Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Of Ducks, Lobbers, Frogs, and More

Well, it seems that I never can keep my word very well when it comes to blogging.  Oh well.  Sometimes life happens and preempts plans, ya know?

(FYI: I feel that I have a very many things to tell in this post, so forgive me if you find it a bit rambling.)

Did you know that moving is not just a one day or even one week process?  In my experience, it takes more like two months.  We are getting settled though.  And we are enjoying our new house so much.  It seems that every day we find new things to love about this house.  One day it's how beautiful the roses are, the next it's the maple tree in the backyard.  Other days we realize how much we like the layout of the kitchen or the awesome pantry or the massive closet and storage space.  Some days we delight in simpler things, like how good it is to feel warm carpet under our feet again, or how smaller bedrooms can actually feel more cozy, or how the sunlight coming in the windows makes the kitchen and living area feel so bright and cheery.  Can you tell how much we are enjoying this house?

Our animals are getting somewhat settled as well.  They are all in temporary pens for now, but building goat shelters and a chicken coop are high up on our priority list.  The chicken coop is especially high on our list, because we really are not getting many eggs from our chickens right now since their laying situation is very much less than ideal.  Oh well.  We're working on it.  :)  Our ducks, however, (who finally started laying eggs shortly before we moved!) have been very reliable in giving us two eggs a day--and so far, in the same exact spot!  Speaking of the ducks, I am loving them more and more every day.  Shortly after we moved, Mamma put their pond in the front yard, and now every morning they waddle up to the house for their early morning bath right outside the window.  They are so much fun to watch (and hear).

Isaac spent a very great part of our first week here mowing all our weeds.  Uncle Timmy was very kind to let us borrow his riding lawn mower.  The weeds were quite high, and we couldn't really tell what was out on the property.  After Isaac finished mowing, we were exceedingly surprised to find many water spigots and sprinklers all over our 2 1/2 acres, many of which the boys had to fix because of leaks and disrepair.  Despite all the work and trips to Home Depot to fix all the leaks, it was overall a very pleasant surprise for us, since we had previously believed there was only one water spigot on the whole property, besides the ones on the house.

Now, this little monster in the picture below is a lobber.  I introduce you to him because he is, perhaps, the worst thing about our new house. 

As you can see, he is a type of grasshopper, only he is much bigger and appears to wear some sort of heavy armor.  His worst characteristics are a tendency to jump towards you right when are walking past him, and the positive look of malice he directs your way whenever you happen to be in his proximity.  But worse than all of this, is the fact that he is not alone.  There are literally hundreds of thousands of these creepy guys everywhere on our property.  They're in the weeds, they're on the sidewalk, they're on the sides of the house and the screen doors, they're in the rosebushes, and in the gravel.  They are literally everywhere.  It sort of reminds me of a plague from Exodus.  Truly, I am not exaggerating here.  We had lobbers at our old house, but I think there are even more of them here if that can be possible.  The good news in all of this: our duckies LOVE the taste of lobbers! They certainly don't have any lack of them.

For perspective on the actual size of lobbers, I placed a nickel in the picture above.

We've had some peculiar adventures since we moved here, but there is one that was incident that was the most bizarre, and therefore warrants your attention.  The first time we used the oven here, my mom noticed a funny smell. She thought that it smelled like a dead animal, but I thought it was just her imagination.  There had been a dead cow practically in our backyard for two weeks right before we moved (it's a long story), so I though she was just paranoid because of that.  Well, it turned out I was wrong and she was right.  When we inspected the stove a couple of days later.  We found a nice little crispy treat waiting for us.

Yes people, that is a DEAD FROG in our stove!  (Sorry for the poor quality of the pictures, but I couldn't resist showing you anyway.)  I'm not going to attempt to deny that that freaked me out a little.  Okay, it freaked me out a lot.

By far, my most favorite thing about living here is being so close to my Uncle Timmy, Aunt Kris, and cousin Mariah.  Their house is just one mile down the road from us, and that is such a blessing.  I can't even tell you how much I am enjoying that.  Is there anything better than being able to drive over to your best friend's house in less than two minutes in your pj's and slippers for a movie and ice cream?  Hmmm... I don't think so.

Okay, I have just two more pieces of news to tell you-- and these are not really related to our new house at all.  Firstly, I finally got my driver license on Wednesday!  Secondly, it's actually really truly the season of fall now!  Yesterday was probably our first day of sweater and coat weather, and this morning it was 28 degrees outside.  I love the change of seasons, especially fall, but I have to say that I am not looking forward to months of doing chores in below freezing temperatures.  On the other hand, I'm quite excited to start wearing sweaters and scarves and long warm socks and boots again.  Every season comes with it's good and bad I guess.

Well, I guess that's all I have to tell at the moment.  Ta ta for now!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

We've Moved!

The picture says it all, my friends!  We have officially moved, and we are so relieved and blessed and thankful and happy and exhausted and joyful and excited and amazed and ecstatic and... shall I go on?  Like all experiences that God gives us, this experience has been both a trial and a blessing.  In the end of it all, I firmly believe that God has used it to teach us and grow us and to give us so many blessings which we do not deserve in any way!

I want to tell you a little bit of the details because God is so amazing, but it's pretty complicated so I'll try to make a long story short.  One of the biggest trials in all of this took place in the last weeks before we moved when we found out that we were being rejected for the loan we were trying to get.  This was a pretty serious complication, since we only had one week of escrow left and we had to apply for a whole new loan and get closed within 7 business days.  Our escrow and loan people assured us that they would work very hard to close us on time, but as the week went on it became very apparent that there was a very good chance we would not close on time.  Not closing on time would have meant having to pay the seller per day for not keeping our close date, having to postpone our move date, and having to beg our landlord to let us stay an extra week.  Needless to say, we were all pretty on edge that week.  A huge source of encouragement to my Mamma during this time was that "WE'VE MOVED" sign in the picture above.  It was actually a flier sent out by a church in our area that moved locations.  Mamma set it out in a visible place and every time she looked at it, she would think, "We've already moved!  God's already moved us!"  It turned out that she was right.  On Thursday it looked like we were set to close on time (our set close date was the following day, Friday).  Mamma and I were literally jumping up and down and praising God.  We were that happy.  On Friday (this was before the deal had officially closed) we went over to the new house and cleaned and painted fenced and got everything ready to move in.  We found out later that while we were doing all of that, the deal almost fell through, but the real estate agents were able to get it worked out.  Even up until the last minute, the deal was not secure but God worked it out just the way he wanted!  We got a call from our agent on Friday at 4:19 p.m. that the deal had officially closed--with only 41 minutes to spare!  God's ways are higher than our ways, are they not?

This is a picture of Isaac on the morning of our move.  We had an assembly line going for making the breakfast burritos for the crew that came to help us move.  Isaac was our tortilla warmer.  :)

Moving day was such a blessing in and of itself!  There were around 7 families that came to help us move, many of them driving over an hour and a half.  Everyone worked so hard and so much got done that I am still amazed.

Daddy provided us with some music while we were making breakfast.  :)

Unfortunately, this is the extent of the pictures we got during the move.  What can I say?  We were focused on other things.  :)

So, we are officially moved! I could go on and on about our new house now, but I think I'll save that for another post.  For now, I'll just say that we are loving our house more and more every day, and we are overflowing with thankfulness at how good God has been to us!  You can expect to hear all about it in the next few days.


Thursday, September 6, 2012


Well, I'm sorry for the long absence.  To be honest, I haven't really had anything new or interesting to share.  I could have written about every new development in our house-hunting adventure, but that whole situation was so frustrating and ever-changing that I didn't want to overwhelm and bore you.  Now that the roller coaster has seemed to come to an end, however, I finally feel comfortable updating y'all on our status.

I am constantly amazed and awed at the way our Sovereign God works in our lives.  It's never quite the way we expect it, but it is always perfect and good, even when we can't see it at the time.  Trying to find a place to live this time around has really been a roller coaster ride.  It was frustrating and it was difficult, but when it came down to the end, God did it that way to test us, to make us trust him more, to make us wait on him.  And it was good.  That doesn't necessarily mean that it was fun all along the way.  It wasn't. But it was His plan, and even if I still couldn't see the ways in which he has used it for good, (and I do!) I could still know that it was perfect because He is perfect.

So what was His plan?  Well, it's not completely over yet, but it looks like this is the house he has given us.

We are currently in escrow, and things have gone pretty smoothly thus far.  We made it over the hump of the appraisal without any hangups, so it looks like we are on the home stretch! (You may remember that the appraisal was the thing that stopped the last house deal we tried to close.)

We are so excited and thankful to be getting this house.  It's really a nice place with four bedrooms and a garage on two and a half acres. But the best part of all is that it is just one mile away from where my aunt and uncle and cousin (who just happens to be my best friend!) live.  What a huge blessing that will be for our family!  I'm not going to even try to describe how much I look forward to that!

Our close date is on or before September 28th, so we have planned the big move for the 29th.  That gives us, let's see... only 23 days!  Hmmm.... that's not very much time, is it?  :)

I really can't wait.  No, I'm not really looking forward to packing, moving, unpacking, and organizing all of our earthly possessions.  I am, however, greatly looking forward to settling down in a new place and actually feeling like it's our home.  There are many advantages to renting, (one of them being the reminder that we're just borrowing everything that we have on this earth and that this is not our true home) but it will be so nice to not have to worry about scratching the wall because it doesn't belong to you again.

So, that's the update!  Again, sorry for delaying so long.  I'll try not to keep the blog so silent in the future.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What Have I Been Doing Lately?

  • I've been enjoying monsoon storms!  Ah...  If you have never been in a desert summer storm, I pity you.  It is truly one of the most beautiful things in the world, and there is nothing like it for displaying the power and majesty of God's creation!

  • I've been plugging away at my medical transcription course.  It's going well, and I'm making some good progress, I do believe.  It's tough at times though.  Those doctors like to get three or four sentences out of their mouths in about 4 seconds.  You can imagine that it comes out sounding like one big garbled word.  I can't say that I blame them, but it certainly doesn't make the transciptionist's job any easier.

  • I've been squeezing in a book here and there on my Kindle.  Most recently, I read Frank Peretti's newest novel, Illusion, and enjoyed it immensely.  Definitely a great read.  I couldn't put it down.

  • I've been making cheese!  Well, actually, I only made cheese once.  Isaac and I made mozzarella out of our goat milk one day.  It was way too much fun, although a rather lengthy process.  I wasn't super happy with the results; I thought the cheese had very little flavor, but it was mozzarella cheese and that was exciting!  Just knowing that I can turn milk into a brick of cheese is exhilarating, I must say.  Our next project will be feta.  Can't wait to see how it turns out!

  • I've been following Food Network Star.  This is so bad, but every time they start a new season our entire family gets totally hooked.  We have a lot of fun watching and guessing at who is going to win.  By the way, we guessed right this season!  :)

  • I've been doing more chores than usual.  This is due to my poor brother's being out of commission.  Isaac sprained his ankle while on a run this week, and now he is confined to sitting or hobbling around on a pair of crutches.  :(  Consequently, I'm having to pick up the slack.  Let me tell you, you sure appreciate everything a person does when they suddenly can't do anything and you have to do it all yourself!  I feel much more sympathy for Isaac than I do for myself though.  He's not used to being a couch potato all day, and I can only imagine how hard that must be for him.  He is getting quite creative in ways to get around and do things while not putting any weight on his foot.  As I type, he is mopping the floor from a rolling chair!
  •  I've been house-hunting.  (I can't believe I actually forgot to mention this one.  I'm adding it now, two hours after I originally published this post.  That's how long it took me to remember that I forgot it.)  :)  Mom and Dad decided to try to buy a house instead of renting, since rental rates are stupendous right now.  We actually put an offer on a house, but let's just say that God is teaching us a big lesson of patience through that situation.  It's been a roller coaster ride for sure.  Anyway, the house-hunting business is highly overrated.  I wish it could be as fun as they make it look on that show "House Hunters."  I can assure you that, at least in my experience, it's not been that way.  No sir.  Nevertheless, God is in control!  And that's the best thing about this business.


Friday, July 13, 2012

21 years

On July 13, 1991, this picture was taken...

...and my parents began their life journey together!

Twenty-one years later, they are celebrating another year of marriage today.  I am so thankful for the truly wonderful parents God has given me!  Happy Anniversary, Mommy and Daddy!


Friday, June 29, 2012

And the Search Begins Once Again

Some of you may know that we are (again!) searching for a place to live.  This time it wasn't actually our choice; the owners of the place we are currently in decided they want to move back in.  Unfortunately, that means we have to move for the third time in two and a half years.  Can you tell that I'm not exactly excited?  :)  Really though, I should be excited.  It is obviously God's will that we move on to another place, so I ought to be expectant and excited to see where God is going to move us and what He is going to do in our lives.  That's what my attitude should be, but although I know it, I don't always feel that way.  You can pray for me!

We would also appreciate your prayers concerning finding a house and feeling clear direction from God.  We are trying to find a place where we can keep our farm animals, but so far it's been rough.  It is so good to know that God is in control!  For now, we are continuing to look and (trying to!) wait patiently on the Lord to provide.  Again, we would appreciate your prayers as we enter another transition time in our lives.

Sorry for the rather low-toned post.  Here, I'll leave you with some pictures that my cousin Mariah recently took on the farm.

We sure have enjoyed this house and property for the time that God allowed us to live here.  Job 1:21b "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."

Yes, those are our ducks.  They grow fast.  :)

Just in case you are wondering, this picture was taken on the property.  There are a whole bunch of these lilies blooming in the backyard.  They are so beautiful that I can't help but feel glad whenever I walk by them.  Praise God for the wonder of His creation!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Graduation

What an original title, right?  Sorry; I really didn't feel like being creative so I figured I'd name this post the most obvious thing possible.

My graduation--it seems so strange to refer to this event as a thing in the past when all my life I've been looking forward to it as a thing in the future.  It is, however, in the past, and that's why I'm here to tell you about it.  So, without further ado, prepare yourself for one very long post...

I was so blessed to be a part of a very special graduation ceremony sponsored by our homeschool group and also to graduate with my precious cousin and best friend Mariah.  (By the way, you may notice me using the word "blessed" a lot during this post.  You may, in fact, think that I greatly over-use the word.  I probably will.  For just this once, I'm going to set aside all composition etiquette and use that word as much as I want because it is the best way to describe how I feel about everything that this graduation involved.)  

The ceremony took place at the offices or second building of my cousin's church.  We went early to set up and decorate.

(Most of the following photos courtesy of Kristen Bowers and Gabby C.)

 Our sound man and my cousin Matthew.  He did a really awesome job for us!

 A picture of the Moms of the graduates.  Besides Mariah and myself, there was one other graduate in our homeschool group's Class of 2012.

God has given me such wonderful parents! I am so thankful that they chose to homeschool me (and stuck with it!), but even more importantly that they chose to train me in Godliness, to teach me the Gospel, and to give me a foundation in the Word of God. Also, they have both been amazing teachers and Godly examples to me over the years. I am so thankful for my Mommy and Daddy!

We asked my cousin Josh to give an alumni speech, and he did an amazing job!  I was so blessed by his encouragement, especially that which was directly from scripture.

Mariah and I sang the hymn "Take My Life and Let it Be" together as a part of the ceremony.  Sorry about my funny singing faces.  I inherited them from my Daddy I think.  :)

When the parents presented the diploma to the graduates, they had an opportunity to speak.  My precious Daddy said many things which blessed me so much and caused us to share many laughs and a few tears.  I'm not sure why we all have such somber faces in this picture.  I was probably fighting back tears.  :)

Me and one of my best friends, Hannah

We were laughing hysterically here, and can you guess why?  My friends are so good to me that they try to make up for my extreme shortness by squatting down in pictures.  I was on my tippy toes.

Reality check.  That's how short I really am.  :)

Hannah's sister Gabby (also one of my closest friends) joined us.

More friends.

When we arrived home that night I walked in the door and almost tripped over my graduation present--a hope chest.  I had absolutely no idea ahead of time, so Mom and Dad surprised me good!  I've always wanted a hope chest as long as I can remember.  I was thankful and blessed to receive this special gift from my parents on the night of my graduation.

 I went to bed that night feeling so thankful and blessed.  (Told you I'd use that word a lot!) God has been so, so good to me!

 Eph 3:20-21

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. 


Friday, June 15, 2012


I can't imagine that anyone has ever drunk a glass of milk with as much relish as I did last Monday evening.  Just FYI: That's relish as in "enjoyment, pleasure..."  Don't worry; I don't put pickle relish in my milk. Ugh.  Just the thought of that makes me feel a little sick.  But to return.  Last Monday's glass of milk was the happiest glass of milk of my life.  Why?  Because it was our fresh, raw goat milk.  And for the very first time, it tasted wonderful.

Over the past few months we have been battling with the taste of the milk our Alpine goats have been producing.  We researched "how to make goat milk taste good" on the internet, we got advice from friends, we switched to organic feed, and tried almost everything we could think of.  Still the milk didn't taste right.  Things began to get frustrating.  We were milking two goats every day twice a day and accumulating gallons upon gallons of milk that was good for nothing.  Eventually we started dumping the milk out onto the ground every day just to get rid of it.  We began to wonder why we even had milk goats.  Then, as a last resort, we tried two different things at once.  1) We started both our does on Molly's Herbal Worm Formula (we thought that our goats might be showing some signs of worms). 2) We started feeding our does yogurt twice a day.  This was a recommendation of our good friends from Dallas Tyler Ranch.  About five days after we made these changes, I decided to taste the milk.  I tasted it.  I tasted it again.  Could it really be?  Then I took it to each member of the family and we unanimously decided that the milk did indeed taste delicious (aka, exactly like cows milk)!  We still don't know which of our changes made the milk taste better.  To be honest, I don't much care!  I was inexpressibly happy that night.  Those who have not been in our situation may find it hard to understand, but when you have poured a tremendous amount of effort into the goats and into making their milk taste good and have been utterly unsuccessful for months, victory is a very sweet thing.  And so, incidentally, is our goat milk now.  That fact makes me a very happy camper.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Another Driver in the House!

I have some fantabulous news to share!  Isaac got his permit on Thursday! 

Already he is becoming a great driver. Whereas it took me months just to build up the courage to drive on a real road, Isaac drove us (on the very day he got his permit) to Pizza Hut to celebrate--and in our humongous truck nonetheless!

Congrats, little bro!  I'm so proud of you!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Daddy Turns...64?

Okay, so absence from blogging has made my mental to-post-list quite large (for me, that is).  However, I have to start somewhere, so here goes.

Recently we got to celebrate my Daddy's birthday!  His special day was on a Saturday, and we spent the day hanging out and enjoying our time at home.

One of Daddy's favorite hobbies is RC airplanes.  He loves to fly them, but since it is  very windy here most of the time, the only times he can fly are in the early mornings and evenings.  On his birthday morning he ran outside to get a few minutes of flight in before breakfast.

The breakfast table.

 Present Time!

We got Daddy some new t-shirts and a Matt Redman CD, which we've all been enjoying immensely.

During the course of the day we had a really fun time shooting balloons with our longbows!  Unfortunately, we didn't get any pictures of that, but we sure had a blast!

It's tradition in our family that the birthday boy (or girl, whatever the case may be) gets to choose what we will have for dinner.  Daddy chose pizza!  Our family's favorite pizza to make is our green pizza (made with pesto, spinach, chicken, onions, artichoke hearts, and bell peppers, oh, and of course cheese!).  YUM!

And finally, cheesecake for dessert with a movie!  And no, my Daddy didn't turn 64 this year.  We decided to play a little trick on him, and it worked!  I laughed so hard when he finally realized that we had switched the numbers around and aged him 18 years!

 Ah, now those numbers are in their correct places!  :)

Happy Birthday my precious Daddy!