Tag Archives: Bible

Winter Waning

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With much of the country covered in snow and ice I can’t complain about our mild winter. Still, appreciating the shorter days continues to be a challenge.

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” — Anne Bradstreet

“To shorten winter, borrow some money due in spring.” —  W.J. Vogel

“The problem with winter sports is that–follow me closely here–they generally take place in winter.” — Dave Barry

“I know the look of an apple that is roasting and sizzling on the hearth on a winter’s evening, and I know the comfort that comes of eating it hot, along with some sugar and a drench of cream… I know how the nuts taken in conjunction with winter apples, cider, and doughnuts, make old people’s tales and old jokes sound fresh and crisp and enchanting.” — Mark Twain

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently?” — Lewis Carroll

“O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?” — Percy Bysshe Shelley

“Sunshine cannot bleach the snow, nor time unmake what poets know.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.
He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’”

Job 37: 5, 6 (NIV)

 

*Image courtesy John L. Green, Jr.

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Gray Pearl – Walk #1

As we turn into the last stretch of winter I reflect fondly upon the unseasonably warm, sunny days of the Advent season here. As the sun rose I caught myself wanting to complain about yet another dark, overcast morning. Then I noticed the moon hanging over the trees in the pearl gray sky.

Awestruck. Whine diverted, I can wait on the sun.

 

Winter wonder by God.

Image by Roo (c) 2019 RapturePractice! Pub.

 

 

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Shout It

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinithians 8:9 (NIV)

Concept: God

Photography: Unsplash

Design: (c)2018 E.V.A. Lambert for RapturePractice! Pub.

I do not own the All the Poor and Powerless All Sons & Daughters with Lyrics video music, images nor have any rights to profit from worshiping God.

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Intermittent

With exceptional ISP challenges continuing to frustrate folks almost as much as the Presidential Alert trickle down this week, I’m spending extra time helping with seasonal chores.

This week among other tasks that come around in autumn but are best done before the first freeze or snowfall, we addressed the woodpile. While this can be physically exhausting work (less so this year with the new log splitter), I’m glad for the way it helps me realign my priorities. The wood stove, my heat source not only keeps me warm all winter, lends a pleasant ambiance but, like it or not, it forces me into a whole-body workout daily.

The fact is I actually like the work. As many of my peers are slowing down substantially I’m delighted I can still keep up with the youngsters and run the cottage on my own.

“Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that he is ‘finding his place in it,’ while really it is finding its place in him.” C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Despite the most recent disruptions, I’m assured that I’m exactly where God wants me today. When beauty grips me in the most remarkable places I often believe I can feel God’s presence surrounding me.

At the woodpile, for example:

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 – 13 (NLT)

 

All images (c) 2018 What Next: Behind Roo’s Ruse, div. Rapture Practice! Publications, Invaluable Beauty 1/18/2018

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Horse Sense

To live with horses has been my heart’s desire most of my life. I like to think learning more slowly these days has nothing to do with aging (thank you for letting me run with that). In His infinite wisdom God has been teaching me about horses, slowly, gradually by arranging for me to care for friends horses. I suspect that’s so I don’t obsess lose pace with anything else in my life.

When I returned from vacation I noticed the big bay gelding, TheOldMan looking a bit plump. With cooler weather coming I wasn’t terribly concerned about it, but a few days later I noticed he didn’t run to me as he had been doing and there was something different about his gait. Not necessarily bad, simply unusual. Still, my gut told me something was wrong.

I contacted TheOldMan’s people immediately and we arranged for the farrier to visit a.s.a.p. – which was two days later. Meanwhile the dissimilar gait haunted me.

The obvious problem was a thrown shoe, but my gut told me there was more and to not walk him. I felt some relief when Cole moved him to the north pasture where the sweet grass wasn’t as plentiful.

I’ve always been able to “trust my gut”. Thinking about it, I can’t remember a time when harm or at least hurt didn’t result from ignoring my instincts. Soon after I asked Jesus to take the reins of my life I began to learn another way to live – being Spirit led.

“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God;
may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” Psalm 143:10 (NIV)

From that first day I have prayed and studied the Bible every day. I can’t learn enough about Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Over thirty years later there is still more to learn, but God consistently teaches me I can trust Him first and foremost. Essentially He has reconditioned my instincts.

Hanging out with our excellent farrier while he worked I realized I still have so much to learn about horses. Even so, I was right about that gait. The short story is while I was away, TheOldMan gained weight so fast he strained his hooves. He’s fixed up now so we can both walk into a full recovery.

God uses TheOldMan to remind me that as long as I seek and trust Him, He will never lead us astray.

While God uses all of me, I can trust my “gut.”

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6 (NIV)

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Connect 2.1.0

Next month will mark my fourth year of blogging. While I prepare to touch bases with my loved ones around the country for the next few weeks, I’m taking a pause to review posts and progress. This could be fun!

From 2016July09*:

Connect

Have I mentioned lately I love the blogging community?

friends chicago

Imagine Heaven

I’m serious about that. Without getting all sappy here, the Blogosphere helps us feel heavenly at least now and then. A post rings in our souls, fills us with inexplicable joy (or at least makes us chuckle, think, rethink…) – reaffirms why we spend our time writing what we do. We comment and it goes on and on from there. Connection.

I’ve been blessed with friends I never would have imagined – and yet (unlike Erin and Roan whom I’ve known most of my life) we’ve never actually locked eyeballs. Still, these people get it. They make time to converse, explore different thoughts and perspectives. They not only work tirelessly to share life through their writing and blogging, but they Pay it Forward, help spread the good stuff around.

Today I am overflowing with appreciation for my friends. Somewhere in the blogosphere someone needs a ray of light and these folks are the brightest in my minuscule fleck in the universe.

So, this is me paying it forward today to only ten of the best of the blogosphere – from my humble perspective. If you haven’t met, stop by and say “Hi.” You won’t be sorry:

The delightful if sometimes slightly snarky CJ Hartwell at Feeding on Folly
The Great Thinker of Stuff, Mitch Teemley at The Power of Story,
The irrepressible Diane D. at Ladies Who Lunch Reviews…
Trailblazing life coach Michelle Malone at 2 R Better Than 1,
The gifted and gorgeous Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha at A Cooking Pot and TwistedTales,
Jacqui Murray at Worddreams, a military mom and my go-to friend for writing/blogging/publishing information on the spot,
Sweeter than ever, Oneta Hayes at Sweet Aroma
Mike Ridenour at New Hope for Dry Bones shares his from his no-nonsense, no excuses journey.
Let Adebisi Adetunji help you feel global empowerment at FeminineMaterz,
Anne Mehrling shares her life in the Mountains at Mehrling Muse

Sincerest thanks and love to each and every one of you – and especially those dears I couldn’t include today!

 

“He [God] makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” Ephesians 4:16 (NLT)

*(a teeny bit tweaked)

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Press On

“One of the worst results of being a slave and forced to do things is that when there is no one to force you anymore you find you have almost lost the power of forcing yourself.” C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy

Izzy and I spent the morning in the garden – again. While we pulled weeds, thinned carrots, tossed those treats to obliging hens, horses, the steer and the pups the temperature warmed up considerably.

While spraying the crates of freshly picked veggies, we enjoyed splashing in the cool water. We’d planned a power walk to the river and back after we’d finished with the garden work, but after the stretching, bending and pulling in the heat the idea didn’t seem quite so grand.

We toyed with relaxing over tea and the no-bake cookies Izzy had made the day before instead of the walk. As we laid the vegetables to dry my mind began wandering back to the chapters I’d read the night before. She broke the silence saying, “You ready for your weigh in?” It was two days away.

I gave her the kind of look one prefers to the volumes I could have said, took a refreshing, deep breath, and instead of stepping into the house took the dog leashes from the hook by the door. “C’mon Pups,” I said. She said, “Let’s do this.”

Good call.

“We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy,” Colossians 1:11 (NLT)

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Water Follies

SchnauzerOne helped me recognize something this week.

But first, let me get my whine out of the way:

I missed The Taste of Chicago again this year. My family and I like making memories at that “cultural experience for all the senses.” Five days of the best of the best food in Chicago Land – and lots of live music. What’s not to love?

Then BestBud texts a selfie at The Mountain Fair in Carbondale, CO saying she missed me.

Nice. Sort of.

Now this week is the Tri-City Water Follies. For years it’s been an annual thing.

While Izzy helped man a friend’s food tent at the Follies, Cole helped another friend harvest his wheat. My sinuses had me feeling puny, so instead of festivities with friends, I minded the ranch in the triple-digit temperatures. Nowhere near the Boat Races.

Poor Roo.

No worries, We had our water follies too. Studying GoodGirl, SchnauzerOne also developed a fondness for chasing and biting moving water.

Initially this was good – the two dogs that still compete for alpha status learning to take turns, play nice and chill – literally.

Not quite. SchnauzerOne was quickly so caught up in catching the water before it disappeared into the dirt, in moments he began tearing up grass by the roots. To spare the lawn I diverted the fun to the pastures.

Soon I was taken at how well SchnauzerOne, who is normally very attentive and obedient, completely ignored my commands to stop as if he couldn’t hear me. I know how that happens. I’ve ignored the voice of reason too – not just back in the day either:

  • How many times did I injure myself by insisting upon weeding just one row – for two or three hours? Another time I just wanted to finish the section I began… a week later each bend and stoop made me regret it.
  • And don’t get me started on delicious fresh tomato, cucumber, sweet onion, dill, sharp cheddar and lime-mayo sandwiches – bread being my nemesis – rather than making a tasty salad.

“For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” Romans 7:19 (ESV*)

After I walked over and picked up SchnauzerOne we both understood each other. I’m pretty sure I heard GoodGirl snickering as she darted past us toward the pastures.

After watering and checking the livestock it was well into the 90’s. We were glad to get inside. Except for GoodGirl. She wouldn’t relax until Cole returns. I understand how she feels and do my best to assure her it’s gonna be okay. She’ll learn a short break in routine is good for us all.

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,” 2 Corinthians 4:16, 17 (*English Standard Version courtesy Bible Gateway )

Header Image portion courtesy Tri-City Herald

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Not Odd

While collecting cucumbers, we overlooked many odd-looking, smaller, rounder ones until they were mostly orange-yellow. Izzy and I assumed they would be unpalatable and immediately let the hens enjoy them.

Rummaging through the twisted maze of vines the following day, I targeted the rounder, ripe, green cukes. I also found a few remaining yellow-orange ones. Some were longer, more like slicers but with a twisted tip – like a fuzzy, bumpy little tail. I also picked some that had just begun to turn yellow-ish.

Once indoors I sliced one of each shape and color and arranged them on a plate for a taste test. A dirty duty, I know…

Though the yellower skins were distinctively harder, to my surprise those cukes tasted fuller, actually sweeter than the green cucumbers.

Soon the phone rang. After the lengthy conversation I was anxious to finish my project and get to work. Even so, I went a step further peeling a slice of each kind of cucumber. Then, feeling pressed for time I sat at the table and continued my Bible reading.

“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” James 2:2-4 (NIV)

Hmmm… Lifting my fork as I pondered I noticed that, aside from diameter and thickness, no slice or seed was distinguishable from another. They tasted, well, like cucumbers without much variance. Certain there was more, I continued perusing the sidebars:

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:26-29 (NIV)

I chewed on this thought while putting the remaining slices in a pitcher of ice water.

Though they all looked quite different from the outside and came from separate vines, each of the plants came from the same bag of seeds. I suspect their only difference are the amounts of water and sunlight they get, some being closer to the treeline.

Yet they were all exactly the same on the inside.

What a wonderful world this is. How much better when we focus upon one anothers’ similitudes rather than our differences.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2,3 (NIV)

 

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Sweet Harvest

 As the garden grows into full production we are all putting in even more hours than before. This week we not only contend with broken sprinkler pipes, (so hoses again) and weeds, but we now must harvest daily for peak ripeness and to maintain maximum production.

Comically, we all work on different schedules, so for about a week we assumed much, but none of us actually knew what the others were doing. Izzy was giving away surplus at work and the livestock was enjoying some overgrowth.

And then I slowed down one morning this week. Yeah, you’d think I’d have learned to do that more often by now…

Unbeknownst to me Izzy and Cole had been harvesting in the cool of the morning before they leave for their jobs in town – while I’m either keying away or snoozing in my cottage. An hour or so later I’ll unknowingly check the same sections of the garden and then harvest what they didn’t get to. But that particular morning when I put the house dogs back in I noticed their harvest in a crate. Doof!

All this time I was bringing the day’s collection into the fridge in my cottage thinking Izzy knows to check there every day.

Error.

Ordinarily, over the weekend and some evenings we girls touch bases or simply chat over a relaxing beverage.  I suspect their week away at the Lake put a hitch in our giddy-up so we miss a keystroke here and there.

I had to notice the crate in the main house kitchen to realize we’d do well to tweak our system again.

Done.

Eventually this scenario brought to mind one with the apostle Paul and the new believers in Corinth. First, duh – everyone was a new believer in Paul’s day. Similarly this is our first co-op garden experience. We usually talk about what we want to do next and what we’re learning from our agri-expert friends. For a few days we seemed to have dropped our communication signal.

We’re caught up from the vacation now.

“I (Some of us) planted the seed, Apollos (the rest of us) watered it (and weeded), but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”  1 Corinthinans 3:6 – 9 (NIV – added paraphrase mine 😉 )

 

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