Wednesday, May 24, 2023

To Stand for Righteousness

I love the place that God has called us to.  I drive down the streets and think, "This is where I get to live?!"  I love it.  I love how we are still somewhat country.  Our town is growing and people are coming our way, but there is still a sense of country life.  It's a normal thing to see a tractor going down the road or a cow that has escaped and is trying to be coralled on the side of the road.  We have a farmers market with locally grown goods.  We have 2 street lights in High Springs and 1 in Fort White  We are small town America.  And we love it!

So when we heard through the grapevine that some changes were being discussed at a Council Meeting for the city of High Springs, our ears perked up.  For now our town prohibits the sale of alcohol after midnight and on Sundays until 1pm.  It should stay that way.  When Christians stay silent in our community, the laws and codes will be changed.  A Christian's voice should be heard!  

So, my amazing preacher/hubby announced to VSIBC that we should make our voice heard at the meeting.  He encouraged all those that could go, to be there to support our laws staying the same.  We don't need any more hours of alcohol sales in our town.

I love our church family!  We met at the church and walked together to the City Hall. 

Even Asa came along!

We had our people all waiting outside until this ordinance was brought to the table.  What is interesting is that we had a few people that waited inside, too.  The bar owners in our town didn't realize that.  When our church came and waited outside, they saw us.  "Oh no, the church people have showed up!"  That just makes me giggle for some reason.  They began to make sure they all had their arguments in place to argue anything we brought up.  They were getting a little nervous.

We waited and waited.  And if you know our church, we enjoyed the fellowship in the process!

Then it was time to go in.  Our City Hall is so small we couldn't all fit!

I was proud of my husband as he led the way.  He stated that he has counseled families that deal with tragedies because of alcohol.  No good can come from alcohol.  Why make it more readily available at such a late hour and on Sundays?

Joshua brought the statistics of alcohol related crimes and accidents in other counties during the time frames the sales would be made.  It was powerful!

 Even my Beth spoke to have her voice heard that she is against making the change of the ordinance.

Praise the Lord our voice was heard!   For now this subject has been tabled!  I can only imagine how different it would have been if VSIBC hadn't shown up.  Christian, don't be silent!  The other crowd of bar owners and liquor store owners made sure to be there.  We have a responsibility to stand for righteousness!!

Friday, May 19, 2023

How is life treating you?

Losing a newborn baby
Betrayal of a friend
Opposed by leadership
Accused wrongfully
Betrayal of a grown child
Losing an adult child
Physical Afflictions

The list really could go on and on.  Let's face it, we have troubles, don't we?  But this list was what the Psalmist had faced in his life.  David did not have an easy road to travel.  Yet, through his trials we are able to read and draw comfort from a precious book, Psalms.  
I am finding so many truths to ponder as I dive deeper into Psalm 119.  This morning I was reading verse 83,
"For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget they statutes."
I thought for a little bit and was tempted to keep reading.  But then my curiosity took over and I had to search it out.
The "bottle" was most likely an animal skin that was used to hold liquids or solids.  They were typiclly hung suspended from a roof.  Because of the chimney system in many homes, they would become black from the smoke.  Sometimes this would cause them to shrivel, harden, and get brittle.   David felt like that bottle.  Have you ever been there?  "Life" has a way of surprising us with events we never planned or expected for us.  Sometimes we allow those circumstances to darken us with sin, cloud our judgement, and make us hardened.  I love how God used real people to pen His Words.  We can sometimes relate to David.  But, the amazing part, the encouraging part, the part that makes me not want to give up, is that David didn't stay there!  He recognized how he felt and knew that's not what he wanted for his life. 
 He goes on to say a few verses later in verse 88,
"Quicken me after thy lovingkindness;  so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth."
He wanted to be quickened.  I love the definition of QUICKEN- to be made alive, revived, to continue in life and to be preserved alive. 
If that bottle was left suspended from the rafters, being subject to all the smoke, it would turn black, harden, get brittle and crack, and then would not be usable anymore.  David felt like that, but he wanted to be filled again, to be usable, to be fresh and not dirtied with sin.  He wanted to be quickened.

Dear sister in Christ, have you ever been there?  If you were to step back and take a look at your countenance, your responses and reactions, your tone of voice from today, would you say that you are brittle and hardened?  You don't have to stay there!  Just like David, you can ask God to quicken and make you alive again!

The amazing thing about God's Word is that He doesn't just reveal the problem, He always gives the answers.  As I glanced through Psalm 119 my eyes found many examples of how to be quickened again.   
"Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction."  vs 92
"Thou art my hiding place and my shield:  I hope in thy word." vs 114
"Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live:  for thy law is my delight."  vs 77

Over and over you see David's response to feeling like that bottle in the smoke.  He gives us an outline of how to be made usable again, how to keep going for Christ in the midst of storms, and how to walk daily in this life.  God's Word is amazing!
Let me encourage you, do a deep dive study into the wonderful Psalm 119.  Make a list for yourself of how to become quickened.  God's Word is exactly what you need today and everyday!


Wednesday, May 17, 2023

To help the one who has taken so much care of me

We've had a busy few months.  I am finding that I'm getting so behind in posting on my blog.  But, there are so many great things that have been happening, so I'll just keep moving along, and one day I'll be caught up.  
A couple of months ago my Mom had knee replacement surgery.  My Beth wanted to go down and help take care of her for a bit.  My Mom has always been a care-giver for our family.  Even though she's about 5 hours down the road, if we need her, she comes.  So, I was thankful Beth wanted to go.  She thought about driving down on her own, then she realized that the Strange's would be coming through about when she wanted to go, so she hitched a ride with them.  I am so glad she was able to have time with this Godly couple that has had so much influence on my life!

Since she went down without her car, that meant we had to pick her up.  Perfect time for a road trip for me and my Callie!  It was so fun!  We had a great time together!  We talked, and ate and listened to a book on CD.  I just love that one on one time with my kiddos!

We were able to stay a few days with Mom and Dad.  My sweet mother was in a good bit of pain from the surgery.  I felt so bad for her.  But as the few days went along, she was starting to slowly see improvement.  The night before we left Dad wanted her to try and get out for a ride in the truck.  We went to Sonic for dinner and ate in the car.  It was so much fun!

 And then all too soon it was time for us to go home.  As we were driving away I saw my Mom head out to the sidewalk.  That was a huge walk for her at that time!  She is doing so good!!

Since then, she has improved so much and is doing great.  Knee surgery is not fun! I'm so glad she's getting better.  Love you Mom!

Friday, May 12, 2023

Ordinary Days


Ordinary Days around the table doing school. These are some of my favorite times. 

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Decisions on Storybook Farms

I mentioned a couple of months back about making some tough choices for Storybook Farms and our little goat herd.  We decided that we do want to go the registered route with our mini nubians.  That meant that some goats stay (like Jenna) and some had to go (like Trixie).  It wasn't the easiest thing, but we are moving forward to develop our little herd.  And hopefully help our Silas in his little business.

First we decided to buy Caliope Jane.  She is gorgeous!!!!  Aren't her colors beautiful!  She has that gorgeous nubian like roman nose.  And blue eyes. :)
Her only drawback is her airplane ears that most mini nubian breeders do not want.  But, she was such a sweetheart and with so many other good qualities, we knew she would be a good fit for us.

And she has been!  We just love her!   We let her get used to our little farm for a couple weeks, then we introduced her to Sherlock.  Hopefully some gorgeous spotted babies will arrive in August or September!

Then, Winnie gave birth to a big buckling.  It was her first time to deliver and she is doing really great!  We named her boy Ranger.  Isn't he so cute!?

I just love his cute colors!  Unfortunately, he will be finding a new home in the next couple of weeks.  We can't keep all the bucks.  For now we are going to keep two.  We decided to find Sherlock a new home, too.

We picked this cute guy to be our new "Herd Sire"  Eventually he will be the sire to our new babies.  But, for now, he's a baby himself.  He has blue eyes and gorgeous moonspots.  Can you tell we like spots around here??

He is probably one of the sweetest goats ever.  He loves attention!!  We named him Crusoe.

Then, Polly gave birth to a male and a female.  Of course she waited until I was gone and in the airport!  I was thankful for many updates along the way!

The light colored female looks just like Ranger!  We named her Lady Kluck.  The boy is so cute with his brownish red coloring and white spots!  We named him RobinHood.

Lady Kluck will be looking for a new herd once she is weaned.  She isn't registerable, so she didn't make the cut.  She is so cute and sweet, I know she will make a great goat for someone.

Since we have Crusoe, we decided he needed a herd companion.  He won't be with the ladies until breeding season.  So we decided that we will keep RobinHood for his friend.  Isn't he cute!?

And then we added one more (for now :o)  We just picked up Tiger Lily.  She has those gorgeous, pendulous ears we are wanting!  She's also....moonspotted. :o)

Silas wanted to add some red to our herd, so I think he did great in his choice!

Lots of happenings around Storybook Farms.  We are having the time of our lives!!

Friday, May 5, 2023

An open letter to my 13 year old girl

It seems like we were just announcing the arrival of our Callie Grace.  Well, it wasn't just yesterday like my mind would like to pretend,  it was 13 years ago.  13!!

I'm very proud of the young lady that Callie is becoming.  She's thoughtful, considerate and diligent.  She has a heart to serve her Daddy and her Heavenly Father.  She loves to read.  (In fact, as I type I'm sitting in the library while she looks at books to her heart's content.  That was her birthday wish.)  She is an amazing student and studies for fun.  She loves her cat, Olive and her chickens, too.  She's improving in the piano and violin and now sings in the choir.  She is just an all around amazing young lady!

Do you remember when you turned 13?  At the time it seemed such a monumentous age.  You could declare that you were a teenager and on your way to being a grown up!  There were more responsibilities and freedoms given.  I have great memories of growing up!  So, as my girl is turning 13 today, I thought I would share an open letter to my 13 year old with you.

My Dearest Callie Grace,

Today you turn 13!  What a wonderful age to be!!  You are a teenager now and I know you are so excited about this year ahead.  With it comes new responsibilities, new things to do and  new things to accomplish.  It's going to be a great journey through your 13th year!  As your Momma, I thought I would write you a letter to encourage you and help you along the way.  These are things that helped me and also things that I wish I would've taken to heart too.  Some I did.  Some I learned in the process.  Either way, these are from my heart.  

Sweet Callie Grace, as you go through life, you will find that there are challenges.  We should always be learning and growing, but through this process there will be some rocks that wind up being on your path that God has for you.  Sometimes you may find a bump or two along the way.  What should you do?  Keep your eyes on Jesus and keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Never stop growing.  Never stop moving forward.  It's so easy for us to want to stop and look at that big old boulder trying to block our path.  We may want to cry about it.  We may want to blame someone for putting it there.  We may want sit and pout for a bit.  That's what satan would like for you.  He doesn't want you to keep moving forward.  He would like for you to get your eyes off of Christ and stop and look at the difficulty.  

Girls and women that get off track like this show it in many different ways.  Sometimes it manifests in the form of negativity and complaining.  They have a hard time finding the good in a situation.   Instead of being thankful on a rainy day that the trees and flowers have a fresh drink of water, they are bummed about the dark clouds and miss the sun.  It's all about perspective.  It takes a choice to look for the good, but I've found that the more you do, the easier it will become.  There is good to be found, choose to be the one to find it, point it out, and spread joy to others.

Another way a girl shows that she's got her eyes on a difficulty instead of on Christ is through how she spends her time.  Usually, when we are hurt by something or someone, it's easy to retreat.  We try to find something that we can just do and not think about.  We may amuse ourselves with stuff that doesn't really matter and waste time.  Even though everyone needs a relaxing moment now and then, this is different.  The girl that becomes withdrawn from her family and what God would have for her, is a girl that is unhappy inside.  It's so important to recognize when we are trying to numb the pain. When you  have a difficulty you need to talk to God about it.  You need to talk to your parents and those that God has placed in your life to help you.  Then, you need to get busy serving.  It's amazing the joy that comes when we fully get busy serving Jesus!  I've seen you do special things for people and how you radiate happines afterwards.  There's just nothing like it!  Don't be afraid to work.  Don't even be afraid to sweat.  It takes dedication and effort to keep moving forward, but it is always worth it.

One last thing I've noticed when a girl gets her eyes off of Christ is that she becomes "worldly."  Her desire and focus starts to be on the latest fashion, hairstyles and fads.  Now, you know that us girls love to talk clothes and hair and all the girly stuff.  It's so fun to be a girl!  But, this is different.  This girl gets her eyes on people that she shouldn't want to imitate.  It may be a popular girl, or maybe someone from a movie.  But then she starts wanting to be like them.  She talks like them, dresses like them and begins to act like them. Somehow our minds start telling us that they are perfect and there are no flaws in them.   That's simply not true.   Be you.  God created you to be Callie Grace. And that's who you ought to be.  Yes, you have your flaws.  We all do!  But, be who God intended you to be.  

Your life will be full of ups and downs.  That' just how it is.  Enjoy the times you are up.  Make memories, make friends, smile and cling to Jesus during those times.  The times you are down remember that Jesus is right there next to you.  Cling to Him during your times when things are all mixed up.  Keep your eyes on Him and putting one foot in front of the other.

I am so proud of you.  You encourage me and many others to keep on for the Lord.  Your testimony is powerful and I'm so thankful that I get to say you are my daughter.

I love you,