Tag Archives: Bible

Connect 2.1.0

Next month will mark my fourth year of blogging. While I prepare to touch bases with my loved ones around the country for the next few weeks, I’m taking a pause to review posts and progress. This could be fun!

From 2016July09*:

Connect

Have I mentioned lately I love the blogging community?

friends chicago

Imagine Heaven

I’m serious about that. Without getting all sappy here, the Blogosphere helps us feel heavenly at least now and then. A post rings in our souls, fills us with inexplicable joy (or at least makes us chuckle, think, rethink…) – reaffirms why we spend our time writing what we do. We comment and it goes on and on from there. Connection.

I’ve been blessed with friends I never would have imagined – and yet (unlike Erin and Roan whom I’ve known most of my life) we’ve never actually locked eyeballs. Still, these people get it. They make time to converse, explore different thoughts and perspectives. They not only work tirelessly to share life through their writing and blogging, but they Pay it Forward, help spread the good stuff around.

Today I am overflowing with appreciation for my friends. Somewhere in the blogosphere someone needs a ray of light and these folks are the brightest in my minuscule fleck in the universe.

So, this is me paying it forward today to only ten of the best of the blogosphere – from my humble perspective. If you haven’t met, stop by and say “Hi.” You won’t be sorry:

The delightful if sometimes slightly snarky CJ Hartwell at Feeding on Folly
The Great Thinker of Stuff, Mitch Teemley at The Power of Story,
The irrepressible Diane D. at Ladies Who Lunch Reviews…
Trailblazing life coach Michelle Malone at 2 R Better Than 1,
The gifted and gorgeous Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha at A Cooking Pot and TwistedTales,
Jacqui Murray at Worddreams, a military mom and my go-to friend for writing/blogging/publishing information on the spot,
Sweeter than ever, Oneta Hayes at Sweet Aroma
Mike Ridenour at New Hope for Dry Bones shares his from his no-nonsense, no excuses journey.
Let Adebisi Adetunji help you feel global empowerment at FeminineMaterz,
Anne Mehrling shares her life in the Mountains at Mehrling Muse

Sincerest thanks and love to each and every one of you – and especially those dears I couldn’t include today!

 

“He [God] makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” Ephesians 4:16 (NLT)

*(a teeny bit tweaked)

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Press On

“One of the worst results of being a slave and forced to do things is that when there is no one to force you anymore you find you have almost lost the power of forcing yourself.” C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy

Izzy and I spent the morning in the garden – again. While we pulled weeds, thinned carrots, tossed those treats to obliging hens, horses, the steer and the pups the temperature warmed up considerably.

While spraying the crates of freshly picked veggies, we enjoyed splashing in the cool water. We’d planned a power walk to the river and back after we’d finished with the garden work, but after the stretching, bending and pulling in the heat the idea didn’t seem quite so grand.

We toyed with relaxing over tea and the no-bake cookies Izzy had made the day before instead of the walk. As we laid the vegetables to dry my mind began wandering back to the chapters I’d read the night before. She broke the silence saying, “You ready for your weigh in?” It was two days away.

I gave her the kind of look one prefers to the volumes I could have said, took a refreshing, deep breath, and instead of stepping into the house took the dog leashes from the hook by the door. “C’mon Pups,” I said. She said, “Let’s do this.”

Good call.

“We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy,” Colossians 1:11 (NLT)

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Water Follies

SchnauzerOne helped me recognize something this week.

But first, let me get my whine out of the way:

I missed The Taste of Chicago again this year. My family and I like making memories at that “cultural experience for all the senses.” Five days of the best of the best food in Chicago Land – and lots of live music. What’s not to love?

Then BestBud texts a selfie at The Mountain Fair in Carbondale, CO saying she missed me.

Nice. Sort of.

Now this week is the Tri-City Water Follies. For years it’s been an annual thing.

While Izzy helped man a friend’s food tent at the Follies, Cole helped another friend harvest his wheat. My sinuses had me feeling puny, so instead of festivities with friends, I minded the ranch in the triple-digit temperatures. Nowhere near the Boat Races.

Poor Roo.

No worries, We had our water follies too. Studying GoodGirl, SchnauzerOne also developed a fondness for chasing and biting moving water.

Initially this was good – the two dogs that still compete for alpha status learning to take turns, play nice and chill – literally.

Not quite. SchnauzerOne was quickly so caught up in catching the water before it disappeared into the dirt, in moments he began tearing up grass by the roots. To spare the lawn I diverted the fun to the pastures.

Soon I was taken at how well SchnauzerOne, who is normally very attentive and obedient, completely ignored my commands to stop as if he couldn’t hear me. I know how that happens. I’ve ignored the voice of reason too – not just back in the day either:

  • How many times did I injure myself by insisting upon weeding just one row – for two or three hours? Another time I just wanted to finish the section I began… a week later each bend and stoop made me regret it.
  • And don’t get me started on delicious fresh tomato, cucumber, sweet onion, dill, sharp cheddar and lime-mayo sandwiches – bread being my nemesis – rather than making a tasty salad.

“For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” Romans 7:19 (ESV*)

After I walked over and picked up SchnauzerOne we both understood each other. I’m pretty sure I heard GoodGirl snickering as she darted past us toward the pastures.

After watering and checking the livestock it was well into the 90’s. We were glad to get inside. Except for GoodGirl. She wouldn’t relax until Cole returns. I understand how she feels and do my best to assure her it’s gonna be okay. She’ll learn a short break in routine is good for us all.

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,” 2 Corinthians 4:16, 17 (*English Standard Version courtesy Bible Gateway )

Header Image portion courtesy Tri-City Herald

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Not Odd

While collecting cucumbers, we overlooked many odd-looking, smaller, rounder ones until they were mostly orange-yellow. Izzy and I assumed they would be unpalatable and immediately let the hens enjoy them.

Rummaging through the twisted maze of vines the following day, I targeted the rounder, ripe, green cukes. I also found a few remaining yellow-orange ones. Some were longer, more like slicers but with a twisted tip – like a fuzzy, bumpy little tail. I also picked some that had just begun to turn yellow-ish.

Once indoors I sliced one of each shape and color and arranged them on a plate for a taste test. A dirty duty, I know…

Though the yellower skins were distinctively harder, to my surprise those cukes tasted fuller, actually sweeter than the green cucumbers.

Soon the phone rang. After the lengthy conversation I was anxious to finish my project and get to work. Even so, I went a step further peeling a slice of each kind of cucumber. Then, feeling pressed for time I sat at the table and continued my Bible reading.

“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” James 2:2-4 (NIV)

Hmmm… Lifting my fork as I pondered I noticed that, aside from diameter and thickness, no slice or seed was distinguishable from another. They tasted, well, like cucumbers without much variance. Certain there was more, I continued perusing the sidebars:

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:26-29 (NIV)

I chewed on this thought while putting the remaining slices in a pitcher of ice water.

Though they all looked quite different from the outside and came from separate vines, each of the plants came from the same bag of seeds. I suspect their only difference are the amounts of water and sunlight they get, some being closer to the treeline.

Yet they were all exactly the same on the inside.

What a wonderful world this is. How much better when we focus upon one anothers’ similitudes rather than our differences.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2,3 (NIV)

 

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Sweet Harvest

 As the garden grows into full production we are all putting in even more hours than before. This week we not only contend with broken sprinkler pipes, (so hoses again) and weeds, but we now must harvest daily for peak ripeness and to maintain maximum production.

Comically, we all work on different schedules, so for about a week we assumed much, but none of us actually knew what the others were doing. Izzy was giving away surplus at work and the livestock was enjoying some overgrowth.

And then I slowed down one morning this week. Yeah, you’d think I’d have learned to do that more often by now…

Unbeknownst to me Izzy and Cole had been harvesting in the cool of the morning before they leave for their jobs in town – while I’m either keying away or snoozing in my cottage. An hour or so later I’ll unknowingly check the same sections of the garden and then harvest what they didn’t get to. But that particular morning when I put the house dogs back in I noticed their harvest in a crate. Doof!

All this time I was bringing the day’s collection into the fridge in my cottage thinking Izzy knows to check there every day.

Error.

Ordinarily, over the weekend and some evenings we girls touch bases or simply chat over a relaxing beverage.  I suspect their week away at the Lake put a hitch in our giddy-up so we miss a keystroke here and there.

I had to notice the crate in the main house kitchen to realize we’d do well to tweak our system again.

Done.

Eventually this scenario brought to mind one with the apostle Paul and the new believers in Corinth. First, duh – everyone was a new believer in Paul’s day. Similarly this is our first co-op garden experience. We usually talk about what we want to do next and what we’re learning from our agri-expert friends. For a few days we seemed to have dropped our communication signal.

We’re caught up from the vacation now.

“I (Some of us) planted the seed, Apollos (the rest of us) watered it (and weeded), but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”  1 Corinthinans 3:6 – 9 (NIV – added paraphrase mine 😉 )

 

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Down Time

It appears the scant week of triple digits proved too much for my WiFi repeater several times this week. And yet life goes on. In fact, pushing cyber chores to evening hours makes time for a quick flat football game while the sprinklers run – work will always be there.

The daily chores in the lots, yards, working the gardens and tending the livestock keep us all busy. The heat drains our energies faster than usual so we find indoor chores earlier than we typically would. In fact, days into the heat wave I noticed by late morning even GoodGirl practicing new ways of holding the rugs down on the concrete.

It’s a dirty job but somebody’s gotta do it.

Have a happy weekend!

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

 

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Extremes

Have I mentioned how I adore the weather in this region? Even when the triple-digit weather arrives, memories of summers in Phoenix, Arizona and the bitter-cold winters in Chicago-land remind me this climate is like a walk in the park. Besides, here the extremes of both intense heat or cold only last weeks and usually include milder parentheses.

As temperatures rose I noticed how the livestock and plants all cope in their individual ways. The horses and the steer all developed a new appreciation for early mornings and the sprinklers in the early evenings.

The chickens are mostly still much of the day and are laying about 50% less than they do in cooler temps. They only get excited in anticipation of fresh offerings from the garden and the kitchens when humans approach. We’ll see what impact a chicken tractor has soon.

To the east around the lawns the rose, begonia, nasturtium, snapdragon and hydrangea blossoms suddenly grow, mature and wilt astoundingly faster than usual.

Highlights of last evening’s walk included a trio of fledglings enjoying the cool concrete of the shaded patio while the flora also recover from the day’s heat. That was until giant, wingless beings arrived making the strangest chirping ever. I’m sure they were relieved after we moved indoors to listen to their chirps. We were also glad to hear they remembered how to fly back to their nests – safe from cats lurking nearby.

In my visit to town I noticed some people complaining about the heat. I also noticed they sounded much like the people that complained about the cold during the winter. They got me thinking about Job, “…Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?*”  Shall we accept fair weather and not harsh?

Personally, I like variety and especially appreciate that the extremes here last only a short while.

“Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God…” Ecclesiastes 7:14 (NLT)

*Job 2:10 (NLT)

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Ker-Plunk

This week I juggled my plans so that Izzy’s daughter and I could take a road trip to Aremote Lake. With my methodical planning we had lots of time so we could shoot up the countryside – with cameras – to our hearts’ content.

Happy and relaxed, I headed back home alone at the perfect time just before dusk that same evening. I got so many great shots I could hardly wait to get back within signal range and download them. Without any traffic and downhill all the way I could blast home in barely over 2 hours, so before I approached the main road I made a pit stop.

The short story is my cell wound up falling into water – clean enough to retrieve the device. Another good reason for keeping a few extra gas station paper towels on a road trip – after wiping the phone off and popping the battery out… suffice it to say it won’t emerge from the rice for another day or so.

Ordinarily I’d be a mess without my phone. However, with the rest of the family still out of range through to the weekend I honestly haven’t missed it.

Seriously, aside from texts from my grand kids, without my constant reminders, alarms, calendars, lists and calls LIFE GOES ON. What’s more, my heightened organizational skills have been delightful. I’m happy to report that not that much has changed in the past eight-to-ten years since smart phones became mainstream.

And thanks to Pixabay you can still enjoy some of the highlights of my lovely drive. We needn’t necessarily mention that without a signal my photos haven’t downloaded. Yet.

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 (English Standard Version)

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Heating Up

Where we are, near the Columbia and Snake Rivers it’s easy to forget the desert surrounds us – until July through September when temperatures rise. Even in our well-tilled and watered garden the ground becomes dry and hard by mid-day.

But come evening, as the sun begins to slip behind the trees in the west and sprinklers kick on in the pastures, the air cools quickly again. Dogs run happily through the lots kicking up dust clouds behind them for our last stroll of the day.

And unexpected beauty frequently surprises me.

Just about dusk every day, I pause and thank God for this life.

“Justice will rule in the wilderness and righteousness in the fertile field. And this righteousness will bring peace. Yes, it will bring quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in safety, quietly at home. They will be at rest.” Isaiah 32:16-18 (NLT)

 

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Gad-Zukes!

I’m amazed how I felt a little discouraged as this week began. I considered what the garden is actually producing compared to the labor we put into it six days a week. We were all feeling disappointed that we see lots of tiny, little buds, but no cucumbers in particular.

 

Even so, on her “day off” Izzy and I were out there on our knees, enjoying the cool of the morning and pulling weeds.

Imagine my surprise when she blurted out, “CUCUMBERS!”  And then, “Growing in the spaghetti squash. We’ve got cucumbers!”

Sure enough, before I could get over to shoot what to us is phenomenal, Iz had picked four nice-sized cucumbers and found more growing among the astoundingly prolific spaghetti squash. Remarkably only buds are on all the other vines down the rest of the row.

Later, as I packed bags of lettuce to share with friends at our Bible Study meeting, I thought about how the week turned around.

Firstly, I’m glad this week I’m not the only silly soul. And I’m glad to know I’m not the only human that tends to focus upon our understandings, expectations and agendas and we sometimes miss something else God may be doing.

 

For another example, last year I was disappointed that no home groups from my local church meet near our neighborhood anymore. That disappointment is now a sharp contrast to how I look forward to Friday evenings – every week.

Regardless how tired I may be, Former Neighbor Andee texts me from her new home barely ten minutes away to tell me she’s on her way, to start heading down my driveway. She knows what it takes for me to leave the cottage. I’m not proud that usually I’ve splatted against a wall by five and try to talk myself out of going – nearly every week. But every week I climb into Andee’s truck and I’m astounded at all I learn about our study topic and our friends, the people in our group.

This week more than anything else, I’m grateful for God’s eternal perspective. I appreciate the blessed assurance that He likely enjoys much of our silliness between the blessings. And He knows the cucumbers are worth the wait.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

 

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