Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Planting Seeds

Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches. Matthew 13:32 NIV

I have been waking up in the morning to beautiful melodies outside my window. The birds and their chirping is really music to my ears. A bright red cardinal perched on my back porch table just this week. He was looking at me and I was looking at him. It seemed like forever that we held that gaze but then he flew up to a nearby tree branch.

Recently I spent an afternoon strolling the aisles of a beautiful greenhouse and garden center. It was a true experience in whetting my appetite for spring. Everything was so green, colorful, with blooms everywhere, rows of houseplants, herbs and vegetable seedlings. Even tables of orchids in hues of lavender, yellow and green in great abundance. And then, one area was completely devoted to the birds. I found seeds of all kinds that were packaged in little cartons and large fifty pound bags to attract all types of backyard feathered friends. Gorgeous feeders in all sizes, shapes and colors in materials like metal, plastic and wood hung from the trellised ceiling. Birdhouses were lined up on shelves, too. Big ones and little ones, hanging ones and the types you nail to a post or eaves.

The great thing about a winter day is planning for spring! The vegetable and flower seed catalogs have been arriving since the first week in January. I love looking at them and planning for a new season. What more could a backyard have but vegetables, flowers, birds and butterflies! But first, I think I will start with the birds. A little seed should go a long way in establishing a sanctuary and a building a good relationship with the songbirds to last more than a season.

It all starts with a seed. God plants seeds within us, too. Those seeds become the foundation for ideas that can lead to life changing decisions or ideas to make our everyday life a bit better. He is always refining us. Filling us with ideas and thoughts to make us rise up. We can plant seeds too…but not only in the ground. We can plant seeds in the lives, minds and hearts of people that cross our path. An insecure person will thrive on a compliment. A sick person will grab on to hope. A troubled person could use a prayer of encouragement. In our daily journey through life, at the post office, convenience store, at work or the line at the grocery store we can plant seeds. Simply holding the door open for someone will remind them that there is kindness still in this world. Planting a seed is not just a spring endeavor. We can plant encouraging and uplifting seeds all the time and everywhere we go with our simple actions and words. We never know what a single seed of love, kindness, encouragement or hope can produce but God knows. All it takes is the planting of a single seed, a single act, to set the process in motion.

Reflections by the Sea now on Facebook

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
February 17, 2010

…for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. – Hebrews 4:10 NIV

Winter is definitely here. Cold fronts come through with strong winds that ruffle the water, bend the sea oats and cause the gulls to tuck their heads down into their chest. Summer clothes get pushed to the far side of the closet and long sleeves shirts and bulky sweaters replace them. There are some people that even leave the beach during winter for warmer climates in the south. Seems everything takes a break. Grasses and flowers go dormant, birds hunker down in their nests, and blowing sand covers steps and walkways to the beach. At first glance, it can be considered a dreary time, but I don’t see it that way at all. Especially when the basil seeds sprouted this week in my makeshift greenhouse in the kitchen window. It is great to see new life spring forth.

Winter is a time to replenish, renew and rest. It is a time to appreciate the beach, too. While nature takes a nap, we can still walk the beach or walk to the end of a pier and feel the wind at sunrise. A hot cup of coffee or cocoa warms the spirit anytime. Reading a book by the fire wrapped in a warm throw can keep the mind active. Seafood chowder and buttery cornbread tastes like a feast for dinner on a cold evening. There is something to do each day.

Winter can be a solitary time and that is good for our spirit to be by ourselves with little distraction. God is always there and in the quiet moments of life, we tend to hear Him more clearly. He drops in ideas and thoughts to our minds and hearts. We have all winter for them to take root on the inside of us. Winter is the time to plan the garden of our life, for spring will be here soon enough and we must cultivate our hopes and dreams so they can grow into full harvest. These cold days are times to actively seek God’s Presence and His Voice for our life. He is our Counselor in all things. Entering into God’s Rest prepares us to receive what He has for us next.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
February 10, 2010

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. -Hebrews 12:14 NIV

Photograph by Liz Brown)

There’s always a chill in the air in February. But the weather patterns now seems to bring storms and colder than normal temperatures every few days. I find it fascinating to observe the weather. Living on the coast makes weather watching especially important and interesting too.

February is also the time that we recognize those we love in observance of Valentines Day. It is a centuries old tradition that was originally called Saint Valentines Day but was shortened to simply Valentines Day as we know it and it continues today. It was intended to honor and recognize romantic love but is now extended to include all those that we cherish.

In a perfect world, we would live in peace with everyone. But sometimes that doesn’t seem possible. The people that hold on to grudges with a death grip are also the ones that easily perceive offenses when none is intended. In short, they are easily offended and quick to judge. It springs forth unexpectedly and contaminates everything. This gives new meaning to the phrase, “there’s a chill in the air”. We have to navigate around people like this as though we are on an obstacle course trying to dodge the debris. This is the result of behavior when a person chooses not to walk in peace. The best we can do when these situations arise is to pray, pray and pray some more. And then let it go. Surrender it to God. Trying to be peaceful with someone that doesn’t want to be peaceful bears no fruit and is toxic. The tearing down, the judgment and condemnation serves no good but to feed grudges and offenses with more fuel. He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends Proverbs 17:9 NIV

God created us to live a life of excellence, to live our days in joy, peace and love. He has mighty work for us to do if we can step up and over the pettiness we encounter in life. God loves us and that is unwavering. His love is unconditional. What more do we need to move forward? Charles Dickens said “Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.”

As much as it depends on us, we are to live in love and peace. Valentines Day is a reminder to show love and to renew our commitment to God to walk in His Ways.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Reflections by the Sea © Betsy Ore Glass
February 03, 2010

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3: 15-17

There are some people that like snow and some that do not. I happen to love it! The excitement and frenzy at the grocery store to stock up, to fill the gas tank of the car and to check the birdfeeders are all part of my pre-snow routine. Snow doesn’t come often, particularly to these parts, but when it does, it is memorable for young and old. A fresh blanket of snow on ordinary things makes them look extraordinary. Traffic slows and school and work stops. It’s a time to make that special soup, bring in the firewood and enjoy the beauty of the white scenery through the windows. There will be plenty of time for shoveling and scraping later, but for a moment or two, the snow makes us stop long enough to feel the peace that surrounds us. It’s like everything has been put on hold, if only briefly.

Sometimes we need something out of our control to make us stop our busy lives long enough to renew and reflect on our journey. It may be something as simple as a snowy day that gives us this time and causes us to lessen our pace. I notice that when snow is in the forecast, everyone seems friendlier, neighbors look out for one another and there is an overall sense of community spirit. Everyday can be like this. Living in peace with one another is a good place to be. God’s peace dwells within us and we just have to tap into this gift to enhance our lives and those around us. Like a blanket of snow that envelops everything in its path, God’s promise of peace fills and embraces us, if we allow it.