Monthly Archives: October 2015

Plan A

  
This is a little button I used to wear just inside my favorite jacket where I would see it often and be reminded not just of how the Saviour loves me but of how I am to treat others.  I think I’ll start wearing it again. 

And this is a note to me on my memo board. I really think I’ve been distracted by too many plan Bs. 

  
Fall days are beautiful aren’t they? Fall is my almost favorite, after the heat, bugs, and hard work of summers.  

but my real favorite is the Christmas season, for obvious reasons. It’s a good time to focus on plan A. 

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Again on Stress and Cancer

i found an interesting article online from which the following is a quote:

“After working with the naturopath for 90 days, Chris added some cooked food to his diet, including three servings of animal protein per week. The food and supplement regimen changed his bioterrain so that it became inhospitable to cancer cells. He also dealt with a hidden cause of cancer: stress. Chris told the audience, “You have to create a peaceful, quiet life, and forgive everyone who has ever hurt you. Grudges give you a sick heart, which will give you a sick body. You have to heal your heart!”

You can find the whole article here

So

So, this post is very personal but I also think I need to leave the message in it here, maybe because it might bennifit someone besides me. 

I’ve been doing some research on cancer and found that, no matter what else is said about it, it has a great deal to do with the compromise of our immune system. 

Our bodies are so miraculous when it comes to fixing itself. A broken bone will heal (without any medical intervention). That just amazes me. 

The immune system is our first line of defense against so many viruses and bacterial infections. It’s like a computer program working in the background, we don’t think about it or maybe even understand what it’s doing but without it doing its little job, the whole system crashes. 

So we need to do everything we possibly can to keep our immune system functioning at its peak which involves all the things we are constantly told: eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, avoid toxins in our environment, including introducing them into our bodies through things like cigarettes and alcohol. 

And they talk about stress and its negative effect on our health. How to avoid stress in our modern world is hard to imagine, even harder to implement. Anger and fear are two really big stresses that also seem to be part of everyday life. 

I think something that doesn’t get the same consideration is the health of our spirits, our souls, whatever you want to call the inside, important, forever part of us. It’s more than our mind and keeping a positive attitude although we know that’s important. It’s even more than what we call our hearts, or our emmotions. 

It’s what we sense about ourselves when we are still. 

I have many of those ‘still’ moments on the prairie so maybe I get to be more aware of that part of me than most people. I think it’s easiest to find it in ourselves when we are surrounded by Nature. I find it pretty difficult in the midst of traffic or TV noise and Internet distractions. 

I believe we have 2 parts: the outside or body, physical, tangible part and the inside or spiritual part. The physical part is pretty earthly, prone to prioritize based on our own needs and wants (self centered, survival oriented) maybe even dangerously so at times. The other part is on a different plane of existence where compassion, self control, selflessness are the it’s core. 

This might sound odd but I think our spiritual part and a physical part are so different that it takes quite a bit to get them working on the same page; our spirit constantly struggling to get our tangible bodies to do the right thing (to be and do good). And maybe that’s why we are really here in the world, to see which one wins, to see if our spirits are strong enough to control our physical part. 

I think health is more than about just the body or physical stuff and that we need a healthy spirit almost more than we need a healthy body (although the relationship is symbiotic, meaning they need each other). How can our spirit win (and it will be so much better for us if it does) if it’s sick? If it’s healthy, anger and fear and all those things that have their roots in the physical world and actually cause the body stress, can be controlled. 

So, the point of all this is that I’m going to work harder to get healthy spiritually hoping that it will lessen the stress part for my poor old body so my immune system can at least avoid those distractions. 

Home

I’ve never really felt at home anywhere (except close to nature, out on the prairie). 

I found something I had written in feb. 2004. 

Home

Under the sparkling smile of a light-hearted moon while Earth wears her garment of diamond dust white and snow swirls dance around trees in comely curls, Night bids me: “Stay” and beckons my heart to abide. 

But I plod on, my face buried deep in this scarf, hiding from the icy, biting wind. 

Safeguarding the night from his fence post tower a snow owl sentinel softly, silently, surveys my passing then spreads and dips and rises soundlessly away. Still and Calm call out to me: “Tarry this night with us. ”

But I trudge on, my toes, numb in boots the squeak over the friged white ground. 

Privledged, my soul, alone in the freedom of this night feels peace and infinite grace pour down on me from forever overhead. A single Star falls from the blue black vault of Heaven and summons me: “Make your sincerest wish be known. ”

But I only say, “I long for Home.”

 

Great Uncle Charlie

Guess I’m still on a sheep kick. This is a story about my cowboy’s great uncle Charlie. 

So great uncle Charlie went to work on a big sheep ranch not real far from where we have been working this summer. These stories were told by the ranch foreman. 

Apparently he and Charlie were out a horseback checking on some sheep. They came upon a sad scene where a coyote had killed a lamb and was eating it in front of the mother. The ewe was trying everything she could to drive off the coyote but it wasn’t working. 

Suddenly, leaving the foreman behind with no explanation, uncle Charlie kicked his horse into a gallop towards the coyote and the ewe. At a dead run he pulled out a guns and with one shot killed the coyote but didn’t stop, just headed over the hill back to the yard. 

A short while later he was back, packing a little orphan lamb on his horse. He skinned the little dead lamb, tied the hide to the orphan and presented it to the ewe. A sniff or two and she happily accepted the lamb. 

The foreman congratulated uncle Charlie on his marksmanship and on finding a mama for the bum lamb. 

Uncle Charlie said he didn’t do it for the lamb but any mother who would fight that hard for a baby deserved to have one. I love uncle Charlie (and my cowboy since it was his great uncle) just from that story alone, but there’s more. 

So the foreman was headed to town, one day, and asked the hired men if there was anything they wanted him to bring them back from town. Lots asked for whiskey or tabacco but uncle Charlie just wanted his bible. Well this caused the other hands to start ridiculing him and calling him the bible boy which led to an unpleasant incident a while later. 

The foreman heard gunshot and when he rode over to the group of hired men found one of them shooting at Uncle Charlie’s feet trying to get him to dance with all the others egging him on. Uncle Charlie, cool as a cucumber said: “Well, I know they’re big but it’s gonna take a better shot than to hit ’em”. (Dang, aren’t you starting to love uncle Charlie too?)

Well this caused even a bigger ruckus and they were saying things like: “I guess you think you’re a better shot, then?” Before things got any more out of hand the foreman said: “We can have a little contest and see whose the better shot.”

Everyone was all about showing how much better they were with a gun than uncle Charlie. (The foreman had seen him shoot that coyote I mentioned before and knew how good a shot uncle Charlie was). 

So the contest consisted of  5 rocks on top of fence posts on down the fence line. The deal was you started standing on the ground, mounted your horse, galloped on down the fence line shooting off the rocks as you went by, ahorseback. 

Each of the hired men took a turn but only a rock or two was hit. Uncle Charlie was last. He climbed aboard his horse, yelled yeehaw, threw his hat in the air, and shot a hole threw it, then spured up horse, galloped down the fence, and hit every single rock. (Like the original mounted shooting but will a lone bullet, not a pistol full of shot and balloons like they do now.)

But I saved the best story for last. 

There was a mighty blizzard and the men out tending sheep came in one by one, leaving their flocks to drift with the snow, pile up on fence lines, and die and die they did, thousands of them. 

The only one who didn’t come in was uncle Charlie and the foreman was rightly concerned about him so when the blizzard quit he went out looking for him. He found him safe and sound along with all his sheep. The foreman was flabbergasted and asked him how, when those big tough men had got scared and come back to the yard, how he had managed to stay alive and save the sheep too. 

Uncle Charlie told him how he had tried to hold the sheep from drifting but when he couldn’t anymore he knelt down in the snow and asked God to help him. And He did. 

Uncle Charlie was more than a good shot and saved more than just sheep. Because of his influence the foreman changed his life and started going back to church and became a real good man who blessed many lives. 
My cowboy can remember his great uncle, just a little guy, not much over 5 foot tall, but a spiritual giant. 

He even remembers sitting on his old saddle. I wonder if that’s when he first wanted to be cowboy? His compassion for animals is a lot like Uncle Charlie’s too. He’s like my dad that way. My dad would have liked Uncle Charlie a lot. Hope I get to meet him on the other side. You never know, maybe they’ve met in up-yonder. 

Day 2 of Ponderizing

Still thinking about my relationship to the Good Shepherd. I herd a true story about sheep once back in the 80’s that I never forgot. 

This fellow was in morocco on some govt. business and was, along with some others in the delegation, invited to drive out thru the dessert to look at some ruins. He was traveling in the 3rd of 5 limos and lagging behind the second one by quite a bit. As the car he was in topped a hill he could see the 2nd Limo pulled over? The driver was talking to an man with a small herd of 10-15 sheep. He sensed there had been an accident and had the driver pull over. His driver explained to him that the limo driver ahead of them had stuck one of the man’s lambs and because of the law of the land was being offered 100 times the value of the sheep at maturity. But he wouldn’t take it. The catch was that he would have give up the sheep and it would be slaughtered. When the fellow asked why he wouldn’t take so much money the driver said: because of the love he has for the lamb. Then this fellow watched the man pick up the lamb, tuck it in the folds of his long robe, and pat its head saying the same word over and over. When the fellow asked what the word meant he was told it was the name of the lamb. 

That’s the first I ever knew what real shepherds were like, the first I began to understand the Good Shepherd’s love for me. 

23rd Palm

At church on Sunday we were all challenged to pick out a scripture and ponderize it for the whole week. Ponderize meaning a cross between pondering and memorizing. 

I picked the 23rd Psalm. 

Even though my cowboy has always joked about being allergic to sheep, to me, shepherds are Cowboys, just with sheep instead of cows. All I know about sheep I’ve learned because of the scriptures.  I learned this about the 23rd psalm today. For the basque shepherds it’s like a how-to manual/motto for looking after their sheep. 

It kind of helps to think of it from the perspective of a sheep, especially Holyland sheep like King David (the one who did big old Goliath in) would have took care of as a boy. (Did you know he killed a lion and a bear protecting sheep with his sling shot before he killed the giant?)

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” 

Sheep can trust their shepherd to care for them and whether he takes them back to the same pasture or a new one he pretty much can be counted on to take them to good grass. They don’t have to worry, he’s not going to let them go hungry. 

“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. “ 

Sheep, like cattle, start the days’s grazing at first light, eat for a few hours, then take a break to relax and chew their cud. Shepherds start their herd out first thing in the morning on rougher plants and gradually move them to to better and sweeter grazing till they take their break where they can actually lie down in green pastures. 

“He leadeth me beside the still waters.”

Sheep don’t really care to drink out of fast running streams. (Can you imagine falling in if you were a sheep with all that wool? Waterlogged, it would sure be heavy. ) For whatever reason, they prefer still water and a shepherd will find a good place for them to drink, maybe even dig a little spot somewhere safe, away from currents. 

“He restoreth my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. ” 

I read that a sheep will sometimes come to the shepherd for a scratch behind the ear, or pat on the head, maybe even a few kind words. And I think a shepherd takes pride in doing his job well, like a cowboy does. People know him as a good stockman. 

Yea, though I walk by the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, Thy rod and thy staff comfort me.”

This part of what I read made that a lot clearer. Aparantly, sheep in the Holy land are moved through such a valley for seasonal grazing that’s about 4 1/2 miles long with sides about 1500 feet high and maybe only 10-12 feet at the bottom and in places so narrow not even a sheep can turn around which makes it necessary for everyone to move their sheep up the draw in the morning and down it at the end of the da. Water flows through there when it rains and cuts grooves in the ground that make getting through there too tuff for even a mule. Too top it off, there’s one place that requires some jumping and the sheep have to risk falling 8 feet down into a gully. If they do fall the shepherd uses the round end of his shepherd’s staff around the neck of a bigger sheep or around the body of a lamb to pull them back up to the trail. And there are predators too, wild dogs, waiting for an easy meal that the shepherd will throw his rod at and can knock the animal into the gully and more easily kill it. 

“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.”

For sheep, those enemies are stock poisoning plants that shepherds keep an eye out for in the spring and dig them out. They then are placed on stone piles (that might have been made in Old Testament times) where they dry out and then can be burned. 

“Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over.”

So it sounds like, by a sheep fold, there is a container of oil and an earthen pot full of cool water (cooled by evaporation). Sheep are let into the fold one at a time and the shepherd checks each one for burrs and cuts or scratches. Each wound is cleaned and then dressed with the oil. The water is drawn out of the container by the shepherd in an overflowing cup and offered to a fevered sheep who will stick their whole face in (up to their eyes) and drink their fill. 

At night the shepherd wraps his warm wool cloak around him and with his staff within reach, in case it is needed to protect the sheep, he lays down in the doorway of the sheepfold to sleep. 

A sheep that well cared for might well think that same thing written by David, millennia ago: 

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. “

Sheep need a good shepherd and so do I. I’m so glad there is One.