Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Susan's Musin's - Journey Out of False Security

I've always been a "what if" person. Wayyyyy back in elementary school, the sixth graders got to go to a week long science/nature camp. And when I was in the second grade, I cried to my mom, "I'll be too scared to go and leave you for a whole week; I can't do it!" My mom, bless her heart, had to calm me down and remind me I was only in the second grade and didn't have to worry about it right then. Well, when I finally got to the sixth grade, I had a non-conformist teacher; and our class got to camp on the beach for a week and study the California Indians; and my mom was able to go as a chaperon. My "worst fear" never materialized. Later on as a senior in high school, I was asked to be a camp counselor to the sixth grade girls at that same science camp; so I got to go after all and made it just fine :)

I share that little story to tell you that I have always been that way, even into my adulthood and marriage, even more so because the "what ifs" seemed bigger when I got out on my own. The ultimate (so far) was when Dave and I decided to leave our corporate jobs and families in California and move here to Texas where there were mostly unknowns. (And Texas was one BIG science camp to me with all kinds of bugs, pests, snakes, tornadoes, etc.) Most everything was being taken out from my control, which, looking back so far, has been the best thing that could have happened to me. If you have read our early blog posts, you will know that God had been teaching us from His word about His sovereignty and lovingly growing our faith to be able to make the decision to trust Him and leave everything that we considered "secure" in order to be obedient to how He calls us to live in separation from the world as His children. (2 Cor. 6:14-18; Isaiah 52:11-12; Rev. 18)

As I have learned more about type and shadow in the Bible, I see that physical Israel in the Old Testament is the type of spiritual Israel today. I am very encouraged whenever I think of the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years and all of the miracles God performed (ie: daily manna from heaven (Exodus 16), water from rocks (Exodus 17:1-6), their clothing and shoes never wore out (Deut. 8:1-4), etc.) We're talking hundreds of thousands of men, women and children with all of their livestock; and God provided for their needs in the desert where there was nothing but His direct provision to sustain them. He provided shade by day and a pillar of light at night (Exodus 13:21,22). God had given them faith enough to step out and leave Egypt in obedience to His command, and He took care of the rest. However, it was because of taking their eyes off of God and His direct protection and provision that they were made to wander in the desert those 40 years before being allowed to enter Canaan (a type of heaven). And only the very few of the original Israelites that had truly and consistently trusted God were permitted to enter Canaan (Numbers 14:30; 32:12). The rest perished in their sin in the desert. The Israelites complained and longed to go back to Egypt because they had grown used to looking to Egypt to supply their needs (Exodus 16:3). Even though they were in bondage to Egypt they looked to it for security and material things instead of looking to God. I believe this is the situation most professing Christians are in today when they look to the world's systems for sustenance (food, water, protection, care, etc.), but the Bible states this is not what God has commanded for His children to do.

Over the last five years of living here, I have been very tempted to look back to Egypt for my security, but God has taught me in His long-suffering and proven time and time again that He is the one who is in control regardless of the circumstance. As most of you know, we live off grid here and are increasingly learning to look to God for His direct, and I mean direct, provisions. God provides the rain for our water, our food from the ground, and our meat. During bad thunderstorms, tornadoes and in all the seasons, God reminds me in His word that it is He who is in control of the weather patterns and every single strike of lightning (Texas T-storms put the fear of God in me every time). I have also learned that every heart beat is a gift from God and all my days are in His hand and have been foreordained (Psalms 139:16). He also promises rebuke, chastisement and persecution to His children (Hebrews 12) to grow them into maturity; and I am to be perfectly content with only food and raiment (1 Tim. 6:8); so, ultimately, my job is to be obedient and trust in God completely, knowing that He knows what is best for me as His child. So whatever comes my way, it is for my good; and I can have peace in that.

I now look back to the "Egypt" from which God has called us to separate as His children, and the "what-ifs" are much scarier to me now if I think of returning to "Egypt" and trusting in man and its systems rather than God.

Our community has been going through the book of Isaiah recently, and I have been soberly struck by the number of verses in Isaiah and Psalms that talk about trusting in Egypt (the world and its systems) vs. God:

Isaiah 30:1-3: "Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit that they may add sin to sin: That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth: to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt. Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion."

Isaiah 31:1: "Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!"

Isaiah 31:3: "Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the Lord shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is helped shall fall down, and they all shall fail together."

Psalm 20:7-8: "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright."

Psalm 118:8-9: "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes."

In my firsthand experience of living in the world and depending on its systems for my security, and now living outside the world's systems in direct dependence upon God for my sustenance, I believe it has become almost impossible in our time to stay in the world and walk hand in hand with it everyday and not be taken into its trust and look to it for security (ie: grocery stores, city water, grid electricity, health care, money, etc.) and thereby not to the God of Israel who is the same yesterday, today and forever. And if I ask myself in which situation God glorifies Himself more, and in which situation my faith is grown more, and where I am drawn closer to God, there is no question. My job is to be obedient to how God has commanded me to live, and He will handle the rest. I pray the Lord continue to turn my face towards Him alone and trust in Him completely.

Susan

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hens and Hannah

Hens

Our chicken flock has been dwindling over time, due mostly to them just getting sick or dying, or getting crittered; and so we've been looking to find some adult hens or were planning on buying some chicks to get raising while it's still Summer hot here, since the chicks would not have feathers yet and would hopefully be able to make it without special heating. But, the Lord granted we find someone from the local town selling her hens for a fairly good price; and we jumped on it.

We ended up with a Buffy (Buff Orpington), a Rhode Island Red, two Game Hens, and a chick that one of the game hens was raising. Before we had a kennel for the dogs, we had kept them in our chicken pen area, which was our staging area for chickens we would raise that were too large for the chicken mini tractor but too young to be with the main flock. Sadly, the dogs had pretty much torn up the fencing; but I was able to add some chicken wire and do a little repair work and get it at least workable for the new chickens:

New Laying Hens Summer 2010
New Game Hen and Chick Summer 2010


Soon we hope to start putting them in with the main flock at night so that the main chicken tractor will become their home.


Hannah

We've also been looking to sell most of our goat bucks; and in someone responding to our ad about them, initially wanted to trade a buck of theirs for one of ours, as I had also indicated in the ad that I was willing to do so for our outbreeding purposes. Well, by the time we communicated further about it, they had sold all of their bucks. But I thought, maybe they have a dairy doe they would trade one or more of our bucks for; and so I asked; and they were indeed willing to trade their supposedly pregnant Lamancha-Saanen doe for our pure Nubian buck Donny.

Here is the link to the blog post we did on Donny when he was first born.

And here he is now:

Pure Nubian Goat Buck Donny


And here is our new doe Hannah. I'm pretty sure they disbudded the horns; and Lamanchas have the tiny ears, although hers are really small:

New Lamancha-Saanen Goat Doe Hannah


We thank God for His provisions of the new chickens and goat, and pray He grant them to serve their purposes here in bringing forth sustenance.

-- David

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: New Kids "Desi" and "Lucy"

Our goat Minnie (see Minnie in the middle of this blog post when she was first born) didn't get pregnant when she was with our buck Eastwood during the Winter (Eastwood died during that time). And so, we borrowed a buck from our neighbor Chris, a Spanish billy (see him at the top of this blog post); and lo and behold, new kids!

Please meet Desi and Lucy (we named them that because Desi Arnaz was kind of Spanish-ish :) ):

New Goat Kids Desi and Lucy


Here they are just shortly after birth:

videoVideo of New Goat Kids Desi and Lucy


And here they are today, three weeks later:
videoVideo of Three Week Old Goat Kids Desi and Lucy


We are grateful to the Lord for the increase of the herd.

-- David

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Goat Shed Redesign

In my initial design for our goat sheds, I wanted to be able to enclose the goats in the shed if necessary for protection, especially for when a doe might have new kids; but I wanted to be able to have the door completely out of the way during the hot months to allow as much breeze in while offering shade. And so, I made the front door completely removable. Well, that became somewhat difficult in having to pick up the door and maneuver it into place. Also, strong winds would blow the sheds over backwards, so we strapped them to a ground hook. Over time though, I thought of a different way to accomplish the same thing while keeping the current general design of the sheds but making it easier to manipulate the doors.

So the idea would be to have the entire door on a hinge while having another smaller door cut out of the big door, allowing the main door to be closed while a portion of it remained open to allow for the goats to move in and out. This would allow for the shed to be more enclosed when it is cold, or completely when necessary, and would also allow the entire door to be completely open during the hotter days, as before.

Here are the shed and door originally designed:

Original Goat Shed
Original Goat Shed Door


I cut off a part of the big door:

Goat Shed Redesign Cut Off Small Door


Added the missing piece of the frame onto the smaller door:

Goat Shed Redesign Small Door New Frame Piece


And attached the hinges, joining it back to the main door:

Goat Shed Redesign Small Door Reattached with Hinges


I attached 8" hinges to the shed, using 1 5/8" deck screws through #8 washers, the hinges, the siding, and into 2x4 blocks behind the siding. I then did similarly to the door, making sure it was raised up 1/4" so the door frame doesn't sit completely on the shed frame, making it difficult to close:

Got Shed Redesign Main Door Hinges


Here are the 2x4 blocks:

Goat Shed Redesign Back Blocks to Hold Hinge Screws


I then installed a 2x4 the width of the shed just above the door frame on top, to keep the top of the door from pushing in:

Goat Shed Redesign Large Door Frame


And then I installed two bolt latches, top and bottom, to the door frame. The bottom one uses the latch receptacle provided with the hardware; the top latch latches straight into the 2x4 above it:

Goat Shed Redesign Main Door Top Bolt Latch
Goat Shed Redesign Main Door Bottom Bolt Latch


Finally, I added a small hook and eye latch to the little door to be able to keep it held open; and installed a larger one to the side of the shed to keep the larger door latched. I drilled appropriately sized pilot holes for each before attaching the latches; and also, for the main door, I had to put a 2x4 block behind the hook latch that was attached to the siding:

Goat Shed Redesign Small Door Hook and Eye Latch
Goat Shed Redesign Main Door Hook and Eye Latch


Here the shed is completely closed:

Goat Shed Redesign Both Doors Closed


Here it is with the small door open only:

Goat Shed Redesign Main Door Closed, Small Door Open


And here it is completely open:

Goat Shed Redesign, Main Door Open


This redesign has made things much easier to handle when dealing with the sheds in various types of weather. We're thankful to the Lord for granting us the land, goats, sheds, and ideas to be able to husband animals, we pray, for His glory.

-- David