Faith Hope & Love, Encouragement & FOTD

Faith, Hope and Love are to me the top attributes to the Christian faith. Today I want to tie that in with flowers and Cee’s Flower of the Day as I show off my sunflowers, again.

When my sunflowers started growing, because I am on the quirky side, I gave them names. Some got a name change due to how they bloomed and some remained true to their name. First we have the King and Queen. The King was the first on the scene, planted by the local bird population. King kept his name due to his flower being the largest of all at 9.5 inches (214.3mm) across. While his height was less impressive, King still stands 4.5 feet (1372mm) high. He looks to be on his way out but he actually is just about fully ripe. If you look at the top you can see the seeds starting to show their heads. Soon he will be a feast for the birds.

The King

Queen is much more flamboyant and beautiful as any queen should be. While her blooms are much smaller at 6 in (152mm) she does showoff with14 blooms and she stands at 8.5 feet (2591mm).

The Queen

As beautiful as these two are, the three that guard my gate as I go in and out have been named Faith, Hope & Love. Faith is closest to the gate to refresh me as I go in and out. Hope is furthest from the gate but like his namesake, he is strong, protective and holds the three together. Love is in the middle radiating his name by reflecting his beauty with leaves larger than my hands together.

Faith, Hope & Love

These three have yet to show their flowers but their stature is quite impressive. Hope, on the far left, is 9.5 feet (2896 mm) tall showing 10 buds to share his smiles with those who see them. Faith, on the right, is a little taller at 10 feet (3048 mm) and seems to have only 1 colossal bud, which is fitting for our faith should be large and strong to carry us through any crisis we face. Love takes over the center position which is fitting as love should be centered in who we are and how we are. Love is also the tallest and the largest at 12.5 feet (3810mm) tall. Its stalk is so large that I can barely wrap my fingers around it. Love has more than 12 buds thus far and I still see buds forming because it is still growing. This is how our love should be – strong, with multiple buds and height to be seen from afar.

I am a firm believer that God shows His beauty of faith, hope and love in all things that he creates for us to enjoy and learn of His caring nature. So look at nature with a different eye and let the fullness of Christ fill you with its various forms of beauty.

And in closing, I always like to remind us all of the power of kindness. Kindness can calm, soothe, encourage and give hope for almost any situation. So remember to always be kind.

FOTD – July 25

Come join in in Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge and share your fun with all of us. Today I have my neighbors Hibiscus, one red and one white.

This red is almost maroon

I meant to send this out yesterday but got distracted…go figure. So on this lovely Sunday, enjoy the beauty around you but be aware of the heat. here in the midwest we are under a heat advisory. I thought I left this in the south when I moved here. Who knew.

And as always, remember to be kind. It is a simple thing that is not always easy to do but its benefits to receiver and giver are amazing.

FOYD – July 23

Cee’s Challenge of Flower of the Day gives us a chance to share the beauty we see around us. Flowers are a gift that we get to visually share and enjoy. Today I have one of the many sunflowers in my yard and it has a visitor.

This is one planted by the birds,

My giant varieties are out by the fence and will get shared later. And as always, remember to be kind. Kindness like the sunflower can bring about big smiles.

Always Be Kind

A Time for Laughter

There are many things that happen in our life that make us smile, bring us joy, make us chuckle and sometime make us laugh out loud. I think the current techno symbol is LOL – regardless I bring you some laughter. But to fully understand you must first understand the subject at hand.

In life, there is the purity of a child’s laughter that can make even the hardest old goof at least grin and for some of us, we laugh along with the child – even if we don’t know the child. A smile or chuckle will come from us at this simple form of purity.

Laughter is a medicine we all need from time to time which can sometimes get us out of our dulldromes. But some of us have 4-legged children that really make us laugh due to their antics. Last night my daughter was able to have her phone in hand when this happened and we both laughed about it. For those who don’t know much about basset hounds, they have a high energy spurt that lasts for about 5 minutes and then it is abruptly gone…sometimes for several hours. This is Max…

That is King Max to my underlings…

If you didn’t know better, his bark would sound like he was going to eat you alive. When I was growing up, my mother had one and her bark scared off a German shepherd that made the mistake of coming in our yard. But some will have to get up first, as many wont even bother as they lay there ferociously barking.

Last night Max was playing with his ball, bring it back to his mom for her to throw it again. We are not talking about a long distance throw but still…

I’m playing,,,I’m playing…I’m done

Even though he was done, he was not giving up the ball…plus there is no one that would want it’s wet slobbery thing anyway. I know that many of you have pets that make you laugh in much the same way, so share your pets with us as well. We all need as much laughter as possible. And as always I remind you to be kind, this too can make someone smile.

Always Be Kind

Some Morning Encouragement

Good morning friends. I hope you are all doing well. In reading my devotions this morning I remember my early teachings of what I need to do as a Christian and not understanding the rules at all. Now that I am much stronger in my faith I think back on those teachings and still somewhat disagree with how it was represented but totally understand what they were trying to say. 

Being caught in an act or lifestyle of evil is a sin and makes you a slave to it. So change it and be a slave to Christ.  

The word slave has such a negative feel about it that I think it turns away those who are seeking because they don’t want to be a slave again to something else, they want freedom.

If one rules another by saying, “You must do this,” and, “You will do that,” he breaks the human spirit, making it unfit for God. Oswald Chambers

But when we recognize the true attributes of Christianity – love joy peace kindness goodness faithfulness gentleness self control – then being a “slave” to such things is really a freedom, a freedom from evil. When our slavery comes from obedience in recognizing who Jesus really is, then it is not slavery at all. Slavery is something you don’t want to do but loving our risen Lord is something we relish doing.

 Let your soul find the fulfillment of its deepest longings in fellowship with God. Billy Graham

My hopes are that you find the beauty of joy of following Christ. He shows his love in the simplest ways and makes it easy to follow. For me, I find His presence in nature where he shows his beauty of creation. I decided to grow a few sunflowers this year and some are well over 12 feet tall.  They make me laugh, especially when neighbors walk by and stop to stare. Share the love of Christ from your heart and it will always be right. Have a great week and remember to always be kind.

A Night of Fun

Sunday nights during the summer, the City of Davenport Riverfront Improvement Commission has evening concerts for all to share with a different band each week. There is laughter, dancing and of course food. The First Baptist Church provides sweets and hotdogs for a fun outdoor evening.

There is a really nice bandshell down by the river where the bands can share their talents for anyone wanting to sit and listen or get up and dance to their sheer delight.

This week’s band was Orion Community Band, from a neighboring county. Their music was exceptional.

The night started out with the national Anthem and ended with Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA, but in between was music from many different Broadway musicals along with fun numbers like YMCA. It was a night that made me feel my mom’s presence close by. She would have relished this night with her love of music and band music.

All ages, and some dogs, fully enjoyed themselves sitting in the chairs or sprawled on the grass lawn.

As we are slowly coming out of hiding from Covid, this has been a great way to say hey to each other, enjoy the warm sunshine and music and spread kindness to everyone. As we continue to move forward let us always remember to share kindness wherever we go. It can light up some of our darker moments.

Always Be Kind

Amazing Stonework, July 19

Good afternoon friends. I started this challenge to share the beauty in older designs and architectures of the past that are in my area. So join in and share the beauty of stonework, brick, or concrete buildings in your area with interesting designs. Include the tag above so that others can tie in with you.

Today’s subject is an old bank, American Commercial and Savings Bank, that I am not sure is even being used at all. It is generally very quiet around it even thought it has 5 floors above from today’s focus. Today we are studying the three arch windows above the the main entrance of the second floor. So I tie in again with Ludwig’s Monday Windows for sharing the beauty of ornate windows.

The windows and the door itself are a combination of ornate and columned ironwork as well as detailed masonry. The center window has an ironwork eagle that ties in with the other metalwork of the window. The detailed masonry above the windows looks more beautiful with the colors of aging dripping down their faces. While the two side windows are not as ornate as the center window, their beauty is still amazing.

The center window highlights the filigree from above the door bringing in more hearty metal work to show off the beauty of the center window. The masonry details inside the arch of this window make it even more lovely.

So I challenge you to not dismiss those old building but to look for the art and design that was created with far less technology than we have available for us today. Share it with us here and appreciate the artist of then.

And as always I remind you of the beauty of kindness. It is what make our world beautiful. Use it often.

FOTD, July 18, Jacks Beanstalk

Spring and summer are such fun times for those of us who love playing in the dirt. Cee’s fun challenge of Flower of the Day, allows us to share this fun. I also love my birds and sometimes they help me by planting flowers with me. This year I wanted to plant a couple of sunflowers so then the birds can eat from those as we share in flowers together. So today we have “The Sunflower Collection” including one that reminds me of the story of Jack and his beanstalk. A few of these are easily 10-12 feet high but it has been so much fun watching them grow. People walking down the sidewalk always stop and enjoy them. The taller ones have not even budded out so I guess they are still growing. When fall comes and they die, I will measure them and let you know their full height.

Here is the group by my gate. My fence is 5 feet tall.

These are the ones the birds planted. Not quite as tall but lots of flowers, some not even open yet.

This one has a flower down low while it still reaches for the sky. It has a huge bud at the top.

This next one is the one I call Jack’s beanstalk. Look at the size of the stalk.

Getting under it, I was able to shoot for the sky. It gives us an idea of what Jack was seeing…sort of.

This one is easily 12 feet high

So much summer fun. I hope you enjoyed my sunflowers. I will drop off pictures as the giant ones bloom. In closing I remind us always the share the value of kindness. It does not have to be as large as a bean stalk but to the one receiving it, it may very well feel that big.

Encouragement from a ‘shroom

All aspects of life have the ability to encourage…even a mushroom.

With us having rain for over a week, it is inevitable that mushrooms would show up…everywhere. But I am a firm believer that all things created in nature come from God and have the ability to show forth some sort of value. In my devotion today, I was reminded that ALL of creation has a purpose. Even these dreaded mushroom has a purpose. For those that are edible, they are high in nutrients, for those that are not edible, they provide much nutrition to the soil which feeds the plant life around it. They provide a sustainable value.

Every tiny bit of life has value. Oswald Chambers

There are some people who feel their value is no longer needed but that could not be further from the truth. During this past year and a half, we have all been shown the enormous value we all have. While we were hunkered down for safety, we realized the love, faith and confidence we have in Christ. And many turned their inside experience into ways of sharing  love, kindness and perseverance. By being able to reach out with phone calls, letters and through the internet with email, we have shown Christ’s love to others. Our seemingly small efforts brought enormous joy and encouragement to many as the bright light of Christ was shared to dispel the dark gloominess of fear and uncertainty. 

Today, faith and confidence in the resurrected Christ can change your fear to hope and your disappointment to joy. Billy Graham

Now as we wait for these rain systems to move on, we know that bright sunshine will once again find us and bring us its warmth and joy. Let us wait patiently for those days where we see the sun, but knowing we have the Son inside of us to share His light with others and bring joy. Never forget your enormous value, while you think your contribution may be of little value, it could be the one single act that gives the hope needed for another individual. And as always, remember to be kind in all you do. Every small act of kindness has huge value.

Evening Encouragement

The power of encouragement

Good evening friends. I hope this was a good day. In reading my devotions today, I was reminded of two main things – Life is about choices and Jesus is the correct choice, always. Billy Graham reminds us that while we all come from different backgrounds, it’s our choices that drive our direction. When we get discouraged we need to refocus on the future, not next week’s future but the future future – Jesus returning to make things right. When we focus on the brokenness around us, it can be depressing and gloomy but if we gather people who love us close to us and combine that love with Jesus’ love, then we can sustain our position and focus on the blessed day of hope.

The sunlight of His love can still shine in the darkest part of your life. Billy Graham

Succeeding in life has to do with choices and we can choose how we react to any situation.  We can blame  this broken world for our situation and wallow in the muck of it, or we can accept our responsibility of our choices and make better choices. Think how perfect the world was when Adam was here…and the choice he made.  God has always given us the power of choice.

We have to remember that Jesus was also born into this broken world but he changed it by changing people. Billy Graham

I have a new favorite t-shirt that I got from the church t-shirt sale and the back of it says “God’s got my back”.  And I think if we choose to hang onto that truth, He will not only have our back but will walk beside us and occasionally carry us when needed. So hang on to His blessed love and His promise of hope that one day we will be face to face with Our Lord.
Have a wonderful and calming evening and may you feel His peace surround you. And as always, remember to be kind. It helps you be calm as much as the one to whom you are being kind with.