Lemons

When given LEMONS….

The average lemon contains eight seeds and three tablespoons of juice. The lifespan of a lemon tree is approximately 50 years, but they can live to be 100 with proper care. A single lemon tree produces an average of 600 pounds of fruit per year.

Lemons in an old family bowl

Lemons were the first fruits to arrive in the Mediterranean around the time of Jesus.

Lemonade, lemon in cooked figs, lemon in ice tea, lemon for my fish! Lemon to clean my fridge! Lemon to give flavor to my treats! Lemons like folks are everywhere. Sweet folks, sour folks, useful folks and often lemon mishaps.

Oooops

When we can’t make lemonade what must we do? Turn to the One that has the power to sweeten your attitude. Change your circumstances and increase your fruit! He stands at our Heart’s door waiting for us.

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

The Easter Story of Bunnies, colored eggs and candy are here among us and for our delight. Also, the “One” (not Amazon) that delivered our abundant joy is the “Light of the world”! His name is Jesus! His mode of transportation was a walk carrying a cross where it became his home for a day that lead to a grave.

After three days He delivered the ultimate abounding fullness of joy and strength for our spirit, soul and body by His Resurrected Life!

You are not alone…

Nature often speaks

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 NIV

The truth that God never leaves nor forsakes us is a powerful reminder that we are never truly alone. God’s presence is a constant source of comfort and strength, providing us with the courage we need to face each day. When we embrace God’s presence in our lives, we can let go of fear, worry, and anxiety, and live with joy, hope, and confidence

When we feel alone or fearful, we are less than our higher selves. Fear shortens our emotional fuses, causing us to react impulsively and lash out at others and often times even ourselves. Worry suppresses creativity and productivity, making it difficult to focus on the task at hand. Anxiety robs us of joy, peace and hope.

I think we most likely will all agree on the emotion of fear and anxiety and it’s results. I found some of these thoughts tucked among my devotions just this morning. Yet, how do we overcome? How do we trust God? Or, whom or what are we trusting? What is woven into the fabric of our life? Do we recognize the enemy of our joy, peace and hope?

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Our Bird Nest

Consider how the lilies grow: They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory was adorned like one of these. (Like 12:27) Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them. (Like 12:24)

The sounds, sights and smells have been whistling in the air, spring is about to arrive. Hope has a way of indoctrinating the mind often convincing us there is hope for a better thing, whatever may be our better thing at the time. Yet, fear and anxiety may team up to convince us hope has no say in this thing?

The last few days I have been on watch as a small host of birds were diligently building a nest right outside my window. I loved the company of their chatter as they worked away. This morning their chatter seemed more like a contact call. I went out to inquire why? I found their nest dislodged from their branch that seemed sturdy and safe. I’m thinking the gust of high winds we had in the night might have caused their nest to dislodge.

Our Bird Nest

I recalled, consider the Lillies-consider the ravens…my anxiety of hopelessness for these hard working birds subsided into a stillness of silence hoping to show the watchful birds I would be there for them if they decided to rebuild.

It had been my plan to have those branches cut and trimmed within hours. I had made sure to explain to the one trimming we would not harm their nest. Now, I will reevaluate and try and leave a more solid and protective branch for their review.

“And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?” (Luke 12:28) If you need encouragement today to have a little more faith I encourage you to join Charlotte Ritchie ( below link) as we sing together, Consider the Lilies and then you will know.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rso-Yjl69nQ

Plants Native to Eastern North Carolina

My earliest years of life being before age ten were lived in a woody swam farm area. My week-ends and summers were often spent on the sandy farm and fishing piers on the Albermarle sound with grandparents.

Often running barefoot to touch the lush meadows where livestock would graze and family would toil until the setting of the sun. Then the week-ends would come and often to visit the farm where I found sand grabbing my toes and fruit trees gifted me fruit while the sound gifted fish, shade and fun called swimming. Yet, it was floating on an old inter tube.

Living afar from area where being a child always seemed so exotic for many years has changed in people, land and culture. Yet, the thing I loved and adored the most remain dear and near in the heart.

Let everything that breathes sing praises to the LORD! Praise the LORD! (Psalms 150:6)

Photo by Chris Mar

The native plants still seem to reveal the life and faith and love of their native land. Let’s sit and chat and tell our stories of living on the land.

Eastern North Carolina has a diverse range of plant species that are native to the region. Here are some examples:

  1. Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum): This is a large, long-lived deciduous tree that is common in wetland areas, particularly in the swamps and bottomlands of the coastal plain.
  2. Carolina laurelcherry (Prunus caroliniana): This evergreen shrub or small tree is found in a range of habitats, including sandy soils, pinelands, and coastal hammocks.
  3. American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana): This deciduous shrub is known for its clusters of bright purple berries that appear in the fall. It is often found in woodland edges and along streams.
  4. Yellow pitcherplant (Sarracenia flava): This carnivorous plant has distinctive yellow pitcher-shaped leaves that trap and digest insects. It grows in wetland habitats like bogs and savannas.
  5. Red bay (Persea borbonia): This evergreen tree is common in coastal plain forests and is related to the avocado. It has glossy leaves and small, purplish-black fruit.
  6. Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris): This iconic southern pine is known for its long needles and large cones. It is an important component of the region’s longleaf pine forests.
  7. Wild azalea (Rhododendron canescens): This deciduous shrub produces showy pink or white flowers in the spring and is found in wooded areas and along streams.
  8. Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata): This perennial plant has pink or purple flowers that attract butterflies and is found in wetland habitats like swamps and marshes.
  9. Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana): This evergreen tree is a common component of the region’s woodlands and is known for its aromatic, red-hued wood.
  10. Swamp dogwood (Cornus foemina): This shrub or small tree is found in wetland habitats like swamps and floodplains and produces clusters of white flowers in the spring.

Angel of Grace

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

I, being a very visual learner find when I develop a prayer spot in my home that is quiet and peaceful scriptures begin to unfold in my mind and heart.

A friend recently gave me this “angel of grace”. I just fell in love with her visual as she prompted the scripture from Hebrews to ring into my being. There are so many needs for friends and families and I didn’t have words to find boldness to approach God’s throne. This visual helped me to see myself.

I began to understand it’s before The Throne of Grace I will find the answers. The thought came to me, “unforced rhythms of grace” comes out of the “abundance” of God’s provisions. It’s from the divine mercy and grace of God that He sends our answers.

Prayer has so many visuals, sounds, words, thoughts, languages, people, and the sounds of many music genres.

Would love to hear how you approach prayer. What it means to you? Your answered prayers! Your prayer request!

I would like to ask for prayers for families and guidance for homes, schools, churches, friends and activities that helps to bring health, joy and peace to our communities.

Sabotage

by Debi Chaves

The following is from pages 46-50 of “Winning the War in Your Mind”, subtitled “Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life” by Craig Groeschel in the chapter, “Old Lies, New Truth.” The section is called “Turning the Tables.” The context is that we have been held captive by the lies we believe and how to capture them, which the author says is not that easy because first we must realize them. He then tells us how to do this in a three-step process: 1. Identify the problem; 2. Ask probing questions; 3. Pinpoint the lie. He says that while we don’t know the lies we believe, we know that the “problems we experience are problems.” He tries to get us to see what is driving the problem and to “pray for God’s help to pinpoint the lie at the root of our behavior.” He goes on to say that the problem may be a “self-destructive habit or addiction”. He talks later in the section and says, “Let’s say your questions lead you to detect a theme in your life: you seem to sabotage yourself. You let people walk all over you, you don’t get the promotion” …etc., etc. “You investigate the pattern of self-sabotage, and perhaps you have an epiphany. I think I’m a victim. I believe I can never win…” And he gives other examples of this self-sabotage.

At the end of this section, he states: “Remember you are in a battle. The battle is for your mind. Your entire life. Satan has been trying to bait you so he can entice you with lies that will capture and imprison you. Now it’s time to go on the offensive. Time to get God’s help to capture the lie.”

Old Landmark

A hide away in a little slice of eastern NC! Often times a scene in the wild of trees, bushes and brambles have a way of speaking volumes in it’s silence and solitude. It brings out the “wild child” of nature within to remind us roots, family and friends has deep beauty but often times rough edges, harsh words, sickness and death marks and scars the soul. Tears flow! Laughter sings! Hearts mend! Peace, love and joy have a way to resurface in the nature and beauty from land that marks the old landmarks and stories shared from the lives of babies, parents, soldiers, slaves and diverse cultures alike. Aweee, such beauty to remind us, “God is always there!”