Musings by Christina

God's presence is seen in the small things of life, in the lessons He brings to our every day. 

 





09/11/2012 Change.  It is the one constant in all of our lives.  Today marks the anniversary of one of the most terrible events that caused changes to take place in our nation.  Today, we remember the many lives that were lost, the many heroes that lay down their lives willingly in an effort to save others and we remember that we will never be the same as we were before.  

Change can also be good, or bittersweet.  I am transitioning from a mother of children to a mother of adults.  With that transition comes many changes that I never really thought about or gave much planning energy to, but now I am here, and decisions must be made as I return to doing what God has called me to do; love children.  As I return to working, it will not be in an office, or a store, but it will be as a Story-teller and teacher to little children in a Daycare center.   I will miss the spring kidding in 2013, but I am keeping a few little doelings for a time when things become more routine in my life.  My focus this year will be more on developing the lives of children and mentoring new working mothers as they struggle to find balance in their own lives.  As I think about 9/11/2001, I think about how important it is to invest in the lives of others; how fleeting this life really is, and the purpose of my life on earth to bring Christ's Love and Healing to a hurting world.  

02/20/2010 It has been some time since I posted any musings.  Not that I haven't been musing away, on the contrary, my mind is full of thoughts and observations about life and it's riches, problems and wonders. 

We were not able to reduce our herd last year to our stated goal, so this spring we will be freshening four of our does.  Dreamy is still dry due to a continuing problem from her first freshening and we decided not to even try as we have so many other healthy does.  Dream's daughter Shazam is very large and due to kid next week, Trudi and Joy are due either this week or the next depending on when they settled.  Nessi is due in April.  We still have two wethers in the barn and they are going to find a new home in my freezer.  I hate this, because I have not had to butcher wethers for several years, but we are really crunched for space.  We still have two of Joe's daughters from last year and have decided to retain them for my son's 4H projects.  Bazooka Joe is now up for sale. He is staying with a friend in Chillicothe and will be coming home in a couple of weeks.  I hope we can find a good home for him.  He has been a real blessing to our farm and I really hate to see him go, but we must make room for the future buck that will be breeding his daughters.  That said, it looks like we are going to have a very busy spring with lots of changes. 


08/06/2009 Selling our goats each year is so hard on all of us.  I hope and pray for good homes where they will be dearly loved family members.  It is so hard, because we get attached to them.  Some of them shine brighter in our hearts than others and that makes it even more difficult.  I just want to keep them all.  We have chosen Joy, Nessi, Dream and Shazam to stay, but everyone else has to find a new home.  Is there anyone out there who will love them for us?  :(    

 

06/21/2009 A lot has happened since I wrote the last post.  I had been undergoing tests and the prognosis did not look good for me.  The doctor was certain that I had bone cancer because of abnormal proteins in a urinalysis.  I approached my pastor and elders at our new church and asked if they would be willing to anoint me for healing.   God had already been working in my heart and dealing with me about several things that I had been taking for granted, but I believed that He did not intend for a disease like this to take hold in my life.  To make a long story short, the blood tests she ordered came back NORMAL!  She didn't understand how it could be, so I underwent some more testing and those results were Normal and showed improvement in my cholesterol which is normally high for me.   I know without a shadow of doubt that my Heavenly Father took care of the problem and I am truly thankful to Him for His provision of healing, for the Elders at church who were willing to obey His teaching, for the faith of my pastor and for a loving and prayerful church family.

I am taking my health more seriously now and am on the way to losing some extra pounds that I have picked up in the last 30 years.  By the end of summer I hope to be 30# lighter.  I am eating a lot of fruits and veggies and trying to limit my proteins to fish and eggs with beef only once or twice per week.  I am reading a lot of labels and have decided to only eat whole foods as much as possible.

God continues to put me in situations that make me so grateful for all that we have.  Today my daughter and I were on our way to the local college so she could take her placement exam.  On the way there, we noticed an elderly lady walking along the berm and looking disoriented.  We stopped and my suspicions were confirmed.  She was confused about where she was and why she was there.  I called the sheriff and we waited with her until the deputy arrived to take her to her family.  My daughter and I had the opportunity to talk about what it must be like for the family of this dear woman and how sad it is for someone who is still in great health in every other way to lose their brain function.  My daughter was late to her testing, but still finished in good time.  More important than the test were the lessons that God brought our way this morning.  I thank God that He put into my mind to check to see if this lady needed help.  I thank Him that He directed the deputy to find us when I had given the dispatcher incorrect information about our location.  I thank God for watching over even a sparrow when it falls and how much more He cares for us when we are lost or confused.

Right now, if you are reading this, take a moment to pray for folks who are suffering from diseases and for families that are caring for loved ones with dementia.  God bless you if you are a caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer's or dementia.

05/16/2009  Yesterday I took a long walk in the woods.  Some things have been troubling me lately and I wanted to have a heart to heart with the Lord, so I walked and talked and cried and listened for His still, small voice.  Then I saw something strange.  Someone had cut a very large grape-vine.  It must have been four or five inches in diameter and was completely severed in two.  The dead part still hung from the tree, but the root and the main branch was still very much alive and trying to give nourishment to the part that was no longer attached.  Sap and water just gushed from it, and though it no longer fed the trunk, hundreds of insects were drinking up the frothing, sweet,  creamy sustenance.  How like God that is, I thought.  He never ceases to pour forth His love and forgiveness, even when we are far removed from Him, lost in the busyness of life, it is still there for us.  When we think that we haven't been grateful enough or disciplined enough or careful enough or humble enough and believe that we deserve to be abandoned by Him because of our own failings, all we have to do is graft into His abundant love and be nourished and strengthened by it.  I was truly comforted by this object lesson that God put in my path.  May it comfort you too, if you need it.

"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples." John 15:5-8 

 4/11/2009  Spring is here!  The daffodils are blooming, the birds are chirping, new kids are racing around inventing new games, my garden is calling me to get out and dig in the dirt and 4H sign ups are in progress.  In the midst of all the busyness of the day, however, cheerful wishes for a Happy Easter fill the air and remind me that eternal Spring came forth when Jesus rose from the grave with both sin and death defeated forever.  Hallelujah, what a Savior!

04/01/2009 April Fool's Day! The older I get, the weirder I get.  It is all O.K.  Older and weirder that is.  I find that as I grow older, I care less about what other people think of me and more about what God must think about me.   That results in a lot of what the world would consider "Weirdness" of the highest order.

I'm down with a cold today.  My children and I were involved in a community play and I managed to avoid the nasty bugs everyone in the cast was passing around until the last performance and so now I've got it good!  I did go outside and cuddle some goat babies though.  They are so cute, they make even the sickest person feel better.  Blossoms boys have invented a new game called "See Who Can Stay Up on Mom's Back The Longest". It is fun for both of them, but Blossom is starting to tire of it since they are growing so fast.  We tried to get a photo of it today, but we were too busy laughing about it to get a good one.

1/18/2009 Tee-Hee!  I just re-read what I wrote down in September.  Yes, the dishwasher did break.  So did the freezer, and that broke the day after we bought our meat at the fair.  We are learning to let go of a few things around here and to just rest in the Lord as He works to take care of those things which are necessary and helps us to accept the fact that some things really are not all that necessary after all.  

What is really necessary?  Reading and studying the Word of God first and foremost.  I've always been really bad at disciplining myself to do this, but with the recent elections and so many people going into panic due to the outcome, I find that it is imperative to be well versed in the truth of God's Word.  Although I did not vote for our new president, I will give my time in prayer for him to receive wisdom and guidance from God as he seeks to bring about "change" in our nation.  May all the changes he brings, result foremost in moving our nation toward God and His will for us.  If you are reading this, please take a moment to lift him up in prayer.  The challenges he faces are great and the temptation to try to fix the problems at any cost is at its highest.  Hitler rose to power in Germany at just such a time and he gave in to the delusion and intoxication of overreaching power.  His nation was desperate and willing to give him too much power.  Pray that President elect Obama will be protected from this kind of thinking and that we can all work together willingly in preserving the constitutional rights of all our citizens and make our nation great again.

 o9/05/2008 OK, just when I think things are going to get better, I get in my 95 SUV and smell strong gas fumes.  We just had the gas lines replaced, so what gives?  Turns out the gas tank is rusting through.  Another $500 goes out the window.  I keep hoping that someone will buy a goat, but no one is buying.  Gas prices and the cost of feed and hay has gone so high that so many are selling and there are not so many buying.     Now I'm starting to whine.  I sure don't have the patience of Job.  One of my favorite sayings is "Good things come to those who wait, and wait and wait."  I guess I'd better stop whining and just wait, again I say wait on the Lord.  I wonder what that crunching sound is that is coming from the dish-washer?

08/10/2008 Well, summer is almost over and so much has happened that I haven't had time to even sit and think.  Our goats had their kids and we are up to 9 goats.  We added a Jr. Herd-sire to our herd from Strawberry Fields Alpines;  A beautiful buckling named Strawberry Fields VW Bazooka Joe.  We look forward to what he will bring to our herd this coming year.  Dreamy kidded with a beautiful doeling that is nearly the spitting image of her dam.  Dream had a tough time with a stillborn and suffered some damage to her uterus.  We don't know if she'll ever be able to kid again, but she has survived due to my daughter's diligence and care and the prayers of folks all over the country.  Dreamy is a special doe.  She is pictured in our herd logo at 10 weeks old.  So pretty and graceful.  She has lost nearly 50 lbs due to peritonitis.  We have done a lot to help her have the best chance at survival and she is still on antibiotics.  Joy did not settle and so we hope she will kid in the spring.  We have learned this year to wait on the Lord and rest.  We haven't done many shows due to Dreamy's illness and a lot of the plans we made earlier this year had to be changed, but we have learned so much this year.  For the very first time I had my arm up to it's elbow in goat, trying desperately to extract a dead kid.  Bruised all over the next day, I felt like I had been in a battle.  First battling for the kid's life, then for Dreamy's as she slipped into shock in the night after three hours of trauma.  What a resilient doe; a testimony to her breeding. We are so glad that her other doeling survived and we now have Shazam in our small herd.

We've been busy in other ways, too.  Taking vocal lessons to learn how to harmonize as a family.  singing with the church's praise team, piano lessons, puppetry. Everything in the house has broken or at least it feels like it.  We now have a new washer and dryer, new gas lines on the truck, a  new motor for our heat-pump, and a new drain for the tub and no money in the bank.  I've got the worse case of poison ivy that I have ever experienced.   Good things must be around the corner, it is always darkest before the dawn, they say.

05/03/2008 What is Time?  Here is my definition: Time is the structure and confines within which all mortals must exist.  Time defines whether one is early or late, teaches the consequences of procrastination and the rewards of good planning.  Time does not exist in eternity and the Lord is not bound by it.

Well, we attended the first goat show of the season today.  My children were given full responsibility for preparing their goats and getting all the items together for the show in time for us to leave and arrive early in the morning.  The weather did not cooperate with my son's procrastination and so poor Blossom arrived in her dirty state.  Needless to say, he did not enter the showmanship contest today.  They forgot to pack the water buckets, so we ended up borrowing one from some friends. Otherwise, the children did really well in getting everything together that we needed. 

We were late arriving at the show and it was pouring down rain when we needed to unload.  I'm not great at backing up vehicles under normal conditions and I really am inadequate to the task of backing a trailer up for unloading.  I gave up and parked the trailer a good 20 feet from the entrance to the barn.   By the time we got everything into the barn, my carefully styled hair was in wet ringlets and I was chilled and looked a mess, and the children were grumpy and hungry but we were going to have fun anyway, isn't that right children!.   We managed to get the does settled and the show organizers made a decision to postpone the show until the weather cleared so the  goats didn't have to walk in the downpour.  This gave us a little time to breath and prepare our animals better.  We came home with a couple of nice ribbons for Trudi's new baby girl which effectively rescued the day.   We were done pretty early and arrived home with everyone still in the trailer which was a minor miracle since the does learned that they could stand on the babies' transport crate to get a better view on the outdoors and  a great chance to escape the trailer through the open upper half of the back doors.   

As soon as we arrived home, the sun broke out and I was able to spend some restful time on our front porch enjoying the warm breeze and praying to the Lord.  I remembered how He promised us that He would come again soon. I believe that He will return sooner than a lot of people think and then again He will probably return later than a lot of other people believe that He will.  I think about these things often.  Later in the evening, I went out again to put some garden tools away.  The clouds had gathered once again and a fine mist covered everything. Suddenly the sun broke out on the horizon and I looked to the east to see a massive double rainbow arching across sky over our home with the dogwoods blooming brilliantly forming a artful frame for the pulsing colors.  It was as if God was answering my earlier meditation and assuring me that He will fulfill all of His promises to us.  "Dear friend, He is not long in keeping His promises, as some understand His time to be.  Keep a watch out, don't lose faith, He said He would come again, He's gonna come again, you wait as see."     What an awesome and glorious ending to my day!

 

04/16/2008  We have our first babies of the year tucked in the barn with their mommies.  It was a tough time for both of them this year.  The babies were big, Trudi's both presented with one front leg back, Blossom's didn't want to come out and play and needed to be coaxed through the birth canal.  They are all eating and playing now and my children are ecstatic to have babies in the barn again.

Yesterday was a challenge in a different way.  We let Trudi take her kids outside with the other goats, and her little sister, Joy decided this would be the ideal chance to challenge her for the Queenship of the herd.  Joy stands a good two to three inches taller than Trudi and can really throw her weight around. We promptly put Joy in the barn for some time-out and the rest of the girls browsed in peace.  We tried allowing Joy to join the group later in the afternoon, and she picked up where she left off in her battle with Trudi.  Trudi stood her ground and wasn't about to give in, even though I could see it was putting a strain on her to keep fighting with Joy.  I decided to take Joy for some show training and led her around the yard for an hour to expend some of her pent up energy.  She just didn't want to cooperate and by the time we were through, I was thoroughly angry with her and her attitude.


It made me think of the time that Jesus told about separating the sheep from the goats.  Goats can be so headstrong and willful at times. They will do anything in their power to get their own way. They are power hungry and will fight even those they love in order to get ahead. They reflect human nature so well. On the other hand, sheep follow their shepherd and behave well together.  Their one goal in life is to stay close to the shepherd and do his bidding.  When out in the field they move as one flock. 

I have to contemplate, am I more like a goat or a sheep in my behavior?

04/09/2008   No babies on the ground yet at our house.  All of my friends are overflowing in milk and kids.  I checked on Hope Blossoms today because she is nesting big-time.  She allows me to check her ligaments without  protest.  Maybe tomorrow will be her big day.  I think she has a single.  This is her first kidding and she hardly looks pregnant.  Trudi on the other hand is due Saturday and she is huge.  My guess is  triplets, but you never can tell.  We are hoping and praying for easy deliveries for the two due this week.

 03/16/2008 One of my fondest memories of raising goats was the year we had Hope and Beep; two new babies from our newest Nodaway doe, Freedom.  It had been a while since we had babies born and the joy of seeing these kids grow and flourish was wonderful.  Hope was a nearly all white chamoisee kid, so dainty and beautiful.  Beep was the smallest kid we have ever had born here and we didn't expect him to survive.  He was named after the pitiful sound he made, since he was too small and weak to bleat. He grew to be a big strong wether and all he ever wanted was affection, which he would get after quietly and patiently standing next to me as I did chores each day. 

Christmas came alive for me that summer as Hope's favorite snoozing place was in the manger and I would find her there more often than not.  I realized why Jesus laying in the manger was such an important sign to the shepherds.  The promise was for the Lamb of God to come and come He did, and was laid in the lamb's favorite snoozing place, the Manger in a humble stall.  As we enter the church's Holy week and approach Resurrection Sunday this year, I think about that perfect Lamb and the final sacrifice He made for the sins of the whole world.  The shepherds understood.  I'm sure, because they were so close to the reality of the yearly sacrifice of an unblemished lamb at Passover.   No wonder they worshiped Him.  His final words on the cross were, "It is finished."  The price was paid, the law was fulfilled.  

At His resurrection, death was defeated.  Today I attended a memorial for a young woman who loved life and lived it to the full.  She died valiantly and full of faith in her Savior.  I'm sure she is in God's presence today.  That truly is our hope!  Life everlasting in the very presence of God.

 

03/04/2008  Today, God gave my daughter a "lost coin" experience.  A couple of years ago, I bought  her a beautiful silver necklace at one of my husband's conventions.  It was a starfish hung on a silver choker chain that came with the story of the man who walked the beach after a storm, throwing starfish back into the sea.  A little boy came and asked him if he realized that he could never throw all the starfish back to save them, but the man said back to him, "Yes, but I CAN save this one!" as he picked up another little creature and threw it back into the rolling waves.  

 My daughter has made this necklace her personal favorite, wearing it every day and very seldom taking it off.  Well, apparently the clasp had gotten stressed and the necklace fell off today.  She realized that it was loose and clasped it about her neck once again.  Later at home, after several classes, a fire drill and a field biology study in the woods, a trip to the Post Office and the feed store, she realized that the starfish was missing and the chain fell loosely about her neck.  As she told me, her face fell in obvious disappointment and hopeless despair to think that this treasured charm could be lost to her forever.

I had a nagging feeling that I needed to DO SOMETHING.  So, I took her for a driving lesson with the idea that we could retrace our steps and with flash-light in hand make a cursory effort to find her lost treasure.

Our first check was to search her clothes, then the car.  We proceeded with the driving lesson, which progressed without any serious incident, although folks behind us were getting a bit impatient and unpredictable.  I practiced a lot of Lamaze breathing techniques throughout the journey.  Then we stopped at the feed mill and had a look around.  I caught the glimpse of something shiny, but it turned out to be a spring.  On we went to the post office and retraced our steps through the parking lot to the doors with no success.  We headed now in total darkness to the church where lessons were learned earlier.  We checked the parking lot and retraced our steps to the doors and checked around where she stood during the fire drill.  Still no starfish.  We explored her biology class's path as they had traversed the large parking lot and headed for the woods.  Straw littered the ground and I told her that if the charm had fallen anywhere in the area, it would be impossible to find and by this time, I was more than ready to call it quits.  I asked her if she had prayed to find the starfish, so we both bowed our heads and asked the Lord to direct our paths.  As I prayed, I thought of the angels who watch over every detail of a child's life and asked God to tell us where the charm had fallen.  Then I told Elizabeth to tell me the first thought that came to her mind as soon as she finished her prayer.  As she raised her head, it began to sprinkle which made her think of water, which made her think of bird baths, which lead to thoughts of the beautiful angel and fountain in the neighboring church yard.  She remembered how their class had paused there and she had sat on the bench below the angel.  She looked at me and said that she thought we should look about there before we went home.  Since the shower had stopped by now, I agreed.  The air had stayed warm through the evening and the walk was very pleasant as we crossed the park-like expanse of grass beneath the old trees with gnarled trunks.  She pointed out some sassafras trees and we spied several deer browsing nearby.  Then we  headed toward two giant trees with benches all around.  While she explored the grassy lawn, I ventured to the bench where she said she had rested earlier in the day.  Nothing.  I started up the path toward the angel, and as soon as I reached the angel statue, I turned to look at her view and realized that the angel was looking directly at the bench where my little girl now searched with her flashlight.  Suddenly she bent over and quietly whispered,  "I found it!"   I rejoiced, not only in the fact that what was lost, was found, but that God spoke, and she heard and obeyed; believed and acted.  The kingdom of heaven is like unto this.....

 

02/18/2008  It started with dreams.  We had our first goats, Shadow and Thea and they were both expecting in early February.  I was awaken by a dream, a nightmare in fact.  Thea was having her kids and out came a monstrously large buck and behind him came another smaller doe that had been smashed flat.  I remember I told my friend about the dream.  Of course we both attributed it to anxiety about the coming kidding season.  Thea and Shadow both went into Ketosis.  My son and I assumed that feeding pregnant goats was a very good thing and we overdid it.  The vet came and did some IV  B12 and we Nutri-drenched and Propylene Glycoled until they came out of it.  A week later, Thea coughed and her water broke.  Of course it decided to blizzard that night and there was more than 18 inches of snow on the ground.  My list of helpers was no help since no one could come and help a 4H newbie.  I stayed up with Thea all night, not even knowing what to expect, having never seen a kidding.  An experienced breeder told me to try and "go in", but she wasn't dilated enough to get more than my finger in.  Around 3:00 AM she started labor, I assured myself that nature would probably take its course, but after 20 minutes the labor stopped, no bubble, no babies.  I called our vet and he said to bring her in the morning for a c-section.  Exhausted by five o'clock, I laid down for a nap until I could load her up and take her in.  As we arrived, the vet I had spoken with had to make an emergency farm call, and another vet took over.  Thea was acting just fine and investigating her surroundings, when the vet went in to try and pull the kid instead of doing the C-section.  She tried for 20 minutes to turn the presenting kid which was extremely large, but he kept going back.  In all her effort, I saw fresh blood and knew Thea was in serious trouble.  Finally she realized that he was dead and she went in with a saw and took him apart to remove him.  Behind him was a little doe , less than half the size of the big buckling.  During the process of trying to force the kid out, the vet tore our Thea and she was bleeding excessively.  She told me matter-of-factly that Thea had only a 20 percent chance of survival and could never be bred again.  We would have been better to have done a c-section.  Weeping, my son and I said good-bye to our first doe as the vet gave her a shot to put her out of her pain and despair.  

Now we had just Shadow left.  If it hadn't been for her, we would have given up all together on goat raising.  We put a radio in the barn-yard and showered her with attention so she wouldn't get too lonely with Thea now gone.   Another dream and this time two perfectly sweet and happy kids were sleeping in my bedroom, side by side.  After a couple of weeks, Shadow went into labor.  We were so worried, but she waited for us to all be present when she finally lay down to push.  During our wait my son and talked about how it would be so awesome if God would allow a doeling to be born to replace Thea.  We still felt so bad about losing her.  I told my son that it would just be the grace of God if that would happen.  My son started to sing Amazing Grace to Shadow and soon a nose appeared in the birth canal.  A healthy little buck was born.  Then Shadow started laboring again and in a little while "Luv-1-N-Udder Amazing Grace" was in our arms.


Gracie was truly one of the sweetest does we have ever had.  God must have had an angel assigned to her.  One day a Rottweiler got into the pen and attacked our goats.  Shadow stood firm and charged him receiving bite marks on her front legs and he tore a three inch triangle of skin off of Gracie's hind-quarters.  My husband happened to be walking up the road at that moment and saw the dog attack.  He picked up a two-by four and wacked that dog over the head a couple of times before he gave up the chase and left.  We thought we would lose Gracie to shock after that incident, but she survived.  

On St. Patrick's day the following spring, I was sitting in my front room at the sewing machine.  None of the does were due to kid for another week, but as I sat there, I had a very sudden urge to check on the girls.  I ran through the house so fast, that my husband asked what was wrong.  I said I didn't know, but would find out soon.  As I ran out the door, I could see a new little kid with it's umbilical cord still attached standing in silhouette to the light streaming in the barn door as Gracie cleaned him up.   We let Gracie keep little Patrick until he was ready to be weaned that year.  What a robust  and healthy little guy he was!