National Day of Prayer 2011

The day is finally here.  Everyday is an official day to pray, but how mighty to have Christ-followers assembled around this country praying for the world’s needs.  This isn’t just about “us” anymore.  It is for the unbelievers, believers, those who are being deceived and those who are deceived, for our families and for our neighbors around the world.  The time is now.  Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? 

Everyday, a Christian is tortured, murdered, or denied their right to freely worship.  Jesus said we would suffer here for His sake.  We are told to count is as JOY when we suffer.  It seems unreal to think someone could be in a joyful state when they are obviously in physical turmoil, but a CHRIST-FOLLOWER is in CHRIST and with that comes PEACE with GOD! 

Pray, and never cease praying!    Blessings of hope and reassurance that GOD has not left you nor forsaken you.  May the God of Israel bless you with faith, peace and hope through His Son–Jesus Christ, the Promised Messiah!

Jeanne

Day Five!

Everything turns.  Round and round they go. 

Momma and Andy stoop to see the caterpillars on the milkweed plant.  They turn a leaf over to watch one caterpillar munch away at the poisonous leaves.

Andy sees the caterpillar is yellow, black and white.  It looks like a rubber tube with legs.  Tiny legs.  Lots of legs. 

Andy asks “Can we take a caterpillar home and put it in a jar?”  He holds up a jar he brought from the kitchen. 

“Yes.  These caterpillars need lots and lots of milkweed leaves to eat.”  So Andy picked a handful of leaves and stuffed them in the jar lightly.  He gently picked up the squirmy caterpillar and lowered it into its new home.

“You’ll need to find a stick.  The caterpillar will use this to spin its’ chrysalis. ”  momma whispered.  Andy found a sturdy stick to place in the jar.  The caterpillar’s house was finished.  “Don’t forget a lid with air holes.  We do not want Mr. Caterpillar climbing out into the bowl of apples on the table.”  Momma and Andy laughed.

At dinner each night, Andy added more leaves until finally the caterpillar was full.  Daddy, momma and Andy watch Mr. Caterpillar climb up the stick and it began to spin thread from the bottom of its’ body.   

In the morning, when Andy came down for breakfast, a lime green chrysalis was waiting for Andy.  It was lined with golden flecks and it shone brightly in the sun. 

Days past.  The lime green chrysalis had turned black.  Andy looked closer and could see the chrysalis was now transparent and the wings of the butterfly could be seen.  It was a monarch!

The butterfly stretched. And stretched and stretched and stretched. 

Kaboom!  Mr. Butterfly was free.  It flapped its’ wings to dry them.  Andy took the jar outside to let  Mr. Butterfly enjoy the sunshine. 

Momma and daddy joined Andy outside.  “How long will the butterfly stay?” Andy asked.  “Not long.” daddy replied.  Mr. Butterfly flapped its wings and took off.  It sailed away in the summer air to find a friend.

Peppermint Tea

The peppermint bed has woken up and I couldn’t be happier.  I planted this mint last year and already it has spread throughout this raised bed.  Which is okay…that is what I wanted it to do.  Fresh mint and mojitos for the summer!    Not to mention hot tea right now!  It is simple to make…Pick the best leaves and let dry for several days.  On the day of preparation, bring your tea kettle of water to boil.  Add 1 Tablespoon of the dried mint leaves to a tea bag or strainer, fill cup with hot water, let steep until your satisfied with the strength, remove leaves and enjoy.  Heavenly with a bit of honey to sweeten it up. 

His Creation Rejoices

       http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/

Anna mowed the backyard this past weekend, twice.  It was her first time using a power tool and mom didn’t quite show her the correct way to mow.  She gave our lawn a mohawk.  So dad had her go back outside and do it again, this time showing the errors of her ways.  She had tried to be fancy, trimming on an angle like the neighbor boy.  Dad instructed her not to go beyond the basics, or at least not until she has them mastered.  Lesson learned.

Over the weekend a moth was born.  I am not sure where its cocoon was, but while Jeff and Anna were mowing the grass, Jeff called over to me and I rushed inside to get my camera.  The most beautiful moth I had ever witnessed was resting in the grass, waiting for it’s wings to dry.  I could not help but stand in awe of God’s creation.  I rejoiced with the moth, proclaiming God to be the Father of all living things.  There is nothing in all the world that sings as beautifully as the mountain, the rainbow, the ocean, the sunset…except for a moth in my backyard.

No room for HIS head

Look at the snowflakes, so simple but so intricate.  Look at the human body, the one we take for granted!  Examine the eye itself.  We open them after sleep and it seems so simple that we can view the world, but then the process of what goes on behind the scenes is complicated because of God’s design. 

 Man’s quest to understand is not like the birds of the air, who do not toil, but rely on the creator for their substance.  Man is burdened with the things of this world and how to fix them.  God put him to work from the get go so he would not be sidetracked with “other” things.  Man’s movement is eloquent.  The love of God for HIM is simple.  We are convicted by the Spirit that blows by us to wake us up from our slumber.  Then we are convicted and turn from our lawless ways and follow the creator and sustainer of life.

Primrose

Took a walk in the backyard and discovered many surprises.  The weather has been unbelieavably nice with just enough rain to keep everything watered.  The crocus are finished blossoming, the daffodils are at their peak and many new emerging plants were spotted.  Take for instance the primrose:

You can find these in the floral section of most grocery stores starting in February and if you plant them outdoors after they bloom inside, they will keep coming back year after year. 

So how do you take care of these plants?  Since there are not alot of leaves budded by the time the primrose blooms outside, you shouldn’t worry too much about the light.  I have mine planted in an area that is very rich soil that stays moist (a willow tree is nearby to help keep the primrose from drowning) and it is partially shaded in the summer.  I never fertilize it on purpose but the soil is naturally nutrious because of mulching with compost every spring. 

That is all I do.  The plant is not native to Indiana like the Evening Primrose, but it has been hybridized from native stock and I think I have just found the perfect place for it to survive outdoors.  Look for blossoms coming soon!  And I did purchase a second primrose that I will be transplanting outside in May.

Praying Mantis

The beneficial bugs that we invite to our gardens do more than scare away the bad bugs…they entertain.  There is no bug that is more enjoyable to watch than the praying mantis.  Their eyes catch the smallest movement and once you are in their radar, beware.  It doesn’t matter that you are plenty bigger than them.  They can fly and jump and they will even attempt to scare you, so be aware when walking in your garden.  (Not for the squeemish or very young!)

When they first hatch, around the beginning of June, a swarm of miniature bugs that look just like the mature bugs, scatter in all directions.  They are no bigger than 1/2″ and their biggest enemy is their sisters and brothers.  They will eat each other after hatching, so that is why they make a bee line to safer ground.   

I order my egg casings from http://www.planetnatural.com/site/praying-mantis-egg-cases.html.  They offer 3 egg sacs for $12.95 and there is no shipping charged.  A great deal.  This is my second order from them and the price hasn’t risen since 2008 when I last made an order.  The praying mantis will travel, and are not guaranteed to stay in your yard.  I have had eggs laid on shrubs in my yard before, but this spring when I looked for egg sacs I found none, hence I am making an order today.

Neighbors have told me they have seen praying mantis in their yards and I am sure they migrated from my yard.  Last year we did not have an infestation of Japanese Beetles so I am hoping it is the praying mantis who are taking care of those menancing beasts.  The Japanese Beetle really does a heck of a job on my roses every year.

Breathe

March 1 is my New Year, every year, since 2008.   Do you have a moment in time when you feel the world stopped?  Or better yet, you wish it would stop.  You feel it should stop.  You want to scream at everyone, “Can’t you see the pain this world is in right now? Do you even care?”.  Some may think that is selfish.  Is it?

I’ve been seeking peace in my heart about so many things and I finally feel a little room to breathe.   BREATHE!   My word for today and perhaps the rest of this year.  The freedom I’m resting in is so delightful to my heart!  Like good medicine, a cheerful heart doeth me good.

I wrote about being of good cheer last week.  You must realize that doesn’t necessarily mean you are rolling on the floor laughing at the latest, greatest joke being told around the water cooler.  Instead, we are to be satisfied and content with the way things are.  No amount of worrying will ever bring us back in time so we can circumvent the past mistakes and sadness our life has seen.  In fact, worrying prolongs the sadness.  It eventually will do us in if we let it get its claws around our necks and mouths.  Worrying can suffocate us of every ounce of energy and when we are experiencing such despair and loss in our lives, it is energy we most need to continue on despite ourselves. 

God has been very patient with me.  I feel like I had been in a cocoon for the past three years and my wings have finally dried after emerging about six months ago.  I am just about ready to fly.  I’ve been testing them here and there.  When I have a chance to.  I have learned not to expect, but rather I go forth leary, learning and letting be.    

Contradictory?  Yes. 

Helpful?  Maybe. 

Peaceful.  Absolutely.

Spring bulbs

You are suppose to plant your bulbs by December.  At least that is what the package says.  I always buy too many bulbs while I am at the store looking around.  Whether it is because they are on clearance or my heart starts to dance when all the thoughts of snow melting and sun shining and winter is just about over glee takes me on, I just pick up too many packages.  So with the nice weather I put on a sweater and gloves and headed for the mailbox garden this afternoon.  I cut down my grass and removed a few weeds that have already started to green up.  I dug a few holes and dropped in my Glory-of-the-snow and species tulips “Little Princess” bulbs and patted them in.  No need to water.  The ground is pretty saturated right now. 

 Whether they are able to root this year and blossom is not known, but at least I didn’t end up composting them.

Be of good cheer!

      Just how long did it take this spider to create a web?  It even looks like there are two webs side by side.  So if the fly or other insect misses the first trap, they will surely get caught in the second, right?  Not necessarily.  Many of us will toil till our backs break and wake up one morning to find our work destroyed.  We are told to be of good cheer in John 16:33.  In some translations such as the NIV it says take heart and still in others the word be courageous or have confidence is used.  So being cheerful is to be confident that the Lord knows you are having troubles.   He guards our hearts from despair!