Monday, March 31, 2014

Springtime on the Farm

What do I love about Spring?
The real question is what do I love about springtime on the farm or maybe the even bigger question is what is there not to love about springtime on the farm?
Just today as I was standing at the sink washing the breakfast dishes I noticed the lilies coming up around the clothesline posts in the backyard.
The Robins are bobbin all over the front yard and I can hear the birds singing.
The field across from the house has a wet spot in it and the geese make it a stopping point every year on their return north.   If you step out on the porch just as the daylight is coming you will hear them really carrying on over there. That always gets our farm dogs, Noah and Runt worked up and barking and brings a quick end to any hopes I may have had of sleeping in.
The fields are dotted with new calves, sometimes they are lying in the sun beside their mommas others times they are running and bucking through the field.
While I'm getting dinner I can watch our Amish neighbor plowing his field next to our place with his team of horses' he stops when he gets to the end of the row to rest the team and then starts out again.
The Maple trees all around have the clear plastic bags hanging  around them as they have been tapped for sap. The bags grow fuller every day and soon the smoke from the Amish flues in the barns will rise as they start cooking down the sap to get the syrup.
I can be assured I'll find some new kittens in the barn or the greenhouse.
There's always the smell of wild onions too and the faint color coming to the woods as the trees just begin to bud out and then next thing you know the redbuds are everywhere.
The list of things I love about springtime on the farm is endless, there is just no natural stopping place so I guess I'll just stop.
I think I'll just step out on the porch and savor the season.
Why don't you join me?
When you've finished reading this, put the paper down and walk over to the window or out on to the porch.
Look and listen to what all is going on around you, breath in the fresh spring air.
You and I both know it's been a long time coming so savor it my friend, just savor it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Study to Show Yourself Approved.

I remember someone asking Mark what he thought about the future of the church and how he would help get it there.

He said, "The future of the church is in the past."

There is so much truth in that.

Not truth that in that we only sing traditional hymns, throw out the power points and sound systems but truth in that we have got to get back to the Book.

We don't have to stop reading Christian books but we have got to stop reading them at the expense of reading our Bibles.

We need to be careful that our Bible study groups are not so busy studying Bible study books that the Bible can be left at home.
It's easy to go to studies now and never even have to open your Bible.

We have got to be careful that our Adult Sunday School classes don't turn in to a devotional time with just a snippet of scripture that we jump around with every week.

None of this is meant to be legalistic but instead it should be lovalistic.

We should so love the Word of God that we do those things out of love not law.

If we as the church don't know the Word anymore than we do, who is going to know it?

Remember what Paul said in the book of Hebrews?

He told the church that by now they ought to be teachers they ought to know what was what but they didn't.

They had failed to study and as a result were weak and misguided.

Hebrews 6:11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact though by this time you ought to be teachers you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil."

So Mark is right, the future of the church is in going back to The Book.

Bible study books are great but they have became the main meal instead of a supplement and we're weak because of it.

So as Christians we have got to find a Bible  and begin to read.

Keep  a notebook with you and jot down a few things that you learned.

Don't worry about going fast and don't think it has to be a big thing.

Pray for the Spirit to lead you and open your eyes to things and He will.

Find a good study or a good Church and join their journey.

If your kids are small, the day will come when you will want them to have the memory of you learning and if your kids are grown the same is true.

If we want to understand more of the things going on around us and learn to live in faith and not in fear we have got to study.

If we want to be set free from guilt and bitterness we have got to go to the Word of God over and over again.

In the Word is one of the last places Satan wants us to be but it's exactly where we have to be.

I know it's hard, like someone said picking up your Bible and trying to read feels like you are eating dry shredded wheat.

It can feel that way, but keep on anyway, a little at a time and before you know what happened it will become a sweet dessert.

Find a good study partner or study group or church.

We have been ignorant to long and it's hurting ourselves, our homes, our churches and yes even our country.

Make it a point to get to know God and His Word its the best "self help' book out there and it really will change your life.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Farmer and How He Knows What He Knows

With the kind of winter most of us have had and from following as many farm pages and blogs as I do and after being raised the daughter/granddaughter and now a wife of a farmer I'm more convinced than ever there isn't much a farmer doesn't know.

Now I'm not saying he is an expert at everything and I'm not saying he never has to call in the professionals, I mean Mark has Dale Weller and Leonard's Electric's phone numbers seared into his brain.

Still though most things a farmer can take care of on his own or at least he will give it a good run for the money before he calls for help.

When does he learn it?

How does it happen?

He can probably tell you a few things he remembers learning but most of it just sort of happened.

Most of it he learned by doing life and by trial and error or because he had to right quick.

Maybe it was when his dad needed him to get up on that tractor and drive or when he had to crawl over a gate and get in that pen and help take care of an animal.

It could have been when he was a teenager standing in the middle of a blazing hot hayfield working on a broken baler.
Or when he was freezing to death driving the loader cleaning the roads so the milk truck or feed trucks could get in and out.

It could have been learned staying up all night working on a well or pulling a pump.
Maybe when he had to help bury the family dog or put down a favorite animal.

The knowing of the woods and of lumber would come from construction, cutting wood, hunting, cleaning fence rows and just time spent in the outdoors.

Lessons could have been gained while building fence, how to build them straight and strong and to respect boundaries and another mans property.

He could have learned to love the land when he first felt it between his toes when the garden was plowed of when he watched his grandpa hold the soil in his hand and let it run through his fingers.

He could have learned to love his family and his neighbors when he went with his dad to help a neighbor who needed them or to a wedding to celebrate or a funeral to comfort.

They know, electric, gas lines, water ways and water tables, construction, the lay of the land and how to deal with it.

He can understand markets and futures and taxes, (well as much as taxes can be understood).

He knows about nitrogen and phosphorus.

The only other job I can think of where a person needs to know as much and be as versatile  as a farmer would be wife and mother and thankfully most farmers knew to get one of those.

When he got her he got a good thing and when she got him she got it all.

So how did the farmer learn it?

He learned it from those that came before him those that loved and worked the land prior to him.

Probably the biggest thing he learned was that he had something to learn.

The farmer is hard working and humble  and you don't hear much about them.

They're to busy and to humble to toot their own horns but they deserve a shout out.

God bless them and all they have been willing to learn and for everything they do for us.

The next time you pass a farm think about the farmer and how he learned what he has learned.

Everything he is and everything he does is rooted deep in tradition and love for his family and his land and that my friends is a lesson well learned.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Comfort of a Bible

My two favorite Bibles. The green one has my heart but when
the pages starting falling out I got the pink one and now
it's stealing my heart.
Marybeth lost her mother recently and posted on my facebook page how she had been having  sad dreams about her mother and when she told her husband about it he said she should place her Bible under her pillow. She said she did and it helped.

Once I was at Bible study with my friend Bobby and she told of a time earlier in her life when she was going through a hard experience.

She said she would just lie in bed at night holding her Bible to her chest.

She just needed to feel it close to her.

I knew just what she was talking about.

I love my Bible and often have found myself just needing to hold it close.

I've always been impressed with all the pretty Bible covers or jackets I see so many have.

They look so nice and organized and so I've bought a couple different ones and attempted to use them.

Needless to say I never could.

I don't know what it is about me but I just have to have my hands on the Bible,  I want to know the feel of it.

I remember one of the Elders in our church standing up before us teaching and I couldn't help but notice how his Bible fit his hand.

It was like a glove, that leather had made contact with his hands so often it just knew what to do and where to fall open.

It was beautiful.

I've always wondered  why is it that we get comfort just from holding our Bible?

Then when I was studying the book of John the answer was there.

This is what it says in John 1:1-2  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

Who is this talking about?  What is it saying?

Who is the He  it says is the Word?

Look at it again,  He is Jesus, He is the Christ and He was with God in the beginning.

That's the answer, that's why we get so much comfort from holding our Bibles.

Our Bibles are the Word and the Word is God, the Word is Jesus.

It's the closest thing here on earth that we have to Him.

In a way it's like when we hold our Bible's we are holding God.

When we know our Bible we know our God.

Now I know why I draw strength and courage from letting my Bible  become one with my hands and my heart.

I know why it gets smudged and the leather gets broken and the pages get torn and bent.

Hebrews say the Word is alive and active and it is.

It's alive and living and doing life with me and thus the smudges, bends and torn pages.

An older lady who I loved dearly told me once years ago, "Honey, even a good life is a hard life."

How right she was and how glad I am I have the Word to go though life with after all remember that verse in Matthew eleven that goes like this, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls."

Think about a yoke you've seen hanging in a barn, think of how they are dirty and bent and stained with sweat and you might even find some hair still in them.

They started out new and crisp and tight but when they had spent many days with a horse they got to showing signs of wear, signs of doing life.

It's the same way with our Bibles

The verse doesn't say we won't have burdens to bear if we walk with Jesus, or that we won't have to submit to some type of yoke.
It's just the opposite.
Jesus is basically saying, I have a yoke, it's been fitted just for you, no one else. Don't worry you can handle it, I've seen to it.

Can't you almost see Him coming over to you and lifting the ill fitting yoke you have put on yourself, he is gentle because He knows while you were trying to wear the wrong one you were blistered, cut and wounded. 

Imagine Him smoothing salve over the places rubbed in your back.

Then imagine yourself standing still and kneeling before Him while He places His yoke, His will for your life on your back.

Imagine the sigh of relief.

This is what you were meant for.

You can do it!

His Word is alive and it is life giving and it brings comfort and courage like nothing else.

That's why we find comfort in the Bible.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Facing Your Limits

Today's topic is boundaries.

Boundaries can be a unit of measure.

They tell us how far we can go, how much of something we can have or can do.

We all have boundaries, we may not respect them but we have them.

They're for our protection.

When we have land boundaries it lets everyone know where they belong and where they don't belong, what they are responsible for and what they aren't responsible for.

It's the same way in life.

Sometimes we cross our boundaries and we know it right away. The stress is overwhelming.
The alarms sound.

Sometimes they don't.

Or maybe they do but we're in so deep we can't hear them.

We cross our boundaries and fail to hear the alarm when we over commit or take on to much but somehow get it all done.

Everyone is proud of us and talks about how much we do and we think everything is okay.
We think we got by with it.
We think we've done it all.

But is it really okay, did we really do it all?

Did we really get by with it?

We may have got a lot accomplished, we may have pulled it off, but do we ever consider what we gave up or let go to  accomplish it?

How much time did we give up with our husbands, our children, our churches or our God?

We've got to learn to think long and hard before we commit to anything.

Think about your boundaries.

Think about where you belong and what you are responsible for.

You may be an organized person but you might be at a time in your life when your organizational skills are best used in your home.

You might have an empty nest and your boundaries have enlarged and your skills are needed by the community.

Know your boundaries, know what you are responsible for and accept it then embrace it.

Proverbs 2:1-6

"My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding."

Ask for wisdom when making your commitments and with the above verse in mind complete the following sentence.

"From now on, before I take on anymore activities I will seek God's guidance first by.........."

Some of those ways might be by examining your time out of the home, the financial cost, the reason you want to take the commit on in the first place, could it be a self serving reason?

Nancy Leigh Demoss sums it up like this.

"The truth is all I have to do is the work God assigns me...The frustration comes when I attempt to take on responsibilities  that are not on His agenda for me.  When I establish my own agenda or let others determine priorities for my life, rather than taking time to discern what it is that God wants to do, I end up buried."

Don't waste time feeling buried, know your boundaries.

Boundaries are not a bad thing, they show us our freedoms and help us face our limits.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hey Farmers We Want To Feature Your Family Farm!!!

Everyone knows this blog and our family page is about promoting God, the family and farming.

So I want to promote you and your family and your farm.

I'm going to be featuring one farm family a week.

If you are interested in sharing your story with us please message me or leave a comment and I'll get back with you.

If you are interested it would mean telling the story of your farm, has it been in the family for years or are you first generation farmers.

What do you raise, grain, livestock, produce, poultry whatever it is we want to hear about it.

Pictures of your family and the farm would be wonderful.

Maybe you grew up on a farm and no longer live there but have fond memories, that's good too we want to hear them.

I can't wait to hear from you as we get the word out about the farmers and the wonderful job they do feeding not only America but the world.

Friday, January 3, 2014

My Dad

Our focus has been on mom this last week and that's as it should be with all that has been going on with her but today my dad is on my heart and in my mind.

While my brothers and I were growing up dad was a quiet man. He didn't talk a lot but mostly stood back and listened as others talked.

As he has gotten older that's changed. Now he is a talker. Now he actually goes up and starts conversations with people he doesn't even know.

Our dad was like a lot of your dads were at the time.

They worked long hours and you didn't spend as much time with them as you did with your mom.

Dad often worked twelve hour days at his public job then came home worked on his own farm plus almost daily worked on his fathers farm.

I know my dad didn't like his public job, he was glad to have it of course but I'm sure there were days he didn't want to go.

I don't think my brothers and I understood that until we were older because Dad never complained. He provided for us because he wanted to.
He took care of us in his quiet way because we were his and he loved us.

My brothers and I have talked a lot as we have sat and waited this last week.
We've talked about mom and dad as I know mom and dad have sat and talked about us.
That's just sort of what family does isn't it?

We've talked about the things we love about family and the things we regret the things we treasure and the things we wish had never been.

Mistakes made and things done right.

The boys and I (my brothers, I still say the boys)  have talked about how good dad is to mom.
Maybe even to good.

He tends to baby her to much.

We laughed and said he is either babying her or she is doing something to drive him over the edge  and he is calling her a crazy old woman  so I guess babying is best

This week has been hard on my dad.

I have only seen my dad break down and cry one time and even then it was for just a very few minutes.

It was after my grandpa, dad's dad passed away and I can still see him standing against the kitchen sink talking on the phone to his sister, my Aunt Audrey  and he started to cry.

 The other day Brian told me, that mom told him  dad would want to cry through all this but he wouldn't let himself.

She knows him well.

I said I haven't seen my dad cry but I have felt his body shake.

I don't share this in anyway other than to honor my dad and most likely your dad too.

It speaks to the way our fathers were raised.

It isn't about the right or wrong, of expressing feelings or not expressing feelings it's just simply about the way we all know it is.
I remember distinct times I sat beside him in a funeral home and I didn't hear a sound but I felt his body shake.

That happened twice this week.

I stood close enough to him as we were with mom to feel him shake but never go ahead and cry.

I didn't do anything.

I didn't reach out and touch him.

Something told me not to.

I just stood there. I knew he wouldn't want to break and sometimes you have to honor that.

He is with her again this morning and I laughed when I talked to him.

The tables had turned, you know how mom is always talking to me on the phone and then she says,
"Dave, do you want to talk to Kelly, DAVE, KELLY IS ON THE PHONE DO YOU WANT TO TALK TO HER?"

 I called the hospital and it was dad saying to mom, "Hanna, Kelly's on the phone, do you want to talk to her?"  Hanna, I said Kelly's on the phone!"

I guess it's true, the more things change the more they stay the same.

God bless you dad and mom.