Friday, February 05, 2016

Friday!


Happy Friday!

Whatever the circumstances of life you meet this weekend,

                                                I pray that the light of God's love and grace will shine through.






 And that your focus will be on the One who created Light,

and is the Light of the world.

His peace to your homes!




Thursday, February 04, 2016

Homestead Update: February!!

Ah, February!  It's the month that teases and makes us think it is Spring one day and the middle of winter the next.  Or at least that is how it is in the South (I understand that in places like Buffalo that happens in the month of May.  Or maybe June).

Mr. Marvelous is in charge of gardening and he is happy with his over-winter preparations for this year's Spring garden.  MY job is animals!

Here's the count.  We currently have four rabbits.  Three females:





George, our seasoned Mama who is (hopefully) currently pregnant.






Woolly-Booger who has had one litter of one baby (it did not survive)
 Smoochie, who had one litter of six; two survived birth but did not survive the first week.

And one male:
 
Barrabas who will not keep his face washed.

I know.  It's lousy loosing baby bunnies like that.  Unfortunately, rabbits typically lose 100% of their first litters and sometimes even their second.  George has had one litter this winter but only had two babies in that litter.  When rabbits only have two babies, those babies get big fast!  We had promised a breeding pair out of her winter litter to a friend of ours, so they went to a good home.  We are hoping that George's next litter will have a few more babies.  We will also be rebreeding Woolly-Booger and Smoochie over the next couple of weeks.  Hopefully they will do better with their second litter.

In other news, we still have chickens.  We have three pens at the moment holding the following:

The three Princesses.
These girls are a cross between our White Leghorns and the Buff Orpingtons.
They have the sweet disposition of the Buffs, and like the Leghorns they lay an egg
every single day.
They are keepers! 

 The Eight White Leghorns.
These girls are NOT sweet-tempered.
However we are currently getting 4-6 eggs a day from them, so I put up with it.
They are currently having a visit from our lone Roo, Neo (because he is the one).

This is our pen of eight Buff Orpington hens.
We also call them the free-loaders.
Through November and December they were eating a LOT.
We got not one single egg.
In January we started getting 1-2 eggs a week.
As the days are growing longer, their production is picking back up again.

So why is Neo in with the White Leghorn hens?  The experiment of cross-breeding was kind of successful last year.  We had a White Leghorn rooster in with our Buff Orpington hens.  I put 17 eggs in the incubator and we hatched out four.  Not a very good percentage, but when I consider that the girls lay an egg every single day, it looks a little more successful.  We had a rooster, but he had the temperament or the White Leghorns and Mr. Marvelous and I both got a little tired of being attacked every time we went in.  This time we have Neo ~ a very sweet-tempered Buff Orpington rooster ~ in with our productive White Leghorn hens.  I am hoping for a better hatch rate this time.  After we hatch out these eggs I am hoping that the Buff girls will be producing a little better (more hours of daylight tends to make better egg production).  At that point we will put Neo back in with them and hopefully hatch out some straight Buff Orpingtons, as those roosters tend to be better meat birds (yes, we really do). 

As I sit here writing the incubator is heating up.


 Well doesn't everyone keep their incubator on the Living Room bookshelf
next to the baby grand piano??


In a few minutes I will go outside and see if there are any more last-minute eggs to add.  Each egg is numbered with the date it was laid.  I am hoping to get a better idea of how long eggs can sit on the shelf before being put into the incubator.

I have about 21 in the basket and would love to find 3 more for an even 2 dozen.
I will let you know how it goes!

And just in case you did not notice, my orange cat has volunteered to "guard" the eggs.

The babies too once they hatch.

Or so she thinks!

Happy Spring!

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Wednesday Prayers

Good morning, and thank you so much for your continued prayers.  This work is so important.  It matters.  It makes a difference.  I love the verse in Revelation 5:9 where John describes the Elders who are each holding a harp and a bowl filled with incense.  Then John tells us that the incense is the prayers of the saints.  Think about that for a few minutes; your prayers are so important that they are kept in the bowls held by the 24 Elders!  They are so pleasing to God that they are viewed as incense (and in Heaven we won't be bothered with allergic reactions to incense!).

There are a few urgent needs this week that require our attention.  However please remember that prayer is so much more than rattling off a list of needs.  Remember to take time today and through the week to just stop the busy-ness of life and spend some quiet time with God reflecting on Who He Is. 

I have been writing about the attributes of God found in the Westminster Shorter Catechism lately. 

"God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable, in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth."

This week we come to the attribute of God's goodness.  Oh how I love to think about this one!  God's goodness is so big that we can not see the ends of it in space or in time.  It goes out and in and through all the universe, from the biggest parts to the smallest without ever stopping.  It has no beginning in time, and will never end, even when time itself ends.  It is exactly the same today as it was before He created time, and the same as it will be when time ends.  There are many questions asked about God's goodness when people look at the world we live in.  There are many really good answers.  There are many people who have suffered (and still suffer) who will eagerly share God's goodness in suffering.  But for today, rather than focus on those questions, focus instead on the truth and the limitlessness and the constancy of the goodness of God itself.  Pray through these needs, but as you do, pray that the person involved will experience and see the goodness of God.
  1. Garrett is a little boy who is very ill with something the doctors can not figure out.  He is in the hospital and suffering with a great deal of pain.
  2. Michelle is a young lady with cancer.  The family has called hospice and her days are short.
  3. Brian is facing major back surgery in the near future.
  4. Mark (not my Mr. Marvelous) will be having total knee replacement soon.
  5. You all have people in your group of friends who have experienced the death of someone they love dearly.  Please remember to pray for them today.  
  6. Pray for your Pastor.  Pray that he will be diligent in preparing his sermon for this week.  Pray that he will be attentive to what God is asking him to say.  Pray that he will be bold in speaking the Truth of God's word.  Pray that the Holy Spirit will pierce our hearts as we listen.  Pray too for his family!
Please feel free to leave a comment with other needs.  They will be prayed over.


God's peace to your home. 


Monday, February 01, 2016

Monday Memories: Names Project


 


In 2011 I took on a project for Advent.  I decided to read through the Gospels looking for descriptive names of Jesus (the link to the first one is here).  By Epiphany I had finished the Gospels and decided to go on and finish the New Testament.  In a cool twist of timing, I finished the book of Revelation at Easter 2012.  So I decided to go on and work through the Old Testament.  Then I decided that in addition to looking for Jesus in the Old Testament, I would also look for God the Father and the Holy Spirit.  The entire project took me until early November of 2015 ~ almost 4 years.  I was not eager to rush through this (obviously!).  I decided early on that this is a project worth taking a lifetime if necessary. 

This year, Mr. Marvelous wanted to do his Bible reading using a chronological Read Through The Bible plan.  He found this outline and shared it with me.  We are having an interesting time reading through together this year. 

I discovered something though, especially as we have been reading through Job this past week or two.  Every time I read through, I find names and descriptions of God that I missed.  Sometimes it is because the description is implicit, rather than an explicit name.  For example, consider the following from Job 37 as Elihu is speaking to Job:

“Hear this, O Job;
    stop and consider the wondrous works of God.
15 Do you know how God lays his command upon them
    and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine?
16 Do you know the balancings of the clouds,
    the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge,
17 you whose garments are hot
    when the earth is still because of the south wind?

 The words in red are the obvious: God, God, Him who is perfect in knowledge.  But look again.  This time notice the words in blue:

“Hear this, O Job;
    stop and consider the wondrous works of God.
15 Do you know how God lays his command upon them
    and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine?
16 Do you know the balancings of the clouds,
    the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge,
17 you whose garments are hot
    when the earth is still because of the south wind?

God is the one who does wondrous works (which of course implies that He is Himself wondrous).  God is the Commander (I love that one!).  God causes the lightning of his clouds to shine.  God is the one who balances the clouds.  And again, God is the doer of wondrous works.  

There is so much depth and richness to this study.  

When I started the book of Genesis, I was talking with a young friend and explaining to her just what I was doing.  I showed her my jar that held the New Testament names and descriptions of Jesus.  Her eyes got a little big and she said, "Mrs. Virginia, I think you are going to need a very big aquarium to finish this!".

Yes Kaleigh, I probably will!  When I undertook this project I told myself (and a few others) that there was no deadline and no rush.  It was a project of a lifetime, so it was permissible to take a lifetime to complete it.  As the project expands, I will probably be looking for an old, cracked fish tank as Mr. Marvelous and I wander through yard sales.  I hope that if I live to be 93, I will still be putting Names and descriptions into that with my Grandchildren.  And sharing what I find with the people who come to visit.

May the Truth of these descriptions pierce our hearts.  

His peace to your homes.




Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday!


Look what God did!


“For you shall go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
    shall break forth into singing,
    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
    instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
    an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
       Isaiah 55:12,13        

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday


Find a cool place to hang out this weekend.


And remember to honor the One who created it!

His peace to your hearts and homes.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thirty Years

Thirty-one years ago ~ I know, but I'm giving you the back-story, so hang in there with me for a paragraph or two ~ thirty-one years ago I was student teaching in Bristol, Tennessee.  I was assigned to a third grade classroom with a delightful master-teacher.  Mrs. Burke was the kind of woman every one wished they could be assigned to.  There was another teacher in the school, a young man who was fascinated with space.  He desperately wanted to explore and when the Teachers In Space program was initiated he began the application process.  He made it all the way to the final selection for the state of Tennessee before being eliminated.  I learned a lot about the Space Shuttle program that year, just from sitting quietly grading papers and listening to him talk to the other teachers. 

After graduation I landed a job in Gainseville, Georgia.  It was a small church-school with atrocious pay.  I was hired to teach the 6th and 7th combined classroom.  I was teaching 11 subjects a day (we combined the Bible class).  The second semester we had someone who came in and taught PE and another volunteer who handled music, so that I would have some time to catch my breath. 

On January 28th I wanted my students to be able to watch the Challenger launch.  Like many other class-rooms around the country, we had been talking about space a lot leading up to this historic launch.  We were all excited about it.  Then I got the word that the PE teacher had to have that time slot for PE that day.  There was no getting around it.  We were disappointed, but since the only television available was a very, very small portable unit in the church secretary's office, and since I was sure that the news channels would be re-running the launch that evening, I assigned the kids to watch the news that night and go on to PE during that hour.

I walked over to the church office and stuck my head into the secretary's office.  She invited me to come on in and watch the launch with her and the pastor.  We huddled around that tiny little television just in time to catch the final minute or two of the countdown.  And the blast-off.  And the rockets going in two different directions. 

Wait a minute, was it supposed to look like that??

Photo from CBS news

No.   No it was not.  

Word about the disaster spread quickly through the school.  I thought the PE teacher was going to hit the floor when she heard the news.  My students were understandably shaken up, distressed, disbelieving.  There were a few tears from some of the young ladies.  But these kids knew what their responsibility was in the face of this disaster.  So we bowed our heads together and began to pray. 

Several years later we took a family vacation to Ft. Lauderdale, FL to visit my sister and her family.  On the way home we stopped at Kennedy Space Center where Junior and I went and saw the Challenger Memorial.  I shared with him my memories of the day.  He slipped his little hand into mine and stood there with me as we looked at the names. 


Photo from NASA


They are remembered today.  

May the peace of God ~ not of man but of God Himself ~ shelter their families as they work through yet another anniversary of the tragedy.  May those who have rejected Him be drawn to His love and grace.  May those who know Him be drawn even closer to His comfort and peace.