Sunday, July 26, 2020

String Trimming

With Joe down for a few more
weeks, I decided I would help with the lawn work. Now,  I love to mow. I mean, driving fast in circles on the lawn mower let’s me get my inner Indy 500 dreams out. And I also don’t mind trimming the bushes..and we have a lot of bushes. A lot. But trimming bushes allows me to get creative and stylish, almost like hair styling. There is another chore, though, weedeating. I didn’t know if I liked it or not but to me the lawn is not finished until you weedeat the edges and walls and fence line. So I decided I would get after it. 

A bunch of sweat and leg wounds later (I know I should wear pants but it was too hot for jeans and that was all I had) I finished the front yard. The next day I tackled the backyard. 

I now know how to untangle line, reload the line and get between rocks and other right places. I have blisters, I am grass stained and bruised. I have blood dripping from wounds on my legs and I may have cracked a bone in my foot when I tossed a fence pole (like a beast) and it bounced back to land on my foot. 

I had to move stuff, heavy rocks, boards Joe is saving for a project, a dog swimming pool and huge rocks and concrete. Sometimes I had to actually pull the weeds because I couldn’t get to them with the weed eater. When I was finished I had to put everything back, neat and orderly. 

In the end, I was hot and exhausted but I felt a huge sense of satisfaction. It looked nice. But I also knew it was done well,  all the weeds were eaten...for now. The chaos of the overgrown weeds, and haphazard pile of wood was taken care of...for the time being. I know they will be back. Who created weeds, anyway???

Later, as I study, I think of the parable Jesus tells in Matthew 13 about weeds. In the parable, the good sower plants perfect crops but the enemy comes and sneaks weeds within them in the middle of the night. His workers offered to pull them up (they didn’t have weed eaters in the 1st century) but he said, “no.” He was concerned the good plants would be messed with. He said, though, when the crops had matured he would then pull them up and bind them up and burn them. 

I ponder the weeds and wonder about my weeds down within my good stuff God has cultivated within me. How often should I “weedeat” that garden? I would say as often, if not more than my lawn. I wonder what those wounds would be like as I knock weeds out through my rock hard stubbornness? How many obstacles will I have to move around to get those weeds hidden behind them. Do I have all the tools I need and do I know how to use them?  Most importantly, do I want the weeds gone badly enough to put in the back breaking work? Jesus cultivated all the right things in my new life. But the evil one will slip in some bad, stubborn weeds now again. I guess I better get busy. I have work to do. 

Today:
🌱 Take up weedeating
🌱 Allow Jesus to cultivate the good stuff. 
🌱 Remember, it’s not about the work...it’s the purpose (a quote from my smart friend Melissa.)

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Pushing' and Shovin'

Awwww, don't they look sweet, sharing a bed outside while Joe and I eat breakfast. Pictures can fool you. Allow me to give you the real scoop. Lola is a big baby. If anyone has anything at all, she needs it too. AnnaBelle was laying in this bed and Lola came and crowded in. If you look closely you can see how how happy she looks about sharing. As much as Lola thinks she needs everything, AnnaBelle doesn't want to share anything. 
 As AnnaBelle shifts her position, so does Lola; slightly edging AnnaBelle out a little at a time, taking over a little more space. 

AnnaBelle, while almost falling out of the back of the bed, lets go of her hold on her spot, Lola, tries using her head, not in the intelligent, strategic way. She uses her head to try to push AnnaBelle out of the bed.  The head pushing goes on for a full five minutes, AnnaBelle pushing one way and then Lola pushing the other. Annabelle works to stand up to get a better foundation and then Lola goes for a new move. She plants all four feet squarely on on the bed and uses her butt to push her almost out of the bed. Finally AnnaBelle gives in and goes and pouts on the hard stone floor and eventually leaving the porch pout behind the bushes.

What perplexes me is that there are three, count them three, other places for a bulldog to lie down on the porch. 


We humans are often just like bulldogs; stubborn, selfish and pushy. What is said, is just like bulldogs, these traits put our human depravity on display for all to see. What we think they see is us, holding our ground for what is ours; what we need. What is really seen is us cutting off our noses to spite our faces. Lola could have gone a laid down in the nice teepee with the memory foam mat, or the small cooling mat, or even stretch out on the larger mat that used to be a lawn chair cushion, but she looks less than intelligent fighting to hold onto the worst bed on the porch just because someone else wants it. AnnaBelle could have just walked away, rather than be difficult, letting Lola have the bed, which by the way has lost the padding on bottom and is just a thin piece of fabric, and taken one of the equally comfy other beds on the porch. Yes, AnnaBelle has the right to hold on to the bed - she had it first, of course. And how dare Lola just come and grab it. Lola could have chosen a different bed, and not been pushy, but doesn't she have the right to go for what she wants in life? 

All of these traits in ourselves, often keep us from having the blessings God intends for us. White knuckle gripping and holding on to what we think we want or deserve can often block what is coming our way that could be much better. 

As I study I am drawn to The Story of the Rich Fool in the Gospel of Luke (Chapter 12:13-21.) Jesus is teaching with a parable that it is foolish to fill your barn with treasures and not filling your heart with God. In other words, fighting to get the worst dog bed because someone else has it and causing yourself to miss out on the best possession ever; a Heavenly Father that will give you much better gifts if you make room for them in your life. Maybe we wouldn't have to fight so hard for what we feel is rightfully ours when we realize all the good things come from God as a great and wonderful gift. Possibly we won't hold on to things so tightly when we realize God will give us something much better if we make room. 

Today:
🐢 Empty your barn.
🐢 Let God make things happen for you.
🐢 Don't pout like AnnaBelle when you don't get your way - you will look silly.



Thursday, July 23, 2020

#Basic

#Basic! "She's so Basic." "That outfit is soooo basic!" Apparently basic is bad, these days. Check out the Urban Dictionary definition of basic. 

But here is my world today, plaid old man pajamas that are at least 10 years old, eating plain oatmeal for breakfast. My coffee is black, hot and STRONG. No whipped, vanilla, iced, latte mocha venti coffee for me today. No cool, stylized breakfast photos today for me. AnnaBelle is unceremoniously sleeping at my feet. Fin not doing anything cute or funny and Lola is doing her poop thing in the yard. ( I will save you that photo.) 





My workout today wasn't in my favorite gym (Brickhouse Barre.) I worked out at home, on a dog hair covered yoga mat. I couldn't get more basic than this if I tried. 
My life is usually a little more fun, I guess. Usually the critters are entertaining. And for the most part, with me trying to live a more healthy lifestyle I get to take some pretty cool workout and food pictures, for sure. Our porch is still lovely but frankly, by 9am I am out. this current humidity is NOT basic. 

I can give you the reasons why my life is so basic right now. Joe is recovering from surgery so new plants because he needs to lay low. Food needs to be pretty low key and puppy cats and bulldogs are serving as caregivers for the patient so they are hovering closely and trying to be still.







But is being basic really a bad thing? As I study, I see Jesus as living a simple life. I see him urging his followers to live simply and intentionally. But today, as I peep into the world of the church in Corinth (2 Corinthians 1), I see a group of people that struggled with understanding this new life they had been given and how to live into it. More importantly, they had a bit of a struggle with communicating the Gospel message to others. 


It seems as if they were trying to make it hard, flashy, complicated. But God's message through Christ is basic: Put God at the forefront and allow God to work through you to others. Your life doesn't have to be big or extra. In fact, that is what God wants for you. God wants your life to be rich, intentional and God filled. If special things come your way, let them come from God and then thank God for His rich blessings in your life. Let God create the grandness in your life, rather than your manufactured extra-ness. God WILL bring good to you. But, if anyone is headed to Starbucks today let me know, asking for a friend. πŸ˜‰





Today:
☕️ Be basic
🍞 Love the life God gives you
🌷 Don't be a diva

Monday, July 20, 2020

πŸ‘ Peaches


This is a picture of my breakfast. Well...I had every intention of taking a beautiful stylized photo of the fresh, homegrown, sliced peaches I got down the road from a local orchard. They were picked this morning. Also in my bowl was some wonderful cottage cheese. Yes, I love cottage cheese and some 12 grain toast. No, this was not an exciting, fancy or trendy breakfast, but it was yummy. Hence, the empty bowl. I just starting eating before I remembered to snap the picture. Same with my coffee. It was exceptionally strong, black and rich this morning. It was also exceptionally needed, so no photo there. 

Sometime that is life. We go at it hard, adventurous, busy and even stressful and we end up empty. Emptiness doesn’t mean that we are spent, although it can mean that. Being emptied can also mean we just are busy living life. Here is the good news, I have more peaches in the kitchen, more bread, cottage cheese, whatever I choose to pair with them. Coffee can always be made again (that may even happen before the day is over.) being empty means we have space to be filled. 

As I study, I am back in the Psalms, a great place to be filled. Psalm 103 tells us that “He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” (vs. 5) In order to be filled, we must first be empty; make room for the good things to come. One of the most common passages about God filling is Luke 6:38. It speaks to being filled to over flowing, presses down and shaken to make room for more. You know, like when you buy a new bag of flour and it is just a little more than there is room for, so you shake the canister, allowing the flour to settle down, then you can squeeze in the rest from the bag. That is how Jesus explained, God will fill you. Take notice, though, it happens after you gave first.  In this case you were emptied from giving. 

This week, I plan to go get more peaches, since I am about out of peaches. But like the last box I bought, I will give away half. We can’t eat that many before they would spoil and why not? Something will come in their place. 

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will FILLyou completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Today:
πŸ‘ Empty yourself your be filled 
πŸ‘ Give
πŸ‘ Eat some fresh fruit. It’s good for you. 

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Clean Those Wrinkles

Today was the day. A day I dread. Today is bulldog clean-up day. Bulldogs are notorious for rolling in the grass, losing summer coats and licking each other, a lot... with bulldog slobber. Keeping them clean is critical, but a chore. First you have to gather all the necessary equipment: deshedding brush, skin brush, hair glove, treats (for rewarding compliance.)
 
Getting all the dirt, dry skin and dead hair and piled up funk is step one. I bless them with treats after I comb a chihuahua’s worth of hair of them. 


Then comes the water...the soap. Bulldogs have lots of rolls which provide great hiding places for dirt and grime. AnnaBelle loves a good bath. Lola tolerates getting clean. Sometimes I think she is adverse to being too clean. After rolls are cleaned, teeth, wrinkles, then we dry off. AnnaBelle lets me blow dry her but Lola prefers the slow, air dry method. Beth’s make AnnaBelle feel free and happy. Lola escapes outside as soon as she can to roll in the dirty grass. But at least we got the deep down dirt gone. 


Getting good and clean and getting dirty reminds me of Paul’s letters to Timothy teaching him to work to be the kind of person to be used for God’s highest purposes. To be cleansed of impurities. The churchy word is “sanctification.” Sanctification is divine cleansing. Just like the bulldogs, we get dirty, things build up. We lose parts of our humanity that has died. The world brings impurity’s to us and they just pack on. Even though we were baptized/ cleansed by water a given the Holy Spirit, thanks to the world we find ourselves in need of removing those things which make us unclean, God offers wonderful blessings to Those of us that allow the Homy Spirit to dig deeper within our souls and remove dirt and grime to keep up clean and pure; maybe even cleaner and more holy. 

Now we could allow ourselves to be made righteous dry off and enjoy the blessings or we could run out and relax-roll in the dirt. Either way, God will help us Get clean again. 

Look at AnnaBell’s Happy face. That is the face of one who is clean, redeemed and ready for life.
 

Today:
Think clean
Get clean
Prepare to be used by God for his holy work. 

 

Saturday, July 18, 2020

All the Plants

I haven’t shown any pictures of the porch lately. Things are changing out there. Now that the seating and eating spaces are complete Joe has been diligently working on aesthetics. Around our house, aesthetics is a fancy word for, “plants” at our house. 






















Joe and I may have a problem. I love succulents and Joe loves different and interesting plants. We have both. But we also have plants that have a purpose. Our mint and lavendar,  though beautiful, also keep away mosquitos. Joe’s chili peppers and jalapeΓ±os go in our food. Often. We both follow an online chef named Sonny Hurrell, also known That Dude Can Cook, “if you know you know.” He often uses rosemary salt. So yesterday, Joe came home with some sage and rosemary. He is on a mission to make rosemary salt. We have a pineapple but it will be awhile before it grows big enough to eat. 

And of course, we have lots of succulents. I am sure we need more. They are tiny, intricate, mood lifters. They have character. I name them. Great care in naming them, is taken. I remember their names and refer to them as such. It is amazing to me that all these plants have one thing in common. They are plants. But we don’t have two that are just alike. 

We also have a rack, I call the clinic. These are plants Joe has had to repot, add special nutrients, adjust water, soil or sun, to treat for parasites to promote healing. Often these fellas are near death when they come to the clinic. Some just need treatment. Sometimes they need resurrection. Joe is a great plant healer. Joe is a great plant dad. 

As I study, I find that we humans are a lot like plants. In reading 1 Corinthians 12, Paul writes about the Body of Christ. He tells of how we all have different functions but are still part of the body. Paul tells of how all members if the body have equal important ace and should be regarded as such. 


There is a part of this beautiful section of scripture that I often overlook, “This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.”

(‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭12:25-26)‬ ‭Paul is speaking of God’s created humanity. Yes we are all equal, let us not forget. Yes we all have purpose, Lord, help us to remember that we are to put that purpose in action. But Lord, many of us are hurting, ill, troubled, operating at half speed. Lord, remind us to care for them. That is what you call us to do. 


Today:

πŸ‘©πŸ½‍πŸ’» Message me if you need prayer. 

πŸ‘©πŸ½‍πŸ’» Tell someone you need help. 

πŸ‘©πŸ½‍πŸ’» Be a great healer. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Get Your Feet Wet.

This picture of Fin and AnnaBelle appear to be nothing more than two lazy critters struggling to get going in the morning. But, actually what you see here, is two animals being utterly ridiculous. Their morning routine is being disrupted by tall-ish grass and morning dew. The feeling they are communicating with their looks is saying, "Mom, can you please go dry the outside floor so we can go out and hunt birds, use the bathroom and chase bugs?" It is as if they believe I have the power and control of the cosmos to make the world do what I want it to do. I understand their distaste for for getting their tiny little toesies damp, but I can't do anything to change the dew point and humidity.

Control is a funny thing. From the moment we are born, we are taught by the people that raise us to learn to have self-control. We learn to control our behavior, our bodily functions and impulses. Life gets dicey when control begins to feel so good we want to control everything in our lives; the direction our life takes, our future and sometimes every moment of our day. We lose all sense of spontaneity when we fall into that sense of control. We cut God will for us out and replace it with our will.


Control can take an even greater turn for the worse when we begin to use the drug of control to direct the lives of others. When we try to control others by holding them captive to our will and our whims. Controlling others is also a slippery slope. Sometimes our role in life dictates a level of supervision and care for a group of people. Some of the groups that are charged with care and supervision of people are: parents for children, employers for employees, elected officials for the municipalities that has elected them...you get the drift. We slide down the slope of toxic control when we overstep their own reasoning and leadings removing their ability to learn self-control.

As I study, I turn to Proverbs. I feel today calls for a little wisdom of God prayed for and delivered by King Solomon: "Many plans are in a person’s mind, but the Lord’s purpose will succeed." (Proverbs 19:21.) What a great litmus test for the urge to hold control over my world, over others, over the weather. Is God's purpose being strived for in this control. Have I prayed about it? Has God spoken His purpose to me? Do I feel like I am allowing the Holy Spirit to lead or is it my will in control, here?

I don't believe God desires for me to click and change the weather like I have a magic remote control any or that God wants me to micro-manage those around me, or even me. While the very same King also said, "A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls," I want to be certain that even my self control lines up with the will of God. So I have to left God's will replace mine. Sorry guys, get your feet wet and get going.

Today:
πŸ‘©πŸΎ‍πŸ’» Live into the control of the Spirit.
πŸ‘©πŸΎ‍πŸ’» Pray for God to give you the strength to allow Him to control you and those around you.
πŸ‘©πŸΎ‍πŸ’»Pray about the control you are called to have on others.