Monday, April 28, 2014

"After" Lent -- 20 of 40 (What is Best?)

What is best...
What is best isn't always what is easiest. What is best is sometimes messy. What is best might be complicated. Best school, best church, best college, best town to raise a family, best "____." Anything would fit here. All relative to point of view. All should be judged by Jesus Christ alone. But all of these "bests" are seen through one person's eyes and then another's and judged daily by those of us thinking we have the best. And my best certainly won't look like someone else's. But what I strive for in my life and when I look at my children is for them to see past the material definition of what is best. I struggle in trying not to compare their best to other worldly versions if what is expected. The best job, the best house, the best clothes. And it's something that I am working on with God's help...i.e. lots of prayers. 

My hope is that God will show them what best looks like when it comes to being best in humility, being best at generosity, being best at loving others, despite their differences. Being best at Bible study. Having the closest walk with Christ that they/we possibly can. Meaningful and beautiful and simply prayers that are heartfelt and pure. And, it's gonna be hard, because this mama fails A LOT at all of these on pretty much a daily basis, but my heart tries to love its best, to consider others hearts the best I can, to guide myself and others gently to the loving arms of Christ. 

1 John 2:15-17 paints the picture beautifully:

"15 Do not love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world, you do not love the Father. 16 Everything that belongs to the world—what the sinful self desires, what people see and want, and everything in this world that people are so proud of—none of this comes from the Father; it all comes from the world. 17 The world and everything in it that people desire is passing away; but those who do the will of God live forever."

And also Colossians 3:2:

"Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth."

Because when all of our bests are over and our lives are finished, do we really want to be remembered for what we had on or what our house looked like, or the car we drove, or whatever the case may be. I want to totally change my perspective to a heavenly view of our worldly wants/needs. We want to be remembered for our actions towards others and how they point upwards and towards Jesus Christ. If my children grow up and love their best and give their best and care their best, giving glory to God, I couldn't be happier. 

My prayer is to be more blessed than best. More holy that just happy. More joy than just general emotions that ebb and flow. It can be so easy to get caught up in life and to want want want, but simply examining what God has given us makes me know He wants what is BEST for me and "know the plans he has for me" (Jeremiah 29:11). As a mother, wife, and daughter, just as I want the best for my family, and Jesus wants the same for me. And His bests aren't worldly, they are the ones that might not be easy and are complicated, but they belong to Jesus Christ and I know "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me) (Philippians 4:13). And the more I think about it, these qualities of generosity, humility, study, prayer, and love...they are easy when we are committed to pleasing Him. They are fun when we look at them those His eyes. They are THE. BEST. And knowing He is right beside me every single step of the!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lent -- 19 of 40 (Spring on Spring...back in the garden!)

Last year we took a break from the garden: a) too much time b) too big c) harvest time always seemed to be when we were out of town in July (market/sales meetings/vacation/Neshoba County Fair). 

We regrouped, got our rows flattened out and decided raised beds might be a more manageable option. I wanted more flowers and an easier way to grow vegetables without feeling like we had gone into the Amazon rain forest. 

Rob built these by using 2x12 lumber and I have 4 raised beds that are 4' x 12'. Got dirt delivered and here are the results. 

I actually had seeds to fill one entire bed of zinnias (makes my heart smile just thinking about this) and one whole bed of sunflowers (also very very happy). Got all of these planted Saturday morning! 

Rob not so happy that he will only have 2 beds for tomatoes, cucumbers (which will become his delish pickles), eggplant, zucchini, peppers, okra (maybe), squash, and a few strawberry plants. We will probably start planting vegetables mid-May. I have also have some small planters on the patio with basil, rosemary, mint (EEEKK...LOVE!), and parsley! 

(Already starting to see the beginnings of some strawberries!)

 Being outside made me realize that everything our yard is blooming and it's my favorite time of year thanks to Zyrtec! I am seeing so much of God's beautiful creation in all the plants, trees, flowers, and even the birds and squirrels seem happy that this long winter we've had is over. He tells us to look to nature to see HIM and I really thought a lot about this on Saturday as I was planting seeds that would become beautiful flowers in a few months. We talked about planting those seeds in Sunday School a few weeks back and I just hope that the seeds I plant daily, in life, will one day look like the beautiful zinnias, sunflowers, snowball trees, azaleas, and roses that we are seeing this time of year. That is something I am going to think about a lot this spring and will be my inspiration, with God's love and grace, this spring!

I have used these blooms in several arrangements over the last few weeks and several people commented that they thought they were hydrangeas! One of the best plants we have added to our yard is this one! It has grown so much over the last several years and the blooms are endless.  

This is a rose bush that i got a couple of years ago and I think it is called "Mrs. R.B. Cant" antique rose. It's beautiful and I just get excited thinking about all the blooms it's going to have this year! Will make a gorgeous bouquet for something!  

And I don't believe any Southern home is complete without some azalea bushes (and hydrangeas). We have white and bright pink. 

 I wish I could bottle or produce a candle with the scent of the wild wisteria that grows for about 2 weeks in our backyard. I took these pictures on Saturday and now the blooms are almost gone. It just smells heavenly and doesn't last long enough. 

Not sure what the pretty little purple flowers are but I like em!

Pink azaleas starting to bloom in front yard and our freshly painted bright green door! 
A springtime tradition at our house on Spring Avenue!

I added these two hydrangeas last summer after I had two die several summers ago from extreme heat. It was my mission in life to keep these alive last summer, watering them, some days, morning and night. And look at them now! They get the perfect amount of morning sun and are then in the shade for the rest of the day! They are also right next to a camellia bush and I am thinking this might be a great summer reading spot!  

This verse is one that I read recently and went back to as I worked in the yard Saturday:
Speak to the Earth and it will teach you. 
Job 12:8