You Call This A Storm? It’s Time for a Showdown! (why Lt. Dan might have been right the whole time)

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thunderstorm

Something caught my attention this morning as I walked through the garden, harvesting the morning’s asparagus.  I went out a bit earlier than usual today because we are supposed to have some potentially destructive storms come through our area and I wanted to protect what I could and harvest what I couldn’t protect.

Then the wind picked up, the storm clouds began to swirl, and rain drops began to fall.  It was at this moment, I noticed it.  Maybe I noticed it before, but it never stuck with me like this.

At the moment I was trying to shelter “my” plants from the storm, they were reaching out toward it.  Each plant was standing at attention with its leaves stretched skyward, waiting for the nourishment that this storm would bring.  That got me thinking…

How often do we cower and try to wait out the storms that come into our lives?  If we learn from our surroundings, the plants respond to storms in a completely different way than we instinctively do.  They don’t cower from storms like they do from a hot sun.  They “know” that within the storms lie a perfect opportunity for growth; an opportunity that they aren’t going to miss.  So they reach for it… making themselves vulnerable to being destroyed… taking such a risk!

And it never fails!  After each storm I don’t see dead plants in my raised beds, I see plants that are full of life and energy; plants that are ready to produce what they were created to produce.

So the next time you feel a storm of life approach and you start to feel a bit nervous, consider the plants.  What potential is there for growth?  Fulfillment of such potential doesn’t come without risks, so maybe… just maybe…

Instead of hiding and waiting for the storm to pass, maybe it’s time to reach out for the opportunity for growth that this storm might bring.

You might be surprised how full of life you are when the storm is over.

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Renovate the Right Way

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renovation

This week has been spent making plans, assembling necessary items, and beginning work on a small home renovation project.  We live in a home that was built by the previous homeowner and while many things were done well, other things have been uncovered that reveal cut-corners and quick-fixes that gave the appearance of being complete, but the workmanship in these things leave much to be desired.

This got me thinking.

Proverbs 10:4 (NIV)

“Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.”

 

In my last post I wrote about the Importance of Pruning.  This entire process has me thinking about the effort put into “getting the job done” vs “getting the job done the right way“. This is true of pruning just as it is in any project we undertake.

Typically, projects are started with good intentions and motivations.  When we start things, we really intend to do them to perfection.  We have grand ideas and grand plans.  We simply cannot wait to see the finished project!

 

Then life happens.

 

We get tired.  The project takes more time, effort, and expense than we initially thought and we cannot wait until it is done… for a completely different reason.  We’re sick of the process and the end result doesn’t matter as much as the end itself.

At this point, we have a major decision to make.  If we allow ourselves to rush through the end of a project, we feel a momentary sense of relief because the process is done.  Often though, this leads us to a sense of regret instead of a sense of accomplishment.

Whether or not others can see our mistakes, we see them.  Years down the road we still glare at these shortcuts and try to hide or ignore them until we get to a point where we’re so sick of looking at them that we rip them out and begin the process of completing our initial project.

This is true in home renovation, gardening/landscaping, and in fixing flaws within us.

Sometimes the process is tedious.  Sometimes it requires more time, effort, and expense that we initially thought it would.  But giving the effort to do it right the first time will give us a much longer lasting sense of satisfaction and eliminates the need to have to go back and fix it again and living with regret until we decide to finally do that.

So take time to do it right whatever you’re doing.  It is well worth the hassle.

Proverbs 10:4(NIV)

“Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.”

Blessings!

The Importance of Pruning

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 pruning_adamr

Image courtesy of [adamr] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

prune

verb (used with object), pruned, prun·ing.

1. to cut or lop off (twigs, branches, or roots).

2. to cut or lop superfluous or undesired twigs, branches, or roots from; trim.

3. to rid or clear of (anything superfluous or undesirable).

4. to remove (anything considered superfluous or undesirable).

Ah, finally!  The weather is now showing signs that spring is rapidly approaching central Georgia.  For most of the USA though, winter is still trying to maintain its firm hold on the weather patterns.  The threat of frost is still too real to fully commit to most outdoor planting, and surely many are growing tired of the cool, damp days and are longing for the warmth that comes with the spring sunshine.

That said, instead of moping about inside and wishing for things to come, now is a great time to invest in ridding our fruit trees of unwanted growths making sure that the tree isn’t hurting itself by getting its branches crossed.

Pruning is an extremely important step needed to help ensure proper growth, development, and sustainability in fruit production.

Pruning can sometimes be very easy – requiring only the removal of things that are obviously damaged.  Often though, pruning requires a much more discerning approach. It can be confusing at first, but with experience the process becomes much easier.  While not necessarily enjoyable, the rewards are well worth it.  So take time to learn about your fruit and how to best prepare it for success.

What exactly do I mean?

Some things might look visually appealing at first glance, but upon further inspection you’ll notice that if these things are allowed to continue growing on the current pattern, it can actually be quite harmful, not only for that tree, but it can introduce disease and weaken all of the trees around it.  These things are sometimes hard to reach and painful to remove, but their removal is essential to the health (and sometimes survival) of the tree.

You know, now that I think about it, it is not too different from us on a personal level.  Things that might look good at first don’t always turn out to be good for us.  In fact, sometimes these things can be downright harmful to us and those around us.  Sometimes things are easy to spot as being bad and we remove those easily.

Sometimes though, it takes an experienced eye to let us know that we are headed for problems.  These things are often painful to remove and are hard for us to reach.  They are also very important though and, if not removed, can weaken everyone around us.

Before the weather is warm and we are distracted with all of the attractions of spring and summer, maybe it would be a good time to do a once-over of ourselves and see if there are things we need to nip in the bud to prevent harmful patterns from developing.

May the fruit in your garden (and the fruit in your lives) be plentiful and healthy this year!

Blessings!

Fog Lights

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fog light

As Christ followers, we are called to be a light in a dark world.  We are called to help bring clarity to a world that is covered in a fog of confusion, selfishness, greed, and disappointment.  We are called to help people navigate this journey on earth is such a way that they can see dangerous obstacles ahead in enough time for them to go around them and not have to find them AFTER a collision happens.

I wonder how well we’re doing that?  I wonder how many of us insist on going everywhere with our bright lights blazing- even when conditions are foggy.  You see, not all light is useful light.  Sometimes light can be blinding and cause more harm than good.  Sometimes situations call for a specialized type of light to be used to get the job done.  This is a light that is carefully placed and not wielded around aimlessly without care for what is headed your way.

Just like when driving a car in dense fog, a certain level of maturity is required to know when to use the different types of lights available to you… and while you CAN learn by trial and error, it is often better (and much less dangerous) to study a bit before you go out and flip the high-beams on.

Next time you are in a situation where people are having a difficult time seeing, maybe the right approach isn’t to give them all of your educated opinion on the topic at hand.  Yes- you might be bright, but at what expense?  Maybe it would be good to give the fog lights a try and see if you all make it out alive and a bit less stressed.

Just my thoughts…

Matthew 10:16 (NIV)

 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

Words of Wisdom – It is YOUR journey!

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Do not expect others to understand a journey they were not called to take.

People have a unique way of getting under my skin.  As irritating as situations can be, they have nothing on the average person who feels the need to explain why they think a particular project I’m working on is unimportant, unlikely to succeed, or a waste of time or resources and ensures that I understand this at every step of the project’s journey.  “Debbie Downers” we call them and hit them we do not, but my goodness- some days I wish I had a giant rubber hand that I could use to slap them!

If you have ever stepped out-of-the-box to do something different and unique with your time, energy, and resources, you know exactly what (or WHO) I’m talking about… you might even have a name and face in mind right now!

It is important to remember, though, that if these other people haven’t been where you have been and they’re not going where you are going, then chances are pretty good that they simply cannot understand where you are at right now… AND THAT’S OKAY!

This is YOUR journey.  You have been called to take it and others don’t have to understand.  So take heart, roll up your sleeves, and get to work.  If the noise of the naysayers becomes loud, turn the music up louder… just don’t lose focus of the important things.

Philippians 3:13-14 (NLT)

13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.