Monday, May 4, 2009

Lessons from the Vines

Our new-to-us house has some great treasures that we are still discovering. For example, we have had to rip out some walls and the ceiling in the master bed room to fix some damage from a roof leak....we were hoping that a hundred years ago someone might have hidden a few gold bricks or some rare documents from the Civil War or something. We did find something 100 year old insulation!
Don't get me wrong, we LOVE our house. God has blessed us beyond measure. He chose this home for us for this time, no doubt about it. 
Since spring has finally arrived we have been able to find out what kind of botanical treasures are growing in the yard. As the green nubbins have emerged from the bony branches and the verdant tubers pushed through the grass we've waited to see what they'll be when they bloom. What have we discovered so far? rhubarb (one of my favorites), peonies, tulips and my number one favorite flower....lilacs!! Our yard is bursting forth with all kinds of color and fragrances, mostly.
I say mostly because there is this area of our yard that I am pretty sure that Briar Rabbit and his kin dwell. As the weather has warmed up I have started to work on cleaning up, I've dreaded that viney mess. Yesterday I couldn't put it off any longer. Something had to be done. It would seem that this jumble of vines are grape vines....old ones. 
Now I have studied and been taught about the passages in Scriptures about the vines. John 15 comes to mind most clearly. I have always thought about that passage from the perspective of the branches that are being pruned. I have prayed that God would prune away those branches that keep from being abundantly fruitful. I learned somethings from the vines yesterday. 
First, vines are stubborn. They go where they want to go without care or concern that where they are headed are ugly and dangerous. They have these tiny little tendrils that wrap themselves around anything: dead branches, weeds, other plants. There were so tightly holding on to the junk that had to go I had to really cut them up to get them freed. I firmly but gently pushed the vines into the position they needed to be in so that they would support each other rather than weigh each other down. 
I learned that living and fruitful vines come from what looks like dead vines. It made me think of those that are struggling with the past. People who are breaking the patterns of sin that have enslaved generations before them. People who are learning to trust in a God who has been invisible to them and there families for ages. The hope that while we may experience the pain of a sinful legacy, we have a God who delights in a personal relationship and seeks to help us grow even in the face of the impossible. 
There were tons of observations that I made about the vines. Vines and sheep are pretty similar. But the biggest lesson I learned from the vines...the perspective I had never considered much before? The gardner. Pruning those vines was not easy. The Gardner experiences pain in the process. I had always pictured God lovingly snipping out the parts of my life that needed to be removed so that I might be fruitful. Imagine the gardeners at Disney that sculpt foliage into characters and whimsy. But after my own experience that picture has changed. He is still the loving gardner but His body is bruised and cut in the process of making me fruitful. He is in the jumble with me. I had to stand inside the vines to really know what had to go and what had to stay. He lovingly, with great passion and sacrifice prunes my character to become fruitful. 
I know this was a long post today. I have a great deal to think about this....I'm sure there is more to consider. What have you learned from the vines? What is God cutting or cultivating in your character? 

Monday, April 20, 2009

"Workin' nine to five"....well, not yet

I have been applying for jobs for a few months. It has been an interesting experience. I have always had a job when I needed a job. I go back to many months ago when I was praying for God to make me available to what he wanted me to do for him. Sort of like asking for the gift of patience, you can only know you have it when you are given the opportunity to practice it!  

I have been delighted by the gift of availability and the sweet time that I have been able to have with the Lord. God has blessed our lives with providing for us in such unexpected ways. 

So why do I keep applying?? Well, I want to see what God has for me. I think that I need to put myself out there to see if there is a place that God has called me to work. I will continue to trust him for our finances and we will joyfully serve where he has us now.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


When I moved to Florida I decided that the reason why people retire there is because there are no seasons to mark the passing of time, it is like finding the fountain of youth...forever spring.  
Well, I missed winter for those eight years. It was nice to enjoy the pretty pieces of winter. Don't get me wrong, I loved the "wintertime" in Florida but there is just something about the glittery quietness that spring breaks through to bring forth a season of growth.

So, here is winter in Ohio.....

Friday, April 17, 2009

hey, dad.

I have been working through the One Year Bible again but this year I decided to use The Message. I know that some people take issue with it but I have enjoyed it. Anyway, today I have been meditating on Psalm 86.
It would seem that David keeps asking God to listen to him. That makes me giggle a little. I know that there are times in my life when I feel like my prayers don't get past the ceiling but this psalm has a different feel to me. Kind of like that kid who says....'hey, dad. hey, dad. hey, dad. look at this. hey, dad. hey, dad. look. look. hey dad.' So David, here, is listing all the reasons God is able to act upon his request. Sounds like a teenager trying to get to do something.  I love how the Bible is so relevant even though it was written so long ago....but that is another story for another day.
The verse that really jumped out at me was:
11-17 Train me, God, to walk straight; 
      then I'll follow your true path.
   Put me together, one heart and mind;
      then, undivided, I'll worship in joyful fear.
   From the bottom of my heart I thank you, dear Lord;
      I've never kept secret what you're up to.
   You've always been great toward me—what love! 

This is my prayer, I do want to be undivided. I invite this process but I have a feeling that this training isn't going to be all sunshine and gumdrops. Will you join me? What do you think? What is undivided mean to you? 
     I also, want to make known what God has done for me. I never want to keep secret what God has done.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Another day another dollar....

     So, as most of you who have read my story to this point may know, I don't have a job right now. This has been an interesting journey. I am, without a doubt, confident that God has provided every thing and every moment of my life. I have had a string of joys and struggles over this last year that have worked up to this point in my life.
     The joys....they seem countless but I do see that it is important to articulate them. God deserves my thanks and others can be blessed and encouraged by my story. I have been inspired, if you will, by a college classmate of mine who is much more faithful about blogging than I have been (check out her great work: ....anywho, her entry for this week included a thankfulness feast! I have determined that I want to serve up my own helping of thankfulness. Thank you God...
Thank you  for only you can do all that has been done for us!
Thank you  for speaking into the lives of our friends and families so that they could speak truth to us. 
Thank you for orchestrating the selling and buying of our shelter...and dwelling within them to make them a home. You could have taken us through the difficult path that so many of our friends have had to sell their homes and we pray that we would have been faithful even in that test.  I pray right now for those who are walking through the hard part of real estate today. Give them peace that passes all understanding. Be present with them that they will be drawn to you and be comforted. 
Thank you for your faithfulness to me. I prayed to be available and now, I am. Teach me to use this gift to the fullest. I seek to be faithful. Make my mind clear to know what opportunities are the ones I need to embrace and those that are not meant for me.
Thank you for making my husband exactly the way that he is. 
Thank you for the time and togetherness that we have renewed by being in this new place in life.
Thank you for being enough. You have given us exactly what we need. Enough. Yet, your enough-ness is immeasurably more than I can hope or imagine. 
Thank you for all the people you have brought into my life. 
Thank you for real friends who want to be more like you and want me to be the best me that you've created. 

Monday, April 6, 2009

Pitifully Neglected....

This poor blog has been sadly abandoned. I dare say that this blog has fallen to the bottom of my to do list.  I have been writing a lot though, just in other now I'm back and I have a renewed interest in this corner of the universe.  So, I shall start over. Can you feel the leaf turning over??