Old Stone Well Farm

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Lenten Listening and Praying

I am entering into the Lenten wilderness today with some trepidation, sadness and joy. The world is broken. Rev, the cat, is showing signs of decline. A dear friend’s father is in critical condition having suffered a stroke. Writer’s block stresses the already-stressful deadlines on my calendar. The list goes on. Yet amid it all, I hear the birds singing. And don’t laugh, but I know spring will burst with new life soon as last night there was that pungent smell of skunk in the air! The little critters are out and about as the weather begins to warm up ever so slightly.

This Lent is beginning with a strong sense of change on the horizon. I don’t know what that change is, but I’m standing here knowing I need to put just one foot forward in complete faith in God who leads me.

So today I decided to be kind to myself — to be gentle and reevaluate my to-do list. Today I decided to begin this season with a new Lent tradition that centers my spirit and helps me to set my eyes to the hills where the psalmist proclaims our help will come. And I share it with you.

How is your Lenten journey going to begin? Pull up a chair and join me here at the farm.

Blessings!

Old Stone Well Farm

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Bright Light, New Path

I’ve always embraced January as a month to challenge myself to step out from what I am comfortable with and dare to step onto a new path. And so, step with me!

Step out of the cold and the snow (if that is where you happen to be either physically or emotionally), and come share the warmth of my 18th-century home, Old Stone Well Farm, as we learn how to trust and be guided by the bright Epiphany light. Share with your friends. Watch with a cup a herbal tea. Take these minutes to watch the video. Think of it as my gift to you. A gift to enter into my 18th-century Vermont life.

Blessings! Donna

Old Stone Well Farm

Christmas Eve 2021: A Very Holy Night

An early Christmas treat. I’ve decided to share Old Stone Well Farm’s Christmas Eve’s video a day earlier, as I know December 24 and 25 can be quite busy with last-minute preparations.

I wanted to share this holy night with you, inviting you into my home and onto the snowy paths in Vermont to explore the Christmas story once again. And get a candle ready to light as we will be singing “Silent Night” in the snowy back pasture of the farm together. Old Stone Well Farm will return in 2022, as I will be taking some downtime during the Christmas season.

Till then, wishing you all a very Merry Christmas. I can’t thank you enough for making Old Stone Well Farm Media & Ministry what it is today.

Remember to like on YouTube, subscribe and share with those who might be blessed by a Vermont Christmas.

Candle Making Day

Today is a special day at Old Stone Well Farm. Not only is it candle making day, as I make my beeswax candles for the upcoming Advent season, which begins here on Nov. 15 as I love observing Celtic Advent, but it is my ordination anniversary.

Fourteen years ago on Nov. 11 I was ordained as a minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church. As I make my candles, I reflect on the light of Christ that I have been called to in this world.

Watch the video because there is also a special gift I would love to share with you.

Blessings! Donna

Old Stone Well Farm

It Is Well

The wait is over. Today at the farm, I reveal the inspirational message carved into this year’s “Pumpkinfest for God” pumpkins — and it’s a message I believe we all need to hear.

But before we get to the pumpkins, I invite you in on one of my dreams that I have and share with you a wonderful farm my husband and I looked at in Pennsylvania. Yes, we took some days away the chickens in Vermont to catch our breaths.

I didn’t realize how much I needed this time until I was standing in the chilly wind, dreaming again and feeling God’s presence guiding me.

May this day you dream. May this day you feel excited about how God is leading you. May this day you know that with God all is well.

Blessings!

Donna

Worship at Old Stone Well Farm

How did it get to be Nov. 1 already? But here we are. Today, we honor the saints in our lives, and I share a story of one particular saint who instilled in me faith in God.

Who is/was the saint in your life who inspired, encouraged, modeled trust in God? I would love to hear your saint stories.

Email me at accidentalcountrypastor@gmail.com.

Let us now prepare for worship! Blessings, Pastor Donna

Matthew 5:1-12

When Jesus[a] saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely[b] on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Worship at Old Stone Well

Light the World

This is the day the Lord has made! I am so happy that you have joined me for today’s worship here in Vermont. I have to admit, I really enjoyed exploring what it means to be the light in the world. And I really enjoyed carving an inspirational message in the pumpkins that glow now on Sofie’s Hill here on the farm. Sofie was my bumbling Bernese Mountain dog who I lost two years ago. We used to run up the hill and sit staring at the Green Mountains. But I digress. Our Scripture reading for today is Matthew 5:14-16. May you be blessed by today’s worship. Blessings, Donna

Matthew 5:14-16

14 “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

A Light Shines in the Darkness

My husband and I had just finished a seasonal tradition we have tried to honor in our marriage of enjoying a quiet Sunday dinner with only the candles around the Advent wreath lit. The dinner was one I looked forward to, especially after a busy morning in the church with the excitement and energy growing as Christmas drew nearer.

On the night’s menu was locally raised lamb from a friend’s farm, roasted to perfection, and green beans from my summer garden that I had successfully blanched and frozen. They tasted as fresh as the day I picked them. I was quite pleased with myself.

After the last dish was rinsed and put into the dishwasher, we settled in the living room in front of the Christmas tree, still without ornaments thanks to my lack of energy and motivation to “do” Christmas this year.

“I am going to keep it simple,” I said to my husband early in the season as I strewn the fireplace mantles with fresh pine garland — and nothing else.

I had only been sitting for less than a minute when my peaceful bliss of a silent night was interrupted. Off went the candles around the Advent wreath, then our only source of light in our 18th century home. On went the electric lights. Off went the beautiful stillness of a December night. On went the television.

I sat for a moment feeling sad as the glow from the TV took away from the beauty of the one lone candle I did not want to put out just yet. Its flame was just so beautiful. So seemingly fragile against the harshness of light bulbs. So small and yet so capable of casting a mighty warmth in its path of light. There is such beauty in a little flicker of candlelight I mused.

Suddenly, the unexpected happened. Click, hum, buzz, whirl…lights went off, TV went dead, the dishwasher stopped. Then silence. Nothing but nothing to hear.

A whispered profanity came out of my husband’s mouth. I, however, rejoiced. For the one candle that I had refused to blow out, the one whose light was being overshadowed just a second ago by the television and lamps, the one that seemed like nothing much, had now taken center stage.

It’s funny how often our reaction to losing the artificial light in our lives is one of frustration. We fumble for flashlights and pray to God that our cell phones have enough power in them. And when we realize our gadgets don’t have enough power in them, fear seizes us.

Frustration and fear. Two words that can best describe how many are living today. And yet there were a people thousands of years ago living in frustration and fear as well. They, however, didn’t have alternative means of light to reach for. No artificial comfort or fleeting reassurances to flick on when the dark night of the soul came upon them. Rather they had to reach deep down into their very core to trust all the great unknowns in life were indeed known by a compassionate God. They had to keep walking in darkness, trusting the did not walk alone. They had to grope in the darkness with whatever faith was left, believing a light would shine upon them. And it did. The Christ light broke through and, as the prophet Isaiah tells us, “those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”

My lone candle burned brightly the other night. Its flame dancing for joy with a Christmas promise we in this “lights on, background noise blaring, rushing around” world need to embrace. When the darkness suddenly comes upon us, the true light in our lives shines on, never to be extinguished.

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The lone beeswax candle in the Accidental Country Pastor’s home flickers with a beautiful Christmas message…no matter how dark the dark gets, the light shines brightly.

 

 

 

 

Sundays at The Old Stone Well Farm

In the midst of all the protesting and division in our country this weekend, Pastor Donna invites you to step away from it all and to reflect on what it means to come together and remember the promise to those walking in darkness that light is indeed shining.