Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Roots! Anchor! Rock!

Hello Everyone!

Roots! Anchor! Rock! These words have been popping up everywhere since my post last week entitled, "A Journey Through the Desert." I mentioned that I was "walking" through a desert of sorts, and was thirsting for a spiritual refreshing because I was finding it difficult to focus and even though I know that God is right here beside me, I am finding it difficult to "feel" Him. Many of you have told me that I am not alone in that "desert" because you, too, are walking in it.

I told one of my bloggin' buddies that I needed to find a good Bible study book, ladies retreat, or some project to focus on that would be a source of spiritual refreshment. Friday afternoon, I stopped at a local Christian bookstore to find a good book. This particular bookstore is really small and doesn't have a large selection to choose from. I looked over the books on the shelves but none really "jumped" out at me. I settled on one entitled, A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George. I am not familiar with her, but the description of the book on the back seemed very interesting. The description contained these words: "Genuine peace and joy comes when women follow God in every area of their lives - and become women after His heart." This statement peaked my interest, so I bought the book.

The book lay on my nightstand Friday night, Saturday and Sunday without being opened. For some reason, I just could not bring myself to open it. Sunday after church, Mr. Plant Lady, my dad, and I went to a seafood restaurant along with my sister and her family to celebrate our birthdays (She and I both have birthdays in July). My niece and her son brought pictures from a recent trip they took to see relatives in Pennsylvania. The usual kinds of photos - my nephew in the pool, the Crayola Crayon Museum (I didn't know there was such a place), and the usual scenery one takes pictures of on a trip. Then came the unusual - the photo of a tree growing on a ROCK! They say a picture is worth a thousand words so here is 3000!

Have you every seen such? How does it do that? It looks like it's been there quite some time. A fellow I know who works with the US Forest Service could look at this picture and tell the approximate age of the tree. It has survived many storms! Its roots are anchored pretty well, don't you think?

We had a great lunch and after the "Happy Birthday" songs had been sung, we came home hoping to take a "Sunday afternoon" nap. I just love those, don't you? As I lay down, I glanced at the book on the nightstand. "Maybe tonight after church, I can start on the book," I thought.

The Sunday evening service was a praise and thanksgiving service. God has done great things in our church! He had been faithful in providing the funds for us to pay off a $75,000 note on our Family Life Center in a matter of 10 months -rather than the 10 years the note called for!
To God Be The Glory! It was done by the "widow's mite" because we had very few who were able to give large sums of money. I can remember the whole church uniting in prayer around the altar when we decided to borrow the money to finish the inside. We had "paid as we go" for the main construction but were unable to occupy the building unless it was finished and we were needing the space for many of the church activities that we had started. The Lord Provides!

Returning home from the wonderful service, I was tired and I crawled into bed and picked up the book on the nightstand. I began reading. When I reached Chapter 2 entitled "A Heart Abiding in God's Word," I read these words: "We must nurture a root system!" Later in the chapter, these words: "Roots are unseen - your spiritual roots are underground, invisible to others." A few paragraphs later, "Roots are for taking in," then "Roots are for storage," and finally "Roots are for support." WOW! I understand!

The purchase of the book - only because it was there at the bookstore, not because I thought it would be that good (I guess I'm saying I just bought it to be buying it, if you understand my meaning), the photographs that spoke for themselves and then the content of the book that I (or God) had postponed me reading until I saw those pictures and then received the message about the roots "anchored" in the ROCK. He was preparing me for a message! I can now "hear" Him again! He is leading me out of the desert and I can feel His presence again! Tears of Joy are falling right now.

He wants me to spread my ROOTS and ANCHOR in the ROCK! The SOLID ROCK! My roots are for taking in, storing, and support. My prayer is that I withstand the storms as well as this tree that is anchored in the rock, and that I find nourishment in HIM.

Be Encouraged!

Plant Lady

"He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." - Jeremiah 17:8 (NIV)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The View From My Kitchen Window - Pt. 4

Hello Everyone!

Today's "View From My Kitchen Window" is literally the view from my kitchen window - the hummingbird feeders attached to my window and hanging on a shepherd's hook just off the deck. They have had frequent visitors this summer - marvelous little creatures with antics that are sure to bring a smile to your face and a "thank you" to God for His little blessings!

They are always as "fast as lightning", darting to and fro, protecting their "Special Flowers" - the large, red ones attached to the feeders that are so much sweeter than the others in different parts of the yard. And the battles that rage - battles that leave scars! I feel a lesson taking shape "from the garden" - my hummingbird feeder garden!

They come in at full speed, maneuvering in ways that the United States Air Force wish they could mimic. Hovering briefly, then darting up, up, up, then suddenly backward, then into a nose-dive that is sure to make you dizzy following them with your eyes! They are in a battle for the sweet nectar that is contained in one of those red, plastic flowers. Oh, how sweet it is! But it comes at a price. Battle scars!

Yesterday, I was watching them while doing my daily chore of dish washing. My hands were washing dishes, but my mind was on the battle raging outside my window. Some of the hummers that finally made it through the gauntlet, (a Clint Eastwood movie, I believe) found rest and a drink on the little perch attached to the feeder. They looked awful! Feathers ruffled - some looked as if they were missing. They seemed weak from the hours of fighting which made them look malnourished. They looked like poor, pitiful creatures not like the beautiful, sleek ones that first appeared earlier in the year. Many days of battle have taken its toll.

We are the same, spiritually speaking. We are in a fight every day with an enemy that SEEMS as attractive as the beautiful sleek hummers that appear in the spring. Only through the constant battles do we finally recognize that our adversary is ugly and will do whatever it takes to keep us from the "sweet nectar" that is the Lord! With persistence, we will triumph victoriously! But not without the scars. The scars are there, I think, to remind us of the "ugliness" that is the enemy and the "beauty" that is the victory won!

Next time you see those marvelous creatures - the hummers, darting to and fro, be reminded of the ugliness, but more importantly, the "beauty" of Victory!

Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Friday, July 25, 2008

Tag I'm It - Six Random Things About Myself

Hello Everyone!

Well, I've been tagged! AliceE tagged me for a new game going on out here in "Bloggy Land." I get to reveal 6 random things about myself! I guess you can't wait to find out more about the "illusive" Plant Lady!

Here are the tag rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Six Random Things About Myself
1. I took piano lessons for three years as a child.
2. I like earthtone colors.
3. I love to listen to old hymns - my favorite is "Be Thou My Vision."
4. I enjoy the outdoors, especially in the crisp, cool days of Fall.
5. My worship-style is "Quiet Reverence"- always evident by tears of Joy.
6. I have a soft spot for the elderly.

My Six Tag-ees
1. Dorothy Bowen Klass - a wonderful friend and fabulous singer who's voice is beautiful. She sang "All I Ask of You," from Phantom at our wedding.
2. Lynn - a wonderful friend who seems to be "just like me." Scary thought, huh?
We even share a "real" name. My middle name is Lynn! Now, that's scary! Ha! Ha!
3. Katrina - a great lady with an adventurer's spirit and love for the outdoors.
4. Debrah - a new friend who has a passion for missions and her Lord.
5. Mary - a wonderful lady (Shirley) who has chosen to honor her grandmother by using her name, (Mary) as her blogger name. She is a great encourager!
6. Christi - a great friend who has two wonderful children and a cat named Chester!
This has been so much fun!
Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Journey Through the Desert

Hello Everyone!

As I sit here at the computer, I am unsure as to what road to go down in this post. My thoughts lately, have been scattered and it is hard for me to FOCUS. I don't know if it is all the hot, humid weather that we've been having or what. I have been going through a "desert." Nothing desperate, but a desert nonetheless.

I am "thirsty" for some spiritual refreshment - maybe a ladies conference or weekend away to get some "living water" for my soul! I really miss not having attended a conference that I usually do in the spring. It is only a two-day conference, but several workshops and classes are packed into these two days. I gain so much insight and knowledge from attending and it is wonderful to fellowship with other ladies who, no doubt, are having the same trouble as I am.

A few ladies at church are meeting once a month for a time of fellowship which is nice, but I feel I need some depth - if you know what I mean. I don't want it to be just a time of socializing, which most people will flock to. The in-depth studies and fellowship usually attracts fewer participants, but the rewards are much greater. Doesn't everyone need a time of refreshment?

By now you must be hearing my "Woe is me" plea and I really don't want to sound like I am having a "pity party." I have tried to lift my spirits by listening to some great music, some wonderful radio programs, and just by picking up the dozens of books on the bookshelf. I can't seem to find a place to start. I haven't been able to "get into" the Mary and Martha study on Rachel's blog even though I read the book, "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" - a great book that I loved and found very beneficial. I'm sure I would have something to contribute to the discussion if I had been able to focus.

Do any of you ever find yourself having these feelings? I know God is right here beside me, but I can't seem to feel Him right now. Faith, I guess is better than feeling. I KNOW He will never leave nor forsake me. I long for the time when I can "feel" Him again! Tears are coming now, they have been absent for a while. Hopefully, this is the beginning of my journey out of the desert.

Please remember me in your prayers and stop by occasionally to say Hi!

Be Encouraged! (I am taking my own advice)
Plant Lady

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The View From My Kitchen Window - Pt. 3

Hello Everyone!

Today brings another "View From My Kitchen Window." This past Friday, I had the opportunity to visit a neighboring county and spend some time with a group of ladies with similar interests at a craft show fundraiser to benefit worthwhile programs within their county.

When I arrived they had some booths set up outside and had various kinds of plants for sale. Angel Trumpets, Crima lilies, all sorts of shrubs and other interesting things. I finally decided on a Walking Iris! I had seen them before, and had always admired them. The lady had a large, well established pot and the price was right, only $1.00!!!! She was overstocked and letting them go CHEAP. I could have left right then and felt the forty minute trip was worthwhile, but I continued inside through a hallway lined with booths.

I came upon a table with two little girls selling jams and jellies. They were doing a brisk business! Children are the greatest salesmen! You just can't say no! The next table was a lady with a stack of tickets for the lunch being served that day. A salad lunch! Not many calories! I bought a ticket.

I made my way through the well-displayed crafts and lively conversation. I came upon a lady that made beautiful jewelry. She had different types of stones, wooden beads, silver beads and other items that she crafts into wonderful bracelets, necklaces and earrings. I could not resist a unique necklace made from turquoise and silver beads all laced through a black leather cord. Beautiful!!!

Paperweights were the next item that caught my attention! Rocks and smooth stones were "wet felted" - covered with different colors of felt and placed in a wooden bowl. They made a very attractive arrangement, so I decided to get some to put in my "birthday" bowls on my coffee table. I told the lady that I would have a difficult time explaining to Mr. Plant Lady the need for buying "rocks!" We all laughed and she said that she felt sure I could come up with a good explanation!

The next table was one I skipped over. I had to - it was homemade, hand dipped chocolate candies of all sorts. Chocolate covered strawberries were the hardest to resist! Next came a table full of handmade purses. Then I saw the gourds!!! A lady with a table full of painted bowls, birdhouses, Christmas ornaments, etc. - all made from gourds! I took a birdhouse and a bowl home with me! I like to "study" different crafting techniques and I will incorporate some of them when I craft with gourds

Now for the "View." Lunch was being served, so I pulled out my ticket and waited in the short line. The ladies behind the counter were serving the plates. I recognized two of them from the craft show that we had held in our county last November. One of them, I was told, was sister to one of the ladies I knew from my county. As I approached the window, I said "hello" and mentioned that I knew her sister. I was greeted by a "cold icy stare" and silence! When she finally did speak, after what seemed like an eternity, she said, "Who are YOU?" I immediately recognized that I probably should have kept my mouth shut! I did manage to blurt out my name and the other lady I recognized interceded for me. She said she recognized me as the gourd lady from the craft show last November. Just as soon as I got my plate, I retreated to a table. The other lady came around taking photos of the booths and I motioned for her to come over to the table. I told her that I felt I had said something wrong, then she explained.

This lady and her sister have a feud going that has continued for many years. They both, it seems, are willing participants in the feud. All that know them, (I don't very well) know of it and know to stand clear or be "caught up" in it. I guess I placed myself unknowingly, in the middle! I told the lady that I meant no harm and did not know of this "feud" but whatever the cause, it was not worth years of animosity toward each other and others that just happen to mention the other's name. Both of these ladies are harboring unforgiveness in their hearts and it has grown to the point that it manifests itself in their behavior toward others! I think at least one of them would claim to be a Christian, (the one I know) yet this is an area that seems to be "uncovered" by the Blood, if you understand what I am trying to say! That is the "View From My Kitchen Window" and sometimes the view can be ugly.

Please help me pray for these ladies and that the separation between them that Satan has "nourished" be broken by the power of Love and Forgiveness! The Word tells us that we must forgive others if we are to be forgiven! A scary thought if these ladies don't forgive one another.

Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My Birthday Trip

Hello Everyone!

I'm back!!! Back from a wonderful weekend trip to the mountains of North Carolina. We set out for the mountains early Friday morning. Our plans were to leave about 6:30 a.m., but Mr. Plant Lady does not do well with "early mornings." With a lot of "prodding and poking," he finally got up and loaded my suitcase in the car. He always procrastinates with his packing until the "day of."

We finally were able to get underway around 7:30 a.m. That would give us plenty of time for our first stop in Charlotte at the Billy Graham Library. The library was wonderful! It took you on a journey from his childhood on his family's dairy farm to his first sermon and on through his career in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was very touching to see just how God uses an obedient heart and surrendered life to accomplish His will. They have a "cute" thing for kids. A "mechanical" cow named Bessie that talks to the children, explaining how God used Billy Graham and how He can use them! It is great! I enjoyed it as much as the kids there! If you ever get a chance to go there, please do so. You will be glad you did! We visited the grave of Ruth Bell Graham that is there on the property, but we did not have time to visit Billy Graham's childhood home that has been moved to the property. Well, we'll catch that next time!

We left the Billy Graham Library a little later than we had anticipated. We had reservations for dinner in Cherokee at 5:00 p.m. and the tickets for the outdoor drama, "Unto These Hills," the story of the Cherokee's "Trail of Tears." We were afraid that we would not make the reservations, but we did - with about 10 minutes to spare!

We had a wonderful dinner. I ordered a steak, baked potato, and grilled asparagus. It was wonderful! Mr. Plant Lady had the prime rib, baked potato and a salad. After dinner, we had some time before the performance, so we decided to check in at our hotel. We took up our luggage and freshened up some. We drove over to the amphitheatre which was nearby. We collected our tickets that were reserved with no trouble. (We were there once before, for another performance and had some problem with the reservation that was eventually straightened out.) The performance was wonderful! We have attended several of the outdoor dramas here in North Carolina. Some of our favorites are "The Lost Colony" in Manteo, that tells of the first settlers on the Outer Banks, (Andy Griffith started his acting career in this drama) and "The Liberty Cart." I am hoping to see "The Horn in the West," in Boone sometime soon. They are great "educational" entertainment for youngsters as well as adults.
Saturday morning we drove to Bryson City, a neighboring town. We visited a "tailgate" market where we met some wonderful people that had some great veggies and fruits and also some handcrafted items. One of these people had fresh cherries that were so beautiful and some handcrafted wooden items. He was an electrician by trade, but he said woodworking was his passion. He made turned bowls from different kinds of wood - apple, birch, maple, cherry, etc. The grains in the wood were so beautiful that I just had to have one of each of them as my "birthday" money from my dad allowed. I purchased three, one each made from birch, apple, and maple. He had others I would have liked to have, but I have to wait until I "save up" for the next trip. We talked to him quite a while and became fast friends. We inquired about cabin rentals in the area for our next trip - in the fall for the foliage colors. He said he couldn't think of anyone, but he asked the man in the next space and he suggested a place nearby. He then directed us to a his new business - a shop just around the corner. His wife was at the store - can you believe it, she was a fellow "gourd crafter." She had a little gourd museum located in her store that was purchased from a lady who was 91 years old! As we were talking to her, she inquired as to where we were from. It turns out, they had just recently moved to Bryson City from a small area about 15 minutes from where we live!!! It's such a small world!!!

We went to the realtor to check on the cabin rental for the fall. We talked with a nice lady and she showed us our options on the website. They have some new cabin rentals and they seem to be just what we were looking for. When we go in the fall, we plan to take Mr. Plant Lady's mom, brother and sister-in-law and their son.
After seeing the realtor, we drove over to Maggie Valley to a Handcrafted Arts & Crafts Festival that was going on. There were about 40 or so tents set up with all different types of locally produced handcrafts - pottery, woodworkers, a person who micropropagates Venus Flytraps, pitcher plants, and other woodland plants, quilters, etc. I found a small platter from a local potter that I could not do without!

After the Festival, we went back to the hotel to rest before our drive over to Asheville for dinner at the Horizon's Restaurant at the Grove Park Inn. We've stayed at the Grove Park twice before when Mr. Plant Lady had attended conferences there, but were never able to afford eating at Horizon's (super expensive!!) Through a promotion that a magazine in the area was doing, I registered both myself and Mr. Plant Lady in the drawing for a "Dinner for Two" at the Horizon's Restaurant. To my amazement and wild surprise, Mr. Plant Lady won!!!! We have been saving the certificate for a special day - my BIRTHDAY!!!! It was a four course meal and was ultra fancy and very delicious. I felt like "queen" for a day!

There were so many new things that I have never had before, including a little piece of tuna with seaweed salad and ginger paste!!!! (Some things I don't care to have again! Ha! Ha!) The list is to long for this post, but I will tell you about it later.

Here are some pictures of the trip. They include the wood-turned bowls, the platter and also pictures of flowers and a waterfall that we saw. By the way, Mr. Plant Lady came through with the digital camera! Isn't he great?!!
Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Little About Me

Hello Everyone!

After just visiting "The Gallagher Gang" blog, I decided to play along with a game that Christi is doing called "A Little About Me." If you want to join in, the more the merrier, I say! So here goes!

A Little About Me
1.What is in the back of your car? Several boxes of gourd birdhouses for the Farmer's Market
2.What color is your toothbrush? Lime Green
3.Name one person who made you smile today. Mr. Plant Lady
4.What were you doing at 8:00 AM? Sleeping (and possibly snoring!)
5.What were you doing 45 minutes ago? Cleaning out the medicine drawer
6. What is your favorite candy? Snickers and Almond Joy (I can't decide!)
7. What is the last thing your said aloud? Bye (as Mr. Plant Lady walked out the door)
8. What is the best ice cream flavor? Peach, of course!
9. What is the last thing you had to drink? Sweet Tea (is there any other kind?)
10. What are you wearing right now? An old, paint-stained t-shirt and shorts
11. What is the last thing you ate? Boiled Shrimp, cole slaw, french fries and hushpuppies
12. Have you bought any new clothes this week? No
13. When was the last time you ran? I can't remember!
14. What was the last sporting event you watched? I'm not exactly sure!
15. Ever go camping? No, but I'd love to!
16. Do you have a tan? Yes, a farmer's tan that I'm working on to even up!
17. Do you take vitamins daily? No, but I need to
18. Do you go to church? Yes – a Wesleyan Church in the East District of NC
19. Do you like Chinese food more than pizza? Yes, and also Mexican!
20. Do you drink your soda with a straw? Only at a restaurant
21. Are you someones best friend? Yes, Mr. Plant Lady's!
22. What are you doing tomorrow? Catching up on some painted birdhouse orders
23. Where is your dad? Down on the farm, working
24. Can you say the alphabet backwards? With a little thought!
25. Do you have a maid service clean your home? I AM the maid!
26. Do you have a favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time? Flip-flops of any color
27. What color is your car? Light Blue
28. How do you like your popcorn? Butter and salt and occasionally cinnamon sugar!
29. How did you get your worst scar? A fall on the steps as a child (4 stitches on my forehead! )
30. Look to your left. What do you see? The living room
31. What color is your watch? Silver
32. What do you think of when you think of Australia? Koala bears and kangaroos
33. Do you use chap stick? Yes
34. Do you have a dog? I have "shared custody" of my daddy's dog, Sweetheart
35. Last person you talked to on the phone? Daddy
36. Have you met anyone famous? Yes, Senator John McCain, Senator Elizabeth Dole, President Bill Clinton, Zig Ziglar, Erskin Bowles, former Clinton Administration Chief of Staff, now President of the University of North Carolina System, former Senator and Presidential candidate from NC John Edwards (mostly political figures-Mr.Plant Lady's interest)
37. Any plans today? Paint some more birdhouses in preparation for a "Christmas In August" show
38. How many states have you lived in? One, North Carolina!
39. Do you dye your hair? Most definitely! I'd be gray without it!
40. Do you like cats? Yes, as a child I had several - Chatta, Garden Pea, Crouton, Johnson, and the favorite calico named Evinrude (named after the "purring" of an outboard motor!)
Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The View From My Kitchen Window Pt. 2

Hello Everyone!

Chicago! Today's view from my kitchen window!

Having traveled there once, I was amazed at how small it seemed. Small? Chicago - one of the largest cities in the Midwest! Yes, too me it seemed small compared to my expectations. I was even disappointed a little bit.

Tagging along with Mr. Plant Lady, who was attending a conference, I had nothing but shopping, sightseeing, and dining on my schedule. Two other ladies who were tagging along with their husbands, had the same schedule as mine. We did some shopping along the "Magnificent Mile" - well, mainly window shopping - as my budget allowed. I went on a tour bus with a group of strangers to the Chicago Botanic Garden that included a nice boxed lunch in the garden. It was wonderful! A totally unexpected surprise in the suburbs of Chicago! A complete "prairie" all within the confines of the Botanic Garden. I had not even considered there would be "rural" areas anywhere near the great metropolis. I felt right at home!

Staying at the Chicago Hilton, we were right across from Grant Park. The week that we were there, they had the Lollapalooza (I guess I spelled it right). I am not very familiar with it, but I have heard about it. I think it is some kind of concert. If anyone knows exactly what it is please let me know! (I don't get out much!) I do know that the masses of people that I expected to be in Chicago showed up there! We heard music all hours of the night! Not at all like the restful nights in North Carolina.

The two other ladies wanted me to go with them on a tour of great architectural sites around the city. I like architectural design, but this did not appeal to me. I thought about going to the Egyptian exhibit that was at the Field Museum. (I like anything historical!) Tickets were sold out for all the times I had free. How could I occupy myself? I can't believe I ventured out by myself in a big city (it was becoming much larger) with only a cell phone for protection! I made it back to the hotel without any trouble. (I wouldn't try it at night) Again, the Lollapalooza - how long does this go on? Tomorrow was Sunday. My one request was that we attend service at the historic Moody Church. I listen to the Moody broadcasts on the radio.

Mr. Plant Lady and I got dressed and caught a taxi. "Moody Church." The taxi driver took off! Literally. I do believe we went airborne! Those taxi cab rides you see in the movies are accurately depicted! There was a lot of prayin' going on, let me tell you! Finally our destination- all in one piece! Before us stood a very simple church, not the elaborate "cathedral-type" church I had expected. We went in to the reception desk. A nice lady welcomed us and directed us to the available Sunday School classes we might attend. We decided on one and were directed to a small room that was undergoing construction. We were greeted and offered donuts and juice or coffee. The lesson was very thought provoking and we felt the Love of God in the room.

We left the small room for the sanctuary. The service included some wonderful singing and a focus that day on Missions. A group of three couples stood before the congregation receiving their "commission" - to "go into all the world." If I remember correctly, two of the people were young doctors who felt the "call" to the mission field. It was a wonderful service and we were uplifted and encouraged.

After the service, short tours and a little history of the Moody Church was given. It was very informative and enjoyable.

While returning to that hotel after the service, we passed it! The place I have wanted to visit. One of the reasons for coming to Chicago, hoping that I would be able to visit! The Pacific Garden Mission! The place where the broadcast of the radio program, "Unshackled" is taped.
If you have never heard the real-life stories of those whose lives were broken and torn who come to know Jesus as their Saviour, you are missing out on a blessing.

The Pacific Garden Mission was only about two blocks from the hotel, but a world apart!
The "rough side" of Chicago was only two blocks away from the Magnificent Mile, a upper-income area comprised of exclusive shops and boutiques including Tiffany's and Nieman-Marcus. Just a few blocks was the stomping ground of the likes of Alphonse "Al" Capone and his gangster buddies. Two different worlds within a few blocks!

I had to go there! We called and asked if we could stop by. We were greeted by a man, kind of scruffy-looking, but very clean, dressed in a shirt and tie. He said he would give us a tour of the facility. It was a small building, with a few desks and tables, a computer and some photos of the facility. We were led back to another small room with lines of chairs set up as a worship area. There was a podium and if I remember correctly, a piano. Along the walls were pictures of those who founded the mission and their successors. A lady's photo was prominently displayed and I asked about her. She received the call to leave the "East" and come to the Midwest to start a mission. There is much more of the history of the Mission I would love to tell you, but my post is becoming too long.

I visited the Sears Tower, the Chicago Botanic Garden, shopped on the Magnificent Mile, visited the Navy Pier and saw the very best Chicago had to offer. No, not these I just mentioned!
The very best Chicago has to offer in my "view from my kitchen window" is the Moody Church and its focus on our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ, sending out missionaries to the "ends of the earth" and the Pacific Garden Mission - providing, food, shelter, medical attention and compassion to those who are the "least of these!"

That is the view from my kitchen window!

Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The View From My Kitchen Window - Pt. 1

Hello Everyone!

This will begin a short series of posts that I'm going to call, "The View From My Kitchen Window." Not all of the photos and stories came "from the view through my kitchen window," but I am using that term to describe the "world" around me, as seen through my eyes.

For some time, I have been thinking about this series of posts, but was unsure as to whether or not I should do them. Each time I thought of another type of post, I kept coming back to this. So here goes!

The world around me is so great and vast! There are sights and sounds that make me dizzy. So much clamoring for attention - always somewhere to go, some chore to do, bills to pay, "needy people" who really aren't needy at all, etc. How can anyone be expected to accomplish all that is demanded? By now, I guess you think I am talking about myself! Yes, myself and millions of other people as well!

My life, if put under a microscope, has no problems at all! I am healthy, many are not. I have a roof over my head, many do not. I am able to walk around, many have no legs or are confined to a wheelchair or bed. I have a loving husband, many are abused by the person who vowed to "love and cherish." I have a little savings, many do not have two coins to rub together. I complain about being a little "chubby," while many are starving. I wonder what outfit in my closet best fits my mood today, many have only those on their back.

Sights around me abound - crime, hatred, perversion, evil of all sorts! All clamoring for my attention. . . . . . .YET. . . . . . other sights also abound - compassion, love, morality, good of all sorts! There is a choice! It is all in your perspective! You can CHOOSE to focus on "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)

God has placed delightful sights and sounds around us if we can get our minds focused on them! Look out your kitchen window while you are doing the never-ending chore of dish washing. Ask God to help you focus on the delights of His creation, right outside your window. He will reveal His world! A world that the enemy does not want you to see.

This is the world that He reveals to me when I FOCUS on it!

Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Monday, July 7, 2008

Event-filled Weekend

Hello Everyone!

I hope today's post finds everyone relaxed and rested from a busy 4th of July weekend! If your weekend was like mine, it was full of exciting events and special times with friends and family.
Who did not eat hot dogs or hamburgers at least one meal this weekend? I had plenty of those!
I also had a nice seafood dinner-shrimp, flounder, and oysters on Friday night before we went to the fireworks at the beach.

The fireworks at the beach were great this year! Mr. Plant Lady and I did not get to take our walk on the strand- it was high tide and there were so many people crammed into the space that was accessible. We eventually found a spot for our chairs in the sea grass on the dunes. I picked the highest spot possible so we could get a clear view. My choice of spots worked out well-an unobstructed view of the pier.

Mr. Plant Lady mentioned something about walking over "coral snakes," which are not this far north, I'm told! This comment was overheard by a lady who stopped dead in her tracks! I had to convince her that he was just joking, but she must not have believed me because she did not continue on the trek through the sea grass!

Fireworks began and were enjoyed by the whole crowd packed on the strand and in the sea grass!

Sunday brought another celebration of our church's Centennial Anniversary. The choir did a spectacular performance of a patriotic musical and in the finale, a giant American flag magically unfurled down from the choir loft. After the musical the pastor said a few words concerning "True Freedom", that which Christ gives. Our State Representative came and presented our church with a "Certificate of Recognition" for our Centennial Anniversary that was signed by the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives.

The Sunday evening service was a time of fellowship with our church family and our annual Fourth of July Ice Cream Social. I made a churn of blueberry ice cream. Others made churns of peach, pineapple, vanilla, and strawberry along with assorted cakes, cookies, chips, etc.
Not being a craver of sweets, I munched on the pimento cheese and crackers, and I did eat some of the homemade peach ice cream, my favorite. I know you would have liked to share in the "goodies" we had, so I have included the recipe for the blueberry ice cream. It is very easy to make. Enjoy!

Summertime Peach Ice Cream
Southern Living Magazine (July 2002)
4 c. peeled, diced fresh peaches
1 c. sugar
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 small pkg. vanilla instant pudding mix
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
4 cups half-and-half
Combine peaches and sugar, let stand 1 hour
Process peach mixture in a food processor or blender until smooth
Stir together evaporated milk and pudding mix in a large bowl, stir in peach puree, condensed milk, and half-and-half.
Pour mixture into freezer container of a 4-qt freezer; freeze according to instructions. Spoon into an airtight container and freeze until firmer.
* Other fruits such as blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, etc. can be substituted for peaches.

Have a great day!

Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July

Hello Everyone!

Today is Independence Day! We thought we would celebrate the day by going down to the beach to take in a little shopping, dinner and then a moonlight walk on the strand. Nothing fancy, just relaxing. Last year we went out for dinner, played putt-putt and then went down to the strand for our moonlight walk. To our surprise, they had a fireworks show and we sat on the strand and watched. It was fantastic! I'm hoping they will have the fireworks again this year.

Tomorrow, we have been invited over for a cook-out and swimming in a friend's pool. It has been quite a while since I had on my swimsuit. When I tried it on - you guessed it - it would not fit! Today while we are at the beach, I have to try to find a new swimsuit. I assure you all that it will not be one with a "coconut bra"! Ha ! Ha !

Sunday is going to be an extra special day at church. I don't remember whether or not I have told you, but we are celebrating our church's 100th Anniversary. We will have a patriotic cantata as well as a presentation in which the church will receive special recognition from our state legislature. It is all so exciting! Afterwards, in the evening service, we will have have our annual 4th of July Ice Cream Social! Everyone brings some type of item for making sundaes, or a churn of homemade ice cream. I always take a churn of blueberry ice cream. It seems to be a favorite! I like the peach, strawberry, and pineapple. We usually have a churn of each, along with the vanilla. Hopefully, someone will bring bananas for banana splits! Lynn, I'm sorry, but I can't resist! I'll diet another day!

Last night our hometown had the annual fireworks display. They were great! We meet at a local high school football field where the town sponsors a "pre-fireworks" show - the usual salute to veterans, beauty queens singing, dancing and cheering , etc. Around 9:30 p.m. the FIREWORKS started! Mr. Plant Lady and I watched from the bleachers while recordings of Toby Keith and others' songs were played. We can't forget Lee Greenwood's "I'm Proud to be an American," which is a favorite!

We are so blessed to live in a country where we have the freedoms that we do. Freedom to assemble ourselves together, freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedoms that we often take for granted. This 4th of July, let's remember the sacrifice of those who fought and died for our freedom. Let's remember the sacrifice that our Saviour made for our greatest freedom - the ULTIMATE FREEDOM! Freedom from the consequences of sin!

Have a safe and Happy 4th of July!

Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

One Hour of Bliss

Hello Everyone!

Today, I splurged! I made an appointment for a little pampering in the form of a pedicure. Gardening can wreak havoc on your tootsies, especially when you wear flip-flops.

My last "professional" pedicure was just before Christmas - a gift from my hubby. He surprised me with an appointment at the Spa in Pinehurst. He was attending a conference in Pinehurst, NC, and I went along. In his packet, they included a brochure that extended a discount for spa services and he told me that was part of my Christmas present. Wow! Was I surprised!

Today's pedicure was less than half the price of one in Pinehurst,- (they go all out for you!) but it was very nice just the same. It lasted one hour - one hour of bliss! Warm water foot bath, foot exfoliation, massage, nail treatments, polish-the works!

Yes, I could get use to it! But alas, I have to return to earth. I'll have to save up my spare change for the next one -probably at Christmas! I know what's on the top of my Christmas Wish List!

Can you guess?

Take time to pamper yourself!

Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady