Still here!

I’ve been a bit distracted from blogging lately…

We’re on our second round of chicken pox currently. Unless Andrew ends up getting them in a third round, we will have lifetime immunity for seven out of eight Blessings. It’s been a doozey, and we were gifted with a stomach bug in the midst of it, but I think we’re going to pull through. Do please pray for Katie, though. She’s just getting started on her case, and I’m thinking there was some basis to the article I read that said that kids with eczema and other skin problems are likely to have thousands of pox as opposed to hundreds. She’s not up yet today, but from the way she looked last night, my mama-heart is very concerned for her.

I started dreaming last year of making available an Advent Wreath resource that folks could download for free, and that project is almost done! I hope to have it available in the next few days. This coming Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent, so I’m a bit down to the wire. If you would like to try using an Advent Wreath as a tool for worship this year, consider going ahead and picking up the needed candles while you’re out this week. You’ll need a white candle for the center (I like to use a pillar for this), and four candles for the outer ring (I usually use tapers) – three purple or blue, and one pink or red. What a solemn and estatic joy it is to celebrate His coming!

Our dearly loved dog Juilin died last week. He ran out in the road one too many times, and he did not make it. It was an honor to have him breathe his last with his head resting on my leg. We will miss him. I enjoyed going through our family pictures and picking out some of Juilin. If you like pictures of sweet adorable dogs, you might enjoy looking at them.

Our apples are all canned. I don’t have a final count yet, but hope to post more on our appling with some numbers and pictures. We did six bushels this year and tried some new stuff. I think we all enjoyed it.

And now, I must work on finishing that Advent Wreath book!

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Wonderful Merciful Savior

We’ve been busy this week with the chicken pox. Four out of eight of the Blessings have them this round, and we’re hoping there won’t be too many more rounds to finish off the business of building lifetime immunity. We’re doing lots of cuddling around here.

These two don’t have the pox, but they sure look sweet cuddling!

I’m not feeling very wordy, but I’ve found these words to this song resonating this week.

Wonderful, merciful Savior
Precious Redeemer and Friend
Who would have thought that a Lamb
Could rescue the souls of men
Oh you rescue the souls of men

Counselor, Comforter, Keeper
Spirit we long to embrace
You offer hope when our hearts have
Hopelessly lost the way
Oh, we’ve hopelessly lost the way

You are the One that we praise
You are the One we adore
You give the healing and grace
Our hearts always hunger for
Oh, our hearts always hunger for

Almighty, infinite Father
Faithfully loving Your own
Here in our weakness You find us
Falling before Your throne
Oh, we’re falling before Your throne

You are the One that we praise
You are the One we adore
You give the healing and grace
Our hearts always hunger for
Oh, our hearts always hunger for

Listen here if you’d like

Apple day

We’ve been busy today taking care of various projects around the house. It’s the first weekday the Blessings have had off school since mid-September, and they’ve been a big help.

We worked on getting the venison we were given earlier this week in the freezer at last. We were given one rear haunch and two front haunches, mostly clean. Jonathan boned and cleaned it up some more, then we roasted it. The boys and I got a good bit of it trimmed and pulled/shredded this morning, and when I realized I was wearing out with quite a bit of meat left and other projects still to do, we went ahead and got it all in the freezer… some ready to pull and some still in need of trimming. Whew.

The Blessings put the winter squash we gathered last night onto a shelf in the basement, and did some cleaning around the house in preparation for the arrival of our apples. Because today is apple pickup! I headed out at lunchtime to pick up the six bushels we’d ordered, and threw in an extra 1/4 bushel of a type we hadn’t tried before while I was there. We will get serious about putting them up next week, as we have chiropractic appointments this afternoon and a busy day tomorrow. I’m so excited about canned apples, applesauce, and applebutter, and I think we’ll try dehydrating some as well. Any favorite recipes you’d like to share??

We listened to the Statler brothers through a good bit of the day as we worked (that 30 years 3 CD collection lasts through a lot of projects!). Love the Statlers! My friends the Youngs introduced me to them when I was in high school, and I was thrilled that I got the bonus of marrying into a family that appreciated them as well.

I love to listen to the Statlers sing How Great Thou Art. I got all thrilled and throat-catchy today thinking on
When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
and there proclaim (for eternity!!), my God, how great Thou art!

So, here’s a treat for you (you’ll have to follow the links because WP is not letting me embed them, for some reason)…
The Statlers singing How Great Thou Art in 1971 on a Johnny Cash special
And a more recent version (looks like it’s from The Statler Brothers Show)
Enjoy!

The garden is almost done for the year. Last week we gathered a large harvest before the first freeze of the year.

The Blessings and I also spent about an hour covering tomato and pepper plants with sheets before that first freeze to try to protect them and give them a bit more time to mature the fruit they’ve been working so hard to produce since the intense heat cooled. What you see on that plate was the extent of our tomato harvest to the date of the picture, less three tomatoes. Impressive for the almost 50 tomato plants we planted in the spring, eh? Hot hot summer makes gardening interesting, anyway!

The long skinny peppers are Holy Moles (holey moleys). This is the second year we’ve grown them. They are prolific producers with varying degrees of heat. The first year, they were quite mild, while this year they packed a bit of a punch. I found this out after I’d taken them to fellowship lunch along with miscellaneus bell/banana peppers and assured everyone that I had only brought sweet peppers. Or not…
I canned five pints of Holy Moles (sliced) and a couple pints of banana peppers (a portion of this batch), but I haven’t gotten a picture of their loveliness yet.

Tonight after we got home from town, we did another pre-frost harvest, as it’s supposed to get down to 31. Here’s what Jonathan and the older Blessings gathered while I got Andrew ready for bed:

The tomatoes made a bit of progress in the mild week+ after the first freeze; hopefully these will ripen nicely inside.
The pitiful watermelons didn’t have time to mature, yet this is the best success we’ve had yet with watermelons. Maybe next year we’ll grow some that we, instead of the chickens, eat.

A couple of the little butternuts broke off at the stem and were cooked tonight… gorgeous, aren’t they?

Songs, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs

We’re working on getting back in the habit of having a hymn and a Scripture song (or, occasionally, a chorus) that we sing daily each week. This springs from a desire to instill the great hymns of the faith and the Word of God into our children, and, thankfully, they all seem to enjoy it. I have been deeply blessed over the years as the Lord has used the words of hymns and Scripture songs to bring His truth to my mind in times of need, and I pray that this habit will be seed in the lives of our Blessings.

This week’s hymn is May the Mind of Christ My Savior. Such a wonderful prayer:

May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.

May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing,
This is victory.

May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me,
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.

Words: Kate B. Wil­kin­son, be­fore 1913; ap­peared in Gold­en Bells (Lon­don: Child­ren’s Spe­cial Ser­vice Miss­ion, 1925).

Music: St. Le­o­nards, Ar­thur C. Barham-Gould, 1925

A pdf of the sheet music can be found here.

Our Scripture song for the week is Romans 12.1-2:
I urge you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, *
that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good, acceptable and perfect.
(repeat to *)

What a Weekend!

Friday afternoon found us at the home of some new friends, for an enjoyable visit and (hopefully) an intake of the chicken pox. Our older Blessings have been exposed multiple times and have not yet broken out in the pox, but I keep trying whenever the opportunity arises. That doesn’t seem to be very often; Stephen had not been exposed previously in his four+ years. We shall see what the next few weeks bring.

Saturday afternoon, we had a wind turbine raising, complete with chili supper. Dad and Mom Smith joined us, as did James, Wendy, and Shay. We’re thankful for family help! I took scads of pictures:

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We were gifted with some venison on Sunday evening, so Jonathan left our weekly pancake night to go pick it up, then spent quite a while removing the meat from the bones. I roasted the bones and have had bone broth simmering all day, about which I’m excited. I’m not certain yet how we will be processing the meat, but we are thrilled to have about thirty-five pounds of venison to deal with!

This and That

So, I left home late LAST Monday morning to go to a birth and haven’t blogged since, though I did start a post last Wednesday afternoon with this:

I left home late Monday morning to go to a birth. Got home late this morning. Intense physically, mentally, and most of all emotionally. Glad for my wonderful preceptors, for the safe arrival of a baby, and for the rock solid “knowing” that God is good. So thankful to be home and I can hardly wait to see my husband this evening. As I learn more in my midwifery journey, my thankfulness for the midwives who have blessed me by serving at my births increases exponentially. God is good. After the last couple of days, I am clinging to that knowledge.

Last week’s birth was quite the emotional ride, and between the swirl in my heart/brain and efforts to get back in the swing of things with my family, blogging just took a back seat. I’m hopeful to be back in the saddle again now.

Random news tidbits:
~ Davey and Barak started basketball practice this week. I’m excited about all they will learn this season, as it is their first time on an organized sports team.
~ School is going well these days. We are doing well with a forward-moving routine. Though I am still needing to tweak/add some things, I feel good overall about the learning we are accomplishing.
~ We bought a wind turbine and are having a Turbine Raising this Saturday. We are excited about this as a way to save some money on our electric and as a potential income source, as Jonathan is interested in installing them for others. It will be interesting to see how everything comes together.
~ I’m now walking five mornings a week with Bethany (when births allow). I’m hopeful the added days will help get me off of the mini-yo-yo I’ve been on with my weight loss/health journey. We’ll see what tomorrow’s weigh-in tells us!
~ Would you pray for some St Louis-area friends of ours, Brian, Allison, and one year old Henry? They were hit by a drunk driver Sunday night and Allison and Henry were both injured severely. They are out of ICU now, and there is a possibility Henry will be released today, which would result in the family being able to really be together for the first time since the accident. Allison is in a tremendous amount of pain, with a broken femur and her pelvis broken in multiple places. Please pray for them?
~ I had my first “missed” birth yesterday. Things went really fast at the end for this mom, and since the hospital was closer than our arrival, they went ahead and checked in and baby arrived before us. All is well with baby, and Mom and Dad are thrilled that they were able to have the best-for-baby birth for which they had hoped, despite the last minute change in plans. It was also nice for B. and I to have a positive hospital experience after last week.
~ And the big news in our house this week are some fun and exciting milestones for Andrew. He has 1)started standing by himself for several seconds at a time, and 2)signing “please” when prompted. The “please” is his first consistent intentional “verbal” communication, and we are hoping that it opens a whole new world for him. The other Blessings have really been working with him on signing, and our work is having results!

Here’s a cute shot of Andrew standing yesterday with his physical therapist, Dayna. She is actually not supporting him at all, though her hand is close. Yay for Andrew!

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