Sunday, July 17, 2016

Praying with Ryder in the Garden

I finally have a reasonable start to a real garden, full of things with little groupings of containers, and arches with vining veggies, and places to sit when I am tired.  Some of my beds are raised so I don't have to bend over, and some are on wheels so I don't have to struggle to move them.  Some are containers with handles so they are easy to carry, and some are on tables so they are easy to reach. Some are hanging baskets, and some planters are quite large.

One of the places that we have to sit is from pieces of felled trees, where the bark has fallen off. They are lying on their sides and the flattest side is up and smooth, so my grandson and I can sit facing one another. The two perches are across the path from one another, and on a good level for talking.  So one day we were talking and I told Ryder of how Jesus liked to pray in a garden of Olive Trees, and he sometimes took his disciples there.  Then I told him how I sometimes liked to pause and pray as I thought of things, and always to be thankful for how beautiful a garden and growing things could be.

I asked him would he like to pray in my garden and he did, so we prayed for friends and loved ones and thanked Jesus for things.  It was a special moment for me. I hope it will be a memory for him, and the first of many times we share prayer there. 

One thing is for certain. His little stuffed rabbit friend who visits with his statue buddies while we work will also be joining us in prayer.  His rabbit is named Carrots, and Carrots goes on many adventures.  And my grandson is giving Carrots a wonderful, storyful life. And we must make sure he learns how to pray. LOL

Blessings to anyone who is working a garden this year in the heat. And may it prosper in spite of  the dry weather this year.  And may you find time to pray a bit in your garden, and remember that Christ prayed for you there in his place. 

God Grant this request for all who have given a garden their time this year.  Please bring nourishment in what ever form their garden has grown, whether flowers or food, may it nourish the soul and the body. In Jesus sweet name, AMEN

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Song That Plays in My Mind

I have called my blog A Garden Called Gethsemane, 1. because Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane and 2. because of the song I am about to post.  There were no roses in the Garden of Gethsemane, I suppose.  In fact, as a garden of Olive trees it must have had some special significance for Jesus that went beyond my understanding.  Sometimes, I think about it.

I know it's significance in being the one source for usable oils that could be consumed and or burned, mirrors attributes of the Holy Spirit. That alone makes the whole garden worth contemplating it's value for Jesus.  I think he wanted his followers to realize that once he was gone, his spirit would never be.  I also believe there is a lot to be said about the fact the Garden still stands today, with it's ancient olive trees, or their replacements.  There remains life, beauty, fruit, history, purpose, and prayer...etc. I could go on-- all which emulate the wonders of the Holy Spirit.  All which give me a sense of peace.  It's longevity should by now at least give us a sense of his promise to never leave us. 

The main thing about the song, however that stands out in my mind, is the word "alone."  Alone, when I think of this garden, and of prayer, never means lonely. It means "me and God!"  WOW, can I say that again----WOW!  Me....and GOD. Alone together.  That never ceases to give me exhilaration, hope, joy, peace. A sense of forever, a sense of perfection and wholeness - not as if I was perfect in my own mind or anyone else's. But because of Christ's work...I am perfectly OK in God's eyes.  His creation, His well loved child. There is no judgment in the garden... Again I could go on.

 Where the Lord meets me, the place is like my own garden, full of a sense of expected future yields. Flowers or veggies or simply as a hiding place for all kinds of life, it never leaves me empty.  I love to have my camera in my gardens, at some point, to capture bits of the moment when evidence of its life and change occur. Because they are fleeting moments, and full of change and seasons.  Like life, they scream to me that these processes are straight out of infinity and in the ever-present NOW at the same time.  The very air screams "you are never alone!" No wonder, my favorite way to meet with God is alone.

So, the phrases of this song play in my mind when I think of prayer and a place to pray.  In my present back yard, I am trying to make places to pause, and hopefully experience those moments with God through the power of his Holy Spirit.  Moments for prayer, to meditate upon him and his creation, to be thankful for all it symbolizes, and for its gifts.  Food and beauty, a reason to live and a sense of purpose. 

"And He walks with me ...and He talks with me..."  Well, let the song speak for itself:

IN THE GARDEN,  by Charles Austin Miles  ~  1912  ~


Once, 100 years ago, Charles Austin Miles experienced the same blessings from a garden as me. That makes us of one mind, even though he no longer lives.  And there have certainly been thousands of others who have also found themselves ensconced in this precious place with our creator God, and the Spirit that indwells us.  A song like this collects us all into a oneness with God and each other. Something songs are particularly good at doing. Something that also surpasses time and elevates us to a spiritual plane of sorts, and once again dispels any possibility of aloneness meaning being without kindred spirits who know or knew exactly how my heart feels. 

May God be praised, because it is his purpose for providing this encounter. He only desires our Praise as pay. LOL As if we could praise him to within anything near the "pay" he is due.  Loving the garden once more.

Praise God from whom all blessing flow!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Tears Of Joy - from a 5 year old heart

 Anyone who knows me probably knows I am an artsy creature. It's how God made me.  As a child I loved being an artsy creature. It made the world more magical. But it allowed that I could expand on the world I knew by delving into my imagination to create something.
 Oddly, it is also part of why I believed in God, even as a child and especially as an adult.  The Spirit of God has dealt with my heart and mind for all of my life.  And since God is a creator, I felt a kindred spirit.  I always knew that drawing and designing were a gift from him, as well as many of the supplies that I used in my earliest play.

I can play for hours in my Gimp program, with no purpose at all in mind.  Having a purpose for my design makes doing it more difficult than fun.  But for God, I have always thought it must be just the opposite.  I truly believe God must have gotten a lot of fun out of putting his Great design into place and watching his vision grow.  I can, therefore, understand, when we humans decide to not worship him, or even acknowledge him, that he is saddened.

My art is sometimes a means of lifting my own spirits.  Many people I know have issues with the melancholies an artist encounters. They have no tolerance for my tears.  They truly don't understand  why I can't be jolly all the time.  I have heard through out my life the question - "Why are you so serious?" For me, reality is serious, all the laughter and jolliness are forms of denial, and a way of not facing reality.  Life is hard and I just can't laugh it off.  I want solutions, not an ability to put off dealing with reality.  And if it were just me and God, I could go on living life that way.  It's the denial people that make my life hard...LOL. I can laugh about that, you see.

Something I found out, especially as a young woman working in churches, was that my tears were often misread.  I had a pastor once come to me and tell me I could lay it all at the altar, when actually, my tears were evidence of feeling an incredible joy for someone who was saved that morning.  I always believed even angels must be moved to tears, when someone is born again.

Not all tears are about sadness.  I used to cry often. And most of the time, my tears wear tears of joy.  I could be moved at the slightest bit of beauty and it would bring me to tears.  I was full to over-flowing with intense and wonderful emotion.  And people around me would either be wanting to console me, or make me stop crying by shaming me, or cracking jokes.  Why would they take that ecstasy away from me? I never understood.

But as life would have it, I married a man who would eventually do away with my joyful tears.  He was constantly determined to make me smile instead. The result for me has been having health issues, including depressions as a result.  I firmly believe, as well, that many of my physical issues are because I don't have that connection to my world I once had, that which gave me those extremes of joy I once experienced, in child-like freedom. To be who God made me to be.  I  was connected to God in a special way in those times.  I always felt as if he was very near, experiencing that joy along side me. Just because I loved his creation or his work in someone's life, soooo much I cried.

Now that I am older, I have realized - I must be who God created me to be!  AND, I am more vocal, and adamant in my pursuits of being who God created me to be. Tears and Crafty person..all.

I draw more again. I take in the beautiful, to the extent that I sometimes annoy the people around me with my love of the smallest of things. And I leave myself exposed to a lot of criticism.  I still don't cry when the sun sets with a myriad of hues, but I often do when someone is born again. Can't everyone feel the enormity of the God of the universe- bigger than the universe- finding a home in the heart of we who are so small?  Isn't that the most incredible thing? Worth tears - Tears of Joy?

This Christmas, my grandson had two balsa wood craft projects, chosen from lots of sets of kits at our local craft store.  They were nutcrackers, one of his favorite decorations this year.  There is a whole story behind that developing of course.  But to be simple, they arouse in him emotion, for which, from being a boy, his has already been heavily reprimanded for sharing.  So he holds it in inside, to the extent that he even can be heard saying to himself, "I am not going to cry."

Being who I am, I hurt for him.  I worry what effect it will have on his health as well.  But a genuine outward indication of how much he is feeling it, was reflected when he colored his balsa nutcracker crafts.  After meticulously drawing and coloring their uniforms, he drew tiny jagged lines to make the hair and beards look more real, and then from their eyes he drew tears.  I wondered, "had he seen some with tears?," but didn't question. But he asked, "Nana, do you know why they have tears?" as if he read my mind.  As I shook my head "no", he said,

"They are Tears of Joy!  Because they are so happy it's Christmas. "

And to that, I almost cried..."Lord, may he always have Tears of Joy. Please...continue to give him ways to express his ecstasies without reproval."

 I now pray- "may I continue to value my own gift to draw and paint and design my feelings...even my tears of joy. And thank you for this outlet, especially when its for tears of sadness. And especially when the art helps our sadness.  And help us share our Joy, even when we are misunderstood. If not through our tears, then maybe through a more universal expression, our creativity." AMEN

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sunflowers to heal the pain of loss

Since the tree fell, (in my last post,) the whole landscape of our backyard has changed.  The power company came in and felled several more. To make a long story short, it has been traumatic to us and to our flower gardens. And I have to totally rethink my gardens. but we have made use of the ground up tree limbs to make needed pathways, and having a path is a good first step for any major change in life.
Yesterday was also my 64th birthday.  Also a major change point to my future.  I am trying to put them both into perspective, and I just realized how important it will be to not expect my yard to come into it's own again overnight, much as I would hope to not live the remainder of my life in a few days.  Or even plan it out actually.

From today, I commit myself to begin again, with a new perspective.  To genuinely make my garden be a place of prayer, and my life a place of purpose.

Although the former garden is gone, Sunflowers have come up as volunteers out there.  God's way of making me smile.  No more shade, so make room for the sunny flowers.  I can smile.

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Fallen Tree

The wind blew down an ailing tree a few days ago.  When it fell, I had just walked past the spot, going out to and coming in from checking on the heat in my greenhouse.  I had just come into the house, and removed my coat when a shaking of the house and a loud noise just outside the room where I stood, let me know a tree had come down.  My husband, who was napping, never even heard or felt it, but awakened to my verbal response. "A tree just fell, I am sure a tree just fell!" I ran toward the door fully expecting to find the tree leaned against the house. Realizing I should be careful, I calmed myself a bit and tried to get my husband away from what could be further danger, if the tree came through the house, if it were hanging above it, hung up on electric wires or something.

Just waking, and always skeptical, he was saying his usual, "I doubt it, it's probably just a limb."  And although I hadn't seen it myself, I was confident when I retorted, annoyed and still shaken, "Get up and see for yourself if you don't believe me, but there IS a tree down in our yard!

The instant I stepped onto the deck, I was really awakened to the presence of Angels.  That doesn't happen often in life.  Even though they are always there, you don't notice them except in crisis.  I felt as if  I was sort of in a bubble of safety, kind of other worldly....oh I don't know how to explain awareness of  Angels....when they are active on your behalf, you know, you just know.  And the feeling expanded to an overwhelming awareness of how close I just came to being underneath that tree, except for their intervention.  I felt as if God still had his hand outstretched and the angels were still adjusting their halos. LOL

What I saw when I got outside was beyond belief.  The tree was lying with its tip about 2 inches from the downspout at the corner of the house.  The tip of a dead limb was broken on the deck, but not a scratch was on the deck rail, the side of the house, the roof line, the gutter...nothing. The only thing that had been touched was the cable line, which was pulled from the house where it was attached near the roof; however the box itself wasn't affected at all. I looked back through the door to see if the TV was on, and it hadn't been affected at all.  I looked quizzically at the power lines under the cable line, and wondered how in the world, the tree had missed them entirely.  Or if it hit them, how they were totally unscathed.  I expected there to still be vibration running out their length from being hit, and they were totally still.

 The more we inspected where the tree had fallen, we realized what a tiny space it would have had to fallen into, in order for it not to have hit something, not even considering that it could have killed one of us. That spot is where my husband stands to put wood in the wheelbarrow for our fireplace.  There are support posts for the deck, and the water-hose and wood stacks to prevent you from standing anywhere else. A severe cold was setting in, and we were preparing for the windy cold weather. Any other time Jimmy would have been there in the evening bringing in wood.  But because of the expected storm, I had asked him could we prepare early in case the power went out.  I never once thought of that tree taking our power out at the house. It was just that, let's be prepared mind set you know you should go into just in case.  But here we were, facing what could have been a tough situation, yet still with power, with a major winter storm approaching.  I was immediately thankful and in awe.

God had just set that tree down before an ice storm, in precisely the one tiny place in our yard that it wouldn't destroy something else, protecting us in so many ways.  Had it hit the house and come through the corner, Jimmy might have been injured where he slept.  Had I been only moments longer in my greenhouse, I would have been walking there as it fell.  In so many ways, I was glad that tree was down safely.  No children to be injured in my back yard....I could just go on. The realizations rushed in and I became overwhelmed.  I began to cry, as I thought how I had just faced the moment when I could have died, but God chose that I should live. 

For about an hour I felt angina, as if I might have a heart attack, as my anxiety rose. It was as if the moment of shock, when the tree fell, had caused a blockage to occur.  (My husband has had several heart attacks, so I know the lingo.)  But as I thought of how God had just spared my life, it seemed ridiculous that he was going to take it with a heart attack.  So I forced myself to be calm and took a blood thinner (asperin+), and did everything I could to be calm.  I promised myself.."this is not a heart attack."

In the days that have followed, I have become weary in the record setting cold, snow and ice, of climbing over that tree to get to my green house, or of walking around the house in the wee hours of the night.  In the cold, I must check it more often, and at any hour that it is the coldest.  If the low tech heat sources fail, everything will freeze.  And for a while this afternoon, when I had no sleep last night, and all I could do was fall asleep today, I thought for a moment, why am I doing all this for a few plants?

But then I heard the still small voice say, "I didn't help you keep these plants safe for this long this winter, and direct that tree off the greenhouse, just for you to give up now.  We are in this together."
It wasn't just myself and my husband God spared, but the greenhouse and its contents.  In fact, He's pulled it through record breaking temps as well.  A propane tank I use for emergencies, which I burn  for about 4 to 5 hours on the coldest nights, burned for 11+ hours last night - while the temps went to 6 degrees outside.  And it didn't smoke, although the flame was so small at daybreak you couldn't even see it.  It burned so cleanly, that it was invisible, but the heat was there as proof of it's burn.  When I think of all that has happened this week on our behalf, I am so humbled.  Once again, God and his angels were there, making those little miracles that whisper, I am here, my child, see me.

Thank you Jesus.  Thank you.  I am in awe. AMEN