Tag Archives: challenges

Nooners and All-Nighters

I’ve been marveling over the paths that brought me here and all the turns my life took.

Take heat for instance: I had some doubts about staying in the cottage after processing wood with chain saws and hand tools the first two years. But the new hydraulic log splitter is a game changer. Getting Cole’s attention and assistance is easy when power tools are involved.

Also, I don’t often check the news as I prepare to leave the cottage. Instead, Cole and I catch up on the way to do chores.

Processing firewood we alternate one operating the splitter while the other stacks the split wood. Eyeing smaller logs we’ll holler over the motor, “that’s an all-nighter,” –  a cut from the trunk of a younger oak, ash, walnut or birch. We watch for logs that fill either of our stoves allowing just the right airflow to burn for six-ish hours.

Naturally, we also watch for nooners – small or half logs that burn hot for two to four hours. These are great during our work days.

After two back-to-back days of processing wood, Cole thought hard and then commentated on how the terms all-nighter and nooner both have such different meanings lately. Yep.

And today, rather than maximizing every moment, I can slow down instead when I feel pressed. It’s a sharp contrast to former times when I stressed over each day, dime and dollar, often paying somebody to do what I longed to do myself.

I actually get my steps in by keeping the fires going in both houses, rousing the old, little dogs while I’m at it. I can get annoyed when they want to continue playing after my break time is over. And sometimes GoodGirl bolting out to the pasture to play with the steer instead of heeling can irk me.

I so quickly forget I’m not the boss here, God is.

Silly human.

What initially seemed like an inconvenience during my first year here is now instinctive. Around late summer we evaluate the wood pile. Come fall we check tractor, quad and wagon tires, power wash water tanks and locate water heaters.

God certainly brought me a long way from wondering if I remembered to adjust the thermostat during my hour-long commute to work (that was before Cortana, Alexa and Google Assistant, kids). Traffic for me these days amounts to occasionally steering around a dog resting in the road on scenic drives through acreage, and slowing to admire the neighbors’ livestock along the way.

Maybe I don’t seem to accomplish as much as I used to in a day. I’m content to meet the important demands before bedtime. Instead of fretting over what may come tomorrow, I thank God for bringing me back to my bed in my comfortable home today. By His grace I’m usually asleep when my head meets the pillow and I hit the floor running before sunup.

Today I’m good with that.

“Be still, and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

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Filed under Notes from the Apex

Mud

Do you ever experience that feeling before you actually wake, that you seriously need more rest? Do your eyes open reluctantly and you try not to think? But something nags at you, forcing you from that sweet, peaceful slumber?

The other morning I wasn’t fully awake, moreover thinking – anything. I’d stayed up later than usual praying for Harvey and Irma survivors and the rescue workers. Minutes after rolling out of bed, I stumbled toward the pastures, no water or caffeine -the first indication that something was off.

Sure enough, a beast had broken the capped-off sprinkler head in the dry lot.  The 90 minute cycles had ended some hours earlier, so the new mud bath covered the south half of the (formerly) dry lot and the ground was still wet clear past the chicken house.

Cattle don’t care much about mud. They’d seen me approaching so they’d passed the new mosh pit and were waiting at the pasture gate. As I swung the gate open they enthusiastically headed for the grass.

But despite being a passionate food fan, Kendra’s gray mare bobbed her head and impatiently trotted around the inner pen on the north side of the mud. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn she relates mud to the farrier’s visits. Regardless, she avoided the slippery mess that morning.

I doubled back, got a lead rope from the tack shed and walked toward the man gate to walk the mare around. Sensing I wasn’t my usual self, the mare circled the lot, swishing her tail defiantly. I watched her and yawned. Clearly neither the mare nor I were prepared for complications, and nothing was going the way it should. I couldn’t think but I managed to blurt out, “God, please.”

Finally the mare came back around to the “new pond” again and stopped.  Turning to face me she blinked those long eyelashes, bobbed her head down and raised it high again tossing her mane back and forth. Translated that’s, “This is not how I saw this morning going.”

Next she surprised me by stepping toward me – the opposite direction from the pasture gates – and stopped. I tossed the tie end of the rope over her neck and silently we walked together as though there was no rope, only out of habit I held the ends together. She paused as I threw open the man gate, then we went smoothly, effortlessly through, toward the wide gates and she went happily into the pasture.

Despite my brain fog we connected. God wins!

 

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)

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Bliends – Meet Mesca

Change world mesca

I met Mesca at Psychochromatic Redemption early in 2015 in a Blogging U course (go figure) and her blog continues to fascinate me. With her provoking HIP Photography, poetry, excellent book reviews, prose often set to music, and conversation, she offers “a bit of everything…”

love paints mesca

Debuting as Psychochromatic Inception, Mesca jumped into blogging with both feet sharing her stunning imagery style, multi-genre tunes, a potpourri of fascinating information and unmistakable emotion. She later evolved to rename her blog Psychochromatic Redemption and raised the bar.

Schedule a visit for some enriching me-time soon and enjoy.

“…I know God has made everything beautiful for its time. God has also placed in our minds a sense of eternity…” Ecclesiastes 3:11 (The Voice)

 

Images are property of Mesca/HIP Photography/Psychochromatic Redemption and not to be shared or otherwise duplicated without prior written permission. Thank you!

 

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Filed under Writing and Blogging

Back On Track

roller coaster 3I’m gonna be honest, I began this piece from a posture of pain.

Reflecting upon a recent Sunday morning after a long, restless night. I had gone to a loved one wanting only a moment together. Simply put, I got an emotional kick in the gut instead. With that I felt like giving up on the relationship – again.

I’m usually pretty good at recognizing that I’m not the only human alive that’s confused, afraid or hurting – and I can be hyper-sensitive. That morning, feeling the sting of rejection, I quickly withdrew to get ready for church.

Despite the daunting I’d wrestled with the entire night before, I began feeling a little better in my busyness. I’d waved the offense aside, still not realizing I’d been derailed for some time.

roller coaster 1

I admit, seemingly rude, insensitive behavior, particularly directed at me by my loved ones is my right Achilles’s heel – yeah, I have two. Usually getting over that kind of slight takes me hours of speculation, denial, self-examination, confession, repentance… You get the idea. Still, I try to keep in mind that  “forgive us our debts (and offenses) as we forgive [others]*”  prayer and take the responsibility seriously.

So, without forgiving, putting hurt feelings to rest, there’s no way I could muster the nerve to go into the amazing presence of God and find peace in this crazy world. Getting there begins with prayer – fervent, effectual prayer from a pure heart.

I took a moment to shake it off again and clear my head. I picked up Bob Goff’s book Love Does**. Typically his light, lovely stories bring a smile at the very least and usually a hearty laugh.

Opening to the page where I’d left off earlier, words soon seemed to jump off the page at me:

“When you read the Bible, the people who loved Jesus and followed Him were the ones like me who don’t get invited places. Yet Jesus told His friends they were invited anyway. In fact, He told them that the religious people weren’t the ones who decided who got into heaven and who didn’t. He said the people who followed Him should think of themselves more like the ushers rather than the bouncers, and it would be God who decides who gets in. We’re the ones who simply show people their seats that someone else paid for.”

Bam! With the new perspective of my earlier attitude, having barged, uninvited into my loved one’s space I became humbled. She hadn’t come to me. Though she can own her attitude I realized my reaction to a perceived slight. I compared it to the person I want to be, stopped right there and got to my knees.

Later, during the ride to church I digested the actual glory in the whole scenario. God orchestrated the entire morning, likely the challenge I couldn’t put away the night before, if only to open my eyes to a truth I’d been overlooking:

“I’m more than a loser human, a Jesus fan and a wannabe Christ follower, I’m an usher to heaven’s gates!”

Have mercy.

That morning at church I payed closer attention to the people I see every week:

The friend, a mom who goes out of her way to drive me to church on the days both of my household vehicles are unavailable. This woman has a family to care for, a job and is our Small Group’s journalist. You gotta know she takes some hits. And yet she prepares, sometimes days before to secure my ride.

The friend who unfailingly seeks me out to hug me and share whatever time we have together. Another busy mom and grand mom, she also checks that I have transportation when I need it and she texts me notes of encouragement every few days.

The young grandmother, part of the church leadership team, head of the huge Visual Arts Department that includes the Worship Team. In her position she’s usually under somebody or another’s close scrutiny. Yet this woman always makes a point to say hello to me by name every time she sees me, asking how I’m doing. And she waits for my response.

At home I found a lengthy email from a foreign missionary friend who manages to enjoy the messages I send her in pigeon German, and she faithfully assures me she will pray for me too.

SONY DSC

Maybe I’ve gone over the top. Even so, I feel redeemed – yet again. I actually feel empowered to take my place at the Grand Entrance to heaven’s arena. We bloggers often refer to our roller coaster rides. I am especially delighted to share this one. Arms up, ready to scream for joy as the train creeps over the arch to the next drop and roll.

For the weeks since that Sunday I’ve been prepared for my days. Prayed up, my metaphoric vest neatly pressed, name badge, FORGIVEN, in place, flashlight charged and ready to stand with other believers, to show people the way. There’s a huge difference between feeling like we’re okay and actually feeling wheels rolling on the rails.

It’s good to be back on track.

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NLT)

*The Bible Matthew 6:12 (paraphrase)

**Taken from Love Does by Bob Goff Copyright © 2012 by Bob Goff. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com.

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Filed under A Door Ajar, Notes from the Apex