Old-School Tools . .

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I have a love/hate relationship with yard blowers! I can see the need for them, really I can. But they also create a lot of noise and racket in lieu of using the quieter, slightly less efficient rake. I am usually a rake person, choosing the quieter and less efficient means just because it’s an old school tool and doesn’t make so much racket! On mornings like this, however, I could have pulled out my leaf blower and gone to town!  

My neighbors aren’t as timely in leaf removal, so often times, what I am raking up is actually the leaf debris from trees on their side of the property line. This morning, I realized I have raked up leaves on one side of my property repeatedly the last few months. Today, it finally dawned on me that the majority of those leaves were from my neighbor’s tree. Upon examining the situation, I came to the conclusion that I would be raking every couple of weeks given how windy our Summers can be. The only solution is to rake up their leaves as well!

I would never tell my neighbors (who are also my dear friends) that this was my plan, as I wouldn’t want them to feel bad about any additional work I’m doing because of them. Since I have to rake up my yard anyway, why not take the extra time to rake up the leaves hovering nearby under their plants?! Those leaves would eventually find their way into my yard, so it just makes sense for both my neighbor and me! I’m raking the leaves up on my side anyway, so I might as well do theirs too!  

But as I started, I realized how much my leaf blower would have made efficient work of the effort. Leaves were piled high underneath several plants in the watering wells where the rake wouldn’t fit, and a blower would have done the job in mere minutes! Unfortunately for me, it was too early and far too quiet on our street to make that much racket! And so, I have again renewed my love/hate of the yard blower! I have one, but almost never use it because of the loud din it produces when doing so. My metal-tined rake is one of the most used tools I have! I’m sure all the landscaping crews working for all my other neighbors never give such things much thought, they are paid to do their job and use the tools necessary to do that work efficiently. I hear the sounds of lawn mowers and blowers almost daily on our street! But I obviously over think the noise produced by that pesky leaf blower to the point that it gathers dust on my garage shelving! 

I really hope to make peace with that gizmo, as it probably does make a gardener’s life easier and work more efficient! It’s the same inner turmoil I had last month when I borrowed my neighbor’s battery-powered pruning saw to make some quick cuts through a large fallen tree limb after sweating for a while on it with a hand-held tool. My manual pruning saw was a lot more fatiguing and time-consuming! One day, perhaps I will go new-school and realize how much easier my life will be in the process! Some day. 

A Welcoming Habitat . .

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I’m glad I have several water features in my landscape for the sake of providing not only the soothing sound of coursing water but also to provide for nature a refuge from the intense Summer heat like we’re presently enduring here in the desert Southwest this week. Nature struggles in such intense weather just as we humans do. Today’s high was expected to be 120 Fahrenheit. Now, that’s intense! It’s evident when I look out my window to see several birds taking advantage of cooling down by sitting in the shallow birdbaths or taking a drink from a fresh, clean fountain. Water is important, as is providing safe places for all creatures to find shelter at all times of the year. In the desert, Summer is the most crucial time of year for provisional needs such as water, shade, protection, and food. Having a landscape which offers a variety of plant material as well as sources of nutrients and shelter for all the regular creatures which visit is a great way to make a daily theatrical show of nature’s best for you and your family!  

I was noticing some burrows being dug around my front shady border plantings. It’s from the quail, bunnies, and other birds which have realized how much more cool the soil is at the base of those regularly watered plants. So, I leave the burrows alone, knowing that the birds and rabbits which hunker down in them are finding some necessary relief. It doesn’t always look as nice with those burrows dug around the plants, but I let them be. And I keep all my water features full and clean during the Summer, which with birdbaths means that I am filling them each new morning due to evaporation and consumption. It might be simpler to not worry about such things in the heat of Summer, as the intense heat shortens my tolerance and time outside too. But, I realize how much the creatures which visit my yard have come to rely on the extra provisions I make available and I value having the chance to see them throughout the day! Each new day, as I water my potted plants early in the morning, I see to refilling the precious sources of water which keep the critters content!  

In the years I’ve lived here, I’ve become so used to the animals which have come to visit and to stay. There are tiny hummingbirds and predatory hawks. There are colorful peach-faced lovebirds and drabber birds which easily hide in our desert surroundings. I readily welcome the creatures, even though sometimes they provide a shock or an upset just by nature of their tenuous state as a living being. It’s all an acceptable part of living here because the beauty of having such diversity in my daily life and such a glimpse into God’s majestic hand of creation is more than worth any bother or momentary discomfort! Tomorrow morning I will again go out to water my plants, to tend to my landscape, and to provide for nature’s creatures even though I’ll have to go out early to beat the 118 F. forecast for our high temperature. Those many creatures don’t really depend on me for their provision, but they surely are offered a welcoming habitat here, especially when they may need some extra TLC

If you’re interested in providing natural habitats for more of nature’s critters, then I suggest you add some simple things to your yard. Just a fresh, moving water supply or one you regularly change is key, as well as food sources in the form of plant varieties and shelter in the way of plant textures and heights. These things are easy ways to offer food, water, shelter and interest for all sorts of creatures! If you do enough, you might even consider having your yard declared a wildlife sanctuary!  

 

 

Change is Surely Inevitable . .

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I miss the way things were earlier in my lifetime when I was younger and life seemed simpler. I suppose it’s a common phenomenon of growing older that change can leave a lot of our lives unrecognizable or just a wee bit uncomfortable. It’s inevitable, there are cycles in life, natural lifespans, and popularity, which impacts what we’re surrounded by each day we live. Everything and everybody which once surrounds us will ultimately fall victim to time’s passing, especially upon hitting mid-life. And the hardest part of growing old is watching all that is familiar give way to something new, different, or otherwise unfamiliar to us. Change is surely inevitable, but not always preferential! And accepting change is the most challenging but essential aspect of aging! Especially at a time like this when everything seems to change so much more rapidly than in years and generations prior. Perhaps we live in the time of the most significant change societies have ever had to absorb since the beginning of human existence in the world. I cannot say for sure, as I only live in this time.

 

Surely the earliest of human beings had to deal with a lot of perceptible development, just by becoming adults. There were significant and momentous developments visible through the ages, much like those evident during the industrial revolution or with the development of language in each culture over time. But these days, keeping up with things is literally imperative to know the ever-changing colloquial language, as well as all that which influences daily life. Imagine what would become of someone unfamiliar with even the most simple of technological developments these days? If someone didn’t know how to use a portable, instantaneous form of communicating such as a cell phone, they would probably feel very ignorant in this contemporary world! We’re able to instantly communicate, nearly everywhere in the world. We can speak, write, and even render our thoughts across the globe in seconds! Without an awareness of the internet, cell phones, computers, or other forms of technology, people would be clueless about much of the world’s modern functionality!  

And in that reflection, there are people in the world alive today who had the earliest form of telephone service available. They first had landlines which required operators to connect a call or which had multiple party connections, which meant negotiating for phone usage, and took considerable time for connecting from one place only miles away to others. A phone call was a great luxury when the telephone first became a household staple and even having a phone was not guaranteed in every household as a cell phone is expected to be these days. Having a telephone was a privilege one had to be able to afford to actually have. It was not that long ago that many of us living today had hard-wired phones, hanging on our walls or sitting on our tables. We had to manually dial all the numbers on a large rotary dial and we couldn’t move beyond the distance the length of the curled connecting cord between the base and the handset allowed. We didn’t always get through instantaneously because it took more time to actually dial, especially long distance, and there were often either interruptions or perhaps the line would be busy already. I’m surely not an expert on the history of such technology, but I lived through several technological changes over my lifetime which developed into the instantaneous, wireless, global service we have today! If Maxwell Smart were alive and spying today, would he even bother with a shoe phone? 

When I think of all the changes which I’ve witnessed and absorbed in my lifetime, I’m often disturbed by the pace of things! It’s not necessarily all that comfortable to grow old with things always changing, as things don’t often change for the better! As we age, change seems to be more prolific and more impactful such as with more of our family and friends passing away. It’s a matter of time’s natural passing and lifespan. We merely have to learn to become more accepting of living without those with whom we were first closely surrounded. And we must learn to let go of a lot of regular aspects of our daily lives. All things and people have a natural lifespan, including the familiar businesses, places, and landmarks of our communities and our hometowns. Everything comes and goes, with some random time pattern, not always of our choosing! It’s just a part of life. We might really enjoy a restaurant, perhaps we’re even regulars there,  we become our own version of “Norm!” from Cheers (a sitcom from the 1980’s) to some group we routinely encounter there. But then that place suffers from an economic downturn or the owners choose to retire, or some other random incident causes its closure. That happens repeatedly as we age, especially if we stay in the same place over a long period of time. We take notice of changes, of communities shifting and changing in demographics, in population, in prosperity, and economically. Landscapes with which we have great familiarity seem to morph into something unfamiliar and all-too-new. Change without our developing sense of acceptance is just unsettling.   

I often wish I could keep more of the familiar people and places in my life, sans change! It isn’t always comfortable or easy to accept a lot of the change which comes with age and with time’s passing. But acceptance is a strange bedfellow because it enables us to make as much peace as possible with something which inherently at first feels uncomfortable or unpleasant. And getting better at accepting things is making my life easier, even with all the bombardment of change which now seems “normal” at this time period of my life. I can’t go back to a time when life seemed simpler or easier, and I cannot slow life down to make it seem more tolerable. This life is going at a pace which requires my constant endurance and daily acceptance! And I work each new day to keep those muscles flexing for the fevered pace of change we’re experiencing in 2017! Who knows what is coming next in the world, by way of technological developments, or in my own community? It’s all constantly changing and morphing into a new version of today, each new tomorrow!

All That He Has Enabled . .

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There is nothing quite as refreshing on a hot Summer day here in the desert than taking a dip in a freshly drained, thoroughly cleaned, and refilled pool! Mine has been recently given the full treatment, as it was more than ready for a surface refresh and clean water.  It took the better part of four days for my pool man to get it all done, but it finally got done by yesterday.  I looked forward to the opportunity to swim in the pool since draining it last week. And as the sun remained hidden behind a rather large pine tree hovering around 50-60 feet overhead, leaving the water shaded, I indulged in my habit of swimming laps early this morning. It was sublime and a fabulous way to begin a Summer’s day which will reach about 108 degrees Fahrenheit! 

The water was so clear and clean, I could see through my goggles the most minute particle of leaf or petal floating on its surface, rare as they were! The calm and quiet of the half-awake atmosphere all around me, at that early hour, made for the perfect opportunity to use my swimming routine as a time for reflection on other things! While slicing through the water, I focused on the gratitude I had for having such a perfect moment in life and for having such a wonderful personal space in which to dwell. Everything I have is on loan to me from God, so I want to take care of everything as best as I am able! And I purposefully want to celebrate the abundance of everything around me, and appreciate all the moments I have cognizant of those special people, things, and moments! God is so good, He provides everything for us, and we should honor Him by taking care of all that which is really His first! Even we are first His, so we honor Him by taking good care of ourselves!  

Rarely can I be so engulfed in serenity and peaceful calm as I was while swimming this morning! It was such peaceful surrender to the workout I was getting through the exertion and force my body made against the water as I swam repeated lengths of the pool with well-practiced and certain ability. It made for a wonderful chance to connect with God and to share with Him my gratitude and joy in all that He has enabled! After all, He made me able to swim each lap, He made the water, with its specific surface tension and molecular weight, and He made all the surrounding creatures and living matter in which I have come to dwell. God is so great! I hope I never forget to appreciate and to celebrate all His glorious creation and all that He enables, as well as all that He has provided in me, through me and to me!  

Time to Flex My Creativity Muscles . .

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I’m going to take on a little bit of salvage and repurposing, it’s time to flex my creativity muscles! It’s not something I get to do every day, but I feel prompted to try after the completion of a household project! After having a tune-up and refresh of the outdoor, in-ground pool, I have a used fiberglass filter pod leftover. Now, it’s not an item of beauty, to say the least! It’s big, beige, round, with points of entry for various tubes and a piece removed on top where my pool man gained access to remove the sand which was held inside. To replace the filter with a new one means that a whole new pod has been located in the very spot this one sat, filled with clean, new sand and ready to begin a renewed phase of pool usage. So, with the old sizeable pod sitting there staring at me, I felt compelled to be creative and to discover a new use for it! Rather than seeing it find a home in some landfill, there must be a way to make this lackluster gizmo shine with reuse!  

It’s not the first thing I’ve nurtured into a new life. Last year, I took on the remodel of an antique wheelchair which was rusty, partially disassembled and rather ugly. It was purchased at a flea market years ago, almost forgotten, it sat in my outdoor shed for years. Now its wood seat, back, and arms gleam with coats of protective spar varnish, a cushion sits upon the seat for comfort. It’s useful in a new way, fortunately not as it was originally intended! After all, I would much rather not need a wheelchair anytime soon! It will never be perfect, but for my taste, it’s a charmer as an extra seat!

And so, I endeavor upon the repurposing of this strange pod-shaped thing. It’s not heavy, so I’ve moved it safely to another area of the yard until I figure out what it’s meant to be. It might be a water feature, as I can imagine all sorts of plumbing opportunities, given the natural openings it already has. Or it might become a planter of sorts, as it surely is a container of sizeable proportions. I might turn it into part of my edible garden next year, perhaps tomatoes or melons will find it a delightful growing space! Needless to say, it’s going to be reused. I just have that itch within to turn it into something unique! I’m pretty sure whatever I do, no one else will have the exact same “whatever”! 

That’s the fun of gardening and outdoor spaces for me! I’m not one of those people who want everything to be perfect and just so, as I realize life and all living things are never perfect. It’s the imperfections and the individuality of each person’s personal patch of nature that makes it special! In this domain of mine, I can paint a landscape of color, texture, and beauty all my own! And this pod will soon find a home among the plants and other elements which make up my landscape. I look forward to the dreaming, designing, planning, and implementation! It’s all part of the fun of creating!

 

Tickled Pink . .

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I bought a small 4″ aloe a couple of weeks ago, just to fill an empty pot on my back patio. This particular aloe stood out for its coloring and unique appearance. Named, Pickled Pink, it has distinctive pink edging on the fleshy leaves and a mottled appearance which suggests pickling. This aloe is small yet beautiful, but what it is currently doing is the most rewarding surprise of all! The wee Pickled Pink aloe is sending out a future bloom shoot which has now surpassed the plant’s own height at least thrice over and I am tickled pink by this Pickled Pink! Yes, that little beauty has a bloom shooting up nearly four times higher than the mother plant.

  

Now, for a gardener, there is nothing quite as exciting as a plant thriving and developing from the original version we purchased or found! It’s the developmental stages of a plant, meeting and exceeding expectations as well as hopes which give a gardener and plant collector like me unbridled joy! Since this little aloe seemed to jump out at me with such unique beauty and a catchy name, from a rack of numerous cacti and succulents, purchasing it was inevitable. But I never had any expectation for such a rapid developmental change like this! I await the bloom now, as many aloes have utterly spectacular and colorful flowers on the inflorescence they produce. Some are known and named for their blooming habits or those magnificent flower stalks produced normally in Spring, a bit earlier than this, the first days of June! So, my surprise at it producing a bloom after my purchase is surpassed only by my expectation as to how the bloom will look! 

If I could, I would probably never limit my plant collection! I am an avid collector and have yet to meet a plant I don’t like! Even weeds in the mind of a gardener are merely unwanted plants. Everything was created for a place and a purpose. Some plants provide food sources for animals and humans, others are medicinal resources for living creatures, and others provide intricate assistance to the overall well-being of the planet as a whole – producing seeds and substances or by replenishing the soil and air with specific essential chemical elements! Plants are important, just as is every other creative matter! And so, my appreciation for plants and for gardening is linked to bringing things to life, to support a natural and intricate ecosystem of my own making, with God’s guiding hand!  

I’m so looking forward to this bloom shoot coming to fruition on this tiny aloe clump of mine! It’s always exciting to see the endless ebb and flow of life in a garden, particularly a desert garden! My appreciation for this purchase is increasing exponentially with each passing day, as it’s developing and changing right before my eyes! There is never any real disappointment in a garden, even when experiencing a loss, for a garden exemplifies the best qualities of God’s amazing creation and design for this world. It is ever-changing, ever-developing and we are ever-learning in turn!   

Not Really Broken . .

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Sometimes, things are not really broken, we just convince ourselves that they are! In the last few weeks, for example, I bought two solar spotlights for use in my landscape.  First of all, I was thrilled with the relatively inexpensive price I had to pay to try these fixtures. Other costly lights I have, which required wiring and significant installation, have stopped functioning, so solar lighting seemed the idyllic answer to a frustrating lighting issue! I bought two of the lights at my big box home improvement store and within a couple days had placed them where I thought they would receive sufficient sunlight to stay charged and to illuminate what I wanted to. Well, the first night I saw no light emanating from either fixture, so I assumed that they hadn’t had sufficient time to charge yet. So, the second night, I again looked out to see only darkness. I was starting to assume the fixtures were just cheap, possibly without functioning batteries or defective in some other way. I would probably be taking them back to the store the next day! Then it occurred to me to examine the fixtures more thoroughly, which then provided the answer! The lights were not broken, they simply had on/off switches which I hadn’t yet discovered or switched into the right position! My presumption of brokenness was in fact incorrect. I now have two lights which work just as they were intended and were really a great buy!  

Many things presumed to be broken these days aren’t in fact actually broken at all! A lot of things are fine just the way they are and have always been. I would suggest that many people just don’t understand why those things are the way they are. Like my lights, some people just haven’t discovered all the facts about how certain things work or lack an understanding of the reasons for things being as they are. So, to them, those particular things or situations are broken and need fixing. But, not everything we perceive as broken is actually broken and not everything needs fixing. Sometimes, things are as they are because others want them that way, traditionally they work just fine that way, or because we just don’t understand them well enough yet. So, the real issue often is our perception, our lack of understanding or our lack of acceptance, and not anything really being damaged, flawed, or broken!  

Recently, I had a conversation with a dear friend over a casual, long lunch about my faith and how my belief in the Lord intersected with my life when it comes to specific areas. To her, it seemed as though my faith was intrusive and overreaching in that regard, prohibiting me to some extent. To me, the Lord is the center of every single aspect of my life, there isn’t a choice as to which area(s) I give Him dominion. I’m here for His purposes and His will, not my own, and that realization saves me from a lot of grief! Putting God in the center brings me peace of mind, contentment, and has truly eased insecurities, neediness, as well as lessening any dissatisfaction I have had with my own life’s choices and myself. I’m happier! My life is more joyful because I have given God this top priority and everything else here on Earth falls into place accordingly in a lower priority hierarchy. She manages her life in a much different way than I do, perhaps giving God a more limited role. She’s not broken either, nor does she need me to fix anything, we just do things differently!  

In a broader scope, a lot of people in our world are busily attempting to actively and purposefully change things which work quite well for a majority of people, because they don’t believe the same, accept such things as normal, or understand the traditions already established which have worked for so many. Rather than letting others live as they choose, being desirous to learn more, or opening themselves up to new ways or beliefs, they insecurely balk at what they don’t know about, choose for themselves, or in which they don’t agree! I have come to see this stage of life here on Earth as a detour on the way to the ultimate destination. I have come to see this place and this human life as part of my learning experience on my way to an ideal destination, so I try to keep my peace, stay content, and remain joyful regardless the constant tidal influences from others who are always trying to shape us and this life into their vision of what and how it all should be! I keep my eyes focused on the Lord, and all the rest becomes less impactful and easier to withstand! I know I’m not broken because I know who I am in Christ, regardless how others view me or esteem my life choices. All I care about is Him, what He thinks of who I am and what I do! If there’s nothing broken, there’s no need for a fix!  

Time Is Leaving Their Memory Behind . .

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Today I had the tremendous honor of personally thanking and embracing two World War II veterans, who were called to stand for acknowledgment in front of the congregation at church, in honor of Memorial Day tomorrow. It surely was a momentous moment for our church, given how few of those from the greatest generation remain! Both these gentlemen, members of my church, are in their 90’s now. Time becomes more precious each and every day we are fortunate and blessed by their presence in our lives. And when speaking with one of the men named Joe, he mentioned how much more proud he becomes of his service in both WWII and the Korean War as time passes! I responded that my gratitude for all those who’ve served this nation has increased with age as well, given my heightened understanding of what such a sacrifice entails! It means time away from loved ones, the risk to life and limb, and it requires a heart of unselfish discipline often under unimaginable conditions!

Although Memorial Day is set aside for remembering our fallen servicemen and women, our church congregation chooses to single all veterans and active military out on each of the national holidays which honor our military. At the start of each service prior to, or on such an occasion, the minister(s) asks for those who’ve served in each conflict and war to stand to receive our grateful applause. Now some people object to confusing Memorial Day’s fallen recipients of honor with Veteran’s Day, which honors all those who’ve served – living and dead. But I believe there’s a pressing need to honor service whenever possible! In the case of those who served in WWII, time is leaving their memory behind and fewer veterans of that conflict are alive to serve as obvious reminders! I personally would rather be honoring their service and celebrating their presence among us rather than standing graveside with those same sentiments after they’ve passed! Too many of those who’ve served this great nation have gone to their deaths unaware of how very esteemed and infinitely valuable to the preservation of liberty their sacrifices were in service to our nation! What a shame it is to imagine how many men and women have sacrificed everything for the sake of securing and protecting this nation’s freedom without really knowing our full measure of gratitude! 

My heart aches for such overt love, as is mentioned in the Bible: John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.   And in this life, we are all “friends” in our common humanity. Surely those who sacrifice everything for this nation in the military service branches do so because they value their families, their loved ones, their communities, their neighbors, this nation and their freedom more than life itself! Preserving and protecting our precious freedom is reason enough for so many to choose to voluntarily enlist these days! Liberty persists because of the sacrifices of all those who serve this nation and for that, we cannot possibly express ample enough gratitude!

Memorial Day is a special day set aside to honor those who died in service to this nation and our hearts should be filled with somber gratitude and remembrances of them all. Such a history of personal sacrifice through voluntary and involuntary service to our nation throughout our history have cemented for us a continuous freedom, prosperity, and peace unrivaled by most other nations! Our nation’s history is filled with amazing heroism, valor, and personal sacrifice for the sake of preserving and protecting America for generations to come! But forgive those of us who take the opportunity to include veterans still living in our remembrances on this special patriotic day, especially those dear souls advancing in age who are within earshot of our accolades and our applause! We must take advantage of every opportunity we’re given to show them our gratitude, being thankful for their long, indelible lives as part of our nation’s most honorable contributions to the prevalence of freedom in the world! I wish you all a blessed Memorial Day! I pray for the families, loved ones, and souls of all those who perished in service to this nation, may God be with them all!  

 

Love Flows First . .

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I told my mom on Mother’s Day that she was truly a gift of unimaginable blessing to me because she had always loved me unconditionally, and for that, I am so very grateful! Even though I had siblings, have made many mistakes while living my life, and have been seemingly unlovable at times during my life, her love has never diminished or faltered. I’ve never sensed her having any preference between my siblings and me, nor have I experienced a prioritization of her love when I’ve accomplished more or less. Her love has been the same at all stages of my life, she has never loved me more or less! And she is not the only one who has loved me like that, I have been blessed by my father’s unconditional love (although he passed away years ago), as well as four grandparents (who’ve also passed on), and two siblings who seemingly love me that way. And more importantly, God loves me unconditionally! So, when other acquaintances, friends and family seem to pick and choose their preferred moments in my life in which to love me, I can rest assured that I am loved as God loves – in spite of my imperfections and beyond my merit!   

It’s perhaps rarer in our personal microcosm than we imagine, this ability and impetus to love unconditionally! I’m not sure I’ve always loved family members, friends and strangers in kind. I’ve surely tried, but until we each can realize and accept God’s depth, breadth and scope of love as Creator of all life, we haven’t really got it to give to others. It takes wisdom and spiritual maturity to comprehend the amazing, infinite, and forgiving definition and scope of love to truly be able to receive it within and then to share it with others! Such genuine and unconditional love must flow first from within to then encompass others with whom we interact. Love is the gift of ourselves, which is shared in an endeavor to improve, heighten and joyfully enhance the lives of those with whom we intermingle and enmesh. Love is our acceptance, approval, and awareness of others in spite of their human flaws and behavioral imperfections. And as the Bible instructs us, we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, meaning we are to love all those people around us in kind, without condition! But first, we must receive God’s love within to be able to then share it with the world around us.

Is it always easy or natural to love strangers, or even family and friends unconditionally, at all times? No. Not when we love through our human perspective and with our human limitations. But when we learn to love ourselves and others as God loves us, then it becomes easier and more natural! And that is why spiritually mature people have a more heightened, easier time loving in this way! Judgment, conditions and imperfections matter less, or not at all, to those who’ve realized how great the love that God has for them! And in turn, they are then compelled to follow God’s Word, loving others as God has loved them and as they love themselves! Love is only unconditional at that level – when it is fully accepting, forgiving, and beyond the limited scope of human understanding!

  

Parents, like my mom and dad, often have an edge in loving their children in this unconditional way, as they experience the deepest intimacy and acceptance of their yet unknown children as gifts from God while awaiting their birth with loving expectancy! Unimaginable love can develop in the time it takes to see those children conceived, born, growing and developing into future adults. Sadly, it’s not always this way, many people never really perceive and receive the unconditional love which comes first from God, so what they have to give is less than unconditional and based on a human understanding of what love really is! That truth is evident and observable in every relationship and situation in which love is key! To know what love is, one must know from where it comes and from Whom it comes! Love flows first from the source of all love, it must be received and given, shared from one human being, to another to be truly appreciated and evidenced as unconditional.  

The Last Gasp of Spring . .

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I don’t wish to proclaim this week’s weather as the last grasp of Spring, but at today’s high of 77F, it is possible that this weekend’s 102F will only be the start of the Summer heat wave coming here in the South-west. It happens every year here in the desert, and after all the years I’ve lived here, I know that daily consecutive highs near 120F are coming eventually. May can be a hot month, hence today’s pleasant coolness on a mid-May day is a cause to celebrate! Most Summer days will fall anywhere between 105 and 115F on average. The sun is unrelenting here in Summer, up early and refusing to go down gently or coolly! It heats things up and keeps them heated from early morning until well after the sun has set like a typical desert. Often our nighttime lows won’t drop below the high 80’s to mid-90s. So, I cannot help but wish the days like today would linger a bit longer, as this weather seems to a gardener like me much gentler and easier than the hot days which are coming. But that is probably unreasonable just a few days away from the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The heat is inevitable, and I must savour this day and this cooler week while I can!  

The windows of my house have been open all day and I stayed home after an appointment earlier today just because I wanted to relish this weather! I began my day working out in the garden as I knew today would be advantageous for such activity! Next week this same time, the windows will be closed and the air conditioner will be running round the clock. And I probably won’t be out in the garden much past 9 a.m. in the morning. I am not a big fan of the heat that is coming, but I tolerate it and accept it every Summer because I get the great mild weather the rest of the year. Many people love the heat which closes up our houses in air conditioned comfort for months on end, but I really prefer the kind of weather like today’s which permits me to tend to the garden all throughout the day and to enjoy the songs of all the birds while breathing in fresh, cool air through open windows. That is not possible once the air conditioning days settle in, as the windows will be closed up tight 24 hours a day. Those days will then endure continuously until around October, as that is usually when the heat breaks, as the days shorten again and the nights start to cool. But that Autumnal break is months from now, and today is a gift I’m languishing in with gratitude as a swansong to Spring!  

Each year I feel the tease of Spring’s turn to Summer and Summer’s hopeful turn again towards Autumn. A desert Summer is an endurance event for my garden and for the gardener, me, who tends to all the plants! I must water potted plants daily, as to miss a day in Summer can mean a plant succumbs to desiccating dry winds and intense heat. I can’t do my usual chores without considering when and for how long, as the days heat up quickly and wear a gardener out quickly! I suppose a desert Summer is similar to Winter restrictions elsewhere, limiting and harsh by nature. Plants can go dormant, and I, in part, do as well! So today I am lingering under my open windows, out among the plants and animals,  loving every moment of this glorious return to Spring!