I decided to take a little time this evening to put together a post of a few happenings around the homestead as of late.
If there were to be a sound track to my life today it would be that iconic John Denver tune, Thank God I'm a Country Boy!
"Well life on the farm is kind of laid back, ain't nothing an old country boy like me can's hack. Its early to rise, early in the sack. Thank God I'm a country boy!
A simple kind of life never did me know harm, raising me a family and working on my farm. My days are all filled with an easy country charm. Thank God I'm a country boy!"
In case you are wondering, that is a chicken snake I am holding here. Its head is on the ground and I am six feet one inch. This is not uncommon around here to find them this big and bigger. I really did not want to coup de gras this fellow, but he had made his home too close to the house and way too close to the hen house! Let me be clear; I do not like snakes, but I do not believe in killing all snakes either. They have a right to exist, and to co-exist with us. If it were not for snakes (especially rattle snakes) the world would be over-run with rodents. That being said, we have a strict no slither policy around the house and surrounding areas, that law carries a capitiol punishment.
Between the consistent warm weather and the timely rains, the garden is thriving! Problem is the weeds are thriving too. A garden is analogous is some ways to a football game. When I was in high school, it would have been really easy to win every football game I played if the other team was content to let do so. What makes football challenging? The answer is simple, competition.
Why is it that we do not simply plant seeds in the spring then go pick big, beautiful, produce, from the garden, all season long? The answer is simple, competition. Weeds and crops are in direct competition. There are only so many nutrients in the soil, and what ever organism gets the most of what it needs, wins. If the weeds win, than all those hours of plowing, tilling, raking, conditioning, planting, praying and weeping would be for nothing! Therefore, the weeds have to go.
I spent most of the day friday waging war on the weeds in our bourgeoning garden. The tiller does a pretty good job uprooting the weeds, but the hoe and rake have plenty left to do. Still, nothing will get all of the weeds out like getting on your knees and using your hands.
From right to left is Stuttgarter and white onions, red potatoes, then English peas on the left.
After last summer, I will never complain about cutting grass ever again! I did a little bit of mowing around the garden this evening. The six foot finish mower does a beautiful job, that and driving my tractor is a deeply cathartic experience for me. For some reason, my wife enjoys taking pictures of me on the tractor. Perhaps, just maybe, she thinks my tractor is sexy? Sorry, I just couldn't resist!
Here is Max the Beagle.
This is also Max. Mattie May recieved a big box of beautiful sidewalk chalk for Easter, and we just could not resist tracing a beagle on the concrete. Then we could not resist tracing Mattie May either.
Mattie May adores Max and doggone if they are not just the cutist pair! She loves the animals, and is not the least bit intimidated by any of them, just like her daddy.
I just couldn't resist using this photo to wrap up. How could there be too much to complain about if my beautiful family is smiling like this. Here is hoping each of you have a wonderful weekend, and find time to enjoy the simple pleasures!
(Photography by Sarah ward)
Been re-watching one of my all time favorite movies this evening, The Last of ther Mohicans, Staring Daniel Day Lewis.
I have always thought this poster is quite iconic.
There are a lot of things I like about this film: For one, I really enjoy Daniel Day Lewis. The man is a trrememdous actor and he has only gotten better with age. As dark as it was, There Will Be Blood by the Coen Brothers really demonstrated his talant.
Another thing about this film I really enjoy is the cinematogrophy. You can tell the landscape is real; it is not a sound stazge and it is absolutely gorgeous!
It makes me wish that I could have enperienced America at that time. when the land was wild and untamed.
It was a time when life had no false pretenses of security. Life could be and often was cut short in ways that most of us would never imagine these days.
It was also a time of unparalleled freedom; a man could make his own way in this world. If you had the determination to walk into the wilderness and carve out a life in it, that was your choice.
I believe Hawkeye (Lewis) said it best. When asked how he could plan to go west when there was a war in the land, he said, "Its simple, you head north, then very sudden like you turn left..." If a man had a notion and a will he did it.
If I am really honest, I have to admit that I want to be like Hawkeye. I want to make my way in this world unincumbered by the expectations of others. I seek to be free of tyranical government that says one thing and does another. I desire to be free of dependence on anything other than the grace and provision of God almighty. As H.D. Thoreau said, "To live life deliderately.... and suck all the marrow out of life..."
That being said, I have tio pose a question. "Is it possible for a man to live life this way?" I do not know about you, but I sincerely hope so. More so, I intend to spoend the rest of my life finding out
There are so many things about each of the seasons that I enjoy, but there is something in particular about springtime that stirs something deep within me.
I guess its like seeing old friends after a long, long time. "Hello grass, its so nice to see you again!" Mattie sure was happy to see the green stuff again. There is nothing like a good role in fresh spring grass!
I think Sweetie Pie, our beloved family pitbull, missed the gerass too. People who think that pitbulls are merciless killers have been grossly misinformed; it is people who are merciless killers. Pitbulls like Sweetie however, are mild-mannered, pillow loving, cuddly, cover-hogging, grass-rolling, big-lipped lick you all over, tough as nails, members of the family. And she absolutely LOVES SPRINGTIME!
This is Max the Beagle...
This is Mattie riding Max the Beagle. A year ago, Mattie had just turned one, which was far too young for riding beagles. But now, she is two, and being two plus being springtime equals beagle rides (Pitbull rides are also popular).
Here is Mama and Mattie in the grass. Sadly, a lot of people, when they get home from work, sit down in front of the hell-a-vision Nothing gives me greater joy than watching my wonderful family play together in the grass in the springtime!
Here is me with a very happy Max the Beagle in my lap, in the grass, in the springtime.
Its amazing all the ordenary, every day little things we have to be thankful for when we take the time to be. So many times we, self included, forget how wonderful life is really.
To Quote the great Captain Agustus McRae, played by Robert Duvall, in Lonesome Dove - "If you want any one thing too badly, it's likely to turn out to be a
disappointment. The only healthy way to live life is to learn to like all the
little everyday things, like a sip of good whiskey in the evening, a soft bed, a glass of buttermilk, or a feisty gentleman like myself."
Here sis hoping God grants you the contentment to enjoy the little everyday blessings you encounter today.
First, just let me say how deeply sorry I am to subject all of you to this post.
I am sorry...
Very deeply and truely sorry, because mot people will not know the simple joy of watching a sunset as beautiful as this from their house.
It is not that there is anything wrong with the other 49 states of this great country, but there is just something about sunset in South East Oklahoma that reminds me of why this is our home.
Somewhere between the pink western sky and the steam rising off the hay fields, I become daily reassured that I am home!
In the immortal words of King Soloman, "For everything there is a season..." This has been a time of changing seasons for our little family these past few weeks. Yesterday was the first time in five years that I have not been a pastor of a church. It was odd to say the least! We also finished moving yesterday which was very trying to our nerves and our health. While we are thrilled to be moving to the ranch after a year of waiting, it was also strangely hard and emotional to leave the house that we brought our little girl home to from the hospital a year and four months ago.
And of course I know that where ever we are as a family is where home is, but places are significant and anyoine who argues that is probably lying. Its tought to leave that familiar. It was tought when Abraham and Sarah set out for a new land in Genesis 12. It was tough for those first pilgrams to leave Europe for the America's to be able to live the lives they felt called to. It was tough for thiose first pioneers who headed west to build a homestead out of the cold prarie, and its tough for us too, but like those who have gone before we know it is for somethiung far better. A home of our own, to train a new generation of pioneers seeking lives of integrity and service to a loving God!
So, yes it is true that I gave up a pastorate of a good church, but I know that God has plans for me to come, and for right now to minister to my family. And yes, we left a comfortable house to live in a space roughly 280 square feet in size while the rest of our house is gutted out, we know something far better is underway. If God wills it, one day the house will be finished, it will be filled with children, some ours biologically and some ours through God's love in adoption. God willing, the ranch will grow and flourish. God willing, we will get to be a small part of something much bigger than ourselves,and leave a lasting legacy that gives glory to the Lord and is blameless in the sight of men.
Easter is always my favorite time of year, but I am relieved it is over!
Being a pastor adds a whole other dimension to the equation as there are loads of activities to plan and perform.
That is the Kiamichi River, the guy in the blue shirt and hat is me, and the other two are are my baptisim candidates that are about to be very wet and very cold! Baptism concluded our church Easter celebration. After four services in four days, an Easter egg hunt, and two baptisms, I was ready to go home and rest.
We were blessed to have some family come in for the holiday as well!
There is a very proud Grandpa Richard holding Mattie in her Easter dress!
This is Grandma Betty giving Mattie a big chocolate bunny. I think she might need a little help taking care of that one, wonder who could help?
Here we have Aunt Kim and 2 1/2 year old Cousin Jonah breaking into a box of (could it really be???) Peeps! My Brother Rick, Kim and Jonah came down Easter morning to spend the day with us. It was really good to have them there!
The fellow on the left is my brother Rick. Even though I was half asleep I mustered the energy to put out Easter Eggs for Jonah to hunt.
Lucky, our Rhode Island Red Hen, was quite confused by the colorful eggs strewn about the front yard haphazardly.
You can almost hear her saying, "what on earth layed this?"
Of course I have to add a picture of my beautiful wife holding our beautiful daughter in their Easter dresses. I am so lucky!
After all the excitement, Mattie & I both passed out on the couch. Ten minutes later I sauntered down the hall to my bed and stayed there the rest of the day. Of course, all of the fun and all the good activities came witha price. Monday brought a tremendous migrane with it, but that was a small price for a great Easter 2010!
Another year has come and gone, as they always do, and yesterday we celebrated my 26th Birthday. Thankyou to all of you who wished me well on my birthday, it was one of the best so far!
All of my endevours of loosing weight were suspended for a glorious feast at Texas Roadhouse in Sherman. It was also a reminder of just how different life is now. It used to be that we would go out to dinner, have a good time and get home whenever. Last nght, however, we got to the resturant and Mattie immediately needing feeding. As soon as we got our drinks, she needed changing! We got done with dinner. went to Sam's, then headed home. We got home at 11, which a couple years ago wouldn't have late at all, but now it may as well have been 3am! Man, I am getting old...
None the less, it was a great birthday. After all, its the first time I ever got my name in lights on my birthday! No, really! Look!
What can I say, its a small town.
Now, on to more important things...
Yesterday afternoon, while working in my office, I spent a little while just reflecting on my experiences of the past 26 years. Out of my wanderings of the mind I came up with a list of 26 lessons that I have learned.
For your enjoyment::
26 Things I have learned by age 26
1. I am not the center of the universe.
2. I don't deserve half the things I thought I did.
3. If you get in trouble at school, you're in trouble when you get home.
4. Telling lies only makes things worse.
5. Mom doesn't have to be a big woman to make a switch burn like the devil!
6. Parents say no a lot, but don't dare say it back!
7. If you deserve a lot of spankings, chances are you will get one you didn't (don't play the odds.)
8. When in doubt, don't do it.
9. Mom and dad are watching your back, even when you don't know it.
10. Jumping backwards on a wood burning stove after a bath is a very, very bad idea.
11. Eating junk food will make you fat, fat, fat!
12. At one time or another, we are all a small fish in a big pond.
13. Give your dad a hug and tell him you love him every chance you get.
14. Be careful where you aim your bb gun, escecially where a neighbor's bird feeder is concerned.
15. Don't break your mother's heart, watch what you say to her.
16. Sometimes there is a cop with a radar gun on that stretch of HW 107 at night.
17. I am not invencible.
18. The world is a lot bigger than High School
19. You can't go home again
20. Concerning home burglery, it can happen to you.
21. Mountain biking down a steep set of steps is not a good idea, excecially the 2nd time
22. Being married is a lot different than dating.
23. Always wait 24 hours before reacting, especially when you don't want to.
24. Plans change, be flexable.
25.You don't really understand the love of God until you have a kid. 26. Things are not always what they seem...
Funny thing is that a lot of these the number lines up with the year I learned the lesson.
Anyway, I am sure there are many more lessons to be learned this year.
Have a great weekend everyone!
So, we came out of the house after lunch time today, to head back to work, when Sarah noticed our one remaining Rhode Island hen was in the brooding box. Sarah said something to her and when she moved we found this!
In case you can't make out exactly what it is, that is a perfectly shaped, large, brown egg.
What is exciting about it is this is the 1st egg we have ever gotten from one of our own chickens! It might seem dumb, but to us, this is really exciting!
Thats Lucky. Lucky was named by Danny, one of the men from our church. She is named Lucky, because well..., she is one lucky chicken. When Lucky first arrived as a day old chick, she had 15 siblings. At first, heat lamp problems brought about the untimely dimise of some of her siblings, then one by one, due to various varments, the flock was thinned. Alas, one day there was only one left, hence the name "Lucky."
Needless to repeat, we were overjoyed when we saw that Lucky, the survivor chicken had layed her first egg!
Good chicken Lucky, good chicken!
OK, I promise that every post is not going to be as Sunday School, but I have been ruminating (a little goat pun) on something for a while. For those of us who call ourselves Christ-followers we are used to hearing the word faith thrown around a lot. After all, it is used in so many ways. We use it to describe Christianity, we call it "a faith," or "our faith." We talk about having faith, but do we really understand faith? Hebrews 11 tells us that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the certainty of things unseen..." but what does that mean?
The truth about faith is that it cannot be summed up in one short, sweet statement of doctrine. I can tell you what faith is not: Faith is not a secret handshake that opens the door to have whatever you want. Faith is not a club to be used to beat people over the head. Faith is not something to be possessed, it is something to be learned and understood piece by piece.
As time goes by, I am learning more and more what it means in Habakkuk 2:4 when it says, "The righteous will live by faith." The truth in this statement is profound, and when you catch a glempse of what it means, it opens up a whole new world. It goes hand in hand with another phrase that gets tossed around, "the will of God." What a strong faith really is is a certainty that God's Will will be done. In other words, its knowing that God will do what He says He will do.
To possess a strong faith we have to learn to let God give us new passion and new desire that we will want His will and not our own. Until we learn this truth and make it a part of who we are, we will always live in disappointment, despair, and discontentment.
This really is a tough thing to grasp! To be willing to let go of what is not what God wants is often hard. It takes time it takes practice (and here is the key), it takes being willing to trust that He has what is best for you in store. You may not see it today, tomorrow, or a year from now, but one day you will see that His plan is best!
Grace & Peace,