Lent 2015

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon The Words and find myself drawn repeatedly to them, mesmerized by them, hungry for them….challenged by them.

I’ve not yet read all of the words – at least not in this format.

I’ve chosen to do so during Lent.

Here is my reading for today.

Blessed are you who hear the word of God and follow it where it leads. In doing so, you will be like the servant who, when the master comes, is found doing right.

Blessed are you, who put your whole trust in God. Yours is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you, who are acquainted with sorrow, for you will be appointed great comfort and courage. Blessed are you, who with humility recognize your need of God. The whole earth will be yours. Blessed are you, who hunger and thirst after righteousness. You will be satisfied and filled. Blessed are you, who are merciful. You will receive mercy in return. Blessed are you, who are pure in heart. You will see God.
Blessed are you peacemakers, for you will be called the children of God. Blessed are you, who pursue salvation. You will become the citizens of the kingdom of God. Blessed are you when you suffer blame and are spoken of evilly for doing my will. Rejoice! Leap for joy! Great is your reward in heaven. In a similar manner, they persecuted the prophets before your time.  (The Blessings)

 

Goodbye 2014

oWell, it’s finally come – the end of 2014.

December 31 slipped in faster than I’d hoped.

Too much living crammed into too few hours, and not enough time spent on making hopes and dreams come true.

That’s one mistake made in 2014.  I won’t broach the others.  No need. The list would be long and I’d prefer to invest my time elsewhere.

As I glance back over the past 12 months, I see success far more than I see failure, happiness more than tears, health and not illness.  2014 was a good year – a year that will launch me into 2015 upright and eager.

Things remaining on my 2014 To Do List will not roll automatically onto or into 2015. Perhaps there was a reason they were unfulfilled – a reason that needs to be explored and not ignored.

2014 will soon be little more than a bundle of memories, tangible and intangible, captured in words and pictures, thoughts and things.

2015 will see a more narrow focus – that of leaning hard into what’s important.

Funny thing is – what’s important to me probably won’t be to anyone else.

😉

Happy New Year!  Ready or not, here it comes!

When Bounty Becomes a Burden

What do you do when bounty becomes a burden?

The way I see it, you have two choices.

  1. Make room for it.
  2. Give it away.

God has truly blessed the gardens this year.  Tomatoes, green beans, peas, squash, peppers, okra….  Oh my…what a bounty!

With our small freezers full and only a few empty canning jars left (in my pantry and on the store shelves) it’s decision time.

I told Hubby this morning that I’ve tomatoes, peppers, beans and peas to put up and no place to put them.  Oh, and okra, too – but that’s not a problem (I’ll just fry it and eat it…all).

And, a peek at the garden after last night’s rain tells me I’ve more to pick today before the sun goes down.

What DO you do when bounty seems a burden?

Don’t you love problems like this?

I’ve given away surplus to family and friends, but I would really like to put up the peas and green beans that Mom, Daughter and I shelled and snapped.  But where? How?  My little chest freezer is full to the brim and my refrigerator’s freezer is as well.

Ah ha!  A quick inventory of the little chest freezer revealed a surprise.

Last summer, I filled a corner measuring 12″x 10″ with bags of cubed pumpkin, honeydew, and cantaloupe.  With that removed I have ample space for the veggies I have on hand and for those waiting to be picked.

What of the pumpkin and melons?

The pumpkin I’ll cook and use in breakfast muffins for Hubby.  The melon cubes have been pureed in my blender – what a delightful, healthy and delicious dessert it made for my lunch today – and placed in a gallon freezer bag that found its way back into the freezer (taking up only 1/2 of an inch of space, easily placed atop everything in the freezer).  All I’ll need to do is break off a corner, slip it back into the blender and voila – a frosty, cold sensation for a hot summer day!

Bounty should never become a burden.  With a little planning and forethought bounty blesses us and others.

And, that’s how it should be.

God is busy teaching us lessons, providing opportunities to grow, helping us think outside the box, encouraging us to move beyond ourselves and our notions of what’s possible (and what’s not).  God’s blessings should never become burdens.  When they do, it’s time for us to step back and ask ourselves…where am I off track and what do I need to change/do?

Don’t stress the good stuff. Spread it around.

Unexpected Blessings

Sunday evening, about dusk, Hubby and I journeyed home from our SC vs TN imposed payoff date at McDonald’s.  (The sweet tea was…SWEET and so was our time together.)

The McDonald’s we chose is about 4 miles from our house – a quick drive there and back.

…until the car quit running.

Yep.  We were half a mile from home when the car sputtered and flashed it’s warning lights at us as it died.

Of course, it didn’t quite make it to the top of the small rise as it coasted to a stop…or onto the side of the road, either.

I looked at Hubby with that “well…what now?” look.

I jumped out and ran around to the back of the car, yelled for him to take his foot off the brake and leaned hard against the car with the intent of pushing the old Geo Prizm forward.

The only direction it wanted to go was BACKWARDS.

“BRAKE! BRAKE!” I yelled, and Hubby did.

Weight loss is a good thing.  And, a bad thing, as well.  There was a time when I could move mountains (and cars) just by applying my weight and the force it generated to the problem at hand.  I no longer have the mass I once had and even a gust of wind can knock me off balance now.  There was no way I could push that car up the rise, especially not with Hubby in it.  What was I thinking?!?

Apparently I wasn’t. (There…I said it…I knew you were thinking it.)

Hubby climbed out and instructed me to get into the driver’s seat and guide the car as he pushed.

I did, he did, and the car began a slow forward climb up the rise.

“Sit in the car?” I thought.  “No way!”

So, out I climbed and threw my stubbornness against the door frame as I guided the steering wheel with my right hand.

It was decided that we would push the car the half mile home.  After we topped the rise, it would be a level stretch the remainder of the way home, and we would just park it in front of the house…easier for the tow truck to collect that way, anyhow.

Topping the rise was the issue at the moment and we both leaned into the task at hand.

Just as we topped the rise a familiar car passed us and then pulled onto the shoulder of the road ahead of us.  We stopped pushing.

A neighbor had stopped to see if she could help us or call someone to assist.

Ah…neighborly neighbors!  Ya gotta love ’em!  I know I do.

We assured her we were fine and thanked her for her offer.  (There was no one we knew of to call and the best thing we knew to do was to just get ‘er home.)

Back to pushing we went and up the rise the car rolled until it reached the top.

“Get in and see if you can pop the clutch and make it start as I push it down hill,” Hubby called to me.

In I jumped as I felt the car pick up a little speed, it’s weight beginning to pull it downhill.

“Pop the clutch?” I thought. “Why not turn the key and see what happens?”

So, I did and the engine roared to life.  Hubby called out, “Take it on home and I’ll be along as soon as I can get there.”

I’ll admit – I did consider heading home as fast as I could but as I saw Hubby becoming smaller and smaller in my rear view mirror, and darkness engulfing him, I knew I would not leave him beside the road.

The car was running.  If it stopped…it stopped. I would wait on Hubby.

With Hubby in the car, I drove like a crazed woman, up the street, down our road and into our driveway.  As soon as I turned in, I felt the life go out of the car.  It sputtered, choked and died halfway into the driveway.  I turned the key and again it coughed to life and I was able to pull it in fully before it died again.

Home – we were home.  At that moment, that was all that mattered. Sure, we had a lot to consider and most of it was unknown at the moment.  But, we were home.

As we thought back over the path Hubby had chosen to take on our way home from McDonald’s (He chose the scenic route – a favorite of ours…the “back way” that’s off the beaten path…narrow and hilly and lonely.) we were struck by what could have happened and where.

And, we felt blessed that it broke down where it did.  Had the car stopped anywhere else along our journey, we couldn’t have pushed it – probably not even out of the road.  And, we certainly would not have been able to get it home.  No way!

God blessed us – and kept us safe

God blessed us – and reminded us that we have neighbors who are concerned about us.

God blessed us – with strength.

God blessed us – with dry weather.

God blessed us – with each other

God blessed us – by letting it start several times even though the ignition coil was shot…and so was the distributor.

God blessed us – with the reminder that it’s not so much about what we can do. It’s more about offering what we have to give. (And, no – that’s not going to be enough for most people.)

God blessed me – with the reminder that my responsibility is to offer what I have…what I can do.

God also blessed me – with the understanding that I shouldn’t fret about what I can’t do, and that it’s okay to let go of the disappointment and misunderstanding that arises in others when their expectations don’t match my ability to help.

God blessed us – with the realization that we need others to see us – to stop, and inquire about us – to ask: “Is there anything I can do to help…you?”

And, God blessed me – with you, Dear Reader.

I wonder…. Is there anything I can do to help you?

Missed Blessings

Thirteen large cucumbers – that’s how many I picked from our few vines in one picking.

Not a great amount…no…it’s not.

Unless you consider that two days prior I had scoured the vines and picked at least that many, if not more.

Two of the full sized cucumbers most recently picked were hanging (my vines are caged and grow upward) in full and plain view. How did I manage to miss them when I picked cucumbers two days before?

It seemed that each time I bent to look under a leaf, there was another cucumber.

I was amazed!  Still am.  I can’t figure it out.  Sure, cucumbers grow fast when they have ample rainfall. But, not that fast. Besides, we’d not had that much rain.

And, yes, before you ask, I had on my glasses when I picked cucumbers the day I missed so many.

And, yes, there were a few that I allowed to remain on the vines because they were smaller than I wanted.  But, 13?  No way!

It’s just not possible!

It’s not possible that I missed 2 large cucumbers when I picked 13, either, but I did.

Somehow, someway, during the 2 hours I spent cutting grass, two small cucumbers ballooned in size – one to over 6 inches and the other to over 5.

I don’t know what called me back to check the cucumber vines, but I obeyed the urge and there in the dwindling light found the two I’d twice overlooked.

Perhaps it was the change in lighting.  Cucumbers are camouflaged and can hang hidden amongst the leaves and shadows.  With the change in the sun’s angle changing the location of shadows and lit places, it’s possible that what was hidden before became visible.

It pays to take a second look later.  Seeing things in a new light can enlighten us to new things and open doors we thought nailed shut.

In light of the changes we all go through daily, let’s be willing to look a second time. Hidden blessings are worth searching for.  Let’s not be so quick to close the book on possibilities and pass judgment on what appears to be in the current light of day.

Shadows shift and blessings hidden are revealed when we look at things in a new light.

Hail, Queen Coffee

Her throne sits on my kitchen counter.

A red light glows when she is in residence.

Daily, she rules over the lives of women and men.

A glass carafe encompasses her, increasing her availability to those who seek audience with her.

She is beautiful to behold.

Her delightful aroma announces her presence and rouses her worshipers from their stupor.

Servants gather ’round her – content to be nothing more than empty vessels for the Queen.

Worshipers bow before her as they engage a servant in service, lifting it as they invoke the Queen, hoping she will rise from her throne and pour out her blessings.

She rises and we touch the servant’s brim to her lip. She dips slightly and the servant grows heavy in our hand as she pours forth her goodness.

The servant, filled to the brim with the Queen’s blessing, rises and kisses our lips, imparting her goodness, her warmth, her strength.

Hail, Queen Coffee!  Long live The Queen!