Archive: May 2013

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Batteries Not Included


~Posted by Robyn

Has anyone ever seen that movie?  Batteries Not Included?  If not, you should if you ever get a chance; it’s really cute.  But that’s beside the point. This post doesn’t have anything to do with outer space bugs that live on top of Jessica Tandy and her husband’s building that’s about to get bulldozed before they save the day.

Speaking of bulls, ok, now we’re on the right track…  Bulls need batteries.
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Keeping bulls is a pain.  Any rancher knows what I’m talking about.  But just in case you aren’t a rancher and you don’t know, let me explain.  Bulls are only needed a few months out of the year and the rest of the time they are a pain in the rear.  Bulls only have 2 things on their mind, cows and grass, in that order. They don’t care where they are or what fence they just tore down.
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That’s why they need to come with batteries.  So the 9 months that they aren’t needed we can remove the batteries and put them away.  You wouldn’t have to feed them, move them, try to keep them “in”.  Some parts of the year it is easier to keep their minds on grass or hay than others, like the winter time, for instance.  But when the days start getting longer, warmer and spring time fills the air,  they start to be trouble.  A burden to move and keep in.  They get to fighting and tear down fences and gates.  Then they let themselves out into the cows a little too early.

So since they don’t come with batteries, we can’t turn them off.  They have to go to jail and wait.

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They become Sue’s “jumbo leppies” ( Sue’s Orphanage) as she feeds them on her way by to feed her leppies (orphans calves) every morning.

They wait in jail till it’s time to take the ride they been waiting for, a ride to the cows.

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Until the day bulls come with batteries, we go another year with batteries not included.

 


Where in the World is Woody? The Sequel


 

Where would you start looking for a 24″ by 10″ wooden sign who’d run away from home?

We were stumped (no pun intended). Knot exactly an easy assignment (no pun intended) . Wood you know what to do (no pun intended)? OK. OK, I’m having way too much fun with these obviously-intentional puns. Let’s get serious; I’m just needling you here, let’s leave that alone.

The facts: Woody was sent to us against his will from Bayou Country but with the certainly of Bob and Carol, his birth parents, that he’d love Idaho and his new digs. Country life proved just a bit much for him.  We’re not sure if it was the dirt roads with not a farmhouse in sight for miles on end or the steer manure we all use to enrich our gardens or maybe just the fact that we didn’t pay enough attention to him. But whatever it was, call it homesickness, call it “buck up and be a man, er, plaque, er, sign, Woody”, whatever it was, the sheer fact remained Woody was gone and we weren’t sure we’d ever see him again. And that was a sobering fact.

Then the mystery took an interesting twist. We got a call from our friend, Carole, in McCall. She wanted to tell me about an unusual incident that happened to her at work. She said it was the strangest thing. When she stepped out the front door to uncover the spring flowers,

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a sign hopped up into her arms and begged her to help him. I said, “A what???” She said, “I figured that’s how you’d react. That’s the reaction I get from everyone I tell the story to.” I quickly explained the situation to Carole and she gave a low whistle. “I never expected to hear that story,” she exclaimed. But, she’d concluded, when she offered to take Woody to the police station, he quickly hopped down and high-tailed it around the corner.

Whereupon another unanticipated twist took place. In a building just two blocks from Mountain Monkey Business, where I worked for about 6 years, Woody showed up trying to find a rental in town. My friend, Sherri, was so taken aback, she just rushed him out the door and slammed it shut.

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Can you blame her? How would you possibly get a sign to put down a security deposit on a rental? And really, can a sign sign? The implications were too daunting for her to handle.

So, piecing it together as best we could, crestfallen, Woody returned to Carole’s workplace. That’s where he spotted a beautiful rock to rest his weary trunk, right across the street.

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Here he could reflect on his dilemma and come up with an action plan.

And that he did. He decided he was going to cover the whole town of McCall if it took him all day in hopes of finding someone who would help him get back east.  He saw a sleuth of bears (Tell the truth, did you know that’s what a group of bears is called?).

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They just turned every which way, ignoring him completely.  He spotted a line of children walking along a log and hoped that it was a distant relative of his

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so he went up to try to recruit them but they just invited him to hop up and join them.

Then he had a brilliant idea. He needed to find a church. Surely they would help a homeless sign. He found a pretty white one

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but no one answered when he tapped on the front door. So he walked across the street to the newspaper office, thinking they could post a classified for him, asking some good samaritan to take up his cause. But they never could see him standing there  dwarfed by their high front counter.

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So he sat down on the front step and ruminated.

Now Woody can be naughty sometimes; you’ve probably figured out he has a mischievous streak. Well, he decided it was time for a drink and since there happened to be a bar just down the street, that was his next destination and there was no talking him out of it,

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if only there’d been someone to even try. This life was getting lonely. And sure enough, he found a barstool right beside a fella who looked like he might help. But it turns out the old guy  (We found out later he was 50, that’s Woody’s idea of old!) lived in a place called “Carefree Subdivision”.

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Well, Woody liked the sound of that kind of place to visit while he came up with a plan. So… he and the old man jumped in his ’57 Chevy pickup and drove there.

But still, nothing worked out. Over the course of the evening, the good-natured fella got the whole story out of Woody. By then, they’d bonded. Woody found that he could trust this guy. So when he suggested to Woody that he give us another chance, that poor, pitiful excuse of a sign agreed to call us. Needless to say, we were elated (And relieved! How in the world would we have explained to Bob and Carol that we’d LOST Woody?). So, with Woody in complete agreement, we drove to Carefree and picked up our little wooden buddy. We all hugged (I think I saw Woody shed a tear or two.) and communicated how we felt and came up with a workable plan for our future together.

Well, that was 5 years ago. I’m happy to report Woody is still hanging happy and

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….oh, you could say, carefree at Recycled Acres. He gets more handsome each year. Bob and Carol, well, they made up a little picture book of Woody’s friends and relatives in Shreveport: Drift Wood, Iron Wood, Cotton Wood, Yew Wood, Hard Wood, Dog Wood and Box Wood. Turns out his great grandfather started a company called Antique Woods of Louisiana: Reclaimed Beauty. Google it sometime; you’ll be impressed. But even without his pedigree, Woody will always be our favorite wood.

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Woodn’t you agree he’s special?


Support Our Troops


posted by Donna

I like the chorus to Sarah McLachlan’s song:
“I will remember you, will you remember me?
Don’t let your life pass you by;
Weep not for the memories.”
It makes me think of our freedom fighters around the world, past and present.

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We had the auspicious privilege of being in Washington, D.C. on Veteran’s Day 2012. Wow, no words will do it justice. Vets, mostly men, wearing ball caps from WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam War walked among the memorials (of the same names), reflectively, quietly, but affirmatively, greeting one another with a nod or a handshake and a shared camaraderie that we civilians will never know.

The term, Support Our Troops, has always intrigued me. Some companies, like Sears, commit to hiring (or rehiring) vets. Southwest Airlines allows active military to board their planes first. The crew of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, set the bar for showing support when they spent a week in the sweltering heat of July building a brand new house for Barbara Marshall, a 15-year Navy veteran who has dedicated her life to combating homelessness among female veterans. First Lady Michelle Obama worked on the home and made the final presentation. But I asked myself what was I doing to support our troops.

Well about 5 years ago, I began making eye contact with anyone donning military emblems and thanking them for serving. Each time I spoke the words, a lump formed in my throat. Each time, the soldier gazed back steadily and said a grateful “Thank you, Mam.” My appreciation was genuine. Their appreciation was, too. I didn’t think I could do what these young men and women were doing, even when I was their age.

Then 2 years ago, while subbing at a high school, we took a whole day with each class to make cards for the troops for Thanksgiving. At first, I got resistance from some kids but eventually nearly every student put a lot of effort into the assignment and sentiments expressed by those kids that day were heart-warming.

Whenever I hear about efforts made on behalf of our all-volunteer Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, Merchant Marines, National Guard, and Reserves, I think that God must be pleased. Below I’ve chosen a few ideas from 101 Ways to Support Our Troops (http://www.netguru.net/book/101WaystoSupportOurTroops.pdf) and I hope you will visit this site and choose for yourself to perform some of these ideas to thank a vet any day, not just Memorial Day, and it’s ok to thank the “troops” who support those enlisted as well.

Get your entire neighborhood or church involved in sending a soldier a Care Package every month. You can distribute a list through the neighborhood and let everyone contribute some of the things on the list. Then put together the package, include a letter with notes from everyone, and send it to them. They will so appreciate knowing their neighbors or church family haven’t forgotten them.

Collect jokes on the Internet and make a little booklet to send. Everyone needs to laugh!

Send magazines they like. Not only will they enjoy them – they’ll be able to share them with their buddies. Your gift will have a much greater impact than you thought.

Send them a Journal that they can record daily happenings in. It will become a valuable record of days and years of their life – a treasure that can be passed down through the family for generations to come. When they return home portions could be read at schools; published in papers; or simply archived in the local library. It may not seem important now but their recollections will become an important part of this nation’s history.

Send them a Frisbee. They will have hours of fun with their friends. You can play Frisbee ANYWHERE!

Send cards and notes to hospitalized veterans and those living in Veteran’s homes. So many times they feel alone and forgotten. Your cards and notes can let them know their contribution was appreciated and it will ease their loneliness.

Fly the American flag on your house, car or business every day our troops are deployed.

You can do a Drive through your church or school as well. Simply hand each person a bag with the list – asking them to bring it to church next Sunday, or to school the next day.

Ask any local casinos to donate playing cards. These provide hours of entertainment to our troops. Or get donations and buy them at a dollar store.

Call your dentist, as well as other ones in town, for a donation of toothbrushes, floss, toothpaste and mouthwash. You’ll be surprised what you will receive once they understand it is going to our troops.

There are so many organizations that have been established to support our troops that it’s difficult to list them all. Please check out the full list on the website listed above. Here are just some of them:
My Soldier
USO Care Package Program
Project Homefront (originally created by Home Depot)
A Million Thanks
USA Help
Defenders of Freedom

You don’t have to have Memorial Day to get you motivated to support our troops. Think of this as a great way to get your family involved and aware throughout the summer and beyond. Let us know here at Cowgirl Clippings if you have a story to tell.

God Bless Our Troops!

Post Script: Since publishing this article, I inadvertently came across a company that ranks #1 in Customer Support. It’s a bit of a lengthy read but I think you’ll agree, worthwhile:
Since Bloomberg BusinessWeek started putting out its annual list of customer service champions, financial services company USAA has held a number-one or number-two spot every year. The company provides banking, insurance, loans, and mortgages to a clientele composed mostly of active-duty military members and their families. BusinessWeek reports that the company has a 97.8 percent client-retention rate, compared with a financial-industry average of about 36 percent, and about 60 percent of its thirteen-thousand-member workforce comprises customer service representatives. Not only does the company focus on treating its customers well, but it also explicitly caters to the military lifestyle, discounting auto insurance rates while a member is deployed overseas, refunding ATM fees worldwide, and being the first bank to allow check deposits via iPhone. Customer service team members develop empathy by watching videos of members serving in the Middle East, eating military-style meals, and doing other team-building activities that allow them to understand what their customers are enduring.

God bless USAA!


Jack’s Wild Rides


posted by Robyn

You met Jack the other day in “Jack the Cow Dog”.  In case you don’t remember……this is Jack.

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Quite handsome, don’t you think…well, he does ;)

In the last post about Jack, I described  a wide variety of the things Jack has done.  Today I’m going to write about some wild rides in his life, including wheel barrels, carts, 4-wheelers, horses, aircraft, swings, water slides…..welllll…..we will get to each of those.

 

Back in Lewiston,  Jack seemed content riding in his little swing when he was a puppy.

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Then Jack got bigger;  he went everywhere with me.  He would find him a spot in the back of the pick-up no matter how crowded.

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His favorite spot to ride was on top of the 4-wheeler while it was in the back of the pick-up.  That’s my Jack enjoying the warm spring day in the mountains

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He even found some snow to get in with his buddy Doc (Do you remember meeting Doc in Jack’s first story?).

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And these buddies have ridden on many hay wagons; this one seems to be empty at the moment.

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One of Jack’s scariest rides quite a few years ago, was when the water swept him away and he rode down the water slide Murphy res. spillway…….YIKES!!!!

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This is a spillway of one of our irrigation reservoirs.  At the time Jack took the plunge, there was twice as much water as there is here in this picture.  We were on the hill side above, fixing fence.  Below the spillway is too deep to walk across so we waded across the top where it is wider and only about 2 feet deep.  Yes, you get wet.  Well Mr. Jack wasn’t 2 feet tall so he had to swim.  The water was too swift and it carried him over the edge.  You think the cold water makes you gasp!…. Well, that’s nothing compared to seeing your doggie float out of sight over the edge of white water!  Chasing after him knowing you can’t catch up!  I still get that hopeless feeling just writing about it.  Knowing that there were big, jagged boulders that water smashes against and tumbles over to the bottom…..eeeeekkkkk!  Having to run the length of the dam, praying for a rescue, and around the canyon because there is no way to scale the rock walls!

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I lunged down the hog back that gives access to the bottom of the spillway.  There was poor Jackie looking like a drowned rat,standing (Wobbling is more like it.) in a pile of rocks and willows in the middle of the creek.  Scared to death to set foot in water again, he barked hopelessly back at me.  The darker it got the faster the water looked rushing by.  Meeting him half way while trying to coax him in the water (He thinking, ” Yeah, right, you did this before; now look where I am!”).  I helped him swim across and we finally got home safely.

As Jack gets older, he would rather ride anywhere than run.  He is the leader so the rest of the pack follows suit. Making it easier to convince the others it’s ok.  So they happily all get in the little cart and ride!dogs 033

Stay tuned for more adventures with Jack.


Daily Devos with Max~Eternal Instants


posted by Robin~

You have done good things for Your servant, as You have promised, Lord. Psalm 119:65

Eternal instants. You’ve had them. We all have.

Sharing a porch swing on a summer evening with your grandchild….

Putting your arm into your husband’s as you stroll through the golden leaves and breathe the brisk autumn air. Listening to your six-year-old thank God for everything from goldfish to Grandma.

Such moments are necessary because they remind us that everything is okay. The King is still on the throne and life is still worth living. Eternal instants remind us that love is still the greatest possession and the future is nothing to fear.

The next time an instant in your life begins to be eternal, let it.

 By Max Lucado

 

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In posting this on the heels of the F4 tornado that ripped through Oklahoma, our eternal instants may mean more now as we reflect on our own lives and blessings. While some of my eternal instants include playing cards and camping with my children,

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the fun of riding on the train,

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or watching my oldest “graduate” from kindergarten into first grade . . .

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those in Oklahoma may be as basic as holding their loved ones close right now.

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Or finding their lost pet(s).  Or just being thankful to be alive. No matter what, God is still in control and we can daily find those eternal instants in our lives if we just look. What are some of yours?


Grape(fruit)s of Wrath


posted by Robyn

While helping Walla Walla Academy Acros team (gymnastics/cheerleading type team that puts on half time shows and things like that.  They call themselves the AcroKnights.  That is the only place I know of that has a team like that.  Never heard of it till them.) raise money to go on a mission trip, I bought a box of grapefruit for the cause.

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Even though it was the best grapefruit you have ever eaten, how fast can one person go through a 20 lb. box of them?…..I mean, really?  As usual, there are the few that spoil.  With that said, all the spoiled fruit and veggies go over the fence for the cows to eat or just whatever comes along that’s interested.  So over the fence goes the spoiled grapefruit and so goes life…..right?

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Fast forward two weeks.  I’m irrigating the hay fields by the house just like every spring.  The water runs down the ditch around the bottom of the hill that my house sits on, and out into the field a few 100 yards away.  As I drive out in the field to see if the water made it to the bottom, there are these orange things out in the middle of the field.  I’m thinking, “What????”   Turns out when I threw out the grapefruit over the fence they didn’t stop there.  They took a trip off the hill into the ditch. When the water came by, they floated down the ditch into the field.

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So, that’s the story of the little grapefruit that could—float, that is.

Note from author:  This story for some reason struck my mom and I funny and it made us laugh.  I guess we are easily entertained.  So I thought I would share it with the rest of you in hopes it might make you smile. :)


Where in the World is Woody?


OK, it’s time I share this funny tale with you. At least, I hope you think it’s funny. We thought so. And some would say we carried it a wee bit far but we couldn’t help ourselves.  It just grew and grew and one thing led to another until….well, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.

These are our dear friends,

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Bob and Carol King, originally from Shreveport, Louisiana. Bob’s family was 2nd or 3rd generation Shreveport. Their family owned one of the original phone messaging companies, back in the olden days when those were necessary. He still owns it but he operates it from a different state now, Yellville, Arkansas to be exact. I’ll try to get you the particulars about the company in case you’re curious. But before his folks owned the messaging company, Bob’s Dad was a bookkeeper for a company. This was way back in the 20s and 30s. And Bob’s Dad, who wanted to build a nice house for his new bride, noticed that all the deliveries arrived in boxes made of quality wood so, with permission from the owners, he began collecting it all and finally, one day he had enough to build a very small home. A number of years passed and his collection allowed him to add on. This went on for decades until a good sized house resulted from his diligence and talent.

As happens, Bob inherited the house after his folks died. And he married Carol and they lived in the house. But one day they decided they’d like to refurbish their lovely home so several rooms that had been added on got torn down. But Bob, being his father’s son, saved the wood and began making wood carved signs on them and various other amazing items.  That’s where we came in. We were in the process of building a home in Idaho made from recycled logs and recycled wood and recycled windows…well, you get the idea. So we decided, why not name our place Recycled Acres?  Bob liked that. So unbeknownst to us, he carved us a sign. Ever the Louisianian (?), it reads “Bienvenue, Recycled Acres” which means “Welcome” if you don’t speak french. He shipped it to us in a long fat box and inside we found a letter introducing us to our new “resident”, Woody. I wish I still had the letter (I do but I’ve moved too many times to find it at present.); it gave Woody’s history and his likes and dislikes, and really made us kinda feel like we were “adopting” this “kid”.

Bob called and we laughed and laughed about this latest development. That’s when some kind of spark ignited in me and I decided it was high time we played our own trick on Bob. So when it came time to go to town for building supplies, we decided to drive the back road and take Woody. We propped him up

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on several scenic spots and chronicled his travels as though we were torturing him by making him travel with us on dirt roads out in the middle of nowhere

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(Remember, Woody’s a city boy.) and amidst the flora

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and fauna

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and on fenceposts

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and barbed wire

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(Oh, didn’t he hate that.). He “endured” the rock pile

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and sitting beside a (ugh!)

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foxhole. But when we got to town, we subjected him to (oh, no, anything but that!)

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and even made him sit on the steps of the county courthouse.

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In essence, we embarrassed the veneer off him. (He was a bit prissy.)

So we printed these pictures and included a letter as if Woody had written it himself, begging Bob and Carol to please, please, please come get him. He hated living in the sticks. He hated the life of a hick. And he would never speak to them again if they didn’t comply immediately. He said he kinda liked us but we were boring and didn’t spend much time with him; we were always banging nails and planting garden stuff.

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He promised them he’d never misbehave ever again if they would only PLEASE come get him.

Well, the Kings fell for it hook, line and sinker and wrote a letter back to Woody explaining why he had to stay with us and how someday he’d thank them. And do you know what that little stinker did? He ran away.

Will we find Woody? And where? Will he come back home with us? Or will he rebel and never return? Stay tuned for the next episode…


On A Lighter Note


posted by Chelsea

Kids are good for lightening things up when life gets heavy.   Our kids have been lightening up life for us the entire past week and we are grateful!   Watching our girl play T-ball this week and run her little heart out…

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…lightened our load. Kids are awesome.


Life. On Hold.


posted by Chelsea

A few months ago some friends of ours had their second baby.  Expecting the week after the birth to look like the week after they had their first, the mama of the family was taken aback when they got home from the hospital and life went on as normal.  Her husband, a farmer, went out to work and life as usual just kept going.  Remembering the “pause” that happened after their first, she felt a little panic set in and when her husband came home she said something to the affect of “We have to stop.  Life as we know it, needs to stop and we need to embrace this HUGE event and this new person.  Life needs to be put on hold.”  She was right and they did- they spent a few days reflecting the magnitude of their new family member and loving and snuggling him into this world.

And in a similar way, but for a very different reason our life has been put on hold this week.   The world keeps spinning and everyone else’s life seems to go on as usual, but ours has to, it must stop.   In order to make sense of it, in order to somehow be better because of it, in order to not let Rowdy’s death be in vain, we have to self reflect and we have to take stock of our own lives.  And in order to do that we have had to create a space, in the midst of a world that keeps turning, to grieve ourselves into something, someone, better.   This week has to make us more compassionate, more loving, more forgiving, more accepting, more present in life.   Losing Buck’s cousin Rowdy,

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will not just be something that happened in our life, it will be a space in time we will forever look back on and know that we were changed.  While I know that God does not plan these things, I do know that in His sovereignty  He will  make beauty from these ashes.  In the midst of heart wrenching pain and brokenness, I have seen glimpses of God’s hand- glimpses of His grace and His love, glimpses of His healing, glimpses of His compassion.  Those are the things, that if we cling to them, they can and will make us better.


One Another


posted by Donna

Since you put away lying,

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Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor,

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because we are members of one another.

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Be angry and do not sin.

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Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the devil an opportunity.

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The thief must no longer steal. Instead, he must do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need.

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No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear.

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And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit, who sealed you for the day of redemption. All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness.

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And be kind and compassionate to one another,

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forgiving one another,

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just as God also forgave you in Christ.

Ephesians 4:25 – 32 with a little help from some much-loved Florida Faces


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