Monday, October 20, 2014

Scriptural Simplicity

Life is interesting, isn't it?

Sometimes it's great, other times it's so hard.  

Hills and valleys.

Yet, one thing is always constant: God's love for us.  It doesn't change, it doesn't waver, it is a constant in an ever-changing world.

Each day I read a passage of the day on Bible Gateway, and this morning's passage really struck me as appropriate for where I am: 
"Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit." (Psalm 51:12).  

I have been feeling really worn down lately.  Life's not quite as I had hoped it would be at this point; it's not necessarily bad, just different, and this little passage seemed like an apt prayer.  

It's easy to lose the joy of the Lord in the midst of things that bring us down.  Maybe God's plan and our plan don't line up together.  Maybe something promising fell through.  Maybe this, or that, or something else...the enemy loves to distract us from what's important and tries very hard to get us focused on things that aren't important, doubt our path, confuse us.
  Not only that, but if we lose the joy that we should have, we are less willing to listen to God and do what He asks us to do.  It's a domino effect--when one piece falls, so go the rest of them.  But God loves us, and doesn't want us to fall into these traps.  He wants us to keep our eyes focused on Him, ready and willing to do His will.

I know I'm not the only person who goes through this.  If you're feeling down, I hope that this simple little passage will resonate with you as it did with me!

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation!

Sustain me with a willing spirit!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Happy October!

Well, just like that, September is gone and October is here.  The trees are starting to turn their beautiful colors and the farmers are harvesting the fields.  Oh, to be a farmer, reaping the fruits of a summer full of labor!  The harvested corn fields look like a carnage has taken place--jagged stalks sticking up at all angles, random ears of corn strewn here and there, yellow leaves laying everywhere...and the animals have feed for another year. 
The beans are turning their beautiful shades of yellow and brown, and will soon be ready to harvest and sell. 
The trees are exploding into vibrant shades of yellows, golds, reds, oranges, and purples, seemingly overnight. 
The world, always beautiful in its own respective season, is changing once again.  And once again, the Lord has reminded us to take notice of His creation, and marvel in awe at the world that He created for us.  How can anyone look around and deny that we were made--created?  Every leaf, every blade of grass, every flake of frost...all were created by the One who loves us more than anything else He made (and He made everything!).
Happy October!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Historic Barns of Northwest Ohio, Pt. 2: Second Annual Barn Tour

Last year, our local historical society arranged for six barns to be open to the public for tours.  Hard to believe that a year has passed since then!  Hubby and I had so much fun touring the countryside and exploring the old farms that when another tour was announced for this year, we bought tickets right away.  This year, we headed to the eastern half of our county to tour six more barns.

It was a beautiful day again, just like last year.  The sun was shining, there was a great breeze (it actually got windier as the day progressed), and we got to see some great farms!

The first barn we went to was built in 1865, and is now a reception venue available to the public:
The owners of the barn fixed it up so that they could have their wedding reception here, and have since opened the barn for others to use, too!
Their Facebook page:
The Athen Ry band, they were really good!


The next barn was a working cattle farm that used to be a dairy farm:
Best friends, bovine-style.

I love the rhythm of the framing.  The ceiling is 55' tall.  It had a cathedral feeling to it!

1877 farm house.  The owner said that the walls were composed of a thickness of two bricks, then an air layer, then another two bricks.

Fall is coming!
One of the largest barns in the county--80' across this side, and 120' deep.
Great combine!  'Merica.

The third barn we visited was set up a little like a museum, with farming implements and artifacts displayed in the bays and on the walls:

Commode!  More comfy than an outhouse...?

I loved the texture of the wood floor with the antique nails.
While we were there, this group of historic cars drove up and parked.  Visitors were allowed to look in the cars and ask questions of the owners.  They were pretty neat!
The next barn was a quick tractor ride across the field, to the farm next door.  This barn housed a quilt display from the local quilting club:

Wasn't sure what this was...used for hauling something!
This next barn was made using a new type of construction, that was more stable than older barns.  It was also quite large, with additions through the years:

In comparing the framing of this barn to the others, there is definitely less wood used on the sides, yet is supposedly more sturdy and secure, not to mention cost-effective.
Original sign from the dairy operation
A great old planter.
I loved the hardware on the door--the stars are great!
The last barn that we visited was also the oldest, dating back to 1854.  It has a heavy German influence, and was the most decorative, with oval louvers.  The barn has been fixed up and is available for parties and receptions:

This little guy was resting after a hard day of greeting people at the barn door!
A great "chandelier" hanging from the rafters of the barn.

Not sure what the purpose of this stuffed bird was, but he was keeping a "birds-eye" view on the situation! 
The barn from the front--I love the deeper red color with the yellow, black and green accents.
I've always thought old barns were interesting.  As a city girl, I always thought the grass was greener on the other side of the fence--the side where cows mooed, goats baaahed, chickens clucked, and corn grew.  I always thought that it would be fun to live on a farm, but alas, we knew no one who owned a farm, so I was never able to experience farm life.  I think I would have enjoyed it, though.  In a way, touring these historic barns brings together so many things I enjoy: historic architecture, rural living, adorable animals, nice fall weather, and last but certainly not least, just spending time with my best friend.  I'm so glad that the Historical Society has arranged these tours over the last two years--we haven't been disappointed.  We're definitely looking forward to next year's tour!