Learning in the Garden

Nate and I decided to plant our vegetable garden (this year) in large containers on our patio outback. This is definitely a means of rookie gardening for us.A few weeks ago when we transferred our plants from their indoor starter containers into the outdoor ones they weren’t looking too hot. I was like ‘ahh great here we go again killing off another season of veggies’…because when we’ve planted directly into the ground in past years that’s typically how we roll so I was bracing myself that this year’s gardening “experiment” would be no exception. But with my doubt, Nathan reminded me, “just give it time, it has to adjust to new soil.”

…And I think he’s right because over the past week these plants have really began to grow. They look good!It makes me think of someone new to the Christian faith; a life without Christ compared to a seasoned life with, should look dramatically different. Therefore those beginning stages can have kind of an ebb and flow effect as a new believer adjusts and learns fresh ideas, almost like a culture shock.

It’s so important that patience and nurturing be shown to someone who has just welcomed Christ into their lives; those who have followed Him for a longer length of time should come alongside a new follower with encouragement.

Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

Just like my vegetable garden has needs in order to thrive, Christ’ followers have similar key elements to understand, trust and utilize so that we can grow in Him—

SPIRITUAL GROWTH ESSENTIALS FOR CHRISTIANS AT ANY SEASON OF THEIR FAITH:

Consistent care: “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 4:19

Protection: “But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.” —Psalm 5:11

Water: “But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” —John 4:14

Sunlight: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” —Psalm 118:105

Good soil: “But the seed falling in good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.” —Matthew 13:23

Ideal temperatures: “A hot tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.” —Proverbs 15:18

Nutrients: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faith wellness, gentleness and self-control.” —Galatians 5:22-23a

God fulfills every one of those needs.

When those elements are rooted into a believer’s life, growing happens and spiritual fruit is produced.

In the next few months my garden will be ready to harvest and we’ll enjoy the fruits of our labor but it’ll be nothing compared to the Heaven-bound harvest God has in store for those who put their trust in Him.

My faith may need a lot of attention and maintenance (much like my garden) but it’ll be worth it for sure…In the meantime Luke 10:2 reminds me that “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” meaning we as believers (new and seasoned) need to be praying for unbelievers and looking for opportunities to share of God’s goodness because there’s so many who aren’t yet planted in Him.

Take inventory of your own ‘spiritual garden’…Is it growing with life bound to Him? Will it ensure you a part of His harvest in Heaven one day?

***the garden sign is from this month’s DIY project, you can find it here***

A few extra backyard pics:Cherry trees

Baby robins

Living on His Plans

When people talk about how they can’t wait for life to return to “normal”, I mentally stand on the other side thinking: ‘but I’m not 100% okay with the old kind of normal, the pre-covid normal…What changes do I want to see made within my family for our “future normal”…What is it that I want to grasp as a spiritually beneficial takeaway from this unique time?’…Because I don’t want to revert back to my Alicia’s world, impatient, on the go self when things do return to “normal”…my true colors usually show up best with a well thought out detailed itinerary…that’s part of my control girl flaw.

I’m trying to figure out how to mesh this current lifestyle (the things I’ve learned during my coronavirus-downtime) with what’s to come when life eventually does return to “fast-paced normal”…and the idea of loosening my firm grip on ‘itinerary-style-planning’ definitely needs to be part of a wiser planning method for myself.

We’ve all seen firsthand now how things can dramatically change in a matter of day to day living.

I have to laugh in spite of myself — back in late February, before I even knew the word coronavirus existed, I had sat down at my kitchen table and counted through my calendar all the days that I had marked down to substitute teach, and there were many. And in my eyes I was thinking about dollar signs and the amount of money that I’d be able to tuck into savings to put towards a trip our family has/had scheduled this summer. In the midst of counting sub days I literally thought of how foolish it seemed because subconsciously I knew something could come up and any of those days could be taken from me, none of them were necessarily ever guaranteed to stay locked in. Sure enough every single one of them was canceled out through the end of the school year due to the virus.

On top of that, my mom and I were supposed to travel to Vegas at the end of March for my uncle’s celebration of life — that event was postponed until a safer travel time.

That trip my husband, the kids and I have scheduled in July, ya that’s just a few phone calls away from being wiped off the calendar as well.

And I think it all boils down to the fact that I need to be okay with being flexible, not getting set in my own plans. If I choose to get so hung up on my plans and then something comes up and spoils them to the point they can no longer take place I risk getting caught up in disappointment, stress, maybe even depression…but if I choose to remember that this life is forever changing and can’t ever offer stability then my heart remains softened and willing to embrace the changes. I can’t keep a tight hold on my plans because they’re fallible just like every other part of this life. Nothing is wrong with planning, in fact the Bible even encourages us to plan BUT our plans are to be within God’s best interest and in-line with His will. Proverbs 16 provides some key verses on this matter:

Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.

Proverbs 16:9 In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

It’s God who has the say in the end.

Planning is a normal part of life but to include God in our plans, knowing that He has the ultimate best direction over us, is the key to a healthy life schedule. Because of this slower period in life, I’m also seeing that it helps to have a schedule that isn’t jam packed.

We must trust that God has overall control and be willing to submit to His plans when ours get fouled up. This happens when we remain in close communion with Him, asking Him to guide our plans and redirect our steps where needed.

I’m thankful to say that regardless of my plans becoming distorted, because of coronavirus, I am at peace with them falling through. This pandemic has served as a reminder once again that God truly is the only unchanging, unfailing, unfaltering part of life. So now (and when post corona season ever comes) I am prepared and willing to commit my plans unto Him with welcomed arms and a sensible calendar open to changes.

Photo taken in in Germany, near the North Sea

The Wild Joy of Mothering and Prayer

Yesterday morning as I worked through my independent Bible study at the kitchen counter, I could hear the voices of my children connecting together — grouped up in my youngest daughter’s room the three of them laughed in between small talk and LEGO building.

Like music to my ears (hearing them bond) I shot up a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness to the One who encourages loving relationships. I thanked God for the laughter, for zero arguing and that the Holy Spirit would flood that room with joy. I closed with a blessed feeling of Amen.

No joke within seconds my boy comes storming out of his sister’s bedroom — head down, arms crossed tightly to his chest and feet stomping madly as he made a beeline straight for his basement bedroom.

Yup I’ve seen this move a thousand and one times before…

“Dude! Please get back here so we can talk about this situation, and when you come right away it shows me respect!” I pleaded.

With that, he turns around before hitting the steps and marches straight over to where I sat on the kitchen stool waiting.

“What in the world happened?…I just finished offering up a prayer of thanksgiving that y’all were getting along so well and I even boldly requested that Satan stay the heck out of that room, so how did things turn south so suddenly?” I spouted out calmly but rationally.

Our eyes met and a sly smile spread across my son’s playful face immediately, followed by — “I was just kidding mom, we’re fine!”

Goodness! Isn’t mothering full of surprises?

I’m fully convinced though, had I not just covered those kids and that bedroom with prayer that deal could’ve been a real outbreak without a healthy resolve for peace. I faithfully believe in the power of prayer. We’ve been down this path more than a time or two so I’m no stranger to bumps in the road — but these days I’m paying attention to the caution sign reminding me to yield to the Lord’s way.

Prayer is essential. And it changes things for His glory.

Mama or not, part of our role when we call ourselves Christians is that we should be fully connected to God through prayer in all areas of life — praising Him for the blessings and crying out to Him before the battle has a chance to begin…and when it’s already begun it’s still not too late to hit our knees and throw our hands up…

In the times when we feel hopeless or overwhelmed it can cause us to be left speechless — the beautiful hope and truth is that the Holy Spirit helps to convey our prayers of struggle to God even when our words are absent.

Mothering, especially when arguing kids are taking over, has often times left me with feelings of frustration and words that should’ve been replaced by cries to our Father.

As I mature in my faith I’m learning and going to prayer much quicker and I’m leaning on (and remembering) this verse for unfailing help when I’m at a loss of words:

“The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Romans 8:26b-27

So today I just want to encourage you to lift up every single one of your concerns to God…sweet friend, even if all you feel is a world of pain and tears give that over to our God no matter what the grievance involves.

Surrender it!

Cry out! The Holy Spirit will turn your mess over to God to bring you a message of hope but you must have a willing and patient heart, eager to listen to Him whisper over your fret. Allow God to settle over any of your uneasy feelings. Pray with sincerity that the Holy Spirit would flood your heart and your situation with peace and direction.

And MAMAS if your trial just happens to involve the disciplining of a child remember how patient the Lord has been with each of us…without raising His voice He comes alongside us offering hope so that we can share it with our mini-me’s. That hope revolves and remains easy to grasp and understand the more we stay connected to Him through prayer.

Dedication: TO MY OWN MOM who has shown me the kind of mothering that echos an unending supply of mercy and grace. Happy Mother’s Day! I LOVE you! Thank you for relentlessly pointing me to Jesus when I thought I could figure out my mess on my own back in my twenties. Surely your prayers for my salvation were nonstop; I finally caved and there’s been no regret since! To Him be the glory!

Garden Sign…DIY # 5

I’ve never been so excited to welcome warmer days as I have been this year!!!

In my state cold weather stretched a little too far out this year for my liking. Being stuck in my house because of chilly, windy days doesn’t always settle well with me. I’ve done alright with the idea of “quarantine” because I can still hang out in the yard, take walks, bike rides, etc. when the weather cooperates. But “stuck INSIDE due to cold temps and windy days” gets me stir crazy so everyday that warms up and the closer summer gets you can find me outdoors…somewhere.

…And honestly maybe colder days haven’t been much different this year than any other year but it sure feels like they’ve drug on and on to me but then again I’m partial to 70s and hotter!

Nevertheless we’ve managed to get a garden planted over the past few weeks which I’m super stoked about. This is our first year to plant a garden in containers outback on our patio…We’ve got basil, squash, banana peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, green beans and strawberries growing out there. I feel like it’s a science project but things are looking good…this week anyways.❤️ There’s something seriously therapeutic for me about gardening — the rhythmic sound while watering, contrasting colors of dark soil and the signs of life in those green plants, the anticipation of “harvest” time….love it!And I get just as excited about my flower garden too. Sooooo when my mom called me this past week to explain about a garden sign she wanted to make I was like “yes ma’am and I’ll make myself one too!”

It’s Spring! I’m so excited I wet my PLANTS!

Side note: My daughters are equally embarrassed by the saying and absolutely didn’t want it out front in the flower bed so it went straight to the backyard on our patio with the vegetable garden after it was finished.

**Super easy to make and right in time for Mother’s Day….if you start today…

Here’s what you’ll need:

One wooden stake at desired length (2 x 39)

Three thin slats (3 1/2 x 16)

Pencil

Acrylic paint

Paint brush

Wood glue

Polycrylic/rag

Gloves

Brad/finish nailer

Directions:

Write out your wording on the slats using a pencil; you can go to Pinterest for font ideas.

Afterwards you’ll use a thin paint brush and the acrylic paint to go over your penciled letters. Wait a few hours for the paint to dry and repeat with a second coat of paint over your lettering.

Once your paint has completely dried (2-3 hours) you’re ready to glue your slats onto the stake like the photo below. Space them out evenly, however you think looks best (about a nickel sized drop of glue). I left about a one inch gap in between each slat.

While the wood glue sets in place you can use the brad nailer to better secure your slats to the stake. One nail at the top and bottom of each slat should do.

You’ll want to wait a full 24 hours before applying the Polycrylic, which will help serve the purpose of protecting your sign from weathering. *You can apply the Poly each Spring season for added protection.

To apply Polycrylic put your gloves on, dip the rag so it’s wet but not dripping and then wipe it across each slat so they’re fully covered. This dries pretty quick so as long as no rain is expected you could stick your sign in a flower pot or in the ground within an hour of application.

Here’s the finished product:

This top one I made for a friend and the bottom one for my own garden, the sayings are a bit different — you can always create your own unique twist, and as always if you end up making one be sure and let me know!!

Take care❤️

“The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” -Isaiah 58:11

Other DIYs:

Handmade Morse Code Bracelet Gift Idea #1

DIY Rope Shelf Decor Gift Idea #2

Coffee Mug Holder DIY #3

May Day Baskets!…DIY #4 project

A Finished She Shed part 2

Last Fall I posted A She Shed in the Making part 1 where I shared that Nathan had this brilliant idea to build me a she shed as a fifteenth anniversary gift! I’m pretty sure by the time we hit up the building material store he was wishing he’d have never entertained the idea…but alas six months later the she shed is pleasantly finished! When my husband started it at the end of last year the weather turned pretty cold so he made sure he got it buttoned up on the outside and the inside waited until warmer days over the past month. I’ll share photos and let them do the talking.

Also if you’ve hit up this post due to a tag-link and are in the midst of planning or building a she shed then WELCOME!! Let us know if you have any questions or need hints on how to go about this or that. We have quite a few cost saver tips too!

I typically get excited about our projects and want them done yesterday and then end up spending more time on redos. This is probably the first project we’ve done where I’ve realized rushing (due to impatience) is not a good idea!! I wanted everything done right and effectively so I actually patiently endured.

Haven’t we ALL had to practice patience of some sort or another lately? But check out the below verse and rest your hope in the Lord for perseverance.

Isaiah 40:31 ESV— ‘But they who wait for 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.’

When life frustrates or overwhelms believe that God is in control regardless, practice patience and rest humbly upon what the Lord may be teaching you! I’ll be doing the same!…in fact our church is putting together a video (featuring clips or photos) of what our church family has been learning through this time of Covid-19 and here’s my mantra over the past few weeks; this is the photo I’ll submit and it’s been the cry of my heart…It’s not been easy but I have a Holy Commander to spur me along.

Take care!❤️

Side note: We’ve actually been referring to the she shed as our “quarantine condo” because it has served the whole family a little vacation atmosphere.

Mystery Blogger Award

Thank You Gail of gaillovesgod.blog for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award. Gail has a wealth of Biblical knowledge, a ginormous love for God, and shares her testimony in a way that points to Him! You can check out her blog here! Thanks so much Gail for the nomination!❤️

Here are the guidelines…

• Put the award logo on your blog

• Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog

• Mention the creator of the award
The creator of this award is..Okoto Enigma

• Answer the five questions you were asked

• Tell the readers three things about yourself

• Nominate ten to twenty bloggers

• Notify the bloggers that you nominated them by commenting on one of their posts

• Ask your nominees five questions with one weird or funny one

• Share a link to your best posts

Three things about myself:
1. control-freak….yikes!
2. I’m reading a book to help deter that flaw (Control Girl by Shannon Popkin)
3. Jesus is my saving grace!!

My best posts:
1. I’m Over You Fear!
2. A Thorn In My Flesh
3. Loving Others Through Dirty Feet

Five questions I was asked:

1.Do you like reading or watching mysteries? I don’t mind a mystery but would rather it be a non-fiction book…if it’s in movie form…wellllll…I typically get my best sleep through any movie so there’s that.

2. Do you know how much God loves you?Absolutely! John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

3. How has the COVID-19 affected you?Honestly it hasn’t really. I do hair once a week at a nursing home and substitute teach so neither of those I can do right now but I more so consider myself a stay at home mom anyways plus I’m a homebody so I haven’t noticed too much, in fact I have to intentionally think of those who are dealing with it on the front lines to have a true compassion about it. Just being real.

4. Have you seen good from God in this pandemic? I’ve learned to slow down, to have more patience, and that not everything needs done in a day.

5. Have you been able to find toilet paper? Yup!

Nominees:

http://hearttokens.home.blog

http://seriouslyseekinganswers.com

http://seekingdivineperspective.com

http://christianmommas.com

http://becomingtheoilandwine.com

http://retrospectivelily.com

https://plantedbylivingwater.wordpress.com

http://ordinarilyextraordinarymom.com

https://jesusluvsall.wordpress.com

http://hesaidwhatks.blog

https://fuelfortheraceblog.wordpress.com

https://www.blessingsbyme.com

http://becominghistapestry.com

http://pippispoetry.com

http://authorryanc.com

Questions for my nominees:

Why do you write?

How long have you blogged with WordPress?

How often do you post blogs?

Funny ?: What makes you laugh?

Weird ?: Are you a night owl or a morning person?

Please don’t feel pressured or obligated to participate. If you do, send me a link and let me know, would love to read your answers! Stay healthy!

Alicia
Philippians 4:13

His Words Always Guarantee Truth

A few years ago my family was fixing to head to our favorite camping spot for Labor Day weekend. Out of excitement with the thought of our adventure I scrambled around the house to take care of last minute things before leaving.

In the midst of my hustle and bustle my little seizure filled Yorkie (Eli) ended up under my feet and I tripped over him. He rolled, must’ve bonked his poor noggin and went straight into a seizure. A very loooong seizure — one that sent me into a panic and directly to the phone to call our vet clinic.

“Red Willow Animal Clinic, how may I help you?” the woman on the other end began.

“I just kicked my dog!!!!! …And now he’s having a really bad seizure!!” I explained hysterically.

There was a “paws” before the woman on the other end of the line instructed me on what to do and set up an appointment for the next week to get Eli in for x-rays of his neck area.

Side note: Every time Eli’s neck gets jarred just right it sends him straight into a seizure but normally they don’t last that long.

After I hung up with the vet clinic’s receptionist it occurred to me how I had incorrectly explained the scenario with my poor dog…great grief I just told her I kicked my dog…seriously?!…my family wasn’t at all surprised because they’ve grown use to my unfailing ability of impatience and not thinking before I speak.

In the time since that phone call I’ve thought about how extremely important it is to convey messages and communicate well. Continue reading “His Words Always Guarantee Truth”