Taking Responsibility

I have had the privilege to observe some negatives in the lives of others, and in doing so, I had to examine myself to see if I might be doing the same things. Sometimes we learn more from watching negative behavior than we do from watching positive behavior, however, both can invite good learning experiences.

From my observations, I have determined that many of the negatives in my life and the lives of others, come from not taking responsibility for things that we are definitely responsible for.

For example:

I am responsible for my own health. I recently went to the library and found books on how to prevent memory loss, and how to strengthen my bones. When my doctor wanted to add another medication for osteoporosis, that had the side effects of having your femur bone become brittle and break, or you jawbone deteoriate….eeeewwwwhhhh…(Now what would that look like???), I decided… NO Mamm, thank you very much, but NO!

The memory loss thing is just a minor forgetfulness right now, but I don’t want it to become worse. I am learning to make lists on paper, but many times I practice just keeping the lists in my head and making myself remember them.

From the library books, I have learned that whether it is osteoporosis, mental decline, or any other health disorder, it all boils down to the foods we eat, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep to let our bodies mend themselves overnight. All the books tend to recommend a Mediterranean diet which consist of lots of fruit, vegetables, and limited animal proteins. For osteoporosis too much animal protein can rob the bones of calcium.

I found a bone building website that said apples have a phytonutrient that builds strong bones. No other food has this certain nutrient except apples, with most of it being in the peeling. Wow! They also sold a weighted vest that studies showed improved bone density as much as medication did.

Weighted vests are good, but constant added weight in the form of excessive eating is not. If my knees are hurting because I carry too much weight on them, then I need to lose the ten pounds that would reduce the pressure on my knees by thirty pounds. (I read that on a chart in the orthopedic doctor’s office while waiting for my mom to get back from x-ray. For every pound you lose, it takes three pounds of pressure off your joints.) Overeating is one of the worst things you can do for your health.

I get stressed when things break and don’t get fixed for ages and ages. To prevent this stress, which by-the-way causes memory loss, bone loss, heart disease, etcetera, I need to be responsible and either fix them or get someone who can. I need to do it as soon as possible, and not wait until whatever is broken causes even greater issues further down the road.

I am convinced that God has placed a medicine cabinet in our backyards and grocery stores. Many of the diseases we acquire come from not eating what God has placed before us and desiring to overeat foods that are too rich in manmade substances. Soda anyone?

Healthy foods from the garden.

Healthy foods from the garden.

An herb pot used to enhance meal preparation.

An herb pot used to enhance meal preparation.

Flowers grown in the garden to add beauty and reduce stress.

Flowers, grown in the garden to add beauty and reduce stress.

Until recently, I had always been a proponent of a book that said… God has put cravings in us, and if we eat what we crave, we will be getting a balanced diet. If I ate what I craved, it would be powdered sugar donuts and not an apple. My new thought on this is… as we lead our hearts to do what is right, we should also lead our heads to desire healthier foods that can heal our diseases.

On the last Carolina Camera episode that was aired on WBTV from Charlotte, N.C., there was a 103 year old lady that still went bowling, took a dance class, lived by herself, drove until she was 98, was thin, mentally alert, not on any medications, and she was a joy to watch her face light up as she talked about how she lived her healthy, sweet life. When asked what her secret to long living was… she replied, “The Lord has helped me all my life.”

God has provided all we need for a healthy life. We have to be responsible and guide our hearts and heads to see what He has prepared for us.

Life started in a garden. Life is maintained by a garden.

God provided sleep for restoration and rebuilding of cells in our bodies.

God provided water to wash away toxins.

God gave us a brain to help us figure out what causes us to be stressed and the ingenuity to figure out what we need to take that stress away. He created us with stress relieving endorphins that are released when we exercise.

It is all pretty amazing!

Taking responsiblity for these things will make a better life for us and those around us, and instead of living out our lives in a torturous slow death, we can actually live a life of joy and happiness and maybe end up bowling when we are 103.

 

 

What A Difference A Day Makes

What a difference a day makes.

Last week I posted on Monday with a promise that I would start posting more regularly and share pictures of my straw bale gardening experiment. That very evening my mother fell down some cement stairs onto a cement floor, and my world changed dramatically. Besides cuts, bumps, and bruises, she suffered a really bad fracture to the upper left arm. We feel lucky that God chose to spare her life.

My week consisted of one night sitting up with my mom in the hospital and daily trips to help out, get her home, get her to a new doctor (There is a long story of neglect with her first doctor… better left untold.) and getting her and my dad situated at home where my dad can take care of her when I am not there.

My dad is very discouraged because his garden was doing so well, and now he will not be able to care for it like he had been doing. He is afraid to leave my mom for any length of time.

None of us can see what might happen any minute of any given day. That is when we must choose to have faith in God and move forward with a positive attitude. A day can make a big difference for good or bad. Last week as I drove back and forth under severe sleep deprivation, God gave me the strength and kept me awake. I came home one day with some of my best plants shriveled from lack of water, but had time to quickly water them before I went back the next morning.

Now God is sending rain, so I don’t have to water.

I also set out some rose bushes that had arrived in the mail during the week. At one point I thought I couldn’t get it all done but found time to plant and mulch them Saturday morning, before I had a big day filled with company I had invited to celebrate my husband’s birthday.

I refuse to give up.

I will work in the garden as time and strength comes. I will take care of my mom and dad, and fit it into an already, overloaded schedule. I will spend time with my immediate family and play with my grandson. I will prepare and teach Sunday School lessons to children (even when I have to get up at 4:15 on Sunday morning to study, then only one shows up… we actually had a sweet time…one-on-one), I will shop for and serve snacks for Sunday Service when it is my time (this Sunday was it), I will take care of our animals, I will keep my house clean, and the laundry caught up, and I will do it with the strength that God gives when I ask. I have total faith in God’s promise not to leave or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5), and that whatever I ask He will provide if I stay strong in my Bible and in being obedient to God’s wishes (John 15:7).

Even when I can’t see around the next corner and maybe I am one minute away from a major disaster, I rest in God, that He will take care of me through it all, and I will continue to have hope in a life that is filled with fun, energy, and promises of good days to come.

Now…

Here are the pictures of my straw bale gardening that I promised last week.

Straw bale with lettuce, basil and tomatoes.

Straw bale with lettuce, basil and tomatoes.

I actually got the tomatoes staked this weekend, and a lot more weeding done, so there will be more pictures later. Below are the rest of my pictures of the straw bales with various plants.

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Straw bales with squash.

Straw bales with squash.

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So whatever you are having to handle today, ask God for strength to get you through it all. He created us, He loves us, He knows us, and He wants to help us through whatever we are facing each day. He will walk each minute and mile with us, and He will help us grow in faith that He will always be there for us… if we choose to let Him.

 

Home-Making (The Husband’s Part cont.)

This is a book written in 1882 about how to make a home. All are involved, the husband, wife, and children...in home-making. I will be telling you more about this book later.

This is a book written in 1882 about how to make a home.

Today, I will finish this piece about a husband’s role in homemaking, with excerpts from the The Husband’s Part” chapter of this book, written in 1882, by J.R. Miller.

“The trouble is that men fall into free and careless habits at home. They are not so in society; they are gentle to other women. They pride themselves on their thoughtfulness. They are careful not even by tone or look to hurt a sensitive spirit. But at home too often they are rude, careless in speech and heedless of the effect of their words and actions. They blurt out in their own houses the ill-humor they have suppressed all day on the street. They answer proper questions in an irritated  tone. They speak impatiently on the slightest provocation. They are sullen, morose and unsocial. They forget that their own wives are women with gentle spirits, easily hurt. A man thinks that because a woman is his wife she should understand him, that she should know that he loves her even if he is rude to her, that she should not mind anything he says or does, even if it is something that would sorely hurt or offend any other woman.

There never was a falser premise than this. Just because she is his wife he owes her the loftiest courtesy that is in his nature to pay. There is no other woman in all the world that feels so keenly the sting of sharp or thoughtless words from his lips as his own wife, and there is no other of whose feelings he should be so careful and whom he should so grieve to hurt. No other has the claim upon his thoughtfulness and affection that she has. Love gives no license for rudeness or incivility to the one who is loved. The closer the relationship, the more are hearts pained by any look, tone, gesture or word that tells of bitterness or even of thoughtlessness.

But it is not enough that men be not bitter against their wives. The mere absence of a fault or vice is not a virtue. Silence is no doubt better than bitterness. Even stateliness, though cold as a marble statue, is possibly better than rudeness. A garden without weeds, though having neither plant nor flower, is better than a patch of weeds; but a garden beautiful and fragrant with flowers is better still.” (pp. 39-40)

“Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:3

Tomorrow begins excerpts from the chapter entitled “The Wife’s Part.”

Therapy

The garden has been a mess since the end of summer. I had been waiting for colder weather to kill back the weeds and now the time has come for me to get to work.

This weekend, I spent Friday and Saturday working on the side of the garden next to the fence.

I tried growing green beans and lima beans in this area during the summer, but the weeds and bermuda grass took over so quickly the results were very poor. From now on the only things that I will grow outside of my raised beds will be corn and melons.

In this side area next to the fence. I plan to place landscape fabric down, and add oak mulch to keep it weed free. I want to find some interesting containers to place here, that I can grow vegetables in but will allow me to maintain control of weeds more easily.

Here is what the mess looked like before.

Weeds growing beside of fence and covering fence.

Weeds growing beside of fence and covering fence.

Close-up of matted weeds.

Close-up of matted weeds.

After the use of mattock, rake, tiller, and sweat… here is the after picture.

After

After

Another view.

Another view.

I was able to get the weeds off the fence and the first row of beds cleaned off on that side. There is still so much work to do, but I have all winter to get it done.

I love to be outside working. It clears the mind and is the best therapy I can think of for dealing with stressful situations. It allows you time to envision and dream of having a “Martha Stewart” (perfect) garden and hope for a New Year of better things. My dad always says, “Working in the garden will cure what ails you!” 🙂

What do you use for therapy?

“Behold, I will bring it (a city) health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.” Jeremiah 33:6

Snakes

I worked in the garden Saturday, cleaning off weeds and debris. As you know, because I have mentioned it over and over in these posts, I HATE SNAKES! I feel that snakes are satan… and evil. I know all the science behind beneficial snakes, like the ground snakes I have in the garden, who eat harmful bugs and pests, but… I STILL HATE SNAKES!

It must be the Garden of Eden thing for me. The “serpent” was called subtle and crafty. He was sneaky with his use of words, and his first attack was on a woman.

As I was raking out one of my raised beds, I raked up this snake.

Ground snake in raised bed.

Ground snake in raised bed.

It looks big from this picture because I zoomed in to get it. (I didn’t get close to it myself.) Below is the size in relation to the side of the raised bed.

Very small snake.

Very small snake.

I left it alone, in the bed, while I cleaned the other surrounding beds. It was cold and slow-moving, but it eventually crawled in a hole in the bed. I guess it will be there next spring for me to dig up again… phew!

Anyway, I thought about that snake and how it is the same with life. You are going along, minding your business, working and trying to stay away from trouble, and then the trouble finds you. You accidentally dig it up.

So… how do you handle the trouble you accidentally manage to dig up. You leave it alone. You pray. You wait for God to take care of it. You go about your other work, and leave it alone. And just like the snake, it eventually goes away.

It might be dug out once more at a later date, but if strong prayers are prayed, just like that snake, you may never see it again.

It is important in life… to know that we don’t have to do something about every situation that comes our way. Sometimes we can just leave them alone and they go away.

“The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:14

“It shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and whiles they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 65:24-25

“I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.” John 17:9

God’s got our back. He will hear before we even call. The “serpent” (snakes of life) shall not hurt or destroy us. Jesus prays for us! God fights for us!

Pansy Planting Time

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It is time to plant fall pansies. Many of the garden centers haven’t gotten them in yet, but I was able to buy a flat at the Lincolnton Apple Festival this weekend.

I planted them this morning. I made a border beside the rock path in my front flower bed.

Border of pansies beside rock path.

Border of pansies beside rock path.

I planted some inside a bunny statue and around it.

Bunny planter.

Bunny planter.

The marigolds are still blooming and made a good backdrop for the bunny. I made a stream of pansies leading up to the statue.

It is so much fun to do this, if you consider your plot of dirt as an artist canvas. Think of painting a picture and you will discover just the right place to put each plant. Scatter the plants rather than placing them in straight rows.

The finished garden.

The finished garden with pansy path leading to the bunny.

You can see the pansies lining the rocks in the background. I am looking for an old bench to place up against the house among all these flowers. The rock path will lead to the bench.

One last tip that I wanted to pass on to you…. I planted pansies in two containers. In the center of each, I placed a small flat rock. When I water these plants, I can let the spray of water hit the rock and it keeps the soil from washing and splashing dirt up on the leaves and flowers.

Rock used to prevent dirt from splashing on plants.

Rock used to prevent dirt from splashing on plants.

Pansy pots.

Pansy pots in the garden.

“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden…” Genesis 2:8

Seasons

Crepe Myrtle shrub in bloom.

Crepe Myrtle shrub in bloom.

There isn’t much going on in the garden right now. I am enjoying the end of summer flowers, such as the crepe myrtle shrub in my front flower bed. The marigolds are still blooming beautifully too. The winter garden has been planted.

I am in the process of doing some fall house cleaning this week. After the weather cools down a little more, I will do some garden cleaning. I struggled all summer trying to keep the weeds pulled out of the garden, without success. The cold days and frost will kill them off and they will be much easier to remove.

It is so weird how we struggle against the seasons, yet if we wait, the work becomes easier. I think that is so of the seasons of life too. Things look really hard at certain points of our lives, but if we wait, and persevere, those hard seasons will pass, and our gardens will be clean.

Most of the time our struggles come from not relaxing and enjoying the season we are in. We can’t see the future, so we don’t understand that relief is right around the corner.

We must stand strong and hang in there day by day, moment by moment, and then the easier times come.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:…” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)

“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:4 (KJV)

Exercise

I feel like I get a lot of exercise working in the yard and garden. This helps me manage my weight as I get older. Last week while my niece and nephew were visiting I got more exercise than ever. If we did what kids do on a daily basis, it would be impossible to become overweight.

If you are playing or working all the time, it doesn’t give much time for eating. If you ate only when you are hungry, which occurs suddenly in the middle of the work or play, then went back to working and playing as kids do, you would not have time to overeat.

Below are the exercise incorporated play that we did the whole week.

Walking through the petting zoo.

Walking through the petting zoo.

Digging hole for fish pond so the kids could pick out fish.

Digging hole for fish pond so the kids could pick out fish.

Swinging

Swinging

Swimming

Swimming

Playing with the dog

Throwing sticks for the dog.

Riding bikes

Riding bikes

Riding in grass uphill to the barn.

Riding in the grass uphill to the barn.

We even had bike race challenges to see who could ride uphill through the grass to the barn and get there first.

After the first day of bike riding, my leg muscles screamed in protest. As the week went by my muscles adapted and I could ride with the best of them. Due to all the gardening I do, I was in pretty good shape for all the activity except the bike riding.

If we adults could remember the play we did as kids and pull out our bikes, swim, hike, play with the dogs, and dig holes in the dirt, we would never have to worry about our weight again.

One Great Tool

I have a great tool that I am using to weed the paths in the garden.

A great garden tool.

A great garden tool.

I don’t know what it is called, but it slices through the top layer of soil and cuts the weeds off below the roots. It is especially easy to use right now because of all the rain we have had. The rain has made the earth soft, and this tool slices through the top layer of soil like a knife through warm butter.

Slicing through weed roots.

Slicing through weed roots.

As I mention tools, I would like for you to consider another tool that is easily found anywhere in America. It is also useful in all our gardens.

If you are a man and you are reading this blog, I would like to encourage you to get the book…..Kingdom Man…..by Tony Evans, and read it as quickly as possible. We women have a role to fulfill on this earth, but men….you have an even greater role than you can ever possibly imagine. I am going to copy a portion from the book below, for you men to consider, that has to do with YOUR GARDEN.

“…you have been crowned with majesty in God’s kingdom. It is up to you to use the rights that come with the majesty that you have been given. While God is the sovereign and absolute King, He has given you an area to rule in His name, by His rules, and in His image as a kingdom man. You are a reflection of God, an image-bearer. You get to call the shots, for good or for bad, and how you call them will determine how chaotic or productive your garden becomes. God has placed you in a garden. He has given you the dominion mandate. He has said, ‘Let them rule….'” (from Kingdom Man p. 91) (Genesis Chapter 1)

I started this post with one great tool for the garden. I want to end it with one great tool for the garden of life. Whether you are a man or a woman, fulfilling your role in the garden where God has placed you….

YOU will need to use this tool every day.

GOD's WORD - ONE GREAT TOOL!

GOD’s WORD – ONE GREAT TOOL!

The last Bible reference signed into my book (A Love That Multiplies) by a Duggar, comes from Joseph Duggar.

Joseph is in the green shirt, seated between Jinger and Josiah.

Joseph is in the green shirt, seated between Jinger and Josiah.

Joseph referenced the whole chapter of Romans 6. Since you can look up and read this chapter for yourself, I am only going to insert one verse here that I have underlined in my Bible.

Romans 6:14 “For sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Garden Detour

Today I am taking a detour away from the garden for a moment.

Yesterday at church, we had a visiting preacher who is teaching our church how to be an effective witness (as in…. to share what we believe about Jesus Christ and why) in an unoffensive way. He says the best way to share is to tell our story. We all have a story, whether we believe in Jesus and what He has done for us, or we choose not to believe.

At the end of last night’s meeting we wrote out our story of how we came to know Jesus, and there was a commitment page to sign, stating we would tell at least one person our story before we came back to class on Monday night. I didn’t sign it for fear that I was making a promise to God that I could not keep. Remember in a prior post where I referred to….James 4:14 “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow”?

Unsigned commitment

Unsigned commitment

Well…. Monday is here and to honor the God I love, I want to tell my story. Please bear with me for this one day of a detour.

As a child the most important people in my life were my mother, father, grandmother, and older brother (my younger brother wasn’t born until I was almost twelve). My father was a Baptist preacher, so I was at church for every service and event that occurred. At age five I was a chronic liar and a spoiled brat. I hated school and would lie on my mat in first grade after lunch and pretend to be asleep. I found I could get out of school work that way. The teacher talked to my parents in the meat market one Friday evening. I cowered in the background as I listened to my mom defend me, because I had asthma, and she thought that I was probably tired from that. Whew!

Not long after this I was taken to a revival and, even though I was only five, I apparently felt convicted enough to know that I was going to hell if I didn’t change my ways, so I talked to my parents and they prayed with me. Whether this conversion was real or not, I do not know. I stopped lying as much in 2nd grade and tried to do my work. At age nine, however, I took up smoking. At that time my father was the preacher at a small country church and we lived in what people today call the boonies. The army came to the woods behind our house to do their training. It was a good spot for my brother and I to go to on Sunday afternoons, while our parents napped, and smoke cigarette butts picked up from the parking lot at church (eeeewwwww!!), yes, and we were especially excited when we found one that had hardly been smoked.

I smoked for a year, then we moved to a small town with no woods. My smoking days were over. I continued on a path of sometimes being good, sometimes being bad, but overall, by today’s standards, I was a pretty good kid. But…..”being good is not good enough to get you into heaven”. Click here for more on this.

If you are reading right now and you don’t believe in heaven, hell, God, or Jesus, just remember……you can’t afford to be wrong! Study for yourself. Get a Bible and read the New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as a beginning.

Anyway, once again, at age 12, I found myself at a revival. The preacher was describing how desperately wicked we all are and we deserve to go to hell. He described how Jesus suffered as he died on the cross to make a way for us to have a relationship with God so we would not end up in hell. He said, “If you die tonight, where will you be….heaven….or hell?”

I sat there, taking it all in and getting more scared by the moment. Over the years my parents had talked about my conversion at age five, but I could not remember it by this time. I didn’t want to go to hell, and I firmly believed there was one to go to. Once again, I approached my parents. They tried to convince me that I had already accepted Jesus into my life. I was insistent that I pray again. I told God I was sorry for being a sinner, that I believed He sent his Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to make a way for me to come to Him. I asked God to take over my life and help me live for Him. I followed this up with Baptism in our church, and felt real joy and peace, and a desire to please God in all that I did.

I have had my ups and downs throughout my life in my walk with God. I have failed miserably in areas of marriage, raising children, caring for others, but God continues to help me. I have had to go through some unbearable experiences that, were it not for God walking beside me, I would have given up on this life. God is my rock. I could not face each day and do the things I need to do without Him by my side.

If you don’t have a relationship with Him, you are missing out on the greatest thing of all. We think that our life on this earth is what is important, but what is really important is how this life prepares us for the eternal life we will live in heaven after this short life on earth is over.

I will go one step further and say….once you come to know God and establish a relationship with Him through the death and raising of Jesus as our redeemer….and you study more…..you will find out that one day, God is coming to make a new heaven, and a new earth. (Revelation 21:1). I am preparing myself right now for that new earth. There will be jobs to do in God’s Kingdom and I am hoping and praying He lets me work in His garden. 🙂

If you want to follow-up on anything I said, please contact me by my email…. tillleysgardenretreat@gmail.com or leave a comment.

I want to leave you with a final thought….

If you think you may be “good enough” for heaven I would like for you to evaluate your life by the Ten Commandments. Most people try to follow these commandments whether they know it or not, for instance….everyone knows it is wrong to lie, steal, commit adultery, murder, etc.

If you have told one lie…..you are a liar.

If you have taken one thing that doesn’t belong to you….you are a thief.

For murder and adultery, in the New Testament, Jesus said if you hate someone it is the same as murder, and if you lust after someone it is the same as adultery. God calls us to a high standard and without Him we can’t meet His standard. In Revelation 21:8 it says that murderers and liars will be thrown into a “lake which burneth with fire” (hell). In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 it says…adulters, thieves, fornicators….etc.  will not inherit the kingdom of God….back to the hell thing.

My favorite scripture, and the scripture that I prayed at age 12, is found in Romans 10:9-10,13 and says:

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

WHOSOEVER……That’s YOU and its ME!

Study and check these things out. You can’t afford to be wrong!

BACK TO THE GARDEN TOMORROW, AS I WALK MY DAYS OUT, WITH GOD BY MY SIDE.