The Old Year!
Without the Savior this life is a puzzle
Of shattered hopes and dreams;
An unfinished picture with ill-fitting pieces
To add to the meaningless scene.
Hearts that are broken by Him who has spoken,
Will understand His will;
Jesus stands ready to fit all the pieces.
He bids us to trust and be still.
Broken and blessed when He does the mending,
And fit for service true;
Contrite and willing, all to His glory;
A picture completely new.
Perfectly broken, this is God’s plan;
Perfectly broken by an unseen hand;
Return all the pieces, your heart and soul,
Be perfectly broken, perfectly whole.
Levi and Lydia were having some fun sledding today in spite of the cold. A pretty strong wind was blowing adding to the chill. I went out for a little while, but decided pretty quickly it was much warmer in the house! Yesterday was really warm...all the snow and ice was melting but it froze again during the night, giving the snow a hard crust.
I visited the horses while I was outside. Lena's belly is still growing. She's getting pretty chubby. I tried to give some attention to each of the horses but Bannie was so jealous he would hardly let the others get anywhere near me!
I go for my cat scan tomorrow. I'll find out the results sometime in January.
We're still busy working on the auction but since we've decided to push it back a week, we have a bit more time to finish it.
I haven't heard back from my editors yet but I wasn't really expecting to with the holidays and all. Probably the first or second week of January I should hear something.
Come, Ye Disconsolate
Come, Ye Disconsolate
Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish,
Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel;
Here bring your wounded hearts,
Here tell your anguish;
Earth has no sorrow that heav’n cannot heal.
Joy of the desolate, light of the straying,
Hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure;
Here speaks the Comforter, tenderly saying,
Earth has no sorrow that heav’n cannot cure.
Here see the bread of life, see waters flowing
Forth from the throne of God, pure from above;
Come to the feast of love; come, ever knowing,
Earth has no sorrow but heav’n can remove:
Earth has no sorrow but heav’n can remove.
Recipe: Potato Soup
Boil five or six potatoes with one diced medium onion (leftover potatoes would work too. I've used mashed potatoes before)
In another pan, melt 3 T. butter and mix in 5 T. flour
Add 1 C. potato water, 1 C. plain water and 1 1/4 C. milk
Mix thoroughly with a whisk.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly
Add parsley, salt, pepper to taste. I also added celery salt. You could add celery flakes or fresh celery leaves. You could also add frozen corn and other vegetables. This is a great appetizer.
My aunt Cathy sent me these pictures and story in an email...I found it very interesting so I thought I would share it with all of you! Look at the pictures, then read the story at the bottom.
God's Wings .....
After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park , forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno's damage.
One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree.
Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he gently struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother's wings.
The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise. She could have flown to safety but had refused to abandon her babies.
Then the blaze had arrived and the heat had scorched her small body, the mother had remained steadfast....because she had been willing to die, so those under the cover of her wings would live.
All through yesterday and into last night it snowed pretty steadily and we got several inches. There has been no relief from the cold so the ice is still here, coating everything and covered in snow. The roads are still pretty bad and trees are falling every where, the weight of the snow and ice is too much for them and when you add wind on top of it...something has to give! We've had a little bit of sunshine off and on since the ice storm and that makes for some fun pictures!!
Lots of people have been out of power by us. Some of them are still out. We were out for awhile, but it came back on fairly quickly. Up until yesterday our internet was hit or miss but it seems to be pretty steady now.
I've been working on my third book quite a bit and it's coming along nicely. I'm on chapter nine: Rescued. I changed things up a bit...chapter 7 has been changed to Unexpected Encounter, chapter 8 is Kidnapped and of course, chapter 9 is Rescued. I'm having a lot of fun with this part of the book. The plot is very exciting and action packed...just the way I like it!! I haven't read any of it out loud to my siblings in quite awhile and Levi and Lydia have been asking eagerly.
We've been busy working at the auction hall getting the next auction pictured and ready to go. We were going to have it the second week in January, but it looks like it will be the third week now.
I'll be posting a recipe tomorrow or the next day...Stay warm!!
Light of the World
Light of the World
Light of the world, you stepped down into darkness,
Open my eyes, let me see,
Beauty that made this heart adore you,
Hope of a life spent with you.
King of all days, so highly exalted,
Glorious in heaven above.
Humbly you came to the earth you created,
All for life's sake became poor.
I'll never know how much it cost,
To see my sin upon that cross.
I'll never know how much it cost,
To see my sin upon that cross.
Light of the world, you stepped down into darkness,
Open my eyes, let me see....
And here I am to worship,
Here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that, You're my God.
You're altogether lovely,
Altogether wonderful to me.
Today was my 18th birthday! Mom and Dad did a lot to make this day special. I had a great party with Grandma, Grandpa, my great aunt Marilyn and my friend Kristina. I got WAY too many gifts! I collect opalescent glassware and Grandma got me a lovely bowl for my collection. I also collect red and white speckleware and I got many pieces of this to add to my growing assortment. Seth wrapped his gift...a gift card...in about twenty layers of wrapping paper and plastic bags. This caused much merriment as I spent several minutes trying to reach the gift! We ate plenty of cake and ice cream and had a good time. Mom and Lydia made me three beautiful heart shaped cakes...we'll be eating cake for a long time!
Below are pictures of my party and some of the ice as the sun was shining on it this afternoon.
This is My Song to Thee
This is My Song to Thee
I see the sunrise, reflecting off the dew,
The tiny prisms, sing out a song of You.
I see the river, awash in dazzling spray,
All nature worships, the One who made the day.
The crash of thunder, resounds across the hills,
And awe of You, Lord, within my heart instills.
The vibrant meadow, aglow in vibrant bloom,
May I reflect them, whose simple theme is You.
Just simple harp strings, brought forth a melody:
The little shepard, he sang his song to Thee.
No symphony to sing, just a song on silver wing:
Oh, Lord how lovely, the humble song to Thee.
So here's my song to Thee, Oh God of majesty.
Though I can't even sing, like a lowly sparrow.
My trembling voice I raise, I want to join the praise.
I lift my joyful soul, the one that You made whole.
We woke up to an ice coated world this morning and no power! Branches are breaking off everywhere and littering the driveways and yard. The ground is one solid sheet of ice and the roads are treacherous. Right now we're hooked up to the generator. Looks like we could be out of power for several days. The ice is beautiful, but dangerous too. I went outside to get the pictures below and I had to be careful where I stepped. Usually a trip or fall would be no big deal, but I'm not supposed to jar my back so I had to break the ice with my heel to get to the snow beneath so I wouldn't slip.
The horses are on a cement barnyard for the winter and that can get slick sometimes. This morning as Mom was changing out their wet blankets for dry ones, a bunch of snow and ice slid off the barn roof and spooked all the horses except for Lena. Maggie took off, then slipped and wiped out on her side. Bannie has done that a few times when I was lunging him in the winter. Since Smoke has to have front shoes all the time because of a crack in her left front foot, our farrier dipped her shoes in some stuff that will grip the cement so she won't slip.
In spite of the ice and snow, its fairly warm outside. It's starting to melt slightly. I was really comfortable when I went out. Not too cold, but not too warm. It's about 32 degrees right now.
Well, I'm going to work on my third book for awhile now. I'm still on Chapter 8 right now, but I'm hoping to finish it today or tomorrow. We'll see if it actually happens or not.
Winter Fest Party
Since we don't celebrate a traditional form of Christmas but still want to enjoy special things associated with the winter season. we decided to celebrate with Winter Fest Parties! Dad came up with this idea. Every week or every other week from December through February we'll do something special together as a family to cheer the gray months of winter. Tonight we got some specialty cheeses, turkey and beef summer sausage and crackers and had a fun snack together. The boys told some funny jokes and proceeded to eat twice as much as the rest of us. I sampled everything, but my brace doesn't allow me to eat very much!
The ice storm has only grazed us so far but it is still heading our way. The roads will be awful by morning.
The cats were in the house again today...they are a lot of fun. They think they have the run of the place. Ranger is still suspicious of them and sneaks around whenever they're in here. He spent most of today sleeping on Seth's bed. Below are some pictures of our Winter Fest Party and of the kittens.
Well, not real diamonds! These are the inexpensive kind that are free for all! Little frozen droplets that sparkle and glitter in the light. They are just as beautiful as real diamonds I think!
It warmed up slightly yesterday...just enough to let it rain and then it froze again. The roads were pretty slick. The rain froze on the trees and bushes providing some lovely subjects to shoot! Below are some of the pictures I got this morning and one of my favorite songs.
The weather is supposed to stay gray and wet for the next week. This afternoon a huge storm is supposed to hit. Those kinds of storm are always beautiful, but dangerous. It's supposed to last through Sunday I believe. Next week it's supposed to alternately rain and snow. The horses blankets were soaked yesterday morning so Mom took them off and put them in the basement by the woodstove to dry. Hopefully they're dry enough to be put back on before the storm hits.
We had an Amish farrier out to trim the horses hooves and he said Lena definitely looks pregnant but he said she could wait to have the baby until March. Her belly isn't expanding as fast anymore...the baby must have had a growth spurt! She's still plenty chubby and if she does wait until march...she'll be pretty big by that time!
Winter is officially here! Today is the first day of winter...hurrah!
My Jesus has Broad Shoulders
I took a long, long walk by the river,
Had a quiet peaceful talk with my Lord.
He found my heart heavy with troubles,
But our talk seemed to lighten my load.
Now its true that I still have some trouble,
But since Jesus and I had our talk,
I've found peace of mind and contentment,
I'm so glad in his presance to walk.
So I'll keep on the right road to heaven,
For the way that he showed me is clear.
And no matter what happens tomorrow,
If I know Him, I know he'll be there.
My Jesus has broad shoulders,
His back is stronger than mine.
He was there the first time I called Him,
He'll be there any place any time.
Recipe: Oatmeal Cookies
These are delicious cookies and the best part is...they're sugar-free!!! The chocolate chips add a tiny bit of sugar. These taste great and you can't tell that they are made with honey instead of sugar.
Six unbeaten eggs
4 T. milk, 4 tsp. vanilla(I use less) and 2 C. (or 4 sticks) butter melted
Add 1 1/2 C. Honey and mix well
Stir in 2 tsp. salt, 4 tsp. baking powder and 2 tsp. baking soda
Add 4 C. flour
Mix in 6 C. oatmeal
Add 2 C. chocolate chips (opt.) You could use raisins instead.
Stir together well
Drop by tablespoon full onto cookie sheet.
Bake for approx. 12 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove from trays and cool on wire racks or paper bags.
Be Thou My Vision
Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought by day or by night
Waking or sleeping Thy presence my light
Be thou my wisdom and Thou my true word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I , Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one
Riches I heed not nor man's empty praise
Thou mine inheritance now and always
Thou and thou only first in my heart
High King of heaven my treasure Thou are
High King of heaven my victory won
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun
Heart of my own heart whatever befall
Still be my vision O Ruler of all
Blood Draw Potluck
Yeah, I know, strange name for a post, but it's true! My friend Kristina is taking classes to become a medic assistant and she and her class mates have to have 50 blood draws before they can complete the class. So last night, the students put on a potluck and anyone could volunteer to let the students practice on them. Several of Kristina's siblings went and so did me, Mom and Lydia. With all of us, she had exactly her 50 blood draws. It was Lydia's first time getting her blood drawn so she was a little nervous, but she did fine. The last two pictures are of Kristina's little sister Blessing. It was her first draw also. We had a good time visiting. Kristina worked at the auction hall with us today and she will again on Friday.
Our project this week is cleaning the house....we worked on it some yesterday but we had to be at the auction hall today. We'll all be home tomorrow, but Friday me and Dad will go work at the hall while the others stay at home and catch up on some stuff here.
I'm up to page 58 in my third book...the climax is building...it's so exciting! I know, I'm the one writing it and I'm saying it's so exciting, but really, you can get worked up over your own story! I just got over a major writers block...it's great to be able to write again.
I'll be putting up another recipe sometime tomorrow so stay posted!
Recipe: Tomato Soup
Here's another one of our favorite recipes. This my favorite soup. Great for snacking and warming up on a cold winter evening!
Sauté one small onion in about 2 T. olive oil until onions are clear
Take off heat and add to onions: 3 T. flour, 2 tsp. sugar, 1 tsp. salt and pepper, basil, celery, parsley flakes, oregano and any other spices you can think of! (You may need to add a touch of water to make a paste)
Add one fifteen ounce can of sauce and about 7 1/2 ounces of water. (You can also use 2 C. tomato juice) Bring to a boil then remove from heat.
Add 2 C. cold milk. Heat almost to boiling and serve.
After the Storm
After the storm which had lasted several days there was a beautiful calm yesterday. It was bitterly cold but the sun was shining and the snow was gorgeous! The animals had ventured forth again and offered me quite a few opportunities to capture their beauty! I've never been very successful at photographing birds but I was able to get some good shots yesterday. Winter is the best time to picture birds, at least in my opinion, because the leaves are off the bushes and trees which gives me a clearer view and better chances for a great shot. I was pleased to find a woodpecker in a large maple tree right out our back door! He hung around for a few minutes, but a difficult subject as he kept facing away from me and branched kept getting in between him and the camera!
Today looks like it will be cold and gray. Everything is starting to get that cheery, cozy "winter" feel!
When I named this post, it seemed to me I had heard a of a song by that name somewhere so I looked it up. I've never heard the exact song I found by Doug Williams but the words are great. Jeffrey Michael has an album called After the Storm and I think that's what I was thinking of....The words to this song are really good though.
After the Storm
After the storm has come and gone,
After the wind has already blown,
After the clouds have cleared the sky,
God's going to wipe these tears from my eyes
After the storm.
There have been days when I hurt so bad,
The load on my shoulder seems
Much more than I could stand;
And there have been times when the pain inside
Was so severe, I just sit alone and cry.
Then a voice spoke to me,
It was ever so gently saying,
You're going to make it through
The storm hovering over you.
These heartaches I feel are just temporary,
The storm is passing over,
I see the sun breaking through the clouds.
There's a new day coming and it won't be long,
There'll be a rainbow in the sky,
I'll have a brand new song,
I'll shout my troubles over
And rejoice in victory,
I'm going to sail on peaceful shore,
There'll be a brighter day for me.
I've got to keep my head up high,
No matter how hard it seems;
I've gotta keep on pressin' my way,
Though the road's been rough for me.
Said I will not, I shall not,
I just can't give up the race,
God is on my side.
It's gonna be alright,
The storm has come and gone.
Recipe: Molasses Cookies
I thought it would be interesting to post some recipes with a step by step picture guide. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did making it!
Molasses Drop Cookies
Mix together 1 C. butter(or two sticks), 2 C. molasses and 1 1/2 C. milk
Add 1 1/2 C. sugar(white or brown)
Add two eggs
Mix all together well
Add 3 tsp. baking soda and 1 tsp. each of ginger, cinnamon and salt & mix.
Add 6 C. flour
Stir to make thick batter
Drop by tablespoon onto greased cookie sheet
Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes (More if you like your cookies more on the firmer side)
Remove from oven and cool on wire racks or paper bags.
Lotter Family Letter 2013
Every year right around this time Mom writes a family update letter to let our family and friends know what's been happening at the Lotter Funny Farm as she likes to call it. Click Here to read the Lotter Family Letter for 2013.
It's still snowing!!! There's quite a bit of snow on the ground and it's still falling pretty steadily. The flakes are large and soft....can't make a snowman yet! We need it to melt a little first.
Three of the horses are snug under their blankets...Bannie is so chubby he's got a nice layer of insulation!
We had the new kitties in the house again today for a little while. Waldo is getting more friendly....Tiny is quite a character. She loves the mouse on the string that used to be Ranger's toy, but he doesn't play with it anymore. We left Ranger loose this time and he was terrified of Waldo and Tiny! He'd sniff noses with them, then run away! Waldo loves to be cuddled, but Tiny would rather run and play. They're a lot of fun to watch. Ranger is two and pretty much out of the playing faze. We recently gave him the plastic ring from a milk jug and he has been playing with that. I think he's bored. He's been staying in because...oh it's so cold out! Mostly he sleeps me or Seth's bed...sometimes burrowing under the covers if he's really cold.
I have to finish writing an author bio for my book, then it will be ready to go in. Hopefully sometimes this week I'll get it sent off.
I still don't have a title for the 8th chapter of the third book. I'm hoping to work on it some later today....but I have a very exciting mystery story awaiting me...so writing may just have to wait! As I write this, all three of my siblings are scattered around the living room, each reading a different Hardy Boy Mystery. Another one is calling my name from the bookshelf!
I think I'll make myself a cup of coffee and curl up with a book!
Welcome to the Family!
Believe it or not Dad agreed to two new cats! On Thursday we went to pick up some stuff for the goats at a farm near us and they had some kittens they wanted to get rid of...Mom and Lydia were taken instantly.
Amazingly, Dad said yes, so off they went today and returned with two bundles of fur, Waldo, the Siamese and Tiny, the tabby. They are cute, especially Waldo. He's the shyer of the two, but I think he'll come around. We had them inside for awhile, long enough to get some good pictures, but now Mom is settling them into a cage out in the goat barn. No more inside cats!
While we were playing with them...we locked Ranger in the bedroom because he gets jealous whenever we bring other cats inside. He kept rattling the door and sticking his paws underneath trying to get it open. When we put the two cats back in their cage, we let him out and he just stared and stared, trying to decide what to make of them! When he finally got the courage to walk up to the pet carrier, he took a couple of sniffs and ran away! Such a wimpy cat! He's much happier now that they are outside.
We got quite a bit of snow since last night. It's pretty deep. Levi and Lydia were outside sledding for awhile, but the boys are off hunting right now. I've put a picture of Seth's European mount below. That's the five point buck he got on opening day.
My friend Kristina started working for us yesterday at the auction hall. After work, we went to Wal-Mart to pick out some material for new dresses for me, Mom and Lydia. We found a material that Kristina has a tunic in(it's kind of like a long blouse) so I got it for a dress so we'll match! She's going to help me make it.
Either later today or tomorrow afternoon I hope to get out to take some pictures of the snow. It's so nice to see a blanket of white outside. The pine trees look especially nice coated with delicate white crystals.
I'm sitting in the living room in my chair to write this and it feels like I'm in a snow globe! The snow is coming down steadily in big fluffy flakes. The scene out my window really could be a snow globe! The woods and meadows look lovely.
I guess I should stop talking about how nice it looks and get out to get some pictures so you can enjoy it too!
I was having some fun with the camera yesterday! Below are some of the subjects I was shooting.
You'll see a picture of the third book....the rough draft. I was working on it last night and started chapter 8. I don't have a title for it yet...but it's going to be a suspense packed chapter!!!
The oldest daughter of a family we know has started a blog/website where she post the poetry she writes and some lovely pictures. If you'd like to check it out, the web address is: http://hoperefined.com/
The kids have been playing a game called Drive Green. It's a tractor game where you have to plow, plant and harvest the fields of your neighbors in order to earn Deer Dollars so you can buy equipment to work your own fields. It's a fun game and I enjoy playing it too. Our uncle, Chet, got it for us a year or so ago and we've had lots of fun with it.
Well, we have some doctor appointments this afternoon and I still have a few things to do before we leave.
Enjoy this winter season!
Wind & Snow Welcome Here!
It started snowing last night and it's still coming down pretty steadily. There's not a whole lot on the ground yet, just enough to cover it. It's been very cold....under twenty most of the last few days. I'm enjoying looking at it and hoping to get out for a walk later. It's been a busy week. We had take in for the auction all week, then Friday I went over to my friend, Kristina's house for a short visit to give her birthday present as her birthday was Saturday. I actually spent the night at her house Saturday night and went to church with them on Sunday. I had a fun time and enjoyed getting to cuddle some adorable babies! Kristina and I had fun doing silly girl things and talking incessantly! We were sleeping in the basement and were talking in the dark when suddenly her phone started ringing. She screamed and threw herself at me, I screamed and grabbed her shoulders trying to hold her back! We had a good time. Saturday was Grandpa's birthday too. I made him a cheesecake before I went to Kristina's. The others went over to give him their gifts and cards after I was at Kristina's. He and Grandma had a cabin built near their house. I'll post pictures when I get a chance to get over there and take some. Seth got another deer Friday night. A big doe. One of our upright freezers is full of meat now. Nine deer since the beginning of the season! That's quite a few! A boy we know, David, was in the hospital for several days with appendicitis. We are going to get together a sunshine box for him and send it to church with Kristina. I know he'll enjoy it. He's been quite sick. The next couple weeks are going to be busy getting ready for the auction. Dad's bringing in another estate this week I believe, but he said it's not one that needs a lot of sorting, so it will be mainly tagging and picturing now. It'll be crazy as usual! Lauren
Today we moved the cows over from Grandpa's to our side of the road. Not really a cattle drive...considering there were only three cows!!! They behaved themselves and it went smoothly.
We didn't end up going to the rabbit/horse show because....it was LAST weekend! When we went last year, they told us it was always Thanksgiving weekend....guess it isn't always that weekend!! Oh well, we'll probably go next year.
I finished editing my book yesterday...now I've got to get everything put together and get it sent off.
We've had some unexpected warm weather after a cold snap. It was nice to be able to go out with only a jacket on. I got some pictures of the horses with their blankets off yesterday...Lena is looking bigger than ever.
The goats are getting chubby too. Shouldn't be too much longer before we have babies. Libby is getting really big. Grandpa's sheep should start lambing soon. Can't wait to take pictures of those cuddly little things!
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