Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Conquering the Weeds

Yesterday I was pulling weeds in the garden and the thought went through my mind that if I just gave this garden a few more years, I could finally get all these weeds under control and I'd have a beautiful, weed-free garden! I had some amazing visions of this picture-perfect garden that I would have ... but those visions only lasted milliseconds because my mind immediately started searching the memory banks for gardens that had been tended for years. Naturally, I thought of Grandpa's garden and compared mine to his, hoping that I would recall visions of weed-free rows of vegetation.

But that's not what I saw in my mind as I yanked out yet another clump of weeds. I saw pictures of Grandpa, slightly bent with his hoe gently chopping the ground around each precious pepper plant. He'd stop, tip his hat to wipe his forehead, look around a bit, and then bend back down and continue tending to that garden. Even after some 70 years of tending that same garden, he STILL had to deal with weeds!

Stephen has been interested a lot lately in Jesus' parable of the sower who sowed seeds on different types of soil. (Matthew 13) In this parable, some seeds fell among the thorns and were choked out. Jesus said that the seed - God's Word - can fall among the thorns, or the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches, and the Word of God is choked out and the seed doesn't grow.

Because we've been talking about this often as a family, I had to think about these weeds that I was pulling out of the garden. Sure, I had the hopes that if I could just pull ALL the weeds out of the garden over the next year or two I could have a perfect garden, but in reality, those weeds will never be totally conquered in my garden. Look at Grandpa's! If I could have truly observed Grandpa's spiritual garden, I bet he was still pulling weeds in his 94th year! Grandpa didn't have a weed-free garden after all those years, but he sure knew how to deal with them! He was in that garden every day on a regular basis taking care of the weeds that were a threat to his precious plants. He didn't just let them go and have a defeatist attitude about the fact that there would always be weeds and he'd never be able to get rid of all of them! He worked at it consciously! The Apostle Paul said that he "died daily" - it was a routine thing for him to work on his "weeds" in his life!

Ok, I'm writing this late at night, so some of my analogies may not be perfect, but I do believe that God wanted to teach me a lesson in my weedy garden this week. I want a beautiful garden. I want a productive garden. I don't want to have to work hard at it. God is showing me, though, that in order to have a beautiful and productive garden, I DO have to work at it! I need to consciously tend and care for the garden of my life and make sure that the seed of God's Word falls on GOOD ground and that if there are weeds there, I need to deal with them - and I will need to deal with them on an ongoing basis, but it needn't be a struggle all the time. If I care for my garden daily, taking care of a little weed here or there it will not overwhelm me. I can routinely care for my garden to keep the weeds at bay that will choke out the good seed.

I'm encouraged! Working in a garden in the heat of the day is not always pleasant, but if I deal with these weeds first thing in the morning, every day, I can start my day with a clean plot and nothing there to choke out the Good Word of God! Yes. Starting the work of pulling out those weeds of distraction in the cool of the morning with the Lord can make my garden beautiful every day!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How We Are Keeping Cool

It's HOT ... in case you haven't heard. In fact, it's downright miserable if you're not used to it, and we're not yet. Here's how we're handling this heatwave.

* Boys get to camp out in the basement at night
* Jump in a friend's pool (ahhhh!)
* Turn on the octopus sprinkler
* Give the boys the "job" of watering the garden
* Strawberry Smoothies
* Invite over friends w/no air conditioning for an evening of fun
* Enjoy Chapmans Canada Flag ice cream - vanilla on the outside, red Canada maple leaf on the inside. Slice the box of ice cream for a beautiful Canada flag!
* Dissect an owl pellet to find the skeletal remains of a rodent with the intention of reconstructing the thing. (ICK!!! NOT my first choice of something to do, but it sure kept the kids occupied for a long, LONG time on a hot and muggy day!)
* Have everyone crash on the living room floor with the ceiling fan whirring away while Mommy reads chapter books to everyone

Yep. We're managing in this heat; suffering a bit when the BBQ is also blasting extreme temperatures in your face, but thankful that we don't have to heat up the kitchen every night, too! As Grandma always said, "This, too, shall pass."

What are you doing to keep cool this week?