Monthly Archives: November 2011

You’re not the only one.

Car wreck 11.11.11

Sometimes life throws you a curveball.

Lots of my friends went out Black Friday shopping. Some for the thrill of shopping and having an adventure with friends and family. Others because they wanted to save big money on a certain item.

I stayed home. I don’t have my gift list made yet and no matter how big the sale is, I don’t have any extra money set aside for purchases right now.

You’re not the only one.

Today is Cyber Monday and again lots of people are shopping and saving money on the perfect gift for people they love. Shopping online is much more my style and my inbox is full of great offers, but as I skimmed them, I started to feel frustrated because I can’t start shopping yet. So I started just deleting all of them. I’m not going to beat myself up about not having money set aside for Christmas right now. Don’t beat yourself up either. Delete those emails.

You’re not alone.

Christmas is a wonderful time to reflect on the greatest gift we were even given through the birth of Jesus Christ, but sometimes it’s hard to keep the focus on that when stores, commercials, and emails keep reminding us of how many shopping days are left until Christmas and how wonderful their sales are.

Christmas isn’t an easy time of year for everyone.

Sometimes the materialism of this world can make you feel poor, really poor.

You’re not the only one.

Sometimes the idealized Christmas family gatherings can make people wonder why things are so hard in their own family. They grieve for what they don’t have and struggle with what to do with what they do have. They know they can never please some people. They’re tired of being hurt.

You’re not the only one.

Some people battle depression, pain, and fatigue, or other illnesses that people can’t see or understand. The stress of the holidays can make those things worse. People may call you selfish for trying to protect yourself from making things worse.

You’re not the only one.

Personally, I think back to how Mary & Joseph couldn’t even find a room at the inn. They were turned away when Mary was surely uncomfortable and nervous about delivering a baby. They knew He was going to be the Messiah, but others thought they were crazy. They did the best they could and our sweet Jesus came into the world very humbly.

Feeling humbled by your circumstances?

You’re not the only one.

I like what Paul had to say in Phillipians 4. A lot of us have probably memorized various verses from that chapter: the one about how he’s learned how to be content whether he was in want or had plenty, or about how he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him. I like those too.

But here’s a little more to the story, with those verses in context.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Phillipians 4:12-14

Notice how Paul says, “Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.” The same Paul who said that he could do all things through Christ who gave him strength and the same Paul who said he could be content in any situation, was thankful for others who shared in his troubles and encouraged him. We all need people to share in our troubles and encourage us.

You’re not the only one.

People in the Bible didn’t mince words. They didn’t fake being okay when they weren’t. They didn’t try to act like being spiritual somehow protected them from life’s troubles. And they didn’t keep things all bottled up inside because they were worried how their struggles would reflect poorly on their walk with Christ. They knew that Christ walked a difficult road and that difficulties come along when you are truly walking with Him. No one is exempt from troubles in this life, not even during the holidays.

I know it can be hard to find people who love you unconditionally and will encourage you instead of judging you or trying to “fix” you

You’re not the only one.

I just want to encourage you to keep trying. Sometimes the people you want to be there for you the most simply aren’t capable of being what you need. It stinks, I know, but we live in a fallen world.

You’re not the only one.

Just keep looking for God’s grace amidst it all. He created you and loves you exactly the imperfect way that you are. He is truly the One who will never leave you nor forsake you. You don’t have to earn his approval or love. His grace is a free gift – one that none of us deserve (not even the holier-than-thou ones), but you simply have to embrace it.

I know it’s hard to understand. A lot of God’s ways don’t make sense in our world. But I know what that grace means to me, and I hope you do too.

Need help finding peace in the midst of the Christmas chaos?

You’re not the only one.

I’d love to hear how you take care of yourself throughout the holidays. Do you just give yourself permission NOT to send Christmas cards? Do you focus on charities? Do you let everyone know ahead of time that you’ll be staying home for the holidays? Do you have some type of Christmas tradition that you deliberately put on the calendar so that it happens? What do you do? I’d really like to know.

Send me an email or share in the comments box.

Faith Wins

Our Jack Russell Terrier, Faith

No I haven’t gotten confused about the title of Rob Bell’s book, Love Wins. I haven’t even read it, but I sure know it’s caused an uproar. What’s that all about? Have you read it? What did you think?

I’m talking about our mighty Jack Russell Terrier, Faith. She is the shortest, friendliest,  pudgiest little Jack Russell you’ll ever meet. Her tail reminds us of a hummingbird when she gets really excited. She’s a powerhouse! And even though she would definitely prefer to be indoors when it’s too hot, too cold, or raining, she still has that fierce Jack Russell tenacity.

Mice, bunnies, groundhogs, and moles know to stay clear of our yard. She is ruthless going after them and proud to eliminate them. We’ve had to physically remove her from a hole where she’s been barking for almost an hour because she can almost reach her prey, but not quite. I really wonder if we didn’t go and retrieve her if she would bark until she lost her voice OR if her victim would surrender to make the yapping stop!

Anyway, Tony heard Faith barking the other day when he got home from work. He could tell it was coming from the creek, but figured she was just chasing something. He went inside and finished working, so it was about an hour later when he went back to his car for something and STILL heard her barking.

Our CreekThis time, he decided to take the boys and go see what she was doing.

She wasn’t ruthlessly barking at the home of some animal’s den. Nope, she was stuck on a little island in the middle of a deep spot in the creek. The water was rushing because of our recent rain and it was COLD. Apparently she got that far and decided that the deer wasn’t worth it. But it was too late.  She’d gotten too cold and worn herself out. When she tried to jump back onto the steep creek bank, she would just slide back down.

Jake had to wade out into the water and get her. He said you could see where she had jumped and tried to scratch her way up the creek bank until she’d exhausted herself.

She was SO happy when Jake lifted her off that little island. I can just imagine her little tail wagging 90 to nothing! The boys brought her back home, got her dry and warm, and gave her a comfy place to rest.

We were so glad that she’s tenacious and kept up that barking until we realized that she needed help. We’re glad she was smart enough to know when the current was too strong for her to swim.We’re proud of her for how she kept trying.

She didn’t lose faith in us. She knew we’d come.

Faith wins.

If You Give a Family a Farm

I was chatting with my good buddy, Kristi, the other day and she commented about how they would like to have a farm someday.  So I started in with, “But if you get a farm, then you are going to want animals for it, and then you’ll need a trailer, and then you’ll need a tractor…”  And that was how the idea for today’s blog was started.  So my apologies to Laura Joffe Numeroff, author of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, but I couldn’t resist.

Our House, November 2003

Carter Family Farm Established November 2003

If You Give a Family a Farm by Nancy Carter
Originally published September 16, 2005.

If you give a family a farm, they’ll want some animals for it.

So you’ll go help them pick out some chickens so that they’ll have fresh eggs.

Then they will want some goats because goat milk is better than dairy, and sheep so they can spin their own wool.

Once they get those, they’ll want a guardian dog to protect them.

And when they find just the right dog, then they might as well get some cows so they can sell grass-fed beef.

But they’ll need to fix up the barn so it will be nice for the animals, and they’ll need to repair some fences.

Once all of that is done, they’ll be ready to go buy the cows so you’ll take them to a farm auction.

While they are there, they’ll not only buy cows, but a few horses, and a trailer to bring them all home.

Once they get them home, they’ll realize that they need a tractor to bush hog their pastures and to move big bales of hay.

They’ll decide that they want to grow their own organic wheat, grass and hay to feed their animals so they’ll need to buy lots of bags of seed.

Since they’re going to buy all those bags of seed, they’ll want a nice full size pick up truck.

Now that they’ve got that nice pick up truck, they’ll decide that it would be just perfect to sell produce from the back at a roadside stand.

So they’ll decide to plant an organic garden. They’ll read lots of books, build compost bins, and bring beneficial insects and earthworms into the soil.

They’ll get hoes and rakes and a tiller and an irrigation system, but the deer and rabbits will start eating their plants. So then they’ll ask you to help them surround their garden with fencing, human hair and ummm other things to keep the wildlife away.

Once they get all of that done, they won’t have any produce to sell this year, so they’ll want to go to the farmer’s market.

And once they’re at the farmer’s market, they’ll see how expensive the organics are, but how beautiful and rewarding it looks to grow their own produce and they’ll want to get back to their farm.


Happy Thanksgiving!


My Three Sons

I’m thankful for impromptu moments caught by the camera.

For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting;
and His truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100:5

An Old Farmer’s Advice

Here’s another post that I found in my archives that I thought was worth repeating! It was something a friend forwarded to me via email.

Fall beauty at Christian Way Farm
* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.

* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

* It don’t take a very big person  to carry a grudge.

* You cannot unsay a cruel word.

* Every path has a few  puddles.

* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

* The best  sermons are lived, not preached.

* Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway.

* Don’t judge folks by their relatives.

* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

* Live a good, honorable  life. Then when you get older and think back,  you’ll enjoy it a second  time.

* Don’t interfere with somethin’ that ain’t botherin’ you none.

* Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.

* Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

* The biggest troublemaker you’ll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin’.

* Always drink upstream from the herd.

* Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad  judgment.

* Lettin’  the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back  in.

* If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.

* Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.

* Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.