That You Love One Another

Friday night as Julia and I were driving along, we passed an old farmer struggling to take care of his flock in the rain. Julia commented that she’d never noticed sheep there before and I said “I’m pretty sure that’s where Mr P lives- remember how often he’d come out to the farm and help us?”

And then Julia said something that’s stayed on my mind “I wonder if he still stays away from church because of all the hypocrites.”

I don’t know his story- Julia heard a lot more about it than I did- but somehow- somewhere-something went wrong.

I was reading in John 15 about our call to love. “Love one another as I love you” Jesus tells us. Simple as that. And really, I think behind that simple command, is the key to what sets Christianity apart. Love for each other, love for all people, most importantly- Love for God and His Son and His Holy Word. 

Yet it’s scary too- because I think that’s where it’s easiest to mess up too- to miss that opportunity to extend grace to the discouraged sister on the pew beside us…

But what really strikes me today is the next verse “Greater love has no one than this- than to lay down his life for a friends” Obviously- Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice by laying down his life to cover the sin of the world…

This is incredible to think about. Would I be willing to give up my life for someone? Sure- I can say- I have that kind of love. (It sounds good saying it- but who is called to practice that) I’d hope I’d be willing- but the chance of an opportunity to die for someone is not very likely.

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(Thanks archives for the pics Paradise Lane 9-14)

So how is it possible to live that out? I thought about sacrificial love a lot the past couple days- one of the farms in our area lost a silo. I totally empathized with the family because of our farm’s experience last Sept. We went down to look at the site and the farmer’s daughter was telling me that the silo went over at 10;30 and help started rolling in right away . Another guy told me he got there by shortly after 12 and clean up was already in progress.

That impressed me. Mid Thursday morning,you know all those men had their day’s work planned and underway. But when the call came in- their friend was in need. They “laid down” their own agendas and headed out the lane- their families covering as best they could- blessing them in their efforts.

This morning, Emily got the 911 call about a barn fire where my parents had farmed years ago. We went to the site- my heart breaks for the family and their shock and their loss- but again, I was blessed by the number of people who had left their warm houses before dawn, to again go where there was a need… What a blessing a community is!

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Isn’t this what it’s all about? We are called to love! Whether it’s putting aside our plans today, to be the Hands of the One who gave all, in the face of a calamity… Or if it’s extending grace to the one we don’t understand… It’s why we are here! And if we could capture this concept in its entirety… Wow- what world changers the church could be…

My prayer for this week- Teach me to love as He loved,


What did you think GPS stood for?


I don’t know who the Brain Surgeon is who penned the phrase “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” but I’d like to tell him a thing or too… I guess for this story I may as well start at the very beginning- you know the story, but just in case…

Once upon a time, there was a family of girls who lived on a farm on Paradise Lane.  Life was good, but something was missing. Then sudden through a unique course of events- their hired man bought two pit bull pups to cheer up his daughters who were sad over their cat dying… and when the pups got too big for the girls- he bought a third dog- one that he thought was little- until he saw the pup’s mom… Full blown lab… Long story, short- His wife said 2 dogs were plenty and in effort to help out the situation- the missing piece found a home on Paradise Lane… Yours truly, Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza.


That innocent adoption deal had no idea what a tremendous opportunity was arriving. I soon saw the need for a farm manager and took my role seriously. Through the years, I’ve worked tirelessly day and night, barking out warnings during the shady night hours… Sleeping with one eye open during the day… Ready at an instant whenever there are fields to be checked or any piece of equipment to be moved. I’m just a well-rounded farm manager. (And no- that’s not a fat joke- it takes more food than normal to power this massive brain).

Anyhow, So I worked myself into a tizzy. Finally help came in the form of my assistant- semi blonde- Rolo.  And life was complete. I thought. But no, Julia had to drag in the Boyfriend, and make him a permanent part of the family, which is fine… And Emily decided that’s a good idea too- so Mr W is arrived . Still no major complaints. The new men decide we need more help with homeland security- so Kalila and Benilli show up. I’m getting them trained in- so that’s ok too… But then it happened…


Benilli discovered it first, one afternoon on barn surveillance… She came tearing to the house- her velvet ears flapping the breezes and reported directly to headquarters. I couldn’t fathom it. So I slunk towards the barn to check out the detective work of the little miss. Sure enough, there was a sign on the office door that read “Beware of the Cat” WHAT?!?!

I sounded out the code alarm- three short barks and the entire homeland security crew immediately went into stealth mode, attempting to figure out what was going on. Until I happened to glance in at the house… What I saw made my blood boil. I shot for the house like there was a coyote on my tail.

“Rolo! What on earth! The farm is at stake! We are under attack and you’re sleeping in the backyard!”

She calmly flipped over on her back (honestly, sometimes I think her brain is solar-powered) and said something that sounded like “no compressor” or “comprendo” or something… Sigh… Since Deb is in Nicaragua- Rolo thinks it’s so cool to speak in Spanish… and so I just drove straight to the cold hard truth..

“The barn is under siege- all the milk, the cows, everything… by a (I could hardly make myself utter the words)… a… cat”


“And what do you want to know?’


” You see, Chief, you under-estimate me. You thought I was shirking, but I was just processing info. The cat goes by “Coal” or “Attack Kitty”. The suspect was first located in the back barn as a very small infant and was taken to the office and has responded to the milk crew by scratching and purring at the same time (editor’s note: as trained by the bro-in-law) She has complete run of the place and is welcome to live in the office or go out at her leisure. She is no threat- except-bomb shell alert- you know how they punch all their cow records in on the computer? I know how techie you are, chief… Well, she’s taken over that. Late at night- I hear her purring as she walks back and forth over the computer keyboard, tapping away…”

Wow… I suddenly felt like I needed to join Rolo processing in the sun… But I just kept my cool and said something in an aloof tone like “thanks for your report- officer. I’ll let you know if we need you.” and headed out to sleep- I mean meditate by myself.

This was a crisis!

If they trusted a cat to put in the important info of their herd- very likely she’d weasel her way into everything and turn their hearts against us and BAM it’d be the whole adoption deal over again…

And then- I remembered a conversation I’d overheard between Eldon and the farmer-in law… They are all beside themselves about this new sprayer that just arrived and they were saying things like ” But what about the 2630? We don’t need a new GPS, but the Swath Control and guidance and something something something..” I’d thought at the time that they were talking about the spayer and those were terms for the computer system …


I’d thought… But in the crisis of the moment- new understanding dawned on me and I broke through the code and realized- they were talking about me! About us- the amazing dog network.  I’m not sure when the cat showed up- but I bet she was born about the end of June/first of July (6-30) So clearly a 2630- is code for her. And GPS – that’s Grand Patrol System 🙂 Swath Control and Guidance?  That’s got to be code for me and my tireless crew… What should they do about her? Say “Adios, amigos” and send her to catch mice on some deserted island far far away… I wish I’d known what they were deciding… Maybe we aren’t about to file for unemployment… But I am going to keep an eye on that barn cat- just in case…

And- I’m pretty sure if it comes down to it- I could take over the herd records myself. Keep that in mind- Brain Surgeon-  this ol boy, the Sherlock Holmes of the Canine World would be willing to learn anything.

But just in case- I better keep my options open- does your farm need a GPS system?

Respectfully, Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza and the rest of the pack

Ok- So there was some light reading for a rainy Saturday… 😉

Blessings to you, Kendra

For the Wisdom of Solomon

“Now two innkeepers came to the king and stood before him. One of them said, “Pardon me, my lord. This woman and I live in the same house, and I had a baby while she was there with me. The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us. “During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him. So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. The next morning, I got up to nurse my son—and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne.” The other woman said, “No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours.” But the first one insisted, “No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.” And so they argued before the king. The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead,’ while that one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’ ” Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king. He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.” The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!” But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!” Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.” When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.”‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭3:16-28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I am the dark-eyed child solemnly watching the circus in front of me. My short life has been full of traumatic change, but as I watch from the safe haven of this tall guard’s arms, I know I have nothing to fear.

Two women- who in the emotions of the event-are taking no thought of their high-class upbringing, nor their job- are in a heated debate regarding my future. One drunk on grief and shock and caught in the sticky web of deceit.  The other- frantic to prove that I am indeed her child and that she has no ties to the still form that she woke up to find…

And King Solomon seated on his throne, with his court in attendance- has a brief chance to hear the case and make a decision. His word is final. The bickering continues. Rehashing old details with nothing new to prove one way or the other. He clears his throat. The noise hushes immediately. It’s like he’s prepared for this in advance. He draws one quick line in the sand- the ladies react and he has his answer. Everyone stands in awe at the incredible discernment of this wise, fair young man.

I am the dark-eyed child. I represent the decisions you face- career choices, relationship opportunities, truth and justice, when to speak- when to be silent.

And you, my friend, are King Solomon- within you lies the ability to choose the path for your future. You must establish what is right and what is wrong. And when the opportunity presents itself- the court hushes and watches you.

Does it seem like a big deal? It really wasn’t for the King because he had prepared “Lord, give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.. (1Kings 3:9) ”

All we have to do is ask-“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. ” James 1:5

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths” Prov 3:5-7

So… that’s what He has to offer. Isn’t that amazing?!

Blessings to you as His Wisdom guides you this week,


Bonus Pic:

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Recently, I’ve had a few evenings that allowed me to have a little bit of fun with my camera… Obviously we are not in the toddler stage around here… Wow… These little men kept us running all night to stay ahead of them… Then throw two puppies into the mix… What a party! 😉


When Julia said “I do” She became Mrs Farmer- which included a chicken house on his home farm… They recently got a new flock and I’m working on a project that requested baby chickens. Kalila went along and I thought looked exactly like how I envision Psalms 23 and “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies..”  And Julia checks her chickens happily…

I didn’t realize how much Julia and Emily were alike… But the middle of the week, a chicken truck hauling live chickens, rolled, coming down the mountain, and Emily and Mother (like vultures-I told them) responded to the VDOT plea that there were still live chickens sitting by the roadside. So Emily was beside herself that she has a flock of chickens that lay eggs! Apparently the wreck was hard on them- because Emily called the next morning in a state of mourning (“I’m one sad little chicken catcher”) due to the fact that 50% of her flock was deceased… But she still has one layer… Omelets at Em’s house, anyone? 🙂

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In celebration of one of my friend’s 30th birthdays- we enjoyed a bit of leisure time at Lake Sherando… What a beautiful place!