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My little corner of the world

I surveyed my kingdom today, and I am queen of Quite-a-lot.

It’s an annual ritual that takes me back to a time with my father, a farmer at heart.  I remember walking with him through the yard looking for signs of spring.  He would point to plants that revealed the seasons were changing.

Dad and I walked together through his yard when I was young.  And in later years, we took the annual trip in my yard as we enjoyed seeing the fruits of my labor.

So when I stroll through my own little corner of the world, I think of my dad who influenced my love of sowing and reaping.

Today it was just warm enough for a flannel shirt atop my clothes.  Donning my garden boots with the pink horses on them and grabbing a walking stick, I set out to see what’s coming up.  I spotted our neighborhood hawk circling above, keeping me company.

There have been crocuses surprising me by the front steps since last week.  Their purple, white, and yellow offerings make me smile.

I saw one lone forsythia bloom on the bushes near the driveway.  There are small shoots of hibiscus pushing through the dirt.  They were transplanted by the back walkway last fall.   The pussy willow already has the little fuzzy “catkins” showing up on long branches.  I found enough early daffodils to pick and bring in the house.  With a little water in a vase, they will open to full flower shortly.

My yard is not pristine and manicured like some I admire.  I’m as likely to find a carpet of yellow dandelion blooms in summer as I am a patch of moss amongst the Kentucky fescue grass.  I live in the county and random seeds will fly in regularly like the Canadian geese on the lake across the road. Weeds are a constant in my world.

While I survey the potential beauty just ahead, I also see the potential work.  Fallen sticks are scattered everywhere.  There’s a boggy area that needs fill dirt.  And the weeds, always the weeds.  I think there is more effort required than there is of me to do it.

But today, I will just enjoy the hope of what is to come.  Today I’ll just survey my kingdom and find pleasure in the knowledge that lo, the winter is past . . . flowers appear on the earth.  The season of singing has come, and the cooing of doves is heard in our land.  

I will remember my dad and the heritage he passed on to me. It is a heritage of investing in growing things, whether that is people or plants, and the knowledge that both take time.

I am indeed Queen of Quite-a-lot.  I am thankful for the good earth, strength to work in it and see it produce because God made it to be that way.

In this my “season of Lent” I will enjoy the season of new life and what that means to me.  New life in my yard.  New life here and now because of the cross.  New life in the hereafter because of the resurrection.

The old must give in to the new.  Because when life comes, death takes a holiday.

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The season

Yesterday was the beginning of the season of Lent.  I missed it.  lent

The church where I grew up did not observe Lent or even speak of it.  I didn’t learn about it until later in my life when I was employed for a while at a church that practiced Lent.  It was different, not what I was used to, but I tried to understand the idea of it and participate.

Since then, I’ve acknowledged Lent as the season leading up to the celebration of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.  Some years I’ve kind of created my own version of Lent and blogged for 40 days leading up to the day we call Easter.  I don’t know if that was OK or not.

How often have we said or thought, “I’m in a season of life.”  It could be the season of raising young children or praying them and us through the teenage years.   We could be enduring months of health issues or cancer treatments.  It could be a job we see as only a stepping stone to the position we really want.

I love the changing seasons in the beautiful state where I live.  Each one has its special moments, though I begin to feel like I’m simply enduring in the month of February, wanting March to come and initiate spring.

Are we supposed to just endure our season, looking toward something else?  Are we supposed to hold on for dear life while we hope and pray for something else, a better season?

I certainly have been there.

Living in the present and being in the moment has become a longing for me.  Looking back has its advantages and looking forward is encouraged as we press toward the mark.  But in being here, at this place and at this time, I am more likely to see the blessings, experience the joy, revel in the process, appreciate the people with me in the right here and now.

During the weeks leading up to Easter, I most certainly want to remember the past and the price Jesus paid for my soul, to remember Him in communion of the Lord’s Supper, and remember the great and precious promises He left for me recorded in Holy Writ.

I will look forward to the changes in nature, the budding and bursting forth of flower and tree.  I will write down garden ideas and plan a trip to visit the family-too-far-away.  I will anticipate celebrating Resurrection Sunday.

But during this year’s 40-day journey to the cross and the empty tomb, I want to try to be present in the moment.  I want to look people in the eye and listen, really listen, not just wait my turn to speak.  Perhaps then I might understand.

I want to try to stop multi-tasking so much and give attention to the one task at hand, even enjoy it.  Maybe I’ll learn something in it.

I want to enjoy the ride because life is a journey.  I want to do more than just think about getting to the next destination in the quickest mapquest way possible.

The idea of Lent offers possibilities for us to change, not just our profile picture on Facebook, but to change the way we’ve always done it.  Perhaps there is a better way, a way that could open our hearts and our minds to something new.

Will you join me on the journey?  It could be fun.  We might learn a little more contentment.  It could bring joy.  We may begin to love a little better.

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How will they know?

Day 2 of 40 days to Resurrection Day

Today’s suggestion:

Wear a symbol of your faith during the 40 days.

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At first glance, I think this is going to be easy.  I have a couple of cross necklaces, several bracelets with Christian messages, and a pair of cross earrings.  I even have a scarf with “I love Jesus” printed on it.

No problem.  I can wear any or all of them during the next 40 days.  I’ve done it before, worn my cross necklace during the Lenten season as a daily reminder.

But then I go deeper.

Anyone can wear a piece of jewelry with a cross attached.  But is that evidence of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior?    Not necessarily.  No more than wearing a baseball cap makes one a ball player.

If I am a Christ follower, it should show in more than just my clothing and my jewelry.  It must be integrated into my actions, my words, and my attitudes.  This has been reinforced to me during the What Love Is Bible study.  John says the proof of my love for God shows up when I keep His commands and love my brothers and sisters.

Hear Paul’s admonition to the Colossians:

“. . .  put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another . . .  Above all, put on love. . .  (emphasis mine)

Now there’s a fashion statement.

What would it look like if I put on Christ?  More than a silver cross on a chain, I’m sure.  Challenging to say the least.

The only way to live out my true faith is to die to myself and live my life through Christ Jesus; looking to the things above rather than the things of this earth; seeking to do His will, not mine.

Unpopular as it is, it’s called crucifying my flesh and my desires to do God’s will.  The reason?  Because Jesus did it for me.

This – Christ in me – this is my symbol of faith and this is my destiny.  May it sparkle and shine and be noticed and point to the One and only Son of God.

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Come join me on my journey to Resurrection Day, won’t you?

Your comments and thoughts are most welcome here.

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Revised and re-posted from March 2014

40 Days – sort of

lentToday begins the season of Lent, a 40-day journey to Easter but does not include Sundays because they are “little Easters,” which actually equals to 47 days (according to my calculation).  Yesterday was Fat Tuesday, the so-called last hurrah before Lent ushers in a time of sacrifice, self-searching, and often the practice of giving up something for the 40-day (47-day) interval.  The practice goes back hundreds of years.

The church tradition under which I grew up never practiced Lent.  As an older adult I was employed by a church that did celebrate the Lenten season, and I learned from them.  I pondered it but didn’t participate at first.  The following year, I decided to give up something for Lent.  Critical words.  I thought that wouldn’t be too hard.  Wrong.  I became painfully aware of how often my thoughts and words were quite reproachful.

It taught me a valuable lesson, not only about myself but about the preparation for the season, a looking toward the death, burial, and resurrection of the Savior of the world.

While I am a member of a church somewhere else now, a place that does not practice Lent, I find being in anticipation of the occasion is helpful.  A thoughtful journey toward the season of Passover and Resurrection Sunday may be just what is needed. If I truly want to be Christ’s follower, to love like He does, to listen and obey the Father’s will, then I should examine myself.

And the weeks before the Sunday called Easter is a good time to focus in that direction.  While we dig out of snow here in the south, I long for spring, the re-birthing of flower and tree.  How appropriate to envision the place of the soul without Christ in a deep winter while His gift of salvation is the hope of spring and new life.

Last year, I partnered with my sweet friend Robin to lead us on a 40-day journey to Passover and Resurrection Sunday.  I’d like to go there again and hope you will come along.

Would you be willing to  review and remember?  We watch reruns on TV or go with a friend to a great movie we just saw.  We read special books again. We listen to the same news over and over. And need I say anything about our favorite songs?

Perhaps a little repetition will be helpful. Perhaps truth will sink in, take root and bring forth fruit.

Our 40 days will begin next Wednesday, February 25 because I will be counting all the Sundays.  I hope you will travel with us.

Look for the introduction next Tuesday, February 24 and get ready for 40 days leading up to Passover and Resurrection Sunday starting February 25.

I don’t know about you, but I am longing for spring, new life, new beginnings.

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