Thursday, February 28, 2013

Be Still

We’d just finished chores and were returning to the house from the barn.  I paused momentarily to bask in the beauty.  With snow filtering down and blowing across the meadow, it looked like a scene from an old western movie.  While the splendor is etched in my mind, I wish I’d had my camera to take pictures that I could share with you!  The best I can do is to draw you a picture with words:

Our log cabin is in the forefront of the scene before me with the blacksmith shop housing our wooden wagon and the outhouse privy in the background.  To my right stands our shelter, constructed of rustic logs and limbs, providing winter protection for a covered buggy and some horse-drawn farm implements.  The old horse harnesses hanging from the side rails of the shelter are covered with a light dusting of snow.

The blowing snow creates a semi-translucent veil across the meadow, giving the illusion that this tranquil scene is ½ mile away; yet it is only a few yards in front of me.  This “western village” that normally hustles and bustles with activity is serene today.  The mercantile must be closed due to the heavy snow and the customers nestled into their homes baking, reading and playing checkers next to the warmth of their wood-burning stoves!

While it had stopped snowing by this time, Berea, our Border Collie, and I went for a walk in the winter wonder land the next morning.  I took my camera this time:

One of my best friends ever, Berea!

The village is still pretty quiet!

Nope, no one is working today either!

The stories they can tell!

Waiting for the summer hay.

The miles that I have traveled are many!

Battened down and nestled in!

On those days when everything seems to have stopped, do you take advantage of the opportunity to bask in our Maker’s glory which surrounds you?  For many years, I went so fast that I often didn’t notice His splendor.  The responsibilities of life seemed to crowd in so tightly that I often missed the occasions for reflection and rest set before me.

In order to get my attention, Father would often put Psalm 146:10 on my heart:

Be still and know that I am Lord!

In an effort to be obedient, I would sit before the Lord and force myself to “be still”.  While my body was inactive, time and again my mind simply would not shut off!  I recall a particularly restless time in my life when I was so over-whelmed with responsibilities, decisions and heartache, Psalm 146:10 came to my mind once again.  In my effort to “Be still,” I could hear as clear as a bell, “Bonnie, stop striving!”

I didn’t get it!  I thought I was supposed to make myself “be still.”  I opened my Bible to Psalm 146:10 and re-read the verse.  I looked up the meaning of “Be still,” and discovered that in its original language it means, “stop ceasing, put an end to your self-efforts”!

It was a revelation moment for me.  I understood in a deeper way that:
  • I can’t trust in my own strength.
  • I can’t rely on my emotions.
  • I can’t fix the past.
  • I am to walk by faith and remember that I am not God.
  • The only Sovereign One is dependable.

The future is His!  He reigns as King of kings, and Lord of lords.  Rest is found in this reality.  Even when it doesn’t look or feel like it, goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life (Psalms 23:6).
Stop striving, my friend and know that He is God! 

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

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Well, I’ll Bee…!

Not only do honey bees fascinate me, they are good for our gardens and it is a real blessing to have a personal stash of sweetener on hand.  While I’ve used honey in baking for years, studies show that using honey from your own locale has additional health benefits.  So… I’m gonna try my hand at beekeeping this year!  Before I start, however there is so much to learn and it always helps to cement things in my head if I can share what I’m learning!  So… let’s talk honey bees!

There are three castes to a honey bee hive: the queen, the drones and the workers.

  • There is only one queen per hive.  Her job is to sustain the next generation of honey bees and she does so by producing 1,000 – 3,000 eggs per day!  She has a stinger, but without a barb.  While she may use her stinger to ward off other queens, she rarely stings the beekeeper.

  • The drones are the males.  Having no stinger, they cannot sting you or your livestock.  Their only job is to go from hive to hive mating with virgin queens.  Once a virgin queen has mated with several drones during her mating flight, she will lay eggs the rest of her life without having to mate again!  While this may seem convenient for the queen, the poor drone is no longer needed.  Consequently, the worker bees ban drones from the hive in the fall leaving them to die in the cold elements.  I suppose the drones might consider this a blessing since there are only 300 - 3,000 fellas per hive.  The rest are all female! J

  • One hive consists of 60,000-80,000 worker bees in the summer.  Worker bees are always female, but do not lay eggs unless the hive becomes queenless.  Even then, the worker bee produces unfertilized eggs.  While she tries, she isn’t able to keep the hive alive without a queen.  The worker bee is born without wings.  After proving herself worthy by being a faithful worker in the hive for 21 days, she is granted wings.  She is often seen out and about foraging for pollen, water, nectar and propolis, a substance from trees used to mend holes in the hive.  The little worker bee is so devoted to the queen that she will work herself to death in 35-45 days.  The worker bee has a barbed stinger and is given only one chance to use it.  If it is any condolence to the receiver of her wrath, she dies after she stings.  I wonder if she knows that she better give it her best shot?

So what happens if the only queen dies?  How do honey bees keep populating?  The worker bees choose another queen from their clan.  They feed the honored one royal jelly which is made of pre-chewed pollen that is mixed with a chemical secreted from a gland in the nursing bee's head.  While this nutritional mixture is fed to all the larvae for the first two days of their lives, the “chosen one” continues to eat only royal jelly for the rest of her life.  This “super food” causes her to grow one and a half times larger and is what makes it possible for her to lay so many eggs.  As a result of her royal diet, “The First Lady” lives forty times longer than those on a less fortified diet.

How much honey does a hive produce per year?
That’s a difficult question to find a definite answer for.
From what I’ve read, we can expect from 50-250 pounds of honey per year!
Now, that’s what I’m talking about!

While the honeybee hive is perennial, it is quite inactive during the winter.  In fact, we had a beekeeper who kept his hives on our property in Iowa through the warm weather.  In the late fall, he would take the hives to California so that the bees could continue to produce honey.  If hives are left in the cold climate, the honeybees survive by clustering for warmth inside the hive.  Regardless of the outside temperature, it remains 93 degrees in the center of the winter cluster.  Before the winter chill hits, the worker bees have collected enough honey and water for the hive to survive the winter.  Wiser than most people, I’d say!

Fun facts, huh?  I hope that, like me, as I learned these facts, you found yourself saying, “Well, I’ll Bee…!” J

I’ll keep you posted as I learn more.


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

Thursday, February 14, 2013

If I Only Had a Heart

One of the most common Valentine symbols is the heart.  As I pause to consider what this signifies, I recall an incident that occurred during my emergency nursing career.

The paramedics reported that they were transporting to us a female who had been stabbed in the chest.  When she arrived, she was triaged into my care.  She was in no obvious physical distress, but was quite emotionally distraught.  As I patiently and gently prodded, she was able to give me a report of what had happened.  As the story unfolded, I discovered that she’d stabbed herself in the chest with a pair of scissors.  She felt that she was a bad person and feared that she didn’t have a heart.  Consequently, she decided to open-up her chest to find out!

While this seems odd to those of us who consider ourselves more emotionally stable, this precious woman may have had more sense about herself than most of the rest of us!  She realized that she was evil and that something needed to be done!

Scripture is replete with descriptions of the evil human heart, however Ecclesiastes 9:3 seems to sum it up best; This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is one fate for all men. Furthermore, the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil and insanity is in their hearts throughout their lives. Afterwards they go to the dead.
The standard “treatment” for “psychos” such as this lady is medication and psychological therapy.  Sadly, the true condition of the heart is only masked through this approach for there is no cure.  The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it (Jeremiah 17:9)?

Even the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz expressed his awareness that something was missing within when he sang, “If I only had a heart!”  While the answer certainly isn’t in the Wizard, most would say that the answer is in Jesus.  Yet, nothing in Scripture indicates that our hearts are cured in choosing Christ.  Instead, Ezekiel 36:26 tells us that it is in receiving a new heart and spirit that we are cured,

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;
I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

The Hebrew word for “heart” is “leb” and it refers to our inner man, mind and will. 
The Hebrew word for “stone” is “eben” and it means rock or death.  In other words, the will is dead.  It can not choose!
The Hebrew word for “flesh” is “basar” and means mankind, flesh, meat.  In other words the will is made alive.

A dead rock cannot choose Christ!  But if it were given a heart filled with life: its will, its desire would be for Jesus.  So which comes first, we choose Jesus and He moves in or He chooses to dwell in us?  According to Ephesians 1:4, He chose us before the creation of the world.

Most would argue, “But we have free will.  We are not robots!”  Yet Scriptures reads that every intention of our hearts is evil (Genesis 6:5).  Is an evil heart capable of making such a righteous decision as choosing Jesus?  Instead, Ezekiel 11:19 tells us, I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.  It seems that Father is the only one with free will and will never yield His glory to another (Isaiah 48:11) for such an honorable decision.  Jesus makes this clear when He says; No one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father (John 6:65).

Not unlike Lazarus, we lack the necessary power to resurrect ourselves.  Father saw the desperate and helpless state of our souls and in His great love and mercy commands, “Take away the stone.”  He then commands us to “come out” of the spiritual grave of lifelessness into life as a new creature (John 11:38-44, 2 Corinthians 5:17).

Note that once Lazarus was re-created, He wasn’t made perfect.  Instead, he was bound-up in grave clothes which needed to be shed.  Jesus didn’t tell Lazarus to take them off.  Lazarus couldn’t because he was bound by them.  Instead, Jesus told those who were in fellowship with Lazarus, “You do it!”

Celebrating love really isn’t about giving gifts of candy, flowers and cards on a certain day of the year.  True love is demonstrated daily, stinkin’ grave clothes and all, in noticing that which has us bound and helping one another to walk in the freedom which is ours in Jesus.

With new hearts it is possible for us to recognize who our LORD is; in fellowship with His people we are able to return to Him wholeheartedly (Jeremiah 24:7).


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

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Winning French Press Coffee Maker

We love coffee at our house!  I’m kinda finicky about it.  My husband, Gary on the other hand, is willing to drink almost anything labeled “coffee”.  I like mine either steaming hot or ice cold.  Gary, however, could drink coffee at any temperature!  It’s difficult for me to swallow coffee that has been cooking half the day, while Gary will drink it if there’s nothing else available.  I am thankful that we both like our coffee bold and black.  We jokingly refer to weak coffee as “church coffee” because our experience has been that most congregations make very diluted coffee.

I’m thinking Gary must get his love for coffee from his momma!  This sweet, 90 year old lady prepares her drip coffee maker before bed so that all she has to do in the morning is push the button.  However, “unable to wait” for the coffee to brew, she makes a cup of instant coffee using the boiling water mechanism at her sink so that she can be sipping while she’s waiting for the drip maker to complete its cycle!

A few years ago, we had the privilege of visiting a “house church” in Ireland.  We learned quickly that many Irish tend to be very fond of coffee!  In fact, the true Irishman drinks coffee with “a little sugar, a jigger of Irish whiskey, and a float of lightly whipped cream”!  Without the Irish “additives,” we were introduced to French Press coffee!  In our opinion, French Press coffee is unsurpassed and we’ve been somewhat dissatisfied with anything less since!

We’ve owned a number of coffee makers through the years: drip, percolator, espresso, etc. but never a French Press.  I’ve spent a fair amount of time researching these coffee makers shortly after our return from Ireland, but never took the plunge to purchase one.  Our drip maker is on its last leg, however, so I’ve been back to researching French Presses.  I nearly over-loaded with all the descriptions, reviews and consumer reports, yet all that homework helped to make a decision that we are not sorry for!  I thought all you coffee connoisseurs out there might be interested in our conclusion.

In my search, I found everything from the “Rolex of French Presses” for home use priced at a walloping $3,000 (no kidding) to $4.50 fly-by-night models.  With all these options, how did we make our final decision?

Things we were looking for:

  • Pure, rich coffee flavor
  • Non-toxic plastics, glass or metals
  • Unbreakable
  • Quality (Plunger seals often leak coffee grounds)
  • Durability (Plunging mechanism often bends)
  • Insulation for retaining heat
  • Capacity for coffee drinking visitors
  • Must also brew tea
  • Availability of replacement parts
  • Cost effectiveness (no need for expensive filters)
  • Easy to use and clean
  • Quick (No time to waste for morning coffee!)
  • Non-electric (Must have coffee in a power outage!)

The winning French Press coffee maker?
Drum roll…….
The Frieling!

This coffee maker meets our criteria with:

  • insulated double-walls which retain heat four times longer than glass!
  • an unbreakable, toxic free, 8/10 stainless-steel body inside and out!
  • the ability to make French press coffee or tea and the bonus of a sleek looking carafe which doubles as a serving pitcher for any beverage!
  • its 33-Ounce capacity to serve several guests!
  • replacement parts available from Frieling!
  • ease of simply pulling the plunger out of the carafe and washing both by hand or in the dishwasher! No parts to disassemble!
  • no need for expensive filters!
  • having no power cords!  We can brew and serve right at the table even in a power outage!
  • its durable and tightly sealed all-steel mesh plunger mechanism can be used with coarse coffee grounds or loose tea leaves without bending the plunger or having grounds seeping through!
  • ease & speed of simply scooping ground coffee into the press, filling it with near boiling water, placing the lid/plunger unit on top and steeping for 4 minutes! Slowly press the plunger down and voila, coffee ready to serve!
  • And we can’t be more satisfied with the pure, bold flavor!

Have a love for bold coffee flavor?
A French Press can’t be beat!

Have no idea where to start your search for a quality French Press without spending a fortune?
In our opinion,
there’s no need to look any further
 than the Frieling Polished Stainless Steel
French Press!


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