Birthday celebration!

Today is my sister’s birthday. Birthdays are special but hers are especially so. You see, she almost died in July 2003. This week after the Sutherland Springs shooting, her birthday is even more poignant to me.

I have this photo hanging on my hallway wall.

I am 22 months older than she is; I don’t remember not having her in my life. We didn’t get along as children. Our interests and talents are different. We understand that now. As children, we didn’t and it caused conflict. We shared a room until I was 13 and she was 11, When our family moved to the last house before our dad retired from the Marine Corp, they bought a bigger house. Peace then reigned. As teenagers, I remember that I knew she was always there for me even if we were very different.

As adults, we drifted apart. Nothing had happened to cause it. It was just the normal cares of life that take up time-family, jobs and living on opposite sides of the city. We were given the opportunity to reconnect and strengthen our bond.

That happened because of  the fateful call came one afternoon in July 2003.  Jane was a real estate agent at a Century 21 office in San Antonio.  My mother called in tears that there had been a shooting at Century 21. Jane had been shot and had been airlifted to University Hospital. At this point, we did not have any details. Mom said to get to the hospital as fast as possible.

My husband came home from work and picked me up. So many things were in a blur that day. We passed the site of the shooting on the drive to the hospital. Hours later there was still a flurry of law enforcement personnel there and the traffic was horrible. When we arrived at the hospital, the media presence was unbelievable. Since they didn’t know who I was, we walked through unscathed. The medical staff escorted us to the surgery waiting room.  There were already many family and friends there. My mother dissolved in tears into my arms. My father had died suddenly many years prior. My mother sobbed that she could not bear to lose her daughter too. She explained that my sister had been shot point blank in her right temple with a 357 Magnum. She needed delicate brain surgery to survive.

She wiped her eyes, gained a bit of control and told me the story of the first of many miracles. University did not have a neurosurgeon on staff at the time. They had one on “loan” from the military. He wasn’t on “loan”, he was sent on a Godly mission to save my sister’s life. He asked my mother if she believed in God. My mother, a devout Catholic, said yes. The doctor explained that he was a Morman and believed in God too. He said that he wasn’t God but that God used his hands. He successfully performed the surgery. A few months later, the military deployed him overseas.

Over the next few months of recovery, there were many more surgeries. Her rehab was intense. She had to relearn many skills. Some came back. Others she will never regain this side of heaven. She is permanently disabled. But God healed her brain. Her personality changed a bit. in some ways, she is more loving and caring than before. I do know that she loves the Lord in a way that she didn’t before the shooting.  God is real in her life now. She talks about the faithfulness and love of her heavenly Father.

God was gracious and returned to her a talent that should have been lost with the extent of her injuries. My sister has been a beautifully skilled artist since she was a child.  She could create paintings and drawings that would take your breath away. She was a skill commercial artist in the days when all drawings were done by hand. Her artistic style changed with the shooting. But now, her art is used for the glory of God and the healing of others.

This painting is near my desk.

There is so much more  I could say about Jane but it would take several more posts! She is my hero. I love her. I am blessed to have her as my sister. On her birthday, I wanted you, my readers, to meet her too.

Check out this link, it tells more about her story. There is a video of her telling about the large version of the painting near my desk. There are three 4 ft square paintings hanging at the University Hospital. They are there to bring hope and healing.

Happy Birthday, Jane! I love you!

 

Sutherland Springs

Sutherland Springs is a place that few knew existed until yesterday. On Sunday morning, it was a small Podunk town in the middle of nowhere. By Sunday afternoon everyone in the nation knew about Sutherland Springs.

I am one of the few that knew about it before yesterday. It is about a 45-minute drive from my home. I have been to that church and met those people. A friend is in the hospital in critical condition. He was shot 4 times.

It was probably late spring when we visited Dave’s church. I had never met Dave; he is a friend of my husband’s. They were both going to the same men’s Bible study. My husband had recently started attending the group. It was not sponsored by any church. It was a handful of men who met weekly for dinner, fellowship, Bible study, and prayer. Every week, I would make them a homemade dessert to top off their dinner. Dave dubbed me the “dessert lady.”

Dave’s daughter was getting baptized and he invited his group of guy friends from the Bible study to come witness the celebration. Then we were all invited to his home for a huge BBQ. My husband wanted to go so I went too. I wanted to meet the men that my husband prayed with and I cooked for.

That morning we went to Sunday school at our church and then drove out to Sutherland Springs for their service at 11:00. When we walked into the church, I was surprised at the size. I am guessing that if every single pew was filled, the church would hold 75 people. There were about 60 people attending that day; they mentioned that there were more than usual because of the baptism.

I remember it being hot and the pews were uncomfortable. The preaching was not my style. But, there was no doubt that the handful of people loved the Lord. There was excitement and joy as the elementary age girl stood before the congregation. The pastor asked her if she understood what baptism meant. He said that he usually didn’t like to baptize children this young but was confident that she knew what she was doing. He baptized her. There were smiles and hugs and the service ended. We went to Dave’s home for a delicious BBQ meal.

The memory never crossed my mind until yesterday. I heard a God whisper yesterday morning that I didn’t understand until later. The gentleman that led the Bible study has taken a break for a season. Dave has started his own group but it is too far for my husband to attend. The God whisper was a thought. Hmm, I wonder how Dave is doing. Husband has not said anything about him lately. I stopped and said a 2-second prayer for Dave. I didn’t think about it until a few hours later.

Several families went out to eat lunch after church. There was a television playing quietly in the background but not causing a distraction. We had just finished ordering our meals when my husband got a text message. The message stated that Dave had been shot.  Almost as if the text was a cue, the television started talking about the shooting. We finished our meal and came home in shock.

We both sat in front of our computers watching the news reports and social media. Sutherland Springs is very small. My city is close enough that people come here for shopping, medical needs, and schools. We are a city of 30 thousand. We are still a small town. If you don’t personally know someone affected, you have a friend that does. It has rocked our community. But the news is spotty. We don’t know anything more than you know.

What we know about Dave is that he was shot 4 times. He is hospitalized in San Antonio. He survived the surgery and is in critical condition. We have heard conflicting reports; some say his daughters were not there others say they were but are safe. We don’t know.

A few months ago, a Pastor welcomed me into his church. I shook his hand and told him I liked his Pooh-bear tie. Today I pray for him as he grieves the loss of his daughter and his congregation.

7 ways to deal with stress

 

The other day I opened Facebook for a few minutes of downtime. We have had a bunch of stuff going on and I was feeling stressed. I wanted to chill for a few minutes. What I found frustrated me. I found a frilly, floral meme that said, “Too blessed to be stressed.” While I am sure that the person posting meant no harm, it made me mad. How dare they throw around Christian clichés! Then I felt like a horrible Christian because I am blessed.

God met me in my stress and frustration and reminded me of Romans 8:1

There is therefore NOW no condemnation

for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Yes, I am blessed. But, I live in an imperfect world where lots of painful stuff happens. I am blessed and I get stressed. It is okay to say them at the same time.

What do you do with stress? It is impossible to expect it to go away 100% of the time. Sometimes you gotta walk through stuff until it is finished. But there are some things that you can do to make stress easier to live with.

Everything on this list will not work every time you are stressed. These are not like a Monopoly GET OUT OF JAIL CARD. But when I am feeling stressed, it means that one or more of these things are out of balance in my life.

Here goes the list-

  1. Sleep- I know you already hate me. You are thinking that you don’t have enough time to get everything done and you suggest sleep. Yup! The way God designed our bodies to function included 7-9 hours of sleep a night. You can try cheating for a while but… You already know the problems that it causes you. Get your sleep. BTW, my oldest daughter was a premie. I nursed her every 3 hours around the clock for the first 4 months of her life. I understand trying to function on not enough sleep- it was not pretty.

    Not my bed but I like the frame.

  2. Good Nutrition- If you are stressed now, you may be thinking of throwing rotten tomatoes at me. Eat the best that you can. Try to make wise choices but you don’t have to have perfect nutrition. If you are like me, even on the best days, you don’t have perfect nutrition. So don’t try for perfect when you are stressed. If you need a donut, eat 1 or 2, not 12. Generally, people crave more carbs when they are stressed because they are not sleeping enough. Carbs give them an energy boost. But it is false because it spikes your blood sugar. When your blood sugar drops you want more carbs and the cycle continues. One of my first clues that I am stressed is that I want to devour tons of chocolate. What about you?

    Remember 1 or 2, not the whole box!

  3. Movement- If I said exercise, you may have wanted to hit me. If you like to run or go to the gym to workout, great. I do not. I walk. God designed our bodies for movement. Sitting at your computer staring at the screen for too long can be stressful. Get up and walk around for a few minutes. Pull yourself away from the Netflix binge and move.

    Any kind of movement will do.

  4. Time with God-If I am feeling busy and stressed, this is one of the first things that goes. Being real here. I rationalize that I have too many things to do and I don’t have time. That is setting me up for a disaster of a day especially if the first 3 items are already out of whack in my life. Spend some time with Him. We are great multitaskers but make excuses when it comes to God. Talk to him when you are in the shower. Listen to the Bible on your drive into work. Even 5 minutes of your day with God is important.

    Find even a few minutes to talk with God.

  5. Time with others- When we are feeling stressed it is easy to get into the mentality of I am too busy to socialize. We start shutting people out of our lives – friends, children, and spouse. Not healthy. God built us as relational beings for a reason. We need each other. Many times my husband or daughters will notice stressful words or behaviors in my life before I notice them myself. Make time for that phone call, that cup of coffee, or that family dinner you have been pushing further down the calendar.

    Find the time.

  6. Time for yourself- I try to do something special for myself every day. When I am feeling stressed this is one of the things that disappear. Your special things will be different than mine but they don’t have to be anything big, expensive or fancy. They just need to be something that makes you smile. I might sit on the front porch and watch the hummingbirds for a few minutes or fireflies at night. I found a $3 candle at Walmart the other day: I love the aroma of apple spice. In our previous house, we had a claw foot bathtub and I would take a bubble bath. I want a German shepherd someday, I might spend a few minutes on the internet looking at pictures of them. You get the idea. Do something special for yourself every day.

    They come in so many colors! All of them are beautiful.

  7. Take your medication-This one may not apply to you. I have way too many environmental allergies; I live off of prescription stuff to keep it under control. If I am feeling stressed, it is much easier for me to miss a dose. Then I feel miserable and the stress cycle seems worse. Take your medications as prescribed.  

 

If you have some other ideas on how to deal with stress, let me know in the comment section. When it comes to dealing with stress, I can use all the help I can get. Thanks!

 

 

 

Windows to our lives

Fresh hay bales across the street

This is the view that greeted me the other day when I left the house.  The view was breathtaking. It was picture perfect. The blue sky with clouds floating effortlessly in the air. The trees perfectly angled to the side with hay bales dotting the landscape. The shadow in the road even adds an artistic element. And it was marred with the old, gray metal mailbox in the corner. I could have edited it out but I didn’t. You wouldn’t have known the difference but I would have. The view from my gate would not have been real if I left out the mailbox.

We do this in our lives all the time. We aren’t real, we aren’t authentic. We tell half-truths about ourselves because we don’t want to expose ourselves. Vulnerability is scary. Even with those we love, we hid behind walls and falsehoods. We fear rejection. We fear being exposed.

We do things like show off the beauty or talent in our lives. We hope that is all people will look at.

Lush trees outside my window.

This is the view from our bedroom window. It is gorgeous. It is peaceful and serene. It is inviting and welcoming. This is the view we enjoy showing off.

 

But if that is all I show you, you think that is what all of my property looks like. If you have never been to my home, you have no idea that our bedroom has two windows.  This is the stuff we hid and hope no one ever finds out. We protect it because it is hurtful, painful or embarrassing.  We all have windows like this.

The septic field behind the house.

We recently had to replace our septic system. Those green circles at the bottom left-hand corner are the access ports for the septic tank. In rural living, a septic system is where all the household waste goes to be processed and decomposed. The waste is decomposed in the tank and the water flows out to the drain field. There is no grass growing now. That whole area had to be excavated and repaired. We haven’t planted new grass seed yet. Once we do, the drain field will have a lush growth of grass year around. It will always have access to life-giving water.

We all have septic systems in our lives. If it is working properly; you never know it is there. It deals with the waste and junk in our lives. And the drain fields of our lives grow verdant grass where sheep can feed.

If it is not working like it should, our lives become smelly and backup with all kinds of pollution. Sometimes we don’t see that we have a problem but those around us can smell it a mile away.

Are you only showing off the “beautiful windows” in your life? We all need those people in our lives that we can be real with. That means sharing the “not perfect” windows in our lives. It leads to healthy relationships and lives that aren’t smelly with pollution.

The truth about beauty

 

If you read the Biblical account in Genesis, the woman is the last creation God speaks into being. Perhaps it is my imagination but, I believe that women are the pinnacle of God’s creation. Women are more beautiful than the fall forests and flowing streams. They are more beautiful than the spring wildflower or snowcapped mountains. Before the Fall, we were confident in this. Now, for women, our beauty is an area of supreme doubt. I have never encountered a female of any age that truly believes that she is beautiful. Even magazine models feel that they are not enough; they are flawed. We observe it in young girl’s distorted body images. We detect it in the 80-year old women who persist in dying their hair and every age in between. It is endemic in our culture. Women are taught that they are not beautiful. I suspect that each of us if we were truthful, have struggled not feeling beautiful. I know that I have.

While I still fall into the lie that I am not beautiful. I know it is a distortion; an untruth. Several years ago, God spoke to my heart through an obscure verse in Psalms. It is speaking about a royal wedding but he used it to show me what he thinks about my beauty.

10Listen to me, O royal daughter; take to heart what I say.

Forget your people and your family far away.

11For your royal husband delights in your beauty     

Psalm 45:10-11 NLT

He said,” Daughter, pay careful attention, this is important.” “Forget about what culture says about beauty, delight in your beauty” He sees me as beautiful! If only I could remember that every day.

What about you? Do you struggle to believe that you are beautiful? If you do, you are not alone. Our culture does nothing to encourage us in this area. It only demeans us. It makes us feel less than and not acceptable. But that is not the way your heavenly Father sees you. You are beautiful.

 

Seek God not the miracles

 

Ah, Lord GOD!
It is you who have made the heavens and the earth
by your great power
and
by your outstretched arm!
Nothing is too hard for you.
Jeremiah 32:17 ESV

Background

I wrote this last week but have waited to post it on the blog. This morning on the way to the grocery store, I realized why. This is a cool story about a miracle I witness first hand. But, I don’t want to glorify the miracle. God moved in a miraculous way because of his deep love. It is so easy for us to read stories about a miracle and lose the focus. We need to keep our eyes on the creator of the miracle, not the miracle itself.

There are people who believe that God no longer does miracles. I do not feel this way. I trust that the God of the Bible still does miraculous things in our lives. While we should not base our doctrine on experience; it does have a place. Experiences need to be filtered through the lens of Scripture.

I want to share with you a miracle that I experienced several years ago. While I have told the story numerous times, I have never written it out nor shared it here. My hope is that this story will lead you into a deeper love and awe for our Daddy God.

God shows up and shows off

When I was in my 20’s back in the mid-1980’s, I shared a two bedroom apartment with another teacher. I was a special education teacher and she was a music teacher. We both loved the Lord. Every Friday night we opened our apartment to a group of ladies who were in our age group. We studied the Word, prayed together and ate lots of junk food. It was a time of worship and friendship. We supported each other in the unique time of learning how to be an adult. We all had jobs and lived away from our parents but were unsure about being adults. We became that support system for each other.

There was one lady in our group, I will call her A. that had mild cerebral palsy. She walked with a limp and needed a cane for support. Her left hand was curled in a fist. She had a good job and lived in an apartment. She loved the Lord. By all outward appearances, her life was good. But she was struggling in areas that none of her friends noticed.

One night after dinner, my roommate had this strange look come across her face. She said that she needed to call A. because she was going to kill herself. I normally would have questioned her but I could tell she was serious. I started pacing and praying as she dialed A.’s phone number by memory.

Since this was in the mid-1980’s, we had a corded phone. My roommate sat at the dining room table as I walked ruts into the carpet praying. My roommate was on the phone with A. for about 20 to 30 minutes. What transpired during that time convinced me that God still does miracles. He has a plan and he loves us more than we can imagine.

A. answered the phone quickly. My roommate did not pussyfoot around. She asked her straight out, “Are you planning to kill yourself?” A. let out a gasp, “Yes.” A. went on to explain that she was in bed with her pajamas on. She had a glass of water sitting on her nightstand and was getting ready to swallow a bottle full of pills. She was reaching for the pills to end her life when the phone rang. She answered the phone instead of picking up the pills.

 

Throughout the conversation, my roommate repeated back to A. everything that she said. She wanted to make sure that she correctly understood everything A. said. She also wanted to let me know what was going on since I was praying. Remember these are the days before speakerphones. We had to do it the old school way.

A.went on to explain that she desperately wanted to get married and have children. She felt that because of her disability no man would ever desire her as a wife. She understood that she had friends and a good job but she wanted a husband. She had convinced herself that it would never happen. She was ready to end her life because she was sure what she feared was going to happen.

I don’t remember what my roommate said to A.. All I know is that the Holy Spirit gave her the wisdom she needed. After about 20 or 30 minutes, A. was calm. She understood that suicide was not the answer to her problems. She was no longer in danger of taking her own life.

My room-mate was praising God that A. had not taken her life. But A. interrupted her with these fateful words, “You don’t understand the whole miracle.” A. went on to explain that when she decided it was time to take her own life, she wanted privacy. She didn’t want any interruptions so she unplugged the phone from the wall. This was the mid-1980’s. There were no such things as cell phones. For phones to function, they had to be plugged into the wall.  She only answered the phone because she was shocked that it rang! She knew it shouldn’t ring because she unplugged it from the wall. My roommate had no way of knowing that the hand of God was connecting our phone to A.’s phone that night.

Where the phone should have been plugged into to work. It wasn’t.

As time went on, I lost track of A.. But my last memory of her was seeing her walk into church with her husband and two children.

What do you think?

I don’t know who I am writing this for you or myself. What I do hope is that you hear the tender whispers of your heavenly Daddy saying, “I love you.”

What is your response to this story? Do you believe that God still does miracles? Have you ever experienced one? Is it hard for you to seek God and not just what He can do for you? I know that it can be for me.

 

 

Harvey update

Veni, vidi, vici.

(Translation – I came, I saw, I conquered.)

 

Harvey came, saw and thought he conquered Texas. But, you don’t mess with Texas. Texas is a whole ‘nother breed. We will come back stronger than ever before. Yes, there is massive destruction and devastation. But people are helping their neighbors and the world is watching. Right now, races or political parties are not fighting each other. We saw the Cajun Navy come rescue people. We have seen ordinary people doing heroic measures to recuse people and animals. We have seen churches and animal shelters step up to help. And a big shout out to HEB’s disaster relief. They were on the way before the Red Cross or FEMA.  We are all Texans. I was proud to be a Texan before but I am more so now.

Harvey came to my town too. But, we were mostly spared his wrath. We got 9 inches of rain in our rain gauge. I have heard totals in this area as high as 12 inches. We had heavy wind gusts but little damage. We were concerned about the roof of the chicken coop but it was unscathed. This is the view out of our bedroom window.

We are heavily wooded. We had tree branches scrape the roof; it sounded horrible. No trees fell near the house.

We do have an area in the back part of the property that floods. This tree was downed in a previous flood but we now have four trees down along that fence line.  We will eventually need to remove the trees and repair the fences but doesn’t have to be done right now. We also have about 10 feet of fence on the far side of this photo that needs to be repaired. The flow of the water knocked it almost flat.

That is the extent of our damage. We were inconvenienced by about  5 or 6 hours of an electrical outage. I am not sure exactly how long it was because we had a generator. It was not bought for the storm. It was bought awhile back so that my husband could use power tools in places on the ranch that don’t have electricity. This was the first time it had been used to get electricity to our home.

My husband was amazing. He went out and got drenched to hook up the generator so that we could have power. It was much appreciated.

What was your experience of Harvey?

 

Soli Deo Gloria

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

 I like to write. I enjoy this blog. I think God has things that he wants to say to people through this blog. And yet, I have trouble writing and posting things.

It is almost time to renew my domain name. It costs money. While it is not a lot of money, my husband asked me to consider whether it should be renewed or if I should move to a free service. You would not notice the difference; it would be a difference on my end.

I have been reading a book on hearing the voice of God. (I will write a review of the book and post it here when I finish it.) The chapter I was reading this morning dealt with how God speaks to us through his Word.

I have had Romans 12:2 floating around in my head for days. I knew it was about the blog. But I didn’t understand what it meant and still don’t see all the subtle implications of this verse.

I have not promoted the blog because I am not sure how to do it in a Godly manner. I have learned many things from the internet about blogging. Most of them have been good. But, I am at a point where I need to grow the blog. The basics are set. I am ready for the next step.

I don’t know how. The things that I am reading, the webinars that I am hearing make me feel sick in my spirit. The titles are thing like, “How to get 1000 people on your email list in 30 days in 15 easy steps.” Or, “I made this much money off my blog last month and you can too.” I feel like if I follow these things I will be conforming to the standards of the world.

It is all about me, me, me, fame, money, how many people you have on your email list. Now, I am not going to lie, I would like to make money off my blog. But not like this. If I make money it has to be in a manner that is glorifying to God. I can’t do this the way the world does.

I would like to take the next step and grow the blog. I would ask those of you who read my blog to pray with me. I need wisdom. Do I stay with the current service that I am using to host the blog or move to a free service? How do I grow the blog in a manner that is worthy of my Jesus. I don’t know how to do this without being conformed to the world. But I won’t do that. This blog is Soli Deo Gloria, for the glory of God alone. If it can’t be done that way, there is no reason to do it.

As always, I would love to hear your comments. If you have areas that you struggling not to be conformed to the world, I will join with you in prayer. All comments come to me for approval prior to being posted on the site. If you would like prayer and don’t want it posted for the public, let me know.

The Rainbow

When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. Gen 9:16 (ESV)

Rainbow over my ranch.

We need rain and we didn’t get any the day of the rainbow. There was rain nearby but none of it fell on our property. Before the streak ended, we had 11 consecutive days of 100+ degree temperatures. It is miserable outside and it is dry.

This is the grass in my front yard. Drought does not kill Texas grass, it goes dormant. It may look dead but it will come back when there is rain.

The trees do better because they have deep roots and have seen many Texas summers but there is no grass for the sheep.

Right now, all they have to eat is the hay.

 

Many times our lives feel like this. It is hot, dry and no rain.  You might be miserable because of your job, money troubles, marriage issues or many other problems. Whatever your situation, you feel that God has left you in a hot, barren place with no food. And it goes on day after day after day with no change. You feel like this is your lot in life, you are stuck here.

Now, you have a choice. You can stay stuck in your thinking that you will be here forever or you can realize that seasons change.

This is my what my neighbor’s field looks like the spring. It doesn’t look like that now, it looks more like my front yard. The change happened in three months time.  By late fall our grass will be green again. We grow a variety of grass called Winter Rye. If I showed you a picture of the grass in December, you wouldn’t believe it. It is green, lush and beautiful.

The Bible gives us the truth that seasons and times change. If you are in a hard, miserable place right now. You will not stay there forever. You may feel that way but it will come to an end. Seasons change.

 

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

This week, we got 3/4 of an inch of rain and there is more in the forecast for the next few days. The weather forecasters say that the temperatures in August should be cooler than usual. That means the mid to low 90’s instead of 100+. The seasons have not changed but it has started.

What about you? How do you see the seasons changing in your life? I would love to hear your comments.

The snake is dead

 

See what great love the Father has lavished on us,

that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

1 John 3:1

 

 

My Quiet time

The other day during my quiet time I was thinking that I am God’s child. I was pondering all that could mean for my day. I ended with a prayer that went something like this. Help me to see your love and care for me today because I am your child.

 

Little did I know the answer would involve a snake!

Both my husband and older daughter were at work. My younger daughter and I were feeding our Great Pyrenees breakfast. She noticed that one of the seven month old puppies had lost her collar.  The two puppies have several places they like to stash their “treasures”. We hoped the collar was there.  We didn’t find the collar and walked back towards the house. Right near the house, we saw a rat snake! (Photos of rat snakes on linked page.)

While rat snakes are not poisonous, their bite can be painful. They are as “good snakes” to have around. Unless, you have chickens. If they get into the chicken coop, they will eat the eggs. We have had a rat snake eat a days’ worth of eggs; 10 or 12 eggs at a time. Our view is a good rat snake is a dead rat snake.

We have lived here 4 ½ years. Every time a snake has appeared my husband has been home to deal with it. That is until this one. I am a Texas ranch girl so I don’t freak out. I am not a lady who screams. I don’t like snakes but if I don’t have to deal with one, I won’t.

So the other day, I had to deal with a snake by myself for the first time. Daughter was in charge of keeping the puppies away from the snake.

7-month-old puppies

 

 We have a 22 caliber rifle that we load with snake shot. (22 caliber is very small) We keep the rifle in a different location than we keep the ammo. I am a Texas ranch gal and have had firearms training classes. The instructors emphasize that if you ever need to use a firearm your adrenaline will be pumping. You don’t think as clear and your fine motor skills are not as precise.

The instructors were not kidding. I thought I knew where my husband kept the snake shot but I couldn’t find it. I knew that those snakes can move quickly so I didn’t want to waste time looking for the ammo. I did see a sheathed knifed. I figured I could cut off the snake’s head. I grabbed the knife and headed back outside.

By the time I got outside, I realized that this was not a smart idea. The knife had a small blade and I had no idea how sharp it was. It would mean that I would need to get close to the snake’s head. Not good. I had to come up with another plan.

As I walked toward the snake, I saw a cinder block.

The actual cinder block I used.

They are a multi-use tool around the ranch. It was going to have yet another purpose. If you have never picked one up, they are heavy, around 35 lbs. I figured if I dropped it on the snake’s head it would crush it. So I dropped a 35 lbs. cinder block from waist high onto the head of that darn snake. I was feeling pretty good about killing the snake so creatively. But…

The reports of its death were greatly exaggerated. After a minute or so, I picked up the cinder block. The snake was very alive and mad! It had its mouth wide open and was hissing at me. I dropped the cinder block back on the snake. At least it wasn’t moving.

Now I had an angry, trapped snake to kill. The situation was going downhill fast. I had to deal with the snake without my husband’s help. I couldn’t find the ammo for the rifle. It was a bad idea to try to cut its head off. The cinder block idea failed. What to do? But, I wasn’t frightened.

I got another idea. What if I combine the cinder block and the knife ideas? I had the snake’s head pinned under a cinder block so it was not dangerous

I used the knife to cut the snake in two. It was not easy because the blade was dull but it did the job. It was messy but the snake was dead. I disposed of the snake’s body, cleaned up and went back inside. All people, dogs and chickens were safe.

Where is all happened.

After the adrenaline wore off

I thought about my prayer that morning. “Help me to see your love and care for me today because I am your child.”

To be honest, I was not feeling loved and cared for the moment I saw that snake. I am not afraid of snakes but I despise them. I can and do deal with many things on the ranch. But I draw the line at three things: mice, dead chickens and snakes! Another family member needs to deal with them. This time, my husband was not at home to deal with the snake. It was my responsibility. I didn’t feel loved.

I did understand that God was giving me wisdom on how to deal with this. While the story took several paragraphs to tell, in reality it was short from start to finish. I the whole thing happened in under two minutes. I was hyped on adrenaline but I wasn’t frightened. My thoughts were clear and I was in control. An idea would come into my head and then I would reject it and go to the next idea. I felt God’s presence and his support.

I experienced his love and care. I got a hands on example of my Father lovingly helping me through a hard situation. It was a tangible answer to that prayer. I never want to kill another snake. But, living on a ranch, I will probably need to do it again. I now have a memory to hold onto that he was with me. He promises that he will never leave us or forsake us. He was right there with me when I killed that snake. He was there to give me wisdom, love and support as only a Father could.

For me that morning, it was easy to connect his love to my prayer. Most times, I I miss his loving Fatherly gestures to his daughter. I am trying to be more aware of his tender touches.

What about you?

Do you have a memory to hold onto to where he has shown you his love for you?  I would love to hear your stories. Please share them in the comments below.