Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Babies, Bees and Baptism

I am still feeling the quiet, peaceful effects of such a lovely Saturday morning with many good friends and neighbors.  I mentioned a quote that day:  "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good" Its an adage I need to adhere to far more often.  I had planned over the last 2 years to have family members attending Toby's baptism, but the more I planned, the further it was pushed out.  As it ended up, I feel everything fell into place as though it was always meant to be just the way it happened.

The only real annoyance is with myself -- I was so caught up in the wonderful moment of seeing neighbors, friends from Alpharetta and our Baseball Team(s) and Toby's school; all taking time out to be with us, that I completely forgot about taking pictures!  Boo-Hoo!!!  Thankfully, I can still see y'all in memory ;-)

Program Cover

Back of Program

A few of you have asked me to post the talk I gave, so perhaps now my family can get an idea of what the day encompassed.

Babies, Bees and Baptism

As many of you know, for a couple years I ran a sewing business.  I used to make children's clothing, mostly for babies and toddlers.  I was completely in my element, as I adore the little ones.  Being able to use my talent to express my feelings of the innocence, playfulness and carefree moments of childhood took over in my designs and I did all I could to capture that attitude in my work.  As the love I put into my pieces were discovered, I had many return customers.  There is a great satisfaction in being able to put your own 'mark' so to speak on your work.  For example, my mother, husband and even Toby could probably walk into a boutique and pick out my designs -- because they have a way of expressing who I am -- they just seem to say, "Chimene made me."

Renny Clothing Customer Pics

After about 2 years of success and over 400 garments later, my amazing sewing machine stopped working.  It was an expensive machine, and because that meant an expensive fix, I tried my hand at repairiing it. After several failed attempts I became extremely frustrated and I recall, just sitting there staring at the machine and asking, "Why?  Why did you have to break..?"  Now, we all know sewing machines don't talk, however, mine seemed to stare straight back at me and said, "Because if I don't, you will..." 

Renny Clothing, Ginger Giraffe
It was true.  I was working  12-14 hour days.  I was exhausted.  My health was suffering.  It was time to put away the business and get back in touch with my family.  My husband is so supportive of whatever I do, but he and the children were missing my time and attention, and I had to admit, I was not comfortable with the unintentional neglect sewing caused.

So, I packed everything up and closed shop.  I rested and re-cooperated.  I think I lasted about 3 days before cabin fever set in.  I am just a person who likes to be anxiously engaged.  I decided I wanted to get into gardening.  It was something I had always wanted to learn.  I started with the Internet and began to learn the basics in gardening and what would grow in Georgia's red clay soil -- which must be a lot since everything is so green here and the pollen count enormous!

I learned about annuals, and although they die at the end of the season, they are fast growers with brilliant colors --  most quite easy to grow.  I became interested in the perennial, for although they can be more expensive and take up to a year before blooming -- they will reward you by coming back year after year with long lasting blooms.  Perhaps my favorite, is the evergreen.  Especially flowering evergreens.  These plants are just as their name - forever green.  Many can take the harsh heat or the bitter cold, and still they stay beautiful all year long.  Because plants and flowers bloom at different times and seasons, we can enjoy the beauty they lend the earth throughout the entire year.

Once you gain an appreciation for flowers and plants you can't help, but begin to love and appreciate
Nasty Tomato Worm in my garden!
all the elements that help them mature and carry out their life.  The soil, rain and sun all play their roles and follow the laws of nature to help bring a flower to life.  While bad insects might infect a plant, there are always good creatures to combat them - such as spiders and birds.  The bees and butterflies and even the wind carry out their jobs to ensure that each pant can reproduce it's own offspring and live the measure of its creation -- bringing its good to all mankind in the process.

One day I was admiring one of our cone flowers.  I had already known it's roots served as a natural antibiotic, but I had planted it because it was adaptable to most soils, was drought tolerant, deer and rabbit resistant.  After a heavy rain, I noticed how it's blossoms still stood bright and tall.  So, I began to talk to this lovely creature, telling her how she had brains, brawn and beauty.  It was then I stopped to look at the detailed patterns in her leaves, petals and center bud.  It suddenly dawned on me that I could not deny knowing the artist of this creation.  Every flower is filled with so much beauty, joy and purpose that each one seems to testify that Christ alone is the author of its creation...
Cone Flowers in my garden

So why is mom talking about babies and flowers and bees and butterflies on your baptism day...?  It's coming...hang in there....But first I need to share a story about a boy Emperor in China.  The story is called 'The Greatest Gift', by Demi.

As the story goes, there was a boy Emperor named Ping.  Ping loved to look out of his telescope at the stars and the moon and all the space in between.  He just loved how the heavens seemed to fall into perfect harmony and he wanted the wisest Prime Minister to bring that same harmony to his kingdom.  Ping decided in order to do this he must let the heavens choose the right person.  He gathered all the children in the kingdom and announced that whoever could tell him the greatest power in the world would be his new Prime Minister.  He told the children that a wise leader must be able to see the unseen and know the unknown.

As the children began to carry out their request some of the boys thought it would be easy, because, as they said, "Whoever has the greatest weapons has the greatest power in the world.  For whoever has the greatest weapons can conquer the world."

Some of the girls thought it easy as well, and said,
"Whoever has the greatest beauty has the greatest power in the world.  For whoever has the greatest beauty can command the most powerful commander in the world!"   ;-) 

Some of the more studious children felt that technology was the greatest power in the world - because "whoever has the greatest technology can rule the world."

A group of very practical children saw money as being the greatest power in the world -- because "whoever had the greatest amount of money in the world could buy anything in the world."

There was one little girl named Sing who remembered the Emperor's words.  "A wise person must be able to see the unseen and know the unknown."  Sing sat by a Lotus Pond and pondered about how armies rise and fall, how beauty fades, how money comes and goes, and how ideas are forever changing.  Since none of these things lasted, she didn't see how they could be the Greatest Powers.

Sing noticed the beautiful lotus flowers.  Born from a tiny seed sleeping in the mud, the bud rose through the water on a strong green stem.  It rose above the water to bloom into a glorious flower that faced heaven.  Suddenly Sing knew what the greatest power in the world was.

The day of the parade came, where all the children must present what they felt was the greatest power.  There were many colorful costumes of Dragons, Phoenix's and Money Gods.  All of the children dressed in their finest and paraded around weapons, money, beautiful clothing and technology.  The Emperor then noticed little Sing, just walking quietly and holding something very small in her hands.  "Stop the parade" commanded the boy Emperor and he commanded Sing to come to him.  "What have you got in your hands?" asked the Emperor.

Sing showed the Emperor a tiny lotus seed which she broke in two.

"What is there?" he asked.

"Nothing" said Sing.  "and the greatest power in the world".

"How can nothing be the greatest power in the world?" asked the emperor.

"The nothing in this seed is where life exists," said Sing.  "The nothing in this seed is what makes the seed rise from the earth.  The nothing in this seed is what is fed by water, air, and the fire of the sun to bloom into a glorious flower that turns it's face toward the heavens.  And when the flower sleeps again, it releases new seeds into the earth, which are fed by water, air, and the fire of the sun to bloom into new flowers.  The nothing in this seed is Eternal Life -- it continues from seed to seed, forever and ever in perfect harmony.  Eternal Life is the greatest power in the world."
Lotus Flower

Sing was named the wisest child in all the land and became the new Prime Minister, bringing harmony to the Kingdom.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

Today Toby, you are making a choice to follow our Savior and be born again, to take upon you His name and follow in His path.  I want to remind you that actions speak louder than words...
Thanks to Keith Bell

When you make good choices you will have the light of the Son of God to help you grow and blossom in your own time and season.  As your roots grow stronger and deeper, you will be able to share your gifts and talents with mankind.  You will be tempted from time to time -- just remember the insects that eat the flowers -- read your scriptures, say your prayers and keep going to church and you will be able to fight off those temptations.  I hope you'll be like an evergreen, standing tall and strong at all times.  Most importantly, as your faith in Christ emerges, His image will be found in your countenance, bearing testimony of the Author of your creation and helping you to fulfill the measure of your creation.

26 Sept 2015
And I say these things to you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

note:  some text quoted directly from book, "The Greatest Power"  (awesome book with awesome art too).

In closing, I'd like to express my gratitude for all those who made it out Saturday, for all the Facebook and txt messages, as well as the wonderful cards and generous gifts that were sent for our little Tobes.

I decided to add this little slide show of Toby.  I originally was going to show it when Toby was getting dried off and dressed -- but Matthew thought it would be nice to just let everyone talk and move around a bit during that time.  I thought it might be cruel to make Everyone suffer through so many family pics -- but in reality, they are mostly of Toby's friends -- you never know, YOU could be in this little slide show ;-)  Btw -- the video is about 10 secs longer than the music -- that's the best I could do ;-)

 God Bless.  My heart is full.

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