Fresh from God

17276672462_7b04d5b6fc_zSpring almost always motivates me to pen a new poem. Hope you’re blessed today with my latest!

Fresh from God

Spring bursts with life
fresh from God
tiptoeing in as winter retreats,
surprising with love gifts
wrapped in newness,
delighting our winter-worn hearts.
Spring’s colors splash,
look new, feel fresh,
her songs capture our attention
with the calls and melodies of birds
back from their southern sabbatical.
Ah, spring—so fresh from God.

More fresh-from-God gifts spring to mind
more love gifts wrapped in newness,
romance blooms, life partners given,
babies are born, tiny kisses from heaven,
two become three—or four or more—
new day, new year,
new strength, new plans,
new mercies every morning.
New life in Christ
new home in heaven,
the gifts of God, fresh from him,
ever fresh with life.
Ah life—so fresh from God.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 NIV

*What fresh-from-God gift are you rejoicing in today?

The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a gift valued at $20 (shipping included) from Beigetone Soaps and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by SteveRish, Creative Commons License

Summer Photo Fun: Name That Flower!

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Hey all, I’ve got another Summer Photo Fun challenge for you today! So far during this summer’s installment of Summer Photo Fun, I’ve invited you to caption a photo, name a location, and identify a bird. Today I’ll add one more challenge to the list!

Can any of you identify the flower pictured above? I saw this unusual wildflower while in Colorado a few weeks ago on the trip I made with my sisters. However, I saw it in a garden, not growing in the wild, so don’t let the Colorado location mislead you.

So what do you say, flower lovers? Can any of you name this particular handiwork of our Creator?

‘Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.’” Luke 12:27 NIV

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*My photo

Summer Photo Fun: Butterfly Beauty

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As we continue Summer Photo Fun, I’ve got some butterfly beauty headed your way today. Butterflies flitting through the air and lighting on one flower and then another seem almost magical, don’t they? They definitely deserve to be featured in one of my Summer Photo Fun posts.

So friends, enjoy the exquisite and delicate beauty of one of God’s amazing creations today. Enjoy some butterfly beauty!

How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.” Psalm 104:24

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Postman

Engleman Aster and butterfly

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*Which is your favorite photo? Have you ever visited a butterfly garden?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*My photos

Guest Blogger Jane M. Tucker: A Part of God’s Mosaic

Bowl Plaza mosaic*Today’s post is written by my friend Jane M. Tucker. She is the author of Lottie’s Gift.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1)

Hebrews chapter eleven describes many people who accomplished great things by faith in God. I have sometimes heard this chapter called the “Hall of Heroes,” or the “Faith Hall of Fame.” These titles conjure images of a museum where the portraits of Bible heroes like Abraham, Moses and Rahab hang on the walls. Gold name plates nailed to the picture frames tell who they were, and what they did.

The idea feeds my pride. Someday, I’ll be as great as they were. Someday, I’ll deserve to hang in that hall, too. It isn’t a healthy way to approach my faith walk.

Because the Hall of Fame idea is a trap for me, long ago God gave me a different visual: A mosaic, made of millions of different stones, each one reflecting His light with infinite beauty. In the Master’s hands I am a stone, tumbled to a high polish by time and trial, until I am fit to take my place among all the other precious and unique stones in His timeless design. The idea of a mosaic is reflected in Hebrews 12:1: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (emphasis mine).

The mosaic image holds three advantages for me:

  • I measure myself rightly. I’m not so much a portrait, grandly set apart in a gallery for all to see. I’m a stone, precious to my maker, but not more so than His other precious stones.
  • I see myself in relationship with other believers. Our triune God is all about relationship. One lovely stone is admirable, but it gains even more beauty when placed with all the others to form a greater whole.
  • I remember that God wants everyone to join his family. A missing mosaic tile is instantly noticeable. God needs all his precious stones if his artwork is to be complete.

Now, let me be clear: The portrait painter and the mosaic artist are only metaphors for a God we cannot fully describe. Metaphors clothe the intangible with concrete images, but they are limited. Martin Luther called God a mighty fortress, and David called Him a rock, and those metaphors also have their limitations.

What metaphor for God speaks to you today?

When she’s not gallivanting around New York, Jane M. Tucker works and plays in Overland Park, Kansas, with her husband and three nearly grown kids. She writes about the people and places of the Midwest on her blog, Postcards from the Heartland. Jane’s novel, Lottie’s Gift, about an Iowa farm girl with a big gift for music and the sister she loves with all her heart, is available on Amazon.com and at CrossRiverMedia.

*Photo by Jane M. Tucker

Wedding Card Box Idea: A Wedding Cake!

DSC_5262Mother of the Bride, have you thought about a card box or container yet for the gift table at the church and the reception site? You don’t want those all important cards—with money or gift cards tucked inside—to get lost in the wedding day shuffle. What will you provide for your guests to deposit wedding cards in?

At our daughter Kelli’s wedding, we featured a card box designed like a wedding cake. It was the perfect solution and oh so pretty, too.

I got the idea from my sister Debbie after she made one for her son Adam’s wedding. Since I am not arts and craftsy at all, I asked my artistic friend Teri (who was my right-hand woman in so many ways) if she would be willing to make one for us. She happily agreed if I could provide instructions. Thank goodness Debbie was able to supply not only the instructions but a photo of her card box as well.

As you can see from the photo above (taken at the church before other gifts arrived), Teri did a beautiful job. She got most of her supplies during one of our shopping expeditions to Hobby Lobby . The photo below shows how it fit in with all the other gifts on the gift table at the reception site. Things got a little crowded!

JWF_5414*Fyi: One resource with instructions for a wedding cake card box is The Artful Bride: Simple, Handmade Wedding Projects. And you might also like to read Wedding Card Box Idea: A Hatbox!

*Since the readership of the Mother of the Bride Blog is ever-changing, I hope this encore post has been helpful to those of you who weren’t MOBs when I originally posted it in July 2013.

*Photos by Flowers Photography