The Parable of the Organic Spinach: Infinite Perpetuity is Not Promised

What can spinach from my hubby’s garden teach me about the seasons of life?
Apparently, plenty…

See, I thought we’d have spinach at arm’s reach forever…until my hubby told me last week, “I think that’s it – the last of the spinach.”  My heart skipped a beat.  I was totally enjoying the fresh, tender leaves brightening up my morning egg white omelet.  I relished the tasty change from romaine lettuce on my sandwiches. But most of all, it was easier to clean than the romaine (which tends to be slug-prone at the roots – ick!).  Nevertheless, I understand that fresh spinach isn’t sustainable in 90° heat…it wilts – quickly.  Then I discovered that the fresh romaine was coming to an end, too.  Not that I would miss the slugs (by any stretch of the imagination), but it was quite nice not paying for lettuce!  So I resigned myself to the fact that those fresh greens are now gone.

But the good news?  We have another crop of yummy delights springing forth – because it’s their season to bloom.  So I’m learning to munch on squash and zucchini at my desk – and lots of it. (I’m open to your favorite recipe ideas).  No need for me mourn the spinach and romaine; I can rejoice with anticipation of cucumber and tomato salads in a few weeks!

Likewise, we must learn to appreciate the cycle of each harvest in our lives – including the periods of dormancy, separation, pruning, weeding, repositioning, and replanting.  Cycle implies that things won’t stay one way forever, that a series of events may occur in a particular sequence, and that progression will occur.  And for those of us who are naturally change-averse, it means we must learn to adjust – promptly!

I believe this cycle concept is applicable to relationships, too.  Many times, we grow at a different pace from people we’ve shared space with for a long time.  Sometimes our paths diverge from people we’d travelled with for years.  We have to learn to accept this as part of the cycle.  As I approach my 15-year college reunion (no, I’m not attending the festivities; yes, I’m in denial that I’ve been out of undergrad for that long – LOL!), I reflect that there are some people I was really tight with as a teenager, but now, we haven’t been in contact for years.  Are they bad people?  Not at all – but our relationship changed because our seasons changed.

So let us embrace the season we find ourselves in…for surely, it will change as time goes by.  May we allow the cycle God intends for us – individually and collectively – to take its course in order to bring about the growth and maturity needed for all parties involved.  And enjoy the spinach…until it’s time for squash…and as you wait for the cucumbers.  🙂

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:”
(Ecclesiastes 3:1)

 “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”
(Philippians 4:4)

“7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
(Galatians 6:7-9)

© Copyright 2012 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Walk in Your Assignment: For Such a Time as This

Have you ever had something impressed on you so strongly that you KNEW you had to start walking in that direction immediately…or else? I got a gigantic jolt of a reminder to that effect this weekend – and I don’t believe the holiday is called “Memorial Day” for naught. Oh, how well do I remember that very specific assignment God impressed on my heart many years ago. I worked on it diligently at first, but after a while, I fell off, got distracted, and allowed other things to start consuming larger portions of my time, energy, and attention. But the assignment never went away. God didn’t change His mind.

So here I find myself at the crossroads of Obedience and “But Lord, You know…” And the decision really is very simple. (Hint: Take the road of obedience!) 🙂

Opportunities present themselves all the time.  The question when they appear is:  are we prepared to receive them and walk in them? Have we effectively utilized our seasons of preparation, or did we fritter them away with nothing to show for it?  It’s “go” time – are you ready?  It’s time…for action, obedience, fruit…and for His perfect will to be made manifest in the earth.  My prayer is that each of us will deliberately walk in our assignment today and serve our Creator with joy.

“For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

(Esther 4:14)

 “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:”

(Acts 26:19)

© Copyright 2012 by Kayren J. Cathcart

A Cardinal Convention

cardinal – basic, fundamental, key, prime, serious, chief, important, principal, essential, central, core

In addition to gardening, my hubby is pretty much into “all things outdoors-y.”  As such, he’s put up more bird feeders around the yard than I can keep up with.  But it makes for a most melodious morning wake-up (um, noisy to non-optimists) and brings a great flurry of winged activity during bird mealtimes (interesting to those with short attention spans).

One morning this week, as I was about to open the door heading to work, I noticed a cardinal on the walkway.  I didn’t want to open the door and make it fly away, so I just peered through the glass, observing its movements for a few moments.  Then I noticed its mate in the tree.  When I finally had to open the door and prepare to start my commute, I saw an entire flock of birds, it seemed, gleaning seeds that had dropped to the ground from the feeder on one sturdy tree branch.  Doves, pigeons, bluebirds, a hummingbird, (a partridge in a pear tree?), and Lord knows what else…so many colors, sizes, and shapes.

It was an unexpected delight to behold!  May your day be filled with a multitude of delights from your Heavenly Father, Creator of the most magnificent joys…open your eyes to what’s all around you – His presence!  Make Him your first priority today and allow your perspective to be adjusted to see what’s really important…

“In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.”

(Psalm 94:19)

“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”

(Matthew 6:26)

 “The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.”

(Psalm 138:8)

© Copyright 2012 by Kayren J. Cathcart

The Parable of the Cilantro: Launch Out Into the Deep

I’ll be the first to admit that this entry may not be as chock full of deep spiritual revelation as the term “parable” implies.  However, I tried something new this weekend, and I’m pretty excited with how it turned out.

My wonderful hubby, an avid gardener, has been hard at work growing all sorts of edible green (and yellow and red) things in our backyard.  When I made ground turkey tacos this weekend, I told him I was out of my favorite picante sauce. He suggested that I use some of our fresh cilantro to make my own salsa.  I was a bit apprehensive because I’d never used cilantro before.  But I must’ve gotten a surge of confidence from somewhere because I didn’t even look online for a recipe – I just started stirring chopped red onion with canned tomatoes (because our garden ones aren’t ripe yet) and chopped cilantro.  The finished product needed some seasoning (more than I’m used to adding), but everyone (including me!) commented on how tasty it was – and the Cathcart Cilantro added a freshness that we didn’t get from a jar.  I beamed with joy as a potential recipe disaster was averted and my family was nourished and satiated.

How many times do we hesitate to try or do something new – just because it’s unfamiliar to us?  Are we not called to continue stretching, growing, learning, and maturing?  How can we do that when we’re stuck in the rut of common everyday habits and comforts?  Years ago, I’d often wonder, “But what if I fail?” to which my husband would counter, “But what if you succeed?!”

Perhaps the Holy Spirit has been nudging you for a while.  I challenge you to try something new this week.  (Because watching someone else use and taste cilantro just ain’t the same as using and tasting it yourself…).  Who knows?  You just might like the result God has in store for you! 🙂

“4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

5 But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”

6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.

7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.”
(Luke 5:4, NKJV)

© Copyright 2012 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Who’s Got YOUR Back?

I guess I’ve had a lot to say lately, but I haven’t taken time to write over the past few weeks…that have turned into months.  Or perhaps I didn’t have much to say at all…since I’ve been giving intentional focus on consistently working at staying healthy and attentively caring for my family’s needs.  Nothing too out-of-the-ordinary, but now that I’m reflecting, it has been a steady, busy time.  Among other things – I survived yet another one of my son’s science fair projects (without having to blog my way through the anxiety – that’s progress!), encouraged him as he prepped for (and passed) his standardized End of Grade (EOG) testing, and accrued more of the legendary tooth-pulling acumen for which I’ve become so well-known (it’s how I ended this year’s delightfully restful Mother’s Day – it took under a minute and I was less than sentimental about this bottom front pearly white from my daughter).

Fitness-wise, I’ve been working pretty hard at keeping active (sweating and suffering – LOL) – trying new classes at the gym and making sure to get in some movement at least 4 times a week.  As a matter of fact, my local YMCA recently concluded an 8-week Fitness Challenge – here’s some feedback I gave the staff:

“The Fitness Challenge 1Q2012 came at JUST the right time – I lost 8.6 lbs. in 8 weeks AND got a free t-shirt!  (As a result, I feel better physically, I’ve gotten surprisingly stronger, and I pray all the time to get through my increasingly challenging workouts – LOL!). PLEASE keep these Fitness Challenges coming…I have 20 more lbs. I need to lose!  Thanks for the support and encouragement!  Consistently coming to the YMCA for the past 8 weeks has turned my “I can’ts” and “I’ve nevers” into “I DIDs!”  I tried new classes that I didn’t think I could survive – then returned because I discovered I liked them – wow!  As my 7 year-old daughter says, “Go, ME!”  This has definitely been a blessing in my life.”

In addition to receiving the wonderful benefits of participating in the Fitness Challenge, I also WON a prize, and that was like a cherry on top – a free personal training session, which I redeemed today.  And that’s when I realized something simple, yet profound:

My personal trainer has her own personal trainer.  And her trainer has a trainer!  Go figure – the “best of the best” build in a system of accountability in order to not only maintain their achievements, but to continuously improve themselves.  It feels like a total “It Takes a Village” effort, but I’ve intentionally involved most of the class instructors and trainers in helping me stay accountable at the YMCA as I work towards my personal health and fitness goals.  If I miss over 2 consecutive days of exercise, I know there’s someone (or several someones) I’ll have to answer to.  And that is good for me – because who needs to be isolated and left to their own devices? Exactly – no one does.

As Christians, we often think we’re self-sufficient, but we are not.  We are interdependent parts who need one another for accountability – because no individual has it ALL together (though some may try to convince us otherwise).  That’s why it’s called the BODY of Christ – that denotes an interconnected system.

So whether you’re a thumb, a big toe, an arm, a leg, an ear, an eye, or some other part of the body, know that you are significant.  And needed.  So make sure you’re doing your part – what God has called and instructed you to do…or someone else will suffer deficiency without the benefit of your valuable contribution.

By the way (for those of us afflicted with uncontrollable CHOD – Chronic Helping Others Disease), don’t play the “superhero” role 24/7 and try to win your personal battles alone while appearing to be a rock and a martyr for everyone else.  There are brothers and sisters willing (and able) to help you reach your next level.  Allow them to do so.  Does that require vulnerability, honest confession, and transparency?  YES!  Does that mean they’re perfect?  Not at all.  But will you be strengthened from their wisdom, experience, and support?  Definitely, so it’s worth it to humble yourself and receive the assistance…I’m a witness.

“4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

(Ephesians 4:4-6, 16)

© Copyright 2012 by Kayren J. Cathcart