Unfurl

Tiny frond
Essence of spring …Safe
In its underground seclusion
Stirs within warming abode

Tight coil
Slowly stretching… Pushing
Through covering protective layers
Awakened from winters slumber

Fiddleheads
In feathery company… Emerging
Adding beauty to moist shade
Tucked among woodland passes

And so do we also
Stretch and reach to warming light
Gather strength and determination
Draw nourishment… Unfurl

Transformation

Oh! Wow! Look! Look! … Here it comes. Here it comes! It’s coming out!

Have you ever watched a caterpillar forming its chrysalis (cocoon) and then waited … and waited … to see it finally emerge? What an amazing transformation from a creeping crawling caterpillar to a graceful soaring butterfly!

Before the caterpillar enters its cocoon, it’s not just lying around or curled up in a ball somewhere, is it? Think of all that goes on during the long wait. It’s busily moving, finding just the right dinner table… and eating, eating, eating. It needs its nourishment to grow and to prepare for the future. I wonder if it is aware of the coming time of transformation.

What if that caterpillar, in its eagerness for that final vision, decided it wanted to skip the period of eating and growth? Or what if there was no time spent in the cocoon? It seems crazy to even consider that!

So many times in my life, like all of us, I set my sight too much on a final desired outcome. Like the caterpillar, we need nourishment to grow and to prepare. Like the developing butterfly, we surround ourselves with the presence of things that help us to become what we are meant to be. We need time to develop both physically, mentally, and spiritually. Learning new skills, gaining in knowledge and wisdom, and developing our faith are all vital pieces. They are the stuff of life, aren’t they?!

It’s easy to grumble about the need to wait, isn’t it? We impatiently shuffle our feet and are eager to be done with whatever we are waiting for… or to finally participate in a long-anticipated event, achieve our goal, or acquire some possession.

How often do we consider the process of waiting as our success and our purpose? Like the caterpillar busily eating and exploring, we take time to taste life. That reminds me of the Psalm that says, “taste and see that the Lord is good!” * We live the best we can and find contentment in Him. Even God waits! He waits for us to respond or to complete our tasks here. He waited for Noah to finish building the ark! *

I don’t often read in the book of Titus but came across a verse that says “to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait…” * Through the goodness of God, we are being transformed as we prepare for our final great transformation.

My prayer for us all is to live life fully and with contentment in our waiting.

* Psalm 34:8, 1 Peter 3:20, Titus 2:12
Charlotte-Anne Allen

“As… so” Proverbs for Springtime

  • As the soil is tilled, so are we made ready to receive
  • As seeds are planted, so are our thoughts guided
  • As creatures emerge from winter shelters, so we step out to discover and grow
  • As flowers rise from the earth, so life is reborn
  • As the sun warms and draws new life, so kind words bring healing and hope
  • As spring rains soak in and nourish, so the sharing of knowledge and wisdom betters our lives
  • As wind tears and roars, so ill-spoken words tear and hurt
  • As weeds are cleared to make room for desired plants, so removal of harmful relationships or habits encourages healthier lives
  • As bushes are pruned and stronger growth results, so we gain wisdom and strength through trials and experience
  • As flowers brighten and green buds burst forth, so music and laughter express joy and peace

from “As… so Proverbs
Charlotte-Anne Allen

Nurture

“Wow! Look at that! … and there’s another one!” We smiled as we checked out the growing produce from our summer garden. Careful planting, tending, and watering was producing bountiful crops of tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, corn, squash, and much more. A lot of work had gone into the garden and there was much satisfaction and hope for plentiful provision, both for us and to share with others.

Whether tending a garden, caring for others, or looking after our pets or other animals, nurturing is a part of our daily life. When offered in love and compassion, it is an expression and reflection of our Creator, God. A helping hand or an encouraging word can gladden a heart and bring a smile when exhaustion or stress threatens to overwhelm and reaping benefits of hard work and dedication is rewarding.

God nurtures us, both physically and spiritually. I like this passage from the book of Psalms which expresses thanks to God. Think about it in terms of God’s care in our life as well:

You visit the earth and water it; you greatly enrich it. The river of God is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it. You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth. You crown the year with your bounty. Your wagon tracks overflow with richness. The pastures of the wilderness overflow. The hills gird themselves with joy. The meadows clothe themselves with flocks. The valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy. Psalm 65:9-13

Comforting an upset child. Cuddling a pet. Feeding a hungry family. Sitting with a loved one. Protecting those in our care. Being present to support or to share in sorrow. The many small or large acts that we encounter daily offer opportunities.

As we nurture and are nurtured, we can… Pray for those in our care. Rejoice in provision and growth. Rest in God in times of sorrow and drought. Offer thanks and gratitude for His sustaining presence through all things. Acknowledge God’s provision and thank those He brings to us, as we care for each other.

God bless and sustain you through each day. Be encouraged.

Reflections on Garden Trowels

  • Use your life as a tool for good
  • Silence can be an uncomfortable hole that we try to fill
  • Being too focused on making your point can stop your ears from truly listening
  • Bad habits can wrap themselves around us like roots
  • Covered up rot is still rot
  • Allow removal of hurtful and negative practices
  • Clods must be broken up for the ground to be softened
  • Space provides room for growth
  • What we put in our lives influences what is produced
  • Plant good ideas and strong character
  • Avoiding work is like leaving a tool to rust in the rain
  • Dig and cultivate to produce nourishment for all
  • Hold tightly to values, truth, and faith
  • We get a better handle on the Word by reading it often

from “Reflections from the Everyday”
by Charlotte-Anne Allen

Hearken

Soft rustle at woodland’s edge
Shyly peering out at winter’s passing

Long slumbering beneath earth’s cold bite
Now reaching out a questing toe

Chill breezes steal day’s brief warmth
And residents shiver in protected nooks

Frost yet bites tender growth
Then yields to dawn’s new light

Nostrils raise to scent and tread
And life stirs within seed and soil

Rain-washed earth and ways are
Streaked with plants’ golden offerings

Stone and wood yield welcomed warmth
Hearken, hearken …

Root Care

I love gardening… flowers, herbs, vegetables, fruits, shrubs. I love plants and digging around in the soil, weeding, planting, and tending. Getting my hands and bare feet into the earth and listening to the sounds of nature is a happy place for me. Good soil. Plant food or fertilizer. Regular watering. Sunshine. All of these in needed amounts. Added to healthy plants with good roots.  

This makes me think about the amazing roots! They draw nourishment up into the plant, which in turn provides what the plant needs to grow and flourish. Roots hold the plant securely, supporting it. Strong and deep roots hold firmly. Have you ever tried to pull up an unwanted or unneeded plant that had long, deep roots? It can be quite a job to get up! Shallow roots do not hold securely and are easily pulled up.

Just like those plants with strong and deep roots, God is our source and through Him we can hold firmly. In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he encouraged them to continue their lives in Christ, “rooted and built up in him and established in the faith.” * Our roots are our connections with God. It is from Him that we draw our nourishment. He sets us strongly in a place where we can flourish and grow.

Have you ever found that you have set your roots into unhealthy places or situations? Instead of drawing positive and nourishing things for our lives, we find ourselves withering and unable to thrive. I’m thankful that through God, we can leave those places, and that He can transplant us when we call on Him for help.

I ask myself, “Am I caring for my roots? … What am I doing to help strengthen or establish the roots of those around me?” Maybe you have asked yourself similar questions too.

May we take positive steps to look at ourselves and our connections to others, not neglecting our root care. Reach down deeply and draw on God our source so that we can grow and better care for and support each other. Through Him we can stand firmly.

* Colossians 2:6-7

Reflections on ICICLES

  • Life is ever-changing
  • We are formed by our experiences
  • There are times for growth and times for reflection
  • Cold centers can form from adverse conditions
  • Frozen hearts are difficult to thaw
  • Slow drops and warming temperatures bring good changes
  • How we use something determines its effect
  • Some strive to cut and others to heal
  • Wisdom must be applied for positive results
  • The longer we hold onto grudges and anger the larger they grow
  • A firm and strong beginning helps establish the outcome
  • Stating the point clearly and well decreases confusion
  • Reflect beauty and light as you grow
  • The Maker holds us tightly and creates masterpieces

from “Reflections from the Everyday”
Charlotte-Anne Allen 02/06/2021

Free to Be

chick looking_pexels-photo-202164

The car’s packed and we’re heading down the road to new adventures! …I remember my anticipation as a teen going off to college. Along with some normal anxiety, I looked forward to having my own schedule and being able to make my own decisions. I was free to strike out on my own. Free to be me… Rather a scary thought as I look back on that, but my parents and others had prepared me well and my faith in God was real and strong. Growing and maturing is an important step in life.

Free to be. Free to make choices. Free to consider future and present actions… But isn’t it also easy during that pursuit to become too self-focused, missing out on the richness and satisfaction of reaching outward in service and in working with others? We’ve all heard the clamor of the world. “He said…” “She did…” “That’s a lie…” “You deserve…” Perhaps I am just more aware as I’ve gotten older, but selfishness often seems to be encouraged. Talking at once seems to be the norm. People loudly espouse their agenda, poisonous words tearing others apart, hurting and demeaning everyone.

As I discovered during my college days, along with freedom comes new responsibility, greater accountability and consideration of others. As Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians, “’I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but not everything is constructive.” * In our freedom, I pray that we will remember the element of respect, building up and caring for others, rather than tearing down and destroying.

Of encouragement to me is the observation that when we face common challenges or tragedies, we begin to gain a sense of our shared humanity. When we take time to notice and acknowledge people as important and valued, then differing perspectives, needs, or goals no longer seem as significant. When we reconsider harsh words, there are fewer times to regret. When we choose positive actions, then growth and reconciliation are made possible. When we allow change in our own thinking and perspective, we discover room for compassion.

*1 Corinthians 10:23

 

Reflections on Crackers

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• Select the best ingredients for life
• A little salt improves taste
• Tasting is discovery
• Careful blending produces goodness
• Adding character brings positive variety
• Each variety has something to offer
• Variety and unity are possible and desirable
• Joining seasonings produces great things
• Fellowship is important for growth and encouragement
• Positive accomplishment is satisfying