The publication date will be MAY 27th! We are planning a book signing party IN THE BARN. I know May is a busy month, but would love to have you all come and celebrate with us! More details are to follow.
It is coming! My “baby” will be delivered the beginning of May! For an introvert, this news is both exhilarating and dismaying. My purpose in writing was to share all God has done; however, in doing that I had to become both vulnerable and honest. So now, the dismay I feel comes from my exposure. The story these pages tell is the story of a simple walk of faith, sometimes mixed with doubt, but always moving upward and onward. The exhilaration I feel comes from knowing that, in my own inadequate words I have told the story of our walk with God on this humble farm on Kitten Creek Road. My hope is that our story will be an encouragement to others who long to see God’s hand in their daily existence. You will be able to pre-order on https://www.amazon.com/Kitten-Creek-Searching-Sacred/dp/194509902X/.
So, this granddaughter is the first born grandchild, a surrogate mother and official right hand to her mom. The gal who always seemed to have a mature relationship with the Lord. For example, when she was nine years old, as we were leaving the grocery store, she turned to me and asked, “So how are you doing spiritually, Oma?” Shocked, I stumbled around saying, “Uh, I am very comfortable with my relationship with Jesus, Emmaline. How are you doing?” “Well,” she replied, “i am working on my judgmental spirit right now. I have asked Jesus to help me with this.”
That was and is Emmaline. She was the last we ever expected to move away from Kitten Creek Road. But today, she and Sam are living in Missouri. This will take some getting used to. But this is what it is all about: sending the “arrows” out and blessing them as they begin their own lives and ministry.
Milestones: Two weddings. Our grandchildren are growing up. Brother/son/grandson, EJ, was married to Jena on March 18. The next weekend sister/daughter/granddaughter, Emmaline, was married to Sam. Words do not suffice in expressing our joy and thankfulness. Emmaline’s pictures are not available to me,yet, but here us a link to EJ’s and Jena’s wedding pictures. The pictures relate the joy of the couple and also of those who love them. http://www.miravisuphoto.com/austin-wedding-photography-blog/
Actually, there were three wedding in that one week. Our dear neighbors, the Bascoms, were also celebrating a daughter/grandaughter wedding. The original farm acres were filled with guests and celebrations.
We are now in relaxation and recuperation mode.
“Angel lived!” Susie, the market place supervisor and owner of the little lamb, Angel, was ecstatic when she called last evening. The last I had heard down at the “prayer house” on Sunday evening was, “There is a bottle lamb up in the market that is dying.” As I grabbed some medication to send with Anya, the message-bearer, she explained that the lamb was very sick: its tongue was cold, and its breathing was shallow and slow. It was dying. The children in the market place who had carried the lamb for two previous evenings and the adults who had watched and loved the baby lamb were saddened. There is something about an innocent little lamb that grabs the hearts of us all. Sincere prayers went up-yes, even for a little lamb.
And Angel lived!
The story of Angel is but a parable of the many miracles we witness as we watch God work during Bethlehem Revisited. Yes, our culture may be near death, those He loves may be grasping for fresh breath, and, as it did Saturday evening, the cold rain may fall, but– He lives!! And we rejoice in the stories of lives changed, minds enlightened, souls refreshed again this year. Exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.
November: the focus on the farm is now Bethlehem Revisited: two work days and one rehearsal. We are so thankful for about fifty volunteers who came to help us spruce up the paths, clear grass and weeds from the fire pits, rebuild the annunciation station, repair Bethlehem village, hang signs, mow weeds, put up the clothes racks and hang all the costumes, etc., etc..
One of my favorite memories is of young boys (all nine and under) taking off with shovels, clippers, and rakes under the immediate direction of Caleb, our nine-year-old grandson. What grandparent wouldn’t find delight in this scene? Of course, this young crew is the first in line for lunch, but we are honoring our future tech crew, are we not?
As Dakota and I crossed the brome field and headed toward the farm, I glanced over my shoulder. The picture of an upset donkey caused me to hesitate. Don Quixote (Donk) was stomping, throwing his head over the top of the fence, and getting ready for a loud, obnoxious bray. Dakota, the black lab, and Donk have forged an unusual friendship during her short stay with her “grandparents.” It is no secret that I am a soft-touch when it comes to animals. Doubling back, I grabbed Donk’s lead rope and opened the gate. Satisfied that he had been understood, he offered me his chin, and I fastened the rope to his halter. So, we were three that day walking the trails.
As we made it to the top of the pasture, we had settled into a routine. Donk had given up trying to graze his way along and was quite docile walking beside me, moving his ears strategically to hear the various sounds, occasionally stopping, his ears pointed forward and intently watching something that I could not see or hear in the distance. Dakota was running through the tall grass sniffing the ground, disappearing for a while, and then reappearing to check on Donk and me. We were all acting out our given natures. Dakota was being a dog, Donk was being a donkey, and I was doing the human thing: reminiscing. I recalled all the years that I have walked, prayed, led students, and pointed others to this trail.
The trail hadn’t always been here. In the early years, after forging my way through the blue stem prairie on my daily prayer walks, Judd had mowed a three-quarter mile path around the pasture for me. Once, when it grew over, and Judd was busy, I had dragged the push mower up the rocky drive and mowed the path myself. Once, that was. I have more vision than brawn, and I never did get the “vision” to do it again. But today that path has become a mainstay. With riding mowers and tractor mowers, there is always someone who has the vision to mow them when they begin to grow over. And today the trail serves many of us as a place to get away, to exercise, or to walk and pray.
We had made it around the three-quarter mile trail and were ready to head back down into the lower pasture. At the angel shelter, I stopped to pick up a golden tin foil angel halo that had been lost in the dark not so very long ago. The cedar-chipped outcrop where the angels stood was worn and compacted. Their short “Hallelujah Chorus” followed by “Joy to the World” seemed to echo softly across the valley. Leaving the upper pasture, we picked our way over the rocky path and headed toward the shepherd’s fire pit and sheep pen, to the lower pasture. Stopping a moment, I once again found myself in reverie. Memories. A month ago, over two thousand pairs of feet had tramped the path below me. I imagined I could hear the singers as they followed the groups caroling across the pasture. A few feet down the rocky path, we passed the stump behind the cedar blind where “Gabriel” sat to wait for his cue. Donk had carefully maneuvered the rocks and Dakota, once she determined the direction we were heading, ran past us, and once again led the way. Passing the rustic sheep enclosure and rock-built fire pit, we continued toward the camels and Wiseman iron silhouettes that stand partially hidden in the little cedar alcove. Ashes filled the narrator’s fire pit, and I remembered how strikingly poignant is the delivery he makes every year as he describes the stars, the excitement, and the miracle of the star the wise men followed.
Walking down the cedar chip trail toward the barn, I can see through the cedars the outline of the barn. No children are running up the trail and shouting, “He is here! He is here! Come and see!” But, I think I can hear a faint echo. Oh, the wonder of memories!
Awe accompanied my gratitude. All of this had been a dream, a cloudy, quite unspecific dream those many, many years ago, and look what God has wrought!
Did we have a master plan in those early years that we followed step-by-step? NO. We faced many disappointments, incredible amounts of “just wait” times. Strategic people came and went. What was permanent was the land, God, and faith that He could take “what we held in our hands” and use it for His glory. And this, in turn, has become our blessing!
Gratitude. My heart was filled! “It is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” His pleasure has been my blessing.
My companions have no recollections and reminiscences. They find pleasure in “being.” Donk is content being a donkey, and Dakota finds joy in being a dog. But I have the opportunity to feed my eternal soul on what was, and is, and is to come. And I am in awe.