These Days

A page in my devotional

Good morning! It’s been a while, but my heart is thinking of you all today. I’ve been quarantined due to exposure to Covid, but that is soon up and my test was negative, thank Heaven. Today it’s bright and sunny and we are expecting this to be the hottest day of the year so far in 2021- heat index will be 105-106 today. Yikes! Stay hydrated if you have to be out and about.

While home, I’m catching up (no surprise there!) on a bible devotional I am doing “100 Days of Prayer” by Shanna Noel. Day 37 hit home with me today. It’s about living in God’s presence and to me that’s a beautiful thing, a beautiful way to be- living aware that this troublesome world is not the end, that we have a far greater lot to look forward to. That whatever heartache we face will be redeemed and transformed for our good, all in His more than capable hands. That we have been created for such a time as this.

Shanna Noel writes “what a privilege to walk through this life with the assurance that His presence is always near-even closer than our next breath”. How could we not want to be aware that each moment is a gift? Each day is an amazing opportunity to do good wherever we can. Call a friend. Mend a broken relationship. Send a card to encourage someone (or text, or email!) Step outside and take a few breath. Be still and practice gratitude for a few moments.

Find joy in your journey today, my sweet friends. The world needs your gift.

Until next time,

Terri

Welcome to My Garden

My project of choice this year kind of chose me, I suppose. I don’t truly know how it happened, one minute I am on pinterest, then instagram, then I am following a few folks, and then, bam! One Saturday finds my husband, Rich, and I building a small raised garden bed in our front yard.

We have had these marble blocks since before we were married, almost 31 years! Glad to finally use them. Not a picture perfect bed, but it’s mine and I love it!

We kept it small, just in case I were to repeat my history as a plant murderer……..yes, it is true, for most (okay, all) my life I have had a black thumb. As sad as it sounds, it was sadder still because both my sweet mother and mother-in-law, had even more hope in young wife me than I did. My mother worked at a local nursery during this time and brought many plant and flower starts and help me plant them in various parts of our yard. My mother-in-law gave us starts of her Lillies- both Easter and Surprise. Rich and my father-in-law tilled us a big garden and it was all very exciting, except, well, apparently, I wasn’t very good at this gardening thing back then. What survived and still thrive to this day are the surprise and Easter Lillies, along with some iris my mom planted in our fence row. And, let’s face it- those really just take care of themselves and go along about their happy little lives. So, again, I have no answer as to how I have arrived here this year, except I am so glad I did, my goodness, I am so enjoying it! I love seeing how well my Hasta La Pasta squashes are coming up, and the cucumber plants are green and doing well.

The first sprout of our Hasta La Pasta Winter Squash.

Rich ordered a book for me which I will link here, because it is amazing! It is called The First-Time Gardener: Growing Vegetables by Jessica Sowards. I feel like I have learned so much from this resource and I feel like, if we were to ever meet, we would be friends. Plus, like my mother and mother-in-law before her, she believes I can do it! As she puts it, I am growing a gardener.

You NEED this book!

So, I now start and end each day with a quick check on my little garden. I am so excited (and thankful!) to see how well most of the plants are doing. In addition to building me a garden bed, Rich also bought and assembled grow shelves for me. He’s one of the good ones!

Somedays, when they need water, I get to use my fancy new red hose Rich got me that has a new little hanging hook on our front porch. The last couple weeks here in SW Missouri though, I haven’t got to switch the settings on the hose and give my little plant children drinks, due to the rain we have had. Strange how I am missing that, but if Missouri holds true, there will be many a day ahead in the summer months when I will have opportunity again.

Grandson Cedar is the perfect garden help!

I would love to know where you are, what you are growing in your garden this year, and what tips you have learned that help make your garden grow! Please send me an email or leave a comment below.

Today, so lovely!

Keep working toward your harvest,
Terri

An MRI and a Black Sheep Burger

March 9 found us heading out of town toward Springfield, in the newest adventure of my shoulder saga. Oh, that reminds me, I haven’t been here or updated you all as to that. For the last few months I have been plagued with issues in my right shoulder. I have had x-rays, doctor appointments, physical therapy 2-3 times a week, and a CT scan with contrast injected into my joint. I chickened out of doing an MRI back in December, hence the CT scan with injection. I was hopeful that would give the doctor a complete look into my shoulder. He said it was okay, but last week when I was there, though I have made strides in my physical therapy, he felt it was time to consider surgery since this has been going on for a while now. Being the person I am, I have read about and researched what this could mean, as well as what the recovery could be like. I am not in too big a hurry to sign up for that, nor could I get any peace about this in my spirit. I prayed on it and prayed on it and finally felt like, because I had let fear win and I didn’t do the MRI, there was not a complete picture of what is going on with my shoulder. So, I scheduled an open MRI, and off we went. We drove the hour to get there (no one here has an open MRI machine) and got checked in early. I experienced a bout of nervousness as I filled out paperwork and got ready to go back. They took me back and got me all ready to go. They asked me what sort of music I wanted to listen to and I chose old time classic country, which they already had playing when I got there. The machine looked a little daunting, but the tech, Tina, helped me to feel a lot better. I told her I was sorry for being so nervous and asking so many questions and for acting like such a chicken and she was very gracious and even went so far as to tell me I was a breath of fresh air compared to some they have seen come in. Bless you, Tina! I am hoping that was true! She gets me arranged on the table and my worst fear of the whole time happened when they were placing me in the machine. Once I was moved in to as far as I needed to go, I opened my eyes, though most everyone I know had told me to keep them closed, and was relieved to see several inches between my face and the top of the machine and I could move my eyes side to side and see out the machine and all around. I was able to relax and complete the exam, which was somewhere around 30 minutes or so. They got me out of the machine and I waited for a few minutes for the disk to take back to my doctors office, then we were on our way with the staff’s blessing to Black Sheep Burgers and Shakes.

I had been hearing about this place, so this was our pick to celebrate me completing the MRI. Springfield has three different locations, but we chose the Chesterfield location and we loved it. The location was great and easy to get to, the staff was wonderful, the environment was really cool, music was a terrific 80’s blend (original artists!), and the food was fantastic! The portions were huge so we took home leftovers. We had the American Beauty burger, which was their special that day, and it was served with their salt and pepa fries. Hubby wanted to try their onion rings, so we had those as well. We split their Elvis shake, which you can have either alcoholic or non-alcoholic – I will let you figure out which version we had after the stress of the MRI was lifted, lol!

Cannot recommend this place enough, if you’re ever in Springfield, MO, you simply must look them up!

Hubby ❤️

I don’t have my results back yet, but hey, at least I can say I did the MRI.

Until next time,

Terri

Character and Country

Hello friends. Today finds me feeling a little weary mixed with a lot of hope. I recently spoke at church and I titled my sermon “Living as People of Hope”- a challenge I think many of us have been feeling since 2020 descended upon us in all it’s fury. For those interested, I will write a blog post all about that and post it in the next few days- a nice recap to start the year, perhaps. Many know I write quotes and mark up my bibles- it helps me to put things into my heart and mind and to find them quickly when I need to. In one of my favorite bibles today, I came across this quote, written on the cover page of the New Testament.

E.M. Bounds wrote:

“Nothing but a specific effort from a praying leadership will avail. None but praying leaders can have praying followers. Praying apostles will beget praying saints. A praying pulpit will beget praying pews. Holy men have, in the past, changed the whole force of affairs; they have revolutionized CHARACTER AND COUNTRY by prayer. And such achievements are still possible for us. The power is only waiting to be used. Prayer is simply the expression of faith.”

….they have revolutionized character and country by prayer…

This is where the weary comes in, but the hope can overcome it. I have been very saddened to see fellow Christians, fellow citizens of the United States, tearing each other apart after the recent election. I feel like we have lost sight of where our trust should be, which is wholly in God and His ability to keep us where He wants us to go. As such, it is time that we realize more than ever, we have personal responsibilities to see to. A responsibility to examine our own individual character to see what we are doing in our own lives to better the place where God has seen it fit to have us. Take stock of how I am living right here in my own little corner of the world. Am I serving Him truly in my neck of the woods? Am I being a good steward of my resources such as time, money, goods, and what I contribute to my local community?

Proverbs 27:23-27 were my personal verses for 2017/2018 :

“Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds; for riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations. When the hay is removed, and the tender grass shows itself, and the herbs of the mountains are gathered in, The lambs will provide your clothing, and the goats the price of a field; You shall have enough goats’ milk for your food, For the food of your household, and the nourishment of your maidservants.” (New King James Version)

So, what does that mean? I remember it spoke to me, as we live on a farm, so I related to what it was saying, but to break it down even more, I felt like it was a calling to examine our lives. We have a lot of stuff, so much stuff that we don’t even know all the stuff we have. Stuff that we need to sort and decide what to do with and we have been making progress towards that over the last few years. I felt led that we weren’t using our resources to the best of our ability and I wanted to “free’ us up so that we would be free to serve Him, our family, and our community, well.

After the mess of 2020, the start of this new year is a great time to take stock of any changes that can be made. But, rather than add in anything new, how about looking at what can be taken away or how what we already have can be repurposed in a way to benefit your spirit, soul, and body? Self care is essential in building a healthy life, a good character with which we can live. Character is defined as “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual”. According to Collins Dictionary, the character of a person or place consists of all the qualities they have that make them distinct from other people or places. What sets us apart as Christians, is that our human character can be transformed daily to become more and more Christ-like here on earth. I love Romans 5: 3-5 from the New International Version, which ties character and hope together :

“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into out hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”

My paraphrase- through all of the hard times in our lives, we learn from them. Things to do different, or better, next time. Compassion so we can treat others kindly when we see someone going through something we have gone through. But it is not through our power alone, it is by His Spirit that He has gifted to us to help us, that we can do these things. They sharpen our character, mold it to be better. Chisel away at it and define it.

Micah 6:8 tells us “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God”. Three guidelines to help us learn to redefine our lives and our outlook. To shape our spheres of influence, right where we are.

My cousin, Mel’s, tattoo. Her son, Gabe, wrote it on a piece of paper as an encouragement for his sweet momma when he was like 7 or 8. It now serves as a permanent reminder to her, in Gabe’s handwriting. ❤️

To change the course of our country, we start right where we are. We look at ourselves in the light of God’s word, allow it to transform us, and chisel away anything that would stand in the way of His plans, and, we pray. Lord of Mercy, do we pray. Because, we are gonna have trouble my friends. It is the way of this earth. Plant John 16:33 deep into your heart today : “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world!” That was Jesus talking by the way. No other power greater.

I will leave you with some other notes and quotes about praying.

James 5:16b says “…the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective”

“Prayers are deathless. They outlive the lives of those who uttered them” E.M. Bounds

“Our prayers go where we cannot…there are no borders, no prison walls, no doors that are closed to us when we pray. ” Brother Andrew

“To pray or not to pray? Those are the only options.” Mark Batterson

Jeremiah 29:12 (Message version) “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.”

Lamentations 2:19 “Rise during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to Him in prayer, pleading for your children.”

James 4:7-10 “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn, and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.”

“Prayer is the key note of the most sanctified life, the holiest ministry. He does the most for God who is the most skilled in prayer.” E. M. Bounds

Stay praying. Stay in the word, my friends.

Until next time,
Terri

HAPPY NEW YEAR

January 1, 2021.

Though 2020 tried to knock many of us down, I have seen several Facebook posts this morning where many of my friends and family counted off their blessings, in spite of, of maybe the realization came because of, 2020. It reminds me of a verse that can be found in Revelation that says that “they overcame them by the blood of the Lamb and BY THE WORD OF THEIR TESTIMONY”. Words are powerful, y’all. Another verse which we call a family verse says “death and life are in the power of the tongue” Proverbs 18:21. Let’s give voice and gain momentum by lifting each other up and encouraging each other.

We have had rain, snow, freezing rain, ice, and now snow again in the last 24 hours. Every time we have a snowfall or winter storm, it’s tradition for us to be out looking at all the beautiful scenery and shapes that the Good Lord has blessed us with. So naturally, I went outside and walked around our farm a bit this morning.

It was exhilarating and honestly, adds to the fresh start of our New Year.

I pray for each of you this coming year, a year of peace, security, strength, wisdom, grace, love, bravery, and hope.

In Jesus’ name, Terri❤️❄️⛄️❤️

New Year’s Eve Eve

Hello! Coming to you this New Year’s Eve Eve all wrapped up snug with blanket, coffee, and of course the light of the Christmas, (uh, excuse me), winter tree showing off it’s beautiful lights just a few feet away from me. This is a great evening at home. I had a wonderful dinner with my hubby, made him no bake cookies at his request for his birthday tomorrow, and have recently retired to the porch. My happy place. A good place to reflect and to pray. To eat good meals with loved ones. To play games and laugh. To do art with Cedar. To be. I know many are looking forward to flipping that calendar page to 2021, leaving 2020 in a cloud of dust as we burn rubber to get out of this year. For me, one thing I think I will try to intentionally take with me out of this year into the next is to be more in the present, like this year has forced us to be. Amazing how sometimes the things that are truly the most important come straight into focus when the noise fades away. Family. Strength. Ingenuity. Resilience. Hope.

Dear friends, I sincerely pray for each and every one of you that whatever this year held for you, you will keep the good and release the bad. Redeem what we can and throw away the rest. Open up to the possibilities the Lord has for me and for you. 2021. Let’s make it a year of hope. ❤️

Until next time, your friend,

Terri

December 27

What a beautiful Sunday we have been given here is southwest Missouri to round out this year of our Lord 2020. We spent the morning at church where we are meeting in person, though masked up and socially distanced, so as to keep everyone as safe and healthy as can be. We sand beautiful Christmas hymns, which never get old no matter how many times I hear them in a season. They just get richer with meaning the closer we get to Christmas.

Y’all know I love our tree and nothing makes me happier right now than to be on our back porch enjoying the lights of our tree. No matter what goes on during a given day, I can come home, sit right here and look at our tree, and things are just set to right again. So, naturally I decided several weeks ago I didn’t want to take our tree down right after Christmas, but I didn’t want to leave it all decked out for Christmas either. I decided to welcome winter with a white and silver theme. After lunch today, I ran to Wal-Mart to check out what may be left of the Christmas Clearance and scored these glittery icy looking picks for 48 cents a piece!

I only got 7 of them because I have never used picks on our tree and I wasn’t sure how I would like them or how many I would need….. well….. I LOVE THEM! …. and I NEED MORE! So I plan to try to score some more tomorrow. I would love to have our tree have some many it lends to the idea of being outside in a newly fallen snow…. without me having to actually flock our tree myself, lol! Kudos to the many decorating videos I watched this season of different tree decorating ideas!

These pics are just the start of my winter tree, but I was having so much fun changing it out, I decided to share even though it’s not all done yet. It’s good to show the in between as well.

I feel like I would love to add some sheer white and silver ribbon loops as well…. and maybe more white lights. Let me know what you think?

If I would name my tree, I would call it peace. For that is what it evokes in me when I look at it.

How do you decorate your home for winter?

Until next time, Terri ❄️

And a Savior Comes

Yesterday was the fourth Sunday of Advent, church program day…….. and also the first time I have been to church in about 8 weeks. This year had just taken me to a place I was seriously over and I just needed a respite, for lack of a better word. Sounds crazy, right? a break from church? I mean, come on. I love church. I love the people at my church. I love being in worship and seeing my husband serve faithfully as part of the worship team. (Shout out to Rich, here, for not pushing me to go to go church, or making me feel bad for not going. For trusting the process I was going through.) I love not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together. Yet, after having Covid and being down for a couple weeks, I was tired. So tired. I made it to work each day and that seemed a victory, all on it’s own. While I did not attend traditional church services, that alone time became a special time for me, those Sunday mornings. I normally slept in, then I would get up, put on my comfy robe, and head to my back porch, to spend some quiet time with my Savior. Sometimes, I felt led to watch our service online, sometimes I felt led to a particular podcast, but I always ended in my bible reading. I felt very close to Him and it occurred to me that during the last several weeks, that was the quiet time I had energy for- I wasn’t up to doing my daily devotionals, or my reading. I couldn’t focus or concentrate on it. I realize now that was the water my weary soul needed. To allow Him time to tend to my withered spots, to bring them to a healthier place again. To a place when He whispered “Time to go back”, I accepted it like the sweet gift it was. Advent, a season of waiting and anticipation. A sense of hope. A sweet little baby born to give us all the hope we will ever need. I came across this quote by Ann Voskamp recently that says :

“Hope is a strategy. Hope is actually the only strategy you have to keep living. Hope is your strategy, your sanity, your vitality, and your reality.”

Ann just has a way of saying things that just strip it on down to where it needs to be. Right where you can get to the heart of things. I have included a picture or two of yesterday’s Christmas program. The program was different this year, and was held outside, where we drove up to watch it while staying in our cars, tuned into the fm radio station to hear it, and guess what? He met us right where we were.

Merry Christmas, all you sojourners.

Mt Moriah Nativity Performers 2020