Thursday, January 31, 2008

M I A, not Mia...

Jer playing basketball
Friends from Canada

I am not missing in action, I am missing in inaction. I am dragging around, wallowing in my own crumbs...What the heck does that mean. Beats me, but I have been lax in my writing, not for lack of stuff to say, 'cause certainly God gives me reason to exude His praise or comment on His creation daily, hourly really. Nope, just laziness I guess. I have had a couple of relatively profound thoughts, a bit presumptious huh? Anyway, a couple, a few thoughts have wandered through my seething grey matter begging to be released into print; but alas, when the time comes to write I am just too darn tired. And the thought provoking ideas have vanished into mylan mush. Ha, Ha, that was funny.
God is so very good though. My chores are all finished for the morning. Even took Zulu for a walk up on the hill. Vet says a fifteen minute walk every day will help the swelling in her leg. Means I have one with a bad knee on stall rest: NO WALKING of any kind and one who needs walked every day to help heal her bad leg. Good thing our Good God allowed there to be Vets to keep it all straight for me. But my morning chores are done, I have dinner in the fridge, my dog is sleeping at my feet, yep on the couch so don't sit on it if you don't want dog cooties. Heh. I had a couple scrambled eggs for breakfast and they came out just how I like them; nice and yellow with not brown cripsy edges or anything. The phone only range four times while I was trying to eat them, so they were almost warm by the time I finished. Now I am down for a nap, early so theoretcially I can get up early and DO something. I am feeling at peace. Except my spell checker is not working today and I know Rob will find all my misspellings...I simply even after forty plus years of trying cannot spell and truthfully at this point I just do not care. Ahhh, that felt good to get off my chest. Now to nap. Jesus really makes me smile. 'Cause He loves me and I sure do not know why....

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Moon Beams

Tonight as I was closing up the barn after doing the chores, which today for some reason seemed more pleasant than usual, I had to turn back after turning out the lights and get my sweatshirt. I had tossed it somewhere and forgotten to grab it before heading out. It was dark out hence it was dark in the barn. I knew the general area where the wayward hood had been pitched but was not sure exactly where it lay. It was interesting because the overhead lights for the barn are not right near the door I use to come in and out of the barn. So once the lights are out I have to walk half way up the center aisle to turn them back on. The light from the bathroom, that is not really a bathroom, will shed some light into the hallway but not enough to find a lost sweatshirt. The moonlight peeks through the cracks in the walls, doors and thorough the rafters in the roof, again enough to light the way for basic stumbling around.
Standing in the shadows with soft worship music playing and horses munching their evening hay, a sweet peace invades my soul. I have just enough light to see my way in, and out. To find my shirt I flick on the overhead florescent lighting. I grab my lost garment, turn off the lights, and find my way back to the door.

It occurred to me how when I am feeling lost, or am in a difficult place for whatever reason God always provide enough of whatever is needed to make it through the darkness. Sometimes to my dismay, just enough, not more or less than is needed. In my impatiences I want the whole picture. I want the lights blazing and the whole barn lit up. All I really need is to get out of danger or get into a safe place. I feel like this thought is a bit ambiguous, but the notion seemed strong earlier. Just that sometimes we/I need to be content with just a lit up pathway, not a vision of the whole journey, destination, or future adventure. God only promises Grace for today. And His Grace is always enough.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pushing Through my Easy Life

Through what? I mean we/I have it made. Thirsty? Open the fridge; turn on the spigot. Hungry? Order takeout; pop something in the microwave. Too hot? Too cold? A little adjustment on the dial and my home becomes warmer or cooler. Heck, I can run the furnace and open a window if I want. I am living the good life. We, a few of the Kimmels, ate dinner at Cozumel's a restaurant up town, after church on Sunday. One of our favorite places to chow down; the food is great, big portions, served hot, and brought to your table by one of the kindest men I know. The owner-operator waits on tables, greets his guests and goes out of his way to make sure each diner feels welcome as well as satisfactorily stuffed.
Even as causal acquaintances we know he has experienced much personal tragedy in his life. As Drew was paying the bill this week I walked up on a very sober conversation. The outside temps this past Sunday did not rise much above ten degrees and with the wind the "felt like" temperature was much colder. Drew was getting a geography lesson on the trials of the poor in Mexico. He must have commented on how different the weather has been the last few years. You know, "I remember when I was a kid it snowed five feet and the wind blew both ways" Heh ha, you know how Drew goes on, but this was different. Our host was describing how it has gotten much colder in Mexico. Homes down there he said do not have furnaces and are not built for cold weather. In recent years the winter temperatures have been getting colder and colder dropping as low as zero in the moutians. He said, "it is very bad. People are dying." In lower lying areas temperatures in the thirty's are not rare. In a country we think of as being hot and dry, dessert even, I was shocked. Maybe not shocked, I wish I had been. But I was saddened. I could see the pain in the man's eyes as he talked about his homeland. A whole portion of a country unprepared for the frigid temperatures of a new thing called winter. As Americans we know that poverty is widespread in Mexico, but freezing to death was not something I had ever considered would be a problem.

How good I have it here, and how much I still complain, inwardly and outwardly, when I can get an ear. God have mercy on my ungrateful heart. Make me aware of the true troubles of others. Prod my feeble heart to pray to those who suffer. Call me to fast and pray for those I know personally who suffer real need and for those whose needs I know of but that but will most likely never meet. Our world is both very large and very small. Because I get to dine out after church I saw one man's suffering in another man's eyes. Do not allow me to quickly forget what I saw, what I heard described. Half a continent away lives a friend of a friend. My neighbor who I must love as myself. More than i love myself by the Grace of God.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Saturday, January 19, 2008

We all Like Sheep

My dad's sheep in the picture, he had to give them back to the folks he got them from. Woolly animals would not stay in their pen, kept going astray so to speak. He was unable to build a stronger bigger enclosure. A pen for their own protection, where they were fed, watered, cared for, loved; not content, they strayed. Again and again. In my dad's case it was his loss. Sadly, He and his wife had grown attached and had plans to breed the sheep for spring lambs, and have them sheared for the wool. Plus, they can be sweet pets. From God's perspective, as we read so often in the Word, we are the silly sheep who refuse to stay where we are safe, and fed, and protected...loved with a pure and sacrificial love. No, we wander off on our own; thinking we know of a better place. We sneak off on the advice of a liar and a cheat; our own sin and the temptations of the wily snake himself. Ahhh. If only we could see the boundaries have been set in pleasant places. The moat has been dug not so much to keep us in but to keep danger out. Our Father, our Shepard is so good and so kind. Please let us heed His warning and stay in his greenest ot pastures where quiet waters flow.

John is in his own room and doing well. He is frustrated with the inconvenience of it all and has had some significant pain from time to time. Janet said at one point he said his heart hurt. When questioned my the medical folks he said his heart was thirsty. John is always thirsty. He had just woke up for the first time or so and his sweet heart needed a drink. I spoke with Janet briefly, she is weary, and a bit teary, but relieved to have so much of the bad stuff behind them. It is possible they may even come home tomorrow. I think that is just incredible. God has sustained them and bore them up. He is more than able to carry them the rest of the way through, but let us not presume but continue to lift them all up so they might find rest and refreshment in the Living Waters of His sweet Spirit.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Talking the Walk of Grace

OK, now which of my fine friends is going to remind me that I did not mention once in my last several posts how Good our God is?! Wow, I am so slipping. Whine, whine; one of my pet peeves is whining. 'Just got done adjusting Jer on whining, and reading back over the last one, boy was I a whiner. God's mercy floods me daily and daily I whine about the mundane and immaterial. We/I walk in the Grace of God with every step I take, with every breath I breath, I should be talking, preaching, singing about His Mercy with every ounce of being. Are breath and breath spelled the same? My spell checker is not working, I want to get this right.

John Shilling is doing well. Resting, really resting as they have him fairly heavily sedated. Janet called me this evening and reported that all had gone well. The surgery itself lasted several hours but the procedure to fix the narrowed aorta should last only fifteen to twenty minutes. Janet thought she overheard a doctor say that John's took twenty-nine mintues to repair. Beause of the increased risk of puttiing him on a heart/lung machine they clamp the artery while they work on it. The surgon then must work as quickly as possible because the clamping cuts off the circulation to the lower extremities. Not good if this goes on too long. Janet says in the ICU they kept checking his feet and legs with both responding well. Her and her family were on there way back into the hospital after eating dinner when she called. I guess they were to spend a few more hours with him and then try and rest for a few hours. John will remain sedated utill sometime tomorrow. He is in a cardiac IUC one of four patients, and while they are aloud to stay with him as long as they like, because he reamains unconcious they are going to try and go back to the hotel for a few hours. Janet says if she can't stand it, she'll make Ed take her back to the hospital. I had to laugh the way she said it.
She is tired but walking in that Grace, incredible Grace. She is an example to me of a woman who trusts her God. Thought there was much anxiety to be had, she still remains steadfast in her confidence that God is near and holds fast to her little boy, and to her mother's heart.

Thanks so much for praying. We should remember as the next few days pass to continue to hold them up as the hospital can be a wearying place. Though no discharge date was given as of yet I believe they are hoping for early next week. Praise God. Also James and Lily are staying with Dave and Jer, doing well except for evenings when Lily cries for her mamma a bit. James is an excellent big brother so I know he will be a big help.

Tired of Sick

Today is John's surgery day, supposed to start around seven A.M. I haven't heard anything yet. I was supposed to go down this morning with Cynthia but with all the flu going on at our house we deemed it best if I stayed home. Jer was home sick from school Monday and Wednesday. Yesterday I spent the whole day sleeping, and eating ibuprofen to stave off the headache. Now, I am sitting here watching it snow while Drew sleeps in the couch. He was up sick last night, went to work for a while but now he is back home. The TV has been on for several hours which about drives me nuts, but whatever. I have the FOOD channel on. I swear I get fatter just watching Paula cook. She uses a stick of real butter in EVERYTHING she prepares.
Anyway, I am anxious to hear from Cynthia or someone.
I have chicken thawing in the kitchen, gonna make some soup.

Mia and boarding school...she should learn to stand still when she is supposed to, move forward when I want her too, allow me to sit in the saddle and go anywhere I want her too. She is at a Paso Fino farm so she should be taught to travel in the right gait, meaning she won't bounce me to death. Hopefully when she comes home I we will be able to travel the trails and have a blast. The folks where she is use the trails for much of their training, exposing her to all sorts of fun stuff, streams, roads, bikes, cars, kids; all the things that spook a horse. I did get an email from the little girl who is training her and she said she was doing real well. Drew is leaving, later...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mia's Gone to School

All went more than well. She loaded OK, after twenty or so plus minutes. Ned was a big help. He actually led her into the trailer. We just took it real slow and let her move forward as she felt comfortable. A large handful of horse cookies and a bucket of feed helped lure her up the ramp, but once she decided she was going on, on she went. Now, once she was on and closed into the on board mini-stall she was not happy; tore the hay bag down and nearly pawed a hole in the floor. Once we got moving she settled right in and only made a fuss when we stopped to pee and coffee up. Unloading was a breeze and she settled right into her boarding school stall. Made friends with her neighbors and was immediately spoiled by the gang of twelve year old girls hanging out at the stable. I think she will have a grand time. I am beat. Nite all. Nite Mia. Be a good girl.

Mia Goes to School

We are off to Ohio this afternoon to take Mia to a trainer. I am soooo excited. I will miss her tons though. I will post pics of the trip if I remember my camera.

What I started saying yesterday...not until we venture into the scary unknown can we have victory. As long as we sit on the bench or in the bleachers, my usual observation spots we not only miss the real action but also the rewards that come with a job done. Does not even have to be well done. Getting off the bench has rewards all its own. God cannot use us on the sidelines. We must get into the game.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Super Shooter

Congratulations Jeremiah!
Last night at their second game of the season Jer scored two baskets. Wow! He was so excited, and the crowd went wild, a crowd of some odd fifteen parents or so, but wild we went. Fear has held him back, fear of missing the round red ropey target. OK, that was corny. Cute but corny. He has struggled with his lack of athletic ability amongst a team of younger, lighter, more agile peers. Last season was his first year to play organized sports before a crowd. Now riding horses competively could be sorta the same thing, but that is just about you and your horse, no worries about invoking the ridicule of a bunch of ten year olds you attend school with every day. Lately he has been dribbling, passing, and coming up with the ball on defense much more than last year. Last year he was also one of the younger players. Currently he is the oldest, and the tallest kid on the team. The coach designated him as team captian, a job he did not seek out or desire. He knows their our guys on the team who are better players and more knowledgable about the game. But, last night he came into his own.

Isn't that how it is for all of us. When we step out in faith into the unknown fires.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Warm Weather Woes

What on earth could be woeful about today's wonderful weather? Warm winds whistled over the crusty mud, some places almost beginning to dry, almost. Bright sunshine teasing winter white skin. Away from the calendars, or before five thirty in the evening, one might have mistaken today for a spring day. The time I got to spend outdoors was greatly enjoyed, and my gratitude to our Lord was acknowledged. Still...the unseasonal heat wave wreaks havoc on livestock and humans alike. Horses are delicate creatures when it comes to digestive health. The sharp ups and downs of the thermometer confuses and stresses the equine mental and physical makeup. Stress affects their digestive systems and which can lead to colic. Colic is the scariest word in a horse owners vocabulary. Well, maybe not the scariest word but one of the top five. Acute surgical colic is what brought down both my mares this summer and fall. Cool woke up ill after a bout of crazy weather changes. No vet would testify to any medical research or data that supports a definite connection between weather and colic, but mine and others have indicated anecdotal evidence supports owners claims. I guess I could add my story to the list, with Cool anyway. Ginger was another story, though I do believe stress played a major role in her disease too.

So as wonderful as today was, and I enjoyed it immensely, I have to admit my nervousness. Since we lost Cool we have begun a new preventative feed change. Whenever we know the temps will or have dropped or risen dramatically over a short time period, we mix a warm bran mash with the horse's morning or evening feed. Working like bran does, it keeps their digestive track moving and hopefully prevents any colic trouble. What I did not mention was that colic is digestive but largely and small intestine centered, and generally simply means abdominal pain. The seriousness of it can vary from a very uncomfortable horse to one that is thrashing and rolling in extreme pain. The true causes are unknown but may number into the hundreds and rarely does the vet or the owner discover to a certainty the culprit. Most cases of colic can be handled by an owner with vet phone assistance, or farm call. Rarely does the animal need to go the a hospital and even less frequently does your animal require surgery. Whoa, I did not intend for this to turn in to a colic tutorial. Anyway, colic's bad, and this wonderful weather may be a factor some times. That being said, I am going to bed. Like all grand gifts from our Lord, was must be remembered is that our eyes must be on Him. Our joys must be acknowledged as Heaven Sent, and our sorrows laid at the foot of the Cross. We need the sunshine and the rain. Both are blessings, both can produce joy or pain; Jesus is Lord over all of it.

And oh, I have not heard from Janet; I should have called her. I will get an update early tomorrow. Thanks for praying.

John's MRI

Today is the day they are taking John for the MRI; next week on the 17th is the surgery. So, just pray all goes well, he is calm. I guess he is beginning to get a bit fearful. More importantly, he has been suffering from more frequent symptoms. Nosebleeds, extreme fatigue. Feeling crappy. I just want to make sure we pray for him and his parents and siblings, that fear stays far away, healing comes, and/or the surgery goes well and without any complication or problems. Thanks didn't write last night and wanted to get that out there today, since I had the dates wrong.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Ratatouille with Jer

Watching a movie with Jer, Drew is in Harrisburg at the PA Farm Show. He went with a good friend of ours. So with Ned in town at his new digs Jer and I are home alone. We spent extra time in the barn. I had to doctor up my two black horses. Zulu's old wound on her hind leg has been acting up, it was quite a nasty cut originally, I thought it was all healed up, but seems like it has reopened and gotten sore again. I cleaned it up, disinfected it, and have been keeping it wrapped. All that takes extra time and energy. With Dory needing her leg hosed down for fifteen minutes every day twice a day, I am thinking I am running a hospital instead of a stable. I guess it is the same either way. I am caring for those I love. My baby Mia should be going to Ohio this weekend and I will be down to a simple six horses. I am looking forward to an easier time of it. I remember back when I had only two, or a few horses. Life was much simpler, less work, and certainly less heartbreaking. I am not sure how to reconcile with my losses. As I am said before I know they are not human, but my animals are such a part of my life. They are large animals you know. I am getting sleepy and my creativity is waining. Maybe there are no words to say what I am feeling.

Oohh, the power plant is making a really loud noise. I DO NOT like living so close to it. It almost sounds like it blew up or something. Sometimes it blows off steam or something. I sounded like a tornado, you know like a train in the back yard. Over now, but very creepy. VERY! Tonight was the loudest I have ever heard it, and all the windows and doors are closed.

Like I was saying before, its not like I am getting rid of any of the horses I have, but sometimes I miss the easier days. Between breaking my collar bone and getting the thyroid trouble this spring, I wear out so much quicker than in the past. The past week I have had the whole bruised rib thing to contend with, though I am thinking it is on the mend. Problem is when I am in the barn I think I should be doing stuff in the house; when I am in the house I am thinking about all the stuff in the barn I should be doing. I do need to figure out a plan to get something done somewhere so I am not so overwhelmed all the time.

I want us all to start praying regular like for John Shilling, Janet's middle child, younger son. Unless we get the miracle we hope for he will be having open heart surgery later this month, on the seventeenth I believe. He has problems with his aorta artery. Not quite a blockage but a tightening, or closing of a section of that main artery that runs from the heart. I love him like a grandson/nephew depending on the day and how old I feel that day. Of course Janet calls me grandma Sandy, so I guess that tells the tale. Maybe I can get her to post the link for the medical site that describes the problem so we could all pray more specifically. I have it somewhere. I can look too I guess...

Something happened in my family this weekend that I am going to have to deal with, can't go into it. I know that is cheap, but I need prayer and wisdom. I hate confrontation, or adjusting someone else. I don't suppose there are any of us that love either. Huh? But I will be held accountable for what I do not stand up for. Can I end with a preposition like that? 'course grammar rules are not typically one of my concerns are they. Just my little way to make light and change the subject. I need to start laying down some of the stuff that stresses me. Like this thing I have to confront "someone" on. The work in the house and barn, with moving and all I have to cut our possessions, junk down by like sixty-plus percent. No pressure there. OK, now I AM rambling. Good nite dear friends.
Oh, great little movie by the way.

Fisherman John at Grandma Sandy's pond

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Finding Friday

Hannah and Dory riding in the arena, on a warmer day...

New briefs: Ned has moved into his apartment in Indiana, for this semester anyway. Wednesday he packed is pickup and we loaded up my car and filled his tiny place with Ned stuff, from floor to ceiling; which by the way is a short six feet four inches from the floor. Tall folks need not enter standing upright. Ha! But it is just perfect for him, and very close to campus. I miss him something awful...honestly wonder who came up with that expression, makes almost not sense anyway. But it is a bit quieter, and I miss his laughter and smiles.
Vet was here today to do the exam for Mia's vet certificate so she can travel to "school" in Ohio. Dr. McFaddin, also examined Dory's bum leg discovering a small chip on her right front kneecap, on her growth plate, which should be OK... in four to six months. So I am already racking up the vet bills in 2008 and it is only the third of January. I pray this is a less expensive year. With building the new house and all, I cannot afford another year like last year. Some of the kids will have to find new homes. But who? How on earth to you make a decision like that now. The good news with Dory is she does not need surgery and she will be sound enough to breed in April, even if she cannot be ridden. Sheww. I think the vet thought I was gonna cry when she started explaining about Dory. Later we went over Cool's necropsy report and discussed possible explanations for why she go sick. There are a few theories but nothing truly conclusive. I do know that God does knows, and that His allowing this will be used for my good; pain is the great persuader of our need for Him and His grace.
I included Hannah on Dory because she has been the only one to ride her since she came here and we have been calling her "Hannah's horse" I am sad for her mostly. They work well together. Both graceful and lean, with a touch of earthy elegance. I am praying for Dory's quick recovery for both their sakes.
OK, Jer has a basketball game tomorrow afternoon, during nap time of course.
Rob, so many places, so many miles, I pray God's peace floods you often and fills you with a sense of His goodness and grace. God is using you mightily in the live of those you touch, know His pleasure is on your labor.
Janet thanks for commenting on the cat, what a hoot that was. Welcome back.
Vic, always the voice of encouragement and confidence in the wisdom of the Lord. And a few good jabs at Rob.
I read my Bible today. Psalm 23 and also 25. Good words. Meditating on the meaning of quiet waters or "stillwaters" as I like to call this little horse farm of mine.
A place of rest and refreshment the note said. Amen to that.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy Baby Pics

Sounds like we are all in dire need of some of Sandy's happy pictures. Oh dear, Drew is upstairs, I will have to get back to you. He will want the light off, but I do have a good picture. I am uploading it from my phone right now, will try to get it up asap.
I call this one "Cat in a Bowl"