Some of the flowers in our planters were wilting and turning brown. There were still plants with healthy blooms and a few new buds forming. To extend the blooming period of these plants I needed to deadhead them.
Deadheading is done by removing the flowers as they fade. Pruning and pinching keeps the plant from going to seed and then dying.
As I did this I pondered the process of removing what is no longer needed so that new growth can occur. This is true in life as well as in gardening.
There have been times I’ve held onto thoughts and behaviours that were not productive. The only comfortable thing about them was their familiarity. Still, I clung to them as though they were something precious.
Jesus gave the example of people being the vine and God the gardener. This biblical example was what I needed to focus on. Pruning in my life needed to be done before I could begin to live the fruitful life that had been planned for me.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (John 15:1,2 NIV)
I was alone at our trailer and decided to start the day with a nice, hot shower. The only other time I had used this shower was last season, but how difficult could it be to operate?
When I turned on the tap I got a blast of water through the open shower door! Quickly I adjusted the shower head, climbed in and closed the door.
My next challenge was adjusting the water temperature. This was not an easy task as the water was either hot or cold. How could I find a happy medium?
The most difficult part was still to come. I couldn’t seem to get the water turned off! I know it sounds like a simple thing, but that was not the case! After much trial and error I discovered that the taps did not move in the same direction. One turned left to go off and the other turned right.
These problems could have all been avoided if I’d only paid attention to the position of the shower head and the taps before I started.
At the risk of sound like a slow learner, lack of attention has been the cause of many difficulties in my life. I tend to race forward into a situation without taking time to gather the necessary information. That being said, I could spend all of my time gathering information and never actually DO anything.
The best way that I’ve found to make important decisions is to take them to the one who sees everything. Jesus is able to take anything and use it for my good. I can save both of us a lot of unnecessary detours by paying attention.
There are three simple steps I need to do. The first is to pray for guidance. Next I need to take the time to watch and listen for the response. Thirdly, I need to step out in faith. Jesus can then use me to make a difference in the world.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:18 NIV
A friend and I were enjoying a walk through a wooded area. We came upon a huge rock that that formed part of the hill side. It had some dry moss on the side and more vegetation on the top. I climbed up to get a better look.
Some soil must have been deposited in a small area because there was grass as well as moss growing there! This was amazing to me as there would have been no space for roots to take hold. I also wondered how the grass seed got there to start with.
All of this also got me to thinking about the rock in my life. Jesus is the rock that sustains me. He supplies what I need to not only survive but to flourish. When my roots are in him, I know I have the ability to grow strong no matter what my circumstance may be.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. Psalm 62:6 NLT
I was driving home from an out of province speaking engagement. On my own for the eight hour drive, I had plenty of time to listen to my favourite music and reflect on life.
When I started out the sky was a brilliant blue with few clouds. After a couple of hours I saw a dark cloud with wispy tendrils reaching to the earth. As I approached, a faint image of fluffy white clouds could be seen behind it. Intrigued, I pulled over to take a picture.
No sooner had I returned to the highway when there was a flash of lightening, followed quickly by torrential rain. In moments the temperature dropped 11 degrees. I kept driving and soon passed through the storm. The dark cloud was behind me and the sunshine and warmth had reappeared.
This sudden and unexpected weather system made me think of life. I have no idea when my sunny life is going to be hit by a sudden storm of troubles. What I do know is that these storms are inevitable.
One of the songs I listened to as I drove had the words, “If I never had a problem, how would I know that God could solve them?” This is yet another reason I choose to walk with God. I trust him and know that he allows the storms for a reason. When I stay close to God I will be led safely through the darkness to a bright future waiting on the other side.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. (Isaiah 43:2 NIV)
This is a bonus blog post! Your regular post will be back tomorrow.
I have joined a Five Day “Be Brave Today” Challenge. Today’s challenge is to show you where I work.
A picture or two and a description didn’t seem enough for me so I’m turning this into something more interactive!
The picture above is the desk and computer where I do most of my writing. I like to write in a journal first and then edit as it goes onto the computer. When time and weather permit, I enjoy writing outside as shown by the picture of the bench, which overlooks a lake. My ever present journal is sitting there waiting for the words to tumble out on its pages.
Now, it’s your turn. Tell me about your work space. Send me your stories and pictures. One or two of them will be published in my newsletter that will debut in July. Go to www.timewithtandy.com and sign up for the newsletter. Follow the contact info to send me your stories. I look forward to reading them and will respond to each of you.
Now it’s your turn. One, two, three .. Go!
My husband and I set out for a scenic drive through the mountains. When we left home the sky was a deep blue with a few fluffy white clouds scattered here and there. We opened the windows and delighted in the warmth of the sun.
The weather conditions changed somewhat as our elevation increased. The temperature dropped and our once clear view turned hazy.
According to the dictionary, a haze is a collection of very fine particles in the atmosphere that give the air an opalescent appearance that subdues colours. In other words, our view of our surroundings was no longer well defined.
Far above us the sun still shone and the sky was blue. It was an unsettling feeling to be caught in the haze when we knew clear skies were so near to us.
It reminded me of times in my life when I seemed to be caught in a fog or haze. In my case this was a confusion or vagueness of thoughts and feelings. My direction was not clear and it felt like my life was out of focus. This was not comfortable and I longed for clarity once again.
When I put my trust in Jesus and let him direct my life he restored my vision. The new focus I was given allowed me to move forward into the bright future he had planned for me.
Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again, and his eyes were opened. His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly. (Mark 8:25 NLT)
I am a non-swimmer and don’t like to be in water if my feet can’t touch solid ground. In the interest of full disclosure I admit that a big part of this is because I won’t put my face in the water. I can splash water on my face to wash it, but other than that, forget it!
My daughter and I were recently on a tropical vacation when the opportunity to snorkel was presented as an optional part of our excursion. Others quickly found flippers, masks and snorkels and entered the water. There was no thought in my mind of doing the same.
My daughter gently encouraged me to give it a try. There was no pressure from her, just a genuine concern that I may regret not having the experience. She promised to be right there with me.
I didn’t have the courage to jump from the side of the boat, but there was a ladder at the back I could use. My mind and body were screaming, “You can’t do this” as I donned the gear. The thudding of my heart was deafening as I slowly descended into the sparkling turquoise water.
My daughter was right behind me, helping me to calm down and breathe properly. As she held my hand and swam beside me I put my trust in her. Soon I was admiring tropical fish and my fear faded. I even managed to let go of her hand and paddle around a bit on my own. It was an incredible experience and one I am grateful for.
The memory of my daughter holding my hand, calming me and guiding me safely through this challenge brought another image to mind. Jesus has done this for me many times in my life. When I’m anxious or frightened all I need to do is call on him. His calm assurance gives me courage. I know that he is always there to take my hand and lead me safely to my destination.
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NLT)
On a beautiful sunny day I set my inner child free and went outside to play with bubbles. I ran barefoot through the grass and moved the bubble wand in time with the music I could hear coming from the house.
There was nothing on my mind other than watching these thin films of iridescence float on the breeze.
When I thought about it later I realized that even this simple activity had lessons to teach me.
The first lesson was that it lightens my spirit when I take time to play. Nothing else mattered in those moments. I was filled with joy just to be alive.
Second was the beauty I saw. The shimmer of the bubbles also reflected what was around them. The blue sky, fluffy clouds and tall trees were seen in a new way as I gazed at them through the shimmering soapy film. I had a new appreciation for things I had taken for granted only moments before.
Lesson three was the many sizes and shapes of the bubbles. Some were small and round while others were large and almost oblong. A few seemed unbalanced and wobbled as they floated along. All were beautiful. It is the same with people.
This leads me right to lesson four. The shape of the bubbles changed as they adapted to the conditions around them. They had the flexibility to move with the breeze, changing direction and modify their shape as necessary. This flexibility is something I need to practice more in my life.
Lesson five was that although a bubble is only with us a short time, it still brings joy and laughter. Each one was a reminder to live life to the fullest and impact those I come in contact with in a positive way. The Lord has given me this day and I will rejoice and be glad.
But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!” (Psalm 70:4 NIV)
My husband and I were driving through the Selkirk Mountains and stopped at the Roger’s Pass Discovery Centre. This museum has exhibits that tell about the triumphs and tragedies behind the building of Canada’s first trans-continental railway.
In front of the centre there is an interesting sculpture that depicts the lower half of a workman, with a pick axe standing beside him. The pants are copper and shaped so visitors can stand close behind, giving the appearance they are one of the hardworking people who built this pass through the mountains.
As we watched, several people stepped up behind this and gripped the top of the axe to pose for pictures. It was a brief chance to step back into history.
When I looked at the magnificent mountains in the background I was reminded of the danger and toil these men endured to create the safe passageway we now enjoy.
This highway suddenly represented the many things in life that I too easily take for granted. To stop and think of the lives risked for my future comfort was humbling.
This only served to remind me of the greatest sacrifice ever made. Jesus willingly gave his life so that I may be saved. It was nothing I earned or deserved but a gift freely given. This is something I need to thank and praise him for every day.
And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10 NIV )
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. (Hebrews 13:15 NIV)
As we walked along the shore we heard the thump, thump of the hull of a small boat coming in contact with the water. Both my husband and I scanned the area in search of the boat. We were amazed when we finally saw it, far from the shore and blending in with the horizon line.
The sound waves obviously carried a much farther distance than we’d realized. We joked that we’d better keep our voices down or people in nearby houses would hear every word we said!
The thought of being overheard is only uncomfortable if I’m saying something I shouldn’t.
Also brought to mind was the fact that my words are always heard by God. He hears much more than the prayers that are directed to him. It gives a different perspective when I realize that God hears me even when I’m not being on my best behavior. Every word that comes from my mouth and the thoughts that precede them are known by my Heavenly Father. When my thoughts are positive and loving, my words will be as well.
The closer I stay to God, the easier this becomes. When my words are directed by God there is no worry about who hears them.
May the words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14 NIV)