Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Few Words from the Berry Patch...and then from me

Strawberry Patch
- by Linda Siebenga

My mother knew
strawberry patches.

She knew
that the weeds
grew better
and faster there.

She knew
about transplanting
on a cool rainy day
with boots
that weighed in
ten pounds heavier
on days like that--

and the never-ending watering.

But she also knew
about the gift

the rewards
of successful
treasure hunting.

To find under
a mat of leaves
those big red nuggets.

And she knew
that you can't
get that close
to the ground
without kneeling.

I have been thinking about this poem a lot in the last number of days.
I'm not really sure why.
It has always been one of my favourites.
It was written by a good family friend of ours.
I found another poem of hers this evening while looking for this one online.
I'll share it another time.

Anyway, this one has been reminding me of what I learned from Levente when I was in Ozd.
He talked about humble and human both coming from the same Latin word:
humus - meaning "ground".
And how important it is that we recognize their interconnectedness.
Human - Humus - Humble.

It says much about who we were created and are called to be.

I talked with my kids about humility today.
We were reading Eph. 4 where it tells us to be "completely humble."
Not just " a little" humble.
Or "a lot" humble, as one of my students put it,
but rather "completely" humble.
What does that really look like?

Well, He became human.
His feet were covered in the dust of the ground
as He walked from Jerusalem to Nazareth
and His servitude brought Him to die for the unlovable.
Sounds pretty complete to me.

Maybe there's a reason that being "grounded" is a good thing.
(Not grounded like when you were late for curfew,
but grounded like evidence that's based on something.)
It keeps us humble.
And keeps us bruising our knees
kneeling to give thanks
asking for guidance
and knowing that weeding, transplanting, and watering are part of the process.

Her mother knew more than strawberry patches.
She also had the "dirt"
on living humbly
before the face of God.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Ah, the NHL...

So the NHL was back in Winnipeg
for one night.
And it was good.

Part of me is sad for the dedicated folks in Winnipeg who lost their team.
Because "loyal fans" doesn't really describe the commitment these folks have to the Jets.

I think "Go Jets Go" broke out 3 different times in the 3rd period.
The first was the loudest
and I shook my head
and joked in reply,
"Go Home Jets"
But the truth is that would be here.
Which would be good.
Because there's something great about NHL hockey.

Reality is the folks here are hockey fans.
To the core.
Jets, yes.
But hockey.
They cheered loudly when the Oilers were introduced.
And gave the same welcome to the ex-Jets from Phoenix.
Truth be told,
if Doan scored the place would've erupted.
And that would have been kind of fun.
But he didn't.
In fact, even though the Jets fans in the picture are beating me up,
Let it be known that the Oilers (and Craig MacTavish - note his head :))
won 5-0.
But it would have been fun even if they didn't.
I like the way the fan beside me put it,
"Go Hockey Go!"
Let the season begin.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

atypical posting...

So I finally watched The Lord of the Rings.
Took me long enough.
Like a few years.
And I liked it.
So much that I didn't even wait 24 hours between movies 2 and 3.
I wanted to see how it ended.
And I might even read The Hobbit again.
Just to put it all into perspective.

Whilst watching The Return of the King,
I had my hair straightened.
The pictures show the final results
And the good friends who I got to share the evening with.

Not really a normal posting for me,
but thought I would share these anyway.

Monday, September 04, 2006

So long summer...

Sad to say, but summer is really over. I struggled greatly with bringing my boat to shore at the end of the last few strokes on the last lake.

When I left for camping and canoeing on Friday,
it was about the last thing in the world that I wanted to do.
My house was a mess,
I felt overwhelmed by way too many details that still need taking care of before my new kids come,
I was tired
I was loathing in self-pity
And I just wanted to stay home
and loaf on the couch.

However, guilt got me to go
and the fact that I know I love camping and canoeing.
I was sure I would have fun once I got there.

I drove out with a good friend
and along with good conversation
we played some humbling and heartfelt songs
acknowledging our imperfect humanness
and the depths of God's grace.
"At the top of our lungs" hardly describes how we sang.
It was what my heart needed.
And as we drove along the gravel roads
around corners and over crazy rocks that don't belong on roads
between lots of trees
watching the sun go down
I couldn't help but remember why it was that I was heading out for the weekend.
It was amazing.
The sun
the known silence outside the confines of the Toyota
and the feeling of release
just by being there.
In a matter of an hour
my whole focus shifted
and I was excited to be leaving
every care in the world back in the city.

We slept under the stars -
on the rocks and in the moss -
we portaged and paddled
and swam off random rocks
we shared good conversation
we set up camp on a non-site
we sang and read and prayed
and found solitude
in the greatest church "building" there is.
I learned to kayak
and canoed by myself
and took time to journal
and watched turtles and a hawk
and a snake and listened to the loons -
who by the way are out both at night AND during the day -
and reveled at the expanse of the sky
and at how awesome we decided we are -
this was seconded by 2 men and a boy who paddled by
so we're pretty sure it's true -
and just enjoyed being.

I haven't done that in awhile.
Left every care behind.
It's incredibly refreshing.

And I only left my cares in the city.
When I returned,
sadly they were there.
The mess -
the laundry
the dishes
the school work -
the stresses and worries
the reminder that my "real" life starts again tomorrow.

For a few moments,
as I wrote in my journal
and sang in my car
and read and prayed by headlamp
in the darkness and the silence
and paddled in the quiet
God was so very present.
And I didn't consciously ask Him to come.
He was just there.
And He took all those worries and anxieties
without me consciously handing them over.
And I was at peace.
Content, relaxed, refreshed, and confident.

He knows how to do that,
God does,
to take me and mold me
when I'm unwilling and unready.
To remind me of His grace,
of my significance in His plan,
of the simplicity of life and love,
of his power and infiniteness,
and of the joy
that comes from trusting
and casting my cares on Him.

Imagine if I invited Him to come
and be where I am all the time
or if I left my worries at His feet
instead of just back in the city.