A weekly blog, by author Leslie K. Howard, filled with spiritual, uplifting thoughts to help you get through your week

Archive for the ‘Trust’ Category

It’s Cutting Time Pt. 1

Pruning 1There have sure been a lot of babies born lately.  It’s that time of year you know.  Spring is just around the corner and there is new birth everywhere.  Keep your eyes open for baby birds, squirrels, zoo animals, trees, plants and flowers.  What about us?  After a harsh winter, are we experiencing new birth or are we hanging on to some dead wood that needs to be pruned?

Scripture tells us “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful…”  Those words are spoken by Jesus himself ~John 15:1-2.  Notice in the pruning process; both branches that Do and Don Not bear fruit are cut.   A gardener knows if she wants a full fruitful crop then the pruning process must take place.  Now the novice gardener will only cut away the dead leaves and branches, but the skilled gardener knows some good leaves must be cut as well and she knows exactly where to cut.

The Father is the Master Gardner, Jesus is the vine and we are the branches.  If we are to continue to grow on the vine, some of our leaves and plants must be cut.  There is simply no way around it.  Now no one said this will be easy or painless but if we want healthy spiritual lives then we must submit and not complain during this season.

Pray this with me:

Heavenly Gardener, I know you are making a better me so I will reflect you.  I must admit this cutting is painful; there are honestly some things I can’t let go.  I feel helpless and weakened by them but I can’t bear to part with them.  I’m powerless and I need you to do it for me.  It is for my own good and my growth.  So I freely submit myself to you Father. Cut away the dead, leaves that are bearing no fruit.  Even take away those that appear to be good but aren’t good for me.  Feed me the life cleansing water of the Holy Spirit so I will stay on the vine and produce good fruit.  In Jesus Name Amen!

Be on the lookout for pt. 2.

Riding With Ms. Rosie

Blue CarI Don’t Drive.  I admit it.  I don’t drive, don’t judge me.  I am born, bred and  raised  in Newark NJ.  I am a city girl.  I take the 25 and 70 busses.  I ride the city subway (okay that makes it sound bigger than it is.  It’s really The Lite Rail.) I enjoy it.  I like to people watch. I like talking to folks. It’s my thing and I love it. But this day a stranger just wouldn’t do.  I didn’t realize that what I needed was a friendly face and as God would have it, He provided just the right one for me.  Let me explain.

I was called to duty. Jury duty that is.  YaY!  Don’t get me wrong I’m one of those people who really doesn’t mind serving Jury Duty…. if I have to.  Just not right now.  I thought I could do it.  I had all intentions of doing it, but once I got into the courtroom I found I just couldn’t handle it.

My first cousin was in a domestic violent relationship and two years ago around Valentine’s Day, she was murdered.  I’m not at liberty to share details nor am I ready to do so right now.  I along with her brother am representing the family.  We are at the very beginning of court proceedings, and lately I’ve been to that court house more than I care to say.  After being excused from jury duty, I headed home.  I decided to go to Newark Penn Station to grab a slice of pizza (I know, I know. Don’t tell me how fattening it is.  If you felt the way I did you’d have had pizza and a whole lot more.)  So here I am in Penn and who do I run into but the effervescent Ms. Rosie.  It was 2:30 pm….

I met Ms. Rosie some 14 years ago through a mutual friend.  We aren’t real close but I consider her very, very special. She’s one of those people who knows everybody.  She is extremely knowledgeable but not a know it all.  Ever willing to lend a helping hand, if she can’t assist you she certainly knows someone who can.  As always she was a wealth of information about the good things happening in the community.  We talked about health and hot flashes.  (By the time we finished that part I felt real guilty about my pizza- jones.)   After connecting me with a sister who teaches health and wellness, she offered to take me home. I accepted and that’s where our adventure began.

We picked up her vehicle from the parking lot and headed up Market Street. “I’ve got to drop off some mail.” She said.  Parking at the Springfield Avenue Post Office she said “I’ll be right back” I waited in the car wondering what was taking her so long. I had seen the envelope and it was ready to mail. My thought was broken when I saw her walk out the door.  Although she went in the post office alone she returned  with another passenger.  Ms. Rosie ran into another weary traveler and decided to give him a ride home.  It just so happens he lives in a senior building where her mom used to live on Irving Turner Boulevard.  “Come on” she said, waiving me toward the building entrance. She took me on a tour of the beautiful lobby and the deck where the seniors like to barbecue during the summer months.   The building was clean and very welcoming.

Back in the car, we continued our drive and wound up on West Kenny and Howard Streets.  I hadn’t been in that area of the city in some time and it had improved greatly.  Once laden with projects, pimps and prostitutes, this part of the city has experienced some true revitalization.   We stopped at Vonda’s Kitchen located at 183 West Kenny Street on the first floor of a building complex.  Vonda’s Kitchen is a delight in the city. It is a Soul Food lover’s dream with traditionaResturantl dishes such as fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and greens.  She serves up delicious seafood dishes, baked and barbecued chicken, fresh vegetables, salads, traditional burgers as well as a selection of vegetarian burgers. But Vonda’ s Kitchen is not a neighborhood greasy spoon. The pristine brightly colored decor is only out shined by her friendly staff.  Vonda has nothing to hide either.  I just love the window where the customer can look directly into the kitchen to watch the chef and staff at work.    I’ll have more to say about Vonda’s kitchen in the near future.

Back in the car again: Ms. Rosie chatted on about how blessed she and her husband were by ministering at a local nursing home. She bubbled with delight as shared stories of her weekly visits; how she truly enjoys sharing the word of God with them.  We talked about vision, goals and her desire to open up a business that would really serve the needs of Senior Citizens and their families.  She shared her newest passion, coin collecting and selling them on Ebay.  All I can say to you is this, by the time we arrived at my house, my whole mood had changed. Earlier In the day I was on the brink of tears now I was filed with laughter and joy. I realized I had been coddled and comforted by a very special angel.  By the way it was close to 5:30 when I got home.  So a 15 minute ride turned into two hours.  Thanks for the ride Ms. Rosie.  It was a trip well spent.

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Be Not Afraid

The word for today:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust…He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge;…You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,… Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;…” Psalms 91:1-2,4-5&14.

Terror threats, fires, floods storms, earthquakes and droughts are all part of our daily lives. But we cannot live our lives in fear. Our trust is in The Lord our God,. He and He alone is our protection- our refuge- our strength. Let us not quiver and live in fear, for this is what the enemy wants. He wants to place us in a constant state of fear so as to chip away at our faith. NO my sisters he will not succeed because our victory is already won! It is assured because our Lord Jesus Lives! Walk everyday in victory.

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