Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Life Lessons From a Weed

Have you ever really looked at some of the weeds that pop up unexpectedly?....They don't belong there...do they?....We didn't plant them there...

Some people look at their well manicured green lawn and see one of these golden nuisances standing proudly in the sun...when we were children, we proudly picked these mounds of sunshine for our mothers...when we were small, we somehow had the ability to notice detail with great appreciation...we would take this beautiful creation carefully in our hand, and purely motivated by love share the beautiful gift we found for this beautiful person in our life.

I have long loved the pop of bright yellow color of dandelions against the fresh spring green grass...I know, a part of me will never grow up, and I don't care to have one of those perfectly manicured monotone green lawns...I rather like the random pops of color...

However...I would like to have a smooth well groomed looking life...but I find that there are "weeds" that pop up unexpectedly...I want them to go away.... be plucked out....so I do  my best to attack them with everything I have to get rid of them...then I got to thinking...

Could I get to a place in my life where I looked at these weeds with appreciation?...If I were able to hold these "weeds" and look from a different perspective, could I see beauty?....Could I see design?....could seeing things in that perspective change my life into something better?....

When I was a little girl, I used to feel so sorry for the weeds that my mother would pull from her flower beds...I would see them thrown on the ground with their roots withering in the hot sun...I simply had to rescue them! I would scoop them up and carry them to a section of the yard that I deemed "The Weed Garden" I lovingly planted them and felt that I had done a good service.

Over the years, my weed garden took over the little corner of the yard....then branched out further into the yard...it sort of got out of hand. It was on it's way to choking out good plants that were pleasing and beneficial....

...I learned that when someone who knows better than me, pulls out a damaging weed, it is to protect the good healthy things like vegetables that give us nutrition and support our health....Hmmm... So if the Master Gardener decides to uproot some damaging "weed" I have let grow in my life....I had better not run to scoop it up and re-plant it...I need to trust that He knows what needs pulled and work on cultivating the beneficial things in my life.

Also, have you ever noticed a wildflower growing in a strange place and  thought "How did that get there?"
I found this little wild viola (some may think of it as a weed) growing in a crack between the cement steps up to our front door.

This made me think of the times in life when you are not sure why you are where you are...you may feel alone...out of place...away from friends and like-minded people. Take a lesson from this little beauty....

You are made with incredible detail and value, when your Creator looks at you, He smiles at His wonderful design. Perhaps when he looks at your corner of the world, you brighten it...just like this beauty stands out against the gray concrete...bloom where your planted and leave the transplanting to The Master Gardener...

And finally...

If you look around at all the other flowers growing in the garden of life...and you feel you look more like a weed than a magnificent flower...maybe you don't feel as attractive...or as beneficial...or as talented... remember, we are all a work in progress...God makes us beautiful and brings us to bloom in different seasons...This little Peony doesn't look like much now, but wait and see what a beautiful display comes with a little more sunshine and rain...

Speaking of rain, I have learned a few lessons from that as well.....I will save that for another time though.
For now, I challenge you to see the beauty in the unexpected "weeds" of life....allow the Master Gardener to pull some damaging weeds from your life...Grow where you're planted...and if you are feeling a little weed-like, just wait...God has a wonderful plan for your life!

Happy Spring!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Call to Prayer: Do we hear it?

Ezekiel 36:26 God promises to renew our hearts.

This week our church has been having prayer services every night for an hour. During that time we pray together...as a family of believers...unified before our Heavenly Father. We pray for revival first in our own hearts and lives as well as the rest of the congregation that didn't make it out to the prayer service. We pray for a renewing of the Holy Spirit...a renewed passion for serving the One who so freely came to serve.

   I, like many others, am tempted to think that I am too busy...too tired...not feeling well...can't spend the gas every night...I'm tempted to think "Well, I'm sure there will be enough people who will show up, so I can just join in with my prayers at home"....

   I think one of Satan's greatest weapons are our own excuses and thoughts. He whispers to us and reminds us of how busy we are. He keeps us occupied with distractions of all kinds...and we let him.

   I can't help but think about how Jesus went to the garden to pray..his heart was heavy knowing what was coming. He asked the disciples to watch while He went to pray...they fell asleep.

   We as a church, (the whole church, not just the local church) I'm afraid, have fallen asleep. We forget that we take part in the spiritual battle when we pray...together as a body. We have gotten comfortable in our routine...Maybe we go to church Sunday morning...maybe even Sunday night...sometimes a Wednesday night...but for one week, could we go every night? for just one hour...

   Is Christ asking us to stand watch? Are we too tired? We could stay home and pray...but then we miss out on the strength you feel when you sit side by side linking up prayers...building where one prayer leaves off...we miss feeling the Holy Spirit move from person to person as He brings to our minds different areas of the ministry to pray for.

   I am glad that the leaders of our church care enough to set aside a week for nightly prayer for the health of our church. And I am  proud of the prayer warriors who came, especially the group of fabulous teens...they are the next generation of the church, we need to boldly set the example and hand them a healthy vibrant church.

   If you are a believer, I challenge you to set aside one hour a day to pray for revival in the hearts of Christians everywhere... the health of our churches...the state of our own hearts...where God would have us be His hands and feet...If we all were willing to devote one hour to pray for the state of the church in this country, we could change the country!

   We are so blessed to live in a country where we can openly pray and worship...we should not get too comfy ans sleepy ...we need to nurture that right through prayer. 

P.U.S.H: Pray Until Something Happens

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Spring Awakenings...

    What a beautiful weekend we have been having! I have not had much time for my blog lately, but wanted to just quickly post some photos that I took this beautiful day.

   I went out this morning and took a walk, looking for how things emerge back to life this time of year.( This always reminds me that things seem dark, gray and maybe even dead ...for a season...but then... God in his wisdom shines the warm shunshine... and brings life to those places in your life you thought were too dark to ever bloom again) 

   Then Dave and I worked on our kitchen re-do this afternoon. And then Dave and the boys took me out for my upcoming birthday this week. It's been great! So here are a few favorite shots of the day....

These will be future cherries!

Daffodils are the March flower

Baby Maple Leaves!

Future Pear


Future Apples

Burning Bush Buds

Can't wait for the tulips to share their colors!

Grape Hyacinth

Garden friends...

I guess one came in with me to take a peek at my world...

My love of  my life

My handsome boys make my day...

Beautiful sunset....Good night! God Bless!

I'm linking up with the links listed on the right column. Please visit these sites and link up when you can. The more the merrier!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Chats on the FarmHouse Porch (#33)

Hey there everyone, I have been posting so many photos lately that I have neglected some of the other link-ups I love to do. This post I am linking up with Patrice over at Everyday Ruralty for her famous "Chats on the Farmhouse Porch"
Today was beautiful! It was almost warm enough to sit out in the full sun on the deck, but I would probably welcome you to sit in my living room with the fireplace going....and we could chat about this weeks questions:

  1. Tell me a fond memory of an elderly person?
  2. What's your favorite flavor of jam or jelly?
  3. What goes through your mind when you drive by one of those whopping, huge houses that look like something in a magazine?
  4. What's your favorite way to relax?
  5. What's your favorite kind of pasta?
My answers:

1. I would answer this one by talking about my Gram and Grandpa. I love remembering how my Grandpa would take me out for breakfast and eat all the things that Grandma removed from his diet....He would say "Now Ali, we don't  need to mention to Gram what I am ordering this morning, this is OUR time" We would ride home stopping to talk to the Amish men that would be set up roadside selling produce or cheese. He loved chatting with them. We would make up  songs to sing in the car all the way home.  You can read more about him HERE. Also my Gram who we lost last year...she was "green" before it was the thing to be and she was a great cook ( all natural ingredients) i remember many days helping her in the garden, I can still feel the warm sun on my back and eating fresh raw peas...you can read about her HERE

2.My favorite...only one? I  used to love my gram's current jelly...I guess raspberry or strawberry? Anything but orange marmalade...yuck! 

3.Wow...do they clean that themselves? How many people live there...seems like houses get bigger, but families get smaller these days. I love my old farmhouse, it's not tiny, but it's not big enough to forget we live with our family members either...I love being able to her Cody playing guitar in his room, Collin playing drums in his room, and Colton playing in his room or running back and forth between his brother's rooms teasing and laughing with each other.

4. If weather is nice, either sitting on the deck with hot or iced coffee...or going on a photo walk, pausing long enough to focus on detail and clear my mind.
  If the weather is not nice, then curled up in front of the fireplace with hot coffee and a good book or magazine...or catching up on my favorite blogs and gathering amazing ideas on Pinterest :)

5. Pasta is such a comfort food...I  like it every which way...Olive Garden's never ending pasta ....oh yeah!

Well it was a pleasure having you over! Please continue the conversation in the comments below. I'd love to hear your thoughts to these questions too :)
Have a wonderful rest of your week!
Hugs and Prayers!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Calm: Poetic Winter Photo Challenge Week 4

   Well, this is the final entry for the Poetic Winter Photography Challenge. It has been fun finding shots to go with the theme each week.

   I am late getting this one in...this week has been anything but calm. I just couldn't bring myself to find the time to put a post together or to focus on a word that I just could not fit my mind into...

   These photos are being pulled from shoots where I was feeling calm. As this week comes to a close, I am hoping this weekend will slow down a bit. 

   As you visit here today, I hope these images and the songs that are playing will help make you feel a sense of calm....

 And if you are in a stormy time in your life right now, I encourage you to tuck yourself in close to your Heavenly Father and wait out the storm...The wind will die down...the sun will shine warm on your face again...you are not alone...lay your burden down and rest...


I love to watch the sky, I think it is one of the most calming things to do...

We have not had much snow this winter, so I pulled this one out from pictures of the last big snow we had.
A thick blanket of snow quiets the earth in a very calming way...

Time spent around water is always calming... I love this picture of the pier at the lake and watching the water move...and watching how the wind fills the sails of the boats on the water is very calming

Time spent with scripture calms and quiets the soul...

May you have many "Green Pasture" and "Still Water" moments today....