Stories

Good-Bye Farmgirl

I help elderly people, part-time, in their homes. One I have been with for 2 1/2 years is Farmgirl. Her two sons run the ranch now, but she’s lived in her home there for probably close to 50 years.

She’s canned and cooked and her husband planted and grew until he passed away 10 ish years ago. She kept record, in pencil, of all the things she’s canned over the years and it’s an impressive amount of food she’s put up over her lifetime.

Farmgirl has lived alone for awhile now, well unless you count her golden retriever who has the same name as my son. That’s her body guard and best companion. She sneaks him bites of her food and lets him lick her plate clean, although she’s been told not to because the dog is overweight. Also her son and his wife have been staying with her until their new house is finished.

Farmgirl was raised on a farm. Her father had a grove of lemons. She married a poultry farmer, then they moved North and she and hubby planted orchards. She does things the old way. She burned paper waste in her fire (until her son put a stop to that!) and threw old food scraps and peels in the orchard. She used to cook from scratch and got down on her hands and knees to scrub the floors. She was surprised when we informed her we weren’t allowed to do that level of cleaning. And when she wasn’t looking we’d sneak out the mop her son bought for us.

As a young girl, she washed many dishes for the family of 8. So many, in fact, she daydreamed about a contraption that would one day wash the dishes for you and was pleasantly surprised when the first dishwasher went on the market! Of course, that was one modern convenience that she didn’t mind.

Her family, her home, her life, her way! She liked what she liked and well, people that were different were obviously wrong. I didn’t clash with Farmgirl. I just nodded and smiled and listened. Gave a word of encouragement when needed and a joke when it was fitting. And we became the best of friends for the four or so hours I’d spend with her a week. She hated to see me go and was always happy when I showed up. I feel like that was a sign of a job well done. Yes, I cooked and cleaned for her, took her grocery shopping and to the little senior thrift shop, but my real job was brightening up her life by being a support and a friend. A confidante that would just listen and sympathize. We were buddies and laughed a lot.

I managed to snap a photo with her last week. My last week hanging out with her. I wasn’t able to say good-bye. The family didn’t want her to know she had to go live in a home until the day they planned to put her in. It was time.

Knowing it was my last day, we laughed, we shopped, she complained about her family and how people keep butting into her life. I listened and sympathized and patted her arm. On the way back from the store, she looked at me in the car and said, “You’ve been so good to me.” I let her know I’ve enjoyed being with her.  At bath time, I promised it would be the last time I bothered her about taking a bath. And as usual, I gave her a hug when I was leaving.

But I’ll always remember little things I learned from her. How her mother tied her nickel in the corner of a handkerchief for Sunday school, and how her Sunday school teacher from 80 years before gave gifts that still were around, that old ways are still good ways, that the country life was the best life and that sentimental things are worth treasuring, that there’s no place I’d rather be than at home.

So the four hours I spent with Farmgirl, I now get to spend at home, caring for my family.

I don’t know how she’s going to handle the new home, not having her bestie (her dog) and leaving everything she’s loved and known, but I pray, God will put someone there to befriend her. The spitfire that she is!

So good-bye Farmgirl.

 

*Written last fall.

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Bible stories

No Vacancy?

“I’ll share my home with you, Baby Jesus, said the woolly lamb, said the woolly lamb…” Little children sing these words at Christmastime in our church.

It must have been a hard journey for the parents of the Messiah. Mary riding on a donkey nine months pregnant! I can’t even imagine. Well, it’s no wonder she was ready to deliver when they pulled into Bethlehem. Dirty, achy, exhausted. Ready just to lay down, stretch out and rest.

Their hearts must have sank when they asked the innkeeper for a room, only to have him point to the NO VACANCY sign flashing bright in the window and say… “Sorry, we’re full.” I’m sure Joseph felt desperate and pleaded for any room, no matter how small… “You see, my wife is about to have a baby!”

“Well, follow me, then,” the Innkeeper said as he took his lantern. Eyeing Mary’s pregnant belly, he led the couple to the stable where the animals were kept.

“Well… it’s not the Hilton, but I do have a place for you, if you don’t mind certain smells. There’s some clean hay over in the corner.”

Mary breathed a sigh of relief and Joseph gratefully thanked the Innkeeper. This would work just fine!

The tired couple must have gotten right to the task of preparing the stable for the greatest event that world would ever know. Joseph suggesting the manger for a crib and Mary thoughtfully arranging the hay to cradle her Savior’s tiny head. How’s that for a nursery?

Can you imagine, no room in the inn for the Son of God to be born in? How could that be?

But how is it with you? With me? Are we making room, in our lives, for Jesus?

As I think of that tiny babe, that most precious gift the world has ever been given, I want to make it a point to make more room for Him in my life. How about you?

Practical pointers:

-Set a time for devotions or family worship.
-Have books and materials gathered up and ready to use.
-make it a habit and stick to it.
-take advantage of wait times for reading and drive time for prayer, listening to the Bible, or Christian music.

-attend church

I wrote this at Christmas. I don’t know why I didn’t post it at then???

Thank you for reading:)

faith

Small Ministries

Some people think that small ministries don’t really matter.

But they can make a big difference.

We tend to look to the preachers, the missionaries and the musicians as the ones that are making the difference. And they do, but the Holy Spirit can take our small offerings and do wonderful things with them, as well.

We have spiritual gifts and sometimes we use them in seemingly insignificant ways. A couple of small things I do are teach children at church and have a small bible study at my house. Most of the time, in the class, it’s only my own child. Occasionally, we have another little one. And sometimes, I have my older kids also and divide the time. I don’t get discouraged because I know Jesus cares about the one-soul audience.

For the bible study only two others, beside myself, usually come. It’s small, but I don’t believe it’s about numbers. That’s not what’s important. What’s important is that we do what the Lord calls us to do.

Then there’s a friend of mine, at church, who is a sunshine-spreader.  She spreads cheer and hugs wherever she goes. While at church this week, she wondered what she had to offer… I told her that she has so much to give.

Another small ministry is one that my husband does. I’m sure he wouldn’t even call it ministry, but that’s what it is. He gives out books called, “Steps to Jesus,” to people at his job. It’s a small devotional book that makes a big impact. He is making a difference for people that read the book.

Whatever you can do for God and others counts. If you’re unsure what to do, pray about it and ask God to show you. He has a place for you.

devotional, Stories

The Hope of a Blue Sky

Early yesterday, I saw a bit of blue sky peaking from behind the smoke. As the day went on, the smoke got thicker and the hope of a blue sky faded. It has been weeks since we’ve seen a blue sky here, due to all the wildfires. We live in between the Carr fire and the Mendocino Complex fire, so it’ll be smoky until those fires are put out.

That bit of blue is hope. Hope for better things to come. Hope for the smoke and ashes to clear, the fires to be put out. Eventually, they will stop burning.

Hope is something we can hold onto. There may be some difficulty, in your life that requires you to squint into a smoky sky, searching for just a tiny glimpse of blue to pull you through.

When I was a young mom, in an unhealthy marriage, I had a crisis. Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe deeply. My breath stopped halfway – my lungs wouldn’t fully expand. It was horrible. I had 4 small children and eventually, after several weeks of this, I stopped being able to fully function. I went to the doctor and they just said I had anxiety. Once, I found myself in the emergency room, they ran tests and said things were fine.

After no sleep for 4 or 5 days, I was exhausted and finally fell asleep. I had a dream that I was flying in a brightest blue sky. I felt so free and wonderful. So unlike the way I was feeling in my life. I felt like God had given me that dream to give me hope – hope that one day, I would be alright again. He’d give me freedom instead of these chains that were binding my lungs and life.

My then husband and I separated and I went to live with my mom. I was pregnant, lost my energy and  wasn’t able to function fully or play with my kids. My whole life became about adjusting to breathing shallow and not losing my mind. I turned myself over to prayer.

My mom lived in the country and many times a day, I would sit in the yard and stare up at the blue sky – waiting for the day that it would be as blue as it had been in my dream. I prayed for my blue sky. I hoped for it.

Eventually, I would find out that my thyroid had been the issue and once that problem was treated, my breathing returned to normal. It had been two years. During that time, I learned to never take health for granted, I learned to truly appreciate each day. And though I still had problems, I was at least able to care for my kids and function in life.

If you’re going through trials right now – find hope in God.

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Duet. 31:8

home

Inexpensive Curtains Made From Sheets

I made these curtains out of white, twin, flat sheets from Wal-Mart for only $5. a panel. I got the cheapy curtain rods for $2.70 ish each so the whole window was done for about $13. apiece. All I did was cut a small hole in either side of the top hem… Then I just pushed the rod through. So easy!

IMG_2635I used the cheapy curtains rods and just painted them black. The reason? I wanted to do it as cheap as possible and mostly I just hate all the work of hanging the nicer ones 🙂 I did it once and that was enough for awhile.

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So for two large windows and one smaller window (5 sheets), which only took one twin sheet cut in half and a $1.60 rod, using paint I already had at home, it cost about $32. to hang curtains in the whole living room.

They make the room look more pulled-together and nicer for very little money. I’m excited that there are ways to do things that make your home nicer on a budget. Even a tiny budget!

There are lots of ways to make your home feel homey for less.

devotional, prayer

God’s Hug

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – 1 John 4:11

Jesus loves to have us come to Him just as we are, sinful, helpless, and needy. We may come, foolish and weak as we are, and fall at His feet in sorrow for sin. It is His glory to put His arms of love around us, heal our wounds, and make us clean. – Steps to Jesus

About 5 years ago, I was newly divorced and my kids were gone on weekends, which was hard for me. I was kind of seeing a guy that I knew wasn’t the right person for me, but was emotionally entangled in my neediness, my grandmother passed away and I was kneeling in prayer in church. With the wrong guy, on the morning of my grandmother’s funeral…

And the minister’s prayer touched my heart. He prayed, “Lord, put your arms around the ones that are hurting this morning.” I thought, “That is the sweetest thing to say…”

And then I felt it.

Someone touched my back. I looked for the source… I looked at wrong guy…nope he had his hands folded and eyes closed, I looked the other way and behind me…no one was moving or playing a joke on me.

Hmm… I went back to praying and I felt it again. I quickly looked around again, trying to catch the culprit and everyone was still and quietly praying. At this point, I started suspecting that maybe God was answering the preacher’s prayer.

I closed my eyes and it happened once more, a gentle, but firm nudge on my back. God’s putting His arm around me! Tears came to my eyes. What a loving God. I was in awe and overwhelmed.

I’ve not felt anything like that since, but I often imagine His arms around me when I am having a hard time.

We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus and might I add, the arms? Let’s seek out those, in our midst, that need encouragement, a hug, a friend to listen and show them Jesus’ love.

 

 

 

home organization

Repurposed Linen Closet

When we rented our house, we were asked if we wanted the doors put back on the linen closet in the hallway, or left off. I saw potential to use that space for something better – a bookshelf. Since there was plenty of storage space in the laundry room cabinets, we decided to repurpose the linen closet.

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We got the 3 dark, plastic dressers to fit in the bottom for papers and other things. We store books and magazines on the shelves and I have put gift bags and gift wrap on the side, in the corner.

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I have am also using old crocks, baskets, and boxes to store things such as throw blankets, pillows and dvds.

Spaces don’t always have to be what they were intended to be. Look at your space and decide what you really need that room, closet or shelf to be used for and go for it!

What space, in your house, have you repurposed?