What Crop Are You Harvesting?

#inspiration, nourish, growthThere is nothing like the taste of fresh from the garden produce. I am a carrot lover, so that is one crop I look forward to with great anticipation.

A few days ago we harvested the remaining carrots. It was interesting to see the variety of sizes. The seeds were all sown on the same day, into the same mix of garden soil. They were cared for in exactly the same way. So why were some large and others small?

At first, I wondered if the ones gathered closely together didn’t have enough space to grow as large as the ones with more room. That may be part of it, but then how do I explain a large carrot growing beside a small one? What makes one thrive while another grows slowly?

I wondered if this is true for seeds, is it also true for people? Deep within each of us lies many seeds. We have seeds of potential, of love and kindness; seeds of confidence and self-worth. We also have seeds of disappointment, of anger, of discouragement and low self-esteem.

Some of these seeds grow larger and stronger than others, depending which ones we focus on. Every seed needs proper nourishment to grow and flourish. I can feed the negative ones by focusing on them, or I can make the choice to nourish the positive ones to encourage their growth.

I look at the carrots just in from the garden and wonder, which of the seeds in my life I’m putting my focus on.

Preparing to Fly

#God, #inspiration, encouragement, practice
picture from images.search.yahoo.com

Do you hear that sound? The Canadian Geese are doing practice runs and we seem to be in their flight path. Maybe you are, too.

They spend weeks practicing before they actually attempt their long distance flight. On occasion, we have witnessed a gaggle of geese on a nearby pond start to honk as two or three were landing. It was like they were cheering the others on.

Did you know that the reason geese honk from behind is to encourage the ones in front of them? Also, when the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back and another takes its place as the lead.

I could learn from their teamwork. It makes sense to take turns doing the hard jobs and to encourage those who are taking the lead.

The V formation geese fly in allows the whole flock to have a much longer flying range than if one bird flew alone.

Again, this can apply to us. When we share a common direction, we can get there faster and easier if we travel with others. Not only can we learn from those we travel with, I find it more pleasant than travelling alone.

A flock of geese is like a family. They look out for each other. As part of the family of God, I am instructed to do the same. What a wonderful world it would be if we took our cue from the geese and everyone worked together and encouraged each other.

“Be devoted to each other like a loving family. Excel in showing respect for each other.” (Romans 12:10 GWT)

Help carry each other’s burdens. In this way you will follow Christ’s teachings.” (Galatians 6:2 GWT)

Skeletons in the Closet

life, analogy, secrets, hiddenThe sign caught my attention. I was visiting the Royal Tyrell Museum which is famous for its dinosaur exhibits.

Over one enclosed case was a sign titled Skeletons (and more) in our Closet. It went on to say that what we saw on exhibit was only a fraction of the fossils that have been collected.

What a good analogy of life.

Skeletons in my closet.

What you see is only a fraction of who I am.

Parts of my life require more work before I will feel confident enough to put them on display. It’s much more appealing for you to see the finished product rather than the work in progress.

There are also skeletons in my closet that I would prefer to leave there, never to see the light of day.

The thing is, those skeletons tend to appear at the most inopportune moments. They are like the ones in the museum that need to be in a glass case. You can see them, but not get too close.

There are two things that I’ve found helpful in dealing with what I have hidden from view. First is that people connect with your weakness, not your strength. Vulnerability doesn’t push people away, it draws them closer.#inspiration, vulnerability,

Secondly, secrets can keep me bound up in fear and shame. Trapped in the confines of my mind, they are much larger than life. Brought out into the open they tend to diminish in size. Somehow they don’t seem as frightening when I choose to expose them.

The process isn’t easy but the freedom experienced afterwards makes it all worthwhile. So, who else is ready to open the closet and release some skeletons?

Lack of Power

#God, #inspiration,eternalSummer weather has stretched into September and we are taking full advantage of it. The weekend was a perfect time to head to the lake and enjoy our RV.

During the heat of Saturday afternoon, the power went out in much of the campground. We were told it might not be restored until the following day. There was a fire ban so we couldn’t keep warm in the evening by sitting by a fire.

The next day was cool with a threat of rain and still no power. Brian and I watched as many people packed up and went home. It was gloomy and there was no electricity so they didn’t want to stay.

It was the power that made the difference. The parallel to my life was not lost on me. There is only one power source that will never let us down and it is found through a relationship with God.

Unless I plug into my power source first thing every morning, my day is not going to have the outcome that would otherwise be possible. I start my day by connecting with God in prayer. The wonderful thing is there is no worry of a fuse or transformer blowing. A long extension cord is not required.

God’s power is eternal and available whenever I choose to make the connection. I have a choice to make. Either I can sit in the cold and dark, or plug into the power source God provides. With this source freely available, constant and reliable, I would be fooling not to remain plugged in and fully charged for the Lord.

“Our Lord is great, and his power is great. There is no limit to his understanding.” (Psalm 147:5 GWT)

Break Through

responsible, life, judgment., caution
image from bing.com

Yellow tape was strung across the area, warning us to stay away. Damage was visible on the outside of the building. Inside the store, another area was cordoned off until repairs could be completed.

I asked a store employee what had happened. It seems someone put their car in drive instead of reverse and drove into the building.

The same thing happened last year, in exactly the same spot in the store. The cashier and I talked about the speed needed to do that much damage. Both offending vehicles had been parked directly in front of the store. We thought it was surprising that any driver pressed so firmly on the gas pedal when attempting to back out of the space. Both said we tend to back up slowly and cautiously to ensure safety.

Before I pass judgment, I need to think of times I’ve decided on a course of action and then sped off to make it happen. I haven’t always made sure everything was in place to head in the right direction before stepping on the gas. I wonder what damage I’ve left behind in my haste to get going.

If I don’t want to have a caution tape warning others to stay away from me, I need to take the time to put everything in place before heading off. I am not only responsible for my experience but also that of those I come in contact with. Instead of hitting the gas I need to check around me to ensure I’m going the right way. When I do so, my breakthroughs will not be the kind that cause damage.

“He who begins too much accomplishes little.” German Proverb

Dabbling in Life

#inspiration, #God, Spiritual lifeAre you a dabbler? To dabble is to take part in a casual or superficial way. In other words, you’re not fully committed.

I must admit that I’ve been known to dabble. I’m not a dive in headfirst type of person. No, for me it’s been more stick your toe in the water and see if you like it.

Maybe that’s why I’ve worked in so many types of jobs. This means I know a little about a lot of things but I’m an expert in none.

In the past, it was the same with hobbies. Once the novelty of something wore off, I’d be on to the next thing. I have a sewing machine that hasn’t seen the light of day for years, cross stitch canvases that are still unopened and racket ball gear that was eventually given to someone who would use it.

While it may be acceptable to dabble in many types of activities until I find the right one, there is one area where this is not advised.

My spiritual life is not an area to be dabbled in. There is nothing casual or superficial about my relationship with God. He has repeatedly shown his commitment to me. How can I not have the same commitment to him?

When I spend time with him, in prayer and reading The Bible, I will learn how to live a life that is fully devoted to him. My goal is to honour and please the Lord, no dabbling allowed.

“Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.” (Colossians 1:10 NLT)

Getting on My Nerves

#inspiratioin, attitude, positiveI recently discovered what it feels like to have something getting on my nerves. Now that I have experienced nerve pain I won’t take that statement lightly again.

My pain was caused by the shingles virus. It started with a rash on one leg that wasn’t as much painful as prickly.

The diagnosis was an unpleasant surprise. I’d heard some nasty things about this virus and didn’t want them confirmed. After a brief pity party, I made the decision to remain positive.

A few hours later a co-worker contacted me to say she’d be willing to work the next few days for me if I wanted time off. My initial response was to tell her thanks anyway, but no thanks. After all, I was fine! When I realized accepting her offer wasn’t a sign of weakness but an opportunity to take care of myself, I accepted.

By the end of the day, I couldn’t tolerate clothing touching my leg. Shingles is usually concentrated on a single nerve band. In my case, three nerve bands were involved. What a time to be an overachiever!

My concentration and focus weren’t ideal but I didn’t want to miss my self-imposed writing deadlines. Within twenty-four hours of my diagnosis, I’d completed my monthly newsletter and a regular blog post. After they were published I discovered both had spelling errors in them. Normally I’d beat myself up about this. Instead, I cut myself some slack. I knew I’d done the best I could under the circumstances and that was good enough.

I can’t change the past any easier than I can eliminate this virus. All I can do is change how I react. Since I am responsible for my own experience, there’s no need to let things get on my nerves.

Will You Take Less?

#God, #inspiration, value, worthIt was time to let go of some items not used in our home. After deciding on prices, my husband took pictures and posted the items for sale online.

Responses started coming in almost immediately. We knew the value of what we were offering and priced everything lower than that. Even so, most inquiries included the phrase, “Will you take less?” They might suggest a lower number or in some cases asked what our lowest price would be.

I found it amusing when one woman told us of her experience selling things online, stating she never negotiated her asking prices and then turned around and asked if we’d take less!

My mind went to times in life I’ve settled for less than I am worth. I have often sold myself short. When I’m not confident of my value, it’s difficult to expect others to appreciate it.

The truth is my life is of great value, as is yours. God loves me so much that he sent his son to die for my sins in order that I can live in Heaven with him forever. He wouldn’t have paid such a high price for me if he didn’t believe I was worthy.

Each day is a gift from him, filled with beauty, challenges and opportunities. The adventure I’m on with the Lord is like nothing I could ever have imagined. Knowing this, how could I possibly settle for less?

“Consider this: The Father has given us his love. He loves us so much that we are actually called God’s dear children. And that’s what we are.” 1 John 3:1 GWT

A Different Eclipse

inspiration, darkness, life, blockage
picture from pixabay.com

Earlier this week multitudes of people put their lives on pause to witness the solar eclipse. During the eclipse the sun disappeared from view, either completely or partially, depending on your observation area.

Since I didn’t have the proper viewing glasses, I chose to watch it on the television, rather than risk burning my eyes. It was interesting to see the sun gradually become hidden as the moon passed in front of it.

I started thinking of the times in my life where I’ve found myself in increasing darkness. Something has eclipsed the light in my life.
Maybe you’ve experienced the same thing. Here are a few questions I’m asking myself.

What have I been eclipsing for years? What dreams, goals, wishes, skills, etc have I put off and never realized? Maybe now is the time to remove the blockage I’ve put in place and just go for them!

Am I eclipsing something right now? What am I afraid of? I spent years feeling it was safer to remain unseen than to risk finding my light. It wasn’t the truth!
Is there a reason I’m not shining my light? Is it because I’m afraid I’m not good enough? Who is missing out because I’m hiding out? What if I’m depriving more than myself?

Are there areas where I am not letting in the light? Am I refusing help when it is readily available? Do I open myself to new experiences? I wonder what I might be missing out on by choosing to stay in the dark.

If I’m totally honest, there may be a few areas where I am eclipsing my own life. Are you also guilty of putting your life on pause, moving slowly into darkness while watching the brilliance of someone else?

It’s time to remove the blockages and step into the light. I’m ready, how about you?

Time Slipped Away

#inspiration, Bible, momentsI’ve often heard people say that time slipped away. In my case this was a literal statement when my watch slipped out of my hand, hit a concrete floor and ended up in three pieces.

After several attempts I put it back together, minus a little plastic part that would no longer fit. The second hand started moving in its normal rhythm and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Later I glanced at my watch and was pleased to see how much I’d accomplished in a short time. Wait, something wasn’t right. The time hadn’t progressed since the watch had been dropped. Although the second hand continued its sweep, the message wasn’t getting to the other hands.

Over the next few days, I was surprised at how often I checked my wrist for the time. It was a habit more than anything. Although I wasn’t constantly being updated by a clock, I still had the same amount of time to use each day.

It’s up to me to either use it wisely or squander it. Is the importance of making the most of my time getting through to me or am I like that broken watch, going through the motions with nothing to show for the effort? Time should be made up of captured moments which turn into treasured memories.

The Bible tells us there is a time for everything. I’d hate to think I missed mine by letting it slip away.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)