Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Our lucky charm

The other day we were in a restaurant for lunch with the two boys.  As we were leaving we had an very talkative friendly lady start oohing and aahing over Fenton and Daniel.  We talked a minute and started out the door.  Just as we were about to part ways the lady says, "oh, wait, here...." and starts digging through her purse.  I thought, oh she probably has a trinket or coupon for Daniel.  Well, she hands him $2!  And not only that after she handed him $2 she says, "wait, wait I think I have more." !!  And digs out another dollar to give him.  The funny thing is, this is not the first time that has happened to Daniel.  He gets free popcorn, basketballs and candy from the parts stores and farm store, but I do remember some other lady handing him a dollar or two before.  

Now I like kids.  And I like giving kids funny looks and asking silly questions when we are at stores and such.  But I just never think about whipping out cash and handing it to them.

I gave Fenton his first hair cut the other day.  Pretty hard to do with a little kid that won't sit still and wants to look back at me all the time.

Amanda's mom made ties for the boys and a tunic thing for Mikali.  Mikali is just about to get her two front teeth in for Christmas.  

We had just a little snow on Sunday night.  You can see a little there behind the tire.  
My projects right now are to fix the floor in this stock trailer.  And I am going to use that old tractor tire for a stock tank.  I cut out one sidewall and will put cement in the bottom.  It will never leak.  You can shoot them with a gun and the hole will just close back up on itself.  

I'm really getting lax about uploading videos of the kids.... I have several I want to share, just haven't got them posted yet.  Stay tuned for details.  

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A modern day Nehemiah's prayer

Would this prayer be appropriate for us today?
(based on Nehemiah chapter 1)

O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of our country and land. I confess our sins, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not fully obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Jesus Christ.

We remember the commands you gave by your servant Jesus Christ, saying, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."  And  "I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you."

We are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand.  O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor. And please send rain to end this drought.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Good bye, and a few pictures.

Good bye.  It was funny Dawson caught a glimpse of this truck and tractor later that day down at Sweetwater.  I haven't heard anything from the buyer so I hope this is the end of the story.

 Just a picture of Mikali.  Ain't she purty?

Just a couple pictures of Stinker.  And a video of course:

And for a while now I have been sending a weekly email newsletter to some in our congregation that gives updates on events and the prayer list.  I also have been writing up some commentary to go with it.  This is this weeks writeup:

I am a tool guy.  I like tools.  I like good tools.  When I was a kid about this time of year we would get our Sears Wishbook for Christmas.  Us kids would page through it looking at all the great toys we hoped we could get.  As I got older I did the same with Sears Craftsman Tool Catalog.  Ok, sounds a little silly but really I would look through it and maybe order a few tools from time to time.  I have always been thankful my Granddad Clark has a shop full of tools we use to fix our old farm equipment.  We have a lot of special engine repair tools and heavy duty tools for tillage equipment.  There are a lot of special tools that have a unique purpose, and we could not do a lot of repairs without them.

Sunday morning Bill has been dealing with unity in class.  Ephesians Ch. 4 As members of the church we each have unique talents and purposes.  These are God given abilities we have at our disposal to bring glory to God.  It is a good thing we are so diverse in our abilities and tastes.   Our unity is unity of purpose, faith, love, hope, baptism.  (One body, one Lord, one faith, one baptism. v.4-5)  We all want to be members of the one Body working towards the same goals.  Sharing the same message.

If I were to go in the shop to fix something I would be quite disappointed to find only screwdrivers in the tool chest.  I wouldn't be able to fix anything.  If we were all teachers, or song leaders, we would never accomplish our goal of spreading the gospel.  Can you imagine going to worship where the same song was sung every Sunday at the same time?  Because that was the only one anybody knew or liked.  Or nobody had the talent to teach?

I recently overhauled the engine in one of my tractors.  It took screwdrivers, end wrenches, torque wrenches, even a special "ring compressor" tool.  I remember I was having a difficult time with a bolt that was hard to reach.  It took me several different tries with different tools to accomplish my goal of reaching that bolt.  

To reach and teach those outside, we need all kinds of talents at our disposal.  Squelching or running down other's attempts at developing these talents is working against God.  (Do not quench the Spirit1 Thess 5:19) We should encourage and help develop these talents in each other.  This is why it is so important we spend time together.

Romans 12:4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. NIV

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I have the Green Lemon sold.

Pending transport to south of San Antone next week hopefully.  I was starting to give up hope selling it for what I wanted, and I did lower my price a little but told myself I would not take less.  But finally I guess it got to be Fall and farmers were starting to shop because I had 4 calls on it within about 10 days.  Two of those were from Mexico.  I was hoping I could sell it to Mexico so I would be sure to not hear anymore about it.  Anyway a really nice guy down state ended up buying it.  I have taken the duals off to make it easier to put on a truck.  The trucker called today and said he would probably be up the first of next week to get it.  I told him it was ready when he was.  

It ended up being a pretty expensive piece of equipment, I'm sure I have made that clear.  But when I think about how many acres I covered with it in 3-4 years I guess per acre it ran fairly cheap.  It got the job done anyway.  The inconvenience and busted knuckles was just as bad as the lighter wallet.  It woulda been fun for Dawson to haul it but his company is too high on their hauling rates from what I can tell.

Friday, October 26, 2012

I always thought round bales in the field looked kinda purty

My little feed crop finally eeked out a little hay.  I got my neighbor Ted to bale it up and he sure did a good job.  It made about a ¼ crop, but better than nothing!  Nice tight, "square" round bales.  Sometimes they come out lopsided or are loose and more or less rounded and the netwrap tends to slip off after handling them a couple times.  This ought to be really really good haygrazer hay since it was short and mostly leaves.  Not a lot of stalk that cattle don't like very much.  They will probably slurp it up just like candy.  We'll see later this winter.  I have some older lesser quality stuff I need to use up first.  It is some of that loose-netwrap-coming-off hay I want to use up.

Here is some of the spotty, half a stand wheat.  Some is worse than this.

I have been lax about posting video.  To upload video to youtube I have to start it at night and let it go all night, so I don't feel like messing with it a lot of the times.

Here is a video of Daniel just learning to ride his bike without training wheels:

Fenton cute as usual:


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Back in the cattle business

We've got a few spotty patches of wheat where we have caught some showers.  I'm awfully proud of this patch here.  It is old CRP (government grass program) that is going back into production.  I just sprayed it once back in June to kill the grass.  In September I sowed wheat, just barely laying the seed in the dust.  We  have had a few showers and it is looking really good.  It is needing more moisture as it has grown about all it will for now.  So, if there is something green growing I want to have calves on it. Our wheat varies from pretty good like here:
To seed still laying in the dry dirt, waiting for enough rain to come up.  It is kinda a mess in places.  


I wanted to put in a little plug for Amanda's blog she has started.  She moved over to Wordpress to have more exposure and more features.  Check it out and be sure to subscribe if you do that sort of thing.  I have the link on the right.  "My Daily Bread"

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I heard a conversation much like this tonight:

Dad: We need to talk about what you have been doing for the last 4 years in college. I spend 5 trillion dollars and you told me you were going to get a degree in engineering! The summer before your Freshman year you had these grand plans for getting a Doctorate in 4 years.  And now you tell me all you have is a lousy degree in Native American cave drawing interpretation?!! You call that success? 

Son: Yeah, I have been really working hard you know, lots of headwinds the first few years and am kinda getting in my groove now. I think in 4 more years I just might have more progress.  My gpa has finally come up 0.1 from where it was.  Besides that you don't care about my girlfriend's [healthcare].

Dad: What are you talking about?  Why is your girlfriend's [healthcare] my responsibility?  You know I don't believe in those methods.  You have messed around long enough, it is time to go do something different.  You obviously are not cut out for this.  I finished college and got 3 degrees and made $100 millions, and thousands of people have jobs now because of my work. 

Son: A bunch of rich people that didn't pay their fair share! Probably took advantage of people that didn't look like them.  I have this plan now to go 4 more years and go for that Doctorate again. I'm getting a feel for it now. Why don't you want me to succeed?  You know I didn't have that great of grades in High School, it was a tremendous uphill battle.  Lots of people not following the rules in the previous classes.  People were trying to hold me back. Aaaaaand there aren't enough teachers in this school I want to have more teachers in education. 

Dad: I thought we were talking about you fooling around for 4 years and having nothing to show for it, what is this about teachers? Why don't you get a job and help pay for some of your ideas?  I'm tired of supporting you and your friends and not getting any results.  And besides all that what about that big wreck you had in my car a while back? Who was responsible? For two weeks you said it was just a freak accident where the parking brake didn't hold. Now I'm hearing reports you were asleep at the wheel. Which was it? 

Son: That is not fair, I cared about your car very much. I would never use a wreck as a tool to extort more money from you for 4 more years. I am bound and determined to find out who was driving that car when they went asleep. Besides that you just assumed since I was borrowing it I was responsible and you started yelling about it.
Dad: When you called me about the wreck the first thing you said was you did not know for sure what happened. You said it was a freak accident! Now you are admitting it was a wreck and somebody went to sleep? 

Son: That is a lie.  I said I did not know at first, but it had something to do with the brake.  And I am determined to find out who did not push the brake when they should have.  And I told you that from day one.  Mom? Mom? Can you help me talk some sense into this guy?

Mom: Well Dad, actually he did say something about the brake when he called.  I heard him.  

Dad: So are you wanting to set the record straight right now?

Son: I will say it again, I will find out who was sitting in the driver's seat when the accident involving the brake happened.  Mom? Mom? See what I have to deal with?  Why do you want to deport my friend Pedro?  He got a degree in engineering in 4 years, and is working a good job now.  Why is it your policy to keep him down?

Dad: (slaps his forehead)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

It's ALIVE, it's ALIVE! Bwah ha ha ha ha ha.

I got the old International tractor back together yesterday.  I meant to take my video camera to record the climatic moment when it first fires up.  But as usual I forgot when I left the house.  You will have to settle for a very short grainy video from my phone.  Gotta get one of them new iPhone 5 thingys I guess one of these days. Smoooooth.  

I still need to pull it hard for a while and 'break it in', but it is running and I could use it if I needed to.  I'm glad to have that project behind me for the most part.

Fenton really likes to mess with our dvd and vcr players on the shelves next to our TV.  He drug the whole shelf out the other day.  It had a glass door on it at one time, but it was gone when the unit was given to us.  Can't look a gift horse in the mouth..... and all that.  I finally got around to making a door to go on it.  If we had a little wood stain it would almost look like it came that way new.  Just a basic wood frame and some wire mesh.  Here he is inspecting my work.  He thought it was pretty nice.
He has been gaining teeth, and somebody else is losing them!
They had "Hillbilly Day" at school for homecoming week.  She was right in character! She wore some old overalls, flannel shirt, and a farm cap.  I did not think to take a picture though. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

It has been pretty quiet her on blogger lately.  I guess everybody is getting back in the groove of school and teaching jobs.  

Well, it is time for another episode of "The farm that has more broke down junk than any other farm in the world!"  The exciting docudrama that gives an inside look at the busted knuckle garage and what life is really like on the Embry Acres operation.  Blood, sweat and tears flow as we watch the Knuckle Buster himself tear into his aging derelict  equipment all in the name of trying to save a buck.  

In this episode we are dealing with a 1979 International tractor that has been on the farm since the late Machinacambrian period.  It is an awfully dependable tractor, up until the last year.  Last fall we started getting coolant in the oil.  Not good.  Last winter I put a new oil cooler on hoping that was where they were trading places.  I thought it was all good until this summer when 2-3 gallons of coolant ended up in the oil.  

So, the classic debate here on the Busted Knuckle Garage.  #1 Junkyard? #2 Sell it as is? #3Sink more money into it?

That's right! #3 Fix it up, then decide if we need to sell it or keep using it.  SO, I started tearing into it thinking it was probably a cylinder sleeve that had a leak.  And that is in fact the problem.  See the pistons run inside a heavy sleeve and coolant flows all around it keeping it cool.  Since water tends to rust out and eat up steel, they often eat through it.  Also a contributing factor is heat and what we call "cavitation".  Cavities in your cylinder sleeves so to speak.  Little bubbles form in the coolant, settle against the cylinder and cause a hot spot where they explode and eat out little holes.  After years of this they will eat all the way through to the point the water surrounding the sleeve leaks through, putting water in the oil. Time for an overhaul.  I am not going to do a total teardown and overhaul.  I am going to do what we call an "in-frame" overhaul where we just put in new sleeves and pistons and bearings on the crankshaft.  $1300 for parts, plus my time which is pretty much worthless anyway.  (Pictures from my phone which may have possibly had grease smeared on the lens.  

The sleeves are what these pistons are laying on top of.  I've got everything apart and mostly cleaned up.  Just waiting for the overhaul kit.  Maybe next week sometime.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Come to the feast

Our garden has turned out surprisingly good this year.  Everything has yielded something, from a handful of sweet peas, to more corn than we could fit in our freezer.  Of course the squash and okra has made more than we can give away.  But we picked a big 'ol mess of green beans this afternoon.  We have enough we are going to try to can some.

If we have a big bunch next week we are thinking about taking some to the Clovis farmer's market to get rid of some.  I don't know what the fees are, if there are any.  We stopped by last week and they didn't have very many vendors.  If we had known that was the way it was going to be, we would have planted more and tried to have a little business of it for the kids.  We are planning on that maybe next year.

"I don't want to sit still in a chair and eat so I will make this pouty face."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

His new best friend

It seems blogs are the place to share quotes that are inspiring so I thought I would share one.  It seems to have been very insightful.

"There is a problem with quotes you find on the internet, it is hard to tell if they are authentic or not." 
--Abraham Lincoln

Last night I was giving Fenton a bath and he was starting to get pretty fussy.  I had just used up the last few drops of baby soap so I gave him the empty bottle to play with.  He LOVED that bottle.  He would not let go of it, and if it slipped away he was instantly irate. After the bath when it was time to dry off he did not want to be separated from his new friend the empty bottle.  I wish you could have seen how excited he was to hold it.  Amanda even decided to let him go to bed with it, and it worked as he was quiet and went to sleep with it.  

Who needs stuffed animals when you have a cuddly empty bottle to snuggle with?

They had a shot clinic to get kids ready for school so we took the big kids to get them up to date.  We decided to take Daniel too even though he has a whole year before he goes to school.  Poor guy, he had to have 6 shots!  3 in each arm.  Bam, bam, bam, change sides bam, bam, bam.  He cried a lot but I probably would too!  Mikali got by pretty easy with just one little "snapping" type shot that barely hurt I guess.  She didn't cry at all.  We went to the park for lunch then had ice cream sandwiches afterwards for a reward.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Garden time

Our garden has turned out pretty well considering the epic drought.  I've sure put a lot of water on it.  The sweet corn and black eyed peas are starting to come off.  Okra should be starting pretty soon.  Of course we have more yellow squash than we know what to do with.  We planted green beans but they must be the wrong kind as they made beautiful big vines but no beans.  I'm hoping maybe as the fall cools off maybe they wills start making.

I rigged up my coleman stove to cook the corn outside.  That way we don't heat up the house doing it inside and get all that steamy humidity inside where the a/c just has to pump out.  I didn't want to use the little expensive 1lb. bottles that we take camping as that would kinda defeat the purpose.  I wanted to use the big 20# bottle.  They make kits for that, but why do it the easy way?  I had to MacGyver it using the gas regulator off the cutting torch, a hose from a weedburner, and took the original coleman fitting apart to attach the hose.  Worked great.  And as a plus, if it blew up it would blow up outside where it wouldn't wake up Fenton.

One of the advantages of replacing a water heater, it has a really cool big sturdy box the kids get to play with for several days.  At least until they smash it flat.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer projects

I've been meaning to share some pictures of what I have been working on here lately.  This weather is so miserable hot.  97-98-95-97-98 day after day after day.  I think I have finally experienced a little of the 1930s and 1950s droughts my Great and Grandparents went through. Here is what the crop of haygrazer looks like.  Big waste of time:

The farm I bought just down the road from us has CRP grass on it that the contract is expiring this year.  I did not try to re-enroll it because I want to farm it instead of farming the government program.  With the drought, I have to wonder if it was the right decision.  It is a 10 year contract so you have to be sure you want to do it.  Surely it will rain before 2023?  Anyway I saved 5 acres of grass for a small "grass trap" pasture for cattle.  If we want to keep a few calves over there for the kids or if I have some sick ones I am watching, they will do better having a little room to run around.  I fenced in the 5 acres of grass with barbed wire.  Hot work.  It is all done except I need to staple the wire to the cedar posts.  I try to work on stuff like that in the morning when it is cool.  I also have to hang a couple gates.  Also a cool morning project.

And lastly here the past day I have been building a new clothesline for us.  When the weather is nice, we dry a lot of our clothes out on the line.  It seems such a shame to me to heat air with electricity just to blow it all outside!  Our old line was just a mess I put up when I first moved out here between a couple old electric poles.  One pole is about rotted out and falling over.  Sometimes we send the kids out to take the laundry down and I was getting concerned they might pull on the line hard enough it would finish pulling it over.

I welded up some heavy pipe and put it DEEP in the ground.  Hopefully it will survive a nuclear blast, or at least our west TX winds.  Now to wait for the concrete to set up and I will string some new wires.

 Have I mentioned how glad I am to have a NEW WELDER? It was so handy when I was working on the barb wire fence.  I had to trim some trees and I just fire up the welder, plug in my granddad's electric chain saw.  No hard to start, stinky, noisy, hot, heavy two stroke piece of junk chain saws!  I do not even want a gas chainsaw on the place now.  Also I had to cut some pipe with the cut off saw and did the same thing.

Next week we are going to the mountains with the Crum Outfitters and Guided Packing Trip Co. Inc. LLC.  I will be so ready to be where it is cool!  Poor Fenton and Amanda will miss out this year.  He is such a pill to travel with she thought it would be better to stay home.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Don't get a cheap camera

When we were on our honeymoon all those eons ago, I dropped Amanda's good camera in the Atlantic.  It died an instant painless death.  When we got home we shopped around and bought a little Fuji point and shoot that was on clearance.  Now looking back I know why they were discontinuing this particular model.  Well believe it or not we have stuck with it for all these eons of time.  My biggest gripe is I cannot get a good picture inside.  Outside it does great.  I don't have to mess with settings or anything.  But inside it just cannot take a good picture.  I always get stuff like this:

They are always blurry.  I have changed settings until I am blue in the face.  If I turn on the flash, the blurriness goes away, but then everything looks washed out.  Mikali just woke up from a nap.....

("I am so cute and I know it.")
I hate washed out over "flashed" pictures.  They look so, blech. Oh well, I wanted to share this picture of Daniel, he really likes these tall robot socks.  At four years old he doesn't understand why we can't let him go in public like this:
Well it looks like my little intermittent highlighter is back.  I don't know what causes that. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

New to me tractor

I'm not sure who all knows but I found a replacement for the Green Lemon.  I started shopping around a little when the clutch went out last spring, and started shopping a little harder when the rear-end breakdown happened.  About a month ago made a deal on this newer (1992 year) tractor.  Much, much, much, much nicer than the old green one.  Smoother, quieter, easier to drive, better a/c, better hydraulics, more efficient, not nearly as worn out.  When I say more efficient, I mean it will burn 30% less fuel doing the same work.  With diesel over $3 a gallon I figure that is $4-5,000 saved per year in fuel!  Now what to do with the old one???  I have spent so much on it, I can't sell it for what it would bring, yet I don't really need it sitting around depreciating.  I'm thinking about selling tickets and taking it up to the Caprock Escarpment, putting it in gear and jumping out.  Surely I could sell 10,000 tickets for like $2?  Wouldn't you want to watch something like that?  Bwahh ha ha ha ha!  If I could sell it for $20,000 I would be happy!

Fenton has started a new thing the past few days.  He will start out making an "Ahhhhhhhhhhh" sound then will either use his hands or open and shut his mouth to say, "Ahhhhhhhhh bahhhh bahhhh bahhhh bahhhh"  It is funny when he is mad because it sounds very much like he is chewing us out for being such rotten parents.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Anybody want to buy a Steiger tractor cheap?

This thing is really turning into a Lemon.  It just spent a month in the shop getting a clutch replaced that only lasted one season.  I don't know why it did not last.  They did some of the repair under warranty, but it is still really aggravating.  Got it back yesterday and put it right back to work.  Then this morning this!!!:

This is a "planetary set" out of the axle.  One of the little gears broke, or the bearing it runs on came apart, then it chewed up the gear.  I'm not sure.  When the little gear broke it made a very sudden stop.  Locked the left rear wheel.  I'm glad I wasn't going down the road when it let go.  Now I am waiting for some new parts.  Should have it back together Friday afternoon or Saturday.  I'll clean everything up good and slap it all back together so I will be ready to find the next breakdown. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Since it is such a rare event

We decided to let the kids run loose in the mud.  They may not get to do it again before they are teenagers.

FINALLY RAIN!!@#*&#@*&!!~!~!~!!!!!

I want to go out and wallow around in it.  We had some little showers over the weekend.  We went to Palo Duro Canyon and camped Friday night and it was sticky and muddy up there.  I thought we had missed it again, but this morning it started raining and came a good 2-2.5" rain.  That is the biggest rain event we have had in almost 2 years!  We have not had 2" total the last 6 months combined.  
Too late for the wheat, but a good start on for summer crops.  
...........changing gears now
I am working on an illustration for our Saturday Sonshine program at church and also I hope to use at Bible Camp too.  I can do a trial run here and see how it goes.  It works like this:  I will have clear solo cups, one empty with a picture of a heart on it.  Three others with rocks, sand, and water.  On the three cups I will have the "fruits of the spirit" labeled on them.  I will slowly add the products starting with rocks, and finishing with water.  With the idea that there is always room for more.  This is a little rough but it is basically my notes:

Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Why do we need all these qualities in our lives? We want to fill our hearts with these good qualities so there won't be room for the bad qualities. When I say fill our hearts, I am talking about our personalities and attitudes. The way we interact with others and the qualities we are known for. We all want to be known for good qualities don't we? So lets fill our hearts with each of these.
(start adding rocks)
Love It is the most important. If we start out with a good abundant supply of love for others, we won't have room for hate or insensitivity towards others. We won't be mean or hurt others. The word love here is not talking about love like a man and woman or a boyfriend and girlfriend love each other. It is an intentional love where we do what is best for others first. Even if they are unkind to us, we do not behave unkind to them in return. We forgive them and love them because they are still created by God and he wants them to be saved. Put more love in, less room for hate and unkindness.

Joy When we learn to be happy with our situation in life there is no room for disappointment. Less room for sadness. No room for jealousy. Maybe we have a friend that does better in school, or runs faster than us. If we are filled with joy we will be happy for them and share in their accomplishments. If we are filled with joy we will be happy for what God has done for us and will look at a life filled with opportunity instead of burdens.

Peace Who likes fighting all the time? Who likes conflicts? Who likes worrying about the future all the time? Nobody. We are going to concentrate on filling our hearts with peace. The kind of peace that a life with Christ can give. When we know we have treasure stored up in Heaven, we won't worry about our financial situation so much. We won't worry so much about the little unimportant things of today. We push those worries out as we let Christ and His promises give us inner peace.
(ask if the "heart" is full, start adding sand)
Longsuffering Patience. We need patience every day. From the time we get up we have to extend mercy to others when they don't behave like they should. We won't be rude to others that cut in lines or take advantage of us. We won't give up on others that are trying to do better. It may take many years for a grumpy neighbor to become a friend. If we cultivate patience in our hearts we won't give up on others. We won't give up on God when we need His blessings.

Kindness If we are filled with kindness we can be very useful tools in God's kingdom. We can help bring His blessings to others. Sharing our food with those that are hungry, sharing our time with those that are lonely, saying the right word to brighten their day. If we don't practice kindness we are selfish. We hoard our treasures like the foolish slave in the parable of the talents. If we fill our language with kind words there won't be room for unkind words.

Faithfulness Being faithful is being reliable. Dependable in big things and little things. A faithful person makes a promise and keeps it. People can depend on us to do the right thing -always. We are not wishy-washy saying one thing then doing another. We tell the truth even though it is difficult at times. We are always there to encourage our brothers and sisters in the church. And if they share something with us privately they know they can trust us to not share a secret. Faithful to God means we won't say one thing on Sunday, then live a different way the rest of the week.
(ask if the "heart" is full, start adding water)
Gentleness Do you always seem to be fighting with your fellow students or your brothers and sisters? Do you always have to win an argument at all costs? Do you always want to get the last word in? Even if it means hurting others? Do you just blurt out criticisms of others not considering their feelings? You probably need to work on adding gentleness to your attitude. Proverbs says a gentle word will turn away anger. A person may be angry with you, but you can resolve the issue with a gentle word. Stopping the battle before it ever starts. A gentle person will be the first to say “I'm sorry” when they know they have made a mistake and upset somebody.

Self-control The world is full of people that are out of control. Just watch the news and it is filled with people that cannot seem to control their actions. People consuming alcohol and drugs, eating the wrong kinds of food, spending too much money on worthless junk, having babies they don't even really want, saying things they wish later they could take back. God wants us to be in control. He doesn't want us living a life of chaos. Self-control takes practice over time. When we let God guide our lives Satan can't cause us to spin out of control. Listening before speaking, fasting, eating healthy foods, saving money, staying sober, maintaining sexual purity, exercising, prayerfully considering your actions beforehand is maintaining self-control.

When we “walk in the Spirit” we will develop these fruits that will bring glory to God and help us be pleasing to Him. If our life is full of the good qualities there won't be room for the bad qualities.  We shouldn't consider these qualities a burden, but an opportunity. Or another way of saying it, liberty and freedom to live the abundant life. Just like when a person learns the qualities of a good driver, he has the freedom to travel safely where he wishes.

Suggestions?  I have another powerpoint I am working on that I would like to open up for critique also.  I need to finish it and figure out how to share it through this blog.  I think though it may be too long and complex to do.  I'll have to think on it.