How to Garden in a Drought

It is so dry. According to the National Weather Service we are in a severe to extreme drought. We have had a few brief sprinkles of rain in the last three weeks. Our grass is not growing, but our garden continues to thrive thanks to a layer of wood chips.


We were introduced to Back to Eden Gardening several years ago by friends in Indiana.  We already had a garden spot and spread a load of mushroom compost on the ground and covered it with about four inches of wood chips.  Our garden that year was phenomenal.  We had very few weeds, no need to fertilize or water. We replenish the wood chips each fall.

This summer of drought has been the real test. Although some of our vegetables like cucumbers and potatoes are slowing down, others are still producing a bounty.



Fortunately, we put a layer of wood chips around our blueberries

blueberry plants a few weeks ago and have had a bumper crop.


Our strawberries are still blooming!


I even found a man in my okra.

So thankful for the fresh vegetables and my husband to help me gather the crops.





The Porch

View from my swing
View from my swing

A cup of green tea and my Bible accompany me to the swing on my screened-in porch.  The humid July day requires the ceiling fans to be pushing the small amount of cool air available for a few hours.  The furnishings remind me of people in our past who have blessed our lives and to pray for them.

The black wrought iron table and chairs were on my in-law’s porch the 11 years they lived near us – just off Shekinah Lane.  The overflow of relatives sat at this table for many family gatherings.  So this set reminds me to pray for family.  Also, on the table is a twig man made by talented neighbor – bless her Lord.

Warning sign
Warning sign

The “Do not Pee from the Porch” sign brings a chuckle of a Sunday School class Christmas party.  The sign was transferred around through a White Elephant game.  We won it.  Dear friends sharing the celebration of Christmas with fun times. Bless them Lord. Also, my grandson who the sign applied to when he was younger.

A wood plant stand was made by a boy at Teen Ranch in Michigan causing memories of our “boys” who are now men –  praying the short time they lived at the ranch they were exposed to the Gospel in flesh patterned by staff who loved them in the Lord.

A plaque from my daughter-in-law encourages “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” She is going through a time of physical pain and can use this thought and my prayers.

Plants thriving in the heat of summer – one from former co-worker, another a gift from a neighbor when my husband had surgery.  These plants have grown, been divided and are flourishing.  May my prayers increase the blessings for my friends.

Tall table for a view

Tall table for a view

A tall table and three chairs make our mountain view easier to see – a gift from neighbors who are struggling now with major surgery.  Please heal and restore Lord.

Wicker chairs from a new friend look so elegant on our porch.  Bless my friend as she helps me finish my book, Shekinah Lane, to be printed soon.

Welcome wicker
Welcome wicker

Can’t help but think of my economical husband who did not want me to purchase furniture for the porch.  Did he know, or did God know that I needed these gifts to help me appreciate family and friends, and pray for them in my quiet time on the porch?

Zephaniah 3:17 New King James Version (NKJV)

17 The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”


Peppermint Oil to the Resuce


Instead of going to Hawaii for our 50th anniversary we purchased a travel trailer which I dubbed Hawaii.

It has blue stripes after all and reminds you of the ocean, sort of? The plan was to park at the local camp ground, tie up our pontoon boat and have a relaxing week.

Knowing the used trailer would have some kinks, we ventured out to the lake near our house – only 15 minutes away.  This allowed us to make trips back home if we forgot something.

On the first day we pulled out the slide and broke three drawers in the kitchrepairsen that were not fully closed.  Not to worry my skilled husband, John, could fix that.





He proceeded to make several trips home and to the local do-it-yourself store to get supplies.

Then we realized the toilet leaked.  With no water we decided to spend the night at home. John found the problem and took the faulty part the next day to the local RV repair shop.  Toilet repaired and we were in good shape.  So we decided to spend the night in our trailer.  Then an intruder appeared.


The small black creature, I named Simon, ran out from under the couch and the across the room to the refrigerator.   Our friendly neighbors had a mouse trap and some peanut butter.  They set the trap and John placed it beside the couch.

Sure enough Simon came out and began licking the peanut butter.  The trap did not snap – he was too small or the trap was not set right.  In any case I got a good picture of him or her?  I sat on the couch as John used a two by four from his cabinet project to try and do away with Simon.  But he was too quick.

We left for another trip home to get more supplies.  I remembered a lady in the grocery store asking me where to find peppermint oil.  She was told to use it to keep mice out of her RV.  So I picked up a bottle of peppermint oil that I used for colds.

When we returned to the trailer the mouse trap was not sprung so I sprinkled peppermint oil on the heater vents in the floor and around the corners of the room where Simon frequented. However, in a few minutes our intruder reappeared.

Finally, Simon ran into the bathroom and back and forth to a closet.  Now sitting on the bed and monitoring the dashes of Simon, I helped John corner him in a closet.  Then he disappeared.  He must have gone out a small space beside a pipe in the closet.  I quickly poured peppermint oil around the hole and stuffed in a sock.  No more Simon, for now. We slept our first night in the trailer.

Day three and after a delightful breakfast by the lake we returned home with our lists to get hopefully the last round of things we needed for the rest of the week.  John loaded up more tools in his truck to finish the cabinets and I filled my car with kitchen items.

I reminded John to pick up the two white chairs at the barn before he left.  I was just getting into my car when I heard John yell, “Oh, no, oh, help. “I started running toward the barn thinking he had run of the road or into someone and then he said, “Hurry bring the hornet spray.”

I grabbed the spray and was driving up the road when he came driving toward the house so fast I thought he was going to run into me.  He screamed, “I’ve been stung about 20-30 times by hornets they were under the white chair.”

The visible stings were a large welt on his forehead, one on his right jaw and his left hand.  His finger was already swollen and we could not get his ring off.  He fell trying to fight off the hornets and grabbed them off his body so he had dirt on his legs.  I told him to get in the shower and wash off so we could determine where the stings were.

I gave him the only antihistamine we had – Zyrtec.  I immediately put peppermint oil on each sting.  A friend told me just last week that peppermint oil is good for bee stings.  Our son, Johnny, and grandson, Cameron, came over and brought the Benadryl from a neighbor.

20160621_152500 (2)

The ring finger was swollen worse and Johnny cut the gold wedding band off under John’s direction.

Cameron said something about an EpiPen.  I said, “Yes, that is what we need, he used to have one years ago when he had a reaction to a honey bee sting.”

Cameron said, “I have one for when I get a poison ivy reaction.”

“Great, go get it.”

Meanwhile I texted our church’s prayer chain and our family members letting them know about John’s accident.  I also consulted information on the internet.  Ice, paste of cornstarch and any kind of hydrocortisone cream were my next remedies applied then Cameron brought the EpiPen.

By now John was feeling some better and did not think he needed the shot, but nurse Pat administered it anyway.

Within thirty minutes he was feeling sleepy as expected.  An hour later the large welt on his forehead disappeared as well as the large red spot on his jaw.  The ring finger was still a little swollen but much better.

Peppermint oil, Benadryl, cortisone, cornstarch, epinephrine and prayer helped my husband survive the hornets sting.


We returned to our trailer by the lake and no sign of Simon, the toilet works and John has finished the cabinet project.  Now for a ride in the boat.


To be sure I will have my bottle of peppermint oil handy.

Thank you Lord for peppermint oil, a perfect setting and peace!






Do you think before you speak?

During a recent bout with laryngitis I was reminded of the number of words a woman uses daily versus the number a man uses. Louann Brizendine who wrote The Female Brain concluded that women use 20,000 words per day while men use 7,000. More recent studies do not agree with his findings. But in my house, it is so true.

Only able to whisper for four days was frustrating enough but when your husband is hard think.before.speakof hearing and especially cannot hear a whisper, it was double exasperation. I wrote him notes to communicate. At one point even resorted to charades to get him to “listen” to me.

When John returned from an appointment I was waiting for him to tell me what the doctor said. He conveniently handed me a hand written note from the doctor (she is female) telling me how she changed his medications.  Since I usually accompany him to visits she knew I would be interested in new information.

At lunch in a restaurant, I tried to get John to talk to me by motion with my fingers. He said, “I don’t have anything to talk about.” Do you see why I agree about the number of words a man speaks in a day? I could have talked all during lunch.

Thankfully during this quiet time, I was reminded of my recent commitment to “be positive in my attitude and speech toward my husband and family.” Since I had to either whisper, write a note or act out my desired communication, it gave me time to think instead of just react. Many times I just say what comes to my mind instead of filtering it through a desire to be positive and concerned how it will be accepted by the recipient.

Possibly my heavenly Father was helping me keep my commitment. Ok, Lord, help me think before I speak and please help me be able to converse above a whisper soon.

Psalms 19:14(KJV)

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

 Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

My Sister Needs You

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed with the needs around you?  How can I encourage my sister?  I worry for her, her health, her state of mind.  What can I do?  I feel so helpless.  Lord, please help me to extend hope and encouragement to her.

Her husband is terminal.

She has no husband.

Her child is wayward.

She received a bad report from the doctor.

Her life is so busy with children and responsibilities are so great.

She is facing an empty nest.

She is alone.

She is taking care of an elderly parent.

She doesn’t know how she will pay her bills this month.

Then I find the verse in Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.


God’s word always comes through with just what is needed.  I may be helpless but he is able in every situation.

Please Lord give her your peace.  I cannot begin to know her pain, feel her hurt, and comprehend her desolation.  But you comfort the grieving, uplift the discouraged and give faith when there is no hope.  Be her rock, her refuge and her redeemer.  Be her husband, her hope, her haven of rest.

Help her to realize that Jesus is interceding for her and me too Lord.

 Psalm 62:6 NIV)Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

Psalm 91:2 (NIV)I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

Isaiah 54:5 (NIV)For your Maker is your husband—the Lord Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;he is called the God of all the earth.

Romans 8:34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one.  Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.



Thank you Jesus for interceding for my sisters and for giving me your word to strengthen my faith in you.  You do all things well.

Remember sweet sister Jesus is interceding for you!  And I agree with his prayer!



How to Temper Your Tone

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Was it necessary to speak to me in that tone?
“Not your wife, she is always so sweet,” my neighbor said.  My husband was teasing me about being difficult to please and demanding as our neighbor finished the installation of my new dishwasher.
I smiled as my neighbor left and wondered if my husband was thinking how his wife’s sweet words could turn sour at times.  Sad how we are so sweet to others and hurt the ones we love the most.  
On our way to the golf course the next morning my husband asked me to call someone for him as he drove.  Flustered with rushing to get ready, and trying to drink my breakfast shake, I blurted out, “Why do I have to do it now, can’t you wait until we get to town?”
He graciously responded, “Was it necessary to speak to me in that tone?”  What a wise man I have.  He could have fueled the fire by being as rude as I was.  But instead he spoke the truth in love.  And the truth hurts.  I’m so glad he loves me enough to confront me with my behavior.
Why is it so easy to temper our tone at work or at church and then allow our tone to turn sour at home and cause offense and hurt those closest to us.  Sometimes I think we get away with it and are not held accountable in a loving way by our spouse or whoever is in our home.  It takes someone being willing to tell us how we hurt them and suggest ways to improve our behavior.
My husband, a counselor by training, uses his skills and compassion with other family members as well.  It is never too late to confront. 
His mother (in her eighties) was very controlling and “ruled the roost” as the saying goes for many years.  His father (in his nineties) was a very kind, gracious man and allowed her to dominate him. 
His father was placed on antidepressant medication which made him aggressive. 
One day when she was sharp in talking to him, he replied gruffly and told her to leave him alone.  She was hurt and later told her counselor son “your father was so ugly to me today.” 
This gave my husband the opportunity to speak the truth in love to his mom.  No one ever talked to her about how unkind she was to her sweet man.  She struggled but submitted to allowing God to change her attitude and her words. 
Just a few months later, her last words as she collapsed in her son’s arms were, “Please let me go – I need to check on your father.”

I’m so thankful my husband did not wait to challenge me with my attitude and tone.   I pray God will help me to think before I speak.  Also may my words and attitude show my husband he is the most important person in my life, and I love him enough to allow him to confront me when I am unkind.

  •    Do we use a different tone when talking to our family than we use with clients,
    neighbors or friends?
  •    Are we quick to say hurtful things or be impatient with our loved ones?
  •    Are we willing to love enough to be confronted with our behavior and attitude?


Father please help us to be clothed with your compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience to the ones we love the most.
God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.


Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Unlimited Data Plan

“I love my phone.”  “I hate my phone.”  How can one be so fickle?  When you upgrade to a new cell phone it is easy! 
After using an android smart phone for several years, I upgraded to a newer version.  At the same time my husband changed from a flip phone with no data plan to an android.  I convinced him it was time to join the “smart phone” generation. 
My son and his family were at our house for Sunday dinner and we were all trying to help Papaw with his phone.  His new phone has a speaking capability and you must use the words exactly to activate the service.  He needs to say, “OK Google now,” wait for the beep and then give a command.  He was frustrated trying to remember the exact words and shouted, “Go Google.”  We all exploded with laughter. 
Today we went to the store and the lovely, patient sales lady gave him more lessons in using his new phone.  He is making progress – he has fourteen days to make a decision about joining the “smart phone” generation.
It is amazing how the cell phone can pull up contacts and make a call or access your calendar or information on the internet with just saying, “Go Google Now” and then making your request.  It even tells you who is calling and asks if you want to talk or send back a text message.  Amazing stuff.
Aren’t you glad we don’t need a smart phone or APP to contact God.  He is always available even without Wi-Fi.  Not necessary to remember a password or pay for a data plan.  We don’t need to pay for an upgrade because he is constantly transforming us.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
God’s smart phone equivalent – a vehicle for information and communication – is the Bible. 
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet,
    a light on my path.
The password is Jesus. 
Jesus answered, “I amthe way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
The data plan is unlimited
Ephesians 1:11-14
11 In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
 and the upgrade is Glory. 
2 Corinthians 3:18(NIV)
18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Go God!!!