Posted in Dear Diary, life

And the Earth Renews

morning cows etc 025

Glory, glory to this early spring day!

Although I woke from a very restless sleep, my body groaning under the weight of its 40 years: hips and hamstrings, neck and knees, the outside world renews me. I’m so glad my 3-year-old wanted to dress and head directly outside, despite my opposition.

The birds are so happy today and why shouldn’t they be? They are announcing the coming of a glorious day.

The earth is wet from either a heavy dew or a light rain and it doesn’t take long for Emma’s shoes to grow wet all the way to her pale pink socks, as she frolics and plays.  The sun is warming the world ever so slowly, removing the chill, granting the warmth.

There is an earthy smell of rebirth in the air. The wind carries it on its breath. Nothing can keep quiet. Nothing can be still, for this day is indeed worth shouting about. The whole of nature is trumpeting the coming of spring!

So I sit with the small pleasure of life: coffee, front porches, pen and paper, and wet tennis shoes. I watch the world in all its activity. My little black cat pounces and climbs, pausing on occasion to stare at something unseen to me, and switch her tail in eager anticipation. And then, as if it couldn’t get any better, the icing on the cake—–a “butterfly”, as my daughter calls them dances by.  She’s black with yellow rimmed wings. She too heard the call of nature, felt the breezes, heard the birds, smelled the dampness of the earth and yet, knowing her days were short, came out to play.

Apple trees are in bloom, lilac bushes are in bud.  I say to them, “careful, careful, not too soon. Have patience”. But surely they know better than I.

My senses take it all in. My soul exhales the dregs of winter. Truly nature is where we find rest yet energy, calmness yet revitalization, serenity yet pulse. A place of reprieve, of lessons, of growth, of birth.

“The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created spring.~~Bernard Williams

Glory, Glory to this early spring day!!

Posted in Children

Outside

Our baby girl loves it outside.

No matter the mercury reading, she hasn’t learned to complain about the heat yet.

 

We haven’t cut her hair to look like a mohawk on it’s way to growing out, it’s just the way her hair, well is growing out.  Possibly one of the reasons she’s mistaken for a boy frequently.

The chickens are as curious about her as she is of them.  But everyone’s on their best behavior so far.  No pecking or feather pulling have occurred.

I just love everything about her.  The birth mark on her forehead that reminds me of Australia, those lovely long eyelashes framing her deep brown eyes, the way she smells like “outside” after only a few minutes.  But heck, so do I.  Even the little skinned place beside her nose where her fingernails got her.

Oh, and I mustn’t forget  her two brand spanking new pearly whites.

Posted in Uncategorized

Dem Dry Lands

My vegetable patch is green, luscious, fruitful, and multiplying.

I mean, the garden in my dreams.  Of course.

It’s difficult at best to grow a garden, or anything green, in a drought.

We’ve morphed into a barren desert land.

The horses search for anything green and tender, including the bottommost leaves of the trees, leaving all our trees looking a little bit top-heavy. 

We’re having a hot, dry summer in my area.

Our average rainfall is about 19 inches and as of June 6, we had received 0.68 inches of rain this year, making it the driest start to a  year on record since 1892.  1892!!  That’s a long time ago.  We’ve had the most days over 100 degrees since 1953.  We are shattering records in this unpleasant summer season.

But one thing I know, this too shall pass.  Soon enough we will be cursing the biting winds of old man winter.

Two positives to this negative weather pattern:  1)  nary a mosquito have I seen this summer and 2) I have not had to mow the grass yet.  I have a few horses and chickens to thank for that as well.

We’ve been getting some intermittent showers the last few weeks, and it has been refreshing.  And irony of all ironies, before the evidence of drought, my husband and a friend began a part-time business hanging rain gutter and have had a great start.  People are buying rain gutter in a drought!  So our next stop is Alaska to sell ice to the Eskimos.  I shall insert a small advertisement here:  Let me know if you’re in the market for gutter.  I can hook you up.

But seriously, mankind has great faith.  We, as humankind, are a resilient people.  A people who have seen trials and blessings, who have spent time on both the mountaintop and in the valley, who have experienced the harvests and the famines of life.  Throughout it all, we hang tough.  

And look for the life among all the dying.

Robert Frost said it best,

In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. 
It goes on.

I pray life is treating you good and you’re able to see the positive in your negative situation today.

God Bless.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Hope

Tonight I was Master of the Remote Control— a title I don’t especially covet. 

I don’t like Television for many reasons that I won’t go into, but tonight for an unknown reason, I decided to turn on the T.V.

I started with The Singing Bee which made my heart happy.  I am a World-Class-Lyric-Maker-Upper, so anytime I knew the words to the missing lyrics, I was hooping and hollering right here in my living room.  Then I turned to an episode of 20/20.  It was all about the Internet and the terrible, horrible people in this world who prey on victims, steal identities, falsely accuse and exploit others, and who truly have evil in their hearts.  I thought of my little blog and all the good people who read and comment.  Call me naive and stupid, but I still believe there is more good out there than bad.  I ended my TV watching experience of the night with the 10 o’clock news and the disheartening forecast of severe drought and 109 degree high temperatures, plus extreme wind.  When it was over I was thoroughly depressed, cognizant of why I do not watch TV, and scarfed down 2 waffles just to feel better about the world and my place in it.

I needed an uplifting story. Something that would give me hope, and prove that good wins over evil, and that there is something to look forward to in this world.  I thought of googling “uplifting stories” and choosing a touching one, but then a story I’d read before popped into my mind.  One of my most favorite stories of all time.  I copied it from a website written for children called childrenchapel.org.  It’s the story of a great man named Elijah and a contest.  It speaks to me on so many levels.

The drought conditions were continuing to get worse. There was hardly any water to be found ANYWHERE. The creeks had dried up LONG ago, and the rivers had become patchy mud puddles. Food was scarce for people and for animals. In fact, many of the animals had already DIED because of the shortage of grass.

King Ahab was beginning to worry about his OWN herds of cattle and flocks of sheep. He called Obadiah, one of his servants, to his side.

“Obadiah,” he said, “something must be done before all the animals die. We must find grass and water. You go in one direction and I’ll go the other. There must be grass somewhere.”

So King Ahab and Obadiah set off in different directions, in search of fresh grass and water.

Footprints walking from left to right across the screen

While Obadiah was looking here and there, trying to find mud puddles and grass, he saw a man walking toward him. “I wonder who that could be,” he thought to himself. As the man came closer, Obadiah recognized him. “Why, that’s Elijah!” he exclaimed out loud and ran to meet him.

“Elijah! Elijah! Is that really YOU?” he asked excitedly.

“Yes, I am Elijah, and I want you to do me a big favor.”

“What is it, sir?” Obadiah asked politely.

“I want you to go tell King Ahab that I am here and want to see him,” Elijah explained.

Obadiah instantly became fearful. This was NOT something he wanted to do. “How can you even think of asking me to do such a thing?” Obadiah asked with astonishment. “Don’t you know that King Ahab HATES you? Don’t you know that the King is blaming YOU because there has not been any rain for all these years? Besides that, the King has been looking for you. Every time he thinks he knows where you are, you leave and no one can find you. If I tell him you are here, then you will leave again; he will want to kill YOU and ME. I’m sorry, Elijah. I just cannot do it!”

Elijah looked at Obadiah and patiently explained, “It will be fine, Obadiah. I promise you that I will be here. I promise you that I WILL see the King. Now please, just go and tell him I wish to speak to him.”

Footprints walking from left to right across the screen

“YOU! YOU! YOU are the one that is causing trouble for Israel!” King Ahab shouted in anger. “YOU are the reason we have had no rain!”

King Ahab speaking with Elijah “No, King,” Elijah replied. “YOU are the cause for all this trouble. You have turned away from Jehovah, the one true God. You are worshipping the false god, Baal. You have caused the people of Israel to sin by worshipping idols. YOU have brought all this trouble to Israel.”

Elijah continued his speech. “I want you to gather 450 prophets of Baal, and 400 prophets of of Ashtoreth, and have them meet me at Mount Carmel.”

King Ahab did as Elijah said and gathered the prophets. A large crowd of people gathered also to see what was going to happen.

Elijah stood before the crowd. “How long are you going to try to worship Baal and Jehovah? You cannot serve more than one god. If Baal is God, worship him! If Jehovah is God, worship Him! You MUST make a decision. You must choose one or the other.”

Then Elijah said, “We are going to have a contest to see who is the REAL God.” He told them to bring enough wood to build two altars – one for Jehovah, and one for Baal. He told them to bring animals for the sacrifice – one for Jehovah and one for Baal.

Altar

The 450 prophets of Baal built their altar. They prepared the animal for the sacrifice. Then they started praying: “O Baal, hear us! O Baal, hear us!” From morning until noon they kept up the shouting.

Elijah was taunting and making fun of them: “What’s wrong? Can’t your god HEAR you? Has he taken a trip? Why isn’t he answering you? Perhaps he is talking to someone else. Maybe you should scream LOUDER.”

Midday had passed, and now it was getting late into the evening, and the prophets of Baal were still shouting and screaming at the top of their voices. Baal still was not listening.

Elijah told the people who were looking on to gather around him. He took 12 stones for his altar, used the wood that was brought, and prepared the animal for the sacrifice. Then he did a very strange thing indeed!

He told the people to bring him four barrels of water. It sounded pretty strange to them, but they DID bring the water. He poured the water on the altar and on the sacrifice.

Barrels filled with water

He told them to bring him four more barrels of water. “What’s wrong with this guy? Doesn’t he know there is a shortage of water?” they were mumbling among themselves. But they obediently brought the water. He poured the water on the altar and on the sacrifice.

That wasn’t enough for Elijah. He told them to bring him FOUR MORE barrels of water. “How much water is he going to waste?” someone whispered. Again they did as they were told and brought the water. He poured that water on the altar and on the sacrifice. The sacrifice was soaked with water. Water was running off the wood, onto the stones, and onto the ground. He dug a ditch around the altar and filled it with water also.

Then he began to pray a simple prayer:

“Lord God, let the people know that You are the true God of Israel and I am your servant. Let them know that I have done these things because You told me to do them. Hear me, O Lord, so these people will know that You are the Lord God, and they will serve You again.”

Fire from heaven falls on the altar and consumes the sacrifice

SUDDENLY, fire came down from heaven! It burned up the sacrifice! It burned up the WOOD! It burned up the STONES! It even licked up all the water that was in the ditch around the altar!

When the people saw it, they dropped to the ground in fear and cried out, “The Lord, He is the God; THE LORD, HE IS THE GOD!”

Then Elijah turned to King Ahab and said, “Get up! Eat and drink! There will be an abundance of rain!”

So King Ahab had something to eat and drink, and Elijah took his servant with him to the top of Mount Carmel to pray to God and wait for the rain. “Look toward the sea and tell me if you see rain,” Elijah said to his servant. The servant peered into the distance but didn’t see any rain.

Elijah kept praying.

“Look again,” Elijah told him. He looked again, but still there was no rain.

Elijah continued praying.

He looked six times, and each time there was no rain. Not even a small cloud was in sight.

Elijah prayed one more time

and asked the servant to look again.

Cloud

This time the servant saw a little cloud way out in the distance over the sea. “Run quickly!” Elijah commanded. “Go tell King Ahab to get his chariot ready and get off the mountain before the rain starts.”

It was just a little while before the sky became dark with clouds.

The wind began to blow.

There was a drop of rain…

…then another.

…then another.

Then there was a great downpour.

THE DROUGHT WAS FINALLY OVER.

Everyone in Israel knew for certain that Jehovah was the REAL God and Baal was just a make believe god.

Footprints walking from left to right across the screen

REMEMBER: Everyone must choose between good and bad. It is impossible to serve God and the devil.

 

How did this story speak to you? 

Posted in Uncategorized

The Wind Does Blow

The Wind
by Robert Louis Stevenson

I saw you toss the kites on high
And blow the birds about the sky;
And all around I heard you pass,
Like ladies’ skirts across the grass–
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

I saw the different things you did,
But always you yourself you hid.
I felt you push, I heard you call,
I could not see yourself at all–
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

O you that are so strong and cold,
O blower, are you young or old?
Are you a beast of field and tree,
Or just a stronger child than me?
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

RL Stevenson visited the Texas Panhandle on a day like today and then wrote this poem. I know he did.

Oh my word. That is all I can say. Well actually it’s not. The wind is awful. It’s more than awful. It’s harrowing.

It causes me to ponder the Dust Bowl Era. As I look at images, I’m struck by the notion of how tough those people were. We’re a bunch of wimps nowadays.

Black Blizzards, Black Rollers. Woodie Guthrie wrote songs about “dust pneumonia blues”.
I got that dust pneumony, pneumony in my lung,
I got the dust pneumony, pneumony in my lung,
An’ I’m a-gonna sing this dust pneumony song.

I went to the doctor, and the doctor, said, My son,
I went to the doctor, and the doctor, said, My son,
You got that dust pneumony an’ you ain’t got long, not long.

Now there ought to be some yodelin’ in this song;
Yeah, there ought to be some yodelin’ in this song;
But I can’t yodel for the rattlin’ in my lung.
My good gal sings the dust pneumony blues,
My good gal sings the dust pneumony blues,
She loves me ’cause she’s got the dust pneumony, too.

It it wasn’t for choppin’ my hoe would turn to rust,
If it wasn’t for choppin’ my hoe would turn to rust,
I can’t find a woman in this black ol’ Texas dust.

Down in Oklahoma, the wind blows mighty strong,
Down in Oklahoma, the wind blows mighty strong,
If you want to get a mama, just sing a California song.

Down in Texas, my gal fainted in the rain,
Down in Texas, my gal fainted in the rain,
I throwed a bucket o’ dirt in her face just to bring her back again.”

At least we don’t all have the dust pneumony.
Yet.

Posted in Uncategorized

Footprints in the Snow

A couple days ago, my husband shoveled us out of the snow.  It was just in the nick of time too.   I believe with my all of my being that he was on the verge of having a full on attack of deliriousness as a side effect of the cabin fever he’d developed after being cooped in the house. 

It’s like we were living in The Shining.  We were trapped, confined, imprisoned for….for……months.  

It was at least days. 

Okay, okay, it was only about 6 hours.  But that’s not what it felt like.

Unlike the movie, The Shining, with a little determination, and a lot of J-Dub’s muscle behind a snow shovel, we could get out and weren’t being chased through a maze by a madman with a hatchet.  And I must admit I never witnessed twins murdered in our hallway, or blood pouring from the walls, or a small boy wiggling his finger growling REDRUM, REDRUM. 

Alright, so I guess it wasn’t anything like The Shining.    Our biggest problem was J-Dub was bored.

He said he was going out to the place.  “The place” refers to our new little piece of land with a lovely trailer house {snicker, snicker} we bought that has given us fits and convulsions since closing day way back in October.  I decided I should let the stink blow off me, and go see all the crazies driving around town in the snow, so I pulled on twenty extra layers and hopped in the passenger seat.

 

The snow was deep when we pulled up to the gate, so we decided it’d be easier to park in the county road than to drive through the deep snow. 

J-Dub led the way.  My boots were heavy and the snow was bottomless.  Lifting my knees up to my chest to take my next labored step was difficult.     I hollered out from behind him, “You’re going too fast!.”  He turned his head and hollered back, “You’re going too slow!” 

Knowing he wasn’t going to slow down and wait for me, I got the brilliant idea to walk in his footsteps, and save myself a lot of hard work.

I’m sure you’ve seen footprints in the snow before, I’m sure you’ve even walked in snow deeper than this, but if I told the truth that it was only a few inches deep instead of having you believe it was 3 1/2 feet, and that it was a very short walk to the front door, it doesn’t make me sound as tough, eh? 

Walking in someone else’s footprints in the snow makes me all nostalgic and I think of the time when there was a “for real” blizzard and I walked with my dad to a little convenience store several, and I do mean several, blocks away ill-dressed in a measly pair of tennis shoes.  We needed food.  I was about 10, he was about 40, and I realize now how terribly I must have slowed him down.  And if my memory serves me correctly, I begged to go, and he insisted I shouldn’t, until of course he gave in like dad’s sometimes do when their obnoxious daughters won’t stop whining.  He probably at that point was thinking, “Fine, go with me, learn your lesson, you little ninny headed brat.”

And I did learn my lesson.  It was cold, and I was miserable, and very glad to get home to my momma.  That day I remember walking in his footsteps, which was not easy to manage since his stride was so much longer than mine.  But all the same, I was thankful they were there.

The picture of these footprints in the snow also remind me of my Savior Jesus, and that beautiful poem Footprints in the Sand. 

“LORD, you said that once I decided to follow
you, you’d walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why when
I needed you most you would leave me.”

The LORD replied:
“My son, my precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints,

 

it was then that I carried you.”

 

 

 Be blessed.

Posted in Uncategorized

Soap #2–The Old and Curmudgeonly: Sleeping Through the Storm

My little town got 8.5 inches of snow Tuesday night, and they cancelled school.  And as an added bonus, we don’t have to start school until 10:00 this morning.  Yippee Skippee!! 

Snow days don’t come around often, and I try to enjoy them.  I spend my day in  lazy gear, reading, writing, facebooking, napping.   My husband on the other hand, is like a fish out of water.  He turns the TV on, then turns the TV off.  He sits in the recliner, then sits on the couch.  He lets the dogs out and lets the dogs in.

Finally, he got still long enough to sleep a little.  I decided a picture of these three old dogs was in order.

He didn’t work because he took care of everything the day before. 

He double-fed the cattle and put out hay, but I’m sure those cattle will be glad to see him and the cake wagon (aka the feed truck) today.

[feed+wagon.jpg]

He was prepared for the approaching storm. 

It reminds me of a story I once read by an anonymous author:

 Years ago a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the Atlantic, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops.

As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals. Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer. “Are you a good farmhand?” the farmer asked him. “Well, I can sleep when the wind blows,” answered the little man. Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired him. The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt satisfied with the man’s work.

Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand’s sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, “Get up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!” The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, “No sir. I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows.”

Enraged by the old man’s response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops, and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down. Nothing could blow away. The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant, and he returned to bed to also sleep while the wind blew.

So it is with life.  Can we sleep while the wind blows?  Are we prepared when the storms of life arise? 

There’s marital troubles, financial troubles, job troubles, relationship troubles, health troubles.

There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich.

Sorry.   Bubba came to mind.  It happens.

Here’s my SOAP for the week. It’s my new way of Bible Study.   S stands for scripture, O for observation, A for application, P for prayer.

Scripture:  In Luke Chapter 4, Jesus was sleeping during the windstorm.

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Observation:  Even the disciples who had seen Jesus do miracle after miracle were afraid during the storm.  Their faith was tested, they didn’t feel prepared.  They didn’t think Jesus cared about them.

Application:  During storms in my own life I have cried out that same lament, “Do you not even care?”  But he does.  I know he cares for me.  He had told the disciples to get in the boat, we’re going to the other side.  He’s with us every step of our journey.   Side by side, through all kinds of weather.  Through the sunshine and the rain.  When we give our lives to Him, ask Him to direct our steps, strive to follow Him, read His word, and pray, then we can be prepared for the storms of life.  Knowing he’s in the boat with us, taking us to the other side, through the storm and all will help us feel peace.

Prayer:  Dear Lord, I love you and I thank you.  I thank you for my good times, and I thank you for the storms that you have seen me through.  I thank you because I know that you will be with me in the storms that are inevitable.  I pray that through You, I will always be prepared when the winds toss my little boat.  Hide your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.  Guide me on my journey.  Keep me safe. 

In Jesus’ name, 

Amen.