Friday, March 23, 2012

Weekends in the Country

Before my sons and I moved to town, we had five acres of land in the country. We had a barn, horses, dogs, cats and even donkeys at one time.  A pond was in the front, we had lots of oak trees, plenty of shade, and peace and quiet.  I thought I would live there forever!  Then came divorce, extreme tension between parties, and it was advised by my dad that we move to a safer area, along with a better school system.  What I thought I was giving up, I found was made up in many ways.  I no longer had the sole responsibility of keeping up a large piece of land.  I was able to focus on maintaining a much smaller lot in a subdivision, and have been able to do extensive gardening and landscaping.  What was once a chore has now become a pleasure.  And I still get my jaunts into the country any time I please.  I just get on the Interstate and travel about 30 minutes south to my parents' place.  There they have everything we had, plus more!  I love sharing photos and tales of goings on in the country, and I hope you enjoy them, too.

This past Friday night I spent the night with my grandmother, whose home adjacent to my parents'. Mom called and told me to be up at 7:00 so we could go take pictures. We both woke up late! I couldn't imagine what we were going to photograph so early in the morning, but I was ready before she was. We climbed in her car and set off down the road in search of -- something. She was looking for a field of wild lilys that was growing near the railroad tracks. We never found them, but I found lilys in her garden and in the pastures surrounding the house, which I photographed later in the afternoon. 

This wisteria is only a few years old. But it has grown so well over mom's pergola covering her patio. Wish you could have smelled it this weekend! And the bees -- constantly humming... 

While I was waiting on Mom I took pictures of the sunrise.  There was  a soft glow coming from behind the woods to the east, and I wanted a picture of that with Mom's garden in the front.  I got several, which I might share later.  

I also wandered around the house and took in the sights and smells, especially the smells coming from the wisteria that grows up, on and over the huge pergola over the patio.  There was an intense buzzing going on from the countless bumble bees.  The smell was incredible!  And not only was there beauty from above, the fallen petals on the patio floor were pretty, too.  I picked up a handful to see if there was any scent left to them, thinking if there was they would make a nice potpourri, but the smell was gone.  Every time I walked anywhere close to the wisteria that day the scent was amazing!

Of course I didn't take pictures all day!  By 8:30 after sharing morning coffee with my parents, my Mom and I were out in the yard.  First on the list was a wheelbarrow full of compost.  If you live on a farm you know you can get some really good compost.  Such excellent dirt!  And it's needed in Mom's garden, because she has CLAY, and nothing you want to grow will grow well in clay.

Mom not only likes the traditional flowers you see in a garden, but wild flowers as well. Her garden is not formal, just relaxed and inviting. 

After Mom and I finished the yard chores for the day, I grabbed my camera and wandered around taking pictures.  

Lilies of the field -- doesn't that remind you of verses in the Bible ...(Luke 12:27)?  Mom brought it up, and she's right.  Lilys were  growing in the wooded area of the flower beds, where I took pictures of them nestled against an iron rabbit. Then I walked into the pasture.  I was specifically hoping to get some shots of the horses and ponies in the middle of the lilies, but they wouldn't have  anything to do with it.  So I took shots of what I had.  

I had to keep moving so this little pony would be far enough away to photograph.  
Curious little thing!
I was tired after working all day in the yard with mom, so I just plopped down on the ground and decided to get some ground level shots of the horses and ponies. Quite a different perspective.  The dark pony was inquisitive, probably wondering what I was doing sitting on the ground.  I turned my back to him once to get the above shot of the single lily, and felt something woofing and nibbling on my feet.   

This is Cherokee, mom's horse. She is absolutely beautiful, with a personality to match! 

I'm looking forward to what I might see in the upcoming weeks.  Hope you have an enjoyable and relaxing weekend!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Just Thinking...

Personal thoughts on Luke 11:1-13 and Jeremiah 18:1-11...

Recently I was reading in Luke 11:1-13 how Jesus’ disciples came to Him and said John the Baptist had taught his disciples to pray a specific way. Jesus’ disciples asked if He would teach them to pray His way. Jesus accommodated them with what we call the Lord’s prayer. I love how The Voice translates verses 2 - 4:

"Father [in heaven], may Your name be revered.  May Your kingdom come. [May Your will be accomplished on earth as it is in heaven.]  Give us the food we need for tomorrow,  And forgive us for our wrongs, for we forgive those who wrong us.  And lead us away from temptation. [And save us from the evil one.]”*

Jesus then launches into dialogue about how the Father is willing to give us what we need and what we ask for, as long as it is within His will, and summarizes in verse 13 (continuing from The Voice):

"Look, all of you are flawed in so many ways, yet in spite of all your faults, you know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to all who ask!”

I had surgery nearly two weeks ago and had fears of something happening to me while in the hospital and even during the procedure. So I began praying a few days beforehand asking God to remove my problem, or if He didn’t to help me deal with it. I didn’t have the problems I feared, and I knew Who to thank. Last week I found the above verses during my personal Bible study, and they fit together perfectly with my circumstances. No matter how trivial our problems seem to be, God wants to help. There’s another verse in the Bible (James 4:2-3) that says we have not because we ask not. However, sometimes we think we can handle our problems on our own and don’t bother to ask.

Just as Jesus talked about the friend arriving at midnight and a father giving his son whatever he could (instead of something that would have been harmful), so does our Heavenly Father. He is just waiting on us…. Think of the many blessings we miss out on because we don’t ask!

This leads me to Jeremiah 18:1-11, which was preached on in our service yesterday morning. Most people remember this as the story of the potter’s wheel, which it is, but what I got out of it deals with God changing His mind. Uh, oh! We Christians don’t like to think about that, because then we see through our own eyes and think maybe God is wishy-washy, which we know He definitely isn’t! However, these verses, especially verses 7-11, state that God is the One Who sets up and takes away kingdoms. And He is willing to change His plans if we are willing to obey and follow Him (to confuse you even further, God already know what we will choose to do!). Listen to what He says as from the New King James version study Bible:

"The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.
"Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.”’”

Did you get that!?!  Does it remind you of what happened to the Ninehvites in the story of Jonah (see specifically Jonah 3:5-10)? Just thinking about it right now reminds me also of King Hezekiah whose life was extended because of his prayer (see II Kings 20:1-11).

Again, God wants to give His children the best that He has to offer. But it must be according to His will, and we must be in obedience to Him. Who knows what blessings we’ll receive, if we obey. And who knows what might become of us if we don’t!


* According to The Voice translation of the Bible, the phrases in brackets are omitted in the earliest manuscripts.