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Archive for the ‘Happiness’ Category

Willing to be Wounded

Star must have taken many blows.  

The marks on her body displayed the evidence.  

Sweat had dried and hardened her golden hair.  Her eyes were weary, yet strong, and determined.  

While every animal instinct should have had her on the front line of defense, she had turned and faced her own herd, in order to protect Princess Olive, a young, previously mistreated, and now permanently deformed filly.  She took much of what was actually meant for the little interloper. 

Although, by all appearances, a horribly cruel encounter for any new one, it is but a necessary reshuffling of the hierarchy in order to determine the parameters of the herd.  Each equine encounter ends in a

showdown decision.  One will dominate; the other will submit. When Star saw the overwhelming odds against Olive, she stood her ground.  As the only mare in the pasture who has ever given birth, we believe she knew the difference in this little defenseless lamb and was determined to defend and protect her.

Initially, as is a good practice when putting any new horse in an established herd, we placed them in separate pastures.  We even put our little donkey with Olive for overnight protection. But when we turned our backs to retrieve water, she effortlessly jumped the 4-foot dividing fence and ran right into the middle of our anxious herd.  We were paralyzed by the absolute awe of it.  Here we were trying to help this little rescued fragile filly and yet she was gutsy enough to run right into the middle of six healthy horses more than twice her size.

We run right into the middle of many messes.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

Unfortunately, Olive was wounded in her foolish attempt to force her way into their world.  But her wounds are healing.  Star took most of what was meant for Olive, put a hedge of protection around her, and stood so Olive could lay down and sleep.  We lost an entire day of work just watching this unique display of selfless love play out in our little leased pasture.  God does some of his greatest miracles in what we might all perceive as the most unlikely of places.

It has taken a few days but, literally, the dust has settled. Olive has been accepted.  She has established herself in herd position and gets to push the little donkey…because she can.  She ventures out alone looking for
him…hoping to prove her dominance.  We’ve also seen her push the mares that rank upper middle. She struts her stuff when they move out of her way.  But, what we see, that she doesn’t see, is Star standing guard, parting that path, giving Olive confidence, and making a way where there is no way.

I was pushed back and about to fall but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my defense he has become my salvation. Psalm 118:13

          Our Lord’s lessons play out all around us.  Some we see, some we take for granted, and more often than we ought, we take credit. He is still our rock, our refuge, an ever-present help in trouble…our bright and morning STAR!

 Princess Olive was rescued by an amazing agency whose volunteers found her on a filthy farm, locked in a horse trailer with no food or water.  They cleaned her up, gave her lots of love, and now she lives with us…fostered by a friend of ours who also exhibits selfless love.

We are humbled and honored to have the opportunity to teach Olive that she is a Princess and that her physical disabilities do not devalue her sweet existence.  She is worthy of all the love we can lavish on her.  And we look forward to all that God has planned.

Father, forgive the man who abused her…for surely he knew not what he did!

© Copyright 2017, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

I did it His way

          If not for the 25th chapter of the book of Psalm, the confrontation would have come as a complete shock.  But that morning, as I His way onebusied myself with the routine of feeding, mucking and watering, the reminder to do my Bible study kept pressing on my mind.  I finally set all the chores aside and submitted. 

           The words written on the tattered and torn pages were a warning to my heart and soul.  And, so, instead of going forward ill prepared, I put on the full armor of God and waited for what was about to happen.  

           I almost laugh every time I think back on it because, somehow, I think we all thought it had something to do with us.  And, maybe, at some point, it had. Maybe there were things said, and done, that had set the course in action.  But, in the end, as in the beginning, it was a test and God was offering us a choice.

          I am grateful for the compassion of the one who had to tell me I was losing my job. I am grateful for the honest words I was allowed to speak.  I am most grateful for the peace that passed all understanding at a time I could have chosen a much different path. In the natural, my normal reaction might have been anger and resentment. His Way It would not have been unlike me to say things I would later regret.  But, in the presence of a Holy God, I did my best to remain silent and wait. 

          There were bouts of blame. I mainly blamed myself.  And, even though I participated in parties of pondering…who, why, what, where and when…I was quickly reminded to go back to The Word.  The next few weeks were spent about as close as I could get to the One who warned me, the One who already knew, the One who would know what to do next.  There were days of grief, sorrow and repentance.  There were times spent praying for those who made the decision. There were messages of hope, sent periodically, by those who knew I needed encouragement. 

          At every turn, I asked God to please tell me what to do before I hit the deadline to pack up and leave.  In response, God made me wait even longer.  He showed me that His plan had a purpose and that He was not bound by a date circled on the calendar.  He brought me out…so He could bring me in.  And this time, I trusted.  I watched.  And, I waited.  There were so many things He could have done…so many things I thought He was going to do.  But His way  has brought more happiness than I had even imagined. 

           Every time I am placed in a position where I must trust, I find myself promising I always will.  But each walk in the wilderness His way 4is different, and it is always the unknown that leaves us vulnerable to the accusing voice that says, “What if he leaves you this time? What if he abandons you now? What if you are left out there alone to fend for yourself? What if you look like a fool for your faith? If this is your fault, shouldn’t you be forced to face the blame and the shame?” 

          But I find that voice can always be silenced by going to God, by staying in The Word, by watching, by waiting, by also recognizing the voices of those who try to convince you to do it their way.

          This time I did it HIS way and I have in fact received an amazing reward!HIs Way 2

 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,

so that you may overflow with hope

by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

 If you are facing a time of uncertainty, a disappointment, an unexpected occurrence, or any change in your life that has left you afraid and confused, lift up your head.

He is the light. He sees, He knows, He has the answers.

Just wait. No matter how long He takes.

He may not be early, but He is never late!

HIs Way

© Copyright 2014, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserve

 

 God of mercy sweet love of mine

I have surrendered to Your design

May this offering stretch across the skies

And these Hallelujahs be multiplied

 Written by: Bo and Bear Rinehart

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGF-MGGLpB0

God, I run into Your arms

Unashamed because of mercy

I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

Music & Lyrics: Mike Weaver / Phil Wickham

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiGb14tTaH4

 

“Hi, Friends!”

          The first ride of the day often starts with a horse sneezing on the back of our bare legs. It’s usually followed by horse hooves kicking hot sand a couple of feet in the air to stick and stay right below the back of our knees.  The grains of sand that aren’t picked HI Friends 7up like little hitchhikers jump in the back of our boots. Sweat is already seeping into our socks to join the water sloshed in there that morning while we were filling eight individual buckets. We’re about to take a test ride around the arena to see if we dare leave the safety of the sand and the security of the fencing.  And, it is now when the stress level slowly begins to creep its way up.  

          Children who sometimes boast of their riding skills realize they are still beginners. Those who have taken English lessons on a tight rein try to wrap their understanding around a Western trail horse that wants the freedom of its mouth. And while many kids ride for the very first time, thrilled with what is finally happening, others are in tears begging to be brought back down on solid ground.

          There are four of us. Two directors. Two counselors. There are 16 of them. Eight kids. Eight horses. We usually have 20-30 minutes to get all the kids on a horse, get them going in the same direction, get them to listen to us (the kids and the horses) and override each and every opportunity our equine friends find for mischief. You know the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”? Well, it’s true! It’s also bankable information that you can take well-trained horses, put them in random riding situations every hour for five hours, and see them react in ways that will either throw your heart into overdrive or melt it in one memorable moment. Our emotions, if monitored during one ride, would look like an electrocardiogram right before a heart attack. Hi Friends 8 copyThe intensity can be indescribable, while the satisfaction at the end of a good ride can be quite soothing. But, what is constant in our world of unknown equestrian circumstances is a greeting we often receive, if and when, we venture out of the arena onto the open trails.

          “Hi, friends!”  

          The young woman easily voted Counselor of the Year at our children’s farm day camp is so full of light that she helps all of us walk right out of the darkness. Just those two words, “Hi friends,” spoken in genuine kindness, sincere sweetness and a directness that makes you feel as if you are here among the best of friends…those two little words carry amazing power. HI friends 6 We see her, we hear her, and we know her heart for the children, the horses and us; and, with those words, our fear washes away, our stress is released, and even our legs, still gripping grains of sand, feel strong and determined to walk the road ahead.

          In a place where my words look for ways to join in the cacophony of complaints, Miranda chooses her words carefully.  She is quick to listen and slow to speak, and like Proverbs 12:18 tells us, her wise words bring healing.

          If asked about her life, I would have supposed she had an idyllic childhood. I would have further ventured to guess that she has been so much the center of someone’s attention, the art of making other people feel special, just came naturally to her. But what I’ve found out is that her life has not always been fairy tales and princesses.   She’s had some struggles along the way…she rises above them. Instead of focusing on herself and “what could have been,” what “might have been,” or what “she may have missed,” she looks out ahead of herself for the next face she’s about to see.

          During a recent late night dinner, a bunch of us were gathered around a table at a 24-Hour Steak and Shake. I was on the Hi Friends 2opposite end and wasn’t always privy to her conversations. The next day, I was told she engaged others in a way they had never experienced. Full on, eye-to-eye, completely engrossed in what they were saying and obviously, genuinely interested. Those who might have felt awkward, uncomfortable, or on the outside of the little group, were immediately put at ease, welcomed in, and not just made a part, but an important part of all that was happening.

          In a world war-torn by angry and aggressive words, where what we want to say often outweighs what others might care to contribute, she honors others above herself.

         Hi Friends It’s why we all wanted to spend time with her. It’s why the kids clung to her, crying, begging, and not wanting to leave even though it was time to board the buses.

          Sumer camp is over

          The horses are grazing gracefully in the pasture as if nothing ever happened.

          And, Miranda’s life is about to change. She’s on her way to a big exciting city to pursue a graduate degree in social work. She’s confessed her fears and little bouts of anxiety. Still, she knows not to worry about tomorrow, for God has promised tomorrow will take care of itself.

          Her wise words will bring healing in her new exciting city as they did at our dusty hot summer camp. Proverbs 13:2 tells us she will be blessed because of the words she chooses. Just those two words that wield such amazing power.

          “Hi, friends!”

Hi Friends 4

 © Copyright 2014, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserve

Coffee Shop Community

          The old man held court in the corner of the coffee shop. It seemed every other person, who came through the smudged glass door and braved the blinding rays of sunshine cast through the wall of windows, made their way to his table.

Coffee Shop 1He smiled and greeted each one with, “It’s a beautiful day isn’t it?” His salutation seemed amusing, given the fact that it was freezing outside. The younger crowd could be heard mumbling throughout the room about the unexpected drop in temperature.  It’s all in the perspective I guess.  As I watched him entertain a young, long-haired coffee shop employee on a break, then take company with a frazzled sweat-clad, errand-running mom, talk to a dad with a young child, and congratulate a pregnant woman, I looked on in fascination and remembrance that–even in this fast-paced technology-driven world where I frequently communicate with my own husband, daughter and son, via text message– we are still in need of personal, face to face, one on one, affirming, loving and entertaining socialization.  Years ago, this same older gentleman might have found a seat out on a park bench in the town square or down at the corner hardware store.  But his well-placed position here in the coffee shop serves him well as he caters to the needs of a younger generation more desperate than they know for his words of wisdom.

            We were created to live in community.  No matter how much we feel Facebook connects us into an online world of communal living and no matter how we feel connected to our tribe through the 140 characters allowed on Twitter, we still need some real genuine, authentic, in person, huggable, loveable, face time.Coffee shop 3

            The little girl hugged tightly to her daddy’s arm with the biggest, sweetest smile on her face.  The older gentleman reminding her dad of the innocence and beauty he was charged with protecting. The frazzled mom in her peach sweat suit, took time to talk to the little girl eye-to-eye, attention full on, and was quickly rewarded with a big bear hug before the girl followed dad out the door. The older gentleman and the mom were beaming.  And I wasn’t the only one watching.  Several people stopped to watch it all; the hope, the promise, the expectation that all will be well with the world regardless of how it sometimes seems we are losing our societal grip.  Sure, that little girl will probably open up a new iPad on the next Christmas morning or text her friends on her new iPhone; but today, she stopped to smile at the old man, to hug the frazzled mom, to cling tightly to the daddy who loves her more than anyone else.

          The old man’s attention turned to another visitor who came straight to his table. This one was sporting a new engagement ring and anticipating a brand new life.  He gushed right along with her.  Then, one by one, each visitor went out the smudged glass door with their backs to the rays of sunshine.  He reached for his coffee cup and, with a shaking hand, picked up his fork to finish off a piece of Coffee shop 2lemon cake.  He’ll probably be back tomorrow.  You could tell from the steady stream of visitors that he is here a lot, in his corner seat holding court, for anyone who has time to stop and talk.

 

© Copyright 2014, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserve

The “Who Can Do It” Way to a Happy Relationship

Come on, let’s laugh a little.

There’s a reason we draw lines in the sand. 

It’s so we can smudge them out.

And draw them again.

     As an at-home mom for the 16th year, I still dream of that day when the house is SPOTLESS, the laundry is DONE and dinner is on the DINING ROOM table, not the coffee table in the den.  Dinner in denBut then dreams wouldn’t be dreams now, would they, if they were just our simple reality, right? So I keep dreaming. 

     However, what I never really dreamed about, growing up, as I pondered the forever husband who would come through the back door happily exclaiming, “Honey, I’m home,” was the possibility that it would be me coming through the back door yelling, “CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME WITH THIS STUFF???”  Despite the fact that I no longer hold down what most people would consider a NORMAL job, I do work a lot.  I work about four hours a day as a taxi cab driver, an occasional television producer, three or more hours a day as a horse trainer, groomer, feeder and poop scooper, at least an hour running endless errands, about an hour as a cook, an ironing board attendant, a wet clothes cleaner as opposed to the nicer — more expensive — dry cleaner, a freelance writer, a band mom, a dog feeder, dog waterer and a let-them-in-and-outer.  I often wonder how many hours of my life I actually lose letting the dogs in…and out…in…and out…but I’m getting off track.  Oh wait, I do that too on a regular basis and it’s work just getting back on track and figuring out where I was and what I was doing.  So, you see, as this story goes, the little woman at home vacuuming the floors in heels and pearls was NEVER in my DNA.  I love a clean house, clean clothes and dinner on the table; but, sometimes, if that is going to happen, it’s my husband doing it after he gets done at the office.  YEP, you heard me.  I have one of those crazy husbands, who not only supports every non-paying job I have, but helps pick up the slack so I can maintain all of them. 

     When my dad needs a ride to the doctor, my husband believes I’m the one who should be there.  When I have a friend in need of moral support, my husband finds something else to do.  If I take up the better part of a day doing back-to-back Bible studies, he tells me how glad he is that I do it so I can share what I’ve learned with him later.

      Laundry roomNow, don’t shoot the messenger, because it’s not always, “Oh honey let me do that for you,” around here.  Just this morning, as he headed for his car, he told me how NICE it would be if he had some CLEAN underwear for tomorrow.  Just as he was backing out of the driveway, I grabbed a pair off the floor, swung them around, and told him ,“I am on it!”  Salute!  He called on his cell phone mere moments later, as he drove away, to remind me how he had joyfully folded my underclothes just the night before.  But, wait a second; this is where the title of this story plays in.  He folded laundry while he was watching a basketball game.  Why?  Because he could.  It’s one of those little secrets of a happy relationship.  I ironed his clothes and packed his lunch because, at the time, I was the one who could do it.  He took our son to school and gave me the morning off because he could do it.  I dropped off a business package downtown, because, hey I was already going that way.  He stopped by the pasture and fed the horses because he could make a quick detourFeeding Lucy and Shadow

      “Whoever can do it” should just be the way things work all over the world.  It’s worked for us… well, except for all attempts I’ve made to draw a line in the sand when it comes to the shower.  I think he should scrub it as many times as I’ve had to do it. 

     He just washes that idea right down the drain.

 

I Peter 4:11

Do you have the gift of speaking?

Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you.

Do you have the gift of helping others?

Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies.

Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ.

All glory and power to him forever and ever!

Amen!

© Copyright 2014, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved 

 

If You’re Happy and You Know It

Happy 1          The old woman’s face was bandaged, her ruby-red lipstick spread haphazardly across her lips, her hair a bit disheveled from whatever medical procedure she had just encountered and yet her eyes were active and animated.  Her laughter was contagious and her offers of hospitality wildly amusing.  Seven fellow passengers had gathered around her in the hospital elevator, and as the doors began to close, she extended an invitation for anyone who needed more room, to sit down with her.

          Everyone laughed.  And no one felt sorry for her.  Instead, we all walked away lighter, happier, more hopeful than whatever distraction had captured our minds before we met in that little cage of steel descending five short stories to the ground Happy 4floor. As we each slipped through the automatic outside doors, the sun was shining, we were all still smiling, and at that moment we were reminded that happiness is a choice.

           

          The young girl came to our attention because of some trouble at school between her and my son.  The “mama bear” in me was not amused and I began to instruct my child on exactly how he should handle this little situation.  Then, I started to wonder about her and what might be happening at her house.  What I found out clearly changed my assessment of the situation.

          Seven months ago, she watched as her mother died from a brain tumor.  Her grief-stricken father quickly remarried and brought his new wife with her two young children into their home.  Just as quickly, they decided to sell the house and move to a new city. So, now her mother is gone, she’s in a new house with a new family, a new school, she has no friends, she’s hurt, she’s scared and she’s confused. 

          In the world of 15-year-old boys and girls, this might have seemed a bit radical and weird, Happy 6but a family horseback-riding trip seemed to be a simple solution to the current conflicts.  It was in her words, “A little awkward.”  But, by the end of the day, with the help of two aging horses named Tinker and Lucky, she felt different.  “I’ve had SO much fun! The horses have made me forget all the sad stuff.”

          We talked about her choices, about what her mother would want her to do, how she will probably have to wake up tomorrow and the next day and every day for the rest of her life and make a choice again.  But she can still be happy.  It’s okay for her to be happy.Happy 7

          God sees her.  He sees the elderly woman in the elevator.  And He sees us.  

 

         The blessings were  beyond measure recently when I was witness to the first encounter between a ten-year-old girl, who was born blind, and a small herd of horses.  As she approached the barn, feeling her way with a telescopic cane and following the verbal instructions of her teacher, I saw something only God truly understands.  The horses stood still, patient and waiting.  It was hot, they were tied in several locations, and yet they all just stood still.  She touched one and then the other, feeling their manes, ears and tails.  It took a bit of courage but she got up to ride and “happiness” was something we could all see. 

Happy 8

  “This is the day the Lord has made,

let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Psalm 118:24

 “It’s not what happens to us in life,but how we respond to it that really matters.”

 

How are you responding when pressed on every side?  

Are you choosing happiness or letting someone or some thing steal your joy?

Today is your day.  God has given you free will.  

You have a choice.  Are you happy?  Do you know it?

Does your face surely show it?  (Okay, I couldn’t resist…I had many years of Vacation Bible School) 🙂  

Where ever you are, whatever you are doing,

I pray for you a happy and joyful day today!

© Copyright 2013, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

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