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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What Number 8 Taught Me

This last week has been busy with field work in the tractor, homework, feeding cows and watching for calves to drop.  Last night between 11pm and 3 am number eight arrived.  I went out to check on the infamous Cocoa cow.  Cocoa is one of our original cows from California.  Her mother died when she was born and she was raised as a bucket calf.  Typically when this happens the cows is not fit for mothering herself.  Not Cocoa.  She has raised I think 6 calves now.  Cocoa likes her head scratched when you walk into the pasture. She is known as the boss cow in the heard.  That means she bosses all the other cows around, kinda like in a pecking order she is the matriarch.  This year her calf is number eight, a bull.

Number eight appeared fine at 3 am.  It's now after 8 am and the Vet says he hasn't nursed, so off to the squeeze chute we go.  I watch as the Vet carries the squirming 85 pound white-faced newborn.  It hollers and mama Cocoa keeps pace right behind.  We make it to the squeeze chute and begin trying to latch the calf on to the over-sized mama teats.  For some reason Cocoa is just not happy.  She is kicking and not allowing us to milk her teats and get this calf on.  It is intense.  Frustration and anger begin to swell.  Time is running out.  Other chores and a heard check at a dairy are waiting.  I take a deep breath, try to collect my thoughts and control my inside turmoil.  Like Cocoa I want to kick and holler loud.  Really I want to beat the cow up, but she is close to 1800 pounds of mama and well, I just don't stand a chance.

I find myself making mental notes as this movie plays out before me.  I whisper, "God help us."  I need the fruit of the Spirit now.  Now I am covered with sticky fresh cow milk, poop, pee and blood.  Somehow through the struggle I have now cut my hand up.  Life is messy.  This is not how I envisioned the morning playing out.  The Vet has no patience...mine is thinning.  I suggest he walk away, take a break, go do something else.  These animals can sense our level of frustration.  I take over trying to get the calf on.  During all of this, the young bull in the pen next to the squeeze chute is causing trouble.  He keeps knocking down the panel and stirring up Cocoa.  Distractions we don't need right now.  The calf is tired and needs his first meal. He is fighting us with every move.

That bull kept trying to sneak though the panel.  I had the calf on the teat twice but had to quit due to the bull.  Have you ever had to quit something good?  It's not the calf's fault, I must be patient and keep trying.
It becomes apparent that the calf has most likely tired to get on the mom but due to the kicking has given up.  We make the decision to collect the milk and feed a bottle.   Finally the calf took an entire bottle. 

________________

We are not in control of circumstances.  I can't control how the animals will react.  I can only control my feelings and actions.  This morning I was reminded again of how desperate I am for the Holy Spirit to fill me daily -- moment to moment.  It is not enough to say I am Spirit filled -- I want to be Spirit filled.  I can't do that alone.  God allows difficulties in our everyday messy lives to give us opportunities to demonstrate the fruits.  An opportunity to show the outside world the changes that are being birthed in the garden of my heart.  I recognize that I don't always rise to the occasion.  I fail miserably.  At least for me I am becoming more keenly aware of my environment and I sense the nudge to pray more often and listen to the voice offering me tools to overcome my flesh.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

So this morning I have joy because a calf was helped and I learned from number eight.  I learned that in all circumstances we are to be joyful.


Who can't be joyful with a face like that!

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks,  for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Benefit Dinner

I wanted to let you all know about an event that has been planned in my honor.  This is one of the most gracious and humbling things that has been done for myself and my family over this last year.  The benefit dinner is planned to raise money to help with all of my medical expenses.  It is being put together by various veterinary pharmaceutical companies that we purchase vaccines, antibiotics and other drugs for our vet clinic practice.  I am overwhelmed with their generosity and desire to bless our family.  I know many of you don't live close by but I just wanted to give you an opportunity to participate.

Benefit Dinner for Anna Luehrs 
Friday, May 11, 2012 @ 6pm
360 Main Event Center
348 4th Ave South
Twin Falls, ID

$50.00 per ticket
Dinner
No Host Bar
Music and Dancing

Proceeds go to help pay for Anna's medical expenses.  Make check out to NCURC Anna Luehrs Benefit

If you would like to purchase a ticket please email, call or send a check for the total number of tickets you would like to purchase to myself.  I have not been a part of the planning of this event -- really it is all been taken care of for us.  I hope to see many of you at this event -- celebrating victory over cancer!  Please forward this to others you think might want to participate. Thank you in advance for blessing my family.

If you have any questions please contact:
Jackie Florent
Dairy Sales Representative
Merck Animal Health
jacqueline.florent@merck.com

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Rolling Stones Away

It is early and still dark. All is calm.  The sky is breaking, bleeding red, purple and shades of blue.  The Sun is about to pierce through the dawn of the morning. 

"He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay."  Matthew 28:6

The earth shook violently and the angel rolled the stone away from the entrance to the tomb.  The guards posted at the tomb were paralyzed with fear.  Before them stood an angelic being, bright white and like flashing lightening.  The empty tomb stood before them.  Only grave clothes laid perfectly where once the Son of Man's body laid embalmed.  The giant stone had been rolled away and the seal broken.  Death lost it's sting.  The grave gave up the only One who could save the entire world. 

"For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Matthew 12:40

Glory has been revealed.  The light illuminates as dawn breaks forth.  Bright orange, crimson and golden hues radiate toward my heart.  The speak loud to the depths of my fears.  I remember this morning that the stone has been rolled away taking with it all my sin. The road to Golgotha, the suffering and pain endured on the cross was not in vain.  The veil was torn top to bottom.  It all makes sense now. 

I am trying to push the stones that are hindering me from seeing the risen Christ.  Are their obstacles preventing you?  Like fear?  So often I hear the words...do not be afraid.  It is human to have this feeling.  Thankfully my fears are rolling away.  I have discovered  this truth as I ponder and survey the cross, the death and resurrection.  At the garden the women came early to anoint the body with spices, to be alone, to ponder.  They were struck with great fear for the body was not there in the tomb.  They had forgotten Jesus words.  The angel gives them a task: go and tell the disciples. It's a call to action.  I can replace my fear by taking action.  Isn't this the Great Commission?  I am called to yield myself to God to be used to bring the Good News to others, both by my example and by my words.

"And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee;there you will see Him. 
Behold, I have told you."  Matthew 28:7

Fear motivates.  It is possible to obey the call to action and still be gripped with fear. Yet these women completed the task and made it to the disciples bringing them the Good News.

"So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone,  for they were afraid." Mark 16:8

News travels fast.  The Sun has now risen and taken it's place in the morning sky.  It is easy to forget the glory of the rising sun...bleeding colors...piercing my soul.   

"Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."  Mark 16:14-16


So this Resurrection morning I remember and I roll my fears away.  I embrace my duty tell others that He is Risen and is alive.  This morning the children at church will be making Jesus story crosses.  I hope to post some photos of these.  We need to share the Story.  Wishing you a blessed Resurrection Sunday as we celebrate together HE IS RISEN!



Wednesday, April 4, 2012

March Joy Dare

Join me in counting gifts: March Joy Dare by Ann Voskamp

Updated my list here for the blog -- enjoy reading my blessings found everyday!

176. Waiting for the bus
177. Cookies in the oven
178. Cat nap
179. Alfalfa hay
180. Blanket
181. Apron
182. Old jeans
183. Bleach stained hoodie
184. Flannel PJ's
185. CANCER
186. The road to recovery
187. Depression - only place to look is up!
188. Mending fences
189. Daniel saving a new calf
190. Cats curled up in straw
191. Cattle panels
192. Mail lady honking horn - special delivery!
193. Orchid in bloom
194. Blender
195. FOOD
196. Pretty dishes
197. Dustin
198. Wind
199. Barking dogs
200. Leather saddle
201. Time carved out in a busy day to spend with Abba
202. Huge prayers answered
203. Living Water
204. True Vine
205. My shield
206. Ann's blog
207. Note from a friend
208. Be joyful always (1 Thessalonians 5:16)
209. Smells
210. Quenches
211. Snow
212. Kong ball
213. Bouncy ball
214. Gum ball
215. Peace
216. Birds - the Killdeer's are back!
217. By myself
218. Hugs & kisses
219. Copy of Ann's book
220. Banana bread
221. Apologizing
222. Choosing to obey God
223. Letting go & letting God
224. Waffles
225. Hand written note
226. Family photo - framed and on the wall (finally!)
227. Tooth fairy pillow
228. Chipped toe-nail polish
229. Heart shaped candy sucker
230. Mango
231. Spinach pasta
232. Beef - homegrown
233. Sunshine
234. Dustin whistling away
235. Playing games
236. Pretzels
237. Dark Chocolate
238. Noodles
239. My treasure
240. My Reedemer
241. My Peace
242. Friendship
243. Integrity
244. Example of godliness
245. Her respect motivates his love
246. Get off the crazy cycle
247. I'm sorry
248. Amazing grace how sweet the sound
249. What you say flows from what is in your heart (Luke 6:45)
250. Bathroom walls
251. Coconut oil
252. Secret chocolate stash
253. Kindling stack
254. A friendship
255. Marriage - always & forever
256. Health
257. Buds on apricot tree
258. A kiss
259. Tax return
260. With God all things are possible
261. Be strong & courageous
262. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
263. Hyacinth's under leaves
264. Mail
265. Favorite earrings
266. Laughter
267. A baby
268. No more cancer EVER!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Unplugged

So you may have noticed that I have taken a break from writing.  I know shocking.  It's just this adjustment period of figuring out my life now.  Everything centered around chemo and getting better.  All my efforts were somehow tired to that theme.  Now I have freedom from the subjection of harsh poison drugs flowing through my veins.  Honestly it has been a harder adjustment that I thought it would be.  Great anticipation has been built up for the day I would be finished with treatments.  It arrived rather uneventfully and the days now seem to blend together like watercolors. Everyday during chemo treatments I counted.  I counted how many days since last treatment to how many days till my next treatment.  I waited for lab results.  Painstakingly waited.  I know what it means to wait on the Lord.

For me there has been this huge let down of emotions after the climax of completing my chemo treatments.   Time is ticking away...I can hardly believe it has been two months since my last chemo treatment.  Everyday I am feeling better and stronger.  I am gaining endurance and strength  has returned. My year off sabbatical has come to an end! I am trying to balance my responsibilities and gauging my level of strength.  Not easy to do.  Everyone keeps telling me how great I look.  My hair is growing and is much darker than before chemo.  My weight has bounced back and I am content with where it sits now.  Daily I struggle with food and how my body reacts to what I put inside the tank.  It's a game of cat and mouse.  Some days are better than others.  I have been juicing and making fruit/veggie smoothies to eat.  These are super delicious and loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber.  This approach is a lifestyle change that I am openly embracing. 

I don't want to forget the places this journey with cancer has taken me.  I don't want to waste the opportunities that surround me to share my story.  Yet with wisdom perched on my shoulder I know my limits and when it is wise to unplug.  So that is what I have done these last two months.  I have not checked email, Facebook and my blog as frequently.  I have focused my time and energy on getting  stronger and healthier each day.  I have focused on my family and their needs.  We are all learning as a family what I am capable of doing now.

I am eager to get working outside in the garden and around the house.  I have a long list of to-dos!  The weather is slowly warming up and the weeds are growing like crazy.  The tulips are rising tall out of the ground as they seek more sunlight.  Buds are emerging on trees and the hay fields are turning bright green. Seasons do change.  So it is for me, the seasons of this last year filled with diagnosis, waiting, surgery, more waiting and then chemo.  It only lasted for a season. 

"For everything there is a season, 
a time for every activity under heaven." 
Ecclesiastes 3:1

I have spent a lot of time just pondering the deep things of life.  Things like dreams, hopes and goals for the future. Having cancer forces you to re-think, re-group and re-plan your priorities.  I haven't come to any major epiphanies just yet.  I know the Lord is at work and preparing me for opportunities to share my story and to encourage others struggling with life's harsh unfair realities.  I have grounded myself in the Word and I will not be moved.  The storms and seasons blow in and blow out.  But I choose to sink my roots down deeper and cling to the only source of real Joy.  I am reminded again of the words in my favorite Psalm written by Asaph, King David's worship leader:

 "My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever...But as for me, how good it is to be near God!  I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do." 
Psalm 73: 26,28.