a joy in that, and an incredible peace -
knowing that all I am missing in the past,
is preparing me for a more faith-filled future.

Yes, even change that hurts can be something beautiful;
in God's hands.

August 25, 2010

more goodness

In the way of an update,
we have lots of praises - again.

I don't have a 'before' photo handy, but for those of
you who knew this "garage" in it's last life...
you will have to agree - it has seen some change.

The inside's looking pretty different too.

It's definitely on the small side, but I guess it's kind of
funny when you stop and think about how much room
Americans think they have to have...

This is going to cut our cleaning duties big time. :)

We got our phone lines moved today,
and enjoyed hearing about how terrifying our rooster is.
A guy came out a few days ago to mark with flags,
and evidently he carried back a story about
our scary chickens...
The guys who came today were pretty concerned;
that first guy was an Ex-Marine...

Just imagine a chicken that could scare him.

Yep. That would be Ludwig;
He's pretty benign actually.
We just keep him for the fun of seeing Ex-Marines
running around backwards.
Must be those piercing red eyes;
we're not really sure.

More along the lines of praises -
God blessed us with a load of free peaches today.
We are known for keeping our eyes out for unwanted
fruit trees, and have been watching these peaches.
We made an inquiry, and today received the call
that they were free for the taking.

So we did...
Another entirely unexpected blessing -
due to several mistakes that were made regarding our
counter-top order, we found out today, we will
be getting the top we were dreaming about for
much, much, less than we would have paid for ones we
liked less, but were cheaper.

God is so good to us.

August 23, 2010


I don't expect all of you to be fascinated by this post...
but considering that my grandparents asked me
to share some pics of the progress,
I'm more than happy to oblige here and there.

I'll admit, it is getting a little hard to hold the excitement in.

Just for comparison - here is a before picture.

Huck is loving his position as overseer...

Here is after the first day...
Plywood off the walls, and plumbing roughed in.

After day two...
Framing started on outer walls and floor.

And here is the latest -
Plywood down on the floors, and walls framed in!
(and the garage doors have disappeared.)

Kind of looking like a house all of the sudden.

It's finally dawning on us that we are majorly downsizing,
but it will be worth it.

God is doing amazing things.

We are so thankful and amazed at how fast it's coming
together. They've only been at it for a few days.

And Spence is making friends with all of the workers,
and getting his adorable little self in the way,
which is what he does best.
Nobody ever seems to notice what a complete pest he is.
He definitely has some people skills...

August 20, 2010


I'm thankful.

Thankful for a great floor plan for our new home;
a builder who is moving fast;
and a family that is growing closer
- to God and each other -
through it all.

I'm thankful for new beginnings,
fresh starts,
little pushes that get me outside of my comfort zone.

I'm thankful for a garden full of tomatoes,
and the resulting spaghetti sauce,
and salsa...

I'm so thankful for my sweet sister-in-law,
and other friends who have brought us meals,
and offered us help when we're overwhelmed.

I appreciate the new little orange cat
that decided to adopt us.
He's trying to fill the big shoes that Fiffen left behind
when he decided to go on a little adventure -
that's turning into a long adventure.
If you see him, tell him to hurry home.

Meanwhile, I appreciate this cat;
whom we refer to as
"the Squirrely cat."

Even if Scooter doesn't...

He's a little spastic;
and does greatly resemble a squirrel...
Huge bushy tail.
But he is pretty sweet,
and he sure knows how to cheer people up.

I'm thankful for
"Strength for today, and bright hopes for tomorrow..."

I'm being continually reminded of God's faithfulness to us,
even when I'm unable to recognize it all as "good" -
it is,
and today I'm thankful for that.

August 17, 2010

Victory on the Egg Front

We've had egg issues around here recently...
Life has been pretty chaotic;
we've been distracted;
and the eggs are taking advantage.

Everyday, Dad brings in another dozen or so as the
result of his evening hunts.
The ladies are still not confined,
and they like putting their eggs in the oddest places -
almost as if they have a contest for creativity going.

And no,
the eggs do not arrive in the pristine condition you imagine.
They probably have good reasons,
union issues, or something -
but their favorite thing to do, is break one
and then delicately glaze all of the rest of the eggs with
a nice thin layer of egg yolk.
Then they embellish it with a feather or two -
and allow to dry...

Lovely. Just lovely.

So we've had these eggs, piling up, and rolling all over
the kitchen counters...

One day last week, I received great inspiration for their
potential, and decided to wash them all...
and finish with a vow -
that no matter how crazy life gets,
we can't let them get that way again.

Yep. Those are green eggs...

Off the subject of the eggs for a moment;
here's a glimpse of the gang themselves.

Our ladies; as diverse a group as the eggs they lay.

That is the look they give me when they are demanding kitchen
scraps. They'll chase me all over the yard until I come up with something.
Besides the yolk and feathering practice,
they've also taken up a more vocal form of protest.
I think the main culprits are the green egg layers -
they are Araucanas from South America,
straight from the Amazon...
They are gifted with this tremendous ability to sound like
a herd of wild jungle monkeys.
And the best time of day to express themselves seems to be
around 6:30 in the morning.

The cover for their latest album - The Jungle Chicks.

Back to the egg story...
The Inspiration.
It seems that they realized that overdosing us with eggs - is way more
effective than going on strike, so that's what they do.
Sounds like a ridiculous problem I know, but we can't get rid
of the things. Four people can only eat so many for breakfast,
and they just don't sell at the local Farmer's Market
(they tell me they can buy them at the store for 98 cents...
What does being organic have to do with anything?)
Long story short;
I watched the Homestead Blessings DVD on canning -
and guess what?
Eggs are can-able!
I guess you'll have to watch it if you want to know eggsactly
how - but with a little vinegar, spices, and garlic -
you have pickled eggs, all ready for a Winter potato salad.
(Or to garnish a regular salad, and the list goes on.)

That's partly what I've been up to;
boiling and peeling lots of eggs.
We counted, and realized I've canned 18 pints in the past week;
(that's about 100 eggs to peel...)

But for the first time in years, we're keeping up with
the Summertime rush of eggs; the counter is clear -
and I've actually been out there looking around for more.

The chickens are re-thinking their tactics.