The act of writing, of sharing the circumstances, the gifts and the graces planned and carried out by my Savior and God brings joy, peace, and contentment to know that He has my life in His hands. My prayer for those who read, who share in what I continue to learn each day, many times through my weakness, is that you will be encouraged to look for God's presence and grace in your life also.

Friday, July 20, 2012

"If Winter comes, can Spring be far Behind?"

Summer...long days, glorious cool mornings, hot afternoons, beautiful clouds, no coats, fresh vegetables from the garden to eat and beautiful flowers blooming along with butterflies and hummingbirds coming to drink their sweet nectar, iced tea by the gallon and ice cream...watermelon and bing cherries.

A wonderful time of the year...and it comes every year.

I remember standing at the window six months ago looking out at my garden--dead. Ice covered the pond and brown covered the rest.  The only green was the pine trees and junipers.  There were birds, lots of them but no color. even the finches' red feathers had grayed.

But I remember the hope that filled my insides as I thought about what was happening under the soil, about the roots that even then were going deeper to get nourishment--even in times of deadness, they were growing deeper, stronger, waiting for the promise of life...coming soon.

I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that come spring, come summer, come fall there would be abundant color, because of what was happening right then in the coldness and deadness. SPRING was coming...

After all one of my favorite poems is "Ode to the West Wind" by P.B. Shelley with the poem ending,
"If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?" If you have never read this poem, take a few and enjoy the depth of Shelley's meaning here.  Just click on the purple and it will come up.

Even God, the creator of all this, let us know in His word that we could depend on Him just as certainly as we can on the seasons changing. Be encouraged...time passes, circumstances change, as life happens we get to know God more and trust Him...but always....always....forever... God is with us.

I pray the pictures of my garden and other things I've taken this summer will encourage you as you read what God has said in his Word.

Genesis 1:14
 And God said, 
"Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. 
And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years,"

Ecclesiastes 3:1+
  For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 
a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 
a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;...

Daniel 2:21 
He changes times and seasons; 
he removes kings and sets up kings; 
he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;

Genesis 8:22 
While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, 
cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.

Psalm 104:19 
He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.

Psalm 1:3 
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers.

Galations 6:9 
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Isaiah 55:10-11
  For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there 
but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, 
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; 
it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, 
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Amos 5:8 
He who made the Pleiades and Orion, 
and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night, 
who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, 
the Lord is his name;

Psalm 65:11 
You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Everything has an expiration date" --Mark Bates

I'm thankful that I was born in the United States...the land of the plenty and the home of the free...most of the time.  Sometimes I wonder if being born in this land of plenty hurts my trusting God...you see, I don't always need Him.

This last week Ann VasKomp, with her son in Haiti, said in her post on 07.12.12 (click to find). "American dreams are about climbing out of all burdens. And God dreams are about carrying a cross and sharing one another's burdens. 
"How do Christians really bear another's burden, if we refuse to bear any burden at all?"

We don't like burdens...I mean we pray for safe trips, healthy babies, healing from all illnesses...quick healing. Maybe we should be praying that we will see God's hand in everything that happens on our trips, God's saving grace in our children's lives, and the grace and strength to always trust God through all the events of life.

We like an easy life where we are able to get most of what we want at any given time.  And if we don't get it, we still want it.

And then this morning's sermon was about "How to be rich...from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6.  "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

One thing Pastor Bates talked about was the "bad eye" talked about in Matthew 6.  The connotation of that bad eye is actually "evil eye."  It is a look of covetousness or greed. And a "evil eye" has a blinding effect.  He said the problem is a greedy eye is blind to what it really is.  We have a hard time seeing our own greed. We don't want to admit that for most of us money is security and so we don't want to let go of it.

And then the fire just three weeks ago...right out my window...smoke billowing into the sky above me, flames reaching toward all of us...flames that consumed 346 houses just one-and-one-half miles from my front door.  Only steps from many other's front door or back door.

It made some of us think...about the treasures. What is important. What we would not want to lose. Only to realize as Pastor said this morning...ALL of this will be gone someday...gone...left behind.

"Everything we have on earth has an expiration date."

So what lasts?  "Treasures laid up in heaven where moth and rust cannot destroy.  Where thieves cannot break in a steal." And where flames can't burn--treasures in HEAVEN that last forever.

Which takes me back to my focus...His presence...which I don't always do well.
     Being aware of Him.
          Seeing Him work in all circumstances...
                One day at a time...

The more I can do that by God's grace, the more aware I will be of the fact that my wealth, my treasures, are not for my pleasure, not for my good times but rather God has entrusted wealth to me, little or much, for the purpose of bringing glory to God and helping others...through the sacrifice of my money, time and love.

Thanking Him once again for more than I deserve...but exactly what He wants me to have.

#560...flowers, flowers, flowers...gladiolas, lilies, dahlias, sunflowers, petunias, daisies, bee balm, roses, begonias, cosmos, bachelor buttons, marigolds, hibiscus, ...and butterflies.

#561...birds--chirping, flitting, eating, washing, chirping, flying, everywhere...all kinds

#562...zucchini for breads, cakes, hot dishes, side dishes

#563...green beans ready to pick...

#564...strawberries...a few...to pick and eat...

#565...cherry tomatoes...bursting with more flavor than can be described...

#566...water...from reservoirs to drink and water thirsty plants...

#567...time with friends and daughter hiking to Monument Rock and then tea at Wisdom Tea House...and a scone. :-)

#568...pastor's words on "What it means to be rich." click here and then in the lower right corner where the recent sermon is.) 

#569...lunch brought by a dear friend and then some card making...Thanks for a friend who make me slow down.

#570...cool nights...beautiful sunrises...

#571...raspberries to enjoy from daughter's yard.

#572...carpet cleaner...clean carpet...fewer spots...

#573...phone visit with Dad...

#574...my sister just across the street...together time-- to talk, to work out, to laugh, to cry, to share, to help, to listen, to just know she is there...thank you.

#575...my cat. Melvin who now knows his name and comes when I call...a buddy for Larry and me.

#576...Larry...his wit, his humor, his patience, his love for You...

#577...how You use Larry to teach me how imperfect, needy and sinful I am...so that I depend on You more for humor, patience and love...

#578...clouds...against blue skies...amazing...

#579...Jesus Calling... an amazing book to remind me of Your Presence...


And once again...Thank YOU for Your steadfast love and faithfulness...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hindsight...so much to learn

Hindsight is easy...looking back when we know how something turned out enables us to say the right thing, come to the right conclusion and come across as having wisdom about what happened.

But when we are in the middle of crisis, it is much more evident where our heart is, where our trust is, where our strength comes from. And to be totally honest, I don't do so well thinking...I tend to kick into survival mode...figuring out for myself what I need to do.

Can't help but think that things would go better if I constantly listened to God during those times and asked Him what to do. But also know that He is there directing me, even when I don't ask.  I just miss out on the blessing of seeing Him work when I'm not really aware that He is, even in the midst of chaos.

(This was the picture leaving on Woodmen the 26th.  Lights were flashing everywhere.)

But praise God, He isn't finished with me yet.  This road of sanctification is a process, hopefully an upward process but a process that takes time as God brings events into my life to teach me more about His work and plan in my life. Events that make me more and more aware of His abiding presence.

Being evacuated from my home was another part of His teaching time. And once again He was found to be faithful even when I didn't know what was going on.

And so giving thanks in everything...for everything...

#540...Beauty, vivid beauty, in the ugly...a forest fire...

#541...Air conditioners, hepa filters to provide cleaner air to breathe...

#542..."Accidently" running the pond over so my garden was well watered while I was gone...

#543...Fire cloud shade from the sun's strong rays on June 23
           the day the fire began,
               the day it was 99 degrees,
                   the day I had 35 women here for a garden tea, outside...

#544...All the women at the Garden Tea...
             Those who cooked...
                 Those who came and donated...
                          Those who came and worked.....
             A wonderful time for friends...

#545...Friends, Jim and Sharon, visiting from Ohio who helped me pack up and "evacuate" with us...

$546...A son's house to go to, complete with beds and air-conditioning, showers, and food.

#547...A daughter's house to provide shelter for her Aunt and Uncle and extended family.

#548...A scenic drive the next day on the "Trail of Legends" near Trinidad.  Beautiful views of mountains, snow, green grass, coal piles, trees and friends to go with.

#549...Greg's new foam mattress...a delight to sleep on.  Larry even slept all night each night....

#550...Thank You for protection for Garden of the Gods and Glen Erie...Still as beautiful as ever.

#551...For our drive through Garden of the God's on July 2....the untouched beauty

#552...And my garden still doing well...very well.  A few dry planters and hanging plants but they all but one revived well. Thank you for making the moisture in them last longer...

#553...A day spent at the Denver Botanical Gardens..absolute beauty
     *the day lilies in full bloom
     *the extended Japanese Garden
     *the wonderful bamboo designs throughout the gardens

#554...A camera to capture the day...

#555...Friends to enjoy a vacation day with...

#556...A gift cookbook using vegies and fruits in season...

#5567..Cooler days and rain...oh yes, rain....Thank you for your goodness and provision...

#558...Picking my first zucchini of the season...


May I recommend this POST (click)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

"The Other Side of Misery"

One of my favorite authors of all time is George MacDonald (1824-1905).  A description I found of him says, "...a poet, a storyteller and a preacher--a lover of God and humanity and nature.  He was loved and valued by such writers as C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton."

In light of the events here in Colorado Springs over the last ten days, I found the following excerpt from one of his novels, Guild Court, comforting as I once again reflect on the fact that nothing comes into my life except by his plan and purpose. .  I hope you will too.

"The Other Side of Misery"
"It seems to me, also, that in thinking of the miseries and wretchedness in the world we too seldom think of the other side.  We hear of an event in association with some certain individual, and we say -- 'How dreadful! How miserable!' and perhaps we say -- 'Is there --can there be a God in the earth when such a thing can take place?' But we do not see into the region of actual suffering or conflict.  We do not see the heart where the shock falls.  We neither see the proud bracing of energies to meet the ruin that threatens, nor the gracious faint in which the weak escape from writhing.  We do not see the abatement of pain which is paradise to the tortured; we do not see the gentle upholding in sorrow that comes even from the ministrations of nature --not to speak of human nature -- to delicate souls.  In a word, we do not see, the and sufferer himself does not understand, how God is present every moment, comforting, upholding, heeding that the pain shall not be more than can be borne, making the thing possible and not hideous."

Psalm 13:5  

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

Psalm 25:10  

All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

Psalm 26:3  

For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in your faithfulness.

Psalm 31:7 

I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love,
because you have seen my affliction;
you have known the distress of my soul,

Psalm 31:21  

Blessed be the Lord,
for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me
when I was in a besieged city.

Psalm 33:22  

Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.

Psalm 36:5  

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.

Psalm 36:7  

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

I hope you have enjoyed these pictures taken at the Botanical Garden in Denver.  
The beauty of God's creation along with promises of His STEADFAST LOVE
 never cease to give me peace as they calm a weary child.
Be encouraged and strengthened in His love and grace which he lavishes on us so abundantly.