Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Feline Welcome Committee

deerindriveway2

Four deer are being greeted by one of our rescued barnyard cats.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Full Circle

siemensinjector

This is the fuel injector from Brandon's Jeep.
It is a Siemens injector that was made in 1996 in Newport News, VA
Clint worked at Siemens in Newport News, VA in 1996. 
This injector passed Clint on the machines he worked on.
Pretty cool!

Monday, April 12, 2021

Update on Katherine-PRAISE THE LORD!!

There has been a huge development for Katherine in the custody battle and eating disorder/self-harm issue. 

Katherine has been seeing a new doctor even though her mother tried to block it and her records from the father. If you remember, he agreed with the doctors that she needed a different treatment. The mother, who has mental health issues herself, fought hard against it because of her experiences at the facility. 

Katherine is doing very, very well. The new treatments are working out to her benefit. Her father can see and hear the difference in her. She is healthier than she has been in a long time.

However, the mother, angry that he won regarding the treatments, played some bad games. She was allowed to play these games for a while which was frustrating for the father, but it worked in Katherine's favor. The father did not get to see her for a while despite the court order. He also did not get to talk with her on the phone daily as ordered. Katherine wrote a letter saying she did not want to see or speak to him, but it was so contrary to the way she has acted around him the lawyer and judge saw through it.

Last Thursday, the judge told the mother she was guilty of attempting "parental alienation." He knew she had been coaching Katherine on what to say in court. He said he also knows the mother forced Katherine to write and sign a letter saying she did not want to see or speak her dad or do the treatments. The judge told the mother that what she was trying was not going to work and to continue if she wanted to lose custody of Katherine.

This has been an arduous thing for the father. He has had to practice patience, humility, and trust in the Lord. Clint has talked him through some very rough moments. The prayers have truly helped in this situation. 

Thank you who have been praying Katherine and her father through this. 

Prayers for High Risk Induction, Please

Monday April 12: My "niece" told me Baby Walter has had another test this morning. He passed it with flying colors. As a result, they almost doubled his feeds. And, yes, "Aunt Wendy" has sent several gifts to her sweetie pie! 

I had to ask a few times: Sarah is very tired still. She is trying to rest when she is not with Walter. Having heart issues means the birth took more of a toll on her than it does with normal births. Please pray for Sarah's body to recover fully so she will have plenty of energy to care for Walter.

Saturday, April 10: Sarah went home Wednesday. Walter is expected to be able to go home this coming week. He is doing very well. He is to have a contract test today to see how his insides are healing. They may be able to take the tube out which will let his parents hold him. 

I apologize for not updating sooner. We've been very, very busy. Our neighbor (disabled) had a hot water heater burst and cause some damage and needed assistance with that.

**************

Monday April 5th: Sarah is not feeling well still. The transfusion did not get finished until 10PM. She is concerned the doctors will send her home and something will happen there. She has fainted and fallen down the stairs before. She lives about an hour from the heart hospital. Walter is still in the children's hospital. Thank you to those who are praying.


Easter Sunday: Walter Eli Wade Blair, 6 lbs 6 ounces, born March 31. He is still sedated while his body heals, but he is doing very well. I have inquired about her hemoglobin levels. 

Sarah says her hemoglobin levels are still low. She is feeling the effects of that. She is receiving a transfusion tonight to help her. She says thank you for the prayers.

**********

Friday 11 a.m. The baby is still in surgery which can take up to 4 hours. Mama is having issues keeping her hemoglobin levels up, so she is staying in the hospital at least through Monday. She is being allowed to go see the baby. The heart hospital and children's hospital are nearby and are part of the same network. I will update once I know the baby is out of surgery. Thank you to those who are praying along.

6 p.m. The baby did OK through surgery and is sedated due to the NG tube. 


Thursday: I received an update a few hours ago.

I've been asked the birth details, but I am waiting on the parents to announce it to the rest of their family and friends. Prayer needs: The mother is a bit anemic but OK. The plan is for her to be released Saturday or Sunday. The baby is at CHKD. Surgery is planned for late tomorrow morning. There is a hole in the esophagus and the esophagus is not connected to the stomach (esophageal atresia and a tracheoesophageal fistula). These issues will be easily repaired during surgery. This condition goes along with polyhydramnios (too much amnio fluid). The baby is doing very well and is very active. They are giving "sugar water" via IV. Please keep praying for the baby and new parents. (I'm going $hopping (again) for this special baby!! <3 <3 I am overwhelmed with joy for this sweet Christian young woman.)


Wednesday 3/31 evening: The baby was born at 2:48 p.m. I am not going to post the birth details until later since some of the family do not know yet. She, the mother, is fine. The forceps were not needed! She was able to have the birth the way she wanted! The baby needs prayer and is on the way to CHKD for surgery. I did not get the sense that it is a huge issue. 

**************

Wednesday afternoon: She is 6 cm and 80% effaced. Her water broke on its own yesterday morning about an hour before they planned to do it manually. Once the 3L of fluid was off, the baby started having heart rate issues. She asks for prayer that the baby's heart rate will stay up. I have known this young lady since she was born. She has had such a hard road to travel medically. It is my prayer that she can have the baby vaginally as she wishes because so much in her life has been out of her control. Thank you to those who are lifting her and the baby in prayer.

Wednesday morning: When I checked on her at 4 a.m., She was still at 4 cm but the contractions were getting closer together. She is in a delivery room with her husband. The doctor plans to use forceps to help deliver the baby to keep her heart from working too hard. 

**************

Tuesday: 11:00 a.m. She has kept in close contact via text. Please pray that I can give her words to encourage her and build her confidence. She has choices she has to make soon. Please continue to pray for this brave young lady's safety as she delivers her baby. She is stronger in the Lord and braver than most. She is very special to me.

7:17 a.m. My sweet "niece" has been in contact since she was admitted, but I have not been able to update on my computer.  I copied and pasted the important parts of the conversation for those interested. A quick summary is highlighted below.

Please note: The doctors started the induction process early and she will be in L&D early. This is a high-risk delivery for mother and baby. Please keep them covered in prayer.


Monday at 10:05 AM
Thank you, I love you and will keep you updated. Induction is scheduled to start Wednesday, we just got settled in our room. Waiting to start heparin drip.

 at 10:06 AM
Will you be on the heparin drip the entire time?

at 10:07 AM
    They will stop it while I’m in active labor and restart it after the birth
at 8:38 AM

So when we got here yesterday morning we were under the impression we would be here 6-7days, and induction would start Wednesday. However, as the day went by that quickly changed and we are already in the induction process as of last night and will be moved down to Labor and Delivery this morning to start the medications to finish out the process. We won’t know how long afterward we will have to stay until... well afterward. But please keep us in your prayers as this isn’t exactly the plans we had in mind; we are still leaning and trusting on God 100% and the plans he has for our delivery. We know he will carry us through.


**************


Please pray for mother and baby.

3/24: Our young friend with the heart issues is being induced weeks earlier than planned due to pressure on her heart. She will begin the process with a heparin drip on Monday and the plan is to have the baby born on Wednesday. Please keep them covered in prayer. I will update once the baby is born.

Locals: Free Microchipping

microchip3

We do rescue work and also work as a "halfway" house for pets and some livestock. I do not discuss it much because we have been involved in some high-profile cases. There is some risk involved, so these are stories I only share in person. We currently have two neglected pets who needed a safe place far from the public eye recuperating in our home. We do this because we have people at home 24/7 and have space to keep them. I microchip all pets and many livestock that come through our farm.

FYI for locals: I can inject a microchip for you for free. I can also direct you to two free registries where you can register your pet and information online. You will need to pay me for the actual chip which is a mere $2. Don't just pop over. Make sure I have chips. If I don't, I'll order them. I order them in bulk, so I usually have them.

I can also read chips in found pets -also no charge. I keep the reader handy for strays and lost pets.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

Is your church teaching you concepts like this? Are you learning how to battle for the kingdom of God in your spirit? 

"Unless a Christian plainly knows his work is finished and he no longer is required by the Lord to remain, he should, by all means, resist death. If the symptoms of death have been seen already in his body before his work is done, he positively should resist it and its symptoms.

To concede-by sizing up of our environment, physical condition, and feeling-that our time has come is an error on our part; we instead need to possess definite indications from the Lord. As we live for him, so must we die for Him. Any call for departure which does not come from the Lord ought to be opposed. 

To overcome death believers must alter their attitude from one of submission to one of resistance towards it. Unless we cast off our passive approach we will not be able to overthrow death but will be mocked by it instead and finally come to an untimely end. Numerous saints today misapprehend passivity for faith. They reason they have committed everything to God, so if they ought not to die, He verily shall save them from it: if they ought to die, then He doubtless shall allow them to die: let the will of God be done Such a saying sounds right, but is this faith? Not at all. It is simply lazy passivity. 

When we do not know GOd's will it is fitting for us to pray: 'not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:42). This does not mean we need not pray specifically, letting our requests be made known to God. We should not submit passively to death, for God instructs us to work together actively with His will. Except we definitely know God wants us to die, we must not passively permit death to oppress us. Rather we must actively cooperate with God's will to resist it. Why should we adopt such an attitude as this. The Bible treats death as our enemy." (I Cor 15:26)" -The Spiritual Man by Watchman Nee 

I Corinthians 15:26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.


Saturday, April 10, 2021

Prayer Request for Jessica

We were asked to share a prayer request for Jessica. She lost her son six weeks ago. She tried to take her life last night. Her family says she will survive the attempt, and they are getting her some help with the grief. Thank you to those who pray for Jessica.

April

April is a different kind of month for me. I have lost a child and a couple of good  friends in April. Birthing my deceased child was very graphic, traumatic, and life-changing. PTSD. Nightmares. Years later, I had another stillbirth in early May. There are things about these births I have not even discussed with Clint. I have not been able to look at my babies' belongings brought home from the hospital since I packed them away, but I will soon. 

This year, I was working on the grapevine when I thought of telling a friend what I learned about the vile invasive weed threatening my grapes. I had forgotten she is not here anymore. She died several months ago. My heart broke all over again. Hannah was working beside me, so I "sucked it up." Later I saw the plant I purchased to grow on our farm in my friend's honor. I had protected it as best I could, but I wasn't sure it was enough. Yet here it is sprouting up from the soil with that beautiful new green! I was so very happy to see it had made it through the rough winter! 

I thought about how I have made it through many "rough winters." I can only imagine how it pleases the Father when He sees us survive and show our strength. 

I love celebrating Easter and the victory that is ours through Jesus. I so enjoy the newness of spring and the beginning of the gardening season. Hope! Anticipation! My trees and plants wake up, and I rejoice over the sign of life. Rememberances of how Clint and I started as a couple one April long ago are so very sweet. My barn swallows also return in April. As soon as I glimpse sight of them, I will shout a happy "Hello!" Then I will look for them every day until they leave in August. Opening the windows, watching twitter-pated birds, and sitting in the sunshine bring me simple joys.  

April. Up and down. Showers and flowers. Sadness and joy. Grief and grace. 

When the dark moments come, I find balance by disciplining my thoughts, counting my blessings, and remembering God's promises. I WILL hold my nine precious little ones again. I WILL see my dear friends again. That's my reality because I have know the One Who conquered death. Dear Reader, I hope His redemption is your reality too.

My love to all!


Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8

Friday, April 09, 2021

Upping the Off Roading Game

tractionboards

These are traction boards 3 and 4.
 
1 and 2 have already been put to use and worked GREAT!
You can FEEL the moment the truck GRIPS onto the boards.

I plan to have a set of six before our trip.


Thursday, April 08, 2021

Still Today

While I try to balance my grief by not reminding others constantly of my baby losses, I have not forgotten my babies. The majority of women in this unique group remember their babies on their due dates and the loss date. If I did that, it would be 18 times a year. I don't think that would good for me or those around me. I do think about my babies every day, and some months are harder than others. April and May are more challenging months for me grief-wise. I cope quite well with it by reminding myself of the promises God put in His Word. There's a plan. I shall go to them, but they shall not return to me. (2 Samuel 12:23)

Last year, Caleb took an antique planer box I admired and refinished it for me. He also added a beautiful butterfly latch. I am going to move what little I have of my nine miscarried/stillborn babies' belongings into that box if the Lord gives me the strength to do it. I have not looked upon the tiny clothes and hospital items since I packed them away shortly after their deaths. I do not know if I should unpack and move these things in private or share the moment with my family. I'll seek the Lord and trust Him to lead me.

Here I am, still leaning on the everlasting arms to get through something I never thought I'd survive in the first place. There's a type of beauty in that. I'm still needing Him for this tender spot, and He's still there holding me up when these hard moments come. Even still today.

Dear Reader: Some life events so deeply wound us we feel pain for the rest of our days. We do not one day suddenly wake up and find ourselves "over it." It is more accurate to say we grow stronger and learn how to carry the pain better. That's not the sum of it, but it is closer to the truth. I am not sitting around moping. I am up and living. I take in the joys that come, but I have not forgotten my babies. I miss them still today. I look forward to the reality of eternity.

The tears I shed will one day be wiped away by my Savior. I do not claim to know what God plans for mothers like me. I do know it will be perfect, complete, and better than anything I could imagine.


If your child died in the womb or after birth, I am praying for your peace and comfort today. 

1

You were born silent.
Perfect and beautiful.
Still loved.
Still missed.
Still remembered.
Every day.
Stillborn.
But still born.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

A Big THANK YOU

Thank you, Tina, for the insulated dog house, dog house solar fan, and dog house heater you blessed us with! The $450 value of this gift is not lost upon us. We are very grateful for your contribution and will put it to good use!

the whole world is running towards a cliff

 "When the whole world is running towards a cliff, he who is running in the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind." ― C. S. Lewis

Canine Scribbles

MollyLab

I will go over this and darken the lines I want to keep. 


Sarge

Another friend's young dog. Not quite a puppy, not quite full grown.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Life's Lessons are All Around Us

wrongturn (1) 
startingover.jpg

Someone saw the butterfly. They really liked it. I decided to turn it into a future Christmas gift for them. I penciled in the text and then went over it with a fine-tipped paint pen. I did not wait long enough for the paint to dry before I tried to remove the pencil marks with an eraser. Due to my impatience, I messed up all of that work!

Dear Reader, As I pondered my poor painting, I could not help but think about what happened to how it correlates to life. When we stumble, it is important we move forward as quickly as possible. It is very tempting to waste time staring back at what we had. Sometimes our impatience causes us to stumble. In other words, we get in our own way and cause our own problems. Starting over can be painful because when we take that step, we are saying goodbye to the past. When we let go of the past, we are able to pursue something of more value. My love to all!



But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Isaiah 64:8


He always acts at just the right time.


“Though it is hard to wait on God, and though it sometimes seems to us that God is slow, God’s timing is always perfect. He is never late. He always acts at just the right time.”

Monday, April 05, 2021

Prayer Request: A Very Hard Decision

A very solid Christian friend of mine is having to make an extremely hard decision for her six-year-old son. I am asking you to pray the Lord's presence can be tangibly felt as S. seeks His wisdom and direction for her son's very life. 

Because I love you and the children in your life/future: I now know three sets of parents whose young children have had a severe brain injury from a swing hung on a tree branch. While it has an idyllic appearance, it can be life-altering/life-ending if the branch breaks. No matter what the tree looks like on the outside, you can not see the inside. My family grows and harvests trees from our own land. I can tell you firsthand that a substantial amount of rot can be hidden from the eye inside of what appears to be a healthy tree. Not only that, but you can not tell how much a tree branch has been stressed (cracks). Swinging subjects the branch to a lot of unusual force. All of the children I know that were injured by tree swings are 6 years old and under (lightweight). PLEASE do not use tree branches for swings. It's not worth the risk. 


Shammy

Our friend Richard did not receive a good report from his doctor on this last visit. He was ahead of the healing game on the visit before. However, on this most recent visit, the doctor said Shammy is not as far along as he should be at this point. Please pray Shammy heals better. Our Guyanese American friend is very special to us. Thank you to those who pray on his behalf.

Where Are You Putting Your Trust?

This is what the LORD says: 


"Cursed is the one who trusts in man,


who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the LORD. 
That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. Jeremiah 17:5-6


Dear Reader: What are the ways we put our trust in man? What people do we put our trust in? What organizations? What should our response to this verse be?

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Happy Eas✞er 2021!

Happy Easer!

to our family and friends
near and far, 
old and new,
close and estranged

from The Asbell Family!

Dear Reader, As we observe Easter, let us examine ourselves and truly see weak areas that need to be strengthened so we can increase our testimony. Let us live like we truly experience the redemptive love the Father has for us. He offered His only Son.

Father, we ask that You show us our hearts and convict us of where we need to work so we can become brighter testimonies of Your love. Please help us to become resolved to make the changes in ourselves as necessary. Thank You for Jesus and for loving us so very much!

My love to all!

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Timmy is about to lose his kidney

Timmy has been battling kidney stones for two years. For at least a year now, he has passed blood-tinged urine. He texted me a few days ago to let me know that the doctors are saying he will lose his kidney if the surgery is not done soon. Right after that, he received a call saying his April 7th surgery was being moved back to May 13th. Will you please pray for Timmy? My love to all!

Friday, April 02, 2021

Homemade Brooder

broodermaking

We used a 50-gallon storage tote and a wood-burning tool to create this brooder which is very effective for housing up to 25 newly hatched chicks. I designed them. Then I asked my girls made them while I did other (harder) work. I really like the ease of cleaning the plastic totes.

I used a regular canning lid for the holes. The middle hole is where we hung the heat lamp with a ceramic bulb.

We heat our home with a wood stove, so mornings can be a bit chilly. These did an excellent job of keeping the ducklings and chicks warm and safe from Bethany's cat, Gray. The tiny fowl had plenty of light from the holes during the daytime.* After they grew and were not as fragile, we moved them to a shed with a lamp and light setup.

*The standard advice is to give 72 hours of continuous light to help just hatched baby birds find food so they will learn to eat. We did not follow this advice and did not have any issues.

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Transmission Intermission

Today, in the middle of prepping vegetables for pressure canning 42 quarts of turmeric chicken soup, I had to figure out how to pull a transmission (Caleb's) from the edge of the road where the delivery guy left it. Our driveway is 1/8 of a mile long, and there are no across-the-street or next-door neighbors. 

I understand people slowing down to see what was sitting next to the road. BUT, the man in the pickup truck who stopped made me concerned for my son's property. I told Caleb if I couldn't move it, I'd sit beside it and protect it. 

I don't play the helpless female, and I do love a challenge. "Gotta problem? Yo, I'll solve it!" I'm with Yoda in that there is no TRY. Do or do not. The transmission was going to be secured, hopefully in a way that allowed me to get back to my work. (I leave in two hours to a home I'm occupying for the owners' until Saturday night. The family will be there with me Friday and Saturday.)

Emily, Bethany, and I moved the transmission about a third of the way up the driveway until Joshua can get home and help get it the rest of the way to the house. A pallet, a lawnmower, a rope, a carabiner, and a good dose of female determination did the trick. 


Monday, March 29, 2021

All of Those Children-Seven Short Years

Many people think seven is such a large number when in reality it is not. What is large are the misconceptions about what a large family is, what it looks like, and how it functions. 

While I started having children in 1992, I only had my children in my home at one time for seven short years. 

Children do not stay children. They grow and move out into their adult lives just as quickly as children in smaller families. 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Mr. Monroe-First Class All the Way

mrmonroe

Clint and I received a DaySpring card and a handwritten letter
from Mr. Monroe, a teacher from our high school.
For those who wanted to know the difference in this teacher
who touched so many hearts and lives,
it is Jesus.

Please also note he gave a shout-out to the Class of 87. :-)

Friday, March 26, 2021

Excited for Tomorrow!

stumpgrinder

I love large equipment!

A Sad Update on Past Prayer Request

Update: https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/name/nancy-kenny-emmerling-puche-obituary?pid=198131751


March 19: It breaks my heart and angers me to share this. Around a year ago, I asked you to pray for a friend's cousin who was attacked outside her church by her ex-husband. She had left him for domestic abuse and had a restraining order against him. He ignored the order and was waiting for her near her car at church. He sliced her throat. She was in the hospital most of the last year.

Sadly, she died of complications from those injuries last week. Her ex has now been charged with murder and is in jail awaiting trial. No matter how long he serves, it will not be enough for the terror, suffering, or death of this woman.

Please pray for my friend and the rest of the grieving family. 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Devotional: Fear to Trust

devotional
from Open Windows, year unknown

A friend shared her devotional today. I thought it appropriate to share here with friends who are struggling. My love to all!

If you click it, it should be large enough to read. You can also use CONTROL + to enlarge the image.

How I Calmed My Seasonal Allergies with Vitamin C

First posted 9/18/15: 

A few weeks ago, I developed a horrible case of seasonal allergies. It was the worst case I've ever had. I was miserable!

I tried to break up the congestion with a vegetarian diet, fasting, Thai spices, diphenhydramine, various herbs, Neil Med Nasal Wash, sprays, pseudoephedrine HCI, etc. Some provided a little temporary relief, but nothing let me rest at night. I was desperate but could not catch a break from the congestion. A good friend of mine suggested I get a steroid shot to give me some relief. I really did not want to go that route. 

After about two weeks, I gave up and stayed in bed all day hoping to get some much needed rest. I decided to redeem the time by watching a documentary called Food Matters. While watching that, I remembered my studies which taught me Vitamin C at high doses works as an antihistamine. After doing a refresher course in my health and nutrition textbooks and on the internet, I decided to try mega-doses of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid to be specific) and see what happened with the congestion. 

I tried 3,000 mg 4 times a day and had no side effects, but my horrible congestion is gone! After the first night, I felt well enough to get back on the treadmill again! I am a little too dry at this rate, so I going to lower it to 2,000 mg 3xs a day now that I can finally rest. Thank You, Lord for leading me to a simple and quick solution!

If you do your own research, you will see Vitamin C is very safe with very few side effects at high doses. It even has a sort of built-in safety guide. Loose bowels mean you need to back off on the dose a bit. I plan to study deeper about the IV Vitamin C and cancers and other diseases mentioned in the documentary.

*I share this information not intending to replace medical advice. I am simply sharing what worked for me. By all means, seek help from a medical professional if you feel it is necessary. If you choose to implement the same things as I, then you alone are solely responsible for the results. In all things, do your own research and use knowledge with wisdom.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Prayer Request

Please pray for Richard, Clint's brother, who is in the hospital with breathing issues due to CoVid. Hopefully, he will heal quickly and be back to normal very soon. Please ask God to ease concerned hearts and to cover them financially. Thank you to all who pray.

Update: Richard has been released from the hospital. Please pray for complete healing and that he does not have any of the long-term effects of CoVid.

More Scribbles and a Dab

BessieforWillie 
In his younger days, Willie owned a fishing vessel named after his second wife, Bessie.

GodSeesOurPain 
I made this after a sweet friend died.

oilinthehouseofthewise3

Clint really likes this one. I need to put the Scripture reference on it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Nine Days Healing Time on Brandon's Poison Ivy

1 
2 
3

Thank you to those who have been praying for Brandon. 

There are more spots than this, but this gives you an idea of what he has been dealing with for the last week and a half. He did bathe immediately after exposure, but he did not use the correct kind of soap. Soap* that is made with LYE is very important in washing off urushiol oil. Letting the lather stay on five minutes between three washings is very effective. 

All four limbs were very swollen from the extent of the rash on days two through six. The swelling was alarming for me, his mother, but he assured me he felt fine. 

After nine days of soaking in Epsom salts, using hydrocortisone cream, an herbal salve with goldenseal to keep infection away, and taking Benadryl, this is where he is at. The swelling is gone, and the oozing has stopped. The itch now seems to be from the peeling skin. Even though it looks angry red, there is no infection in the spots. That's just how poison ivy rolls. It will turn to a lighter pink in the days ahead.

If you can not soak in a tub due to time or other reasons, you can put a pile of Epsom salts (and aloe, oatmeal, whatever) in the middle of a clean handkerchief or washcloth. Fold up and secure it with a ribbon or a rubber band. Then you can dip the bundle in a cup of warm water and dab onto the spots. 

*I use to be a soapmaker. True soap is made with lye. The lye will not harm you as it will be chemically changed with the fat in the soap recipe. If it is not made with lye, it is technically a detergent. Body washes are detergents. They are not effective at removing urushiol. If you can not find a bar of soap such as Ivory, Felsnaptha will help remove the urushiol oil from skin and items. The bathing works immediately after exposure (four hours or less, less is better). I highly recommend superfatted goat's milk soap or Castille soap for bathing after exposure to noxious plants.

Bethany's First Sewing Project

bethanydressmarch2221

Bethany, 17, asked for and received a limited edition (blue) sewing machine for Christmas. This is her first sewing project. She completed it yesterday on her day off. She did not need or receive any help. I think she did a spectacular job!

Prayer Request

Please pray for Sherry, a new acquaintance, who just had a teen child die from an accident. This is the second child she has lost.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

It's that time of year...

Depression is a problem for some people at this time of year. Look after yourself and those you around you too.

Here are some DIY things to try. Being consistent in self-disciplining my thoughts and taking supplements has always helped bring me out of a depressed state. Sometimes it took days and other times a few weeks. If self-help does not make an improvement, please see a doctor. There is no shame in taking care of your health! 

There are more self-help tips on the internet, but these should give you a place to start.

Activate your happy chemicals

A happy hormone primer for long winters



Salvation is not a reward for the righteous...

"Salvation is not a reward for the righteous.

It is a gift for the guilty.”

Dr. Steven Lawson

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Growth

"For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, 
it must come completely undone.
The shell cracks,
its insides come out and
everything changes.
To someone who doesn't understand growth,
it would look like complete destruction.”
-Cynthia Occelli

Friday, March 19, 2021

Three Bests Gifts

I am in a beautiful home in a scenic area along the East River. It was snowing big, fat snowflakes this morning for about two hours. I had to rub the sleep out of my eyes to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. The daffodils are drooping with shock.

After discussing the crazy issues with the local public schools and attendance due to the pandemic, Clint informed me we have been officially homeschooling for 26 years. We talked about how homeschooling was one of the best decisions we ever made for our children and family. 

I was recently talking with Joshua and told him that giving our seven "each other" was the best gift, besides Jesus, that Clint and I have given them. They have so much fun together and will enjoy their relationships for eternity. 

Joshua said homeschooling them was the third-best gift Clint and I have given them. 


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Prayers for Brandon, Please

Brandon has a severe case of poison ivy. His legs and arms are very swollen. The rash is weeping so much he has to wear heavy bandages on his limbs. He is working from home until it clears up. Please ask the Lord to heal him quickly. Thank you to all who pray for my son.

Schedule

I currently have a very erratic schedule. Most weeks, I am home Sunday evening through Wednesday evening. The rest of the time, Clint and I are away from home.

They receive what you give them; 
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. 
Psalm 104:28

Mindlessly Mothering

photo IMG_6321_zpsfm48xdsd.jpg

First posted on: 5/10/17

Hannah and Emily came running in the house and breathlessly announced that Hannah had seen a "baby snake" at their bike ramp.

"How long was it?"

She spreads her fingers about 4 inches. Kind of small for a snake, but children aren't always the best judge of measurements. 

"What color was it?"

"Brown with black markings" was her reply.

In my state, that could possibly mean a copperhead or water moccasin, but I've never seen one at our place. These are not reptiles I want near where my children play. However, I've learned to be patient and gather as many facts as I can before responding in my decades of parenting.

"Will you please draw me a picture?"

Hannah drew the picture above, and I knew right away it was a Little Brown Skink which is a harmless creature. They can move so quickly; you can miss seeing their tiny legs and mistake them for a baby snake. 

Skinks are very beneficial to humans. They eat the bugs that destroy our crops and pests that invade our homes. I used this opportunity to teach my youngest two about the role of the skink and the God given responsibility of having dominion and stewardship over the earth. 

Now, I am not fond of slithery things, and I certainly do not not want them touching me. If they surprise me, I'll scream so loud you will hear it from where you sit. I'd be quite happy if I never came across another slithery thing. However, I was not given this job as a mother to teach my children about my preferences or aversions. I am to teach them God's unadulterated truth. So, I can't mindlessly mother. Mothering requires thoughtfulness and careful consideration of what God's Word says.


The truth is that we have been given dominion and stewardship over the earth and the creatures on it. We need to take the job as seriously as we do the other jobs He has given us like parenting, ministry, marriage, career, etc. 

If we react with fear or revulsion to every little creature we see, it can lead us to foolishly destroying the gifts God has given us in creation. Then, we lose the benefits God has in place. 

God says His thoughts and ways are much higher than mine, so I believe the benefits of letting creatures, like the Little Brown Skink, alone extend much further than I can imagine. 

I also believe God will bless us for slowing down in the course of our day to consider Him as we go along and also for choosing kindness over cruelty. 

Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Update on Richard S.

February 11: Please pray for our dear friend Richard S. aka Shammy. Clint's co-worker and family friend had back surgery recently and is A LOT of pain still. The doctors say this is normal, but it sure isn't easy.


Update: Shammy's last visit to the doctor was very good. He is healing a bit better than they expected and may not be out of work the full six months. Thank you to those who have been praying for our friend and Clint's co-worker.

Ready or Not Here They Come

ontheway

The ducks arrived on the 6th. A few did not make it, so we were reimbursed.
This order was for 26 chicks. 

With shipping, these averaged $4+ per chick. Females cost more than males. The minimum order is 25 chicks for their warmth.

So far this year, I have spent $363 on birds. I will recover my investment when I sell off the extras, breeding trios, and future chicks from eggs.

My feed costs are less than most people's because I let my chickens out every morning and lead them to where I want them to eat. They help eradicate garden pests. They get healthy protein meals while tilling and fertilizing our soil. I lead them back into the pen in the afternoon.

Gotta keep the little stinkers out of the actual garden though!!!




Monday, March 15, 2021

Another Morning on the Farm

What a morning! I woke up, reported myself as being at work, and gave texted commuter report to my family ("heavy dog traffic on the stairs making navigation tricky" :-). I set my laptop on the table in the sunny dining room. Then I sat down to go over finances and see what was on my to-do list for today. That's when I heard Maggie, who was sniffing around the hallway upstairs, make a sound I have never heard her make before.

Concerned, I ran up the stairs and saw Maggie cornered by Frances, a cat we took in as a starving kitten. There was blood all over my little dog's chest and legs. 

For new readers who may not know, Maggie is only five pounds. The length of her leg from her elbow is about the length of your index finger. Maggie is also older and does not have the teeth she used to have to defend herself. She was recently shaved, so that layer of defense was taken away too. 

The dang cat bit her! The bite was deep and blood was rapidly pouring out of the hole and onto the floor. I scooped her up in one hand and put direct pressure on the wound with the other hand at the same time. Blood was soon all over the stairs, my hands and arms, and our table. I believe an artery was knicked.

Frances* is not supposed to be in the house, but I think she slipped in when people went to work this morning. She was given a place on our acreage to assist in keeping the numbers of rodents and slithery things down. Joshua is very fond of her and often takes her to his room to keep him company while he is working on his computer or watching a movie. 

Poor little Maggie was shaking so hard she made the table vibrate. Emily and Hannah brought a towel to cushion where she lay and another to warm her to ward off shock. Hannah sent a text to Clint telling him I might have to take Maggie to the vet if I could not get the bleeding stopped. Fifteen minutes of direct pressure finally stopped the bleeding. As a hobby farm/kennel manager, I keep antibiotics on hand. I have started Maggie on amoxicillin as a preventative. 

Frances has been attacking our other pets lately. She has become very aggressive since reaching breeding age. When I scooped Maggie up, Frances was staring at Maggie like a predator and took steps towards us. I quickly stood up and used my foot to shoo her into my daughters' room and shut the door. Territorial cat aggression is what I believe we are dealing with in Frances. Miracle use to have the same behavior, and we trained it out of her. Mostly. She'd still chase the other pets but would not bite them. I guess you'd say a happy middle ground was reached.

All is well. I was home and was immediately able to give first aid to our injured pup. I now am aware that Frances needs more training. My youngest daughters were able to witness and assist in how to treat a deep puncture wound. We already had plans in place to have Frances spayed. Hopefully that, along with some behavior training, calms her down. 

This is life on a farm. No day is ever the same. I never know what I will be hit with from one minute to the next. It is never boring for long! One learns how to stay calm and carry on. Today was easier than the morning I woke up to see the horse running full speed down the driveway into the road. 


*I found Frances the cat as an abandoned and starving six-week-old kitten right before a winter storm. She was so thin and cold that she was lethargic. She was terrified of people, but she quickly realized we were allies. This was at the same time my friend of 40 years, Frances, was dying of bone cancer. It comforted me to care for the kitten since, in those last hard days, I could not do anything except pray for my friend. I watched the kitten thrive under our family's care while my friend slowly left. I cannot find the story in the blog. It may have been one I wrote and deleted because it was too difficult to share at the time. 

Update: Maggie is walking just fine. She even chased crows, which are much bigger than she, out of the driveway a couple of hours later.


to the fruit-bearing stages

God doesn't expect you to wrap your mind around how you should grow. He only expects your trust as you seemingly stumble your way through the process, because growth is riddled with constant change and correction. It's through the stumblings in our lives that the Master takes us from the seed stages to the fruit-bearing stages. And it's through our own planning, stubbornness, and need to have our way that we derail ourselves.  -T. D. Jakes Crushing

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Be sure of this. Always. Even to the end of the age.

Teach these new disciples 
to obey 
all of
the commands I have given you. 
And be sure of this: 
I am with you 
always, 
even to the end of the age. 
Matthew 28:20

Most people have a pride issue that makes them not want to be told what to do. They don't want to submit or surrender their will for anyone else's, but that is exactly what God is asking of us! It's a struggle! Yet, it is all for our own good!

God's Word is like a compass. It helps us navigate the complicated and often hazardous trails in life. I found surrendering/submitting to His way has reaped rewards and has saved me much heartache and trouble. I encourage you to prayerfully read and contemplate Scripture for each and every area of your life.

Dear Reader, I love how the last part of the verse is phrased three times with loving reassurance that He is always with us. As we head further into the unknown and unpredictable journey of life, that is a very comforting message.


Friday, March 12, 2021

How to Pinion Duckling Wings

alula

location 
cuttip
Excuse Hannah's nails. Generally, pictures are not planned. 
I simply take pictures as life happens.

For any poultry that can fly off, we pinion.

If done properly at the right time (days 2-5), the process is quick and painless with little to no bleeding. Some people think the practice is cruel, but if you speak to people who actually have performed it, they will tell you the young birds are not harmed.

I do not permanently pinion older birds because they will feel extreme pain and will bleed. You can cut the flight feathers themselves. That is a temporary form of pinioning that needs to be repeated a couple of times a year. It is stressful on the birds because of the handling and restraining. They do not feel the feathers being cut.

I have been given free birds from people who did not permanently pinion many times. They had issues with neighbors because the birds roosted on cars and roofs leaving stinking piles. Other birds caused issues when they flew into enclosed gardens and stole the vegetables or fouled pools and private ponds. Some grew tired of cutting flight feathers. From those birds, I received a black eye from a duck as I trimmed its wing. 


Why pinion?
  • required by law in some circumstances
  • not everyone has an enclosed aviary
  • to protect domestic birds from flying off and starving or being devoured by predators
  • to protect native bird populations from interbreeding and overconsumption of their natural resources
  • to keep the birds from causing a public nuisance
  • legal liability
  • to protect birds from head trauma/death from flying into aviary roof
  • to keep domestic birds from attempting to migrate (they don't survive)
  • to reduce the stress and risk of injury for the birds by preventing the need for temporary pinioning (cutting the flight feathers 2xs a year)
  • to keep them out of neighbor's gardens, pools, and fishing ponds
  • to keep muscovies from roosting on and fouling cars, carports, houses, etc
In the mid-1990s, I raised the first ducks and geese I purchased without pinioning. In the fall, the geese flew away because they tried to migrate. I was told by a wildlife expert they would likely die because, as domestic birds, they were not hardy enough to survive and did not know how to find food. They would also be susceptible to parasites and diseases not previously exposed to if they did make it far enough. That was awful, but I also learned there was something I could do to prevent it from happening again. 

A local vet taught me how to pinion. It is a very simple process. My children have all pinioned a bird. Some of my children were as young as six years old when they did it.

How to pinion:

The process is very quick and simple. The ducklings will resist being held, but they do not react to the snip at all. They do not feel it. 

If I am pinioning in a manner to also help me tell the gender, I hold the duckling either front or back facing so I can pinion the correct wing tip for that purpose.

Only one wing is cut which makes them fly in a curve vs a straight line. This allows the mature duck to still fly to escape predators, but it can not go long distances. 

Prep: If they are in a brooder vs being with their mother, I make sure that is very clean. A clean, sharp, appropriately sized cutting instrument is needed. I have used nail clippers, nail scissors, regular scissors, and small pruners. I clean the instrument with alcohol. I sit on the floor and usually have a helper.

To Pinion: Hold the duckling in one hand. Extend the wingtip and locate the aluna (aka "thumb"). I use my thumbnail to lightly hold right in front of the aluna and snip with the other hand. If there is a drop of blood, I firmly but gently pinch it a few seconds before letting the duckling go. I check them all a few minutes after and make sure they are doing fine. I have never had a bird get infected or die due to pinioning.