One day, as the D.J. began interviewing a new local artist, she met another man there who had a discipleship program, sponsored by him and his wife. They provided Christian mentorship and safety for young people who were singers. He invited Jessica to meet with them and see if she was interested in joining the program. She wasn’t sure about it, but decided to give it a try. She actually found out that she knew some of the young ladies in the program.
The leader of the program introduced her to a young man named Dee. Dee worked the sound equipment. Jessica rolled her eyes when she met him. She thought that he was a guy who was handsome, and he knew it. She was not impressed with him.
The Lord began to grow her more and more. She began to realize that her sons needed a father. She was still talking to her youngest son’s father, and they had talked about the possibility of getting married. But, something wasn’t right. This weighed on her mind heavily. Jessica was in quiet contemplation one day when Dee could tell that something was wrong with her, and asked her if he could pray with her. She was taken back because she had never been around a young man who had wanted to pray for her. She agreed, and the Lord started to unfold His will to her. He showed her that if she married her son’s father, she would be miserable. He was not the one that God had for her.
The discipleship program went on a trip to Nashville, and excitement was in the air for the young musicians. This was when she started to get to know Dee more.
Dee was a young man who had grown up in a strong, Christian family. He was personable and helpful. He had been home schooled, along with his 7 siblings, and had a grandmother who was well known in the city of Tulsa, for her care of the poor and the down trodden. As the trip continued, she came to the knowledge that she had misjudged Dee, and that he was a really humble and kind, Christian, young man. They spent a lot of time getting to know each other on the trip and continued after they returned home. They enjoyed each others company immensely.
She started to grow feelings for him, but the enemy kept planting the seed of lies in her mind like…. she wasn’t good enough for a guy like that. (The lies straight from hell continued like this: He could never love someone like her, much less become the father to three boys who were not his. She didn’t deserve anything good. She had no value.) But the truth was that he showed true concern for her welfare and her spiritual life.
As Jessica continued to draw closer to God, He began to reveal himself to her and speak to her in different ways that were very significant. When she was 21, and Dee was 25 or so, he would get on the floor and play with her children. There was a lot of brokenness within her and she struggled with his displays of love and care toward her and her children.
Eventually, Dee shared with Jessica the depths of his affections for her, and said that he would like to settle down and marry her, and become a father to her children. He said that he had always known in his heart that he would eventually marry a lady who had children. The Lord had put it in him, so he wasn’t afraid. She said yes, and the two were united in Holy Matrimony.
Two years later they welcomed a gorgeous baby girl, followed by another pretty little girl after that. Isn’t God good! After marriage, she felt loved, but still struggled for quite some time with receiving this healthy love.
Jessica and Dee have been married for almost 2 decades now. They have adult children, who were brought up in a Christian home…. (and one daughter-in-law). Their family is a testament of the goodness of God, and how He can take our brokenness and bring about restoration in those who put their trust in him. This couple continues to put their trust in God, and is fully aware that to put their trust in the works of their own hands doesn’t end well. Jessica admits that marriage is hard, and always a work in progress. There is no married couple on earth who can disagree with that. She told me that she and Dee want to leave a Godly legacy for their children, that doesn’t give up, and continues growing and holds on even through difficult times.CLICK HERE for great skin care products
This couple resides in a suburb of Tulsa, OK, where Jessica is primarily a home maker, and works as a hair dresser part-time ,while homeschooling their last 2 school aged children. Dee makes his living as a professional graphics designer. If you happened to pass Jessica somewhere, you would never guess what this classy looking, young lady has been through. But, she has been renewed! Dee and Jessica’s sons and daughters are polite and pleasant young people. Their mother serves as a beacon of hope to anyone who will hear her testimony of God’s faithfulness toward her. Dee is a big, strong, Christian man, with a wife who loves him deeply and dearly. He is a pillar. He is very talented and has a great, big, teddy bear personality. May the Almighty be with them and their children as they continue to fight the good fight of faith.
By Heidi Khalil, July 10,2022CLICK HERE for skin care product
When the gang came for him, they started beating the “stuffing” out of him. He was savagely beaten in her presence. She kept trying to run from him as these guys laid into him, but he wouldn’t let go of her. A gang member finally pulled her out of the place. As they were getting ready to take her, her boyfriend made a mad dash from them. The guy pulled out a gun and was about to shoot him in the back. She screamed, “NO!” It was alarming enough that the guy didn’t end up shooting him. For some reason they left quickly, leaving her behind. She said, “They could have taken me, and done Lord knows what to me, but God was watching out for me.”
After that near death situation, they left Albuquerque, and moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This was where her boyfriend was from, and this is when he started smoking crack cocaine, and became addicted to it. One day he beat Jessica up so badly that the blood vessels in her face were broken.
By this time, they had decided to move back to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where her boyfriend was soon arrested shortly after for robbing a bank. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Bertie took Jessica into her home with open arms. She had been gone for one year, and had seen more ugliness, at the ripe age of 13, than most people see in a life time. She was so happy to be with Bertie, and very grateful. Bertie took her outside of her surroundings to see more than herself. She showed her that she had value. But all of a sudden, the reality of her larger than life experience started hitting her, when she found out that she was pregnant. She was in shock. She knew that there was no question, she wanted to keep her child. Love was on the horizon, and it arose from a place deep inside of her.
When she gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Bertie became the best “grandma”, and “mother”, that Jessica could imagine. Bertie began training Jessica in so many areas. She was a rock. She was always there, always loving and extremely kind. Jessica began attending school and church again, and things seemed to be going well.
Oftentimes, when people try to clean up their lives, there are setbacks where the person will go backward for a time. The same was true for fifteen year old Jessica, and she became pregnant with her second child at that age, and attempted to take her life. She was placed in a mental hospital for minors. Bertie took care of her son while she was trying to pull herself together. This woman had an unwavering faith in Jessica, and held down the fort for her. She did not want her son to be taken away from her.
When Jessica returned from the hospital, she felt renewed, and started believing Bertie…. that she had value, and was more than her current situation and traumatic history. Jessica began to stand on her own two feet and got an apartment, and began to attend a high school for unwed mothers.
Things continued to look up for her. She found a life-long outlet. It was singing and songwriting. She wrote songs to express her deepest, most heart-felt thoughts, as her singing voice got better and better.
While in high school, Jessica enrolled in the “Job Core”. This is where she was taught marketable skills for the work force, so she could support her two boys. Bertie stayed close by her side through all of this season of growth.
When Jessica became pregnant a third time, from a new boyfriend, Bertie had a conversation with her that changed her life forever! She said, “Jessica, I cannot do this anymore. I cannot keep watching you make these self-destructive decisions.” Her heart sank. The only person who had ever believed in her, with a healthy and unconditional love was fed up with her behavior. She could hear it in her voice, and she felt the weight of disappointing this wonderful, kind “mother”. Then true to her word, Bertie put distance between them.
Jessica started to feel extreme loneliness like she had never known. She was praying continually, and scriptures that she had memorized and heard as a child started to flood her mind and heart. She started feeling the presence of God.
One day as she was praying, and pouring out her heart before God, she physically felt the arms of her father in heaven enfold around her and hold her, taking away the loneliness…bringing comfort and so much love! He had revealed himself in a very personal way. All of a sudden, she got it. She started saying it out loud. “He’s real! He’s real!” She was reminded of the scripture that says: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)
The song, “As The Deer”, started to have a whole new meaning, as her heart started to pant after a real, living, risen Savior. Her heart was being transformed, and she could feel the presence of the one who was living inside of her.
As she began in this new walk with the Lord, big changes began to happen in her life. Her music became something that was at the forefront of her life, as she was praising God through it. Her 3 precious boys were healthy and growing well, and Bertie had come back into her life. She was actively involved in church, and got an internship at a radio station, shadowing a D.J.
(The Testimony of a preteen runaway, turned single mother, who escaped a life filled with trauma and more horror than words can say. What kind of legacy will we all leave behind, when God sees fit for us to leave this earth? Will our lives have meant anything to God or anyone else? Will our children be inspired by how we conquered our sins and fears? Will they draw strength to help them serve God more intimately from their memories of us? Please sit tight, and read this testimony unlike any other that I have ever heard.)
I had the awesome privilege of interviewing a special lady named Jessica recently. It so happens that I met her when she was about 9 or so, at church. I always was touched by her sincerity and quiet strength. She was captured in my wedding video, when she was a little girl. We have had a good relationship. With Jessica, what you see is what you get. She is insightful and deep.
Jessica was a sickly baby. Her biological mother didn’t know how to take care of her, so her mother’s sister took care of her. Her father was in and out of prison for many years, and was feared by everyone in the “hood” that he called home. He was a career criminal, who was a walking nightmare. By 6 months old, she was malnourished, and the doctors did not think that she would make it. Time after time, she was shuffled between her aunt and her grandmother. Her aunt’s place was an unsafe environment, and the abuse and trauma began at a tender age.
At 5 years of age, she was sent to live with her other grandmother, her father’s mother. She was physically safer now. She joined her full sibling, an older sister there. She adored her grandmother, and she always stayed in close proximity to her. However, her grandmother lived in fear of her biological son (Jessica’s father). He had beaten his mother badly in the past with an iron skillet to her head. Every time he was out of prison, they were afraid that he would show up and terrorize them. The fear was so bad that her grandmother’s husband was afraid to live with his wife. He had been threatened repeatedly, and wasn’t interested in being assaulted or worse. They stayed married until he died many years later, but only lived together during times when her son was in prison for long periods of time.
After time, Jessica started to become more healthy. Her grandmother was known for making delicious, authentic Mexican food from scratch. She was a lady who had issues and a past of her own, but Jessica’s physical needs were taken care of.
Jessica loved that her grandmother took her and her sister to church consistently. She loved the positive attention that she got there from the church body. She was able to enjoy many activities, and learned Bible memory verses. One lady from the church in particular named Bertie, lived a couple of blocks away. She wanted to see Jessica and her sister succeed in life. She always went out of her way to help them in any way she could. She also was the only person that Jessica ever met who would stand up to her biological father. She refused to fear him. She would stand up for these 2 little girls in the face of this hardened criminal! And much to everyone’s surprise, he took whatever tongue lashing she gave him.
Although her grandmother’s house was so much better in so many ways, there was a “critical spirit” exhibited on a regular basis. It seemed that no matter how hard she tried to please everyone in the home, she was mocked often, and affection was held back from her. This allowed angry feelings to grow in her, that turned into rage, and trust was no longer present in her heart.
When she turned 11, her grandmother went away for a while, and left Jessica and her sister with their teenage uncle in charge of them. He let them have people over, and this was when Jessica became sexually active, and started “acting out”.
Shortly after, she started skipping school and spending time with her 20 year old boyfriend. She felt like she no longer wanted to stay in the home of her grandmother. In her rage and distrust, and desire to be with her boyfriend, she ended up being put into a group home, after a reunification with her biological mother failed.
By age 12, she had a different boyfriend, who was 23. She lied about her age to him. He thought he was in the clear, as Jessica did not look or act her age by now. Be that as it may, they decided to run away from Oklahoma to the state of New Mexico. She had decided that she wanted to be with him and not the strangers at the group home. Her boyfriend struggled with drug addiction and had become abusive. At some point during this time, she revealed her true age to him. He became irate, and got very angry with her. At that point, he started becoming more protective of his 12 year-old lover.
The drug addiction started to dictate life for them. Jessica became used to the beatings from him. She no longer had any self-respect left at all. At some point, her boyfriend decided that he was going to steal some drug money from a local gang. They were living in a cheap motel, and trying to stay hidden, but the gang discovered them.
( to be continued….) CLICK HERE for skin care products
I would like to wish a happy day to all of the dads out there! As this Father’s Day began to get closer, I started to think about what makes a dad special. I have only ever had one Daddy. He was very present in my life as a child and as an adult, until he passed away several years ago. My Dad was a pastor, and I got to witness a lot of men failing as dads because he was usually counseling them for one reason or another. Yet, I always understood from my Dad, that he felt that he didn’t know how to be a “dad”, because his dad died when he was 5. I have different memories of him, especially when I was a teen, of him apologizing because he was trying to do his best, but didn’t know if he was hitting the mark.
While I was growing up, there seemed to be a type of stereo typing of what a good dad was supposed to look like. My Dad didn’t fit this stereo type for so many reasons. So, as a tribute to so many dads who feel like somehow they missed the mark. This one is for you.
My Daddy, was an awesome father to me. He was pretty easy going and VERY GENTLE. He was a life long pastor. What you saw was what you got. He was the same at home as he was in church. He read the Bible and sang praises with us everyday. He was a sharp dresser and an avid reader. He woke us up with a good sized hand bell every morning, to call us to worship. He was very tall and had extremely big hands. He couldn’t fix many things. However, he could fix shingles on the roof, and change the tires and oil on the car. He and Mom painted inside our house, and were fond of stick on tiles (lots of people had them back in the day). He used to go bike riding with us on occasion, and used to make me a big tumbler of carrot juice most mornings, when I was a teen.
My Daddy was into health. He made sure that I got my vitamins, and that I was protected. He used to give the best foot rubs, and was convinced that people needed them on a regular basis. He was retired by the time I was 13. He was the age of my friend’s grandfathers. But he looked so good for his age that it never seemed to be an issue.
He took my friends and I to the park on senior skip day in our huge station wagon, that sat 8 people. We had a cookout and he sat and read his paper, oblivious….or so I thought (I finally figured it out as I got older). He had agreed to take us, if we would feed him. My friends were so impressed, and a little confused. We had such a lovely day.
He was good with my husband and my children. He would come over and help me on my farm. He rode “shotgun” in so many of my country endeavors.
In all of his feelings of inadequacy, I found him to be an excellent father! His imperfections were very minor in comparison to what we were given. I was consistently given positive messages about who we were as a family and what we stood for. I was complimented on my abilities that I excelled in, as well when I looked nice, but he didn’t make too much of a big deal out of it, just enough to let me know that he acknowledged it. (He didn’t want us to get a big head.) This is huge for any child, or teen. Confidence was instilled in me by both of my parents.
My take away is this….You don’t have to fit anyone’s mold, to be a good father. Men with strong, Godly character make good dads. If a dad treats his children how he would like to be treated, teaches them how to follow Christ by word and by example, makes sure that they are physically and spiritually safe, these are the main things.
So Dads, stay close to God, and hang out with your children. Make sure that they have enough confidence in you to trust you with their hearts. Teach them what you know. You will tie strings of fellowship with them that will stand the test of time. Have a fabulous day!
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Chili is my all time favorite, one-pot meal. It can be as healthy or as rich as you dare to make it, and the variations are endless. Living in the Mid-west for over thirty years has given me a respectful love for chili. There are literally hundreds of recipes. If you can think it, you can make it work with chili.It definitely crosses over land boundaries and continents. Chili is also an awesome meal for a family, big or small. It can really warm you up on a chilly or cold day. CLICK HERE for skin care products
I have witnessed and also been a part of chili contests. My personal favorite type of chili contests to attend is when the men are doing the cooking. It is very entertaining, and YOU NEVER KNOW WHICH CONCOCTION OF CHILI WILL BE THE VICTOR!
So, I decided to create 2 lists. The first list will be some of the chilis that I have had first hand experience with. The second list is my summation of my 5 favorite types of chili.
Chili I have eaten:
Red Bean Chili w/ground beefor wild meat, such as deer, bison
White Chili w/chicken breasts & white navy beans, with white pepper included
Garbanzo Bean Chili w/ground beef
Black eyed pea & dumpling chili, with chicken (my father’s own creation)
Texas style, 3-meat chili (no beans) with sour cream
Black bean chili w/ground beef, corn, chipotle peppers and corn
Barbeque Chili with ground beef, and any type of beans that you enjoy with BBQ
Cow tongue Chili with pinto beans and pablano peppers
Mexican Chili…ground beef, peppers, beans, topped with shredded cheese and fritos
Pinto Bean Chili with beef sausage
Lentil chili, with stewed beef or goat
Chili doesn’t have to be full of acid or hot peppers. Chili can be very comforting to the stomach…a real hearty meal, or full of fire. It’s completely up to you. Recently I made a batch of it with black beans, ground beef, cumin, coriander, curry and basmati rice, and some mild salsa…just to name some of my ingredients.
Chili has often been given a bad reputation. I have gotten chili from restaurants over the years. I always regret it, and won’t be doing that again! I have experienced the infamous “burp up”, the stomach ache from the bottomless pit, the “flaming exit” of the chili from my body…. and when I was 16, I worked at a very famous retail store with a snack bar. They served many items, which included chili, and a baked potato with chili on top. The supervisor would add the old coffee from the day before to the chili pot to make it more fluid. Thousands and thousands of people ate that chili. By the time the onions and hot liquid cheese were placed on top, no one could put their finger on why the chili was different. YUK! Chili doesn’t even need to be acidic or spicy either……AND I NEVER MAKE CHILI WITH BEANS FROM A CAN! I REALLY PREFER TO KEEP MY FEET ON THE GROUND!
Chili is a work of art. You can cook up a stir fry with ground meat, onions, green peppers, garlic, salt and a little bit of finely chopped spicy/chili pepper. I like to pre-cook my dry beans in my Instant Pot, with chopped onions, salt and cumin. You don’t even have to pre-soak your beans when you do this. You can go from “dried beans to fully cooked” in 15-60 minutes(depending on the type of bean). When both pots are done, I transfer them into a big pot that has plenty of room so that it does not boil over. I put in the stir fry first, then the beans. After that I add my frozen garden tomatoes or sauce. I actually just roughly cut them up in the big pot once they were fully cooked & soft. Then, I add the bean water little by little until my desired amount of liquid is reached. The simmering can finally begin. It needs to simmer for 30-40 minutes, until it is just right. I often add a little apple cider vinegar for tang. I taste and re-taste, until I have it right where I want it. Sometimes I add freshly squeezed lemon juice instead of the ACV. If you have concentrated lemon juice from the grocery store, try it first by itself. If the taste reminds you of cleaning fluid, try a more upscale brand to get more of an authentic taste. IT REALLY CAN RUIN THE ENTIRE TASTE OF YOUR CHILI POT. Often times, I will add a small amount of olive oil after the chili is completed and stir it in with freshly pressed garlic. This adds a gourmet flavor, that seems to put a nice finish on the chili.
My favorite types of chili are….drum roll please……
Black bean chili, with ground beef/deer/goat (your choice) and corn, with canned chipotle peppers
White Chili, with Chicken breasts, white navy beans and yellow or green spicy peppers
Red Bean Chili with curry, coriander, cumin, green peppers, ground beef, onions and more
There are UNLIMITED chili recipes. Don’t be afraid to step out and try something new. Chili can be so amazing. Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone.Bon appetit!CLICK HERE FOR SKIN CARE PRODUCTS
Staycation…what does it mean? For my family, last summer it meant that we got to have a relaxing fun-filled week, even though a lot of vacation destinations and activities were closed or made entirely unavailable because of the pandemic. A lot of people in this world are longing for a break. The last 2 years have been INSANE, to say the least!
First, let me say that we had no intention of spending a lot of money, and had decided that this staycation would be as economical as we could make it.
A Staycation is when you sleep at home each night, but treat your days like you are on vacation, and have a full itinerary of fun-filled activities to do each day. It can be as inexpensive or as expensive as you want to make it. If you take the time to plan well, it can be such an upgrade to the length and quality of vacations you have taken before. Last summer my family and I had our very first ever STAYCATION. We had a blast!
These are my top 10 favorite Staycation ideas:
The Beach/Lake…Go play in the water, and the sand….soak up some sun. Most people have some type of “water escape” within driving distance. Many are even free. Some require a small fee for parking or entry. This is nothing compared to spending even one night in a hotel or cabin. Pack a cooler of scrumptious food. Some choose to go out to eat. The choice is up to you. You can make it super simple and economical, or high end. It is up to you. We actually did this for 2 of our 5 days of staycation at 2 different destinations. You can take balls, frisbees, floatation toys, etc. Make sure you have a plan if you don’t find a shady spot.
Bowling/Laser Tag/Skating Rinks…call around to get the best deals. You would be surprised how much cheaper deals you can get during the “normal workday” hours. Just don’t forget to ask if they have any “specials running”.We actually found an older bowling alley, and we had no waiting, and full service. The guy did work with us on the pricing, since they needed the business!
Horseback Riding…patient planning is the name of the game here. Call around, ask intelligent, pre-planned questions, and be super friendly and polite. I have gotten tips from employees many times that saved me time and money. You need those details. Many state parks have stables, and you have to call the stable master and see what the fees are like. There are also ranches that offer this for a fee. Keep in mind that keeping horses up is not cheap, so this would definitely be a little more expensive than some other activities.
Hiking…. this can be a lot of fun. Make sure you always go with others though. This can be dangerous at times, especially if you are a beginner and try to hike on an higher level than “beginner”. I have been on group hikes before, and found it to be so rewarding. Make sure you study up and have proper shoes & clothing, First Aid, and water with you. Some places have cave exploration experiences as well.
Cook out at the park with friends or relatives…..Plan in advance right down to your menu, and everything that you would like to take with you. Remember to keep it to where it is still relaxing. Don’t invite your frienemy! If you don’t eat meat or don’t want cooking to be a part of it, just pick up a premade salad or favorite food, and bring either physical or table games to play with your family or friends.
Day Trip to a tourist area…. plan for exploration, food options, experiences such as museums, musical shows, shopping, animal attractions, and more. Just make sure that you don’t over extend your driving capability for one day.
Put Put/Golf….a fun option for many. Remember, with put put….the more the merrier.
Film Festivals….. if you can’t find one, you can make your own at home. You can plan your own line-up, put dark sheets over your windows if needed, and plan food to you and your family’s liking. We ended up doing this on our last day of the staycation, because we were kind of worn out. So, that day we watched movies and ate pizza and salad. It was great.
Theme Night….Plan to dress appropriately for whatever theme you pick, and then eat an elaborate dinner that corresponds…with plenty of friends and family…..like a party at home or at a restaurant…maybe even getting to see a local play that night after all is said and done.
Agritainment…..This can be very enjoyable. Planning is key. Check it out. Many things can come up…such as corn maze, sheep farms, pony rides with petting zoos, hayrides, fruit groves where you can pick your fruit yourself, etc. Keep an open mind, and you will be surprised at what you find.
The biggest thing to remember is to think outside of the box…and plan well in advance. It will surprise you! Don’t forget to start your staycation with a clean house. We used disposable dishes all week, and had the laundry caught up, so that we only had to do very minimal upkeep. We were gone for the better part of most of the days, so we actually came home to a clean house each day.
Also, keep in mind that it is very economical to tent. There are endless nice campgrounds for tenting. If you like the outdoors, it may be very worthwhile for you to invest in a good tent. But everyone is different. God made us all unique, and that is alright.
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About 25 years ago, I needed some fresh goat’s milk. I was just starting to tend goats, and I had an orphan baby goat that needed some milk. I called around to a few of my farmer friends and was given a name and phone number of an elderly couple who had about 100 dairy goats. I called the number and spoke with a friendly lady named Ethel. She gave me the address and I drove the 15 minutes to her house.
Upon arriving, my son got out and unlatched the gate, as instructed on the phone call. We drove in, and the gate was re-latched. The house could not be seen from there. There were plenty of trees, and as we continued down the long driveway, we finally came to a neat, stone, ranch-style house, with beautiful dairy goats of various breeds grazing and gracefully walking around with their heads held high. The kind lady and elderly husband came out to meet me. They were in their 70’s. They were having the time of their lives being dairy goat farmers, after retirement from the hospitality industry some years before. They got married to each other while in their late 40’s. The window for having children had escaped them. However, they were spry, strong, and loved their post retirement lives. They were financially stable and on the frugal side. I found them both to be kind and wise. They were full of goat milk knowledge and statistics off of the top of their heads at a moment’s notice.
This hobby farm was a goat’s dream. Beautiful lush, green grass was everywhere. The barns were clean, bright and the goat’s every need was taken care of impeccably. The couple had plenty of goat milk customers, who had been assigned different days to pick up their portion of milk. Ethel told me that she had an extra gallon that she could sell me. She didn’t have enough milk to keep me set up until my next mama goat (doe) gave birth, where I could share the milk with the orphan kid, but for the present this was satisfactory. However, we chatted and she told me about some young females (doelings) that she would be selling soon. I took a look at them, as I was building my herd. She had lovely well-bred animals. Her prices were more than fair. I was interested.
I was so impressed at how strong and youthful this couple was. One day I asked Ethel about her health regiment after I had known her for a few years. She said, “Honey, I drink that goat’s milk three times a day!” Then she demonstrated her firm grip by grabbing my hand. I was entirely impressed. Her hand not only felt strong, but strong enough to be the grip of a seasoned cattleman in his prime of life! I couldn’t fathom that goat milk alone was responsible for what seemed like this fountain of youth. But she and her husband were convinced of it.
As the years went by, she became a treasured farmer friend. We were not super close, but we would visit each others homes and shared a few meals together over the years. Then one day she told me that her husband had passed away. She was alone on her farm with her goats. She began to need more help, and she hired a few young teen boys to help her keep things up. She put in a brand new commercial steel barn with sunlight penetrating roof panels. It was so nice even in the winter when it was cold outside, the sunlight was shining in the barn.
Ethel was a no-nonsense kind of lady, and her mind was sharp. She didn’t miss much of anything. I can still picture her expressions. They were priceless. She gave no pretenses…. what you saw is what you got!
Quite often, I would meet up with her neighbor. He and his family lived right down the road less than a one minute drive away. They helped her so much: hauling hay, lifting feed bags, fixing frozen water pipes, tending to goats and anything else she needed help with. The man of the family was an airplane mechanic. He was like the son she never had. He was patient, kind, extremely helpful and dependable both before and after Ethel’s husband died. His wife was kind to Ethel, and they had a teen-age son that had been around Ethel since he was a little one.
I had seen Ethel at Walmart a couple of times, after a long stent of not seeing her. She told me that she had scaled down her goat farm to about 8 goats, and that she had had cataract surgery, so she hadn’t been driving much. By this time she was well into her 80’s….possibly close to 90. I know maybe I shouldn’t have, but I just had to look into her buggy. Her physical strength always fascinated me. What I saw was, organic spinach, tomatoes, onions and a 6 pack of Coca Cola. Oh well, I figured that must have been her vice beverage of choice. I told her that I would stop by soon.
About 3 weeks later, I stopped by and made my journey down the long driveway. However, what I found shocked me. She wasn’t home and her house looked all closed up. This was milking time. Where was she? CLICK HERE skin care products
I stopped at the neighbor’s home. He said that she had taken a fall and broke her hip. She had to have hip surgery. He and his son were taking care of the farm, and he gave me the name of the hospital. When I called her, and she told me that she was about to “spring out of there”. She just couldn’t wait! Then, she got the news that she would have to be put into the local nursing home for about 3 months to get physical therapy before she could move back into her house by herself. She didn’t LOVE this idea, but realized that this was her reality. When she was released from the hospital and put into the local nursing home, I went to visit her. She hated being there. She was used to lots of fresh air, healthy food (except for the Coca Cola), playing with her goats, and working on her tractor. We had a good visit though.
At the next visit about a month later, she was feeling good and progressing, but a little perturbed. She told me that her nieces had visited her while she was there for the first time in YEARS! Out of the blue, they seemed to be concerned for her well-being and were trying to talk sweetly to her. She told me that they were like buzzards flying overhead waiting for her to die. But then she told me a secret that they didn’t know. She said, “Heidi, they are going to be in for the shock of their lives after I die! I left them what they have given me in this life….NOTHING!!!….I went to see a lawyer a few months ago, and I left everything I have to the neighbor and his son!” We laughed together and gave each other a high-five. She told me that her attorney was to be in contact with her neighbors, upon her death. She also told me that she had a copy of the will at her house in her safe. Looking back, I think she felt like telling me was another witness, so that her heirs would get what she wanted to give them. She told me that her life’s savings and all of her assets would go to them. She said, I have no debt. They have treated me like I was their own flesh and blood!
Well, from there on out, things started going downhill for Ethel. She got home and started getting around a little, and then came down with the shingles. The shingles are very harsh on an elderly woman. She told me the pain was terrible, and the smell matched the pain. Her neighbor took her in. The family cared for her during her time of need, all the time not knowing her intentions. She told me that she did not tell them. It would be a surprise.
Some time later I had seen her neighbor at the grocery store. He told me that she had passed. I was sorry to hear that . I asked him, “Did you get what she wanted you to have?” He looked at me in amazement, and said, “ You knew?” I said, “Yes, she told me.” He said, “We went to the funeral, and after we got home, I opened the sealed letter that she had given to me. She told me not to open it until after the funeral. She told us in the letter that the 13 acre goat farm, with the 4 bedroom/ 2 bath house was ours, with all contents. She left me the car and my son the pick-up truck. She left us quite a bit of money and so much more. We are so overwhelmed! We never dreamed that this would happen. The letter had the key to her safe in it. She said that I would find all of the legal documents in there, and that I needed to get in contact with the attorney. So I did.”
I asked him if her nieces had given him any trouble. He said that he was expecting it, but they hadn’t. However, he did say that her late husband’s relatives had shown up and were very angry that they didn’t get anything. He gave them the attorney’s name and number and the attorney let them know that everything was exactly as it should be. The neighbor then started the process of remodeling the stone house, and selling his much smaller house. He was the rightful heir….the son that Ethel didn’t give birth to, but treated her as gracious and loving as a son would his precious, aged mother.
WOW!!! The scripture is so true. “Better is a neighbor nearby than a relative who is far away.” Proverbs 27:10 (b). While this exact scenario seems like a needle in a haystack, I have been around long enough to have known of other circumstances like this, but not to this magnitude. Ethel had no children, grandchildren or even nieces who were willing to inconvenience themselves enough to show her the love of familial bonds. They were selfish and she was invisible, until she was nearing the end of life.
It is so sad that there are so many elderly people nowadays who have no one to love them. So many of them have so much love, time, and wisdom in various areas to share. Many of them have a lifetime of experience on how to be a good friend. Her neighbor and his family took the time to be her friend, community and then became family. Why is it that so many people navigate through life alone, cut off from humanity, when a neighbor might live as close as a literal 10 feet away from them? This should not be the case for God’s people. We are called to love more than to make money, have social plans, and entertain ourselves and our families. Some people might think….but, oh, I have kids and they will be bored if we visit an elderly person. My friends, don’t make this crucial mistake. If you want your children to learn how to love and serve others, they first must learn that when they go visiting, they need to wear an apron (literally) …..since they will be serving. The mindset that the world does not revolve around them is the right teaching. They will learn invaluable lessons about life that school and movies cannot teach them. Children are a gift from God. If your children do not know how to serve, they will be “takers”, and feel entitled all of their lives.
So, if you desire to be the hands and feet of Jesus here on this earth….don’t procrastinate, reach out to some of the elderly people around you, especially those who have become isolated by life, death or the pandemic. Don’t do it because you want to get their stuff when they pass, but because from an honest heart, you want to love. You will learn more about friendship and service, and your life and heart will become more full. Don’t let fear of the unknown deter you from taking the first step. It just takes time and effort. Pray, and ask God to help you through it. God’s ways are what is right. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:39b) It’s time to revive them.
Money….some people can never have enough. Some have very little. Money, although desirable is nothing more than a tool. Nothing more and nothing less. Try as some might, it is your character and conduct that define you, and not how much or how little money you actually posses or earn. Oftentimes, wealth serves as a smoke screen. Behind the smoky screen, can be a nasty, ill-tempered, and greedy person. You really get to know a person when you touch their money!
I have a good friend, who is a very successful Realtor, who shared this testimony with me. He was raised in a loving mega-family of 11 children, with 2 parents. His father was a very humble man, who really didn’t have much of any wealth to leave his children. Russell was already grown and living in another state when his father was ailing. He was running back and forth from Colorado to Oklahoma quite often. The bond was strong and there was good reason.
After Russell’s father died, his mother had a sobering talk with him that he will never forget. She said, “Son, your Dad has worked hard his whole life to provide for us all. He realized many years ago that he would not have physical wealth to leave you when he died. But, he has left you his most precious possession, his name. Uphold it!” You see, his Dad had left him a legacy of being honest, trustworthy and had treated others how he would like to be treated. Russell realized then that his inheritance was far better than money. A good name is hard to get and easy to lose. The person who can hold onto it is both wise and wealthy in the true sense of the word.
This is the kind of inheritance that is a blessing from God, and protects and inspires others to do the right thing. As we all go about our daily lives, we must make every effort to honor God as our ultimate Father. Our names, through the Lord, must be something worth leaving to our children and heirs. It’s far more valuable than money!
My friend has enjoyed a wonderful & prosperous career as a top Realtor in his state of Oklahoma. I have done contracts with him in the past. I have always found him to handle his business like I was his family member. The deals were handled impeccably. Every detail was well thought through, and my family and I were asked how we wanted things taken care of down to the smallest concern. He has a stellar reputation in his field, and no property is too small or too big. I have referred friends to him, and they have been just as satisfied as I and my family have been.
If you ever need his services, his name is Russell Guilfoyle, with Oklahomes Realty, out of Claremore, Oklahoma. His phone number is 918-812-5795. Be Blessed!