Grace, the Overflowing Favor of God

Corn Stored in the Bins

Grace is the overflowing favor of God, and you can always count on it being available to draw upon as needed. 

Oswald Chambers

The Farmer has been driving a semi for some friends in fall harvest.  They are keeping him on the go with two combines picking corn and one truck driver to keep up.  He is hauling it to the local elevators and has been into four different locations with the corn loads.  Many times in these last few weeks of hauling he has been selected to unload his corn in the fastest line while others have had to wait longer in line.  This has been a concern for the Farmer as he does not desire the wrath of the other drivers and farmers.  He has even been moved ahead of his own crew in the line.  This has happened at all four locations.  

I keep telling him it is the mighty favor of God upon him.  We pray for him each day and speak a blessing over him and the trucks he will be driving.  God’s favor is for all that receive Him, but not all know they have it or how to take advantage of the favor God has gifted to them.

For you, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor, You will surround him as with a shield. 

Psalms 51:2

On one trip to town the other day with the loaded semi, the accelerator stuck and he had to use the brake only to slow it down and then shut off the engine.  When he got under the hood, he saw the spring for the accelerator was broken.  Just as he was attempting to connect it, a mechanic friend showed up and they got it repaired and he ordered the part they would need to get it fixed correctly.  Once again the favor of God. 

Baling

Humility is the gateway into the grace and the favor of God. 

Harold J. Warner

For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime.

Psalms 30:5

God’s favor is lasting. His favor is for a purpose. It is not for us to sit upon, but His favor is for us to do something with. We receive blessings so we can be a blessing. The Farmer is being a blessing to the friends that he is working with in bringing in the harvest. It is so important to bring in the crop before the winter comes. He is being a blessing to the young handicapped man who rides with him in the truck. God is greatly blessing us and we pray that we can bless His loved ones. That is everyone. No matter their political stance, no matter their post on social media, or their dislike of Him; God loves them all.

Planting a Crop of Fear or of Faith

Pumpkin Patches, Feed Bales, and Fall Harvest

Winter is coming! The pace on the farm front has picked up! Wheat must be drilled, corn picked, milo harvested, feed baled and cattle moved to home pastures. You feel it in the air. You see it in the eyes of the farmers. You smell it, with the dust of harvest and drilling. You hear it as the semi’s hurry by with their loads of grain. The temperatures are still in the nineties but the nights are cooling off. Oh how this grandma farmer loves the seasonal changes. Every new season holds such promises.

Our Cornfield Fence

Seeds must be planted if you desire a harvest. The seeds must be planted in another season. Some seeds are planted in Spring and some are planted in the Fall. There are different seeds for different harvests.

Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don’t count on harvesting golden delicious.

Bill Meyer

What a season this year of 2020 has been! No one saw this season coming. The seeds we planted in the previous seasons, arethe crop we are harvesting now. What seeds are being planted now? FEAR is false evidence appearing real. Fearful thoughts are seeds that enter our life through the gates of our senses. If you smell smoke, your first thought may involve fear. Fearful thoughts are seeds that produce fearful words, which produce fearful decisions, that form fearful habits, to produce a character of fear and now you find yourself in a destructive destination. Fear seeds have been planted in your heart garden.

Virginia Creeper Creeping onto a Bush

Fear is not okay! It will drag you down and destroy you. Just like the Virginia Creeper in the picture above is dragging down this bush. It is weighing it down and making the bush carry it also. Reject thoughts of doubt and fear. Instead let’s put our trust in God and move away from fear to faith. Not faith in ourselves and our accomplishments, but faith in God. We read in His word and we know in our lives that He is a trustworthy and faithful God. He will never leave us or forsake us. Plant seeds in your garden of His word, His truths. Faith in God is the only way to overcome fear. Let’s harvest a crop of faith. Plant faith seeds in your heart garden.

To plant seeds of faith you must receive Jesus as your personal Savior. You must confess your sins to Him and believe that He is the Son of God and that He came to die on the cross for your sins. It is that simple. Then whenever fear tries to plant seeds in your heart garden just quote Psalms 56:3. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

I grew up on a farm. We learned that there was a season to plant, a season to water, and season to harvest. The planting and watering could be laborious, but without those stages there would never be a harvest.

John Wooden
Water is Life

Happiness is the harvest of a quiet mind. Anchor your thoughts on peace, poise, security and divine guidance and your mind will be productive of happiness.

Joseph Murphy

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable– if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8

The Colors of Fall

And without faith living within us it would be impossible to please God. For we come to God in faith knowing that he is real and that he rewards the faith of those who passionately seek Him.

Hebrews 11:6

Slip and Slide Farmer Style

Clouds over the Barn

“As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants–from this time on and forever,” says the Lord.

Isaiah 59:21

Having grandchildren is the greatest treasure available to people our age. Oh how we cherish them and delight in their lives and spending time with them. A few years ago, I recalled all of the fun I had with my cousins at my granny and pap-paws ranch in Oklahoma. I thought it was a good idea to try to get all of the grandkids to come to our farm in the summer for a Cousin Camp. Since then I have wondered about my sanity a few times. It is so much fun and totally and completely exhausting for all of us but worth every minute planning, plotting and preparing.

Grandchildren at Castle Rock

We always love to go to Castle Rock and climb rocks and get dirty. We have all kinds of fun projects and some science experiments to do while everyone is here. We have age ranges from 19 to 4 so it is sometimes a stretch to find ideas that work for most. Our older grands are a huge help and encouragement to our younger grands.

Grandpa worked hard ahead of camp to make 13 frames from scrap lumber from our old barn and other pieces. These frames were then painted or decoupaged by the kids and a backing was placed in them with cork on top. This has made some really nice bulletin boards for them to put up in their rooms to put their special things on. One of these will be going to college with our oldest grandson. He painted it with purple for his college.

Making our own bulletin boards!
Driving Lawn Tractor and Pulling Wagon

We Tie dyed shirts and swam in the pool in our small community. We have a slip and slide that grandpa made from tarps and PVC pipe sprinkler overhead that is a lot of fun. Soap helps make it slick and inner tubes add even more fun.

Slip and Slide Farmer Style

No healthy food is allowed and sugar is good for all. This year four of our grands were not able to come due to exposure to covid. We missed them terribly but hope they are coming soon to see us. This year we were blessed with some help from our youngest son and our oldest son and his wife. They were such a help and had some great ideas to add to the festivities.

Making those Tie Dye Shirts.

Thank you grands for loving this time together and taking off of work and giving up other things to come and play with me and grandpa for a few days. Oh we love the memories!

July on the Prairie

Thankful for the sacrifices made for our freedoms.

The farmer put up a couple of flag holders so that we could fly our United States flags on the fourth of July and praise our God for the freedom we have in this country to pursue our relationship with our Lord. We thought of many who have given it all to allow us to keep these freedoms. My dad was in the Navy in WWII and many we know served in VietNam. The farmer served six years in the National Guard. Thank you to all of you veterans out there for keeping this country free.

Every day we grow more thankful to live on the wide open prairie far from the happenings in the world. We don’t watch the news and do not watch TV at all. It has been a tremendous blessing to be free of that. We love to read and pray and keep our ears to the news with a Christian radio service.

We know our world is in turmoil and we know much of our world is in great fear. Every day there are new concerns and much, much is unknown. Tomorrow is a different story from the day before. Everything is changed and we don’t know when or if we will ever be back to “normal”. One constant is that God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Psalms 90:2
The Heavens declaring the Glory of God.

The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

Psalms 19:1

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.

Colossians 1:16
Gorgeous Sunset

With all that is happening in the world today the only place of safety and security is in His arms. Even here on the prairie the only place of refuge is in His loving arms. The only peace, the only calm, the only place to be free of fear is to put our trust in Him. Peter in Matthew 14:22-33 could walk on the water as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus. When he looked at the circumstances (the waves crashing around him) he sank down in the water and thought he would drown if Jesus didn’t reach out His hand and lift him up.

We too can drown in fear if we take our eyes off of Jesus and listen to the chaos around us. But for Jesus and his hand to rescue and save us, we may be overcome by fear in these days. Have you given your life to Jesus today? He is ready to give you the free gift of salvation. All you must do is ask him and believe. Here is a prayer you can use to ask him for his peace and faith instead of fear.

Lord, I believe you sent your Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for my sins and then He arose from the dead. I repent of all of my sins and ask you to forgive me. I believe that you have forgiven me and I invite you to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Thank you for saving me, Jesus.

Oh How He Loves You and Me!

Back on the Prairie

Danish Mill in Elkhorn, IA

It is difficult to leave a project and new friends and begin the journey home, but that is what the farmer and I did this week. We hooked onto the camper and stopped in Elkhorn, IA to check out this Danish Mill. It was fun to see and to visit the little gift shop here. Since the farmer was a windmill repair man for 25 years we love to see all kinds of windmills. There was also a fabric quilt shop nearby so I made a visit there while the farmer got a nap in the pickup. His nap was a little pricey.

Basket Wheel Windmill

Road construction was everywhere as it is summer. Our usual travel method is to take older two-lane highways and avoid interstates. We like to see the farms, barns, small towns and enjoy the slower pace. This made our day a little longer than we planned but were able to camp beside a beautiful lake in Nebraska.

One Night on the Lake
God’s Beautiful Creation

We made it home the next day. There was no dog to welcome us home as we had to put our precious basset hound to sleep in January due to old age. Our son and two grandsons had mowed for us once while we were gone but the farm yard surely needed our attention. There is no place like home.

There is no place like home.

L Frank Baum
Home by the Fourth of July

Home is the nicest word there is.

Laura Ingalls Wilder

As we reflect on our last month, we have been delighted to see our Lord’s protective hand on us in so many ways. A huge very muscular deer ran full speed across the road in front of us just two hours from home and we were protected. The farmer took quite a tumble and experienced no injury to his body. His dear cowboy hat got blown down the highway while he was attending to an issue with the camper and we got it back unharmed. We have been so blessed by the wonderful people we met, the work we were able to do, and the creation we have seen. But most of all by getting to know the Creator just a little bit closer.

Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.

Robert Frost

We came home exhausted with much to do here on the Little House on the Prairie. This little farm in the middle of a cornfield is home sweet home to us. Here we pick up the projects we left in May and prepare for some serious family time with our grandchildren and we count our blessings. We name them one by one. And we find peace and joy. We hear of the world in chaos and we pray daily for our world. In the midst of it all we find peace (indescribable peace) and joy.

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work.

2 Corinthians 9:8-10

Ridge Haven Project Complete

The last three weeks have flown by and our project here is complete.  Some more SOWER couples will be coming in next week and we will be departing soon.  What a great team we had here and we feel like our mission was accomplished.  Each couple comes with their own unique talents and giftings.  It is such a delight to see how God assembles each team.  Our General Leader couple were such a success in guiding this ship.  Wendy planned some really fun times for the ladies and for the couples too.  It was not all fun and games though as we really worked hard to do our best for the Lord and for the ministry here.  

Still in the Toilets

Some couples are leaving tomorrow and some on Monday and Tuesday of next week.  Some are going home to check on their own livestock and some are on their way to their next project.  One couple is full time in their RV and one has been on the road 16 months and will have completed their 25th project by the time they arrive home.  That is the wonderful thing about SOWERS is that you can do it most any way you would like to.  

Now That’s and Anvil!

The farmer and I are ready to get back to our farm and see what is happening on the home front.  I have several groups of girlfriends I need to have lunch with and catch up on their last month.  A neighbor needs the farmer to drive a truck.  We will have cousin camp for our 13 grandchildren in a couple of weeks so we won’t be bored.

Smell That Bacon!

Iowa has treated us well.  The weather has been beautiful, the camp staff delightful. The new friends are so very special. There is nothing like sharing work and life for a few weeks together on a mission. It is hard to leave but home is calling.  

We will miss these new friends.

Tornado Activity Near Home

Three inches of rain today and more predicted.  Tornadoes near our hometown.  The news around the world is concerning and the weather is unpredictable!  The pictures of the tornadoes near home were unreal and yet very real.  Thankfully no damage was done as they touched down in open fields.  At least that is the report that I received.  No tornadoes here in Iowa.  We do have a storm shelter nearby in case.  A camper is not a great place to be in a bad storm.  

The men worked on several indoor projects today with all of the rain.  They did some destruction as they tore out unwanted old cupboards and some moldy sheet rock.  The women worked on thoroughly cleaning one large building with a gym.  We will continue on that tomorrow.  We washed walls, stalls, windows and chairs in locker rooms and meeting rooms.  

Last Friday on our day off we had a group outing to the Amana Colonies.  It is a National Historical Site.  In the 1800’s the pietists came to the United States to escape religious persecution in Germany.  The lived communally until 1935.  Their history and story is quite interesting.  We ate at Ronnenburg Restaurant and enjoyed seeing the shops, eating bakery goodies and chocolate from the chocolate shop.  

Our SOWER crew at the Ronnenburg Restaurant in Amana, IA

Saturday we stayed home in the morning and did some chores around the camper.  It rained and made it difficult to do the farmer’s favorite hobby–taking pictures of barns.  In the afternoon we got a few pictures and traveled a few miles to Brandon, IA to see Iowa’s largest skillet.  Since we love dutch oven cooking this was a fun trip.  We got back to camp in time to make BBQ Meatballs in the dutch oven, grilled veggies, mashed potatoes and sourdough biscuits.  It was all pretty tasty.  All the couples came to our yard for patio night.  We had a great visit and were pretty tasty to the mosquitoes.  

Big Cast Iron Skillet
Cooking up some Dutch Oven Goodies

Sunday following church our group had a tour of Cedar Rock.  The well-known architect, Frank Lloyd Wright designed the home for a local couple on their property right on the Wapsipinicon River in 1945.  It is a well designed home that brings the beauty of the outdoors right inside.  All of the original furniture is still in the house and the view is outstanding.  Our tour guide played the grand piano for us and gave us lots of interesting tidbits on the couple who are no longer living. 

Cedar Rock

God of Miracles

Week Two in Iowa:

This has been a busy week but much was accomplished for Ridge Haven Cono. We experienced some beautiful days and we ladies spent some time pulling weeds out of the flower beds around several buildings, painting some more floors and stairways, transplanting day lillies and spreading out hostas. Windows were washed and floors were cleaned. The men cut down dead trees on the property, hauled rocks, rototilled, and rented a stump grinder for 40 stumps. That was a big day and the men were exhausted at the end of it.

Catching a Ride

Someone in our group leads devotions every morning at 7:30 before we head to work.  We had lead the devotions that morning on 2 Chronicles 20. This is my favorite story in the Bible.  The farmer and I talked about the importance of gratitude to our Lord even before we see the answer. Jehoshaphat and the country of Judah  had a big problem. They were fearful and didn’t know what to do. (Does this sound like our country today?) They sought the Lord and asked Him for the answer to their problems.  They received the answer on what to do through a prophet. They thanked God and worshipped Him even before they won the victory. The Lord told them that the battle was not theirs but His.  They sent out the praise and worshippers into battle first and a great victory was won and they didn’t even have to fight.

Later that morning, while the farmer was in a 10 acre field with knee high grass and he lost his glasses. These are bifocals and are a little pricey to replace. The farmer and I prayed and we headed out at lunch to go walk that field to see if we could find them. I thought I should maybe practice what we had preached that morning so I began to praise and worship while walking the field. I walked that field for an hour and pretty much gave up. When the guys finished their day of working one of the workers said he could go with them and they would all look, Ryan the young man that works at the camp here found them in the first 10 minutes! Praise God who cares about lost glasses.

Working Together

The girls had an afternoon out on Thursday and we hit an ice cream store, quilt shop and thrift store. It was fun to get more acquainted. Our general leader grew up in this area so we saw the farm where she lived and we went to a Farmer’s Market. I had strawberry/rhubarb ice cream. Lots of rhubarb desserts here. The farmer loves rhubarb!

Bicycle riding was an evening activity for some of us girls. We had so much fun!

Hostas
Do you see a woman painted on the roof of this barn or not? Help settle the argument.

I see an old woman on the roof of this barn but the men don’t see it. Some of the ladies see it and some don’t.

Gearing up for week three.

Ella, Amish Quilter

Beautiful Dress and Bonnet

I was privileged to meet Ella yesterday on our drive west of Hazleton, Iowa.  We went in search of barns that needed their pictures taken.  The farmer/windmill man and I love old barns and windmills.  When our children were young they helped their dad work on windmills.  When we traveled we didn’t play the usual car games like I Spy or Alphabet sign games.  We played what kind of windmill was that?  Was that windmill a Dempster, Aeromotor, Monitor, or Fairbury or Woodmanse?  The children were experts at this game.  The windmill man and I still play this game as we travel and we reminisce of times when we had the four children along with us.  It’s a lot quieter in the car now.  It was our day off as retired folks only have a four day work week with this SOWER group.  

Round Brick Barn and Windmill on Amish Farm

As we traveled west of Hazleton, IA we discovered we were in an Amish neighborhood.  A community auction was just completed and horses and buggies were everywhere.  The farm homes were beautiful and huge!  The clothes on the lines were impressive.  Some of the clotheslines went to the top of the barns.  There were large barns and we even saw a round barn.  

Mowing Hay

We saw farmers mowing hay with horses and several others were cultivating the corn.   Children were working in the gardens and helping around the farmstead.  Of course an Amish bakery was discovered and rhubarb pie, cinnamon rolls, and jams and jellies were relished.  After enjoying some delicacies and getting filled with sugar we headed south.  

Friendly Folks

There is where we saw a sign for “Quilts, Crafts and More”.  The farmer was instructed by his bride quickly to turn in.  As we pulled into the drive a beautiful lady with gray hair was walking over from the nearby house.  Two dogs were in the lead though.  As Ella led me into her quilt sanctuary, my breath was taken away by her lovely quilts.  Gorgeous colors and perfect stitches.  Her machine was a trusty treadle machine.  No electricity here to take away the quiet, contemplative nature of the place.  Aprons, pot holders, painted saw blades, and other crafts were readily available.  Ella and her husband were unable to have children but they have lots of neices and nephews to spoil.  Her grandparents were from Yoder, KS.  She sends her quilts to Yoder for their big quilt auctions.  She would love to visit Yoder some day.  It would be a long trip to Kansas by horse and buggy.  

I remember my dad talking about the long trip from Quinter to WaKeeney with his grandpa.  The trip was made by wagon.  Oh the visits they had as they traveled that way.  No time for ipods, ipads, video games; only talk.  Grandpa’s had lots of stories to tell their grandsons.  And grandsons had time to listen.  

Big Barns needing their Picture Taken

My short visit with Ella, the quilter made me reflect on the noise of our society.  What if we sang our own praises to our God instead of turning on the radio? What if the TV was off and birds could be heard singing?  How about shutting off the news in this world gone wrong and enjoying peace? I feel the stress of this world lifting when I still my heart and listen to the still, small voice of my God. Not even the sound of an electric fan or motor but the birds and His creation. I wonder if Ella would let me stay?

Be still and know that I am God!

Psalms 46:10

Tin Man

Tin Man in Stanley, IA
Community is working to get the Tin Man upright again.

I shall take the heart. For brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.

Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz

As for you, my galvanized friend, you want a heart. You don’t know how lucky you are not to have one. Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable.

The Wizard of Oz

Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.  

Proverbs 23:26 My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways.  

Psalms 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalms 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  

Our wonderful Lord and Father says to give Him our hearts and let our eyes delight in His ways.  The Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz stepped on a beetle and cried because he hated to hurt any creature.  Hearts make us care about others and put others before ourselves.  Hearts full of compassion and kindness are what truly make the world go round.  

As we have seen in our world today, with all of the news and troubling times we live in, we desperately need more hearts full of compassion.  From other sources we are learning of some hearts full of compassion that are reaching out in these times of uncertainty with love and random acts of kindness.  Hearts that are surrendered to God to serve others and show love and support to people of all races and colors.  All lives matter to God.  All creation matters to God.  All hearts matter to God!  

Here in Iowa we have been able to do some manual labor with our hands to try to show the love in our hearts for Christian camps and other non-profit organizations.  There are four SOWER couples here.  The women are painting some rooms in a cute bunk house and painting floors and cleaning.  They are hoping to be able to reopen in July following the COVID-19 precautions.  We just heard that the state of Iowa is now fully open, 100%.  The men have been cutting down dead trees, moving bunkbeds, removing old furnaces, and servicing the facilities vehicles.  

Power tools come in handy.

This first week went by so quickly as we got acquainted with the great staff here and with each other.  As we visited we began to understand each others hearts and passions.  We all love the Lord and want to give our best to the Master.  Game night was a fun time and our hostess Vickie has a bonfire every Thursday night.  We seem to find time to relax and refresh.  

Game Night.


The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched- they must be felt with the heart.       

Helen Keller
Bonfire