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Sunday Morning Splendor

"They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion and shall flow together and be radiant with joy over the goodness of the Lord." Jeremiah 31:12

We arrive early in the morning and a few men gather in the sanctuary for prayer. The sun shines brilliantly, and beckons Jacki and I out of doors. Might we pray on the front steps of the chapel? Yes, and we are joined by a tiny wren high above us cheerily singing out her praises!

The golden glow of a fresh new morning surrounds the charming little country church.

Away down the street we see a circle of blooming poppies. The earth is alive with the sights and sounds of spring and we are privileged to be out and about before the start of the church service, taking in the bright flowers, the rippling brook, and the warming sun on this May morning. 

Awed by the blessings we've been given, we thank our Father for the seasons of life. 

It's not all golden and it's not all gloom  It's not all calm and it's not all …
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Down the Garden Path

"He stood there, and gradually he began to smile,  feeling that all was for the best in this world,  as indeed it is, if one's mind is in tune with the simple realities of life,  and not perpetually jangling with the discords of man." 
~ Beverly Nichols A Thatched Roof

It is a choice I make, that of stepping away from the jangling discord, and finding rest for my soul. In Christ is my ultimate place of tranquility. Along with that, there are a variety of options when I need a peaceable interlude; one of those is found in my gardens. 
There is much need of pausing now and then, deliberately turning aside from the rather harried pace of our little community. I literally have to fight to keep from getting swept up in the continual current of activity. Instead, I long to live, as this verse says, in tranquility of heart and mind continually.
"The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace (tranquility of heart and mind continually)." Numbers 6:26 Am…

Greenhouse Gatherings

It's Saturday morning and I rush about the house, giving it a few more swipes and sweeps while a couple loads of laundry are busily sloshing and rolling in the washer and dryer. A touch here and a dab there. Suddenly, I realize I'm caught up.

I do indeed have several free hours of time, a precious commodity in this week of much to-do. I can, after all, embark on what is quite near the top of my most favorite of favorite days of the year.

Shopping for my annual flowers from the local greenhouses!
On Wednesday Jacki and I took an exploratory jaunt to three local growers and bought a few flowers to try. I like to test new combinations of plants in a container or two. Today I am in earnest!

Just a little side note: I recommend a visit to your local greenhouse for the pure pleasure of it! It's a delightful kind of therapy.

At Countyline Greenhouse, just outside Sugarcreek, I always enjoy a chat with the owner. She keeps her property neat as a pin, gets right into the spirit of t…

Prison Service

Leave it to March 31st to bring on the coldest, snowiest, blowiest day for our early morning service at Lake Erie Correctional. The wee hours of the night resurrected the lion-like nature of winter for a last stand of stormy weather before the warmth of spring settles into the region. Our journey north led us bang into the middle of a frozen world of white.

Just a few hours from home and our route has become slushy and unpleasant. Along the highway we couldn't help but notice there were quite a distressing number of vehicles that clearly had not kept to the roadways and were left stranded until later in the day. We are thankful for safety on our journey.

We hopped out of the truck and immediately found ourselves sloshing through slush. Dale and I had the better footwear, we thought, so we instructed our daughter Jacquelyn to get back in the truck until the music cart was loaded. 
Fact is, none of our shoes were appropriate for the sodden condition of the parking lot and the long …

The Overflowing Soul

"A man can't fill an empty soul with money  and call it riches. And no man whose soul is overflowing  is ever really poor."
Janice Holt Giles

I take an honest look at what lies within and face the fact that these unruly, ungracious attitudes and motives too often get too firm a hold.

Spots of criticalness.

Touches of arrogance.

Walls of self-love.

Pockets of anxious doubt.

Bands of frustration.

These are the struggles of my soul, used by the enemy in an unrelenting attempt to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10).
How do I combat the alarming array of arsenal aimed at my heart and soul and mind?
Christ living within. He has promised to reign over all sin by the power of His Holy Spirit taking up uninterrupted residence in my life. This is the way to an overflowing soul.
By the powerful weaponry at hand when I pray.
Through the gentle, kind and loving Spirit of the Lord guiding my steps.
Through Praise, giving of thanks, worship at the feet of Jesus.
Each of these can …

For the Price of Paint

There are, after all, many imperfections I can happily live with if given the opportunity to cloak them in coats of paint. So it is with the walls and ceilings of this old house that has been restyled in a variety of materials and colors over the past decades.

Who of us admires flimsy trim work, mismatched thresholds, and gaping paneled corners? None of us sing the praises of that sort of detail in an old house. But what if the budget will not support a full-scale renovation project?

Enter paint!

Instead of spending thousands you only set yourself back a few hundred. You might add to that a crick in the neck, a few sore muscles, hours of moderate-to-intense physical labor. But forget that. It's a small price to pay for years of enjoyment of our updated living room.

Ceiling paint...

Wall paint...

Brick paint...

Oil paint...

Furniture paint...

You not only give your living room a facelift, you give yourself a major workout!

I had not planned a redesign of this space, did not intend…