There is no fear in love

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There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love

This is my horse Mister grazing serenely under the apple tree’s but there was a time when life for him was very different. I remember when he first came to our barn on trial as a lesson horse.  He was a big horse over 16 hands high  and his head hung down as he gazed through you rather than at you. His colour was dull and he looked like he had missed more than a few meals. My husband was the first to ride him and as he swung his weight up onto the saddle the horse became startled and spooked off across the arena nearly dumping Jim in the dust. I wasn’t impressed. The next week I was not thrilled to see my name on the board to ride him. In fact our trainer had to spend the first 15 minutes of my lesson convincing me to get on him. I remember Mike saying, look last week he had just come in to the barn I have spent all week training and tuning him up just trust me. As I swung up into the saddle and gave him the cue to walk off my heart was in my throat. I knew what kind of punishment a horse of his size could dish out if he should choose to decide I was not to his liking. I had also been on enough school horses to know that it only takes the first 60 seconds for the horse to assess who is really the boss in this newly formed team. Taking a deep breath I forced myself to breathe and willed my tense body  to relax as we approached what would be our first challenge as horse and rider. Down at the far end of the arena was a border lunging the beans out of a very young horse. For those unfamiliar with the term it involves a rider attaching a very long leash if you will onto the halter of the horse than using a lunge whip you direct the horse to first walk a circle around you first at a walk than at a trot than on to a canter. This procedure can allow a horse to warm up and expel pent-up energy before a rider has to get on and ride it. Sounds simple right, but to the untrained eye it can look like a horse gone wild especially when you get to the canter and the horse is kicking out and bucking like the horse Mister and I were approaching.  Now when a horse is engaged in such a procedure it can inspire other horses around it  to join in on the fun and that was exactly what I was afraid of. Not know what to expect from the horse underneath me I could feel him start to tense and speed up as we approached the other horse. I shortened my reigns slightly and reached down and gave him a pat that  I hoped  would inspire confidence and be interpreted as I think you’re a good boy please walk on and don’t kill me. Much to my surprise the horse responded to the affection given him by slowing his stride and simply walking by the wild west show as if he had seen nothing. I knew at that exact moment this was the horse for me. Now most people watching this scene unfold would miss the magnitude of the simple act of trust. Even I was unaware of what had transpired until a few weeks later when we extended an offer to purchase him and hired a vet to come out and make sure he was healthy. What should have been a routine inspection   for the horse became a huge ordeal as Mister pranced and snorted at the end of a lead shank eyes rolling and flashing in terror as the vet approached. Try to hold him still Jen the vet ordered as he tried to get close to him. Gone was my mild manner gentleman who had responded to my gentle touch. In its place was an animal so tortured by fear that when the vet tech attempted to help me restrain him he fell on the ground kicking trying to strike out at anything  that got close.  Enough I said calling off the vet check. I just could not bare to see such fear on an animal’s face. I did not have to guess what the vet would say next which was, I do not recommended that a beginner rider such as yourself buy a horse like this. It was also abundantly clear that someone along the way had beaten this horse into submission instead of training him making him damaged goods. After seeing how extreme his fearful reaction could be It was  heartwarming to remember our first ride. When faced with a trainer cracking a lunge whip at another horse he could have dumped me to get out of harms way instead he responded to my kindness and encouragement and walked on by. It was this act of trust that convinced me that he could be rehabilitated if I could show , kindness and unconditional love even when he behaved badly. So began a year-long crusade to get him to trust me and in the end I have never had a more devoted and trustworthy horse. I learned to ride on him and then compete on him than train others to ride him.

Looking back over my life and my relationship with Christ I believe the Lord has shown me the same unconditional love that I extended to that horse. Beaten down in a sin stained world I had endured the body blows of  life. Rejection, anger, hatred, abuse ,pride, loneliness, failure and fear had left me  unfit for service in most people’s eyes. But the Lord had other plans for me.  He did not shout obscenities or deal out stiff punishments when I messed up. But with love and tender mercies He sets me on the right path. Patiently He trains me up in the way I should go all the while encouraging and rejoicing over me. The Lord knows that my failures are merely an event not a life sentence and He races to my side to comfort and restore me. When others can’t be found or are cruel Jesus is the one person who is always there just waiting for me to turn to him. Oh how He loves to hear how much I need Him. If I stray to far from Him He will use situations or people to call me back to Him, but He does this to protect me not to harm me. So I keep in step with His plans . People who have matured in Christ understand that a God who loves us unconditionally is not a god to be feared but to be trusted, embraced and lifted high. Because the Lord’s love for us is perfect, we can get rid of fear or cast it out, when it comes to Him because fear involves torment and that is not in character with  who God is. God does not wait in the shadows for us to mess up so he can torment his children  He loves us all no matter what we say or do in life, that fact never changes. I am starting to understand that when I have really blown it I should run to the Lord and confess it so He can put me back on the right track. I am learning that when my heart is broken by the events and people of this world I can turn to the Lord and find comfort from the pain . When I simply can’t find a single person that understands me I can find companionship and comfort in Him. When my heart begins to harden in response to the injustice of this world I ask the Lord to show me how to forgive and love like He does. He always answers my sincere request.  Calmly and with great patience the Lord follows me and waits for me to trust and need Him. He does not lie when He says his yoke is easy, all we have to do is first believe than call on His name and a better friend cannot be found.

The Great Goat Round Up

I Have been so busy since Jim has started his new job I have not had any time to write or check in with my blog friends. I miss reading your blogs and I hope to catch up soon. Our goats were very busy in the spring when they were not breaking out of their pen they decided   to rip off the hydro box that was attached to our barn. Lucky for them they were not electrocuted and lucky for us they did not burn down the barn As a result we had to build them a new pen. We also have some new pygmy goats that came from our friends at Big Curve Acres and I have been busy settling them into their new herd. I always feel the Lords presence when I am working with his creation and I know I am so blessed to be living on this farm. I hope you enjoy the pictures and I look forward to talking with you all in the near future God Bless!

The Escape

The Escape

The build

The build

Almost done

Almost done

Finished

Finished

Apple tree in bloom

Apple tree in bloom

Beau enjoying the day

Beau enjoying the day

New Arrivals

New Arrivals

Ellie-May

Ellie-May

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Maddison and Ellie-May

Daisy-May takes flight

Daisy-Jane takes flight

Beautiful Sunlight

Beautiful Sunlight

The Gang

The Gang

God's Light

God’s Light

Alpine and Ellie-May

Alpine and Ellie-May

Daisy-Jane and Ellie-May

Daisy-Jane and Ellie-May

Buster

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Psalm 36 vs 6

Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,

Your Judgements are like the great deep;

You save humans and animals alike O’Lord

My computer screen has been strangely quiet these past few weeks as an unusual cold rainy snap has marked the passing of Buster the Lion Hearted one of our beloved barn cats. As his name suggests he was strong, brave, bold and never one to back down from a fight despite the fact he had been declawed years ago by a previous owner. What he lacked in weaponry he made up for in keen wits and confidence and I have seen him bluff his way through many sticky situations. The pictures hardly do him justice but he was a beautiful tawny gold colour with a huge mane that surrounded his face. My favorite memory of him is  when he laid up on the ledge of the hayloft window surveying his kingdom, even now as I this picture in my mind’s eye and my stomach aches at the thought that I will no longer see him there. He was always the first cat to greet me when I came home ,rain or shine he would be waiting for me just hoping I would have a special treat for him. Buster also had a soft spot for other animals on our farm and the night our rabbit honey bunny died he laid down with him and stayed with him until he breathed his last. He was a cat that loved the kittens that came with every spring and he would play with them ready to defend each one from other passing Tom`s and if the kittens became defiant he would get them back on track with a quick cuff of his paws.  He had an enthusiasm for life and always made the best of every situation with no complaints. He was ever hopeful that his next treat was just around the corner and he was always filled with love which he would dispense at a moments notice. As the rain continues to renew the earth so too does my world keep on despite Buster`s passing but I know my life  will be just a little brighter for having known such a character. From him I know it is possible to be tender, vulnerable and loving while still being strong and brave. Now when I look up at the empty hay loft window I try to picture him in heaven exploring glorious forest and meadows all the while listening for my footsteps when one day I too will return home forever to a place that my savior has prepared just for me . I know Buster is there  and he will be waiting to greet me just like he always has. I thank you Lord for the wisdom to create such wonderful companions that bring  us such joy and love while we are still so far from home.

For Goat Girl – In Praise of Goats

All through history goats have gotten a bad rap and associated with evil but in reality they are fun-loving curious creatures that can be quite affectionate. Our goat adventure began when we adopted Maggie and her twin boys  from a breeder.Unfortunately it ended in tragedy when in their third year they contracted some type of encephalitis that caused seizures and death within 24 hours once they started to show symptoms. The vet really was baffled and we were devastated. But since I don’t have any pictures of them on this computer I will save their story for another day.

Maggie, Tiny and Issac brought us so much joy in their short lives we decided to try again but this time we wanted  two kids (baby goats) We went to a local farmer who said they had some goats that were not suitable for breeding and they were sending them off to slaughter. We went right over and in this very large pen were about thirty unlucky baby goats that could run like the wind. The farmer told us to concentrate on picking kids that were holding good weight as they would be the healthiest. When we went in the pen all the goats were terrified of us and would  run down to one end of the pen and eye us suspiciously. The first goat that caught my eye was  Alpine  (2nd row in pictures) an Alpine goat, hence the name. When we tried to cut him from the heard this crazy little white goat stuck to his side like glue. It was litterly impossible to separate the two and after 20 minutes had gone by my husband and the farmer decided that if they loved each other that much they could stay together. With that decision made we all stepped back and took a  breather before round two began. Once again we climbed into the pen and moved toward the lively pair but before we even got close one tiny little goat pushed his way through the group and made his way to the front. With what looked like dogged determination he broke free from the others and trotted right toward me. I stopped to see what he would do and bold as brass he walked right up to me and thrust his head into my hands. He was the scrawniest little creature with a big roman nose and my husband took one look at him and said don’t even think about taking him home . He is clearly not doing very well and I am not bringing home another goat that might die and the farmer agreed. Out numbered by wisdom and age I relented and we concentrated on separating the Alpine and the white goat from the herd. But what the sickly little goat lacked in the brawn dept he made up for in brains because somehow he figured out which goats we were after and shadowed their every move. Now I know it was more than coincidence because it took quite a few tries to cut Alpine and the girl from the herd and everywhere they went he followed.  Finally we were successful at chasing the two we wanted out the gate when in an effort that was nothing short of heroic the sickly little goat threw himself toward the gate and rolled underneath before it closed. In a blink of an eye he was back up on his feet screaming his head off and chasing our two goats who were now safely in the arms of the farm hands that were walking toward our car. The farmer tried to stop him but the little guy must have sensed redemption lie at the end of that  gate and he doged the farmer and made a bee line straight for the truck. I turned to my husband and said don’t even think about sending him back. I will never know what made that little goat decided he was leaving but he had won my heart and I had named him Logan before he was even in the truck. Logan was so tiny that when we brought him home he would fall asleep inside the tub we used to feed the horses in.  Once we were home we named the white goat Madison but it wasn’t long before we were calling her “Mad Maddy” because she would dash around from place to place full of vim and vigor. To the untrained eye not versed in the game of goaty tag she could appear quite crazy but it was all in good fun. Actually it is hard to get pictures of Maddy because usually before you click the camera she is off and running somewhere leaving you with a lovely picture of her bum or half her head. Maddy is our explorer and resident trouble maker like most women, so my husband says. It was quite  warm the day I took these pictures which slowed her down a bit. Alpine is the most affectionate of the group and his  laid back demeanor is more suited to strolling the meadow but more often than not he ends up following Maddy at a quicker pace than he would like. Alpine has a lovely sense of humor and he demands attention always pulling at your sleeve or pant leg . He is very affectionate and loves to be petted and talked to.  Logan (third row of pic’s) thinks he is the big man on campus but that is only because Alpine lets him think this way. He is head over hills for Maddy and would follow her anywhere but she much perfers Alpine not that Logan notices. He too is very affectionate but Alpine will run him off if I make to much of a fuss about him. My favorite thing to do is go for a walk with them around my five acre field and watch Maddy flit from one patch of clover to the next much like a bee goes from flower to flower while the boys do their best to keep up with her. They all know their names and they are masters  escape artists that would make the Great Houdini proud. Intensely curious they are always into something and they can be a one man wrecking crew if you don’t have the proper fencing to keep them in. I would recommend that when picking out your goat you look for one’s with the horns taken out when young, because you have to constantly be aware  of where they are so you don’t accidentally get hooked. Unfortunately when we picked these guys out their horns were already to large to take out. I love going in to the pen at the end of the day when they have run out all their energy and are quietly chewing their cud. This is when they are most cuddly and content. It is so cute watching them settle for the night because they lay down and cuddle up and sleep with their heads resting on each others backs or rump it is so cute and we feel so blessed to be their care givers.

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Prayer

John 16:24″ Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

 

This is a very hard day for us. My husband has been out of work and we were really counting on a position he has been interviewing for since October and the company has just called to say they have decided to hold off in hiring anymore sales reps till the economy improves. When my husband was let go after ten years they only gave him a small severance package that will run out in six weeks. After that we will lose our benefit package and our drug coverage.  I have Chron’s disease, chronic kidney stones, fiber myalgia, and asthma and my drugs are very expensive.  We live on a small hobby farm and we have some rescue animals that will have to be rehomed. I don’t care about losing my home I have no attachments to material things but I do care about the animals, in this economy it will not be easy to find them homes. Despite the fact that I feel totally defeated I am still a Christian who believes in the power of prayer. I am asking all that read this to once again pray for us and the animals on this farm that the Lord will find a way to keep us all together by finding us employment. I am so thankful that I belong to a family of Christ who I can count on to  pray for us. We serve a mighty God that can still grant miracles so I am trying not to lose hope. Thank you for your prayers they are much needed and appreciated. GodBless

Animals in Heaven

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Psalm 36 vs 6

Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,

Your Judgements are like the great deep;

You save humans and animals alike O’Lord

As long as I can remember animals have always shared my life. Growing up in my family home by city standards was like growing up in a small zoo. I learned to walk by holding on to the family dog, my homework was supervised by a myna bird named Joey, we had a cat, fish, turtles, several newts, an african frog and even an alligator. So when my parents scrimped and saved to afford my riding lessons it should have come as no surprise that as soon as I was married to an animal friendly man we would immediately buy a farm. Animal ownership to me came as natural as breathing it was simply woven into my DNA by my creator for reasons yet unknown to me. Much like music is to a composer and painting is to an artist.my passion has always been animals.  Growing up my stuffed animal collection superceded any need for dolls, my favorite t.v. show was wild kingdom, my favorite book charlotte’s web and my favorite movies were all animal based. Animals and nature have always been a gift given to me by God and it is something that I am most thankful for.

Now when I became a Christian it wasn’t long before I became aware of an issue that was hotly debated by some, do animals go to heaven? My opinion has always been that if Christ has gone to prepare a place for me and remember this is a creator that intimately knows me, I have to believe that the animals that have shared my life would be there. To me it just made sense. But like everything else in life, situations can make you question even strongly held convictions of faith and that’s what happened when my I lost two german shepherds in a row to cancer. The first dog Jake was my protector , the buddy that I had left home with for the first time. A once in a life time dog that made me feel needed and loved,  and shared all my adventures . I didn’t see it coming he showed no signs of being sick he was just five years old and in the prime of his life. I just came home one day and found him collapsed on the floor from internal bleeding. His spleen had burst and we operated on him but the vet came and told me he was full of cancer and I held him in my arms as the vet put him to sleep. My whole world was shattered and it hurt just to breathe. The worst was watching my other dog Buck grieve for him he didn’t eat for days it was just awful. After some time had passed I got another german shepherd named Cooper and he became the baby of the family to both me and Buck and we were happy again. I got married to my sweet heart and his german shepherd ( a brother to Cooper) and married life was sweet but the peace was to be short-lived. Cooper began crying in pain everytime he bent his head and I just knew it was cancer. He was just four years old when we  found out he had bone cancer. We went to Guelph University paid for cat scans and they decided he would have to  endure extensive radiation treatments to shrink the tumor growing from his skull, than a complicated surgery was to follow. And even if he made through all of that they couldn’t guarantee that his brain cells might start dying off leaving him with brain damage. Needless to say we choose not to operate and we had one more month with him before we had to  say goodbye. It was during this time that I poured my heart out to the Lord in prayer and I simply sat with a closed bible in my hand and I had prayed the following. Lord I know that I have to put Cooper down it’s the right thing to do but please I need to know one thing just between you and me do you save animals ? ( and I meant will  I see him again  in heaven ) I need to know  straight from you to me, is it true you save animals. And with my eyes closed I opened the bible put my finger in the book and when I opened my eyes my finger was on a line in the psalms that said God saves animals. Now I know some will pooh-pooh this but the chances of me opening that book and putting my finger on that exact line would have been like winning the lottery and for me its a done deal. I asked him a question and I believe he answered it and I have no reason to doubt him and in the end I guess only time will tell. But untill I go to meet my maker I will always believe that our animals will await us in heaven in a place that was designed and set apart for each one of us.