My Pic

My Pic

Welcome to my little Corner

I am Barbara.

An introvert masquerading as an extrovert, a backyard gardener with a farmer's heart, a nurse by day and a dreamer by night. I am passionate about Jesus, spicy food, puppy dogs, words, compost and the aroma of desert rain. Music is chocolate to my soul but solitude feeds the deepest part of me.

And you need to know:

I have been rescued.

Several times actually. Right out of the mud and mire. My writing began as whispers between me and my God and it will always be rooted in that soil. So the plan is simple: I write. Out of the overflow of my heart, the place He has so generously chosen to dwell.

Though I am all grown up, I feel as if the handsome Prince has finally found me and the glass slipper fits. And a living breathing fairy tale has ensued.

So pull up a chair and "sit a spell", as we would say from my West Virginia roots. I hope you find His Footprints here.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Relentless Love

She had taken that fatal step, free falling into the putrid waters below.  It had looked so inviting, so beautiful.  But upon entry, the stark reality hit and the death grip took hold.  Soon she began to smell the sulfur and sense the darkness.   

Her fall from grace left her naked and exposed.  Shame’s scum clings tightly.  Time has passed, unlike the consequences of her sin.   The Gospel rings hollow.  She used to know it well but now it seems like a distant echo of another time.   She has been excluded, if only in her own mind.  A blackball, so to speak. Loneliness and isolation tether her to hopelessness.

And still she replays the details and attempts to answer her own questions. Where was God?  How did this happen?  Is she not known by Him?  Is there no safety in the palace of the King? 

And no matter how many times she tries, she cannot pick herself back up.  Because receiving forgiveness and forgiving oneself are not equal.  Self flagellation is a kind of bloodletting, an attempt to alleviate the pain.  Yet it is also an attempt to retain the pain.  Because if she ever lets go, she fears she may truly have to accept that stain upon her soul.

I don’t know this woman.   Her gut wrenching struggle was shared by another.  And yet I know her well. 

I know …
  • ·         That there is no darkness as black as the gutter alongside the narrow road when the foot becomes entangled with sin.
  • ·         That like the Israelites, she will have to move toward the waters before they will part.
  • ·         That when her running ceases, she will see that the miles away from her Savior were only an illusion as He was there all along.   And He is hosting a banquet in her honor.
  • ·         And that upon her return, the word grace will be so fresh she will be able to almost taste it.  And she will want to shout and sing and dance.

I know because she could have been me.   And as she aches, I ache.  I ache to draw her back to a Father who forgives and still has a plan for her life.  I know the heartache of brokenness but I also know a Savior who woos fallen ragamuffins .  At first we flail and resist but He persists in His lifesaving rescue and draws us again and again into His arms.

God loves us with a love that never tires of pursuit.  May she catch a glimpse of this..


Monday, January 6, 2014

Tending the Soil

It‘s gardening prep time here in the southeast valley of Arizona.  While much of North America slumbers beneath mountains of snow and shivers in frigid temperatures, I will be on my knees in short sleeves, scooping up dry weathered leaves and loading a truck with bags of compost from a nearby organic farm.  For me, there’s no better feeling.

And from what I see, I am not alone.  Gardening is the fastest growing hobby in the U.S.  Could it be that our humanity hungers for reminders of the Creator around us?   

Even in urban living, city parks beckon.  Community gardens are erected and roof tops of apartment buildings are adorned with vegetation and flowers. Plant and floral arrangements are added to the interior of stark office buildings.  It would seem that when we are deprived of garden, we create it.  Might there be a part of gardening that returns us to the original garden -Eden ­­- where we lost our way?

Every day we are enslaved by routines that keep us attached to “devices” rather than living organisms.  Certainly automation and technology make our world richer, but we cannot deny our longing for something more personal - an opportunity to participate in the miracle and beauty of creation.   It's part of us because we are part of Him and made in His image. 

Gardening also offers a healing effect upon our earthly vessels.  Studies have shown that it can lower blood pressure, increase brain activity and produce feelings of well being.  As we take in the invigorating outside air and scoop the life giving soil into our hands, something happens.  Life erupts not only from the tended garden plot but also from within us.

Rudyard Kipling said, “Adam was a gardener and God, who made him, sees that half of all good gardening is done upon our knees.”   This posture of humility cultivates more than plants and flowers.  It’s a picture of our dependency upon a Savior who gave us eternal life, a life that we, alone, are incapable of producing despite our efforts.

We are all products of seed sowing.  At some point, through God's providence, someone or something spoke truth into our lives.  It fell upon good soil and eventually bore fruit.

I hold this picture in my mind when I see the miracle of a seedling pushing through the garden dirt, bringing forth new life.