Monthly Archives: June 2013

Gardenias from Grandma ~ A Heartwarming Story of How They Got from Her to Me

Gardenia in full bloom

Gardenia in full bloom

Very likely, I got my love of gardenias from my grandmother.  These photos are of bushes that she originally planted on their farm in rural Mississippi, where my dad grew up.   When they sold the farm, she had all of them dug up and transplanted to their new home near the city.

Gardenias in front of my grandparents home

Gardenias in front of my grandparents home

Her bushes now line the front of what became my parents home.  I have no idea how old the shrubs are, but they have thrived happily at their current location for around seventy-five years.

Gardenia bud photo

Gardenia bud photo

The older varieties of gardenias are more resilient to disease and pests.  However, they are still finicky and do not like to be moved. 

Lovely even when turning yellow.

Lovely even when turning yellow.

My mom always got upset with my dad whenever he pruned the gardenias each fall.  She thought he cut them back too much.  Year after year, though, they kept on surprising her by blooming prolifically the following summer.

The day I photographed the gardenias, I had my own surprise of a visit by a butterfly.  It flew around me several times before landing on a bloom.  By the time I zoomed in, it had already left.  Fortunately, I captured one shot before it fluttered off!

My friendly butterfly

My friendly butterfly

As I mentioned above, gardenias can be difficult to relocate.  Twice, my dad rooted me a cutting, and then after letting it grow for a couple of years, gave it to me to plant at my house.  Both times, I was unsuccessful at getting the plants to live. 

It seemed as though I did everything correct.  I made sure there was a good root system and proper soil, and always moved the plants during the fall.  Each winter, though, I got worried when all the leaves fell off.  It looked as though it needed pruning and I would do just that.  I found out later that pruning was a mistake.

On one last attempt, my dad said that he would try planting one for me at my house.  My husband dug the hole, and my dad put it in the ground.  Then he gave me strict orders not to do anything to it, other than occasional watering, even if the plant looked like it was dying.  This time, I minded my daddy.

One of my grandma's gardenias transplanted at my house

One of my grandma’s gardenias transplanted at my house

That next spring, to my surprise, it made it.  I now have one of my grandma’s gardenias of my very own.

What makes the gardenia bush even more special, though, is the fact that my dad planted it.  You see, it was the last thing he ever planted on this earth.  The same spring my gardenia showed signs of new life, my daddy went to heaven.  Now, every time I walk past it, I think of him.

I suppose I got my sentimentality from my grandmother, too.  Because of the memories associated with my bush, I know that if we move from our house, I will be doing the same thing she did.  If we move, my gardenia goes with us.

For a similar post about Gardenias, see The Sweet Fragrance of Christ


The Sweet Fragrance of Christ

Gardenia beauty

Gardenia beauty

Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.
2 Corinthians 2:15

Gardenias are one of my favorite flowers, mostly because of their sweet fragrance.  Preferences about fragrances differ, though.  I have a neighbor who detests plants like gardenias because of that same sweet smell.

Although I disagree, the reason for our dispute has nothing to do with the appearance of the flower, rather the characteristics of its scent.  Aromatic flowers like gardenias have what I call in your face fragrance.  A fragrance detected before you even see them, and one that grows stronger the closer in proximity you get.  When around gardenias, you either love them or not, because their aroma is distinctive and pervasive. 

My bouquet of gardenias

My bouquet of gardenias

I recently brought home a fresh-cut bouquet into our home, but had to move it from where I had it in the dining room to our sunroom.  Their scent can literally take over the air around them, and since taste involves the sense of smell, our food was beginning to taste like gardenias!  I don’t want them in my salad, but I still love them and look forward to their blooms each summer. 

The Fragrance of Christ is Distinct

Our lives as Believers should emit an equally distinctive and pervasive fragrance of Christ-likeness.  Our walk with the Lord should differ so from that of unbelievers that it is blatant.  No one should doubt to Whom we belong, because of the fruit of the Spirit, so vividly on display in our lives that even strangers spot the difference when we walk in the room.  The closer others get, the more evident the aroma of Christ.  At least, that is how we should live.

Arguably, though, we all fail in allowing the fragrance of Christ to pervade our daily walk. Many times, instead of a sweet aroma, we emit the stench of the old Adam by letting self-control quench a Spirit-led life.  Then, we merely blend in with the world around us.  Hindered is the sweet aroma of Christ, with its life-giving distinctiveness for a lost and dying world.

God knew we would struggle.  That is why He gave us the Holy Spirit, who continually changes us to resemble Christ.  Even in our frailty, God uses us as conduits of His aroma to the world.  Unfortunately, not all respond.

The Fragrance of Christ Confronts

Just as opinions vary on fragrances, the same holds true with the aroma of Christ.  It is the same kind of in your face scent.  When confronted with the presence and truth of Christ, it either attracts or repels.  Others either accept the Christ in us or refuse Him.  They either love Him or not. 

I love gardenias so much that I have a hard time comprehending why others do not. To me, their fragrance is nothing short of heavenly.  I love the Lord so much that I struggle grasping why not everyone does.  His fragrance is heavenly, for Jesus was heaven-sent.  He wants the world to taste and see that He is good, but what is good to taste must first start with a savory aroma. 

Does your life routinely emit the fragrance of Christ?

Let us each be increasingly mindful of how our lives are a fragrance rising up to God, and grow by allowing the Spirit to emit His sweet aroma to those around us. 

In my next post, I will share some more gardenia photos and relate another reason I love them so much.

Sweet Friday Feature

Feature FridayMostly because I love thoroughness, I can get lost in the moment of whatever I find myself doing.  Since I also love researching, a task many find tedious, I often notice small details.  As a result, I love close-up photography.  To me, the more details in a photo the better, especially when captured with pristine sharpness.

Today’s featured artist is a photographer and author whose images are often of the macro type, which I love so much.  She does something that has captured my attention even more than her pictures, though.  She uses her photography and writing talents to honor God, and along the way inspires others to do the same.  Today’s Friday Feature is:

Rene Yoshi
Sweet Capture Photography
Sweet Rains

Rene states in her About page that she loves capturing images and moments through the lens of a camera.  She does so with skill.  As a photography hobbyist, I have learned so much from Rene’s artistry in her images.  

Because of my busy schedule with nursing, I have limited time to explore photography.  One technique I have not yet learned is using textures with photos.  Rene’s uses of this technique with some of her photos have inspired me to try it.  Here are two of my favorites of hers, in which she uses this lovely technique:

A Single Tulip
The tulip bud is a tiny flower from a bouquet given to her by her daughter.

Crab apple blossom

On her website, Sweet Rains, Rene publishes thoughtful, encouraging posts and usually throws in her own photos to enhance the messages.  In her About page, Rene describes her love of photography, but also for the Bible.  Her messages reflect her love for the Lord, and she always stay grounded in Scripture.

Recently, Rene started something she calls Wisdom Wednesday.  Weekly, she posts proverbs or other wisdom verses from the Bible, along with a comparable proverb or wise saying from a different culture.  Throughout the ages, there have been wise sages, and we can often glean from them.  However, what I have appreciated about these posts is how Rene very clearly shows that all wisdom stems from the God of the Bible.

Follow this link to a recent Wisdom Wednesday

You don’t want to miss her photography blog, though, Sweet Capture Photography.  Here is another of my favorite photos of hers called:


On both of her sites, Rene appreciates feedback and interacts with her readers through prompt replies.  I encourage you to visit them, and click follow to enjoy getting to know Rene through blogging!  You will very much enjoy her posts as she captures sweet images and moments from her life.

Written with permission from Rene Yoshi

The Gospel in Haiku ~ Trilogy of a King

The Gospel in Haiku ~ Trilogy of a King

Part I

King is thrice inscribed
Lofty beams on Passover

Ground underneath quakes

Part II

Stone walls, newly cut,
Dusk drifts scent of fragrant myrrh
King dressed in linen

Part III
Cloths neatly folded
ngels glimpsed near garden door
“Mary,” said the King

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures
1 Corinthians 15: 3, 4

Haikus are short poems that use sensory language to capture a feeling or image.  They are often inspired by an element of nature, a moment of beauty or a poignant experience.  The traditional style uses three non-rhyming lines with a 5-7-5 syllable format, and one of the lines sets the tone. 

I doubt my poems fit the requirements of haiku precisely.  Although I appreciate feedback and suggestions, please be gentle and remember it was, after all, my first attempt.  Thanks!

The Gospel in Haiku Poetry CornerSue Nash2013

For more of my poetry, see Poetry Corner

Sunflowers ~ Preview of Glory Land

Show Me Your Glory Photo

Reaching upward
Raising hands

Sunglower openingBlooms
Stretching outward
Looking grand

A little ragged around the edges, but still pretty

A little ragged around the edges, but still pretty

  Burst of sunlight
Beauty firsthand

Sunflower 4Sunflowers
Shining preview
  Of glory land

Show me Your glory ~ Exodus 33:18

For anyone who remembers it, here is a link to that old song, Just Over in the Glory Land

Or for those who prefer the contemporary, Show Me Your Glory by Third Day

I love them both ~Enjoy listening!

For more of my poetry, see Poetry Corner

Sue Nash/2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: The World Through Your Eyes ~ My World

Christ means everything to me ~ He is my world

Christ means everything to me ~ He is my world

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

Blessings, always

Sue Nash/2013

Lighting Up the Night ~ God’s Superb Moon

Hidden behind the clouds

Hidden behind the clouds

With my camera and tripod in tow, I joined the throngs of people from across the globe who captured shots of the gorgeous Supermoon this weekend.  A Supermoon occurs when the moon is slightly closer to Earth than typical, with a more noticeable effect when it occurs at the same time as a full moon.  This weekend was the moon’s closest encounter with Earth in 2013, and it was full and spectacular.

Moon white

Moon, close up and milky white

These photos were my first attempt at moon shots.  Since I do not have an adequate telephoto lens, my pictures are not nearly the quality of many I have seen.  These close-ups resulted from some cropping in Photoshop.

Candlelight ~ intentionally tried to get this one to look grainy ~ has a sculpted look to me

Candlelight ~ intentionally tried to get this one to look grainy ~ has a sculpted look to me

Moon with clouds

Moon with clouds

My husband is not a photo enthusiast, but was kind enough to drive me to a place where I could try to get some silhouettes.  Unfortunately, the lighting was already much too dark for these to give me the crisp outlines of the shadows I was wanting.


Peeking behind the trees

This shot looks more like a sunset than a moonrise!

This shot looks more like a sunset than a moonrise!

Many of these pictures are grainy, which happens with a high ISO.  I wanted to experiment with the settings to learn more about nighttime photography.  The one thing I learned from my first experience at this is that I need much more practice!

Almost looks furry

So grainy that it looks furry ~ kind of pretty, though

The moon is one of my favorites of God’s creation.  I have often wondered, though, about a verse found in Revelation describing heaven.  When I read it, it makes me wonder whether there will still be a moon there.

“And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.”
Revelation 21:23

When my son was young, he and I discussed this verse and my concerns.  This discussion came about because we both love the outdoors and used to spend time stargazing.  I told him that even though I understood that with Jesus in heaven we would have His light, I would still miss the moon.

I love what can come out of the mouth of ‘babes’ when discussing deep spiritual matters.  His response to my perplexity was this:

“Mom, it doesn’t say that there won’t be a moon in heaven, just that there won’t be a need for one.”

I like that interpretation.  I am just going to trust what God has in store for us in heaven, and that it will be more spectacular than what we have now.  If not a moon, then something better.  Should there be one, though, I cannot wait to photograph it.  I imagine it will be on the order of a superb supermoon!

Gospel Blog ~ How to Soar Like an Eagle With God

A blog hosted by the Far East Broadcasting Company

Guest Post for 6/20/13

Follow the link below to read my latest post on their blog:

How to Soar Like an Eagle With God

“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:31

Friday Praise Report

In dad's arms, going home

In dad’s arms, Greysen going home

Since many of you prayed for my newest additions, I wanted to share a wonderful praise report.  Above is Greysen, my grandson who had a few problems right after birth, and had to spend about 2 weeks in the NICU.  God did an amazing work of turning what could have been a bad situation completely around for good.  Tests are all fine, and he went home this past Wednesday!  God gets all the glory for healing him.

Like a little angel

Like a little angel, Quinn asleep at home

Our lovely new granddaughter, Quinn, was born without complications.  Her mom, however, had a slight delay in going home due to some problems she experienced.  Thankfully, those issues have resolved, and both mom and babe are home.

God is good.  All the time!

As I mentioned in last Friday’s post, we anxiously anticipate meeting both of them next month on a trip to Colorado. 

I do appreciate all of your prayers.  You share in our joy.

Grandma Sue

Feature Friday

God Directs Our Steps

Photo I took along the Pacific shoreline

Photo I took along the Pacific shoreline

I love walking by the ocean.  I love the fishy smells, and the way the salty breeze warms my weariness.  I love the feel of cool water on my feet, and the sounds of the waves lapping against the shore.  Nobody has to force my steps on a sandy beach, since by the sea is where I feel most at home.

How comforting is the passage above from Proverbs, to know that since God directs our steps, we can trust Him throughout our lives.  Some may argue that this verse is suggestive of predestination on God’s part, and that as such, why bother with a life of faith.  Not at all that, this is actually a poignant reference to God’s sovereignty and love, but there are some issues inherent in it worth addressing.

God Does Not Force Our Steps

God controls the universe, but out of love gives us the choice whether to accept His guidance.  God’s ways are best, but not everyone accepts this notion.  Because of that same love, though, He goes a step further.

God Uses Circumstances to Direct Our Steps to Him

Many do not understand the message of the cross, but it is not complicated.  God sent Jesus to offer a Way back to Him.  He will use circumstances your entire life to direct you to Him.  By accepting and following Christ, we merely return to where we belong.  If really His, though, our lives will then change.

God Will Direct Us Away From Sin

Some people think that after saying a sinner’s prayer they can then go out and continue living a life of continual sin.  If God is directing, though, our lives change from pursuit of wanton pleasure to that of pleasing Him.  God will never direct someone into sin, so if wrongdoing is still rampant, there is something amiss.  This brings up yet another issue.

God Directs Us to Let Go

In the passage, there is the implication of letting go ~ and ~ letting God direct.  We cannot be in charge anymore, but need to let God lead our lives.  For many, this is where the rudder meets the wave.  In our egotistical culture, we think we can figure things out all by ourselves.  God knows this, yet still loves us and has a wonderful alternative.

God Directs In Order to Bless

Many despise the idea of giving God control, but those of us who know Him wouldn’t have it any other way.  With God at the helm, we no longer have to figure things out, but can instead trust His wisdom and understanding.  This is not at all weakness, as some suppose; rather, by yielding to God’s directing, we trade control for a blessed peace.  We can trust an infinite God, who knows the beginning from the end, to guide our ways.

The true blessing comes from knowing that with God directing our steps, they will one day walk on streets of gold on heaven’s shore.

With that in mind, what is holding you back from letting go and letting God direct?

Along the seashore,
I hear His footsteps best.
It reminds me ~
  As I follow Him,
He directs my steps

Sue Nash/2013

Proverbs Post

For similar posts, see Proverbs Post