Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ladybugs vs. Imposters...


   When I was younger, I used to love finding ladybugs in the garden. They were the perfect shade of red, and about the only bug that I was NOT afraid of. After all with a name like "Ladybug" what is there to fear?
   Fast forward to recent years and I have found myself saying "I HATE these ladybugs!" ...You see we live in an old restored farmhouse that sits on a sunny ridge, that thousands of these beetles have claimed as a vacation home. The warm sunny rooms in our house, like the kitchen and our bedroom become polluted on warm spring and fall days. I have been "bitten" by one crawling up my leg after it falls into our bed...I have set down a glass of sweet tea in the kitchen only to come back and find one swimming around in my glass...ugh!
So I started looking on line to find out how to get rid of ladybugs who make your house their home...
   I found out that I had been accusing the wrong beetle! What has overtaken our home is NOT the ladybugs I loved as a child, but another related beetle - the Asian Beetle!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
These imposters look the same at close glance, but if you look closer, you can spot the differences...
 
For instance...
 
 
 
Their Appearance:
Asian beetles vary in color from pale orange to deeper reds and every shade in between.
Ladybugs are dark red in color (which is unattractive to predators) and have almost no color variation.
The # of spots on an Asian beetle can range from 0-19
Ladybugs have a uniform pattern of dots.
Asian Beetles have a "W" or "M" between their heads and backs.
Ladybugs do not
Their Actions:
Asian beetles were introduced to the U.S. to eat small bugs considered pests, but they themselves are now considered pests.
True ladybugs eat small bugs that harm plants and are gardeners best friends. One ladybug can consume up to 5,000 aphids in its short life span.
True ladybugs are more difficult to find now than Asian beetles and it is considered to be lucky if you find a true ladybug.
 
What about a Lady of God?
Many claim to be a lady of God, but are there ways to tell?
Would we be identified by others as a true lady of God?
Can people tell by our appearance?  By our actions?
Those can help, but God looks at our hearts. Do our hearts identify us as true ladies of God?
   Proverbs 31:26 - "She opens her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness. Is our speech kind?"
   I Corinthians 6:19 - "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you? Which you have of God and you are not your own?   Do we treat our bodies well? Do we abuse them with lots of unhealthy food? Or maybe we do extreme dieting and rob our bodies of important nutrients? Do we go-go-go with no time for restorative rest?"
   A true lady of God should also nurture her soul by connecting with our Father who longs to spend one on one time, healing, providing, strengthening...
   If we do make time for that, when the storms of life come (and they always do) we will know who to turn to. We will know we can turn to our faithful Heavenly Father who will never leave us or forsake us.
 
   Do you know that your Heavenly Father is there for you? Have you had those precious moments when in the midst of hard times, you feel God's overwhelming presence and peace come over you? I have had that happen at some very pointed times in my life. I will never forget the feeling of blanketed peace...
*A particular time when I was completely overwhelmed when I had 3 little ones and was caring for my injured husband who I so badly wished to see him healed.
*Waiting to see if the "lump" was cancer, test after test
*Watching your baby go under anesthesia for heart surgery, and your not so baby have his lung collapse and need to be on a chest tube vacuum.
I know so many of you have been through similar situations, many of you much worse. In those moments it is so hard to "be still" but so worth it.
 
   When we go through those difficult times, others see how God works in our lives. It is a great chance to show the hope and strength we have from Christ living in us. I know I could never get through the little incidents in life, let alone the big tough things without Christ's strength.
 
     A true lady of God recognizes God's faithfulness and her need for Christ. When God made us, He designed a longing within us to find him, and when we do, we realize how much we need him...
 
   Maybe you are sitting here today and you have never experienced that peace I spoke of...Maybe you have felt a longing for something more, but are not sure God is for you...Maybe you have the look down, you know how to talk the talk, but it's not quite real for you...
   A true ladybug goes through a complete metamorphosis to get to be that wonderful, beneficial creature that is a treasure to find.
   ...It's the same for us, we recognize our need for God to be at the center of our hearts and lives, we then give our life over to the one who created us with a purpose. And then, we have the assurance that no matter how rough life gets, He will never leave us and not only will he never leave us, but He will bathe us in His peace and take us into Heaven to live for eternity someday.
   If you have never fully given your life to Christ, I invite you to open your heart and become a true lady of God.
God is already waiting for you to invite him to the center of your heart, so don't be afraid to ask, He already said yes with the cross.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pictures from My Snow Day

I love snow, especially if I don't have to drive anywhere! The other day, I got to spend a rare day at home because of the snow. There were many things I really should have worked on, but I just could not resist bundling up and heading out with my camera.
 
I absolutely love how hushed things are on the farm when it is covered in a blanket of beautiful white snow....makes me think of how I have been washed "whiter than snow" by the blood and love of my savior....
 
Here are a few of my favorite shots from that day.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Happy Winter! :)
~Allison

Friday, January 25, 2013

How God Opened My Eyes In The Walmart Vision Center

   




    So the other day, I thought I would just run into Walmart real quick after work, and pick up my son's new contacts, since I got a call they were in. As I approach the vision center, I see that they are very busy. the waiting area chairs were full and several people were getting fitted for glasses at the little stations there.

    I am thinking "Boy I am glad I don't have to wait with all those people for an exam and can just pick up and be out of here!"...So I walk up to the register with a smile on my face and wait to be greeted...a woman starts to walk my way, but just walks past the register to a back room..."OK, she's in the middle of something"...then a man working there slowly strolls out looks at me (I smile in preparation to be waited on)....he walks, looks at me, and just walks past me...I look over and see a lady sitting at one of those little fitting stations, but she doesn't have a customer, she is just sitting there looking board, but doesn't look my way....I feel my smile may be fading. It has been 10 minutes...I see that there is a clipboard on the counter, but it is for people to sign in for their appointment...I don't have an appointment, I am just "quickly" picking up the contacts....so I don't put my name down...oops, I think I need to refresh my smile...I don't feel like smiling, so I wonder if it looks genuine...

    It must not, because I had eye contact with a customer who was seated in the waiting area near the "board-looking" lady and she leaned over and said something to her and pointed at me...the board-looking lady looked over at me ...*I'm smiling* ... she looked annoyed and then looked at her computer...the customer then looked at me like "I tried"...my smile is gone now...I don't even care to try to smile...I grab the clipboard, sign my name and not so gently place it back on the counter (no I didn't slam it, but the thought crossed my mind)...

    The lady looks over her glasses at me, types some more, and then very slowly stands and begins to walk in my direction... she looks at the two men's names that are above mine on the clipboard...calls out the first...no one comes....calls out the second...no one comes...slowly crossed out those names, finally looks at me and said are you Allison?....Are you kidding???? I am the only one standing at the register, you saw me put my name on the clipboard! So I say "Oh my name DID have to be on the clipboard to be noticed"....she asked if I had an appointment, and I said no I was just here to pick up contacts. She let out a huff and asked my name. I told her and she said she would have to see if they were in. I told her I got a call that they were in...again with a "huff"... anyway, finally she gets the box of contacts...as I am waiting for the paperwork to print, I am thinking of a great speech about customer service and how someone in 15 minutes or more should have at the very least said the polite "we will be with you in a moment" and that a little acknowledgement would go a long way...
...BUT THEN... I heard it...God's still small voice whispering in the midst of my mental rant...

    "It doesn't feel good to be ignored does it?...My child, I wait throughout your day for you to come to me, acknowledge me....sometimes I show up, but it's not just at your scheduled time to meet with me...it takes you awhile to notice because you are distracted...but I wait for you and still give you opportunity to hear my voice and be involved in my work".............

    Wow! what a lesson! The lady handed me my paper and contacts. I said thank you and walked out of the store thanking God for that crystal clear message. He allowed me to feel such a tiny bit of what it must be like for him as we rush around our day, check facebook, twitter, pinterest, emails, text messages, youtube videos, etc...I get caught up in most of that and then some. I have been guilty of trying to fit God into my schedule. I am working on letting God run my schedule, and in order to do that, I have to be aware, look up at him often, keep my ears open. I am so privileged to belong to him and that he uses me in His plan, I don't want to leave Him waiting and feeling ignored.

Thank you God, for opening my eyes.
 
 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sunsets and Declarations

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Psalm 19:1


This picture was taken at sunset after a very stormy day a couple of Sundays ago...after the thunder rolled, and the rains came down hard pelting the earth...out came the sun, in beautiful golden  light, screaming silently against the most beautiful blue.
There was a calm quiet, and the air smelled clean, and after the humidity we had been experiencing, the cool breeze in the air felt refreshing....

It has been months since I have written a post. You see I have been going through some stormy times this summer. No worse than others experience, but uncomfortable all the same...changes with my business, health issues, feeling overwhelmed and defeated, broken relationships, just a general black cloud feeling...don't get me wrong, there have been wonderful days, new blessings, great memories this summer...but in the back of my mind, I was letting the storms of this world speak louder to me than God's voice, causing me to question if things would be alright.

God is so faithful and patient. It seems every day I would lay my burden down, and then by the end of the day, I would pick it back up and worry over it some...and then God would send me a friend, a song, a scripture that reassured me that I was never out of His sight... that He had a plan that would all work together to bring glory to Him.

Today, after 4 months of waiting to see what was growing on my thyroid...I got the answer...nothing there...all clear! Months of symptoms and questionable test results...positive findings on ultrasounds...it's gone! Praise God it's gone! I had a different kind of cancer scare a couple of years ago, and had surgery which removed pre-cancerous tissue, God was faithful before, so I knew he would be again....But, there is no guarantee that illness will stay away from me, but I do have a guarantee that if illness would come to me, I will never be alone- God will always walk with me through whatever I walk through.

I hope that you have that confidence, that the God who made you, loves you more than anyone else could and just wants you to rest and trust in Him...if you don't have that confidence, He is waiting there beside you .... waiting for you to turn to Him and ask Him for it...

So going back to that sunset picture...it was just about that weekend that I had been feeling more confident, that no matter what, I could face anything with my Lord by my side. I was at home when that beautiful sun came out, and I ran to get my camera...as I looked in awe at the beauty before me, it was like my own lens was dialed into a sharp focus. I felt joy... that the God who effortlessly painted a masterpiece across the sky, also painted my future.

The Heavens declared the glory of God...right to my soul. Later that week, I got to have the big scan I had to wait 4 months for. I had peace the whole week, through the whole test, and even in the waiting for the results that came today. I don't need to know where the nodules went, I don't care how...they are gone, and I am declaring the glory of God, because the hands that paint the skies, touched me...me.,who is sinful, selfish, and has many moments of "little" faith...

If you are going through something, hold on, have faith, cry out to Jesus...stand ready to capture the light of the sun that WILL shine on you again...

Here are a couple more pictures, that I snapped that evening...wonder what the sky in Heaven will look like... I hope someday to meet you there :)