Mothers’ Day with our beautiful daughters and my flower garden

Abraham Lincoln quote on mother

“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”–Abraham Lincoln

I had a great Mother’s Day weekend and hope you did, too. The best part for me was seeing our precious, beautiful daughters Heather and Leah. I went by to see our middle daughter Eden, but she was working late until that night. Hopefully I can see her this week when she is off work. 

Heather bought me a sweet card and beautiful fresh red roses, my favorite flowers–so thoughtful of her!

card & roses from Heather
card & roses from Heather

Heather works full-time, stays constantly busy and on the go, and lives almost an hour away from me here in Butler. So it was a real treat for her to drive here with her girls Annabelle and Violet and take me out to lunch at the Mexican restaurant, El Charro. 

Me & our beautiful daughter, Heather Mothers' Day 2018
Me & our beautiful daughter, Heather
Mothers’ Day 2018

 

Heather opening her card & gift from me The girls watching her Mothers' Day 2018
Heather opening her card & gift from me
The girls watching her
Mothers’ Day 2018

Heather and the girls then stopped by our house to see our black cat with green eyes, Natalya, for the first time. Violet loved her! Natalya is shy, so I was really glad she allowed them to pet and even hold her!

Heather seeing our cat Natalya the first time
Heather seeing our cat Natalya for the first time here

 

Our granddaughters Violet & Annabelle seeing Natalya the 1st time
Our granddaughters Violet and Annabelle seeing Natalya for the 1st time here at our house

Their visit was very short and sweet, because Heather had an errand to run, but I’m so thankful that I was able to see them and spend time with them for this special holiday!

On actual Mother’s Day Sunday, our youngest daughter Leah treated me to lunch at El Charro, too (we both love Mexican and I can never have too much chips and salsa!). Seeing our daughters made my whole weekend!

Me & our precious, beautiful daughter Leah on Mothers' Day 2018
Me & our precious, beautiful daughter Leah on Mothers’ Day 2018

 

Mexican lunch
Mexican lunch

 

I'm addicted to chips & salsa!
I’m addicted to chips & salsa!

The restaurant staff also blessed me with a free dessert for Mothers’ Day: it was a creamy, yummy cake with strawberries!

the yummy dessert: Leah & I shared it!
the yummy cake with chocolate & strawberries: Leah and I shared it!

I’m so thankful that I was able to do this with Leah. It made my whole day.

My husband Ray bought me a beautiful butterfly card (I love butterflies!) and a Chicken Soup for the Soul book, The Empowered Woman. What the card read inside about me being beautiful and what he wrote about me as a mom meant the most to me and deeply touched me.

butterfly card & book
butterfly card & book

To treat myself afterward, I planted some flowers in my flower bed that I’d bought at the Mennonite store in town, the Stoplight Market, where I purchased them last year. All this is a lot of hard work, and I was very sore the next day! I posted a meme on Facebook which read, “My glutes are on FIYAH!”

 

flower bed
my flower bed. I started gardening last year and am happy to have fresh flowers again!

My friend Stephanie urged me to buy mulch for the flower bed, so the rains wouldn’t wash away the petunias. I went the next day to buy the mulch and put it down to protect the flowers.

mulch
mulch

 

petunias
petunias in a variety of colors

 

cute little sign-fairy
cute little sign: fairy crossing

 

yellow daisies
friendly daisies for our back steps

 

purple potted petunias
purple potted petunias

 

gardenias
red gardenias for my sunroom

I love having creamy coffee and drinking it in our sunroom in the morning. It’s a great place to just pray to God and watch the birds, squirrels, butterflies, and bunny rabbits.

coffee in the sunroom
coffee in the sunroom

My mother-in-law Judy bought me this beautiful, little glass table for the sunroom. I love it! It is perfect for my coffee, flowered cactus, and aloe vera plant.

glass table
glass table

Our cat Natalya loves our sunroom as much as I do, but for different reasons. She intently watches the birds and the squirrels, anticipating a kill if she could only get outside (she’s an indoor-only house cat!). 

Natalya watching the birds
Natalya watching the birds

 

Natalya by the sunroom screen
Natalya by the sunroom screen

 

Natalya in the sunroom
Natalya in the sunroom

I bought a few herbs for my sunroom: wonderful-smelling lavender, oregano to use in cooking dishes like spaghetti, and beautiful purple Salvia. I never leave our cat alone in the sunroom with the plants, as some can be toxic. The door stays locked when I’m not in there.

I have the herbs in a big, white crate that was filled with goodies the attendees blessed me with last year, when I spoke at a retreat in Liberty, MO.

herbs: lavender, oregano, and Salvia
herbs: lavender, oregano, and Salvia

 

faith deco in sunroom
faith deco in sunroom

Last year I planted a big butterfly bush to entice butterflies, which I love. It blossomed well, and drew butterflies in my garden. But Missouri can have harsh, cold winters and it’s likely the ice and the snow killed the poor, little plant. I wasn’t able to find a big plant I really liked for that corner, so I bought a Celtic Cross.

I am proclaiming it is a prophetic declaration for me visiting Ireland, one of the things on my bucket list! Irish legend says that Saint Patrick was trying to convert the pagans to Christianity. Some of these pagans worshiped the sun, so it is said that he combined the cross with the circular pattern of the sun as a way to associate light and life with the Christian cross in the mind of his converts. I think it adds a unique touch to the garden.

Celtic Cross
Celtic Cross

I also put new bark mulch around my roses. Last year I planted my first rose garden. Two of the rose bushes look somewhat sad this spring, so they may have to be uprooted and replaced. I’m not sure they survived the winter. The other two rose bushes are doing well, and one is already blooming beautifully.

rose garden
rose garden with stones

 

my roses from this year's garden
my roses from this year’s garden

I bought bags of black sunflower and other little seeds to draw the red cardinals, sparrows, purple finches, blue jays, and other beautiful birds in our yard. I’ve already seen the male and female red cardinals in our yard. The red male cardinal is my special sign of love from God, and it makes me so happy to see one!

I’ve also seen purple finches and mourning doves. Doves make beautiful sounds in the morning and are among my other favorite birds. An interesting fact about doves is that they mate for life. 

red male cardinal Image source: Pinterest
red male cardinal
Image source: Pinterest

 

purple finch
purple finch

Last year my mother-in-law Judy bought me the squirrel-proof feeder on the left in the pic below. The squirrels are greedy, and practically do acrobatics on the feeders, even going upside down, to try to get to the seeds and eat them. 

bird feeders
bird feeders

I also put back out the hummingbird feeder with sugar water, and have already seen hummingbirds at them. I love the hummingbirds; they are so little and cute!

To make safe hummingbird food (there is controversy whether the red dye is safe or toxic to hummingbirds),  mix 1 part sugar with 4 parts water and bring to a boil to kill any bacteria or mold that is present. Cool and fill your feeder. They love it! This morning I saw a big black and yellow bumblebee at the feeder; they like it, too, so be careful. I was stung by a bee on my foot as a child, and my foot was swollen to twice its size, so I’m allergic to bees. 

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”–Ashley Smith

hummingbird feeder
hummingbird feeder

The previous owners of this house had planted two pink peony bushes on the side yard. They are now blooming beautifully. My friend Stephanie said these are her favorite flowers, and that if I take care of them, they can grow as big as saucers.

pink peonies bush
pink peonies bush

 

pink peony
pink peony

I have a few more goals for our yard. One is to get a white trellis for the Wisteria tree, that Ray suggested I buy and plant last year. We put it in the front of our house by the little porch. It is now taking over our house, and friends of mine advised to get a trellis to train its growing “arms,” so it won’t destroy the siding on our home.

Wisteria tree
Wisteria tree

My other planned project is to buy 3 giant rocks at The Grass Pad in Martin City, MO, and make an attractive fairy rock garden on top of it. This is where I bought my stones for my rose garden last year. 

I had a very good Mothers’ Day this year and am so thankful.

Me on Mothers' Day 2018
Me on Mothers’ Day 2018

What did you do for the holiday? Leave your comments below.

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Pay attention to signs from God

Insomnia Image source: https://getbestmattress.com/insomnia-meme/
Insomnia
Image source: https://getbestmattress.com/insomnia-meme/

Last night I had insomnia (again), tossing and turning all night long, so this morning I’m running on some good, hot coffee and am “loaded for bear,” as my friend Suzy Bunton often says. Later today I’m sure that I will crash, taking a nap, even though it’s advised not to take a nap if you have insomnia!

sunflower8

I just changed my website header to a sunflower and recently finished writing the third and final book of my non-fiction Metamorphosis book series, Transformed From Despair to Hope, available for sale at Amazon here.

This is the last book that God told me to write, which makes me very happy–because I obeyed God (for once!), doing what He said to do.

If I were to die today, I’d have peace knowing that I had completed the books God told me to write. My friend Stephanie asked does that mean I won’t be writing any more books?

If Jesus tarries and I live longer, probably not. I believe I’ll be writing books the rest of my life! What has God told you to do? Are you doing it? What is holding you back?

Me and my books in print; amazon.com/author/bethmjones
Me & my books

For me, finishing writing the list of books that God spoke to me about is a HUGE accomplishment. I plan to celebrate soon by getting my hair done (trim, color, and blonde highlights)! Whenever you reach a goal, whether it’s big or small, I encourage you to reward yourself in at least some small way.

Maybe it’s a Starbucks coffee, savoring some chocolate, eating chips and salsa, having a tasty lunch or dessert with a friend, traveling to a new fun place, getting a mani or pedi, going for a walk on a nature trail or hiking a mountain, watching a chic flic, getting new Sharpie pens (or your fave brand), buying a cute pair of ripped jeans, taking a pottery class, or _______________ (you fill in the blank). Just be sure to celebrate your accomplishments!

My graphic designer at Fiverr, who I love, is pro_ebookcovers and she rocks! Below are all three book covers that she made for me for my butterfly Metamorphosis series–beautiful!

Book 1

 

Book 2

 

Metamorphosis: Transformed From Despair to Hope
Book 3

I love butterflies. For me, they are a powerful symbol–like the red male cardinal, the eagle, mourning doves, dolphins–of freedom and happiness. Whenever I see a butterfly or a red male cardinal (like I did yesterday outside the kitchen window, after tripping over a little girl right behind me in line at the store and badly skinning my knee; thank God she was okay!), I sense God’s Love for me and His presence.

red male cardinal Image source: Pinterest
red male cardinal
Image source: Pinterest

Usually I see a cardinal or butterfly on the worse days, and it always comforts me and lifts my spirits. These things are tangible signs to me that God loves me, He sees me, and He is here for me.

What signs do you see around you that speak to you about God and how much He cares for you?

The Bible shares about many signs from God:

  • The sign of the Messiah who would crush the serpent’s head and save sinners (Genesis 3:15);
  • The sign of the rainbow, of the covenant between God and the earth (Genesis 9:13);
  • The sign Gideon asked God for, of the fleece wet with dew and then the ground wet with dew (Judges 6;33-40);
  • The sign of the plagues on Egypt because Pharaoh’s heart hardened (Exodus 7-11);
  • The miraculous parting of the Red Sea, so God’s people the Jews could escape bondage and go to their Promise Land (Exodus 14:21);
  • An angel appearing to shepherds announcing Jesus’ birth and a host of angels praising God (Luke 2:8-20);
  • The prophets foretelling of the Messiah in the Old Testament;
  • Jesus turning the water into wine at the wedding in Cana (John 2:11);
  • Jesus’ and the Apostles’ miracles (in the four Gospels and the book of Acts);
  • The signs in the end times, spoken of by Jesus and in the book of Revelation.
Jesus on the cross
Jesus on the cross

Although we shouldn’t base our lives and faith on outward, physical signs, they are important. Pay attention to signs and, like Mary the mother of Jesus, ponder these things in your heart. (Luke 2:19, 51)

Some signs you might notice are:

  • God’s still small voice;
  • Confirmation through God’s eternal word;
  • A billboard or car bumper sticker;
  • A hymn, worship, praise or other song on the radio;
  • Nature–the sun, the moon, a rainbow, the stars, the wind, a storm, fresh flowers, animals;
  • An encouraging rhema word someone speaks to you;
  • Something amazingly wise and startling that a child says to you (for of such is the Kingdom of God!);
  • A Divine appointment that is too interesting and timely to be just a coincidence!

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)

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A red male cardinal on Easter: a sign I am loved

red male cardinal Image source: Pinterest
red male cardinal
Image source: Pinterest

This morning I texted our family “Happy Easter! Love you!”

Just as I was leaving out the back door to drive to church, I saw a red male cardinal fly to a tree branch in our yard. I stood still, and it flew right in front of me, to the bird feeder nearby. 

For those who don’t know, the red male cardinal is very special to me. Years ago I read an article about a woman whose mother had died. She was in deep grief, as they were very close. One day she looked out her kitchen window and saw a red male cardinal perched on a tree branch. She felt the bird was heaven-sent and that it was God’s symbol to her that He saw her and He loved her.

Since then, every time I’ve seen a red male cardinal I have felt like it is God’s special way of letting me know He sees me, He is with me, and that He loves me. I often see one on the worst days, which is very comforting to me.

What’s interesting is that I haven’t seen the red cardinal lately, and had been praying to see one. I felt God sent it to me this morning on Easter Day to remind me of what Jesus did for me on the cross out of His great love for me.

God also knew ahead of time what would happen today to me. After church, a situation occurred which deeply hurt me and made me feel very rejected. Crying, I  remembered the red male cardinal, knowing that God always loves me unconditionally, even if others don’t.

I was in my kitchen after lunch, and looked out the window, when suddenly I saw the red male cardinal again on the feeder. I smiled through my tears and thanked God my Father, who I felt was emphasizing His love for me.

female & male cardinals
female & male cardinals

Then the female cardinal (brown with a little red) joined him. First she was on the ground, then she joined him together on a feeder. They seemed to kiss. This made me smile and reminded me of the verse Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NKJV, and of a husband and a wife with God at the center:

Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

I’m so very thankful God did this for me today. He knew what would happen ahead of time, and He was giving me a visible, tangible demonstration of His love for me.  

More than anything, Jesus demonstrated that agape love for all of us on the cross through His death, burial, and resurrection. Today on Easter, know that you are greatly loved by God.

What special signs has God given you that are meaningful and personal to you? Leave your comments below.

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