Thursday, December 27, 2012

Life in Christ According to Charlie - Part 2


Last week I wrote about our entertaining experiences of attempting to coerce our uninterested critters into living according to our principles.

Not unlike our farm critters, we all have varying understandings of what life ought to look like and what freedom means.  It isn’t unusual for others to come along and attempt to force us into their “life in Christ” molds.  Rather than seeking to live in unity and bearing with one another, we argue with, criticize and shame one another.  If we can’t convince others to bend to our standards, we resort to directly or indirectly rejecting and discrediting one another.  The end result is living in isolation with our bigheaded conclusions.

It is pride that causes us to believe that we have it all figured out and that another does not.  It is haughtiness that leads us to think that others ought to live the way in which we live.  

Do we not understand that
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall,
(Proverbs 16:18)?

Paul begged the followers of Jesus to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, (Ephesians 4:1-2).

Why can’t we get a grip on this concept which is pressed more than any other in Scriptures? 

While we may be called to live it out differently,
we all have the same hope.
We all have the same faith.
We all have been baptized into Christ.
We all have the Spirit of Jesus dwelling within us!

Until we see much in ourselves which we find difficult to forgive, there will be little demonstration of humility, gentleness, or patience toward others.  Our haughty spirit will continue to separate the family of God.  We have been warned, The terror you inspire and the pride of your heart have deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks, who occupy the heights of the hill. Though you build your nest as high as the eagle's, from there I will bring you down, declares the LORD, (Jeremiah 49:16).
Brethren who will not communicate with one another upon spiritual subjects are as traders who shut up their shops and will not buy or sell.  Too wise to be taught and to idle to teach, they live isolated lives, like the man in the iron mask, without joy to themselves or benefit to others.  We shall all be beggars together if we shut ourselves like hermits and cry every man for himself…  Let us hold mutual discourses upon our experiences, make pleasant exchange of our knowledge and aid each other by our gifts. – CH Spurgeon
Don’t allow anyone to force or coerce you into their mold of what it looks like to “live in Christ”.  Be what Father has created you to be.  Fulfill the role He has given you in His family no matter how different it may look than that of any other.  The rest of us need you even if you‘re a “gangsta” like Charlie!

Whole-Heartedly,
Bonnie

P.S.  Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: http://whole-heartedlife.blogspot.com/.  You may also contact me at:
             Bonnie Jaeckle
             In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
             Diagonal Progress
             505 Jefferson St.
             Diagonal, IA 50845

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Life in Christ According to Charlie


We were recently given three new turkeys that are adjusting to their new home.  I let them out of their coop into the barnyard a bit too soon and they weren't sure where they were supposed to roost for the night.  Come dusk, one had it figured out, another was in the hay loft and the third was roosting on a barn rafter.  I climbed up to the hay mow hoping to catch the first one.  Much to my surprise, I was able to sneak-up on her and nab her by the leg.  Yes!  #2 was a different story.  We spent at least a half an hour trying to catch her, to no avail.  She inched her way into the corner on top of the chicken coop as far away from me as she could get and my only option was to climb up there.  I feared that if I inched-up any further, the roof would come crashing in, maiming me and killing the chickens and turkeys under me.  At the least, they would all be out free ranging in the dark, vulnerable to any hungry predator.  We prayed that our turkey would be safe through the night.  We were reminded that her days are already numbered, so we went to the house leaving her in the hands of her Creator.  The next morning she was in the barnyard trying to figure out how to get into the locked coop with her friends.

Charlie, our cute little pig is not only getting to be a big pig, he loves to rut!  He’s made several attempts to dig out of his “cell”.  We repeatedly filled-in his holes.  Ignoring our warnings, Charlie kept digging.  Each day… the holes got bigger.  Charlie had gotten so adept at digging that the holes were nearly large enough for him to escape!  Finally the day had come.  Gary, Art & I all joined Charlie in his chamber.  We circled around him and forewarned, “Charlie, one day you’ll be dead meat, but this will be enough for today.”  I held the loaded weapon and the extra ammunition.  Charlie frantically attempted to escape our retaliation, to no avail.  We nabbed him with a nose snare.  Gary held Charlie in place while Art pierced three rings into his nose.  We left him in solitary confinement to consider his behavior.  When someone ignorantly asked why he has rings in his nose, without thinking, I blurted out, “Because Charlie’s a gangsta!”

I’d spent a couple of weeks training a nanny goat to stand on a milking stanchion without resisting.  She was finally at a point where she’d allow me lock her head into the stanchion, pet her and touch her udder while she was peacefully eating.  Anxious to start milking, I was finally ready for her deliver that kid!  Much to our surprise she was either never pregnant or… she became “unpregnant” at some point!  So, we swapped her for a doe at Art’s that is obviously pregnant!  Goats tend to be somewhat stubborn, so we prepared ourselves for a bit of a challenge or so we thought.  Getting Doe #1 to Art’s took some coaxing, but the mission was accomplished without a great deal of resistance.  Doe #2 was a way different story!  She wasn't real excited about leaving her goatie friends.  And… to say the least, she has a bit more independent personality.  We coaxed her out of the pen with some corn and closed the gate behind us.  The path from Art’s place to our barn is …oh… maybe a half of a mile or so.  The corn wasn't working!

We tugged.  We pulled.  We pushed.

          She buckled to her knees.  She dug her hooves into the ground.  She laid down.

We talked nice.  We talked sternly.  We laughed.  We groaned.

She bleated.  She grunted.  She choked.

At one point, I was certain that she was smiling!

I glanced around several times to see if anyone was looking!  I was waiting for someone to say, “Smile!  You’re on Candid Camera!”  There’s got to be a better way!

Stay tuned for next weeks conclusion.

Whole-Heartedly,
Bonnie

P.S.  Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: http://whole-heartedlife.blogspot.com/.  You may also contact me at:
             Bonnie Jaeckle
             In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
             Diagonal Progress
             505 Jefferson St.
             Diagonal, IA 50845

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Adrenal Exhaustion

A young pre-menopausal woman recently sought my advice for a number of health problems that she has been experiencing. After having an IUD placed to prevent pregnancy, her periods became irregular and agonizing. Sexual activity was painful. Her emotions were a roller-coaster and her health problems were escalating. While it took some time to uncover the problem, she was found to be allergic to the IUD. The IUD was finally removed and she has since been placed on various birth control pills in an attempt to find one that works for her. As a result she is experiencing tremendous fatigue, out-bursts of rage, mouth sores, headaches, fever, etc. etc. After hearing her history and list of symptoms, I was convinced that her concerns are not all that uncommon. I hope others will find my response to her helpful, as well.

What you have described to me is indicative of adrenal exhaustion

(http://www.womentowomen.com/adrenalhealth/symptoms-adrenalfatigue.aspx -this is a good link to describing the problem, treatment suggestions, etc). The result is hormonal imbalance and depleted immune system. This can be caused by a number of factors, but most commonly emotional and physical stress (work, relationships, illness, medications, lack of sleep etc). Rather than rebuilding the adrenal system, the treatment typically prescribed by health-care professionals is focused on the symptoms, i.e.: hormones, nerve pills, sleeping pills and antibiotics. This approach only covers-up the symptoms and results in a vicious cycle. It sounds like you are also experiencing some pre-menopausal issues which add to the stress and imbalance in your body.

What I'm suggesting will get to the core and lead to healthy adrenals and strong immunity, however it will take some diligence on your part to accomplish that:

• Drink 8-12 glasses of filtered water daily. • Proper exercise (sounds like you are doing that)
• Eat lots of raw veggies and fruits 
• Eat organic meat and milk. Store-bought is full of synthetic hormone, the last thing your body needs!
• Multi-vitamin containing: Beta Carotene/A, Vitamin. E, B Complex, Calcium/Mag. Zinc, Vitamin. D3. I recommend Now Foods Eve softgel.
• Take additional Now Foods Vitamin D3 5,000 IU! D3 is very important to our immunity and most all of us have low levels because it isn't something that we can get from food. They make a D2, but make sure you are getting D3! The best price that I’ve found for these vitamins is at www.luckyvitamin.com.
• Drinking dandelion root tea daily flushes toxins from your liver so that your adrenals can function more efficiently. It is a bit bitter, but you can add honey to curb that. www.mountainroseherbs.com 
• Echinacea has been found to be a very effective immune builder. Dr Schulze (www.herbdoc.com) carries a powerful formula called Echinacea Plus.
• Flax seed has lots of fiber for flushing out your colon and getting rid of trapped toxins and is full of antioxidants that will help build your immunity. It is also loaded with the "good" fats that you need, Omega 3. Take 3 Tbsp ground golden flax seed daily. You can organic flax seed from www.mountainroseherbs.com. Grind it in your blender and then stick in the refrigerator so it doesn't get rancid. When moistened, flax seed gets sticky/slimy. Sounds gross but good for helping with elimination etc. The best way for me to use it is to sprinkle it on my cereal. I have a friend who puts it on her peanut butter sandwich. Play around with it and find a way that works for you. Drinking lots of water is necessary when taking flax to help it do it's thing! 
• Dr Schulze's Female Formula (www.herbdoc.com). I don't think you'll find a better quality or effective formula that targets female related health issues. To help you decide how much to order, there is 39 servings in a bottle and it is recommended that you take 2-4 servings daily.
• For the mouth sores, it should help to take three drops of oregano oil in a tsp of olive oil daily. Oregano oil is hot, so be careful not to get it on your finger and then rub your eye or go pee and then wipe! It is an anti fungal, antibacterial, antiviral very powerful "antibiotic" and pain reliever! Also, get some Lemon balm extract and rub it on the sores as soon as you notice that they are starting to develop. It should help shorten their life! You can get both of these from www.mountainroseherbs.com. 

*** Note – Use all herbs for at least 90 days before determining if they are helping or not. Having said "daily", with herbs it is always best to give them a "vacation day". Just as any other treatment, our bodies get used to them and don't respond as readily. It has been discovered that if you take a day away from the herbal treatment that it helps your body to respond more noticeably to the treatment. So... pick a day of the wk when you do not take them. Don't buy non-organic. They are sprayed with all kinds of chemicals that you don't need working against you! 

I pray that many are blessed! 

Whole-Heartedly, Bonnie 

P.S. Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: http://whole-heartedlife.blogspot.com/. You may also contact me at:

Bonnie Jaeckle
In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life Diagonal Progress 
505 Jefferson St. 
Diagonal, IA 50845 

DISCLAIMER: The author of this article does not endorse everything represented on/in suggested links, books, etc. Each of us is accountable to God to weigh everything according to His Word. All content of this article is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. The author sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. The information herein is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. This is best left to the Creator of the universe. In all health-related situations, “qualified healthcare professionals” should always be consulted. The author deems THE GREAT PHYSICIAN to be most qualified. The author assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Trapped in Traditions

Thanksgiving Day is now over and people are gearing up for Christmas.  We don’t have too drive to far off of our farm to see glistening lights and embellished trees taking their places in the homes all around us.  Many are getting ready for their community’s best decorated homes contests, Festival of Trees and Christmas tours of homes.

 

I recall, as a young girl, that we put-up our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve.  We weren’t getting ready for any sort of contest; instead it was a preparation of the heart for what we believed the next day signified, the birth of Jesus.  While I have a very different understand of and stance regarding “Christmas” today, decorating our home was a very simple and enjoyable family event.  We went into the woods, chose the best looking scrub cedar that we could find, cut it down and drug it home.  In the warmth and quietness of our home we made popcorn and cranberry garlands to adorn our specially selected tree.  Once the garland was in place, it was time to hang the homemade ornaments that we’d constructed through the years.  Each ornament carried with it a special meaning and stirred memories.  As we tranquilly decorated, we reminisced.

 

Today, many people rush to decorate their homes immediately after Thanksgiving and the process is often anything but simple, family oriented, peaceful or Christ-centered.  Every room in the house is decorated to the hilt, a perfectly manufactured “tree” comes out of storage and every bough is embellished “just so”.  Children are often excluded from the activity because the d├ęcor is too expensive for their clumsy little hands, besides they aren’t thoughtful enough in where they place the decorations on the tree!  If children are included at all, the entire process often and unnecessarily becomes a nerve-wracking fiasco at which Jesus is never mentioned.

 

A number of years ago, I took our son, Jake and some of his friends to a concert in the city.  Afterwards, we drove to the “rich” section of town to see all the Christmas lights.  The homes were enormous and the decorations were elaborate!  As we meandered through the avenues and cul-de-sacs, we “oohed and aahed” over all the pomp.  Eventually, we came to a place that was absolutely astounding.  It looked like a park with a highly-structured fence all around it.  Beyond all the spectacular yard decorations, we could see a massive building off in the distance. 

 

The towering ornate gate at the entrance was opened

and we followed the car in front of us in.

As we drove through,

one of the teens noticed that the gate was closing behind us and squealed,

“Oh my gosh!  We’re trapped!”

 

The further we made our way up the long drive, the more we realized that the gate was not open for the public, but had been purposely unlocked for the car in front of us.  We just happened to be there at the “right” time.  This was not a park, it was a private residence!  I couldn’t turn around and it wouldn’t have helped if I could.  I had no way to open the gate.  My only choice was to meander up the lengthy drive to the mansion in front of us.  Once they realized what I was going to do the teenagers were beside themselves, yet giggling all the way, “I can’t believe we are doing this!”  “This is so embarrassing!”  “You are really going to do this aren’t you?”

 

I drove under the graceful canopy, got out of the car, walked up to the extravagant front door and rang the door bell.  I could hear merriment of a party coming from inside.  It seemed like forever before anyone responded.  Finally a sophisticated, middle-aged man came to the door holding a toddler dressed in her Christmas best.  While I wasn’t invited inside, I can’t even begin to describe the splendor that I saw from the door step!  The one thing that stands out in my mind is the four foot tall luxuriant Santas which lined the steps of the spiraling staircase seeming to rise to the heavens!  Each St Nick was dressed according to customs from all over the world.  I wonder if the little girl helped to set them into place.

 

Christmas traditions often leave us feeling as though we are trapped in a circle drive, surrounded by unfathomable materialism, with no way out.  While the obtrusive gate is intimidating, turning around and driving back through it is an option.  Just ask the “Owner” and the gate will be opened!  There is no man-made tradition worth the freedom that you’ll experience when you drive through to the other side.  While others along for the ride may not understand the direction that you’ve chosen, often they are just waiting for someone else to make the first turn!

 

Whole-Heartedly,

Bonnie

 

P.S.  Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: http://whole-heartedlife.blogspot.com/.  You may also contact me at:

             Bonnie Jaeckle

             In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life

             Diagonal Progress

             505 Jefferson St.

             Diagonal, IA 50845

 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Kitchen Queen

We’ve heated with wood for several years so I’m aware that there isn’t anything easy about the art of cooking on a wood burning stove. There is wood to be cut and hauled, a fire to be maintained and ashes to be cleaned out. Helping my Amish friend, Rhoda in her bakery, I’m also aware that using a wood burning oven is not nearly as convenient as turning the knob of an oven thermostat. I’ve learned that starting a fire on a cold blustery day can be a frustrating and smoky experience and that I could have an entire meal prepared in the conventional oven in the time that it takes to get the wood burning oven hot enough to bake! Regardless, I love the “simplicity”.

In my mind, food doesn’t taste any better than that cooked on a wood burning stove
and there is nothing more cozy than nestling into the warmth of a crackling fire on a cold winter day!

Wood burning cook stoves were the centerpiece of most kitchens for nearly two centuries! By the 1920s, gas ovens had replaced the wood burning cook stove in most homes. While I’ve always had the convenience of owning gas and electric stoves, for as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamed of living in the wilderness, cooking on a wood burning cook stove and birthing my babies at home. As my early adult years unfolded, I got distracted and off track and those dreams got buried in the trials and responsibilities of life. Unless Father has plans for us, as he did Sarah and Abraham, I’m done having babies, however we’ve concluded that it’s not too late to nestle into our little country home enjoying the beauty and warmth of a wood burning cook stove.

As always, we did our homework to determine what would best serve our needs at the best price. We decided on The Kitchen Queen! The Kitchen Queen not only has a 43”x21” cooking surface, she has a huge firebox that provides heat for 2000 square feet of living space for 12-16 hours and the ability to siphon 40 gallons of hot water per hour into our hot water tank! My favorite feature is the spacious oven. Not only will my 16” pizza pans fit in the oven, I can bake eight loaves of bread at one time!

Once we made the purchase, we got busy preparing a noble spot for the Kitchen Queen! Off the backside of our kitchen is a good size closed-in area with a concrete floor. We gave everything a good cleaning, insulated the exterior walls with heavy duty insulation and put a fresh coat of paint on the interior walls. I hung all of our cast iron cookware and filled a large bookshelf with all my canning equipment. Tada! Our summer kitchen was ready! As the days went by, the excitement rose. When the freight carrier called and said that he was thirty minutes away, we could hardly stand the wait! However, we were informed that their job was to unload it off the truck…period! The Kitchen Queen is no feather weight that you can easily slide around in order to dust under her! She weighs in at 900#! Getting her into position was no easy task! With their game-plan in place, a lot of fancy maneuvering and muscle, brother Art and Gary got “the queen” onto the “throne” that we had prepared just for her.

“The queen’s” debut was homemade pizza baked in her oven! Today she and I are canning pumpkin butter on her stove-top. Now that I’m getting the hang of how she operates, “the queen” and I are going to prepare a very special meal for Gary and Art for all their hard work to make it possible for her to be a part of our family.

The Kitchen Queen! She’s beautiful! She’s regal! She’s a dream come true!

Whole-Heartedly,
Bonnie

P.S. Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: http://whole-heartedlife.blogspot.com/. You may also contact me at:
Bonnie Jaeckle
In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
Diagonal Progress
505 Jefferson St.
Diagonal, IA 50845

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Peanut Butter and Other Desires of Our Hearts Part II


Last week I shared that it isn't uncommon for well meaning people to claim, “God wants to give us the desires of our heart.  All we have to do is ask,” yet we simply cannot rightly conclude that the Father’s will is to always fulfill every desire of our heart.  When Jesus prayed at Gethsemane, He knew it was appropriate, even necessary to express His desire to the Father that the cup of death would pass over Him.  However, even greater than what He wanted, He knew that the Father’s will was perfect.  And for Him, the Father’s will was death on the cross.  Therefore… he prayed that the Father’s will be accomplished through His death.

We could argue all day long that God’s will is to always give us the desires of our hearts.  But… how do we reconcile Job 42:2, I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted (Job 42:2).  If it is Father’s plan to always satisfy our desires, it would be accomplished!  It obviously is not!  Could it be that we don’t get what we ask for because we aren't praying according to His plan?

So… if it isn't always comfort, if it isn't always healing, if it isn't always physical needs, and if it isn't always transformation of our loved ones; what are the gifts from the Father that we can always be certain of:


  1. The Gift of Christ Himself – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

  2. The Gift of Faith For by such grace you have been saved through faith.  This does not come from you, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).

  3. The Gift of the Holy Spirit – Jesus answered the woman at the well, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water (John 4:10).  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him’.  By this he meant the Spirit (John 7:38-39).




    • The Fruits of the SpiritBut the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

    • The Gift of Truth – But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth (John16:13).




      1. The Gift of Individual Personal Abilities Each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that (1Corinthians 7:7).

      2. The Gift of RighteousnessFor if, by the trespass of one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17).

      3. The Gift of Eternal Life - For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).

      4. The Gift of Wisdom and Understanding – Turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God (Proverbs 2:2-5).



      5. Don’t let anyone fool you into believing that you must meet certain requirements before God will answer your prayers.  I spent years in anguish, confusion and even anger over trying to “connect with God”.  When I realized that I was attempting to attain something that I already have, I found that I was much more rested, satisfied, and even at peace.  Through Jesus, we are already one with the Father!  Don’t be afraid to tell Him that you’d really like to have some peanut butter, but remember, while He isn't disinterested in our physical needs and emotional desires, His greater concern is our spiritual development.  In fact, Father often uses our wanting in order to fix our eyes upon Him and to help us to recognize those gifts which have eternal value.

        When praying for a specific situation or person I find that, out of habit, my first thoughts often turn to my desires.  I am then reminded that prayer isn't about my requests.  Prayer is about recognizing and enjoying my oneness with Father.  Yes, He wants to hear my heart, but He also wants me to trust Him so completely that I’m willing to genuinely pray in all circumstances, Yet not my will, but yours be done (Luke 22:42).

        Don’t know how to pray? Father has a gift for you - If any of you lack wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously without finding fault, and it will be given to him (James 1:5).

        Whole-Heartedly,
        Bonnie

        P.S.  Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: http://whole-heartedlife.blogspot.com/.  You may also contact me at:
                    Bonnie Jaeckle
                    In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
                    Diagonal Progress
                    505 Jefferson St.
                    Diagonal, IA 50845


        Thursday, November 15, 2012

        Peanut Butter and Other Desires of Our Hearts


        Years ago, I worked as a private duty nurse for a man who was paralyzed from the neck down. Prior to a near fatal automobile accident, Bill Campbell was a political cartoonist syndicated in 50 states in the U.S. While Bill was no longer able to draw, he was very well respected among the political sorts and still invited to attend their galas. One year, he was invited to attend a Christmas party at the Governor of Illinois’s mansion. Realizing that, due to his health condition, Bill never ventured out without his private duty nurse or a family member who could care for him, the Governor encouraged Bill to bring his entire entourage.
        My son, Jake and I were pretty much a part of the fixtures at the Campbell house. From a few days after his birth, Jake and I would adventure off to work at the Campbell’s. So… when it came time to make plans to attend the Governor’s party, Jake and I were included! We were all invited to spend the night and have breakfast with the Governor, his wife and young daughter the next morning.
        Pancakes were on the breakfast menu! At our house we love piping hot pancakes smothered with melted peanut butter and drizzled with maple syrup. While the maple syrup was being passed around the Governor’s table, there was no peanut butter insight. Jake leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Momma, do you suppose they have any peanut butter at this house?” The Governor heard Jake’s desire and jumped up to fetch the peanut butter.
        Jake was thinking, “Wow! Even the Governor’s family eats peanut butter!” I was thinking, “If someone as prominent as the Governor is so quick to respond to our desires, imagine how responsive our heavenly Father is!
        Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him (Matthew 7:9-11)!
        Yet, where is the assurance in this for the imprisoned missionary who has prayed to no avail that the torture would stop? What comfort is this to the parents standing next to their child’s casket for whom they had relentlessly prayed for healing? What about the starving child who has pleaded with a seemingly unresponsive God for food? How do we explain this “unfulfilled promise” to the wife kneeling next to her bed while her husband lingers at the local bar once again? Where are their good gifts? Are they to blame for their “unanswered” prayers? What about you, does God always respond according to your requests?
        Scripture says:
        • Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours (Mark 11:24).
        If only the missionary had a tad more faith!
        • If two of you agree on earth about any request you have to make, that request will be granted by my heavenly Father (Matthew 18:19).
        If only the parents had contacted one more prayer group to pray for their dying child.
        • Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).
        If only the starving child would have praised God ten minutes more each day!
        • Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be open to you (Matthew 7:7)
        If only the lonely wife would have prayed the right words more often!

        Don’t they know
        that the power to rule the world is at their finger tips
        if only they would get it right!

        A little exaggerated? Yet, if we would honestly consider what we often promote regarding prayer, this claim would ultimately be the end result of our reasoning, wouldn’t it? Evidently our heavenly Father must have a different idea of what “good gifts” mean than what most of us think! Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17). In other words, our heavenly Father does not dish-out gifts according to a certain measure of faith, a certain number of praying people, a certain period of praise or a certain prayed phrase. We don’t have to guess at what satisfies Him!
        Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him (1John 5:14-15).
        Stay tuned for part II of Peanut Butter and Other Desires of Our Hearts regarding prayer according to His will.
        Whole-Heartedly,
        Bonnie
        P.S. Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: http://whole-heartedlife.blogspot.com/. You may also contact me at:
        Bonnie Jaeckle
        In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
        Diagonal Progress
        505 Jefferson St.
        Diagonal, IA 50845

        Thursday, November 8, 2012

        Training as a Draft Horse Teamster - The Greater Purpose in Suffering - Part III

        This is the third and last article in a series about my getting hurt while working with our draft horses.

        When we suffer any kind of trial or sorrow we must consider:

        • Do I proclaim my lack of faith to the World by feeling sorry for myself, complaining, blaming, reacting negatively or responding harshly when I suffer? Do I attempt to pray it away?
        • Or like Paul and Timothy, do I consider it pure joy when I face trails (James 1:2-8, 12) and rejoice in my suffering, proclaiming to the World that I trust and honor Father (1 Peter 1:6-9) in all things:

        In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. We have been beaten, put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. We live close to death, but we are still alive. Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything (2 Corinthians 6:4-10).

        In the face of the cross, Jesus said, Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will (Mark 14:36). Obviously, it was not the Father’s will that Jesus be rescued from suffering. Instead, the Father’s will was and still is that we be “delivered from this present wicked World.” This isn’t to say that we will be removed from the World. Rather, as we walk in the footsteps of Jesus we are delivered from responding in ways that reflect the darkness of it.

        When we respond to trials and sorrows in faithfulness to the Father and His ways

        we continue to overcome the rulers, powers and principalities

        of this place and system of suffering.

        (Ephesians 6:12)!

        So… what happened that caused our horses to be so confused? I was taught to always stand behind the implement in order to prevent getting trapped between it and the horses. I did this. I was also taught to fasten the reins to the implement in order to give the horses a sense of tension so that they don’t pull ahead until I am ready. I did this. What I wasn’t aware of is; if I don’t leave a bit of slack in the reins when I fasten them and begin to mount the implement, my weight on the back of the implement will pull the reins more tautly, signaling to the horses that I want them to back up! Not doing so lead to suffering!

        While scripture tells us, if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well (James 3:1-3), it never directs us to steer clear of suffering by attempting to live righteously! The reality is… we don’t have such power over the reins in our lives! Thinking that we do just might get us plowed over!

        It never entered my mind that this event was a result of how unrighteous I might be. If suffering was dished out according to how righteous we are, we’d all be burning in hell! What I did consider however is this, My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). My greatest desire in all of this was to boast of the things which show my weakness (2 Corinthians 11:30) because I knew that in my weakness my Lord’s power was being demonstrated!

        In my weakness I was reminded, “There is only One Who reigns over all” and I wanted to proclaim this to anyone who asked me, “What happened?”

        Whole-Heartedly,
        Bonnie

        P.S. Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: http://whole-heartedlife.blogspot.com/. You may also contact me at:
        Bonnie Jaeckle
        In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
        Diagonal Progress
        505 Jefferson St.

        Thursday, November 1, 2012

        Training as a Draft Horse Teamster - The Greater Purpose in Suffering - Part II

        Last week I shared a story about getting hurt while discing with our draft horses. Some people’s conclusions about what went wrong were quite interesting. One deduction in particular stands out in my mind: “You must not be living right”!

        Do only good things happen to those who are “living right”? If so, how do we explain Jesus’ warning to His followers, In the World you will have trials and sorrows; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the World (John 16:33). He never mentions that our trials will be matched according to how we live! Instead, He tells us that the World is a place and system of suffering. We are to expect trials and sorrows as elements of living in the World.

        If afflictions are dished out according to how “wrong” a person is living, how would we explain Apostle Paul’s suffering?

        Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches (2 Corinthians 11:23-28).

        Would we warn him, “Paul, my dear brother, you must be living wrong or God would feed, clothe and protect you. You’ve got to get it right, Paul or you’re a dead man!”

        What about Jesus? He was beaten so badly that his appearance was… marred beyond human likeness (Isaiah 52:14b) and was crucified unto death (John19:30). Would we pity him saying, “Holy cow, Jesus! You must have been living wrong to be facing the ultimate trial! I guess it is too late to get your life in order so that you can skirt around this crucifixion!”

        We are minimizing the sacrifice of Jesus,
        if we don’t understand and demonstrate the greater purpose for suffering, including death:
        …that he might deliver us from this present wicked world…
        (Galatians 1:4).


        This deliverance isn’t a down the road reward for “good” behavior! It is a here and now victory! Walking in the footsteps of Jesus, we are also to be overcomers of this World (Romans 8:37); today. It isn’t about how much or how often we suffer that communicates anything of importance. It is about how we respond to suffering that speaks loudly of Whom we are made.


        Stay tuned next week for the conclusion of this series.


        Whole-Heartedly,
        Bonnie

        P.S. Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: http://whole-heartedlife.blogspot.com/. You may also contact me at:
        Bonnie Jaeckle
        In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
        Diagonal Progress
        505 Jefferson St.
        Diagonal, IA 50845

        Thursday, October 25, 2012

        Training as a Draft Horse Teamster - The Greater Purpose of Suffering

        The first day of the Spoon River Valley Scenic Drive at Marigold Meadows was quite an adventure! Excited about having the opportunity to drive our horses, Gary and I were having great fun discing the field in preparation for other teams to plow. I can’t even begin to describe how it feels to be a draft horse teamster. Ponyo and Nettie were responding well and seemed to enjoy the work as much as Gary and I.

        After giving our horses a break from the labor, we decided it was time to return to the field. We hooked Ponyo and Nettie to the disc, double checked that we’d followed all that we’d been taught and I began to climb up on the disc. Having one foot on the implement and the other on the ground, the horses began to backup! My foot got trapped under the disc and the pressure of the moving implement pushed me down. The next thing I know, I’m lying on the ground with both legs caught under the disc!

        While I certainly wasn’t comfortable, I was screaming, not so much from the pain, but in an attempt to get the attention of someone to help. Needless to say, Gary and the horses were frightened. Gary couldn’t leave the head of the horses in order to help me or we could have had worse problems. He was frantically attempting to get the horses to move forward in order to get the implement off of my legs. I feared that this would result in slicing my legs to pieces. Instead, the disc was inching further up my legs causing more and more twisting and crushing injury. While it was likely only a few minutes before helped arrived, it seemed to take forever.

        It’s amazing what goes through a person’s mind in such a predicament! While my life could have been taken within seconds:

        • I was concerned for Gary.

        • I feared that I had let my brother down by not following his instructions in some way.

        • I wanted to learn from what had gone wrong and was pondering the possibilities.

        • I felt badly for the horses who were so confused.

        • I didn’t want to frighten the visitors at Marigold Meadows.

        • I was concerned about my sister-in-law’s camera which was in my pocket.

        For a split second, I imagined the horses backing the disc and themselves right over the top of me!

        The thought left me as quickly as it came.

        I knew what I needed.

        I had to get someone’s attention who could lift the thing off of me!

        I went back to screaming for help and within a few minutes I was rescued.

        What in the world went wrong? Stay tuned for next weeks article.

        Whole-Heartedly,

        Bonnie

        P.S. Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: http://whole-heartedlife.blogspot.com/http://whole-heartedlife.blogspot.com/">http://whole-heartedlife.blogspot.com/
        >. You may also contact me at:

        Bonnie Jaeckle

        In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life

        Diagonal Progress

        505 Jefferson St.

        Diagonal, IA 50845

        Thursday, October 18, 2012

        Marigold Meadow’s Pie


        The first two weekends in October are busy times at Marigold Meadows.  While I have much to share with you about the last two weeks, I’ve had little time to write!  This note will be short and sweet!

        Fox News came yesterday to do a clip on what was happening on the farm and interviewed several people, including one of the pie bakers!  Knowing more about keeping the fires burning and getting those pies in and out of the oven in due time than most of the helping ladies, my nephew, Craig was the chosen spokesperson!  Showing the flames from the firebox of our wood stove, Craig explained, “Many assume that we are baking in a gas stove which looks like a wood stove.  But, there is no comparison!  You can’t set a timer and just walk away from a wood stove!  You have to “baby sit” it to make sure the right temperature is maintained by adding wood, opening or closing the damper and sometimes even propping the oven door open.”

        While a wood stove is more work, we think the results are worth the effort and evidently so do those who come to visit Marigold Meadows.  Even in the stormy weather, people were lined-up outside to purchase a slice of warm pie!  There’s just something about the taste of piping hot pie straight from a wood stove!  After sampling the melt in your mouth crust, it isn’t uncommon for our visitors to ask for the recipe.  We have little business cards with the recipe on them ready to give to those who ask.

        While it won’t taste quite the same if you’re not baking in a wood stove oven, I thought you might like to try your hand at making

        Marigold Meadow’s Pie

        Crust:                                    Filling:

        2/3 cup Crisco oil                  1 quart fruit

        1/3 cup water                        1 ½ cup sugar

        dash salt                                3 tbsp. corn starch

        2 cups water                         cinnamon if making apple

        Measure ingredients for crust accurately and mix in medium sized bowl.  Divide dough and roll between wax paper to desired size (makes two large or three small crusts).  Place dough in pie plate and fit into corners.  Cut remaining dough from edge of pan.  Mix filling ingredients and pour over crust.  Place top crust over filling and pinch top and bottom crusts together at edges.  Bake at 400 for one hour or until golden brown.

        I thanked the reporter for coming out in the storm and gave him a slice of hot apple pie!  He ate it on the spot!  We’re hoping that he shared with his audience what he told us, “This is one of the best pies I’ve ever eaten!

        Whole-Heartedly,

        Bonnie

        P.S.  Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: http://whole-heartedlife.blogspot.com/.  You may also contact me at:

                     Bonnie Jaeckle

                     In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life

                     Diagonal Progress

                     505 Jefferson St.

                     Diagonal, IA 50845

        Thursday, October 11, 2012

        The Butt of the Pork Roast

        I was recently in a setting where I was reminded of how ridiculous it is to listen to newlywed couples’ silly bickering in an effort to adjust to one another’s ways of doing things.

        You aren’t supposed to do dishes on the right side of the sink and rinse them on the left!  You do it backwards!
        Not only is her potato soup too thick, she puts carrots and celery in it!  When I eat potato soup, I want potato soup!

        Differing ways of doing things can cause tension even in the best of relationships, including those in a Christian community.  The tendency is to assume that our way is the best way and to consider any other way as bizarre.  Often our way is simply a developed habit that we’ve never even considered.  The following is a good example:

        Husband: Honey, why do you always cut the end of the pork roast off before you place it into the roaster?
        Wife: I really don’t know!  That’s just what mom always did.  I’ll call and ask her.

        Daughter: Mom, why do you always cut the end off of the pork roast before you put it in the roaster.
        Mom: I really don’t know!  That’s just what grandma always did.  I’ll call and ask her.

        Mom: Mom, why did you always cut the end off of the pork roast before you put it into the roaster?
        Grandma: Because I didn’t have a big enough roasting pan.

        Before criticizing someone else’s approach and assuming that yours is better, it would be wise to consider:


        • Fools have no interest in understanding;
         they only want to air their own opinions.
        Proverbs 18:2


        • “Why do I do it the way I do?”  You may find that you really don’t know!
        • the other person’s way of doing it.  You may find that it is better.
        • that it never hurts to learn more than one way.  You may need an alternative someday!
        • “Is sharing my opinion in this situation really necessary?”
        • that it is encouraging for other people to feel as though they occasionally have something worthwhile to offer.

        While there is certainly nothing wrong with considerately sharing an opinion or a piece of knowledge, a “know it all” is only exposing his foolishness (Proverbs 12:23)!

        In Paul’s letter to the Christian community in Philippi, he writes, 

        Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.  Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others (Philippians 2:1-4 (NASB)).

        If you truly desire to be a part of a community united in love, be careful about assuming that your way is the only way and condescendingly voicing your opinion.  Not only is this very detrimental to community relationships, you could end up being the butt of the pork roast!

        Whole-Heartedly,
        Bonnie
        P.S.  Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: http://whole-heartedlife.blogspot.com/.  You may also contact me at:
                     Bonnie Jaeckle
                     In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
                     Diagonal Progress
                     505 Jefferson St.
                     Diagonal, IA 50845

        Thursday, October 4, 2012

        God's View of Pigeon Poo

        While most people wish that pigeons would home elsewhere, we’d like to have a few on our farms. So… my brother Art, husband, Gary & I showed up in the night at another farm seeking pigeons. The owners opened their grain bin, allowing us to go in, and then closed the door behind us!

        There the three of us stood with a cage, flashlights and a fishing net in hand!

        Needless to say, the pigeons were frightened of these three intruders and were not only frantically flying all around us, but landing on us! Before we even arrived, I assumed that I’d get to laughing so hard that I wouldn’t be able to accomplish what I was there for. Pigeons landing in my hair, totally missing the target that I was swinging at and watching the others attempting to capture their prey was about all I could handle! I worked really hard not to become so hysterical with laughter that I would be of no help! At one point I felt that I was near to rolling on the floor in laughter. The urge didn’t last long when I considered what I’d be rolling in, if I gave into it!

        We were quite the team. One of us guarded the door to the cage, while another netted a pigeon and the third carried it to its temporary confinement. When we caught the 30 some that we were after, the owners “released” us from the bin and we stood around reminiscing about our experience. The three of us were sniffling and coughing due to the dust that was stirred-up by the anxious birds. Rubbing my nose to relieve the itching, I ended up with a nostril full of pigeon poo! Can I be hysterical now!

        I wasn’t thinking about it while confined in that dirty, ammonia smelling bin, but it’s since come to me that pigeons were considered sacred in the Bible. For those who were poor, pigeons were used as a sin offering which was a mandatory atonement for cleansing from defilement and as a burnt offering which was a voluntary act of worship, expressing complete surrender to God. The person making the offering laid his/her hand on the head of the animal symbolizing that his/her sin was now transferred upon it and then he/she slew it. The blood of the animal was accepted as atonement for that person’s sin making it possible for him/her to commune with God.

        Prior to the Passover Feast, Jewish dealers set-up booths in the temple area specifically set apart for Gentile worship. They were selling, at extravagant prices, ritually pure items required for temple sacrifice.

        Just as thieves hide in caves and think they are safe,
        so the religious leaders were using the temple as a cover for their fraudulent activity;
        that is until Jesus shows up and ruins their business!
        Outraged by their blatant disregard for God’s provision for non-Jewish people,

        Entering the Temple, Jesus drove out all who were buying and selling there,
        and overturned the money-changers' tables
        and the seats of the pigeon-dealers.
        “It is written,
        “My house will be called a house of prayer,
        but you are making it a den of robbers

        (Matthew 21:12-13).

        While emphasis is typically placed upon the deceptive activity of the dealers, by clearing the temple of the sellers and the buyers, Jesus was announcing to the thousands of people who were there from all parts of the ancient world that He was preparing a new way for all people to have communion with God through Him. By specifically reacting toward the pigeon-dealers, who were getting wealthy off of those who could not afford grander sacrifices, Jesus was deliberately announcing that even the poor were included in His plan.

        A few days after Jesus cleanses the temple of such deception, He offered Himself upon a cross to bear your sins and mine as the all-sufficient sacrifice. His Father is completely satisfied with the atonement that Jesus made on our behalf.

        You also, like living stones
        are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood,
        offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ
        (1 Peter 2:5).

        The spiritual act of worship that is holy and pleasing to God is to offer ourselves to Him as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). Don’t let anyone deceive you into believing that you have to come to a certain place on a specific day, wearing certain clothes, offering money in order to satisfy Him. Our Father has no requirements that we have to pray in a specific way, read our Bible any particular amount or praise Him from a mandatory position. If anyone speaks to you of such deceptive requirements in order to commune with God, you might want to look and see if they have pigeon poo on the back of their hands!

        Whole-Heartedly,
        Bonnie

        P.S. Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: http://whole-heartedlife.blogspot.com/. You may also contact me at:
        Bonnie Jaeckle
        In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
        Diagonal Progress
        505 Jefferson St.
        Diagonal, IA 50845

        Thursday, September 27, 2012

        Marigold Meadows on the Spoon River Valley Scenic Drive

        The first two full weekends in October is the anniversary of the Spoon River Valley Scenic Drive. This festival “celebrates the history of the people, land and river at the heart” of Fulton County, Illinois where I was raised and has drawn tens of thousands of people each year.
        In 1915, Edgar Lee Masters published his Spoon River Anthology, which would eventually introduce the region to a worldwide audience. Masters, the observer, poet, author, and attorney, grew up in Spoon River County during the 1890s, experiencing the beauty of its hills and valleys and the ironies of the small-town folks. The Spoon River Valley Scenic Drive traverses this landscape that Masters knew winding amid both subtle scenery and the occasional spectacular views.

        The annual event attracts visitors from all over the world for fall scenery, arts, crafts, music, food, produce, historic sites, museums, old-time farming, collectibles, antiques, and dramatic readings from Masters’ Anthology. – Fulton County, Illinois Visitor’s Guide (www.spoonriverdrive.org and info@spoonriverdrive.org)

         

        Noted for Art Jones’ demonstrations of old-time farming with draft horses, a working sawmill, home of common and not so common barnyard animals, and Marcia Jones’ lip-smackin’, poppin’ fresh pies cooked in a wood burning oven, Marigold Meadows is one of the “hot spots” on the Scenic Drive. Fulton County has always been in my blood, but Marigold Meadows is the place where Gary and I now call home. Having recently purchased Marigold Meadows, we’re even more excited about the Scenic Drive than ever before!

        This year, on October 6 & 7, 13 & 14th, shimmering fall colors will once again be the back-drop for:
        · multiple teams of mighty draft horses harvesting fields and working the ground for next year’s crops.
        · a sawmill abuzz preparing lumber for future buildings.
        · kittens and cows, goats and pigs, chickens, peacocks and more showing off their barnyard home.
        · a new addition to the farm this year, blacksmiths will be fanning the flames necessary to forge iron for farm equipment repairs and household needs.
        · farmhands demonstrating their skills: Spinning, weaving, and candlestick makers are a few of the possibilities.
        Marigold Meadows is a busy, yet enjoyable place to be.
        You may even have the chance to drive a horse,
        ride a horse drawn wagon, hand-pick corn, spin some wool and more!


        It’s not easy for me to choose a favorite activity on the farm. For me, working the horses is just as rewarding as baking a pie. Speaking of pies and favorite activities… I’ve heard it said by many visitors that delighting in the results of the enticing aroma wafting from the log cabin is hard to beat! Can you imagine baking 80 fruits pies in a wood burning oven in one day? It happens at Marigold Meadows and we would come near to bettin’ ya that Marcia’s results can’t be matched for miles around! We double dare ya to come for a bite or two and taste for yourself!

        It doesn’t get much better than sitting around a campfire with family and friends on a cool autumn night listening to knee slappin’ music. That’s what we do Saturday evenings on the farm and we’d love to have you join us!

        Some people refer to their trip to Marigold Meadows as “stepping back in time;” we call it “living the Whole-Hearted Life today!”

        You can find more information about, a map to Marigold Meadows and read more about living the whole-hearted life at www.whole-heartedlife.blogspot.com. You may also contact us at whole-heartedlife@gmail.com.

        If you’d like more hands-on experience driving horses, planting gardens, canning, making soap, etc, we’re making plans to offer classes, as well as opportunities for you to come stay a spell for extended learning. We’d love to hear from you if you have an interest in teaching, learning or reminiscing about living the Whole-Hearted Life.

        Whole-Heartedly,

        Bonnie

        P.S. Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: http://whole-heartedlife.blogspot.com/. You may also contact me at:

        Bonnie Jaeckle

        In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life

        Diagonal Progress

        505 Jefferson St.

        Diagonal, IA 50845

         

        Thursday, September 20, 2012

        Counting the Cost

        -->
        Our filly, Wonder will soon be 5 months old. In order to wean her, I moved her out of the barnyard which she shared with her momma, Nettie and “step-papa”, Ponyo. As I closed the gate behind us, Nettie and Ponyo became very agitated and began to whinny. Regardless, Wonder responded to my command to walk away. In order to get to the other barn, Wonder and I walked about a third of a mile. She occasionally hesitated a bit and whinnied, but never resisted my leading. If I were in her shoes, I’d have been thinking:

        I really like this place; why do I have to leave it?
        Where are you taking me?
        Why do I have to leave my loved ones behind?
        What will this new place be like?
        Will I have what I need?
        What will I do there?
        Will there be anyone whom I know?
        Will I be all alone?

        As Wonder and I made our way through the field, I was amazed that she was so responsive to my commands and receptive of my reassurance. Considering Wonder’s astonishing trust, I began to ponder the cost of following Jesus and questioned if I have nearly the faith in my Master that Wonder seems to have in me.

        As they were walking along the road, a man said to Him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:57-62).

        The cost of following Jesus is always “pricey”.
        Walking away from what feels safe and familiar is never easy.
        Leaving behind those whom you love is often gut wrenching.
        Stepping into an unfamiliar world can feel like one of the most risky things that we’re ever called to do.

        Yet, we are commanded, Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

        Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus is a challenge, especially when we are experiencing major transitions in life. As we make the necessary adjustments, it seems that we are more prone to getting distracted and off on the wrong path. Proverbs 4:25-27 warns,

        Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.
        Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.
        Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.

        As uncertain as Wonder must have been, I marveled at the fact that she never looked back, balked nor attempted to dart off in a different direction. It was as if she knew that my intentions were not to jeopardize her, but were for her wellbeing. Just as my familiar voice and gentle words reassured Wonder, as I go through the necessary physical and emotional changes which commonly accompany a major life change, I must keep in mind that my heavenly Father has a panoramic view of my future that I don’t have:

        For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

        In our humanness there are always “what ifs”:

        What if I’ve taken the wrong turn?
        What if I move to fast or too slow?
        What if I miss what God has in mind for me?

        We can be assured, however, Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21


        Whole-Heartedly,
        Bonnie

        P.S. Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: http://whole-heartedlife.blogspot.com/. You may also contact me at:
        Bonnie Jaeckle
        In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
        Diagonal Progress
        505 Jefferson St.
        Diagonal, IA 50845




        Thursday, September 13, 2012

        The Move of God



         
        The whole idea behind this column is to write about what God is teaching me regarding The Whole-Hearted Life. As Gary & I have sought to understand and personally live this out, through the last number of years, God has been leading us into a deeper understanding of Whole-Hearted Living within a community of believers. In the last year or two, He has guided us into several situations which seemed to be opportunities to live in such a setting; yet each time He seemed to close the door shortly after He opened it. Not understanding, we were hurt, confused and disappointed. I have to admit that after this happened a time or two we were also even a little embarrassed that we had shared our excitement with others only to learn that it wasn’t unfolding the way in which we had anticipated. In time, the Lord revealed that whenever He opened a door, He was using the anticipation to prepare us for what would come… down the road. It was like He was saying to us, “Oh, I was just checking”; yet, each open door led us to ask a lot of questions and deep soul searching:

        Are we truly ready for this?
        Are we willing to relocate, if necessary?
        Are we able and willing to accept others where they are?
        Are we willing to adjust from being quite isolated to being surrounded by others daily?
        Are we willing to consider all that He has provided for us as provision for others, as well?

        The process of wrestling through it each time was being used to build a necessary foundation within our hearts for His future plans. Once we realized this, we were no longer embarrassed by what seemed to be wishy-washiness on our part. In fact, any time someone questioned us with, “I thought you were planning to ….,” we came to a point of responding, “We thought so too, but evidently God was “just checking” again. While our hearts ached for fellowship with like-minded people, finally we were resting and waiting for Him while accepting whatever He set before us as “ground work”.

        As most of us know, life is full and busy which causes us to lose touch with people we’ve known though the years, including family. This was true for me and my brother, Art who is 10 years older than I. Over the last year or so, however, Art and I have had more opportunities to visit and become reacquainted as adults. We’ve learned that we have a great deal in common regarding our spiritual beliefs, institutionalized “Church”, governmental regime, approach to health, living simply and off the land, love for music, etc. With each conversation, our hearts have been drawn closer to one another, coming to a point that a day doesn’t seem complete without touching base. We began to talk about how much fun and helpful it would be if we lived closer to one another. Art and his wife, Marcia have plenty of experience living off the land and we knew that if we could pool our time, energy and resources to work along side of one another, it would be helpful to all of us. The more we talked and prayed about it, the more it seemed obvious that God had been planning this all along. I would have never imagined that this was what He had in mind.

        The four of us began to look for property near to Art & Marcia’s farm. While there were acreages available, none close enough for conveniently working together daily. One day, when Art called, I answered the phone jokingly saying, “I know, you have found the perfect property for us!” He responded, “Yep and it is right here!” He was standing on 12.5 acres on the backside of his farm. He shared that he was planning to sell this property in three more years, but felt strongly that the Lord was saying, “The time is now!” He also shared that through the years as he spent hours clearing the land, building the buildings etc. that he really didn’t know why he felt so driven about doing it. He “just knew” that he was supposed to set other things aside in order to get it done. Before we hung up he said, “I can’t imagine having any body better than the two of you living back there. Please pray about it.” To Gary & me the answer came quickly, “This is what I’ve been preparing you for.”

        The move of God never ceases to amaze me!

        We are excited about entering into this new chapter of our lives at Marigold Acres in Lewistown, IL. I’m sure that many of my future articles will come out of what God is teaching us here. I hope you stay tuned to hear about how He continues to move in our lives.


        Whole-Heartedly,
        Bonnie

        P.S. Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: http://whole-heartedlife.blogspot.com/. You may also contact me at:
        Bonnie Jaeckle
        In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
        Diagonal Progress
        505 Jefferson St.
        Diagonal, IA 50845


        Monday, September 3, 2012

        The Dysfunctional Family Wheel – Part 4 Find Healing for Addiction While Helping Your Spouse Adjust

        Over the last three weeks I’ve written about how the spouse is affected when an addict begins to find healing. It is also necessary to address how the addict can continue to find healing while helping the spouse adjust to the frightening changes? I’m going to list-out some necessary steps for the addict to take, however I’m not suggesting a cookie cutter plan that guarantees specific results. Taking these steps is not to be for the purpose of manipulating the spouse, rather to help the addict recognize what is necessary for his/her own healing and to create an environment that is most conducive to the healing of the spouse. In doing so, it is necessary that the addict:

        • Ask for forgiveness for all the ways in which the addiction has affected the life of the family.
          • It doesn’t really matter how the spouse responds, what’s important is that the addict humbly verbalizes the recognized impact of his/her behavior.
          • Asking for forgiveness also requires a response, placing the spouse in a position to consider whether or he/she is ready/willing to forgive. The addict needs to be prepared to understandingly accept that the spouse may not be ready.
        • Affirm that
        It is impossible to live with an addicted person and not be affected,
        but it is very possible, with God's help,
        to live with an addict and not be controlled by his/her addiction.

        Explain that his/her desire is to help the spouse come to this point of freedom.
        • Help the spouse to recognize that the time, energy and resources that he/she has spent trying to change and protect the addict has not worked, therefore changes are necessary.
        • Point out to the spouse that rescuing prolongs the inevitable. Giving specific examples, the addict needs to help the spouse to see that even though it may feel unloving, it is absolutely necessary for the recovery of the entire family for the spouse to stop rescuing:
          • “If I miss work, do not call-in for me. I realize that this may be difficult because we all suffer the consequences if I lose my job, but accountability for my choices it is necessary for my recovery.”
          • “Please do not continue to lie to people about my behavior. If I’m in bed drunk, I need for you to be honest about my true condition.”
          • “If I request money to purchase alcohol, I need for you to deny my request.”
        • Explain how important it is to sobriety that an addict remains committed to meetings, sponsorship relationships etc., yet, assure the spouse that he/she is loved and that time with him/her is necessary. Jointly determine a time together that can best be worked into the schedule.
        • While open and honest dialogue is essential and can be necessarily painful, it often leads to disagreements, arguing, digging-up old circumstances and blaming. Make a commitment to not fall into this trap, but to remain available for loving, constructive conversations even when it hurts.
        • Describe the deep guilt that he/she already feels and help the spouse understand that heaping more guilt upon him/her does not help, but is emotionally and spiritually debilitating. Help the spouse to realize that maintaining a focus on redeeming virtues would be far more helpful than the paralyzing guilt!

        Don’t wait for your spouse to change in order to move ahead in your healing.
        God seems to use the healing of one person to begin the process in another.

        As you make changes in how you approach your addiction, it forces your spouse to begin to re-evaluate and make changes in his/her approach. Don’t assume that this means that your spouse will choose to seek healing, he/she may not. You can’t control the outcome. As difficult as it may be to accept, your only responsibility is to stay focused on what God has for you and leave His plan for your spouse up to Him. He is sovereign and His plan and timing is perfect for both of you!

        Whole-Heartedly,
        Bonnie

        P.S. Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: http://whole-heartedlife.blogspot.com/. You may also contact me at:
        Bonnie Jaeckle
        In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
        Diagonal Progress
        505 Jefferson St.
        Diagonal, IA 50845


        Thursday, August 30, 2012

        The Dysfunctional Family Wheel – Part 3 - Detaching From the Addict


        Over the last two weeks I've been writing about addiction and the affect that healing has on the addict and his/her spouse.  Today I would like to explain the need for the spouse to learn to detach from the addict.  While the Bible teaches, "For in Him we live and move and exist” (Acts 17:28), the spouse has learned to live and move and have his/her being in the addict rather than in God.  This is idolatry and is no less sinful than the addict’s behavior!

        Learning to live a life not centered on the addict sets both parties free to be responsible for their own behavior.  However, detachment is not an easy task.  One of the strongest, but subconscious reasons for attachment is that preoccupation with the addict’s behavior takes the spouse’s focus off of his/her own unhealthiness.  The spouse has been blaming the addict for years for his/her unhappiness because it is easier than blaming himself/herself.  Evaluating our own hearts feels too risky, consequently we tend to do anything to avoid it, including focusing on someone else’s issues rather than our own!

        Detachment does not mean giving-up on or abandoning the addict, rather it means recognizing their behavior is not our responsibility nor is true happiness found in them, but in God.

        Our focus must become centered on our relationship with God 
        rather than the addict and their behavior.

        I’m reminded of a wife who came to the place of being thankful for her husband’s addiction because she recognized that God had used it to expose her unhealthy heart and to draw her to Himself.  Where does one begin to make such a transition?

        Although it may not be his/her intention, the spouse is attempting to play God when he/she tries to control people and circumstances.  His/her subconscious goal is to create relationships and an environment in which he/she feels safe, however we must submit to the reality that we are not truly able to control anyone or any situation.  The first step toward detachment is coming to the realization that God is sovereign over all things and people.

        "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
        In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight"
        (Proverbs 3:5, 6).

        The spouse tends to be in denial regarding his/her own problems.  He/she typically fails to recognize that his/her actions and reactions to the addict are not only unhelpful, but feed into the addict’s behavior.  The next step in detachment is to acknowledge the reality of his/her own unhealthiness and admit his/her part in the addictive cycle.

        "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
        If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins 
        and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
        If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us"
        (1 John 1:8-10).

        Facing what we truly are is frightening!  We fear facing our own unresolved issues.  We fear that showing our true self will result in others; especially the addict, rejecting us.  While we long for intimacy, we fear allowing anyone to get too close.  If we are convinced of God’s love for us, however we are free to love others unconditionally and to allow them to love us, just as we are.

        "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, 
        shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord"
        (Romans 8:38, 39).

        Being certain of God’s love for us, and our inability to control anyone or anything, we are ready and willing to seek God’s wisdom and guidance.  In doing so, our focus is taken off the addict and placed on our personal unhealthiness and on the only One who can transform us.  At this point we have transitioned from idolatry into worship of the One true God!  Genuine and lasting healing will not take place until this transition is made!

        Whole-Heartedly,
        Bonnie

        P.S.  Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: http://whole-heartedlife.blogspot.com/.  You may also contact me at:
                     Bonnie Jaeckle
                     In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
                     Diagonal Progress
                     505 Jefferson St.
                     Diagonal, IA 50845