Sunday, July 24, 2016

Of Being Single...

My dream for my entire growing up life was to get married, have about 3 or 4 kids and adopt 3 or 4 kids and live happily ever after with a "normal" life. I didn't want any more crazy adventures in the jungle learning how to trust God for everything, nor did I want any more near death experiences with Malaria or other tropical diseases. Granted, I did still want to live in Brazil for the rest of my life, I just wanted it to be a normal life (whatever that was supposed to mean!)

I wanted a nice little house and a husband who had a job and worked hard to provide for me and the kids (cause you know I wanted to have a bunch of them), maybe a little farm with horses and some animals to be able to teach all those kids good work ethics and all the good things that come from homesteading and farm life. I wanted him to come home every evening and spend time with us and be a spiritual leader in the house. I wanted to have enough money to pay all the bills each month without panicking and worrying about how we were going to make it. I wanted to cook delicious meals and raise Godly kids.

In my early twenties plenty of nice young men came through my life that may have been what I thought I wanted or needed, but none were brave enough to have "THE TALK" with my dad and request my hand in marriage (or even in courtship for that matter). Finally I gave up on the dream and came to a place in my heart where I could look at myself as a future old me and see myself unmarried and okay with it. I embraced the idea of being an "old maid". Reluctantly, I will admit, but I was okay with it.  Then HE showed up in my life.

He was a young man (younger than me) who managed to sweet talk his way into my heart and the hearts of the rest of my family. He was not afraid to talk to my dad, or the crazy requests and requirements that we put on him in order to prove himself worthy of marrying me. We got married in Brazil  in a beautiful outdoor wedding in the coconut grove on our family farm. It was beautiful and blissful. Honeymoon was in the most amazing treehouse resort in the heart of the Amazon that I don't even know how we found out about but it was incredibly beautiful.

Fast forward a couple years and all the sweet talk and fun loving adventure came jolting to a halt. The marriage crumbled no matter how hard I tried to hang on to it and make it work. I went into the deepest, darkest time of my life. During that time my son was born, but shortly after I once again found myself single. This time divorced, in debt, with a kid to raise by myself, ashamed that I who once believed that marriage was supposed to last forever and I couldn't keep mine together.  The sadness and depression almost overwhelmed me. But somehow, the Grace and Love of God reached me and pulled me back up out of the mire of despair.

Once again, I have come (maybe still am coming) to the point of contentment in being single. I have found a deeper relationship with God than ever before. Through the sorrow and loss, I had to trust God or sink pretty much, and He showed me (and still shows me) his faithful provision and love and protection so much greater than any earthly husband could ever show me. It has been an incredible journey of learning to walk by faith and remember that He is my Husband and Father God who will never leave me or forsake me.

My prayer for you who might read this story, is that if you find yourself in the pit of depression or your life is crumbling around you, or you don't know what to do... God knows and sees you and CARES about you and Loves you more than you could ever even imagine. He wants to help you but it's up to you to put your trust in Him and reach your hand up to Him so He can pull you up into life in abundance!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Recipe of the day: Hearty Beef Soup

One of my favorite things to make and eat are soups. I particularly enjoy a hearty beef soup on a cold winter day. Here's how I make mine:

Saute your stew meat, beef chunks in a pan with about a tablespoon or so of olive oil till brown. Amount depends on how much you want to make. I usually use about a pound or less.
After your meat is browned and cooked add veggies: I like potatoes, carrots, cabbage, onions as staples and again, the amount depends on size of pot and size of family.
Add water enough to barely cover the meat and veggies.
Add spices: salt, black pepper to taste and here are my special ingredients I like to add: garlic (lots of garlic) about a teaspoon of cumin powder, a few sprinkles of oregano, more garlic, a beef bullion sometimes, a dash of paprika, whatever else inspires me that day.
Taste it and make sure you added enough of everything.
Now for the part that makes it nice and warm, add about a handful of spaghetti noodles, broken in half. Also at this point I like to add green to my pot and here are some options that make it taste great: swiss chard, spinach, cilantro are some of my favorites. Be creative and use what you have. Peppers taste nice in a beef soup too.
Let it all simmer until the noodles are done and everything is cooked tender and delicious.

You might want to enjoy this soup with fresh home baked biscuits or fresh baked bread if you feel so inspired!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Missing my hometown!


It's winter here and although I live in Texas I still very much miss my home town/farm where I lived for most of my life as a missionary kid. The tropical rainforest of Brazil. This picture was taken on one of my trips home for a visit. It is one of my favorite views of a palm tree, specifically known as a Tucuma tree, right before a thunder storm. I can still feel in my imagination the humidity that weighs so heavy you can almost cut it. The warm air surrounds you like a passionate embrace. The monkeys howl early in the morning or at dusk and the big giant butterflies slowly drift and flutter, looking for their next flower to rest on. The birds fly and call and if you're lucky you might get to glimpse a band of macaws or toucans. These are all things that I grew up with and miss almost desperately especially in the wintertime!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Recipe of the Day! Homemade Tomato Soup.

Cooking from scratch is an almost lost art for a lot of folks now days, especially the younger generation.  However, it is very rewarding and satisfying for the maker and the eater. I'm going to share with you one of my favorite recipes that is a big comfort food for me, quick and easy to make. Also want to note that no recipe is set in stone! I don't like to measure or make things exactly the same every time I make them so when I do make this recipe it is generally just a hint. I like to study cookbooks to see what other people like to add together and create my own dishes that way. Most of them turn out great! Here's my version of:

Homemade Tomato Soup:

Melt 2 Tablespoons of Butter (or olive oil if you don't have butter) in a saucepan.
Chop some onion and garlic real fine. How much depends on your taste. I like lots so I'll use a half an onion and several cloves of garlic. (you can also use dried onion or garlic)
Saute it in the butter. When it's lightly brown add:
2 Tablespoons Flour (all purpose flour works fine)
Stir that into the butter and cook for one minute.
Meanwhile, open one large can of Tomato sauce and add it to the butter, flour, onion mixture.
Stir that up really good, add about a half a can of water. Cook this for 1-2 minutes at slow simmer.
While that is cooking, add some spices: Salt, ground black pepper, oregano, parsley, garlic powder, a dash of cumin,  (all those are good. and I don't measure. I add and taste as I go. But probably I add a half to a full teaspoon of the green spices, just a quick dash of cumin and salt and pepper to taste.)
Also add about a half a teaspoon of sugar. This helps bring out all the flavors.
After your tomato sauce mixture has bubbled for at least one minute or more, then add about 2 cups of milk.
Mix really well, I like to use a whisk to mix it up and get any clumps out.
Bring this up not quite to a boil. Basically you just want to get it nice and hot like a good soup should be but if you let it boil after you ad the milk it will turn out strange.

And it's done! Serve with grilled cheese sandwich, or croutons and cheese chunks!
This is one of my favorite quick recipes in a pinch! Total time to make depends on how fast you chop onions!

Enjoy!

Coyotes in the Yard!!

Here at our farm we have a lot of animals and we keep some Great Pyrenees to help protect everyone against the abundant coyote population.  By day the dogs sleep and by night they are barking, patrolling and keeping the general population here at the ranch safe.

One morning, the day after the triplet baby goats were born, and the smell of birthing blood was strong, as I was waking up I heard the gate rattle like when the dog jumps over the fence. Then the sound of growling dogs and fighting. In my half asleep groggy state of mind, I remembered that all the inside dogs were still in and there was no logical explanation for growling dogs and gate rattling except for strange dogs to be in the area. I leaped out of bed with a start and threw open the door. Right there practically on my front porch was a smallish coyote, and the Great Pyrenees had his teeth baring down on the coyote's back trying to get him. I'm not sure if the coyote was actually in the yard or just trying to get there when the dog found him but they took off running at high speed down the driveway and through the horse pasture. The dog chased it off into the distance and I'm not sure if he actually managed to get it.

I never expected to find a coyote like that on my front porch area and am thankful that the dog was able to get it off the property but it was quite a scary event for all the goats and sheep who were watching with great concern!

Needless to say the dog earned his keep for sure and got some extra special treats and goodies that day!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Triplet birth

This week was a very exciting one at my farm. I have a large Nubian doe who was pregnant and due this week. On one particular Friday a friend came over to help me draw blood for the goats yearly CAE test. Parfait (the goat) was acting a little strange, reluctant to walk or move out of the shelter in her pen, walking stiff, etc. We got her into the main barn to draw the blood and she was very much in labor and looked like the contractions were coming fairly fast! I put her in a stall and we set to watching her to make sure everything went well. After about a half an hour of pushing she finally got the first baby parts to show. It didn't look like feet in the normal birth presentation so I went in the stall to make sure she didn't need help. Soon I discovered that the tail was coming out first. I wasn't able to get the baby back in to rearrange it, so I helped it come out and he was born a healthy little buck. After another short while another baby started being born. That one presented itself in the normal birth position and she came out easily. Well, she barely had gotten out and we got the membranes cleaned from her face when another foot started coming out. However this one was only one foot. I was concerned because I didn't see the other one so I reached in with my fingers and didn't find the other foot. I realized that I was going to have to help or it could end badly. Thankfully I had already washed my hands really good so I reach inside of her and found the other foot, It was twisted back. I was able to get it positioned properly and then began to try to find the head. I couldn't find it anywhere! When my arm was up to my elbow inside the goat I finally found the little baby's head tucked up against her belly in between her front legs. With some difficulty I was able to pull the head up and forward and then pull the baby out gently. All three babies were alive and healthy by the time all the excitement was over. The goat was quite exhausted and it was a huge learning event for me, as I had never actually had to straighten babies out inside the mom! The one boy and two girls are just a few days old now and so much fun to watch them learn to play and be cute little goats!