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.









I am back!

Hello all! I didn’t mean to drop off the face of the earth with no warning.  A lot has been happening that has kept me from posting. I have dealt with bad allergies. Both my car and my husband’s truck have needed repairs. We have had a predator attacking and killing our chickens. We have set traps but can’t catch it. Then we found out that our entire septic system has died and needs to be replaced. We have started the process it but it is slow because of permits and inspections.
While all that was happening, my computer finally bit the dust. It has been giving me issues for several months. But my tech savvy IT guru husband has been able to fix it every time.  Last week, he declared a time of death on the computer and said that there was no way to resurrect it.  Computers were on sale because of the 4th of July holiday. He picked one out that had the specs he was looking for and was in the correct price range. He has been installing all the programs that I use.
My husband is amazing in many ways. I would be lost without his ever present help with computers. I know how to surf the web and use several programs. But, I know nothing about what make a computer work. Because of his patient help, I am able to write this blog and publish a newsletter for a local nonprofit. I get the comments and the praise but without him standing behind me to help, it wouldn’t happen.
I want to give credit where credit is due because without all he has done, I would not be back. Greg, I really appreciate all you have done. You bought me a new computer even though yours has issues too. You took the time after work to get it up and running when you could have been doing other things. I know that a computer is a material possession. But you used it to show me your love.
Thank you and I love you!

I am not a morning person

For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Psalm 139:13-14


I am not a morning person. I have never been and probably never will.  However, I am usually the first person awake in the morning. I have planned it that way so I can be awake and social when I interact with my family. I don’t like to talk to people first thing in the morning. I adore my dogs but not when I wake up. I just want to drink my tea (Earl Grey hot) and catch up on mindless tasks on the internet. If the weather is nice, I will sit on my front porch swing while I chase the cobwebs out of my brain.

I bought it when I still drank coffee but the thought is the same with my tea.

It takes my brain between 30 to 45 minutes to wake up enough to be social. My family knows to leave me alone. I try hard not to snap at them. Usually, the things that go through my head if someone wants to talk to me too soon is not what comes out of my mouth.

During this time, I don’t want to be anywhere near my family, my dogs or my God. Yup, you read that right. I don’t want to have anything to do with God when I first get out of bed.

No, there is not hidden sin in my life. No, I am not speaking heresy that I don’t want to communicate with God. I love him and know that he loves me unconditionally.

My natural body rhythms do not allow me to be social first thing in the morning. I am not one of those people who wake up with a song in their heart praising God. I don’t understand that. If I were to think about God in those first few minutes after I wake up, my thoughts would not include praise.  My thoughts would be something like this, ” Go away, I don’t want to talk to you right now.”

Well-meaning but misguided teaching

I used to feel bad about this. I thought there was something wrong with me.  I was told that I “should” spend time with God first thing in the morning. I was taught that since Jesus arose early in the morning for prayer, we should too. I felt like such a failure! I thought my relationship with God was flawed and wrong. Did God love me if I wasn’t doing this quiet time stuff right?

God did love me and does love me! He gently helped me to understand that what I was taught was well-meaning but misguided.  He explained that he wanted to spend time with me and he loves me. He created me and knows how I am made.

Yes, you do need to spend time in prayer and in his Word. But the details are up to the two of you. It doesn’t matter what time of day you talk to him in prayer, just do it. It doesn’t matter how long you spend in prayer. Some days your conversations will be long and others much shorter.  Spend time soaking in the Word. It doesn’t matter which version. Find what works for you.


Many nutrition experts say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I eat breakfast every day! But, I do it in a nontraditional way. I eat breakfast somewhere between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.  Years ago I gave up trying to eat breakfast in the first 30 minutes of my day. Lots of experts say this is the best way. It doesn’t work well for me. It upsets my stomach to eat that early.

In the same way, I have given up trying to talk to God the first thing in the morning. He didn’t create me to be able to have coherent thoughts right out of bed. My brain and my body needs some warm-up time before they work well. He knows that. I am okay with that because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

What about you?

Are you trying to have your time with God in a way that you were taught to and are finding it is not working? Change it up and try something different. Try a different time of day, location or version of the Bible. God did not create you to be like everyone else. He created you to be you.I would love to hear your thoughts!

Some days the views right before sunrise are beautiful.




The vine, the branches and the computer

I am the vine and you are the branches.
Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit,
for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5
I have been thinking about this verse lately. It says that apart from him I can do nothing! I can’t breathe, walk, think or anything else. The implications of this are staggering. I have pondered this verse many times. The last few days, He has made it clear to me that I have a long way to go before I understand this verse.

The dying computer

My computer has been dying a slow and painful death for the last few months. My talented IT guru, my husband, recommended that I save anything important to my Google Drive. And wait for it to die. It had symptoms for a long time but was usable until last week.
On Wednesday and Thursday of last week, it was clear that it was fading fast. In those two days, I was able to get it to boot and function once.
On Friday, my husband was able to diagnosis and repair the problem. He explained what was wrong. I didn’t understand it all except that it was big and bad. He had to create me a new profile. This meant that I had to re-create my desktop and sign into a bunch of things.
Early Saturday morning came and the computer worked fine. I started re-creating my computer. I thought the troubles were over. Later, we went out of town for the day so I didn’t touch the computer. Sunday was busy so the computer stayed off.
Monday morning came and I tried to use the computer. It started having the same symptoms as before he fixed the issue. I let him know the issue had returned. Later in the day, he found a disk drive error. He was able to repair it. I am happy to report that the computer has been working perfectly since then.
So with the whole computer disaster, I was without a working computer for about a week. We rely on our computers a lot around here. I found out the hard way how much of my life depends on this silly machine. I can’t tell you how many times I would say to myself, “I can’t do that, it is on the computer.” Even cooking dinner was a pain. We have started storing our recipes on a program called Pepperplate. My husband would have to go to Pepperplate his computer, email me the link and I would pull up the recipe on my phone.

God and computers

Yesterday God and I were talking. He reminded me of the verse in John 15:5. “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” He spoke very so gently and only He can do. He reminded me that I repeatedly said that I couldn’t do anything without my computer. He reminded me that I have lived in a time without computers and done fine so my words were not true. I was only inconvenienced without a computer. Without any hint of anger or condemnation, he asked, “Do you think of me that way?” Do you ever think that you can’t do anything without me?” The truth of his question hit my heart because many times a day I do things in my own strength. I almost never think that apart from him I can do nothing.
While the truth of my own thoughts stung for a moment that is not what I noticed the most. It was the overwhelming sense of His love and grace. I had a glimpsed the majesty of our God and I was in awe.
He is so great, grand and majestic. I got a glimpse of Jesus as he is described in Colossians 1:15-17
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by[f] him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
He holds everything together so apart from him, I can do nothing.
What about you? I would love to hear your understanding of this verse.

Still learning about blogging

I still have a lot to learn about working this program! I goofed this morning. I hit the publish button before I was ready. I needed to fix a few things before the post was ready for the world to see.  I thought it would resend the email out once I updated my post. I was wrong. In case you were wondering when the post was going to appear, here is the correct link. The Latest “Doings” at the Double Portion Ranch.  Thanks for your patience.

The Latest “Doings” at the Double Portion Ranch

I feel like I haven’t written in ages.  Nothing was wrong with life, just really busy. Writing was not a priority. Living life was. Spending time with God, family, and friends was important. Pull up a chair and read about the latest “doings” around the Double Portion Ranch.
My husband and I repaired our chicken coop. We built a new fire pit to burn our trash. We moved 150 cinder blocks in two days. Some of those blocks were moved many times. (Google says an average cinder block weighs between 30-35 lbs.)
We have 20 new chicks to add to our flock of 25. Right now, they are being raised in a dog crate on the front porch. Soon they will move into a larger coop inside our approximately 20 ft. x 30 ft. chicken coop. They should start laying eggs in the early fall of this year.
The Pyrenes puppies are now 5 months old. They are adorable and have stolen our hearts. They are learning the ropes to protect the sheep but are still very much puppies! If there is any mud on the property, they find it.

Snowball & Sugar


The emu chicks are growing like weeds. We have commitments from people that want to buy them. Yeah, we have sold all 5. We are making plans for them to be picked up. This should be fun because none of us, including the buyers, have ever caught a baby emu. Stayed tuned for that post.

Chicks are 2 1/2 months old.

We have worked on doing some spring cleaning of our front porch. There were leaves, dust, and debris from the winter that needed to be cleared away. We have a large covered porch; it is easy for clutter to accumulate. We took care of that. We have been enjoying sitting on the front porch swing in the evening. We watch the hummingbirds and fireflies until darkness falls.
We feel like God has said that we should “feed people”. It is a big goal with not much direction at the moment. We have hopes and dreams of what we would like to see. For now, we do what we can. In two weeks’ time, I made 6 loaves of bread and 13 dozen chocolate chip cookies. Some of it stayed here and some went to other people. We also hosted a sit-down spaghetti dinner for 11 people at our home. For some time, we have been donating to our local food bank. We are in the beginning stages of volunteering there a couple of Saturday mornings a month. We hope to be able to start in June.
I finished reading the entire Bible last week. This is the fourth year I have done this and it works well for me. I spend the first four(ish) months reading the entire Bible. I use a chronological reading plan; I read the books in the order that they were written. I don’t study; I make a few notes here and there. I read it like one would read a novel. Then I spend the next 8 months of the year studying topics that I noted while reading. While it might not work well for all, it is a cool process for me. I will do it again next year. I have started a verse by verse in depth study of 1 John.
I have written before about my plan vs. God’s plan. There have been many times in the last few weeks where I have wanted to write a blog post and have been stopped. He has said, “It’s not in the plan for today; just live life.” That is what I have done.
What about you? Where has life taken you the last few weeks? I leave you will a Corrie ten Boom quote that I can’t get off my mind because of the truth of it. “There is no panic in Heaven! God has no problems, only plans.”

Happy 4th Birthday Pistol!

I missed my sheep’s birthday by a few days for the blog post.  She was born on May 5, 2013. It was a Sunday morning and we were on the way to church. We were scheduled to be greeters that morning. We never made it to church that morning.

We were on the way to the car and noticed a group of sheep behind the house. One of the pregnant ewes was acting strangely. We went to investigate. It was obvious that she was in active labor. We were going to see a lamb being born. We had only lived here for a few months and had not yet seen a birth. We were excited.

This was a first-time mom. She was scared and had no idea what to do. She literally pushed out the lamb onto the ground and ran. She did not want to have anything to do with her baby. We tried to introduce the lamb to her. Sometimes, if you can get the lamb to nurse, mom will accept it. It wasn’t happening. So we became first-time lamb surrogate parents.

We had our first bummer lamb.`That is the correct agricultural term for a lamb that is raised either partially or completely by humans. Since we do not have a barn she was raised in the house in a dog crate. My older daughter and I took turns doing the required around the clock feedings. 

The same week, we acquired a 4-month-old Great Pyreness puppy. I didn’t want the dog but we had friends in desperate need. Our friends were in the military. He was within days of putting in his papers for retirement and received orders. They couldn’t take the puppy with them. They were moving from 5 acres to house in a subdivision. We took the dog. His name is Balto. He stole my heart. I can’t imagine life without him. He is important on our ranch.

I would never have made it through the first few months without Rachel’s help. She is an amazing surrogate sheep mom.

The rhyme goes, “Mary had a little lamb.” My little lamb grew up to be a beautiful ewe. Happy 4th birthday Pistol!



My Plans…

For I know the plans I have for you

Jeremiah 29:11

This morning I was putting some clothes in the dryer. Umm, the setting was wrinkle release. I dried them last night and forgot to take them out of the dryer. Of course, it was the load that had items in it that would wrinkle. I was talking to God while I was working. I asked Him to direct my steps today. I had several things that I wanted/needed to get done today but I wanted to do the things he had planned for me today. I said my prayer and got on with my day and didn’t think anything of it until…
This is the second version of this blog post. The computer froze and I had to restart it. I lost the entire entry. It was almost finished. I guess God had other ideas of what needed to be said. I can believe that or I can get upset about losing my work. I guess I know which is better. But, there is a big part of me that feels like I wasted my time.
I liked the previous blog post. This one is very different than the one I had planned. Maybe those words will be for another day.
Today, he is reminding me of the beginning of Jeremiah 29:11. It says, “For I know the plans I have for you”. He knows the plans! I asked to do what he wanted me to do today. I am a calendar person and I make “to do” lists. But he has a plan. We tend to think of God’s plan for our life. But we forget that he has a daily plan.
It is way too easy for me to plan out my day or my week with the things that need to be done. I am not saying that is a bad thing because we each have responsibilities. I am flustered when things don’t go the way I had planned. I could have been upset when the computer ate my blog post. I would have been if I had not remembered my prayer.
As I look at my emotional reactions the last few days, I know that I have not been content. I have made plans and they have not turned out that way. Dinner was way late last night and that bugged me. I had planned to have dinner ready at a reasonable hour but we didn’t eat until about 7:45. Hubby and I fed the animals. It took longer than it should have. We had to rescue an emu stuck in the garden area. Then we had to rescue a sheep that had his head stuck in the fence. I had planned to grill hamburgers for dinner. I lit the charcoal and went inside to prepare the meat. I went outside to check the coals and the fire had completely gone out. I lost about 30 minutes. Nothing major happened. All the animals were safe and we ate dinner. But things did not happen like I planned. I forgot that the plan is his not mine.
This morning, he reminded me that the plan is his with a frozen computer. What about you? Do you have the similar struggles? Let me know what you think.

Sometimes my days are as packed and out of focus as these ewes waiting to be sheared. Remember the plan is His.

Weep with those who weep

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep
Romans 12:15 (ESV)

This week

This has been a week of reaching out to friends that are remembering past tragedies in their lives. We surround our friends with love when the event happens. Then we go on with life and forget about the anniversaries. That is not a bad thing; it just is. Sometimes people don’t want or need anniversaries remembered. It is personal.
I remember my dad died in late August 1981. My sister was shot in a workplace shooting on July 23, 2003. My mother-in-law died on January 31, 2011. My mom died on July 2, 2015. Each of these has personal significance to me. It doesn’t matter to me if others don’t remember them but I do.
The three events that I remembered with friends were personal but also in the public eye. In my last post, 731, I remembered and gave honor to the Herrera family. April 17th was the two-year anniversary of their son’s suicide. Today, I turn to two other events that happened on April 19th.

April 19,1993

The first is the end of the Waco siege of the Branch Davidian compound on April 19, 1993. We were close friends with a cameraman from one of the San Antonio news stations. Our families went to the same church. Our daughters were the same age. We did things together as families. We would trade off babysitting for date nights. I don’t remember how long he was on location but it was longer than intended. Waco is about three hours north of San Antonio. It was supposed to be one day trip. I don’t remember if it was days or weeks he was gone but it was long and stressful.
I was a stay at home mom at the time, our older daughter was a little over a year old. I remember being glued to the television that morning. It seems like hubby was at home too. But that doesn’t make sense because it was a Monday. He would have been at work. Not sure either way. I remember seeing the compound go up in flames and thinking our friend was in harm’s way. Two years earlier we had watched the bombs in Desert Storm go off in an area where a friend was stationed. Many people died that day; our friend came home safely to his family.

April 19, 1995

Two years later on April 19, 1995, the Oklahoma City bombing happened. It purposely staged to happen on the same date as the Waco fire. I remember watching the scenes of devastation on the television. I wouldn’t know until many years later that a friend was in the middle of the chaos. I worked with my friend several years ago. We were close friends at the time. Now, we live in two different cities and don’t often talk. Every year on April 19th, I send her a message of remembrance and prayer. OKC is her hometown. She was an EMT on duty when the bombing happened. She worked her shift and quit her job soon thereafter. She has been divorced and is a cancer survivor. I have heard those stories. What I know about her time at the OKC bombing is in the paragraph that you just read. She doesn’t talk about it. It is important for me to tell her that I remember her and all the others like her that helped saved lives that day.

What about you?

You may not have friends that been affected by such public tragedies or you might. No matter, be there for your friends that need you on the anniversaries of times of grief. All it takes is a phone call, text or note saying that you remember and that you are praying for them. It means a lot. It is a tangible form of love.
Do you have dates in your life that it is important for others to remember? Did friends or family members come to your mind when you read this? Reach out to them. As always, I would love to hear your comments.