Thursday, May 27, 2010

When Opportunity Knocks!

“Will that be all, Madame’?”

“Yes, thank you. I-I mean ‘merci beaucoup’.”

The woman smiled and disappeared behind the door leaving me in awkward stillness.

I stood with legs locked in the center of the room fearing any sudden movement may shake me out of my dream, and I’d find myself back in California.

“My Lord in Heaven. I can’t believe I’m really here,” I muttered letting my purse drop to the chair. Fatigued and trembling from my 11-hour plane ride, I anticipated the view from my 16-story window, excited about my first glimpse of a foreign city. The glass stretched from floor to ceiling offering a bird’s-eye view of the entire Paris skyline. My breath stilled in my throat and my eyes filled with tears. I couldn’t consume it all fast enough.

I watched people below on the sidewalk, bundled in heavy coats and scarves, rushing around like little ants beneath umbrellas; some darting through the busy streets zipping between quick little cars the size of dishwashers! Across the way lie the metro track, and beyond that structures in various forms of architecture sat half-hidden in a shroud of low clouds.

No, this isn’t the beginning of some fiction novel – the “protagonist” isn’t going to jump from that 16th-story window, nor will there be any mysterious package left outside her door….hmm, good idea, though…..

This is about my first-hand experience with stepping way outside of my realm of possibilities and saying “yes” to my husband’s offer to fly all by myself and meet him in a place completely foreign to me.

Having grown up in a mountain community with dogs, horses and small-town ways, finding myself staring from the window of a Paris Marriott was only something I’d read about.

Was it a little scary?

Of course.

Am I glad I took the trip?

Absolutely!

Would I do it again?

Consider me packed and ready to go!

We never know what God has planned for us. Sometimes the greatest blessings are presented to us but we allow fear to hold us back and we miss out.

If I’d have given in to fear back in December 2008, I would have missed out on 4-5 wonderful days alone with my husband in Paris celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary! That trip has taught me to not be so reluctant when opportunity knocks…..I just wish it would knock a little more often because I can’t wait to go back!

Monday, May 24, 2010

It's a New Day!

Yay! Thank you God for a brand new day! Just think of the possibilities - of the people you'll meet today - think of the lives you could touch! Think of the good you can do and the prayers you can pray! THIS is the day the LORD has made!! Woo-Hoo!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

It's been a busy but good week.  I am now a contributing writer for 'The Cypress Times"!  Woo-Hoo!  It's an online Christian newspaper.  I'm so excited for the opportunity to share my faith and my thoughts with a whole new audience.  So far, they've posted 5 articles of mine, though I do wish they would have spread them out over the next few weeks, but oh well:)  If you'd like to check a couple of them out, here's the link(s:
http://www.thecypresstimes.com/article/Faith/Devotional/SUPPORTING_VINES/30305
and
http://www.thecypresstimes.com/article/Home_Garden/Gardening/HOW_TO_CREATE_A_SERENITY_GARDEN/30307

Also found out that my son will be receiving an award of some sort in 2 weeks!  I'm sure it's band related, and for that, I'm both excited and proud.

I have MUCH to do in the way of gardening and general house cleaning.  I've let things slide for whatever reason, and the weeds are calling.  But first, I must enjoy this great cup of coffee:)

Be blessed today!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Volunteer Plants

I think it speaks volumes of a gardener who allows random re-seeding to take place in their gardens. The result is a carefree scattering of plants displaying their colors and characteristics wherever they please in no particular design. The look is a little more unkempt, sometimes even shaggy or untidy, and doesn’t portray that well-thought-out look of common city plantings.


A volunteer foxglove that pokes its head above clumps of columbine, or a tall delphinium that takes root right next to a walkway literally produces a bit of head scratching and raised eyebrows. Who would plant that there? We ask ourselves.

Generally, I find that gardeners who foster this approach to their outdoor spaces are hospitable folks ready and willing to accommodate others whenever necessary. They go with the natural flow of things at the risk of nonconformity appreciating the unexpected beauty taking place all around them.

I have to wonder if we, as individuals, would be so willing to ride the wind and then grow and flourish where we’re planted. What if God called us to leave our “mother plant” to catch the next breeze and root ourselves in unfamiliar soil? Would we be so willing to leave our elements of security as we know them? I’m not talking, necessarily about a physical move, but a dramatic change; taking on a different job, perhaps? What if we’re called to step miles away from our comfort zone by temporarily opening our home to someone who needs to get back on their feet? Perhaps it involves taking a deep breath and defying a particular fear or phobia, placing complete and total trust in God for his leading.

Maybe it’s taking a leap of faith by simply leaving behind an empty life and deciding to walk with the Lord.

Regardless, just like the seed carried on the wind determined to break free from its surrounding shell and struggle through the dirt toward sunlight, our Heavenly Father is with us every step of the way and allows us to bloom where we’re planted.

Joshua 1:9
...Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (NIV)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Drive-By Gardening

Sometimes I just don't have an hour or FOUR to play outside:(  Life gets in the way and I work 4 days a week.  BUT, I have found that taking just a few minutes to plug into my outdoor space is just enough to energize me....for a little while, anyway.

"Let's go feed the fishes," I told Willy this morning.  He's the mini-dachshund that came into my life about 2 years ago and I haven't been the same since.

So, on our way out to "feed the fishes," I paused to push the button on my outdoor stereo, previously set to my favorite classical channel.  I took a sip of coffee and noticed the impatiens looked a little droopy on the patio table, so I gave them a good drink.  In the garden I grabbed my red dead-heading bucket and a pair of clippers and tidied up the spent blooms from 4 rose bushes and a foxglove before grabbing the hose to water the 5 large hydrangeas in containers across the back of the yard.

It only took a few minutes to hit all the high points, but the brief musical interlude set my mood for the day as did the perfect cup of coffee.

It's always so nice to begin the day in the garden.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Plant Your Heart in the Garden

I just wanted to stop by and mention that this year's community garden tour was great.....well, sort of

If I might exercise my right to speak freely, may I just elaborate by saying that for me the term "garden tour" evokes visions of the proud gardener/homeowner greeting visitors with a smile and maybe a blister or two.  Perhaps with a little dirt beneath the fingernails, they usher you into the private space they've lovingly tended; the patch of dirt that bears blood, sweat and tears, as well as the results of hours bent in the sun cultivating and creating. 

The garden should reflect the gardener who sets out with determination
to grow her creativity in the fertile soil. 

Likewise, while I appreciate all the beautiful homes on this year's community tour, I longed for the handprint of the gardener, if you will.  I looked for personality.  I looked for heart (and found it in one sweet, humble garden full of well-tended raised beds).

Granted, gardening DOES take time and effort; something of which many of us struggle to acquire.  However, when we choose to hire outside sources, we miss out on the true essence of owning a "garden".

You can't put a price on the satisfaction that comes with mowing the lawn, turning the compost pit, deadheading the roses, creating complimenting color combinations, or harvesting a garden full of vegetables or finding an innovative way to bring birds and other wildlife to your space.

I try to encourage people to plant what's unique.  Plant what you love and use it in an interesting, new way.

I've heard it said that if a root ball fits in a container, it's a container plant.  So, plant a container garden. 
Plant a kitchen herb garden.  Plant a memory garden or a sanctuary garden.  Why not an all-purple garden?  Or a white garden?  Above all, plant your heart in the garden!

God designed each of us with unlimited imagination, so why not use that gift to bless Him right back?  Give the glory to God by planting and creating beautiful spaces.

The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a
sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring
whose waters never fail.
(Isaiah 58:11)

(The beautiful rose pictured above is "Flower Girl."  She lounges freely, taking up an entire corner of the garden.  Thank you to my daughter, Elise, for taking such a great picture for me.)

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