12600 Pelican Beach Road, Merrifiled, MN (218) 851-1937
Ministry, Ranch Life, The Boys

No Kids…gettin’ itchy to help

Under normal circumstances we would be buzzing around the ranch with kids, adult groups from a local addiction program, and workhorses doing chores and helping where they can. But with this pandemic things are different. The ranch is quiet. The gardens buckets and decor are barren due to low funds to not fill with beautiful colored flowers and with little rain it’s even dusty like a ghost town. Our ranch is set up to look like a mini western town and I told my husband a tumbleweed floating by would be a perfect scene. I was feeling a bit like we aren’t doing enough to what the Lord has blessed us with.

Tumbleweeds are pretty even though they are dry and dusty

Change of attitude brings joy

I had a zoom meeting with other ministries like ours where we get together now and then to share ideas. It has been swimming in my mind to take the horses to places to help cheer up folks and one of those places is a retired home or assisted living place. I was holding back due to the illness attacks specifically for this group and truly was afraid to go. I was allowing some lies to be in my mind that simply were just holding back the obvious. These folks no matter what needed to be loved on. We could take all our precautions along with us and just let go of the reins and GO! SO…we did…just that…and guess what? It blessed a lot more than just the residents!

Oh the joy of touch!
Giving the boys a treat

Pure Delight!

We also decided to invite one of our students who comes to the ranch on regular bases. This was a much-needed activity for her to be a part of as she has suffered from many difficult trials. I tell you, watching her interact and be a part of this day was so amazing! For a teenager to give and be focused on others as well as see their hardships and how they smile right through them was such a great life lesson.

The horses were perky as the winds gusted to 30 miles an hour and of course wind and horses can always be a challenge. But they handled the noises, wheelchairs, walkers, flying kites, and different surroundings like champs! They enjoyed showing off their stuff and Bokoda even took a bow at the end.

So precious!

Each horse was painted with a word and a verse that was associated with the word.

Our student loved this art part!

Our demo focused on the love of Jesus and the message of hope especially during such trialed times as this virus. Wearing our bandana’s, looking like we just robbed a bank from the Wild West, we shared the message of our Savior who knows all our fears and sees all our tears. Such a delight to see their nods and responding, “beautiful”.

Dan demoing
The crew!

I went into this knowing the elderly would be blessed but as always when the Lord puts something on my heart to move, I am the one blessed! He says in His Word, “it is more blessed to give than receive” yet we all received so much love and joy from both the residents as well as the staff.

Indeed it was a wonderful day in the midst of such difficult times.

You are loved!

Lee

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Ministry, Ranch Life

How are all of you holding up through this different time in our world? Isn’t it crazy? I tell ya, going into town shopping and seeing lines outside Costco with masked people to little produce in the grocery store to low gas prices…it’s just so weird. Life is indeed different but it’s good?

For the first time in several years, our daughter Mackinzey is home. She moved back from Virginia and is looking for a job on the home front. It is so awesome having her home! We love spending time together and of course, I really miss being able to do fun things like horseback riding, crafting, and adventures around the ranch. Now we have LOTS of time for that due to her waiting to find a job. Tough time to be looking with so many offices closed and not in a normal routine. But we take the bad and turn it into good!

Our son, Mitch is also home most days as he battles his latest news of being in liver failure. We want him here with us during this time to help keep his expenses down as his job was lost due to the pandemic which isn’t all that bad for him as his illness increased at the same time. He would have had a hard time cooking with the long days as the illness will get worse. So, he enjoys making us a meal now and then, which is ALWAYS a healthy one! Funny how Dan is hungry a few hours later after we eat as most of Mitch’s meals are veggie and little meat. I always see him sneak a treat or two later before bed. My man!

The nutritionists is one member of the team…making a plan for changes.

Mitch gets weekly calls from different team members helping him along this journey. We are on each call just as another ear as there is SO much information he is getting. To navigate it all requires us all! He is well taken care of that is for sure, which is comforting. He does need to head down to the U in the next few weeks, (hoping for lifting on clinic restrictions) to get some tests done. With these tests, they will evaluate once again giving him a number which will make him closer to being listed for the transplant.

We wait daily on the Lord for what is to come and pray he receives the liver before he gets too sick.

All in all, life is different but it sure has been good! Having kids home is wonderful and of course, going through this rough time of transitions for all of us has helped us be more focused on the Lord, pray more together, and lift each other up as often as we can!

Loves helping when he can

Time is hard in many areas and we pray you all are hangin’ in there and enjoying all the Lord has provided…time with family, time to rethink our paths, time with HIM!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Crafts, Ministry, Ranch Life, Sewing

Making masks are a big deal right now and ones who don’t have anything to do, it is a perfect way to fill your days PLUS give to ones in need. Not only hospitals need these, but I think nursing homes and assistant living places could surely use a creative mask.

I loved making these but had even more fun creating messages for not only the one wearing the mask but for ones who see the face in the mask.

Simple and sweet messages that are inspiring and give you some ease of mind. I hope you find them helpful.

There are many ways to make masks so I won’t give details on how to make them but the messages I used my Cricut and iron-on vinyl. Expressions Vinyl is a wonderful, personal company with awesome prices, variety, and even videos to spark your creative juices. Try them, you’ll love them too!

Remember all clicks on this blog and purchase helps us help others through True North Ranch Ministries!

Using sports material was fun! The big elastic was for an older gentleman.

Enjoy making someone else smile and protecting yourself and others when your under the whether!

God’s blessings,

Lee

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Food, Health, Healthy Eating, Jarrin, Living Naturally, Ministry, Ranch Life

I love making up gift ideas which are practical and of course usable. What better than something that is healthy too!

The tea is blended with organic herbs some grown here on our ranch. I blend the herbs to common taste buds and of course adding spices where need be as well.

Three tea blends to choose from

The syrups are just a splash of sweetness to your tea and bring a burst of flavor as well!

You can purchase these mini jars of tea and syrups for $12. Mix and match teas and syrups or any way you like. Two fits into the crate.

These syrups add a delightful sweetness to any tea blend!

You can email me for your order and remember all orders and purchase’s here on the blog help our ranch ministry which helps kids in need…so thank you!

Mix and match

God bless you and enjoy the fun tea and syrup mini’s!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

homesteadranchgirl@gmail.com to order your mini tea crates

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Crafts, Ministry, Ranch Life, Ranch Life

Crafting this adorable trend of making these sparkling tumblers has been both a joy and a challenge but worth every minute your time!

The goodies you will need

I originally got this idea by scanning the youtube for ideas with my new Cricut Explore 2. This gal Jennifer is adorable and as soon as she says, “Hello everybody” I get excited to dig into another fun activity. I watched her video, went out and bought the tumblers, and put my materials together to begin my first one. I think I watched it 100 times (exaggerated of course but seemed like I couldn’t get the process). I just had to go start with the plaid. That was the wrong choice! Here’s why.

First attempt Buffalo Plaid

I made many mistakes on my first one so I want to share what NOT to do.

1.) Don’t start with a plaid go with the first video with some fun blending colors. Simple and very pretty looking!

2) Make sure you use electrical tape for the top and bottom of the tumbler and remove it before putting on your first coat of resin. I kept it on and it caused an unclean finish on the top and bottom. After the first coat I used THICK rubber bands to keep the clean look.

3) Sand tumbler before putting images/phrases/stickers.

4) Make sure your edges are clean cut meaning top and bottom are cut well before applying the first coat of resin. Use an Exacto knife or sharp blade.

5) Make sure your tumbler isn’t too big which will cause a heaviness to the electric spit and make sure it is TIGHT fitting. My hubby had to makeshift as the football idea did not work. The tumbler fell off and caused us to sand again.

See how the edges are not crisp on top and bottom? Also somehow the red spray got on the bottom…not sure I will spray paint first either. We will have to try one without.
Much simpler one to start out with so you get the steps. I loved how this one turned out!

We are making these tumblers for our trading post at the ranch so our need for them to be a little crisper and clean looking was important. If you’re not that particular than play away. The spinner idea of using the spit was great! I would get a system down with one on the spit and after 6 hours have another one ready to go. After the one is fully dry, sand and place my vinyl ( I love this company and the videos are awesome!) on and get ready for the second coat. Sanding really is important!

The plaid attempt I couldn’t resist! I really love the look, so I tried using some of my favorite color combos. The one thing I can’t seem to get the hang of is getting the squares even looking, one not longer or wider than the others. I am still trying to get the taping down to help me get this part more clean looking.

Working on cleaner squares.
Say NO to chunky glitter! It makes you have to sand a lot! Plus it isn’t as clean as you may think in the end result.

This project I think would be so fun for a teen birthday party or even a bridal shower craft. So much better than games! Once they make their design you can provide the steps for resin and drying.

They also make wonderful gifts!

Ready to make your own? Here is a list as well as your shopping links which all help our ranch ministry. PLUS you get a box full of goodies to begin your project. The glitter is wonderful and many colors to choose from…so get shopping and have fun creating your own tumbler!

Items for your tumblers:

SHHHHH…SPECIAL 15% OFF UNTIL MARCH 15th ON VINYL! ONLY FOR YOU!!!

Epoxy/Resin

glitter

mod podge

spray adhesive

vinyl (words or decor) the blended colored ones are so fun

rubber gloves

electrical tape

masking/painters tape

rubber band, THICK

barbeque spit or spinner

clamps to hold spit in place

tumbler or two

double stick tape plaid look you will want a variety of widths

Free shipping on orders over $49…love their website… full of ideas!

CODE…MARCH15

CLICK HERE

Love how this one turned out…used a 2 layer vinyl with glitter vinyl for U
The second attempt on the plaid…vinyl is patterned fun colors!

Well, it has been a little stressful doing these, but with each one, I learn something and they get better and better with each one. I need to not be so anxious and take them off the spit when still drying even if tacky they really need a full 8 hours to get firm enough to take off the spit and another 12 to be fully dry.

I hope you try them…if you do let me know how it went and TAKE A PICTURE!

God bless.

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Bible Journaling, Empower, Living Naturally, Ministry, Ranch Life

Trusting the door

Last November our daughter and son both faced some big trials. “Trial Doors” as we call them. Door number one for our son Mitch as he had to go through 4 months of dealing with a bile duct blockage and have a tube inserted. After the 4th month, he got the tube removed but with news, his liver is in trouble and may need another transplant. Hard news and many sad days of facing “what next?” and what doors the Lord will provide.

Our daughter desperately needed to move home over a year ago but the Lord didn’t provide ANY doors for that to happen It was a hard year for her as well until November when the news of Mitch illness arose. She felt with her whole heart it was time to look into taking the steps to get licensed in MN, (she is a cop in Virginia). My husband and I felt the same way it was indeed time for her to take the test and get the ball rolling! The Lord provided the doors…one wasn’t a good one with hard health news but I believe it was the door for Kinzey to walk through a door she hadn’t pursued during the course of a whole year. So we all trusted…

Being aware of the door

Kinzey failed the first attempt of the test in November which was clear she needed more studying and help. I found out about a class specific to recruits to help pass the test. Remember, she is VA and the class is here in MN. But, she said, “if that is what will help me pass then I will do what it takes!” The Lord once again provided (door 1) the ONLY class in December and even just before Christmas (door 2) so we could have a family celebration at the same time. (We hadn’t celebrated Christmas together for 5 years) She found the class very informative and learned tools (door 3) to help her study better. Come January the Lord provided another… door 4, the date for the test in her state became available. The only date for several months! She passed! (door 5) As soon as she took the test she applied for her dream job back in MN where she interned. They had 2 openings which just became available! (door 6) Can you believe this so far? Seriously as I type this it amazes me!

Dedicated for over 5 years!

Door 7 she gets the email she has been accepted for the several phases including interviews, more tests, and background. One door shut along the way. She applied for another job which opened up in December but when she mailed it, certified even, the department got it late. So, she never did hear from them probably due to it arriving past the due date.

When you recognize the Lord has provided a door for you to walk through it is only by faith we do so. It may not turn out the way we planned but the Lord would not have provided if He didn’t feel you needed to. It is also important to praise the Lord for each step even if a door closes. Each door provides the character He is building in you.

Move By Faith

Yep, that is indeed what the Lord desires from His children. To step out and trust in HIM! With our daughter she will not hear from the department for several weeks due to all the phases they have to hire but we prayed together and trusted if the Lord orchestrated all these details then we shall move on them. We headed out east, packed her up and left her with an empty, echoey house as she waits for the phases to complete and see what is next. It was the first time in 7 years I didn’t cry because I wouldn’t see her for many months, but I did cry as we thanked the Lord for paving the way and the reality she will be home again soon.

Look at the tongue weight!

Jesus IS the Door

One of the many adventures Kinzey and I took was stopping at the Ark Encounter. Truly a trip y’all need to take! AMAZING! Anyway, the most powerful part of being on the exact replica of the ark was… the DOOR!

What do you see?

I wept. I simply stood in front of that door and wept! To think about how God would use this simple wood structure as a metaphor to HIS son awestruck me. The many scriptures signifying Jesus Christ as the Door and how the door had to be tall and wide enough for each animal and other needs to fit through.

“I am the Door. Whoever enters through it will be saved.”

John 10:9

This verse and the analogies we use like”walking through a door”, “when the Lord provides a door”, or “when He shuts a door” are all too significant to the truths our God provided from way back in Genesis. BUT we must as believers be very careful to line up what is in front of us as a door and go before Him in prayer. With every step, it will build our character! It may be a hard door to go through, but if He opens it, there is a reason. It may be a door we are not sure if the Lord is in it. Character building again.

No matter what…every door is a faith walk. We do not know what is on the other side. But the ones who try you can be assured our Jesus is holding your hand!

Unity Stamp Company…such a great stamp!

May the doors are wide open and clear and if not, PRAY and seek HIS wisdom! Enjoy the ride as every door is an adventure!

God’s blessings!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Crafts, Ministry, Paper/Cards, Ranch Life, Sewing

I love this New Toy!

Last summer Dan (my man), got into his head how fun it would be to make things to sell in our Tack Shack and Hoedown at the ranch. He is wonderful with his hands in crafting with wood and adding images, and color just popped more ideas into his head. SO, we invested in this and have been having a blast ever since!

Latest creation for the porch sign decor.

Ideas Are Endless

We are in the process of building a Trading Post and Workshop at the ranch and creating more projects to give the ambiance of an old country store. I love taking old things and seeing what we can create. Like this bucket. It was so fun to make. Using the Cricut and outdoor vinyl made it come together wonderfully.

Our main source for vinyl is Expressions Vinyl.
WHY? Mostly because their product is amazing and they have wonderful videos that really help you through a project or give you more ideas. I love their Easyweed Siser  Heat Transfer Vinyl.
When it comes to weeding those fine details the Easyweed vinyl peels away really well plus you can remove the iron on vinyl hot or cold after the press. You also don’t have to have an expensive heat press to do the project. An iron will work well too which isn’t the case in most other products out there. Most of them require a press that can reach over 300 degrees. NOTE: Easyweed Stretch needs one of those BIG presses to adhere to the material. They do not recommend an iron let alone a Cricut EasyPress. It needs a firm heavy and consistant pressure so stick with the Easyweed HTV. 
 It looks wonderful. See below…

Expression socks!

They also are a one stop shop! I can get the ink jet printables so we can do images on our computer especially our logo for the ministry and the transfer tape is much less expensive here then other stores. If you do a lot of crafting with a Cricut, you go through a lot of this stuff! Lastly is their line of patterned vinyl for iron on as well as sticky vinyl. The quality is amazing, really! I love supporting them and their dreams too.
Of course the goodies of accessorizing is another added joy. They have that too!

Look at this…they also give you charts for helping you not waste and for projects to come out just right! Can you tell I had baby gifts to get done?

Eco-Friendly Idea For Scrap Material

I have been making lots of pillows for the Trading Post and with that comes of course scraps of material. Long ones. I kept looking at them trying to figure what and how I can do something as they are white and so fresh looking. So I came up with ribbon! And like everything I do, I go crazy once an idea pops into my head!  Using Expressions Heat Set Vinyl. 

I truly find their product slick! No mess in the weeding and finishes so nice on the fabric. (following hint above) You know what else is cool about the ribbon idea? Practice! Yep, when I wasn’t sure how the pattern would look, I used the material ribbon. I tried the regular vinyl as most likely people wouldn’t wash the ribbon and it’s less expensive, but of course the heat ones worked better on fabric but really they looked no different. Just the vinyl will peel off eventually.  Doesn’t hurt to try both ways and see what works for you.

Gabby Ribbon using regular vinyl

I did like the iron-on better…but…it is more expensive especially the glitter or patterns. What do you think?

Iron on Easyweed Heat Vinyl

Definitely fun no matter what you choose! Gabby Ribbon my new crazy!

Love to craft no matter what the outcome! More to show soon as we journey on this winter creating items for the Trading Post!

God’s blessings keep warm!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Ministry, Ranch Life, Ranch Life

A 2020 Vision for Ranch

We are in the planning stages of building a new place for creating projects with the kids and then selling them in the trading post. Dan has had a vision for this for some time and I, of course, love the idea. Anytime we can create another avenue to get kids to learn, grow, and experience the love of Christ, I’m IN! The new building will tie in with the western look with a little barn feel too. We want to keep the western town experience which could be a little tricky, but we’re still working on it.

Finding Folks to Help

Finding help is always a challenge mainly because people are so busy. We did find an amazing man who loves the Lord who committed to building the project and we also had a friend draw up a sketch to give him a starting point. She did a great job! I sat and watched her draw and play with her fun pencils enjoying a nice cup of tea at our favorite diner in town. Funny how a picture can just get your vision more alive. Didn’t she do a great job?

Lookin’ so real!

Recently we had another friend who loves to build and doodle…DOODLE in drafting! We told him about the new project and he offered to draft up enough so we could get a better idea of material needs and cost. The Lord brings people along…one step at a time and in the RIGHT time! So cool!

The overhang is on the wrong side…my mistake telling him using north, south, east, west…should not of said anything really…leave it to the master Dan instead!

Now we meet with the builder…

So imagine with us. The front of the building will be the Trading Post and the wall going into the workshop will be a sliding or solid barn door. The whole back end of the building will have saws, tables, benches, and of course lots of project kits ready for the kids to build. The kids will learn top to bottom how to make something. Cut a tree down, debark, cut into slabs, dry it, and then prepare for the project. Plus each child can embrace all the ranch has to offer not only being in the woods but also learning to have the heart to give by selling their item in the trading post. In turn, this will help keep it all afloat by helping to keep the ministry going. For the first year, we will target boys without dads or dads who are in treatment or in prison. Of course, TNR never turns anyone down, so if a child comes along who wants to participate we will invite with open arms and hearts!

WE CAN’T WAIT…so for the next few months…we plan and pray. OOO our Jesus has BIG things happening here at True North Ranch! Please join us in praying for all the details and God’s will to be done, giving HIM all the glory in every step!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Bible Journaling, Health, Healthy Eating, Living Naturally, Ministry, Ranch Life

Scary Time

The past 2 months have been the scariest time of my life! The unknowns of walking with my hubby who faced a breakdown for major stress. What is called so much now hit by many, many folks? Yep…mental health. What we faced was much more than just depression. It was a chronic mental state I have NEVER witnessed before let alone watching someone I love so deeply be affected by simply believing in lies and allowing the spiral effect that led to his breakdown.

His face was always sad…lost…broken…amazing what the brain is capable of.

He Guided Me

“I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them. Yes, I will indeed do these things; I will not forsake them.” Ishaiah 42:16. Holding onto this verse over and over as our adult kids and I waited patiently for the Lord to heal our loved one. Many days of darkness just scared us to the core of what we were seeing and hearing from him. His unrationalization of simple things. Not being able to do simple tasks and little things set him off into fear and flight. I felt I had a new colt in training and trying to find the spot of calmness and peace became a moment by moment test and trial.

Talk about unfamiliar territory…we were in the middle of it!

Still not 100%…but he is showing improvement by just getting out and doing what he loves.

The Unfamiliar

Mental health is scary because of the stigma I held in my own head. What I saw in movies, or read in other stories, or even the many I have ministered to in the past. I never really took the time to understand why the brain reacts to trauma, how it happens, and the symptoms that appear because of the trauma. When someone is stressed for a long period of time and not dealing with it by taking time to truly rest-stress symptoms will appear. Warning signs really. For my hubby it was more tired, short-tempered, anxiousness over small things, overthinking small things, little eye contact, not really listening, not doing the FUN things once done before, never taking time to “take a break”, and many more. Becoming familiar with symptoms or signs of depression and anxiety would have helped me be more in tune to him needing help sooner.

Smoothin’ out the road

YES, the Lord smoothed out the road! HOW? With many who came alongside us and helped. First,  we learned what he was facing was ok. One therapist stated it’s ok to not be ok. Next, support therapist, support groups in our area, books like Turning Toward Joy, this was huge for us to find joy again. Learning from the Giants wonderful book by John Maxwell. And another one good for Dan was Experiencing God’s Forgiveness. If you have a loved one who has gone through abuse, addiction, divorce, or the many other life issues and has had difficulty forgiving someone especially themselves, this book is great! 

Most of all…the Bible! Being in HIS word has saved us both and our marriage. If you are the caregiver as I was, reading your bible and daily devotional time with Jesus is a must. Studies have shown caregivers can fall into a depressive state themselves and must keep healthy with eating right, daily exercise and keeping close to their Jesus!

We also sought out natural ways to begin healing the brain. Fight the moods, anxiety, and of course the joint pain that comes from being on meds.  Being on meds helped to stabilize his brain to get back into balance. But along with that, we are doing supplements especially CBD oil.  Interesting about this oil, Dan was taking it during the winter months and we ran out. Within a month from not taking it his mood became more unstable deeper depression set in. I believe now this is ONE factor of Dan spiraling downward. He is now back on it!  In time, we hope to eliminate the meds as they have many side effects where natural supplements do not. This CBD oil is one we both will stay on. It helps with joint pain as well as mood. Be proactive if you are facing the road of depression or know you may head into a season like a winter. Taking some of these has made a world of difference. For me as well because with this trial I learned I need to take care of myself as well in the area of mental health. 

Here are some I found out from Jonathan Otto’s series on depression. Wonderful experts who have seminars on the very issues we faced. 
MSM 
Anti-inflammatory supplement so important to take daily,  Glucosamine with Chondroitin Turmeric. 
And from Global Healing, Lithium Orotate
Also daily probiotic, Omegas, and multivitamin (we take Plexus)
For immune boosting, I made capsules of Astragalus Root Powder
Spring has sprung so capsules of Spirulina Powder too
Lastly, because this is an amazing herb for health, Ashwagandha Root Powder. Read here about its health benefits…Amazing brain health! 

Connect with natural healing doctors in this area as they can best help you and your situation. Everyone is so different it is always best to consult with your own resources in the medical field and natural medicine. 

Hope in the Unfamiliar

Hope is on the way. One of my favorite songs and so true. The Lord will lead you. He will show HIS pathway to better health and out of the darkness that floods our world in the area of mental health. He has all the answers! Seek HIM…be in the Word daily, ask for prayer warriors as days can be hard for you to think, and most of all know, you are loved by a Mighty Savior who sees YOU and knows what you are facing. HOPE is on the way. He made a promise…He will do these things and not forsake you! Amen to that mental health!

I am still in AWE of our Lord’s healing…He’s back!! SMILE and all!

Do’s and Don’t

As of today as I update this blog, Dan is doing 100% better! PRAISE THE LORD! What did…many things. Combining consistency of therapy, meds, sleep, eating well, doing things he always loved (ranch and working with his hands), and forgiving the past and himself!

But I do have something I want to share as I walked this trail I should not have done and things I know to do…hope this helps with anyone facing this trial.

DO:

  • Pray daily together
  • Do a devotional together and as a family
  • Let them know their family wants them to get well
  • Listen, and give credibility to their feelings
  • Seek help for yourself and offer to attend the therapist together
  • Go for walks, get exercise, go for a bike ride, do things together
  • IMPORTANT make sure you have Power of Attorney as you may need to be soul guardian if they fall deep enough they can’t take care of themselve

Don’t:

  • Tell them to pray about it and or say healing will come if you trust God more
  • Make them feel guilty for the impact this is on the family
  • Blame or criticizing
  • Expect meds to solve everything or the other way around; not do meds because of certain stigmas or beliefs
  • Let them continue in a pattern of sleeping or wanting to be alone

He was so excited to get back to cooking over an open fire again!

Lastly let me share Dan’s months of depression started three years ago. The stress of his job increased so much in the last year it led to him falling very hard very fast into a spiral of believing many lies from the enemy. After Dan sold his business he still was facing many days of doubt and his mind at this point had spun out of control. His mind had new games. He may not have the job anymore, but he still hadn’t dealt with the “new” life either. He began this journey of deep depression in early March. It is June now and he is back to his old self, PLUS realizing how deeply out of control he was from simply never taking time to rest. I hope he will have the courage to speak to audiences about his journey and be an encourager for all who face this giant of mental health. He is one happy man now, FREE indeed! We pray others will too.

Peace to you,

Love deeper, talk sweeter, and KEEP IN THE WORD

Lee

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Ministry, Ranch Life, Ranch Life

The Vision

In March of 2018, I was experiencing some uneasiness in my personal life. My husband was working more and more trapped into a business that demanded so much of his time. I was exhausted trying to get the many needs of the ranch done and not feeling like I had a “willing” partner to help me especially in the area of doing sessions. Marriage struggles, overworked, exhausted, swaying further away from Jesus time.

Pleading with my Jesus one morning, I asked for direction. I knew I needed my man to hear from the Lord again, desiring HIM, and finding time to rest in HIM as well as physical rest. How?

In talking with a similar ministry friend from Hope Rides, Vollie and I began to talk about a more focused time to help ministries in just the area where I was feeling empty. By talking and sharing ideas back and forth, I share specifically the need for men to step up in their faith, lead their homes, and be solely into God’s word daily. Backing it all up in rest. I had the thought of Troy Meeder from CPYR be that man to speak to the ministries. But how, where, when?

Setting the Stage

In the next month, Vollie and I mentioned the idea to many of the Minnesota ministries asking who wants to help and Spur this idea into a spring of 2019 event. HMMM, silence…but the Lord spoke clearly to two ministries. His Haven Acres and Haven Acres joined in. We had our SPUR team willing to seek the Lord in providing a much-needed tool for folks serving in ministries or non-profits. The 4 pillars for the event: Servantship, Prayer, Unity, Rest =SPUR

Spur team in the chapel at Ironwood Springs

“And let us consider how we may SPUR one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24

The event name and verse theme came to light! Midwest Bounty Round-Up focusing on all the states in central USA.

“From one man he created al the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. “ Acts 17:26 

We met at Vollies the first month all planning on having the event at her ranch. In the summer months, we didn’t talk much other than some basic ideas but not gathering again until late September at Vollie’s home. Vollie was feeling like the strain, the number of people, and time of year that her ranch would not be a good place. As soon as we all agreed and started typing in other ideas on our computers looking for the right outlet nothing was coming up roses. Our hope was to provide a RELAXED atmosphere since REST was the main theme. By the end of the meeting, we had no place. YIKES! We needed to get fliers and info to ranches soon and not having a place was not a great way to end the day! But, I trusted this is what the Lord wanted and would provide.

Jesus Showed the Way

On my drive home, I really was having a hard time. Where? Oh man WHERE? Lord help us find the perfect place! I began thinking of camps since our son works at one in our area. YEAH…they have horses, great meeting spots, bedding, food, yeah…let’s try them. I called. The gal in charge was not in. RATS. Ok, try others to make sure we have options. I got home and googled Christian camps. I began to think our area would not be good as it is too far north for most of the people we are trying to get to come. South would be good. Or close to the cities. Then I came upon a camp I have never heard of before. Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch in Stewartville. Where is Stewartville? I mapquest the location…ROCHESTER area…it was south, a good sign. “Oh Jesus is this it?”, I said to myself. On to the website, I found an amazing log lodge. Meeting places. HORSES. INDOOR arena. Food. Chapel even! OH MY GOODNESS! I texted everyone on the Spur team. As I was waiting for the response I called them. I talked to a sweet gal in charge of booking and the date was open!!!! YES!!! Jesus, you answered the desperate plea of my heart! And indeed it was PERFECT as only our Jesus would have it!

Getting the Lay of the Land

In early November the Spur team headed to the location to get the lay of the land. Once we arrived we all were pretty gitty! It really was perfect! We met in front of a warm fireplace and catching up on details. I met the founder Bob who has an amazing story! I highly recommend reading it on their website. Truly a godly man who through tragedy is doing the work of the Lord! The tour just brought more gasps from each of us. The rooms are fabulous! LOG BEDS, real mattress, HUGE rooms, adjoining rooms, with amenities. The meeting rooms overlooked the river giving wonderful views. Heading to the areana we met up with a camel. Oh what fun! In every way this place will provide rest for the ministries and provide opportunity for fellowhip and prayer. We got super excited as we said our good-byes!

The Lord Made it Real

A week and a half before the event, my husband was slipping into deep depression. Work was consuming his every thought and being. He had no joy. He simply… broke. He became undone with all that was undone. This is exactly where Jesus needed him. The story is long, hard, very difficult but it’s Dan’s story. It isn’t for me to tell. We believe the Lord wanted Dan in this very place so he would share and give HOPE to others who face a VERY similar and BIG issue in our society. Jesus gets all the glory in his testimony and knowing the perfect stage may be in this event or sharing at another platform. We don’t know. We just trust when Jesus calls, we will go. As difficult as it is, it’s HIS story and our Lord gets all the glory in it! It just came as such a difficult time. “Our ways are not HIS ways.” “Our thoughts are not HIS thoughts”. I needed to push through and ask the Lord to give me wisdom and live day to day. Dan needed to get before the Lord, but it wasn’t easy.

Here we go

Months of planning, getting info out to ranches and similar ministries, setting up details of sessions, talks, worship, have all come to this day. WOW! It’s here! Yet, I had this “undone” man with me really along for the ride but gripping Jesus tighter than the week before. Praise Jesus!

The Spur team arrived a day earlier, really our day of REST as the next few days we would be serving. We enjoyed helping the team for registration, setting up rooms, and just chatting as we waited for Troy and his friend Max to arrive. Really the first time we could just sit and chat and our husbands to get to know one another. Once the boys arrived we went out for dinner enjoying some special fellowship time and hangin out. AHHH I was feeling at peace.

Laurie with His Haven Acres and Vollie with Hope Rides
Haven Acres Ranch registration crew…these are looks of…WHEW!

Here They Come!

Our cute little name tags made by an old friend from my Stamping’ Up days, Terri Gaines and our red Spur shirts greeted our guest with excitement and laughter! Oh how fun as the trucks rolled in one by one eager to have a weekend away from home and REST IN HIM!

The hubbies help trucks unload
Gather and pray together and for one another
Such a precious time lifting our needs before the Throne and covering the event!

Worship

Photo courtesy of Katherine Mathiasen

CHOW TIME!

The next day…worship and sessions

Vollie and Dan lead Outside the Corral in ministry…thinking outside the box
Jessica a vet teaching vetting the Holistic way
Heading to the arena to try herbs for horses learning about the herbs and applying this idea in sessions…we did a demo…
Read about the herb, offer to the horse to see if they take it

We had a wonderful speaker Todd who is a professional psychologist helping ministries identify trauma and how we can serve the folks who come to our ranch giving many ideas and hands-on activities. We also had a similar ministry gal Kris who gave a live session using horses in the arena and another group getting ideas on Christ-centered sessions with kids. We loved having our own representative Emma from CPYR lead the session. She lives in Minnesota but is available to serve and help all ministries here in the midwest. Her hubby and new baby spent the whole weekend with us.

Ahh REST and A message

Troy gave a message at each worship time and filled us with the understanding with everything we do is for Jesus! The first day Troy met with men only and sharing his heart for men to “cowboy up” in their homes and mission the Lord has given them. Dan had a special calling during this time…as just our Jesus would do in his time of need. The Lord gave Dan a special guy who came to this time with a heavy heart. As Dan came alongside him, listening and allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through him, this young man was in the same situation Dan was facing. With tears and brokenness, two men ministered to one another. Dan later told me this man reminded him of Jesus. Would you recognize the Savior? This man needed a shoulder, an ear, and peace as only Jesus can give and yet Dan thought of him as the Savior coming to his need. We shed some tears over this as we continue to walk the journey the Lord has for us both. JESUS…it’s all about HIM!

Photo courtesy of Katherine Mathiasen

Our Jesus Provided

Yes, an amazing event coming into play at the perfect time with the perfect message. Not just for Dan and I, but for the many who attended and for what the Lord will do for us to carry that on to others in despereate need of “cowboy up”, Eyes on Jesus, and REST.

God is faithful and good and we serve an amazing God!

To God be the glory in all we do!

In HIS Grip,

Lee


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Crafts, Ministry, Ranch Life, Sewing

So simple

I began sewing just a few years ago. So simple and easy is super important to me. I love this idea of just making a casing for the pillow as you can take it off and wash it. I have a tendency to pick brighter colors so this is super important to be able to wash them.

Where I get tea towels

Tea towels are wonderful to use so here is where I get mine. Of course, there are many ideas out there, just remember if you purchase from the link you are helping our ministry as ALL proceeds go to the ranch.
Thank you in advance!

Tea Towels Variety of colors
Red Truck
Dog and bike
Dog and leaves
Grey Checkered fabric (Fabric.com has great fabric, link on sidebar)
same with the pillows good prices
20 x 20 pillow
Pretty much anything you love you can plug into the search and find something fun. Just make sure they are cotton. 

How to

This print of snowman I found at William Sonom
a

  1. First iron your towels
  2. Cut one 20.5″ by 20.5 ” Piece (this is my front piece)
  3. Cut two 20.5″ x 13
  4. Now for hemming to make a clean look. Take one 20.5 x 13 piece and fold it over 1/2 ” on the 20.5 sides. Iron in place fold again, iron hiding your raw edges. So the same with the other piece.
  5. Once folded and ironed, stitch with 1/4″ seam.
  6. Next, take your square piece 20.5″ with the right side facing up
  7. Overlap the two back pieces which will create an envelope to your pillow opening
  8. Pin everything in place and sew all the way around
  9. Use 20×20 pillow to fill
Step 2
Step 7 & 8

Love this! I bought a 20x 20 pillow
Nice folded back

Your done! Isn’t that simple?

Yeah! I hope you make a ton! Especially for gift giving! I will post more as I make them for the Hoedown!

Happy sewing!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Crafts, Ministry, Ranch Life, Ranch Life

Beautiful Memory

Kids who come to the ranch are often facing some serious situations. From being abused, bullies, losing a parent, parents in prison, and or suicidal. One of the activities we will do in a session is offered for the child to put essential oils on the horse. This activity has many benefits not only for the child but for the horse!

I will introduce the oil box to the child and allow them to choose up to 5 oils. Once they choose the essential oil I have them open the cap and offer the horse to smell it. If the horse likes it, he will lick and chew maybe even try and eat it.  The funniest thing they will do is lift their nose up in the air showing their teeth. It looks like they are smiling but in fact are smelling the air. Some favorites of our boys are Peppermint, Ylang-Ylang, Tummy Rub, Frankincense,  Lemongrass, and Aligning. 
If he doesn’t like it he will turn his head away or swish his tail.

Horses love the smell of the essential oils! So does the child!

Watching the Love Exchange

Once the child has the oils which both of them like, I have the child drip a little on the horses back. All along the back. By taking their fingers making a back and forth motion down the spine, I have the child watch the horse’s eyes, ears, and tail. If the horse yawns, or breaths out, they are responding by relaxing and enjoying the treatment. Not only is the horse enjoying this experience but the child is inhaling the oils and receiving the benefits as well. A child who faces trauma will instantly respond to giving love and receiving love. Indeed a beautiful thing to watch!

Allowing the horse to smell the oil before applying.

After the child has given the oil treatment to the horse. I will ask if they would like to make a bracelet with their favorite oil on it so they can remember this special time. Usually…I get a BIG YES!
So off to the tack shack we go to make a bracelet while the horse grazes in the round pen. The horse will like to roll in the sand and relax a bit before being turned out plus we have them close by while we craft. 
The bracelets are simple to make and the beads are inexpensive as well.

Talking while Crafting

We get are beads from Oriental Trading as they give back to our ranch when we purchase their items. If you purchase anything as well when you click on the links, you also will be helping us continue to reach kids in need of hope and healing. 
We use the Natural Lava Stones to hold the essential oil and stretch cording so it can fit any size wrist. Some children will end up making one for mom or sibling so it helps to have the flexibility to fitting. The company carries lots of variety and of course, like everything on this site, I love the free shipping for orders over $39. No prob there!

The children love Lemongrass as it is soothing and keeps bugs away!

One teen girl really did herself proud with this one! Love the colors she chose!

Simple Activity and Memorable

Every session is unique but when a child chooses to do the essential oils and craft I get especially giddy as I really love this activity! I love the freshness of the essential oils. I love the emotion poured out from the child and horse. I love the special chat time while making the bracelet. But mostly I love how the child can walk away from the ranch with a memory!

Make One and Comment Below

Please let me know if you make one and even send a picture! If you’r a mom, what a special time you can share with your children. If you’re a grandparent, you too will enjoy this wonderful activity!

Many blessings and keep it natural!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Healing, Hope, Ministry, Ranch Life, Ranch Life

A weekend celebrating…REST

“Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you REST.” Matt. 11:28

On March 22 our ranch and 3 others are SPURRING other ranches and folks in ministry to come for a weekend of rest. A time to fellowship with other like-minded ministries and take some time to learn, worship, and enjoy all the Lord has blessed us with.

Goofy SPUR team

We are also very excited to have Troy Meeder from Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch come to speak and lead worship. Troy and his wife Kim have written many books. Average Joe is Troy’s book focusing on men and living a life for Christ. Troy is an adventurous guy, to say the least, and if you have a man in your life let me tell you they will be blessed BIG TIME with this read! My hubby Dan loved it and really learned much from his words. Even a little convicted too, which for any of us is a good thing.

We can’t wait to see how both men and women will be blessed by his speaking God’s word and giving us all a boost to get through yet another year of ministry serving kids at risk, trauma kids and adults, and others in need of hope and healing.

Troy’s wife Kim

Kim has written several books. Her story will truly grab you by the gut! Her childhood trauma left her with Hope…Yes, Jesus was truly her rescuer during a horrible situation no child should have to go through. The book Hope Rising will leave your heart full! Full of how truly our amazing Jesus is in the midst of such trials of life…all from a back of a horse. Another one of her books I highly recommend is Bridges Called Hope.

 

Kim’s style of writing is inspiring and as she paints a picture with each word you feel like you are right there. Kim and Troy have been gifted to express their journey and help others by embracing God’s truths. In the midst of very difficult situations, they have a God who loves them and will never let go! You will be blessed as you embrace each story. 

How Ranch Ministry Began

Troy and Kim started their ranch over 25 years ago. All from their love of horses, their personal journey in life with the Lord Jesus Christ, and the gift of the beautiful property overlooking the sisters, the Cascade Mountains which the Lord had a perfect ministry platform for. Their story became a vision and boost for other ranches like us to carry out the call using our horses to serve our communities.

Just Answer the Call

It’s not easy when the Lord asks us to step out and do the uncomfortable or what may seem like the impossible. But when you do, it is absolutely the most amazing ride you will personally ever be on!

For More Information…

Be A Blessing

If you do choose to purchase one or all those books above, you will be a blessing to our ranch ministry as well as Chrystal Peaks. In advance, thank you! Every little bit helps us meet the needs of so many in need of healing and hope!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Healing, Ministry

Do you have someone who is hard to love? Is there someone who you think just doesn’t like you or is hard to communicate with? Has there been someone who has hurt you in some way and your relationship isn’t quite the same? Well…let’s work on that!

12 gifts for the hard to love
Gift of love

We all have one…

I have all the above. I think if we’re honest we do too. This month is gift giving season, typically. But if your reading this and it isn’t December…than all the better! Because for this relationship which is somehow not right to be ok again… this concept needs to happen no matter what time of year.

Let’s first look at our own heart. The Lord says, “People judge by the outward appearances, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 

Isn’t this passage so true? Looking at this person who is hard to love. WHY? Why are they hard to love? How they act or speak to others? To us? How they choose to live? I am sure we can think of 12 ways one person has wronged us. This passage holds to this very thing. We are looking at the outside appearances, their life versus God created them and loves them and so must we. No matter what. So now the need to find 12 ways back to love instead of wronged.

Why try?

The same thing holds true to the one who hurt you.  The one who continues to ignore you or include you in their gatherings.  If we are a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are to love…no matter what.  Remembering His 2 greatest commandments. “Love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength…AND love your neighbor as yourself.”

SO…ready for an idea…one that may not work exactly the way you think but I guarantee will please the Lord. 

12 gift Ideas

12 gifts. You can do the 12 anyway you choose. Maybe it will be over a year, one gift a month, or all in 12 consecutive days. It doesn’t matter. Just commit to 12 gifts to this person.  Get your calendar, planner, or whatever you use and look at daily or weekly opportunities to mail or drop your gift.  Next write down 12 gifts this person may love. Food like those cute jars filled with something they can make. I love this because if they choose to make the item it will remind them of you and your relationship. Other ideas can be a card, bookmark, favorite DVD, CD, or movie tickets. Gardening seeds, teas or coffee, hot cocoa, lotions, and gift cards are wonderful little gestures of love. 

gifts for the hard to love
Do you need a great editing program for you pictures….I love this one!
12 gifts for the hard to love
Gingerbread Spiced Syrup…recipe below

In addition to every gift, include a note. You will need to go before the Lord and ask for wisdom to your wording. You want to be sensitive to whatever your relationship has been in the past as well as to why it is a-strange in the present.  Make it special. Fill your heart with love for them by asking the Lord to help you with your hurt or harden feelings. He loves prayers like this, because relationships are VERY important to Him.

Easy boxes filled with Elderberry syrup

What about after…

Lastly, after the 12 days and gifts have been given, if something has not already been sparked by the first one or two, again pray. “Why Lord has this person not responded? What do I need to do next? Help me to continue to love them and bring them to mind to lift to you.” I know from doing this very thing…God has healed. Whether it was during the gift giving time, or just in this prayer time. He answered. A hint of advice, don’t call them or if you see them don’t say ,”Hey did you get anything from me? Did you get the gifts I sent?” Why? Because by asking you are looking for something in return. Keep humble.

Broken relationships bring us to sinful actions. Gossip, talking bad about this person, rudeness, and unforgiveness.  Which all of these separates us from our Lord. If we want unity, if we call ourselves a loving person, than we must do our best to be Christ-like and reach out. If that person doesn’t respond, we pray for them and move on. 

Joy

 One thing can stand out when you do this activity. You can experience joy in the gift giving process making it special for this child of God and it provides an opportunity to pray for them.  There is nothing more joyful in our daily lives than bringing joy into another. We just never know what is going on in the hearts of others. But the Lord does. 

Let me know what happened

Let me know if you tried this. By your comments you could help another. I will be VERY anxious to see how it goes. In both situations so far I have done, it was misunderstandings in one and the other was facing a strong addiction. By reaching out helped heal and brought forgiveness in others in their personal lives. Amazing!

Share away!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

Gingerbread Spiced Syrup recipe:

All products below I get from Starwest link on blog…

2 cinnamon sticks broken into pieces                12 cloves

3 tbsp fresh ginger root                                    1 tsp whole peppercorns

2 cups honey                                                       2 cups water

1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

Directions:

Place the cinnamon, cloves, ginger root, peppercorns in a double thick cheese cloth and tie a knot to hold it all together. In a large sauce pan, add water and honey and bring to a boil. Add nutmeg and stir. Now put cheesecloth into the pot. Let sit for 5 minutes watching closely. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes uncovered. Remove from heat. Take cheesecloth and squeeze out any juice collected using the back of a spoon. Serve some immediately and any remaining let cool and transfer into nice GLASS containers. Make a wonderful gift anytime of year! Keeps for one month in refrigerator.


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Ministry, Ranch Life, Ranch Life
In the book of Daniel chapter 6, we read a famous story told of how Daniel escaped from a lions’ den. At the first sign of trouble, Daniel did the very thing he would be killed for….an un-flinched faith….he prayed to ask God for help. Think just for a moment of a time when you received bad news. REALLY bad news! A death. An illness diagnoses. Loss of a job. Did you go to a private room, open a window, kneel down and pray to ask for help? HUM…I know I haven’t. My faith was shaken to the core. I cried. I called others to tell the news. I simply fell apart turning to others instead of turning to my God. Unflinching Faith Daniel’s faith was unflinching! He knew without a shadow of a doubt God would come through….SOMEHOW. He didn’t know to what extent, even if it all did take his life, God would be with him. In verse 19 we read King Darius woke up early and hurried to the lions’ den. He called out in anguish, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?” Doubt in the king’s voice and heart. Yep…I think I would have been too. BUT, Daniel answered, “Long live the king. My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in HIS sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.” Amazing? Not when we have unflinching faith! Unflinched Faith In my early years of receiving my Lord Jesus as my Savior, I was full of flinching faith. I just had not had enough of HIS promises in my heart. I didn’t know HIS word well enough to see stories like this one come true in my own life. In time, reading HIS word daily, meditating on what I have read and applying it in my own life, I became stronger. YEP, I slip up. I do get shaken, but time with the Lord will bring peacefulness in my heart to pull me through the trial. Seeing it happen in others in the same situations also proved of HIS faithfulness and HIS promises During the months preparing for the harvest hoedown, I needed to take much time in prayer believing the Lord would pull things all together. Two weeks before the event our son just bought a home and his closing landed the day before. Our daughter would be traveling from Richmond, VA a 1200 mile trip with her dog, our bunnies were experiencing illness’,  Bokoda had pulled his shoulder which meant he couldn’t be used for demonstrations, and to top it all off, rain was predicted all week and especially on the day of the big event. Shaken faith? Unflinching? I called in the troops to pray. I called out to God. I prayed “Lord this is YOUR day, not ours. Have it as YOUR will be done. Help me to enjoy serving YOU and continue to be obedient with a smile and faith YOU will take care of the details.” HE DID! AND SOOOO MUCH MORE! Mitch’s house closing got moved up a day and we took the day as rest away from the event and enjoyed moving him into his new journey. Our daughter arrived safely and without troubles. All animals healed, except the one but she got better a few days later, and the Lord made a beautiful day even the SONshine came through! Another story in my life goes into the books of relying on God, and our faith can be UNFLINCHED! Verse 26 “For HE is the living God and HE will endure forever. HIS kingdom will never be destroyed and HIS rule will never end. He rescues and saves HIS people; HE performs miraculous signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth.” He does! These verses should inspire us all believers to walk this life of trials with an unflinching faith! He’s got us…in the palm of HIS Holy Hands! Take that you lions! Love deeper & talk sweeter, Lee
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Ministry, Ranch Life
Throughout the summer here on the ranch, we usually and prayerfully pick a THEME to carry out our session time. This year is a Pathway or Trail. Focus keywords help us draw out what the person’s trail is that day or is happening in their life. In one teen we had, her trail was faking the God life. As we continued through her session, she found you just couldn’t fake the God trail. He knows it all! You can't fake God I asked this teen, we will call her Marie, to lead the horse out of the pasture walking a trail as her life is going. Marie haltered Bokoda and swiftly walked straight on to the gait. No turns. No going around trees. Just straight on. I responded with a “well…tell me what that trail is?” Marie said, “it’s straight. I can see what is ahead of me and I feel great!” I nodded with a smile, “awesome let’s go play with Bokoda and have a great time!” Throughout the session, there was some stumbling of not remembering certain things. For example, when Bokoda would walk faster and bump into her she allowed him to almost push her, she forgot the game on how to back him up or get him out of her space. So we had a quick review. Her confidence was strong thinking she knew how to handle Bokoda, but when he challenged her, she couldn’t remember how to ask him to remember her boundaries. Another time when she was bumped, I asked if she is reading her bible. She shook her head no and said, “ I don’t have time. But I helped at VBS. “How is your prayer life?”, I asked. “I pray at mealtime…only when I remember.” She laughed. I quickly grabbed onto that response. “Well, tell me what happens when you remember to ask Bokoda to respect your space?” She said he listens. I asked, “and what happens when you don’t remember?” Looking down and getting where I was headed, “Bokoda almost pushes me down.” We went on talking about when our trail seems straight and all is going well we can allow some poison ivy to grow along the trail. Not even see it. We can even walk through mud and not realize our shoes are wet and muddy. We can fake our faith. God knows our hearts. He knows our every move before we take it and He never forgets our sins. He forgets our sins once we repent, but if we are not walking with Him on the trail in and sinning along the way, HE remembers. You can't fake God You see as adults we do this all the time. We tell people we will pray for them and we forget. Just pray right then and there when someone asks. We can even go to church weekly and fake our Christian walk. Even having in our conversations, “God will provide” or If it’s God’s will”.  Another word, we can have the Christian lingo down, but not be living it. Being on God’s trail means time with Him. Being in HIS word. When things happen in our life, we need to quickly and I mean quickly, go to HIS word and seek out direction. I had something pretty difficult situations happen this summer and I had to Google some words from my bible to seek out what Jesus would do. How He would handle such people or situations. You know…it works every time! Daily we need to spend time with Jesus, share our hearts. Praise Him for what He is doing good and bad on our trail of life. We can’t fake our trail rides with God. Just like you can’t fake any relationship. You can’t fake your marriage is good when it really isn’t. God knows. You can’t fake your life is perfect. God knows it’s not and never will be. You can’t fake God…period! You can't fake God A person who chooses to walk the trail with God is peaceful in ALL circumstances. YES, even the bad times. You might be down, but you’re hopeful. You know the Lord is working in the situation. A person, who is faking it, is falling. They are being stomped on. Deceived.  Their trail is full of poison ivy and mud puddles they just don’t want to let anyone ride the trail with them. Fakeness will catch up to all of us who pretend we have a relationship when we truly do not. The Lord wants all of us not to fake our trail rides. He desires for us to be honest with Him and with others as we face our daily trials. If you’re not walking the trail with Jesus, stop right now. Repent. Ask Him to remove your fakeness and pull out the poison ivy of dishonesty. Come to Him with true transparency simply saying daily, “I need you, Jesus. I surrender my life to you.” And you know what? You trail of life will be real! Being fakey leads a trail of emptiness. Being real is being on a trail full hope! God’s peace and blessings as you ride the trail of adventure with Him! Love deeper, talk sweeter, Lee
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Crafts, Ministry, Ranch Life
We are gearing up for our Harvest Hoedown at True North Ranch! We can’t wait to share all the Lord has done this year and since we have been in operation for 10 years it will be especially rewarding to have folks come and see the ranch first hand! In the weeks ahead we will be preparing for little stations throughout the ranch. Here are some of the things we are prepping and creating. Kids can make a craft called a Prayer Jar! I just love this idea! Here are the supplies needed: (affiliate links that when you click on also help our ministry at the ranch) Harvest Hoedown Fun Foam Faith Shapes Fun Foam Faith Sayings Plastic Mason Jars For some adhesives I recommend: Glue Dots Tacky Glue And Sharpies for markers: Big pack And of course the BLING! LOVE these!! If you would like to tackle the glitter mode which every child loves, here is a wonderful place I get them from, good price too. Silver, Red, Blue, Black, Holiday pack, pink, green Really no need for directions as it is simply sticking on items and using markers to decorate. Let the creative juices flow for the love of the Lord! Hoedown On we go to decorating the ranch grounds.  Scarecrows!  I hope they don’t freak out the horses but they will look so darn cute! My kids and I will be hunting down some cornstalks and colorful flowers to place on fence posts and of course, we will have to scrounge up some pumpkins to place in a variety of places. Color is my big thing since September isn’t a real colorful time yet. I will have to get creative in this area. Harvest Hoedown A wonderful volunteer helped paint up some signs and prepped our photo op area. SO cute! Hay bales, and ropes to make a memory for all who come! We also used bandana’s to mark for parking by ripping them into strips and tying them to a hay string. This showed folks where they could park as well as added some fun decor outside the ranch area. The full bandanas we used to decorate the tree lines. This will help add the color too! harvest hoedownThe silent auction area will have tables decorated with the faux wood as well as the bandana skirt. This will be darling! Our chuck wagon will be loaded with grub with a fall menu serving, of course, our favorite pumpkin tea and spiced apple cider. To decorate this area I found this really awesome faux wood roll. Fits perfect as my hubby couldn’t finish the table part in time. Our prizes for the sack races, cake walk, and pony barrel races will be goodies wrapped in a bandana. We chose Golden Nuggets of course to fit our Nugget! Horses, and candy. Harvest Hoedown The ranch will have some fun games like horseshoe, corn hole, and ropin’ the calf.  All fun for all ages! We also hired a wonderful husband and wife team to sing us along and have good ol’ line dancing’! I can’t wait for this part! HEE HAW! To end our day we have a couple of kids who will demo what they have gained from having sessions at TNR. This part I hope will be a special part for our folks to see and hear the message of hope along with our speaker and worship time. Hoedown Everyone will get a little tea bag as memory and thank you full of our favorite TNR harvest pumpkin tea blend. I used these organic muslin bags with a tag THANK YOU stamped on each one. OH, how I love to throw a Hoedown, especially giving God all the glory! I will post pictures along the way. So until then, Happy Harvest! Love deeper, talk sweeter, Lee
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Bible Journaling, Healing, Ministry, Ranch Life
What pathway are you on right now? What is your trail like? Is it full of poison ivy? Are you tripping on broken sticks? Is there a fork on your trail and you don’t know which one to take?  Are there puddles too big to jump over or mud so deep your just plain ol’ stuck? Maybe your pathway is beautiful, full of joy and no worries. You feel all is well and perfect. About 10 years ago, a ministry came into our community helping financially troubled families who were living on the streets or in their cars. This ministry was wonderful as it allowed the days for children to play or attend a local school and parents to find jobs and homes. In the evenings, the families would go to a church to be fed and loved and have a place to sleep along with a big dinner and breakfast. The ministry is called New Pathways. What a perfect name!   Individuals whose pathways somehow got goofed up led wrong or made wrong choices which allowed for a new beginning, new start, new pathway. In our sessions this year, pathways are our focus word we use as a foundation to their time with the horses on the ranch. So far it has opened many conversations and openness I haven’t really experienced before. I love how the Lord leads me to certain things such as words like this, verses, passages of scripture, and reminders of my own stories or experiences. Have you ever stopped to look down a road? A trail? A sidewalk? An aisle? In every step we take throughout a day, we are always on a pathway. If the pathway we are on is causing pain in some way in our life or we know is not a path the Lord would want us on, we must somehow make a new one. We must at that point make a choice to choose a pathway that may not be easier but give us freedom. It may be free from sin. It may be freedom from conflict. It may be freedom from addiction. Whatever pathway you’re on, your Savior is longing for you to find a new one! At times I find the pathway I am on is safe and easy as I know it so well. But the Lord is asking me to try a new pathway to stretch my journey. He desires for me to explore and learn and at that time I will have to depend on Him more and more because I don’t know the path well. That’s the pathway I am on right now. This ministry is constantly challenging in the way the Lord is bringing in new ideas and opportunities. They are like weeds to pull or brush to move to clear the trail. Sometimes I want to turn around and go back on the pathway that I knew before. A pathway where I knew every area that is dangerous or could “trip” me up. A path or trail that didn’t cost me so much hard work! In this new pathway, I have no idea what’s ahead.  I haven’t either been on it before or have and it caused pain somewhere along the way. I surely don’t want to go through it again. YET, my heavenly Father wants me to try because He has a new plan within the new pathway. I must trust Him, belief, and ultimately obey. By obedience, I am choosing to say no to self. Choosing His ideas, not mine. Simply, surrendering my will. One of my favorite verses I have memorized, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding but in ALL ways acknowledge Him and He will keep your path straight. “ Proverbs 3:5-   HE does…every time I am obedient. My salvation verse, “Your word is the lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Ps. 119:105  By READING the bible every day, not just short devotions or commentary from others but truly reading, absorbing, and talking to the Lord, HE will direct my path for the day and days to come. Again, obedience and choosing the path of being still, alone with my Jesus. Pathways offer hope. They offer second chances. They open new opportunities. New pathways draw you closer to your Redeemer who is molding your character to be more and more like Him. Possibly, you may not be on the path with Jesus. You may be walking alone. Afraid, lonely, or simply unhappy. Will you trust in a Savior who promises to walk with you? He promises “He will never leave you or forsake you. He is with you always.” That is the best part of choosing the path with Christ! So what pathway are you on? What trail will you take? Will you choose today to follow HIS lead and walk the trail together no matter what it may bring you? Enjoy your ride or walk…on your NEW pathway! Love deeper, talk sweeter along your journey, Lee
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Hope, Ministry, Overcome, Ranch Life
My word for 2018 is rest. Am I doing a good job going into month three? Resting in Jesus is not easy because doubts creep in. I am in the Book of John 1:29-34. John the disciple and John the Baptist are both so open. Their hearts are genuine and real. They LOVE the Lord! Sitting in my warm home looking out at the sunshine and fresh fallin’ snow, I imagine what it would have been like to be John the Baptist.  To be watching his cousin approaching him as he was baptizing others and to have the LAMB OF GOD walk into the waters. Oh my! My Big Things What are your big things in life right now? Health issues, children, marriage, job, financial problems? Have you asked yourself “how can I really rest in__________? Your blank is whatever the unrest is. My big things (notice the S) is our season coming up in ministry. Meeting financial obligations. Being strong in my walk with the Lord to be able to help others. Events coming up and the planning it takes. Keeping the animals and ranch in good care. My list could go on! Doubt creeps in! Resting in Jesus within this HUGE responsibility of life is hard! What I need to remember? Let’s take a look at what happens once Jesus is placed under water. “John the Baptist testified, ‘I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon Him’. Do you see that? John witnessed the Holy Spirit resting on Jesus. Our friend John goes on, verse 33 “I didn’t know He was the One, but when God sent me to baptize with water, he told me, “the One on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” Can you just imagine this scene? Well, folks, we do need to picture this especially when we are facing life issues! If we have confessed our sins, and claim Jesus as Lord, we too have the Holy Spirit RESTING on our shoulders. NOT the problems of the world…the Holy Spirit Who gives us courage, strength, and hope to carry on! What a gift we have! Resting in the ONE…Jesus! Resting in knowing, without doubt, the Holy Spirit will give you the power to overcome! HOW IN THE WORLD do I do this? Simple…get in the Word of God. Memorize His promises. Post them on your mirror in the morning. Say out loud “Lord I confess I have doubted you in____________ (name it) and I know you will repair, fix, or have it in the palm of your hand!” Resting in the Big Things is resting in Jesus! Trust me, The Lamb of God has the BIG and little things in your life! Now go rest, pray, and rejoice in His power! God’s blessings upon you! Love deeper, Talk sweeter, Lee Some great new bible journaling items from Day Spring I think you will love! A whole collection on the Fruit of the spirit! NEW TOO! (affiliate link and purchase goes to help our ministry) Fruit of the Spirit sheets Fruit of the Spirit card stock and stickers Fruit of the Spirit Wasabi Tape
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Bible Journaling, Ministry, Ranch Life, Ranch Life
Do you have days; maybe whole seasons where you just need a boost of faith? Are you experiencing times of loneliness, defeat, or just plain emptiness? Is life throwing you some curve balls that are overwhelming you right now? Maybe it is just a season of nothing exciting happening. Your just feeling BLAH!! These are warning signs to quickly turn to God’s word to GIVE YOU A BOOST! I read this passage today and took out my illustrated faith creative kit, and began meditating on this passage. Hebrews 11:3. “By faith, we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.” We have no idea what God has planned. But resting in faith helps us hang on! Oh MY, you can’t help but get a boost! Look at each verse in the chapter. Each of them has a story behind them that will bring your heart and mind to awe. WHY? Because each story has a character like you and me, we can begin to relate in some way. You will have no doubt that there is a God who is watching over you when you experience the Lord working during your down seasons. He indeed has the power to help you overcome your dark times here on earth. Some of the stories, which I believe are all true and indeed happened, bring me immediately to a place of comfort because they show me God is in control They show me that in all things, God brings together for our good. Let me share on a personal note. Four years ago we had our horses boarded at a nearby farm. For three years we did our ministry from this barn. It was wonderful as it had a heated indoor facility, huge outdoor arena, and beautiful trails. We just loved it there, and the folks who ran it was awesome. It really was perfect. We also had this property, which we are now on, but the Lord was not opening the doors for us to be on this property. At times I would walk this land and pray and hope ministry would indeed happen here. That it would become a full-on ministry in our own area that we called True North Ranch. I would walk the land and the Lord would give me pictures of what it would soon look like. Imagining a road here, a fence there, the horses eating, and ministry happening. But it just wasn’t happening. One spring day in early April, we had the yearly vet day. As the borders, me, and the owners were busy getting horses into the stalls preparing for the vet visit, it seemed a little weird. The owners weren’t their happy selves. The owner came in head down, no smile or greeting and proceeded to close the barn doors. She remained somber and quiet and went on to share that she had some bad news. My heart dropped. Someone had reported their barn as not being compliant with the area laws and turned them in. (ALL NOT TRUE to the extent they were demanding). The authorities told them they could no longer have boarding horses. We were devastated. All of us! We were saddened that our friends all standing before us were hurting and going through this and at the same time thinking what WE would do. (As if our God didn’t have a plan) The worst thing the owner shared was we needed to be out by June 1. THAT WAS ONLY 2 MONTHS away! But the Lord our GOD had a plan! We had this property. This property just sitting there waiting for the right time. The property in its beauty full of trees, yet… no road, no electricity, no running water, no shelter, no no no…..just trees. I was excited at the thought of having the horses now on the property, but in the process of excitement, I worried about all that had to be done. In two months no less! Here in Hebrews Chapter 11….my story…In 2 months God rocked! Every day. Every moment, He provided. He provided funds for fencing, automatic water, horse shelter, pump house, round pen, roads, and hay. HE PROVIDED IN HIS TIME and in the right moment. It wasn’t easy. It didn’t happen overnight. But the Lord took what was an awful stressful time…and turned it into awesome. Only a GOD who cares and loves you can do such a thing! You have a Chapter 11 faith stories too. You need to look back on what the Lord has done so you can remember how GOOD HE is. By remembering a past trauma and how God brought you through, will get you through the rough patches you are going through right now. It’s a faith booster! One we all need! Journaling is wonderful because of this. You can go back and look at faith stories of your own. Recalling HIS workmanship in your life gives you strength! It works for me every time!!! The stories are my BOOSTS both in the word in and my own. Get a BOOST of faith today. Journal, create a faith memory, and share it with others who too may need a boost! Being grateful is also a very helpful tool during your time of boosting! God bless you! Love deeper, talk sweeter, Lee
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