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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Donegal Creek in the Springtime
Donegal Creek (Click on photo to enlarge)

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"Living on the Bottomland"

"He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers" (Psalm 1:3).

We live near Donegal Creek, a beautiful trout stream that meanders through a meadow about ¼ mile from our house.  Across the street is an old tractor trail between farm fields that leads us to the clear stream that runs alongside a lush, green meadow.  Yesterday Brooksyne and I took a walk and especially observed the stately old trees that have thrived through the years, benefiting from the excellent soil and their proximity to the creek.

The early sign of spring I especially noticed during our walk  was the slight wisp of green as the weeping willows are now budding. (This is visible in the featured photo.) Interestingly you can only see this from a distance but not directly under the trees. 

Psalm 1 describes a righteous man who is thriving in his spiritual walk. "He is like a tree planted by streams of water."  Now trees grow virtually everywhere but the Psalmist makes a special observation about trees that grow along the water. Colloquially we called this "bottomland" and thus the basis of the title of today's message!

My mother's only brother, Uncle Gentry, had a farm in southern Missouri. He was a colorful man who brings a smile as I recall his many antics. After Brooksyne and I had married he gave us some pecans and stressed that they were "bottomland" pecans, having a characteristic of being especially oily and tasty.

Vernon County, Missouri, where he lived is at the heart of pecan production in Missouri. These pecans grow naturally in the rich river bottom soils in the northernmost region of pecan production.  Although slightly smaller than pecans grown in the south, the unique sweetness and higher oil content of these pecans result in extremely flavorful nutmeats.  I can almost taste them as I type out this message and it sure makes me wish I could smell Pecan Pie baking in the oven!  It's one of Brooksyne's and my favorite desserts.

I encourage you to read all of Psalm 1 (only 6 verses) and receive the wonderful blessings of God through His Holy Word.  Read, study, meditate and apply these timeless truths.  May we "delight in doing everything the Lord wants."  And may the foundation of our lives be like a tree which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. In this sense may we all experience living on the bottomland!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Jesus, our source of nourishment comes from You.  You are the Living Water and as we draw our sustenance from You we bear healthy and fruitful actions that reflect our Heavenly Father.  We prosper in the things of the Lord and influence others for the Kingdom.  Our dependence is on You, Lord, which is vital for growth, health, and vitality. 

Brooksyne's Note: Speaking of pecans: I have fond memories of shelling pecans while growing up in Oklahoma.  Mom would buy unshelled pecans and take them to the feed mill to be cracked. We children then had the job of picking them out of the shells. Of course our reward was Pecan Pie for dinner.  Many years later my sister married and bought a house that had 10 or 11 pecan trees in her yard.  Daddy was retired by then so he picked up gallons of fallen pecans and took on the big job of picking the pecan meats out of the shells.  At Christmas Mom would send me about 10 pounds of pecans in the mail that he had shelled.  That made it extra special, because Daddy had been a truck driver for about 40 years and this kind of tedious work was certainly not in his line of work.  He did it out of love for his children.

Information about Missouri pecans

Steincross farm
"The Farm"
The old farmouse was built in the 1800's and my grandpa was born there in 1882. It was in the Steincross family for over 100 years and before my uncle passed away it received the designation "Centennial Farm."

Stephen's note: Today's message brings back some great memories of my Uncle Gentry. He was the oldest child and only living son of my grandparents (a second son died in infancy). They then had seven daughters with my Mom being the next to the youngest. Uncle Gentry and Aunt Dora lived on a farm about 1 mile outside of the tiny town of Harwood, where my grandparents lived. I have many childhood memories of that farm; playing in the barn, the old Allis Chalmers tractor, the huge cast iron dinner bell (from a church) and large gatherings with many aunts and uncles and cousins.  In fact this morning I had occasion to speak to my aunt (Mom's youngest sister) and two of my cousins.

Today I share one memory that illustrates my Uncle Gentry's colorful personality. A farmer friend was visiting and dropped off a bucket of something really yucky looking. I asked my Uncle what they were and he said, "Rocky Mountain Oysters" and offered me some. I didn't know what they were at the time but declined.  Now with my teasing personality (perhaps in part from my Uncle) I have often used the same tease and it causes some puzzlement here in the Northeast. Within the last couple of weeks I had a chaplain friend over to help with a website and Brooksyne was also fixing us a light lunch. I asked him if "Rocky Mountain Oysters" would be OK and he said to the effect, "Sure, I don't know what they are and I've never had them but that would be OK with me."  (We didn't have them.)

Yesterday we shared a song about relationships in regard to the theme of refreshing others and after we sent it we found a song that actually goes even better in our view. It's called "Be Love In Me"
Lyrics     Listen

Here is another view of Donegal Creek looking downstream from where I took the photo above.
Donegal Creek in the Springtime

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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