January 30, 2011


We've had more lambs this past week... 
We lost one little guy to the intense cold before we even
knew to look for him - thankfully his sibling made it though.

They're rather adorable - as you're about to see;
but that fact really isn't surprising anymore is it?

I especially can't get over this little guy's tucked ear. 

Did you know that old tree stumps are yummy to snack on?

I didn't either.

And just to clarify - personally, I still don't.
But the lambies seem to think so.

For an example of  how quickly these little guys grow up -
here's a recent photo of the lamb that was born on that 
sunny day in November not so long ago.

Check out those little horns! 

So we're enjoying these sweet little faces while they last;
and wanted to share them with all of you.

January 22, 2011

the Artisan in me

I've always been somewhat of an Artisan bread enthusiast...
The crustier, the chewier, the better - kind of perspective.

I've never had any problem with making an Artisan loaf 
from scratch - I just love bread making - but...
sometimes time is of an essence.

Actually, time is usually of an essence...

So, when a friend told me about the book
"Artisan Bread in Five minutes a Day"
it was great cause for rejoicing.

I looked it up on Amazon,
paid for it with Swagbucks;
and have been rather happy ever since.

It literally takes no effort whatsoever,
and yet the bread is turning out better than the more complicated
doughs; (that took literal days...).

I love the way it crackles when it comes out of the oven.

I don't love the way our smoke detector goes off every time I 
make it... (You yourself can see it isn't at all burnt...)

I guess it just knows good bread when it detects it.

Soup and Bread. 

January 20, 2011

having a bad hair day...

I guess it's just that time of year.
The time of year when a small dog starts shedding his hair.
And somewhere in the frustrating combination of having 
wood floors, a tiny house, and some bad static electricity,
we've had a bit of a problem on our hands.

So a few days ago, 
I decided to quit bothering with the house -
and just vacuum Spence himself.

His reaction (or lack thereof) was pretty cute.

Take note of Foxanne who's always nearby. :)

January 17, 2011

adventures in repurposing...

It's been a little quiet around here I noticed...
so I thought I would show you something that I've been up to.

In the process of emptying our old house, I came across
 this antique picnic basket.

It's rather on the large side, and takes up a lot of space,
and frankly, we just don't go on that caliber of picnics as often
as owning such a basket would suggest.
It was suggested that we part ways with said picnic basket;
until I had an idea.

I happen to own a plethora of knitting needles,
(which get excessive use)
and as you might have noticed if you have some too -
they are somewhat bothersome to store at times.

Enter the picnic basket...
which happened to already boast a handy little
elastic strip across the lid - for storing picnic utensils I suppose;
(now perfect for needles)
and plenty of room for yarn and projects too.

So the basket lives on.

January 10, 2011

God's Gift

Receiving a free Great Pyrenees isn't an experience 
that many people are blessed to have;
and we were keenly aware of that when we brought our special
big polar bear of a dog "Haggai" home several years back.

We were even more aware, and painfully so, when we found
him on the side of the road this past July. 
Gifts like Haggai only come once in a lifetime.

Or do they.

Saturday, we were blessed to bring home the second
free Great Pyrenees of our sheep raising career.
I suspect he's part Lab, he's not as furry, and has a few tan places,
but that sheep dog is in him, we can see it grinning back at us.

We're calling him Barclay at the moment; (pronounced Barkley) -
I guess only time will tell how well the name sticks.
He's an adorable seven-month-old bundle of gigantic-puppy fun.

Too much fun for head-honcho Huck...
(Huck's neck-fur gave him a standing ovation...)

Upon meeting Huck, he furrowed his brow, buttoned
his goofy ears up on the very top of his head, tongue flopping freely,
and then danced on Huck's shadow - all around the driveway.
Huck was not at all amused.
On the contrary; I took it that he was pretty disgusted.

After meeting Buster and Huck,
Dad took Barclay on a tour of his new assignment.

The "Big One" stared shamelessly.

The sheep also gawked without apology,
but only after spunky young Barclay chased them around the paddock;
so I guess we can't really blame them for that.
Dad had a word with Barclay about chasing sheep;
and he's now working on conquering the urge.

Perhaps Barclay's most memorable moment of coming home,
was meeting a high-strung little terrier guy.
I guess it's true that we haven't acquired any new dogs for quite awhile,
 but Spencer's reaction was still a little startling.

(Here's Barclay risking a peek to see where the 
other-worldly yodeling was coming from.)

It took us a moment's cogitation to be certain that the evil racket 
was really, truly, coming from our sweet little teddy bear of a Spencer.
You'd be surprised how quickly the guy can go from our 
smiley, stub-wagging, Foxanne-toting, little sweetheart;
to a fierce monster, with a convincing "junk-yard-dog"
 bellow that chills 'possum hearts.
He's definitely a dog's dog.
But that was no way to greet a friend like Barclay.

We're all still in a bit of a process of helping Barclay find
his spot here with us; but we're so thrilled to have him.

And hopeful that this baby-face with the wrinkly-brow and 
button-up ears will soon grow to be as faithful a guardian as 
the dog whose place he's attempting to take.

January 7, 2011

Foxanne Friday

We are blessed;
for many a reason that I could easily point at,
but at the moment I'm focused on the blessing of 
a sweet little Fox Terrier, named Spencer.

As you might remember, we found him a new little friend 
recently - a stuffed toy named Foxanne.

After about a month with her,
we've learned to find one, by looking for the other -
the two are never far apart...

Spencer has some odd napping patterns...
Mom especially is grieved by the way he seems to attempt
to find the forbidden objects to put his little head on;
like her special afghan for instance...
 (He wasn't sleeping so peacefully for long...)

He's slowly figuring out that Foxanne makes a nice pillow too;
and the repercussions from mom are considerably lessened...

Sometimes Spencer sneaks Foxanne outside;
something that he knows he shouldn't do.
One day, he forgot her in the snow - 
and when he found her again, she was pretty waterlogged.
We were just a little surprised to see her perched next to the
wood stove not long afterwards.
Especially since none of us humans had put her there...

Spencer is such a sweet, silly, smart little guy.
We really never know what he'll come up with next.

Like a few days ago, when I found him sunning like this...

Maybe the box reflected the heat nicely, or maybe it just happened
to be exactly his size.
My guess is he was just pretending to be a Boxer.

I told you he was smart;
and this is how smart..

The cutest moment yet this past week,
had to be the day we found a rather dirty and bedraggled 
Foxanne in the laundry pile;
and nobody seemed to know how she got there.
Well, evidently we didn't get around to cleaning her up as 
quickly as somebody would have liked...
and the next day, we found her in his water bowl.


Needless to say, 
Foxanne has been washed now;
and is almost back to her initial glory.

Ready to show us what else Spencer seems to know.

January 4, 2011

12 Months of Goodness; and Mayhem

Well, Shirley Goodness and Mayhem has made it -
through an entire year of ups and downs.

When I was a little girl,
I would often look back on a year that had passed,
and marvel at how slow it went,
how wonderful it was,
and how little life had changed.

In more recent years,
I've been more apt to look back and shudder
at how quickly time evaporates,
how drastically life changes;
and how difficult change can be.

Not so with 2010.

For more than half of it, I was certain that 
2010 would prove to be the most difficult year of my life thus far;
and that after being certain that 2009's challenges could 
never be topped...

But as the curtains drop, the lights come up, the credits roll,
- the beauty and the fullness of this year overwhelms me.

Not every month was as profound as others were,
but scrolling through my archives there were definitely photos
that could sum up the theme of a month pretty well;
so I have twelve of them.

January - old dreams answered, new burdens born.
All it takes is one glance of this photo for me to be back
in that bumpy bus seat, bouncing down the streets of Santiago.
I had been patiently waiting for my time to go on such a trip
for years; and have longed for another since I got back.
This photo is of the little beggar girl that broke my heart there.
January was a month of fear, stepping out, exhilarating 
adventures, miracles, and an aching heart.
And out of all that happened in that crazy month
(not the least of them being the start of this blog)
those dark, hurting, piercing eyes of that little girl in 
the street are what will always stick with me.
And twelve months later; they can almost sum up my year;
for their grip on me is stronger now than it was then.

February - Lambs. And more lambs.
New life, frost bite (well okay, not exactly), and parrot-cats perched on me.
What more need be said?

March - Spring on the farm...
More lambs, tulips, and lots of thought over passing time.
Though I only posted about it once, Numbering my Days 
weighed heavy on my mind.

April - Skirts for Haiti
April for me, can be entirely summed up in finally getting to see the 
end result of a whirlwind project - the sweet faces of little
Haitian girls, and the skirts that we were so blessed to be able
to get to them. Of course I wanted to be there more than anything
else that month. But God dropped an opportunity for us to be just 
a little bit of a help to them; and I was grateful for that.

May - an almost perfect month
When it comes to finding a day of beauty and perfection
that can't be improved upon; May seems to offer the widest selection.
At least in my opinion.

June - two decades completed; and Frances.
Remember Frances? The cute little unwanted lamb?
She was only here for a week before finding a new family,
but she sure got June off to a good start.
By the time June was over, I had two decades behind me.
The significance of that fact wasn't lost on me,
(those kinds of significance rarely are...)
My birthday is always a good heart-searching way to realize -
another year is half-way gone.

July - Loss.
I can't even let my mind wander back to the muggy days of
July without getting that lump back in my throat.
Within just a few weeks time,
we lost our big fluffy sheep dog, and among other things -
our house. 
We've lost more pets this past Summer than any other year;
Haggai, Madeline, Fiffen, Scooter... 
Not happy times, no, but pretty trivial on the list of all that 
could possibly go wrong in life.
But losing our old farmhouse seemed further up on that scale.
I've been in the process of letting go, and letting go, for
many years now; but hadn't ever been pushed quite to the edge 
of such radical surrender until those dark July days.
I'm so thankful now.

August - Goodbye, Old House.
It didn't all suddenly dawn on me this year;
but 2010 gave so many perfect opportunities to put my life 
lessons to the test.
At the end of August, I wrote a post about Madeline;
mainly focused on giving up an old cat friend of mine yes,
but summarizing the truth that - the emptier my life became
of the things I would never choose to give up; 
the more room there is for the Lord's will in my life,
and for the presence of the Lord Himself.

September - New life.
September was glorious, it really was.
It was so illustrative of the overwhelming joy that comes
after handing everything to God -
He gave us so much more than we had ever given up.
I wrote the most posts in one month in September;
fifteen to be exact -
it was just bubbling over with blessings, and joy,
and the optimistic hopes of a new beginning in a new home.

October - Texas.
That one word really truly can sum up October on its own;
for the entire month was indeed spent there!
After the dark, depressing Summer I'd just come through -
I didn't know how I could possibly handle Fall coming so quickly,
I felt like I had blinked and missed my favorite season.
But then I was handed a perfect, gloriously sun-shiney month 
in a absolutely gorgeous part of an awesome state.
October was a gift.
I still can't believe how blessed I was to have that month spent
catching up with old friends, making new ones, and just
having quiet time to think and regroup.
God is so good.

November - redefining Autumn for me.
It might be safe to say I enjoyed Texas too much, for I was 
thoroughly dreading a return to the frigid northern regions...
I expected November to be rude, abrupt, and dead.
The Lord surprised me with the most beautiful, warm,
and golden November that I can recall.
And even if it did snow on Thanksgiving;
I was ready for it.

December - the high water mark
I'll admit, December caught me completely off guard.
Eric Ludy's short film Depraved Indifference knocked my feet
out from under me early on in the month.
It felt like the moment this entire year has been leading up to,
it was a moment of finally being able to hear articulated what has
been keeping me up at night; that I simply couldn't explain.
It has been an absolute tsunami ever since.
First the Love the Church conference, and then faith-testing 
situations here at home, and listening to sermon after sermon;
(The majority at the moment - by Mr. Ludy at www.ellerslie.com) 

I love this photo above - (taken on the way to Love the Church) 
it's how I see life at the moment - 
going forward, gaining altitude, and sun spots.
Mr. Ludy talks about our Christian journey being an 'endless frontier',
and personally, I love that. I love adventure.
I've always been a little irked in my mind that there's not as many
'frontiers' left in this world - man has even been to outer space.
So I love that I can spend the rest of my life searching, digging,
and rejoicing greatly in all that I find - 
and yet knowing that there will always be more.

I'll never exhaust God's resources,
I'll never cease to be amazed by Him,
this journey will never grow old.
What an awesome promise that is!

Thank you all for being such faithful readers and friends in
my first year of blogging.

Looking foward to another year with great expectation,