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This rendition in my FB feed today.  :20 to 2:30

Love is not a victory march, it’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.

This man is singing it for his 4 year old son. Tears and chills.  The love the tenderness.  The joy that fills me sometimes bursts through my eyes and cannot be contained.  God’s spirit the only thing that can fill the aching hole in my heart, drained by years of life.

The theme lately has been “Do you trust Him?”

The answer to walk by faith accepting that the answers may not always be given but responding to and recognizing divine appointments as they present themselves.  I’m tired.  I’m filled.  I’m exuberant.  I’m exhausted.  I exhale this deep deep mourning that has attached itself to my soul.  And I rejoice in guidance of the spirit as I am used for His glory.  When you don’t have the answers, you have to listen closer with a quiet heart and open mind.

Be well, my friends.

All My Love

Grandmothers China – Salad Plate

I was putting dishes away this morning when one of the little salad plates tipped backward, falling into a wine bottle glass and broke in jagged half.  It was so fast I could only watch.  I picked it up, held the two pieces together and sighed.  Darn it.  Put it in the trash bin.  We are now down to 6 salad plates, which is what we use the most.

I woke up this morning to the though “this is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  Today.  I am given today.  This moment, the choices I have for doing and going and being. How will I spend it?  I started by breaking something on my way to doing something productive.  I need to go to the post office, get milk, return an item.  I also need/want to vacuum, wash dishes and tidy my space.  Am I living well?  What does that mean anyway “living well”?  On that Booda jumped up on my lap, under my arm and cruised across the desk pausing at my coffee cup (don’t you dare put you little paw in there).  He is twitching his tail, rubbing his face on things.  He is living well as defined by a cat.  He’s now settled himself next to me, close but not too close to be removed.  Eyes blinking closed, ears alert around the room, waiting.  What is he waiting for?  Well, his breakfast for one.  He’s probably also waiting to be recognized and loved like we all are.

[pause, sip of coffee, change in music]

“I’ve got one hand on the bottle, one foot in the grave”  Lyrics of Last Damn Night by Elle King

“Last Damn Night”
I got one hand on the bottle, and one foot in the grave
It’s been too long since I’ve slept, but I, I, I ain’t got time to waste
Three long days, boy you’d better pray
Cause when that light shines on you
Gonna want to stay forever and a day, but it’s the night that I belong to
Well the clock keeps ticking, and your time is running out
Well the clock is ticking, and your time is running running running running

So, I’m gonna live my life like it’s my last damn night
Cause when the clock strikes twelve, we’re all gonna go to hell
Said “I’m gonna live my life like it’s my last damn night!”
“I’m gonna live my life… like it’s my last damn night!”

Well I’m five seconds closer to living six feet deep,
There’s seven steps to Heaven, but that stairway’s just too steep
Oh, my my everybody dies, but you know that I don’t want to
You get eight long lives, boy you gonna cry when the ninth one creeps up on you
Well the clock keeps ticking, and your time is running out…
Well the clock keeps ticking, and your time is running running running running…

So, I’m gonna live my life like it’s my last damn night
Cause when the clock strikes twelve, we’re all gonna go to hell
Said I’m gonna live my life like it’s my last damn night
I’m gonna live my life… like it’s my last damn night!

Appropriate, thank you Lord.

Eric’s friend was here a few nights ago and wanted to start the conversation beginning with “do you believe that everything happens for a reason?” at 11:45 pm when we were getting ready for sleep.  Sorry son, that is a deep topic to start this late in the evening.

“Someone told me long ago, that there’s a calm before the storm.  I know ’cause it’s been coming for some time”

Have you ever seen the rain? by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Someone told me long ago there’s a calm before the storm
I know, it’s been comin’ for some time
When it’s over, so they say, it’ll rain a sunny day
I know, shinin’ down like water

I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain?
I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain
Comin’ down on a sunny day?

Yesterday and days before, sun is cold and rain is hard
I know, been that way for all my time
‘Til forever, on it goes through the circle, fast and slow
I know, it can’t stop, I wonder

I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain?
I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain
Comin’ down on a sunny day?

Well, my friends I believe that is all I have for the moment.  Back to the dishes and vacuuming and having a conversation with my son regarding living well in our home.  Wherever you are today live it well.  It may be your last damn night or it may be the first day of the rest of your life.  Whichever it is make something of it.

All my love.

TED Talks and pearls

I love lazy Saturday mornings.  I haven’t had enough of them in the last several months so today I made it a point of having nothing scheduled until 1:00 pm.  I woke up being grateful which is an excellent way to start any day.  I am thankful for my landlords despite our recent rocky opposition.  I am grateful for my son.  For the furry creatures that call this home.  For this loving, wild, sweet Pit Bull who crawls under the covers 8 times a night only to crawl through and out the bottom because she’s too hot.  Clearly God thought I needed a dog in my life and here she is.  I woke up thankful for my job and for the feeling of peace having reached a recent conclusion in spite of throwing all that I possess at maintaining my status quo-i.e. avoiding change.  I am grateful and looking forward to the changes that are coming in the next 6 weeks.

I have been listening to Season 1 of Worst Cooks in America and alas, this morning was the final show of the season.  I looked for Season 2 and it’s not available via on demand view by Netflix, so I spent 1/2 an hour or so cruising around looking for my next series.  I have always admired the TED talks and listened to a few of them here and there, so when I came across this group fo 20+ minute segments I started at 1 (of course, age has brought order) and that was a nice talk regarding teaching our children about food and obesity around the world.  Let’s do that!

The next talk though spoke to my heart.  Dan Barber:  How I Fell In Love With A Fish.  I would encourage you to view it if you have a few minutes because it summarizes all that we struggle with.  There are two questions in the talk worth in-depth discussion and evaluation.

  1. How are we going to feed ourselves?
  2. How can we create conditions that enable every community to feed itself?

TED Talks

This reinforces my recent exploration into creating a hydroponic garden to feed myself and family.  Ironically, my biggest fear is abundance – I hate to waste food.  It occurred to me this morning that I can always donate the surplus to any number of homeless shelters, my church or a plethora of people I know.  Problem solved!

Yesterday I witnessed a lesson that sometimes you have to feel heartbreak and let go of something you love to make room for God to bless you with something better.  Something bigger than your wildest dreams.  Something he’s had in mind for you all the time.  There were tears and anger (how could I be so stupid?) and crushed spirits, then a glimmer of hope, an astonishment as blessings unfolded and finally euphoria that when you try you might just get more than what you need; you may be blessed with a tool to confirm that your on the right path.  I would tell you more, but it’s not my story to tell.  This was my story to witness, and to learn from and to share both the heartache and the joy.

There is a story about a little girl who loved a toy pearl necklace.  She wore it every day and slept with it and never let it go.  One night her daddy said “honey, give me the necklace” and she couldn’t.  Her daddy hugged her and told her he loved her and tucked her in and kissed her good night.  Every night for a long time her daddy said “honey, give me the necklace” and every night she clutched it tight and wouldn’t give it.  And he loved her and tucked her in and kissed her goodnight.  One night she said “Daddy, if you want the necklace you can have it” and she took it off and put it in his hand.  He hugged her and told her he loved her and kissed her goodnight.  Then he took a box out of his shirt, opened it and gave her a real pearl necklace and tucked her in.

Daddy, if you really want what I have you can have it.  I trust you.  I love you.  I am thankful.  I am blessed.

…and I may have to read The Art of Stillness


I live, strive to live by being nice to people most of the time.  I believe that you reap what you sew.  I am by any count kind, forgiving, loving and helpful.  I wonder now in the middle of this conflict am I sewing or reaping?  The following is one of my favorite stories about my mother.

Mom working in the ER in Ottumwa General Hospital back around 1976-1978 time frame.  She worked 2nd shift if I remember correctly.  One evening a man and his girlfriend were brought in after a horrendous motorcycle crash.  He was teaching her how to ride his Harley and she collided with a cement telephone pole.  In the hours that followed as the staff worked to save his life the waiting room filled to capacity with their friends and relatives.

The hospital staff is reported to have avoided the waiting area and blown off inquiries to the prognosis, except mom who got them coffee, brought them updates and did what my mother did best calmed the beast and comforted the sick.

After many hours, the man died of the injuries.  His damages were too extensive to save his life.  His name from my mother’s telling was Dudley and he was the leader of the area Hell’s Angels biker group.  She was invited to the private funeral and told “if you ever need ANYTHING, we’re there for you.”

I’ve known many bikers.  I’ve known many people from all walks of life and I’ve done my best to see through the exterior to the heart of the human.  I want to see you where you are and where you’ve been.  I want to walk next to you, supportive in this journey.  I want to live and let live.  And I want to be respected in my own path and beliefs.

Bikers in general don’t scare me.  I’ve seen too much kindness, love and frivolity in the biker community to feel fear.  The people who I fear are those who have a blackened heart.  Those who Satan has solidly sunk his claws into and dances around like a puppet.  Like a man who has entered the circle of my world, wreaking havoc on my home and threatening my family; the horses, my son, myself and the few things I own.  People who find it desirable to break other people because they cannot find peace for their own crimes, their own decisions.  These are the people who are frightening to me.  The rabid dogs of society, unpredictable, violent and beyond my help.

Yet, I am not scared.  The worst scenario is my horses could be stolen and sold to slaughter, my possessions could be stolen and sold for drugs, my son could be harmed and I could be harmed or killed.   I have faced this before maybe 1/2 a dozen times.  It is beyond my control.  There are times like this when I wonder did the promise given my mother pass onto me?  If I asked would someone honor that?  I find that I am incapable of causing another human being intentional harm.  The threat is real.  I am powerful under God’s protection.  Everything is happening perfectly.  It is well with my soul.

Lord, move.  Or Move Me.

In Jesus name I pray, help me to learn what I need to learn and move these individuals to a peaceful heart.  Despite the intent held against me, I wish them no harm.  It’s been overdue, to be honest.  Life has been challenging lately, but good.  I woke up this morning.  My son is home and clean.  Lola and Booda and Juice lay watching when I woke up.  It truly is well with my soul.

I am no sap.  Tomorrow (later today) I will be taking action to protect myself and those I love.  Wheels are in motion and now we wait.  God Bless, everyone.


My Grandmother’s China

It’s a season of de0cluttering again.  What I have left is the lower level of the house where I have about 30-40 boxes of treasures that need to be gone through (again) since I haven’t used or loved most of the stuff remaining.  Today I spent a couple of hours cleaning off a long – soon to be gardeners table that has a fair amount of upstairs treasures piled on it.  Most of that has been reduced to Give Away, Put Away, Throw Away containers, with a box of recycling, fresh trash can lined and ready, a box of burn materials, a box for Goodwill and 2 large trash bags sitting at the door.

Three of the boxes that I took down earlier this fall contained my grandmother’s silver and china.  My grandfather asked her on their 25th Anniversary what she wanted.  It is reported that she said “Leo, I want a nice set of china.”  Being a loving and dutiful husband they got some catalogues and she spent a good amount of time choosing a pattern.  Several weeks later a large box arrived and grandma unpacked them and washed them admiring how pretty they were and bubbling like a new bride.  Grandpa was delighted to see his bride enjoying their gift.  As she was putting them away he noticed she was stacking them in a high cupboard for safe keeping and he said to her in the tone I still hear from my delightful grandfather when he was unhappy “God dammit Gladys!  I didn’t buy that for you to put up in a cupboard and never use.  You put those dishes where you can reach them and we’re going to use them.”  My grandfather was a spirited little Englishman and when you heard that tone you simply did as you were told.


Grandma passed in 1986, shortly after I graduated from High School.  Grandpa passed many years later and my mother inherited the china, which had been stored again in a closet until I received them when my mother passed in 2006.  They have again been packed away – mostly because it’s not the pattern I would have chosen and I don’t have the heart to try to sell them.  I brought them upstairs today, washed them and made a cupboard where they live now.  The original set was a full setting for 8 including a meat platter, 2 serving bowls and a gravy boat.  I broke the meat platter several years ago.  Several of the plates have small chips in the sides and a couple have a crack running through them.  Most of the pieces have 7 remaining of the original 8.

Those that are missing served the purpose they were designed for.  Those that remain will do the same, some will break.  They are a reminder to me now to fulfill my purpose.  Use me for what I have been tempered for.  That china is tougher than it looks.  I am too.

Grandma's China

Grandma’s China

I did find a manufacturer that produced this pattern and I think I will begin a new Christmas tradition this year and buy a replacement for the meat platter that broke serving turkey one Thanksgiving a few years ago.  I look at these every day and remind myself how well I was loved by both of my grandparents and that every day is a day to celebrate living.

God Bless everyone.

All My Love.

Days Until Spring

This is what I know today.
It is -9 F
It is 5:05 pm on Saturday and still light out, we’ve finally turned the winter corner.
I’m about to go downstairs and “work” because I am setting up a hydroponic indoor garden in a 1/4 of the basement area.
Pete is out in the big pasture.
Autumn would like to know why he got to go out and she didn’t.

There remain 62 days until spring.

Hugs all.

Anthony.  You are on my mind and in my prayers.

Completely Crazy

Update 3/29/16

I received information from a number of friends in December where Duke (fka Champ) was located and contacted the new owner.  On Christmas Eve they agreed to sell him back to me.  He came home late Thursday night March 24.  He was very sick.  The ultrasound yesterday revealed he had abscesses in his lungs, the largest of which was the size of a softball.

Duke passed away during the night. In a field, in the place he chose to stand, attended by his long time friend Miss D and the other horses on the property. The last thing he tasted was mouthfuls of fresh green spring grass and fresh cool water. He is healed, running and playing with the other mare who passed last fall. I’ll never have a first ride or a last ride with him. What we gave him though was love in his final days and choices.to stand where he wished.

Update:  12/7/15

I am heart broken but it is well with my soul.  The prior owner reneged on our agreement and sold Champ (aka Koda) out from under me to someone from Illinois last night for more money.  Sometimes God’s answer is No.  That leaves me to focus on the two wonderful horses I already own saving me much heartache and money rehabbing him.  I did manage a few photos Saturday morning before all of this unfolded.  I hope he has an amazing owner who will provide for all of his needs for the rest of his life.  It wasn’t time for me.

20151205_091055  20151205_093209 20151205_091247

Prior post:

I’m up early.  I always do that when I have something on my mind that’s gnawing at me.  Money, yes.  Faith, yes.  Taking a giant leap off of a moving vehicle and crashing to the ground?  Sure, why not.  Life is about those crazy chances you take that change the course of your life.

I have had a deep passion for old horses for a very long time.  One of my dreams is to have a retirement home for spent horses.  Those beauties who served people; gave their lives to families and who at an age where they can no longer race with the big dogs but aren’t’ without value, are disposed of, usually in the only way our society has available right now; the sale barn.

Enter “Koda”. a 22 year old, former show horse.  His current name doesn’t suit him and I haven’t been able to find out his previous name.  Arabian-something, maybe Tennessee Walker.  His pasterns are very low, almost walking on his heels and he has an odd gate.  He used to show with 9 and 11 year old little girls but I don’t know what sport.  His last owner had him with 2 other horses turned out in a pasture for the last 8 years with little interaction i.e. neglected.  They were provided food and water but little else.  He’s in bad shape.  Body score around 4, ribby, hips are protruding.  He needs worming, teeth floating, vaccines.  He’s dehydrated and pre-Cushing’s according to the vet.  We suspect his coat is developing oddly due to the malnutrition, we’ll see.  In other words $$$$$$  The current owner had the vet out yesterday for an evaluation, the prior owner gave them to her when she threatened to turn him in.  His ground manners need polishing, he’s a little high strung with the Arab in him, always on the look out and carries his head high, which is why she’s decided to take him to sale on Monday if I don’t take him.  She is asking him to turn left, turn right, move forward, back up, piaf and side pass all at the same time – and he’s doing it!  That makes for a rough ride for both of them!  He’s incredibly responsive to a very soft touch.  Since, he bounces his head when she rides, she’s using tie downs on him, he hates it… If he was in good health, I wonder if this would fix itself as he’s probably sore without much muscle on his skeleton and she’s a pretty big person.  She jumped on him bareback with a nylon halter within an hour of his arrival and he took it in stride.  He just lost the matriarch of the herd who went to sale when they were picked up due to her own poor health and he’s now separated from the only other companion he’s known for a decade; there have been too many changes in 3 weeks.  He hasn’t had time to settle in.

He has bright eyes, he is very aware of his surroundings, he wants to be a band leader.  He is also extremely smart.  Extremely smart.  I think he will give Autumn a run for her money.  He is very well trained and easily follows someone who knows how to lead.  I ran him through the Parelli games in about 30 minutes yesterday and he looked at me like what else you got?  He is very inquisitive and logical (for a horse).  He follows on a loose line, picks up his feet, you can touch him anywhere ears, mouth, tail, sheath.  He turns out with no drama-waiting until I stepped back to move off.  If he was in good health I think we could have a blast together.  He caught on right away to treats and mugged me twice, we talked about that and he responded by becoming much gentler about asking.

I looked at him and prayed.  Is this the beginning of my dream?  Welcome to Camp Wandu, a retirement home for horses.  A place where old horses come to live out their lives, regain their health and be horses until that time when they either expire among the herd members or are walked to the Rainbow Bridge by a caregiver?  Good ole boys who I could take visitors out on for occasional trail rides and teach them about the plight of horses, safety of working with and around them and most about the privilege of being around these amazing creatures whose goal in life is to “get along” with their herd.

It’s absolutely crazy to take him on right now financially.  God will provide; He always has.

Welcome to the family Duke.  I’m looking forward to sharing the years you have remaining with you.

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