Dogwood and Easter

Dogwood Trees

There’s nothing more majestic than a dogwood in spring, decked out with fabulous flowers! To some people, though, dogwoods hold a deeper meaning. The legend of the dogwood tree is an age-old story that tells the story of this magnificent tree and how it become the tree we know and love today.

Our story begins almost two thousand years ago in Israel. If you ventured into the forests of Israel at that time, you would have seen plenty of sturdy oaks, lofty cedars, walnut trees, and more—all of which are fine and noble trees, loved and used by carpenters.

However, one tree was prized above all others: the mighty dogwood. Back then, the dogwood lacked its distinct fruits and flowers, but it was still impressive, rising taller than any oak or cedar. Its wood was strong, hard, fine-grained, and easy to work with. It had no equal, and it was constantly in demand.

During this time, a simple carpenter was declared King of the Jews and was sentenced to death. The method of execution? Crucifixion. And the tree used to fashion the iconic wooden cross? A dogwood.

According to the legend, the dogwood felt great sorrow for the role it played in Jesus Christ’s death. While on the cross, Jesus sensed the tree’s anguish, and he decided to transform it so that it could never again be used in crucifixion. From that point on, the dogwood was no longer a tall, stately forest tree. Rather, it became a small and shrub-like tree with thin and twisted limbs.

Full Bloom at Easter

Jesus was taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb. Three days later, he rose from the dead. At the same time, the dogwoods in the forest burst into bloom, and they continue to do so right around Easter in what is believed to be a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.

While the dogwood tree never again took part in an execution, it’s still said to carry the marks of Jesus’ crucifixion. Its four large petals represent the cross he died upon, and each petal displays four red-tinged notches that are said to represent four nail holes. And in the center of each flower is a green cluster that is symbolic of Jesus’ crown of thorns.

Alas, the legend of the dogwood most likely originated in the United States in the 20th century. They are not native to the Middle East, nor would they have been found growing there in Jesus’ time. Nevertheless, the legend persists, and many Christians revere the beloved dogwood as it continues to remind them of Jesus’ love and sacrifice.

After all, I don’t see why I am always asking for private, individual, selfish miracles when every year there are miracles like white dogwood. – Author: Anne Morrow Lindbergh

The article on the dogwood tree was written by Bower and Branch. Happy Easter. Christ the Lord is Risen today.

Final Week

Fountain at Alert Academy
Important Tool for This Project

The men found channel lock pliers priceless at this assignment. The damage done by the unexpected freeze here in Texas was devastating. They worked in 9 different bath houses and fixed leaks in all these bath houses where lines had frozen. Every time they turned the water on they found more lines broken in the walls and shower heads. They changed out at least 63 shower heads and fixed many leaks in walls and ceilings. The Farmers plumbing experience was much needed. The Lord brought in just the right team for this assignment.

Beautiful Scenery “Green”

The shirts you see in the picture below are a product of the work of the SOWER women. We took shirts apart and resized them. After graduation and promotions we sewed on new stripes. Flags were sown on sleeves and a quilt top was completed. It was a wonderful team of women we are all dreading saying goodbye. Lasting friendships were made and our appreciation and gratitude for our Savior is abundant.

Prayers were answered! Healing and health challenges were overcome. Great is our God and His faithfulness is true.

Alert Academy Cadets

A friend is one to whom one may pour out the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that gentle hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.

Dinah Maria Craik

My new friend Jackie led me to the quote above. She taught me many new things and with her breath of kindness blew away the chaff. 😊Many true friends were found in this place.

God Bless America

Second week at Alert Academy has our team working on the same types of projects.  The women are still in the sewing room and the men are replacing plumbing and shower heads in the many bath houses on this campus.  The massive amount of damage the freeze had on this facility is heart rending. This is a very large campus with many shower houses. This deep freeze caught much of Texas unaware. The sewing room is busy with putting new patches on the cadets’ shirts due to graduations and promotions.

Face on a Tree?

This tree with the huge lump on it, is across from our campsite.  Many questions come to mind as to how and why this occured.  What happened along lifes’ journey for this tree that made this deformity?  All of us are dealing with deformities.  Not all of them are visible.  Some wounds have tons of scar tissue over and around them.  Some wounds are inside.  Wounds can be very troublesome if they are bumped or scabs are pulled off.  No one else can understand the pain that has made the wound and the only one who can heal it is Jesus.  Let’s give Him our deformities and our pain and let Him heal them completely.  

Interview for Class Project

The young men here are such an inspiration!  We have such hope for our nation as we watch these men treat us with such dignity and respect.  They are a delight.  They have a wonderful curriculum here and their classes are challenging.  We hear them at 5 am marching and calling a cadence.  Some of the young men interviewed the SOWER men as one of their assignments.  They were to learn about financial decisions the men have made in their lives and what they wish they had done differently.  

A newspaper was discovered in one of the rooms here from 1944.  One of the headlines read “ FDR will Pray for Nation tonight from Washington, DC.” It brought tears to my eyes as there is nothing like that coming out of Washington, DC at the present time from the Office of the President.  However, seeing the future generation that is here at Alert Academy gives us hope for our nation and for a new revival of a desire for Jesus.  

America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.

Harry S. Truman
Cadet Teddy R. Bear

I brought along my old bicycle and have really been enjoying riding it on this beautiful campus.  Exercise is much needed as they feed us really well.  We have some kind of homemade bread every meal.  I think this old farm wife will get spoiled here.  It’s such a treat and the salads at every meal are delicious.  They have many mouths to feed and they feed those hungry recruits well and they feed us old SOWERS well also.

Bicycle Built for One

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was like in the United States where men were free.

Ronald Reagan

We are Blooming!

The Courage of Jim Elliot

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.

Jim Elliot
Forging Extraordinary Men at Alert Academy

The cadets here at Alert Academy presented a book report on the study of missionary Jim Elliot, who gave his life on the field in Ecuador in 1956. They were struck with his courage to take his faith in the Almighty God all the way to Ecuador. The life he could not keep he gave freely that many would be saved. Jim Elliott’s widow returned to Ecuador for two years following his death and many of the Auca people that had murdered her husband were saved.

The cadets training here are learning to be strong men of faith. Men of courage. Men able to stand for their families and hold fast to integrity, camaraderie and purpose. Alert Academy forges young men through intentional discipleship, and intense training environment, and real-world service opportunities. They have several different programs and phases young men can be trained for.

Wherever you are – be all there.

Jim Elliot

Our SOWER group is fortunate to be here for the month of March. As retired couples volunteering at this Academy, we have been encouraged and refreshed by this polite group of young men. We have all said that this group gives us hope for the future of our country. They are respectful, courteous, purposeful and love the Lord.

Sewing for this Academy and for the cadets has been the work for the four women of our group. We have sewed flags on uniforms, made new shirts for the cadets, worked on quilts with the signatures of this cadet class on them and anything else our sewing leader, Jane has for us to do. This sewing room is one very busy place on which the whole facility relies. The cadets here are expected to look sharp and professional. New cadets are given uniforms to wear and they are to keep them in good shape and laundered and starched.

Sewing Room

The farmer and the men in the SOWER group have been helping this facility recover from the very unusual freeze that occurred in February here in Texas. They have been repairing frozen and broken water lines. In a facility this size there are many and they find new ones everyday. Seventy eight p-traps in the drains had to be replaced and that is just the start of the repairs needed.

Frozen Water Lines

Tom and his wife Jane work here full time but as a side ministry they collate and staple thousands of booklets in several languages to send the gospel around the world. They took on an order of 35,000 booklets to send to Thailand. The booklets have the books of John and Romans in them. Tom and Jane have done this ministry on the side for many years. Just one bale of paper costs $450.00 but they can get 16,000 of these little booklets out of that bale. We assisted them last evening collating, stapling and cutting these booklets. It was thrilling to think that this Word of God would soon be in Thailand in the hands of someone, who could perhaps for the first time in their life, read God’s word in their own language.

Tom Sacrificing Time and Money to get the Word around the World

The smile and delight on Tom’s face declare the joy, absolute joy, he has in getting the Word of God to the remote places of the earth.

Lord, make my way prosperous, not that I achieve high station, but that my life may be an exhibit to the value of knowing God.

Jim Elliot

Travel Mercies

Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.

Gustav Flaubert
On The Road Again

Departing the ranch of my grandparents brought with it a mixture of emotions. But a new adventure and project was ahead in Big Sandy, Texas at the Alert Academy. It had rained the night before but we knew we had a rough rock road that would get us to the highway. The red mud got all over the pickup and camper but soon we were on the main highway. We stopped to eat a quick lunch in the camper and were on the road again.

Twenty miles from our destination, we were going slowly through a town on a very busy highway when a terrible noise occurred. A parking lot in front of a dentist office was available for immediate pull in. The right wheel of the pickup was about to fall off. It appeared that the axle on the pickup was damaged. The wheel had no lug nuts left on it and would have fallen off in a few more feet. We felt very blessed and protected that we were not going 65 miles per hour instead of 20 and that the wheel didn’t come off and cause someone else an accident also. The perfect parking lot was available for us to pull into immediately.

Live your life by a compass. Not a clock

Stephen Covey

We contacted our travel insurance and they dispatched a tow truck immediately. The pickup was towed to a repair shop and some wonderful SOWER friends, we hadn’t even met yet, came to tow our camper the last twenty miles to the project site.

Our pickup will be in the shop waiting for parts for a week but we are safely on site for our project and ready to go to work. There are a million things to be thankful for in this situation. Angels were watching over us. The prayers of our friends and church are even more precious to us. New friends that think nothing of going the extra mile for unknown people in trouble are priceless.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.

Helen Keller

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Precious Memories

Welcome to Blackburn

Grandma always made you feel she had been waiting to see just you all day and now the day was complete.

Marcy DeMaree

With another SOWER (Servants on Wheels Ever Ready) assignment on the horizon we departed our little house on the prairie and headed south. South seems like a good place to go in the winter. However this winter has seen freezing temperatures all the way to Mexico. We had twenty below zero at the little house on the prairie.

Loading up all of the dutch ovens and heading south until we found a place to use them outside seemed like a reasonable idea. Our dutch ovens weigh more than our little 19 foot camper. Okay that is not absolutely the truth. They are heavy but we love them and wouldn’t go anywhere without them.

Our first destination was a trip down memory lane. We pulled into the old yard in front of my grandparents ranch in Oklahoma and I really expected to see Granny running out the door to greet us, just as she did for so many years. Some day I’ll see her run from her mansion in heaven to greet me. She did make me feel that she had been watching just for me all day. I felt like the most special little girl in her life.

Baptist Church

Camping in their yard was a dream come true. Granny and my Pap-paw were very influential in my life. They gave me a little Bible when I was two and told me to read John as soon as I could read. Granny made sure I went to church and Vacation Bible School. Pap-paw told me the most important decision I would ever make would be to accept Jesus as my personal Savior. He knew firsthand the difference Jesus could make in a life. Pap-paw was a mean alcoholic all of his first 35 years of life. He fought depression and sometimes hopped a freight train back to his old home in Kentucky. Three men at the little Baptist church pictured above, kept inviting Pap-paw to services and he would say no. They didn’t give up and one day he said, “yes”. He went and was saved by the precious blood of Jesus and he never touched another drop of alcohol.

I accepted Jesus too because my Pap-paw said it was a good decision. I have never regretted following his advice. The farmer and I trekked all through the woods on that old ranch just like we cousins used to do when we were kids. I don’t think there was an inch of that place we didn’t cover as kids. An old threshing machine was our pirate ship or our hideout from the bad guys. Oh the imaginations we had.

Love is the greatest gift that one generation can leave to another.

Richard Garnett

Jesus is the greatest gift one generation can show to the next generation. I pray for my grandchildren each day that they would know and follow Jesus as their personal Savior.

Living Before His Face, Is My Saving Grace

And now God, I’m left with one conclusion: my only hope is to hope in You alone.

Ps. 39:7 TPT
Photo by Someday Shin on

And now we have run into his heart to hide ourselves in his faithfulness. This is where we find his strength and comfort, for he empowers us to seize what has already been established ahead of time-an unshakeable hope! We have this certain hope like a strong unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God himself. Our anchor of hope is fastened to the mercy seat which sits in the heavenly realm beyond the sacred threshold.

Heb. 6:18-19 TPT

Hope is from the word qavah (cord, bind together with twisting). The root is chebel (wind tightly, to bind as a rope. In Joshua 2 , Rahab the harlot, demonstrated her hope that the spies from Israel would rescue her family upon their return by placing in her window a sign of hope. This cord of hope showed her faith in the protection of the spies. It was a scarlet cord that the spies used to escape. That cord was also to be used as a sign of protection for her family when the spies returned. This rope /hope was symbolic of the redemptive work of Jesus that saves us all if we receive Jesus’ free gift.

In 2 Kings 4:30 the Shunammite woman threw herself at Elisha’s feet and would not leave until Elisha agreed to go to her house and heal her young son that had died. Elisha is the one that gave her the promise from God that she would have a son. She did have a son and later he died but Elisha went to pray for the boy and life was restored to him. The mother’s hope was in the promise maker. She clung to this hope with all her strength.

If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the book “Hope Resurrected” by Dutch Sheets, he tells the story of his brother observing a heart surgery. The patient’s heart had been stopped from beating. However, when it came time to restart it, despite repeated attempts, the medical staff was unable to get the heart to beat again. Finally, although the patient was obviously unconscious, the surgeon leaned over and said into the patient’s ear, “We need your help. We cannot get your heart going. Tell your heart to start beating.” Immediately, as incredible as it sounds, the patient’s heart began to beat again.

Hold fast to the feet of the Promise Keeper. Keep the scarlet cord of hope in the window of your heart as a sign. Remember your anchor of hope is fastened to the mercy seat. Tell your heart to beat again. Tell the Lord that your hope is in Him alone. Dream some more. Hope more.

Then I will say to my soul, “Don’t be discouraged; don’t be disturbed, for I fully expect my Savior-God to break through for me. Then I’ll have plenty of reasons to praise him all over again.” Yes, living before his face is my saving grace!

Ps 43:5 TPT


I need to worship because without it I lose a sense of wonder and gratitude and plod through life with blinders on.

John Ortberg
The Heavens declare the glory of the Lord.

Many Spirit-filled authors have exhausted the thesaurus in order to describe God with the glory He deserves. His perfect holiness, by definition, assures us that our words can’t contain Him. Isn’t it a comfort to worship a God we cannot exaggerate?

Francis Chan

How will we ever be able to thank our God enough for all He has done for us? How will we ever be able to thank Him for saving us from what we deserve? His gift to us of His Son, Jesus Christ who died on the cross to redeem us, is priceless.

Worship is how we can express our love, adoration, admiration and gratitude for His presence in our lives. “The Christian breathes in God’s goodness and exhales worship,” says Brandon Hadley. Worship is much more than singing. We can worship God with unlimited creativity. We can worship with dance, painting, writing, trusting, there are no limits to the ways that He can be worshipped. Romans 12:1 says I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

We must develop a worship vocabulary. Meditate on the name, nature, attributes of the Lord. I love to practice using the alphabet to speak his attributes as I try to drift off to sleep. It is much more fulfilling than counting sheep. For A, one of the attributes of God is approachable, B is benevolent and so forth.

That childlike sense of wonder is vital to the act of worship. Are we awestruck by His goodness and the richness of His blessings and His love? Are we able to comprehend where we would be without His intervention in our lives and without His mercy? When we experience a life changing encounter with God, worship is the natural impulse. Our only job is to surrender to Him on a daily basis so that he can daily give us more of Himself.

Worship is the single most important thing in life. AW Tozer writes, “Why did Christ come? Why was He conceived? Why was He born? Why was He crucified? Why did He rise again? Why is He now at the right hand of the Father? The answer to all these questions is, ‘In order that He might make worshippers out of rebels, in order that He might restore us again to the place of worship we knew when we were first created.”

John S. Miller
The Beauty of His Creation

Sportin’ a ‘tude

“Don’t look now…your attitude is showing.”

Patsy Clairmont
Photo by Anna Tukhfatullina Food Photographer/Stylist on

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”

Zig Ziglar

In John 6:11 it says, “Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted.” Sometimes the smallest of words hold the key to so many truths. Jesus “gave thanks”. Jesus gave thanks and then a miracle happened with the loaves and fishes. He gave thanks and there was more than enough! Thanksgiving preceded the miracle. Thanksgiving always precedes the miracle. Gratitude creates abundance. Many times the biggest challenge in life is a lack of gratitude, a lack of thanksgiving.

One of the biggest challenges in this year 2020 has been a lack of thanksgiving. Many desire this year to be over, done! Let’s get Christmas over and move into 2021. At my age there is no desire to rush through these days, only to savor each one. But to also express gratitude and thanksgiving in the year 2020. That is too much! At least that’s the way my attitude was heading, until my generous, gracious, loving heavenly Father, showed me the difference thanksgiving can make. The beauty of it began to take my breath away as each day I began to record the things that made me grateful.

“There are still days I need a hand-up from another journeyer. And there are still days I want to hide, since every season of life brings its set of threats, yet because of God’s mercy and grace, I press on.”

Patsy Clairmont

Our gratitude glorifies God. We exalt not just the gifts, but we exalt the Giver. Gratitude opens our spiritual eyes. The more we thank God the more our eyes are opened to see His hand at work. This act of thankfulness keeps us awake to Him and His gifts. The Lord loves our thankfulness. He has given us so many wonderful gifts and provisions, can I not return thanks? An attitude of thanksgiving will change our lives. An attitude of thanksgiving will change our relationship with the Lord. An attitude of thanksgiving will change our world. Happy gratitude day this week. Happy Thanksgiving 2020!

“Is your problem really your problem, or is your ATTITUDE toward your problem the real problem?”

Joyce Meyer

Homestead Act 1862

Family Farm since 1898

The America to which these Swedish settlers came was a land that needed the hardy qualities they brought. It was not a land that was particularly softhearted towards newcomers, but everyone believed that each should have a fair chance regardless of his origin. The newcomers quickly learned their way about and soon felt at home. The Homestead Act of 1862 provided them, as well as many other pioneers, with an opportunity to acquire land and establish family farms. To the land-hungry immigrants, the tough prairie sod seemed a golden opportunity and they conquered it by hard work.

Harry S. Truman

The quote from President Truman is about Swedish settlers but the Jamison family had its roots in Scotland. My ancestors left their homes in Scotland and Ireland as a result of religious persecution. The land the farmer and I live on was homesteaded in 1898 by a young couple. Many of their relatives still live in this area. They filed the homestead claim certificate number 8599 on June 17, 1898. My great grandfather Samuel H. Jamison and his wife Mary Elizabeth (Molly) purchased the homestead from this couple just a short month after they filed. The date of purchase was July 21, 1898. Some of my family have lived on this property since that time. In 1998 it was recognized as a Centennial Farm.

Official Homestead Document and Seal

The Homestead Act of 1862 made 160 acres of public land available to every adult who chose to emigrate to the Plains territories and beyond. After payment of a ten dollar fee, the homesteader would get title to the land after he had “resided upon or cultivated the same for a term of five years.” One hundred and sixty million acres of government land or the public domain, typically called a homestead was given away free to 1.6 million homesteaders. The official document above was signed by President William McKinley.

In this land they had no lumber to build or to burn for their fires but they used buffalo and cow manure to burn for heat and for cooking. Many children spent their days gathering this fuel. They built their homes from sod. Sod houses were built by using a plow or other device to break up the land. You had to have sod that had the right kind of grass. The grass had to have roots that would hold the soil together. The buffalo grass still present on this prairie was found to work very well. The sod was cut into three foot lengths and were 12 inches wide and 4 inches thick. They were placed lengthwise, making a wall 2 feet thick. All the sod was laid with the grass side down.

“What a breed they were–those sod house settlers. Color, creed, possession did not matter. Everyone was poor, but non a pauper. Can it be they were richer for having little? Can it be they were wiser for knowing less?”

John G. Niehardt

Samuel and Molly came on the emigrant train west from Franklin County, Virginia. Molly’s parents had already made the trek, and the couple and their six children decided it was time to join them. Molly’s father Daniel filed on a timber claim in Gove County. When Samuel and Molly arrived they lived in a sod and frame house. It must have been a difficult time for them to adjust to the plains after living in the lovely wooded hills of Virginia.

The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.

Abraham Lincoln

Their hopes and dreams were high and their love for God and family carried them through many tragedies and difficulties. Here I am with the Farmer, 122 years later on the land they purchased. I am sitting under a tree my great grandmother Molly planted. Here on the same prairie, with the same dreams and hopes and love for God and my family. My desire for freedom from religious persecution is the same as Samuel and Molly’s.