Zechariah 13:9

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. Zechariah 13:9

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015




With each passing year, we understand more than ever that what really matters are relationships.  The connectivity and trust we have with the people intertwined in our lives and with our Father and Savior is of utmost importance and worthy of pursuit.  It’s difficult to be close to someone, though, if we don’t know them deeper than what is on the surface.  Most of us go through life fearful of letting people know who we truly are and what we really think and feel on the inside. So, we train ourselves to say things or behave in a way we think others expect of us rather than be ourselves for fear they will not like us. That is unfortunate and diminishes our chances of meaningful relationships. We decided this year, rather than just tell you what we have done, we would allow you to see a tiny bit J deeper under the surface and discover that if you really knew who we were, you would know this about us………….

Dave – fears bats and socialists ~ has a goal of being a wellness coach ~ read “Bonheoffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy” by Eric Metaxas and found the book to be life changing ~ loves the quote: “Become what evil fears” ~ had an original thought – “uh…… umm…… yeah…” ~ thoroughly enjoys good conversation in which he learns something and getting up at 4:30 to listen to lectures on YouTube ~ regrets not appreciating each moment to its fullest ~ wonders how it is possible for a placebo to work? ~ frustrated because he can’t find the answer to why he has neuropathy in feet ~ completed a 2 day handgun class

Brenda – fears elevators and driving alone ~ loves learning new things and having meaningful conversations ~ regrets not being a more routine/consistent person ~ loved the book, “Speaking of Jesus” by Carl Medearis ~ has an interest in becoming a Notary Public ~ wants to improve thinking before speaking ~ is questioning her love for her wringer washer ~ wishes there was more time to spend as “grammy” ~ realizes it is easy to make Jesus who we want Him to be instead of whom He really is

Ben – fears the drive thru at the bank J, rats and mice ~ enjoys being informed, and foreign languages ~ regrets not being more frank with people ~ turns 27 on the 1st ~ wants to be a millionaire by age 30 ~  read “What Every Body is Saying” by Joe Navarro ~ completed a first action medical class

Kelsey – she would have a very interesting and fun newsletter if I can convince her to write one

Solomon – married a pretty little lady on Dec. 12th – too in love to add to newsletter

George – enjoyed the book, “Fearless….” By Eric Blehm ~ met Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, Author, Military Psychologist ~ likes the quote, “When you say to yourself “someone should do something about that” that someone is you” by Garry Marr 

Uriah – fears heights ~ loves hanging out with friends and being social ~ desires to raise meat chickens again  ~ finds school frustrating ~ thinks this newsletter is not so cool

Oliver – fears needles ~ loves swimming and being with friends ~ finds Uriah frustrating ~ loves the quote, “It is not shameful to have fear, but it is shameful to let fear control you” ~ thinks his life is pretty boring

Family highlights this year was adding a bathroom downstairs, going to cabin in August, redoing bathroom upstairs and finished out the living room.   Wow Wee!  J  Wifey had this idea that they were simple projects.  “Simple” projects prove to always, ALWAYS take 3 times longer than anticipated.  But, now that they are complete, they were well worth all the weekend and evening hours of labor.

God created each of us so unique, so intricately - just like He planned us to be. May we strive to see and except ourselves and each other, in all our messiness, imperfections, interests and fears, as Jesus sees us.  Be yourself, everyone else is taken.


Have a very merry Christmas - 2015!   Dave and his cronies                    

Monday, August 3, 2015

Buried Hope

If you walk straight out our front door and across the stone driveway, you will stand in front of a hand dug well.  

Over 31 years ago, this farm was owned by a hard working, dedicated farm family.  It was then sold and rented out for 20 years until we bought it 11 years ago.  Soon after we moved here, we had the privilege of having the mother of the original family visit us before she passed away.  She slowly walked around the farm reminiscing how things used to be when her family lived here.  In the midst of the reminiscing, she informed us that in the bank beside the driveway was buried a hand dug well.  
This information piqued the curiosity of my masonry minded menfolk and soon after the Mrs. W's visit, the bank became an excavation site. 
Sure enough, there it was!  
It had been leveled off at the ground and capped with a cement slab.  Removing the heavy slab revealed a beautifully hand dug stone laid well.  Debris had been thrown in to prevent water from laying on the bottom.  With the aid of a ladder, bucket and shovels, the men started digging.  Would they find treasures?  Would they find water?  They did find a few treasures, but no water.  When their curiosity was satisfied, Dave added masonry to give the well height, and inserted a strong grate for safety.


He used landscaping stone that was bought at an auction followed with various colored plaster to create a stone laid appearance.


Fast forward to Spring of last summer - 2014.  I noticed some weeds growing out of the back wall of the well from between some of the old stone beneath the part that Dave laid up.  The idea of weeds growing out from part of a well that had been buried seemed slightly odd to me and if I could have reached them, I would have removed them.  However, as these "weeds" grew, it soon became obvious that they were actually a butterfly bush.
 Incredible!  
How is that possible?

I have become friends with one of Mrs. W's daughters who works at the local high school.  I emailed her to inquire how long it has been since the well had been covered.  She thought it was at least 50 years!


This Spring and into Summer, the growth continued and as I observe that bush every single day, it brings me encouragement and hope.





I don't know for sure if Mrs. had a butterfly bush planted beside the well so very many years ago. I don't know for sure if a seed can truly be buried for so very many years and still retain a thread of life in it.  But, the thought of that seed possibly laying dormant in the cold, dark, deep soil for over 50 years and springing to life when exposed to light, warmth and air has provided a refreshing feeling of hope within me.

Sometimes I feel despair. 
 Despair over personal struggles and the thought that I will remain a tedious work in progress until I breathe my last breath.  
Despair over the realization that persecution is a real possibility and I am weak.
Despair that our bodies are frail and hormones is not always a friendly word. 
Despair over the distracted Christianity of today.
Despair that dirty dishes and smelly laundry appear every day like clockwork.

Despair 
The cold, dark, deep soil that smothers the soul.
Somewhere in the deep of the darkness lies a tiny seed of hope that no matter how long it is buried, it contains a thread of life.
 Life that is sustained by the One who created the seed.
Life that will spring forth when exposed to the warmth of the Son and the breeze of His Spirit.
 Life that springs forth into a hope that defies all darkness. 
 Hope that brings forth the reality that Light overcomes all darkness.

Hope is growing from my well.
Allow it to grow from yours, also.

Until next time...........



Sunday, January 4, 2015

Never-ending!

There are a few things in life that are never-ending ....
laundry
 the need to eat
and dirty dishes

 I fancy thinking about the fun things we could do, the lovely places we could go, and the money we would save, if the above mentioned were "ending." 
If we didn't eat, there would be no dirty dishes.  But not having to eat?  What would that be like?

 And what about the laundry?  Oh!  I have an idea for that one!  Disposable garbage bags!  We would have to petition Glad to make purple, pink, blue and green bags for sure, and save the black bags for funerals!   :)  This type of apparel could be hosed off and reused and when it gets holey, pitch it and get another one out of the box.

But if we didn't eat?  What WOULD it really be like?  How much time do we really put into shopping, preparing food and eating it?   And how many hours do husbands and wives have to labor to pay for it?
Finding those answers is your homework assignment for this week.  :)

I have never kept a time-card to log in and out while feeding my family, but I am positive I go into overtime!  Double overtime including laundry!  And I am positive that many of you are saying,
 "me too! me too!"  Many mom's can relate to overtime. 
 
 This was my yesterday....
(this is not my typical day)

Packaged 100# of fresh cased sausage
Fried approximately 35# of fresh loose sausage
Mixed up and baked 4 dozen sausage and egg muffins, and 4 breakfast casseroles for freezer
Curdled 4 gallon of milk into a batch of cheese
Beat 1 2/3 gallons of cream into butter
Prepared a gallon of yogurt to be fermented
The menfolk sliced 7 pans of meat pudding to put into freezer
washed and hung up umpteen loads of laundry
 threw in the oven 3 bought pizzas for supper

 Did you notice I wrote "bought pizza?"  Yep!  Bought pizza in the midst of home-made cheese and butter.  It was wonderful to not add home-made to the word pizza.  Sometimes I like "bought" over "home-made".  It is a more soothing word - it means I have more time to blog or read. :)  
And it is only because of a few cows, we are able to have milk products.  If we ever move from the farm, we would not experience a Saturday like the above ever again.



Anyway, while chugging away at those tasks, I was not patting myself on the back for any of the accomplishments, (well, I was for the bought pizza!  So glad I bought it!) but rather contemplated on whether I viewed those tasks as a blessing or curse, worthwhile effort or wasted time.
Oh, I would've much rather had my nose in a book, or rather on the Kindle that Dave gave me for Christmas.  Visiting friends or sewing would've also been a nice thing to do.

But I was stuck with food prep!
Stuck?
Is that how I felt?


No.....
(well maybe a bit a pressure was felt)
and after really thinking about it, I concluded that I was struck with a privilege!  
How dare I even think about complaining!



Due to health issues with Dave and myself, our family's diet has been tweaked quite a bit since our first married years.  And it continues to be tweaked.  Tweaking has been extremely worth the time and effort.  It has brought much improved health to both of us (will share how and why in upcoming post), however, it is not a "fast food" way of eating, as much as I wish it was.  It is much less time consuming to go to the store and buy noodles, cereal, snacks, frozen meat (and of course, pizza!) than it is to grow veggies, feed that meat on the hoof, butcher and freeze, and add healthy fats.

It is time consuming to eat healthy!
Very much so!
Is it more expensive?
Maybe we can schedule a debate on that one.

But, what are our choices?

We need to eat to live.  God made it so!
And how well we live depends on what we eat!
(and that becomes more of a believable statement the older we get)

So, the choices are:
eat healthy whole foods
or 
eat fakeprocessedwillkillyou foods

Can you mix the choices together?
Absolutely!
It will have different results for different people.

For my hubby and I, it is best not to combine the choices.
Thus, explains the up to our elbows egg, cheese and meat Saturday.
So, after a good nights sleep last night, a day of rest today,
 tomorrow I will tackle the laundry issue - again.

 I am in search of red garbage bags!  I love wearing red!
Anyone know where I can find some?

Until next time.............. 


Friday, December 12, 2014

Teach Me!

They say that as we get older, time goes faster.

I have found that statement to be true, however, I am not certain when the "faster" actually began to bother me.

I cannot remember too much of the time speed before school, or my elementary years, but remember time seemed to creep by during the years of waiting to drive.
And then it was waiting for High School graduation.
For some reason, those high school days crept by at a slow rate of speed. 
Time accelerated slightly during the "going to work" years, but didn't go fast enough while waiting to get married.  Acceleration, but still too slow waiting for children and then grandchildren.

Sometime during this acceleration and waiting game, the realization hit that it can't be stopped!  Each stage of life, each time of waiting seems shorter and the acceleration faster and no escape seems possible.

 No matter what stage of life we are presently living in, though, it consists of years, months, weeks, and days.

Days!
They consist of days!



Days in which we climb out of bed, perform whatever duties we have for that day and then collapse back in bed.  Did you ever contemplate on how funny that process would look to aliens in outer space holding a big pair of binoculars observing the human race?   
It's dark, there are some humans seemingly unconscious in their beds (yes, I know there are some of us who do not sleep when it is dark), when all of a sudden they are up and racing around doing this and that, and going hither and yonder.  Then all of sudden, they are unconscious in their beds again.  For some reason, that imagined "observance" strikes me silly, especially if it contained no audio.  What on earth are those humans doing?

It can also make me feel very sombre.

Our lives are made up of day compartments and when I ponder about what I do each day, what I don't do, but could, all silliness subsides.  Would those aliens see that my day had a purpose?  Would they be able to make any sense of it?  Would they be impressed or depressed by the human they observed?

Whether we have aliens observing us, some may think so, but there definitely is One who is observing us and He does not need binoculars.  He also has the audio turned on and I can imagine Him sitting silently, shaking his head at times, wondering what this human being is doing.
 I often wonder what this human is doing!
Sundays follow Sundays, January comes after January,and I can't remember what happened to all the days and months in between.  Where did all the days and weeks go?  And if they went that fast, did I do anything productive, meaningful or anything that counts towards the eternal?

Our lives are like a vapor, and as I age, the realization of how thin that vapor truly is makes me beg the Observer.......

Teach me!
Teach me to number my days!

Teach Me to not "climb" out of bed (climbing is work), but to joyfully "rise" out of bed with great anticipation for that day.
Teach me to slow it down, to relish it.
Teach me to fully surrender each one to You.
Teach me to love You and seek only Your approval.
 Teach me Your wisdom and help me apply it to my heart.
  Teach me to take advantage of every single minute in an edifying way.
Teach me to love as You love, to think as You think, to speak as You speak.
Teach me to respect my husband, nurture our children, our grandchildren, to love everyone in my life to full capacity.
Teach me to live each day reflecting You, that when those days build into weeks, months and years, the reflected images would not be of regret and emptiness, but a reflection of a life well lived. 

Teach us, Lord!
Teach us to number our days!

Until next time.........


Sunday, November 30, 2014

30th Class Reunion

The class of 1984 celebrated "30 years since High School" last evening.

I can't figure out how that is possible since we are only 39 yrs. old!  :)

It was a very well organized evening of food and fellowship with classmates whom some we have not seen since we were seniors.  Some appeared to not have changed at all, some we did not recognize.  
 And yes, Dave & I did graduate together.

Sadly, I did not take enough pictures.

Here we are with Mr. Ketch, who was one of my teachers in Jr. High, and Mr. Sakusky (in wheelchair), who was my World Cultures teacher in 7th grade and Dave's football coach.

This was a buddy of Dave's.  They both could tell you about the terrible pranks
they played on their Vo-Ag teacher.


The name tags were great!  Quite a few times we had to look at them to figure out who was who.


My class schedule from 7th grade.


We won this for having the most grandchildren.


We enjoyed the evening and greatly appreciate all the hard work that the reunion committee put into planning the evening.

Until next time..............

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Where is the Line?

This has been by far the most difficult post I have ever thought about writing!
It has been in the "writing" for weeks and weeks.  I have changed the title at least four times, deleted paragraphs, added others, changed the main topic, and almost pitched it out of my blog world, but God kept prodding me. 
 So....

with HIS help, I am going to attempt to put words to what HE has put in my heart.


For many of my friends, they already know that HE has put in my heart a passion for purity, modesty, healthy sexuality and a hatred for legalism.
Legalism?  How does that word fall in here?
It does and that has been the difficulty about this post - attempting to tie it all together and make any sense to the readers.
Plus, this is very personal to me.  I feel smack nab in the middle of what I am about to share.

There are so many blog posts and articles on the subject of modesty and to be honest, I don't read any of them anymore.  There is such a diverse opinion on what "modest" is and I would like to give a different perspective on it.  You are probably tempted to put your mouse on that red X in the corner and never give me a chance to pick your brain. But, just wait a minute......


Lets go back in time..........

Until the 20th century, hats were part of a man's attire.  If a man did not wear a hat in public, he was not well, nor completely dressed.  The vest and suit coat were also part of the attire. Men dressed up for every day activities. 

  The t-shirt was invented in the early 1900's and it was considered an undergarment.  In the 1950's, it became a stand alone, outerwear garment.  The gentlemen of the early 19th century would have turned over in their grave to see men in public wearing JUST a t-shirt and, of course pants - casual pants, for really!  dress pants with a neatly ironed crease down the front wouldn't jive with a t-shirt.  Or would it?  Well, today it would!  A man can wear a t-shirt with a suit coat over top and it is stylish!

   In the 1800's, if a woman showed her ankles, it was considered shameful.  They also wore hats or some other form of covering on their heads when they went out in public.  The bathing suits looked like a long dress like this one. It was worn with pantaloons and a mopcap and at some beaches they had to be inspected and hem lines measured before the woman would be excepted on the beach.

Obviously,
 over time, the dress standards became more and more lax and the standard of acceptability moved right along with those changes.


Progressive's asked questions like
"What is wrong with change?  What is wrong with eliminating a piece of garment? Or shortening it?  What is wrong with showing the ankles, or going hat-less?"
I can imagine the accusations that were thrown at the conservatives.  After all, weren't the conservatives choosing to be stuffy and legalistic and unwilling to conform to the styles of the day!?
The accusations are still flying around today!


If we see a man wearing a full piece suit, including a top hat, or a woman wearing a floor length skirt, we would say that they are wearing costumes! 
They weren't costumes years ago!

 The public summer dress for men today is a t-shirt or muscle shirt or NO shirt and shorts and for a woman it may be tank tops and shorts (less if you visit the beach). 
 If the folks from the 1800's, or even the early 1900's, were to visit us today, they would be horrified and accuse us of being naked!

Culture changes.

The majority of Christians down through the ages have participated with all the cultural changes, the lax attitude of dress and have even developed the mentality that if they are counter-culture they are "legalistic".  Uh!  There is that word!

Some did resist major changes, even though they, too, shortened dresses, and removed some articles of clothing.  They refused to except the styles and fashions of whatever day they were living in (for awhile anyway).  They saw the change as sinful and scary, for where would it end?  Fear was born!  Fear that someone would want to look fashionable or immodest and then what?  The "then what" would force others to question their stance on the issue and that is an uncomfortable thing to do sometimes!  We would rather feel justified in our opinions and to do that, "rules" are made to force other people to comply with our beliefs.  Does this work at changing the inward most important part of a person?  To encourage people to become Christ-like?  No, it creates legalism and hypocrisy.  The focus turns to submitting to the brotherhood and "fitting in" rather than focusing on a personal relationship with GOD and seeking what HE desires for us.   


However, some of us have a knee jerk reaction to this "legalism."  If we grew up with it and saw the ugliness of it, the desire to run far away from it grows deep.  We don't want to look like "them", act like "them", go places where "they" are!  And in the process of escaping "them" and "it" (legalism) we tend to except and permit ideas that normally we would shy away from.
 We fear being considered legalistic.
This is not right either.


Modesty is dictated by the fashions and trends of the day we live in.
What is modest to us now would not have been modest 100 yrs. ago.
In 20 years from now, maybe even sooner, what will be considered as modest?  And who will dictate that?
Will that generation look at pictures of what we wear today and consider them costumes?



SOMEWHERE THERE IS A LINE!!

And that line is drawn by each and every one of us!
They may look different, BUT you will draw a line, I will draw a line -



a line where we will not go along with the cultural changes, will not except the fads and fashions of the day, you will only go so far excepting the undressing of others.  A line where you will choose to be counter-culture, a non-conformist.
 Ahhhh!
 An odd-ball you will be in the eyes of the progressives!

And the result of NOT drawing a line?
The nudist colony!
Seriously!
The way our culture is leading us, we will arrive at the end of the broad highway that leads to the encampment with an entrance marked
"Welcome to the Nudist Colony Where There Are NO Lines!"
The nudist will accuse the bikini clad, or speedo clad figures of being legalistic, of not conforming to baring it all!
See?  No lines!

And when that destination is reached, my friend, our society will have disintegrated to a low life.
Can you imagine?  I can!  And it is UGLY!



We look with disdain at those who are more conservative than ourselves, who choose to draw their line behind us.
Why?  I believe it is due to fear of legalism, the lifeless life that comes with it, the dislike of being told what to do.  We don't want to be accused of being stuffy and old fashioned.  Or maybe we feel guilty or uncomfortable about their line, because maybe theirs is better.
Maybe we look down our noses at those who have drawn their line way out ahead of us.
Why?  We may believe that they are too "worldly".   Too loose in their living.

Our assessment MUST come from within God's standard.

All of us need to bend at the kneecaps, seriously seek God's face on where the line is for us!
If you are being shoved and prodded along the broad highway, apply the brakes!
Pull over at the rest area, do some "self examination", figure out where your line is and how it compares to God's, and then take a stand.


It is crucial that the line you draw is supported by what is in the Word of God.
It cannot be based on what is in style, what your personal opinion is, what all your friends are doing.
That does not mean that God's line will be dumpy, frumpy and not stylish.
If it is based on God's standards, the line will be beautiful!  And free from legalism!


If the scriptural line that you draw makes you an odd-ball!
Be a steady, happy odd-ball knowing that you are right where God wants you!
 Take a stand, even if it means you are alone!


Will it be easy?  No, but God never promised an easy life!
He did promise a life of freedom, of victory, a life of inward peace and joy!
All within HIS lines!

Where will you draw yours?

Why is this personal to me?  Because I am not a legalist, even though the progressives would think that I am because I choose to be more conservative in my dress and thinking.  The conservatives would think that I am a progressive because I choose to wear a variety of clothing and don't "fit in" by obeying man made rules and laws.

I am an oddball!
An oddball am I!

This is where I am until God shows me that my lines are wrong.  :)

May God add His blessing


Until next time....



Thursday, October 23, 2014

She's 5, He's 21

Yep, more birthdays!
Somehow they just keep happening every single year, no matter what! :)

Oakley turned 5 on the 3rd of October.
She is very much a girly girl and loves fancy things.
So, the theme for her birthday was "Princess."

Happy Birthday, Oakley!  We love you!



Solomon turned 21 on the 22nd.
We celebrated on Sunday evening with an ice-cream cake when we were at family picnic.  

Happy 21st, Solomon!  You are now officially an adult!
We are proud of you!
Hope you enjoyed your birthday working in New Jersey!  :(


Until next time.........