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She gets to stay.

September 15, 2015


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At the start of  this milking season I thought little Rose was not going to see next year here on the farm.    Not because she was sickly but because she was not a big producer.  I would bring her little pittance of milk in , comparing it to the others and remark, “I guess we will have to sell the little one… no emotion, she will go… but she is so sweet and so proud to get up in the milking stand.” My HusBen would shrug and tell me I could keep her or sell her it made no difference to him…. so of course I would continue to convince him ,”You should see her…she has such heart.  She jumps up on the door to peer in  and  watches the other girls get up on the milking stand and now she is just so thrilled and proud to be part of that crew that she acts like an old pro.  She gives her all…you should see her.”  My tall Midwestern Swedish HusBen would feign interest and tell me to “keep her then” as he has taken to slapping a Pennsylvania Dutch “then” at the end of his sentences.

Now, as we wind down this years milking season I have decided to keep her.  I did the math and in comparison to the older girls she could not compete…. but when I flipped a few pages back and compared their rookie years to Rose’s… she gets to stay!  She held her own and in some ways is far better.  She is sweet , a good mother and above all she is a proud well mannered milker.  I hope she can teach next years rookies a thing or two.

I am glad He compares us to sheep.  Sheep seem to get better the more time you give them.

So with all that said…

I shall keep her then.

Where do you stand?

September 9, 2015




So here is the question…

Is everyone doing the best they can?

Do you believe  that every person you meet is doing the best they can and why?

Think about it…

…. the grocery store clerk?

… the homeless at the bus stop?

… your spouse?

… your children?

… that Danish man that spat off the bridge at the Syrian refugees?

… your pastor?

…abusive people?

… your political leader?

… the person you least enjoy?

You don’t need to answer for each of those scenarios…. just in general…

Are people doing the best they can and why?

How you accomplish anything in this life…..

August 31, 2015

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You show up with your little bit.

You could be smaller  than everyone else and your entry could be barely noticed.

Beside you, on both sides, could be giants.

But with a little bit He can do a whole lot.

Your mistakes from last time are making you better this time.

As you enter in… remember that at least you are entering…some never try.

As you enter in… remember by your example others will follow … some will  try  because of you.

With your little bit…. and His big bit… you can win the whole thing.

But it is about the showing up.

Showing up to the daily practice.

Showing up to the learning.

Showing up to the evolution.

Showing up with your little bit.

DSC_1114~It’s been a great show season for the girls.  Yen finished the season with winning Grand Champion for the Series. Mer , started later, but had a tremendous finish with the miniature horse.  We are so happy.  They worked all summer and quickly flew through the ranks.  ~

Your Migration

August 27, 2015










How about the fact that you are here?

How about that?!

You have come so far and you have overcome so much.

Some of it was pretty crappy…. some of it was down right traumatic.

But here you are.

Right here.

Take a second and think about that.

You have 100% success rate of surviving really hard shit.

You have prayed for things… for people… for situations…

and here you are.

and “here” is not too bad…

and “there” ,right up there in the future, is going to be even better.

but “here” is where you are… so thank Him.

Because of all that has come and gone… He was and is.

I mean there were times where you were pretty unenjoyable… and He stayed with you.

There were times where you thought it was all you… and He stayed right with you.

There were times you wanted to give up…. you wanted to just be a slave again… But He knows who He created you to be.

Sure you still have a ways to go… you still have some slave patterns… but right here He is….

and He whispers to you because He is that close…

He does not need to shout at you… because He is right next to you and always has been….

So when you look back right now and see how far He has brought you…. think about this….

He is taking you somewhere… and He will be with you that whole way,too.

He will be whisper close.


Dear Justin Bieber …

August 22, 2015

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(source: September2015 Cosmo)

Dear Justin Bieber,

At Sunday Dinner  they talked about you liking our friends.  I didn’t believe it.  But there in Cosmo you are quoted as liking Jonathan and Melissa Helser.  Well I guess you don’t know them but you did say you like their song, “No Longer Slaves.”  I hope you have since listened to their other albums… specifically their earlier live album, The Awakening…it’s one of my favorites.  Some argued that it was just a P.R. move… but I say no… I think you actually like them.  I think if it was a P.R. move you would have picked someone a bit more recognizable.  Either way it is endearing.  I can’t say I know  too much about you other than old people mispronounce your last name regularly ( and the obvious celebrity factor)…. and you most definitely do not know me or even what Sunday Dinner is…. But you are officially invited.  Many musicians , including the Helsers, have come to Sunday Dinner and they can vouch that you can just be a person here…. in fact if you try and “perform” I will hand you a plate of food or direct you to a comfy chair.   I am sure you have won numerous awards out in the world, others who come here have done the same , some have won grammys… but at Sunday Dinner you will just be a person in a process of evolution.  You can just sit at a table and be family …. and you are officially invited…. because it touched my heart to hear you Searching.  It made me want to reach out to you and include you when I read you applauded my friends.  It is a good song.  You sound like a smart guy.  If you need anything let us know.

Be Blessed,

Everyone here at Sunday Dinner.



(if reading this in email please click here to see the video)

Baptized in vision and dreams….

August 17, 2015


Years ago when he was a boy running through the fields between the farm and school  he would look over and wish there was a pool right here.  He was just a skinny  boy but he didn’t have asthma like his brother and he wasn’t as young as  his other brother… so he was in charge of the bulk of farm work.  Back when farm work made you strong and the tractors were a dusty mess…. if you even had a tractor.   So he would sweat it out and dream of a pool and a front porch where he could watch his family swim.  It would all be worth it he would tell himself.

Just keep baleing …

Just keep plowing…

Just keep sowing….

Just keep harvesting…

Fail or succeed…

Just keep showing up….

Just keep at this same land…

He would marry that girl and they would build a family on this land…

They would chop down the trees and build a home…

Just keep at it…

Fail or succeed…

Just keep showing up….

So many dreams and memories fill his 80something head and he can not quite remember his original baptism.  All summer we have been discussing her baptizing their oldest three great grandchildren. He wanted to know if it would take away from their experience if he also was baptized that same day… by his wife of 61 years.  I laughed choking back tears to think of him being baptized literally in the vision and the desire of his heart that God gave him decades ago.  This pool and the family he envisioned in it,  “No I love it! I can think of nothing better!”

The atmosphere changed as she brought the first one back out of the water.

With the next child’s commitment my eyes teared up and I could hardly believe how blessed I am.

As my strong son declared his love and commitment… I almost forgot to take the pictures.

How is this my life? Thank You that this is my family!” I prayed silently as my aunt prayed over each child.

As my best friend slowly brought my grandfather out of the water I watched the moment imprint upon my long line of children.

Just keep plowing…

Just keep sowing….

Just keep harvesting…

Fail or succeed…

Just keep showing up….

Just keep at this same land…

He is creating family in a new way.




















So long dear Hazelwoods…..

August 10, 2015

2 Kings 2:9-11The Voice (VOICE)

9 After the two had made it to the other side of the Jordan, Elijah spoke to Elisha.

Elijah: Tell me what it is you would like me to do for you before I am taken away from you.

Elisha: Please, I wish to receive a double portion of your spirit. As your successor, I want to have twice the portion of your power.

Elijah: 10 What you have requested of me is challenging…..


I heard a great man speak on how EliJah was probably thinking, “….what you requested of me is challenging not because God is limited in His giving it to you but because in this gifting, as many highs as there are…. there are equally deep lows… and you EliSha want double?..Well then, you better be able to hang in there till the end. Hold on tight…”

Anyone who has had a passion understands it…
Anyone who has followed a calling feels this resonate…
Anyone who has a ministry nods knowingly at this…

With this Sunday Dinner we have people who come from all over the world. Each person touches our lives and we are forever changed. It is amazing the travel our dining room has done as the stories are brought back and shared over soup or grilled chicken. We have traveled to the refugee camps of Iraq… and the street corners of Cape Town South Africa. Our table holds many stories. Our hearts hold many people.

Some stay for a meal… some stay for a year or more…some become “core”.
Sunday Dinner has brought people we fall in love with.
We fall in love with people and it is beautiful.
But it is hard. So hard.
And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
As we loose another extra special Sunday Dinnerer to their calling and the adventure He has for them… and my heart breaks yet again to loose such a special friend…. I am reminded of what He said over a year ago when I felt a loss…

….because I want you to know I am right here. I am in the amazing soaring parts. I am in the sad parts. I am in the happy parts. I am in the achy parts. and. I . am. in. the. healing. I am right here the whole time. “


He is a good good God.

That great sermon also spoke on How God always gives us off ramps… and I agree.  I can see all the times He said…”if you don’t want to… you don’t have to.”  Had I taken any of those off ramps I would have missed so much. My heart would have been saved so many  breaks but it never would have grown so much.   He is a good good God.. and His adventures are worth it to soar with eagles.


Bye Hazelwoods… We love you!



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