TRANSITIONS

CORN CRIB HOUSE

CORN CRIB HOUSE

Old Towne Grove Chapel, Groveland, Illinois

Old Towne Grove Chapel, Groveland, Illinois

 

Interior, Old Towne Grove Chapel

Interior, Old Towne Grove Chapel

Life can change suddenly.  We are still in transition since my father’s death in so many areas.  The property he left behind became an immediate concern.   His estate included a house, 2-story double garage and workshop, old machine shed, chicken house, a storage building turned into a large wedding chapel, a corn crib turned into a house, and the small wedding chapel.  Although we are still working with appraisers, surveyors, legal representation, the health department, the zoning department, the road commissioner, and the taxing commission, we are getting close to legally dividing dad’s property between my younger brother and myself.  We are soon to become the proud parents of the two chapels and the corn crib house.

With ownership comes much responsibility.  We must wait until April to meet with the zoning commission to find if they will approve a special use permit so that the chapels can continue to be used for small weddings.  With new ownership comes new permits.  Then comes the work of doing needed maintenance.  We also would like to update the interior of the large chapel.  So it is that this transition will probably take many more months before it is complete…and then the maintenance for so many buildings is ongoing.  With ownership comes work.

In order to divide the property, zoning informed us that we could not just draw a line down the middle of the old machine shed.  In order to have the required 5-feet set back on each property line, we had to dismantle the middle of the shed creating two sheds out of one with a large space in the middle.  That demo is done but our end now needs a new wall and much interior work to make it useable as a storage shed.  Our son Dirk is invaluable in that regard; we could not handle these projects without him.  Together, dad and son already filled a Bubba Dump with debris from the shed.  Now the re-building begins.

So it is that our lives at Farm Grove are suddenly much more extensive as far as our responsibility is concerned.  But we love our home and we love the chapels that my father created.  The small chapel and corn crib properties border our own land.  Like adopted children, they are as dear to us as our own creation.  We will take care of them with love.

 

 

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Fantasy Backyard Farm

Babydoll Southdown Lamb

Babydoll Southdown Lamb

I keep telling myself I do not need any critter responsibilities.  But my fantasy farm, the one in my fertile imagination, always includes lambs and chickens, with perhaps a cat or two.

A recent issue of Country Garden magazine had a picture of a Babydoll Southdown lamb on the cover wearing a cornflower blue ribbon around its neck.  The owners kept two babydolls to trim the grass and eat the weeds in their garden.  How idyllic does that sound!

Babydolls are smaller than your usual sheep and are known for their teddy bear face.  Out of curiosity I googled the average cost.  For a ewe it is about $400.  They must also be sheared once a year.  Great, I thought.  Lots of wool for pillows and needle felting projects! In my saner moments I know caring for sheep requires the right fences and pens and is more demanding and expensive than owning a cat or dog.  After losing our last cat, Misty, I said to self–no more cats.  What am I thinking?  But just look at that face.

How about chickens?  Chickens can be free-range.  They provide fresh eggs.  They are decorative as well as useful.  Just put them up at night and protect from predators.  I know there is more to it than that because my grandmother kept chickens and they were a lot of work.  Plus, my husband despises chickens.  His dislike goes back to having to gather eggs for his grandmother, who also kept chickens.  Who didn’t in those days of farm families…  He said they pooped and pecked.  I cannot deny that they do.  I told him chickens must be socialized so they do not peck.  He looked at me strangely.

So I guess my mini Eden in the back yard will have to do with visiting Canada geese, migrating ducks, and about 6 muskrats in the pond.  The upside?  They feed themselves.

Cat and Chickens

Cat and Chickens

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When the Lamb Stands

The Tomb Opening Behind Us

The Tomb Opening Behind Us

After an autumn trip to Israel, the land to which Christ will return in glory, I set my hand to finishing a forty-year commitment.  I began teaching prophecy in my early 20’s and have probably taught the Revelation a hundred times to study groups and audiences. After a winter previewing the resulting commentary to select study groups, I took advantage of the excellent resources of Amazon and put it into print.  “When the Lamb Stands – A Handbook for the Study of Revelation” is now available in print on Amazon or in the Kindle digital store.

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This 82-page complete commentary is available for $10 and is an excellent resource for a private or group study of the last book of the Bible, the book that resolves all things and opens the door of mysteries.

“When the Lamb Stands” is an exciting look at the Second Coming of Christ to judge a Christ-rejecting world and to establish His earthly Millennial Kingdom.  The mysteries of this prophetic book are unlocked according to the promises of the prophet Daniel in chapter 12 and are literally revealed in their future intensity.

The Rapture/Resurrection of the Church of Christ, the Bride, is imminent, a truth which brings hope to the present-day remnant.  The closer we are to the Second Coming, even so we are nearer to the blessed hope [Titus 2:13].  As we see the signs of the times increasing in frequency and intensity [Matthew 24:8], we are to look up and lift up our heads with anticipation because we know our redemption from the earth is drawing near [Luke 21:28].  How can we not read this book with excitement?

But more than a blessing to the Church and the hope of the saved, the Revelation is the revealing of Jesus Christ in the fullness of His glory.  To honor Christ for all of who He is cannot be accomplished without the truths and final words of this awesome book of His story.   A blessing is given in chapter 1 for those who read it, hear it, and do it…become that blessing.

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An Introvert in an Extrovert World

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Are you an introvert?  Do you find your energy renewed in solitude?  I am an introvert with learned extrovert capabilities, as my daughter defined it. Life necessitates participation.  Like the picture above, my world is not confined to one emotional location.  There are several paths I choose to walk but the word “private” is on the gate.  Companionship tends to be by invitation–not because I do not value friends.  Only because my ability to  be the kind of friend they deserve is limited by the number of paths I have the energy to travel.  As we enter 2017, thank you dear friends for walking paths with me.  I do not take your presence for granted.

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JANUARY CANDLE LIGHT

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To combat the darker days of January, I am leaving out strands of LED seed lights and burning more candles.  Now all I need is a cup of coffee and The Gilmore Girls original series on NETFLIX.  We are on Season 4.  HAPPY NEW 2017 DEAR FRIENDS AND FAMILY!  We are living in exciting times.

 

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CHRISTMAS CAROLS

The piano in the great room is decked with candles and garland.  My favorite Christmas carol book is open to Silent Night.  A stack of carefully-gathered sheet music waits its turn underneath:  White Christmas, Sleigh Ride, The Christmas Song, Rudolph, Silver Bells…  I gleaned the sheet music over many years, searching through stacks at auctions, looking for the same favorites my Aunt Noreen would play every Christmas.  Now all I need to do is sit down and do the same.

I am not very good on the piano.  I play once a year, at Christmas, for my own enjoyment–or chagrin depending on how well my fingers remember the notes on any given day.  Because of dyslexia, I find it very difficult to play when anyone else is listening and especially when anyone is singing with me.  A distraction of any sort causes the finger memory to completely leave me.  I cannot even convincingly “fudge” as Elizabeth Bennett did when forced to play in Pride and Prejudice. 

Still, I always regret when I haven’t taken sufficient time to play the old carols and standards during the season.  Without them–it just isn’t Christmas!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

 

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ADVENTURE TO ISRAEL

Eating a pita of Seasoned Lamb and Chicken--Delicious!

Eating a pita of Seasoned Lamb and Chicken–Delicious!

We went to Israel to witness where Jesus walked and where He will return to reign.  Archeology saturates this ancient land.  One can scarcely plant a tree in Israel without striking another level of antiquity.

The landscape in Israel is intriguing, from the rocky hills of the Galilee and The Golan Heights to the misty expanse of the Dead Sea.  But as our guide often said, Israel is a very small country–no larger than the state of New Jersey.

Masada plateau. Most of us rode the cable car to the top. Five hearty souls did the trek.

Masada plateau. Most of us rode the cable car to the top. Five hearty souls did the trek.

Above is a picture of the ruins of Masada with the Dead Sea in the distance.

The Dead Sea is alive with healing minerals

The Dead Sea is alive with healing minerals

It is also a young nation, born in 1948, just a year before my birth.  In the brief span of its existence, it has seen about five major wars and several more periods of serious unrest; yet its people tenaciously cling to the only real estate the Jewish race can claim as its own from the time of Abraham.

Israel was brought back from swamp and desert  by returning Jewish settlers beginning about 1900 and now bears four seasons of fruits, grains and vegetables–enough to supply the fresh produce of Europe.  Our son noted that the lifestyle of regions is often more apparent seeing how the locals shop and what they eat.  Our first day in Israel we experienced first-hand some typical “fast food” of Israel–shawarma pita sandwiches stuffed with seasoned lamb and chicken.  We entered a cool, rock-walled cafe’ in the ancient city of Joffa and were quickly served the savory hot sandwiches and canned pop.  After a ten-hour plane trip and morning touring Caesarea and Joffa, we both quickly finished off our sandwiches.

The Old City

The Old City

Arab Market at the Mt. of Temptation

Arab Market at the Mt. of Temptation

Above is a Jewish open-air market in the Old City of Jerusalem.  Most residents buy fresh produce daily.  Our Jewish guide mentioned that his children had three favorite staples for breakfast every morning–tomatoes, cucumbers and onions, all  grown locally.  I can do fresh fruit easily for breakfast…but onions would be a stretch.  Our lovely breakfast buffets in the three hotels in which we stayed did indeed have a varied assortment of fresh vegetables as well as fruits for breakfast.

The second picture is of Butch and I with our friend and tour coordinator Cindy Winkler of Peoria Charter Coach.  We are posing outside a small Arab market.  Pastor Farrell bought a bunch of fresh bananas and passed them around our group as a treat.

Roman Aqueduct at Caesarea

Roman Aqueduct at Caesarea

The Roman aqueduct above brought spring water from the foothills into the Mediterranean coastland city of Caesarea.  Caesarea was built by Herod the Great, the governor of the Roman region of Palestine at the time of Christ.

The Temple Mount from The Mount of Olives.

The Temple Mount from The Mount of Olives.

Snapshots of Israel would be incomplete without an iconic picture of the Temple Mount in the city of Jerusalem.  It is said that Israel is the center of the world [Ezekiel 5:5], Jerusalem is the center of Israel and the Temple Mount is the center of Jerusalem.  The Temple Mount or Mount Zion is where the culmination of world history called The Times of the Gentiles will take place.  The ruler who takes the Temple Mount will take the world.  The final battle called Armageddon will pit the forces of Antichrist against the armies of Jesus Christ.  The result is swift and devastatingly final.  Christ’s win is decisive [Revelation 14; 19].

I took this picture from the Mount of Olives where Christ will alight at His return [Zechariah 14:4; Acts 1].  He will then ascend Mount Zion where the 144,000 select Jewish forces are waiting to welcome Him [Revelation 7, 14].  These Jewish Christians will have received Christ as Lord and Savior during the seven-year Tribulation and are specially sealed for evangelism in preparation for their Messiah’s return.  Zechariah 13 reveals that two-thirds of the Jews will die in the Tribulation but the remnant of one-third will be refined in the fire and will be brought into the Millennial Kingdom, redeemed, to repopulate the earth.

My husband and I even ventured into the Dead Sea for a quick dip in the heavy, mineral waters.  The water of the Dead Sea is similar to swimming in soft-set gelatin; the water is so buoyant, it can take one off their feet.  The brave ones in our group smeared themselves with the black mud in order to get the maximum benefits of spa bathing.

Israeli Defense Forces [IDF] soldier defending the border between Jordan and Israel at the traditional site of Christ's baptism on the Jordan River.

Israeli Defense Forces [IDF] soldier defending the border between Jordan and Israel at the traditional site of Christ’s baptism on the Jordan River.

I chose this last picture as an example of life in Israel.  Daily routines are filled with the same maintenance we experience here, but young soldiers stand guard at check points and borders with M16 rifles.  Both young men and women are required to serve for two years in the IDF, the Israeli Defense Forces.  Defending their right to exist is daily life in Israel.

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