Thursday, September 30, 2021

How Does Your Garden Grow?

 


The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. ~Isaiah 40:8

Do you recall the photo above that I post in the spring of this year?  Yes, it's the plants we pot in the hopes that all of them will thrive and provide enjoyment for us throughout the summer and into the fall.

So, how are these beauties doing today?  Shall we have a look?

The hydrangea, then and now - 




Yes, it did bloom beautifully for several months, but as the flowers passed their prime, we did some pruning back in August.  The leaves are still green and vibrant as ever.  Hope prevails for a return of blossoms next spring.

Look how these two impatiens varieties have change over the summer months -







 They certainly have thrived, and show no sign of quitting when it comes to producing flower buds.  We expect them to last until the first hard freeze.

Remember the sedum?




Not too much growth difference here.  Unfortunately, for reasons we can't fathom, one of the sedums gave up the ghost back in July. But the other one has, fortunately, survived.

The Virginia creeper has, perhaps, shown the most stunning growth over the months.



Don't you love how these tendrils are now draped over the edge of the pot?  Can't wait to see if the leaves continue to turn colors as the fall progresses.

But as I mentioned above regarding the one sedum plant, our Christmas Fir and the Petunia Amore bite the dust.




How lovely they were!  Again, there's no rhyme or reason why these particular plants would fail, but as Danny and I are out of town much of the summer due to my mother's illness and subsequent passing, it could have been any number of factors that cause their demise.

That being said, we are thankful for the plants that still grace our deck, bringing cheer and delight to us on a daily basis.

We know they won't last forever.  Nothing in creation ever does.  But the Word of God stands eternally, and in that knowledge, there is comfort beyond understanding.

His is the everlasting Garden, always growing, ever flourishing.

Amen!


Congratulation to Lulu!  She won the drawing for Homepun Devotions - Volume One!  You can follow Lulu at her blog, The Final Chapters.  Still want a copy of Cheryl's book?  Order it here.

Monday, September 27, 2021

I Have Loved You

 


The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness." ~Jeremiah 31:3


I stand before the mirror

Where I see reflected

Past, present, future

Hopes not rejected

Forgiveness ample, kind

Acceptance here and now

Unfailing pledge of love

Promised by Your vow

Amen

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Happy Fall, Y'all!

 

He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others.  He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. ~Daniel 2:21

The first day of fall here in Georgia is usually marked by the calendar only.  Warm summer temperatures are known to linger on through October, not without a chillier day here and there, but the invitation to break out the warm and cozy sweaters is a long time coming.

Not this year!

Precisely on the advent of autumn, the day begins in the 70s.  It is cloudy and humid, typical of summer weather this time of year.  Then, out of the blue, a cold front descends, heralded by brisk and gusty winds that drive rain before it with urgency.  I step outside in my short sleeves to listen to my wind chimes ringing in the playful breeze.  Ahh!  This is wonderful!

I return to our deck an hour later, still in my summer garb.  WHAT???  I jump back inside and scramble for my jacket.  In sixty minutes' time, the temperature has plummeted from a balmy 74 to a chilly 63 degrees!  Fall arrives with a precision I've never before experienced, and I'm truly astonished.

But should I be surprised?

It is God alone who changes the times and the seasons as He sees fit.  He doesn't go by human calendars or expectations.  Yet, I believe that the Lord takes great pleasure in delighting His children with the unexpected, the unprecedented, the unpredictable.

We are reminded, once again, that God is the One in control, always and everywhere.  And in all humility, we should worship and praise Him for all the good things He has done, and all He will bless us with in the future.

So, in my long sleeves and comfy sweater, I welcome fall with warm and open arms, just as God's arms are ever open to embrace us.

Amen!

Monday, September 20, 2021

A Book Review and Give-Away!

 


They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. ~Acts 2:42

For those of you who have followed my blog for a while, you know that I don't do many book reviews.  That is because an author's words and writing style must sincerely resonate in my heart before I can, in good conscience, recommend a book to others, knowing they are in for a rewarding read.

Cheryl E. Smith's latest book, Homespun Devotions - Volume One, more than meets that criteria.  It goes above and beyond!

This collection of devotional readings is penned from Cheryl's own life experiences with family, friend, colleagues, and most importantly, how her love for the Lord colors all her relationships.  Her down-to-earth, personal recollections are inspiring and insightful, and when you read them, you feel like you are in the presence of a long-time friend, who is always glad to see you, and ever willing to open her heart to you over a cup of coffee and honest conversation.

How did Cheryl come to write this book?  I'll let her explain in her own words:

When I began blogging, my dream was to write a book called Homespun Devotions.  Over the years, I have come to long for the Dream Giver more than the dream.  The publishing of this book is the Dream Giver handing me my dream.

If you're searching for the perfect devotional book to add to your daily study of God's Word, look no further than this perfect gem.  Best of all, Cheryl is giving a copy of Homespun Devotions away to one lucky person who leaves a comment here on Meditations of My Heart.  Such a deal!

Comments qualifying for the give-away must be submitted here no later than Tuesday, September 27th.  I will announce the winner on the following Friday.

My hope and prayer for all of you who don't win the drawing is that you will order Cheryl's book, one for yourself, and one to give to a friend.  It is guaranteed to be a gift they will cherish.

About the Author -


Cheryl E. Smith is the author of the book Biblical Minimalism: Following Jesus from a Life of Abundance to a More Abundant Life.  She blogs at www.Biblical Minimalism.com, where she writes about minimalism from a Biblical perspective, and www.HomespunDevotions.com, where she writes devotionals and conducts "Inner Views."  She loves to spend time with her husband and son in the mountains, sing and play bluegrass music, and write.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Family Fun!

 


He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction. ~Malachi 4:6

We've heard it said, time and time again, that family is everything.  So true!  When God created us in His own image, it was His command that we should be fruitful and multiply, with children being our future, to carry on His commandments concerning how we live lives that glorify Him both in the present, and in the generations to come.

So, when my daughter, Sarah, sends these photos to me, my heart sings and rejoices that this family is staying strong, loving one another, and enjoying time together in God's splendid creation.  They are visiting Umstead State Park, which is practically in their backyard, where they now live in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Let's join them for this adventure, shall we?


Virginia


Savannah


Alexandra


Finn!


Clowning around!



Sarah and Virginia - She sure loves her Mommy!


Snaggle-toothed Alexandra and Mommy


Savannah with Finn and Daddy


My beautiful daughter and her husband, John

I'm so thankful for the ways in which Sarah and John care so deeply for one another, and are teaching their precious girls to appreciate and honor all the gifts the Lord has given to them.  My prayer is that the family will continue to grow in love for God and for one another.

Amen.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Count It All as Loss

 


Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will be told in memory of her. ~Mark 14:9

The photo above depicts garbage bags filled with clothes that my husband, Danny, and I plan to donate to Goodwill.  Yes, we've spent the last several days down at Mom's house in Oxford, attempting to clean out all the closets brimming with clothes, shoes, purses, and other items worthy of a give-away.  And as many bags as you see here, half that many are assigned to the throw-away category.  That's how worn and unusable they are.

We end up with this much only because my mother couldn't bear to part with Dad's possessions after he passed in 2014.  Of course, she did give items of clothing to my son, Daniel, who was the same size at the time, but the rest stayed hidden away as if awaiting his coming back to life.

It breaks my heart just as much to have to donate Dad's belongings, including a spanking-new tuxedo outfit, as it does my mom's.  I feel like I'm experiencing his passing all over again.

While I go through closets, drawers and a large armoire that we would like to have, Danny tackles two cedar chests, and collects and organizes DVDs/VCR recordings so that my brother, Bill, can determine what he wishes to keep or throw away.  He also gathers up the hangars the clothes hung on to donate to a dry cleaner.


I remember my Mom asking me years ago what one thing I would like to have of hers once she passes.  Of course, I didn't like to hear her talk like that, even though the reality is inevitable.  I tell her I want this sweater knitted by my father's sister, Mary Jane.


If you look closely, you can see the coffee stains on it.  I'm hoping that with some treatment and tender loving care, I can restore the sweater to its original integrity.

Pouring through all these many items evokes memories that will ever remain with me.  Exhausted and overwhelmed after a day of purging, this poem comes to be.

The house stands too empty without her

Yet rife with tangible objects, clutter

Shelves and drawers, closets overflow

Call for hands to cull and just let go

Worldly items, count it all as loss

Memories, the treasure not to toss

There is no earthly treasure that can take the place of precious memories.  May we, like the woman who anointed the feet of Jesus, do for others in this life as unselfishly and lovingly as she did for the One who saves our souls, not our possessions.

Lord, help me, help us all, to let go of what doesn't matter in the eternal perspective.

Amen.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Lost and Found

 


Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. ~Matthew 10:39


It is in the losing that we find

It is in the finding, we become

In becoming, we begin to see

All that God has yearned for us to be

Amen

Monday, September 6, 2021

Vacation Time!

 


Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. ~Matthew 11:28

All of us need time for rest and relaxation in order to stay balanced, mentally, physically and spiritually.  That's why I'm so glad that my daughter, Sarah, son-in-law, John, and the three girls were able to join John's parents and his sister's family for a week's vacation at Corolla Beach in North Carolina.

Let's join them there, shall we?


John, Sarah, Virginia, Savannah, and Alexandra



Enjoying the pool!


L to R:  Virginia, Alexandra and Savannah




Fun at the beach!


Virginia with her Aunt Susan.  Can you see the family resemblance?  I sure can!


A bit hazy, but here's the whole gang.  Susan's husband, Rantz, took this shot of parents, Paul and Karen, Susan, and cousins Griffin and Edie.


The kids really hit it off.  So did Finn and Murphy!




Yes, there are many more photos I could share, but I think this last one of Savannah sums up the marvelous time they all had.



Sheer joy!

I do hope this photo-journal post has lifted your spirits today, my friends.  And remember, when you need a break from this wearisome world laden with burdens, run to Jesus.  He will always, always give you rest.

Amen!

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Inner Views and a Give-Away!

 


Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:  If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.  Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.  But how can one keep warm alone? ~Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12

What would any of us do without our friends?  I didn't know on that day I met Cheryl at Homespun Devotions in Blogland that friends are exactly what we would become.  So, when Cheryl approached me to do an Inner View with her on her blog, I was delighted beyond measure.

Many of my readers here are new ones, and you may not yet be acquainted with my novels, or know much about me.  For both new and forever readers here, Cheryl offers and in-depth interview with me, which includes memories of my childhood and the life experiences which shaped the writing of The Glade Series and Adventures in The Glade.  To read this inner view, visit Cheryl's blog here!

Best of all, if you leave Cheryl a comment, you will be automatically entered to win all the novels in The Glade Serie and Adventures in The Glade!  Already have copies?  Enter again anyway!  You can always bless someone else with some wholesome, Christian-themed stories.

While you're there, please share this blog to your social media feeds, and sign up to receive Homespun Devotions in your inbox.  I guarantee that Cheryl will soon become your friend, too!

Love and blessings to all!

Roots Take Hold

  Consider how the wild flowers grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one...