Monday, July 15, 2013

The Delight of the Sabbath

It is Sabbath morning and thus I have time to write once again. To say it is busy around here Sunday through Friday would be an understatement of the grandest kind! Oh, how I love the rest and peacefulness of a Sabbath morning. 

This morning I arose early to have time with Him in prayer. I love early mornings in prayer – before anyone else in the house stirs – having undisturbed time for communing with Him is a highlight of my Sabbath mornings. 

I usually sit on my porch while I write, but today, I eyed a lounge chair sitting in the middle of my yard. This way, I am sitting much closer to the pastures, horses, and barns. The sun is upon me directly and I am surrounded with all the glorious sounds of nature. I can hear at least a dozen different sounds of birds, the sound of the bullfrogs in the nearby pond, the sparrows darting here and there above my head, and the rhythmic sound of an owl hooting. 

This past week went by in a rush. Our congregation had a visiting speaker/teacher come and speak this week. We were privileged here at Ranch Shekinah to host him in the apartment of the gymnasium building. We spent last Sunday in preparation of getting ready for his arrival by sprucing up the other guest room – although he wouldn’t be using it, to just open the door to this room would cause embarrassment. Lots of stuff and extra furniture had accumulated in here, along with mildew and mold from all the rainy weather we’ve had. So, we completely emptied the room of everything (throwing away almost all of it), had the room painted a nice neutral color, ripped the carpet out, and laid down beautiful new linoleum flooring. Couldn’t quit just there – we put a new and plush mattress (bought just last year but was in the cabin by the lake), and then went out and purchased new grey sheets with a gorgeous grey comforter from Target. Bought a pretty blue lamp to go by the side of the bed – I was thrilled to see that the blue of this lamp drew out the slight blue that was in the flooring. Even the large closet that had been overstuffed with blueprints from our family construction business and a dozen computers were completely cleared out. This closet had been overstuffed for over a decade. To see it empty and freshly painted was a form of a small miracle to me! (And we put nothing back into it!) 

We bought a new grey, striped shower curtain and dark grey bathroom rug for the guest bathroom. All of that for the room our guest would not be staying in! This was the room that was the worst (and most embarrassing) and it was transformed into the best! No need to keep the door closed anymore, and hope that no one peeks in! 

In the apartment of where he would stay, we ran out of time to paint or put in new flooring (the projected project for our next congregational guest that is coming in 2 weeks). But, we did go out and buy white, crisp sheets, a blue bedspread, and a striped blue and green shower curtain (from Target) to spruce it up. 

The furniture in this bedroom was actually donated by a local hotel to missionary friends of ours that stayed here a few years ago on their extended furlough. Because of this, I always feel as if I’m in a hotel room. I like this! When we have stayed overnight in this apartment when we have camps, I feel as if I’m on a vacation (although my own home is just a short 2 minute walk away!). The hotel furniture, the lack of any clutter, lends itself to that ‘hotel feeling’. To add to this hotel concept, I took our own Keurig coffee machine and set it up with a large box of assorted k-cups. I was just a bit disappointed when I discovered that our guest does not drink coffee! 

It was a good week of lots of fellowship among our congregation, as we would meet daily to dine together with our guest. On Wednesday night, though, he came to our house for dinner. And that, I will write about the next post!

Monday, October 29, 2012

We Love Haflingers

The Haflinger is a breed of horse that originated from Austria. They have distinctive gaits described as energetic but smooth, and are well-muscled yet elegant.
Haflingers were developed for use in mountainous terrain, and are known for their hardiness. Their current conformation and appearance are the result of infusions of bloodlines from Arabian and various European breeds into the original native Tyrolean ponies. The foundation sire, 249 Folie, was born in 1874, and by 1904 the first breeders’ cooperative was formed. All Haflingers can trace their lineage back to Folie through one of seven bloodlines.  There are breeding farms in several countries, although most of the breeding stock still comes from Austria. In 2003 a Haflinger became the first horse to be cloned, resulting in a filly named Promote.
Haflingers have many uses, including light draft, harness work, and various under-saddle disciplines such as endurance riding, dressage,equestrian vaulting and therapeutic riding. They are also
still used by the Austrian and German armies for work in rough terrain.
2012-05-08164824All of that information I just shared with you came from the
Now, let me tell you what I think about Haflingers:
Their beautiful – their almost always palomino in color with gorgeous manes and tails. There is the exception to this – we have one that is – but for the most part, they all look relatively similar in color. We have people  that come here and tell us often that they can’t tell the difference between our horses.

The reason we chose Haflingers as our ranch horses is because they are known for their sweet disposition. We have a lot of children’s ministry always ongoing here at Ranch Shekinah – summer camps, a week of Vacation Bible School where a local church comes here to host their VBS, –  but children seem to always be here wanting to ride the horses, even when there is no scheduled week of camp. We have had countless
people marvel at how well trained, gentle, and sweet they all are.  We always enjoy the numerous compliments we receive on our horses.

Our haflingers have personality plus. We often say that someday we’re going to write a book about all the personalities and experiences we’ve had with our horses.

Our horses are actually what is called, “Modern Haflingers”. They have been “bred up” to be more tall and refined looking, similar to a quarter horse, instead of the original draft look.
I could go on and on about why we love our Haflingers, but I think I will just save more for another post!