Posts from the ‘Psalm 27:1’ Category


Wide Open Spaces

Seeds must be broken to produce life or they remain useless and hard. Some only need a good soaking to germinate and some need scarification, or removal of the seed coat by tumbling on the ground, stomach acid of birds and other animals, or fire. Some lay dormant for years till conditions are right, rain, removal of invasive plants competiton, or fire.

Mesquite, for example, requires fire, oan animals digestive tract, or hard scrubbing on a grind stone, metate,to scarifiy the seed. In its proper place it’s seeds can be turned into flour for bread or it may grow into a beautiful tree giving shade in the desert. Too much and it is an aggressive invader choking out grasses and other plants, sending it’s tap root down and stealing others water.
Help me not to compare my walk with others but trust that God, the greatest gardener, knows what kind of seed I am and what I need to flourish.

May I remember to give others room to grow, especially my children. One may need grinding and one may need soaking, and it might even change day by day. Only the Lord knows exactly.

It’s my job to help, encourage,  and seek wisdom on what kind of seed the people God has put in my life are.

It’s also important I let others water me. Even if it’s city water and not well water! May I never steal someone else’s blessing, and maybe stunt their growth, by refusing help or doing everything myself, even if, especially if, I can.

Let us be sowing and watering generously,  gentle with tender shoots, and patient for harvest.



What a blessing to like, nay, love where you live. Even now, 10 years in to ranching this patch of Arizona,  we will come across what is to us a new hollow or corner.

 Currently we are working on replacing a fence in Cochise Stronghold.  Dear husband and a neighbor  hiked up to it, four hours one way, and said this ain’t happening with horses! “Found” a meadow of sorts in a saddle up top and that portion of the fence is up.

Visted our neighbors to discuss possible  trails from their side. There  may be one you can take horses up, pack materials,  and get close to the portion we’re replacing. Noone has been up there in at least 3 years and the fences haven’t been touched in decades. 

Sometimes another’s perspective helps us appreciate what we have and see things with fresh vision. A dear friend who dropped by went with me to discuss trails. She remarked on how fun and interesting it was to hear the discussion with folks using place names and really knowing their country. “Would it be better to go up Lost Canyon? “”No, you’d be better going up that way and then taking South Fork”. You won’t find those names on a map anywhere but the folks who’ve ridden, hiked, and live it know exactly where they are. (And no I dont, just a general idea as it’s not our ranch). As my friend remarked, the map, their map is in their head. 

It is a joy to know this land, and yet be daily discovering new things, new nooks and crannies. To know and enjoy the seasons changing, subtle as they may be in the desert. 

As public land ranchers, we work to produce food on land that would otherwise be scenic but unproductive, keep the land and water for wildlife, and come, over years and years, to truly know and love our corner.

Because it’s publuc land, potentially the leases could be lost and all our hard work be for “naught”, yet we do it…because it’s home.

Ranch “date”

Ranch date – working together

  • water gap repair – soil erosion slowed
  • cool breeze
  • cerulean blue sky fading from east to west to slate blue and then charcoal
  • towering castles in the sky with white tops and gray heavy bottoms
  • violet mountains and coral clouds
  • red ochre baked soil fading to a soft terra cotta
  • pearlescent clouds washed to a silvery gray
  • basso rumble of bulls and tenor bawl of calves, cows answering
  • coyotes “singing”
  • flame sky in east and twilight in west
  • job well done
  • nighthawks talking
  • velvet lips, affectionate pats
  • comfortable silence
    • peace, purpose, holy space
    • dusty clothes, dirty hands
    • content hearts
  • sunset reflectionwater gap2water gapsoniawashflame sky

Arizona History With Grandpa – Field Trips Homeschool Style


Spent the day with Grandpa Cook on a history field trip. Drove over the mountain in our Polaris ranger  to the “West Stronghold”. We were on the west side of the mountain, ranch is on the east to the ridgeline and the east stronghold is one of our pastures.  (Google Cochise Stronghold for a good overview).

Hiked to council rocks, discussed Apache chieftan Cochise and his life, and viewed pictographs. Grandpa is still the best hiker in the bunch at 72 and with bad feet – though Daniel is fast catching up!

Granny provided a  “small” picnic – two type of sandwiches, hotdogs over a campfire, pickles, boiled eggs, cookies, twinkies, ice tea, and soda.  When we were kids, granny’s picnics were a regular occurrence and yummy!!

Left to head home and found ourselves in a downpour. Turned around and headed the “horse” for the “barn” in Tombstone – otherwise known as Granny and Poppa’s house. Spent the afternoon watching TV, making chocolate chip cookies and drying out. Drove home in the cool of the evening.

Blessed by being close to grandparents, Dad’s prodigious knowledge of history, no lightning just rain, and Granny’s cookies.

Don’t miss everyday blessings waiting on “biggies”20150902_110839[1]20150902_104955[1]20150902_121144[1]

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Fire on the Mountain


Excitement for our week – a “natural ignition” fire on a neighbors ranch and in one of our pastures. I was in town and a friend alerted me to smoke. I sent Emily and Daniel out to see where it was. Once they called me back and said it was close to the ranch but not too bad, I told them stick around since our neighbor  Miss Kay wasn’t home just in case they needed to put a sprinkler on her roof.

Conflicting thoughts ran through my head.

First and foremost, safety for our neighbors.  The windmill to the far left is ours, windmill in the background one of our neighbors. Three families live off the grid in our pasture.  ( Tip – if you live rural, particularly off grid make sure you have water storage and good water pressure! Also check with the local fire departments to see what kind of valve their hoses hook up to and consider installing one on your storage tank)

One of the cabins and a poly plastic storage tank did burn. Emily and Daniel did hang around and end up soaking her wood pile, rescuing kittens and a milk goat, another neighbors dog, and generally helping other neighbors evacuate.

So proud of them doing exactly what was needed and being the kind of neighbors we should be in rural areas.  We are sure sorry for Kay’s lost guest house. Returned the animals this morning.

Secondly I’m frustrated that once the houses were saved and the fire affecting them contained, all of the fire was put out. We really could have used a burn on the forest service hills and mountains behind the houses. The longer they don’t have some smaller, controlled burns the more catastrophic a fire will be, much like what is happening in Oregon.

Fire – scary, exciting, destructive, renewing and ultimately not in our control. Thankful for the Lord’s provision even when we don’t always understand it or see it.

Quit Throwing Cold Water – challenge to the Christian community

Unless you’ve been out of country or living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge by now, even if you don’t facebook. I’ve seen and heard about some amazing creativity. My son gleefully poured a feed bucket full over his sister’s head. Her youth pastor crawled in a baptistry full of ice water and the senior pastor “baptized” him! Yes, it’s a Baptist church.

My hat goes off to the marketing manager who thought this up. Social media genius! I’m sure there are other foundations and cause wishing they’d done this. Hope the ALS Foundation gave him or her a big bonus.

The challenge has brought up another conversation and sparked debate in Christian circles regarding embryotic stem cell research. I am staunchly pro life and firmly believe life begins at conception. I also firmly believe that life is precious till the very last breath regardless of the “quality”.

The ALS Foundation conducts many research trials in their efforts to combat the disease, some of which use embryotic stem cell (ecs). Giving to the foundation can be designated for other studies, however, some folks feel they should not support the ALS foundation at all because it would be tacit agreement with ecs and by default abortion. I understand their position and why they feel that way.

So??? I am pleading for some civility and understanding between camps. I have become fed up with the name calling and grandstanding on both sides. People are not haters if they stand on their convictions regarding ecs studies. Neither are those who choose to participate blind or ignorant to the studies or agreeing with them. You can be pro life and participate. There are options, including giving to Catholic organizations that do not use ecs at all.

Money still talks folks, and if you really want the ALS foundation to reconsider their position on ecs studies I suggest giving a donation to another place and letting the foundation know in writing how much you gave and why you gave it elsewhere.

My biggest concern is that in standing against ecs research, most of the folks on facebook aren’t drawing attention to that issue, but rather coming across as narrow minded and unfeeling towards the terrible plight ALS patients suffer. Also, we are attacking ourselves and thereby sullying the name of Christ. “They will know we are Christians by our love” – not our political agendas! Now, to clarify, I believe Christians should absolutely be involved in the political arena, but this ain’t it folks.

My challenge to my fellow brothers and sisters is this: let’s start a separate, civil, well documented and sourced discussion about Embryotic Stem Cell Research and the viable alternative Adult Stem Cell Research. Let’s stop pointing fingers at each other, expecting everyone to fit the same mold to be truly following Christ (talk about political correctness!), and extend love both to the preborn embryos and the ALS patients. It can be done so let’s do it. Extend grace, like the Good Samaritan, to every life you touch as much as possible. Quit throwing buckets of cold water on each other and on those who are suffering.

Keeping Time

I have often told my daughter when teaching her music and piano, don’t rush your timing. Keep your time steady regardless of the tempo, even if it’s presto or allegro. How often do we rush through life, no matter the tempo? Do we really enjoy and be in the moment? Or do we rush from one to the next even on vacation? Let’s keep time with the heart of God as our metronome.
“lack of time is a lack of thanksgiving” – Ann Voskamp