The Baby Time Forgot - copyright 2007 by Judy Vandiver
Friday, October 30, 2009
The Baby Time Forgot - copyright 2007 by Judy Vandiver
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Several years ago, as my husband and I eagerly waited for our sixth grandchild to arrive, my son and his wife tried to pick out baby names. My son asked if there were any family names I might suggest. I reminded him that his great grandmother had named her second child Omega, hoping it would be the last". She went on to have five more children," I explained, "so there might not be much to this naming thing."
I know I should have shown more interest in the names suggested, but of far more concern to me was what the baby would eventually call me. While the parents may pick out a baby's name, the baby will often name the grandparents whatever they choose. I am currently known as Nana, Mom-Mom, Manny and Chicken-Nana. I was a little dubious about the name "Chicken-Nana" until I learned that this grandchild referred to the other grandmother as "Dead-Nana." I have since grown fond of the name "Chicken-Nana." My own parents were named Louisi-nana, Tractor Paw-Paw, Papa, and Pa-Two (as opposed to Pa-One.)
When my sister contemplated what she wanted her granddaughter to call her she finally came up with a childhood nickname the family used for her and asked to be called, "Mimi." Her husband said that since kids sometimes rhyme the names of grandmothers and grandfathers, he wanted to make it clear that he was not to be call "Peepee."
So what names would I choose for my grandchildren to call me? I think I would most like the name friend. I pray that I can always live up to that name and be a friend physically, mentally, and spiritually to each grandchild. And I pray that it will be a while yet before I become known as "Dead Nana."
Pictures of my two grandmothers:
Left: "Maimeau" was born Eva Etoile McCann and was known by many simply as "Miss Eva."
Right: "Momo" was born Valley Eva Reed. Here she is with six of her children. (Omega is in the brown plaid pants and my dad is peeking over his mother's shoulder with the red ball cap perched on his head.)
Below: My six grandchildren. That last grandchild is the one and only sweet little girl on the bench. (We might be from Texas, but those are not real guns.)
The Naming of a Grandmother - copyright 2005 by Judy Vandiver
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Last week, as I sat in the garden having morning devotions, I read from Luke chapter two.
I called for Steve to come see the picture. He, too, was awed by what God showed us in the photograph. He said, “I was afraid that it was too bright out there. I thought the sun might get in the way.”
- In what ways has God exposed you to the light of His word?
- What blessings have you received from God as he directs your daily path?
- What surprise revelations has God given you through nature?
- As you read the Bible, ask God to shed light and understanding on His word.
- Choose one or more of the three scriptures above. Meditate on it, then memorize it.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Personal Study Questions:
Friday, October 23, 2009
Originally I Come to the Garden Alone was going to be written in five parts, but two things happened in my garden this week and I felt God teaching me lessons about His love and His light. I'll share one of those lessons on Monday and one on Tuesday.
- In what area of your life do you believe yourself to be a failure?
- What hidden truths are wrapped up in your belief?
- What spiritual truth might God be trying to teach you?
- What new seeds can you cultivate in your life?
- What do you need to do to help those seeds survive?
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Over the course of my life, I have tried all kinds of gardens. Most of them have continued to be disasters of the earthly kind, while God has continued to guide me in spiritual growth in the midst of my failures.
One year, Steve and I decided to grow tomatoes. The plants looked healthy. After a lot of waiting, we finally noticed (if you’ve been following my blog, you’ll notice that waiting thing again) that we had some small green tomatoes on our plants. And just about the time they were looking wonderful, our neighbor walked across our shared patio area for a quick visit. He had just changed the oil in his car and still had the old oil in a bucket as we spoke. As Herb turned to go, he tripped, dumping the oil onto those gorgeous tomato plants. We tried rinsing the plants off but within a couple of days they shriveled and died
When Steve and I bought our second home, the yard was wonderfully landscaped. There was a great rose garden by the front walk. There were huge hydrangea bushes under the dining room window. We had three fig trees, a pear tree, a cherry tree, a black walnut tree, and three pecan trees. There were also quite a few trees and plants that I didn’t know the names of. We lived there for about 15 years. When we moved, two pecan trees and one fig tree had somehow managed to survive. Everything else was gone.
I’ve even tried rock gardens. That was the only time my garden flourished. I was finally growing something—moss and fungus covered the rocks.
My gardening failures have not stopped me from continuing to desire and dream of a beautifully landscaped yard. I love roses and from time to time, I once again try my hand at gardening. I’ll buy a beautiful plant or rose bush. They flourish for a while, but usually not very long. All too soon they wither, die, and end up in the garbage.
One day I came across a wonderful gardening secret. I found a type of gardening that was perfect for me. I am now the world’s greatest potpourri gardener. That’s right. I grow potpourri.
You see, potpourri is made from dead flowers! So now, I can grow sweet, little rose bushes, daisies, or whatever I like. When they die, they are just right for the picking. Just when they look like they are ready for the trash heap, I grab those dried out and shriveled up blooms. When someone comments on the condition of my little blossoms, I respond, “Yes, they are just about perfect, don’t you think?”
Sometimes I even deliberately pick one while it’s looking fresh and perky, just to get that right color or shape. Or maybe I want a rosebud. I have even gathered some wonderful botanical beauties that others call weeds.
I place these botanical beauties and withered blossoms in a dehydrator. The next day they are fully dried. But they are not potpourri yet! No... they’re just "deader" than they were before. They may be pretty to look at, all mixed together, but to make them into potpourri, I have to add another ingredient.
I place my dehydrated mixture in a plastic bag and add drops of scented oil. I close up the bag and wait. (Ever the waiting thing!) Not until the oil has time to be absorbed does the potpourri begin to give off a wonderful fragrance. Without the oil, all they can do is “look pretty.” I have found that I can even add gardenia fragrant oil to my rose petals and enjoy the smell I remember so well from my childhood and mother’s garden.
Sometimes the potpourri loses its fragrance. But all I have to do is add more oil. One bowl of potpourri can last forever.
Ok, you know it’s coming - my lesson from God. Here it is. I can look good to the world, but it’s not until I die to self and God anoints me with the oil of His Spirit—until that oil is given time to be absorbed, that I become more than something that just looks good. Once His oil is absorbed, I can give off a sweet fragrance to those around me. Just as the fragrance from the potpourri is not from the petals themselves but from the oil, the fragrance we give the world must come from God.
And just as I can make a rose petal smell like a gardenia, God’s spirit can change me into more than what I look like to the world. I must let His spirit permeate my soul. I must give it time to be fully absorbed—then I can let His fragrance enrich those around me.
And just as I have to go back and add drops of oil occasionally to my potpourri, I must be dependent on the master gardener to keep me anointed with His Spirit. I must remain close in Him.
One night long ago, a man named Nicodemus came to Jesus and declared to him that he knew Jesus was from God. Jesus explained however, that it took more than knowing that. It took a rebirth. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” Just as my roses have to die in order to be made into something new, to enter God’s Kingdom we must die to self and be born of His Spirit.
I found the following verses in The Message Bible. They come from the book of Romans.
But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, The spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells - even though you still experience all the limitations of sin - you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive and present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With His Spirit living in you, our body will be as alive as Christ’s! (Romans 8)
Personal Study Questions:
- Have I died to self and allowed God to anoint me with the oil of His Spirit?
- Does my oil need refreshing?
- Do I give off a sweet fragrant attitude to those around me?
- Am I willing to let the master gardener change me?
- Read the 23rd Psalm and meditate on verse 5: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
Copyright 2002 by Judy Vandiver
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
- Do I worship Christ in vain?
- Is there anything about my relationship with Christ that is plastic?
- Are my actions and attitudes sincere?
- Can my faith stand up under trials? Can it take the heat?
- Memorize John 4:23-24 “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (NIV)
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
- Have I watered the Spirit of God within myself?
- Are there areas of my spiritual life that are dying?
- Am I diligent in watering my soul, or do I become distracted by other things in life?
- Do I expose my soul to the “son” or a daily basis?
- Memorize Psalm 36:7-9 “How exquisite your love, O God! How eager we are to run under your wings, To eat our fill at the banquet you spread as you fill our tankards with Eden spring water. You're a fountain of cascading light, and you open our eyes to light. (Psalm 36:7-9 The Message)
Monday, October 19, 2009
- What seeds of faith have I hidden from the “son” light of God?
- How would I compare my time spent reading God’s word? Is my bible reading time, dead, wilted, like a single wild flower, or a beautiful bouquet of blossoms?
- Do I consistently strive to put into practice what I learn from God’s word?
- Name one thing God tell us in his directions that I am not currently obeying.
- Read and memorize Isaiah 35 1-2a: “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing.” (KJV)
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
by Judy Vandiver
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. (NIV)
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?” He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” (Genesis 3:8-10) (NIV)