A couple weeks ago I posted a picture of the red bud tree beautifying the hill above my father’s garden talking about the simplicity of the purplish-pink flower of the red bud tree with the apple blossoms and glorious green hilly terrain blanketed with an overcast sky… breath-taking. I didn’t think the sight could improve much this year until the azalea bush started to blossom its outstanding orange petals. Today’s photograph reminded me of God’s love and hope for us…the best is yet to come.
I honestly didn’t think my parent’s property could be much prettier and then as if to say, “You haven’t seen anything yet” the azalea joins the scene. As I snapped a photo from below the bush to capture the sky in the background I spied the rose bud and red maple. A bright and vibrant orange splashed in front of a pale pink, burgundy and green backdrop.
1 Corinthians 2:9 tells us “…No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him…” Think about it ~ the prettiest and most powerful vision of nature experienced on earth is nothing compared to the beautiful heaven waiting for us when we die.
God is good and blesses us more than we deserve yet each time He does, I’m overwhelmed and in awe. Each and every time He surprises me with a “Wow” blessing, I’m humbled and amazed. Then I chuckle because once again I’m surprised, yet the Bible tells us God will bless us and we should expect it. As I shared a blessing with my friends yesterday we discussed this same thought – The Bible says God will answer prayer and will bless us, so why are we amazed when He does what He says He would do? Hmm…It was a nice time of fellowship and our unanimous decision at the end is this. We’re determined to be in awe and amazed at the way God works in our lives, each and every time. He always has something better for us, if we are looking. He is waiting to bless us. He is waiting to answer prayer, when we ask.
God is always working in our lives, if we are looking. He always has something better in store for us as long as we keep our heart and eyes focused on Him. If you would like to share a way God has blessed you this week or one of past that still touches your life today ~ will you share with the others reading today’s blog?
This week God humbled me to my knees in thanksgiving and hope. I’m not sure what the most powerful piece of the blessing was – if it was a friend pitching my book while at a conference or is it that God opened a door for me to submit my book proposal to the prestigious publisher I hadn’t even consider myself worthy enough to submit too? I cried, prayed, thanked God, I jumped the happy dance, cried again, more praise, prayer, jumping, dancing and rejoicing.
A celebration for God’s love and faith in me, thanksgiving for a friend that believes in me and my writing enough to share on my behalf, and hope for the story about how He worked through my sister’s kidnapping to restore and intensify my faith in Him. Thank you Jesus!
Take a moment to think of one (yes only one for right now, you can list a notebook full in a minute) amazing, awe-inspiring and only God instant in your life. Where were you? What happened? Who was with you? Had you prayed and God answered in a profound way? Was it a “wish” or “dream” on your heart that He blessed you with? The sky is the limit.
To read more about the Throne in Heaven, read Revelation 4 (last book of the Bible)
The picture below is their second azalea bush ~ didn't want to play favorites. Notice there is a beautiful tree in the backdrop for this one too? My parents have a green thumb and an eye for landscaping.
Last week as I approached my parent’s house a brilliant orange caught my eye. The two azalea bushes were in full bloom and their color was breath taking, to say the least. The sun was shining and after thanking God for the beauty I knew another blog had been birthed in my head. Before walking out back to snap a few photographs I went in and said hello to my parents and daughter. The first question asked was not “How was school?” but “Did you see Gram’s azalea bush out back? It is beautiful!” I had to laugh since I had only come in the house to be polite and was itching to get outside to capture its beauty to share with you. After sharing this with my parents I started to walk out the door when Dad insisted on driving me. So with my Daddy and camera, I was off.
While venturing out back and during the azalea bush’s first photo shoot Dad shared his memories of digging the azalea bush out at my Gram’s house and transplanting it to their property. With the azalea tired from smiling in the Sonlight, Dad and I rode back to the house and continued the trip down memory lane with Mom. It was my wise mother’s idea to incorporate Gram’s birthday into the azalea blog. The creative genius in my mother is an added inspiration and supplement for my original plans. Thanks Mom!
I grew up with my Gram as my next door neighbor. My grandfather passed when I was in third grade but Gram was never alone. My Aunt Nancy lived with her 24/7 yet the rest of us were there the majority of our daylight hours. Gram didn’t have rules and the cupboards and fridge were full of the foods we weren’t typically served at home. It was great. During the summer we would spend countless hours swimming in the pool and sitting on the front porch listening to Gram tell about her life and how things had changed. I’ve always cherished the time spent with my family and I continue to thank God for each of them and the memories forever etched on my heart and mind. Gram’s house was the hub for family celebrations ~ whether it were Sunday supper or a birthday party. Everyone gathered for fun, fellowship and food. Everyone left with cheeks sore from laughing and bellies busting the buttons on one’s pants off. Life was and is good!
Just like the azalea was uprooted and transplanted, we have the opportunity to be "uprooted" and "transplanted" through our acceptance of Jesus as our Savior. Life is a gift and each child is a gift to their parents - our parents raise us with morals and ethics with faith and strength and then as get older we have a choice to make. Will be trust in Jesus and let the roots nurtured by our parents flourish? Or will we grow out of control, weakening our beauty only to eventually stop blossoming? The choice is ours. I'm thankful for generations of family who are both faithful to each other and God. A priceless and precious gift.
Psalm 100 NIV - A psalm. For giving grateful praise.
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
I’m blessed with wonderful parents who are even better grandparents. During the school year they invest time and wisdom in my daughter, having warm snacks ready and activities planned for her when she gets off the bus each day. Two generations blessed with great grandparents, I pray to be half the grandmother my Mom is to Mary and my Gram was to me. Thankfully these are shoes I won’t need to where for a decade or more, Lord willing. Happy Birthday Gram! You've left a legacy of love, faith and hope...
Be sure to read tomorrow’s blog to see how nature is a true gift from God with the red bud and azalea returning for another debut. A new and vibrant perspective revealed.
Ephesians 3:16 - 18
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen
you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people,
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ...
Starting last night and for the next six Tuesday evenings I will join a dozen other writers for a Master Writing Class lead by Bob Comenole. Each evening two writers are highlighted, receiving an hour worth of comments and critique. During this hour Bob uses our writing as a catalyst for teaching ~ capturing those teachable moments.
During last night's class my writing was one of the lucky pieces to be critiqued. It was wonderful. I took eight pages of notes on my legal pad, not to mention the four pages I took while the other writer's piece was being critiqued. I learned a ton and walked out the door overwhelmed, yet hungry for our next session and to start revising the revision again. There were a lot of great conversations, questions asked and answered, thought provoking comments, ample suggestions for changes and additions, encouragement and most of all, one powerful consensus ~ everyone seemed to enjoy my writing and wanted to read more.
Some comments about my overall reviewed piece:
· "...this is strong enough to hold the audience, even if not in the target audience..."
· "...tragedy in a resilient way..."
· In response to Line 366 “…our rural countrymen and women searched the way they hunted…” one said “Great line!” and others agreed
· “…find it universal…”
· “…nuts and bolts for script…”
· “…could see a counselor, friend, or family member reading this to know how to relate to the women directly affected…”
· Liked the sense of community, “…from vigilante to experts…”
Areas to work on:
· Talked about the Rick Benningfield’s hat, caused confusion
· Some would like more conversation while others wanted more of my personal thoughts
· Wanted to know more about the Rick (some of this is in chapter 9 which wasn’t shared)
· The chapter provides a lot of information but not as much emotional connection (the emotional connection to Rick is included with his introduction in chap. 9, but see there is room to add some more here)
· Time line not always clear
· Who is the audience? Hard to tell.
· During one of my strong scenes – some wanted more space between a realization while others thought it was enough the way it is
· Watch repeating words or phrases
· Omit words – Bob challenged me to reduce my word count to 40% of what it currently is in my revision
· Want to see the narrator’s anger come through more
· Want to “feel” the transformation from “…from vigilante to experts…”
· Reads a lot like a report ~ need to bring the reader with you (this was debated on how much needed to be added)
It was a great evening to say the least. I have a lot of work before me and look forward to sitting down and getting to work. With Bob’s expertise leading this thoughtful, passionate and motivated writers, the sky is the limit! And the writing will only improve!!
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323