Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Day Trivia with a bit of thanks on the side

What president tried changing the date of Thanksgiving?

Drumroll please........

FDR! In 1939 he proposed moving the date forward one week to extend the holiday shopping season. I understand his thought process considering the US was coming out of the Depression Era and we were involved in the war. Stimulating consumer spending would have been wonderful; however citizens around the country were divided. After two years of debate at the state level, he decided to officially leave the date alone.

Happy Thanksgiving to my family, and family of friends!!

I am soo thankful for the rich relationships that the Lord has blessed me with! I pray you have a restful holiday!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Birthday P!

Happy birthday to you,
happy birthday to you,
happy birthday dear cowboy P,
happy birthday to you!!

I love you P and I love watching you grow! It's hard to believe that you were the tiny baby I held after Thanksgiving've grown big so quickly! I love your curiosity, the fact you love cows and your smile! Have a great third birthday buddy.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My little graduate

Johnnie Reb (JR) and I have been attending puppy obedience class for the past eight weeks, and last night JR graduated after passing her eight "tests." She had to demonstrate her ability to follow commands for various things like come, sit and stay, lay and stay, walking on a leash, the "leave it" command and shake. We are going to start our intermediate class in three weeks where we will continue building on these skills. Tracy, our trainer, says one of the primary goals of intermediate obedience is to develop self control. JR will have to demonstrate the commands I listed above with distractions and with me leaving her side.

I had so much fun doing this and I felt like I was the getting trained at times too. Enjoy the picture below....JR knows she's a star:-) Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Thankful for Ranchers and Farmers

With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching I find myself frequently thinking of things that I am thankful for. I wish this attitude of thankfulness was contagious to the other ten months of my year, but I guess that is something I can work on in 2010. With that said, I want to briefly describe a group of individuals who I am thankful for at least three times a day.

As the fourth generation to be raised on my family's cow-calf operation in northern Arizona, I fully comprehend what it takes to get beef from the gate of the pasture to the plate of a hungry consumer. I'll list a few things that I am especially thankful for:
  • I am thankful that ranchers and farmers are good stewards of the land they produce food on. Serving as good caretakers directly benefits them because if they misuse or abuse it, they will not be able to pass it on to their children. If they are to ensure the sustainability and longevity of their operation, you can be they will do all they can to protect, provide and invest in their land.
  • I am thankful for the abudance of American agricultural products. Technology and transportation have evolved over time, making more products available to more Americans.
  • I am thankful for the affordability of food in America. Relative to the rest of the world, Americans spend the least amount of their money to purchase food. People in other countries spend anywhere from 25% to 65% of their money on food simply so they can eat while Americans spend approximately 10%.
  • I am thankful for the high standards that American farmers and ranchers continually meet and surpass. The food we produce is not only great tasting, it is also safe. American agriculturists meet the strictest food safety standards anywhere in the world.

If you haven't thought about the effort that goes into raising the food on your plate, please take a moment to do so. If you want more information on production agriculture in America feel free to post a comment or question and I will respond directly.

Note: This blog was in response to the "food fight" that National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) and other agriculture commodity groups are launching against mainstream media. If you are involved in production agriculture, please join this "food fight" and post reasons why you are thankful for America's farmers and ranchers on your own blog.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Jesus was a man

If someone were to ask me a series of true-false questions about Jesus I feel like I would get most of them correct.

True-Mary was Jesus' mother
True-Jesus was born in a stable
True-Jesus came to earth as a man, yet was still God

But if I had to describe something in detail about the nature of Jesus as a man, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to describe it in depth. That is until last night. Now, don't let me mislead you here, I'm not trying to win a bible trivia contest. I just wanted to admit that something HUGE clicked for me last night during week 8 of our Hebrews bible study.

I've always assumed (incorrectly) that Jesus had a man's body but was operating with God's brain. How else then could he live a perfectly blameless life, right? I don't know any human being who has ever been able to live a sin free life; there always seems to be something entangling us. The one person that this does not apply to is Jesus; he was wholly man (even his brain and thought process) and yet he remained sin-free his entire life. Now, let me back this up with a little evidence just so that we're scripturally on the same page.

Jesus was conceived in Mary's womb just as any other child would have been (Luke 1:26-35). Jesus had siblings and was son to a carpenter (Luke 2:4-12); he was was made fun of like a regular Jewish child (Matthew 13:55-56). He was circumcised and sacrifices were offered to God on his behalf (Luke 2:21-24). He wasn't born all knowing about scripture, but He grew in wisdom and stature, having to learn just like other children (Luke 2:51-52).

That Luke 2 reference is what really took my breath away last night. Jesus didn't just know everything. He was learning alongside other Jewish children. Now let's take this a step further. If it wasn't hard enough for Jesus (God of the universe) to simply be a human in every aspect, he also had to take on sin even though he was sinless. Wrap your human mind around that. Would you want to/be able to bear the weight of the world's sin? Once for all time. Completely.

I know that it is a stretch to imagine taking on the sin of the world so let's break that down a bit more. Look at Luke 22:39-44 or Matthew 26:36-44. Jesus knows what lays ahead of him and he is praying about it all night to God; he even tells his disciples "my soul is crushed with grief to the point of death." Let's apply that to us, yep, you and me. Have you ever been witness to sin or participated in it, and somewhere in the middle you were overcome with grief and disappointment because you realized the severity of what was going on. And I'm not even talking about something like murder. I distinctly remember a time in my sophomore year of college when I was out-and-out avoiding God on purpose. Refusing to pray and refusing to read the bible for months. The weight of putting God off was like getting hit with a load of bricks head on. We each have experiences with sin but realizing how heavy that sin can be around our neck can be staggering. Now imagine this. Jesus-wholly man. Never sinned. Perfect in every aspect. He took on the sin of the world, once for all time and for every person that will ever exist. Ah, now I get what he means when his soul was being crushed to the point of death. I imagine his earthly body having a hard time breathing. I imagine feeling like I was being torn apart.

Can you imagine any other human being doing this? I can't. While he was praying in the garden, he asked God for another "cup" but ended with a request for God's will to be completed in his life, not his own. In addition to not being able to fathom the weight of the world's sin on a perfect and blameless man, I also can't imagine myself asking God in this situation for his will to be completed over mine.

Do you get it now? Jesus-human being in every aspect, including his brain and thought process. He lived a perfect life, tempted in every way we are, yet remained sinless. This wholly human being took on sin. For us. You, me, my neighbors. It still takes my breath away just thinking about it. A man died for me. Jesus died for me.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Joyful and Content

I have just a second now to post, I'm actually at school in between teaching right now. I wanted to share something God put on my heart this morning though. There was a brief moment on my drive that I felt an overwhelming reminder that I can be joyful and fully content in God anytime, anywhere. Regardless of my current situation, good or bad, challenge or blessing. I know this isn't a breakthrough, but my emotions have been on a pendulum this week; swinging from unsettling feelings about feeling purposeless on Tuesday all the way to other extreme of feeling fully joyful and content this morning. I am hesitant to trust my "feelings" because they are temporary and shifting; far from being a feeling though is understanding that my identity in God brings joy and contentment. It is something I am confident of.

Just wanted to share. Boldy proclaim. Praise God.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Happenings

I was in Cottonwood this past weekend and thought I'd share some pictures....I'll narrate as I go. After I stopped for a bite to eat at mom and dad's I went over to P & G's to get a glimpse of some good 'ol fashioned jack-o-lantern carving. You can see my brother doing a magnifico job! You can also see my sis-in-law's completed pumpkin with "Boo" on it.

Here are the kiddos posing with one of the completed pumpkins. I love J's scary face:-)
I had to get one picture of G in this cute jacket...I made it a few years back for D when she was younger. It's now the perfect size for G; doesn't she look darn cute?
Please note the black ears of some cute heeler puppies below us. My dog actually made it over to P & G's first; she definitely took G out in one swift jump. G didn't mind so much as my mom did!
After carving was complete for the night, the girls had to try their hand at snapping a few pictures with my camera. Do you like the interesting angle in this one?
After getting some work done on Saturday morning, we watched D's fall gymnastics performance. Here she is on the balance beam...good job D! You did a great job!!
Saturday concluded with some trick-or-treating in Clarkdale and Old Town Cottonwood. J was Iron Man, D was a rockstar ferry, G was a cat, and P was spider man....please note spider man's boots.