Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Year of Blessing - May 1, 2010

The onions are in the ground and growing. They are the multiplying onions I wrote about earlier. They will be nice once they get established, and we will be able to eat on them starting early Spring to late Fall.

I just wish Wilted Lettuce Salad was as healthy as it was when I was a kid. It is made with fresh leaf lettuce, green onions, bacon fried crisp, with the bacon 'drippings' (as my mother called the grease off the bacon) mixed with vinegar and sugar and poured hot over the lettuce, onions and crumbled bacon. Mmmmm it was SO good! But the health department said it was bad along with many other staple meals I grew up with like fried chicken and mashed potatoes and gravy. The wilted salad was a great side dish served with them.

Guess I will have my grilled boneless skinless chicken with a side salad and low fat dressing. It looks better on my waist than my childhood meals. Just wish it came with the same taste!

Ahhhh...the joys of growing up!

Numbers 11:4

The riffraff among the people had a craving and soon they had the People of Israel whining, "Why can't we have meat? We ate fish in Egypt—and got it free!—to say nothing of the cucumbers and melons, the leeks and onions and garlic. But nothing tastes good out here; all we get is manna, manna, manna."

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Year of Blessing - April 30, 2010

Another month gone. 2010 promises to go by faster than the years before. Each one seems like this. Time flies past! I see the years on my parents faces. I feel the years in my own body. My kids should be my grandkids age in my mind, and occasionally that shows up by me calling my grandkids by my kids names!

My daughter has taken my place as a mother. I have taken up my mother's place as grandma, and my mom has taken my grandmother's place as great-grandma. Life, in it's vapor-like passing disappears like the days on my calendar.

Yet there is a peace in time passing.

Patience is grown not in minutes but in years. As is wisdom. Both provide a solid peace in my life that I didn't have as a younger, less wise and patient person.

I find joy in the oddest places now, too. When I feel stressed, lonely, or hurt there is a deep, deep joy in God that I can choose to tap into, and like a deep, calm lake in the mountains, it is beautiful and serene.

Hope and faith, though, are working overtime on me. I still find myself wishing I were younger, wishing I had more time. But when I remember to lay aside my 'wishes' and lean on my faith in my Saviour, God comes blowing into my soul with the gentle breeze of Hope. The Hope of an eternity with Him in an unseen world where 'time', 'growing old', and 'dying' are words with no meaning.

Psalm 119:33-40 (The Message)

God, teach me lessons for living
so I can stay the course.
Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
my whole life one long, obedient response.
Guide me down the road of your commandments;
I love traveling this freeway!
Give me a bent for your words of wisdom,
and not for piling up loot.
Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
Affirm your promises to me—
promises made to all who fear you.
Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
but what you say is always so good.
See how hungry I am for your counsel;
preserve my life through your righteous ways!

A Year of Blessing - April 29, 2010

Ahhh....the joys of photography! I just love to grab my camera and get some shots of...well...blessings! Little did I realize the danger involved in such a hobby!

More than once I have braved a busy highway to get a picture of a beautiful sunset or a thunderstorm. I have gotten scratched from sticker bushes getting pictures of unusual trees and roses, gotten cockle burs on my pants and in my socks taking pictures of fall foliage, fallen off a log while getting pictures of a buck with his harem, laid in the grass and gotten chiggers photographing bugs, and almost fallen into ponds taking pictures of reflections in the water! More than once I have been asked 'What are you doing?' either by passer-bys or authorities.

I come home sore from most photo shoots from the bending and squatting to get the right angle. I have even gotten sunburned a time or two from not putting on sunscreen for fear of getting it on my equipment (or just plain forgetting!).

Then there were the falls from not paying attention to where my feet are. Pete finally ran interference for me while photographing hoodoos in Utah for fear I would step off a cliff in my enthusiasm to get a shot of these beautiful formations!

I talked my parent into driving through Monument Valley to take pictures of the Mittens and other famous sandstone monuments. It almost tore their Suburban up with the holes and ruts we went through. I was unrepentant because I got some BEAUTIFUL pictures in that valley.

I am called 'Mamarazzi' by some of the less tolerant in my family, but I still love the photos I get of family get-togethers.

All this to say...batteries are a blessing! I use enough of them in all my photography adventures, that's for sure!

Psalm 50:1-2 (New International Version)

The Mighty One, God, the LORD,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets.
From Zion, perfect in beauty,
God shines forth.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A Year of Blessing - April 28, 2010

While in a doctor's office, Pete showed me a magazine that had pictures of advertisements that were...well...a bit ridiculous!

The blessing? How many people do you see laughing in a doctor's office?!?

Romans 8:21-23 (The Message)

That's why I don't think there's any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what's coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it's not only around us; it's within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We're also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

(Disclaimer: By the way, I was NOT visiting my OB/GYN doctor!)

A Year of Blessing - April 27, 2010

Here is yet another Spring blessing! The local Farmers Market...YEA! I just love the fresh, locally grown produce and the market in Broken Arrow has other enticements besides veggies. This time of year they offer plants they have sprouted to be planted in your own garden.

There was one man that already had leaf lettuce ready for sale. I asked him about fresh garlic, and he told me when to plant it, and when it will be ready to harvest (now is NOT the time, I found out!).

I mentioned I was looking for onions that would multiply. I had been given some 30 years ago when we lived in Arkansas and grew a lot of our own veggies. Our neighbor, and landlord, Mrs. Sullins, had a huge garden that she and her husband planted. Corn, okra, beans, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, carrots, squash, cucumbers, and of course onions were grown on about 1/2 acre of land. She would be out early in the morning tending the plants and pulling weeds. She never laughed or belittled our measly garden but encouraged us with her vast knowledge of planting, growing and harvesting.

One Spring, we had a thunderstorm roll through that dropped buckets of rain in a very short time. The creek that ran behind our rent house and the Sullins', started rising. It came over our garden and almost to our back porch! When I looked out at the Sullins beautiful garden, I saw that the back third was not only covered with water, but the current was running right across it! Her onion patch, three rows of corn (already two feet high), and her squash mounds were caught by the rushing water.

After the water receded, Pete and I went out and pulled debris off our fence and checked the outbuildings. Then headed to the Sullins. Corn was laying down with roots exposed to the now hot sun. Her onions were gone. We spend an hour re-planting and straightening their garden. Then I headed to the patch of onions Mrs. Sullins had given me. They survived the water and I replanted part of them back in her garden.

When the Sullin's finally came out to check on everything, they were very, very surprised, and so grateful, that Pete and I felt embarrassed by their emotional thank you's!

Thirty years later and back to the Broken Arrow man. He knew exactly what I was talking about, handed me his card and told me to come back on Saturday and he would bring us a bunch. I have been looking for multiplying onions for years and no one knew what I was talking about! What wonderful people God blesses me with, and what wonderful memories of a sweet, sweet woman.

Thank you, Father, for the reminder, and please say 'Hi' to Mrs. Sullins for me.

Matthew 13:18-23 (The Message)

"Study this story of the farmer planting seed. When anyone hears news of the kingdom and doesn't take it in, it just remains on the surface, and so the Evil One comes along and plucks it right out of that person's heart. This is the seed the farmer scatters on the road.

The seed cast in the gravel—this is the person who hears and instantly responds with enthusiasm. But there is no soil of character, and so when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.

The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard, and nothing comes of it.

The seed cast on good earth is the person who hears and takes in the News, and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest dreams."