Christian, Grace, Testing Your Faith, Walking by Faith

Everything’s A Test

Everything’s a Test

My mother used to say that when you squeeze a toothpaste tube, toothpaste comes out. What she meant was, what is in your heart will come out when pressure is applied.

It’s a simple concept, but how often do you really understand it. Are we surprised when a burst of anger, hurtful talk, lies, or cruelty comes out of our mouths? Under pressure, what is in our hearts comes out of our mouths and sometimes it comes out in something other than words.

Pressure tests what is in our hearts.

After people have been married for a number of years, they often develop little codes to tell each other something. Tim and I have several of those little intimacies. We sometimes ask each other, “Do you think this is a test?” We always answer, “Everything’s a test.” The exchange comes from a play Tim was a few years ago called “The Journey”. At one point in the story one of the characters says to the other, “Do you think this is a test?” The answer was, “Everything’s a test, Snedge.”

The Lord will test our hearts to see what is in there. The Bible is full of stories of people’s hearts being tested. Just this morning I read the story about Joseph testing his brothers when they came to buy food from him in Egypt.

Abraham was tested.

Jacob was tested.

David was tested.

Solomon was tested.

Mary was tested.

Peter was tested.

Paul was tested.

Some of these people passed their tests, some of them didn’t.

Everyone is tested.

The ultimate question is not whether you passed the test or not, but what did you do after you failed a test?

Paul says there is a godly sorry that leads to repentance.

2 Corinthians 7:10

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

James 1:2-3

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

1 Peter 1:6-7

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 4:32

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

3:12-17

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

When the pressure is applied, may what comes out be full of grace and mercy. Here is a remedy for you. When your tube gets squeezed, may this be what shows up.

tube

 

Alaska, Christian, Fishing, Walking by Faith

Two Crows Came

TTC Cover

I wrote Two Crows Came more than 40 years ago. Jonni Dolan was my name then. To read the story of my name change click here: https://gracegloria.com/2016/11/14/the-lord-knows-my-name/

 

Recently I put up a display in our store here at Grace Harbor Farms.

The display shows four generations in my family of books published:

Four Generations Books

 

 

My mom’s book “Help Me Be a Good Girl, Amen”

Mine, “Two Crows Came”

My Daughter Jasona Brown’s “Stone by Stone”

And My Granddaughter, Ryleigh, age 14, illustrated a children’s book called “Tristan, Dylan and the Dream Machine.

 

I have started writing again. Eventually, I hope, there will be four “books” of my life Faith Walking.

  • 1949-1971
  • 1971-1974—The Two Crows Came story of my first four years fishing in Alaska
  • 1976-1996—My first 20 Years as a Christian
  • 1997-present—My marriage to Tim and the Grace Harbor Farms story

 

As I work on the re-write of Two Crows Came, I would like to share it on this blog.

Two Crows Came

Chapter One

 

“Harley’s here, Bob,” I called to my husband as I watched the lank figure scurry across the yard. Harley Dolan stomped up the porch.  I watched him shake like a dog coming out of the water.  He darted in and slammed the door as if to blockade the cold driving rain behind him.  He peeled his black frame glasses from his face by the wire replacing the bow on one side, then he set the glasses on the kitchen table with the care it required to handle them in their fragile state. As he crossed his arms to pull his wet sweater over his head, I noticed both of his elbows sticking through the sleeves.  The neckband raveled away from his throat.  He sent water all over the room as he shook the sweater right side out, then hung it over a chair and poked his plaid shirt into his pants.

“Got any coffee, Mama san?” he asked, reaching for the pot.  Harley’s thick black hair stood out from his head at cross angles.  With one swipe he knocked it down while taking his mug from the rack.  He brought the cup half-full to the table.  I asked him once why he drank only half cups of coffee. He explained that a full cup would spill on a tossing boat.

Harley un-wadded a gray handkerchief and began to wipe his glasses, easing his skeletal frame into a wooden chair.  He wiped and wiped as if he could change the wet scene outside by drying his lenses.  Finally satisfied, he propped the good side of his glasses on his left ear, wrapped the frame over the bridge of his narrow nose, and coiled the wire side around his right ear.

“It sure is wet around her in February,” he said.  “You know, a fellow ought to be in Arizona or Hawaii in winter.” Bob came around the corner to join us. “Grab me a can of milk there, will you, Bobby?”

Bob’s trim, muscular build and easy charm had made him “Most Desirable” in high school. He had been the upperclassman athlete all the younger girls had had a crush on. As he took a can of milk from the cupboard and handed it to his uncle, a white smile slashed over his mouth and through his blue eyes.

“How’s it going, Harley?” he asked.

“Not too bad, considering this lousy weather. Seems I never get out of the rain. I get rain all summer and all winter, too.” A pocketknife appeared in Harley’s hand. He poked one hole in the can and pumped quirts of milk into his coffee. He shivered.

“I’m a Cancer, you know. Cancers like to be warm and dry.” His chest receded as he huddled around the cracked mug.

Harley had high cheekbones, a pointed chin, and a bushy black mustache that hid his bad teeth. By looking at his elfish face I would not have been able to guess his age, though I knew him to be thirty-nine. The black stubble of his beard contrasted sharply with his winter-white skin. Deep set and dark, eyes were quick and penetrating. I sometimes felt that they could read my thoughts before I thought them. But the sharpness of his glare carried a light, a sparkle projecting from the inner knowledge that irony would ultimately prevail.

“When do you leave, Harley?” I asked, watching rivulets race each other down the pane.

“Oh, not till June first or so.” He fumbled through his pockets for his cigarettes. Finding them, he plucked one from the side of mutilated pack, dangled it from his mouth, and snapped a match head with his thumbnail.  He didn’t like paper matches. He said his finders were too clumsy to use them, so he carried wooded matches loose in his shirt pocket.

He drew deeply on the cigarette, then exhaled the smacked and words, “Yeah, and Bobby, you should go, too.”

“Shoot, Harley. I’d like to, but I can’t run all that way. My boat is just too small. I can’t even carry enough fuel for more than a day.”

Harley pursed his mouth and picked a speck of tobacco from his lip. Studying it, he said, “I could tow you up there.”

Bob flopped back in his chair. He pushed the white fisherman’s cap back. He ran his hand over his forehead. For one of the few times in his life, Bob was speechless.

I was speechless.  I could hardly believe what I had just heard. Each spring Harley headed north to fish in Southeast Alaska. Bob had fished up there with him as a teenager before he had been drafted. Bob and I got married while he was in the Army and had just returned to our home town of Blaine, Washington—with our baby daughter and Bob’s dreams of fishing again.

A tiny border town, Blaine is huddled in the corner to the continental United States blocked in place by the waters of Puget Sound and the Canadian border. Many of the Alaskan fisherman spend the winters in Blaine.

“Wow, Harley, I hardly know what to say.”

“I’ve thought about Mama san and baby, too,” Harley said, stroking his mustache. “I know of an abandoned cabin at Point Baker. I’m sure they could stay there while we’re fishing.  We could check it out when we get there and then they could fly up and join us. You interested?”

“You bet I’m interested!” Bob said.

Since I had known Bob, clothing could excite him more than to talk, think and plan about fishing “up north”. His life’s dream was to become an Alaskan fisherman on his own boat.

We talked far into the night. I heard again the stories I knew so well of the places with the fascinating names—Hole-in-the-Wall, The Eye Opener, Cape Decision, God’s Pocket—and the people—Hard Rod, Flea, Z, and Smokehouse George. The Harley told a story I hadn’t heard before, one that would return to me years later as I thought about Harley.

“There is this guy up there name Bill Love, “Harley began. His exaggerated gestures indicated that he was moving into his element—late night. Harley rarely got up before sunset and slipped back to bed before dawn. He was nocturnal, like owls and certain other predators.

“Fine guy, Bill,” Harley continued. “Well one day he was sitting there on his boat when this crow flew in to land on the float and missed it. Crazy bird thought the scum build up next to the float was solid.  He was flopping and splashing and would have drowned, but Bill took pity on him and pulled him out.  The bird hopped a few times, then just sat there. You wouldn’t believe what happened then. Right while Bill stood there watching that crow, the whole sky filled up with crows, hundreds of them.  The screamed in and landed all over—on the dock, on Bill’s boat, on the other boats, everywhere. They were all screaming and yelling and carrying on, with Bill and the wet crow right in the middle of it!  Bill started in to hollering back at them. ‘Hey, go on! What’d I do? I only tried to help! Shut up, now!’ Then that wet crow just fell over dead. As soon he did, the other crows flew away. Dead! Can beat that? Bill said he reckoned those crows just pain sentenced that crow to death, so he died. Bill said he was mighty glad the crows didn’t pass judgement on him!”

As the night wore on and the talk continued, I excused myself to go to bed. What do crows have to do with living and dying, I wondered. Strange that one should die like that. I let the thought pass as I prepared for bed, my mind whirling with the impact of Harley’s invitation.

“I lay in bed listening to Bob and Harley talking in the other room.  I wondered how I had come to this. As a child growing up in California, I had wanted to be a horse rancher or a vet. But now, a fisherman’s wife? Old Mr. Higgins, my high school counselor, would have swallowed his teeth if I’d written “Fishwife” as my life’s ambition.

This new life promised primitive conditions, wilderness, bad weather, and hard work. Was southeast Alaska the place for a young mother and her child? The spirit of adventure planted in me by my missionary grandparents, and my mother, who had been raised in China. It never occurred to me that I shouldn’t go. I was twenty-one and nothing couldn’t be done. I had no way of knowing what would happen in the years to come—the bonanzas and disasters, the torrents and the droughts, the breakdowns and the successes, the births and the deaths, but that first spring, I was ready for whatever adventure lay ahead. I felt kinship with the gold miners, explorers and misfits who had been drawn to Alaska before me.

 

Chapter Two

I had met Bob the summer after my junior year in high school when my family had come to Blaine to visit my grandparents. Bob was different from other boys I had known. At eighteen he had foresight, imagination, and energy. After a couple of weeks of dating him, I decided to stay in Blaine for my last year of school.

The following summer he began to teach me what life would be like as the wife of a fireman—I went fishing with him. His boat was a gillnetter. In Washington state the gillnetters fish only at night, so the first time I went out we left the Blaine harbor in the early evening, prepared to fish until dawn.

Bob’s boat, the Jonni Ann, was a bow-picker. On a bow-picker the front deck is the work area. The net is placed in the water and picked out of the water over the bow. The house was in the stern. The house amounted to a box six feet long and wide and three feet high. In the front of this box, a hole large enough to crawl through served as the entry. Inside, the engine clanked and smoked, completely exposed. This is where I was to spend the night while Bob caught fist outside.

“Hey, Bob. Isn’t this rather dangerous will all these belts and things spinning in here?” I was afraid that one pitch of the boat would throw me into the engine to be mangled.

“Sure, it’s dangerous,” he assured me. “Just stay away from it.”

Stay away from it! How far away from a marine engine can you get inside a six-by-six box?

Bob cast off and out to sea we went. I had never been on a boat at night, and being a non-swimmer, I was nervous. That water looked so black, deep, and cold. After an hour at top speed, about fifteen knots, we reached the fishing grounds. There Bob strung the eighteen-hundred-foot net into the water, a process called “setting.” After he had finished setting, he shut off the engine.

“What are you doing?” I asked, trying to sound more casual than I felt.

“Now we drift,” he said.

“Drift?”

“Right. Drift.”

“Oh.” I had no idea what “drifting” was, but I soon learned that we “drifted” until it was “time to pick.” Somehow, according to the tide, wind, and whatever else he attended to, Bob knew when it was “time to pick.” Then he drummed the net back onto the large reel in the front of the boat.

The night passed quickly. Between setting and picking we talked while Bob kept track of our position. He impressed me with his confident seamanship and amazed me because he seemed to need no sleep. Early in the morning I curled up as far from the engine as possible and thought about my helpless position on a tiny boat in the black of the night. But then, Bob was the reason I had stayed in Blaine and I was anxious to show him that I would live in his world. Somehow I knew that we had a future together.

Eventually I must have fallen asleep because I awoke to hear him yelling, “Jonni! Hey, Jonni! Get up. The wind’s come up. Jeez, it’s really blowing!”

Sleepy-eyed, I stuck my head out of the crawl hole and got slammed by a face-full of seawater. Waves and spray crashed over the boat each time we pounded into another sea. Bob stood at helm and lowered his head for each wave as it washed over him.    “Sit in the doorway!” he yelled. “You’re going to have to block the water from the engine.”

Since the crawl hole had no door, he was right-the water could wash over the exposed engine and drown it. Even with my limited knowledge, I knew that without an engine, we would be in trouble, drifting without power in the storm.  I dutifully took my place at the hole, sitting on the box that held the fish we had caught, to act as a wave-breaking device to protect the engine. All the long way back to port as we bucked into the wind and waves, I blocked the door, lowering my head for each wave, my body making the sacrifice and taking the punishment the engine could not endure.

My first experience with gillnetting found me coming into the harbor cold, wet, hungry and tired.  I could have been scared off of this life, but Bob was the man who had wanted me. I was willing to do anything to keep his attention. It worked. We were married a few months later. The year was 1967. I had just graduated from high school.  Bob had been drafted. We had a quick wedding in Blaine between boot camp and his assignment in Virginia.

Bob spent his whole tour of duty in Virginia. I joined him there. Our daughter, Jasona, was born there about a year before Bob was discharged.

As soon as he was out, Bob started getting ready to go fishing in Alaska with his uncle Harley.

After my initiation, the prospect of fishing in Alaska in the same tiny boat did not scare me. In fact, I was probably too willing because when Bob decided to build the new house for the Jonni Ann in our living room, I hardly noticed the shavings and the sawdust.

As he hurried to be ready to go by June first, Harley was always at hand. A procrastinator, he put off his own work, or avoided it altogether when he could.  Instead, he harassed Bob. Harley did not like square corners or things that lined up straight. Fastidiousness drove him crazy. When Bob got ready to attach his license to the side of his newly painted cabin, Harley snatched it away from him and slapped the it on crooked. Laughing like a troll successful at a dirty trick, he danced off.

Early in May we visited Harley on his boat, the Hansena. In less than a month he had to leave. I really did not know how Bob could be ready by then. He had to prepare the nets, finish the inside of the little house, paint and repair the hull, and get the engine in top shape. Harley would be doing the same things, I assumed.

The Hansena was a conventional wood boat with work deck in the stern. She had a trunk cabin, which means that the living quarters were below decks with only a small pilothouse on the deck level. Harley was down below.

“Hey, Harley. What are you up to?” Bob called as we stepped aboard. Jasona, not yet two years old, held my hand. There was barely room for all of us in the pilothouse. We squatted to see below. Light struggled for entry through a single dirty-gray porthole.

“Oh, hey, Bobby. How’s it going? I’m trying to figure out how to cover this blasted engine. Darn thing sticks out two feet. You supposed you could build something around these pulleys for me?”

“Boy, I don’t know, Harley. I am really pressed for time. I’ve still got to cover my own engine and my nets aren’t hung yet either.”

My eyes adjusted to the light. As they talked and my vision cleared, I could see Harley sitting in the middle of his galley. His arm lay across the gas stove. He leaned against the sink where a cast-iron frying pan, coffee cups, and utensils collected green mold on whatever had remained on them since the last meal fall before. Next to him, on the floor, a garbage bag overflowed with paper plates, oil-soaked rags, cracker boxes, and apple cores. The locker he sat on had no lid. Inside it I could see rusted cans of condensed milk and other unidentifiable cans that had burst spreading their contents over the sides of the locker. Around the engine—across the pulleys where a person could lose a hand or a foot when the engine was running—and under the pilothouse floor was the bunk.  Last year’s sleeping bag was still in it, soaked through to the foam rubber mat with rain and, I supposed, sea water that leaked freely through the deck above. The walls had been once been painted white, but engine oil and fish slime has splattered and sprayed them to a greasy gray.

My head began to swim—I had to get some fresh air. Taking Jasona on my arm, I retreated outside. The net had not been removed from the reel. Seaweed and scrap fish had been wound on with it. Debris littered the decks. Everywhere I looked there seemed to be some other piece of twine holding something else together.

This guy has got to be crazy, I thought. Nobody could clean up this place enough to live in. Clutching my young daughter so she would not be contaminated by I didn’t know what, my thoughts ran away with me. I wanted to ride up to Alaska on the boat with men, although I hadn’t told them that. But I sure didn’t want to tackle this mess! How could he ever be ready to go? And how could he expect to be able to tow us the six hundred miles to Alaska? This thing did not look as if it could get out of the harbor!

“Yeah, that’s great. I could do that,” Harley said as he and Bob came out on deck. He lit a cigarette, passed his pack to Bob, and rested his foot on the rail.

“Well, Mama san. Time’s getting short. You ready?”

“Ready? How’re you going to be ready to go? This place is a mess!” I answered.

Giggling his trollish, “Tee, hee, hee,” Harley said. “never could see cleaning up something I didn’t need right away. But I’ll be ready.  I’ll be ready. Just you don’t worry yourself about that. But, let’s go get dinner. Then I can start.”

As we walked back up the floats, I turned to look again at the Hansena. I looked up at the mast to the maze of lines and stays I would come to know as “rigging”. There, upside down, dangled a featherless rubber chicken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blessing, Christian, Walking by Faith

Yesterday

Yesterday was Thursday, one week after Thanksgiving.
That week was packed with people, and joy. This week was packed with work and ministry in Grace Harbor International.
At about noon, the sun came out after several days of rain, pouring rain. I thought it would be finally be the time to make a Bellingham run for groceries at Costco.
But, as I got ready to go, I felt a check. I felt confused, unable to focus, unable to decide WHAT I should do next, and there was definitely a feeling of “doing”. I have been on an adrenaline drive for two weeks, unable to sleep well, feeling that there are two many things to do, too many responsibilities, no certain path.
So for the second time this week, I turned around before I left for Costco. The first time was two days before when I was dressed to go and felt I should not—also with some sense of confusion about what I SHOULD do. That day was the day Lord ministered to someone through me. If I had left, I would have missed it.
So, anyway, I decided since the weather was nice I should take the dogs for a walk. They had not been out in a couple of weeks. After I got them in the car, the question was, “Where shall I go?” I had been inclined to head for Hovander Park, but I thought “No, I’ll go to Semiahmoo.” (Semiahmoo is a spit in the northwest corner of Washington State. Salt water is on both sides. There is a resort at the north end, a park at the south end.)
Semiahmoo Spit
What a beautiful day it was. The tide was higher than I had ever seen it, within a foot or two of the vegetation on the shore. There was almost no sand to walk on—the rocky beach completely covered in salt water. The dogs and I started down the shore on the west side of the spit. The dogs were delighted!
I soaked in the beauty. As I walked I began to feel a deep sadness, the familiar heart ache of regret about not having the Drayton Harbor Road* house anymore, and the loss of beauty where I live. By the time I reached the end of the spit, I had allowed my broken heart to feel the pain. My steps slowed, I grieved. I looked at the new townhouses being built taking in the views and the pain went deeper. I was in deep sorrow, longing, loss.

 

On the way back up the spit, I again took the dogs on the west side. I debated about going all the way to the car on the east side, but I crossed the street just before the picnic area. I was praying, listening, and the verse in my mind was, “Why so downcast O my soul?. . .” I couldn’t think of the next words, but my thoughts continued with, “you will yet see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” I thought about David writing those words. Was he thinking of “the land of the living” as the land where there is no more dying? No more loss? Or was he thinking of here, where we first live, and then die? I didn’t know, but the words were so familiar.
Then as I came around the bend, I saw this.
Hope and the cross
Note the small rock higher up.
hope-in-the-rock-e1543594176698.jpg

I was stunned.

I went to the car and got my phone to take the pictures. I wondered if the stones would still be there when I got back!
Who had done that? I don’t know, of course, but Holy Spirit does. He put those stones of remembrance there for me to see just at the right moment.
A few hours later another gift arrived for me, via my friend, Christie. Is is a book by Jonathan Cahn titled, The Book of Mysteries.  I opened it at random. The page was about pruning.
Prune Thyself, page 257
“And what is the purpose of pruning?” “Pruning removes the branches from a tree that hinder its fruitfulness or its well-being, to allow it to become as fruitful as possible.” “Pruning, therefore, is critical to living a fruitful life in God, so God prunes the lives of His children. But in order to live a fruitful life, you must also be part of the process. You must learn also how to prune yourself.” . . .
“And this here is a dead branch, once fruitful but now detrimental to the tree’s health. Any action or expenditure of energy in your life that produces no fruit, even if it once did, is a dead branch. You must prune it off.”
Wow.
Just wow.
*I had known that house since before I was born. I tell people I was practically conceived in that house, since my mother lived there when she got married. My first husband and I bought it from my grandfather’s estate when he died in 1980. I had lived there since my marriage fell apart in the 1990’s. I opened a bed and breakfast there in 1996. Tim and I lived there when we got married. We sold it in 2005 in order to move our business to where it is now on the Birch Bay Lynden Road. I will post the whole story of that house one of these days.

 

 

EPSON MFP image

 

this-old-house
My mom painted this picture.
Psalm 43:5 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Uncategorized

Country Post Office

Two very fun things happened the other day when I went up to the new farm property in Bangor.

The first has to do with the post office there. This is the view from the entry to the PO. It is in a modular building.

IMG_1811

I had gone there to get myself a Post Office Box. When I got there I found a note on the door that said the office was closed for lunch. It would be open again at 1:30, about a 45 minute wait. So I got a snack at the Bangor Grocery Store across the street—about a 500 square foot store with a nice young man named Nikita behind the desk. As I waited in the post office parking lot, I noticed that all the people who came to check their mail (about 5 vehicles, I think) were driving pick up truck like rigs. The last one was the one with the cattle trailer in the picture above. There were beef cattle in the back, and a lady driving the truck. You can just see my Subaru under the tree on the other side of that rig. I felt quite at home; at least, I was driving a four wheel drive vehicle and it wasn’t really clean!

When I got into the counter in the Post Office, I met Marjorie. She is about my age with long grey hair in a pony tail—definitely a 60’s survivor. She was a little suspicious of me at first, I think. But when I got closer she probably noticed that I had a Leatherman on my belt, so I must be all right. We started to fill out the information for my PO box rental but she sent me back to the car to get my vehicle registration as part of my ID to get the box.

When I got back inside another lady was talking to Majorie. I found out her name is Nona. She was talking to Majorie about a 1400 pound sack of oats someone had left with her (I think Nona might run the local feed store.) Anyway she had to get rid of the sack because there were rat droppings around it. She said the feed is perfectly clean so she wondered if Marjorie’s husband would like to have it for his horses. As they discussed this, the lady who was driving the truck with the cattle trailer came in. She was younger than me, dressed like a ranch owner and exuded confidence. All four of us starting talking about cattle, horses, and dairy cows. The rancher had just sold a bunch so she didn’t need the oats for finishing the cattle, Marjorie wasn’t sure if her husband would want it for the horses, but I took Nona’s number in case Todd might like it for the dairy cows. This was a great meeting of four ladies in a country post office! I loved it! I would never have been part of such a conversation in most of the post offices I have been in.

Then I went back to my car and found that I had a text on my phone. That text was my high for the day! Here’s the back story. Just about a year ago I gave away my horses. Tim and I had moved off the farm, my mom was sick in a nursing home, and I could no longer spend time with the horses. I had given up riding when Mom took her turn for the worse a year earlier. She needed 24 hour companionship. I couldn’t give her that and ride. So the horses had been idle for more than a year. I had been struggling for more than two years about what to do about the horses, especially Santo. Santo was my dream horse. I had waited 25 years for him, but that is a different story. After much agony I had decided to give the horses to someone who would love them and use them. The young lady, Karah, who had been taking care of them for me found what seemed to be the perfect family for the horses. So last year about the 1st of May I took Santo and Jack to Lynda and Jeremy. This was one of the hardest things I have had to do with my horses, but I was content. The Lord seemed to be in it.

Then a month or so later, Lynda got pregnant. She and Jeremy decided, wisely, that it was not a good time to have horses. I was so confused. I didn’t know what to do. Then Jeremy said that he would find homes for them, if I wanted him to. He did that. Jack is in a wonderful home where his new owner is helping him to become the horse he was created to be. Santo, however, got killed in a horse trailer accident on the way to his new home.

Again, I was crushed, and broken hearted.

When I gave the horses to Lynda and Jeremy I gave them all the tack I had for them, too. Santo’s saddle had been hand made for him and me. I asked Lynda to keep the saddle for me if she ever had to give up Santo. When she told me about his death, I was too shaken to even think about the saddle. Later when I asked the Lord if I should ask her about the saddle, He said, “no”. I actually asked him several times over the last few months if I should ask Lynda about the saddle. Each time the answer was the same.

Now I am living with some friends in California, helping them to move their farm to a new location where horseback riding would not only be possible, but fantastic! There are lots of horses around the new farm. Todd keeps saying that the Lord has horses in my future. So I asked Him again if I should ask Lynda again if she still had Santo’s saddle. This time the Lord said, “yes”. I sent her a text telling her I was on a new adventure in California and may have the opportunity to have horses again. Did she know what happened to Santo’s saddle?
Her text back to me is what I read when I got back to my car. It said “So exciting! Yes we do! We have everything of Santos to give back to you😀”

Wow! I wrote this back to her: “Thank you so much. I will come get it. I think the soonest I will be there is next month. We are in the process of selling Grace Harbor Farms the dairy to Tim’s son. I am staying with some precious friends, Todd and Sherry, I have known for 40 years who are moving their farm from the Sacramento area to the hills not far from Oroville where the big dam crisis was a few weeks ago. The new farm will eventually be a place where people come for prayer for healing for wholeness for Jesus. I am so excited to be part of it. Tim has been commuting back and forth and will continue to do that until GHF sells. Right now the farm has cows goats and chickens. We will be adding riding horses and draft horses too, we hope. Todd has a lot of experience with draft horses. I am so glad to hear that you have Santo’s stuff. I still grieve for him. It will be comforting to be back in his saddle some day!! I just can’t express the joy that gives my heart. Blessings to you and your precious family. I will be in Whatcom county in May. My grandchildren have a concert on the 21st, I think.”

I am blessed, beyound measure.

Oh, and I did get the Post Office Box. It is number 11. Country town. I love it!

I am blessed, beyond measure.

Santo Last Ride

This was my last ride with Santo.

Uncategorized

What’s Next

 

After my mom left her body behind and went to be with the Lord last year, I asked him, “Couldn’t she have stayed longer?”

His answer to me was, “Yes, she could have stayed longer. You did a good job of caring for your mom. Thank you. But if she had stayed longer taking care of her would have interfered with what I have for you next.”

Tomorrow morning, Lord willing, I will turn out of the driveway at Grace Harbor Farms and start my drive to Northern California. I don’t know how long I will serve the Lord there.

This mission trip to California is the “next.” I didn’t know that until Tim and I visited Todd and Sherry a few weeks ago. I have Tim’s blessing to go. I don’t know if he will ever join me there. He has told me to go while he stays connected with Grace Harbor Farms until he is no longer needed here. He knows I will be a help to Todd and Sherry as they transition from one small farm to another, under the direction of Holy Spirit, to establish a stronghold for Him. I have caught the vision the Lord has given to Todd and Sherry. I am excited to be part of it.

So, I am off on the next adventure. If you are praying for me, my request is simple—may His will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

Before I got out of bed this morning, I thought of all the times in my life when I acted suddenly, without a clear, thoughtful plan beforehand. Some examples:
• Moving in with Granddad and Grandma Terry at age 17
• Leaving college after just a few weeks
• Getting Married at 18
• Going to Virginia
• Going to Alaska
• Quitting Regent College before I finished my degree
• Inviting Mom to live with us
• Opening Bed and Breakfast
• Marrying Tim
• Starting the goat milk soap business (which has evolved into Grace Harbor Farms)
• Now, going to California

I continue the legacy of the “all of a sudden Terrys”. This was a term that my mother’s family used through the years they were in China. My mom did these kinds of things, so did her mom, and I suspect so did her mother. They all lived “out of the box”.Thank you, Lord, for putting the spirit of adventure in me. I am not afraid to step out into the unknown. I love challenges.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Proverbs 37:4

What is the desire of my heart?
• To love and serve the Lord will all my strength, will, heart, and spirit

How did the Lord shape my heart to love and serve him? What do I love to do?
• I love to study the Word.
• I love sharing the gospel and the word
• I love having a beautiful view
• I love wood stoves, candles and quiet
• I love growing food
• I love hospitality
• I love to cook
• I love to worship, Israeli style—dancing before the Lord
• I love horses, dogs, chickens and goats
• I love getting up early, and going to bed tired

All of these things can be realized where I am going next.

I walk by faith, not by sight.

 

Uncategorized

California, Here I Come

banister-oak-farms

Future Home of Banister Oak Farms

I grew up in the Bay Area, over the hill from Berkeley. I moved to Washington State in 1966 to live with my grandparents. I have lived in Washington State for 51 years–minus three years in Virginia when my husband was in the Army there, and back and forth to Alaska commercial fishing.

Until a couple of months ago I could not have imagined moving back to California. Now I can’t imagine NOT moving back.

Tim and I spent most of last week with our friends, Todd and Sherry in Northern California. We had been anticipating this trip for months, planned it twice and cancelled it twice. The Lord’s timing is always perfect, though.

 

We have been talking to Todd and Sherry for a couple of years about the business and ministry they are establishing in the hills in Bangor, not far actually, from the Oroville Dam. We had two goals for our visit with them. The first was to pray with them over the property and the plans for it.  The second was to seek the Lord on whether or not He wants Tim and me to be part of what Todd and Sherry are doing.

 

The irony of having our trip cancelled twice was that the week we actually went was the week that people all over the world were praying for Oroville. The massive evacuation because of the possibility of the dam failure was just four days before we got there.

 

The property that Todd and Sherry bought was dedicated to the Lord years ago. When I set foot on the ground I could feel a special stillness of peace I have never experienced anywhere before. When we met the former owners we heard some of their stories about the property. They bought it to establish a place for ministry and worship. The stories were wonderful, delightful, and affirming that the Lord has a plan for this property. It is a place where people will come for prayer, for healing, for wholeness, for Jesus.  But they, the former owners, knew that they were not going to be the people to maintain the ministry there. They were starting a work for someone else to take forward. They sold the property five times. Each sale failed until Todd and Sherry bought it.

 

The Lord has given Todd and Sherry a business plan and a ministry mission.. Todd and Sherry have written and illustrated, via PowerPoint, the outline of the mission/business. It is called Banister Oak Farms. They printed copies of the plan into a beautiful booklet. Sherry’s dad is a retired investment banker. He told Todd and Sherry he has never seen such a well presented business plan in his whole career.

 

Todd’s vision is to have a successful business—farming, that supports the ministry. The business part—the farm–will milk cows and goats, raise chickens for eggs, and grow food. Todd and Sherry are already doing  the first two parts of that business where they live now. They are milking eight cows and four goats and distributing the milk themselves. The are raising about 300 chickens. The business is doing very well. It was fun for us to see it because it is so similar to the way Tim and I started Grace Harbor Farms 20 years ago.

 

The food growing part of the  business will start under the direction of Todd’s cousin, James. James is a grower. He started out growing marijuana in the sixties—got in trouble, went to jail, got out, started doing things right and now he grows orchids, currently 93 varieties. He has wowed the orchid world with his flowers. He is already building the soil for the food gardens at Todd and Sherry’s new place.

 

The Lord has shown Todd and Sherry what the ministry will be. We have been talking to them about it for years. We share their passion.

 

Todd and Sherry will be working for the next few months to get the new property ready for the cows, the chickens, and themselves. Their plans are beautiful, and so is the property. Todd has been collecting equipment for years for this project—heavy equipment like excavators and a saw mill, along with hundreds of tools, and commercial appliances. He, like his dad was, is also a skilled, creative craftsman/designer.

 

I think you may be anticipating what the answer is to our second reason for going to visit Todd and Sherry–asking the Lord whether we should get involved with this project.

 

We believe this is what the Lord wants us to do next. We don’t know exactly what it is going to look like, but we know that we are going to go to California and help Todd and Sherry get started.

 

The first thing we will do is move out of the condo.  We will move our stuff back to Grace Harbor Farms. I will go to California. Tim will go back and forth from Custer to California. Since we decided not to sell Grace Harbor International (GHI, the skin care and MSM cream business) to David, I  have been taking care of the website and working to get GHI refocused. Julie, my gifted manager,  will continue to run the daily operations of GHI. The website stuff I can do from anywhere. Tim is still the bookkeeper/accountant for Grace Harbor Farms (GHF, the dairy). His son, David is working on buying the property and the dairy business. Last time I talked to David about that, he hoped to close those deals by the end of March. But we don’t know if that will actually happen then. The Lord knows. Even after David buys the dairy business, until a new bookkeeper is hired, Tim will continue to work for GHF.

 

That’s the outline of the news. I will go to California as soon as we can get moved out of the condo.

 

We are on a short term mission. We will wait on the Lord to show us what’s next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bless those who curse you, Blessing, Christian

“I Am Blessed”

“I Am Blessed”

 

Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. Dt 28:6

“I hate it when you say that!” my friend, Linda, snapped at me. “You can’t always be blessed!”

Linda objected to my stock answer. For years “I am blessed” has been my response to that ubiquitous question, “How are you?”.

“Fine,” is the expected answer.

But I wanted to answer the question in a more truthful manner. We are not always, “fine” but as those who have been redeemed by the Lord, we are “blessed.” We are eternally, fundamentally blessed. No power on earth can remove that blessing from us.

אֶשֶׁר This is the Hebrew word that is translated, “Blessed” in the first verse of the Psalm 1. The first letter, right to left in Hebrew, is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Aleph. Each of the Hebrew letters has a word meaning. The meaning of Aleph is called on. It means first and strong. It is also the symbol for God. The center letter of this word is Sheen, and its meaning is teeth, or devour, and the third letter is Reysh which means head, person, or highest. So, we could look at the word אֶשֶׁר and get this meaning out of it: God holds us in his teeth because he is the head and he has taken hold of us for his highest purposes. Being held in the teeth may not seem like a blessing, but if the teeth are the teeth of the Lord, we can be assured that whatever he is doing is for our good.

I have another friend who answers the “How are you” question the same way I do, but he sometimes adds, “I don’t always like it, but I am blessed.”

Amen. I don’t always like what the Lord is doing in my life, either, but I know that I am blessed, no matter what.

I had the opportunity recently to have my stock answer put to the test.

 

In the fall of 2015 there was a terrible crisis at Grace Harbor Farms. The conflict between me, Tim and David got so bad that Tim asked me to move off the farm.

We did reconcile a month later. Before that happened though, I went through a deep heart change. Held between the teeth and stretched is a good picture of the blessing process I went through.

A week after I moved off the farm I asked David to call a meeting of the management team of Grace Harbor International (GHI), the business I still own.  I had written a diatribe I intended to deliver to them. I had spelled out all the ways they had betrayed me.

After I wrote it I sent it to my daughter, Heather. She called me in a few minutes and said, “Well, Mom, how do you think they are going to receive it?”

Her question struck my heart.

“I hear you,” I said.

“I understand your need to vent,” she assured me, “sometimes it is very helpful to get things said.”

“Yes, I do hear you.” I said, “I will pray.”

That night, Sunday night, before I was going to meet with the team the next day, I woke up in the middle of the night and was led to a book by Andrew Murray, “Absolute Surrender”. The second chapter of that classic Christian work is called, “The Fruit of the Spirit is Love”. When I finished reading that chapter I was on my face, on the floor, repenting and weeping before the Lord.

There is so much in that chapter. My highlights look like street lamps on a busy road. Read it. Obey the Lord’s word to love and the world will change. Here is one highlight:

“Let a man be what he will, you are to love him. Love is to be the fruit of the Spirit all the day and every day. Yes, listen! If you don’t love that unlovable man whom you have seen, how can you love God whom you have not seen? You can deceive yourself with beautiful thoughts about loving God. You must prove your love to God by your love to your brother; that is the one standard by which God will judge your love to Him. If the love of God is in your heart, you will love your brother. The fruit of the Spirit is love.” Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray.

My call was to love, no matter what.

I went to the meeting on Monday morning with a whole new heart.

As each of them came into the meeting room I asked “How are you?”

Each gave the standard, “Fine. How are you?”

I answered each one, “I am blessed.”

When they were seated I said, “You have all heard me say, “I am blessed,” when asked, ‘How are you?’ It is my standard answer to that question.I am blessed. As a born-again believer in the Lord Jesus, I am forever, eternally blessed, but that doesn’t mean that I have it made, that life is easy, or that I will not have significant trouble in this world. On the contrary, the word of God assures us that in this world we will have trouble. “Don’t be surprised,“  Jesus says, “when the world hates you, they hated me first.” You will be persecuted, you will be dragged into courts, you will beaten, or beheaded. But you are blessed. One of the definitions of “blessed” means to be held between the teeth and stretched. Amen. I am blessed. The last words I have put on the sign outside the driveway are, “Not Guns or Gold, Trust Jesus.

“I don’t trust in the things of this world. Not guns or gold, or even the people. I trust Jesus. He told me to give up the management of GHI. He didn’t say I would like it, he just said, do it. I am going to be obedient to that word. I am going to give up the management of GHI to you. You will compensate me fairly for what I have done to build this business because the Lord is going to inspire you how to do it. The business will grow and prosper, he told me so, but it is not me who will do it. It is you. I am entrusting GHI to the Lord and he has given this opportunity to you to be good stewards of it. May you all be richly blessed as you move forward.”

As they got up to leave I took each one by the shoulders and blessed them, individually, personally.

 

Romans 12:14

“Bless those you persecute you.”