Do Not Be Afraid – But Be Afraid

There is no reason to fear this, or any, virus. God alone determines when we will die physically. We will all die – and none of us know when that time will be. That has always been and that will always be. Our great advancements in technology and economics will never do away with physical death. I will die. You will die. God holds all of our days in His hands.

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

Psalm 139: 16

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Yet, the death of our body is not the end. We will all live forever. The question is – where will we live in eternity?

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, then you will go to be with Him in heaven. He has promised this.

Matt 14:1-4

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”  V. 6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

If you have not acknowledged Jesus as Lord and Savior, then you will not be allowed into Heaven. That is what we should be afraid of!

Matt 10:28-31

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Stop running after material wealth. Stop spending your days filling yourself with sensual pleasures. Those things will not last. Look for God. Pray to Him. Ask and you WILL receive.

Rev. 3:20

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”

How do you hear His voice? Read the Bible, pray and listen in solitude.

We don’t need to shut down the whole country. We need to turn back to God.

It is as simple at that.

Do you know Jesus Christ? Do you have any questions about Him?

Savor Autumn

A crisp Autumn day walking through the colorful leaves in Black River State Forest in southwest Wisconsin. Praise the Lord, all the earth!

The Castle Mounds Nature Trail is full of intricate sandstone formations and vibrant trees standing side by side.

Nature is dressed up in her finest ensemble of the year.

The sights, sounds and smells of the fall-time forest are not to be missed.

Have you taken time to savor the Autumn? Where are the colors changing in your neck of the woods?

Slug IPA

A wonderful spring vacation last year, in May, the prime spring gardening month, led to an extremely unusual June in the garden. My strawberry patch had produced well the previous two summers. My husband had built a wire fence arch over the top which we covered with bird netting. The berries grew red, juicy and plump. Yet two weeks away from home last spring had put me seriously behind.

One cool evening in early June, I strolled out to wander through the lush garden. I leaned over to peer closely at the berries, adjusting my glasses a bit.

A slug!

I picked him off, throwing him in the grass and twisting him into the ground with the toe of my garden shoe. I turned over a few strawberry leaves to see if there were more there. There always are!

Yes! Lots more.

I picked and smushed and picked and smashed. Once I grew weary of this routine, I retreated to the house, found a small jar lid and pulled an IPA beer out of the fridge. Back in the garden, I sunk the jar lid into the ground just far enough for the soil level to lead the vermin straight into the lethal beer. I poured the rich smelling IPA into the lid, then resumed my slug hunt.

Two minutes later I looked up from my search under a particularly large strawberry plant and spotted slugs everywhere, headed straight for the beer “barrel”. Who said slugs are slow? Not me! They were all making tracks straight for the IPA, more coming out of the shadows all the time. My stomach sank. This was a true infestation.

I gave up and went inside. I thought I would empty the beer barrel in the morning and start again.

Early the next morning, I tiptoed quietly out to the strawberry bed. The beer barrel was overflowing with dead, slimy slug bodies. I gave a deep sigh as I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had not made a dent in the slug population.

That evening, I refilled the beer barrel and left the wire fence off of the strawberries. I just knew the birds would come and eat any slugs that couldn’t fit in the beer barrel. Smugly, I went off to bed, sleeping well at the thought of my genius.

The next morning, I rose early and dashed out, expecting to see a clean strawberry bed. The beer barrel was tipped out of the ground and thrown a foot away, half of the strawberry plants had been thrashed, and sliding along through this devastation were countless more slugs.

The birds had drunk the IPA, eaten what strawberries the slugs had missed, and apparently waved a hearty good-bye to the slugs as they flew off, well satisfied with the slug IPA I had served up for them.

Invisible Forces

The evil king of Aram was out to kill the king of Israel and plunder the countryside. 2 Kings 6 Time and again he plotted where and when to attack the Israelites. Yet the king of Israel was warned each and every time and made well his escape. When the evil king was notified that Elisha the prophet was the source of the military leaks, the king sent horses and chariots along with a strong army force to get rid of the man of God.

The Arameans surrounded the city where Elisha and his servant were staying. In the early morning, Elisha’s servant stepped outside to begin preparations for the day – there was the enemy army! They were all around!

The servant ran back inside and shouted at his master, “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?”

Elisha was not concerned. “Don’t worry about it,” he told his servant. We have a bigger army than they do. As a puzzled servant stood there with a muddled look on his face, Elisha prayed. “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.”

The servant did not know what was out there. Even the enemy army did not know what was out there. Yet God had provided all that was needed – more than what was needed. They just couldn’t see it.

For we live by faith, not by sight.   2 Corinthians 5:7

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1

Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.  2 Kings 6

Chris Tomlin wrote a wonderful song about this “God of angel armies.”

The chorus goes like this:

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind

The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

Listen to the entire song here:

Angels are real. Angel armies are real. But most importantly, God is real. Pray and ask Him to open your eyes.

The Delicious Honeyberry

This little-known berry bush is beginning to make itself known here in the States. I found this Canadian native peeking out from the pages of garden catalogs for a number of years, but I was too hesitant to try something brand new. Then, three years ago, I ordered two blueberry bushes. By mistake, the garden company sent me one blueberry bush and one honeyberry, so in the ground it went. Last year it produced four scrumptious berries that I savored! This year it is loaded with blossoms!

A three-year old honeyberry bush tucked into an east facing corner of my garden.

In order to produce well it needs to be pollinated by another variety of honeyberry, so I planted one last year. The one pictured is my three-year-old. Last week we had sustained winds up to 50 m.p.h. and these two bushes did just fine. They are set in a sheltered corner of the house – just in case. The day after the winds, an artic blast flew down out of Canada. Our night temperatures were in the low 20’s. Then yesterday I took a look and this silly honeyberry bush is bursting with blossoms!

That’s my kind of berry!

Blossoms like this cover my three-year old honeyberry bush.

It is cold hardy to -55 F and the blossoms can withstand 20 F. They have a higher level of antioxidants than blueberries and can be eaten fresh or made into jam or used in any blueberry recipe. It is also disease and pest resistant as well.

If you have a corner of your yard or garden you need to fill, take a serious look at this crazy berry!

Stark Brothers photo of a honeyberry bush full of fruit. I will be ever grateful for their mistake.

If you have any honeyberries on your property, please tell us how it’s doing and what you think of it. What other suggestions do you have for fruit or flowers this year?

Daffodils

My Garden – April 30, 2019

This morning I woke to find my dainty, miniature daffodils succumbing to a spring snow. William Wordsworth’s famous poem ‘Daffodils’ came to mind.

My rhyme and flow are no match for any poet, especially Wordsworth, but I had fun with it. Here is my version of ‘Daffodils’.

I wandered sad beneath the clouds

   That sits so low o’er river and peak,

When all at once I saw a sight,

   A host, of frozen daffodils;

Beside the walk, beneath the trees,

Bending and brittle in the snow filled breeze.

Falling low as the flakes that tumble

   And veil all the land,

They yield lower ever still

   Never to rise once more:

Listen close to hear their cries,

   Bowing their heads in icy demise.

Now for those of you who haven’t read the real thing, here is a quick link. It is one of my favorite poems.

https://allpoetry.com/Daffodils

The Caribbean – Part 4

My husband and I jumped in the taxi at the Red Hook Ferry terminal. We were headed for the rental car company that had confirmed a car for us for the next few days.

Ten days earlier, when we had arrived in St. Thomas, Budget Rental car at the airport had confirmed a car for us, but they had not saved us one. That is not the way it is done in the States, but I do understand. St. Thomas is such a small island and there are an overwhelming number of tourists. The rental car companies have to do the best they can. There simply is not enough physical space on the island to hold all the rental cars that are needed. If they hold a car for someone, then if that person does not show up, they lose a significant amount of money. I understand the system, I simply wish they had told me that when I made the reservation. To get off the airplane, tired and hungry from the long trip, expecting to have a car, and not have one, is a bit disconcerting. Yet, in the end, it saved us a lot of money to do taxis for the first week we were there. Also, it gave us time to get used to the roads and the flow of traffic. In the end I was very happy.

So now, here we were walking into the Dependable Car Rental Agency on St. Thomas recommended by our bnb. Would they have a car for us? Yes! They did! They were very kind and had an extremely comfortable and clean SUV waiting for us. We were off!

The Fort

The bnb (Casa Grand View on Airbnb – check it out!) that we had booked for our last few days was up on top of the mountain with a fantastic view out over Megan’s Bay, out to Tortola, and beyond. But, to get there we had to follow some very interesting directions. Drive past the Fort, take a left at the light, follow the road up the hill (there was a left turn not mentioned but we figured it out). Follow the winding road till you come to an arch and a burnt-orange wall. Hmm, several arches, but no orange wall. Finally, after a few more zigs and zags, there appears before us a huge burnt-orange wall on our left, and lo and behold an arched doorway just before it. There we take a left. A few more zigs and zags, then a stop sign that is very well hidden. Oops. Didn’t make a stop as the road turns very quickly up to the right around a sharp corner. Next came Sib’s restaurant. (Great place to eat.) Take a right. Watch for the lime-green school and the Catholic church. There we take a left. Looking for a grey house with green shutters. A mile or so down the road and we are “home”. Great directions.

Megan’s Bay

The view is fantastic! We stand on the deck and just stare. God’s creation is beyond belief!

Once we have settled in, we drive down to the Fruit Bowl grocery store. We hear it is a bit on the expensive side but they have lots of fruit and a fantastic salad bar. We picked up some hot food and a few salad choices for our evening meal, much cheaper than going out to eat again and the food was delicious. We returned the next day because we loved it so much.

One day we drove down to Hull Bay. It was quiet (no cruise ship people) and pretty, but not much of a swimming beach. We sat and watched the surfers for awhile and ate at the restaurant. Great food!

Another day we drove down to Megan’s Bay. Absolutely gorgeous!! We went early and staked out some shade under a palm tree. Follow the beach down to the left and it won’t be so crowded. We had great fun watching the pelican’s diving for fish right in front of us. On the way back up the hill from there, we stopped at a restaurant called Brooks Restaurant and Bar. The food was incredibly delicious and the portions were gigantic! You have to go there.

We visited the Mountain Top view spot. The view was great, but not any different than our bnb. The gift shop was lots of fun. There was a wonderful pirate on the wall which I wanted to buy, but the lady just laughed at me and said he was not for sale.

One other beach we visited was at Secret Harbor. Most of the beach is for the resort, but go down to the end on the right and you can rent lounges and umbrellas. We got there early so the parking was easy and the umbrella available. Before long, the cruise ship people came and they were out of luck. The snorkeling was good, and the best part was the restaurant had a beach waitress so we didn’t even have to move from our chairs to get drinks and food. Loved it!

And so our Caribbean Trip came to an end. As one sign said, we had “Sandy toes and salty kisses.” The Caribbean is a fantastic place to visit – but we are always glad when we reach home.

There’s no place like home!