Tag: Spring

Spring – A Time of Beginnings?

Tree BudsIt’s hard to miss the signs of Spring – just look outside.

If you live where there’s still a chance of snow, the snow no longer freezes into ice sheets overnight, but melts quickly after only a few hours, leaving streets only wet, and the yard nicely watered.

If you don’t get snow, you can see the grass greening up. Buds on the trees. Even in cold climates, crocus pop their heads above ground, soon to be followed by tulips, daffodils and other flowers.

For many people, Spring is a sign of new life and happiness.

But for others, it’s a reminder that the world is moving on without a loved one. If you’ve lost someone you love, it may be your first Spring without them. Their smile, their laugh, their company. It can be a dark and hard time.

If that’s where you are, I am so sorry for the loss that you feel every day. For the grief that grips you from time to time and almost takes your breath away. For your dreams that feel broken, your life that feels fragmented.

Maybe it’s not yourself, but you know someone whose loved one died recently – or even in the past year.  All those firsts are terribly hard. The first birthday or anniversary. The first of every holiday without them. It can be unsettling, and leave the one left behind feeling shattered – like they’re not all there.

rose mosaicThere’s a Hebrew word for that: “tamei” – pronounced “taw may”. It means fragmented or unwhole. It doesn’t mean you’re coming apart completely, but definitely not in a place of wholeness and peace referred to in the Hebrew word Shalom. And during this time there can be a vulnerability in thoughts that might not otherwise occur to you, in activities you might not normally consider, and in spiritual matters not making sense. In these areas there needs to be a sense of vigilance and protection.

There is a lot to do when someone passes away. And sometimes the busyness of notifications, paperwork, planning, and the hands-on work of sorting-boxing-and moving property is overwhelming. And then you need to get back to your normal busy life.

blur-gd89b880ea_640But it’s important to take time to process what has happened, to sit with it. To understand and accept it. To talk with a trusted friend or with God about it. Everyone processes differently, but what is important is that you take the time to do that necessary task.

In the Old Testament people took 7 days. Time with no other responsibilities. Refrain from social engagements – even church, shopping, most chores; take time off work for a few days after all the “work” of death is done.

Red RoseDo things that encourage or bless you. Activities that bring you a sense of calm and peace. Things that feed your soul. Thanks that can help you get back to that sense of wholeness – Shalom.

What would that look like for you?  Or your friend?

I have seen people go off the deep end with grief, and become bitter and distrustful of God – creating a hardship in their lives and attitudes that drove people away from them.  I have also seen people ignore this necessary process, behaving as if nothing had changed, only to deal with serious issues as they arose later.

If you didn’t get a chance to take that time when your loved one passed, do it now. Or if you have a friend going through grief, encourage them to do it.

Whether for you, or your friend, I pray that God will create light out of the darkness.

That He will shine His light into the darkness of any circumstances you may be experiencing with grief.

That you will open your spiritual eyes to see the light He’s brought you. That His light will be a beacon for you.

That it will give you hope and direction and comfort. And that you will give glory to Him. Amen


I Love March!


I love the month of March!  It feels like the year is finally beginning.


bloom-blooming-blossom-355663The seasons change and it feels like the world is waking up again…more sunlight, warmer temperatures, and spring flowers begin to show filling dead looking spaces with beautiful colors and aromas.


choir-306900_640I remember songs from growing up in Military Chapel services like: Lead On O King Eternal the day of march has come, March On O Soul with Strength, and Onward Christian Soldiers, to name a few. Scripture tells us that spring was the time that men went out to war. And so many of these songs have the word “march” in them, that I associated them with the month of March. 


March on O soul with strength, as strong the battle rolls! ‘Gainst lies and lusts and wrongs, let courage rule our soul

Lead on O King eternal, the day of march has come…we follow not with fears…till sins fierce war shall cease

Onward Christian Soldiers marching as to war…like a mighty army moves the church of God…hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross…put on the gospel armor, each piece put on with prayer

We’re marching to Zion, beautiful, beautiful Zion

warfarehelmetsI know the lyrics weren’t necessarily referring to the month of March, but every March I’m reminded of them. And it births in me a strong desire to be adequately armed for spiritual battle.

It reminds me that the enemy of our soul is on the move and ready with an attack, and I need to be vigilant in praying for my loved ones. And in praising God that He protects and directs, that He guards and guides, He helps and heals.

winner-4912049_640I am reminded that He dwells in the midst of our praise. So I give Him praise! No matter what circumstances, or trial or sorrow I may face, God will be with me and is in control.

And in the victories, it is His power that allows me to rejoice.

March is coming to an end, but as you see the signs of spring where you are; the snow melting,  the flowers blooming, the trees budding, the birds returning, let it be a reminder to you to armor up! And join in, for the Battle Belongs to the Lord!

Can’t stop Spring!

We all know how different this March and April have been.



Businesses have been and are still closed down.  Many people are out of work and at home.  Playgrounds are empty and schools are closed with kids of all ages getting their lessons on line at home.

park-closed-5027657_640Restaurants that have been able to stay open and grocery stores are making home deliveries as we are all staying in to minimize our exposure to the coronavirus.

Church services have gone on line.  As have meetings of all sorts.

We’ve all talked about what we miss about this Shelter in Place response to the pandemic:

going to a restaurant or getting coffee with friends,

seeing a movie at the theater,

attending sporting events – or even watching sports on TV,

and most of all visiting with friends, family and loved ones complete with HUGS, HUGS and more HUGS.


But it’s interesting to me, as I take my short walk around the neighborhood, hands in my pockets, wearing my mask, avoiding every other person but waving from a safe distance; that Spring has not been stopped!



Now that most of our snow is over, there are tulips, jonquils, and daffodils blooming in gorgeous color!

No one told the flowers to “shelter in place” in the ground.  Or to avoid groups of more than 5 or 10.  Buds have appeared on the trees.  And they are not waiting for social restrictions to be lifted before they come out.


Our rose bushes are sending out runners, and the ground cover is emerging with lush greens and tiny blossoms ready to burst.


I’ve seen insect life slowly returning, hawks swooping through the yard.  And yesterday, a butterfly!  A sure sign that Spring is here.


Our pastor spoke today about butterflies.  They spend part of their life cycle sequestered alone in a chrysalis.  During that time, maturity takes place that will serve the pupa well in its life as a butterfly.

We seem to be in a chrysalis of sorts.  How are we investing in our maturity that will benefit us when we are able to be out and about again?

And time is marching on, whether we are participating in our usual activities or not.

So 2 thoughts:


1– With time marching on, how are you making the most of the time you have on your hands?  Are you finding ways to keep connected with those people and things that are important to you?  Not knowing how long this social distancing is going to last, don’t wait for it all to be over before you reach out to others.

2 – What are you learning and how are you growing in ways that will contribute to your maturity when this stage is over?  What will you take from your chrysalis into the next phase of your life?

Enjoy this Spring.

From a bedroom window, a front door, a back porch, a short walk.

Time marches on…

Don’t miss it!

Spring! Planting and Weeding

gardenThere are lots of gardening plans out there for your garden – you can find them in magazines and How To books at libraries. 

Even Home Improvement stores have Do It Yourself guides for wherever you live organized by climate, growing season, water and sunlight needs, how much space you have, or what kind of plants you want – vegetable, blooming or ornamental.

I just came across one of the many Spiritual Garden Guides – perhaps this looks familiar:

Consider planting:

three rows of peas

. . . Peace of mind

. . . Peace of heart

. . . Peace of soul

close-up-cultivation-dig-169523four rows of squash

. . . Squash gossip

. . . Squash criticism

. . . Squash grumbling

. . . .Squash selfishness

three rows of lettuce

. . . Let us be faithful

. . . Let us be thankful

. . . Let us love one another

and no garden is complete without turnips

. . . Turn up for church

. . . Turn up with a smile

. . . Turn up ready to serve

It reminded me that we need to be planting purposefully in our lives as well as our gardens.  That we need to be weeding intentionally and regularly to avoid our beautiful blossoms being choked out by the weeds of the world.  So here are some fun weeds and seeds to consider!

You reap what you sow, so sow acts of kindness, encouraging words, and supportive attitudes.


Recognize that when you smile at someone, you are planting kindness and acceptance.  When you play with them, you are cultivating fun and joy.  When you give them a hug, you are fertilizing with love and security.


When you help a friend or child learn a task, you are planting patience and success into their future.   When you give them encouragement, you are growing confidence.  When you share, you are seeding goodness and selflessness.


When you pray with someone, or let them see you pray, you are sowing faithful fellowship with God.

Everything you do is a seed of some kind.  Be intentional about what you plant.

weed gloves kneelingpad

And weeding!  There are many things that will choke the joy out of your life like weeds do to a garden.

If they’re not forcibly removed these weeds will use up all your resources – time, energy, enthusiasm.

So roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Start with something simple: weed out your family’s wardrobe.  Children grow, so every year box up clothes that don’t fit to store if you have younger children who will wear them later.  Or sell them, donate, or give them away.  Maybe you know a friend who has a younger child to pass them to.  Then pass them back if you can use them again!

That goes for your personal wardrobe too.  Box up nostalgic items you want to keep but clear out the rest that are out of style or no longer fit well.  And while you’re at it, get rid of any guilt or stress too, over bygone sizes.  Find the style and size you feel most comfortable in.  You will look more confident and attractive when you feel comfortable in your clothes.



Weed out parenting strategies you think you should be doing, but that don’t work for you.  Parent from your strengths!  Know who you are and what things energize you so your children can see you parenting from joy, not guilt, fear or obligation.



Same for relationships.  Examine the ones that are thriving, then check the conditions of the others.  Some may be in need of TLC to keep them growing and others may need to be weeded out.


Weed out negative talk and self-condemnation.  We all make mistakes from time to time.  Some of us tend to dwell on those; constantly reminding ourselves of past failures and possible future ones.  Stop those inner voices with a “You wouldn’t talk to a friend that way!”

Instead, plant kindness to yourself – say positive things to yourself every day.  Rephrase “Well, you blew that!” to ”From what I just learned, I’ll do better next time.”


Ask God to show you where weeds of sin, rebellion, or unforgiveness may be hiding.  Sometimes the roots grow deep before the leaves can be seen above ground. Confess those routinely to keep your soil healthy.

Planting and weeding.  It’s a process we go thru every year.  And not just in the garden!

Every day, by your actions and choices, you are planting things into and weeding things out of your life and the lives your family and friends.

The key is to recognize it and be intentional.

Happy Gardening!  Happy Spring!



Live in the Light

Spring is coming!



This is my favorite time of the year.  Maybe because the First day of Spring is my birthday!

But also because it brings me out of the cold and dark time of year and into the warmth and light.

Especially this year, I am ready to be delivered out of the darkness of this last year and into the light of new promise.


Last year saw much illness: the diagnosis of an auto-immune disease that came with unkind medications and breast cancer, and my father’s last battle with lung disease and then his death.  It saw diminishing energy, fatigue, and discouragement over many losses.

God was good to give me some bright spots. Two sons’ weddings and a trip to Hawaii were very joyful.

But I am ready for life in the full sun.  Just as teachers and kids everywhere are enthusiastically counting the weeks till school is out, I am ready and eager for being done with cancer, and medication’s side effects.

2 Peter 1:4 tells me “I have given you very great and precious promises.” So, I am ready to draw my strength from God and those promises.


The first thing that gives me strength is my identity in Christ.


Contrary to that little voice I sometimes hear reminding me how stupid I’ve been and how worthless I am, I know that in truth, I am a daughter of the King of the universe!

Among other things, Scripture tells me:

I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved.  Colossians 3:12

I am a daughter/son of light and not darkness.  I Thessalonians 5:5

I have been made righteous.  2 Corinthians 5:21

I am free forever from condemnation.  Romans 8:1


Next I need to know His promises.


Some promises are for all Believers, so I can draw strength from knowing that:

I may approach God with boldness, freedom and confidence.   Ephesians 3:12

I have been given the spirit of power, love and a sound mind.  2 Timothy 1:7

I am God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do the work, which He has prepared in advance for me.  Ephesians 2:10

To know His personal promises to me, I need to be in His Word so I can hear Him speak them.  Sometimes a new meaning becomes evident in a scripture I haven’t noticed or understood before. Or maybe a familiar passage suddenly has a unique application to something in my life.  Sometimes I feel a conviction telling me to pay attention, that this is for me.


And finally, I need to live and act as if I believe those promises.

So since I believe I am a daughter of the King, I need to think and behave that way.  Because I believe I have been given a spirit of power and love then I will act in love and be empowered when I come up against a challenge.

Knowing that I am God’s handiwork gives me confidence to step boldly into the light this Spring.  And like Paul, be ready to “take hold of that for which God has taken hold of me.”  Philippians 3:12

I pray that you too will be energized and empowered by the light that Spring brings.  And will live and walk in the light of your true identity from God and in His promises.