Sunday, September 18, 2016

Mental Health Day

Much like everyone these days I feel like I have a never ending list of to-do's. Some days I don't want to do any of it because it feels so crushing I want out from under- I want an escape. I'm sure you feel the same sometimes.

A couple of days ago I decided to scrap all my responsibilities and take an afternoon off. I live surrounded by beauty and I am blessed to have two gorgeous horses, but I rarely ride them. I rarely take the time to enjoy the scenery for long enough to really unwind; observe the Redtail Hawks, listen to the doves and see the ground squirrels scamper around straight lines of quail.

I texted my neighbor and friend and asked her if she wanted to ride out after lunch. She was as happy as me to have the chance. She has a nice mare and just lives across the road and about a half mile from my place. The truth is we have several friends in the neighborhood who own horses and we could ride with.

I document everything- obviously writing and photos of most things get logged somewhere. I spend a lot of my horseback time snapping pictures.

My friend's family owns the surrounding apple and pear orchards so we rode those 90 acres. It's apple picking season and we happened on a section of just picked apples in the huge Apple bins waiting for pick up by the semi trucks that come through.

Before I rode out I took my paint mare next door and lounged her so she would be too tired for any shenanigans. For a green broke horse that gets ridden a handful of times a year she does really well as long as she's with another horse on the trails.
She and I could both stand to lose a little weight and lots more rides.
Now you know where your apples come from :)

We have miles of orchards and dirt roads to ride through. I freely admit to being amazingly blessed to live here and have the luxury of horses and so much room to ride them.

We all enjoyed a long afternoon ride. The weather was perfect and I felt my mental health had been amply restored for awhile. But I sure am looking forward to the next ride.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Miniature Nubians & Worn Out hands

I have hand milked my goats for 13 years's been a time I treasured. Time I was able to sit quietly in the barn with my animals; the goats of course, barn cats, geese, chickens, and my dogs and horses. It's been therapeutic really.
Sadly, it has to mostly come to an end. My hands have hurt terribly this year and I finally went and saw a hand specialist. I have a genetic predisposition for arthritis and joint breakdown, and the more I milk the worse it gets. He said I need a new hobby, because this one isn't kind to me.

I can't see my life without them, and I believe the raw goat milk really is the healthiest choice. I enjoy making cheese and soap. I guess I'll just do it on a much smaller scale. So...that leads me to this post- I am selling quite a few of my goats. I already have. I will be keeping 2 milkers and my new buck, besides the older girls I wish to keep as pets because they deserve their retirement.

Cowboy is an amazing buck, and he did good work for me here. He sired 14 kids, all gorgeous and not one birthing problem. He is a beautiful animal and it pains me to sell him, but I will just no longer have a use for him here and he's young. See his page here:

The other goat is also a 3rd generation Miniature Nubian. This little doe was a first freshener this year. She kidded independently and without a hitch. Her little doeling was drop dead pretty and Bella Anna was a fabulous and loving mother. She had quite a lot of milk for such a small girl. Milk genetics are a strong point. Her faults are that she isn't friendly (but she stands perfectly still for milking on the stanchion) and her teats are very long.

See her page here:

Thank you

Friday, September 2, 2016

Saffire: Fascinating

This is my second Sigmund Brouwer novel. I read "Thief of Glory" last year and was spellbound. Saffire didn't have quite the punch as the first book in my opinion, but it's still a great read. Mr. Brouwer is masterful at creating page-turners that leave you dying to know something- details of a character's past for instance. He is a wonderful writer and I enjoyed this story with it's many mysteries to unravel.  It's fun to see if I can unravel something before the author finally reveals it.

Here's a bit from the book:

I reminded myself that once you start to defend someone, it’s difficult to find a place to stop. But I went ahead and took that first step anyway. . .  
For President Teddy Roosevelt, controlling the east-west passage between two oceans mattered so much that he orchestrated a revolution to control it. His command was to ‘let the dirt fly’ and for years, the American Zone of the Panama Canal mesmerized the world, working in uneasy co-existence with the Panamanian aristocrats. 

It’s in this buffered Zone where, in 1909, James Holt begins to protect a defenseless girl named Saffire, expecting a short and simple search for her mother. Instead it draws him away from safety, into a land haunted by a history of pirates, gold runners, and plantation owners, all leaving behind ghosts of their interwoven desires sins and ambitions, ghosts that create the web of deceit and intrigue of a new generation of revolutionary politics.  It will also bring him together with a woman who will change his course—or bring an end to it.

The story setting is historical and factual. Some of the characters are real. This made it all the better for me.  The romantic part of the storyline didn't draw me in, but the main character, James Holt became as real as a character ever could. The development of this guy was deep and rich. I was fully engaged in the life of this "Americano Cowboy".  But I wish more time were spent developing the other characters- it's a nice thing to be lost in a story and emotionally involved. I was for sure with James Holt, but I would have liked to get to know Saffire better. Mr. Miskimon, a character based on a real man, was fascinating. I found the back-and-forth banter and relationship between these two main characters to be wonderful fun. I find Sigmund B.'s stories to be deliciously good for an escape from my daily world. His insight into people and their machinations and motivations make for solid characters. I' waiting for the next one!
*I received an advance uncorrected proof copy of this title for free in order to review it for the publisher.

About the Author

Saturday, August 27, 2016

What Does God Really Promise?

Tyndale House Publishing has put out this darling, but truth-packed little book. I think it's fabulous to give as a gift to a new believer, a seeker, or anyone looking to grow and build up their faith.

I have put a link in below the photo of the book so you can follow it and see inside the book. I think you'll be impressed both with the written content as well as the stunning illustrations. I was given a copy as a gift from the publisher in order to write an unbiased review. I'm excited to give it away because as soon as I saw it I knew the exact right person!
This would be a lovely little book for any ministry or person to have on hand to give away.

As you can see in the excerpt each page begins with a common question people have about what God says to us, about us, or  Himself, and then it answers the question and ends with a verse from the Scriptures.
What Does God Really Promise? 101 Questions and Answers About God's Promises, The Church, And The Future is a comforting little book. Small enough for a backpack, purse, or tote bag it's handy size would make it easy enough to carry around and leave as a gift and witness in medical waiting rooms, and other places like that. What would you suggest? I like the idea of leaving it at a hospital general area for places like the Emergency room, Oncology, or Critical Care Units. I'll bet you can think of creative ideas for this helpful and lovely book as well.

 See a PDF excerpt HERE

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Parenting Builds Character

My children range in age from 6 years old to young adult. Some I gave birth to and some I didn't, but they're all precious.
Yesterday I sat next to my grown-up, married son and brushed a crumb out of his beard. His beard! It doesn't seem but a week ago I was washing peanutbutter off of his face. Time does go, doesn't it? That freckle faced little boy that declared he would live with me forever is a married man.

I have, like you, both struggled with, and cherished my motherhood. Its the hardest, best job there is. It's not just biological, it's a spiritual calling. I have so often fallen short of the ideals I set for myself. I have failed time and again, the intention to be patient and kind. I spent most of my 30's feeling guilty about the ways I wasn't earning "Mom of the Year". But I didn't give up. I allowed God's Word to develop my character and I  pounded heaven in prayer for those babies and my husband and myself for the ability to do this most-important work as best we could with our limited resources. But I learned there's no such thing as lack in God's economy and I had all the resources I needed in Christ. The Holy Spirit brought life to my mothering time and again when I thought I'd drown in the day-to-day of laundry and dishes and meals, and again during the years when my husband was so often gone and I was alone with what seemed too much responsibility. I would have missed out on all the good, rich stuff I'm enjoying now if I had allowed self-pity to lead me to dark places instead of strengthening myself in the Lord. 

God's assignments are sometimes mountains to climb and valleys to travail. There are certainly dragons to battle, but He also provides those sweet, restful green pastures we love so well. Motherhood is a series of thrills and drudgery, heartbreak and the most pure and sincere love to be found- after the love of God. Devotion and character are developed in the years of the hardships of mothering and homemaking, like any other hardship. I remember well the slow and gradual change from selfish young lady to devoted and sacrificing mother. My husband too,from selfish man to becoming over the years a tender-hearted father and husband. Putting the needs of others in front of your own on a daily basis will change a person. 

It's so easy to get discouraged in this culture with parenting. For all the ways I have wounded my children I ask forgiveness and God's scandalously generous mercy. For the victories I point again to His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes it seems like the forming of a loving human takes two steps back and only one forward- in the kids and us! Growth is painful but that pain is necessary for development of character.  So often I have wanted to protect my kids from hurts and dangers but I have learned that the person they become for God's Kingdom is so much more important than their comfort. Or mine.

I'm so thankful to be on this ride with Jesus and my family. It's not easy but nothing is more worthwhile than being a missionary to my own little corner of the world. If I endure, then maybe I will reap a harvest of Jesus-loving kids that are missionaries in their own spheres- big or small. I'm rejoicing in hope, and remembering that my troubles are light comparatively, and hope doesn't disappoint when it's in the right place. Besides that, children give you grandchildren!
                                                           Romans 5:1--5 NKJV

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have[a] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Gratitude Coloring Journal

There's quite a popular "thing" these days with coloring books and for good reason. We live in a chronically stressed out society and adult coloring books are therapeutic. I guess kids are on to something after all.
This little gem of a journal is a great example and even better because the theme of gratitude is also proven to be good therapy. Who knew? God did because He told us in His word :)

The act of journaling is also healthy. The combination of all of these in an eye pleasing book, just the right size for a purse or tote makes this my choice for gift giving. Especially to those who travel, spend time in a hospital bed, or in their own for whatever reason. This would also be great for a college miss heading off soon moms!

I've posted a few pages below for you too see. I'm a visual person myself and always like a good peek. There are printables for free from Tyndale's  Living Expressions Collection line on their Pinterest page.

Check out Tyndale's line here.

You can purchase this on Amazon as well. I use Amazon Smile because they donate to my charity of choice every time I make a purchase.
Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.*