Thursday, April 30, 2015

Country Roots

Your roots are in the country when:

You save egg cartons for the neighbors.

You burn trash in a barrel.

You raise the red flag to mail a letter.

You don't have to mow when the neighbors do.

You have a barn yard.

Your sheep eat the grass.

You spread manure.

You get zoomed by a plane and it is a crop duster.

Your dog isn't on a chain or leash.

You don't pick up after your dog.

You wear boots after it rains.

You need a mud room.

Dust floats in your windows.

You rake rocks out of the grass in the spring.

You have a rain gauge.

Your kids experience life on a farm.

You thank God for every day in the country.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Chore Girl

I'm chore girl for a few days, a role I enjoy sporadically. John's out of town and the sheep need to be fed. They don't care who feeds them as long as they get what they are expecting. It's nice right now because the ewes are out on pasture and don't need any additional feed. There are a few ewes still in the weaning area and they are really hungry because they are being cut back on food. Then there are three separate pens of lambs all hungry as well because they aren't on an all-you-can-eat-diet. They are being fitted for open shows and eventually the fairs. Like beauty queens they have to watch what they eat.

The task I least enjoy about choring is feeding the rams. They are in the old shed because they destroy anything and everything. The older ram has more space and has freedom to move to an outside area where the waterer is. The young ram is in a confined space and has his own water bucket that gets destroyed after a few rams of the head. What I don't like is they are not smart animals. All sheep are the same. But the rams are worse. I don't get why they try to ram me when I'm the one providing their food. All I have to do is dump a scoop of feed into a trough that hangs on the fence. But it's not that simple. The older ram smashes his head at the trough as I try to get the feed into it. Doesn't he realize that if he breaks the trough he won't get fed. No, he doesn't. Another trough hangs in disrepair to prove that. All the while I try to navigate my scoop to the trough, the other ram is slamming himself into the fence, shaking the whole shed. I quickly dump the feed into the trough as he backs up preparing to land another hit on the fencing. Needless to say, the equipment near them is battered and broken. I'm just glad to get the door shut behind me.

"Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name" (Genesis 2:19 NIV).

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Wind

What a difference a calm day makes! My mother used to complain about windy days and I didn't really understand but now I do. We've had several days of wind at more than 25 mph, peaking at 45 mph on Tuesday. It was exhausting to listen to, let alone to be in. This morning we have calm; the branches aren't moving and the birds even seem relieved. We can hear the train whistle as clear as if it was across the street, instead of two miles away.

"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going" (John 3:8 NIV).

The stillness of today makes me want to be outside. The geese that nest nearby are off for their daily trek, honking their call as they fly overhead. The sheep venture to the unprotected areas of the pasture that they avoided during the windy days. Branches lie beneath the trees after being blown from on high. It is quiet enough to hear the birds and other noises that were masked by the rush of the wind yesterday. The car doesn't have to fight to stay on the road, nor does a fire jump from its beginning and race away out of control.

"He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants" (Psalm 104:3b-4 NIV).

The wind reminds us of God's power and that He is in control. So I thank God for the peaceful calm of today, knowing the wind will return with its might again one day soon.

Monday, April 20, 2015

"Rainy Days and Mondays"

We had a bountiful rain yesterday and it seems like the trees' leaves popped out overnight. We're always glad to have good rains to make the pastures grow so the sheep have plenty to eat. This morning the clouds are rolling through with a strong north wind bringing a chill for the week.

"They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind;" (Jude 1:12b NIV).

The blooming trees were pounded by the rains, leaving behind riddled blossoms with circular puddles of flowers underneath. It's sad that their beauty lasted such a short time.  Some of the flowering bushes seem to be tougher and kept their beauty for another day. Tulips are beginning to bloom in the protected areas of the yards, especially in the city. Everything seems a little slower to bloom out in the country.

Mondays are always an adjustment after the weekends that are so often filled with activities. On Monday it is time to settle back into the routine of weekly tasks or work. The Bible instructs us to use diligence in all that we do and to use care and precision to do even the smallest of tasks. (Read Genesis 31:38-42 and Genesis 39:21-23) Sometimes the tasks I do don't seem significant or worthwhile yet, if I remember the Bible's teaching even the folding of laundry or the cooking of a meal is worthy of recognition.

As you go about today may you entrust your tasks to God by giving your best labor and attention to them. May you feel satisfied in your accomplishments, knowing that God appreciates all of your efforts done to make your chores and duties the best they can be.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Crazy Bird

Our crazy female cardinal is back at work. The couple may have wintered here also but her antics don't begin until spring is in full swing. Mrs. Cardinal is addicted to flying into our windows. She sits on the bushes right outside our windows or on a beam near the high front windows and flies into the window repeatedly, one after another. I have proof. There are bird feather prints all over the windows she chooses to attack.

There is a loud thud when she hits the window but she doesn't seem to be hurt because she does it again and again. Seven times a minute she flies against the window. All day long with a few pauses throughout the day. I just don't understand what she is trying to do and why it is just this one female cardinal that does it. I need an ornithologist or a bird psychiatrist to explain why she does this.

Perhaps she sees something inside that she wants or she sees her own reflection? I don't know. I'll try washing away her marks on the windows but I'm not too hopeful that she will change her ways. She kind of reminds me of me. Trying something unsuccessful and just repeating it over and over even though it doesn't work. Perhaps that's the message she has for me. Try something new, a fresh approach, a different idea and maybe I'll be successful.

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them" (Matthew 6:26 NIV).

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Auction

Our church held an auction on Saturday. The auction sale list included pews, stained glass windows, woodwork and doors, chairs, a clock, cookbooks, tables, shelving, a sink, cabinets, a food warmer and a combination safe. The church is not closing; it is growing and these are growing pains for the future of the church. Although all the items seem quite essential to the church's operation, most have been replaced by newer items in a newer location. The sanctuary will be torn down and a new one built in its place.

I have always been part of this church. I was born into it and everything in my life has revolved around being a member of this church. I was baptized here and married here. Our children were dedicated and baptized here, as was my husband. Family reunions were held here as were anniversary celebrations for mom and dad. All of my sisters were married here. And my parents' funerals were held here. But life moves on.

I'm excited that the church is moving forward, preparing for the needs of future generations. I would be sad if we clung to the old and allowed the past to color the future. Indeed, some traditions of the past will be carried forward and the faith we are built on will provide the foundation for what lies ahead. This is not the end. The sanctuary was comfortable and familiar but the new one will become just as loved. As new events take place the new building will be initiated with the love of the church family.

"To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other" (Luke 7:31-32 NIV).

We must look ahead at God's plan for us and breathe in the new life in Christ that is before us. The children will be our future leaders and decision-makers; they need to feel ownership of the new sanctuary. God is good and He will lead us through yet another transition.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

April Showers

"But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matthew 5:44-45 NIV).

It is raining again. We've had a week of gray skies and occasional thunder showers. Until last evening we really hadn't gotten much rain. But now the rain gauge is showing at least an inch so it is adding up. We need the rain for the trees and lawns and at some point for the fields, though this may not be the point the farmers would like. Things are beginning to turn green; the lawns and pastures are growing now. The buds are appearing on the trees and the tulips are popping through the ground. We didn't get a lot of moisture this winter so maybe the farmers won't mind if this delays their planting.

Spring rains are always welcome to wash away the grunge of winter and cleanse the air. Rainy days are appreciated for the blessing of moisture and the hope of revival of plants and trees. But the gray days that don't produce much in the way of rain could be skipped in my book. The cold wet chill isn't my favorite kind of day. I don't mind rainy days as much as gray days. Rainy days are productive. Gray days are not. You can use an umbrella on rainy days and the rain usually disburses the fog.

I like the rumble of thunder. It reminds me that God is near and I thank Him for being in control. As a child I was told thunder was a fruit wagon upset in heaven, or something like that anyway. And although it startled me when it appeared I wasn't so frightened of it. It was a comforting kind of imagination. Although I was terribly afraid of tornadoes when we lived in a mobile home, my fear of storms has decreased a lot since we have a basement to seek shelter in now.

Let us give thanks for the rain and the sun as we receive it.

Monday, April 6, 2015

He Walks With Me

The stone is rolled away and the grave was empty! Jesus lives! Hallelujah! Christ is Risen!

What a remarkable day we celebrate on Resurrection Sunday! We had a wonderful worship yesterday blessed by fellowship with friends and family. And what a beautiful day it was to enjoy. The sun came up just as we began Sunrise worship.

During my earlier years I missed somehow that Jesus arose and walked and talked to the Disciples for many days following his resurrection. It is a fact that touches my heart deeply as I have studied all of the people who experienced our risen Lord. What a blessing to listen to and walk with, and even touch the risen Savior! To have the chance to see the fulfillment of prophecy in real life! To learn and begin to understand all that Jesus had spoken of before his crucifixion!

Paul summarizes: "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance; that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born" (1 Corinthians 15:3-8 NIV).  

We can look forward to the day when Jesus will return for us but we must walk hand in hand with Him now, believing in our salvation, accepting His forgiveness, and living a life that is true to Jesus' teachings. May the joy of the resurrection fill your heart and mind for the weeks ahead.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

He Gave It All

"So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others--one on each side and Jesus in the middle" (John 19:16-18 NIV).

Where is the crowd today? Standing aside watching it all happen without protest? Crying out, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" What a difference a few days make. How sad. How unforgivable. How human.

 His blood is on our hands. It was for us, He died. It was for our sins that He carried the cross. It was for His Father's great love that He took our sins to the cross and died for them so that we can be forgiven. Yesterday, today and tomorrow. Only Jesus could fulfill the prophesies. Only Jesus. We were hopeless without Him. We are saved by Him. We live because of Him.

"And anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matthew 16:38-39 NIV).