Thursday, January 30, 2014

The View From My Window - Cows




For reasons even unknown to me, from the time I was little I loved cows. :-) When my family would visit my uncle's farm I'd make my dad take me out to the barn so I could see the cows and the calves. Even in the winter, when I didn't like walking in the snow, my dad would carry me out to the barn so I could touch their soft noses and inhale the scent of hay.

Where I live now, on my way to work, I pass cattle ranch after cattle ranch. I love to stop and watch the calves romp through the grass or snuggle down content to sleep at the feet of their mother. I'm amazed to see how the frost and snow settle on the cow's back in winter with them none the wiser (or colder). I watch the cows, young and old, stretch their necks across the wire fence just to nibble on the grass on the other side. I love the peaceful view of them grazing in the field, meandering from one clump of grass to the other.

Every now and then the herds thin and I know they've gone to market, but soon the numbers increase once again. Its then I take pleasure in a small joy I've enjoyed since I was big enough to say “cow” and the memories of going to my uncle's farm.

Your turn: When you look around you, what are your “cows”?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Patch Made it Home!


Who's patch?

Patch is my granddaughter's stuffed animal—shown here.

My son took it with him to Afghanistan and sent home pictures of them together—out on patrol, in his barracks, and standing watch.

Today, it feels so good to say, my son—and patch—made it home safely. After a nine month tour—my son's fourth tour in the Middle East—he is back home with his family.

As a mother I am elated that he is back on US soil. Just knowing he's home brings tears to my eyes. But even more so, I am thankful for the sacrifice he, and the others in his company have made over the last year.

I want to give my heartfelt thanks to all the men and women who have served in our military—past and present. We live in a country where I can walk into any church and worship freely. We live in a country where we can voice our opinions without persecution. And these rights have been protected by men and women who have stood guard over our country.

To our veterans, I thank you. And to my son, I'm proud of you and so glad you're home. I love you, son!


 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Do What You Love



As a would-be author I get as discouraged as the next person when I receive a rejection letter—and I've received several. There have been times I have even questioned whether I should even consider starting my next book.

But as the discouragement dissipates and new characters start vying for their time in my conscience, I sit down at my computer, forgetting my recent set back, and start writing out their story.

Then the next letter comes and I start the process over again. I even question the time and money I spend on trying to get published.

Then a dear friend who read one of my stories, who had also listened to my concerns about continuing toward the road to publication, asked me a question. “Do you love what you're doing?”

Writing can be easy but it can be challenging. It can be fun to watch the characters develop as the story progresses, but getting their emotions, their trials, and their victories down on paper can be down right hard. Do I love it? Yes.

Then she asked, “Would you love it even if you didn't get published?”

That question was even harder for me to answer. I really would like to get published, love to see my story in print, maybe even see it on the store shelves. Its why I keep trying to improve, to grow in my craft. It is part of the driving force to start the next book. So what if I don't get published? I decided it didn't matter as much anymore.

Why?

Because I'm doing what I love. When you're doing what you love it doesn't matter what accolades you receive because in the end, God has given each of us a gift, a talent to be used. I am working toward improving that gift with His help. What becomes of my writing is His decision.

Your turn: Are you doing what you love to do? And what is it?

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Seed Catalogues have Arrived!


One of the highlights of a true gardeners winter (and mine) is when the seed catalogs begin arriving right after the first of the year. Its when the deadlock of winter releases its hold and those that love to sink their hands into rich loam, start dreaming of next summer's garden. Its like the Sears Wish Book for gardeners.

Now that I live in Nevada, my plant choices have to be a little more selective, but I go over the perennials and see what I can add to my garden. I check out the vegetable seeds and decide what I want to grow. I start a list and decide what I want to do the same or perhaps do differently.

Its also a time to learn more about different plants, composting, and insect control. It refreshes the soul.

Your turn: What hobbies do you have? Is there any time in particular you look forward to?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

S-T-R-E-T-C-H



What you see here is the CPM (Continuous Passive Motion) machine that I've been hooked to several hours per day since my knee surgery in mid-December. When I was too tired to exercise, this machine did it for me. And yes, that is my leg in the machine. It moved back and forth stretching my leg to increase my knee's range of motion.

With every movement the muscles and ligaments pulled tight, then tighter again. It hurt, but when is growth without its pain?

In the Bible, God admonishes us to grow in faithfulness (2 Corinth 9:10), in Christ (Eph 4:15), in love (1 Thes 3:2), in perfection (Heb 6:1), in his word (1 Peter 2:2), and in grace and mercy (2 Peter 3:18). In other words, a stagnant life is unpleasing to God.

I believe we can apply this to the gifts he gives us as well: music, writing, and the work of our hands. If we sit and do nothing, nothing will be accomplished. If we don't try—and sometime fail—we'll never learn how do to do things better.

Your turn: When did God last stretch you and how did you grow from it?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Heaven Knows Mr. Allison

I am definitely not a fan of television, but because I'm recuperating from surgery I'm watching more movies than usual.  I love the old ones with the classic actors: John Wayne, Gary Cooper, and Cary Grant. I recently watched Heaven Knows Mr. Alyson with Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr.

It’s about a two people stranded on a pacific island during WWII.  Corporal Allison played by Mitchum is left adrift after a mission gone bad.  His raft lands on an island whose sole inhabitant at the time is Sister Angela, played by Kerr.  Even though sparks fly between the couple, amidst Japanese occupation, Sister Angela holds true to her vows.

Corporal Allison had never had a relationship with God, but through Sister Angela's prayers, he hears the voice of The Almighty and direction for what he needs to do to protect the two of them and the approaching US ships.

It left me with the question, how often are our prayers for others heard in miraculous ways?  How many times do we pray for others unknowing of their circumstances, or even lacking the ability to know what to pray for? Or just the fact that we're lifting their name towards Heaven's gates, their life is better for it.

The power of prayer can reach beyond human bounds into the throne room of God. It can change people lives in ways we can’t even comprehend.

Your turn: When have you seen your prayers make a difference in someone’s life?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Taking Life One Step at a Time

In mid-December I had much needed knee replacement surgery. Since then, I have had to basically learn to re-walk. Every movement has been a concentrated effort from trying to sit up on the side of the bed to clutching the handles of the walker as I shuffle to the restroom. 

Three weeks later I can honestly say it has gotten easier, but during that time it left me thinking about my life prior to my surgery.

 It’s good to slow down.  I speak for myself in that regard—I often take on more than I can handle.  I often run to and fro trying to accomplish the impossible—and then some. As a result, I rush through devotions, cut a conversation with a close friend short, or ignore the things that seem to have no meaning on this side of heaven.  But I now realize what a huge impact it may have in someone else's life—even my own—if I just slow down and take time for the small things.   

Which leads to: it’s good to remove the clutter from my life. When the basic moves became my main priority, it amazed me how fast the other non-essential tasks slipped from my mind. My usual well-organized “over” tendencies don't seem as necessary as being able to just walk!

If nothing else, my inability to move around freely caused me to focus my strength on one thing at a time. When just lifting my sore leg out of bed and getting it to the floor became a major production, multi-tasking became a thing of the past. If nothing else, this surgery made me aware of life around me. It’s making me analyze my every action to make sure they are God worthy.

Your turn:  What event happened in your life to make you re-analyze what you do?

Monday, January 6, 2014

My New Year's Resolution


I don't necessarily believe in New Year’s Resolutions.  I often feel they are more defeating than helpful. Most people want to lose huge amounts of weight or pay off debts they've been accumulating for years. Their expectations are unrealistic at best.
 
I believe in setting a theme or general direction for the year ahead. I know people who choose a word to describe their desired focus for the year ahead, which is very similar. If I put my theme into one word, it would be “growth”.  In what way can I improve myself in all aspects of my life, spiritually, physically, and mentally?


Your turn:  How do you look at the year ahead?  Do you make resolutions or set a theme for the year?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014