Thursday, March 31, 2016

Red Buds and Ocean Scene

The last day before spring break was a chalk pastel day.  True confessions, I chose chalk that last day of school because it is an easier clean up than paint.  Okay, I feel better now.  I also like the results.   One of the  fourth grade classes did these spring pictures.  We started with the sky and grass and added the blooming red bud tree.  The lesson included perspective and the rule of thirds.  We discussed what details we wanted to add to our pictures.

The ocean pictures are  from the 5th grade.  I can't explain it but the 5th graders  do not seem to enjoy the chalk as much as the other grades.  This group of students have always been great in creating interesting pictures, but for some reason they seem hesitant  to add extra details to the things that they do in chalk.   I like their work the way it is but always enjoy seeing what they can add to make their pictures unique.


Spring time whispers secrets in the ear
But only if you care to hear

Dogwoods, tulips, azaleas and paper white narcissus
Wisteria's gossamer fragrance

We turn our backs on erstwhile somber winter
The sun restored from its' sojourn on a cold watery plain

The world awakens in a splendor of
pinks, purples, and effervescent whites..

Quickly you must drink from the beauty
Hurry, hurry before the balm fades to sultriness

It is too sacred to last

Monday, March 28, 2016

Water Lilies in Chalk Pastel

I really like doing chalk pastels with the kids, because we can make an interesting picture in a short amount of time.  I found a water lily tutorial on  We followed the basic directions and I showed the students pictures of real water lilies.  I encouraged them to use more than one shade in their water lilies to keep them from looking so flat.  They added their own details to the sky. The students always have great ideas on how to make their pictures better.  I learn from them probably as much as they learn from me.  I love how the chalk looks on the black construction paper and the vertical movement of the water using the blues and blacks.  I always hand out baby wipes when do we chalk, but it is still a pretty messy adventure. :)

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Weekend Wit 6

“If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn't rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.” Timothy Keller

John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

"The message of Easter is that God's new world has been unveiled in Jesus Christ and that you're now invited to belong to it.”
N.T. Wright

Romans 8:11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

“I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.” Charles Colson

"The tomb of Christ is famous because of what it DOES NOT CONTAIN."
Sam Morris

"For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins." 
1 Corinthians 15:16, 17

“Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” Martin Luther

New Life Nursery

I am addicted to gardening.  I need a bumper sticker that says, "I brake for garden centers, plant nurseries and blooming weeds on the side of the road."  It is almost true.  I have the philosophy that, "One can not have too many plants."

I frequent the Bargains Grocery store on Highway 8.  It is one of those dented can stores that has close outs and things that are on the brink of expiration.  For several years I noticed that across the road from Bargains was a little upstart plant nursery.  It didn't have a sign out front and it was little hard to tell what was going on.

New Life Nursery and Garden 864-349-8459
Amazon Business Link 

Verse on the New Life T Shirt
 Romans 6:4  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 

I had my eye on the nursery and one day I had enough time to sidle over.  I parked on the embankment in front of the nursery.  I wandered in and out of their greenhouses and found some nice additions for my collection of hydrangeas. I wasn't disappointed by the selection or the price. I really prefer buying local from people who live in my community if it is at all possible.   New Life by this point had already built up the nursery and had lots of thriving plants in multiple green houses.  This is a working operation so if you visit, the sprinklers might pop on and the small staff are out busily  working to make this operation a success.  It is hard work to take care of plants through all  seasons and all multiple weather patterns. They welcome walk in customers but don't expect them to offer a polished  experience of an upscale retail store.

Pedro helping me with a camellia
Knockout Roses grafted in on root stock 

I stopped by again the other day to pick up another camellia, (a bush that I seem to kill on a regular basis).  I talked to Pedro the manager and to B J, the owner.  B J said that he started the business in 2007.  He has been in the industry most of his life.  He rented the roadside property from a lady at his church and eventually got a bigger tract of land when the little used car lot next to him went out of business.

I asked BJ what was the draw to his nursery and found out that he propagates some unusual varieties of plants.  For plant aficionados, this is a real bonus.  The big box stores only carry what the average customer wants.  True gardeners are anything but average and most of us are looking for something special for our little garden world.   As a result, BJ sells to folks from all over the US and Canada.  They carry the unusual varieties of the  red, orange or yellow flowering tea olive shrubs.  Tea olives are broad leafed evergreens that bloom in the fall and have a delicate but luscious smell of apricot. Most tea olives produce a cream colored flower.  The red, orange or yellow would add interest to the landscape. They also have  edgeworthia, which drops its leaves in the fall and then has a fragrant yellow bloom starting in January and lasting until April.  They have fatsia, that has a broad green leaf that provides distinction in the shade garden with plants like hosta or hellebores.  Another unusual plant they have is the corkscrew willow which grows quickly and provides interest even when the leaves have dropped in the fall.  It is a relatively short lived tree but the curly branches and its' undemanding properties makes it a good choice.

The nursery propagates most of their plants on site.  A small proportion of their stock is ordered from other nurseries in the Southeast, so all of their plants are hardy for the Southeastern zones.  They specialize in shrubs with the addition of some trees.  They do have some perennial grasses and a variety of other things.  This is not a place to find bedding plants to rotate in and out of  the seasons.  This is a great place to find hardy bushes and trees for foundation plantings.

Friday, March 25, 2016

A Day of Death and the Hope of the Resurrection

It has been a rough week emotionally.  One of my friends was sent home with Hospice.  She passed away last night leaving a loving husband and three beautiful daughters.  She fought tooth and nail to beat her cancer.  She took experimental drugs. She spent many days in the hospital but still kept her hope alive.  She kept on coming to work even when she had  little energy.  I know she had no desire to leave her family.

I knew Terri from work.  She accepted me into the little school family from the get go.  She always had a ready smile and an easy manner about her.  In my human mind, I can't understand why she was not allowed to live out her life and see her girls all graduate, marry and have a grand baby or two.  I don't get why her husband is now without his life partner.  I will grieve for Terri, but her family has been altered and they will forever have a gaping wound that will always seep tears.

It is Friday.  It is the day we set aside to remember that Jesus went to the cross willingly to suffer and die for our sins.  He paid the penalty of death for the sins of each of us so that we could have radical new spiritual life and be restored in our relationship to God, the Father.

How mysterious that Terri left us on the day that our Savior went to the cross?   It is Friday and all is death and sorrow and tears today.  Those of us who personally knew Terri are sad and  distraught.  Even to the end I prayed that somehow she would rebound and that we would see a miracle.

It was the same for Jesus' friends.  They saw the unfairness of the arrest, the trials and eventually the crucifixion.  The hope of the disciples was dashed.  They knew that it was all over and their friend and brother was gone.

Those  who has gone through the loss of a family member or close friend,  have experienced this same kind of insufferable loss.  In those kinds of moments, we do not know how to go on.  The longing for our loved one to be returned to us is an incalculable sorrow that the human heart does not have the true capacity to bear.

As long as we live on this earth, we will live in the reality of Friday.  We will suffer loss and pain.  I hate it.  I hate it with a passion.  Make no mistake here.  When Adam sinned in the garden, it was our decision as well.  We live in the reality of that rebellion every single second of our lives here on the earth.

 Jesus did not stay on the cross.  He was laid in a cold borrowed tomb, the very picture of defeat.  But it was not Jesus who was defeated, it was death itself.  The grave could not hold HIM.  He arose!!!!  On Sunday morning the disciples incredible spirit of defeat and sorrow was changed into an unbelievable joy.

We may live with our lives stuck in Friday, but my friends Sunday is coming.  It is coming and death will be swallowed up in victory.
Flowers that the kids drew and painted for Terri    (K through 5th  MCA)

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die...

Monday, March 21, 2016

Some Reasons Why Atheism Isn't A Viable Choice For Me

So delicate and beautiful, the common peach blossom
Cluster of pear blossoms
Years ago a little old lady gave me a small piece of this bush. I need to find out the name.  I enjoy the pink cotton candy color blossoms of early spring.

 I only have a few tulips left in the yard.  I love them and hope to remember to plant more in the fall.
 Dandelions may be officially weeds, but look how beautiful the sun reflects on the seed head. It is a perfect delicate globe of wispy little seeds.
Violets come up all over our yard, I love them too much to consider ever getting rid of them.

Look at Mister Cardinal sitting in the maple  filled with a plethora of wing nut seed heads. What a fun design are these little helicopter spinning seed pods? 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Weekend Wit 5

Of Perseverance 
The right response for most days is to just get up and start moving forward.

Of Prayer
God is more willing to answer our prayers than we are willing to pray.

Of Life
We have not seen the whole puzzle only that one small piece from our itty bitty lives.

Of Hope 
Hope is a tangible reality that we grab hold of  by faith in the promises of our God who does not lie.

"To know God is eternal life."

Of Humor
I find humor in much of life, it is my secret weapon against dry rot of the soul.

Of Faithfulness
Taking care of your family is not as sexy as volunteering at events where they give you t-shirts.  But the things you do for your family is really what keeps the world from falling apart.

Of a Mother's Advice
When  leaving the house for the day or the evening, my best and most consistent advice is, "Don't do anything stupid."

Of Marriage
Most enter marriage immature, if you stay long enough you will mature and so will your partner.  Too many don't stick around long enough to see the magic that comes from the longevity.  It is beautiful, winsome and holy.

"There is, hidden or flaunted, a sword between the sexes til an entire marriage reconciles them."
C.S. Lewis

Of Politicians
Leaders only have the power that God allows them to have.  They would do well to realize that they will be held accountable for every single one of their actions.

Of God's Glory
"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the , 'darkness' on the walls of his cell."
C.S. Lewis

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Spring's Arrival

The earth is fully awake
Garbed with sultry green

Bonny cows with heads bent down
The sparest of sparrows flitting about

Bullfrog croaking his watery sounds
Trees primp in their frilliest as the wind whisks it away

Spring has arrived!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Yesterday When I Was Seven

Yesterday I was seven
With the wind in my hair and butterflies floating across the sky.

I used to be twenty with stardust in my eyes
as I peered at the future just beyond the horizon

My soul is now housed in the fifties
As that vapor becomes thinner than ever

Tomorrow I will be seventy
And soon the veil will completely disappear in wisps

Eternity and reality will be one.

Maeyn Succat and St. Patty's Day

This is Saint Patrick's Day and somewhere in the back of our minds we have ideas swirling around about green beer, corned beef and cabbage and wearing green.  Every year I try to share the basic story of Saint Patrick with my kids at school. 

 Many believe Patrick was born Maewyn Succat.  He was kidnapped by Irish raiders around the year 400.  The best story I can find, is that he was a teenager who was taken to Ireland and sold as a slave.  Some stories say he took care of pigs and some that he took care of sheep. Maewyn cried out to God in his slavery and eventually was praying as much as a hundred times a day.  After a six year enslavement, he believed that God was telling him to escape and go home.  Maewyn convinced a ship's captain to take him home. He was reunited with his family and became a monk. 

 Eventually. after about twenty years, he had dreams that he was suppose to go back to Ireland and share the gospel message with his Irish enslavers.  He went and one of the first converts was the man who enslaved him.  He spent the rest of his life ministering now to his beloved people of Ireland.  Eventually his name was changed to Patrick.  

 The kids in the 4th grade made celtic crosses.  They added a triquetta, the three cornered knot, to the crosses and the Prayer of Saint Patrick to their picture.  The kids had the freedom to design their crosses and add other embellishments to their work.  Some of these are not finished.  Marker, colored pencil, wide black Sharpie, and crayons were available for use.  

I love the story of Saint Patrick.  I love the work of the sovereign God in Patrick's life.  As a young man, he had no interest in the gospel, but through what would seem a tragedy, God turned his life totally around and at the same time converted a nation from paganism to Christianity.  I get that not everyone in Ireland was converted and that over time the gospel message can be lost even to those who profess that they are believing people.

 I am still excited to know that God worked in Patrick's life. Maybe today there are circumstances in your life that seem totally beyond any hope.  Be a Patrick, turn in your desperation to the God of hope and see what He is willing and completely able to do in your life.  Corned beef and cabbage, green beer and wearing green have their worth, but the true story of Patrick is something that can capture the mind and be cause for true celebration.