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Cultivating the Garden of the Heart

Spring has sprung here in Virginia! There is so much to do. Quite a busy time as I watch my seedlings develop and sharpen the tools to be ready for cultivating the soil. Just as we have to wait for the right time, when it is safe to plant, so we have to wait for the right times to plant the seeds in the garden of our hearts.

Last year I visited a friend of mine and while I was strolling through her garden I came across this special little rock in her garden which says: “To cultivate a garden is to walk with God”. This rock caught my attention, because in my own experience I have found this to be true. As I reminisce on the last six years of my life, I realize that being a gardener has changed me. It has brought me physical, spiritual and mental development, far more than any of the other hobbies I have pursued.  Cultivating the garden has taught me more about God and His love than I could ever learn from any book I’ve ever read. The beauty that is gained in a gardening experience show us clearly what God’s character is like, He is truly beautiful. He seeks to place His character in us so that our fruit will be an awesome one and that we will be successful at the work that He has for each of us to do in this life. It has truly been a growing process being a gardener, because I have had to fully depend on God for all the fruit I plucked out of every garden branch.

Every year the gardening experience is different as the summers vary, sometimes the climate is perfect, but other times there is a drought, or a summer that is too wet. I have had to study when the best times for planting would be and then apply myself after to watch the changing whether to make sure I water those babies just the right amount and watch out for weeds and pests too. It takes work and diligent study to be a successful gardener who gets the best out of each growing season. The best pest repellant is the gardeners shadow. It has truly been a journey based faith. Being faithful to all my gardening tasks will lead to a great crop if it is God’s will.

God is the gardener of our heart, He is always planting good seeds of love, practical lessons based of the principles of His word are nourishment for our souls as we consider them daily and ask Him to make our Christian experience authentic. Remember that the word of God states in Matthew 4:4, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” God is always talking to us, are we listening or are we blocking our ears. Every word that proceeds from God’s mouth also includes those experiences that you have every day with your family and friends, when that still small voice tells you to surrender your heart in that moment of crisis, but you hold on to what you feel like saying. Better to take time and surrender your will to His purifying power, He will cleanse your attitude and thoughts and replace the negative with positive if you allow Him. This is why memorizing scripture passages which are empowering God can be so effective. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

One garden illustration that has stuck out in my mind and taught me a tremendous spiritual lesson, is that of the potatoes. The crop of potato is only ready to harvest after the beautiful bushy green plant has died and dried up. Then you know it is time to fork up those juicy potatoes. Well this is the same for us as Christians, we only produce proper spiritual fruit when we die to self, surrendering our will to be purified by His power and grace. When we realize that God is to be praised and honored for everything in this life and we are vessels of His glory and power, no greater joy can come, for this is our heart’s desire. The fruit of the harvest is something that we all love to enjoy, but it is truly a miracle of God’s creation! Just to think of the chemical reactions that occurred to make every thing happen and the Great Provider .  He allows just the right amount of rain and sunshine to be added to each plant, to ensure its’ success. Consider that he will take of you in the same way.  In each stage of a plant’s development we see the hand of God who in love sees to the needs of every detail of His creation.

Are you connected to the true Vine? This Vine is Christ Jesus, whom if we are connected to Him we will learn to abide in His presence all through the day moment by moment surrendering our hearts to His loving attitude instead of our own. Have you ever thought about how your heart needs to be fed? What do you think is your heart longs for? How is the garden of your heart getting the nourishment it needs for good fruit? Seek Him with all your heart, for He cares for you! 🙂

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Jelly Dance

Life is like a jelly dance,

You have to turn, twist, radiate to survive;

Pulsating through a sea of thoughts

You must do the Tango to uncover the truth.

The mundane must become a pleasure,

Your talents must be your study.

Let go, unleash the real you, and you will find something scary

The joy and peace you seek for is inside,

You can only possess it if you decide

You must feel the embrace of the partner of your heart…

Your hearts must connect or its all for naught.

Open the Eyes of Your Soul.

Opening the eyes of your soul truly is the beginning of really living! You see life is all about relationships, more importantly “heart relationships.” But how can you have proper heart relationships when you haven’t even taken the time to study your own heart? A major part of studying your own heart is done when you begin to analyze the way you have reacted to situations in your life, have your reactions been positive or negative? Can you make a change by stopping yourself before you begin the vicious cycle of negative comments or attitudes to others, or are you on a roll, a roll which ends in broken relationships and broken hearts? When you choose to stop, and decide to breathe life and healing into the situation instead of death which begins many a time with your tongue, the eyes of your soul begin to open in a whole new way!
So what are some other steps in opening the eyes of your soul? You must accept yourself for who you are now. Stop having great expectations of yourself and everyone else in your life. Accept all of your life as it is now, and the accept others for who they are now. Don’t try to change anyone but yourself. Begin to accept and appreciate all you have endured in life thus far, take accountability for all your successes and failures. Breathe in, and accept all that comes your way each moment in life. Make a decision to live a life with a fresh take at each moment as not to become bored or complacent. Change the way you have always done things as to keep yourself learning, growing and creating new paths in each situation that presents itself to you. These are all features of “Empowered Living.”
Now how do you live a heart conscious life where you are connected to the hearts of others? To do this you need to begin to learn how to win the hearts of those around you, you must try to step into their shoes and see the world through their eyes for this to be successful. When you begin to think of the needs of those you love, rather than your own, you open new doors of heart connections that could have never been discovered if you didn’t take this path. For example, your son is playing with an airplane, around the house, he is making the noises that the airplane makes. You are sitting reading your latest blogs, but the greatest opportunity for heart connection has just presented itself to you. What are you going to do about it?  Think, to a child love is time, yes, your time, the time you spend doing the things he loves with him! So get another toy airplane and begin a heart adventure with your child playing with him, instead of being selfish with your time and serving yourself with blogs. Think of it like this, when you are on your death bed trying to make sense of life, wouldn’t you be happy to know that you won the hearts of your family and friends through the caring relationships you built with them, no regrets, a life full of successful heart relationships is a life worth living!

Miracle dogs, Clifford and Bud!

Here is a great photo of my collies, Clifford and Bud. Miracle dogs from the start! About 6 years ago we were told by a family friend that collies are exceptional dogs to have because they are so gentle and protective with young children. Those were just the dogs we believed we needed after doing some research on the breed. About two weeks after thinking about buying a pair, something absolutely providential happened, we heard a plea from a dog owner on a local radio station. He stated that he owned two collies that would be free to the first person who had came to pick them up, because he had no time for the dogs.
We were so excited after hearing this, we called him right away to set up a time to pick up the dogs. Things became pretty hairy when we arrived to his home, he came out to greet us with the strong scent of alcohol on his breath. He was also behaving like a severely depressed person, complaining about everything. He told us that he didn’t have time to take care of the animals properly, He had no time to walk them, he said he was hoping to give them to a person who had land for them to run around and children to love them.  We were great candidates because we were blessed with both!
Following the owner to the back of the house,  we were able to gaze upon the most beautiful dogs we ever laid eyes on. Even though they were obviously neglected, their hair matted and their necks bloody and bruised from being tied on a short leash for the past two years, we saw their potential. The man began to cry, he said that he wished he could keep them, but he knew that he couldn’t because they were going to be too much work for him as he was sick. We loaded them up in our jeep and headed home with them. Little did we know that they were going to be our best companions ever! These dogs are brothers from the same litter. They have connected in a special way to our boys, they are their brothers too, just part of the pack. LOL!
The distinct personalities of the dogs are fascinating to us, Clifford is the alpha so he keeps his cool while Bud goes crazy at the snap of a twig. Clifford won’t let  any one get by without petting him, while Bud runs when he thinks you are approaching too quickly. Bud is very nervous, maybe from the mental trauma that Clifford has put him through during his attempts of becoming alpha.
My boys and I enjoy brushing them often, collies are notorious for having matted hair, if not brushed. They especially enjoy being brushed and rubbed on their tummies. They are such gentle dogs around young children, great family choice for a dog.
Today my sons were riding their bicycles up and down our street and the neighbors dogs who are quite aggressive attempted to attack my son’s bicycle, our dogs were very quick to fight off the neighbors dogs before they got too close to biting my son. They also guard my younger son whenever he goes outside to play, they walk on either side of him where ever he goes. They also alerted us of both snakes and deer that were close by on our property. I am so grateful for these two pals of mine. It is awesome to know that no matter what they are always waiting with lots of love right outside my door, to greet me and love me just for who I am. My family has been enriched by their presence and loyalty to us, if you don’t have a dog, seriously think of what they can add to your life, and adopt some. There are many dogs waiting anxiously for another chance to love!

How to Listen With Your Heart

Do we truly understand the power of learning to listen with our heart? Well recently this world has been opening up to me.  It is truly amazing! I have been learning to live each moment in heart richness, because life is not promised to us, it is a gift. We are to savor every moment with those we love and with our natural environment. Everything around is always speaking to us…The question is, are we willing to listen, learn and grow from everyone and everything around us?

If we are teachable in this life,  living in day-tight compartments, we can suck up all the joy and happiness of everything  around us and we will have an amazingly meaningful life. We don’t need to wait for things to happen, but we make things happen, bringing  joy and love into every aspect of our lives. The artificial sucks up too much of our time, we think we are happy in busying ourselves in a world of media and artificial knowledge. The media limits us.

I believe man was made for the natural environment. Spending time being still in nature, sometimes journaling events in the natural world, either by just absorbing the atmosphere around us, painting it, writing about it, truly expands our horizons and energizes us. When we link into the environment around us and we connect to it at an emotional level allowing it to touch the deepest part of our being, we are recharged by the exuberant energy it exudes. I spent time petting my dog this morning and the level of joy I got out of the experience touched her too. I could see the joy in her eyes as she was learning to trust me more because of these few charged moments of love that I chose to give to her. She was connecting with me on a heart level, I could just tell.

This connecting is the same for humans as it is for us with our environment and pets. We are in a give and take relationship with everything around us, the more we give the more we get. You will find this true as you enter into this world of heart listening. We must seek to listen to others not just listening to their words, but by contemplating their viewpoint, placing ourselves in their shoes so that we truly listen with our heart, thereby being a vehicle to connect with their deepest needs. Even if they react negatively to us, we might be the tool to brings that person to a  new level.

When we listen with our heart we not only hear the words that someone is saying to us but we try to understand the reasons that they are saying what they are saying. Maybe they are unhappy or frustrated.  Could we be the ones to help them through their emotional crisis? Or are we worsening the crisis by our unintentional negative reactions? These are all important questions that we should ask as heart seekers.  We must think of how our words and actions will win that heart to recovery.

Our happiness is not dependent on how others view us or how others act. It is truly dependent on how we view the world and if we are  internally fulfilled and contented.  Have we accepted things the way they are, and are we and making the most out of every experience life brings, good or bad? There is not much we can truly change in this life except ourselves. Those other elements of life are chock full of surprises. It is what we choose to do with the information that we receive from the heart connections we develop that will truly lead to complete fulfillment as a human being. Then our reactions to people, animals and elements of our environment will have a new freshness as we squeeze the juice out of every moment!