Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 3 comments

We've been to many weddings in our day, but with us living in Michigan and the wedding taking place in Kansas, this was the first time we would be the out-of-town guests.  Neither Bob nor I are ones to rush around so our original plan was to take a couple days to drive there and after the wedding spend the rest of the week on vacation.  Ah... such a nice, relaxing plan.  Emphasis on "plan" - as in, that's not really what's going to happen.



The reality was, we were given the opportunity to host a house in the Parade of Homes to raise funds for OpeN Christian Center, our school in Kenya.  The Parade runs for three weeks and the wedding fell smack-dab in the middle of it.  So much for our vacation!  Still, with the Parade only open on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, we felt we could find help to cover the weekend shifts and still take our time there and back.

Then came the opportunity to carpool with some of Bob's family members.  The catch was, with everyone's work schedules and the inability to get time off, we'd have to leave on Thursday night and return on Sunday night.  That meant driving straight through.  On my list of things I'd like to do, riding fourteen hours in the back of a van would be pretty close to the bottom.  Not only would it be long and boring (no offense to my van-mates intended), but a physical challenge for me as well.  I wasn't sure if I'd be able to move once we made it to Kansas, and definitely didn't want to spend the weekend flat on my back.

In addition, as guests we received an itinerary for the weekend.  I've been struggling with other health issues since the first of the year, and I felt exhausted just looking at the schedule.  I seriously contemplated not going, but in the end the desire to spend time with family won out.  Still, I had my concerns and asked my friends to be praying.   

Oh, yeah.  I forgot to mention the tornadoes.  The plains states had been ravaged by them the week before, and big storms were predicted for the weekend we were traveling.

The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame." ~ Isaiah 58:11
 
I'm so thankful I'm FINALLY learning to ask for prayer in ALL circumstances rather than striking out on my own.  Praise be to God for a fabulous weekend!  We missed all the storms on the way to Kansas, I arrived in pretty good shape and must have gotten some sleep on the way because I had plenty of energy to get me though the day!  The itinerary that seemed overwhelming turned out to be a total blessing (which you can read about in my next post) and the wedding was beautiful.  They had the cutest idea for a guest book! 
 
 
We "signed in" by making a green fingerprint on the tree they had painted on a canvas, then wrote our names on the prints.  

 
The bride and groom's fingerprints are on the swing.  Isn't that adorable?
 
Father, I thank you for your protection as we traveled, for rest and strength and energy, for time with family and new friends.  Most of all, I thank you for teaching me to trust you and rely on you for all of my needs.  You truly are an awesome God!
 
Blessings,
 

Lisa



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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 16 comments

I am pleased to announce that our hosta beds are, for the first time ever, ready for viewing.  Initially I wasn't too interested in hostas, but then again I didn't realize the number of varieties available - over 3,000 and counting!  Our "collection" is small at around 130, but they definitely add interest in our shady yard where not much else likes to grow. 
 
 
For you hosta lovers out there, I do have a few "mystery" plants.  Any suggestions on what they might be would be much appreciated! 


This bed built into our patio (hand-laid by yours truly) contains our miniature hostas. Along the back from the left we have our "tiaras" - "Diamond Tiara," "Grand Tiara," "Golden Tiara," and "Emerald Tiara." In the front row we have "Floridora," "Baby Bunting," "Gold Edger," and "Pilgrim."  That little one by itself in the middle is "Pandora's Box."


Not visible in the photo above, the smallest of our miniatures, "Blue Mouse Ears."



Looking out from the patio, there's "Rhino Hide" on the left and "Samurai" on the right.




We like to group our hostas in themed beds.  On the other side of the wishing well is our "Evening Bed," with "Abiqua Blue Crinkles," "Abiqua Moonbeam," "Moon River," and "Dream Queen" in the back row and "Dream Weaver" and "Twilight" in the front.

And here's our first mystery.  Since it's planted in the "Evening" bed, it could be that the name fits into that category.  On the other hand, it was one of my final purchases last fall and it may have just been put there temporarily to get it into the ground.  Unfortunately, the tag has disappeared - disposed of along with the multitudes of leaves more likely than not - so we have no idea of who this might be.


Looking back toward the patio, to the left of the stairs we have "June" and "August Moon"...


and to the right of the stairs is "September Sun."  "Carnival," center, will have to move when Bob's mom brings us a piece of her "Red October" later this summer.  On the right is "Sagae."


Continuing along the wall, next to "Sagae" we have "Fried Bananas" heading up our "Food Bed."  The tiny one next to it is "Peppermint Ice" who's expected to grow up to 16" tall.  The next one back is "Pineapple Upside-down Cake," followed by "So Sweet," "Honey Bells" (next to the tree), "Hyacinthia," and the leaf just poking out from behind the tree is one of our bigger hostas, "Frances Williams."  Center front of this photo is "Lemon Lime" and to the right is one of my favorites - "Guacamole."


On the other side of the tree, next to "Guacamole" we have "Ice Cream" and behind that, "Spilt Milk."



My mother-in-law, who is the closest thing we have to a hosta expert, thinks that this is not really "Spilt Milk."  Any ideas who it may be?



Looking up toward the patio we have our "Patriotic" beds.  The lower bed (from left to right) is home to "Patriot" and "American Halo" (not visible), "Revolution," "Paul's Glory," "Minuteman," "Blue Cadet," "Salute" and "Liberty."

The upper bed contains "Blazing Saddles" and "Montana" (not visible), "Golden Meadows" - one of my favorites with its ruffled leaves - "Midwest Magic," "Color Glory" (for the most part hidden behind "Paul's Glory" in front), "Mama Mia," "Big Daddy," "Last Dance" and "Abba Dabba Do."



Here's our little "Dude" next to "Paul's Glory" taken a couple weeks ago.  Look how much it's grown in that short amount of time!



Beneath the "Food" bed we have our bed of "Riches."  "Guardian Angel" is in the front right corner, followed by "Earth Angel" (back), "Stained Glass" (front), and "Antioch" (back).
 


Again here's "Antioch" and the narrow-leaved "Praying Hands," followed by "Cathedral Windows" in the back and our next mystery guest on the right and below.


This hosta was deliberately planted here, but it's right between heavenly riches and earthly riches and I'm not sure which group it belongs to.




To the left of the Bleeding Heart we again see "Cathedral Windows" and our mystery plant, while to the right in the back row we have "Fortunie Altopicta," "Krossa Regal" and "Regal Splendor."  "Piedmont Gold," "Queen Josephine," and Emerald Tiara" complete the front row.



Here's a look at all the lower terraces.

Looking towards the other side of the house we have our "Water" bed headed up by "Sea Fire."  Going up along the right side of the photo we have "Pearl Lake," "Lakeside Kaleidoscope," and the one with the massive leaves in the back is "Titanic."  Going across the back along the rocks is "Lakeside Accolade" and "Lakeside Black Satin."  In the center, directly behind "Sea Fire" is a little "Island Charm."  Going back along the steps is "Lakeside Lollipop," "Yellow Splash Rim," "Maui Buttercups," "Fire Island" and "St. Elmo's Fire." 


Notice the red stems on "Fire Island."



Opposite the "Water Bed" we have "Moerheim" (back right), "Great Expectations" in front of a painted fern, with "Sum and Substance" in the foreground.


With Bob being a U of M fan, we had to have a "Blue" bed.  In the foreground is "Blue Angel," then "Wolverine."  Zigzagging in and out beyond the Coral Bells we have "Big Blue," "Blue Shadows," "Blue Umbrellas" is the great big one and in front of that is "Blue Wedgewood."



Adjacent to "Blue Umbrellas" there is "Thunderbolt" (back right), "El Nino" (back left), and in the front, "Whirlwind."  We've tried "Dancing in the Rain" here a couple times, but so far we haven't had much luck keeping it alive.


"Venus" is at the corner of the house, with "Wide Brim" in front of it and "Brim Cup" to the right.  The single leaf on the right of that is "Captain Kirk" (I thought he should be near "Venus.")


The single leaf on the left is "Love Pat."  "Risky Business" is in the front, "Knockout" is center back, and "Striptease" is in the back right corner.  The small plant right front is "Stiletto."



"Diana Remembered" heads up our "Names" bed, followed by "Sharmon," "Alex Summers," "Allan P. McConnell," "Albo-Marginata," and "Inniswood."  Going up along the right side of this photo are "Alvatine Taylor," "Barbara Ann" and "Fragrant Bouquet."

Looking down the side of the house from the other end.


On one side of the front porch we have our "City Slicker" bed with "Pizzazz" and "Touch of Class" in the back and "Bright Lights," "City Lights," and "Cadillac" in the front.


The other side of the front porch is home to our "Winter" bed.  "Night Before Christmas" is on the left, "Christmas Tree" is in the center, and on the right is another favorite, "Ice Age Trail." 


Continuing from "Ice Age Trail" on the left is "Fire and Ice," "First Frost," and "Snowcap." 
Thanks for coming along on our Hosta Tour!  If you have any suggestions of who our mystery plants might be, please leave a comment!
Blessings,
Lisa



I've been known to link up with: Soli Deo Gloria, Inspire Me Monday, Titus 2sdays, Tell Me a Story, Teach Me Tuesdays, Courtship Connection, Into the Beautiful, God Bumps & God Incidences, Word-Filled Wednesday, Winsome Wednesday, Simply Helping Him, Weekend Whatever, Spiritual Sundays, True Vine Challenge, Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday, The Beauty in His Grip, Playdates With God, Monday's Musings, Monday Montras, Thrive at Home, Knick of Time, Hope in Every Season, Funky Junk Interiors, Splashin' Glory, Think Tank Thursday, The HomeAcre Hop
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 9 comments

I know many people love jigsaw puzzles, but I don't think I've enjoyed them since I grew beyond the ones with 25 pieces or less.  They've always seemed to be an exercise in futility to me.  After all the hours spent putting it together, it goes back into the box and looks exactly like it did if you hadn't done anything. 
 
I realize the same could be said of books; you spend the time reading them, close the cover and, apart from a few dog-ears, everything looks the same.  The difference is that after reading a book, I am not the same.  I am especially fond of the mental exercise of mysteries.  I've been a mystery lover since my childhood escapades with Nancy Drew.  Maybe that's why I love reading Scripture so much - there are always hidden "clues" that God reveals and puts together to help me see the bigger picture. 
 
 
There is one fifteen-year-old mystery I had been unable to solve.  I have been journaling since 1996 (and currently working on volume 23) and there's a 3 month gap back in the summer of 1998.  I know this was a very difficult time for me, when my health issues were at their worst.  Being a fairly new Christian, I thought if God had any mercy at all, he would just let me die.  I lost my mobility, I lost most of my friends, I lost everything that I had allowed to define me.  With all this going on, I wondered why the silence in my journal?  I had plenty to write about, and I certainly had the time... 

Current events have finally allowed me to solve this mystery.  For those of you who were wondering about my postings lately - specifically the lack thereof - I have been on what I can best describe as an involuntary hiatus.  I have spent the last several months working to get on top of the latest medical issues to crop up.  Most days have been spent totally exhausted (as in 3 hour naps and still ready for bed by 6:30 p.m.) with a splitting headache more often than notThankfully my energy is returning steadily, and though I'm still having headaches the bad ones are not as frequent as they had been.

Now I know why there was a gap in my journaling.  It's the same reason there's another gap now.   As my pain and exhaustion increased and my abilities declined, I begin throwing the ballast of my life overboard in hopes of staying afloat.  The last things to go were journaling and blogging.


Back in 1998 I spent some of my time with God, but since I was new to it I didn't do much.  Since I believed my value was in my accomplishments, I needed to have something to show for my time. One of the few things I was able to do with my limitations was scrapbooking.  Not only was this something my family would appreciate, it was one of the few things I could "do." 

One of the many things I love about God is that no experience is ever wasted.  Besides solving the "Mystery of the Missing Journaling," this recent experience has shown me how much I've grown spiritually.  While there's nothing wrong with scrapbooking, that was ballast I had to cut loose several years ago.  Again unable to accomplish much that is visible, I've spent the last few months primarily spending time in God's presence.  Even on the bad headache days, I'd read the Scripture I could and go over the verses I'd memorized earlier. 

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. ~ Philippians 3:12

I don't have it all together by any means but it is encouraging to see, when I had to let go of most things in my life, that God is "My One Thing."



Songwriters: MULLINS, RICHARD

"Everybody I know says they need just one thing 
And what they really mean is that they need just one thing more 
And everybody seems to think they've got it coming 
Well I know that I don't deserve You 
Still I want to love and serve You more and more 
You're my one thing 
Save me from those things that might distract me 
Please take them away and purify my heart 
I don't want to lose the eternal for the things that are passing 
'Cause what will I have when the world is gone 
If it isn't for the love that goes on and on with 

Chorus: My one thing 
You're my one thing 
And the pure in heart shall see God 
You're my one thing 
You're my one thing 
And the pure in heart shall see God 

Who have I in Heaven but You Jesus 
And what better could I hope to find down here on earth 
I could cross the most distant reaches 
Of this world but I'd just be wasting my time 
'Cause I'm certain already I'm sure I'd find 

Chorus

Every night and every day 
You hold on tight 
Or you drift away 
And you're left to live 
With the choices you make 
Oh Lord please give me the strength 
To watch and work and love and sing and pray 

'Cause who have I in Heaven but You Jesus 
And what better could I hope to find down here on earth
Well I could cross the most distant reaches 
Of this world but I'd just be wasting my time 
'Cause I'm certain already I'm sure I'd find 

Chorus


I've been known to link up with: Soli Deo Gloria, Inspire Me Monday, Titus 2sdays, Tell Me a Story, Teach Me Tuesdays, Character Corner, Into the Beautiful, Tell His Story, Word-Filled Wednesday, Winsome Wednesday, Simply Helping Him, Weekend Whatever, Spiritual Sundays, True Vine Challenge, Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday, The Beauty in His Grip, Playdates With God, Monday's Musings, Monday Montras, Thrive at Home, Knick of Time, Hope in Every Season, Funky Junk Interiors, Prowess and Pearls
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