Friday, February 16, 2018

Honeycomb In My Mouth

     You know, I can still hear my grandmothers voice in my head every time something comes out  of my mouth that’s not very kind. “You know you can catch more flies with honey “ she would always say. I knew what she meant even though at the time I may have grumbled under my breath and bulked. She was a wise woman and she knew the Lord and an important note was that she always guided us back there, back to the good and kind and sweet ways. If you don’t know what that term really means well I will tell you. It simply means that you can get farther in this life and endear more people to you if you use sweet words of kindness. Ugliness in our words and deeds will never win us any real friends.
     Our lives should at every turn reflect kindness, generosity and draw others to desire to be in our company. When I was in middle school I remember well the “mean” girls. You know them, the ones who walked around with major attitudes and an angry look on their face always. If you so much as looked at them they would glare at you and say something like, “what are you looking at brat?” Now I’ve found as I have grown and matured that these girls were most likely hiding behind or masking some kind of pain that probably caused them to build a wall of “toughness” around themselves. All I knew then was that they were just mean and their words were unkind and I didn’t want to be around them at all. That’s what I’m talking about here. Bullies almost always do not draw friends but only swallow up the weak and spit them out eventually. Kindness is like a sweet honey that can flow out of our mouths. The Bible says in Proverbs, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones”. 
     One story that I think illustrates this philosophy best is one that my dear husband shared with me just recently. It seems there is a older gentleman that sets up to sell his wares at the local flea market that my husband sells at. This man sets up his entire table with nothing but jars of honey that he has harvested from his bee hives. That’s all he has, just jars of honey. Whenever someone would walk up to his table he would gently lean across and ask them, “ do you know Jesus my friend?” People would stand and talk with him for long periods of time or else they would scamper off like scalded dogs! My husband would sit and observe him wondering what he was talking so much about and yet hardly ever selling any honey. Well, hubby mustered up his boldness and approached the old gentleman’s table. The question was posed and they struck up a conversation. Now my better half knows Jesus very well but he was drawn somehow to the table of honey. After a while he asked the gentleman how his sales had been for the day as my husbands sales had not been good. The old man replied, “oh, I’m not really here to sell honey”. He smiled a broad smile and my husband knew exactly what he was there to do. He blessed the man and went back to his own table thinking to himself of the words of my grandmother. 
     You see, it’s true! It was a secret the old man at the table of honey knew. I’m sure he knew the verse in Proverbs that I previously quoted but he was walking it out. There were also quite a few “flies” around his table and whether they realized it or not there was something sweet that drew them there! How often can you go to a flea market and come away with hope, newness of life, kindness and compassion? And, how often do you have to spend zero dollars to get such a rich bundle of treasures. As Peter the apostle said, “ silver or gold I do not have,  but what I do have I give you”. Our words, our deeds our testimonies given and our kindnesses shared all speak of things that are far sweeter in value than things on this earth. I always thought that I didn’t have much to give but the story of the old man at the honey table certainly proves me wrong. We always have precious golden treasure to share if kindness will always flow from our lips. 


Monday, February 12, 2018

What Must A Daffodil Think Of Spring?

First, let me establish my opinion on daffodils. I believe that daffodils are definitely "girls"! Don't judge me, I have my reasons for my conclusion so let me try to explain. The daffodils in all their glory are currently emerging from the winters earth and displaying their newest Spring ensemble wardrobe. How beautiful they are in striking yellow against the brown earth and new green grass. They are quite lovely and cause everyone that passes them to take a second look. What lovely lady standing along the path dressed in her most beautiful Spring outfit wouldn't warrant a second glance or two. So, Daffodils must certainly be girls! Next, if you knew anything about the parts of a daffodil you would know that she indeed has parts called "ovaries" and. . . . . As creation would halve it females also have ovaries. Hmmmmm!  Next, in all her splendor, the daffodil has petals. They surround the center of her glory which is called her "corona". The corona is the crown if you will of her beauty. The bible says in Psalms 12 "an excellent wife is the crown of her husband". "She" has a crown here, clothed with petals ( delicate petals also being the term used to describe women) and she wears a sweet perfume that only enhances the whole package. Ok, delicate, crowned with glory and perfumed with a sweet aroma. Definitely sounds like my daffodils are girls! Ok, so now that we've established that fact, let's move on. Haven't you always wondered if flowers could think, what they would think of Spring or any season of their life cycles for that matter. But Spring in particular is the "time to shine" for our golden girls the daffodils. They have wintered the cold and frozen earth and still as the warmth of the coming Spring heats things up a bit, I can't help but think how I'd feel after having been trapped inside for such a long time. I'm sure I'd think "come on Spring".. . . . . Then as I feel things getting warmer I usually start to shift my wardrobe around and pull out all ofcolors and shorter sleeves and sandals. As the days warm up for the daffodil it begins to push up through towards the sunlight until it's green shoots show above the brown dirt. Then the daffodils begins to change their wardrobes from green stems to greenish/ yellow encased blossoms. Then when the warmest of Spring days arrive, they put on their Spring finery and stand with delicate petals beside the pathways of homes and gardens everywhere displaying their beauty for all the world to see. We then stop, look and smell the best high fashion display of beauty that the outdoor runways of early Spring can provide. I will, however, pause here briefly to point out one very very important difference between the lady daffodils and us ladies. You see, the daffodils never have to worry about where their next outfit is coming from or if it is going to be warm enough on a cooler Springtime evening. They don't have to worry about getting enough food and water and they never worry about how long they'll be able to bloom. We on the other hand have a tendency to worry over everything from "can I afford a new outfit" to "what color looks best with my eyes" to "does this outfit make me look fat?" Daffodils have a fleeting moment of time in the sun but a rewarding one. As for us, we go from season to season thinking the same thing because we don't simply trust our needs to be met as easily as the daffodil does.  So, what must a daffodil think of Spring? I sure do believe the gIrls think with golden smiles, " How wonderful it is to be a flower in the beautiful garden of the Lord!"

Friday, February 2, 2018

“Groundhog Day” Living

Remember that movie "Groundhog Day"? In the movie the main character (Bill Murray) was a TV weatherman covering the Groundhog Day story of Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania. He wakes up in his hotel room and finds the same events, of the day before, keep happening over and over. He is destined, it seems, to re-live the same day again and again. The true definition of insanity I believe. . . . .doing the same thing over and over expecting different results! Whan an insane notion. Bill Murray seemingly was in a time loop, if he chose to do nothing different, then events of the previous day would be destined to be repeat themselves. Isn't it amazing how true this little scenario is in a lot of our lives? We live our days in seemingly the same rut of mundane, repetitive tasks and then we sit back and complain how we feel like we are "stuck" and hate our lives because nothing ever changes! INSANITY!  Really, we've all had a bite outta that apple I think. Today I read a very profound statement that simply said, "You can't start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one"! Wow! I know I've done that. Haven't you? Have you literally ever been reading and you read the same paragraph over and over and didn't actually absorb any of it? Didnt  you feel like just closing the book and putting it down because you figured, "what the heck", it must not be meant for me to read this right now because I can't concentrate! Well, most likely you were distracted or not paying close attention to what you were doing. Do away with the distractions and concentrate on the moment that you are in and you probably wouldn't have an issue at all. The same thing for Bill Murray in the movie, his "ah ha" moment came when he realized that instead of letting his circumstances impose themselves on him, he would take control of his circumstances! That little illustration speaks volumes doesn't it! We do keep doing the same things over and over or re-reading our paragraphs again and again. STOP! Renew your mind and thinking. Begin, like Bill Murray, to live in your moments and enjoy each and every one instead of mundanely living them out in the same way day in and day out. How, you ask? Well, just like the previous " STOP" sign that I posted for you, you have to do just that! Stop, so you can take a chance to look around you and notice things that you may not have noticed before. What's the name of that co-worker who gets coffee at the coffee maker each day about the same time as you do and do you ever ask them questions or engage them in conversation other than, "hello"? Eat breakfast, get dressed, grab your things and run out the door. Your routine? Change it up! Get dressed, out the door, stop at bagel shop, grab bagels and coffee and then get to work early and share breakfast with the first person you see! Could turn out to be a God encounter or maybe it's the next paragraph in your "day after" Groundhog Day story!      

Insight Insert:  This week, purpose to do something different in your schedule EVERY day! Note: remember if the groundhog "does not" see his shadow then Spring supposedly will come early. So, in saying that, allow the light of Gods enlightenment to come to you because his light will dispel all the shadows and "voila", your long awaited "Spring" season could come earlier than you think!
Scripture:Romans 12:2
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Silence Is Golden

Why does the smell of a campfire in the fall just draw me in like a fish on a line? Maybe its the cool autumn air coupled with the warmth of the burning logs or maybe it's the smell of the wood burning that tells me that a change is coming or maybe the knowledge that I will be surrounded at that fireside by many other fish and their company brings me happiness! Whatever the reason, a campfire holds lots of moments of joy with each spark that flies out into the cool and dark night air. Have you ever noticed how there are occasional moments of silence when everyone present just seems to get to the pinnacle of relaxation and stares into the flickering flames? No words seem to be necessary at that moment. There's just a "knowing" and a sort of "silent agreement" that calls for no words at all! I experience that same "silent knowing" many times on long trips in the car with my husband of 40 years. We will be talking one minute and noticing the scenery the next and then. . . . it happens; the silence! It's perfectly wonderful. No words are needed to "fill" the space, no awkward nervousness, no throat clearing sounds to provoke intentional guilt, nothing! Just beautiful, understood quiet . . . . But quiet that speaks louder than any public address system ever could! It's the result, I believe, of coming to a point of relaxation and comfort. It's truly a beautiful thing to experience. Why don't we go there more often in our lives? Busyness, I'm sure is the biggest millstone around our necks that keeps us weighed down I suppose but truth be known, we all just need to stop and take more campfire moments. We need to exercise moments if you will so we will want them and run after them at every opportunity. Those moments don't have to be a rare treat but I believe they can happen often and become a real treasure to us. So, light a campfire, take a roadtrip or just sit out under the stars with the one you love wrapped up together in a cozy blanket, then ask God to give you one of those moments. The "silence" will be truly "golden"!

Insight Insert: In the midst of our busy lives and schedules, take time this week to have a few moments of silence somewhere. Go out of your normal places of routine and breath in the quiet of your Lords creation. Purpose to experience the quiet stillness that brings relaxation. Persevere through the temptation to cut those times short and begin to practice his peace! It will leave you wanting more!

Scripture: Mark 6: 31.  Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, " Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest"! 

Psalms 55:6. Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Touching Others

Ok, true confession time. I am a hugger!! There, I said it. In most cases I can't just shake people's hands, I have to take it to the next level and wrap my arms around them and squeeze them. Oh, I'm no respecter of persons either. I admit it! Women, men, boys or girls; they all get the same squeeze treatment. I'm not sure why I am a hugger but maybe it's because I love to get hugs so I just think everyone should get them. Oh. . . . . . . .but not everyone wants them I have discovered. You can always tell the "wanters" from the "non-wanters", they either step back and stick out their hands for a quick handshake or they turn into a piece of lumber when you hug them. Gotta love the "lumber" ones, it's kind of like they just don't know how to react to a hug or any kind of affectionate gesture. And then there are the "germ-a-phobes" , they just put both hands up and make some excuse like, " sorry, it's cold and flu season you know"! They all still make me smile because I know that deep down inside there has most likely been some wound or scar or heaven forbid, no hugs at all in their lives. 
     There is something very therapeutic, I believe, about human touch. It has been proven that in infants there are definite adverse effects to non-touch. 100 years ago a great many  babies in orphanages in the U.S. died before they were 7 months old. They didn't die from an epidemic necessarily or disease or malnutrition but they died from a condition known as "failure to thrive" which is cause primarily from a lack of touch. You see, God's design started with the skin of each of us in the mothers womb. Our skin derived from the same cells as our nervous system and is the perfect instrument for gathering information about our surroundings long before birth. Also, newborn infants are not fully developed at birth because their vision isn't clear and they can't differentiate sounds. Babies communicate with the world almost entirely through their skin. So, messages that are received through touch will have definite effects on our behavior for the rest of our lives. I must have been touched "a lot" when I was a baby because, like I said, "I'm a hugger!" Being touched in some way was in Gods design and plan for each of us. So, if you are "hug deprived", begin to add it into your diet. If you are a hugger, like me, "keep on huggin" and if you don't particularly relish the thought at all of hugging other people. . . . . . Please, please reconsider! Hugging can change everything.

Insight Insert:  You may think that I am going to suggest that you start hugging more people this week but Im not! I will suggest to you to do just the opposite. If someone would normally hug you when they see you then I would challenge you to resist and try not to hug. I think you will see that this little experiment will be more difficult than you think. You see, we naturally crave and need human touch and whether you admit it or not you too may be a hugger! If on the other hand you know that you definitely are NOT a hugger then I challenge you to hug at every opportunity like you will never see that person again. In either instance I truly believe that you will come to understand a little better the importance of human touch.

Scripture:  Romans 12:10.  Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. ESV 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Death Comes To My Landscape

Today I cried for a tree. It wasn't any ordinary tree mind you but an "extraordinary creative work" fashioned and formed by our Creator and it was deemed “dead and unworthy to stand” so today it came down. I don’t usually cry for trees because well, they are after all, just trees. I think I cried because I knew that this particular tree had stood there for at least 200 years, given shade to some, acorns to the wildlife and ultimate beauty to all who stood in its shadow. It had stood the test of time and today was the day that it left the landscape of this world. One positive note is that it will still work its purpose for firewood to those in need of heat and mulch to landscapes thereby giving its last bit to the purpose of life going on. This last couple of weeks in my life have seemingly seen several things around me, like the tree, crumble and fall and come to an end. This house that I am currently blessed to live in sits high atop a hill overlooking a lake. It's stunningly beautiful. As part of my view I had an old bridge that was especially estetecallly pleasing to the eye at the base of my hill that crossed over the lake. It was an old cantilevered trussed bridge built back in 1942. Well, they have been building a new bridge beside it, a wider bridge, that could more easily handle the traffic. The new bridge just opened and it was simple and purposeful in its straight but flat architecture. The other day their was a massive explosion. I ran outside and saw that they had blown up the old bridge. Now I know it sounds a bit crazy but my heart was very very sad. You see, like my oak tree, that bridge was beautiful to look at but it had grown old and weak and had also served its purpose so it was brought down. It felt once more as if I suffered a loss or a death of something very close and dear to me. My friends that I spoke to about my losses were sympathetic but didn't seem to understand the depth of the loss that I was feeling. Thats ok because things affect us all in different ways at times. But two things in a short period of time felt monumental to me. The whole landscape of my present world was changed in a flash with a massive explosion and a chain saw. I know i know! Change has to come to everything at some point but my tree and my bridge was just too much. So, I cried! Now that the smoke and sawdust have settled and I have regained my composure I have to believe that I will grieve but I will be ok. You see, everything that happens to us in our lives is purposeful.  I truly believe that.  So, as I look out upon my landscape today it looks much different. There is an empty space where my magnifiscent tree stood and the green trussed architecture of my bridge is gone but still lingers in my memory. They cannot be replaced. But it's a new year and change has come so I must embrace it and make new memories. Tomorrow is a new day with new mercies as the Bible tells us. I believe it so im honor of a great old tree and a beautiful old bridge I will cry no more but give thanks for the change that still comes whether we want it to or not. There's a reason and purpose to every season. Great is they faithfulness O God our Father. 🌳🌉

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve Silence

On the most beautiful of nights as the stars crown the sky
I stand on my porch as silence draws nigh
The quiet that comes just on Christmas eve
Is hard to explain and hard to believe

Each year after all of the gifts have been wrapped
I step outside just to take a deep breath
The night seems so calm as I stand alone there
Not a sound can be heard in the cool winter air

Its as if heaven and earth pay homage each year
On the eve of that birth that we all hold so dear
The heavens draw a breath and the angels stand still
The air ceases movement by its own will

All creation stops singing as the silence enfolds
Its as if the story was about to be told
Of the coming of hope on nights' silent wing
To the world that needed but one small thing

That gift very precious and unlike no other
Came quietly that night in the arms of his father
Is there any question why the silence still comes
Its there to mark the birth of Gods son

As I stand on my porch each Christmas eve night
I'm reminded of silence that always takes flight
For its in that silence that I recall why He came
So I stand and I listen for the hope that remains