"The LORD will always guide you and provide good things to eat when you are in the desert. He will make you healthy. You will be like a garden that has plenty of water or like a stream that never runs dry." Isaiah 58:10-12

07 December 2011

Fear and Fancy Cars

I know, I missed a couple of days of "Thanks" at the end of November! It's been a rather crazy week or two. Here's the end of the Thanks-giving list:

30th - Today I'm thankful that God enables me to live a life without fear. Not long ago I met someone who is undoubtedly the most fearful person I've ever met in my life. The more I got to know her, the more I discovered just how many fears she has. She is afraid of so many things that I wonder how she's able to function at all. I think it must be excruciating to be so bound by such a multitude of fears and to not know the freedom that Christ brings to those who put their trust in Him. Needless to say, I'm praying for this person!
29th - Today I'm thankful for automobiles that work. I drive a small SUV and, while it was most definitely an unexpected but necessary purchase last December, it's been a good car. It's not overly fancy, with all the "bells and whistles" extras, but it's stylish, a nice color, reliable and good on gas. I also like the fact that I don't have to bend down to get into it or feel like I'm on my knees when I get out of it! It's much easier on the muscles and joints than my former vehicle. I still need to think of an appropriate name for it, though... Any suggestions?

28 November 2011

Blood, football and comfy couches

28th: Today I'm thankful for blood. That's it, blood -  the human kind. I spent several hours at my local Blood Connection donation center, doing aphoresis platelet donation. I had the time to think about how wonderful it is that God created us with this amazing fluid inside our bodies that is so incredibly complex and does so much to keep our bodies going and healthy. It also amazes me that there are doctors, nurses and other medical personnel who know how to take blood out of one person, separate it into its parts and put some parts back into the donor, but keep other parts to put into other people to help heal them. Awesome!

27th: Today I'm thankful for comfortable couches. It's Sunday afternoon and I'm at home relaxing with my two furry kitty boys! Need I say more?

26th: Today I'm thankful for my eyes and my sense of vision. There are many things in the world that can be experienced and enjoyed with the other senses, but I truly enjoyed being able to watch as both of my favorite college football teams trounced their arch-rivals today!

25 November 2011

Saucy Wrens and Scrawny plants

I finally had the time yesterday to plant the Violas, Peppermint and Stevia plants that I purchased more than a week ago. I'm going to have to work extra hard to make sure that they survive, since it took me so long to get them in the soil. I think I'll have to put some extra effort (and fertilizer) into the Stevia - it's looking a bit scrawny and sickly right now. Guess it will put my green thumb to the test! We'll see.....

Wow! I knew I was a bit behind in my list, but didn't realize I was THAT behind! Here's the update:
25th: I'm thankful for all of the beautiful songbirds that visit my garden and porch. Thus far this week, I've seen Tufted Titmice, Blackcap Chickadees, several varieties of finches, Catbirds and some very adventurous and saucy Carolina Wrens!
24th: I'm thankful that I have a mother and two grandmothers who are/were excellent cooks and taught me and my sisters to cook, as well!
23rd: I'm thankful for God's financial provision. I may not have all that I want, but I DO have all that I need.
22nd: I'm thankful that God created such a wondrous array of vegetables, fruits, herbs and other plants and that He gave me the ability to plant and grow them.
21st: I'm thankful for my country, the USA, a nation that was founded on the principle of freedom OF religion - not freedom FROM religion.
20th: I'm thankful for the group of single adults at my church who are striving to know and serve God.
19th: I'm thankful for God's protection of all our college football players today. Big game, no injuries.
18th: I'm thankful for the generosity of family members in helping me get a more reliable vehicle.
17th: I'm thankful for my coworkers and their generosity with "pre-Thanksgiving" cooking.


16 November 2011

 Today I have received a couple of very good reminders of how the Lord tends my life like a careful, patient gardener nurtures and nourishes the plants in her garden. Sometimes the care the gardener has to give is pleasant, such as giving a good, revitalizing watering, tilling in fertilizer or laying a thick layer of mulch to keep out the frost and chill of autumn or winter.

At other times, the care may come in the form of uprooting the plant and moving it to a new location or even giving it a painful pruning. Ok, I know that plants can't actually feel pain, but you get the picture.

The point is, God takes care of those of us who are His children just like a master gardener cares for their plants. Someone who is truly a committed gardener will spend a tremendous amount of time, attention and energy in the entire process of planning, planting and tending their garden. They do what is necessary to improve the health of the garden overall and the individual plants, so that the plants will be healthy, beautiful and able to produce a wonderful harvest.

In my Bible study for this week, the question was posed, "what season are you in right now?" I feel like I've been in a season of pruning for a while now. It seems to me that the Lord is working to prune out things from my personality and my life that He has deemed unnecessary or harmful. I can't say that it's a pleasant experience, but I'm holding on to the promise that, when it's done, I'll be a healthier and more productive person.

My Thanksgiving List, continued

16 November: I'm thankful for rain - especially good, soaking rainstorms that give the plants in my garden much-needed nourishment!
15 November: Today I'm thankful to God for bringing my best friend through another year of life and giving her the strength to persevere through difficult family relationships, the death of her father and cleaning out the family home.

14 November 2011

Weekend Thanks and Thin Mondays

This was a weekend with many thinks for which to be thankful, but I'll limit myself to three:
12 November: I'm thankful for the opportunity to spend time with my parents today and have a wonderful "girls-only" lunch with my mom at a terrific local restaurant.
13 November: I'm thankful that I live in a country and state in which I have the freedom to study the Bible openly and to gather with other believers each Lord's Day to study and to worship God.
14 November: I'm thankful for the strength to make it through another day, even when my body feels like it's a piece of bubblegum that's been chewed so long and stretched so thin that it's lost all flavor and chewiness.

11 November 2011

Autumn, glorious Autumn and Stalwart Soldiers!

I've taken today off of work to work at home and get some business matters resolved. I'm praying for the Lord to grant me strength, grace and perseverance to get all that I need to do accomplished.

The weather is outstanding and the colors of the leaves outside my window are unbelievably gorgeous. When I consider all the works of the Lord's hands, His creativity never ceases to amaze me. This puts me in mind of an old song from the "Jesus People" era of the '70's, "Master Designer," by Kurt Kaiser. If you're not familiar with it, you should look it up. It's a beautiful message of finding evidence of God in His creation.

Autumn is my favorite season of the year. Why? The reason is simple. It's a time of death, beauty and bounty. I know that some of my friends will think I'm a bit odd for saying this, but let me explain. Each year millions of people around the world marvel at and admire the beauty of the changing leaves and other vegetation. In fact, people make special trips to certain parts of their country solely for the purpose of admiring the colors of the autumn foliage. I would venture to say that the majority of them do not stop to think about the fact that the leaves are changing colors because they're dying.

Our society teaches us that death (and by this I mean physical death, which is the only kind in which most people believe) is a sad, ugly and even gruesome thing - something to be avoided at all costs. As a follower of Yeshua, however, I view death a bit differently. God's word teaches us that death was brought into the world through mankind's sin, but that it isn't the end. It's a doorway. For those who follow Yeshua, it's a doorway into eternal life with Him. For the believer, it's a moment of beauty, peace, joy and glory in which they shed the chains of our earthly existence in our frail, sick human bodies and move into new life with Him in heaven. Just as the trees shed their old, dead leaves in order to bring out fresh, new leaves in the spring, we shed our old bodies in order to move into a fresh, new life in eternity.

So what does this discourse on autumn leaves and death have to do with stalwart soldiers? It's simple. Here in the United States, today is Veterans Day. It's a day when we pause to remember, honor and give thanks to all of the men and women, both past and present, who have worked so hard and sacrificed so much to defend our country, to give much-needed aide in times of disaster and to champion the cause of freedom and peace both here and around the world. Many of these brave people have given their lives so that we may live in peace and freedom. To all who have served, those who continue to serve and the families who love them and let them go, I extend a profound and heartfelt "THANK YOU!"

11 November: Today I am thankful for all of our veterans, especially Gunnery Sgt. Louis A.B. Venable, Sr., and for all of our soldiers in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines and National Guard. May God bless, guide and protect them all.

10 November 2011

And the Thanks goes on ....

Today I'm thankful for central heat and air conditioning. Whatever the temperature outside, I'm able to stay comfortable in my home. Thank you, Lord!

09 November 2011

Thankfulness and the garden

One of the best things about the month of November is that here in the United States we have a wonderful holiday called Thanksgiving. This is a day that we set aside to give thanks to God for all of the blessings in our lives. It's a time to reflect and to remind ourselves of all the good that exists in this world that can often seem so bleak.

I've decided to take a page out of someone else's book (or a post from another blogger's blog) and write a post each day giving thanks for one thing. Since I'm starting off behind, here's the catchup list:

1st November: I'm thankful for acorns and oak trees. The trees provide beautiful shade for me and the acorns give me exercise (raking) and food for the squirrels and chipmunks in my yard!
2nd: I'm thankful for friends who use their artistic talents to glorify God.
3rd: I'm thankful for the glorious, radiant colors of the autumn leaves where I live.
4th: I'm thankful that there's a God who loves me enough to die for me so that I could be saved.
5th: I'm thankful for school teachers who give of themselves to educate our future leaders.
6th: I'm thankful for talented musicians who love the Lord and share their talents freely so that I'm able to worship better.
7th: I'm thankful for my best friend, who has stuck with me through storm and calm, thick and thin, for more than 20 years.
8th: I'm thankful for the ability to get up each day and walk, even though it's painful. There are multitudes of people in the world who don't have that ability.
9th: I'm thankful for my wonderful "sisters" in my weekly Bible study who encourage me, pray for me and exhort me to become more like Jesus.