Death

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I’ve come to realize that death is untimely. It comes when we least expect it because we in no way have control over it.

My beloved dog, Boomer is dying (unless he pulls a Lazarus on us again). He’s not eating and is very lifeless today. The doc says he has a tumor either on his spleen or liver. She gave him some med’s for pain and doesn’t expect him to last long. I brought him home to die.

Death is a part of life. They go together.

One is embraced. The other is rejected. You can’t have one without the other.

Dealing with Boomer’s condition today has made me think about a subject that most of us if not all of us push aside. As I watch Boomer today and as I try to make him comfortable, that’s all I can do. I’ve struggled with the thought of what our society has deemed acceptable, and that’s euthanasia. To end his suffering. To end the life of someone who is dying.

Yes He’s dying. And to euthanais him would really only end my suffering. But, I can’t bring myself to do it. I will care for him and love him until he breaths his last. Tears flow as I comfort him and as I say my good byes. I think that’s what we all want in the end is to say good bye. We are not all given that chance though. “The Boy” as I affectionately refer to Ben when speaking to Boomer, is in New Orleans and so badly wants to be here to say good bye. Boomer was Ben’s 10th birthday gift.

I live in comfort. For the follower of Christ, we go from life to life. We never experience death. Death is separation from God, Abba, Daddy, Father. I believe that Scripture clearly makes it known that animals know their creator. I’m uncertain of their destiny, but I know that our new heaven and new earth will be filled with animals, Scripture tells us so. I take comfort in knowing that God, Abba, Daddy, Father, made the animals and said, “it is good.” He used the lowly animals even in the event of His Son’s birth. I know He cares for my Boomer and He gave me this beautiful animal as my companion and friend. I will miss his huge presence. I will miss his unbelievable personality and ability to care for me. I will miss his protection. I will miss him.

As I go through this today and probably for several days or weeks, my heart will begin to let go. Maybe it’s my age, but I think about death a lot more than I used to. Honey and I are past middle age. Not that we are even guaranteed that, but since we’ve made it this far it’s more of a reality. Our parents are very aged. Honey’s Mom & Dad will be 87 in 2009. My Dad will be 80 and my Mom 75 in the coming year. It’s inevitable.

That is why we should love passionately every moment of every day. We never know when our last will be. We should celebrate our days even for their ordinary happenings. Life on this earth is short. Eternity is forever. Sorrow and Suffering are our companions and JOY is our choice.

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Christmas ~ Take Two

Most of our Christmas Day centered around the house fire of our elderly neighbor, but after we had a really nice visit with another neighbor and Ben rolled out of bed we did share our love for one another by giving and receiving gifts of love. And although the day started early with the 3:00 am fire, we still had a very peaceful and sweet day with each other. We ditched our traditional Christmas Breakfast because Ben slept till 10ish and I was just so dang tired that we opened gifts and then ate left overs from Christmas Eve Dinner. We watched TV, napped and read. We went over to the farm house to offer our help with whatever the family needed and enjoyed time being together.

Ben has left for New Orleans and will be back in a week. He loves to serve others and it does my heart good to see him so much stronger and healthier this year. We have so much to be grateful for this Christmas. Please pray for their safety as they travel to LA.

Becca spent Christmas in Prague with one of her friends from YWAM. Life is very different this year as we have all of our firsts without Becca. She will be leaving for Africa the first week of January. Please also pray for her safety and her team as they go.

Prague (isn’t this a gorgeous picture her friend McKenna Anne took!)

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My in laws were here to share Christmas Eve dinner with us and boy was it good. Honey requested another Turkey from Jehovah Jireh Farm and it proved to be even better than the one I cooked for Thanksgiving. There wasn’t anything fancy, just good whole food that taste good and is good for you. My father in law was particularly glad for food that didn’t come from a box….sorry Gma! Of course nothing we eat comes from a box. Most of it comes from our garden or near by farms.

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Honey brought me beautiful red Christmas roses!

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Gma and Gpa

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Honey, me & Ben

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A great gift!

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Food always works in Ben’s stocking. Yes, those are sponge Bob PJ pants on a 20 yr old!!!

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Honey with some new sleeping pills (DVD’s)

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Honey loves denim shirts. They keep him toasty in his computer rooms at work.

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Honey gave me this sweet Willow Tree.

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This was my favorite gift. Honey bought this sweetie calendar and wrote captions on each month. Tears welled up in my eyes. It’s how he sees me that brings me to tears.

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I’ve been wearing my steel toed boots for a month, but Honey wrapped the box. It was heavy but Honey always puts weights in empty boxes, so I didn’t open it all day. Then before we went to bed, Honey asked me if I’d opened it. Nope. He thought maybe I should……oh, right I forgot my Muck Boots!!!!

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I know they really are too pretty for manure, but that’s what they are for. A girl’s gotta look good even shoveling manure! By the way, I also got a manure fork and shovel!!! 😀

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After the fire I came home, took a shower and did something fun. I made fresh butter for the first time. It took 5 minutes in my Bosch with cookie paddles. It is absolutely way better than the fresh butter I buy from the farmer, even though it’s from the same cream. Maybe they let theirs sit longer. So simple, you really should try.

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I got a pint and a half of butter from 1 qt of heavy cream…..it’s cheaper to make my own.

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Another interesting thing happened on Christmas Day. Wacky Waldo, my previously named Waldeen chicken, discovered that he could fly over the gate. He spent most of his day outside the chicken pen walking around the edge trying to get back in. Yes, he is a he. And it’s confirmed that Roxie is Rocky! I saw it!!! So, we have two roosters. I got three eggs today which verifies that the others are hens!!! Yeah, now what to do with the roosters.

Lady was really almost going crazy watching that chicken walk around the chicken fence. He never came near her or else she would have had a wonderful Christmas Dinner too!!!

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Photo of Prague from facebook…credit to McKenna Anne

The Day After

Honey and I didn’t think yesterday, Christmas Day, would ever end. It started out with a jolt and we felt the emotional pains of it all day long. If I think about the images I saw at 3:30 AM Christmas Day, of the old farm house burning in the middle of the night, I still break out in tears. And when I look at some of the pictures I took on Christmas morning after sunrise, I still cry.  It’s funny how our memory works, I couldn’t get the smoke smell out of my my nose all day.   It wasn’t like a campfire smell, it was something that I can’t describe.  Burning debris.  I coughed for an hour.  And took a shower as soon as I could.   Trying to wash it away.  Lawns are rutted from trucks and cars parked in front yards.  Living in a rural neighborhood, our streets are narrow and they had to have a path open.   I’m so thankful that our water source worked and that the temp’s weren’t so frigid that the pond would have been frozen.   There are really so many things to be thankful for.  So much to be sober about today.

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The fire mainly destroyed the top floors and left water damage to the first floor.

Mr Pete was taken to Johns Hopkins Burn Center for 2nd degree burns on his hands and feet. He woke to his bed on fire from an electrical shortage in an electric blanket. Knowing Mr Pete, the blanket probably dated back to the 1950’s! He tried putting the fire out and thus burned himself. His fire extinguisher did not work nor did his phone. He ran out to the garage (yeah, troubled thinking for a 86 yr old man who’s house is on fire) to find another fire extinguisher. When he returned the room was ablaze. He ran next door and yelled fire as he banged on the front door at 3 AM.

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Mr Pete’s bedroom where my first images are ingrained of flames soaring out.

Honey went through the house with Mr Pete’s son in law. Honey won’t ever forget the site of Mr Pete’s bedroom. We’re all so grateful and full of praise that Mr Pete and Sam his beloved Lab made it out alive. Mr Pete will be in the hospital for a couple days for observation. He’s a feisty old guy and I’m sure he’s swearing up a blue streak and doesn’t understand the fuss.

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Years ago when Mr Pete was a much younger man (70’s) he was riding his motorcycle (which he still does) and he wrecked. Our neighbor found him and had to bribe him that he’s take care of the bike if Mr Pete went to the hospital. Mr Pete was pretty torn up and even then didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. He’s a dear guy. He’d do anything for you.

And so life goes on. The sunset was beautiful last night looking over to the old farm house. The sky was literally ablaze with color, reminiscent of the earlier fires that were blazing from the old farm house.

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Our Volunteer Firemen sustained 4 injuries which were minor in nature. None the less, we are grateful for these heroes that are paid nothing to defend us against something so fierce as fire. Thank you to The Lisbon Volunteer Fire Dept, The Sykesville Volunteer Fire Dept, The Latonsville Volunteer Fire Dept, The Clarksville Volunteer Fire Detp, and the West Friendship Volunteer Fire Dept. We are indebted to you.

Sadness Strikes

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I woke this Christmas morning around 3:30 AM to fire sirens. After living in our home for 22 yrs I know when the trucks come from our local Volunteer Fire Department which way they are going and if they’ve turned on our street or continued down the road. The sirens stopped short and I could feel the vibrations from something. I always say a quick prayer for who ever the sirens are rescuing, but this time it was too close to home, quite literally. I looked out the front door to see our street filled with flashing lights and trucks of every kind. My elderly neighbors house was on fire.

I grabbed my coat and yelled to Honey that Mr Pete’s house was on fire. I then raced outside to find him. I alerted the fire personnel that an 86 yr old man and his dog were in that house. And that his wife had died just this last yr.

I was so sad. I was scarred too. I just couldn’t believe it. The old farm house which was a beauty in it’s day was burning. And there was enough fuel in that baby to burn to the ground.

It was a 5 alarm fire from every surrounding zip code. The tanker pumped water from our neighborhood pond and stood waiting if needed. It’s been 3 hrs now, and they are still working to make sure every last ember is out. But it’s gone.

The good news is Mr Pete is fine. I was able to hug him before he got into the rescue wagon and headed off to the hospital. The fire started at the foot of his bed and a firemen told me that it was probably an electric blanket. Mr Pete woke up and tried to put the fire out but it got away from him rather quickly. He ran to the neighbors house and banged on their door yelling fire. He had Samantha, his faithful black Lab with him. But when the firemen arrived he was standing on the front porch watching his house burn. They took him away so he couldn’t see the destruction. And as a precaution they took him to our local hospital for possible smoke inhalation.

It’s a sad morning here at Peaceful Acres. We’re so sad for Mr Pete. This is his second big loss in less than a year. Mr Pete is surrounded by faithful believers and followers of Jesus. He doesn’t think he needs a Saviour, but possibly this will open another door for us to lead Mr Pete to the King of Kings who we worship this Christmas Morn.

I’m often reminded of a scripture that says,”God is in the heavens and He does as He pleases.” He will do anything to get our attention so that we will look to Him. He did the ultimate. He sent His Son, Jesus to die so that we could live.

May we remember that this day is not about things. Things perish as I saw so vividly this morning. It’s about people. People are for eternity.

My 2008 Christmas Letter

From our Home To Yours, Merry Christmas!

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I decided to write my annual Christmas letter here on my blog since just about everything we do has gone electronic. So why not my Christmas letter. Besides that, I have so many new friends from near and far right here on the web.

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As we always start off saying, I can’t believe that Christmas is here again. Our family has seen big changes this year. Our children are taking some of those big kid first steps that will leave our lives here forever changed. But we embraced those changes, at first with tears and now with joy. “Hold on to everything with open hands!”

First we saw Becca accepted into the YWAM (youth with a mission) photography program in Germany. She was excited to spread her wings and fly off on her 24th birthday. After being in Germany for 4 months she is now preparing to go off to Africa where her team will use their photographic skills to document the extreme poverty in that part of the world. After returning to Germany in April they will publish their work in efforts to raise funds for those they ministered to. So, keep in touch with me here and I will of course let you know how you can contribute to this worthy cause if you feel led.

Becca and her friend Leah

Ben is at the community college where he’s just passing time. A dear friend of mine calls him a “rolling stone”. Ben has always and still does have a free spirit. He still has a passion for music and plays electric guitar for the worship team at his church. He still loves to serve the lowly and will be off to New Orleans again this winter break to help rebuild a strangers home that was destroyed by Katrina. His long term plans are always changing which is probably nothing new for a 20 yr old young man. And he is a man. He ventured off to hike the Appalachian Trail for 4 days alone this summer marking his 20th birthday. His health was iffy then but he conquered this giant. Only to do another hike with a friend covering 27 miles of mountainous terrain in 2 days! He is still battling Lyme Disease, but is improving with a stronger immune system. For the moment he’s “training” with thoughts of entering the Special Forces of the Marines OR joining the local Police Academy OR venturing to Alaska and living the wild life with the wildlife!!!! Gun in hand, living day to day! What a guy!!! That’s our Ben! He rolls in every once in a while to grab some food and clean clothes but is mostly on his own, working at the church and enjoying life!!!

Honey & I will celebrate our 27th anniversary this March!!! Wo how did that happen? God has done amazing things in our marriage and we are enjoying our time together in our empty nest! Not to say that this jump into an empty nest is easy after having my kids home with me forever! It’s getting easier to pass by their bedrooms and offer up a prayer for them without tears. The house does stay clean longer, but with Boomer and Lady it’s an endless battle with dog hair. Boomer has lovingly acquired the name Lazarus! Constantly keeping me caring for him. Lady is wackier than ever and now with our newest additions….5 chickens, she is on daily guard!

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Honey is still working on stuff that I can’t talk about…so I won’t. He’s busy around our little place trying to get the ground ready for a barn/shed to be delivered. We spent endless hours clearing our back 40 this summer. Tons of multiflora rose to be wacked out. A gazillion poison oak trees to kill. Hours of mowing. Home repairs. You know the routine. Now he’s enjoying his hibernation months sleeping and resting for the upcoming spring and summer. He is the love of my life and one woman shouldn’t be allowed to love this much!!!

Me, well I’m enjoying and rejoicing in my new found gloriously miraculous healing. It’s been almost a yr since I’ve had huge breakthroughs using herbs and food to heal my body from Chronic Lyme and 3 co-infections. My doctor has proclaimed me his “healthiest patient’!!! How cool is that!!! See miracles still happen!!! I’m a living testimony and I hope to give others hope to heal! I’m enjoying this Christmas like no other. I have energy and motivation that surpasses many years past. I also turned 50 in October!!! Dance on!!!!!

Becca and I launched my website, Butterflies & Bumble Bees; my labor of love for Dalit women in India. I’ve been studying herbalism for the past year and am developing some of my own remedies which includes my favorite Chai Tea that I learned to love in India. As well as preparing my own tinctures and lotions and salves that seem to be a hit with my sisters friends.

AND now I’m becoming a cowgirl!! We bought 2 Jersey heifers so we can have our own supply of raw milk, raw cheese, raw cream, raw butter……..Raw dairy has played a huge roll in my healing! Of course since we have to have calves to have milk, I’ll sell my calves to help pay for hay or we’ll put meat in the freezer! And who knows I just might throw in a sheep or two!!! I do love lamb and you know I love fiber!!!

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JOY is 2 months old. Isn’t she the cutest ever.

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Gerdy and I were introduced in a torrent of rain! She’s almost 2 yrs old.

Wait till you see my new pink Wellies that Honey is giving me for Christmas! Oh I’m going to hate to mess them up!

I’m already enjoying my Christmas Ladies Artec Carhartt coat.

I told Honey that now all I need for Christmas is a BIG FORD 350 with a red bow! He laughed HARD!!!

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Life here at Peaceful Acres is good. We worship a glorious God and His Son Jesus. We pray that you will find the peace that only He can give, because he is The Lord of Peace; Jehovah Shalom.

The Rose Of Bethlehem

This song by Selah is so beautiful. I hope that during all the hustle and bustle you can slow down to remember the sacrifice that was given for all mankind.

From the cradle

to the cross

Photo Credit linked to Flickr.com

Toy Packaging Anger Management!

Back to our regular scheduled programming……

This is such a funny song. We’ve all been there.