Warm Wednesday Words: Margin for the Other Side Journey

BeFunky_IMG_20150315_081054430.jpgThe pendulum has swung wide for me recently on life events, and there have been moments in the stormy times, I’ve lost sight of the other side.  Because stresses and griefs tug at the heart even through the elation of miracles, I’ve had a time of it.  Yet the recent warmth of personal kindnesses and encounters threatens to thaw the icy numbness that settles and resettles in my arms.

I will highlight a few, but not all, of the weekend warmths God sent my way.  On Saturday, a friend and marathon runner committed one of her many miles she runs to praying for our family.  She says she likes to pick a friend and devote a mile to them in prayer.  I’m humbled, honored. and grateful.

Sunday I received a “random” message from an out of state friend who I have not been in touch with for months.   Among many other encouraging words, she said, ‘I am praying that the Lord carry you through the storms and calm the waves. May you always remember that the Lord is in the boat with you and that because He is, you will make it to the other side. When the Lord went into the boat with the disciples, he said to them “let us go to the other side“.  There was no doubt that they would make it to the other side.even in the storm…even though they were afraid when the storm came…because Jesus was with them and He knew they would make it, it was not yet His time. It is hard to Trust in the storms that shake us, but Jesus says “Do not be afraid, Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the earth….” ‘ 

Again on Sunday (after church and a deeply satisfying nap) I did some catching up in the “Breathe” Bible study (by Priscilla Shirer) that I am in, on making room for the Sabbath, boundaries, etc.  After discussing boundaries and margin, Shirer quotes Brad Lomenick, respected innovator and leader of the Catalyst Movement in America as saying several things about the powerful concept of ‘margin’ in several areas of life, including this quote, “Margin in our friendships creates significance and impact.”

If there’s anything new I’ve concluded about friendships over the past year or so, it’s that in my own strength, I might be able to encourage and pass along the love of Christ to someone on occasion, but any consistency is lost on me without some margin in my  life for such efforts.  To have margin requires that I set boundaries.  To set wise boundaries necessitates time in prayer to be sensitive to what parameters I need in order to keep the proper things in their place, and to be guided to friendship as the Lord would lead.

Hebrews 4 says “for the person who has entered  his rest has rested from his own works, just as God did from His.  Let us then make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall into the same pattern of disobedience.”  Entering into a “rest”, or a cessation of normal activity, and especially to focus on God, counters the physical world and is the beginning of true freedom and blessing.

Oswald Chambers says, “are these things crushing us? Are they badgering us out of the presence of God and leaving us no time for worship? Then let us call a halt, and get into such living relationship with God that our relationship to others may be maintained on the line of intercession whereby God works His marvels.”

Today, I was blessed with a friend who I haven’t seen for weeks coming by my place of work just for a quick hug.  And then blessed again with a good ole chat with my mom, who I will never stop needing.  I’m touched in those moments and more recently by many around me who get off the merry go round of their normal activities and in effect, say, ‘Let’s go to the other side.  I’m with you.  And, oh, yes, there IS another side and we’re headed there together!’   I’m so thankful to God because He sends those who would speak His Words, and actively care the way He does.  That is what points to Him and reminds me what I momentarily forgot about the other side.

Warm Wednesday Words: A Few Favorite Things

When life gets a little too busy or sad, I find comfort and joy in a few favorite things.  The lyrics from the song, “These are a Few of My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music” portray the distractions I enjoy lately.  The song was sung by Maria  to the von Trapp children during a thunderstorm; and the lighthearted lyrics and melody were a purposeful diversion from the undercurrent of terror during the time of Hitler’s rise.  I am thankful for the diversions I find in my favorite things.

“When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad.”

So here are a few of my favorite things….

big family at lakeThe English Clan (with Mom) who I love dearly

the bridge at the end of my runThe bridge at the end of a three mile run

zinnias and lavenderZinnias and lavender on the deck

the view from the hammockThe view from the hammock at night…add in a few zillion stars and that’s typical!

the hammock and the moon

IMG_8707Spending life with this guy!

books, lamps, chocolate

A stack of books, a few current cards (I keep a whole box of special cards and memorabila under the bed), a journal, a few pillows and a lamp!  There might be chocolate hidden in there somewhere.

my favorite pain


both laughter and tears shared with friends


when some shares your tears and accepts you

Oswald & WorshipBible Study, Oswald Chambers, Worship & Choir….and a cup of coffee.

So what favorite things do you think on when “the dog bites”?  “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable–if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise–dwell on these things.”  Phil. 4:8

Warm Wednesday Words: Wellington and the Girls


Backyard chicken flocks can be a fun hobby.  The high protein content of fresh, fertilized eggs add health to the list of benefits.  After having given what was left of our chickens away before our move from Pine Valley Farm (and losing the rooster who would spend his final days in local notoriety as “The Center Point Rooster”, Tony and I eagerly looked forward to the next time we could have chickens.   This time would have to wait a year and a half so that we could get resettled  into our new smaller home at “the top”.  Tony is skilled at building designs and drew out a layout for a coop that can be divided in half for future times of raising new chicks separate from the mature ones and a yard that will be divided so that new grass can be growing in the unused half.

IMG_7731I spent hours pouring over lists of desired traits that we would like to have in the hens.  Finally in April the order was off and we eagerly awaited the chicks, which get sent over a weekend so I am thankful for God’s design of the yoke sac keeping them nourished during a 3-4 day shipment.

IMG_8166I researched the perfect rooster type for us.  We have had too many aggressive roosters in the past who have taken on various members of our family over the years, including yours truly.  If you’ve not been attacked by an aggressive rooster, I will just say it’s not something you would enjoy.  I had a battle with one at our Bourbon farm.  There was no one within hearing distance as this driven rooster kept backing up and charging me repeatedly. I am happy to say I finally won the ongoing battle unscathed by his spurs, but only because there happened to be a cast iron skillet laying in the barn yard, which I used to slap the rooster upside the head each time he charged me.   After I relayed that harrowing adventure to Tony that rooster was in the pot the same day with some dumplings.  And I felt very little pity and enjoyed my dinner.  There were several other such rooster stories over the years that our kids relish relating.  So, if the chicken magazine lists are correct, there are roosters who are calm and friendly.  I wanted one with bright color variation to boot.  The Welsummer fit the bill, so we got a few straight run Welsummers hoping one would be a rooster and that’s exactly what happened.  He is a bit young for this to be conclusive, but so far,unlike the hens, he is wildly fearful and paranoid.  I wonder if this is part of the non aggressive part of his personality.  We asked Caleb to name him and he chose Spike, after a childhood cockatiel.  We added “Wellington” for a classy prelude to “Spike”.

IMG_8190We also have two Welsummer hens.  I was delighted to visit a friend and fellow chicken connoisseur recently and discover that she had a few Welsummers including a Welsummer rooster.  She showed me their eggs and they are the darkest brown eggs I have ever seen.  They also can be broody, are hardy, are economical eaters, friendly and adaptable to confinement.

IMG_8104 I chose three Barred Rocks just because they are pretty, friendly, easy to handle, robust and cold hardy.

IMG_8121The Barred Rocks are just one of several of the friendly types that are very interested in toes!  Ouch.

IMG_8111We ordered two Dorkings because they are cold hardy, great brooders, adaptable to confinement, calm, steady, gentle, easily handled, somewhat rare and pretty.  Pretty puts it mildly.  Their coloring and feather variation make them stunningly beautiful.  We wanted a few hens whose genetics include broodiness so that next spring, when we may take a notion for some new chicks, we can hope for a hen to do all the miraculous work of hatching eggs and guarding chicks, rather then an incubator and me.

IMG_8130 Two of the tried and true Buff Orpingtons were on my list because they are good brooders, hardy, adaptable to confinement or free range, docile and easily handled.  These two gals are the quickest to show curiousity and friendliness.



IMG_8141Also tried and true are a couple Black Australorps.  They are good brooders, good mothers, very cold hardy, adaptable to confinement or free-range, quiet, docile and easily handled.

IMG_8210I was not previously familiar with Blue Cochins, but read that they are excellent brooders, good mothers, robust and cold hardy, adaptable to confinement or free-range, peaceful, friendly and easily handled.  They are very large birds.  Profuse layers they are not; however.  And having spent many mornings watching our chickens before our day “starts”, we can say that these beautiful cochins are mischievous and comical to watch with their unusual large size and feathered feet.  My mom and my aunt Earleen (both widows who spend a few days together every few months in giddy camaraderie) were “honored” to have these two comedians named after them.

IMG_8199These two Delewares have promise to be profuse layers, hardy in heat and cold, adaptable to confinement or free-range, calm and friendly.  These two bonded with Tony even when very young and always showed interested in pecking at his crocks and being picked up by him.

IMG_8192For profuse rich brown egg laying, good broodiness and mothering, very hardiness to cold, adaptability to confinement or free-range, quietness, docility and ease of handling, I ordered five Rhode Island Reds.

IMG_8212-001So for fun, food and fellowship and self sufficiency back yard chickens fill the bill.