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One of the best things a priest gets to do is offer God’s blessing upon the lives of the individuals of the church. We have such a varied and gifted congregation, with such interesting backgrounds, hobbies, and careers. It is a joy to be invited into the homes of my people and bless their homes, their families, and even their….cows?!?!?

Are those giant Oreo cookies out there?

Are those giant Oreo cookies out there? This is as close as I could get.

John and Charlotte Winsness have been offering for me to come over and bless their farm for quite a while. But the timing never worked out. Recently, they procured two of the most adorable belted galloway cattle, and when I saw John in FOCUS the other day, I jumped on the opportunity to run over and bless them.

I told Molly and the kids and they came with me to say prayers over the Winsness’s fields and animals. We were introduced to the many gardens John has going, where he grows just about every fruit and vegetable imaginable (OK, that’s hyperbole, but to me, it was a LOT of stuff). We visited his chickens and got a couple of eggs. He even let the kids sit on his John Deere tractor!

Liam sees a chicken!

Liam sees a chicken!

The cows were like cute, little pandas. They are still getting accustomed to their new home, so when I asked John if I could touch them, he said, “They won’t even let me touch them!” I learned that the art of raising cattle is a long process of trust, guidance, and ol’ fashioned cowboy-ing! John spends lots of time talking to them, approaching slowly, and being a calm presence to them. Quite a parable of how Jesus relates to us!

We have lots of people at St. Nicholas who garden, raise animals, and tend to the “simple life” of God’s creation. While I’m not a farmer in the least, nor a gardener, nor an animal-raiser, I have the utmost respect for those who do. It is quite fascinating to see our folks in their favored elements.

A true Episcopal farmer has the Episcopal shield on his tractor!

A true Episcopal farmer has the Episcopal shield on his tractor!

Thank you to John and Charlotte for teaching me, showing me around, and inviting me into your world. That’s the funny thing about offering God’s blessing: you go with the expectation of giving it, and you end up receiving it yourself!

Jeff+