Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Give us this day our daily bread

Being gluten free, I struggle to find affordable bread that I like.
Gluten free cornbread is more like normal cornbread
than most gluten free bread is like normal bread.

Bread nourishes.
It fills our mouths and our bellies.
"Filler," I've heard it called.
Bread lacks the protein of meat
and the vitamins of fruits and vegetables,
but it is packed with consolation.

Indeed, what is better
than a hunk of crusty fresh bread,
hot, tender in the middle and crisp of crust,
slathered with butter, melting--
or dipped into savory soup broth--
or sopping up a delicious marinara sauce
from the bottom of the plate?

Bread fills us, comforts us, and keeps us going.
It is gentle, settling to the stomach,
a buffer for acidic foods.
Toasted, with tea,
bread can be almost medicinal.

Jesus says that He is the Bread of Life.
He fills us, comforts us, sustains us.
He heals and feeds.
In love, He offered Himself for our benefit,
--a baby in a feeding trough--
that through the consumption of Christ
we would find life and fullness of joy.
(John 6:32-58)

Jesus promised that He would not leave us as orphans,
but that He would come to us,
that we would be in Him,
as He is in His Father,
and He would be in us.
(John 14:18-20)

Jesus is in us.
Like a lovely, thick slice of bread filling a formerly hungry stomach.

Give us this day our daily bread.

He fills us by His Spirit.

"I am the Lord your God
who brought you out of Egypt," He says,
"Open wide your mouth and I will fill it."
(Psalm 81:10)

"If you know how to give good gifts of fish and eggs to your children,
how much more will I give the Holy Spirit to those who ask,"
He says.
(Luke 11:11-13)

The Holy Spirit is Christ in us, the hope of glory.
(Colossians 1:27)

Something about this temporal life
forces the need for constant refilling.
Physically, we need to eat every day.
Spiritually, we need the Holy Spirit every day.
I do not exactly understand this.
Faith brings believers into the new birth of spiritual life
just as birth brings a baby into physical life.
But as a baby needs food to live and grow,
so we need the Holy Spirit, daily,
for our spiritual life and development.

Daily, we need to come into His presence,
feast on the scripture He illuminates for us,
remember the gospel story, remember hope.
In remembering hope, we grow in gratitude--
for life, for love, for forgiveness,
for His great salvation and His gentle compassion.
Hope leads to gratitude which leads to joy
which leads to confidence and power.
The power of the Holy Spirit.
The fuel of the Bread of Life.

Daily, we pray that God, our source of hope,
will fill us with His peace and joy
because we trust in Him--
and then we begin to overflow with confident hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 15:13)

Jesus, the Bread of Life,
in us by His Holy Spirit
which He pours out on us,
filling us.

Jesus, let us find joy in each new day.
Fill us with your Spirit, fill us with the bread of life.
Sustain us with your joy, which gives us strength.
Let us walk in step with your Spirit today, strong and confident.

Give us this day our daily bread.

This post is a sequel to this post.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Welcome to my August

It is a fantasy, to imagine someone I love appearing, unannounced, on the doorstep for cake and tea.  Of course, if it were unannounced, the cake would not yet be made, but we could nip on chocolate while we waited for it; there's always a store of chocolate.  Or we could have a bonfire in the backyard, with hotdogs roasted over open flames.  And long, sweet conversation with lots of laughter.

I keep the beds made up with clean sheets, and I stock the guest bathroom with my favorite soap, moisturizer and shampoo.  There is even a stash of new toothbrushes in the bottom drawer!

Oh, the dream of a balm for loneliness.

August is so pretty, when the flowers finally reach their full bloom.

This is the walk to my front porch, crossing in front of my wild tangle of growing things.  Do you see the magnificent rosebush from our 30th anniversary?  There's another on the other side of the garage, but that one only has five or six blooms.  They make my heart overflow with gratitude.

Here is a closer shot of this fabulous bush in its prime.

And a close up of a gorgeous rose.

And another!

This is the bush as it stands today.  Each day, I tell myself, "Today I must deadhead it so it can go again."  And each day, I decide to wait one more day.

Just around the corner, my hummingbird feeder hangs nestled among red four o' clocks.  
The hummingbirds like the four o' clocks even better than the syrup. 
(1 cup boiled water plus 1/4 cup white sugar)

The cosmos are always slow, but hope springs eternal for these lovely blooms.

Further down the line, mini zinnias.  
Last year's zinnias were supposed to top out at 48 inches, 
but they surpassed 7 feet!  
Shawn doesn't like really tall flowers, so I got these minis.  
They offer me a precious surprise each day, 
tucked between four o' clocks and marigolds.

My front door in early morning light, 
while the four o' clocks are still mostly open.  
These flowers are at their best between 8 pm and 8 am. 
and they smell divine all night long.

A riot of four o' clocks

More four o' clocks

Pink four o' clocks at about 8:30 or 8:45 a.m. as they are closing up for the day.

This is how my front door looks most of the day, without early morning light or open flowers.

My front yard lamp-post island garden. Oy, have we worked to remake this!
We'll take a tour around the circle:

Luscious cleome winding in and out of pink coneflowers.  Coneflowers are perennials, and cleome self-seeds, so this is some low-maintenance joy for me.

Coneflowers are so photogenic, I can't stop myself photographing them.

Here we have coneflowers in front of purple salvia.  
I bought the salvia for super cheap this spring, because it had been frostbitten.  
I cut it back and planted it.  It's grown and bloomed like a champ ever since.  
Makes my heart swell a little.

More of my survivor salvia.

And a close up, just because I love this plant.

Here it is in context, between a lily and a daylily (which are both done), 
and in front of sedum (yet to bloom), yellow four o' clocks, and coneflowers.

Beyond the sedum, an obedient plant 
(the one with white flowers--it's also called false snapdragon) 
which I was thrilled to find at the nursery.  
I had one of these in NY and loved it.  
This time, I bought three!

Another view of the obedient plant.

Apricot coreopsis.  I also had coreopsis in NY, and it was a favorite.  
I always seem to plant this guy on the side of the bed 
that I have to walk around to see, but in this case it is also the street side, 
so I hope it does well and gets appreciated.

I adore these pink asters, and they are adding to the butterfly appeal of this garden.  
(This bed holds a collection of plants that attract butterflies, 
and the monarchs have already been visiting!) . 
Unfortunately, I am allergic to these beauties, 
and had a bit of a reaction after deadheading today.

 This is a new plant that I have no experience with.  Malva zebrina.  The literature says it is tough and easy to grow.  Almost invasive, says one source.  
I can only hope that such a pretty (and butterfly attracting) plant will be invasive!!

That's my front yard, my August joy.

When I'm lonely, I can putter in the dirt.
I suppose it is not a strange thing that older women 
turn to plants and pets 
when their children leave home.  
Something to fuss over and care for.