Posted in Christian, Writing

The Kingdom of Goats and Guards

“Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.”  (Matthew 6:9-13, King James Version 1611)


IMG_0046We celebrated Christmas in Orlando, before returning to the farm for some downtime. One afternoon, Bella and I walked to the equipment barn to retrieve an ATV. Along the way, a family of goats escaped the fenced-in pasture. They walked along the road as if trying to slip away unnoticed.

“Oh no Momma, Look!” Bella said pointing to the other side of the fence, where another baby goat had his head wedged in the electric fencing.

While I tried to decide which one to save first, the herd in the pasture bleated as if telling on the escapees. Our three goat guards stood alerted, and one of them Franklin this huge dog (an Anatolian Shepherd) sprinted to the fence and barked at them. Immediately, they spun around and sprinted back to the hole where they escaped. Inside the pasture, they approached Franklin before rejoining the herd. I was amazed by how they responded to his voice. They know with Franklin they are safe

The goat’s pasture is their kingdom and Franklin establishes the order and protection therein, just as we abiders in Christ live within the kingdom of God here on earth. It is within the protective barriers we can discern God’s voice the most clearly. Once we participate in activities outside God’s will, God calls us back through conviction, which we can either turn around and re-enter God’s kingdom (His will) or we can ignore and go about living in our earthly kingdom. Outside God’s will there most certainly will be dangers, attacks by the enemy, and consequences we will face for our own behaviors.


Just like the spiritual world, there are enemies on the farm. The goats enemy is the coyote. During the day, they are alone or in pairs, but under the cover of darkness, they communicate. Their yapping sounds innocent, like pups, but it’s their way of coming together for the hunt, to devour. There are nights I stand on the porch and feel surrounded by the yappers in the forest.

In the evening, the guardians settle in with the goats and disappear into the sea of them. They are a quiet and mysterious three. We often refer to Franklin as a phantom, for he will rise up on his tall legs out of the midst of the goats. Even during the day, it’s hard to spot the dogs, unless you are right up next to the pasture. They are quiet and disciplined only barking when they need to. They warn the enemy as they encroach upon the herd that they are trained to annihilate them. The guardians will put their lives on the line for their goats.

Christ sacrificed His life to give us access to His Father’s kingdom. Inside God’s will, there will also be challenges and attempted attacks by the enemy because although we are within God’s will, we are still living on earth which is enemy territory. Our power to fight the enemy’s attacks comes from our access and relationship to our three guardians- the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The longer we live in the Kingdom, we will emulate God’s character and bring the Father glory, by revealing who He is to those outside.

There are gaps in the fencing of the Kingdom as well – the gap of free will. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been known to poke my head through the hole and allow my mind to envy the green grass over yonder. There have also been times I’ve defiantly walked out of the safeguards and trotted down the lane of selfishness and disbelief towards what I thought was an adventure. Albeit, those trots have not been without consequences and only gave my enemy stockpiles of ammunition to use against me. Just as Franklin is greater in power, strength, and size than those coyotes, greater is He that is in Me, than he that is in the world. (I John 4:4)


There have been times Franklin’s behavior has been questioned. There was a day Franklin made the farmers so angry they nearly got the shotgun out to put him down. He carried a dead baby goat away from the herd and planted it who knows where. They thought he killed the baby goat. Later, they realized Franklin was only doing his job. If a kid is born dead or dies soon after birth, he carries the goat far away from the herd, outside the pasture. You see, the dead goat could have a disease that will harm the others, and the dead goat scent attracts the enemy. It is his job to send death far from the living outside the green pastures.


The Father will one day separate the living from the dead.  He will separate those who choose not to enter into His kingdom when they were called, from those who chose His Lordship for their lives. This saddens me, but I’m sure not as much as it saddens God. He’s the one who feels their rejection. It is our job as His kingdom dwellers to plant grasses that will feed and encourage others to enter the pasture of the living Christ.

“Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6, English Standard Version.

Has God called you into His kingdom? He wants to grant you an abundant life, filled with peace, joy, and purpose. He wants to bring you into His pasture of rest, power, and protection.

For those who’ve already accepted grace, but have wandered outside the fences won’t you consider abiding in God’s kingdom? Keeping your head inside the safeguards from the dangerous climate that exists outside? Stop allowing your lifestyle and your message to seek the approval of man and use your words and influence for Kingdom sake?


I cannot close without admitting I often wonder how God finds me capable of raising four children. This is not false humility, but the utter truth.  I often tease if any of them had fur I’d never let them leave for college. Once the herd was safe in the fence, the baby goat cried out the most pitiful sound. In a panic, I sprinted to the barn without looking back.

“Momma wait for me!” I heard Bella’s voice behind me.

“You’ll be fine. Baby goat’s in trouble!” By the time, I barged into the office shouting a goat was getting electrocuted into the ears of the farm manager, Jeff, who’s a calm and quiet cowboy, Hilario (one of the farmers) had already worked the goat out of the fence. Lucky for him, the electric fence was turned off. I smiled watching that little thing trot across the pasture towards his mother. Awe… just like Bella… Bella? Oh no, my Bella!



Bella lumbered up the driveway looking like the little brother in the Christmas story who couldn’t put his arms down, and less than happy with a Mom who’d leave her for a goat.


New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. Do not leave your toddler in the dust for the sake of a goat.
  2. Remember Bella is only three.
  3. Love your children as if they had fur.








Posted in Writing

The Light Through the Trees

fullsizeoutput_33ceMy breathing quickened. No, it was worse than that. I hung over the side of the rail gasped for air and prepared to face my Jesus.

“We should have brought oxygen!” I said. “Those can-thingy’s skiers use.” My husband, Jay glanced back and laughed. He was feeling proud because he’d been working out, and for the first time was in the lead, on our traditional hike up Chimney Rock in Asheville, NC. On this particular morning, the elevator which released us at the beginning of the trail was out of order so you could say the hike became a double-wammy for Tammy. As I looked up at the endless stairs, I wished we’d broke tradition and went to Grandfather Mountain instead; but then again Grandfather Mountain was not without its own horrors.

The last time we went to Grandfather mountain and crossed the swinging bridge I slipped past a group of mourners and ate their loved one. Yes, you read it right, they wished their dead mother farewell, just as a gust of wind picked up her ashes and planted them in my face. That smoky grit in my mouth about made me sick. I often wonder if I’d be considered a cannibal?

So, there I was killing myself on the stairwell to heaven watching my husband skip along in front, glancing back smiling from time to time.  I wanted to kick him in his big rear so badly, but I didn’t have the energy to get my foot that high. Through sheer stubbornness, I made it to the top where the group in front of us plopped on a boulder to enjoy the view. After a few minutes, they stood and began the hike down.

“Wait!” I wanted to yell. “That’s it? You climbed all those steps for that?” But instead, silently I watched them descend. We glanced at the map and it appeared additional climbing awaited us. I suppose the others saw this and felt it wasn’t worth the trouble.

Jay glanced over his shoulder. “So, what do you think, are you up for it?” He said.

“Absolutely! I want to do the whole thing.” The woods were ahead, and I wasn’t going to miss that.

We were alone in the woods. The sun splintered through the fog and trees creating a beautiful light show. The hike was a breeze compared to where we’d been, and a cool mist showered us in the shade. The air smelled sweet like Christmas trees and the birds sang. Growing up, the woods were my playground, a place my imagination and memory runs wild. To this day, I imagine my Cherokee ancestors hide behind the trees watching, and just when I turn to catch a glimpse, they duck out of view. Throughout my childhood, my siblings and I waded in the creeks under the trees, built forts, and played war with pinecones. Today, I often wonder if there’s a forest in heaven, for my sister who passed away December 19, 2014. I hope there is.

Jay and I came across a patch of light hitting the forest floor. The beam shined through the fog, and I stepped into it and glanced up. I can’t describe how good God is. He knows exactly what I get excited about. He knows my heart. The forest was a gift, and bathing in the light was His way of letting me know no matter what dark world I’m living in, He’s the God who sees. He sees me. Not just the physical me, but the girl He created me to be. The one who sometimes gets lost in the stresses of perfectionism, but still finds delight in nature.


I stepped out of the light and trudged on quietly.

“What are you thinking about?” Jay said.

I shrugged. “Nothing really. I was thinking about the hikers. They did all that work coming up only to go back down. They did the hard part to only look back and see how far they came but missed this beautiful light shining through the forest. How could they miss it?”

Jay nodded.  He knew what I was saying, without me saying it.

Today, I remembered our October hike, and thought what about us?  Are we missing the Light? As we toil through hanging wreaths and trimming a perfect tree have we thought of the perfect One? In the midst of all the baking and the eating, have we stopped to savor the Savior? While wrapping the gifts and tying the bows, have we pondered the gift wrapped in swaddling clothes? If all we get out of Christmas is the labor, the eating, the present swapping and then stepping back to admire it all, the true spirit of Christmas will pass by and we’ll miss it.

We’ll realize it when we’re trudging back down that mountain, putting away all the ornaments. A nostalgia will fill us. Was that it? We’ll think to ourselves. We’ll know something passed us by…something beautiful. We’ll shrug the feeling away… for there’s always next year, we’ll tell ourselves.

I’ve heard a longing in the voice of Mommas lately. It’s as if their Christmas spirit departed as their sons and daughters went to college. “I so wish I had a child again at Christmas time.” I’ve heard repeatedly as they peer down at Bella. Yes, I’m blessed to have four children under my roof, including a three-year-old bundle of giddy, but I can’t burden her as my joy supplier at Christmas time. We must look to our source of everlasting joy…Jesus.

So as we’re gasping for breath, climbing all those stressful stairs of preparation let’s remember whose birthday we are celebrating. A baby who had no tree, shrub lighting, or sugar cookies. He slept in a manger under the light of one brilliant star. Take time to delight in the Light, savor our Savior, and focus our minds and hearts on the perfect gift of all…the Lord Jesus Christ.















A Memoir from India


I’m never one to read romance. There’s nothing wrong with romance, but if I’m going to take the time to read, it’s going to be something that will stay with me. I love the movie “You’ve Got Mail.” When Meg Ryan said, “You are what you read.” It was an aha moment for me, for I believe there’s some truth to that. So, if you get a book recommendation from me, it will be something I couldn’t put down, but will most likely fall into historical fiction, non-fiction, and memoir. They are my go to’s. This is a memoir.

I think too often we grow complacent here in the United States with our faith. I love to read soul stirring missionary stories, that remind us we serve a living God who performs miracles. This book is one of those stories. It is a book you will find hard to put down and reveals how God used this young woman’s childhood to prepare her to serve in the darkest places of India, and the miracles she witnessed by being obedient to the call. Check it out!

Posted in Writing

The Mysterious Sign in the Rainforest

Pictures: My monkeys in the pool, and the Howler Monkeys who finally showed up for a visit outside our rental house, and stayed all day. They’ve earned their name Howler, because they howl very loud.

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalms 90:12 ESV

Yesterday, we passed a sign posted on a tree it read, “Get Ready to Meet God.”  It sent a chill down my spine, for Orlando (the same driver I mentioned in the previous post) was barreling down those rainforest roads, scraping by anyone walking or biking on the roadside. I, being a woman who takes notice of the details, took it as a sign to pray. Silently, I prayed for our safety. I can almost hear your giggles, and I know you are thinking it was just a sign, but trust me when I say, some signs are not just signs.

Twenty minutes later, a policeman stopped in front of our vehicle, refusing to let us pass. We’d just missed an accident involving a motorcycle, and they needed time to process the scene.

We stepped out of the van and waited alongside the road with a group of Guatemalan fruit pickers who walked up. I couldn’t help but to compare these teens to my boys. My boys were larger than them and wore ear buds and nice clothes, while they were leathered from the sun, wearing torn clothing, and muddy muck boots. I realized the largest advantage my boys had over them was birth place.

In my previous blog I pointed out, they believe we Americans work to buy things and are enslaved by our materials. Orlando also pointed out there is too much racism in our country. It is what our media spews to the world. I don’t know about you, but I live in a community alongside Indians, Blacks, Whites, Jewish, even Muslims and we get along just fine. It angers me that racists on both sides are allowed to brand the reputation of our country as a whole.

In Belize, many families send their children to work to help buy necessities. Parents can’t afford the luxury of educating their brood. I glanced at my sons, how many times have they complained about school? These fruit pickers would much rather sit in a classroom, than pick fruit in the hot sun all day.

As we waited, Orlando turned back to us. “The motorcycle driver is dead. This truck hit him,” he said. Immediately, I could see him, a poor unfortunate soul, with leathery skin and sliced up palms like these boys. They craned their necks to see if they knew him. I wanted to wrap the whole dirty lot of them in my arms, and apologize for my boys having it easy while their lives were so hard. No-one chooses where they are born, nor the lot they are born into.

Finally, we had permission to pass. The motorcycle was a twisted ball of metal, his helmet was crushed, his body lay lifeless on the side of the road covered by an old bed sheet.


This morning, we awoke to the sound of the water gently lapping the shoreline. We are no longer in the rainforest, but on the coast. The news from that stretch of road has reached us here. News spreads fast in a small country. The motorcyclist was not a local after all, but a nineteen-year old American. He was on a school trip, enjoying his last adventure with a teacher before returning to the US today. He turned off the Zip- Line road and swung too wide, sliding his bike under a truck hauling a Bulldozer. He didn’t have a chance to survive it.

His classmates will return to the US with an understanding they are blessed in more than just their birthright. They’re blessed with time. Their parents will wave outside of security, ready to gather them in their arms. Meanwhile, the deceased boy’s parents will sob as their son’s body is unloaded off the back of the plane. I wonder if they’ll regret sending him to Belize or if they’ll blame themselves for his untimely demise. The truth is it is no one’s fault, it was his time. His time.

             We all have a time set forth by our Creator. Are you going to go through your time complaining about how rough you have it? Or wasting it away on things? Wasting it on hating someone for being different than you are? Or will you spend your time influencing, inspiring, and pointing others to a better Way. So, they will be ready when their time comes to meet their Creator.

That small sign painted on wood hanging on the edge of the rainforest wasn’t just a sign after all. It was a message for you and me. How about it are you ready? If not, “Get ready to meet God.”

Note: As God may have it, we ended up on the same flight with the classmates of the deceased. Several of them sobbed as they boarded the plane. It broke my heart.

Posted in Writing

The Culture of Consumption


I haven’t posted in a while, I suppose I’ve been working away my summer. Artistically, I’ve been painting, became a member of the Winter Garden Art League, and have submitted my first painting in a juried show. Don’t start with the fist pumps just yet, I am way out of my league in the art league. The competition petrifies me, especially since IF it gets approved for the show, I have to attend a Meet the Artist night, where I stand with those talented artists and greet the art lovers meandering through. It will be humbling.

On the writing front, I applied to write for She Leads Daily (, and was accepted. Please don’t look at the headshot, it was the only picture out of tons that I didn’t look pickled, but there was a deadline, so I had no choice but to submit it. I have discovered I’m the least photogenic person on the planet.

On the home front, I’ve been decluttering, I’ve decided to donate anything that I don’t want to wear, dust, or use. So far, I’ve donated six truck loads and thrown away tons more. I have repainted most walls and carpeting is next. It is no longer that showy Old World Mediterranean. I moved my art studio into my formal living room, for it has the best light. It was the room when someone entered your front door that said, “We are sophisticated.” But, I gotta tell ya… the room lied. Now, it says, “The Adams house is full of vitality and action!”  My new standard is every room needs a purpose and if you can’t find one, you have too many rooms.

With all of the working I’ve been doing, I truly needed a family vacation, a time to play with my family and my niece Peyton. I went on a hunt for the perfect family vacation. My criteria was a new culture and a new adventure. I found a house off -the-grid, on top of a mountain, on its own 50 acres, in a rainforest, in the country of Belize. Whew! Trying saying that three times fast.

When we arrived at the airport yesterday a driver loaded us in his van and we were off on a bumpy two hour drive to our destination. On the way, the driver stopped by one of the many Asian- owned convenience stores. While everyone jumped out, I stayed to continue talking to the driver.

I leaned forward. “So, what’s it like to live here?” I asked.

“Oh, it’s wonderful. We in Belize are not like you are in the US. We work five days a week and we enjoy our weekends. We work to survive you know, not to own things. People in the US work and work. You like owning your things, but really those things own you. You know?”

A part of me wanted to get defensive. Stand up for my country!

“Hey you driver man I hope you know I’ve been cleaning out closets all summer! You should have seen the stuff I donated.” Sorry America, I didn’t say it.

Instead, I slid back in my seat, and thought…Consumerism…Is it consuming us?

More next time…





Posted in Writing

Closing the Envelop


She pressed the pain button on the pump wedged beside her and turned to me. “I think God’s timing is so different from ours,” my sister said. “When I go to heaven, it may seem like I haven’t seen you in a few minutes, but for you it will feel like a lifetime.”

God’s timing is a mystery to me. I believe His timing is not linear in the way we experience it, but falls in circular patterns, like the closing of an envelope, our past folds over and seals our present. We hum the Nocturne of our present, knowing His fingertips composed it somewhere in the past.

After posting my last painting, “Out of the Boat” to social media, I received a text from my sister-in-law, Tracey.

It read:

“The title of your new painting were Tricia’s last words to me. She said, ‘I have to get out of the boat! I have to get out of the boat!’ I pushed her down in her seat and told her to stay right where she was. That’s when she looked at me and said, ‘How are you going to stop me with your skinny self?’ I thought she was hallucinating, but she was still herself.”

I didn’t know this story when I painted the picture. I didn’t know it when the story of Peter stepping out onto the stormy seas kept reappearing in my devotionals. One thing is clear, I know God closed this envelop and is preparing me for something different, but I am humbled and saddened to admit, it is not for me to move to the farm.

I have a Cabinet of Curiosity in my Orlando home. Behind it’s metal grate doors, there’s a collection of treasures. On the shelves, to name a few, there’s a rock from Appian Way, the road that leads into the gates of Rome, another from the walls of a pirate’s handmade tomb I found on an undeveloped island, a rock from the catacombs (I hope it’s a rock), and a human skull I purchased from an old southern gentlemen’s garage sale in Windermere. (Yes, I did, much to my parent’s horror.) In my cabinet, are things from the natural world I treasure and love to bring out, hold in my hands, and ponder on.

Metaphorically, God’s timing is also there. When I think I’ve understood one tiny thing, and filed it away in my box of knowledge; after time, it springs out like a jack in the box revealing something more. Maybe that’s my mistake, trying to put anything about God in a neat square box. Around the cabinet, I’ve peered through the metal, curious why He’s telling me to step out on faith, to step out of the boat, if it’s not to walk across the cow patties? Moving to the farm would take tremendous faith! I’ve tried to convince Him of this.

The same husband who told me to get the boys registered for the new school admitted he was following my lead and had no peace about the move.  He listed his reasons: his ministry is in Orlando (he teaches business men in Abiding in Christ), his office is in Orlando, and we’d be apart from one another three to four days a week, Jay feels God wants us to use the farm house for Bible retreats, and if we lived there it wouldn’t be, I would be spending most of my day carpooling children in and out of the city. He didn’t like the idea of me riding those country roads alone after dark. On and on he went and when he reached the end…

“That’s just great! Well, thanks a lot for blindsiding me, after I’ve put myself out there on my blog!” I said. “In one fell swoop you’ve obliterated my credibility, squashed my ministry, and killed my dream of riding my horse and growing my own food!”

“You don’t even like to cook!” He said. “You will have to cook every night.” He’d already stated this. Mentioning it twice proved what I suspected, he hated my cooking.

But, I would not be defeated. “I’ve been preparing. I bought that cooking school book. I could become a chef if forced to,” I pointed my finger at him, “but now you’ll never know my full potential.”

He didn’t appear disappointed. “Walk me through what a day looks like living on the farm,” he said. “I don’t think you’ve grasped what it will be like.”

“I can ride horses. Bella can run and not get hit by a car. Do you realize we are losing our boys to other houses? The boys will make friends at their new school and our house can be the hangout place. You know boys would love hanging out on a farm.”

“What if they don’t make friends?”

I shrugged. “Then, we’ll come back.”

“You want to uproot the boys from a school and friends they love, so you can ride horses?”

It sounded selfish when he put it that way, but it wasn’t truly about the horses.

I stared at the floor. “It’s not just about the horses.”

“Explain to me what it is about.”

“I can hear there okay? Here, the landscapers never stop. I can’t think. It’s quiet on the farm.” I struggled trying to explain it. “I see things in nature. I grow creatively. I need to try a different life.”

He nodded. “You feel inspired there.”

How did he do that? I nodded.

            “You can go to the farm anytime. The boys are in a good school and have good friends. Why rock the boat? Until I know it’s what God wants, I’m not on board with it.”

“Fine!” I stomped out of the room.

Funny thing about time it brings clarification. I’ve stayed away from the blog and given myself time. Time to lick my wounds and wallow. Time to hear. Time for prayer and acceptance. Time to rewrite this essay over and over. Time to repaint the walls of our Orlando home white, breathing light back into this Mediterranea. I’ve made other changes. I’ve moved my art studio into the formal living room. I am surrendering my studio space, so the boys will have a place to hang out with their friends.

Easter at the farm, my boys celebrated two gifts of grace. I teared up as I explained to them, I am giving up my dream of country living and leaving them rooted where they are happiest in Orlando. That evening, Jay drove the Dually packed with my large easel and painting supplies to bring home. I followed behind in my SUV. He waved and blew kisses to me in the mirror at every stoplight. Charmer! He knows how to get on my good side. I’m no longer mad or sad, but humbled. How could I have gotten it so wrong? Did I run ahead of God? I have a tendency to do this. I like to lead… to step on toes…to be the boss.

Recently, I spoke with one of my spiritual mentors Linda Case about how I got it wrong and am now eating crow. “I suppose God wanted to humble me,” I said.

Linda’s smile can light up a room. “I wouldn’t look at it like that. Maybe you found a hallway. You realized God was telling you something and you opened a door to a hallway of more doors. Door by door, that’s how we walk in faith. We just have to keep ourselves willing to opening doors. You’ll find His will behind one of them, but it will happen in His timing.”

Did I mention, God’s timing is a curious thing?

This blog post was supposed to be about how to hear from God through scriptures, but I’ve asked Linda Case from “All for Jesus Living Waters Ministries” to write on the subject of hearing from God. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us.

While my pet goat returns to the herd and my Tennessee Walker vanishes from its stall, all I can do is pray and wait. Besides, God’s timing is not like mine. He will close the envelop when He knows I’m prepared to receive the missive. Until then, my readers the content I’ve planned for the year is in the trash. I’ve lost my way a bit. Please be patient as my blog may swirl around through loops and circles. I apologize in advance. Until the direction is clear, sit back and enjoy the ride.

From the Book Barn:

DSC_0157As a young girl, my favorite place to read was in the horse stall. I’d curl up on a bundle of straw with a flashlight and devour the written word. Peggy, my horse loved the company, and I never worried about her backing up on me. I’d like to post some recommendations from time to time. Lately, the subject has been hearing from God and this book is a great example of a young woman who heard from God in her dreams. Her dream led her to a mission in Haiti, saving children from slavery. I couldn’t put this one down. If you are looking for a great inspirational story of how one person can make an enormous impact by stepping out in faith,  pick this one up and give it a try. I promise you won’t be disappointed.