Rules or Rescue?

I read the article below today and thought it was an excellent , thought provoking word.  It is from the website/blog ‘She Reads Truth‘ and was written by Sharon Hodde Miller.  My favorite line:

The truth is, we all go through a rebellious phase. Some of us rebel against the rules and some of us rebel against the rescue, but the end result is the same: separation from God.

Rules or rescue?  I’ll ponder this for some time because I’ve rebelled against both….what about you?

Sin and Redemption

She Reads Truth

Text: Isaiah 58:1-14, Isaiah 59:1-21, Matthew 21:12-22

Text: Isaiah 58:1-14, Isaiah 59:1-21, Matthew 21:12-22

I never had a rebellious phase.

As far back as I can remember, I’ve been a “good girl,” running my life on the straight and narrow, delighted to follow the rules. I loved to please my parents, my teachers, and my coaches because I was devoted to maintaining my pristine reputation.

Due to my well-practiced, people-pleasing ways, Christianity came easily to me. Religion offered one more list of boxes to check, all affirming my goodness. The only problem with all this box-checking is that as much as I honored God’s law, I did not understand His grace. I understood it on a head level, but not on a personal one. Not in my heart. I couldn’t grasp the urgency of it, or my deep need to be rescued by a Savior. Because, if I was really being honest, I didn’t think I needed rescuing. I was doing Christianity pretty well on my own.

That’s the beautiful irony of my story. While I lived my good Christian life of following the rules and doing all the right things, I only proved the depth of my brokenness. The truth was, my rule following was my rebellion. It was my own attempt to justify myself. As Tim Keller once suggested in his book The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith, my rebellion wasn’t against God’s law but against God’s grace.

We witness this same kind of brokenness in Isaiah 58. Although the Israelites engage in the godly discipline of fasting, it only reveals their sin all the more, to which the prophet had this to say:

“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high” (vv. 3-4).

According to Old Testament scholar John Oswalt, the Israelites were fasting for the wrong reason. They were not doing it to “express gratitude and submission to God” but were instead doing it “for the very same reasons the pagans do, to manipulate God to act in their favor” (Oswalt 625). This manipulation is why the Israelites are confused at God’s silence: “Why have we fasted, and you have not seen it?” (Isaiah 58:3). They thought they had done everything right. They thought fasting was a guarantee of divine favor. Why wasn’t God holding up His end of the deal?

In response to their entitlement, God had this response:

“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
nor his ear too dull to hear.
But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
so that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1).

In short, God was not the one who broke His word. The Israelites’ “good deeds” point right back to their sin. They are unable to keep His commandments, try as they might. Thankfully, as Oswalt explains, “God will come and do for his people what neither they nor anyone else can do for them” (Oswalt 636).

The truth is, we all go through a rebellious phase. Some of us rebel against the rules and some of us rebel against the rescue, but the end result is the same: separation from God. Our only hope is to name and to confess our rebellion, in whatever form it takes. Because no matter how good and well-behaved we are, our arms are most definitely too short to save ourselves.

“The Redeemer will come to Zion,
to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,”
declares the Lord.
Isaiah 59:20


Sharon Hodde Miller is a writer, speaker, pastor’s wife, and mom of two boys. She is a regular contributor to Christianity Today and recently completed her Ph.D, which focused on cultivating the gifts of women in the church.

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I’ve been missing in action for about 2 1/2 years as you may have noticed.  However, lots has been going on during those years.

First of all, my mom died.  What an adjustment!  She was the last in that generation from my close family which turned me and my brothers and cousins into ‘that’ generation.  It feels strange to now be the ‘older generation’….especially since I still feel like a teenager in my mind and heart!  HA!

Then, I moved from the wonderful country home where I was living in Alabama to a wonderful mountain home in North Carolina.  I’ve wanted to live in the mountains ever since I saw The Sound of Music with my mom when I was 8 years old.  🙂 This has truly fulfilled a desire of my heart!

Since I live on the side of a mountain, I don’t have the farm animals I once did.  I have a few chickens, two dogs and a cat.  But there’s a horse across the road I enjoy seeing as I pass by.  And thanks to my #3 son who cleared a spot by digging up rocks for 3 days, I do have a small garden.

My new home is in a beautiful area of western North Carolina and there was NO DOUBT God orchestrated this move.  I may write more about that later, but today I have another focus….the Third Heaven Ranch.

I still have a dream, given by God over 25 years ago, for the Third Heaven Ranch.  The vision becomes clearer as days go by and I still believe it’s in my future.  In fact, I believe it is beginning on a small scale even now!

I read this today (an excerpt from a word by Ck Thompson posted on the Elijah List):

Second-Heaven is the atmosphere above us where spiritual warfare takes place. The Bible speaks of principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this age, wicked spirits in heavenly places [see Eph. 6]. When we pray and push through Second-Heaven activity, we can experience glorious encounters with the Lord in the Third-Heaven.

My prayer for the Third Heaven Ranch is that it would be a place where those who come would ‘experience glorious encounters with the Lord’.  What better place to do so than on the mountaintop!

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Fall is a-coming

After an incredibly busy summer of gardening, things are winding down as we head into fall.  After the garden expansion earlier this year, we seemed to think we had to fill up that big garden.  Then we had to process all that good garden bounty.  At one point, the Horticulturist and I looked at each other and said, “And just WHY” are we doing this and not just going to the grocery store and buying it?!!”  There are lots of answers to that question but health is the main answer.  I feel it’s much better for our health to eat fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden, particularly when they’ve been raised without pesticides!  However, it takes lots of hard work to process it all.  I appreciate more and more the early settlers who lived off the land!

This picture was from our day of putting up corn!

And here’s some of the bounty from another day:

It’s been a lot of work, a lot of fun and a lot of good eating.  We do have a fall garden planted but it’s not nearly as time consuming as a summer garden.  The lady peas, however, are still going strong!  

Lady Peas

One of the main things I love about fall is hay.  I’ve always loved fall decorations that included a hay bale and while it may sound crazy, I think a hay field after it’s been cut with the bales still in the field is a beautiful sight.  I told my cousin how I felt about hay fields one day and she said my grandmother felt the same way.  I was glad to know I shared that love of beauty with her!  Now don’t you agree this is a beautiful sight?!

hayfield 2

As things slow down around the farm, I look forward to cooler weather and more time to read and think.  This is one of my favorite places to sit and ponder!

I AM the Light of the World

There are blessings in each season, but fall is my absolute favorite!!

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A friend shared with me some quotes from John Wesley (founder of Methodism) that I found to be pretty amazing considering they were written in 1747.  Consider these:

1.  The emotions have a greater influence upon health than most people are aware.

2.  All violent and sudden emotion dispose to, or actually throw people into acute diseases.

3.  Slow and lasting emotion, such as grief and hopeless love, bring on chronic diseases.

4.  Until the emotion which caused the disease is calmed, medicine is applied in vain.

5.  The love of God is the sovereign remedy of all miseries, so in particular it effectively prevents all the bodily disorders the emotions introduce, but keeping the emotions themselves within bounds.  And by the unspeakable joy, and perfect calm, serenity, and tranquility it gives the mind, it becomes the most powerful of all means of health and long life.

This is what medicine is discovering today (or should I say re-discovering!).  My cousin, who is a doctor, once told me she knew a man who was in family practice and went back to school to be a psychiatrist or psychologist (I can’t remember which) because he had realized that a great percentage of the people who came into his office had an emotional root to their illness.

Much of my reading material of late speaks to this very issue…..I thought it was ‘new news’ only to discover it’s actually very ‘old news’.  Solomon was right, wasn’t he?

Ecc. 1:9 – …there is nothing new under the sun.


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Yes, it’s now officially 1/2 way through 2014 and this is my first post of the year.  I have not been entirely negligent however.  In January it was time for me to renew my domain (  Somehow in the process, we (me and the domain hosting tech) lost my entire blog.  Let me tell you, that was a sickening feeling…not because I don’t have copies of everything, but because the setup took so much time.  🙂

However, my able and willing computer genius (my second son) came to the rescue.  He came for a visit in March and recovered everything.  What a relief!  But by then, gardening and yard work and lawn mowing was upon us.  And I am just now coming up for air.

Of course, you can be sure I still found time to read and study….that seems to be pretty much vital to my existence.  I just love the journeys the Lord takes me on as He leads me from book to book and topic to topic.  I recently realized that He has, for the most part, had me on a healing journey.  As I began to think back over all the places I’ve been in the past 3 years, they’ve almost all centered around healing in one way or the other.

Even the foray into ‘quantum physics’ has a healing component that has just been tied in for me with the healing of the heart.  The heart is pretty much the root of everything that happens in our lives–good and bad.  ‘Guard your heart’ for it affects everything you do sums it up.  I believe even our illnesses come from the wounded places in our hearts, or even possibly the hearts of our moms, dads, grandparents, etc.  Now how that ties into quantum physics is a discussion for another day!  🙂

Pro 4:20 (NLT) Pay attention, my child, to what I say. Listen carefully.
Pro 4:21 Don’t lose sight of my words. Let them penetrate deep within your heart,
Pro 4:22 for they bring life and radiant health to anyone who discovers their meaning.
Pro 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do. 

All in all, a very exciting journey.

The farm is growing!  This summer, the garden has doubled in size AND is now surrounded by an 8 foot high net wire fence to keep the deer from eating the produce.  It is certainly encouraging to do the work, knowing it won’t disappear overnight at some point.  🙂  It was quite a project as you can see in these pictures….and all completed by family and friends!

Garden Fence Project Garden Fence Project 1 Garden Fence Project 2

And here is the garden as of today:

Garden TodayGarden

It is wonderful to know….every bell pepper, every tomato, every watermelon, every ear of corn all equals savings at the grocery store.  I’m sure you’ve noticed that every time you go to the store, the prices jump!  But even better, is knowing WHERE these were grown and HOW they were grown.

In addition, about 45 fruit trees have been planted in a new ‘fruit orchard’ AND it is even irrigated.  What fun!  Even though it’ll be about 4-5 years before we reap the benefits, it’s still exciting to watch the trees grow….apples, pears, persimmons, pomegranate, quince, crabapple, and figs.  There are, for instance, 7 different varieties of pear trees with the fruit maturing in different months.  It’s an experiment to see which works best in our climate, plus the advantage of having time to process the fruit more effectively with the maturities spread out.  Some were planted a year ago and some this spring….and hopefully, more will be added in the years ahead.


And when you having ‘growing things’ it’s always good to have bees.  Check out this bee swarm that rested awhile in a peach tree.  These are the fun things (to me) that you miss when you live in the city!

Bee Swarm

We have several ‘wild’ bee hives but hope to have some boxes set up within the next few months.  Honey from the hive!  I can’t wait.

I have new chickens this year….I decided ‘just for fun’ to order what I call ‘funky chickens’.  🙂  They are a bit more unusual to look at than your run of the mill chickens.

I love this white one!

I love this white one!

Black bantys

Big Birds

Yellow chicks

New chicks

An unusual thing happened this spring….swarms of gnats flew through the farm.  By the time they were gone, I’d lost over a dozen chickens….some of my news ones and some of my current layers.  It seems the gnats would block their nasal passages and they would suffocate.  This was a real learning experience for me….and part of the ebb and flow of life on a farm.

As to new life, a baby donkey was born in March.  I’ve been very ‘hands on’ with this baby and hopefully he’ll be tame enough for the grandchildren to ride one day…or maybe even pull a small cart.  “Joey” is quite a character!  Although he was just born in March, he’s already almost as big as his momma and daddy!

Protection Joey

Hopefully you are a little bit caught up and I really hope I’ll be back in a routine of monthly posts!

Grace and Peace!



Posted in Farm Life & Animals | 3 Comments

Why Do We Do the Things We Do?

2013 has been an interesting year….a good year and a hard year and a busy year.  I have to say, I’m glad it’s behind me!

There is no telling how many miles I’ve put on my car this year….thousands for sure.  I’ve been in these states in 2013:  Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, and Colorado.  The Lord kept saying I was a ‘circuit rider’ this year with a primary route from Alabama to Georgia to Alabama to Mississippi to Alabama….over and over again!

So what’s with all the travel?  Well, in the first half of the year, my brothers and I moved Mom from Texas into assisted living in Mississippi to be more centrally located for all of us.  Then, I had a new grandbaby in July and my only daughter’s wedding in August.  All of those events required what seemed to be constant trips to Mississippi.  Then I work 4 weeks a year in Georgia plus added another week for a conference.

While for the most part, I enjoy traveling, this year has worn me out!  And I’m determined 2014 is going to be different!  To that end, I plan to begin the year ‘in seclusion’.  That may sound funny in this day and age, but I want to ‘shut myself in’ with the Lord and I plan to do so for the entire month of January.

You see….all the activity of this past year has frustrated me because it ‘breaks the rhythm’.  About the time I really begin to see the Lord and me making some steady, daily progress in one area or the other, I’d have to stop and take another trip.  That would ‘break the flow’ and when I’d get back, it would take a day or two to get back in the rhythm.  And then another trip would be upon me.  So while there were some periods of good growth, I feel the travel hindered my relationship with Him.  Were these good things I was involved in?  Of course!  And yes…this is life.  I’ve ‘rolled with the flow’ for the year, but now I want to determine, to the best of my ability, to make 2014 a year of ‘pressing in’.

I want to know Him more, love Him more, and understand more of His plan and will for me in 2014.  I want Him to order my days….even when it doesn’t make those around me happy, because I want my first priority to be honoring and obeying Him!  These are not just words to me, but are the cry of my heart.

So why am I blogging about this?  Because I’ve noticed something this year that was probably revealed to me only by my busy schedule and frustration of not having the time with Jesus I wanted to have.

It seems to me holidays, or ‘holy days’ for the Christian church, break the rhythm.  They seem to break momentum or a ‘forward flow’.  I was sitting in church for a Christmas Eve service in north Mississippi (traveling again!) and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  We lose a good 6 weeks a year (Thanksgiving to Christmas) by stopping whatever is going on in our spiritual walk to focus on these holidays.  Then about the time the church gets back ‘in rhythm’ we stop again to focus on Easter.  Then we stop for summer.  Yes, you know you’ve seen it….churches go into ‘vacation mode’ for the summer.  And again, momentum is lost.

My dad was a pastor who used to tell me he quit having revivals at our church because it would break the momentum and halt forward progress.  Now revivals are good things, aren’t they?  But they stopped the current work in our church.  Now some churches, I admit, don’t have anything to stop and are in desperate need of a revival.  However, having one is not a ‘one size fits all’ formula.  When God is alive and moving in a church, that may not be the best alternative because everyone else is doing it (at least annual revivals used to be the norm back in the day he told me this.)

All of this is my roundabout way of saying, “Do you ever stop to think why we do the things we do?”  Christmas is ‘big business’ in the secular world, but it’s also ‘big business’ in the religious world.  Do we need to honor the birth of Jesus?  Absolutely.  But does it need to be a month of celebration?  Personally I don’t think so.  Why?  Because if there is a flow, it stops it.  And the fact is, we should be celebrating His birth every day, and His death, and His resurrection….as well as His power and majesty and glory and all the other attributes that make Him worthy of our praise!!!

I’m determined in 2014 I want to live my life more focused, more committed, and more aware of the ‘good things’ that come my way that are not the ‘best things’.  I want to think, and think hard, about ‘why we do the things we do’ and break out of anything that hinders my walk with Him.  I can’t wait to see what He has for me this year and in the years to come.  Because life with Jesus is a grand adventure…and the more of me He has, the more exciting it gets!

2014….here I come!!!

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Rocky Mountain Glory

I’m not the greatest photographer, particularly from the back of a horse with a cell phone camera, but I thought you would enjoy this photo journey through my recent vacation!

Hiking above Colorado Springs

Hiking above Colorado Springs

Lost Valley Ranch

Lost Valley Ranch

 Old Ranch House

Old Ranch House 


Ready to ride!

Ready to ride! 

Over 100 horses at the ranch

Over 100 horses at the ranch

Enchanted Forest

Enchanted Forest 

Mountain Stream

Cold Mountain Stream 

Riding pals

Riding pals

Mountain Beauty

Mountain Beauty

Going down

Going down 

Going Up

Going Up 

Sheep Rock

Sheep Rock 

God is amazing!

God is amazing!

Spying Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep

Spying Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep 

MK and Shiloh

Steep trails

Horse in training

Horse in training 

More training

More training  

High in the Sky

High in the Sky 

Ranch from above

Way above the ranch 

Determined trees!

Determined trees!

More Aspen Glory!

Aspen Glory! 


Magnificent color!

More Aspen Beauty

More Aspen Beauty

Fall at the ranch

Fall at the ranch

















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The Passion Translation

I am reading a new translation of the Bible that I am enjoying so much called The Passion Translation.


The translator is Brian Simmons who I ‘discovered’ quite by accident (which I believe was God’s leading) back around 2005.  I began listening to podcasts from the church where he was a pastor and was immediately blown away by his insights into the Scripture.  It took me hours to listen to each sermon because I kept having to stop and write down what he said so I could fully absorb the teaching.  I have tried to follow him ever since.  In his early ministry he was a missionary translator of the Scriptures into the Kuna language in the jungles of Panama.

He will eventually translate the whole Bible but so far has completed Psalms (Poetry on Fire), Proverbs (Wisdom from Above), Song of Solomon (Song of Songs), Letters of Paul (Letters from Heaven– Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1st & 2nd Timothy) and Luke (to the Lovers of God).  I believe John (Eternal Love) will come out soon after the first of the year.

So far I’ve read Song of Songs and am reading Luke now.  Dr. Simmons calls his translation a ‘dynamic equivalent’ translation.  To me, it seems he gives the spiritual meaning as opposed to just the literal translation.  He has extensive footnotes in each book that really help to better understand the meaning.

This is from the Passion Translation website which explains it better than I can:

By translating this most holy portion of the Word of God, the Song of Songs, I have attempted to translate not only from a scholarly or linguistic perspective alone, but from the passion of a heart on fire. Love will always find a language to express itself. Fiery love for Jesus pushes our thoughts out of hiding and puts them into anointed words of adoration. This articulation, out of the deepest places of our hearts, moves God and inspires each of us to a greater devotion.  Everyone deserves to hear and to feel the passion of our Bridegroom for His radiant and soon to be perfected Bride.

Reading a new translation always propels me into a new awareness and fresh understanding of God.  This translation is doing that for me more than ever before.  I have copies of all the books listed above and am slowly working my way through.  I began with the first one Dr. Simmons translated, Song of Songs, which he says is his favorite book of the Bible.

Of course, there are always critics of a new work (sigh!).  I followed some of them through a Google search.  For the most part, they are the same groups opposed to The Message Bible, another Bible that has really ministered to me.  Here’s my take on translations/paraphrases–none of them, including King James, has it perfectly right.  A translation of any kind into the English language is really impossible as to the complete and intended meaning coming through.  The translation of the word ‘love’ is a perfect example….one word, many meanings.  I’m not casting doubt on the inerrancy of Scripture in any way…..just the ‘translations’ of the Scripture.  I currently have 22 different translations in the Bible program I use daily.  Why do I have 22 different ones?  Well, for the most part, they all say it different!  I can gain insight by reading a particular verse in many different translations. The Passion Translation is one more reference added to the rest that, for me, brings additional insight to God’s Word.

As I read these words in this new translation, I knew they were the cry of my heart:

Song of Songs 4:16-5:1 TPT

[The Shulamite Bride]

Then may Your awakening breath

Blow upon my life until I am fully Yours.

Breathe upon me with Your Spirit-winds.

Stir up the sweet spice of Your life within me.

Spare nothing as You make me

Your fruit-filled garden,

Hold nothing back

Until I release Your fragrance.

Come walk with me as You walked

With Adam in Your paradise-garden.

Come taste the very fruits of Your life in me.

[The Bridegroom King]

I have come to you,

My bride, My darling

For you are My paradise-garden!

[The Shulamite Bride]

Come walk with me

Until I am fully Yours

Come taste the fruits

Of Your life in me.

Does this resonate with the cry of your heart?  If so, we are kindred spirits!!

I encourage you to order a copy of at least one book in this new translation and see if it doesn’t minister to your heart and change you forever!  Here is the website link:

I don’t make anything off of your purchase as an fyi.  Just good advice from my heart to yours!  🙂

Love and Blessings!

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Gardening, Grain and God


This has been a hard gardening year.  I think the main reason is because it’s rained so much….now isn’t that crazy?  We’re usually praying for rain and this year it’s rained every week, sometimes inches at a time.  This week is the first full week all summer we haven’t had rain.

You may recall we started from scratch on a garden this year….it went from this

Deer proof garden sm


to this:

sucker toms sm

but there just wasn’t much fruit on anything.  We’ve planted tomatoes 3 or 4 times in different places (and even a different garden spot) and they’ve all been spindly and weak.  We’ve had lots of healthy looking vines on our butter beans, but very few pods and only two watermelons on what seems like miles of vines.  That happens sometimes but it’s sure a lot of work with not much in the way of results.  However, friends have shared with us and our freezer is still full.  As we watch the prices at the grocery store go up and up and up, we’re so thankful for our garden and our friends!


While on a trip last summer, we stopped at an Amish store and bought a loaf of multigrain bread.  It was, hands down, the best bread I’ve ever put in my mouth.  I began to wonder what they did that made the bread taste so much better.  In addition, I’ve been studying quite a bit on the foods we eat and their affect on us as we’re trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle.  One of the areas that has really captured my interest has been bread, and even more specifically, the flour used to make the bread, even to the point of reading about the evolving of bread over the years into the chemically industrialized product of today that is so detrimental to our health.  And buying whole wheat is not the answer either.  Did you know that any flour begins to turn rancid within hours of being ground?  Rancid flour tastes flat, stale, and then bitter.  Since most people have never tasted fresh flour, they have no point of reference for how bread should really taste which is what I discovered when I tasted the ‘Amish bread’.

I may talk about this more in a future post, but I’m convinced that grinding my own grain is a much healthier (and better tasting) way to go!  To that end, I’ve recently acquired a grain mill to grind my own grain into flour as needed.  I’m still learning and haven’t made the ‘perfect’ loaf of bread yet, but I’m heading that direction.

Grinding GrainAbove is a photo of my new grain mill and some freshly ground flour.  This is a manual version but I also have an attachment to connect it to my mixer.  This is such fun to me and is also a part of what I refer to as ‘the simple life’.  The simple life is not an easier life by any means.  But it definitely is a healthier one…fresh fruits, vegetables and bread (and no fast food) go a long way toward better health and longevity.  After living out in the country away from town (with its convenience and availability of processed foods) for over two years, I can tell such a difference in the way I feel.  I highly recommend it!  And I might point out that this is a Scriptural concept.  As I’m reading in Daniel right now in my ‘Daily Walk Bible’, it’s pretty clear in chapter one that Daniel and his friends were much healthier eating fresh foods and vegetables than the ones eating the rich foods.

Daniel 1:15  At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king.

I’m definitely not ready to give up eating meat, but I know the more ‘non-processed’ foods we eat, the better off we are!



When we look around at the world we live in, it can get pretty discouraging.  Sometimes I wonder why I want to be healthy and live longer….things keep getting worse and worse and worse.  However, I’ve been praying for ‘eyes to see and ears to hear’ and I continue to see glimpses of God in the midst of the turmoil in our world.  After just finishing the book of Ezekiel, I’ve read over and over, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says”.  At times it’s easy to forget He’s Sovereign.  We can look around and wonder, “Where are You, God?”  But He is at work and He can give us ‘eyes to see and ears to hear’.  We simply have to stop, look and listen!  Will you?

Proverbs 20:12  Ears to hear and eyes to see—both are gifts from the LORD.




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The Simple Life

I love ‘a simple life’.  However, mine has been anything but simple this summer for several reasons:

  1. A new grandbaby
  2. My only daughter getting married
  3. Gardening

Both the grandbaby and the wedding are in another state so fitting in the gardening between out-of-town trips has been quite a challenge.  And just this week we’ve had the ‘blessing of bounty’. What is this you say?  Well, that’s when friends call and say, “We’ve got corn…..we’ve got blueberries….we’ve got peas…come get some!”  That’s the blessing of bounty.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are definitely in the category of one of God’s best blessings.

Last month, we got over 250 ears of corn.  Wonderful bounty but LOTS of work to shuck it, take it off the cob, blanch it, and package it for the freezer.  But oh, this winter it will taste wonderful!

This week we picked blueberries….have you priced them lately at the store?  What a blessing!

Just beautiful!

Just beautiful!

And three days later, the call came…we have peas to share!  Another wonderful blessing….but then there’s the shelling, the blanching, the packaging.  While quite time-consuming, to me this is living ‘the simple life!’

Purple Hull Peas

Purple Hull Peas

It was such fun to get up early and pick the peas while it was cooler, come home, quickly shell a few and put them on to cook for lunch.  Less than 3 hours from the field to the table.  It doesn’t get much fresher than that!

Check out this delicious lunch:  Okra, tomatoes and butter beans fresh from our garden and peas shared by friends.

Summertime Meal

Garden Fresh Meal!

And to be sure I’ve really made you hungry, here was our Sunday morning “Alabama” breakfast!

Alabama Breakfast

Alabama Breakfast

Why was it an “Alabama breakfast”?  Well, there were peaches from Chilton County, AL; Conecuh (kuh-neck-uh) sausage from Conecuh County, AL; and tomatoes from our garden in Dallas County, AL…not to mention strawberry fig preserves from last year!

Even our new kitten was trying to find her way to share our meal!  HA!

I want some!

Climbing the screen door and peering in as if to say,  ‘I want some!’

However, in spite of a much busier than normal summer, I’ve tried to stay in the ‘simple life’ mode.  In many ways, this can be more of a mental attitude than a physical one.  There are several verses that seem to call out to me when I read them and I’ve been meditating on them as I ponder the busy world we live in and the joys of a simple life.

Jeremiah 6:16  This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

There is ‘rest’ when we walk in the ‘ancient paths’.  I know this can be interpreted in many different ways, but the way the Lord is speaking to me lately is in terms of the ‘simple life’.  There is rest in a life that is not meeting oneself coming and going.  There is rest in a life that slows down and pauses to reflect and mediate.  (You can meditate for quite some time as you shuck corn or shell peas!) There is rest when we stop and say, “enough is enough!”  But as you’ll see from the Scripture above, many choose to say, “We will not walk in it.”

Another verse that speaks to this is Isaiah 30:15

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.

Why do you suppose many refuse this lifestyle of repentance, rest, quietness and trust?  My heart hurts for the Lord as I read this verse and hear, ‘but you would have none of it.’

Again He tells us:

Isaiah 32:17-18  The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. 18  My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.

Peace….I lived many years without it, but now that I have found it, I don’t ever want to let it go. Most importantly, I have found peace in the Prince of Peace.  Additionally, I have found a great deal of peace in a simpler lifestyle.

Secure homes, peaceful dwelling places–who really doesn’t want this?

Quietness in many ways seems to be a lost art.  As an introvert, I’m more inclined to ‘quietness’ than many, but there is much value to be found in quietness. (Vines Word Study Dictionary says the primary meaning of this verb is the state or condition of tranquility.)

And ‘undisturbed places of rest’–many people would give their last dollar to find this treasure!  I believe slowing down our pace is one key to being able to ‘lie down and sleep in peace.”  (Psalm 4:8)

Are YOU too busy?  Do you meet yourself coming and going?  My encouragement to you today is to find some time to stand (before you can stand, you have to stop!), look, ask and walk…and you will find rest for your soul!

Jeremiah 6:16  This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.

Tank & Sunny

Two hearts at rest!






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