Sunday, October 26, 2014

One of Those "Interesting" Days


     It began as just an ordinary beautiful fall day.  Today was Wednesday and the day's schedule happened to be full, but I had prepared.  I had a plan that I was sure would allow me enough time to get each item accomplished.  The morning started smoothly.

    My first project after breakfast was checking the truck over with Dad before using it.  I learned where the oil, transmission fluid, engine coolant, etc. were located.  After sticking my saddle and bridle in the pick-up cab, I backed up to the horse trailer with Jeremiah's help despite the obstacles all around. 

    The horses were grazing at the furthest point, but I hadn't had much trouble in catching them lately so I left the truck running knowing I'd be back with a horse shortly.  Not so?  Just when I got within a few yards of them, Wally (of all the horses!) took a bee line for the ditch leading all on a proud gallop to the far end of the creek pasture.  I was on the verge of anger.  I called home to request for someone to bring the ranger out to me.  Not much time was spared as I was at the gate by the time someone was found to drive the ranger.  I drove fast and furiously to the end of the pasture.  The horses eyed me warily with heads raised and galloped back to the catch corral-the smart little pony in the lead.  The horses safely caught, I put away the ranger and marched down to the resting horses.  This time, Wally stood and allowed me to halter him.  He loaded willing as always. 
    When He saw that I was going to be  a while,  Dad had turned off the truck, not wanting to waste expensive diesel fuel.  So I turned the key expecting to hear the diesel engine roar to life.  Instead I heard two weak whines.  I tried turning the key again-same response!  No-o-o!  "Dumb old truck!"  I mumbled under my breath as I got out.

     "What's the problem?  It won't start!"  Dad yelled as he drove by on the tractor.  He hopped in the cab for a minute and the engine roared to life.  "Thanks, Dad!"  "Yeah, well, you better hope it starts over there or you'll really be screwed!  Maybe you should just stay home-after two strikes your out!"

     I drove out the driveway with a heavy heart, asking God to help the truck run well.  "I thought you wanted me to go today," I told God.  "You rearranged my schedule so that I could help them work cattle this morning."

     I turned the truck lights on thinking that turned on the trailer lights, making the turn lights work.  I wanted to be sure people following me would be aware of my direction since I had a line of cars behind me because of the road construction in town.  Besides, the last thing I needed was a ticket. 

Soon I was driving down the lane of my friends' ranch and was parking the truck and trailer.  The morning went well from there-Wally was Wally, but got the cows where they belonged while my knowledge increased on moving cattle effectively.

I got ready to leave and Miss L came with me to open the gates.  "I hope it starts,"  I said remembering how reluctant the truck had been that morning.  This time when the key was turned the truck was silent.  "Oh no,"  I groaned,  "This is not good." I thought, "It must have a dead battery."  That's when I glanced down at the pull out light switch.  I had left the lights on?  "Dad is not going to be happy!"  I moaned.

"We can jump start it,"  Miss L pointed out.  Smart friend, an extra brain when mine is clouded by discouragement.  Hope still lingered, but I had to groan and jump around like a defiant horse, reluctant to accept the pressure being applied.  I wanted to shake off the feelings I had inside.

Miss L was calm and called off my antics telling me I should be thankful, now I could stay and help them finish moving cattle.  I called to let my next appointment know I would be late and helped run the shoot system as the rest of the calves were treated.

I felt guilty having caused such a problem and inconvenience, but Mr. N didn't seem to mind as he pulled his truck and trailer down to hook up to mine.  To make a long story short, we all know more about starting horses than jump starting a truck and decided to leave the problem for an experienced mechanic like my Dad.

Mr. N was nice enough to offer to take my horse and I home since He would be taking a cow to be processed.  He tried to console me knowing that I was worried about Dad's response.  His advice helped, but I still didn't understand God's purpose in it all.

At the end of the day, Dad got the truck started after I got a thorough lesson in methods of jump starting a vehicle.  I also got this fact permanently  imprinted in my mind, "A trailer's turn signal will work when it's plugged into the truck.  You never need the light's on except at night!"  That is a blunder I will not repeat--at least not as long as it's daylight!

     The next morning in my devotions, two points stood out to me: Give thanks in everything and for everything. 
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Ephesians 5:2 
God spoke to my heart, convicting me about my responses the day before, "Had I thanked Him that it happened at the M's farm near our place and not at a horse event miles away?  Did I thank Him for a Dad that knows how a truck works and how to fix it?"  Instead of moaning and groaning, I should have praised God!

   The following morning, God once again spoke to me about how He wants me to respond to problems.  In Matthew 26:46-56, at the night of His betrayal in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus did not try to run way from the suffering he would face.  He even called off his disciples from fighting back.  Jesus knew God could send all His angels and wipe out the men coming to arrest him, but He knew that wasn't God's plan.  Although He didn't want to experience the pain, Jesus welcomed the most unpleasant crisis anyone could face, knowing that it was going to fulfill God's will. 

But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.
Matthew 26:56
     How had I viewed my "crisis"?  Had I looked at it as a fulfillment of God's plan for my life that day or had I wanted to escape my problems?  I have to say that I badly wanted to escape my problem because I was afraid of how my dad would respond when I told him what had happened to the truck.  Yet, I had to submit to God's plan, because there was nothing that I could do to change my situation.  I had to choose to give the right response and make the right decisions to mend the issue at hand and let God handle the reactions of the people involved.

     If I hadn't experienced that "interesting" day, God would not have gotten these points across in my mind.   I wondered why I couldn't have read these passages before what happened happened, but realized that what I read had been meaningful because of what happened.  Here's a quote that expresses this, "We must never mistake the process for the result."   Because of what I went through, I was blessed by God's character and truth and learned how to respond the next time I had one of those "interesting" days. 

If you are yielded to Christ, your life is not a series of accidents; it is a series of appointments.
If escape is your approach to life, then you are going to miss out on all the blessings God has for you.
Hiding your light under an escape hatch is no way to glorify the Lord.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

An Early Morning Butte Top Experience

 At 5:30 in the morning, Rebekah and I hopped out of bed, dressed, and packed our cameras as we headed out into the dark morning, lit by the city lights of Bend. We set out at a brisk pace for Pilot Butte, the ginormous butte that overshadows Bend. 

 Pilot Butte (in the second picture you can see the butte's shadow over the city).

We took the paved road and despite the slight nip we worked up a sweat as we tackled the slope with strong strides. Reaching the top, the air was cool and the wind permeated our thin layers chilling our ears and fingers. We huddled behind a rock wall for protection and warmth as we scanned the colorful horizon, waiting for the sun to burst over the hills. 

As I watched, the mountains and buttes once hidden by hazy clouds and darkness, were revealed as the sun's rays brightened the horizon more and more with each passing minute. 

It made me think how Jesus, God's Son, is like the sun. When I chose to have Him become a part of my life, He revealed (and continues to reveal) the hidden parts of my life that are not right—bitterness, selfishness, pride. All those things, I didn't recognize were there are exposed by the Bible and the counsel of other Godly men and women in my life. Sometimes how I respond to the events happening that I don't like or the differences I have between me and another person bring out the worst in me—things that I must choose to change. Just as the dark bumps of the mountains become beautiful as their snowy tops become aglow from the sun, so Jesus has taken the messes in my life and transformed them into beautiful mountains of trust, patience, unconditional love, and forgiveness. 

I jumped to my feet and quickly snapped photos as the sun burst over the horizon. Never before had I been able to watch the sunrise from such a high altitude and all directions at once. It seemed so cleansing and transforming.

Delighted, I found that the day's Bible reading reflected my thoughts. The comparison of light driving away the darkness took on a new meaning for me in that moment, one that I hope to remember for a very long time.

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light."
"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them."
"But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.” Ephesians 5:8,11,13

Friday, October 3, 2014

Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch


Last Chance Trading Post:
The Gift Shop

   Red Rock Meetn' Hall
(The barn)


   Sandy Pants Arena:
The arena where children are allowed to ride bareback. 
                  If they fall off, they're sure to get sand in their pants!     
 The Office of the "Town Marshal":

Dizzy Horse Round Pen

Independence Arena
Established July 4, 1994
 The Ranch Office Headquarters

It's dinner time for the ranch horses!

 Forest and his Mother
Amos the rescue colt, also Forest's Playmate
An afternoon on the ranch is finished.
It's time to walk down the lane to the
car corral.
Hope you all enjoy the picture walk through of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Smith Rocks in Oregon

Sunday, Rachel took Rebekah and I to Smith Rocks.  A rock fortress that towers above the ranches in the plains.  We watched the sun beginning to set behind the mountains, making the peaks just glow.  The sun's rays appeared to shoot out of the mountain, turning the Smith rocks toward the North East a reddish color.  It was just as Rachel had said.  The closer we got the more beautiful it became.  Then as we gazed over the wooden fence into the canyon below, we gasped as the most beautiful painting was revealed.  It was hard to believe I was actually witnessing this in person.

We thought this glowing boomerang cloud was neat as it seemed to encircle the tops of the Smith Rocks.  What a beautiful ending to our first day in Oregon!