Sunday, November 30, 2014

The End And A Beginning - Day #30 of Thanksgiving

30 days of Thankfulness. 

A practice. 
A journey. 
A life attitude. 
Purposely seeking. 
Becoming more like Christ in all we do. 
Having eyes to see beauty where none exists. 
3o days to establish a habit. 
A commitment to desire more. 
To yearn to be molded and shaped into the child God wants us to be. 
Displaying a heart in submission to the  path placed before us. 
A season of Thanksgiving leading into the season of Preparation. 
It's not too late to begin the walk of Thankfulness. 
Dig deep. 
Find the beauty amid the ashes. 

See God is doing a new thing. 

Isaiah 43:19
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? 
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Do you have eyes to see? 
Have you pulled back the veil enough to see beyond the pain, beyond the grief. 
Because, God is there. 
He reaches down and pours out his riches. 
We are free to walk in His grace. 
The word for the day.  
The Advent candle lit.
The final day of November, the first day of Advent. 
Such close proximity. 
Thankfulness - Preparation. 
A season. 
 Hope of all Nations. 
Good news. 
Living in us. 
All around us a need. 
Choices made to live; in hope. 
Hope, when there's uncertainty and each step feels weighed down. 
Hope, when the pain of missing threatens to shatter the resolve. 

This Season set apart to grow deeper.
For some, hopes have been dashed. 
Faith rocked. 
Life; challenged.

Stepping into the first lesson in Advent opens our hearts to the possibility
 of what is to come. 
Let Hope guide your path this week. 
Hope in all that is to come and all that will be. 
Hope that the finished work in Christ is proclaimed. 

Isaiah 40:31
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. 
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
 they will walk and not be faint.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Holy Season Wrapped in Hope; Practiced In Waiting - Day #20 of Thankfulness

The Thanksgiving decorations are packed in the attic. 
Leftovers stacked in the fridge. 
Memories tucked away. 
A grateful heart.
Ready now,  for the Season of Advent.
The practice of gratitude paving the way. 

A time of Preparation.
The days leading up to the celebration of the birth of Christ. 
We prepare for so many tasks, attention to careful details. 
Shopping lists, and daily planners. 
Packing lists and Christmas lists. 
All in preparation; 
second nature as we move through the rhythm of the day. 
Choices and priorities made; spurred by the necessity of the task. 
Yet the preparation of our heart often neglected.
The inner sanctuary pushed aside; overlooked.
The soul. 
Become awake to the stirring. 
The waiting.
God incarnate. 
He became flesh. 
For us. 

Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

He left the comfort of the Holy; the presence of the Almighty,
to humble himself on our behalf. 
So that we may benefit. 
Born in a manger; a commoner's son. 
With the lineage of the Royal. 
In this Season we press on.
Our hearts softened to the guiding of the Holy Spirit. 
A time for inner growth. 
My tired, aching soul longing for communion with the One who came and touched earth. 

A Holy Season wrapped in hope; practiced in waiting. 

I am thankful for:
family and friends gathered around the farmhouse table
days of preparation
the warm glow of Christmas lights
the excitement of children and their love of tradition
lessons learned when farm life changes plans
my farmer who is still willing to try to find a tree, long after the sun has set
a soul that longs to seek Christ first in all things
the shimmer of freshly fallen snow
the moments just before dawn
a warm home on a very chilly morning
the promise of being held
the hope of what's to come
strength for this day
grace given freely that I might live

How do you prepare for the Birth of Christ? 
How do you let him dwell richly in your Season of Advent? 

Psalm 107:1
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, 
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Reflections On The Day After Day #28 of Thankfulness

It's the day after. 
The day after 22 people for dinner.
The day after we bowed low in Thanksgiving for the deep gift we have been given. 
After the Turkey and pies and steaming cups of coffee. 

After giggles and playing in snow. 
Now, it is the wee hours of quiet; the day after. 
One daughter off to work. 
Retail and Black Friday. 
My farmer; milking, overseeing all that needs to be done. 
It is also 16 months since our red head walked this earth. 

2 Thanksgivings he has rejoiced with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
2 Thanksgivings that have challenged me to my core;
 of choosing to step into gratitude. 
My quest to reach for Jesus in every moment. 
Seeking Him more. 
He knows my name. 
How can I fully know His more? 

Philippians 3:10
I want to know Christ--yes, to know the power of his resurrection 
and participation in his sufferings, 
becoming like him in his death,

This is the day we also head to gather our Christmas Tree. 
A tradition begun long ago. 
Years of Currier and Ives moments when my dad would pull the truck up to the side doors and the farm house double doors would be flung open. 
Babies all snuggled here at the house while mom and I decorate 
and pink hot chocolate simmered on the stove. 

The fighting being over tired and not wanting to decorate the tree. 

How the little kids kept putting all the ornaments on the bottom 
of the tree and how funny it looked. 
Someone invariably storming off because they were mad. 
Such happy ,delightful memories. 
So, today we will head to the woods -ok the family will head to the woods, I will stay in the house where it is warm and I can appreciate the snow from the inside- and gather the smells of Christmas and bring it home. 
We will pack up Fall and usher in Winter. 

The Season of Advent upon us. 

A time to reflect and seek to be fully known. 
To know fully the One who came to give all. 

Because, don't we all want to be known?

Don't we all long to be understood and be heard. 
There is One who hears. 
Who longs for His people to return to Him. 

This day, as the Tree is placed and the lights are hung, may this preparation prepare my heart to enter in. 

Into Thanksgiving, into knowing God more fully. 
He knows our name. 
No matter how much I struggle with resting in a God who knows my name; yet also allowed my heart to shatter into a million pieces, he does know my name. 
And He will one day make all things right. 
I pray that your heart is surrendered to the King of Kings and that your soul rejoices in the free gift He has given to All. 

I am thankful for:
Clarissa's friends here for a visit
a home full of teenagers and children
a kitchen that needs much cleaning
a day ahead of decorating for Christmas
the Season of Advent
a warm home and hot coffee
(which I ruined the first cup by thinking somehow
 I would grow to like egg nog in my coffee)
meals you can create with leftovers
snow softly falling
17 Thanksgivings with my red head
a God who know my name
growth in spite of the pain
the gift of grace
friends who continually help us journey on
a family from California who shared the meal at our farmhouse table
the quiet moments where God reaches down and soothes my aching heart
the hope of today and strength He gives

Francesca Battistelli

He Knows My Name 

He calls me chosen,  free, forgiven, 
wanted, Child of the King
His forever, held and treasured, 
I am loved

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Creating A Day That is Purposefully Thankful Day # 27 of Thankfulness

The season of Thankfulness. 
The settlers of this land grateful for sustenance; coming together in fellowship. 
A time to be grateful. 

And what is gratitude really? 
The lists that I have made of all the things I possess? 
That happy feeling when we are content and things are going swell? 
That is a part of the practice. 
True gratitude is deep contentment in life, no matter the circumstances
A Thankful life is lived looking through a different lens. 
One is not born a thankful person. 
It takes effort and intentional actions. 
To be thankful in every sense of the word mandates a shift in the view of the world. 
It permeates all you do. 

Because being grateful isn't just about the stuff. 
It's about looking at the world as a place where change can happen; and it starts with us. 
We take the step towards gratitude. 
Even when the checkout line is slow. 
(Oh I am so guilty of this)
We need to guard our hearts. 
Be careful what we watch and listen to. 
Intentional steps to cultivate a habit. 
Bitterness and greed are easy to step into. 
It is our default mechanism.
To rise above and shut the door in the face of those temptations is rich. 
So, as this Thanksgiving Day dawns and I want to just crawl back in bed, I am going to walk in the warmth of the memories of Thanksgiving's past. 
Oh, they are rich. 
I am going to treasure each moment for the gift it is. 
If you're in a place where bitterness and pain have become your 
constant companion,let it go
Count your blessings.
Take your eyes off yourself.
Shed the negative.
Find another to bless. 
There is no greater pull out of despair than giving to someone else. 
Reach for a journal and begin the list of that for which your heart is Thankful. 

I am thankful for:
Memories of the warmth and joy of family together
a home where I can share Thanksgiving meals
a table where all can gather
friends who are family
the blanket of white covering the barren landscape
a farmer who holds me in the night when I can barely breathe
grief; despite the pain and agony. there are lessons to learn
the hope of heaven and the beauty of a sweet reunion
the 17 Thanksgiving's I had with Elijah
a home that is full of laughter and teenagers
a hot cup of coffee
these moments to sit and reflect on all that I have to be thankful for
a season of Thankfulness that is followed by the rich Season of Advent
when we are truly Thankful the message of the cross becomes so much more
this day, this moment and the grace that will be given for the rest

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

May you create a day that is purposefully Thankful.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What A Clean Refrigerator Can Do You For Thankfulness Meter Day # 26 of Thankfulness

Something died in my refrigerator. And I can't find it.
The search has begun.
There is not much in there because we have been away.
But the offending odor must be discovered.
So I do what any self respecting mother does; 
I go to coffee with my girl friends and leave this on the chore list for the girls. 
When I return, the girls have complied with my request. 
(And I didn't find anything tucked under my sheets. I checked)
I did get a glare from the 17 year old. 
It had left her speechless. 
What I was unprepared for was a few days later when I saw something on the shelf in the door. 
It was a bag. 
A plastic bag. 
A bag that I thought the farm boy had taken care of. 
See, he enjoys parts of the cow like, tongue, heart and liver. 
He wanted to cook those. 
I will cook liver. 
That's it. 
The rest; you're on your own. 
And he was. 
And apparently so were the parts. 
Because there they were a week later. 
In my refrigerator
I called the farmer to my rescue. 
He's good at that. 
He's had years of practice. 
He kept a brave front and removed the remains. 
(he doesn't eat liver or any other part)
Now our refrigerator is smelling just fine. 
No odd forms of mold to be seen. 
Just in time to fill it full with Thanksgiving bounty.
We have so very much to be grateful for.
I pray that this season of Thankfulness has challenged you 
and opened your eyes in new ways. 
I know for me it continues to keep my thoughts resting on the 
One who gave all so we might live. 

I am thankful for:
daughters who will clean-gross things
quiet moments in the cemetery
deep breaths and hope in Christ
the pink sky in the sunset
the clouds hovering over Mount Mansfield
coffee- in a mug or a cup
a daughter who scours my car for my lost Starbucks card
sunshine and blue skies in November
the ways God is showing our family grace and how to live together
(because it's not easy)
rhythm of farm life
the warmth of the kitchen and the smells of Thanksgiving
my grandparents and parents who established beautiful holiday routines

May all of your preparations for Thanksgiving be full of intentional peace and joy. 
For those of you, like me, who have lost deeply, take a deep breath and hand it all over to the Lord. He will make all of our pain beautiful in his time. 

Ecclesiastes 3:11
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Resting only on solid ground this holiday. 
I humbly seek you Lord. 
I surrender all. 
Reflecting only on the blessings here and now. 
Especially a clean refrigerator. 

I Surrender

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I Will Go Day #25 of Thankfulness

There's been a lot brewing here on the farm for a few weeks. 
I mentioned last week that there was project we wanted to share. 
This busy place is always full of ideas and creativity. 

Sometimes those ideas come to fruition and other times 
they are mulled over through the years. 
Deep seeded ideas; longings. 
One of those a yearning, for my farmer, year after year.
Suppressed as chores, and children take precedence over thoughts and dreams.
Until this year;
 when one of those children is married and has a child of her own. 
Another of those children lies deep in the sod of the earth. 
When cancer threatens the "I'll get around to it some day."
It's then, that the deep longing rises fully to the surface, aching to be heard. 
A longing to escape the confines of these acres and minister to the broken and downcast. 
A desire to set his feet on soil that yearns for more. 

To use his hands to break the cycle of poverty and give soul food to those in darkness. 
It seems his farm girl, daughter shares that same deep calling. 
Her desire to attend nursing school and live a life surrendered  to the needy. 
So, through prayer and research my farmer and his 
farm girl have the opportunity to travel to Haiti in January. 
They will work alongside the "Fellowship of Christian Farmers" through  
Global Compassion Network.

There is excitement in the air as the dream becomes a reality. 

Matthew 25:40
The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'

We're stepping out of comfort zones and security and taking a step
- no a leap- of faith. 

One of Global Compassion Network's work site's in Haiti. 

Here is where we would love for you to be a part of this leap of faith. 
My farmer and Clarissa need to find prayer partners. 

They need a list of folks willing to come along side them and commit to praying. 
They also need financial support.
If you are interested in making a donation
(these are not tax deductible, the money is going for direct support to Gary and Clarissa)
you can either make a donation in their names to Global Compassion Network.
Or you can make a donation at the Merchants Bank in 
Jericho, Vermont; to the Davis Family Fund. 

We are excited about this opportunity for you to work alongside us. 

We can not do this without your support both financially and most importantly, spiritually. 

We are excited to see how God will use my farmer and sweet daughter. 

Please join us in prayer, as we thank God for this opportunity. 

I am thankful for:
a list of things to accomplish
this time of reflection and intentional gratitude
my farmer who dares to dream big
a daughter with a sensitive compassionate heart
opportunities to serve God 
a farm boy who knows the value of work
enough grace to make it through, just this day
girls who dug into the dirt and grim of this home yesterday
the abundance of food we will all cook in the next few days
the strength God provides even when I feel I can not take another step
my children and each of their unique ways
the warm temperatures and sunshine
friends who take me to "the big city"
traditions that my mom and dad so carefully took time to create
a walk of faith that spurs me on and fills my soul with deep gratitude
for coffee; for coffee with friends; for coffee alone in the quiet of this big old farmhouse

Thank you for your prayers and financial support. 
We will continue to post updates. 

Steve Green
I Will Go

Monday, November 24, 2014

Stepping Over Despair Into Gratitude Day #24 of Thankfulness

I shut the light off at the bottom of the stairs. 
Our travels brought us home late. 
It is now the wee hours of the morning and there is laundry and book work. 
There is also hot coffee.
But no milk or eggs. 
The wind is howling and the rain vacillates between hail and soft pattering. 
Before I shut off the light, I glance at his door. 
The reminder each day; so hard. 
I shake my head with the remembering. 
It is so hard. 

If I am not careful, the pull of grief will drag me under. 
The piercing pain and heartache; all consuming. 
It hovers, you know, just under the radar, each and every day. 
The missing. 

The wondering, how things would be. 

College students have begun their trek home. 
Sweet reunions. 
I dig in my heels.
The wind whips around the house. 
This drafty old house unable to keep out the chill. 
I will not succumb to the despair and pain of missing. 
I am learning each day to step into the grace offered for the day. 

Because haven't we been given grace enough for today? 

This is the day that counts. 
This is the day we have the power to change. 
We yield to the Master's touch. 
It is in the giving of our selves that He is able to work in us.
His good and perfect will. 

Turkey, pies, Thanksgiving logistics swirl in my head. 
I've been given a rich heritage in family. 
Children and extended family. 
Many will descend on the farm this week. 

Though my red head won't be coming home. 
Many others will. 
The focus on what God has handed here and now. 
Not what will never be. 
There is a challenge in living this life at the foot of the cross. 
It is not easy. 
But there is strength given. 

 2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, 
for my power is made perfect in weakness."

It is strength I will take. 
I am not proud. 
I can not do this on my own. 
It is too hard. 
Too painful. 
Too much. 
So, once again I am laying it all down. 

I am thankful for:
my own bed
fresh brewed coffee
a second cup of freshly brewed coffee
the smell of freshly brewed coffee
the way the mug feels when the mug is between my hands
(you understand, I am very grateful)
this drafty old house; no matter how cold it is outside, it is still warmer in here
the quiet of our home
the rhythm of farm life
my farmer, driving and driving and then getting up to do chores
friends and family who welcome us home and remind us we are loved
a time of Thanksgiving, to be intentional about gratitude
God's word and the message of hope found within
tin on the porch roof and the steady cadence kept
the uniqueness of my children and the gift each one is to our family
growth in spite of the heartache

May this week be about gratitude for you. 
Even if your heart is breaking, step into a path that includes gratitude.
And if you're heart is overwhelmed with joy step into gratitude for the deep gift. 

As you offer your gratitude to God today, here is a song I love. 
Holy, are you Lord God Almighty. 
Worthy is the Lamb. 

Won't you Worship with me and let it all go. 
Hand it all over the One who longs to hold it for you. 
He is worthy. 
He is good. 
He is Holy. 
And He is waiting for you. 

Michael W Smith
Agnus Dei

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Day #23 of Thankfulness

Clothes flapping in the breeze.
Sunshine each day. 
Gorgeous sunsets. 

Time together as a family.
A farm family that rarely leaves home. 

And now time to travel. 

Home to the routines and our chores. 
Home to the familiar, yet changed.
And coming home is so bittersweet.

I am thankful for:
Vermont coffee
My own bed
time with 6 people in a confined space with 2 tv's equipped with cable
4 days of no cooking or cleaning
time with my farmer
real conversations, about something other than the farm
3 days of little girls swimming to their hearts content
time in the Ancient Word
opportunity to worship with believers in another part of the country
going home
the gift of "getting away" for more than one night
those that made it possible for us to "get away"
the humor my kids have; and share it freely; often 
God's grace and mercy that flow so freely
the freedom we have to travel this country 
the beauty God created
Vermont coffee (did I already mention that)
my farmer who was willing to drive to go to Starbucks to get me coffee
a soul that yearns for more; more than what is here
hope; the promises given and the deep peace available
solid ground on which to stand

With hands lifted high, and feet planted firm we will continue walk 
the path God has placed before us. 
We will seek with all our heart the work we still have left to do. 
Part of our trip away has been seeking to look for ways to bless those we have come in contact with. 

We encourage you to pray today for God to place in your path 
those you may need to bless.

Leave us a comment if there was an act of kindness God place before you. 

May your Sabbath be rich and full of the rest God so richly intended. 

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."