Sunday, June 29, 2008

Happy 28th Anniversary Mark … my friend and my love …

Friday, June 27, 2008

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace!
Where there is hatred let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Saint Francis of Assisi, "Prayer of St Francis" (attributed)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

get fit

We finally did it. My neighbor and I joined a gym yesterday. We have a class tonight to learn how to use the equipment in our personalized exercise plan.

I was pleased at the attention to detail in developing my plan. I have limitations with ranges of motion and the speeds at which I can move. I won’t be using many of the machines, and I’ll be in slow motion on those that I do.

About this gym joining thing - it’s a catch 22: the more I exercise, the less pain I have AND I have more pain, the more I exercise. My goal is to tip the scale.

One more thing. In sampling an elliptical cross-trainer, the LCD kept flashing “WORKOUT PAUSED”. But NO, I WAS STILL MOVING!
This is going to be great. Really great...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

follow the Leader

I was thinking today. About my life as it was, as it is now, and as it will be. And, thinking about God’s direction in all of it. I read somewhere once that He guides by His love, in His love, and towards His love. He wouldn’t do it any other way. Where would I be without God’s guidance along the way? (Where have I ended up when I guided myself? Not a good place, I assure you.) If I don’t follow Him, I can’t know His will in my life.

While looking up verses on the subject, I found Psalm 32:8-11 (NRS)

I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding, whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not stay near you. Many are the torments of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

That sounds to me like God has promised to show me the way. And, that I’m to trust Him enough to go that way. Yep, that’s what He’s saying.

Then there's Proverbs 3:5-6 (NRS)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

He’s saying that I shouldn’t guide myself. Hmmm. Doing that only puts me in a bad place.

And so it goes…He does the leading and I do the following. It’s my prayer that I’ll follow, no matter what nor why nor when nor where nor how He leads me.

Monday, June 23, 2008

At this moment, 26 years ago, I was in my 15th hour of labor....

Friday, June 20, 2008

what will matter?

Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:12–13)

Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.

It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.

Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies will finally disappear.
So too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won’t matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end.
It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.
Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.

So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought but what you built, not what you got but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage, or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.
What will matter is not your memories but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.
Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.
It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.

Choose to live a life that matters.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

my secret garden, continued again

To the left of the garden path stands a soaring crape myrtle tree, its attractive exfoliating bark rising up to a canopy of lush branches. The graceful branch tips are laden with large clusters of small white blossoms. To the right, a few tall, straight gladiolus stand like soldiers at attention. A garden flag, depicting a Carolina bluebird, snaps in the breeze. Carolina jasmine climbs up and over an arbor, its graceful tentacles stretching outward, as if seeking another dwelling place. A favorite place is beneath the arbor, where delicate vines dangle and wave softly in a breeze. A small figure of St. Francis of Assisi stands below the jasmine. (He is known as a lover of all creation and patron saint of animals, birds, and the environment.) Beyond the arbor are peonies, azaleas, veronica, balsam plant, and creeping phlox.
Around to the left, a patch of oxalis is tucked under an expansive wax myrtle. This large shrub stands before the garden, guarding the privacy of my treasured haven. In front of the shrub, a small angel stands by a rock etched with “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. Isaiah 49:10”. Just beyond, spider flowers (cleome) and soft pink evening primroses overflow their respective spaces. A large patch of Black-eyed Susans laugh at the sun, while a nearby crop of balsam hides from the afternoon heat.

To the rear of my garden, an old, weather-beaten birdhouse sadly leans in front of a white pine tree. A huge red tip shrub in the corner provides an ample privacy screen. A large grouping of double orange daylilies grow prominently behind unique variegated Hosta. The house borders the left side of the garden, with three Japanese Cleyera shrubs alongside.

Both shadows and sunshine soothe the soul in this place of beauty and rest. Whether it’s in the cool of the morning or the afternoon warmth, my secret garden is my beloved sanctuary. It’s a place of quiet reflection, of calming stillness, of solitary refuge, of fresh perspective, and of soaring praise.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
(from the hymn “In the Garden” by C. Austin Miles

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

continued... my secret garden

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.
Isaiah 40:8 NIV

This small corner of my world, a place very dear to my heart, unfolds into a tranquil, peaceful place. A place where streams of sunshine dazzle before me, a place where prayers flow freely, a place where beauty surrounds me, a place where God holds me by the hand…

A large, stately sycamore tree was removed from our backyard to protect the house from harm. The empty space left behind looked obviously barren, making way for my dream of a secret garden. In an endeavor to create a blissful setting, thorough research and consideration was given to each and every aspect and detail.

I enjoyed choosing both new and transplanted shrubs, flowers, and plants. Perennials, self-seeding, and evergreens were selected for their endurance. I planted in a mishmash design, putting things here and there, sometimes with no rhyme or reason. I prefer random planting, similar in appearance to untouched natural landscapes. Over time, most of the garden has matured, some plants have multiplied many times over, others have reached for the sky, while still others have spread out along the ground.

The placement of the garden pond was a lengthy, arduous procedure completed by my dear, sweet husband. It’s a small pond with natural flat stones encircling its edges, and a surface with a large cover of water hyacinths and water lettuce. Tall elephant’s ears offer cool shade to the water on hot summer days. It’s a special treat when the hyacinth blooms. A path meanders around, ending at an old faded bench set by the pond.

This pond is home to a couple of goldfish named Jacob and Boaz. These goldfish swim to the surface for dinner, eating from the hand that feeds them. How cool is that!

Friday, June 6, 2008

in the garden

Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so.
The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:11-12 NIV

I spent some time outside today. The sun was shining brilliantly and it was awfully hot and I quickly became rather drippy. These conditions required several (more than just a few) drink and rest breaks.
My “Veggie Garden” was yearning for its normal, conscientious watering to begin without delay. I feel shameful because I should have come out much earlier. The tender little plants appeared to be gasping for a slow, cool, long, tall, drink of succulent water. I settled back, turned the hose nozzle to the settings of “rain” and/or “shower”, and ensured the imitation soft rain and gentle shower spray settings were tenderly caressing the teeny plants with a revitalizing soaking. It appeared to go as expected.

I gladly give Mark full credit for tilling my garden. It takes a lot of time and energy into the cultivation of a garden. It’s a difficult job to break up the soil, work in organic matter and other important ingredients, as well as improving the texture of the soil. A tiller is responsible for aeration, and that’s the key ingredient in the perfect garden recipe. I also gladly give Mark full recognition and appreciation for a job superbly done (just for me, how sweet!). .

As for the “Veggie Garden”, it’s the smallest we’ve had in several years. I planted Clemson Spineless Okra, General Lee Cucumbers, Grape Hybrid Tomatoes, and New Girl Hybrid Tomatoes. If we’re not headed for another drought this summer, I trust that we’ll eat of the fruit of the field.
There’s one more garden in back of the house. TheVeggie Garden” is just beyond my “Secret Garden”. The Secret Garden” lies directly behind the house, to the left of the deck. There’s a pathway that meanders from the driveway, turns left and runs straight along the deck, shifts right and ambles along gentle turns and bends, separating the garden borders from the lawn, and lastly, fizzles out at the shed.
More on my "Secret Garden" coming soon...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I’ve been afflicted with Blogger’s Block. It’s a tough condition to recover from, but I’m giving it my best. Be back soon…

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

(i'm screaming)

my absolute worst pet peeve of the day:
the idiotic, irresponsible, shameless, inconsiderate, brainless, utterly offensive,
ecologically challenged, thoughtless, nasty, disgusting people
who flagrantly fling, throw, and toss unsightly litter
along roadsides, byways, and waterways,
and who dump waste onto hideous mounting heaps,
piling up ugly garbage, junk, and trash,
forcing conscientious, principled, and respectful citizens
to painfully see this atrocious, endangering, and intentional crime,
igniting an urgent, catastrophic, and severe environmental crisis
against a fragile, ailing, and wounded earth
this really, really angers me (can you tell?)