Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter on the Farm, Some Knitting Progress, and Thoughts

It has been a beautiful Easter day at our farm. It has been clear and very warm for this time of the the low to mid 90's.

The Purple Martins have been busy with nest building and feeding. The Bluebirds have been busily tending their young, feeding and guarding, and being a living example of excellent parents.

In the photo above, you can see the father Bluebird guarding the entrance to the nestbox containing his 5 youngsters. They are pictured below.

The younger clutch of Bluebirds are also growing and doing very well, as seen below.

The reason that the picture of the younger Bluebirds is blurry, is because of their extremely protective parents. I must check this nestbox *very* quickly for the reason as seen below:

Yes, the parent Bluebirds are taking turns divebombing my head. (They've never made physical contact, but have come close enough to make me think that they would!) These Bluebird parents are constantly vigilent in providing for their young...just as our Heavenly Father cares for and watches out over us.

Some Knitting Progress

I haven't accomplished much knitting this past week, but have done a little. The Trellis Scarf is continuing to grow, slowly but surely. It has progressed slowly only because I haven't been feeling very well, but I'm improving...and my knitting needles are itching to get busy again. : )

Here's an updated picture of the Trellis Scarf:


In my nursing career I worked in several specialty areas. While working in a very large surgery department, I was blessed with working with a very talented and wise surgeon. Of the many things he shared with those of us that worked with him, I will always remember him advising us to never confuse *who we are* with *what we do*. He was encouraging each of us to not determine our own self worth basded upon our careers. He was preparing for retirement and sharing with us that we each had value far beyond what we did while working.

Many years later when I became quite ill and no longer able to continue working, I often remembered Dr. Hawley's words. It actually took me a few years to fully comprehend, understand, and realize our worth does not lie in our job performance. Our value is far beyond our own comprehension, and high enough that our Lord died for us, in our stead, so that we could have a direct relationship with our Heavenly Father. It isn't dependednt on our works. It is a free gift from the Lord...we only need to accept it.

I find that some of the most important things that we can *do* is to offer a smile, an encouraging word, a hug, a note, a prayer, a gift of friendship to someone with a heavy heart. This is what I appreciate most and what turns a heavy heart into a thankful and smiling heart.

My prayer for each of you this week is that you will know your worth and value in the Lord's eyes. And, that when the choice arises, that you will choose to follow Him and give freely of your smiles, hugs, and words of encouragement. Your heart will be blessed beyond measure. And, I am praying that you will understand the directions given by the Lord in his Word are not to be harsh or restricting, but rather as loving guidance and direction offered by a loving and caring parent that only wants the very best for His children. Just as we advise our own children to stay away from heat sources or busy streets, so He advises us through His Word...because He wants the very best for us and for us to be safe and avoid dangers.

Your Friend,


P.S. I want to say a huge and heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone that commented, sent emails, or called this past week. You have blessed me bountifully and I am truly very thankful for each one of you.

The Bible passage that I'm sharing today was sent to me by my very dear online friend, Lois. Thank you so very much, Lois!


Psalm 121

A song of ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Puppies Growing, Bluebirds Hatching, Computer Working Again, A Bit of Struggling, and Prayer

Yes, the puppies are growing and doing extremely well! : ) I think we have found homes for 3, maybe 4 of them, already...and really good homes, too. They are just over a week old, so I'm hoping that we will have found really good homes for each of them by the time they are ready to adopt.

Strudel, dachshund mommy deluxe, is finally able to sleep all night long without needing to go outside. Yea! She seems happy and is now able to get more rest in between feedings of the 7 puppies.

In the next week we should begin to see some little eyes opening and start to tell which of the puppies will be smooth or long coated. They are adorable, indeed!

Eastern Bluebirds Hatching

The nestbox above has a clutch of 5 baby Eastern Bluebirds that hatched last week. This nestbox has extra predator protection with various guards. It is located near our front pond. It is a location that the Bluebirds love, but the nearness to the pond makes it necessary to protect it more than usual from predators.

The young Eastern Bluebirds are all doing great and growing rapidly. They are pictured below, although not all 5 of them showed their little smiles for the picture.

We have another clutch of Eastern Bluebird babies that began hatching yesterday afternoon (4-10-06). There is still one egg to hatch, so we will be watching for one additional arrival. They are so very tiny when they hatch that it is surely a miracle that they do so well. Their parents are very devoted and give their constant attention to their young. It is a bit risky looking inside the nestbox with Mom and Dad Bluebird divebombing my head! I make the nestbox inspections quick! : )

Below is an additional picture of the newest hatchlings. One of the little ones was asking to be fed so I closed the nestbox and let the parents get back to caring for their babies.

Computer Working Again Thanks to Zach

Yes, my computer went belly up, yet again! My *registry* died. And that wasn't the only problem. I finally caved and swallowed my techno pride (what a joke) and took my ailing and non-functioning computer to Zach. He successfully diagnosed, repaired, and resurrected my Dell Laptop. It was necessary to reinstall the Operating System and all my programs. Zach was able to save nearly every bit of my information. THANK YOU ZACH!

So, computer problems partially explain my most recent absence from regular posting.


The other reason for my absence from regular posting has been health issues. I've been on steroid dosages that are extremely high for a human expected to continue to function in real life. These high dosages were necessitated by an investigational drug protocol in which I am participating.

High dosage steroids can do some very odd things and make life a bit unpleasant. Mood swings, night sweats, inability to sleep, incredible swelling (now we're talking Olympic level swelling of face and upper arms), high blood pressure, uncontrollable appetite and many other side effects. I haven't missed out on any of these.

I'm slowly having the steroid (Prednisone) dosage lowered, and am currently at an almost human dosage. The Prednisone is necessary to help offset the possible side effects of the study drug, Rituxan. I am hoping to be off of the Prednisone entirely by the end of summer. If not, I may have stretch marks on my ever-growing cheeks by then! : )

I'm doing my best to stay positive and not get discouraged when I have to add yet another medication....or when I catch a glance of myself in a mirror. As soon as I'm off the steroids, I'm running, not walking, to Weight Watchers! I had excellent success with Weight Watchers a couple of years ago, and now with the medications of late, I've gained it all back, and then some. I don't need to be a size 2 and look like an 18 year old, but somewhere less than the Michelin Man would be nice. : )

I don't mean to sound negative. I think I'm just really tired...and tired of being tired. I realize that I am blessed beyond measure and I know who holds the reins of my life. All I need to do is look out the windows at the greening trees, blooming flowers, and abundant wildlife....and my heart is filled with joy. I'm working on getting the rest of me to *catch up*. : )


Please continue to pray for Susan and Will in the battles against cancer. I'd also ask this week that you pray for the children of CIC. These children have very little and your prayers may make a huge difference in their lives. Also, please consider donating in some way to the efforts of CIC.

I pray that you have a wonderful week that draws you closer to the Lord each day.

Your Friend,



Romans 12: 11-13
11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Dachshund Puppies....Lots and Lots of Dachshund Puppies!

As you can see, Strudel is an excellent mother to her new litter of puppies. : )

The first puppy arrived at 11:45 PM last night. We continued to have puppies arrive about every 15 or 20 minutes until all *8* had been born. Yes, *8*!

Strudel did excellently throughout the deliveries. She welcomed the arrival of 4 black and tan boys and 4 black and tan girls.

I am very sad to report that one of the little males didn't make it. He was born with a severe cleft palate and passed away early this morning. We buried him today.

But, all the others are vigorous, nursing well, and doing great! Enjoy the pictures and I'll be posting regular updated pictures of their growth and progress.

Now I think I need another nap. : )

Have a wonderful upcoming week and you remain in my prayers always.

Your Friend,



Job 12: 7 - 8
7 "But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; 8 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Spring Is Springing, CIC Knitting, Puppies Any Minute, Charlie Update and Faith

Spring is appearing slowly but surely here on our farm in Oklahoma. You can see that more green is gradually appearing in the grass and trees. The very old and big Cottonwood tree in the back pasture (large tree in the background of above pic.) has buds that are beginning to become leaves. We've had some rain, but as you can see by the desperately low water level of our front pond, we need much more.

Our Eastern Bluebirds have been very busy and we have 2 complete nests already with the females each setting on eggs. One nestbox has a nest of 5 eggs and another has a completed nest with 4 eggs. We still have several nestboxes waiting for nestbuilding and eggs and I'm sure they will have activity soon.

I always enjoy this time of year. I'm sure I'll be mowing some time this week! Mowing or brushhogging with our tractor is almost as enjoyable for me as knitting. Of course, I'm speaking of a riding lawn mower. And brushhogging with our tractor in the pasture is a great way to spend a day...immediate gratification right behind you, being outside with nature and wildlife, and lots of fresh air.

CIC Knitting

I've finished and mailed my current CIC knitting projects for the challenge that we just completed yesterday. Our CIC Yahoo Group is now starting another challenge for children's vests and sweaters. I love knitting for this cause. If you would care to join in the effort and have a wonderful time while providing warmth for children without families, just join in the Yahoo group at the previous link or email me for more information.

I knitted my first top down, Raglan sweater from Ann Norling's pattern #53 (picture below). It was an enjoyable knit once I figured out that I was beginning with shaping of the back of the neck before knitting in the round. I was pleased with how the little sweater turned out and I hope that it is enjoyed by and provides warmth for the child that will be wearing it. I also say many prayers for the children as I knit these items.

I also completed 3 pairs of fingerless mitts for the caregivers of the children in the orphanages. The winter temperatures *inside* the orphanages are usually in the 40's (F). That's COLD! They have inadequate funding for sufficient heating and equipment to provide adequate heat. CIC is working toward making as many positive changes as possible at these orphanages to benefit the children and those that care for them.

Puppies Any Minute

Yes, we should have Dachshund puppies arriving any minute now. Strudel's temperature has dropped and she has been showing all the signs of delivery within the current 24 hr. period. We're trying our best to keep her as comfortable and calm as possible. And, we're trying to stay calm and comfortable, too. : ) We've been giving full time care to the canines at our home recently! I'll post pictures when the puppies have arrived.

Charlie Update

Charlie is doing very well. His sutures were removed on Wednesday. He seemed very happy to be relieved of the stitches from the left side of his face and eye area. He's adjusted remarkably well to having vision only on his right. He is a wonderful canine friend and we think he has come through this tragedy much better than we thought possible. We'd like to again say *Thank You* to everyone that expressed concern for Charlie.


It isn't easy when trials occur. I often find it most challenging when health challenges really challenge my ability to keep focused on things above and not on the latest physical issue. Side effects from medications have caused the increase or addition of other medicines...and the merry-go-round continues to spin in what seems to be a never ending circle. Or, so it seems from my earthly viewpoint on some days.

I'm sure you can relate even though it may be in a different area of life. Whether it is family relationship difficulties, health issues, financial challenges, or any other area that is keeping your focus on frustration, worry, or feelings of being overwhelmed; just remember who is actually in control. There is not a single event in our lives of which our Heavenly Father is not aware. We are not alone. We need not worry.

We should do what we can and leave the rest in His loving hands. And we should never forget to enjoy every day of our lives and see his handiwork everywhere we look if we keep our eyes open. : )

I'm praying that you have a wonderful week, that your concerns are given over to the Lord, and that you notice His loving care and creativity in many things this week ... and that they all bring a smile to your face and loving warmth to your heart.

Your Friend,


P.S. I'm leaving you with this picture below of some of the Purple Martins coming in to their housing at our farm last evening. The skies fill with circling Martins just as the sun begins to set. It is beautiful and so very calming to watch them float on air currents against the blue sky background. These little ones remind me daily of God's wonderful creativity and love for all things He has created. : )


Psalm 55:22
22 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.

I Peter 5:6-7
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.