In Season and Out of Season

Bright and early one morning, it might not have been early but it was way earlier than when I usually get up. There were men digging in the dirt and laying pipes right outside my bedroom window. I wondered what are they doing out there that early? Throughout the rest of the week they’ve been busy planting new trees and shrubs. It’s the end of July and some people I’ve talked to say that it’s not the right time of the year to plant plants. To which I replied, “I don’t know anything about it but I bet they know what they’re doing”.

I’ve got some of my own plants around my place too. They were doing pretty well until one of my friends left me in charge of the plants for a couple weeks. I watered them but I forgot about the pesky little aphids that wreak havoc on my flowers unless I spray them with a concoction we made up of water and a drop of dish-washing soap. So I lost a plant.

This morning as I was out and about in my scooter I stopped to chat with one of my neighbors. From the sidewalk in front of her patio I could see a sign and I asked her what it said. It said “Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds, you can grow flowers or you can grow weeds, take every thought captive”-2 Corinthians 10:5.

For the past few days I’ve been thinking how much life seems to be full of struggles. Life seems out of control sometimes and we don’t even know what to do next. That is when thoughts like “I can’t do this and I can’t do that”, or “a catastrophe is about to occur!”, are like aphids that eat the plants. You don’t see them effects right away, but left unattended they can certainly have a negative impact. Theses thoughts strip away your joy and peace. Sometimes when this happens it’s hard to stay connected with the truth. When we take every thought captive God will help us through the difficult times of life.

Earlier in the week some of my online friends were saying how much they like African Violets when they are in bloom. Some were saying that theirs were not blooming and they didn’t know what to do. So they read online how to take care of them. Sometimes I feel like that plant and I want to bloom but there’s something stopping the process. The African Violets are alot like us and when we need to figure out what we need to bloom. Sometimes God uses the hard times in our lives to get rid of the weeds from our heart so that his character can grow in us. I’m excited to see what is going to be blooming in your life and in mine.

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Summer Adventure!

Next week begins one of the busiest times in the summer! I’ve been preparing all along but I’m not thinking now, “oh no I’m not ready!” So my brain is all a flurry. Summertime is often a great time for new experiences and special opportunities to go on trips for extra fun. I’ve been getting ready for a couple events I go to each year. For the past couple weeks I’ve been focusing my attention on getting ready for the Oregon Christian Writers Conference and the Joni and Friends Camp. By getting volunteers for the pamper day at Joni and Friends camp as well as submitting two short stories to editors at the OCW Conference.

The scorching heat last week reminded me about a Oregon Christian Writer’s retreat I went to a few years ago. It was so hot and there was no air conditioning. One afternoon I hit the wall and I was so pooped. Some of the women were going to go swimming in the river, but I knew I couldn’t do that. So I rode my scooter down to the water and I decided to sit there and watch them. Pretty soon some of them took me by the arms and sat me in a lawn chair, so I could put my feet in the water. So I’m not really sure what will happen at the conference this week, but I’m looking forward to learning some new tools and seeing old friends.

Right after the writing conference I get to go to another event, the Joni and Friends Family Retreat. I’ve been thinking about the first time I went. I didn’t know anyone who was driving, so a couple of my other friends who have CP and I boarded a bus down to Tillamook, OR. We then got on a commuter bus that rode up and down the coastal highway. It was no small feat, to load two scooters onto two small buses, but we did it! When we got there I was so overwhelmed by the volunteers who greeted us. So much so, that I forgot to get my suitcase off the bus and somebody had to track down the bus later and retrieve my suitcase.

This year, the Portland chapter of Joni and Friends have been preparing to host two events at camp filling me with a sense of nervous anticipation,  a little bit like getting on the Greyhound Bus.  We’ve planned it as well as we can, but if something goes wrong, if something wrong, I get to see how faithful God is.

Helen Keller says “Life is an adventure or it’s nothing at all.”  What are you learning on your summer adventure?

 

Let Freedom Ring

My precious granddaughter Hannah just turned one.  Her parents have lived in the vicinity so I’ve been able to see her quite often.  But they’ve been traveling so I haven’t seen Hannah for about  six weeks.  Oh my goodness she’s changed so much during that time.  She’s become quite a little jabber box and she crawls like a little trooper.  I have a feeling  she’ll be running any day now!  When she was born three weeks early, her little lungs weren’t ready for the world, so she spent a bit of time in the NICU.  Fortunately,  she fine was ready to leave the hospital.

Since this week we are celebrating the fourth of July, I’ve been pondering what does it mean to be free?  A few weeks ago, students graduated from High School and many of them are feeling FREE! Freedom is a great thing and everyone interprets the word differently.

Some of those kids will make good choices, but they’ll also make choices that will make their lives differently.  My friend Rebekah, and  I met at a Joni and Friends, and both deal with Cerebral Palsy. Like many people we both have  wondered what life would be like without physical limitations . She has a great attitude and spends hours and hours in painful therapy because of a dream she has to walk or even have a little bit more mobility.

My definition of independence has changed throughout my life. As a child my therapists and mom worked hard to teach me many tasks of daily living, that other kids quickly learn and take for granted. I was determined to be as independent as I could be.  In many ways, my  determination has payed off. Although there have been disappointments, I’ve been able to raise a daughter and live alone.

As I’m get older and I’m figuring out what I need, I have an internal battle that makes me uptight. This part of my journey seems as rough as a country road, because I didn’t want to give up freedom that I used to have.  This journey is just as important as physical therapy. It’s produced a different kind of freedom. I’m learning (once again) the freedom of acceptance is much more powerful than denial. It’s given me strength  and  freedom to choose what to do next.  I have several options but if I couldn’t see them until I accepted my current situation. If I didn’t accept my current situation it would have would prevented me from living freely.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”- Galatians 5:1

When I was I younger I used to get really frustrated with what I couldn’t do. I thought “My life wouldn’t be like this, if I didn’t have C.P.” I cringe when i think of missing out on everything God’s blessed me with, including being Rachael’s mom and Hannah’s grandma.

What does Freedom mean to you and do you consider it worth fighting for?