Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Exciting news

Yesterday was a pretty exciting day around here. We waited on pins and needles all day waiting for news from our friends on the birth of their baby. Well, he's here!! Ethan Isaac was born at 4:10 in the afternoon, 8.15 lbs, 21". It wasn't an easy birth but we're glad it's over!!

Then a little later in the evening we got the news that we won the e-bay auction we were in. We are now the owners of a new van - okay not new new - a 1998 Savanna. It has capacity for 10, 4 bucket seats, a converted top with a TV and VCR in it. We'll post pictures once it's here. Only drawback is that Kelly has to fly to Pennsylvania to pick it up. The good news, we paid for the whole thing, so no new payments or anything - we are so excited about that!

Gotta get the herd fed...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

fresh flowers for December 13

Can't think of a title
copyright 2007, lani wiens
a fresh flowers original

I didn't know when I became a mother what exactly would be required of me. If someone had told me there is a possibility that I may not have signed up. At this very moment my two oldest sons are sending lego to every corner of my basement with the catapults they just built. Then they come up giggling, thinking I have not heard their war cries and the lego hitting the walls. I say, "Are you planning to clean up the lego that you just sent to the far reaches of the basement?"
"You could hear that?" they ask incredulously, "How did you do that?"
"I'm a mother," I reply, "we're wired for that."

Apparently I am also wired to be a GPS unit for every single toy, piece of clothing, book and paper that we own. If someone can't find something, rather than look for it themselves, they simply ask me. The scary part is that nine times out of ten I actually know where the item is. For example: Boy #2 comes racing into the kitchen while I am preparing supper. "Mom, mom, where's Jack?" I race through the Rolodex in my head trying to think of who Jack might be, currently I don't know any Jacks and wouldn't know where they were if I did know one. I innocently ask, "Jack who?"
"Jack Sparrow, of course."
Of course Jack Sparrow, how could I be so silly, "He's under the table."
"Thanks mom."

There are new decorating themes that you should get used to as a mom. My most recent, cheese on soft green wall. How the cheese got there, I'm not even going to guess. Let's see what else have we discovered? Toothpaste texture on the bathroom counter. Shaving cream studded sinks. That was just today. Let's not forget the ever popular permanent marker primitive drawings and did you know that dry erase markers are not erasable on most walls? Glue stick makes for nice wall texture as well! My computer moniter has a distinctive border in grafite, a little brown marker and what's that in the corner...fly poop.

There are things that come out of your mouth that you may never would have imagined would become part of your daily speech. Questions like, "Who peed in the ___________?" We have personally filled in that blank with; the garbage can, the toy box, the tub, various pails and a can of nails.

I am a professional lie detector. I can spot a fib at 50 paces. I could get a job with the police department. Put that together with my super sonic hearing and my ability to remember who does what when and I should be worth my weight in gold.

I love being a mom most days, really I do. I'm awfully glad God is so much better at this than I am. I only have to keep up with 6 not 6 billion. As you wait on His coming this season may you pause in amazement at the incredible gift that God has given us. He personally, hears us, knows where we are at all times, answers every crazy question we have, spots us in our lies and lovingly corrects, directs and comforts us every single minute of the day.

Blessings to you and yours this glorious Christmas season.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The more I use Facebook the less I like it. It's impersonal and time-consuming. The only really good bit is Scrabulous. That, and the fact that I connected with a few old friends I haven't seen this decade. Anyways, enough sour notes.

Getting ready for Christmas this year has actually been fun. We have been able to purchase some very fun gifts for our kids and others, that has been a blessing. The simple fact that I'm not stressing out about every penny goes a long way to keeping this mommy happy.

Right now I'm enjoying a cuddle with my baby girl. I love that she still wants to sit on my lap for long periods of time, is mostly not demanding and loves to give hugs. IT is, however, difficult to type, so I guess I'm done.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

fresh flowers for December 6

The Promised Land
copyright, lani wiens, 2007
a fresh flowers original

Over here in the promised land the flowers seem to be blooming less than normal. Perhaps winter has been a little harsh on the posies lately. I've been ruminating on the promised land life and wondering what it might have been like for the Israelites way back then. You would hope that once you get to the promised land you'd have it made in the shade, milk and honey everywhere, new houses that might be a little more permanent, out of the hostile desert and into some treed areas. Now that I'm in our promised land I've been making a few observations.

1. The promised land requires some elbow grease.

So here we are, fresh over the Jordan and what do we run into...Jericho. A big, walled city that we are now required to inhabit. Apparently God does not see this as a problem, but an opportunity to remind his followers that He is still in the picture and life will still require faith to live. Yes, we feel like we are currently living in the promises that God made us a long time ago. Sometimes the amount of work required to live here is staggering. But is it worth it? I'm guessing when the Israelites got to plunder Jericho they weren't complaining! We're not complaining either.

2. The promised land can be intimidating.

The giants over here in the promised land are mighty big. The good thing is that the God of David is still on the throne and a small smooth stone of obedience can bring down the biggest giant we face. We just watched Facing The Giants (an excellent movie, we highly recommend it) and were moved to tears as we watched the actors face many of the same giants we've faced in our lifetime. It brought us to the realization that we have overcome much through the hand of God. The giants will keep coming, but if we're willing to give it our all, to lay ourselves on the altar of obedience, God will fight for us. We will continue to honor Him, whether we win or lose.

3. The promised land can be lonely.

It's all new people in the promised land. In order to get here we had to cross the Jordan, while our friends came to see us off, they stayed on the other side, they have their own promised land to get to. As we put down roots and build new relationships we miss the proximity and closeness of what we had. However, God is on this side of the river as well, He will never leave us or forsake us, He will help us move in and move on.

4. The promised land can be expensive.

Back in the desert things didn't wear out. Stuff showed up just when we needed it, sometimes right outside our door. However, God is saying that particular brand of provision isn't necessary anymore. We need to begin to replace the things we came with for new things that are approriate for this land. Our eyes are being opened to how worn out and ragged some of our things are. We are so thankful for the provision that God has made in the past and for the new kind of provision He is making now. There are times where I long for the old kind of provision but I'm learning to enjoy the new kind as well, it still requires faith to believe. It's a new land and a new lesson to learn.

5. The promised land requires adjustments.

Things were pretty comfortable in the desert, or at least familiar. There's a whole new way of doing things over here. New ways of being. Things are NOT the same. You are only allowed to say, "When I lived in the desert we did..." so many times before it isn't allowed anymore. It's time to adjust to the new land, the new ways, adapt to the customs, learn the language and become part of this new country. We have applied for citizenship in this new land of promise.

So many of the things we have dreamed of are happening right before our eyes. We lived for such a long time feeling like we were just on the edge of something and suddenly we're there. The tags are still a little scratchy and we don't feel like we've quite worn things in yet, there are days we wish we were back in the land of familiar, but being in the promised land is good. Very good.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

hurdles

There's nothing like doing things with a running start. We just got back from holidays. Before we left we were running like crazy to get ready, hosting meetings, youth events, packing and farm work. We took the flying leap up and over the hurdle and hung in mid air for a wonderful week of relaxing and playing with our kids and extended family, we had a fabulous time. Then the pause button got pushed again and we had to come back to earth. We drove into our garage at 5:30 PM, unloaded the kids and some of the stuff, waited for the babysitter, changed our clothes and put some make-up on and headed out again at 6:00 PM to go to the fundraiser banquet for the missions trip we're going on in February. This morning we were back in the saddle teaching Sunday School. This is a crazy life. We have two huge events coming this week with the youth group and then there's all the Christmas preparations to attend to. So....if you happen to read this, would you mind breathing for me, cause I'm not sure I'll get the chance.

NOTE TO SELF: It is worth every penny to have a cleaning person come in and tend to your home while you are away. Walking into a clean house after vacation is a little bit of heaven!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

fresh flowers for November 7

Daddy
a fresh flowers original
copyright 2007

Our youngest son has had a life long love affair with his daddy. He can't stand it when daddy leaves. He can't wait until daddy comes home. When he hears his daddy at the door he drops everything and runs to meet him with smiles, hugs and kisses. When daddy is leaving there are many hugs and kisses and often tears. Recently I mentioned to him that I had heard daddy drive into the lower part of our yard to load grain. I don't think that I finished the sentence before his active little brain put 'daddy' and 'yard' together and he took off running. He didn't stop for a jacket or shoes, he was single-minded in his purpose, he needed to see his daddy, feel his strong arms around him and be in his presence. This little boy's desire for his dad extends to his sleeping routines. If he knows that his daddy is in the house he makes his way to our bedroom at about 5:00 AM, crawls in beside his daddy and goes back to sleep, that, according to him is his spot.

I have to admit that my passion and excitement for my saviour is not as zealous as my son's is for his daddy, but oh I long for it to be that. My son's love is pure, unfettered, abandoned. He is secure in his position in his daddy's heart. He never questions his daddy's love for him. Even when he has been disciplined and daddy turns into "the meanest daddy ever", it is only for a moment, his mad disapates and he must be near daddy once again. It never stops him from seeking his daddy in the dark of night when his soul is lonely and needing warmth.

This is the warm, pulsing breath of first love. The driving need to be near, the leave-your-jacket-and-shoes behind kind of love that does not require the warmth of something external. I am praying for that awakening in my spirit. I want my soul to reverbrate with the realization that my daddy is near and I must get to him, now! Passion. Abandon. Security. Warmth. This is what I crave in my relationship with my God. How about you?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

precious moments for today

This morning I woke up with a headache (not unusual). As I was talking to Kelly and telling him about it, my 3 year old whirlwind jumped up on his chair put his hand on my forehead and prayed for it to go away!

After breakfast as I was cutting that same 3 year old's fingernails he looked up at me and said, "Mommy, you are my treasure."

My Samuel told me the other day that I was his 'golden star', "That means you are very beautiful, Mommy." Don't you love moments like that?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Observations from the farm

I should be making a poster for the Fun'N'Games night the youth are hosting on Oct 31 but am I? No, cause I'm tired and I want to go to bed but instead I'm cruising the world of my blogging buddies and enjoying this piece of my world. Blogging is so much more friendly than Facebook don't you think. The funnest thing about Facebook is playing Scrabble on-line - 7 games at a time!! No one to mess up the board, no one breathing down your neck to think! AND if you stink in one game, you're probably doing okay in another. My personal best - KLUTZ for 105 points!!!

Anyway, I actually came to post because I wanted to just say how much I enjoy homeschool AND public school. My kids are doing so well this year where they are. This evening I got to see Chris do math in his head (he has a severe learning disability, this is a major accomplishment). He has scored 75% and 76% on recent tests in science and social studies at his grade level, the school provided a scribe for him to either read questions, write answers or give him the spelling help that he needed to complete the tests. We are so thrilled for him, I'm afraid that success would most likely NOT be happening at home if I was his teacher.

On the other hand, my girl is doing fabulously well. She is so fun to work with. She catches on quickly, enjoys things I enjoy and we have a lot of fun together. She is doing well working on her own or with me. She is learning to sew, taking intiative in projects and cruising along at a good speed on all levels. She watched Anne of Green Gables for the first time this weekend and she is in love! I'm so happy. I had just started reading the book with her and the next day the babysitter brings the movie. How cool is that!

Another observation that I made this week. The reason city folk think we farmers are rich is because when we actually do get to the city we come in our good clothes with hair and make-up in place. We drop serious coin at the check-out because we buy everything at once rather than picking up a couple of things here and there. We have to get things when we're in town whether they're on sale or not because we don't know when we'll get back to the city again. That's my theory anyway. It is such a different way of shopping and spending money. It makes us look like we're rich but we're just like everyone else. Really.

Monday, October 15, 2007

fresh flowers for October 16

Open the Box
a fresh flowers original
copyright 2007, lani wiens

My husband is a giver. He loves giving gifts, it thrills him to no end. So when we got our first big payment for one of our crops he decided to do a little shopping and brought home presents for the kids, they were thrilled, too. Unfortunately, in the midst of all this merriment we had a little problem happening. It is not a new problem, it's been going on for awhile and we have had to work hard to change the course of things around here.

Our youngest son tends to take over his older brothers' stuff. He is particularly fond of whatever Samuel has, possibly because Samuel is a little softer than the bigger boys. Sasha has the mindset that if he likes it, he decides it is his and nothing you say will change his mind. At one point Samuel had saved up enough money to buy a train set he'd been wanting. When he got it, Sasha took over the train set. We tried everything we could to loosen his grip but eventually Samuel just gave up and decided he didn't want the set any more. It made us sad to see him abandon something he had worked so hard for. We didn't want to see that happen again.

Fast forward to this week. Sasha has received a very cool drum set and Samuel has received a little keyboard with a mike stand and everything. Everyone is happy for a little while until Sasha starts venturing too near Samuel's keyboard. We were curious to see what would happen, would history repeat itself? Samuel decided not to take any chances. As soon as he saw Sasha anywhere near his keyboard, he would stop playing and pack it into the box or he would pick the whole thing up and go to a different part of the house until Sasha came near again, then he would repeat the procedure. We tried to talk him out of continually packing it up but the fear of loss was too great to overcome. We were greatly saddened by his actions. He could not enjoy his gift for fear of his brother's interference.

This incident reminded of times in my own life and people I know who have been given a gift by the Lord Jesus Christ. They've been hurt because of other people's misuse of their gift and so they get a little shy about taking it out of the box and letting it be seen or enjoyed by others. The fear of getting hurt again is so great that they keep the gift hidden away. The gift remains in good condition but it never sees the light of day, it is useless. I am certain that our heavenly Father is greatly saddened when this happens just as we were.

As we encouraged Samuel to take his gift out and enjoy it, we also assured him that we would do everything we could to make sure Sasha did not abuse it. At first he wasn't so sure that he could trust us, and rightly so, his past experience indicated that perhaps our restrictions on Sasha's behaviour would prove to be fruitless. He watched us impose restrictions regarding the use of the other children's instruments. We established a rule that if one child was caught using another child's instrument without permission their own instrument would be confiscated. Slowly, Samuel let his gift out of the box. Not only did he begin to enjoy his gift and take part in the 'family band', he allowed his baby sister to enjoy his gift, too. We all took great delight in watching Elizabeth sing into his little microphone and dance to the music.

Can I encourage you today to try again? Take your dusty box off the shelf and lift the lid. The gift is still there, waiting for you. You may be a little rusty using it but that's okay, it will come back to you. Your heavenly Father will take great delight in seeing you use what He's given you. I pray that there will be those around you that you can trust to protect you from ones who may interfere. Try anyway, it will be worth it. Who knows what unexpected blessing may come to you and to others from your step of obedience. God doesn't give gifts to be hidden away, he wants to be a light on a hill, shining for all to see. Go ahead, use it, shake the dust off and give it a go. There is a great crowd waiting to cheer you on.

Paul's words to Timothy: "Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them so that everyone may see your progress." (1 Timothy 4:14, 15)
1 Corinthians 12 gives an excellent perspective on gifts given by the Lord for the good of the body of Christ, sit there awhile and let the Spirit minister to your spirit then open your box and let the gift out.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The 23rd channel

I read this in a newsletter I receive called Heart to Heart. While I don't watch TV (never hooked up our antenna) it certainly echoes my sentiments on the majority of television. Yes there are a few shows I wouldn't mind watching if given the opportunity but I think I'm leaning more this way lately.

Blessings...

THE 23RD CHANNEL
Author unknown - Thanks to Paula Archer in Ohio for sending this!

The TV is my shepherd , I shall not want
It makes me lie down on the sofa
It leads me away from the study of the Scriptures
It damages my soul
It leads me in the path of sex and violence for the sponsor's sake
Yea, though I walk in the shadow of my Christian responsibilities,
There will be no interruption, for the TV is with me
Its cable and remote control, they comfort me
It prepares a commercial before me in the presence of my worldliness
It anoints my head with Humanism
My coveting runneth over
Surely laziness and ignorance shall follow me all the days of my life
And, I shall dwell in my house watching TV forever.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

fresh flowers of October 5

The Power of Some
a fresh flowers original
copyright 2007, lani wiens

Since becoming a part of the pastoral team here in our beloved province I have had the privelege of being part of a number of events related to our denomination. There has been a lot of debate about the value of the church as an organized body, denominations, small groups and everything else in between. As a result we've seen people back away from the church, throw rocks at the bride and smear mud on her dress. As our denominational pastors and leaders met together this week I saw the strength of being part of a spiritual family on a broader plane than the local church. I witnessed first hand the strength, love and power of the body of Christ as it exists in the familial bonds that I happen to be a part of. Those bonds extend not only to the churches in our neck of the woods but to our nation and around the globe. Those bonds don't stop at our denominational borders but go to all those who claim Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

Early last week we took a few girls from our youth group to a Beautiful Unique Girl event. This was an excellent event speaking into the lives of young women of their beauty and purpose. Part of this event is a contest called the Power of One. It is an exciting challenge to the girls to see how they can affect change in their world as one person. They gave a number of examples of kids who have made a huge difference in the lives of exploited children and the homeless by simply choosing to do something about it. Our girls are very excited about this and have some excellent plans. However, after I thought about it I realized that these kids most likely wouldn't have been able to do what they did if someone else hadn't supported them in it. One example given was of a 5 year old girl who began collecting money for the homeless. Yes, it was definately her idea to do something, but her parents had to support her cause, drive her around and give her the go-ahead to do what she did. I'm guessing that our girls will only get so far with their ideas unless our church, our community and their families support what they want to do.

Our conference of pastors was most likely started by one brave soul who began pastoring a church, then there was another one and another one and here we are today over 30 churches strong in our province. During our retreat my husband and I had the privelege of being part of the worship team. As we practiced in the small room where our get togethers would be held our little team sounded loud to my ears. We weren't using any amplification but we seemed to fill the room...or so I thought. Then we all gathered together, pastors, wives, camp directors and ministry leaders. The room was full and so was the air. I could barely hear myself at all as my one voice joined with the others in praise to our God. It struck me how much louder and fuller the sound was with so many more voices blending together, I thought we might just raise the floor over our heads a few inches. It was an exhilirating time of worship and praise to our God.

Throughout the time together we shared joys, struggles, playful ribbing and times of prayer. It was an amazing thing to me to be joined together with so many others in the same purpose. We were not about our particular denomination or even our particular church. We were about fellows in the same ship, this business of shepherding, leading and nurturing souls towards the kingdom of God. Our denomination isn't perfect, our churches aren't perfect, our pastoral team isn't perfect but God is! We don't do church perfectly, we make mistakes, we let people down because we are imperfect human beings. But there is strength in being part of this team, in knowing that there is most likely someone else we can talk to who has had to walk through whatever it is we're walking through at the moment. This is the strength of spiritual family, the power of some!

May I be a voice to encourage you to go beyond your reticence and be a joiner. Get involved with your local church, encourage your pastor, cheer on your leaders. Grab someone else and bring them with you. When we all work together we will be a bright and shining light for the nations, a city on a hill that can't be hidden, a beacon of hope where there is none. Together.

"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:25

Friday, September 28, 2007

fresh flowers for September 28

Beginning Again...

'fresh flowers' as a weekly encouragment in your inbox has taken quite a long break, longer than I imagined it would be. The original reason I went on hiatus was because life was a little crazy around our house with moving, new baby and big decisions to make. However, as time went on without writing the enemy began to infilitrate my thought processes. I began to think that my writing didn't impact anyone, that I had nothing to say that would encourage anyone, and quietly, in the back of my head that I wasn't really good enough to be used by God anyway.

Over the course of this summer God began to challenge my thinking on those fronts. He brought me back to my secret place, reforging the bonds of intimacy between us. He began to heal my emotions and get my feet remembering that they were planted on a rock. He started to renew my spirit as I cried out to Him.

Out of that came a conviction to begin a women's Sunday School class, with the ulterior motive that perhaps I would get some of my own questions answered. The main one being, "Can God use an ordinary person like me to do anything at all?" God led me to a study by Angela Thomas called, "A Beautiful Offering". In the introduction she shares her story of feeling unlovely, invisible and broken. She tells her story of 'pretending for Jesus'. I find myself identifying with her on many of these issues, there are many times when I've pretended, felt less than adequate and certainly not beautiful. Through her book by the same name I've come to realize that God values brokeness, He knows that we are not enough all by ourselves and that we'll never make it alone. He knows we desparately need a Saviour. He loved us enough to give us one.

Then, just this week, I took some our youth group girls to an event called Beautiful Unique Girl. It didn't just impact our girls, it left it's mark on me, too. Or rather, God did. He reminded me that I am indeed, created Very Good, most excellent, magnificent, the crown of all creation. Then I was challenged to give my dream to God to see what He would do with it. I wrote down my desires and presented them to Him. My dreams scare me to be quite honest. I have a strange desire to write, to speak in front of people, to use the music and the creative gifts God has given me to impact His kingdom. They aren't everyone's dreams, but they are the ones He's given me. Within minutes after that presentation a lady came to me and asked me, "Are you fresh flowers? I read your blog quite often." Someone else sent me a message on facebook asking me if I still wrote because his mother so enjoyed having fresh flowers read to her, they had blessed her greatly before she died.

And so, with a humble heart I will once again offer the flowers that God sends me to you. Where this journey will take me, I don't know, but God does and we'll go together. My prayer is that fresh flowers will encourage you and lift you up for that is the purpose and maybe once in awhile to push you out of your comfort zone a little. There will be extra tidbits of our crazy house posted on my blog if you care to see what we're up to. I invite you to share with me your flowers, the things God impresses on you because they are encouraging to me. Most of all, today, I want you to know that God thinks you're beautiful, that He did not make any mistakes in His design of you. He wants you to dream with Him and see where that might take you. It only takes one person to begin to change the world, let it start with you.

Blessings,
the flowerlady

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Out of My Comfort Zone

This morning I stepped out of my comfort zone and began teaching a women's sunday school class. Fortunately for me (and them) I am not having to come up with the material myself. We are doing a study based on the sermon on the mount by Angela Thomas. It's called "Your Life as a Beautiful Offering." We've only watched the first 20 minutes of the introductory video and she's got us in tears. These are some of the questions I asked the ladies as we wrapped up our morning...

1. Has there been a time in your life when you realized that you were not beautiful? That you didn't measure up, that you were somehow flawed?

2. Are you now, or have you ever been a pretender?

3. Have you ever sat in judgement on someone else only to find yourself in that spot yourself crying out to God, "Are you repulsed by this mess? Am I ugly to you? How can you possibly use a broken girl like me?"

4. Have you ever had an experience where God spoke to you of your beauty, how much he truly loves you? Have you ever experience "The King being enthralled with your beauty!"?

Those were just the first 20 minutes. We've got 7 more weeks to go. I'm just praying that I'll get it!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Conflicting Thoughts

There has been much activity in my head and heart lately. Things that I ponder and wonder about. There are conflicting thoughts in my heart and I'm not altogether sure what to do with them all.

I had the opportunity to have my mother-in-law's cleaning lady come to my house while she is away. We pondered that and realized that it would probably not be a good use of our money since cleaning in our house is really an exercise in futility. I clean, most certainly, and spend much time doing it and hours, sometimes minutes, later it looks just like it did before I started. As well, 3 of my children are very capable of doing cleaning chores and sometimes they even do them without complaining. The four of us can get a lot done in short order when we work together. And then I began to think that if that lady came to babysit my kids I would pay her less for watching my children than I would for cleaning my house. My children are of much higher value to me than my house is but often I spend more time on it than I do on them. That should not be and yet the cleaning needs to happen because I do not wish to live in a sty. That is one of my conflicted thoughts. Do I spend money on someone cleaning so I can spend time with my kids, or do I spend the time training my kids to do the cleaning so we can spend that money on something else?

I've also been challenged with the use of our television lately. We don't actually watch television, we don't own a dish or subscribe to cable, we use it for DVDs and videos. However, my children usually watch a movie every day. That movie generally occurs between the end of the school day and supper time, when our house is at it's most crazy and them momma is at her lowest ebb. It tends to keep me sane. Is this a good use of their time? Some days I think it is, other days I think it isn't. We gone for months with no watching of any kind - then they gravitate toward the computer (we don't have any game cube or play station type stuff either). It is usually one or the other. Their time on the computer is also limited and yet there are times where I feel like I am a poor excuse for a mom because I have not subscribed to a higher standard.

Today I feel like I haven't taught my children a very good work ethic because they would rather be playing with their kittens than cleaning out the garden. I strive to be a good parent and many days feel like a miserable failure. I yell too much, don't spend enough time, don't teach them the right things. Amazingly enough, God seems to think that I can do this job. I am preparing to facilitate a class called A Beautiful Offering by Angela Thomas. I watched the introduction and am encouraged to see that even in that first bit she reminds us that God wants to use our ordinary lives and as we offer it to him it becomes a beautiful offering. He thinks I am beautiful, He is enthralled with me and that is difficult to wrap my head around. These are my thoughts for today.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

why I hardly ever post!

I shocked once again how long I can go between posting. Blogging is so not a priority anymore, even though I love doing it and enjoy reading other people's blogs. How did my life get so busy? OH yes...

-we started farming
-we started pastoring
-we have six kids
-we homeschool a little
-we have 3 kids that are 5 or younger
-we have a huge yard and house
-we have a life outside of the virtual reality
-we have massive garden space
-we are in the middle of harvest

Okay, that ought to do it, don't ya think??
Seriously, I love my life, hate Facebook, love my life. Did I mention that I am now on Facebook - I'm convinced it may be a cult. However, in an effort to be up-to-date and hip with the times, cause 90% of our youth group is on it...I'm there. Can't figure most of it out, but it has been fun connecting with people I haven't connected with in years.

I'm happy to report that the canning is mostly done. The tomatoes are still coming but everything else is finished which deserves a PRAISE THE LORD and HALLELUJAH! Yet another reason why I haven't had time to blog.

Homeschooling is such a fun thing with my girl. we've made butter, milked cows, are currently watching a garden spider catch and eat flies, and are having fun learning pioneer-type stuff. The big boys are loving school. Sam began Kindergarten today. we have 7 kittens (Lime, Daisy, Nermal, Garfield, Tippy, Blue and Flower) they are awfully cute.

That's all lunch is ready, so I must go. Something profound coming soon, I promise...or at least pictures of something profound...really...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Soap Contest

I hesitate to post this because, frankly, I want to win! However, to be fair, Nan is having a little contest over at Life is Like a Lunchbox where you could win some glorious soap. Go take a peek.

First Day of School


Today was almost a perfect day! Really! Everyone was up and dressed by 7:45. The three oldest children, Kelly and myself all were able to have devotions before we gathered at the table at 8:00 for breakfast with beds all made. We shared what we had learned, had a wonderful prayer time together and a leisurely breakfast. The boys had their stuff by the door the night before, lunches were made on time and theyhad their clothes laid out. We saw these two off on the bus at 8:40, nervous, but looking forward to their day!
After those guys left the rest of us tidied up the kitchen and got ready to start our homeschool day. These are some of the things we did today. Abby and I began a study on Proverbs 31 - she will illustrate the verses and we will, hopefully, end up with a book at the end. The boys did a little math, we worked on French and read the loveliest book, Miss Fannie's Hat. It perfectly illustrated a Godly woman's love for the Lord, what a treat to have 'accidentally' found it at our public library. We took a walk down our driveway (1 mile round trip) for gym class. It was perfect harvest weather. Abby didn't realize how much 'school' she did, she kept wondering when we'd start doing things and I had to explain to her how much we'd already done! We're still waiting for our math books because I ordered the wrong one, which happens to be just right for Sasha. Her English book showed up today so we can begin work on that tomorrow.

Next week we'll begin The Prairie Primer and start reading Little House in the Big Woods, we're going to make butter from start to finish, we are so looking forward to it!
While baby was sleeping we made these! In their former life they were just a plain old notebook and binder, but no longer. Inspired by Ann at Holy Experience we took out some pretty paper, glue and stickers and had ourselves a lovely time making lovely journals to record our days together. I was very taken with Ann's idea to record what we do during the day so I can see where the blank spots are. I still have a notebook that I plan ahead in, writing notes to myself about books to request, events to watch for and so forth. I did a little of that last year with the boys but Ann's suggestions make it much easier to keep it organized and when it's in such a pretty book I can't wait to write in it!

This is the verse I put on the inside front cover, my motto for homeschooling,
"Let my teaching fall like rain
and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants."
Deuteronomy 32:2

And on the front cover, "These are days of miracle and wonder." Paul Simon

The boys' reported a wonderful day at school, enjoying their teachers and classmates. A wonderful day was had by all.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

fresh flowers of August 25

My Hero
copyright 2007, lani wiens
a fresh flowers original

Ever have one of those days where you wish a superhero would come and rescue you? Either that or you could turn into a superhero - personally I would want to be Elasti-girl, she rocks! I love movies where there's a really great hero. Perhaps that's why I enjoy LOTR - there isn't just one hero, there are many. I don't think I've ever met anyone who doesn't like a great good winning over evil tale.

Over the last few weeks I keep hearing that old song, "Holding Out for a Hero", apparently it made a comeback from the eighties thanks to Shrek2 and my kids have been listening to it on YouTube. I couldn't remember all the words so I looked them up on the internet. You may be wondering how I could possibly find a flower in an old song from the eighties, hang with me it will all become clear. Read the lyrics...

Holding Out for a Hero
(Bonnie Tyler)

Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where’s the street-wise HerculesTo fight the rising odds?
Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss and I turn and I dream of what I need

I need a hero
I'm holding out for at hero 'till the end of the night
He's gotta be strong
And he's gotta be fast
And he's gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero 'till the morning light
He’s gotta be sure
And it’s gotta be soon
And he’s gotta be larger than life
Larger than life

Somewhere after midnight
In my wildest fantasy
Somewhere just beyond my reach
There’s someone reaching back for me
Racing on the thunder and rising with the heat
It’s gonna take a superman to sweep me off my feet

Repeat Chorus

Up where the mountains meet the heavens above
Out where the lightning splits the sea
I could swear there is someone somewhereWatching me
Through the wind and the chill and the rain
And the storm and the flood
I can feel his approachLike a fire in my blood

I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero 'till the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong
And he's gotta be fast
And he's gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero
'till the morning lightHe's gotta be sure
And it's gotta be soon
And he's gotta be larger than life
I need a hero

Don't we all feel this way at one time or another. Whoever wrote this song seemed to be on the verge of grasping something significant. There is someone reaching out for us, there is someone watching us, there is a hero coming to sweep us off our feet. Our wildest fantasty does not even come close to what is currently going on the heavenly realm and what will one day be reality. Check out a few of these scriptures. The first one from Colossians is what got me going on this train of thought as we had our devotions together this morning.

Colossians 1:13 - 14 "For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (NIV)

The Message says it this way, "God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He's set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating."

Doesn't that sound like a hero to you? Coming in the nick of time, saving you from certain death! Jesus Christ fits the hero described in that song rather well wouldn't you say. You can't get much larger than life than Jesus, but just to make sure he's the guy - he's larger than death, too.

Is he fresh from the fight? I believe He is always interceding for us, surrounding us behind and before. Isaiah 52:12 says, "...for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard." He is there with us in the midst of the turmoil.

If that doesn't get your spine tingling, listen to this description of Jesus from Revelation 19. "I saw heaven stading open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one but himself knows. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the namtions, "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS."

That's some hero, wouldn't you say? This is such a different picture of Jesus than the mild-mannered, children on his lap guy that we show to all the sunday school kids. I'm glad we have that picture of him, but on days like today I'm glad that I have a hero that is larger than life who is on his way the second I turn my desperate plea to his ear. He fights for me! He sings over me! He will go to war for me! How exciting is that? Jesus is the ultimate hero of all time.

Friday, August 24, 2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!!

Today is my birthday, when some women hit my age they might declare that this is the last birthday they'll ever have. 39 and holding?

I am a miracle, did you know that. According to the thoughts and whims of men, I should not exist, but God didn't think that and fortunately for me, my parents agreed with him. Let me tell you a little story...

39 years and 9 months ago my mom got pregnant with me. She'd already had three children and a number of miscarriages. After her second child it was recommended that she not have any more children because her womb was very fibrous. She had my brother after that and didn't expect to have any more children. Three years later she was pregnant again but wasn't aware of it. She became ill and had to have an emergency appendectomy.

After she realized she was pregnant the doctors recommended that she terminate the pregnancy due to the high levels of toxins and drugs that were circulating around her body. They were certain that the baby she carried would either die in utero or be severely disabled at the very least. My mom and dad prayed and sought the Lord and decided that if the Lord decided to give them a disabled child then He would also give them the grace they needed to raise that child.

I can't imagine what those months must have been like for my parents. When it came time for my delivery the doctor postponed his trip to visit his dying mother in Scotland, my dad took time off work and was allowed to be in the delivery room, unheard of in those days. They all held their breath and low and behold they had a perfectly healthy baby girl with no birth defects in sight.

After 39 years I'm still healthy physically and in every other way. I know that God chose for me to be on this earth for HIs purposes. What a great gift I've been given and today I give praise to the Lord for protecting me and seeing fit to bring me to this earth. My prayer is that my life would be a beautiful offering to Him in everything I do. He has given me so much!

So, the last birthday for me? No way, I plan to celebrate every year God gives me and anticipate it being better than the last. Happy birthday to me!

Monday, August 20, 2007

today

I'm amazed lately at how long I go in between posts. I used to post so very regularly but life is just so big and happening that this virtual world doesn't quite get on the priority list for every day anymore. I still enjoy visiting and reading other blogs that encourage and lift up. Just this morning I went over to Sunydazy Days and On the Wings of My Heart and was blessed by both those dear ladies.

I went to visit my mom and dad this week in their new house near my sister. It was a lovely time but seemed a bit frantic with so many kids cruising around. They have such a lovely yard and house to stop in for awhile, God has blessed them indeed.

Yesterday we took the kids that didn't stay at mom and dad's out for supper and then to the drive-in. What fun that was. Kelly ran into an old friend from camp at McDonalds' and we had a wonderful visit together as the kids played. Then at the drive-in our oldest son ran into a friend of his from camp, turned out his dad is a friend of Kelly's, too. We watched Ratatouille - a fun movied but all the scurrying rodents still creeped me out.

Today is quiet and rainy, fixing combines kind of day. I need to start pulling together lesson plans for Abby, figuring out what school supplies I need to buy for the boys and that sort of thing. Seems so quiet with only three kids home, of course one is out with daddy and one is sleeping and one just woke up so it's extra quiet at the moment.

I'm going to be teaching a women's sunday school class this fall. I've never done that before and I'm really looking forward to it. We're going to look at the lies and traps we let ourselves get sucked into and discover the way out - through developing our secret place, listening to God and hearing what He has to say about who we are and what He thinks of us. Since this is a big issue for me, I'm looking forward to what God will teach me through this...and hopefully a few other women will get blessed through it, too.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

check this out

The Battle for the Toy Box Contest!I entered the Battle for the Toy Box Contest on the HSB Company Porch. I hope to win over $100 worth of, Tales of Glory, Bible-based toysfrom one2believe!!

weary

Today has been a wearisome day. Too late to bed the night before. Too much bickering. Too many objects thrown. Too much non-compliance. Too much attitude.

I have truly thankful that the Lord chose to give us the six beautiful children we have but some days it all just seems like a little too much for these weak and weary bones to handle. So I need to remember some things that I can be thankful about.

** I have an amazing, wonderful, supportive husband that realized that mama was on the edge and needed some help today and let me go have a nap.

** When my children are grown they should have good skills for dealing with difficult and hard to live with people (we have one son that has ADHD, ODD/CD, and significant learning disablities, another who is three and EXTREMELY active and hard-headed).

** A wonderful couple came over last night to watch our six kids so we could go on a date.

** We are never, ever bored.

** I'm thankful that I have my curriculum picked and ordered for this year... I can hardly wait until it comes.

** I'm thankful that there is a secret place I can go when I just can't take one more spoon hurtling across the table. In that secret place I can rant and rave and no one gets hurt. In that secret place I can ask for wisdom and it will be given to me. In my secret place there is peace and rest. I am thankful that God is teaching me how to cultivate a secret place for without it I would surely die.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Getting REady for School

VBS is over, harvest is well underway and the start of school is only three weeks away. We are an eclectic family and aren't hard and fast to one way of educating our children. We have home-schooled, public schooled and used a separte stream school - French immersion. As each school year comes we seek the Lord as to what would be best for each child as each is an individual with their own needs.

This year our oldest three boys will all be going to public school. Josiah isn't too excited about it, especially since we found a great curriculum that he would have loved to work through based on the Chronicles of Narnia while browsing for materials for his sister.

We are going to be homeschooling Abby for the first time this fall. She has been in French immersion and they don't offer that anywhere in our new school division. We purchased Rosetta Stone material and got a bunch of reading material in French from her old school so we are going to give it a go. Yesterday I started wading through the decision making process of what material we would actually use for the rest of her studies. It was so much fun to talk with her and find out what she's interested in. I think we are going to have a lot of fun. We'll be doing some unit studies so that her little brothers can join in when they are both home.

I so love home-school and I so appreciate the work that the public school has been doing with my son who has learning disablities. Our all-encompassing stance makes us a little odd in eyes of both camps but we're okay with that, we will follow the path that the Lord leads us on.

In the next couple of weeks we'll get to go shopping for school supplies, I love that part of the whole process. New pencils, backpacks and running shoes...YEAH!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Life happenings

At long last a new post has arrived (warning it is very long to make up for not posting for however long it has been since I last posted - if you read fast you should make it to the end before the music stops). Why may you ask has it been so long? Okay you probably aren't asking and probably don't care but I'll tell you anyway. We've been doing this thing called life, it gets a little busy now and then.

We had our fabulous family reunion and had heaps of fun. The weather was atrociously hot. Since we don't have air conditioning we did the next best thing...go over to people's homes that do! As well, we bought a ridiculously long roll of plastic and made a slip and slide out of the hill outside our house. What fun, I'll be posting pictures of that later. I learned important lessons from that experience.

1. A great idea only becomes great when acted upon. We've talked about doing it and then actually did, and everyone had a great time.

2. A t-shirt and shorts is not a good thing to try sliding you don't exactly slide but come to a painful and grinding halt immediately after take-off which results in bruised ribs. I will not mention who learned this valuable lesson.

What else have we done? Oh yes, we moved my parents out of their home in the city and sent them packing off to the country. While my husband and son carried boxes I got to visit with a dear friend whom I haven't seen in months, what a lovely time that was.

Then we had a beach day/bbq/worship night with the youth and young adults. This, too, was a great time and more valuable lessons were learned.

1. If you don't want to hurt yourself on a tube ride, don't get on in the first place!
2. Don't go tubing in the late afternoon after the wind's picked up a little and there have been a lot of other boats on the lake...it makes things a little choppy.
3. It is very difficult to get back on a tube once you've been flung off in the middle of the lake.
4. Being the new person on the block can garner you crazy initiation type rides, designed to fling you off in the middle of the lake.
5. It is a good idea to let go gracefully when you feel like you're being stretched out on a rack and your shorts feel like they just might fall off.
6. Your arms will hurt for days afterward, stirring for any length of time will be painful.

And then...our dear friends came to spend the week of DVBS with us. I will mention now that they have 5 kids. Add that to our 6 and you have 11 kids and after the other daddy left 3 adults - 1 of whom headed out to the field early in the morning and came home early the next morning, so he doesn't really count. Make it 11 kids and 2 moms - the odds are not in our favor. HOWEVER, we have survived and had fun doing it. Somehighlights of our week. . .

1. Late night snackies after everyone is finally in bed, sleeping and the temperature has dropped to a comfortable level.
2. Going to the ladies time out every morning without any of our children in sight for at least 3 mornings - fun crafts, great desserts and excellent video speakers every day.
3. Going for slurpee runs.
4. Reading "Hank the Cowdog" book to the boys every evening - if you've never read one, you should, they are very funny.
5. Setting up the slip and slide (make sure your kids wear clothes that cover their bodies completely the next few days afterward or someone might think you are beating them)
6. Sending the four oldest boys off on their bikes for a grand adventure that kept them away from home for a good three hours.
7. The birth of new kittens. (whom the mommy moved after everyone kept bugging her and now we can't find them)
8. Watching our oldest sons parade around in their underwear every night of which we will post pictures if they do not immediately go to bed and quit reading over our shoulders. These pictures are not pretty - viewer discretion advised - GO TO BED!!!!!!!!!!
9. Watching Holly fall asleep watching a movie.
10. Folding approximately 17 loads of laundry in three days.
11. Watching Elizabeth play in the mud puddle.
12. Combining our first field (yes harvest is in full swing)
13. Taking my first farm wife meal out to my husband all by myself and not getting lost!
14. Visiting with Sonya, Kelly's younger sister who also was staying for the week with her three little ones (not here, that would have been really nuts)
15, A lovely evening stroll that turned into a panicked run as Abby came running down the road yelling, "Mommy, mommy!" As I ran toward her thinking the worst she finally shouts, "Can we give Elizabeth a bath?" Be still my beating heart.
16. The flooding of our steps, entrance and animal food bin by three little boys with a dangerous hose.
17. Leaving Sam behind because we forgot to count heads.
18. Picking up boys along the side of the road on our way into town. They didn't quite make it all the way there after they decided to walk in.
19. The garden did not stop for VBS and we had to take care of apples and beans in the midst of all this.
20. A disgusting science experiment that is currently sitting on our counter. How gross will a bag of buns in really hot weather get? We're gonna find out...
21. Test driving 2 three year olds at VBS - it didn't work.
22. Setting up my new laptop in the boys room so that they could watch Pirates 2 in "secret".
23. The scent of body spray all over the basement. and rotten eggs in the kitchen.
24. Did we mention the loads of towels? There have been at least 2 more since that last entry.
25. Remarkable amounts of fruit, cereal, meat, ice cream and cold cuts consumed.
26. Daily runs to the grocery store.
27. Loud meals that got louder every day.
28. All the kids have been out on the combine with Kelly at least once.
29. There is a lot of life going on here right now and as we all now, life is messy and tiring! but it sure is fun...and did I mention messy.
30. Following a standard bedtime routine every night made bedtime remarkably easy for 2 of us trying to get 11 kids down.
31. Shared chores made meal time preparation and clean up much easier and the kids didn't even complain a whole lot. (Each of our kids has a corresponding 'twin' in CWG's family - except for Elizabeth whose twin is on her way - we'll just say that in faith, why mess with a good pattern - so they just doubled up on their chores.)

That's probably enough for now. We've had fun and it's almost over. Why were they here? Because we wanted them of course! And CWG was doing some work in their house that was easier to do without 'help'. See his blog for some pics of what he was up to.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The hair...

Family picture with the dog!


The hair. Although in the shadow it's hard to see how bright it actually is.
Family picture without the dog. Josiah and Sasha don't look too happy, maybe we'll use the dog one instead...




Thursday, July 19, 2007

procrastinating

I am procrastinating so badly and I will pay, but right now I don't care, I've been enjoying myself running to knock on friends' doors in the blog world to see how everyone is. I've been to Africa and the States already this evening. How fun is that?



We are in the throes of getting ready for a big family reunion this weekend which means getting the yard and house ship-shape, cooking heaps of food, making mad dashes to the city for last minutes items that you should have purchased weeks ago and generally getting no sleep.



However, in the midst of it all we've been having some fun, too...



- I went to the 'big' city for a doctor's appointment for Sam with the respirologists. They were the ones pushing for his heart surgery b/c they were guessing that his meds were fouling up his respiratory system. Turns out they were right. He went from severly decreased lung capacity and three different medications to help him breathe to no meds and perfect lungs within a year of his surgery. Praise the Lord, he has a perfectly clean bill of health. Healed lungs and healed heart.



- Whilst I was in the big city I took it upon myself to purchase some hair coloring. One of my very bestest friends said she would oblige me by dumping the stuff on my head - I was too scared to do it myself. After a delightful meal in her home, we went at it, I am now strawberry blonde! Was supposed to be golden blonde but it's a little too reddish to call it golden. We quite like it.



-Also in the city I purchased some new scrapbooking supplies and have been turning out lovely pages of my precious little peanut. (K&Company makes the best paper ever! My Mind's Eye Tres Jolie line gets my vote for lovely little quotes to fill in a page - it's so fun to work with new stuff) Two of my crafty buddies from my former life came down and we had a fabulous little sleep-over and scrapbooking day.



- Last night my sister-in-law and I spirited our older kids away to the drive-in to watch Shrek the Third. What a hoot that was, we had so much fun. Great movie. We're hoping to get to Nancy Drew and PIrates 3 this summer, too.



- I started making an absolutely fabulous skirt in a pretty brown and cream print the other day, close fitting on top flaring out with a sweet vertical ruffle in the front seam. I'll post pics later.



Okay, I have to go shred 15 pounds of beef and clean my kitchen before I go to bed.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Reflection Awards


I have had the honor of being given an award. I am humbled and thank Randi at I Have To Say for her kind words she has given me a "Reflection Award". This is described as follows:

"make you reflect on five bloggers who have been an encouragement, a source of love, impacted you in some way, and have been a Godly example to you. Five Bloggers who when you reflect on them you get a sense of pride and joy… of knowing them and being blessed by them."
So now I get the privelege of passing it on to:
Randi - I have to give it back because I so enjoy reading her blog, she has inspired me to try things I had never thought of trying. The way she supports her kids in what they do is an excellent example to all moms.
Sarah - my dear real life sister in the Lord, what a testimony to God's faithfulness in the midst of dark times. You are a shining light in this here dark world. I love you so much.
Nin - can't have one sis without the other....that would be like Jekyll without Hyde, peanut butter without the jam, cheeze whiz without anything. The way Nin communicates her heart is direct arrow toward the Father. Blessings on you girl.
Tonia - we've been in the same blogosphere for a long time, living somewhat parallel lives. You are so honest in what you write and you write it so well.
TC - Fish in My Hair never fails to make me laugh. There have been many days where I was not feeling like laughing, ended up on TC's front porch and felt better afterwards. Thank you.
Lovely ladies, one and all, I look forward to more blogging days, so many wonderful people to meet!


Family Fantastic Camp

Tea I'm drinking: Lemon Spice with a bit of honey
Music I'm listening to: The song of a peaceful house (big boys are at camp, little ones are watching a movie, baby is sleeping, the dryer and washer are doing their jobs and the wind is singing in the trees to accompany the birds).

I'm in the midst of baking an insane amount of foccacia bread, italian cheese bread and plain cheese bread. Believe it or not these are mostly my own recipes (except the spice blend for the foccacia - I used Epicure's blend, but now I'm out so I'll have to make it up). I love baking bread, it's one of the things I'm really good at in the kitchen and today is cool enough to allow for baking in a big way! We have a big family to-do coming up next week and I'm on for the herb bread.

We had a wonderful weekend at family camp. Here is where we went. It was a smallish affair with only 7 families in attendance and that was very nice. They had their counselling staff on hand to assist us with our kids which was lovely. We went down the zip line (that thing is almost a 1/4 of a mile long), climbed walls, swam alot and ate wonderful food. The kids played games, caught crayfish, frogs and tadpoles in the creek and got nice and brown. On Saturday night they fed the kids early, took them off to play and prepared a banquet for the parents. WOW!! They sure know how to put on a spread complete with decorations, lovely music and deserts that were amazing. We also had a speaker, campfires and a hay ride. All of this for only $250! What a steal of a deal. We plan to bring as many families as we can convince to come next year, your extra special deal is that we are the speakers next year - what a bonus for you!

Gotta go mix up some more bread....I'll be back, I have much for to say today.

I'm back, my oh my, does that bread smell good! I also got to re-acquaint myself with a gal I went to Bible school with. That was an extra bonus. The two big boys stayed behind for a week of Junior Camp, hope they have fun. Here are some pics of our weekend...



So good to have a pool available when the temperature hit 39 degrees! (that's almost 100 in Farenheit). I got the bonus of driving into Saskatoon (a 6 hour round trip) in my air conditioned vehicle for the worst part of that day to pick up my long lost girlie and my boys' friend. So good to see her again after a 10 day separation.


The view from the top of the zip line! Very intimidating the first time you go down...and every time after for that.



Getting ready to head out on the hay ride to Lake Wannabea and beyond...








One of the fine young ladies who helped us with our kids and who also happens to be one of our youth group. For S and S, she was the best part of camp.



Kelly's birthday happened to be on Saturday and the other young lady's birthday was the day before so the staff sang a rousing rendition of something-or-other that resembled a birthday kind of greeting.



My littlest man atop a very big horse. I'm actually glad I wasn't there to see that. I think the horses scare me more than the zip line did.




The fraidy-cat brothers fight their fear and head to the zip line...way to go guys! I am so proud of you...they even had fun on the 'creepy' zip line.
Note to CWG and wife: EJ is a happy clam and has an excellent counsellor...no worries...ps. I signed off on his medical form and left our name as a contact if they couldn't get hold of you.

Here's my monkey girl on the climbing wall (tilt your head to the left to get a better idea of what she's doing). She totally loved the wall and did it 5 times in a row...that's all they'd let her do.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Showing Off (just a little)

Tea I'm drinking at the moment: Peppermint - soothing tea for an uptight mommy
Listening to: The Bridge - new Canadian artists singing variations on old hymns - a lovely, soothing listen.
Okay, today I am not wordless! Since we are heading off to family camp this afternoon it will be quiet around here for a few days. Leave lots of comments so I know I was missed at least a little okay! Below are a few of the projects I've been working on lately. I have so enjoyed going to other people's lovely blogs to see all the cute things that they're coming up with. I've been inspired, so I hope you enjoy these tidbits. These two cuties were dedicated to the Lord in matching John Deere outfits a couple of weeks ago. After making one for Princess Peanut I couldn't resist making one for her new cousin for their double dedication day. They were sooooooooooo cute. As Christ-bearer says, "Look how cute they are chillin' together!"
This is me in our Camelina field wearing the tunic top I made. Unfortunately tunics don't look so good on me, however, tucking it in totally took out the maternity/uniform look it had. I LOVE those stripes! Looking forward to wearing it plenty this summer.

Christ-bearer chillin' in the hammock that was kind of a group project. He had this idea about a year or more ago. We made the fabric part up but had no where to hang it in our old house. We found it the other day, dad added the wood, Firekid strung the string and I helped get it up onto the trees. That is one proud as punch cheesy grin wouldn't you say!
I was so inspired by Randi and the SewMamaSew sight that I had to try my hand at making a bag of my own. I think I get extra credit because I ended up having to draft my own pattern because my mama must have the same bag cut out and sitting somewhere in her sewing room because it was missing from the pattern packet. Anyway, I managed to draft my own pattern using the instructions as a guide. It wasn't really that hard and fortunately you can't see all the little screw ups. Yes it is the same fabric as my shirt and yes, Sonya, I promise to NOT use them at the same time! :)
Little more detail, the pink stuff on the bottom is shimmery and pretty! I couldn't get a decent picture of the lining fabric but it is fabric I used for making some boxer shorts that has little pigs all over it. I figured it was appropriate for a bag, you know..."to market to market to buy a fat hog" and "this little piggy went to market". So I think it will be named "The Little Piggy" bag!
So that's all my showing off for the moment! Have a blessed weekend...we're off for a family adventure, zip lines, climbing walls and swimming!!!



Tuesday, July 03, 2007

What to write?

It's a good thing there were some comments on here today, I was feeling a little bit sorry for myself today thinking no one reads this anyway so why do I bother?

Lucky you! Because of a few comments I am encouraged to continue. With what?

I don't know...I wanted to post the picture of boy #2 in the hammock he made (with a little help) with his big cheesy grin on his face...but my batteries are dead in my camera...

I have a flower running around in my head about giving of what we have freely because the source doesn't run out, but I never seem to get here when the thoughts are running in the right direction.

I could write about the funky smell I'm smellin' but am not quite sure what it is or if I want to know!

I could write about how stinkin' hot it is.

I could write that we're heading to family camp soon and very soon...kinda exciting.

I could make a post like Care Bear's about where we were a year ago....now that would be interesting!

- we had a three month old baby that was supposed to be only 2 months old.
- Now we have a delightful 16 month old baby who is cute as can be!
- I probably weighed the same as I do now - sad to say...and I don't have a scale so I can't tell ya how much that was...nor do I want to know.
- I had two dogs...now those two dogs are gone and I have a new one plus 4 cats
- I lived in the city in a big, beautiful house
- Now I live on a farm in a big, beautiful house
- We ran our own business from our home
- now we run our own business from our home, but it's a farm
- We had no regular income other than the goverment payments for child tax, etc.
- Now we have a regular income and that's a nice thing
- I was getting ready to home school our 2 oldest boys
- Now I am getting ready to home school our oldest girl and the boys will be going to school in town
- We were getting ready to stay at the farm for harvest - time with the distant possibility of moving here in the future
- Here we are, lock, stock and barrel!
- My husband didn't have any specific minsitry that he was involved in
- Now he is the associate pastor with a focus on youth in his home church - didn't see that one comin'


That's all for now, I'm tired and I want to go to bed.
-

Friday, June 29, 2007

Ode to my First Born


My oldest son is 11 years old today. 11 years ago today at this time I was recovering from the shock of having a baby and falling in love with the tiny miracle that was our son. The doctors had told us we'd probably never have kids, don't get your hopes up and all that. After a successful surgery we found ourselves with the incredible news that we would finally be parents. Josiah Daniel John has been such a joy to raise. While he is not perfect he is a mighty fine son.


He is caring and compassionate towards his younger siblings.

He loves to cuddle and play with his baby sister.

He has an incredible ability to picture something in his head and then build it out of Lego, K'nex or Bionicle parts and now, sometimes wood.

He loves to play imaginative games.

He has studied hard this year at our homeschool table and is holding a 93% average.

He is a handsome lad.

He is fun to be around.

He is polite and gracious (most of the time).

He is kind to younger children, taking time to play with them and include them when we are visiting or have visitors.

He is honest in his faith walk, not simply spouting answers to try and please us but thinking and deciding what is true at this point in his life.
He still gives me hugs every night before he goes to bed, and some random ones, just because!


I could go on for a very long time telling you about my wonderful son. Today he is off with his dad and brother in the city playing Battle for Middle Earth as a birthday treat. I love you Josiah and thank God every day for you, I couldn't have imagined a better first born. Have a great birthday!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Washing Clothes Instructions





Got this in an e-mail from my mom - figured I ought to share it!!




Washing Clothes Instructions

Never thought of a 'washer' in this light before..what a ble ssing!

' Washing Clothes Recipe' -- imagine having a recipe for this ! ! ! Years ago an Alabama grandmother gave the new bride the following recipe:This is an exact copy as written and found in an old scrapbook - with spelling errors and all.


WASHING CLOTHES

Build fire in backyard to heat kettle of rain water.


Set tubs so smoke wont blow in eyes if wind is pert.


Shave one hole c ake of lie soap in boilin water.


Sort things, make 3 piles 1 pile white, 1 pile colored, 1 pile work britches and rags.


To make starch, stir flour in cool water to smooth, then thin down with boiling water.


Take white things, rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, and boil, then rub colored don't boil just wrench and starch.


Take things out of kettle with broom stick handle, then wrench, and starch.


Hang old rags on fence.


Spread tea towels on grass.


Pore wrench water in flower bed.


Scrub porch with hot soapy water.


Turn tubs upside down.


Go put on clean dress, smooth hair with hair combs.


Brew cup of tea, sit and rock a spell and count your blessings. ================================================


Paste this over your washer and dryer. Next time when you think things are bleak, read it again, kiss that washing! machin e and dryer, and giv e thanks! First thing each morning you should run and hug your washer and dryer, also your toilet---those two-holers used to get mighty cold!For you non-southerners -wrench means rinse. ;)




AND WE THOUGHT WE HAVE IT ROUGH

Monday, June 25, 2007

a declaration of intent

Today's weather has reflected my mood. A bit of thunder, low lying clouds, bits of blue here and there, showers...

We have a son with some behavioural difficulties. He doesn't handle change very well and after the excitement of going back to the city to see grandma and grandpa and finding out that they're planning to move has been a bit much for him. Unfortunately the rest of us bear the brunt of his tirades until he can figure out how to deal with the grief and loss of yet another thing he's held dear.

It's not that he'll never see grandpa and grandma again, it's that their house was his first place of safety, they were his first parents, the first people who showed him any real love. He was a mess when he came into foster care in their home. They nursed him back to health, loved him to pieces and then when they moved in with us, he was transferred into our care. Social services put him in a permanent situation just before he turned two but that didn't go so well and we got him back 7 months later. He's been ours ever since, warts and all and we love him like our own. Unfortuately he came with a set of baggage most people don't understand.

At school he is a well-behaved wonderful kid that everyone adores. Even though he struggles with learning disabilities he is doing well, better than he did as a home-schooling kid, much to my chagrin. Because it's a small school (only 9 kids in his class) they can give him a lot of one on one help and attention and are willing to do things for him that I simply didn't have time to do. And he cooperates. However, the storm comes when he's at home. It's difficult to deal with, things get broken, people get hurt at times, it isn't fun. I wonder why I am not enough mother to him. Why doesn't he get it that he is truly loved and safe here?

In spite of all the difficulty we are going to adopt this boy. I'm declaring it for all the world to hear and all the spiritual realms. We're not giving up. After six years of brick walls we are convinced that now is the time to break down the walls and get this thing done.

I know this is not the usual tone of my blog but something in me today, after the storms we've been dealing with needs to declare that the enemy won't win. Our Christ-bearer will indeed bear Christ and he belongs to the Lord and to our family. So there!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Weeds in My Garden
copyright 2007, lani wiens
a fresh flowers original


A flower came popping up among my weeds today. I'm actually loving having all this garden space, which I know will be a shock to some. There is something inherently therapeutic about pulling weeds by hand. Ripping those life-sucking critters out, knowing that you are doing something very good for your plants, is deeply satisfying.

Out here on the farm we use all manner of ways to get rid of those weeds. We get down on our hands and knees, we use various types of hoes, we use the small roto-tiller, we spray, we use the small cultivator on the back of the garden tractor and for the really big stuff the John Deere 4230 with the big cultivator attached.

Late last week I used the hoe on my cucumber beds, they looked pretty good when I was done. Yesterday, we were all in the corn patch, me on my hands and knees, Fireboy with a hoe, the two little boys smashing and ripping the 'bad guys' up and my Music-man with the pull-hoe. Once we were done there wasn't a weed in sight, only my lovely rows of corn and black dirt. My, oh my that felt good.

Today we went after the potato patch. Fireboy and I with hoes and then I turned him loose with the roto-tiller since the patch was so big. Once again we felt good about taking all those weeds out. Then I happened to go by my cucumber beds that had been done such a short time ago. Over the weekend we had a lovely rain and then the last couple of days have been very sunny. Rain and sun make things grow. Plants as well as weeds. You would never know that I had weeded the cucumber patch. The weeds were thick and healthy looking. It was discouraging, but it made me think.

Many days I feel overrun by weeds. My sins look huge and overwhelming. I feel like my life is not bearing fruit or very lovely to look at. It's time to weed. I repent and ask for forgiveness yet it doesn't take long and those weeds are poking their heads up again. I get mad at my weeds and wish they would disappear but they just seem to keep coming back. One thing my dad, an excellent gardener taught me about gardening is this – if you want to have a clean garden, then weed clean. I always groaned when he said that and now my kids are groaning as I say it to them. To weed clean means to get down on your knees and take a good look at those weeds, yank them out by the roots and then carry them far away from your garden to dispose of them. When this is done regularly, that variety of weed will diminish and eventually, be eradicated from your garden. Not hard to see the spiritual application there is it? Get on your knees, take a good look at the weeds that the Holy Spirit is showing you, then locate the roots and yank it out. Take that weed to the foot of the cross and let the Master Gardener dispose of it. It will diminish and eventually be gone from your life. Not a bad pay off I'm thinking. There are times to take the big cultivator out and there are times for on your knees weeding we need to be discerning.

The interesting part is that while God doesn't put the weed seeds in our life but God causes all things to grow! The difficulties that come our way to grow our character make us grow and the weeds show up. The sunshine of His love causes us to grow and the weeds show up. The same environment that grows our faith and character shows the weeds for what they are. Very often it is right after a time of great spiritual rain and sunshine that the biggest, ugliest weeds poke their heads out and seem to flourish! The good news is that right after a rain is the easiest time to pull them out, when the soil of our spirits is soft and pliable. Another piece of good news is that the good stuff is growing, too and sooner or later will bear fruit. So don't grow weary in doing good – pulling out the weeds of sin – for if you do not give up you will reap a harvest of righteousness!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Q and A

Q: Where have all the flowers gone?

A: All I wanted was to have the little music box that plays when you come here and I couldn't have it without going with blogger' s updated, supposedly simple layout design. Was that really worth the ensuing hassle...I'm not sure, let me know.

ps: if you look closely at the brown background, it's all flowers! that's at least a happy thought...and the template is called Scribe, which appeals to a wanna-be writer like me!

Q: Why are there multiple links to the same person?

A: I like them alot...it's kind of my own little rating system for how how much much I I like like your your blog blog. OK, honestly, I HAVE NO IDEA!!!!!!!!!!!! I only entered them once, really I did....I was so happy they actually showed up this time I haven't worried too much about the multiplicity. If yours still isn't there, don't worry, it will show up eventually....possibly in triplicate!

Q: Why have the music box at the top of the sidebar, it's kinda ugly and should be at the bottom don't ya think?

A: Absolutely. This, too, is a unique feature of the 'very simple to use' click and drag new layout format..............that doesn't work for me!!!! Add all the elements you want it says....but risk losing your links or other items because you picked too many...they don't tell you that part.

Q: Are you a little bitter about the new layout format?

A: Possibly. I may have to seek blogger counselling or something.

Q: Has any good been done here?

A: I have pretty music that plays and it kept me up long enough to check on my sick girl one more time to find out that her fever had soared once again near the 40 degree mark (for the Americans, that's over 100).

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Very frustrating. Trying to get a picture in my sidebar and it just won't work......aaaarrggggh. I am so non-techno-savvy.

Sick baby for three days now...

crafty day today....fun

everything green and lush, including the weeds (sigh)

picture below courtesy of my biggest boy...too cute not to post

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

John Deere girl

Further down is my post about our real John Deer visit. However, I realized that I forgot to post my pictures of my John Deere girl in her outfit.
and Abby in her lovely sun dress that took only 45 minutes to cut out and sew!


John Deer

We had a lovely gift from the Father yesterday. A doe and her fawn came across our yard at the bottom of the hill about mid-afternoon. The little one was so unsteady on his feet we're sure he must have been only a day or two old. The doe got scared off and that little one dropped to the grass and stayed there until his mama came back for him later in the evening. We enjoyed taking a close up look (and a few pictures) of the precious thing. We named him John of course!! The little fellow didn't fret, just stayed as still as could be waiting for his mommy. What a treat!


Monday, June 11, 2007

Highlights...

I'm back after a wonderful weekend. I switched the computer off for the weekend, it was nice to not have it going for awhile.

Highlights from this weekend (and week):

- finishing the John Deere outfit and a wonderful sundress for by big girl. That sundress took me only 45 minutes from start to finish, I couldn't believe it! Unfortunately I forgot the rules at our school and she ended up having to wear her sweater all day. Pictures coming up later.

- weeding the garden with all my kids working together - it's handing having a lot of kids

- buying flowers and putting them in

- the lovely rain

- watching Pirates of the Caribbean #1 again - love that movie, why I don't know, just do

- our Sunday School picnic yesterday. How much fun was that! My pastor husband and his youth team led the service and did an amazing job (their first go at this kind of thing). Then a lovely picnic lunch. Then, the Zip-Line! Yup I went down that thing (it is the longest one in Canada!) The little push off the platform was a bit nerver-wracking but it was fun to fly for just a little while. Then the climbing wall, my fingers are still a little stiff. Much laughter and fun with the brethren - what a wonderful family we've been given out here in the country. The youth adopting our kids and loving on them so we were free to enjoy our day. A bit of a sunburn but not too bad. Slushies on the way home at the Hilltop Cafe.

- my husband home after being gone for three days.

- being invited out for supper with all my kids in tow.

- having a crafty night with a friend

-planning for more crafty nights

- working with my 7 year old girl - I think I shall call her Crafty Girl from now on - on a quilt she designed for her new cousin

It was a wonderful weekend. It truly was.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Lots of blogs have begun a 'picture post' and adopted a Wordless Wednesday. I think I may follow suit. This will be my first installment...


Monday, June 04, 2007

5 senses for Get Real Monday

Randi at I Have To Say always has "Get Real Monday" I'm usually not together enough to participate, but this time I think I can do it! The theme for today is the 5 senses...
I got to FEEL and SEE plenty of lovely fabrics this weekend since we were in the city. These are the ones that came home with me...some for quilting, some for garments...I'm looking forward to playing with all of them! The big pieces are (L to R) sundress for my big girl, shirts for me (the middle two) and backing for a quilt for my newest niece that my big girl and I are making together. Pictures of that when it's closer to finished.



We were in the city for our big girl's ballet recital...here she is in her owl costume, looking so very pretty. This would come under the SEE and HEAR category...as well as the FEEL for the proud mommy and daddy watching their little girl.
This is mommy FEELing the pain in her head that stayed there all weekend long - and princess peanut TASTEing a block! and possibly SMELLING a not-so-pretty diaper!
I got to SEE and HEAR princess peanut crash over in that little stroller just after I took that picture, big brother leaned on the handle a little too far and she wiggle a little too much...they were having so much fun just before that...this was at Grandma F's house.
TASTE ing burgers over at our friends before we head home. Also got to taste some absolutely delicious pork chops at my momma's house and some lovely munchies at a baby shower. A VERY full weekend.