Friday, October 27, 2006

Sad and Glad

Our dear friends Carebear and Firestarter had to say good-bye to their oldest son this morning. At 6:30 AM, Caleb got his first chance at singing, "Hallelujah", he got to run and jump and dance today. He got to test out perfectly clear lungs and taste things for the first time. Best of all, he got to run and jump around with Jesus and express his heart like never before.

We will miss you Caleb, but you've done your job, you have touched all of our hearts...

fresh flowers for Oct 27

The Kingdom in My Garden
©2006, lani wiens
a fresh flowers original

I should have a green thumb if it could be passed on genetically – but I don’t. In my own defence I have actually kept several house plants alive – one even has about a 5 year span in my house, it’s even moved once. No, I have never claimed to be an excellent gardener but those living green things certainly teach me a lot of lessons. Here’s what I’ve learned this summer…

The zeal of the immature does not necessarily produce a good crop. There was a very obvious demarcation line in my garden between where I seeded and where I let my kids seed. Too much of a good thing doesn’t allow the seed to grow. Too little seed doesn’t provide sufficient companionship to the struggling loner – they tend to get ripped out along with the weeds or trampled. Of course no seed produces no crop at all. The spiritual application is pretty obvious. The kingdom needs us to be wise, mature and discerning in how, when and where we seed the gospel into the soil of people’s lives.

You can’t judge a potato by its skin. We have garden soil that is overly rich in nitrogen (that Soil Science degree does come in handy sometimes). This produces very scabby potatoes. They aren’t pretty to look at, their skin is rough rather than smooth. That roughness makes them difficult to peel but once you get passed that you have a potato like any other potato. It cooks, smells and tastes like every other potato. I must confess that I was prejudiced against my scabby potatoes. When someone suggested it wasn’t worth the trouble to dig them up I did just that. A little later someone suggested I really ought to make the effort, after all they are the same on the inside. I realized that this advisor was the wiser and decided I better get them in. Still I procrastinated. My dad warned me that I had only three days to get them in or I would lose them to the frost. I lost them friends. I lost my potato harvest because of laziness and prejudice. I didn’t make it a priority and I have no idea what kind of harvest I may have had because of my own neglect. Sad isn’t it? We do this every day. We say that the color of a person’s skin determines their worth and we don’t bother to go after the good stuff inside. We wait. We procrastinate. We’re lazy. The kingdom loses a harvest because of our neglect. Rather sobering isn’t it?

We are all in need of support. I couldn’t get at my tomato cages when we transplanted so they never got caged. Those plants grew to great proportions and their fruit and branches sagged to the ground. They needed a little propping up, a little support under the laden branches, some encouragement to lift their heads. We lost a few tomatoes to ground rot because of that. Thanks to my mom’s observations she was able to prop up a few with boards, but it was a good lesson.

Lack of wisdom combined with laziness will rob you of provision. We gathered in a great many tomatoes, they were great producers (thanks to my parents who grew them from seed). We grew a little tired of picking, washing, coring and freezing tomatoes. There was a lull when the cool weather struck and so we had a break from picking since they weren’t ripening as quickly. Then the frost warnings came out. We knew we should really get the rest of the crop in or we’d lose it. We sent the boys out to pick. They were not the owners and do not like tomatoes, they had no love for the crop and did a haphazard job, not fully bringing what they picked into the house but leaving them outside. The frost hit that night and all was lost. We lacked wisdom in sending out immature harvesters. We lacked wisdom in not supervising what they had done to make sure they finished the job. We did not put a high enough value on the crop (once again) to do it properly and again, lost some of the provision that could have been ours. Those poor tomatoes, left to the elements became food for birds and weaponry for young boys who like to throw things at each other. They were utterly destroyed.

My garden misadventures stand in sharp contrast to the way in which the harvesting at the farm took place. Following his dad’s lead my husband worked from sun-up till well past sundown taking the crop off the field. They persevered through daily breakdowns because they knew that this crop was their bread and butter for the rest of the year. They did not slow or take breaks until it was done; everything in the bins or on the ground in rings and under tarps. I can’t imagine what disarray the farm would be in if my father-in-law treated his farm like I treated my garden this summer.

I didn’t do it all wrong, I got a very nice crop of beans, peas and corn. I canned many jars of applesauce, plums, apricots, cherries and peaches. While there is more that could have been mine, I have learned some valuable lessons. The old saying, “make hay while the sun shines’ can be applied here, or perhaps translated, ‘take in the harvest in its season’. Harvesting is tiring, back-breaking work, but it is only a short season. There are many souls that have not yet been harvested for the kingdom of God, let’s not lose them to do immaturity, lack of wisdom, laziness or prejudice, they are our inheritance and we don’t want to lose that!
Jaylene Johnson

Saturday Nov. 4th 7:30
Hope Fellowship Church
809 32nd St. W
A love offering will be taken.

Jaylene Johnson takes a deep breath and tours again.

It was two years ago that Winnipeg singer/songwriter Jaylene Johnson crossed Canada on a solo tour that took her from Campbell River to the Maritimes by car. This is the first tour Jaylene has undertaken since then due a terrifying and near fatal car crash at the end of her 2004 tour.
“The accident was a literal crash-course in what really matters in life…It’s scary to travel so extensively again…But I’m still here, and maybe part of the reason is to keep getting my songs out there.”

Jaylene’s music has moved well beyond the realm of local acclaim. Songs have found their way to several placements through SONY Pictures TV, for shows such as CBS’s Joan of Arcadia and ABC’s Beautiful People, and the DVD release of Season 6 for Dawson’s Creek. “Finding Beautiful” also took off when she registered with CD Baby and received a glowing review on their front page. More recently, her music has been used in two independent short films by new York based director Joyce Storey, and her song “Butterfly Girl” has been recorded by a new trio called “Braided”, formed by three of last year’s Canadian Idol finalists and woven together by Canadian Idol music director, Mark Lalama.

Jaylene will be performing at Hope Fellowship Church on
Saturday, November 4th at 7:30

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Murder and Mayhem

This is what happens when you combine the following ingredients:

2 moms
11 children
2 sewing machines
2 quilts
1 deadline
1 pot of hamburger soup
1 batch of carrots that needs to be processed
unlimited number of Thomas the Tank Engine videos
uncountable number of Mini Wheats injested
1 dog
1 trespassing cat
1 neighbourhood kid
1 computer
2 dads (they came later)
1 chicken dinner complete with dessert
3 sleep-overs
1 evening of harp and bowl worship

then take away
1 mom
2 dads
2 kids

So........WHODUNIT....who was the murderer and who got murdered?

Those of you who know the answer are not allowed to guess!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Been Farmin' Long?

Since my big hunky husband was out a men's ministry meeting last night (was supposed to be our date night)...I had a date with my oldest son, kept him up ridiculously late playing The Farming Game - a remarkably realistic board game where you harvest various crops and can invest in diversification crops like cows and fruit.

My son cleaned up on me. Normally the winner is declared after a set period of time (who has the most net worth) or the first one to reach $250 000 in net worth. Welllllllllllllllllllll, when all was said and done my young tycoon had over 3.7 million in net worth. He just couldn't do anything wrong. It was so fun to watch him.

I did rather well myself with just over 2.7 million, my harvesting didn't pan out quite as well as his. He kept bugging me that he could buy my assets with the cash he had on hand (at one point that was almost, but not quite, true, then the market turned and I made some serious coin).

We have so much fun playing that game. Have had a few friends over lately to play, too. Might have to make a habit of that.......having friends over, playing games....way too much fun!

So anyone wanna go farmin'?

Monday, October 16, 2006

things and stuff

Feeling the need to post something. Not much to say. WAs down for a whole week with a whopper headache due to locked up muscles in my shoulders and neck from nursing. Who knew my sweet girl could cause such pain after she was delivered.

We have an honest-to-goodness mystery in our house. All of our kids piano books went missing. Between bedtime on Tuesday night and 9:00 the next morning they disappeared and no one knows anything about it. We even offered the kids a reward for whoever 'found' them, but they aren't offering anything up. Maybe the dog ate them. Kinda frustrating since we just got back into the piano lesson groove.

Got curriculum for the big guy! Lovin' that. He has to set goals for himself and then try to meet them each day. He's systematically studying something. His Social studies unit is on stewardship - I love it!! He loves it. We're happy. Homeschooling as a whole is going well. There is a lot to be said for consistency in small things. With boy #2 it's simply readin' writin' and 'rithmetic every day. That's a good thing for him, he's beginning to feel more confident and less contrary.

BIG NEWS!!!!! (no I am not pregnant.........but I know a lot of people who are!)

Jaylene Johnson
is going to be in concert at our church on Nov 4 at 7:30.
Price of admission: 0$$$$$$$$$ (we'll be taking an offering for her though)
She is such an excellent musician. And all this is because a dear young friend of mine liked her music and so she e-mailed her, she e-mailed back, etc., etc.

Anything else? hmmmmmmm...wanna go touch some fabric. Got a lovely little quilt developing on my sewing table and can't wait to cozy up under it. Lots of soft, muted colors, punched up with some rich blues and reds...yup, gotta go and sew......

Sunday, October 08, 2006

fresh flowers for October 8

copyright 2006, lani wiens
a fresh flowers original

Thanksgiving weekend is here. I am thankful for many things today, in particular....doors. Yes, doors. How do you feel about doors? You see I've been thinking a lot about doors lately. People often talk about opportunities as doors. There is the door to your heart, to your home, closed doors, open doors and locked doors. So many different kinds it's enough to make your head spin.

Before our family is something that looks like an open door, an opportunity. We won't know for sure if it's truly an open door unless we walk through it and see what's on the other side. But should we? (We'd appreciate your prayers in this.) This is what got me thinking about these crazy doors.

Sometimes when you come upon a door it is closed, or at least appears to be. Then you feel in your pocket and remember that some time ago, a key was given to you that might just unlock that door and you should probably use it. On the other hand there are times when a door is closed because you're not supposed to go there at all. Then there's that pesky third hand that says you should test the door and see if it opens for you and if it does, to go on in. Now for the open doors....

Sure that door looks open, but wisdom will tell you that treachery and temptation can be just on the other side of that open door (take a look in Proverbs if you don't believe me). There are times when a test of our faith is underway and God is seeing what we will do in certain circumstances, ask Abraham and Isaac about their trip to Mount Moria. And, of course, there is the truly open door, the invitation of the Spirit to walk this way. This all gets a little confusing doesn't it? So what is a body to do?

Fortunately, God has given us His Spirit and His Word to guide us. He's given us the map. In Jeremiah 6:16 its says, "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is and walk in it, and you will find rest for you souls." We must ask for direction. The rest of that verse says, "and you would have none of it." Ooops, that sounds a little stubborn and rebellious doesn't it? Guess if we're gonna ask, we better be prepared to obey. James also says that God will not withhold wisdom from us. He gives freely to those who ask. He also urges us to seek counsel from godly advisors, there is wisdom in it.

Ask, seek and knock. God will surely show you (and us) where the good way is. He has no desire to see us banging our heads against locked doors. He has no desire to see us get caught in temptation (see 1 Corinthians 10:13). Ask for the good way......and walk in it.