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Easter Blossom Wonders
Category: Member Blogs
Tags: Easter Blossom Wonders Easter Blossom Wonders Sharmelle Olson April 2017

Easter Blossom Wonders

Spring and Easter bring the Easter lilies

Easter Lilies are a treat that has a wonderful fragrance

The Easter Lilies have a presents that is earthily

The beauty of these Easter Lilies have a beautiful presents.

 

Daffodils symbolizes friendship, rebirth, and eternal life

They are bright yellow trumpet shaped flowers

Daffodils are so beautiful that they could come in rife

And somehow finds it's way for gentle whispers.

 

Another Beautiful Easter Bloom is the Narcissus

In parts of Europe the Narcissus was the first flower

associated with Easter. It makes you want to make wishes

while in Germany the Narcissus is the most popular flower.

 

Worldwide the third most popular spring flower is the tulips.

The tulips represent the rebirth of perfect love and spring.

The Easter tulips are in so may ways the smoothest

the tulips can be used instead of onions while cooking.

 

By Sharmelle Olson

April 2017

Me? Evangelize?
Category: Member Blogs

Me? Evangelize?

 
Mark 16;15 says, He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

A simple premise, right? Just go on out into that big, wide, angry world and tell people about God. I don't know about you, but just the thought of going out in public, standing at the corner of a busy street and becoming the Town Crier for Jesus scares the bejeebers out of me!

But is that what God really meant? For some Christians, yes. For those who are extroverts, those with a powerful voice, and those with charm and charisma, this is right up their spiritual alley. But for me? God blessed me with a big mouth, but gave me the stage presence of an incontinent chihuahua.

God said we need to evangelize. But He also gives options on how to evangelize. God didn't want to leave the introverts out- Even extroverted introverts like me!

Matthew 5: 15-16 states Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. 
This is the perfect verse for introverts, because we can shine doing God's work, and people can see God through us. No trumpets or bullhorns required.

This is such an awesome way for to get people to come to God- because people by nature are curious (and nosy) and they can't help but wonder why you're so happy, calm, peaceful, and smiling though the chaos. It drives them crazy!

You are the lamp, and when they see God's light shining through you, people want to know how to get some of that light for themselves. And when that happens, people come to you instead of the other way around!

Evangelism doesn't always mean shouting to a gaggle of people on a crowded street corner or grabbing some random pedestrian and asking "Do you know Jesus?". It can mean quietly sitting down next to someone who is crying, troubled, or upset and asking if they need prayers. Some will refuse, most will say yes, and a few might even engage in conversation about God. You'd be surprised how many people you can touch by praying with them- and it's a lot easier for introverts to talk to one person than a crowd!

All we have to do is take a deep breath and approach people. Scary, I know, but once you start, it gets a lot easier. 

The best part is you never know when you have an opportunity to evangelize- even to other Christians! My husband and I attended a Retocon (80's enthusiast convention) and saw a young man having a panic attack. We offered to pray for him, telling him my husband was a deacon at our church and we liked to pray for others. He looked bewildered and blurted "But I'm a Methodist!" 
After praying, he told us that his church didn't recognize deacons (though some Methodist churches do), and was surprised that we prayed with him, since we weren't the same sect of Christianity. We smiled. "We're all Christians- and I don't think God has a problem with His people praying for each other...right?" That made him grin and we had a good chuckle over it. After we made sure he was okay, we went on to enjoy the rest of the Retrocon.

Pretty awesome stuff.

Evangelism doesn't always have to be applied with a hammer. It can also be a fine chisel, chipping away at the walls built up by those friends or family who are with you each day. God doesn't take a head count- He just wants us to tell people about Him, and pray for others. 

It's not always easy, but the effects are astounding when we listen to Him!
The Power of Praise Tags: freedom God grandmother hymn praise sing

"Be exalted, O Lord, in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your power”—Psalm 21:13.

Nursing homes are never an easy place to be. Many times they are the last destination for ones that have lived a fairly long life. Most residents are not in the minds they once knew, and all ail from one sickness or another.
 

Bruce's 93-year-old grandmother had been in a nursing home for quite some time. No longer able to stay with her family because of medical issues, she became a permanent resident.

Bruce, my mother-in-law Betty, and I made our way to the secured area of the facility where she resided. She sat in her wheelchair, absently staring at the floor. As we approached her, she looked up, sheer delight spreading across her face. We hugged and kissed her, wheeling her into the little living room reserved for private family visits.
 

Although happy to be sitting there together, our conversation started to get a bit strained. Grandma was hard of hearing, couldn't talk very well, and suffered from memory loss. Long silences filled the gaps in our conversation.
 

There had to be some way of communicating together.

Suddenly, I felt the Lord impressing on me to sing. However, I choked up with emotion as I fumbled around for a starting point. I sensed the impression again, urging me to continue. Pulling myself together, I asked, "Can we sing?" With great relief, all three of us plunged in, enthusiastically singing out the old familiar hymns: Amazing Grace; What A Friend We Have In Jesus; How Great Thou Art.

Grandma's face lit up and away she went! The strain was chased from her face as she sang with us at the top of her voice. The wheelchair seemed to melt away. We were all lifted up and out of that nursing home to a familiar and happy place where communication gaps and sickness don't exist. For those moments, we enjoyed the same space and the same time.

Intrigued, I watched her joyfully expounding on every word. She remembered the words!—words she had sung long ago that had been tucked away in silent rooms somewhere in the recesses of her mind. The melodies of those old hymns led her heart straight to those rooms, unlocking them like special keys to forgotten doors.

Apparently, the singing from our little room wafted through the entire wing of the nursing home, and more than one heart was unlocked that day. The nurses still talk about it. God's Presence had a profound affect on patients and staff alike.
 

Praise in the form of music is powerful and transparent, walking through any wall that has been erected and unlocking every door that has been tightly shut. It knows no boundaries.

(Acts 16:25-26)

 

Resisting Temptaion
Category: Member Blogs

Resisting Temptation

 
I try to be good. Really, I do! But when something is just too good to resist, you just gotta have it.

I guess that's why it's called a temptation, not a resistation. Sigh.

The funny thing is, most of us go where we're tempted the most. A few years back, I worked at a Joann Fabrics. For those of you who don't know me, I'm a fabric crafter and artist- okay, I'm a fabric addict who hasn't sewn in forever (due to time constraints, mom-clutter, book creation, and a sporadic job), and I lovebuying new fabric- after all, they call it a fabric 'stash' for a reason...right?

So I apply and get this job at Joanns eons ago. It was supposed to be for extra pocket money and to be out of the house a few hours a week. Let's call it Mom-sanity. But me in a fabric store is like an alcoholic in a liquor store- not the best idea.

Remnants were stashed and bought at the end of the shift. Sale fabrics were stuffed into shopping bags only to be brought home and fussed over before being shut in the stash cabinets. Yes, I said cabinets. Plural. Temptation bit me on the butt big-time, and my stash grew. So much for pocket money.

When I stopped working there a few months later, my stash had grown enough that my husband implemented a fabric 'fast'; until I started using those precious stored fabrics, I wasn't buying a single thread more. After looking at my stuffed sewing space (at the time), I had to begrudgingly agree. 

I've been on that fast for ten years! 

During my fabric fast, I discovered a loophole. Sometimes when crafting a new quilt, I didn't have enough yardage in my stash for the backing fabric. Only then was I let loose in Joanns to get a coordinating fabric so I could complete the project. Reprieve!

Now some of you might think that my husband is being too hard on me by not 'letting me' buy fabric. He isn't. In fact, when this whole fabric addiction happened, he was helping me! We were in Lancaster for our fifth anniversary (quilting hub of the universe and Fabric Central), and I wanted to make a quilt for my baby daughter (who is now fifteen). But there were so many fabrics to choose from! I strolled from aisle to aisle looking, feeling, pulling, and putting back bolts of fabric, sometimes with a shake of the head, but most times with a small sigh of 'I wish I had that'. 

What I didn't know was my husband was walking behind me and collecting the bolts of 'sighed upon' fabrics. By the time we got to the cutting counter, a significant stash was acquired. Then we went to two more stores and did the same thing. By the time we came home, I had enough fabric to last me a lifetime! 

And yes, I still have some of it! So don't blame him- he just knows me well, and as long as I'm using the fabric, I can get off of this fast anytime I want. But It's. So. Pretty. Too pretty to cut up!

My Precious....

Ahem. Okay, back to temptations.

I'm not good at resisting anything, no less a temptation. Oh, I can be good for a while, but eventually I'll crack and indulge (read: overindulge) and then regret everything the second it's gone (or stashed). My resistance is indeed, futile. At least in the long run.

Some things you have to resist. Drugs, alcohol, fabric- you know, things you can physically live without but can get hooked on. Other things, like food and breathing, must be done in order to survive- but you have to control it or you get too fat or thin (or in the case of breathing, pass out either from hyperventilation or lack of oxygen!)

have to resist overeating. I should resist fabric stores. Big difference. Especially in my rumpus. Sigh.

Some things I just can't resist on my own. I need God's help. Prayer works, and sometimes fasting (how ironic is that?), but just talking to God about it before I eat or do something does wonders- and if you're having trouble like me- even if it isn't the same temptation- I would highly recommend doing the same!

Resisting temptations isn't easy. Especially when on your own. God give us the strength we need to resist and walk away from temptations. And nothing feels better than succeeding! 
“A Glorious Dark” by A.J. Swoboda – a celebration of Easter – book review by Michele Morin Tags: A Glorious Dark A.J. Swoboda A.J. Swoboda a celebration of Easter Easter book review by Michele Morin Michele Morin

For years I celebrated Easter as if it were a stand-alone holiday, singing “Up from the Grave He Arose” without giving much thought to the horror of the Dying or the silence of the Dead. Providentially, my early efforts to incarnate and to enliven an invisible God in the hearts of four sweet boys found a way into the obtuse heart of their mother as well.

Therefore, this Lenten season, I will be re-reading A Glorious Dark, a book about believing which confronts the loss and defeat of Friday and the awkward silence of Saturday with Easter Sunday morning resurrection truth. Where memoir meets theological pondering, author A.J. Swoboda’s story winds through his faith journey, with the bonus of startling spotlight quotes which he aims at himself and at all of us who say that we believe.

Here’s one of the dozen or more:  “Many envision faith as a kind of hall pass for laziness, excusing them from a life of action, doing, and working hard.”  Ouch and amen.

What we believe about one weekend in history, the three days’ journey from Golgotha to the garden tomb, impacts our whole experience of the Christian life. A Glorious Dark challenges the reader to enter into Friday, to “own up to our part of the evil in the world.” This involves trusting for the lavish grace to have our emptiness filled, our requests denied, and our fatherlessness remedied by the Father. On Friday, we turn our faces away from our “sponge” of choice and embrace our identity as pilgrims, lifelong seekers of the will and the voice of God.

With candor, Swoboda describes the bleak-hearted rising of post-crucifixion Saturday, and because much of the Christian life is lived under Saturday-like conditions, it is helpful to hear that we must “sit in Saturday;” we must “squat in the tomb” in order to enter into the grief and disappointment of the original disciples. Saturday is our opportunity to remember our own mortality, to remember that we live with Jesus in his death. On Saturday, we evict ourselves from the center of the universe by “embracing the gift of waiting,” and by mourning our failure to see others and their grief.

Resurrection Sunday not only verifies all that Jesus claimed, but it points to his future coming, the ultimate surprise which will serve to further verify all that we hold true. As the church meets to celebrate the resurrection every Sunday, we also reenact the resurrection, celebrating the mystery with “people we normally wouldn’t love, [who] breathe down our necks, [but who] hold our feet to the fire of our beliefs.” Sunday faith perseveres when my theology cannot account for the chaos I see around me.

A Glorious Dark reveals a God who “stand[s] tall” above human history and invites (rather than scorns) the questioning heart.  After all, of the thirty-one questions Jesus posed in the Gospels, He answered only three. When God does not break into history to rectify the list of problems set forth in my latest memorandum/prayer, it will be helpful to remember the messy way in which that one weekend in history played out for those who were on the scene. Once again, the life of Jesus will be made manifest, a glorious life emerging from a glorious dark.

 

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles.  She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 27 years, and their four children are growing up at an alarming rate. She blogs at Living Our Days because “the way we live our days will be, after all, the way we live our lives.”

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