Miscellaneous ramblings

Thursday, December 30, 2010

So, is everyone ready for the New Year? I am. Frankly, I'm looking forward to a fresh start and a new beginning on January 1st! Even though I usually misplace and forget my list of New Year's resolutions, I actually kept last year's list (miracle of miracles) and was able to go over them yesterday to see what I have (and haven't) accomplished. Let's just say that my 2011 list is going to be slightly similar to 2010's list. :-)

In other news........it snowed today! It was absolutely marvelous. (Well, after I got inside from milking, that is.) With our cozy fire crackling and Christmas music playing, it was wonderful to watch the ground turn white.

Milking this morning was awful. Just awful. It was the only moment today that I wished it wasn't cold, windy, and snowing. I foolishly decided to wear a skirt outside to do chores in, and really regretted it later, as I was sloshing through goat berries and mud. The long and the short of it was, that Pearl's poor legs were quivering in the cold as I tried to clean her udder, and when I had finally gotten it clean, I looked down at my milking basket and noticed something not-so-nice splattered against the jars, the wipes, and just about everything else. It was so muddy and slushy this morning that when Pearl jumped on the stand, a you-know-what substance flew from her hooves and landed, in various places, in my basket. That's when I decided that today would be a really good day to quit milking for the year. Time for Pearly to dry up! I quit!!!

Other than that, I really enjoyed the snow today.


My Canning Website

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Is anyone out there interested in canning? Anyone even the least bit interested in wanting to know more about preserving your own food?

If so, I'd like to invite you to visit my website, Canning Basics. I created it almost two years ago, and have slowly but surely been chipping away at it ever since. A page here, a page there......all in all I have a website nearing 50 pages of good, solid, and tested canning information!

My goal with the site is (1) to make money to be a help to my future husband and family and (2) to help ordinary people figure the in's and out's of canning and preserving. Since we used to be totally in the dark regarding food preservation, I've been there and know what it's like to be confused! As such, I try to write helpful, down-to-earth information and directions related to canning and preserving.

I share yummy jam and jelly recipes, as well as directions for canning meats, pie fillings, vegetables, fruits, and just about everything else!

If any of you are interested in canning, or know someone who is, I encourage you to please visit my site and share it with others! Part of improving my website is "getting the word out"; I need as many people as possible to know about my site, as it helps my site ranking at the various search engines.

And don't forget that I'm offering customizable canning labels FOR FREE through January 15, 2011! Click here to order some if you want and pass the word on to friends and family.

Thanks, everyone! Enjoy looking!


Christmas At Our House

Saturday, December 25, 2010

I hope all of you had a wonderful and blessed Christmas! We had a wonderful time together and it was another memorable Christmas day. Hard to believe that next year, Joshua will be with us to celebrate. And equally hard to believe that Isaac is finally with us this year! We spent more than one Christmas thinking about him.
We started out our Christmas by waking at 6:00 and opening our stockings. After a reading of the Christmas story, chores ensued, followed by a quick breakfast and house cleanup. And then? Presents!!

Large Family Logistics for Mom! Since we're nearing a total of eight people in our home, I guess we could be labeled as a "large family". (Never thought I'd have so many siblings!)

Mmmm! Sesame sticks for Mommy and Isaac!

Isaac got a magnetic puzzle from Mom and Dad. He is a puzzle fanatic and figures out how to do them amazingly fast.

Me, your faithful (well, I try to be) blogger. :-)

I got David his own special mug and a box of Mexican hot chocolate.

What's in this stuff, anyway?

The general chaotic-ness of our living room on Christmas day. It's always a mess when we're opening presents!

A wallet for David from our neighbor.

Flannel snowmen sheets for my bed! Cooozy!

David is well-known for getting chocolate, juice, and other favorite snacks for people's gifts. They're always a hit!

Isaac was SO excited to discover a John Deere tractor with a big bow on it this morning! He loves cars, semis (or M-mies as he calls them) and generally anything will wheels on them.

After opening presents we had a delicious Christmas feast...ham, mashed potatoes, cranberries, green beans, cranberry mousse, rolls......and later, pie. It was a wonderful Christmas day and I enjoyed it emmensely!


Merry Christmas!

Well, the day everyone waits for all year long is finally here ~ Merry Christmas, everyone!

May you have a sweet day with your family, rejoicing in the birth of our Saviour.
To HIM be all the glory!


I am so excited....

Sunday, December 19, 2010

....for Christmas! Obviously. :-)
Even though we don't have any snow here.....and even though there aren't any city bells clanging on cold winter nights...I'm still looking forward to Christmas. I truly think Christmas is the best time of the year.

When I was little I remember thinking that the month of December dragged on endlessly...it used to be so hard to wait! I can remember having butterflies flop in my stomach as we drove to our Christmas Eve service, and I disctinctly remember feeling so secure and happy as we lit each other's candles at the end of the service. Standing there with the warm glow of the candle on my face and the hot wax dripping down my fingers, I would feel like everything was so perfect!

Now that I've gotten older (okay, I'm not old, I'm only 17), the anticipation for Christmas is still there, but it's different. I still LOVE Christmas Eve and all the family traditions that go with it. And gift giving is equally fun. Perhaps the only difference between then and now is my perspective. When I was little, Christmas was all about presents. Of course, my parents have always made sure that we know what Christmas is really all about...we have always placed a huge emphasis on the true story of Christmas each year.

But when I was younger, my focus was on the fun of opening gifts, the good food, the family time, etc. Now that I'm older, although I still greatly enjoy those things, I can truly say that I know and embrace the true meaning of Christmas. It stuck with me for good! When you're 7, it's easy to say that Christmas is all about baby Jesus, and then rush forward with present opening. But it's a completely different thing to actually embrace and hold the real meaning of Christmas in your heart. Do you know what I mean?

I love how there is so much joy, excitement, and anticipation surrounding the birth of Christ. It's so perfect! In light of how significant a work Christ has done for us, Christmas is truly an incredibly special time. Now, I'm not talking about looking at a picture of baby Jesus and smiling, or driving by a Nativity scene and thinking, "that's nice"; I'm talking about realizing that the whole reason Jesus was born in a stable all those years ago was to resuce each of us from an eternity in hell!

That is incredibly spectacular! Don't you think? Jesus is so much more than we give HIM credit for. It's because of HIM that we can even celebrate Christmas. Let's not get so caught up in the business of the season that we lose sight of this fact.

I hope each of you are having a very Merry Christmas season with your family so far!


A Simple Prayer

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Isaac has learned how to pray - it is such a sweet thing to hear. He closes his eyes, folds his hands very intently, and says, "Ear-Oh (Dear God), Eee-you (Thank you), I uh you (I love you), Amen."

Because he's only three, he can't pray more extensively than this. This is as complex as his prayers get! It's all he can say.

And it occurred to me that sometimes, Isaac's little prayer is all I can say, too. Sometimes there is so much on my heart that there's just not words or a way to describe it all. Sometimes just telling the Lord I love Him is all I can say ~ and all that needs to be said. Sometimes just saying "Thank-you, God" is enough.

Remember that God doesn't care about mindless prayers. He doesn't want us to say things just for the sake of saying things; He wants us to speak to Him from our hearts.

"But when ye pray, use not vain repititions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him."
Matthew 6:7-8

It's easy, when we pray, to fall into the same habits of prayer; especially when it's in front of others. It's easy to blindly stumble through a "Thank you for this food, Amen" routine. But we've got to remember to Whom we are speaking - the King of the whole universe! He wants gratitude from a sincere heart!

Don't ramble and repeat your same prayers over and over again; really talk to God. Pray to Him from your heart, and tell Him what you're really feeling or thinking. I can gurantee you, He already knows what you are going through right now; there's nothing He won't understand!

"Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of His understanding."
Isaiah 40:28

The simple prayer we taught Isaac is the most basic, most foundational prayer he will ever learn. It is so important to remember just what an incredible God we are talking to when we pray; and it's equally important that we really speak to Him from our hearts.



Monday, December 13, 2010

This has got to be one of the most inspiring videos I've ever seen. Turn up your speakers and enjoy. Even though it takes a little while to load, please take the time to watch it - it is so good. And then, leave a comment and let me know what you think!

The couple who puts these movies together, Eric and Leslie Ludy, have written some superb books that I would really recommend! Click here to check them out.


A Giveaway!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Jenna at Feminine Farmgirl is giving away this great book, The Family Daughter by Sarah Bryant. I haven't read it yet, but I really hope I get the chance to soon. It looks to be an inspiring and encouraging book!

I always love books written by Christian young ladies ~ I know this will be another delightful book!
If you want to enter, click here.


Isaac's hair-do

Friday, December 10, 2010

I don't know about you, but I think there's something cute about little boys (especially little Asian boys) who have their hair combed and parted. Something cuter than an ordinary buzz-cut.

Unfortunately, I seem to be alone in my little-boy-hair-styling tastes. Hence Isaac's usual buzz cut. (Which he still seems to make look cute, by the way!)
But once in a while.....I just have to try out my techniques. And so, with Isaac as my model, I did just what I wanted to - I slicked over his hair. And boy did he look cute!

Little 3-year old boys smell so snuggly! (Well, sometimes they do. There are many occasions where he doesn't smell quite so sweet. Thank heavens for wipes, new diapers, and baths!)
Unfortunatly however, his "style" didn't last more than about 15 minutes. But it was cute while it lasted....:-)


What I'm Thankful For Today

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm sure most of you have probably already seen these on Courtney's blog, but I just had to post them myself....new pictures of my most ADORABLE little brother!! We got them yesterday, so that was a wonderful surprise. I am SO EXCITED to finally meet him in person!

(The picture above is my personal favorite!:-)

He looks so old in these pictures to me....so much older than 2. But then, we took his updated measurements and found that he is identical in size to Isaac (within a pound or two), so that made me feel better. He's still a little guy! *Happy sigh*......
Joshua, we have to get you some nicer clothes!! What an interesting outfit.
Look at that sweet smile! Doesn't it just melt your heart?

Well, I am sure you probably alread know what I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving, right?

Him. Himself. He. His cutie pie-chubby-cheek-sweet-pumpkin-self.

I am so thankful for the oppertunity to bring him all the way over to the United States, to our family specifically. What a privilege to be his big sister! You know, I never imagined I would have the chance to have two baby brothers all over again. Really; after David came home from Korea in 2001, I thought we were done. But what an amazing surprise God had in store for us!
I just love adoption........!

This is our first Thanksgiving with Isaac. And our last one without Joshua. I am so thankful for these two sweet blessings! Our little "Asian Angels" are so perfect!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone....and don't forget to thank God for one of the most important blessings: family. Look at each of your siblings, your parents, and truly thank God for each one of them. They are gifts from the Lord, and we shouldn't ever take them for granted.


How to Make a Thankful Turkey ~ by Isaac

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hi everyone! It's been a long time since I've posted, 'cuz Rachel says the title of this blog says Rachel's Blog, not Isaac's Blog. But she said that, since I was so cute, that I could do a post just this once. (I heard her mumbling something about my cuteness attracting more followers to her blog, but I don't know for sure. )

See how nice it is? After posing for this picture, Rachel told me to stop smashing my turkey. I wasn't smashing it, I was just hugging it.

Okay guys, step one: trace your hand on several pieces of paper. You're gonna need some sharp scissors for this to cut out your shapes. I would have done this part myself, but Rachel said scissors were dangerous.
See the red hand I made? You're gonna need several of these, guys. The hands are what makes the feathers of the turkey later on.

Then, write down what you're thankful for on each of the fingers of the hands you just cut out. I would have done this part, too, but Rachel took over again. (Why do girls always do that? I guess 'cuz they're scared we boys might do it better than them. Kinda hard to tell.)

Huh! I can do it pretty good, I have to say. Rachel has reason to be afraid I might do it better than her - I was pretty impressed with my turky myself.

Good job, everyone! You're doing great. Just call me the Turkey Teacher.

Now, glue all your pieces together. By now, you should have made the eyes, nose, beak, head, and neck of your turkey. I finished mine fast.

Ha! Done! Doesn't it look so good? Rachel said that each of the feathers would remind us to give thanks to God for everything we wrote down. I don't really know what she means. Right now the extent of my prayers are Amen. But, maybe I'll learn here pretty soon.

And there it is, guys! Thanks for listening to me. I like telling people what to do, so this post came pretty naturally to me. Maybe, if I get time, I'll write some more later about how to manipulate your older sister by yelling no.

Uh-oh, here comes Rachel! I better sign off for now. See ya next time!


Interview With Lauren ~ Part 2

Monday, November 22, 2010

5.) A lot of us girls have big families and busy days. What does a typical day at your house look like?

My days begin very early…usually between 4 and 5 am (I’ve always been a morning person) and it is in those first few hours I prepare myself for the day by seeking the Lord in my daily prayer and worship…finding refreshment in His Word and His love. Early mornings hold fewer distractions and after committing myself to Him then, I find my heart even more filled with His ravishing love. I seek to draw closer to my Lord throughout the day, serving Him by serving others, and glorifying Him in everything that I do.

Many aspects of home making are covered on a daily basis and my daily responsibilities include overseeing all of the household chores, attending to the grocery shopping and meal preparations, running errands, taking care of our rescued animals, completing home projects, tending to my family and studies etc. My discipline and time management skills have been challenged and I have also learned to cultivate a servant’s heart and attitude. I’m reminded of the saying the idle hands are the workshop of the enemy…so I want to fill my time with things that are honoring to the Lord and look for opportunities to serve.

6.) Modesty and Biblical femininity are very important issues to me. But, it can be hard to find the "right" kind of clothes. How do you see modest dress as an important part of being a Godly woman? What are some guidelines you use when choosing clothing?

Dressing selflessly is to dress as a princess of Christ instead of a product of this world…“To lay down our pursuit of gaining the approval and applause of this world, and to live for His smile alone” (Leslie Ludy). In choosing what I wear, I always try to prayerfully consider what my inner motives are…does my appearance show others that I belong to Christ or to this world? Am I truly reflecting the beauty of His glory? I want Christ to radiate from me and God has shown me that what you wear is a major indicator of where your priorities lie. Modest dress is a tool that showcases a higher purpose in our lives, which is to reflect Jesus Christ to others. When choosing clothing, I want to reflect the beauty of heaven and guard my femininity out of love for Jesus Christ and honor for my future husband.

It is such an encouragement to see so many young women and blogging friends sewing and making their own clothing…something that I think God also wants me to start looking into, which I’m very excited about!

7.) I read once that Jesus shouldn't be a part of your life, He should be your life. We are to be utterly consumed with Him. How does this play into your daily life?

“To become a true Christian – the one who bears the name of Jesus, our beloved Bridegroom – we must leave behind our own lives and come away with Him” (Leslie Ludy). He is calling us to put aside off all of our selfish desires….He must become our All in all. For me…I have to ask myself what I’m holding onto that’s keeping me from being consumed by Him…and only Him. What is jeopardizing my relationship with Christ? Is it my selfish attitude? Is it my longing for the things of this world? Yielding to Him and abiding in Him throughout the day and seeking to draw closer to Him is when I’m committing myself to Him. It means rising with Him every morning…letting Him take every thought, attitude, action, and word spoken captive. It’s following His lead in everything that I do and leaning upon His strength and power alone. Every moment of my time…I want to lay at His feet.

8.) Have you ever felt "different" from other girls who may not be on the same path as you? If so, how have your dealt with this?

The main struggles that I deal with in living set-apart for Christ begin within me…when I start looking to myself. But when I make it my main focus to live for Him and to seek His applause alone in whatever I face, that’s when I don’t pay any attention to the opposing pressure from the world around me. I want to live with Christ as my only audience…that my identity is found in Him…and in Him alone.

9.) This is a miscellaneous question....what are some parting words of encouragment you could share with us?

Share every moment of your life with God ~ Spend time daily in His Word ~ Rid yourself of things that are not of Him ~ Cultivate your relationship with Christ and search for Him with your whole heart ~ Surround yourself with kindred spirits who can keep you accountable ~ Rejoice in Him always!

Thanks Lauren, for doing this interview! I thoroughly enjoyed all your answers. Wasn't that great, everyone? How encouraging!


An Interview With Lauren ~ Part 1

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hello everyone!

I am excited to anounce my first blog interview! Some time ago, while "blog-hopping", I stumbled across Lauren's blog, right here. I loved her encouraging posts, and thought that she might be a perfect candidate for an interview.

And I was right. Over a series of NINE questions, Lauren shares with us a little glimpse into her life, her family, and her heart. I hope you enjoy reading her insights and thoughts as much as I have!

1.) Tell us a little about yourself.

First I want to thank you so much for this opportunity to share what the Lord has done in my life! I’ve never actually shared some of the struggles I talk about in the questions below, and I dearly wish I could share everything God has done for me but I’m afraid I would end up writing a book! With that said, my name is Lauren and I live at home with my family on a beautiful piece of land set by a glistening lake. In the words of Anne Shirley, “there’s so much scope for the imagination here” and it is in my home that my walk with Christ continues to grow. Please feel free to grab a nice warm cup of hot cocoa or simmering cup of tea as you pull up a chair and take a glimpse into my life…

2.) Tell us about your family; do
you have siblings?

God has blessed me with a wonderful family! My mom always told me that God made the eldest for a reason…and I never understood why He would do that until I got older. Now I know without a shadow of doubt He put me in this family as the oldest for a reason….and it’s such a privilege to be able to honor Him and learn to selflessly serve my siblings, being an example to them in Christ. I hope that by looking at my life they’re able to see Christ…not me…that I’m able to lead them and encourage them in their relationship with the Lord. By being the oldest I have learned so much and it has made me who I am in Christ. My family is comprised of my mom and dad, me, my twin brother (19), my sister (18), my youngest sister (16), and our many pets.

3.) How did you come to know Jesus?

My parents led me to the Lord when I was young…I don’t remember it but I know that it happened. Growing up I always knew He was there…always tried to seek Him. During my earlier teen years, I lived the way many other Christian young women live. I was a “Christian”…but I wasn’t truly set-apart for Christ. No I didn’t listen to the secular music or watch the horrid worldly TV shows or movies….but I was still living selfishly…only seeking to please myself.
In my junior year of high school I faced one of my biggest challenges. Being in high school…my main goal and main focus of everything I did was to go to a university. I was enrolled in the rigorous International Baccalaureate (IB) program in my school and strived after perfect marks and numerous volunteer hours and had it in my head that the only way you could be anything in this world was if you went to one of the top universities, had a successful career, and made a lot of money. I was entrenched in the attractions of this world, only fitting in Christ when it was convenient for me. Everything else in my life was put on the backburner.
At the beginning of my junior year in the IB program…something inside of me changed. I felt something come over me…I can’t explain it…but my life was never the same after that. I didn’t know it at the time but the Lord was calling me away from the high school scene….to lay down that desire to go away to college. The local community college was offering a program called the Early College Program where you attend their classes and receive high school credit at the same time. I felt the Lord calling me there but I slammed on the brakes. The community college?! Who would want to hire me if I go there? I was fighting and wrestling with what He was calling me to do. I cried a lot. When I had to face the IB Counselors and tell them why I was dropping out of their program they slammed me with facts and statistics about how universities won’t want me if I go to a community college. It was so hard…but the high school season of my life was over and I am still filled with so much joy that God did not leave me in my mediocre state. He was asking me to give up control and give my life to Him.
During my first year in the Early College program I remember feeling so lonely. I didn’t know anyone. My classes ended early…usually before lunch, and I spent more time at home with my family. God was teaching me obedience in this time…to obey Him in all things. He was calling me to so much more than what I was living. It was in this time that I began to understand what it meant to have Christ as the Master of your life…I learned what it meant to die to self and allow Christ to live in and through me. God is always faithful…He
blessed me with beautiful sisters in Christ who still lead me closer to Christ in all that they do. I am so truly thankful for them…for the way they point me towards Jesus with their lives. He has continued to draw me closer to Him through them and through His Word. My relationship with Christ has continued to grow and I’m still amazed and humbled by what my Prince has done in my life. God has taken hold of my heart and I am continually transformed and renewed by Him each and every day. He is so real to me…I am now truly experiencing His love and hearing His voice. I wouldn’t trade my relationship with Him for anything!
And you know what? The universities did end up accepting me….but I knew Christ was not calling me to go away and I was filled with such peace in declining their invitations and turning my life to Christ and what He wanted me to do.

4.) Being 19, I'm sure you've already graduated and have run into the "college question". This can prove to be a sticky subject for some. What are your plans now that you've graduated?

When facing this question, it’s so important to remember that we will find immense peace, joy, and growth in Christ when we follow His calling for our lives….whether that is working missions in China, attending a university, or staying at home. If you diligently strive after Him and follow His leading…that’s when we can be confident that He is using us to bring Him glory wherever He has placed us.

From attending the Early College Program, I was able to graduate high school with my AA Degree but a lot of questions surrounded me as to where I should go and what He wanted me to do after that. Even now I still wrestle with this question. My greatest desire is to be a wife and homemaker, to help further my future husband’s vision and to raise princes and princesses of Christ. However, I knew Christ was also calling me to lay this desire at His feet and to use my single years and my time as a daughter to learn to serve and learn from my family. God has been teaching me so much….helping me to develop the skills I would need if He does call me to marry one day. It has also been a wonderful training ground for my relationship with Christ.

I’ve also enjoyed helping out at my family’s business that was founded in 1907, and lately God has been calling me to serve there…I can be confident that this is where He has called me for this season in my life. I love the old-fashioned working environment, how I work alongside many of my immediate and extended family, and all the aspects of a small family-run business. I love everything Christ is teaching me. After much prayer and continuous prayer…God has also been calling me to further my skills in the business field by attending the private university in my home town so that I may further my family’s vision in our business as well. While I only spend a couple hours at my classes a day…I like to consider that my main learning field is at home…that I am still a stay at home daughter who lives in my father’s house. This is where the best training is found.

God works everything out for those who are in Him and it continues to amaze me all of the wonderful things He has brought in my life. I’m so thankful that he has called me to center my life around my home and family and look forward to the day, if it’s God’ will, to becoming an at-home wife and homeschooling mother. But for this season of my life I know that this is where the Lord has called me and I want to glorify Him in everything that I do. Christ never promised me that I’ll be married one day…but He has promised that if I obey and serve Him…He will bless me beyond what I can even imagine.

Stay tuned for Part 2!


Farm Update

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Here on the farm, it seems like we always have new animals coming in....and going out. (For example, we had four brand new kittens a few months ago, and, due to predators, are now down to only two. ) Jonathan just brought in a new horse to train this week, so now it's my turn!

Yesterday, Dad and I went to look at a doe that we were considering buying. (To be more accurate, Dad was considering - I was hoping!) To my great surpise, when we got there and had looked her over, not only did Dad buy one, but TWO goats right on the spot!

This is Ginger - she is 5 months old.

And here is her twin buck brother.....which we promptly named Samson. And yes, there's a good reason for that name.

A very good reason.

Within a day of being here, he managed to jump over our 5-foot fence and break through an electric fence. Needless to say, he's stronger than we thought and the name fits him well!! And now the boys have a new emergency project to work on - a new pen that will keep him:
1) from getting out
2) away from the girls.

We are *planning* on starting up a small business of breeding and selling the babies, so that's what this little guy is for. We've only had goats for about two years now, but I have learned so much about them and feel (hope, really) that I can manage a big buck like this!

Isaac, the future farmer of America. :-)

I am really hoping that Ginger will make a good milker for us in the future. We tried some of her mother's milk and it was delicious. Ginger is so docile and amazingly gentle, so I am very happy about that. She and Samson were born without horns, and I'm even MORE excited about that! No danger of being butted!

Awww...what sweet goats!

(I've been told by numerous members of my family that goats are smelly and yucky and horrible, but.....I happen to really enjoy them. In fact, I asked a *certain sibling* what they thought I should name my new goats, and the suggestion was "stinky". )

Hmmm. Could it be that not everyone is a goat lover like I am?!


About This Blog

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not
on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will
make your paths straight."

Proverbs 3:5-6

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