A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  – 1 Corinthians 3:7

I’m the first to admit that winter is not my favorite season.  Some of my friends think it’s the bees knees, but no – not me.  I’m simply tickled to see spring peeking around the corner, although here in Kansas we had a remarkably mild winter.  I’m not complaining! 

There’s nothing like that first time in the garden in spring!  Gardening just makes one feel so close to nature and more alive somehow, doesn’t it?  This portion of Scripture is not talking about literal gardening though – it’s talking about spiritual gardening.

a-seed-that-flourished

Who’s doing the planting?  All of us, as God’s children, need to be scattering “seed” – that is, sharing our faith, at every given opportunity.  It seems when I hear the word WITNESSING, my knees begin to buckle – but if I’m told to share my faith – that’s really more natural and makes me more comfortable.  Just tell your story – that’s about it.  I was blind – but now I see.  That is scattering seed.  It’s not complicated – but so often we make it so.

Once seed is planted…  who waters them?  Well, God sends the right people along to do that.  It could be any of us, really.  Again, watering seed is like sowing it – you just keep sharing your faith and be there to answer questions, read Scripture, and pray with folks.  Sometimes you share and get a door slammed in your face.  That’s okay because you did what you’re supposed to do.  If someone’s not ready, you’ve still planted a seed.  I might add, this is a big reason we should do our best to avoid being a stumbling block to those who are still on the fence.  We have to be so careful – we don’t want anything we say or do to be the reason someone does not come to a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus.  I don’t have to remind you what God said about those who are stumbling blocks, do I?  No – that’s for another blog post.grow

Do we make the seeds grow?  NO WAY!  I can’t save anyone – this blog can’t save anyone.  Belief on the Lord Jesus Christ…  that can save everyone!!!  I pray it does.  How different our interactions with one another would be if we were all more kind, gracious, and sweet.  It would be so beautiful if every seed would flourish.  🙂

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AMERICAN ARTIST APPRECIATION MONTH

TL AUGUST IS AMERICAN ARTIST APPRECIATION MONTHBalance, peace, and joy are the fruit of a successful life.  It starts with recognizing your talents and finding ways to serve others by using them.  – Thomas Kinkade

https://thomaskinkade.com/

CAPTURED BY A STEEPLE

Who is your favorite American artist?  My favorite was Thomas Kinkade.  Since his death in 2012, I’ve seen many works that look similar and have the “painter of light” look, but there will never be another Thomas Kinkade.

The power of prayer is like turning on a light as it illuminates God’s purpose for our lives.  There is no greater connection to knowing His will other than the word.  – Thomas Kinkade

https://thomaskinkade.com/art/the-garden-of-prayer/

I adore the painting called THE GARDEN OF PRAYER.  When I sit and look at it, I’m inspired to begin yet another conversation with my Heavenly Father.  The water looks as though it’s flowing and the sunshine and shadows are placed perfectly – which we expect from all of his paintings.

Rather than set aside daily time for prayer, I pray constantly and spontaneously about everything I encounter on a daily basis.  When someone shares something with me, I’ll often simply say, ‘Let’s pray about this right now”.  – Thomas Kinkade

https://thomaskinkade.com/art/remember-me/

When I see the painting REMEMBER ME, it reminds me of the fact that nobody is beyond hope and too far gone to be forgiven and escorted into Paradise when this life is over.  It also reminds me that although there is evil in this world, God’s love and light will win in the end!

You have to expect spiritual warfare whenever you stand up for righteousness or call attention to basic values.  It’s just a matter of light battling the darkness.  But the light wins every time.  You can’t throw enough darkness on light to put it out.  – Thomas Kinkade

When my mother passed away in 2004, I decided to buy the Kinkade painting called THE BRIDGE OF HOPE.  I felt as though I was standing on one side of the bridge alongside my mom, but with a bit of HOPE I would be able to cross the bridge and have the courage to embark on new adventures on my own.  I can’t tell you how many times I have sat alone in my living room staring at that painting.  I also appreciate that it looks different at various times of day and the shadowing changes according to the weather.  Those are the qualities that make Kinkade art stand out from the rest.

https://thomaskinkade.com/art/bridge-of-hope/

Beautiful objects, ideas, even beautiful people all share the power to lift the spirits and motivate creativity while at the same time soothing the soul…  – Thomas Kinkade

There are so many more works I’d love to talk about (I could talk all day long), but I definitely want to show you one of the cottages!  I’m such a romantic at heart, and if I could afford to fill my house with these, I would.  Here’s my favorite – don’t ask me why – but it is.

Every conversation, every cuddle, every kiss and caress, even every disagreement, adds another brush stroke to the picture of home you paint with the days and hours of your life.  – Thomas Kinkade

https://thomaskinkade.com/art/friendship-cottage/

Romance makes a radiant sunrise out of every moment.  – Thomas Kinkade

If I had to choose just one of the “cottage” collection paintings (and I would – I’m not rich by any means), it would be FRIENDSHIP COTTAGE.  Maybe it’s the little pathway or the bridge…  maybe it’s the name of it, or more than likely, it’s the colors, shading and that magical way that Thomas Kinkade had of drawing you in…  it’s as if the cottage is welcoming me to go in and stay a while.  It says, “Come in and sit down.  Relax and have a spot of tea whilst the world turns, oblivious to you for now.”  Yes – I want to go there, don’t you?

The most important key to a more romantic life:  you have to be willing to pay attention.  – Thomas Kinkade

Oh, I’ve seen people try to duplicate the warmth, light, romanticism and genuine talent that Thomas Kinkade put into every painting, but they are a long way from capturing my attention or my heart.

To be romantic is quite simply to allow yourself to fall in love with life – all of life – and experience it fully, openly, passionately, and purposefully.  – Thomas Kinkade

God’s house is beautiful and nobody captured that as well as Thomas Kinkade.

https://thomaskinkade.com/art/sunrise-chapel/

Isn’t SUNRISE CHAPEL beautiful?

Beauty is found in anything that delights the senses, nourishes the soul, fires the imagination.  – Thomas Kinkade

I appreciate the colors, textures and shading in Kinkade art.  Whether it’s a print or a painting, let his work speak to your heart and soul.  Enjoy American Artist Appreciation Month.  🙂

 

NATIONAL SALSA MONTH

MAY IS NATIONAL SALSA MONTH

Homemade Salsa

  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (or a combination of tomatoes and fresh peaches, nectarines, mangoes or grapes)
  • 1/3 cup chopped yellow or white onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Put all ingredients into a bowl, toss well and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Per Serving:Serving size: about 1/2 cup, 25 calories (0 from fat), 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 150mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate (1g dietary fiber, 3g sugar), 1g protein

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Most condiments are either high in sugar (also known as high fructose corn syrup) or sodium.  Most of us attempt to strike a balance between those two extremes so we don’t make our blood sugar or blood pressure unhappy.

Thankfully, there is one condiment that has not affected either my blood sugar or blood pressure – salsa! 

Everyone in my realm of influence seems to like hot salsa, but I quickly admit that I can’t handle heat.  For me, it’s got to be mild salsa.  One of our favorite Mexican restaurants serves a mild salsa that is too hot for me!  They know me and know they will have to cool the salsa down – yes, they laugh at me – but I don’t care.

Because salsa is such a healthy alternative, I use it in some rather unconventional ways:

  • Baked potatoes taste so good with salsa on top instead of fattening butter
  • Mix salsa with mayo to save some serious calories before dressing up your burger
  • Try mixing salsa into your scrambled eggs
  • Salsa is a great veggie dip.  Have you read the label on your favorite dip?  It’s crazy!

We can’t have a garden where we live now, but as a kid my folks grew their own tomatoes, peppers and onions to make homemade salsa.  Of course, the most traditional pairing is tortilla chips and salsa.  There are typically quite a few carbohydrates in tortilla chips, so keep that in mind.  Beyond that, have a good time with your favorite salsa dish!  Ole’!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (15)WISTERIA

I don’t suffer from seasonal allergies, so the sights and sounds and scents of spring fill me with joy!  My heart goes out to those who have to enjoy spring with a spade in one hand and a Kleenex box in the other!

I love wisteria, or is it spelled with an “a”? Experts at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden maintain the plant was named to honor Caspar Wistar (1761-1818), an American physician and teacher from the University of Pennsylvania responsible for writing the first anatomy textbook. When the name of Wisteria was put into the book it was incorrectly transcribed.

The spelling is of little importance when standing under the canopy in awe of the visual beauty and stunning fragrance.

Aside from the amazing scent and unique appearance of wisteria, the heartiness of this vine is like no other. When other plants are fading fast in the Kansas heat, the wisteria stays strong and beautiful throughout the season.

One of my favorite authors, Beth Hoffman, talks about the strength of wisteria:

Wisteria is my favorite flowering vine. Do you know why? I shook my head, ‘No ma’am.’ ‘Because it’s strong — just like me.’ – Beth Hoffman, Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt

Wouldn’t we all like to have all of those qualities? The strength of wood-like vines, a sweet scent and such beauty?

In Christ we can definitely have strength and assurance while showing sweetness in our attitude and be beautiful and Christ-like in our behavior.

The Lord is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation; He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. – Exodus 15:2

THE CANOPY

The strength of wisteria in a canopy also reminds me that the strength of God covers us throughout our lives. His strength is perfect when our strength is waning. ❤

ST. PATRICK’S DAY

TL 3-17 ST. PATRICK'S DAY

https://youtu.be/evxGRwjklS4

Blessings to you today and happy St. Patrick’s day!

Before I get into the message God has laid on my heart, I’d like to share an old Irish song with you.  I wasn’t sure I’d find it on You Tube, but I did.  My daddy bought the music for me when I was very small, and the words have followed me all my life.

Although they have thorns, roses remain my favorite flower. How often are they used as lyrics in songs? I was not able to find an exact number, but suffice to say that roses are used often! I’d say they use the rose or lily more than any other flower.

There is a verse in Song of Solomon 2:11 that compares both the rose and the lily with the Church. Like these beautiful flowers, the church has beauty in color and a sweet fragrance when there is harmony and love inside. The church, like the rose, delights in the bright places and shuns the darkness.

Imagine how pleased Christ is when His church looks and acts like beautiful roses and lilies that are growing strong and tall in the sun. He is pleased with ministries that exist for His glory. He is pleased when there is not any backbiting or criticism of any kind. When the weeds get in the garden they not only detract from the beauty of the flowers, but they can eventually choke them out completely.

What does your church smell like? Is it a pleasant fragrance to God? Does forgiveness come quickly? Is there harmony in the church house?

When the children of God are clothed with the righteousness of Christ and adorned with the graces of His Spirit, how happy the Father is! His children, the roses and lilies of His garden, so beautiful to Him. Believers in God and Christ, filled with His Holy Spirit, we strive to be the people He wants us to be. We perform our best because there’s only One whose opinion counts – our Lord! We do what we do just for Him.

I don’t know about you, but when I reach heaven’s shore, I want my Lord Jesus Christ to give me a great big hug and say the words, “WELL DONE”it will be worth it all when we see Jesus!

RED ROSE DAY

TL 6-12 RED ROSE DAY

https://youtu.be/-CVCvqZMFgo

There is not a flower that has more symbolism attached to it than the rose. Sending the right color, or combination of colors, or even the right number of roses can send the perfect message – or the wrong one.

Though not readily available, a lilac colored rose is seen as mystical . They symbolize enchantment and desire. The lilac and deeper purple roses send the message that you are attracted to the mystery in a woman and want to get to know her better.

I planted orange roses in my front garden. The lovely light and dark shades symbolize enthusiasm and desire. The message these roses send is one of excitement and underlying passion. They’re so pretty! They look energetic and almost animated when there is a breeze blowing.

The pink rose represents delicacy, fragility and gentility. The feminine refinement of a cameo rose conveys a certain grace and gentleness and is right for letting someone know you’re happy with them but not necessarily in love with them. The darker shade of pink conveys gratitude and appreciation for a job well done with a slight undertone of interest romantically.

One of my favorite roses is the yellow rose. The color yellow is recognized as the color of joy. In Victorian times the yellow rose symbolized jealousy and envy but today it is known as the friendship rose. Yellow roses are perfect if warmth, gladness with a touch of affection is the message you wish to convey. If you want to express joy and happiness at some good news, send both red and yellow roses.

Part of my family’s tradition centers around white roses. In Scotland, when the white rose bloomed in autumn, it was seen as a token of early marriage. Known as the bridal rose, a white rose symbolizes innocence and purity. Humility and loyalty are the message they send – they say “I am worthy of you.” In my family, white roses were used not only in weddings, but at funerals as well. All the white roses represented the family that had passed over, while red roses represented those still living. White and red roses combined mean unity.

Since today is RED ROSE DAY, we should talk some about them. A red rose is the most romantic of all the roses. They hold such rich symbolism and represent such virtues as confidentiality, affection and yes, love. A bouquet of one dozen red roses traditionally conveys a strong romantic message.

Just as the color of rose matters, so does the type of rose you send. A tea rose of any color expresses the sentiment “I will always remember you”. A bouquet of rosebuds means innocent love or young love. One single red rose says “I still love you”. That is the perfect gift to give a woman after a disagreement. If you throw in a box of chocolates you get bonus points. ❤

MEMORIAL DAY

TL MEMORIAL DAY
https://youtu.be/An8ccWB7JgQ

Memorial Day is a day of reflection. It’s a day to remember those who were once here with us but now are not. We loved them and they loved us. We know we will be reunited one day, but until then, there is a void. What would my family urge me to do? God is love and love covers a multitude of mistakes. I think they would tell me to love. Just love.

As we begin our stroll through my peaceful, serene labyrinth of love, let me ask you a question. What is the source of love? Where does it come from originally? Most of you know what my answer is. I believe that God is the true source of love, and apart from Him, you are not really able to love at all. Know God – know love. No God – no love. If you know God, then I hope you enjoy this little stroll through the labyrinth. If you do not know God, perhaps you can sit down on one of the simple wooden benches when you finish the walk to rest and get to know God. Can you hear the birds singing? The gardens surrounding this labyrinth are the most beautiful I’ve ever seen and there is not a more quiet place of solace to do a little soul-searching.

It’s such a perfect day to take a leisurely stroll. There are people on the outside who are running, but we are not. We are not going to hurry, but be deliberate with each step. There is nothing scheduled in your day that is of any importance. You won’t need a watch. Take your time and seek. Seek God and find the love He wants you to have.

Read just one section at a time. When you have read the scripture, close your eyes and think about what you just read. Let the thought of it sink in and talk to God about it. You can talk to Him out loud or just think a prayer – He hears your prayer either way. Imagine you are walking, reading, pondering and praying. Let’s begin.

Love comes from God:

1 John 4:7-8 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

God proved His love for us:

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Romans 5:8 “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Some couples seem to be real soul mates and some are polar opposites trying to find some common ground. No matter which class your marriage falls in, we are taught what love should look like in our Christian marriages. I laughingly refer to these as the “bite your tongue” verses! There are times when love in marriage is a real bear! But for the sake of unity, peace and joy with your mate, you really do have to bite your tongue!

Love in Marriage:

Ephesians 4:2-3 “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Philippians 2:2 “Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”

There is sure victory because of love:

Romans 8:37-39 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We are definitely instructed to love other people:

1 John 4:9-11 “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

“Love each other deeply with all your heart.” – 1 Peter 1:22b

And finally, we are told that we are to walk the walk of love and not just talk the talk.

Make sure the love you show is genuine:

1 John 3:18 “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

Have a blessed day! ❤