A silent year has passed and good intentions have paved a road. This is now 2016 and I make no commitments regarding this blog. This is a reflection on me not on you as a reader. It is more about aging and energy than lack of caring.
As we strolled into 2016 I wondered if there was a word for me to own for this year. Immediately, a very familiar word blazed across my thoughts. HOPE!!!! Oh, how I need that word. These past 3 years the reality has been one of deep grief. A friend recently encouraged me to write, no holds barred, about grief, my personal experience with blatant honesty. Grief in my case is about a living reality of loss, loss of health. The exercise opened a glimmer of freedom reminding me that hope like faith is centered in a person. Like the old hymn says, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.” The numbness of grief has exacted a toll turning my theology and daily experience into Swiss Cheese without any true “holeyness” in sight. Grief knows no prescribed time frame or ordered process regardless of what has been purported by “experts.” What I have learned is that grief yearns for presence. Caring people who will come without prescriptions, parables or platitudes.
Having been a positive person throughout my life I trust that I will learn that my hope, centered in Jesus will include the reality of grief. Not, as some have suggested, a shoving away, ignoring, pretending or claiming grief’s absence. All of this aimed at making others feel comfortable at the expense of true healing.
Here sitthe two girls snuggled if not relaxed. Lass continually herds Saulite and watches over her much to her chagrin. Saulite tolerates but avoids Lass as much as possible. Lass, like many humans, is convinced she is correct and fails to be put off. Saulite was a mature cat when Lass arrived and is convinced she is the wise one. Even so, they make a cute picture.
Back to hope. What will the developed picture look like?
Christmas was put away (only the decorations) on Monday the 6th and some changes were made in the decor for a fresh perspective. Some friends gave me the lovely blue and white Royal Copenhagen candles that inspired the mantle arrangement. I enjoy looking around the house at what we have that can bring change and a new look. I am not very creative but I sometimes pretend that I am and I love to try things to see if they settle with my heart.
Ian and I continue to engage with the reality of aging and wonder some days, where our energy and motivation went. Ian spends part of each day caring for his chickens and turkeys.
A couple of the chicken types like to roost in the barn window and the cockerel crows whenever he thinks someone might be looking at him.
It is encouraging to hear the roosters crow through out the day. It was really funny when they were little and learning to crow, they sounded a bit crow-challenged. We can’t hear them unless we are outside so they don’t bother anyone, that we know of, at least.
Lass and Saulite continue to thrive especially in our mild winter weather.
You see Lass in her guard position or actually just the local gossip watching to see what the neighbors are doing. Saulite is focused on the interior and anyone whom she can charm to let her in. I just checked the forecast and it may snow tonight, tomorrow and through the weekend. The furry children may not be too pleased with that.
A few other things I/we have moved or changed.
The top picture shows the change in our living room suite. We have a nice previously owned shop in Bouska and we found a 3 piece suite with sofa, love seat and arm chair for a very reasonable price. It wasn’t a whim but the need for more seating than our Ikea pieces were providing.
The next picture shows the new position of my desk under the stairs where the saddle used to sit. The saddle now has its own place, not being shared with the organ. Maybe next time there will be a picture of that area.
Our daily lives are rather quiet with most of our socializing done on line. We remain in the waiting mode for God’s next door to open for us here in Stelpe or beyond. Our current call to encourage remains in place and we are hoping to reach out with the abundance of eggs we currently are harvesting. It may have eggs-septional results. On that “strong” note I will close until the next inspiration hits.
My 3 year old orchid flowering abundantly for the 4th or 5th time.
Words of love from a dear friend, on her blog.
Shadows of Love
Winter came early for her. Disappointment and pain. Rejection and condemnation. Strokes and infirmities. Death seemed but a breath away. The winter of life greeted her just when the discovery of life should be beginning. Still, her faith gave her strength and she greeted life and met it head on.
Spring came through hard work and perseverance. New life was granted to her by standing on the Truth and by kneeling in humility. A teacher she became; a preacher she grew to be. As a testimony of faith, a faith in Love, did she fly away from the trappings of the West to enter the work of the Shepherd.
Summer blooms now for her according to Love’s glorious riches. Rustic and remote her home may be in the land where the Queen’s English is not so readily spoken, but Love is spoken there fluently and pervasively. Gone is the need for defenses, for…
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Yes we are now feathering another nest. We have moved from Kalnozoli (Oak Hill) to Birch Street in a village near Bauska southeast of Riga.
It was a hard decision to make but it became clear that Ian could no longer do all the heavy lifting and carrying needed for bringing in the hay. He had a bad spell while doing that in July and we began to talk about how to make adjustments to our lives. Ian said he felt God had given him three good years of doing what he loved, sheep farming. He realized that to continue would put his health in danger and while we both still had some strength left we should move.
Initially, we thought to make the change next Spring, 2013. God seemed to have a different plan. We shared our concerns with our friends Roger and Val. They have been worried about us for some time and welcomed the idea of us moving near them. In fact everyone we shared with expressed the same worry and were glad we had made this decision.
As we looked for houses one seemed to stand out. We went to see it, a neighbor of Val and Roger is related to the owner and got the keys to show it to us. Though it was a bit untidy from the former renters we saw the potential and arranged to meet the owner on the first of September at the house. It turns out she is a sister in Christ and believed God sent us as an answer to prayer. What a loving Father to provide for all of us in this way. So Spring plans turned into Autumn plans and the move began.
God provided a large covered trailer for us, at no cost, by our dear friend, Levi. We managed in about ten days to get the bulk moved and with Roger and Val’s help we are in and close to being sorted. Much remains for fine tuning but we are happily liveable. I am going to swallow my ‘house proud’ self and show you pictures.
Stairs to 3 bedrooms and potential i/2 bath
- The breakfast nook (room for my fussy English friends) Those doors are to a grand shelved storage cupboard.
- Living room with Ian’s project on the IKEA coffee table and no new covers on the sofa and chair, yet.
- Ian looking out our kitchen window, the door at he end is our walk in storage cupboard. All small kitchen appliances are stored here, hurray!
I have not shown the bedrooms though I may do so in the next post. Our bedroom is large enough to do ballroom dancing in. even furnished. Haven’t done it yet but Ian is very good at the two step so may try it.
Our lives are different and we are once again waiting, listening and encouraging as we see where God might involve us here in the village. We have managed to change our address with immigration, register with a new doctor, connect very well with our new Internet provider, the electric company and hopefully soon find out how to get the readings and billing sorted with the water company Oh yes, and of course sort out the banks. A few more of those things yet to do. No desire to move again, please Lord. Next post I will talk about the work Ian has done outside.
On a final note you may wonder where our sheep have gone. We gave the bulk of our flock to a dear friend who is getting her own farm up and going. We will get some lambs for the freezer over the next two years in exchange. We are hoping for a rental of the farm leading to ownership by a young friend of ours with the farm. God is in control and we wait His movement. We have loaned our farm machinery to the same people with our sheep. We still have items to move from the farm but the bulk is done. That was a special time, sometimes hard but we learned much and were blessed. It is nice to have wood fired central heating and generous space around us plus the nearness of good friends. We hope you will continue to stay with us: Ian, Kathleen, Saulite and Lass on our new adventure including landscaping, village life and FISHING, in the nearby river.
We along with the earth exhale a collective sigh. We are warmer and rejoicing over the welcome placards of Spring.
A neighbor visits
The storks are back and daily visiting for meals. God has been doing watercolors and the fields are now much greener.
A gift from Andris and his mom, our neighbors down the road a bit.
We had a lovely Easter. Hope you did as well. By the way, the cake was delicious.
Church decoration Easter
We went to church at the Baptist Church in Madona and then out for a bit of lunch.
Of course with Spring comes the usual increase of work. Ground must be tilled and the continuing jobs of restoring and renewing the land, making it truly our home.
We moved the greenhouse to a more southern exposure and with that began to centralize our fruit bushes and trees. The required beds needed digging and then planting, so all hands to the pump, as they say.
Transplanted strawberry bed.
On the right you can see our transplanted strawberry bed. We will add another one later but we must move a large pile of logs first. Always something.
Rose bed gets a new fence
Of course some things need additions this year as we have energetic animals about. This bed next to the house needed protection as it was becoming a through street for dog and cat travel. It also received a gift from the sheep of a soil enriching nature. We are seeing spring bulbs poking through here so the feeding must have been helpful to them, too.
The bistro set is in place, let the outdoor season begin. In the future there will be flowers here both in the pots and on the table. We will eventually add a deck along the side and across the front but pennies are lacking this year. So we make pretty what we have and are thankful.
St. George's Day is honored
Today as I write this it is the 23rd of April, St. George’s Day. We fly the flag and promote conversations. We now have plans for three flag poles to be placed behind the rose garden near the chapel. There we will fly Latvian, English and American flags on the appropriate days. Probably the Latvian flag will fly constantly. Keeping up with their flag honoring days is quite a task as there are several. This new land remembers many sad days as well as good days. On July 4 the Latvian flag is flown to remember Latvia’s Holocaust and of course the American flag flies to remember her birthday. No English flag will fly that day, hmm wonder why?
Waiting for my master who left me behind, oh woe is me
Lass is growing, can you tell? She is a bit sad in this picture as Ian has gone off in the car and left her. There was no room as he was taking the neighbors into the village. Isn’t she pretty, though?
"You can't see me"
I see you now
"Don't you think this basket fits me well?"
She took comfort climbing into the kindling basket but she won’t be able to do that for very long as she continues to grow.
We have no sheep or turkey pictures today but we are happy to report we have 18 eggs from two turkey hens with more expected from the second hen. We are starting to clear the area for their yard and one fence post is ready as is the hole for it to be put up. If we get the pasture fencing up by the end of the week the sheep should make lovely pictures for the next blog.
The bum end of the deal
Okay a few sheep even lambs. So cute, I couldn’t resist.
I love my friend.
Lass is well on her way in the growth department.
"Am I grown up, yet?"
When we brought Lass home she weighed 3.83 kilos. That was the 26th of January. On the 25th of February at the vets she weighed 6.5 kilos. In the picture above Ian was weighing her to know how much worm medicine she should have. She is growing so quickly but still all puppy. She continues to grapple with the potty training but she is making great strides. Her intelligence is a marvel to observe. She is the observant one. She goes with Ian out to the farm yard and when he lets the sheep out, he keeps her on the outside. She doesn’t bark but goes around the perimeter fence watching the sheep, especially the lambs. Just a bit ago, she and Ian were in the farmyard. Ian was forking hay and moving it from one place to another. She was ‘helping’ by grabbing a mouth full and starting her own pile. She was joyfully racing around inside the yard, exploring every corner and just loving to be with the shepherd. She gives us such joy and the medicine is working.
"I only want to play."
The relationship between the two ‘girls’ is also progressing. Though if you ask Saulite, she probably would tilt her little pert nose and say ‘harrumph.’ They play inside and outside, “I dare you.” Saulite trots down the hallway and looks back at Lass, “Are you coming?” Lass takes off at a dead run for it and skids to a stop in front of Saulite then the cat bats at the dog and the dog runs away and the cat follows. Another version happened this morning. Saulite sashayed past Lass went only half way down the hall and looked back. Lass looked at her and plopped down by my feet, as if to say, “Not now, thank you.” Saulite waited patiently but Lass never moved. The cat sashayed back toward the living room, same result. One confused cat; one smug dog.
Lass has primary control of the house now except for our bedroom, this is Saulite’s territory. She sleeps with us and gets extra cuddling before the lights go out. Lass has her bed, toys and dishes in the kitchen with the help of homemade baby gates. Her original cardboard box bed is on its way out. She has grown so much.
Speaking of growing our sheep flock is up to 14.
We had three sets of twins and two singles. Sadly, we lost one of the twins you see here. He was laid on during the night. We tried to save him, I nursed him with a bottle by the wood stove but as I held him I asked the Good Shepherd that His will be done. A few hours later the lamb slipped quietly away. We are very thankful for our crop of lambs this year. We think we are done now; unless there is a late birth by a yearling. No nesting signs from our turkeys yet but it is still very early.
The weather. We have some.
February on Kalnozoli
This is a frosted scene. It is now starting to thaw and melt. We are seeing day time temperatures above freezing and even night time barely below freezing. We are not doing Spring dances yet for snow is still possible in April. We have had thaw and snow days one after the other for variety.
On a personal note this has been a mild winter with the weather but a hard winter on both of us. We are both acknowledging our aging processes and we don’t like it! If someone has a horse ranch on a lake in Arizona, Ian would like a job, ha ha. Yes, he is talented with horses as well as sheep, cows and pigs. The lake is for me, I dream of living in view of water. No mud puddles, please.
Of course we only go where God leads and for now this is the place, maybe for always. I am writing again and waiting to hear how He directs with that. Maybe soon we can be back inside the chapel. We have been attending church in Madona more frequently and helped welcome a Dutch team a few weeks ago. For several years a church in Holland has provided aid and help to give out that aid from the Madona Church. On the Monday they came we helped fill bags with needed food stuffs. Several hundred homes were contacted and love gifts gratefully received. Many visitors came to church the following Sunday. We are encouraged. There will be additional follow-up throughout the year.
Where God leads.
Not the three kings of Orient Are.
Saying “good bye” to our goat family. With the increase in the sheep flock we needed the space in their shed so we gave our goat family (including 2 pregnant females) to our friends, Santa and Kalle. Santa milks her goats and makes wonderful cheese. We hope she get two sets of twins out of these goats and that our billy gives her many, many more.
67 but who is counting?
This was the surprise I received on the 25th, one day BEFORE my birthday. Ian took Lass to the vets and came home with this apologizing that he couldn’t keep it until the next day for my actual birthday. I was so thrilled and other than put the flowers in water, touched nothing until the next day. One of the things that brings me great joy on this earth is cut flowers, especially roses.
The day following my birthday I received an orchid plant and then there was the special phone call from other dear friends. They had their Sunday Club sing “Happy Birthday” over the phone on the day. So many sent greetings via the Internet.
As a dear friend of mine says, “I am loved and I am well loved.”