Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter Blessings

Wishing each of you, and your families, a most blessed and glorious Easter. And to those who are hurting right now, it is my deepest prayer that you feel God's peace and healing presence wash over you as you're bathed in His love.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Wait Expectantly

Before 2013 was even at a close, I had the word I wanted to focus on for the new year already picked out. Or at least I thought I did. Now I can’t even remember what that word was.

But one night in late December, I went to bed feeling something that is difficult for Christians to admit to: fear. There was a situation in my life that needed fixing. I couldn’t see any possible way for it could be fixed. And yet, I knew that in spite of it, I couldn’t spend my time feeling fearful.

That’s counter-productive. It also puts a barrier between me and God. I couldn’t put my full faith and trust in him if I was feeling fear. But this isn’t a judgment on anyone who feels fear. We are all human, and our development of faith and trust is between us and God. For me, there was a barrier.

And the fear was making me sick; both physically and emotionally. I had to figure out a way to deal with it. As I prayed out each of my fears to God, a word came to my mind. 


I didn’t know why it came to mind. I just knew if it came to me while I prayed, I needed to give it some consideration. As I did, some of the almost crippling fear that had gripped me for way too long began to ease. Not that the situation was fixed, by any means, but for the first time, I didn’t feel as afraid.

To be clear, I never doubted God would be there for me. But I was afraid of what would happen if the situation wasn’t fixed. 

That might seem a little contradictory, but I can’t explain it any better than this: I don’t think knowing he’s always there for me is the same as knowing I will never have to experience pain or unpleasantness. And no one wants to experience pain of any sort, and when we’re faced with it, it’s kind of scary. Sometimes, it’s a lot scary.

After much thought and a little more prayer, with the word still whispering around in my mind, I determined that I should wait expectantly and see what God would do to help in this situation. More of the anxiety and fear began to ease, and I went to sleep feeling almost excited to see just how everything would play out.

Excited, not fearful. Even now, I marvel at the thought.

The next morning, for the first time in a long time, I didn’t wake up with a feeling of dread. I spent some time that morning searching the Bible, because for my fears to ease the way they did, there was no doubt the word expectantly was from God. This is what I found:

Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing.
Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.
In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; 
in the morning I lay my requests before your and wait in expectation. 
~~Psalm 5: 1-3 

Wait in expectation. 

I’ve seen this scripture before. I think I’ve always thought of it as “I will pray and expect you to answer,” almost as if I should expect the answer to be what I want. But on this day, on this morning, I saw it differently. I viewed the phrase “wait in expectation” much like a mother waiting for her child to be born. There’s excitement in that, eagerness, an air of “I can hardly wait”.  

The moment I had that realization, I claimed that scripture as my own for the year. Not just a word for to focus on for the year, but an entire scripture. And not long after that, on that very same morning, the first of many blessings came. By the end of the day, I began to wonder just how many times God could bless a person in one day. Now, at the end of January, exactly thirty days later, I’m wondering how many times he could bless a person in one month.

Our God is such an amazing God, and tonight I am so very thankful that he loves us more than we can even imaging loving our own children.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Fresh Taste of History

Who remembers this?
This was my first introduction to pineapple. It was sweet and juicy, and oh-so-good. But as an adult, when I had my first bite of the non-syrup soaked freshly sliced yellow goodness, I decided the canned stuff just didn’t compare.

Pineapple is part of the bromeliaceae family, a species of plants with foliage that grows like a rosette shaped crown. In the case of a pineapple, the long spiked leaves are tightly woven and capable of storing water. Native to South America, it’s said to have first been found in Peru, Paraguay and parts of Brazil. Over time, the pineapple spread throughout South and Central America and eventually ended up in the West Indies.

There is a lot of conflicting, but interesting and fun, information about pineapple history.

Anana - Excellent Fruit!
Some credit Christopher Columbus with its introduction to Europe. It was a staple on sailing ships, because like the orange, it could prevent scurvy. Over time, it ended up in the West Indies, where it was celebrated and became known as anana.

I always thought pineapple came to the US by way of Hawaii, but apparently it was brought to New England on those same sailing ships that carried it to the West Indies – where George Washington grew them in his hothouse.

It was two-hundred years ago, January, 1813 – some say the 21st, and some say the 11th – that the pineapple made its way to Hawaii. It was brought and cultivated by Don Francisco de Paula y Marin, a Spanish interpreter and advisor to King Kamehameha. Don Francisco de Paula y Marin was an interesting man who is well worth researching.

Portrait by Louis-Jules Masselot (1815-1879)
Nearly a century after Don Francisco introduced the pineapple to Hawaii, another man came into the picture. James Drummond Dole established the first pineapple plantation in Wahiawa. Today, the name Dole is synonymous with the pineapple.

Pineapple’s Hawaiian name is halakahiki – foreign fruit.
Whichever day the pineapple arrived in Hawaii, Dole cultivated it into a dietary staple. And I’d like to think that it’s due to both Dole and Don Francisco that we can now enjoy one of Disneyland’s tastiest treats, the Dole Whip™!

Happy 200th Birthday to Hawaii's Halakahiki!

I love to collect odd bits of news, and in an amusing bit of coincidence, the polar bear at the Chicago Zoo is named Anana. I know this because he’s the bear that made news last week when the polar vortex rendered it too cold for even a polar bear. (I’m not sure why that was news since he’s obviously been acclimated to Chicago.) Do you think the powers-that-be at the zoo knew when they named him Anana, that they were naming a polar bear after a tropical fruit?

Have you ever had that scrumptious dessert known as a Dole Whip™?

Am I the only one who likes to read odd news?