Monday, September 15, 2014

Your Work Is Important

The nectar of wildflowers and clover are gathered on translucent wings to spin an amber liquid. They ride on the breeze of dawn to gather the thick syrup of blossoms. A single hive of bees can travel over 90,000 miles, to produce between 2-5 pounds of honey. That is the equivalent of three spins around the globe with their tiny wings stroking at over 200 beats per second. It’s practically impossible for humans to fully grasp the majesty and importance of bees.

I have a long-standing fascination-love and a healthy fear-hate for bees. The hate only comes if I get stung.

As a result of hanging over clumps of gold and burgundy flowers, crawling on my stomach, and generally looking ridiculous in my neighbor’s front yard and kneeling in her flowerbeds, for over an hour, this picture was captured.
(Thank you Lynette for all of those flowers!)

Now you know what some people have found out.

I will go to great lengths to capture a little wonder. Even then, this picture was more of an accident. I would focus and depress the button, causing my camera to snap photos in succession, at a high rate, and out of a rash of flower pictures this one emerged.

It is hard to freeze a moment in time, of insects being busy.

Just down the road from where I grew up, there was a honey farm. I really didn't understand what all the fuss was about. Those neighbors wore strange, white, moon-walking looking suits. The job was hard, the hours long, the pay low. They stacked and moved weathered boxes filled with bees to open fields of clover and in late summer they gathered them back up to begin harvesting their liquid gold.

That’s where I came in.

Equal parts of real butter and honey were whipped together and served with fresh baked biscuits alongside steaming bowls of soup in the chilly days of fall and all through winter months.

A few decades ago I began buying grain in fifty pound bags and milling my own wheat to make bread. Yes, that is a little crazy, in this busy world, but that is what started me on the honey craze. To make bread, essentially you need flour, a leavening agent, and a sugar. Honey makes whole grain products especially light and tender and is one of my favorite sweeteners to use for baking. 

Honey never spoils.


We buy it raw from local beekeepers and right now the harvest is in full swing. It is a gift to be able to buy it before it has been processed.

It really is like gold, since a single bee, gives its entire life to produce 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey.

1/12 of a teaspoon.

A few golden drops.

That may not seem too significant.

What fascinates me is that honey bees never get up in the morning and wonder what their purpose is. They never look at another insect and wish they had their job instead. They never pause to think they have too much to do, too far to fly, too little time-.

They just give themselves - to the vital work they have to do.

We, as people, can learn from the laws of nature.

All of God's creation gives.

Birds give their songs, roses their beauty and scent, fields y the fruit of seed planted in them.

And the honey bee? That tiny insect whose life is spent yielding such a small amount of visible fruit, plays a critical role pollinating many agricultural crops and helping to maintain balance in our entire ecosystem.

What if they didn't do what they were made to do?

It is not overstating that there would be an entire breakdown in our food sources.

That is honestly how God's economy works.

We work.

We do what we were made to do and we see that work multiply itself in many ways. 

If we contrast that to a life that is self-absorbed, one that is selfish and self-focused... there is a dying.

Not only to the person who doesn't give, but to the many who would have been blessed by that person spending themselves to do the things that only they can do. 

There are different season in our lives, but they should all include giving ourselves away and working.

That is how we are hard-wired by God.

And friends, when we live this way, we are most fully alive, satisfied and a blessing to others.

This week there will be golden chances to give of ourselves to others. Once they pass us by, those opportunities are forever gone.

On the flip-side, when we take those moments and work or serve others, there is a reward. Not as in earning our way to God, but as in fulfilling our purpose and living life with meaning.

God's Word says that we can take that to the bank.

Monday, September 8, 2014

When The Days Are Like Gold

Wild sunflowers are pushing their petal framed faces to the sky, along the ribbon of road and open pastures. Large clusters of golden rod fill the ditches and speckle fence lines while a few gilded leaves peek out of cottonwood trees, whose heart shaped foliage, shimmer and clatter softly in the late summer sun.

Things are honestly golden here.

Someone just said this to me again, “The golden years aren't so golden.”

I understand what they mean. 

These bodies we travel our one spinning globe in, they wear out and fail us. We are each a walking reminder that earth is not our forever home.

That's why we have to have our minds set on things above and not on things we can see.

Truly, one of the deepest blessings of this season of life for me, are our children and the children they have brought into the world.

Every hour spent with them is a bit of a party. The fact that five of our grandchild live a few minutes’ drive from our home and that they like being together, makes it even more of a gift.

They gave it a name, what we do when we are all together. They call it having.a “cousin day.”

I actually had one, kind of organized, Grandma Camp. It was somewhat darling with little crafts and t-shirts, and sandwiches cut out to look like hearts and stars.

Yes, it was pretty adorable.

But, since then we have had more informal free-for-alls, here at Grandma's.

I like to think of them as mini-adventures.

Just getting them all securely placed in legal car-seats, is a challenge. In fact it is an aerobic workout. Some days my goal has been to simply, keep the children alive and return them home to their parents mostly unharmed.

When they are all together I listen to their conversations and interaction with each other it makes my heart so tender to how each of them are uniquely designed and gifted, all weaved together in skin.

I hear what is in their hearts and most often I remember what I learned, but forgot, when I was raising their mommies.

I just love them.

I love them for who they are.

Not as in, "My grandchildren are the cutest children alive and make all of life more worth living."

Though, there is that feeling too.

Most deeply, I love them as in, "It makes my heart hurt thinking about their futures and I would honestly die for every single one of them."

One of our recent mini-adventures at Grandma's was a little end-of-the-summer, kind of get together.

We drug out the water slide and pulled up a few lawn chairs and just let things happen as they most naturally do when we are hanging out together.

This boy and his deep brown eyes and profound thoughts. 
He can only tell the truth. 
He talks long about things that make his eyes dance, 
and is quiet when he is overwhelmed. 
When he is in a competitive situation, his tenacity comes out and 
clings on for all he has to give. 
That will serve him well in life.

The one you cannot see in this picture....
well I include this picture because it is typical of this boy. 
He is always finding a new way to do an old thing.
He doesn't understand gravity. 
He lives full out with his passion and physical strength but,
he has a tender heart that never fails to hand out a hug 
and say the words, "I love you." 

She says, "I just like to talk grandma."
Her tender heart is easily broken and
she likes all things pink and girly.
Especially tiny dolls with rubber clothing and sparkles.

And this girl!
If we had one single dollar for every time someone commented on her hair,
or tells a story about someone with red hair...
well, we would have a college fund well established.
She has a fire in her tiny soul and if you ask her what she loves,
she will tell you that she loves babies.
That is a noble thing for a three year old girl to know most deeply about herself.

Little man with his steel blue eyes and flaxen hair....
I love you boy.
He adores guns, his food and just being in the mix of things, 
while doing his very own thing. 
He's easy to have around. 
When he calls me, "Ma," I come running. 
It never gets old. 

No words can really capture how I love them.

I don't love them for how they look or what they do.  

I love them, because God made them and they are enough just the way they are.

When I look into their eyes I see the future. 

I see my legacy. 

I see God's goodness and blessings. 

It makes me cry and laugh and pray hard.

Oh how I want them to know that Jesus is all of life and 
to serve Him with their whole hearts, minds and souls.

I want them to know that Jesus is the only thing
that will ever fill them up and satisfy their deepest places.

I want them to know they, are not the plans that others have for them,
but that God Himself has plans for them
 that are beyond anything they can think or dream. 

I pray they use their voices, not to build themselves up,
but to help others and to speak truth.

I pray they will be strong and brave and bold 
for the things Jesus gives them to do.

Thank goodness they are each so different. 

My prayer is that they dare to be different 
from what the world tries to conform them to be.

I pray that they use their talents, their influence 
to bring light and love into the world.

I pray that they will set their minds on things above,
so they can keep in perspective the things of this earth.

In the meantime I will keep lots of snacks and juice handy. 
We will read more books and take little mini adventures together
and I do hope you all figure out that chalk is not candy.

To me, days with these people are like gold.

Your Grandma

Missing this little tiny person. 
Can't wait until she is fussing and fighting 
for the pink cup along with her girl cousins.

© Rhonda Quaney