Nurturing and Nourishment

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Found this citrus grove not long ago on one of my adventures.  Looks a bit unkempt.  Like no one is taking proper care of it.  Weeds and bushes growing around the citrus trees, dead stuff that hasn’t been cleared away.  Fruit waiting to be picked.  There was no one around for miles.  The house at the end of the grove looked empty – no cars, no people.  The barn  on the edge of the property needed repair.  Where were the workers?  Where was the caretaker?

I thought about what happens if that fruit just stays there or drops on the ground to rot.

What happens if we aren’t nurtured?  The fruit God has sown in us doesn’t develop and ripen. Or what fruit does grow may not be harvested.  It may fall to the ground and rot.  Someone else won’t experience the wonder of that fruit.

So, what nurtures you? Where do you get your encouragement? I get nourishment from bible reading and study, from my writing, and I’m nurtured by time spent with friends, family, my church family, play time with my crazy pets.  It’s all about balance in your life.  Allow the fruit in your life to be nourished and grow.  Really.

Gnothing Wrong With Gnarled

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This morning when I got up I felt out of sorts.  I felt old and gnarled and cranky.   I have found that when I’m in that type of mood, it’s likely that I’m out of tune with the Spirit.  One cure for that is to get out into nature and admire His Creation. So grabbing Devoted Spouse and my trusty Nikon, I jumped into the Subaru and headed down the closest country road.

We came upon a fairly deserted lake/campground.  I parked the car and headed off into the woods.  Along the path, I found this old tree with its roots coming up out of the ground. What a beauty!  Even with its twisted limbs, lumps and bumps, it was still standing proud.   I think that was God’s way of showing me it’s okay to feel or even be a bit gnarled. Just keep standing and keep sending out roots and all will be well.

Thanks, Abba.

Yes, I’m Still Alive

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You may wonder where I have been.  It has been awhile since I last posted here.  Let me briefly get y’all caught up.

Major life change this past August as we sold our home in Ohio and moved to a small town just north of Tampa, Florida.  It was a big deal.  We had been in that area for around 20 years; in our last house 10.  Moving was stressful, traumatic, but the end result is Devoted Spouse never has to shovel snow again, and I can wear flip flops every day as I lounge by our pool.  Ahhhhh, the good life.

Why, you ask?  It was a God moment – actually 2-years of God-moments, culminating in the calling to follow one of our beloved pastors to a church he planted here in FL.  Big fat hairy decision.  I never even asked Devoted Spouse if he wanted to move to FL; I pretty much told him this was the plan.  He never batted an eyelash, just started cleaning out 20 years worth of junk and packing up stuff to move.  What a peach!  Or should I say orange, since this is Florida?

I’m ecstatic to be here in a warmer climate, even though one of our first visitors inside our new house was a poisonous coral snake – yeah, that was fun to deal with.  My hero, Devoted Spouse just corralled (sorry) it in my spaghetti pot and saved the day.  No worries.

I spend my time doing God-related things here similar to what I did in Dayton, just in a different capacity.  I still pray for people; pastoral caregiving is my passion – and I work in Connections making sure folks are welcomed into church and feel loved and wanted.  Recently, I started up a new small group – yay!  I was sort of expecting no one to show up – man, was I surprised at the turn out.  It’s gonna be a great journey.

Along the way, we added to our family…a calico-tabby kitten we named Holly (hey, it was Christmas and it just made sense.)  She’s adorable and is having a tremendous time torturing EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer (who just had her 10th birthday).

So, let’s get back in touch here.  I have missed my 3 faithful readers.  Love ya, mean it.

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Who Told You That?

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I found that image on Flikr from someone named Star – and it spoke volumes to me because I haven’t been very kind to myself lately.  Oh, I’ve spent hours and hours working on ‘love your neighbors as yourself’ but that becomes difficult if you don’t take care of “you” somewhere along the way.

I was sitting in a class the other night and we were all discussing spiritual gifts we had and those we prayed for or wanted.  I came out with some nonsense about how I couldn’t do something, as I am wont to do,  and my pastor/friend/son/mentor/Prodigal wrote up on the board this question:

Who Told You That?

It was a simple question but it hit me right between my beady little eyes.  It has to do with the lies we believe in our lives.  Toxic lies that may start all the way back in childhood.  They find their way into our lives and our mindsets until they are second nature.  That’s not healthy.  If you believe lies about yourself, such as you’re not good enough, you’re not smart, you’re unworthy of love; whatever lie you believe; remember, God never told you that.  That came from a human or from Satan, the enemy of our souls.  Stop believing the lies.  Dump the toxicity.  Lighten up.  Give yourself some credit.  God doesn’t make junk. Thank God that He made you the way He wants you and go enjoy what He’s given you.

That’s what I’m going to do right now.  See ya later!

Review of “The Bible” Miniseries

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Roma Downey and Mark Burnett’s series The Bible has been on tv for awhile now so I thought I’d take a few moments to critique it. I believe I’m qualified to do this since I am a Christian, I’ve read the bible a few times, and I’ve watched untold episodes of Survivor.

Pros:

  1. The scenery is nice.
  2. The stories are fairly accurate.
  3. Great fight scenes and excellent special effects.
  4. There is a good chance someone may want to read the bible after watching this.

Cons:

  1. I’m pretty sure Noah didn’t have a Scottish accent.
  2. Ninja angels paving the way for Lot.  Ninja angels.  ok. why not. nevermind.
  3. While I’m on the subject of angels…biblical messenger angels were truly frightening to behold. The angel appearing to Joseph and Mary wouldn’t frighten EmmaLou, the Golden Destroyer.  He was entirely too handsome in his red cloak.
  4. John the Baptist in dreadlocks…’nuff said.

I’m somewhat surprised at how many people are watching this.  It’s hokey. But I shouldn’t quibble – at least the name Jesus is on peoples’ tongues and he may be a topic of discussion around the water cooler.  That can’t be all bad.

The Theology of Love

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I have been praying on and thinking about love a great deal. John Lennon was on the right track; all you need is love. But, there is so much more to it.

Jesus has been teaching me about loving my neighbor, loving the unlovable, loving Him, and how much He loves me. So far into this teaching, it’s a difficult lesson and I am struggling.

In order to love God and love my neighbor, I need to give up some stuff. This is called relinquishment. But wait. I like my stuff.

Jesus tells me to pick up my cross and follow Him. Believe me, I want nothing more than to do just that. You know what’s at the heart of it all? Control. If I relinquish, I lose control and what if something happens? The opposite of love is fear. Ack. I want to love; I’m stuck in fear.

One of my favorite authors, Richard Foster says this, “Relinquishment brings to us a priceless treasure: the crucifixion of the will.” Paul talks about this in Galatians 2:20 when he states, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me…”  It is a death to the self-life. Oh, and all the other “selfs” out there; self-pity, self-sufficiency, self-absorption, etc. Getting rid of all the selfs leads to freedom; freedom from me having to control all my stuff. I relinquish it all to the Lord. Then, I am free to love and give the way Jesus did.

Sounds pretty straightforward and easy, doesn’t it?  It isn’t.  I grapple with this on a daily basis. I relinquish and surrender. I take back control. I give control to God again and quickly snatch it back.

So far, we’re at an impasse. I’m so grateful that God is love and love is patient…

Winter Blues, Blacks, Whites, and Grays

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Suddenly, I realize I haven’t blogged in a couple of months. Really, can it be that long?

I shall blame it on Winter and its gloom which puts me in hibernate mode. My couch, afghan, tea, and books consume me and I don’t want to leave the house. This is not necessarily a healthy condition. But honest. I know, Christians are supposed to be happy. I am happy. I count my blessings and I am grateful every day. I am simply practicing being quiet.  (Stop laughing)

During Lent I have stayed away from my FaceBook page.  No posting, no reading.  Okay, I administer two pages (one for a church group, one for my small group) where I do post, but I have successfully curtailed other main FaceBook activities.  It’s been quiet.  At first it was difficult – I truly had no idea how addicted I was. Now I think about friends, but I don’t obsess about reading updates. Healthier. I’ll be back on FaceBook Easter.

I have been crafting; knitting, crocheting, cleaning out and organizing my house to prepare for a move (hopefully). The knitting and crocheting are disastrous but I won’t give up. The cleaning out is going well. Amazing what one family amasses in about 10 years. Goodwill loves me. I’m giving stuff away to friends. Actually, praying over and considering simply auctioning or selling the contents of the house and buying what we need when we get to our destination. (Waiting on God)

So what am I reading? Well, recently I re-read Crazy Love by Francis Chan. It put me in a tailspin over not loving people enough. Truly, this book made me cringe and wonder if I was on the fast track to hell. I’m over it now.

Better choice:  Prayer by Richard J. Foster. Helping me learn where I am lacking in my prayer life and what to do about it. Happy. I love prayer time. Actually, I crave Linda and Jesus time. Period.

Looking forward to warmer weather…