Thursday, January 29, 2015


We had visitors last night, again. There is something so eerie about an animal that is only heard and not seen in the darkness unless it is their eyes reflecting the powerful flashlight searching for them. I had just gotten home from Bible study and walked inside when we suddenly heard a screeching howl, almost like a group of babies crying very loudly. The sound takes you back at first because it is so strange and you struggle to identify, "What was that?" Then in seconds you realize it is coyotes that are very near.

We are fortunate to have all the baby lambs inside a closed shed safely with their mothers but there are about 15 young ewes who are in an outside open shed. They have our guard dog to keep them safe, hopefully.

John immediately kicks into a 'danger' zone and rushes out the door yelling to try to scare the coyotes away. They seem oblivious to the yelling and the dog's barking at first. Then John rushes back through the house and out the garage door, grabbing the power flashlight. He opened the garage door and runs out the lane yelling again, 'hey, hey, hey'. Immediately the coyotes go quiet and we're left to wonder where they are and what they are doing. He checked the outdoor sheep who took shelter in the shed. All is well. The dog keeps barking and he is moving away so we imagine the coyotes have also distanced themselves from the farm. Bella keeps barking from the far end of the pasture but there is no response from the coyotes.

"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom " (John 12:32 NIV). "But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil"(Proverbs 1:33 KJV).

Just as the sheep have the shepherd to protect them, we too have a protector, a Shepherd to guard our lives, no matter what frightens us.

"The Lord is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid? Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident" (Psalm 27: 1, 3 NIV).

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Furnace

I grew up in a big house that was a generation behind when it came to heat. We used wood and coal to heat the water that cycled through the radiator system. The floors were cold when we got up in the mornings and the radiators took time to warm up.

The radiators were multipurpose and functional. On wash day the heaviest clothes were spread there to dry, or when snow-pants and mittens came in wet from playing in the snow there was no better spot to let them dry. They were a towel heater at bath time and a place to warm your clothes in the morning. After a day outside in the cold it was perfect to take a seat on the radiator until your buns got too hot. The radiators were better than a fireplace.

The furnace didn't produce heat until you "fixed" the fire. In my high school years I learned to produce a fire starting with some newspapers or trash, then adding some kindling, then big logs or chunks of coal. The coal burned hot! Once the fire was going nicely the water would begin to boil and run through the pipes to the radiators. You'd hear the hissing and creaking as the heat moved through the house and before long the house began to warm up nicely.  However if you were upstairs waiting for the heat it seemed like an eternity before the room became comfortable.  I'd sit on the downstairs radiator and imagine it was getting warm until it finally did.

I miss warming my hands on the angles of the radiators. I'm surprised I'm not permanently dented by the years of sitting on the bumpy warmers. Daddy usually "fixed" the fire and really got things heated up. Often during family dinners it was much too warm and mama would have to open the door to the porch to cool it down enough to be comfortable. Daddy loved to be warm and I think I got my internal temperature from him.

"The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it. The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out" (Leviticus 6:12-13 NIV).

Unfortunately the fire in our furnace would usually go out overnight, making for those cold mornings. But we were thankful to have the heat again when the fire got going.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Living in Him

"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands...From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us" (Acts 17:24, 26-27 NIV).

Luke recorded these words by Paul as he spoke to the men of Athens. Paul was speaking to men who had idols of worship and were unfamiliar with God. He spoke of something they would understand, the world and heaven and earth. There are many around us that are unfamiliar with God today. Yet how can they not believe in a Creator of all mankind when there is no other complete and true explanation. Even some who profess to believe in God fail to know Him personally and understand His greatness in sending us the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

As we move about living our daily lives, God is with us, and in us when we follow Him with our hearts. No matter what the day holds, God is there giving us our being, our life. Whether we are busy working at a job that supports us, or happily enjoying time with family and friends, God lives in us as we move and have our being. The mundane tasks have meaning when we do them with God in us. For unto Him we are His offspring, His creation, His future. We were established by His hands and were given a life of purpose to seek Him and to know Him intimately. As you move through your day, accomplishing tasks and chores that seem of little importance, remember that God is in us making all that we do worthwhile and purposeful.

"For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said 'We are his offspring'" (Acts 17:28 NIV).

Monday, January 19, 2015

Faith Like a Child

""Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them"" (Mark 10:14-16 NIV).

It's a grandma day! I get to enjoy two of my granddaughters for the day. Spending time with my grandchildren is a true blessing. I get to find out what's on their mind and what their dreams are. Grandchildren are one of God's greatest blessings.

We started the day by making monkey bread so they are anxious to see what monkey bread looks like when it is baked. They had something like it at Oceans of Fun so they will get to see if that was the same thing they ate before. Now the girls are making crayon creations that they learned about at 4-H. It involves glue and a hair dryer so it should be interesting.

Times are so different now for children of all ages. They are connected by iPhones and have iPads and electronic games to play. The girls connected to my WiFi by the time we pulled into the garage. They serenaded me with their favorite music by One Direction and others. They would much prefer spending time doing things with grandma than their electronic pass-time. Which is  a good sign, I believe.

There is nothing better than spending time with my grandchildren and just as Jesus spoke in the scriptures above, children own the kingdom of God. They are the eyes to Christ in all they see and do. I too, will take them in my arms and bless them for a blessed day together.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

His Love Endures Forever

"Give thanks to the Lord...who made the great lights--His love endures forever, the sun to govern the day, His love endures forever, the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever" (Psalm 136:1,7-9 NIV).

Bright sunshine streams through the windows today hinting that the day will warm up, maybe even out of the teens. Hurrah! The sky is clear today, no sun-dogs in sight, yeah! It is a good day to give thanks to the Lord indeed.

I haven't read this Psalm in a while but I should read it daily as it expounds on the wonderful greatness of our God. The entire Psalm tells a story of God's handiwork in the Old Testament, following each example of greatness by the phrase..."His love endures forever." If there is a day that we find difficult to praise God, this Psalm helps us remember that God's love is always there for us.

The Psalm details the works God has done for the people of Israel, through the hard times of Egypt and selfish kings, and the times of triumph over enemies. It reminds us that our lives are pretty calm compared to the earlier believers. We can get through a whole week without pleading for manna from heaven to be our sustenance. Yet God cares about even our little struggles and frustrations like below zero days and weird computer glitches like I just experienced. He cares that I had a blog nearly ready to publish and it disappeared from my screen - He brought it back rather than making me start all over, as I have done other days. "His love endures forever."

So, no matter what your day holds, I pray that something in it reminds you that God's love for you endures forever.

"Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever" (Psalm 136:26 NIV).

Monday, January 12, 2015


"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands" (Psalm 19:1 NIV).

There were sun-dogs Friday morning that were too beautiful to skip a blog. Sun-dogs can be beautiful if you don't let yourself think about why they are there - the extreme cold.

The sunrise was slightly red and as the brilliant ball of red and yellow rose above the horizon the red was less evident on the sun and more striking in the sun-dogs. The vertical splashes of color were red/orange on the side closest to the sun and bright white on the outside. They looked like colored smudges on an artist's canvas stretching up from the horizon.

The snow covered ground reflected the light and the trees formed long shadows that stretched across the canvas of white. As the sun continued to rise the sun-dogs changed, pulling away from the horizon, becoming more brilliantly colored oblong shapes that repeated the sun's brightness.

I had to move to a larger window where I could see the full expanse of the sky, It was another beautiful sign that God is always present and working His creative touch upon the world if we just take time to notice.

"The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and the moon. It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter" (Psalm 74:16-17 NIV).

Thursday, January 8, 2015

After the Storm

The effects of this storm decided to stay around all week. We had below zero weather and much below zero wind chill factors due to our snow cover and the strong winds. The snow we received was light and fluffy and came down softly amounting to about 7 or 8 inches. Then the winds began and have blown from nearly every direction since the initial storm. They are now from the south bringing warmer temperatures to us thankfully. "Warmer" is a matter of perspective. Warmer than negative temperatures is welcome but the wind chill factor kicks in and it doesn't feel much better.

The snow blanketed the ground so beautifully but piled up enough to keep John's car from making it up the lane. It covered the south side of trees and poles creating an awesome photo opportunity. Then the winds changed to west/northwest and began creating drifts and beautiful patterns in the snow. The drifts formed ripples while the snow formed little storms that whooshed across the ground moving the white flakes from one area and piling it in another.

Day three the wind continues to move more snow though some may be getting hard enough that it isn't being picked up. The birds fight to fly and cling tightly to the suet block as it swings in the wind. There is no sun to warm the inside today. Just gray skies and cold wind. Everything outside seems to proclaim God's presence and power. It exclaims the wonder of a God-created world. It reminds me that He is in control as Creator and Master. This is why I don't understand people who don't believe in God. How can they not? There is no excuse for not believing.

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities---his eternal power and divine nature---have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse" (Romans 1:20 NIV).

Monday, January 5, 2015

A Storm is Coming

There is a snow storm coming to Iowa tonight and already we can tell something is about to happen. The sky was red this morning. There is a saying something like, "Red sky at morning, sailor take warning." It is calm as it often is before a storm. The clouds are moving in. The animals are jumping around, butting heads and being rambunctious. All signs that something is about to take place.

I love storms and get excited about them coming. I love to be snowed it. Even now when it only means I can stay at home, again. I used to enjoy getting a snow-day from school and work. I liked being able to stay home with nothing I had to do. I'd make it a day for cooking or baking, a bonus day to do something I enjoy. When in reality that's what every day should be like.

An approaching snow storm is like life sometimes, too. In life we have times when there is a storm coming - some challenge that we may not be ready for. How do we prepare? By prayerfully keeping God as our constant companion, by making sure our personal relationship with God is tight and right! We never know what the next day will bring. When we might suffer a loss or begin to fight an illness. Life is a hilly road leading us to God. There are mountain tops and valleys. There are good and bad days, easy and hard days, but if God is at your side, first place in your heart and mind, any day is manageable.

"The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:17-18 NIV).

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Year of the Sheep 2015

If you know me very well you know that caught my attention. The Chinese New Year actually begins February 18, not January 1 as the calendar we live by does. The Year of the Sheep happens every 12 years. I'm intrigued by this though I don't put faith in horoscopes or the such. However I enjoy reading about myself, looking for any truth or coincidence. According to the Chinese tradition I was born in the year of the sheep (1955) so the intrigue builds. Isn't it interesting that I've been drawn to sheep all these years that I didn't know it was my sign?

My sister Marlene sent me a detailed description of the Year of the Sheep and it shares some engaging information about the sign of Cancer which I was born under. One theme of the Year of the Sheep is creativity expression. I guess my writing is my creative outlet. And maybe my sheep collection is another form of expressing creativity. The article says "sheep" often find success in artistic fields, especially healing arts. I wonder how my writing can be interpreted or developed as healing.

There are several "sheep" traits that seem familiar to me - the need for quiet times in order to restore energy - and that the best time of life for a "sheep" is when they are older. "Sheep often struggle in youth," it says and that's sure true of me. We discover our true calling when we are later in life. I think I always knew I was a writer but it just took me a while to get there.

It will be interesting to see where 2015 takes us all. A new year, a clean slate, a fresh start, I always appreciate the newness of an empty calendar and the anticipation of what lies ahead. May God bless all of you in this new year with laughter, energy, faith and love. Happy New Year!