Sweet Strawberries

Have you ever been to a pick-your-own berry farm? I never had during my 50+ years of life. Maybe five years ago, I bought a strawberry tower pot. It was a dismal flop – no berries! This year I decided to leave the growing to the experts, but still get the experience of fresh fruit.

This past week, my husband and I headed off to a local you-pick farm. As we were checking in, I could hear people around us who sounded like they do this every year. I felt like a child in a new school. Thankfully we weren’t given a lot of rules. Basically we were advised not to pick immature berries and to be careful not to crush the small plants.

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Breeding Worms (aka Wasteful Living)

I have a problem…I am wasteful. No big deal, right? I mean in the scope of sins we can commit, wasting must be near the bottom. But, it is there, over and over again, in the Bible.

The first thing that comes to mind is the story of the manna. In case you don’t recall the story in Exodus 16, here’s what happened: The Children of Israel had been delivered from their Egyptian task masters by a miraculous parting of the Red Sea (chapter 14). They were elated and they expressed their joy to God by composing a song about how great His deliverance was and how the Almighty would bring them into the Promised Land (chapter 15). Their satisfaction with their delivering Savior didn’t last long.  They hadn’t been on their journey very long before they angrily complained about being hungry. They went so far as to say that they should have never left their servitude because it was better back in Egypt. Instead of punishing these insolent people, God graciously provided special small, round pieces of bread, called manna. The people were to go out of their tents and gather it every morning. The one stipulation was that they were to take a specific amount. This guaranteed that they would have enough to eat, but not more than they could consume. Of course, some tested God. They took more than they needed and ended up leaving it overnight. In the morning, their wasteful bread attracted worms and it stank.

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Exploring Electric Bicycles

*You should know that I received no compensation from either the Pedego company or the area retailer for writing this article.  We paid for our rentals and tested the ride before I mentioned to the owner that I would be writing a blog article.

Hello and Happy June!

The goal of my blog has always been to direct people (especially those in the older sector) to new ways of seeing the world around them and hopefully bringing increased joy to their lives in the process.  Incorporated in this endeavor is refocusing our eyes on God.  I have found just in being the bearer of these ideas that my life has been enhanced and I think I’ve experienced a fresh appreciation for my life.  I hope my goal has been realized, at least in some part, for you too.

Sometimes my search for ideas to write about has led me to try new things.  This past week has had just that experience.  Over the winter, I heard about electric bicycles.  Actually, I believe my sister was the first one to tell me about them, but I had largely forgotten them until something prompted me to do a little research online.  Maybe it was the cold weather and my longing for springtime and the start up of bicycle season that initiated this search.  I ended up contacting the Pedego company and was sent a brochure.  The first thing that caught my eye were the vibrant colors.  The pages sported bicycles in bright greens, pinks, yellows, and oranges – to name a few.  There were quite a few style options, in fact, so many that I found myself getting confused.  I figured the best way to find out about them was to test ride one.  I was delighted when I found out that there was a dealership in Michigan that also rented out their bikes.

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When You Can’t Ask For Prayer

We were racing down the runway towards liftoff, but something wasn’t quite right.  I don’t know much about planes, but I’d never felt shaking like this on any other flight I’d been on.  It felt more like I was in a truck speeding down a pot-holed dirt road than in a modern jet on a smooth runway.  I found myself clutching the arm rests with my sweaty hands while I desperately tried to see past the plane wing that was blocking my view of the ground.  What was going on?  To my relief, we finally left both the ground and the shaking behind. I continued to hold my breath as we banked into a turn, but when we leveled off and seemed no worse for the vibrations, I started to ease into normal breathing and loosened my grip.  My respite was short-lived.  The pilot’s voice came over the PA system.  He acknowledged that the sensation we’d all felt was due to a malfunction.  The tread on one of the plane’s tires had been lost.  We would continue on to our intended destination where emergency crews would be waiting to assist our landing and the process of getting to our gate.

So many thoughts were going through my mind.  Shouldn’t we turn around?  I nixed that idea, as it would still involve landing on our problematic tire.  What would happen when we landed?  Would the pilot lose control and careen off the runway?  Would the friction cause a fire?  Maybe the plane would flip over.  I quickly counted the rows to the nearest exit and squeezed the hand of my son, who was sitting next to me.

The strange thing is that no one else around me seemed to have any concern.  There were no cries, no whispers. I couldn’t even identify a panicked glance.  Everyone continued on like it was a normal flight.  The attendants served drinks.  People watched movies.  Others read books.  Was I the only one that was worried?

I realized that my fears were not productive.  Each dire possibility that entered my mind just fueled my anxiety.  I couldn’t do anything anyway.  Or could I?  I decided that it would be more constructive to use my energy to pray.  I prayed that God would protect us.  I reminded myself that He had complete control over everything that was happening.  I didn’t claim to know His purposes, but I knew whatever way this story ended, His will was perfect.    I can’t say I prayed once and then left it with God.  I prayed, prayed again, and prayed some more.  Every time the fears would well up in my mind, I’d pray again.

I so wanted to call my parents to ask them to pray for us.  They’ve been such faithful prayer partners for years.  They’ve prayed for me in so many different instances and I knew they wouldn’t hesitate to pray intensely at this time.  I reasoned that, although I couldn’t call my dad and mom while in the air, maybe I could send off a quick email alert.  I’ve never tried to email anyone while I was flying.  I tried to figure out how to connect to wifi, but had no success.  I asked my son about using data, but he was sure it wouldn’t work.  I tried anyway.  It didn’t work.  I was so frustrated.  I needed people to pray, but there was no way to ask for them to do it.

What about you?  Have you had a situation that you desperately felt needed collective prayer, but were unable to ask for it?  Maybe, like me, you were some place that prevented contact with those who could have prayed for you.  Maybe you even now have a situation that is too personal to tell anyone about.  Whatever the reason for it, I think most of us have times when we feel very alone in our situation.

I’ve been thinking about Hannah in 1 Samuel.  There we read of at least two others that knew her deepest desire – to have a child.  The first was her husband, Elkanah.  He may have been praying that the Lord would open his wife’s womb, but we are not specifically told this.  He did go yearly to worship and offer sacrifices, but we don’t know if these actions were accompanied by prayer for his wife.  He seemed resigned to her plight.  The other person in the ‘know’ was Peninnah, Elkanah’s other wife.  It is doubtful that Hannah found a prayer partner in her, since this ‘other woman’ seemed intent on taunting her. The surprising thing is that Hannah didn’t even seem to ask the priest to pray for her when she went to the tabernacle to pray.  If she had, Eli wouldn’t have mistaken her silent prayers for drunkenness.  I think both Hannah’s lack of reliance on the priest and his reaction to her showed just how far the priests were at this time from fulfilling their God-given role of intercessor.

When we encounter a need in our life that we are not able to share around the prayer circles, what are we to do?  Do we despair because we are in this on our own?  I think the key is understanding we aren’t alone.  Over and over again in the Bible, God reminded people that they weren’t facing circumstances by themselves.  Do you think that these verses have an asterisk  that sets you apart from this promise?

Fear thou not; for I am with thee:
be not dismayed; for I am thy God:
I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee;
yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.  Isaiah 49:10

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.  Joshua 1:9

Yea, though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  Psalm 23:4

I sought the Lord, and he heard me,
and delivered me from all my fears.  Psalm 34:4

 

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying we shouldn’t ask others to pray for us and with us when we’re able to do this.  I strongly believe that God has allowed people to intervene on my behalf through prayer.  I’m sure that only Heaven will reveal the many times people have prayed and God has hearkened to their cry.  But I also don’t think that God is impotent in His own strength.  He doesn’t coldly wait to react only if a certain number of prayers reach Him.  He loves us and He is all powerful to orchestrate any plan that is in His will – all…by…Himself.

Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:  Psalm 59:1

 

Dear friend, if you are in a place today where your burdens feel like they are borne by you alone, look up!  God knows all about your circumstances, even if no one else does.    He will carry your burdens for you, if you’ll only let Him.

Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.  Psalm 55:22

 

 

 

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9 Carry-on Essentials

A few weeks ago we flew out to Hawaii. As I was packing, I realized that this was going to involve a long plane ride and what I brought on the plane with me could really impact my trip.

Let’s be honest, these days it costs so much to check a bag that many people bring a carry-on as their only bag. This is evident even before boarding the plane because typically an announcement is made that due to limited overhead space, the airline is offering to check carry-ons for free. If you are a single bag traveler, you may think you are carrying everything you need, but I still recommend checking the following list to make sure you aren’t forgetting something important.  Note:  this list doesn’t include things that would normally be in a checked bag (i.e.; basic clothing, grooming items, etc).

Here are the nine essentials I always make sure to pack in my carry-on: Continue reading

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Pineapple Tidbits

Hey everyone,

We just returned from a lovely vacation to Maui.  It was our first time on this island and it definitely had the “WOW! factor” everyone had told us about.  What do you think of when you think of an island vacation?   I suspect most people would immediately dream of relaxing on a beach chair and soaking up some rays.  If that is your idea of an exotic holiday, I will warn you never to travel with us!  We don’t ever lay out on the beach for the following reasons:  (1) Other than our daughter, none of my family were born with an ability to produce a tan.  The rest of us start working on our sunburn on the walk from the car to the hotel.  We plaster sunscreen on every exposed inch of skin, wear hats and sunglasses – and still we burn.  I actually freckle and burn.  My only hope of ever returning from a trip with dark skin is if my many freckles coalesce together some day!  (2) We want to see the sights unique to the area we are traveling through.  I feel like it would be a shame if we returned from Maui and all we could say was “we saw the sun”.  Granted, sun can be in short supply in Michigan, but if I want to get burned, I can lay out on a chair in my backyard and look at the same sun.  (3) I hate sand!  A couple of times I took my children to the beach when they were younger because I felt like it was a motherly sort of thing to do.  It might have been fine, if we could have ignored the sunburn pain, but there still would have been the SAND.  Ugh!  It finds its way into everything.  We’d always come away with it lodged in our eyes, ears, mouth (that after-the-dentist feeling), hair, clothing, and towels.  I’m pretty sure the beaches around here were a little lower from the erosive effect our family’s presence had.  The sand would then continue to show up for the next week at our house.

So now that you’ve made a mental note never to join us and expect a relaxing vacation, let me tell you about one thing we did on Maui (while avoiding the beach scene) – we went on a tour of a pineapple plantation.  There I learned a number of things about pineapple and had a chance to eat pineapple right in the field.  I really enjoy fresh pineapple, but I’ve never had really fresh pineapple before.  It was so much sweeter than any I’ve ever eaten before.

Here are some of the things I learned about pineapple growing: Continue reading

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Could I Live “Off the Grid”?

I recently spotted an article in a magazine about ‘going off the grid’.  I must say this thought has always intrigued me.  As a child I read many books about early settlers.  Living off the land sounded so interesting, at least on the written page.  It could be also that I have a little rebellion in me – an attitude that I don’t need anybody else.  So, I thought I’d explore some of the suggestions on ways to survive outside of using mainstream society and a self-analysis of how I’d do.  In the following post, I’ll take a look at four of the basic needs for human life – food, drink, shelter, and safety. Continue reading

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Being an Agreeable Person

I’ve been musing over some Bible verses lately.  Although some are almost humorous, all are essentially convicting.  These verses address the question ‘What am I like to be around?’  Unless you are stranded on a deserted island, you likely interact with others on a daily basis.  You may or may not live with someone, but you come into contact with people at work, at the store, on the road, at church, and/or at school every day.  Let’s look at what the book of Proverbs says.

Proverbs 13:15 – A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.  When something angers me, I seethe and stew it over in my mind.  As I mull it over, I dwell on the injustice of the matter.  How dare they!  I nurture my victim status in my mind.  I formulate what I should say (or have said) to set the other person straight.  Modern therapists would tell you not to hold it in.  Venting your anger is much healthier.  I can tell you that once I let my anger emerge from my mouth, I initially feel good, but in the end hurting someone else doesn’t solve the problem and often I live to regret my words.  Time may heal the relationship, but you can never retrieve the words you release. Continue reading

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Geocaching – part 2

Hello everyone,

So last week I introduced you to geocaching by telling you why you should give it a try.  This week I’m going to continue my introduction of this activity by letting you know about the different kinds of geocaches that are out there, the variety of geocache containers you could find, and some general rules that you should be aware of before heading out.  Let’s hope your interest was peaked last week and you are curious enough to want to get out and find one. 

You need to have at least 4 things to begin your search: Continue reading

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Geo…what?

Spring for me brings on a sense of wanderlust – defined as a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.  One way I satisfy my urge to discover new things is by playing a worldwide game called geocaching.  “Geo…what?” you might ask.  The simple definition is that it is a game where latitude and longitude coordinates for a specific place are downloaded into a GPS from a website.  These coordinates are used to find a container that has been hidden.

Geocaching began in the year 2000.  Prior to this time, GPS devices were used for military purposes, but around this time they were opened up to civilian use.  The first container was hidden to celebrate this new public use of satellite coordinates.  Soon the game caught on.  Today there are millions of geocaches hidden throughout the world.  They are found on every continent, including Antarctica, and there is even one located on the International Space Station.

Why should you geocache? Continue reading

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