Don’t Fear: More than Bee Stings and Honey

Don’t Fear: More than Bee Stings and Honey

Meet just a few of my pets! Normal pets haven’t necessarily been something I’ve had for the most part. I started with worms and bugs, moved to toads (up to 4 or 5 by the end), to hamsters, to a rabbit (for a week, but it died unexpectedly and seemingly for little to no reason) to a wonderful puppy, Bean, who was tragically hit by a car, to now, about a year or so later, to bees.

These creatures are so much smarter then I realized and frankly so much more necessary then I ever imagined!

These are some pictures of when I first introduced my bees to their hives.

 

Now, months later, they are two hive bodies high (the deeper boxes) and as of lately, two honey supers (the shallower boxes) high!

 

They’ve been improving and growing in leaps and bounds, but it’s more than just about a hobby or anything that has to do with me. It has to do with bees, food and God’s creation.

These honey bees play one of the biggest roles in pollenation for a lot of our crops. They’ve been struggling to survive because of how our humanity treats our environment, invasive species and other implications resulting in bees dying off, CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) and Africanization. (These problems are problems I understand are on the front burner here in the USA, but I’m sure if you’re not from the US, there might be similar or different things going on with your bees.)

These implications are huge, and I honor anyone who is involved in research and development for these different areas to try and reverse some of the causes and effects we have created, but how can someone like you and me make a difference? Well, the most direct way, if you have the funds is to start a couple hives of your own! There are probably hundreds, if not thousands of videos and resources for anyone to learn how to get started from the city to the country.

For me, to make it more feasible, I started my hives with a friend; my cousin Hunter. This helped divert the cost and also gives you some fall back if you need a hand harvesting honey, inspecting a hive, or even just with motivation. This has been helpful for me and has made it a lot more fun!

WARNING: Honey bees are NOT aggressive creatures. They are much more focused on supporting the hive’s health then stinging you, that results in their own death. Honey bees are only going sting you if they feel like you are a threat to their hive or naturally if they get caught somewhere they can’t escape, like under your foot, piece of clothing or between your arm and side or legs or something to that nature. With the correct PPE (personal protective equipment) getting stung is inevitable, but not something to fear. Also, their are different remedies for curing the pain of a bee sting nearly instantaneously.

They are a lot of fun, and ironically provide for a very relaxing hobby. There is a lot to learn and so much more I need to learn, so I would highly suggest some personal research, contacting some local bee keepers and always asking questions from them and also the many forums on line. Between my cousin and I, it cost around $1,000 to get started and it will cost some more hear and there, but that is the one big number expense for starting two hives with some PPE and tools included, but remember, if you’re hives prove to be healthy and are taken care of correctly, you will be able to harvest honey yearly (excluding the first year) that will offset many of the expenses through the years.

What if you can’t start a hive? What can you do? Well I’m sure there are even more options then this, but be involved in supporting your local bee farmers and get educated on ways to help around where you live to support the bees with your vote or your voice.

These bees are the reason we have life, so lets make sure their thriving! God bless you and I’ll leave you with this quote:

“If the bee disappeared off the face of the Earth, man would only have four years left to live.”

-Albert Einstein

FULL of Emptiness (Poem)

FULL of Emptiness (Poem)

I am full, yet I am empty. It is not simply content that can fill the void inside of me, but only silence; only solitude will truly bring me into a place of fullness of joy and identity.

To say all the right things outwardly, to do all the right things publicly, it only blows up the outward appearance like a balloon. From another’s vantage point, it creates an illusion of fullness, while in reality, it only makes the emptiness that much greater.

As I sit, I saturate, and I absorb as I meditate. I am satisfied as I loosen my belt and rest, as I sease to strive. This phenomenon does not exist for irony’s sake, but for the one that did create, who does not cease in His goodness, who does not falter in any way.

We’re filled when we’re empty, we’re strong when we’re weary, we know peace in calamity, and we’re wise when we embrace simplicity.

This is true, because at the end of our abilities, we are able to embrace humility. At the end of ourselves, in the rest of our Heavenly Father, we are filled.

So I throw aside all of my distractions, sit in His presence and saturate in His goodness, meditate on His word and absorb it’s challenges and its promises that hold true. I’ll rest in his peace, even when everything around me is in peaces, and in simple faith is where my strength and confidence will stand undefeated.

I know the practicals, and I believe it in my mind, but Jesus, would you change my heart.

 

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (ESV)

Garden Restoraton (Poem)

Garden Restoraton (Poem)

I’ve wrestled with my mind in desperation
And I’ve become crippled by its convincing blows.
My defenses were weak and the forest of my mind was overgrown.
The lies have become trees that block the Sun’s rays
And my mind was shielded from its promises, with little light shining through the trees and heavy haze.

But while my defenses were all but destroyed and my mind almost def from all the noise, an old friend introduced Hope.
Hope has no one face, and is friends with Joy, Patience and Grace.
These strangers saw my forest and all the mess along with it. But most of all, they saw the little light shining through and knew there was more I could get.

These strangers and I began to landscape.
Where each tree was erased, the light began to replace.
With the brush dragged away, a fresh wind removed the haze.
Now the land is clear today
Of any tree able to decay.
Only one tree remains.
It has been there all along.
This tree will always stay and always be strong.
But the difference between this tree and the rest, is this tree brings life to the land, not death.
It’s shade is calm, it’s fruit is sweet.
It brings rest to all who need.

The friends who came were all unique and born to different lands, through my old friend brought them to a new clan.
This friend was Love, who’s spirit carried the best of everyone of them and so much more.
And thanks to Love, I was no longer torn.
I was in their clan, forever and more.

There is a hidden beauty in the garden that has now been discovered.
Through hope and joy and all the others,
Lies were uprooted and life was uncovered.

written: 3.26.15

longlasting Longing

longlasting Longing

Full of that heart pulling, gut dropping ache. Hear again, there again ache. Longing for more then a day, lasting what feels like eternity. Simultaneously, my mind turns inside out, up, over and down, as my longings and passions seem to drown and be pushed down by circumstances that surround, but the business and yawning can’t drown out the pounding in my chest for clarity; but not the kind that I know every step and outcome that surrounds each moment of my life or some magical treasure map of what step is the right one and what one leads to sorrow. I want the clarity of mind to know my longings are not in vain. I want to be so close to my maker that my confidence is in his words, and can proudly bare a seal with his name.

The late king of Israel wrote famously that the Lord would give me the desires of my hear, but less famous are the preceding words. Trust in the Lord and delight yourself in the LORD, but I often find my trust in my limitations and my delight in places of danger. My longings are pulled and my trust is invested, so my longings are tested. Is the heart with brown eyes to be a part of my heart in time, or is my romantic mind leading me toward wasted time and a fools surprise. Are the pursuit of hobbies and passions leading me towards success, aka happiness and fulfillment through those I bless, or am I spreading myself thin, to where my joy will be lost in the business and different directions, taking a right hook from hope in the chin.

Each outcome is followed by something new, and my longings have been long on brew. These longtime longings will take time to go through, but what is there to do but through all my pride in the air, take on a life of service, always in repair, and learn from each desire that wells up and never giving them up without understanding what’s up. I will wrestle with my heart, hand it over and over to, not just my Lord, but also my savior and listen closer. Am I longing for more then ideas that looks good on paper? Time will testify the faith big and small and the true integrity in my heart.

 

More Than Just a Kids’ Song: Jesus Loves You

More Than Just a Kids’ Song: Jesus Loves You

If you grew up in the US and ever went to a VBS or Sunday school class, you definitely know at least the beginning of the song “Jesus Loves Me”. If you now doubt the claims made in this song or possibly never really believed them, I can totally relate. At one point, I thought, “who cares if the Bible tells me. I want to know for more reason then a book telling me.”

Over the years, I thought about the lyrics to this song a criticized it:

Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to him belong
They are weak but he is strong
Yes Jesus loves me
Oh, yes Jesus loves me
Yes Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so
As I think into my life though, I begin to see beyond just love because my Bible “telling me so.” I know that to some, the Bible doesn’t hold much weight, but you can relate to wanting to know something that’s real.
Why does Jesus love you and me?
Where this question can start being looked at is you. You know yourself probably much better then I know you, but I do know, that throughout your life, there have been times where, if you’ve given credit where it’s due or not, Jesus has given you second chances, displayed his beauty to you through his creation, and has given you oppertunities to recognize him and even has given you the invitation to have him as your good father, your sacrifice and savior, your pilot and even your best friend! Now, like I said, you know you, and I know me, and if I look into my life, I do not see a deserving candidate for such an offer. I actually see the opposite: I see a selfish, impulsive human that tries his best to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, but fails every day at it.
When we take a look into our own lives and focus ourselves on the goodness of God, and even look into other’s lives that have lived faithfully to his words and commandments, we see him keep his word and our focus begins to shift. Focusing on the question “why do bad things happen to good people?” and blaming God for actions humanity consciously makes is counter productive to our own growth, because He’s letting us make our own decisions, something I see as incredibly gracious instead of making us into robots or striking us down when we make mistakes. He even allows bad things to happen to us to draw us closer to his side and even provides peace in the process. Every time, it is worth it when it’s done by the side of Jesus. There are countless testimonies that attest to this truth. Contact me if you would like to hear firsthand from cancer survivors, X-drug addicts, dealers and smugglers, X porn addicts, people who have conquered depression or even people that are going through those struggles as we speak.
Moses told the Israelites this as they were going into the land God had promised to them:

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV

We read on and hear of God’s faithfulness and the ways He was with them, and still protects them to this day. And for us today, Jesus promised this to those who love him:
15“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:15-17 ESV
Jesus has given his spirit to anyone willing to receive him and love him. So as I look at Jesus’ faithfulness and accept his love for me, may I no longer wonder if he loves me and why there’s tension or un-fulfillment when I’m trying so hard, but may I ponder the following questions:
Do I love Jesus?
Am I willing to let his love into my life and give him an opportunity to change my life?
If we only know because the Bible tells us so, and if it is true, isn’t it worth giving him a chance at our heart? I have and I would encourage your “YES” more than anything in this world!

Life Vest Ocean (A Short Story)

Life Vest Ocean (A Short Story)

I’m drowning in an ocean of life vests, trying to ignore them. But I relent. I’m searching for one that will work best and hold fast, but for God’s sake, or really my own, I need to just grab one!

The more options I have, the more I want to push back, trying to swim away taking on mouthfuls of salty water and eyes full of the foamy sea, as I stray, growing weary.

I feel so lonely, so lowly and un holy. I feel so un whole.

Instinctively, in my pain and pending death, I grab ahold of a lifejacket, not worrying the size, not taking notice to the warnings or weight ratings, for just hope it will preserve my life. As I throw it on, I start sinking, but as I paddle my feet, I manage to stay afloat.

I grab the next one in sight, and it keeps my head above water, yet is far too tight. I’m sticking with it until I see another one and grab it. This one is tattered and worn, ripped, clasps broken, yet stories untold could reach the depths of this ocean of the countless accounts of saving it has done.

But what floats in the distance is beyond comprehension or reason. After jumping ship and drifting out to sea, my captain had not stopped pitching me vests. He wouldn’t give up on me yet.

Although shame himself could have singlehandedly thrown me out into that vast blue, he chose to convince me to do it myself, concluding I did not even deserve to be. Why I listened after the offer of full forgiveness from the captain, I can not answer, but I listened to the lie that the price must be paid with my soul, even though the caption himself had paid the price in full.

And as I stare at this ocean of life vests, peering through, I see a life boat. A boat I know I do not deserve, and a boat I long for. Not just for the boat, but it’s contents as well! My captain himself left the rest for me. Still in the distance, I am left to decide: Stay here floating, temporarily servicing, alone and dying; or will I board the boat of safety, on top of the roaring sea and all of it’s creatures of malice, instead of in it, thriving, forgiven, united, and alive…

The answer seems simple, yet I hold back. What will it take for me to recieve the fullness of my captain’s saving?

Graduation: That Teacher Liked Me?

Graduation: That Teacher Liked Me?

Being graduation season, it makes me think of some of the student teacher relationships I had in high school. I returned to my school this year to partake in the graduation of a student from The Oak, our youth group. Seeing teachers is always one of the cool things, because they’re still in the same sort of season of life for the most part, while I’ve been in the transitioning years into life, but then you see those certain teachers. You might not all relate to this, but I was a handful for a lot of teachers. Some of them still look at me like, “PLEASE don’t come over here” and I don’t blame them one bit for how I was as a freshman. What surprising to me is the teachers that I think should be doing that that are the most encouraging and positive about their high school experience with me. One teacher this year, one teacher said to my mom something along the lines of, You’ve done really well at raising these two boys (my twin and I). they’re really good boys.

I thought about this thing that most teachers, or at least all of the good ones, are there because they love students and want to see them succeed. As kids, we might be a pain in their classes or just goofy or whatever we might have been that we wish we hadn’t been like, but those teachers weren’t looking for the worst in us! They saw through our immaturity and saw into our potential. What an amazing thing.

My thoughts never just are content with one revelation, but are always looking for parallels and then people have excellent qualities I admire, I never want to just leave      a moment, saying, “that’s a really awesome quality” but I’m wanting to see how I can attain that quality. 

So I was brought to this thought about our Creator: sometimes, I feel super bummed when I make mistakes, especially concerning things that I know contradict the character of God and things that go agents what I know satisfies and agents my own dreams, but if God really is good and is for us, then he’s doing just what those teachers have done, but with even more integrity, love and perfection. He sees past our immaturity in him and he sees into not just our potential, but what he’s created us for! He knows and wants us to be in full realization and relationship with him, but he doesn’t look at us according to right now. He looks at our life, from before conception to eternity, and he loves us.

This really encourages me in two ways, to seek him and to separate myself from anything that gets in-between him and me. It also motivates me to try my best, if it’s in my family, my work, my church, my school or any of the in-betweens, to not first judge, then try and be positive in hopes of making up lost ground, but to change my focus toward having eyes like some of my high school teachers, and eyes like Jesus, who didn’t accept compromise, but saw into who they are becoming or have the qualities of becoming, if people would only recognize them and encourage them in love!

See through the problems into the potential.