A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

a-commentary-from-the-heart-3

 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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WEED OUT HATE: SOW THE SEEDS OF GREATNESS DAY

TL 4-3 WEED OUT HATE SOW THE SEEDS OF GREATNESS DAYWho does the weeding in the garden of your heart?  If you try to weed your own garden, it might be beautiful for a while, but eventually those little hate weeds crop up again.  You’ll be doing a lot of gardening to keep the weeds away.  Hate weeds crop up because hate is a learned behavior – and sadly, it’s contagious!  We have a choice in life to either spread God’s love or spread hate from the enemy.  Did I say God’s love?  Why, yes I did.  How can we do that?  We can do that when God is the gardener of our heart.  Ah!  With His help, we can plant a garden of LOVE:PLANT A GARDEN OF LOVE

Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. – Matthew 24:12-14

In order for the garden of our heart to endure to the end, we need to rely on our Savior, Christ Jesus, to maintain it, water, weed and feed it.  If we’ll let Him, He will give us a heart full of His love, mercy, grace and add His blessing of peace for good measure.  He’s the best gardener!  Listen to these promises:

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.  – Ezekiel 36:26-27
When He works in the garden of your heart, He takes out all the stones which means the weeds of hate will be gone.  He promises to put His Spirit within us and cause us to do the things we should.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.  – Proverbs 3:5-7

The One removing all the hate weeds from your heart’s garden should be trustworthy and dependable.  The Lord is faithful to not only weed your garden, but lay a lovely little cobblestone pathway for you to walk on so you’ll be safe from harm.  He’s wise and wonderful that way.  I want the garden of my heart to be free of hate weeds, full of God’s love flowers with a perfect little cobblestone pathway that keeps me safe!

Once those hate weeds are out, God will help you sow the seeds of greatness!  Greatness in God!  🙂

 

 

LAST DAY OF WINTER

TL 3-19 LAST DAY OF WINTER

I’m so ready, aren’t you???  Lately, I’ve been awakened by birds and sunlight streaming into my room.  Once we get past the initial shock of Daylight Savings Time, that’s when the real magic begins.  We look forward to tee-shirt weather and longer evenings.  Some of us also muddle through allergies, but it’s still worth it.HE'S STILL CREATING

In Kansas we’ve learned to approach the first day of spring with a cautious optimism.  I have memories of April snow storms!  One year I was hosting a birthday tea on April 2nd – and had to call around at the last-minute because there was a winter storm raging outside!  But I don’t feel that doubt this year like I have in years past – maybe because Easter is so early.  I think we’re safe from winter’s sneaky game this year.

The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another.  The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.  – Henry van Dyke

I took my first walk outdoors yesterday.  For starters, I survived – yay!  I wore sweats and thought that would be warm enough, but the breeze was still fairly chilly.  My ears felt a little sore when I got home, but I’m no worse for wear.  There’s something special about knowing the walks will be outside.  I don’t enjoy walking on a treadmill and find it very dull.IT'S A PERFECT DAY TO FEEL GREATOur local Lowe’s is getting all set up for spring and summer in their garden center.  Whether you plant vegetables or flowers, there’s an excitement about playing in the dirt!  Even after we’re adults, we make mud pies – oh, come on – admit it!  You still like to make mud pies!

It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want — oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!  – Mark Twain

Will you fly a kite this month?  It’s been years since I’ve done that!  I used to live across the street from a popular park where people would go to fly kites.  Those are good memories.  I used to take my Sunday School class to the park to fly kites and have a picnic in March.  I made them promise to show up for Sunday School – and most of them kept that promise.GOD HAS POURED OUT HIS LOVEWe plant the seed and God provides everything that little seed needs to grow into something wonderful.  It’s true for plants, flowers and people.  When we plant the seed of God’s Word, He makes it grow!  Just keep on plantin’…  that’s what we’re here for, right?  🙂

SOUTHERN FOOD HERITAGE DAY

TL 10-11 SOUTHERN FOOD HERITAGE DAY (USED 2014)

10-11 SOUTHERN FRIED YUM

Today is SOUTHERN FOOD HERITAGE DAY!!!

Kansans have an advantage when it comes to food. We take a little dab from Nebraska, add a sprinkle of this from Colorado, mix together with a touch of Oklahoma and shake it up with a bit of Missouri! Mama used to call that “Guess What I Am”. Trust me, you haven’t really lived until you’ve eaten it.

My folks had deep Southern Oklahoma roots. Even though my dad was raised in the city and mama was a farm girl, both grew up appreciating certain foods and styles of cooking. We lived on the cheap when it came to food, especially in the summertime. We raised okra, squash of all kinds, tomatoes, peas, carrots and melons. We went to the market for bread and butter, only because we didn’t have enough acreage to let a milk cow graze or plant our own wheat. There was, however, a wheat field right across the street from us for many years. Us kids used to go out and play in it (I’m sure the farmer appreciated that).

My dad also planted fruit trees in the back yard. We had our own cherries, apples, pears and (my personal favorite) apricots! There is nothing like a fresh apricot right off the tree – mmm! Good stuff, Maynard!

With all this bounty, we enjoyed Southern delicacies such as fried okra, fried green tomatoes (maters), cream peas and honey-glazed carrots. That reminds me – we also raised our own honey bees. My dad kept bees out behind his shed for years!

Sleep ’til you’re hungry, eat ’til you’re sleepy.  – Author Unknown

We had meat at every meal and mama fried it in her electric skillet and covered it with cream gravy. There was a potato, either fried (what a surprise), baked or boiled. We were meat and potato, down to earth, nothin’ fancy ’bout us – folks.

We usually waited a little while to eat dessert, but my favorite was mama’s apricot cobbler! Ah, it was good! When it was al a mode it was even better. We didn’t have artificial sweetener back then – it was sugar, baby! But we ate in moderation and nobody worried about blood glucose. We worked hard back then raising our food – so we got some exercise before eating supper and dessert. Exercise makes a big difference!

Those are precious memories. I’m so thankful to God for putting me with the Turner family. They taught me first hand about God’s wonderful provision. Love you, Mom & Dad! ❤

NATIONAL GARDENING EXERCISE DAY

TL 6-6 NATIONAL GARDENING EXERCISE DAY

An ounce of PREVENTION is worth a pound of cure.   – Benjamin Franklin

If everyone can go around talking about safe sex, I guess I can talk about safe gardening! I will list exercises from A-O to keep you limber for those gardening tasks.

If my neighbors saw me do some of this stuff, I think they’d call 911. Maybe they’d call the little men in the white jackets too! LOL!!!

Today is NATIONAL GARDENING EXERCISE DAY!!! You may be tempted to just run out and jump right into gardening, but is that wise??? Here are just a few suggestions that might make your gardening experience more enjoyable and much less painful.

A. Before you plant that Adam’s Needle you dug up on vacation in Southern Oklahoma, do a few Abdominal Arm Raises: Lie on your back on a smooth surface with your knees bent. Tighten your stomach muscles, drawing your belly button down toward your spine. Continue to keep these muscles tight while alternately lifting and lowering your right arm (keep your elbow straight). Now lift and lower your left arm. Make sure you are not holding your breath. Do 2 sets, each lasting 60 seconds.

B. Those Bachelor Buttons won’t weed themselves, but make sure you do this Back Stretch before you take on the task: Lie on the floor, pull your knees into your chest and wrap your arms around them. Hold that position for 60 seconds, relax and repeat 2 more times.

C. Summer salads will taste great with the cauliflower you are growing in your vegetable garden! Make sure you do this Calf Stretch before you go out to care for it: Place both hands on a wall or fence in front of you. Step back with one leg, leaning into the wall, assuming a basic lunge position. Keep the heel of your back foot flat on the ground. Hold this position for 30 seconds then return to starting position. Repeat on the opposite leg.

D. Nobody likes to have dandelions in the yard, but before you go deal with the weeds, remember to Drink H2O: Drink an 8-ounce glass of water before heading out the door. Drink water every hour.

E. Your Evening Star may need some attention, but before you bend and stretch to care for it, do some Extension Exercises: Position one leg in front of the other in a basic lunge position. Support your upper body with one arm resting on your front leg while holding a 2 pound weight in your other hand. Your shoulders should be square to the front. Begin with the weighted arm extended in front of you at a 45 degree angle and your back straight. Pull your arm back, keeping your elbow close to your body and squeeze your back muscles together. Return your arm to the starting position. Repeat on the other arm. Do 2 sets of 8-10 reps.

F. Fairyfluff is great for curb appeal, but make sure you have eaten good nutritious Food before you go play in the dirt: This is especially important for those who suffer from diabetes. Having low blood sugar in the blazing hot sun is not a good idea. Check your blood glucose level before you go outside to garden.

G. Geraniums look nice in clay pots around your porch. Doing some Gentle Hand Stretches will help you get a better grip on your gardening tools: Gently pull 4 fingers back with opposite hand. Repeat with other hand. This prevents Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

H. How about some Holly with pretty red berries? Before you plant it you should probably do a Hip Stretch: Holding onto a tall shovel for balance, cross one leg over the other. Sit down into the other leg. You should feel a stretch through the back of your hip. Hold this position for 30 seconds then return to standing position. Repeat on the opposite leg.

I. There’s nothing like beautiful Iris to lift your spirits! Planting bulbs involves a lot of bending and squatting. Isolate and Strengthen these muscles: Stand with your feet no further than shoulder width apart, toes forward. Place hands on hips for stability, keeping your chest tall, bend your knees and sit back, as if sitting in a chair. Squat down as far as you can without bending your knees past 90 degrees. Place your weight through your heels to prevent knee strain. Return to standing position. Do 2 sets of 8-10 reps.

J. Jonquils are the first flowers we see each Spring. They are also bulbs to be planted. Jumping Jacks can strengthen muscles: Get your legs ready for the bending and squatting involved in planting – or weeding the flower bed.

K. Korean Grass is a lovely accent but still needs to be maintained. Strengthen arm muscles with curls (kurls – lol) so you will be ready for the task: Stand with your feet no wider than shoulder width apart, knees bent and your toes forward. Keep your elbows close to your sides and your wrists in a neutral position. Lift the 2 pound weights toward your chest. Stop before the weights touch your shoulders. Lower the weights to the resting position. Repeat. Resist gripping the weight too tightly. You should be able to open your fingers and still lift the weight. Do 2 sets of 8-10 reps.

L. A lilac bush is not only beautiful but has such a pleasant fragrance. It’s a good idea to do some basic lunges before planting: Place your feet about at shoulder width and step forward with the right foot. Inhale as you flex your right hip and knee while keeping your knee pointed in the same direction as your foot. Keep your torso upright as you continue to bend your right knee until it forms a right angle and your left knee is almost touching the floor. Ensure that your right knee does not extend beyond your toes.

M. Isn’t it great to eat melons you’ve grown in your own garden? Before you pick up that hoe to plant seeds, you’d better do some middle whittlers to prevent soreness: Stand with your feet no greater than shoulder width apart. Holding a hoe behind you at shoulder or waist level, slowly turn your shoulders to the right. Hold this position for 2-5 seconds then turn to the left and hold another 2-5 seconds.

N. The New Potatoes you buy at the grocery store just don’t taste as good as the ones from your own garden! This neck and shoulder stretch will help you stay in good shape for planting: Hold a towel over your head. Bring the towel behind your head, with one hand and lower the other hand to below shoulder height. Hold and gently pull on the towel. Switch sides and repeat.

O. Okra seems to be an acquired taste. The way you prepare it matters to most people. Some like it in Gumbo while some like it battered and fried. Either way, before you go out and work on those tall stalks, you need to open the chest. Stand next to a wall, post or large tree. With your elbow bent, place your forearm flat against this surface. Turn your entire body away from your arm until you feel a slight stretch in your chest and front portion of your shoulder. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds. Repeat on the other arm.

Prevent injury and much of the soreness related to gardening with these simple steps. Take care of yourself as well as you take care of your garden. 🙂