Monday, December 10, 2012

#1461-#1482



1461. October days, just beginning to be bearable.

1462. Newest calf suckling his momma.



1463. Stacey B. jogging and chatting with Reed to keep his pace up and give him company.

1464. Wednesday classes- so delightful because of our history together.

1465. Good attitudes when I get tough about school work.

1466. Dinner on the porch.

1467. Dark pewter swirls of cloud about to unload on the farm.

1468. 7th grade Abby, XC cheerleader (and remarkable runner!)

1469. Personal Records (PR) for both kids.

1470. Baby #4-jet black body and "Dumbo" face--so much like his  momma.





1471. Forgiveness.

1472. Cool run.

1473. Teenagers who think about and wrestle with the Word of God.

1474. Baby #5, a bull with a zebra-striped tail, up and romping within an hour.




1475. A payoff for Reed's perseverance in running: measurable progress.

1476. Curious calves.




1477. Brother's big block head--just like his Daddy.



1478. Hysterical game of tag between an inquisitive calf and an indignant farm cat.

1479. The clean look of a freshly-mowed lawn.

1480. Sweet team member who uses a "down" week to encourage my boy for three HARD miles.



1481. The cautious, quiet determination of Happy Girl.



1482. Two PRs on a very difficult course.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Safe from What?

Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.  -- 2 Timothy 4:18


It would be very easy to read this promise through the lens of American prosperity and think that it was a promise that God would protect me from physical harm and mistreatment by others until the day I die.

Except that Paul is promising nothing of the sort.

Just read Acts: the man was beaten, rejected, imprisoned and finally beheaded! Most definitely NOT protection from physical harm.

Still, he considered himself "delivered" by God.

What?

Closer reading reveals that Paul was not delusional.

God did live up to Paul's confidence in Him.

You see, Paul didn't say he was confident God would deliver him from all physical harm, but from every evil attack.  He wasn't talking about a physical, earthly battle but an eternal, spiritual one.

Beaten, betrayed, persecuted, tortured, imprisoned and beheaded, God was faithful to Paul because regardless of the evil attacks, Paul entered God's heavenly kingdom with his faith and passion for Christ intact.  The Gospel was still his greatest treasure.  God had enabled him to finish the work He created for him to do.

The physical stuff was not the issue at all!

This past month my church family has lost two young members.

One was a good friend of the Cowboy, a mountain of a man named Greg, devoted to his wife and family.  He died suddenly, leaving them without the security of life insurance.

Just a week or two later, we prayed fervently and fasted for Molly, a 46-year-old wife, mother and teacher, asking God to protect her physically and restore health---only to bury her days later.

If I think that God's protection is only physical, my faith would be rocked right now.

Many of us did reel and ask: "How can He allow this?"

But today, I was reminded by Paul's letter to Timothy that God is faithful even when circumstances seem otherwise.

Greg's family had no life insurance, but he lived his life in a way that left them certain that God is still good. He left them the security of LIFE ASSURANCE.

 Molly's husband announced her physical death "with great sorrow and joy" because he knew her real life was just beginning.

From the apostle Paul's eternal perspective I can look at the lives of my two friends and say confidently that God did deliver them from every evil attack and brought them safely into His heavenly kingdom.

I wonder:

How often am I diligent in praying for the physical, but neglect to offer vital spiritual intercession?

I send my kids on mission trips and pray that they will have traveling mercies and good weather. I pray they will be safe from physical harm, disease and hardship. 

More importantly, I should be praying that God would enable them to complete the task that He has for them, that He would protect them from spiritual attacks that would distract them from the work at hand and that NO ungodly influence would interfere.

During a season of financial squeeze, I pray that God will meet our physical needs and provide my Cowboy with a good job.  

Really, I should pray that God would protect him from discouragement, and that the financial pressure would not tempt him to compromise his values or allow any seed of bitterness to take root or--worst of all--cause him to blame or distrust God.



Now, as he begins a new career wrangling jets instead of cows, I have been praying every time he gets in a plane, that it lands safely.  This is a good prayer, because I love him.  

But even more I need to pray that God will protect him from the distractions and temptations that will surround him, that he will be a witness to the goodness of God and the faithfulness of His Spirit to those around him, that God will deliver him from every evil attack. 

O, Father, forgive my temporal mindset.  Create in me a heart that would rather see my loved-ones tortured for their passion for Christ than to have them safe and happy but indifferent to Your Son.  Broaden my perspective to see that as long as my heart is YOURS then you have delivered me.  Help me live in a way that demonstrates that my physical and financial circumstances are only peripheral matters, important only if they magnify Your Name.





Wednesday, November 21, 2012

#1441-#1460


1441. Inquisitive boy, so eager to learn. "Excuse me, I have a question..."

1442. Final Saturday sleep-in for a while.

1443. Hurricane that threatened, but missed Haiti.

1444. First four-miler in a long time.

1445. Great run for Reed.  Slow and steady brings personal victory!





1446. First meet of the season.


1447. The best dates are free-- stroll around the farm on a beautiful evening.

1448. Huge orange moon over the barn.

1449. Gangly white rooster perched on a cinder block crowing his heart out.

1450. A cooler morning--the first hint of fall.


1451. The up-side of homeschooling from Reed: "I am the best looking boy in my class--smartest, too."


1452. So many ideas!

1453. Red letters.

1454. Successful first week of work and school for Songbird and seeing the confidence it gives her.

1455. Another cool morning.

1456. Reeses' low rumble of warning to her calf not to get too close to us.




1457. A holiday for catch-up.

1458. Another new baby--with the white tail band like Kenny.

1459. Opening the blinds and seeing the tiny underbelly of a tree frog clinging to the window.

1460. Staying with a momma and calf long enough that she trusts us.



Friday, November 2, 2012

#1421-#1440


1421.  Cool rain before walking.

1422.  Developing friendships.


1423.  Abundant rain--a reminder to pray for those experiencing drought.

1424.  Wonderful encouraging kids for my kids to be with.



1425. First job for the Songbird doing what she loves with people she likes!

1426. A little time to sleep in.

1427. My boy/man stepping up and embracing a hard goal.

1428. Six months without official employment--and every need met because my God provides and my man is humble and hard working.

1429.  A job offer at last.



1430. Sweet Grace back from Korea.

1431.  Seeing the change a year has made in my Sunday School girls.

1432.  Clean looking fences and borders after a much over-do weed-eater repair.

1433. Happy students, so eager to please.

1434.  The challenge of teaching something new.

1435. Gracious parents who give me the freedom to try new things and sometimes flop.

1436. Flaming marigold plants, tall and gangly.

1437. Tuesday afternoons with Taylor.




1438.  Seeing the great father my Cowboy is.  He humbly and openly shares what's hard for him and lets his kids see him persevere.

1439. Songbird all cute in her scrubs and ready for work.

1440.  Reed following in is dad's footsteps and attempting something really hard.




Wednesday, October 3, 2012

#1401-1420


1401. Three big teenagers, racing to be first to give their daddy a hug.

1402.  My cowboy waiting for me with a smile and a hug after two weeks away and a long day of travel.

1403. Middle-of-the-night chat with my boy/man who is still on Montana time.

1404. Wise, gracious women to teach with on Sundays.

1405. Circle Cross Country team--so encouraging.



1406. The yearlings greeting me at the fence.

1407. Weed pulling therapy.  A task with VISIBLE progress.

1408. The whole Word of God: speaking consistently of His sovereignty and His love.

1409. Bright orange Florida sunset to remind me that God's infinite beauty is not exclusive to Montana.


1410. A wonderful pair of 10th grade Katie's--two young women eager to go deeper with Christ who invite others to join them, but don't wait around.

1411. New academic year and the structure it brings.

1412. New people that God brings to my life through teaching.

1413. Late afternoon walk and conversation.

1414.  Gift from God's Word:  Matthew 8:6, a beautiful reminder to give thanks for not enough, because thanksgiving always precedes a miracle.

1415. Beautiful story of sacrifice and thanksgiving in Auschwitz.

1416.  Adolescent rooster testing his newly-developed cock-a-doodle-doo.

1417. Endorphins!

1418. Family laughter.

1419. God's gift of new friendships.

1420. A hard eucharisteo-the privilege of being poured out and emptied for others--and the prayer that God will change my heart so this doesn't feel like a hard one.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

#1381-#1400 Montana Gifts


1381. The deer and bunny who come eat right from my parents' patio.

1382. Reed's delight when he unexpectedly sends his sisters into gales of laughter.


1383. My sweet mom answering her phone, "Good morning!"

1384. Ice cream at Kagy Korner.

1385. Laughing with my big sis.

1386. Sharing stories and laughter with dear old friends--a chance for my kids to see the wonderful people with whom I was raised.



1387. The view from Grant and Marlene's: 360 degrees of mountain vistas.

1388. Discussing brokenness with lovely broken people.

1389. "There is only one type of person God can use: a sinner."--Grant E.

1390. Two weeks away to remind my children what good friends they are.



1391. Sweet Pea Festival: A celebration of community and creativity.








1392. Downton Abbey movie marathons with my parents.

1393.  A real Montana Rodeo.



1394.  My spirit refreshed by quiet days, mountain views, cool air and the company of family.

1395. Worship at "E-free," the church of my youth: Simple, humble worship and the congregation as the choir.

1396. The similarity between my parents house in Montana and our farm in Florida:  bunnies dashing everywhere.

1397. Evening walk up to Moberry for frozen yogurt---taking walks and not sweating!!!

1398. Going home after two weeks with CLEAN laundry.

1399. The only good thing about leaving the Cowboy at home: It makes it easier to leave Montana.

1400. The ache that comes from saying goodbye to those I love so much.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

FMF: Graceful

Five minute Friday (or Saturday....)

And the word is....Graceful (HA!)

GO:

Graceful would be the last word that would come to mind for anyone who had seen me running the past two weeks, with my geriatric gait and the labored breathing that is completely unwarranted by the speed at which I'm moving.

One wouldn't know it to look at me shuffling and huffing and puffing down the trail, but I am enjoying myself.  I'm just not a natural athlete.

In fact, one of the reasons I choose to run (as opposed to, say tennis, or soccer, or even swimming) is that it requires relatively little coordination.  Just one foot in front of the other--I can handle that.

In contrast, I marvel at the grace of the young runners on my kids' Cross Country team.  Every movement is fluid and easy.  They run at a pace so much faster than mine, but seem to expend no effort at all.  Pure grace of motion.  I often wistfully wish that they could give me just a bit of their grace.

If only....

"graceful" is just not a state I can achieve.

I can, however, be GRACE-FULL, so full of grace that it pours out on everyone around me.

This bubbling-over soul grace is no more natural to me than grace in my gangly limbs, but this grace IS attainable from Another.

I have so little grace of my own, but I know the One who is Grace.  When I trust and receive His Amazing Grace to me, I am filled to overflowing with grace for others.

Even more wonderful is that when I have a heart of gratitude, I can see from His perspective that everything in my life--the good, the bad and the ugly--it's all grace.

Every moment--whether delightful or excruciating-- is a gift that He will use to fill me with grace if I receive the gift with open hands and trust that He is GOOD.

STOP

Friday, September 7, 2012

#1361-#1380


1361. A man who loves me even when I've failed him

1362. Tired, happy teenagers dancing around the gym.

1363.  Sweet Hannah: serious about what matters, light-hearted about everything else.



1364. Mad dash through the airport after a flight delay.

1365. Making our connection just before they close the doors.

1366. "Checked" carry-ons, so we had nothing to carry as we ran!

1367. Big breath of Montana air.



1368.  Sharing a room with my little sister again for a few days.

1369. Short run in the morning, struggling to suck enough oxygen out of the thin mountain air.

1370. Re-connecting with friends at a reunion.




1371.  Morning coffee with my dad.

1372.  Walking the Sourdough trail.

1373. Clear-to-the-bottom creeks.

1374.  Making new friends from old acquaintances.

1375. Cowboy's voice over the phone lines.

1376. The University of Grandpa--every conversation an education.



1377. Great fiddle music.

1378.  Chilly bedroom (in AUGUST!) and a thick down blanket.

1379. Hike to Palisade Falls.





1380.  Mountain beauty that cries out that God is creative, Almighty and GOOD.

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