But it’s dirty!

dirt
Happy birthday to me!!

Thought you could get rid of me, right?  Uh, huh, I’m like that bad penny that keeps coming around.

Actually, my dad warned me about being busier after retirement than before.  My gracious!  Right now I’m sitting on daughter #1’s back porch in California as her daughter #2 is getting ready to make her world debut…the sooner the better as far as mom is concerned.  (Remember those days, ladies?)

From here I fly to upstate New York where my own daughter #2 is recuperating from recent knee surgery.  All this after returning from seeing daughter #3 and fam over in Scandinavia earlier this summer. 

Has anybody got the time??  My body’s not sure anymore.

Oh yeah, then there’s this manuscript I’m trying my hand at writing, like half of the world also does.  But hey, it’s retirement!

Now, both of my sons-in-law are gardeners at heart, and I like to take cues from them.  Sitting out here in the beautiful southern Cal morning, I’m appreciating some of Mike’s creative handiwork remembering how we talked about improving our dirt—his is clay-ish, and mine back in the Midwest, who knows.  As I walked out to the porch this morning, I note bags of nice brown mulch.  He has plans!

It reminds me how the top of my wish list for any gifts for the past several years as been: dirt.  Bob, however, does not find that particularly appropriate or romantic, as in…

“No, honey, I don’t want to buy you dirt for our anniversary!  Can’t you think of something else?”

“But”, I counter, “you like to eat the things it grows, right?”

It doesn’t work.

So, I continue to buy myself dirt, the good stuff, to improve the soil in my gardens so I can improve the crops I plant. 

My sons-in-law and I also enjoy talking about compost, how to make it better, how we create our areas, all that.  It might not make for engaging conversation at a red-carpet party, but nonetheless.

As the old saying goes “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.  So true.  How often is something I initially see as unclean or unworthy of my attention actually show up as foundational to what God is trying to accomplish in my life?  My vision needs to be renewed.

“So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!”

Now there’s food for thought, but first the food must be planted in the dirt.

Okay, family’s waking up soon and grandma is going to be on duty.  Hope y’all are fine and I’m still here.  God bless!

1 Corinthians 5:16  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.

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Bigger boat for bigger teeth

shark-2317422_1920As I begin to compose this, I hear a raptor behind me.

No, I’m not imagining yet another Jurassic Park spin off.  In the pre-dawn hours here on my patio, there is an owl perhaps not less than fifteen feet in the trees at my back.  My dog, Buckley, seemed to be a tad unnerved by the sound.  I assured him he was too big to tempt the creature toward an attack, and I made some big human noise to assert my dominance and position as well.

This guy can have all the mice he wants, thank you very much; however, I have heard of owls carrying off smaller canines.  When it comes to enemies with teeth, to quote the old movie, Jaws, we gotta get a bigger boat.

Pardon the corny segway, but the disciples discovered a similar thing when they found themselves in a crowded and small vessel when a nasty storm blew in.  Thankfully, they had someone on board Who was bigger than the storm.  Interestingly, His being there didn’t prevent the storm, as in “oh wait a minute, there’s Jesus, let’s wait ‘til they all pass.”  (How convenient would that be?)   Jesus, did, however, have to assert His dominance in the situation to make it go according to His plan, rather than the storm’s plan.

Neither does Satan keep away merely because we bear Jesus’ name.  Sometimes that Name acts like a magnet!  Satan himself has some pretty big teeth, and he knows it:

“Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”

Nevertheless, we are in a pretty sizable boat:

“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.  Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come.  God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church.  And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.”

Which the writer (Paul) follows in the next chapter with:

“For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.”

Part of being united with Christ is learning how to, like Christ, assert His dominance in and through me when I see the enemy.  “Take up your cross and follow me” includes that part; that is, not only the sacrifice, but the proper use of the authority and power which was paid in full by His own cross.

I can spend a lifetime learning how to fish in that boat!

1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 1:19-23; Ephesians 2:6 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.

More than Deet

mosquito-1465062_1920I’ve had one or two people comment on the “number of mosquitoes” in our immediate vicinity, such as my back yard.  Well, my patio is circumscribed by English Ivy, and the border to my next door neighbor to the south is a combo of flowering myrtle and forsythia amid an old sycamore.  Then I have a variety of flora embedded directly to my north which is shaded by one of two colorful maples.  In other words, I love trees and flowers.

So do the mosquitoes.  Continue reading “More than Deet”

That elusive hummer

hummingbird-691483_1920I’m smiling as I write this watching a hummingbird perched on one of the feeders taking his sweet fill.  They fascinate me, and since I’m not an Audubon, I’m dependent on the research and experience of others how to attract these little guys.

Originally, I had spent a few dollars on the store-bought red stuff to put in the feeders.  That can rack up some funds over time—do you know how much these hummers eat?! Continue reading “That elusive hummer”

Check marks

ok-1976099_1280As I write this, it is almost 5AM and I’ve been up since 3:45AM.  It’s called jet lag.  I’m wide awake, made more permanent by the nice black tea I bought while in Sweden (seven time zones away), and might as well start my day while my brain and body make the adjustments.  My “to-go” list is as follows:

  • Laundry
  • Groceries
  • Weed-whacking
  • Bug spray
  • Rake the grass
  • Fix the carrier
  • Thank you note to ____

And I won’t bother to write the rest.  (I did get the yard mowed yesterday, as it was looking more in need of brush-hogging after being gone for two weeks.) Continue reading “Check marks”

Inventory

Inventory is not necessarily one of my favorite pastimes.  I tend to be a bit (okay, a lot) more spontaneous (oh alright, haphazard) in my organizational skill set than my husband, Bob.  In the past 39 years, that much is evident.

Nonetheless, now that retirement has arrived, the massive purging process at our homestead will soon begin (yeah, right.)  At least, that’s the plan. Continue reading “Inventory”

Hummers unite! (or starve, whichever.)

hummingbird-691483_1920I finally have hummingbirds as regular neighbors.  Finally!  I love these little guys, so much so I have three feeders specifically designed for them hanging in my garden, (by my patio, so I can watch them, of course.)  Each feeder has a different type of feeding port.  I even went on the internet to find out how to make my own “nectar”.  I also make a bit of sticky mess, but it’s well worth the effort.

Then there’s the ants, who also like the nectar, naturally.  I talked with my dad about options to keep them at bay: adhesive paper on the pole, insecticide spray, a homemade “ant moat”.  Gruesome from the ant’s point of view, but I want to protect the food meant for the hummers.  Continue reading “Hummers unite! (or starve, whichever.)”

Bird-brained, or not?

It looks like I may have some resident woodpeckers in my yard.  They are certainly welcome here; my house and garage are sided with aluminum, so unless they want a sore beak, they will hopefully stick with the trees.

I really do find them fascinating.  I’ve put out one of those hanging cages with the suet they like.  It’s positioned on a garden shepherd’s crook in the back yard so I can enjoy observing their feast.  This morning, one little guy swooped in for breakfast, but just took his time trying to balance on the shepherd’s crook instead of digging in on the goodies in the cage. Continue reading “Bird-brained, or not?”

Another alternative lifestyle…

wedding-626020_1920Do you ever wonder at the Christian tradition of being married at an altar?  Here is the bridegroom all decked out in formal finery gazing wistfully upon his beautiful bride in her white satin and lace while everyone is trying to see around the photographer and Aunt Judith is loudly blowing her nose.  Happily ever after is just waiting to enfold the sweet couple at the end of the aisle.

I mean, historically an altar was a blood-stained place of sacrifice… 

Okay, on second thought, anyone married for more than one year (how about one week?) gets the connection. Continue reading “Another alternative lifestyle…”

Extreme Corn Pickin’

hot-159386_1280I’m sweating.

I know I’m not alone.  Dot-gov says it’s 74 F., (and it’s not even eight o’clock in the morning), with an expected high of 94 and heat index of 105. 

Of course, drinking my delicious hot tea probably doesn’t help.

But I love my tea, on the patio, in the morning.  If I waited for perfect conditions I’d be inside all day most every day.

corn1
Eclipsed by the corn!

My dear brother and sister-in-law from Minnesota are visiting.  It’s been terrific, but the high heat and 2000% humidity doesn’t suit them either.  We took them over to a friend’s place to pick some sweet corn, thankfully right before this life-altering weather took hold. 

I’m thinking of heading over there again myself this afternoon when they go visit their daughter nearby, to get some more for them to take home tomorrow.  I’m starting a new sport: Midwest Extreme Corn Pickin’. 

Life’s too short to wimp out.

Of course, the farmers here in the Midwest don’t wait for perfect conditions either; I’m really happy about that.  I like to eat. 

I’m also really appreciative that God didn’t wait for me to get my life together before He invited me into His home.  In fact, I didn’t even have to wipe my feet!  Here’s how one of His early saints put it:

“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners…But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”

I suspect lots of people still think of Christianity as achieving some perfected state.  It’s not about my perfection, however, it’s about His.  He doesn’t even want me to wipe my feet before I come inside the door.  Instead, Jesus has this habit of washing our feet Himself!  In other words, my sin is the “perfect condition” for the application of His perfect righteousness. 

He also makes it clear that it’s His washing that gives me the capacity to be clean.  There’s definite partnership in this situation, but it’s not until He washes my spiritual condition that I can clean up my act. 

“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.”

So there’s no waiting for this relationship to get going, or it may not come to pass.  It’s like waiting for perfect conditions to make picking the corn more comfortable—instead, it’ll just rot in field.

“Indeed, the ‘right time’ is now. Today is the day of salvation.”

As far as the sweet corn is concerned, I’ll just wait for the heat index to get a little higher.

[Postscript: In the interest of honesty, our farming friends picked corn and brought some out to us this morning so I wouldn’t have to endure the heat.  There’s another whole analogy there…)

Romans 5:6,8; 2 Peter 1:3; 2 Corinthians 6:2  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.