“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Creating Beauty


In the Garden

Okay, so I've been a little melancholy lately. I decided to give you a break from my grieving. I know you can benefit from it, but sometimes we need to think about beautiful things, right?

On Saturday, I had my quiet time in the garden. I've started a Beth Moore study, Beloved Disciple, and I had some journaling to do for my grief class homework (oops, there I go, again). Plus, I had an e-mail that a friend had forwarded to me with a devotion on gardening. She was so cute! She said, "Ok, I promise I won't only think of you in terms of gardening and won't continue to bombard you with e-mails about gardening. But thought you might have some kindred spirits here." Please, keep thinking of me in terms of gardening! Whatever draws me closer to the Lord!

Anyway, I took extra time to prepare my solitary place. And I realized I was creating beauty. I brought out extra candles. I poured my lemon-flavored Dasani bottled water into a glass. I pulled out the zucchini muffins I had made - heated them - and placed them on a darling little dessert plate and surrounded it with sliced apples. I really started getting into it when I moved two of my Willow Tree angels outside. Prayer and Good Health.

As I sat down to read the devotion my friend had sent me, I could barely read through the tears. Here was a devotion on gardening which was on beauty!
Beauty has been defined as, "things that please us when seen." But why do certain things please us? No answer satisfies me. Perceptions of beauty, I suppose, are instinctive, intuitive, and inexplicable. I know beauty when I see it and that's about all I can say.

The pleasure of beauty, however, is transient. All of us, I believe, have had the experience of finding something exquisitely beautiful and then discovering one day that it no longer pleases us. Beauty is not end in itself, but points beyond itself to something better and more beautiful.

...The beauty of holiness, on the other hand, is "unfading."[1 P
eter 3:4] That encourages me a good deal.

There is other encouragement here: Through the beauty of holiness we may become the means by which others are drawn to God who is the source of all goodness and beauty. Peter puts it plainly, "Live such good (beautiful) lives among unbelievers that…they may see your good (beautiful) deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us" (1 Peter 2:12). - David Roper
So, my challenge to you today is to create beauty for yourself. Yes, it will take a little extra effort, but think about how it will change your outlook on today. And tomorrow. You know, if it would help, why don't you come over and visit my garden.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Waves of Grief

5 Strands - 5 Lives
Jann, Sister Terese, Linda, Ruth & Sheri

I have begun a class called "Grief Release." When my friend, Linda, lost her dad about two weeks ago, I decided to take the class with her. Of course, I did not need to take the class. Who was I kidding?

We had to introduce ourselves and give a brief synopsis of our current (past 2-5 years) "loss." Well, my most current and painful loss has been Ruth. My precious Ruth. My step-father, Jack, passed away December 2006 after an ugly bout with Parkinson's, and a dear friend, Curt, passed away in September of 2005.

Our leader has encouraged us to journal. At least five minutes a day for homework. She told the class that journaling might become addictive and definitely productive. Well, that means this blogging is good for me!

I found a "Rose for Ruth" at a nursery the other day. My husband planted it in the back yard for me. I still need to get a trellis for it. It was perfect.... red color .... climber .... and scented! I didn't realize until it was planted the name for it is "Stairway to Heaven." Perfect!

So, I'm grieving and journaling and remembering the past. The above photo was taken on October 20th of last year. My friends, Jann and Linda, and I try to get together every 6-8 weeks for a retreat. We go to a Catholic Retreat center. They let us in even though we are not Catholic. They let us have rooms for hanging out and even individual bedrooms for napping. They even feed us. We spend our time discussing our lives, our hurts, our victories, and our Lord.

This time, Ruth came along with us. I usually bring something to knit... so I had grabbed a couple yarns that I thought might look good together and threw them in a bag with a set of size 15 needles. It turned out that I had picked up 5 yarns. It was God being in the details. Interweaving 5 lives together. I had three varieties of red, one purple, and one black. Sister Terese was represented by the black fiber. Jann by the purple, her favorite, of course! Ruth loves red and she is fun, so red fun fur. Linda loves red, so she was the red chenille. Only strand left was for me. A red plain wool. Well, I figured that although wool is scratchy... it does keep you warm! So, I started the first of 5 scarves. (As a side note, the colors really worked out because Linda, Jann, and Ruth are red-hatters!)

When Ruth died I wished I would have gotten her scarf, to remember her. I didn't have the heart to ask her daughter.

We had such a sweet relationship.
We loved each other deeply and dearly.
She had been part of my healing even before I met her.
Will I ever love like that, again?
I have to admit...
I am hesitant to even think of it.



Previous Posts about Ruth
My Soul Mother
Update on Ruth

Saturday, September 8, 2007

A Post from My Personal Journal (08-13-07)


My collection of bird cage chimes

Sitting on the beach in North Carolina.
Reading Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest.
August 13, 2007
"Do Not Quench the Spirit." 1 Thessalonians 5:19

"The voice of the Spirit of God is as gentle as a summer breeze— so gentle that unless you are living in complete fellowship and oneness with God, you will never hear it." - O. Chambers

Hmmm... It is hard to feel a gentle breeze when...
I am moving around or
I am blocked from the breeze or
I am too hot or
I am in pain or
I am complaining (who me?).
It is impossible to feel a gentle breeze if I am NOT outside.

So, I have to put myself in the place to feel the breeze or be moved by the Lord - where the breeze actually flows.
A constant theme for me...
Make Opportunities To Be In The Breeze.

And if I get wet from the Living Water, the breeze can be even more intense.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Think about such things.

Finally, brothers,
whatever is true,

whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,

whatever is lovely,

whatever is admirable —
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8-9


Unbeknownst to some of you, I am a secret pessimist. My initial tendency is to see what is wrong. And then be discontent. It is a real effort for me to look at what is positive around me.

As I have been in my garden lately, I continue to look around and see what does not please me. The grass is not growing here, the mulch isn't deep enough there, this plant doesn't look healthy, this wooden barrel planter is falling apart, I don't like these hostas in this location, WHY DOES THIS IVY PERSIST!

And I stop and listen. And the Lord reminds me. Your garden is like your life, Sheri. You can CHOOSE to look at the negative or you can choose to look at what is right.

Ouch!

On Sunday, our Sr. High Pastor was finishing the current series on Philippians. Even as he began teaching, my mind was drawn to my garden (as it so often does). Then he came to Philippians 4:8-9. The pastor was drawing our attention towards the call to obey, to fill our mind with the good things of God, and the promise of God's presence. To think about such things.

And the Lord reminded me...whether you are looking at life or your garden, choose to obey...THINK about such things. So, I have been trying to do that lately. As I have my daily morning walk around the garden, I look at each plant and think...true...and then the next plant... noble, and the next plant... right... And the Lord is reminding me to do that with my life and the world around me. Make a choice, Sheri. And as I choose to obey...the God of peace will be with me. Yes, that is what I truly want.

So, now, I would like to somehow have little posts or rocks around the yard that remind me of what to think about...I'll let you know what I come up with, but for now...


true

noble

right

pure

lovely

admirable

excellent

praiseworthy

Think about such things...


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Roma Smile

Have a Ripe Day!

I just thought this little roma tomato from my garden seemed happy. Well, seeing my tomatoes finally ripen has definitely made me happy! Hmmm....time to make some sauce!