Where Antelope Roam


Working on Gratitude
February 4, 2017, 3:06 pm
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Hi there again!   I know it’s been a while since I wrote… I’ve been working on my gratitude attitude.

As I say that I realize today would have been my mother’s 84th birthday… it’s been a year… since I saw her.    We celebrated her birthday.   I think she was glad we were all there to celebrate with her.   So, today, I’m grateful.

Grateful for the gift of spending one more birthday with mom.   Grateful that all my siblings and I could be there.   Grateful for the memories of mom.

Memories such as:  watching with her and my younger siblings for the school bus that would spirit my two older sisters away for the day.   Of watching through the plate glass window in wonder as the sun crested grandpa’s dairy barn.   Of me and mom times even when that meant I had to go to the dentist… mom and I would go to Dart’s Restaurant as a special treat.

Summers with mom…often meant special lunch meat (not bologna) bought from the small downtown grocery, pop and chips for lunch.   VBS… mom director… Bible stories told with great creativity… though I daresay, she was more careful with her words after the story of Adam and Eve prompted an unhappy parent to call to find out why she was naked behind the piano.   (no… she really wasn’t naked… Adam and Eve were ….lol)..  vacations in the UP where we’d all go with her and Mr. Tuttle as they’d search the roadside grasses for new wildflowers to see and we’d enjoy the summer breezes coming off Lake Michigan.

Years of teaching piano to school children at home… where some of her own children learned more by listening to her teach them than actually doing the work ourselves… then the times when she taught at Grinnell’s in town…and we’d get to come in and wait in the mall for her to get off… of going to Coney Island and getting a coney dog… or  A& W for rootbeer…of overcoming shyness and anxiety by playing the piano at church while she played the organ loud enough to cover my mistakes…

Holiday memories were some of the best…  Easter dresses made each year… one year identical dresses and hats in different colors for each of us girls.   Memorial day when we’d watch and wait for the band to go by the house with all the living veterans of past wars…. mom coming out on the porch to watch… July 4th was the same.. as we watched the floats go by then go up to the school grounds for the carnival… mom made the best potato salad… mmmm… Thanksgiving and Christmas were always special as mom went all out for the meals.   We often had others who would join us for those meals… of course, one cannot forget the games mom would play with us all, particularly as we got older… Boggle… she could find more words and longer ones than most of the rest of us… Skipbo… Uno… then of course, Trivial pursuit… geographically, it seemed the answer was always East Yemen…. I didn’t even know where East Yemen was… let alone why it was an answer…

Christmas was always special in another way as well…. mom was in charge of the Christmas programs at church…. some years, there was an all out, all character Christmas story told… other years it was a musical concert…regardless of what genre it took, it was always special.

I have memories of coming downstairs in the morning finding mom at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee and her Bible open and trying to be as quiet as I could.  (one did not talk to mom first thing in the morning until she’d had at least one cup of coffee)….  of mom teaching Bible to teenage Sunday school classes as well as Bible studies many older women in the community attended.

These are just a few of my memories…lest you think I’ve chosen not to remember any bad memories… I have those as well… and am grateful even for those because those times taught me how to persevere even when life was not idyllic.

Until next time, love God, love others and … Happy Birthday, mom….. thanks for the memories..



Thank You
January 8, 2017, 7:36 am
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As a young girl, I was taught that it was polite to say please and thank you when given some small attention or thing.    I learned to say thank you because it was expected of me but did I and/or do I truly know how to be grateful?

Today is Sunday.   Today, I will go to church.  Today, I will care for babies and toddlers in the nursery while their parents are somewhere else in the church teaching a Sunday School lesson or sitting in a Sunday School classroom listening to a lesson from God’s Word.   Today, I will play the organ for the song service during the morning and evening services.   Today, I will play the organ during choir practice.  Today I will sit and listen as the pastor preaches a sermon… Today… today…

As the morning blushes with the first light of dawn, I sit here and contemplate life.  More specifically… my life.

As the sunrise paints it’s way gloriously across the morning sky I wonder what this day will bring forth.  I wonder what difference my life will make…today.

How will I live this day?   Will I be thankful today…. not only say “Thank you” but truly in the core of my heart feel and be thankful?

Being thankful is a choice.   My choice.   It is the choice between seeing life as it is or seeing it how I wish or think it should be.   It is the choice between”just going through the motions of daily activity” or the choice of truly engaging in life.   It is the choice between seeing the “small” things or wishing for “bigger” things.

Today, I choose to be grateful.   Today, I choose to be grateful for the colors of the sunrise.  Today, I choose to be grateful for the promise the day holds.   Today, I choose to look at the day as Anne  of Green Gables did, “with no mistakes in it yet.”

When mom and dad were teaching me to say “please” and “thank you”, they couldn’t make me be grateful… so what was the point?    The point is we can choose to be grateful or we can choose to be ungrateful and wish for a life that is not ours to live.   So, are you and I choosing to be grateful?   Gratitude changes the way we view life.   Gratitude adds meaning to our lives but gratitude is a choice.

So much to think about.

Until next time, love God, love others and… choose to be grateful.

 



Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude…. Again!
January 7, 2017, 6:31 pm
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Is having a spirit of gratitude important in life?   Are some people more able to have an attitude of gratitude than others?   Does having an attitude of gratitude depend on the circumstances of your life?   Can you have a spirit of gratefulness even when to all appearances your life is coming apart at the seams?  Maybe life isn’t coming apart at the seams but seems to have come to a ho-hum level….can we still have a grateful spirit?

These questions and more have been on my heart and mind a lot lately… especially having just come through the Christmas season realizing I’m officially an orphan and wondering exactly what is next for me.

Recently, one of my nieces commented that she had come upon one of her young daughters praying and thanking God for socks!   Not just her socks but for her sisters’ socks and her daddy’s socks.    Now on the surface this is a cute and humorous story but for me it was not only convicting but illuminating.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you may be aware that the year 2016 was a year for the books….perhaps it was for you as well.  As I read my niece’s post regarding her daughter’s gratitude for socks, something resonated deep in my soul.

When you have a year that is as emotionally and physically draining as mine was last year, your spirit can be so obscured that you cannot see anything to be grateful for.   I know I recounted to you the River Rocks God gave me last year and I am very grateful for those River Rocks… they were huge to me.   But what about the little things… the things we think are small or too insignificant to be grateful for…things like socks or perhaps it’s just the things we take for granted.   Like electricity, water…

I’m not one given to making resolutions just because the calendar says we’ve started a new year and it’s time for new beginnings.  In fact, I’m not really one to make resolutions because they generally just mean something to break.

Having said that, this year, I’ve decided I’m going to work at finding things for which to be grateful.

Things like:   sand hill crane as they fly over head; mule deer jumping over fences, antelope eating grain; papa pheasants protecting mama and youngins; meadowlark songs in the spring; redheaded woodpeckers knocking out their special song; sunrises/sunsets; sundogs; snowstorms.

It’s a little like the song from the Sound of Music, “My favorite Things.”  Many of the things listed are things we might consider to be small things, like raindrops on roses… snowflakes on noses….these are all things that we may or may not see and/or experience but all too often think nothing about.

Thought I’ve not answered many of my questions I started this with, my point in all of this, is in order to develop a grateful spirit, we need to intentionally observe our world through sight, sounds and smell then intentionally express gratitude.  When we focus on the things we have for which to be grateful, it will help lighten a weighted spirit during or after a valley time.

Until next time, love God, love others and develop a grateful spirit..again!



Christmas Memories
December 17, 2016, 9:04 am
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It’s almost Christmas… indeed the season is upon us as I was reminded the other day when I went to the “big” city for an office event and also tried to do some Christmas shopping… wow!  Can’t say I miss the big city at this time of year when I’m by myself..I have to admit, I’m not a lover of shopping… shocking, I know… being female and all but I’ve really never been a shopper..After the year, I’ve had, the memories surrounding Christmas are rather precious.

My Christmas memories center around family…. not shopping.. though one shopping event with my SIL did end up with my introduction to Chik-fil-a’s peppermint shake for which I will be eternally grateful… LOVE peppermint shakes!  Another shopping trip/work event turned out to be a great trip as well.   I shop better when I’m accompanied by an adult… Lol

So, yesterday, I waxed nostalgic in thinking back to Christmases when both my parents were alive and I … well, let’s just say, I was a lot younger…

I grew up in Michigan where the snow falls downward.  Now, if you’re scratching your head and wondering “doesn’t ALL snow fall downward”… then I know you’ve never lived on the plains.  On the plains, snow often falls sideways because when snow falls here, we usually get 4 inches of wind for every inch of snow we receive, particularly if you don’t live in town.

When I was much younger,  say… 4 or 5, mom and dad had some connection with the youth group at church.   I don’t recall if they had the youth group or they just invited them out to the farm for a tobogganing party.    The farm had some awesome hills for tobogganing.  If you’ve never tobogganed, you’ve missed so much!    An interesting word toboggan… I’ll have to look up it’s origin but a toboggan is a long sled with no runners upon which several people… 5-6 get on and fly down hills.   It was great fun!   Though I wasn’t a member of the youth group apparently I was cut enough for them to include me in their rides… :).   I remember there was home made hot chocolate with marshmallows afterward.   Ahhh.

The farm was also where my dad’s parents lived (it was grandpa’s dairy farm).   One Christmas, I remember going to grandpa and grandma’s for Christmas and as a gift I received a little “makeup” kit.   It had fake lipstick and rouge in it.   Totally awesome and totally fun playing makeup!

After we had grown older and had moved into town, Christmas Day often meant going into the next town where my mother’s sister lived.   Christmas Dinner would be served up and we’d feast.   Her house was big enough to accommodate all of us.   One room was where those who wanted to either watch the Christmas Day parade and/or football games gathered.  One room was just for those who wanted to hang out and talk (cell phones were not invented yet… so people actually talked with those in the room with them.. lol) and, of course, there was the kitchen…where usually the older related females hung out talking… about what?  I have no clue.

Christmas Eve was always fun because my room was directly over where the Christmas tree was and on Christmas Eve, the lights on the tree stayed lit.   My room was also the only room upstairs that had a “hole” in it.   It was actually where the heat was allowed to rise before there was a furnace put it.  It was through this hole, my siblings and I could barely see the tree and what Christmas presents “Santa” might have brought us.

“Santa’s” room was also, just off the room where the tree was, so when we kids would hear rustling down below, we knew Santa was busy and we’d try to catch a glimpse of what might be there.

Then as we started growing up and families started enlarging through marriage and grandkids, we started doing Christmas primarily at mom and dad’s.

 

One year when I and my LB were young adults and still single, we were at mom and dad’s for Christmas and as it would have it, snow was falling on Christmas Eve… LB ever the lover of snow, (though now lives in Florida.. what???) suggested we take a walk in the snow down the streets of our sleepy little town.  So we did.  It was awesome.  The snow was falling so beautifully shown in street lights as we walked and talked.  I can’t remember the conversation we had but we just enjoyed being with each other while walking in the snow.

Mom loved Home Interior decorations and always had candle sconces on the walls and candles on the tables… well, apparently LB inherited the love for light.  One year, I remember we turned all the electric lights out except for those on the tree, and lit all of mom’s candles and just sat and watched them and talked a little.  It was an almost holy time.

Then, of course, Christmas Dinner became the focal point as we grew older.   Mom was a great cook and went all out at Christmas time.   Baking for Christmas usually started a week or so beforehand.  There were usually several different kinds of pies.   Pumpkin, pecan, mincemeat (I’ve never been able to acquire a taste for that..), chocolate pie (as grandkids started appearing).   Cherry Delight, homemade Almond joys,fudge and of course, the prerequisite Grandma Beemer’s Molasses cookies.

The latter were required when the games began!  (The reindeer weren’t the only ones who played games!)    The cookies helped us to think when we would play games like Boggle, Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, Skipbo and Uno.

Ahhh!  The memories!  The older I get the more precious they become.  I always wanted a large family of my own because though there were the typical squabbles, we always made our own fun.   Alas, that was not to be but God knows best.

As you celebrate Christmas this year, may the Lord be a large part of it and if you have family to celebrate with, make memories…. lots of them…

Until Next time, love God, love others and  Merry Christmas… make memories to last a life time!



River Rocks Part 2
November 30, 2016, 6:51 am
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14 deaths

8 funerals

6 trips out of state

1 furnace kaput

1 microburst/mini tornado

1 major software transition

1 hearing aid lost

1 wellwater pump/no water

No this isn’t a macabre version of the 12 days of Christmas.   As it turns out this has been my river called 2016.

I am not recounting this so you might feel sympathy for me but that you might understand the background for my own river rock monument.

  • The first death I encountered this year was my own mother’s.  However before she left earth’s portal, God gave us a very special time with her for what would be her last birthday party on earth.  Awesome conversations with mom …my first rock.
  • After we returned from mom’s funeral we went through a major software change at work that stressed us all out….coworkers that believe we are a team and good one at that!…my second rock.
  • Funerals we’re sprinkled throughout the year for family and friends…some required traveling.  Because my husband and I had gone through Dave Ramsey’s FPU which teaches you how to tell your money what to do, we were not caught out with debt to travel…in fact we didn’t even have to touch our emergency fund.   All travel was cash flowed….my third rock.
  • This summer our furnace went kaput (after 40 years I can’t understand it….they just don’t make em like they used to…lol) …enter the emergency fund…my fourth rock.
  • A microburst came through our property this summer uprooting at least 5 dead trees….we were going to have to cut them down and cut them up to burn in our woodstove….rock number 5 and six….trees cut up and burned in wood stove while we await the furmace to be put in…
  • During one of our trips to clean out mom’s house, I lost one of my hearing aids….bummer…but when I went to see my audiologist it was time to replace them anyway….because of my insurance I was able to not only replace but upgrade them and it didn’t cost me anything out of pocket..woohoo…my 7th rock.
  • During that same trip we learned our sister-in-law would be in Tulsa to start chemo…so we asked if we could stop by on our way home…we did and spent some precious time with her…two weeks later she left earth’s door for heaven’s shore….my next rock.
  • The microburst also uprooted one of our electric poles necessitating the electric coop replace it…when  they did they moved the transformer pole closer to our well pump which necessitated some rewiring and replacement of the pump…River rock…

So as you can see though it’s been a rough year…a draining one in every aspect, God has been there all the way and provided what we needed when we needed it.

Until next time, love God, love others and find the river rocks in your river times.



River Rocks
November 6, 2016, 7:36 am
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What do you do when life seems dark?  When everything that happens seems to happen with the intent to break your spirit, to drown you in the circumstances of life?

We all go through times in our lives when life gets intense… almost overwhelming to the point we almost feel like we’re drowning.

Recently, I came across some excellent advice— well, really not advice — but an example of what one person does to remind herself of the goodness of God in her life.   When we’re in the dark times of our lives sometimes it’s hard to see the light.

She used the early history of Israel as her example.  If you know anything about Israel’s early history, you know there were a few time that God guided their path through waters that, for those who look at the circumstances only, looked impossible to cross.  Yet God did the impossible for them…. He opened a way through the waters.   Then after they crossed through the midst of waters (on dry ground I might add), He instructed His leaders to tell the people to take rocks from the water ways… for Moses, they were “sea rocks”, for Joshua, they were “river Rocks”.

Then they were to take those rocks and build a monument at the side of the sea or river they had just come through.  Those River Rocks set into a monument were there for the people to look back and be reminded, “God provided for us.”

Their prophet Isaiah reminded them that God had redeemed them and called them by name and that He had promised, “when thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee and through the rivers, shall not over flow thee…”

So it is for those of us who have accepted God’s redemption in our lives.    He promises to be with us.   He also wants us to have our own “River Rocks”.   Those are the times we can look back, even in the midst of present trying circumstances, and say, “God provided before, He will provide again.”

God’s provision each time may look different for each circumstance we face has it’s own value, it’s own lesson, it’s own individual need.

Some of my “River Rocks” are:

God’s intervention that kept me from disappearing at a young age.

God’s provision of a life mate at the right time in my life.

God’s provision of an extra job to pay for supplies for our Type I diabetic daughter.

God’s provision of the $1000 deductible needed to pay for our daughter’s first cataract surgery.

God’s provision of friends who encourage even when they have no idea the waters I’m passing through.

I could go on but you get the idea.   The darkness in our life is meant by the enemy of our soul to overwhelm and drown us in despair… yet God says, “remember the River Rocks.”

Until Next time, love God, love others and “remember… your own River Rocks.”

 



More than We can Bear
September 18, 2016, 4:13 am
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It’s been said that God will never give us more than we can bear.   I think I’ve even said that a few times myself.  However, I’m not sure this an entirely accurate statement for it implies that we must rely on ourselves to “get through”.

Think about this.   The Christian life is to be one of growing and learning and sometimes that growing and learning must take place through pain (as it often does in our physical lives).   One of the goals in the Christian life is to learn to trust the Lord more and more…. daily.     My question then is, “how can we learn to trust the Lord more and more if we can always bear the burdens of our lives?….if we always “get through by ourselves”.

The apostle Peter in his first letter encouraged us with these words: “casting all your care upon Him for He careth for you.”  King David in Psalm 55:22  encouraged us to “cast thy burden upon the Lord and he shall sustain thee:”

You see, we live in a world that tells us we shouldn’t feel any pain, we shouldn’t admit to any burdens in our lives but let’s be honest.    Life happens.  Things happen sometimes in rapid succession (or at least seemingly so).  So when things are more than we can bear, we have the opportunity to go to Jesus to help us bear those things we cannot alone… some would call this weakness and, indeed, they would be correct.   The apostle Paul, in writing to the Corinthians spoke of a burden he was given to bear… one that when he asked the Lord to remove it, the Lord told him, no… “for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

When we have burdens we cannot carry on our own without feeling weighed down, drowning or overwhelmed, we have a choice.   We can keep on trying to carry our own burdens or we can trust the Lord with our burdens.   Jesus told us to “come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy ladened (burdened) and I will give you rest.”

With everything in our life, the choice is ours.   The question is: will we stubbornly keep trying to “face the music” on our own… or will we humble ourselves and go to the Lord and ask for His help.?

Until next time, love God, love others and choose to “cast your burden upon the Lord”