Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Wrapping It Up

Here we are again, heading into the final stretch of another year. Christmas is right around the corner and the hustle around me is almost overwhelming.

Do you hear the Lord whispering to your heart? Slow down. Be still. Here I am. Waiting and ready to be found. I don’t want to let another moment, let alone a year, slip by without basking fully in my Savior’s glory.

Are we so focused on wrapping the presents that we miss the present God has fully unwrapped for us already? Jesus, coming in human form and enduring all He did for us, isn’t something to be taken lightly. We don’t want to only tune in one day of the year but I do want to celebrate what Christmas is truly about and not have it simply brushed aside in the hurry.

I find myself completely enthralled with the awesomeness of the story of Christmas. Is it just me or is the fact that God chose everyday, ordinary people to play such amazing roles in His great plan reassuring? 

In other words, because of Christ, we’re all able to be used in God’s great story!

And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:7-11 (NLT)

Did you catch the fact that the first people, other than Joseph and Mary, to hear the good news of Jesus’ birth were shepherds? Maybe it’s because I raise sheep for a living and know all too well how shepherds can be viewed by others that I always find such great delight in this passage.

God uses who He chooses!

We find ourselves reflecting a lot at this time of year and sometimes we can be overly critical of ourselves. I’m not going to lie, I’ve dropped the ball on countless occasions this year. But you know what, God is still using me! He doesn’t disqualify us from service because of our weaknesses, He uses them for His glory. Does that make anyone else want to jump up and down with praise for our great King?

As you go about your plans for Christmas this year, I pray Jesus will permeate every part of it. As we wrap up another year don’t rush past all of the wonder and splendor of our Savior. Let’s each walk into the new year humble, teachable and ready to put feet to our faith.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

When The Cup Is Empty

The plates keep spinning as I try desperately to balance what seems like an endless to do list. Just don’t stop moving or the fine balance, or the facade of what now looks like balance, of life will coming crashing down.

The demands of everyday life often make me feel like a salmon swimming upstream. I’m in constant motion but sure don’t feel like I’m making any headway. Do you ever feel like you’re struggling to keep your head above water? Let me tell you, you’re not alone!

You’ve heard it said, “My cup runneth over” from Psalm 23:5. Well, an all too common occurrence in our society today is “My cup runneth empty”. How many times have you been giving and giving and realize you ran out of “stuff” to give long ago and still keep dipping in for more.

There is a reason we’re told in a flight safety rundown we need to put our own oxygen mask on before we help others. When we don’t take in what’s needed to keep us going we’re useless to those around us.

The past month and a half I haven’t done a good job of putting on my oxygen mask first. As such, my cup had long since run dry and was choking  on the remaining dust. Rather than take the time needed to invite God into fill me up, I gritted my teeth and tried to continue on in my own strength.

I’m sure many of you already know this but that is NOT fun! We grow weary and burn out creeps at our door the entire time. Stubborn pride whispers lies to us that we can do it all and do it on our own.

Slow down. Take a deep breath. Cry out to Jesus and repent of pride. Allow God to breathe fresh air back into you. Dig into His word and let Him pour new life into your cup.

I pray you can find your “oxygen mask” quickly next time life sweeps you off your feet and tries to drain your cup. You can’t give what you don’t have!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Generous Spirit Can Grow Weary

Do you ever get tired of doing good for others or even for yourself? Just flat out tired of giving your best and ready to throw in the towel? I’d say most of us desire to have a generous spirit and willingly step out in faith to the assignment He has given each of us. It doesn’t mean we’re exempt from the humanness of exhaustion though, physically or mentally!
I truly wish that every day was sunshine and roses as we put our feet into motion walking out the calling the Lord has put on our lives. Maybe it is for others but I have days that can be downright difficult as I follow God’s assignments for me.
God doesn’t call out us into the deep waters of service and then wish us the best as He walks onto the next person. No! He knows full well we’re going to need Him and that’s the point. If we could do it without Him we’d believe it’s all about us instead of the truth of how God saves, not us.
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 (NLT)
It has been an exhausting month in my life. I truly love what God has called me to do but there have been many days over this last month that I was physically exhausted and even more so mentally. I wish I could tell you that I walked through it with tons of maturity and grace. Unfortunately I’ve been known to need a pretty good fall to make me realize that once again I’m trying to do it all in my own strength.
But…God is faithful and I hear Him whisper “Come to me” much quicker than I did in the past. He wants to help us. Not just get through our assignments in life but live the John 10:10 life of “life abundantly”.
I don’t mean that our workload is necessarily any lighter by man’s terms but I often find the spring returning to my step and my spirit renewed to the point I feel new energy. We remember we’re not in this alone! God is with us and WILL help us do His will.

Keep pushing forward my friends and lift each other up along the journey!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Family Ties

Sorry for I’ve been so absent lately. I have been super busy with hosting a sheepdog trial as well as fall ranch work. I'm trying to me consistent with blogging but ranch life is a lot of things but consistent or on any kind of schedule isn't one of them!

Working daily with family is such a blessing but can also be a challenge. For some reason we have a tendency to be the hardest on those we love the most. Maybe it's because we feel safe with them. In ranching we spend SO much time with each other that there can be times when you just need a break. Unfortunately at certain times of the year that's just not possible.

Fall is a busy time in the ranching world. Hay needs to be hauled home and stacked, ready for the all to quickly approaching winter. Lambs need sorted off  and sold as well as ewes dewormed and flushed to prepare for breeding. Booster shots need to be given to the spring calves. Fall calvers are busy having their babies. Pregnancy testing spring cows happens as well as selling spring calves. A whole year of work comes down to what can be a volatile cattle market most days.

Saying life can be stressful is an understatement.

Way to many times that stress comes to a head and boils over with harsh words cast too quickly at our loved ones. Never even a thought given to how much damage those words are causing.

Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer deflects anger,but harsh words make tempers flare.

I've been married to the same man for 23 years and we have ranched together and worked side-by-side every year since I was 18 years old. We spend a lot of time together! Don't get me wrong I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world but sometimes when you're in the heat of the moment real life can be tough.

So when that cow jumps over the fence and my husband is screaming I can either scream right along with him and escalate the problem or I can remember what God says about getting rid of all harsh words and choosing the gentle answer. In the moment I can often feel like I’m entitled to an outburst but I know God’s ways are best. Oh, how I wish it was easy but my flesh screams to have it’s way.

Ephesians 4:31-32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

I have found that my flesh’s solution to tense situations with harsh words does nothing to help the situation. God knows best as always. Harsh words make tempers flare. There is no way my anger, rage or harsh words will help diffuse any extra emotions my family is feeling from a stressful situation.

On the other hand by being kind, tender and gentle I can help deflect more tension, anger or harsh words. I truly love my family and don’t want to make those closest to me suffer because I think I’m “safe” to say whatever I want. They deserve my best!

The only way that’s truly going to happen when you’re in the middle of a tense moment is to intentionally take a deep breath and ask God for help. Our flesh will fight against it but take our thoughts captive and make our flesh submit to the spirit.

Our loved ones deserve our tenderness and forgiveness that Christ showed us!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Ruthie - A Life Well Loved

"For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me. Matthew 25:35-36 (NLT)

Always there for you - that's the way I would describe Ruthie. She had an infectious laugh and a warm smile that made you feel instantly loved. Ruthie didn't have an easy life but she had one that honored God. She went to be with the Lord recently and I am sure there was much rejoicing in Heaven as she went home.

Somehow I got in my mind that the only way you can do "real" Kingdom work and honor God is in some big huge stadium crowd type of way. Ruthie was a testament of just the opposite of that belief.

Ruthie lived her life in a simple, quiet manner and as a reflection of exactly what Christ calls us to do. Love! She had so much love in her heart and it just spilled out and splashed all over the rest of us lucky enough to have known her.

The depression era left its mark on many lives that came through it. Ruthie was one of those. She could find a use for anything. She was recycling and reusing before it was "cool".

There wasn't a soul in our small community that wasn't blessed by Ruthie's generosity. It didn't matter that she didn't have much she always gladly shared whatever she had with everyone she could.

The smell of Ruthie's home cooked food around lunch time would draw crowds of people in who desperately needed fed. She never asked for notoriety or money but she would have people help with some of her chores so it wasn't ever charity. She just loved like Christ taught her to love - unconditionally.

When I was fresh out of high school I worked with Ruthie as an aide at the hospital. It was amazing to see the genuine care she had for those who were hurting and sick. A smile, a laugh, a kind word here and there did more healing than the doctors that worked there most days. Her positive attitude quickly rubbed off on all those around her.

I was blessed to attend church with her and would often ask Ruthie how she was doing as she walked in for service. Her comment back was always, “Well I'm still here so I guess I can't complain.”

I will miss her smile, her honesty, her quick wit and her genuine care for her fellow human beings. Until we meet again Ruthie. ❤️

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Brave the Anxiety for the Adventure

“I am brave, I am brave, I am brave!” I just kept repeating it to myself so the anxious thoughts might not move back in and set up camp.

When I was younger I lived life fearlessly, probably to a fault if I’m honest. I was ten foot tall and bulletproof, or so I thought. If there was an adventure of any kind out there, I was first in line to jump in. I have the scars and broken bones to show for it too unfortunately.

Over the years, my adventurous spirit was starting to be drowned out by pops and creaks of the pains of a wild youth. I knew how hard a person could fall as I’d taken that trip down way too many times in the past.

God had placed this new adventure right in my lap and I knew He wanted me to move forward. The truth is though, it was WAY outside of my current comfort zone.

It wasn’t scary to write and follow the Lord’s call from the safety of my little home way out in the middle of the sticks. I mean come on, I’m the Hicks from the Sticks! Doesn’t that mean I should STAY in the sticks. That’s where I’m comfortable. This is my sweet spot. “Lord, I am happy to sit right here in my comfy office chair and type the words You want me to share with the world. Just don’t ask me to go out into it!”

Don’t take this wrong, I genuinely love people and have no issues driving the 30 miles it takes me to get to our little town of 1200 people. I love one on one conversations, small study groups or even our “big” events in town.

On the other hand, large crowds truly overwhelm me. So, when God said to jump on a plane, by myself nonetheless, and fly across the country to a conference with 800 or so people, I was slightly freaked out.

I prayed repeatedly to see if God was sure this is what He wanted me to do. I knew the truth, there was really no fighting it. So, I committed. That should have been the end of any anxious thoughts, right? Nope! I came so close to wimping out over and over again.

I crammed it to the back of my mind when there were still a lot of calendar days before my flight would leave. So typical of me. Just don’t deal with it until I absolutely have to.

As the days grew warmer and the time got closer, I felt a sense of fear starting to sneak in little by little. I tried to think of it as a great adventure but my anxious thoughts just kept fogging up my mind.

Then God whispered some reassuring words in my ear. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7 (ESV)

I was still trying to follow God’s plan for my life under my own power. Ugh, SO frustrating. I felt a good spiritual kick to the pants. I cried out to God, humbled myself and asked for His forgiveness. I wish I could tell you that meant it was easy sailing from there on out. There were still moments of doubt. I’m human!

But...I would literally picture myself casting my anxious thoughts at the foot of the cross any time they popped into my head. It really did get easier each time. Not easy but easier.

I’m learning to do the work God asks ME to do and then just show up and trust Him to take care of the rest. He is faithful.

God is so awesome and what an adventure it is when we follow Him!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Then God Made a Cowboy


When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child.
But when I grew up, I put away childish things.
1 Corinthians 13:11 (NLT)

The picture above is of my oldest son, Dustin. He will be 21 right after Christmas this year. I miss the days of him reaching up to grab my hand as I answered endless questions about why bugs are the way they are. I’m so blessed though as he’s grown into a man and I'm so proud to call him my son.

He epitomizes everything that comes to mind when I hear the word cowboy. He's hard working, honest, tough and gritty. He stands up for what he believes in and can be stubborn to a fault. He has a huge respect and genuine care for animals. He tries hard to listen and learn from those who have been ranching longer but is also finding his voice to throw new idea's out.

He comes from a long line of people that work hard and joke around just as hard. He didn't fall far from the tree on that one either! He's not bashful about who and what he is and you can either like him or not, your choice. It won't change him. I love that there is no shame for him to hug me or tell me he loves me in front of others.

We have our disagreements, as families will, but he's quick to apologize if he needs to. Just as quick to point out if it's me that needs to do the apologizing!

We were gathering cows a couple of years ago and I was telling him what he needed to do way more than any kid needs. He waited, with more patience than I could have ever mustered myself, until we got to the corral to say, "Mom, when you look at me on this horse, do you still see a 7 year old boy?  Cause that's what you're treating me like." He didn't say it snippy but very matter of fact and it was a reminder I needed.

There’s something to be said for being called out in truth and love. A bit of an abrupt wake up call out of some sort of dreamy fog we’ve dragged our heels on leaving. Our eyes are finally wide open and we fully grasp the truth and realize it’s a beautiful thing to see.

It’s an immense challenge for many of us mama’s to see our children growing up and maturing. On one hand, we know what’s best for them and cheer them on to maturity and independence. On the other hand, how sweet would it be for them remain little's forever.

Spiritual maturity is of the utmost importance however. As a parent we guide them and show them what a relationship with God looks like but it’s up to them in the long run to walk out that relationship in their own way.

Children grow and mature and we bless them as we watch them walk forward into adulthood. Supporting them to the best of our abilities, all the while, stepping back to allow them to make their own decisions. Prayerfully trusting God through it all.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Smile Pretty for the Camera...or Not?

I’m convinced God has a huge smile. He loves to see us smile too. Big, goofy smiles. Small, playful smiles. Smiles with teeth going every which direction. God created them all and He loves to see them.

He created me to smile and yet I fight against showing it to others if at all possible. Don’t get me wrong, I love to laugh and it’s not the petite, little chuckle. It’s a full on, wide open, usually snorting type of laugh. I’m so grateful I can’t really “see” or “hear” myself laugh do as I’m quite sure it’s not the same thing as what’s happening in my mind.

What I do struggle with though is smiling on cue for pictures. Am I the only one with that issue? I know I’m fearfully and wonderfully made by God who knit together every inch of me intentionally but… why does my smile always come across like the joker from batman when someone says “cheese”. Seriously, I wish I was kidding.

Last night, my niece (who is one of my best friends in the whole world) and I went to a Third Day concert. It was amazing. She reached over to take a picture of us together. Her smile literally lights up a room and you can’t help but smile with her. Except when there’s a camera around for me. Run, hide, grimace, stick your tongue out. Anything to avoid the dreaded smile.

This morning, God really laid it on my heart that regardless of what I think of my smile, HE loves it. So, I’m going to stop hiding it. I’m going to trust God and take Him at His word. He’s proven time and time again that I CAN trust Him with the “big stuff” and even what might seem like “little stuff”.

I missed making a lasting memory with someone very dear to me because of something so vain on my part. This smile is part of who I am, crooked teeth and all!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Faithful in the Little and the Big

For every beast of the forest is mine,
   the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the hills,
   and all that moves in the field is mine. 
Psalm 50:10-11 (ESV)

God has blessed my family to live out our earthly lives as stewards of His land. We get to see the glory of His handiwork each and every day. What we do for a “living” is take care of His living creatures. We’re ranchers.
It isn’t always easy. Many people have the idea that it’s always an idyllic and peaceful lifestyle. There are challenges each and every day just like any other job.
There are often times of extreme fatigue, frustration and endless demands laced with glimpses of God’s glory at exactly the right moment. He’s so good at providing exactly what we need right in the moment when we think we just can’t go on.
There are different seasons of each year that are more labor intensive for us. Some are just tedious and time consuming. Like putting up hay! Other times are fast and furious and it’s all a person can do to keep up with the breakneck pace. Such as calving and lambing.

You can find me many times singing worship songs while pulling a lamb with a leg back in a ewe and five minutes later fighting back screams of frustration over losing one I tried so hard to save.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26 (ESV)

I’ve been given dominion over the animals and the earth and I don’t take the responsibility lightly. We make our living raising and selling livestock. It’s our sole source of income. We don’t have any other jobs outside of ranching. This IS our day job. So of course we try to be smart about our “business”. There is more to it than just business for us. God has given us a great responsibility. We started from scratch and tried to be faithful with the few things in our care and rise to the challenge as He has increased those responsibilities.

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' Matthew 25:21 (NIV)
God has called each of us to to be good stewards over what He has entrusted to us, such as our family,  finances, and time. He’s calling us to be faithful in the “little” day to day things as they add up to the “big things”.

I love what I do. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t love everything about ranching but I love that I’ve been entrusted with God’s creation and creatures. It is so exciting to be able to share in my Master’s happiness!

We’re each merely a whisper in time here on this earth. I want to honor God with that time and what He has placed in my care. I, for one, long to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant”.

Thursday, October 1, 2015


I'm so excited to share a guest post with you today from Michelle Moore! She's a very talented writer with a heart for the Lord. You can find out more about her book Arm Yourself: Equipping Ourselves with the Armor of God below. 
Her blog can be found at www.myhearts-song.com  

Growing up I used to watch the Miss America pageants and imagine myself walking down the runway wearing the most beautiful gowns with trains that flowed over the floor and gave me the illusion of floating.

Glamour, spotlights, grandeur… I loved watching the award shows like the Oscars or the Emmys and whenever the tv host handed the mic to a celebrity they would ask the same question: Who are you wearing?

With responses like Valentino, Prada, Armani… I marveled at the intricate detail and handmade gowns and suits that graced the red carpet. Only one thing stays in my mind…those beautiful garments will never be worn again. So much careful thought, designing and planning went into each of these dresses by the designer. They are worn by the celebrity, danced in, perhaps even spilled on and never thought about again.

There is a designer who makes attire that is available to every single one of us that not only sparkles in it’s glorious magnificence, but also empowers us to be the best version of ourselves, makeup and hairdo aside. That outfit is the Armor of God!

The armor covers all of us, the helmet, the breastplate, the belt, shoes and shield protect us from the schemes that satan puts in our way to distract and destroy us. It also offers us a weapon, the Sword of the spirit, to counter the attacks and gain ground using the Word of God to pierce through the various forms of darkness the devil uses to prohibit us from reaching our full potential.

When you pray on each piece of the armor everyday, it is hard to not imagine yourself as a confident, fearless woman of God. You can handle anything that comes your way that day. Work, family, friend, church obligations are tackled with ease in knowing that you are not alone and the God of angel armies walks with you every step of the way.

I think sometimes as Christians we forget how powerful we are when we are equipped with the proper attire. With the knowledge of the armor being strapped on, we can become the bold, courageous, fearless women of God we were intended to be.

So the next time you hear the question: Who are you wearing? You can rest easy in knowing that you are wearing a God-breathed and inspired design- The Armor of God! Don’t leave home without it!

Dive deeper into each piece of the Armor and understand how to battle an all too common epidemic among women today: depression and anxiety, in Michelle Moore’s book, Arm Yourself: Equipping Ourselves with the Armor of God, available online wherever books are sold.

Author Bio
Michelle Moore is described as real, engaging, and practical. She is the author of Arm Yourself: Equipping Ourselves with the Armor of God which she self published the fall of 2014. She is also the creator of the blog, My Heart’s Song, which is endorsed by Family Christian Store and posts a weekly devotion, as well as offering books, concerts, movies and music reviews and giveaways. She has a passion for women in helping them to navigate through the negative stigma of mental illness. Michelle is also a down to earth speaker that is able to break down biblical principles and relate them to the modern day woman.