Changes

September always ushers in a new season on the prairies, with cooler temperatures and the beginning of harvest.  This is my favorite season of the year.  In a week or so the trees will start to change colors with harvest reds and yellows that are beautiful.

This year, September is also the month our Dad passed away and now our family will move forward in a new way.  Funerals as weddings, have dynamics happen within a family unit that can either tare apart or cause a drawing together.

I believe, our family has had an opportunity to experience a miracle of healing over the last few days and by God’s grace will continue to move forward into the love that binds families together.  I am grateful for this miracle.

Today we received flowers full of Autumns amazing colors. I have been blessed in many ways in the midst of great sadness but that seems to be the way of growth and healing.

Blessings of peace,

Lenajoy

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Finally Home

Finally Home

On Friday, my daughter Michaela and I purchased a few CD’s at a local Christian book store, the one that stood out for me was “Wonder” by Michael W. Smith.  I purchased the CD for my husband who enjoys listening to Michael Smith.  As I listened later that evening, it occurred to my how wonder was the theme this week and the title fit perfectly.  But, as I listened several songs on the album touched my heart.

This morning as a family we gathered in my home to celebrate the life of our father and grandfather who went home today.  The song “Welcome Home” bought a silence in our midst that actually was binding our hearts together as a family.  I know my father-in-law is now where he truly belongs, home near God’s heart.

We will miss you dad but we know you are no longer in pain. Thank you God for this song and for binding our family together in love.  Wonder still seems to be the theme in my life.

Peace and comfort to my family,

Lenajoy

Posted in Faith | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Harvest

Battleford Apple

Almost every night during the month of August, the daily chore was to clean up what I called my ground harvest of apples.  When we moved into our new home in June, the two apple trees in the backyard were in bloom, they looked amazing and smelled lovely.  What surprised my husband and I was how the trees buzzed with activity.  The bees were busy doing what they do best: pollenating the trees.  The weather on the prairies was rather wet this year which made for an interesting year to grow fruits and vegetables.  I am totally a newbie in the role as a gardener but it has been interesting to learn about all the different plants and trees that are growing in my yard.

The apples trees had an abundance of apples, one tree in particular was totally weighted down with the amount of fruit it was producing.  Because I am a beginner gardener, I felt helpless at the beginning but I have come to learn I can prune back some of the blossoms giving room for other fruit to grow fully.  Not sure how to prune the high branches but that will be next years dilemma. My desire next year is to have more of an abundant fall harvest than the daily four buckets of ground harvest with apples that are bitter and only good for the compose. Oh, I am a newbie to the compose world also!

As I am a pastor, I have a tendency to find a spiritual or theological point to the circumstances that arrive in my life.  I have been musing over the idea how we can, even in our spiritual life, be involved in many great things we believe are for God but end up feeling overwhelmed. We get involved in numerous activities but do not reap the harvest we could have because we run out of energy and spiritual stamina needed to finish well.  There are seasons in our faith journey were we need to step back and ask the Holy Spirit to help us prune un-necessary activities, opening room to be fruitful in the areas that will benefit God’s kingdom.

I mentioned in a previous post how overwhelming feelings can over take me because of all the good things I have experienced in life.   These overwhelming feelings have pushed me to review all of the activities I do and line them up with what God is actually asking me to do.  This is no easy task when you are a creative person with a servant heart.  Taking a year off of blogging was extremely hard, but it allowed room to reflect and realize the reasons why I write and post.  No, I have not come to a profound theological answer to my reflection except to say, “I really enjoy writing and sharing my faith journey.”

The question to ponder when we feel life is overwhelming with good things, is to stop and consider what might need to be pruned to open room for what really matters in life to be fulfilled.  For me, by pruning back on activities that were not producing lasting fruit has re-opened room to be still with God longer, allowing His Spirit to work within the garden of my soul.  The garden of our souls can be a place where interesting weeds can grow, well this is a thought for another day.

Allowing God to prune un-necessary activities has provided more time to be still with Christ which has given me peace and the ability to discern what really matters in life.  This has been a true gift and blessing in my life.

Following are a few pictures of my harvest of apples starting with a the ground harvest a few weeks ago.  I figure there was about  60 small pails of ground harvest to our real harvest which was three larger pails.  In the freezer I have eight bags of apples to bring the summer goodness into the winter bleakness.

Blessings as you spend time reflecting on what might need to be pruned to allow what needs to grow in your life. Scripture verses for reflection:  John 15:1-17; Matthew 9:35-38

Peace on your journey,

Lenajoy

Following is information I found concerning the type of apple trees that are growing in my yard.  This apple is  called a Battleford and the town it is named after is about an hour and a half drive from where I live.  After washing the apples last night and cutting them my kitchen had the aroma of apple pie which was a delight to my senses.

BATTLEFORD APPLE

This apple variety originated in North Battleford from unknown parentage and was introduced around 1945.  Fruit size is 7-8 cm in diameter.  Skin colour is pale yellow, striped and washed with red.  Quality is rated fair for fresh eating, good for cooking and juicing.  Fruit ripens late August to mid-September.

Ground Harvest

Beginning of August

Loaded Down

One of Three Buckets

A Good Washing

Beauties

Posted in Pruning | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Wonder

Wonder in the Simple Things

For me, everyday is an adventure of finding amazing treasures but only when I am open to experince ordinary simple wonders of life.  Some people say life is boring, I have experienced the total opposite and believe that is why I am often exhausted.  Life is overwhelming in a good way.  I mentioned in my last post that I usually have a daily or a weekly theme.  This can come in the way of a word or a set of circumstances.

Today, the theme is “wonder.” Wonder at the treasures that are constantly set before me, the problem is I often do not see the wonder in the small gifts that have been given.   For example today between 7 and 8 am, here is what I experienced: woke up in my husbands arms, enjoyed my grandbaby smile as I poured a cup of coffee, his baby kisses which are such a delight, stretching my body which is growing old but still is simply a gift and a woodpecker enjoying the water in the bird bath on the deck. This was just an example from an hour of my day, there was another fourteen hours of wonder to be captured.

Life is a gift and is constantly full of wonder.

Another gift we have been given is the gift of faith.  Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians wrote that they ought to give thanks for the faith each one of them has been given and the love that they have for each other.  The gift of faith and love is amazing.  It can heal the sick and broken-hearted in this world, bringing wholeness and grace that comes from the heart of God.

We live in a fragmented and broken world but when we live by faith and in love, God gives us new eyes to see the wonder.   What a different world this could be if more of us stopped and took time to experience the gift of wonder.  Wonder is constantly before us, if only we would stop and open our heart and eyes to see the beauty all around us.  Life is a gift and worth seeing, even when it exhausts you.  Wonder can also be a form of prayerful reflection of who our God is.  He is awesome and amazing and full of wonder.

Have you experienced wonder today?  If not consider asking God to open your eyes to see and embrace the simple gifts he has given.  I pray God will deepen your faith in him, granting you love for others and to be filled with wonder daily.

For reflection in God’s word the scripture reference is from 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12.

A YouTube video that inspired me to wonder is by Karl Jenkins titled Adiemus – Corrente.

In his book, Wonder, Fear, and Longing: A Book of Prayers, Mark Yaconelli wrote an interesting chapter on the theme wonder.  This book is worth checking out.

Enjoy the blessings of wonder,

Lenajoy

Posted in Themes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Shelter

Shelter

 

In my life I usually find I have weekly and even daily themes.  The theme for today has been the word “shelter.”  I am thankful for the warm shelter of my home on a cold rainy deary summer day that feels like late fall.  Shelter is also the topic for the church service Sunday morning.

In the reflection of considering taking shelter in God, I was led to contemplate how we need to also take shelter in the community of Christ where we will not be alone on the journey of life but will be with others who are also on the way following Jesus.

Jars of Clay in the song Shelter sing that we are not alone in this journey, this is true.  We are Christ to each other.  We need to be in community but at times it seems easier to be alone and not in community. Let’s face it, it is hard to be in community with others.

God made us to be in community with all of our perfections and imperfections.  We need to take shelter with others who also seek to hide themselves in Christ.  In community we find belonging and shelter from the loniness that can be experienced in this world.

Following are the Lyrics from the song Shelter:

To all who are looking down

Holding on to hearts still wounding

For those who’ve yet to find it

The place is near where love is moving

Cast off the robes you’re wearing

Set aside the names that you’ve been given

May this place of rest in the fold of your journey

Bind you to hope

You will never walk alone

In the shelter of each other

We will live

We will live (Never walk alone)

In the shelter of each other

We will live

We will live (Your arms are all around us)

If our hearts are turned to stone

There is hope we know the rocks will cry out

And the tears aren’t ours alone

Let them fall into the hands that hold us

Come away from where you’re hiding

Set aside the lies that you’ve been living

May this place of rest in the fold of your journey

Bind you to hope

We will never walk alone

The  thought of finding shelter in community inspired me to consider how I can be a person who can bring comfort and show the love of Christ to those God has placed in my life and in my community.  As you journey through this day consider how you can show love and kindness to others and perhaps be shelter for a weary friend.

The scripture story that came to mind as I reflected on the word shelter is found in Mark 12:28 there are others but I will conclude with what Jesus taught is the greatest comandment.

 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

In community we learn to love well, be Christ to each other and find shelter from the storms we face in this world.

Blessings on your journey,

Lenajoy

Posted in Themes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment