Friday, May 23, 2008

Family Seat

Family Seat
Originally uploaded by thebigboat2000
..teach them to your children, and your children's children.

Five Generations in one place. Or at least the memories. My Mother and I took my children to visit Carnahan Creek, where my grandparents and great grandparents are buried. It was a beautiful Kansas spring day, Jo and M were chewing on grass and hearing us talk about people they never met.

Jo knows that all these greats are up in heaven with Jesus, so the cemetery is to him a sort of full-sized family tree, as we walk through the names and try to describe the connections. The headstones tell their own stories, too. Walter C. Green was a Methodist Minister of the Circuit Rider generation. There is a medal with a horse and a minister near his head. Uncle Merton and Uncle Cecil served in the Army, as one can plainly read.

Not in our family, but near by, are the stones that speak of short lives, big families, and long histories. There are half-filled stones where one can see that someone has been left widowed. The grass is growing, the peonies were full to bursting, and the sun was warm.

I'm not a real big flower placer, but this trip reminds me of the value of visiting the past with the future. It is a time to tell stories, pass on blessings, and warn of curses. It can be a full sized family tree or stark reminder of a life lived alone. The little kids didn't come back with a sense of awe, but that's fine. They will learn and they will know and someday they may return.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Big Green Boat

Originally uploaded by thebigboat2000
After I saw some jeans made into purses a couple of years ago, I've been re-using the kids' old jeans to make bags for myself. I get so many compliments that I've been thinking to sell them too.
This is my first batch of purses for sale.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

If you plant a garden in a forest

The forest will take it back!

We plant six-packs of Impatiens; the willow drops millions of seeds.

We till and get in two rows of corn and potatoes; the black walnut employs twenty squirrels to plant two thousand seeds.

We divide the mums every year; the forsythia puts out 30 shoots, every year.

We'll never win. The forest, or the desert, or the prairie, or the ocean will always win in the end, even if we humans have some short term gains. Especially since our lifetimes even are short term to the forest.

This is bad if you are trying to raise food for your family under tree cover, as many subsistence farmers need to do.
This is annoying if you want to have a nice flower garden among the maples.
This is a challenge to be met day after day if you are trying to farm in Arizona.

This is GOOD NEWS if you are a child, parent, grandparent, or friend of anyone.


Because God is more persistent than the forest will ever be. Once God claims us as a child of God, we are always loved. Loved to death, in fact. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing.

We turn aside from God and seek material gain; God moves the path back in front of us.

We choose to sleep in on Sunday Morning; God shows up with the Monday paper.

We turn away and run pell-mell into the darkness; God follows patiently behind with a big, indestructible, never ending flashlight.

This is just plain good news. Whether you are the one running, or you are praying for someone you know who seems to be heading the wrong direction. God will always follow, and be ready to take you back. God is listening to the prayers and dropping hundereds and thousands of little love helicopers in the world, ready to grow into the new life of Christ.

Thanks be to God!

On beyond Basil

Miriam, Jonah and I are spending a week at Grandpa's Farm in central Kansas.

Grandpa's Farm is 3.7 acres of woods, lawn, and gardens. The kids are outside exploring and leaning, (shh, don't tell them!)

Jonah fell in love with Basil last summer, he'd bring it in from the back yard to put in his tuna sandwiches. This week he's moving beyond basil to mint, radishes and rhubarb. Central Kansas is warm enough for some spring crops to be ready to pick. Most gardens are in need of a weeding, and mint sometimes becomes a weed. As I was reducing the patch to a manageable size Jo came by to smell the air. that led to a whole discussion about mint, since his mints are round and mostly sugar! He's taken to chewing on a leaf now and then, and adding them to his lemonade. We picked radishes and lots of rhubarb. Radishes were not well loved, but rhubarb is becoming a real favorite. (stewed with sugar or in a pie!) We've found big caterpillars, live snails and lots of worms. There is even a litter of kittens in the window well.

This is a week of seeing what we've read about, of finding out where things come from, and what happens to the peelings. On beyond basil is a whole other world.

Have you moved on beyond basil in your devotional life? Can you take a step ouside the traditional sunday school stories and find Ruth, Deborah and Rhoda? Visiting the farm is a step outside our normal suburban life, and the kids (and I) find all sorts of new things to discover and see and experience.

See what you can find in the fine print between the stories you know so well.

Oh, and see if you can find a good rhubarb patch too!

Thursday, May 01, 2008


"It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1, the reading for May 1.)

The energy crisis has hit, big time!
Prices at the gas pump go up more than down, and that's starting to have a real impact on drivers. We're conserving gas again! All those injunctions to make every trip count, do many errands in one round trip instead of going back and forth, as well as downsizing big SUV's, are really coming into fashion.

In a way, the world is getting bigger, as gas prices rise. We had gotten so used to believing that the whole world was within reach, now it is getting more expensive to go across the state. It takes Power to move our cars, or fuel the planes, and that power is in short supply, or so it seems.

Jesus sends us out to the corners of the earth, to spread the Word of God's Love, and provides us with the power we need. All the power we will ever need, and some more, to share. Next time you are at the gas pump, or buying airplane tickets, remeber that all the power you need to live is yours for the asking. "Give us this day our daily bread"