Life as a Puzzle

thomas-kincaid-puzzle

What does one do on a snow day when you have already read all the books that you have in your home and the library is 10 miles away through horizontal snow? Last week I had this problem. (I did have work I could have done…..and yes, I did do some of it.)

I also chose to start a puzzle. Winter is the perfect time to start a puzzle…at least I think so. And since winter decided to show up again, I thought it was the prime time to get one started. My husband helps occasionally but typically leaves it up to me. The puzzle I am working on is 1000 pieces and is a Thomas Kincaid picture.

When working a puzzle, I tend to start by finding all the outside edge pieces. I wonder if this is typical? I think I would find it impossible to fix if I had to start with one of the center pieces. I like having the edges as a boundary.

There is something about fixing puzzles that makes me think of living life. Life is made up of so many colorful pieces that don’t always seem to go together. When all those pieces are in the box it can look like a mess and a hodgepodge of mismatched bits and a swirl of colors. It is a great help to see the picture on the lid so you know what the finished product should look like and where all those colors fit in.

I have no idea what the finished picture of my life looks like. I just know there are a lot of little pieces that make up my life. I also realize that I haven’t even seen all the pieces that are still to be used to fix my life puzzle. They are somewhere in that box labeled “Chicken Grandma”.

It takes the Master to take those pieces out of the box and slowly begin putting them together. He takes the colors and all those crazy shaped pieces and places them just so in my life to make a beautiful picture of Grace. He makes order and beauty out of a box of pieces that seem so random, but are not really random at all.

I am so glad He has the lid to the puzzle box that is my life and He knows exactly what that life will look like when it has been completed. I only get to see the portions that He has already put together for me.

It is amazing to me when looking at the parts of my life that are already pieced together what a picture of blessing my life really is. Even the pieces that are dark and gloomy looking are just a part of a much bigger beautiful picture, that all speak grace and love.

I am wondering if the puzzle that is our lives actually has those finished edges that I like to start with. Or, do you think maybe our life puzzles just fit and intertwine with the next persons puzzle and their puzzle fits with the next and so on? I kind of hope so. I love the thought that we are all part of a bigger picture that takes all of our pieces to finish.

I love all those pieces that represents the friends and family that are part of my life. You all make my life so much richer and add so much color. And yes some of you add a little craziness and so much fun!  You also add so much blessing. May you be blessed in return.

 

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:13-16
NIV

 

 

No Excuses….Just Late

 

My dad would say this post is “a day late and a dollar short.”  I am not sure about the dollar short, but yes; it sure is a day late!

Blame it on the busyness (only I can’t, because yesterday was a snow day and they are slow). Blame it on the weather (Once again I can’t cause it was a snow day and we couldn’t really do anything outdoors anyway.) Blame it on…….naaaaaaaa, let’s not blame it on anything.

No excuses…..just no post yesterday. And to be honest I really haven’t anything amazing for today either! Once again……oh well….sometimes life is just like that……ho hum. Though sometimes in the ho hum you can find a small gem of truth….if you look hard enough. Yesterday I just did not feel like looking.

Today, I half-way felt like looking and kind of talked myself out of it.  Have you ever done that?    I have, however, been listening to one of my favorite CDs and thought this would be a great time to share one of my favorite songs on the Matt Maher album – Saints and Sinners.

The song is called Firelight and I thought I would not only share the music video but also the lyrics so that you can sing along. I hope this song blesses you as much as it blesses me. It speaks to those arid, desert places that can sometime be a season of life you go through. It speaks to the longing in our hearts to make a difference in this world…..a difference that is eternal.

May you be blessed in the desert, if that is where this weekend finds you. May you be blessed in the lush oasis if that is where you are. And may you be blessed if you find yourself somewhere in between those two….somewhere in the everyday, ho-hum of life.

“Firelight”

Dear Jesus where are you tonight
I bear a sadness deep inside
I’m aching for a faith in things I strain to feel
I need to know that you are real

Oh Savior open up my eyes
I wanna see You like a child
There is a haze on the horizons of my heart
Dear Jesus show me where you are

Be my firelight, be my firelight
Burning fierce and bright, be my firelight

How do I move on and be free
From all these things that I have seen
All of my memories are turning into scars
Oh my God put back what’s been torn apart

Be my firelight, be my firelight
Burning fierce and bright, be my firelight

If anyone remembers my name
If I’m ever known for anything
Let it be I ran into the night
Running with a firelight, firelight

Cause I don’t wanna stroll the streets of gold
While there’s still a soul to love
Let me run into the night
Running with a firelight, firelight
Burning with a firelight, firelight


Matt Maher

 

Let my tongue sing of Your word,
For all Your commandments are righteousness.

Psalm 119:172

 

A Time of Birds

pair-of-geese

A Pair of Geese – A Good Match

The last few days have been absolutely glorious. (I do love the word glorious!)  Yesterday it was 70 something degrees and perfect weather for taking a camera and wandering around.

My husband pointed out that we had a pair of geese standing on a sandbar; on the river that flows through our farm. We had been watching the large flocks fly overhead on their way north; so it was a treat to see a pair that had decided take a break on the river.

I am hopeful that this pair, that seems perfectly matched, will decide to take up residence for the season in our area. In the past we have had resident geese and it is so much fun to watch them when they have goslings. I find it to be really neat that geese actually pair up for life. I have no idea how they go about finding their perfect mate. But as they stay together they must be a good match.

Nest in the Plum Thicket.JPG

Nest or Hideout

I finally remembered to take my camera on my walk yesterday. Every time I walked past the plum thicket alongside the road; I loved seeing this nest just waiting in the trees. I cannot wait for spring and summer when, hopefully, a bird will decide to reuse it as a home. If they don’t use it for a home, perhaps they could at least use it for a temporary hideout from a predator of some sort. My husband tells me it probably will not be reused but I am ever hopeful.

the-road-home

The Road Home

As I journeyed my way back home I could hear the sound of thousands of birds singing in the trees along the river. The closer I got, the louder the noise became.  It really made me wonder how many birds it took to make that much noise. I soon discovered how many it does take…..

migrating-red-wing-blackbirds

Red Winged Blackbirds

There were so many Redwing Blackbirds sitting in those tree branches that they looked like leaves. It was an amazing sight when they decided it was time to leave. A rush of wings, the sky dotted with an amazing amount of birds, the air echoing with the cries of all those birds …… and they were gone.

So much of life is like that. Moments that are precious are gone in a rush of wings and a few last cries. I guess it is a reminder to cherish those moments when they are here. Take the time to really enjoy them before they are gone in a blur of passing time. Realize when God has given you a friend, spouse, or family member that is a good match for you and let them know that you love them. Enjoy the journey that is life.

Memories are the key not to the past,
but to the future.
Corrie Ten Boom

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/memories.html

Not All That Glitters…..

kaboom-game

It may be true that “Not all that glitters is gold.” I think the reverse is also true….Not all gold is something that glitters. I have no idea if that makes any sense whatsoever…..it just sounded kind of profound.

I have many things in life that are really pure gold….family and friends being at the top of the list. My daughter-in-law posted the picture of the two grandkids on Facebook the other day. It just made my day to see those two little ones.

They are the real gold in my life. Those two bring such a joy to life. Everything they do is done with everything they have. They really know how to live life to the full and they sparkle from the inside out.

I did have to do some questioning about the Kaboom game after seeing the photo. I first thought they were knocking down the blocks with marshmallows. Turns out those are white painted blocks…..which is a good thing; as I am not sure about the shelf life of a game that would use marshmallows as game pieces.

I digress (which I often do). I also have some amazing friends. One of them truly does glitter! We have often called her the glitter queen. Wherever she goes she has a sparkle about her….literally. I should explain. She is a craft wizard and loves….(did I say loves?) to use glitter. There are times her husband even sparkles. (I am not so sure how impressed he is with the thought of sparkling.)

There is a down side to glitter. Once it gets loose in your home it attaches itself to everything. My daughter-in-law once gave me a Christmas present wrapped in beautiful paper that had glittery snowflakes on it. It did not take long and everything and everyone had a slight sparkle to and on them….maybe more than a slight sparkle. It was actually quite wonderful in a Christmas sparkly kind of way.

My daughter-in-law started to snicker and informed me that the clerk who had sold her the paper explained to her about glitter.  According to him, and I quote, “Glitter is the herpes of the craft world…….once you have it…..you can never get rid of it.” That is a quote that has firmly planted itself in my brain. It comes to mind every time I see a tube of glitter, a card with glitter or anything sparkly and glitter related. That quote is somewhat like glitter….I don’t think I will ever be able to erase it!

I am so glad that there is so much more to my family and friends than just temporary , external sparkle. They are “Real” and their beauty and worth comes from who they are inside and not what they look like outside. They are beautiful, wonderful people….inside and out.

I pray that you have a friend or family member who sparkles and shines from the inside. I pray this friend or family member spreads a little “internal glitter” over your life and brings you joy. I also pray that you, in turn, spread a little glitter over those around you.

 

“Consider the fact that maybe…just maybe…
beauty and worth aren’t found in a makeup bottle,
or a salon-fresh hairstyle, or a fabulous outfit.
Maybe our sparkle comes from somewhere deeper inside,
somewhere so pure and authentic and REAL,
it doesn’t need gloss or polish or glitter to shine.”

Mandy Hale, T
he Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

 

 

 

 

Lessons From Geese

img_3011-geese

The past few days have been unusual with our very warm weather. It has been a wonderful reprieve from the cold days that we had in January. The last few days we have even heard flocks of geese as they fly over our farm on their journey north.

It is hard to believe that the geese are already migrating. This is really early for them to be moving that direction again. It makes me wonder how long it will be before they are thinking they may have left those warmer areas a little too fast.

I love the wild sound of those flocks as they fly overhead. It is usually that wild cry that alerts us to their presence. Once you hear it, you start looking up till you finally locate them. Sometimes they are just small groups of a dozen or so. At times they are so large they have several V formations within V formations.

I am amazed at the instinct these birds have in knowing when it is time to hit the migration trail. Year after year, they unfailingly take wing and go when the time is right. Year after year they follow that age-old path to get to the same location as they were the year before.  Against all odds they  manage to make that same trek over and over.

There is a great comfort in the constancy of the geese as they migrate. It is wonderful to know that even though this world may be in an uproar…..the geese still fly when it is time to go.  They do not take their cues from man-made circumstances. They go when it is time….no matter what; because that is what geese were made to do.

There is a lot to be learned from geese I think. They are not swayed by circumstances and opinions. They do not try to be something they are not. They stick together so their journey is easier.  Just think if we were not swayed by the opinions of people who care nothing for us. What would happen if we did not worry about being good enough? What would this world look like if we stuck together and loved each other enough to help each other through this journey called life?

What if…..against all odds….we stayed true to being who God made us to be and we stayed focused on the business that He has given us to do? I cannot speak for anyone else….but I am thinking that would be a mighty fine thing.

May you have a blessed weekend and enjoy the things that God has put in your path . May you find something to marvel at in the days ahead. I pray that someone is placed before you and you are given an opportunity to love, serve and help…… and may your life be filled with simple pleasures like geese flying overhead.

 Morrie Schwartz quotes 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/against-the-odds/

A Little Tour

the-little-rock

Today the blogging well seems to have run a little dry so you are going to get a short tour of the farm.  The blogging well might be slightly on the dry side but our farmyard definitely is not.  We are enjoying some amazing, unseasonably warm weather around here. I am not going to complain about the temperatures…..but there is a downside.

The downside of these early warm temperatures is that all the snow melts….rapidly. When snow melts that quick and the ground is still frozen, our yard turns into a pond fed by a small creek that winds it’s way  from the field to the west, to our farm yard.

This all sounds delightful and probably would be if we were in the mountains and we were talking about bubbling brooks and clear mountain streams. What this means for us is that our yard becomes a pond which then turns into a mud pit.

Our car is no longer parked in the garage but up the driveway a ways so that we will not have to go “mudding” every time we need to go somewhere. There is an upside to this beautiful weather….there is usually an upside to most situations if you look hard enough.

I find that we can go outside with lighter weight coats on. Gloves are no longer needed to keep your fingers from freezing.  And it is now enjoyable to take a walk down the road as the wind is not howling with a sound like that of a roaring freight train.

the-eagle-has-landed

My husband pointed out to me that we had an eagle in the bottom field the other day. I headed out, camera in hand to try get a picture of him.  The expectation was high that I would be successful in getting this accomplished.  As I came around the corner of the barn I could see him sitting in the bottom field.  He was quite far away but I managed to get a picture of him before he decided I was too scary for him to stay put. If you look closely at the picture at the top of this post you will see him flying away, heading towards the river.

As I slid my way through the mud (and of course wearing my chicken wellies)  I found much to appreciate.  From the trees that are patiently waiting for their summer clothes, to the girls enjoying themselves with some treat they found in my wheelbarrow…..the farm was a delight.

 

Even with the mud, this farm not only makes a living for my husband and me…..it also feeds my heart and soul. It has so many facets to it’s personality. Each season brings a certain beauty that makes me stand in awe.

There are times it is so still that you wonder what will happen when that quietness has passed. There are times when the soil comes to life with the green of corn, beans, and hay fields. The air is fragrant with the life of growing things.

This piece of land is a feast for the senses in every season. There is a connection to this ground even when it has turned to mud. It is much like life. There is promise and there is hope. There is a knowing that God is faithful and Spring is on it’s way. It is a reminder that life is rich and is the accumulation of so many wonderful little things.

 

 

“Farming is a profession of hope”
Brian Brett

 

 

 

Valentine’s Day

img_1707-love

It has come to my attention that today is the 13th of February. For some reason Valentine’s Day is sneaking up on me this year. I have a feeling there are many reasons that this year, this holiday is kind of going to get lost in the shuffle.

Years ago, when my husband and I were dating (waaaay back) we used to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I am never sure if we celebrated it just because it was the thing to do? Perhaps we didn’t want to be left out?  (As I type those words, it brings to mind my folk’s age-old question, “If everyone else jumped off the cliff would you jump too?”)

If I think back; I don’t remember my husband, even when he was my boyfriend, ever purchasing cut flowers. His mind set was that purchasing “dead” flowers (his opinion of cut flowers)  made no sense….you only enjoyed them for a short time and then tossed them out. (Perhaps this is the farmer in him?  Things should be growing?)

Once we were married he began to purchase live plants and bushes that I could plant in my flower garden. He, rightly, assumed I would have a lot longer to enjoy his gift than I would have with “dead” flowers.  .

It used to bother me that I did not get the cards and flowers that other women received on this holiday. I used to joke that once we were married I thought perhaps all the card and flower shops had burned to the ground.  It took a long time for me to become aware that those cards and flowers were not really my husband’s particular love language.

In all seriousness, his love language is evident in what he does for me rather than what he purchases for me. The way he helps with my projects and encourages me speaks love to me way more than cut flowers ever would. The fact that he “gets” my sense of humor and can laugh with me is something I cherish.

I love it when he invites me to share in his world. Sometimes the invitation involves looking at IH tractors and sometimes it is enjoying a beautiful sunset with him. I am grateful beyond words that God placed this man in my life.

He (and I) are not perfect. There are times we look at each other and kind of wonder what we were thinking those many years ago when we said “I do”.  I suspect all married people wonder that occasionally…..at least if they are honest they would admit to that. Maybe, just maybe, that is what keeps a marriage interesting.  There is still that element of surprise.

I am not sure what we will do tomorrow, on Valentine’s Day. I think it won’t be too much different than what we do most days. I always wonder what others do to celebrate special days. I wonder if there are more people like us who choose to see the everyday as special because of who you spend it with.

May this Valentine’s Day find you sharing the day with someone you love and who loves you back. May you be blessed with the person and/or people that God has placed in your life. May every day be a special day.


Dear children,
let us not love with words or tongue
but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:18
(NIV)