Saturday, July 30, 2011

Of Tomatoes and Sunshine

My tomato plants are much happier now---or they look happier anyway. The three plants I have just exploded this year! There's so much greenery and now I'm seeing many more little tomatoes coming and more buds too. Today I started at the bottom, pulling dandelions who were hiding under there, pesky things. Working my way up the stems of the tomatoes, I pulled off the lowest leaves and then proceeded to take off all the greenery that was shading the existing tomatoes, who need the light of the sun to ripen. Everything that was not producing and anything that was hindering the sun to come through had to go. All the old leaves and stems had to be cleared away too, so that there would be no rotting and defiling of the fruit.

As I did this I thought about the need to be one who encourages the growth of others. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ, as a whole, must be made up of individuals who care for and nurture one another. Words like, exhorting, encouraging, building up and even warning, all came to my mind like a flood. As the old branches and leaves were broken off I thought about not being someone who would overshadow others, or one who would keep others from the light. The Lord used this time to remind me that I am to be productive; allowing Him to produce His fruit in me so that I can be one who might feed another. While cleaning up the old leaves and branches that fell to the ground, it came to mind that I ought not to be producing anything which would be like "rotting flesh" or "a root of bitterness" which would trouble others and turn them away from understanding the truth of the Word.

While I made my tomato plants happy, I was also made happy by spending some time in prayer, asking the Lord to produce these things in me.

I look forward to eating of the precious fruit that will come from this labor someday in the future. The Lord wants to be able to use the fruit that comes from us too. It makes Him extremely happy to see christians who are encouraging growth. I pray that I will be that kind of person.

Happy gardening!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Curious Encounters

A couple of weeks ago I was reading the blog of a friend and what she wrote encouraged me to try to share this story of a chance meeting that I had witnessed here on the hill. It happened twice, actually, and I've included a picture at the end of this post which shows one such meeting. The story I'm hoping to describe though was something that I witnessed on my way to work one morning.

I was driving along our little road when I noticed a doe and her fawn feeding in the yard next to our house. They were there often, so I almost didn't stop to gaze again on the beautiful little fawn's slender body and cute spotted coat. I am so glad I did, as I was rewarded for doing so. The fawn had her feet splayed apart so that she could more easily reach down to the grass; there, in front of her face was a flock of tiny turkey babies all gathered round, peering at her through the tall grass. She lifted her head and they just stared at each other for quite a time. It was as if they almost wanted to play together but just did not know what the other creature actually was! It wasn't long before mother doe called the baby away. It was one of the most incredible things I had witnessed in the wild.

The Lord provides blessings all around us if we can just slow down to see them. As a believer I know that He wants me to keep my eyes open at all times. This purely refreshing encounter that I witnessed has no eternal weight of glory but the Lord allowed me to see it for a reason. So much of the world is walking around today with eyes on things that are filthy and do not promote a healthy lifestyle. Any one of us can fall to its prey. Oftentimes I imagine being able to stay here on the hill, never having to go into the "world" and be subject to the fads and habits that it breeds. The Bible says that a christian is, "in the world, but not OF it." God has us out there, as Jesus was, for a reason. We are not part OF it anymore and it has no power over us. I am so thankful for this!

So, whether the Lord takes me down town today (I've already made a lunch date with my Mom, to our favorite little cafe) or whether He changes my plans and keeps me here on the hill, I am, "wherever I am", with Him.

I hope that you can enjoy some surprises today. Keep your eyes open!

Here's another chance meeting that we saw out in front of Mom's house a few years ago. The turkeys walked up to the deer, they acknowledged one another and all went on, business as usual. It happens all the time, I'm sure, but we seldom get to see it.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


We have a small visitor this week. Her name is Coco. The very NAME brings Ruger to his feet and straining his neck toward the window. At 100+ lbs, he towers over his 11 lb. best cousin-friend. Coco is as sweet as can be and always seems to be wearing a happy face. She has been with us before, for almost three weeks that time. After the third or fourth day Ruger had begun to view her much like the proverbial "little sister". It doesn't help that she reaches in between his paws and gingerly seizes his bone, dragging it across the floor to chew on it herself. To this, he simply gets up and finds his rope toy. He is rewarded for this act of sharing by a short game of tug of war with Syd or I. For the most part, Ruger is a sharer. When Coco's in the car, she gets the front seat for the first couple of rides. It cramps his style but Ruger obliges. By the third trip I let him sit in the front. When he chooses to curl up and use his usual headrest though, alas, Coco is perched there on the center console as if she owned the car. It is as fun to watch dogs interact as it is to watch children. With dogs there is no talking, so one is left to guess at what they're thinking.

Coco has hair, not fur. She is non-allergenic and does not shed - she simply leaves little white fluffs of hair on the floor, car seat and other things. Her bark is definately worse than her bite--as I don't believe she's ever bitten anyone...but watch out for that bark! It's as if she could tear your ankle off! Getting back to this hair--I have never seen hair on a little beast that can pick up so much water in one swath through a stand of wet grass. Her legs are only three and a half inches long, so it could even be newly-mown grass! With a big horse like Ruger you can simply say, "stay on the blanket till you're dry", and he will only need to be there for about 10 minutes, but what do you do with this little sponge? Coco came on Monday and will only be here until tonight. If I had put her on the rug Monday evening, she'd be there still! I have taken to rolling her up in a towel and massaging her, much like we do to our own hair after it's washed - only more vigorously and for a longer duration.

Don't get me wrong. We absolutely LOVE having Coco come. She is quiet and cuddly, easy to take to work and a truly a joy to be with. With her, two dogs are no trouble even in our tiny house. Ruger can run back and forth across the front of the couch while Coco does the same along the length of its seat. They don't knock over any furniture this way, occasionally a cup of coffee, but nothing major. In I Peter 4:9, the statement, "Use hospitality one to another without grudging", must refer not only toward people, but toward their pets too. Elsewhere the Word says, "you reap what you sow". Could that mean that we are building up weeks of Ruger-sitting for the future? hmm!

Here is a common pose of these cousin-friends.

Now she is seated on the landing, crying at the window as she watches her friend heading up the driveway to the bathroom, through the early-morning dew. We will all go outside in a while. The couch is draped with a sheet and I have the towels ready!

Monday, July 25, 2011

New and Fresh

As you can see, I have been playing around with the design of the blog. Yes, I finally found the "customize" stuff and it's quite fun to post on a new background!

I do not know what it is about having something new that makes you feel "renewed". Old things are good and useful, but sometimes one just needs something new.

Recently there was a message posted on my email about "old things" and how important it is to keep, treasure and fix up the old things. That is so true. The article suggested that we do not know how long we will have these precious things, so we ought to fix up the items that have been tried and true and we especially ought to cherish the old relationships of family and friends. Tears came to my eyes as I went on to be reminded of how much we will miss dear ones when they pass from this world. The appreciation of those with whom we have known, and spent such special times, swept over me and the loss of those who have gone on before was felt anew.

I don't know about you, but when I purchase a new flavor of toothpaste, new fragrance, shampoo or lotion, for instance, I can hardly refrain from trying it and sometimes using a fair amount of it before the old product is quite gone. There is a small collection of old-style hairbrushes, clips, eye-gels, lip balms and fragrances in a plastic shoebox in our bathroom. Occasionally I do go through it and find something that was tucked there a year or so back; even then, it's like a new product again!

Bradley's toys went through cycles. Keeping an eye on the things that he was playing with the most, I would sneak others into a box and place it on the upper shelf of the closet. Months later these would be brought out and reintroduced. He was thrilled with the new toys and again I'd pick several of the forgotten ones to be set up until a later date. Everyone loves to get something new or even something "new again"!

Often we cling to the old things. Many of them are worthwhile, build character and serve to enrich our lives. Others can keep us from moving forward or cripple us from trying something new, even when we know that we should.

The most wonderful new thing that I possess is new LIFE. When I received the Lord's way of salvation, through His death and resurrection, my life became new. The best thing is, it never has an expiration date! Romans 12:2 reminds me that each time I spend in fellowship with God in His Word, I am renewed in the spirit of my mind. It is a possession that is new and stays new forever!

Here I post a picture of two dear, old friends. They have been best friends since before they started school and remain close to this day.

I am sorry that I have not been more diligent in regular posts lately. Life does have its way of dragging us down from time to time. Tomorrow is a new day with new opportunities. I'll wait to see what the Lord brings my way and hope to be back tomorrow morning with new thoughts!