Things I love: Deep and Shallow

This post is just for fun, and in no special order.

I love a really good V-neck T shirt, some amazing jeans and boots. If it’s a hot sweaty summer, I want the T with a cotton skirt and flip flops. I would love it if I never had to vary my attire, because, well, you know, comfort. I’m 48 next week, and by this time I know what I like and what works. But I have neglected muck boots, and of course aprons. These are necessities for me, like underwear and a bra. My lifestyle is one of lots of outside work. I’m busy in my kitchen too, but after that, I’d really rather leave the housekeeping to someone else, and I almost never go anywhere nice, so heels are impractical and I would feel silly. A dress is beautiful to look at but I have no use for one.

 

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I love my Bible, and I love all the lovely Bibles choices out there with pretty covers, and wide margins and pictures…oh my! I love to buy them for gifts. What could be better? I know some of you won’t get this, but I’m in love with Jesus who rescued me from myself, and I live in that Holy Book.

 

wooden rosary on the open Bible

I think sitting quietly amongst the chickens is it’s own form of therapy. They really are smart and can be so pretty. They fuss, talk, boss, argue, and romance and trick each other. Put down the remote control and go out to the chickens, it’s beneficial for mental health. I love mine, and I’m especially fond of their eggs.

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I love my sheep. I could spend hours outside with them. Watching the horses, goats, chickens and sheep, sitting in the middle of them all, that’s my happy place.

The fleeces of the sheep are fascinating. I like to part them and bury my face and just take in the scent. It’s intoxicating to me for some reason. So many things effect them. Diet, weather, health, stress. What a life lesson, huh? Makes me look in the mirror and take stock every once in a while.

Who could possibly  resist a baby goat? I adore them. Have you heard of Goat Yoga? It’s huge. For a reason. Take note, folks. People are getting dirty again, going back to agrarian roots because it’s just plain healthier and you’ll be happier. I’d like to add gardening to my list as well, but the truth is I suck at it. badly.

I still try every year because a girl like me just doesn’t give up ideals that easily. But the disapointing results year after year might take a toll on some. I pay for a veggie basket with a friend’s CSA every week during growing season and that makes me feel better 🙂

I love inspirational older women. Especially the physical ones. Hatha yoga asanas (positions) really help me maintain an active lifestyle. I have so much permanent damage in my neck, back, shoulders and hips that if I don’t get stretched and strong I am in agonizing pain. All day. Up all night- that kind of pain. I don’t feel like setting the time aside to do it much, but this little lady keeps me motivated.

I love the quiet times when I’m alone in the barn with my dairy goats and it’s milking time. I raise Miniature Nubians for milk and it brings me much pleasure and satisfaction to turn that milk into soap and cheese and yogurt, ice cream, sour cream and you know what? These girls are my family. Usually when I’m helping a girl in the birthing stall, I was there when she was born and her mother before her. We have history, these girls and I. We love each other.

What can I say? I adore, love, cherish my babies. I love this lifestyle we lead, because…look at their faces.

I love my family. I love the sons that I didn’t give birth to as well as the ones I did. I love my husband, who works his butt off for all of this.

I love to see my sons grow up into men. I love my son’s wife. I enjoy seeing their relationship mature and watch them do better than Doug and I did.

I so appreciate and love the community we live in. The supportive and genuine people I’m surrounded by are really something else. To see my granddaughter and youngest son embraced and loved and taught by my friends who are great at mothering and teaching is a gift.

I am so very, very, fond of seeing my gorgeous horses through my kitchen window when I’m doing the dirty dishes. This is, without a doubt, a childhood fantasy come true for me. Not the dirty dishes part.

I love going outside my back door for fresh groceries.

I greatly love my husband and I greatly love his biceps. Who wouldn’t?!

I love sitting in front of a good, warm fire with my iPad and Netflix binges of Call the Midwife and Amazon Prime episodes of Downtown Abby.

I love a good mocha cappuccino made with raw ingredients in my kitchen.

I love solitude and quiet, country sounds. Unhurried days without agendas. I love a good book and sitting in the sunshine.

Prayers For a Simpler Life Review

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“God’s goodness is not measured by the good things that come into my life,” Mrs. Sommers says. “The good things do outnumber the bad, and I gratefully count my blessings. Yet, even in the setbacks, the disappointments, the sorrows, I know that God is good.”

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After this long dark and depressing winter I have kept the mailman busy delivering what I hoped to be spiritually nourishing books because I have been d-r-y. Like toast-no-butter, stick-in-your-throat dry. I have been disappointed in my purchases. I’m not sure if the general christian  women’s media is delivering the sort of fluff that doesn’t satisfy me because that’s the demand, and most women don’t know or study the Bible for themselves, or what, but I have put down the last two books I ordered because I just couldn’t. Couldn’t read such sweet little nothings that I put the books down, scratching my head, wondering if other women really feel filled after that kind of drivel. Bless them. I didn’t. They are written by popular new authors and I’m sure they’re needed but I’m a little more serious than they are writing for I guess.

I agreed to review a devotional called “Prayers For A Simpler Life” by Faith Sommers on a whim, and I’m so glad I did. It was just what I needed. Feeling dry as I am, I want a devotional to make me think and prompt me to pray. This was it. Thanks goodness. I might not have bought this on my own, honestly. I’m not a Mennonite and I don’t usually read literature for Mennonites or Amish, and any of the people who call themselves plain.

Many of us might overlook this little gem because it isn’t necessarily one of those books by a popular author in mainstream Christian media right now. I have a shelf full of those and while the authors are my sisters in the Lord I have to admit many of them don’t hold my attention. They feel like so much fluff. This book is practical and plain- spoken and like a healthy spiritual snack instead of a syrupy distracting treat. Sometimes we want a treat, but we always need a healthy meal.

At times maybe we need the plain truth, spoken or written to us and for us, so we can return to our first love and stir up faith that sometimes gets stagnant. This is a lovely book, and I’m enjoying quiet mornings by the fire with my coffee and Bible and Prayers For A Simpler Life before I trudge out to the barn for chores. I think you would enjoy it too.

Each reading is in a topical grouping, short enough to take only a few minutes but deep enough to chew on all day and even instigate a serious study if you’re so inclined. Don’t box yourself into only a certain “brand” of Christian literature. I think you would be pleasantly surprised by this devotional. I’ve admitted I was.

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From the publisher:

Prayers for a Simpler Life

Do your quiet times with God feel disconnected from the rest of your overflowing days? Shouldn’t our devotions affect how we live our lives?

In this 90-day devotional for women, plain Mennonite mother and wife Faith Sommers helps connect your moments with the Lord to the rest of your life. Steeped in the faith of Amish and Mennonites, who maintain that how we live is as important as what we say, Sommers’ words hold gentle warmth and wise nudging for readers tired of disjointed living.

Offering daily devotions, prayers, journal prompts, and ideas for how to simplify your life and strengthen your faith, Prayers for a Simpler Life guides readers toward a deeper commitment to the way of Jesus.

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This devotional is aimed at serious Christians who want to draw closer to God and actively serve Jesus, the book strives to put readers back in touch with many basics of Christian living. It is part of the Herald Press Plainspoken Series of books and devotionals.

About the Author
Faith Sommers is a conservative Mennonite mother, wife, and columnist for Ladies Journal, a publication for Amish and Mennonite women. She and her husband Paul have six children between the ages of six and twenty-one.

Buy it here from the publisher site or Amazon.

Everyday Average Annoying Guy

Just when I had started thinking of my husband as a jerk. This long bitter cold winter (and it’s still snowing as I write this) has iced over our hearts as well as the ranch it seems. My husband and I have gotten used to being cold to each other and neglecting this marriage that has always required an extraordinary amount of energy and work anyway. Sometimes it seems too much to ask to tend the marital fires. I’m busy keeping the fires going in the house.

Its all so numbing and exhausting sometimes.  Like this unholy winter for example. Right this minute the barn has been flooded umpteen times, we’ve been literally snowed in several times, needing to be rescued by the neighbors who own tractors with snow plows and chains for their tires. And we have been sicker than two mangy half dead dogs. My list of complaints is much longer but I’ll spare you.

To say I’ve been in a mood is an understatement and even my kids have given me lectures for negativity. Shameful I know. I’m owning it. I’m praying for an end to this bitter winter outside my window and most importantly for the one in my heart.

God always answers and you know sometimes He gives me a correction in the most creative way. I like to think He is changing the direction of my thoughts, pointing my stubborn face in a different direction than the one I’ve set it to more than He’s scourging me.

My husband is a paramedic/firefighter/officer for a department 200 miles away. He has a long commute and is gone often. Lately even when he’s home he’s not present if you know what I mean. Hazards of the job and life I guess. Also a reallllly long marriage. This morning he left and  I woke up because he kissed my ear goodbye. I’m sure that’s not where he intended his sleepy lips to land at 4:30 am but they did. It woke me up and I usually kiss him back and tell him I love him and pray for him awhile before I fall asleep again. This morning I didn’t. That’s becoming a habit and not just because I’m so sick I feel like I could use a hospital bed. So is he so that’s no excuse. It was mostly because I’ve given up the effort at this whole staying happily married thing. Dumb girl.

Just so you know, I did pray for him still.

I had a doctor  appointment this morning and then texted him afterward. We thought pneumonia but it wasn’t and I wanted to let him know. He texted back to let me know he had the kind of call today he always hoped wouldn’t happen. There was a woman in labor with a very premature baby. Like somewhere around 25 weeks maybe. Not sure. Anyway the woman claimed she didn’t even know she was pregnant so hadn’t any prenatal care. My husband delivered that baby but it wasn’t breathing. They bagged him and thankfully his little heart began to beat so they were able to transport him to a major hospital alive. The mother didn’t want to even see this child and wouldn’t feed him or acknowledge him.

Now, you have to know something about my husband and I. We are suckers for newborn babies. We adore newborns. Crazy for them. Our babies brought us and kept us together along with Supernatural Holy glue from God Himself. We wouldn’t have made it otherwise.

As he texted me details I replied back hastily that he should have asked the mother if she wanted to adopt the baby out…(well she didn’t want him, right?!) then I realized it was a stupid thing to say and she was probably in shock anyway.

And then my point to this story: he replied he had let her mother and the hospital staff know that if she didn’t want that baby he did. We did. Drug effected and possibly handicapped from being so premature and all.

And that girls, is why I love that man and don’t deserve him. (for the record he doesn’t deserve me either)

My husband isn’t an average annoying guy. He’s a super hero on shift days. He saves lives when he’s given the chance and ability.

God showed me that in my depressed self-centered little world, I had lately forgotten that my husband is God’s man. Strategically placed.

Afterall, as sick as he is he still drove 200 miles for a 24 hour shift and when a real life drama unfolded he was there with prayers, pounding heaven for that baby’s life. He was also there with skills and abilities that the Lord allowed him to gain to be just at the right place and the right time. Even though it didn’t feel right. Because he was so sick and would have rather been home in bed.

Note to self: Don’t rely on your feelings. Feelings come and go.

Additional note to self: Don’t act on your feelings. Feelings come and go and change with blood sugar levels, hormones, point of view and lack of sleep.

Or long dreary winters and taking each other for granted.