Resurrection Weekend

Hello everyone and happy Good Friday!

As we ponder God’s great sacrifice, here is an excerpt and a few videos so fitting for this Resurrection weekend!

Crucifixion and Resurrection

“O Lord,

I marvel that Thou shouldst become incarnate, be crucified, dead, and buried.

The sepulchre calls forth my adoring wonder, for it is empty and Thou art risen;

the four-fold gospel attests it,

the living witnesses prove it,

my heart’s experience knows it.

Give me to die with Thee that I may rise to new life,

for I wish to be as dead and buried to sin, to selfishness, to the world;

that I might not hear the voice of the charmer,

and might be delivered from his lusts.

I Lord, there is so much ill about me – crucify it,

much flesh within me – mortify it.

Purge me from selfishness, the fear of man, the love of approbation,

the shame of being thought old-fashioned, the desire to be cultivated or modern.

Let me reckon my old life dead because of crucifixion,

and never feed it as a living thing.

Grant me to stand with my dying Saviour, to be content to be rejected,

to be willing to take up unpopular truths,

and hold fast despised teachings until death.

Help me to be resolute and Christ-contained.

Never let me wander from the path of obedience to Thy will.

Strengthen me for the battles ahead.

Give me courage for all the trials, and grace for all the joys.

Help me to be a holy, happy person, free from every wrong desire,

from everything contrary to Thy mind.

Grant me more and more of Thy resurrection life:

may it rule me, may I walk in its power,

and be strengthened through its influence.”

~The Valley of Vision, leather-bound copy, pages 172-173~

He is risen; He has risen indeed!!!

 

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Question Time!

 

So, as I am brain storming for the future of this blog,  I was wondering what y’all might want to see in later blog post?

If you have time, please leave me a comment with your ideas, and/or take this poll below!

 

 

Looking forward to seeing the results y’all, and thanks so much in advance for your time and input, because without you, this blog would not be possible!

Blessings from Kentucky

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Saying Goodbye…For Now

 

“To everything there is a season….”  ~Ecclesiastes 3:1a~

Yesterday, my family and I said goodbye to our 3 generations of sheep, as they moved to a loving new home near by!!!  The weather could not have been any better, with the sun shinning, a cool breeze blowing from the east, while feeding and watering my wooly friends one last time in the morning/afternoon and just soaking it all in, remembering all the joys and heartaches of raising these wooly darlings.

In looking back, HERE is the first post I wrote about when they first arrived on our homestead almost….exactly 3 years ago!

(Java the ram at almost 2 months old. He’s one of my bottle fed lambs this season. Love how my sweet mama looks in this photo in the background! Hehe)

It certainly was a bittersweet time to be sure, but a very timely break from raising sheep for a season as things begin to pick up pace elsewhere on the homestead, as I begin to focus on garden planning and buying the year’s seeds for the spring/summer and fall garden for 2017!  *squeals*

(The garden area before tilling and weeding)

Anyone who knows me well, would know how much I greatly look forward these months where I can get my hands dirty in the soil and use the green thumb God gave me to do what I love best….gardening veggies, herbs, and flowers! 🙂

As some of you know, I had to make the HARDEST decision last year and forgo gardening completely due to dealing with a major health issue that came up suddenly (Lyme Disease), leaving me exhausted and unable to be outside in the heat for very long at all, and was just in no shape to handle very much, but just survive, and take each day as it came, being thankful for the time the Lord was giving me in just slowing down, taking back control of my health first before getting back into the things I enjoy….like gardening.

Sometimes God gives us seasons of illness and pain to remind us how precious life is, and to just stop. be still. wait on the Lord for healing, and just be thankful for the little things in life we can so easily take for granted when everything is going well and we get distracted from what is important in life. Such as glorifying the Lord in EVERY situation He brings us, because it is ALWAYS for our ultimate good, and His glory….yes, even in the hurt, and the days we wake up feeling like our world is falling apart, or too much to bear.

God sees, and is working it all for a beautiful purpose, no matter how messy it is….it is a beautiful mess in His eyes, and that is more than enough. That has brought me so much comfort through the hard times, and even kept my perspective in the right place during the good days recently.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord , thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
~Jeremiah 29:11‭-‬13~

“I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens. O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee? Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.”
~Psalms 89:1‭-‬2‭, ‬8‭-‬9~

I am so very thankful that the Lord has greatly used my time of sickness to humble me, and give me eyes to see more of His glorious truths in His Word, and apply it in how I live for Him every day.  I also thank Him for his healing hand in taking away the Lyme (yes, as of right now it is completely GONE!!!), and a lot of the emotional hardships connected to it also, and starting a fresh new season with joy and hope for the future God has in store.

Haha, wow, well how did I end up preaching all of that just from gardening and talking about my wooly friends!?  Sometimes the Lord just places things on my heart to share, and I know this was one of those times…..

The Lord will lift your burdens in His good time, all we can do is pray and rest in His sovereign promises as we go through those hard times and He brings us through the valley, to a season of unexpected blessings, and peace for what lies ahead!

Saying goodbye can be hard and yes even scary and unfamiliar, but changes are always a good thing, and who knows!  We may just have sheep again someday in the future again, but for now I am going to enjoy this break, and to venture into other exciting things on the farm, and praise the Lord for every moment He blesses me with on the homestead, serving Him where He has placed me in this little piece of country heaven.

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Joy’s Stepping Stones

 

 

“You recieved the word….with the joy of the Holy Spirit.”

~1 Thessalonians 1:6~

 

“Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, the effect of His ministry in our hearts.  Paul wrote, “Ay the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13, NIV).  It’s by the power of the Holy Spirit that we experience the joy of salvation and are enabled to rejoice even in the midst of trials.

The Spirit uses His Word to create joy in our hearts.  Romans 15:4 speaks of the endurance and encouragement that come from the scriptures; the next verse says that God gives endurance and encouragement.  God is the source; the Scriptures are the means.  The same truth applies to joy.  Verse 13 speaks of God filling us with joy and peace as we trust Him.  How would we expect God to do this?  The reasonable answer is by means of the Scriptures.

When I’ve experiencedthe Lord’s discipline, Hebrews 12:6 has been a means of restoring my joy: “The Lord disciplines the one He loves.” When I was once experiencing a severe trial, Psalm 50:15 became a source of comfort: “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me” (NIV).  On another occasion when I thought my future looked bleak, I was enabled to rejoice in the Lord through the assurance of Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans I have for you, declairs the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to gove you hope and a future” (NIV).

The Spirit will use these words to promote our joy if they’re in our hearts through regular exposure to and meditation upon them.”

 

~Jerry Bridges “Holiness Day By Day” Devotional, Week 11/Friday, pg.71, taken from “The Fruitful Life”~

 

A Change In Direction

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Spring is just around the corner, and with it are coming some changes on the homestead!

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To begin, this year was our third lambing season, and let me tell you that it was the HARDEST one yet!

We breed our Katahdin sheep so they lamb between January and February, and for us it has worked really well even if it is during the coldest part of the month for us (bacteria and infection rates are much lower during this season).

This breed (known as a hair sheep) is very low maintenance, as they shed their fur on their own without sheering, unlike how a regular wool sheep is.  It is a breed preferably raised for meat which is what our family does, and greatly enjoy the flavor and diversity of this great meat.

You can learn more about this fascinating breed HERE.

…But back to my story….

The first year for this newbie raising sheep involved only 7 ewes and 1 ram, and involved assisting in a birth of twins which was pretty scary at first, but thank the good Lord for books and videos that prepared me beforehand so I knew what I was doing, and God knew I would need to prepare for that!  Getting the real-life experience of assisting was absolutely fascinating and dreadfully scary at the same time, knowing the life of the mother and babies are in your hands (and the Lords), but it went well, and were thankful all were happy and healthy! We had 12 lambs born that year!

With that under my belt, I was ready for the next round, which went smoothly with no assistance needed, having more sheep than the year before (about 12 ewes).  We had many sweet little healthy lambs romping around our fields with one or two bottle fed babies in the bunch (rejected by their mothers) who did really well, and gave me a lot of experience to learn in how and what to feed them and the care involved to get them on their feet.  We did have to rescue 2 littles who were almost half frozen at birth, but after a night by the nice warm fire, and a lot of TLC through the night, they were fully recovered and happy to be back with their mother outdoors. We had 15 lambs born that year.

This year…..Words just cannot express the sorrow and heartache this season brought that left me on my knees before the Lord and leaving all my unanswered questions and wondering, and “What if’s” at His feet, knowing He has a purpose in all He does….even if it is painful and overwhelming.

This year’s lambing season was just plain awful.  I have learned so much more about myself, and my wooly friends this year than the other two lambing seasons combined, and as much as I am thankful for the lesson, it was almost too much to bear.

We lost a lot of little lambs…and I mean a LOT…almost half!!!

This year we had 11 ewes lamb on the homestead (not including 2 who decided to surprise us with littles in the summer, and lamb AGAIN in the winter with all the other ewes!), two ewes with triplets, and only one lamb from one set survived.  We had a total of 21 lambs born this year (including the summer babies), and lost 7 out of the 18 born this winter.

A lot of questions are still unanswered as to really why this season was so hard on the sheep, but sometimes the Lord uses these moments to cause one to reevaluate things, and test your trust in Him when mystery hangs in the air, and we are not to fully know why, other than running through mineral and vitamin deficiencies, and just leaving all the other unexplained causes in His hands, knowing you did everything you possibly could for those dear sheep….

Frappe

Now that the hump is over with the last little one born this past Lord’s Day so very healthy and happy and full of life, it left this horrible nightmare on a good note, and hopeful for the future of our farming endeavors, though my family and I have decided to make some changes to the direction of our homestead.

I am quite sad to say this, but we will be selling our sheep…..ALL our sheep this year, so we can take a break for a while, and try new things, and be able to focus on other outlets the Lord is bringing about for our homestead, without feeling overwhelmed with too much as we are feeling right now (due mainly to changes in family direction/circumstances individually), with too many sheep, and less time for other things we would like to do on the homestead and abroad.

Prioritizing and downsizing can be difficult at times and cause great sacrifice to change, but is worth it in the end, just to keep things simple and less overwhelming…After all farming should be a great and joyful endeavor and not just a loooong list of  “to-do’s”, but a passion and love for the land and animals….Keeping things small and manageable is VERY important!

We do hope to raise sheep again later on, and keep it at a much smaller scale, and have things more organized next time as well, but for now, we know this season it is time to say goodbye to our wooly friends, and find them a farm they will be just as happy on as they have been on ours.

That being said, If any of you fellow Kentucky readers are farmers, or know of anyone who may be interested in raising sheep, or wanting to add to your flock, please feel free to send me an email by using the “Contact Me” page, and I will send you for more info., but please only contact me if you are serious about buying.

“Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”

Psalm 73:25-26

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2

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(My bottle fed babies Java (above) and Latte (below). )

 

We will be sad to see them go, but it is time for a break, and a fresh start on the homestead this year, and look forward to many more adventures on the farm to share with y’all.

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My Portion!

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‘You are my portion, O Lord!’

Psalm 119:57

“Many people are proud of their possessions, and boast of their wealth; yet their possessions are very limited, and their wealth has wings and may flee away at any time!

A Christian may not be proud –  but he has great reason to be thankful. He can look over the whole earth, and say, ‘My wealth exceeds all this!’

He can look up and gaze on the starry heavens and say, ‘My property exceeds this vast expanse!’

He may try to conceive of the greatness and glory of the created universe, and then say, ‘I claim more than all this!’

Looking up to the Author, Owner, and Disposer of all worlds – he can say, ‘You are my portion, O Lord!’

What a privilege! A portion – and such a portion. God Himself in all His greatness, and in all His goodness. God with all He is, and all He has – is my portion!

What kind of a portion is this? It is immense, for it comprehends all. All the attributes of the Divine nature, are for us. All the perfections of God’s character, are on our side. All the productions of the divine power, are for our good.

Therefore the apostle says, ‘All things are yours!’ Nothing good is withheld from us!

What the father of the prodigal said to his eldest son – our heavenly Father says to every one of His children, ‘Son, you are ever with Me – and all that I have is yours!’

We may adopt similar language in speaking to our heavenly Father, to that used by the angel to Abraham, ‘By this I know that You love me, because You have not withheld Your Son, Your only Son from me!’

And from this fact, we may draw the same conclusion as Paul did, ‘He who spared not His own Son – but delivered Him up for us all, how shall he not with Him also, freely give us all things!’

O beloved, God in all the glory of His nature and perfections, God with all His unsearchable riches – is our portion!

What kind of a portion is this? It is immutable. It remains forever. Others may lose their property, or it may become deteriorated and comparatively valueless – but our portion is forever the same!

Speaking of the finest, noblest, and most durable works of creation, the Psalmist says, ‘In the beginning You laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain the same; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing You will change them, and they will be discarded. But You remain the same, and Your years will never end!’ Psalm 102:25-27

Our portion can never be forfeited, or alienated, or reduced in value – because it is the unchangeable God Himself!

Blessed is the man that can say with Jeremiah, The Lord is my portion, therefore will I hope in Him!’ Or with David, ‘The Lord is the portion of my inheritance!’ ‘My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!’ Psalm 73:26

James Smith, ‘Gleams of Grace’ 1860, via Grace Gems

 

All Because of Grace

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As I was contemplating what my first post would be under my new blog name, with all the huge plans of writing more regularly about farm life, what the Lord has been teaching me, and running through a bazillion ideas in my mind, God  decided to slow me down a bit, to “smell the roses”, and soak in the curve-balls He has seen fit to throw my way the past few weeks that have kept me from writing sooner (His ways our never like our own, right? 😉  ), which have caused me to pull back, and focus on Him and the life lessons He is challenging me with this season on the farm…..which has been a LOT, and full of much sanctification….. some very trying and hard lessons in the valley which have left me relying only on my Savior’s sovereign grace and realizing more of my utter dependence on Him in all seasons.

I know what you are thinking: “of course we need to depend on Christ in everything”, but you see, when He brings us to the breaking point in our lives that try us so deep that we feel like we are drowning, we understand and feel our need of Him even more so than just hearing it.  Believing it and seeing it lived out in our lives makes it become real and true to everyday living!

We NEED those real everyday reminders in life; more than just reading, the application of it is crucial to any growing believer’s walk with our Great Comforter, and to know He has been where we are to a greater extent when He sacrificed Himself for us on the Cross to save us from our sin, and the fact He is with us even now to hold us together even when we feel miles apart at times.  He uses all circumstances for our Good and for His glory!

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

~Romans 8:28~

A couple of things that really challenged me and encouraged me were these two excerpts which I pray would be a blessing to y’all as well.  They preach to me as much as anyone else in these dealings and dwellings in the valley to keep my mind and heart focused on Christ, and may they encourage you the same in your walk with Him :

No Cross, No Gospel

“Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand.”   

~Romans 5:2~

“When you set yourself to seriously pursue holiness, you’ll begin realizing what an awful sinner you are.  If you aren’t firmly rooted in the gospel and haven’t learned to preach to yourself every day, you’ll soon become discouraged and will slack off.  In the pursuit of holiness, nothing’s more important than learning to preach the gospel to yourself every day.

In doing so, we must be careful not to preach a gospel without a cross.  All the wonderful promises of forgiveness in Scripture are based upon Christ’s atoning death.  Through it He has satisfied God’s justice and averted from us God’s wrath.  We must be careful not to rely on the so-called unconditional love of God without realizing His love can flow to us only as a result of Christ’s atoning death.

This is the gospel by which we were saved, and the gospel by which we must live every day of our Christian lives.

In Romans 3:24, Paul said we are justified by grace, referring to what we might call our point-in-time salvation, the day we trusted in Christ.  In Romans 5:2, however, Paul spoke of this grace in which we now stand.  Here he refers to our day-to-day standing before God as being on the same basis as our justification – the basis of grace.  But this grace – unmerited favor to those who deserve wrath – comes to us through the Lord Jesus Christ.

God is the “God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10) and is disposed to deal with us by grace, but not  at the expense of His justice. But with justice satisfied, God can now deal with us in grace, both in our salvation and in our day-to-day relationship with Him.”

~Jerry Bridges “Holiness Day By Day” week 6, Weekend pg. 42 (taken from his book: “The Discipline of Grace”)~

Continual Repentance

“O God of Grace,

Thou hast imputed my sin to my Substitute, and hast imputed His righteousness to my soul,  clothing me with a bridegroom’s robe, decking me with jewels of holiness.  But in my Christian walk I am still in rags; my best prayers are stained with sin; my penitential tears are so much impurity; my confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin; my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness.

I need to repent of my repentance; I need my tears to be washed; I have no robe to bring to cover my sins, no loom to weave my own righteousness; I am always standing clothed in filthy garments, and by grace an always receiving change of raiment, for Thou dost always justify the ungodly; I am always going into the far country, and always returning home as a prodigal, always saying, Father forgive me, and Thou art always bringing forth the best robe.

Every morning let me wear it, every evening return in it, go out to the day’s work in it, be married in it, be wound in death in it, stand before the great white throne in it, enter heaven in it shining as the sun.

Grant me never to lose sight of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the exceeding righteousness of salvation, the exceeding glory of Christ, the exceeding beauty of holiness, the exceeding wonder of grace.”

~”The Valley of Vision”, Leather bound, pg.136-137~

 

 

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Some of you have been following my updates on this year’s lambing season journey via Instagram (HERE) which has been very hard losing so many little lambs this year, dealing with some health issues related to feeling so overwhelmed with everything that has been going on as of late. Through it all, it has left me more in awe of the God I serve who has given me the strength to press on even when I did not feel like I could, and give me the strength to take each day is it comes, knowing He will supply my needs and has faithfully done so through it all and will not just stop there, but continue till He takes me home to glory!  God is so very good, and I praise Him for the work He is doing in my life and the life of my sweet family and farm. Thank you so much for your sweet words of encouragement and prayers….they mean more than you will ever know!

Thanking the Lord for these hard lessons that draw me closer to Him, and for all of you dear readers and fellow prayer warriors.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Miss Antoinette