Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Stepping Out

I see post after post about folks stepping out in faith and the trepidation that comes with that move.  For some it's easy, it's often only a temporary visit and the expenses are covered.  For others, it's a life changing opportunity that will dramatically alter their lifestyle.  Since I've made a couple of those, I'd like to offer this for those who are weighing the possibility and the potential for a major move.

I was shown a pillar of fire late one evening, but told to wait until I saw the vision.  I did know the direction, however; and that was all.  Early one morning, I was shown what the destination looked like, but was absolutely clueless as to the town/address.   I still knew the direction to set out.  It truly was that simple.  Upon seeing the vision, in the early morning, I packed a bag.  When the business day began, I called a realtor, signed the papers, and I was heading south by south east, as he was placing a for sale sign in the yard.  Actually . . . more than one for sale sign in more than one yard . . .

It would be two days before I arrived at the place I'd been shown in the vision, then it would be another day of a harrowing situation in which I just wanted to jump out of the car and do my own real estate deal, but I digress . . . Ultimately, the proper deal was offered and accepted.  A few strange occurrences took place, as I was readying for the closing, but all was extraordinarily resolved.   When I was heading to the closing at the end of the month, I noticed a pillar of cloud to the west of my new destination.  I tucked that fact away, but over the next three and a half years would "ponder it, from time to time."

The first year on the homestead was exciting!  I wasn't sure exactly what I was doing, but I knew my leap of faith was the right thing to have done . . . Then the second year on the homestead caused me to question everything . . . I don't have words for the devastation I felt.  To be honest, I'm no longer the same person I was.  What I went through was not as grievous as burying a child, but on the other hand, the ongoing reality left a strange void with an obligation that would have to be continuously worked around without resolution.  Moving along to the better part of this "stepping out" story!

The third year of homesteading was hard, because I had to set aside all of my expectations and let the hopes I'd had; die, which was scary and scarring.  Upon surrendering my hope in the natural, Father opened a door that was completely unexpected and a total blessing that continues to this day.  About three and a half years into the homesteading project, I was called to host a radio show.  It was such an opportunity!  In the hour show, I covered everything from gardening to politics as well as a segment discussing Scriptural truth.  Shortly after the show began, however; I once again heard Father tell me it's time to move . . . That's right, He said specifically, more land with a well.

Having already enjoyed the blessing of a well on the place, I had learned the value of something our society has let slip away.  A clean water source is invaluable!  So, the search was on, and for a time, I was looking in the wrong direction, as the radio station was east of me, but the radio show was just a stepping stone to the bigger plan . . . Father brought to my remembrance the pillar of cloud to the west.  January, the radio show began, February, found the new place, and March, the deed was in my hand!  I realized in the midst of all the busy-ness and new experiences, I'd been blessed to have enjoyed a long forgotten desire of my heart.  As a young woman, I'd wanted to spend a winter writing a book.  I began writing the first week of December after processing Daddy's deer, and it went to the publisher's desk the week after my birthday in March!  "Simply Abundant" was published in April.

It's now the ninth year on this new place.  It is five times the size of the starter homestead, a few more books have been written, a milk cow and raising my own beef have been added.  I started a soap and natural health product business, and this past year a teaching facility has been added for conferences and workshops.  The schedule is somewhat established, but still working on details.

Stepping out can be frightening, from our perspective, as it is definitely into the unknown.  Father, however; has a much better view, and He knows where He's leading His children.  As I learned in laying down my original homesteading hope, I have received abundantly more than I could have asked or imagined!



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Fragrance of Heaven?

This spring was a bit unusual, following such a mild winter.  In April, so many things were blossoming simultaneously, that are usually a bit more consecutive than congruent.  Then May, it began to balance back out and although a few of the berries were early this year, the strawberries were right on time, with the first of them ready for Mother's Day.



The strawberries are absolutely delicious this year, from my new raised bed.  The real treat, however;  has been the early morning fragrance, as I enjoy the open windows.  The goats have an interesting aroma in the spring and early summer.  There is an air of fresh milk that I find truly appealing, while the bucks are now in the north pasture.  The buck scent is subdued through the kidding season and the kids are still nursing.  The faint scent of fresh milk is not at all overpowering, but just one of the fragrances of spring.  Now, add to that, the smell of strawberries!  That would be enough, but there was more this year . . .  The honey locusts bloomed a bit early and wafted sweetly on the southern breeze.  But wait, that's still not all . . .


Giving all glory to our Heavenly Father, the west lane is now covered, not only in blackberries, but honeysuckle.  The two indigenous plants seem to thrive well in the same general area, so double portion blessing.  It is not only smelling good through May, but I'm thinking late June through mid July, the blackberries will be tasting good as well.



As I've stood at my kitchen window inhaling and embracing every fragrance of spring, I compare it to what heaven must smell like.  I think of how wonderful the Garden of Eden must have looked and smelled . . . and I envision the new earth and the millennial reign.


The fragrances of this year have truly been as close to the scent of heaven as I can imagine.

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which YaH hath prepared for them that love Him.  I Corinthians 2:9 

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