When Something Rotten Becomes Something Good

You can tell a good recipe by the stains its card bears. Whenever I pull mine out for banana bread, I have to laugh because it is covered with…I’m not even sure what anymore…age perhaps? 

I noticed the bananas getting past their prime eating time a couple days ago and told my man that I didn’t want them to go to waste, especially when the grocery store shelves are emptying out faster than the stockers can fill them back up. Besides that, you all have read about how frugal my Granny was and while she is no longer physically with me, her words about wasting food still echo and I still listen! 

Oh, I could have peeled and frozen them for future smoothies. But there’s something soothing about doing something familiar in unfamiliar times such as these. 

So, I got out my bowls, measured out the ingredients, gave them a good stir, popped the bread pans in the oven and voila’

…from something rotten comes something good! I like to think Granny’s hanging with the great cloud of witnesses and nodding in approval as the aroma of her banana bread reaches the heavens. 

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And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV) 

These are the words of Paul. A man who has done some pretty rotten things. He was zealous against the Church and all Jesus followers before becoming one himself on the road to Damascus when he had an encounter with Christ and ended up with scales for eyes. (Acts 9

These are the words of a man who has had some pretty rotten things done to him as well. He was beaten and left for dead, shipwrecked, thrown in jail, chained and put under house arrest. Many of the books he wrote in the New Testament, he did so under dire circumstances, filthy circumstances, rotten circumstances. 

And yet, his ancient assurance rings just as true for us today. This pandemic brings about some rotten stuff…loss, quarantines, uncertainty, fear, death, hysteria…and yet the same God who worked all things for the good in Paul’s day is the same God who will work all this out as well. 

Warren Wiersbe encourages us with these words concerning Romans 8:25-30: God is concerned with the trials of His people. The believer never need faint in times of suffering and trial because he knows that God is at work in the world (v28) and that He has a perfect plan (v29). God has two purposes in that plan: our good and His glory. Ultimately, He will make us like Jesus Christ! Best of all, God’s plan is going to succeed!  (The Wiersbe Bible Commentary New Testament p431)

We can trust that God’s recipe for taking something rotten and making something good is stained with what makes our hope ring eternal…the blood of Jesus, His One and Only. 

It’s why Paul could say, If God is for us, who can be against us?… Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:31, 35, 37 NIV)

Because of Christ. 

It’s why Paul could write about contentment, peace and joy while standing in the middle of the city’s sewer system. It’s why he could face the things he faced knowing that he served a God who can take something rotten and make something good. 

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We’ve seen it in my local community and I’m sure you have to…people sharing, caring, giving with big hearts, open hands and a strong determination to be a people who takes the stained recipe of the cross and bring the sweetest balm to those around them. 

The church being the Church. Not hoarding but helping. Not bucking but obeying. Not being fearful but faithful. Not without hope but hope full. 

We can trust that the same God to whom Paul referred, is the same God we serve today. And that cloud of witnesses that I’m sure my Granny’s hanging with these days? They are cheering us on as we fix our eyes on Him, the Author and Perfector of our faith. (Hebrews 11:1-3) May the aroma of our kindness in crisis be to them as sweet as my banana bread has been to us. 

I pray we can close our eyes and smell the aroma of the sweet. I pray we can open our eyes and see the good works of the One whose works are good. To Him be the glory.

kw

25 Bible Verses to Abide in During Anxious Times

A vineyard in the Ohio Amish country. “I am the Vine…abide in me.”

The world can be a chaotic place and we can sure get caught up in it. These are some of my go to verses to stay connected to the Vine…the One who is truly in control when things seem out of control. I pray they help you as much as they me. Memorize them. Write them out. Have them close by. Put them on repeat.

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. (Psalm 9:9)

I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 16:8)

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. (Psalm 34:17-19)

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1) 

Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. (Psalm 55:22)

From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge. (Psalm 61:3) 

When my anxious inner thoughts become overwhelming, your comfort encourages me. (Psalm 94:19)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6) 

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. (Proverbs 12:25) 

Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you. (Isaiah 35:4) 

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:30-31)

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:25-27)

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34) 

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. (John 14:1) 

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19) 

So, we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? (Hebrews 13:6) 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4) 

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

What are some of your favorite go to’s when you’re feeling anxious? 

kw

Handling the Manic of Panic

I caught myself doing it the other day. Allowing my mind to wander to a place it shouldn’t. That place where fear freezes any part of the brain that is logical. I told my man, I feel vulnerable. You see, I’m healing from not one but two recent surgeries, first to repair a tendon tear from which I still can’t put full weight on my right leg or move certain ways. The second was for some surgical sites that weren’t healing. That one stitched up the open wounds but made my vocal cords mad from being intubated again, so they are refusing to work above a whisper. 

As we were talking through my I feel vulnerable statement, I recognized where fear moved straight into the frontal lobe of my mind (where logic lacks sometimes) without so much as a knock on the door. He pitched his tent and set up camp like he owned the place. 

You’ll never be able to outrun this thing. And you can’t even scream for help. 

This “thing” being the coronavirus. Have you heard of it? 

This thought was a flash. A momentary blip blinking in my brain. 

Ridiculous right? 

How does one outrun something they cannot see? Even with both legs working, this was the stuff and nonsense that was making me feel defenseless. 

Now I had a choice: let it spiral me into a manic of panic or let faith be bigger than my fear. 

The writer of Hebrews says it this way: The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. (Hebrews 11:1 The MSG)

Faith is my firm foundation. My handle on what I cannot see. 

Will I have faith? Will I fear what I cannot see? Or will I trust the One who sees what I cannot? The One who knows the number of my days (Psalm 139:16)

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What if you have let that flash of fear in your frontal lobe lob a rocket of irrational thinking with no return ticket to sanity? Let’s use the word calm as an acronym. (I know, I know. The last thing you want is for someone to tell you to calm down but it’s better than throwing a cup of cold water in your face and is what’s needed in this madness we’re experiencing.) 

Common sense. Use it. There are mandates and restrictions in place for a reason. You may not agree with all of them, but this isn’t just about you. You may be fine, but others are more vulnerable…like the elderly and immunosuppressed. 

For the love, stop hoarding like it’s the zombie apocalypse! Some folks can wipe their rears for the next century! They will be long gone and the only inheritance their children will get will be the 24 packs of Charmin divided 4 ways that will still be stored in their basement.

Be smart. Stock up but don’t hoard. 

In God’s economy, what good is prosperity if it isn’t shared? Divine vitality breeds hospitality, and hoarding is appallingly unholy. To love self without loving neighbor is to know nothing at all of the love of God. (From Chasing Vines by Beth Moore pg 221)

My God will supply all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (From Saint Paul, Philippians 4:19NIV) 

Abide. In Him. Before you turn on CNN, CNBC or Fox News maybe try reading the Good News. 

It’s no coincidence that I have been reading through a Devotional Psalter each day for my morning devotion. I say each day, but I got “behind” a couple days. There is no such thing as behind in God’s timing. I read through a couple in one sitting. Hear the words of King David in Psalm 31: 

In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame….be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! For you are my rock and my fortress…But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “you are my God.” My times are in your hand. (vv 1-3, 14-15) 

Or how about this commentary on Psalm 33 from the author of the same book: 

The resounding note of Psalm 33 is the endless rule of God in heaven over all that happens on earth. Over all the madness and chaos of this world, all the political conflicts and military endeavors and voting booths and family dysfunctions and physical illnesses and financial meltdowns—God reigns. His sovereign supervision directs all that unfolds here in this life. 

Was I behind in my reading? I think not. I think my behind was right where it needed to be…in His word and His timing was perfect. 

Never mind the fact that I am studying Ezra for an upcoming Bible study where this same God moved the heart of King Cyrus to allow the people to be freed from exile so they could go back to their city and rebuild the temple, the walls and their worship. All at the expense of the king’s treasury…they didn’t have to pay for any of it. 

Are you listening fear? That’s the same sovereign God, my God, that rules today! Not one single thing happening in the world today is a surprise to Him. Not one. 

Light. Be it. Shine it so the darkness does not win. Let the Church rise above the pandemonium and BE the church. Love the least of these. Check in on your neighbor. Share. Care. Be there. (If you are healthy and able.)

It’s times like these that we have the opportunity to show Jesus to others and I sure don’t want others to think Jesus is a jerk because of the way I treat others during a time of crisis. You know, like, grabbing 25 cans of tuna and the last 6 packs of TP on the shelf. Or running like your life depended on it to the meat counter at Costco. 

Maybe we need to take Jesus literally when He tells Peter to feed His sheep. Maybe we need to stop talking about Jesus and show people Jesus instead. Maybe Jesus comes in the form of a jar of Jiffy.  

Lots of churches are joining together to collect food for the kids who rely on school breakfasts and lunches now that all schools in Ohio are closed for 3 weeks. This is my church being the church.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and our clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. (Matthew 25: 35-36, 40 NIV) 

Mind. Manage it. There’s much we can’t control so we need to control those things we can. Watch what you take in. Be informed but limit your exposure to the mayhem. It’s so easy to get caught up in the media’s magic of mind control. 

Read a book. Learn a new language. Put a puzzle together. Listen to your favorite music. Memorize scripture. Go outside. Get some sun on your face. Put your hands in the dirt. Meditate. Go to coffee with a friend and talk about anything BUT scary things. Pray. Do something kind for someone. Smile. Start a gratitude journal. Light a candle. Play a board game with your family. Exercise. Clean. Laugh. Love. 

I have a daily choice. I can let fear win. Or I can let my faith be greater. I will leave you with this: I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NIV)

Here is a link to 25 verses to help ease your anxiety. I pray it helps you like it helps me. 

kw

Let Nothing Be Wasted

My Granny was a frugal woman. We would recycle our Cocoa Cola bottles, carefully placing them back in the carton for their return trip to the store. Once there, we would put them in the big basket to the left as you walked in and let the cashier know as she rang up our purchases how many cartons we brought back. We got a little credit towards our grocery bill. Granny recycled out of necessity, not to be green but because we needed the green. 

She would do things like rinse out our sandwich bags and reuse them in our lunches. She sewed most of my clothes, saving the scraps to make what was called “rag rugs.” She grew a huge garden and canned most of our food, so we were always “clean-platers” because she worked hard for what was on the table. 

She would keep the slivers of soap and put them all together so at some point you had a “new” bar of soap to use. That made for an interesting bath time. There would be a bouquet of feeling Zestfully clean with an underlying hint of Irish Spring, the real beauty that Dove promised with an occasional grit of exfoliation from a sliver of Lava that surfaced to the top. 

We lived on my Gramps’ one income, a blue-collar factory working man with an eighth-grade education who didn’t really bring in a lot of dough. But Granny could take that dough and make some really good stuff out of it! Nothing was wasted when I was a little girl. 

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I was listening to a talk by Jo Saxton from the 2019 IF conference recently. Her message was on a story as familiar as “the quiet old lady who was whispering hush” in the book Good Night Moon. 

We find ourselves on a mountainside with 5000 or so of our closest friends, hiking our hardest after an acclaimed Miracle Maker, wanting to see what the hubbub is all about. We aren’t disappointed as lunch is served, bellies are filled and not one person goes hungry all because one boy’s Momma remembers to pack his lunch box with some fish and bread. 

And Jesus gives thanks for what He has.  

There’s no discounting the freakish amount of folks fed with such frugal findings nor the fact that the twelve disciples gathered twelve baskets so they, too, could have full bellies. It’s this line that Jesus says that’s got me thinking: 

Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted. (John 6:12NIV)

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Gather the pieces…

The pieces, that which is broken, gathered was the bread, something the Jewish culture considered to be a gift from God. It was required that scraps that fell on the ground during a meal be picked up. Think about their time in the dessert when manna, bread like wafers, fell from heaven as a provision when food was a luxury. I can imagine every morsel melting in their mouths, not in the mud.

Broken pieces. On the ground. Squandered away? No.

They were gathered up, put into baskets, enough to feed others. 

The leftovers. The left behinds. The last of the least. 

Gathered up and used to feed. 

What if God can take our broken pieces and use them? What if He can take those parts that feel torn off like the crust that no one wants, the cast down, thrown away, torn apart, and useless and use them to feed those around us? What if we could have the courage to see those things that God breaks in us and around us as gifts from Him? Trusting Him, that He will, like He did so long ago, gather the pieces, and feed those that need fed from the basket of our own stories.

Let nothing be wasted. 

Wasted, in the original language, is to be lost to the owner, anything that perishes. 

What if we trusted that Jesus means what He says? He will let nothing be wasted. Not one single thing. 

Not one tear shed.

Not one pain felt. 

Not one loss grieved. 

Not one diagnosis given.

Not one dream dashed.

Not one (more) diaper changed. 

Not one career move made.

Not one failure flop.

Not one guilt trip taken. 

Not one misery met.

Not one stormy season. 

Not one prodigal person.

Not one dry dessert.

Not one single thing is lost to the Owner of us who claim Christ as our Savior. 

He will gather up our pieces, just like He did on that mountainside so many years ago and feed the people from our baskets of broken if we’re brave enough to let Him. If we’ll trust Him with the story we’re walking right now. If we’re still enough to be allow Him to work through us and use us as only He can do. 

He sees us. You and me. Waiting to be gathered. Feeling like the crust no one wants. Waiting to see how He’ll use this season we’re in. Will you trust Him to do what He says He will do? 

That one line: Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted. 

May it be so. 

I am undone.  

kw

In a Little Country Church (Day 30 Memory)

The church I grew up in.

I first heard of Jesus here, in this little country church, tucked away in small town Tarleton, Ohio. My Granny would drive us, my older brother and me, every Sunday come hell or highwater, snowstorm or sleet. There were a handful of times I thought for sure we would meet Jesus face to face as Granny white knuckled her way through, wipers on high, barely able to see and thankful it was a straight shot down highway 159. 

The familiar smell of musty wooden pews and old people welcomed you as you walked into the vestibule, that space where you could hang your coat and ring the bell. We always entered the sanctuary by the left door and sat in the third pew from the front on the right side. Esther Miller sat directly behind us and was the volunteer janitor. Virginia (Ginny) Green sat at the far end of our row and ran the VBS every summer which hosted an average of 15 kids. Her husband Pearl was my bus driver when I was in high school. 

I found this list of “inactive members” and handwritten note tucked inside Granny’s Bible.

There would be announcements of bake sales and fundraisers and if it was your birthday you got to go up front, put a penny in the bucket, get a pencil that said Happy Birthday and the congregation would sing to you. Those pencils had the best erasers. 

We would open our hymnals and sing the first and last verse of a couple familiar songs. Unless we were feeling extra festive then we would sing all four verses though the middle two were sung with less spirit as people weren’t as familiar with the words. Diane Miller (Esther’s daughter) played the piano and never missed a beat when a key was stuck or out of tune. 

The preacher would make his way from the front row to the pulpit. Since we were a small country church, we would get the retirees who weren’t quite ready to give up sharing the good news. My favorite was an older gentleman with soft grey/white fluffy hair, kind eyes and a gentle voice. He would talk about Jesus as if he were his best friend and he invited us to make him our friend too. 

This small band of believers made sure the sick was visited, the hungry were fed and if there was a need and someone could meet it then it was met. This community wasn’t rich by any means but had huge hearts and willing spirits.

It was the first place I met Jesus. Right there. In Nowhere, Ohio. But then again, he often meets us in the strangest of places. 

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In John 4 we see Jesus waiting for a woman, not in a sanctuary, but beside a well. He knew her need and met her where she would be.

In Luke 10 we see Jesus meeting in the home of a couple of sisters by the name of Mary and Martha. He gives Mary her first taste of theology by allowing her to sit at his feet and soak up his teaching. 

In Luke 8 Jesus meets a demoniac by the name of Legion, not in a church service but on the shore of the sea of Galilee. 

In Luke 13 we find Jesus is teaching in the synagogue and notices a crippled woman. She gets to go forward and meet Jesus who then met her need…even on a Sabbath day of rest! 

He meets Mary Magdalene in a garden outside of his very own tomb. He meets her in her grief and shares the good news of His Good News and tells her to tell the others.  

He met with people on mountainsides and muddy pig sties. Offshore in a boat and places remote. He saw people no one else sees….the blind, the wounded and the least of these. 

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There is no place that Jesus doesn’t see us or want to meet with us. Sometimes I think we make it too hard. Like we have to live loud and be mega for Jesus to notice. 

He meets you. Right where you are. 

Whether it’s in a pew or a fancy chair. Whether your congregation is 10 or 10,000. Whether you’re a big city church or a country congregation. 

He meets you and will use you. Right where you are. 

I first met Jesus in that little country church. I got to see him in action long after I moved away when Esther and Ginny visited my Granny in the nursing home every Sunday until she passed. I can just hear them say “I will” when the old man with white/grey hair asked who could visit Alice in the nursing home. 

Jesus met with my Granny all the way to the end through two friends.

Where has Jesus met you?

kw

Dear Jane,

What started as a letter to a man named John has now taken somewhat of a turn. I had all this stuff I wanted to say to him as if he has any idea who I am. There are many things that have already been shared. Thoughts on a drum that’s already been beaten. I sat down twice to write it and deleted it each time.

I went outside for some fresh air and sunshine. There’s something therapeutic about working in the garden. It’s mostly been put to sleep, as it is now the end of October. I had saved the Christmas lima beans for last for they have taken over the fence nearby, climbing up and through the nooks and crannies. They weren’t big producers of fruit but sure had a lot of fluff. 

Lady Lima got out of control! 🙂

That’s when it hit me. This box of beans got so out of hand that it was hard to get in the garden gate but once you did there was a ton of goodness on the other side. The limas got a lot of attention simply because they stood out loud and proud. 

You see, Jane, while I don’t agree with his tone or the manner to which he told Beth Moore to “go home” amidst the cackles and snickering of his compadres, nor do I wish to “hock jewelry” or be devalued by his buddies. I really don’t want to give him more attention. His type of argument and arrogance will be around long after I am not. 

By giving him an ounce more consideration, I only perpetuate the fanning of his fame. No. That’s not what I want to do at all. 

As I was tearing down that loud lima, our Dad reminded me that dear John is not the keeper of the gate and we don’t get our value and worth from the words and commands of a patriarchal group of grouchy men. But rather from a Book He wrote long ago as a reminder of who we are and Whose we are. 

Our gifts are determined by Him, a Father who loves us dearly. How we use them (or not) is determined by us. With that said, dear sister, as Paul did for Timothy, I want to use mine to fan into flame, yours! 

Where do we begin? What’s the best way to fight back? It’s not by flinging insult for insult. I’d like us to walk through scripture together one book at a time, one chapter at a time, one day at a time. I can’t explain it but our Dad’s words give encouragement and hope, courage and grace, instruction and discipline. The more the world roars, the more we need the whisper of His word. 

There is something sacred about keeping it simple. With an expectant heart and mind and ears leaned into listen, pen and paper at the ready, won’t you join me as we walk through the Bible together. 

Let me know if you want to join the private Facebook group I started called, Take a Walk With Me. It’s imperative we read a little bit of scripture each and every day. It won’t be hard but it will be beneficial. The invitation is always open! The start date is November 1st but you can join us at any time!

Stay faithful! To His word and your calling!

kw 

Reach for the Stars with Your Feet on the Ground (Day 13 Reach)

I grew up with grandparents who gardened. They would can and freeze enough food to last most of the winter. Once I got married and had a couple of kids of my own, I wanted to do the same thing. I’ve always wanted a garden that looks like this: 

We tried a handful of times through the years but failed pretty miserably most of the time. Why? We had big dreams but didn’t realize that while we could reach for the stars our feet needed to stay on the ground. 

It takes the following to reach big dreams: 

Time: the times we started a garden big enough to give us food through the winter, were also some of the busiest times for our kids. We have five kids and everyone has been in sports, on top of school stuff. The reality of being able to put the time in the garden needed AND wanting to attend all of our kids activities simply wasn’t a reality at all. 

Energy: it takes a lot of energy for big dreams to happen and well, we’re all human and have a finite amount to go around. Maybe some things had to come off our plates before we could make this dream garden happen. 

Effort: we had to ask ourselves if we were willing to put in the effort, the work it takes to make a big garden happen. There are days when it is hot and the weeds seem to be winning the war. Other days there was stuff ready to harvest and can or freeze so I had to change plans to do the work that needed done that day. 

Education: were we willing to learn, to read, to attend classes that taught us about soil, seeds, crop rotation, planting, harvesting, how to can, freeze and dry? Were we willing to change what needed changed once we learned more about what we were doing right and wrong? 

Experiment: I’ve had some fun with this one. Every year I try to plant something new in the garden. Sometimes it works and sometimes it’s a bust but you don’t know which is which until you try. I have a garden journal and map that I make notes on what was planted where and what succeeded and failed. 

Big dreams start with small things. 

Instead of a huge garden that we simply didn’t have the time or energy to put in the effort with, I opted for a few containers on the back patio for a while. I grew some tomatoes and a handful of herbs as well as a few pepper plants. 

My dream of having a big garden didn’t die, I simply turned my waiting room into a classroom. I began to learn more about gardening and not just the parts and pieces I remember as a kid. I YouTube all kinds of things and follow several homesteaders who are doing the thing I love/want to do. 

This year I canned 54 quarts of green beans, 20 pints of different pickles, pizza sauce and jalapeños. I froze basil and chives. I dehydrated tomatoes, sage, oregano, patchouli, calendula, lavender and chocolate mint for tea. And my experiment this year was luffah sponges! So fun!!

Is it enough to eat on all winter? Nah. But we are ever closer to reaching the stars with our feet on the ground because we learned that we cannot grow corn if our lives depended on it so next year we will buy from a local farmer. We also learned a lot about squash bugs and blossom rot and what to do to prevent both. I’m adding a medicinal garden along the back of the house because I tried some things in pots and it was fabulous.

This is my actual garden. It’s getting there! In the meantime, I’m having a blast learning. (And feeding live tomato worms to the chickens…ahhh…sweet revenge. 🙂

That dream of mine? It’s doable because I’ve allowed my waiting room to be my class room. What’s your big dream? Keep reaching for the stars with your feet on the ground!!

kw

Running Your Race Well (Day 12 First)

It’s race day. My best friend since kindergarten Molly asked me to walk the 4 Miler at Ohio State with her. We had to estimate our finish time when we registered. I got a text from her that said in part: 

I was able to pull up your ticket # and approx time under your name and our team name. You funny girl! 1 hour finish! I put 2 hours!! 

You guys! We have no hopes of finishing first. We’re both in our fifties. We both have had several kiddos and way too many peanut M&M’s. We are in it for the sheer enjoyment of spending the day together and we get to end the race on the 50-yard line in the Shoe!! 

this is us…celebrating her youngest graduating from high school.

This reminded me of another high school friend. Her name is Doris and she ran the mile our senior year of track. She never ever won a race. Not one. She never came in first. In fact, she would still be running after much of the meet was done. Dead last. Always. 

She may have been the slowest runner many had ever seen but you know what? Coming in first isn’t always the most important thing. Here are some others that count too: 

She always stayed in her lane. 

She always ran her race. 

She always finished. 

She never quit. 

She may not have finished first but she always faithfully finished. May that be said of me as well. 

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2Timothy 4:7CSB)

Into Deep Waters (Day 11 Deep)

Perhaps you’ve felt like I have when I’ve tried every avenue that I know to do and Jesus asks me to try the very same thing I just got through doing…one more time. 

Sometimes it feels like I’m in over my head, like Jesus asks too much of me. Maybe you feel like that every once in awhile as well. 

That’s where we find the disciples who are fisherman with no fish in their nets…

***

Jesus asks for a little.

Jesus had just finished healing a bunch of people and was looking for a spot to get away from the crowds but they followed him so he began to share with them on the shore of Galilee. As the crowd pressed in to hear more…

He saw two boats at the edge of the lake; the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, which belonged to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from the land. Then he sat down and was teaching the crowds from the boat. (Luke 5:1-3 CSB)

I love this. Jesus makes sure the soon-to-be-disciples hear him teaching Truth a little ways out from shore before he calls them into something more. 

Looking back on my faith journey, Jesus has given me opportunities to listen and obey in small ways before asking me to trust him when the way seems overwhelming and dark. 

***

Jesus asks us to push out farther still.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch. (Luke 5:4CSB)

The disciples would have had to row out further still. Jesus takes them from the shore where they began, to out a little, to out further still, into the deep water. 

It’s a progression. I learned to listen, trust and obey with a little and now a little more. 

The disciples’ next move was critical. Jesus was asking them to do something they spent the whole night doing with nothing in return. Would they listen? 

***

Jesus asks us to trust him in the deep water. 

“Master,” Simon replied, “we’ve worked hard all night long and caught nothing. But if you say so, I’ll let down the nets.” (Luke 5:5 CSB) 

Here is a Carpenter telling a fisherman how to fish! I know, I know, Jesus isn’t just any carpenter but still. I can’t help but wonder what was going through their minds. 

I also wonder how often we might think the same thing? We are our kids’ parents, wouldn’t we know what’s best for them? How about at our jobs? Or with unanswered prayer and he says to keep praying fervently. 

The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing expecting a different result. You know what? Sometimes trusting Jesus out in the deep is the most insane sane thing you can do. 

He asks us to trust that he knows how to do the thing we’re good at, even better. Do we trust him enough to answer like Simon and reply, “But if you say so…”

***

When they did this, they caught a great number of fish, and their nets began to tear. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.” (Luke 5:6-7 CSB)

Being out in the deep and being asked to trust him is one of the hardest things to do but the dividends are beyond what we could ever imagine. 

Jesus takes us from listening to Truth on the shore to going out a little ways to in-over-our-head faith. Will you trust Him? 

kw

If you enjoyed this post on Luke 5 you may like this one too: But because You say so.

Are We Scared to Be Kind? (Day 10 Scared)

The year was around 2009 and my middle daughter and I were sitting in Urgent Care waiting to be seen. There was an older couple in there as well. Ellen was on and had just made some funny comments. Mackenzie and I both laughed. The older couple’s conversation went something like this:

The Man: that was funny. 

The Woman: WHAT?

The Man: I said that was funny! (In a much louder I-can’t-hear-you-voice.)

The Woman: too bad she’s gay. 

The Man: WHAT?

The Woman: I said she is funny. Too bad she’s gay. 

We looked at each other wondering what being gay had to do with her ability to be funny. At the time we both kind of laughed it off and didn’t really think anything about it. They were old blah, blah, blah. 

Fast forward ten years and we’ve come to a place where we can’t even sit together and enjoy a football game if we are different than each other. This is former President George Bush, a conservative Republican and Ellen DeGeneres a liberal gay celebrity having a laugh at the Dallas Cowboys game. 

Ellen shares on her show (in the video link towards the bottom) that some people wrote to her upset that she could sit with someone like President Bush AND actually enjoy it! 

I just don’t get it. Since when has it become so hard to simply be kind to each other? I can’t be friends with (or kind to for that matter) him because he’s gay or her because she’s conservative. How did we get here?

Are we scared to be kind to people who are different than us? That perhaps their differences will rub off on us like elementary school cooties? 

Differences are an invitation for dialogue, not division. (Caleb Kaltenbach author of Messy Grace)

Lest you think I have no opportunity to show kindness, as you read this I am spending the day with my Dad who wasn’t around much when I was growing up. We are as different as night and day both politically and spiritually. And yet we have commonalities because we are more than politics and religion.

Besides that I have five grown kids who all think and act differently than I do. There have been ample opportunities to choose to show kindness to one another even when we disagreed with each other.

To the conservative people who think they need to speak Truth with no Grace or Love. The Truth you speak of also commands to be kind and compassionate to one another. (Ephesians 4:32 CSB) You want to show people Jesus? Be kind. 

To the LGBTQ community who think being friends with a conservative is worse than bamboo shoots under your nails: not every one whose beliefs are more traditional carry signs shouting Turn or Burn or God hates fags. 

We’ve got to stop looking at each other solely through a lense based on a political party or sexual identity. We are more than that! We have gifts and talents and jobs and big hearts and smarts. We are painters and comedians, musicians and writers. Moms and Dads and Grandparents. We are students and teachers, counselors and firefighters. Math wizards and science majors. We are all made in the image of God. 

Somehow we’ve forgotten that being human means being kind to human beings. 

It’s okay to laugh at Ellen because she IS funny! (period) Here is the monologue from her show. She explains things so much better than me as I’m still over here scratching my head and wondering why we’re so scared to be kind. 

kw