His Hands

His hands told a story,
a story of hard work,
greasy tractors and love.

They were rough and calloused hands.
Although cracked and toughened,
worn by work and life,
they were gentle and kind hands,
always willing to work.

His hands started working young.
They learned the art of nuts and bolts,
a wrench or pliers applied to a bicycle.
He wielded a tool with precision and
took things apart, one piece at a time,
but soon had them back together again.

His hands were ever moving,
working to bring life to an old machine.
He knew just what tools to use,
which adjustments to make,
and soon a dead engine,
was purring with life.

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He ran his hands over the hood,
along the fender and up over the door.
They pulled him in onto the seat
and gripped the steering wheel
while turning the key.
His hand pushed the Jeep into gear
and with a wave and a smile,
he was off.

His hands told a story while he talked.
How wide is must have been,
how high it stood and its strength.
They fiddled with the candle,
twirled a toothpick in his mouth,
or poked a fork into a plastic plate.
His hands pushed him back from the table,
as he said, “Alrighty then!”

His hands told a story of
love and committed to his wife.
They reached for her hand,
and led her with courage and strength.
His hands were gentle and kind,
ever-loving with his children.
They reached for his hands
and held on with full trust in their Dad.

His hands turned the pages
of his Bible as he read.
They put into action what he learned,
and told the world of Jesus.
He loved well with his hands,
always the first to help others,
lift someone’s load,
and reach to care for a brother.

His hands told a story,
a story of hard work,
greasy tractors and love.

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– – –

What story are your hands telling?

Summer Days

Summer days are for wading in the creek, playing all day, the smell of freshly mown grass, diving in the pool, and sipping coffee on the porch in the cool of the morning. Most of these have happened, but swimming has not due to extraordinary amounts of rain and cool days. We’ll keep waiting.

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Summer days are for boys with cut-offs and boots, homemade fishing poles, catching fish and tossing them back in while waiting for the big one to bite.
Summer days are also bored boys pestering sisters until the cows come home or Mom loses her cool, whichever comes first. And since we don’t live on a farm…

Summer days are for celebrating special days.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “How did this happen and who are these children? How can they be mine when I am still approximately 28 years old?”
I kid you not, Mother of 4 small kidlets hanging on your skirt, this will happen someday! Hang in there. And I will not repeat that dreadful old phrase quoted to me many times, “This too shall pass,” even though it will soon enough.

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Summer days are for playing outside, digging in the dirt, catching frogs and having fun. I am unsure if this is normal or not, but she seems to think it is.
Yesterday the front door open and I heard her say, “This is going to be efic!” I am not scared of frogs, but this turned out to be as epic as she predicted. She had a little tiny frog hidden in her fist and when she opened her hand, he jumped straight up and into my lap. I scared us both!

 

Summer days are for pretty weddings and marrying off our favorite Carrie to her groom, Matt. It was a beautiful day!
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We were happy to add one more to our crowd.

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Summer days are for birthday and celebrations of life and turning one year older. It’s a privilege that not all are granted and should not be taken lightly.

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Summer days are for grills full of food, stuffing our faces with all good things growing outside. They all like tomatoes but their mother does not. That taste was acquired from their father. One of their favorite summer meals is toast and tomatoes. That’s it. Just make toast, butter it and put a heavily salted tomato on top. If that is called cooking a meal, I can handle it.

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Summer days are for boys building fires and girls gathering all the necessaries for a marshmallow roast. Then there is the ever-sharpening of sticks on which to roast and arguing about who has what stick and what knife and on and on. If you have children, I need not describe this scene farther. I prefer not to roast marshmallows, they prefer to roast as many as possible so we have a win-win situation.

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Summer days are for cousins and fun, playing to near exhaustion, consuming copious amounts of food, sleeping all over the basement and getting up entirely too early the next morning to start it all over again.  What would life be without cousins?
I grew up with a passel of cousins we saw multiple times a week. We were either farming together, playing in the hay mow, going to grandma’s or roasting hot dogs at the cabin. My kids see their cousins a little less, but they still have just as much fun as I did.

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And summer days are for seeing and hearing God’s whisper in the wind,
“I am still here, I love you, my child, as I always will!”

Running the Race

You know when you have a friend drop by, invited or not, a good rule of thumb is to never apologize for how the house looks. Don’t mention the toys all over the floor, if you have kids, she knows why they are there. Don’t mention the dirty windows, the spider webs or the overflowing countertop or she might actually notice them.

The same applies to a blog, I should just scribble out a post and not mention how long it’s been or give 1,000 reasons for my 2-month absence. Actually, I can’t really give a reason other then life happens. I think the stage of life I am in is just crazy-never-ending-busy-full of all the things. Everything from school functions, to running kids hither and yon, to family weddings to cooking, baking and cleaning.

Life feels like a rat race. I can’t stop the turning of the wheel,
but I can either be a happy rat or a crabby one about the race.

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What happens when one holds a fizzing birthday bath bomb a little too long?

My life revolves around school right now. Tieing up all the end of the year things, thinking about field trips, honor rolls, and all that good stuff. The kids are getting antsy to be done also, ready to roll into summer.

And then there are thoughts about the summer. Those thoughts frighten me sometimes and then I think, “Nope, not gonna be like other years. We are going to all get up early, schedule things, work without complaining, whip the place into shape, do the laundry, mow the lawn and then sit on the beach and sip…”
Are you laughing?
Well, you should be because I’m sure it won’t fall into place quite like that since it never happened other years when I planned the very same thing.

What are your summer plans?

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When the ice cream shack opens for the summer… we are there!

Do you have memories of doing things like this? When I was a kid we had a little ice cream spot in town we would visit occasionally. We would stand in the parking lot with ice cream cones dripping on the pavement, licking as fast as we could. Sometimes Wednesday nights we would take the long way home from church and stop for some ice cream.

My kids seem to think this should be an every afternoon occasion. I have vetoed them more often than not but secretly would like to eat ice cream every afternoon too.

 

Mr. Inventor has been working hard. He has a slingshot and wanted to make a holster for it. Cardboard and a lot of duck tape later he had built what he needed.
The other night I heard him talking about this fishing pole. He kept collecting things to finish the project and with a little bit of help from his Dad, he finished it and is now ready for a trip to the creek!
I’m thinking of buying him stock in the Duck Tape company for his birthday.

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Once upon a time, we went on a trip for Spring break and a grand time was had by all. We spent a few days in TN with Eric’s family, eating, swimming, playing games, relaxing, driving go-carts, and enjoying life. Time spent together is not something to be taken for granted.

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Rocky, the infamous dog, continues to cause his share of trouble around the place. Contrary to what one may think when viewing this photo, I do not like actually like him so very well. However, I did agree to take him for a “walk” one day by means of me riding and him running as fast as he could.

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I am currently teaching the youth girls Sunday school class. I told them recently that when I was voted in, I wasn’t altogether thrilled to be doing this. I had not been teaching very many Sundays when I remembered a conversation I had had with God a month or so before. It included a few things about wanting to invest more time and effort in His Word. I am not doubting at all that He took that request seriously and handed me a group of girls to teach each Sunday morning.

The girls have been choosing the subjects we study and challenging me greatly in the process. I always hold my breath just a bit when one starts to describe a subject to discuss and more often than not I am wincing before they are done. That cliché saying about getting your toes stepped on, well yeah, it is real and it really hurts.

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One subject we talked about that really hit home with me was kindness. Now I don’t like to think of myself as unkind, but does anyone? While none of us are truly unkind, how much effort do we put forth to practice genuine and true kindness to others? Do we go the second and third mile? Do we bend over backward in an effort to be kind to someone, especially the special ones who are like sandpaper to us?

The Greek root for kindness, as used in the New Testament, means uprightness or benevolence and describes the ability to act for the welfare of those taxing our patience.

Kindness draws others toward us, changes people’s hearts, heals broken relationships and makes people feel loved and respected.

You are never too important to be kind to people.
There is no excuse for not being kind.

Kindness is a skill. We can all learn to be kind. Kindness needs practice. Just as a tree doesn’t strengthen its roots the night of the storm, you can’t develop kindness overnight; you’ll need to practice it in the smallest experiences. With practice you’ll become instinctively kind; kindness will become effortless and will no longer require active thought.

 Kindness is a choice.
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

I Am Jehovah

When the road before you looks dark, long and lonely,
Jesus whispers, “I am Immanuel, God with us.
I will be with you every step of the way.

I will hold your hand, I will guide you and lead you,
I will never forsake you.”

When the mountain to climb is steep and wrought with trenches,
Jesus says, “I am El-Roi, the God who keeps watch.
I will climb by your side, I will not allow your foot to slip.
Even in your darkest hour, I will be with you. ”

When the stress and worries of the day threaten to overwhelm,
Jesus calls, “I am Jehovah Shalom, the God of peace.
Give me your fears, lay them at my feet.
I am the bearer of all burdens and I will carry yours.”

When worry of the future and for your family overtakes you,
Jesus replies, “I am Jehovah Jireh, I will provide.
I will care for your needs in ways you cannot imagine if you trust in me.”

When the long nights swallow up your lonely cries,
He whispers, “I am Jehovah Raah, your Shepherd.
I care for you and will be a friend and companion to you.”

When the questions go unanswered, time after time,
He says, “I am El Shaddai, the Lord God Almighty.
I have heard your cries, I know my ways are hard for you to understand.
Put your trust in me, rest in me, even when life seems unfair.”

When no songs of praise fall from your lips,
Jesus speaks, “I am Jehovah Nissi, I will give you a new song.
I will revive your spirits and bring life to your soul once more,
put your hope in me.”

When your heart is broken and nothing will mend it,
Jesus calls softly, “I am Jehovah Rapha, the one who heals.
I will heal your broken heart and bind up your wounds.”

No matter the problem, no matter the hour, Jesus is there.
“My Child, I am El Rachum, the God of compassion
and I feel your pain because you are so precious to me.
I hear your cries and collect your tears in a bottle.
I know the number of the hair on your head,
I care more for you than you will ever know.
You are my beloved and I love you with an everlasting love.”

sunset

Kindergarten

Since when is it legal for your baby to go to Kindergarten?
I mean, she is almost 6, but still!
Well, today that very thing happened.

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She was waffling back and forth between excited and quite nervous.

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A quiet house around here is a luxury, but sending the last child off to school… that has a bit of a different feel. No, I didn’t cry, if you wondered.

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Teaching her a little bit of pre-kindergarten taught me that it is a good thing she has someone else for her teacher.

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All of my children were privileged to have Carolyn for their teacher.
Carolyn has spent ten years perfecting this skill we would be happy to have her teach another ten!

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I went and dug up all of their Kindergarten photos.
Who are these babies?
Ten years ago we took a relaxing vacation and spent a few weeks in FL before we became school parents.
Madison was so excited about school and I remember the morning she went Reagan cried into her cereal because she couldn’t go along. Three years later Reagan was as happy as a lark to be going off to school and leaving the rest behind. Dakota was a bit more timid about going, but none were so worried about it as Kennedy. I’m quite sure she’ll survive the day.

I know her Mom will!
What is that sound I hear?
I hardly knew appliances made noise.

Musings

I stare at this blank page like I stare at the vast empty months that will fill 2019. I know, I know, we have already finished the 987 days of January and are moving along and leaving the words ‘New Year’ behind.
A lot of you love to start a new year, set up goals for the future, and dream of all it will hold. I have realized lately that a new year scares me. I don’t like surprises. at all. The thought alone makes me twitchy. I want to know what is coming, I like to plan, plot and organize things. To look at 12 empty months is too much. I have to do 1 week or 1 month at a time to hold off the panic of the unknown.
I wonder sometimes, was I always this way or have the last few years changed me? Or does this simply come with increasing age? I am not sure. The older I get the more I try to figure myself out and the more I try, the more frustrated I get with the subject I am figuring out!
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Looking back, the holidays were hard months. With God’s grace, we survived. Christmas especially triggers many emotions and we end up enduring December instead of enjoying it.
When Christmas finally arrives, we enjoy time together immensely, but there is always the niggling thought in the back of our minds that he is missing. Along with that thought, we are extremely grateful for every minute we spend together and try not to take it for granted.

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Many December evenings when the dusk started turning dark, I would flip the light switch up and stare at the star hanging on the porch. It was gifted in memory of Tristan and every year I hang it again in his memory. Christmas was his favorite.

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Christmas day was mild and beautiful. We had fun hanging out at the cabin.

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When the sky glows red with the setting sun, you will find us outside watching.

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

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“Christmas is the best but it’s not because of presents. It’s because of the birth of Jesus. Then see that cross by the star on my tree? That is for Jesus too.”
-Kennedy

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Philippians 4:14 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
John 15:5 for without me, you can do nothing.
2 Cor. 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you.

  When you face deep waters or deal with a thorn in the flesh, God has two ways to work in the situation. He can either remove the thorn or strengthen your shoulders.

The grace of God is sufficient to help you carry the load he has called you to bear. No matter what you face, no matter what waters God calls you to walk through, you can. Not on your own, sheer willpower will get you nowhere. Recognize your own insufficiency and draw from His. Only He gives the needed strength and sufficient grace.

“Great tribulation brings out the great strength of God. If you never feel inward conflicts and sinking of soul, you do not know much of the upholding power of God; but if you go down, down, into the depths of soul-anguish till the deep threatens to shut her mouth upon you, and then the Lord rides upon a cherub and does fly, yea, rides upon the wings of the wind and delivers your soul, and catches you away to the third heaven of delight, then you perceive the majesty of divine grace. Oh, there must be the weakness of man, felt, recognized, and mourned over, or else the strength of the Son of God will never be perfected in us.” (Spurgeon)

My grace is sufficient for you.
My: Jesus
Grace: God’s favor and love in action
Is: right now. not later. now.
Sufficient: plentiful. more than enough. more than we can imagine.
for you: Not just Paul writing this. but you. me. everyone.

A Hunting Saga

And so it was in the eleventh month of the year,
when the trees of the field had lost their leaves
and the harvest was gathered and stored,
a sudden illness of fever overtook mankind once more.
Lo, many were the bows, guns, and knives gathered
and much scheming of men did abound.

And all the swift-footed creatures of the forest
quieted themselves and turned their heads.
Then, lifting their noses they did sniff the air
and swiftly run for refuge and safety
from the cunning hunters that stalked them.

From generation to generation this saga continued,
men of old teaching children of youth,
line upon line, precept upon precept,
recounting tales of old and skills of new,
all for the cause of hunting the swift-footed deer.

And so it continued in the tribe of Eric, son of Dan,
for behold, the father of the tribe had been taught
this skill also and was well versed in the ways of the wild.

Now it was on the morning of the first day,
that he did send messages unto his brothers,
for they too possessed knowledge and skills in this quest,
gathered from the teachings of their father.
And they went out and from dawn to dusk
did hunt and stalk their prey, making much to-do,
but in the end, all efforts were to no avail.
Though they were much grieved in their spirits
by this failure that had come to pass,
many were the stories thereof told.

Now, the children of the tribe of Eric, son of Dan,
listened in amazement and did cry aloud saying,
“Father, let it be so that we also may join you.
For as sure as the night is dark and the day is long,
we will be able to remain silent
and retain our body heat while sitting in the forest
awaiting the arrival of a swift-footed deer.”

And all the while the mother of the tribe
wondered in bewilderment that you should desire
such a thing when the comforts of home were so sweet.

So it was on the morning of the third day,
the mother of the tribe of Eric, son of Dan,
did arise and prepared food for her household
before they should depart for their classes of learning.
For just as the dawn broke the eastern sky,
there was much hustling, bustling, and stirring about
amongst the children of the tribe.

And so it was that when his morning cup
of black brew was empty, the father of the tribe arose
and quietly left the cup upon the counter to be cleaned.
And standing for a moment did gaze out of the window,
and suddenly he began to call in quiet, frantic tones,
“Behold! There standeth within range,
a fatted doe, awaiting me!
Hide thyself from the windows
and speak with whispered words!”

Swiftly much ripping and racing about did occur,
but the mother of tribe merely raised
her eyebrows as she went about her business,
for she had heard this story before.

And as she called threats to her children to hurry,
there came a resounding, “BOOM!” from a window overhead.
And lo, how her heart did lurch in her chest
as she gasped in amazement from the sound.
Then much to her surprise, she heard a hiss from the stairs,
“The doe hath dropped, but another standeth nearby.
Bring now more ammo and that my daughter
may also harvest one!”

Now I tell you of a truth, that in all the world,
eye hath not seen nor ear heard
the flurrying scurry of all wild things moving at once
as did occur in the moments at hand.
For such a time as this, not one soul
was about to be left behind and all gathered in the bedroom
to behold the sight before their very eyes.

The father of the tribe, as his father before him,
instructed the daughter with care of sighting and aiming.
Tense words were whispered and many movements later,
we closed our ears and jerked to the thundering boom.
Much laughter and merriment did follow
as the children of the tribe cheered for two in one morning,
and none less than from the bedroom window.

But the mother of the tribe not caring as much as her offspring,
was not to be deterred from her mission
and hustled and bustled them around, calling out threats,
and behold, they were only eight minutes late to their classes.

And so it was in the fall of this year,
another story was played out, to be told and retold
for generations to come of the father and daughter
who stalked and took their prey from the comforts of home,
just as the mother of the tribe knew was the best place to be.

R hunts