All Kinds of Excitement

Wow, this week has been crazy in just about every way. Complete with snow, ice, a bitter wind, and temperatures between 10 - 20 degrees some days...I don't know about any of you, but I was not ready for winter to come! At least not yet. 

We started out the week with a lot of corn yet to be harvested, and though the weather conditions aren't what we'd prefer to work in, we didn't have much of a choice. And complaining won't change anything, so why bother, right? So, we bundled up and went out, thankful that the days of cabless tractors ended a long time ago around here! And of course we look forward to coming in and sitting next to the wood stove with a cup of coffee--if you're Dad, that is. I know I'm boring, and Dad gives me a hard time about it, but I'll just stick with my hot chocolate! :) 

In the midst of desperately trying to finish up harvest, my book happened to be in the final stages of editing, with a ton of last minute things that needed to be done there. I sat on the couch with my laptop working on that basically all day Monday and most of Tuesday.

Wednesday I returned to grain cart duty, feeling like a free woman to have the editing behind me and to be back in the tractor seat again. But within a couple of hours, the snow had plugged up the sieves on the combine, so we quit for the day. 

Then on Thursday a couple of guys from the Case dealer brought out a red combine for us to demo. Now that wasn't our idea, it was theirs!! Just so we're clear on that! (Remember, we're John Deere people here!) But hey, if they're just going to let us try it out for a day, why not, right? And wouldn't you know but that machine made one round in the field and broke down... :) To be completely honest and fair though, even though I'm partial to green, I got to drive it for a little while and thought it was pretty nice. { cough } Of course I've been driving the only red tractor on the farm for the last month and a half, so I guess I don't have any room to speak! I was actually very impressed that we could harvest at 4 mph in the Case IH, whereas 2.5 is about the limit in our John Deere. 

But anyways, you all didn't really want to know all of that I'm sure. :) The big excitement of the week is...

#3: My dog had seven puppies on Thursday!

Definitely an answer to prayer...these little guys are going to help me pay for a book! Anyone want to buy a puppy?!

Lady Carliss (anyone else a Knights of Arrethtrae fan?!) and her babies
#2: We're done with harvest!!

Once again, God has blessed us with a safe and bountiful harvest, and we praise Him for it. What a relief to be done!

And now, the news that I've anxiously been waiting to share with you all week! Or all month...or really all year.... 

#1: My book has officially gone to print!!!!

I don't know what more to say than that! Praise the Lord, it's actually going to happen!!

Plenty of excitement for one week, don't you think?

I know harvest is over, but I've still got a few "thoughts from the tractor seat" to share with you. So stick around!  And next month I will have a book for you all to read! :)


Thoughts From the Tractor Seat // A Little Accident

Okay, so I'd really rather not explain how this happened...let's just say it was my fault, and leave it at that. :) 

The minute this little "incident" took place, I jumped out of the tractor to assess the damages. Hearing a distinct hissing noise coming from the tire, I immediately felt sick. Man, I'd really blown it this time. And of course I had to call Dad to tell him what just happened. Gulp. 

Isn't that the worst feeling? When I know that I've said or done something incredibly stupid, and I have to admit it to someone else--it's so hard for me. But there wasn't much of another option, so I called Dad right away. Told him everything, and he said he'd come check it out. I sat there on the steps of the tractor until he came, head in my hands, trying not to cry because that isn't the grown up thing to do. :) But I still felt awful. 

When Dad arrived, he gave me my supper, and before even looking at the tire, he said "Hey, don't worry about it, ok? I've made a lot bigger mistakes than this." He didn't get upset, or ask me what I was thinking, or tell me that I should've been more careful. He just told me that it was ok.

We looked everything over and determined that the tire could be fixed without having to replace it, and that the other piece of equipment involved had suffered only minimal cosmetic damages. The tire wasn't loosing air very fast, so I was able to keep running it for another hour or two. 

I am so thankful for my dad's patience with me. The way that he offered such a gentle, forgiving response reminded me of my Heavenly Father. Isn't He that way with us? How often I screw things up, and yet He graciously extends forgiveness to me time and time again. I'm so grateful that God does not get angry with me when I sin, but that when I confess it to Him, He lifts the shame and gently reminds me that I am forgiven

Not that there are never consequences....We didn't have to replace the tire, but now it has a slow leak and goes flat about every other day. I've had to limp home from the field numerous times to fill it back up. But every time that I do, I'm reminded of how much I am loved, and I thank God for His patience with me, and of course for giving me such an awesome dad!


Thoughts From the Tractor Seat // Fire


There's something about that word that makes a person's heart start racing. We all know what fire is capable of doing--

to houses. to barns. to forests. to people...

...and for us farmers, we know well what fire can do to a combine. In a matter of minutes. 

This is NOT our combine, praise the Lord! But I found this picture on the internet so y'all could get the idea. There are a lot of things that can cause a combine fire, and once it starts, there is so much that can burn. Dry grain, lots of chaff and dust, rubber, plastic, not to mention over 200 gallons of diesel fuel. Once a fire starts, there's no way of knowing how fast it will take off, or how far it'll go. That's why we always keep a fire extinguisher in the cab. 

So, it was about 11:20 at night. Grandpa was driving combine, and I was in the grain cart. We were on our last field of soybeans, and so very close to being finished. If everything went smoothly, we would've been done in about an hour. I was at the other end of the field, and just starting to turn the tractor around when my phone rang. It was Dad.

"Hey, Grandpa needs your help, he's got a fire!"

Immediately, I began to feel my heart thumping somewhere up in my head as I kicked it into high gear and took off full throttle across the field. I could see an orange glow up by the hopper, and Grandpa was already climbing up into the back end with the fire extinguisher. I jumped out of the tractor, raced to the combine, and had barely gotten to the top of the ladder when Grandpa said,

"We've gotta call 911! This fire extinguisher is empty!"

What a helpless feeling. We were out in the middle of the field, three miles away from home, with a combine fire and our hands seemingly tied behind our backs. It wasn't a big fire, but that didn't matter. It could turn into a big fire really quickly and we needed to do something right now. Out of breath, with heart pounding, I called 911 and very carefully explained what was going on and exactly where we were at. The guy on the other end very calmly replies, "Okay, we'll send someone out." 

I could only hope that he was going to take this seriously, because by the tone of his voice, I wasn't too convinced.

Thankfully, this particular field was only about a mile away from the fire department, otherwise I don't want to know how long it would've taken them to get there. They arrived at last...with an ambulance. Seriously, are you kidding me? We have a fire here, people! By this time, Dad was there, my brother had come, and Greg, who was harvesting the field right next to us had also come to help. I ran out to the road to meet the guys in the ambulance, and they casually followed me back to the combine with their fire extinguisher. They obviously weren't in any hurry, and we were getting a little frustrated. 

Like I said, it wasn't a big fire, but it's still a fire, and it certainly won't put itself out. A fire truck and several other emergency vehicles arrived over the next 10 or 15 minutes, but by that time, Dad, Derek and Greg had it under control with the fire extinguisher. When it was all said and done, there was a lot of melted wiring and a couple of parts that needed to be replaced, but nothing major. Praise the Lord that it wasn't any worse than that.

Now, for an application:
You and me, we're the combine, and there's a fire burning inside that could destroy us. If it doesn't get put out, we won't be able to accomplish the work that we're called to do, and we could very well end up a pile of twisted metal and melted rubber. It's the problem of sin. It's no stranger to us as believers. It's constantly there, trying to bring us down and make us weak, ineffective Christians who blend in with the rest of society. We all deal with it, but how do we deal with it? What are we doing about the fire inside of us? Have we become so deadened to sin that we don't think it's a big deal? Do we excuse it away because it's "just a little fire"?  

Let's not get so mesmerized by the glow, and the crackle, and the warmth, that we forget how dangerous it is, and how much God hates it. And let's not try to justify the mess we're in because it's not a "big deal". You never know how quickly it will spin out of your control. Face it, you can have everything together on the outside, but you know what's going on in your heart and in your mind. There's a fire burning. I've walked many miles down that road. I know.

So again, I ask, what are we doing about it? What am I doing about the sin that is so real in me?

We find it way too easy to think lightly of sin. Or maybe it's our Savior that we think so lightly of. Like salvation is some kind of fire insurance. Combine catches on fire and we just roast marshmallows and watch it burn. Why not, it's all paid for, right?

But Christ did not give His life so that we could be justified IN our sin. He died so that we could be redeemed OUT of it. 
Have victory OVER it.

And we don't do battle against the flesh in hopes of being delivered from the bondage of sin. We fight because we have been delivered, we are new, and we will not let the old man of corruption rule over us.

There's a war raging. Always a battle to fight. Let's not just stand around. Let's fight it...like a man! :) We've been given everything that we need in order to have victory. It's right in front of us...no, He's living inside of us. In Christ, we are more than conquerors. So what's holding us back?

God has given us the tools, the armor, and the strength. 
Let's fight the fire. 

"Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul." 
-II Peter 2:11


Thoughts From the Tractor Seat // Filled

This time of year, us farmers have only one thing on our minds and that's harvest. We've spent all year in preparation for, and anticipation of, this one season. All of the work that goes into tilling the ground, planting the seed...praying for rain...and now it's time to all work together to bring in the crops.

Harvest is something that I always look forward to, and this year I have gotten to help out even more than usual, which has been very exciting! There are all kinds of setbacks and discouragements that have come along the way, but sitting in the tractor for hours upon hours has given me a lot of time to think about all these little (or not so little) incidents. I'm hoping to do a short series of blog posts on the things that God has shown me through these day to day experiences. Hopefully I will find the time...it's raining today, that's the only reason I'm in the house and doing this right now! :)

Moving along--my main job this fall has been driving the grain cart. Basically, as the combine is driving through the field, harvesting the grain, I drive along beside and the combine can unload onto my cart without having to stop. Then, once the hopper in the combine is empty, I will pull away and go dump my load onto the semi. This way, the combine never has to stop harvesting and it helps us get our work done a lot faster.

As we were driving along through the field the other day and Grandpa was dumping on me, I got to thinking about it as a picture of my relationship with God. He can only fill me if I'm walking with Him daily. When I'm driving the grain cart, I have to make sure that I'm lined up perfectly with the combine and going the same exact speed, otherwise the grain will end up on the ground rather than in the cart (an expensive mistake). If we are not being filled with the grace and strength that God offers to us, that too can be costly in our Christian lives.

God wants to be pouring into us, but if we're just sitting at the other end of the field, He can't fill us up. I was challenged to a closer walk with the Lord. I am empty and cannot fill myself, but I can put myself in a position where He will fill me. And as God pours out His wondrous love and grace and power into my life, I can in turn go and pour that out on others.

Thanks for reading! Stop by again sometime--we're going to learn all kinds of things about Bindweed, combine fires, flat tires...and who knows what other lessons I will come up with as the harvest progresses! In the meantime, may you be filled up with all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:19)