April 28, 2011

Sheep Shots...

Well, I guess I warned you;
Here are more of the latest from the woolly ones.

Sweet momma sheep.

 Galey and Samantha. :) Born the same year (2006); and like sisters ever since.
How can those two be five years old now?!

Hey, smart little thing she has there...

Ah, and here is our special surprise lamb of the year.

Not a speck of any color on her - she's solid black! A first for our flock.

And there she is with her sissy.

I must say... that's a pretty adorable little face she's got. :)
That's it for now!

April 26, 2011

Gerald the Babysitter

That would be the big guy in the middle.
Don't ask me how he got such a title, 
it was one of those things that just seemed meant to be...
it fell out of my mouth one day in his direction.
(The dark sheep to the right is Gerald's sister too.)

for reasons unknown to the human among us -
the eight of his tiniest half-siblings...
(who might as well be octuplets -
they were born to four different mothers in just three days!)
well, they are pretty crazy about Gerald.

You might even say they pester him.

A lot.

Napping in peace is part of Gerald's past.
(Hey, at least they weren't tap dancing on his back at the moment.)

I wish I had gotten more photos when they were itty-bitty,
but our little lamb set is still pretty cute.

 Does it look like we might have enough?

Gerald thinks so too.

Enough sheep pics?
Ha. I've got plenty more where these came from...
Just Wait.

April 22, 2011

be not weary

It's cloudy again today, rainy, cold.


Between some pesky animals (with digging paws),
 the cold spells, and "endless torrential floods" of rain -
it's easy to feel that all of my hard work on our new garden
has thus far come to naught.
If the seeds weren't completely unsettled by the cat 
and the dog, surely they must've been frozen or washed away.


A few days ago,
I was in the process of miserably staring through the
rain-streaked windows at my pitiful little garden.
So much hard work, so little reward.

At that moment, every situation facing me seemed so difficult;
I was sick of putting so much effort into projects,
only to have my work destroyed, or not appreciated.
I just wanted to give up.
For a moment I was tempted to doubt that it was worthwhile.

Those are always the instances when the Lord gives
me some hope; and this moment was no exception.

As I stared at that drowning garden,
and allowed myself to become frustrated and weary,
of all those areas that just don't seem worth the effort right now-
the Lord graciously brought a verse to my mind.
Just the sort of promise that I needed to be reminded of;
a verse that suddenly applied in a way I hadn't considered before:

"Be not weary in well doing: 
for in due season ye shall reap,
if ye faint not."

Galatians 6:9

What a perfect verse for this time in my life.
One I've often quoted before,
but never soaked in quite as fully as I am now.

I'll admit, as a single young woman who has chosen
to stay with my family and under my father's protection - 
it can sometimes be easy to see this phase of my life as
a lot of tilling hard ground, planting seeds,
and working through some rainy Spring days -
without a whole lot of substance to show for it.
(Not counting the obvious blessings of being with my
precious family - you know what I mean.)

It takes so much Faith.

Each decision, each step of sanctification and surrender
to the Lord, and His will for my life,
each act of obedience in the tasks I've been handed -
are like little hope-filled seeds.

And I'm called to keep planting them,
to keep cultivating them,
whether I can see the fruits immediately or not.
It's all about being faithful in the "little things" right now.

The cloudy days do come in life,
the seasons when you feel like you sacrifice so much -
and your efforts to human eyes seem a mockery,
or even a complete waste.

But for the Wisdom of a loving Father,
and His precious Promises.

I thought perhaps there is another young lady "out there"
who might at times find herself weary in well doing.

Don't be faint of heart or spirit,
we shall reap in due season.
Never forget where your treasure is.

Those seeds that I felt would never amount to anything,
have now emerged in the garden as tiny seedlings;
they didn't come up exactly where I planted them;  :)
but they are there.
And with time, there will be a harvest.

The Lord has promised.

April 13, 2011

a heart that breaks {reposted}

{If you've been reading my blog for at least a year, you've most likely already read this post - but it's a topic and story that still weighs heavily on my heart, so it seems to bear repeating. What follows is a story that I wrote/posted here exactly one year ago today - about an experience I had on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic in January 2010.}

It has almost been three months since I was riding a bus through the streets of Santiago, Dominican Republic with my grandpa. It was one week after the earthquake in Haiti. Our mission trip to the DR had nothing to do with Haiti (it had been planned months in advance), but Haiti was on all of our minds. The very slight tremors of an aftershock woke me up early one morning, and 120 miles really didn't seem so far away.

Being in Santiago for those few days gave me a connection to Haiti, and - Haiti has served as a reminder of Santiago ever since. Santiago; the second largest city in the Dominican Republic. Big, busy - but still hurting.

There's a certain street there that I remember most of all. I can always tell when I'm making a memory that will last forever. It's almost as if it's burning into my brain - and I'm conscious in that second that it is something I will never forget. Time seems to stop, as my mind hurries to pull in all the details, details that will give that moment life in years to come.

As we bounced along that Santiago street, approaching a busier side of town - I noticed a few things. The increased honking of horns, and truck exhaust, the very same fast food restaurants as back home, and the children on the street.

At every stoplight, the children ran and ducked among the cars - throwing wet soapy sponges on car windows - their somewhat forward way of advertising a car wash. Some sold water, some would offer to shine your shoes, some washed windows. Anything for a couple of Pesos. And as they swarmed, racing for time before the light turned green again - I found myself stunned and overwhelmed. The missionaries warned us to watch our belongings. These kids were quick. My camera went back in its case.

We went another street deeper, another light caught us. We were further back in the line of traffic, it didn't look like the children on this corner would make it back to us this time.

I wasn't the first to see her, someone else pointed her out. I caught a glimpse of her as she ducked behind the car next to us, she spoke a word or two to the man inside - and then moved on. She was frail, tiny. By my American standards I could have guessed her to be six or seven years old - but chances are she was older than that. Her dusty hair was held in place with little pieces of colorful yarn and her stiff denim jumper was dirty and worn. As we watched her leave the shadows of an overpass to our left and come our way, I knew she was different from the children I had been working with that morning. I knew she was one of those moments I would never forget.

I still can't imagine why she chose me, perhaps she could read the pity in my eyes. For whatever reason - it was my window that she chose to approach first. She stopped, and she looked straight into my eyes. I've seen eyes with hurt in them. Pain. But I've never seen a child with eyes like these. I felt that I was actually peering into the depths of darkness itself. It was almost as if her soul was right there - right behind those empty black eyes, and its lostness, its ache, all of its needs - simply poured from them. I was already holding the tears back, stunned, distraught. And then she whispered: Pesos? - while holding out her hands. Everything hit me full force then. The language barrier, the fact that I had no money to give her (it was a holiday, thus the banks were closed, thus no dollars exchanged for pesos yet) we had actually been instructed to not give money even if we had it - others on the street were watching, and if I had given her anything, it might have put her in danger. I knew all this, and it poured through my head as I looked at her. Pesos? She implored with me - knowing that time was short. There was literally nothing I could do for her, and the weight of that broke my heart. Lo siento, was all I could say. Lo siento; I am sorry, so very sorry. Her eyes flickered - and then she was gone; she ran to a few windows more, desperately trying for what time she had left. None of us had money. The light had turned green, she knew she had to get out of the way before traffic ran her down. But there was one last thing for her to do. Her little face lit up with an evil smirk, a look even more frightening than the hopelessness I had seen before. She walked down the row of bus windows - and at each one she spat a word. A Spanish word I didn't recognize; but the meaning was clear enough. And with that she was gone. She dashed to the guardrail - put one hand on it - threw her little body up in the air - balanced for one moment in a one hand head stand - flipped in the air - landed on her feet - and disappeared.

That's when we spotted the woman waiting for her. Her mother, maybe. It was clear she had been sent for money by her. Money for drugs? Money for what? Others on the bus were more familiar with these types of things then I was. But when I saw her do that little hand stand, that little flip - I knew she had been waiting under that overpass for a long time - this was her life. The bus moved on, life went on, even though it felt as if it shouldn't.

I realized at that moment that my heart had broken; and at that moment that's what I wanted. A heart that breaks. Orphans crying in Haiti, a little girl begging for money in the street, a little boy that I just heard of recently - a little Dominican boy - who was dumped in Haiti by his parents. Parents that wanted to get rid of him, and thought no one would ever notice him amongst all the chaos and confusion. These are the things that should break our hearts. But what about our neighbors? There are truly some in America that are just as hopeless, just as lost. That should break our hearts too.

I'm yet to forget that little girl - somewhere under an overpass in Santiago. As I've shared her story - I've wished for a picture of her; but didn't have one. Just the one in my head.

A few weeks back, another team member sent me a CD of photos from the trip. This one was blurry, I scanned over it, almost deleted it. Didn't even notice who it was, until a couple of days ago. Muted, anonymous, just as I remember her.

Please pray for her,
God knows her name, and where she is.

And ask the Lord to give us hearts that break.

April 6, 2011

4 step study in sheep sagacity

sa.gac.i.ty: noun
having or showing keen mental discernment and good judgment...

1. See an object; ie: a moody cat.

2. Approach said object with much timidity and trepidation...
and then get much, much, too close.

3.Get cat-slapped.

Jump away wildly, in fear of your life -
blinkingly violently (and rather adorably, I must say.)

4. Repeat.

We've seen something similar out of this cat before...
(You can relive the moment Here.)
Poor Nickle really is a sweetie; she's just touchy. :)

April 1, 2011