Thursday, April 28, 2016

Homestead Update April 29, 2016

Well.  It must be Spring because everything is growing and blooming and changing around here!

Over the past week, I have been gathering eggs from my Buff Orpington hens, who are in a pen with Neo, the best-rooster-ever.  The eggs have been carefully placed on their sides ~ fat end slightly elevated ~ and left on the counter.  This morning I went out and gathered the two that were in the nesting box.  Then I came inside and placed all the eggs in the incubator.  Hopefully we will have some chicks in about 21 days!

The eggs are numbered with the date they were laid.  
 I do this so that I have some idea of how long they are viable on the counter.

The temperature will be carefully monitored and kept around 100 degrees, with the humidity 
(for the first 18 days) around 50%.
You may notice that the temperature in this picture is closer to 80.
That is simply the affect of having the top off while eggs are being placed.

One of the most fun parts of hatching chicks is listening to the eggs before they hatch.  Somewhere around day 18-20, the chicks will start peeping in the egg!  It is loud enough to be heard in the back of the house.  When they hatch they must be left in the incubator until they dry out.  That can take up to 48 hours.  During that period the peeping is really loud, which is a lot of fun at night!

Outdoors there is a lot going on.  Do you remember the trees that Mr. Marvelous cut down on the back hill and dragged up to the front?  They look a lot different now!

It is a lot of fun to walk through.

He added the netting...
...and planted some beans....

...which already look like this...
They will climb the netting, giving us even more of a tunnel effect.

Being the Marvelous Mister that he is, he even added some lights!
And yes, those really are pink flamingos down at the driveway entrance.

There is lots more going on around here.  The corn and potatoes are growing rapidly.  The tomatoes are already blossoming and we even have a tiny promise of a tomato sandwich.  

Things are going at a rapid pace and keeping us rather busy right now.  I'm sorting through jars and mentally preparing myself for a very busy summer in the canning kitchen.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wednesday Prayers April 27

Photo from The Birmingham News

For those of you who live in our part of the world, this day is rather significant.  Five years ago we were waking up to the sound of furiously rushing wind, babies screaming as their ears popped with the pressure changes, or perhaps the sound of a very large freight train (but no whistle).  It was for many a day of anxiety and fear, a day of trauma and grief.  For our extended family it was the start of an extended period (we are talking about years) of trauma and turmoil and trouble and grief. 

But God.

God was faithful to us.  God is faithful to us.  We are assured that God will continue to be faithful to us.  And loving.  And kind.  And good.  And True.  And the source of our peace.

We cling to that assurance, not as frantic people who are trying to make something be real by believing in it, but as people who have seen and continue to see His faithfulness and goodness and mercy in ALL circumstances and situations.  Since going through the storm (my oldest nephew had a VERY large tree on his house), we have been through relocations, a diagnosis of mental illness and subsequent hospitalizations, deaths of fathers, miscarriage, a stroke, cancer diagnoses and surgery and chemotherapy and recurrences, a motorcycle wreck, another tree accident, a premature birth with a baby being life-flighted away from his Mama, illnesses, hospitalizations, a heart attack, death, more death, and always dealing with our sinful state and its consequences.  Through every step of this, when life has been at its darkest, we have felt the presence and comfort of God. 

When my father was writing his book about the killing of Jesus, he called me one day and we were talking about the chapter he had just finished.  He said it had occurred to him while writing it that when Jesus said to His disciples, "My peace I give unto you", he was literally letting go of HIS peace in order to give it to His disciples.  Shortly after that we see Him in the garden praying in great agony.

His peace sustains us through all our trials and sorrows and troubles.  His peace sustains us when life is going great.  Over and over in the past few years as I have been reading the Bible looking for descriptions of God, I have come across the phrase "With us".  Yes.  Yes, He is.  No matter the situation, the circumstances, the heart-ache, the pain, the trial.  God is always with His people. 

That is our comfort.

That is our peace.

As you pray today and this week, please remember the following:
  1. Pray for those who are grieving over loss today.  Pray for their comfort.  Ask God to put His people around them today to speak His truth to them.
  2. Praise God for the work that He continues to do in the lives of our family through the circumstances of life.
  3. Please pray for Baby Ava and her family.  Her life is expected to be brief; pray that God will continue to use her to show His purpose and love through her family, and that they will be faithful stewards of the time that they have.
  4. Chris is making remarkable improvement since his heart transplant.  Thank you so much for your faithful prayer for him.  Please continue!
  5. Pray for those battling cancer.  Specifically, please pray for Nancy, Sandy, Maria, and Sandra.
  6. Pray for those recovering from surgery.  Please include Pat and Hazel.
  7. Pray for the mothers and fathers whose children are questioning faith in God, and walking away from the church and their families.  Pray for wisdom in these conversations.
  8. Praise God with our family for the safe arrival of Logan.  He is an answer to many prayers!
  9. The people around you are dealing with all kinds of different heartaches and struggles today.  Please ask God to give you His eyes to see their needs, fill you with His love for them, and give you the courage and boldness to reach out and be a source of His comfort and peace to them.
  10. Pray for your pastor!  Pray for your pastor!  Pray for your pastor!  And don't forget his family!!
Thank you again for your faithfulness in the work of prayer.

His peace to your hearts and homes.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Monday Memories

The end of March/beginning of April weekend each year is celebrated in Cayce, South Carolina with Tartan Day South.  This is a very well organized event produced by John Banks and Donovan Murray of Celtic Force Enterprises.  Mr. Marvelous, Jr. and I went again this year and were joined by my Mother.

Junior is a member of Palmetto Pipes and Drums band in Columbia, South Carolina.  They always perform at this event ~ perform quite well, I might add.

One of the things that Mother and I enjoy the most at this event is watching Bill Coburn of Windy Knoll Farms in Laurens, South Carolina and his border collies.  Border Collies are amazing.  They are beautiful, highly intelligent, a little sneaky at times, and lots of fun to watch.  We have seen Mr. Coburn at several different Highland Games and it is always entertaining.  The patience he has with the young dogs (and sometimes young children!) is exemplary.  Yet more than patience, he seems to find great joy in showing his dogs and taking opportunities to interact with spectators and share his knowledge.  As he began the demonstration that Mother and I were watching, he was getting the dogs and sheep ready and talking to the large crowd about what he was doing.  After a few minutes he glanced over, noticed Mother, and offered to make a place for her to sit in the stands, rather than standing to watch.  That kindness seems rather typical of him.

And did I mention that the dogs are beautiful??

And a bit sneaky...

Sometimes they creep up because it is the best way to gather the sheep.

Sometimes they decide that Mr. Coburn is taking too long answering questions and decide to sneak up and gather the sheep while he is not looking.

They are beautiful creations.

And smart!

The dogs were wonderful.

So was the band.

"We are behaving.  We promise!"

One of the band members even brought his Padawan.
Who also brought his Grandfather.
Isn't he handsome in his band colors?!

The classic cars were also there, and I must point out this one car:

Impressive, isn't it?
But wait...

Oh yes, it comes with a silver tea service.
For those long road trips.

We had a lovely time.  

In September you will probably find us at the Charleston Highland Games.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Wednesday Prayers: April 13th

Greetings Prayer Warriors, and thank you for your faithful, quiet work of prayer.

Sometimes the quiet work is what we most crave; no limelight or attention, nothing but us and God.  Sometimes the quiet work feels unappreciated by others and that can be a little challenging.  Take heart!  Last week I quoted Revelation 8:4-5.  Let's go backwards a little this week:

And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
Revelation 5:8     

Be reminded this week that your prayers are filling bowls in heaven which the twenty-four elders are holding up to the Lamb of God.

There have been many answered prayers this past week (more than we will ever realize).  Here are a few that I know about:
  1. Chris had a heart transplant last week and is doing well.
  2. After 15 months in the hospital, Stacy died last week.  Praise God that she is now serving Him in heaven.  
  3. John continues to improve after receiving a definitive diagnosis.
  4. Jacob was able to be in school this week.
Here are the requests for this week:
  1. Continue to pray for Chris, for Stacy's family, for John's healing, and for Jacob and his family.
  2. Hazel is in the hospital recovering from a difficult surgery.  Please also pray for her dear husband while he waits with her.
  3. Pray for those dealing with cancer; Sandra who is newly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Sandra who will have another round of chemo on Monday for breast cancer, and Nancy.
  4. Jeff and Melanie are waiting this week for the arrival of their first baby.
  5. Tara's family are in the middle of spiritual battles.
  6. Casey is having some health problems
  7. Elise, Charlotte, and their Mama continue to need prayer as they work on figuring out what is going on and how to handle it.
  8. Please continue to pray for Baby Ace and his family.  Grandmother was able to come and help out; please pray for her too.
  9. Pearl's family are having to make difficult decisions this week about her care.
  10. Remember that the grief over the death of a family member is not something that goes away on schedule.  Pray especially this week for Danny's family and for Mrs. Margaret's family.
  11. Pray for your Pastors and church officers this week.  Pray that they will be wise in caring for their churches.  Pray that they will be faithful in their personal worship, so that they may lead us in our corporate worship.  Pray for spiritual protection for them.  The battle is hard!
Thank you again for your faithful service.  God is honored and our prayers please Him.

His peace to your hearts and homes.

Friday, April 08, 2016


And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
And all flesh shall see it together,
For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken.
 Isaiah 40:5                        

His peace to your heart and home.



Thursday, April 07, 2016


I think I overwhelmed you with pictures and the Homestead Update last week.  This week I decided to share how other people are getting the Spring back in their steps.
I hope you can endure some pun-ishment!

Here in Alabama, my friend Lisa is getting her garden shop ready for the Spring rush.

Lisa's shop is in the nearby little town of Leeds, Alabama.

When you drive into the older part of town, find the post office.  She is right next door.
It amazes me what she does with her small corner lot. 

 Sometimes I feel as though stepping through the gate 
is like stepping across a threshold into another world. 
A world where folks gather on the front porch in the morning
for a cup of coffee and conversation.

 A world with a forest of ferns.

A world that is a little quirky with recycled decorative accents!

A world of beauty and blooms.

Salad, anyone?

Would you like some kale in that salad?

Or some tomatoes, perhaps?

Be sure you don't forget the herbs and peppers!


It is a lovely gathering place.

Lisa cares for her niche quite well.
She is a vast resource of horticultural information.

Even though she isn't crazy about having her picture made!

Sometimes you might even make a new friend.

I never know just what I am going to find there!

But there always seems to be a welcoming smile,
                                                    a bit of fun,
                                                           some gardening wisdom,
 and a lot of beauty.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Wednesday Prayers: April 6th

Greetings prayer warriors, and thank you so much for your continued service of prayer.

Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne.  And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.                                                              Revelation 8:4-5 NASB

 I love these verses.  I find this imagery of our prayers so beautiful.  My prayer for you today is that you remember that even when there is nothing else that you can do, you can pray.  Never underestimate the power and the importance of that work!

There are many heavy needs this week.
  1.  Baby Ace ~ who has been on our list ~ has been diagnosed with a septal defect or "hole in his heart".  Please pray for healing for this little treasure, for peace for his parents and family, and for great wisdom and compassion for his doctors.
  2. Jacob had an ATV wreck over the weekend and broke his leg quite badly.  Please pray for his recovery.  Pray also for his friend Thomas who was with him and broke his wrist.
  3. I have asked for prayers for Elise several times over the past few months.  Please keep her in mind this week.  Pray that the doctors would listen to Elise and her Mama, be wise in diagnosing her, and be compassionate toward her and her Mama.  Please also pray for her little sister Charlotte who is having some health problems.  Pray too for their other siblings while Mama is needing to particularly focus on these two.
  4. John (not my brother) has been diagnosed with cancer.  Please pray boldly for healing.
  5. Pat had shoulder surgery this week.  Please pray for complete recovery and for grace in the healing process.
  6. Pray for Lee, that God's goodness would be reflected in the middle of great trials.
  7. Continue to pray for those with children who are running away from the church.
  8. Chris received a heart transplant this week.  It has been rocky in the hours since the surgery.  Please pray for him.  Pray too for the donor family.
  9. Pray for Gid and his brothers as they continue to struggle with serious illness.
  10. Pray for those who are fostering children.  Pray for their physical, emotional and spiritual energy as they honor God in this service.  And if you know someone who is in the middle of this, be Jesus' hands and feet for them this week.  Take them a meal, go over and rock the baby while they catch up on their rest, be a shoulder for them to lean on.
  11. Pray for those who grieve the death of a family member.  The missing and the hurt does not end on a time-table.  Please pray this week especially for Dana and for Denise as they continue to grieve the death of their husbands.
  12. Pray for your Pastor.  Pray for your Pastor.  Pray for your Pastor.  And pray for your Pastor's family! 
  13. Pray especially this week for the individuals in your church with whom you do not seem to connect.  Pray that God will soften your heart toward these folks.  Pray that He would give you the gift of a loving heart toward these brothers and sisters.  Pray that you would have a spirit of humility, and grace, and forgiveness, and love toward them.  Pray for the same thing for them; it could be that you are difficult for them to love!
 Thank you again for your work of prayer.  

God's peace to your hearts and homes!