Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Earth Flowers

This is the most beautiful time of year for my flower beds. Most of my perennials are spring bloomers and they are almost at their peak. My hybrid lilacs are just opening up spilling a delightful fragrance all around the yard. My mama's old fashioned light purple iris are in full bloom shedding their own wonderful grape fragrance in the air. A variety of other iris are also flowering adding colors throughout the gardens and around the yard. There are dark purple, yellow, peach, and more to blend a rainbow of beauty.

My oriental poppy adds its striking bold orange to the flower bed for only a week or so but it is a gorgeous contrast to the rest of the yard. The root beer fragrance brown/plum iris stand tall contributing their beauty to the flower bed. With the purple salvia so faintly spoken, the bleeding heart's quiet pink blooms joins the chorus of melody and the bolder peonies rise above to ready their buds for a striking finale of deep red and bright pink in another week or so.

The snowball bush, tulips, and creeping phlox have all passed their prime but the tall phlox, black-eyed Susans and purple coneflowers will bring later blooms for summer and the chrysanthemums and asters add color for the fall days. Together they paint a beautiful landscape that only God can make happen.

"Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come" (Song of Songs 2;12 NIV).

Monday, May 25, 2015

Remembering on Memorial Day

"I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy" ( 2 Timothy 1:3-4 NIV).

Memorial day is a day to remember and there is so much to remember. It's a day to remember and give thanks for the many servicemen and women who have protected our rights around the world so unselfishly. Those who put their lives on the line for our freedoms. Those who kept the battles out of our neighborhoods on soil that wasn't ours. Those who died or were injured so severely that they still carry the symbols of war on their bodies. Thank you for your bravery and sacrifice.

Memorial day is a day to remember our family members who have gone before us. A sad day to cherish their lives and long for the day we'll be reunited. My parents and brother are remembered first with such great love and longing. But each of us have our own memorials to honor today, broken-hearted and lonely. Family members are missed and the love for them continues to be strong no matter how long they have been gone. A token flower bush on the grave says so little of the love and loss we still feel.

Memorial day is a day to remember our forefathers who bravely moved out to the prairies of Iowa to establish a home and farms to feed their families. They also created churches and organized worship that has remained strong throughout the years. A church we still call home. The pioneers who made their way though vast wilderness and beauty and needed to worship God and thank Him for the blessings he entrusted on their lives.

I remember.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Fences are worth little if there is no gate. Gates are useful and necessary to allow animals and humans to come and go from the field. The gate is the entrance and exit. It is the way to and from.

On our farm we have many gates. Every pasture has at least one gate and often two so the sheep can be moved from one area to another easily. Some gates are closed to keep sheep out and others are open allowing the sheep to enter. The sheep often rub their backs on the gates as they move through. The shepherd moves the sheep to the pasture that has had time to grow and gives the eaten down pasture a chance to catch up. It wouldn't be possible without gates.

In the Bible the gate often represents the way to God and heaven. We must pass through the narrow gate by living a life that follows Jesus. His path is narrow and worn. Often the cities in the Bible had gates to protect them from enemies. The shepherds themselves served as gates and would lay down across the opening if there was no gate to close, keeping the sheep safely inside and guarding against predators. Similar to the shepherds, the gatekeepers for the Temple guarded all entrances. They were honest, and trustworthy and they protected the Lord's house and all that was there.

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name" (Psalm 100:4 NIV).

Monday, May 18, 2015

Coming Home

I heard a delightful tune outside my window today. The wren has returned to the birdhouse. We have three wren houses and usually there are wren families in each of them. I don't really know if they are the same birds each year but I like to believe they return home. They are such small birds, I can't imagine how far they fly to winter over. It's another example of God's amazing creations.

The wren's song is so loud and strong for such a tiny bird. It reminds me that I should be singing praises when I am at home also. It is such a blessing to have a home to feel comfortable in. Yet, this isn't our real home, heaven is. That is when I will really sing the praises to God, as the wren does, when I reach our eternal home. That's when joy will exceed all other emotions, and we can celebrate being at home with Jesus.

"Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands" (2 Corinthians 5:1 NIV).

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Well-watered Garden

"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail" (Isaiah 58:11 NIV).

Our gardens are being well-watered today as showers settle over the state, pouring out their quenching refreshment upon the land. The plants reach upward accepting their nourishment happily, stretching their roots deeper into the ground, providing stability and strength against the rough winds that blow.

God created us to be like the well-watered garden. He promises to be with us always and to guide us during our lives. He will nourish us "like a spring whose waters never fail". He will guide us through the rough times and strengthen our frames. We need to be like the plants and reach upward toward Jesus, celebrating our nourishment and standing strong with deep-rooted faith so we can withstand the trials of life. Let the rain fall upon your face and rejoice in the renewal we are given so graciously. Stand tall and reach out to praise the Lord for his protection and love. He is our spring and His waters never fail.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Pen and Paper

"I have much to write to you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face" (3 John 13-14 NIV).

I love pens, pencils and paper. All kinds, sizes, and colors of paper. And all shapes and types of pens and pencils. I have a cupboard filled with paper. Everything from plain old copy paper to delicate stationary, reams of all purpose paper, notebooks, note pads, note cards, sticky notes, envelopes and a shelf of journals that I love.

I have drawers filled with pencils, good old #2 pencils that need sharpening, mechanical pencils of all colors with erasers and various sizes of lead. Then there are pens, too. Multiples of my favorite writing pens in black and blue ink. There are a few red pens and another drawer full of felt tip calligraphy markers in a rainbow of colors.

Perhaps it is because I'm a writer that I love these items so much. They are the tools of my trade. An extension of my being that allow me to take all my thoughts and transfer them to paper where I can say in writing all that is ready to be spoken. Pens, pencils and paper allow me to express, profess, expound and portray the silly little thoughts that go through my mind. Happy writing to you.

"My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king. My tongue is the pen of a skillful writer" (Psalm 45:1 NIV).

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Bird Nest

There is nothing better than preparing the grill for the first barbecue of the season! There is such anticipation for the juicy, sizzling meat. I'm the griller at our house. Usually because John doesn't have time. I love grilling also because there is less clean up. No dirty pans to wash. And the aroma is delightful while you wait for the meat to cook.

Our poor old grill is probably on its last leg. It sits out all year long and gets a beating from the weather. Last week I went out to check the grill and when I opened the lid a bird's attempt at a nest welcomed me. It was filled with straw and old flower stems and little sticks interspersed through the iron grates, and below, under the flame guard. I pulled out a 3-gallon pail of nesting materials. There was no neatly formed nest yet. I think the bird probably was frustrated with her location after she had chosen it. I don't know where she made her entry, perhaps at the lid handle.

But, I destroyed her hard work and made her seek a shelter somewhere else. I got the grill cleaned out and now we are leaving the lid open so she won't return. Maybe it is past nest building season, but there are no signs of another visit. I spoiled her perfect spot, all so we could eat burgers.

Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head" (Matthew 8:20 NIV).

Monday, May 4, 2015

A New Page

"If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31 NIV).

I'm my own worse enemy. For at least two years now I've been losing a war with food but that is about to change. Today I take a step forward to make a change in my life style and habits. I'm seeking professional help to direct me back to good healthy eating. I should have been able to conquer this battle on my own but I've been too weak or too stubborn. I just wasn't able to use all the good sense and tools I've been given in the past. I'm hoping having someone to be accountable to will help me finally make a for 'life time' adjustment.

I've tried lots of diets and plans but nothing seemed to stick like the ice cream has stuck to my body. With a clean fresh page today I try again. They will have one tough customer to bring to success. I'm hoping the investment of time and money will change my melancholy nature enough to be on a fresh new path toward healthiness. I've got all the excuses down and I'm ready to leave them behind. I want to learn a clean way of eating that will help me lose the weight I've gained and hold on to a positive way of life.

Change is never easy but I have to try harder this time. It's more than learning how to eat properly with smaller portions and better food. It's about becoming healthy and strong instead of weak and lazy. It's about moderation and better choices. It's about respecting my body and treating it right. It is about starting over and leaning on God to help me through this process. I'm pushing my reset button and asking God to walk this path with me. (Thanks to Pastor Scott for the visual).