It’s Spring At Our House

20 Mar

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I love the sounds of Spring – the birds chirping every time I walk outside, and when it warms up I can throw open the windows and hear all those happy sounds.  I love the bees humming around the plants when I go out to work in the flower beds.  See that little one on the plum tree.

Spring has sprung.  Yes, yes it is the first day of Spring.  I know for some of you, it hasn’t with the snow that is still around, but for us here in Texas it is here and arrived just as the calendar said it would.  We had snow just a few weeks ago, which is unusual for us and not just once, but we went through several weeks of ice and snow.

Spring brings sunshine, longer days and storms (still waiting for that sunshine here).

I love Spring, but for us it generally means severe weather and the threat for storms and tornadoes.  From the end of March until the end of May, it’s a time to be on the watch for damaging hail and winds.  That’s the only part of Spring I don’t enjoy, and I’m sure that some of you are not enjoying the snow that is still hanging around.  But this is the day our Lord has made, and I’m rejoicing that I am here to enjoy it no matter what the weather is like.

Yesterday I mowed just a little of our acreage, and my husband came in and finished up.  It takes hours to get our yard done.  Yes, we live in Texas and Spring for us also means lots of mowing when there is lots of rain, and there has been this year – snow, sleet and rain almost every day for over three weeks now.  In fact the weather man said this evening that it has rained fifteen of the last twenty days this month.  Not complaining at all.  We have been in a drought and it’s raining again today, tonight and tomorrow.  WOOHOO!

Spring brings new beginnings.

Here are a few pictures I’ve been snapping of spring at our house this week, and all the new life and splashes of color that are just popping out all over – daffodils, tulips, our orchard trees (peaches and plums).  It felt so good to get out just an hour last evening and start weeding flower beds.  We have a whole lot of them, but over the years have downsized because it was so much work.

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As Spring is springing, and I see all the beautiful green lawns sprouting out and flowers all over the neighborhood, I can’t help but reflect and being constantly aware of new life, and new beginnings because of Christ.

God is such an artist!

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I see tulips sprouting out, or at least the leaves are that my Daddy planted, and the shasta daises that Mom loved so much. There were even two yellow butterflies outside as I was walking to the mailbox yesterday.- Mom loved them too so my thoughts go to memories of her when I see one, and two were a double blessing.  These shasta daises are coming up everywhere.  Love them!

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Spring is the perfect time to sit on the front porch and rock my grandsons, or put them in a stroller and take a long walk!

As the rain came down today, I took my 19-month old grandson out on the porch with his blanket and sit a bit and watched it come down looking out over the front flower beds and all the new life.

Spring means weeds and working in the herb garden.

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Real Love Is

20 Mar

It’s Five Minute Friday and I love joining Kate Matoung and the other FMF ladies for a Friday day of 5-minute blogs.  Come join in!

What is “real” love?  Real love is the kind of love Jesus has for us.  It is that unconditional love – love that expects absolutely nothing in return.  It’s about caring about others and expecting nothing in return.  It’s a love that is grace-filled. It’s a love that is self-sacrificing.

How do we find that “real” love.  We have to go to the Bible to find out.  I believe that 1 Corinthians 13 is probably the most quoted love chapter.  My husband uses it at every wedding.  In it you find what love is:

Love is

Do Not Sin In Your Anger – Keep it Shut – Chapter 9 Week 5

16 Mar

1 Corinthians 1531Are you hurling hate and words and hurt to those around you in your anger, or are you using soft words to turn away others wrath?

“MIND YOUR OWN SIN, SWEETHEART”

One of the things that Karen Ehman said in this chapter of Keep It Shut was “I felt God clearly say, “Mind your own sin, sweetheart.”  That stopped me in my tracks when I read those words.  I really do try not to gossip.  I don’t like it, but how about all that other sin – like food mostly for me.  I know it is as bad as gossip, but God has been working on me for over a year now and it’s getting through.  I’ve exercised more the last month than I’ve exercised in a year.

SCREAMING AT THE KIDS

I really hope my kids are reading this because there were times in the car when I could not pull over on that 45 minute drive from school when I would warn over and over and finally let it go.  I remember one time actually pulling over, but that’s as far as it got.  My son told me one day in front of the family at a meal after he was married I was a wooss, so I must not have been too bad.  If you are reading this children I APOLOGIZE.  If one of you read it, go tell the other one it is here.  Karen talked about screaming too.  There is not a verse in the Bible that tells us we can yell or scream at our kids.  P.S. It’s not ok to yell or scream to anybody.  That’s not in the Bible either.

DYING TO SELF

Many of our problems in life are caused because we are self-oriented.  It’s a me, me, me type world we live in today and that makes me sad.  Karen reminded us “I gotta die”.  I loved that.  She used the example of her son playing a video game as they were arriving at school and he didn’t want to get out until his character died.  Here were her words which I dare not paraphrase because, well because, they are heart touching:

“As a follower of Christ, I am to die to self.  But so often,  I choose not to.  Instead, I elevate myself.  I promote self.  I think little of the other person and much of me.  But before I react…..before I hurl a harsh word…..before I pass judgment or speak unkindly to my husband or snap at my child, perhaps I need to take a deep breath and say, “Hang on a second, I gotta die.”  Die to self.  Die to flesh.  Die to my “rights” that too often result in my wrongs.  Yes, Paul said it best – I die daily.”  1 Corinthians 15:31

Too much in this chapter to type it all out, but as always I love the Book of Proverbs and we were reminded of a “woman who is praised not only for what she does, but more importantly for who she is – specifically, how she interacts with people.”

May He fill our mouths with worthwhile words.

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Keep It Shut Study Chapters 7 and 8

15 Mar

The Keep It Shut study ended last week, but life is just so hectic right now I have not had the time to sit down and jot down the things that touched my heart.  So many things I don’t want to forget, and it is much easier when it is written down here instead of my notebooks.   I can come right back here to be reminded of those things that pricked my heart.  Perhaps some of them will prick yours too!

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But before I move on to Chapters 7 and 8, I had to add one last thought from my previous blog on Chapter 6.

Karen reminded us how David got his eyes off gossip and his enemies.  When our hearts are hurting because of gossip, we need to put our eyes back on Jesus and stop obsessing and worrying about what others are saying.  I know it is hard.  I see it especially in Jr. High and High School.  Teenagers can be so mean not even realizing how they are hurting and damaging someone for the future.

She pointed us back to a powerful verse in Psalms to calm us because our God is bigger than any circumstance we might be going through or any gossip that is being spread about us.  Run to Him!

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A gossip is wicked.”  OUCH!  Karen reminded us of practices that work for her including studying how the Bible describes a gossip, how a gossip stirs up conflict, how to keep quiet,  how to make a promise and keep a commitment.

Chapter 7But I’m Just Sharing A Prayer Request

Don’t you love that title.  Have you heard that before?  I have.  I loved some of these quotes and highlighted so much.

  • Flattery – “When you speak flattering words, you paint yourself into a corner – a very lonely corner.  In short order, you can go from being liked to being known as a people-pleasing liar.  Flattery may seem like it wins you friends, but in reality it will likely cost your friends in the end.”
  • Boasting – “It isn’t wrong to give voice to our dreams.  What we are cautioned against is boasting about tomorrow without God anywhere in the picture.  We need to keep God’s wishes at the center of our desires.”
  • “God invites us to make our plans according to what will be in line with his desire for us and what will bring glory to him, not ourselves.”
  • “We need to make sure our words are first meant to please God, not our hearer.”

Chapter 8 – Lying, Loving and Pleasing People

This chapter was about people pleasing, whether to cheer or not to cheer, and flattery.  One thing I highlighted that is so true was this:

“It has been said that gossip is saying something behind someone’s back that you would never dare say to their face.  However, flattery is the opposite.  It is saying something to someone’s face that you would never say behind their back – usually because you don’t really believe it is true.”  I say ENOUGH SAID.

Steps Karen listed in fighting the disease to please:

  • Beware of Making Promises in Order to Impress Someone
  • Let Your Words Be Few
  • Do Not Answer Right Away
  • Keep God At The Center Of Your Plans
  • Know When To Eat Your Words and Admit Your Fault

“We need to make sure our words are first meant to please God, not our hearer.”  Karen Ehman

I just say wow.  If I do that, I won’t mess up. Think about the power of your words. Are you building others up?  Have you caused others pain and harm because of your words?

Such wise words in these chapters, you won’t regret picking up this book.  I am so glad I bought it and so glad I participated in the study.  Pick up the book – Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman, and hop over to Proverbs31.Org.  You can go back to these studies and see video’s and awesome teaching anytime..

PLAN

14 Mar Jeremiah 2911 Genoa

Plans change

I’m a planner.  I make lists. I don’t like to veer off my lists, but oftentimes I have to, or God takes me or shows me a different direction.  My plans may change, but my God never does.

In 2014 my “one word” was simplify, and I chose it knowing who is in control of all the intimate details of my life, knowing He establishes my steps.  I wanted some simplicity so that when those trials and storms come I would be prepared, and my house would not suffer or my heart because of neglect to them both in a way that is unpleasing to the Father. Did I get there?  NO!

Many times our plans, our dreams, our hopes, and our future are crushed sometimes by death, sometimes by a cheating spouse, sometimes financially, sometimes a horrible illness/disease, sometimes terrible storms, but God has a plan and He will bring back that hope, that prosperity and that future.

I have a precious friend, Genoa who has been through so much – cancer, a divorce she did not choose, having to relocate, but she knows God has a plan, and she is constantly a bulwark of faith.  She shares a lot of pictures that bless my heart of barns since she had to move from Texas to West Virginia.  Here is one she took, and in honor of her  I had to add a verse that reminds me of her and share it.  She blesses others all the time even through her trials, she has never forgotten her one true love.

Jeremiah 2911 Genoa

♥We plan our course, but He establishes our steps, and we must be obedient in whatever steps He chooses for our lives, and allow Him to guide us.♥

In 2014 we were in the midst of remodeling a pool which is still being tweaked, I was subbing a lot when a teacher left unexpectedly and that lasted for 5 long months, and so many other things that were IMPORTANT to me and honored God. This year I chose the word “focus” to remind myself to focus on what really matters and that is God, family, friends, people.

We’ve all heard that term “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”.  I have not found that verse in my Bible (it’s not there), but I do know that He wants me to have a pure heart and love others even more.

I am focusing more on people and at the same time doing small things to make my home more organized.  I’ve been working through 40 Days of LENT and acts of kindness.  You can read about my initiative here, and what I’ve done so far here.   I’m still trying to get organized, still trying to do some decorating in the house and it’s all on the “to-do” list (get more wallpaper down, more painting done, more popcorn off the ceilings, new den furniture and on and on),   proverbs 169

I look back at how God has blessed us through so many “storms” and literally big storms in our life and seasonal storms that wreaked havoc on our house and trees, but I look at all He has allowed us to accomplish in the midst of it all and how we can look back today and thank Him for all He has done.

♥He puts us in situations to change us!♥

That picture is me sitting for hours on a warm August day in Texas to meet some precious friends in Austin.  Well, I never made it.  I left early that morning excited to meet them for the first time, but a horrible accident had happened during the night and we were stranded for many hours.  They ate and left before I was half-way there.  But God is good, in September I met them both at a retreat in North Carolina and even shared a room with one of them, and who knows what would have been ahead had that accident not happened.

He puts us in situations to change us.  The plans He has for us are seldom what we planned.  I look back and see how perfect his record for me has been.

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Today my “to do” list includes at least one phone call to someone I haven’t talked to in a long time and a letter – yes a real hand-written letter to a dear friend I used to work with when my kids were small.  Last night I talked to a cousin I have not seen in probably thirty years.  I’m writing that hand-written letter on some pretty stationary to my friend in Oklahoma, got the recycling in the car to take to church tomorrow and a handful of notes to mail on the way, and baking a gluten-free banana bread for my hubby and a big caesar salad for him when he gets home from fishing.

What are you doing today to bless someone?  How has God changed the course of your life today, and are you using it like Genoa for His glory?

Joining Kate Motaung at Five Minute Friday.  The one word prompt this week is PLAN!

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