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The Individual

This fence line is full of individually designed ice crystals. As the sun began to shine on it, I was captivated by the beauty of it. The fence line and tree branches were thickly covered with a layer of ice crystals that were as shiny as white Christmas lights on rows and rows of trees on a cold winter night. I stood and stared in absolute amazement. Then I thought to myself, this is the result of a storm, of a thick smothering fog. It was the kind of fog that even the most experienced and seasoned traveler shouldn’t even be out in it, unless he/she had the luxury of traveling on a marked road that was their safety. Watching for the lines to keep them tucked safely in their own lane as they slowly inched their way to their destination.

This made me think so much about my life. How so often it seems to be as clear as this thick fog was. How in the darkest part of the storm, in the thickness of the fog, navigating in it requires complete reliance on the Lord. He sets the mark, the white line to keep me safe in my own lane. In my walk through the fog, I realize how dependent I am on him, how without him I am nothing. Is it that during the smothering fog, I’m really walking through a different type of a “refiners fire”? I feel so alone, so afraid to take a step forward because in all actuality, am I really walking forward or backwards? I can’t even see my feet! I feel almost smothered almost gasping for air, what it coming towards me, what is behind me? Will I see it again, or even at all? The panic begins to set in, then……. a still quiet voice, a soft reassuring voice of the precious Holy Spirit speaks my name. The voice reminds me who I am, I am his, he is my guide, stop and take a big breath. Calm down, you are mine, I made you, I created you, take a step, breathe, ok one more step. This repeats until finally the fog has lifted and then the sun shines radiantly on me.

“You are Mine”

I made a step for the first time in my life last night in the middle of the night. I thanked God for who I am. I thanked him for the mistakes I’ve made, for the difficult times in my life, for the blessings in my life, for it all. I realized that every time I’ve tried to be like anybody else than Sandy Rieker, that it is an insult to him. It just dawned on me that it’s ok to be who I am, how I am. Like the snow bank, or the fence line, or the ice crystals left on the tree branch, I’m individually made to shine with others. We are all individually made, that other people walk through their own type of “refiners fire” or “dense smothering fog” but when we get to the other side of it and the Son shines on his master piece we all shine together but in our own individual light.

I feel like this smothering fog has lifted once again and I feel my God standing there with me. He carried me through and I feel as though I have made the right step forward on this road called life. I know I will have more storms to trudge through but I will never be truly alone in them. He will always be there with me talking me through them, gently urging me on to take the next step.

One of my grand children always said to me, “well Grammy, that’s how God made me”! Oh so true my little man, that’s how God made any of us. So I choose today to be a light among the other lights and shine for him as brightly as I can and yet be my own unique crystal that he made me to be.

My Favorite Chicky Mama

Meet our sweet Gabby. My favorite chicken in the flock. She had the cutest little personality, she’d follow me around and talk and talk. Thus, her name Gabby. Gabby wasn’t one that wanted to be petted or held but she did like to get into my business whenever I worked out in the chicken yard. Every time I cleaned the coop she was right there in my business. I knew it was her without even turning and looking because she would come in and chatter. When I would hauled in loads of straw, she would get right to business of “getting her house in order” chattering the whole time! I would just laugh at her and shake my head.
Gabby was a champion grasshopper catcher, which is the reason I got to get her. She loved it when we brought her bugs, she would stretch her head straight out and run as fast as she could to be the 1st one to get the treat. Yes, every time I would shake my head and laugh and my own feathered version of “Miss Piggy’.
She was also the queen of the chicken yard, always up on the very top roost, snuggled right in there with the other “1st ladies”. There she’d be already snoring away when I would go out and shut their door. I have no idea how often she would bless us with eggs, I just knew that she would always have her top roost as long as she wanted it.

Due to my busy work schedule this past fall, I wasn’t able to do the chores much so Papa did for me. One day he told me that Gabby wasn’t looking so good, I ran out to her and sure enough she didn’t look good. Her comb and waddles weren’t their pretty bright red they were almost purple. I knew she wasn’t good when she let me pick her up with no struggle. She kind of even snuggled in to me. Oh my heart started to pound! She was raspy sounding, she was just sick. I tried everything I could to save her, but sadly one evening she died in my arms. I just snuggled her while she went away and I’m so glad I was there for her. We carefully buried her in the chicken yard, which is now kind of the pet cemetery.
I miss my girl so much! After losing her, the chicken yard just became that. The chicken yard. I guess I’m getting tougher now. My friend told me that if I’m going to have livestock, I will also have dead stock. While I do care very much for all of our animals, I just don’t think I’m that attached to them. Well except the dog’s and cat’s. I just love the feathered one’s loosely now, Chicky mama’s just don’t live that long!



Christmas A Little Longer

This morning my grand babies started back to school after a long Christmas break. Before they left Trin and I talked about how wonderful Christmas was this year. So now in the quiet of morning, I’m looking around my house at all of my Christmas decorations. Some look a little tired, others like they belong in their designated spots for the entire year. Honestly, I’m glad that the guys have been too busy to help me get all the tubs out from underneath the house so we can take it all down. I’m just not ready! Trin was so right when she said “this Christmas was just wonderful”!

Due to extra medical bills and me being on a more than 2 month recovery and missing that much work, our Christmas budget was very tight. So, I really tried to focus more on our family traditions and making special memories be the gift that my family received from me. So since my love language is “time” that’s the gift I wanted and the gift I gave to all of them. Between school Christmas programs, a gingerbread man party, Santa ( I was informed that was most definitely not the real Santa) the awesome Christmas train, baking, wrapping, Christmas movies, & books all about Christmas, I think I accomplished that goal.

On our family Christmas night, the kids & I decorated sugar cookies while their parents visited. True to our family tradition, we sat and listened to Papa read the story of Mary, Joseph & baby Jesus from the bible, along with our family in CO on facetime. Then we painstakingly took turns opening our gifts (I make them savor the moment as we watch each other open otherwise it’s over in a split second)! I love to sit and watch their faces, my heart just glows when I see their happy smiles as each one opens their gift. I also think about all that went on in the last year and how lucky I am to have such a awesome unperfect but amazing group of special people. My people, my family! My mind tends to wander and wonder what next year will look like, who will we be celebrating with? So much can happen in one year. As I rein my thoughts back in and bask in their loud and crazy presence, I think that my deepest thought & concern. Do they really know how so very much I love each & every one of them? Do they know how much Jesus loves them? I pray quietly that God will reveal himself to each and every one of them in the unique way that only he can do. I have a level of understanding when the bible says that “Mary hides these words in her heart”. I do that too. I think all mothers, grandmothers, do.

Life continued to happen, we buried a dear friend and watched a dear niece get married all within 24 hrs of each other. Along with having special friends come and visit for a few days. We rang in the new year with more special people and hooped, hollered, blew squeaky horns as quietly as possible as Papa was sleeping, and brought in the new year.

Yes, now life has gotten back to “normal” whatever that means, and on to a new year, just when I was getting good at signing 2018! I think I will just dust the decorations readjust some ornaments and rearrange the tree skirt, for just a couple more days and savor my special memories, for just a little longer.





This year is “the year”!

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Recently I made a couple of trips over to Sidney to see my son and his family.  Oh how I love the drive from here to there or from there to here, especially this year! This year the crops have been bountiful, the fields so green with grass hay, alfalfa, wheat, oats, canola, crops of all kinds,  growing so thick and lush!  I just love to look over the wide spread prairie and see all the colors that roll across from one hill to the next always marveling at all the colors of green! Or when the wheat begins to turn to that deep gold, almost red, I feel such a great sense of excitement for the farmer and his family!

I just love to watch them in their huge combines or tractors, out tending to their crops. I stare at the size of some of those machines and wonder how in the world do they get up in that thing!? I imagine their wives bringing them a delicious picnic lunch and staying to eat and visit with him.  I imagine the excitement in his conversation filled with  the belief that this year is going to be “the year, their year”. The one that all their loans can be paid, maybe enough to buy that new piece of equipment that has been put on hold, along with maybe a few new items for the house. I can see her eyes filled with love and adoration for this man that works so hard, so very very hard to provide food for not only his family but for families all across America and even the world.

I feel so much love for them, a sense of pride!  I want to run up and hug them, to applaud them for a “job well done”. Then I laugh thinking how ridiculous and romantic I’m being, even laughing as the scene plays out in my mind.  This crazy lady running up to these people with the intention of hugging and squeezing them for all their hard work and dedication to their lifestyle & for  providing one more year of food for me.

So instead what I do is say a quick prayer for them. I thank God for a season that the farmer could “reap what was sown” and a prayer of blessing him, for his hard work. I pray that his needs have been met and that they are able to set aside for themselves a cache of money and food for the next few years to come.  For the farmer never knows what the next season will bring, but my prayer is, that he does know who his  provider is and that he will see them through until the next season of “this year is our year”.

I smile, chuckle a  little and just bask in the warmth that I feel for this stranger and all his efforts. And…….. I just keep driving!

 

 

Zena

Recently our daughter got married in Mackinaw City, Michigan.  We were there for a week.  Our hotel was very nice, it had all the amenities that we needed.  You know, when you spend that much time in one place, it’s very easy to get to know the people that make it such a wonderful place to be. We did just that, we met “Zena, you know like” Zena the Princess Warrior” she said in her heavy Jamaican accent. Zena was so good to us, this woman worked so hard, every single day. As she worked she sang, she sang songs of Praise and Worship, she sang loud and strong! Zena took excellent care of Terry & I, she always made sure we had all of our needs met. She gave me extra blankets, plenty of towels and always made sure the “Miss Sandy” had all the coffee she needed for the mornings.

Of coarse, traveling wrinkled all of our dresses. Heather’s, the bride, dress had to be completely resteamed.   While I was steaming it, Zena came in to take care of us and she gasped when she saw Heather’s dress. She tells me that she had never been to an American wedding, so….. I invited her! Oh, she was sooo excited, she grinned from ear to ear and began to plan what she was going to wear. She also asked me if I had any single men coming, laughingly I told her no but you just never know who will be there on Justin’s side! As the week carried on and it got closer to our big day, Zena continued to work.  Every day she would tell me how excited she was to come to the “American wedding”.

Finally our big day arrived, as I ran around like a chicken with it’s head cut off, she worked and sang. I ran past her and double checked if she would be there, “most definitely” she would be. So our day just kept going. We had our ceremony and then came the dancing. I watched and watched for her, I thought maybe she had changed her mind. As the evening continued, we ate, danced and visited. Then Terry comes and tells me to look across the dance floor and there stood our Jamaican friend, boy did she ever look nice. She had her hair done so nice and a beautiful dress and gorgeous shoes. She was almost giddy as we brought her to over to join us. I went out to dance a few dances with the kids and she just sat and watched, smiling. Pretty soon I tried to get her to come out and dance, she said she didn’t know how to dance to this music, so…….. I went up and requested some “Bob Marley”, boy did she jump up and come out to the dance floor then.   She knew every word and once again, she sang and sang. Then almost like Cinderella our Jamaican Princess Warrior had to go home.

We were around for another day or so after the wedding and on our last day, we exchanged phone numbers and addresses so we could stay in touch with each other. I left her my jewelry that I wore with my dress, hoping that she would have a reason to wear it somewhere another time. More importantly, I hope that we left her with a memory of people that really appreciated all her efforts, that she felt loved and respected. I know that she left me with a special memory of someone that loves the Lord, loves her family and had the heart of a saint. She is truly a Princess,  Miss Zena!                                                          DSC02755

Strength

DSC02444Bridge’s are a symbol of a journey. The passing over. Changing and heading into a new and different environment. Leaving behind, a fresh start a new adventure.

A symbol of strength & stability, standing tall, straight, bearing the burden of weight, not just of it’s own but the weight of the passenger. Also standing the “test  of time”. The strength to carry on.

Looking down at the roaring or meandering  river beneath this mighty structure, causes confusion and a restlessness even staggering frustration but only takes a moment to look up and see the iron, the beams and the cables clarifying strength and stability & balance.

That’s life, looking down at the situation, the problem. Causing frustration, fear, staggering confusion.  Look up, take your eyes off of the rough waters and on to the strength, the stability of the Lord.  He is strength, the bridge to carry you over to the peace, the promise of new, the strength to carry on. Clear your mind, think of the God like strength of the cables, the strength the iron. He will carry you across the rough waters, the smooth water, he is the key to the other side of the valley.  He will set you free as you approach the other side of the canyon.