why, hello there!

folks, i do apologize for our complete absence from the blog these past few weeks.  with the passing of thanksgiving and the coming of christmas, life is a *go go go* type thing right now.  i wish i hadn’t written that . . . it seems to be a sort of excusable-escape for me.  but, *CHEERS* i have several posts in the draft folder, so you should be seeing some activity soon.  and hey, if you ever get bored with the stagnant blog, check out my instagram page.  i often post photo updates there.

also, for clarification, i did choose to write entirely in lowercase for this post.  why?  variety.  something different for a different day.  it’s wednesday, that’s all.  and i’ve got a roast to cook for dinner, an accounting lesson to watch, an adventure to embark on and a song to sing, so if you’ll pardon my running off, i must be gone.  cheerio!

—->>>> view my instagram life <<<<—-


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Our Annual Family Vacation // Part Two

If you haven’t read part one, click the little smiley face  —>  =)  <—-

If you have read it, I hope I kept you on your toes waiting for part two . . .
Actually, I hope I didn’t, because that was one looong wait, my friends.  Apologies and pardon asked.  Life – enough said.

So, after spending the first couple days together as a family, WEDNESDAY, the anticipated day dawned and began to unfold . . .

The First Day of The Shindig.  Now folks, don’t get alarmed because of the title.  It is an event previously put together by No Greater Joy, the ministry of Michael and Debi Pearl.  We have been blessed by various messages, books and videos from the Pearls and were excited to be able to attend the Shindig.  “Sooooo,” you might be wondering, “what is this Shindig all about?”  The Shindig was basically a week devoted to encouraging families and enabling them to meet other like-minded people.  The Pearls have seen a need among the Christian circle for fellowship with other like-minded families and have also noticed that so many of us are spread out across the country without any way of meeting each other.  Enter, the Shindig.  You register, you go, you meet people, you are encouraged, inspired and convicted by numerous sessions throughout the day given by various speakers and given on a variety of topics.  You get your energy out during the afternoon by running around and participating in your choice of basketball, ping-pong and volleyball, you eat amazing food, you talk and talk and talk.  You join the choir, you jam with anyone who wants to jam along and find some very TALENTED musicians, and you crawl into bed late every night, so thankful to be weary because of the blessings of the day.  That my friends, is the summary of Wednesday through Sunday.
I cannot begin to correctly portray what a blessing it was in my life.  What conviction the Lord wrought in my heart as I listened to stories of those who gave and are giving their lives for Christ and the sake of the Gospel!  And I was inspired, encouraged, to surrender my life wholly and completely to the Lord for Him to use as He see’s fit, whether that’s washing dishes or taking the gospel around the globe.
If you are interested in learning more about the Shindig and viewing media from this past Shindig, I encourage you to visit No Greater Joy and click around!
As for photos {I may upload several videos later for your enjoyment . . . let me know if you are interested :)}  . . . .

A BIG THANK YOU TO THE PLATH FAMILY, NO GREATER JOY AND MANY OTHERS WHO CONTRIBUTED TO THIS COLLECTION OF PHOTOS!

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Favorite Recent Photos & Ponderings

Well folks, I do apologize for our absence from the blog these past few weeks.  Writing several blog posts has definitely been on my mind recently – it just takes a while to transfer the thoughts from my head to my pen, or in this case, my keyboard.  I have also been cleaning through photos because the computer developed issues and to fix it, Dad had to wipe it clean.  Any photos I wanted to save had to been named, filed and then removed from the computer onto the thumb drive.  Being a photographer, I had a lot of photos to clean through :)  I have also been working on compiling photos from several different places to bring you part two of our Annual Family Vacation. {to read part one, go here: —> part one <—}
In the meanwhile, I thought I would share with you several of my recent Instagram photos as well as a recent pondering.

S P E E D & W I N D

S P E E D & W I N D

i love kiddo's.  and he's one of my favorites.

i love kiddo’s. and he’s one of my favorites.

I am so blessed to have reasons to be thankful.  I admit that is has not been the best week.  We were gone over the weekend and though it was a whole lot of fun, we were all sleep deprived.  I cleaned all day Monday for a young mom from church and got home worn out, only to find Kristen sick.  I was in the midst of cleaning up vomit when Elijah came inside and informed me that our goat buck was dead – no known cause, no explanation, and worth a lot – he had been fine that morning.  I was at the end of the rope.  I felt like I had given this week all I had.  I was done.  But God wasn’t.  This morning I woke up discouraged, with the cares of yesterday still on my mind.  On sudden urge, I decided to check a blog I follow – she usually has an encouraging word or two and some beautiful photos.  I wasn’t disappointed.  As I read her words, the tears were involuntary.

 

Autumn Days
Autumn Days

S T O R Y T I M E
S T O R Y T I M E
God’s plans are not always the prettiest.  They are not always the breath of fresh air, the silver lining, the sweetest aroma, or the coziest embrace.  God’s paths are often rocky – they tear and bleed and scratch.  His paths are often cold – we shiver and catch fevers and grow numb.  His paths are often bleak – we cry hard, and hurt deep and misunderstand everything.  His paths are often dark – we trip because we can’t see, get afraid of the blackness, feel incredibly alone.  But His paths always lead us rushing straight to Him.  The rocky paths lead us, banged up and bruised, to Him – the Great Physician.  The cold paths lead us into His warm arms of protection and comfort.  His paths of bleakness lead us to His throne of grace and mercy where He scoops us into His arms of love.  His paths of darkness lead us to His shining light that drives out all the dark and leads us on to perfect, eternal day.  {Allix Ruby}

{sky}
{sky}

~ this girl ~
~ this girl ~

B E D T I M E  S C R I B B L E S
B E D T I M E   S C R I B B L E S

he's literally my favorite.
he’s literally my favorite.

warm n' gooey.
warm n’ gooey.

adorable!
adorable!

And so that, my friend, is what has made me fall on my knees and tearfully praise the Lord.  Because He is good.  He is worthy.  And He is working in my life, through good times, through bad times, through the ups and down and the highs and the lows.

Romans 8:28 {And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose}

 

What simple pleasures have been heaped up on your lap so far today?  Undoubtedly, the greatest is the gift of life  – another morning where you and I woke up healthy, alive, food on the table, numerous reasons to be thankful.  Breathing, living.  Praise the Giver of Life!

 

Our Annual Family Vacation//Part One

For those of you who knew when we went out-of-town for vacation and when we arrived home, it’s probably a shocker to see that it took this long for the posts to make it to the blog! But for those of you who don’t know . . . well, what you don’t know can’t hurt you :)   I could give you an excuse, except that I don’t have one.  Getting a family of twelve back on normal schedule, jumping into the daily grind and catching up on the work around the farm truly is a time-consuming task and while I love blogging, it just doesn’t hit the top of the priority list.  I have also been busy helping a friend build her website – Huzzah! – and that takes most of my spare time.  {But it’s worth it. I can’t wait to share it with you all!}

We have so much for which to thank the Lord.  Our annual vacation was above and beyond all of our hopes and we were blessed with good weather, new friends and so, so many memories.  Praise the Lord!

First, I am going to share photos from our couple days that we spent together as a family, traipsing around Tennessee and North Carolina.  The Smoky Mountains were absolutely gorgeous!

 

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After a long drive and hike, we were rewarded by this tower from which you could look over the Smoky Mountain National Park.  Clingman's Dome was a huge favorite!

After a long drive and hike, we were rewarded by this tower from which you could look over the Smoky Mountain National Park. Clingman’s Dome was a huge favorite!

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We were also able to enjoy a hike which contained three waterfalls one day.  That was a lot of cold water!

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We also took an afternoon to visit Gatlinburg.  While most of us preferred the quiet nature hikes and beautiful mountains, there were a few who enjoyed the sights and sounds of this famous tourist destination.

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We were very incomplete as a family without Joshua.  He had to stay home and study for a college test the first half of the week.  Praise the Lord that he was able to drive down and spend an absolutely amazing and refreshing weekend with us!  What happened?  You’ll have to wait for Part Two!