29May

It’s officially summer — staycation ideas

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“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest…”  Mark 6: 30-32

This has to be one of my favorite verses in the Bible because here you have Jesus instructing his disciples to take a vacation from the daily routine. Now the rest of the verse says the disciples then went into a boat to relax, but despite that fact my wife will not buy into the notion that boats are biblical — despite my best efforts. However, we do both agree that “getting away from it all” is a biblical concept.

Between high gas prices, a limited budget for lodging, and just being an overall cheapskate — staycations are the “in thing” in our household. In our family there is nothing more exciting than a good ole fashioned road trip on the

Memorial to P.O.W.s -- Andersonville

 weekend. Getting out and exploring your own backyard is exciting! Our first “staycation” of the summer season took us down to the Andersonville P.O.W. Camp. Did I mention that staycations can also be educational? Kids just love vacations that are educational, right?

If you are not familear with Andersonville P.O.W. Camp, this was one of the most notorious prisoner of war camps during the Civil War — almost 13,000 prisoners died in this one camp. To be fair, just as many prisoners died in Northern camps as did in Southern camps, but this one camp is the most infamous. One of our relatives Aiken Gelo (misspelled Giloe on the marker — 1730 in section K) also perished in this camp. Our trip was two fold. First we wanted to attend the Memorial Day Ceremony held each year at the camp, secondly we wanted to find the marker and pay our respects.

Andersonville is now a National Cemetery and P.O.W. museum. It is 100% free and well worth the drive to learn about these American Heroes from all wars and what they had to endure for freedom’s sake. The museum has several films that start on the hour which educate viewers on the plight of the P.O.W. One can also take a tour (walking or driving) of the actual grounds of  the Andersonville P.O.W. camp. Monuments are not scarce.

To get to Andersonville, we took highway 41, then 341 due south (it changes over in Barnesville). On the way we stopped at one of the largest continually operated peach farms in Georgia — Dickey Farms. This place is fantastic! Dickey Farms is located in Musella (pronounced Muze-ella). Dickey Farms operates a large open air market with a huge front porch filled with rocking chairs — the image of Front Porch Bluegrass Revival on NewLife FM comes to mind.

In this market, one can buy all assortments of peach products including of course peaches! The highlight is their fantastic homemade peach icecream which my girls enjoyed on one of the many rockers. All in all it was a great staycation trip. Share your staycation ideas/journey with NewLife FM!

09May

Building the soil

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Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” — From the Parable of the Sower, Matthew 13.

Soil makes all the difference when it comes to growing a garden. I’m finding this out the hard way as I experiment with my own garden. First the soil needs to be broken, the pH  adjusted, and then you need to add fertilizer. But the toil doesn’t end there. Then comes the watering, the war on bugs, and the never ending process of weed control. However, if you stick to it and don’t lose sight of the end goal, the harvest is well worth it!

This year I’ve decided to really work on building up the soil in my home garden. One of the ways to do that is by growing peanuts. Its a natural way to restore much needed nutrients to your soil. After much research into peanut growing, I came to realize that in Middle Georgia many folks don’t bother with peanuts because they need loose, well drained soil. And if you have ever taken a shovel to the dirt around here, then you know how hard the soil can be! However, I’m bound and determined to make this work.

Again, after much research I found that building raised beds is the way to go for determined home peanut growers with clay soil. It really didn’t cost that much for the materials — a few landscaping timbers and some potting soil. It did take some blood, sweat, and tears though. But the end result was well worth it, the soil was nice and loamy and ready for peanuts, which my girls and I then planted.

Afterwards, I was thinking about my little home project involving peanuts. How often do we as Christians try to plant the seed of the gospel in those around us? We come across many soil types as described in the parable of the sower. But how often do we try to sow our gospel seed, see it hit unreceptive soil, and then walk away saying we tried? Or do we come back and try to work with the soil, bit by bit adding nutrients, adjusting the pH, and even adding a little compost.

Soul winning can be a hard task. It may take months or years to see the fruit, but if you are in a situation where the “soil” isn’t quite ready to grow spiritual fruit — may I encourage you not to give up? Work with the soil you have, build it up over time, put a little blood, sweat, and tears into your crop. It makes the harvest much more sweeter!

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