Nor fruit be on the vines…Yet I will rejoice in the Lord… Hababkkuk 3:17-18 NKJV
Last year I planted several fruit trees: two peach, an apple and a plum. Two plums were produced. This year the tree branched into a perfect Y with good foliage and the promise of abundant blossoms.
Alas that was until Holly, my pet bovine, walked through a “natural barrier” of underbrush during the night and feasted.
Taking the puppies out before daylight I found Holly contentedly lying beside her handiwork a few feet from the cabin. It doesn’t look like we will have a crop of plums this season.
Turning to the Lord to keep me calm, I went about creating a place to lure her to safety and still be in Memphis by 8:30 a.m. for a writers’ workshop.
be content with such things as you have. Heb. 13:5a NKJV
Holly is 15 years old and never been spanked until this morning. Why, now? Well, because she pushed her big head through fence wire forcing me to rearrange the fence line, not once but twice. On her third try, with open hand, I spanked her quite substantial bottom as many times as she had attempted to move to “greener pasture”.
It worked. She turned around. Funny thing is: her current space is far greener than the additional spaces she wanted to explore. Cattle are not the only animals who think the other side of the fence offers better prospects. My horses, Jack and Bebe, behave similarly. Puppies Stephen and Jude do likewise.
Humans are much the same. Often we are tempted to explore greener pastures: better job, better relationship, bigger and better houses…
But are they really better?
We can take a lesson from the Apostle Paul who said he could be content no matter his circumstance. We, too, can choose to appreciate what we have in this very moment and let go of hungering for something “out there”. And with contentment comes peace, a peace that surpasses all understanding.
give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thes. 3:16 NKJV
The fence line was opened for Holly, the last of my bovines, to allow her to come close to the cabin both to provide some greenery for her to munch and to meet her companionship needs with the loss of Sonny, her mate. In a few days she had cleaned up the new space and was looking for better offerings.
Thus, she walked through her new fence line three times in a row.
Each time I coaxed her back with grain until finally she ignored her dish in preference for clumps of tall grass in an open area. With natural borders on nearly three sides, the Lord nudged me to grab what was left of the welded wire and t-posts to secure her, finishing late that afternoon. The danger was in her wandering into the neighbors’ yard or the street out front.
There are plans to get rid of a 1977 mobile vacated in February by a long-term tenant and in need of major interior restoration. A for sale sign is posted.
Once gone, the horses will be moved from the back hill (where the mare Bebe can be seen in the above photo on the right) to graze alongside the cabin and include land stretching north which still needs to dry after a very wet winter.
While waiting on the Lord for the sun to scorch the earth, with the help of a local printer, I produced a large format edition of Whippoorwill Calls containing art only, which will be discussed in future posts.
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.
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.
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.
Thank you, Lord, for Your protection for me and mine.
yea, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.
Ps 56:13 (NOAB)
You are in the wilderness now but not for 40 years, I vow. You are safe. We are blessed to have this land. The trees serve not only as fence posts but shelter as well. And soon there will be warm, dry weather. We can plant grass. You’ll see.
There is no market for pine,” he said—“Nothing here but pulp and fence posts. Lumber harvested after Katrina is still plentiful and construction is down, you know“ from one among an extended family who still logs with horses and mules. “Since you just want to create pasture, perhaps you can find someone just to take if off your hands. I recommend heavy equipment to clear the rest.”
Every now and then I peer through the brush to glimpse the golden hue of Shangri-La less than 100 yards away.