Christmas Watercolor Prints, Just in Time for Sharing

We’ve decided to make a few Christmas prints available this year to help spread Christmas cheer to family and friends.

Each watercolor and layout was done by Alesha, and reminds us of a simpler time when the holidays were about the joyful celebration of Christ’s birth.

1. May Jesus Find Room
2. Wishing You the Merriest
3. O Come, Let Us Adore Him

These “Retro Whimsy Christmas” flat cards are printed on 5″x5″quality paper with a matte finish. They are suitable for framing or sharing, so an envelope is included with each card.

There is room on the back to include a Christmas message of your own, and the navy ones look fabulous signed with a metallic paint pen!

There are 4 different sets:

  1. May Jesus Find Room – set of 5
  2. Wishing You the Merriest – set of 5
  3. O Come Let Us Adore Him – set of 5
  4. 1 of each – set of 3

The sets of 5 of the same card are $16 and shipping is free.

The set of 1 of each card is $10 and shipping is free.

You can order by sending a direct message via email to obtainingmercy@gmail.com or a direct message on Facebook or Instagram.

I need to know the following information:

  1. Your full name
  2. Your address (If you live in my town, we can discuss local delivery.)
  3. The number and name of the set you want

There are a limited number of each available. We will begin mailing them out on November 28th.

Thank you so much for reading our blog. Your comments on FB and IG are always such a blessing to us.

In Him,

Doug, Alesha and Isaac

Celebrating With a Faithful Friend

There’s a lovely constancy that comes from community, in friends that you know and friends by whom you are known. It’s so nice to share a common thread of hobbies, activities and humor with those close to us. It can bring a touch of vulnerability, but it also builds a sturdy foundation for kinship and camaraderie. Those ties feel safe, not constricting, as we are bound by mutual understanding and shared experiences.

Doug said to me last week that for the child of God, our community should be based in our local church. I completely agree. While we have a circle of family, and the locality of neighbors, the broad overlapping of these should be our local assembly of like-minded believers. We find some of our deepest bonds in those who sit beside us in the pew each week. Or across the large auditorium, as is the case for me. 

I’m celebrating one of those heart-friends today. She knew me when I was very young and still loves me now that I’m getting old. Ha!

She has been a prayer warrior for me down through the years. She was my faithful penpal when we lived out-of-state, and across the state. She has been a teacher and a mentor, but for many years now, she’s simply been my friend. 

Her name is Ruth.

Ruth is incredibly intelligent with a razor-sharp wit and a deep sense of humor and fun. She loves the Lord and has served Him faithfully for many years. She has been a fixture in my memory for as long as I can recall. 

I remember her waaaaay back in the early 70s, with her long black straight hair, sitting on a two-seater bike to join in our “parade” of jalopies and buses, from a nearby corner parking lot to our church property, on one of the very first old fashioned Homecoming Sunday services we had. She served as my Sunday school teacher and camp counselor, my encourager and sounding board. 

If you choose almost any activity or memory of my teen years, she figured prominently there. Always faithful, always serving, always counseling, and always teaching by word and action that a life of following the Lord was the BEST LIFE. 

I’ve watched her walk through the darkest of valleys, without a falter, trusting her God step-by-step. She hasn’t waivered, through years of want or years of plenty. Her eyes have been fixed on the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am so thankful for her. I’m grateful for her words of wisdom over the years, and her testimony of sacrifice and servanthood.

Ruth, I’m wishing you the Happiest of Birthdays today!

Thank you for loving me and being my friend. 

I love you.

Alesha

The Adventures of Beans and Other Climbers

I love to examine and investigate plants that climb. We are currently growing rattlesnake beans. They have inched their way to around 7 or 8 feet high on the cattle panel. It is so cool how they twist and grasp each rung as they climb.

The vine is the most important part of the plant. No beans would grow, mature or even be able to reproduce without the vine. 

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

John 15:5

Jesus is our Vine.

He controls how and where we grow. Without Him, we cannot do anything – just like we are not able to have rattlesnake beans without the vine. Our only job is to abide in the Vine (our only source of water and nutrition).

I know when I examine my own life and choices, I have the habit of trying to do things on my own and attribute it to God. These things may be working, serving God, fixing problems.

The thing is when I get to the end and it’s not where it needs to be, my tendency is to blame the Lord.

The harsh reality is that God doesn’t need my input. I have to remind myself, what is my job? My job is to abide in Him. That’s it, and follow in obedience.

God is good and we can trust Him.

Drinking from the Spring,

Doug

The Importance of Water, Part 2

As a beginner gardener, I have a new appreciation for rain.

In the past I haven’t always appreciated the rain. It may have a bit bothersome, or an inconvenience to my present plans. But since starting a garden, the rain is beautiful; a refreshing gift from the bounty of God; an encouragement that helps to keep me going through this Florida heat.

6.5 inches is a big rain for Florida

Rain has become a hopeful and blessed event. It’s arrival raises thankfulness in my heart. I know that rain and my watering are a blessing to the garden. There is no life or growth without water.

The Master Gardener know the importance of His Word (compared many times in Scripture to water).

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

Psalm 42:1

A few definitions as we move along. The hart is an adult male deer. To pant is to long for, or to passionately desire. A brook is a small natural stream of water, or a current flowing from  a spring or fountain.

That deer in his movements through the forest or countryside is thirsty and passionately desires the water brooks. God through the psalmist writes “so panteth my soul after thee, O God”

Do I pant after God? What do I pant after? What do I passionately desire? 

Is it the brook? That small, consistent, daily water source that flows from that spring.

Unfortunately, I know that I pant after other things too many times. I pant after connections, notoriety, comfort, maybe even rest. These things are not a substitute for the water brook of God’s Word.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Psalm 1:2-3

God wants us to seek Him first, today and everyday. Jesus is our Answer to today’s question. He is our Peace, our Joy, our Life.

Drinking from God’s Spring,

Doug

The Importance of Water, Part 1

When I started gardening I thought I understood the importance of water for healthy plants. The truth is I think I severely underestimated how much water plants really need.

Planting seeds is always exciting. When the plants first push through the ground and start growing, that is an energizing and exhilarating thing to be part of! That excitement fuels my care for the seedlings, because watering at this stage seems to bring changes to the plants every day

Poblano pepper seedlings

But soon, the plants reach a stage where they begin to slow down their growth. They are preparing to produce flowers and fruit. This is where my challenge begins.

Okra blossom and fruit

The plants seem healthy and they are doing well. So it’s easy to assume they have all the water they need, and I lose the urgency to water well, because I see no immediate results. Without that necessary water the plants become weak and more susceptible to pests and disease.

The Master Gardener knows our fragility and our need for spiritual water. We are, after all, sinful by our very nature, and by our choice. Jesus told the woman at the well that He could give her a well that springs with everlasting life.

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

John 4:14

Our sin separates us from God. And when we look within ourselves, we feel an emptiness and void that we cannot fill on our own. That emptiness can only be satisfied by Jesus Christ. We receive His everlasting life when we cry out to God, and ask Him to forgive our sin and become our Saviour.

We must take an honest look at our sinfulness and realize that we are not able to make ourselves good enough. We must look to Jesus, the one Who died for our sin, shed His blood, and rose from the dead.

We must choose for ourselves. We must step out by faith alone and call on Jesus personally. Then we can have that well that springs up to everlasting life.

Strawberries, dill and basil in the Green Stalk

Drinking from the Spring,

Doug