In my distress I prayed

to the Lord and the Lord answered me and set me free.  Ps. 118:5 NLT

“Full Moon
Around midnight on a recent road trip I became fixated on the enigmatic face observed by ancients down through the ages. While the mythology of the man in the moon persists, it struck me on this evening that the image seemed more feminine. Her expression, the terrain of her countenance, was more exquisite than a piece chisled by Auguste Rodin. 
Preoccupied she did not seem to notice me–watching her. I imagined a recent childbirth and wanted to ask her, “Are you smiling with contentment or grimacing with a tear on your translucent face?”
Excerpt from Whippoorwill Calls Prose & Poetry Edition

A man’s heart plans his way

But the Lord directs his steps. Prov. 16.9 NKJV

Prior to a mandatory four-day annual conference, my plan was to have the new cabin plumbed, wired with heat and air so we, my pets and I, could move in. That was my heart’s plan.

By conference time our custom tiny home had water so the cats were moved. This allowed a caretaker to easily come and feed them. The dogs were kenneled. A new light pole with an amber light was installed.

However, to take the next step, provide underground wiring to the tiny house, a 1977 mobile home must go to its new owner who has put $100 down. The unsightly mobile is sitting in my front yard blocking a clear path from the light pole to the cabin. The person hired to haul it 12 miles has a backlog.

Today I looked for a drop-leaf table and chairs for a small space adjacent to the kitchen and electric heater, as well as a new tiny recliner for my writing desk. The two piece desk will be situated in the living room. My former, well warn chair is going in the dogs’ room.  Buying time, I am, and waiting to be directed as to the next steps, the Lord has for me.


Commit your works to the Lord

And your thoughts will be established. Prov. 16:3 NKJV

He knows the desires of my heart. What more is there to ask? 12_15-final-imagescopyright_page_06

Peace, He said.

But where?

It is a matter of faith. Reconnect.

So I do.

Whisper his name.

Jesus. I close my eyes and find peace, always present …

 

 

 

 

 

…a still small voice

 

Field after clearingJust this August a small portion of my land was cleared for my horses, Jack and Bebe, and pet cow Holly, pictured below in front of brush before the clearing.

The prediction is for warm, dry weather this fall ideal for fencing. We have had an unusually wet summer. In fact many hay growers have lost crop to army worms so there may be a scarcity of good quality hay this winter.Before w_Holly

While a desire to return to the Northwest is still strong, all doors have opened wide to improve my property here in Tennessee and commit to managing low income housing for  24 seniors where I have worked since January. So, I walk through open doors and follow the still small voice.

Then He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake, and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. 1 Kings 19:11-12 NKJV

 

Why are you cast down, O my soul?

And why are you disquieted within me? PS. 43:5a NKJV

A coup attempt and repression in Turkey, mass murder in France on Bastille Day, men in blue assassinated in Dallas, Texas, individual men and women of African-American descent killed or shot by individual officers for what? White privilege acknowledged by some; unacknowledged by most. Two candidates who are despised by many clamor to lead this nation. A nation and a world caught in a spiral of discontent.

I cry out to the, help us please. Fill us with the peace You have promised.

Baby zebra

Baby zebra

Threesome

Threesome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If I look to Your creation, beauty shouts: “I AM here, Gabrielle, in the zebra, the gazelle, the lion, the sunset, the sunrise, waterfalls and the sea. I AM everywhere around you. Open your heart and be still long enough to hear Me. I have not left you. I AM searchable with each breath. Know Me. Trust Me. I AM with you always.”

 

You shall love your neighbor as yourself

Seeking to be clever and trip Jesus, the lawyer asked him, “Teacher which is the great commandment in the Law?” Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love you neighbor as yourself.'” Matt. 22:36-39

A_12_15 FINAL Logocopyright

Another time Jesus was asked, “Who is my neighbor?” In reply, Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan who stopped to help an injured man on the side of the road, administering to him and taking him to a nearby inn and paying for his lodging while he recuperated. Prior to the Samaritan stopping two others had crossed over to the opposite side of the road, not wanting to become involved.

Presented with opportunities to become involved and administer to another who is in pain, sometimes I have stopped, listened and provided comfort and more. Other times I have behaved more like the two who chose not to provide comfort and sustain life.

My country, which I love, is at a critical juncture. If ever there was a time to become involved, commit to a dialog, listen and be open to change as part of the process of loving our neighbors as ourselves, it is now. And while this is a Christian precept, The Golden Rule, treat others as you want to be treated, is part of most faith traditions.

All of us…not just a few must be a part of the solution. Each death, takes aim at the heart of our national soul.

 

For you have need of endurance

so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.  Hebrews 10:36 NKJV

After living in my cabin-on-wheels for 10 months, my option to buy the land beneath my tiny house was nearly exhausted. Then the couple who had privately financed my cabin agreed to carry a mortgage on the land. The mostly treed 5.88 acres included two mobile homes on either side of me. Both were occupied with long-term tenants.

A month after the purchase one of the tenants moved. It was then I learned the furnace was not operational and there were electrical and plumbing issues which needed repairs. Once the repairs were completed, back-to-back families lived in the home and moved out. Finally, the third couple to move in turned out to be great neighbors and tenants, and now there is a baby too.

The home on the north side of me was vacated last March by a tenant who had resided there for almost two decades. After his departure, I discovered so much was needed to make it tenant-ready, it would be better to sell the mobile and have it moved off. A new tiny cabin, already designed, will go in its place once the damaged mobile is sold and moved. The story behind selling follows:

It had been 26 years since I had been back to my birthplace, Seattle, and God opened the doors wide to make my visit possible. In September, with the help of four families who volunteered to take care of my critter crew, I spent 10 days in the Northwest seeing family and good friends, taking in the sights and sounds of tides and waterfowl.BeachInn4bright13

God informed me this was not simply a trip to be with loved ones or to read my poetry open mic night and display my artwork. My instruction was to photograph nature, and being compliant I obliged posting here and elsewhere the beauty all around me.

Just as the Apostle Paul said, I count all as blessings, the gifts and the tribulations. Before my trip to Seattle the cabin’s “on demand” water heater failed. The “on demand” heater rarely delivered “hot” water. I could anticipate lukewarm during summer; but winter, well it was too cold to dip even my toes.

Upon my return, I purchased a 30 gallon hot water heater and had the cabin cleaned and stained.

Northside full view stainedEventually my current tiny house, or cabin-on-wheels, will be moved to the south side of the property and sold with an acre of ground. My projects list includes putting up a few sections of a privacy fence, getting the land surveyed to split out the acre creating two lots and adding a new tiny cabin for me and mine to move into on the north side.

Recently, I picked up the banner for the “As Is” mobile for sale and hung it yesterday. In God’s time, I expect it to sell. My assignment is to be patient and wait, keeping the faith. Broadmore for Sale CU

 

Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace

CU locust trees on the groundalways in every way. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thes. 3:16 NKJV

Tree trimmers roped three locust trees, notched them and brought all to the ground yesterday. A dead pine was also cut. One lone locust remains. Because of its height and angle, it needs a climber. The owner of the company hired to do the job asked to be paid for the three, and he was to return today to finish the work. So far, he and the climber have not arrived. Of course, the most challenging tree to cut down is the one which requires a climber. CU one remaining locust tree needs climberThe still small voice inside is telling me except for the owner coming back for his rope, he may not finish the job as contracted. Thankfully, I have a back-up tree trimmer who is an expert climber. He was supposed to do the entire job but was not immediately available. By phone he reassured me if need be, I could call him. Alas, not all business owners conduct themselves with equal integrity. The Lord is giving me peace, despite this lesson.

Rejoice always

pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 

1 Thes. 5:16-18 NKJVNorthside with porch stained

The staining is complete and the cabin-on-wheels has a new look.Southside stained

 

Come to Me

all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matt. 11:28 NKJV

As part of the preparation for returning to the Northwest where I grew up, my property in Tennessee has been undergoing some sprucing. My cabin-on-wheels was washed and is receiving a coat of stain as I write this entry. The cabin has a new 30 gallon water heater. The on-demand one never provided much hot water and just before my visit to Seattle in September, it conked out completely. Hot baths feel sooooo… good. The plan is to put up lattice underpinning before winter.

Southside in full before stain

 

 

 

Northside cabin before stain

 

 

The rental mobile located on the land is already listed with an acre of ground. Overhanging trees which threaten its existence come down tomorrow.  A damaged mobile to the north has been spoken for and is just waiting for the prospective buyer to show up with funds and a mover. This will make room for a 10×10 shed and kennel for the puppies. The kennel is necessary so when prospective buyers enter to view the cabin they will not be greeted by a chorus of howling canines.

Yes, the preparation to move is labor intensive. Projects fill lists based on no cost, moderate cost and substantial. A little at a time they are checked off. To get through the process, I keep reminding myself to remain in the moment, not slip back into remembering the joy of my visit or dream about future events beyond my control. How I do this is to ground myself in faith in a triune God: Abba, Jesus and Holy Spirit.

If you have faith

like a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you. Matt. 17:20-21 ESV

View from Barnum Point

View from Barnum Point

Enthralled by the beauty of Camano Island from Barnum Point to Utsalady Bay, my camera fingers and eyes danced. During my entire 10-day stay in the Pacific Northwest, I felt cradled by God; and I was home.

UtsaladyBay4bright14clean

View of Utsalady Bay

The trip was nothing short of miraculous from the friends who volunteered to care for my covey of pets in Tennessee to family and friends who opened their homes and hearts during my visit. Most had not seen me in decades.

When I left with my husband in 1989, the Greater Seattle population was around 660,000 and it has grown to 3.61 million. Brick and mortar may have changed, but not the culture, my culture, the one that nurtured me from infancy to adulthood.

Friends and family have grayed, as have I. Yet, seabirds still swoop and perch on rocks in saltwater at high tide and Mount Rainier and Mount Baker jut skyward, holding court with angels. I will return, God willing, with critter pals in tow.

BeachInn4bright13

Port Susan

The Lord is near

to those who have a broken heart… Ps.34:18 NKJV 

SonnyEatsHayCrop

Oh, how I miss you, Sonny. Would love to be able to wrap my arms around you, feel your raspy tongue lick me, and let your soul touch me one more time.

Goodnight my dear friend, until we meet in spirit.

Reminding myself: “When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.”  Micah 7:8 NKJV

JackSonnyBebe

See I have given you

every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth… Gen.1:29 NKJV

Closecroptrailerw_hay

Just as the horses’ and cow’s hay supply was dwindling, farmers were harvesting this summer’s crop of Bermuda. Hooking up the trailer, I drove to a 50-acre field and purchased fresh green squares certain to delight my crew.

Toyotaw_haycrop

A Miracle of Nature

A_12_15 FINAL Logocopyright

Beauties they are

with orange-tipped, translucent wings

spanning to three inches.

Stout bodied with concentric stripes

they belt their songs

and an audible trill pierces

the summer night and day.

A thousand small engines

pulse endlessly.

Two or more falter

dropping to the ground

while others drone on

in an unrelenting cadence

east of the Mississippi River.

More than a decade long life cycle

large-eyed adults

live merely weeks.

Spending most of their time

as nymphs

they burrow into soil

feeding on deciduous tree roots

inhabiting meadows, forests and prairies.

At 13, or 17 years, ripened

the nymphs crawl to an upright support

split their skin and climb

fulfilling their destiny as cicadas.

(c) June 8, 2015 Gabrielle Songe

All Rights Reserved.

Found text: National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects & Spiders

For everyone who asks receives

I_2_15_15_Red66_32ShouldersCopyrightand he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, it will be opened. Matt. 7:8, Luke 11:10 NKJV

Isn’t it curious these words spoken by Jesus in both the Gospel of Mark and of Luke, are identical while accounts of healing and miracles in other books and verses vary slightly from one Gospel to another?

If  both the authors of Matthew and Luke repeated Jesus’ message verbatim, which it appears they did, then I for one, believe these words carry significant weight.

And, I am knocking on the door of a publisher based in London with offices in France, Germany and the United States to pick up my art only edition of Whippoorwill Calls. To the acquisitions editor, I submitted my publication story May 11, along with the book cover, my curriculum vitae and two drawings.

Additional drawings are here: G_12_15 FINAL BrownContecopyrightK_12_15 FINALHandHip54_15_4_0copyr

Continue reading

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above

and comes down from the Father of light with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17 NKJV

The Commercial Appeal, daily  Memphis newspaper, publishes an events calendar online.  After meeting the owner of a downtown bookseller and with a book signing date settled, I was nudged to drive a few blocks east to the newspaper’s headquarters.B_12_15FINAL_LongBlackHaircopyr

Decades ago, while working as the public relations director for a Memphis theater, I had regular contact with the person in charge of publicizing Memphis shows, art exhibits, musical performances and other events in the paper’s weekend pull-out. Despite many personnel changes at the paper, to my surprise this colleague was now also in charge of the online events calendar. He agreed to meet me impromptu and the next day he posted the information about my poetry reading and book signing, June 27, at the South Main Book Juggler. The announcement features three of my drawings and the book cover.

A link follows:

http://events.commercialappeal.com/memphis_tn/events/booksigning-and-poetry-reading-whippoorwillcalls-/E0-001-083824291-4

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves

W_12_15 FINALBeStillBrownWashcopyright_Page_07to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God  2 Cor. 3:5 NKJV

The buyer for the Booksellers at Laurelwood, an icon independent bookstore in Memphis, purchased two copies of my large format, art only edition of Whippoorwill Calls. His plan is to display it where the book will be seen.

Art Only front singlepg

 

For this weekend’s art exhibit at Church of the Holy Communion, only one of my pieces made it into the show. The book cover was pulled.  Since the nudes were considered a bit to revealing, the gesture drawing of the dancer was the one included.

And I read the title poem, Whippoorwill Calls, rather than two smaller ones, at a well attended reception Friday evening. I am grateful for the opportunities God is providing.

The fig tree may not blossom

Nor fruit be on the vines…Yet I will rejoice in the Lord… Hababkkuk 3:17-18 NKJV

plumcrop

 

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.

May2Hollyrearcabintreetrailer

 

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.

Once I brought the puppies their food she stood up and followed me to a corral where water, shade and hay awaited her. May2Hollylongview_pups

Let your conduct be without covetousness

be content with such things as you have. Heb. 13:5a NKJV     

Hollyheadcrop4_28_15

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”.

Holly front4_28_15clonecrop

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.

Now may the Lord of peace Himself

give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.  2 Thes. 3:16 NKJV

Holly CU in buttercups

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.

1_cropHolly eats mid Bebe

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.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while

if need be, you have been grieved by many trials  1 Peter 1:6 NKJV

In early April a friend came Monday, and again Tuesday to deliver injections of antibiotic to Buff, the Charolais-Angus bull, who had grown too weak to stand. The vet had made a house call at the beginning of the year, tubing Buff for bloat, administering cortisone, vitamin B12 and long-lasting penicillin. The gentle giant, who taught the rewards of grooming outside of one’s own species on the farm, rallied and began eating hay and drinking water.

Bebe hugs Buff

He looked like he was putting on weight. I thought he had turned a corner until he began eating less and less. Wednesday morning, April 8, Buff died at 14 years old. So glad I was for having rubbed his neck and back and kissed him the night before, and he responded by licking my arm and hand.

“No, no, no…this just could not be happening,” I told myself. “I cannot be losing another one of my big guys.”

Raised on a bottle, imprinting me as their mother-figure, I was thrilled to be Buff’s and Sonny’s adoptive parent. There was something surreal about loving and caring for a baby animal who grew to tower over me, yet sustained a relationship of kinship well into adulthood. They never forgot me or what I was to them.

It is impossible to describe the sense of loss, or even the meaning their lives brought to mine. Because of this experience I can better understand how a person’s faith in God can be challenged as when a parent loses a child.

I remind myself: “Trust, I am to trust You. Yet, while I trusted, where were You? If you love me, God, why didn’t you intervene and save him?”

My identity outwardly, and more importantly inwardly, has been torn from me. I can never go back and redo any of it, relive it, the experience of raising them, loving them, caring for them. I can only go forward, forward from here, but forward how?

The how I am learning. Taking baby steps I am rebuilding my faith, not at the base. Just the outer layers were stripped away. I need to replenish, call on Him even when I am too distraught to know how to ask for help. Just His name, Jesus. I trust He will hear my cry and know the answer before I know the question.

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

12_15 FINAL IMAGEScopyright_Page_06

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!

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.

For thou hast delivered my soul from death

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.

In the forest looking toward Jack and Bebe

Jack flanked by Bebe

Holly, our beautiful heifer

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.

Shangri-La

Happy Birthday Jack and Bebe

may you enjoy many more years in excellent health

Jack, the Palomino paint, will be 10 years old Mar. 20, and Bebe celebrated her seventh year of life Feb. 8.  Plans to move them both to higher ground was delayed by alternating frigid then wet weather. Also there was the threatened eviction countermanded by the miraculous land purchase.

On a bed of pine needles Jack and Bebe eat Bermuda

Finally both Jack and Bebe spent their second night on a bed of pine needles among the trees. While it took Jack seconds to decide to enter and dine on fresh hay, Bebe needed coaxing to walk between two trees, pawing the ground between them then following a waving fist full of Bermuda grass.

Space between the trees is entrance to a bed of pine needles

Welcoming the New Year

with peace and joy

 

Fed grain to lure her into the new space Holly rests

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Seeing art

 in stacked rock

Tennessee Department of Transportation workers have been moving earth and heavy rock beside a road that crosses a river and bottomland. Recently someone stacked several pieces at the westside entrance  to the road construction, depicting art in the balance.

Longview of stacked rock at beginning of road construction

Rock sculpture

Challenges open the door

for dreams

We are in the rainy season and flooding has begun. With insufficient shelter save for some trees I dream of completed fencing on high, dry ground and adjoining fields of pasture with run-in shelter for my big pals.

Flooding behind Sonny's space with more rain expected

Between Christmas and New Year’s Eve the coffee shop will close, a perfect time to work on my e-book. If in keeping with your will for me, God, may such be well received providing for those in my care?

Day one of rain

This is my prayer leaving 2011 and entering 2012.  I acknowledge 2011 has been the best year with your abundant gifts.

Sonny believes in sharing

as long as the sharing is with Holly

Holly has learned Sonny gets two helpings of grain

In an effort to stimulate weight gain Sonny has been receiving two helpings of grain in the morning along with a cup of alfalfa pellets.

Sonny shares his grain with Holly

Foxy Holly has learned when she finishes her ration and meanders down Sonny’s way he will share with her. And she does not really need any extra. Workers installing our HVAC system said they had never seen a bovine with such a flat topped backside.

Getting every last pellet

Cats move

to new digs within cabin

In preparation for a spiritual retreat, Walk to Emmaus, the end of October I have been pondering how to arrange for pet care for my domestic critters. In meditation this morning it came to me to move the cats downstairs from the loft into the bedroom.

Since my cabin is required to be not more than 400 square feet according to Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association standard my loft is for storage only. I cannot standup in it but rather crawl about on knees and have calluses to prove it.

It was half a day’s project to clear the bedroom of plastic containers filled with clothing and labeled: long sleeve blouses, short sleeve blouses, work jeans, good jeans, good T’s, sweats, fall slacks, wool slacks, boots and shoes….

Six of the 10 felines had been fed when the move began. Later the remaining four had their opportunity to dine in new quarters. There are many advantages to having them in the bedroom. For one thing several will no longer be able to scratch their litter boxes and send treasures with clumping litter particles to the downstairs landing in my bucket chair.

Also they will not be able to see my comings and goings registering their complaints when they are ignored as I haul groceries into the cabin and cook dinner. They will not have the freedom to run up and down the stairs giving chase or eluding capture. Nor are they going to jump at will from the loft to the living room or shinny up a support beam to outsmart and out maneuver me.

They also will not be jumping up on my sink when my back is turned, checking out dishes that may have been left from breakfast or strolling across my kitchen counter to snoop around the oven range. And the roughhewn wood trim which displays claw tracks will be rubbed out successfully with sandpaper because they will not be back tomorrow to mark them again.

Moreover I can leave a water dish out on the floor, as well as let a couple out at a time to play and roam in a closed room.

The two dogs are fine with the new arrangement because they are spending time in the living room; and Sam is in the bathroom when I am going in and out of the bedroom just in case someone scurries by me.

Much more remains to be done. The loft needs sheets removed that were used as carpet cover and a thorough vacuuming. Then plastic boxes will be placed upstairs and arranged for easy access, or so I plan.

It is getting on toward evening and from the pitter pat on the metal roof I can tell a light rain has arrived. Jack has come down from the hill to see if any food is being delivered. I let out the last two one-year olds to explore their new surroundings and am heading outside to give hay to the outdoor crew before a full-fledged storm rolls in.

Another September day

just before a sprinkling of rain                                                               

Jack comes downhill to Sonny to see if more food is on the way

Cooler weather brings relief

and Bebe’s bandage is removed

What’s a little barbwire between friends?

Sonny’s share of hay captures Holly’s interest

Holly is welcome to Sonny's hay and even his grain

A lick of the ear shows appreciation

With a whip and a snap yesterday’s storm dismounted

four rolls of hay

Chores completed I bathed then sat down in my chair with a book around noon yesterday. After what seemed like a few minutes waking I saw through the glass doors a steely sky and stood up.

While I snoozed to my amazement wind whipped, grommets snapped and four rolls of hay dislodged and dismounted from their placement. Rain was coming down soaking the outer layers of all seven rolls formerly protected and now exposed to the storm.

Makeshift cover

I pulled together every available tarp and did not return to the cabin until all were covered. It has been nearly a month since 17 rolls of hay were delivered and double-stacked. The four rolls that had been in standalone positions are all but gone.

With neither tractor nor spear I have been pondering how to tackle the large stack. Now I have another two months before addressing this issue. By then, perhaps another fortuitous event will occur—like the wind!

Outdoor water arrives

with perfect timing

For nearly a week we have had a superb outdoor faucet thanks again to Rev. Jim and one of his grown sons, Jake.

Jake prepares outdoor faucet

When we moved to this new location a previously installed faucet leaked in two places. Wanting to avoid pushing it to a gusher, I opted to fill buckets from the kitchen sink and haul them outside including up the hill to provide water to Bebe, Buff, Jack, Holly and Sonny—outdoor large farm pals.

Jake completes installation of new freeze-proof faucet

All this week with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees and higher heat indices (117 yesterday), oh how thankful I am to run a long hose out to three and just haul buckets from there to the Charolais bull and filly.

And Rev. Jim, who grew up in Arkansas and knows about farming, has been instructing me in best uses of fertilizer, i.e. for the garden, as well as helping me plan for planting seasonal grasses for rotating my horses and cattle.

Rev. Jim rakes equine manure for garden

This former suburbanite may one day be a real farmer!

Bebe improves exponentially

following farm visit by vet

Bebe three days after vet visit

Injured three months ago my sweet filly, Bebe, had reached a plateau with her recovery. There was a lip along the inside leading edge of her leg just below the hock, and skin would not cover it.

So last week I called our large animal vet, Amy, who arrived Friday and trimmed a half-inch of granulated tissue.

With instruction to clean, apply prescription strength medicine and bandage daily, Bebe made marked improvement in 24 hours.

Now three days later it is obvious she will most likely heal without residual scarring, for which I am immensely grateful.

Rolls of hay protected

by a blue tarp

Improvised tie down

A large roll of hay lasts a week since the horses and cattle do not have any pasture on our new farm. For close to a year now the nutritional value of the hay we have been receiving has been minimal. Despite a reasonable price, the hay was a year old and had been left uncovered. In some cases, I had to remove half the outer hay to get to clean, dry layers.

Changing the animals feed to a higher quality grain to compensate for poor forage helped but was still insufficient nutrition. And at the end of each week I became anxious about where we were going to get the next roll of hay and what the quality would be. Each roll seemed to vary in the amount of waste.

Rolls of hay delivered

Through a gracious gift from friends Jimmie and Dee we received 21 rolls of freshly cut hay last week. Jimmie and Dee own a nearby farm where much of their land is in pasture. Without animals they just wanted the grass to be cut and hay not left in the fields which is what happened last year when a contractor cut and baled but never returned to collect it.

After a year with the hay left in the fields to rot, using a tractor but no spear Dee pushed the rolls off into outlying gullies and treed areas. Once again, it was Rev. Jim, their minister and mine, who put us together. For arranging to have their grass cut, baled and hauled, I could keep whatever percentage the new contractor would agree to share and deliver.

Grass cutting on Jimmie and Dee's farm

It took me a couple of months to get someone to do the work. Yet, in the end, 67 rolls were baled, and we received 21 rolls which will last us through November. More than likely there will be another cutting this summer.

Relief, joy, grace and hay abound.

Hay bale released

July has been

a busy month

Pulling poison ivy vine from tree

Rev. Jim and son Tom arrived early one morning and began stretching three strands of barbwire up the hill expanding Buff’s space among the trees and ground cover of pine needles. Buff did not have a clean, dry square-foot of ground before Rev. Jim and Tom went to work. After a very wet spring Buff’s previously fenced area was tramped down and muddy.

The men pulled vines from trees, helped remove large fallen tree limbs and did not leave until Buff was released into new quarters. By day’s end Buff had repositioned himself and sat in every corner, tasted the foilage and rubbed against sapplings, scratching his backside. A content bovine is he.

Buff tastes foilage

Nature creates an opening

for fellowship            

Mower on loan in yard freshly cut

A local farmer and friend came through for me yesterday loaning me the mower he salvaged from three push mowers. My friend has a pet peeve. He told me it infuriates him when people move out from the city and cut their grass down to the nub.

This is a farming community not town where neighbors compete for the best looking yard, he said. So he set the mower a bit high off the ground.

This was OK by me since it was better to cut the tall grass, which it did. He also sharpened the blade to get the most obtrusive weeds, which it did.

Afterward I looked around and felt gratified. Perfect it was not since the rough edges remained. Yet perfect it was in the sense that it is part of nature.

My brother reminded me yesterday that all is not supplication or even listening and following what is heard. There is fellowship, fellowship with God.

In nature there is a heightened awareness of the Divine and always fellowship.

A spring greeting

from rural West Tenn.

Tommy, you are

a mench

Jack and Bebe savor blades of ryegrass

The land between the cabin-on-wheels and my neighbor to the south looks much better since you arrived this afternoon with your tractor and bush hog.

As you and I both realized the blades of grass would make a choice meal for the horses and cattle. So, using a pitchfork and tarp I retrieved the clippings and fed them to my pals.

If you get one of your mowers functional for me to use that will be fine. However, I placed my name on a list with a local small engine repair shop owner for a pre-owned push mower. In this way I have a back-up plan.

This day I am grateful for life and the sweet smell of ryegrass cuttings.

(Note: Link to video of Tommy on tractor at right sidebar Tommy arrives.MP4 under YouTube)

Living simply

and simply living

Brahma bull and Lineback dun

With the cabin behind them up on the hill Sonny and Bebe share a meal

This weekend is filled with joy and sunshine. Our move completed by day’s end Friday all tasks ahead seem lightweight by comparison.

Palomino paint

Jack

Oh there is a creosote post to place, some wire to tighten, contents of plastic containers to sort, writing, photography and advertisers to obtain to sustain us.

Charolais-Angus heifer

Holly at her new home

Most importantly all 18 pals are safe and becoming acquainted with their new surroundings.

Palomino paint, Lineback dun, Charolais-Angus bull

Jack and Bebe with Buff in background

Life is simple, and we are simply living.

Nikki is learning the window sill is off limits

kittens

Tiger stripes Ty, Mimi, Nikki and orange tabby Gordy inside the cabin

Thanks to you, God, for peace now.