Category Archives: Scripture Memory

Scraping marrow into beef broth – a new level of weirdness

Used up our last quart of broth last week, so its time to simmer another 4 roasters of broth. As I was straining the first two batches of broth on Monday, the strangest thing happened. All the bone marrow was STARING at me! I know, I know. I’ve seen it before, and I acknowledged it, but that was it. “Too weird. Not ready for that yet.” (I distinctly remember thinking that and even saying that to several people when it came up in conversations.)

And then it happened. Guilt. “Those articles (like this one and this one) you read a couple weeks ago DID make sense… And look at the marrow sticking out of those bones…” 😉

So, I did it. I took a narrow knife and scraped out the marrow. Whisked it [now I blend it in my blender with a cup or so of extra broth], poured it back into the broth, and whisked it in… Funny thing is, I KNOW bits of marrow have fallen in it every time I’ve made broth. But (for me) there’s just something about taking the effort to actually do it on purpose, lol… 😏

I feel like that’s what happens in my walk with the Lord, too. I can be sooo stubborn. I get into my “autopilot” mode and completely miss the open door in front of me. Or worse, I see the open door, but choose to do what I’ve always done, and miss an opportunity to grow. The cool thing, though, is that EVENTUALLY, I catch on. Autopilot goes off, and I quit fighting change. It’s always hard to see just how much pride I still have in “my way”, but it’s so freeing to finally “see it”, seek forgiveness, and continue forward with a renewed spirit to let the Lord keep me off of autopilot. Thank You, Lord, for being patient with me. Keep making me more like You!❤️

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (‭Psalms‬ ‭139‬:‭23-24‬ NLT)

IMG_0830.JPG

IMG_0827.JPG

IMG_0828.JPG

IMG_0829-1.JPG

WELCOME 1st & 2nd calves – 2014

Meet “Washington”! He is our first calf for 2014. His mama is Tangerine, and is dad was Cleatus. It was a joy to see him this morning – healthy and all cleaned up. 🙂

20140318-145922.jpg

Washington has a big sister named Banana. Click here for an old post that has links to take you back to her birthday in 2012.

He also has a big brother, Sahara, from 2013. Click here for old posts he was featured in. 🙂

Washington must have had a good breakfast, because he walked all the way down to the barn with his mama. His legs weren’t even the least bit wobbly! 🙂

20140318-150417.jpg

20140318-150455.jpg

20140318-150535.jpg

20140318-150612.jpg

20140318-150647.jpg

20140318-150743.jpg

20140318-150819.jpg

20140318-150855.jpg

Lord, we are so thankful for a new calving season here on our farm, and we thank You for the gift of Washington today! We lift up the rest of our herd to You. Strengthen us to handle whatever situations come before us. May we remember it is Your plan we want – even when it’s hard. We grieve the loss of Pax from last week, but we thank you for the 7 years she milked and had calves for us. May the blessings around us always be more bold than the dark spots. Because the Truth is: This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalms 118:24 NKJV) Amen

And then, as I’m sitting in my car using the free wifi at the library to upload the pics for this post, I receive a txt from Mike at home:

OreoCookie had her calf this afternoon! Thought I’d include a couple pics of her in this post. More will follow, I’m sure… I LOVE her coloring!! 🙂

20140318-154914.jpg

20140318-154930.jpg

Got home and decided we’d bring Cookie & her calf down to the barnyard, leave them together overnight, and milk her tomorrow with Tangerine. Oh, this little heifer calf is ADORABLE! She was a champ just like her half brother earlier today, and walked all the way down to the barn. Not sure of her name yet… UPDATED 3-22: The Sarver Family has named her Coco! 🙂

20140318-182636.jpg

20140318-182749.jpg

20140318-182857.jpg

20140318-182948.jpg

20140318-183131.jpg

20140318-183216.jpg

20140318-183310.jpg

Click here to participate in a Barn Hop! 🙂
>

20140324-105940.jpg

UNEXPECTED

Got a call on January 25th that my Dad was admitted to the hospital… By the end of the weekend, we learned they found cancer and that it was also in his lymph nodes. UNEXPECTED.

Prayers began as we asked the Lord for wisdom. Started searching for flights to head to Arizona. Learned unofficial diagnosis was pancreatic cancer and more tests were done in order to receive a prognosis the following week.

Made arrangements for Mike and I to go together, leaving the boys to man-the-farm and Grandma & Grandpa’s outdoor wood-burner. Lined up help from friends to assist the boys when needed… UNEXPECTED.

Never dreamed in a million years Mike would be able to come with me: UNEXPECTED… but thankfully, God is bigger than my expectations…

Once my Dad’s discomfort was eased, he began to feel better. Told the doctor he thought it unnecessary to remain in the hospital because he didn’t like sitting around feeling sorry for himself – that he felt better when he could keep busy… Doctor agreed. Released him 1-31. UNEXPECTED.

Mike and I flew in late on 2-1. My brother was supposed to pick us up, but was so sick he couldn’t get out of bed for three days. Virus… UNEXPECTED.

Instead got picked up by my Dad and Uncle Jack. Dad looked like Dad – though perhaps tired. UNEXPECTED.

What did I expect? Well, I guess I don’t know… But since I was expecting to see him in a hospital bed, I suppose I thought he’d be too weak to “be Dad”. But he wasn’t. And I was glad. This was a comfort – familiar felt good… UNEXPECTED.

Our hotel room number was 322. Kinda cool – have been memorizing Lamentations 3:22-23: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

20140211-090333.jpg

My Dad has wanted to get Mike out to see the desert ever since he moved out there in 1999. And even though this was an emergency trip & unplanned, Dad wanted to show Mike his favorite sights… UNEXPECTED.

Internal battles began… We didn’t come out for a vacation… Our funds were/are limited… Money in savings is for the next few months’ bills, right? Aren’t we going to look irresponsible to those around us? Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

Prayers were answered and we were filled with peace at allowing my Dad to do what he wanted. He took us to see his good friend, Chuck – wanted Mike to meet him. Enjoyed listening to these guys share hunting memories and past stories… Drove us to grocery stores so he could buy us our “weird” health foods, lol. He wouldn’t let us buy anything that wasn’t a “good price” – he knew the bargains, lol. He and Uncle Jack bought food for a Superbowl feast & cooked for us. UNEXPECTED.

On Monday, Dad took us to his work to file for future time off. Met some of his co-workers and boss, and felt their compassion as they wished my Dad well. So many unanswered questions. Everything hinging on Thursday’s appointment with the oncologist. It was only Monday. It was touching to see everyone’s genuine concern for my Dad.

Then we headed to Uncle Jack’s property. The three men moved cacti as excavation was to begin the next day. Dad was so happy he could bring “the farmer” to the desert, and Mike was excited he got to play in the dirt. Ended the jaunt with a visit to my Dad & Uncle Jack’s favorite local hangout: Greasewood Flats. Heard stories of fun times they shared together. UNEXPECTED.

20140211-092050.jpg

20140211-092334.jpg

20140211-092519.jpg

20140211-092945.jpg

20140211-093220.jpg

20140211-093411.jpg

20140211-093826.jpg

20140211-094158.jpg

Tuesday came. My brother, Mark, was still sick, but getting better. Dad said we could borrow his truck to take my Mom to a doctor appointment, so Mark wouldn’t have to. The week before, she had had foot surgery. This appointment led to x-rays at a nearby hospital, and then back to the doctor’s office. 7 hours. Thankful we could help my brother, and were able to help my Mom, too. UNEXPECTED.

Returned to Dad to find he had spent the afternoon cooking ribs and veggies for dinner for us. UNEXPECTED.

By evening, Mark was well enough to have us over. Got to spend time with him & my Mom, and Mike finally got to meet our 7-year-old niece, Abbi. What a joy! Loved watching Mike play kitchen & color with her! Was fun learning Abbi associates Auntie Dawn with sewing, lol… She wanted to learn how to crochet, so we finger crocheted a bit, and played a game. UNEXPECTED.

20140211-135006.jpg

20140211-135500.jpg

20140211-135715.jpg

20140211-140600.jpg

20140211-140745.jpg

20140211-140920.jpg

Wednesday came. First Dad wanted us to meet a bartender friend of his. He said she liked to eat naturally like us, had told her about us, and she wanted to meet us. She offered to make him organic tonics while he did cancer treatments. This was the first I’d heard of him even being interested in trying something “alternative”, so it was fun to meet her and talk with her. Next my Dad wanted to take Mike to a “real” Mexican place for lunch… Followed by a trip to Cabelas. He started complaining of heartburn, and jokingly blamed it on the onions from lunch. He didn’t want to go back home… Said he was ok. Seemed ok. Took us to Lee Air Force base where we watched fighter jets practice. Joked with other spectators, and was “normal Dad”.

20140211-141518.jpg

20140211-142300.jpg

20140211-142504.jpg

20140211-142620.jpg

Returned to Dad’s place, and we talked about “tomorrow” – Thursday. The oncologist appointment. The hard stuff. What his wishes were. Those questions that are hard to ask, and that I was afraid to ask. It was an emotional conversation because he acknowledged his struggles… But it was beautiful, too, because he shared with me that even though his life may not have looked like it, he truly did believe… And the rest is between his heart and the Lord… There are no words to express how thankful I am we had that talk… UNEXPECTED.

Left Dad for the day with plans of meeting him in the morning for his appointment. Got back to the hotel – only a 10 minute drive. Walked into our room & my Dad’s roommate called in a panic asking us to come back. Dad wasn’t well. He called 911. I called Mark. We got there to find EMS working on Dad. No pulse. Mark & I followed to ER. Mike stayed at the house to finish with the police follow-up. Minutes later, I had to state my Dad’s wishes to the hospital staff. It hadn’t even been 2 hours since he told me what he wanted/didn’t want! I’m so grateful my brother and I were there together… UNEXPECTED.

A woman appeared to help us find a secluded room. I thought she was a volunteer. I just wanted to pray with Mark. Everything just seemed so unbelievable… This lady didn’t leave. So I asked her if she minded if we prayed. I was expecting to pray… But before I could speak, SHE PRAYED!! She SPOKE SCRIPTURE!! And I immediately felt the Lord lifting me up as His Words fueled every fiber of my being. Filled me with hope and comfort and composure. And kept me together as we waited for Mike to join us and to see Dad, one last time. UNEXPECTED.

It wasn’t until awhile later that I learned this lady was the hospital’s chaplain, lol… And then Mike shared how he prayed the Lord would send me comfort while we were separated. HE did!

So Dad didn’t make it to Thursday. So unbelievable: He didn’t make it to Thursday… UNEXPECTED. How ironic. “Tomorrow” was the day we were supposed to find out about how much time he had left, but he didn’t make it past “today”…

Can’t help but think about my last blog post. A post where I am mourning the loss of a trip we planned and couldn’t take. And now I see why. The Lord had a different trip in mind, with far greater implications… The lesson is the same, and I am in awe of how He prepares us for what is to come…Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16 NIV)

YES, LORD, I hear You! I pray I will move forward with a passion to be grateful for each moment I am in. Help me to stop placing my hope in tomorrow so that I don’t miss the opportunities that are right in front of me! Thank You so much for prompting me to have that last conversation with my Dad! Use my story to impress on others how precious the moment is that we are in, and not to assume there is more time! If you are reading this post, I pray you have heard the message of salvation that is ONLY available through Jesus Christ… That you have not only heard it, but understand it, and have accepted the gift of His sacrifice so you can spend your eternity in Heaven. And that if you already know this, but know someone who needs to hear it, TELL THEM – DON’T WAIT!! There are no guarantees there will BE tomorrow… WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS, Christ died for us. I pray that you know there is a difference between practicing religion and having a relationship with Jesus. The Lord knows our hearts and motivations – and we cannot DO anything to work our way to Heaven. That it is between our heart and the Lord – we must each recognize we are sinners, and that we NEED Jesus. I pray for more people to repent of their sins, and live lives for Him. When that happens, we become a child of God, and His Spirit will live inside us. And because He then lives inside us, HE IS NEVER LATE… What appears as a mystery to us, is not to Him. He never leaves us or forsakes us. And His love endures forever… Amen

We extended our stay from Friday to Monday. The airlines waived the $600 fee!! UNEXPECTED.

To say these days are a blur, would be an understatement. At the drop of a hat, I cry. I can’t seem to control my emotions. I’m having a hard time believing this is real. One minute Dad was with me and then he was just…gone. I mourn for all those who will miss him. I mourn for the missed opportunities I had to have deeper conversations with him, but didn’t. But I mourn with Hope… With a renewed passion to share Christ-in-me more… Hard to type as well. Probably rambling too much and not in complete sentences. But for me, writing this is therapeutic. A record of these past 9 days. I really don’t want to forget all these details… I’m healing as I walk. And I am content with however long that is for me…

Just to journal the last of our trip: Thursday was spent learning about death certificates and how our culture profits from death. Probably good info to know for the future, but it is a bit of a shock to take it all in. We accomplished what we could and now have to wait on paperwork before we can proceed any further. UNEXPECTED.

Ended the evening with Mark & Abbi coming out to swim at our hotel. A nice way to relax after a tense and difficult day.

Friday, my brother needed to work, so Mike and I had a day to ourselves. A much needed time of rejuvenation. I know Dad would have wanted that, and that thought brought us relief as we experienced the beauty of Arizona that my Dad loved so much. We (tried to) climb Camelback Mountain, lol, but realized we were “out of our league” as runners sped past us at breakneck speed while we stopped to breathe and guard our steps to avoid any injuries… We were completely ok with our “peak” being 2/3 of the way up the mountain, lol.

20140211-201022.jpg

20140211-201225.jpg

20140211-204115.jpg

20140211-204023.jpg

20140211-204050.jpg

Next we tried to find some baseball spring training baseball fields… We found some, but we were a day or two early.

20140211-204507.jpg

We had two people tell us about climbing Pinnacle Peak. So we headed there next. It was soooo much more our style!! A not-too-aggressive climb, and the views were spectacular!!

20140211-205248.jpg

20140211-205518.jpg

20140211-211818.jpg

20140211-212158.jpg

20140211-213855.jpg

20140211-214320.jpg

20140211-214414.jpg

Uncle Jack ended up meeting us there and we enjoyed another trip to his property to see the excavation progress. It was an emotional visit, since just four days earlier we were there with my Dad. He loved the backdrop of western movies, and loved living near the mountains and desert. But most of all, he loved sharing it with family and friends…

20140211-214639.jpg

20140211-214730.jpg

20140211-214848.jpg

That night my brother and Mom had us out for an enormous Chinese dinner. I am still full, lol…

20140211-231402.jpg

Saturday we found some souvenirs for the boys and then met Mark at my Dad’s house to clean out his stuff. My Dad was a simple guy, so there was only a room and some boxes to go through. Found some items to keep, and passed the rest on to others. Dad would have wanted that…

Enjoyed pizza and a movie night with Mark, Abbi, and my Mom.

Spent Sunday morning sorting through all my Dad’s personal files. Wanted to try to organize things and sort everything to make it easier for Mark to handle after we left.

Experienced a beautiful morning of worship at Trinity Bible Church. A message the Lord had prepared perfectly for us… EXPECTED!

Spent a final afternoon with Mark, Abbi, and my Mom, and then met up with my Dad’s two brothers who flew in this week to help Mark.

20140211-233005.jpg

20140211-233104.jpg

Saturday afternoon, we went back to the bar my Dad took us to on Wednesday. I wanted to shake the hands of some of his friends, and thank them in-person for being a friend to my Dad. Only saw a few, but that’s ok. It was something I felt strongly about doing, and I will continue to pray for his friends – both the ones I met and the ones I didn’t…

After a meal with my uncles and cousin, Mike and I headed back to our hotel to pack for the morning. We were up at 4am and found our way to the airport with only a couple wrong turns, lol.

Several waves of emotion have swept over me as we watched the mountains fade away from above. A bittersweet departure. I pretty much typed the whole 6 hours we flew – plus most of the day yesterday and today…

When we began this journey, we meditated on the words to this song by Casting Crowns: Jesus, Friend Of Sinners. Click here to read the words. And click here to watch/hear a video.

Friday, we heard this song by Sidewalk Profits: Live Like That – and it blew us away… Click here to read the words. And click here to watch/hear a video.

All along each day our devotions were equally convicting:
http://www.todayintheword.org/
http://odb.org/

And the prayers that have been lifted up as we found moments to txt/email updates, have been felt and received with overflowing thanksgiving!!

Dear Heavenly Father, there is no doubt in my mind that YOU paved the way for this trip to happen. YOU laid the groundwork for us to be able to leave when we did. YOU saw to it that I wouldn’t have to experience this by myself – YOU used Mike to carry me when I needed support. YOU prepared our boys to handle the responsibilities back at home…the hours of bringing hay to cows, thawing waterers, plowing snow, shoveling snow, continuing their schooling, and all this while they also grieved the loss of their Grandpa. YOU orchestrated all the helping hands who pitched in whenever and wherever needed. YOU blessed Mike and I with four wonderful days to be with my Dad before he died. YOU stabilized us when we realized we couldn’t control our situations. YOU used the foods, oils, and herbs we brought to keep our immune systems strong when we were surrounded by bad viruses and bacterias. YOU opened doors for us when we asked. YOU prompted us to share our testimonies at the perfect times. YOU gave us YOUR words when our own were inadequate. YOU gifted us with time to build new relationships and add onto old ones. YOU encouraged us through hymns, songs, and spiritual songs. YOU sustained us with YOUR daily bread, and used the prayers of fellow Believers to strengthen us to persevere. YOU helped us to love, when we wanted to judge – and are enabling us to see all people as having been made in YOUR image. YOU forgave us when our words or actions caused pain, and we cried out to YOU. YOU allowed others to see Jesus in us, and are compelling us to be more bold for YOUR GLORY.
We are overwhelmed when we think about all the ways YOU provide for us, and our trust is in YOU as we put one foot in front of the other. I have comfort in knowing that YOU are in control during all the “unexpectednesses”. YOU have used us to scatter seeds of YOUR love and mercy – and we desperately pray for the growth of those seeds. That we will not grow weary in doing good, so that at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Amen

Deuteronomy 5:16
Joshua 1:9
2 Samuel 22:2
2 Chronicles 7:14
Psalm 55:16-17; 62:2; 107:1; 118:1; 119:11, 49-50, 71, 105, 130, 133, 169-176; 136; 139:1, 23-24
Proverbs 3:5-6
Jeremiah 29:11
Matthew 5:14-16; 6:9-13, 19-21; 13:1-23
Luke 9:1-5; 23:40-43
John 1:12-13; 3:16-18; 8:32; 9:1-5; 14:6
Acts 4:29
Romans 1:18-20; 5:1-5, 8; 7:14-25; 8:26-38; 10:5-15; 12:9-13; 13:11-14; 14 all; 15:4-6, 13; 16:17-18
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
2 Corinthians 7:10
Galatians 6:2, 9
Ephesians 2:8; 3:20, 5:19-20
James 1:2-3, 5-6; 4:11-12; 5:7-11
2 Peter 3:8
1 John 1:8-10; 4:4-6

bitterness vs. disappointment

It’s a choice I have. One or the other.

“Bitterness” reveals where my hope came from. If I remain bitter, I’m holding a grudge, having a tantrum, bathing in self-pity. It reveals my hope was in a circumstance – some concept I dreamt up. It is full-of-pride, U-G-L-Y.

But today I learned there is a difference between “bitterness” and “disappointment”.  It is truly possible to be disappointed, and yet NOT become bitter!  Probably seems pretty elementary, but I do believe I lumped them both into the same category for far too long.

It has to do with Whom I am lamenting to… When I cry to man (which includes myself), I become bitter and self-righteous.  When I cry to my Father, light is shed onto the narrow path of “accepting change” because He knows a better way.  And I don’t need to know why, I just need to trust and obey. <Psalm 119:105, Proverbs 3:5-6>

Change is hard.  Unexpected change is even harder.     

Here are just a few things His light has made visible to me today:

Just because I have the vehicle, it doesn’t mean I can make the trip.  If the vehicle malfunctions, the trip isn’t possible. If my hope is in the vehicle, I will be bitter…

Just because I have the funds to participate in an activity, it doesn’t mean they’ll get spent on that activity. If my hope is in the activity, I will be bitter if the funds are spent on something else…

Just because I’ve prepared to be absent, it doesn’t mean I won’t still be here.  If my hope is in being away, I will be bitter if I cannot go.

Just because I’ve done my homework, it doesn’t mean there won’t be hiccups.  If my hope is in my efforts, I will be bitter with anything less than perfect.

Just because help is offered, it doesn’t mean it can be accepted.  If my hope is in an alternate plan, I will be bitter if that plan doesn’t work either.

Just because I can’t go where I want, it doesn’t mean I’m not where He wants me.  If my hope is in the journey, I will be bitter about my life.  IF MY HOPE IS IN THE LORD, MY JOURNEY IS WHERE HE IS, AND SINCE I AM NOW HIS CHILD, HE RESIDES INSIDE ME. SO WHERE I AM, SO IS HE.  BITTERNESS G-O-N-E!!!  <1 Corinthians 3:11, Galatians 2:20>

Just because I feel disappointed, it doesn’t mean I can’t mourn the loss of whatever it was.  It just means I must learn how to mourn in a way that reveals Who my TRUE HOPE is in.  <2 Corinthians 4:15-18> And herein lies the lesson for me:  If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that. <James 4:13-15>

I think I need to say that again:  If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that. <sigh>

OUCH.

Not a fun revelation, but a necessary lesson.

Lord, I come before You with tears of both disappointment and joy.  My heart aches for the trip we couldn’t make today, but I am so thankful we arrived back home safely and weren’t stranded in this bitter cold.  I’m grateful we have those funds now to put toward fixing our vehicle.  Lord, You know the efforts that were put into preparing to be gone from here – You will use that “fruit” to sustain us a future day, just not the one I thought it was for!  You are teaching me how to find joy in each moment, instead of “what’s next”.  I’m now one step closer to living contentedly – the way You want me to live.  These growing pains hurt, Lord, but I find comfort in You, and You alone.  You have surrounded us with so many who love us – just their willingness to help has been so encouraging, and we thank You for their support.  And Father, there are not sufficient words to explain the beauty of watching our sons handle today’s disappointment.  Their compassion and lack of resentment has revealed a maturity in them that we haven’t seen before.  And witnessing that growth is pulling us all closer together.  Together we mourned the loss of “our plan”, and now the conversion of our will to Yours, begins.  May this serve to motivate me to persevere in “living and doing this or that”.  May my faith be unshaken.

I now know why You led me to meditate on these three passages yesterday – You were preparing me for re-aligning my Hope today so that there is no room for bitterness in me:  The end of all things is near.  Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. (1 Peter 4:7)  Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (1 Peter 5:8-9)  Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, FIX YOUR THOUGHTS ON JESUS… (Hebrews 3:1a) 

 

Puzzle piece frames

A friend retired from teaching a couple years ago & gave us a bunch of puzzles she found when cleaning out her schoolroom. One of the larger puzzles was missing pieces, but I just couldn’t throw them away… So in a coffee can they went – just waiting to be transformed into SOMETHING… 🙂

Guess this was the year! My original plan was to make ornaments, but I wasn’t happy with any of my samples. Then I became enamored with the words “peace” and “piece”, and this frame/pic is the end result. 🙂

Very indicative of the journey the Lord has us on… 🙂

20131229-192850.jpg

20131229-192907.jpg

Living In Thanksgiving

Mike got creative in the milkhouse this morning to make me laugh, and I thought it made the perfect visual for where the Lord has us right now. We are drying our dairy girls up earlier than “our plan” because of reasons beyond our control…nature is like that. So we are thankful for each drop of milk He has blessed us with this season! 🙂

May we not become bitter for what we do not have, but remember that it is not “our will” that we want, but Yours, Lord. Keep us occupied with gladness of heart, because with You, WE HAVE EVERYTHING WE NEED! Amen

This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart. (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 NIV)

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS! 🙂

20131128-101055.jpg

HE has made everything beautiful…

This is the view from our dining room window, looking out across the road. My eyes normally focus on the ugly poison ivy climbing up the telephone pole. But the Lord transformed my perspective this morning…

Father, I am in awe of Your transforming power. By allowing this irritating plant to participate in Your glorious display of Your beautiful creation around me, it reminds me of what You’ve done with my soul. Thank You for opening my eyes to the poison that was fueling me – and then for cleansing me with Your life-giving flow so that I may be as white as snow. Amen.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV)

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. (Isaiah 1:18 NIV)

End of season prayer…

20130924-144948.jpg

20130924-145056.jpg

A prayer as I meditate on Psalm 90:12-17

Father, as one season ends and another begins, I pause and offer You praise and thanksgiving for Your abundant blessings. You have provided above and beyond what we needed, so that others could take part of the harvest, as well. Your Words are fueling me with the energy I need to complete what’s before me… Thank You for teaching me how to number my days aright so that I can gain a heart of wisdom. I feel Your compassion as I put one foot in front of the other – even when I can’t see where that next step leads… Not only do You satisfy me in the morning with Your unfailing love, but the whole day I can’t help but sing for joy when I focus on Your gifts! I am glad for each day that You have afflicted me with – for every year that I have seen trouble. You are showing me Your deeds, and Your splendor to my children. May Your favor rest upon us as You establish the work of our hands – YES, ESTABLISH THE WORK OF OUR HANDS!! Amen.

Lessons from a washing machine

Our washing machine officially “died” in March. Yep – right before calving, resumed milking, and baseball season began. You know – the height of laundry season?!

Can’t just go out and buy a new one (or even a new “old” one) because we are still in our consequence from when we began farming from our lost perspective – for the “money” in niche farming. When you spend all your “nest egg” + take on unnecessary debt to fan the flames of worldly success, it leaves you with no “pot” to dip into for routine maintenances, let alone any unexpected breakages. And this season has been FULL of those… Even though we’ve repented, received forgiveness, and discontinued irresponsible spending habits, it doesn’t erase the circumstance that was created as a result of it. We understand that. We accept that. And we pray everyday that others will learn from our mistakes, so others can avoid making the same ones. THAT is how the Lord redeems things – as we admit our mistakes, grieve in repentance, shed our tears, and share it in our relationships – He gives us endless avenues to glorify Him IN ALL THINGS! And here’s what we have been learning: we may NEVER be out of our financial consequence while we live here on earth – Scripture speaks of NO GUARANTEE that life for a Christian will be trouble-free. But Scripture DOES say that the Lord never leaves us nor forsakes us. HE’S WITH US IN OUR TRIALS WHETHER THEY ARE FROM THE RESULT OF A CONSEQUENCE OR NOT! And so if we don’t allow Joy to overflow from our redeemed walk with Jesus NOW, then we are missing opportunities to witness for His Kingdom WHILE WE STILL CAN! And then there’s this revelation, that’s REALLY been sinking in lately: if no more of my prayers get answered before I die, isn’t what Jesus did on the cross for me ENOUGH for me to give Him the rest of my life EVEN IF it’s hard? Can’t believe how much that question has given me pause these past weeks… Because when I say that question, I KNOW the answer is UNDOUBTEDLY – YES… Yes, my Savior HAS done something for each one of us that we don’t deserve and will never be able to re-pay Him for – whether we accept the gift or not… And so shouldn’t my suffering be my offering to Him as I walk in obedience & thanksgiving for His sacrifice for me? Thank You, Lord, for all the sermons, programs, & blog posts I’ve had the privilege of hearing & reading during this season.

The Lord has used this time without a washing machine to grow me in ways I would NEVER have chosen. I didn’t WANT to ask Mike’s parents to borrow their washing machine… They already help us so much! I wanted to roll our quarters and go to the laundromat so I wouldn’t have to tell them… But when you have to roll quarters to have money for gas to go to ballgames, there are no quarters left to take to a laundromat. Especially for three months worth. I have felt broken, and humbled, and overwhelmed, as one-by-one the “tools” I need to fulfill my duties as a wife and mother have been chipped slowly away. I know: it’s “just” a washing machine. Yeah. But it’s so much more than that! First the washing machine. Then it was my kitchen scale, and then – horror of horrors – our oven last week…

But what better way for the Lord to grow me in my reliance upon Him, than by allowing “my tools” to crumble? How easy it is for me to encourage others to “consider it pure joy when trials are faced, because the testing of our faith develops perseverance”… (James) Until it’s MYSELF I’m telling that too. Yikes. Makes that Truth a little harder to swallow. BUT IT IS TRUTH!

The Lord has helped me to accept help from others, share my struggles with those in my path, and has given me plenty of opportunities to practice leaning completely on Him for my daily provisions. And He has done exceedingly and abundantly more than anything I could have thought or imagined – the scale fixed, the gift of money to order a new heating coil for the stove, and now, a new washing machine!!!??? Wow.

I can honestly say this is the most beautiful washing machine I have ever seen. And that I NEEDED to experience a “season” without one, to truly embrace its loveliness. 🙂

Oh the parallels with my Christian walk! Because I experienced a 37 year “season” without Christ, the beauty of my salvation in Him for the past 3-1/2 years, completely overshadows that darkness now. And I can’t help but not share His mercies as I walk in the Light.

So we thank God for you, anonymous washing machine donor… May we, too, be able to be the hands and feet of Jesus for those He brings to us. 🙂

[1 Peter 4:11, Joshua 1:5, Romans 15:13, Hebrews 13:15-16, James 1, Proverbs 3:5-6, James 4:7-10, Ephesians 3:20-21, 1 John 1:5-7]

20130529-224104.jpg

20130529-224208.jpg

20130529-224521.jpg

Time Tantrum

OK, so I figured that since I’ve already shared with two sisters today that I had a tantrum this morning, I may as well just blog it. Perhaps it will help someone else out there to avoid one…’cause they sure aren’t pretty. 😦

Just had a tantrum this morning about not getting to do “what I want”…like reading, studying, rambling, blogging…um, I’ll just call it “playing”…

I always seem to have more on my plate than what I can physically do in a day. And somehow I forget that when I just remember to practice contentedness in wherever I’m at, the Lord surprises me with T-I-M-E. Time (like, momentary) where my joy transcends my task, and time (like, extra minutes) where I actually DO get to “play”. How many times have I seen Him do this again, and again, and again? [sigh]

Heard a program this week about “repenting for the lesson of the loaves”. Referring to how the disciples were straining at the oars of their boat during a storm, and how they freaked out when they saw Jesus walking on the water, enter their boat, and calm the winds – JUST AFTER they had witnessed His miracle of feeding the five thousand. (Mark 6:30-52)

Click here for the link to hear the 4-22-13 Haven Today program. 🙂

SOOO ME today. How quickly I forget!!

Father, forgive me for doubting that you can handle my problems. For fretting about “the details”, because I think I can do Your job. For refusing to see that Your work can be found in EVERY task. For being impatient when I don’t get what I want. For forgetting that YOU KNOW my heart’s desires, and will grant them at the perfect time as I practice walking in obedience to You. It’s amazing to me “what” You can use to encourage me – the listening ears of my husband, and even the words from sisters who simply admit that they have a hard time fitting in “playtime”, too! I pray for all who struggle with contentedness in the mundane tasks. And I pray Your Words: For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV)