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“Be faithful in small things......

............... because it is in them that your strength lies” ~Mother Teresa

This is what I have been reminding my daughter of these past couple of weeks.

You see.....my little animal lover has been devastated, as we all have, about the horrific oil spill. She felt completely helpless as she clicked through the countless brutal images of all the animals affected by this tragedy......

......until we came across this website Matter of Trust. This awesome organization has a program where you can donate hair clippings as well as animal hair, fiber and fur and they turn them into valuable hair mats and "booms" (tubes) to assist in the clean up of oil spills.

They explain it this way on their site; "You shampoo, because hair collects oil. Hair is very efficient at gathering oil, skin oils off your face, oil pollution out of the air, and water, even petroleum oil spills. Hair is adsorbent (as in "clings to" unlike absorbent which is to "soak up.")
So she has been clipping all our goats and packing up the hair getting it ready to send out. We also just sheared our alpacas and are donating the majority of that fiber as well. Although we know that the few pounds of hair/fiber we are sending will probably only make a percentage of one boom.....we feel we are doing something to help out. And if we if add it to the many other people who are sending a few pounds over......we can all make a difference together.

Figured I share a few pics.....surely one will make you smile!

Here is how we "roll" when transporting our boys.(we're working on saving for a trailer, HA!) So, you gotta do what you gotta do....they actually didn't mind at all. This was when we were bringing them to get sheared.

Yeah....we do get some strange looks when people pass us on the road. Even funnier comments when we go through the drive-thru.

So yes....they didn't seem to mind the drive.....but I think they might have a problem with what they looked like after! (thankfully we don't have any mirrors in their corral) Isn't that hilarious? We decided to keep the fashionable "Ugg" thigh-high boot look along with the afro.

And here we have Ez and Nev clipping down our goats....

oh, and while we are in farm-mode....I wanted to share that I am really getting my "midwife" skills on. A couple of nights ago.......at midnight!.....our first time mama, Margaret went into labor. Now normally, I am sleeping WAY before then.....but God has a funny way of keeping everything in line and had me out at a friend's house alot later than normal. So I happen to check on her just in time.

Well...after a half hour or so, I started to think that things were not happening the way they should with this birth process....and I started to panic. Then I started to pray.......more panic.....more praying. After calling my vet in the middle of night and knowing I was alone, I knew I had to put aside my fears and intervene. I also happened to get intouch with my neighbor and he came over. So with his help, I just had to go in and help get this little baby into her birth canal so the mama could get her out. The frightened mama still couldn't push her so we had to pull her out. So I just said to God....."OK, this is it. I need your strength to pull this off, don't leave me now!"

So after 3 hours.....we delivered a very breech.....but very beautiful little doeling.

I'd like to introduce you to little Ava. (We chose this name because you can always spell it backwards......just the way she came into this world)

Peace, love and stay barefoot~

This is a test......this is only a test.

So my pastor was talking about this a few weeks ago, and it came at such a great time for me. I figured there's got to be a few of us out here that are facing some trial/struggle, some disappointment.....some unanswered prayer right now....so I thought I'd share.

He reminded us that when these trials and struggles come our way......ultimately they are just tests.

Now we use the word test in many common phrases;

When we are being cautious, we test the waters.

I don't know about your kids, but mine definitely test my patience. (not sure if I have passed this one lately)

We talk about the quality of something when it stands the test of time.

How about when we were in school? When a test was given, it revealed how much you had actually learned of what you had been taught. I hated tests......and I always bombed on them. Looking back, it most likely was due to my ADD/retention issues....(not anything to do with me totally goofing off)

But tests are part of school, I guess. There's no way around them. If we can relate this to life now....Paul reminds us in Ephesians 4:20,21 that we are being taught in a different school when we are Christians. The School of Christ. We are "learning Christ" and are "being taught by Him, as the Truth is in Jesus". So we will have these tests........even "pop quizzes" throughout our walk in life until Jesus returns.

I decided to look up the word test and found the first definition to be:

~the means by which the presence, quality, or genuineness of anything is determined; a means of trial.

So the purpose of these tests are to determine.....or establish.....the genuineness of who we are.

How do we handle disappointments and setbacks? How do we treat others when we don't get the answers that we want to hear. How do we treat God when things are upside down? We ask Him to solve our problems, but do we ever ask Him what it is that He is trying to teach us through it all?

And it's not only to see how we handle these trials, but how we have been transformed when they are over. What is actually gained after the dust settles? That got me thinking about those first couple of verses in James that I always had a hard time wrapping my head around.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." ~James 1:2,3

(on a side note.....joy? Really, James? Not sure about you......but when I am finding myself struggling with relationships, wrestling with emotions, scrambling with finances and/or just the junk that life throws at me.....I can honestly say I am NOT very joyful.)

But what I have been learning, as I have been digging deep with my friend Jesus these past couple of weeks (which is one of the reasons I've been a little MIA)......is a little enlightenment on just what James is teaching us with that Scripture.

I guess the joy should come from the fact that we should look at these times as a sign that God has something great planned ahead. But we are not quite ready for it, so he needs to do a little work on us. I read somewhere that these hammerings and chiselings...although painful.... are necessary (while still in this earthly “quarry”) to prepare each of us so as to fit perfectly in our unique spot as a pillar in temple of my God (Revelation 3:12).

These tests are to shape and develop our character.....our true character......not just what we proclaim to be. I picture God using His tools..... chipping away chunks of pride, unforgiveness and selfishness off of me when I think back to certain issues I have gone through... or maybe I should say.......He brought me through. God, in His infinite wisdom, can work on so many areas in our lives with just one situation.

Of course, when we are amidst the trial, it is hard to imagine that God has His Hand on it. It is hard to trust that He has something better ahead for us. Whether it is a new job, a new chapter in our life, a new (or renewed) relationship. Helen Keller once said.....“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one, which has been opened for us.”

These tests are not only tests of our faith......but of our total trust in God that we are "going to be OK"....(in fact, quite sure we will be much better) after this all plays out. Think about some of the past trials you have gone through. If you had a clear picture of how it really turned out in the end, you probably would not have been robbed of a week's worth of sleep....saved your stomach some damage with heartburn/indigestion.....probably spared yourself some wrinkles and gray hair too. (oh, that would be me). Well, you might have said a few less damaging words to others, been a little more pleasant to be around......maybe you just might have enJOYed life a little more.

So I'll wrap it up here and leave you with these two things:

One, try to remember that these tests are for our learning, not God’s....... He knows the end from the beginning. If we recognize that these trials are meant to strengthen us, change us where change is needed.....we will persevere as James reminds us.

And second........when you find yourself in the middle of a difficult situation......try to imagine a loud voice in your head......with that annoying beeping sound in the background.....saying

"This is a test, my friend........this is only a test."

Be well~

P.S. funny thing.....I was being tested with writing this post. Guessing the enemy did not want someone to read it. Basically started this about four hours ago. My computer locked up about six times, had to keep shutting it down, then go back and rewrite many run-on sentences just to get this message out. I will tell you that I am actually laughing now thinking about how I wanted to kick, scream and swear after the third time......or how I wanted to throw the whole computer out on the front lawn by the fifth time. But I passed the "keep my cool" test with flying colors. I only mumbled a few choice words......slammed my hands on the keyboard a couple of times and did a little tantrum dance on the front deck once.


Thank you to all my friends who took the time to shoot me an email and/or post to my Facebook, wishing me a happy birthday this past weekend! I had a great time celebrating the 22nd anniversary of my 21st birthday! I was spoiled by my family with lots of presents including new muck boots (have to be fashionable cleaning barns), milking and soap making supplies....and a brand new dishwasher! WOOHOO! :)

Proverbs 27:27

Hello friends......
Hope this finds you all smiling and well.....I've got a few things that Jesus is teaching me as I dig deeper into His Word. I am getting my thoughts together on them (remember, my ADD is always on overdrive, it might be a while)....so in the meantime, I thought it would be fun to share what we've been up to with our little farm and the "fruits of our labor".


"You will have plenty of goats' milk
to feed you and your family......."

~Proverbs 27:27

Feeling blessed that we now have this......

(fresh goat's milk from our does)

so that we can make this..........

(fresh "queso blanco" goat cheese)

and this.......

(carrot cinnamon goats' milk soap)

all while giving Him all the Glory!

....have a beautiful day~


The Wheelbarrow

So we are pretty much wrapping up our homeschooling this year.....and keeping it real, I am probably just as excited about it as the kids are. The weather has been gorgeous for the most part and I really love being outside, working around the yard/barn....taking advantage of the few short months we are blessed with this kind of weather here in New England.

So Ez and are wrapping up History with The Great Depression. History is the one subject that I really do enjoy, but only now as an adult. Again, keeping it real.....I will admit that it feels like I am learning this all for the first time. I am sure I learned this all way back in the Stone Age when I was in school, but certainly focusing on who was taking who to the dance, having the most popular Earth Shoes and getting my Farrah Fawcett hairdo perfect was way more important. I am also guessing that due to the brain cell loss I have incurred over the past 20+ years is the reason I feel this is "new" to me.

Anyway, we were covering the Roaring Twenties that led up to The Great Depression when we read about Billy Sunday. Billy Sunday was a baseball player with the Chicago White Stockings (I am guessing they changed that to Sox??.......see? No clue about this stuff). Long story short, after hearing the love of Christ during a gospel on Sunday, he gave up his successful career as a professional baseball player. He felt the calling in his life to teach others about God and later became a preacher.

He was a huge source of encouragement during the 20's where many people were finding the unhappy/empty side of seeking material possessions rather than investing in their spiritual lives. His concern for reaching out to "the Lost" (the many souls that were searching for happiness with sinful lifestyles and alcohol addictions) brought about many powerful revivals. He encouraged these people to put their trust in the Lord instead.

He made this one statement and it really struck me;

"Going to church don't make anybody a Christian, any more than taking a wheelbarrow into a garage makes it an automobile"

After I read that statement.....I continued to read the rest of the chapter to Ezra, but to be honest.....the words were coming out of my mouth, but in my head it was like the Charlie Brown teacher voice.

These past few weeks......I am that wheelbarrow.

For example......sure, I am going to church, but what good is it that I am rejoicing and praising God during those couple of hours, when only an hour before, I am storming around the house and snapping at everyone to hurry up. Then I find myself walking out of church with a renewed sense of peace, only to be grumbling about what my duties are for the day, pointing out my childrens' shortcomings and/or starting an argument with my husband before we even get home.

So yeah, lately I have not been the nicest person to be around. I have been wound up like a top, barking orders and demanding respect when I am not showing any respect to others. I've had the "because I say so" attitude with my kids, rather than taking the time to explain why they can or cannot do something. I have my pity party "table-for-one-please" meltdowns, then wonder why nobody wants to be within 30 feet of me. It's exhausting me as well as exhausting the peace in our home.

So, I am searching and praying to have the heart of Jesus, all while I am struggling with an ugly hostile one. It's like I have a wrestling match within and the ugly side is winning. I know this is what is making me feel uneasy and edgy because generally......I am a happy person. It's so conflicting because I know God gave me a loving caring heart and these feelings are so foreign to it. And as I type.....the word conflict keeps ringing in my head, because this truly is a conflict....it is spiritual warfare.

The negativity that starts to consume me then starts attracting unforgiveness, resentment and then an overwhelming guilt for it all. I don't want to be one of those people who, like referenced in a Casting Crown's song......hide behind a stain glass masquerade. Trying to keep it all together and convince *myself* and others as well that I am a shiny happy person.....only to be bitter and angry inside. Trying to make sure they don't see that I am falling apart at the seams when no-one is around.

Thankfully, there is no "masquerade" with Jesus. He knows my heart......He knows my struggles and it is only by Him that this turmoil can be conquered. So I continue to seek His heart, His peace and His way of loving people. I pray that once this turbulence is gone, I will be prepared to guard my heart and mind with His Armor.

Do you ever struggle with emotions that you know are the total opposite of what God desires for us? If so......how do you stop it in its tracks? Do you have any specific Scripture or prayer to help me overcome these bouts of distress?

Thanks so much.....


To ink.....or not to ink.....

......that has been a question tossed around lately.

So as you all know, I am a fan of tattoos. Last week, I shared the last one I got done. I enJOY my tattoos, they make me smile when I look at them, I reflect on what they mean to me/what they represent. Some of mine are in places that others cannot see for the most part, this recent one is on my inner wrist, clear and plain for the world to see....They are my own personal expression. I love Jesus!!!!!!!!!!!

I also understand and respect that not everyone feels the same as me when it comes to tattoos. In fact, many good Christians frown upon them and sometimes condemn those of us who have them or want to get them.

I would like to add this disclaimer that I do not claim to have any theological background at all, remember, my favorite version of the Bible is the Children's One I read with my kids. I am just going to speak from my heart and how I am understanding God's Word.

I have heard the verse in Leviticus 19:28 be used as a basis for many. "Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD."

It was explained to me that God is warning the Jewish people about a pagan practice at funerals, where people would mutilate/mark themselves to appease their false gods. Apparently as a form of grieving, they rubbed the ashes of their deceased loved ones into the wounds as a sign of respect and also so that they were "carrying" them with them. Another theory is that they hoped that by cutting themselves and marking images/symbols of idols on their bodies, that they would obtain favor in the afterlife from their false gods, both for themselves and for those who just died.

It is also interesting that when Leviticus is followed to the letter, other passages in Leviticus warn the people from cutting their hair or trimming their beards, wearing clothes that are made of a mix of textiles and growing certain crops beside each other; ( ie, the "mingling" of seed). So what about the man who shaves and wears polyester?

Here is another angle from me and how I think. When also referring to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body,"

When talking recently with a friend (who is a youth pastor and tattooed as well)....he reminded me that you destroy your "temple" by allowing sin to run rampant in your life. Whether you are tattooed or not.....I believe it is more about who you are, what is in your heart.... how you treat others. We all know unfortunately of the many hypocrites in Christianity. Jesus reminds us that you can clean the outside of the cup and if the inside is dirty, it means nothing.

Ultimately, it is all about your personal relationship with Jesus. I would like to believe (again *my* interpretations/beliefs....) that if Jesus was hanging around here with us, he'd be wearing his sandals, sporting a few cool tattoos and have some awesome dreadlocks. (sorry, the hippie in me is coming out)

So I guess I'll wrap it up with this......I believe Romans 14:23 where it reminds us that anything that does not come from faith is sin. My tattoos come from my faith and my love for Jesus Christ. I have no regrets.

I would love to hear how you all feel about tattoos.......you know I keep it real, so I encourage you to do the same. Remember, I have my big girl panties on, so no worries about "agreeing to disagree" with this topic. If I couldn't handle all opinions, I wouldn't choose to put this out here and ask. I think as long as your comments are shared from what you truly feel in your heart and not out to slam any of our brothers/sisters opinions and beliefs........ there is no right or wrong response.



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