Saturday, February 14, 2009

First Post of the New Year! (I know, kind of sad) :-)

Hello All! I am so sorry for neglecting to update my blog! Believe it or not, I have neither forgotten nor abandoned it, but other things have taken priority! :-)

By way of personal update I am happily home again with my family after spending 32 days (Dec. 27-Jan. 28) helping some dear friends, the Phero family. I thought about trying to do a post to sum up my time in Pennsylvania, but decided I really couldn’t do any justice to the people and events! As a very quick recap, I had a wonderful time! I really enjoyed being able to work alongside Sarah, talking with her and learning from her; Sarah, you are such an amazing example and I am so thankful for the way you made me a part of your family while I was with you! Sarah and her husband made a point of making sure that I was able to get some good, encouraging fellowship during my stay and I am so grateful! There are two families I really came to love and hold dear: the Einwechters and the Martins. I think the best way to describe my time with these precious families is: contagious laughter; sober discussions; studying the word; randomness; snowball fights (the epic snow battle, fighting for our rights!); and a bunch of “long time no see”! Karen and Abigail, Carmen and Candace, you all hold a special place in my heart! Bet you didn’t know I have five sisters! :-D

The Einwechters and Martins opened their homes and hearts to me and became my “family away from family”, thank you all so much and may the Lord bless you in a special way!

My flight home was pretty good, I flew out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and went from there to Philadelphia, about a 25 minute flight and from there home, which was about 3 hours. I missed my family so much and I am so grateful to the Lord for safely reuniting us! Dad and Mom, Joseph; Samuel; Noah; Timothy; Benjamin; David and Victoria, you all deserve a word of praise, I never would have been able to serve the Phero’s if you had not shouldered my responsibilities while I was gone, I know it was a sacrifice on everyone’s part and I thank you for your love, support and service!
A special word of thanks to my adopted Christian Grandmother, Mrs. Linda Fordyce; your prayers, love and support carried me through some interesting times, thank you! :-)

Not long after I got home and started trying to get back into the swing of things we received a call from some friends in Illinios, the Smiths, whose mother/grandmother had just been treated for cancer in Texas. The elder Mrs. Smith lives about 45 minutes north of us and was in need of someone to come and stay with her for about six days while she got readjusted at home. So, that is where I am currently, I go home tomorrow for the weekend. If she needs me again, she’ll call, otherwise I get to stay home :-)

So, things are busy, in the midst of this we are gearing up for the busy-ness of Spring. Joseph trying to get his own business up and going, he is selling naturally raised beef and possibly chicken. So he is busy developing contacts for that. I am getting ready for the milking season to start up. Samuel has egg laying chickens and he is trying so hard to get an egg business up and going, unfortunately predators have done a number on his hens, I believe they’ve killed over 20! Poor Samuel! He, Joseph and Dad and trying to track the varmints down and ‘remove’ them. We’ve found several cats, some we got in live traps and took elsewhere and then I think we’ve shot two. Last year we had barn owls taking the chickens out. Owls are protected by law (wish the chickens were too!) so all we could really do was trying to owl proof the chickens’ home, thankfully we haven’t had any problems with them this year. Unfortunately, we have had some problems with coyotes. They try to get the chickens, they good news is that we built the MCCU’s (Mobile Chicken Containment Unit) securely, the unpleasant part is coming out the next morning and finding a chicken running around missing a wing, or scratched and bloody inside the MCCU. I won’t go into details, but you can learn quite a bit about chicken anatomy that way! Actually, the dogs were worse. We haven’t had any problems this year but last year they got I think 3 or 4 of the chickens. Do you have any idea what it’s like to try and convince your dog to give you a chewed chicken? Unfortunately, dogs don’t reason, so you have to get your hands in there and open the dog’s jaw and pull out the chickens. The cool part is when you can identify the various organs, the nasty part is that there are visible organs to identify!

We are also trying to prepare for a family garden, we’ve never really had good success with gardening, but we are determined to master it at some point! We aren’t licked yet! It looks like the plan is going to be to give each person a portion of the garden for their own, to plant as we please and to be responsible to care for. We kids are pretty excited and trying to figure out what we are going to plant. My grandfather Hoffman passed away Thanksgiving 2007, one of his favorite things while he was living was gardening. He had come down and helped us start our gardens many times. When we were stationed in Norfolk, Virginia he brought up potted tomato plants since we were renting and couldn’t tear up our landlord’s lawn J As we prepare for the garden this year there is an underlying sadness, we really miss him :-(

I am also hoping to get some sewing projects done, I want to make a few dresses for the Spring/summer and I really want to start on a quilt, Sarah, Karen and Abigail have inspired me! It’s something I’ve wanted to do for four years now, but after actually seeing some homemade quilts I decided to get a little more serious about it!

Well, by the grace of God this former suburban, military family is really having fun living on 38 acres and learning to be a little more self-sufficient.

I have contemplated adding pictures to my blog, to give some visuals. It would be anything amazing as I am not camera savvy in any way, unlike some good friends of mine, but it would be fun just the same. Unfortunately, I am not sure how I would do that just yet. We have s-l-o-w internet access, it takes about six minutes to upload a single photo L So, unless I can figure something out, it might not work. We’ll see.
That’s it for now.
His servant,
Monique Hoffman

5 comments:

Rachel said...

Blessings sister! I just wanted to let you know that I *really* enjoy your blog. I discovered it last year when I followed a link to it from someone else's site (I can't remember whose). I was so delighted to see you updated your blog- I had become afraid that you werent' going to post any more. And I would have sorely missed you.☺ However, your absence was for a good reason, and I'm sure the Lord used you in those peoples' lives. I eagerly look forward to your next post. Until then, may your life be completely Christ-centered and blessed by Almighty God! Keep pressing onward in His name! 1Cor.15:57-58♥

Carmen M. said...

Friendship is such an incredible thing! I am so thankful that we were given the chance to learn to know each other - know each other well! About the "sister" relationship, I could have guessed that we are all sisters, considering that that is what we have been calling each other over the past few weeks. ;-)

Btw, owls are "owltlawed" in PA and there are "poulice" to ensure the longevity of poultry.... Hint, hint - maybe you are living in the wrong state. :-) All right, just joking, but honestly we haven't ever had problems with predators eating our chickens.

Six minutes! And I used to think it was bad when it took about three minutes to upload five photos. If you can manage it, it would be interesting to see a glimpse into your life via pictures. They say a picture tells more than a thousand words. Though you certainly do a great job with just words as well! I enjoyed reading (liked your wit when you pointed out that chickens are the birds that really deserve to be protected).

God Bless, SISTER.
~Carmen~

American Maiden said...

Rachel,
Thank you so much for your encouraging words, they are a true blessing to me. It's amazing that you referred me to 1 Cor. 15:57-58 for the Lord has been directing me to these very verses over the last week! Coincidence? I think not :-)
God bless you sister! Heb. 10:24

Carmen,
Hey girl! I got a complete kick out of your wit, (owtlawed and poulice, too good!)
I miss you. God was very gracious to allow me to get to know you during my time in PA.
Actually, as to pics. my family is starting a blog, we've wanted to do one for about a year but dad wasn't sure that he wanted pictures on the internet. He has since given us permission, so we'll see how it goes!

Abigail said...

Hi Monique,

I enjoyed reading your post! It was lots of fun having you here as well--good times of talking, laughing, having snowball fights (whoa, was our friendship on the rocks or were we so secure that we didn't have to wonder if we would still be friends when it was over :-)) cooking, and shopping. I guess you didn't know I have as many sister as I do either.... ;-)

I hope your garden works out well this year. They can be quite a struggle!

American Maiden said...

Abigail,
we'll just say that our friendship was secure enough we weren't too concerned ;-)
God is good!
Missing you!