Monday, November 21, 2016

Love Getting my Hands Dirty, God loves it, too!

When God created man, Adam had one job…to tend the Garden.




 And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.” Genesis 2:8

Now I’ve always enjoyed getting my hands dirty gardening. I love making the yard around my home pleasing to look at. I heard that in China, because gardening space is at such a premium, people pay to rent spall places to beautify. And do you know that getting your hands dirty gardening actually is good for you? Getting your hands in the earth actually releases endorphins that help with pain!
But a neighbor and a Bible Study caused me to see that gardening is a divine purpose.

Once upon a time, we lived in the family home that had been somewhat neglected after MawMaw—my mother-in-love—went to Heaven to live. Due to Texas Heat, I liked to get out there early. I’d weed and plant, trying to beautify the landscape. The next door neighbor startled me one morning as my focus was on the ground in my fingers. What he said stayed with me all these years. I counted it as from the Lord…a message to me. He said something like, “Good people, wherever they go, take what is ugly around them and work hard to make it beautiful.” That was his missive. He mentioned being glad we’d moved in then left me to my work.

Another garden was very special for me. It started as my mother’s garden and I’d worked in it with her…at her side. Shortly after she went to live in Heaven, Daddy remarried, and we moved into the house—I wasn’t ready for strangers to live there. I loved working in the same dirt her hands had lovingly tended.
     Neighbors used to come up to that yard all the time. Ron built a round bench around the big tree, and we had curvy rock paths that joined the garden on one side of the yard to the garden on the other side, creating a small garden on the way. We had a waterfall and gold fish pond.

Sometimes they came to sit in my front yard even when we weren’t home because it had a special air and was so beautiful, peaceful, and quiet. That desire is in us. Ron and I won “Yard of the Month” when we lived in Mama’s house in Irving.

God only gave Adam one thing to do and one thing not to do. Both can be found in Genesis 2:15 “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” Dress and keep—or tend—the Garden.

Have you ever thought that the world’s most quoted verse says? Church children learn it at an early age. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” 

Note that it does not say, ‘For God so loved man or mankind’, but the world. He loved the world so much. He wanted man to succeed…to tend His garden and make the world He so loved more and more beautiful.

Living in the woods now, husband wants "natural" (translation, no mowing except on tractor), so I've gone to the fields to find native flowers to dig up and transplant all around our house. I enlist all the help I can get! :) This is the garden I'm presently working on...just starting it :)


Husband Ron digging up native brown-eyed Susans to transplant at The Peaceable, our house in the woods!
Grandson Ben helping Grami dig prairie verbenias and planting them in an old farm implement (see above).


Grandson Christian digging for us to plant daffodil bulbs we got off the big ranch.

I love making God's heart happy by working to leave the world a more beautiful place. It makes my soul joyful and lessens my aches and pains!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Buried Treasure

by guest, Kelly Klepfer

I adore literary works of fiction. If someone can write a poignant paragraph that brings tears to my eyes and a longing to my soul and paint it so that I can smell the richness of oils and turpentine and see seven shades of blue in the ocean, I'm a fan for life. 

But, when it's all said and done, the words that mean most to me are simple.

First and foremost are the words that have kept me anchored in Christ even when the going gets really, really rough. When Jesus had put it out there that following Him cost something, He asked His disciples if they were going to leave Him, too. Peter answered for me when he said "Where can I go, You have the words of life." When I'm beaten but not destroyed these are the words I cling to. Because I believe with every fiber in my being that Jesus is the Word of Life no matter what circumstances buffet my little faith boat. 

Another series of words are in Hebrews where I found out that Jesus is the author and perfecter of my faith. My mistakes, my shortcomings, my fears have all been accounted for and are part of the story He's writing. Even the sorrows over being less of a godly mother when my children were so impressionable and young are lessened in light of His authorship. 

Finally, when I struggle with disappointment when people behave like broken humans in need of being filled and refilled with the Holy Spirit, God showed me that He is pure light and without shifting shadow in the book of James. No game-playing, no passive aggressive silence, no screwed up church lady sneer. God is who He claims to be and nothing is masked by shadow or smoke and mirrors. These words make me feel alive, they
quicken my heart and they make me want to worship this amazing God. 

Secondly, the words that are so simple and so important are from the pens or the lips of my near and dear ones. My son, who loves to write and read, crafts the absolutely most amazing statements in birthday and Mother's Day and thank you cards. A note from my son is a gift that just can't be assigned a value. My daughters come to me with fears and sorrows and questions and insecurities about being moms and women. What a gift to have my daughters trust me with their vulnerable hearts. And my husband. He tells me that he likes me and that is beyond a gift. Never, while living through sleepless nights and shedding gallons of tears did I expect to still be married to this man and know that he loves me now more than he ever has. 

If you are a writer don't ignore the power of the simple words that say so much. And if you are a reader, look for the sometimes even buried treasure in the words.

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Out of the Frying Pan

When the chef of Sunset Paradise Retirement Village ends up dead, life for sisters Fern and Zula Hopkins is whipped into a froth. Their zany attempts to track down the killer land them in hot water with Detective Jared Flynn. Should he be concerned about their safety or the criminal's? 

But there are deadly ingredients none of them expect. Drugs. Extortion. International cartels. And worst of all...broken hearts--especially when the Hopkins sisters' niece KC arrives on the scene. 
Before the snooping pair gain any headway with the case, it becomes crystal clear that the sisters share a mysterious secret that takes life from the frying pan and into the line of fire.



***

Kelly Klepfer had ambitions to graduate from the school of life quite a while ago, but alas...she still attends and is tested regularly. Her co-authored cozy/quirky mystery, Out of the Frying Pan, is the culmination of several of the failed/passed tests. Kelly, though she lives with her husband, two Beagles, and two hedgehogs in Iowa, can be found at Novel Rocket, Novel Reviews, Scrambled Dregs, Modern Day Mishaps, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter with flashes of brilliance (usually quotes), radomocities, and learned life lessons. Zulu and Fern Hopkins and their shenanigans can be found at Zu-fer, where you always get more than you bargained for.