Sunday, May 31, 2009

And a Graduation Too!

I was invited to attend a graduation ceremony this afternoon. There were seven graduates, dressed in red caps and gowns, with big smiles decorating their beautiful little faces. This graduate said one of the things he liked about nursery school was the puppets (he borrowed them often) and one thing he didn't like was when the girls wouldn't play with the boys. He gave both James and I big hugs and looked very proud to be sitting there with his friends ready to head off to kindergarten in the fall. The teachers both warned us that they might cry and I felt a little bit of that myself. They were saying goodbye to the children they had come to know and love, sending them on to bigger things, and I was too. I'm not really sad, just a little emotional. I've had a wonderful three years with Troy and I will miss him. It's hard to believe he's grown up so fast.

Sodus Point

In spite of the fact that the weather feels anything but summer-like, we took a ride down to Sodus Point last night and walked out on the pier. (It's actually colder today than it was last night.)Several people were out fishing, a few were playing on the beach, and others were just out walking like us. We didn't do anything special but it was nice time spent together and that is special in and of itself.

I don't typically see anything unusual at the pier but some little boys were looking over the edge so I stopped to see what they were looking at. I expected to see fish, and I did, but there was something else in the water too, a turtle! He was just a little guy, a baby, and he was out for a big swim.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Another Prayer Request

Please pray for my father in law who lives in Fairfield, California. He suffered a massive heart attack earlier this week and is in the hospital in an induced coma. His wife (not pictured here...) is at home ill with pneumonia. They also have a small daughter who needs attention. Imani is nine and is actually their great granddaughter and has been adopted by them. She and her grandpa are very close. Also keep my husband, his sisters, and my mother in law (she's in the photo) in your prayers. To complicate matters, the family is spread across the United States and Canada making it difficult to know how to respond.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Planter's Warts

The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man... to tend and keep it.
Genesis 2:8a & 15b

We're trying something new with our veggies this year. My dad found a book on "square-foot gardening" and I decided it sounded like a great idea. My dear husband, although he would have rather not, built me some very nice four foot square boxes. We mixed up the soil and have planted all but about 8 of the squares.

Since they are close to both house and hose, the boxes should be fairly easy for me to keep up with even on those days when I have little boys in my care. I will need to be aware when Josh is wandering the grounds, as he knows not a weed from a vegetable, but I think it is doable. Lucas can play on the back porch, well within sight and hearing distance, as I pull weeds or pick myself a salad.
I'm still thinking about planting corn and pumpkins down behind the barn. Maybe I'll throw in some beans and make it a Three Sisters Garden.

The Advocate

My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
1 John 2:1-2

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Not the Usual

This is not my usual kind of post. I'm not looking for a lot of feedback, rather sorting thoughts. This is where I do some of my deeper thinking and so it is posted here.

I have a very dear friend who is of a different religious persuasion than myself. We have opposing views on who Jesus is and therefore what He means to each one of us. Often, after one of our conversations, I can be found searching the scriptures. This is where I found myself this afternoon and so these verses are posted here on my blog, my "thinking spot". They are printed from her translation of the Bible as during these moments I often go back and forth between hers and mine. Of course, these particular verses back my belief and I am sure she has an answer to support her own. In any case, I love her very much and pray for her often. I hope she prays for me too because I believe a true friend always prays for those she loves. (And yes, she does visit my blog.)


“YOU are my witnesses,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “even my servant whom I have chosen, in order that YOU may know and have faith in me, and that YOU may understand that I am the same One. Before me there was no God formed, and after me there continued to be none. I—I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.” Isaiah 43:10-11

For the undeserved kindness of God which brings salvation to all sorts of men has been manifested, 12 instructing us to repudiate ungodliness and worldly desires and to live with soundness of mind and righteousness and godly devotion amid this present system of things, 13 while we wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and of [the] Savior of us, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave himself for us that he might deliver us from every sort of lawlessness and cleanse for himself a people peculiarly his own, zealous for fine works. Titus 2:11-14

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Although I considered it last year, I did not visit any graves, plant any flags, or attend any parades this Memorial Day. I was up in town early this morning and the streets were quiet. No parade in Williamson today. Our parade is on the traditional Memorial Day, May 30. When we lived in town we could always run outside as soon as the parade started because we lived right near the American Legion.

I am grateful to all our soldiers and sailors. They have sacrificed much to protect and retain the freedoms we have enjoyed all our lives. In a day and age when those freedoms are slowly being stripped away, I am even more thankful. I am grateful for the legacy our forefathers endeavored to leave behind; scriptures etched in stone, carved into the walls of state and federal edifices. Our men and women fought not only for our right to live free, but to love, honor, and obey the God who "created all men equal".

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday Afternoon

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable [are] His judgments and His ways past finding out!
Romans 11:33

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Let the Picnics Begin!

It's time for picnincs and outdoor gatherings. This morning we worked out in the yard and then headed over to Casey Park for a picnic with some of our friends from church. It was the perfect day to play outside, the perfect day for a walk in the woods along the water, and the perfect day to get a sunburn. (That's what Hannah did.)

Casey Park is somewhat unique. The water there is not a creek or river and not really a pond either. It is and empty ore bed, years ago mined for iron. This particular ore bed is about 2 miles long. People swim here on the eastern end and often rent canoes to paddle the distance to the other end and back. It is also stocked with fish. Not far from home and yet we seldom go there.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Feeling Jaded

I did it! I finally potted all those little jade cuttings. I fully expect them to grow and prosper in their new homes so long as I do not kill them with kindness by watering them too much before they are ready. What will I do with all the precious babies? Well, I'm not quite sure but I am hoping to find them permanent homes before winter sets in again. For now they are camped out on my back steps hoping that no big gusts of wind come along to toss them into the flower garden, that no little boys decide they look interesting to play with, and that no cats or puppy dogs send them tumbling down the steps.

If you are praying for Paige, she can use lots of prayer this week as she started her second round of chemo this past Monday. My allergies are hardly worth calling a bother compared to what this beautiful young lady is facing. One of her biggest wishes right now is to be able to attend graduation in June. She has worked hard and put a lot of effort into doing well in school and one day hopes to persue a medical career like her mother. It will be a shame if she is stuck in the hospital while her class graduates. Please keep praying for Michelle and the rest of the family too as they are in this journey together.

It feels like summer has arrived in a whirlwind. There was the threat of frost Monday morning and now the temperatures are in the eighties. I still hope to get a vegetable garden planted but was thinking this afternoon that I am probably more of a "container gardener". I just need some big pots of dirt right up here close to my patio. I've still got a little bit of time, we'll see what happens.

The Grandmother

Once upon a time this little old woman lived at my mother's house. There was once a little old man who made his living as a wood cutter, but he passed on many years ago leaving the little Grandmother a widow. I have never met their children nor do I know if there are any. If they exist, they moved on long before I was aware. Now the little Grandmother lives at my house tucked up on a shelf with several other knickknacks like a tiny clay angel, a miniature antique car, and a small stuffed bear. I have no idea where the little woman originated, only that she spent my entire childhood with us. I hope she likes it at our house.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

As the Cottonwood Flies

I love warm weather, I love sunshine, and I love being outdoors, however being outside when the cottonwood flies leaves me feeling sneezy, spacey, and sleepy. Such will be my lot for the next few weeks. The aches and sneezing will gradually subside and I will actually enjoy working in my gardens. Maybe by then the task won't appear so tremendously daunting.

My dear son, Dave, has delivered some new plants for my gardens; a pair of peonies and two white bleeding hearts. A few weeks ago I mentioned how every year when my peonies came up at our old house, one of my children would come along with a stick and slash them down. The poor plants eventually gave up and died. I never knew exactly who it was until a smiling young man brought his mom some new ones yesterday morning. And the bleeding hearts? Well, who doesn't love this beautiful spring flower? The white ones are especially pretty! Now if only I could find myself a full time gardener who won't run off and get married on me...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Diggin' In the Dirt

I will fall into bed exhausted tonight. It has been a full day. The back porch has been swept and set up for summer. It's time to break out the iced tea!

I went to Ladies' Prayer at church this morning. It is one thing I very much look forward to each week; a time to give God honor for Who He is, to thank Him for His blessings, and to bring our prayers and supplications before Him. There is so much to pray about... I know I can pray at home too, but there is something about doing it as a group that really blesses me and there is power in agreeing together. Yes, Tuesday is quickly becoming one of my favorite days.

I did not stay for Bible study this morning. I had a visitor waiting for me when I arrived home. Jim was here setting up his computer so he can work while he is home, and I knew Dave would be coming around lunchtime. I called Bethany to let her know, and Josiah came too. I had a full house even without James, Nate and Hannah! We enjoyed salad and sandwiches together.

When we finished eating, the dishes were abandoned in the sink and on the counter while Bethany and I pulled weeds and trimmed bushes. I had planned to pot jade plants but at Bethany's suggestion we decided to dig all the plants out of a small garden section, stir up the dirt, and return the desired plants once the garden was freshened up. After a long winter inside the house, gardening can be tough work! Josh was more than eager to help, of course.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Coming Home

Today is a good day. This afternoon I went over to my parent's house to see my mom and to clean the upstairs bedroom. My oldest son arrived home from Minnesota this evening. He stays in the attic bedroom at Grandma's house when he is in town. Before he moved to Minneapolis it was his home. I can't wait to see his smiling face and give him a great big hug! (That's what moms do and grown up boys never mind. They like hugs from Mom.)

My own mother is growing old. Although it is difficult to watch and hard to admit, it is still true. I watched her struggle to catch her breath in church last night as we sat and talked after the evening service. She has been on oxygen for the past eight years and her condition is progressive, but she is okay. She knows that Jesus loves her and heaven is waiting. I hope she stays with us for years to come, but I know there is a reality to life that we often don't want to face. I pray that I will be able to cherish the time we have left.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rain On Our Parade

Yesterday was the Williamson Apple Blossom Festival Parade. Yesterday's forcast called for rain, and rain it did. The road started out dry but that didn't last long. I've never seen so many umbrellas! Thankfully, the rain was not cold as the day started out nice and warm, although each subsquent downpour was slightly colder than the previous one.

Dark clouds didn't stop this parade. Colorguards twirled their flags in the rain, marching bands played their music. Pretty girls from this year and many previous festivals either braved the rain or covered up the best they could. (The theme was "Thanks for the Memories.") Some were under umbrellas, some waved from the shelter of an automobile, and others smiled in spite of the soaking rain. Candy flew in all diections and soggy children scrambled to grab it up.

My friend Shelly set up her photography booth in the shelter of an empty building and watched the parade without fear of a soaking. See me and my camera in the window's reflection? Too bad my camera batteries died before the parade was over.

After the parade Hannah and I went home for a few hours. My sinus were not happy and I needed to close my eyes for a bit. By the time evening arrived it was downright chilly. We returned to town to find Ben and his friend, Clay, who had ridden bikes up earlier in the day. I stayed in the van while the kids watched the fireworks display. It was both warm and dry.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Passing of Time

For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, And like a watch in the night.
Psalm 90:4

My days of watching Troy are completed. I'm not sure where the past 2 1/2 years have gone, but the job is now done. Years ago I had other little people in my house. These four spent their days playing together over twenty years ago when we first moved to Williamson. In fact, Charlie and Bethany fed Lincoln Log roof slats into the cool air returns together. (We got them back when had the furnace ducts cleaned...) It seems there have always been small people in my house. It will seem strange to have no Troy just as it seemed strange when the others no longer arrived each morning. They all left behind fond memories and funny stories.

This morning Hannah and I took Troy and headed back up town to the laundromat. (I told you moving the appliances is no easy job.) I thought it wise to wash the clothes before the Apple Blossom Festival took over the town parking lot and we finished just in time. When we left the lot was closed to traffic. While the clothes washed we took a walk and found a tramploine in my friend Shelly's backyard. They said it was okay for Troy to bounce on. While the clothes tumbled in the dryer for a few minutes, we bought some drinks and an order of fries at the Candy Kitchen. Troy thought that was a good idea. This afternoon I am fighting off a sinus headache. I have a pretty good idea it is allergies and that gave me good reason to buy a big jar of locally made honey on my way home. I'm about to have a nice hot cup of tea.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"That's Not How Mommy Does It"

Being a Grandma is a whole lot different than being a mom. The little people God sends along "belong" to us, but not really. It is not Grandma's job to decide when Baby will start eating solids, when he will be potty trained or whether he will attend preschool. Sometimes we do things different than Mommy or Daddy. It's not because we are trying to spite them or prove our way is better, it's just because we are different people. Grandma hasn't neglected Baby because she changed his diaper less than Mommy or let him cry himself to sleep. She knows that diapers are expensive and when her own children were small, she changed diapers only when they really needed to be changed. And crying never hurt Baby, it taught him to settle himself when other tasks were calling, at least in Grandma's days as Mommy.
Grandma doesn't mind if Mommy wants to put Baby on the potty several times throughout the day, she just isn't ready to do that herself. She just found potty training less of a struggle when she waited and prefers to fight other battles right now. Grandma walks a fine line never knowing when her advice or opinion are needed, wanted, or appreciated. She's doing the best she can to do things like Mommy would, but sometimes its hard to know just what that is.

A Different Day

Yesterday brought perfect weather. Hannah had a morning appointment in Rochester right up near the Lilac Festival. It would have been a wonderful day to roam amidst the lilacs but, not wanting to fight the crowds and cars, we drove on past taking a few photos as we went.

I decided to drive up by the reservoir on Cobb's Hill and though we did get out to look at the water, we didn't walk more than a few feet from the van. Lucas was sleeping in his carseat and we needed to be back in town by noon to get Troy.

Maybe one day we'll find some friends, pack a picnic lunch and go back to the city with a list of places to visit and photograph. There are so many places we can go to look at scenery, hike, or picnic and they don't cost a thing except the time and gasoline to get there.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Finishing the Task

On Monday morning I was informed that this will be my final week with Troy. Classes at the community college are finished on Friday and Bryan will be off for the summer. This fall Troy will start kindergarten and so my job will be done in just a couple of days. I can hardly believe I have finished the task.

Troy was just two when he first came, still in diapers and barely talking. We cuddled him, comforted him, played with him and read him stories. In fact for three years he has scarcely gone down for a nap without first reading a book. He's done a lot of growing and is very much looking forward to riding the school bus with his big brother come September.

I knew this day was fast approching and I am not feeling sad over it, at least not yet. What I am wondering is "what comes next?" I still have Josh and Lucas periodically, and although I am slightly hesitant, I'm thinking about possibly adding some more little people to my schedule. If you think of it, keep me in your prayers.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sleeping in the Sunshine

Today was not a day of big accomplishments. I did not sleep well last night and after inhaling a bit of dust while cleaning my bedroom, I felt rather sleepy. Actually I felt completely sleepy; crabby sleepy. I did not want anyone else to become the object of my sleeplessness and I did not want to cry either. Crying gives me a headache. I decided taking a nap was imperative.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Love Through the Generations

Mother's Day really does grow more special through the years. Once upon a time I was the child fashioning a Mother's Day craft for the Mom who gave her life to take care of my brothers, and sisters, and me. I have memories of being a very small girl, seated next to her on the couch, while she put shoes and socks on my little feet. I sat on her lap in the rocking chair while she sang "Jesus Loves Me' and let me drink the last few sips of sugar-sweet coffee from the bottom of her cup. I knelt beside her next to my bed when we said our prayers each night...

One day I had a small child of my own followed by several more, but her mothering didn't stop there. Mom was there to answer questions and give advice, never more than a phone call away. She sat on the living room floor and played cars and blocks with my little boys and girls, hosted family picnics in her backyard, and lavished love on each and every grandchild who arrived. Between my sisters, older brother and I there are thirteen.

Now the generations are expanding once more bringing with them new little lives and faces. Now I am the grandmother blessed by the appearance of little ones. I can only imagine Mom must feel doubly blessed as she snuggles one of these tiny children and looks into their eyes.

I am learning that the blessing of Mother's Day doesn't come in cards and gifts, but in the gathering of family. In this I am blessed beyond measure.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mom's Day Expectations

I have come to the conclusion that special holidays often set us up for disappointment. Mother's Day is a wonderful holiday, set aside to honor moms and let them know how much we love and appreciate them. Unfortunately, many moms look forward to something that never happens and our children (and husbands) never know exactly why we feel let down. We try not to feel expectant, we fight off disappointment, and we often end up feeling let down anyway. It's those darn expectations.

As a daughter I feel as though I have let my own mother down on this special day. This year I failed to even get a card together. I wanted to write her a special poem or story, but somehow, it didn't happen. We did gather the family and had a nice lunch together at Rachel's house, but I had no gift to give the mom who has lavished so much love upon me through the years. Was Mom disappointed? It's hard to tell, and she probably wouldn't admit it anyway, but I think she was. I was disappointed too as I really wanted very much to do something nice for her.

Will I ever learn to take care of these things ahead of time? Is there a way to simplify and actually do it better? Maybe next year we will just eat lunch at home, gather at Mom's house for some dessert, and take her a nice pot of spring flowers and a giant Mother's Day card.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Kickin' Up

The day started out bright and sunny but once I rolled out of bed (I won't tell you what time it was...) the clouds started to roll in. It didn't actually start to rain until well into the afternoon and I had a chance to see a bit of sunshine. I even weeded a small portion of my flower garden and took a walk around back to pull some unwanteds from my veggie patch too. The flower garden is an overwhelming job but the vegetable garden is a definite possibility.

While Hannah and I were pulling weeds and burning off old dry leaves, the wind kicked up and the temperatures started to fall. It's been a windy afternoon and evening. Such is life in this little part of the country and this is why we don't put in fragile vegetable plants until well into May. The tomatoes and peppers will be ready to set in a week or two. That will give me time to clean out those weed infested garden boxes.

Fighting the Good Fight

Please continue to keep our friends Mike and Michelle in your prayers as their daughter, Paige, fights her battle with leukemia. In the midst of the battle soldiers grow weary and such is the case with this precious family. In spite of the trials, there are answers to prayer, one being that both Paige's brother and sister are perfect donor matches for a bone marrow transplant. She needs to go into remission in order for this procedure to take place and her body is not currently producing the blood counts needed for that. Fevers and rashes also plague her. Please pray for strength for her parents as Mike continues to work and Michelle spends her days and most nights at the hospital and healing, of course, for Paige. The battle has just begun.
http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/paige_durham

Friday, May 08, 2009

Warm Sunny Days

My weekly schedule has been rewritten and has become quite unpredictable. Only Troy's days remain constant and they are numbered. Soon classes at the community college will be finished and Bryan will be out for the summer. In the fall Troy will start kindergarten and I won't be needed to babysit any longer. Sara and Alysa have gotten off the bus at my house for the past few years, but their mother's work schedule is not quite so steady as it had been. Sometimes they come and sometimes they don't. This week they were here just twice. Josh usually comes to visit once a week but there are those times when his other grandma likes a turn, and Lucas, who is normally here twice, had a change of plan this week too.

The days have finally become warm and sunny. I have neglected to plant spinach and leaf lettuce so far this season. I'm not sure where the time has gone. How did it get to be May already and where has my motivation gone? I hope it shows up soon because summer is fast approaching. Look how long that grass is getting!

Small Boys

Seeing my niece with our former president is not the only thing bringing a smile to my face these days. Watching our little grandson with his grandpa is making me smile too. Josh likes walking around outside and riding in the wagon is fun too, but doing guy things is the best! He loves anything with a motor; cars, trucks, tractors, motorcycles, chainsaws, and lawn mowers...

He was thrilled yesterday afternoon when Grandpa took him for a ride on the garden tractor. What little one wouldn't be? I was blessed to see James spending time with Josh and the two of them enjoying their time together. Yup, that makes me smile too.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

More Thinking

The last couple weeks have not been very good for sorting out thoughts. I'm not sure if it is actually imperative that this be done or not, but somehow I feel better when it is accomplished.

A couple weeks ago this photo appeared on my niece's Facebook. I am borrowing it. (Annie, if you want me to put it back, just say so.) My husband thought it made a good wallpaper for our computer and so each time I come to sit down, there it is, and it makes me smile. I don't know why, but it does.

My niece lives in Dallas and works in a tall office building. One day she went to get on the elevator and found it already occupied. Initially she was told she couldn't ride along, but then someone said she could, and so she did. She found the gentleman to be "nice" and sent him a thank you note, which he returned with a note of his own.

The story left me wondering who crosses my path each day and how I treat those people. Who rides the elevator with me? Who is in line behind me at the grocery store? Did I smile at a stranger today? Did I bother to say "thank you"? Does meeting "the man" make a difference? I don't know what Ann's opinion of this man was prior to meeting him, nor do I know if their meeting made any change in how she thinks of him. (Maybe she'll let us know...) It did however, leave me thinking.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Grandpa's and Story Books

video

Last night Josh enjoyed some Grandpa time. They "read" some books together. How fun!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Thinking...

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Matthew 16:24-26

I’d Rather Have Jesus
I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands,
I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hand.
Than to be a king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin’s dread sway,
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.
I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than world-wide fame,
I’d rather be true to His holy name.
He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He’s sweeter than honey from out of the comb;
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs,
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead.

Monday, May 04, 2009

The Frog Jammies

Frog jammies apparently do not make children happy... Sure do wish I had pictures of all my children wearing them! This one is Jim. He was the first to wear them 26 years ago. (Jim was wearing pants to another pair in the picture...)
They're tired, old pajamas, but it was fun to see Josh wearing them anyway. How amusing to see the same expression on each of these faces!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

A Quiet Evening

Although the house seems unusually quiet this evening and I miss my little grandson, I am ever so thankful that my son in law and daughter returned home safe this afternoon. They are healthy and whole, not laying in far away hospital beds (or worse), able to walk, talk, and take care of their little boy. We are blessed.

It was a beautiful week and flew by so quickly. Josh had the pleasure of going shopping with Hannah and I this afternoon. (Don't all little boys love traipsing through the store?) We stopped at two banks, Walmart, K Mart, Kohl's and Wegaman's. When we returned home, Ben was mowing the lawn and "Buppa" was running the chainsaw, both things little boys find fascinating. Just look at that sawdust fly!

The day was too nice to spend inside so we walked about the yard and watched the guys work. There were dandelions to be picked and stones to be tossed. I even gave Josh a wagon ride down and around the driveway several times and Hannah took him for a ride on the swing. All fun stuff.

So, now the week is over and Hannah will sleep in her own room again. She had been camping out on the extra bed in Ben's room so as not to wake up her little nephew. Or was it so as not to be woken up by him? Okay, so maybe it was a little of each... Tomorrow morning we go back to church and guess who we can't wait to see?

Friday, May 01, 2009

A Fresh Start

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Ezekiel 36:26-27

This afternoon I dug up my little flower and moved it to a new home. It is my hope that with a fresh start it can once again be nourished and begin to grow into the beautiful flower it was meant to be, rather than stunted, sick, and barely recognizable as a tulip.

As I looked at the sickly plant I couldn't help but think of God's desire for us, His creation. Weak, sickly, and stunted by sin, we are far from what God intended us to be. We also need a new beginning, a fresh start. That is why Jesus came, so that our old hardened heart could be removed and replaced with a "heart of flesh," one that is able to hear when God speaks and desires to follow Him. No wonder meeting Jesus is referred to as a "new birth"!