THE NEW EWE

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

Luke 15:4-6

March 21, 2012

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

This has been a very mild winter, which means our grass is turning green and growing earlier; which means I will need to mow soon. I was looking out the window a few days ago and thinking of mowing, and began to reminisce and wander down memory lane.

My dad's parents lived close by for many years. After my grandpa passed away, Daddy or one of us girls would go down and mow for Grandma. She really wasn't much of a cook and I think maybe before Grandpa died she would cook a pot of beans or something like that for them. But when it was just her, she started eating lots and lots of tuna. That was fine, except she would toss the tuna lids and cans out her back kitchen door. I don't know why she did that, instead of throwing them into a trash can; maybe she didn't want the tuna cans stinking up her house. But she'd just open the kitchen door and throw the can and lid outside. She could have placed a sack or trash can outside the door to put them in, but who knows what she was thinking! Daddy would get so upset with her and tell her she needed to stop doing that. I think he may have cleaned it up for her a time or two, but she continued to toss them out the door. He told her that he wasn't going to keep cleaning it up for her and wasn't going to let us girls mow around that area, because if one of those tuna lids with the sharp edges got caught in the mower blade, it could end up cutting our legs up very badly and really hurt us. So the grass grew in that entire back corner and it looked like a trashy snake pit. I'm sure the people who bought the house from her had a big nasty mess to clean up.

Grandma may have thought that it wasn't any of my dad's business, and her tossing those tuna cans and lids out the back door wasn't hurting anyone. And thankfully, no one did ever get hurt by getting one of those lids caught in a mower blade or accidentally stepping on one. But the potential for harm was there.

There may be things in our life that we think are harmless; and even if they are, it's nobody's business and we don't like them telling us what to do. But if we continue throwing our trash "out the kitchen door" our hearts will soon become overgrown and the enemy will be like a snake, hiding and waiting to strike when we least expect it.

Jon often laughs at me when we're in Lampe. I don't like the grass to get overgrown, and there are areas that I will describe as "looking snaky". I am terrified of snakes, and I want to do what I can to make sure they can't hide and don't want to hang around the property. Jon has put in hours of work to clean up and mow and make the property look more appealing and less snaky looking. And yes, we have seen the occasional black snake and copperhead when we've been there.

One time when we were in Lampe we were visiting with one of my cousins, and he was saying that there was an area of his property that he wanted cleaned up on the side of his yard to make it look "less snaky". Maybe that's a phrase we use in the country! But the point is, we don't like things cluttered and overgrown, which makes for a good hiding place for those nasty snakes.

When I had to mow at Grandma's house, I was always very cautious and a little scared when I got to the area around that overgrown "tuna can" corner behind her house. It looked like a good hiding place for snakes, and I was also a little worried her aim would have got off and a sharp lid would have been slung outside the overgrown area. I took it very slow and watched where I stepped and mowed.

I honestly don't think that trashy corner phased Grandma at all and she wasn't bothered by it not being mowed and having all those cans thrown out there. It bothered my dad much more than it did her. Daddy didn't like things trashed up and he didn't like putting his girls in potential danger of getting hurt. He was protective of us, and if one of us had of been badly cut by one of those lids getting caught in a mower blade, he would have been devastated.

The love Daddy had for his daughters doesn't even begin to compare to the love God has for us, His children. When God sees us allow clutter and sin into our lives, He urges us to get rid of it and clean it up. He knows the potential danger of us allowing it to remain in our heart, and knows that if we don't deal with it and get rid of it, that it will only grow and become more and more potentially harmful to us. Not only us, but others could also be hurt by our sinful clutter.

If you're a homeowner, you know how easy it is for clutter to accumulate. Most of us probably have a room or cabinet or drawer where we throw all that stuff that we don't want to throw out, but really don't know what to do with it. We can clean out our garage, and it seems like it's no time until it is piled up again. We have a bad habit of not putting stuff back where it belongs after using it, thinking we'll do it "later", only later never seems to come until we have a mess and can't find anything.

It's so much easier if we deal with it at the time. There is a scripture that I have prayed many, many times over the years. "Create within me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me." (Psalm 51:10, 11) I want my heart to be clean. A cluttered heart and life only makes me, and those around me, miserable.

If you have clutter in your life today, get rid of it. Pray that God will create within you a clean heart.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

It's amazing how often we can look at someone else, and wonder how they can live with some condition they put up with easily. We can look at their clutter, and obsess about it until it bugs us more than them.

Jesus said to take care of the beam in your own eye before you try to pick the splinter out of someone else's. Perhaps someone with a pile of tin cans by the back door looks at us, and wonders how we can live such a stuffy life terrified of spilling something on our white carpet.

ON THE MENEWE:

Cold Broccoli Salad

1 large bunch raw broccoli

1 cup mayonnaise

8 slices bacon, cooked and cut into pieces

1/4 cup sugar

1/2-1 small onion, chopped

2 Tbsp. vinegar

1/2 cup raisins

Place raisins in hot water for a couple minutes to plump them; drain. Wash broccoli and chop into bite-sized pieces. Combine broccoli, bacon, onion and raisins. Mix mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar in a separate bowl; pour over broccoli mixture. Chill. Can be chilled overnight, but is best if you add the bacon just before serving. Can also use real bacon bits.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

This really does work! Jon loves bacon, as do I, but I hate the lingering smell it leaves in the house. My sister recently found this tip on cooking bacon, and it really does work. We've both been doing this. Cook bacon in the oven. Cover cookie sheet with tinfoil first. Cook at 375 for about 20 minutes. All the bacon is done at the same time, and you're free to make the rest of the breakfast without having to stop to turn the bacon. I haven't done this, but the tip also says you can cook the bacon until they're almost done and then drain them and pop them in a ziploc bag and store in the freezer. When you want some, take over ever many pieces out and put them in the microwave for 30 seconds.

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

Thank God for what you have.

Trust God for what you need.

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

E-Mail: shepherd@grayengineers.com

http://www.graysheep.org