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Monday, December 28, 2009

A Gift for the New Year

Gift left in greenhouse by island friend

When an island friend came to leave a Christmas gift while we were away, the only place she could find unlocked was the greenhouse,* amongst the dirt and the mice. It reminds me of the dirty manger that God’s greatest gift ever, Jesus, was placed after being sent away from the locked inns of the time.

Where have you locked Jesus out of your life this year? What is taking the place of Him in the center of your heart or life? We unknowingly push to our life's center our previous purchases, (which keeps our homes and cars locked) our time, our money, even ourselves. Because there is no more room, we lock God's gift out as we did our friend’s gift that had to be left in the greenhouse.

What other gifts might he bring us if we open our hearts and unlock our doors today and get out of the way?
Help us in the New Year to remember to ask.

“Come into my heart Lord Jesus, come into my heart to stay.” Emily E Elliott

*Usually islanders leave at least the car unlocked (except in zucchini season)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas wishes

We're leaving the island for Christmas

Watching from the ferry, leaving cormorants and gull behind on piling

All creatures on this earth who dwell,

(birds as well)

Sing praise to Him (God with us) Emanuel

May your Christmas be filled with wonder and joy!

Joy by letting Jesus, enter fully your heart today

Make a prime space room for Him which means getting out of the way

and leaving the old me behind.

(God help us and remind )

Where does your joy come from?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Turning bad into good

Seed: Last week, I decided to bake some cookies to bring to an elderly wheelchair-bound friend. Early that morning I got this wild hair-brained idea to roll them in “Holiday Red sparkling sugar” instead of the usual white sugar, mixed with cinnamon. Along with rolling them too big so that they all ran together, I created an ugly mess.

Plant: This garden loving friend likes routine and perfection, and although wonderful, she is often set in her ways. Because of this, I contemplated throwing the cookies out to the birds or eating them ourselves, but the beautiful cut glass plate I had set aside for her could not be given empty.

Grow: As I pondered the dilemma, into my mind came the words:

  • "This is like the body of Christ, fellow believers, all imperfect, most a mess, all shapes and sizes, melded together to do God’s will on earth.”
  • “Look at the red as the blood of Jesus (Christ’s death on the cross to take on our sins and bring us back into relationship with God).Everyone has to deal individually with this.
  • “The cinnamon, the dark blotch of sin in our lives which becomes the spice of life, through Jesus’ work and life which we celebrate this Christmas."

    I mentioned this to my friend, apologizing for the unusual cookies. She understood and later in a letter wrote "The cookies are delicious and fun to eat -knowing the significance."

    Harvest: Thank you, God, for helping me make the best of all situations. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

    What difficult circumstances in your life can you turn to blessings for others?
    Let me know and I will pray for you.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Under construction

Changing blog around. Let me know what you think?

Friday, December 11, 2009

On the Ten Days of Christmas

Crammed Greenhouse
On the ten days of Christmas my true love* sent to me,
Ten days of freezing temps, plants frozen by degree.
Melianthus major barely holding on
Fatsia suffering and windmill palm
Outdoor faucets now in blanket clothes
The worm bin taken in before it froze

Fushia gardenmeister shoved in the hallway
Echeverias into the sunroom all away
Our small greenhouse stuffed to the max,
Canna, alocasia, kalanchoe, not flax

Frozen plant saucers, birds skating through
Suet hung on trees for birds too
Frozen parsley collected for the stew
With frozen lettuce what can you do?
Oh to the worm bin.

Lots of plants flat upon the ground
I hope next spring they’ll come around

If not, it may be time for a next spring revamped garden.

*Thank you Lord for reminding me that, like plants we all have a limited life. But you loved us so much more than plants, so much that you “gave your one and only son,” Jesus, whose birth we celebrate this season, “…that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Have you asked Jesus, the “Master Gardener, Lord of Lords, King of kings” into your life to guide you, keep you, protect you and care for you? Maybe it is a time for all of us to be “revamped” before we are put in the worm bin. What do you think?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Five Days of Christmas

Northern "red shafted" Flicker on frozen ground

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love* sent to me:
A flock of foraging flickers on frosty ground you see.
They woke me up that day,
So I wouldn't forget to pray.

Here outside my window are two video-captured foraging flickers.

*Thank you Lord for cheering my heart and helping me do my part.

Does God ever encourage you through birds?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


"A note from the Editors" caught my attention in Rafiki 2010 Calendar

I’ve gone off track, attempting to study social media, marketing, and improve my blog links, instead of writing the book. It has brought me into a sort of “dark night of the soul”*, without pleasure and certainly no delight to my readers. I’ve begged a few friends and family to “follow” me. Thank you to those who have. But all this is not as important as what a friend in Africa writes:

Yeen Lan 2/11/02 I am learning that what God demands of me is obedience, no matter what; single-minded obedience in faith no matter what the circumstances,no matter how unknown the outcome. It has always been this way. God is calling His people to obedience and giving them at best a glimpse of the outcome of their effort. Some think this divine pattern cruel, but I am
convinced there is a sovereign wisdom to it. Knowing how susceptible we are to success’ siren call,God does not allow us to see, and therefore glory in, what is done through us.The very nature of obedience He demands is that it be given without regard to circumstances or results.”
Yeen-Lan is Rafiki Village Director, Muiki Kenya
Last week I received the 2010 Rafiki calendar in the mail as a donor to the Rafiki Foundation. I randomly opened it to “July”, featuring Nigeria where we sponsor an orphan. The photo of a newsletter in the corner, published by the older “budding journalist” orphans, caught my attention.
“…However, it (the newsletter) is not written simply for gossip and giggles, but to enlighten,delight, and make you laugh out loud. The Roman theorist Horace, writes in his critical work Ars Poetica: “The man who combines pleasure with usefulness wins every suffrage, delighting the reader and also giving him advice.” To say it more plainly, borrowing the words of an Englishman, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All play and no work makes Jack a stupid boy.” (my Dad’s saying as well)
"Lighten up," my husband says. I do think I am too serious. The pleasure of gathering at our December jam session this Friday night will feed my soul. You can pray I will be obedient this coming week to what God is calling me to do whether it is through the soul of the dark night or pleasure and delight. Thank you for following me on this journey. Let me know how I can pray for you.

*Notes on the Dark Night of the Soul from Tozer, "I Talk Back to the Devil", p. 80-81

How long will you forget me, O Lord? Forever? How long will thou hide your face from me? Psalm 13:1 “Some of you know something of that which is called ‘the dark night of the soul.” Some of you have spiritual desire and deep longing for victory but it seems to you that your efforts to go on with God have only brought you more bumps and more testings and more discouragement. You are tempted to ask, “How long can this go on?”... Yes, there is a dark night of the soul. There are few Christians willing to go into this dark night and that is why there are so few who enter into the light. It is impossible for them ever to know the morning because they do not endure the night.”