Old Stone Well Farm

Two Opportunities For You

Two ways to tune into tomorrow for worship!

For those who want a taste of traditional in-person worship, I will be at First Presbyterian Church in Broadalbin, NY on May 1. Live stream of service begins 10 a.m. on Facebook@Broadalbinfirstpresbyterian.

There will also be a new episode of Old Stone Well Farm for those who enjoy coming to Vermont (even if it is virtually!).

It’s going to be a busy weekend (on top of filming, stories to write and more stories to edit for the magazine!)

Looking forward to Sunday afternoon when I can be like my neighbor’s calves — passed out in a field, napping. 🙂

Nap time for my neighbor’s calves here in the valley of Rupert, Vermont.

Old Stone Well Farm

Singing Easter’s Alleluias

It’s the second Sunday of Easter, a season I love because Resurrection hope is all around me here in Vermont. As I get ready to preach in person at a church in upstate New York, I wanted to spend time with you first at the farm before I leave with my clergy robe in tow. (It’s been a while since I put that robe on…wondering how it will look with my barn boots!) Enjoy this time of reflection, and let me know how was your first week in Eastertide? What were the God moments? Blessings!

Live Worship April 24

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Friends,

I invite you to join me for live worship on April 24 at 10 a.m. ET as I lead worship in person at First Presbyterian Church in Broadalbin, New York. It’s a wonderful little church, great hearts and people eager to serve God in so many ways.

You can join the worship at First Presbyterian’s Facebook page (Facebook@broadalbinfirstpresbyterian)

We will still also have time together at Old Stone Well Farm. The video will be up and running Sunday morning. And so, click below for your invite.

Blessings,

Donna

Conversations at the Old Stone Well

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Easter is a Way of Life

By Donna Frischknecht Jackson

My quiet Easter included listening to the birds sing their songs of praise here at Old Stone Well Farm, Vermont. I invite you listen before reading on.

Easter Sunday was quiet this year. Being a “free-range” pastor (I have been inspired by my chickens to dub myself that) I didn’t have the Holy Week and Easter Sunday responsibilities my friends had. There were no multiple services to plan, sanctuaries to decorate with flowers and plastic eggs to fill with candy for the children.


It was quiet, and that can be a good thing — especially when your soul is thirsting for peace in a world filled with noise, strife and sadly, violence and hate. It is in the quiet where you can do nothing but listen to your heart speak its deepest desires. It is in the quiet you can hear Spirit’s wisdom softly howling in the wind that blows through the gaping windowsills of my 18th century house. It is in the quiet I feel the presence of the Risen Lord speaking his beautiful post-resurrection words, “Peace be with you.”


Yes, peace be with you. With me. With the world. Yet there can be no peace if we do not put healthy boundaries around all the ceaseless activities and demands filling our lives. There has been much talk lately about work-life balance, but what about work-life AND faith balance? What are we doing to nurture our relationship with the Divine?

There has been much talk lately about work-life balance, but what about work-life AND faith balance? What are we doing to nurture our relationship with the Divine?

Donna Frischknecht Jackson


I think that is why I welcomed a quiet Easter Sunday — even when its celebratory dinner was a bag of stale chips and a wilted salad because I didn’t expect I would have a problem getting a last-minute restaurant reservation.


I didn’t mind, though, because Easter is not a day. It’s not even a season leading us to Pentecost’s mighty rush of Holy Spirit wind. Easter is an invitation to a new life and a new way of living that life. To live with hope — always, and in all things. Hope amid failed plans. Hope amid missed opportunities. Hope amid betrayals and heartache. Hope in the promise of seeing those we love again in the great by and by.


Easter Sunday gives way to Easter Monday and then Easter Tuesday and Easter Wednesday, etc. For those who are not of the Catholic faith, there is officially the eight days of Easter. This time is called the Octave of Easter, and each day a mass is held and the Glorias are sung and the Alleluias are shouted. Scripture readings focus on the various appearances of the Risen Lord, reminding us that he is alive and, as one of my friends likes to say, “Jesus is on the loose!”


The Octave of Easter is rooted in the great feasts found in Hebrew scripture, where many Jewish celebrations lasted for eight days. The Octave of Easter ends on the second Sunday of Easter which in the Catholic Church is known as the Sunday of Divine Mercy.

The Octave of Easter is rooted in the great feasts found in Hebrew scripture, where many Jewish celebrations lasted for eight days. The Octave of Easter ends on the second Sunday of Easter which in the Catholic Church is known as the Sunday of Divine Mercy.

Donna Frischknecht Jackson


My Protestant Reformed upbringing has never included the Octave of Easter in any liturgy or even conversations. The closest I ever came to celebrating the Octave of Easter was honoring Easter Monday. My father is Swiss, and I remember growing up hearing how in Europe, Easter Monday was observed with a day off. That intrigued me, especially as I wondered why we here in the states returned to work the day after Easter Sunday. It seemed that we celebrated the Risen Lord and then the next day forgot all about the life-changing opportunity we have been given in his resurrection. It just seemed wrong. Even now, this focus on a one-day Easter Sunday celebration seems “off.”


In my own work circles, more emphasis is placed on extended time-off during Christmas, with Easter getting just a nod. This year, on Easter Monday, friends I knew arrived at airports as the crack of dawn so that they could gather for weeklong church meetings. Other meetings, like a weekly 8:30 a.m. Monday meeting, went on as usual. Easter seemed quickly forgotten. I, though, chose to embrace the profound holiness of Easter Monday that I have discovered exists when you choose to live — not just observe — Easter.

I, though, chose to embrace the profound holiness of Easter Monday that I have discovered exists when you choose to live — not just observe — Easter.

Donna Frischknecht Jackson


I lit a candle, poured a cup of coffee, spent time in prayer and then went for a walk in the woods. During my walk, story ideas to write came. Ideas for future Old Stone Well Farm videos filled my mind. I felt my steps quickening. I felt lighter. Joyful. Hopeful. I was excited about this day and the ones to come. I also pondered what a friend wrote on Facebook that I found so beautiful. She said that “Easter Monday was like breathing in a deep breath of Resurrection power.” I paused on the muddy trail and drank in a deep breath of that power. It felt good.

. . . ‘Easter Monday was like breathing in a deep breath of Resurrection power.’ I paused on the muddy trail and drank in a deep breath of that power. It felt good.

Donna Frischknecht Jackson


It was then I realized something: Could all this busyness after Easter be because we really are afraid — or hesitant — to accept Easter’s invitation to a new life because that would mean doing things differently, thinking differently, acting differently…and “differently” is not what many people want, is it?


As for the pushback I receive from valued friends when I bring up a more monastic way of doing business, with their insistence that there is so much work to be done, I ask gently, “Who then are you truly seeking to glorify with all the busyness and Zoom meetings? Self? Others? Or God?” (In the corporate world, I know my views will probably have me crucified.)

Who then are you truly seeking to glorify with all the busyness and Zoom meetings? Self? Others? Or God?

Donna Frischknecht Jackson


I’m sorry, we have no availability for Easter dinner for two. We are booked.


I thanked the hostess on the other end of the phone and turned to my husband and smiled, “Oh well. We will have our Easter dinner another time.”

He smiled back. He understood.

Easter is every day if we only dare to say “yes” to a new and risen life. Now take that deep breath of Resurrection power — and live.

The chickens of Old Stone Well Farm are waiting patiently for the daffodils to bloom. Till then, they are clucking their Easter praises to all who will listen!

Easter at Old Stone Well Farm

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Hope Always Blooms

Happy Easter to all from Old Stone Well Farm! It’s a special day, one where I find hope amid despair, life in the face of death, and remember that God is holding each one of us.
I also invite you to join me on Sofie’s Hill on this Resurrection Day for a beautiful sendoff for Rev the cat. (More on the timing of his farewell in the video! Talk about a God moment!)
It is a joy to have you with me on this day!!! I would love to hear about your Easter God moments. Email me at accidentalcountrypastor@gmail or watch the video on YouTube and leave a message.

Click below for our Easter celebrations to begin.

Blessings!

Holy Week at Old Stone Well Farm

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Seven Greens Soup and Seven Words

The holiest days leading us to Easter are here and I spend the day making a Swiss German soup known as Seven Greens Soup. Traditionally served on Maundy Thursday, the soup features seven greens, which got me thinking about Jesus’ seven last words spoken to us from the cross. Come and ponder with me these words as well as Jesus’ mandate to love one another. Let us journey toward Easter together — and bring a friend as well!!

Old Stone Well Farm

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Legacies, Palms and My Redeemer

What better way to spend Palm Sunday than at the church where I hear God speak the most powerfully to me — nature.
It’s on a cold, rainy trail where thoughts of legacies, palms and my redeemer, got me wondering: What do I really need in life?
So let’s usher in Holy Week together. Join me. I promise you won’t get wet like I did.
I pray our time together will be a blessed time. (Oh, and there was a little surprise during filming. Something that I wonder if Rev, the cat, had something to do with? A little smile from heaven?

Old Stone Well Farm

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Heavy Heart and Holy Week Expectations

Getting ready for Palm Sunday at Old Stone Well Farm and realized just how not ready I am. Ever find yourself in a season where all your best laid plans got changed?
Perhaps, when this happens, it is God’s invite to us to really be open to something new. Or perhaps it’s just an invite to stop “doing” and just be. So, won’t you join in this short time together to just “be”?

April’s Day at Old Stone Well Farm

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The Chickens Play a Joke on Me

It’s April’s Fools Day at Old Stone Well Farm and my chickens played a joked on me that involves one of their eggs!

So I invite you this day, to take a few minutes, press play and listen to how after I got done laughing, their joke got me thinking about the season of sadness I’ve been in and the need for self care. And let me know if you have ever had the experience I have had. I’m learning so much about chickens.

(And a reminder, I will be off this Sunday and so no worship video, but please go to YouTube and make your Sunday an Old Stone Well Farm rerun day…or marathon!

Go to YouTube and type in “Donna Frischknecht” in the search and you will see in the library 156 videos! I will be honest, there are some I really should take down. Wow. Old Stone Well Farm has and is always evolving!)