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

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”

Hope Through Unity

Several years ago my oldest daughter and I had the opportunity to travel to Acuña, Mexico with my husband’s aunt and uncle. We were joining up with men, women, and children of all ages from all over America as part of a missionary group with an organization by the name of Casas Por Cristo (Houses for Christ). Their main goal is to share Jesus’ love by blessing and serving a family in need through a house building project in one of their designated building-locations.

When we all arrived in Acuña we had a large group of around 100 volunteers with a gymnasium that served as our gathering hub for sleep, food, cold showers, and devotions. We were split into even groups on the first day so a total of five homes would be built in Acuña over a four day period.Our team of twenty-ish made an immediate connection with the same like-minded purpose — to mesh work and Jesus’ love through building a house for a sweet Hispanic family…and goodness the family was precious.

The father and son worked on what would become their new home right along side our team, while the mother and grandmother made it a priority to fill us up everyday on authentic local dishes and Mexican hot cocoa and donuts. Side note: If you’ve never had Mexican hot cocoa you’re missing out! It’s actually available in Walmart stores so make sure to treat yourself!As we came to the end of our mission trip, with the house nearly completed, there was a moment where we all gathered for a dedication ceremony.

David, our Casas Por Christo team leader, translated what the Hispanic father wanted so desperately for our team to know. Continue reading “Hope Through Unity”

Be Alert and of Sober Mind

Note: All of this is written with the respect of prayer for those who are suffering firsthand with sickness or loss of a loved one due to Coronavirus. My hope is that this is all quickly resolved to alleviate the added stress that has impacted many.

With amusement parks shut down due to Covid-19 I’ve been thinking who needs Disneyland anyway when there’s a wave of roller coaster emotions right in my own home!?

After I hit publish on last week’s post I was bound and determined to keep my positive upbeat vibe going that I was feeling, but Satan came in quick like a wrecking ball…man I get tired of him. I’ve intended to enjoy this downtime, making the most of it by spending time creating memories of healthy bonding with my family.

A far cry from reality…

Since that last post I’ve dealt with lots of unexpected..a mess of canceling travel plans through Expedia, transitioning my grandma from her home into a nursing home, and trying to figure out and set up my kids new elearning school schedule…holy moly that last challenge has brought full assurance that I am absolutely not tech savvy at all! Surprised I can even maintain this blog!

Overall I have the choice to keep a positive attitude regardless, but sometimes I get overwhelmed with change and forget to take my stress to the Lord immediately. On the other hand I neglect to remain aware that Satan is always on the prowl, even when (actually especially when) I’m at my highest points.

The other day I was thinking how in the world did my household dramatically go from happy, silly, and dancing like no one was watching last week (see last post with video) to whining, bickering, and a lack of mercy and grace with one another in a matter of one day…??

With perfect timing the words “he prowls around…looking for someone to devour” quickly swept in over my thoughts so I pulled out my trusty and faithful “Thought-navigator” and turned to 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” This was exactly what I needed reminded of — to consciously stay alert of Satan’s scheme-filled tactics 24-7.

I couldn’t just cut that idea off right there, I had to read the entire context of the passage.

The words surrounding 1 Peter 5:8 are so encouraging and applicable to what we’re all dealing with that I’m super excited to share them with you: Continue reading “Be Alert and of Sober Mind”