Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Early Fall Photo Journal

 August thru Early September
(daybook style)

Inky & Dorie observing Shabbat (random)

How are we?
 Fine.  Anna & I have seasonal allergy congestion that sometimes makes us feel light headed, but otherwise we are just dandy.  We have A LOT of goldenrod all around our house.  Jeff says it's not the goldenrod that people are allergic to, but it must be something that is cropping up at the same time.  When we are away from home, I feel better, but as soon as we turn on to our road, I can feel it (so at least it's not our animals).

Mentally, "I've been on pins & needles" as the idiom goes.  My 87 yr. old mom's chronic heart failure is progressing for the worse with a heart function now at 20% (down from 30% a yr. ago).  The drs. & I are not telling her this as it wouldn't be of any benefit.  She had a series of "cardiac events" daily the first week in August which culminated into another trip by ambulance August 6th.  She is still living on her own and occasionally has a good day where she insists on driving herself to the store or somewhere, but is now having more bad days than good.  Her heart is unable to keep up, making her very weak & tired (she calls it "lazy").  I call her daily and almost weekly come to visit and get her groceries/whatever she wants.  It has gotten to the point now where I feel anxious whenever the phone rings, and pray when I'm overly tired that that won't be the night of another middle-of-the-night ER call.  In instances like this, it would be nice to know somewhat of the future so we could better help her.  I would like her to move closer to us, but she will have none of it.

Looking out our window
      On a brighter note, we are blessed with an abundance of wildlife.  Yearly, we have at least one family of wild turkeys that cross our field a couple of times a day, but this year we have two family groups (30 turkeys) that seem to prefer hanging out here most of the day.
Our horses couldn't care less.

It's hard to get them all in one picture (this isn't quite all of them)
We also have this cute little mourning dove that likes the top of the swing set or the peak of our roof.  I know dove populations can get out of hand, but around here, hawk & eagles find them an easy prey and I am saddened when a lone dove is on our roof calling out for it's mate (for life) that was swooped away.      
What We Have Been Doing
About this time of year I suddenly realize that there is much I want to get done before snowfall, and a frenzy ensues.

Garage Sale!
Grandma (MIL) brought over some stuff & kindly loaned us some tables.  We had plenty to sell.
Unfortunately, we are too far out to have super-successful sales.
I sold a TON of homeschool material for pennies on the dollar.  Some of it was hard to part with (yes, I cried), but I had to face reality that since our children are now grown, much of it will just never be used or read again and making room was more important.  #ThinkingAheadToOurRetirementCottageShouldTheLORDTarry      
All in all, quite a bit sold.  Much of the $$$'s and unsold items are donated to a couple of ministries.

Our annual waterpark resort vacation is always fun.
My favorite, the wave pool.
Jeff & Amber always like the BIG waves and the fast/dark/scary water slides.
Anna & I prefer the lazy river and milder stuff.

We had perfect weather and I finally got caught up on a much needed tan and finished reading a book... 
"The Bridge" by Tyler Dawn Rosenquist.  Perhaps some of my Torah observant friends recognize the title or author.  To tell you the truth, and not that I'm any expert, but the numerous flaws in the format and writing style drove me crazy.  I didn't agree with all of the author's doctrine, but the book wasn't without merit and had some very good points.  On as scale from 1 to 10, I would probably rate it a 6.   
We just wrapped up the end of our 2016 rodeo season.  Our youngest daughter, Anna, is a cowgirl thru & thru and we went to a total of EIGHT rodeos this year.  In one way, it doesn't seem like that many, but if I really think about it, it really was a lot!  haha  Already looking forward to next year!

So now fun & games are over and being we didn't put in a garden that needs harvesting, that leaves us with time to do house projects, and hopefully finish before cold weather sets in & while I can still have windows and doors open!  
We had painted the front door & shutters May, 2015, just before Anna's grad open house, but it ended up a bit bold (lower right), which would look great on my imaginary conch cottage on Key West, but it wasn't the Robin's Egg Blue I initially intended. (It was nice on a small color swatch, but more like a calypso blue in real life). 
Those that know me, know I LOVE PAINT COLORS!!!  Oh my, I could just choose paint swatches all day long.  Why I like to agonize & torture myself with 50 different choices is something to analyze in depth another day, but it's very important to me to pick out thee perfect color... not just the almost perfect or good enough color.  Have you ever tried to pick out the PERFECT Robin Egg Blue?  It's quite the ordeal.  And if a paint swatch says, "Robin Egg Blue" (REB), don't believe it, it's lying.  I thought I had found thee perfect color (top right), but then when I was finally ready to paint, I couldn't find it.  So I went with choice #2 (top left), UNFORTUNATELY, both of them are Ralph Lauren (I love RL paint and have used it several times before, but not until recent did I discover that RL only comes in INTERIOR paint!)  AUGH!  So after all that narrowing down of the perfect swatches, I was back to square one for my EXTERIOR front door and shutters and had to scramble for a third choice -- I wasn't leaving Home Depot empty handed!!!  Then Anna spied out #3 (front) which was a nice in between color to #1 & #2.  It's Behr's Summer Dragonfly M440B/M440-4M.  So I bought a sample 7.5 oz. jar (1st coat is on door picture).  Hmm, it's not bad.  It seems a little lighter in real life, but maybe the PERFECT REB doesn't exist in exterior paint.  I've lived with it a few days with 2 coats on the door and I think I'm ready to commit to a full can for the rest.  BTW, one of those little sample jars is enough for 2 full coats on one side of a standard door -- a pretty inexpensive (under $4) paint job.

I think me picking out paint slows down pretty much anything around here (sigh).  
The door & shutters aren't my only to-do items... 
Here's the short list (in no particular order):
  • Finish two hooks/back boards for a couple lanterns I want to hang in our entry nook & find a perfect rug that incorporates my colors & farmhouse style. (reveal in a future post)
  • Jeff is working on finally finishing off the changing area of the sauna haus.
  • Repaint the front door & shutters
  • Redecorate the main floor powder room (inc. re-staining the wainscoting)
  • List a few items for sale on Craigslist 
  • Make a couple home repairs (replace a broken window latch and broken glass on a barrister bookcase) 
A woopsie kick by a guest.

  •     Finish Front Porch Redecorating (buying the perfect bistro set, rocking chair, rugs)

if I get all that done, I'll be ecstatic!!!

So, that is about it around here.
You know, if I would post more often, my posts wouldn't get so long, but I fear I'll never learn.

Above: The radar this morning, we are under the red/orange in east central MN.  We have had a lot of rain making me very glad we live high and dry.  I'm surprised the sun is shining now!

A good day to get something done!

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

For Amber Waves of Grain

Today, I am so excited to share with you our 

(This isn't it, teehe)

Just Kidding!

Now those of you that know us well, know that this is a Sabbatical year for us...

Leviticus 25: 3-6"Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; but in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for Yahweh: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.  That which groweth of its own accord for thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.  And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee," (also Exodus 23:10-11)

Side Note: Israel just had their Sabbatical Year (called "Shemittah") last year.  They count every 7-yr. cycle from Creation, but from the time we started planting on our land, it doesn't quite match up with Israel, so we just observe a 7-yr. cycle as it pertains to our property.    

...therefore, we planted NOTHING, NADA, ZILCH, ZIPPO, NOTHING!

But, we were blessed with a fun surprise -- wheat!

That's right!  Despite the closest wheat field about a half mile from us, and us NOT being wheat farmers, the birds must have decided to plant a little gift for us this year, right in our little herb garden.

Now look close or you'll miss it!
THIS IS our wheat "field", all 13 stalks/heads.

Sorry to disappoint you.

 And it looks like it's ready to harvest! :)
Okay, maybe not like this.

I have decided to harvest it and keep it for Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles, mid-October) and Jeff had the great idea that we will grind the grain and make unleavened bread (it will be either a very tiny loaf or I will have to add some of it's cousins. :) 
I'm very excited!!  Our first (and maybe last) wheat!!! haha

Although I hate seeing summer winding down, this is getting me excited for the fall feasts!
(I always wait until the last minute, but not this year!)

Sukkot (a harvest/thanksgiving feast) will be extra special with this little added blessing.

One more picture...
somewhat off-topic.
Stepping back, here is a photo of our entire herb garden (+ wheat).  It's just a little triangle behind/South of our back deck.   In addition to the wheat, I was pretty surprised that so many of the herbs sprang back on their own this year.

Yes, some herbs never die and are almost impossible to kill, like the oregano, mint, & thyme (see how the thyme has taken over part of the surrounding yard?  It has a heavenly aroma, but a bit pokey on the bare feet); and the bumble bees are lovin' the oregano flowers right now!  Note: If you are thinking about planting oregano, thyme, peppermint or spearmint, they spread!  You've been warned.

And some herbs make it some winters and other times not, like the chives & lavender -- they survived!

But this year our rosemary and parsley also survived!  Hooray!  Although the wheat sprang up in the middle of the parsley, so I should go out and pick the parsley now as it's not lookin' so good. 

  I just love driving past green or golden wheat fields on a windy day when the stalks are fluid with motion, don't you?
But alas, my little wheat field will never quite look like this.

A fun surprise at any rate.

Thankful for God's little Surprise Blessings

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Darkness of Pokemon

A sad commentary of today's society. 

I just saw a news clip last evening; perhaps taken outdoors at a Japanese college campus (?), showing 99% of the young adults intently looking down at their smartphones while the newsman talks about the new "Pokemon Go" craze.


As if all that is going on in our country/world -- socialism, terrorism, Islam, sodomites, feminists, abortionists, division, and all things evil, weren't enough of an attack on our society, now comes a huge resurgence of a "game" to a whole new generation -- "Pokemon Go"
("Pokemon" is derived from 2 Japanese words meaning "pocket monster").

Pokemon, with it's little monster & demonic characters, was first created in 1996 and enjoyed an occult-like following for quite a while. And while some may have heard "a rumor" that it was a satanic game, sadly most parents (including Christians) thought it was "just a game" and didn't bother to learn about it's very dark side. I remember children buying (or parents buying for their children) the trading cards and children bring them to church and VBS with great pride-of-ownership to entertain themselves during boring church.

So now, as if with all that is wrong in the world, we need to escape into a little fantasy and occultism, here comes the game again -- same game/higher tech.

It's all the craze! People are excited and the media is touting it's (few) merits; after all, it's getting people out for some fresh air and exercise. Hum. Well, that might be it's only redeeming quality. However, if one with a discerning mind takes only a few minutes to actually research or read a little about what this game is all about, it is easy to find several undesirable and even dangerous problems with this "harmless" game:

  • First, and arguably somewhat less alarming as here I am speaking of young adults and not children, the game tends to propagate the extreme immaturity and irresponsibility of today's young adults (and elders too). When a child is entering their later high school and college years, we rightfully should expect a higher degree of maturity, becoming productive, responsible adults who are capable of carrying on intelligent conversations at a higher level with peers and adults alike -- NOT regressing into a fantasy world of no redeeming value; NOT preferring to be endlessly face down in their smartphones over real life; unaware of anyone or anything around them (even more so than before the game came out). Even secular ABC News did an interesting article on how the game is "Warping Real Life". (<click for article) It furthers the dumbing-down of this generation and a distraction from books or anything beneficial.

  • Additional issues that I won't go into detail here, but real concerns are:

the expense -- as the game progresses, lures (that cost real dollars) increase the chance that rare Pokemon characters turn up;
the Pokemon Go app is a huge security risk and requires overly broad permission for those using a Google account to sign-in.
Additionally, in the very short time that Pokemon Go has been out, there have been many (police) reports of players becoming so engrossed in the game they end up trespassing on other persons' properties, falling upon danger, and some creating danger to others while not looking where they are going. Common courtesy seems to vanish.
And how many times has this happened? -- there is always a few who are unstable or fall into the occult so deep that they are unable to differentiate between reality and fantasy and begin to live out this very violent "game".

  • For children who's developing minds are even more pliable, Pokemon desensitizes and conditions them in accepting the occult and evolutionary principles. Pokemon Characters -- monsters & demons, possess "special (demonic) powers" & demon possession, there's colored energy, hypnosis, mind bending, negative or psychic energy that harms others, poison fights, pagan philosophies & practices, channeling, ghosts, warlocks, wizards, and basically all-things associated with the "underworld".

  • Additional concerns with children are comparable with points mentioned above with role play dangers and enabling of immaturity as well as tuning out real life and real people and the disrespect that goes along with it.

  • And the most alarming of all is the general public and followers of God alike approving of such a game let alone participating in it. It wasn't all that many years ago (during my lifetime) that most everybody shunned the Devil and blatant sin. There would have been no such game 40 - 50 yrs. ago. People knew what darkness was. It was shameful. Those who participated in murders, thefts, channeling, witchcraft, and the like did it at night, in the dark, where they hoped they would not get caught. Those were the bad people. But today! Everybody does it and excuses it as "just an innocent game". Well sorry, I don't buy that. Shall we participate in or be entertained by ANYTHING that God calls an ABOMINATION or sin? The Bible says NO! And don't say, "well, it's good vs. evil". It's still witchcraft, and murders, and fighting... all things that are an abomination and as Christians, something we ought to shun as we are to be "set apart" and holy. There is nothing about this game that is holy or draws us to holiness or God. This same applies to oh so many things that are common place today, whether it be books, movies, tv shows, music -- being "set apart" does not mean being the same as everybody else!
I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. ~ Psalms 101:3

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, thing on these things. ~ Philippians 4:8

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?  And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.   Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. ~ II Corinthians 6:14-17

I recommend a good article on Pokemon, "Truth Behind Pokemon". The article was written in 2005, so of course, it's not talking about Pokemon Go, but it gives a good introduction to the whole concept of the "game/cards" which would still apply to the new high-tech version.

I know, I know, it's popular, trendy, and "everybody" (not everybody) is doing it. And I agree, it is a fun concept -- the whole technology and grown-up scavenger-type hunt idea is brilliant. BUT, why does it have to be with demonic monsters vs. "good" spirits? And really, if "everybody" is so preoccupied with a fantasy world, who is going to care about a real world that is going to hell? Is it a good use of our God-given time and money? Perhaps it would be great if someone could come up with the same thing, but it promoted service to others, helping the elderly, loving God and His Word, and being someone? But instead, we fall for Satan's distractions that keep us from doing what is good and needed.  

It seems like the world is going deeper and deeper in it's tolerance and acceptance of sin and the church body is following close behind. May we all pray for wisdom & discernment in our own lives and homes as we train up our children in the way they should go and as we see the Day of the LORD approaching.

Much Love,

Monday, July 4, 2016

Independence Day

An early morning view from the front porch to our flag on the sauna haus.

Happy Independence Day!!!

I hope you all are enjoying the day (or long weekend) -- a great time for family and friends and especially to thank our God for blessing our nation these past 240 years with the freedoms we still enjoy and praying fervently for our future.

Once again, it's been a while since I last posted and so I thought I would just share a little pictorial tour of a few homestead happenings...

First the flowers & berries!  

Our hardy heirloom rose bush flanked by two of our yellow lily plants.
The rose bush was in full bloom earlier this year.  It's getting old
and I think I'm going to have prune it down for a fresh restart.
We did not put in a vegetable garden this year as it is our Sabbatical Year (every 7th year) while we are give the land a rest.  But the flowers (and weeds) still continue to pop up on their own without any effort on my part. :)  Between my post-surgery restrictions that lasted until mid-June and now a sinus infection, I'm way behind on the weeding (ie, please excuse the weeds). 

A couple of my roses (I have 4 rose plants but would eventually like more)
(Sorry, early morning sun makes the one rose look silver)
  Our outdoor cat, Sprinkles, inspecting the flowers.

Some of my tiger lilies.

These sprang up pretty tall, I'm going to have to move them
towards the back of the flower bed.

 Lilies, lilies, and more lilies!

My Baby's Breath in the hosta glade.  I think I need more of these!
I love bluebells!  We use to have several of these
plants spring up wild every year.  This year I only have
the one that I transplanted to the hosta glade.

Our raspberry plants border just outside the garden plot where the Barred Rocks (hens) are able to run this year.
Boy, would they love to get at those raspberries!

Our variety of raspberries are called "Autumn Bliss" and these are near peak ripeness.  Don't let their yellow color fool you, they are perhaps sweeter than the red raspberries we are all accustomed to.  The girls (Amber & Anna) and I have been munching on these for a while now.

The Front Porch
Now we move on to the front porch!  I was hoping to do a big make-over reveal today, but alas, between sinus infection putting me behind schedule and having some difficulties in getting the paint I wanted, maybe I'll have this done by Labor Day (sigh).

I am very excited about this porch chair.  I bought the chair a number of years ago at a friend's garage sale.  It was in perfect shape & a blond/natural rattan in color.  And as with all wicker furniture, as it ages, it starts falling apart a bit.  For the most part, I had kept a quilt over the chair to hide the dirt & unraveling -- not to mention that it was a favorite roost for our former free-range chickens!  So now that the girls (hens) are penned in a limited free-range area and off the porch (yeah), I am sprucing up the porch and this chair was my first project!!  I tacked the unraveling chair legs and tucked in some of the weave that was... unweaving.  Then I cleaned it up a bit with soap and water and spray painted it "espresso brown" (3 cans of Krylon spray paint for wicker at $4.89/can) and finally bought it a real cushion that matches the settee (more on that following).  I LOVE how it turned out!  Oh, and what's a porch without a Boston Fern?!  Too bad our MN summers are so short as it's an annual, but I love the look so much that I think this will become a yearly investment (only about $9.95 at Walmart) (the pedestal planter I had before).

And here is the rest of our front porch.  I did put a fresh coat of paint on the floor, the same brown color as before, but it needed a tidying up after the chickens this past year.  I bought the settee this spring which has become a very nice place to do devotions (although Sprinkles cat thinks we bought it for her as her personal napping spot).  I did throw away an old rocker that was a hand-me-down and not worth restoring.  My intent is to buy a new rocker (what porch is complete without one?) and maybe a bistro set or similar.  I also want a better table cover for my little side table and  the bright plastic adirondack chairs are going in back with their other bright friends around our firepit.  I also want to make slipcovers (sorta, with my limited sewing skills) for the settee, chair, & pillow in another color as I never intended to have a brown & rust color theme going, it was just what was easily available at the time without me doing major shopping.  I also intend on repainting the shutters & door a calmer Robin's Egg Blue soon.  I have the color picked out, but it's from a Ralph Lauren swatch that I picked up a year ago and now I have found out that RL doesn't make exterior paint, so with fear and trepidation, I either have to pick out another similar paint from a different brand or ask our local Menards to color match my swatch - wish me well on that.

And porches are for reading!
 Here is some good reading this Independence Day!  I hope all your children know the real reason we celebrate such a day.  This would be a great time to remind them.  (Amber is currently reading "Dear Abigail").

Oh, and although I'm not one to do a lot of holiday decor (and when I do, I steer clear of the cheezy kind), I was hoping to do a better job of decorating the porch for Independence Day.  As it stands, I was lucky to get my flag tray out (covered with American reads) and put a red candle in my blue porch lantern (not shown unfortunately).  Maybe next year, LORD willing.

and lastly, a couple closing photos of other homestead happenings...
Despite Jeff being very busy at work, he comes home and mows our four horse pastures (about 7- 8 acres) -- a much-needed thing as something very devious springs up yearly in our field.  See all those little white flowers?  They are called "hoary alyssum" and TOXIC to horses.  Horses will generally leave them alone as long is there is other good grass to eat, but the alyssum tends to take over and needs to be gone!  Jeff is so good about caring for our pastures, ridding them of gopher mounds and unwanted weeds. ♥    
Our happy horseys grazing on Jeff's fresh mowed pasture. :)

That's all!

It's July 4th, and Anna has to work, but once she gets home, we will join Jeff's side of the family (an annual tradition) for food & fellowship and maybe catch some local fireworks later.  Although it is only suppose to reach 82° today, we will probably shut up the house and turn on the AC to keep things as comfortable and quiet as possible for our poor dog & cats (a scary time of year for them with all the fireworks).  In the meantime, I have ironing & dishes to do, and some blueberry bars to make.

Have a Blessed Independence Day!
Happy Birthday America!

With Love,

Saturday, June 11, 2016

BIG Prayer, Little Faith, Blessed Peace & Assurance

Have you ever pulled an all-nighter?

Oh, I'm not referring to a night-shift job, nor a college student cramming for an exam, nor that of a parent with a newborn or sick child... those each are plenty challenging in and of themselves; but I'm talking about spending the entire night in prayer.. and tears.

An all-nighter in Prayer!

Luke 6:12   - And it came to pass in those days that He went out into a mountain to pray and continued all night in prayer to God.:
Jesus did!  Just imagine, the sinless Saviour, felt the need to pray to His Father all night!

I have prayed all night a few times in my life, but not as to seem too spiritual, emphasis must be placed on the word "few", and I must confess that much of that time is interspersed with worry. (sigh)  But...

I had another one of those nights just recently!

Now, I must say, I AM NOT A NIGHT PERSON!  So for me to do anything past 10:00 p.m. is a miracle in itself (my bedtime is pretty consistently at 9 p.m. as I am usually up around 4:30 a.m. -- yes, I am one of those dreaded perky morning persons).

And although it's within every fiber of my being to spill the beans and tell you every minute detail of why I held such an all-night vigil, I'm not at liberty to say, but just to set the record straight, my marriage is grand and no one that I know of is dying of the plague.  And really, the reason is not the focus of this post, but rather God's working.

Personally, I don't consider myself a great pray-er and it would not be false modesty to say that I am woefully substandard in waxing eloquent when it comes to prayer (or talking for that matter).  I do pray, of course -- I have a prayer journal and spend an hour in prayer most mornings and then little snippets throughout the day, before meals, at bedtime, and often pray myself to sleep at night.  Nothing fancy!  I love praying Scripture!  And the LORD will often lay it on my heart to pray for a specific person; even strangers at the checkout line.  There seems to be always this non-stop conversation with me and God in my head (not to sound crazy).

  But, I don't know why it is, but it is easy for me to pray for the little stuff and trust God for the answers.  Sometimes it's a middle-sized matter that I will pray fervently about, but I always seem to find peace about it through Scripture and waiting upon Him.  But every once in a while a BIGGIE comes along, and I have the hardest time believing that God has our best interests at His heart.  Maybe it's because I am a control freak.  Maybe because I feel so unworthy -- after all, why would such a BIG God care about my trivial problems, compared to others?  Probably all of the above.  Yes, I know all the verses that address this by heart -- they calm my spirit, but just sometimes things are so much bigger than me and I have absolutely no control (like I ever do, pfff).  So I worry and I cry and I pray fervently, never ceasing, like during my recent all-nighter.

Psalms 30:5 ------Please pray for a friend of mine. She is going through more I can imagine is possible!! Her son who was an outstanding student died in his sleep from a heart condition. There is far more that I won't share, but she desperately needs your prayers!!!:
Things always seem brighter in the morning.

And then I think to myself, WHY?  Why is this one so much different?  Why can I get peace about other matters, but not this one.   Things that seem so bleak in the night, and then morning comes, and it seems like nothing has changed.  The burden still weighs heavily upon my heart.  But, this time, despite getting only about 45 minutes sleep, and crying until I think my tear ducts were plum out of tears, the LORD started whispering to me in that familiar still, small, voice.  I started having some clarity of thought and the oddest thought came to mind.

Suddenly I had an overwhelming desire to once again pick up a book that I had bought a couple of years ago, that despite having left off in the tiniest of print  Introduction pages in the front of this 500± book (not that it was a bad book, but because I'm so easily distracted), I strongly felt a need to sit down right there and then and read a little bit (Wow, now that was random).  So I did.  I dug the book out from amongst all it's neglected friends in my book basket and,  for the moment, began to read right where I left off -- where my orange sticky book marker was,(so unlike me to not restart at the very title page -- I did that later, haha)...

  And there it was, as if God Himself was speaking audibly to little ole me, speaking on prayer...

"...there is a certain state of mind in a devout soul to which God has promised all that it asks, subject, however, as to the manner of the answer, to the dictates of His infinite wisdom and goodness; and, second, that in granting such petitions He does not always limit His action within the ordinary or acknowledged laws of matter or of mind." 

Now I know, this might not speak to anyone else right now, and really, the principles I knew all along, but it was exactly what I needed at that moment to give me the peace and assurance that God was aware of my prayer request and saying, "I got this".  Suddenly I felt such peace, that God has it all under His control.

Just think, from a book Introduction that was written in "Providence"(?), on December 17, 1860, reprinted in 1981, which I bought a couple of years ago and sat in my book basket for just about as long, and precisely where my orange sticky bookmark remained, for such a time as this. WOW!
Talk about God directing!

God cares about the affairs of His people. ♥

1  PETER 5:7  

Just wanted to share.
Trusting Him!
May the LORD be glorified.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Thoughts on Wheelock Whitney, Jr. & my Dad

Minneapolis businessman Wheelock Whitney looked over newspaper clippings from the time when the Continental League, the third major baseball league, was announced in 1959. The Twin Cities was one of eight charter members that were scheduled to begin play in 1961. Formation of the league led Major League owners to expand and it also ultimately led to the Washington Senators move to Minnesota. Whitney is the last surviving member of those who organized and owned franchises in the Continental League.
"Minnesota business man, civic leader Wheelock Whitney dies at 89"
 Minneapolis StarTribune 
 (click for link)

(above) were the headlines from last week's Minneapolis StarTribune newspaper.  To most of my readers, his name may be unfamiliar, but he was a larger-than-life community leader here in Minnesota.  I think most Minnesotans (above the age of 20) were at least familiar with his name as he was instrumental in the organization and/or ownership of bringing major league baseball to our state (around the time I was born).  His influence and affluence contributed greatly in most everything Minnesotan-y; from professional sports,(MN Twins baseball, North Stars hockey, Vikings football), education, the arts, addiction treatment, investment banking, a state politician (a 2-time state (moderate) Republican candidate & advisor), horsemanship, and philanthropy.

Mr. Whitney's son, Ben, is quoted in the same newspaper article to say, "He had this enormous public life, but he was incredibly attentive and loving to his family,” Ben said. “He taught us how to be intentional in the world and to contribute in some way.”   

Personally, I never had the pleasure of meeting Wheelock Whitney.

Name Dropping Alert
I know that me saying I never met Mr. Whitney sounds rather odd as I'm after all, a nobody, so why would anyone think I knew him?  Actually, it's funny & odd, but I am aquainted with quite a few "important" people in the field of business and the religious community; again, not because I'm anyone, but some of it is just because I grew up in the same community where they lived or because of my business background.  It was nothing for me to be at a store check-out line behind Mrs. Pillsbury, or Greg LaMond (3x Tour de France cycling champ); or talk with ones from the Peavey, Heffelfinger, Cargill, or Pillsbury clan (flour/milling empire families); interestingly many of them are related to eachother by marriage, or even Prince (music icon), who stored his Lamborghinis (yes, more than one) in garages at the gas station I frequented (yes, I saw them many a time)).  But don't get me wrong, just because we lived in that area (it was where my Mom grew up), not all the area was affluent, including us - understatement).  

   So no, I don't think our paths ever crossed, but he was definitely part of our community.

Candidate Wheelock Whitney with grandson Sky Ballentine departed after voting at the town hall in Independence, Minn.
I love this old photo that the StarTribune shared of him after voting when Mr. Whitney was running for office as not only does it show the City of Independence town hall where he voted (foreground) and I attended children's church in that town hall, but also the little community church I grew up in (from age 10-21, and my Mom still attends today), in the background.   Wheelock Whitney's horse farm, where he passed, is just maybe a mile from here.  The Whitney gravesite is right next to my Daddy's grave, across the road from the church!   Credit Minneapolis StarTribune, Click for link
  By what I read, he sounds like a pretty great guy (although I know I don't agree with all his politics), but among all his accomplishments and good deeds, the paper doesn't state a word about his faith.  I hope he placed his faith in Jesus Christ -- his funeral will be in a local church and I truly hope they can honesty share with all those present of Mr. Whitney's deep faith and trust in the Saviour and invite all his family and influential friends to do likewise, that would be wonderful! (but like they say: just going to a church doesn't make you any more a Christian than being in a garage makes you a car).  However, I find it ironic that despite all his power and wealth, he will end up, earthly speaking, in the same place my not-so affluent God-fearing daddy did (Mr. Whitney's grave is right next to my dad). 

Several Bible verses came to mind while thinking upon this
(here are just a couple)...

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. ~ James 4:14

And it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: ~ Hebrews 9:27

For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. ~ II Corinthians 5:1 

No doubt Wheelock Whitney's name and accomplishments will remain everywhere in Minnesota history -- something probably well-deserved.

But what about after this time is over, when the earth is no more?  Where will we find Mr. Whitney's name?
For the Bible tells us that the earth will not last.  There is coming an End Time and the first heaven and the first earth will pass away. (Revelation 21:1)  The Bible says, 

Revelation 20: 11-15
11And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
I do not know Mr. Whitney and have no reason to think otherwise, but I do very much hope Mr. Whitney's name will be written in the Book of Life!  Not everyone's name will be there you know.

But one thing is for certain, although my beloved Daddy never aspired to fame or fortune during his life and probably appears in zero history chronicles, I am certain of one thing -- his name IS written in God's Book of Life and so is mine!  Glory to God!

Is yours?

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved... 
~ Acts 16:31

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. ~ Ephesians 2: 8-9 

Salvation is a free gift and everyone is welcome to believe on what Jesus did on the cross for their sins and trust Him as their personal Saviour.  No amount of good deeds will outweigh your bad -- you must first trust in Jesus Christ!

and then 

Are you sure you know Him? (not just know of Him)

And hereby we do know that we know Him [Jesus Christ], if we keep His commandments.  He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in Him.  But whosoever keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him.  He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked. ~ I John 2:3-6

Once we believe in Him, then because we love Him and are so grateful for all He has done for us, we want to obey Him and do what He says.  We learn this by reading & studying the Bible, God's Holy Word and putting it into practice.

Trust & Obey, for there's no other way!

Daddy & I have our names written in God's Book of Life.
I hope you do too ♥

Monday, May 23, 2016

Spring Outdoor Home Mini-Tour 2016

Monday, May 23, 2016 view of our house.

I just thought I'd take a little hike around our house and snap a few photos before the rain comes this afternoon.  It's suppose to rain most of the week.  It's been very dry and we desperately need the rain!

Right on the heels after our fragrant flowering crab apple tree (background) is spent (the wind quickly did a number on it's blooms this year); our Snowball Bush puts on a lovely show that lasts until a good rain knocks the flowers off.  Our lilacs are also in bloom, but pretty underwhelming for the second year in a row -- I think it was because we had some pretty nice days, even a 90°-er, followed by a couple hard frosts.
I picked a few lilac blooms for a vase this morning, but slim pickin's indeed.

    Our wild Japanese Cherry bush is also in bloom now.  The delicate light pink flowers are so lovely.  I'm not sure why it's called a "cherry" tree as it doesn't produce any fruit.  We will see what happens to this plant as it's in the area where Jeff might (finally) build me a greenhouse/garden shed this summer, so I'm not sure if it will survive a move.

The girls (hens) were VERY NAUGHTY a couple months ago and TOTALLY UNBEKNOWNST to us, our neighbor informed us that 2 or 3 of our hens were flying over their high dog fence somehow and going up their steep doggie ramp on to their back deck and pecking on their back patio door. (AUGHHH).  Although the neighbor might have thought it somewhat amusing, I'm sure the hens were probably messing up their deck & the folks couldn't let their 3 dogs out -- I was SO VERY EMBARRASSED!  Unfortunately, due to a couple naughty hens, now the whole tribe has been banished from total free ranging -- honestly, they had 10 acres and couldn't even stay within those parameters!!!  But actually I had been considering confining the 8 hens to a "limited free range area" of maybe 1/4 of an acre -- I love seeing them roam freely, but they loved being on our front porch most of the day and messing it up royally (just being real here), + there is always the issue of predators (coyote, fox, hawk/eagle/owls), so after the "neighbor incident", we kept them in the coop & barn for a few days, long enough for the ground to thaw and for Jeff to make a temporary run.  Actually, the timing of it worked out okay as we are not doing a garden this year as it's our Sabbatical year (every 7th year) for the land, so Jeff just had to add a little more fencing to go from the chicken coop to the garden for a temporary pen.  We were afraid that since the girls had a taste of freedom, we would have problems with them getting out and/or boycotting (not laying eggs - they do that you know), but we have been so pleasantly surprised that our babies (girls/hens) haven't tried flying out and seem pretty content in their new confines (plus they keep the weeds from taking over the garden).  Jeff is now putting up a new permanent area for them where I wanted them to eventually run as we will need our garden back next year.  So all is well and we are getting a TON of eggs!  Happy Chickens!  Happy Family!

My little hosta glade is springing back and it's so nice to see green & flowers again, and my little hummingbirds!  It needs a good weeding, but since my May 4th surgery, I have a few restrictions for 6 wks, so it will have to wait.  The girls are picking up my slack as much as they can, considering they both have parttime jobs, but I'll be back to full-speed mid-June.  Actually, I feel great now, like I can do anything, but I better mind the doctor and give it time to heal -- I can't lift anything heavier than ten lbs. and have to be careful not to be bumped or shoved, so therefore I have to stay away from the horses as my big boy (horse) can get a bit playful; and throwing bales of hay around is out of the question (bummer).  I did go out to see Sunny (Sundance/my horse) the other night and it sure was good exchanging kisses again.  There's nothing like the scent of a horse -- one of the best aromatherapy's on the planet!  Seriously!  It's hard to put into words; but although I don't consider myself a stressful person, there is just something about being close to a horse (if you like horses) that is so very calming -- a type of equine emotional therapy.  Our Great God has certainly given us pets and animals for a reason. ♥

And lastly, let's talk about house projects, shall we?  Currently I'm still in the thick of things with our interior front entryway/foyer.  Yes, the project was suppose to be done five months ago, but...  between family members getting sick with a cold/fever that drained out every bit of their energy for an eternity (a couple of months) and then me also having some health issues that eventually led up to my surgery, and now the recovery from that, the entry remodel/decorating project is moving at a turtle's pace.  It's not quite ready for the big reveal as I still have a farmhouse feather tick cushion to finish, a feed sack skirting, a couple lamps to hang, and to purchase a new rug, but I hope to be done soon.

After the entry project is completed, I hope to move on to the main fl. powder room (stain, paint & theme change), and the front porch (paint, rugs, decor).  I also want to repaint the shutters & front door -- I just painted them a year ago, going from green to this blue, but it's a bit too bright for what I wanted, so I want to calm it down a bit).  Then, if time permits, I might move on to our en suite.  The projects are endless!  We built our house (via contractor) in 1996 and it's stuck in the '90's which I know is nothing in light of world events, so I'm content, really, but stuff like this is a nice departure from it all.  It would probably be cheaper and easier just to sell and start over, but I doubt that will happen until we are ready for our retirement cottage/cabin, so I busy myself in the temporal.

Other Home & Family Happenings:
  • Besides home redecorating, I also need to get going on a project that I've been wanting to do for the girls -- making recipe cards for both of them with our favorite family recipes (BIG job).
  • Anna started her first day of  work at FleetFarm on May 4th and things have been going very well!  She loves her job in Farm & Pets and they seem to love her.  She thought she would be working only 10-15 hrs. week, which is what she wanted as she is also taking online college courses, but they have her working 28 - 32 hrs. a week (the maximum a part-timer can work).  She is hoping things will settle down a bit as they hire more people.  It's good to be young and full of ambition!
  • Amber continues her part time job as a barista at our local health food store/coffeeshop.  She loves her job and is well-loved there.  She also continues to lead a girls' Bible study & is currently in a courtship relationship, so a busy, busy lady.
  • I'm adjusting to not seeing the girls nearly as much.  Everyday housework, pet chores, preparing meals, washing dishes a 100 times, laundry, running errands, paying bills, caring for an elderly parent, Bible Study & much prayer, and dozens of other things that pop up every week take time.  Although my NUMBER ONE service & responsibility is to my Heavenly Father, then, my husband, children, extended family, and home, I'm finally able to catch my breath and look forward to being more intentional in contributing in some way -- thoughts are brewing.  
  • Jeff is very busy at the office, but took the weekend off to go camping, hiking, & canoeing with Amber's boyfriend, Abe, in the BWCAW (near the Canadian border).  They return today.
Okay, time is flying.  I have work to do & no doubt, you do too. 
Thanks for visiting ♥.  I may post again later this week.
Toodles, jane