As we are trying to settle in at the ranch, there has been many challenges!

I love learning how to take care of the ranch! To see how everything works. Fixing things that have been worn down and broken.

As I learn how to use the weed eater, I might need to invest in a full face mask for when I edge near the pond, those sharp rocks hurt when they hit you in the face. The weed eater and I have come to an agreement, I wear safety goggles and the weed eater tries not to run out of orange, plastic string so quickly!

We have had to completely tear up the ranch-hand apartment and are trying really hard to put it back together quickly. To lay new tile, we had to remove the toilet in the bathroom. Can you imagine holding the inside of a dirty old toilet to help lift it out of a very small bathroom?  I’m building up my immune system, right! After helping lay and grout tile in the apartment, I have so much more respect for people in the tile business, their poor backs and knees! 

To freshen up the ranch hand apartment, I have completely painted eleven hundred square feet of ceilings, walls and trim.  Do you know how hard it is to get paint out of long hair?  I am still finding specks of paint from a week ago!

I have learned how much 3 cords of wood is? It was gratifying to stack the firewood in rows near the house, knowing we will need this wood for the cold winter ahead. 

My favorite chore is taking care of the sprinkler system.  You have to bend down underground and manually turn on and off five different sections of sprinkler valves, alternating every hour, two times a day, twice a week.  At night if I am lucky, the spotted black salamander shows up next to the sprinkler valves, looking for a late night snack!

I have learned to appreciate the simple things in life, like being able to take a shower with all the water coming out of the shower head!  I was able to install my first bathtub facet, all by myself, and it works!  Although, the stainless steel faucet does not match the antique brass fixtures, but…. I can take a shower now!

As we have tried to settle in and adjust to our new life, I have honestly struggled and second guessed moving back home to the ranch.  The enemy has stirred up emotions and feelings that I have had to process and work through. 

In the last month I have worked my way through the book of Jeremiah.  There are many warnings, descriptions of war, and sadness in Jeremiah.  You must hold on tight and remember verse 29:11 in Jeremiah as you journey through the challenging battles in the book.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” Jeremiah 29:11-14 NLT

When I finished the book of Jeremiah, I read the introduction to the next book in my Bible, Lamentations and was intrigued.  Jeremiah writes Lamentations in forms of poems describing the sadness and grief of that season.  In Lamentations chapter 3, I found it very interesting how right in the middle of all the pain and sadness, Jeremiah’s words turn into hope, and reminds us of the power of God’s words and His promises. 

Hope of Relief in God’s Mercy
Remember [O Lord] my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and the gall (bitterness). My soul continually remembers them
And is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind, Therefore I have hope.
It is because of the Lord’s loving kindnesses that we are not consumed,
Because His [tender] compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; Great and beyond measure is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion and my inheritance,” says my soul;
“Therefore I have hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait [confidently] for Him,
To those who seek Him [on the authority of God’s word].

Lamentations 3:19-25 AMP

I really needed to read those words!  I was reminded that even in the middle of our hard times, God is in control, His timing is always right, and there is Hope in Him.

We all go through seasons; some are really hard and sad. We want to give up, but then God places the right people in our lives, just at the right time, helping us get through what seems too hard and impossible.  

Right in the middle of a hard chapter of life, we can find hope!