We interrupt this cold spell to remind you summer will be here before you know it.
“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.”
Romans 8:18 (NLT)
We interrupt this cold spell to remind you summer will be here before you know it.
Romans 8:18 (NLT)
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
Job 37: 5, 6 (NIV)
*Image courtesy John L. Green, Jr.
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.
When summer began Hero, the 18-month-old steer was essentially wild.
One of his first encounters with man was to be roped and his testicles cut off. Back with his mother he likely forgot about his loss that day. He never seemed to forget about the evil ropes of doom and wanted no part of the upright beings at the ends of the ropes.
If he wasn’t already bigger than me I could still easily imagine how he felt, so I respected his space.
Before long he connected the rope creatures with food and water. During the next winter he would come running to the gate at feeding time.
Come spring his mother, “auntie” and “cousin” went away “to live on a farm” leaving him alone in the pasture. Afterwards he gradually became more open to humans.
After hanging around the vegetable garden fence all summer Hero became so comfortable with me he would gingerly nibble from my hand. I came to laugh at how he intimidated me the first time I power-walked the pastures. He pranced along with me, as if coaxing me to frolic with him.
Not long into summer the steer started begging for attention while I groomed the horses. The day Hero literally nosed my arm so I’d brush him too my internal red flags went up.
Hero is not a pet. Cole actually fussed at me for naming him (yeah, he didn’t read that post either). Unlike the horses who summer with us and then return to their people’s pastures for the winter, the steer will relocate to the freezer this year.
For two years I have recited the rule daily: never get attached to the livestock. Even so, something endears me to these bigger beings. I now feel sad when the lonely steer runs to the gate every time he sees me – too much like an 1800-pound puppy.
There were times in my life when I could relate to that steer. People hurt me, separated me from my loved ones and then left me alone and lonely. For a long time I too was very careful of upright beings.
Like the steer and most people I too learned that not all humans will hurt or harm us. Still we must watch for ropes – the things that can bind or hurt us.
Jesus knew about ropes – ignorance, fear, intimidation, greed and plain ol’ meanness. He knew about suffering for someone else’s sakes. With His life He demonstrated the best way to live is to forgive those who hurt us.
I want to use my life like that.
Oh, and thank You, God, that I’m not a steer.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven… For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:37, 38 (NIV)
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)
Because of a recent conversation with Cole, I shopped for bed bargains this week.
Each of 4 sales reps all told me this is the best time of year to purchase a bed because “next week new models arrive and prices will go up.” The actual message being, “Don’t shop. Contribute to my luxury cruise – right now.”
‘Fact is, I’ve been casually studying ads since I left IL where I donated my wonderful Bassett double pillow top bed solely because it was ten years old. Abuse and gravity are taking their toll on my skeleton so I have regretted giving it up about 300 days a year since.
This week I thanked each each rep and took all the information home to 1. pray over, 2. research and 3. bounce my thoughts off of Cole and Izzy.
Also a fact: collecting my teensie-weensie tad of security has taken diligent care for nearly a decade. I like having some money in the bank and a couple of nest eggs here and there.
Even so, if God actually hadn’t guided me through this life day-by-day, logic and experience tells me that laying side-long across the head or foot of the bed Cole gave me won’t keep my sleep or back pain issues in check forever.
Another fact: Rising and stretching out the aches and pains is becoming a lengthy ritual again – daily.
We were all busy all week, so we didn’t discuss my bed business.
This morning I arose slightly less stiff and with notably less pain. But I was exhausted. I likely burned as many calories overnight as I do while I write (at my stand-up work station). I tossed and turned all the facts, figures and every possible scenario I could imagine.
All. Night. Long.
Once aligned again and on my way to a steaming mug of warm deliciousness I read something interesting:
“Trusting Me [Jesus] is a moment by moment choice.”*
Silly me. As if I actually had to spend my entire savings immediately, I lost an entire night’s peace trying to work out not only my finances but the unpredictable details of my future. Decades ago I swore that nobody will ever make me do anything I’m not completely sure about again – especially not a sales representative.
Silly indeed. As if I didn’t know I could intentionally choose to continue trusting the God that brought me – and my nest egg here.
The old bed’s made, Latte’s gone, choices are made. I can trust God with my bed too.
For now, the little dogs, Hero and the chickens await me…
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6, 7 (NIV)
*Jesus Calling, By Sarah Young (c) 2004 Sarah Young, Thomas Nelson Publishing, Nashville, TN, USA
While Brother Cole and I remain the same, we have experienced some changes, and new players if you will:
SchnauzerOne and ChiuyTwo will be my house guests until they move to the main house at the end of the month. Getting a good, sharp photo will take some more doing. Meanwhile, lots of playtime is the order of the day.
GoodGirl will need some time to understand our the new friends are not toys, but she’s always ready for play. And everyone approves of my new storm door.
As can be seen on four of the hens, Darryll the rooster’s departure has been too long overdue. As of yesterday he has taken residence elsewhere.
And hardly least of all, Isabella (Izzy), Cole and I juggled around some of the project trucks, parts, etc. and organized the lots a bit. There was no bloodshed during the three-day project and a good time was had by all:
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Colossians 3:23, 24 (NIV)
Enjoying life-on-a-need-to-see basis seemed simple this week – despite some challenges.
You don’t want to hear how I managed to leave my driving glasses in town last week – you’re welcome – but early today I worried I actually needed them. I had to drive for the first time all week.
We’re supposed to live by faith – right?
Being pushed outside my comfort zone was initially intimidating, but as the truck warmed up in the driveway I rationalized: I know the back roads remarkably well and in town I can play Follow the Leader like everyone else until its safe to throttle it toward home again. After a short, sincere prayer I dropped the stick into first gear, eased onto the road, slipped into second – then third. By the time I reached the highway I was so comfortable I forgot all about my glasses.
The view down the river from Canal Drive was captivating. The road was clear of other vehicles, so I stopped for a few photos hoping to share them.
Only now do I realize some mischievous gnomes bombed my crystal-clear photos with unsightly road signs and blurred them with haze.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Be blessed friends and blog on!
“Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me.” Psalm 71:18 (NLT)
During the winter months, with firing up the wood stove, ashes, muddy floors and extra hours of darkness there are always additional tasks and chores waiting. I probably like a clean house a little more than is healthy, so I can easily dig myself into a rut indoors.
Still, when the calendar tells me spring is near I force myself outdoors every day, regardless of the weather.
Today my reward has been two-fold:
I found buds on the bulbs that began shooting up weeks ago – a very welcome addition of color to neutral winter shades.
Then I stopped to feel the sunshine warm me deeply. This is huge for me – normally I can quickly feel anxious being still – especially in the yards.
But over the winter God daily urged me to rest and let Him do His job (running the universe). As the sun rose over the treetops illuming the bulb bed the words from our predawn time together resounded through my soul:
“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!” Psalm 30:11, 12 (NLT)
After a while I skipped down the driveway singing aloud. No first responders were involved.
Be blessed and pray it forward!
All summer we talked about moving Darryl from the chicken house. Don’t ask me why, but late Saturday – after Cole and I cut a cord of wood – he walked toward the chicken house announcing he was evicting the rooster. Having attempted catching Darryl weeks back (solely to remind him were snuggle buddies before he matured), I set out to help Brother.
The following morning Darryl crowed from the hen yard.
We shall pray and further strategize relocating the rooster.
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”
Colossians 3:23 NLT
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