Friday, September 28, 2012

The Most Important Place for You to Be

The place to be on this muggy Friday morning wasn't at a job, the mall, the gym, or at the coffee shop catching up with a close friend.  Then again, the place to be on any given day isn't always the most popular, seemingly most important place to be.  Instead, it's anywhere God is at work.

That place might be the sidewalk, the checkout line at the grocery store, a gas pump at the fueling station on the corner, or even a public bathroom.

The location is not as important as what God is doing there. Where God is at work, that is the place to be.

For me today, that place was the foyer of a church so small my dad actually passed it up and had to make a u-turn to double back.  That place was a room overflowing with hundreds of Ziploc bags, all filled with the same list of items--deodorant, body lotion, 20 oz bottles of conditioning shampoo, toothpaste, a single ink pen, one white pair of socks, an individually packaged toothbrush and single bars of soap.

At a quarter till ten, the bags and boxes covered the assembly line of tables splitting the room's center and had begun to spill over onto the floors.  Still, the door kept opening to reveal more women carrying in bag after bag, box after box brimming with donations until there were only small paths left to walk between.

These women had gathered from different churches around south Louisiana for the sole purpose of packing some of the 1400 boxes to be used to minister to our state's women's prison next weekend.

The work didn't take immense bodily strength nor great intelligence.  It required no knowledge of prophecy or other Biblical theology.

It simply required willing bodies and hearts bent towards serving God and fulfilling Christ's command in Matthew 25 by ministering to a particular population in need of Christ's mercy and grace. 

Some women put together white paper boxes; some folded their lids.  Others checked to ensure the items were the proper size and transferred them from bag to box while another group put on the lids and moved them to a wooden pallet where they were stacked into a cube, then wrapped securely in clear plastic.

In about an hour, we packed 459 boxes before praying God's blessing over them.

Each box that was assembled represented someone's sacrifice in Jesus' name.  Before today, someone had sacrificed his or her personal time and money to purchase the items. Some of the women present today even sacrificed one of their vacation days just to be there to help out.
Being where God is at work takes sacrifice.  But what any woman there would tell you is the blessing they received from the giving far exceeded what little they gave.

What I'm learning is that the most important place for you and me to be may appear to be the least important place to be.  Yet, in God's economy, he turns everything on its head, changing the least into the most, the small into the great ,the weak into the strong.

Seeking out the small, seemingly insignificant places to fulfill the mission Christ has called us to do just might lead to some thing, some place larger than ourselves.

"For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me" (Matt. 25:35-36).

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What You Can Learn from Grass

Father-in-law and I find common ground each morning while we stand around slapping mosquitoes, waiting for the 7:27 bus to come for my oldest son, Wyatt.  We speak of God, the children, and the plan for the day ahead, but inevitably, we come back to this plot of land where we live and work together, discussing the weather, equipment trouble, and how long it will take to dry the fields enough to drive the John Deere across them without getting stuck.

I tell him of my friend Jennifer in Iowa and the rains that will come too late for the bounty every farmer desires, of Ann and her husband watching the fields wondering if this year will be the year they won't get the crop in.

He nods his head in understanding and reaches out a long yellow stick to tap one of the black labs sneaking up to steal son's half-eaten peanut butter sandwich.

While crops in other parts of the country have suffered this year from drought, in my family's little patch of Louisiana clay, we've suffered the exact opposite with too much rain. 

More than twelve inches during Hurricane Isaac, six more just two weeks before that, and a 40% chance on too many daily forecasts throughout the spring and deep into the summer.

Whether it's too much or too little, the result is the same--a diminished harvest.

A good year with three strong cuttings would yield in excess of 25,000 bales.  This year?  We'll be blessed to harvest ten.

Come winter, an entire barn whose belly normally swells with the fullness will be empty until at least next summer, maybe longer depending on what God gives.
Still, the harvest is a time of hard work and excitement among my children.  Afternoon red wagons are abandoned in front of tall hay stacks and hollow bamboo in hopes of the promised ride around the fields to pick up the leftover hay.

A passerby might look across the newly shorn field and think all is finished.  Yet, they would be mistaken.

There is more left to harvest. Do you see?

The twins file into mother-in-law Oma's tractor with the pink license plate and drive to the edges of the fields, baling the remnant that some might just leave. Oldest son shares a cab with his Opa, driving behind the trio to scoop up the few remaining bales spit out in its path.
And then there are the broken bales, the ones where the baling twine snapped, spilling newly-packed hay back to earth in a messy clump.
This, too, is worthy of harvest.  It passes through the baler again before being picked up by the stack wagon and tucked away in the barn.

Every time there is a cutting, this scene plays out--the harvest of the many, then the going back to search out the remnant clinging to the fringes, to reclaim what was damaged and lost and then add the late-gathered ones to the overall harvest.

There's no way I can look at this and not see an image of the Father's plan for His harvest.

For Him, like for this farmer's wife, the harvest is not just about the many.

It's also about the broken, the already passed-over...the few.

Writing in Community today with:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

What it is to Feel Appreciated

I straddle the tallest gnarled live oak root and sit down behind the twisted wisteria tree where the grass ever struggles in the shade of the dense leafy umbrella overhead.

Knees bent like a clothespin, I grind rhinestone-encrusted pink ostrich roper clogs into the pea gravel just enough to balance myself.  Instinctively, my ears listen for the whiny buzz of airborne Louisiana bloodhounds--swamp mosquitoes who can smell human sweat on the wind from across a hay field.

The mocking bird's joyful song, though, is what carries on the wind.  It's the same song she started the morning the cool front came through and hasn't quite gotten out of her system, each verse different as she imitates every sound she's ever heard.

My head dips low with the late afternoon coolness as I wait for sounds of the school bus shifting gears before she rounds the corner and emerges from the tunnel of trees that make her almost invisible in their deep shadow.

I'm tired.  Too tired.

To my left, I watch an ant struggle with a moth carcass who knows how many times larger than its tiny exoskeleton.  Other ants come along to see what all the fuss is about, but none line up to help him like in some cartoon.  They move on their way, leaving the ant alone again, turning the moth back and forth in his mouth pinchers.

I smirk cynically, tell him to give it up and turn to swat a couple mosquitoes who have found me.

When I turn back, the moth is gone.  My eyes scan the ground until they catch a flash of tattered white wing.  The single ant is not only succeeding in his quest but is now climbing the brick wall surrounding a flower bed, all with the weight of a dead moth in tow.

Millimeter by millimeter, the moth is pulled upward by invisible hands until the ant reaches the top and pulls his meal into the space between where his home is.

Wyatt's school bus turns the corner, and I stand to greet him, all the while thinking how much I identify with that ant.

Husband and I knew these next two years would be rough, but knowing and doing are two different things.

When I home schooled all three children, husband would spend the evenings with them, then put them to bed later than late.  Each evening, I would put in an eight hour shift teaching online and then the children and I would all wake up to begin our day long after the sun had stretched her arms over the pine trees lining the back of our property.

It was different, but it worked for our family.

Then, God made it clear that Wyatt was to public school for kindergarten while I continued to home school the twins for two more years until they reached that age.  That meant a required 6:40 am wake-up-and-move-it call for this mother who works the night shift seven days a week.

At the one-third mark in the fall semester, I've been struggling to balance homeschooling the twins during the day with spending quality learning time with Wyatt after school and my nightly teaching load.

The only thing left to give is my sleep.  And so, it gives, and I with it.

Then, Wyatt got sick Wednesday night, he and I up together all night before an hour-long trip into the city this morning to the doctor who logically explained the frequent bathroom trips, the complaints of being too exhausted to walk, and the scary high fever that wouldn't break.

As I navigated early morning traffic, I couldn't help but overhear the backseat teaching lesson Wyatt was giving Emerson.  One minute, he was telling Emerson about being sick, coming into my room last night for me to take his temperature and tuck him back into bed.  The next, he was going off on this long, winding soliloquy explaining who I am.

"You know, mommy works at night so she can stay home during the day and play with us.  Most mommies go to sleep at night like we do and have to go to work during the day, but not ours.  Mommy works on computer with her stoo-dents while we sleep so she can be with us...She doesn't sleep so she's tired. But she's home with us to take care of us..."

I was stunned and instantly left feeling blessed that at almost six years old, he understood, at least in part, some of the sacrifices I make for him and his siblings....and that he even appreciated those choices, how hard I try to be the mother God has called me to be.

It's humbling, for this is always how it is.  When I am at my lowest, my heavenly Father never fails to send someone to lift me up, to confirm the path I'm walking, to encourage me to put another foot forward.

Earlier this week, it was a fellow blogger in my inbox.  Today, it just happened to be the voice of God speaking through the lips of my child.

Photo: One uber-strong ant carrying a dead moth to his lair between the bricks.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sewing Family Seeds of Love

It's hard to remember when my trio left behind being babies and toddlers to become preschoolers and a little boy.  If it weren't for the images in the albums or the videos on my computer, my mind would already have a hard time picturing nearly six years' worth of my children in smaller frames.

In each of those vivid memories, I still can't quite make out how tiny were those toes, how smooth were their downy-skinned faces pressed against mine, how sweet the smell of even their sweaty heads after a hard nap.  I forget what they couldn't do, how simple was their vocabulary, how short their attention span.

In all of those memories, the mind supplants an image of who they were with an image of who they are now. I don't quite understand how this is, how I could remember the overall framework of a memory so precisely yet envision their faces, their abilities so incorrectly.

Perhaps it is the mind's way of protecting us from too much sadness over what is lost and will never be again, a method of deceiving us into contentedness with what is rather than with what was.

If that's the reason, it works.  I enjoy snuggling on the sofa as all three point to their faces and ask questions.  But, I love who my children are now.

As a result, thoughts of intense change are saddening.

Now. The present.

It is good. It is a blessing.

When Wyatt started kindergarten this fall, one of my fears was that we would lose our special time together.  For two years, the twins would nap in the late afternoon, sending our usually carnival-esque house into an odd silence.

It was during those two precious hours that Wyatt had his special one-on-one time with mommy.  He and I would take turns reading to the other, play board games, and learn whatever caught his fancy--counting by fives, telling time, naming dinosaurs.

I feared that with learning all day in kindergarten and coming home to an excited sister and brother who wanted his attention, too, that he would have little time for me in the evenings.

Blessedly, I was wrong.

After-school time with Wyatt is different than it once was, but the "new normal" is just as special.

He still begs to be read to, stacks of books at a time, just like before, only now, the twins join in, able to sit through the stack with him.  While daddy squeezes them together for bedtime reading, our living room sofa isn't big enough, so we four sit together on the floor and giggle in unison at puppy Mudge's antics or Amelia Bedelia's confusion.
Whereas Wyatt used to draw pictures and do crafts at my kitchen table, now he brings those creations home in his back pack (or on his head).  Still, though, each afternoon, the first thing he does is lay them all before me to explain every piece of paper.  I sit attentively through each description, my heart warmed by his interest in sharing with me the pictures of echolocation, Angry Birds, and representations of "five things."
What's more?  Wyatt's being in school has unexpectedly added to our home.  As soon as the bus returns him to me, he is on fire to teach the twins and me what he has learned.

Already this fall, my kitchen has seen a volcano erupt, objects float in salt water to determine density, water frozen into an iceberg, and (as soon as this mom can get herself to Wal-mart--silly mommy, why didn't you know you'd need celery!?) a simple experiment on osmosis.
What he does in class, he wants to do again at home.  The twins love it.  And so do I, this sharing.

On my kitchen cabinet presently sits his written request for a Venus fly trap and a ten-step plan to stop a little girl from chasing him at recess.  It all makes me smile.

Last week, Amelia interrupted Wyatt's after school soliloquy on Legos to have me put an outfit on her doll, and Wyatt burst into tears.  When I finally could get him to put words to his feelings, he quite bluntly told me that the twins had me to themselves all day long, but that this was his time.

I held him like a mama bear, understanding that even with the changes we've undergone around here, time together as a family, time with his mother is still important to him.

In a year, I won't be able to picture his face as it is at this very moment, chin turning from round to square, face becoming more elongated just like his father.  Still, I want to freeze these special moments of happiness.

I want to be able to remind myself when I enter another hard chapter that even when circumstances change, a family love that is cultivated daily runs deep, a family love that demonstrates itself by spending consistent, quality time together will still desire to spend that time together.

The seasons keep on changing.  But they can still be sweet if I am flexible and seek out different times, different ways to demonstrate love.

Writing in Community with Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Learning to Love Your Brother

My sons don't always love each other. In fact, some days, my house is a war zone with each son on a different side of some invisible battle line. It's a civil war of sorts.

Honestly? It's heart wrenching for this mama who just wants her sons to become fast friends so they'll have somebody to be there for them once I'm gone from this world.

The intense arguing started during early summer, and by the start of August, I had mastered the speech about loving your brother, not inciting your brother to anger, not intentionally doing things to irritate your brother. I had even added the part about this being the only brother God gave you to love, so you'd better start!

When that didn't work, I resorted to making them sit together on the naughty bench until they could figure out some plan to be able to play together without arguing. This was good and always provided a short-term fix, but not even this stemmed the tide beyond the bench's shadow.

Their bickering, nagging, annoying of the other grew so intense that I made them swap seats in the van. No more sitting by each other on the back row. Mama just couldn't take the whining.

Then, kindergarten started and with the shift in power, the constant battle vanished overnight.

No longer was Wyatt the big brother who directed the day's play. Instead, for the majority of each day, Emerson was now man of the house, on equal footing with his twin sister.

And when Wyatt stepped off the bus and back into our world?

It was good to have him home. Everyone was happy to be with him. What's more, he was happy to be there, to re-enter our world, even if it did include a younger brother and sister.

He could bring home long, winding yarns about his life at big boy school. On the floor in the hall, his purple and gold book bag would spill forth counting songs he would sing to us, rhymes about oceans, a clay volcano for us to re-erupt, and page after page of stories, drawings, and words.

While Amelia was less than impressed after the first few minutes, Emerson would sit and listen, taking it all in.

Suddenly, no longer were Emerson and Amelia too "little" to do this or that. Instead, Wyatt began admonishing me to teach them their numbers and their letter sounds NOW, FASTER because, "they need to learn to read like me."

Yesterday, Wyatt did the unprecedented--allowed Emerson to touch his prized camera. Heads together, Wyatt explained step by step how to play each particular game on it while Emerson watched intently.

Late this afternoon, my jaw dropped when I heard Wyatt ask Emerson to come sit with him in daddy's La-Z-Boy. At the end of the Leap Frog video, they were still there--together, skin touching skin and without any complaints.Even in the back of the van, Wyatt and Emerson passed the miles to ESL class by telling knock-knock jokes, even if they were completely lacking an understanding of what makes a joke funny.

"Knock knock," Wyatt says.

"Who's there," answers Emerson.


"Alligator who?"

"Alligator chased a bear up a tree! Ha ha ha ha !!!" laughs Wyatt, amused at his own joke.

Emerson grins and laughs just as loudly with his outside voice before catching my eye in the rear view mirror. Then, it's his turn. "Knock, knock...."

I can't help shaking my head and laughing. None of the jokes makes sense. Not one. But that doesn't matter. What matters is their happy play together, each taking turns telling a senseless joke, each laughing at the other's.

It's a heart-knitting exercise.

When the lights go out tonight, the camaraderie will really begin. Door closed, white noise machine on to mask a farm full of sounds--they won't think I can hear their stories, games, chatter, their laughter.

No, I usually can't make out the words, but my heart is warmed by the high lilting tones that speak of a covert bond forming when they think mama isn't watching.

It's a blessing, a spark of hope that one day, they really will love their brother as God intended.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Knees to the Earth: A New Season of Prayer

My mother in law has callouses on her knees from hours spent with head bowed to the floor. While some people, like me, use their wall calendars to keep track of their commitment to a daily exercise routine, her square boxes are filled with swirly capital P's, one or two per compartment, tracking how often she stopped for prayer on any given day.

I don't know what it means to pray like this, to be on my knees so much that they are rough and knobby, to track my commitment to my prayer life with such regularity.

It humbles me, makes me wonder what my relationship with God would be like if my calendar were filled more with P's.

The year before my oldest son was born, when he was tucked safely inside my belly, I would dress each morning for my full time teaching job, choke down (literally) my eight ounce glass of orange juice, and move from the chair to my knees before driving an hour to work.

My joints always protested the descent with the snap, crackle, pop sounds of the popular breakfast cereal. Before me would be my prayer list, people, things I needed to bring before the Father's throne. Yet, even in this daily routine, my knees never visually reflected my commitment. And honestly? My heart didn't either.

I didn't find a relationship in this routine. I found a routine in the routine, something I could check off my "must-do-to-please-God" list. Praying from my list kept me from forgetting anything, but it was also a crutch and seemed to keep me from praying from the heart, letting the Spirit guide my prayers wherever they might take me. It was also me always talking, rarely listening. When I did listen, my mind wandered far too easily.

By the time the twins were born and I could hardly tell when night ended and morning began, I had long abandoned these morning prayers on my knees. Out of necessity, I began to pray continually throughout each day--while I cooked, while I washed clothes, while I shopped for groceries, while I changed diapers.

In this type of prayer life, I gained a relationship with God that I'd never had before, where my thoughts dwelt on Him more than just during designated prayer or Bible study times, where my conversations with Him didn't begin and end but were a constant throughout every day.

Without a stopwatch prayer life, I found I was getting better at listening in my pauses. Reading His Word became an act of listening to a conversation rather than an act of reading.

Six years later, my relationship with the Lord is way beyond what it was when I felt prayer was a checklist item I must schedule like a doctor's appointment.

Lately, though, with the children growing up and not needing mommy every second of the day, I'm finding God prompting me to go deeper still--not to give up this day-long attitude of prayer but to add back in the "scheduled" quiet time I gave up when they came along.

For two weeks, I have been craving time on my knees. The irony is God has placed this desire in my heart but has temporarily taken away my ability.

Before Hurricane Isaac, I tripped on children shoes piled high by the back door. After slamming my foot into a door, my knees dropped straight down onto the hard tile. Almost two and a half weeks later, those swollen black and blue circles still won't allow me even to kneel on a soft mattress.

Sure, I can still pray and start my routine. It just feels like something is missing, that I'm not close enough to the earth.

When my knees are healed, this go-around, I'm hoping to find in a scheduled prayer time what I couldn't before--not a checklist or a requirement, but a a genuine meeting with the Father.

Writing in community with Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus

Friday, September 7, 2012

Putting Your Faith to the Test

My oldest son's face puckered tight until he had a bird beak where lips had been seconds before.  His sweaty forehead crinkled into premature lines as he walked ever quickly in lazy circles before me in the hall.

The overflowing joy that tumbled towards me as he described the events of his day had suddenly vanished.  There would be no more showing the twins and me his drawing of a dolphin using echo location (!?), the "one bunny" worksheet, or the Magic Tree House research book he's reading on the Titanic.

All that mattered was mommy interrupting his running narrative to say, "I'm sorry, but you can't go to that party."

Knowing how tired Wyatt is after school, I knew tears were the next step along with a good bit of pointless begging and pleading.

I had been meaning to have the conversation with him, honestly, I had.  But with last week's hurricane and this week's chaos with the restart of my teaching load, there was always something first.

Then, today, his teacher innocently mentioned the raffle tickets students were selling at the school's fund raiser and how they would be able to attend the "party the mommies are planning for us" if they sold and returned their $50 booklet.

To Wyatt and any other young child, the words were enticing.  A party! Besides, what was gambling anyway?  That's not a term we had ever used in our household before, not one of the ten commandments or the fruit of the spirit husband and I have sought to print on our children's hearts.

I sighed and had to raise my voice to get him to sit down and really listen to me.  He huffed down the wall like melted jello, then stuffed his pink cheek on his fist and scowled over at me with those hurt eyes.

I explained that there were some things those of us who love God just can't do because we believe the Bible tells us "no."  I explained that gambling was breaking God's law and that disobeying God made Him sad.  Then, I gave the example of the meeting the mothers had earlier that week--on Wednesday morning, which conflicted with my Bible study time.  I really wanted to go.  But how would God have felt if I would have broken my commitment to Him, skipped Bible Study to go to that meeting?

Wyatt grudgingly gave me the correct answer, but his eyebrows lifted a bit, seemingly surprised to discover that mommy had to make choices she didn't like, too, because she wanted to please Jesus more than she wanted to please others.

What is and isn't gambling--it's a personal faith conviction, one I understand that not all Christians share.  And that's ok with me.  While I personally have no problem with fundraising raffles for items as prizes, when it's a raffle for a monetary prize, that's where husband and I draw the line.  In this situation, I felt like buying a raffle ticket was no different from sticking a coin in a slot machine and pulling the handle.

My son had been in school literally three days before my faith was put to this test.  This week, it was tested again with the schedule conflict.

When husband and I were praying so diligently about whether to home school Wyatt or put him public school, we kept coming back to this point, of being a light in a dark world.

I just had no idea being a light would come this soon, that it would be this difficult to say 'no' to that pitiful face and to be ok with the disapproval I know other mothers will feel at my decision.  But it's good--husband and I are given the chance already to show our children there are choices to please or to displease God, sometimes even hard ones.

In the end, I told Wyatt there was no reason he couldn't come home that day and have his own party without breaking God's laws. I could see the wheels turning.  His face brightened and the bounce came back as he began to rattle off plans for mommy to write down of hot dogs, marshmallows, a Leapfrog film, games, and popcorn.... 

Obeying God is important.  But that didn't mean he couldn't have any fun.

Monday, September 3, 2012

God's Footprints in the Mud

The poem you probably remember speaks of two sets of footprints walking side by side in the white, spongy sand.  It might even hang from a wall in your home.  I'll admit it still brings tears to my eyes when the author reveals the two sets of prints become one holy set when God carried the poem's speaker through the hardest times of life.

In the images I've seen accompanying the poem, it is always of a peaceful, abandoned beach, a tranquil repose from the storms of life.  Cool, steady winds blow in off the ocean against the rhythmic sound of white-capped waves washing in to continually erase the pristine shoreline.

Yes, it's a gorgeous poem of how God cares for his children. But as a south-Louisiana woman who has been to the beach less than a dozen times in her life, it just doesn't ring completely true.

In fact, the ease and beauty of the imagery isn't at all how I have experienced my God caring for me.

In my mind, I see those same footprints, but they're not an imprint of five distinct toes and perfect arches against an endless, flat walking surface.  Instead, they're deep boot prints already back-filled with standing water from the swampy marshes and forests where palmettos are as prolific as pines.

This walking through the mud that sucks at my boots and splatters my entire body with each misstep--it's arduous and messy, just like life's struggles.  And sometimes? It reeks of death from under the marsh's surface where the vegetation melts back into primordial ooze.

As I struggle to just move forward, the mud cakes up on my boots, my legs, making each step more difficult.  If I stop to look behind me, I see those two lines of puddles where the prints would be--deep hole after deep hole imprinted across an already lumpy landscape where others have trod before me amongst rotten logs' decay and the sometimes knee-high underbrush that threatens to take back what part of creation it claims as its own.

I look down at my legs, arms, clothing and realize I both look and smell like I've gone through one of life's trials.  Yet, I keep slogging through the marsh.

Against a backdrop of crickets' rubbing wings, bird's flutter and chirp overhead while small hidden animals below scurry away from the mud's rhythmic sucking sound as I pull up my foot for each step.

Then, when I can't go any further, when I am simply too exhausted to pull out my mud-caked boot one more time, I look back to see my boot tops left sticking out of the mud along with a single line of footprints, only this time, I notice how much larger and deeper those prints are than before, the result of my God carrying my heavy load through the difficult terrain.    

This past month has been one of those times when God has carried me through the muddy swamp.

He has carried me through my oldest son leaving the home school setting to start public school kindergarten.  Then, when I thought I might could walk again, I needed God to carry me through Hurricane Isaac with its tree-topping winds and over a foot of water turning the hay fields to rice paddies.

Even when I couldn't see God carrying me, He continually gave reminders to me and numerous others that He was there.  The morning before the hurricane came ashore, friends, church members, and family were constantly posting pictures of rainbows.
Before the storm, our farm's skies lit up in this sign of covenant spanning our home.  And the evening after the storm, He did the same thing, painting a full double rainbow that stretched from one side of the hay field to the other.

My heart that had been anxious for days received the blessing, understood the miracle He was sending.  My God had taken the time to stoop down and remind my family that He was here before the storm, He was here in the storm, and He was still here after the storm.

When the waters began to recede and the electricity turned back on, I looked behind me and could see, once again, my boots stuck firmly in the mud behind that one set of deep prints carrying me through it all.

Images: Put together, the pictures make a complete rainbow arching over our farm.

Writing in Community with Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus