Post on Psalm 121

Every so many weeks the clergy in our town are asked to write an article for the local newspaper. Today was my turn and being pretty much caught off guard about it because I have been running hither and yon with too much on the schedule and a few unexpected events, I was a bit abrupt when the lady from the paper called to remind me about it. After our board meeting, I got home and managed to put together the following article. The hardest part about writing this for me is keeping it to a mere 450 words. I know every college student wishes their professors had that as a requirement for their papers. Anyway, below is the article with a couple of pictures thrown in for good measure.

My help comes from the Lord!

The Psalm I most like to use during a family service for the passing of a loved one is Psalm 121. It opens with one of the most comforting verses in the Bible. “I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” This verse was also appropriate to use this last Sunday as our congregation celebrated Earth Sunday. I always enjoy that Sunday because we deviate a little from the same-old, same-old pattern of sing songs, read the scriptures and me delivering a message.

Looking for food at the base of the stalks.

Snuggled in bed with me.

On Earth Sunday and again at the end of the year, I supplement the message with a power point of pictures. Our final Sunday’s pictures are of all the things we have accomplished as a church, the fellowship we have had and the special services and special events in which we have participated. But on Earth Sunday, the pictures are from nature. Usually I include flowers and trees and pictures of the garden at harvest. This year I had some shots of the Blue Jays and squirrels munching on the tall sunflowers we let grow wild in the middle of the garden. There were lots of pictures of migrating birds and even some of the family cats. It was fun to work on that message. It was easy to place the pictures and figure out the background and tweak the details. Working on details like that keeps my mind busy and away from the things that are weighing it down.

Marshall and Lily together in the crib.

In so many ways April should be one of the happiest months of the year. I should like it for no other reason than I was born in April. It is also the time of year for watching the trees bud, the grass turn green, and getting ready for planting. It is baby calves in the pasture and all things new. But this year we lost my mother’s younger brother to a heart attack, and the day I was returning home from visiting his family in Arizona, I realized it was the 28th anniversary of my father’s passing and somehow April no longer was about new life. “From where will my help come?” God is there for us in all things—the bad and the good. On the day after my birthday, my oldest daughter’s twins decided to enter this world. We didn’t expect them until May, but they had other plans. It will likely be May before they are released from the hospital, but for now we are rejoicing and knowing, “my help comes from the Lord.” May you enjoy this spring.

Advent: Dec. 9, Bird watching…cat napping

I need to stop getting up so early. I have been waking way before 6 a.m. then staying awake in bed until James is about to leave for school, then I get up to make coffee and get to whatever the day will bring. It would be fine if I just woke when he did and got up, but it is that 4:30 a.m. wake up and watch television until he gets up that is starting to wipe he out. It was also so cold in my room last night and this morning I thought I would freeze. I guess that is why heater vents are supposed to be open in the winter. I also wonder if maybe the east door of the garage might not have been open last night. I kept hearing something and that might have been the culprit. We have the floor/ceiling between the garage and our room well insulated, but I am guessing that after 16 plus years, it is not the same as when it was first put in. Anyway you know it is cold when the floor is uncomfortable to walk on in stocking feet. I can’t imagine being outside overnight in this weather, but ….

Two Blue Jays all puffed up trying to stay warm

Two Blue Jays all puffed up trying to stay warm

So the title today mentions bird watching. I am so tired that the only thing I have accomplished other than a few loads of laundry and putting away a little junk is watching the Blue Jays have at the sunflower seed pod that I laid on the trailer before the first of our two snow storms hit. They were all over it today. I tried to get better pictures of them, but the only thing I could manage was through the kitchen window, and there I was juggling for a clean spot. I also think they noticed movement because they would grab a bit and take off right away. They are the easiest to spook of all the birds in our yard. I think some cat got one last summer, so it is good they are on the look out.

Looking for food at the base of the stalks.

The stand of sunflower stalks. The Blue Jay is in this picture someplace.

Sneaking up to the food.

Sneaking up to the food.

Last fall, I took plenty of pictures of them hanging out in the sunflower stand in the garden. This morning one did hop into the garden and dug around for food at the base of the flowers. We talked about cleaning out the stalks prior to the snow storms hitting, but there was still some seeds in them, and we agreed that we would leave all of it as cover for the birds and what they can eat is all good with us.

Roger sleeping on the freshly washed bedding, that will teach me to leave them there.

Roger sleeping on the freshly washed bedding, that will teach me to leave it there right out of the dryer.

Well, I do have more paper work to complete and I could do more in terms of clearing out some of the clutter. I was hoping that James and I would spend some time cleaning the fridge and the pantry tonight, but maybe that would be a better job for tomorrow morning. I think my time will be better served at the sewing machine today. Anytime we have as much sun as there is coming in the south window today, I should take advantage. The lighting at any other time stinks in that room, and this would give me the chance to really see what I am doing. On the other hand, a nap sounds really fine, and the sunshine means the room is nice and warm and …. I am drifting away already. I guess I will work on the clutter tomorrow, for now I will enjoy the day relaxing and maybe Roger will be interested in a nap, too. Well you can see from the picture to the right what I found when I went to check up on that crazy cat. Take care and stay warm and fed.!!

Fall Garden view

Blue Jay on a sunflower

Blue Jay on a sunflower

Our garden is nearly empty, and for some reason I have not been able to find the time or energy to come here and post anything. This is not to say that I haven’t had anything to say, I just wasn’t able to share or feel the need to have any part of social media for a time.

Squirrel looking for food.

Squirrel looking for food.

Today I am sharing the article that I submitted to the local paper for the clergy column. I didn’t send them any of the pictures, but I will share them with you. Hope you enjoy.

 

 

God’s Garden

Last spring as our garden was emerging; we found lots of volunteer flower plants. Because we had decided to cut back on our vegetable planting, we let them grow. Of course we should have known the plants were from seeds planted in the past and could not be something new and exotic, but we left them anyway. I just couldn’t be so cruel and pluck out any non-weed that was taking the time to grow in my garden. As it turned out, those volunteer plants were a wonderful growth of sunflowers and some cosmos interspersed in a crop of dill that was like no other. The sunflowers ended up shading my tomatoes from the extreme heat of August and in September as they opened into full bloom; I spent many days using them for subjects while honing my photography skills.

Now that everything else has been harvested, we have been enjoying a season of bird watching since those sunflowers are now feeding three blue jays that swoop into the garden every chance they get. I have also caught a squirrel or two trying to grab a snack, but there is really plenty for all. I even picked some of the heads and am holding them to pass out later when these are gone. As I watch that ecosystem from my kitchen window I am reminded that the entire earth is God’s garden, and we are here as mere care takers. In all that we do to maintain a home, to earn a living, to improve our surroundings, we need to remember that everything we have, all that we “own” is just a trust from God.

The gardens of our mortal existence fade to nothing in the realm that belongs to our Creator. Jesus reminds us of this fact when he points to the lilies of the field and says, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil no spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.” Matthew 6:28-29 NRSV. God loves each of us and wants to see us growing and thriving just as those volunteer plants in my garden which have created an entity of unexpected beauty. A good way to find out more about the love God has for us is to join with a fellowship of believers. We have a great selection of worship places in Eureka, find one that fits for you and join in the ecosystem there. God knows you already and is waiting to clothe you like the lilies. Isaiah 43:1b “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”

 

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