Saturday, June 30, 2012

To Every Thing There is a Season

Georgia Peaches--Photo courtesy of cousin Kevin Delaigle.

          I've enjoyed some delicious tree-ripened peaches this week.  Fresh peaches always remind me of my growing up years.  Picking peaches at Boll Weevil Plantation was a summertime event.  Bringing them home by the bushel.  The most fun thing to do was make homemade peach ice cream.  We needed lots of ice, rock salt, and elbow grease for that.  Our group effort produced the most delicious ice cream in the world.  
          The pace of my life in those days was not measured by the nine to five's, but by the seed time and harvests.  Oh yes, and by Sunday afternoon drives in the country--a common past time for many back then.  Sunday afternoon drives when no one pushed the speed to the limit and the cruise was controlled by a softer pedal.  The biggest concern of the afternoon for us children was who got to sit by the window in the backseat of the sprawling Ford Galaxie.  With Daddy at the wheel, we drove up and down the dusty dirt roads to see the corn and the cotton fields, and look at the cows and the pond.  From time to time we'd check on the progress of the blackberries ripening in a large patch beside the pasture.

           In those days, we took pleasure in the process.  Life was more peaceful. No stores were open.  No businesses operated on Sundays.  Society cooperated to let us have our day of rest.  So we spent time with family and enjoyed the simple pleasures of the season.  Those memories are as sweet as juicy peaches.

Fresh peach cobbler. I used the recipe from Tea Time at the Masters Cookbook.

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven," Ecclesiastes 3:1.

Note to readers:  See Deep South Magazine's southern summer reading list.  They're having a book giveaway.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Why did the apostle Paul give us a list of 8 things to think about?

My favorite corner of the world early in the morning.
"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you" Isaiah 26:3a (NKJV).

          I visited the home improvement store last week.  I enjoyed the background music as I browsed the aisles.  The cashier was listening, too, because as I checked out, she actually started singing the lyrics of the catchy tune that filled the airwaves.

Maybe that's when it got stuck in my head.  I first noticed it as I waited at the traffic light.  I was singing it in my mind.  By the time I got to the grocery store, I was belting it outloud.  It wasn't even a song I likedThat wasn't the end of it.  It happened the next day, and the next.  When I started writing this, it happened again. 

Do you know what I mean?  Haven't we all had songs stuck in our heads.  We hear it on the radio in the car, or in church, or in the home improvement store, and at the most unexpected time, it plays over and over like a broken record.  Unfortunately, negative thoughts, self-doubts, painful memories, and worry can get stuck in our heads as well.  And like that song I was singing even though I didn't like it, those negative thoughts can play over and over again in our minds causing us to lose our peace.

For our mental and spiritual health, it's important that we control those negative thoughts.  The apostle Paul has given us a simple list.

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things...and the God of peace shall be with you" Philippians 4:8-9 (KJV).

Could he have been any more direct?  Paul said "think on these things".  I like the promise he gives.  The God of peace shall be with you.

Do you have a favorite Scripture that helps you overcome negative thinking?

Peace like a river

Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you," John 14:27a.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Invisible essential things

Photo courtesy of Kristin Espinasse--
          I love this picture of climbing roses beside the tiled roofed house in France.  When I see this picture it reminds me of my favorite part of the book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.  You see the little prince loved his rose, and he thought she was the only one of her kind in the universe.  He lived on a planet no bigger than a house with three tiny volcanos and his rose as his sole companions. He tends to them faithfully each day.  He makes an unfortunate decision to leave his planet, and he travels to earth, where one day after traveling a long lonely road in search of  men, he comes upon a rose garden.  He is immediately amazed and overcome with sadness.  Realizing that his rose is not the only one in all the world, he lay down in the grass and cried. 

          Later the little prince befriends a fox, who wants very much to be tamed so he will have a friend.  He tells the little prince his secret.  It is only with the heart that one can see rightly because what is essential is invisible to the eyes.  The little prince comes to realize through his relationship with the fox that we are responsible forever for those we have tamed.  He understands that because of the time he has spent caring for his rose, she has become his rose and that is what makes her so important.  When he sees the rose garden for the second time, he no longer thinks that the other flowers look anything like his rose.
What do you think of the fox's philosophy?  

My daughter Melanie Giovino and her kitty Roscoe.

"...for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" 1 Samuel 16:7a (NKJV).

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

God is Love--1 John 4:8

Photo courtesy of Marisel Jarrin Kleppen--A touching moment.
          We've recently celebrated Father's Day to honor  our earthly fathers.  It's good to honor them. Many of us have had happy experiences with a loving father.  Unfortunately, for some, that is not the case.  The good news is our heavenly Father loves us with a perfect love, no matter what our experience has been with an earthly father. His love surpasses that of even the most loving earthly father. 
          At a time when I was trying to comprehend God's love, its tranforming and transcending power, I wrote this poem. 

Love is the link
The binding force
Transcending the physical
Even life and death
Binding man to man
And God to man
Elevating man to the highest and noblest of human experiences
Nourishing the soul
Extending beyond the flesh and this world
Allowing man but a glimpse
Of the glory which shall be revealed
"For God is love" (1 John 4:8).

           Words can't express it.  The apostle Paul wanted us to understand God's great love.  He wrote, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:38-39).

          Let's consider God's love for us today and pray He reveals to us how much He loves us.

Photo courtesy of Kathy Stahlman Hildebrand--A cherished family time.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Take that step of faith

Making a wish and blowing out the birthday candles.
June 12, 2012

          Thanks to all of you for visiting this new blog.  All of the comments to the first post, on here, by email and on Facebook, have been heartwarming and very encouraging to me.  You see, I've had the desire to do this for over two years.  But the thought of putting myself "out there" intimidated me.  Now that I've taken this step of faith, my only regret is that I didn't do it sooner. 
          I encourage you to do the thing that you've been reluctant to do that you know in your heart He's been calling you to do.  Is there something that's been in your heart to do for His kingdom, but you've been reluctant to do it? 

One of my favorite planters.
"His eye is on the sparrow and I know He's watching me."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Taste Test--"O taste and see that the Lord is good...."

Cammie and Marcus presenting me with a birthday cake.

         Every good cook knows that in order to produce delicious food, you have to taste the food as you prepare it.  Every fine chef will tell you this is a cardinal rule. And again, when the dish has been served, the taste test is the moment of truth.  I enjoy preparing meals for my family to enjoy.
Yet often I’ve had to coax a picky eater to “taste” a new dish.  “You can’t say you don’t like it if you haven’t tasted it,” I say.  This Scripture, like an excellent cook, urges you to taste.
“O taste and see that the Lord is good. . . .”  Taste--I could coax you, as I’ve coaxed my children.  Taste--I could challenge you.  Taste—I will attest to His goodness. “Blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”  This Scripture is a challenge with a promise.  If you give the Lord a try, you will experience His goodness, leading you to trust in Him, resulting in blessings for you. Haven’t we all enjoyed the savory delight of a delicious morsel of food?  The goodness of the Lord can not be compared.
When I made the decision in 1977 to make Jesus the Lord of my life, I tasted. Every day I read a little devotional booklet called OurDaily Bread.  Its simple format consisted of a few verses of scripture, followed by a prayer.  I was faithful to this daily exercise to honor my new commitment to make God a part of my life.  I tasted a little each day, not knowing exactly what to expect.  Soon I wanted to know more about God and Jesus Christ; I started reading and praying more.  I became hungry for His Word, the Bread of Life. It’s made all the difference in my life.  I offer you this challenge—taste and see.  I believe that you, too, will attest to the goodness and the blessings of the Lord.
Southern Living Fudge Pecan Ripple Layer Cake--Yep! I made it.