What Doesn’t Blow You Down Makes You Stronger

Special thanks to Daily Thankful, Adrianna, and Angela (click to read their fantastic posts) for unknowingly helping to inspire the words in this image and in the post below – seems that we are on the same wavelength. ❤

For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. (Jeremiah 17:8 KJV)

“He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:3 (NASB)


Grab a cup of tea or hot chocolate or coconut water or whatever beverage you enjoy sipping on while reading long articles because this is going to end up being a long one. 😅

Last fall, I put some apple seeds that I saved out of an apple into some dirt to allow it to naturally go through the winter. I also put some in the refrigerator last November and again in January. I took them out briefly for the photo below. The seeds are wrapped in a damp paper towel which I placed in a Ziploc bag so that they wouldn’t dry out.

This process is known as stratification.  “In horticulture, stratification is the process of pretreating seeds to simulate natural conditions that a seed must endure before germination. Many seed species have an embryonic dormancy phase, and generally will not sprout until this dormancy is broken.” — Wikipedia

When it comes to apple seeds, it usually takes, according to the linked article, 70 to 80 days. However, it looks like they can sprout too soon. I say that because one of the little apple trees  I planted to be stratified this winter sprung up too early instead of waiting for spring like it was supposed to. The silly thing. Anyway.

Johnny Appleseed the Second, in his pig pot under the plant light

I brought that one inside and left the rest to be good little seeds and go through the rest of stratification. The little tree (whose name is Johnny Appleseed the Second, by the way – because I name everything – and this was my dad’s suggestion for a name) is now about three inches tall; I didn’t expect it to survive because it sprouted at the wrong time. But it did. So I put it under my plant light with my citronella plant, garlic, rubber plant, daffodil, Aloe Vera, Venus flytrap, pitcher plant, tomatoes, peppers, lemon trees, Mandarin orange saplings, and one other citrus tree that I am unsure of what it is. I think I’ve turned our “Arts and Crafts room” into a nursery at this point. 😅 Oh, I’m digressing. Getting back on topic…

So far, Johnny Appleseed the Second looks healthy. However, since Johnny Appleseed the Second will be indoors until spring, I wanted to make sure I was taking proper care of him. The ones I had last year (that came up in the spring like good little seeds) nature took care of, except for the occasional watering, so that they would be used to being outdoors. I thought I remembered this, and so researched it:

“Wind greatly affects plants throughout their growth. When plants are seedlings, slight breezes help them grow more sturdy. ” — Gardening FAQ

Turns out I remembered correctly. Thus, if the little guy is constantly protected from the wind and then planted outside this spring, his trunk will be weak and the wind could break him.

Therefore, staking a plant or blocking the wind from reaching a plant can actually do more harm than good in the long run, as long as the wind is not storm-strength. Every other day or so, I blow on Johnny Appleseed the Second, trying to mimic wind to make him stronger.

Tree trunk silhouette at sunset

And then I realized… just like I am doing for little Johnny Appleseed the Second, God allows us to go through trials that make us bend and knocks us around so that we get stronger in Him. He allows the wind to blow, and with it, strengthens us so we don’t break when the stronger storms come later.

In conclusion to this long-winded (sorry bad pun) post: We’re like apple trees! 🍎 🍏 Okay, okay: Our Father in Heaven allows turbulence to strengthen His children because He loves them.


This poem by Lillian E. Barr was in Streams In The Desert in the January 16th devotional; it seems relevant here. I hope you enjoy her poem as much as I did:

THE TREE GOD PLANTS

The wind that blows can never kill
The tree God plants;
It bloweth east, it bloweth west,
The tender leaves have little rest,
But any wind that blows is best;
The tree God plants
Strikes deeper root, grows higher still,
Spreads wider boughs, for God’s good will
Meets all its wants.

There is no frost hath power to blight
The tree God shields;
The roots are warm beneath soft snows,
And when Spring comes it surely knows,
And every bud to blossom grows.
The tree God shields
Grows on apace by day and night,
Till sweet to taste and fair to sight
Its fruit it yields.

There is no storm hath power to blast
The tree God knows;
No thunderbolt, nor beating rain,
Nor lightning flash, nor hurricane
When they are spent it doth remain.
The tree God knows
Through every tempest standeth fast,
And from its first day to its last
Still, fairer grows.

If in the soul’s still garden-place
A seed God sows
A little seed it soon will grow,
And far and near all men will know
For heavenly lands, he bids it blow.
A seed God sows,
And up it springs by day and night;
Through life, through death, it groweth right;
Forever grows.

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The Origin Of Valentine’s Day

A lot of people celebrate Valentine’s Day. (Or if you are like me and you are single, this holiday is most likely S.A.D –  Singles Awareness Day.) But have you ever wondered why we celebrate it, and who this Valentine guy was? Well, wonder no more! (Click the links at the end of the quotes if you want to view the whole article where I found the information. 😉)

Image Credit: Pixabay

The history behind it is actually quite dark. Two people with the name of Valentine were martyred in different years in Ancient Rome on that day. The Catholic church recognized them as saints. And at this time, Lupercalia was already established by the ancient Romans to be celebrated from February 13th through the 15th. So, what is that celebrating?

Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Lupercalia was a very ancient, possibly pre-Roman pastoral annual festival, observed in the city of Rome on February 15, to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility. Lupercalia was also called “dies Februatus”, purified (literally “februated day”) after the instruments of purification called “februa”, which give the month of February (Februarius) its name. – Wikipedia on Lupercalia

Killing two birds with one stone: Now we know where February got its name from too…

Image Credit: Pixabay

Anyway…

The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.

The Roman romantics “were drunk. They were naked,” says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile.

The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the duration of the festival — or longer, if the match was right. – NPR

So… that’s awful. Those poor women. I don’t even want to think about it.

Later, Pope Gelasius I muddled things in the 5th century by combining St. Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia to expel the pagan rituals. But the festival was more of a theatrical interpretation of what it had once been. Lenski adds, “It was a little more of a drunken revel, but the Christians put clothes back on it. That didn’t stop it from being a day of fertility and love.”

Around the same time, the Normans celebrated Galatin’s Day. Galatin meant “lover of women.” That was likely confused with St. Valentine’s Day at some point, in part because they sound alike. – NPR

This sort of sounds like what happened with Christmas. Take a pagan holiday and combine it with a Christian holiday in an attempt to convert people. Or in this case, try to twist the pagan holiday to make it “Christian”.

Then I was curious about how the Valentine Cards were started:

Another embellishment suggests that Saint Valentine performed clandestine Christian weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. The Roman Emperor Claudius II supposedly forbade this in order to grow his army, believing that married men did not make for good soldiers.  However, George Monger writes that this marriage ban was never issued and that Claudius II told his soldiers to take two or three women for themselves after his victory over the Goths.

According to legend, in order “to remind these men of their vows and God’s love, Saint Valentine is said to have cut hearts from parchment”, giving them to these soldiers and persecuted Christians, a possible origin of the widespread use of hearts on St. Valentine’s Day. – Wikipedia on Valentine’s Day

So that’s how Valentine’s Day got its start
And how people started sending Valentine’s Day hearts.
I do hope that you enjoyed and learned something new
Happy Valentine’s Day (or Singles Awareness Day) to you!

💘

Review: When Dreams Come True

When Dreams Come TrueWhen Dreams Come True by Eric Ludy and Leslie Ludy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book so much! I’ve had this book for a while, but was saving it until close to Valentines’s Day. It didn’t disappoint! It was hard to put down. I loved their writing styles.

“And amazingly, through it all, there was a God watching me fall, watching me break His heart, and loving me still…” – Leslie

“The next hour passed like a hiccup attack in the middle of a wedding ceremony.” – Eric

(Those two sentences are from different parts of the book, by the way.) It pulled me right in.  I didn’t expect the book to have much conviction in it since it was a love story, but I was pleasantly surprised. Here are just a few:

“Eric, God doesn’t care about you accomplishing things, He cares about you obeying. When you obey, it’s truly amazing what you can accomplish!” – Eric’s mom

“I was in pre-med, and doing what I had always dreamed of,” he shared animately, “but I realized that, even though I’d been a Christian since I was five, I had never asked God what He wanted to do with my life.” – Eric

And there are also plenty of gems for the single Christian (like me):

“And as I had slowly learned to trust Him completely as the Lord of every area of my life, I had felt His gentle challenge to my heart, I have someone special for you, My precious child. Wait patiently for that man, set yourself aside for him in complete purity and faithfulness. I will bring him into your life in a way more beautiful than anything you can imagine. But wait for My perfect timing. Use this time of your life to focus on Me instead of chasing after foolish, short-term pleasure.” – Leslie

This book was such an enjoyable read, and I loved how Eric and Leslie respected their future spouses without even knowing them yet. It was beautiful.  It truly is a love story that only God could write. ❤

* Also, if you read the book, it advertises their music in the back. Leslie Ludy allows you to listen and download a few tracks for free on her website, Set Apart Girl, which are AMAZING.

View all my reviews

Jesus will be with me – Collaboration with Following Him beside still waters

Hayley from Red Letters asked if she could write a melody to Jesus Will Be With Me and of course, I said YES… and here it is in song form! She did an AMAZING job. Click the link below – or above – to visit her blog and listen to it. 😀

Red Letters

I’m so excited to share this very special song with you all. My lovely friend, Grace, from Following Him beside still waters wrote a beautiful poem and shared it on her blogpost ‘Jesus will be with me’ on Sunday. I asked if I could put a melody to these inspiring words and turn it into a song and Grace said yes! Here are the words from Grace’s poem.

Verse 1:

When I go through water’s deep,
Jesus will be with me

When billowing waves overtake,
With me, He will still be

Chorus:

For without Him I would drown
In brutal waters deep

If He were not with me, I know
Water would overtake

For without Him, when I lay me down
Fears would keep me from sleep

If He were not with me, from sleep’s hold I would never wake

Verse 2:

When at night I fall fast asleep,
Jesus…

View original post 89 more words

My Temporary Home

One of my best friends, Eloise from Highly Improbable, and I are (unofficially) writing songs for FAWM (February Album Writing Month). I don’t know enough about music to write melodies, however, so I just write the lyrics and pretend that I’m actually writing songs. 😅 Here is one of the “songs” I wrote, which was heavily inspired by a book I read this year called The Lost Art  Of True Beauty.

My Temporary Home

Always been told to draw strength from within
But what if I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin?

Look in the mirror and see only the flaws
But what if I take a moment and pause

It’s the lost art of true beauty
Viewing the outside is not the goal
Because the outside is easy to perceive
But it shouldn’t matter so much to me
The eyes are the windows to the soul
Look inside, tell me, what do you see?

All this time I’ve had it wrong – trying and failing
To fix myself, and in the waters of doubt, flailing

Look in the mirror and see only the flaws
But what if I take a moment and pause

It’s the lost art of true beauty
Viewing the outside is not the goal
Because the outside is easy to perceive
But it shouldn’t matter so much to me
The eyes are the windows to the soul
Look inside, tell me, what do you see?

God made me who I am and He doesn’t make mistakes
I try to tell my heartache
I trust in His reasoning and try to let my insecurities go
It isn’t easy, the going will be slow

It’s the lost art of true beauty
He pays attention to the heart for sure
He looks inside and tells me what He sees
He sees every little piece of me
A child of God that He created for His pleasure
Of all my insecurities, I am finally free

This is His temple, this is my temporary
Home


But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (First Samuel 16:7 NKJV)

The Light & A Life Update

Image credit: Pixabay

Have you heard the phrase, “light at the end of the tunnel?” I recently read this one: “Due to extenuating circumstances, the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off.” At first, I thought that this was clever – and it is – however, I realize with depression, it can certainly feel that way sometimes.

The enemy puts a blindfold on to block the view, and it takes a lot of effort to get it off.

Image credit: Pixabay

For anxiety sufferers, the tunnel constricts our view of the Light as the airway constricts when a person has an asthma attack. Nothing can get in, and nothing can make us feel more helpless and alone.

But maybe, just maybe, tunnel vision causes this. Thoughts have a way of blocking the Light and making it seem smaller than it is or telling us that the Light at the end of the tunnel is a train that’s going to run us over. It’s sometimes nearly impossible to control them.

image credit: Pixabay

It’s all lies. Yes, that is our view of things. But, whatever the case may be, just because I can’t see the Light, doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. For we walk by faith, not by sight (Second Corinthians 5:7).

So even when we feel hopeless in the middle of some tunnel where it’s dark, and where sometimes we’re even afraid of the Light, we know we must keep walking. Even when the tunnel starts to constrict, keep pushing forward. Even when the Light isn’t visible anymore, keep going. And when it looks like the Light might just run us over – keep on. Wield the Armor of the Spirit and order those lies away.

Image credit: Pixabay

For the Light is waiting to shine on us, and shine through us. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).


That’s pretty much where my brain has been today. It has been hard to stay focused on the Light and Who He is. If you read this post from a couple of weeks ago, then you know that life has been hard for me this month.

You may remember this photo from the past. Radar is the one on the left, washing her face. Last night, she became violently ill – and the vet isn’t open that late, so I had to wait until morning. I kept checking on her most of the night. When I checked on her around 1AM, she was already gone. I had no chance to even try to help her, it happened so fast. Here is another photo; she is on the left (and Sketcher is on the right):

Her eyes weren’t always different like that. When she was a kitten, another cat scratched her eye, and she became blind in that eye. She adapted so well, but I always had to keep that in mind because if I approached her on her blind side and then reached to pet her, she would lose her mind because she didn’t see it coming. 😅 I have many fond memories of her losing her mind. Most of the time it happened because I mistook her for Rabbit (Radar’s mother). Without seeing the face, they looked almost identical.

Now they are both gone, within a couple of weeks of each other.

Radar would have been eight this spring.

I may not be as active online the next few days while I try to put my heart back together. Love you guys! ❤

Review: Evidence Not Seen

Evidence Not Seen: A Woman's Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War IIEvidence Not Seen: A Woman’s Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War II by Darlene Deibler Rose
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1.)

Darlene Deibler and her husband went to New Guinea as missionaries, and at first, all was well. But then World War Two came along and she found herself separated from her husband and a prisoner of war. This book is about how Jesus sustained her during those hard times. Even after all she went through in the course of the book, she never lost her faith. She was quite an amazing women of God!

“Lord, I believe all that the Bible says. I do walk by faith and not by sight. I do not need to feel You near, because Your Word says You will never leave me or forsake me. Lord, I confirm my faith; I believe.” – Darlene

A friend gave this book to me Christmas 2016, and I’ve been slowly reading it since the beginning of 2017.  Even though it took me a while to finish, it wasn’t because of the lack of interest. I didn’t want to rush through the book too fast and miss something because there were many times I needed to stop and mull over the points she made or how God was working in her life and the lives of others. (Though I ended up reading much faster at the end of December when I first started to get sick; it was such an encouragement during that time, though I almost regret reading the end so fast because now it’s a giant blur. 😆)

This book was incredible and I highly recommend it. 🙂

View all my reviews