The Wanderer

~{ I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me }~

ring from Dad 1024x576 ~{ I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me }~

I did not go home for Christmas this year, because I wanted solitude and reflection, instead.  But I missed my family very much ~ more than I thought I would.  I received one gift in the mail.  It was from my Dad.  This ring was tucked away inside a burlap pencil pouch.  I cried the instant I saw it.  And then I read the message inscribed on it, and cried some more.  Could my Dad have any idea what this means to me?  Was he inspired?  I don’t know how he meant it, but I know how I received it.

In addition to the sentiment of the ring, the message that is inscribed is perfect and fitting:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:13″

I’m sure that it was made as some kind of chastity ring, and that is great, too, but the sentiment goes much deeper for me.  And I think it did for him, too.

Though I have been a pain in the ass for my dad, he has always been constant in my life.  And I love him for it.  And I love him for this ring.  I wear it proudly and thoughtfully.  Throughout the day I am constantly reminded of the message inscribed on it, and inscribed in my heart.  And I believe.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Thank you, Dad.  I love you.

ring from Dad II 1024x577 ~{ I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me }~

ring from Dad III 634x1024 ~{ I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me }~

And yes, this is the first time I’ve written in over a year in this space.  I’d like it to become a habit again.  I enjoy it, and haven’t made time for it.  That needs to change.

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Profound Lessons On a Farm


IMG 61021 e1352573480441 Profound Lessons On a Farm

Hubs and I recently took a drive into the heart and true boonies of Utah to get a closer look at a more agrarian lifestyle.   Driving to nowhere, we eventually found ourselves driving into what felt like the land of milk and honey.  Truly beautiful and breathtaking.  A land some may only ever read about in books.  Green.  Water.  Abundant water.  Rivers.  Fish.  Wildlife.  Edible berries strewn throughout.  And they were good.  So good.  Trees.  Amazing trees.  Canyons.  Wildlife.  Wild turkeys.  Deer herds galore.  Large ranches.  Cattle.   Horses.  Sheep.  Country bumpkins.  Nicest county bumpkins.

A hard-working, simple kind of life.  A place worthy of receiving Zion.  A place so glorious I could not find it in me to take any pictures.  None.  So not like me.  It was too pretty and too sacred feeling.  At least for the time I was there then.

We ended up meeting up with some people who we had mutual friends in common with.  We went to their home.  Their life-giving/producing land.  Their homestead along the raging river where their kids play and their animals drink.  Where they get their own water.  Given freely by a God without regulations and additives.  Given freely with abundance in mind.  Sometimes, there is free lunch.

Driving on to their property we were greeted first by horses, then by turkeys and chickens.  Around the bend up the road were the sheep, and then the dogs.  So many dogs! And puppies.  After getting out of the car, we walked through the vegetable garden and fruit trees.  Which then led us to the river, by which the rabbits and pigs (and some of the chickens) lived.  Oh, and the peacocks.  Beautiful, amazing peacocks.

We asked them question after question about living a self-reliant life.  “Do you feel free?” I asked her.  “Yes.” she said simply and with a radiant smile.  I knew she was speaking the truth.

These kind people fed us dinner.  They are over an hour away from any real grocery store. But they don’t need one.  They picked carrots, potatoes, onions, lettuce, and cabbage from their garden (some stored in a root cellar), and together, we made a delicious soup and salad.  This is how they roll.  Every day.  Somehow with variety.

If that wasn’t enough, (they could tell we didn’t want to leave) they invited us to stay the night.  In the morning their preteen and teenage girls made us German Pancakes for breakfast.  And then off to church we went with them (to the smallest little congregation I’ve ever seen).  In the same clothes we came the day before in and slept in.  In clothes not worthy of church.  At all.  Yet we were welcomed and encouraged to go with them.

When we got home, the Mister of the house said he had some sheep to kill.  Around four in the morning he had heard some of them screaming and crying.  It turns out that two of his dogs got in there and roughed four of them up.  Two of them (at least) so badly that they had to be taken out of their misery.  My heart sunk.  But knowing this was true life stuff for a farmer/rancher, something in me was compelled to watch.

I cried when I looked upon the sheep with mangled up hind quarters and fresh blood still oozing.  And then of course, he had to shoot them.  I didn’t watch that part.  I couldn’t.  I watched, with a heavy heart, him skin, gut, and cut up the sheep.  There would be ribs for dinner that night, if we wanted to stay.

One of the dog culprits was wandering around the property casually and freely.  I could hardly look at him.  I was so mad at him.  At one point when we crossed paths, I couldn’t help but tell him how I felt, and scolded him.  He couldn’t care less, and walked on.

But the other dog culprit was made to be in the gated area where the sheep were being slaughtered.  After the Mister skinned the first one, he threw the sheep skins (with head attached) onto the dog.  The dog laid still, face and body covered in the skin of the sheep he had helped maim several hours before.  I was horrified.  It seemed a cruel, mean, and extreme punishment.  Then he tied the sheep’s legs around the dogs neck with a rope, like a necklace and made him wear it all day.

What is he doing?  I wondered to myself, in disgust.

“I’m punishing him.  This is how you teach them to never do it again.” he said to me, seeing my disturbance.

“What about the other dog, roaming around freely?”

“He’s not worth it.  I’m getting rid of him.”

A pause in my mind.

And then, the epiphany.

Of course, when life seems cruel and hard and impossible, and we cry out to God, “Why are you allowing this for me?  Why aren’t you saving me?  Why are you punishing me?”

He says,

“Because you’re worth it.”

“Because I don’t want to throw you out.”

Wow.  Just wow.

All these stimulations, and inspirations, and lessons within just 24-hours on a ranchers farm.  It’s no wonder why God told Adam to spend his time ‘working the land’.  How many lessons are there for us, if we were to take up the challenge and command to work the land as in the days of Adam and his posterity?

My heart is full and inspired.  My mind is reeling with possibilities.  How I would love to say goodbye to Babylon.  Farewell.  We’re going to the mountains of Ephraim to dwell.

That afternoon, I took the Missus blue-eyed, 7-month old, chubby-cheeked baby down by the river.  We sat on a rock inches away from the water, and I pondered all of these things by the quiet of the raging water.  The baby sat contentedly with me for almost an hour, looking into the water in a hypnotic gaze.

What a beautiful life.

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If You Chase Two Rabbits, Both Will Escape


IMG 3450 e1312850930578 If You Chase Two Rabbits, Both Will Escape
“If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.”  -Author Unkown

I came across this quote today and took it in like a much needed drink of water.  Yes, I thought… I’m chasing two rabbits.  In reality, I’m chasing many rabbits.

I’ve concluded that I’m a research-aholic.  I love, love, love to learn new things, to ingest all kinds of information – but my downfall happens when I am done.  Rather than use that information to make any significant changes to my life, I often move on to something else… the next bag of toys that will stimulate my mind.

This happens in my Internet Marketing business, too, which is why I focus mostly on research and development of new techniques and systems.  Well, I’m really good at the researching, but I’m lacking on the development side because I’m chasing too many rabbits.

So I’m looking at making a shift – maybe my strength is really my downfall…?  Maybe it’s time for a change.  Time to stretch and grow outside of my comfort zone in my work.

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back.” – Paulo Coelho

Other life circumstances are whispering this to me and today I’ve made a decision.  I feel energized by it.  I feel nervous about it.  But I’m putting it out there and hoping that, like Ralph Waldo Emerson said,

“Once you make a decision, the Universe conspires to make it happen.”


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The Bitter and the Sweet

9d6c5ce176c947369afeae5066f3bd8a 7 The Bitter and the Sweet

Been quiet.  Writer’s block.  Very much in my head for the last week or so trying to sort out a tough decision that has been all consuming.  It’s always hard to make a decision that you know will hurt other people, but you come to realize it must be.  Seems like everything is a trade off in life, sacrificing one thing to gain another.  I guess we can only hope on our graph of life we ultimately have an incline.

There is a reason bitter and sweet go together.  Growth usually comes from pain.  And we cannot know joy unless we also know sorrow.

I know these things intellectually, and yet my heart still grieves.  I’m stuck somewhere between excited and sad.

And so the cycle goes – for all of us throughout our lives, never yielding.  Tough decisions bring equal parts joy and pain, hope and despair, growth and death, opportunity born and opportunity lost.

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Horseback Riding Through the Wilderness of Our Hearts

photo 32 Horseback Riding Through the Wilderness of Our Hearts

photo 30 e1302228568678 Horseback Riding Through the Wilderness of Our Hearts

photo 29 Horseback Riding Through the Wilderness of Our Hearts

photo 28 e1302228775155 Horseback Riding Through the Wilderness of Our Hearts

Yesterday my niece and I went horseback riding at a beautiful Regional Wilderness Park.  What is it about horses that all little girls dream of?  For me as a little girl, nothing could trump the idea of having a horse of my very own.  To this day, it is still a dream and goal of mine.  Maybe it’s because a horse represents freedom and flight and romance and whimsy.  I guess some things never change for girls.

As soon as Gianna stepped off her horse she said to me reverently, “I want to take horseback riding lessons.”  I smiled, remembering the out of reach longing as a child.  A wish.  A hope.  A deep, inner knowing that it probably wouldn’t happen.  It can be a very expensive hobby/love/passion.

We both got to ride the horses that we decided we wanted to while we gazed at them in their corral.  I love how much I connected with my horse – who had such a peaceful demeanor.  I wanted to take the saddle and my shoes off, ride away from the trail, and run fast and furious with her through the wilderness.  Someday.  Gianna may not be able to put it into those words yet, but I know she felt it, too.  She’s a kindred soul.

After the riding we meandered through various parts of the wilderness to find photo opportunities.  Back and forth the camera went between us for forty minutes… shooting trees, raging rivers, birds, and each other.  She stopped me in my tracks when she gasped with delight, “Ana, can I have the camera?!” and ran to the port-o-potty recently in sight.  Giggling with delight she snapped photos of the ugly potty, inside and out.  She is nine.  And she has a wonderfully silly sense of humor.

I love her with all my heart and just want to protect and help strengthen her fragility.  I see so much of me in her – as I was as a little girl.  She’s a deep feeler, a deep thinker, and a creative spirit.  I’d love to clear up the confusing thoughts and emotions that seem to happen outside of our control when we are wee babes.  I know she experiences it, I can see the struggle in her soul.  But we cannot transfer our experiences onto others, most things we must come to realize on our own.  And we do, in time.

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