“Come Back with Your Shield or On It”

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Those are the words of my old English teacher, prior to my participation in any vocal competition:  “Come back with your shield or on it.” 

 

I love that.

 

I have been thinking a lot about dreams lately–not sleep-dreams–destiny dreams. You know, those plans you make for yourself when you are alone and never say out loud–the ones you began envisioning when you were just a kid.

 

What if…

I wonder…

Is it possible…

 

Do you know what I think, Dear Reader? I think realizing one’s dreams is just a matter of pulling the thing out of the atmosphere one corner at a time and tacking it down wherever we happen to catch it. What I mean by that is this:  rather than wait for the entire blanket of a dream to miraculously fall to the ground where we can wrap ourselves up in it, we should begin to pull whatever we can reach at the moment and bring it into our realm…and hang onto it. It may just be a small piece of the bigger picture, but it is a start.

 

And this, my friends, takes guts…

And tenacity…

And faith.

 

One of my old hens, “Peaches,” by name, found herself in a setting mood a few months back. She became determined to hatch out a brood of chicks and, once she and the other hens had amassed a clutch of about nine eggs, Peaches fluffed up on her haunches and began to set on those eggs with a diligence that would inspire the most pessimistic dreamer out there.

Twenty-one days passed and still she had not issued forth any chicks…but she would not give up on those eggs and then one day, Good Lookin’ and I drove up into the barnyard with more chicken scratch, and there was Peaches. Out from under her protective feathers toddled a bitty baby chick–just one–but what a beauty…and SUCH a proud mama!

None of the other eggs from that substantial clutch hatched. Later, we opened the eggs up to discover chicks that, for whatever reason, did not survive the transition from shell to nest, but that isn’t the point. The real story here is that Peaches’ determination to invest in what she had paid off with the position of motherhood, regardless of the number of offspring. She had attained her heart’s desire (yes, I fancy she has a heart).

 

I know, I know, Dear Reader…you are thinking my chicken story is simplistic at best. But, really, doesn’t it do the job of illustrating the importance of getting started with what is right in front of you?

I think so.

 

Richard M. DeVos said, “It is impossible to win the race unless you venture to run, impossible to win the victory unless you dare to battle.” Perhaps the secret to realizing a dream is to start with what you have.

 

Go on, Dear Reader, go out and take that victory once and for all…or die trying. 

 

Love,

Kelly

Ahh…Eagles!

I have a thing for Bald Eagles.

Yesterday, Good Lookin’ and I took the Four Blessings with us to pick up a studly rooster for our six hens (they need a bodyguard) and as we drove along through the foothills, we came across two Baldies, roosting in a giant, old cottonwood.

Wow.

Ya know, you don’t REALLY realize just how big these birds are until you get up close…WHOA! That five-foot wingspan  suddenly comes into perspective and you begin to appreciate the wonder of it all.

Our family has always considered the Bald Eagle a special sign of freedom and promise from God. Every time we see one, we know God’s talkin’ to us. It’s awesome!

 

This was a particularly significant weekend in my life. On Saturday, February 25, 2012, I was licensed and publicly ordained as a minister of the Gospel. Just even typing this makes me want to cry.  My friends and family were there, the words of the license a perfect expression of my heart’s desire, and Jason Upton and his band backed me up and spoke over me….humbling…

special…

unforgettable….

The fulfillment of  a dream.

You see, Dear Reader, some people are destined to be business owners and some teachers and some scientists and some antiques dealers and some dog walkers and some clerks…

I was born to minister.

It’s a good thing perfection is not a prerequisite to being a minister; I would not be qualified.

Nah. I’m still just Kelly. Only now I have more opportunities to do what I really love.

My favorite quote comes from my heroine, Joan of Arc. When asked what had led her to do what she had done, she said, “…I was born for this.”

Yeah. Simple.

That’s me too.

So when Good Lookin’ stopped the car under that big, ole’ cottonwood so we could all jump out and admire those giant birds of promise, I could only think back over where I’ve been and what I’ve done–good and bad–and be thankful that I was never forgotten or lost or over-looked. It all led to where we are right now.

And I am so happy we are here, Dear One.

Thank you for your love and support…

you will never know how much you mean to me.

Love,

Kelly

Sing.

My heart is full tonight as I type.

I am not sad.

I am not lonely.

I am not hopeless.

What I hear at this very moment is the rhythm of purpose as it pulses in my spirit.

 

I cannot imagine life apart from my Savior, Jesus Christ.

He is my Everything.

Without Him, nothing really matters.

When the lights go out and the distractions are put away and the day has followed the sun behind the mountain–that’s when it matters the most. It is when it is silent that I am most aware of Him…and it comforts me to know that I am not alone.

 

My life is a song. I sing it as unto Him.

It is not perfect–sometimes out of tune and pitchy.

Sometimes it is flat or sharp…

Or starts late…

And sometimes I forget the words.

But I know the most important part…

is that I am making music!

And I know Who I’m singing for.

 

I want you to know, Dear One, that there is comfort that does not require perfection. You don’t have to get it all together and become deserving. You too have a song…

So sing.

 

Blessings and Love and Compassion–You are important to me.

Kelly

Life Lessons on Farmville

Well. That does it!

 

Those dad-gummed programmers went and built a billboard right on the perimeter of my farm!…

without my permission!…

without my advice!…

without my … PERMISSION!!

 

(Don’t fret, Dear Reader…

this ghastly event has only taken place on my virtual farm…

You know…one of those online games that you can download for free on your computer–

the kind of internet time-suck you are embarrassed to admit to playing when you should be doing the dishes or the laundry or…just about anything else.)

 

You know what struck me the other day, though? Those virtual farming games have a whole lot of wisdom to impart. Yup. Really.

For instance, on FarmStory, you can plant and harvest fields of strawberries in five minutes and raspberries in one and it will cost you almost nothing to do it which means that you can reap a virtual harvest and rake in some capital, virtually-speaking, for your farming future. But you don’t get any experience points. Those experience points are what advance the farmer to higher levels in the game which open doors to field expansions and higher-dollar crops. They are, virtually, vital for success in the game!

Kinda like real life, eh?

 

How many times do we know where we want to go in life, how we want to expand our borders and invest in a more worth-while endeavor but are un-willing to dig in (so to speak) and pay the price that earns us those crucial experience points?

 

Ugh.

 

“Yeah, I wanna be an artist…but I don’t wanna put my time in on practicing the foundations of perspective.”

“Oh, I plan on being a great parent…but I don’t want to take a stand with my four year old son and have to deal with his tantrums.”

“I know I am bound for greatness as a minister…but volunteering to help Mr. Smith move out of his apartment is beneath me.”

 

Ouch. This one really hits home, Dear Heart, believe me.

 

Sometimes we forget that the very things we are reluctant to do on a daily basis (such as wandering the fields with the Four Blessings, or preparing a good meal for Good Lookin’, or inviting that lonely hairdresser out to a movie when we KNOW she would like it) are the very things that earn us those experience points that will, in the end, broaden our horizons.

It’s not that we invest in these things out of selfish motivation; it’s a practice of self-denial in small or large ways that leads to the fulfillment of our destinies. And one thing I notice is that experience never seems glorious, rather, it is a stepping outside of ourselves–a laying down of number one in order to serve a higher purpose.

 

I am finished with FarmStory. I have no time for virtual harvests, with or without experience points.

But I am inspired to sow some seeds in the real world…and pay the price for experience.

 

I hope you are too, Dear Reader.

 

Love,

Kelly

 

 

Promenade

Once upon a time, Four little Blessings went on a walk...one took pictures.

They brought along one spotted dog,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One intrepid collie dog,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One hairy dust-mop dog,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And two chunky, meandering goats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The exploration party traveled o'er hill...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and vale,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

scaled mountains...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and peaks,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

descended into valleys...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and tramped back up again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And do you know what the Four Blessings discovered?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beauty of togetherness.

Frog Legs

It’s chilly this morning.

The thermometer reads a frigid six degrees below zero–the upstairs windows are veiled over in glistening frost in what looks like a last-ditch effort to keep the cold out. It’s wondrous as the morning light hits it…dazzling!

 

I wonder at all of the mystery of animal nature when the mercury dips low.

Where do they go?

How do they know when to leave?

What tells them it is prudent to re-surface again?

Do they ever mis-calculate?

Hmm…

 

As a child, one of my favorite stories was about a frog who neglected to come in out of the pond to dig a deep hole in the mud to winter over in. Several of his peers told him it was time, but he ignored their advise and continued to frolic in the warmth of the autumn sun…until it was too late. As it got colder, he slowed down and never noticed until one frosty morning that his legs were frozen in the pond.

Of course, the lesson is to learn how to obey.

Makes me think of something (a Bible verse) that my dearest friend and sister, Natalie, often quotes, “Obedience is better than sacrifice.”

How true.

The other day, my dear sister, Jayme, clarified what that really means, explaining that what is sacrificed is the relationship with the one we are to obey.

Whoa.

The frog sure never got a second chance to be relational with his more sage friends which is, of course, extreme…but disobedience –to whatever or whomever is calling the shots in our lives– is a divisive thing.

 

We are blessed, Dear Reader; we do not have to worry about obedience in most of the more mundane things such as self-preservation. When it is cold, we go in. But what about other areas in which there is a still, small voice,

nudging,

prodding,

pushing us to a course of action that our wills cannot value?

 

This time of year propels one to contemplation of loftier things such as kindness, charity, and love. I hope that I am brave enough–sensible enough to act in obedience to the call of that Voice at every time of the year. I do not wish to sacrifice relationship when I could be obedient in the first place.

With God OR man.

 

Love,

Kelly

Seasons

What remains of the dry leaves in the orchard cling hap-hazardly to stoic branches on spindly stems, twisting and turning in the slightest of breezes.

Lovely.

All creation in my neck of the woods seems to be waiting in breathless anticipation for the inevitable…snow.

I wait with it.

 

Last week was a big week. Not only did we share a national holiday with the rest of America, but my birthday also came and went with a flurry. I have always loved my birthdays, Dear Reader, no matter my age. There’s just something so fulfilling about reaching yet another mark in my life, regardless of the accompanying wrinkles and aches and pains. I am happy to be here…happy to have been born…happy to have so much more life to live.

That’s as it should be.

 

I cannot help but feel like the leaves on the orchard trees, though…waiting for something to happen that will be wonderful and grand–awe-inspiring. The anticipation is awesome…but there’s a nagging thought that whispers in at me with persistence.  It says, “What will it cost you to be in the next greatness?”

I pause.

In order for the leaf to be taken up by the Wind, it must first let go of its hold on the branch.

Frightening thing!

What if no Breeze is there to take it up to greater heights?! What if the tree is the best there will ever be?!

And yet, the tree no longer sustains the fragile veins of the leaf–it’s time to move on.

 

I think I will let go. I have the faith to believe for the Wind…and I have the desire to soar into the next season.

Yes.

I will pay the price and release myself…

 

There I go!

 

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