An attempt to declare the Glory of God for what He has chosen to do with our lives. A legacy to leave to my children in the telling of it.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

It's That Time of Year

It's that time of year. The time of year that the critters start to escape their pastures to get to the grass that is always greener on the other side of the proverbial fence.

One large horse with only a piece of twine string between him and a lush supper rather than more dry hay isn't much of a match.

You see~ this rickety pieced together hodge-podged left over paneling fence is just waiting it's turn to one day have a beautiful wooden fence/dry lot and a real horse barn and even a swinging gate. One day. But not any day soon, so we'll just have to put up with it the way it is.

Free Falling

I sit here this morning reading your comments, friends, and see first hand all over again how good God is to our family. Comments like Sonja's about how God has layed Cole on her heart lately and how she has faithfully prayed for him brought tears to my eyes. Friends like Cathy who responded with a covering of prayer and a sweet email to check on me because God layed me on her heart the day that just "happened" to be when I opened the mailbox to discover the autopsy report. As I hid in the garage and bawled over reading it the thought of her prayers being lifted up on my behalf, and the God who ordained them, sustained me. Friends and sisters and moms who just email or call or stop by~ don't underestimate God's leading. Thank you for being faithful to respond. This is tough, and tougher yet at various times or days for various odd reasons. Somewhere there is a battle going on beyond what we see here. Nights have been hard lately. The days are becoming full and busy once again, life is going forth out of necessity, there is noise and chaos. But nights are quiet. The mind is tired. The spirit starts to doubt and forget. The longing is deep, and the dark is dark. I thank God for always waking Rob up to comfort me in the deepest parts of it.

I don't know which is worse~ the crying days or the happy days. Some days I can get through the whole day and talk about Trent, look at his pictures and his belongings that are still scattered through out the house, and smile knowing where He is. Other days I can't get through the first cup of coffee without several kleenexes. I still don't know how to answer the "How are you?" question. How do you sum up what God has done the past couple of months in a single reply? "Fabulous, my son is in Heaven, do you want to know how to get there too? But I can't stop crying, just go read the blog, I am a better writer than talker these days". Sometimes I can't see the happily ever after myself, how do I encourage others to?
I love my children. God has used them in an unbelievable way to minister and teach me in this. Aren't I the one who is supposed to be leading them through this? And how do you show children how to grieve? I was pretty much just thrown in and am getting a crash course myself. I don't know what else to do but keep pointing them to God's sovereignty, the promises of scripture, hugging them and holding them (mostly when it's me crying), and just keep living. Each of them are individuals walking their own walk through this. Everyone of them had a different relationship with Trent that I will never know the depth of. They are all grieving differently, separately, and together with Rob and I and their friends.

Their souls are my first concern and I long for their own salvation. Many a day and night I come knocking at God's door and bugging Him about it again. "Remember the other kids here God". I have refused to make Trent's death their death. I do not want their childhood to be about the day their brother died. They deserve to live and be who God made them, as special as their brother was, and loved, adored and cherished as much as we are loving, adoring, cherishing and missing him. I pray and anticipate the big plans that God has prepared in advance for each of them. The high calling God has brought in their life has only made them cling to Him more and seek to understand Him more. Somehow we are just trying our hardest to keep pointing God out to them through this. What a drab post for a drab, cold, rainy April day. But it feels good to get it all out in writing, to somehow physically remove it from my mind and lay it at my Saviors cross that He may do with it what He wants. He said His yoke is easy, His burden is light. I can only do one thing at a time, and if that means right now I quit trying to carry this by myself I gladly dump the load and will just sit at my Saviors feet and worship Him again. Jesus is coming soon and His reward is with Him. Wait patiently oh me of little faith.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Farm Addition

We were all very excited to get our first calf of the season on Wednesday. Rob tracked down a little Normandy/Holstein bull calf to add to the barn.  He is a week old and has been nursing from his momma so should have a good start to life.  At our farm he will get a diet of fresh goats milk, calf grain, hay, grass and water.  We have been raising our calves on mostly goats milk for the past three years~ and what a difference it makes compared to powdered milk replacer.  They are so much healthier, we hardly have any scour problems, and they have such nice, shiny coats.  Calves can drink up to a gallon of milk a day as they grow.  This little guy gets fed in three feedings for the first few days: 2 pints in the morning, 1 pint in the afternoon, and another 2 pints in the evening.  Slowly we will increase that amount (and cut out the middle feeding) until he is drinking a gallon a day.  Around 6-8 weeks, when he is sustaining himself on the required amount of feed, he will get weaned from the milk, banded and sent outside to the big calf pen.  Lord willing, we will add at least two more calves to the farm this summer.  Next fall, when they are 1,000+ pound steers, they will head off to the locker plant and our freezers (and friends' freezers) will be full of farm fresh beef to sustain our family for another year.  It's what we raise 'em for people.

His final name became Barnabas.  "Spot" or "Stripes" were entertained for a little bit, as well as "Abimelech", but given his bad Biblical history we decided to nix that idea.  It's good to have a calf in my goat barn again.


"Life will never be like it used to be ... but it is like it is now."
"Be at rest once more, Oh my soul, for the Lord has been good to you."
~ Psalm 116:7 "I spent too long wanting what was taken from me and not what was given."
~ King Caspian

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Jacob Update

This handsome little guy is Jacob. He came home with us in March on an eleven hour van trip all the way from Brenda's house. Jacob will be {Lord willing} our 2011 Nubian herd sire.
Just wanted to give you an update, Brenda, and show off how big he's getting.
I have had plenty of milk this spring so he still gets his share every morning. He is one of the friendliest goats in the barn. What a handsome little guy! Thanks again!


"Normal" scares me lately more than anything else. Take today for instance~ Rob went to work, the kids and I enjoyed coffee, breakfast and our quiet Bible time, we did nearly a full day of home school, Cole helped me do outside chores while the other kids cleaned up the house, we enjoyed lunch, went to piano lessons, I talked to friends on the phone, worked outside on farm stuff with Rob after work while the kids played, had supper then family devotions and got the kids tucked into bed. Just normal stuff. Normal stuff without Trent. The new normal. And somehow it was okay. My thoughts were never very far away from the knowledge of Trent being in heaven, but God gave me such a peace today to somehow live and function doing normal life things. What else do you do? Cry all day like yesterday? Some "normal" might not be so bad.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I Just Felt Like Moving Cement Today

I just felt like moving cement today. These days I pretty much do what feels good and being the sun was shining and I felt like it I convinced Alexis to help me tackle the sidewalk project down by the chicken coop. You see, we have this huge pile of cement and rocks sitting in our yard from the barn tear down project last summer. All the old, broken feed bunkers were tore out to make way for a working goat milking barn and were left in my yard. Last year I turned lemons into lemonade and made a little deck in the flower garden with some of the broken up pieces.
There were yet more pieces left so in my never stopping brain I envisioned a stone walk way leading from the chicken coop the boys helped me build all the way to the covered porch on that chicken coop.

I am dreaming of hollyhocks, and rocks, and flowers and no weeds.

We got as far as laying out the cement in a roughly curved sidewalk pattern.

The rest will just have to wait until I get in the mood to level big, heavy cement pieces.

Easter Eggs

A long standing tradition around here is to get together with Traci's family to color Easter Eggs. This year we had 10 kids to help decorate eggs.

Most of the bigger boys chose X-box over coloring eggs.

We have some pretty creative kids!

And then I went and forgot to serve them at Easter anyway.

Girls, Girls, Girls

Believe it or Not

Believe it or not~ we live on a farm with goats, have raised them and loved having them for over 4 years, and we don't like goats milk. I can hear all you goat milk loving farm gals out there gasping right now. I know, I know. We have been content with just using the milk to raise calves and making goats milk soap in years past. But this year we have no calves yet due to sky rocket prices, my freezer is overflowing with goats milk, and I can hardly keep up with jars and room in the refrigerator. In one last attempt to figure out how to like goats milk and avoid buying milk from the store when we are swimming in it at home, I brainstormed and came up with a new way to cool it faster. Some research I had done said it needed to be cooled in 8 minutes and ours was never cooled in that time. So..... I changed the way we do things around here. The master plan includes placing a sterilized glass gallon jar into a pail then filling up the pail with ice. This jar (with a milk filter inside of it) gets brought down to the goat barn with the other milking supplies and filled up with water. While we get the grain measured out and the first goats ready to milk the jar has time to get cold. The goat gets washed up then milked (into a glass jar or stainless steel pail), and as we milk we pour and strain the milk into the jar in small amounts. The pail can sit in the barn (covered) in the ice water until we finish chores. Every once in a while I swoosh the milk around to make sure it cools evenly. But the next step was to be brave enough to try it again and then convince the kids and Rob to try it.

I tried it first and ~yum~ liked it. The kids weren't so sure that I wasn't just trying to convince them to like it so I could quit spending money on milk. Give it to Micah, he'll try anything.

And, not to be outdone, Grace tried it.

The overall response~ it's good stuff! It has a very fresh flavor, very light and, well, just fresh. No aftertaste like before, just very good. Must be the cooling time. There is half a gallon of store bought milk in my refrigerator that will be used up quickly, then we will be full time fresh goat milk drinkers. I am convinced! Goats milk is good stuff. Can't wait to see how much our bodies like it as well.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dancing Again

I'm not quite sure just where to start this post or where it will wind up, so bear with me for some rambling~ it is more of a collection of thoughts, prayers, reminders and the direction of what God has been doing the past few days in my life. Oh, lonesome me, I have been a bit whinny and pathetic lately, believe it or not. I've lost sight, in a sense, of God's hand. I have started to enjoy wallowing in my own self pity rather than trust the creator of the universe to do good things in my life.

Nobody ever told me grief was so exhausting. I find I hardly do anything and am exhausted by the mere thought of just thinking. Thinking about..... I don't even know what. It can hardly even be called thinking because the thoughts don't connect anywhere. Simply recalling and treasuring memories. Dazing and processing. The kids or Rob will ask me a question and it sounds like Greek. Questions just baffle me for a moment. Huh?

I have realized that the brain goes into shock after losing somebody you love. Slowly, slowly that shock seems to wear off and bits and pieces come flooding back of what just happened. Hard nights of odd thoughts and dreams and fear that make you hold your husband to make sure he is still there and not a cold body. For unknown reasons, at any odd time of the day, the fresh realization that Trent died. As if I didn't already know that. We were spared seeing any trauma of Trent's death but the trauma still takes it's toll. Tears come without expecting them over silly things. I see Trent's face in strangers and hear his voice in my mind. Then there are the days that I can hardly conjure up his smile or imagine his giggle or the twinkle in his eye when he got excited about something, like talking about God.

The ache of missing Trent that there is no cure for is nearly constant. The odd, dull, no emotion, flat-line approach to everything. Nothing thrills like it used to. Not the sunsets, or the frogs croaking, or the bags of groceries. The new green grass barely registers a shimmer of joy and what does it matter if it is rainy or sunny?
Aaahh! How did I get so sidetracked? How did I forget who's in charge? When did I stop reciting the promises? When did my eyes stray from the cross? How easy it is to forget, to lose hope, to look to the immediate to be the eternal.
When I am tired it is easier to get discouraged. When I have no mission or purpose it is easier. Everybody wants to spare me from anything extra at this time, but the extras are what I need to keep sane. Having something to do, like minister to twenty kids and nearly that many adults in my home, allows my mind a break. And then my sweet mom, who does her best to spare me any pain, tells me of the dear ladies at work who are worried about me and send their hugs and gifts. Tears again. Good tears. Cleansing, happy, sad, joyful tears. Tears for myself, not for Trent. Tears because he is my son. Tears because I miss him and long to be where he is.

And how do you reconcile living without it being dishonoring to the person who died? Guilt is Satan's playground in a woman's life. Is trusting God not enough of a reason to keep on living? Simply believing that in His wisdom there is a reason for me to be left at this time. What good am I curled up on the couch in a fetal position? Can I not go on living and walking in faith? Looking for the good works that must be left for me to do here? Accepting what God has done and calling it good; trusting His plans above my own; not my will, but God's be done.

Cole and I went on our big grocery shopping trip the other day. The last time I went was the week or so before Trent died. On that trip I almost brought the camera, as it is such a normal thing in our life, but then I thought "How silly! We do this all the time!". How I wish I had. How I wish I had taken a thousand more pictures, recorded and saved every silly video, wrote down every normal thing he said through all the short years. I thought I was ready for the real world. But I saw him everywhere. To pass the rows of shirts his size, seeing something he would like, and being reminded yet again. Picturing him in the seat next to me holding the Pappa Murphy's pizza. Watching him pick the pickles off his double cheese burger and offering me the last french fry.

Blah, grief, go away. Oh death where is your victory, oh death where is your sting? My God ordained even this perfectly. All this heartache and every tear will be made right by the one who made them. When His work is done in this sinful world all will be revealed and made right. The riches of His glory will be made known to the objects of His mercy through this. Patience. Patience. Let me walk in this fallen world holding tightly to my Savior until that day.

God came to my rescue again~ pulling me out of the miry, dirty, sticky, gooey clay that I had done a pretty fine job of sinking myself into. His Word penetrated deep into my heart again. Prayers with a faithful husband who loves me and puts up with more than he deserves started to remind me again of what the fight is about. It is about God's glory. What did He say? Why do I listen to my deceiving heart? Put it into perspective oh heart. Trust God's word.
And friends, dear friends, your prayers and the words that you were so faithful to share were used by God in mighty ways. The reminders, the perspectives, the encouragement. You truly are sharing my burden and we carry it together, making it lighter. His yoke is easy when we obey. Shoshannah left the words that shook me out of what I was doing. It put things into perspective again. She reminded me to dance before my King. Where had all my joy gone? I literally found a kid or two and danced! To their joy, laughter, and shaking heads! My son is in heaven! Shout it from the roof top! PRAISE the Lord! My son is in heaven! Stop doubting and believe, oh me of little faith! God knows what He is doing, and He called it good.
Romans 8:9

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit lives in you.

Romans 8:18-25

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Acts 3:21

He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as He promised long ago through His holy prophets.

Revelation 22:12 and 20b

Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. ~ Yes, I am coming soon. {Jesus}