In the Garden

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A Conversation with God in the Garden 8/01/16

 

God:  Why the troubled look, my child?

Me:  This world scares me.  I feel as if I’m waiting for the next bad thing to happen.

God:  Come away from the world for a few moments and listen to my word.

Me:  Okay, Lord.

God:  Walk with me in our garden …our secret garden, meant only for you and me.  None of the happenings of this world can enter unless you open the gate.

Me:  Open the gate?  How, Lord?

God:  By your thoughts, my child.  Be careful what you let your mind dwell upon, for sure enough, when you are unaware, the seeds of those thoughts will enter our garden.  Our garden is so rich and fertile the seeds will take root and grow wherever they fall. Then the weeds of the world will, slowly but surely, overtake our garden of peace.

Me:  No, my Lord…I don’t think I could live without spending time alone with you in our garden.

God:  It’s up to you my child, for you are the caretaker of our garden.  So be diligent to recognize the fear, pull it from our garden and  give it to me.

Me:  Lord, sometimes there is so much fear, I’m overwhelmed, and don’t know where to begin.

God:  That’s  exactly the way fear wants you to feel.  Keeping you overwhelmed is its strategy.  Fear knows if it can keep you busy with worry, you’ll least likely pull it from its roots.  Fear left to itself will grow until you think I’m no longer here or even worse that I no longer love you.

Me:  Yes, Lord…fear has done that to me.   I remember many times when fear surrounded me, hemming me in…so much so, all I could see was fear itself.

God:  Vision and where you place it is the key.  Without  the right kind of vision you will perish.  Rest your eyes upon Me and My perfect love because love casts out fear.

Me:  Thank you Lord for loving me.

God:  It is my delight to love you.  Be filled with My love and spread it everywhere, even unto the ends of the earth.  Keep spreading My love until it overtakes and devours hate. Know this, my child, love always trumps hate, so receive my love…give my love…and repeat.

God:  And Lisa…

Me:  Yes Lord?

God:  I’m always in the garden…come walk with me often.

***

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear… I John 4:18

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you…(Psalm 63:1)

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day… (Genesis 3:8)

 

 

 

 

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A Conversation with God 7/26/16

(Many seem to find God elusive, but I talk to Him everyday)

[Me:]  Lord, will there be front porches in heaven?

[God:]  Why would you need a front porch?

[Me:]  Well, it was on a front porch where I first learned to shell butter beans.  I remember sitting with mama, shelling beans from a big old metal dish pan.  I would shell those plump bean pods until my thumb hurt and turned green…literally.

[God:]  So, you would like a front porch in heaven to shell butter beans?

[Me:]  Um…well..to be honest, I guess I never really liked shelling those ole beans, and sometimes it was way too hot; as I grew up in North Carolina and the summers there can be pretty toasty.

[God:]  If you didn’t like the shelling and the heat, why would you ask for a front porch?

[Me:]  Well, when I think back to those days I feel happy…but…I also feel sad…  I guess, that would mean the memories are bittersweet?

[God:]  Tell me what you remember.

[Me:]  Are you sure, God?  I know you are extremely busy and you do have a world to oversee.

[God:]  I’m never too busy for you, my child.

[Me:]  Well…if you’re sure…(God smiles at me)  I remember those summer mornings when my mama came home, after working all night at JP Steven’s Cotton Mill.  It was early, the grass still wet from dew and the sun still low enough for the morning to be cool, she and I would go to the garden and pick whatever was ready for picking.  I still remember the feel of the cool earth cradling my bare feet, its darkness spilling over and between my toes.  We went from row to row picking those ole beans and I thought, at the time, we would never finish.  Afterward, mama found two of her biggest bowls, one always being the dish pan from which we washed our dishes, and she filled them, near to overflowing with the beans we had just picked.  By that time the sun had risen higher and its heat kissed and freckled my skin. (I pause with nostalgia)  Just me and my mama sitting together on the front porch…(A tear escapes my eye)

[God:]  Why do you cry?

[Me:]  I miss my mama.  (tears flow down my cheeks)

[God:]  Dear child, front porches are nice, but it was never the porch that made those times special; instead, it was the time you spent with your mama.

[Me:]  (Now I’m crying…my heart hurting, longing to be on the front porch shelling beans with mama, again.)

[God:]  Oh..my child, I know you miss your mama.   She’s here with me and I’m taking good care of her.   Your mama wants you to know how much she loves you and she too is missing you.  Trust me, my child, one day the divide will be bridged so we can all live together, forever…never again to be separated; and on that day I will wipe away all tears.

[Me:]  Thank you, God.  I love you.

[God:]  I love you too.  And…Lisa…

[Me:]  Yes, Lord…

[God:]  There will be front porches in heaven.

***

Revelation 7:17

For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters:  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

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My sister, my mama and me (baby) with Aunt Bessie’s porch in the background.

 

 

Fill us with Wonder

Because of your great mercy,
    I come to your house, Lord,
and I am filled with wonder
as I bow down
    to worship
    at your holy temple.

Psalms 5:7

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For today’s scripture I wanted to find a lovely photo of a simple church surrounded by God’s beautiful nature.  I found many; but try as I may, none gave me peace.  I have a hard time with organized religion and the photos I found brought this feeling to the forefront of my mind.   Those of you, who follow my blog, know I grew up in the church, but never found peace there.  I can’t honestly remember a day in which I felt happy about church, and I’ve carried around so much guilt for feeling this way.  It took a long time before I could separate church and God.  Believe me, the two are not synonymous.  God loves me unconditionally; the church never has.

I truly wanted to resonate with David and his words, “…I come to your house, Lord, and I am filled with wonder as I bow down to worship,” but I couldn’t.  Often, I talk to God about this feeling and I believe He understands.

Today, while spending time alone with God and meditating over this verse I sensed God saying to me, “…my child…you can find peace in the place of worship I have created…all you have to do is look for it’s all around you.”  With this thought peace flooded my soul and I smiled because I could say with David, “…I am filled with wonder.”

My Prayer:  Dear Lord, thank you for your place of worship you created for us.  May we feel your touch in the breeze.  My we hear your song through feathered fowl, smell your fragrance from flower’s breath and know your love through nature’s rest.  Thank you God, for the beauty of your world.  Make your presence known as we bow our hearts in wonder before you.  Amen.

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(A Walk Through Psalms Blog)

(Scripture Sabbath)

(Devotional Friday)

Photo Challenge: Vibrant

Vibrant:  This week, share a photo of something vibrant. Let’s wash the web with a rainbow of colors to keep the winter gloom at bay.

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Vibrant bounty from my raised-bed garden in New England.  I’m so looking forward to having one here in the Shenandoah Valley this year!

 

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Vibrant oranges from the pumpkins at Applecrest Farms in New England.

 

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More vibrant oranges from a New England autumn.  Brown road in Hampton Falls was one of my favorite places to run.

 

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I’ve shared this photo before, however I couldn’t resist the temptation to share it again for this “vibrant” challenge.  Snapped this one while walking with Corinne at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The Passing

The following is my submission to Literary Lion.

5171605261_8fbbd343d1_bMaggie arose to begin her night’s work.  It had become routine and so she proceeded with little thought.

Looking at her surroundings, Maggie noticed the moss ridden tombstones, and grass, that had been trampled by deer, who frequented the garden, seeking solitude from redneck hunters and their barking dogs.  She looked at the flower that had died in its vase years ago.  Maggie sighed.  No one came around anymore, not even the grounds keeper.

This state of affair saddened Maggie, but what could she do?  No one heard her anymore because there was no one to listen.  She knew it was her fault, but she had grown tired of the kids and their silly candles.  It had been entertaining, for a while, but with the passage of time, their frightened eyes and shrill screams bored her. And so she kept her silence and turned a deaf ear to their begging.  After a while the kids stopped coming.  So now it was only her, and Maggie was lonely.

Each evening, upon the sun’s decent, Maggie walked among the headstones and whispered the names chiseled in gray.  This was the only thing that gave her a sense of peace.  She reasoned, within herself, it was her way of honoring the dead.

Night after night she made her rounds.  She no longer needed to look at the names.  She knew them all and so she drifted from one to next until each name, had been spoken in the dark.  When her mission was accomplished she went back to her place to take her rest.

Her place was just as ram-shackled as others, but on this particular night, Maggie studied her abode.  Once again her eyes fell to the dead flower within its vase.  It had been there for as long as she could remember.  The flower was wrapped within a cloak death, that was dry and crumbling.  She studied the brown decay and realized, for the first time, there was none other like it, within the garden.  Someone, God knows when, had left it there and had left it for her.  Slowly Maggie drifted to the flower and reached to touch it with her wispy hand.

The moment her essence touched the decay, the flower dropped its cloak of death and DoubleKnockOutRosebloomed into a beautiful rose.  Maggie felt herself bathed within a golden light.  She looked to its source and saw a man she knew to be her husband; and in that moment she remembered her earthly life. Her love stood with his hand outstretched and she heard his baritone voice say, “My darling…what took you so long…”

Maggie, filled with joy, flew into his arms and passed to the other side.

Life Is Likened Unto A Flower

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The following is my submission to Literary Lion

Life is likened unto a flower 

It comes forth from the ground…just like a man.

It grows…just like a child.

Its petals hold tightly within the bud…just like the teen.

Slowly the petals begin to unfold…just like the graduate.

The flower blooms in all her glory…just like the adult.

The flower begins to bow her head…just like mid-life.

The petals thereof begin to loosen… just like the aging.

The flower withers and begins her fading…just like the old.

The flower lays herself down…just like the dying.

The flower is taken by the ground…just like the dead.

Her spirit lives on…just like the soul.

Patiently she awaits her  re-birth…just like souls in Heaven.

And then on “that day” she comes forth from the ground…just like the resurrected.

In a perfect tomorrow she lives forever…just like the one whose heart is God’s.

Selah

For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.  The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away, but the word of the Lord endureth forever.  And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

(I Peter 1:24-25)

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand forever.  (Isaiah 40:8)

Simply Fried Corn

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Growing up in the country I ate my fair share of “fresh from the garden” vegetables.

My Mom, a single parent, worked hard to put food on the table.  During the summer months,  after a full night’s work in a cotton mill, she came home every morning to work and care for a large vegetable garden.

I remember those early mornings, as clear as if it were yesterday.  The fresh tilled soil was soft and warm to my bare feet.  I followed my mom from one row to the next as she tended seedlings, barely peeping above their sodded blanket.

This would replay day after day throughout the hot summer until our garden yielded the harvest that would feed us through the winter.

Life was not easy for my Mom.  She had to work hard for everything life gave her.  She tackled it all with determination and a strong faith in God.  I can remember her tears during the hardest of times but I never saw my mother give up.

I loved seeing my mom happy and she always seemed the happiest when she was cooking in her kitchen or working in her garden.  We lived a simple life and ate simple foods.  One of my favorites dishes, she prepared was fresh corn cut off the cob and fried in a pan.  Sometimes, when we had it, she would fry bacon first and use its drippings to season the corn. Other times when bacon was scarce (which was often) she used fresh butter to season the pot.

Today, in my own kitchen, I continue to cook my mom’s dishes.   During those times I feel ever so close to her.  I sense her presence, her smile and the unconditional love she always gave freely.

This past Sunday I prepared her dish of simply fried corn.  Hope you enjoy this simple but delicious recipe.

Simply Fried Corn

Okay, first things first!   Shuck and remove silk.

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Cut corn off the cob and be sure to scrape cob with your knife in order to get all of that sweet milk.  Now’s the perfect time to pick through the kernels and remove any stray “silks”.  Put corn into frying pan.

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Add sugar and butter.

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Add water, salt and pepper.

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Bring corn to a slow boil, cover and turn heat to low.  Simmer for 15 minutes or until most of the water has cooked out.

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The finished product creamy, sweet and savory all in the same dish.

This dish is delicious served with fresh sliced tomatoes and homemade buttermilk biscuits.

Simply Fried Corn

Ingredients:

  • 4 Ears of Corn
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • ½ Stick of Butter
  • ¼ Cup Water
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • Salt

Directions: 

  • Shuck and clean ears of corn.
  • Cut corn off the cob with a sharp knife.
  • Be sure to scrape cob in order to get all of the corn’s “sweet-milk”.
  • Pour corn into a small frying pan; add sugar, butter, water, salt and pepper.
  • Bring corn to a slow boil over medium heat. Be sure to stir to keep from sticking.
  • Cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes.
Bessie Hardy 5/30/23---4/4/2013
Bessie Hardy
5/30/23—4/4/2013