Though He causes grief

Yet He will show compassion, according to the multitude of His mercies. Lam. 3:32 NKJV

Sonny with snow

My world is not as bright as it once was since the loss of my dearly beloved friend, Sonny. After  photographing him pulled to life by a dairy farmer in June 1998, I proceeded to adopt this leggy, reddish-brown and white coated calf when he was 11 days old. Before bringing him home to live with me, on my lunch hour, every day I drove 20 minutes to the dairy to give him a bottle of his mother’s milk.

At six months Sonny’s color changed to black-and-white and all his playmates were rescued and abandoned dogs. The size of a fawn, at night he reclined outside my bedroom window adjacent to the front door so he could keep tabs on my comings and goings.

Once as a young bull, he escaped his confines and was found at the bottom of a ravine prancing about with a 10-12 foot long tree branch between his horns. Then he ran up and back down the bank, as if to say, “Look at me!”

Bottle-fed, at 16 years, he still would suckle my fingers and groom me with well placed licks. Sonny could be pushy at times, if he thought someone was going to remove his feed dish before he was ready to relinquish it. Yet, of all three of my bovines, he was the most closely attuned to human behavior. He understood some basic language commands, and was always curious about anything I was doing.

Sonny was totally loyal to those he loved, particularly Holly, the love-of-his-life. When she first joined the farm as a 45-day old heifer, he was smitten. His love for her never waned.

Unexpectedly, Sonny died Thursday morning, March 5, 2015. Some moments, the pain of not seeing and interacting with him is overwhelming, and other times wistful remembering his various actions. Time will heal. I know this from past experience. Yet, my grief is fresh and deep.

Bien qu’il cause de chagrin et pourtant, il va faire preuve de compassion, selon la multitude de ses compassions. Lam. 3:32 NKJV

Mon monde n’est pas aussi brillant qu’il l’était autrefois depuis la perte de mon cher ami bien-aimé, Sonny. Après avoir pris des photos lui tiré à la vie par un producteur laitier de juin 1998, j’ai procédé à adopter cette revue “teasing”, brun-rouge et blanc couché veau quand il était de 11 jours. Avant de l’amener chez lui de vivre avec moi, sur mon heure de dîner, tous les jours ma voiture 20 minutes à la laiterie à lui donner une bouteille de le lait de sa mère.

Au cours de six mois Sonny’s couleur a changé en noir et blanc et tous ses camarades ont été secourus et abandonné les chiens. La taille d’un fauve, la nuit, il se mit en dehors de ma fenêtre de chambre adjacente à la porte avant pour qu’il puisse garder un œil sur mes allées et venues.

Une fois qu’un jeune taureau, il a échappé à son cadre et a été trouvé au fond d’un ravin matamore avec un 10-12 pieds de long branche arborescente entre ses cornes. Ensuite, il a couru de haut en bas la banque, comme pour dire “Regardez-moi!”

Nourris au biberon, à 16 ans, il serait toujours téter mes doigts et le marié avec moi bien placé salifères. Sonny pourrait être agressif par moments, s’il avait pensé que quelqu’un allait déposer son alimentation antenne parabolique avant qu’il était prêt à renoncer. Pourtant, de tous les trois de mes bovins, il était le plus étroitement adapté au comportement de l’homme. Il comprenait certaines langues de base commandes et il était toujours curieux de savoir ce que je faisais.

Sonny a été totalement fidèles à ceux qu’il aimait, et en particulier le houx, l’amour de sa vie. Lorsqu’elle a pour la première fois rejoint la ferme comme un 45-jour vieux génisse, il a été frappé. Son amour pour son jamais faibli.

Inopinément, Sonny est décédé jeudi matin, 5 mars 2015. Quelques instants après, la douleur de ne pas voir et interagir avec lui est écrasante, et d’autres fois flamboie sans oublier ses différentes actions. Temps va guérir. Je le sais par expérience. Et pourtant, ma douleur est fraîche et profonde.

And we know that all things work together

for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  Rom.8:26 NKJV

PuppiesIt takes two munchkins, not to replace, but to ease the grief. In 1994, I began rescuing dogs whose owners no longer wanted them and put them out in the country where they were left to fend for themselves. Some were brought to a vet clinic where I worked. Of these, one was a blind Cocker spaniel, Stevie, and another was a chocolate Labrador retriever, Sara, with heartworms and a mammary tumor. Sam, was a puppy with a mild seizure disorder, who was found wandering and brought to the clinic. I adopted all three, only later discovering Sam’s condition. Of the 30 dogs rescued through those two decades, Sam was the last one left. We were together for 16 years. He saw me through many trials and joys. Sam died this weekend. He was of another generation.CropPuppy

A new generation started with the adoption of Luke in October, and now two mixed great Pyrenees puppies. I miss you, Sam. Rest in peace, my friend.

Et nous savons que toutes choses travaillent ensemble pour le bien de ceux qui aiment Dieu, de ceux qui sont appelés selon son dessein. Rom.8:26 NKJV

Il prend deux elfes, non pas à remplacer, mais à faciliter la douleur. En 1994, j’ai commencé au sauvetage les chiens dont les propriétaires ne voulaient plus et de les mettre dans le pays où ils étaient laissés à eux-mêmes. Certaines ont été portées à un vétérinaire clinique où j’ai travaillé. L’un d’entre eux était un aveugle Cocker Épagneul Breton, Stevie Wonder, et un autre était un chocolat Labrador retriever, Sara, avec heartworms et une tumeur mammaire. Sam, était un chiot avec une légère convulsion, qui a été trouvée errant et portés à la clinique. J’ai adopté tous les trois, seulement plus tard découvrir Sam’s condition. Sur les 30 chiens sauvés grâce à ces deux dernières décennies, Sam était le dernier gauche. Nous avons été ensemble pendant 16 ans. Il m’a vu à travers de nombreuses épreuves et joies. Sam est décédé ce week-end. Il était d’une autre génération. Une nouvelle génération a commencé avec l’adoption de Luke en octobre, et maintenant deux mixtes grand Pyrénées chiots. Tu me manques, Sam. Repose en paix, mon ami.

The days of a human life are

Scene2Northcroplike grass: they bloom like a wildflower, but when the wind blows through it, it’s gone, even the ground where it stood doesn’t remember it. Ps. 103:15-16 CEB

The psalmist could have said as much about a snowflake. Like twinkling stars they cascade downward, never touching another frozen flake, until they reach ground. When the sun shines and earth warms they melt and become rivulets of water traveling a path of least resistance and are no longer remembered  as snowflakes. We humans often flow with the current, taking the path of least resistance, fighting no one. At times this is the best route. Other times, it is those humans, even divine ones, who took a stand, met resistance and brought light to the oppressed whom we remember as peacemakers. Pressing onward for a vision of the world where suffering would cease, and ultimately giving their lives, we observe and honor them starting with the Prince of Peace followed by Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. In between the path of least resistance and the path these extraordinary peacemakers took are many gradients. While we may not be remembered any more than the snowflake or the wildflower, we can make a difference by the path we choose, being bold and stepping forward in faith.

Scene4Southcrop

Les jours de la vie de l’homme, sont comme l’herbe : ils fleurissent comme un wildflower, mais lorsque le vent souffle à travers elle, il est allé, même dans le sol où il se tint ne se souvient pas. Ps. 103:15-16 CCS

le psalmiste pourrait avoir dit autant sur un flocon de neige. Comme scintillantes étoiles ils en cascade vers le bas, jamais toucher un autre gel paillette, jusqu’à ce qu’ils atteignent la masse. Quand le soleil brille et réchauffe la terre ils fondre et devenir les ruisseaux d’eau qui parcourt un chemin de moindre résistance et sont ne se souvenait plus de flocons. Nous, les êtres humains souvent le débit avec le courant, prenant le chemin de moindre résistance, combats personne. Parfois il s’agit de la meilleure route. D’autres fois, c’est de ces êtres humains, même divine qui, eux, ont pris un stand, a rencontré de la résistance et a tenu à les opprimés dont nous nous souvenons en tant qu’artisans de la paix. Appuyant sur onward pour une vision du monde où la souffrance cesserait, et, finalement, donner leur vie, nous observer et les honorer en commençant par le Prince de la paix suivie de Mohandas Gandhi et Martin Luther King Jr. En entre le chemin de moindre résistance et le chemin ces artisans extraordinaires pris sont nombreux dégradés. Alors que nous ne sommes peut-être pas oublier non plus que le flocon ou le wildflower, nous pouvons faire la différence par la voie que nous avons choisie, être audacieux et avancer dans la foi.

 

But I say to you who hear

Holly 2_2015 snow

Holly, the Charolais-Angus heifer

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. Luke 6:27-28 NKJV

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials. James 1:2  NKJV

While we have not had the deluge of snow the Northeastern states have, in Tennessee the drop in temperature to single digits has presented challenges. Streets turned icy as the light snow congealed. Our outside heating unit froze rendering the heat pump useless and worse blowing cold air through the ducts. Thank heaven for the fake fireplace which heats the cabin inside, albeit unevenly. What a joy it was when the temperature rose just now enough to turn on the thermostat. The bovines and horses are doing fine and receiving extra nourishment.  And we are moving toward days when the weather is well above freezing with a few more colder nights.

Yet these cold weather issues are not the trials I am associating with the Scriptures cited above. My trial is the forgiveness of a person who brought harm to me 25 years ago. The memory of the incident, which is painful, was repressed until talking with a friend recently. Then I listened to an interview on SAT7ARABIC with the brother of Bishoy Estafanos Kamel and Samuel Estafanos Kamel, two of the 21 Coptic Christians slain by members of ISIS. The brother told how his mother said if she met the killers of her sons on the street, she would invite them to her home. The strength of her Christian faith and the love she expressed is exemplary. If she can forgive, then so can I.

As each one has received a gift

minister it to one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  1 Peter 4:10 NKJV

In my writers’ group the suggestion was made to approach a local coffee shop to host a book signing. The next day sipping a latte’ and checking messages on my cell phone, I began a conversation with a family at an adjacent table in Square Beans Coffee in Collierville, Tenn.

From Texas and visiting a daughter and grandchild, the grandfather, who has authored several books, asked to see a copy of Whippoorwill Calls. The couple became interested in my poetry and drawings. Following our lengthy and cordial discussion, I met the coffee shop owners’ daughter who had become available and agreed to my book signing and sale of prints on Valentine’s Day from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

It was certainly helpful that a patron had shown interest in my work: one author to another, not to mention the original suggestion from the first author to visit Square Beans Coffee shop.

It is noteworthy: Sometimes the manifold gift of creating art, is less the actual art than it is the generosity of the artist.

R_12_15 FINAL Crouchingcopyright

The Sun of Righteousness shall arise

The flashlight reveals Buff reclining in the grass

The flashlight reveals Buff reclining in the grass

With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves  Mal.4:2 NKJV

The youngest of my bovines, Buff, has been battling health challenges of late. After contacting several large animal vets, none would come out to treat a bull without a cattle chute. I could bring him in, they said. But Buff is not very compliant. On a good day, it could take eight hours to load him. He balks at trailers. Spending weeks cajoling and medicating him to the best of my ability, Buff was not improving. The last week he began shedding pounds with a complete loss of appetite.

Inside Chuteclone_0064

Unnerved I approached a neighbor and friend who raised cattle most of his adult life. Either I needed to trailer Buff and take him to the vet or create a temporary chute I told him and asked which he advised. So my friend created a V-shaped cattle chute using two of his 12-foot cattle panels and a small bull gate of mine. We reinforced fence line around two adjoining spaces, one with the chute, and opened it to Buff who graciously entered. TempChute_0061

The vet came out. Buff received subcutaneous penicillin, cortisone and B-12 injections, bloat release, bicarbonate boluses and pour-on wormer. Immediately he began eating hay and grain, as well as consuming water. He is continuing to eat and hydrate, sitting in sunlight in between helpings. The vet took a blood sample and so the chute is remaining for the time being.

I praise the Lord for Buff’s improvement and am grateful my big pal is responding to treatment.

…God is love and he who abides in love

abides in God, and God in him 1John 4:16 NKJV

With 15 new t-posts outfitted around the circumference of his space, Sonny is secure in his treed environment. The laminated 18×28 inch gesture-line drawing of a dancer from Whippoorwill Calls was placed beside his fence line. After eating some hay Sonny meandered over to investigate the piece created for a future book signing.

1_19_15TighterCropCloneSonnyDancerDSC_0054

1_19_15CropCloneSonnyDancerDSC_0056

But seek first the kingdom of God

and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matt. 6:33 NKJV

Cutting back on Sonny’s and Holly’s grain ration to avoid health problems has not suited the Brahma. For the last five days he has pressed his weight against four strands of barbwire and snapped them. Not satisfied with remaining in the heifer’s space, which rings his confine, he has gone over her fence to munch on leaves and whatever he found pleasing to his palate. I don’t blame him. He lives in the trees.

The entire reason I published Whippoorwill Calls is to earn income to buy pastureland for the Brahma Sonny, Holly, the baby bull Buff and the two horses, Jack and Bebe. Yearning for my home state, to visit with friends and family, I wanted to move the entire kit and kaboodle east of the Cascades ideally in view of Mt. Rainier, providing it was in keeping with God’s Will for us.

398Entrance East15EastPasturefrmpadThis latest wrinkle and some health challenges facing Buff have led me to look closer. From our home just 3.2 miles along country back roads or seven miles by major streets is a bank owned property. There are numerous amenities specific to our needs with electricity, septic and well water, not to mention a rudimentary barn and outbuildings right down to a cattle chute.

In the meantime I have secured a radio interview with our local arts and entertainment personality with public radio for February 13, but do not, as yet, have a scheduled book signing with a local independent bookstore. Signs measuring 18×28 inches of several drawings are laminated with a gloss finish just waiting to be set on an easel for such an event. Yes, I am following my cues taking steps within my arena and waiting for God to do the rest.

 

 

Rejoice in the Lord always

Again I will say, rejoice!  Phil. 4:4 NKJV

A friend held a dinner party this weekend and gave two guests a copy of my book, Whippoorwill Calls. After the meal reportedly they read poems aloud from the book. Thank you, Lord.

My friend had ordered four editions before Christmas and they arrived Saturday. Earlier in the day we met brieflyF_12_15 FINAL Backcopyright so I could sign the copies. She was one of the individuals who had asked me if it would be possible to buy prints. While together I showed her my three-ring binder with 8×10 glossy prints of all 22 drawings. After her guests left, she sent me a text ordering prints, a 5×7 and an 8×10, of two figure studies.

The same local company that prepared the pre-press layout is creating the prints with a white border for matting and framing. Four laminated poster-size copies of drawings are being created to place on an easel at future book signings.

True both the paperback and hardcover editions are available online through Barnes & Noble and Amazon goo.gl/G0F2GG with an author site: goo.gl/h1pkVH, yet I have contacted a Memphis independent bookseller. In addition to carrying Whippoorwill Calls, I would also like to make the prints available through his retail store. A book signing before Valentine’s Day, with books and prints would top the chart.

In preparation, last week I ordered business cards and bookmarks….oh, and a mouse pad for blog posts and my next book already underway. 

Faithful love and truth have met

righteousness and peace have kissed. Ps. 85:10 CEB

It was late October and Luke had been hanging out in the neighborhood for several days. Roaming freely this brindle-colored canine was fickle. He would go up to and make friends with other dogs on our street while simultaneously watching for soft touches for a free meal. Two households were providing food and water to the interloper. When I placed a dish of food beside the horse trailer, it was a commitment.

cropDSC_0380

But how would Sam, my 14-year-old, 85 pound, mixed breed take to him, I wondered. Sam is protective and doesn’t cotton to strangers, most fanatically not to humans. Oh, he likes my octogenarian female friend. However, she and only she is welcome in our 400 square foot cabin, as far as Sam is concerned.

Not taking any chances I rushed to purchase two muzzles, one for each dog, before introducing the latest rescue, now called Luke. At first separated by a doggy gate, Sam primarily ignored the upstart. After a few days the gate was used mostly at feeding. The muzzle still comes in handy when taking rations to the livestock or being gone for brief periods.

It turns out Luke still has enough puppy in him that furniture and other items appear perfect for teething, despite the fact that Luke doesn’t have a single baby tooth in his mouth. For long departures he is crated.

Recently, Luke has taken to checking on me around 3:00 am. The futon when unfolded is closer to the ground than a normal bed. While sleeping soundly, Luke approaches and first sniffs my face, then up comes a paw followed by a second one.

I say, “No,” several times while placing his legs firmly on the floor. Finally, I forcefully tell him to “stop and go lie down,” which he does. Half Sam’s size Luke is still ample. At different times in the day he gets a notion to crawl up in my lap and put his head on my chest with feet still grounded.

When all the affection he desires is not reciprocated or the session has concluded, Luke  goes over to Sam. He  has even once or twice licked Sam’s face. Sometimes Luke reclines beside the alpha dog, who has accepted the newest member of the family in stride.

 

 

 

What I mean is this

the one who sows a small number of seeds will also reap a small crop and the one who sows a generous amount of seeds will also reap a generous crop.  2 Cor. 9:6 CEB

 

Before adopting the Brahma-Holstein calf and bottle-feeding him, I rescued dogs. It started when my mother-in-law called and asked if I would retrieve seven orphaned pups from her farm and find good homes for them. A memoir, I began today opens in 1994, with the rescue of those orphans. It was four years before this photograph was taken of Sonny, the baby bull whom I also adopted. This story is my second book, following the release of Whippoorwill Calls.

Bottling feeding calf

Sonny required bottle feeding several times a day

Fill us full every morning with your faithful love

Howdy, Jack says

Howdy, Jack says

so we can rejoice and celebrate our whole life long. Ps. 90:14 CEB

Links to YouTube video of Jack, (R), and Bebe, (below L), have been added to this site and a link to my blog was placed this morning at my Amazon.com  Author Page for Whippoorwill Calls.

 

Bebe in halter

Bebe in halter

 

Life is filled with joy!

Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth

Serve the Lord with celebration! Come before him with shouts of joy! Ps. 100:1-2 CEB

 

Today the hardcover edition of Whippoorwill Calls arrived. Immediately I turned to the inside to see how the red Conte’ crayon figure drawings appeared in premium color and discovered they are better defined than in the paperback in standard color. I let out a sigh of relief. The hardcover passed the test hardcoverand was approved for distribution.

What I didn’t expect was how the ridges and sharper edges of the hardcover would feel beneath my fingertips, or how the weight of the book would make it feel more substantial in every respect.

In printing, the company added a heavier blank page at the front and back giving Whippoorwill Calls a finished appearance.

I am filled with joy and gratitude to the Lord for directing my steps and opening doors for me to walk through not on tiptoes but confidently.

 

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess

for he who promised is faithful. Heb. 10:23 NIV

12_15 FINAL IMAGEScopyright_Page_06I am concluding a third year of reading daily devotions from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, yet it took 2014 before the words “I trust you Jesus” became part of my everyday thoughts as naturally as breathing. Now my mantra, I say these words silently and out loud depending on need.

While preparing images for Whippoorwill Calls, I turned to Christ to ensure the book reached market at the optimum time, then let go. I refused to push myself and others to meet some arbitrary deadline. I simply remained focused on the task at hand. God had me covered.

On Friday, November 21, my proof copy of the paperback edition arrived and the book was approved for printing and distribution. That evening a feed with my title went to global online retailers and storefronts. However, I was advised by two different individuals that a behemoth in the online industry might take a minimum of 48 hours and up to three weeks to have Whippoorwill Calls listed and available for purchase. This meant my book would possibly reach market in mid-December. The news rocked me, and not in a good way. Fear was creeping round, waiting for an opportunity to envelop me. Mantra, repeat the mantra.

Having purchased a bundle of ISBNs from Bowker, in the evening I returned to their website and completed information about my book under its assigned 13-digit identifier. Saturday morning during my devotional time Hebrews 10:23 NIV was my verse for the day: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

Speaking with God, I reiterated going to market was in His control despite what others had to say and after meditating on His Word, my faith was steadfast. Immediately following this time with God I was nudged to go online and search my ISBN, title and authorship. In less than 24 hours and closer to 12, there it was. Whippoorwill Calls was available for purchase. Posting the news on Facebook, three friends ordered a copy.

God keeps His promises.

 

God didn’t give us a spirit that is timid

but one that is powerful, loving, and self-controlled. 2 Tim 1:7 CEB

A project begun in May is at the launch pad. The checklist has been reviewed and parts fine tuned. A test run is in progress: a copy of the paperback edition of Whippoorwill Calls is in route and scheduled to arrive in a couple of days. Once approved, it will be released for printing and global distribution…and countdown to market.

PaperCover

A hardcover edition in premium color is completing its revision cycle. Once the proof is available, it will go through the same steps as the paperback. The target release date for both is November 24, 2014.

If you have faith

as small as a mustard see, you can say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it will obey you.  Luke 17:6 NIV

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Today I delivered the book package to a local pre-press group to “set the type” before it goes to the printing company. It has been an arduous six months of photographing drawings, revising poems and getting everything just so.

There have been missteps along the way. Yet, all situations have added to my learning curve as a self-published artist poet. The self-publishing company, a sole proprietorship, is 1writersdevotion.

Reaching Skyward, featured here in black and white, is one of my sketches which will be in red Conte’ crayon in the book.

An eBook is out, as of this writing.

I found centered poems with stanzas and irregular lines which need to be left justified lose something in translation, and a good deal of photographic technique applied to photos may need the images tweaked, not just pulled into a digital format without massaging.

So plans change. Two print editions of Whippoorwill Calls are being created. Both are in color and will be available in retail stores and online. The hardcover edition is in premium color.

I have faith the books will reach market in perfect timing. Why, do I say this? Because He said to ask in His name and I did.

Be still before the Lord

and wait for him.  Ps. 37:7 CEB

 

FB_WordPressMe

 

 

Patience has never been easy for me. At times I have infinite patience; and other times not so. Yesterday, Will took pictures of me for my book cover. The work progresses slowly as I continue photographing renderings and re-paint old drawings with new tools. For a break, I post. Then I am still before the Lord, hushing mind chatter, listening, breathing.

 

Author&Jackbefore

 

 

 

Behold I will do a new thing

now it shall spring forth…  Isaiah 43:19 KJV

In retirement and after a lifetime of fulfilling commitments I am living my joy, creating art.  Whippoorwill Calls, A Collection of Poems & Art, a thin read, features 22 figure and gesture drawings with seven poems. Paperback and hardcover editions will be available soon.4Ffinal7_31APrintcopyright

I spent two months preparing the photographed art for publication. Several are black charcoal figure drawings and others are in red Conte’ crayon. Two are faces. In the book the leg in black and white in this post is in golden tones in Whippoorwill Calls.

 

Thanks be to God for His

BeautyWildflowers at mailboxPurple starbursts  indescribable gift!  2Cor. 9:15 NKJV

 

 

The earth is the Lord's

The earth is the Lord’s

Snowball blooms brightly

Snowball blooms brightly

A closer look at wildflower visitor

A closer look at wildflower visitor

First hosta bloom this year!

First hosta bloom this year!

White carnation and gladiola blooms grace tiny space

White carnation and gladiola blooms grace tiny space

Mock orange bloom

Mock orange bloom

I forget about the things behind me

and reach out for the things ahead of me.  Phil. 3:13b CEB

 

crpdogwoodgood

 

Past starts, sputters and screeching halts are of no consequence because the momentum and joy of writing, photographing drawings and preparing a “thin read” is propelling me forward.  Just as the insect gathers nectar my solar-plexus pulls me inward hungry to express the gifts so graciously bestowed.

You have made known to me the ways of life

You will make me full of joy in Your presence.  Acts 2:28 NKJV

 

Full bloom tree top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crab-apple tree blooms. Winds come. Petals float and drop covering the earth—a short life.1 crabapple w sky

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balance You are teaching me is preeminent. Walk the beam of life hands outstretched.

 

but whoever drinks from the water

that I will give will never be thirsty again. The water that I give will become in those who drink it a spring of water that bubbles up in eternal life.  John 4:14 CEB

Water with branches

This wet weather pond is not nearly as full as in previous years. With spring approaching perhaps the water level will rise before the dry, hot summer months.

Each season brings a new look, a new adventure. Frogs croaking in alternating rhythms greeted me late this morning. A few days ago wings flapped overhead.

Winters past the scene was totally different. Snow draped the tree branches and covered the ground. I wait with delight for each slide in the show to advance revealing yet another beauty.

snow on the pond

Pond long view

Ask, and it will be given

to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.  Matt. 7:7-8 NKJV

Sonny L of trees

Abba, Father, I am asking, not for myself but for the animals: abundant green pastures, winter and summer shelter, no piles of limbs and broken trees brought down by storms, no ankle-deep mud, no barbwire.  Instead please provide pipe fencing which safely allows the horses and cattle to commune again, and bless me the pleasure of telling their story, Your story. I delight in all that You are and You have promised to give me the desires of my heart (Ps. 37:4). You said nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37). I believe.

Sonny finishes grain with down trees behind

The Lord is near

The Lord is near.  Phil. 4:5b CEBBebe Jack wait for breakfast long view

Three minutes before midnight the electricity flickered, then shut down–heat and lights. Having called in the outage to the power cooperative, at 4:00 a.m. when the alarm went off, we were still in the dark.

Taking Sam by flashlight out for his constitutional I checked on the horses. Jack came up to me, got his nose kissed and I could see Bebe was OK too. The night’s deluge of rain, thunder and soft snow drifts had stopped, but the wind was high. Outside it was 20 degrees. It could have been so much worse.

Sonny in snow 2

Inside the cabin the temperature was 64 degrees. Crawling back under the covers was the best of all options. Later I heard the whir of the refrigerator. What a terrific sound. I rose, turned on heat, lights and brewed coffee before sitting down for my devotional time.

Holly Bebe & Jack in distance

Thank you, Lord, for Your protection for me and mine.

There are persons for companionship

but then there are friends who are more loyal than family.  Prov. 18:24 CEB

Bebe and Sonny

Bebe licks Sonny (2)

Living in adjacent spaces the horses and bovines became grooming partners. It all began when Buff, the copper-colored Charolais-Angus bull, started licking Bebe’s mane.  Soon Jack, the Palomino paint, began grooming Buff and then both horses included Sonny, the Brahma bull.

Jack licks Buff Mon 5_24_10Bebe hugs Buff

Those who make peace

sow the seeds of justice by their peaceful acts.  James 3:18 CEB

Closer Jackie straddling Sonny w_his face

Not only did the Great Dane Jackie pal with the baby bovine Holly, she also became friends with the Brahma Sonny. In addition to straddling the bull who was OK with her presence, she also climbed on top of him. A few years later all the critters took up residence in Tennessee.

Sid w_Jack eating 5_10Siddhartha, the wanderer, just showed up one day and made fast friends with Jack, the Palomino paint. Sid stayed on the Tennessee farm with the other canine rescues, two horses and three pet cattle.

God is love

and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16b NKJV

Holly L w_Jackie R full views

Jackie, (R) a Great Dane and runt of a litter of 17, was all energy, play and love. She became pals with the bovines with ease. Here she and Holly, a  less than three-month old heifer, are searching the gravel for some nuggets that only they could find.

Below: When Sonny, the Holstein-Brahma, was adopted at 11 days old he was the only bovine in the company of 30 rescued canines. He was eight months old when Holly, who was 45 days old, came to live with us. For Sonny, it was love-at-first-sight. The amour remains today.

Pet cattle

When Holly joined the farm at 45 days old she turned Sonny’s head

You will show me the path of life

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  Ps. 16:11

Amid cedar branches with a few snowflakes a cardinal momentarily takes refuge

Amid cedar branches with a few snowflakes a cardinal momentarily takes refuge

In whose hand is the life of every living thing

And the breath of all mankind?  Job 11:10 NKJV

A closer look at wildflower visitor

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Marvelous are Your works

And that my soul knows very well.  Ps. 139:14 NKJV

Autumn mushrooms in duplicate

Each day I return to the large animals’ quarters  there is a new crop of mushrooms in varying shapes, sizes and colorful displays, having pushed their heads up through soil and pine needles beside fallen leaves.

…even Solomon in all his glory was not

arrayed like one of these.  Luke 12:27 NKJV

White carnation and gladiola blooms grace tiny space

These white carnations and gladiola blooms retrieved from the trash at work thrill me with their beauty—and the simple pleasure they elicit with every glance.

Be fruitful and multiply

and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on earth  Gen. 1:22 NKJV

Doe and twin fawns help themselves to crapapples

Doe takes note with twin fawns nearby

After eating crabapples off the ground twin fawns look my way

Fawn stops eating crabapples to lick self

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet

than a house full of feasting, with strife  Prov. 17:1 NIV

Wild rabbit sits and waits

It had sprinkled,

the grass was damp with

another spritz on the way.

Would a wild rabbit wait for me to retrieve the

camera from atop the refrigerator in the cabin?

The answer was indeed, yes!

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;

the whole earth is full of his glory  Is. 6:3 NOAB

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Jesus came and stood among them and said…

“Peace be with you.” John 20:19 (NOAB)

Sonny close up at gate

Sonny peers over gate after trees removed

Recently Sonny brought down several two-inch diameter trees, 15 ft. tall or more. From the cabin the crunching of branches under hooves and backside scratching on hanging debris rang, “I’m looking for a way out!”

This morning with axe and loppers I loosed remnants from root and stump. Next they were thrown outside of Sonny’s space.

When finished I sighed. Now he can amble around clutter-free and peace filled me.

This God—his way is perfect

the promise of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.  Ps 18:30 (NOAB)

For three days I cut grass with a push mower and delivered the cuttings to my farm pals: Sonny, Holly, Buff, Jack and Bebe.

Hay is scarce. Following droughts in neighboring states farmers and ranchers learning of available supplies in West Tennessee traveled with their trailers and hauled full loads back to their animals.

Following breakfast grain Bebe diness on hay

The local farm supply held out serving locals until there was no more.  Last weekend I found someone who had older rolls of mixed grass. Two rolls were delivered the next day. While it lacks that fresh, sweet scent my group is accustomed to at least the cattle will eat it with a sprinkling of green. Except for the edges it is too rough to feed the horses.

Jack eats Bermuda with breakfast

Buff washes up while standing in the morning sun

Yesterday I connected with the person who delivered nine square bales of Bermuda a week ago, and he brought us 15 squares.

We have hay. We have fuel. We have grain and chow for all of us. Everyone is in relatively good health.  And we have a safe place to sleep and good tenants for neighbors.

Life is good on the farm thanks to God’s grace.