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Mental Health Day

Even though I tried to have a pretty low key summer, and school only started a couple weeks ago I’m already feeling the strain. Last year can’t be called anything but stressful, and my husband and I both still feel like wrung out old dishrags.

I have at least a million tasks waiting for attention everyday. Who doesn’t? Yesterday was refreshing because the Beth Moore simulcast happened. I look forward to that every year, however this year, halfway through I realized I was coming down fast with the virus my son was home sick with…kind of spoiled it. But Beth Moore delivers and I was expecting to hear something confirmed from the Lord and I did. So there’s that. I usually go with a daughter or friend but this year I ended up attending alone. It didn’t deter me- I don’t miss a Beth Moore opportunity! The other ladies there, while strangers were still friendly and I didn’t feel too awkward. I actually felt I had an opportunity to wholly focus and that was good.

The day before that I texted my neighbor and friend down the road and asked her if she had the time to ride our horses out after lunch. I love living on a dirt road with several neighbors who are friends and all ride horses too.

She agreed and we set a time to meet at the barn and arena next door because before I ride out on the trails I always lounge my horse so she gets too tired for shenanigans.

The picture below is a little embarrassing since it shows I don’t ride often enough. Both my horses are fat. We could all stand to work out more and lose some weight.

Fancy is a lovely paint horse with blue eyes. She’s a devil to catch though. There’s so much effort to that catch, grooming and carrying the tack from the barn, through the pasture to the hitching post, you would think I would do that more just for the work out!

I love this view. We rode through the 90 acres of apple and pear orchards that my friend’s family owns. We enjoyed perfect weather, a Redtail Hawk, and practiced picking ripe apples off loaded down trees for snacks from horseback. You’re never too old, you know.

Isn’t she fabulous? I am so happy she moved here.

We are right in the midst of apple picking season and the orchards are busier than you can imagine with pickers, dogs, tractors and quads. The horses did pretty well though. Throughout certain parts of the orchards, depending on which variety of apples are being harvested, there are either huge empty, wooden apple bins waiting for their loads, or else full bins waiting to be picked up by the semi trucks that come through our dirt roads. Now you know where your apples come from 🙂

There are more varieties of apples grown just here in our neighborhood than I can count. I think these were Golden Delicious.

 

I love to document everything with pictures…and blog posts, obviously. Here I am even busy snapping shots on my iPhone.

We rode all over their property and the scenery was stunning. The freedom of that kind of horseback riding is healing for the soul.

(Yes, I am wearing yoga capri pants with cowboy boots. That’s just how I roll. Deal with it.)

I could’t help getting pictures of the full apple bins. That’s what I was doing in the picture above. The picture really doesn’t come close to doing their beauty justice. Maybe the rich sweet scent that also permeates the air has something to do with how stunning I find the sight of the apple orchards this time of year.

Poor Kito. He had to stay home while Fancy and I had fun. He worked up such a sweat running and buckling and crying along the fence line for us, that by the time we got back he was soaked. He decided he was itchy and a good roll in the dust would relieve that…as well as show us how happy he was we came home. I tried to capture the shot of him rolling, but missed it and got this one, of him just he was standing up and shaking off. I think it’s fabulous and funny! He looks like Pigpen, and that bent ear…oh!

It was a long hot ride in the foothills. We live in the high desert and only have all the green trees because of irrigation.

Fancy is really too fat, but after I brushed her out I couldn’t resist rewarding her with a snack of tender green lawn.

The magazines I love to browse and share with my neighbors. Inspiration.

It was a great ride and I felt restored to calm afterward. Getting outside and away from all the chores and to-do’s are so necessary sometimes. I don’t know how people who live in the city manage, but I guess we are all so different and what relaxes and rejuvenates me doesn’t do it for everyone.

What do you do for R & R?

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Real Grace

I read in Isaiah 26 verse 10 this morning that though we show grace to the wicked, he won’t learn righteousness; he won’t see God’s glory.

I know it’s popular right now, but I think it’s a dangerous new form of religion, this ear -tickle we hear from pastors, preachers and teachers nowadays. We are told to “just love like Jesus” only they aren’t. They love like men who want acceptance from other men. (Or women) They have created a new set of rules. Rules that men make up and take to church are called “man-made religion” but hey, that’s none of my business. Or is it? Maybe that’s why I write. Because we really are our brother’s keeper to some degree.

Ultimately we are all in the hands of our oh-so-loving Father, but He has graciously invited us to take part in His mission of seeking and saving the lost. Sometimes His sheep get lost, you know? I don’t think this reference to the lost just points to unbelievers.

The church in this brave new world of coffee house Christianity preaches everything but the Gospel sometimes. It’s offensive after all. The Bible freely admits it. The cross: offensive. The word sin: offensive. The name of Jesus: offensive. So we are told to stop being offensive and be inclusive. I’m all for including people. It’s my favorite thing. But to me including someone means inviting them in to what’s there, not accommodating them by eradicating what you have invited them in to- make sense? Like muddy water. Well, bear with me. I have a point.

We believers of the gospel of Jesus are being judged harshly by the world and by our own. (Did you know the meanest people, some of the most manipulative people, are right there in church Sunday mornings? Often right up front. Yes sir.)

The cool thing to do today if you’re a Christian is cuss a bit and tolerate everyone and everything except the Christians that don’t. It’s pretty nerdy to me, but hey…I grew up in the dirty ditches, not an over- evangelized pastor’s kid, so what do I know about the Gospel? Plenty. The author of it saved my life.

What do we expect when we leave our Bibles at home, on a shelf?  Just use a phone app and look up what you’re told to by the preacher. No need to read that whole thing for yourself- after all, that’s religious. (That should be your first red flag BTW)  I’m going to tell you that without the wisdom we need from that supernatural Book- we can be easily led astray. By our own wicked hearts and by the wicked hearts of others. The prophet Jeremiah tells us the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?  God can! (1 Chronicles 28:9, Jeremiah 17:10, Romans 8:27)

So back to the new thing that bothers me: We believers keep hearing how we should be loving and accepting of everyone, that this is grace. The trouble is, I don’t think it really is. The grace of Christ doesn’t leave someone comfortable in their muck. True grace pulls them out and hoses them off, warms them and feeds them. Makes them family. Mere tolerance isn’t grace at all. It’s corrupt and crooked. It leaves people where they are. It leaves them in the dark. It secretly says,” I am better than you and I’m a really good person for pretending I don’t think so.”

We are told that Jesus is the example and that He ate with sinners. Yep and they were sinners who recognized their need. Hungry for more than just what their bodies needed, but for what their souls craved. They were grateful to receive lavish acceptance and grace and became Jesus followers. Just read the Gospels.  Jesus coming into the picture and changing someone’s life radically is so different than us stepping into someone’s life (mess) and assuring them it’s all okay. Affirming them with a current catch phrase; “they are enough”. Because they aren’t. None of us are. We lack and Jesus is the supply. It’s a beautiful thing and as uncomfortable as that makes us, we really do need a savior.  We are.not.enough.

Jesus lovingly showed people their lack, their sin, and headed straight to the Cross to deal with that. We don’t want to trouble ourselves with that. We just want to smile benevolently down and have other  people like us and think we are good and kind like Jesus. Well, I ask you how kind is it to leave someone neck-deep and sinking in quicksand? Wounded and dying on the side of the road, off the path? In a ditch?

Jesus once asked a group of religious people: “what man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep….?”

Jesus places eternal, inestimable value on people, lifts us out of our pits, and patiently heals us. We shake our finger at people trying to get others to see they’ve fallen into a pit. (Because some don’t know -they are decieved or confused) We pat ourselves on the back and tell ourselves and others that we are more loving and grace-filled than those trying to drag out the pit dwellers. I think that right there is a bit of religion. A man-made religion exalting a person’s own perceived goodness.

I reject that.

They say pointing out someone’s pit is mean. Intolerant. Judgmental. Well, it’s all in the delivery my friend. And the motive of course. If love is the motivation and the delivery I call that a rescue mission.

Jesus is still drawing us out of pits, and I pray if you’re a pit dweller, especially of the false love and tolerance variety, that you will humbly take the hand of Mercy and Truth, and let Him draw you out. You see mercy isn’t mercy without truth and likewise truth isn’t truth without mercy. That’s Grace. That’s our Jesus, Who by the way, is the Word made flesh. (John 1:14) So I want all of the WORD I can get!

Take it from me, a sheep very familiar with deep, dark pits. I’m so grateful one of Jesus’  grace-givers told me the truth and pulled me up into the Sonshine.

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I Need a Daily Dose…

2 Timothy 3:15 -17
“And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

You are not equipped without the Word!
With the word dwelling richly in you (Colossians 3:16) you are fully equipped for every good work. (2Tim. 3:17)

Isaiah 5:13 says: “Therefore my people have gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge.”

Colossians 2 warns us in verse eight, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ”

Where does a person gain the kind knowledge to keep them from going into some kind of captivity?

In the book of Colossians, chapter 2 verse 3 we are told that in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

Refer back to 2 Timothy 3:15:
“The sacred writings… Have the power to make you wise and lead you to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”From the NEB

What kinds of things are “captivity”?
-Physical bondage and slavery (like Israel experienced time and again)
– emotional bondage and slavery
– mental bondage and slavery
Fear, anger, unforgiveness, insecurity, false security
– all manner of addictions
– deceptions
Colossians 19 says, ….”we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God…”

I’ve concluded that I require daily manna and people to pray for me so that the knowledge of God doesn’t escape me. I want it! I want to be wise, fruitful and fully equipped for every good work. I do!

Isaiah said in chapter 34 verse 16, Seek ye out the book of the Lord, and read….”

The prophet Jeremiah said, “when Your words came, I ate them; and they were my joy and my hearts’s delight.”
(Jer. 15:16)

Psalm 119: 49 says: ” remember the word to Your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope.”

“You have set Your word above all Your name” states Psalm 138:2
And here’s why:

“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 NIV

The Word is Jesus in Writing.

“The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double -edged sword. It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit.” Hebrews 4:12

And by Jesus, Colossians 1:16 says, “All things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. Verse 17 says, “and He is before all things and in Him all things consist.”
That impresses the need in me for the power of the Word in my life beyond a shadow of doubt. If The Word became flesh and dwelt among us- if Jesus is the Word and by Him all (ALL) things consist, and I believe this to be true- then I need Him! I need the Word.

Paul declared in Acts 20:27 “For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.”

( a steady diet of the whole Bible is important. Not bits and pieces to suit your preferences or parts that support what you already have chosen to believe but the whole enchilada so-to- speak)
Amos 8:11 has a startling bit of information but if you think carefully you’ll see it coming:

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.”
Have you read about the time coming (I think it’s here) when people won’t tolerate sound teaching but only want to hear what pleases them? The Bible says it this way:
“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” Paul warns his son in the faith Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:3.
And I say please don’t let that be me Lord!

Paul told us in verse 32 of Acts chapter 20, “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”

What did Paul say is able to build you up and give you an inheritance? The word of God’s grace!

In Colossians 3 we read in verse 10, that we have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.

We know we put on that knowledge by setting our minds on things above, not on things on the earth. (Col.3)
So we must renew our minds. And how do we renew our minds? ( Romans 12:2) We read the Word -we bathe our minds in the Word of God. we let it dwell richly in us. (Col.)
We have everything to gain by pursuing the word of God, prioritizing it, studying and committing it to memory- teaching it. The Bible invites us to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8

It’s my intention to have a steady diet of the scriptures so I will develop a taste for truth and righteousness and love. I want to be fully equipped for every good work the Lord has planned for me, because I don’t want to miss a single thing!

artisan cheesemaking · country living · Uncategorized · writer, homemaking, homeschooling, farm, ranch, christian, Bible, lifestyle · Writing

Simple Days

My life is blessed…it’s dreams come true kind of living as far as I’m concerned. That’s not to say it isn’t hard. That there aren’t difficulties, hardships, and heartaches. There are of course. But overall, I live how I’d always dreamed I might as a child. But this is not always how it’s been. Maybe stories will come out in this blog.

I milk my herd of miniature Nubian dairy goats every evening. Grateful we are late in the lactation cycle and can go down to once-a-day milking instead of twice. After 13 years of this my hands are killing me. No joke.

The air is getting crisp at night. The apple orchards I am utterly surrounded by are all heavy with fruit. Busy pickers are filling up gigantic wooden apple boxes placed in every orchard. It’s football season- which means we wear our Seahawk blue and green on Fridays. It also means I’m pinning football food on Pinterest. I used to hate football season. My husband is a football nut and Hawks fan and I felt like a football widow until I decided to become a fan too. Honey, my husband finds that very attractive. (I’m winking and doing a sly smile here)

I’ve made chevre and feta this year, but I’m feeling weary. I mostly worked on a tan and read books this summer- which is rare for me. I decided a couple of simple and small achievable goals were in order for my health (read mental) and so that was it! Now I’m working on losing the 30 pounds I gained during the 5 years we did foster care. (stress eating)It’s not pretty. I have some darling jeans in my closet and I don’t even fit into my “fat” pair.

Since it’s just about fall and school starts up for us next week I should be very busy with preparing to homeschool a high school senior and a first grader; however I’m creating this blog instead. Can you tell I’m not highly motivated this year? It’s my 17th year homeschooling and I’m…tired.

I’m convinced if I write as much as possible, and if I ride my horses as much as possible, I will become a better mother. I know. But…(insert smiley face)

One of the great gifts of my life is living on this horse ranch surrounded by other horse ranches and having friends with horses to ride with on our dirt roads. The view from horseback is one of my favorites. A long ride through the orchards is balm to my soul.

 

My geriatric herd queen is a sweet Nubian named Luci. She’s really looking worse for wear and I’ll bet she’s feeling it too. With the chilly nights she has had the comfort of blanket on her bony body. Sorry for the blurry photo but one of my sons put the coat on her as a favor to me and she wasn’t happy with the male attention and fussed about it. Yes  he is in flip flops in the barn- it runs in the family, don’t judge.

My days are simple. Full. Busy and productive and pleasant for the most part. They aren’t nearly the struggle they were. So, I figure it’s a good time to start writing again. Besides, winter is on it’s way, which means cozy fires, hot tea and time for reading and writing. I’m actually looking forward to being indoors again, but only for those reasons. I’m sure by December 26th I’ll be bitter about the weather again and complaining that spring needs to hurry up.