Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Ground of our Hope

I took these two photographs in my friend's yard yesterday. I am always so overwhelmed with the presence of God when I can absorb the beauty of a crowded stand of wildflowers. We went through her house and chose a few pieces to place in the bluebonnets. These two, in particular, gave me goosebumps, or Godbumps as I sometimes say. We were made to praise Him, to have relationship with Him. The cross upon which the one is the sower of all seed, gave his life. The angel bugling praises to the heavens from the seed who bore fruit on the ground.

There is a controversy bubbling in Fort Worth and Dallas about two billboards coming soon to our area sponsored by atheist groups. One will be posted along I-35 down to Fort Worth and the other around Loop 12 in Dallas. They will be pictures of sky with the words written something like, "Don't believe in God? You are not alone."

I imagine it will just divide up the 'sides' to shout at each other about who is right; to escalate the argument about the existence of God. I think it is interesting that it comes at Easter time. Jesus willingly gave up his life for us. He, himself, broke the LAW several times in scripture because it was LOVE for us that took higher calling than obeying the LAW.

I have no doubt that many of the atheists have been of a religious persuasion at some time and were 'turned off' by the legalism that all religions have, to a certain degree. Their books tell in black and white what rules must be obeyed to be 'good.' I know many Christians that have been wounded by rules and judgments accord to church or religious doctrines. I have ministered to a good number to not throw God out with the bath of whatever denomination threw them away because of not following certain rules. You can't do this, you must do that; if you don't or won't, then hit the road. You are bad, evil, stupid, disobedient, not good enough to be one of us. You must do it our way or the highway. Shunning, shaming, and yelling are alive and well in the Christian churches. Yet those actions do not change peoples' hearts, except perhaps to harden them. I believe that only Love can soften them, and open them up to receive a relationship with God. Only a heart drawn to God, even as it runs away from Him, will get these results.

The fact is, not one of us is good enough. Frankly, I would rather become more like Jesus than get an A+ on a rules test. WORKS does not, nor will it ever, clean us up. GRACE does that. GOD GIVEN GRACE. He knitted each one of us in our mothers' wombs with the ability and free will to reject our maker. We were made from dust, and God is the very Ground of our Hope.

I ask you to pray with me forr those folks on both 'sides' of the billboard argument, that many will be 'turned on' again not by hearing scriptures and rules shouted across the lines; but by awesome, personal manifestations and encounters of God's love for each other, His children, no matter what side we are on.


The two great commandments that cover all law?
Love God and love one another.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Through the Rivers

Ah, the rain comes to parched North Texas. It has been so dry this past year, but many other springs have brought devastating floods to us. I have been a parched land, sneezing with all the pollen and unclean city air. I will go outside for a moment to let it fall on me and celebrate the cleansing waters.


When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
Isaiah 43:2

Monday, March 23, 2009

Strong Tower

The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
the righteous run to it and are safe.
Prov. 18:10


Though it was a little intimidating I made my way all the way to the top of this tower at the Grand Canyon. The views were incredible. I saw the words of the psalm on the tile that were bulit into it. It blessed my heart to know that people from all over the world who are drawn to this tower as they visit the Grand Canyon were seeing these words.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Like the Rose

This beauty in my friend's yard was just budding last week, and unfolded into its lovely full face today.


The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the rose it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
Isaiah 35:1-2

They so Quickly Pass...

LUKE 8:11

The hyacinth and tulips I stumbled upon in the last week have been stunning. They so quickly pass but are magnificent in beauty. I have no doubt that God sent me out to capture THEM to send them out to capture YOUR attention and draw you more to HIM, the author of all beauty and love.


And when the Chief Shepherd appears,
you will receive the crown of glory
that will NEVER FADE AWAY.
1 Peter 5:4

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

When I turned the corner I couldn't believe the wisteria draping the walk at the Botanic Gardens today. As I began looking closely, I could see the progress from an empty vine to a fully covered arch. The stages each were magnificent and full of hope for the next stage.

I couldn't help but think it is much like our lives. My daughter comments with some sadness how fast her children are growing and changing. I could remember when she was a baby that I would put her down to bed and the following morning she looked different to me.

How do we miss things? How do we cherish the moments? How did I get to be a baby, young girl, wife, mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother in such a short time? It seems that time flies. We will wither as the flowers do; here today and gone tomorrow. The key for me is to try to be fully present with God each day and be grateful for the stages of life. Jump into life and swim deep! Breathe, rejoice, bloom! Take notice, for you will not pass this way again.


The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God stands forever.
Isaiah 40:8

Monday, March 16, 2009

"B" stands for...

"B" stands for BEE on a BLUEBONNET


BAA from a BABY


I worked for a couple hours this morning, then headed out to photograph the lamb I saw on the way to church yesterday morning. I also remembered another yard that had bluebonnets, so stopped by to see this bee feasting. Then I came home to bake bread, make potato salad, and thaw out beef patties for the grill.

Even though my eyes are suffering from the pollens, it is great to get outside on this beautiful day, but also have the balance of getting some work done and something planned for dinner.

Oh yeah, "B" stands for BALANCE. I don't have great stores of it, but it does come to visit occasionally, with God's help and my ears listening to directions. Pray, work, play: all important in a day!


Acknowledge him in all ways and he will direct your path.


These peach blossoms in Frannie's backyard were such stunners! I was so happy to see them survive the latest cold snap. The succulent taste of the peach is in the back of my mind as I photograph the beautiful color of these blossoms. A bad peach, dry and flavorless, is such a disappointment. But the first bite into a sweet, juicy peach is one of the delights of this life.

I still remember tasting a peach from Colorado on a corner where a vendor was giving away half a peach to anyone who walked by. He knew that one taste was all it took to sell a whole lug. We bought before the juice was dry on our faces. I canned the ones we did not eat fresh, and we enjoyed peach cobbler all winter.

A hot spicy cobbler topped with real vanilla ice cream has got to be my favorite fruit dessert. It is one of those dishes that makes you salivate just thinking about it. Aren't you glad God made peaches?

Yes, a good peach; anticipation!


Taste and see that the Lord is good!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Out on a Limb

Here's Mr. Cardinal out on a limb
looking at me while I'm looking at him!

Don't you just love that we not only get to have relationship with people, but with all God's creatures?

All creatures great and small;
the good Lord made them all.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

I found beautiful strawberries at Sam's this morning that I thought I would cut up for strawberry shortcake. But having washed them, I could not bear to cut them up. Plan B was to spread them with melted chocolate.

My question to you is: Would you choose 1 giant berry, 8 huge berries, or 20 large berries for an afternoon snack?
(I chose the single giant berry.)


O taste and see
that the Lord is good!
Ps. 34:8

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Beauty Unfolding

My former neighbor left me a phone message that the bluebonnets and roses were going through lots of changes, and that I needed to come over to see the progress. I was amazed that the plants I had seen on Sunday were totally different in four days. The first bud had been the size of my fingernail. Now it stretched to three inches and showed its promise of blue. The second bluebonnet was only half the size as you can see in March 7 and 8 postings. The rose now unfolding was a tight bug with no color showing. Amazing evidence of beauty unfolding.

Sometimes we can see more in others or in nature of beauty unfolding than we can in ourselves. Recently I have been so blessed by seeing how much my older daughter is changing through her marriage, and now expecting her first child. I see new strength, happiness, calmness, physical and spiritual growth. I am so grateful that all our growth does not have to come through suffering. Sometimes the showers that bring new growth are gentle, soaking, merciful rains that coax us to burst through the hard soil and reach for the sun. They drench us with God's mercy and we respond gratefully to his gift of peace. When we grab hold of that tiny reed that is the hand of God, we cannot help but know our gift of faith has made us a God chaser.


He has made everything
beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity
in the hearts of men...
Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

When life gives you lemons...

We've all heard the advice to make lemonade when life has given you lemons. My adjunct is... when Texas gives you a cold and rainy day, make a spice cake to have in front of a fire after a nice dinner with your husband.

We have been waiting forever to get some rain. We so desperately need it because of the drought. Once it finally comes I hear complaining on all sides today about how cold it is, and how dismal the weather is, and how the traffic is wacky on wet roads, and how...well, you get the picture. It is easy for me to catch the train to a depressed attitude. Time to take some action!

I have been sort of hanging with the theme of waiting. While we are waiting for something (such as, in my case, the wildflowers to bloom in Texas) we need to take some action right where we are. I have heard that happiness is not a destination, but a way of travel.

Today, while the skies were overcast and the rain was falling, it seemed a perfect time to go visit a friend who is recovering from knee surgery. Getting out of yourself and doing something for someone else is always a good way to avoid going down the road of self-pity.

When I got home I thought it might be nice to take a winter's nap. But I thought it would be BETTER to get a spice cake in the oven for desert. I juiced some carrots and apples for a healthy afternoon snack. I saved the pulp and added it to the batter, along with some raisins. The house had a glorious warm aroma of sweet spices when my husband came home. All in all, a nice way to end a rainy day.


Ye shall offer up a cake...
Numbers 15:20

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I will be with thee...

These photographs were taken from a helicopter as we flew over the Grand Canyon. The Colorado River was singing its carving song as it gushed along the rock walls. We were still quite a distance away as we looked down upon the rough waters. I could imagine the deafening sounds and roaring sprays along the curves of the ancient liquid blue rio.

No matter what rough waters we find ourselves traversing, He is with us. There is no place that we can go that He is not there also.


When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
Isaiah 43:2

Monday, March 9, 2009

Go out with Joy!

I made it up to the attic to find the two Easter bins. I brought them down into the garage and delighted in getting acquainted with all the bunnies again. My two favorites, Gisele and Henri, are rocking on the front porch while enjoying the scent of the forsythia. They spread great joy as they greet the passers by. The bear bunny is on the front door; the bunny buddies are on my dining room table, and the spring M & M's are welcoming nibbles of all the joyous pastels of spring.

I hope these pictures make you smile and bring you some joy. Carry it with you to someone else today!

For ye shall go out with joy...
Isaiah 55:12a

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Waiting a Lifetime

This rosebud becomes the rose...its lifetime a testimony to the beauty encompassed in its maturing. The rosebush is in my friend's front yard. She tells me its name is Angel Face. Beautiful!

Our own maturing comes over a lifetime, and sometimes we wait for a dream for the major part of it. But we know our testimony is grown through the suffering and strengthening we experience along the way. God does not waste anything!


God is exalted in our waiting.
Isaiah 30:18

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Wait and Pray

Yesterday I was posting pictures of bluebonnets from years gone by. I have been anxiously awaiting the first blooms here in Texas. My friend from our previous neighborhood called me this morning and beckoned me to her front yard, where her bluebonnets had just started blooming!

Sometimes I wait;
sometimes I pray.
Sometimes the answer
comes in one day!


He satisfies my desires with good things.
Psalm 103:5

Friday, March 6, 2009

Late Bloomers

I found these in Idaho in late June last year. Some roads were just becoming passable from snowfall, but this alpine area was full of bluebonnets and other lupines. In Texas we could expect to see them in late March or early April, and I have noticed Indian Paintbrush even at the end of February a few times.

I think my husband and I are of the 'late bloomer' category. My husband has totally reinvented himself in the last few years. He was overweight, and facing some medications. He made decisions to get healthy and avoid starting to take pills for some manifesting conditions. With diet and exercise he now is in running and biking competitions.

My desire to be able to travel, hike, and ski has gotten me on a similar road to weight loss and good health. I thank God for the strength to have the discipline to be renewed by Him.

It takes some of us until later in life to unfold our petals into blooms.
Wait on the Lord! The best may be yet to come!


They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength...
Isaiah 40:31 KJV

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Isaiah 40:29 NIV

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Cheerful Look

These are two of the most precious animals I have had the pleasure to befriend in my life. The cat is Y.(Yoda) 'Boo' Raley, who lives and works on Evergreen Mountain. The fox is 'Light', one of the gorgeous Colorado foxes that have allowed me to befriend and photograph them. I caught both of them in the midst of chewing, and they look like they are smiling. You can't convince me they aren't!

When I went to look for scripture I found some interesting, timely words in view of huge bonuses awarded right before companies and banks failed.

James 5:1-6 NIV
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded...You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.


We consider blessed those who have persevered...The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
James 5:11 NIV

Advice from Solomon:

Prov. 15:30

Prov. 15:15

In the midst of bad news, doom and gloom, look around for something to smile about. Make gratitude lists. Give cheerful looks and sing love songs to God. Find ways to encourage and help one another. Be generous. Here's to your physical, mental, and spiritual health by doing so! Negative attitudes are catching; so are positive ones!

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.
James 5:14 NIV

You might be delighted and surprised at who starts to sing along!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fruit of the Spirit

I have been loading up on fresh fruits and vegetables, trying to get healthier ways to satisfy my sweet tooth than processed or canned vegetables and fruit. I realized from the previous post that I had been repeating the 'fruit of the Spirit' to myself, and also meditating on the importance of being still. So what better way to capture that than a 'still life' of fruit?

...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Gal. 5:22 NIV

As just a point of trivia, when I was reading about the individual health properties of fruits I came by these interesting properties of grapefruit.

Stephen Blauer, in The Juicing Book, says that pregnant women often crave grapefruit. This is probably because the bioflavoniids and vitamin C in them give strength to capillary walls that are taxed by the fluid retention and swelling that are common during pregnancy. So now you know!
btw, I highly recommend this book! I got it at Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Four-Letter Word

W A I T , a four-letter word

Wait in line, wait in traffic, wait your turn, wait for healing, wait for the money, wait for supper, wait until it's time. Waiting and its cousin 'patience' are not easy things for me. But I know the very thing I hate sometimes produces a fruitful, good thing.

...we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God...we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit,
whom he has given us.
Romans 5:3-6 NIV


I was chasing this red flying bug around, trying not to slip on rocks or into ponds. It seemed quite large, but was so fast that I couldn't get a focus on it to decide exactly what I was seeing. The fruitless chase became very frustrating. Then I decided to just BE STILL, as though the Holy Spirit had finally gotten my attention with the loving suggestion. Then I began to notice that it periodically returned to rest on one particular plant. Aha! Instead of running around like a crazy person, focus on the plant and get the photograph as soon as it lands there again. Thank you, God! WAIT, PATIENCE, BE STILL!

That four-letter word, in practice, got me the prize!


If we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Romans 8:25 NIV