Friday, April 29, 2005

fresh flowers for April 29


©2005, Lani Wiens (with major input from Kelly)

a fresh flowers original

My husband, Kelly, was putting Christopher’s bed back together the other day. Because of his earlier difficulties we had to removed everything from his room, including his bed. As his behaviour improved we promised him that we would return his room furnishings. The bed is the first thing to be restored to him. As Kelly entered into the reconstruction project he learned a few lessons along the way that I’ll share with you today.

Lesson 1

Deconstruction is far easier and faster than reconstruction! When reconstructing something, give yourself LOTS of time. I am fairly certain that would apply to physical and spiritual structures.

Lesson 2

Remember where the pieces go! Remember lesson 1 and take the time to make sure that you have the pieces in the right place. We were expected at my parents for supper so Kelly glued things together and we headed out. When we got home all he would have to do is put on the last piece and the bed would be done. Right? Wrong!! Apparently there is only one way for each piece to fit and they are NOT interchangeable. Kelly discovered this little bit of news as they tried to put the drawers in. They wouldn’t go. After a little venting he took another careful look and realized that he had interchanged two pieces that could not be interchanged. He had wondered a little earlier why these little tabs were sticking up where no tabs had been before but didn’t figure it would make a big difference. It did.

Lessons Learned and Application

Later that evening after Christopher was sleeping soundly in his reconstructed bed (he is quite thrilled by this accomplishment, as are we) we chatted about these little lessons. Kelly reflected on how the church he is in has been deconstructed and is now being put together by the Lord through human vessels building with Him and under His direction. You can’t just take pieces or people and stick them wherever you think they fit. Being in a rush and not heeding the signs that indicate something is wrong will only lead to another complete deconstruction and further delay. Although even in this our Lord is patient and gives us a second chance as we learn. Careful and prayerful consideration of what the place of rest for our Lord Jesus Christ is supposed to look like must guide the re-builders to put people together in structures as He has designed it. When we do, not only will we have a structure for Jesus to come and rest (Christopher’s bed) but the storehouse components (drawers) of the place of rest will fit inside the structure, providing for the needs of the body to do everything our Father has planned for us to do each day.

The frustrating and deciding factor that indicated something wasn’t put together right in the structure was when it came time to insert those storehouse components (drawers). It was at this time that Kelly realized the two central pieces needed to be flipped upside down and change places (remember those little tabs). When he did that, and carefully fitted the structure, the drawers slid into place, ready to hold what they were made to hold. At that point he found out each of the three drawers were designed for one and only one space. They were not interchangeable either. Finally, everything fit together, the top was put on, the mattress put in place, the pillow, the sheet, the blanket and finally our son, he now has a place of rest again.

Our prayer is that our church, and every other church, would be built in the same way. Giving careful consideration to the plans of the Father. Fitting every piece into its given place so that the plans of the Lord can be accomplished. Not every piece is for storing, not every piece is a headboard. But all these pieces, fit together provide a resting place, not only for our Head, Jesus, but for the body of Christ as well.

Friday, April 22, 2005

fresh flowers for April 22

Draw Us Near

©2005, Lani Wiens

a fresh flowers original

In a few short hours I will be leaving for our church’s women’s retreat. Our theme is “Draw Us Near”. I have the privilege of leading worship for this weekend along with a few of my friends. As I’ve been preparing and seeking the Lord for what He wants to do through the worship He’s shown myself and the team a little about how to draw near and why it is important for us to do so.

Psalm 73 is a great example of our typical response to life. Here the psalmist admits that he was jealous of the wicked, they were prospering and he wasn’t. In fact he gets into a pity party over this, going so far as to say that it’s pointless to keep himself pure, why bother after all. Then there is a little four-letter word that changes his perspective. Till. Till he went into the sanctuary of the Lord and then he understood what the fate of the wicked was. Then he declared that it was good for him to draw near to the Lord, so he could understand the Lord’s heart and declare His good works.

Drawing near is important for us so that we can understand God’s heart. As we come into His presence we are overwhelmed with His beauty. Our desire for Him is kindled and we seek to know Him better. Intimacy is born and the process of being known and knowing begins. As we grow in intimacy God reveals His heart to us, showing what it is He created us to do, showing us where He longs to have us be. Then, because of our love for Him we go out and do those things, we become that person. We carry out His mission, we declare His good works.

One of the things I was reminded of in this drawing near process is our own human insecurity. We tend to believe that there isn’t room enough for us. When it is story time and all the kids gather round there is a great deal of jostling for position. They are all trying to get as close as possible, trying to get the best view so that they don’t miss out on any of the story. In our human-ness we tend to think that God is like that, only so big, a limited amount of room available. This is a lie. God is much bigger and can accommodate all of His children near His heart. In Song of Solomon we read, “I have longed to hold you in my arms…” Our Father longs for us to draw near to Him. I particularly enjoy the story times when I have just one of my kids and I can linger over the pages and we speak quietly to one another, enjoying each other’s presence just as much as the story in front of us. With our God, it is always like that, each one of us is His ‘favourite’, He longs to linger with us and show us the deep things of His heart.

May I encourage you to draw near to Him? His promise is that when we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. He loves a heart that is coming close to His flame of love. Draw near. Let your heart be warmed by His presence.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Leviticus Lessons - part 3

I don’t think I would have wanted the job of being a priest back in the beginning of the tabernacle. Those guys had a big job. They needed to know the regulations of the temple stuff but also needed to be butchers, bakers, inspectors, physicians and who knows what else I haven’t come across yet. They were responsible for the spiritual AND physical well-being of the people. No wonder they needed so many of them.

I am amazed at God’s wisdom. When he talks about what to do with infectious skin conditions and bodily discharges it just makes common sense. STAY away from other people, usually for a period of about two weeks, and wash! Sound familiar? For the longest time I didn’t really understand what was meant by ‘bodily discharge’ – I thought it referred to semen and menstrual cycles but those are dealt with separately. Then I looked at my kids. One has a cold, runny nose, watery eyes, hmmm, could this be bodily discharge? Another one has pneumonia and is hacking up phlegm and vomiting, hmmm, more bodily discharge! What do they tell you to do with these kinds of things? Isolate them and wash your hands. Nothing new under the sun is there…

Friday, April 15, 2005

fresh flowers for April 15

The Mystery of a Rose

©2005, Lani Wiens

a fresh flowers original

My husband gave me a rose bud the other day to celebrate the discovery of another baby on the way. It was a tiny bud, very tightly closed, the tiny thing didn’t look like it would amount to much. V e r y s l o w l y it began to open and now remains small but absolutely beautiful, fully open.

This little rose reminded me of how our lives and dreams unfold. God plants a tiny seed, doesn’t look like much at all, sometimes we wonder if anything will develop. Then, petal by petal these deposits He’s made began to open before our eyes. No matter how open a rose appears if you look into the heart of it there seems to be just a little more. The mystery of what lies at the very heart of a rose belongs to God just as what lies in the very heart of each individual is known only by Him.

Our lives are a mystery even to us. We don’t know yet what all God has in store for us. We are not aware of the beauty yet to be revealed. It is the same with our children and the individuals around us. We get to water and watch as things open up. Forcing a rose to open doesn’t do any good. You just wreck the rose. My prayer of late is that I will have the grace to provide an environment where my little roses will open up with nurture and care, that I won’t wreck them.

You and I are roses, too, in God’s garden. We must practice patience as we wait for our own petals to open up and reveal the next layer. God has placed so much beauty in each one of us it’s hard to grasp, each of us is a mystery, each of us has a rose in our heart.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

a little announcement

I have a little announcement
something I'd like to say
that someone very special
seems to be on the way
some may think we're nuts
some may say we're crazy
some may say we're really daft
but no one says we're lazy
we wanted all of you to know
we're happy with our fix
so join us now in welcoming
baby number six!!

PS - just to clarify, no the birth contol post wasn't a deflector tactic to avoid nasty comments or to warm y'all up, we've thought that stuff for awhile and someone asked me to post it, so I did. But hey, if it serves to keep nasty comments away than so be it!! :) We're thrilled as pigs in mud, flies on poop, kids with get the picture....

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Laundry questions

I'm listening to Dennis Jernigan right now which is doing a world of good for my soul. Just popped my head out of the laundry room to take a bit of a breather. I've gotten a little behind in the folding department and had to do some huge catch up.
A funny thing happened though. I got a whole new meaning for the word 'crusty'. I was folding a piece of clean underwear (I won't say whether it was panties or gotch so as not to cause any confusion out there) and here was a piece of bread crust that made it through the washing machine and the dryer!! Now THAT is crusty!!

I have a ton of friends who claim that they never do any ironing. How do y'all get away with that? Do you just walk around wrinkled and that's that or am I just that inferior of a laundry-doer? I always have stuff that needs to be ironed. I know all that stuff about whipping things out and hanging them up the second the dryer stops but hey, I don't live in my laundry room, that just doesn't happen. And then there's all the great cotton stuff that needs to hang to dry that is in definate need. Tell me your secrets!! I would like to be free, too. Or are you all just lying to me and you are secret ironers and just pulling my leg?

Sunday, April 10, 2005


Leviticus – the fat thing – I started researching the ‘fat’ issue to find out more on it. I realize there are many books written on ‘biblical diet’ and all that. I’m not going to write another one, couldn’t be bothered. So what I’ve found out so far is what I’ve already been hearing is that there are good fats and bad fats. There are fats that our bodies need to function properly and there are fats that inhibit the proper functioning of the body. You’ll notice in Leviticus that it says not to eat fat and it also said to mix oil with the flour (this was most likely olive oil). In my research I’m discovering that for the most part we’ve been sold a bill of goods as to what is ‘good’ for us. Much of it didn’t have a lot of scientific research behind it. Lo and behold the research that is sound shows that oils like olive oil and coconut oil are beneficial for you. We don’t grow those crops in America so what did they do – they promoted oils that they could make and grow here. Unfortunately, those vegetable oils are almost entirely hydrogenated and contain huge amounts of trans fats which are extremely toxic to our systems. Anyway, it’s all quite fascinating. Personally, I’m switching to olive oil.

Babies – One thing I was thinking about today was that each family has a ‘load limit’. A friend and I discuss this quite frequently. Some people’s limit is 2 and some have a higher limit. I would in no way want to say to someone that if their load limit is smaller that they are somehow disobedient and evil that they aren’t planning to have more children. That decision is between husband, wife and God and I have no desire to interfere there. Our decision was made entirely because that is what God showed us He would have us do, realizing that we are then opening ourselves up to the possibility of a larger family. We’re good with that, but it took some time to get there. I wouldn’t want anyone to feel that they are being judged by me for a decision that they have made. I would only want to encourage you to make your decision based on what God desires for you, not in fear.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Lessons from Leviticus - #2

Another 'less than profound' thought from Leviticus. Actually, a rather practical one. DON'T EAT FAT OR BLOOD. Hmmmmmmm what is a major contributing factor to heart disease and diabetes, becoming prevalent in our children - obesity. The consumption of fat. Perhaps we can learn a thing or two about what NOT to eat. I know I'm feeling a little convicted.

ps - yeah, three posts in one day, sorry but that silly monster was defying me again over the last couple of days or I would have spread them out. READ THE ANNIVERSARY POST AND SEND ME YOUR ORDERS!!!! (please)

Birth - who really has it - control?

Before I say anything else I want to point out that this is completely my own conviction (and my husband’s).

Let me go back a bit. All my life I have wanted to be a mom. When I got married I was all set to get on with my plan of having babies and being a mom. My husband wasn’t quite as excited about the prospect of becoming a parent so quickly. Out of respect for him I went on the pill, though I wasn’t very excited about it. Someone gave us a book to read called, “The Way Home” by Mary Pride. It confirmed the beginnings of my convictions, that I wasn’t really in control at all. Kelly took a little longer to let these thoughts sink into his heart. After about 8 months we flushed the rest of the pills and figured we’d see what God did. It was 4 years later before God opened my womb (after a little surgery on Kelly’s system). There was another 4 years before number 2 showed up. We’ve had another 2 babies and are working on adopting #5.

My basic premise is that God has not at any time declared Himself unwilling or unable to control our reproductive systems. At no time has He said, “Why don’t you guys take care of this part of creation, I’m not up for it anymore.” I haven’t seen anywhere in scripture where God tells people to quit being fruitful or to cut off their ability to reproduce. Throughout scripture you see time and time again that children are a blessing from God, the deliberate closing of the womb by God was a curse (Michal, David’s wife). Let me clarify that I do NOT for a moment believe that someone struggling with infertility is under a curse (I’ve been there myself). (Kelly’s addition - The possibility does exist that barrenness MAY be a curse and one should look at one’s own sin and sins of ones forefathers’ (both husband and wife) for possible reasons why. Study Deuteronomy regarding curses for disobedience and blessings for obedience - one being a fruitful womb.)

Allowing God full control of the reproductive system requires a great deal of trust and faith. For 13 years we trusted that God would give us children as He saw fit. The last two came pretty close together, one with several health issues and the younger was just difficult. I went into postpartum depression and decided I definitely didn’t want anymore children. We checked out the tube blocking procedure that is relatively new, made an appointment, cancelled it. We signed up for the big ‘snip’, cancelled it. Wrestled some more, made another appointment, once again, we were halted. We just couldn’t go there. After spending the last 13years declaring that God was in control of my womb it seemed more than a little hypocritical to go anywhere else but where we had always been going. Trusting, having faith that God really does know what we can handle and that He really is in charge of this thing. Does that mean we’ll have more kids? Maybe, and if we do I am convinced that He will also give us the resources and grace to handle it. Whatever our lot, He has taught us to say, “It is well.” We will put our confidence in Him.

As you can see we are NOT into ‘controlling’ how many children a woman’s body should or shouldn’t produce. There are a zillion other issues surrounding this one that I am not bringing up on purpose. My basic premise is that we should not presume that we are in control. I myself am a ‘pill’ baby. My parents were encouraged to abort me – aren’t y’all glad they didn’t listen!! My husband and I are of the belief that if we want God to be LORD of our lives we will do our best to give Him ALL areas and not let fear control us.

fresh flowers for April 8, 2005

Thoughts From A Friend

©2005, Lani Wiens

a fresh flowers not-so-original

The last few weeks have been pretty heavy. We’ve attended two funerals a 90th birthday party, visited a friend who is a mom with young kids who is battling cancer and have continued to fight our own battles. Our visit with our friend was very enlightening, hard, wonderful and exhausting. While her body is as ‘good as dead’, as she put it, we saw more life in her than we have for a very long time. So I would like to share with you some of the wisdom that our dear sister shared with us. What I write from here on will be from her perspective, not quotes, but her thoughts.

On letting go…

All of us need to learn to let go. I am in the process of letting go of my husband and my kids as my body wastes away. We like to hold on tightly to what is dear to us; our friends, our family, our hopes, thoughts and dreams. We need to give each other the freedom of letting go. You need to let me go. I need to let you go and be whatever it is that God is calling you to be. You need to let each other go so that we can all achieve the purposes to which God has called us.

On resurrection…

Anyway you slice it, I win. It’s resurrection, resurrection or resurrection. Either I get Abraham’s resurrection, where his body was as good as dead but God brought life out of him and then spared that life at the last moment or I get a Lazarus resurrection. The resurrection that comes a few days post mortem. Or I get the resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ. I can’t lose!

On hitting the mark…

My rest is in God. He is my salvation. My salvation isn’t in keeping commandments, following rules or trying hard. It’s in YAWEH, which means, salvation. But, because I love him I will do my best to keep his commands even though I might miss the mark at times, I will do my best to aim at righteousness. Sometimes I will hit it and sometimes I won’t but because I love him, I will do my best to at least aim.

On living and dying…

I am not strong. I’m finding that as I get closer to seeing heaven that it’s actually pretty easy to die. It is much harder to live every day the way God has called us to live. It takes much more grace to live than to die.

This flower is in honour of my friend, who, if she finds this and reads it needs to know that I love her dearly and she has impacted me greatly, you truly are a Sleeping Beauty.

one year anniversay event

Spring is springing and the one year anniversary of ‘fresh flowers’ has just passed. For the uninitiated, there is 'fresh flowers' the blog site and 'fresh flowers' the inspirational column. The column has been going out to a subscriber list on a weekly basis for a whole year now. In honour of that event and because I’d like to make some money (we want to buy a dog – long story – but really we do, for Chris) I am once again offering the'fresh flowers journal' for your gift-giving pleasure. Mother’s Day, Graduation, Weddings and more are just around the corner. A ‘fresh flowers journal' is a unique and inspirational gift that keeps on giving.

For your $22.50 (includes shipping) you will receive:

** 31 flowers (less than $1/flower - not bad for a non-wilting variety)
** assorted flower petals (little bits of wisdom and laughter)
** journal pages for your own thoughts and flowers
** spiral binding
** a custom made cover (I’m kinda into all that scrap-booking/stamping stuff)

You can send your request via e-mail – . Remember to include your shipping address. Your check or money order (Canadian funds please) can be sent to:

Lani Wiens
206 27th Street West
Saskatoon SK S7L 0J5

Happy Spring – ing!!

Monday, April 04, 2005

Lessons from Leviticus - 1

A week or so ago I finished 1 Corinthians and asked the Lord where He would have me go next. Leviticus was the answer. I can't say I was that entranced, but the Lord is faithful and I have been learning a couple things as I go along. Maybe someone out there can lend further insight. I'm not a theologian by any means but here are a few observations I made.

Chapters 4 - the offerings for unintentional sin

Priests - bull - blood was sprinkled in front of the curtain
the assembly - bull - blood was sprinkled in front of the curtain
Leader - male goat - blood on the horns of the altar
individual - female goat or lamb - blood on the horns of the altar

It would appear that their was an heirarchy of atonement. The greater the responsibility that you carried the greater the atonement needed to be. I also found it interesting that the blood for the priests and the assembly was sprinkled in front of the curtain. I'm guessing this would have been the same curtain that was torn in two when our saviour died. Interesting. I wonder if some of the blood splashed onto the curtain. Jesus, our priest, died for all of us, the assembly, his blood for ours.

What do you think?

Friday, April 01, 2005

blogger monster

Sooooooo anyone else experiencing problems with the blogger monster lately? Not sure what that last bit was for those of you who had to endure that ugly posting nastiness. Got it all cleaned up and hopefully won't have any more issues.

I've had so many posts that I've wanted to put on this week and the blogger monster wouldn't work.

Right now I have to go wake up a sleeping boy and head out the door for a supper date. We're down on the farm with the kids enjoying wide open spaces and lots of wind. Snow's all gone here already. The farm house is spacious, too. Lovely....

Guess those other profound thoughts will just have to wait for another day. Here's a little tidbit of what I will be bringing for in the next bit....

letting go
living is harder than dying (a quote from a friend who's body is good as dead - her words)
writing fun
birth control (NOT) - yup, that'll be controversial but oh well what's a garden without a little controversy

talk to y'all soon