Sunday, September 29, 2013


The post below is a revised copy of the eulogy I gave at my mother's memorial service several years ago.  Its message is still relevant today.  Below the post, you will find two links for photography books of the gardens in my life.  My mother never saw either of these books or the photographs published there, but I daresay that she is walking hand in hand with the Master Gardener Himself and can identify each by heavenly name

          It was springtime and everything all abloom.  Mom and I were doing our usual Monday trek to the doctor’s office, then to lunch, the pharmacy and back to Mt. Carmel.  This day as we passed an outdoor plant nursery, she commented how beautiful the spring flowers were.  “Oh, I could just spend all day in there,” she said.   She voiced her discontent at not having her very own patio for a few potted plants.  Mt. Carmel wouldn’t even allow ivy in the windowsill of her room…for safety and fire hazards, you know.  So, she drooled over the impatiens as we drove by. 

          We finished with the doctor’s appointment and drove the same street back toward town while she told me about the goings on at the Home.  Someone was angry because the designated smoking section had been moved further down the porch.  Then she began to tell me about Mac, whose wife had been moved on to a nursing home and he himself was sick with a bad cold.  Interestingly enough, Mac had been someone she disliked when she first moved to Mt. Carmel.  At that time, he walked with a walker and shoved people aside by hitting their chair legs several times as he passed through to his seat.  Once when she whispered to me, “I just hate him”, I quickly reminded her to hate his behavior, not him.

          She went on to tell me how sick his wife had been, how worried he was about her, and now he didn’t feel well either.  At breakfast, she went to his table and patted his arm to tell him “It’s okay.  You’re going to feel better.  It’ll be all right.”  Another resident heard her words and said, “I sure wish you’d bless me like that.”  This lady, Eloise, had also been hard to get along with until the next morning, Mom patted her arm and said, “Eloise, may the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you today!”  Eloise beamed and asked the other ladies at the table, “Did you hear what she said to me?” 

          Another heart won.   And there was Bro. Henry who she really had a crush on, but he was “taken”.  He and his lady friend, Carolyn were an “item” though her family didn’t approve.  She had money and he didn’t.  He was Hispanic and a retired Baptist preacher and she was Catholic.  But Mom practiced her Spanish each morning with Bro. Henry to encourage him.  “Mi amigo! Como esta?” And then there was Leo, a 91-year old bachelor who fell in love with Mom and proposed daily as she served him his morning coffee and patted his arm.  She gave him attention like he had never known before.  The “love of his life” had married someone else while he was away for 4 years at war in Europe.  He was broken hearted until he met Nelda.  Every day he would ask, “Why couldn’t I have met you 50 years ago?”

          Now just the day before mother’s Monday appointment, I had heard a message of “reaping what we sow” from a visiting lay preacher at my church.  He had shared with us that Galatians 6:7 is a Biblical law that the secular world has adopted and proven as a universal law.  You’ve heard it, “What goes around, comes around.”  It does work, negatively and positively.  He told how he had planted many “anger” seeds, “jealousy”  and “rebellion against authority” seeds, “unforgiveness” seeds, “complaining” seeds, and so on, even some “stealing” seeds in his youth that now, as a successful businessman, he was reaping from employees who stole inventory from him.   He said the most important thing to understand about God’s universal law of sowing and reaping is that whatever is missing in your life,  whatever your needs in relationships are… in order to receive acceptance, for example, one must give it….first. 

          With this fresh in my memory, I saw an opportunity to share with Mom that she was planting seeds of love, mercy, hope, gentleness, acceptance and encouragement in the lives of her family at Mt. Carmel Home.   These were fruit of the Spirit I observed operating in her life.  As we talked more, she looked at me and said, “Why, I HAVE A GARDEN AFTER ALL!”  The intersection of Holly & Staples Street will always remind me of the moment “she got it.”   She finally understood and knew her purpose at Mt. Carmel was to plant and to be light in someone’s dark world.  She bloomed where she was planted.  She realized she had turned a corner.  Her attitude changed and the last few months of her life were the happiest I have seen. I personally believe it was her “life lesson” and when she learned it, the Lord took her home. 

          That’s what I want to share with all of you today.  We all have a choice to plant anger & rage seeds or tender & loving seeds.  I ask you to remember the seeds that Nana  or someone like her,  has planted and watered in your lives, whether it was a meal, a pat on your arm or pop on your behind, an encouraging phone call, a little note, a scripture or smile, a birthday card or her special rendition of Happy Birthday. The legacy is the garden of your life that you will plant and grow depending on how you tend it.  There will be birds that will pick at the seed, the thorns or circumstances in your life may grow up and choke it out, the hot sun may scorch baby leaves of new, tender growth or maybe the seed just fell on the rocky ground of your heart and failed to take root.  There are many here today who will choose to have good and fertile soil.  You have ears to hear, a willingness to respond and a desire to grow and display impatiens, petunias, pansies, agapanthus, snapdragons, begonias, caladiums, amaryllis, wisteria and more! 

          Mom prayed for many years to be healed and she finally received her ultimate healing when she went to be with the Lord.  She did not lose heart in well doing for in due time, she knew she would reap a harvest if she did not grow weary and give up.  There were many times she grew weary and wanted to give up, but she “fought the good fight, ran the race God set before her, and kept her faith…to the end.”  It is our choice to choose what crops we plant. 

What crops are you planting?

(c) Copyright 2013-2016

Monday, September 9, 2013


I pray that you hear the same message I heard one morning as I had my prayer time. What did I really hear that morning? The Father of the Universe really does love ME. And He loves YOU, too. 

Over a cup of coffee one morning, it went something like this.........

Me: Lord, I want to enjoy our relationship…
God: Kate, I don’t want you to just “enjoy” Me…I want you to love Me and seek Me with your whole heart, and even when you don’t enjoy it…even when you are entwined in other’s lives, even when you find yourself in your own pit of despair, even when grief and pain have you in their greedy clutches. Life is not always about your enjoyment. I REALLY WANT YOU. I long for your tenderness and loyalty towards ME. I just miss you and our talks.

Me: Father, I confess that at times, I do spend my time foolishly…I have overslept, checked emails, surfed FaceBook for status updates from my kids, washed dishes, folded laundry, fed or watered plants and animals. Most of my activities have had priority above my intimate time with You, AND DONE WITHOUT A THOUGHT! And I am merely "getting on" with my day…paperwork, deposits, groceries and chores. All I craved was another cup of coffee! That is “first fruits?” (Please never measure me by this, Lord!)
I do realize that my getting up EARLY to spend time with You can be ritualized and pious. After all, aren’t all those religious “Pharisees” watching?” They recommend “follow these rules, apply this formula, do this reading plan, spend at least 30 minutes upon awakening…sacrificing first fruits of my day to the Lord…” I know spending intentional time with you daily is vital, but Lord, I seem to constantly fail at this discipline.
God: Kate, I love you and accept you whether you DO IT or NOT, whether you DO IT FIRST or LAST in your day…I just want time with you. It’s true that I AM jealous of those other activities and the people that you give greater attention to, but Christ in you is your right standing with Me, not how much time or when you dwell in My Presence…I AM  always with you…I NEVER LEAVE, but I DO miss being with you, talking to you...our communion. That’s why Jesus came and gave Himself…so that we could truly have fellowship in the cool of the garden again. Remember? The garden of your heart?

Me: Lord, where do You go when a believer sins? Since You are Holy and cannot fellowship with darkness or occupy the same place with sin, what happens to a believer who submits to the desires of their flesh and uses illegal drugs, for example? Where are You?
God: Kate, this sin is an act performed by the physical body, but actually took place in a heart life first… This beloved’s heart is more “sensitive” to the carnal things of their soul & their emotions rather than to spiritual things. This beloved’s mind THINKS primarily about gaining pleasure from drugs or whatever the sinful behavior is. The emotions FEEL and remember previous euphoria & escape experiences, and this beloved’s WILL desires to obsessively do it again & again. The physical body is compelled and driven to respond in addiction repeatedly. This is the battleground of spirit, soul, and body in every person, believer and unbeliever alike, whether the sin is drugs, sensuality, theft or lying. The root of all these sins is still doubt and unbelief that I, GOD, can be trusted with ALL of life.

Me: Yes, but where are You when we continue yielding to the enemy?
God: …In the same place I was when Jesus bore the shame of ALL mankind at Calvary. I turned My Head then, and I turn away now, too. I see the weaknesses of EVERY sinner merely acting out of this brokenness. All the while, they are unaware that My Remedy has already permeated, infused, and perfected every wound with heavenly balm. This beloved believer may never have truly embraced Me as Healer but has only made a mental decision much like your thoughts about your “to do” list. This believer's soul has not yet completely understood or received the full measure of the gift I have freely given.
Kate, how do I break through your brokenness to reveal Perfection to you? I turn My face towards you again and again. I embrace and caress you, I shout and sometimes scream dreams to awaken you. I whisper and continually sing the Invitation to come and dine with Me.  These days, I use whatever means necessary to get your attention, even a busy "TO DO" list. Aren’t you hungry, Kate?  Today, as every day, the menu is the same: 
   “Salvation” served with generous portions of Forgiveness,
   Health, Deliverance and Wholeness for EVERY area of LIFE!

I hope you like Lamb….

Me: Oh, Lord, I am hungry and thirsty…. But You didn’t mention a Price List for the menu…
God: I purposely left the menu costs blank… All I ask is that you come to My table. My Word says, “I give to the one who hungers and thirsts from the spring of the water of Life without cost.” Rev. 21:6

Me: No cost?
God: Supping the meal with Me does command a sacrifice…the highest anyone could give.

Me: Death?
God: Yes, Kate, you already know. It is you who must die to your self-idols…all those indulging, unhealthy relationships, absorbing thoughts, and self-serving activities.  This kind of life requires dying to your cravings for all those delectable “side dishes” like the seduction of just one more bite. Dining with Me calls for starving your insatiable appetites, saying NO to the lust and greed in your heart for more, more and still more... If you don't get anything else from our conversation today, it is most important for you to understand how I view these idols in your daily life. Remember, I AM the Lover of your soul and essentially, your busyness sets up many opportunities for committing spiritual adultery against Me. Most people misunderstand the sin of adultery and see it only as a sexual sin committed against marriage while I view adultery as ANYTHING that poisons our Covenant relationship. Digest that for awhile. 
We've talked about personal holiness before. Here's the secret. The beauty of Holiness requires the beauty of your sacrificial ashes first. I think it might qualify as "first fruits." In spiritual reality, this sacrifice of your will to satisfy yourself is what it truly means to “take up your cross daily and follow Him.” I know that your daily commitments are vital, but I AM more important than today's TO DO list. I would at least like to see some time allotted to JESUS written on the page. I think you would find such rest and peace there just fixing your gaze on My Name! Maybe even prop your feet up and enjoy another cup of coffee with Me!

Me: You really are inviting me to communion…true communion with the Bread of Life?
God: Yes, Kate! The most basic human needs, hunger and thirst, are satisfied only in a personal relationship with Me through Jesus. He makes you stand aright, straight and tall before Me. Clean, white and without a single fault, too. This is true communion and righteousness, My righteousness that Jesus died to give you. When My Spirit convicts you of your sin and repentance transforms your heart towards Me, I turn My face back towards you. I see My Beloved Son saturating you with balm and binding up your brokenness…again and again.

Me: Oh, how I needed Your revelation today, Lord…
God: Here are a few scriptures to help you along. Kate, look at the table…
The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and His ears are open to their cry. Psalm 34:15
Are your eyes darkened in your understanding? I want the eyes of your heart to be enlightened to the Truth that will truly set you free. Eph 1:18
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore, neither shall the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes. Rev 7:16-17
There will no longer be death, mourning, crying, or pain…He makes all things newHis words are faithful and true. He who overcomes shall inherit these things…life everlasting and joy unspeakable from the Lamb.  Rev 21:4-7

These are My revelations for you today, beloved….

Me: Uh, Lord, is it ok… that I really …don’t eat …much meat….or even like…lamb?
God: Yes, Kate, I know….
You profess to be a vegan most days, but I AM watching you eat that rib eye steak EVERY FRIDAY NIGHT at the Astor’s Steakhouse….

 (c) Copyright 2013-2016


PLEASE NOTE:  This post is not intended to judge the depth of anyone's relationship with the Lord but to share how God worked in MY h...