Monday, September 26, 2016

Busy Being Busy

This summer, I officially maxed out on the schedule.  Without really mentioning my situation or giving details, I asked for prayer on my social media page, and I'm grateful for the prayers.  Since I didn't give details, I'm not sure what was assumed, but my situation was simple.  I have been so busy, my time with Father was getting cramped or minimized and that simply will not work in my life!  As I scrambled my schedule, and found myself regretful at the end of the day, I realized, anything that comes ahead of time with Father, can be and probably is, an idol. That can include my own order of priorities, even family and yes, even, ministry.

I'm not making an excuse to ignore our commitments, not at all, but I am here to tell you, we can get "over committed!"  This project of building a small learning village was quite an undertaking, to say the least.  Thinking, I would be all finished before canning season, was first and foremost, wrong . . . so I ended up dealing with contractors through canning season.  To make matters more interesting, I also bought a cow the end of June.  As blackberry season came in the midst of all the half finished projects, I developed a new product for the Land of Goshen . . .  Just as I kicked into high gear on so much going on, my old method of handling stress kicked in.

It's not often that I think I have too much to do.  Most of my life, my Daddy has commented that I have "too many irons in the fire," but I never felt that way.  As a matter of fact, when I mentioned to my daughters, I just had too many things going on, they both said, they'd never heard me say that, before.  At any rate, when my schedule gets cramped and I get spread too thin, my coping method is:  to find another project!  Add more to the schedule!  That's correct.  "Getting busier" is how I handle being overwhelmed.  This summer that put the fear of G-d, in me, literally!

After having a rather rough winter with the herd, I got busy being busy with the new project, Bethesda.  I knew what I was doing was led of YaH, but I was also filling some of my time with very unnecessary things.  Then the evenings became entrenched in more busy-ness that really accomplished very little.   The first thing I realized was, I had stopped making a daily "to do" list.  I'm not sure why, but I had . . .

The next thing I realized was my evening devotions were being crowded out as the phone was getting busier.  I realized it was all simply too much, when morning devotions began to feel like "going through the motions," to get on with the day.  I was spiritually parched and a feeling of forlorn engulfed me.  It scared me!  I found myself waking up in the night and crying out to YaH to please hang on to me.  I knew I had to complete something that had been relegated to a back burner, while I made myself busy being busy; and life was simply wrong.

I determined to get order back in my life and I knew my priorities needed to change before I asked YaH to order my steps.  How many times had I heard Him call me away from my "busy-ness" but thought to myself . . . in a few minutes.  Fear of YHWH began to set in.  He has to be first in my life, and that means, first.  Not after my latest idea, not after the next phone call, not after this homestead to which I've been blessed, and certainly not second to the ministry I have been called.

Busy being busy might be the most subtle way to fall away . . . So thankful for His mercy.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Presumption

  When I first began this project, cattle was not part of my plan, but I've been shown more of The Plan and there are cattle involved.  When I first began homesteading, I was just on two acres and had plenty to learn; but I already knew 2 acres was not enough for cattle.  My first presumption was that I would stay on the 2 acres for the rest of my days.  I never even asked, but I heard otherwise after 3.5 years.  From the time I heard "more land and a well," to signing the check and receiving the deed was just 3.5 months.  In that time, I also had my radio show and when I heard a move was in the plan, I presumed I'd be moving closer to the station.  Again, my presumption was wrong.  I feel very blessed that YaH continues to graciously allow me to hear His voice, even though I frequently wrap His Words in my presumption.  I am very careful, though, to keep separated, His Words and my afterthoughts of presumption.  I don't want to operate on my presumption or expectation.

I've been raising bottle dairy bulls for a few years now, giving them goat's milk until they are ready to wean.  The grassfed beef is wonderful and the last couple of years, I've been spoiled and not had to process them myself!  I haven't bought milk or eggs in over a decade, but I'm still buying butter and cheese . . . that is changing.  Annabelle has come to Goshen.  She is a big beautiful five year old Jersey cow, who had gotten out of sync in the calving cycle at a local dairy.


She was bred when I bought her, and due to calve next month.  Sadly, that situation did not go as planned.  Something went wrong with the umbilical cord and unbeknownst to me, the calf lost it's food and oxygen supply . . . Thankfully, Annabelle delivered the deceased calf before it affected her health.  To be perfectly honest, of course, I'm a bit disappointed, but I had heard two things from YaH when I bought her.  He told me the calf would arrive in August, and I'd not be raising a bull calf this year.

Let me tell you a little something about presumption . . . For starters, it's not the same thing as faith.  When I heard the calf would come in August, I presumed, the dairy owner simply had her dates mixed up, as she said she couldn't remember exactly when the vet preg checked the cow.  When I heard I'd not be raising a bull calf, I presumed, Annabelle would have a heifer.   Now, when the reality of the last few days settled over me, I remembered distinctly what I'd heard, and what I'd heard happened exactly as He'd said.  It was my presumption, however; that was 100% wrong.


Annabelle and I have now settled into our milking routine.  I think I have a butter making schedule, and the cheese experiments are coming right along.  I don't like to waste anything, but in learning, sometimes the experiments do not go as planned.  I am blessed to know, in the event something is not palatable, it is still 100% edible by dogs, cats, and chickens.


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Spring Has Sprung

The first week of spring was actually a bit chillier than the last month of winter, but spring has arrived.  I have already received my first rainwater rinse of this new season and, as always; it was refreshing.  The kids and lambs are quite energetic and noisy.  The chickens have stopped slacking in egg production and the perennials are dormant . . . no more.

A couple of years ago I tried "something" with a natural raised bed of strawberries.  Basically, it was three rows of straw bales with bedding fabric between filled with top soil and strawberries.  When overnight temps this past week were forecasted to dip below freezing, I headed out to cover what was green.  To my delight, the strawberries have really spread and are thriving well.  There were even a few blooms already.  Every year, I attempt to try something new.  This year is no exception.  I'm attempting to raise my own non-GMO wheat.  Stay tuned for further updates.  Now that the ducks have a larger pool, I've repurposed their old kiddie pool to sit on an old wrought iron table for the ultimate in a raised strawberry bed.


The peach tree was loaded with blossoms and appears to have weathered the nippy nights quite well.



Sunshine is just as spunky as she can be . . .   while Darla is just a tad aloof, but learning her way around he milking parlor.








 
The newest addition to the place, my small herd of Barbados sheep.  Selma and Blanche are in front looking at the camera and Freida is all the way to back with her twin ram lambs in the center of the photo.  Some of this year's kids have already been sold.

Springtime in the country is just wonderful.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Sounds and Smells of the Country

This has been quite an unseasonably warm winter.  I'm a bit concerned that the weather didn't match the persimmon seeds.  Two possibilities have come to mind.  Either we've so distorted our weather with chemicals and technology, what has been working in nature for eons will no longer gibe with the "reality that has been manufactured," or . . . March is going to be very wintry!  At this point, I don't know, but what I do know is, I'm very thankful for the sounds and smells of the country.

The other morning as I walked out the door to do morning chores, the fragrance of a spring rain was in the air.  I know, a bit early, but it was very clearly there.  There are already jonquils and some ground cover blooming, which scented the gentle breeze, and the smell of fresh milk was wafting.  Then there are the sounds of the baby goats playing and their mothers calling them.  The roosters were impatiently crowing, awaiting my arrival to open the chicken house, and Hank stood at the bottom of the steps "talking" to me, giving the "night report."

Living in the country, working the land has certainly had it's frustrations on occasion, but the pros far outweigh the cons.  I have not set an alarm clock in over a decade, yet I've witnessed the most beautiful sunrises, courtesy of our Creator and the rooster.  In the past three years now, I've sort of moved to a split shift.  My bedtime is much earlier now, than it once was, but Father awakens me, usually between 2-4 or 5 for amazing time of prayer, contemplation, and intercession . . . and hearing HIM!  Through the winter months, I go back to sleep for another few hours.  In the summer months, morning comes somewhat earlier . . .   

The sounds and smells change with the seasons, of course, and I think perhaps this unusual winter has brought to my attention, just how precious the sounds and smells of the country are . . . not to mention the sights.  This is the first winter I've enjoyed flocks of cardinals and bluebirds in the same season.  Seems the cardinals are in abundance in the winter, but the bluebirds are out of sight until spring.  Even the robins were a part of the February scenery this year.

As I go about my chore routine, I smile and say thank you to my Heavenly Father.  As I organize my thoughts of the garden and the flocks and herds, I smile and say thank you to my Heavenly Father.  As I think of the first Thursday of the month, the livestock auction is one of my favorite places.  Just in thinking of that, I smile and say thank you to my Heavenly Father.  The sounds and smells of the country truly are a blessing.

The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land  Song of Solomon 2:12

Sunday, February 14, 2016

My Roof, My Rules

Remember, as kids, when we heard this"as long as you're lining under my roof . . .?"  I've since heard "My world, My rules" from our Heavenly Father, and . . . the direct instructions that I am to not only live by His rules, but to uphold those rules here in the Land of Goshen.  As the gathering begins, I am to make certain things clear and non-negotiable, while other matters can be brought to the table for discussion.  First and foremost, it's occurred to me, if I just allow everyone to walk in doing things their own way, I'm not walking in the integrity I've been called to and that brings dishonor to my Heavenly Father.


I've already been admonished by family for being unbending, and I've become quite comfortable with that accusation, be it accurate or not . . .  I worked hard and have counted the costs regarding this place, I don't have to make concessions on the vision.  I'm not that lonely!  Besides the list of absolutes is pretty short.

First, no hard liquor in the designated set apart sanctuary of meeting.  That means the Tabernacle and the clearing out back in the timber.  I do allow wine in the clearing and if someone is paying their share on the place and living in their own TT or 5W, I really don't care what they have, but none in the Tabernacle.  Second, no "shack up" arrangements.  I no longer believe in state sanctioned licenses, but there needs to be some sort of formal Covenant or Ketubah.  I won't send anyone away who already had a state license, as that would be incredibly hypocritical, as . . . I'm stuck with one, myself.

Third, and this is important.  I've asked several folks to not enter my address in their GPS.  For the most part, that request has gone unheeded.  So, here it is plain and simple.  As far as I'm concerned, GPS is a part of "Big Brother."  If you can't get from Point A to Point B without Big Brother, this is not the place for you.  Since, for the time being, this place has been entrusted to my care, if my request has gone unheeded regarding GPS, again, when it all hits the fan, this is not the place for you.  While I'm on the subject of "not the place" for certain folk, if you believe Ammon Bundy is a terrorist and the Hammonds should be in prison, definitely do not waste your time, coming here.

Now, on a more positive note.  YaH willing, there will be a five fold ministry for healing, deliverance and teaching those who are seeking!  Essential oils are flowing, so there will be no need for doctors or prescriptions.  There will be no cable media invading our peace, there will be health and shalom in this place.  There will be wonderful "Ground Therapy" in the garden.  The honey is a couple of miles away, but the milk will be flowing freely . . . again YaH willing and those of us here stand solely on His Word without compromise.  Although there will be responsibilities, we are ordained to be free.

More good news, every week, we all will have a full day of rest.  No fence building, no hoeing, no tilling, no projects, just a day of rest.  With the exception of an occasional emergency, working on Shabbat is "against our religion!"  As far as I can tell, the cost of living here wouldn't really require anyone to have a full time town job, so there would be plenty of time to hone those G-d given talents into skills.  I am not looking to be a boss.  As far as community goes, I don't want anyone to sign over their personal property or bring all their money into a mutual fund, as it should remain in the possession of the one who earned it.  Of course, there will be bills like electricity and parking . . . Since I do not intend to take ownership of anyone's personal assets, I therefore; do not intend to compromise on the vision for this land in which I was brought to and purchased.

In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.  Proverbs 3:6

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Bird's Eye View

In making a few changes around the homestead, I found myself in the Title and Deed office.  It was there that I was give a copy of an aerial photo of this place and some of the surrounding land in all four directions.  Nestled in acres of timber and empty range lies the bustling presence of this homestead called Goshen.

I felt like an enthused little girl as I identified everything on the place from the tiny image.  I truly wish I'd taken photos of this place when I first saw it.  I remember the look on my grandchildren's face when I first brought them to come go "backward" fishing . . . Backward fishing for those who do not know, is when you buy the young fish at the farm store from the fish farm truck, and turn them loose in your own pond.  There are now some pretty good sized fish in the pond.  Fishing really isn't my sport of choice, but I can bait a hook, cast like you wouldn't believe, and definitely clean and cook 'em.  It's the actual "catching" that's difficult for me.  I just don't have the right wrist action and reel and spin technique.  Yet I digress . . .

In thinking back, I remember my daughter getting on her cell phone to see if it was simply too remote for a signal.  Overhearing her description was both exciting and a bit ominous.  When I first saw the place, I knew this was where I belonged.  After making the purchase, before the improvements had begun, what I saw as a tremendous opportunity, she saw it as complete wilderness!  Perhaps, there is more truth to both of our perspectives than I had considered.  Maybe I do belong in the wilderness . . . and the aerial view just seemed to confirm that for me yesterday.

As many of us homesteaders have discovered, we can be quite a ways off the beaten path, yet still be quite connected via the internet.  My kids think I've dropped out, but the reality is, I'm now more involved than ever.  There is more going on, on this ten acres in the wilderness than I've ever experienced in my life, and there is more coming!  HalleluYah!  

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Expansion Underway

Berea Tabernacle remains the best building on the place and was put in place the first year of settling the Land of Goshen.  As a matter of fact, I was listening for the first several months as to whether this place would be called Berea or Goshen . . .  If I recall the dates correctly, the fence and trees were added within a month of the purchase.  The house was then ready for occupancy right before the High Holy Days, August to be exact.  The Tabernacle was added after the High Holy Days and the first service was late autumn back in 2009.

The Winnebago remains in the wings for temporary housing for newcomers, and two additions were added to the house back in 2012, but we suffered a bit of a time delay in moving forward at that time. Recently, another building has been purchased and is now in place west of the lane.  I'm thinking it maybe for business . . . not sure yet, but it was a good deal, so I acted upon it.  Now I'm looking at two more options in the direction of "full speed ahead."

I'm looking at providing accommodations for those who want to learn, or even come on board, but, life in the Land of Goshen is not free.  This place was not given to me, freely, and while it is heading off grid and primarily self-sustaining, the existence is not free of charge.  I realize the day is coming when we cannot buy or sell, but until then money will be exchanged, including rent and electricity, even some classes.  As I've searched and prayed about this, I've noticed other TO believers do not give away their knowledge, products, and merchandise.

As I prepare this place, I realize there will be those who arrive unprepared, with only the shirt on their back.  If they didn't know, that's one thing, but if they referred to themselves as a watchman on the wall, voice in the wilderness, or any of the five fold office titles, there will be NO free lunch.  We are called to prepare and that doesn't mean make a connection to "help" someone who is preparing.  What I'm doing right now, I'm doing without help.  Anyone coming here, although "willing" to help, will in fact be helping themselves.

If those of us who see what's coming are going to "community up," we need to get with it and start pooling resources soon.  I have land . . . someone else has a shelter or money for one, and someone else has . . . it's time to get creative and work together.  While Bernie Sanders is pushing socialism, the remnant needs to realize we can share as they did in the book of Acts.  As an aside, Bernie Sanders does have it in his power to fulfill at least part of the campaign promise of Hoover back in the Great Depression.  I would think if anyone could do it, Bernie Sanders, son of Colonel Sanders could, with a social agenda; make sure there is a chicken in every pot!  LOL