Perspective – Thursday Doors/The Garage Door

As I write this a pleasant young guy is installing a new garage door for our home. The old door is a relic…an original…near sixty years old. When we purchased the house in the mid-80’s it wore a peeling coat of the deep gold paint so popular in the 70’s. On top of being decrepit, the old wooden door is heavy, I’ve developed some muscle over the years lifting it up and down.

When my youngest son graduated high school, twenty years ago, (how can that be true?) a despicable chipmunk chewed through one of the panels to reach the birdseed stored inside. He left a gaping three inch hole. My husband said it couldn’t be fixed. I wasn’t happy about a hole in my garage door right before a graduation party.

I fixed that hole with a piece of cardboard and liquid nails and gave the door another coat of paint. My husband said the patch would never hold. It has held for twenty years. Every time I gloat about my handyman ability I realize I am also paying for my repair prowess…we have kept that peeling monstrosity twenty years longer than we should have; we would have replaced the door two decades ago if the hole had remained.

The new garage door…Hurrah! Once the woodwork around it is capped the whole front of the house will have had quite a facelift.

This post is part of Norm’s Thursday Doors.

Perspective – Rainbows and Darkness

This morning, at 6:00, I looked out my window and saw this beautiful rainbow in the sky. Even better, I saw it after a time of prayer.

I had my breakfast next, still soothed in spirit by the beauty and promise of God’s rainbow, and listened as the newscaster described people taking a knee in honor of UNITY. I instantly felt extreme warning over this…and what came to mind is taking a ‘MARK’ in an attempt for ‘PEACE’ and unity…a bowing down to peace, or do I say it, a COUNTERFEIT man of peace. Please consider the consequences of ever kneeling to anything other than the Lord God Most High. Evil seems to be accelerating…everyone wants peace…but be aware, worshipping anything other than God, even a concept such as peace, is idolatry.

Perspective – Choices

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” ~ John 1:12

At some point being socially correct, pleasant, uplifting, a crowd-pleaser, etc., will become a personal choice totally against the Word of the Lord. What will be my choice? What will be yours? Will I flee to people and places that better suit my understanding of God’s will, or will I recognize that I am seeing wrong attitudes and choices but decide to stay and fight the Good Fight, to spread the Good News, to become a Prayer Warrior for Restoration and the Message of Salvation.

Following the road you’ve always walked can become confusing when edges begin to blur, when those in Christian leadership all over the world make choices for Community rather than Christ. My decision, I will turn my eyes upon Jesus. I will read my Bible even more, and trust that the worldly view will grow dim, and His Glory and Grace will light my way.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Helen Howarth Lemmel

Perspective – Choppy Waters

Life’s a little choppy right now, are you anchored? Jesus is the ‘Anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll.’

This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.                                                                           ~Hebrews 6:19

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift or firm remain?

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.

It is safely moored, ’twill the storm withstand,
For ’tis well secured by the Savior’s hand;
And the cables passed from His heart to mine,
Can defy the blast, through strength divine.

It will firmly hold in the straits of fear,
When the breakers have told the reef is near;
Though the tempest rave and the wild winds blow,
Not an angry wave shall our bark o’erflow.

It will surely hold in the floods of death,
When the waters cold chill our latest breath;
On the rising tide it can never fail,
While our hopes abide within the veil.

~Priscilla Owens

Phlowers & Perspective – Cracked!

When I was much younger, and someone mentioned something that was without merit or totally crazy, the slang I would use to address their idea was often, ‘You’re cracked!’ Or if someone did something funny I might say, ‘You crack me up!’ Honestly, doesn’t it seem that suddenly so much we take for granted is CRACKED…and I mean that as crazy, broken, and out of sync due to the Covid-19 virus.

Right now, Covid-19 is all over the world, people in most civilized areas have had their normal routines shattered. As I think about this unexpected crack-up in my own life, I’m reminded of the Autumn 2019 moment I found a beautiful treasure in the cracks of my front sidewalk. As I walked over the cement blocks, little glimmers of green, and spots of color caught my eye. When I looked closer I recognized small plants, offspring of front garden coleus, growing in the bare minimum of earth gathered in the cracks. Being the scavenger that I am, I removed chunks of the dirt, plants intact, with a putty knife, placed them in a lidded produce package, and brought them indoors.

This week, which is months after I first gathered and planted the scraps of earth and small plants, my husband remarked that the sprouts growing in the cracks of the sidewalk had become the perfect arrangement.

Even better hidden beneath the larger plants are these gems:

What treasure can you find or discover in this ‘cracked’ time of  ‘social distancing?’ A new hobby, a garden, a pen-pal, blog posts, songs of praise, more time to pray; the list is endless. I hope we all find something new and special to occupy us during this time of change.

Perspective – Remembrance

Today I say goodbye to one of my ‘forever’ people, one of a handful of people who I have loved since I was born. Last week, my Uncle John, a minister of God’s Word for decades, passed over from this life into his new life in the presence of Christ Jesus. My spirit is aching, but also rejoicing, because I feel assurance that he is with our Lord and Savior. My uncle lived his life, and preached God’s Word, with great enthusiasm. He is an example and witness to me of how to live a life in such a way that everything you do is a testimony to God’s love. I know we will meet again one day in Glory. God bless you all.

Quirkiness & Perspective – Unexpected Rainbows

A week or so ago, on a day when I had made some major changes in everyday goals, amid constant prayer for a loved one struggling through the last days of a battle with cancer, I walked into the room I craft in and found an unexpected rainbow across a good quarter of the ceiling.

I have prisms in my window, and these cast small rainbows about the room when the sun shines, but never have they cast the rays upward to the ceiling in such a large fashion. You can see the shadow of my hand in the second photograph.

There is truly something awesome about a rainbow above your head in close focus. I felt like God was giving me assurance that truly, all things would work out for the good, no matter what my circumstances.

I eventually found the source of the rainbow, but it made the experience no less precious. God’s light shone through my window, onto a CD laying on a craft table, the light reflected and beamed upward…creating a rainbow. I needed that rainbow and the remembrance of God’s love. I’ve since found a good article that explains how to make your own rainbow with a CD. If someone you love needs a lift or a bit of light, create a rainbow for them with an old CD.

Check out this great article on creating rainbows: Rainbow Science

Perspective – Unexpected Witness

In the year 1939, my grandfather, William, gave my grandmother, Leona, a small devotional book. Eighty-one years later, the book is treasured by me. I love the inscription inside the front cover that reads, ‘To my “Beloved Buddy,” 5-14-39, Bill.’ I’m sure that my grandfather never guessed when he gave my grandmother the devotional that someday a grand-daughter, eight decades in the future, would use a verse within the pages and post it around the world on a thing called the Internet.

The eternal possibilities of the witness of Christian lives reminds us to continue telling the world about Jesus, the Son of God, and the Salvation he offers to all mankind. Who knows, perhaps eighty-one years from now someone will read this post and be touched by the Lord. You never know! For certain, my grandparents never knew that the gift of a devotional book would one day become a way to witness to hundreds of people.

I have renewed my WordPress blog for another year, so hopefully, even if it might be hit or miss, and certainly not the daily post I wrote in the past, perhaps I can think of some new ways to spread the Good News. God Bless You!

Perspective – A Beachy Day/Part II

I’m riding my bike in one of my favorite Delaware Bay towns.

I pass by a nicely decorated home and yard. Oh what pretty birdhouses.

I’ll write a birdhouse-themed blog post I decide. I focus my camera and click.

A man is suddenly peering over my shoulder at my camera screen.

The situation feels menacing, an utter stranger standing way too close.

“What are you doing?” I ask.

“Making sure you’re not part of the riff-raff around here,” he answers.

“Do I look like riff-raff?” I ask.

He mutters something more about watching out for neighbors and walks away.

I am over sixty, I look sixty. I am average height, average weight for my age. I was wearing a hat, sunglasses and had reading glasses on a string around my neck. The man, in my opinion, purposely tried to intimidate me for taking photographs. I was in the street, I was not on private property. We live in an age of people indulging in bad and rude behavior if they feel their cause is good. I, for one, am SICK of it all.

Here’s the law about photographs for anyone who takes photos to use on your blog, You can take any photographs you want if you are on a public street or public property. If you step on private property to take a photograph you are breaking the law and can be prosecuted. You can find an informative article here: When photos break the law, and an updated, but harder to understand article here: Photography and the Law.

Perspective & Phlutters – Here We Go Again

Black Swallowtail butterflies are visiting my gardens earlier than in previous years. I’m thrilled by their presence and even happier to find my fennel plant loaded with caterpillars. Just as I feared though, a daily check on the fennel reveals a diminished amount of newly hatched caterpillars. They fall victim to predatory bugs and some birds. I found a great article on insects that eat Monarchs and other butterfly caterpillars.  Butterfly Predators.

In years past I grew pots of dill with the purpose of saving caterpillars from predators. The idea worked and I was able to save quite a few and they reached maturity on my back porch. Unfortunately, this early in the season my dill sprouts are only a few inches tall. What do do?

A water-filled milk carton with a piece of screen rubber-banded around the top is a good solution. The screen is a must or I risk drowned caterpillars. Although the fennel was limp for a few hours after cutting, it soon perked up. I cut about three fronds, and might need to add more as the caterpillars eat. Because I didn’t want to hand-pick the caterpillars and risk harming them, I cut away just the small tip they were on and placed it within the larger fennel pieces. The caterpillars are doing well, this is day three of their protected feasting on the porch. As they grow I will add pots of twigs in the vicinity for them to begin their metamorphosis upon. In past years several caterpillars rejected the twigs and created their chrysalis on the porch screens and even the wall. This also worked great and all but one emerged unscathed by the human intervention.

Why do I do this? Butterfly populations are declining all over the world due to pollution, insecticides, carbon dioxide, loss of habitat, etc. Giving a few a helping hand might add hundreds more to the environment, and this makes the time I spend saving a few completely worthwhile. I left at least half of the caterpillars outside on the fennel. I’m hoping several will evade detection by hungry predators and make it to the chrysalis stage.

 

Phlower & Perspective – Iris Cathedral

Purple Iris – Flower of the Day

“I have had more than half a century of such happiness. A great deal of worry and sorrow, too, but never a worry or a sorrow that was not offset by a purple iris, a lark, a bluebird, or a dewy morning glory.” ~ Mary McLeod Bethune

This regal flower reminds me today of beauty lost. How horrifying it was yesterday to witness Notre Dame in flames and realize there was nothing to be done to save it. A reminder to make the most of every moment, so much can change in just a matter of minutes or hours.

Perspective – Nurturing Sights

I love walking through my garden several times a day. The Spring bulbs I planted in Autumn are beginning to bloom. This beautiful scilla, captured a bit of the blue sky in it’s blossoms. I decided it was pretty enough to be part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

I had a surprise when I downloaded the photograph and spied a small insect of some type on the underside of the the Scilla leaf. Do you see it to the left of the uppermost bloom? It appears to be a sweat bee, ready to begin searching for pollen and nectar.

Why would this thrill me? I felt like it was sent from God to give my spirit a lift. You see, when I paint a floral watercolor, I always include a small inchworm somewhere in my painting. The sweat bee felt like God calling my attention to his artwork, and reminding me to stop all the never-ending upkeep of house and garden, and nurture myself a bit and paint.

This post is part of Nurturing Thursday.

Perspective – Coming Attractions

I have observed the signs: the date on the calendar, felt the temperature rise, taken notice of longer daylight hours. I am assured Spring is coming soon. I’ve used this beautiful photo of a convolvulus flower and bee in a previous post, but this Sabbath Day seems a good time to revisit it and be reminded of coming attractions.

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” ~ I Thessalonians 4:16-17

The Lord will come again.

Perspective – Bugs in the House

I made two mistakes when I picked up a cat food crumb off the carpet. First, the crumb was not a crumb at all! As I neared the kitchen trash can the piece of kibble began to move. I looked at what I held in my palm and instinctively threw it on the floor, a stink bug. I picked the bug up with a tissue, wrapped it like a mummy, and deposited it in the trashcan.

What was my second mistake?

Stink bugs are detestable but also awesome at the same time; the indestructible insect somehow unwrapped itself and climbed out of the trash can. I didn’t make the same mistake. I threw the stinker away again and sealed the trash bag. Victory!

I don’t like stink bugs, but I love ladybird beetles. They also find their way into the house in the winter, but are welcome guests. I found one on my tomato sprouts and was so enamored I took a dozen photographs of her as she traversed the top of the party cups. Sweet!

Perspective – Throwback Thursday/Books & Cereal

New Bikes and Dolls – Christmas 1963 (I’m on the right)

According to Days of the Year, today is World Book Day. Since today is also Throwback Thursday I thought I would think back and list my favorite books of childhood and preteen years. I read many other books too, but these are the tales I know I read more than once. Did you read any of these as a child?

Little House Books by Laura Ingalls
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Heidi by Joanna Spyri
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Tales from the Arabian Nights (compilations)
Red, Green, Yellow Fairy Books (compilation)
All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman (This is an adult book that I adored as a child)
The Secret Garden by France Hodgson Burnett
Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Charlie Cockatoo by Keith Moxon
The Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore by Laura Lee Hope
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss
What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge
Patty Fairfield by Carolyn Wells
Elsie Dinsmore (first four books) by Martha Finley
* Adding Anne of Green Gables…how could I forget my beloved Anne?

March 7th is also Cereal Day. Compiling the book list brought up remembrances from the past; I recalled a cereal commercial from the 1960’s that made my 6 year-old self laugh hysterically. Crispy Critters featured a lion getting stampeded by dozens of cereal animals.

I also remembered Lorenzo the Clown and his stomp dance. When I watched the Youtube video I remembered doing the dance with my sister. It probably was the peak of my dancing career, before the inhibitions of possibly looking silly set in and I became a wallflower.

Researching this post I found The Lorenzo Show was a local Baltimore program. That is probably why when we moved away from Easton, Maryland, I don’t remember ever watching Lorenzo again. I might just try Lorenzo’s stomp with my grandchildren when we have our next sleepover. Fun!

Perspective – The Opposite of Love Part II

I intend to do more to speak up for the unborn and those newborn babies in peril of infanticide/murder. A first step is to contact my state representatives. I am including links that explain how to contact your state senators and congressmen. We all need to begin putting action behind our beliefs in the Sanctity of Life.

United States Senate/Contacting the Senate

United States House of Representatives/Contacting Congress

Perspective – The Opposite of Love

At the moment of his birth my older son was very vocal, immediately protesting his entry into the cold world. My younger son was quiet, gazing upward at the delivery room lights, no crying, a quiet contemplation of the world. They have stayed exactly the same throughout their lives, one talkative, one quiet. Who they were at the moment of their birth is who they have remained. The knowledge in me that their personalities were in place before they were even born once again solidifies my view on abortion. It’s time for everyone who believes in the sanctity of life to say so!

Here are a few wise quotes:

“Late-term abortions, especially when the baby survives, but is then killed by starvation, neglect, or suffocation, show once again the link between abortion and infanticide. The time to stop both is now.” ~Ronald Reagan

“The state could have been concerned about rendering society callous to infanticide … the horror of seeing a live human creature outside the womb dismembered. Can’t that be a valid societal interest?” ~Antonin Scalia

‘We need to recapture the gospel glow of the early Christians who were nonconformists in the truest sense of the word . . . Their powerful gospel put an end to such barbaric evils as infanticide and bloody gladiatorial contests. Finally, they captured the Roman Empire for Jesus Christ.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Perspective – Valentine’s Day and THE BIG KNIFE

Can you have a whole conversation with those you love using only movie quotes? At times we can in our house. When we are having an especially difficult time with a situation we will say to the other, “Chrissy, Bring me the BIG KNIFE.”

Bring me the big knife is a quote from one of our favorite movies, MOONSTRUCK, starring Cher and Nicholas Cage. The Big Knife scene is inside Ronnie Cammareri’s (Cage) basement bakery, and when he’s reached the end of his patience with his situation, he yells for his employee Chrissy to bring him the BIG KNIFE so he can end it all. Moonstruck is a great movie for Valentine’s Day. In the storyline, when people do the wrong thing, it is called the wrong thing, and not glossed over as their right or celebrated. In the movie people actually acknowledge wrongdoing, believe in God and the church, and try to make things right in their lives. By the time the credits roll you feel like you are a part of their family.

For me, true love is a paint paddle made into a “Big Knife” by my husband a week or so ago. He knows I have been having a difficult time in several situations, and to make me laugh, he brought me THE BIG KNIFE. Would anyone else in the world know how meaningful this paint paddle is for me besides him? Well maybe now you will too. True love…priceless…and sometimes in the form of a Big Knife. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Perspective and Praise – Casting Cares

“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

~ Psalm 55:22 (KJVA)

The acacia passage is one of my favorite areas in the Longwood Garden Conservatory. This beautiful vignette is just one of the many plant displays that will pique your interest during the Orchid Extravaganza.

If I was the gardener in charge of the area, the care, placement and upkeep of all the plants would be daunting. To cope, and do the best job possible, I would remind myself of wise counsel a good friend once gave me, “Concentrate on one problem at a time.” This sage advice works for so many aspects of life. We get into trouble when we overextend ourselves and try to take care of too many problems at one time.

Aha, you say, all my problems must be taken care of now, I have no choice. Yes, sometimes choosing just one doesn’t work, but in that case, I remind myself of the verse I began the post with, and I cast the burden on the Lord. What a promise to cling to in the midst of our busy, problem-filled lives. He will sustain me, He will sustain thee. God bless you on this Sabbath Day.

The orchids are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.