Unsheathe the Sword

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Eph. 6:17
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Unsheathe the sword and wield the sword. The sword I’m talking about is the word of God. The Lord says in Is. 55:11 It is the same with my word that goes out from my mouth: It will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. If God’s word is shut up in the Bible and not spoken, how can it be released to do the work the Lord sent it to do? In a battle a soldier would not just leave his sword sheathed. He would fight for his life and wield the sword to defeat the enemy.

Jesus, our Savior and example used the word of God to defeat the enemy when he was in the wilderness. The tempter attempted to tempt Jesus in the wilderness by telling him to create bread from stones to relieve his hunger, to leap from a pinnacle and rely on angels to break his fall, and to kneel before Satan in return for all the kingdoms of the world. Luke 4:1-14 tells the complete story. In every case Jesus used the word of God to defeat the enemy. Luke 4:4 Jesus said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’ Again Jesus unsheathed the sword of the Spirit and said Luke 4:8 “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.” And finally Jesus said, “It is written:’ Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”

Wielding the sword means to handle with skill and ease, to exercise authority or influence, to govern, to rule, and to keep. God has given us his word so that we might use it skillfully and with ease. We are in a war in our world right now. This is not a physical war but a spiritual war. But we are not defenseless or ill equipped. Our Bibles are full of both offensive and defensive weapons. We must give them voice. We must speak them and watch the impact over situations and circumstances.

Let praises to God be heard in their throats, while they wield the two-edged swords in their hands.

Ps. 149:6

It’s winter here on the prairie. And we have been in a terrible drought. This drought stole the fall crops from the farmers. There was not even a reason to try running the combine through the field and see if there was any grain there. Only irrigated crops survived. Its been difficult to see the faces of the families as day after day we faced drought. My favorite color is green. Green grass, green wheat, green trees and anything green. and this summer was all brown. People have met to pray for rain and churches have met to pray for rain.

The other day as the farmer and I were praying, I remembered a dear sweet lady in our church from bygone years. She always had us sing “Showers of Blessings” hymn number 721 in the hymnal. Many times it would rain after we pleaded this song before the Lord. Not always did it rain but sometimes it did. So the farmer and I prayed and sang “Showers of Blessing.” We wielded the sword and spoke the scripture Eze. 34:26 I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.

Last Friday it began to rain and snow and we got almost eight inches of snow. See the tree all decked out with its winter decoration of snow flakes. We are a thankful people. Farmers with smiles on their faces once again. Hope is springing to life.

Just had a call from a friend going into surgery. I thought, “God’s word doesn’t return void.” Ps 43:5b God is the health of my countenance and he is my God. I am speaking this over his surgery tomorrow. I wish I could say that I always do this but that would not be true. I must get some fencing practice in. Not the fencing that holds the cattle in the pasture but the kind of fencing done with two swords. It’s a beautiful art to wield the sword at the appropriate time with the appropriate word of God. But he says he will give us the words and so he has.

May our prayer be:

Lord, teach us to wield the sword, your word. Help us to unsheathe the sword and speak your word into situations and into others lives. We know your word does not return void so there is no better way to speak life into any situation but to speak your word. We ask you, Lord that our words would be divinely inspired to bless others. We ask for our mouths to be filled with your wisdom. Your word is in our hearts and minds and in our mouths. Fill us Lord, and teach us the lovely art of fencing with swords and winning great victories by declaring your word. Amen

Tools in Hand for 2023

A determined soul will do more with a rusty monkey wrench than a loafer will accomplish with all the tools in a machine shop.

Robert Hughes

Every project that I seem to dream up in this house or on this farm, I know my farmer husband can make it happen. That doesn’t mean that he always wants to do it or that he agrees to do it. I have been banned from watching any DIY shows or videos. He does always have one comment when it is something that he agrees to do. That comment is, “Hmmm, that’s probably going to involve buying some new tools.” Are you serious?? I’m sure my farmer has three of every tool imaginable. What else could he possibly need? Invariably this leads us to a trip to the lumber yard and/or the tool store.

Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.

Winston Churchill

Many times, through these 50 years, I have been the farmer’s gopher. That means that I stand ready to go for whatever it is he needs. I lost my job for a few years when he had sons at home to help him or even when the daughter could help. But now they have all gone onto their own adventures and I am once again the designated gopher. One day last week I was on duty again. The farmer had his head under the fender of the pickup, and he needed me to gopher a flashlight. When I got back with it, I tried to hand it to him, but he didn’t look to see where I was with it. This is when the teacher in the farmer came out once again and he carefully explained something to me. When he and the boys were working on equipment around the farm or repairing windmills and he needed a tool, they understood that they were to slap that tool into his hand. This was so that he didn’t have to take his eyes off the piece that needed mending and he didn’t have to reach for the tool. This way he knew exactly where the tool was that he needed so desperately. (Just a side note. I have never measured up to be the kind of help to him that his sons were.) But that’s ok. He likes me anyway. He is a very good teacher and may have missed his calling for teaching instead of farming.

Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.

Thomas Carlyle

For everything that we need to accomplish and every job that we’ve been called to do we need the proper tools. I’ve learned this from the farmer. God has a plan and purpose for our lives. He has projects that we need to accomplish. He would not send us out to do His good work without the proper tools. He has placed all the tools we need, to do His plan into our hands. He has fully equipped us. Our Lord and Savior does not call the equipped, but he equips the called. He has given us the proper tool, the perfect gift, the words to say, and we lack nothing. This is not in ourselves but because of Jesus. Many times, I have hesitated because I didn’t think I had the gifting to do His bidding, or the tool to finish the project but the Lord slapped it into my hand so that I would know that the gift was at my fingertips. All I had to do was put it to use. I needed to be the Lord’s hands and feet. I needed to be the one to move, to just do it.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all time, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

2 Corinthians 9:8

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.

1 Peter 4:10

May our prayer be:

Lord, help us to use the tools that you have given to us, and to put them to work to bless and encourage others, and to accomplish the work you have for us to do. May we see meaningful fruit in our labors for you. May we have the full ability to complete and finalize all the tasks you have for us to accomplish. Help us Lord to keep our eyes on you and to hear your voice and be guided by your hand. In Jesus name. Amen

Happy 2023!! The tools you need for a productive year have been placed in your hands.

2022 Is Now History

Our grandson on the far left, in the middle row was the project manager at school for making the sign we are holding. They had to come up with a project they could mass produce. We were so proud of his accomplishments and were rewarded with a sign that says, The Popp’s. Of course we are proud of this whole bunch and welcomed them to this little house on the prairie for Christmas. We went from a quiet little house to one that was full of life and energy. For this we are very grateful.

This grandma spent a couple of weeks prepping food and in other preparations. It takes some planning to house and feed this crew for a couple of days. But the farmer and I are feeling very blessed. I completed a king size quilt for daughter-in-law Wendy and the farmer used his new wood lathe to make some special little wood bowls and cups for each family. Grandma is excited that Addie and her mom invited me to Kansas City for a pedicure treat in the near future. This year I have one more king size quilt to complete for another special daughter in law.

Two of these kids are now in college and two more will be graduating from high school in May. My how time flies. Its hard to believe they are growing so quickly. May will be busy with graduations in Kansas and in Texas. It keeps us busy now trying to attend some of their sporting events. We wouldn’t trade this season for any other though.

Haley, who now is the owner of Hive Bakery in Flower Mound, TX used to bring us lots of delicious sugar cookies. She’s quite busy now so I got her recipe and made sugar cookies for the family. They were delicious. They were not as pretty as hers but tasty.

Peace filled us and our farm home this Christmas as we celebrated our faith, our family and our freedoms. It wasn’t quiet for a few precious days but it was peaceful. Our hearts were blessed immensely knowing that our Jesus came to rescue us and to be our Savior. He is the Prince of Peace. No matter the circumstances, He fills us with peace if we invite Him in.

Cornhusks have blown into the fence as the little house on the prairie is in the middle of a cornfield and we’ve had drought and wind. That is one thing the weatherman gets right; the wind does blow on the prairie. The ice on the bush is the most moisture we’ve had in a long time and we are grateful. We wish you and your family a wonderful, wet 2023!

More Cousin Fun

Cousins are people that are ready-made friends. You have laughed with them and remember good times from a young age. You have fights with them but you always know you love each other. They are a better thing than brothers and sisters and friends cause they’re all pieced together as one. Courtney Cox.

August was the month of cousins!  What a treat!  As I grow older family means more and more to me.  My cousins on both sides of my family were and are precious treasures.  Some are the sisters I never had.  The definition for cousin is the son or daughter of an uncle or aunt. 

Back Yard Cousins

My mother was very close to her siblings and that meant that we spent as much time as possible with these cousins.  She had three siblings and I had eight very wonderful cousins.  Four of us were around the same age.  We roamed the entire ranch of my grandparents in Oklahoma.  We crossed barb wire fences, navigated hog wallows, fished in the ponds, rode horses, and used our imaginations.  An old threshing machine became a pirate ship or rocket ship.  Our parents got together to visit and play cards and the less we bothered them the better.  We had free reign over that entire place, and we loved it. 

Cousins are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.  Ed Cunningham

My dad also had three siblings and a wide variety of cousin ages.  There were four cousins that were close to my age and since my grandparents lived close, we got to see most of them frequently.  We played on our farm and drove the lawn tractor pulling a trailer full of smaller cousins for hours.  All of us learned our driving skills on that tractor.  Board games were also a hit and Scrabble was the best of all. 

Cousins are sisters you never had.  Reah Glowstorl

Sister/ Cousin

One cousin couple were having a 60th wedding anniversary celebration in August.  This started the cousin, journey.  Celebrations always call us out from the farm, so we planned to see them in SE Kansas.  Since SE Kansas is close to SW Missouri, I decided we had to stop and see my sisters/cousins there.  Then another cousin that had lost her husband a few months prior was having a celebration of life for him in NE Oklahoma just two days prior to our trip so of course the trip had to be extended.  In just a few days we were able to see five of my precious cousins. 

Sixty Years of Marriage

No time seemed to have passed since we last saw each other.  Although with some it had been a few years.  We just picked back up right where we left off.  Each of our memories were a little different but all rolled up together they were filled with fun, love, cherished times, celebrations, and blessings.  What a delight to my heart when one of my younger cousins said she always remembered how I would try to get everyone to do a craft or art project.  I guess that prepared me to be the Craft leader for 4-H in my later years. 

In the last two years I have been delighted to spend time with thirteen of my cousins.  I had 20 in all and two are deceased.  Guess I better find those other five.  I have been able to visit with them on the phone.

At Christmas, cousins are the presents under the tree.  Karen Decourcey

Family is a treasure. When parents are no longer available to answer questions on family history or to help you keep in touch with siblings and cousins, you begin to realize that it is now up to you to keep this family together. As I visited with the cousins, we began to plan for a reunion here at our farm again. This little farm on the prairie is the home place for my dad’s side of the family. So, it is the perfect place. My grandma that lived here was a true hostess for her family and that is my desire also. The reunion planning is underway.

Two Old Faithfuls on Vacation

Old Faithful

After trying and planning for three years, we finally made it to Yellowstone with our daughter Esther and her family. Dieter, her husband, is a great trip planner and had been trying to get this joint vacation out of the starting gate for three years. When the floods hit Yellowstone we thought we might have to put it off again.

The National Park service did an excellent job in getting everything open and running in short order following the devastating flooding.

We camped at Fishing Bridge RV Park and it was a delightful place to base our Yellowstone adventures from. The crowds were not too difficult and we were able to see all the areas we desired to see. Both loops were open and accessible.

It was a joy to share this adventure with Esther’s family. Addie is six and while everyone else hoped to see a bear she had no desire to see any!

Grands Enjoying the Jump

Judah is fourteen and is out for Cross Country. He and his dad went for a run nearly every morning. They did have a bear cross their path in the distance. They didn’t get very close though.

Our Teardrop

Esther and family rented an RV and we took our teardrop. It worked so well for all of us. The kids enjoyed the whole camping experience. We went swimming, hiking, sightseeing and played games. Grandpa made some pretty good pancakes one morning.

Waterfalls

The boat trip to Jenny Lake was fun. We hiked to the Hidden Falls and the kids went on to Inspiration Point. Grandpa and I did some more hiking around Jenny Lake. We like to stop to take lots of pictures. (It helps us have time to catch our breath). The altitude and our attitudes do make a difference.

Mormon Row in Grand Tetons

The Grand Tetons are always a favorite of ours. Of course the grandpa loves his barns. We always have to capture many pictures here.

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.

John Muir

This vacation was certainly worth the wait and all the planning. Thank you Dieter for your expertise. It was a delight to share this journey with this sweet family.

Year of Jubilee

Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan.

Leviticus 25:10

A couple of young kids got married Fifty years ago. Now here we are in our year of Jubilee. We literally blinked our eyes and 50 years passed. We thought we were in love on that wedding day but we didn’t really know what love is. It didn’t matter though, because we learned what love truly is. It’s a determination to decide to love every day. Even when it seems difficult or impossible. It’s not impossible. We have traversed some difficult days during these fifty years. Some were devastating and troubling, but we set our faces to survive with our marriage and our children and most of all our faith in tact. Not just in tact but deeper. And God showed us the way and gave us the tools. Now here we are. We are more in love than we could even imagine at 19 and 24 years of age.

Too be fully seen by somebody, then and be loved anyhow- this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.

Elizabeth Gilbert
Conrad Popp Family

People that celebrated 50 years of marriage used to be pretty old. That sure doesn’t hold true anymore as we are still so young. At least in our own eyes. 😉 Our four precious children and our 12 grandchildren celebrated us by planning a get away in Breckenridge for our whole family. Everyone was able to attend. That was such a blessing as everybody is so busy. We were able to do hikes and eat gelato, play games and go out to eat one evening. They rented a house and we were so able to enjoy each day and the gorgeous scenery. A red fox came up below our balcony one day. We were very blessed by their sacrifices and were able to get a family picture. The farmer even took off the John Deere sweatshirt and put on a tie. It was truly a grand celebration.

Twelve grandkids and a Troll
So Serene

A huge thank you goes out to our family for making this celebration of our Jubilee year perfect. This grandma was thrilled that all were able to attend. She also wants to say thank you to the Farmer for sticking around for 50 years.

Unexpected Detour Ahead

One of the major keys to success is to keep moving forward on the journey, making the best of the detours and interruptions, turning adversity into advantage.

John C. Maxwell

I left home one morning at 6:45am in early May to go with a friend to console a classmate that had lost her husband the previous week. Thankfully, the Farmer called before I left town at 7 and said he had a little problem. He blacked out on the treadmill and it bucked him off. He said he almost blacked out again so he thought maybe he should call me and let me know.

Needless to say, I raced back home and rushed him to our hospital where they began to do all kinds of tests including putting him in a neck collar. He was really not a fan of that. As they monitored him they noticed his pulse was in the 40’s and dropping sometimes. He had a complete heart block. They were going to fly him to a larger hospital, but the weather did not permit and all the ambulances in the area were busy.

God was our strength and He sustained us and kept us fairly calm. When they began to get the AED ready just as a precaution, I did sense some concern as I’ve taken that training and know why that is used. Six hours later they got a wonderful ambulance crew and we were transported to a larger facility. Our oldest son had arrived and drove me to the hospital where our younger son was already waiting the arrival of his dad the Farmer.

The truth is, most of us discover where we are headed when we arrive.

Bill Watterson

Children are a wonderful blessing as the Word of God says. Our son in Dallas, TX and our daughter in Kansas City were also in constant contact with us and ready to head our way if they were given the word to come.

I admit that the thought that we might not make it to our 50 Wedding Anniversary did cross my mind. We were only 21 days away from that celebration. It’s so important that we take charge of our thoughts in all situations as we have an enemy that wants to destroy us in any way possible. I also found it interesting that just the day before we went to pray the Word over a dear friend that was having surgery in a couple of days. We prayed for his complete healing and restoration. Now we activated the prayer chains and had people praying for us.

The cardiologist told us he needed a pacemaker. He has a cow tissue artificial valve in his heart that he had installed ten years ago. This sounded like a piece of cake compared to that open heart surgery. It really wasn’t just that easy but the Farmer did well. He was really devastated post surgery when they told him he might not be able to weld again. This girl was just happy to keep him around with or without the welding skills.

He had doctors orders to not use that left arm for a month as they didn’t really want the heart wires disengaged. We did not desire that either. The Farmer had some jobs that had to be completed anyway. Yes, that is his bride who does not care for heights in the tree, on a ladder with a chain saw.

The Farmer recovered well and we did indeed celebrate that anniversary. Too be continued… Thank you, Lord for our story continuing! We praise the Lord for helping us get through the detour and survive the chain saw.

Farm Wife with a Chain Saw

Granted, detours are anything but convenient. They take you out of the way. They take longer than you originally had planned to travel. But they are necessary. God is more interested in your development than your arrival.

Dr. Tony Evans

The mind of man plans his way. But the Lord directs his steps.

Psalms 16:9

Sunset on the Prairie

The Farmer at Home

Building Terraces

Our Lord blessed us tremendously on the way home from Arizona. With fuel prices rising, we thought it would take plenty of fuel to get home. We had a very strong tail wind for two days and averaged 13 miles per gallon. The last day home was a different story. As we turned to head Northeast, the winds were buffeting us from the side and rocking everything. The knowledge that we were a few hours from home, kept us going. Our fuel average went down and down but home sure looked good.

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

Robert Frost

The farmer was summoned immediately to begin to build terraces for a neighbor. We still own a single belt terracer but don’t have a tractor anymore. Well, that’s not completely accurate as we have two IHC Super C’s and and IHC B. They are not the kind of tractor with which you pull a terracer, however. This is according to the Farmer.

The IHC Farmer in John Deere Green

He also started driving a semi for a neighbor and hauling corn from the bin to the ethanol plant. He didn’t even get a chance to draw in a deep breath. He does love working in the dirt and has built lots of terraces in his day. I think he had a good time throwing dirt around and telling the younger guys how to do it.

We were still able to meet another great SOWER couple as they came to stay at our overnight parking for SOWER’s and their RV. They are brand new to SOWER’s but have been looking forward to this for a long time. They are both still teaching at a Junior College up north. They are looking forward to their first assignment in Colorado Springs. We loved getting acquainted with them and sharing so much about our families and our love for the Lord. The Farmer and I hope they make their way back through this prairie someday.

Yes, That is Dust

The Farmer’s wife also had a project in mind that involved replacing some wall tile in the bathroom and the Farmer’s daughter needed assistance with their basement bathroom. Those daughter’s sure know how to wrap those dad’s around their little fingers. If their smile doesn’t do it, chocolate will turn the tide. The Farmer was pleased to help our wonderful son-in-law with this project.

Chocolate Desserts Also Help
Love Those Smiles!

Final Week

Watching the Ranchers at the looms was a special treat this week. They make rugs, scarves, mug rugs, placemats and many other items.

This week our job was cleaning a storage room on the ranch and sorting through items to decide on disposal or usable.  We hauled many, many items to the dumpster and some into town to the thrift shop.  Bobbie and I enjoyed the thrift shop trips as we are only a mile away from Sonic.  They will certainly miss us when we head home next week at the Sonic.  

The three weeks of work go by so very quickly. Friendships just started are now being strained with goodbyes. We will miss this place and the Ranchers and the special SOWER couple we worked alongside these last three weeks. Yes, Izzy, the dog, we will miss you too!

Saguaro National Park

After this last week of work we wanted to hit one more National Park on my bucket list- Saguaro National Park, near Tuscon.  

As we headed south towards Phoenix we began to see Saguaro’s right away. Arizona is a state of great contrasts. It was 35 degrees in Camp Verde and 91 degrees when we got to Tucson. Our pickup air conditioner wasn’t working and I tried very hard not to whine. But it was hot and I maybe dressed a little too warm.

Colors of the Desert

We were able to see both the East and West section of the park.  Our picnic lunch was great as we shared a nice shady picnic table with a couple of other groups of people.   We had a nice visit with people from Washington State and a couple from Colorado.  

The church we found to attend was Desert Willow church and we really enjoyed our time there and were blessed by the worship team and the pastor.

Roadrunner got the Lizard

SOWERS are known for playing games so on our last afternoon together we enjoyed playing some Sweep. It is a fun card game with rules that seem to change with each new SOWER group.

Rainbow Acres, you stole a piece of our hearts. The Ranchers and the memories will be cherished.

Devotion

Cleaning and Organizing

Wondering why we call our Daily Devotionals devotional?  My old dictionary from 1828 says devotion is the state of being dedicated, consecrated, or solemnly set apart for a particular purpose.  (I use a dictionary from 1828 because it refers to the Lord)  It says a solemn attention to the Lord in worship; a yielding of the heart and affections to God with reverence, faith and piety in religious duties, particularly in prayer and meditation; devoutness.  An act of reverence, respect or ceremony.  

I guess we call it a time of devotion because we set apart this time to spend with the One True God.  Any relationship is so dependent on time spent with each other.  The Lord created us for this purpose.  To commune with Him and enjoy time with Him in study of the Word and in prayer.

“The morning bids me to linger a moment before the sun proclaims the day as having arrived.  And it is this silent space hewn from a day not yet on its feet that tenderly and at times abruptly positions me to better face the arriving day.  And I am utterly amazed that there has never been a single day in the whole of my life where the day showed up without this gift.  Rather, it’s that I have too often shown up too hurried to accept the gift.”

Craig D. Lounsbrough
81 years old and Winning Ribbons Weaving

As SOWERS we have devotions every morning before work.  Since there are only two SOWER couples here we’ve had to do the devotions twice a week.  This has put a dent in the devotions that we have prepared to share with others and have had to work pretty diligently to prepare some new titles this trip!  The other morning we felt it was just important to gather together with some specific scriptures and pray for our nation and our world.  I guess that was God’s plan as the other couple thought that should be our mission also.  Isn’t God so good!  It was a great time of praying for the concerns of our nation and our world.

Nothing teaches about the preciousness of the Creator as much as when we learn the emptiness of everything else.” 

Charles Spurgeon
Threading the Loom

After work one afternoon we were able to go to the Rainbow Acres store and see all the beautiful things made by the Ranchers here. There are some really good paintings, some rugs, table runners, mug rugs and scarves made by the weavers here. Some 90 year old ladies come to thread the many weaving machines when they need to be threaded. They use old bed sheets and other fabrics to weave their beautiful designs. It is amazing what they can do and the beauty of it all. A stained glass company sends them all of their small pieces that they are going to throw away and they make wonderful stepping stones that sell very well. Some of the ranchers make jewelry and many other projects. I bought a memory bracelet that is silver and blue and Susan (one of the ranchers) was hoping that it was one she made. I hope it is too.

Beautiful Colors and Weaving

The barn is a fun place to be for sure.  Debbie was telling me that she gets to do one on one time with one of the horses.  It is a special time for her and for the horse.  It is healing for them both.  They have some goats and some sheep that they are preparing to show at the county fair and a little pony.  Nancy was being a mentor to a new rancher.  She got to take her everywhere with her and show her the ropes.  She was having a great time taking her to classes with her and out to the barn.

There is a choir here that performs at many festivities in the area.  Of course some of the outside activities were curtailed due to the coronavirus.  Things are opening up again and that is making everyone happy.  

At church this morning we met the woman that teaches weaving and we are excited to get to watch the ranchers weave this week. The looms are amazing and look so complicated.  That will be a treat.

The farmer and I drove to the Grand Canyon this weekend.  We walked several miles along the rim trail.  It had been 30 years since we had been on the south rim of the Grand Canyon so it was definitely time to return.  This time we didn’t have four children with us, so it was less stressful.  We did miss showing them the canyon and all its beauty and God’s marvelous creation.