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Homemade Snake Away

A little pot of pansies waits by my back door greeting all who enter. I love their happy faces. With the recent warm weather they’ve gotten a little leggy so I stopped to remove a few of the spent blossoms. As I stood to go in I noticed on the other side of the doorway another greeter. He was not delightful.pansies

At first glance it appeared that someone had tossed a plastic snake there probably in hopes that my husband would find it. The poor man really hates snakes and everyone who knows him well knows that bit of trivia. I had already chalked it up to a prank by one of our Groupies, aka Bible study peeps since we are close like that. They’re an encouraging bunch.

As I mentally accused one particularly mischievous friend whose dirty Santa gift we all try to avoid, I reached through the railing to retrieve the snake.

It raised its ugly head.

At that point I may or may not have dribbled a little.

Backing slowly away I wondered what to do. Upon further examination I realized it stretched at least seven feet… give or take a yard or two. A sizable lump in its midsection suggested it had recently dined sumptuously. Thinking of the numerous nests and the baby birds I’ve been anticipating caused the contempt in my soul to grow even stronger for the nasty critter. Something must be done.

For all those asking what kind of snake it was so that you can advise me to let it live because certain snakes are ‘good’, I must apologize. There shall be no mercy. We made that mistake two years ago and let a big ol’ black snake live. That stupid thing tormented us all summer. It would retreat under the ramp to the main door or sun its sorry self on the steep back steps. No exit or entrance could be made without stopping to check for Mr. Slithers.

Poor David went to walk out the back door one morning and nearly stepped on him. Just as he went to put his flip flop clad foot down he saw him and ended up rolling into the backyard head first. When I noticed the grass stains on his t-shirt he explained.

“I had all that momentum going out and down and couldn’t get it stopped when I saw the snake.”

It’s hard to stop a train.

A different happy day we watched as that same snake made its way under the truck and up into it never to be seen again. It did not come out the other side though we did all manner of craziness to try to get rid of it.

As I reflected upon those good times and wondered what to do about our current Mr. Slithers, I recalled buying Snake Away at the Tractor Supply. Though we used the rest of it last year I remembered that the main ingredient is cinnamon…  like in a honeybun.

Carefully I stepped outside again armed and dangerous. Frantically I sprinkled cinnamon and watched it float away on a little breeze. Mr. Slithers chuckled.

C’mon woman! Get a grip. You’re not making toast. Try taking the lid off.

With ninja-like skills I dumped cinnamon onto the head of Mr. Slithers. He no longer chuckled. Instead he reared his brown powdered self and stood on his non-hind leg and glared at me with beady eyes.

I may or may not have dribbled a bit more.

Back inside with two empty cinnamon bottles and a change of underwear I decided to call it a day. An hour or so later David came home.

“Mmmm… smells like apple pie in here!” he exclaimed hopefully.

Cinnamon laden footprints gave away my position. He tipped his head sideways and looked at me wondering.

In my cheeriest voice I informed the unsuspecting man.

“I’ve got a surprise for you…”

Bless his heart.

As we walked toward the house I called David over to see what was poking through the leaves. “Look! Here’s more!” Like a kid finding Easter eggs I get so excited to see hosta coming up each year. As we rounded the house a few bright tulips nodded approval as we moved pine needles out of the way in search of more hosta. My favorite chartreuse variety springs forth a little later. It’s barely starting to show. Azaleas are full and brightly blooming along with the dogwoods. I thought to myself, “Too bad everything doesn’t look its prettiest all at the same time. What a show that would be!”tulips

David however, being the positive one of us commented. “I’m glad they don’t all bloom at once. Now we have stuff to look forward too, just like life.”

Soft white dogwood petals drifted to the ground like snowflakes. Easter has passed so they have permission to let go. Orange breasted robins play in their midst in anticipation of babies to come. Bright green grass fills in the muddy spots where snow once lingered. All of nature joins together in a song of worship as even the rocks cry out, “He lives, people, He lives! Why sit hopeless with your curtains drawn when a soft spring rain falls, sweetly watering all He’s created? For if He dresses us so beautifully and feeds us so well, will He not also take care of you?”Hosta3

As we moved indoors I sat by the window watching the rain fall as the birdbath filled to the brim. Dogwood petals continued to float softly downward. Soon my favorite tree will be clothed in the bright green leaves of summer. Daffodils which were the first to announce the coming spring have too quickly wilted. Though they’ll be back next year bringing hope at the end of winter, they too confirm that not even this season will last forever.

Someday we’ll meet the Lord face to face. As beautiful as this earth is, heaven is bound to be breathtaking. That’s probably when everything will finally bloom at once, for the Lord is surely saving the best for last!

We’ve really got a lot to look forward too!dogwood

 

 

 

There is HOPE!

A couple of friends talked over the events of the last few days as they walked along. Sadness was written across their faces as they admitted, “We had hoped…”

Hoped, past tense… as in, we used to hope, but not anymore. Now we know better than to think things will ever change.

Have you been there? Have you gone through something so hard that your soul is crushed beyond repair? Someone you love has suddenly been taken… and way too soon. The spouse you trusted tossed you aside like an old shoe. Something you planned and even dared to dream about died, leaving you…

Hopeless.

That’s the feeling of the friends who traveled down the road together. Having witnessed the horrible death of the Person they had closely followed, their hopes were just as dead.

Where do we go from here? How will we ever recover? Is all we’ve believed in been wrong?

A few miles later, they realized they were in the very presence of the risen Lord!

That first Easter morning changed everything.

The powerful Son of God stepped from the grave to prove the hopeless wrong. Since death cannot defeat Him, how could anything else? What could separate us from the love of God?

Our fears?

Our loss?

Our worries?

Things changed in an instant! The moment He was raised from the dead, hope was forever restored! Do we dare to trust Him?

“O death where is thy victory?! O grave where is thy sting?”

Thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ!

All creation shouts with joy on Easter Sunday morning! Our Creator lives, and reigns with power over any circumstance that brings suffering to His beloved ones. With the strong arms of a Shepherd, He reaches out to pull us close to His heart as He gently leads us home. Not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love as we walk in the presence of the risen Lord!

Praise His sweet holy Name! Our conquering King lives!

And there is hope!

New Year

More hope found here:

  • You can read about the friends traveling to Emmaus when Jesus suddenly appeared and walked with them in Luke 24:13-34.
  • Romans 8:1 helps us understand that we are no longer condemned by God when we trust His Son as our sacrifice for sin.
  • There’s more about His great love for you personally in Romans 8:23-39.

Easter means nothing at all if you’ve never trusted Him. Call out to Him. He’s waiting for the time when you and He can walk the broken road of life together. This wonderful God of all creation longs to adopt you as His very own.

A Picture of Grace

He looked through the woods as we drove. “Easter comes early this year. I wonder if the dogwoods will be ready?”

Like him I hoped so. They are such a beautiful picture of grace.

Have you noticed how much Jesus loved visuals? As He spoke of worry, He pointed to wildflowers. Instead of just saying that God would provide, He referred to the birds. I bet it gave Him much pleasure to create the dogwood.

dogwood

Look at this stunning visual of His sacrifice. Each cross shaped blossom displays blood stained “wounds.” Each center exhibits a “crown of thorns” as if the very heart of God shouts, “This is My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased!”

 

Let’s fall to our knees and worship this God Who draws us to Himself.

All heaven and nature point to Him.

How can we do less?

“For God made Christ, Who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” -2Corinthians5:21

“O God be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.”

That’s MY Donkey!

“Hey man! Don’t be takin’ my donkey!”

That’s what I would’ve said if a couple of strangers came up to my house and started untying the family beast of burden. I mean, how will we get the firewood home, or take grandma to prayer meeting? You can’t just go around taking people’s stuff all willy nilly.

“The Lord needs it.”

Jesus told his friends to say that when He sent them to fetch the donkey. Apparently that’s all it took. The owner had no problem sending his valuable property with strangers. He wasn’t promised a great return on his investment. He wasn’t promised the donkey would be brought back fed and watered… or even returned at all.

All he knew was that the Lord needed something he had.

If I had a donkey, I can hear myself reasoning…

“Sorry guys. It’s the only donkey I’ve got. You’re gonna have to find yourself another mode of transportation. I just made the last payment. Had to finance it for seven years, but finally it’s all mine.”

“What? The Lord needs it? The Lord has everything. Why does He need MY donkey?”

I’m afraid me and my donkey would’ve missed the Jesus parade… the only one He ever had.

In fact, I think I would’ve missed a lot of things.

I don’t believe I would’ve climbed a tree to get a better look. People would surely laugh at a grown woman perched in a tree.

I wouldn’t have called Him up for a night time meeting so He could answer my questions either. What would the neighbors think?

I doubt I would have given my lunch to Him when everyone realized it was time to eat and there was no food. What good would my little pitiful sack lunch do?

And I KNOW I would not have stepped out of a perfectly good boat to go traipsing across the choppy sea. Who would take such a risk?

Not me.

In fact, everything is just fine the way it is. So Lord, I’m here for You… right here in my cozy house, with plenty to eat, and my nice warm bed, surrounded by things and people I love, with my precious donkey safely tied outside.

Hmmm… Sounds like a parade off in the distance.

I wonder what I’m missing.

Salsa Promised Land

Have I ever shared with you that I have a mystery disease? I saw that. One sentence in and you’re already rolling your eyes. Our middle daughter Amanda has inherited this fascinating unidentified illness as well. We talk about things we are learning as we go. It’s definitely food related. Often I have stroke-like symptoms within fifteen minutes of eating. She has similar issues. The other day she mentioned as a side note that eating a carrot every day is supposed to even out estrogen levels.

Right. Like that’s even possible.

My beloved David currently works with approximately thirty-one females. He never expresses what that means exactly. He’s wise like that. When I mentioned the carrot cure, I helpfully suggested it might be a good idea to keep some handy. Instead of having a can with pencils and pens on his desk, he probably should consider a supply of carrots. That way when he finds himself drowning in a sea of estrogen and one of his very capable staff members steps into his office he could offer a snack.

“Carrot?” he could kindly suggest.

Our oldest daughter has some of the symptoms of the family illness too. I was relating to her the discoveries we’re making in the food department.

“I think it’s some sort of audio-immune problem.” I tried to sound professional regarding something I know nothing about.

She laughed. “Mama, it can’t be AUDIO-immune. That would mean you can’t hear it.” She paused and added. “That’s what my teen age daughters have. You probably mean auto-immune which is a problem with your gut.”

I sighed.

“Yep. My gut tells me I should eat more carrots lest your daddy lose his everlovin’ mind.”

Annyyywayyy…

Something we’ve discovered that has helped us avoid these painful attacks is that there is a group of vegetables that act like poison in our bodies. They are called Nightshades and sadly include tomatoes, white potatoes, and peppers.

Holy Jalapeno.

Can you imagine all the food that nullifies? Poor Amanda lives in Corpus Christi, right by the Salsa Promised Land.

Bless her heart.

So before you stop me in the grocery store to suggest one more possible cure, you need to know. My audio-immune condition will kick in. I can’t hear you. We’ve already tried it. We’ve eliminated all processed foods, all preservatives, flavorings, colorings, and all things fake. I’ve got bone broth cooking in the crock pot even as we speak.

I’m like that pitiful woman in the Bible who suffered twelve long years and spent all her money on doctors but came away worse. Only I’ve got her beat by at least thirty years. Many a doctor has suggested it’s all in my head. And I’ll be the first to admit I’m crazy. But I’m telling you from experience, crazy is not painful. In fact, crazy feels pretty good.

Maybe someday someone will come up with a simple cure like for instance an apple a day… or a carrot… or eye of newt stirred into bone broth. But if not, eventually I’ll move close enough to Jesus to touch His robe. He’ll reach back, take my hand and invite me home for supper. It will be better than moving to the Salsa Promised Land. We’ll sit at the table together and He’ll pass the pizza and lasagna my way and ask with a smile, “Would you like fries with that?”

I’ll smile back at Him and reply, “Yes! And a little ketchup wouldn’t hurt either.”

Or I could have it completely wrong. Instead He may look at me kindly and offer,

“Carrot dear?”carrots

Mama’s Creek

The stream which runs by my mom-in-law’s house has been a source of contention for years. My beloved husband and his two sisters had their rear ends worn out numerous times for venturing down there without permission. I’m sorry. Did I write that out loud? What I meant to say was that my beloved and his sisters were warned by their mother of the dangers of the creek with wise and gentle counsel.

At times the water rushes fairly fast and could sweep a kid downstream if they were to lose their footing. Plus there’s been the occasional rat or snake spotted so it was long ago deemed unworthy of unsupervised frolicking.

The same creek stretches to my side of the road so just the other day I gave the same warning to my three year old grandchildren. “Never go near the steep slick bank or you might fall in and get hurt.” Sweetie Marie peered over the edge with me and asked the age old question.

“Why?”

Though I haven’t seen a rat or even a mouse I explained that there might be a snake slithering there. Her eyes grew wide and added, “Or uh alligator.”

I nodded knowingly and led them away from the edge. Her brother Jesse looked at me with eyes that searched my sin sick soul. So I cleaned up my warning.

“Well… maybe not an alligator… but there really could be a snake.”

He glanced back over the edge then at me and I could tell I’d better keep a close watch on my adventurous three year old. I had a gut feeling he thought seeing a snake would be kinda cool.

Meanwhile, across the road, my mom-in-law who happens to be ninety, decided to pick up limbs in her yard and toss them over the bank of her creek.

I don’t know why.

And in order to do that she had to drag her ‘bad leg’ around her yard, gather the branches, place them on the seat of her rolling walker [which she lovingly calls her Cadillac], and push them to the creek.

She also keeps her cane handy. When not in use it hangs on the side of her Cadillac. As she began tossing limbs into the creek she heard the clanging of metal against rocks. Sadly while unloading the Caddy she accidently tossed her cane into the forbidden creek.

She told my husband later that she could have retrieved the cane herself if she could’ve gotten down on her tummy and reached over the side. The getting down didn’t worry her. It was the getting up that was cause for concern. Praise God she thought ahead. But if you ever ride by and a lady waves to you from ground level, please stop to see if she needs a hand.

As her son peered over the steep edge he realized retrieving her cane would be more difficult than his mother described when she asked him to ‘just make a hook out of clothesline wire and jerk it out.’ A warning from a preacher somewhere in the past called out to him to beware of the slippery slope. Though it made no sense back in the day finally the advice came in handy. I was at home thanking the Lord that he was trying to figure out how to rescue a cane and not his mother.

He formed the lasso per her request and was trying to do as he was told when a couple kids from the house on the other side made their way down into the creek. They fetched the cane and handed it up the bank to my beloved. They didn’t seem to be concerned about snakes or alligators.

He took the cane to his mom and told her about the boys. So of course she sent him back to give them a tip. The tip was not “Stay out of the creek.” Instead she sent a couple bucks. Together we wondered why children today get rewarded for playing in the creek when yesterday’s kids got the stew beat out of them.

However, we thought ahead and refrained from asking. After all… the woman has her cane back. And I’m pretty sure she can still instruct her kids with wise and gentle counsel.

Wise and gentle counsel

Wise and gentle counsel

 

PS:

Thank you dear readers for sticking with me! I know it’s been a while since I’ve been in touch. I’m working on a novel which has turned into a ten book series and it’s taking up a lot of space in my brain. But I sure appreciate all your kind words of encouragement!

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