Faith, family, Home Life, Uncategorized

Lessons I Learned on the Farm

It’s been a while since I wrote about my early years on the family farm.

img_3460I title this one: Lessons I Learned on the Farm. There are two homes in which most of my memorable childhood moments were lived.

 

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth saying again. The years we lived at our home in Buena and my experiences there are high on my list of childhood favorites. Since I was quite young at the time and still saw the world through coveted, childlike innocence, every day was an opportunity to play and discover. For me, outdoors was the best place to spend the day.

 

After our Buena home was destroyed by fire and our family displaced, my Mother relocated us to another small-town, rural home, one that would still allow for gardening, raising animals, and plenty of room for outdoor activity for her children. Functional farm life, but on a smaller scale.

Since a farm is constantly teaming with life and activity, opportunities to learn about the  principles of life are endless.

As I ponder and think back, here are a few lessons I learned from my life on the farm.

  • There is a cycle to life: human & animal. All of these finite cycles were witnessed on our farm. I wept at the loss of beloved pets, and together we grieved the loss of loved ones. These lessons taught me early on that life is precious and valued.

 

  • There are consequences for our actions, good and bad. Somehow, the more unpleasant consequences are most vivid in my memories, probably because those didn’t happen very often, as my Mom always said we were well-behaved children. But when the necessary time came for my Mother to impart wisdom upon our backsides, she did it well and that was that. Lesson learned, end of story! Need I say more?

 

  • When no one is around, animals make good listeners. Countless hours were spent sitting on the back porch talking to our cat, in exchange for limitless stroking of his orange fur, as well as an occasional taste of my lollipop. I don’t know why, but my siblings found that quite disgusting. Time stood still in the hours I spent sitting or laying on my horse’s bare back contemplating life from a kid’s perspective, while he grazed in the pasture.

 

  • There is much wisdom in planning ahead. Had it not been for my Mother’s diligence in acquiring produce and meat during the spring and summer months, perhaps our dinner table would not have been as abundant with good, nourishing food for our large family. We were so blessed to have such a determined and resourceful Mother. A fine example of the woman described in Psalm 31.

 

  • Life has boundaries. My safe-haven was within the white-fenced border of our property where I found the freedom to explore my world hands-on, while under the protection and watchful eye of my caring Mother. With the exception of a few childhood scrapes & one particular run-in with the back door, (click here to read about that & other farm adventures), the boundary around our home afforded my siblings and I the liberty to just be children.

 

  • When the going gets tough, your family is there for you. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, and I am so thankful that I was born into that type of family.

 

I wouldn’t trade any of these days or their corresponding life lessons for any other in the world. For though we may not have had all the luxuries the world had to offer, the ‘things’ we possessed were not things at all, but the most cherished and precious moments and relationships that anyone could ever desire. For that, I am truly thankful.

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Faith, Uncategorized

I See You

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I am so proud of my young daughter, as she works so diligently every day on her overload of homework. She is self-motivated and strives to do her best, and it is paying off. She is an excellent student.

So, though she may be a little embarrassed to see that I am literally telling the whole world, I just want her to know that – I SEE YOU. I notice how hard you are working, and not only am I extremely proud of you, but I appreciate it, too.

I am so proud of all of my children, as they are working toward building a good life for themselves and their families.

 

Just as children love it when their earthly parents notice them and acknowledge their efforts, so do we as children of God love it and find strength and resolve when our Heavenly Father notices us.  Life gets a little overwhelming and it seems like for all our working and striving, circumstances become somewhat out of hand and we wonder if it all really matters. We look up and wonder, “God, do you see me?”.

Let me tell you, most assuredly: Yes, He sees you! He smiles when you smile, laughs at your silliness, nods in delight when you move in the right direction, and leans in when things are going tough while He gently guides and comforts you. He takes pleasure in His creation, and that includes you, my friend.
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“O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.
For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord.”  Psalm 117

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life; 
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121

So, my prayer for you is that God will reveal to you in big and small ways, that He loves you, and He does indeed see you.

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Faith, Living Life, Uncategorized

No More Masks

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It’s always interesting around this time of the year, to see the display of Halloween costumes in the stores. There are the classic & timeless princess costumes, Spiderman & Superman attire, the witch & ghost get-ups. I think they even still sell the cute & simple plastic masks that I remember wearing as a child. For one night, you can pretend to be whoever or whatever you want to be. (That’s my Mother’s prize-winning pumpkin in the photo, along with my brother, sister and myself in the really creepy costumes!)

 

But now, walking through the isles and seeing the huge variety of scary masks is like experiencing an all-out hall of horrors! There are some that will make you cringe and want to look away. Some that will bring some of Hollywood’s most notorious villains back to life, and some that will cause you to cover your child’s eyes as you quickly guide them away, hoping they didn’t see enough graphic images to cause them nightmares!

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It makes me wonder, metaphorically & spiritually speaking, what our individual walls of masks would look like. I can envision myself opening the double doors of my walk-in closet, entering and pausing as I scan the variety of masks I’ve accumulated over the years. How do we decide which mask to choose?

Are we trying to impress someone? Are we choosing the one which we think will be most accepted by the society which seems to dictate so many things about how we should look and what we should feel?

 

Much of the time, yes, unfortunately. Or we want so badly to be able to wear the mask that looks so fabulous on that other person, so we keep trying to make it fit.

 

As if the mass-produced, plastic images of modern-day society are a one-size-fits-all solution to the sufferings of mankind. If conforming to the ideologies of this world were truly the answer, then ‘world peace’ would no longer be just an out of reach dream.

 

No matter which mask we, or I, choose to put on, it can never truly change what’s inside, for it is truly a matter of the heart. Every circumstance and life experience has a part in shaping who we become and what we reflect. I fear that there are some in this world whose hearts are indeed so callous and hardened that the mask of horror that they wear is not a mask at all. God help us.

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

If you turn those man-made masks over and look at the label, it will say ‘Made in _____’. Perhaps our own plastic masks should read ‘made by the unpredictable & complicated undertakings of life’.

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But on our original, unchangeable label we would see “Made with Love, by God“, printed out before the world was created, before we were formed, and before we took our first breath. In Him is where we began, and in Him is where we will truly find the answers to our questions: “Who am I?”  “When will I find peace?” “When will I no longer have to wear a mask?” It is in His love & forgiveness & acceptance that we will find our true person, who would never again feel the need to put on a false mask.

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Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

 

I’ll be honest with you (as I take off my “got it all together ” mask), there are many days I still reach for my masks while longing for the day when I no longer have to hide behind them. I’m still searching for answers to all those questions, but I know that looking for them within myself or anywhere on this earth is futile. My answers are found in my God, who knows me better than I know myself.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2

The answers, my friend, are found in the One who created you, and you never have to wear a mask for Him.