garden shop with flowers in front

Hidden

garden shop with flowers in front

Flourishing beauty.

A Five Minute Friday Post

*****

Today I’m writing about the word, “hidden”.

The first thing that comes to mind is a song by that title and the post I wrote about it earlier on my blog, as it had impacted me so greatly. It speaks of how if we have given our lives to Christ, we can trust that they are hidden in his care.

I believe that is the foundation upon which we can build what I wish to share today.

 

How many things do we keep hidden in our lives?

We all have secrets and innermost thoughts and feelings that we do not share. We often have things in our past that we’d rather not think about, whether they are the results of our own sins, the wrong actions of others, or just the hard circumstances of living this earthly life.

I’m not suggesting that we bare all and use no discretion, but I’d like to propose that we don’t leave things hidden in our hearts and lives.

If it’s meant to remain private, then let’s face our hard places, get appropriate help when needed, and move on. If it’s an area that is affecting a relationship in our lives that needs fixing, let’s be vulnerable and open up to that person, trusting that things will be better as we smooth out the hurts and misunderstandings and grow closer together.

Most often it seems to me, hidden things that haven’t been dealt with remain buried for a time, but they fester until they explode either physically,  emotionally, or mentally. They don’t just go away. They cause hurt and destruction in our own lives and the lives of others we care about.

But if we open our hearts, ask God to shine the light of his truth inside of our dark places, and ask for help, counsel or wisdom from someone we can trust (even a professional at times), we can bring healing and growth first to our own lives and hearts. Then the resulting beauty will flourish and spread to those around us.

So let’s not keep the hidden places in our hearts; open up and let the healing and flourishing begin.

*****

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uncooked pizzas

How to Get Help By Asking

 

uncooked pizzas

My two-pizza deal.

 

The Tale of Two Pizzas, a Used Car Battery, and What We Can Learn From All of This

 

Yesterday I had a really nice thing happen to me at the supermarket.

I felt so happy and inspired, that I had to share this simple story… for two reasons.

One, it was truly one of those nice little blessings for which I am very thankful, and two, it shows how we often receive by simply asking.

*****

As I was perusing the vegetable and deli section of our supermarket, I came upon the shelf where the store-made, ready-to-bake calzones and pizzas are located. I was looking forward to taking advantage of a special the store was running, in which if I bought one fresh calzone, I would receive a free fresh pizza. A perfect treat for this Friday’s dinner.

But alas, there were no more calzones to be had.

Not to give up immediately, I looked around for a store worker, and saw a young man stocking shelves nearby. I approached him and asked him if there were any more calzones available to purchase for the special. He in turn asked someone behind the meat counter, and they both looked over at another gentleman who was apparently shopping. The young store guy approached this other man (who was dressed in regular clothes), and they both came over to help me.

I found out the man who was shopping was an employee (must have been a supervisor or manager of some sort), who said he had, “just taken his badge off”, and was shopping. I told him my dilemma apologetically (since he was off of work already), but his pleasant response was in the spirit of true customer service.

First he told me that there were probably not going to be any more calzones today. I said, “OK” with a slight hesitation and a little disappointment, but I would have been OK with this outcome. It was his next question that caught me off guard in a good sort of way. He then said, “What can I do to make this right?”.

I wasn’t sure what to suggest, and so he then offered me a buy-one-pizza, get-one-free deal, and asked if that would make me happy. I told him it certainly would, so he had me give his name to the cashier and said to tell them that he had OK’d the substitution. I thanked him, and with a renewed bounce in my step (and two new pizzas in my cart), off I went to complete my grocery shopping.

You see, I could have just walked (or stomped), off in disappointment without any calzones or pizza in my cart. I would have gotten over it, but it would have left a slightly negative taste in my mouth. But by taking a little effort to politely ask for help, I was blessed with an even better deal (the pizza was less expensive than the calzone I was originally going to buy). I felt happy and cared for as a customer, and very satisfied, and can now happily recommend this particular market to others!

*****

My husband had a similar experience a little while ago at the auto parts store. He had purchased a car battery which stopped working, and in bringing it in to pick up a replacement, he was told that it was just days out of warranty.

He had one of our sons with him, whom he looked over at and basically said, “Now watch and learn.”

He spoke to someone who worked there (probably asked for a supervisor), told him of his problem, and politely asked what they could do for him since it was so close to the warranty date.

This store employee was able to offer him a substantial discount on a new battery, even though technically it was past warranty. My husband was also very pleased and now feels even better about supporting this business.

You see, by the letter of the law, in either case we should have just been “satisfied” going without, but with a little effort and going out of our comfort zones to ask, we were each blessed with something slightly undeserved.

My husband often speaks of how his father taught him to “haggle” or bargain with people at yard sales and such. He was probably embarrassed sometimes when he was young (OK, he said he literally slouched down in the car seat on some occasions), but in the end, he was taught the value of saving money and simply asking for something better than what was offered.

I’m not suggesting we should not ever be willing to pay a fair price for an item without any bargaining; it’s just that although some of us are not naturally comfortable with this practice, many people or businesses would rather profit monetarily a little less in order to gain your trust, confidence and loyalty. There are those in business who truly wish to meet your needs as a customer, and at the very least, it’s a practical business practice to please one’s customers.

It won’t always work out in our favor. We need to be courteous and polite, even if the answer is, “no”.

But it doesn’t hurt to ask.

*****

Now let’s think about some spiritual applications.

The Bible clearly tells us to ask and we will receive.

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”

– Matthew 7:7 NLT

It also tells us that sometimes we act selfishly and foolishly, but still don’t have something because we simply haven’t asked God.

“You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.”

-James 4:2 NLT

To provide balance, the scriptures also guide us in the principles of being content, living with thanksgiving, treating others with respect, and enduring hardship and persevering through the difficulties that will come in life.

I’m not going to get all theological here, but let’s just simplify things for a moment.

As a Christian, I truly believe that God not only knows and loves me, but he knows best what I need. Sometimes he will give me an obvious blessing or even a miracle, to teach me of his eternal care and his unlimited power.

Other times, like a loving but firm parent, he will answer my request with a “no” or perhaps a “wait”, because he cares less about my comfort, and more about my growth as a person. Sometimes my suffering will result in more good (for myself and/or others), and he sees the bigger picture.

So why not just ask God, just as a child would ask a parent, and patiently and thankfully await his response.

There are some stipulations, such as making sure what I’m asking for is not going against his commandments or his nature, and making sure my heart is right in order to make a wise request. But just as a child with a parent, sometimes I will receive a blessing I don’t deserve or wouldn’t have otherwise received had I not asked.

How we enjoy those moments!

At other times, I will be treated like the loved daughter that I am to God, and will have to wait or even give up my desire. In those situations, I will have the opportunity to learn trust and patience. Sometimes I will have to endure hardship or discipline to make me a stronger, more mature person.

Often the child does not know what is best for them, but a wise and caring parent can see a bigger picture.

God our Father really does know what is best.

In times of suffering and difficulty, or even just minor discomfort, I will gain “tools” which I can use to bless and help others in similar circumstances. I can deepen my understanding for others in difficult situations, and offer them heart-felt compassion and a listening ear or timely advice.

So whether it’s for practical reasons like saving our hard-earned cash, or to receive a non-material or spiritual blessing, I encourage you to go ahead and ask.

You just never know what good may come of it.

*****

 

 

 

 

view from Lookout trail in Algonquin Park

Where Does My Help Come From?

view from Lookout trail in Algonquin Park

Lookout Trail, Algonquin Park, Ontario

 

“I look up to the mountains—
    does my help come from there?
 My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth!

 He will not let you stumble;
    the one who watches over you will not slumber.”

Psalm 121:1-3, NLT

 

It’s another Five Minute Friday, and today’s prompt is “help”.

The first thing that comes to mind is an old chorus we used to sing in church using the words from this familiar passage of Scripture.

“My help comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.”

In every part of life, we need help. We need help in the good times and the bad.

In the good times, we need a vision, a purpose, a reason for living. I need to be saved from myself at times, by one who is bigger and wiser than me.

In bad times, I need help to have the strength, wisdom, perseverance, and sometimes comfort to get through the situation at hand. In those times, if I accept God’s help, I will come out stronger and more like him.

We also have a purpose to help one another, and to accept help from those who love and care for us.

 

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? …” 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NLT

We were not made to live this life alone; we were created to live in community with others and to live in communion with God.

That’s where my help comes from.

*****

I’m linking up today with other like-minded bloggers at Five Minute Friday. Join with me there to read a variety of free-writing posts on the theme of “help”.

 

 

 

 

 

foaming hand soap dispenser in use

How To Refill A Foaming Hand Soap Dispenser With Regular Liquid Hand Soap

foaming hand soap dispenser on sink beside paper drinking cups

 

Don’t you just love those foaming hand soap dispensers?

I do.

I like that I get just enough soap without having an extra ton to rinse off, but most of all, I really like that because they dispense less actual soap with each pump, my family and I can save money and still get our hands clean!

May I just say something here?

One thing that I really don’t like is paying for water. No; not my water bill, silly (although that can be a little frustrating as well). What I mean is I don’t like paying for watered down products, at the same price (or more?) than the regular liquid product. You’re actually paying for less product and more water.

Examples include “light” salad dressing (just put less on your salad if you’re trying to cut calories or add your own water!), cheap shampoo (I’m actually washing my hair in water, so please just give me shampoo!), and then according to my husband, there’s antifreeze too. Apparently you used to have to add water, but now they provide the “convenience” of the premixed product…..at close to the same price for the watered down product. I’m sure there’s something else I’ve forgotten, but you get my point.

There. End of rant.

So what was I saying? Oh, yes. I do not like paying for water, but I really like my foaming hand soap dispensers.

So what’s a girl to do?

By the way, before I tell you what to do, I wanted to mention that I got this wonderful idea from a foaming hand soap dispenser that I purchased years ago from one of my favorite direct marketing companies. The dispenser came with directions to refill it using regular soap, and lines to guide you on the side of the container.

One day I had the amazing realization that this concept could simply be applied to any foaming soap container!

I purposely went out and bought some foaming soaps, just so I’d have the dispensers. Then I refilled them using this simple method.

One more note: If you wish to purchase a fancy, nicer-looking foaming hand soap dispenser, I found a bunch on Amazon. This is a nice option.

But since we’re discussing saving money, you have the choice to reuse an empty store-bought foaming hand soap container. Either way, you’ll still save money on the refill.

Mrs. Meyer's hand soap refill

Use any liquid hand soap (refill packages are usually more economical).

Here’s the scoop on what to do:

1. First, remove the lid from your empty foaming hand soap dispenser.

empty Dial foaming hand soap dispenser

Any brand will do.

2. Pour in approximately one inch (or less) of regular liquid hand soap

pouring liquid hand soap into foaming dispenser

Add soap to empty dispenser.

 

liquid soap in dispenser

Fill to about one inch (or one quarter of the dispenser). A little less usually works just fine.

3. Next, add water to the dispenser, stopping about one inch from the top (since they need air to operate).

add water to foaming soap dispenser

Simply add tap water.

 

Stop adding water at line (if provided), or about one inch from top of hand soap dispenser.

Stop adding water at line (if provided), or about one inch from top of hand soap dispenser.

4. Screw the pump back on to your dispenser.

5. Gently shake or move the dispenser back and forth to mix the soap and water.

6. Press the spout and enjoy economical, foaming hand soap!

foaming hand soap dispenser in use

I have recently noticed that on one of the brands of soap I use there are instructions on how to refill their dispenser with regular soap refill (and I must say, I’m impressed!). However, their suggested amount of soap to use in the dispenser is one half! I tried my usual, smaller amount and it works just fine!

liquid hand soap in dispenser 2

Experiment with the amount if you wish.

Beware of moisturizing hand soaps, as many foaming-type dispensers will clog with this variety.

So…..you probably have a foaming soap dispenser somewhere in your house. You very likely have some regular soap (or better yet, an economical refill size).

I know that you can hardly wait to try this tip for yourself!

Kudos to those of you who figured this out on your own. If that is the case, you probably didn’t make it much past the title of this post, but if you did read this far, thank you for sticking with me! If you have any further points to add, please feel free to share!

*****

Do you prefer foaming hand soap to full strength? Have you ever refilled your dispensers using this method? Am I the only one who dislikes paying extra for water?

misc. items at home

Created to Create

misc. items at home

 

Create……

The word conjures up images of fine art and music and accomplishments for which most of us feel rather unqualified.

But what if we used whatever gifts we were given to create whatever it is that we were designed to do?

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Ephesians 2:10

 I believe that we were all created by a loving, creative God, and given gifts and talents to do many creative things.

“I’m not creative” , you may be saying to yourself.

But I think that we all have very different areas of creativity.

Some are gifted to do obviously creative works in art, music or drama.

But what about creating a beautiful home, or a “lived-in”, but loving home? How about creating a family atmosphere where our children can grow to become who God intended them to be?

What about creating a thriving business, a cure for cancer, an inspiring book, a delicious recipe, a system for organizing?

We can create a place for people to learn, get healthy or become connected.

Don’t forget to think outside the box when it comes to what you can create.

God created you with just the right strengths and talents to do what you were meant to do.

Now get on out there and be creative!

*****

I’m linking up today with some wonderful folks at Five Minute Friday. Please join me over there to view some other ideas about today’s prompt, “create”.

 

looking up at my house with flag

Habits That Build Our House

looking up at my house with flag

Welcome to another edition of “Five Minute Friday“, a post I write in approximately five minutes, with little to no editing to link up with other bloggers on the Heading Home blog. Our host, Kate Motaung, provides us with a one-word prompt each week, about which we are to write our thoughts. It is a good challenge for me to think and pray briefly, then write what I feel led to write, without a lot of second-guessing and correcting. It requires creativity with discipline, which helps me to grow as a person and a blogger.

Because of other responsibilities I have today, I will really try to adhere to the five-minute time-limit. Please check out the link-up page to view a variety of other interesting and thought-provoking posts by other bloggers.

 

Today’s word prompt:

BUILD

 

Today’s theme is “build”. I’d like to start by sharing the first scripture that comes to mind when I think of the word, “build”:

 

“Unless the Lord builds a house,
    the work of the builders is wasted.
Unless the Lord protects a city,
    guarding it with sentries will do no good.
 It is useless for you to work so hard
    from early morning until late at night,
anxiously working for food to eat;
    for God gives rest to his loved ones.”

Psalm 127:1,2 (NLT)

These words let us know that whatever we do, it will not be successful without direction and vision from God. So first and foremost, let’s remember that left to our own devices our plans may fail, but with God all things are possible. I need to be about his business and doing what he has created me to do in order to have a truly fulfilling and purposeful life.

But there is a responsibility on my part to do something practical too, and that’s what I’d like to focus on today.

I’m thinking about habits, and how they can make or break me; how they cause me to have peace and productivity or stress and regret.

My habits are an example to my children and to all those around me in my circle of influence.

I personally feel called to work on my habits and improve on using my time in an intentional way.

We only have one life to live, and despite the challenges and hard parts, it can be wonderful if I follow God’s path for me and find his purpose for my life. Then I need a plan and the discipline to carry it out.

I can be about my own business and either fail miserably or even appear successful, but be building a house that crumbles and falls. Or I can build something meaningful that will last.

When we offer up our lives, our days, and our plans to God, he will be faithful to see us through.

With God’s help, I can truly build a life that leaves a positive mark and makes a difference.

I chose to build a house that will last.

*****

 

 

homemade blueberry pancakes with butter and syrup

How To Make Easy, Healthy, Delicious Homemade Pancakes

 

homemade blueberry pancakes with butter and syrup

Homemade fresh blueberry pancakes with real maple syrup.

Happy Fourth of July, friends!!!

Today I realized that it would have been nice to share a festive, patriotic recipe with you, but truth be told, I didn’t make any special holiday recipes this time (sometimes life just happens), and what I really had planned to share was a recipe for homemade pancakes.

Well, this is the beauty of this homemade pancake recipe. They are they quick and simple to mix up (with basic ingredients you probably have in your pantry), they can be made much more healthy than store-bought pancake mixes (by using part or all whole grain flour and healthy add-ins), and they’re economical. And what’s more, with the addition of an endless variety of ingredients, they can be changed up to suit any special occasion or holiday!

pancakes on griddle

The pancakes in my photos are made with fresh blueberries, but you can leave them plain or include any number of different add-ins to create the pancake of your liking. I’m including a list of many ideas for add-in ingredients for your homemade pancakes, but the variety of options is really endless! I often separate out some of the batter and make two varieties at once, just for fun.

If I were planning ahead for the Fourth of July, I would probably add blueberries and strawberries to my pancakes, and serve them with some nice, white whipped cream. Or leave the pancakes plain and top them with fresh blueberries, strawberries and whipped cream. Or put blueberries in the pancakes and top with strawberries and cream. For Canada Day (July 1st), I would just use red raspberries or strawberries and cream. You get the idea.

I got the original recipe for homemade pancakes from a good friend of mine, who is easily the best baker-mom I know of. She and her now older daughters are always posting photos on Facebook of such delicious recipes and baked goods that I’m often tempted to put down what I’m doing, jump in the car, and drive the roughly three hours to get to her house to “share” in the deliciousness. The recipe was jotted down on whatever note-pad paper we had hanging around at the time when she was at my house. For sentimental reasons, I will probably never throw away that original, food-stained, but cherished, hand-written page.

handwritten homemade pancake recipe

Homemade pancake recipe from my dear friend, Donna.

 

A few helpful notes before we begin (if you’re really hungry, you may skip ahead to the recipe below, but I think it will be worth the read):

  •  Although it seems to be cheating somehow, I usually just add all the ingredients to my mixing bowl in almost any order, and thoroughly mix them together. No need to dirty two bowls and be all fancy about the order of ingredients.
  • In an effort to use healthier oils, I prefer not to use liquid oils such as corn or canola (although you certainly can, and I did for years), but instead, melt a little butter or coconut oil to add for the required oil. ( I did find out the other day, however, that if you wish to use coconut oil, you’ll need to be mindful of the fact that it will start to harden and form little lumps in your batter if it comes in contact with cold ingredients.)
  • I like to make these healthier by using at least half whole wheat flour, and very often add some ground flax meal. We are at the point in our family that pancakes made with plain white flour actually taste a little bland to us, so ramping them up with whole grains is, in my opinion, the way to go!
  • The milk measurement can be adjusted according to your preference for thinner or thicker pancakes. Factors such as the other ingredients you use and even temperature may affect the thickness of your pancakes, so I recommend trying a smaller amount of milk at first, then adding more if you decide your pancakes are too thick.
  • Surprisingly, I don’t think I’ve tried this yet, but I’m sure that alternate milks such as almond could be used. I’ll try that soon and let you know.
  • I prefer to use a griddle to speed up the process of making a large number of pancakes, but of course a good, old-fashioned frying pan is fine. I have a nice quality non-stick griddle, but many folks are opting for cast iron (such as this one). I am told that cast iron is wonderful, but as of yet, haven’t used one regularly myself. With cast iron, you may even be able to cook pancakes on your grill outdoors!
  • You may need to experiment to learn your ideal temperature for cooking your pancakes. Generally, medium heat is best. (See this article for more great pancake-making tips.)
  • I cook my pancakes in butter for best flavor, also eliminating the need for serving additional butter on the pancakes (but you may still add some if you like).
  • I love to use my largest cookie/baking scoop from my set (from one of my favorite direct marketing companies) to scoop out the batter. You can find a similar set on Amazon here (for a top-rated, but expensive set), or here, (for a less expensive, but functional set). I would love to try this pancake batter dispenser.
  • I usually make four times the amount called for in this recipe, since with my two tall older sons and 6’4″ husband, a single batch would not even feed us any more. Also, I love to have leftovers. So I will make life easier for you by including a second ingredient list with measurements for a quadruple batch as well. You’re welcome. 🙂
  • To keep your pancakes warm (while you cook up the rest), place an ovenproof casserole or cookie sheet in your oven set to a low temperature (200-250 degrees F). In warm weather (if you just can’t stand to turn on your oven), you can put the casserole dish in your microwave and close the door, or into a large toaster oven like mine, set on low heat.
  • If you have any left over pancakes (or purposely make extra, as I do), you can keep them in the fridge for a few days, or freeze them for later use. Save your money, and serve your own healthy, tasty pancakes from your freezer on busy or lazy mornings, instead of purchasing inferior store-bought packages!

So, without further ado, here is the recipe for homemade pancakes. I hope you discover as I did, that it’s so much better than using a mix from the store, and almost as easy. It’s definitely worth the extra five minutes or so!

pancake ingredients

What you will need (plus sugar….see next photo).

 

making homemade pancakes (batter)

Adding the brown sugar.

 

making homemade pancake batter

Adding nutritious flax meal to the batter (optional).

 

adding fresh blueberries to homemade pancake batter

Adding some fresh blueberries.

 

Healthy Homemade Pancakes

 

Ingredients (single batch):

1 egg, beaten

1 cup flour (I use at least half whole wheat flour)

1 Tbsp sugar (I prefer brown)

2 Tbsp. oil *

1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. baking powder

3/4 to 1 cup milk

(* Plus additional butter or oil in which to cook pancakes.)

 

Ingredients (quadruple or my “normal” sized batch):

4 eggs

4 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup oil*

2 tsp. salt

4 Tbsp. or 1/4 cup baking powder

3 to 4 cups milk

(* Plus additional butter or oil in which to cook pancakes.)

 

“Add-in” ingredient ideas:

  • vanilla or other flavored extract
  • ground flax (or flax meal), for added health benefit
  • fresh or frozen blueberries, strawberries, or other berries or combinations
  • sliced bananas (or mashed ripe banana)
  • fresh, frozen or dried cranberries (or other dried fruit/berries, such as dried cherries)
  • chocolate chips (or other flavored chips)
  • cinnamon and chopped apple or applesauce
  • pumpkin puree (store-bought or homemade) and pumpkin pie spices
  • chopped apple and almond (use a little almond extract and slivered almonds)
  • coffee granules and chocolate (powder or chips), for mocha flavor
  • peanut butter (or peanut butter powder) with banana or chocolate chips

 

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients. Fold in any “add-in” ingredients of choice. Heat griddle or frying pan to medium heat. Add butter (or oil) to melt. Drop desired amount of pancake batter onto hot griddle. Cook until pancakes bubble and edges look a little dry. Flip and continue cooking until golden brown.

Hold pancakes in a warm place. Add more butter as needed to cook the remainder of the batter.

Serve with pure maple syrup or other desired toppings. Enjoy!

making homemade pancakes with bubbles before turning

Pancakes are ready to flip when they are covered with bubbles and the edges seem dry.

 

cooked homemade blueberry pancakes

Hot homemade blueberry pancakes.

 

Optional topping ideas:

  • pure maple syrup or other syrup of choice
  • flavored syrups or jam
  • fresh, cut up strawberries (or other berries) and whipped cream
  • applesauce
  • yogurt
  • peanut butter or almond butter

 

homemade heart-shaped pancake

Freestyle heart-shaped pancake.

 

heart-shaped homemade pancake

Sometimes I finish off the last of the batter by making a giant or heart-shaped pancake (which usually goes to my husband). 🙂

 

homemade blueberry pancakes -2

Yummy!

 

Now that you have the recipe, what are you waiting for?

Enjoy your delicious, homemade pancakes for breakfast, brunch or even a “breakfast-supper”!

*****

Please let me know how you like this recipe. If you are a cast iron griddle user, please share your experience with us, especially for cooking pancakes. Do you have any personal ideas for add-in ingredients or toppings to share?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

little mint plant in ceramic pot

Protect

little mint plant in ceramic pot

So many things we must PROTECT.

As I think about the theme, “protect”, I am considering the plants I have been working with these past two years.

I was a teachers’ aide for ten years until a couple of years ago, when circumstances changed and I was no longer needed in my position. At that time, I helped to protect little (and some bigger) lives and souls in a loving Christian school.

Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to work in an indoor microgreens farm, and am currently working in the greenhouses of a “regular” farm.

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about plants.

Little plants need much protection in order to grow and flourish. They require good, nutritious soil to nourish them, consistent watering to quench their “thirst”, and sun (or light) to help them reach their full potential. We also protect them from insects and animals who would eat them for lunch or a snack. Plants also require physical protection from the extreme temperatures and natural dangers of the weather and environment.

Like plants, we also need protection, and to provide it for those in our care.

I need to discern who and what I am to protect, and do it wholeheartedly.

But we need help.

My first help comes from the Lord, the source of all protection. Secondly, it’s good and healthy to accept and invite the help of others around us with their love and wisdom.

I also need to protect myself, in order to grow and flourish to be all that God wants me to be, and in order to be the protection that others need.

As I accept the protection I need from God and others who love me, I can in turn, reach out in strenth and offer shelter to those around me.

I close with a Psalm that speaks of God’s protection.

Psalm 91

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
    will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
    he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
    and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
    He will shelter you with his wings.
    His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
    nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
    though ten thousand are dying around you,
    these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes,
    and see how the wicked are punished.

If you make the Lord your refuge,
    if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
    no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
    to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
    you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
    I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
    I will be with them in trouble.
    I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
    and give them my salvation.”

(NLT)

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I’m linking up with many other bloggers today at Five Minute Friday. Feel free to join me there and read more views and ideas on today’s theme of “protect”.