Oh No! Not Another Evil Oxalis!

I would call it a love-hate relationship, but mostly love. I’m talking about a spring and summer, time-consuming passion in my life—gardening. With the recent intense heat, my bicep building involves carrying plastic reusable cat litter cartons full of water and fertilizer to bolster my droopy tomato plants. Providing our entire plant world a drink takes over an hour.

But I water out of love. Weeding, on the other hand, not so much. Weeds, many disguised as yellow flowers, make me angry, especially when they overrun my parched flowers after a storm.

Especially despised is a sneaky dude. It looks innocent enough with its petite cloverleaf petals sporting cute, yellow star-like blooms, but it’s evil. Its delicate roots go deep and spread worse than chiggers after a picnic.

Oxalis is a leach, crowding all bonafide beauty. Even lawn care companies rate it, also called creeping woodsorrel, the worst weed to control. As one blogger said, “It doesn’t roll over and die like dandelions or clover. This weed is just plain tough.” (https://tomlinsonbomberger.com/blog/kill-oxalis-lawn-weed-control/)

When I’m digging deep and gently pulling its thin roots out of my mulched flower patches, I can’t help but think how much this weed reminds me of Satan. He surrounds purity with creepy deception. What he offers may look good, sound good, feel good, but it’s only temporary pleasure with life-destroying consequences.

For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.  So it is no great thing if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their destiny will be according to their works.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, HCSB

Fight the good fight! Don’t let oxalis take over your garden. And more importantly, beware of sin taking over your life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impatiently Yours

Dear God,

One of your Midwest daughters, who happens to enjoy golf and gardening and considers herself a four-season-kind-of-girl, reporting in! I’m writing to request that you remove the snow and sub-par temperatures from our spring, soon to be a month old.

On behalf of my fellow Hoosiers, I am boldly requesting that the gray days, chilly mornings, and snow flurries disappear until Thanksgiving. Even though You’ve resurrected my perennials, these plants would appreciate more sunshine. I could use some, too. I like winter, but it has its place. Now is the time for April showers, rainbows, and sunshine. Especially sunshine!

While I’m mature enough in my faith to understand this world is not my forever home, I’m still here. Looking out my front window, I see gray clouds and asphalt patches filling caved-in concrete—a poor substitute for streets of gold and Your glorious light!

Now I don’t like to compare myself with others because that gets me into trouble, but my children, one family who calls Houston home and the other one residing in San Diego, occasionally taunt their father and me with reports of sunshine and temperate weather. Please make them more sensitive to their parents’ frame of reference. While they’ve invited us to visit, the minute we leave, our grass will grow a foot tall and the 13-year-old kitties will decide it’s time for a hairball contest.

No, for the moment, we’re staying home—indoors—in Indiana. But I know this can’t last forever, so I’m simply asking for a quicker turnaround than what perhaps You’ve planned for our state and state of mind.

Impatiently yours,

Joyce

 

Responding to God’s Glory

At approximately 2:24 this afternoon in central Indiana, the moon will block about 90% of the sun. Experts caution us to not look up without the protective solar eclipse glasses labeled ISO 12312-2 (aas.org).

In thinking about this eclipse, I remember where Al and I were four years ago this month. August 2013 was a pivotal month in our lives because Al retired. A week later we traveled to Israel to visit our daughter. While there we heard her casually mention a guy,  just a friend who loved missions. Thirteen months later that guy  would be welcomed into our family as a beloved son-in-law.

God has blessed us since that trip with not only a godly son-in-law, but the kindest, most beautiful daughter-in-law God could have given us and the cutest granddaughter ever. We are beyond-words thankful for his provision and kindness.

But today we look up in awe, using those protective glasses, at his glory displayed in the heavens, which reminds me of another time God’s glory appeared.

During the trip we visited the biblical botanical gardens located near the Israel Museum. My writing/gardening friend Janet Hommel Mangas had suggested we photograph some of those plants. In their vast array was the Holy Bramble, the “burning bush” God used to display his glory as recorded in Exodus 3:

The angel of the Lord appeared to him in fiery flames from within a bush.  Moses saw the bush was on fire, but it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from with  the bush. “Moses, Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.”

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. . .” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was  afraid to look at God.

Exodus 3: 2-5, 6b, Holy Bible, New International Version, 1973

Unless you have protective glasses this afternoon, don’t look up at the solar eclipse, but do know you are in the presence of the Holy God who created the heavens and earth.

In awe, let’s worship him wholeheartedly!

 

Anticipating “the Eye of God”

Saturday morning while my husband Al and I ate our BLT breakfast, we enjoyed reading about next Monday’s (August 21, 2017) solar eclipse. This is a big deal since it’s the first time in a century 0.5 percent of the earth obscured by the moon’s shadow will cross the whole of North America, starting in northwest Oregon heading kitty-corner across our nation into South Carolina.

Folks are getting excited! A local well known, free-lance professional photographer ordered 10 pairs of special viewing glasses from Amazon with plans to view this phenomena in Evansville. My neighbor Cathie came home from southern Illinois with 16 pairs of glasses, sold for $1.50 each at Carbondale’s Mexican restaurant, Tres Hombres, to share with friends and family. Apparently southern Illinois is expecting thousands of extra spectators a week from today.

British particle physicist Frank Close describes this total solar eclipse as taking about an hour for the moon to cover the sun. When the bright disc shrinks to a sliver and twilight falls, the temperature drops, and from the west, the moon shadow moves in, creating a wall of darkness.

“Look up and you will see stars as if it were normal night, but accompanied by a blackened moon surrounded by the sun’s shimmering white corona. . .and as one observer described, ‘looking into the valley of death with the lights of heaven far away calling me to enter.’ Another exclaimed: ‘Is that the eye of God?’” (Frank Close, 8.12.17, Daily Journal: Tracking ‘the eye of God’: A U.S. Solar Eclipse)

For those of us who often take God’s glory for granted, let’s go outside, with our eyes protected, between 2 – 2:30pm next Monday and watch how the heavens and earth are truly God’s footstool.

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the LORD. Isaiah 66:1-2 NIV

Eclipse Schedule for Monday, August 21, 2017

12:57 pm – Countdown begins

2:24 pm – Maximum viewing

3:48 pm – Ends

Magnitude: 0.93

https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/indianapolis

photo by: Dennis DiCicco, https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/images-videos

 

Breathe in God’s Peace

This morning I took the time to walk around the house, dead heading petunias and hibiscus blossoms while I stumbled along through the dew drenched grass. I couldn’t help but think how much I’ve changed through the years. Now I enjoy such a simple pleasure and love “messing with” my plants.” The poison ivy I got Saturday while weeding my strawberry patch proves that “mess.”

Twenty years ago at 43, the best I could have done was to occasionally water a few flowers, a task undertaken more out of duty rather than love. The interest wasn’t there because time was tight. Then our children would’ve been 12 and 14, busy ages with lots of time spent in the minivan.

Forty years ago at 23, I was newly married, going to grad school while teaching full-time. We lived in an apartment near Eagle Creek. Gardening and flowers simply weren’t on my radar. The only connecting activity then as compared to now is my husband and I still occasionally take our 42-year-old matching Myata bikes out for a spin, but certainly traveling not as fast nor as far.

Fifty years ago at 13, my “Granny” and I spent a lot of time together while both of my parents worked full time. She taught me to stem strawberries, snap peas, and pick (while sampling) grapes. But more than that, she taught me about Jesus. One of her favorite songs, “In the Garden”, has become one of mine.

Take a moment to breathe in God’s peace, one that passes all understanding. Then find your garden to enjoy!

In the Garden

  1. I come to the garden alone,
    While the dew is still on the roses,
    And the voice I hear falling on my ear
    The Son of God discloses.

    • Refrain:
      And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
      And He tells me I am His own;
      And the joy we share as we tarry there,
      None other has ever known.
  2. He speaks, and the sound of His voice
    Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
    And the melody that He gave to me
    Within my heart is ringing.
  3. I’d stay in the garden with Him,
    Though the night around me be falling,
    But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
    His voice to me is calling.

(public domain – lyrics by Charles A. Miles, 1913)

My Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

He makes me like down in green pastures, he leads me besides still waters. He restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his namesake.  (Psalm 23:1-3)

On the morning of my 63rd birthday, my husband Al and I took a walk around the area where our daughter and her family live in Cyprus. In the days before, we had become fascinated with the goat farm located just minutes from their house. There didn’t seem to be enough grass or water for any animal to survive or thrive.

Even though the living conditions were dusty, barren and stifling hot, their shepherd still cared for the flock. Note in the photo how the goats gathered in the shade, seeking relief from the piercing sun.

I couldn’t help but think of how our loving Father God wants us to thrive. He makes us lie down in green pastures because we need our physical rest. Note that his pastures are  green.

He wants us to walk with him besides still waters, to be quiet in His presence and refresh ourselves spiritually and emotionally. During those times the reflections of our lives become clear.

Finally, God wants to refresh us so we can pursue paths of righteousness for His name’s sake–to live that purpose-driven life Saddleback Church’s Pastor Rick Warren described so well a few years back.  Father God sent us a loving Shepherd to guide us through far-from-perfect trails.

Thank you, Jesus, for being our willing and sacrificial guide and shepherd sent from our loving Father.

“I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me–just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”

  • John 10:14-16

God Glow

Blog #1

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Genesis 1:1-3, ESV

If you know me well, you know I love anything to do with water—oceans, rivers, waterfalls, swimming pools, and lots of ice cold drinking water. I also love this photo, which was taken November 2010 with our flip phone as Al and I were walking away from the Ft. Myers Beach pier after dinner. The waves morphed into a murky, chocolate flavor as the sun began to set, but where the rays still shone, the water glistened.

A fresh thought awakened me (Thank you, Holy Spirit) when reading Genesis’ first three verses. God’s Spirit hovered over the waters. And light soon followed. No more waves thrashing in total darkness.

Since many of us may be dreaming of a beach vacation this winter, let’s not overlook the fact that God hovered over the face of the waters. Perhaps if we look closely, we can even see His light there. Even an antique Nokia flip phone caught the glow. So should we.