Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Simple Garden

Another after-Christmas "puttering" day working about the house. On my fun to-do list today was assembling my Simple Garden gifted by my sister, Lois.

First, I placed the three compact soil disks in a plastic tub and added a gallon and a half of warm water.

After 15 minutes, I crumbled the soil in my hands and filled the provided plant container with the rich humus.

Next, I placed the planting grid over the soil. After I studied (sounds too hard, but quite the contrary)the accompanying manual, I dropped two-three seeds in the designated holes and pushed lightly with the planting stick provided. The kit came with cherry tomato and basil seeds. Lois also included a package of gourmet lettuce seeds. (My mouth is watering just typing this. Yum!)

Then I covered the container with the plastic greenhouse lid and taped the air vents to ensure warmth and moisture according to the instructions for growing indoors.

Finally, I set the planter in a sunny window (okay, it was sunny when I placed it there and hopefully will be tomorrow :). The container is resting comfortably on a heating pad to keep the baby seeds warm until they sprout, which should be in about 7 - 10 days.

Will keep you posted on my "babies" progress.

And then, Bon Appetit!

Check out for your easy winter gourmet garden.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Breathe deeply . . .

Breathe deeply
These Christmas smells.
Cinnamon, pine
And chocolate melting.

Candles burning,
Hearts aflame
With the wonder of Jesus,
To earth He came.

Just pulled out a fresh batch of banana muffins from the oven, complete with chocolate chips. Yum! Pass the butter.

And breathe deeply . . .

Once upon a time . . .

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who grew up with the name of Jesus on her lips, but not in her heart. She knew all the Bible stories. Her parents, after all, were home missionaries, serving the Lord among the children in East Tennessee.

During her early years, a great sadness filled her home and her young life. Her brother, fourteen years her senior, had died at age eighteen after a lifetime of hydrocephalus. Even at the age of four, she sensed a bleakness and a blackness cover her world. Terror filled her nights, her only comfort the light her mother left on in the hallway. Oh, how her mother tried to console the little girl. She would sit on the edge of her bed and quote Psalm 56:3: "When I am afraid, I will trust in you."

The little girl wanted to trust in God, but she didn't know how. Fear engulfed her spirit and overwhelmed any faith that might break through.

Then, on one muggy summer Sunday night, she and her friend sat in church listening to a visiting evangelist. Well, her friend was listening. She was absorbed in a western novel she'd checked out of the church library.

When the service ended and the speaker asked if anyone would like to come forward and receive Christ as Savior, her friend leaned over to her. "I want to go up," she said.

The little girl shrugged. "Ah, we're too young."

Her reply didn't deter her friend, however. She stood up, slipped past the little girl, and walked down the aisle to her mother. They whispered together and then went up to the front.

A few months later, in October, the little girl sat beside her father on a Sunday morning. The sun streamed through the stained-glass windows. After the preacher closed the sermon, the minister of music directed the congregation to a hymn titled, Jesus I Come.

As the music swirled around her, she became transfixed on the words, "Out of my bondage, sorrow and night, Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come. Into Thy freedom, gladness and light, Jesus, I come to Thee."

At that moment, she knew those words were written for her. Without a word, she slipped past her father and down the aisle, her physical trek a spiritual heart response to Jesus. Jesus, I come to You, was her heart cry.

That day, the little girl acknowledged Jesus as her personal Savior. It was a first, trembling step to connect with Jesus.

The next day, the little girl went to third grade and sat behind her friend, Jimmy. She tapped him on the shoulder and told him what she had done. He said he had done the same thing.

Another hymn that captured her heart as a child was
The Old Rugged Cross, written by George Bennard.

"On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff'ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown."

That little girl was me, and I have one glory: the cross of Christ. As Augustus Toplady wrote in his well-known hymn, Rock of Ages , "In my hand no price I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling."

In Christ alone, does my life make sense. In the midst of much doubt, fear, and obsessive-compulsiveness over the years, the Lord has continually wooed me out of the darkness and into His marvelous Light. He is faithful God, Savior, and Lord.

As Luke so aptly writes about Christ in chapter one, verses 77-79 . . .

Jesus Christ came "to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven, to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace."

During this Christmas season, my heart's prayer for you, dear reader, is that you will consider the cross, for through Christ alone can any of us know forgiveness of sin and share eternal life with Him.

Let His Light break through your darkness and guide your feet into the path of peace.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Shepherd Visits Jesus

A shepherd visits Jesus. I can't think of any better place to be than in Christ's lap.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Riveted by these words today . . .

Riveted by these words today that kept flowing through my mind . . .

O Love that will not let me go.

Written by George Matheson over one-hundred years ago, these words fuel spirit, soul, and body. Here's the complete hymn. Savor the beautiful, meaningful poetry along with me as the day gives way to dusk on this December Wednesday.

"O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O Light that foll'west all my way,
I yield my flick'ring torch to Thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in Thy sunshine's blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me thru pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow thru the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from Thee;
I lay in dust life's glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be."

The End of One Story, the Beginning of Another

I flip through the calendar, a gift from my missionary daughter. Family face after family face jump off the pages. Grandkids roasting mar...