Thursday, February 6, 2014

Take Ten Country Style

Heather from Where the butterflies go has us thinking about Taking 10 minutes to write about winter traditions. No editing. No fussing. Just write. For 10 minutes. 

Check it out at her blog:

Winter traditions. Country style. 

When I was little and home from school sick we could watch Sesame Street. Buffy St. Marie making bannock on a stick over the fire. Quebec and Ontario kids making snow candy and maple syrup candy. Things these prairie kids never got to do. But they were fun to watch!

Instead we have our own traditions for winter. Like hood sliding. What is hood sliding you ask? Take a tow rope, a rope handle and an old truck hood. Put on a mattress pad. Hook up behind the quad or side-by-side and have a grand time riding. This winter has been hard on the hood sliding. So cold. Cold enough we can't enjoy our snow.

The other winter traditions we share are chores. Winter chores. I don't gain weight in the winter. Between walking in the snow, and falling through the crust on the drifts, and forking hay and carrying salt blocks it's a workout daily. Oh and put in a few pounds of winter gear and boots. That is fun! It is also an important job. Caring for our animals.

A favorite treat in winter is tracking. Seeing animals tracks, wing imprints and sometimes interesting scat. It's all so cool to see what animals stick around in the winter, how they live, what they eat and if we can spot them.  The other day I was waiting for the school bus to come and the birds were just everywhere. Then I heard a tapping. Tap. Tap. Tap. And I slowly started looking around. Up and sideways. There he was. A woodpecker making a hole in a birch tree. Tap. Tap. Tap.

Blue jays scolding. Chickadees chirping. Snow buntings flying wildly. Soaring ravens. Owls almost invisible. Sparrows. Magpies. Cedar waxwings.

Wildlife watching in winter can be so cool. Like watching the coyote eating frozen apples. Jumping up to get them off the tree.

All the fun things we get to see in the country in winter.

What are some of your winter traditions?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Why I don't ask why

Jo Ann and the lovely Voice Bloggers are talking today about 'why' at Jo Ann's blog. Join us for the link up after you are done reading here if you like! 

I almost always get in hot water by asking too many questions. More often than not when someone says, NO my response is why?

No one likes that, but sometimes it is good to ask ourselves why we answer things the way we do. Is it a well thought out no or a knee-jerk no or a 'I don't know what else to say' no?  Maybe it is just NO - no way I'm going there!

When it comes to God I think sometimes I need to investigate the why a bit deeper. I love being able to rest on Him, and on my faith. That solid rock is what I cling to and what I reach for when I get into water that is too deep for me to walk upon.  

But I think I need to seek His will in the why and put that into action in my life. It is well, and good to rest but we also need to be faith in action. We need to put the boots in the stirrups and saddle up. We need to move knees to chest people! We need to speak using our out loud voices and risk being heard.

We need to be the answer when the world asks WHY. We need to be the WHY NOT when they wonder about being selfless instead of selfish.  

I used to ask God why. I used to wonder why things happened, or didn't happen. Then a time came when there was no 'why' but instead I asked 'what would You have me do?'

I started to grow deeper faith roots, stronger faith wings and a bigger heart outside of my own need to know. Sometimes we don't need to know. God doesn't want us knowing why when He wants us to be doing.   We can spend a lot of time sitting and talking about why or why not, and be distracted from doing.

Distracted from praying. From reaching out. From being present for someone. I learned that when you ask 'why' you have opened the door to the question 'why not'.  I have also learned that when I say, instead, What would you have me do? I am seeking guidance for action. And sometimes that action is to be still, and let God fight for me. Be at peace, let God work. Pray, surrender and stop mucking about!

Have you ever tried to fix something when someone is trying to help? When they don't know what you need, or haven't asked?  You want to smack their hands and say, Sit still, I've got this. or  I will let you know when I need your help.  Neither response really endears you to them, after all they are usually really trying to help!  But when I learned to say, You being here encourages me, thank you. and Thanks for offering to help, it makes it easier with you being here. Then I found myself understanding things a bit better in my walk with Jesus.

We cannot run ahead, shouting, LEAD ME LORD! and say we are following Christ.  If we are shouting, crying or chanting WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY we can't hear an answer. We can't hear a thing. And the devil wins another round in the battle to distract us.

There are thousand (okay maybe a dozen) why questions I could ask God right now. Right this minute! And like a loving parent who knows more than I do, He would be right in saying because I have plans for you. 

God has plans for you. And they won't change with the volume or frequency of our questions as to the why. Nor will they be any less, or more, than His will. What we do while we wait is where the blessings are found!

Why didn't the dream job happen? Why did the "I'm ready to go where you lead Lord" get answered with "stay"? Why did the I can do this ministry become "You aren't the right fit for us"? So many whys - why is this winter so danged cold? 

The 'dream job' may be the one I'm doing right now.

The place to be is in the now, where He is blessing us. Where if we were looking elsewhere with longing hearts we could be missing something amazing.

The ministry wasn't right for me - or for them. And it is all about Him, and He knows best.

As to winter, I don't know. It's just cold.

So instead we work on the doing, the being. Praying. Loving. Being present. Asking what we can do. Doing what we can. 

Jo Ann Fore