Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Yesterday I had my farrier (Eric) over to trim Jake's feet. He is always verbose, as I myself am. Anyway we were talking about hooves and how important it is for a horse to have a balanced hoof. That only makes sense. I mean try walking with one shoe on an the other off for a while, Do this with a horse then put a 200 pound man with saddle on him and see if the imbalance affects his stride. I would mine. I can tell when I am out of balance because my lower back hurts and the Chiropractor tells me one leg is longer than the other. When he gets me back in balance the pain in the back is gone and both legs are the same. So it is with a horse.
When a horse a walks if the feet are out of balance (toe too long, heel too short, or some combinationn of them. Or maybe the width of the hoof from the point of the frog {a part of the hoof that acts as a pad/cushion} to the outside of the hoof is not even on both sides) he will most likely put his toe down first and slide forward. Some trim their horses this way on purpose to get a certain action of the foot. However, If you want a horse to be 'sure-footed' he should plant his foot down and not slide, and then the hind foot should be placed almost in the same print as the front. I think that is how it is supposed to work. A 'sure-footed' horse is a safer horse to ride, especially if you are on a narrow rocky trail on the side of a mountain with a nice lengthy drop off on one side. But even if I am just riding down a road I want a 'sure-footed' horse. I really don't like the idea of him tripping over himself and falling because he is not balanced. Well I have some work to do with Raven to get her balanced.
But you know balance is good in our lives too. Not just with our feet. Like a horse, if you don't have balance you will try to compensate in some way to get that balance, either with a limp, a lean, a longer or shorter stride, but some how, some way you will compensate to try to get into balance. Just slip one time on the ice and feel what your body naturally does to try to maintain balance, arms fling upward and out, legs kick out, head careens back all in one jerky but fluid moment, usually in slow motion until either you get your equilibrium back by standing back up or lying flat on your back staring up at the sky or into the faces of those who are asking you if you are all right.
So the question is how do you maintain balance everyday? This is my policy: keep a short account with God as to my sin 1 John 1:9, read the bible everyday, pray everyday and throughout the day, make a list of goals for the day (that honor the Lord) and seek to accomplish them, do something different than my work, like do a puzzle or throw the ball with the dogs, or exercise, or work with my horses, just to get my mind off the daily grind. Oh, it also helps to keep you toe nails trimmed they fit in our shoes better. Another tid bit is make sure your shoes fit properly,not to tight, not too loose.
Make balance the word of the day for you and see if things just feel right at the end of the day.
Get in balance!

Friday, December 26, 2008


HO!HO!HO! Where do you suppose that comes from? It must be short for something. I was thinking maybe it is short for HOPE and that whoever started the trend was trying to say it but was shivering with such cold that they couldn't spit it all out. I don't know, it was just a thought.
But we sure do have much to hope today. For those of us who are believers we have hope of eternal life, but it is expectancy with no chance of not happening if we have put our faith in Jesus Christ. If you read the news much you acknowledge that there are many folk who don't have that hope and think the answer killing others or self. But my hope is in Christ and so because He lives I can face today and tomorrow if I am given one. Either way the babe in the manger grew to be a man and die on the cross so that guys like me can have eternal life. No other gift need be given. Thank You Jesus.
On a lighter note we all fared well on Christmas. We got stuffed on the food and snacks and just as well on the company of family. The horses each got an apple along with their regular feed in the trough. I'm sure they appreciated it. Jake, as usual had it gone without even tasting it. Raven on the other hand seemed to savor it to the last bite of her grain as she just took a bite here and there mixed in with her other feed. I wonder if Jake has learned if he tarries in the eating of such fare he might be forced to cede the rest to Raven who is number one. She seems to get what she wants from Jake. He likes to remind her he is not such a pushover. Nevertheless, she still crowds him into the corner of his stall if she wants to. I have seen him try to stand her off by rearing, showing his teeth, throwing his head around as though he is saying, "I'm the man around here, you can't tell me what to do!" He usually does this as she cocks an ear at him and sends him head down to the other side of the pen. You can easily tells who wears the pants, er uh, shoes??? in this herd. :}
Well I hope that all have a great and safe holiday time and many more to come.

Adios, Amigos!
Thought I'd try a little spanish on ya.


Friday, December 19, 2008


somebody told me that if you answer that phone that way, the automated computer calls will just hang up. I don't know if that is true or not, but don't hang up! Yet! It's not that I have something really important to say today, but I will try. I haven't worked much with the horses lately. Too cold and the footing for the horses is not very safe for them. When the ground gets soft and then freezes after they have walked on it makes for difficult walking for me with two feet let alone four. They could easily injure a fetlock or bruise a soul. Imagine, if you will, walking on bare freet through a minefield of 5 or 6 inch holes of jagged, swiss cheese like ice clods of frozen manure and mud. It isn't easy even for me. So until I miraculously get a indoor riding arena, riding will be sparse. But I hope even today or this weekend to get out and be in the saddle. I love riding when it is snowing and the snow piles up on my jacket and hat. There is just something about it. I remember once several years ago Angie and I went out riding in winter. It wasn't snowing when we left, but by the time we got back we looked like two snow cowboys covered in snow. It was grand! There is also something about riding in the snow that if you get bucked off in the right spot, no jagged mud clods, in deep snow it makes for a soft landing. Haven't had that happen yet. Hope not to experience it.
We have several inches on the ground now and it keeps coming. Sure is pretty, but it gets old fast, probably proportionate to my age.
Just finished my sermon for our Christmas program on Sunday. I am taking a new look at Romans 5:8 in light of this Christmas. It gets you thinking about How much God loves you to be willing to send His only Son to die in our place, we who are dirty, rotten, sinners, deserving of death and hell and all that goes with it. Yet, God, because of His great love for us, has sent His Son to be born into our world of human depravity, experience what we experience and despite that fact that we were His enemies, detestable to Him, Christ died for you and me. Can there be any greater love than that? NO WAY! If you haven't accepted that love gift. Why not repent of your sinfulness now and receive His gift of Jesus for your sins. Believe in Him. Trust Him as your Savior. Call upon Him to save you and He will, Romans 10:9-13. That is why this Christmas thing is so important. It is not about trees and lights and gifts, but about the gift of His Son so that we who are dead in our trespasses and sins might have life instead. Let the death on the cross of Jesus Christ put this Christmas into perspective for you today.
From my home to yours, wishing you a very merry Christmas.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Well, I hope everyone had a great thanksgiving. I know I did. The trance didn't settle in like usual though. I guess it was the kids and me in the hot tub that took care of that. It is hard to be in a trance when someone is pouring water over your head and you have 3 living creatures splish, splashing around you.
The after glow, when everyone had gone and it was just Sharon and I was refreshing too. We have been watching quite a few hallmark movies, those sentimental holiday shows that cleanse your tear duct system.
I have also made some breakthroughs on horseback. I finally caught on to the need to have a correct seat. Now I thought I always had a correct seat, no complaints from my wife anyhow, but such is not the case. I finally, got it a few days ago and it made me have a clearer connection with Raven when I am in the saddle. This worked itself out recently. I would sit in the saddle and try to find that place where my butt was sitting so that my lower back wasn't bowed in our out but just right where it was most comfortable. Then I would ask her to soften her face with my rein and leg and I could feel her back round up under the saddle, Like she was flexing her backbone upwards into my seat. It is subtle, almost unnoticeable unless you are looking for that feel. Then I would try to maintain that feel when I had her at a walk, then a trot. Well that helped me to feel where her feet were. NO! not the end of her legs for you smart alecks. I wanted to know when she was picking up her feet. That would be the best time to ask her to move a foot over or speed up or slow down or back up. So if I timed it just right I could ask her to move those feet where I wanted just by my seat and leg. But in order to do that I had to have my own seat correct. Kind of reminds me of the the Scripture (Matthew 7)that talks about trying to take the speck out of another persons eye when I have a log in my own eye. I cannot see correctly to help the other person deal with their problems that are effecting me. The same is true in horsemanship. If I don't have a correct seat posture first, then I am not going to be able to communicate clearly with the horse to cue her to move forward, back up or move a shoulder over or leg yield, etc. So in the past my problems with getting Raven to do those movements were not hers, but mine. I was out of position and impeding her ability to read my cue as well as to move in the direction I wanted. Try this, stand up and put your weight on your right foot. Now without shifting your weight to your left foot, pick up your right foot. You can't do it can you? You'd have to hop. Well that is what it is like to ask a horse to move the right foot to the left if my weight is on that foot. The horse cannot do it. Not only do I need to shift the weight off that right foot, but she has to shift her weight off of it too. Then it moves easily.
Now if I could only do this with my wife it would make hers and my life easier. I found it doesn't pay to get mad about it and try to muscle her (the horse, or her) to my way of thinking. I have to soften the feel and get in time with her movements. Then it all goes easier. I think I mentioned in an earlier blog that I am reading a book titled "there are not problem horses, only problem riders." Well there ought to be a book for us husbands with a similar title, "there are no problem wives, only problem husbands." but I don't know if that would be a best seller. However, I do know, now lets be honest, you husbands, most (the wife would probably say all) of the problems in our marriages are caused by us. I don't know how I got on marriage, do you. Anyway, back to horses, It is a more pleasant dance and you get a more harmonious outcome if you go soft and slow when working with horses. It probably works with wives too.
God bless have a great day and be soft!

Friday, November 7, 2008


Whew! I'm back to talking about horsemanship. I started yesterday on a great note, calm, collect, gentle, kind, nice, focused. I should have known something was up when she kept running from me. No, I'm not talking about my wife. Earlier I had Raven in my hand just relaxed almost sleeping. But a couple hours later when I went back she knew what I wanted. Oh, she 'caught' me after a few trips around the paddock. And we began very soft and gentle. We did several ground exercises then I got in the saddle and it went well utnil we upped the pace. You see I'm trying to learn to be more balanced in my own riding, centered, thus able to 'feel' her movements and she is better able to 'feel' mine enabling us to move more in sync. She will understand what I am asking her to and I am able to feel the right time to ask. That works with people to doesn't it? Some may think that my hobby is just that, but I beg to differ. It has made me a better person, more aware of my own faults. Whereas I wouldn't necessarily listen to people the horse has no bias. She tells me very clearly when I am screwing up. Most people who ride think when the horse acts like an idiot that it is the horse. Not So! the idiot is the rider. I am reading an older riding book called, "There are no Problem Horses, only Problem Riders" by Mary Twelveponies. I have come to the conclusion that she is right. The more I try natural horsemanship the more I see myself for who I really am. I think this is one thing that God is using in my life to knock the edges off and make me a mor emellow and gentler Christian, husband, father, pastor and so on. It's kinda like Isaiah getting close to the throne of God and concluding he is a man of 'unclean lips' (Isaiah 6:5) meaning that he is a wicked man. The closer I get to the Lord the more dirt I see in myself. That is just a truism in Christianity. The closer you get to the light the more dirt you see. The only answer is to confess it (I John 1:9) and change (Ephesians 4:22-24). So unlike what some people may think, working with the horse for me is not unprofitable. It is a tool God is using to make me more like Him. For the Kings example of natural horsemanship just read the account of Jesus riding on the colt of a donkey into Jerusalem in Matthew 21:4-9; Mark 11:7-10 or Luke 19:35-38. That is an amazing ride.
I got off track for a minute, but I started out good, but ended in a lather for both of us. I hate to end on a hyper note like that. I usually like to end as it started with both of us calm and relaxed. But I got started too late in our ride with an exercise that didn't go well and instead of quitting while I was ahead, I pushed on. Big mistake. But you know what. Raven is forgiving. I can go out there another day and we can start over again. I can learn from my mistakes move on.
In our lives we often have good intentions, things start out good and calm. But somehow they go awry and we get our shorts all bunched up and leave the situation gasping for air, lathered up, and just plain irrascible. We put out our quills so that everyone around us gets poked too. Just back off, go off in the corner, take some deep breathes confess your sin, debrief the situation and move on. Then come back clear headed and calm again and start over. That's what I had to do yesterday and what I will do today.
It's a beautiful day out there. God is good and merciful, so lets be that too.
The not so nice, but getting there, Jeff signing off.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What now

Well it is the day after and I have been processing the election results all morning. I have come to some conclusions about it.
1. I have hope. God is still in control. The gospel, God's plan has not been trumped by this election or nullified. Serving Him, for me, is still the main thing.
I just finished writing a sermon (the first of two)describing how we should respond to this outcome. I must say I am disappointed in the election, but not dejected or even depressed.
We have instruction in the Word on what to do (Romans 13:1ff; 1 Timothy 2:1-4) to name just two passages. Lets not forget that Jesus Himself and most of Christianity throughout the ages did not live under leaders who were the best of the best unless you call the best those who are ungodly, self serving, first place wannabe's. Why should we be any different. This helps me to unravel some ropes tying me to this world and freeing me to be hungering more for the next.
2. It showed me that most people are not thinkers, but went to the polls with the 'deer in the headlights' glaze over their minds. I cannot fathom how someone that has not had their senses dulled could vote for Obama. But they did. We won't have long to wait for the change to come. I don't think it will be a p;retty sight when it is all said and done. One good thing is that the democrats won't be able to blame the republicans anymore for the ills our country. Heh, how could they anyway. They were the one's in control of the congress.
Well enough about this I better just put my head down and pray.
God's speed to all

Friday, October 31, 2008

voting pt.2

I said in my last post that I had more reasons why I could not vote for Obama so here are more.
5. If he gets elected then there will most likely be a democratic congress as well with Reid and Pelosi heading up the senate and house. There will therefore be no more checks and balances. Normally, the president would make a decision and the house and senate would go along with him or not. In this case, with obama as president he will most likely snowball his interests through the house and senate because there will be no one to stop him.
6. He is a chameleon in the sense that he say swhat people want to hear but then doesn't go against his party. So it seems to me that whatever the party wants he will go along with.
7. His anti americanism and racism, if you haven't caught that bias you must be blind. His 20 year affiliation with the Rev. Wright should clue you in to that. You cannot convince me that he didn't know or agree with his pastor's teachings. He only stopped and disassociated himself from him and Ayers after people started seeing the truth and his campaign was in danger.
8. The liberation theology his pastor proposes is anything but biblical Christianity and the fact that he revealed his true religion as Muslim on Stephanopoulis's show ought to clue you in to who this guy really is.
For me the list need not go on any longer there is no way that I can vote for this man, no matter what He promises.
One thing I know for sure. The sovereignty of God reveals to me that the man God wants in office will be the one who gets in. The Scripture reminds us that that Lord sets up kings (or presidents) and takes them down as He sees fit, see Psalm 2, the overriding lessson of the Bible is that God rules and He puts prophets, kings, judges, etc. into places He wants them, when He wants them there. The same will be true here. And He directs the Kings (presidents) heart to do as He wishes, Proverbs 21:1. So no matter who gets elected I am tremendously hopeful that God is working in this world to carry out His plan for His kingdom. It may be that He is going to judge this nation for its wickedness of commonplace immorality, its attempts to rid itself of the notion of God in all areas of life from schools to courtrooms. If we abandon God as a nation we will reap the consequences. If we do so in our personal lives we will also reap the consequences. It is not that I am so tremendously pro John McCain. My hope doesn't rest on him or anyone else. It rests on God. he is the One in control and I know He will work out His will for us. When the disciples were in the storm on the lake, Jesus came to them in the midst of their trouble and said, "Cheer up, It is I, be not afraid." Mark 6:50. When King Hezekiah king of Judah during the political upheaval of the Ancient Near East of his day, was troubled by the siege of Sennacherib king of Assyria, He didn't panic. He went before the Lord of Heaven and was given these words of hope, "Thus saith the LORD, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. 7 Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land." 2 Kings 19:6-7
So take heart. I am not discouraged. God reigns. He is bigger than all this. Rest in Him not in some man who would be president.
God's blessings

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I know, you probably are tired of hearing about anything political now. We are on campaign overload. But I gotta tell you that I just can't believe anyone would vote for OBama. In order to be fair, I don't really like McCain's ideas the best either. In fact, I haven't looked to deeply into them. But I know enough about him to know who I will choose between the two. Thus, to clarify why I can't possibly vote for Obama here is my two cents.
1. He is pro abortion. I cannot comprehend why anyone who at least makes the claim that he or she is a christian can possibly be okay with killing a baby. I don't think I need to go into detail about how they do that either. On top of that his claim is dubious at best.
2. He will, as has every other democrat, systematically tried to dismantle the military. Our national security is of utmost importance in my mind. I would much rather we be fighting over in Iraq, than here. This man doesn't even uphold a sense of patriotism or fidelity to this country, if you read about his background and his statements that have been oft quoted. The fact that according to one poll I saw, 65% of the military is pro McCain. What boggles my mind is where are the other 35%. Are their heads in the sand?
3. His idea of 'spreading the wealth' concerns me. The last thing I want is for this country to turn to communism, aka 'socialism'. I'm all for helping others out, but when, how and where I choose, not by being told I have to give so much of my income. I am not for having part of my pay check go to support someone who says they cannot work, or don't want to work. "Spreading the wealth" is just a political code word for "government theft."
4. His concept of health care for everyone as though it is a right is Kaibosh! I have to say, I do have health care. But here again, people can go to clinics like the one my wife works at and be seen by a Dr. and be on the sliding fee and if they can't pay they will still be seen. Another flaw in his thinking is that he has not said where the money is going to come from to pay for that health care. But unless you are a complete idiot you must be aware that it will come from taxes. So much for not raising taxes, heh! I have a friend who is Canadian, where they have National Healthcare and they pay 48% of their income, get that, almost 1/2 of their income to pay for it. It is noticeable that those who are for it haven't told us the price tag if that happens here.
There are many more reasons but I have to get to a meeting tonight. So I will continue this later.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Well, I have gotten my comeuppance. I think that is a word. It is I just checked. Most of you know that I have been taking a horsemanship class over the last several months. We meet once a month. I've been told I ride to stiff and that I am too, shall I say, jerky or spastic, in delivering my cues for movement. The remedy? slow down and get soft. I have been informed this is the way I am at home too, by someone close to me, whom I will refrain from naming. Anyway, I have been working on 'flowing' into my cues with Raven and have found that she is not so spastic either when I do this. When I give her a chance to catch her breath and process what I am asking her to do she responds a whole lot more favorably. Even in my riding I have become softer on the rein and softer in my seat, ie. not riding like I have a rod up the u know what. It is more comfortable for her and for me. Now I just have to develop this habit. I have noticed that when I start calmly with her and end calmly with her there is a sense of harmony defined as " >noun (pl. harmonies) 1 the combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce chords and chord progressions having a pleasing effect. 2 the quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole. 3 agreement or concord.
-ORIGIN Latin harmonia 'joining, concord', from Greek harmos 'joint'."
This harmony makes for a much more pleasant experience in doing my homework with Raven. It also works at home to. Life is just better when there is harmony. I'm a quick responder, you know the 'knee jerk' kind. I react and as one man pointed out the other day, it is 'just to exchange feet.' Today I commit to working on this. I want to flow in and out of situations, not bounce around like the ball in a pinball machine. So the next time you see me I hope I am fluid and not rigid in my demeanor. But enough about talking about the big log in my eye. What about yours?
Is there harmony in your home?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Double Dip

Well, I made it. Yep! it was not the most pleasant experience though. The formulation of tea was tasty for hte first glass or two, but a gallon in 4 hours, no way. I was so full that it was nauseating to drink more. I'm speaking of course, for those who now, of a 'double dip' as RN Sara put it. I call it going in both doors. Just another name for what happens when you turn fifty. The highly recommended colonoscopy and for me the endoscopy. It was just a screening for possible problems. I came out clean as a whistle. :}I recommend everyone have it done. It is not a bad idea spiritually either to do a thorough exam of self to see what is up and if you have spiritual polops to be removed git-r-done. The apostle Paul tells us to examine ourselves in this deep way in 1 Corinthians 11, so as to avoid any future judgment by the Lord. A self examination is a good idea. We do it in other areas of our lives all the time. We review our check books, credit bills etc. At least, I hope you do. We look at ourselves in the mirror daily to check for mussed up hair, face or clothes. We periodically check fluid levels and psi in our cars. We look in the rear view. We check to see if we remembered our keys, our wallet/purse, makeup, cell phones or whatever else we have deemed 'can't live without'. So why not review the most important thing in our life?Our spiritual position with Jesus Christ. He makes the claim that He is the only way. "I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the father but by me!" John 14:6 check it out for yourself. If you find some polops/sin then the remedy is 1 John 1:9 confess your sin and He will forgive and cleanse you. Again, check it out for yourself. All you have to do is lay your cursor over the colored verse and it should pop up for you. It's that easy. The hard part is facing reality. As I laid in the recovery yesterday morning, and groggily, vaguely heard the dr. telling Sharon that all was well, I thought to myself. 'thank You God.' Some, many are not so lucky, a polop is found or some other abnormality and the prognosis is worse. I have no explanation except the grace of God. If they would have found something that doesn't mean, however, that the grace of God was not in effect in my life or in the one whose prognosis wasn't good. However, from a spiritual standpoint, polops were found, confession made and radical elimination practiced. I have to add something in horsemanship because of the title here. The same is true in my working with a horse. I need to reexamine my style, my body language and seat and leg. Sometimes the horse is right and I am wrong. By that I mean, he is reading my seat and leg pressure and rightly discerning it, but because of my own ineptitude I am asking for a movement in the wrong way. I might be asking for a turn but she thinks, because of my seat and leg that I am asking for a leg yield. I can't get upset with her because of that. She is not the dummy, I am at that time. Thus, I need to reexamine my self to make sure I am asking for the specific movement with the correct cues. Putting it all together is as difficult as admitting my own sin, but it is necessary. Waddy Mitchell a cowboy poet put it this way, "First, I figure out my agenda, then I make it easy to embrace it and hard to resist it." God does the same with us, Solomon put it this way, "the way of the transgessor is hard."Proverbs 13:15.
So as it is with horses it is with people.
So get an examination. Examine yourself. Let the Word of God examine you. Do it today. It's for your own good.
Vaya Con Dios
Pastor Jeff
John 14:6

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

not enough time

Just wanted to let you know that I know that it has been almost three weeks since I last wrote. For those of you who are itching to read more it is forthcoming. I have a few ideas to write about scrambling around in my head to get to the front of the line. It seems life is real busy, but as one person retorted in response to my "I don't have time" excuse for not being able to work with her horses at this time, "get up earlier!" Well! I thought. She doesn't know what I am already doing. As I think about it though, don't we all have time to do the things we want to do? I mean, I can always find time to do something other than mow the lawns I have, or paint my porch ceiling before it gets cold. But I say, I gotta study for sermons and the study at the Jail. Do any of you know how long it takes to write a 3o minute speech? Think back to high school speech class. How long did you agonize over your presentation? The average time spent in the study for sermon preparation, from start to finish and you have it on paper is ten hours. That is not including the time to go through it before you actually stand before a group and orate. Now, add to that the odds and ends of pastoring a church, as well as being a husband, a household maintenance man, a hobbiest of horses that includes everything from riding, cleaning up after, feeding and training, then other odds and ends like writing this blog and you have a day planner that is full. So what do I do?
I guess, get up earlier!

This is Jeff signing off.
I gotta get to bed earlier if I am going to get up earlier. Wait a minute. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of getting up earlier?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Lessons from a dead squirrel

Yes, you read the title correctly. I was driving to my brothers house the other day minding my own business which was paying attention to where I was going on the road. My intention was to stay between the lines. When I came upon this squirrel who was a bit flittery, tail twitching. He was all the way across the road heading to my left. He was safe, out of harms way. But I could tell he was nervous, indecisive. His instincts were telling him it was safer to flee back the way he came, which meant he had to cross the road again, in front of me. It happened so fast, yet I knew he was going to try to make it. But the thump, thump I felt underneath my car and the last view I had of him or her was of a tumbling squirrel told me he made it back across the road, but not alive, at least not for long. That squirrel was operating on instinct only. If he had reason and logic to work with maybe he would have realized that where he was at he was safe and would have remained there. But alas, God didn't give him anything more than instinct. While instinct does keep animals alive longer, it doesn't always. Might I add, neither does reason. People often have good reasons to do stupid things, like ride a skateboard down a railing and wonder why the pavement is so hard when they hit it with their forehead or ride a crotch-rocket popping a wheely with the front tire or standing on the seat rather than straddling it. The Lord knows, and so do those who know me, I have done many a stupid thing. But I had good reason.
That squirrel reminds me of people, including myself who live for the moment, who don't plan and think through wha tthey are doing. So they react to lifes pressures rather than respond to them. They act on instinct rather than reason. So here are the lessons I want to point out:
1. Don't always count on your instinct to get you safely through. As with the squirrel it can sometimes steer you wrong. Don't try to fly an airplane through a cloud on instinct. Use the compass and instrument panel. In our case, let God guide you with the scriptures. Life can be foggy at times, instinct will get you into trouble, but depending on and obeying the scriptures will see you through.
2. If you have to go back the way you came, look both ways before you cross. In other words, have good reason and think it through.
3. If you have to cross the road in the first place keep on going and don't look back. Indecision is worse than no decision. Among horse trainers, the thinking is that a horse with sticky feet, that is, those who don't want to move their feet, are the ones who will explode. If you keep their feet moving then you can work through the issues bothering them. But they have to have that forward movement. It is so among us humans too. Indecision is like having sticky feet, but if you decide and move on you can at least be moving and make the changes if your decision wasn't the best one.
4. Some things are outside your control. I could not stop that squirrel from dashing under my car anymore than I could stop the sun from rising. It was in the cards, so to speak. Although that is a simplified way of saying that God divinely appointed it. After all, Jesus reminds us that not even a sparrow can fall to the ground without Him knowing it. Are you not more important to God than a sparrow? (Matthew 10:29,30). But that was digression. My point is that you simply have to go on and deal with what you cannot control and not worry about it. So my life intersected with a squirrel that day. His ended and mine goes on. Yes, I was sad. I hate to have that happen. But I can't brood about it. Learn the lessons and move on. No sense in crying over spilt milk, clean it up and move.
There are probably more lessons to learn from that experience but that will be for another blog, maybe.
Until then,
Stay between the ears!
Pastor Jeff
matt. 6:33

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

no pain, no gain

Well, Here I sit in pain and itching to get moving and can't. I hurt my back putting my saddle in my truck on Saturday morning to go to my horsemanship class. I went anyway. By the time I arrived in Cannonsburg, I was really stiff. I did ride all day, probably shouldn't have, but I am one of those who has to get done what needs doing. Anyway, I tried everything to releive the pain and immobility. I made it through church on Sunday, tried not to let on that I was in pain. Monday I went to the chiro and got an adjustment, very painful I might add. Came home and tried to relax, to no avail. My back felt so stiff I could barely bend over to tie my shoes, or put my boots on. Tuesday was a little better so I tried to do more, I even rode Raven for a bit. but I don't think that helped. Did I mention I am in pain? I went to the chiro again this morning and got an adjustment again. I hate the long ride home because sitting for almost a 1/2 hour doesn't help. I went to turn into the gas station and hit a bump, it felt like someone just slammed my lower back into the ground like when you go to sit down and some pulls your seat out from under you. Needless to say I got home and put ice on my back. I just took it off and decided to write this. I am not asking you to join my pity party, but are there not times in your life when you find something impeding your progress or process. Some glitch in the system or a speed bump that is slowing you down a tad? I think that the Lord has me slowing down for a reason. I want to get going on Raven today, because I am learning so much about riding a horse that I am thirsting to put my new understanding to practice. However, I don't think that would be the wisest thing right now for my back. The slow way is often the best way to recovery. One of the things I am doing is more steadily, purposefully putting my mind on the Scripture, in particular Psalm 119 in an attempt to commit it section by section to memory (getting ready for Sunday services) as well as meditating on Phil. 4:8-9 getting ready for tonite's prayer meeting. Both passages are full of truth for me right now.
right now I have to live with the pain. Hopefully, it will be gone soon and I will be 'back in the saddle' again, for real. But for now I have to realize 'no pain, no gain' is the reality for me at this moment. You chew on that last one for a moment to be ready for the next bout with pain you have and see if it isn't true.
Ps. 119:5, 67

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Is your life like riding a bucking horse?

Wow, I was looking at the date of my last blog, June 28th. Sorry its been son long. I have gotten a few people who reminded me they were reading my blog and checking it regularly for something new. I will try to get better at writing at least once a week.
I sent home a colt last week who was pretty good. I was pleased with him until I had the owner come to pick him up and then began to demonstrate what 'Sonny' new now that he had been under my tutelage for a month. Everything went smoothly, he did everthing I asked for from the ground on the lunge line, lateral and vertical softness, backing, standing to be saddled and have his feet picked out. I even sidepassed him on the rail a few times. His owner was impressed. The smooth sailing continued as I mounted from the off side and bent him to softness laterally, vertically and asked him to back on two reins. We moved out at a walk and then bent him to a stop, 1 rein, and then a disengagement, to show her the breaks worked really good on this colt. We even did it all from a trot. I asked for a few steps in sidepassing both directions. Then I asked him to canter. That is when it happened. He bucked, just a little, to let me know that He didn't like being asked to move faster. So I bent him to a slow trot on a circle then asked him to stretch out and canter again, then he bucked pretty good. Now this was rather embarrassing as I don't imagine a horse owner who has paid good money to have their horse trained really wants to take their 'bucking' horse home yet. However, I had this problem solved. He had done the same thing to me before, so I put an extra pad on his withers above the scapula, but that didn't work initially until I had also trimmed his toes on his rear feet. Most of us don't like to step on our toes consistently or to be stepped on so we take steps to avoid it. He was clipping his front heel with his hind foot, so taking off some toe solved that problem. The combination of extra pad, and shortened toe made asking for a canter no problemo. However, the day the owner came I stupidly decided I didn't need the extra pad under saddle. Then came the bucking and the red face. I quickly put the extra pad on and cantered away with no problem. This just goes to show you pride goes before a fall/or buck. It reminds me that taking care of the little irritants of life makes the rest of the day go lots better. What I mean is, take care of the little things, wash your underwear and socks, take a shower, eat a good breakfast, go to work, be kind to everyone, smile, change the oil in your car regularly, check the air pressure in your tires, kiss your spouse, maybe your dog and kids, go through your junk mail (you might have a hidden rebate check in one) take out the trash, do the dishes in the sink so you will have a bowl and spoon for your next meal, read your Bible and pray daily, thank God for your life and more. Take care of the little things and life won't buck you so often.
This is Jeff saying 'Starting with a good beginning doesn't guarantee a good ending but it sure helps!'
Matt. 6:33
By the way, the owner was happy with her newly trained horse. But is the horse happy with her?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

new accesory

I just added a new component to this blog. Now when I reference a Bible verse like Romans 8:28 you can click on it and it will go to that verse in the gateway online Bible. Pretty cool! Just a note of news. Stormy, the horse I was training left yesterday. We had a great ride, he even gave his owner Mike a bath in a pond we were wading in. He decided, after a long hot ride that it might be good to get cooled off by laying down and before Mike knew it he as laying in the water. When Stormy tried to stand up, he lost his balance and laid on his side giving Mike a nice dip in the tepid water. All in all it was a good ride and Stormy will be a good posse horse for the sheriffs dept. for him. Anyway I have another horse coming this week to train so pray that I will be wise and better able to communicate with her. That's right, bringing a girl to stir the mix with Jake and Raven this time.
Keep looking for new things to add zest to your life.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Well it has been a while. I haven't up to my intention to blog once a week. I am just wrapping up finishing a colt I have been working with since May 11. He is doing pretty good, kinda lazy, but over all I think he will be a good ride for the owner. He responds to all the commands, he even does leg yields. Most all the goals I had for him are being met, not perfectly, but he can do them. I had him out yesterday in the rain and he walked trotted and cantered whenever I asked him. He doesn't do that well in the round pen. Sometimes you just have to get out and see how the stuff works in the real world outside our little zone. It worked for him and even better. O there were a few glitches, times when he didn't want to move forward in the direction I wanted, but a little irritation with the riding crop on the hindquarters and he decided to move for me. Sometimes that is what we are like isn't it. God wants us to move forward, but we see it as too much work or we just want to go back to our zone and relax. Since He doesn't get the response He wants from us, he provides us with a little irritation on the hind end. You know, a person in your life that doesn't do what you want, or financial set back, or a disappointment, those kind of things that aren't the end of the world, but like an itch that won't go away, they get our attention and compel us to find the answer. When we find it the itch/irritant goes away. God releases the pressure. If only we/I could learn as fast as the horse. So what's pressing you today? Work got you reeling head over heels, or worry about money, or another persons unwillingness to listen to your wisdom? Maybe it is not about the work, money or the person but about God getting your attention to move in forward progress toward Him? HMM! Something to think about. Pay attention to when the pressure is released, maybe you've touched on the right answer.
Just a little irritation goes along way.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


WOW! That is all I can say about the last weeks. It has been a fast ride through the days. I think all of us could use a little settling down. Just to back off our routine for a time to readjust. I have been so busy with church related stuff and horse training that it feels like I am in a whirlwind. But sometimes you need to just get off, take a deep breath and relax. I learned this while first beginning to work with Stormy, the latest horse in my training. He has taught me there are times when you just have to switch things up and stop for a minute and catch your breath or breath. When mounting for the first time, and dozens of times after that my heart beats fast, and kind of just have to get in the right frame of mind and decide to swing all the way on. Then get back off and walk it off and go back at it. That is the way it is spiritually too. Things happen, people get sick, schedules get thrown to the wind, emotions get frazzled. It is at those times when you need to get off the 'horse' and shake it off. I think it was Martin Luther who said, "I have so much to do today that I must spend 3 hours in prayer or I will not get it all done." What a statement about hecticness in our lives. But most of us think 'if I don't have time to get all the things done I need to today, how am I going to have time to spend 3 hours in prayer?' Now don't misunderstand, I'm not there yet either. I think I probably spend 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour in prayer at one time,usually in the morning and read Scripture on top of that. But one thing I have noticed is this. When I take the time to spend it with God each day, He has a way of making my day stretch far enough to get all the important things done that I need to. I usually use a list, much to my wife's humorousness. Using a list helps me stay focused and It is pleasing to be able to check things off the list each day. I use a list with my training too. That way I don't skip things that need done.
So, the next time you find yourself in a frazzled state of mind, consciously get off the 'horse', take a walk in the woods or down your favorite road, or just sit on the back porch and pray. Take the time to talk with the Lord and listen to Him. Read a portion of scripture and chew on it a while until you really find out what God is saying in that passage. Then get back on, refreshed and more confident.
God Bless

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Get the log out!

I know it has been a while since I have said anything. I have been extremely busy. I just partially finished bringing a 4 year old quarter horse to the point of being ridden. He is going to be a good horse. This experience showed me again how important a good beginning is when it comes to training a horse, or for that matter doing anything in life. My own two horses need a lot of work to get them where I want them to be too. That is as much me as them. However, I didn't know how far along Raven was until after Hunter (the 4 year old) left and I had some time to work with Raven. She is eons farther than I had thought. Its like driving a car without power steering then driving one with it. It was refreshing. If only I had started her like this when she first arrived 15 years ago. But I can get her to improve more. I need to improve myself. It is like Jesus saying in Matthew 7, 'take the log out of your own eye before you try to take the speck out of another persons eye.' That is not the exact quote, but in applying this to horses, I have found that I need to be harder on myself than my horse. Raven or Jake want to work. They want to understand what I am trying to tell them. I can tell because they lick their lips, throw their head around, or just move trying to find the right answer. so when they don't find the release it is because of me. If they don't move their shoulders over but move their back up or mover forward it could be that I am not giving them the right release or cue. It has to be taught to them. Much of the time I have discovered that when I want a turn and they side pass it is because I am giving them mixed signals due to my own inexperience. My seat position is wrong, I'm not riding balanced myself. So when I recognize that and am harder on my own mistakes then theirs the session is more relaxed and we learn the move faster. One thing I have noticed is that they don't hold my mistakes against me. Whew! that is a relief.
So in the future when I ride (which is always an occasion for training) I prepare myself be remembering that they will try to find the right answer. I need to know what I want and how to ask for it before I ask it. And I need to remember to be harder on myself than the horse. I need to get the log out of my own eye before I try to get that speck out of theirs.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Back to the beginning

Sometimes, I have discovered that it is best to go back to the beginning when you get lost in what you are doing. I have done just that in working with my horses. I have been going back to the basics in refreshing their minds regarding training them. I want them to be as safe as possible. So lately, I have went back to ground exercises that I have learned. I ask them to give to pressure off a lead rope, bending and softening their necks by pulling lightly on the lead rope until they bend or dip their nose to their chest. I have begun sacking them out (desensitizing) with anything I can find that might spook them on the road or trail. When I start with them on any given day I have been lungeing them asking for repeated directional changes, asking them to give the hind quarters, to lead etc. until they are responding correctily with minimal pressure on my part. I just want them to get better at it. I also introduced flags (plastic bag on the end of my whip), balls, grain sacks, an umbrella open and closed in order to desensitize them more. I think alot of people think they just have to introduce something once and they don't have to do it again. But horses learn by repetition. So the more times I can introduce 'scarey' things to them the more they will not let them bother them. Hence, I am doing this everytime I work with them. Raven has been doing well. I was able to work with her yesterday again on softening and collection and she is coming along responding faster the more I do it. That is why I went back to the beginning. To refresh my own mind and to refresh hers. Jake is softer than Raven in collecting up, but he is also more of a coward. So I will be really working on desensitizing him to those scarey things.

Another advantage to going back to the beginning is not only does my learning become more habitual in practice, but it also enhances my communication with Raven or Jake. I have discovered that most of the time when I am having trouble with them, when they don't seem to be 'getting it' it is not because they aren't trying or because they don't want to, it is because I have failed to communicate clearly what I want, either by my seat or leg position or because I wasn't sure what I wanted them to do. So it hasn't been their fault but mine. Hence, I have had to tell them I am sorry when I realize I haven't communicated clearly what I want them to do. (I don't think I have to ask for forgiveness, though their have been times I got angry with them only to realize it wasn't their fault. I do believe they would be quick to forgive though.)

I think the same is true in our spiritual lives. We get in a rut, or our bible reading and prayer begins to become uninteresting and slacks off. That is when we need to go back to the beginning and get refreshed in our passion for the Lord. That takes going back to the basic disciplines of the Christian life- pray whether you feel like it or not, pray until you do feel like it. Introduce Bible prayers such as Colossians 1:9-12; Ephesians 1:15-20; Ephesians 3:14-19 into your prayer time. Memorize those passages. How about rekindling your desire to read the Bible by reading it chronologically. There are Chronological Bibles you can purchase. I have a Chronological Bible reading plan I am following presently. If anyone wants it I can email it to you. Unless you have Logos Bible Software it will not work exactly like mine, but you will have the verses to read and the scheduled order of reading. What about getting involved in some ministry in the church that will challenge and stretch you. Attend a Bible study in your church that you haven't attended before, or go to one you haven't been to for a while.

Just like with my horses going back to the beginning in their training refreshes me as well as gets them more broke. It also helps to fill any holes in their training in the past. So also getting back to the beginning when you were fired up for the Lord in the beginning of your Christian walk will help to refresh your spiritual vitality. Another thing, God communicates His desires for you clearly in His word, but it takes you seeking to understand and practice it in order for you to get it right. Sometimes this takes trial and error. But God is a forgiving God.

So why not decide today to get back to the beginning and watch your spiritual foundation become more solid and stable.

Stay between the ears!


Matt. 6:33

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Spiritual Blessings

I have had cause lately to consider those blessings God has so wonderously gifted His children with. Just a quick reading of Ephesians 1:3-14 yields a plethora of blessings that boggle my mind. Let me review them for you. He has chosen us in Christ, v.4. We did not choose Him, but He chose us. He has adopted us through Jesus Christ, v.5. He has made us accepted in the Beloved, v.6. We have redemption and the forgiveness of sins, v.7. He has given us revelation regarding the mystery of His will that we who believe would be gathered together in Christ, v.9, 10. We have an inheritance, v.11. We also have been sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, v.13.
Now these blessings come to us not through some work of our own. They do not come to us because we have merited them. No! They come to us through the work of God. Note the number of times the phrases in Christ, in the beloved, through Christ, etc. are used. That indicates that the blessing of salvation is entirely the work of God, through Christ. Apart from Him, we have nothing. But in Him we have everything we need for godly living. He has given us every spiritual blessing we need, from being chosen to being sealed; from being selected by God to being secure in Christ. Hence, these blessings come to us entirely through the grace of God. It is not of us at all!
Now there is one other highly visible part to these blessings. They come to us from the hand of God for His glory. Again note the number of times the idea of His glory is presented. We see it in v.6, 7, 12, 14. God acts in such magnificent grace towards us not for our sakes, per se, but for His glory. That others, in other words, would see how God acts towards those who are His and be attracted to worship Him. It is part of His drawing others to Himself dynamic. His act of grace towards us is a witness to unbelievers to draw them to Himself. This is all done according to His own good pleasure, v.5, 9, 11.
God wants you and me to know and understand these spiritual blessings and rejoice in His marvelous grace, to the praise of His glory!
What a maginificent series of thoughts that I am chosen and secure in Him.
Do you see it too?
Take some time this week to think on these truths and rejoice in them.
To the Praise of the Glory of His Grace!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Complaints stop here

‘Got a complaint? Take it to the management!’ That is an old saying, when one is tired of hearing complaints from others. Complaining is an age old problem and one that I have struggled with over the years. So, when I read a recent article from Newsweek magazine entitled "Stop Your Sobbing —Now" (www.newsweek.com/id/117883) about a pastor in Kansas City, MO who led his congregation to stop complaining, my eyes opened wide.
It’s true! It seems Will Bowen, a pastor, challenged his people to stop complaining. He gave out purple rubber bracelets that had SPIRIT emblazoned on them, to remind his congregation to replace their negative thoughts with positive ones.
I have recently embarked on my own pilgrimage to put off complaining. I was convicted of my need to clean out my personal complaint file after reading Psalm 34. I even memorized it so that I could have something positive to say when I was tempted to complain. The first verse emphasizes the determination of the Psalmist to "bless the Lord at all times" and to let "His praise continually be in my mouth." Paul reminds us from the dark, dinginess of a prison cell to "rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice." (Phil. 4:4) The ‘all times,’ ‘continually,’ and ‘always’ say it all. There is no time when we ought to cease from praising the Lord and start complaining. Not even when the car breaks down on the highway; or when your check bounces; or when your shed is blown all over the neighborhood during a storm and you are out there in the middle of the night cleaning it up; or when illness or death strikes near to your heart, all of which have happened to me. There is no time for complaining, only praising.
This is not the power of postive thinking of Norman Vincent Peale fame. No! This is the power of Holy Spirit led thinking.
If you and I are going to walk with the Lord we must be filled with the Spirit. Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:18b-20 that "being filled with the Spirit speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God and our Father." That says it all doesn’t it?
The basis for this call on your life and mine to stop complaining is the truth that God is in control of all things in our lives. To complain at some trial of life is to mock God. It calls into question God’s goodness and love and wisdom in letting things happen to you that you do not like. The Israelites complained and God wanted to kill them. He had provided so much for them in getting them out of Egypt and providing for them in the wilderness. They were a mob of ingrates. Complaining reveals our ingratitude toward God despite the fact that He sent His Son to die for us and gave us eternal life. WE HAVE NOTHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT. Even if God should take away all our possessions or our health, we would still not be just in complaining. In short, complaining is sin against God. Let’s confess it and repent of it and replace it with thanksgiving and praise.
If you have a complaining problem. Why not work on it with me. Rid yourselves of this dark blot in your life. Memorize Phil. 4:4 and Ps. 34:1-3. Whenever you are tempted to complain stop yourself and think about one of those verses and then thank or praise Him for your situation and slay that giant ‘Complaint’ that has so dominated your life. Be free from complaining once and for all.

God Bless

Friday, March 7, 2008

why good beginnings horsemanship

I probably should have explained why a preacher would use the title Good Beginnings Horsemanship as the title of my blog. You see I like horses and have been learning to train horses. I have trained more than a dozen in the last 10 years, but not until the last year did I really come to understand what it is all about. I was reading a Craig Cameron blog, sorry Ken, and came across a comment he made about the importance of a good beginning when working with a young horse. I thought, that's it. That will be the moniker I will use for my training efforts. It says it all, good beginnings. The necessity of starting anything good, or well is imperative if you intend to have a good finish. It is that way with horses, it is that way with people and life in general. When I train a horse I want to have a good beginning with him, gentle, yet firm, consistent, and calm. I hope to be that way in my daily life too.

Chaos in the world

I just opened this blog. My first time. I hope to use this to blog on a number of different issues, from my horse training experiences to thinking about headline news issues from a biblical perspective.
I wrote this aritcle a while back for our local township newsletter because we always ask questions of God and about God when bad things happen to people, especially to people we know or even ourselves.

You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to notice the chaos in the world today. The news headlines in every form of media tell us, in varying detail, of crime, war, and calamity such as the recent tornadoes in the central Midwest. However, this chaos comes closer to home than you might think. The fatalities in recent auto accidents due to the weather or just plain crazy driving, not to mention those that have occurred through crime remind us of the fragility of life. It makes one wonder whether God is awake to all of this and if He has anything to tell us about how to process these fateful events in our minds.
Jesus gives us a remarkable answer. He responded to a similar question from His disciples about the murders of several men by the Roman authorities, to which Jesus also added the 18 souls that perished when a tower under construction fell on them. How does Jesus respond to these deaths?
He simply states, "Except you repent you shall all likewise perish." (Luke 13)
You see it is not a question of "if" or "how" or "when" we will die. Rather it is a question of preparedness. The Bible tells us "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." We will all die. All of this chaos forewarns us and prompts us to be prepared. No one walks out of their house thinking, "this is my last day on earth." No one should walk out of their house thinking that it won’t be, either. This fact, then begs the question, "Are you prepared?" Jesus said, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." I ask you, "have you repented of your sin and asked Jesus to save you?" According to Jesus own words, this is how you prepare to live life without fear despite the inevitability of your own demise.
Don’t let the chaos or calamities of this life scare you. I leave you with this common saying I have seen on church signs, "No Jesus, no peace. Know Jesus, know peace." Which do you choose?