Sunday, July 31, 2011


My Dad told Justin and I about this prayer for rain that was written during the 30's, the Dust Bowl era, and published only three times in the history of the Livestock Weekly magazine. They only print it  when circumstances grow to be disastrously dangerous. It ran this past month.

My Dad told Justin that he had been asked to pray this past Sunday in front of the congregation. When he prayed, he prayed specifically for things mentioned in this printed prayer, such as "Lord, send a rain that cleans out the gutters, send a rain that pushes out the rivers, send a rain that is a good, heavy, soaking. He said people snickered. Justin looked straight at him, and said, "Well, God tells us to pray specific things, when we need specific answers." They get each other. They are fighting the same thing, in different regions. Daddy nodded, encouraged, and looked down as dust blew through the alley at the salebarn. When you stake your whole life on something, and pour your heart into ranching, a time like this is hard to swallow. When it's your livelihood, and not your flowers your worried about, it changes everything.

Oh, how we need the rain. It's brown, burnt up, & it's hot. Salebarns are recording record numbers of livestock being sold because ranchers and farmers have nothing to feed their cattle. It's a scary thing, one which we can do nothing to control. It's all in God's hands, so we petition Him, and ask you to join

O Lord, in Thy mercy, grant us a rain, and by that we don't mean a shower. We want to go out in our car in the early evening and watch the lightning go ripping across the southwestern sky in hot blue forks as the fat clouds roll in on us from Lampasas County. We want to hurry home to close the house with the first fat drops the size of marbles on a suddenly rising wind, chasing us and plunking on the hood of our car. We want to scramble all over the house just as the first sheets descend, frantically slamming down the windows, while the drops thunder on the tin roof of the porch and lightning blasts illuminate the waving treetops.

O Lord of Hosts, we want to look out of the windows and watch the regiments of fat, close-paced raindrops march diagonally down in sheets, until we can't see the outlines of the street light on the corner and it looks like a great pale luminous ball through the driving drops. We want to hear, about a minute after the first rush, the gurgle in the tin gutters under the eaves, and, in 25 seconds more, the sputter of the downspout and the hollow churning of the water in the cistern.

God of Israel, Isaac and Jacob, let it come down so hard, let the drops dance so high that the outlines of streets and sidewalks seem covered with a six-inch fog of splattering drops. Then let it just keep up for a while, and then begin to taper off, and then turn right 'round and get a lot worse, swishing, pounding, splattering, pouring, drenching, the thunder coming — "Crackity-BAM! Bam - bam - bumble - bumble-bumble" — and the lightning flashing so fast and furious you can't tell which flash goes with which peal of thunder. So that all the women will get scared and climb on top of the feather beds and scream at you not to get too close to the windows. So that in between lightning flashes you can see the dirty yellow gutter water rippling across the street, instead of along its sides.

And then, O Jealous God, repeat the whole act about three times, and in the middle of the second time, we will get out the old tin wash pan and climb the attic stairs to put it under the tiny leak in the roof which usually you can't even notice in an ordinary rain. And after a couple of hours, kind of taper it down, O Lord, to a good, steady rain — not a drizzle — but a business-like one, that keeps up until just about dawn and then spits a few drops occasionally during the morning from a gray sky.

O Shepherd of a Chosen People, when we walk to work that morning, let us see pink, thin-nosed angleworms that have crawled out of the grass and drowned in the sidewalk puddles, and big pools of standing water in every yard, with just the tips of the fresh green grass breaking the surface. Let it knock all the buds off the elm trees, so that streets and sidewalks are covered with a brown snow, except where the running water has gathered into thick scum over the pools around the choked drains.

Then let everyone begin wondering what the rivers are doing, and when we go down to the bridge, make us drive through about two inches of dirty yellow water running over the pavement, and when we get on it, let us watch a pig and two Buff Orpington hens and half a woodshed float by, about three feet under our shoe soles, and Lord, let the farmers holler their heads off about how it will be to wet, now, to get their corn in early enough.

Thou Art My Shepherd, I shall not want if Thou leadest me into green pastures, and beside the still waters, while the little pasture ponds stand full to the brinks of their cement dams.
O God of Battles and Lord of Many Mansions, if you don't want it to rain in Texas, all right. And if you do, all right. But we are weak in faith and pray for a sign such as you gave to Aaron to confound Pharaoh's magicians and sorcerers. Take this business of weather prediction out of the hands of a lot of incompetent Washington Bureaucrats and make it Thy special province. They're playing horse with us, Lord. They promise a rain and all we get is a mangy little thin-flanked shower that you could hang your hat on its hip bones.

Texas is indeed the Promised Land, O Lord, and if it gets a break it will flow with milk and honey. But we can't live much longer on promises. So in Thine own way and in Thine own time make up Thy mind, O Lord, and we will bow before Thy judgment, and praise Thy everlasting name. Amen.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


My mother- in- law, Nancy, and I were talking yesterday about life purposes. Kind of ironic that we were bumming in it out in the swimming pool for a couple of hours,while discussing such an active topic! But we were just resting for a minute.

I went home and thought over and over about that conversation. Life purposes. It's such a huge topic that is so hard to even wrap your mind around. Many of us are looking for just that. What is what is my life purpose? What am I here for? How can I feel optimum fulfillment in the way I spend my time, here? It's evident, we are not alone in this, or Rick Warren would not have sold millions and millions of copies or The Purpose Driven Life. The more I thought on this, I concluded this exact topic is one reason I love Jesus.

With Him, we can know, as long as we are still drawing breath, we have a purpose! That to me is beautiful. The world suggests that your value/purpose lasts as long as your ability to offer a certain thing, be it your looks, your brains, or your talents and skills. But with the Lord, we have such a deeper value, based not on what we can do or who we are on our own, but who we are as His children.

We often find our purpose in being a wife, a mother, an educator, a doctor, or even a volunteer coordinator. But, what happens if we lose our husband-or chose not to marry, or we lose our children, or we lose our career? Are we then sunk, without purpose? I believe that God may use these titles a vehicles through which we carry out our purpose, but it is not our purpose. It can't be. Because it we lose them or it, it would cause us to lose our calling. We have a deeper calling and purpose, to glorify God with our lives. That blesses me so much. No matter our age, position in life, if we accepted Jesus into our heart as our Savior,we have a calling/purpose!

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. I Peter 2:9

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Depraved Indifference

Justin and I had the chance to go home to Corsicana this week, and we went to church with my family in Kerens. David Reaves, their youth minister, spoke a heartfelt message and showed this video to the congregation. Before it was over I had snotted up my shirt, Justin's shirt, and Baby Anna's shirt. The message-It's true. And I pray that as you watch it, God speaks to your heart in the deepest, most intimate place. And shows you not only, how He longs for you to love others, but His great love for you. We are a chosen people beyond comprehension. May we pass the love on. Lord, help us.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

His Faithfulness

In the past couple of days I have spoken with four of my closest friends who are experiencing the Lord's faithfulness. It has made me glad, every single time! Today, I experienced it myself. Not that there are moments we do not experience it, He is always faithful. But there are those moments that it is so real you feel like He is reading your journal and listening to your prayers :)  Praise to our Faithful God!

Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. 
Psalm 36:5 (I love how His faithfulness surpasses what we can see with our own eyes.)

But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. 
Psalm 86:15 

O LORD God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O LORD, with your faithfulness all around you? 
Psalm 89:8

God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up.They're created new every morning. How great your faithfulness!I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over). He's all I've got left.
Lamentations 3:22-23 The Message Bible 

Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth you created. Psalm 119:90

Jesus Christ the Messiah is always the same, yesterday, today, yes and forever! Hebrews 13:8

How has God been faithful to you today? This week, this year? Is there a fear you had that He protected you from? Or is there a fear you had that became a reality, but His faithfulness to get you through it, surpassed your expectation? Let's thank Him today....He loves the praises of His people and promises to inhabit them! 

I love you!


Monday, July 11, 2011


Grace, I love that word, and I love it as a name. I wanted to attach it to my first born baby girl, but one of my sisters and one of my sister-in-laws has claimed it. Isabella Grace, my oldest niece- and Emma Grace, my fourth oldest niece. I guess that using a name three times is a little over kill. So, I'm working up something different, but who knows if that will be taken by the time I actually get to hold her! I'm probably destined to six boys anyway. 
So this fascination with grace. I want it. It has such a ring to it, a southern type charm/hospitality, it's sounds so...fancy, a word used over and over in the Scriptures, a word used to describe our God.

You see, you know you don't have it when two people who know you best, call you "Graceful." At first it ticked me off (see, not alot of grace there) but then after I noticed my behavior patterns, I concluded they were onto something. Even as a little girl, every time I would reach to open a new cereal box, my mom would grab it out of my hands and "help" me. I guess she got tired of sweeping Fruity Pebbles up off the floor, after I split the bag in half. And now, every time, I reach for a piece of mail, my husband laughs, grabs it, and "helps" me. I guess I do shred the envelopes, but I don't even realize it until he laughingly points it out. And I don't open new packages gracefully, I'm usually excited about their contents, especially if it's Fruity Pebbles. And I probably have bone chips because I walk into every door I go through. Not a lot of balance. Not a lot of grace. But, I want it...does that count?! Surely, it's got to be a start.

The Lord calls us to be graceful in our speech. This can be hard for me. As previously mentioned, I have never been accused of being emotionally stable. Go figure. I feel alot. And, I am a passionate person, which often leads to regretted words, not intentionally hurtful but emotions and feelings can get to going so fast and mix so quickly that I wind up saying something I don't even mean. But of course, God speaks to us on this... (as He does everything difficult!)
Colossians 4:6 says, "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." And if the Lord calls me to it, He must be willing to supply whatever I need so that I can obey. Even if I need alot of supplying!

The word "Grace" has been a hard "church word" for me to understand. It's a more abstract word and a concrete definition is hard for me to muster up. It's used over and over in church, but for some reason I can not wrap my mind completely around it. I often hear it used with "mercy." To me, defining mercy is easy. I just think of two people arm wrestling. One begs for "mercy." You see, I have a picture of it there. But grace, grace is harder for me to grasp. I have heard that "grace is getting more than you deserve," "grace is unmerited favor," and "grace is God's goodness." And I guess that does help me understand grace from the perspective of how the Lord offers it, but what about me offering? How am I, as a person, to offer grace, when I am imperfect and I am not God? Such a noble trait and quality that describes our am I to even pretend to mimic that one?!

So, Blue Letter Bible to the rescue.... I learned several tidbits that are helping me grasp grace....

  • ("Benefit" is the effect of the gracious. ) So, I took this to mean, IF I am being gracious in my life, especially my speech, then the receiver of my speech will benefit. 
  • (Grace bestows pleasure, delight, favorable regard) I will bring pleasure to those I speak with.
  • (Grace has a friendly disposition) Fairly self-explanatory :) 
  • (The receiver will feel favored, gratitude, and thankfulness) This is probably my favorite. I want those I interact with to feel favored. I want them to feel loved and I want them to feel  valued. I think this is how Jesus was. Undoubtedly, one of the reasons so many down and out folks were drawn to him. His gentleness, His acceptance, His favor, His Grace.
I want more than anything to be more like Him. I want to truly be graceful :) And I want my speech to be full of grace. But what if we have to speak a hard thing to someone. What if it is not a easy and fun conversation? I'm so glad you thought of that...I did too, but then I found this.... 

Sometimes, we have to speak truth. But that never gives us free reign to drop the grace filter. It's easy to do, but it's not right. We bring each other no benefit, without grace. 

Ephesians 4:15 says, "we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ." If to speak "the truth (which isn't always a fun conversation) in love" means we get to drop the grace, we forfeit the second half of the verse "to grow in every way more and more like Christ." So that to me, means that speaking the Truth and speaking with Grace, can be done simultaneously, And,in fact, must be done simultaneously, to best honor Christ and "benefit" those we speak with.

I want to be woman of grace. A daughter of grace, a friend of grace, a sister of grace, a daughter-in-law of grace, an employee of grace, but most importantly-in my newest role, a wife of grace. I want my speech towards my husband to be full of grace always. Shortly before I got married, a wise woman told me that a wife has the power make or break her husband's spirit. That can be done through words or actions, but since I'm stuck on this graceful conversation, let's go with that. I always want my words to benefit Justin. I always want to speak to him in such a way that he feels favored, and gratitude that I am his partner. I want him to benefit from our conversation, always. The more time you spend with someone the harder it can be to keep your conversation graceful. The more time you are together, the more time our sin nature has to offer us a alternative, if you know what I mean. But what if, we gave God total access to our hearts, and minds. What if we asked Him to work in a way with us, that graceful conversation poured out of us. What if the Holy Spirit over took our thoughts and our feelings so that grace poured out. Wouldn't that be wonderful!? I am asking for it. And for the rest of this week, before I speak something, I am going to ask, "Will this benefit him or her?" I want to offer grace to others, because He does to me. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

*eMiLy bRaVeNeC*

Today Emily, my little sister, has been on my mind, on and off all day. That's a lot of time, considering I have been up since five. I drove a tractor most of the day, so I had plenty of time to meditate. I can not believe I am still awake. Anyway...
Emily is a special sister, friend, daughter, employee, student, and wife. Why you ask?...I am so glad you did!
 First of all, Emily is the most dedicated and devoted individual I have ever met. It does not matter what she is working on, be it a paper for school, a project for charity, or pricing yard sale items with my Mom, she does everything 100%, everything. That, is admirable. Emily is strong and Emily is a fighter. I have never seen her quit. That, is admirable. She's smart too! I think she took something in the neighborhood of...oh, about 42 hours last semester. Ok, maybe is was 24, but that is still alot! Emily is stable and certain. These are two qualities that I admire so much in her, which I often lack, on the account of my emotions! But she is sure footed. She knows who her God is, and she knows who she is. That, is admirable! Emily MIGHT, might have four pairs of shoes. That type of discipline blows my mind. I have nothing else to say about that...I must move on! Emily is wise. I call her all the time and ask her opinion. To be six years, I often hang up and think, well, "She's got less  years, but much more wisdom." (I think that could have something to do with that stability I mentioned earlier...:) ) She's a heck of a writer, and good debater...state tournament, I might add. Now finally, the last reason I admire Emily so, I have never seen her have a pimple in the past twenty years. This is extremely notable to a gal who has been on prescription pimple cream since the stinking fifth grade, and is STILL on it at 26. I used to think by the time I started getting wrinkles, I would stop getting pimples. Unfortunately, turns out, they co-habitat just fine. The good news is, when my grandkids come over to make cookies with me, they can borrow my anti-acne cream should they feel one popping up. Emily has been on my mind today. It might be because she and her husband just bought their first house (it is amazingly adorable, by the way) or it could be because she celebrated her one year anniversary with her husband Darren this week. Or it may be because she is about to prepare to student teach...for whatever reason, she is special. I wanted you to know. And if you know her, you already knew, and if you didn't now you do. Goodnight! PS: A couple of pictures...the family picture is in Emily's new home!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sale Barn Days

  I consider growing up agriculture to be one of the biggest blessings of my life. It is hard work, but so fulfilling. It teaches a work ethic and a love and appreciation for the land that can come from few alternate sources. Maybe I am just biased! But I love it. I jokingly told Justin I grew up in one of two places: the salebarn or a store! My mom is a shopper to the core, on of the best I have ever met, with a specialization on BARGAINS. This week I got the opportunity to go to Corsicana to my Dad and brother, Ben's salebarn. It's a family affair in the summer, when everyone is off and we all get to are a few pictures!      

Emma Grace (bribed her with a gumball, which she smashed on the clean floor and  
re- chewed!)

Brother Ben bringing the cattle up

Ben and his helpers loading the round pen
Kristen and Anna Kate
Emma Grace and Mom

Again Ben is moving cattle...It's rare he allows a picture, I got lucky!

Cousin Brent: I am sure he is smiling at me, even though he is not looking! A Good Hand if you ever saw one!

Brother Mark is our auctioneer. Perfect Job for him! He is very active!

Our little Perk at the end of the day. This is Rocky, who would become Rockette, after closer analysis and investigation.