End-of-Winter Thoughts

By Lily

I was having trouble coming up with a name for this post, so the title is courtesy of Skye (-:

Well, it seems like Spring may be just around the corner here in Missouri! The weather is rather crazy here; this Winter we got very little snow )-: (maybe two inches the entire season!) but we did have an ice storm in January- raining, freezing, ice all over. Just a few days ago, it was nice and warm… so warm that the frogs came out and sang in the evenings! Then it got cold; it was 18 degrees Fahrenheit when I checked the temperature in the morning (no snow though). Today it is supposed to be warm again – like 70 F. No wonder there are thunderstorms and tornadoes here!

I will say that I am looking forward to Springtime. The cold weather helps me to be thankful for green grass, warm days, fresh produce from the garden, and lots of other things. On the other hand, Summer – especially the hot, humid days that may be described as swelteringly stifling – help me to be thankful for ice, cold, and the days that one has to bundle up to be comfortable outside… and air conditioning! Our first Summer in Missouri, we learned the hard way that in places where high humidity is a problem, and you don’t use the AC (or a dehumidifier), you may get mold growing all over your house!

Isn’t it wonderful that God made different seasons, so that it isn’t Winter (or Summer!) all the time here?

” He has made everything beautiful in its time…” Ecclesiastes 3:11

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Some of the little bit of snow we had this winter

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Currently, our farm animals include: three cows (one in milk, the other two heifers), two ponies, a flock of laying hens and a rooster, some guinea fowl, turkeys, geese, and cats. We are blessed!

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This is the milking shelter/animal shed we built. Daddy even put electricity out there for us! Some of the pieces were given to us by neighbors, from a nativity scene- hence, the camels painted on (-:

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The ice storm we had in January covered everything in ice. It was beautiful, although it did make travel hazardous!

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Daddy recently got internet for us, which is really nice. It made uploading these pictures way easier than it had been before. When Ruby saw him digging the trench, she said something like “Whatcha makin’ Dadda? Ken I help?” (-:

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Ezra is such a happy baby boy! He’s not so little anymore, though.

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Expedition in the Ozarks

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Ezra the explorer! (-:

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A neat old mill building

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The porch was slanted for some reason, probably to let water drain off.

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The mill stones

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The mill was powered by water, when it was in use many years ago.

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A Year in Pictures

Happy New Year!

2016 was a full year. Life comes with its challenges and joys, and we are thankful for the LORD’s mercy and faithfulness, for His provision and protection!

I wanted to share some things that we’ve been up to this past year. It is said that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, so here are some photos –

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I think this was our only good snow accumulation last season. As you can see, it was already melting!

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Using the microscope. We were trying to stain some of our slides so that we could see the microscopic details better.

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Laurel and Ruby helping make bread (-:

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Daddy and Ruby playing dollhouse (-:

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One of the many big projects this year was remodeling the basement. Pearl is painting the door for Mom’s office in this photo.

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In March, we got two bottle heifers to raise as future dairy cows. They were so tiny! We had a bit of a rough time at first, but they are doing well now… they are much bigger than they were 10 months ago!

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The corn and squash patch at the beginning of the year.

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Throughout the year, we’ve had a lot of fencing to do – a high fence put around the orchard/chicken pasture, a woven wire fence around our back pasture, electric fencing in the big pasture, repairs, etc.

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We also painted and put up wallpaper in the girls’ bedroom, to make it brighter (-:

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Rose with a little box turtle.

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This catalpa tree in our yard looks (and smells) lovely when it is in full bloom!

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Celebrating Ruby’s birthday with ice cream cones

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We had our field hayed this Summer. Dad’s subaru was our haywagon when it came time to get the hay and stack it! (-:

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Pearl and Laurel’s fort. In the background you can see our haystack.

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The garden grew (and so did the weeds). On the 4th of July weekend, Dad and Mom surprised us by getting two ponies, which we named Liberty, and Verity. They are in the background of this photo.

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We finally ripped down the old shed, except for this corner, which is still in good shape.

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In our search for a good milk cow, we went down to Arkansas (our first time in AR!). We made it a 4th of July family road trip, and visited friends on our way back. Thankfully, we didn’t have to haul a cow all the way from AR. God provided a good milk cow much closer to us!

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The corn grew very well… by the end of the season it got to 14 feet high!

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The milk cow God provided for us. Chloe, with her calf.

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Happy birthday Grandma!

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Home dairying has been so worthwhile for us, though not without challenges. Besides having the fresh milk, we’ve been able to make yogurt, butter and cheese! In this picture we’re stretching mozzarella cheese.

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It was wonderful to have dear friends from Washington visit in August!

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Catching tadpoles and playing in a creek –

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Some sweet ladies in our neighborhood threw a baby shower for Mom~

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We harvested our own corn (over 10 lbs. of kernels)

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We were blessed to have lots of dear friends visit in September and October

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No, this cute little guy Rose is holding isn’t Ezra. He wasn’t born yet…

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But, the next day he was born! Here, Laurel is cutting the cord.

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Papa J. and Grandma K. came and visited, and we enjoyed going to this park. The fall colors were pretty.

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Mom and us children went to the capitol and toured the museum there. That was neat. In one of the exhibits,  I saw an old photo of rice being harvested. Rice can grow in Missouri! (-:

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The Ten Commandments outside the Capitol building

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Inside the Capitol building

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Starting on our milking shelter/animal shed

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Skye got to vote in her first election this year!

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Thanksgiving dinner 2016. Truly, we have much to be thankful for!

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Mom’s birthday! We made her a cranberry cheesecake.

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Mom and the girls made several batches of cookies to give away to neighbors and relatives.

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Our family – Ezra had not been born when this picture was taken.

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“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”

~Isaiah 40:8~

Making Homemade Yogurt

Yogurt is a healthful cultured dairy product that you can make at home fairly easily. Grass fed, farm fresh milk is the best variety to use (easy for us (-: ), but store-bought pasteurized milk will do.

Although you can make raw yogurt, this recipe is for a more usual yogurt made from milk that is heated to kill potential microbial competitors, and to change the protein – which makes for a firmer yogurt.

To inoculate your milk, you can use commercial plain yogurt (make sure it has live and active cultures in it, and no added sugar), homemade yogurt from a previous batch, or even a packaged culture. We usually use our yogurt, and then ‘refresh’ every now and then with a store-bought yogurt.

In the fermentation process, some of the lactose (milk sugar) in the milk is ‘eaten’ by the bacteria, producing lactic acid – which helps preserve the product, and also makes it easier for lactose-intolerant people to digest.Yogurt provides live probiotics, protein, calcium, important vitamins and other nutrients, as well.

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The Supplies:

1 gallon Milk

1 1/2 c. Yogurt (for culture; fresher is better. Don’t use something that is contaminated or old)

6 qt+ Cooking pot

Food thermometer

A large pot or water-bath canner that your cooking pot fits in

Stirring utensils

Clean jars (5 quarts)

Funnel

2-3 clean bath towels

*Tip: make sure that your cooking utensils and jars are clean. You can sterilize them if you want to. The less contamination there is, the longer you will be able to go without needing to refresh your culture.

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  1. Heat the milk gently in a large cooking pot, stirring often, until it reaches 170-180 F.

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2. When the above temperature is achieved, remove the pan from the heat and place in a large pot, water-bath canner, or sink filled with cold water.

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3. Stirring occasionally, cool the milk down to 110-116 F.

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4. Your milk is ready to be inoculated! Measure the yogurt. It is helpful to have your jars and funnel (if you have one) ready.

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5. Pour in your yogurt, mixing well to break up clumps.

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6. Ladle or pour the inoculated milk into your clean jars. A funnel is very helpful, but not absolutely necessary (-:

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7. Put the lids on the jars. Now you need to keep the milk warm and cozy, so that the bacteria can work. Place a few towels in a large pot and set the jars inside. Then tuck the towels over the jars.

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8. Leave the pot in an out-of-the-way location (an oven that is not in use is a good place). It is better not to jiggle or move the yogurt while it is culturing. Let the yogurt set quietly for about 6 hours, then unwrap the towels so that the yogurt can cool for an hour or two before you put it in the fridge. Now you can check how thick the yogurt is, by tipping the jar back and forth.

Chill your homemade yogurt in the refrigerator for a few hours before eating it (unless you can’t wait to sample it 🙂 Enjoy!

Remember to save some as a culture for the next batch, if you plan to make more (-:

Fret Not

I thought this was a good Scripture to think on, especially during this important election season. God is sovereign. Let us fear Him more than we fear men, or women – and vote our consciences.

~Psalm 37~

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.

For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.

But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.

The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.

 The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.

Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.

For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the Lord upholdeth the righteous.

The Lord knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.

They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.

The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.

For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.

Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.

 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.

For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.

 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.

The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.

The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.

The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.

The Lord will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.

Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.

I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.

Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.

Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.

But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.

And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

 

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Two Years in Missouri

Two years ago!

On September 18th, AD 2014, we left our dear home in Latah, and headed to Missouri. I remember Mom saying “Now girls, don’t go picking up a Southern accent!” jokingly, as we drove away – but I think it was partly to hide our excitement about moving to a new place, and our sadness about leaving precious friends and familiar places.

Once we got to Missouri, we had to find a house to live in while we ‘searched out the land’, and found a home. God provided a rental in a suburb, from which we were able to do so.

In November/December of 2014, we made the trek back to Washington to pack up the moving truck with our things. Our house in Latah had sold.

After months of searching, God provided us with a home on about 9 acres, in the Ozarks. We moved in on February 14th, AD 2015, thankful for our own place(-:

These past few years have been full. Full of excitement and new things; some pain and sadness – but full of the Lord’s providence, guidance, and mercy. I’ve learned a lot, seen many new things, and met many new people. We have been abundantly blessed by God, and are very thankful for this, and the freedom we enjoy here (yes, one of our many blessings from the Lord!). We can build on our own land without having to get tens of permits!

I miss, very much, being close to our dear friends in the Northwest )-: But, despite the hundreds of miles of separation between us, God has blessed us by providing ways for some of these friends to visit, and even send letters without it taking weeks or months for them to  arrive… I’m glad it’s not the Oregon Trail anymore!(-:

And He has given us more, new friends … This Sunday, the 18th, some sweet ladies from our community are hosting a neighborhood baby shower for Mom(-:

~Lily, a sojourner here

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The King of Love My Shepherd Is – Henry W. Baker

The King of love my Shepherd is, Whose goodness faileth never; I nothing lack if I am His and He is mine forever.

Where streams of living water flow my  ransomed soul He leadeth, and where the verdant pastures grow with food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish oft I strayed, but yet in love He sought me, and on His shoulder gently laid, and home rejoicing brought me.

In death’s dark vale I fear no ill with Thee, dear Lord, beside me; Thy rod and staff my comfort still, Thy cross before to guide me.

And so though all the length of days Thy goodness faileth never: Good Shepherd, may I sing Thy praise within Thy house forever.

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Goodbye Party~ September 2014

 

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We’re supposed to drive through this creek?! – A low water crossing in MO – (-:

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a Scripture on an egg carton

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Laurel among Osage Oranges – Fall 2014

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Searching for a place to call home. Fall/Winter 2014

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Packing up in Latah – December 2014

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Missouri exploration expedition – winter 2014/2015

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Fishing in our pond – Spring 2015

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Thorny locust

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The cave down our road – Spring 2015

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Woods in Springtime

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Meramec Spring Park – March 2016

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Rosalia, my heifer calf, when she was just a few days old – March 2016

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Tiny Fern! – March 2016

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Chloe (Skye and I’s milk cow) with her calf, Butternut – July 2016

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Heather and Rose with Liberty, one of our ponies – Summer 2016

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Playing in the river – September 2016

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Some of the corn from our garden (-: Summer 2016

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A critter found in our garage

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Nothing New Under The Sun

“I wonder who that lady is that Grandma is talking to,” I thought. They were out by  the road, and had been talking for a long while. I turned my attention to cleaning the dining room.

Afterwards, I picked up a pair of clippers and went outside to prepare a fresh bouquet for our table, gathering a little of this, and a little of that. Some lovely zinnias, sunflowers, cock’s comb, mint, and black eyed susans from Mother’s flower garden. I saw Dad stop to talk to Grandma and the little old ladies near the road as he left for work – he had come home for lunch. Finally, the strange silver-blue car slowly drove up our lane and stopped. I swallowed my nervousness and walked over to see what they needed.

The women hardly looked very old; one lady looked like a taller Irishwoman, her light wrinkled skin and gray-white hair suggesting perhaps seventy-something, while the other, a small, bright eyed lady with curly gray hair I might have placed at eighty – maybe.

They introduced themselves, and the second one (I’ll call her Charlotte) said that she used to live here. “Really? When?” I wanted to know. “I was born on this land,” she said. She pointed in the directions  where the old road, the corn house, the three chicken houses, their old home and their garden had been. (I think that  she said she is 86 years old).

“We went to school together. Charlotte came from a family of ten children,” the other lady said. “Back then, you could teach school when you were just sixteen or seventeen.  My first couple of babies were born when I was still in school,” she explained.

Charlotte talked about walking to the schoolhouse and to church. “I married a Lewis when I was twenty-one,” she said. Lewis is a landmark name in our neighborhood. “What church? Where was the schoolhouse?” We didn’t know of any such buildings around here!

By now, Mother and the other girls had joined us, having heard that an old lady was here who used to live at our current location way back before even WWII had broken out! Mom asked Charlotte about the trees in the yard. “I remember climbing up in a Catalpa tree (and she indicated the large Catalpas in our yard), and falling down and cutting my foot. They put kerosene on the cut. Back then, we didn’t just go get the docs anytime. We only had a car about half of the time, and a horse would have been too slow!”

They spoke of using the cotton flour sacks for all sorts of things, like cloth diapers and curtains. “Disposable diapers are too expensive nowadays,” one remarked.

They saw our Jerseys grazing, and spoke with fondness of milking cows, eating cream with berries, and the days when it wasn’t difficult to buy delicious, real milk.

I was surprised. These ladies were from the generation that had brothers going off to WWII (and they said as much); they were from the 50’s generation of young housewives who cheerfully greeted their husbands in pretty aprons while putting dinner on the table; they could have been my Grandma’s Mother’s Sisters. I have to say, it does make me think about being intentional. Pretty aprons, manly brothers, walking to church, large families, and milking cows don’t save a generation from sin, from being too comfortable, and from forgetting to “… Tell the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” (Psalm 78:4)

“For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning: in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers. For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence…. The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away…. So teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (From Psalm 90:4-12.)

At Mom’s suggestion, I handed Mrs. Lewis the bouquet of flowers I had just gathered.  We realized that her family must have worked hard to make this piece of property into a home. She was surprised. “Really? For me? I love flowers! I could cry!” she said. We waved goodbye and went inside.

“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them;” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).

We were grateful to meet those dear old ladies.IMG_8916