NOT for the birds, definitely not.

IWAA7I’m in the second year of my small berry crop.  Here’s what I was anticipating by springtime:

raspberries

Makes your mouth water, don’t it?

Especially for me, the non-gardener.  I’m pretty proud of this little piece of earth, and all the sore muscles along the way.  Bob has been very patient with the big Sutherlands Home and Garden truck pulling up unexpectedly (for him, that is), or the time(s) I have inadvertently left the hose on after watering, (okay, so I get distracted.)

His tastes buds do reap the benefits, however, except for that year I had an over-abundance of cucumbers—he still requests no cukes in the smoothies… Currently, our favorite taste treat is the fresh raspberries and blackberries coming in from the second-year plants. YESssss!!

Unfortunately, this year the birds have likewise found them.  Especially the blackberries.  I wondered why I wasn’t seeing the ripened fruit day after day, and here’s evidence (it’s not for the faint of heart)—

ARRUGHH@#!!*@#!!!! (delete-delete-delete)

Now, I love birds.  They serenade me in the morning.  But that doesn’t mean they get paid by my hard worked-for berries.  So off to Sutherlands I go (didn’t need their truck for this one) to get some equipment, and concocted this:

Not only was it not pretty, it was also not entirely functional.  It didn’t fit, which meant there were gaps in the netting, and my attempts to cut and paste (well, zip-tie) left much to be desired.  Birds aren’t quite as dumb as I gave them credit, at least not when they’re hungry.  They know a good berry crop when they see it!

Learn from my mistakes, call my Dad for a little review in mathematic calculations, and a little ingenuity from Pinterest, and here is my current barricade:

netting3

Already I have seen a feathered kamikaze bounce off in bewilderment!

Inspecting my handiwork that next morning, I notice a few gaps, but also some nicely ripening blackberries.  I easily reposition and secure the netting, and let the fruit do its thing, unmolested and secure.

“Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of [and produced by] the Spirit in the binding power of peace.”

I like that “guard AND keep”.  It’s one thing to set up a protective fence but it’s another to make sure it’s still effectively working.  And when it comes to protection, one size definitely does not fit all.

My precious berries were already protected from the ground forces of bunnies by the wire fencing—I learned that one the hard way a long time ago.  But just having put in the berries last year, I hadn’t counted on the air strikes (although, I confess, I had heard of them from the past…oh, if only I had paid attention to experienced gardeners!!)

After losing some of the crop, I went into action—better late than never.  But unfortunately, I “reacted” rather than “researched” properly, which left gaps and wasted time and money.

Finally, sacrificing some time (allocating that precious resource to a perceived priority—my berries!!) and relying on the experience of others, I have a tailor-made plan to “guard and keep” for a fruitful harvest.

When it comes to relationships, whether it’s in the family, or even in the Body of Christ:

  • Protection must be intentional. (And it’s rewarding to see Satan just bounce off, not that he won’t try again.)
  • We are given a template, but each “fence” will be unique; to force one on another will cause gaps and allow the enemy in to eat the “fruit”. (Ask me how I know…)
  • Research is better than reacting. Humbly asking for help if more effective than wasting time and emotion on crisis management.
  • Protection is ongoing: frequent inspections and adjustments must be anticipated. It’s called communication and resilience.  Forgiveness and grace. 

ripeberryFruit takes time (and effort) to produce.  But its reward is sooooOOO000ooo sweet.

Ephesians 4:3 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

You’re going out like THAT?!

IMG_20150103_172451138

I’ve used this picture before, but it’s just too darn good to not use again.  This is my husband Bob and our middle daughter on our visit to Woodstock, the (in)famous place of musical rowdiness back in the 60’s.  Bob and I married in the late 70’s, imposingbobandrobin2 brown tuxes with peach ruffle-collared shirts on the groomsmen.  My wedding dress looked like a formal Little Miss Bo Peep.  So clearly I’m not a fashionista, but after a few years of marriage, even I took the liberty to eradicate a few items from Bob’s pre-marriage wardrobe: the mauve colored polyester slacks with the brown elevator shoes with white marshmallow soles, and the slick acetate shirt…he said he was trying on a new image during that phase.

What exactly that image was is probably best left to the imagination.

For you young ‘uns, feast your eyes on Continue reading “You’re going out like THAT?!”

Alive and Well in Kansas!!

“Then celebrate the Festival of Harvest to honor the LORD your God. Bring him a voluntary offering in proportion to the blessings you have received from him… for it is he who blesses you with bountiful harvests and gives you success in all your work.”

** This BEE-autiful video is from Alive and Well in Kansas.  And if you haven’t checked out her blog, please do!  (GREAT instagram feed also, just in case you wonder where your food comes from!)

Deuteronomy 16:10,15  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Define productivity…??

wood 2One of my bloggish buddies, Enthusiastically Dawn (yes, how could I not like someone who’s name is also Dawn?!?  I wonder if she’s a morning person like me?) is an avid journalist.  No, I mean, she writes the journal on journaling.  And her journals aren’t just the five-and-dime variety, they are, themselves, works of art, that she further turns into works of art with her both her prose and poetry.  Even her blog site is b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l and her Instagram feed gives us frequent vids of the ocean (ahhhhh….that soothing sound of waves….here in Missouri we get tornado sirens.)

So, what’s more inviting to a writer/poet/artist than a blank folio? (Unless, of course, you have writer’s block, which I doubt my buddy ever does, bless her!) That clean unqualified availability just pulls the pen to the page, or if it’s my almost three-year-old granddaughter, the crayon.  Or better yet, as when we moved into this old house, we knew we were going to strip the wall paper off and repaint, so guess what we let our children do with their crayons?  Don’t you think those blank walls were inviting!?!

I’m thinking this same kind of opportunity caught Jesus’ eye as well~~

“One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God.  He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets.  Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.”

Availability.  I can imagine that an empty, waiting boat would have been more inviting than a boat with a bunch of slippery fish in it.  This doesn’t mean totally tanking our responsibilities to clear our schedule, but it will most probably mean a severe reordering of priorities.

Of course, what happened next surprised everyone, Peter most of all.  After finishing His sermon, Jesus decides to take Peter on a little fishing trip right there, in his own boat.  Peter objects.  He’s been up all night (he’s a bit tired and hungry, hasn’t even had his morning java yet), he’s already lent this guy his boat when he’d rather be sleeping, and now he’s being told to fish waters he already “knows” is a waste of time (this is his own profession, after all.  Sheesh.  Who does this guy think he is?)

“And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear!  A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.”

The point is, Peter’s availability proceeded his productivity.  Of course, then his product line changed to a slightly higher order…

I guess I should be prepared for that as well.

Luke 5: 1-3,6,7  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Ain’t nuthin’ like the real thing, baby…

wood 2

I am not an artist, which perhaps makes me appreciate those who are, like my bloggish buddy at A Time To Share and her husband.  Our baby girl is an artist, as is one of our sons-in-law, and all three of my siblings and our dad.  Even Bob has taken up the pen and pencil! 

But me?  Nope.  I must have been like a flat rock that went skipping over that part of the gene pool.  I can sort of draw a tree…

tree
Tree. By dawnlizjones All rights reserved, no part of this artwork can be reproduced, blah, blah, blah…but why would you want to???

Of course, that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate art…well, some of it.  Admittedly, I’m more a Rembrandt to Rockwell fan than, say, Pablo P.  I’m a bit of a realist in that sense.  I’m a nurse, and I like body parts to be where they are supposed to be.  Is that so wrong?

But then, I would also make a lousy existentialist; I’ve been ruined by day-to-day living and breathing and working to give too much heed to alternate universes, virtual or otherwise.  In my profession, what I do either causes my Continue reading “Ain’t nuthin’ like the real thing, baby…”

Decaf Coffee and the Christian

Personally, I’m a tea drinker, but here’s for all you coffee lovers out there-

Theological Jon

“So then because thou art decaf coffee, and neither iced coffee nor hot caffeinated coffee, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” – Percolation 3:16

If ever there was a “Coffee Bible” one of the greatest crimes against God would be decaf coffee. Why do I hate decaf so much? There are three reasons.

First, decaf coffee is advertising itself as something that it is not. It says it is coffee, yet has none of the effects of regular coffee. It looks like it is coffee, yet 45 minutes later you are still as drowsy as ever wishing for energy to flow into your body. Decaf coffee will even taste somewhat like coffee, but looks and taste can be deceiving.

Second, decaf coffee no more wakes me up than attending the opera. I could have ten cups of the fake black gold and still not be able to stay…

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Where’d THAT come from?

IMG_20150103_172451138Today our sweet 2-year-old granddaughter turns THREE!!  I continue to store up memories that only grandchildren can bestow.  Her memory, however, is a bit different:

For example, our dear one won’t remember the day she received her wonderful cartoon bed as a gift from her parents.  Her dad found it especially for Christmas, modeled after a favorite anime character, and it is as soft and comfortable and cute as can be.  At two and a half, however, her brain is so busy forming a gazillion neuro-pathways that it’s a little Continue reading “Where’d THAT come from?”

“I’d like to buy the world a Coke” just won’t cut it

BloggeRegardless of what you may have thought of either American presidential candidate in the very divisive 2016 election, one thing can surely be said of both of them: neither shied away from confrontation!  I supposed when you get to that level of office, confrontation management (of some form…) is a prerequisite. 

Yet another reason you’ll never be voting for yours truly.  Ever.

Confrontation is not high on my list of intrinsic qualities.  There’s a definite art to it.  Granted, some may seem to use only the sledge hammer approach when a gentle tap is all that’s required.  Then there’s me.  I’m like, “can’t we all just be nice and get along?”  But the reality is, no, we can’t.  And in this world unfortunately, nor should we.  Much to the chagrin of the 1970’s Coca-Cola commercial, we cannot all hold hands and teach the world to sing in Continue reading ““I’d like to buy the world a Coke” just won’t cut it”

Call your folks

wood 2There’s a story in the book of Joshua where God holds back the sun so the Hebrews could have more time to fight on and subdue their enemies. 

More time.  Man, I wish.  Of course, most of us would just blow it.  But somewhere in our collective psyche where “deep calls unto deep” is that gnawing feeling that time is something we can’t grasp or control.  A cursory glimpse at even modern entertainment is informative—sci-fi time travel flicks abound, even the humor of “Ground Hog’s Day” maybe-I-can-get-it-right-this-time wistful thinking is not far below the surface for most of us. 

So somewhere thousands of feet over Midwest farmlands, I was in a jet heading home from seeing my parents for a few days at their retirement village.  Dad was recovering from a knee problem across the street from where mom was preparing for their new digs in the apartment complex. 

After sharing my dad’s breakfast table with a 93-year-old WW2 veteran, after hearing of one of their friends who skipped her chemo so she could go hiking in Colorado (“just give me a little extra medicine this time, will ya?”), and after meeting some of the other indomitable souls in their neighborhood, it kind of makes me think twice before complaining about…anything. 

We went to church together that Pentecost Sunday morning huddled around his computer at the foot of his hospital bed watching the live-stream from their Methodist Church with mom and one of their neighbors (a retired world-traveled physician who can now only see peripherally due to a degenerative eye problem—but walks everywhere anyway.)  I’m kicking myself for not providing some grape juice and flat bread for communion.  (“The good Lord knows our hearts, honey.”)

One of my parents’ good friends from W-A-Y back, (meaning my teenage years, okay, no wise-cracks necessary), is now in his 90’s and just returned home to the same complex from visiting family from the west coast.  I am informed he is of the polar-opposite political party than my father, which in this day and age could mean, well, we all know the vitriol that implies.  Evidently, they are both “old school”, which means that they can discuss politics without interference in their relationship. 

Would that we had such maturity these days.

Dad’s the one who taught me to “ask for the moon” but won’t ask for a bag of ice when he bumps his bad ankle on the wheelchair.  When I mention a plan to call for something, it’s “oh, no, don’t bother them…”  So I have dubbed myself “the wicked witch of the West” and I can imagine the nurses in report saying, “she called again.” (One of my main consolations is all the heavy lifting my local siblings do when it needs to be done.  This long distance thing STINKS.)

Dad says that as the light streams through his window in the morning, he gives thanks to the Lord for another day of life.  My folks have a perspective that my culture has largely lost, or missed altogether—gratitude.  Fortitude.  Resilience. 

Gray hair is a crown of glory;
    it is gained by living a godly life.

Now, let’s see, who shall the witch bother today?  

(Call your folks!)

Proverbs 16:31 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Pass the DNA, I mean pancakes.

garden lastCulinary art is not my forte.  Before we were married, I made it clear to Bob that I didn’t know how to cook, to which he replied, “you have to be better than me!”  Clearly, at least one of us had to make some effort if we were to survive on our (very) limited budget.

Guess who stepped up to that plate.

To this day, if I slyly ask him what he wants to make for supper, he simply asks me what kind of cold cereal I would like…?  (And since I buy only one kind at the grocery store, that would limit my options…)

Through the 30+ years of matrimony, I have had my fair share of gastronomic lapses, to put it kindly, but considering his Continue reading “Pass the DNA, I mean pancakes.”