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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cure for Darkness and Sorrow

Remaining rosebud by Melianthus Major December 23, 2012

Lo, How a Rose
Lo, how a Rose up-springing
On tender root has grown:
A Rose by prophet's singing
To all the world make known
The rose midst winter's cold
A lonely blossom bearing,
In former days foretold.

This Rose then of my story
Isaiah did proclaim
What God ordain'd in glory
By blessed Mary came.
The Child the Virgin bore,
The world's salvation bringing
Through Him for ever-more.

The Rose-bud small and tender
Gives fragrance ev'ry day.
And by It's brilliant splendor
Makes darkness pass away
True God, true Man, we pray,
Help us in ev'ry sorrow,
And guard us on our way. Unknown, 15th century German

"For God so loved the world that he gave is one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV

" I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but have the light of life." John 8:12 NIV

The rosebud appeared and stayed as I dealt with cancer surgery, a message from God.
 Have a Blessed Christmas!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fath Like Potatoes

 It has been a busy summer with not much time to write or tweet, nor sit and think. Sometimes, we just need to plant a seed and not worry about the results nor timing for what it produces. It is best to just enjoy what is brought to us each day and not worry about the present nor future.

My brother Wally came to visit a few weeks ago. He has a lot of faith, travelling alone dependent on oxygen concentrators. We watched the movie Faith Like Potatoes one night, encouraging us to have faith that God knows what is going on and has a plan, no matter what the impossible situation may be and what we don't see happening. 

The next day the nib on his portable oxygen concentrator broke. This island has a wonderful group of well trained EMT's who quickly arrived with oxygen tanks and helped us find and order a new oxygen concentrator (non portable) and more tanks which were delivered to the ferry line from Bellingham. Other islanders already waiting in the ferry line took them into their cars just in time for the ferry departure to this island and the need that evening.

 We then ordered a replacement part which could not get here in time for his departure back home, so had it sent to a place near Seattle. All the while, we were praying and trusted God for His grace to solve the problem before his trip back. There were many glitches, but always trusting that our Lord would resolve  them, which he did at the last minute.

Potatoes dug out of the ground
 
The potate critters rescued
 
"And He said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed in the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how...for the earth yields crops by itself:" Mark 4:26-28
 
I pray we can scatter the seed of prayer for our upcoming elections, that we might have faith that God who has sustained our country and given us a democracy will continue to guide us and protect us.
 
 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Recovering Eden


Rosa Eden or Pierre de Ronsard

We bought "Eden" about 10 years ago, placing it in the new long border. According to Wikpedia "The cultivar was created by Marie-Louise Meilland and introduced in France by Meilland International in 1985."
Placed at the back of the border rather than front, it soon became engulfed and neglected. It managed to struggle  until we decided to take out much of the border due to bindweed infestation. Pruned back, fertilized and watered well, it is recovering.

Aren't we always trying to recover Eden in the garden and in our lives? We want the perfect place without weeds, rot, or constant struggle. We desire the beauty yet balance in diversity and a place of optimum conditions for purposeful growth. We need to find a door that will set us free from the weeds and rot of life so we can live fully.

 "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me; he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal and to kill, and to destroy (gardens and us). I have come that you might have life more abundantly," John 10:9-10  Jesus











Sunday, July 29, 2012

Revival


Rosa Filipe “Kiftsgate” in its glory  (Photo by Cherie Christensen) July 2000
In 2007 we decided to tackle the dead-since-two-years-ago wood on the “Kiftsgate” rose at the entrance to our cottage. It is the type of rose that could engulf a house. In fact in England several cottages have disappeared under them. It has grown for years without much water, planted in a cutout of a flagstone patio at the foot of a post holding up a roofed trellis. It's small profuse July white blossoms made a canopy over our heads as we enter and leave our home. After staining the cottage and a winter storm, it began to die. One side was completely dead. On the other side were some canes at the base cutting lose from the nibbling deer and beginning to find their way up the post to the trellis again. “Now or never,” we decided to make room for the new shoots working for several days with a ladder and long-handled pruners making room for the new growth, winding it along the now bare trellis to start training the bush once again.

 
Rosa Filipe “Kiftsgate” revived July 2012
I wrote in an old blog post that I’ve thought a lot about dead wood over the years. I have a lot of it, old ways of acting, behaving especially in difficult circumstances that don't help anything new to grow. Time is ripe for freedom and a movement of the spirit here. My dead wood needs to go. It doesn't feel very good to be pruned or bear the scars, but I know that this is the only way new branches leaves, flowers can grow unobstructed and beauty returned.  This year the fruit of pruning appears. Rejoice in new life.

How are you preparing for revival? What needs to be taken away in your life that is keeping the beauty of new growth at bay?








Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday the 13th

Clover in Potager
 I don’t believe in superstitions although my mother did. She had hundreds of them, now all stuffed in a file under her name to stay there, where I don’t see them or even find them. I do remember her often and them, once in a while, but I denounced the superstitions long ago.

We could never let a pin stay on the ground. Mom went around with pins sticking into her apron top or blouse. “Find a pin and pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck.”  When I came to know the living Lord, I knew there was no such thing as “luck”, only grace and His blessings. Along with the confession of other sins in my life, the first and foremost, not depending on Him for everything, away went superstitions, among them the looking four leaf clovers and pins on the ground. Instead I started looking up for His guidance and direction and blessing and life and never looked back nor down.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thy own understanding (or superstitions). With all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Revisiting the Struggle to Write

Friday, March 7, 2008

A two week break
Heading outside

As we came back from our trip, too much else to catch up on...taxes, gardening, planting vegetables, attempting to order my life, spring cleaning, and fitting in some music, art and reading.

I reread Billy Collins poem "Advice to Writers" again.

"Even if it keeps you up all night,
wash down the walls and scrub the floor
of your study before composing a syllable.

Clean the place as if the Pope were on his way.
Spotlessness is the niece of inspiration.
The more you clean, the more brilliant
your writing will be, so do not hesitate to take
to the open fields to scour the undersides
of rocks to swab in the dark forest upper branches,
nests full of eggs.
When you find your way back home
and stow the sponges and the brushes under the sink,
you will behold in the light of dawn
the immaculate altar of your desk,
a clean surface in the middle of clean world.
From a small vase... sparkling blue, lift
a yellow pencil, the sharpest of the bouquet,
and cover pages with tiny sentences
like long rows of devoted ants
that followed you in from the woods."

from Sailing alone around the room: New and Selected Poems.

I took Billy’s advise. The reason for my increasingly poor writing is the clutter and surrounding disorder. These weeks ahead I'm starting in one corner floor to ceiling with brush and pail and vaccuum and rag. The loose wandering papers will be gathered and teathered or placed in caged files. Away with the cobwebs, away with the piles. If I happen to head out the door it might be two years* before I fnd my way back to the desk and talk to you, just so you know.
 

*Four years later I encounter the same problem, taking too long a break from writing, and catching up with anything except writing. I made the mistake of looking out the back door this morning, where the picture below was taken, reminding me of this post from 2008.

"For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out..." Romans 7:18

Praise be to God who gives us all we need to do His work for His glory. Here is good advise on writing found this week.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Once Deleted, Can't Undo

My new Ipad and deleted notes

I finally gave in to buying an Ipad. With so much travel, wishing to have my information available anywhere, my diminished eyesight and less nimble fingers (for typing) on the Droid phone, it seemed right. I immediately made use of the note app already installed on the IPad. Gathering all the scraps of paper with scribbled lists on them I entered them into Notes and threw away the scraps. How freeing, or so I thought.

As I proudly completed items on the list in Notes, backspacing to delete the items checked off, I was elated. But today, when I highlighted  an item on the list to delete and pressed delete, it deleted everything. I spent the evening trying to figure out a solution, to undo what I did but nothing worked. Gone forever.

This seems to be a theme this week. Perhaps I just need to clear the slate and start over in the scheme of things not so important. We are doing this in the long border, neglected for quite awhile, deleting the overgrown, weeds, invasives and moving temporarily what is movable. I definately don't want to "undo", bring back, what I have deleted here.
Pruned Cornus sanguineum "midwinter fire" (Red Twig Dogwood)

Devastating deletion of a just beginning human life cannot ever be undone. It leaves a dark void scar that does not heal. The creatures and plants were put on earth for us humans to manage, care for and love. Humans, the only creatures with free will to care deeply or delete, are commanded to not kill humans.
"Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." John 13:34-35
The greatest love of all is sacrifice for one another when inconvenient, embarassing or undesired.
 These related links came into my inbox this week:

1.OctoberBabyMovie
2. Video showing life from conception to birth .

The sanctity of human life once deleted can never be undone. The freeing that you desire will be only external yet a huge hole left inside.

The only way to fill the void:
"I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly." Jesus John 10:10
"I am the way, the Truth* and the life, he who follows me will not walk in darkness but have the light of life."John 14:6
"You shall know the truth* and the truth will set you free." John 8:32
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." Jesus, John 8:12
Ask Jesus to fill your void of darkness. He is the only one who can undo the void and bring light.



Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sun loving echeverias

 Echeverias in the summer/fall garden

Echeveria with flower spikes lasts the season

 Echeverias brought in to the sun room                           Attempting to root upturned rosette heads
Bought at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, Echeveria hybrid "Perle Von  Nurnberg", many years ago, they are one of my favorite plants, growing surprise babies under their leaves and even reproducing from stems.  Originally from Mexico, these succulants seem to love our garden and keep their "leaves" for years if protected from frost. They are placed in the sunroom in late fall for this reason where we have a back up heater.
We didn't attend the NW Flower and Garden Show Seattle this month. I had hoped to pick up more of these wonder plants if the booth was still there. But much like the echeveria, we headed instead to warmer climes ... in Florida.

"Sing for joy, O heavens, for the Lord has done this; shout aloud, O earth beneath. Burst into song you mountains, you forests and all your trees (and echeverias).. He displays His glory. Isaiah 44:23

Monday, February 13, 2012

Gratefulness


Before our trip to Florida and California I picked up a journal that had on it's front cover, "in everything give thanks" and have been writing daily with this in mind. 
  • When our flight was delayed and we arrived in the Orlando hotel at 2 am. We gave thanks that it was really only 11:00 pm and the hotel clerk upgraded us, out of pity perhaps, to a suite with Jacuzzi hot tub and big screen TV and kitchen and more. We slept in the next morning then relaxed by the pool.
  • When the power went out after dark that night, we were thankful that we, coming from the islands, had a flashlight with us to see our way around and when the torrential rains started we were indoors.
  • When we awoke at 2 am to loud dripping noises, we were glad the lights were on again and could see that the water was pouring out of the light fixtures above. We gathered pots and pans from the kitchen to catch the pours and called the front desk who sent up staff  who knew that mopping up was not an option. They moved us to another room on the opposite side of the same floor, everything was backwards from before. (It turns out that the first room above had 2 inches of water in it, a pipe had broken in the suite next to the one above.) We were grateful we did not live in a place that was permanently without electricity and water falling all around inside in downpours such as most of the third world. We started to wonder about the rest of the trip's tests but rememered this:
"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Phil 4:8
According to a book I was reading*  If you can't think of anything worthy of praise, "...try to think of others rather than oneself, and look for the grace that is unfailingly present." 
* "Therefore I have Hope", Growing with my Garden:Thoughts on Tending the Soil and Soul, Rolland Hein, (Chicago: Cornerstone Press, 2004) p75
Here is a video that demonstrates this:
Interview of Alice Herz-Sommer 108 year old Holocaust survivor

Can you praise God for the difficulties in your life? If you cannot, ask others to pray for you to find the grace and hope needed.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Metaphor in Winter Snow

Rose after snow storm still blooming

Palm fared well

Bird bath frozen for now

Bench in front of the cottage temorarily unuseful

Porch where we sit in summer now with drifting snow

Potager in winter wait

A year and a half fighting cancer with chemotherapy, bilateral mastectomy and radiation, our daughter-in-law was pronounced cancer free according to the CAT scan taken this month.. All who have been praying and even those who haven't are praising God!

About halfway into her treatment, seeing her suffer and our son and grandson's concern, I asked Jesus, "What would it take for Tomoko to be healed?' It was like He said, "How much are you willing to do on your part?" I said, "Whatever it takes, I am willing, Lord."
I only remembered this after I was diagnosed with breast cancer maybe 9 months after that. The diagnosis based on the biopsy and mammogram showed it to be similar to what our daughter-in-law was initially diagnosed with. Trusting God's sovereignty,I had peace. Nothing happens without His knowledge. Are we willing to be with the suffering, take on suffering, take up the burden for others, to walk with them in the valleys? Are we willing to become like those we pray for? If this is the only way and God calls us why not?

Jesus became human to dwell among us, suffering all things in our behalf so that we, tainted as we are, might be set free and finally be able to connect to a Holy God. Might He call us to do the same, dwell and suffer with others, wait in the winter wait in love, so they might be set free?

It may seem like a huge winter storm in your life where everything is put on hold for a while, but hope comes in the morning and we look at life in a new way.
"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have." I Peter 3:15

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hope is the rosebush with blossoms in winter

January rose amongst Melianthus major
The garden is fairly forlorn this time of year. The galianthus snowdrops have not appeared yet, but the red rose still clings to the vine even though it is January.
The very miniature rose, rescued and bought about 5 years ago from Bert’s Red Apple grocery store in Madison Park area of Seattle,  a discard, out on the sidewalk in a 4” pot with a “For Sale 50 cents” sign, was too lovely to leave. I planted  it in our Island hot (south facing) border, the large pocket of soil between an extensive rock wall background and a small rock wall sitting area. I didn’t think it would make it, but put it out for the summer to at least enjoy for a while,  Each year it grows more profuse. We both love it there.

rose in hotel room brings cheer
During October when I had a mammogram and biopsy and a diagnosis of breast cancer, we came back to the island and noticed the rose blooming. Before we left the island again for both my husband’s surgery(pacemaker) and mine a week later (bilateral mastectomy), I cut the buds and put them in a silver vase and placed it in the car and brought it wherever I went, scans, biopsies, surgeries for two weeks. Here it is in the hotel room I stayed in while my husband was in the hospital  then in the car to transport it so it was with me to cheer wherever I went.

Hope is the rosebush which blooms in winter
 despite disease, dropping temps and no one noticing

"Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them -" Psalm 146:5-6 
My hope comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth  and created all things (including roses) for His purpose.
Where do you need hope? Ask the Lord to open your eyes to see what He has placed right in front of your steps.