Flower Beds

I love the spring time, and getting dirty!  There is nothing more relaxing than digging in a pile of dirt!  I find it fun cleaning up the flower beds from Old Man Winter’s tracks.  Uncovering the new growth that is lurking under all the mess and mulch that was left from the hard winter months is something I find intriguing.  For some reason I find it very fascinating how it parallels to life itself.

Lately, I cleaned out my front flower bed.  It is a job I look forward to every year, because it is the first bed on my property to dry and after a long winter of being covered by the white blanket, I can’t wait to finally get into it again.

I find it very exciting to reveal what is growing underneath all the rubbish, even without any sunlight hitting it.  We can’t see the growth happening, but it is taking place, just from the warming of the earth surrounding it.  Even though it looks dingy and dirty with all the dead growth from the previous year laying lifeless on the ground, without us realizing it, new beginnings are happening and we can’t even see it.

This year when I was cleaning out this bed, I found a maple tree growing in the middle of it.  Do I want a Maple tree growing there?  Absolutely not!  Now I have to dig down and pluck this growth out by the roots.  This wasn’t in my original plans for my flower bed, and hate to kill a tree, but I can’t have a Maple tree growing this close to my home’s foundation either.

How many of us go through the exact same thing with our lives?  We feel like our lives are dark and dingy.  Maybe things pop up, like my Maple tree, which was something we never planned for our lives, or our flower bed.  Life has turned out like nothing we dreamed they would be.  We feel like there is no hope for new life.  We need a change but have no idea where to start.  Maybe we are even scared to scrape off the layer of winter kill, because we don’t know what is lurking under all that dead gunk.

You have to realize that things do pop up in our lives.  We aren’t living in a fairy tale, we are living reality.  When you feel it’s time for a change, you have to make that change.  You have to put the work into your flower bed.  You have to dig in and get dirty, removing all the dead things in your flower bed.  You need to choose what stays in your flower bed and what goes.

It’s your life.  Your flower bed.  Now that it’s Spring, take charge of your flower beds.  Maybe you have to rip everything out of your flower bed and start new.  Maybe just taking off the winter kill will remind you of what a beautiful bunch of flowers you are blessed to already have in your flower bed, but over the long winter months you forgotten how wonderful they were.  Could it be that over time you took your flowers for granted and didn’t put the effort into them that you needed to keep them flourishing and coming back year after year?

Songs of Solomon 2:11-12 says, “For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.”

Winter HAS passed, and the flowers are appearing on the earth.  Start singing praises for the blessings in your life and start changing what needs to be changed!  Get outside, roll up your sleeves  and start attacking your flower beds of life that need attention.  Nothing in your life is going to change until you make it change.

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Tire Change

It’s that time of the year again!  The sun is shining, the snow is melting and the old winter tires have to come off!  I’m not very well versed in auto care and maintenance, but I do understand the importance of winter tires.  It is something that I would never go without during the treacherous winter months.

Some people have no issue using their all-season tires year round, and that is fine for some people, but myself I feel more secure and comfortable knowing that my tires were purposely made to help me track through these vicious conditions that a Canadian winter can subject us to.

Winter tires have a special rubber compound that are designed to stay soft in cold temperatures for ultimate grip on snow, where the all-season tires are generally a harder compound in order to get longer tread life, and also loses traction at 7°C and lower.  Pretty much our entire winter months and some of the spring months are below this temperature, so all-seasons aren’t going to be much help if that is the case.

The treads of a winter tire are designed differently too.  They have an aggressive tread design and siping provides stability by biting snow and pushing away water and slush, where the all-season tire’s tread pattern is designed to reduce noise and provide a comfortable, low rolling resistance ride during warm temperatures. In winter, snow and slush clogs the channels creating a slippery, unsafe surface for winter roads and who wants that?

I choose to put winter tires on my car for the safety and security that they bring to my travels during the winter months.  I want to be able to relax knowing that I have deep treads that are going to give me the grip on slippery roads when I need it.  Just like I choose to make God a part of my daily life.

That is the joy about this world.  We have free choice.  We can decide to be protected during the winter months and put on our winter tires, or we can choose to risk it and leave on the tires that weren’t designed for the snow and ice.  It’s our own free will.  The same goes for spirituality.  It is up to the person whether they spend time protecting their soul against the harsh, evil spirits of this world, or if they just want to hope for the best and leave that to chance.

Many people need to get into a horrible accident with their all-season tires on and go through a lot of pain before they finally choose to splurge that extra money and time to purchase a set of winter tires.  Many of us have to learn the hard way, and that includes me.  I’m no different!

It says in 1 Chronicles 22:19, “Set your mind and heart to seek (inquire of and require as your vital necessity) the Lord your God.”  In other words, what do you think is vital in your life?  Myself, I feel that winter tires are vital to survive our Canadian winter driving.  I also feel that getting up in the morning and meditating and spending time with God is a vital part of my day.  It is what strengthens me for all that the world is going to throw at me.  But I can’t push this on anyone else.  Just like I can’t push the importance of winter tires on people who don’t see their importance!

We all can probably survive with all-season tires on our vehicles for a season, but eventually someday the elements of winter are going to outmatch the performance of your all-seasons.  Chances are we will end up in an accident.  Actually, I know our God, and some day he WILL let you have an accident from the choices you’ve made, just to try and bring you closer to him.  Trying to get you to see the importance of winter tires and having him in your daily life.  It might take him 10 years, it might take him 50 years, but he will never give up on trying to show you that you need him in your life.  Just like the need for winter tires, he will be there when you finally let your Ego go, and stop thinking that you don’t need spirituality in your life.  And when you do, you will finally understand the importance of these special rubber tires, and the strength, peace and wisdom you have when you arm yourself daily with God’s word!

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Time for an Oil Change!

Am I the only person that forgets that the car needs an oil change?  I’m 2000kms over, and I wouldn’t have even notice if it wasn’t for my husband getting in and realizing that I was totally neglecting my poor car’s basic needs.  After I was reminded of my car’s necessity, I then went another week without phoning for an appointment to get this problem rectified.  I have no idea where my head is, but it doesn’t seem like the needs of my car are of high priority for me for some reason.

I honestly have no idea why changing the oil is so important for the upkeep of your car, so to educate myself on this subject, that I have no interest about, I googled it and found out many important facts.

First of all, I guess it maintains engine lubrication. They explained it as all the moving parts, pistons, valves, and other engine parts moving at high rates of speed under the hood of a car and these components create heat and will wear down the engine radically without proper oil lubrication.

Not only does it lubricate, it also removes particles and sludge that can be deadly to an engine. Over time, dirt can cause corrosion and diminish the life of the engine. Routine oil and filter changes help remove particles and sludge and keep engines at peak condition.

On top of this, it cools the engine components.  If the moving engine parts lack proper lubrication it creates friction, which creates heat.   Having your oil changed prevents too much friction and over-heating of the engine.

As I was educating myself the purpose of oil, I couldn’t help wishing that we could get our own “oil” changed on a regular basis.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have a device that removes sludge and crap from our lives?  The garbage that fills our mind on a daily, weekly, monthly basis that prevents us from being happy is constantly interfering in our lives.  We need a mechanism like an oil filter to filter out this muck that damages our engines and stands in the way of us living a happy and healthy life.

For me, that is what meditation does.  It helps me to get rid of the sludge that builds up daily.  Sometimes even hourly depending on the day.  Just like scientist found out that an engine needs an oil change, scientist have also realized our bodies and minds need meditation as well.

In Psychology Today, they explain 20 different reasons why we should meditate.  To sum these factors up, meditation increases immune function; decreases pain; decreases inflammation at the cellular level; it boosts your happiness; increases positive emotion; decreases depression; decreases anxiety; decreases stress; increases social connection & emotional intelligence; makes you more compassionate; makes you feel less lonely; boosts your self-control; improves your ability to regulate your emotions; improves your ability to introspect; it changes your brain by increasing grey matter; increases volume in areas related to emotion regulation; positive emotions & self-control; increases cortical thickness in areas related to paying attention; it improves your productivity; increases your focus & attention; improves your ability to multitask; improves your memory; improves your ability to be creative & think outside the box; and it makes you WISE!

Who doesn’t want all these things in their lives?  With meditation who needs an oil change!

Even the greatest man ever born took his time to meditate alone.  It is one of our body’s basic needs.  In Luke 5:15-16, it teaches us, “But the news about Jesus spread all the more, and great crowds came to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. Yet He frequently withdrew to the wilderness to pray.” 

Are you one of those people that ignore your own basic needs?  You never look after yourself and put everyone else in front of yourself?  It’s wonderful that you are selfless and giving, but you have to look after yourself to properly care for anyone else.  Stop neglecting your “oil” and start changing your life.  Try meditation today, and watch how it transforms the performance of your engine.  You will be running smoother and your life will be more enjoyable in many, many ways.  I promise!

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Report Card Season

Being a teacher is a fabulous job!  I always say I have the best job in the world, and I truly mean it.  I’ve worked many places, and teaching is by far the most enjoyable of them all.  I get to hang out with terrific children all day long, and try and educate them in many ways.  It is very rewarding and entertaining!

Report card time, is probably the only time that I feel overwhelmed.  Trying to teach your normal day, and then bring all the marking that you’ve been doing to a close from the last four months is a bit stressing by times.

Although report card season is a ton of work, I do enjoy coming up with the comments to explain the student to their parents.  It pleasures me to tell parents what a great job they are doing with their children.  As a mother, and an educator, I have come to realize that everyone is trying to do their best in this life.  I always try to look for the best in the students that I teach, and expand on this.  Sure there are negatives to every student I teach, but there are negative about myself and there are negatives about everyone.

If I wrote negative comments about a student, their parents would probably already know that they are like this.  They are probably fighting with them about this at home too.  Just like God knows all our negatives.  He is our divine creator.  I honestly wouldn’t want to see my report card in his eyes!  I know there are many ways that I could improve.  But, just as he gave us our weaknesses, he wants us to focus on our strengths.  As we focus on our strengths our weaknesses will strengthen as well.

I’m learning that we all should focus on unconditional love.  We are not put on this earth to control the people in our lives.  We are here to build them up, not tear them down.  There will always be people in your world that will tear you down, but I want to be the person that builds people up, and make them realize their potential.  Nobody needs to have their flaws highlighted!

I’m a huge Proverbs 31 fan, and Proverbs 31:26 says “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”  You might not be like me and writing report cards that will be saved for students to look back on years to come, but you do have an impact on the people in your life.  Are you using words of kindness or are you more of the sarcastic, critical type?

Please watch sarcasm in your life.  You may find it funny, but the other person might not.  It is said that the use of sarcasm is just exposing a person’s bitter heart.  If you have a bitter heart, don’t take it out on others.  That is just tearing people down, and showing the world your own insecurities.

If you are a person who needs support on getting sarcasm out of your life, or you need to practice self-control with your emotions or maybe you throw out too many critical remarks (they are red flags revealing a proud, envious, selfish or an angry heart) try turning to the scripture to help transform your emotional well-being.

The entire book of Proverbs is a great place to start!  They are littered with every day wisdom.  God promises that he will help you with this, and he will!  James 1:5 says “If any of you lacks wisdom he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”  Then he also promises in Mark 11:24, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

All you have to do is ask, and you will start finding the good in everyone.  You will be able to focus on people’s positive attributes and ignore the negative.  Remember, we are all made perfectly perfect and it is not a teacher’s, parent’s, friend’s, coach’s, boss’s or spouse’s purpose to focus on people’s flaws, it is our job to focus on the strengths of the people in our lives.

Today, do your own report card.  Where do you need to improve in your behavior towards the people in your life?  Remind God of his promises and then start praising him for changing your heart, your tongue and your mind and watch the people in your life respond to the new you.  You will be pleasantly surprised on how important the words we use affect our daily lives!

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