God’s long term plan for healing

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When I was young I was very impatient…as the years have gone on I have realized that for most things I have become a much more patient person.  Now, I cannot say that I don’t have some frustrating moments, but I can actually see the changes that God has wrought in me.  I spend a lot more time praying about things that I am concerned about and a lot less time stressing and worrying over them.

I have noticed that this carries over to my friendships because whenever one of my friends is having some stress or anxiety I feel calm enough to attempt to help them with it a bit.

I have witnessed one of my friends go through a great time of healing with some of her family members.  This was a healing of a relationship which was broken off entirely, and many tears were shed over it.  My friend did not really believe that it would ever be healed.  There was a lot of prayer over this.

My testimony today is actually a testimony on behalf of this friend that during these holidays she was able to spend time with those precious family members and the healing of the wounds has begun in earnest.

God is really faithful to answer the desires of the heart of his people!  Praise the Lord, Always, Forever and ever! Amen.

Something new about prayer

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I have learned a lot from people that God has put in my life about who God is.  Each time I think that I am at a stand still on what I am learning about God and am wondering what new thing I could learn…then God provides me with another teacher, or another insight into his word that I have never seen before.

I am very grateful for this…it keeps me growing as a Christian.  The thing is to keep growing as a Christian you have to keep your focus on the Lord and keep looking to grow.

Well, for my latest growth, God has given me two new teachers, one through blogging and another through attending a new church.  Interestingly the areas of growth have to do with learning more about who Jesus and the disciples were as Jewish people.  More about the Jewish culture that they lived in.

My new Pastor and my other teacher both speak about the Kingdom of Heaven being here which Jesus spoke about.  I find this really interesting.

Well in attending a Contagious Discipleship class with my new Pastor as a leader he gave us an assignment.  We were given a sheet of paper with each day of the month on it, and a blank spot next to it.  Our assignment was to call friends and relatives and others that we know, and tell them that they are on our prayer list for the day, and ask them if we can pray for them in any way.

Strangely, the Pastor knew what would often happen…people would say to pray for their children or someone else that they knew.  It would take a bit of work to find out what the person actually was concerned about and needed prayer for themselves.  It would probably be really awkward. When I did call someone it was very awkward, they said that it was too sudden.

Well, my method of prayer has always been to listen whenever I am talking to someone and either mentally add them to my prayer list for that matter, or to tell them that I would pray for them about that (whatever it was).

This has always worked for me and I have felt it was very effective.  While it may have been effective as prayer is…God wanted to teach me that there is something very important that I didn’t realize about the people I was praying for and people in general.

When you tell a person that you will pray for them…they don’t really take it seriously.  They mentally say, “yeah, that’s nice.”  but then they don’t really take it seriously.

I found this out because while I was at our County Fair working in a club booth a lady walked up and was talking to us…during the course of the conversation it came out that she had cancer and was told that she only had up to five years to live.  She told us that the Doctors had all done everything that the could for her and it was spread through her body now.  The lady had such a matter of fact manner about the whole thing.  My heart went out to her and I immediately told her that Doctors are going by statistics and that only God knows how many breaths she has left in her body, and how many days on this earth.  Then for some reason, I found myself telling her that I would like to pray with her.  I jumped up and went around to her side of the booth, and put my arm over her shoulder…she was saying, “yeah, there are a lot of prayers, and a lot of people are praying…”  I told her, “No, I want to pray with you now, is that okay?”

She seemed shocked, and said, “what? now?”  I said, “yes, okay?”  She said, “okay”.  We bowed our heads together and I said a short prayer for her.

Now I am here to tell you…I am not a person who jumps up and prays in public with strangers….it is totally not me.  I am okay with praying by myself, and in small groups that I am studying with…but I have never in my life offered to pray in public with a complete stranger before.  I have told them that I would pray about something, but never have I offered to pray in such a situation.

A couple days went by, and I found myself praying again with a different lady.  All I can say is that the Holy Spirit really felt it was time for me to understand that sometimes saying that you will pray about something is not enough, it is not meaningful to the person you are saying it to.  Many people take it as an insincere way for someone to “blow off” an uncomfortable subject or moment.

I never truly realized this before.  I always thought that telling a person you would pray for them really was taken in the spirit in which it was given.  I have always been diligent to pray when I said that I would.  This was a really important lesson in prayer for me and another step forward in my prayer life.

God is so good to me.  I love it when I learn something new about my Lord…don’t you?

Blessing for the Week

Les (Bub) Robinson 5th gradeI have had a wonderful day today.  I was in my new church and someone I really enjoyed who had quit my old church last Fall walked in with her little girl.  I have been at my new church for about 6 weeks now, it is really enjoyable to be with folks who are sincerely seeking to know God and share him with others in the same way (the not hit them over the head with it method) that I have always liked myself.

I was at my previous church for 15 years and it was really tough to try new churches and go somewhere else.  That being said, my old church has lost its focus on loving God and loving people.  A big building was built about 10 years ago and it has become the focus of the church, maintaining it and paying the bills..to the exclusion of God.  I didn’t leave because I have a hatred for anyone there, or because I don’t love them.  I really do love them, I have been struggling with leaving there for many years now.  Finally, the time was right, and the Holy Spirit and I were in agreement that it was time to go and find another place that I could truly worship him and learn more about him.

Everyone has a path to God and it is very individual.  I have left churches in the past, usually over some insurmountable doctrine that I could not find a sound Biblical basis for.  I am one of those folks who are usually the last one there when all others have fled…the person with their finger in the dike praying for the repairmen to come along and fill the hole.  This time, I didn’t want to be the one like that.  I am praying for the best for all of the members of my old church, but I just cannot be there anymore.

When I started the new one…it was with a feeling of peace and belonging right off the bat!  So I have been enjoying it very much.

Today, I went down to learn about how they did the children’s class and it was very comfortable there also.  I have something I can do here, and I love that idea.

Anyway, so in walked my Christian sister and her awesome little girl!  If that wasn’t enough to make my day, later my brother, whom up until last week, I had not seen in 3 years texted me again this week and wanted to know if I was going to be home.  I gave him my schedule for the day, and part of it was that I would be going to a Contagious Discipleship class tonight…he texted me back and said that he would go with me and he was bringing my niece.  I hadn’t seen my niece in even longer than it had been since I had seen my brother.  They did come and we all went together…it was absolutely awesome!  God is incredible to me!

After all these years, I am feeling like I have my brother back!  The nice thing is that my Mom feels the same way because she hadn’t had much contact either over the years.  He feels like the brother that I knew when we were kids..the one who had the wacky sense of humor and was his own person!

I can tell you that this has touched me to tears of joy!

Christmas in July

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When I was a child we lived over seas for a time, and had not seen my Grandparent’s and Aunt for several years.  It was a very lonely time, as they really knew how to love people.

When they heard that we were returning back home finally they decided to have Christmas in July as we were coming home a couple months before that.  They had been unsure exactly when we would arrive home.  It was very awesome!

My Grandparents even went so far as to put the lights on the outside of the house and light it up, and put up my Grandmother’s huge snowy Christmas tree.  I have never seen an artificial tree like that tree since then.  It was amazing!

When we lived over seas the clothing supplies were limited and not of good quality.  A pair of regular Levis would sell for as much as $50 and back then at home they sold for $5.  So we all looked pretty ratty most of the time.  I even had my Dad’s old navy (and I don’t mean like the store of today, but literally) blue jeans as they fit me and they were the only thing that wasn’t high water on me.  My Dad and were about the same height back then, but now I am taller as he is elderly.

It was a most wonderful gift to be loved so much that they wanted to spend Christmas with us, even though it was 8 months later than the traditional time of December.  Not to mention that it was probably about 110 degrees in the shade when we got home!

I cannot express how well my Grandparents and my Aunt demonstrated the Love of Christ to all of us on a regular basis.  They were a true blessing and example in our lives of how to live showing people love.  They didn’t go to church, but they knew God and had respect for him and recognized Jesus Christ as their savior.  They treated everyone they met with love and respect and kindness, even when they didn’t agree with them.

My Grandfather was the neighborhood’s go to guy when there was a knock or a ping in someone’s car that they didn’t know what was wrong.  People would show up at their door asking if he would take a ride around the block in their car and “just listen to it and tell me what is wrong with it”.  Over the years he took so many rides around the block with people that he should have been dizzy, but he was always glad to do it.

My Grandmother taught me by example what the “perfect” housewife should be like.  She was simply amazing in her organization skills and ability to get a jigsaw puzzle together in short order.  She was also a good secretary for my Grandfather in his business.  She took messages all day every day for him, and he would call her and she would read them back to him.

My Aunt was the person that could spank you, but would be crying all the time she was doing it…I found out the meaning of “it hurts me more than it hurts you…” when I watched her cry and when I had my own children.  Disciplining children is emotionally very hard because you really just want to play with them and enjoy them all the time, but just doing that would be irresponsible when you are the one in charge of helping them to become responsible, loving adults.

At any rate, I thought to share this little memory of Christmas in July and the excellent role models that God in his infinite wisdom provided for me and my siblings as we were growing up.

I am also very grateful to God that he led me to find a person to marry who has the same loving spirit toward me and our children that they demonstrated to me when I was growing up!  I cannot thank God enough for the people he has brought into my life!

 

The tractor in the tree

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This is a Ferguson TO-20 tractor, but for size and appearance it is the same as the old Ford 8N we had when I was in H.S.

This one starts out from a long time ago when I was still in High School…so it is a once upon a time..but it is a fact..not fiction story.

Once upon a time, my brothers and I were home alone on our hog farm down South and I was as usual doing some household chore.  My Dad really believed in making the best use of three of the four of his children.  The youngest was, unfortunately for him, largely exempted from doing much of anything.  That is frequently one of the flaws of parenting the youngest child is that they end up having no concept said child actually turning from baby to child to adolescent.  It’s not really fair to the child to do that because when they become adults the rest of the world does not care about them being “the baby” of the family.  However, this is beside the point of this post.

Anyway, I was doing the dishes, and my oldest brother came running in to me and yelling to me in a very excited way, “You have to help me! I got the tractor stuck in a tree!”

I looked at him, and said, “What do you mean you got the tractor stuck in a tree! That’s not possible!”  He said, “No, I mean it!  I really did! Come and look!  I need you to help me get it down!”  “I don’t want to get in trouble for it!”

I still not believing him, nevertheless went with him to scope out this oddity!  Sure enough, we get to the front door and there in the front yard is the little 8N tractor up on its back wheels with its front wheels hanging over the bottom branch of a Carolina Long Leaf Pine in our front yard….motor still running!

Now I am telling you that the branch it was stuck on was at least 15 feet in the air!  It was just high enough to keep the back wheels of the tractor on the ground!

I looked at it in astonishment and wonder and with no small amount of trepidation!  My brother looked at me and said, “See I told you so!  Now how do I get it down!”  “You have to help me get it down!”

I was older than he by just enough for his young macho male heart to be mad about it whenever I was put in charge of everyone!  However, in situations like this, it was apparent that he looked up to me to help him out.  Unfortunately, I had no idea what to do.  We only lived in the South for a couple years, but we had all already heard stories about tractor accidents claiming lives of two of our Great Aunt’s Husbands.  Even now, when I am an adult..farm accidents are brutal and many times deadly!

So I looked at my brother, and told him to leave that tractor right where it was and not go near it, that if he tried to get it down it would probably fall on him and he would be killed.  As far as I was concerned that was the end of it, until Mom and Dad returned home!  I went back to my dishes already figuring that it was going to be a very unpleasant evening of screaming and yelling, etc. when they got home….all because of my stupid brother!

I know you are thinking, “how did he get the tractor up in the tree?!”  Right?!!  Well, I did ask him while we were standing there and gazing at it.  He told me that he was driving it to go across the road to the field and do some work, when one of my other brothers yelled to him.  He said he looked over to see what that brother wanted and next thing he knew he was on the tractor in the tree!  So he just jumped down and came and got me.

As I said, I went back to my dishes thinking that he would be good enough to follow my “don’t touch it!” wise instructions for survival!  Not so!  About 5 minutes later, after he had repeatedly stood around begging me to think of something he left.  Then came running back in and informed me, “I got it down!”

NOW THAT WAS A SCARY THING TO HEAR!  I looked at him, and called him a Dummy!  told him how stupid he was and how lucky that he wasn’t killed!  Then I asked him how he managed it….”I just jumped back up there and threw it in reverse and it came right down!”

I am telling you that although we were not church goers in the least, God really was looking out for my brother that day!  He saved us from going through a lot of pain and suffering, both in the evening, and also the potential pain and suffering that would have been caused by my brother’s death if that tractor had flipped over on him!  I am really grateful to God for his care in my growing up years and to this day!  God is awesome!  He really cares for those who sometimes don’t have the sense of a billy goat!

Some wondrous things happened to us when we were growing up, this was just one of them!

 

My pheasants

IMG_1147I am raising some pheasants to be released into the wild for the first time this year.  I decided that since I live in a place where I can do this, that I would give it a try.

I actually started with 16.  I ordered 15, but as is sometimes the case I got an extra – I think this might be just a way to give the weaker ones a chance or a sense of fairness since they know you will probably lose some.

Anyway, one of them died within the first week, and another one died at 4 weeks old. Largely due to my error I believe.  I brought it inside as they were picking on it, and it died a couple hours later because it stood in the water dish and got too cold.  It felt the need to hide behind something and the waterer was the tallest thing in the box.  Birds of all kinds have pretty small brains and they are pretty dumb.  I was pretty dumb also as I knew that the bird was standing in corners in the pen and made the mistake of thinking that if the other birds weren’t around it wouldn’t feel the need to hide.  It’s face wasn’t even wet, so I know it didn’t drown…just stood there stupidly until it died of cold.  Though it was in the house and in a warm spot…it should have been fine.

So after that I moved the rest to their out door pen where they have a lot of room.  The pen is covered to protect from hawks, and is electrified on the outside to keep out anything else that might wish to eat them.  I live in an area with foxes, coyotes, hawks, owls, raccoons, etc.  Plenty of predators to choose from.  For the first two nights after moving them out there I would trot out there at midnight with a flash light to make sure nothing had managed to get around my defense system.  The birds continued to thrive.

Normally, in the wild,  pheasant chicks will stay with their Mother and siblings for 10 weeks after their birth, but they are ready to be on the move with her right away.  So my original intention is to keep them until 10 weeks of age then release them.  However, I read more about them and found out the pros and cons of releasing them then, and keeping them until the following Spring.  So I have decided to try something with them…at about 5 weeks of age I started opening the pen gate during the day and letting them out to wander around the horse pasture (I built the pen in a corner of the pasture that the horses don’t seem to like to eat in much but it has tall grass.)

My thought is that if I wait until they are 10 weeks old and just randomly let them go that they will mostly be killed off right away by predators because they won’t know anything about the available hiding places in the area.  So I let them out.  Funny thing happened, they put themselves all back in about 2 hours later for their afternoon nap. (After all, they are still babies!)  All I had to do was think “That was easy!” and close the gate back up and turn the electric back on.

If I had waited until they were 10 weeks old to start this letting them wander they probably wouldn’t have felt bound to their flock and would not have returned.  This time when they are still wanting to stay together with their siblings makes it easier to get them back in.  I can literally open the gate and walk along behind them until they see it and they will go on in on their own. (Totally different from my experience with hogs which never want to go back in at all!)

Well, this went well for about 4 days, then disaster struck.  I went out there in the evening to put them in, and there was no one in the pen, and no birds to be seen.  I thought, “oh no” and got that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that you get with you just know that you are not going to like the answer that you find.  I started looking around and then heard one of them…turns out there were 3 of them over in my old neighbor’s vacant house’s backyard…the dumb birds didn’t seem to realize that all they had to do was fly over the fence and could get back “home” to their pen.  They were standing in a corner and crying mournfully about their situation.  Then I went into the yard and heard another one which had wandered into the neighbor’s old chicken pen and was stuck in the weeds…it couldn’t find a way out.  I had to wade through the weeds and rescue it.  The others I chased around for about 15 minutes trying to get hold of them, but they were too fast for me, each one finally remembered that it could fly and flew out over the fence.

After that they all grouped up pretty quickly as a flock in my back yard near their pen, but they weren’t heading to their pen.  I managed to persuade them by urging them along to go on in, and had them all locked up in a few minutes…but the head count told me that 4 of them were still missing.  It was almost dark at this point.  I went looking and calling for them and listening….at the other end of the pasture I found the body of one of the chicks and 2 piles of feathers.  For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what would attack in broad day light (which it was at the time of the attack) and take more than one chick.  Usually it would be a hawk, and from the appearance of the dead one, that seemed to be the case.

I had started praying as soon as I knew the birds were all missing from the pen, and after I found 4 missing I was really praying hard.  It was very depressing to see that one was dead.  I couldn’t find the other 3 that were missing.  Well, I prayed continuously about it, but was feeling pretty depressed at my failure to protect them.

My husband reminded me that I knew that some of them would not make it, that this would probably happen when they were released and at least they knew about Hawks now.  I told him, that I knew this, but it still hurt.

Well, God is good, the next morning when I went to do my chores there were two chicks standing around outside the pen waiting to rejoin the rest of the flock, and that afternoon the other one showed up.  I figure those 3 will be the ones who have the best chance of surviving as they hid the longest after the hawk attack.  I have to say, that once again, God did not let me down.

I had decided to keep them in for a few days until the hawk moved on, but when I went out this morning there were 7 of them that had already managed to fly out the small opening (too small for the hawks and owls to want to fly into) in the top covers…these birds have already had a taste of the freedom of the open spaces, so they know how to get there and won’t stay in anymore.  So I am back to the 10 weeks of age release….I think they will all be ready by then.  It is tough to mother another species so that they are ready to survive.  It is also very interesting to try it!  I am curious to see how many of them I will see around the area next Spring, if any..though they may make it and still be invisible.  Pheasants are very well camo’d by God’s design!  You can practically step on one before you see it!

God keeps the little birds

IMG_1344Today, I was out at the burn pile, and saw a mother bird fly away, but didn’t see a nest.  My husband came out and lit the pile up. I was pretty depressed about this, and told him I thought that a bird was nesting in there.  He said that he had not seen any bird when he went to light it or heard anything.

So I decided to hope and pray that the bird was just going after insects or something in the pile to make a nest.

Unfortunately, I heard a bunch of tweeting and saw a baby bird a while later walking around near the pile.  I thought, “Oh no! That means there was a nest!”  Then picked up the baby and took it over and set it away from the fire by one of our peach trees so his Mom could find him and take care of him.  Birds are really good about taking care of their babies where ever they are located. This baby bird was very near to fledging so I felt that it should be okay.  I put a few drops of water on its back to cool it off, and offered it some meal worms that I had for my pheasant babies.  It was not interested in the food (probably had just been fed before the fire).  I checked on it about an hour later and it was walking around in that area. So I went back to the work of cleaning stalls!

Well about an hour and a half later I was done with my work and decided to check on the bird again.  I walked by the burn pile, and heard chirping again.  I started looking around to see if I could find the source, figuring that it was a sibling to the other one.  Next thing I know I see a baby bird hopping around in the ashes (hot foot!).  I reached down and grabbed it out and cooled it off with some water, and put it over with it’s sibling.  This bird was a bit smaller than the other baby.  When I had picked up this bird its Mother was screaming at me from the yard…so she saw where I put it.

I walked back over to check and see if there were any other babies.  Then I glimpsed a half burned nest lying on it’s side at the edge in a branch that wasn’t burned.  It was an amazing sight because that burn pile really went up and was hot.

God heard my prayer that no baby birds would be hurt while burning our burn pile!  God is so gracious and caring…even for the little birds!  He protected them from harm!

 

God is good!

9237ee7562c7e111bb59d173ca3a64f2This is a place of testimonials so I am sharing someone else’s story this time.  One of my friends has been looking for her adult daughter for 4 years.  She once had a police officer tell her that he had seen her daughter, not too long after she disappeared, but there was no contact info.

My friend’s daughter had an abusive boyfriend at the time of her disappearance and left her pets also.  It was very traumatic for my friend.  I am sure there have been many tears shed over this period of time.  Even though the Bible tells us not to worry, it seems that sometimes this is an impossible task.

However, my friend is a person of very strong faith.  In fact, she has always been a great mentor to me in my faith.

My friend is someone who is best described by this Bible verse  Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

She has had many challenges in her life, yet she keeps going and ministering to others continually and spreading the gospel and comfort of God to others.

I am happy to report that God has done as Isaiah 40:31 states and renewed her faith once again.  She received a phone call from her missing daughter the other night, and now has contact information to reach her.  That is all I know, but I am so happy for her.  She now knows that her daughter is alive and is again able to contact her.

God is so good that he got my friend through this terrible time…this “Job” experience.

Oh my God! It’s an Emu!

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Foxy and I at a “Cowboy Challenge” obstacle course…I was proud that she did the course with me.

I have a buggy.  Not a baby buggy, but a horse buggy.  It is in terrible shape now, as I had no where to store it that was out of the elements.  That is rather depressing, but it is also hard to get out of my driveway with it unless someone is standing right there  and looking for traffic.  After all, the horse is in front of you, unlike a car where you can just pull up to the edge of the drive and look.  So it is a bit more dicey getting out into the road.

Well, one day a number of years back I decided to take the horse down a road that we had not been down before.  Fun! Fun!  My little girl was in the back…she was probably about 8 or 9 years old then.  Anyway, with a horse you just never know what will cause them to freak out…so it pays to be on alert.  I mean if you are riding down the trail and there is a drainage culvert on the side of the trail…the horse may see it as a “horse eating culvert!”  Horses are prey animals by nature, and so are always looking out for things that may want to eat them.  One of my friends once had a horse that refused to step on a drain grate in the trail.  We have a pony who will jump over a puddle like a high jumper to avoid stepping in it.  Over all, though our horses are pretty good out on the road and trails.  However, as I said, it pays to be alert because animals have fears too.  Some drivers, who would be very cautious about running into a deer, don’t seem to understand this and will zip by a horse and rider at about 70 mph without a thought.  They make the assumption that the rider has the animal (which weighs in the neighborhood of 1200 pounds) completely under their command.  This may or may not be true at that moment, but moment by moment as any experienced horse person will tell you, this can change.

It is all about relationship…how much does your horse trust you?!!  My horse trusts me very much, but we had a rocky start when she was young, so it took a long time for me to convince her that I was in charge and trustworthy.  The reason for our rocky start was that although I was a good rider, I was not good at ground work, and my horse was a baby so that was all we could do.  As I said, it took a long time to overcome both of our fears and work out our relationship.  I am a much more able horse person now than I was when I got her.  Trial by fire and all.  God really looked out for me while I was learning.  He also looked out for my horse.  Foxy has always been a bit spooky about new things and being aware of this, I am on alert.  She has calmed way down as she has gained age and experience.  I mean when she was a filly a milk jug scared her so badly that if you just showed one to her she was off and running.  As she reached riding age it was the sound of the ice in a water bottle hitting the side of the bottle….you better toss that bottle and hang on for dear life.  However, by the time she was five we could at least show her a milk jug, and could ride her with a bottle of ice water and wear a rain poncho on her.  She had come a long way, and had a lot of trail miles under her girth (so to speak as a girth is the closest thing to a belt that a horse wears).

Anyway, so my horse has become a really good trail horse, but at this point in her life she still had a bit of the spook in her.  (Though it is still a mystery how her mind works, as she walked right by a huge, huge, and did I mention how  huge the combine and tractor were that she walked by with the buggy on the road?  I was naturally praying non-stop as soon as I saw we were going to have to walk past that thing!)

So we were going down this road we had not been on before in the buggy and the kid was in the back.  Suddenly this horse was saying with all her body language, “Oh Oh Oh No!  I have never seen a bird that big in my entire life!  I am having none of this!  I am positive it is going to eat me!  I am going to turn this buggy around on a dime and run for the hills!”

She had actually started to turn the buggy because this Emu just came running out of a little shed and flapping around its pen like it was a crazy bird.  As soon as I saw that I knew what the problem was.  Now my buggy is an Amish buggy (No, I am not Amish before you ask) and to get in and  out of the buggy you have to go past the wheels and I mean you are right next to the front wheels.  They are not designed to turn on a dime, being rather tall and all.  So I knew that I better start praying that God would make this all right, and I did repeatedly, while also telling my horse, Foxy, words like, “Woah, easy, pretty girl, it’s okay, easy, eaaaassssyyyyy” in a very calm and soothing voice.  I managed to convince her to stop and not turn around.  I told my daughter to sit tight and not move.  I was able to get out of the buggy while maintaining pressure on the reins and continuing to speak slowly and calmly to the horse.

My heart was not calm it was beating with a huge rush of adrenaline..but you have to pretend that everything is wonderful and nothing is bothering you to the horse…if they get the scent of your fear it is all over.  Horses rely on their rider or driver as the leader of their herd.  It is all about attitude.  If you act like you are a bigger horse than they are, then they see you as a bigger horse…in a manner of speaking.  You have to win your leadership position from your horse.  As one of my friends once explained to me…..”You took your horse from her herd, now she sees you as her new herd, and she doesn’t care what position she is in the herd, 1st or 21st, but she needs to know her position.  Right now she is trying to be first since she doesn’t know her position.  If you let her know that you are first, then you won’t have anymore problems with her.  She will be content to be 2nd.”  This is pretty much how horses are.  So it is all about maintaining an attitude of confidence so that the horse remains secure in your leadership.

Prayer frequently helps in dicey situations because God can help me to maintain a picture of calm confidence when I am literally scared to death.  In this situation where the horse could turn around quickly and flip the buggy I was very frightened.  God helped me to calm my horse so that I could get out of the buggy and quietly turn her.  It took a good bit of physical strength as I was literally leaning on the horse’s neck and body as I turned her slowly around away from the thing that she feared…..that dreaded horse eating oversized giant bird.  I could almost hear my horse screaming in her brain, “Mom! Did you see that!  That is just plain wrong!  What is that thing?!  It has wings like a bird, but I have never seen a bird that big!  I am sure it is some bird that has morphed into some giant thing like that by eating horses!  We have to get out of here now….do you hear me….We need to leave now!  It’s going to get us!”

Thankfully, as soon as she was no longer faced with the possibility of having to walk toward that dreaded Emu, I was able to get her calmed down and relaxed enough that I could get back into the buggy and drive her back the way we had come.  My daughter was a champ through it all, and just sat quietly and waited for me to solve it all.

I was completely counting on God the whole time, as the whole thing was completely out of my control.  At any moment my horse’s fear could have overcome her trust in me and we would have been on our way to disaster.  God calmed me and helped me to calm the horse.  He also allowed my little girl to put her trust in my ability and remain calm also.  I surely felt God’s care and love in that situation.

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Foxy at the county fair waiting to be in a parade past the grandstand.

 

Traveling Mercies-“You mean the Wheel can fall off?”

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My horse Foxy on one of our camping trips!

Driving down the high way (once upon a time, but a true story), I was on my way home from a trip that was several hundred miles away from home.  I was towing my 4 year old horse, in a very old, but refurbished (to the best of my ability) bumper pull horse trailer. In the Jeep with me was my Aunt who was about 60 yrs old and my kids one of which was about 4 and the older one was 9.  We had been camping with my friend, her nephew and daughter, but I had not wanted to be away from my husband as long as she wanted to camp, so I made it a shorter trip for us.

Before leaving to go home, I decided to leave her some blankets as her dogs had peed on hers and she didn’t have more, and also the rest of my horse feed and hay except for what was in the hay bag.  After all, I wouldn’t need it, I was going to be home that night….or so I thought.

Well everything was going very well, I was finally in dry clothes with dry feet and on my way home.  I can tell you that while the Smokey Mountains are very beautiful, they are also very wet.  At least at the time of year I was there.  If my oldest daughter hadn’t brought along some flip flops I would not have had anything for my feet after the first two days.  It rained at least twice a day for the entire time that I was there.  I would get soaked, then lay my clothes out on the car to dry and as soon as they reached the stage of being just damp…it would rain again and soak them down.  Well, mercifully, our tent was new…both my husband and I came home with a new tent that we found on sale the same day…they were different sizes so we kept them both.  That was pretty wonderful, especially since he wasn’t even going on the trip with us.

Anyway, so we had a really good time, but we were wet for at least 50 percent of the time. However, back to my story of the trip home.  I was driving along, and had reached the State of Kentucky so I was within just a few hours of home at the time.  Suddenly, I have this maniac pull up next to me and start honking their horn and pointing madly to my rear.  My heart went into overdrive, they scared me very badly.  All sorts of visions went through my head…things like, “What?  Is my horse hanging out the back of the trailer or something?”  “Did the back of the trailer somehow have the ramp fall down?” (Now the horse couldn’t possibly have fallen out the back, because that ramp had the hardest most humungous springs on it, to even get it closed, much less open on its own)  Or “What are these people wanting from us is this some new trick?”  As I kept looking I saw in my side mirror that there was smoke billowing out of the wheel on the driver’s side of the horse trailer.  That did nothing to help me to feel better.

Naturally, I started praying fervently in a complete mental stress and worry about what I was going to do.  I pulled over to the  side of the road and the other folks (notice they are folks now instead of crazy people) pulled over with me.  They knew what was going on, and so they told me as they walked up, “it looks like your wheel bearing is going out on that trailer!”  “I said, “Oh, is that what it is, it looks like the wheel is on fire!”  (It wasn’t but for someone who had very little real experience with trailers, except for the ripping out of a floor and putting a new one in it and making new pads for the horse and painting it, it sure looked like something was burning!)

So these very sweet and kind folks seeing that I had a couple kids and an older lady in the car and no “men folk” said they would follow me to the next exit.  They did this, and I really appreciate their kindness. I appreciated them stopping me and telling me even more about 15 minutes later when the trailer was jacked up and the wheel literally fell off.  However, I am getting ahead of myself here.

I forgot to tell you that this was happening on a Sunday and it was about 8pm in the middle of no where in Kentucky.  As I was pulling off at the exit, I see this big sign that says, “No truck repair available at truck stop!”  As you can see there were no apparent resources available to me for repair….instead of being home in a few hours, I was now having visions of putting the kids and my Aunt up in a hotel room and myself spending the night in the car in the parking lot guarding my horse.

Now, if you knew me, then you would know that I am not much of a panicking type of person.  I can be frustrated and some words of the sailor’s variety do come forth on occasion (that is a sin I am still working on and repenting for!) but I am a thinker, so when things go awry I tend to look for solutions instead of falling apart.  Not to say that I don’t feel panicky, I do, and in this situation I was not feeling really confident or competent.

A big part of my solution to panic is to immediately when I start feeling panic call upon God to, “Please Lord, help me, make this be okay, please make it okay!”

Well, I was mentally repeating this prayer unceasingly from the moment those folks started honking at me!  Coming off that ramp and seeing the “no truck service” sign I reiterated the prayer again…now this is the amazing way that God handled this problem for me.  I do mean, that God did it, and he took care of the problem so well that I really had no time to panic!  From the moment those folks pulled me over, God was already taking care of things.  This was one of those moments where like it says in Psalm 91 the angels bear you up so that you don’t dash your foot against a stone.

The sequence of events is as follows…I drove off the ramp and into a quickie mart type of gas station, got out of the car and went in and explained my problem to the people working there and asked if they knew any hotels around and anyplace where I could get the trailer fixed the next day.  They not only helped me find a hotel for the night for (I kid you not) $43, a young man who worked there said, “I don’t know horses, but I know cows, so I can look at your trailer for you!”  He did and said that he could jack up the trailer and remove the tire off of the offending axle.  He informed me that since it was a dual wheeled trailer and I only had one horse it in that I could drive with only three wheels okay, until I could get it fixed.  Now this was amazing news to me!  So he had me pull over and unload my horse so that he could jack it up take the wheel off.

As I said earlier, the wheel literally fell off as soon as the trailer was jacked up.  I was really shocked.  I didn’t know that a bad bearing could allow a wheel to fall off.  (My husband and I had quite a conversation about this and how it is different on cars after I got home! I also became a bit manic about needing to know when the wheel bearings need to be attended to on the trailers.)

Funny thing happened, that before the young man could jack up the trailer, I had to unload Foxy, and God had arranged it that this particular gas station had a large grassy area on the other side of a fence on a hill right by the area where I was parked.  So my horse could be tied to the fence and allowed to eat some grass in safety while we worked on the wheel situation.

Suddenly, a very large gooseneck horse trailer and truck pulled into the station.  A couple jumped out and said, “Are you having a problem, because we were on our way home from riding in the state park and saw your horse was unloaded, and we never unload when we are traveling unless it is an emergency! So we thought you might be having a problem!”  I explained the problem to them.  They asked me if my horse’d had a Coggins test.  For those of you who are not familiar with horses this is a test for Horse Infectious Anemia which can kill a barn full of horses in a matter of days if one animal comes in that is a carrier.  I told him that, “no, but I have had her all of her life.”  He looked her over, and said well, we can load her into our trailer we have an empty spot at the back and you can follow us to our place and your horse can spend the night in the round pen there.  We can also show you in the morning where to go to get your trailer fixed.

I was at this point absolutely in awe of God’s work here, on my problems!  The mental prayerful thank you’s that were going up from me to him were endless.  Inside of 20 minutes God had solved everything about that situation from the hotel, to the repair place for the wheel, to a place other than the trailer and a parking lot for me and the horse to spend the night…it was awesome how he arranged all of this in such a short time for me..but he is an awesome God, and in actuality…he had already set all of this in motion long before I got into the car that day to go home.  I mean, for everyone who helped me to be in just the right place to be in a position and to have just the right knowledge that I needed to help me took a lot of foresight and arranging.  God used all of these willing people to help me, and he wasn’t even done yet.

The next day, we got to the shop and they were busy to the max, backed up, but when they found out we were traveling they looked over their customers for the day, and decided to rearrange things, and told us to come back at 4pm. So my Aunt, and kids and I went to a movie, and had lunch, and when we got back to the place around 4pm, the trailer was ready to be hooked up and driven away.  The fellow who fixed it said that he literally redid the threads on the bearing, and that if I ever went long distances again I should probably replace it as he couldn’t get the parts today, but it should get me home.  I tell you that he did a magnificent job with that bearing.  My husband, (who can fix everything) checked it when we got home and said that it looked great, couldn’t tell it had ever been fixed or needed it.  The cost of the repair was $90.

We drove back to pick up my horse, and I tried to give the nice folks who housed her some money for feeding and housing her for the night, but they just wouldn’t hear of it.  I thanked them so profusely, I cannot tell you how grateful I felt to them for their kindness.  All told, it cost me less than $150 for this problem and God had it all fixed so fast through all of these kind hearted people that I didn’t even really have time to panic at all!

I know this story was a bit long, but I cannot stress how joyful I was about this example in my life of God’s loving care, and I didn’t want to leave anything out in retelling it!