Sunday, May 29, 2016

Faith and Trust

The other day the e-mail update from The Berean Call (my favorite ministry!) was a transcript of a radio program from years back, and the subject was: "Is Your Faith as a Grain of Mustard Seed?"

It was very good and talked about what true faith is . . . and what it isn't (such as the "name it, claim it" that is so prevalent today.) There was one simple quote in it that especially stood out to me and that I saved in my file of favorite quotes. It was:

". . . faith is simply confidence in God, in His grace, His love, His mercy, trusting in Him." (by Dave Hunt)

This simple description of faith sums it up well - abiding, resting, trusting in who God is. The more we know God and of His character, the deeper our trust in Him will become. And God is always so faithful as we put our faith and confidence in Him!


Many years ago, I did a study on the attributes of God and compiled a list of them and the verses that spoke of them. While I know I missed some and want to do the study again, here are the ones that I came up with then using the NASB Bible (minus all the verses :) . . . .

~ the Ancient of Days

~the Almighty

~Awesome

~Blessed

~the Bread of Life

~Compassionate

~a Consuming Fire

~the Creator, the Maker of All

~Eternal

~Everlasting

~Excellent

~Faithful

~the First and the Last, the Alpha and Omega

~Forgiving

~Gentle, Meek and Humble

~Glorious

~God of our salvation

~God of all comfort

~Good

~Gracious

~Great

~the Helper and Sustainer

~the Highest One

~the High Priest

~Holy and Blameless

~the “I AM”

~Immanuel

~Immortal

~Incorruptible

~Invisible

~Jealous

~the Judge

~Just

~Kind

~King of kings and Lord of lords

~the Light

~Living

~the Living Water

~Lord of All

~Love/loving

~Majestic

~Merciful

~the Mighty One

~the Most High

~Omnipresent

~Omniscient

~the Only God

~Patient

~Peace, The Prince of Peace

~Perfect

~Powerful

~Pure

~the Redeemer

~Righteous

~our Rock

~our Fortress

~our Shield

~our Stronghold

~our Refuge

~the Savior

~the Shepherd

~Sovereign

~Truthful and True

~Truth

~Upright

~Wise

~Worthy

~the Word of Life . . . the Word of God

~Zealous

Just reading through this list fills my heart with awe of God, the Lord of all! And how much more so as we read His Word and seek to come to know Him intimately through it . . . and can realize as a result, a deepening faith and trust in Him.

There are hundreds of verses that speak of the above attributes, and how much more does God's Word in its entirety reveal who God is, His great love for us, His care, His plan of redemption and salvation, His guidance, and so very much more.


My favorite spot to read my Bible

All of this fit in well with another favorite quote of mine that I had shared last year on my blog and recently came across yet again (it also was in The Berean Call though the author is unknown) . . . .


"Just as you have left the whole burden of your sin, and have rested on the finished work of Christ, so leave the whole burden of your life and service, and rest upon the present in-working of the Holy Spirit. Give yourself up, morning by morning, to be led by the Holy Spirit and go forth praising and at rest, leaving Him to manage you and your day.

Cultivate the habit all through the day, of joyfully depending upon and obeying Him, expecting Him to guide, to enlighten, to reprove, to teach, to use, and to do in and with you what He wills. Count upon His working as a fact, altogether apart from sight or feeling. Only let us believe in and obey the Holy Spirit as the Ruler of our lives, and cease from the burden of trying to manage ourselves; then shall the fruit of the Spirit appear in us as He wills to the glory of God."

How convicting and inspiring this is! No matter how many times I read it, I find my heart encouraged and convicted.

This morning when I was reading the Bible, there were a couple of passages that fit in well with these, too . . .


". . . that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:9b-14



"Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory." Colossians 3:1-4



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On a different note, last evening we had a barbecue at our place with some of our church family (not everyone could come unfortunately.) It was such an enjoyable time together! So much good conversation and fellowship, laughter, delicious food, and fun. How very thankful I am for the great blessing of those in our church!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Safely Here

As smooth and easy as Aurora's kidding was, Sierra's was just the opposite. In fact, it was our hardest kidding ever save for one several years ago when the kids were so tangled up inside that the vet had to do an emergency c-section right there in the barn stall. (That was quite the experience!)

Anyway . . . last Friday Sierra began active labor, yet before long, things stopped progressing which was a sign that something was wrong. Leah went in and discovered that there was not one, but two kids coming at the same time! She worked for awhile to untangle them and then managed to push the second back enough that the first could finish being delivered.

He was born not breathing and was limp as can be. Leah quickly picked him up by his back legs, gently swung him back and forth, used her finger to clear his mouth . . . and there was no response . . . no coughing, no sputtering, no breathing. She touched his eye, and he very slowly blinked so she knew he was still alive thankfully! She began chest compressions and then switched to using the aspirator.

Each time with the aspirator, his little chest would expand, and eventually, he took a breath. Still as limp as a rag, but breathing and alive. We were all so grateful to God for that! Leah began rubbing him with a towel then, which helped stimulate him and he started moving a bit.

Sierra with her kids . . . she is licking the buckling here

Meanwhile, Sierra had delivered the second kid (a doeling!) shortly after the first, and while she was much better off than the buckling, she was still stressed from the kidding. She wasn't coughing at all to clear the fluid, so I cleared her mouth, toweled her off some, and gave her to Sierra to lick.

Their start was definitely rough (the buckling especially!), and it took them longer than normal to start trying to move around and before they got their suck-reflex. Now, though, they are doing fantastic! (And Sierra, too, thankfully.)

Starting to get hungry for that first meal . . . Leah or I helped him nurse the first few times, and then he was able to do it on his own.

A few days after they were born, both does and their kids were moved out to a small 'holding' pen for awhile and where the kids will soon be trained to electric fence. Once that is done, they'll all be moved out to their big pen . . . .

The newest little doeling whom we named Prairie. . . she was by far the most cooperative for photos

Enjoying some attention from Leah . . . all four goat kids love to be rubbed/scratched!

This is why it is hard to get photos of them :) . . . they want to be so close to us . . . or on us, as Meadow was trying to crawl up me here! 

Primrose and Meadow . . . and a split second later, they were running toward me :)

Sierra's buckling whom we'll be selling. It's a bit hard to believe the start he had with how well he is doing now!

 Prairie


Primrose

Meadow

It's so fun to have goat kids again! Leah and I are both loving just going out there and spending time with them. And they are rather entertaining to watch as they are quite playful at this age. Once they grow a bit more, it will be fun to have some more of our little friends out to see and 'play' with them!

Monday, May 23, 2016

An Afternoon at a State Park

May is the month of my Mom's birthday, and last week, we celebrated! For each of our birthdays, we like to do some special outing as a family, and this year, Mom opted for a nearby State Park. It was such a beautiful day, and although we didn't have a lot of time to spend there, it was thoroughly enjoyed.


With all of the rain we have had, the creeks were fuller than normal, and everything was lushly green. It was so refreshing to walk in the woods and soak in so much beauty in God's creation!

Birds singing in the trees, water flowing, flowers blooming, the sun shining brightly, the laughter of children as they enjoyed the park with their classmates, trees spreading their branches against the blue sky . . . happy sigh. And of course, enjoying time together as a family was wonderful. :)

Leah, Mom, and I right after we arrived (Photo by my Dad)

(Photo by my Dad)

The creek . . . it was so pleasant listening to the water flowing!

The natural bridge which the creek flows through . . . it is so impressive in person!

Mom, Dad and I at the Natural Bridge (photo by Leah)

(Photo by Leah)

Green against the blue

Mom and I (Photo by my Dad) 

 Leah

I loved this spot!

Looking down a DEEP crack in the rocks to the cave below (it's much deeper than the photo appears)

Looking down the stairs to the cave below

Mom and I went down to the cave, and we're both pointing at something here, but I can't remember what it was. :) (Photo by my Dad)

Down here was another spot that Mom and I both loved . . . it was so lush and green!


It's interesting how the rock on the left had separated

Water flowing in the cave . . . I remember once when going here before, there wasn't much water in it then, and we and the children we were with had a lot of fun exploring the cave and climbing on the rocks. Fun memories!

A water run-off area on a hillside

Leah enjoying the view (photo by my Dad)

Mom and Dad

I'm not sure what these are, but they were pretty

Dad and Mom again :)


Me (Photo by Leah)

Moss covered rocks

Anyone know what this is?


If you guessed poison ivy, that would be correct! It's a plant my siblings and I learned to identify well when we were young as my brother and I were/are really allergic to it!

The pathway leading back to the parking area . . . quite picturesque :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

New Life

Beginning Sunday afternoon, Aurora kept us guessing for two days as to if she really was in labor and if kidding was close or not - and hence, not very good nights of sleep those days. :) Yet the 'signs' very slowly increased, and finally, she kidded yesterday morning.

Despite how very slow the pre-labor was, the actual labor went so fast we missed the first kid being born! As in, Aurora was up eating her morning feed and only showing some signs of contractions, so I went inside for a few minutes . . . and by the time I went back out, she had just delivered the first kid!

This is Aurora's fourth kidding and prior to this, she has had five bucklings and one doeling, the latter of which was born her very first kidding. So we were really hoping for at least one doeling this time.

Moments after birth

And . . . as Aurora softly bleated to her new baby, licking it all over, we were quite glad to see that it was a doeling! While mama licked her dry, she was giving adorable little bleats and trying to get to her feet.

It wasn't much longer after this that Aurora delivered the second kid which was also a doeling! Needless to say, we were thrilled. :) (And we were all glad [Leah especially since she is our 'goat-midwife'] that it was a smooth, 'no assistance needed' kidding!)

Aurora licking her second doeling dry with the first still trying to figure out this standing thing

No matter how often I see it, watching a birth and seeing the new life is always exciting and awe inspiring . . . such a testament of the almighty God who created everything!

The first doeling is standing! But still not quite sure about it . . . you can tell by her sprawled out legs. :) It wasn't long, though, before she was figuring out walking. Meanwhile little sister rests some more before she began her own attempts.

Both little doelings are doing really well, and they already love attention! Since these are doelings, we'll be keeping them which means they get names. "Meadow" was the name given to the second doeling, and the first is still undecided with a name hopefully coming soon.

Little Meadow trying to crawl up into my lap

The nameless little girl taking a nap

Meadow

Now Sierra's due date is just around the corner! And maybe we'll get another doeling . . . we're hoping so!


Sierra

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Therapeutic Riding Center ~ Joys and Progress

The smell of horses is in the air, the creak of saddle leather can be heard, the arena rail is lined with colorful reins, buddy stirrups, saddles, and other specialized equipment, a laugh rings out . . . all sights and sounds of a day at the therapeutic riding center.

Once a week, Leah and I spend much of the day volunteering there and loving every moment of it. There really isn't a way to express in words how wonderful our times are there and the joy that comes in working with each of our special riders, developing friendships with them (and their parents/families), and seeing the progress they make.

Down the trail during the veteran's class. Leah and I are sidewalking with the veteran on the near horse - he and his wife have become good friends of ours (as has Pam, who is leading the horse.) We always enjoy seeing and talking with all of them!

Horses waiting their turn for their riders to mount. There is a mounting area at the front of the arena with steps for the riders to climb up. Or, sometimes the therapists/instructors will mount the littlest riders by lifting them onto the horse - a job that Leah and I are often asked now to do which we love! A few riders are also mounted by a special lift that they have there.

Waiting while the stirrups are adjusted . . . then followed an enjoyable hour with him!

Each rider has things they are working to overcome, strengthen, or improve in . . . physical, emotional, speech . . . and our role is to not only keep the rider safe during their classes, but to help with therapy in whatever areas they have need.

For our littlest riders, it might be encouraging them to talk, helping them do the exercises, giving voice prompts, playing with them to help draw them out, singing to help comfort them or allay their fears, teaching/helping them with things like reining or holding onto the saddle horn, and/or just loving them. :)

This spring, Leah and I each worked with seven riders with the youngest ones being two and the oldest in his 70's (he is in the veteran class.) Almost all of 'our' riders are quite young, and three of them are ones Leah and I work with together. Due to how busy we stay there, it is quite hard to get photos, though some were taken with our cell phones and a few were shared with us by others. 

(For privacy reasons, I cropped the photos so as not to show the full faces of the riders, save for Will. :)

Leah and one of her riders.
This darling girl struggled so much the first few weeks, and Leah worked and worked with her singing, talking with her, and encouraging her. The end result is a little girl who LOVES riding now and loves Leah dearly. It is so sweet to watch the two of them together! (Especially since her mom shared that she rarely bonds closely with others.) And if you want to meet someone who has one of the most precious smiles that lights up her whole face . . . just spend some time with this sweetheart!

Mounted and ready to go! Leah is on the far side of the horse with her little rider.

Me with one of my little riders . . . this dear boy also really struggled the first three or so weeks. Little by little, though, the tears became less, he began to love playing peek-a-boo with me, and the smiles and laughter came. By the mid-way point in the spring session, he was running up to the gate, eager to ride! After working with him, I decided I need to learn some basic sign language . . . he signed many words, but I knew so little of what he was saying!

Leah with Chico (with our friend Mr. K riding)

Leah with the sweet girl I mentioned in my last post :) Such a smile this girl has, too!

One of the volunteers picked flowers for the 'horse show' day and put them by the 'jump'

How I love this dear boy! I worked with him last summer, and we developed quite a bond then, but he wasn't there during the fall. So this spring, I was thrilled to see his name on the class sheet! And . . . he remembered me! Each week, I love seeing him and his mom coming up to the arena and then when I go down to greet him, seeing his face alight in smiles and his hand begin waving emphatically as he tries to walk faster to me.

As he rides, he'll often lean over and give me one of his hugs and sometimes a kiss, too. :) He doesn't have many words, but his eyes say so much! And now when he wants to show me something, he'll reach over and gently turn my face in the direction he is pointing. He's also a tease and his laugh is so infectious.

Love you so much, sweet boy!

And dear Will! The progress he has made in the last year is amazing . . . each week milestones are reached, and he has just blossomed with his communication, comprehension, riding skills, and much more. The love and care this boy has for others is also really heart-touching! I so love this sweet and special boy and working with him! And again, if you want to hear an infectious laugh, just be around Will for a little bit. :) He's also quite the tease!

Some weeks during his rides, watching him talk and make progress right before our eyes, is enough to keep a smile of joy on my face much of his ride (in the above photo, [taken by his Mom], I'm on the opposite side.) Really looking forward to seeing what the summer holds for him!

He, his mom, and little sisters are good friends of ours, too, and Leah and I love spending time with them and talking with his mom. She has been a great blessing and encouragement to me in many ways!

As I type, my heart is full . . . and thankful for the opportunity Leah and I have to volunteer here. It has been such a blessing to us! 

Last week, there was yet another special and encouraging moment . . . one of the instructors/therapists came up to Leah and I and shared with us many encouraging words with tears in her eyes. She also said that if we wanted, there is the potential for us becoming instructors there ourselves! I am not sure if we'll ever do something like that or not, but it really touched our hearts that they would want us to be.

For now, though, we'll keep volunteering one day a week! 

Cloudy skies one night on the drive home . . . and you can barely see it in the photo on the horizon in the center, but there was a sundog in the sky. It was neat to see!