Sassy was working me over this morning, since I had a relatively late start. She simply kept looking at me with that expectant expression, so I poured out her breakfast and put on my shoes while she ate. Dress code in Arkansas is - wear shoes. We had a nifty walk through the neighborhoods as I scouted for leaf bags and she checked the latest news left by her canine friends and sniffed for potential meals. BBQed ribs are popular here, made in the front yard, so she finds them. She still loves to rush at squirrels, too.
The landscape was still dripping from rain yesterday and last night. The leaves are green and just starting to fall, but the pine needles are carpeting the lawns of those who enjoy the trees. The scent is overpowering and far more attractive than PineSol.
One little bloom on my Crepe Mytle suggests a spring in the future. The seeds have rounded out with the extra energy from the five plus inches of rain we had.
The neighborhood is brimming with potential life as plants shut down for the winter. The sun-loving plants are done after a mild frost. One might rescue a tomato, but no more will ripen in the cool weather. Egg plants are the first to go when cold weather looms. Someone wrote, "Do you want to know whe the first frost arrived? Look at your egg plants. They die from the lightest frost."
Sunflowers loom high over gardens, their disks still holding some seeds, but the stalks brown and dried. The smart gardeners, like Almost Eden, will leave sunflowers alone as winter homes for beneficial bugs and bees. Poor people in the Upper Penninsula winter in Minnesota, because they do not have enough money to drive to Florida.
| Beautyberries are toxic for humans,|
created for birds.
Beautyberry and Pokeweed finish the growing season by leaving food for the birds. My yard is relatively gray now, but the Beautyberries shine brightly in the midst of dying foliage.
Sassy was enjoying her walk and guiding the itinerary, so I was thinking what a gift of God life is. Some bad advertising once said, "As long as you're healthy," but in insurance we always said, "If someone has no health issues, he is lying."
I had one client, a relative, who told the medical examiner he had no health issues. And yes, he was lying. We can admit to being imperfect and still be relatively healthy. Even if we are, time drags us to the omega point eventually.
One of our neighborhood friends lost her leg from infection. I watched the progress of her treatment. First, she had a wheelchair. Later, she worked on getting special shoes. Now she has a prosthetic leg. She is quite cheerful about it. My veteran friend has a dozen maladies from serviing as an Army Ranger, from painful legs to poor hearing. Like Mr. Gardener, he can barely hear, but he is a font of fascinating stories and memories.
Life itself is a great blessing, and we get to see more of those blessings if we believe in the Author and Giver of Life. Having two girls with declining neurological paths meant being gathered with many other rare disorders at famous clinics, hearing about world leaders in medicine. It is God's way of saying, "Here are children with little of what the world values, but you can see for yourself "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9
If you want to see and remember peals of laughter from little children, visit with the weakest and most complicated children. They squeeze more joy out of life than the best comedians, and they stir up great love in those who care for them. As Luther wrote (1 Peter commentary), their infirmities are like jewels to their loving parents. Many medical helpers are needed, and the best offer their care with great patience and wisdom. One nurse said to us, "I was trying to teach Erin Joy about Jesus, and she looked at me like - I know all about Him." The Christian believers understand this and see these great blessings, but unbelievers are blind to it and mock the parents and children.
One person in class made a mocking comment about handicapped children. I told him, "Someone in this room has been deeply hurt by that comment. That person will probably never bring it up, but you have lost credibility just by saying it. People have friends, relatives, even children targeted by your attempt at humor."
Job's Comforters must have had a lot of children, because their descendants are still with us:
- Is this in your family?
- Do you think living in ______ caused this to happen?
- Would you like our elders to provide oil and pray for your child?
- If you had faith...
- If you tried a different diet...
Those Job's Comforters, who blamed Job for his problems, are suffering in their own prison of dark stupidity. They cannot see outside of their delusions because they do not know the fruits of the Gospel. Some of them are medical people. Others are neighbors, professional helpers, and so-called friends. But they are far outweighed by the other side.
Jesus said, "Remain on the True Vine, and you will be fruitful. Through Justification by Faith, you are pruned and become even more fruitful. Those who do not remain on the True Vine are cut off, wither and die. They are gathered up and burned."