Sun or Shade?

Any gardener’s dilemma often includes where to put a favorite plant. You may have a favorite specimen but not necessarily the ideal place to plant it. I have always been fond of caladiums which thrive in shady environments.

When I began my gardening endeavors, I planted about thirty or so bulbs so excited when they finally emerged from the ground. However, my yard had full sun exposure for most of the day. What happened to my plants?

The sun fried them to a crisp.

I wasn’t wise enough to make sure I put those plants in an area suitable for their sustained growth.

Fortunately for us, God provides everything we need to bloom wherever we are planted. If Paul can write a great part of the New Testament from prison, why can’t we show God’s love and characteristics in our daily lives.

Shade plants will fry in the sun. Sun loving plants turn yellow in the shade. We aren’t dependent on ideal conditions before we can exhibit the qualities God would have us to.

If you are in a “hot” situation, act like a cactus. Have your own internal supply of Water (God’s Word) to carry you through hot and stressful situations. You can’t expect God to trust you with greater responsibilities if you are struggling where you are right now.

Whatever your situation, don’t complain, change!

 Change your mind and adjust your attitude when you can’t see God’s goodness.  Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it is not there. Focus on God and allow His strength to hold you up when you are weak.

If you are a “sunny” person forced into a shady situation, ask God to get you through moment by moment if you have to. Allow God’s light in you to illuminate the dark places and people that surround you.

We can’t expect God to promote us from one situation to the next if we don’t display an attitude of gratitude for what He has already done.  

Back to the caladiums.

A couple of years ago I was at the local hardware store and found a hybrid of my favorite plant…sun tolerant caladiums. Too good to be true I was sure, but I purchased them anyway. Thankfully, the plants thrived despite my skepticism. These new caladiums were bred to withstand the heat.

And so are we.

God equips us to withstand whatever conditions we find ourselves in as long as we depend on Him.

Sun or Shade, it doesn’t matter.

We can be stable and able wherever we’re planted!

“Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.” Psalms 1:1-3 NKJV



Be Renewed!

I recently heard a sermon regarding the importance of “quiet time.” In our electronic age of email, texts, and other “alerts” it can become harder to experience peace and quiet. As we are increasingly connected to one another we may risk becoming “disconnected” from our Creator.

Time without digital distractions or other deterrents is vital if we are to be continually renewed.

Daily renewal requires a daily Word.

What we need today isn’t necessarily sufficient for tomorrow. As fresh manna fed the body, a timely word feeds the spirit.

When the Israelites tried to save manna from one day to the next, it spoiled and become inedible. Just like them, we need to trust God to “feed” us daily as well. Gaining God’s renewal requires that we make ourselves available to receive it.

Very rarely can I hear from God with a lot of noise going on. I admit I am easily distracted. I have to mentally hang up a “Do not disturb” so I can receive the renewal I desperately need.

It is only in silence that I hear God’s still small voice. When I prioritize time for a new Word or to simply “be still,” I am far less prone to make poor choices.

b is for blessed renew devotional 7-15  Renewal is essential for a “blessed life.”

But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 NKJV

Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s     Psalm 103:4-5 NKJV

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God   Romans 12:2 NKJV

But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, Titus 3:4-6 NKJV

Proactively reduce the “noise” in your life. Allocate time for God and minimize strife.

We are all weary at times but we don’t have to stay that way. Moments of peace, a new Word and a fresh perspective will renew and equip us for whatever God is calling us to do.

Don’t long for yesterday’s blessings. Rejoice in today’s possibilities.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me
.”  Psalm 51:10 NKJV

Don’t Lose Sight!

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8 NKJV

Today I caught sight of two very large birds in the sky. I am pretty sure they were vultures but I watched them anyway. I was trying to decide just where they were going or what possible carcass had drawn them near.

All the while I was watching them I saw waaaayy up in the sky a hawk flying far higher than those two. I almost missed it. The hawk had a white underbelly that nearly blended into the overcast sky.

pink bud 2 blsd what do you see   At that point I felt a gentle “nudge” from God. My message for today was “don’t lose sight.”   

I am very aware that I am easily distracted and pulled away from goals and priorities that are important to me. As we are soon to close out this first quarter of the year I was reflecting on what goals I’d met and those I need to give more attention.

I’m doing well on a few. But others have managed to slide by the wayside.

My “distractions” aren’t trivial. They are the same life issues that most people deal with.

Job. Family. Even self-doubt.

I’ve noticed that when we set our mind to carry out something productive or walk the path God sets before us there is always that “lion” waiting in the bush seeking to “steal, kill and destroy.”

Sometimes we can become so fixated on our personal “vultures and lions” that we forget to look up to God instead of concentrating on the chaos around us.

We can often become so distracted we forget what we are trying to accomplish in the first place!

And that is exactly what the enemy wants.   

Some distractions are so loud that we fail to hear God.

Others are blinding and we fail to see God.

I challenge you (and myself) to reexamine your goals and “resolutions” for 2015 and with a renewed spirit, go after them!         

Instead of worrying about what the vultures are doing I will look higher and seek God’s guidance for my next steps. I don’t believe God’s best for us is preoccupation with things that reek or are dead.

We do best when we set our minds on higher things, that we may fulfill our purpose and enjoy the blessings God would give us.

pink bud 3 blds 2015   God can renew us just as He brings the trees through winter into a fruitful spring.

Delay is not failure. We only fail when we give up.     

I trust God’s grace is sufficient for me to meet and even exceed my goals.         

What about you?  

Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:18-20 NKJV

Be Joyful!

But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. Psalms 5:11 NKJV

Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; And on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God.  Psalms 43:4 NKJV

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me [by your] generous Spirit.  Psalms 51:12 NKJV 

Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy.  Psalms 125:5

A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word [spoken] in due season, how good [it is]!  Proverbs 15:23 NKJV


**And yes, it is a real bee smiling at the camera 🙂



Happy Labor Day!

“Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope.” Psalms 16:9 NKJV

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him;” Psalms 37:37 NKJV

“There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God [did] from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.” Hebrews 4:9-11

“That You may give him rest from the days of adversity, Until the pit is dug for the wicked.” Psalms 94:13 NKJV   DSC_6391 (4)

“Come to Me, all [you] who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29 NKJV


Unlike this butterfly struggling against the breeze, I spotted a hawk soaring high on those same winds. Hawks trust the breezes to lift them higher. No GPS or google maps, they just stretch their wings and go!

The higher we want to go, the more we must trust God to take us there.

Small things we can do in our small power. Larger missions, accomplishments and dreams of any real substance are all acquired with God.

Few people reach their full potential without that absolute trust. There are those who do reach certain heights in themselves, but eventually the burden of their pseudo-success becomes too much for them to bear. Most “self-made” people often collapse under the strain of relying on themselves for everything.

We must grow larger spiritually and mentally into a wider wing span, stretching ourselves, daring to go higher than we ever thought possible if we are to soar as God intended us to do.   DSC_8762 (2)

Likewise, we must have a keen eye just like a hawk. These birds aren’t flying blind. We shouldn’t either. Large fowl can spot the smallest of opportunities/food from their great heights.  God gives us this same vision and discernment when we ask Him, trust Him and have faith enough to actually follow where He leads.

Now, I’m not keen on going anywhere and not know where I’m going. Yet, this same reluctance can cause us to miss out on some of our largest blessings. Admittedly, I’ve gone a few places in life with my eyes wide open (or so I thought) and that didn’t turn out well at all!

So…I’d rather go blindly with God than move forward eyes wide open, but aimless and with no direction!

Besides, my tiny little wings can only take me so far. But with God…    DSC_9010 (2)

Technically, bumble bees can’t fly. Their bodies and short wing spans defy the laws of physics. But God creates those “laws” and breaks them as He deems fit. Man will never understand all of God. We see only a glimpse of His Majesty. That’s why we must trust!

All things are possible to him who believes!  

Jesus, said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things [are] possible to him that believeth,” Mark 9:23 KJV

Will my hopes and dreams come to fruition? Only God knows. But knowing that they are indeed possible is enough for me to spread my wings and try to fly just a little bit higher.

What about you?

Faded Flowers

“Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.” Psalms 71:9 KJV

As I was looking at the remnants of my hydrangeas, one in particular caught my eye. The flower was no longer the fresh sweet pink it had been upon blooming many weeks ago. Instead, it was faded and speckled but still it had a beauty all its own.

It made me reflect on how many times we casually toss things aside or fail to appreciate people after the “newness” has worn off. The joy and excitement of new love at its onset often fades as years wear on and relationships weather everyday routines and obligations.

We often don’t appreciate things and people in their “less than new state,” failing to recognize a different beauty that has changed from what was to what it is now. How is it that the blessings we ask God for and receive, we so can easily make the last of our priorities or quickly dismiss in search for the next new “thrill?”

The excitement of parenting quickly gives way to the responsibility and time required to do the job properly.  Friendships are often neglected when the fun times are few and far between. When the butterflies of new-found love are long gone, can you appreciate the great qualities, faithfulness and reliability of your significant other?

Relationships are never perfect as they are composed of imperfect people, but often our flawed (not destructive!) relationships are more satisfying than having none at all. Too many times we stare at the flaws instead of being in awe of the perfect people for us that God has allowed in our lives.  DSC_0022

I challenge you today to look at the people and relationships in your life with a fresh perspective. Even though things and people may not be what they once were, they may still be beautiful in new and different ways.

Appreciate the home you have as if you’d once been homeless. Appreciate the people in your life as if you almost lost them. Make a deliberate choice to appreciate the blessings you have now instead of looking back on what once was or even what can be…

View that same old job with a gratitude that it’s still there! Look at the house in need of repair not with disdain but as a place you really can call home. Your kids may not be perfect (and who is) but at least you’ve gotten them this far!

Like a car when the new shine wears off, dependability should be celebrated instead of longing for that new car smell. Love the people and things in your life for getting you where you need to go, coming along for the ride, or for simply being available and being there.  Why wait until a time of loss to appreciate what you have right now?

New isn’t always better. There is more to be said for faithfulness, dependability, and long-lasting love than for the glitz and glamour of the latest and greatest whoever and whatever!

Contentment doesn’t necessarily breed complacency; it can instead allow you peace and joy for where you are now, your personal journey and the people and things you’ve been blessed with along the way.

Family, friends, good books, and wine. Some things are better with the passage of time.

“To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV

Big Ears

“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” James 1:19 NIV

“for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice,” Psalm 95:7 NIV

“Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.”
Psalms 143:8 KJV


**The Elephant Ears featured above are on display at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.



Look for Your Cloud!

Like many people, I’ve a few areas in my life that are a bit…dry. One in particular is quite crispy. Crisss-pee!

My “situation” soured and then died years ago, yet for one reason or another the last nail was never placed in its coffin.

I was illegally “wronged,” tried to muddle through, then eventually gave “it” to God. This set me back financially and took years (yes, years) before I could finally forgive and move on.

The last thing I prayed concerning the matter was that “it would bless me.” This was over three years ago. And it was hardly a sweet declaration of optimism.

I stood in my bathroom crying. I screamed that “it” would no longer hold me (and my sanity) hostage. I figured I learned a hard lesson and at the least I would be wiser. This was only one thing in a season of drought that appeared endless.

Sometimes we do what is right and are still wronged. We wonder where is God? I believed God’s view was “I didn’t tell you to do that,” so I suffered the consequences.

Today, I was at an appointment and learned my desert may not be so dry after all. What I finally buried and put behind me, God may resurrect for my good!

God may be the reason that final nail never went into the coffin. My loss may have been a “strategic delay.” The most prominent cactus in my years long drought may actually bloom!

I’d given up on this “cactus.” It had drawn enough blood out of me. I didn’t want to touch it! However, when all was silent, could it be God allowed matters to fall as they would and bless me?  

This blessing may or may not manifest but its potential has stirred my faith and expectancy. Sometimes when we wander in the desert, we forget that cooling rains can come. God will answer. Just in His time.

As my husband and I ate lunch outdoors, out of nowhere the skies opened up with a tremendous downpour. We had to scurry for cover. Less than an hour after I caught a glimpse of my “cloud.”

I realized today that in this particular area, I’d stopped looking for my cloud. I’d sadly let the heat of my drought sap me of spiritual strength and expectancy. God has been so faithful, why did I doubt Him in this one area?

Keep your eyes open for your cloud. Elijah sent his servant out seven times looking for a sign of rain. Finally, the servant came back with a report. It wasn’t rain but it was the potential for rain.

Don’t lose your hope in what God can do. Dare to look beyond the obvious and have faith for the miraculous.

I think I can finally smell the rain.  DSC_9386 (2)

“Be patient then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.” James 5:7 NIV

  “Go and look toward the sea.” He told his servant. And he went up and looked.

“There is nothing there.” He said.

Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”

The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” I Kings 18: 43-44 NIV


Due Season

“The LORD upholds all who fall, And raises up all who are bowed down.

The eyes of all look expectantly to You, And You give them their food in due season.

You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing.”

Psalm 145:14-16 NKJV


“For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

Galatians 6: 8-9 NKJV