Archive | March 2012

Spring has Sprung

Not long ago, I was lamenting the long winter months and eagerly anticipating the warmth of spring.  Well, Spring has sprung in Southwest Kansas!

New life abounds!

Longer sunny days and warmer temps seem to invigorate me.  When I am at work, I long to be outside breathing fresh air scented by blooming things, and when I’m home, my housework remains on the to-do list. I am drawn outdoors, and there I begin to worship. No, I do not worship nature, but God the creator.

“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”  Romans 1:20 NLT

Yes, I see His divine nature:

  • as blooms burst forth on a branch that is gray and otherwise bare
  • in a serenade of birdsong from Mr. and Mrs. Mocking Bird.  Who but God told them to return year after year to the same nesting place?
  • in Momma Cow as she licks her newborn and nudges him gently with her nose until he stands on wobbly legs.

I must avoid the sin of the unbeliever who worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator.

“They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.” Romans 1:25 NLT

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As I look beyond the details – intricacy and delicacy – of these creations of new life, I see the Creator and am drawn to worship.

“Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the LORD our maker, for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care. If only you would listen to his voice today!” Psalm 95:6 & 7 NLT

A Visit to Mauthausen

Today I visited Mauthausen, Austria where some of the most horrific World War II concentration camps in Austria were located. Viewing what remains, knowing of the thousands of inhumane deaths, and observing life as it is today, has my emotions all in a jumble. At this time words cannot express my feelings.

An unanswered question keeps pounding in my head – why? Why? Why?

How could that horrendous treatment take place one man to another, as well as to women and children?

There were many people who were tortured, starved and killed, with the large majority being Jews.  Though Hitler and his Reich tried to annihilate the Jews, it was and is impossible.  In Jeremiah 31, God declares that the descendants of Israel will never cease.

“This is what the LORD says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar–the LORD Almighty is his name: ‘Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,’ declares the LORD, ‘will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me.'” Jeremiah 31:35,36 (NIV)

The great American philosopher George Santyana once said, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it” Survivors of the horrors of WWII, are becoming fewer and fewer as each year passes by. May we learn from history and pass on that knowledge to the next generation, so such acts never happen again.

Spreadin’ Out

The sporadic warm days at the close of Winter tease as I anticipate Spring.  The long days of winter produced little snow or rain, yet there was plenty of cold wind. I am NOT a fan of cold and most definitely DISLIKE cold-wind!  Needless to say, until recently, I have been in hibernation, bundled in my hand-crocheted afghan drinking cappuccino.

At the conclusion of a delicious breakfast of pancakes topped with extra chunky peanut butter and homemade syrup, Hubby began our devotional reading with Isaiah 54:3a (NIV)

 “For you will spread out to the right and to the left;”

Oh Me, Oh My!!! I need to put my runnin’ shoes on and stop this spreading “out to the right and to the left” !!!

*Disclaimer-The use of Isaiah 54:3a is deliberately taken out of context for this blog post, because these were my exact thoughts when Hubby paused while reading. 🙂

Gardening 101 and More

With the beautiful weather this week, I couldn’t help myself; I just had to play outside in the dirt!  The rain showers over the weekend and daytime temps in the 70s and 80s have teamed together for near perfect conditions to start the Spring garden.

The tossed salad is seeded with a mix of lettuce greens, spinach, radicchio, onions and carrots.  The seed potatoes were put to bed and will be blanketed with straw soon after the tubers poke through the soil.  This will not only keep the weeds at bay, but also keep the soil cool and retain moisture.  In a few weeks, snap peas will be climbing the garden fence.  Peas can be time consuming at harvest, but they are Hubby’s favorite vegetable.

As I was dropping seeds one by one, I began to think of the parable Jesus told in Matthew 13:3-9.

3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”  New International Version (NIV)

At first glance, this could be a lesson in Gardening 101.  However, it is not intended to be taken that lightly.  Jesus later explains the hidden message of the parable of the sower.

18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Matthew 13:18-23 NIV

Just as I prepare the soil, water, weed and mulch to produce a bountiful vegetable harvest, I must do the same in life to become the woman God desires me to be.

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and    unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  2 Peter 1:5-8 NIV

Scattered and Planted

With Kansas winds and birds, seeds get scattered and planted in surprising places; Hollyhocks in the strawberry patch, Blackeyed Susans in the lawn, Dandelions in the vegetable garden. Left where they landed, they’ll grow and bloom.

Sometimes we, too, are scattered and planted in places we don’t want to be.  When this happens, how do you respond?

For the past 2 months, I’ve watched a dear friend as she has been unexpectedly uprooted and transplanted.  We have cried; we’ve packed boxes, and we have prayed together.  Although the goodbyes were hard, I got to witness her love and devotion to her husband and famiy.  I also saw her faith in God grow, as she depends on Him through this transition. As  beautiful rose buds bloom on brambles with thorns, I have no doubt my friend will bloom where she has been transplanted!  She is a true Prairie Rose!

Have you been scattered or planted in a place you don’t think you belong? Are you waiting and wishing to be transplanted into the next phase of life – graduation, marriage, family, different job, more money, bigger house…, or are you blooming where you are planted right now?

“Neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”

1 Corinthians 3:7 (NIV)

The Journey Continues

As I continue this journey to daily, intentionally look for gifts of joy, God does not cease to reveal His love and care for me.  It is somewhat a scavenger hunt as I have my clue(s) to find each day. This “Joy Dare” has forced me to look in nooks and crannies, literally as well as in my heart and mind. Diligently seeking what the Lord wants me to see, my vision has begun to focus more  on Him throughout the day.

One gift woven  Friendships from many walks of life and many locations across the globe, yet God has woven them together to help make me who I am. Thank you, Friends!

A gift found in working  The reward of accomplishing a task to beautify my home.

I recently completed the facelift of this compact little bathroom.

A gift of glass

Centerpiece created by Son #2

Etched monogrammed candle holder made by Son #3

A gift seen as reflections

Stark beauty reflected on pond water.

On a very ugly, cold, dry, windy, gray day I found the following Ugly – beautiful gifts

Spinach sprouting in bare garden

Blooms in the brittle brown grass

Little lavender crocus

Blanket of green wheat

Thank you, Lord, for signs of life even on an ugly, cold, dry, windy, gray day.

Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but beauty and blessings abound everywhere.   To join the fun and practice a life of gratitude, click here for your list for the month of March.