Tuesday, September 28, 2010
George, I love countless things about you, so I will just try to hit on the main ones.
Integrity. I think that would be the word I would choose if I had to use only one to define you. Integrity is defined as "uprightness of character." I think anyone who knows you knows this about you. At the young age of 33, you have managed to gain the respect of many people, several of which are your elders. You are true to your word.
Funny. This would be the only other word that I would use to describe you if I could choose only one. You crack me up! We have so much fun together, and I love that you don't take yourself too seriously. Even more than that, I love that you have shown me how to not take myself so seriously. You are so clever and witty and always ready to prank someone. You definitely keep me on my toes, but the other half of the time I am doubled over in laughter.
Hard-working. Shew! You wear me out just watching you sometimes. And, sometimes this is one of the things about you that I wish I could press the 'pause' button on. In the last year especially, but mostly since your momma passed away, I have noticed that you still have a good work ethic, but you don't push so hard and wear yourself down constantly. But, you, like me love to work and love to feel the sense of accomplishment. I am thankful that you are willing to get out there and sweat to provide for us and just to simply get your blood pumping.
Loving. Oh my man! Of all the ways you make me feel good about myself, the number one thing would be that you make me feel loved. I know I occasionally-um, very rarely-get on your nerves, make you mad, frustrate you or even let you down, but you continue to love me and not let those things about me stand in the way of your love for me. There are many, many days in my life that I feel unlovable, but you never make me feel that way. The love of the Lord is exhibited in the way you love me.
Intelligent. You and I neither one were huge fans of school, but that doesn't reflect in your knowledge of whatever it is you do. I know your public job requires a lot of smarts. I can't even comprehend some of the things you try to explain to me about what goes into the running of a steel mill. I'm starting to get confused just trying to come up with an example. Then, there is the farm. Wow! You have such a head for business that if it weren't for the present economy, I know we could make it strictly as farmers. You know a good investment when you see one. Your knowledge of cattle, orchard grass, conservation, soil & hay testing, among other things makes me wonder how much information the human brain can actually hold, because on these subjects you have no limit. Then, I have to mention the hobbies. You know a great deal about fishing, hunting (turkey, deer, coon, ginseng, grouse, etc.) and any other thing you take an interest in.
Personable. This is the best word I could think of to describe why it is everyone you meet loves you instantly. You are honest and funny, but you just have a natural charisma that draws others to you. Men, are mostly drawn to you. You are a man's man, and you have more buddies than I can count. Guys not only enjoy talking to you about huntin' and fishin' but are comfortable talking to you on any topic. They also know they can confide in you if there is something troubling them. Secondly, I have never met a child that didn't take up with you. Kids absolutely love you! You are a wonderful father, uncle and friend to the children in your life. I pray that the Lord blesses us with many more children who will be blessed to have you for a daddy.
Handsome. I couldn't go on without mentioning this one. Although you know that I am someone who does not think much on outward appearances, and makes it a point to focus on the inward, I still think you're pretty cute! (Ok, I would elaborate, but you know my parents read this!) From your once dark hair to your now bald head, your gorgeous blue eyes that sometimes show evidence of tears when moved by love for others, your strong arms and broad chest that make me feel like a woman when encircled in your embrace, I am attracted to it all. You are one good-lookin man! (And, when I first saw you, you reminded me of pictures I've seen of my Papaw Corbett.)
So, these are just a few things that make up all the many reasons I love you. For the most part, I love you because God created you specifically for me. We are soul mates. We were meant to be. Happy Anniversary!
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day utterth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Psalm 19:1-3
As for me, I especially see Him in relation to creation and the earth itself and the animals. Honestly, I sometimes have a hard time seeing Him in people, and I wish that weren't so. As I look around me, in all seasons of the year, and in all seasons of life, I see glimpses of Him in all of my surroundings. Shew! It takes my breath just to think about it. Creation is so amazing!
Last week, I was made most aware of my Lord when putting on my cowgirl hat. (Not literally) My husband purchased 9 or 10 head of Hereford cattle from a woman who had recently lost her husband. These cattle were on one side of the road, and needed to be moved across the road and into the barn in order to load. George and his dad had alternated feeding the cattle in the evenings throughout the week prior to us actually going to load them. This is beneficial to us because the cattle need to know their master. Since their previous owner had passed away, we needed to gain their trust for a little smoother transition. Normally, when you purchase cattle, the seller is there to help get them in the loading shoot and in turn into the cattle trailer.
Once we got there, and got everything set up, George and his dad started walking down the road with feed bucket in hand. George had just introduced them to grain the previous week. Up to that point, they had only had grass and fodder. As he shook the bucket, he called to them, "Woo scaves.....sook, sook, sook. Sook heifers. Come on!" He would pause in his vocal beckoning and give the bucket another shake. Moos of every pitch echoed in reply as the cattle headed out toward the gate. Myself, (nephew) Kyle and Uncle Woody hung back since we were fresh faces.
As I stood on the side of the road watching this scene unfold, these words came to mind:
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: John 10:27
Thankfully, we were successful in getting the cattle across the road and into the barn. Well, all but one. They were all across the road, but one bull calf would not come to the barn. He stood on the hill above and watched.
The guys got the first trailer loaded, pulled it out, and backed the second one in to load. George and I then headed out around to the hill to try to get the straggler into the lot. All I can say about that is 'thank God for rubber boots.' I was in grass that was at least waist high if not higher. There were ruts on the hill, probably made by the cattle during a muddy winter. Up and down, forward and backward. I moved this way and that trying my best to block that poor dude and get him to go runnin' to the barn for safety with his friends. Well, he was having none of it. He was NOT going to that barn.
Just as Daniel determined in his heart that he would not give into the Babylonian ways, and that he'd continue to serve his God, I believe this guy said come tall grass or barbed wire, I will not go into that barn. And, eventually, it came to barbed wire. Um, electric at that. He didn't break the fence, but he did get a nice scrape across his back as he headed safely back to the bottom from which he'd come. Sweaty, tired (from being up nearly 24 hours) and covered in burrs & manure, George said we'd come back for him.
So, Daddy-in-law and Uncle Woody headed out to the market to take the big bull, and George, Kyle and I headed back to the holler to unload our little crew. As we traveled the decent little haul home, we began to get our plan together. We had to go back to return the seller's trailer they had so kindly let us borrow. (So we wouldn't have to make two trips! Haha!) When we parked it, and unhitched it, we would load up our corral panels that we'd set up to aid in...well, corralling the herd...and we'd go set those up in the field. We would take a small trough from home and put it inside our little temporary cattle lot. We would sweet talk that little bull with some feed, and encourage him into the lot to eat from his very own plate. We would gain his trust. It may take a few days of feeding him in that specific spot for awhile, but eventually, we'd get him loaded and brought home.
As I rolled this around in my mind, this verse came to me:
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? Luke 15:4
We had been working hard all morning, and we were all tired and sweaty, but as we began loading up corral panels into the truck, I couldn't help but smile. I was thankful that God was revealing Himself to me in this way. I also admired my husband for his role as the shepherd in this revelation. I am thankful that when he does something, he does it whole-heartedly and honestly. See, he had told the widow who sold us the cattle that they would be taken to a good home. She was very sad to see them go, but unable to care for them herself. I was proud of him, and his ingenuity.
As the cool morning began to fade and our flannel shirts were thrown into the back seat of the truck, we set up the panels out in a shady spot close to where the calf lay. ~And, just for your information, we are not talking a baby calf, we are talking about a year old calf. So, instead of picturing a poor, frightened little thing, lonely and scared to death without his momma, picture your child during the most rebellious stage of their teenage years.~ Bucky-which is the name commonly given to any bull that has ever had the pleasure of meeting George Willis, Sr. or Jr.-watched from a short distance. In case you didn't know, cows are just as curious as a cat. He edged closer to investigate, thinking he might figure out our strategy.
Just about that time, Kyle suggested that he and I take the truck and back out in the field a ways to see if George could lure him into the makeshift lot. So, we backed on over into the shade where we could keep a front-row view of the scene as it unfolded. It was like watching a suspense film, both of us quietly urging words of encouragement to both cow and cowboy. (as if we knew more about how to do it than George. haha!) "Come on, buddy, go getcha somethin ta eat. Ya know your hungry." "Oh, he's goin in!" "Why is he just standing in the entrance!?" "Go to the trough, buddy. There's more feed in there, and no one else you have ta share it with."
I think Kyle and I being the "cow-whispers" we are finally got through to him. He eased his way in and we screamed in a whisper, "Go, George, Go!" George got over there, and pushed the corral panels together and Ole Bucky was trapped. The long silence and anticipation was abruptly ended as phase two of our plan was set into motion. Kyle stood guard at the panels while George and I went to re-hitch the borrowed trailer back to our truck. All the while, Ole Buck ate the feed never phased by the ruckus going on outside his temporary cage.
Before I go on, take your mind back again to that rebellious teenager.......got the picture........ok, moving on. We get the truck & trailer back into a good spot, and separate the panels just enough to allow room for him to climb on in. George even pulled the trough, still with some feed in it, into the trailer, enticing the calf to just head on in. Not that simple. He decided to have a little temper tantrum. We all took turns backing away from the panels as he came near our sections and slammed himself against it. My wonderful husband, being the experience cattle man that he is, gets in there with the crazy thing! Tobacco stick in hand, he waves his arms a little urging the calf to get in the trailer. Well, that brat teenager decided to act out! He headed right for George causing the cowboy to scale the furthest panel. Kyle and I urged him to get out. This cow was nuts! Alas, Ole Buck's stomach got the better of him and he resolved to get back to the feed. As he climbed in the trailer, George jumps off his perch and is in the trailer shutting the gate in about 2 seconds flat.
We try to breath sighs of relief as the confined-again calf begins to throw 'im another one. He kicked the trough, climbed in it, turned it sideways and upside down, then he pooped in it. I'm telling you, he was not happy. For a fleeting moment I entertained the thought that he might have claustrophobia, but then I thought better of it. Would you believe that the entire ride home he laid in that trailer almost as if he was enjoying the breeze tickling his ears! I imagined the people we passed were thinking, "Oh, what a docile animal!" I have never before seen a cow lay down in a trailer! It was like he was bound and determined to make liars out of us if we told anyone about the tantrum he'd thrown earlier.
To make this relate-able, once again, think of your children. Easy to understand how we felt, huh?
Now, to make easier to relate to the spiritual aspect, think of the Israelites. Here we were wanting to take this ole boy to the Promised Land, aka Beyond Blessed Farm, and he almost wished he was back as a slave in Egypt (not comparing that kind lady's farm, just work with me...) We even brought the darn thing manna from heaven, aka sweet feed. We knew that he'd like the holler once he got here, and once he saw that his buddies were there, but he had to put up a fight. We knew he'd even enjoy the ride if he'd trust us. See where I'm goin with this?
So, we got the dude home, got him wormed and unloaded, and fed again. All's well that ends well, or so I'm told. In the end, these verses are the ones that seem to fit:
And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
Luke 15: 5-7
Moral of the story: When God is working in your life, don't buck and kick around and poop in your trough, just sit down, enjoy the ride and let the wind tickle your ears.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Lately, I have brought my attention back to working on the genealogy of my husband's family. The reason why I am researching his, and not my own is because several people in my family have researched our family, but no one in his family has. I can call someone in my family up, and get a copy of my history, but we cannot do that for my husband.
My father-in-law, is actually the best resource I have found in researching both sides of my husband's family. He is like a walking history book. He can tell you so many things that date so far back. He also remembers the actual dates like no one I've ever know. And, aside from the statistics, he is also a wealth of funny facts and stories. He knows some pretty good tales on several family members.
A few years ago, George and I went around to the family cemeteries that we knew of to try to record birth and death dates. My father-in-law went with us to a few places, and I found myself jotting down more of what he was saying that what I was actually seeing on those tombstones. It is definitely more interesting to hear than to read.
So, during the last week, I have been on Ancestry.com clicking on all those little leaves that I could find. I am so interested in this, and it makes me wonder. You know, on some level where we came from is important to all of us. We all have a desire to learn of our heritage. How many times have we watched shows where they find someone's biological parent or siblings. We cry as they make that connection. Well, as a child of Almighty God, how can we overlook our Christian heritage?
We know that the Bible is our greatest resource. Not only does it help us to learn of God our Father, and Jesus who we are joint heirs to the throne with, but all of life's lessons can be found in this great book. We learn where we came from as well as where we are going.
I think one of the greatest things we think of when we think of genealogy in the Bible is found in the Christmas story.
And it came to pass in those days, there went out a decree from Caesar
Augustus, that all the world should be taxed......And all went to be taxed,
every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out
of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is
called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
Luke 2:1, 3-4
Right there, between those parentheses, is the heritage of our Lord. We see that Jesus was a descendant of David, a man after God's own heart. Why do you think this is important? Why does God want us to know this?
I'm not really sure myself. I just know, that it is nice to find out where we come from, to know that we belong to a certain group of people, how their name came about, and where they first landed when coming to America. It is fun to sit and wonder how far back my brown eyes go, and were there others who had the same tendencies that I do? What was their language of birth? What was their profession? Were they saved by the grace of God so that I may see them one day in heaven?
One thing is for certain, we may all have different relatives, we may have different skin tones, and quirks, but we do know where we came from. We came from the Creator of the Universe. We were intricately formed by The Almighty God for His glory. And one sweet day, to Him we will return.
Aris begat Corbett, and Corbett begat Rick, and Rick begat Nathan (& Erin-but it typically lists the boys).
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Straining and striving does not accomplish the work God gives us to
do. Only God Himself, who always works without stress and strain and Who
never overworks, can do the work He assigns to His children. When we
restfully trust Him to do it, the work will be completed and will be done
well. And the way to let Him do His work through us is to fully abide in
Christ by faith that He fills us to overflowing.
A man who learned this secret once said, "I came to Jesus and drank, and I
believe I will never be thirsty again. My life's motto has become 'Not
overwork but overflow,' and it has already made all the difference in my
There is no straining effort in an overflowing life, and it is quietly
irresistible. It is the normal life of omnipotent and ceaseless
accomplishment into which Christ invites each of us to enter-today and always.
(from Sunday School Times)
Be all at rest, my soul, O blessed secret,
Of the true life that glorifies the Lord:
Not always does the busiest soul best serve Him,
But he that rests upon His faithful Word.
Be all at rest, let not your heart be rippled,
For tiny wavelets mar the image fair,
Which the still pool reflects of heaven's glory-
And thus the image He would have you bear.
Be all at rest, my soul, for rest is service,
To the still heart God does His secrets tell;
Thus will you learn to wait, and watch, and labor,
Strengthened to bear, since Christ in you does dwell.
For what is service but the life of Jesus,
Lived through a vessel of earth's fragile clay,
Loving and giving and poured forth for others,
A living sacrifice from day to day.
Be all at rest, so then you'll be an answer
To those who question, "Who is God and where?"
For God is rest, and where He dwells is stillness,
And they who dwell in Him, His rest will share.
And what will meet the deep unrest around you,
But the calm peace of God that filled His breast?
For still a living Voice calls to the weary,
From Him who said, "Come unto Me and rest."
~Freda Hanbury Allen
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I got a later start than I would've liked, but the temperature was still very tolerable considering the heat that we've endured this summer. I was able to walk 4 laps, which ended up being about 3 miles. I do own a treadmill, which I am very thankful to have, but I wanted to be outside. Although I live on a farm, there is no real distinct path to walk. I wanted to be outside with the Lord. I know that He can just as easily be inside with me, but how nice it is to see His beauty.
I also find that I am more motivated when I am walking outside. There is something new at every turn. There may be a breeze on that corner that wasn't blowing there during the last lap. You may see late summer flowers mixed with fall decorations on the homes that surround the campus. Occasionally, I would catch a glimpse at a leaf falling or see an acorn in my path. It was such a beautiful morning. The sky was blue, and not a cloud that I could see. Everyone I passed spoke "good morning." Even in that little area of town, the traffic noises seem to subside somewhat and you can hear the sounds of God's creatures along with the hum of the air conditioners at the dorms. On one lap, I even caught the scent of a dryer running. It was just a glorious morning.
I am so thankful for that opportunity. I had some wonderful alone time with my Savior. Most of the time I walked I was able to pray, and what peace and serenity this brought to me. I now feel refreshed, although I am sweaty; and energized, although my feet ache. My spirit is awakened, even though I may take a nap here in a minute.
I am blessed.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
There have been other things that He has revealed to me over the last week, one of those was through my husband. We have been praying over the decision to buy a farm that we are already leasing. Some of the pictures I have posted on here have been from that farm. It is a beautiful place, and of course we both love farming. We love the land and any opportunity to enjoy God's creation. We take so much pleasure in seeing His beauty displayed before us. This was a difficult decision for many reasons. The man who owns the farm is a long time family friend, and we knew he wanted to sell to someone who would love it as much as he does. He had inherited the farm, so it is quite special to him.
Secondly, we are saddened when we pass old farmsteads that are abandoned due to death or misfortune. We both grieve a little when we see these beautiful places and think of the lives that once graced that property. I think we think of George's dad and how hard he worked to buy this place that we live on. His own father wouldn't loan him the money, but an uncle did, and in no time he had him paid back. He is always telling us, "Everything I have was given to me by the grace of the Good Lord." ~One of the reasons our farm is named "Beyond Blessed Farm"~
And, on the flip side, it was a hard decision because we knew that it was next to impossible for us to afford. We knew, that if it were God's will, that wouldn't matter, but we want to be cautious and not go in debt. We knew if it were not His will, we could be digging a hole for ourselves.
Those along with other reasons caused us to go back and forth listing pros and cons, praying and rationalizing, seeking wise counsel, praying and figuring. Well, last Sunday, we asked our Sunday School class to pray with us. That Monday, the owner came to talk to us again and urge us to buy. Honestly, I was getting frustrated. I had no qualms waiting on the Lord to tell us what He wanted for us, but I needed this man to be willing to wait too! A few more days went by, and George came in from working on the farm. He said, "Well, I called "Joe" and told him that we were in no shape to buy that farm, land contract or otherwise." Shew! ~ my audible sigh of relief~
We are at peace about this, and we know peace can only come from our Lord. I am so thankful just to have the decision made. We are so blessed with what we have and if the Lord wants us to have more, He will provide. But, lets hope that's somewhere on down the line. I am content for now to stay in the boat we're in now.
The other major way that the Lord has revealed Himself to me this week is through an addiction of mine. I love pop. Pepsi, Coke, Dr. Pepper....love it! I have struggled with this forever. And, now that I am nearly 32, it really shows. On my hips, my belly, my butt....everywhere. I know there are other things that I need to cut back on or eliminate, but pop is the hardest. I seriously believe I am addicted. I think about it. I crave it. Any time I have tried to quit drinking pop or cut back, I have not succeeded. On Wednesday, I was really thinking about this, and praying. The Lord revealed that He could give me the ability to flee that temptation just like any other that I may face. I have not had any pop since Wednesday. That is even hard for me to believe. Yesterday and this morning were the hardest. Last night, we had a birthday party for our nephew. It is easy to talk yourself into giving in on special occasions, but I made it through. Then, this morning, Chase and I went to McDonald's on our way to church. There is nothing I like better than a fountain coke to go with my sausage biscuit. Thank the Lord, He gave me the strength to order water. I know I will battle this temptation for a long time, but I am so thankful for where He has brought me so far. I couldn't do it without Him.
Thank you Lord for all the ways You have revealed Yourself to me this week! I love You!