The Hay Cutting Dance; just what I needed…

Being closed in for several days, has given me pause to consider ways to ward off the temptation (fiery dart) of a depressed spirit. I was reading in Psalm 34 the other day. Verses about praising God and being delivered from all my fears touched a cord. The key to my deliverance required praising God.

Yet, being shut up in my house for days on end, left me feeling like anything but praiseful . But just as I was struggling with all of this, a scene outside my window began to unfold. It’s hay cutting time here on the farm where I live. As a matter of fact, my home is tucked way back into the far corner of a big ole hayfield. Much to my delight. For the cutting of hay is one of my favorite enjoyments. 

Over a period of several days, I watched what I have come to call a ‘hay dance’, performed outside my window. And as I watched, praises to God began surging through my thoughts. Yep, as you might guess, those praises foiled the enemy’s attack. My spirits lifted with every step of the dance. Therefore, I thought, “Why not share this with my readers!” 

Hay cutting is like a good ole fashioned square dance between the tractors and their chosen partners!

(Disclaimer: I had to research the details for this article. I am familiar with the bigger picture b/c I live on the farm, but those details, not so much)

Just like any dance, timing is the first consideration. This is reflected by making sure the equipment is prepared and ready. Then I’ve learned that haymaking needs to coincide with the right stage of plant growth and weather conditions. My brothers and nephews have been cutting hay for so long, they just seem to have a second sense about this timing thing. 

Whether they begin early in the morning or later in the day seems to be a matter of preference. Nevertheless, the determining factor for when to start the dance depends upon the maturity of the grass.

Next step, choose your partner. The dance begins with the tractor choosing a mower implement for its partner. My family uses a rotary disk mower. This type of mower cuts quickly through thick hay pretty well. They have three huge hayfields to cut so the quicker the better.

Again change partners by swapping out the mower for a tedding implement. This implement fluffs up the hay. That allows the air and sun to reach the undersurfaces to promote drying.

This unique dance requires a lot of partner changing. Therefore, the tedding implement must be exchanged for the rake. Raking turns the hay one more time to dry the bottom and forms it into what is referred to as a windrow. Then it’s ready to be baled.

Around here they opt for large circular bales, I remember the day when small rectangular shaped bales were scattered all over the field. But as acreage increased and technology advanced the circular bales became the modus operandi. And the bailer is called to the floor turning out bale after bale of hay.

Now comes the tricky step. So, one of those big ole tractors attaches what is called a bale spear to the front and rear of the tractor. In the photo below, you’ll see a round bale on the front and the back of the tractor. A maneuver that requires expert skill.

If a dancer gets in a hurry and find themselves in the habit of moving forward before raising the loader; they’ll be scraping that bale on the ground. This misstep can tear the bale wrap or bale twine, loosening the bale and lowering the quality of the hay.

 We are almost to the time to bow. One final turn requires the bales to be loaded onto a trailer and carried to the barn. Those gigantic bales can’t be just left lying on the dance floor. (The bales suffer matter loss if left in the fields) 

Now that I have described the hay dance, allow me to describe the setting. Hay cutting is a much looked forward to event, not for just us humans but for the birds and insects as well. Actually, the calls of the kites, swallows, and locusts blend with the hum of the tractor engines to provide the music for this dance. Taking the movements, music, and the fresh aroma of new mown hay, praising God became as natural as breathing. Just proving God supplies what we need, at the moment of our need. 

My Mother, a Centenarian, Wow!





Recently my mom celebrated her100th birthday. She is loved and admired by many, but especially her family. Often I remark about her being part of the greatest generation. So, I did some research on why this generation is so called. It seems Tom Brokaw, an NBC journalist, wrote a book entitled, The Greatest Generation (published in 1998), highlighting why he thought they were the greatest generation this society has ever produced. He mentioned how they had grown up during the Great Depression and went on to fight in World War II. It was the combined efforts of those who left home to fight the war and those who contributed to the war effort at home which molded the characteristics we read below. 

In reading over this list, I had in mind my mother and my mother in law (both widows), I can say it truly describes them. Not only them, but my father and my father in law, as well. While we still are reaping the blessings of the presence of my mother and mother in law, the impact of their husband’s legacy continues to be a guiding force in their family’s lives. 

Light and light substitutes

Our Past

Christians are struggling here in the United States. We knowingly choose lifestyles that run contrary to the Light of God’s word. We knowingly make choices the innocent are forced to pay for. As Christians, we possess the antidote for what ails our world. Yet, we suffer the same problems and grasp at the same solutions. So what happened?

We started out on a grand journey. Following the Light and listening to the Voice. These two forces were all we needed to live life successfully. However, after we had traveled on our grand journey for awhile, distractions invaded our peace. Without our noticing, the Light grew dim and the Voice faded.

Our Present Consequences

As the Light fades, our hearing is negatively affected. So much so, that we begin having trouble understanding who and where we are and how to move around. We know we need more light, but instead of seeking the original light, we chase after substitutes.

These are false lights. They seem like they will work. So we give them a try. But eventually they fade. These false lights lead us into all sorts of confusion. We aren’t able to see things as they really are. Things like love, hope, joy, wisdom slip out of our reach. Things like apathy, confusion, hopelessness, blindness, and doubt slowly replace them.

Eventually, we grow accustomed to the false light. Consequently, we loose sight of the true Light.

But deep within we can still hear the faint Voice calling to us from the original Light. We remember how strong that Voice use to be. In our despair, we yearn to hear that voice once more.

We desire to call out to the Voice within that Light. But the misguided quest for false light interferes with our reception. Nevertheless, the Light is still there. Now and then we are confident we hear that familiar Voice calling us back to the Light.

Finally, we grasp the key. If we desire more Light, then we must focus on the Voice. Consistent and deliberate focusing produces more Light and the Voice increases in volume.

What Could be Our Future!

Finally, our bondage designed by the false light and all that is ugly in our lives is exposed! As the Light sweeps away the darkness, we see stretching out before us, rich colors of hope, joy, love, and wisdom. In the real Light, we reconnect to the Voice.

Have we lost our way? Are the problems of life draining us? Perhaps we are following the wrong light and listening to the wrong voice.

And now, the departures…

A goodbye is just the beginning of a hello! Or so my 7 year old grandson says!

Now that Nammy Camp has faded into the sunset, what now?

The departures of each family group are accompanied by the waves, shouts of goodbyes and I love you’s by the remaining groups traditionally positioned on the front porch.

In past times, these farewell moments have been painted in gray. For letting go has been an all too familiar scene played out in my life. In spite of these colorless moments , there have been some revelations along the way which have served to paint these moments in a more colorful palette.

So how does this happen?

Referencing my last post, it’s an exercise in acceptance. Accepting that God is in control, and that His plans are always designed for our good.

Something else needs to be acknowledged here. My flesh, that part of me that always wants its own way, revolts when things don’t go the way I prefer. For I would prefer that all 4 of my children live nearby. Not in two other states, and another country!

Accepting God’s placement for my children and their families, can only be accomplished by preferring God’s will for their lives over my own will. This is no easy task, but through the years it has become doable. It takes time to grow in the knowledge of God’s truths. It takes a bolstering of trust to know that His ways are always better than mine. And as I exercise that trust, it grows stronger and more reliable.

Focusing on what I have and not what I don’t have, is another helpful exercise. This is where the fiery dart lessons come in real handy. It’s mighty tempting as I stand waving from my front porch to dwell on the sadness I feel as the final group departs. But it has been my realization that by overly focusing on the negative, I won’t notice the birds serenading me, feel the cool breezes brushing against my skin, or value the beauty of the quiet. For you see, I won’t be able to appreciate this different sort of quiet. A quiet that offers serenity, peacefulness, and consolation all at once.

I don’t want to miss out on the blessed gifts that accompany this season of my life because I am focusing on the negative. The reality is that time changes things. If I cooperate with God as He works His plan, I will discover the beauty, comfort, and purpose that He has prepared for me within those life changes.

I admit this is a God-size task. One that only can be managed successfully when I defer to God’s way of dealing with the departures that always follows Nammy Camp.

God’s Plan, the Smart Plan!

My post today is from a personal perspective. I share this perspective in the hopes that my readers will have the benefit of the lessons I’m learning.. For it’s all about taking to heart the Truths designed to smooth out the rough places along life’s path and in the process prove God’s ways work.

Coming up this week is what my family has come to call Nammy Camp. It’s an event for as many of the 20 of us who can attend. There are 20 of us in all. At present two families live out of state. In order to bunk all of us comfortably, a couple of outside tents are required to expand sleeping quarters. Of course, the adults claim the bedrooms (six in all) and the grans (7 years to 17 years) get to bunk out in the tents. Everyone is happy!

In the years past, my aim was to clean every nook and cranny. That meant windows (all 26 of them), the siding on a two story house, rugs cleaned & carpets shampooed, furniture dusted, bed linens washed and put on beds (all 6 of them) touch up painting in all the rooms, etc., etc. Then there was the outside. Pool needed to be all clean and clear (involving a lot of work), yard mowed (a rather large space which included weed eating and trimming with a push mower), spruce up the deck and front porch, etc., etc. Projects that fell to my strengths alone. Almost predictably by the time people family began arriving, I was drained. All I wanted to do was to sit down and stay that way. But there were expectations that since I was the hostess, there was meal planning, activity planning, etc., etc.

This year proved to be a game changer for me. Last fall my mother in law had to move in with us as the result of a stroke and for the last several years I have attended to my own mother’s care (she turns 100 in a few weeks). And over the past months, the realities of my limitations became glaringly clear. Since my energies have been sapped long before Nammy Camp arrived, there was simply no way I could take on Nammy Camp as I had in the past.

Slowly, perhaps too slowly, I have come to realize that all those things I did to prepare for Nammy Camp weren’t mandatory. My own decline in energy, being 74 myself, no longer was up to the preparations. While Nammy camp was looked forward to zeal and excitement, I can say that being drained as I was, it did dampen things for me personally. The negative, you know, fiery darts bombarded my thoughts. It was a constant struggle to keep them from distracting me from enjoying the sacred family moments that always came forth during this time.

Now this year NC has rolled around again. And I’ve long been praying for God to protect this time my family has together. In caring for both Mothers, I have learned more of how to take the days as they come. Do what you can and don’t worry about what you can’t do. Keep God’s plans as your primary perspective. He is in control and always works things out for what is best for us and proves to those around us that relying on God’s plans is the smart thing to do.

Illusion of Truth

I’ve often wrestled with how all the rhetoric about pro-choice totally excludes the voice of the unborn. Listening to their reasoning, it’s ALL about the mother, her needs, her situation, her future, her health, her well being, and it goes on and on. These are genuine concerns, yes! But what about the choices of the unborn? Are they not genuine as well?

It’s like the unborn child within her doesn’t exist. They have no needs, no future, no well being, their situation is precarious. They don’t have a voice. They aren’t even considered a person. How does a mom deny the undeniable?

Ever heard this statement?

Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”,

After reading this article from which the above quote originated, I think I have hit upon the answer to my question. This article refers to the above statement as the “illusion of truth effect.”

For the ‘illusion of truth effect’ to succeed the person exposed to this illusion, must be far removed from the Truth. The article mentions how we take shortcuts: “Our minds are prey to the illusion of truth effect because our instinct is to use short-cuts in judging how plausible something is.” Repeating a lie often enough, causes us to take the shortcut of belief.

When we find ourselves in a situation we don’t like or want, we start looking for justification to get out of our predicament. One day we hear something that offers us a solution. We know deep down that it’s likely a lie, but our desperation drives us to ponder it nevertheless. Then our mind continues to replay this dressed up lie and eventually our mind embraces it.

BINGO, now we have a way out. And not only is it a way out, but the crowd that sponsors this lie, reinforces this repetition and we aren’t standing alone in our despair. There are all these voices that have redefined the lie, removed our guilt, and provided us license to do whatever we wanted to do without being criticized for it. What freedom (new word for license)!

That’s why the lie of abortion, disguised as a plausible truth, became more and more acceptable. As people became less familiar with Truth, then the easier it became to embrace something that sounded truth like.

There is a lot of forceful oration being shouted about now after Roe vs Wade was overturned. But remember these pro-choice individuals have been deceived. The truth has been stolen from them. Many (but certainly not all) are genuine in their belief and see no other way to solve their problem of an unwanted pregnancy. They are being taken advantage of by those who are profiting, either politically or financially, from those who have been manipulated and deceived into believing a lie.

Now that Roe vs Wade has been declared unconstitutional, Truth once again has been highlighted for all to see. Prayerfully, many, in being reacquainted with the Truth, will be set free from the enslavement of abortion.

Pray for them, for their eyes to be open. To come to know the Truth and be set free by it.

Book For Fathers

Father’s are the first book their children will read! What will it tell them?

I think that if a father is seeking a guide book on how to be the best father he can be, he should look for:

A book that teaches about unconditional love.

A book that teaches about forgiveness.

A book that teaches how to put other’s needs (not wants), especially their children’s, above their own.

A book that teaches about sacrificial love.

A book that teaches how to subdue their pride, especially when it comes to their children.

A book that teaches how a father should guide their children.

A book that teaches about tough love when faced with a rebellious child.

A book that teaches him how to expect the best from their children.

A book that teaches them how to teach their children to think for themselves; not spoon-feed knowledge/truths to them.

A book that teaches them how to lead their children by example.

A book that teaches them how to teach their children to respect authority.

A book that teaches their children how to stand up for those being wronged.

A book that teaches about the importance of honoring others.

A book that teaches them how to be an example of courage.

A book that teaches them to stand strong in their faith.

And finally, a book that would teach them how to be the kind of father that would reflect the Heavenly Father.

Because after all, a child first learns about God’s character by first witnessing it in their earthly fathers. That image will either prepare their hearts to love God or reject Him. Or create such a disinterest they will not pursue finding out who the Heavenly Father is.

Guarding our Graduates…

Graduating from high school is a monumental experience. The whole idea of venturing into the unknown is akin to a StarTrek quest. Yet, our graduates are thrust into this unfamiliar environment whether they are ready for it or not.

When the world wasn’t so far removed from biblical morality, being thrust out into that world wasn’t as formidable as it is today. In the not so distant past a graduate would have time to adjust and come to terms with their faith as it applied to the requirement of standing on their own two feet. 

Not so today! Today’s graduates, as soon as they take their first step into the real world, can be carried away with the flow of philosophies and ideals that run contrary to Truth.  That is unless they have become grounded in what is Truth prior to their graduation.

Due to their age, graduates can’t be expected to enter into a world with all the wisdom that experience usually teaches them. Therefore, it is imperative that they have at the ready a source to call upon to guide them through the uncertainties, confusion, and temptations of this world. 

A mindset filtered by negativity is a byproduct of a mentality lacking the impact of godly truths. The negativity that clouds their minds blinds them to the good in their lives. Blessings, usually in abundance, are all but ignored due to this negative focus.

The wisdom of the Scriptures, enables graduates to be aware of the schemes of the evil one and how to thwart those schemes. From this source they will become wise and skilled to not only recognize the lies behind the temptations, reject the path those temptations lead to, but will supply the enabling power of God’s truth instead. 

Therefore, prayers offered on their behalf, need to contain the following:

That they would not conform to the patterns of this world.

That the blinders of negativity would be removed.

That they would learn to listen to the Holy Spirit

That they would cooperate with God as He enables them to recognize the difference between Satan’s plans and God’s plans.

That they would feed daily on the strengthening power of the truths of Scripture.

Additionally, Remember the 3 R’s of Fighting the Fiery Darts

Recognize the fiery darts

Reject the fiery darts

Replace the fiery darts

Unmasking our Idols

Please fill in the blanks below:

_______________ comes first in my life.

_______________ influences the choices I make

______________ forms my perspective, attitudes, & beliefs

______________determines how I spend my time.

Whatever we write in the above blanks, is the force that rules our lives. It is what we worship, bow down to. It is our idol!

Next give the following some deep thought.

Can whatever we wrote in those blanks offer us eternal life? Can they offer peace in the midst of a storm? Can they offer solutions that just seemed beyond our understanding? Can they offer forgiveness. Can they offer guidance or light in our darkness? Can they put the broken pieces of our lives back together? Can they faithfully fulfill our needs?

Yet they do offer something. They can offer us eternal death. And existence forever separated from God.

Have we stopped to think that we have made other people, our jobs, seeking after money or pleasure, or even just pursuing our own will, the things we bow down to instead of God? If we give more consideration to these than we do to God, we have made them idols.

That may be shocking to us. Yet, hopefully this realization will shock us into making God first in our lives. That God’s word will influence the choices we make. That His Truths will form our perspectives and attitudes. That we will seek to follow God’s in how we spend our time.

These are not what they seem!

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry, 1 Corinthians 10:14,ESV

God’s Way vs Man’s Way

In light of the trauma cast throughout our country in recent days, we grasp at words wherever we can find them to help us find sanity in this insane crises. And it seems to me it comes down to finding Truth. For without Truth, we will search in vain for words to bring peace in the midst of our chaos.

But how can our country expect to find Truth, when we reject the one true source of Truth? Nevertheless, we continue plunging forward under the false impression that we are doing so in the name of personal freedom. We have thrown off the restraints that have restricted what we became convinced would make us happy.

Here is a brief sampling of the restraints we have discarded:

Wisdom to discern what is good and what is not.

“Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.” Proverbs 28:26 ESV

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!”Psalm 111:10 ESV

Peace in the midst of life’s storms.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Soundness of mind/freedom from fear.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV

So, when we throw off the ability to recognize what is good and what is not, where does that lead?

So, when we reject God’s peace, what’s the outcome when the storms of life face plant us to the ground?

So, when we cast off God’s offer of soundness of mind and to be free of fear, how will we know what to do when we are threatened?