Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spring Planting


 Spring is quickly arriving here in the Valley of the Sun.  Some of you may wonder if summer ever leaves.  Let me assure you that it does.  However, autumn and winter kind of get rolled into one short season.  So, while most of the country is trying to get out from under piles of snow or shivering from a blustery wind we are playing in the dirt.

This last weekend Husband and I decided that we would plant flowers in the MANY pots that we had laying around the house.  I am not sure where they all came from but they get the job done.  We planted a variety of colors of Snapdragons and Zinnias.  Both are rather heat tolerant and can do well i n some partial shade.  Seems like the right kinds of plants for us.

This was really the first time that I had done any flowers in containers.  Most of what I have known has been in flower beds, etc.  It made me think back to the house that I grew up in where we had tulips, daffodils, roses, lilacs, and some other varieties that I cannot remember in the areas surrounding our house.  Unfortunately, I don't think that bulb plants (tulips and daffodils) do very well here because it doesn't get cold enough and they are some of my favorites by far.  Roses don't really fit in with our landscaping and I have heard lilacs don't fare too well here either.  Such is life.  Different things for different places.  We are quite fortunate to have uch a variety of beautiful plants here in the desert that usually bloom all season.  Lovely, I tell you, lovely.  The chamomile trees smell AMAZING as do the blooming citrus trees.  We may have more than one lime this next season and maybe some oranges, too!  Finally!

Maybe the desert is an aquired taste?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Rump Bumps


In yet another discovery of random things that help put a baby to sleep we have found that patting her little rump works wonders.

Not sure what it is but it works.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Humanizing Animals


I have been thinking about this for awhile.  While I think that I was quite guilty of this when I was younger I am pretty appalled at how far this trend seems to be going in society.  Or at least there seems to be more incidents of it that I am actually taking notice.

Sure,  I will admit to dressing up my little dog in leftover doll clothes and treating her somewhat like a human.  But really, she was a dog.  Not a child and there is a huge difference.  However, when you talk to some pet owners you would begin to realize that some do not make the distinction.  Phrases like, "Oh, I know what you mean I have three dogs" are responses to crazy days with the kids at the grocery store, etc.  Or they relate some story about their pet to your kid.  Ugh.  There really is no comparison.

I cannot just let my kid outside for the day or crate her when I need to go to the grocery store.  I am responsible for her development and little soul.  I finally understand parents frustration with these comparisons.

Then there is the recent chimp attack that is a brutal reminder that animals were not created to be treated as equals to humans.  One merely needs to look at Genesis 1:25-27. 

I think what really chaps my hide more than anything is that many of the people that sport a PETA bumper sticker are the also those that have proudly placed their pro-choice sticker right under it.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Gypsy Mama


Okay, so that is NOT my new nick name as most of you know it totally wouldn't fit.  However, it IS the name of the new wrap that I purchased to carry Little Flower around.  Can we say, "OH SO COMFY?!"

I have a Maya Wrap padded ring sling.  It works pretty well but I think that it will be better when Little Flower is a bit bigger.  However the Gypsy Mama is super versatile at a variety of stages.  Mine is a stretch which is basically made of a super light weight t-shirt material which is ideal for the hot weather.  There is a model called the "breeze" made of  a gauze material which is more breathable.  I chose the stretch one because as a new "wrapper" it is more forgiving if I mess up.

I love this wrap and so does Little Flower.  She falls asleep pretty fast and it is great when I am going through the grocery stores.  I can get quite a bit done with her in it as well.  It will also be handy when she gets sick and needs to be held and walking the hall is the only thing that soothes.  Thankfully, we have avoided sickness altogether so far.  I have other friends that have some wraps that they may let me try some different types as she gets bigger.  Fun times.  Wraps and slings tend to be a bit better ergonomically for babies than the traditional carrier.  Nothing wrong with it and we actually have one, too.  I will say that the wraps are much more comfortable for me and for Little Flower, too.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ash Wednesday

From the order of service

This last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, the day on the church calendar that marks the beginning of Lent.  I will say that growing up Lent usually meant just giving something up for a period of time and that was that.  There was nothing more to it.

Today, I think that I understand the "tradition" of giving something up for Lent a little better than I did back in the day.  However, I think it's more than that.  It's a sacrifice of something that is maybe an idol in ones life or takes time away from other priorities - then using the time that you think about such things or would be doing whatever it is that is consuming you to focus on the Lord.  With all that said, there is nothing saying that we have to do these things.

This last Wednesday was the first time our little church had an Ash Wednesday service.  Here's the explanation and general invitation from our bulletin:
The early Christians observed, and many Christians still observe, a time of focused devotion upon the Lord Jesus Christ; focusing specifically on the days of His passion (suffering) and resurrection.  It is a helpful practice for the children of God to consider the wondrous work of our Savior, His sacrificial death, and the forgiveness of sins that is found in Him alone.  This season of Lent, and the observation of Ash Wednesday, provides a time in which God's people memorialized the life of the Savior; a life of suffering, temptations, cross-bearing, and sacrificial love.  They would join together in considering His life and His call upon us.  In doing so, the whole congregation is reminded of the hope of forgiveness and new life set forth in the gospel of Lord Jesus Christ, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.  By remembering our Lord's agony we will be led to celebrate His victory.  As the people of God, and while we will never deny the importance of repentance, we must always remember our salvation is found in Jesus alone.  Because of this, we should not remain "in Lent" but always worship and live in the light of Easter, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  The Lord takes people from death to resurrection, the Lord brings beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3), and has provided life for the dead through Jesus Christ.  Therefore, our service will go from ashes to washing, from focusing on ashes and repentance, to focusing on the atonement that is found in Jesus Christ alone.

What struck me here was the phrase living in the light of the resurrection.  How come we can get so geared up for Christmas (months in advance) when the crux of what we believe is observed at Easter? Jesus defeated death!  So, begins the time where the church has set aside to observe the journey to the cross with reflection, meditation, and repentance. 

Our service was then rounded out by corporate reading of the Scriptures, singing, prayer and confession.  Of course we also had the symbolic placing of the ashes on the forehead if one so wanted to have it done.

Our pastor then read a short story but what really caught my attention was what he said as he was getting ready to dismiss us.  He mentioned that these ashes on our foreheads would reminds us that we are not perfect and that we have smudges of gunk and blemishes on us.  However, we are the people of the baptism and we are washed clean because of Jesus.  He then washed his forehead and when we washed at home we were to remember how we are clean because of Jesus.  We are to remember who we are in Christ and not who we were in the firm grip of sin and death.