The Unforced Rhythms of Grace

Having arrived home after a long talk with a distraught friend, I was feeling very blessed by my own humble home and surroundings. I sat down on the front stoop and the sight of my perennial garden…

Source: The Unforced Rhythms of Grace

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The Unforced Rhythms of Grace

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Having arrived home after a long talk with a distraught friend, I was feeling very blessed by my own humble home and surroundings. I sat down on the front stoop and the sight of my perennial gardens gave me the sense of relaxed peace that my friend was so desiring.

I truly wanted to share with her how I’d arrived at my own level of comfort and contentment, but how?  Truth be told, there is no “magic” formula, and I don’t know if anyone ever fully arrives. I think that it is different for everyone. But what I do imageknow is that one day you come to realize that you’re happy with yourself…with who you are and the direction that you’re heading.

I am by no means perfect in any way, in fact, maybe that’s where my comfort zone lies. I’ve stopped trying to be. Perfect, that is, by the worlds standards. Instead I have accepted myself as perfect in God’s eyes. In self acceptance of who I was designed to be and being ok with the realization that I’m a little bit different.

imageSo what can one do to reach this point in life, regardless of her age? I have actually been thinking about this for a few days, now. Struggling with how to compose this post, and thinking of my friend who is struggling with her own issues – unable to let go of her troubles and continuing to pull them back from God to handle on her own.

This morning some thoughts occurred to me, as I sat with my coffee on the back porch, and picked up my current study on Becoming A Woman of Simplicity (Cynthia Heald). The Message translation of the verse Matthew 11:29 reads, “Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” Perhaps that has been the answer all along. Our acceptance of His grace so that we can live our lives as He intends. Being who He created us to be. Doing what He created us for. When we go against the grain, and are not in His Will, there is tension. Discord. Discomfort. Chaos and uncertainty.

This doesn’t mean that we need to move on, or get away from every situation in which we find ourselves. Or that life will be a bed of roses. Honestly, in hind sight, most of my struggles in life have taught me many valuable lessons. How not to treat others. The ways I want to raise my own child. The importance of respect and hard work, and that I am capable of so much more than I ever would have believed. They have made me who I am and often allowed me to help others facing similar issues.

imageSo sure, I tend my gardens… With love, and care, and patience, hope, and anticipation. I know that they will inevitably flounder while they are struggling to be established, or be required to fight to overcome disease or pests that are hard to co-exist with. While the trials of harsh weather bear down on my delicate flowers, they will somehow be stronger for it. Just as we are when our Heavenly Father toils and tends to us.

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Local Summer Honey

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My daughter and I were on the lookout for local honey. Recently a sweet friend of mine had mentioned (in the middle of one of my particularly nasty hay fever attacks) that if I began taking a daily dose of the most local honey I could find, then I would build up an immunity to the local pollens that aggravate my sinuses and eyes so much this time of year. Well, that seemed to make sense, and there are days when I would try just about anything to relieve the symptoms that come with the seasonal allergies I have struggled with since I was five years old. What could be simpler (or tastier!) than a couple of teaspoons of honey a day in my tea, on my yogurt or oatmeal, or maybe topping some juicy melons with a bit of granola?

So one evening while driving home from a dance rehearsal we spotted a sign, “bee crossing” and “local honey.” Excitedly we made a mental note to come back when we had the chance. I always enjoy the adventure of exploring a new and local source for any agricultural, or other, type of product.

imageThis past Sunday, after church and chores, we decided it was time to venture down the road a way and see if we could meet some local beekeeping neighbors. It was a beautiful, sunny day for a country drive, and it was only a short jaunt over the hill before we once again spied the hand lettered sign and honeybee crossing. Pulling into the drive, we were excited to realize that we were still on our own road! (It’s a long road.) How much more local can you get?

A little giggly and nervous, the two of us made our way up onto the front porch to knock. It was a nice log cabin style home with flowers lining the walk up to the house. I let out a nervous giggle and elbowed my daughter as I looked down at the porch chair and table to our left where a pellet gun and its ammo rested. An older gentleman answered the creaky screen door and told us he would get his son when we inquired about the honey.

“Do you want the light or dark?” He asked, as he invited us in to wait for his son to come down.

“Well, I don’t know,” I answered. image“What’s the difference?” Allow me to interject right here how little I know about honey. It’s sweet. Bees make it and it tastes good. I know it’s good for me, especially in its raw form, and never spoils. That’s about all I know, as fascinating as I actually do find the topic of bee keeping.

In a short while Anthony came downstairs and we introduced ourselves. We asked some questions and he confirmed that he too had heard that local honey can help relieve the symptoms of seasonal allergies. We learned that the difference between light and dark honey is that the light version is made in spring/summer, and that the dark version is their winter honey. I chose the summer honey since it would contain the pollens that normally send me reeling in a fit of sneezes.

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Curious, I asked how far the bees will travel for their pollen?  Anthony knowledgeably stated that they would fly up to 3-5 miles. I smiled imagining that the bees that produced this honey may have rested on my own perennials!

After securing a good-sized bottle of the sticky golden sweetener, and a complimentary flavored honey stick for a treat, we thanked the two gentlemen and said our goodbyes while voicing hopes of another visit in the future.

On the drive home we discussed how great it is to know that local honey is so close by, and that someone is caring for the honeybees in our area. They are so important to our crops.

What a simple pleasure it will be to enjoy a cup of tea with a bit of honey and cinnamon on the back porch. Wondering if the bees resting on one flower and then the next in my perennial garden, will be buzzing their way back to the hive to manufacture my next bottle of honey?

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My First Rant on Social Media

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After reading this article on Facebook this morning I lost my cool. Never mind that I woke early  and started my day with a new Bible study on simplifying my life, which left me in a really good place. I then made some nice French toast with blueberries and real maple syrup and shared a relaxing breakfast on the back porch with my husband, Danny. We listened to the birds sing while sipping our coffee and watching the amusing antics of our garden ducks. Peaceful.image

Then I came into the house and picked up my phone to check and see if there was any news on picking up our daughter from her first mission trip later today. Instead of scrolling quickly through  Facebook to look for a post from her Youth Pastor, my eye settled on the above article and suddenly my earlier peace went out the window. Should I not have posted my response (below)?  Please comment to let me know what you think.

This (see article) is worth a read. And serious contemplation. We NEED to take back this nation. This government needs a serious clean sweep. I try to stay away from political reference on my Facebook posts, but this stuff makes my blood boil. I’m tired of keeping my mouth shut. Pray for this nation. We’re “going to hell in a hand basket” as they say. Civil unrest needs to stop. We need to unite as a country. To hell with political correctness. VIRTUES. HONESTY. RESPECT. Tolerance with the freedom to your own beliefs without judgement. The last time I checked this was still the United States. And while I’m at it- MEDIA rules this country. I believe in freedom of speech – but not freedom to lie and spin every story to suit your own agenda. THINK FOR YOURSELF. Open your eyes and see what’s going on. And for God’s sake – STOP KILLING PEOPLE. Focus on bettering YOURSELF. That’s where it starts. No one owes you anything in this world. Work hard and be respectful. That should be the simple, honest truth in this nation. It used to be. And back then, guess what? It wasn’t such a bad place to be.

The land of the free because of the brave.
The land of the free because of the brave.