Naturally Grown Faith, Family, Farming

Author: Valerie

Urban Farm vs Farm: The Difference

Urban Farm vs Farm: The Difference

We recently received a suggestion through our Facebook page that we change our category from “farm” to “urban farm.” While I respect and appreciate the suggestion, I would like to explain why we are going to reject it. First of all, we are not located […]

My Season of Pause

My Season of Pause

Going through the process of certifying as a Candidate and then Local Pastor Licensing School took me out of my regular routine at my home church. Where I had once been fairly regular in attending worship services and active on various committees and teams, I […]

When Love Meets Dust: Reflections on Parkland FL and More

When Love Meets Dust: Reflections on Parkland FL and More

Yesterday, I was sitting at home, nursing the tail end of a bout with the flu when I got an e-mail from Alana Levandoski via Patreon about a new song she’d released in honor of the day. It was the first thing I’d seen/heard/read that […]

Rise Up! It’s Time! God Is Speaking!

Rise Up! It’s Time! God Is Speaking!

The sixth and final lesson in this series is to take what we’ve learned over the past five weeks, to put our faith, hope, and full trust into God, to give Him control, and to heed His call to “Rise Up”.  Rise up, church. Rise […]

Into the Wilderness

Into the Wilderness

The season of Lent begins in just two days. To quote the United Methodist Church: Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means […]

Focus! God Is Speaking!

Focus! God Is Speaking!

Introduction God is speaking. He’s called us to rise up and we are rising. He’s called us to listen and we are beginning to hear. He’s called us to move and we are standing up to injustice and hate.  He’s spoken answers to our prayers and […]

Refreshing the Dream

Refreshing the Dream

You may have noticed the logo for Spirit Dog Farm has a new look that we feel is a better reflection of who we are and of our priorities. There’s a reason for that.  Sometimes you have to take a few steps back, reassess your options, […]

Answer! God Is Speaking!

Answer! God Is Speaking!

Introduction We know how to go to God with our prayers about our frustrations, our needs … O, Lord, hear my prayer. O, Lord, hear my prayer. When I call, answer me … we sang along to that just last week. We call on God […]

A Matter of Perception

A Matter of Perception

One week ago after reading/participating in some intra-denominational discussions by clergy about whether worldly politics should be addressed from the pulpit, I was pretty sure I was seeing a pattern developing based on the comments.  Rather than try to point it out in that forum […]

Move! God Is Speaking

Move! God Is Speaking

Introduction God spoke to Jonah and told him to go to Nineveh and tell them that they had gone against God. Nineveh! The home of the enemies of his people! He couldn’t possibly do what God was asking. Why would God care about the very […]

Listen! God Is Speaking!

Listen! God Is Speaking!

Introduction “Listen!”, second in the series from UMC Discipleship Ministries’ “Rise Up!”, takes us through listening even when God seems silent and the Word of the Lord is rare. The liturgy (worship service) starts out in quiet, somber tones, asking us to think about the roles […]

Rise Up! God Is Speaking!

Rise Up! God Is Speaking!

Welcome to the first in my series of mini-messages based on UMC Discipleship Ministries’ Rise Up! worship series for the Season After Epiphany. I’m going to be adding in the hymns and some of the other parts of the liturgy for each Sunday in the […]

Waiting and Trusting; Not My Strong Suits

Waiting and Trusting; Not My Strong Suits

One of the hardest things I’m doing right now is waiting and trusting. UMC Discipleship Ministries released two new Worship series, Rise Up! for the Season After Epiphany and Rehab for Lent, that are outstanding. If I were at an appointment, we’d definitely be using […]

It’s In the Details

It’s In the Details

This message was delivered to the congregation at Vonore United Methodist Church on Sunday, December 31, 2017. The service also included Wesley’s Covenant Renewal Service.  Message: It’s In the Details May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing unto […]

The Narrow Way

The Narrow Way

Caveat: This message was written to deliver to the candidates and deans at the closing vesper service for the 2017 Local Pastor Licensing School of the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. The first time you preach to a room full of preachers is […]

Peace Be With You

Peace Be With You

This message was delivered at Mountain View UMC on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017.  My message this morning is inspired by a few brief passages of scripture, and a personal need.  These are very short passages, so don’t feel obligated to keep up in your own […]

I Am a 13th Generation Dreamer

I Am a 13th Generation Dreamer

Open Letter to:  Sen. Bob Corker, Sen. Lamar Alexander, Rep. John Duncan, Jr., Rep. Phil Roe, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, Rep. Scott DesJarlais, Rep. Jim Cooper, Rep. Diane Black, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Rep. David Kustoff, Rep. Steve Cohen, all members of the Tennessee State Senate, all […]

Foot-In-Mouth Disease IS Curable … Sorta’

Foot-In-Mouth Disease IS Curable … Sorta’

se·man·tics səˈman(t)iks noun the branch of linguistics and logic concerned with meaning. There are a number of branches and subbranches of semantics, including formal semantics, which studies the logical aspects of meaning, such as sense, reference, implication, and logical form, lexical semantics, which studies word […]

Looking for the Christ In Who?

Looking for the Christ In Who?

The weekend of August 11-13, I was attending the first session of licensing school for local pastors.  The group I was with – thirteen students and two deans – was diverse in age, gender, race, church- and non-church-related experience, and (near as I could tell) political ideology. […]

Teach Us How To Pray

Teach Us How To Pray

prayer (prer) noun: prayer; plural noun: prayers a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship. “I’ll say a prayer for him” synonyms: invocation, intercession, devotion; archaicorison “the priest’s murmured prayers” a religious service, especially a regular one, at […]

Reflections on Extraordinary Ordinary Time

Reflections on Extraordinary Ordinary Time

The church calendar breaks down into seasons: Advent (the four Sundays before Christmas) Christmastide (December 25 through January 5) Christmas Day Baptism of the Lord Sunday Epiphany (January 6 through the day before Ash Wednesday) Epiphany Sunday (closest Sunday to January 6) Transfiguration Sunday (Sunday […]

Breaking Free

Breaking Free

Written version of the sermon delivered to Walland UMC on Sunday, June 25, 2017: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, oh Lord, our Rock and Redeemer. Last week, I talked to you about Seeing Red; […]

Seeing Red(der)

Seeing Red(der)

On February 19, 2017, I delivered a message called “Seeing Red” to Vestal UMC.  On June 18, 2017, I delivered that message again, this time to Walland UMC and, somewhere along the way, the message changed; not in its basic point, but in tone and […]

Hello? Is It Me You’re Looking For?

Hello? Is It Me You’re Looking For?

The world is wonkers, and it’s filled us with doubt, frustration, suspicion, fear, anger, judgment, assumption, and self. Yes … self.  We’re looking at the world from a position as center of the worldly universe. What’s in it for me? What’s it going to cost […]