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I am not who I once was…

March 31, 2016



(warning: animal abuse mentioned)

As I watched from way across the field I witnessed this grown man hold his dog still as he punched him over and over.  The image becoming blurry until the tears overflowed.  My eyesight cleared in time to see him  drag  the dog home.

I am such a baby.

Once I  could  have handled this.

Years ago, I remember watching from a short distance, people  attempting to herd a flock of sheep  onto a trailer. They clearly didn’t know what they were doing.  I am not sure what they were thinking ,as a bucket with some feed rattling around would be enough for most sheep to follow you…. but I watched as they  roped one.  I knew that would never work.  Sheep have an “oppositional reflex” which makes them pull back if you pull forward. So they yanked with their backs turned to the sheep, the rope over their shoulder…. and the sheep just laid down.  I remember being paralyzed as I watched her march back the length of the rope and closed fist punched that sheep in the face. I mean she just punched it full force over and over again all the while pulling the rope tighter… until it just lay there.   She was strong and I knew it.  This was years ago when times like this would make me feel enclosed in glass…. like an aquarium.  I stood atop the little hill in my aquarium as I held my pregnant belly and watched this sheep just lay still… it was surely dead.  They got the last sheep onto the trailer … no one flinched at her behavior.  They did not say a word as she walked over to it and kicked it a few times in the ribs… The other people just locked the trailer…. as if nothing  had happened… if nothing was still happening.

But then again… I wasn’t doing anything either. Barely able to feel anything in my little glass box.

She left and  I broke loose enough that I found myself  knelt down next to the sheep, “come on buddy..”  I couldn’t feel any breath. His eyes were open and dull.

“come on buddy, ” silently praying over this unconscious or dead sheep as I looked over my shoulder to see her returning.

Without a word to me she kicked him again  in the ribs as she walked past. I grabbed his face, “come! on!”

He lept up.

I helped him towards the trailer. The other man opened the ramp to let him on.

No one had stopped her… perhaps no one knew her well enough… or perhaps they all knew her too well.

She was tough.

I used to think I was tough.  I had watched and not a tear was shed.

Now I can’t even see this stranger’s  dog  without crying.

I guess I never was tough. I was paralyzed. I was blind. I was silenced. I was alone.

So now…. Now I can feel my limbs go cold as fight or flight kicks in.  I can feel the hot tears. I remember watching.  I remember feeling it. I see my  paint stained fingers shake as I type this memory today.

…. isn’t “feeling” tougher than being immune to abuse?

Isn’t it more cowardice to say nothing when abusers abuse?

Isn’t it stronger… tougher…. more evolved… to say, “Stop”?

Well I will not side with abusers…. and I haven’t for some time.





Rest Assured

March 26, 2016



It’s the “rest assured” that made me take pause and ponder before the next sip of tea. This man who was paralyzed in life could have brought an animal to the temple and been cleared of any sin.   Clearly he had friends who would help him with that… he had friends who would cart him around on a gurney… those are good friends.

No, he did not believe he was forgiven.  He was stuck in life because he could not move forward….paralyzed.  In his mind there was no sacrifice that would suffice.

Jesus didn’t say, “I forgive you.”

He said, “your sins are forgiven.”

This guy needed to know he truly was forgiven… He need not be stuck any longer.

He could move forward.

He didn’t need to be paralyzed in that same place.

He was not the same person.

No longer paralyzed by his dis-ease… he could move.


One lamb was enough for this guy.

One Lamb is enough for you.

Look at the paralyzed places in your life… You don’t need more than one Lamb.

He did it. This weekend is a celebration of His success and your freedom.

That dis-ease does not need to stop you anymore.

Believe in the ability He gave you to move forward.

“Your sins are forgiven.”



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)

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