dead.pngLast fall, my husband bought a beautiful hydrangea plant for the front of our new “old” house.  I was so ecstatic, because these are my favorite plants and it seemed the perfect spot for this bloom adorned bush.  Winter came and went and the now dormant looking plant showed no sign of life.  I waited.  I contacted my cousin, who is a master gardener and she told me to wait some more.  I waited some more.

Another month passed and then another.  At the beginning of June, we finally gave up and admitted that there was no life in the plant.  So we dug it up and replaced it with a new one.  Just for the fun of it, I planted the old carcass in the backyard garden, with no real hope of life returning.  Yesterday, when I went out to water the gardens, I noticed a small, green leaf protruding from the base of the plant.  It was alive!

It got me to thinking about how when we’re connected to Jesus (our vine and lifeline,) we thrive and live.  When we move away from that vine, we whither and die.  The lesson of the vine and branches came to mind.

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”  John 15:4

This lesson from the Son of God is so true.  When we remain connected to Him, we have life – eternal life.  When we’re separated, the life is sapped out of us.  We can go through the motions of living, but our joy is destroyed.

When I gave up on that hydrangea bush, I had lost a little faith in God’s tender care, even of a dead plant.  God doesn’t give up on us.  We’re always on His mind and in His loving hands.  When we’re tightly bound to Him, we can be sure of His mercy as well.

So I learned a few lessons yesterday.  First, always abide in the Lord, for He will give us life.  Second, don’t give up on a dead looking plant.  Third. perseverance pays off.  I now have two hydrangea plants.  Woo hoo!



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A nest constructed of everything, but the kitchen sink,

Twine, twigs, foliage and a discarded dog collar,

Large enough to house a mom and dad osprey,

Along with their three fledgling offspring,

Each day has been a time of frenzy for the little family,

They squawk and screech, mouths incessantly open,

As parents scurry for a tidbit to fill those caverns,

And quiet them long enough to gain sustenance for themselves,

Such is the circle of life,

Will they all survive,

Only time will tell,

But we know they will be cared for,

They need not worry or fret,

Where their next meal comes from,

God’s eye is on His creation.



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His hand reached for the oil lamp in the darkness of night, but remembered that he had not filled it the night before.  He was enveloped in the deepest darkness he had ever experienced. He strained to see even a tiny glimpse of light – just a faint whisper – Nothing. He groped, but still the blindness which had overcome him, left him hanging only to his other senses, and even they were permeated with the sullen blackness.

Usually after a time in a dark place, his eyes would’ve adjusted and eventually some semblance of his surroundings would appear, but not on that night.  It had been a week of impossibilities.

He groped and felt his way around the room, knowing that his family lay asleep there, but here in this pitch black abyss he felt so alone – so lost. Maybe if he could just reach the door and open it, a tiny sliver of light might steal its way into his humble home.

Finally he felt the latch and opened the heavy wooden door. On the other side – more darkness, obliquity – only the stench of the last few days lingered in the dank air which surrounded him.  This continued for three days and nights.  The blackness of night could not be interrupted. Even as morning approach, the sun was hidden from view.  The weight of it was more than anyone could bear.

When would this end? When would his eyes be free to view his surroundings? He didn’t deserve this punishment. Had someone come in the depths of his sleep and plucked his eyes out?  Yet, there was no pain – only helplessness.  Hopelessness encroached his heart.

Exodus 10:22-23 “So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was pitch darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the people of Israel had light where they lived.”

To live for three days in complete darkness must have been unbearable. We panic when the lights go out for a few minutes and our minds shut down after an hour or more, but we rarely experience complete or total darkness.

Can you imagine the fear that would enter your mind? Can you acknowledge your faith faltering – your courage failing – your hope dissolving into the murkiness? We are lost without light.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 

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'Oh great, this book's in cow.'

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There seems to be a holiday for everything, if you go on the internet.  In fact today is “Let It Go Day.  I’m not sure when it originated, but the movie FROZEN certainly took off on it.

We as human beings tend to hang on to things – not only material stuff, but mental baggage that weighs us down much more than anything tangible.  We can become victims of this horrible dilemma, if we continue to dwell on past mistakes, words misspoken or deeds unconsciously done.  I think a more reasonable word for this is called guilt.

Guilt can eat away at us, often more so than the deed itself.  I spent much of my childhood believing that I would never amount to anything.  So many wasted years, because there really was no reason for those feelings. Much of it was self-inflicted.  Some of it was caused by words used by my dad, which cut deeply into my psyche.  However, he had his own demons to deal with.

I grew up in a legalistic church which preached death and damnation (which is all I heard) but the message of the Gospel was clouded by my images of rotting in hell.  With each year of my life, the weight of all that guilt became intolerable.

When the truth of the love of God was finally revealed to me in truth, it was as if all the heaviness vanished.  Much of our guilt is a result of our upbringing, our surroundings, the people we associate with and a warped opinion of God’s anger.

We definitely need to stand in awe of our Creator, but we shouldn’t be afraid of Him.  He welcomes the greatest of sinners into His waiting arms.  Run to Him for comfort.  Let it go!

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Is it in the quiet, stillness of the morning or when the evening comes?  Is it in a closet full of shoes and boxes that words of solace, supplication, praise and thanksgiving spill from your lips?  Do you pray when you first awake, or when you end your day?  Do you pray when you think about it, or when your heart is full of questions and doubts?  Are your prayers directed to the Creator of the Universe, or merely problems you’re trying to muddle through on your own?

Prayer is a very personal thing, in my opinion.  Asking, searching, quietness, peace, anger, guilt, hopelessness, anxiety are things we face on a daily basis.  These are things we often have no control over and we need help to overcome them.  Jesus spoke a lot about prayer in His ministry, but I love the comparison He gave when he spoke of knocking on the door.

There is a natural wall between us and God.  A wall which we constructed through our original sin as well as our disobedience.  For us to approach the throne of God, the barricade needs someone to tear it down.  Jesus did that when He took the weight of sin upon His own shoulders and carried it to the cross.  Because of that, we have a direct line to the Father.

We can pray while driving our cars, playing with our children, walking with our spouse, in our beds, on the floor.  We don’t need a special place to communicate with God.  He is everywhere and is available 24/7.  Sometimes we need the trappings of a sanctuary – a beautiful church – a small chapel, but God is not confined to those places.  We can go to Him in the beauty of nature, the busyness of daily life, the turmoil of a storm.  He will always be there.

Knock on the door by reaching your hand towards it. God wants us to talk to Him and He can’t wait to hear from us.  He loves us more than we can possibly imagine.  Don’t wait until things are out of control.   Remember too that God can understand even the feeblest of our prayers.  He has the power to translate groans when we don’t know what to say.  Just do it – PRAY!

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The artist follows a journey of his own making,

Travelling down a road less wandered,

Trying to catch the light,

Searching desperately,

For the right subject matter,

A vagabond living in the moment,

On an expedition,

An adventure,

An unexplored trail,

He sets his easel,

Makes ready his paint,

A virtual studio out of the back of his truck,

He attaches a canvas, fills his palette with color,

And waits,

For just the right light,

The right glisten of the water,

The perfect stillness and mood,

And then it begins.

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I think every generation considers the “good old days” as their times growing up and as young adults.  George Washington undoubtedly preferred remembering the days when he was cutting down cherry trees more than his time leading a fledgling country out of a revolution and building what is now America.  On the other hand, he would probably be rolling over in his grave (if that’s possible) if he knew what has happened to the country since it’s beginnings.

The older we get, the more we seem to dwell on the past.  We reminisce about how much better things were when we were kids.  We believe that particular juncture in time was perfect, but not so.  For example when I was growing up in the 40s and 50s, we had no clue about global warming or the internet.  Our lives were simpler then.  Kids played in the street – we didn’t lock our doors – we ate dirt – we recycled before it was popular,

BUT it also was a time right after a world war and during the Korean War .  The atomic bomb was a real threat.  Air raid drills were held in our schools.  Many were building bomb shelters in their backyards.  The economy was still in a state of recovery.  We wore second hand clothes and shoes.  Our food was home made and consisted of starchy things like pasta to fill us up. We never knew about the ill effects of gluten. We never thought of paying $50 bucks for a pair of old, torn blue jeans and we were lucky if we got a pair of new shoes when school started –  but. I digress.

The truth is, every decade has its good and bad memories.  One of the blessings God has given me is the ability to forget the bad things that have happened in my life.  I’ve been able to tuck the icky stuff into the back of my brain.  Maybe that’s why I have such weird dreams, but I digress again.

What I’m trying to say is this – Looking back is a good thing, but looking forward is even better.  We, as Christians, have been promised a perfect life in eternity after our death.  How great is that?  We will some day be in the paradise that God originally planned for us.  We will have all our teeth – healthy bodies – no sorrows or tears – our joy will be overflowing.  So without hesitation we can say “Throw every day forward!”


Hebrews 10:17 “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”


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