Wednesday, June 30, 2010

College World Series CHAMPIONS to God--How to UNDERSTAND ?

Well, mass excitement and hysteria in my city late last night into today. The Gamecocks, the University of South Carolina's baseball team...won the college World series Championship last night in 11 innings, final score 2 to 1.
First time EVER.
Big hooray going on around here in the capital city, the University is about 3 miles from our house..and Ray Tanner, the  head coach of the team, lives a block and a half around the corner from us. I see him often on my walks, and his young son , who shares my son's name, and his two little girls adore Maxine.
He is very nice and his wife is as well.
So very big ta-do's around the proud as a peacock Capital city in South Carolina. I only stayed up until about 10:30 last night, so tired as I get up very early every day...but my husband , the rabid baseball fan-lover-expert...watched it until midnight. Our son was put to bed at 10:00 PM exhausted too.
We get up this morning to see they won ! I was so happy, my son loves the Gamecocks ( and the Braves ), my husband is the Clemson graduate ( and a die-hard Yankees fan ), and Clemson got eliminated earlier in the series ( which by the way, he was such a GROUCH during that last game I told him I wouldn't watch it anymore with him and got up and left ).
There should be a rule that there is NO GROUCHINESS allowed during baseball games , anywhere.
Anyway, we are all very happy they won...and this morning when I got back from my early walk..I look at my husband ,  as I am drinking a glass of water and say , " So what happened after I went to bed last night ?" referring to the game.
What a DUMB question, as I always know how he will respond.

This is what I hear...this is not what he actually says...this is only what I barely make out with my limited knowledge of baseball.
Pay attention:
He goes, " Well, somebody hit a grounder which bounced or whatever into left field, which caused ( someone else's name, a player ), to make it to third, which in turn...blah-blah , blah-blah, blah-blah, someone got an outside low pitch, that someone else hit. Blah-blah, and then the runner scored something on  a base hit...blah-blah-blah. , they won because the relief pitcher made a good pitch etc.-etc.-etc.....but some other player's name ( he knows everyone's name, which men always call each other by their last name in sports ), and further blah-blah-blah " was coming out of his mouth that I was truthfully lost from the first sentence he said.
I think my eyes even started glazing over.
As usual.
I told  him to stop, that he lost me.
He just smiles and walks away. He is used to me not following these long baseball play by plays.

I will explain that I love to watch baseball, but I am so far from an expert at knowing what every play is , and the history, and the stats...that I can get lost very easily when I hear my husband start rambling even about a game that happened 25 years ago and he recalls everything.
He can't recall what I think is romantic, but he can remember old baseball stats...but that is another topic.
I simply enjoy watching the games, and learning slowly about the sport.
I only watch baseball, I am not into any other sports.

The point or interesting parallel I made after our conversation was, how seasoned Christians can overwhelm, intimidate, and blow away younger ( not in age, in knowledge ), new believers about Christianity and God and the Bible.
Like me trying very hard to understand my husband, I was very interested in what he had to say...but became lost and overwhelmed with the minutia that he related to me. I thought of trying to explain the complexities of Christianity to an unbeliever, or a new believer...and how there is no way for them to grasp everything quickly or easily. And how easy it is to ' blow them off ' with doctrine , my more advanced knowledge ( which is not much at all...just an example ),  prayers ( so many older Christians scare young ones with long , laborious prayers ), protocol in church , moral scripture quotes, conversations that are very  full of scripture , language in general conversations that includes lots of hallelujahs , Praise God  salutations, and Be washed in the blood quotes... etc. 
It can leave newer believers, and even ones not as advanced in their knowledge , feeling inadequate and lost and out of place.
It made me realize even more to be very gentle and less judgmental with their ( new believers ) or struggling Christians  efforts towards the goal of knowing God better, and having Him be in their lives.
I am not saying that believers do not need to know scripture , or the Bible better, or follow guidelines and commandments from God.
Just that we need to take it slow and easy with others , never be a wall they run into that hinders their understanding.

Jesus loved to preach simply, very direct, and he often sprinkled his lessons with parables. He did quote scripture often...and he was over-flowing with kindness and compassion.
If He needed to be confrontational, He was. When He spoke to a non-believer, he spoke simply about their problem and a solution. He knows we are all really ' babes ' in this world.

I love how God reminds me to remember that He considers us His children.

Hope your day is really good, hope we are all more gentle with each other, demonstrating love,

 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."  Matthew 19:14

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Does Your GARDEN Mimic Your DREAM Garden ?

I think we all have dreams, fantasies about the perfect home, dream garden , perfect spouse, perfect job, perfect life...a dreaming soul is in all of us. And if I had a dream garden that I would love to have, that I would aspire would be this one in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. I have written about how this garden ' draws me to it ' , every time I go on my walks. It is , out of all the glorious gardens there, my very favorite.
Outwardly, from the sidewalk in front...the casual stroller would not immediately notice this garden. But when you walk past the opening here...this is what you see,
 Wow, I do believe I catch my breath every time I see it.

 18th century design.

I love the small clipped boxwoods or hollies. The curved lines of the crushed shell paths , mixed with pebbles if I recall correctly....seem to lure you around the garden with your eyes.
To the right of the garden. I have to take all these shots from behind massive wrought iron gates , as my dream garden is out of direct reach to me.
I cannot set even my foot on the curved paths, without permission of course.
I hate to ask permission to do anything...not shy, actually assertive enough to go ahead and just do what I want to do .
But this is gated off , and I am in in bit of a paralyzed state when I am there.
If I ever am fortunate to see a real person out there, I will try to see if I can come inside. So far, I have not ever seen anyone outside.

I look out at it, and wonder what it would be like to go further  in ... there is a back larger garden area.
behind this guy...
This very handsome bronze statue, with his one broken forearm, always dances in my garden.
He is their centerpiece.

My daughter took this shot of me in early April, holding on tight to the bars of my dream garden. That is pretty much what I do when I am not taking pictures of it.
Staring and smiling, holding on tight.
Glad the homeowner's have not called the police on me before.
Alert, " Woman holding on tight to our garden gates in front , and looking dreamy."
That's me.
Oh !
forgot to show you the historic marker -plaque that describes this historic garden. Here you can read it for yourself:
Just click the picture to make it larger and read all the info. The John Blake garden, done in a  pattern style. Or parterre design info:

Getting back to my earlier title to this post...Does your garden mimic your dream garden ? I thought that I am trying, unable to maintain mine like this one, as all of the historic Charleston gardens seem to have professional landscapers-caretakers come around and take care of them.
All I have is me, in the  yard-lady category.
Me will have to do though.
Here is part of mine below, overgrown, no clipped hollies surround, no winding pebble paths, no dancing teasing bronze statue... but it has a' feel ' of the other least to me.
 Late May.

Late June, today. Little wild out there isn't it ? Lush, needs further weeding and trimming.
But it is my garden, getting closer to my own dream garden at my own house.

I am sure this made you think of your dream garden .
Maybe it is already in your own backyard.

I do love my garden.

Have a great day,
going to be another scorcher here in the Deep south today...high 90's again,

 " All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirits. " Proverbs 16:2

Sunday, June 27, 2010

SIMPLE Joy of a Summer BEACH Day trip to EDISTO Beach

Here we are on the 2nd floor of the Indigo Inn in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. Our very favorite charming place to stay in Charleston. My son is being goofy, I told him to stand still and look at me like he loves me...but instead he starts a giggle fit .
I love when kids have giggle attacks.
The fountain down in the courtyard where we eat breakfast. They have a large homemade breakfast, fresh fruit...lots of it, ham biscuits, muffins, pastries, cereals, yogurt, coffee and juices.
I love eating outside by this fountain.
You can hear the water, and watch little birds flying about it is open above to the sky.

I loved her.
This is one of my very favorite pictures I have ever taken. It is of our son, reading out the baseball scores to his dad. He does this every day. He has brought his own box of Honey-nut cheerios for his breakfast as you can see.
He is our picky eater.
He know all the stats , he is a little baseball whiz.
Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves is his very favorite player, and the Braves are SMOKIN' right now in first place for the National League in their division. ( he told me what to write as I do not understand stats).
He is a very happy camper. We are eating up and heading out to Edisto Beach for a quick day trip. 
He is ready to roll soon, plus he is feeding the little wrens who fly down and eat his leftover cherrios and some of a biscuit.
We love this place.
My son picked out this heart stone for me as a gift here below.

He picked out this heart stone for me  ( on one of his many shopping excursions to the market with his dad while I go for my long walks through Charleston neighborhoods ) , and was a very proud 9 year old , as he wants me to put it with my heart rocks on the porch. He gave it to me and asked what was my favorite thing about our Charleston trip ? I told him a few things, and he looks at me and goes , " And getting this as a gift right "
I hugged him and said , " Of COURSE. "

You can see the courtyard from any room here, I took this picture from our room. We packed up and heading out of Charleston , and towards Edisto Beach which is about 50 minutes away. Here is our son after getting a milkshake on the way and he grabbed a beach towel and warmed up. 
Life is good.

Then while we drove down the highway, I spotted this..

A giant old 1960's advertising sign and display for Coburg chocolate milk.
I got a shot of it, I mean how often does someone see a revolving large plastic cow and milk bottle ?
I love chocolate milk.

Tried to get all these ' going there' shots, drove my husband bonkers as he could not stop for me to get the camera focused.
His wife was annoying him.
This is a very scenic little highway, has draping Spanish moss on huge Live Oaks most of the way in to Edisto.
Of course I could almost never get any shots as we were going about 60 mph.
Did barely get this of a woman selling fresh peaches and sweet grass Gullah baskets on the side of the road.
Voila' !! Finally got one great shot of the view you can see driving there.

I took so many pictures , as I enjoy the drive towards something I love...the anticipation when you go on trips to your favorite family destination is so great isn't it ? This little island is very small, not remotely glamorous, a family beach . It is a calming , happy place for us.
That is when I am not destroying the mood by fussing at my husband to slow down for me to take pictures !
He got very annoyed with me...I do recall a argument.
Oh well.
Getting closer. Let me explain again...if you have one drop of romantic blood in your body...the Spanish moss will entice more romance to surface in you along the way.
Almost there.
1 mile to go. 

We're here ! I could not get a picture of the welcome sign as we had cars behind us. And I am sure from your vantage point , you are unable to SEE the beach or ocean as it is just beyond that car in front. But we are HERE.
Quick stop at the Subway for a footlong turkey sub and chips to split, I have drinks packed...and we are off to park at one of the many public parking areas right off the beach.
It is about 95 degrees.
Here is little Mr. happy camper.

Wiped out by some waves , little waves, but content.
So hard to capture the sound of the waves, the squawking of the seagulls wanting our chips, the laughing children. I remember laying down, covering my head with my baseball cap, closing my eyes...and listening to all the sounds.
Meanwhile our son found a friend to play with , sorry this photo is so blurry.
They had just wiped out and were going back for more.
I love how young children can make friends so easily.

We packed up within about 3 hours as a storm was coming, went to get a salad and pizza before we headed home.
The place we eat at , we always eat at... has a big screened porch to eat out on. We sit out there with our sandy swimsuits and shorts and relax.
Sweaty , sandy ,  minuscule seashell- bits on our toes people.
Soon we had  to go.
Time to hit the road.

Our son slept the whole way home.

I hope this wasn't too boring...I know you have special places you go too.

Bless you , be safe and sleep well,

" Thus says the LORD , Who gives the sun for a light by day, The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, Who disturbs the sea, And it's waves roar ( The LORD of hosts is His name ).." Jeremiah 31:35

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Ever GROWING Tastelessness of Our World

My son looking out on Charleston's harbor at dusk

I will start this out by saying there are things and factors in this world that get me riled up, angry, heartsick..and anxious for our children and our families.
And for you.
I was going to write about our Edisto short day trip, but instead will jump up on the biggest soap box I have , and unburden my heart about the ever growing, ever polluting fact of tastelessness and crassness, crudeness that has invaded our lives through the media, television, movies, magazines, books , and of course the internet.

I do not like to watch TV, consider it boring ,a major growth-inhibitor in every way...but I had it turned on to listen to music on there the other day when I was cleaning upstairs..and what I saw when I flipped the 1 PM in the afternoon, was a naked woman with a thong on having computer sex with some guy on a murder mystery.
1 PM in the afternoon. Basic cable channel, no Playboy network, no HBO or Cinemax here. Right there on regular TV.
Acceptable now.
My son and his friend were in the next room playing dinosaurs.

I have also seen ads and commercials with extreme sexual suggestiveness and dress, or also very prime time and earlier...getting worse every year.
Right there when my son sits to go over the baseball scores or watch a cartoon.
All , smack in his young face.
Hyper-sexuality with it's accompanying images of what the porn industry , media, or music industry wants us to believe is what makes a woman beautiful or desirable destroying the average beauty of a woman from outwardly to her very soul.
But that is another blog entry I will do.

I want you to also know about me, that I am very far from a Bible-thumping prude , Suzie-Q-Perfect Christian woman. I would fit closer to the chief of all sinners if there were categories. I am so far from perfect in my own behavior and past , that I almost feel disqualified for even broaching this subject.
But I will.
I ache inside over this.

It appears the new acceptable , and I seem to see this more accepted in the under 40 crowd, not all...please do not think I am saying all of the under 40...plenty of over 40 too. But I believe it is partially what that age group has grown up with as examples.
It seems to not faze many people to throw profanity ( sort of like a 11 year old peppering their conversation with curse words  to be cool ) , lewdness, crassness, sexual innuendo , sexy their conversations at work, on their blogs, in their Twittering -facebooking-My spacing, out in public, and in their own homes with their children listening to every coarse or suggestive word they say.
Their children see them laugh or leer at images or dialogue on TV or in the movies.  At things that are in extreme poor taste.
Many people are oblivious to the impact they are making.
But I am not only writing about this for their sakes...your children, but for your very own sake.
We have 4 children, 3 grown..and one at home being a fun 9 year old.
I am MUCH more careful what I say in front of him, what I allow him to watch, than I was  with my first 3 who are 12 years older than him. I kept thinking, back then, that most of this ' stuff' is over their heads. They hear it at school, in the movies, on TV, but they will be OK.
We also had our own struggles at work and in our marriage...that I believe now caused me to be neglectful in that area.
I was wrong.

I have come to realize, that was an erroneous assumption on my part. Most likely laziness  and , and ignorance.
What we see, or allow in our our world...what we hear, what we listen to we speak...can promote truth, true beauty, and goodness, righteousness.
Or we can promote more polluted homes, families, and souls.
Protect your children , stand up for what is wrong...stop allowing utter tastelessness to keep rearing it's very ugly head in your lives and speak up against it when you can.
Monitor what comes into your home or out of your mouth. Monitor your words and actions.
One person can make a difference, remember that.

I am also not of the leaning , " Well, a little bit of crudeness , a little bit of lewdness, etc..that's just how the world is. "
I'm also not excusing the sexes, men in particular, because that is their general leaning. The leaning toward their physical needs or desires overwhelms them. Riiiggghhhttt.  Boys will be boys is a cop-out excuse for what men do or say. Men need to be men... grow up and act honorable . Get carried away with your own wife and not images of others. Put your foot down about the language your children use, your own language, how they dress , what you allow to be watched in your home or work, etc. Men know what is right and what is wrong . I don't want to seem like this is strictly man-bashing time.  I am also not  excusing women for our own physical desires, our own emotions which carry us places we shouldn't go. Women need to know their value , stop doing wrong things to get attention or love. Stop being a stepping stone for further hyper-sexuality in our world by monitoring your words,  and your images. Stop allowing yourself to be used.

All the crass and lewd images  everywhere undermine our best intentions...and it is getting worse.  I sit and wonder, How much worse can this get ? It truly frightens me for my children and future generations. I am shocked and angered about what I see , and again...I really want you to know I am not an uptight Christian chick. I am very, very far off from that. I keep saying that as I want you to know I have not been perfect and do not want you to think you can not relate to what I am saying because I must be really good.
I am not really good..I struggle with being good. 
More than I like.
But I know I am right, and I know that you know I am.

We are all cheating ourselves, under-estimating our own discernment to think that is just they way things are...that we cannot do anything about it . Thinking like that, looking at tasteless images, or words cheats you of appreciating the really excellent , glorious things that are in this world.
The devil is having a hey-day with this.
Real beauty , real satisfaction is what you are missing.
What you are doing is denying yourself by settling for cheap imitations of everything.
Looking for a quick fix to sate you.
Problem is, crass, crude and lewd never , ever satisfy for long. It just makes people look for more and different versions of it . It will not, cannot satisfy you ...the deepest part of you inside. It is a surface distraction that will eat away at the best you can be .
Our world , our societies are inwardly combusting. We are sinking deeper in the mire.

We are living in an age of revolving , escalating tastelessness.

Selling art, and being an art lover...I know that taste in art is subjective. I also know that once you see enough of the truly authentic GOOD and GREAT art, that you will be unsatisfied with imitations and poor quality in artwork.
That is what has happened to me more, but it is God's presence in my life that has changed me concerning my outlook on life. When you become a Christian, the Holy Spirit resides in you. He is pure and holy, set apart.
The tastes of this world become less appealing , less attractive...and He allows you to really SEE what beauty and goodness, and light are.
What happens is beauty in it's authentic form appeals to a real woman compared to a surgically-enhanced  moaning actress young woman on the internet or in a movie.
Like when a good old-fashioned comedy comes on , compared to a crass, bathroom- humored, teen- sexuality comedy comes on.
Like when you turn off the TV, Internet, altogether...and go outside and see the beauty of nature.
When you look at your children and stand amazed at their beauty and purity. When you realize that your actions and words can pollute their lives or enrich them.
Step back into the light of reality and truth.
Light ALWAYS prevails over darkness.
It is stronger, it is more powerful...and I believe most souls lean towards the brightness of good.
No matter how much the dark entices them , the pull of goodness is the beacon towards an abundant life. 
It ultimately is more powerful , and it will illuminate your world to reveal true beauty . It will help you see what is excellent and not simply momentarily amusing or exciting .
Good taste in all things is never crude, crass, lewd , rude or showy.

 Me and my husband at dusk in Charleston at the harbor

I will jump down from my soapbox now..I am sure I have stepped on some people's toes , I may have made you think I am a ranting Christian-do-gooder woman.
You are partially right...I am a Christian , I do rant about topics sometimes...and I do want to do good.
That does not make me a better person than someone else, only one very concerned for a better moral atmosphere on this earth.
I know it's not sexy , hip or cool to admit that...don't care. I do care deeply about this topic.

Fight the good fight,


" Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them. For they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe to the wicked ! it shall be ill with him. " Isiah 3:10-11