Thursday, November 28, 2019

Tamarisk Trees on Thanksgiving

I just read, in Genesis 21, where Abraham planted a Tamarisk tree at a place he named Beersheba.  The tree was planted to mark the place where he had made a covenant with Abimelech, a king from the Philistines.

I was curious, so I dug and learned about Tamarisk trees.  Wanted to share what I discovered because it was very interesting.  (Down here in the land of cypress, oak and pine trees, I had never seen a Tamarisk tree.... LOL)

Here is are clippings  from https://ww2.odu.edu/~lmusselm/plant/bible/tamarix.php and then from https://www.discovermoab.com/tamarisk-tree/ - so you can read more if you like.  I will include some pictures at the end.

PS - Happy Thanksgiving!!
------------------------------------------------------------------
"The tamarisk has small scale like leaves and small branches which give the tree a pine-like appearance. During the heat of the day the tamarisk secretes salt, a process very wasteful of water. The salt dries. During the night the salt absorbs water from the air. In the morning the water evaporates creating a sort of natural air-conditioning. This cooling effect is another reason for its popularity as a shade tree.

"Attractive pink or white flowers are produced during the winter, although a tree may flower any time during the year. The fruits are wind dispersed but the tamarisk is easily propagated by cuttings."

"Tamarisk (also known as salt cedar) is a deciduous shrub or small tree from Eurasia. Tamarisk can grow as high as 25 feet tall. The bark on saplings and young branches is purplish or reddish-brown. Leaves are scale-like, alternate, with salt-secreting glands. Flowers are small and the petals are reddish, pinkish, or white. Each plant can produce as many as 500,000 seeds annually. The seeds are dispersed by wind, water, and animals. Seeds are small with a tuft of hair attached to one end enabling them to float long distances by wind and water. Seeds are short-lived and can germinate within 24 hours after dispersal, sometimes while still floating on the water."

Image result for tamarisk tree

Image result for tamarisk tree  

Image result for tamarisk tree

Image result for tamarisk tree

Thursday, November 21, 2019

the best things

The best things are not to be kept
They are a gift. But not to keep; to hold, to see, to experience for as long as they stay.
The best things are not to be grasped.
They are to be held gently.
And they should be allowed to fly away when their time comes.
We should not mourn their loss. They were never ours to lose.
We should keep only the memory of their visit, and be grateful those best things came to us for whatever time they stayed.

"Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert."

--Isaiah 43:18-19

-------------------------

...think on that. 😉

Nicole 💕

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Feelings and Needs


Ever feel a need for comfort?  Well, that's how I find myself feeling this morning.  I've just been thinking and praying about some of my thoughts and feelings.  During that (like a minute ago), a phrase popped into my head:

"MAKE ROOM."  

As in, you feel this, you feel that, and that is ok.  Make room for all your feelings.  Don't stigmatize some feelings as "bad" and try to shove them away; that just starts a whole mental loop and the feelings you've told yourself not to feel just seem larger and larger.


It's like saying, "Don't think of the color green."  So which shade of green just appeared in your mind?  LOL  



Feelings represent needs.  I was feeling all gushy-grateful and maybe feeling a little clingy toward a doctor who was extra-kind to me. 



I stepped back from those feelings and saw that I just have a legitimate need to feel comforted.  It also occurred to me that I've been needing for awhile now to feel comforted.  I was given some comfort in one of many possible ways, and I wanted to freeze time and revel in the glow I felt (and still feel).  






But I felt ashamed of having those feelings of  gratefulness almost to the point of... I don't know; it was just so nice to feel taken care of; I was the lost, scared, hungry puppy someone found, fed and wrapped a blanket around, then the puppy followed them home.  But I felt ashamed of those needy emotions and felt anxious because I "should not ever" tell her about it.  I mean, come on; that's embarrassing to say out loud!  

So I simplified the equation; solved for x.  Turned out, x = a need for comfort.  Plain and simple.  Realizing my need took that shamefulness away.  Now it's just a feeling; one I have made room for, acknowledged and given a place among all my other feelings.  And I can breathe again.  

It just boils down to, something in me is obviously starving for comfort!  Step One:  What is that need coming from and what can I do to have the need met in a healthy way?

Just some thoughts to chew on.

I'm going to look up some Bible verses on comfort.  And you go find some verses that will help YOUR needs today!  Get a Bible Promise book (a small book listing verses grouped by topic or by needs people have).  Or, Google "Bible verses about...". Can't hurt; it can only help!  




Have a great day! I pray all your needs are met and you are able to make room for all your feelings, processing them in a safe and healthy way.  God has every answer you're looking for!  You just have to take the first step and look - and ask - for those answers.


Sunday, September 22, 2019

Heartbeat Song

Ever heard from... God?  I have never heard God with my ears but I believe strongly that I've heard God in my heart.  Or, heard God in my mind, in my spirit.  Not audible words but definitely a strong and clear message; a soul tattoo, you might say.

Today I wanted to share something I have learned from that "still, small voice" from such a GREAT God... God almighty is unfathomably enormous but part of God is the gentle, sensitive, tender and soothing Holy Spirit.  The Spirit is the part of God who speaks in a still, small voice.

Recently, I was taking a moment to pray.  I found myself just tossing out empty "church phrases"- clusters of words a lot of church people (most all of whom have the best of intentions; I am not at all trying to be a hater) toss out in prayer.  It's like their own little language (yes, I used to be among them...), some of which they/we might not even totally understand the meaning.

One example:  "Father God, I praise You that I am washed in the blood of the lamb" really means "God, I am so grateful that Jesus died on the cross to pay the ultimate price for all the sins in the world."  So why don't just say that instead of trying to encrypt it so we feel more holy?  One more- "I was led of the Lord" boils down to, "I had a strong feeling that God wanted me to do (this or that.)"  Come on; let's get real.  Right?  Right!!


So, like I said, I was praying a little one morning and I heard myself tossing those phrases out like handfuls of Mardi Gras beads... when I stopped myself and apologized.

"Lord, I'm just praying empty words.  I'm sorry.  You already know what's already in my heart so I'm just going to sit here and be quiet and listen for You."


As soon as I said that and stilled myself, I distinctly heard/felt God's Spirit say to me, "Yes, I do know your heart and your distinct heartbeat."  It was like... God was saying the heartbeat of every person beats out its own unique rhythm; its own unique song.  Kind of like when people can identify a bird not by seeing it but just by hearing its the sounds that bird makes.  As soon as God hears my heartbeat, God knows instantly that sweet beat and melody are coming from Nicole; God's ears perk up and a huge smile takes shape!


(Same goes for you!  And ALL God's creations!) 


So, we can pray sometimes by simply getting quiet and still... and listening.  Listening with our spirits, to hear from God's spirit.  It's a miraculous and beautifully intimate experience!

So find a quiet place.  Be still, and softly tell God you're listening.  Then let your amazing heartbeat song soar up to where God is!  God's own heart will beat a song right back to you.


God's duets with each of us are every one unique, unmatched and beautiful!

And now, to underline all this blog entry has said and to remind you of it when you hear this song, I present to you the phenomenal Kelly Clarkson!!  LOL  Love y'all... remember, GOD has the final say in any situation!




Sunday, September 15, 2019

Let the Earth Do WHAT?? Wait, HODE up...

My Bible "Read-Through Number Two" has been rebooted, so to speak.  I was maybe 1/4 of the way into Exodus, when it hit me that I ought to write what I was reading... in my OWN words.  So I started over at Genesis 1:1, and I'm now composing a document I've entitled, "The Bible - A Very Long Poem."


I've started this project in quatrain style... but the Bible is a LONG road to travel, so I venture to guess I might switch from one style of poetry to another from time to time.  THIS is complete freedom; complete artistic liberty - and I THRIVE on being in a state of ART SANS BOUNDARIES!

So.  God is creating and I am following right behind, working on a creation of my own.  I love this.  It's like... God and me together; laughing, being creative and having fun.  SWEET.


Granted, going through the Bible and putting it into my own poetic translation is a LOT slower than reading straight through (which was not fast in the first place).  HOWEVER:  doing it this new way forces me to analyze every sentence, phrase and word.  I'm still in Genesis 1, but I've already learned tons more than by just reading for the sake of reading.

This will be an interesting project.

SO.  Today, in my reading and writing, I read Genesis 1:24.  It goes like this:

"Then God said, 'Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind—livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.' And that is what happened."

Here is where I felt pause:  "Let THE EARTH produce every sort of animal...".  Huh??  Here we are in day 6 of creation.  It's been, "God said, 'Let there be...' and 'God made' and 'God created'"... and now God says, 'Let the EARTH produce..."??

Okay... how did that work?  Did animals form up out of mud on the ground?  Did sea creatures (which were created on day 5) mutate and evolve into land animals during day 6?  Did plants morph into creatures that breathed and moved around freely?  All that is purely conjecture but... do you see what I mean?  

I've even looked up online commentaries and all I've found is a Zeitgeist (everyone expressing the same thought, independently) which cumulates in a group shrugging of the shoulders.  As in a group consensus of "we're um really not sure what that means."


Which could take me down two roads:  1) I could get frustrated by and hung up on that one portion of one verse - or 2) I could skip forward happily, seeing that I've found yet another opportunity for artistic liberty!

Guess which one I chose... LOL...

Any thoughts/ideas??  I would truly value any thoughts/insight/bits of speculation.  Please comment below OR on my Facebook page OR even email me at myleroyfontaine75@gmail.com

"Let the earth produce..."
What do you deduce
From this phrase in this maze
I believe it's all TRUTH...
Just hard to see through the haze...
This train is a phrase
Help me build a caboose!!  

 As a final note, while searching for pictures to illustrate this blog post, I came across a cartoon drawing of an element fart.  It made me laugh, so I want to share it with all of you.  Have a great Sunday!


Monday, September 9, 2019

Will Leaven Keep You Our of Heaven??


\

          Good morning!  This morning I have been reading in Exodus chapter 11 where it talks about the final miraculous plague God performs among the Egyptians.  He wants the Egyptians to release Israel; to free them from slavery and allow them the freedom to go where they want and to worship God as they please.


Now, this stood out to me - God's insistence that no Israelite was to eat bread containing yeast (or "leaven," in other translations).  I found myself wondering, "What was the deal with yeast?"  Exodus chapter twelve uses the word "yeast" twelve times!  Verse eight kind of sums up the yeast principle in the whole chapter:

"For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast. On the first day of the festival, remove every trace of yeast from your homes. Anyone who eats bread made with yeast during the seven days of the festival will be cut off from the community of Israel."


So I did a little digging... meaning, I Googled it... and found numerous writings on the "big deal" made about yeast.  I have copied and pasted one below, because I wanted to share with you what I learned.  I encourage you all to read Exodus 12 for yourselves; it is, in my opinion, one of the strongest chapters in the Bible.


Here is the article.  This is at https://jesusalive.cc/ques171.htm and it's just a solid piece of knowledge to add to your mental library.  Check it out, and soak it up!

Love in the Lord
Nicole


    Q: #171. What is the significance of leaven/yeast in the Bible?
    A: Whenever leaven is mentioned in the Bible (22 times in the Old Testament and 17 times in the New Testament), it always (or almost always) represents sin or evil. The first instance in which this word is used is found in (Ex 12:15). This was just before the Passover, in which God destroyed all of the firstborn of Egypt, but spared the firstborn of Israel in the last of the 10 plagues that He visited upon Egypt.
***Note: The word "unleavened" is first used in (Gen 19:3), and is mentioned 51 times in the Old Testament and 9 times in the New Testament.
     God gave instructions to Moses and Aaron that they were to command Israel to celebrate this Passover each year "throughout your generations" with a feast. This feast, called the "Feast of Unleavened Bread" followed the Passover day (the 14th day of the 1st month on the Jewish calendar). It lasted 7 days. During the first day of this week, they were commanded to remove all leaven from their houses. In addition, they were not to eat any bread which contained leaven for the whole week.
     Just as most things in the Old Testament point to Jesus, the "unleavened bread" does as well. In the New Testament, Jesus referred to Himself as the "Bread of Life" (Jn 6:22-59). He was, of course, also without sin (1 Jn 3:5)(2 Cor 5:21)(Heb 4:15)(1 Pet 2:22). Because leaven is equated with sin throughout the Bible, the "unleavened bread" pictured bread (Jesus) without sin in it. In addition, a "blood sacrifice" (the blood also represented Jesus in the Old Testament: Heb 9:11-28Heb 10:11-25) was not to be offered with leavened bread (Ex 23:18)(Ex 34:25).
     It is interesting to note, however, that for a peace offering (Lev 7:13) and wave offering (Lev 23:17) God commanded that leaven be used.
     In the New Testament, we have 5 more examples of the symbolism of leaven. Before sharing these examples, I should first explain why the use of leaven in these examples gives us a good picture of sin. Leaven/yeast is basically old, fermented dough that is placed in new dough to make it rise. The key is that you only need to add a very small amount of fermented dough to make new dough rise. (Gal 5:9) describes this saying, "a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump."
     Carrying this out to sin, it can be said that "a little sin can wind up destroying the whole body." This body can be symbolic of our individual body or the larger body of Christ (i.e. the Church). I believe a good parallel to this can be seen above, where on the 1st day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, God commanded that all leaven (sin) should be cleaned out of the house. As Christians, our bodies are the "house" or Temple of God, and we are told not to "defile" God's Temple with sin  (1 Cor 3:16-17), but rather, we are to "glorify God in our body" (1 Cor 6:19-20).
     Jesus gave us the first 4 symbolic examples of leaven in the New Testament. In the first, Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven/God to leaven (Mt 13:33)(Lk 13:20-21). There is great debate amongst scholars as to whether the use of leaven in this example is positive or negative. Some believe that it is positively speaking of the "rise" or growth of the gospel in the world or a person's life. Others believe that it is negatively speaking of evil doctrine working its way into the kingdom.
     In the second instance, Jesus compared the false teaching (sin) of the Pharisees and Sadducees with leaven (Mt 16:6-12).
     In the third, Jesus warned of the leaven of Herod (he was evil and immoral: Mt 4:1-12Mk 6:14-29Lk 3:18-21Lk 23:7-12), and again the Pharisees (Mk 8:15).
     In the fourth, Jesus said, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy" (sin) (Lk 12:1).
     Finally, Paul gives us a very clear final example in (1 Cor 5). In this case, a man is living in incest with his father's wife, and those in the church are proud of this! Paul uses the same words that he previously used in (Gal 5:9) saying, "a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." He warned the church to "remove this man from your midst" (1 Cor 5:2) and "remove this wicked man from amongst yourselves" (1 Cor 5:13). He also said such a person should be "judged" (1 Cor 5:12).
     The reason for this is because if one person is allowed to continue in unrepentant sin (we all  sin, but as Christians we are sorry for it), it will soon affect the rest of the body (the whole lump). In (1 Cor 5:8), Paul also gives us a great contrast between leavened (sin) and unleavened (sin free) bread, comparing leaven with "malice and wickedness" and unleavened bread with "sincerity and truth."
     In (1 Cor 5:9-13), Paul closes the chapter with one of the most sober (and difficult) warnings in the Bible for Christians. He warns Christians to not even "associate" with a "brother" who is practicing unrepentant sin. (Paul makes a distinction between a Christian "brother" and a person who is not a Christian.) Why does Paul issue this warning? It seems clear from the numerous previous warnings that it is because his sin can have a negative impact on either our personal walk with the Lord, or on the church as a whole. Are we heeding this warning as Christians?


Monday, September 2, 2019

Briefing... ha

Good morning.  Happy Labor Day.  I am so sleepy it's ridiculous.  For some reason, my body plays this gag on me lately... it wakes me up SOOOOO doggone early (today, for example, it chose 3 a.m.) then ZINGS me with anxiety such that I cannot go  back to bed.  So I sit here in this (amazingly comfortable) chair in our spare room and, alternately, play stuff on my phone, crochet... and doze.  Then I'm tired all day.

At least, that's how it went yesterday.  I'm hoping today will be different. 

Definitely glad to have the day off work!

I'm feeling a tad cantankerous at present. So I'm gonna stay in this room til I perk up a bit.  Lest I haphazardly spill any of my cantank onto Lena.  She deserves the best treatment and I don't want to be rude to her.

Gonna post this now and, hopefully, fall back asleep.  TTFN 

Thursday, August 22, 2019

If I Live to See the Seven Wonders

This evening, after work, I went to see my sister Sierra.  She's the one I've gotten to know; the other sister... I just don't know.

I went to see her because I wanted to tell her how glad I am to have her as a sister.  And I went to be with someone who understands what it's like to be Wayne Teekel's child and Brittany's sister.  Neither of them exert much effort to associate with Sierra.  And neither of them have ever exerted any effort to even meet me.

As my blog and my Facebook page show, all that has been on my mind in a HUGE way lately.  So heavy... it's so heavy.

My visit with Sierra and her awesome two daughters was wonderful.  I struggle a little with feeling comfortable around Sierra sometimes.  Her nature is calm.  My nature is silly... and hard to stifle.  I tried really hard today, and I was a lot more successful than on previous occasions.

Strange, though... something in me felt like I NEEDED Sierra... like, "BE my sister!  Not just every few months or every few years but ALL the time!  And especially now, because I am going through some really hard stuff and this is where a supportive, understanding sister would fit perfectly into the picture."

Plus she's been dealing with some uncomfortable health issues lately, so she's on my mind a lot and I miss her more than I had previously.

Between interjections from her 4 year old who just about looks like a Precious Moments doll (Ahhhh magash!!  Cuteness manifest!!!) I told Sierra things I've been thinking lately; how I've been feeling.  And, in between those times, we talked with the girls.  (Her other daughter is 14 and just started high school, same as one of my nephews on my mom's side of the planet.)

I did spend a little time playing "This Little Piggy" on the little one's toes.  HAD to...  😉

I could have stayed there and just melted into their little family.  Even when her fiance got home.  HE is a winner!  He is, from everything I've seen and know about him, a very upstanding, caring, loving, genuine good guy.  I think he treats all three of them - my sister and my nieces - very well, and I'm thankful for that.  But, yeah... I could have stayed indefinitely.

When I thought that, I decided I probably oughta get out of there because I was starting to feel emotional.  When I hugged Sierra goodbye, I actually started crying.  I let go of the hug, but I didn't want to.  I felt so empty and so... fragile, almost.

Because I am HURT!  And, relatively speaking, it is all still so very fresh and raw.  My FATHER couldn't give a FLIP that I am ALIVE.  An additional sister is pretty much of the same ilk.  It's a clawing, scraping sensation; scary and painful.  Writing this, I'm crying again.

Sierra grew up with these two in (or, on the periphery of) her life, so it's old hat to her, probably.  She's had 40-however many years to come to terms with it all.  Not that it doesn't still hurt deep down underneath sometimes, I'd venture to guess.  But she manages.  And that's the best any of us can do; when you can't change something, you make your tactic MANAGING how you let it affect your life.

I think that needs to be my next achievement in all this.

I got in my truck and let the tears file out, slowly at first but then in a more hurried procession.  I called my mom; she told me, with the best of intentions I'm sure, "Don't be sad about that."  Which is all well and good, but you can say that until your teeth fall our and, if a person FEELS sad, they are GOING TO FEEL SAD.

I came home, crawled up on the bed next to Lena and continued sobbing.  (My eyes are going to be LOVELY in the morning, I assure you.)  But Lena was awesome; she was LENA.  She said, "You feel however you need to feel, and cry all you feel like crying," gently touching my face as she spoke.  What an incredible woman.  What an absolutely incredible woman.

Anyway, the tears subsided after a little time passed and a spot about the size of a football was formed on her pillowcase... tears and makeup, ha!  She is so sweet and unpretentious; when I pointed out the spot to her, she simply smiled at me and turned the pillow over.  My girl.  ❤❤❤❤❤

All the ride home, I played "Seven Wonders" over and over.  I got some comfort from it; I love the song and I love the Stevie.  Tonight, Stevie was my friend and Stevie understood.  Maybe that should be my anthem for Wayne and Brittany...


"And if our paths never cross,
Well, you know I'm sorry but..."

(I'm going to live my LIFE aka see the Seven Wonders and whatever else is presented to me.  And if you aren't in my life, that's too bad... but I'm not going to waste time mourning over it.)

Here is Stevie to sing that lullaby.  Goodnight, dear friends.