Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Prayer for Eti

I have a dear friend who is fighting a serious illness. She has been sick for a long time and now she may have cancer. Her son-in-law says that she is ready to go home to the Lord and will not take any treatment if it is cancer. She has been through so much, and is such a beautiful, loving soul, that I am praying that God will be faithful to her as she has been faithful to Him all these years and take her home quickly, with a minimum of suffering. She has suffered so much already and with such a beautiful spirit. Surely her life has been a sweet fragrance unto the Lord.

But if it is not her time to go yet, I am praying that she would recover quickly and that it would not be cancer. And also, of course, that He would hold her and her family in the palm of His hand.

"The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down." Psalm 145:14

Dear Father in Heaven,

I thank you for the gift that Eti has been to me all of my life. I thank you for her patience, her optimism, her intelligence, and her understanding spirit. I know that She loves you and is eager to be with You forever, and that our parting, as sad is it might be, will only be for a little while.

I pray, Father, that you would spare her any more suffering. If it is her time to come home, please take her home quickly. If it is not her time, I pray that you would strengthen the cells of her body and of her bones to resist whatever infection or disease is there. You are the Great Healer; you have only to say the word and she will be healed. All of us who are praying for her are like the friends of the paralytic, carrying her tenderly between us with our prayers and bringing her before You with utmost faith. Please be faithful to her and honor your promises in Scripture to lift all those who are bowed down and to be gracious and compassionate to all that You have made. Please enfold her and Andy and Jess and Andrea and the rest of the family in Your loving arms. May they feel the peace that passes understanding the midst of this time.

I thank you, God, and praise You for what You have already done and for what You are going to do.

In Jesus Name,

She is a big fan of the Elfin Chronicles that I started last summer. I learned that she was very upset with me when I stopped writing them. So I will have to finish them for her!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cottage Wanted

I have decided that I need a cottage! After all, that is what the blog is called, but I don't have any nice photos of cottages to put on my blog header. So, can you help me? Post a comment to a link with a cottage photo. Let's see how many we can collect! I will pick my favorite to be on my blog header.

Thanks in Advance! I know we'll get some fantastic photos.

Friday, June 20, 2008

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I was in a gloomy mood this morning, and not even looking forward to our upcoming family trip. So I had devotions and then went outside to water my flowers. For some reason, gardening instantly soothes me. I feel very close to Jesus when I work with plants, remembering all the parables he told about them. I'm quite proud of how the border is shaping up after six years of work, although I have some things I still want to change. I thought you might like to see it, so here is a photo essay of my garden.

Here is a photo of the whole front border, as of this morning. You can see all the junk on the porch... the cooler, potting stuff, etc. How embarassing!

A close-up of the sedum, Autumn Joy, which will have reddish-orange flowers in fall. I love the shape of sedum leaves.

Some more pansies, peeking out from under the trailing mass of Coreopsis "Moonbeam."

Oriental lilies and zinnies around the bird feeder post.

I am hoping that if the other bunnies see this one, they will think my yard is taken!

My Stella D'Oro daylilies have finally bloomed... I wonder if they will continue all summer as promised? I love the lemon-yellow color against the Bird's Nest spruce.

Coneflowers against the brick wall.

The purple liatris is preparing to flower. I can't believe how well this plant has done in my border. Along with the coreopsis, sage and chrysanthemums, it could easily take over the whole bed. These are the plants that seem to do best in my southeast-facing border that gets lots of morning sun.

The basis of my color scheme is blue, pink and pale yellow. This photo didn't come out as well as I had hoped; the colors are kind of washed out. It's too bad the hybrid sage is past its first bloom. This one is called "May Night." It's one of the first plants I put in and has done very well, but the flowers are a little too dark against the brick wall. I recently found another variety called "Blue Hills" that I like better.

Along the driveway, I put in some barberry, which turns bright red in the fall, and some begonias to fill in the empty spots while the bushes grow. However, I discovered that barberry has some wicked thorns in it! Since this is right where we get in and out of the car, I will probably move these plants and put something friendlier along the drive.

Here is a photo of the Blue Hills sage, along with the peony that came with the house. This photo was taken last month when both were in bloom. You can also see my jockey windmill. I used to hate those tacky garden decorations, but I fell in love with this one on a trip to Connecticut and hubby gave it to me for my birthday. The yellow daisies were a Mother's Day gift from him and DS this year, along with the zinnias by the bird feeder.

Sometimes you have to water the dog as well as the plants.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Random Stuff

It's about 4:30 on Thursday morning. My second to last day of the school year, perhaps of my teaching career. I went to bed early last night but woke up about an hour ago and decided that since I couldn't go back to sleep I might as well get up.

My heart has been so heavy lately. I feel like a cartoon character with a little black cloud following me everywhere I go. I spent some time reading my Bible and praying, and I do feel better. I wish I could be like Lucy Pevensie and have Aslan appear and breathe strength and courage into me when I need Him.

It's funny, but the one thing I wanted most was to be home and not have to work, but now that I'm almost there - at least for the summer - I feel like the walls of my house are closing in around me. Well, not the walls as much as the Stuff. There is just so much Stuff! Stuff to do, Stuff to clean, Stuff to organize. It's like my home is this great big closet that I've shut my mind to for the past year, and now I'm trying to open the door again carefully so that all the Stuff inside doesn't fall on my head.

I guess that's really a metaphor for life. It's why people become workaholics. If you can focus on Work rather than Stuff, you can ignore your Stuff for a really long time. Whether it's emotional Stuff, spiritual Stuff, financial Stuff, or even just real, physical Stuff. I know I'm very lucky to have this break, and that many people have to put off their Stuff indefinitely because they just have no choice. They have to work two or three jobs to survive. I thank God I'm not in that situation.

However, part of my Stuff is the fact that once again my husband's job is threatened. It didn't used to be this way; when we first got married he had steady employment. In fact he was working so much overtime that I barely saw him for months at a time. Now he's struggling to keep each job and it's not because of the economy. It's because of the way people act. What has happened to society? Has it always been this way since the beginning of time, or does it just seem worse the more I grow older and learn about the world?

Anyway, I know that my little black cloud is being caused by a few specific things. I just need to keep praying and trusting that each of those things will get worked out in God's time. After all, He has been faithful to bring me this far. I'm not going to lose faith in Him now just because of some Stuff. But I really think it helps sometimes when I'm feeling overwhelmed to just stop and identify the Stuff that's bothering me. Somehow, classifying and labeling it helps me stop feeling that way.

I can hear the birds waking up. I'm going to try to write a little. And today should be a really good day; I'm going with the Kindergarten class on their field trip to the Cape May Zoo. Our heat wave has broken and the weather is gorgeous!

Have a blessed Thursday, everyone.