Tag Archives: gratitude

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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Retired. Right?

I can’t actually be retired when I daily work more now than I ever have. Oh wait, I’m talking about retired phones.

Part of the mystique of how I manage my life with such modest resources is first, trusting God my provider for everything. Then, showing my gratitude (while I dream about having a 50″ TV, tablet or new laptop I could put to good use – soon), I employ 3 cell phone devices.

My life is not really as complicated as that may sound, but my resources are limited. To maintain a very good credit score (despite many setbacks – jes sayin), I pinch every penny till it screams.

Electronic devices are an investment, so I take great care researching before funding something that can so easily be lost or destroyed. For example, I take into consideration I rarely watch television. I can’t stay up that late for programming in our area that I care to see. I actually use my 32″ flat screen as a computer monitor and both houses utilize old-school indoor antennas. Yep, Cole uses rabbit ears.

Since we only pay for cable internet service I am thankful for Hulu, Netflix and CBS-on-line to keep me attuned to life outside the ranch.

So every couple of moves, after changing carriers I also upgraded devices and “retired” my previous phones. This means I continue to use them for almost everything except talk and texting. Most apps work fine without cell service and some without a WiFi signal.

This will work even better for me once we hard wire the router into my cottage – past the metal roof and siding. Until that happens (hopefully this spring) I make do with a repeater. I can also leave my comfy little nest to work in the main house while Cole works in town. SchnauzerOne and ChueyTwo appreciate the company.

Yes, though Samsung recently released the Galaxy A9 and the Tizen OS, my vintage S3 (from 2012) brings me hours of digital and audio books, radio, weather and news.

But wait there’s more. I use the retired 2016 Samsung Galaxy Core Prime (a knock off) for Social Media, including the WordPress app, Gmail, Google calendar, alarm clock and banking.

This all frees up my current knock-off phone which is connected to the local knock-off  server (mobile virtual network operator – MVNO) for less costly talk, text, video chats and photography, of course.

Except for the GS3 this all extends battery life between charges. No worries, I acquired 3 extra GS3 back-up batteries and an outboard charger while they were available.

 

While a new iPhone X R 8, a Tablet or a Kindle Paperwhite would be nice, I thank God I may look rather impressive (at the senior center) when I’m actually making the most of what He gives me.

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”” Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)

 

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Thanks?

For what?

So what?

What next?

 

Happy Thanksgiving Holiday to one and all!

 

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4 (NIV)

 

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Faceplant

Kyle Idleman’s book Not a Fan seriously tripped me up at first.

This kind of trip is good – challenging our attitudes. With multiple media pushing and pulling us in so many directions, regular neck up check ups are invaluable.

So on that particular morning what I expected to be an elegant swan dive into the book at the top of my stack became a shocking face plant instead.

“Here’s my point: many of us are quick to say, “Yes I’m a follower of Jesus,” but I’m not sure we really understand what we are saying.*” 

**

Thinking about it I suddenly wanted to explain myself to Jesus.

Maybe you navigate through life effortlessly. I don’t. And typically me getting out of sync with Jesus guarantees a sudden, cringeworthy stumble.

Immediately I realized that by racing to get caught up I had been forfeiting one-on-one time with God. Yet again. (Audible, heavy sigh.)

I suppose that makes me a fan.

I have been a Cubs fan as long as I can remember. Over the years as I moved around the country I half-halfheartedly followed other local teams. Still, I didn’t lose sight of my Cubbies.

So maybe I’m that kind of Jesus Fan.

But then again, Not A Fan later suggested I might be a marginal follower. As I read on my follower rating improved – some. And dropped again. And rose.

I don’t walk around with a Bible under my arm or interject Book, chapter and verse into every conversation. Okay, maybe sometimes, silently to myself. I use a Bible app most every day. But that’s not because I’m so religious (lost in church world or in Mosaic law). It’s because I LOVE people so very much I easily stray into their lives, lose sight of my own course and sometimes wind up offending someone.

Most important, while I maintain that connection with Jesus, I’m good. He sends the alerts I need. As I listen carefully He helps me hear myself, keeping me on track. He encourages me onward constantly, faithfully leading me right where He wants me – with or without my smart phone.

What’s more, He lets me think that I made good stuff happen! Good or bad, when we get together Jesus first shows me how He loves me. Then He shows me how much He loves me. He shows me what I blew up when I veered off course toward my understanding – and where He steered me right back.

And He shows me he’ll make it okay, I should try again.

Maybe without the faceplant.

Have you experienced what a wonderful God He is lately?

“… if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

 

 

Music video courtesy YouTube

*Kyle Idleman, Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus

**image courtesy Productivetothemax.com

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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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Extremes

Have I mentioned how I adore the weather in this region? Even when the triple-digit weather arrives, memories of summers in Phoenix, Arizona and the bitter-cold winters in Chicago-land remind me this climate is like a walk in the park. Besides, here the extremes of both intense heat or cold only last weeks and usually include milder parentheses.

As temperatures rose I noticed how the livestock and plants all cope in their individual ways. The horses and the steer all developed a new appreciation for early mornings and the sprinklers in the early evenings.

The chickens are mostly still much of the day and are laying about 50% less than they do in cooler temps. They only get excited in anticipation of fresh offerings from the garden and the kitchens when humans approach. We’ll see what impact a chicken tractor has soon.

To the east around the lawns the rose, begonia, nasturtium, snapdragon and hydrangea blossoms suddenly grow, mature and wilt astoundingly faster than usual.

Highlights of last evening’s walk included a trio of fledglings enjoying the cool concrete of the shaded patio while the flora also recover from the day’s heat. That was until giant, wingless beings arrived making the strangest chirping ever. I’m sure they were relieved after we moved indoors to listen to their chirps. We were also glad to hear they remembered how to fly back to their nests – safe from cats lurking nearby.

In my visit to town I noticed some people complaining about the heat. I also noticed they sounded much like the people that complained about the cold during the winter. They got me thinking about Job, “…Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?*”  Shall we accept fair weather and not harsh?

Personally, I like variety and especially appreciate that the extremes here last only a short while.

“Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God…” Ecclesiastes 7:14 (NLT)

*Job 2:10 (NLT)

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Pressing Back

As this week began, even with the four of us working at it, I felt the pressure keeping up with our super-sized vegetable garden. The weeds were seriously battling for the ground that served the livestock well in previous years.

Often I’d spend enough time bent over the rows that moving the rest of the day was a challenge. Even so I’m glad for it. Taking a little time out with ice packs each day began as physical therapy. As often happens I soon turned to prayer and in no time rose again refreshed and determined to keep up the good work.

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)

About mid-week Cole took advantage of a western breeze. He mounted a tank on the ATV and drove it around the garden side of the fence, spraying the outward perimeter as he went.

Surprisingly, the only casualty was one sprinkler head at the north end and the conductor holding the hot wire above it. We replaced them quickly so the sun didn’t burn the entire north end of the crop. Two days later we can barely see where the balloon-like tires rode over the cantaloupe vines.

With a couple of days of light cloud cover we took a break from weeding to bring in the first loads of fire wood. Staying warm this winter should be much easier with a new log splitter due to arrive any time now.

With all that we still found time to relax a minute, count our blessings and gear up for fireworks later on this week.

And the lessons continue.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

 

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Pastoral Peace

By late winter I began to look forward to warm weather and grass growing in the pastures. With some of my joints achy from the cold, tossing hay every morning and evening seemed less a pleasant stroll and more of a chore.

Being the steer’s first spring alone we weren’t sure what to expect from his grazing. Soon enough the grass was as tall as the sprinkler pipes. We are blessed with friends and neighbors who are glad to let their horses graze in our pastures and get the growth under control.

We learned very soon that, GeldingOne manages his stress from the move by running. In the tall grass he broke off three sprinklers in those first 48 hours. One pipe broke underground which complicated watering the seedling vegetable garden as well as the pasture.

The quickest solution:

    • Shut off and drain the irrigation sprinklers to repair them.
    • Cut the tall grass so the horse can see the pipes.
    • Run water to garden with hoses.

Then SouthernNeighbors lent us GeldingTwo.

GeldingTwo likes being the pasture boss and compliant GeldingOne is now calm and content with his new buddy and the steer. The pastoral peace restored, knowing their horses are in my loving care the two geldings’ humans can concentrate more on working their properties. If all goes as planned, Cole won’t need to mow again for months. Win-win-win.

For now, until Cole can repair the shattered pipe, Izzy and I haul hoses and lawn sprinklers around the vegetable garden and water tanks. Every. Single. Day. It’s time consuming and more than once I’ve been tempted to complain check Cole about his priorities. Fortunately, before inserting my foot into my mouth, as I walk the property back to my cottage I see everything from a different perspective and hold my peace.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18 (NIV)”

But there’s more: Being around the gentle, nickering giants lifts my spirits and calms any anxieties that often tag along with me. The sounds of tails swooshing nearby, hooves touching ground (in case there’s an apple or carrot in a pocket) soothes me like little else does. Sure, I’m moving hoses and horses, chopping cheat grass, pulling tack weeds and thistle, but I’m also keeping my back, hips and knees in good working order – and who needs to count steps anymore…

Before I’m done watering the veggies I have a clear vision of where we must thin plants, hoe or pull weeds. As with most things in life, one hand washes the other. But God uses growing food and tending the livestock as a family to fuel my soul like nothing else ever.

Annnd the life lessons continue.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Images not captioned courtesy Pixabay

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Remember

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.*”

 

* Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV)

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Armed Forces Day

From Jacqui Murray at Worddreams :

Many Americans celebrate Armed Forces Day annually on the third Saturday of May. It is a day to pay tribute to men and women who serve the United States’ armed forces. Armed Forces Day is also part of Armed Forces Week, which begins on the second Saturday of May.

Original Post: https://wp.me/p90mx-4lF

“Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.”
Psalm 144:1, 2 (NIV)

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