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Dear Dusty,
When I speak and there's no response, I feel alone, misunderstood or refuted. Only a small sound or nuance, Would let me know my soul wasn't muted.

Active listening is response. Active listening validates the person speaking and shows interest. If active listening isn't possible, then say so. This is treating others with respect and love. This is different than having to have an answer. Saying, "Just because," is a response but perhaps not an answer. It just allows the person speaking to know you're listening.

Dad loved to talk me to sleep. (I saw Crosby's Dad doing that the other day.) I'd tell him I couldn't respond because I was too sleepy. He said that he wanted to talk this through anyway, to go ahead to sleep. Dusty, you do the same thing. Yet, you usually throw in some bombs that keep me awake!

If active listening isn't always possible, say so. Don't mislead the speaker into believing you're listening. It is discourteous and they can feel the difference.

Response and answers mean the same in the dictionary but usually cause different feelings. Most of us think of answers as solutions or explanations. Response is commonly used as an acknowledgement. Active listening is a compassionate way to validate the speaker. This kind of reply isn't a threat to anyone's self-esteem. It is just a common courtesy.

Keep on talking, Dusty, and I'll tell you when I'm too sleepy to listen. Then you can choose whether to continue or do something else.
- copyright Sunny Patten, 1998

Sandal Prints
by Darlene Campbell

A baby chick hatched this morning. It was all wet and helpless and I wanted to help it emerge from the shell, but dared not. They say it must free itself of the shell to be strong enough to live.

Even the mother hen is helpless to assist her chick in this remarkable birth but continues to check on the little thing while warming the other eggs. If I hold one of the eggs to my ear, I can hear the unborn chick making little peeping sounds. Like listening to the sound of the sea by placing a seashell to the ear.

It wasn't long before the new arrival was dry and fluffy, peeking out from under the hen's protective wing.

Nowhere but on a farm is the miracle of birth, life and death more felt. Nothing is taken for granted; even the first sprouting of a seed or the unfolding of a bud is noted with excitement.

I walked in the woods this morning and took my camera. I hope I got some good shots. Part way up the mountain, I sat down on a big rock and just enjoyed the beginning of a new day. The fog was thick, and I watched it lift as the sun crested the mountain above the pines.

There were spider webs all over. Thousands of spider webs strung between the trees and shining silver in the early light, all covered with dew.

Sooner had followed me from the house and we walked down through the hollow and then went up the road to Hodge Creek. We followed the creek about a quarter mile to where I had caught small fish in a jar last summer, then walked back. Saw a cottontail, a cardinal and heard a woodpecker working at some old tree.

Later, on my way to town, I saw three deer crossing the road, and a squirrel. On my way home again, I had a flat tire and a nice man in a pickup truck changed it for me.

It was such a good day. All the beauty, the goodness, filled me to overflowing, and I danced and sang while fixing supper. I ran with Sooner while doing evening chores.

I took a quick peek under the hen before turning in; nine little chick faces peeked back.
- Copyright Darlene Campbell, 1998

Out of the Coo Coo's Nest
by Betty Dye

I do not envy the women of yesterday. I was reading about the farm family in the hundred-year-old diary I have, where the wife was baking bread about every day and somehow I connected that with butter. Butter on bread, I suppose, and it reminded me of the one and only time I churned cream to make butter.

The neighbor I lived next to as a young married, was one of the old time, cook everything, make things from scratch totally-type person and she caught me walking in the door one day, just as she was pouring cream into the churn.

She asked me if I would like to churn butter and, me being as naive as I always am, fell into her little trap. I am sure she was laughing inside thinking about what she was getting this little innocent into. After working the paddle up and down for what seemed an eternity, with my arms feeling like they were numb, we started seeing little squiggles of yellow blobs floating in the big white cream vat but we were not yet done. Back to churn, churn, churn. Finally, the little blobs became bigger blobs and she started scooping the blobs out. I thought this mess sure doesn't look like the butter I see on the table, but she wasn't finished yet. She pressed the butter into wooden butter molds and allowed them to sit in there awhile. When she lifted them off, she had nice fancy squares of butter with a flower-like impression on the top of the butter.

Sometimes we do not appreciate our modern life as we go into a store and pick up a pound of butter. But, think of all the precious time we are saved by not having to churn butter. I am thankful now I don't have to milk cows or make a big garden or iron starched clothes. Now I have time to write about the good old days that were not all that great.

We should always be thankful for progress and use the valuable time it allows us to grow closer to our families and to use our own talents as much as possible.

Til next time. Love and prayers - Betty
- copyright Betty Dye, 1998

Ramblings, hearsay & such!
by Ruth Reed

About 1954 or '55, Ted and I really started to make improvements on the ranch-style house we had built. We put in an oil furnace in place of our coal one. We were installing an electric hot water tank and decided the best place was in the attic. Ted's cousin was doing the work with the help of a young man. The attic had no floor, but we made a platform for the tank. This one day, Ted had gone to his work, the cousin and helper were working in the attic and I received a long distance call from a salesman. As I was on the phone, there was a terrible crash, dust flew and the young man fell through the ceiling. He was not hurt and his feet were but an inch from the floor. But instead of dropping down, he held on to the rafter and walked back up the wall. I started to laugh, could not speak, and the whole time the salesman kept yelling, "What happened? What's wrong? What happened?" When I could talk, I said, "It's alright! Someone just fell through my ceiling." His reply, "Well, if it's alright with you, it's alright with me," and promptly hung up! No sale! The two men put another sheet of plaster board over the ceiling hole. When Ted got home, all he saw was footprints up on the wall and disappearing into solid ceiling.
- copyright Ruth Reed, 1997

Do Not Be Afraid
by Daphne

Do not be afraid to love these days. Take them gently and with a consideration for eternity, but take them as your own. Have patience with your dreams and the expectations that others may have for you, but do not defer all hope to the future for there are only so many tomorrow's as you leave through the gates that turn school days into memories. Remember the promises you made to yourself in youth when Hope was new, and continue to nurture such possibilities through time. Strive for excellence in all things but do so in the simple pursuit of happiness and do not forget the loveliness that exists in the world beyond yourself. Take pride in your accomplishments both today and in the days to come. Follow your heart and the counsel of integrity. Above all, be kind. Go in love. May yours be a peaceful journey. Email

From the Kitchen of
Della Hansen


During the summer months, this is a quick and easy snack that does not require lighting the oven!

˝ cup milk
1 cup sugar
3 T cocoa
1/3 cup oleo
˝ cup chunky unhydrogenated peanut butter
3 cups rolled oats
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine milk, sugar, cocoa, oleo and peanut butter in large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to boil. Stir frequently. Boil gently for 2 minutes while stirring. Remove from heat. Stir in oats and vanilla and mix well.

Drop batter by tablespoons onto waxed paper. Let cool until firm.

Editor's Note: The above recipe is from "Country Cooking."
Other recipes can be found at this site

Have you…?
Shared by Barb Anderson

At the University of Chicago Divinity School each year they have what is called "Baptist Day". It is a day when all the Baptists in the area are invited to the school because they want the Baptist dollars to keep coming in. On this day each one is to bring a lunch to be eaten outdoors in a grassy picnic area. Every "Baptist Day" the school would invite one of the greatest minds to lecture in the theological education center.

One year they invited Dr. Paul Tillich. Dr. Tillich spoke for two and one-half hours proving that the resurrection of Jesus was false. He quoted scholar after scholar and book after book. He concluded that since there was no such thing as the historical resurrection the religious tradition of the church was groundless, emotional mumbo-jumbo, because it was based on a relationship with a risen Jesus, who, in fact, never rose from the dead in any literal sense. He then asked if there were any questions.

After about 30 seconds, an old, dark skinned preacher with a head of short-cropped, woolly white hair stood up in the back of the auditorium. "Docta Tillich, I got one question," he said as all eyes turned toward him. He reached into his sack lunch and pulled out an apple and began eating it. "Docta Tillich ..." CRUNCH, MUNCH ... "My question is a simple question," CRUNCH, MUNCH ... "Now I ain't never read them books you read ... " CRUNCH, MUNCH ... "and I can't recite the Scriptures in the original Greek ... " CRUNCH, MUNCH ... "I don't know nothin' about Niebuhr and Heidegger ..." CRUNCH, MUNCH ... He finished the apple. "All I wanna know is: This apple I just ate - was it bitter or sweet?"

Dr. Tillich paused for a moment and answered in exemplary scholarly fashion: "I cannot possibly answer that question, for I haven't tasted your apple."

The white-haired preacher dropped the core of his apple into his crumpled paper bag, looked up at Dr. Tillich and said calmly, "Neither have you tasted my Jesus." The 1,000 plus in attendance could not contain themselves. The auditorium erupted with applause and cheers. Dr.Tillich thanked his audience and promptly left the platform.

In Psalms 34:8 we read: "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him."

A Word From Bill -
Trivia Facts

Talk about confusing addresses! The towns of Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Kansas and Wyoming are all in the state of Illinois. New York State can boast the towns of Alabama, Maryland, Maine and Wyoming. There is a Nevada in Iowa and in Kentucky. There is a California in four states, a Delaware in five, and a Wyoming in nine states. The town of Nebraska is in Indiana, and the town of Virginia is in Nebraska.

You can receive a FREE year's subscription to "This is Living" by providing two recommendations who subscribe. Tell your friends to name you as reference when they place their order.

"May you live all the days of your life." - Jonathan Swift

Footprints - An Addendum
Shared by Karen Campbell

Now, this time you dream that you and the Lord Jesus are walking again in the sand together. For much of the way, His footprints go along steadily, consistently, rarely varying the pace. But your prints are a disorganized stream of zigzags, starts, stops, turn-arounds, circles, departures, and returns.

For much of the way it seems to go like this. Gradually, though, your footprints come more in line with the Lord's, soon paralleling His consistently. You and Jesus are really walking TOGETHER.

Then an interesting thing happens: your footprints that once etched the sand next to the Master's are now walking precisely within His steps. Inside each of His larger footprints is the small "sandprint," safely enclosed. You and Jesus are walking as one.

Gradually you notice another change. The smaller footprints seem to grow larger. Eventually they seem to disappear altogether, as if the footprints have actually become one.

Then something awful happens. The second set of footprints is back. This time it seems even worse. Both sets of footprints are making zigzags all over the place - stops - starts - deep gashes in the sand. It's a veritable mess of prints!

You're amazed and shocked. But this is the end of your dream. Now you pray. "Lord, I understand the first part of the dream, with the zigzags and stops and starts, and so on. I was a new Christian, just learning. But you walked on steadily and helped me to learn to walk with You."

"That's correct, My child."

"And when the smaller footprints were inside of Yours, I was learning to walk in Your steps! I followed You very closely."

"Very good. You've understood everything so far."

"Then the smaller footprints grew and eventually became the same size as yours. I guess I was growing so much that I was becoming like You in every way."


"But this is my question, Lord. Was there a regression? The footprints went back to two, and this time it was worse than the first time! What happened?"

The Lord smiles, and says, "You didn't know? That was when we danced."
- Author unknown

Book Review
The Freedom of Obedience
Author: Martha Thatcher

This book is worth having around to read more than once. It originally caught my eye because of my interest in the title. I wrote about obedience leading to freedom in my book, Life Endeavor. I still know little about the freedom God promises to those who live the truths of His Word. This book uncovered many of my questions and dealt with them in an understandable and beautiful style of writing. It can take you far beyond knowledge, motivation and challenge to show how to obey. You can see beyond what the obedient life appears to be in your relationship with the Lord, which is the prerequisite for a desire to please Him.

"When we obey," says the author, "it is because God enables us to love Him. When He blesses us, it is because He has chosen to respond to our expression of love to Him. We can never cite our obedience as a reason to demand anything from God. Yet in His love and goodness, God wants to respond to us by blessing our lives 'immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine'" (Ephesians 3:20).

In another chapter, "God wants to teach us lifelong obedience by directing our steps - not just for the miles, but for the inches as well. It is in this daily, volitional alignment of my walk with God's Word that I practice obedience - one step at a time. These steps of application are the small pieces that, put one after another, make up my journey as I follow God."

It is a marvelous book and can possibly be obtained through your local library.

Out of the Mouths of Babes

When Shawn was about three years of age, he and his daddy invested much time outdoors, on the desert, together. After one of these times, Bill came in to get a cup of coffee. Just as he was finishing the last sip, Shawn came in the door and quipped, "Daddy, please don't wander off into the house again."

Smile Awhile
by Shawn Reed

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. As they lay down for the night, Holmes said:

"Watson, look up into the sky and tell me what you see".

Watson said "I see millions and millions of stars".

Holmes: "And what does that tell you?"

Watson: "Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Theologically, it tells me that God is great and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it tells me that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?"

Holmes: "Somebody stole our tent".

Loving Others
by Dusty Reed

Loving my neighbor as myself is a big assignment. To know God's love is absolute, I can love myself. I can love others unconditionally as creations of God. I do not always agree with their actions but, as a friend reminds me, "that is none of my business - it is God's business."

If I love them, by allowing God's love to shine through me, I am taking care of my responsibility. It is not a matter of self-discipline to love someone. It is a matter of obedience to the Lord and allowing Him to love them through me. When I allow Him to take charge, my part becomes effortless.

"To the praise of his glorious grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the beloved" - Ephesians 1:6.


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