Thursday, December 23, 2010

He is Here, He is Here, He is Here!!!

a fresh flowers original
copyright lani wiens, 2010

My kids have been watching, "Horton Hears a Who" this week, we've read the book, it's kinda in my head right now. This morning as I read my devotions the line from the movie, "We are here! We are here! We are here!" popped through my head as I read this passage from the Message...

Psalm 34:14-19

Turn your back on sin; do something good.
Embrace peace - don't let it get away!
God keeps and eye on his friends,
his ears pick up every moan and groan.
God won't put up with rebels;
he'll cull them from the pack.
Is anyone crying for help? God is listening,
ready to rescue you.
If your heart is broken, you'll find God right there;
if you're kicked in the gut he'll help you catch your breath.
Disciples so often get into trouble;
still, God is there every time.

The Who's were in big trouble, on the brink of annihilation, only one guy on their side and no one could hear them even though they were shouting for all they were worth.

Many days I am shouting for all I'm worth and feel like no one can hear. My heart is broken, I'm kicked in the gut and lying, crying in the dirt. My feeble cry is faint to my own ears let alone anyone else. Yet God tells me that He is HERE! Right beside me, helping catch my breath, reminding me that He is bigger than all this mess that I live in.

Justice will prevail and it is not mine to mete out. That's one job off my list! This disciple gets into trouble way too often. I react out of fear, get angry, yell, say things I shouldn't, am impatient, think horrible thoughts. Justice will come to me, too. So today, I will turn my back on sin and do something good. Today I will embrace peace and not let it get away.

HE IS HERE! HE IS HERE! HE IS HERE!

Here in a stable.

Here in my home.

Here in my attitude.

Here in my family.

Here in my heart.

Praise God, HE IS HERE!

Monday, December 20, 2010

(975) Some thankful thoughts

968. Thankful for things I can create.
969. 'Sweet' gifts to give to family, teachers and such...

970. For this man.




video

971. Little moments like these.


972. For little boys listening to their daddy sing on their CD player.
973. Little boys who like to play piano.
974. Online calendar programs that might actually make life easier.
975. Thankful that the train finally came in.
976. For things crossed off the to do list.
977. Ginger/lemon-grass tea.
978. Creamy Earl Grey tea.
979. Market Spice tea.
980. Pretty tea cups to drink my tea from.
981. Clean laundry that smells nice.
982. My snowman collection.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

967 - the war in my walls

I have to admit that it doesn't look alot like Christmas in my house this year. I haven't baked a single cookie. I haven't sent a single card. I did not write a Christmas letter. We did get the tree up with minimal decorations and that is all.

I've read a few Christmas-y posts and listened to Christmas music and attended some Christmas events. It's not that I don't love Christmas, I do. I love celebrating Jesus and finding and making gifts that I know the people I love will appreciate.

I haven't posted much of anything because the kind of stuff that we're dealing with at our house isn't the kind of stuff that most people want to hear about. You don't really want to hear about the new holes in the wall or how many of those new Christmas ornaments broke today. We are not sure how our child's brain works and why he chooses to do the things he does. However, I can see why it might be difficult to get into the Christmas spirit when you're dodging bombs, avoiding explosions and cleaning up shrapnel, binding wounds both physical and emotional. It's about all you can do just to survive the day, never mind the season. So, I guess I'm learning something from this experience after all.

There are things that I'm thankful for even in the midst of the war within my walls:

946. The cookies that my mom made with my kids so it LOOKS like I did Christmas baking (smile).
947. The simple Christmas program that my sister-in-law put together that was lovely.
948. I got to dance Mary's praise to God as part of the program - a blessing to be entrusted with that little piece. (Steve Bell's 'Magnificat')
949. Love shown to me by my daughter as she cleans up a mess that her brother made...because she wanted to.
950. My boys cleaning up the basement! (including their friend that stayed over)
951. The holiday that my husband and I went on, just the two of us, to refresh and recharge.
952. My parents staying with the kids so we could go.
953. My sister making the condo available to us at a price we could afford.
954. My husband for taking the time to do this for us.
955. All the little moments within that 9 days that reminded me why I love this man and can't wait to keep living with him for a long, long time!
956. The ability to play duets with my kids.
957. The ability to make gifts for people I love.
958. Christmas programs
959. Christmas music.
960. New Christmas decorations.
961. Vacuum cleaners that work.
962. Christmas vacation
963. The anticipation of gathering with people we love.
964. answers to prayer
965. Jesus
966. The Truth Project
967. Focus on the Family and other organizations that support families to live well.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Reason I Celebrate

a fresh flowers original
by lani wiens, copyright 2010


We have just begun going through a series called, "The Truth Project" promoted by Focus on the Family. The course is designed to wake up sleeping believers and challenge the worldview that is currently held by many. We are exploring what truth is and how it applies to every facet of life. These thoughts are challenging my foundations, the underlying question being, "Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?" If we do, how then shall we live?

In my devotions this morning I was pondering the concept of why Jesus came to earth. In his conversation with Pilate Jesus tells him, "For this reason I was born and came into the world, to testify to the truth." As I was thinking about this I realized that our God has done for us something that no other god in history has ever done. The intangible became tangible.

Our God wrapped himself in human flesh and came to dwell among us. He went from being somewhere out there, to right here and in person. What other god has done that? We had the opportunity to see, feel, hear and touch him. He taught us right here, in person. He showed himself to us in a way that is truly mind boggling if you stop to consider it.

There is no way, in light of what Jesus did, that you can deny God's existence. He was here, he bought the t-shirt and gave one to each of us. History testifies that Jesus was here. He proved that he was who he said he was - God. He proved over and over again that he had power in him that no else had ever had nor ever will. He contained the power of life and death, the ability to heal and to forgive sin. Tell me what other god in history has done any of those things?

The God we serve exists, he came and dwelt among us for a time to be a witness to that truth. In this season where we celebrate his coming to earth stop and ponder what Jesus did in coming here. Wonder anew that God became flesh and dwelt among us for it is a wondrous thing.

Blessings, have a very Merry Christmas, celebrating the truth of the season!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Lovely Links (945)

On my list of one thousand gifts I can't forget to list some of my favorite places to stop and breathe:

938. Randi at 'I have to say' is always a fun place to go and check out. She has a giveaway on this week so you might want to check it out.

939. Not only that she has a fabulous shop on Etsy called Fresh Squeezed Fabrics that I frequent! (that's where I got the pattern and fabric for Lizzy's jacket)!

940. To be inspired to really live read Holy Experience. Treasures from God's heart through Ann Voskamp.

941. Following our dear friends as they build their straw-bale home/business in the eco-village - Riverstone Studios.

942. And the fairer half of the Riverstone set has her own blog with this and that...

943. My bible school friend who makes me laugh! Thanks Marcia, you truly are a gift.

944. Our youth group website - a little fresh and fragile but just starting to grow.

945. A wonderful story of God's grace as he brings this lovely family together. What a privilege to watch it happen up close and personal...And I love the music my chickie friend has on here!

There are a few other places I like to go but these are my most frequent stops. Hope you enjoy them, too.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Losing my mind (937)

My husband is telling me I have post traumatic harvest syndrome (PSHS). I'm trying to understand why I can't get through the day without taking a nap. My brain doesn't seem to be working properly and I can't complete a project to save my life.

The day before yesterday I got out the winter coats, ski pants, boots and all in anticipation of the colder weather coming. I made sure all my little toes were warm enough and I sorted out all the too small stuff. Unfortunately, the mess is all still sitting there in piles, sorted but not put away, because I came upstairs and simply forgot that I had created a huge mess until I went downstairs again yesterday and there it was.

I've forgotten meat on the counter, books, projects, laundry in the washing machine. I feel like I am slowly losing my mind. I never used to be like this and I don't really have the energy to care. I am thankful for a strong will-power even if I'm not very disciplined. Perhaps I just need to find a few things to be thankful for;

925. small boys who 'fix' the cushion on my chair with tape so that it is all better - done out of love for their mom
926. a boy ready to tell the story of his healing to his peers
927. the wonderful lady who asked him, too
928. the young woman who loves my sons and takes them out for lunch
929. a sister-in-law who gives me her microwave because she doesn't need it when I told her about our microwave's untimely death
930. the play 'The Keeper' done by our old church family - such a nice way to spend an afternoon
931. the hope of a getaway with my husband - just the two of us
932. freshly washed sheets
933. cozy indoors when outdoors is yucky
934. the word of the Lord - retold by so many so it makes sense to me
935. the smell of fresh bread sitting on my counter (almost forgot to bake it today!)
936. home schooling - I really love it, even on the bad days
937. the trickle charger that we slap on every time the kids leave the lights on in the van and kill the battery

That's all for the moment, I have to go pick up the boys from piano lessons = I probably shouldn't forget them!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Harvest Ramblings and Accounting

Most days I have a plan in my head of what's going to happen before I roll out of bed. Sometimes I actually do the plan and sometimes life just gets in the way. I am thankful for my accountability sista (925) who calls every day and helps me decide if that list is too long for that day. I do the same for her. Today neither of us planned to accomplish anything much but we both did!! (926)

Harvest time is so busy with very little downtime. I've been doing fruit and vegetable harvesting for three months straight, with a little break to move my parents. I am looking forward to being all done! Just the carrots left and my gardens are finally finished. We have to finish harvesting honey and of course the crops in the field are not quite finished, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel...finally! (927)

I'd like to try and keep track of what I've harvested this year and I'm not likely to lose the world wide web so this looks like as good a place as any to record this year's bounty.

We started off with fruit:

100 lbs of cherries
- 6 quarts cherry pie filling
- 16 pints of cherry jam
- 49 quarts of preserves (there were more than that but we've eaten some :))
60 lbs of apricots
- 25 pints of jam
- 21 quarts of preserves
40 lbs of peaches
- I have 12 quarts left - we've eaten some of these, too
40 lbs of plums
- okay, some of those cherry quarts must be plums, but I couldn't see in the storage room very well
a LOT of apples
- 44 quarts of applesauce (not accurate, we've eaten alot already)
- 26 pints of applesauce
- 13 quarts of juice
Tomatoes
- 11 quarts of salsa
- 52 pints of salsa
- processed and froze about a dozen 4 cup bags of tomatoe sauce
Corn
- 44 4 cup bags in the freezer
Potatoes
- 18 large bags of potatoes (not the large in the store - we're talking feed bags)

I'm not done with the carrots yet but I've already processed 31 4cup bags.
I also have some fruit that I froze of the plums and apricots for cobblers and platz.

Then there's the honey, at the moment we have on hand:
- 7 ice cream pails full
- 3 - 3kg pails
- 7 - 3 gal pails
- 2 yogurt containers full
and tons of supers to process that we brought in this morning. We have also used and given away far more honey than that. I bake all my bread with honey and also used about 3 ice cream pails full to process my applesauce - best applesauce we've ever had!

So, that's my harvest ramble for the moment. I am thankful, IMMENSELY thankful for our bountiful harvest I know that many people were not able to harvest much of anything. I give all my gratitude to my maker, He knows how hard it is to continually fill 6 kids' bellies!

Harvest Blessings to one and all!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rough Stones (924)

a fresh flower original
by Lani Wiens, copyright 2010

Here by the water, I'll build an altar to praise you,
Out of the stones that I found here
I'll lay them down here rough as they are
Knowing that you can make them holy

from "Here By the Water" by Steve Bell off the album Romantics and Mystics

The other day my husband and I were listening to this song because it just happens to be our fave Steve Bell tune. It originally aired on the album Romantics and Mystics but has been redone for the Symphony Series which is even more incredible than the original is, you can go listen over here. If you ever get a chance to attend the Symphony concerts - GO!! You will be uplifted and mesmerized by the magnificent musicianship of the orchestra and Steve's band.

In the midst of listening to the song Kelly had a new take on the lyrics saying to me, "Think of those words in terms of our kids." It got me thinking. Our children are rough and sometimes harsh in their edges. They haven't been formed to fit into anything when they arrive in our arms, they are rough stones. We are given the task of softening the edges, polishing them up and getting them useful for whatever the Master has in store for them.

In order for that polishing and softening to occur we have to fully submit them to the Master, offer them back, rough as they are, knowing He can make them holy, set apart, useful to Him. Some days that seems like the most difficult part, particularly when you feel like those stones are coming at your head and you feel bruised and beaten by those stones you so carefully laid down. But where are we located?

We are here by the water, perhaps it was rough, maybe a quiet stream of refreshing, whatever body of water we've just passed through the Master was in the boat with us, guiding us by His strong hand, keeping our stones in the boat, refreshing us.

While our lives with our children are often fraught with trouble and questions we must remember that He is the one making them holy. He is at work in even the most rebellious and stubborn child.

Some thankfulness to end off this little piece:

894. Older brothers loving little sisters.
895. Prayers for peace and joy from a little boy with lots of energy.
896. Neighbors who bring home wandering little girls who go off to visit their grandmas,
897. People you can call to pray when you can't go any further and need some encouragement
898. Quiet songs.
899. Dads who come to dig carrots and potatoes.
900. Blogs that encourage with words.
901. Blogs that bless me with beauty.
902. Beautiful, sunshiny harvest weather.
903. A son working alongside his father and grandfather to bring in the harvest, the 5th generation to farm that land.
904. Extended family.
905. The hands and hearts that prepare for family to come together.
906. Plentiful potatoes
907. Copious corn
908. carrots, carrots and more carrots
909. Strangers who help bring a runaway home
910. Soft landings for hard moments
911. Music that speaks to a wounded soul
912. Youth that step up and minister to the ministers
913. Tea
914. My sewing machine, it's quiet hum soothes my spirit
915. Call display and answering machines
916. Honey from our bees
917. Tons of tomatoes
918. Strangers on the road who help
919. Little girls who dance whenever music comes on
920. Clean lentils
921. my new stove, it makes life so much easier
922. All the rows of canning in my cold room
923. Having my mommy close by
924. Brothers and sisters realizing that they love one another

Thursday, September 30, 2010

fresh flowers for today

Epic Fail or Gift of Grace?
a fresh flower original
by Lani Wiens, copyright September 2010

When things go wrong we tend to just see the wrong and not look at the evidence that God is there with us in the midst of the nasty circumstance. This week I had the opportunity to 'see' God's hand of comfort with me in the midst of an epic fail of a day. It was so obvious I couldn't miss it, read on...

Tuesday started out like any other day when we're heading into the city. We'd scheduled several appointments and were starting out early. We hoped to have a little time in between to do some treasure hunting at second hand stores but mostly our day was pretty sewn up. The highlight was going to be seeing my niece's brand new baby for the first time, we were pretty excited to get started on the day. The night before the three youngest went to grandma's for a sleepover so that the men could get out to the field early and they wouldn't have to wake up so early. We got going right on time and everything seemed great.

As I drove I inquired of the Lord as to which road to take in. Would I have enough time to drop off the grain sample before the first appointment or not? I felt strongly to head that way first which took me into the south end of the city rather than the west end...which would prove to be the second piece of God's comfort for the upcoming events of the day. I easily found the broker's office and dropped off the sample and headed to our first appointment. I was just coming off the overpass onto the freeway when I felt a little wobble in the back end of the van. I had time to think, "Oh no, not again", remembering my tire blow-out earlier in the summer, before we felt a big thump and I realized I had problems. I was able to steer to the side of the on-ramp and jumped out to see what the issue was. Well, it wasn't a flat tire, I didn't have a tire at all, nor a wheel for that matter, the parts of it were scattered through the intersection - pieces of brakes, the hubcap and tire were no longer with us.

I got out my CAA card and cell phone and made a call for a tow truck while the two kids I had with me carefully gathered up the pieces in between traffic. While I was waiting on the phone a vehicle stopped and a fellow got out. This guy stuck with me through the whole ordeal - Jay, my personal good samaritan. He 'happened' to work at the Ford dealership in the service department, which just 'happened' to be across from where we were - he wasn't working that day. So while I was on the phone arranging the tow truck he arranged for the service guys to prepare for us and got a loaner vehicle set up. He then proceeded to stick with me directing traffic around our disabled van and offering comfort and support. His reason, "I would hope that someone would do the same for my wife and kids in a similar situation." This young man also 'happened' to have grown up in the neighbouring town. His wife just a little further away, but their youth group used to hang out with the youth group from here when she was younger which we now pastor. Small world.

After the tow truck hooked us up, Jay and his wife drove us to the garage and introduced us to the manager and made sure we were taken care of before they headed off to the rest of their day. The garage treated me with respect and care like I have rarely experienced in a garage setting.

We were finally off on our day, or so we thought, with a rental vehicle (paid for by the garage) and went to the dentist. We were there for a few hours and then headed over to a nearby store to look around a little. We were going through the check-out when we got the call from the garage that the fix would definitely keep us in the city over night. Fortunately, the younger children already had their overnight things at my mom's so staying another night wouldn't be a problem - the first piece of intervention on our behalf by my great bit God. In the meantime my sister-in-law walked into the store. We stopped to chat for a bit and in the midst of that chat my oldest daughter suddenly collapsed to the floor. She had fainted, most likely from the dental work, but gave us rather a good scare. Her brother thought she was dead - proving to himself and to her that he really does love her. While we waited for the paramedics to show up, my sister-in-law was there with us offering comfort and support. She had just 'happened' to come into the store to kill a little time before her doctor's appointment.

After scraping ourselves off the floor and dealing with the paramedics who declared her fit to carry on, the three of us went on with our day...again. We did manage to see our delightful new relative which was absolutely the high point of the day. Around supper time we headed over to some friends with whom we'd arranged care and feeding. After supper the kids headed over to the nearby park to play for a bit. We were enjoying a cup of tea when the girls came running in at high speed and talking even faster...something about a fight and someone getting beat up...Darcy headed out immediately to see what was going on while Holly and I tried to decipher the girls' high speed talking. By the time we figured out what they were trying to tell us Darcy had come back in with the boys. Chris was visibly shaken and crying. Apparently, an older girl in the park had 'asked him out'. When he refused she got mad and started trash talking him, the girl she was with picked up a shovel and made advances toward my son and he stopped her before she could do any damage, of course they didn't like that, and an older brother was called in... wisely, the four of them high-tailed it out of there before anything else happened. My motherly instincts wanted to give hugs and kisses but my wise, manly friend, who 'happened' to have decided to stay home that evening instead of attending a coffee time, seemed to know that the comfort my son needed at the time was the fellowship of guys cheering for a hockey team...who knew. My daughter got to realize that she loves her brother and demonstrated the same level of concern for him that he had offered to her earlier that day.

I had called another friend to see if we could do a last minute crash at her house. For the last three days she had been praying for me and was totally prepared for my call. God knew I'd need the calmness of her presence and home at the end of this day and He had it all ready for me.

The God of all comfort provided me with hands on help for every situation in this incredibly weird day of nasty events. On the outside looking in it was an epic fail of a day, costing us time and money that we couldn't afford, yet I have never felt so well-cared for in such a stressful situation as I did on Tuesday. I'm confident that the comfort I have received will be passed on to someone else one day. God is in the midst of our trials whether or not we recognize it at the time. I didn't fall apart or even shed a tear throughout all of that, just felt the peace and care that passes human understanding. When we picked up the van the service manager assured me several times that it was safe to go home. I needed to hear that. He explained everything to me in a kind way with no condescension whatsoever.

This morning, safely home and in my own place my husband showed me something he had found on the ground, one of the studs from the wheel. My wheel was already compromised from the moment I left the yard yet it held together until I was in a place where it could safely come off without injury to anyone. God knew I hate dealing with garages so he provided someone to make the decision for me. He knew all that would happen in the moments and times that it would and went ahead of me. My God is good.

Safety Tip: When having your tires replaced make sure the garage uses a torque wrench and not an impact wrench to tighten the nuts. Overtightening the nuts puts too much stress on the studs and they will sheer off causing you to lose your wheel several weeks after the tire change, which is what happened to me.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Flower of Jesus

A Flower of Jesus
by Lani Wiens (copyright 2010)
a fresh flowers original


Last night during our family Bible reading/prayer time a flower popped up!!! It seems like I haven't had one for so long I almost didn't know what to do with it, then I remembered, WRITE IT DOWN. Share it for the encouragement of others.

My six year old is still in the process of learning to read but loves trying out his skills during our family time. While we're praying he has been using scripture to pray, reading a prayer or psalm out of his special Bible. Unfortunately, he doesn't always slow down to sound out each word and makes a few mistakes. The other night we had a host of heavenly animals proclaiming Jesus' birth to the shepherds instead of angels. They begin and end the same so I can see how he could have made the mistake. It made me smile...the picture of camels, cows and horses dancing and singing in the sky. It would have been quite a sight!

Last night's slip up made me ponder, however, and I've been pondering until I had something to share here. "Help us be flowers of Jesus, " he read. 'Flowers of Jesus' instead of 'followers', I didn't bother correcting him, even though his sister snickered. Let's ponder flowers for a moment. We spend tons of money to beautify our yards and communities with these fragile, delicate plants that don't give us anything in return - or do they?

Flowers give us pause, they draw us to themselves. Our spirits are lifted by drinking in the beauty of flowers. As we come closer and are enveloped by their scent we are filled with peace and joy. There is a sense of satisfaction and rest that accompanies flowers. We give flowers to those who are sick to cheer them. We decorate with flowers to celebrate special events like weddings, birthdays and babies. We use flowers to bring comfort to those who mourn. And we plant and cultivate flowers for the sheer beauty of it.

Have you ever been drawn in by an artificial flower? They are a lovely, long-lasting representation of the real thing but there is no scent, no life in them. While they look pretty on the outside, there is nothing of substance on the inside. We quickly move on feeling disappointed and foolish. I pray that I am not disappointing to those looking for the beauty of Jesus and I'm the one they come to examine.

Followers of Jesus are asked to weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice. We are to point seekers to the way of the cross. We give off the scent of Christ, bringing life to those who want it. We bring with us compassion and strength to those who need it. We are to reflect the glory of God the Father. That job description is not that different from flowers is it?

I think I want to be a 'Flower of Jesus'. I want to bring beauty, peace and joy to those who see me, I want to have the scent of the Father on me bringing comfort to those who mourn and calmness to those who stop near to see if I'm real. 'Beauty is God's gift to us to fill in the trenches of pain.' I read that somewhere once and it has stuck with me. There is a reason for beauty in this world, we need to stop and drink it in to refresh our spirits and revive us. I want to reflect the beauty of the Father to all who happen to see me.

Today, be a 'Flower of Jesus' to someone. Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The New Jacket





My cousin and I sewed these jackets this week for our little girls! They are so cute. Little plug for Fresh Squeezed Fabrics on Etsy where we purchased our supplies!!

We love them and the girls do, too!! The pattern is the Uptown Girl reversible jacket.

grace notes for today (893)

881. a good night's sleep
882. warbling voices singing with me this morning around the table..."You are the Everlasting God..."
883. sewing with friends
884. passages, stages of life that are complete
885. 500+ pounds of honey harvested
886. dark red tomatoes, dehydrated and stored for winter use
887. assignments marked and assigned
889. understanding and love in the eyes of children as we explain the plan to heal the rejected and heartbroken among us
890. threads of healing
891. words not spoken, a victory over my wayward tongue
892. faith rising up while rain falls down on our unharvested fields
893. helping hands

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Surrendering

I realized today that I am a failure. It's true and apparently it's okay. I can't do a single thing on my own. I was brought face to face with that reality as my husband preached this morning. I can't do anything unless Christ is at work in me. Unfortunately for me and all those around me I too often forget to surrender my frailty to Him. The words on the page say that He has it all under control and I need to surrender the whole thing to Him. I'm good with that...my question is how do I then live?

As a parent how do I discipline in the reality that I'm not in control of the situation?
As a leader in the church how do I plan and pursue ministry ideas?
As a wife, how do I love my husband the way he needs to be loved?
How do I go about surrendering my gifts, talents, ideas and dreams to the one who created them all in the first place?

I'm not sure how the surrender process looks. I'd be okay with simply not getting up in the morning and letting the Lord make lunches and clean and the 1000 other things on my to do list every day but I'm pretty sure that is NOT how it goes.

I'm truly at a loss here...I desperately want to surrender, to let Him have control, to get rid of my nasty self and let the fruit of the Spirit show up, I'm just having trouble getting her to lay down and die.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

September 1 thankfulness (880)

863. Cherries
864. Apricots
865. Apples
866. Beans
867. Peaches
868. Plums
869. Honey
870. Strawberries
870.5 Peppers

These are the things we have put in our storehouse so far this year. So much work but so satisfying to see it sitting on the shelves in my cold room.

I am also thankful for...

871. The first painful days of school being done.
872. A more organized start to this year's homeschooling.
873. A more peaceful countenance on my eldest son as he is back at home this year.
874. My nephew - the massage therapist.
875. New routines.
876. My massage cushions.
877. Encouraging words and phone calls.
878. My parents being near by again.
879. The community in which I live.
880. Finding the right curriculum for my kids.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

as I turn 42...

Things I'm thankful for as I start my 43rd year...

829. hair color that goes over gray
830. friends who have cabins on the lake and invite you over
831. beautiful scenery while sitting on the deck
832. young people talking around a fire
833. older brother encouraging and cheering his little sister as she climbs the rope for the first time
834. strong young limbs swinging across the bars
835. cute little teddy bear puppy
836. sleek black/stainless steel stove
837. strawberries
838. green beans
839. big sister making smoothies for younger siblings
840. good friends
841. wonderful family
842. hanging clothes out on the line
843. corn stalks taller than my head
844. trains coming to collect grain that's been stored for 2 years
845. climbing lentil prices
846. funny moments
847. the drive-in
848. honey
849. pretty aprons made by a friend
850. plans to gather to sew
851. little boys finally cleaning their room by themselves
852. bags of old paper going out of the office as we clean
853. the dawn of a new school year
854. an uneventful summer with our explosive son
855. phone calls just because
856. parents who are near
857. accountability you can trust
858. a heart that can grieve loss for another
859. hope for healing
860. beautiful daughters
861. handsome sons
862. possibilites

Friday, August 13, 2010

Of Rain and Coming of Age

The rain is sighing, overflowing already saturated ground. Inside, tempers flare here and there, words exchanged at high decibels. Elsewhere children seek solitude in public places. Others look for attention from me when I just want my own space, too. The dryer runs in circles seeking to end the wetness within. It is a reflective moment. I am not surrounded by my tribe at the moment, they have wandered off to more interesting places. The rain continues outside the window and a little inside my heart. This summer has been busier than I was prepared for, even though I knew ahead of time what lay in store. "He restores my soul", He will fill up the places that have been drained dry, soften the rough edges worn thin by exhaustion, knead the muscles that have tensed. I need to find the space to let Him minister to me, this seems to be the lesson that is to be learned this summer, I haven't quite figured it out yet. I need to 'come-of-age', learn how to walk like He wants me, too. It's time for new lessons.

Tonight we'll celebrate a milestone, a coming of age. Boy #2 turns 12 on Sunday but we will not be home, so this evening we will mark the passage into manhood. His body is not yet aware he is a man-in-training, he still looks younger than his 12 years. His mind does not yet know that he will have to shoulder great responsibility one day. His spirit has not yet discovered the wealth of strength that resides there. He is 70 lbs of raw potential. The distance we have traveled with this young man is vast and twisting, over sharp rocks and rough ground. If I had known it would be so difficult would I have said yes? I don't know. Since he has come home again things have been better. When you step away you can see growth that you can't see up close. He is growing, changing, maturing. If I had said no I would not be a witness to the transformation that I am privy, too.

Oh Lord, give us the wisdom to mold, shape and train this man-child. Help us to guide him into the path you have created just for him. Thank you for opportunity you've given us to choose him, every day. Transform me into the mom he needs. Soften my words like you've softened the ground. Let my spirit be saturated with your love so that it oozes out with the merest drizzle. Make my spirit slick like our roads so that anger and depression cannot get a grip, that offenses simply slide off into the ditch, forgotten. Give me an abundant heart, rich and full, ready for harvest.

Monday, July 12, 2010

vaCATION CHRONICLES - PART 7

DAY 7 - MORE GREENDALE!!

We are still having fun in Greendale celebrating anniversaries and birthdays and generally enjoying each other's company.

We eat. We visit. We play. We eat. We visit. We play.

We visit the honey farm near by where a cousin works. Very cool since we have recently brought some hives to our farm and are looking forward to our first honey harvest.

We take loads of pictures, play, eat, visit and just keep going around that same wonderful bush all day long. We were going to pull into our RV park this evening but decide to postpone til tomorrow morning so the kids can hang out as long as possible. Honestly, it's not just the kids, the adults have no desire to go either.

We make plans to get back together later in the week and finally drag ourselves off to bed, but not before one more quick swim in the pool.

It is dark, it is quiet and it has been another good day.

VaCATION CHRONICLES - PART 6

DAY 6 - ON TO GREENDALE!

Today is another LONG driving day. We take the morning to do a little maintenance on the van and camper to get ready for the next leg of the trip. More visiting and fellowship.

We realize that we have WAY too many shoes between the lot of us. Think 8 people, each have 2 feet, therefore, shoes must come in pairs. Each of us has a pair of running shoes, a pair of sandals/flip flops and another pair of shoes. That adds up to 3 pairs of shoes/person at least. 24 pairs minimum! Abby suggests that we buy a container for shoes!! What an excellent idea. Our friends have plenty of these and they gift us with one! Sweet. We needed a big container to house our assortment of shoes.

We clean out the van and take out a garbage bag full of trash from all of our travels thus far! Crazy!

We arrive at our relatives in Greendale for supper and celebrating. Our poor van has had to work hard today pulling down the Coquihalla, but we make it without overheating and we are glad!

We're having a mini family reunion and we are up for some fun. The kids have to get over the awkward phase but that doesn't last that long. Soon they are jumping on trampolines, swimming in the pool, eating and XBoxing and heading out for a sleep-over.

Long into the night we visit and enjoy this wonderful family that we haven't seen in far too long.

Hit the hay at about 2 AM to the sounds of some crazy person ripping up the street outside. Good thing we weren't getting woken up for that. However, the redneck side of my husband showed up when he asked for his gun to shoot their tires out!

VaCATION CHRONICLES - PART 5

DAY 5 - DRIVING TO SALMON ARM

Today is a big driving day. Gonna take the rig through the first part of the mountains. Up, up we go!

We hooked up the Wii in the van an the kids play Wacky Racers for a very long time!! LOVE driving through the mountains. However, it is HOT today. The van has to work really hard to pull the camper through the high altitudes.

We arrive in Salmon Arm around 5 PM to enjoy a visit with our friends the Ratzlaffs. We visit, the kids play and we just relax!

Excellent.

And it was morning and evening the 5th day.

vaCATION CHRONICLES - PART 4

DAY 4 - BANFF - JOHNSTON CANYON

Now that we have enjoyed man's creation we are back to God's handiwork. Just a short drive into Banff National Park today to enjoy a day of hiking!

The campground we want is a first-come/first-served campground so we pray that we can get a spot. This proves to be no problem and we go to check out our site. After some VERY fancy manoeuvring Kelly manages to park the camper. Chris immediately starts a fire and Josiah practices his lumberjack skills. He decided that might be a fun profession and cuts enough firewood to last us a week!

We have some fun cooking up lunch over the fire. Note to self: wait until the flames die down a little more before flame-broiling the grilled cheese!

We decide to take the hike to the Upper Falls in Johnston Canyon (the Lower Falls are on the way). The older kids surge ahead while the parents lag slightly behind to let the 4 year old keep up. It takes us a couple of hours to make the three mile trek with the little one in tow but she manages just fine. We would have like to see the Ink Pots but that was 11 km round trip - a little far for the little girl.

We head back to our campsite and everyone crashes for a little before starting another fire to cook supper. We head down into Banff and then up to the Hot Springs for a little swim.

Nobody has any problem falling a sleep in our little camper in the woods. Mommy and Daddy have been telling silly stories at bed time. There has been laughter and silliness. We are definitely having fun.

And it was good!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

VACATION CHRONICLES - PART 3

July 7 - CALAWAY PARK

Daddy turns 40 today! What a blessing to have a husband and father to my children such as he. We are celebrating by having a blast in the amusement park. At first we tried to stay together but that proved impossible given the heights and interests of our tribe. Divide and conquer quickly became the new strategy. Daddy took the oldest 4 and headed directly for the roller coaster. Mommy took the youngest 2 and headed to the 'horsies' - the Carousel.

Our kids are not as predictable as some would think. Our risk takers are not your most obvious crew. Sasha and Elizabeth were quite content on the little kid rides. Lizzy loved the little roller coaster, no doubt she will enjoy the big one when she is tall enough to ride. Sasha refused to go to the big one until Chris coaxed him into it - after that there was no stopping him, he went on everything. Sam was in for the kill right off the bat. Never having been on rides before he went for the jugular and started with the roller coaster and just kept going on all the craziest, scariest stuff he could find.

Abby was slightly more reticent but pulled off the roller coaster and several other 'big' rides. Josiah, having been to California in February, found these rides not so exciting and decided to catch some ZZZZZs after lunch. I think we spent just about as much time in the bathroom as we did on the rides with Lizzy, it seemed she had to go every hour or more! One time we didn't quite make it and I got the raw end of that stick. It was a good thing we could go in and out of the park and were close by with that camper!

We made a fancy supper to celebrate Kelly's birthday. Mom was far too up-tight still so Daddy took her for a ride to get her to calm down and chill a little.

VACATION CHRONICLES - PART 2

ROYAL TYRELL MUSEUM

Today started out with Mommy being a little stressed. Yesterday was a long day and everyone went to bed really late. Consequently, everyone woke up really late. Mommy is trying to get everyone to move a little faster knowing that we have to break camp, eat breakfast and get to the museum by 10:30 for the hike that she has booked.

We pull into the museum and walk to the museum as fast as our legs can carry us. As we approach the building Mommy notices a group heading out, it is exactly 10:30. She mutters, "Bet that's our tour." as she speed walks into the building to collect the tickets. The line is long and moving slowly as people deliberate over the activities they want to book. Doing this online was supposed to have taken care of all that but obviously it hasn't. Mommy is simmering in line when the rest of the family finally makes it into the building. Trying to keep the group corralled while waiting in line, Mommy begins to heat up a little more realizing that there is no way that we can catch the long-departed hiking group.

Finally, Mommy makes it to the front of the line and the perky clerk informs us that we are indeed hooped and that we will never catch up. Mommy boils over. There are no refunds and there is nothing to transfer our wasted money towards, it is simply gone. The children are not phased whatsoever by this turn of events. "We can just go on the hike by ourselves." they say, "We won't have to listen to some guy telling us that something is millions and millions of years old." they say. Mommy is still miffed because their lack of effort earlier on just cost her $20. Daddy tells Mommy to let it go...

We start out on the hike anyway...and have a glorious time looking at things, touching silt, finding flowering cacti and taking pictures. None of which we would have been able to do while on the guided hike. The kids all tell Mommy, "Wasn't that so much better?" She grudgingly agrees.

On to the museum and enjoying it's sights. Beautiful fossils, amazing displays, cool stuff everywhere. We enjoy it all.

We eat lunch back at the camper and then peruse the gift shop while waiting for our next booked activity, "Fossil Casting". This turns out to be a very fun time for us all as we make fossil casts of scorpions, teeth and claws. We carefully carry them back to the camper and declare that a fabulous time.

You can't leave Drumheller without a trip up the largest dinosaur in the world. We pay the money and chug up the monster staircase to catch the view out the T-Rex's mouth. It's still pretty cool. The little half spots the water park next door and we hoof it downstairs while Daddy is coming up to hang with the big kids. The littles are amazed that mom says go ahead and get wet even in their clothes. They forget that we have a whole camper full of clothes and a portable change room to boot. They have a blast in the water while waiting for the big kids and dad!

On to Calgary and Calaway Park. We decide that it is probably worth it to purchase supper in order to avoid nasty attitudes later on. We do so and arrive in the Calaway Park RV camping in time to set up and go to bed. We are all looking forward to Daddy's birthday and a fun day in the amusement park! We do, however, feel somewhat small and insignificant compared to the crazy big RVs surrounding us. We spot license plates from BC to Quebec and a few from the States. We are definitely wearing the 'cloak of humility' in our little trailer that is turning out to be just fine.

And it was good.

VACATION CHRONICLES - PART 1

Day 1

Rain poured down as we pulled out of our yard for our family vacation. I'm wondering if we should have packed more rain gear. We drive at a snail's pace into town for fear of jack-knifing the trailer on our rain-saturated roads. On the way in I realize that the keys to the camper are not in the van. After some questioning we realize that they are indeed locked in the camper, they are the only set.

We arrive at the Co-op to gas up and break-in. Kelly cuts his hand, we get soggy, we get the keys, we duct tape plastic over the broken window and we are finally ready to hit the road. Today is our longest drive. We were going to leave in the morning. It is noon!

Our first stop is supposed to be Drumheller but it ends up being Rosetown for burgers at A&W. We stop at Wal-Mart to pick up a few supplies and lose a kid. Thank goodness we have cell phones, smart child went and found the van when he couldn't find mom. Dad was at the van and calmed down panicked kid and panicked mom after a cell phone call to assure her that he had the missing child!

Eventually we get to Drumheller and pull into the Dinosaur Trail RV Resort. What a beautiful campsite. Lots of trees, very easy to find everything and family friendly - very important when you have a big family!

This is our first night to set-up. We manage to get most things done but realize we should have pulled the awning out the next morning when our picnic table appears to be rather soggy after an early morning rain. This is also the first night we, all eight of us, are sleeping in the camper together.

Friends join us for an evening campfire. It is good to sit and visit after the long day. The kids discover the gift shop and plunder its contents buying up dinosaur doo-dads.

We tuck in for the night after long discussions about who will sleep where, many trips to the bathroom, digging for toothbrushes, finding pyjamas and all that night time stuff...and it isn't too bad.

We have survived the first day and it is good!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Coming Home

Our family is back together again. All the pieces of the puzzle are recovered and the box seems to be shaking already.

Transition is hard. I remember from birthing babies that transition was the most difficult part of the birthing process.

It wasn't a quiet homecoming, it was coming home to a loud, crazy year-end party with over 30 people running around. His own coming of age as he now becomes one of them officially, not just the pastor's son allowed to hang out.

Trying to fit in with friends that haven't been seen for a few months. Fitting back into the sibling pecking order. Fitting back into a bedroom. Fitting back under parent's authority.

I'm not sure yet how to deal with it all. I'm exhausted from the marathon of the last few weeks and months. Seeding is finally finished, spraying is under way, usually almost done by now. Holiday weeks looming on the horizon with long lists of to-do's before then. Youth activities are one less thing to think about. Homeschooling is done for the year and the reports are in. So now it is gardens and packing and in the midst of that re-learning how to handle my little storm cloud son.

How can a person be so full of gentleness and tension at the same time? Why does the tension had to come out like it does? How do I deal with it all without turning into a control-freakish paranoid crazy woman?

I don't know.

Perhaps I'll start with sleep.

Friday, June 04, 2010

YC Thankfulness (828)

Things that I am thankful for from my YC adventure:

806. Our great group of youth.
807. Fun passengers.
808. Silliness.
809. Tim Hortons.
810. My first ever chocolate latte.
811. Speakers who inspire kids to listen and show respect.
812. Crazy rock bands whom I can't understand but my son sings along with knowing every single word!
813. Those same bands who stop and speak about the love of Jesus - that I can understand.
814. Earplugs - for listening to those bands.
815. Opportunities for service.
816. The generosity of our community to support us in this venture.
817. The hospitality of strangers (not to us, but to the majority of our group) at the last minute - our own personal miracle.
818. Grandparents who look after the rest of our tribe while we're gone.
819. Praying partners in ministry.
820. Good news while we're gone - a friend's dog had puppies!
821. No injuries.
822. No vehicle problems.
823. Good attitudes over all - even while eating in the rain.
824. Servant hearts on display.
825. Extra pairs of shoes.
826. That the event was indoors.
827. The ladies that got our food ready for us.
828. Watching the sun come up as we drive home.
829. Changed hearts.
830. Prayer for revival in Canada.
831. Our incredible country.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

an attitude of gratitue (805)

771. Plum blossoms caressing my neck as I walk beneath the trees.
772. warmth from a small sleeping body as I carry her to her bed.
773. long limbs sprawled out and I wonder how that ever fit inside me.
774. tiny plants meet mother earth
775. rain
776. sunshine
777. the maker of both
778. new cats
779. old dogs
780. anticipation
781. date night
782. regal, beautiful older women
783. delegation
784. a change of plans that makes things better
785. visits with dearly beloved folk
786. big smiles after a smooth performance
787. a job well done
788. phone calls that bless
789. the hum of my washing machine taking away the dirt and stains
790. little boys in new shirts
791. the bond of brothers
792. the love of sisters
793. young limbs that are now strong enough to do the tasks of a man
794. helping hands
795. my bed after a long day
796. mornings when it doesn't hurt so much
797. moments with my saviour
798. lisping prayers
799. delight over a newly learned song
800. playing duets with my children
801. trees laden with white dresses
802. spears of green through black earth
803. the scent of damp earth
804. a lawn freshly cut
805. a hug from someone you haven't seen in awhile

Friday, May 14, 2010

I Have a Dream

I Have a Dream
copyright lani wiens, 2010
a fresh flowers original

"Without oxen a stable stays clean,
but you need a strong ox for a large harvest."
Proverbs 14:4

I like clean. I like it a lot. However, with a busy household of eight people and a lifestyle of ministry and hospitality, mess is inevitable. Mess shows that there is life. Wherever there is life, you can be sure there will be a mess. If you don't believe me check out a birthing room sometime.

We like to avoid mess and work as much as possible. As a society we keep inventing machines and gadgets to help us avoid mess and work. On our farm we have a dream. It's a big messy dream with a lot of work involved. Some days I strongly dislike that dream because of all the work in entails. Most days, though, I wish the dream was reality.

We would like to be able to be as self-sustaining on our farm as possible, producing our own food, power and income. We have the bare beginnings of this in our first building that we've moved on. It's just a shell now, but with a lot of effort it will house chickens and a milk cow. From that we will be able to produce much of what eats up our grocery bill at the moment. We already have a fairly big garden area but we are looking at ways to make it more productive and produce more in a smaller area. We want more fruit trees, a wind turbine, a few head of cattle for beef, possibly a pig or two. Can you see it? I can. I can see the wonder of the harvest, gleaming shelves of jars full of fruit and vegetables, frothy milk being turned into butter and cheese, Freezers full of meat and vegetables. Golden wheat being milled for lovely bread (we already do that) spread with honey from our own beehives.

That lovely bubble pops around the time I think about how long it will take to get there and how much work it will take to make the dream a reality. I like the clean stable, but what I really want is the harvest, which means an ox is going to have to move in and oxen tend to poop. Yup, if you want to get a harvest you're going to have to deal with a little of that (or maybe a lot). All of that manure is great for the produce harvest.

Along with all of the dreams of our farm we have dreams for ministry as well. We see young people alive with passion for Jesus, giving up the things that hinder and distract them so that they can be sold out to their Father. We see passionate worship, intense prayer, hands and hearts that serve. We're not there yet. We could keep a clean ministry stable just having everyone pass through our stable and not leaving a lot in their wake other than a few fingerprints that are easily wiped away, or we can let them take up residence. We have some oxen in there doing their thing. Those oxen need to be trained, tended to and loved, they need to be fed and watered and yes, someone needs to tend to the poop. It tends to stink, but we can't leave it in the barn. In the end, after we've done the work, we'll get the large harvest. I can see it.

I'm looking for the harvest, I anticipate the harvest and I will revel in the harvest as it comes, in the meantime, I'm getting out my work gloves and rubber boots and a big shovel.

sunshine thanksgiving (770)

The sun/son is shining and my need to be thankful grows...

731. overflowing dugouts
732. water standing in ditches
733. brothers playing catch while waiting for the bus
734. a young boy whose voice is raised in worship carrying over the rest of the congregation
735. older sister reading to younger siblings all cuddled up together on the couch
736. discovered treasures in the second hand shop
737. young adults who mature and become helping hands together in ministry
738. phone lines that keep me connected to my young man so far away
739. dreams of little girls that tell her that her brother will be coming home
740. schoolwork quietly accomplished
741. seeds that grow into seedlings
742. warm, damp earth
743. little hands helping plant
744. the distant rumble of tractors
745. heavenly sunshine flooding my soul
746. scripture that speaks truth as we gather around the table
747. watching stressful tears dry as words of life pour in a troubled heart
748. accountability
749. long friendships that are deep and lasting
750. the hum of my sewing machine after a long absence
751. older hands serving younger hands
752. the profound privilege to watch these tender shoots grow up around my table
753. a good cup of tea
754. well-written books that lift the spirit
755. offerings of little fingers under bathroom doors
756. warm baths after a day outside
757. working side by side with my children
758. hearing words of affirmation and praise for my children from another's lips
759. calm, steady, loving presence of my devoted husband
760. a hug between father and son
761. playing and singing together as a family
762. laughter
763. new babies
764. shining eyes of a bride-to-be giving thanks for the blessings she's received
765. young people walking across the stage to a new chapter
766. satisfaction over a job well done
767. pinning clothes to the clothesline with my little girl
768. the smell of sunshine in my sheets
769. promise encased in paper packages...waiting
770. the air I breathe

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Power of Words

"The pen is mightier than the sword." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Have you ever been the focus of a nasty rumor or inaccurate gossip? Have you ever been on the receiving end of someone's angry tirade? Or worse yet, have you been the one dishing out the venom?

Over the last few weeks this theme has risen in several things I've been reading. How do I use my words? Words once sent out can't be taken back, like dandelion puffs, they scatter on the breath never to return. Words have the power to give life and encouragement or death and destruction. So often I find myself responding to my children with irritation in my voice. I felt chastised when I read an article reminding me that I am not only parenting my children but the generations to come as I sow my words into my children.

Scripture tells us that the power of life and death are on the tongue. I saw that again this morning as I carefully chastised my son for his disobedience. I began harshly with a superior attitude, saw him crush and crumple and realizing what I had done, carefully explained to him with gentleness and love how his actions had brought him to the place he was currently in. I saw life flow back into his spirit as he threw his scrawny arms around my neck asking for forgiveness. What a stark difference. It humbled me once again.

How cautious am I with the words I speak as I sit with friends watching my kids play sports or chatting after church in the foyer? Are the words I'm speaking going to cause hurt or misunderstanding to someone who overhears only snatches of what I say? I just read a book that had that very thing as its theme. One person overheard another make a judgment about someone they didn't really know, based on something they had heard and the whole town was suddenly up in arms, a family was desperately wounded and all manner of hurt and venom was poured out. Have I done that or participated in some way in another getting hurt by what I've said?

Lord, put a guard over my lips, if I cannot speak with love and gentleness, make me mute. Compose my heart and fill it with your Spirit when someone irritates me or there is frustration creating havoc in my mind. I want my words to bring healing, comfort and understanding. I want my example to bleed through my children so that they, too, respond to one another with gentleness rather than harsh criticism. Bless my tongue to speak your truth, seasoned with love Father. Amen.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Approved Clothing Guidelines for Reading at School

Today I had the privelege of going to school to read to my 6 year olds' class. Apparently he was a little concerned that I might embarass him or something. Last night he says, "I think you should wear your green sweater to school tomorrow."
"Which green sweater are you talking about? I've packed away most of the winter things."

"Open your drawer and I'll show you which one I'm talking about," he says as he walks to my bedroom.

"Okay," I say, curious as to where this is all heading. I open my drawer and show him the two green shirts that are there.

"That one!" He exclaims as he points to the lime green shirt, "You should wear that one and your black pants."

The only black pants I can think of are also packed away for the summer but I go to my closet and pretend to look for them, finally telling him that they aren't there. He bursts into the closet and says, "No, no, the black pants like the ones you're wearing." I look down at my legs. Aha, I think, my yoga pants. I pull them off the stack, "These ones?"

"Yes, those ones. Now put them on so I can see what it looks like."
"Right now?"
"Yes, I want to check to make sure it's good for your day at school."
"Okay," I say and proceed to change into my Sasha-approved outfit.
As I come out he gives me the thumbs up. "That looks great, now fold them up and put them on your dresser so you remember to where them for your day at school. I'll write you a note so you won't forget." Which he proceeds to do. It was all I could do not to burst out laughing, he was so serious about the whole thing!!

When I arrived at school I was curious to see what his reaction would be to the black sweater I had added to his approved ensemble. He wasn't impressed. He dead-panned me and said, "You added a sweater."

I don't think I embarassed him too badly, everyone liked wrapping up in my quilts as I read, "The Quiltmaker's Gift" to them. I'm pretty sure he was okay with me when all was said and done but it sure was funny.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

blank

This morning I had about 4 different ideas about very eloquent things to write. Spiritually uplifting things, somewhat humorous things, insightful things.

Now my mind is blank.

Sorry.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Finding my Niche

Do you ever wonder what your role is? I have taught many times (and been taught) that God created each of us uniquely and each of us has a particular role to play in this world - nobody else can fill our spot. Sometimes, however, I struggle with exactly what my spot is! Unfortunately I am one of those people who likes affirmation through the things that I can do. I can do lots of things but I can always find someone else who does that thing better than I do. So if they are already filling that spot where exactly is mine?

I am a stay-at-home, home-schooling, pastor/farmer's wife/mom. We live in a little bitty town. Opportunity for employment isn't huge and even if it was, I don't have time to work outside our farm because the farm takes all of our time. We have big plans and dreams for it and they'll take plenty of time, too. My husband constantly assures me that my value is not tied up in what I can do and I know that. Scripture is abundantly clear on the subject, but I really would like to know if there is something else I should be doing, getting ready to do or am I already doing it and not aware that I am!

Even this blog is a conundrum to me right now. I have thousands of thoughts that I think I should blog and I don't. This blog began as a way for me to archive the articles I've written and actually had a bit of a following at one time. Now it lies dormant, like my flower beds and it saddens me to think of it, yet I'm not sure it's time for a resurrection just yet.

I guess I'll just have to wait on the Lord and see, no answers are popping out of the computer screen just now.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Princess Peanut turns 4


My little peanut turned 4 a few days ago. It seems that she was born yesterday and at the same time I cannot imagine the world without her. Three months before she was conceived I had had a miscarriage and was quite devasted by it. After the death of that child I felt like God whispered to my spirit that I would be pregnant again in three months. Prior to all of this we had seriously thought we were done having kids but God just wouldn't let us do anything permanent about it. Because of that unsettledness we knew that whatever happened next was in God's hands.

My birthday was about three months after that miscarriage and it just happened to be my birthday, I was a little late but didn't think much of it yet, I'd been a little late before. However, my husband, full of faith, bought me a pregnancy test for my birthday. It was positive! What a wonderful birthday surprise. Thus began my most difficult pregnancy. Food refused to stay in my body going in one end and out the other at a surprisingly rapid pace. The one time in your life where you want to gain weight and I wasn't! In the middle of all that we were closing a VERY long deal on our house and moving into a new one. Add on to that we were anticipating surgery on Sam's heart, which happened to coincide with the move-in date. I was just a wee bit stressed.

On Wednesday, I'd had a doctor's visit and he proclaimed all was well though the baby was a little small, I still had another 5 weeks to go. Sunday, I didn't feel too well and opted to stay home from church while Kelly and the kids went, he had to go since he was preaching that day. I'd had this 'feeling' before and told that baby that it could not come until after daddy was done preaching. He came home without any kids in tow having farmed them all out to friend's houses for the day. We had a lovely quiet lunch and had decided to go visit our friends who had just had their baby on Friday. It was somewhere in the midst of that lunch that contractions began.

They were continuing at a fairly even pace so we figured we'd continue with our plan, head to the hospital, check it out and if all was well, go visit OR have a baby, whichever came first. When we got there, sure enough I was in labour. It wasn't moving along that fast and at about 5:30 or so the contractions stopped so we figured we could go home, but we had to wait for the doctor to give me the okay. She took a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOng time coming, long enough for things to start again a little more intensely! We found out later that what took her so long was another baby from our church that she was delivering!
So off to labour and delivery we went. It was so strange to have labour go on for so long - 12 hours was a record! (the longest being 4.5 hours) Little did we know that our families were extremely worried since it had never taken this long before. Elizabeth was born at about 1 AM, with the neo-natal doctors standing at the ready since she was 5 weeks early. We got to hold her for about and hour before they whisked her away due to blood sugar issues, irregular heart beat and low body temp. We stayed in the hospital for about a week to make sure everything was good and then headed home. What a blessing this sweet little girl has been to our home.
Elizabeth loves to dance and sing and play. Her name means promise of God, and that's what she is. Happy birthday princess peanut, we love you so very much!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New Motherhood

Yup, I finally decided it was time to write another bit wit and wisdom on here and I am completely blank as I stare at the screen. I've been thinking about this role of motherhood alot lately. My baby is turning 4 in another week and my eldest is taller than me and stronger than me and will soon be heavier than me. He scares me just a little. He's a teenager and I'm caught in the grand dichotomy of motherhood - parenting with authority and moving to the side to let him grow. It is extremely difficult to know which place to be in at any given moment. Such a man/child he is. One moment helping his dad move huge sheets of plywood and drywall in for a renovation project - telling his dad exactly which way to move the boards so they can get around the tight corner and the next moment lying on the floor playing Lego with his brothers.

He is one of those boys that all the girls like and want attention from. Not too sure how to parent that either. I was not one of the popular kids and neither were my siblings, I don't know how to do this thing anymore. Where does that leave me? Begging for wisdom from the One who knows the answers to these problems. And he gives it. Thank the good Lord for that.

Friday, January 01, 2010

To new things...hopefully some joy....

Happy New Year!!

I am cold.

The wind is blowing very hard in a blizzardy type way.

Did I mention that I am cold?

Hoping new things for a new year...

New attitudes.

New thoughts.

New ways of being.

Hoping to leave behind.

Old attitudes.

Old thoughts.

Old ways of being.

Looking for JOY. This word has been pursing me and I need to know why. On pillows, book jackets, inside cards, even on the television at the dentist's office...probably a dozen times or more this word has been in my face. I need to know what it really means. Joy. Not the 'happy is on the outside, Joy is on the inside' definition, something bigger, more profound, more real and touchable and seeable. I need a definition that works itself out.

Today's date is 01/01/2010. That seems very beginning-ish doesn't it. So here we are at the beginning of something new. Have a great year.

I am still cold.

Possibly colder than when I started writing...

I think I'll find my bed and the personal heater it contains :)

nighty night