Double Trouble

What in the world is going on out there? I asked myself that question as I poured another cup of coffee. On a foggy gray morning, God doubly blessed our Cross-Dubya ranch with its first set of twins. As remarkable as that was, even more amazing was He gave us twin heifers, “Emma” and “Rose”.

Having read “For the Love of Emma” from Mrs. Starr Ayers to my wife Diane while she was ill, when I shared the news she immediately knew their names. Named after the principal character in the book, they share their names with Diane’s mother (Emma Mosconi) and aunt (Rose Montalbano). In both cases, their names fit their personalities. One is daring and adventurous; the other timid and reserved.

While twin calves are uncommon (estimated to be 1 in 200 births or 0.5%), having two of the same sex is even more rare. The most common occurrence is one of each sex; about 85 percent of the time. That results in a special problem in that almost always, the female will be infertile (aka a freemartin).

When I realized “Lulu Belle” had just birthed twins on the bank of the pond, my day shifted into overdrive. Twin calves, while a blessing, present its own set of special challenges. Yes, we get a bonus calf (if they live), but it doesn’t come free. Besides them being underweight, which makes them more susceptible to disease and environmental challenges, there are other potential problems. We monitor twin calves for signs of developmental problems, deafness, and other physical issues. I’m most grateful that God brought us two amazing little gals.

Many times, a mama cow will forget she has twins and abandon one. She may not produce enough milk to sustain two nursing calves. Her body condition can deteriorate; and if she can nurse two calves, she’ll most likely not breed back the next year. Because of these risks, ranchers have tough decisions to make. Some choose to pull one calf off early, cull the freemartin, etc. I exercised my faith. After I saw them interacting with each other, I knew they would stay together. They’ll wean together and they’ll both have an equal chance at success.

It hasn’t always been easy, but to see these two pal around with each other as they do brings great joy. My decision is worth the extra effort. While each has their unique personality traits, it’s clear they are siblings. Almost identical, I think it would be impossible to tell them apart without their ear tags. Until one of them wanders off on her own and gets into mischief. I’m not saying which one, but I yell “Stop that Rosie” far more than anything else; except maybe “Get back on this side of the fence Giovanni!”

Watching my pretty little calves one evening, I wondered if I made the right decision about them. God brought James 1:5-8 to mind.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach,
and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like
a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will
receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable
in a
ll his ways.” (James 1:5-8, NKJV)

Double-mindedness. Oh, how often I find myself in that situation during my journey in faith. I awaken each morning thanking God for another day. Spending my first waking moments in prayer, study, and fellowship with God, I start my day walking in faith. Then the world creeps in. Telephone calls, emails, conversations, news and events; they all tear away at my joy and peace to separate me from my faith.

Satan’s primary goal is to separate man from our faith and trust in God. Share on X

When I slip up and say or do something worldly, Satan is quick to jump onto my shoulder and whisper, “See, you can never do this. Your faith is weak and worthless.” Sometimes I reach over and flick him away with a word of prayer. Other times, I let him become an earworm that keeps pecking away at my spiritual armor until he saturates my mind with his fear, uncertainty, and doubt. When that happens, I ask myself if I will ever develop the self-control, reliance on faith, and courage of conviction to withstand the temptations of this world.

That’s when God whispers in my heart; “Your mistake was thinking you can develop all those characteristics of My Son in you. You can’t; I can, and will, as you learn to trust Me more.” With that gentle, loving reminder, the instability of my faith lessens. I grow stronger in my faith each time I allow God to come alongside and lead me through the trial.

I pray you also seek to trust God more with each passing day.

God’s blessings,


Please join me each Thursday evening at 9:30 Eastern as host Coach Mark Prasek and I take a trip Around the Cross-Dubya on PJNET TV. We discuss this week’s blog post, offer insight about the lessons learned, and enjoy the fellowship of friends in the live chat room.


46 thoughts on “Double Trouble”

  1. Whew! I don’t know how you do it! It has to be a calling to handle the responsibilities of your herd. But it looks like the blessings you get in return make the struggle worthwhile.
    “Sometimes I reach over and flick him away with a word of prayer.” That’s a great image.

  2. What gorgeous calves, J. D.! I didn’t know those facts about cow twins, but I’m glad you decided, in God’s wisdom, to keep them both.
    Yes, too often the devil seeks a ride on our shoulders – may we all be strong in the Lord, allowing Him to “flick him away with a prayer.”

    1. He (Satan) surely is a freeloader Ms. Martha. I wish I could call him an “uninvited guest”, but I don’t think that’s absolutely true. Whenever we succumb to one of this temptations, we invite sin to enter our lives again. And thank you so much for your comments on “Emma” and “Rose”; they hold a special place in my heart for sure.

  3. I love your tender heart toward the animals The Lord has given you to watch over. You provide a living picture of His mercy toward us. Thank you for your continued example, friend.


    1. Thank you Ms. Tammy. I’m often reminded “But God” when I share a tender moment with the animals and people I love. Like you, that wasn’t the environment I was born into, but it is the environment God has blessed me with these days. Being surrounded by His love is an amazing blessing.

  4. Yes. What a wonderful reminder that when we lean into God and trust Him, we grow in faith and grow in a closer relationship with Him. We can’t do things on our own. We must put our faith and trust in Him. Great message J.D. 🙂

  5. How exciting! So happy they are healthy, too. I love twins! I have twin children and have had twin goat kids. Thank you for the main theme of your post which was wisdom and faith (also two great names). I always love your analogies and lessons.

  6. What a beautiful message, J.D.! I can just picture Rose and Emma dancing around in the pasture with Rosie probably trying to get Emma in trouble. It almost makes me wish we had cows again on our farm–almost. I also remember how much trouble they could get into. Thank you for the reminder that we cannot do it ourselves, no matter how hard we try. We’ve got to walk on that same path with our Lord if we want to get where He is.

    1. LOL… Their curious nature can indeed lead them into trouble Ms. Katherine. I understand your “almost” comment ma’am. There are times when it’s hard, but I can’t imagine my life without them anymore. I know one day I’m going to have to give them up, but it’s not today (I pray).

  7. Love this one so much, J.D. Emma and Rose are the cutest. You may know that I’m a twin. My mom always said it was, “Double diapers, double bottles, double everything and double trouble.” 🙂

    Agree about the enemy’s tactics. I pray against double-mindedness and not letting the enemy gain ground in my spiritual battles…because they all start in the mind.

    1. I do indeed know about you and your twin sister Ms. Karen. Am guessing you feel as blessed as “Emma” and “Rose” do to have that someone special that knows you about as much as we know ourselves. I sometimes get frustrated at my “double-mindedness”, but I try and remind myself that every person in the Bible (save one; our Lord and Savior) suffered from that same challenge at one point or another. When it happens, I try to tell myself two things; 1) make it right with God, 2) cut yourself some slack, you’re not better than David, Moses, Joshua, Samson, Elijah, on and on… 🙂 God’s blessings gentle friend; and Happy Anniversary again.

  8. What a wonderful lesson from these two beautiful little calves! Thank you for a very down to earth picture of allowing God to grow your faith!

    1. Thank you Ms. Kathy. I think it important that we are always seeking to grow. None of us has “made it”, as much as we might like the world to think we have. God’s blessings ma’am

  9. From time to time, life requires tough choices. As we contemplate our options, our head and our heart are at war. You did the right thing in faith. That’s why I always turn to you when I need wise council.

    1. You are too kind my friend. Thank you. And yes, sometimes we must battle between head and heart; in both cases, it’s spiritual warfare as both are flesh. Well said sir. “Lord, help us to never fail your servant. Help me to become a better listener and discerner of Your word.”

  10. I don’t think we ever had twin heifers born on the farm. If we had, I would have loved to see if I could have trained them to be yoked. Identical twins make a great pair of oxen.
    Isn’t that a grand idea to be taken to our spiritual life, to be yoked for life with Christ? His yoke is easy and light and helps us to stay out of mischief like Rose gets into. Thank you my friend!

    1. That would’ve been an interesting experiment for sure Mr. Ben. These two girls are very similar in stature, body shape and BCS, but they’re not like-minded in most things. LOL They pal around a lot, but one is quite an adventurous little gal. Maybe we should have named her Ms. Starr. 🙂 As for being yoked with Christ? Amen! Bring it on; I need more of that!

  11. I’m late in catching up, J.D. but this story is so sweet. How great that Emma and Rose are loving siblings and I’m sure your care of them will take them a long way. Thank you for sharing the lessons they teach us.

    1. You are always “just in time” Ms. Barb; to bring kindness, joy, laughter, and encouragement. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment ma’am. It is very much appreciated.

  12. I’m presenting a talk next Tuesday evening to a large group of women at our church, Shining Our Light in Brokeneness. The key strategy here is to stay connected to the source of Light. As we do this, Satan is threatened and works relentlessly to separate our faith and God, thereby snuffing out the light of Christ. A never-ending war zone, isn’t it? Great post, JD!

    1. Wow! That sounds like it will be a great program Ms. Mary. Will be praying next Tuesday for its impact for the kingdom ma’am. As for “shining a light”, you do that so very well ma’am. Thank you for your comments; and God’s blessings.

  13. J. D., thank you for another life lesson from the farm. Your sweet calves are simply adorable! I love how you tied the twins into double-mindedness. I’ve sure had my share of that, but the Lord graciously gives us the recipe for conquering it. Isn’t it wonderful that He gives us abundant faith and wisdom to help us along? And He gives it generously and without reproach. What a great God we serve! Blessings, my friend.

    1. I think we all do Ms. Karen. Thank you so much for your kind words ma’am. I too am so very grateful God gives us a hand when we fall. He never leaves us in the struggle does He ma’am? God’s blessings.

  14. I loved hearing you expound on this piece on PJnet, J.D. and as always, the lessons fit all of us non-ranchers perfectly. I may never encounter the phenomenon of twin calves, but the challenge of creeping worldliness and the danger of being double minded will always be waiting for me every day. On a personal note, Diane and I were touched by the mention of you reading to your Diane while she was ill–what a beautiful picture of love in action. That’s the kind of personal stuff that makes your writing powerful on more than one level.

    1. Thank you Mr. Ron. I greatly enjoyed your program Thursday evening; and do pray you’ll be back more often my friend. You have such a gift of putting your listeners at ease sir. What a gift! Thank you also for your kind comments about my devotion to my Ms. Diane. Like your sweet wife is to you, I realize that my life is blessed even more because God saw fit to place her in it. I pray daily that He help me become the man, husband, and friend she deserves.

  15. Such a beautiful message, J.D. Thanks for the reminder of how our Father gently nudges us back to His ways when we fall for the enemy’s traps.
    God’s steadfast love never ceases and His mercies never come to an end!

    1. Amen and Amen Ms. Beckie. What comfort we have when we recognize these facts my friend. God’s love never ceases, His mercies never ends, and He’s always with us when we call to Him. Praise God He is always faithful. Praying great blessings upon you, your family, and your care team this week. #WeLoveBeckie #WarriorPrincessForJesus

  16. No surprise here that God demonstrated His blessing to you and your anointed ranch through an unlikely and desirable outcome. It’s always fun to be blessed like that! The other day I got a special blessing, too, when I purchased a piece of furniture for my friend. After finding this gorgeous antique marble-top coffee table, I got her approval. The next day it had been marked down AND discounted an additional 10%! Who else but God? Of course it fits perfectly under her window.

    1. It’s those surprise blessings that bring great joy isn’t it Ms. Karen? To be able to smile with God each day, about something, is that little bonus to our joy that sustains us in life. God’s blessings gentle lady.

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