~reflections~musings~inspirations~insights~and life lessons learned by one who is
whole-heartedly, steadfastly, firmly in HIS grip~

Romans 1:6 "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes..."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Rosebud

It is only a tiny rosebud, a flower of God’s design;
But I cannot unfold it with these clumsy hands of mine.
The secret of unfolding flowers is not known to such as I.
God opens this flower so easily, but in my hands they die.
If I cannot unfold a rosebud, this flower of God’s design…
Then how can I have the wisdom to unfold this life of mine?
So I’ll trust in God for leading each moment of my day.
I will look to God for guidance in each step of the way.
The path that lies before me, only my Lord knows.
I’ll trust God to unfold the moments, just as He unfolds the rose.

Monday, March 29, 2010

And...SOME PEOPLE think there is no GOD!

HE is more than Enough!

If we could only take this one truth to heart... our lives and the lives of others will be changed! Remember to turn the music off to the side by clicking on the double lines.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Lullaby's and the Old Rugged Cross

I've been up since about 4:45 this morning and I'm just now working on my second cup of coffee. The early morning birds are singing in the sunrise and I am gearing up for the day. It's the Saturday before Good Friday and the market is going to be a mad house today. I am excited with the anticipation of the rush of customers.

I've logged into Face Book and Yahoo looking for word from Jake and sure enough I see him! He and his wife, Michelle, have found out they are going to have a little boy in August. Great news from a distant land...it does a Granna's heart good!

The song The Old Rugged Cross has been streaming though my mind all morning. It is the epitome of the perfect Easter song, don't you think? It really hammers home the message of salvation.

"On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame; and I love that old cross where the dearest and best for a world of lost sinners was slain...so I'll cherish the old rugged cross, till my trophies at last I lay down; I will CLING to the old rugged cross and exchange it someday for a crown."

It is one of the first hymns I learned to sing... not beautifully as I can't carry a tune in a bucket... but I knew all the words and as a new believer the words were so dear to me I couldn't help by sing it over and over, day after day.

It is the song I used to sing to Jake when he was fussy or sick, or just needed a little rocking before bedtime and at the news of the impending arrival of his son and the promise of rocking baby Erick Ivan and singing to him has given the song an even more dear meaning to this expectant grandmother.

How blessed we truly are... How good is our God? We cannot praise Him adequately for all He is... all He has done, still does, and will do for us... May we never be so blind that we not notice His presence in our lives... His activity in the world around us. May we never forget how sweet the salvation He has given us. May we look at that old rugged cross with eyes a fresh and a new... with the heart of a new believer... in awe and reverence.

I am Yours, O Lord, may I not be a disappointment to You today... May I see your wondrous works around me and remember to whisper a praise of thanks... may I recognize the opportunities you provide and instinctively act upon Your prompting.

What has you singing of the old rugged cross today?

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
the emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown.

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
has a wondrous attraction for me;
for the dear Lamb of God left his glory above
to bear it to dark Calvary.

In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
a wondrous beauty I see,
for 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
to pardon and sanctify me.

To that old rugged cross I will ever be true,
its shame and reproach gladly bear;
then he'll call me some day to my home far away,
where his glory forever I'll share.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Be the Branch...Be the Branch

I know it has been a while since I have posted some original thoughts. Plant season is gearing up and it usually takes me a week or two to get accustomed to all the physical exercise. We received four trucks of plants yesterday and it took six of us all day to get everything unloaded, priced, organized, and displayed. The place is BEAUTIFUL and no matter how tired I am at the end of the day, I have an amazingly wonderful time.

My main focus is the vegetable and herb house. I want everything "just so" and my nieces tease me because everything is alphabetized and organized the way I like it...and if they help I tell them, "Put that there, no, I don't want it there." Funny...they are the bosses!

Easter is an important time in gardening and any farmer, old or new, will tell you to plant your gardens on Good Friday for good growth and bountiful harvest. Needless to say, business has picked up quite a bit over the past couple of days. I spend most of the time filling in the holes where customers have picked through for the right plants for their gardens.

As you can imagine, Good Friday/Easter is the topic of most of my daily conversation... sometimes it is what kind of weather we might be having, or do I think it is too early or will there be one more frost, but sometimes... sometimes the conversation moves to the reason for Easter. I love those conversations!

As I straighten and restock I cannot help but think about the days leading up to the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior. No one but Jesus really knew and understood exactly what was about to happen and the impact His death would have for all humanity. Read John Chapter 17 for a glimpse of the heart of Jesus as He prayed in the garden.

“Crucify Him” and “Free Barabbas” bubbles to the top of my mind… to outsider looking in… to the world… His death must have looked like it was surrounded by hate… caused by hate... like He had no control… like God had looked away… turned His back on His only son but to the Christian heart we know it was the purest act of love and obedience. Salvation through His death and resurrection for all who would believe and accept Him… an unconditional love that we, His followers, are to pass along.

We shouldn’t be surprised that God turned an act of hate into an action of love but we can hardly fathom the concept. The Bible is full of ordinary people doing extraordinary things when faith and obedience are applied. WE are ordinary people… you and I… and we can accomplish extraordinary things when we walk, live, and love… in faith and obedience. A simple act of a hug and a prayer seemingly coming from out of the blue can change a life. We may never see the results but we know without a doubt that when we instinctively reach out to those around us… demonstrating HIS love… the Holy Spirit does the rest.

I love that part of being a Christian, don’t you? Today… I am going to surprise someone by being the hands and heart of Jesus! I can hardly wait to get started!

John 15:1-5 “I am the true vine, and my father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”~NIV

Now let’s go out there and have a fruitful day!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Priority of Prayer

Mark 1:35-37

Our Father does not consider prayer an optional part of the Christian life. The Bible tells us that two-way communication with God is essential.

The discipline of prayer includes . . .

• An expectant attitude. We must believe that God has something important to say to us. It could be a strengthening reminder of His love, insight into our situation, or the answer to a petition. With such an outlook, we'll be listening more than we are speaking.

• A focus on our heavenly Father. When we praise the Lord, our minds will let go of worldly things and center on Him. Thinking of His perfect character and sacrifice at the cross readies us to hear from Him and obey.

• A willingness to see ourselves the way that God does. The Holy Spirit works in us to produce Christlikeness. That means uncovering what is unholy and replacing it with righteousness. It also includes recognizing when we demonstrate godly character (Gal. 5:22-23).

• A surrender to His leadership. When we submit to Him as Lord, our petitions will be more in line with His will.

• A regular "appointment." Developing a strong faith-life takes commitment. Daily activities will crowd out time with the Lord unless we set a time and place to pray.

Everywhere Jesus traveled, the multitudes approached Him with their needs. Even though there were many people to help, our Savior regularly took time to pray. He'd step away from the demands of the crowd to interact with His Father (Mark 6:45-46). Won't you give prayer that same priority?

Brought to you by Dr. Charles Stanley - In Touch Ministries.

I can't add much here except we have all experienced the power of prayer. It is our life line to our God. Pray for your family, friends, country...pray for strangers...it does a soul good!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

FaceBook Status Updates from Down Range... in random order

Hey guys, just got on... so bored right now... I'll be waiting on my party when I get back home.

0308 here and I don't see a reason why anyone would be on this late here, but I don't know what time it is back home, so love ya guys. AND OF COURSE, I LOVE YOU MICHELLE!

Howdy, can I get a whoot whoot....can I get a yeehaw!

Yaaaaaay I finally saw a camel, not close up, but I got to see one.

Yay... I got even closer to camels but I was driving so I couldn't get a good shot but I saw camels.

Camels everywhere... I think I am tired of freakin' camels.

Hit my head on the door of the truck... now I have a headache!

It's HOT here.

One thing I miss from back home is the sound of birds early in the morning when the dew is still on the fresh cut grass.

This is my last post for a while. So pray for me and I'll get back on as soon as I can. Don't know where I'm going so don't ask. Remember...no news is good news.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

What Are You Looking At?

My nephew, Steven, getting his turn at the wheel of old Poppin' John.

Wow, the weather has been fantastic here the past couple of days. I am so thankful I have been able to get outside and enjoy it some. The dogs are literally jubilant! Isabella starts going in circles every time you mention the “O” word. [Outside]

As you can see from a couple of posts back we have been very busy getting the green houses ready for customers and some of our faithful farmers have started coming in drips and drabs to pick up seeds, onion sets, and seed potatoes.

I love this time of year. Growing up we always had a garden. Sometime in late February, Daddy would crank up that old, popping, sputtering John Deer Tractor and begin the disking and plowing. It wouldn't be long and we would all be planting seeds in the neat, straight rows.

I hated that garden...Daddy always made us work and sometimes it was spread over acres and acres. It didn't matter to him what our plans were, how hot it was, or what day of the week; when the garden needed weeding he armed all the kids with hoes. When it was time to harvest we traded in our hoes for baskets. Heaven help us if when he got home from work and our gardening wasn't done...

Yep, I really hated that part...but I loved eating from it. We were allowed to eat everything we wanted, as much as we wanted, when we wanted, and we didn't have to ask permission. I've eaten fresh tomatoes and strawberries until my mouth had blisters, I've gorged myself on watermelon and cantaloupe, been hosed off, and sent back out to finish my weeding or picking. I've eaten every vegetable raw, straight from the garden - even those that are really best cooked. To this day, I love fresh vegetables and I don't really mind the work of a garden.

As I got older, I had a turn or two at the helm of old Poppin’ John. The first time my rows were a bit wavy. OK they were very crooked! How could that old man (probably younger than I am now!) get those rows so straight? Finally, he told me. "See that fence row at the end of the garden?" "Yes, sir." I replied. As obedient southern children know, it is always sir or mam. “Aim for the post, keep your focus on it - you always go where you are looking.”

Now that I am almost 50 years old that advice rings true in a different light. In Matthew 14:22-34. Jesus sends the disciples ahead of him and heads to the mountains by himself to pray. Later that evening 'the boat was a considerable distance from the land buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.' So what does Jesus do? Takes off walking across the water...The disciples are freaking out; they think they see a ghost! But He calms them down and tells them who He is and Peter, says Lord, if that's you, tell me to come to you on the water. So He does, Peter gets out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. (v.30) But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out to the Lord, "Save Me!"

You see, as long as Peter kept his focus on Christ, he was fine. He was walking on water straight to the Lord. But...when he took his eyes off Jesus, he got afraid and immediately started sinking. That is just like us! Everything is going along fine and dandy, we are focused on Christ, growing, serving, making an impact on the lives of others...then something comes along and distracts us. We loose our focus, and begin sinking. It could be work, children, special projects, anything...Now we are focused on ourselves and what we need to do, should do, or want to do. Praise God, He will reach out and grab us when we cry out!

Daddy was so right back then. You go straight to what you are focused on. If it is Jesus, you are plowing straight, if it is the world or yourself...your path gets a bit wavy and winding, you get off track and your life looks just as bad as that first garden I plowed.

My question today is what are you looking at?

Lord Prepare Me!!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Spring Is In The Air

Since my last couple of posts have been tearjerkers, I thought I would just share a few pictures of my day. God has blessed me with so many family members and with the ability to spend time with them everyday! I never want to wallow around in misery when there is so much to be thankful for... and that includes you. Thank you all so much for your prayers lately. Thanks for your continued prayers for our son, Jake, and our friend's son, Ryan.

(R) My sister-in-law, Jeanna, owner of BJ's Market Cafe and BJ's Plants and Produce. She is a wonderful woman of God and a tremendous influence on all of us!

(L) My niece, Dede Chapman holding my great-niece Lilly Rochelle. Lilly and her mom, Sara, stopped by for lunch at the cafe with Sara's dad. I love it when family pops in for a visit! Sara spent many summers working at the market while going to college to be a nurse. Wish she had brought the twins along!

Sweet Victoria Faith, Dede's daughter and my great niece. This little girl makes my day every time I see her. She likes to help out.

(L) Dede's husband, Jon, and his brother, Anthony, working on the new shelving units. Anthony decided to put a bucket of water up there to catch some of the sparks shooting off Jon's grinder.

(R) Anthony is putting together our new shelving in the main greenhouse. This is going to make it easy to stock and the display is going to be absolutely beautiful!

(L) Me... Aunt Theresa, potting white Bleeding Hearts in gallon pots.

(R)My nephew, Michael (Dede's brother and Jeanna's youngest son) the manager of BJ's Plants and Produce... You see who has the hardest job! LOL Really he works hard all year long!

Dede's son, Wesley, my great-nephew. Wesley is the most creative young man I've ever known. He can do anything with a little cardboard and some boxes. He even made us an end table for the living room because Uncle Bubba didn't have one. He literally sees projects in 3D. AMAZING! He has the softest heart and has stolen his Aunt Theresa's!

Tell me these kids haven't come up with a new way of doing an old job! Wes and Victoria helping sweep the floor before closing.

What a wonderful day, even though it was cold and overcast the promise of spring makes the heart happy!

Monday, March 1, 2010

It's All Good

The past couple of weeks have been a bit difficult to say the least. I have been battling the head crud and just about the time I think I am getting better I wake up with a headache, sore nose and sore throat. I finally have antibiotics and hopefully they will take effect soon. Add to that the trips up to Missouri every weekend in February and the underlying stress of Jake's deployment... and I just plain don't feel so good.

I cannot begin to tell you the emotion that is involved when one sends their child into the throws of war. No matter how well trained he is, no matter the fact that he can hit 49 out of 50 shots consecutively...no matter how well prepared he is...mentally, physically, spiritually... it makes a mother’s heart tighten.

One would think a veteran would be a bit calmer about the whole thing. You know… been there, done that, and got the tee-shirt kind of attitude. That I would have the ability to know that the training takes over and one reacts instinctively. I tell you now…motherhood trumps veteran every time!

It is the combination of not being able to call and talk to him when I want to, the inability of being able to rush in and calm his fears as I did when he was little, the simple fact that I cannot look at his face and know everything is fine. Not being able to put my arms around him and whisper, "I love you." It causes a bit of melancholy… a bit of despair…

As a mother of faith, one would think a bubble of peace, joy and happiness would encircle me and I would be like a little girl skipping through the park smelling the flowers and watching the little birdies fly. The simple fact that I know God gave this child to me…for HIS purpose and not my own… that God WILL watch over him and protect him at every turn should be enough…shouldn’t it?

Yet the rush of anxiety sneaks up on me in the strangest places. Fleeting moments where I am a woman wringing her hands in anguish as fear and sadness engulfs me. The reality that he could get caught in cross-fire or be the casualty of a road side bomb flashes before my mind’s eye. Heartache that my baby will not see his baby born… the fact his child will be a year old when “Daddy” returns brings tears to my eyes.

It is during these times that I feel your prayers. The times when I am laid prone on the floor with arms spread wide… crying, desperately holding on to the hand of our Lord… sobs replacing words… and the Comforter comes… ministering… His Spirit to my spirit… wiping tears, whispering words of encouragement, smoothing the hair, patting the back and embracing me with love and peace. Removing the fear… the sadness… the insecurity… and in the blink of an eye… it’s all good.

Jake called mid-way during his travels and can you believe it? He sounded happy, excited even! As I write this post it is day one at his destination. I received a text that said he had arrived safely, don’t text back… it costs too much just e-mail, and keep praying.

As peace and assurance replace anxiety and fear I realize… it IS all good… God is good, He is in control and I should just let Him do what He does and take it one day at a time… step by step… walking in faith… sometimes being carried upon the backs of the praying saints… and no matter what happens He will get us through… for there is nothing impossible with God.