My sentimental journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God.


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Sisterhood of the Travailing Plants

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While strolling with my friend through her enchanting cottage garden  I tried to stay focused on instructions  of how  to properly water her garden of Eden; while she was on vacation with her husband. Unfortunately, my visual senses were taking their own personal holiday. How could they not? Their property holds  breathtaking views of Oregon and Washington,  kicking my cell phone into digital roam, stunning pops of color displayed beautifully with annuals and garden ornaments. Whimsy and charm worthy of gracing the pages of Garden Gate magazine, made reining in my concentration difficult, rivaling  the enthusiasm of a  kid in a candy store.

We concluded our stroll poised underneath the house eaves gazing at a cleverly designed  rebar plant holder for three hanging baskets. The first basket a Fuschia plant was flourishing full of life and vibrant bloom, the second  basket’s plant was showing signs of distress; withered brown curled up leaves. The third plant was down for the count, the hanging basket removed from  the spotlight now placed on the ground, because the plants swirled up and died.

We discussed the dying plant as gardeners do, my friend saying she needed to take the second one down too, it was right then and there I shared with her one of my true confessions. Telling her there have been times when my beautiful hanging flower baskets have bitten the dust before their natural time to do so. Causing guilty feelings to arise within me, that I should’ve paid closer attention to their need.  This was poignantly displayed even greater when my mom’s illness escalated, her extra need care;  made my daily tasks more difficult to accomplish.

Wrapping up with this deeper confession… it was those times that whenever I happened to drive by a house and saw someone elses dying  flower basket, it brought a sigh of relief and an emotional connection.  Experiencing first hand the old saying, “misery loves company”.  After divulging my heart we gave each other the knuckle bump connection, the “New School” version of the original “High Five”.  In closing, this gracious and very compassionate friend choose to leave the second faltering basket up… to encourage other weary sisters that they are not alone. What a heart of gold !

C.S Lewis writes:

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.

In the movie the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” four best girlfriends pass around a pair of secondhand jeans that flatter their figures despite their very different measurements. Planning to stay connected during their separate journeys through summer, equally sharing  the opportunity to  wear “the traveling pants”.

No matter what our differences we all put our pants on one leg at a time. Once our feet hit the floor of life we stand on common ground when it comes to facing our own  struggles, suffering and sorrows that come in all shapes and sizes.

What a comfort to know we are not alone!  We can have the privilege of a close friendship with Jesus our precious Savior. Plus the added blessing of  God bringing friends  and family along our path to share our highest highs and  lowest of lows.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 is both revealing and  comforting… receive God’s encouragement with His following words of love for you.

“All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.”    The Message Bible
Thank you Lord that we are called your friend’s. May we walk this life with the full assurance of your outrageous love and friendship for us. Often times manifested  creatively through the love of friends, family and even strangers.  A perfect fit as we travel life in the well worn comfort of your grace.

Light is sown for the  righteous and strewn along their pathway, and joy for the upright in heart [the irrepressible joy which comes from consciousness of His favor and protection].

Psalm 97:11-12          Amplified Bible (AMP)

A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for a difficult time. Proverbs 17:17


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Swatting Lies

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We have all heard the expression “They are so sweet, they wouldn’t a fly.” Frankly, my feelings are that this statement cannot be entirely true. No matter how sweet you are, if a fly were dizzily buzzing around you, again and again, your instinct would be to swat it.  Only after repeated shooing away became ineffective of course.

Years ago, when our oldest son Derek was young, his grandma asked him what he wanted for Christmas.  He replied, “a fly swatter.”  this was both adorable and puzzling. Peaking my curiosity, this led me to  ask him about his unconventional request. He charmingly recounted the story of “Winnie the Pooh and Christmas, Too”,  a delightful tale of how Rabbit requested this same wish from Santa while Christopher Robin drafted a letter for the residents of the Hundred Acre Woods. Thankfully, he did not ask for Rabbit’s updated  more outlandish wish… a bug sprayer!

Truth be told, that was by far the cheapest Christmas gift on the pocket book and a cinch to find.  This whimsical request put all my shopping fears to rest and gave me complete confidence, that  no frenzied mom would yank it out of my hand or pull my hair because of its high demand. No Christmas brawls to be had over an everyday, ordinary, household fly swatter.  We’re talking the plain old run of the mill fly swatter, not the bug gun my dad sold when he owned his wholesale distributing business. This baby was something to behold, it had a circular re-loadable plastic screen that you would push down onto its’ spring loaded red handle. You were hoping for a pesky fly to buzz by just so you could say with your best Clint Eastwood impression, “Go ahead make my day”  then shoot your bug gun with swagger.  Nor was it like the bug zapper my husband bought for himself and a few of his lucky friends one year. This invention, shaped like a tennis racket, had electrical currents that can fry a bug carcass with a single swing ― an item you do not want brought out to entertain your guests with, unless you want the smell of burning insects wafting through your home. This is wisdom, spoken from someone who knows first-hand.   It does seem that writing about Rabbit has gotten me on sort of a bunny trail with all this talk of bug instruments of doom.

Thus, my son’s simple request for a fly swatter has reawakened my senses to how truly useful and clever this gift really is.  In fact, I’m planning on getting one for myself as a reminder to  these following truths:
Though flies can transmit disease and spoil food which can be physically devastating, there is a spiritual truth that has eternal consequences that I’m thinking about. The enemy we call Satan or Beelzebub, has other names as well, such as the Lord of Flies.  Jesus was accused by the Pharisees of driving out demons by the power of Beelzebub in Mark 3:22, also found in Matthew 12:24-27 and Luke 11:15,18-19.  Jesus firmly reminded them that a house divided against itself could not stand. He also was ironclad on the devil’s character which is recorded in John 8:44; 
“He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the Father of Lies.”

As Christ followers, we need to wield our sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.  Adding a fly swatter to tuck into my belt of truth as a visual, assisting in my lie swatting. Satan hopes our stance will be passive, “not even so much as to hurt a fly”, so he can continue to pester us, bringing our demise. Lies come in many forms such as what has been spoken over us by others, our distorted thinking, or circumstances that obscure God’s goodness. With Christ we can stand up as warriors, raising our fly swatters, bug guns or zappers, storming the enemy, holding our rightful position as a son and daughter of the most high God.  Defenders of truth, confident  that God’s goodness and love will always be available to us no matter what is happening in our lives.

Lord, thank You we are called to your SWAT team… Skillful Warriors Advocating Truth… to see the enemy in all his weakness and to see You in all Your glory and strength. We hold onto You, Your truth, hope and promises… swatting the Lord of Flies, one lie at a time. With Your help, we can watch the lies drop like flies… 

International Standard Version
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32


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Flowers Cleverly Disguised as Weeds


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As a child, dandelions were not  pesky weeds to me, but rather beautiful flowers bright as sunshine and full of cheer. Begging to be picked into a innocent bouquet enveloped  by my chubby fingers. Overnight enchantment  transformed  them into whimsical wish makers, now a fluffy ball concealing miniature umbrellas. Standing poised, eagerly  awaiting to be whisked away by my secret wishes, dancing in the wind of mingled breath and whispered hopes.

Back then, it seemed completely dreamy to have a yard brimming full of them, picking flowers until my heart’s content.  These days, those dreams are more comparable to a  nightmare as I assess my own flourishing field of golden weeds.  Which causes me to wonder if one gentle blow of those puffy heads years ago blew my childhood wish into current reality.  Thriving, they are oblivious to how painfully difficult it is for me to see them as charming or winsome any longer. Shining in all their God given identity regardless of my spoken displeasure over them.

There was a time when our boys were young that I did regain my delight with these handpicked  arrangements. Captured with their enthusiasm, sparking my heart with  a rekindled love for these peculiar flora. Once again, seeing through the eyes of a child, they became breathtaking. A FTD florist couldn’t hold a candle to these special deliveries of pure love and exuberance.

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Derek at 4yrs                                                                                           Trent at 2 yrs

During their teenage years I heard them listening to a song called, “Dandelions” by the group Five Iron Frenzy; my heart warmed with its’ truth reminding me of photos I had taken of the boys when they were little.

Here are some of the lyrics:

“In a field of yellow flowers,
Underneath the sun,
Bluest eyes that spark with lightning,
Boy with shoes undone.
He is young, so full of hope,
Reveling in tiny dreams,
Filling up his arms with flowers,
Right for giving any queen.

Running to her beaming bright,
While cradling his prize.
A flickering of yellow light,
Within his mother’s eyes.
She holds them to her heart,
Keeping them where they’ll be safe,
Clasped within her very marrow,
Dandelions in a vase.

She sees love, where anyone else would see weeds.
All hope is found.
Here is everything he needs….”

The chorus:

Lord, search my heart,
Create in me something clean.
Dandelions
You see flowers in these weeds.
What a stunning picture of God’s love, seeing beauty sprouting from weeds. How comforting to have a Father that never grows tired or weary of us.  He is not fickle and impatient but rather sees our full potential.

Ralph Waldo Emerson  wrote:

“What’s a weed ? a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”

Heavenly Father , Thank you that you see flowers in these weeds  Your word says,
“Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.” * Help me to see with eyes of faith, drawing from the deep wells of your truth, confident Jesus knows me this I love…

“Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them”.  A.A. Miles

It’s been said, “When you look at a dandelion you can either see a hundred weeds or a hundred wishes” .

*Romans 12:2 (GNT)
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