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Friday, July 7, 2017

Lock the Gates

Lock the Gates

Garden gate 

I have had a hard time writing anything lately, so a friend brought a writer friend Cyndy Crowner, a writer's coach,  to stay at our home for a few days in hopes of encouraging me and get me back on track. 

She made some suggestions such as:
  • Just write anything to get you started. (I could hardly even do that!)
  • Overcome obstacles by praying for safety and diligence.
  •  Plan what is important and what is not.
  • Have someone help with chores.
  • Know that God is sovereign and that He allows all things for His purposes.
  • Clear your desk so you can write without distractions.
As we walked out into the garden after breakfast, we heard the crashing and banging of a huge buck who must have found an open garden gate.  When he saw us, he charged full speed forward tearing a sized hole in the fence. It was disturbing.

Antler sized hole in the fence where buck escaped 

After our guests left, I went up to my office to clear my desk of everything except my Bible, computer, lamp, jump drives. As I cleared the pile of long forgotten papers, this came to the surface: 

“Lock the gates so nothing will get in to distract from writing.”

Lord, I thank you for your sovereignty that visually keeps me on track.
Thank you all for praying.

The sovereign LORD is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” Habakkuk 3:17-19

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Unfruitfulness exposed

Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Mark 4:7 NIV

 The thistle seed caught by the wind on our land has no problem finding a bare spot where it can sprout and bear fruit.  I watch the fluff that bears the seed winging its way in the wind over the meadow and am reminded of my so called "thistles" that land on my bare ground choking out what God is calling me to do me.
Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. Mark 4:19 NKJV
Bare ground distractions when writing:
  •  my anxieties about writing
  •  the cares and concerns of the day.  
  •  trips to the refrigerator looking for something to munch on.  
  •  phone calls or knocks on the door.
  •  my own mind caught up in unfocused thought.
  • Don't leave any bare ground. Have a place, time and purpose to write
  • Someone else can help me remove the thistles. Ask people to hold me accountable.
  • Pray for God's wisdom and direction to slow down obligations, set schedules, and pray for daily wisdom and stamina.
  • Ask people to help pray for guidance, wisdom and protection to write the book. God help me  remove the "thistles" so there may be  fruit to this endeavor.
Where are the 'thistles' in your life and the bare ground where they take root?
What will you plant in that bare ground to keep the 'thistles' out?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Keep Pressing On

I stopped blogging, writing, and gave up hope of ever publishing a book that I thought God called me to write.  He had been encouraging me for over 40 years. Did He give up on me because of my disobedience?  So I asked Him if He was willing, would He help me again. The next week our Pastor encouraged us to follow up on what God has been saying to each of us, " Go the next step."

So the following weekend I learned of and attended the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal Conference in Bellevue Washington, at Westminster Chapel, a book proposal in hand to find some encouragement once again.

"We don't do devotionals," was the answer from major publishers.  It seemed that everywhere I went there was a block. My mind stopped working even though I was asking God for guidance. I drove home discouraged. What are you trying to show me Lord?
Sulking Tree Peony in the Rain the Day after I Returned

The next day, while walking in the garden, I thought I heard the LORD say to me:
  • Look up at the clematis' glory instead of the wilted peony
  • I encourage you to engage more with those around you.
  • I, God, put people beside you so you can have My compassion not your agenda.
  • I put the blocks there to steer you in a different direction. 

A day later, the Lord woke me up at 3:00 am and encouraged me to open the folder from the conference. and read again my notes from the main speaker was Bill Meyers : 

In dark moments of the soul, some get stuck on the wrong side of the cross where Jesus sees them powerful and He paid for it. Stop beating yourself for what Jesus paid for....Get over yourself!...God thinks as highly of failure as success. Keep abiding, and leaning into what He calls. ...Let God drive. You stay in the car!...Excuses are lies rapped in reason.  When God calls, always say 'Yes'... to believe and obey is our responsibility.
           The next day of encouragement
Early that morning I went through the flyers from the conference packet and found a publishing company, Redemption Press, Athena Dean Holtz, publisher.  That same morning a friend who was praying for me called to see how the conference went. She then mentioned Athena on KCIS AM 630 Fridays 1 pm, and that I might contact her. I followed through and she said "send me your stuff".  It is amazing how you work Lord. I am preparing my proposal again to hopefully ship out tomorrow.

No matter what, "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14

When obstacles get in the way, press on, pray, open your eyes, reach out.
Tell me your obstacles so I can pray for you?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Preparing for the Storm

The forecast of severe storm warnings with 60-100 mph gusts, remnants of a typhoon off Japan, caused us to scurry and put away all that would be damaged from the wind.

Crab apple in the orchard
We picked a bushel to lighten branches and
make future crab apple jelly.

We moved the echeveria from the sundeck to the sun room,
 along with benches, chairs, pots and plants.

The sun porch before the storm

   More brought into the sun room
We prepared and prayed that the storm would be calmed.

There is a new and bigger storm brewing in this nation. Our country seems to forget we are one nation under God." Let us humble ourselves, confess our sins, pray, seek God's face, turn from our wicked ways, then God promises He will forgive and heal our land.*
* 2 Chronicles 7:14   We seek God with all our heart and pray he calms the storms in our world and nation.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Queen of the Night Bloom

 Night Blooming Cereus Epiphyllum oxypetalum “Queen of the Night”
“Night Blooming Series – Bermuda

Epiphyllum oxypetalum (Dutchman's pipe cactus or queen of the night) is a species of cactus and one of the most cultivated species in the genus. E. oxypetalum blooms rarely and only at night and the flower wilts before dawn. Though it is sometimes referred to as a nightblooming cereus, it is not closely related to any of the species in the tribe Cereeae, such as Selenicereus, that are more commonly known as nightblooming cereus. All Cereus bloom at night and are terrestrial plants; all Epiphyllum are epiphytic.  From wikipedia
Familiarity with a night blooming plant began as a child, while searching through old postcards in a box in the attic. We lived in our great grandmother’s home, although I never knew her and she died before I was born. Her belongings were in the attic and among the postcards of the West Indies and Bermuda where she traveled and lived, were pictures of night blooming flowers. I was fascinated.
Long forgotten fascination grew with the discovery and purchase of the above postcard. Bermuda was a stopping off place for great grandmother’s travel to the West Indies.  

When visiting a friend recently, she told me a story of her plant, given to her by a woman at her table where she ate each night. Some man brought back a start from the tropics and passed it on when it became too big,  The woman at my friend’s table had it in a one inch thick tin pie plate with hardly any soil and wanted to get rid of it.  My friend took it, planted it with good soil in a beautiful pot and it  grew and prospered so much, like Jack in the Beanstalk, it reached the ceiling. So when I visited, she asked me if I would take it.   “It is the strangest plant! You get a straight stick and watch it grow until it reaches the ceiling”
So we took it and put it in our greenhouse, another friend helped pot it, tie it up, and care for it and it thrived!
and several months later:

 First was a single bud August 19, then a bloom and more buds September 13

Then on September 14, 2016

Epiphyllum oxypetalum blossoms in greenhouse. Night bloom with light on
 photos by Neil W Bryant
What an amazing blessing!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

St Valentine's Day

Happy St. Valentine's Day  Click on the underlined and you will see a post from six years ago.

Today, in organizing photos, I found this photo:

1997 Hooked pillow for our son and wife

A great reminder for us all:
Love is Kind, Selfless, True, Patient, Loyal, Hopeful, Humble, Trusting, Supportive, Forever.
 I Corinthians 13

Friday, July 3, 2015

Puppies and Plants in Dry Garden

We have been so busy with puppies that we barely had time to take pictures of plants. 
Here they are in the potager heading for the shed where the fertilizer is kept! You can tell we are not used to puppies!

Puppies in the Potager
Since it hasn't rained for months, we spend a lot of time watering as well.  As you can see the garden is way ahead of itself for this time of year.

Crocosmia Lucifer and butterfly in the Lavendula angustifolia
 Don't think we have ever had so many swallowtail butterflies.

Day lilies and butterfly
Day lily border with knifophia
  Most of the garden is a "dry" garden tolerating lack of water.

Calendua and Papaver somniferum in Potager

Yucca in blossom near cottage

Puppies in a cage under the cedar tree

As the drought continues we trust the Lord to give us wisdom and priorities in all things:
  • How to care for those we are in charge of, (puppies)
  • How to care for the garden when water becomes scarce
  • Our daily walk so that we might bear much fruit.  
“Blessed is the person who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that send out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”  Jeremiah 17:7,8