Bragging on the wonderous works of my God

Posts tagged ‘nature’

Gardens

This weekend, we had an arctic blast hit our region and it is darn cold! By noon, the high only got to 36 degrees.  I’m glad it happened on a weekend. I got to stay indoors in the toasty climate and hang out with Hallmark Man and our dog.

Speaking of dogs, my neighbors have a miniature dachshund named Zyla.  She is the most adorable little spunky thing I’ve ever seen.  I fell in love with her fast.  They just had a new baby so the dog doesn’t get much attention. What bothers me is that she is outside shivering in this cold weather.  It just breaks my heart. She doesn’t have enough fat and fur to keep her warm and when I go to the fence to pet her, she moans and shivers while I’m rubbing her neck.  Poor baby.  I take her a slice of cheese every day.  If we have steak, I’ll take her a bite.  Of course, my dog is jealous but with the electric fence, she can’t do anything about it but sit and wait until I’m done loving on Zyla.  🙂

I planted some seeds in a Jiffy planter tray today.  In case you are wondering, it’s a package of 36 round mesh covered peat that you can plant seeds in indoors for about 6 to 8 weeks to get the seedlings started then you can transplant them outside when they are a decent size.  It gives them a fighting chance anyway.  I purchased a lot of seeds last week but only 3 of them you can plant in February.  I planted 3 rows of broccoli, one of bell pepper and one of banana pepper. Next month, I plan on adding another tray of tomatoes, cilantro, chives and cucumbers.  I totally forgot about squash until Hallmark Man asked me about them. Guess I’ll be adding those plus parsley on my next shopping trip.

You would think I had gardening in my blood because my grandparents were avid gardeners.  I remember going to their house and picking okra, eggplant, and digging potatoes.  My Mom planted buckets of tomatoes but living in the city, she didn’t have much of a fighting chance against the squirrels and not a lot of room.

I did try gardening when we lived in Rincon but the soil on that property was horrible. There was no shade and even adding manure didn’t help.  I think we got two cucumbers.  The watermelon didn’t make it past softball size before they rotted.  From what I was told, the housing development was on what used to be a pasture.  You’d think it would be rich in cow manure but I guess not.

We are going to try raised beds this year.  I may have problems with deer, rabbits and squirrels. The rabbits are currently grazing on my day lily that is trying to come back.  Maybe the rabbit poop will help enrich the soil around the plants.

One thing I have to remind myself of is not to baby the plants to death. I tend to do that.  I really love fresh veggies so I am hoping to add onions to that garden and maybe some lettuce.  It will be a learning experience and, hopefully, a delicious one!

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Hold On Tight!

Do you ever feel like you are flying by the seat of your pants and life is just nuts and you wonder when you are going to land?  Last week was just that nuts for me.  It seemed like the longest week of my life but it was so busy!

God has just been so merciful and gracious, in spite of my blunders.  I love that about Him! 

As some of you may or may not know, we are upside down in a monstrous mortgage that we cannot pay.  We realized that we were in a sinking ship and after much prayer….and I mean MUCH prayer…to the point that  I sometimes felt like God was sighing as I repeatedly came to Him for an answer or to just lay out what was on my heart, we knew we had to give up our home.  I had so many “what ifs” going on and “how?” and all sorts of questions imaginable.  But another thing about God that I love is that He is so patient and He remembers that we are but dust and understands that as Beth Moore put it, “it is scary to be us.”  We don’t know everything like He does.  Trusting in blind faith is hard only when you aren’t sure the path you are taking is the right one. That’s the problem I was having. 

We had looked around at a few rentals and I was so discouraged by what I saw.  One day I had lunch with a friend from church and she said, “Why don’t you rent Jason’s house? He hasn’t been able to sell it for a year.”  Jason was our former youth minister who took a position in another state.  With the housing market being the way it is, his house was just sitting.  So I called him and offered what we could afford to pay monthly.  He said he hadn’t really considered renting it but it was an idea he would run by his wife.  Long story short, we came to an agreement.  It happened to be just as his current listing for sale was ending and no prospects in sight.  I believe all of this was God’s timing, for both of us.  He was paying two mortgages and we were paying a super-steep one.

This house is a little smaller than the one we were in but I love everything about it.  You know the Scripture in Psalms that says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart?” I know that to be so true!  Indulge me for a moment to share how He has done just that!! 

Our house that we owned faced east and west. Everytime the wind blew, we didn’t get it coming inside.  It was rare for their to be an east/west wind. It always seemed to come north/south.  It used to frustrate me so bad when I wanted the wind and fresh air to flow through the house.  But this house we are renting faces north/south. I can open my windows and get a wonderful breeze!  I know some of you are probably rolling your eyes right now. My teens would definitely do that.  But this is another thing I love about God, if it matters to me, it matters to Him! 

When Louis and I got married back in 1986, we moved to a neighborhood where we were on the main road.  Cars at all hours of the night driving by.  I didn’t want that again.  But, the house we moved into was the same.  It wasn’t bad until the last couple of years.  Boom-boom boxes from cars coming by at 10-11 o’clock at night drove me nuts.  Car lights shining in the windows because of  the way the street turned.  People tossing their trash into our yard.  I left Savannah to get away from that and here we were right back in the mess.  The rental is off the beaten path.  A single driveway leads to our house and our neighbor’s.  It is so quiet out here.  I can see the stars! No blinding lights from the neighbor’s big halogen lights!  No trains going by at all hours of the night either.  I just love it!!

 There is a chain of convenience stores in our area that I just love. They are clean and have amazing food and their chewy ice can’t be beat. Everytime I go near a Parkers, I go in it.  I have fussed about them not coming to Rincon—even sent them an email. They are everywhere else so why not there??  Well, we are now less than 5 minutes from one.  WooHoo!  While we were in the process of moving, and obviously too tired to cook, we have been eating there. The macaroni and cheese is homemade and the fried chicken is delicious!  I think I’m going to turn into a fried chicken, I’ve eaten that so much in the past week.  God is so good!

I fell in love with Effingham county mainly because of the ruralness of it.  The northern part has farms and when I drive past those, I would almost veer off the road because I was too busy enjoying God’s creation:  cows, goats, sheep, donkeys, pigs, horses…I just love it.  You know what is funny?  If we had been looking for a house to buy, I more than likely would have never considered where we are now.  But God, in His sovereignty, knew exactly what I loved and even though “this world is not my home,”  He gave us a wonderful place to live on this planet until our time on earth is done. 

Last week was moving week for us.  I rented the U-haul and about that time, my husband’s work picked up so much that he couldn’t take off.  My son was working night shift.  It was raining.  What a crazy time.  I had to be the motivating factor in getting it all done.  My husband seemed to think we could take our time and move a little at the time.  It would be OK if we lived just around the corner but it was a 25 mile round trip and gas is not cheap.  We have experienced challenges during this and it just seemed like we were overwhelmed but the Lord got us through it.  My van was wrecked  (my son’s fiance was coming to pick me up from one house to the next and not knowing where she was, ran the van over a stump and ripped off the spare and disconnected the a/c hoses from the back) and our refrigerator burned out (ice maker was smoking and kicked the breakers), thank the Lord we had another one. Inspite of all of the obstacles, bruises and soreness…we are still here, Praise God! 

I’m telling ya, life is a wild ride.  God is never boring. So hold on tight and enjoy every moment!

Overanalyze it?

Do you find yourself overanalyzing things?  I do.  Sometimes that’s a good thing and other times, it is just wasted energy. 

The other day as I walked out of a room and back into it, my dog wagged her tail as if I had been gone a long time. She was happy to see me.  It made me think about how God sees us.  I heard a pastor one time say that when we wake up, God is delighted to see us.  He loves us so much that He wants to spend time with us.  Some people are going to take this wrong but let me preface this by saying that the things God created gave us glimpses of His glory and I’m using this as that.  I am not saying that God is like a dog.  I am saying to open your mind and see Him as the loving God that He truly is.

No matter how bad I feel, no matter how bad I look, no matter how bad my breath is…my dog loves me.  She doesn’t care if my hair is messy or if I am wearing make-up. She doesn’t seem to notice. She wags her tail happily as I come into the room and licks my face whenever she can get to it.  I accept that love without question.  Do we accept the agape love from God that He so freely gives us as easily as we do from one of our pets?

How many of us are “hiding” in shame from God because of who we are inside?  Do you realize you cannot “hide” from God?  He knows every intimate detail of your life.  HE created it! He sees everything you do in secret.  He knows your inmost thoughts.  Yet, in spite of all of that, He loves you anyway.  It has NOTHING to do with what you have or haven’t done.  It is who HE is.  He IS love.  He cannot deny Himself. 

He loved us so much that He died a horrible death to redeem us back from sin. 

How many times have you been told “God loves you” and you blew it off?  The love that we share with another soul on this planet pales in comparison to how He feels about you and me.  If we were the only one on this planet, He would have died for us.  He loves us that much.  LET Him love you. I was born and raised in a Christian home.  But it wasn’t until I went through Henry Blackaby’s “Experiencing God” that I realized that I was not “letting” God love me.  I remember when the light bulb went off in my mind, I just cried.  I took the wall to my heart down.  It is a shame and totally about pride when you don’t think you are good enough. God hates pride.

Look at the intricate way you are put together.  Do you really think that happened by chance?  Look at creation and how it works together and has been going and keeps going every day.  The sun doesn’t move out of place.  We have just the right amount of oxygen in our atmosphere not to kill us.  Our God is an awesome God.  He is everywhere all at once. 

Have you ever sat and just studied a cat?  The way the fur grows, all of the colors, how some fur stops at a certain length, how their heads almost do a one-eighty degree turn, the sandpaper tongue…yet you will not find two exactly alike. You will never find two snowflakes alike or two leaves.  Have you ever seen a classroom full of kids draw? Nobody draws the same thing.  Each person is individually created and designed purposefully by God.  God has an amazing, indescribable, unfathomable imagination. 

Sometimes I think about all of the people since the beginning of time that have been created and wonder how He could love and want a relationship with that many people.  My finite mind cannot comprehend some of the great truths of Scripture. 

We see glimpses of God in everything on this earth.  He has given us emotions, just as He has, but only a taste.  We were not given a full dose because we cannot handle it.  One day when we are gone from earth and are living with the Lord, we’ll see everything in the spiritual realm as it truly is.  One TV commercial that comes to mind as an analogy is about an allergy medication.  The screen is not really clear.  It has a film over it.  When you take that medication, the film disappears and you see brilliant colors and everything so clearly.  Even the apostle Paul says that right now we see in a mirror dimly but one day we will see Him just as He is and we will be like Him. 

I spend a lot of time lost in thought pondering the Word and the wonder of God.  It is sometimes during those quiet moments that He gives me a glimpse of Himself.  I love it when He does that!  As a child of God, I think it is OK to overanalyze things.  God is very deep.  He said in His Word that we will find Him when we seek Him with all of our heart.  Are you seeking God today?

Religion

A few days ago, I was riding with a group on a tour bus viewing various new construction homes in our area.  Somehow the conversation turned to each person’s religious actions and beliefs.

One woman stated that she liked going to the Lutheran church because she knew exactly what was expected of her and what “she was supposed to do.”  Exactly.  Religion is about YOU doing something.  It is man-made.

Pride keeps us from accepting a free gift or help from anybody so religion was created to help us “feel better” about working toward Heaven.

What God has given us is a GIFT.  You cannot earn your way to Heaven…period. 

It amazes me when I listen to others talk about church.  Catholics have their rituals and they are comfortable doing this weekly.  Does it edify anybody?  Does it change lives for the better?  I don’t think so.  If you knew exactly what you were going to do every moment of every service, what is the point in going?

I’m not saying one “religion” is better than the other.  Far from it.  I am saying that religion is not made by God.  He gave us freedom through Jesus Christ and His death, burial and resurrection.  All we have to do is believe.  Wow…too simple?

OK.  If somebody hands you a gift, do you offer to pay for it?  No.  In order to get the gift, what do you have to do?  Receive it.  No strings attached.  It is humbling? Yes.  Do you have to knock your pride out of the way? Absolutely.

That is one of the reasons why God hates pride.  Man can do nothing without Him. 

Jesus died to set us free.  Free from the confines of man’s made up rules.  Freedom from legalism.  He’s not saying go hog-wild and do what you please.  But nowhere in the Bible does it teach us to pray to Mary.  She was human, just like you and me.   Nowhere in Scripture does it say we have to ride bicycles or live in poverty or take vows of celibacy. 

Each of us, as we are saved by believing in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, to save us from our sins, are given a gift of the Holy Spirit.  This enables us to have a discerning spirit to know what is right and what is wrong.  For some, having a glass of wine is ok. They do not take it to extremes or get drunk or become alcoholics.  Each of us are different.  But, we also shouldn’t cause others to stumble in their walk with the Lord.  We shouldn’t misrepresent Him or tarnish His name.

Our purpose on this earth is to glorify Him and to bring others to Him.  Our rewards are in Heaven.  I, for one, am looking forward to the Rapture of the saints.  Anytime I get frustrated about the world in which we live, I start singing that song, “This world is not my home….I’m just a passin’ through…my treasures are laid up…somewhere beyond the blue…the angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door…no I don’t feel at home in this world anymore.” 

There is beauty in this world but none can compare to what awaits those who have accepted Christ as Savior.  I love taking photos of nature.  It just brings me such joy to study the mind of my Creator.  I cannot wait to meet Him.  I know this:  I am going to hug Jesus for what He’s done for me.  I am in awe of Him.  He’s my best friend and I cannot imagine living without Him. 

To God be the glory, great things He has done! So loved He the world that He gave us His Son.  Thank you, Father!

Waiting…

I love the way the Lord speaks to me through nature.  He doesn’t audibly speak, but His message is loud and clear.  He loves me and He loves YOU.  I can have a bad day or feel down and I can go outside and He has created something beautiful and I see it for the first time and it just makes me smile every time. 

I’ll never forget the time I was mowing and I was down in a pit mentally and emotionally and could not see daylight.  I got near the fenceline and there was this neon tropical orange flower blooming.  I didn’t plant it. Somehow a seed made its way over there and grew.  I knew it was not wild purslane because that had little tiny pink flowers and they were everywhere in my yard.  This was portulaca and it was gorgeous.  My heart soared and I smiled.  Simple things like that give me joy because my Heavenly Father created them and He does an awesome job!

Look around you. The beauty of the sky. The graceful flutter of a butterfly.  All creation sings His glory.  Have you ever studied the details of a spider?  or the beautiful detail of a cat’s markings?  My Father has an awesome imagination!

My kids call me a “tree hugger” because I enjoy nature so much. What they don’t see or understand is that nature puts me in awe of the Creator Himself. I can’t wait to meet Him!

I spend countless hours in the yard, watching nature and talking to the Father.   It’s something that I do to remind myself that He is still in control and life goes on no matter what is happening in our lives.  When you are waiting on an answer from Him, what do you do?

I don’t know where He’s leading me but I do know that each day is a fresh start.  Spend time in the Word and in prayer to align your heart with His and you are off to a great start.  You will need every bit of help you can get from Him as the day progresses.  Sometimes things get tough and He can guide you through it.  We are only promised today. That is all we can count on.  Today is a gift. 

There is a popular song that asks us, “if today were your last day…”  how would you use it?  Would you spend time with family and friends?  Are you making regrets?  My dad used to tell me never do anything you’ll regret.  Live wisely. 

How can you make the most of your time while you are waiting on the Lord? 

Start each day with Him. Ask His direction in each aspect of your day. Are you doing something He would be pleased with?  How are your responses to others?  Are they short and snappy or thoughtful and considerate?

One thing that always amazes me is how Jesus treated others when He was on this earth.  Even knowing how brutally He would be tortured and then die for us, He still cared for others.  On the cross,  He made sure that His mother was taken care of when He told John, “Behold your mother.”  The thief on the cross next to Him believed and Jesus told him, “Today you will be with Me in paradise.”  

I don’t know about you, but if I have something coming up that I know is going to be painful and I’m dreading it, I am not very pleasant to be around.  I am too consumed with worry and dread. 

Waiting, worrying and wondering can cause us to be  so preoccupied that we miss the small things and the daily gifts that God sends our way to remind us that He is sovereign and in control and nothing happens without His knowledge or consent. 

Take your life one day at the time and while you’re waiting on the Lord, do what you know you should do.  Do your best and leave the results up to God.  When the time is right, you’ll have your answer but only when the time is right.  It’s not our timing but God’s providence.  His timing is always perfect.  When He’s completed a good work in you, you will be able to look back and see His hand on your life.  He may have been protecting you from something or preparing something for you.  You may need extra training before you are ready for what He has for you. 

Think about Moses and David.  Moses spent 40 years in the wilderness being “untrained” as an Egyptian Prince before he was ready to be used of God.  David spent 14 years running from King Saul before he was ready to be king.  During those times, he was heavy hearted.  Read some of his Psalms and you’ll see where he poured his heart out to God.  The Bible doesn’t share what was going through every patriarch’s mind but we did get to see the heart of David, whom was said of God, “He is a man after My own heart.”  David was honest with God.  He didn’t try to be brave when he was hurting.  God knows how we really feel and He wants a relationship with us.  How can you have a relationship when you are not completely honest? 

The time that David spent running from Saul, prepared him for warfare.  He became an expert warrior, which helped him when he finally became Israel’s king. 

What does God have planned for you or me? Only He knows.  We just have to take it one day at the time.  When you are down, look to what the Creator created.

Every morning and evening, the Canadian Geese fly past my house coming and going to their daily activities.  I love to watch them fly in the “V” formation and they chatter as they go past.  They reside at the pond near the back of our neighborhood.  In the morning, they fly out to look for food and then come back at dusk.  It just fascinates me how God created such amazing birds.  It doesn’t take much to excite me when it comes to our Heavenly Father.  He is my hope and joy in this dismal world. 

Stay focused on Him and be blessed in the Lord!

 

Be blessed in the Lord!

Faith in Action

A couple of months ago, I was headed out to mow the lawn on a Sunday afternoon.  We had no money and a little gas left in the mower. Typically, it took the entire tank to cut the back and it was down to about 3/4.  I just wanted to get the back yard cut.  I prayed…hard.  Lord, please let this gas stretch and allow me to finish cutting just the back.  The back yard was the biggest part and I HATE looking out and seeing partially cut grass. It’s just one of those things that drives me nuts.  Maybe part of my OCD…who knows.  I make sure all the nooks and crannies are mowed, too.  When my kids cut it, they leave so much of that unfinished, so I just would prefer to do it myself.  As I got toward the last 1/3 of the yard, I prayed harder…Please, Lord, please!  I kept going until I was finished.  I whispered, “Thank you, Lord!” and then I opened up the cap to the gas tank. It was almost bone dry.  Only God could produce a miracle like that.  I knew it was a miracle.  I went inside and sat down and just cried. 

I cried because I really realized that God loved me enough to  help me in that seemingly small situation.  It was a huge deal to me.  I’ve mowed the grass enough to know that it takes a full tank to finish the back yard.  I even got the nooks and crannies done.  I was flying high.  I’ve heard Beth Moore say, “There ain’t no high like the Most High.”  She is so right.

I was so ecstatic about what the Lord had done for me that I posted it on Facebook to share with my friends.  It wasn’t long that I got a nasty reply from someone who thought that my “God” should have struck me with lightning for mowing on a Sunday and why in the world would He bother with stretching my gas.  My friends went on the defensive and the post got rather ugly.  I removed her as a friend.  She was a friend of a friend and I had no idea her background.

Have you ever noticed that when you have a victory, that Satan counter-attacks with something to knock you down?  He did with that post BUT the Lord can also turn that around.  He tells us that “all things” work together for good.  The lady emailed me and explained her upbringing and asked me a lot of questions about my faith.  I had the chance to share the Gospel with her. 

You know, people watch us very closely and they expect Christians to behave a certain way.  We may not always fit into that mold but we should make the most of every situation so we can share Christ with others.

Be blessed in the Lord!

dew covered spider web


dew covered spider web

Originally uploaded by sheilabragg

The details that the Lord shows in His handiwork are so awesome.

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