Saturday, September 18, 2010

apple picking

We went to pick apples today even though it's early in the season for apple picking. We went with our daughter and her new husband, using this opportunity to get to know a little better this man who has our little girls heart in his hand. He tells us that he has never actually gone out into an orchard to pick apples before, so this is a new experience for him. Having a married daughter is still new to us too and we are learning and growing in this relationship.

The day started out cool, but warming quickly we succumbed to using the car AC. The drive along the river road was calming, peaceful, quiet with the windows rolled up and no radio playing. It was nice. Our conversation is lazy like the slow moving flow of the Big Muddy that runs beside the road, getting essential news and letting the rest go, enjoying the ease of the morning.

At the orchard we join the other eager apple pickers, climbing with bags in hand, into the wagon being towed behind an old farm tractor. Cameras are poised and there are smiles around in anticipation of filling our bags with the freshest of fare; our choice of red delicious, golden delicious or johnny golds. The wagon lumbers slowly through the fields and orchards, rocking us back and forth almost encouraging us to let the stress of the past week go. We are all surprisingly quiet. It must be working.

After the farm hand recites his instructions we make our way through the rows of apple trees picking only the best, perfectly formed fruit. Its hard for me to see all of the fruit that has already fallen on the ground and I'm tempted to rescue some of the recent fallers that still look too good to let go to waste. (Our daughter admits she has the same struggle.) Instead force I myself to look up and move on, remembering that they are only apples and they don't need me to rescue them.

I look down one row and see my husband and son-in-law carefully choosing and inspecting before picking the apples that go into their bags. Seeing them side by side makes me happy we decided to do this today. It's another bonding experience and even though we often make jokes about "bonding", it is a serious and important thing.

I pick a small johnny gold, rub in on my leg to see if it will shine; it does and I take a bite. It is sweet and juicy and drips down my chin. I notice that several of the other "pickers" are doing the same thing. I think we all ate at least one apple while in the orchard. My husband and son-in-law both have half eaten apples in their hands too. It feels indulgent to be eating fruit right from the tree, like we're getting freebies.

Another tractor and wagon arrive and we wait patiently to switch places with the next group of apple pickers. Our bags are full, the sun is becoming more intense and we are eager to find some relief from the rising heat. I am thankful for the small breeze we get at the top of the hill as we slowly make our way back to the barn where we will pay for our harvest.

We find a place in the small river town to have a bit of lunch. It has been a lovely day, sweet, fresh and we are filled in more ways than one and I am thankful.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Last week my husband and I had an opportunity to finally use a gift card that our kids gave us over a year ago. The gift was for one nights stay at Big Cedar Lodge. It's about a 4.5 hour drive from our house and we love road trips, so it was perfect.

Our room was lovely, two queen size beds with feather bed mattress, a whirlpool tub, and french door opening on to a balcony with a spectacular view. It was the first time I ever slept in a room that had a deer head hovering over me, or little stuffed creatures sitting on the TV cabinet, but after a while, we didn't even notice them.

From Big Cedar we drove a couple hours east to Dora, MO to see a friend who runs a trout fishing resort called River of Life Farm. We stayed there for two nights, enjoying the scenery and the solitude. My husband built the website for ROLF and is always updating and adding new things to keep it interesting, so while we were there he was able to get some video of a fly fishing class that was being taught by the trout fishing guide who works at ROLF. It was interesting to watch and the guys taking the class had a great attitude about my husband filming them.

All in all it was a lovely weekend and we so appreciated this wonderful gift. Many thanks to our kids for their generosity. And many thanks to our daughter for staying in the "big house" with the our dog. We are blessed!!!

Friday, September 05, 2008


My friend, who is a missionary in Cameroon, is here in the states for a short leave from her work and we just spent a couple of hours catching up while enjoying some coffee and fresh baked cinnamon scones. The time was rich in so many ways. Mostly we laughed as we shared about our lives and where God has taken each of us.
At one point she got a serious look on her face and asked me how I was doing, and she didn't mean how are my circumstances, because she knows they haven't changed. I really had to think, because how I feel is one subject I don't spend much time thinking about. I told her that I'm struggling to trust the Lord, that I my cup feels like it's more half empty than half full.
She got all excited and said she had to tell me a story about a friend of hers. So she proceeded to tell me about this friend who had been praying for a financial need and that God didn't provide for that need until just moments before the deadline. Frustrated, her friend asked the Lord why He, on many occasions, waited until the last moment to answer our prayers. He was surprised that the Lord actually answered that question, because all the other times he asked that question of the Lord, there was no answer, or at least none that he could hear.
This time God did answer, and His answer blessed me so much that I had to share it. He said that God waited until the last minute to answer his prayer because He wanted to prolong the pleasure of his child trusting Him. Wow! My trusting Him, gives Him pleasure. And what even more amazing is that He gives us the ability to trust Him. Wow!

Friday, August 29, 2008


I just listened to this very encouraging message by this guy named John Lynch. The message he gave is nothing new to me, but it was very well delivered and was something I needed to hear...again.
I've been wrestling with where I am concerning my relationship with the Lord and this message helped me realize my wrestling, in this case, is wasted energy. God loves me and there is nothing I can do to change that fact.
It would be worth your time to listen.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Back to the basics.

I feel like the older we become, the more questions we have about life and what's even more frustrating than the questions, is the fact that so many of them seem to go unanswered or at least unanswered to our satisfaction. My husband and I were talking about feeling like we're not hearing God very well because for the past couple of years our lives have been a mess. As believers in Christ, we know that life is messy, and none of us is immune from trials or tribulation. But it crossed my mind that our combined years (and we're talking close to 80 years or so) of being in relationship with the Lord, should have produced some sensitivity to His voice.

However, it feels like we're missing something because we’ve just been limping along for some time now, certainly not living very victorious lives (as far as we can tell) and this is really hard to understand. Currently we are feeling totally helpless and I'm beginning to think that maybe realizing we are helpless IS the point; that helplessness isn’t a negative thing, but a freeing thing. And if that’s the lesson in this struggle, that’s OK, we’re totally there. We can freely admit we are helpless without the Lord. And it is freeing to realize that it's not up to us. But the part we don't get is the feeling of hopelessness that has attached itself to our helplessness. Sure, we fight being helpless, but this feeling of hopelessness is far worse.

The best explanation I can come up with as I ponder the issue of not being able to hear the Lord’s voice of hope, is that we've somehow gotten into the habit of boxing the Lord in with our expectations regarding prayer. I know that faith is required to believe in the Lord, trusting that He always has our best interest in mind, when and how He chooses to answer our prayers or speak to us. But faith involves our hearts and we are helpless to change anything regarding our hearts. That's His job. So what are we to do? We don't want to feel hopeless. We want to trust the Lord, but we're having a hard time believing we're where He wants us to be when we don't feel like we are hearing Him, have no clue what our next step should be, and are hopeless to see the future in a positive light.

So, when doubts are as plentiful as our are right now, it's best to go back to the basics, back to the truth of scripture, and remember that even though we don't feel like there is hope for the future or feel like we are headed in the right direction, (whatever that direction is), based on the Lords response or non response to our prayers or circumstances, that doesn't mean He’s abandoned us. This is where our faith is truly tested and our combined years of knowing His faithfulness to us is what will carry us through this time of uncertainty. We must trust our hearts to Him who created them and believe that He will hold us close in our times of doubt. We must choose to believe that His love for us is not based on what WE DO, but is based on what He has already done for me when He hung on the cross. And we must choose to believe that He always comes through on His promises. It’s ALL up to Him and that is where we must go to find rest.

Hebrew 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

John 15:16 "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you."

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world,] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

Psalm 42:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Psalm 130:5 wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;

Lamentations 3:24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

Saturday, August 23, 2008


After a health scare earlier this summer, which turned out to be stress related, I'm back to walking for exercise again, and it is good. I didn't realize how much I missed having this ritual or routine in my life until I started doing it again.

You see, I used to walk 4-5 days a week with a friend and then things sorta fell apart when our husbands had a bit of a falling out and then walking with this friend became too painful emotionally, for both of us I'm sure, so we just quit. That was a little over two years ago. I tried taking my dog with me when I went for my walks, but she's getting pretty old and I feared it was too much for her. So walking alone, without my friend or my dog was a new experience and I wasn't very excited about returning to this type of exercise on a regular basis until about two months ago when my doctor encouraged me to exercise more to help relieve some of my stress.

Like I said earlier, walking again has been good in many ways. My four mile walk is much more than just an exercise routine; it's a necessary thing in my life. I know I'm not alone in my thinking regarding this solitary time. For me it is an opportunity to commune with God, to think, pray or just meditate on the Scripture. I also like to listen to music, but my current favorite is listening to "the Bible Experience", a dramatization of the Bible and I love it.

So with iPod in hand I head out, usually early in the morning, with great anticipation about what I'm going to glean from listening to the Word of God while enjoying the beauty of my neighborhood and getting a bit of beneficial exercise at the same time. I think my ability to cope with stress has improved thanks to the release of endorphins that resemble opiates that produce analgesia and a sense of well-being released when one exercises. (Thank you WordWeb online.) But mostly I think I feel like I have a bit more control of my life, even though the idea that any of us has much control of anything is truly an illusion in itself. But at least I feel like I'm doing something positive, making my body a little stronger, rather than allowing my nervous energy destroy my body, and that IS a good thing.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Summer challenges

I've been chiding my son for not posting in his blog (encouraging him to just journal this way so we know how to pray for him more specifically as he is in Kathmandu, Nepal), and thought best to take my own advice and just jot down a few thoughts of my own. I'm going to try and do this on a more regular basis. This challenge will be good for me...I think.

Right now I'm a bit envious of my friend Ann who is beginning her six week mission trip in Africa. She answered God's call to travel to Gulu, Uganda to be a part of a team sent with a project called Invisible Children. She just posted her journal of the first few days of this great adventure she is blessed to be a part of and it was so good to hear what has happened so far. I so appreciated her honesty and willingness to share as she did, because not all has been smooth sailing. As I read her journal I could almost hear her speaking and her comments brought back vivid memories of the time my husband and I went to visit our daughter while she was serving the Lord in Calcutta, India. It made me wish I had a "traveling to another country" type adventure to look forward to this summer. Oh well..

Ann's comments on the extreme poverty she witnessed reminded me of how overwhelmed and heartbroken I was when we first arrived in Calcutta viewed similar circumstances along the streets in that country. I remember how very, very small and helpless I felt in this world where there is so much suffering. It took only moments to give proper perspective to our life in this country.

However, instead of traveling to a foreign country, my adventure is limited to being home and working through my own faith struggle; believing that the Lord is who He says He is and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Heb.11:6 Pleasing Him is that simple and is what I want to do at this moment. I pray that this struggle of believing God and wanting to please Him isn't just self serving, that I will be open and to answering His call to serve Him by serving my community as opportunity arises. This is "The great adventure" isn't it; being ready and willing to answer His call regardless of what it is? Time will tell...

In earlier posts I've inserted a favorite recipe from my kitchen and will once again continue that practice with each post. Today it's Carrot Cake today, just because....

Carrot Cake
1 ½ Cups Vegetable Oil (or 1 Cup oil + 1/2 Cup applesause)
2 Cups Sugar
4 Large eggs
2 Cups Flour
2 tsp. Cinnamon
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
1 Cup Raisins
3 Cups Grated Carrots
1 Cup Chopped Nuts
1 Small can Crushed Pineapple (unsweetened)

1 8oz. package Cream Cheese (softened)
½ Stick Butter or Margarine
1 tsp. Vanilla
3-4 Cups Powdered Sugar

Cream together sugar, oil, and eggs.
Add carrots, pineapple, nuts and raisins.
Add salt, baking powder, and cinnamon.
Add flour and mix well. Pour batter into a well greased 9x13 baking pan and bake 50-55 minutes @ 350°. Insert knife into center of cake to check doneness. Frost when completely cooled.