Belief Without Question

This time and thus far

“Many have said that they do not believe,

“Many have said that they do.”

The eighth song on the CD is titled, “Why Lord?” While the words have been floating through my head for the past two weeks, the struggle to reach some conclusion has eluded me. Until today, I struggled with the conclusion for the previous entry. Letting go of the post began an emotional reeling within me akin to considering the death of my favorite pet. No I was not thinking of one of the dogs, rather, the age and difficulties of our family pony.

A few weeks back,he began a hobbling that seemed unnatural to his usually jolly old self. When the family gathered for our Easter celebrations, the call to come was denied. Cocoa simply remained planted in his stationary position as if he turned into a statue. Not use to the steely attitude, we searched for a reason for his lack of response.

Twenty years old for a horse did not seem good enough for me. A visit with the vet, and some physical investigation proved that his back leg with the previously split hoof was showing signs of arthritis and pain. We ill keep his hooves trimmed at a shortened time frame (down to six weeks) and are giving him some anti-inflammatory relief for the rest of the week.

Considering the death of the longest living family pet was much to depressing. Cocoa has out-lived all of the family dogs and cats.

I wanted to make a little backpack bag for a while now. the continuous in the round crochet makes for some real fun juggling the tails. Somewhat of a dog and pony show, keeping the two untangled is half of the project! Never the less, the project was successful and I learned a thing or two about sizing and attaching the straps. Using the familiar patter was helpful. I could watch movies and listen to books without many mistakes.

These three little sedum’s are some of the easiest succulents to keep alive. Once weekly moisture spritz and once monthly watering of the soil should do the trick. The exciting part is the log-planter that my husband’s dad turned on the wood lathe for me. The project was a bit big for his porch projects. My hubby actually had to hold the lathe down one day so his dad could finish the project. I put a bread sack inside the container so the log will not rot.

One day while dreaming of log houses, I though, perhaps this is as close as I will ever get. So perhaps, my little plants can have a log house. Dreams are a silly sort at times.

These beautiful geraniums went back to their summer home. Over wintering in the greenhouse the pretty blooms were constant. I was blessed to have four or five other hanging baskets from these two originals. And there are nearly a dozen offspring. I am so grateful to the ladies who donated to my “forever spring” collection. Many days I do not think life would be very enjoyable without my greenhouse.

I look back at the time that this song was written and wonder what was I really questioning? What was going on in the question of “Why?” For me? One day recently my dad and I got on the topic of name changing. I told him that I have never wanted to change my name. I have always liked Yvonne Annette. Many people have commented what a pretty name I have.

The move I watched on the life of Lincoln by Stephen Spielberg, sparked many thoughts for me. One was the chose of birth. Free will is something that some consider self-evident truth. Yet free will does not involve birth, color of skin, or sexual identity at birth. Today some people choose to fight every identity given to them at birth. As if in so choosing they can change the course of nature be anything that they are not.

Again, I state that we cannot choose birth for ourselves. Even a mother if she lets the natural order of things resolve, cannot choose the moment of her child’s birth. Some of us have been more influenced by the meddling of man’s ways than others.

I would not be here if a doctor with a scalpel had not plucked me from my mother’s womb. I was placenta Previn. Until the recent past, these children died at birth, and often the mother with them. My mother and I did not choose the date of my birth. Nature did. The gravity of this day has not lost it’s seriousness upon me or her. We are alive.

One generation later, and I also could not choose my children’s sex, nor their birthdates. Had I known the incompetent cervix was the result of my many bicycle accidents and trick jumping, perhaps the bike would have stayed in the garage more frequently. Needless to say, my daughters are both alive and so am I thanks to modern medicine.

How can I question my Lord’s hand in my existence and consider this momentary difficulties to be afflictions unbearable? How do we let the oppressions of mankind defeat our spirits and demote our souls? How do we choose to deny our identities ride the waves of windless tides? How do we stoop the questions?

But in the end it’s not just what you say…

“but what you do, That proves the truth.”

Every time that I plant a seed, in my life at least, I prove that God exists. Every day that I crochet, I confirm my family identity. I am my grandmother’s granddaughter. Every day that I listen to a book or learn something new, I prove that my mother and father once made me. They were both avid readers, and to this day love learning. Every day that I communicate with a sibling is proof that God intervened in my mother’s life the day that I was born, and let her live.

Every day that look in the mirror, I choose to be me.

Mark 9:23-24, “Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately, crying out with tears, the father of the child replied ‘Lord I believe; help my unbelief.'”

Father, daughter

Reflecting back on the third song from my CD

Is it a parent thing or a child thing? This relationship building as an adult is not easy. And is it really so tough to raise parents these days? Mother and child pictures are the most precious images. But those father daughter dances at weddings just about break your heart. The father – daughter dynamic in a family can be a fulfilling lifelong connection. Sometimes however, it takes a lot of work.

The third song from the CD Are You Ready? Published in 1999 by yours truly (Yvonne Annette) is titled Father, You Are My Father

“Father , You are my Father, And You have made me And in Your image We are the same. Father, You are my Father, And You have made me,And I will proudly carry Your name. You are my Father, You are my Father…”

This song was written as the witness song to my Bible college years of study. During which I finally understood that my view of God was colored by my own experiences with my earthly father. These circumstances caused me to put God at a distance and think of Him more on the angry wrathful and temperamental. The concept that a God who truly loved me and wanted good for me was brand new. Finally, I could clean the windows with the cross of Christ and see my Heavenly Father in the right perspective. Now I could really pray the prayer of my Lord’s example: “Our Father, which are in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name…”

Nothing like My Fathers’ Eyes, the song by Amy Grant, to line up my spiritual thinking. Her song written about the time of my college awakening, was not that influential to me. I still did not really want my earthly father’s eyes. However, I had no choice. My dad had gifted me with his eyes, literally. Now it was time to take my vision to a whole new level. What about my spiritual vision? I did not want my soul and spirit to be blind.

“Father, You are my Father And I will trust You, And I will gladly learn to obey. Father You are my Father, And I will listen And I will learn to follow Your way, You are my Father. You are my Father.”

This song was written during the rocking years. As a mother that was one of my favorite things to do with my daughters. Mother and child could be found in the glider downstairs for hours after morning’s first light increased to full brightness. Mother and child could be seen in the little granny rocker at bedtime in the old house on Nettle Avenue upstairs. Daughter on mommy’s lap could be found in any number of rockers. There is one for each room. I loved reading and singing my girls to sleep.

My second daughter was the inspiration for many of my song writings during her toddler years. Those peaceful moments were such a blissful memory. Who would have though that leaving that house behind would bring such rocky years to follow in our new residence a state away. Leaving the acreage where we prayer walked to gain peace from the past that hung over the land still puts a little twinge of pain in my heart.

My creative bone did not come from my father though. My mother is the creative juice in the family. She sews. Her seamstress career has taken her from exquisite gowns to heritage quilts. She sewed all of our clothing when I was a child. The most beautiful gown that she made was one my second daughter was blessed to wear for her senior recital in college. The details on the pale yellow dress are some of her finest workmanship. Today her handmade quilts for the grandchildren can be valued at two to three thousand dollars.

When does a father fall in love for the second time? The answer is the day his daughter is born. (For some grand-daughter). If daddy is blessed to hold baby within minutes of birth, handing over this second love to his first one usually means a heart bursting with love and pride. Asking a father to hand off this daughter to some one else’s son is also loaded with emotion.

My wedding day did not include dad passing me off to my new love. My father did not come to my wedding. I walked alone down the aisle. This act was so foreign to many of the people in our lives, that they did not understand it’s significance to my blubbering groom at the end of that walk. He and I talked about that moment beforehand. He knew that the one walking me down that aisle was the Invisible, Omnipotent, Ever-present Heavenly Father. I could not have walked that aisle alone without God’s presence in my life.

But now? Now, I have a father in law who is very creative. We have collaborated on some projects together, like my greenhouse grow beds. Others like the little wood turnings that he does these days, are just so inspiring to me. Each item is proof that the creative mind from Our Heavenly Father is alive and well in many people today.

This little kaleidoscope is a recent wood turning that he made for the great-grand children to enjoy. I swiped it up for my grandkids. The wood markings on the outside are so unique. Each little toy is different on the inside also.

This picture is from the large opening, the end that you are supposed to NOT look through. The hexagonal shapes are produced by the two mirrors and one felt side triangulation. The inside kaleidoscope was a kit purchase.

The correct view shows the coloring of the little glass pieces that are in tube. Of course, I watched a video on “How is this Made” after bring the toy home. There a times I just want to sit and stare though the lens and do nothing else. The tumbling glass objects are never seen in the same way twice. It is a very distracting object. Teasingly I told him, I would not get a thing accomplished the following day after bringing the toy home.

Then the inspirations arrived! Back to the world wide web of inspiring motivations I went. Crochet is my thing, so here is the kaleidoscope blanket that resulted.

The item is now complete (after this picture date). I took an old blanket that I did not particularly care for and did a MakeOver! Doing this is half of my time spent in creativity. Sometimes that’s the whole point. Fixing something so that I am completely satisfied with the outcome.

Malachi 2:10 “Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us all? Why do we deal treacherously with one another By profaning the covenant of the fathers?” NKJV. My version would be something like this: Have we not all one Heavenly Father? Has not one God made us all in His image? Why then do me deal so harshly and un-lovingly towards one another? This unkind behavior is like cursing profanely and denying that God gave us fathers and mothers made by Him. Honoring our earthly parents blesses our Heavenly Father. Loving one another blesses God and our parents. It is treacherous to our soul and our lives to act profanely towards anyone.

Everything in my life is like adding a little shard of glass into the tumbler of the kaleidoscope. Who I am comes from all these broken pieces to make a thing of beauty with creativity and joy. I hope that when others look through my mirrored toy (this blog, and crochet projects that i do) they see some reflection of my Heavenly Father’s image.

Is Hindsight Really 20\20?

When we remember things with a skewed sense of reality…

Here is the thought that got me considering hindsight, and I’m not talking about the butt end of a roast or anything else of that sort. This year is in fact 2020, so why not think upon all of it’s various connotations.

Recently my mother started the whole sibling group on a “remember when” game and the focus was the earliest snow in our state. The consideration was in September, but now we are already into October. Snow is expected for our area within the week. The northern part of the state had snow and ice this week.

What each one remembers is truly based on the strength of that persons memory. I do not remeber any snow earlier than October 31st within the first year of our marriage. Then just a few years ago we had snow that landed the bean crop in disarray. That snow was earlier than Halloween, but the exact date just does not stick in my head. Lots of people lost cattle during that snow.

When considering the whole vision thing (20\20) is really about how well one can see on things put in front of the eyes. This has nothing to do with the foresight of whether to plant corn or beans for the best harvest value. If one sees best at close up or and distance we have names for that kind of vision. Well, in life experiences, some people are truly better at foresight, while others are good and hindsight. I will try to explain later.

Even more skewed in my mind is the memories that I have of our families first home in the northern part of the state. I vaguely remember running under the old metal table from the late sixties. I was so short and so young, it was a great spot to hide from my sisters. Funny how I do not remember the moment that stopped my under the table “cross country” home runs!

And answers that we were seeking are no longer questions to be asked. We can see clearly now. Hindsight brings us clear vision and the view is nearly 20\20. Is this the thought that we will have some years down the road? A few years from now we will look back. Right now we simply try to look forward and all that we see is the moment. The difficulties of the day seem insurmountable.

Foresight tells me that this is the plague that is taking away our history. So many elderly people are being lost to this virus. This disease seems to be taking the people that gave us our history. They are the ones of our past. The gray haired populous is considered at risk in this pandemic world that we live in. But hindsight is telling me they are not the only ones at risk of this disease. Some younger people suffer and just this week the world news exploded with the news of a 38 year old dieing in flight because of the virus.

We all have so many opionions about everything, and yet there is still only one breath between all of us and the future. The next breath could be our last. We never know.

But here’s a look at the past few weeks here in my neighborhood.

Our outdoor living space is complete. We made a 2×4 slat bench to add to the collection. The recitation bench along the east wall of the house came from our old grain shed in Iowa. The place that we lived had three delapitating buildings: the grain shed, a small animal barn and a garage. The garage was the first thing to go. After the spring snow melted and we discovered it was full of the trash from the previous occupants, we lit a match to the whole lot. Of course the fact that the propane tank was less than ten feet from the building was quite a frightful thought. The grain shed and the basement held a number of pieces of furniture that still grace my home today.

The swing is an old crib remodel. Haha. The crib was the one that Gavin’s dad and siblings all slept in when pre-toddlers. Today it would not fit the safety regulations as the bars are too distant in measurement. It makes an amazing back porch nap zone.

The focus of all the pets attention is the deck box. It contains their food. We have had to discard of a few wild critters in the past as raccoons can figure out how to lift the lid and help themselves. Thank goodness for the new addition to the family. Eva has kept them away since her arrival.

The slat bench has wood that came from the top of the barn. All the pieces were well over fifty years old and rough cut lumber. We spent quite some time getting each piece to the correct measurement. The staining of the top pieces made the construction of the slat bench really pop. It is a pretty good nap zone also. However, these cooler temps are not the best for such things. The finish is an old oil based recipe from Aussie Timber care. It has kept my benches and other outdoor pieces in tip top shape.

This mosaic crochet afghan is now complete. It does not have a new home yet. Because I was born in the spring, I prefer bright and bold colors more than fall. I have a perpetual spring in my greenhouse and could bore you with my pictures of flowers.

The pattern on the blanket is “What comes around, goes around.” The square spirals were really quite fun to crochet. The border and the separation lines are a simple steppe pattern. I think they kind of look like “z’s” and that makes it a good sleeper’s warmer! While I thoroughly enjoyed the process of crocheting the afghan, the colors just did not thrill me. So if there’s a friend of mine in love with it, they better holler quick. Otherwise my sister will find a home for the burnt orange delight.

Lately, I found the cold a bit too nippy on my fingers. So I decided to remake a couple of my hat and mitten pairs. I started with my everyday set that keeps me from the frost while doing the morning rounds. Honey and I go out to greet Eva. She sleeps in the heated hut outdoors. We scoop a bowl of kibbles for the cats then head out back to do the business. Next we run to the greenhouse to check the temperature. I give Cocoa a can of oats. Then we run like mad to the house because the north wind is so bitey.

This little whimsical hat was part of my creations from last spring. It is a scrappy hat. In other words, I used some scrap chunks of yarn and made a hat that was one of a kind. So the other day after perfecting my mitten pattern on a different set, I sat down and pulled up some yarn chunks to make my “whimsy set.” Something of the Oma in me enjoys wearing such a silly little dunce hat. The ball always gets a lot of attention either from little kids (while shopping) or even from other peoples pets (they can’t take their eyes off of the ball dangling from my head). Well, with a Grandmother name like Oma, why wouldn’t I enjoy a little whimsy in my life? My favorite books were the Dr Suess and I still can’t resist buying one even if I can’t read them anymore.

People with foresight always seem to get things right. They dream forward. They plan ahead. They look to the future with hope and ideals. People with hindsight are always talking about the past, looking into history with new perspectives. Trying to discover the truth about how things really happened. Maybe even considering the latest conspiracy theory. Ahhh, now I don’t believe that’s all a blanket approach to the whole of living.

My vision into the distance has always been a little poor. Having someone else to explain exactly where the moon is has made it much easier to find. Even if I can’t see the “man on the moon” I can still imagine it. And now my closeup vision has gotten a little more challenged also. Losing the peripheral view of the world, does not mean that I don’t see what’s going on in the world around me. It just means that I run into things far more frequently than I would like. It also means that my husband has to sort my little yarn chunks into the right color coordinations. White and yellow seem to be so close in color these days.

Whether you like to look ahead and dream of the future or whether you are an avid history book reader, one thing is the same. We all breath the same air. We are all fighting for another day another breathe. Today I want to aknowledge that I believe that breathe of air comes from my Soveriegn, Invisible Source. God the Creator who breathed into that first man Adam the breathe of air,

Psalm 144:4 “Man is but a breathe of air, His days are like a passing shadow.”

These days I do not visit my grandchildren as frequently as I would like. The fear of covid probable keeps me away more than I would like to admit. Being high risk in the health area is not something that I want to frequent in this blog. So I will just say that looking to the Author of this vapor does give me meaning and purpose to make each and every visit of high value and very enjoyable. They bring me so much joy, even if it is just during a phone call with childish squeals in the back ground. Looking at each day, week, or month as a passing shadow is one thing, considering my life to be but the passing shadow is another thing entirely. For now seeing these little faces as a small token of my shadow cast into the future is almost too deep a thought for consideration.

Thanking my Creator for every breath of air. Looking to a brighter Future tomorrow.

Before dash cam-Dash Lamb

A monitor of a different sort

Once upon a time, there was a shepherd girl whose husband bought her a truck. That truck was actually a Ford Edge to replace the awful eight seater cargo van that she did not like very well.

We got the car the summer of 2010, and then took a family vacation to the east coast. Nothing like putting on thousands of miles right after a vehicle purchase. Other than the serpentine belt going bad this side of Chicago, it was an uneventful trip. The main event was the music camp that the girls attended.

The best McDonald’s toy ever

What is the purpose of those ridiculous Happy Meal toys anyway? Most kids don’t seem too happy after the thing breaks. This little Dash Lamb came at just the right time though. The girls were old enough to drive when we brought this car home. So not long after the first payment was due, they were driving the family truck to get dog food, sheep feed, groceries, and even driving to all of those music lessons.

Once and a while with the food runs, they let me get a Happy Meal. So instead of getting the meals for little kiddos, they were trying to keep their mother happy in the back seat. That was actually one of my requirements for the new car, the back seat had to be comfortable.

When this little lamb came in a meal, it found it’s home on the dash right in a pasture of sage vinyl (PVC). It was the perfect home for this little bobble head creature.

Who put the lamb on the floor?

This was always the first thing said when my first glance at the dash did not find the little lamb in it’s stead. Anytime the dash monitor lost it’s footing, we knew someone was overdriving the conditions. A lamb on the floor meant that the corner had been taken a little fast. A lamb in the defroster vent meant that the breaks had been applied with force.

Before there was ever a dash camera monitor system, we had Dash Lamb. So, it was a little sad when the new vehicle did not have a spot on the vinly for such items. Now there is some little drawer cover to hide the unsightly items.

No spilled coffee here in this family. Dash Lamb never lied. She always told us who was not driving with their eyes on the road or hands on the wheel. She always told mom who was driving with out taking care of her little bobble head. Over driving the conditions could mean a little lamb shaking her head to declare, “no,no, no!”

Poor little thing didn’t even have a name. All of our little special ones got names. There was Lucy, Who-Do, Spot, Moose, Triple-Wide, Smokey, Blackie, and Buck-buck to name a few. The girls had the first fifty or so all named. After that it was just the bottle lambs that received such special treatment. One after the other came and went, season after season the lams came and went. But Dash-Lamb was with us until the day the car died.

Oh, yeah, there was Bam, Bam-the twins that use to come and lift there poor mother ewe right off of the ground. They were the first season lambs that were on the mamas much too long. We learned not to let them be so harsh after those two kept that picture stuck in our minds. Poor mother.

Aside from the fact that the lamb was always rolling her eyes at the driver, or the passengers in their distracting fashion. God is always watching us when we drive, walk, talk, or sit. This little lamb was really a reminder that someone is always watching no matter what we do. But God is the all knowing, all seeing being who really watches me.

Good bye little dash lamb. Tahnks for giving our family car a lot of story time worthy history. We loved having you as part of our lives for ten years. Some things just can’t be replaced. We can get another car. We can get new tires. But a little lamb from a Happy meal? She is really shaking her head now, “No, No, No!”

Taking out the trash

How data banks fills up your memory stores

This past week I discovered that my google memory bank was full and needed back up. Well, before paying for memory (as if dementia has a cure) I started trying to find what was filling up the bank. I found a lot of my old garbage.

I mean really old rotten garbage. Apparently all the stuff that I had put into the trash or tried to delete from my OLD phone had been sent to my my new goggle bank, and phone. Now the notes to self in days gone past have been TRIPLED up in my new data storage. What I though was once deleted has now been stored as deleted, trashed, and created. Three times more, I’ll be spending the next two weeks trying to take out the trash in my new data base.

Thank goodness for my husband. I think I’ll let him do most of the work on his computer. Trying to clean up said trash on my tiny smart phone screen is painful. So apparently, I now have to take out the trash that I though I had take out back in 2014!

What kind of to do list from that summer could just be repeated?

Here’s one: call for a haircut, water the garden, weed the flower patch, pull out meat for supper.

Here’s one best left in the trash bin: allergies a-fright, asthma out of control, order another inhaler. Uff. Life has not changed there any.

Who knows what kind of mess the pictures are in. There are probably multiple pictures in different albums. Googles face rec did that to the pictures I take of the relatives. I really don’t need a full album of my cousin’s child in multiple places. There’s how that data storage gets maxed out. Nope, still not paying.

Finding out that my data group created composting bins rather than actually trashing my old garbage was a little rough on the eyes. Especially when my husband showed me whole files in my junk mail! Oh, that made me mad enough to call the disposal company. Nawh, I’ll just let him clean up the mess. It suddenly does not make me so memory unbalanced with my old fits about him leaving the trash can so full until taking it out. I’ll take out the kitchen garbage and the compost for the rest of our married life, if he will clean up my junk mail and sweep out the data doubled storage in my phone. But the dustpan is gonna be full!

Yesterday was Father’s Day here in our country. We got together as a family and let the greats meet the newest great-grandson. Took a couple of pictures for the memory bank. Of course we have so many pictures just out there in the cloud, I wonder if the greats will ever be able to identify the occupants without the aid of some facial recognition software. Maybe I should just keep those albums of my cousin and her grandchildren.

Today I was trying to call for a haircut for the dog. The system at the dog camp just ended the call when it wanted. I wonder how their business is fairing the pandemic. Not so well, if we cannot leave a message. Maybe their data storage is full from all of the dog pictures they take each week. Haha.

My memory bank is not full. It is happily adding new ones as we enjoy the changes of the little grand kiddos. My grand daughter discovered blowing bubbles this spring. She was able to blow out her two candles on her birthday. So this Sunday, her auntie showed her what else a breath can do. Train whistle, tin whistles, and the harmonica all came out of hiding. We pulled up a video of superb mouth harp on display, and she was hooked. Her parents are thankful the mouth harp stayed at Opa and Oma’s house. Our little grandson did not seem to mind all the noise. Except when the ancient woodwind the flute came out. Our band director son-in-law took a look at it’s tarnished state, found all the pads in working order and then tuned in a scale. Little grandson cringed. The dog began to cry and little grand daughter went back to the harmonica.

Creating new memories was pretty wonderful.

This afternoon I have to visit the dentist. The work was delayed due to the world health crisis. Our family made it through the virus spread without any direct contact. I am thankful for our more distanced living arrangements out here in the Dakota Territory. There are days, it would be nice to holler a “Hello” at a neighbor, but living in the high rise apartment has no appeal to me. We have only been on a subway when visiting Boston and community bus travel goes back ten years to those days also.

Having our own vehicle comes with it’s expenses. Hubby just replaced the thermometer for the engine in our thirteen year old nice car. It’s hard to think that the price of a new vehicle exceeds the price of our motor trailer manufactured hallway. One of these days we will get this money thing figured our. Maybe we’ll grow a tree that produces greenbacks. Not.

Now that the memory bank has been flooded with a variety of new and old subjects, I would say the journal pages will close for the day.

Grab a book, open it up, then slam the covers together. There. That’s the sound entered here.

Place

Purple blanket in the grove

From this place in my grove, I can see a linear view of beautiful purple flowers. The wind did not ravage them much. They have dressed our grove in a blanket of lilac that can not be captured adequately.

Today the breeze demands a cup of iced latte under the deck umbrella. From this place on the deck, the world seems fair and beautiful. The wind is my friend on such a heated summer day.

The flowers are here. How do the June bugs know that it is June? How do those purple flowers in the grove know when to bloom? I wish I could share the families funeral flowers with you. My husband’s great grandma (I think) picked them from a cemetery or got them from a funeral. When they finally wilted from their viewing, she threw them out into the trees to compost naturally. She did not know that we would enjoy them for generations to come. While the lilac bushes and trees grow old of root, the beautiful funeral flowers bloom year after year. From this place on the forested floor, they gain nutrients and are regenerated constantly.

June flowers may not be the calendar normal, but because I was a June bride, I don’t seem to mind looking for a flower or two. In fact, the search for the latest bloosom drives me to keep my camera handy. The other evening on our anniversary we took a stroll around the yard to find all of the flowers that were in full array. No need to bring home some from the flower shop.

Anniversary presents come in so many different fashions. We received two very wonderful cards from some wonderful people. The excessive heat for early summer was a bit much. But the funeral flowers blanketing the grove were the best. From this place, it felt like a special greeting card from the relatives no longer with us. His grandmother’s blessing upon our special day.

The bird song is continuoys even in the high heat of late spring sunshine. My husband has become quite the bird watcher during these pandemic days. Being home more, means he gets to put out song bird grains and find a finch block to put their orange on. This morning while I listen to the symphony I am thankful that someone can see the birds for me. No need to see the dove. She is loud enough for me to invision with grand imagination!

The cat wanders under my chair every few minutes to tell me she is here. Her tail tickles my leg then out of the corner of my eye I see she and the dog are nuzzling noses. I am okay with having my two kittens outdoors. At least in the summer days I can pet a soft fur buddy when I want to. These two are such entertainers. And they have stayed away from the cars and the road.

The crunch of gravel under tires tells me that the engine whirl is the post lady pulling into the driveway. We share greetings while the I remind the dog that she does not have time for frisbee. We laugh and comment on the heat of the day. Though the wind whips hair strains into my face, I am grateful for the peaceful exchange.

The climate of our nations gatherings seems less peaceful than ever. I am asking our Lord for His intervention every time that I think of it. My life has really taught me that protest has no response. It’s best just to make cookies or do something nice for a nighbor. From this place it looks as if the whole world has gone mad.

Beauty of beholding…

These flowers above are growing under the trees that once held the fort. The fort that my kids and their puppies spend a lot of hours looking… Looking at what I do not know. If it is a clear day, they could see their cousins place just three miles as the crow flies to the northeast. The platform up in the trees was not much to look at, but it was a great place to lie on your back and behold the skyline. From this place, the boards ridges felt hard, the shadow of the waving trees seemed to massage away stress. They say “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Sometimes we say that in reference to a child, or family member. But lately I think God is saying that of his image bearers. Watching the news and the behavior of persons letting rage and anger be their dictator makes me want to cry. Surely such ugly feelings should not be allowed to have reign over us. Does anyone know what self control is anymore?

Behold the beauty of the heavens, the splendor of the oceans. Consider the depths of the human spirit and find beauty in another’s eyes. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Take some time to behold the beauty around you today. Look into another person’s life and find hope the bursts forth into a smile!

Little Shadows

Strength and energy

The energy and exuberance of little ones is sometimes overwhelming, sometimes joy filling, and sometimes simply beautiful. This morning as I reflect back on the past week, my Lord brought me to a passage in I Chronicles 16. Here Kind David is celebrating the return of the ark of the Lord to Israel. In the chapter there are several noteworthy considerations.

“To each was given a loaf of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins,” verse 3. In celebrations with large crowds, it’s usually just one person who is the center of all the attention receiving the gifts. Here in the return of the ark, it is the entire assembly who receives the celebratory brat in the bun, and fruit cake. This week our nation found ways to celebrate the high school graduates in this unprecedented times. Gone were the backyard barbecues of previous siblings. Gone were the crowds cheering the flying hats.

But my little grand daughter celebrated two years old in her own fashion. A few balloons and the grandeur of up and down action, soon had her hollering “Weehoo!” Each and every time the balloon flew up into the air at the hoist of her little arms, she cheered the flight of the pink balls filled with air. Until just a few days later she learned how to volley the balloons and keep them from touching the floor. Her simple joy and energy to play the whole day with four little balloons delighted my soul. This is true joy!

“To invoke, to thank and to praise the Lord,” verse 4 the appointment of the ministers. This verse tells the purpose of ministerial calling. In these uncertain times and the canceling of all gatherings and large group socials, our pastoral caretakers have taken a very differing approach to the viral disorder in the world. Some proclaiming the end of times, some changing all of their focus to the moment, others grieving the loss of community and the attempt to gather through social media platforms. Church has become a completely different body. As a church musician and through the years as a teacher, and now as a “time abundant” prayer warrior, I find it my call also to pray for others, to thank God for his provisions, and to praise the Lord for all that He is doing. Opening our eyes to the new reality of families, singles,, widows and orphans is just as important today as it was before Corona virus 19. We still have people who need each other, and people who need Jesus more than ever.

“First appointed that thanksgiving be sung,” verse 7 tells of David’s appointment to Asaph and the musicians. Even in times such as these, there are those who find ways to get their song sung. Listening to the music of pandemic expressions, I find both those who continue in the sinful, selfish ways, and those who use their talents to help others. The goal is not just to fill the silence that being isolated creates. Rather we are to sing thanksgiving to the Lord. Finding Christian musicians who are doing just that is not always easy. I am so thankful for the technology we have today. I can listen to the music of the past through so many means. Today’s musicians have no excuses in giving glory to the God of all these abilities.

David’s song of thanksgiving contains one of my favorite verses. Verse 11, “Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His presence continually!’ We have been working very hard at keeping our doodle dog home. We hired a runner to come once a week, we bought bacon flavored toothbrushes bones, we play frisbee even while doing yard work. So far we managed to keep her from running away for nearly eleven days straight. As a person going bling, having the presence of my dog continually nearby is very beneficial. I never really know when her alert nature will be of service to me. But being able to just call out her name and have her immediately by my side is pretty amazing. Out little grand daughter is also learning the value of “Come.” But alas, for her it is not a simple command to the the receivers ears. It is a request. As her mamma’s second expectancy nears completion, the request for momma “Come” does not always recive the expected “coming” that her little ears want to hear.

Praise the Lord that His presence is always continually near. In fact the Bible often uses the words, close at hand to describe the Lord. This verse is one that I have shared with several this week. Praying that my loved ones will know the presence of a God so close at hand, so always, and continually present in their lives. Being alone much these last two months has led to some very sad endings for so many people during this present health crisis. Oh, how I pray that you will seek the Lord and His strenght and His presence continually in your life these days and always.

Verse 36, “Then all of the people said, AMEN! And praised the Lord.” These days our church and another have teamed up to do drive in service for church. The praise above “And all of the people said Amen” does not ring through my head without the constant beeping of many car horns. Before this virus hit the land, the sound of a car horn ususally meant an angry person at a stop light, or rather green arrow. People used the horn to express impatience and frustration. Today, we use it to express gratitude to our healthcare workers. It is used to shout solidarity with graduates, and birthday well wishes. The car horn is now the sound of an AMEN at our drive in church services.

Just this week, my son in law leaned a rough lesson on the parroting power of little tongues. Thank goodness I was not party to the expression. But a little two year old can be a shadow of parents whether we know it or not. Praise God that with some mild coaching she will forget the phrase of word nearly as quickly as she learned it. I will never forget my own lesson in such shadowing behavior by my young daughter. Little shadows though not identical to the larger figure still do a pretty good rendition. It all teaches us that others are always watching. But more importantly, our Father in heaven looks down upon the children of men, seeking for those who bring him pleasure. May we be the one to whom the Lord says, “Well done!”

And all the people said. “BEEP! BEEP!”

Battle won by singing

Jahaziel’s prayer

In Second Chronicles 20, we read the story of Jehosophat’s Decree, Jahaziel’s prayer and a very unconventional battle strategy. The chapter recalls the moment when the Israelites surrounded by enemies, win the battle by singing praise to the Lord. The king makes a decree that the people are to meet and choose singers to Praise God. The Prayer by the priest Jahaziel tells the desperate situation. “We are powerless before these enmies, but the Battle belongs to the Lord,” is a good summary of his words. The King’s faithfulness is cited near the end of the story after the enemy all turned on each other at the sound of the Israelites singing praise to their God. Verse 21 states the words that the people sang, “Give thanks to the Lord for His steadfast love endures forever.”

It took the people three days to retrieve all of the spoil (or loot) from the defeated armies. And the scripture says there was more left behind. They named the Valley of Baracah such that means Valley of Blessings. “Blessing the Lord He blessed us in return.”

Last night I stayed awake to pray for a family member awaiting surgery. While doing so, my husband came across a documentary on Ragtime Pianists. Supposed to be just a distraction to sleep, I found it fascinating to watch the Battle of Song. The fingers on the keyboard were giving testament to the hours of practice. When the young student out played all of the old timers, youthfulness won the day. But there was one particular “blessing the maker” participant. Only one player spoke of God’s gifts to the talent. The people were still in pursuit of the song, not the Creator of Song.

It saddened my heart to hear our dear little patient was still awaiting surgery this morning. That is such a long time to go without eating for a preschooler. God grant her parents patience. God grant a quick recovery, I pray.

Our church has been having prayer meetings by conference call. It helps to feel connected and to know others find gathering in prayer so important. Indeed we need to heed the command to Blessing the Lord, He will bless thee.

I heard the other day that the front porch family photo is back in demand. I remember a family photo taken when I was about fourteen. We girls, my mother, and my brother went over to the neighbors front steps. Our neighbor Perry took the snapshot of us all dressed for Easter Sunday. The morning’s crisp air and the sound of spring is recalled in my mind. One photographer in the twin cities is taking portraits of families on their front steps, so that they can remember this time of family at home-ness.

I wonder how many families will get dressed up for church on Easter Sunday, take these family photographs and then walk back into their homes to watch a streamed on-line church service. This is truly a moment in history that needs to be recorded.

Our family gathered via video chat the other evening. It was good to be “together” even if it was just for a half hour. I am so thankful to live in the 2020’s instead of the 1920’s. And will try to repeat “Give Thanks to the Lord for His Steadfast Love Endures Forever” as often as I can. Perhaps I will even begin to sing it!

I remember as a child singing this beloved old hymn during out benedictions on Sunday. It still makes me cry every time I hear it, read it, or think of it’s meaning. Jesus is truly a more binding tie than any other zip tie, keep tie, glue binding, book binding or kinship tie.

John Forest wrote Blest Be the Tie That Binds in 1782

  1. Blest be the tie that binds
    Our hearts in Christian love;
    The fellowship of kindred minds
    Is like to that above.
  2. Before our Father’s throne,
    We pour our ardent prayers;
    Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
    Our comforts, and our cares.
  3. We share our mutual woes,
    Our mutual burdens bear;
    And often for each other flows
    The sympathizing tear.
  4. When we asunder part,
    It gives us inward pain;
    But we shall still be joined in heart,
    And hope to meet again.

Horse sense

If only I had an ounce

Crafting is really not my thing. I own a glue gun so that repairs can be done. It never fails that at some point in using the glue gun I burn myself. Part of the reason is simply not having the peripheral vision to see where the other dots of glue landed in comparison to the one that I want to use for adherence. Bother, I tell myself. Why am I fixing this broken thing anyhow? Maybe I should just toss it and buy a new item.

This morning the horse had his date with the ferrier for the second time. Trimming hooves could be a dangerous job without the aid of a good bridle and hitching post. Thank goodness my husband had enough sense to put in a hitching post after the pony was here for a year or more. It makes any chore with a horse safer. Coco still stepped on my daughter’s toe when she took him back to his stomping grounds. He has such good aim when he wants to express his opinion.

Common sense is hard to find these days. The advertisements for the covid-19 all talk about washing hands. It’s as if people have forgotten how or something. I remember the fall the H1N1 was here. My whole family fought the illness and I did not. I was washing my hands so frequently with the canning season the virus never had a chance to stick.

So it’s time to pick up the soap bottle once again. Hopefully with our ready access to hot running water and the soap dispenser more of my family will be spared from the illness that has spread throughout the rest of the world faster than fire.

That’s perhaps the part of the virus that people misinterpret from the media. While there are other illnesses like the influenza that cause havoc on society, it is the fast vast far reaching spread that is the hype here. Common sense says that people aught to stay home some. But very few know how to live more than 3 days without a grocery store.

I remember hearing my grandparents say something about someone and then following up with “that fellow does not have an ounce of horse sense.” It took me a number of years to understand what they meant. My dad use to break horses for people. So the only thing that I had to relate the statement to was those times when I go to go along or ride along with him.

Having horse sense to me at the time meant that I should stay where the horse could see me. Being in the “blind spot” near the rear or behind the horse was dangerous. I never saw anyone get kicked, but I understood. Horse sense meant staying in the safe zone around the large beasts.

Now that my peripheral vision is disappearing, slowly but surely I have to set up new safe zones for myself. Puttling rails on all the decks and steps was key to staying upright. Having an open area of the yard to throw frisbee and launch the chuck-it balls is important also. I do not enjoy nursing the scrape wounds on my hands from being too close to a tree trunk.

Life at the hitching post is a thing of the past. Today there are still some that enjoy the comradeship and conversation that happens here. It does not take long in the company of those there to find out who the nearest relatives are. And not long into our first visit, we discovered the connection. Around these parts there’s usually some fifth cousin married to another’s third. So there, you have it, we’re related.

Maybe people that own horses have more in common than just owning a horse or two?

I am not a horse person. Neither am I a crafter. But I do crochet. So that usually helps me find a connection with someone who either knits, or sews, or has another hobby like painting. My cousin is a painter. We enjoy talking “shop” during out visits.

So whether you are in the line at the grocery store or on the phone with an aunt, find the connection. Use a little horse sense and keep your distance for the blind spots. And wash your hands a few more seconds longer. Stay in the safe zone everyone!