December 31, 2010

So long, 2010

"Life is just a little like a ball of yarn;
the closer to the end it gets, the faster it goes."

2010 has hurried past so quickly;
seemingly faster than any other year of my life thus far -
but isn't that how it always is?
Of course I know it really couldn't even possibly 
have been any shorter than any other year has ever been,
but it just was.

Yet when I step back, and survey all of it in its completion -
the proverbial mountains and valleys...
the mysterious way that though the ups and downs
don't seem to add up or make sense in the moment;
they've evened each other out by the time it's all through.

Looking back on twenty and a half years,
2010 may very well be my favorite one yet.
It has been anything but easy;
for many months of it - difficulty seemed to surround me completely.
But as I stand on the summit
and glance back on all that this year has held,
the exhaustion of the climb melts away -
and the beauty overwhelms me.

One word describes it -
What a glorious year 2010 has been.
Yes, it has been so very full of adventures,
and journeys to places I had not yet been;
and those moments are ones that the venturesome side of 
me are especially grateful for.
But, smiling, I realize that the Lord has so perfectly
led me in a parallel path at the same time -
a journey of continuing to grow in Him, that skillfully mirrors
the visible adventures of these past twelve months.
The same ups and downs,
but the same glorious view.

What an awesome God I serve!

Happy New Year everyone!

December 27, 2010

days like pearls off a string

"I believe the nicest and sweetest days
are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful
or exciting happens,
but just those days that bring simple little pleasures,
and follow one another softly,
like pearls slipping off a string."
L. M. Montgomery

December 23, 2010

Remembering the bearded ladies

You may be just a little bit concerned over the title,
I can't really blame you for that I guess;
but be reassured, it's not some past circus life that I'm referring to;
I'm speaking of my goats.

Me and a few of our "Boer" goat kids; ten years ago...

On the 19th of December,
I looked back and realized- I had survived an entire year
without my goats;
and that kind of surprised me.
It seems like it has been forever since that snowy
morning when I hugged my last two goat ladies goodbye.

I had pretty much had goats forever before that,
or at least so it seemed.

Velvet and Rosabelle (the first two) became a part
of our new "self-sufficient" lives when I was seven years old;
and by the time Sonata and Dolce hopped into the truck that
frosty morning - more goats had left their hoof prints
across my heart and memory than I could possibly count.

Boy do I miss them.

I can see your eyebrows raising as you read that;
yes, I know.
You think all goats are horned, stinky, and hairy,
and have the brains of a scarecrow and the
senseless cravings of a garbage disposal.
I know you think that...
Especially if you've read
The Little Boy Down the Road...

Push back the prejudice, and imagine the perfect combination
of your favorite cat and dog.
These creatures (when well taken care of)
have to be some of the loveliest farm critters out there.
They are bright eyed, intelligent, and sassy.
They smell of clover hay and molasses.
They detest dirt, mud, and puddles, and
grain and hay that taste even just a little odd.
Our ladies were always a bit of barnyard divas;
so picky.
If their food touched the ground, they were done with it -
even if they were responsible for putting it there...

They have a sense of humor, we're sure of that -
whether turning lights on in the barn (and Kate getting
blamed for it) or opening locks and getting into things they
shouldn't (and Kate getting blamed for that too),
they do indeed seem to have a wild craving for mayhem.
And they thought it was funny. I know they did.

When I remember my bearded ladies,
I'll always feel silky hair, and floppy ears;
smell alfalfa hay and warm foamy milk;
and hear goat voices calling my 'name' morning and evening.
I'll always remember the mischievous escapades to the garden,
the freshly destroyed grape vines and tiger lilies;
the daintiness,
the curly hair and bad attitudes on rainy mornings.
The flustered fits of snorting at dogs,
the moments of silly, silly, dancing down the sidewalk when they
thought that no one was watching;
the most carefree ridiculous bouncing dance you've ever seen.

I'll miss them forever I'm sure;
but missing is sometimes just a part of remembering,
and forgetting them is something that I hope I never do.

December 17, 2010

adventures in sturdy womanhood...

Due to some out of the ordinary circumstances, I've
been home alone a lot in the past few days.
While it's hard to get lonely with so much furry company about,
it can get a little overwhelming trying to keep everybody
warm, fed, and cared for. 
Especially with five inches of lovely snow.

It has been awhile since I've had to throw haybales from the loft
and carry steaming buckets of water to chickens...
When my goats left last year, I guess I was kind of 
retired from the heavy duty barn-chores;
but it has come back in all its glory this past week.

Well, except milking goats in the sub-zero temps.

It has definitely been an adventure in sturdy womanhood;
and I can't say I mind that.

The kitties don't get fed until the evening,
but I found Favorite outside enjoying the snow this morning.

And licking his chops...?...

Busted. We knew he didn't get so roly-poly on his normal rations.

Of course the sheep are always happy to see us;
especially if we have an arm load of hay.
You just have to love the steam coming out of their little noses. 

There's something charming about sheep silhouettes with 
a snowy forest back-drop.

Or maybe that's just me...

The cow-boys aren't as endearing;
but they sure do eat a lot.

This is the part where a peaceful morning of chores took
an unsettling turn...
I hate to admit it, but I knew that there was a monster in the 
old goat barn yesterday. Spencer found him and told me all about it...
The brave little guy sat out there and yodeled at it for 
a good three hours yesterday afternoon.
Which was fine by me, since it seemed to help his cabin fever;
and I guess I kind of hoped it would go away after that.
I definitely would have.
(Spencer has a set of pipes...)

Well, the monster (another opossum to be exact)
decided to stay anyways and 
committed a dastardly deed in the night.
Out of all our dear little chickies and chicken mommas from this
past Summer, only one lone chickie had survived being
murdered by the horde of 'possums we were infested with.
Dad had courageously terminated every last one of them,
or so we thought,
until this character showed up yesterday afternoon.

And ate the last chickie.

I was so filled with horror and indignation,
I was ready to dispatch him with a pitch fork then and there,
where he was barricaded in the hay bin with what was left 
of poor little chickie.
But after listening to him hiss like a snake and howl like
a bewitched hyena all at once -
and picturing him clawing my face off;
I thought better of it.
So I set off to get the pistol;
but, then I thought better of that too.

So I compromised and set the 'possum trap.

It's a comfort to have three such brave and courageous
dogs around to watch my back.

Huck was just awaiting the word to go take care
of Mr. 'Possum.
They'd do anything they could for me;
I just love that about my dogs.

But we all know that sometimes patience and self control is the 
sturdiest thing yet - so we're waiting this thing out.
Mr. 'Possum will answer for his past when Dad gets home today.

In the meantime,
I think I'll make yet another trip to the woodshed for more wood,
and then maybe make a cup of tea with honey and cream.

We've had enough adventure and mayhem for one day.

December 14, 2010

my journey

Dad and I made it home Sunday evening.
The long trip back was made so much shorter and lovelier
by the companionship of two dear friends - Sarah and Hannah.
I was so blessed by the time to get to know them even better!

Looking back over the past weekend,
I didn't take many photos, (7 good ones, to be perfectly exact.)
and I didn't take many notes.
I did get to make and meet many, many, friends -
many memories;
and I listened with all of my strength.
I came home feeling very blessed, inspired,
and completely overwhelmed.

Whether attempting to articulate to others, record in
my journal - or even sort in my own mind the many
ways that Love the Church affected me;
I continue to fail.

I came home so strengthened in my walk with the Lord,
and yet so greatly burdened by how far I continue to fall short;
more dependant on His grace then ever before.

This is the mysterious journey of sanctification.
The more I see of the Lord, the more I long to be like Him,
and the more clearly I can see how I'm not.
The further I come,
the further I see I am yet to go.

I'm frustrated in my own weakness today,
but rejoicing in the strength of my God.

(These photos were taken somewhere in the hills of North Carolina.)

December 7, 2010

"a date which will live in infamy"

Just a few days ago, I was rummaging through some coins
that I'd been stashing away in a tin for years and years.
Somewhere in the mix, I found a pretty worn looking "wheat
penny" and knowing it to be fairly old, I squinted at the date.

1941, a year that truly just reminds me of one thing right away.

As I fingered the worn, tarnished coin, and took in
that old penny smell - I thought about 1941, and the anniversary
that would be coming up in just a couple of days.
A date that President FDR said would "live in infamy."

Today is December 7, 2010;
the 69th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Sure, it was a long time ago, and awfully far away,
but as I look at the penny sitting on my desk right now -
it's so easy to hear the Japanese Zeros making their
bombing pass low overhead, and smell the awful smells of
burning oil, and see the terrible sight of sinking, burning ships.
Over 2,300 men died that day in Pearl Harbor,
many upon the USS Arizona.

The Arizona going down

It makes me wonder in whose possession this penny was on
this day 69 years ago, and how they were affected by all that occurred.

It makes me remember Pearl Harbor.

December 4, 2010

Depraved Indifference

I came across this short video clip in several different places online yesterday; bumping into it wherever I went. So I watched it; and I haven't been able to get it off of my mind since. You've probably seen it already, as it seems to be spreading fast - and I'm so glad it is. It should. And I just have to share it here too. There's a lot on my heart right now, but I'll just let Mr. Ludy speak for himself. It hurts.

December 2, 2010

The Lovely Foxanne

I have high and lofty aspirations of all the things I hope
to write a post on one of these days -
not the least of which is the fact that I still haven't
posted any photos of our finished house...

But on a chilly night like this one,
I'm only up to posting the very silly (and petty) tale
of the lovely Foxanne.

She arrived just yesterday...seems like she's been here
forever already though; much as we've seen her...

I can already hear mom telling me that I've posted
five of the exact same photos...
But they aren't at all the same to me.

Oh great; Kate's taking pictures of me again.

This is Spencer (you knew that),
and in the foreground is the little toy fox that
he received yesterday.
Mom recalled that it's been some time since our poor Spence
has had a toy of his own (there are reasons...he eats them.)
But since he is in fact older, and maybe more mature,
she brought the fox home (perfect for a fox terrier - no?)
and the rest is history.
(Well, 24 hours worth.)

Whoa. Would you look at all that crazy stuff going on right behind Kate's back?!
Trying to distract me... He's a smart little guy.

He as a matter of fact hasn't ripped her little
squeaky 'heart' out yet;
and thankfully doesn't seem to plan to.
He's actually kind of nice to her,
and carries her around everywhere,
and is forever trying to show her to us -
and stick the wet soggy thing into our hands...

Okay Joe, just make her stop.

So, I christened her Foxanne,
(soley because it makes me laugh, which seems
to be good logic for lots of things)
and all we have to do is ask Spence where
Foxanne is, and he's running off to fetch her;
not that we really care to see her anymore...
it's just too cute to see how smart he is,
and the fact that she's still in one piece;
well that's nice too.


She's fairing much better than Adolf did.
Adolf was his big plastic rat.
Adolf looked like a real rat from most angles -
and Spencer had an uncanny way of leaving him places.
We eventually became rather immune to him,
while most of our guests did not...
I took to calling him Adolf after Spencer ate off
all four of his limbs...
Uh, yes, Ate Off... (say that five times fast); thus the name.
I found it humorous.

Let's hope Foxanne's story has a better ending.

Yep Kate, I see you, and I really do love you too.
Camera and all.