Tag Archives: trees

What? No Lasagna or Spaghetti????

Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!
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It’s that time a year again when everyone is running around last minute trying to find the perfect gift for everyone they know.  Some are spending money they really don’t have to spend and others are wondering where they will even get the money in the first place.  Others are finding themselves in depressions because they don’t have anyone to even spend Christmas with.  How did this holiday season get so out of hand?  Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. I love the colors and lights.  I love the decorated trees and the presents under them.  But in reality is it just a cover up?
This may be a little raw for some to read and it may seem kinda on the sad side of things, but this is a blog about my real life, so here it goes.  For the several years in my first marriage we just scraped by ALOT.  Our children did not always have the newest of things or the latest contraption but I can assure you, Christmas was their time of year.  Feeling guilty for all of the things we could not get during the year, we over did it on Christmas.  We would spend our whole pay check plus any bonuses on Christmas..not leaving any finances for bills.
Did the kids have a great Christmas?  Sure did.  Did all of those “things” really mean anything in the the long run?  What my family needed was a year full of love not a one day show.  I look back at my dysfunctional past and I just want to scream!  I feel like we robbed our children of a true representation of a family.  I sometimes wish I could go back and change things and then I realize it all happened and nothing can change the past, we can only move forward.
So now, we don’t make a huge effort on Christmas to get gifts.  We have a set amount to spend and that’s it.  But one thing we do have still is each other.  We have good memories and bad and that holds us together.  It really caught me off guard this year when I forgot a very important tradition.  I called my daughter and suggested that we do Chinese for dinner this year and I heard her disappointment when she simply said, “What? No lasagna and spaghetti this year?”  How could I have completely forgotten a 19 year tradition?  I still remember when Alex (my son) was four years old and I had made lasagna and garlic bread for Christmas Eve with a beautiful candle lit dinner.  We were about half way done with dinner and he piped up and said, “Mom, can we do this every year?”
So every year since we have had lasagna and spaghetti ( the spaghetti started when Alex was about 12 and suddenly didn’t like lasagna) and I can’t believe I almost forgot this year.  But what does this say?  It says it really wasn’t about the overload of presents all along, it was about being with family and enjoying the little things which didn’t cost much.  It was about feeling loved, accepted and valued.
I pray each of you had a wonderful Christmas no matter how you celebrated.  I pray that all have seen Jesus this year in some way shape or form.  I pray 2015 will be a year of many blessings and grace!  
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Hidden Seeds

Galatians 6:8

The Message (MSG)

7-8 Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.

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How many of us have sat in church service after church service and gleaned valuable information about God and the Bible?  Now, how many of us have taken that to the streets and shared it?  The New Testament tells us to tell all the nations. Share the Good News with everyone you meet!  Why do we find it so hard to share the Awesome News of Jesus everywhere we go?

We are like squirrels.  Yup! Squirrels.  We find a seed. Stalk it out. Make sure no one is looking and then we bury it, often not knowing where it is in a few months time.  In Michigan we have an abundance of forgotten about seeds call Oak Trees.  I think it might just be God’s humor but they multiply and so do their leaves.  Any way, I digress I bit.  God gives us seeds to be planted in others.  We accept Jesus, go to church and learn how to teach others about Jesus.  Why does it seem like the message stops at the pew?

This is a plaguing question for many of us.  We want everyone to be saved yet we know there is rejection out there and we have had enough of that so we are going to just bury that seed in our hearts and we will use it when necessary, when we come across just the right person.  Now I know that we are to keep the Word of God hidden in our hearts so I am not talking about that at the moment.  I mean spiritual truths that might win somebody to Christ.  Words of wisdom that may make a person go, “Hmmmm, that does make sense.”

So I encourage all of us not be like those squirrels who gather and bury all day long.  Let’s be doers of the Word and start planting seeds which will grow into fruitful trees of life which can be found resting along the river banks.  If each one of us planted one seed the moment we left church say at the grocery store or the local park, could you imagine how many people could be reached for Jesus?  Plant seeds, remember where you plant them and watch life happen right before your eyes! Oh, and one more thing…..someone once planted a seed in you.

Project Apple Cart

Deuteronomy 8:3

Yes, He humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
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How do we know when we are really off on the wrong track?  Whether it is concerning your job or your marriage or your child raising skills or your church attendance or even your communication with God, we get off track…..after all we are human and not perfect by any means.  What happens when we get our apple cart neatly arranged and ready for market only to have something bump in to it and knock it over or upset our arrangement.  Notice I said OUR arrangement.  We spend hours and days on projects in our lives concerning the things I mentioned above and then out of the blue something happens to upset the whole scheme of things.  How does this happen?  Is it us?  It is others around us?  What if it’s just God?
Once upon a time I thought I had marriage figured out only to discover that I really was suppose to still be myself.  I was suppose to be free in my relationship with my husband to be honest about everything.  I was suppose to share my feelings and hurts and wants and needs openly instead of bottling everything up on the inside until everything just tipped over and spilled out everywhere.  I thought I had my marriage cart all set up and perfect until I began to break apart at the seams and my apples starting falling out one by one.  I felt as if I had done a pretty good job keeping things all together.  Furthermore, I felt as if I had done a pretty good job on my own, without God.  It was as if God said to Himself one day,”Time to tip Brenda’s cart over!”
In doing so, God was able to show me many things, I had the concept wrong on a lot of things in my life.  I did not have to submit to my husband when it wasn’t  the right thing to do.  I did not have to just accept the destruction that surrounding me every day.  I had the right to be happy.  As God began to show me who I was designed to me, the more I could see just how wrong of a concept I had of marriage.  Little by little as He pulled me out of my pit, I needed to toss out my old apples (old ways of thinking) and plant new trees.  The more I learned about God’s love the easier it was to get rid of the old apples.
So when I began planting new seeds, with the new knowledge I had, the trees grew very quickly.  Now I can glance over and see orchards of what God has done in a very short time.  He has given me a marriage with a harvest so great I at times don’t have a clue what to do with the overflow.  As I harvest each apple I feel God’s love just pouring into my life as if He desires to ingrain in me what a true apple looks like.  He shows me everyday what a true marriage should be based on.  And everyday I am given sufficient love from my husband as He seeks God for how much to give.
So, how neat is your apple cart?  Did you design and fill it all on your own or did you allow God to show you His master plan?  Are you reaping a good harvest from your trees?  Are you ready if God decides tomorrow to tip it over because you are headed in the wrong direction with your cart?

In a Forest of Trees

John 8:12

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

 We had a lovely day just wondering around Michigan this past spring.  We began our day at sunrise on the lake praising His name and then ended our day almost exactly 12 hours later with a hike to the lake farther south.  We took the time to take pictures and enjoyed God marvelous beauty. My daughter, Victoria is quite the picture taker but the one I am attaching to this note, I took and did not realize the significance of it until I placed as the background for my laptop.

As I was wandering in the forest  I took great notice of the trees for some reason, some were brand new baby ones, others were old, some broken, short ones, many really tall trees and some with damage to them.  I was amazed at the size of some of them and wondered just how long they had actually been there standing with great prestige in such a wondrous place.  There were some pictures I wish now I had taken, perhaps on a return visit this summer, I will.  I stumbled upon this tree which was hallow from one side yet it had great tallness to it and looked perfect when viewed from the other side.  Much like some people, this tree may have appeared from one angle to be whole and mature while on the inside it was hallow.  How many of us have hallow spots on the inside?  How many of us are longing for something to fill that space in our insides?  We may appear as though we have it all together but something is missing and sometimes when others see us from a certain view they see that emptiness.

There was another tree, which I tried taking a picture of but it was just too tall!  I was in awe of how far it reached into the sky.  But if you looked closely, the first thing you actually saw was this place of damage, not far from the ground.  Not sure what had happened but you would have thought this tree would not have grown very much after such damage, yet much like Christians, we keep growing despite the wounds.  Sometimes we hear testimonies of others and we wonder how they even made it through a certain situation to where they are today.  Just like the tree, they find purpose and they just reach up towards heaven and God meets them right were they are.  Just finding security in the fact they have been saved.  Not realizing that by their testimony they can reach others and show them the Light.  How did I become so selfish that I just wanted to be a drifter in the forest of life not really making a difference in others lives?  Took my eyes off of the Son and accepted my situation as unchangeable, that’s what I did.  I stopped searching for answers to my questions, in reality, I stopped searching for God.

Towards the end of our hike I took the attached picture, trying to capture the light through the trees.  It wasn’t until I placed it on my laptop as the background did I notice the second light.  I loved this picture because I was whining to Victoria that there seemed to be no end to this trail.  I was tired and my asthma was attacking me.  When I turned the corner and saw how it looked like the path just dropped off I had to laugh.  How many times do we think in our Christian walk that there is no end to certain situations only to discover there is a drop off into the unknown?  How often do we feel our searching for an end have just brought us nowhere?

If you look at this photo as I saw it, I was trying to take a picture of the sun shining through and how the path just seemed to drop off into the unknown.  When I posted the picture I saw instead the Son shining through the trees, the narrow path we are to walk and the this tiny light up ahead which seemed to reassure me that even if I did not see the end of the path, the Holy Spirit was guiding me.  While my eyes were upon Jesus (the sun in the sky), my feet were securely on the path as I walked in faith and even though I could not see it when I took the journey, the Holy Spirit was just up ahead in the darkness, leading me.

What a wonderful portrait of God’s love for us.  If we just walk by faith and keep our eyes on Jesus we will never walk into darkness for the Holy Spirit is our guide.  Can you see how the Trinity truly works?  I was filled with such joy upon seeing this right before my eyes and it stills fills me with an uncontainable joy as I write out his marvelous vision.  God loves us all and even when you feel alone in the forest, God sees you there and is reaching down to meet your needs.  Walk in Faith.  Stay on the path God has destined for you.  Keep your eyes on Jesus!  And surely trust in the Holy Spirit for He is our guide and present help in time of need.  Never stop searching for God.  We all desire to be filled and not hallow, strong in our faith and not dead wood.  God longs for us to reach for Him and seek His face, like the branches of the trees.  Never think that you are the only tree in the forest, you are never alone, God fills the space all around you!