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!



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.”

 



Overwhelmed by Life
August 30, 2016, 5:33 am
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Not too long ago, a young friend and I were discussing being overwhelmed by things happening in our lives and the lives of those we know and care for.

People doing things we never thought they would do… work schedules that seem to leave no time for anything else…events happening we’d never dreamed would be part of our lives… yet there they were… staring us in the face … making us feel …. well… overwhelmed.

As we talked, I was again reminded of another person who had felt overwhelmed.    King David of old.   There was at least one time that King David felt overwhelmed and he recorded those feelings of being overwhelmed in Psalm 61.   Imagine that.. a leader of a country being overwhelmed… who’d of thought a leader could be overwhelmed?   Nor just overwhelmed but willing to admit it.

Now, David doesn’t go into detail as to what was making him feel overwhelmed… he didn’t need to… yet in this psalm he lays out for us how to deal with feelings of discouragement and of being overwhelmed by events and relationships in our lives.

He first runs to God in his discouragement…that’s where we’re to run.   First… not second… not third… not when we finally realize there’s nothing else we can do but first…

He pours out his feelings to his God and requests that He lift him up higher than his feelings and situations in life…to give him God’s vision for him… something else to focus on other than himself and his own feelings.

Then he reminds the Lord that He alone has been his refuge… his shelter… his protection from the enemy….now David had a lot of humans who pursued him and quite frankly wanted to see him dead… yet the enemy here, I believe, is the one  who pursues us all… the one who seeks to destroy us all… the one who is ultimately behind the human/physical manifestations of our distresses.

David then  reaffirms to God that he will seek refuge in God alone… he will continue to make God his place of abiding…. of dwelling with him regularly.   David was committed to his relationship with God and he reminded Him that he would continue in that relationship.

Then David remembers the heritage God had given him of those who revered God and walked in His way.   Now while this may be his family, I do believe that there were others that God had placed in David’s life who were not necessarily family members but those who walked with God as an example before him.

David in his expression of heritage, reminds himself of those who’ve gone before him in their own race… in their own walk before God… then he goes on and states that so will he… regardless of his own situation… regardless of others who turn aside from that walk… regardless of those who pursued him desiring his death…he, David, would continue in his walk with God and praise Him for it.

What about you, my friend?  Are you feeling overwhelmed by life?   First, let me ask you… do you have a personal relationship with God’s Son, Jesus Christ?  That’s where help must start…

If you do have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and are feeling overwhelmed… where are you running to?   Are you running to God?   Are you asking Him to lift you up to the Rock higher than yourself?   God doesn’t promise to take us out of our circumstances… but He does promise to be with us in them… I encourage you today to read Psalm 61. …

Until next time, love God, love others and run to the Rock that is higher than yourself.

 



To Throw or Not to Throw…
August 13, 2016, 9:37 am
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that is the question…

The last time I was here I told you of my decluttering mission… I’m still working on that mission.   Only I have progressed from one room, to the long hall closet, to the attic…

The hall closet, though it is a walk in closet of about 8 feet deep, was not walkinable… (how’d you like that word, huh?)   In fact, I cringed to open the door wondering what might fall out.

I’m happy to report that I decided to dig in and “organize” it and see how much I could remove from the floor.    It has shelving up one side of the closet that runs about 6 feet down the closet where a higher shelf with a pole for hanging clothes rungs along the back.   The rest is floor..

So, as I was going through things, I saw boxes and paper that I had “saved for later”… thinking I “might need them.”   Now, when you save things for later and they stay around like a pet, it becomes a serious decision as to throw or not to throw… so I had to ask myself some questions.   Here are some of them:

  1.  What is the worst thing that can happen if I throw this away?
    • Will I die if I throw this away?
    • Will I not be able to eat, drink or do any of the necessary things that come along with living?
    • Will I destroy a relationship by throwing it away?
  2. What is the best thing that happens if I choose to keep this?
    • Does it or will it enhance my standard of living in a positive way?
    • Will it help me in my relationships with others in my life?
    • Is it something I can use to learn to live more positively and effectively?

Conversely, I must ask equally hard questions.   Questions like:

  1. What is the best thing or a good thing that will happen if I throw this away?
    • Will I be able to see that friend who needs me to be there?
    • Will I be able to spend more “quality” time with my hubby rather than expending time dealing with this “thing”.?
    • Will my mental/emotional state feel cleaner?
    • Will my health improve (clutter has been found to negatively impact a person’s physical health as well as mental/emotional health)
    • Will I be able to relax and enjoy the relationships God has put into my life?
  2. What is the worst or a bad thing that could happen if I choose to keep this item?
  • Will I lose a valued relationship because I’ve chosen this thing over a person?
  • Will I lose my health because I can’t seem to “give up” these items deemed to be precious by me?
  • Will I not be able to invite friends over or engage in activities that help my relationships?

These are some of the questions I must ask along with the question, to throw or not to throw…The biggest thing I find with so much “stuff” is that it not only clutters my physical living space but it also clutters my mental and emotional living space.   It’s very easy to become overwhelmed with the stuff I think I need to have in order to live my life…It is also hard to decide that I can live without some thing and to choose life over a kind of living death.

The reality is that too often we cherish things to a high degree and use people rather than cherishing our relationships with people and using things.   If we find ourselves in a position of cherishing things over our relationships with people, then it’s time to reevaluate our reason for keeping things.

We were created for relationships with people…. not things.   When we choose things over our relationships with people, then we are negating our purpose in life…. and when we choose things over people, we choose “security” over “satisfaction” in life.    If we choose “security” with things, we become big time losers in life and have chosen a living death.

So… what are you holding on to and why?   If you choose to hold on to something, are you using it to enhance your relationships with the important people in your life or are you using it as a defense mechanism against those relationships?

You and I get to choose… to throw or not to throw..

Until next time, love God, love others and make the hard decision… to throw or not to throw!

BTW:   I can now open that hall closet door and smile instead of cringing…