When hotwire isn’t so hot

DSCN0602.1After chasing three bull calves back through the fence over the course of the evening, and watching them practically stroll back under the hotwire, I decided I should test it myself. Some calves are just fence crawlers–It’s like a hobby for them. But most animals (including the Dog) are deterred by a little well-placed hotwire and a friendly zap on the back or the nose or whatever unfortunate part of their body happens to touch it.

Now, this hotwire isn’t particularly hot. If you’re two-legged, it isn’t really any worse than the little zap you get on any piece of metal during the winter months, but if you’re four-legged, I think it must be considerably worse. The Dog touched it once while she was wet, and she made a bee-line for her dog house with her tail between her legs. Poor thing.

So I touched the fence and nothing happened. A quick inspection of the solar panel battery house made it clear. We’d apparently had a feathered visitor who pecked out the button on the back, and pecked out the “charged” light. Well. Must’ve turned the fence off in the process, if he didn’t disable the zapper completely. Funny.

Laura Elizabeth

Sweet, sweet fellowship

DSCN0596.1Sunday is my favorite day of the week. Hands down, it is my favorite day. What better way to spend a day than in fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ as we revel in our relationship with God and in the joy of companionship with His followers? What a privilege!

As we got closer to the moving date last year and early this year, I feared that we’d move out here into the middle of our 800 family acres and suddenly be lost from fellowship and friendship. What a petty and faithless fear! I read a quote recently that said “Worry is the worship of circumstance.” How profound. For a Christian to give in to worry is for a Christian to momentarily believe that a circumstance is stronger than God Himself. What a pathetic witness and a waste and misuse of energy. But worry I did. Yet God was gracious, and as I learned to trust Him more, He has provided against that fear in so many ways.

DSCN0576.1He has provided us with a wonderful church home, a welcoming body of Believers who are a living example of the sweetness of the Saints, and He has provided us with friends with whom my sisters and I can share meaningful friendships. Leaving Illinois and the friendships we’d developed over the years was hard–It is hard to leave friends behind, friends who have invested in your life and whose life you have invested in. Separation hurts. But God knows. He knows and He provides.

DSCN0577.1In church for the past few months, we’ve been studying through the Olivet Discourse, the last group of teachings of Christ before His crucifixion. The passage we studied today was Matthew 25: 31-46, in which Jesus talks about love among Believers, ministering to the “least of these”, and we talked about what genuine love looks like. Genuine love for one another is a direct result, a fruit, of our love for Jesus Christ. Then, as our love for Jesus grows, our love for the Saints will also grow. And as our love for the Saints and our love for Christ grows, we become easier to love. A dynamic, thriving church is a church where love for Christ is causing radical, otherwordly love for one another, a love that spans class differences, racial differences, cultural differences, temperament, personality, interests, education…A love that defies everything that “pop culture” calls love.  What a life-changing, culture-changing, overwhelming thought. We get to experience here a little piece of Heaven, a glimpse, a mere glimpse of what perfect fellowship will look like on the other side of death.

DSCN0579.1All that is to say, God has provided wonderfully for us in our new life here in the Black Hills. I wish I could personally share some of these adventures and experiences with friends back in Illinois–You are missed, and greatly. But I am in awe (why should I be surprised when an awesome God does wonderful things?) of how He has provided. Today after church, a bunch of us were going to go hiking. It ended up just being me and Sarah, and two of our friends, Hannah and Jacob, but we enjoyed a wonderful afternoon in God’s creation, a hike up to Lover’s Leap, and a lovely view of the Black Hills. We reveled in a fellowship that only our mutual love of Christ could make as sweet as it is. What a sweet, sweet fellowship. What a great, great God.

Laura Elizabeth

Rufus

DSCN0544.1This is Rufus. He’s my newest friend. We shared my sandwich yesterday. And in case you can’t tell in the picture, he’s a big ol’ dude. Part something hound, part German shepherd, and according to his Person: “He’s useless. He ain’t a guard dog, he cain’t heard cattle. Well, I guess he barks when people come up. There are only two people he doesn’t like. He loves girls.”

Rufus certainly is endearing. After a game of tag and hide-and-seek while I moved a water hose, I tried to call him over to me. He wouldn’t come. I realized very quickly that he was leaving his mark on the back tire of my lawn mower. I also realized very quickly that he couldn’t even hit the tire and was instead soaking his own front leg. Awkward.

Needless to say, this buddy of mine did not have a ride on the mower with me. But he wanted to. Yeah, buddy. He wanted to.

Laura Elizabeth

Reflections on the Rainbow

DSCN0471.1An evening spent at Rainbow Bible Ranch is an evening well-spent. We picked Anna up from camp yesterday evening, and I was filled with so many fond remembrances of my summers at Rainbow, and the blessings I enjoyed through Larry and Robin Reinhold and their wonderful family. After the rodeo and dinner, we had a little rain and were blessed by the appearance of a rainbow. It got me to thinking.

Genesis 6 records the beginning of Noah’s story, and how God came to destroy the earth with a Flood. The earth had become wicked, and the people had turned away from God and were totally corrupt.

Genesis 6:5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord.

DSCN0468.1God was good enough and merciful enough to bless Noah and his family, and to preserve them as the seed by which God would re-populate the earth. After the Flood, God gave this promise to Noah and his family, the only people on the earth that were righteous in God’s sight:

Genesis 9:7 And you, be fruitful and multiply, teem on the earth and multiply in it.”

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

God has gifted us with this sign, a sign and covenant that still remains, and a sign that we all – Christian and atheist alike – still marvel at. A beautiful rainbow stretching from horizon to horizon, a prism in the clouds, prompting ancient Greeks and Romans to associate it with the steps of a beautiful goddess, for others to associate it with a pot of gold and wishes granted. But in truth, it is a beautifully haunting and comforting reminder that there is a God in the heavens, still powerful over this world and triumphant over evil. When God makes a covenant, it lasts for all time.

It is fitting to remember that this is the true meaning of the rainbow. Whatever other meaning other groups may attempt to assign to the rainbow, we cannot escape the fact that the God of the Universe, the Creator of the rainbow, gifted this sign as a symbol of judgement and preservation. The rainbow represents God’s love for mankind, fulfilled in his son, Jesus Christ. The rainbow represents God’s justice, his righteous, wrathful justice, which we can escape through belief in Christ and his redemptive sacrifice upon the cross. The rainbow represents by extension, then, God choosing to adopt as his children those of a sinful, fallen race who have given their lives to Christ. The rainbow represents God’s mercy, in preserving a righteous family through which to re-populate the reborn world. The rainbow represents a promise to preserve a remnant.

According to His Word and to His covenant, God will not again destroy the earth by flood. But He will come, His Son will come again, not as a suffering servant but as a triumphant king, to judge all the world. Are you ready for His return?
Laura Elizabeth

Not just a silver lining

DSCN0392.1So sometimes you just have to find a silver lining. Like with this hail storm we had day before yesterday. I could whine and complain about the work we put into the garden that was wasted, I could complain about the beautiful tree we lost that fell on our beautiful Miner’s Cabin (the cabin is fine–One branch is going be fun getting down, though…), I could complain about the mess, the leaves everywhere, the matted lawn, the millions of sticks and branches, etc…

But I choose to find a silver lining. At least we have firewood! And guess what? It is hardwood, which means it will burn slower. Great. There’s a silver lining.

DSCN0390.1We also managed to salvage a bowl of radishes from our square-foot gardening frames. There’s a silver lining. The great thing about radishes is that the leaves can be destroyed, but the roots are fine! So now we have radishes.

But even when something is explained simply as being a silver lining, I believe that silver lining is a gift from God, sweetening an event that might be bitter otherwise.

DSCN0268.1He gives these little gifts, if we’re willing to see them as such. Whether it is a dew-spangled spiderweb on an early morning walk, or three piles of wood ready to be cut into firewood in the aftermath of a hail storm, God sends little gifts our way as a reminder, I believe, of his goodness. In this world, stuff happens. But God is there, an ever-present help in time of trouble, and an ever-present friend in times of plenty.

Laura Elizabeth

Sister date

DSCN0015.1I know the Fourth of July came and went almost two weeks ago, but I wanted to share some pictures from my family’s Independence Day. Mom and Dad were on their way back home from Illinois, unfortunately, and Anna had to work during the day, but Sarah and I took full advantage of our day off and drove through the beautiful Spearfish Canyon.

DSCN0108.1We’ve already started planning another drive sometime this fall, both to see the leaves change and to drive it when there are fewer tourists, but it was still a lovely trip. The wonder of God’s creation is truly amazing. And what is amazing is that God has not only left His fingerprints so clearly impressed in this world, but He has also allowed for there to be beauty in the results of something so devastating as a global flood. Not only did He give us the rainbow after the flood to remind us both of His judgement and His goodness in preserving a remnant, but He has left memories of the flood in places like the Black Hills, the Grand Canyon, and countless other places that were the result of the judgement of God on a wicked world. But I digress.

DSCN0023.1Sarah and I drove up to Spearfish, made a hasty stop at Walmart to get cold kombucha to drink (we were both getting drowsy–It was hot out!), and then drove down the canyon. We stopped here and there along the way to take pictures, and I added a few photographs to my growing botany portfolio.

DSCN0042.1Bridal Veil Falls was beautiful, but about fifty other people thought the same thing. Tourists. Bless their hearts. They stood around on the deck not even looking at the Falls, but just taking up space. Not many pictures happened this time around. So we’ll take another drive.

DSCN0092.1Roughlock Falls, however, was even more spectacular. It isn’t as tall as Bridal Veil, but it is tiered and simply gushes water. It is about a mile off the main road, plus a little walk to see the full beauty of the Falls, and it was well worth it. Fewer people were flocking Roughlock, since it was so far off the beaten path, and the walking paths were lined with wild roses, geranium, thimbleberry, violets, and countless other greenery. What a beautiful trail!

In the evening, we picked up Anna and headed to Custer to see the fireworks, and met a friend there. It was a quiet, simple Independence Day. Glad to spend it with friends and family.

Laura Elizabeth