Friday, May 23, 2014

Flower Towers

Spring (and now almost summer) has finally sprung here! That makes me think flowers. Last year I planted a few flowers in some hanging baskets, then the summer heat came and the flowers didn't make it. I decided to try again with some flowers this year. Above are the two different flower towers that I created. One for each side of the house by the doors.

After browsing Pinterest for a while I found a couple of different flower pot ideas that I liked. First, I assembled everything that I would need for both of the flower towers: pots, three plastic in various sizes and 6 6" terra cotta; potting soil; garden stakes; spray paint; and flowers.
Then, I laid all the pots out on newspaper and spray painted them all the same color. Fyi, I used Krylon ColorMaster in Oxford Blue. Had to do two coats on the pots. The terra cotta pots really soaked up the paint and were more difficult to paint. Using a primer on them first would have been a good idea. 
I start assembling the towers with the easiest one first. I filled the largest plastic pot a third of the way with old chunks of brick from our slowly deteriorating trash burner. Then I filled it another third of the way with the plastic things plants come in. There is probably some fancy name for those things, but I don't know what it is.
 Then, filled the  rest with the potting soil. Placed the next pot in the middle of this one. Again filled it half way with the plastic things that plants come in, topped with potting soil. And repeated the process for the third and smallest pot. Next, plant the flowers. (Side note: the plastic planters that I used were really affordable. The biggest one I found on the side of the road with some left over yard sale stuff. I probably looked kinda strange carrying a big flower pot down the road while walking the dog, but it was FREE! The two smaller pots I got at a second hand store for 25 cents each. Didn't matter what color they were since I was going to paint them all anyhow.) Really easy and quick. Here is the inspiration picture from Pinterest and my finished flower tower.
Then it was on the one that tried my patience. I should have read how other people made a Topsy Turvy flower planter instead of just looking at the picture and figuring I knew what I was doing. First of all, now that I have gone back to read some other posts about this type of planter they all pretty much say to use rebar for the the support pole in the middle. I think this is where I made a mistake. I used two garden poles. Which are strong, but not quite rebar strong. So, I assembled, and half assembled, this thing about 5 times before I finally got it to stay standing upright. I seriously thought a few times that it was all going to come crashing down. Tip #1: Always use rebar if you are going to try making one of these :). Anyhow, I started by turning one pot upside down to be the base, then stacked the other 5 pots on top of that one each at a slight angle. Again I put one plastic flower thing in the bottom of each pot. 
 This actually helped to hold the pot at the desired angle. After it was all put together I planted the flowers in it. When it was all together, I said a little prayer over it that went something like this, "God please keep this thing standing upright and not come crashing down. I will be so mad if that happens. Amen." So far so good, it is still standing and we have had a few thunderstorms and wind since then. Here is my inspiration picture and the finished project.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Potiphar's Wife

Potiphar’s wife is one of those not so good women in the Bible. Technically we don’t know anything of her before we meet her as part of Joseph’s story. Was she always a man chasing woman? Was this her first offense? We simple don’t know.  There are some things that we can learn from her, like what not to do.

Joseph was a servant in Potiphar’s house who was in charge of all that he had. Joseph earned this position because the favor of God was upon him. He was a good, upright, and righteous man. In Genesis it also says that he was “well-built and handsome” (Gen. 39:6b.) After a while Potiphar’s wife took notice of Joseph, probably had something to do with that “well-built and handsome” factor. She wanted him for herself, so she propositioned him. Being the righteous, God honoring man that he was, Joseph refused her. This didn’t deter her. She continued to pursue him.
And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.  Genesis 39:10  
Joseph wanted nothing to do with Potiphar’s wife because she was just that, someone’s wife. That didn’t stop her. Oh no, she just turned up her wicked ways.
One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.  Genesis 39:11, 12
When Potiphar’s wife didn’t get what she wanted she twisted and turned the story in vengeance. Suddenly she used Joseph’s cloak to devise a story that it was him who tried to take advantage of her. She sullied his name by telling the other household servants and her husband this lie. Just because she was rejected she hurt an innocent man.

I’m sure we have all been in a place at one time or another when we haven’t gotten what we wanted. Do we take that out on others? Not thinking of the repercussions that our actions have on others. Potiphar’s wife only thought of herself and no one else. She obviously didn’t think of her husband and her commitment to him. She didn’t think of the disgrace that she was putting on an innocent man. She only wanted what she wanted! Her selfish desires cause Joseph to be put into prison. Thankfully, God’s hand continued to be on Joseph, and he prospered even while in prison. We don’t know what happened to Potiphar’s wife, but I can only imagine that if she continued in her selfish ways, she lived an unfulfilled and regretful life.  

Monday, May 12, 2014


The story of Tamar is what soap operas are made of. This is one of those stories in the Bible, where you think, “That is in the Bible!” Tamar’s story doesn’t start off crazy. When we first meet her she is just the woman who became the wife of Judah’s oldest son, Er. Er wasn’t a good guy and God put him to death because of this. Now Tamar is a widow. Judah had another son, Onan. It was customary for the next brother to marry what would be his sister-in-law in order to produce an heir for his older brother. Onan didn’t want to produce a child for his brother cause he knew that it would not be considered his child. So, when Onan slept with Tamar he “spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother” (Gen. 38:9.) God wasn’t pleased by Onan’s actions and he was killed as well. Judah had one more son, Shelah, but he was too young still to take Tamar as his wife. Judah was also reluctant to give his third son to Tamar as a spouse, considering what happened to his other two sons.
Judah then said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Live as a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up.” For he thought, “He may die too, just like his brothers.” So Tamar went to live in her father’s house.   Genesis 38:11 
After a long time Tamar was still living as widow in her father’s house. She knew that Judah had not fulfilled his work and given his third son, Shelah, as a spouse for Tamar. Tamar then took matters into her own hands and devised a plan to get back at Judah.

When Tamar learned that Judah would be passing through the area around when she was living, she disguised herself so that Judah would not know who she was and set out to trick him. Her plan worked! Judah thought that she was a prostitute and propositioned her.
When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. Not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, he went over to her by the roadside and said, “Come now, let me sleep with you.” “And what will you give me to sleep with you?” she asked. “I’ll send you a young goat from my flock,” he said. “Will you give me something as a pledge until you send it?” she asked. He said, “What pledge should I give you?” “Your seal and its cord, and the staff in your hand,” she answered. So he gave them to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him.  Gen. 38:15-18
Tamar and Judah then went their separate ways. She put her widow’s clothes back on and he returned to his home. He then sent his friend to deliver the goat that he had arranged as payment for sleeping with who he thought was a prostitute. When his friend got to the area where the “prostitute” had been there was no prostitute to be found. He asked the men that lived around there, they told him there hadn’t been a prostitute there. So, he returned to Judah and told him that he couldn’t find her. Judah didn’t want to be made a laughingstock so he didn’t pursue finding the woman to give her the goat and retrieve the items that he had left as collateral.

Around three months later Judah was told that Tamar was guilty of prostitution and that she was now pregnant because of it. Judah’s response was to have Tamar burned to death because of her actions. Tamar was one step ahead of him though because she still had the items that he had given to her.
As she was being brought out, she sent a message to he father-in-law. “I am pregnant by the man who owns these,” she said. And she added, “See it you recognize whose seal and cord and staff these are.”  Gen. 38:25
Judah recognized them alright. He declared that she was more righteous than he was because he had not fulfilled his word and given his son to her. Tamar’s life was spared and she later gave birth to twin boys, Perez and Zerah.

I have heard this story talked about a few times. It always seems like Tamar is made out to be the righteous one in the story and Judah is the bad guy. I don’t see it that way. When I read this story I see it in a differently. I think it is more of a story of “two wrongs don’t make a right.” Judah was guilty of not fulfilling his word to Tamar. Tamar was guilty of deceiving Judah and prostitution. They were both at fault in the situation. What is amazing though is that God can take two wrongs and make a right.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.  Rom. 8:28a

Only God can take our mistakes and turn them into something good. We are still responsible for the wrong that we do, this doesn’t give us an out for our sin. God made good out the situation with Tamar and Judah. Their son, Perez, was a part of the genealogy of Jesus. That seems like good coming out of bad to me.