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.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Oatmeal Almond Scrub Goat's Milk Soap

 Buy yourself a bar of goat's milk soap {{CLICK HERE}}!

Alexis and I have been having so much fun making soap! Between exciting goat deliveries (more on that soon, Lord willing), home schooling and the never ending laundry pile we have been able to whip up eleven batches of goat's milk soap in preparation for some upcoming Spring Craft Fairs. My soap racks are overflowing!

Almond is always a popular seller, so we made sure to make extra. Lots of folks like the Oatmeal Almond Scrub bar as well. We used our tried and true lard recipe which holds up well with the added oatmeal, along with 2 ounces of Brambleberry's Cybilla Almond scent.

At a light trace I poured about 1/4 of the soap mixture back into my oil pan, then added my scents and superfatted the original batch with the Castor Oil for extra luxurious bubbles and conditioning. Next I added some oatmeal, and mixed it back up to a thicker trace before pouring it into the mold.

The bottom layer turns that pretty brown from the Almond scent, with the plain white soap poured on top for some contrast, and a dash of cinnamon for an added dramatic effect. Beautiful!

Terri's Goat's Milk Soap Lard Recipe~

15.2 Ounces slushy/frozen Goat's Milk
5.7 Ounces Lye

20 Ounces Lard
12 Ounces Olive Oil
8 Ounces Coconut Oil
2 Tbsp. Castor Oil
2 Ounces Scent/or as desired

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Let the Soaping Begin

With kidding season comes an abundance of goat's milk. And an abundance of goat's milk means soaping time. After many requests to purchase soap last Fall, and more soap classes than I had originally planned on teaching, I discovered too late that I had underestimated the amount of milk I should have frozen.
With only four remaining precious bags of milk in the freezer, I have been hording them until my first doe freshened, even though we are down to just a few "nice" bars of soap left on the shelf. Now that she has, I feel the liberty to dig them out and start creating.
Except, of course, now that I have milk, I am short on supplies, so will have to wait until the nice Fed-Ex man pulls into my driveway with a big box of spring colors and scents from Brambleberry: Cucumber Melon, Plumeria, Cranberry-Pomegranate, the ever favorite Almond, etc., etc. There are a couple different recipes and designs that I have been wanting to experiment with, too ~ I can't wait!.
So stay tuned, and let the soaping begin!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Babies, Babies, Babies

 Our first baby goat of the year, born to Dixie.
A tiny, spunky little girl who has us hoping for a "doe year."
Two other mommas are due any day now.
 Cole's baby bunnies. Such sweetness!

Six baby chicks peeping in the basement,
enough to supplement our older flock of hens,
and more eggs in the incubator.

To Be Loved Well

Rejoice with those who rejoice;
mourn with those who mourn.
Romans 12:15

Amongst the overwhelming emotional pain of grief is the exact opposite: the flooding of love. When you spend so much time protecting yourself from feeling too much it takes extra effort to allow the love to seep in, too.  Both emotions can be as equally difficult to sort and absorb. Both leave you in tears, exhausted from the depth of them.

~An unannounced, surprise visit by a sister bringing treasures and kids with her.
~A niece whose love and encouragement hasn't failed to bless these past many months.
~New friends who are brave enough to talk to you about your son while your waiting for an appointment at the dentist's office.
~Old friends who don't forget.
~A policeman whom you've only met once at a faraway hospital, a meeting ordained perfectly by God, who remembers you in his prayers two years later.
~Wednesday night church ladies who hug and don't let go.
~And you, dear blog friends, who have walked in the trenches with me and keep reading my ramblings and sending your love through cyberspace.

The effect of your prayers has been felt. Smiles are returning. A glimpse of the victory to come is remembered. Lord willing, Monday will pass. It may even find me celebrating as the gamut of emotions have run their course and I can put it all in focus once again and realize that my son is in Heaven... with God... for eternity.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

On the Hard Days

That day, when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.”
Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat.
There were also other boats with him.

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.
Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him,
“Teacher, don't you care if we drown?”

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves,
“Quiet! Be still!”
Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

They were terrified and asked each other,
“Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Mark 4:35-41

Dates on a calender should not have the power to have so much control over a persons life. For nearly four decades I was able to enjoy the month of February. It always brought with it Valentines Day, chocolate hearts and cards, and the hope of warmer weather to come. Now the days bring paralyzing grief, a return of tears that won't end, and a flood of memories. I thought goat deliveries and baby chicks would help speed the days and consume me with busyness, but they have only proven to be too bitter-sweet to enjoy.

{Jesus} said to His disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Mark 4:40

I've been reading through the gospels again, my second round in our ninety day New Testament marathon; my anchor of sanity, the words that keep my soul focused.

Do I still have no faith? Rob reminded me that having faith doesn't mean that you don't have tears. Heart wrenching, sobbing, curled up next to the toilet tears. Begging Jesus to meet you there, on that tile floor, so that you can get up, start the day and tend to your other children kind of tears.

The second year is harder, ladies. I've hesitated to write that since I know many of you haven't even finished the first year yet. Satan does a doozey of a job to thwart the plans of God and twist whatever hope is left after the first twelve months of grief.

The kids and I have been reading John Bunyan's book, The Holy War, this week (it's a required assignment, otherwise our children do not usually gladly endure sitting through fifty-five pages a day of Old English language). My eyes have been opened, once again, to the fact that there is a battle raging – a battle for souls. Night terrors, in a girl too big to be scared of the boogey man, only revealed it again. The power of prayer reminds us of who wins in the end.

Randy Alcorn, in his book Heaven, talks about the liar of all lies, the great deceiver that masquerades as an angel of light dulling our minds to the reality of eternity:

“Our enemy slanders three things: God's person, God's people, and God's place – namely Heaven.

What better way for the devil and his demons to attack us than to whisper lies about the very place on which God tells us to set our heart and minds?

Satan need not convince us that Heaven doesn't exist, He need only convince us that Heaven is a place of boring, unearthly existence. If we believe that lie, we'll be robbed of our joy and anticipation, we'll set our minds on this life, and not the next, and we won't be motivated to share our faith. Why should we share the 'good news' that people can spend an eternity in a boring, ghostly place that even we're not looking forward to?

{Satan} cannot keep Christ from defeating him, but he can persuade us that Christ's victory is only partial, that God will abandon his original plan for mankind and the earth. Because Satan hates us, he's determined to rob us of the joy we'd have if we believed what God tells us about the magnificent world to come....

Sitting here in a dark world, we must remind ourselves what Scripture tells us about Heaven. We will one day be delivered from blindness that separates us from the real world. We'll realize then the stupefying bewitchment we've lived under. By God's grace, may we ... clearly see the liberating truth about Christ the King and Heaven, his Kingdom.”

I wonder, as Jesus sat in that boat with His disciples – the God man who lived not by His own power but by God's, the maker of Heaven and Earth itself – how He had the patience to not rap these men upside the head. They had walked with him, seen the miracles, heard the promises. Yet, so easily, like us, they got flustered at the first test.

God seems to “step away” sometimes in suffering, and makes us depend on His Word alone. Is it sufficient? Will we hinge everything on it? Do we allow it to sustain us? The splitting of hairs is so fine, our sin runs so deep, our understanding of God is so shallow.

We demand of Him, “Give me grace, do it my way, don't let it hurt.” But the hurt reveals. It reveals what we cling to. It reveals that we have not fully surrendered to Christ as King and Lord, sovereign of all, over every aspect of our lives. It reveals that we really don't think He's capable when we are honest with ourselves; that He may not have a master plan in all of this.

But it wasn't until the winds were blowing the hardest, the squall was in its most furious state, and the waves had finally broken over the boat that the disciples bothered to wake Jesus, and in desperation cried out for a Savior.

“The honest cries of a broken heart are better than a hallelujah,” sings Amy Grant. Pain brings honesty that can't be faked. It brings an opportunity to cry out to God. It forces us to figure out who He really is.

Crying on the floor, begging for rather than demanding grace, acknowledging God's perfect ways, waiting for my Savior to quiet the storm, and longing like I've never before longed for Heaven … reminding myself that the glory to be revealed will not even be worth comparing to this trial (Romans 8:18) that this life is as a mist (James 4:14), that my days are numbered (Psalm 39:4), and that my God is fully capable to see me through to the end (Isaiah 46:4), even through the second anniversary date.

“Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him!” Mark 4:41

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Hatching Chicks

Throughout the cold winter months there has been an old, rigged up microwave oven that sits on the cherry laminate floor right next to my dining room table. Its light blinking off and on, off and on, keeping time with the thermostat that was installed to keep it at a consistent, toasty 99.5 degrees. It truly is the latest in decorating style - every old farmhouse should have one. The cat even likes it, and has claimed it as a warm place to take his nap.

After three impatient weeks, and many sessions of turning eggs, it's so fun to hear the "cheep, cheeping" from the old brown box. The noise leads us to inspecting eggs looking for pip holes, and putting various ones up to our ears to listen for the little scratching sounds made by a chick gearing up for the battle to begin his life.

That battle has been a losing one around here lately. Our Light Brahma's must be too old to hatch healthy babies, as they have trouble getting out of their shelled domain. The plain Blacks have been strong, though, and we have been rewarded with a couple of fluffy chicks to add to the clutch of Cole's Silkies in the basement.

Today is Due Day for the first of the expecting goats. One of the does refused her breakfast of grain, which is a good sign that labor could be starting soon. Chicks, and kids, and if the beef prices have come down to reasonable rates, soon new calves. Such a fun, busy time on the farm.