Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Good Things

Martha Stewart doesn't have the corner on good things....

1. The day you finally start feeling human again after being sick for days and days.
2. Small boy curled up on the couch you just finished recovering sleeping soundly under a quilt you fashioned with your own hands.
3. Dog groomers.
4. Midnight McDonald's runs savored in the coziness of a new bedroom in my comfy rocker with my wonderful husband (the fries were still hot cause we live only 3 blocks away now).
5. Three year old teaching the two year old how to pray.
6. Friends coming over.
7. Good tea and ginger snaps.
8. Late night baths in my huge tub, building bubble castles.
9. By big boy proud as can be that he popped popcorn over an open fire.
10. Naps.
11. Good books.
12. Coming across verses like the one in the post below.
13. Beautiful fabric all lined up to make a new baby quilt.
14. Baby kicks.
15. Little boy dancing.
16. Little boy waving a worship flag and shouting, "Lord, bless! Lord bless!"
17. Prophetic words that come to pass in my lifetime.
18. Good friends within walking distance.
19. Listening to my husband lead our children in worship in our living room.
20. Successful heart surgery - healthy boy.

Got some to add?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

a new motto

God showed me this verse today which I think will become my new motto for homeschooling and parenting:

Deuteronomy 32:2

"Let my teaching fall like rain
and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants."

Oh Lord, my teaching is often more like hail stones, my words like stinging sleet. Help me remember that I have tender young plants under my care. Keep my words soft (even when I'm sick and tired), let them wash off the debris of the world that falls on my children daily. Let them be life-giving and nourishing. Put a guard on my lips.

And forgive me for the many occurrences that aren't that.

Friday, January 27, 2006

fresh flowers for January 27

A belated happy anniversary to my mom and dad - 44 years this year - yee haw!!

A Transformed Couch

copyright, 2006, lani wiens
a fresh flowers original

Last night as I was soaking my sick achy body in my wonderful tub I thought I had no flowers to give today, too tired, too sick, too brain-dead. So I asked my Lord if there was something I could share and my ever faithful Father reminded me of my couches.

When we moved into our new house it became painfully obvious that we needed to do something about our furniture quickly. Zippers were broken on the seat cushions, permanent stains everywhere. I've said this before and I'll say it again, unless you are purchasing leather, never never never buy solid covered cloth furniture when you have many small children. Our lovely sage green couch and it's navy blue counter part show every milk spill, every wipe of a snotty nose and various other sundry stains. So my husband and I ventured forth to the local fabric store with Christmas money in hand and a prayer in our hearts to find something that we could make covers with since buying new was out of the question.

We were blessed with a great sale and some beautiful fabric - red plaid, deep solid red to match and then a lovely olive green and cream combination for the other. We were thrilled, now I just had to wrap my head around how to do this thing. To make a long story short, they're all finished and look fabulous, like brand new furniture. Underneath they're the same stained things they've been but they've been given a new lease on life.

This reminded me of my life in Christ. When I accept Him, He gives me a new lease on life, all that old sin is covered over by His blood and when He looks at me, that's what He sees, new, clean and perfect.

Unfortunately for my couches they won't be transformed underneath into brand new leather, top of the line furniture, but I will be! God promised to transform me, taking my unrealistic expectations, perfectionism, irritability and all that other ugliness and make me brand new. This is the good news and it's easy to forget in our world of busyness and rushing about. In our bible study over the last two weeks we've been sharing testimony about the lies we have believed, the truth that God has revealed and the faith that we now walk in to counter-act that lie. What an encouraging thing to hear twelve different snippets of how God has come in and transformed a life, giving us a story to tell about His grace and mercy in our lives.

Think about it, God has made you a new covering through the blood of Jesus Christ. He is transforming you into a top of the line testimony that many people will come and find comfort and beauty in. This is our life, and it's a good one. Perhaps He'll even transform my home-schooling efforts into something good!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

homeschool blues

Some days I absolutely love home schooling. Like on days when one boy is working on his math, another on a reading page, middle girl is working with the felt alphabet, boy 3 is doing a puzzle on the floor and 2 year old is playing with magnets while I bake bread. That for me is an ideal day.

Then there are days where we do absolutely nothing that looks like 'school' . No one will cooperate with anything, everyone just wants to watch videos or play on the computer all day. On days like that, I feel like throwing my hands up in despair and saying, "Why bother?" I feel like I am not up to the task and am I ruining my children.

CareBear gave me some great phonics videos the other day and a reading program to try out. Those have been fun. I had promised myself that I would connect with other homeschoolers this year and that just hasn't happened. I had lots of idealistic plans that have not materialized. I'm glad the homeschool convention is coming I am so looking forward to the opportunity to meet other people who do this thing (I know quite a few already but the idea of bulk meeting appeals to me right now, besides it's a weekend away with my husband in a hotel <>).

I just linked to a homeschool blog from Sparrow (Intent). There was a post there about simple plans which appeals to me. All I know for sure is that I need help and some encouragement to keep plugging away at this thing.

Sorry, this isn't very flowery.........

Friday, January 20, 2006

fresh flowers for January 20

Three Little Thoughts
©2005, lani wiens
a fresh flowers original

The Amazing Race

Friends and family were there for us on moving day. The beginning of the day and towards supper were mostly people our age and older. Veterans of the moving van. My pastor’s wife said we had better stay put now cause she doesn’t want to move us again. Can’t blame her, I think she’s helped move us at least 4 times.

The morning went by quickly as my boys and the friends moved out the maze of boxes we’d been walking through while other helping hands took apart beds and packed yet more boxes. By supper time we were pretty tired. We still had to move the appliances and the piano and we hurt. My husband called in some fresh help for the evening. Who should arrive but the young men of our church. My teen-age nieces came around then, too. What a blessing to see their bright cheery, full of energy faces. They thought this was fun as they found the stray pieces of old candy on top of the fridge and ate them. Our old basement has been christened the hobbit hole for its short ceilings (they were happy that we would soon have a bigger basement). Two of the young men helping were moving us into their old home after all, well acquainted with it they were.

These same fellows were just boys my own son’s age when I first met them in my kid’s club. Wild things that were hard to control. Now here they were lending their strength and exuberance to our aching backs and enjoying every moment of it. It made me think of the church. The elders have built and worked hard, enduring much. We of the middle generation have laboured alongside, picking up where they left off until our knees are weak and our eyes are tired. Then, along comes these younger folk, ready for anything, strong and full of vigour, as we embrace them they give us their strength. One day we must hand the reins over to them, let them go ahead and forge a new destiny that my own sons will follow in. What an amazing race we are running.

Go Away

My youngest boy is a climber. Before he walked, he climbed. Recently he discovered that he could use his strength to push his high chair over to the counter and go even higher than before. High enough to reach the candy on the top shelf. High enough to get into trouble. He had already been plucked off the counter several times when I walked into the kitchen. He was in the process of pushing the chair to the counter. He gave me a growly look and said, “Go away!” and gave me a little push in the right direction. He tried that a couple times without success. Inside I was laughing a little because it was kind of funny but it made me think.

How often do I want to hide my favorite sin? How much would I like the authority in my life to go away? Why do I want them to go away anyway? Because I want to sin in peace, that’s why!! I don’t want to get caught doing what I know I shouldn’t be doing. Yup, go away rather than go and sin no more. Hmmmmm

Not What I Imagined

My friend gave me permission to tell this story on her little girl. Her youngest has just turned seven and wanted to learn to crochet. She began with a fabulous project in mind all glorious and beautiful I am sure. Her little fingers began to work with hook and yarn. Diligently she pursued her purpose. After some time she held up her work, being her first attempt the stitches weren’t quite even and her tension got a little tight. As she surveyed her work and displayed it to her mom and dad she uttered these words, “This is not quite what I imagined.

Amidst the laughter the truth dawns, most of life isn’t quite what we imagined. So often we begin with a glorious vision bursting forth with plenty of energy to begin. Part way through as we’ve toiled and worked, learning, building new character we come to a point of discouragement. This thing is not quite what we imagined. This vision requires some patience, diligence, effort, work and time.

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we may still be at the stage of a seven year old girl learning a new skill. I well remember my initial efforts at sewing misshapen doll clothes, knitting off-kilter squares. This little girl is way better than me at crocheting already, I never took up that particular sport. Perhaps we need to lower our expectations just a little, give ourselves a break and some time to learn what we need to learn. One day I believe she will crochet things of great beauty if she keeps at it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I've been tagged

Bloggin' on the Bayou tagged me. So here's my answers:

7 things I'd like to do before I die:

1. See the glory of God change my city so that I really live in Pleasant Hill.
2. Be debt free.
3. See all my children loving and serving the Lord.
4. Travel, travel, travel (I particularly want to see Scotland, Ireland, Venice, Austria, Spain and Italy)
5. Make a REALLY fabulous quilt - one that might actually win a prize for something because it's just that good.
6. Hear my husband singing on the radio off of one of his many fabulous CDs.
7. Have 9 hours of sleep in a row.

7 things I can't do:

1. Stand on my head.
2. Crochet anything other than one long string.
3. Do anything remotely attractive with clay.
4. Say no to a bag of chips (okay once in a while I can do it but not often)
5. See in my head what a pattern will look like with a different piece of cloth than what's on the cover of the envelope.
6. Estimate the size of a crowd.
7. Decorate cakes.

7 things that attract me to blogging:

1. A permanent record of what I've written (I can't lose it).
2. The phenomenal people that I've gotten to 'know'.
3. I love feedback (comment, comment, comment).
4. I love to write.
5. I love reading what other people write.
6. It's fun.
7. There are pretty blogs, inspiring blogs, blogs that make me think, blogs that help me learn....

7 things I say most often:

1. Boys, stop that.
2. What exactly were you planning to do with that.
3. Not now
4. Let me check with my husband on that
5. First we need to do this
6. Lately - "No you cannot watch a movie"
7. Have I said today_____________ (how much I love you, how much I love this house, etc.)

7 books I love:

1. A series called, "The Secret of the Rose" by Michael Phillips
2. The Chronicles of Narnia
3. All the "Anne" books by Lucy Maud Montgomery
4. LOTR trilogoy
5. Any of my quilting books
6. usually whatever I'm reading at the moment
7. two little devotional books called, "Quilts to Live By" and "Things I Learned While Quilting"

(okay I'm slightly over the limit and I didn't even mention the Bible, that's a given)

7 movies I watch over and over:

1. Thomas the Tank Engine (not by choice)
2. Father of the Bride Part 2
3. Cheaper By the Dozen (new version)
4. First Knight
5. The Sound of Music
6. My Fair Lady
7. Princess Bride

7 people I want to join in:

whoever wants to and reads this, feel free - most people I know have probably already done it or don't want to. I live in a small bubble.

Monday, January 16, 2006

lovin' it

I love routines. This morning we actually got back to doing a bit of 'real' schoolwork - the kind that comes in books. It felt good to do something concrete and measureable. Boy #2 was far happier today doing 'normal' things than he has been since we moved in, he is not good with change, this has been hard on him.

We had our household management meeting time today. Good to do that again, see where we are and where we need to go.

We met with our Transformations group tonite for the first time since the end of November. I sure missed those people. We have an amazing group of individuals in our group that I am happy to be a part of.

God blessed me (through a friend) with some maternity clothes that should take me through to the end and into the nursing season.

Laundry is getting done and put away.

I'm cooking real meals again.

I love my new house. It is such a blessing.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

slowly slowing down and starting again

In about three months I will have the blessed privelege of meeting this precious soul that is living under my heart. The kicking is stronger now, letting me know that it is time to turn my thoughts towards preparing spaces and hearts to receive a new addition. I so don't want to be cranky and grumpy and growly - lack of sleep does that to me. I want this new house and this new year to be the beginning of newness in our family, of learning to care a little more for one another and others, to see my children's spiritual tent pegs expand.

And yet I flounder.

We haven't done much bookwork for almost a month. Thanks to a conversation with Care Bear this afternoon I realized that doesn't mean they aren't learning anything. The videos have been thick around here, sometimes the only thing that gives me a little quiet space to think - and yet I hate that thing and want it out of my house, or at least relegated to the basement. (and to think I almost considered getting cable - silly girl).

Then my thoughts wander back to my new baby, coming soon yet far away. I get to decorate a nursery again. Haven't done that since our first baby and then only got to use it for 4 months. Vision of yellow, purple, blue and green swim through my head. Quilted curtains and loveliness. How will I do that, I don't know, but I'll hand it over to my Grand Designer and see what He helps me do and then I'll leave the rest.

I started making the new covers for my couches last night. They look so nice - red plaid, soft greens - lovely, covering up the stains and spills, crisp and clean.

Unpacking is coming along very nicely. A dear friend came today and put books on shelves, cuddled my babies and let me sleep. What a blessing. My heart is so full, but I think that's all I'll say here.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Thank you all for praying for us!! Here's what happened.

Friday, January 6 - We moved all our house into our new place!!! Yippee, we love it. So thankful for all the helping hands.

Saturday, January 7 - the unpacking began while Kelly finished working on Sam and Vi's piano and preparing for the father/daughter tea. Some strong young men came and loaded the desk and piano into the U-Haul and about 4:45 PM we headed off to Airdrie. The trip was lovely with just one boy and lots of time to talk. On the way Samuel had his first corrective heart procedure as he gave his heart to Jesus while we had a conversation about forgiveness. It was a blessed event to share with. It was a very foggy night (from Oyen to just after Bieseker) but not much traffic. We pulled into Sam and Vi's at about 11:45 Alberta time.

Sunday, January 8 - We joined Sam and Vi at their church for worship had lunch, Kelly tuned the piano up and we headed for Edmonton to stay overnight with Cliff and Martha. That was a very lovely time as well (we felt like we were on a 'Hope father's' tour. Both couples sent their greetings to the church.

Monday, January 9 (6:30 AM) - we checked into the Alberta University Hospital and were ushered down to the area of the hospital where Sam's procedure would be performed. We met with the doctor and he explained what they would do as well as the possible complications. I'm glad we didn't know all those complications BEFORE we got there or I would have been much more apprehensive. In brief, here's what they did:
- they fed 4 small tubes up the femoral veins into the heart so they could look at all 4 chambers.
- they triggered the heart to beat at a high speed and then monitored it closely to see if they could find the extra pathway
- they located it on the left side of his heart
-they fed a flexible needle up through the tube and pierced the wall of the heart and then heated up the end of that needle and burned the pathway out

Now we watch him for the next several months to see if the pathway grows back (1 in 10 chance of that happening - he is no longer on heart meds). IN the meantime he has to be on blood thinner for two months to prevent the possiblity of stroke.

After about four hours in recovery we were allowed to take him home.

Tuesday, January 10 - we headed for home

Once again, thank you all for your prayers and help

Friday, January 06, 2006

This is it. Today's the day. I'm unplugging this beast and won't see it again until we're home from Edmonton with a little boy who's heart will finally beat normally on its own (thank you Jesus)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Author unknown - Contributed by Jackie Schlageter of New Mexico

1. The Bible will still have the answers.
2. Prayer will still work.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
6. There will still be singing of praise.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the Cross.
9. Jesus will still love you.
10. Jesus will still save the lost.

moving diaries #3

A moment of quiet in my boxed filled home. All the children are out playing in the snow. Tomorrow night I will sleep in my new home. I can hardly believe that all this is happening except for the towers of boxes and the pain in my back. The phrase that keeps running through my head is, "All is well."

Pondering John the Baptist

I was reading in John 1 this morning. John the Baptist gives testimony about 'a man' who was before him and is coming after him who will baptize with the Holy Spirit, one who is far greater than he. He also says that he did not know who it was until the Spirit like a dove descended on him.

But he would have recognized his cousin. He would have spent time with Jesus growing up, talking, playing. I wonder what kind of discussions they had. Did John ever suspect that Jesus was the One that he had been told about during his sojourn in the desert? As a babe in his mother's womb he had some inkling of what was coming, did that inkling grow? And yet when he was in prison he had to ask Jesus if he really was the Messiah, just to be sure, to allay his doubts. After all this was his cousin, could so great a one have sat at his table, sharing secret messages when no one was looking? Could his cousin, the one he went fishing with and climbed trees with be the long awaited one. Must have been mind-boggling.

Makes me wonder, who are these ones who live under my roof........really? Who are these ones that I rub shoulders with and worship with and call my friends and family. Gives one pause. God's admonition to love one another takes on a new light. You may be loving someone that has a destiny far beyond what we can imagine. Treat them well.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

moving diaries #2

I forget what day number I'm on now for this little moving diary. Days seem to either flow together or s t r e t c h. Still waiting for the bank to do its thing but everything else is in place to go on Friday. We're thinkin' we're just gonna have to take a leap of faith and make the move whether the bank's given the final okay or not due to Sam's surgery on Monday. Haven't got a clue what his recovery will be like and possession day is the 15th. Still gotta clean up this property before then AND move everything AND make Kelly's studio ready enough so he can teach in there (right now it's just a bare shell).

My dear husband should get an award or something for burning candles at both ends and in the middle. Juggling balls and not dropping any (so far anyway). I think he's going on pure adrenlin at the moment.

The kids are going a little crazy due to lack of routine, lack of anywhere to be because the house is full of boxes, lack of toys and lack of sane parents. Can't even do schoolwork cause I packed it all up!! Oh well, we can still read the few books that haven't made it into boxes yet. The computer and TV are getting a pretty good workout.

I'm hoping I've done the last load of laundry at this location but it seems to keep coming no matter what I do. Oh well.

I marvel at the women who came here to settle the prairies, travelling in covered wagons, sometimes pregnant, with only a skillet, a fire and one plate, mug and spoon per person. Guess washing dishes went pretty fast.

Actually got the kids to bed at normal times for the first time in probably a month! Yeah. Feels like I haven't sung to them or put them to bed without a breakdown (them or me) in weeks, that was nice. Gotta go call some loved ones who are heading to Cuba tomorrow. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

fresh flowers for January 3, 2006

The Day of Small Things
copyright 2006, Lani Wiens
a fresh flowers original

What would you think if you asked someone to come and help you with a specific task only to find that when they arrived they weren't willing to do the task you set out for them to do? They were quite willing to do a myriad of other things, just not the specific thing you really needed help with. If you were an employer you'd probably be fairly vexed and fire them on the spot. If it were a friend you may be annonyed and it may strain the relationship. As a parent I find it particularly exasperating when I need help with a specific task and my children offer to do anything but the thing I really need them to do.

That very thing happened at lunch time today and it got me to wondering how that looks in my realtionship with God and in my spiritual family. Often God assigns us a task to do. Often we don't want to do it, we have something else in mind. For example, perhaps He says, "You there in the green socks with pink stripes and purple polka dots, I want you to minister to the babies in the nursery." You notice that no one else in the vicinity has green socks with pink stripes and purple polka dots so you're pretty sure that you are the person He is addressing. You ponder the request. Working with babies in the nursery will not get you much thanks, notice or affirmation. You make a counter-offer. "How about this?" you say very sweetly, "I think I would like to sing in front with the worship team, preferably lead the team and have solos on a frequent basis since I'm pretty certain that with a touch of your Spirit I would be a real asset to the team. Whaddya think?

"I think I'd like you to minister to the babies in the nursery, that's where you'll grow and there's a definate need there that you can fill."

"How about this? I could be a prophet that speaks your words and guides the masses in the way they should go, be your mouthpiece and all that."

"I need you to work for me in the nursery, you can be my arms around those little babies, that's what I really need."

"A famous evangelist, winning the lost to the kingdom?"

"A baby rocker."

"A philanthropist, funding major projects in your name?"

"A diaper changer."

"You're not going to change your mind are you?"


"Is that final."

"For now, yes, that's final."

"Alright, I'll go sign up for the nursery." (grumble, grumble, grumble)

Sound familiar? There is an amazing, fabulous, beyond belief reason why God has us do each little assignment. He is preparing us for something. Building character in us. Moulding us and shaping us into something that more resembles His image.

If there is anything that my husband and I have learned in this season of waiting is that everything is preparation for something else as we submit to it. The second thing is that if God plants a dream in your heart and says it will happen it will come to pass without you pushing, pulling, striving, screaming, crying, begging, pleading or trying. We are asked to prepare, to get ready, to do the small things that He puts in our way each day so that someday the vision will come to pass, whether it is a personal vision, one for your local church, your city, your country or the world. His purposes WILLl be fulfilled and accomplished, He promised that in Phillipians chapter one. Be faithful in the small things, they will prepare you for more small things that will add up to something great in His kingdom.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Moving Diaries #1

It's already DAY 5 of our moving adventure. What has happened so far...

Day 1 - We met with our friends and the real estate agent to go over details and sign papers, we sit around stunned and amazed... Go to friend's for supper...yeah for spaghetti and meatsauce and spiritual parents.

Day 2 - Head to my husband's family farm for another Christmas gathering, leave some children there. (Thank you Grandpa and Grandma)

Day 3 - Kelly gets paperwork to the bank. A couple of friends come over and the packing begins. I realize that lifting boxes is not a good idea for a very pregnant woman. Ouchie. Find out that two young men (9 and 10 years old) can pack a playroom up without supervision - way to go guys!

Day 4 - More packing and preparation. Rugs come out, paint goes on, Kelly works furiously at finishing a client's piano repairs. I find out that having a friend who works for the military in supply distribution is a HUGE asset (boxes, tape and knowledge of packing tips).
Head to friends for a new year's party, stay up waaaaaaaaaaaay too late playing The Farming Game and eating food. (I won!!!!)

Day 5 - Go to church. SOOOOOOO good to be with the part of the body we call family. Rest and relax with kids. Clean like crazy in the evening and pack more stuff so people can look at our house on Monday.

Day 6 (Today) - Go to the fabric store and purchase the most beautiful fabrics for re-covering our couches that are badly stained at REALLY good prices! YIppee, I know what my first sewing project is for the year, I can hardly unwait to create my sewing room.

Go to the carpet store to pick up samples.
Get groceries.
Try not to do anything that will hurt my back.
Do a whole bunch of laundry, again.

HINT: If you have young children DO NOT purchase furniture with dark solid colors unless it is leather. Your furniture will become like ours, navy blue, the color of dried snot and light spots where the old snot and spills have been scrubbed out.

Tomorrow, we should hear from the bank to see if this whole deal is approved.