"Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain."
~Psalm 127:1

September 27, 2013

Five Minute Friday: True

Another Five Minute Friday Free Write!
Five Minute Friday

The word is: True.


"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." -Philippians 4: 8

Too often I think I think about the opposite of what is true.  I see what is true, but what you did to me was false.  What you said about me was false.  And I can't tell the world what the truth is because it would hurt you too much.  That or they wouldn't believe me.

The truth, sometimes we never find out.  But I already know the truth and He has a name because He told us.  "I am the way and the truth and the life." -John 14: 6

But what about the truth in this situation?  Do I need to know that specifically?  Or does Your all-encompassing truth cover that?  Is Your truth enough to cover my questions?  Was what You said, the promises You made, just true yesterday or last year, or is it true still and always?

I am held captive by these doubts and questions.  I don't need all the answers, I just need Your truth.  If I knew it all already, I wouldn't need You.  The questions keep me hungry for the truth.

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."  -John 8:32


What I Learned In September

Link up with Emily Freeman's, What we learned in September, post

1.  I shouldn't give up on any relationship.  Even if it seems like there is no hope for restoration, I am supposed to keep trying.  But at the same time I need to continue living my life and being who God created me to be, caring more about what He thinks of me and feels toward me rather than how someone else is thinking about me or reacting to me.  And I don't mean that I will intentionally make someone else angry or jealous, but I will try to be who God created me to be in order to bring Him glory.

2.  There are no Amish families living in Manor Township.  And about 4 non-Amish dairy farmers in Bart Township.

3.  I was trying to take pictures of myself before and after a haircut.  What I learned is that I think I look goofy when I try to take a picture of myself, but if I take the photo through a mirror or someone else takes a photo of me, I think I look okay/normal.  I wonder if I'm so used to seeing myself in the mirror that the "real" view of my face looks backwards to me?  That's weird.  Although, it might have been the angle that I was at or something.  I didn't get around to taking the "after" picture yet.

4.  I should not try to take my contact lenses out when I'm on the phone and my head is leaning to the side.  I lost my contact, at first I thought it went up in my eye, but I couldn't find it.  At one point I washed my hands, so I think I successfully got it out of my eye but it fell in the sink and was washed down.  Good thing it was time to put in a new pair!

5.  Fresh pears are heavenly!!  I never realized how much I enjoy a good pear this time of the year, until now!  Even the smell is amazing!

6.  When I draw (which doesn't happen very often), I much prefer a pen over pencil.  I'm much freer with a pen, which doesn't make much sense because you can erase pencil.  But if I am using any sort of pencil, I much prefer shading with pencil than coloring anything with colored pencil.

7.  Groundhogs can do a lot of damage to a soybean field.  I never knew they liked to eat soybeans.

8.  A smelly subject, but a staple of farming, is manure hauling.  If you haul manure out into the field with a tractor and tank spreader, you can easily drive over where you have already spread manure, but you cannot do this easily if you spread with a truck, it would be like driving on grease.  Standard truck tires do not have as much traction on the manure as a tractor and tanker.

9.  Trying to get the green outer hull off of a black walnut is more difficult than I'd like it to be, and it stains your fingers dark brown, and doesn't come out for a long time!  Next time I will wear gloves!

10.  Praying mantis' eat flys and caterpillars.  Josiah saw one eat a fly and I saw one eating a caterpillar.  I tried to get a video of it catching a fly, but I guess it wasn't hungry any more.  Apparently, they will go after hummingbirds too!  I don't want to mess with these creatures!

September 26, 2013

Yesterday and today

There have been some amazingly gorgeous sunrises and sunsets this week!
Yesterday morning's sunrise:

The sunset today: 

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."  ~Hebrews 13: 8

New season

It is officially fall!  I do love this time of year!  I think I say that every season (except winter, unless I can go ice skating).

We've had two local fairs this week and last week to go to.  Fun.  Good food.  And lots of people to talk to.

Two years ago while I was at the Fair for the morning, my favorite cow died unexpectedly.  This year, I'm left wondering if one of my dreams has died.  Is this a new season, in more ways than one?

September 13, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Mercy

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker's blog for the Five Minute Friday yet again.


And go.

I can never remember the difference between mercy and grace, or should I say, I get them mixed up.  I've always heard that mercy is not receiving punishment that you deserve and grace is being given something that you don't deserve.  I think.

Yeah, I kind of know the "dictionary" definition, but when it comes to living it out...  oh boy.  Sometimes when someone hurts me I withhold from them.  I draw back and say, "I'm not ready to let this thing go yet.  You should suffer just a little bit longer for what you did."  But really I'm not hurting them at all, just myself.

Imagine if Jesus had done that, drawn back within himself when the cross was getting close and said, "I'm not ready for this yet, they need to sit down here in pain and agony for a little while longer for what they've done."

It doesn't work that way for Jesus, and as Christians it shouldn't work that way for us, but too often it does.  In my own life I can see that withholding mercy and grace stem from my own pride and selfishness, very human characteristics, that I receive mercy for when I repent of them.  It seems like a very circular thing.  If I withhold mercy or grace, I won't be receptive to receive it myself, and then I feel miserable and become bitter and hard-hearted.

Sometimes I just wonder why God puts up with us, we just end up messing up, and a lot of the time it is in relationships that we mess up.  Then I remember this is why Jesus died.  To redeem and renew those relationships.  To give us hope that we can grow to become like Jesus, full of mercy and grace.  He is not a hard task-master, He is a loving and merciful God who wants us to choose Him and love His ways.


Now time for some coffee.

September 6, 2013

Five Minute Friday Free Write: Red

So excited to do this again!  It's so fun to just write and see what comes out on the screen!

Here is a link to Lisa-Jo Baker's blog and an explanation of what to do, and links to others bloggers who are also linking up to this fun free write.

The word for today is: Red.


A color that I normally shy away from.  If you would look in my closet you would see one, lonely red shirt.  Plus my skin is a nice red hue, and not just when I get sunburned either.  My face and ears turn a lovely shade of tomatoe red when I get in front of a large group of people or draw attention to myself in a group.  Not my favorite activity.

Or if I've been outside on a chilly day, I come back in and my cheeks and nose are a bright rosy red.  That's probably why I prefer to wear blue.  I'm afraid the red will draw more attention to my redness already.

Or just draw attention.  Red is a bold color, an agressive color.  I don't think that is me.  Not usually at least.  I am becoming more bold, but I would still prefer a nice orange to flat out red.

Then I think of all the lovely fruits that are red: cherries, strawberries, tomatoes, and then my mind goes blank.  I've learned to appreciate cherries and strawberries a lot this summer.  As I was eating them I just fully enjoyed the textures and flavors.

Not very profound on red.  I guess that's okay.  Its not my favorite color in the world.  It's probably one of the low ones, along with yellow, now that is a color you will see nowhere in my wardrobe (except one pair of shoes, to keep it as far away from my face as possible, no idea why I do it, I just think its best that way).

Really when I think of red, I think blood, and because I live on a farm, the blood that I normally see has to do with calving.  Blood and placenta, pretty gross, but the birth of a new calf is a wonderful thing to see.  I think I prefer it to a human birth, so far.  I've never seen a human birth, but human blood and other fluids freak me out.  Cows are much less gross to me.  Anyway, I digress.  What I really meant to say is that a cow birth is a lovely moment to witness.  The mama comes and licks her calf afterwards and its just such a tender, loving moment.  So beautiful to see.

Stop.  Well that was a little over 5 minutes, more like 10.  I must type slow.  That's ok.

September 3, 2013

What I learned in August

Link up with Emily Freeman's What we learned in August post.  A little late I know, but better than never.

what we learned in august

So much!!  A lot of what I learned happened during or after The Circuit Riders School in Lancaster.  We had such a great time that week, learning a lot!

1.  I have a voice.

2.  I shouldn't judge a day by the weather.  We were taking Josiah's family out to water ski and it was quite breezy and a little chilly, but it was mostly sunny.  There was a small craft advisory for the area where we were heading, but we managed to find somewhat smooth water.  It was one of the most fun days of water skiing that I have ever experienced, plus the people that we were with were great too!  And the sky was amazing!!

3.  I am what my name means: strong (and courageous), not on my own, but God makes me who I am.  This post has new meaning to me today.

4.  I love milking cows.  Who ever thought this is what I would end up doing?  I have a BA in psychology, but I milk cows, and walk around the farm like a tough farm girl.  :)

5.  I can't wait around for someone else to do all the work (in relationships, in sharing Jesus with other people, in everything), if God called me to do it.  God has given me a voice and He will give me the words to say.  I just need to be more focused on Him than I am on myself or fear of man.

6.  People are really hungry for Jesus!  You read the news and see all this bad stuff happening, and why would someone do something like that?  Because they were bored, because they have no hope, because no one loves them, etc.  Clearly, there is a hunger.  Maybe they don't even know what they are hungry for, but it is Jesus.  There are so many other things that people try to fill themselves up with, but that hole was really created just for Jesus.

7.  I have the freedom to dream!

8.  God loves me.  I had a fresh revelation of His love during this month, and it had to do with something as simple and small as a shoe.  I'll post about it one of these days.

9.  If I'm not making the effort to go forward, I am drifting backward.  Another thing I'll be posting about soon.

10.  I've lived on a farm my whole life (except when I was at college), but I never knew what it looked like when they filled ag-bags with silage instead of putting it in an upright silo (I've never seen a bunker silo filled either).  I have now experienced that for the first time.