Oh, beloveds! What a week it has been! What a few weeks it has been! Apologies if I haven’t been keeping up. There has just been no time to do regular things like keeping a Blog. I’m jumping ahead of myself. Rewind. We bought a house! Not just any house…. an old-century farmhouse on 4 acres of land! That dream of chickens you’ve heard me talk about 100 times… it’s coming true! I’m trying to convince the hubby we also may need a small goat. That may take some time. He’s a work in progress. Anywhoo… I am super excited. But terrified.

The emotions have run high. We raised our kids in this house. Our first house. Twenty-one years in this house. So. Many. Memories. And a whole lot of clutter. I’ve just begun to unearth and box up “stuff”. Some things hold dear memories. Some do not. Some hold memories for others and I’m not allowed to cut out those things because of their thoughts. It’s a learning experience for all of us! I ask myself, “Does this hold emotional attachment for me?” Marie Kondo would be so proud. So. Many. Memories.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

I’m asking myself “Why?” “How can things contain emotion?” Or how can other things contain absolutely no attachment? I don’t have the answer. I am sure there is some deep psychology behind emotional attachment to inanimate objects. I’m sure those who work with hoarding and OCD behaviours have all the answers. I’m sure there are psychologists and therapies for the stress of moving and how to communicate appropriately to your grown children that they need to get rid of Legos. Or why I can’t throw away a rubber band (because I may need to it wrap something — and safety pins cost money?) Choices need to be made.

Now don’t get me wrong… I love a good purge and clean. Still… thinking about the whole house at once is overwhelming. Slowly, like eating an elephant, we take one bite, and then another, and another… until eventually all will be packed in a box and neatly loaded on a truck. It will be big big changes for all of us. And I count it as a blessing.

I have begun to see the blessing in memories. I have begun to see the blessing of time and how God has allowed this season of life to shape and mould each of our children to life beyond the nest. To see the hubby and I embrace, dare I say, retirement planning? To see the blessings in our finances to be able to carry mortgages and costs and know He holds our future. To see Hope where many do not. To wonder in excitement about a new, quieter lifestyle in the country. To learn new skills. To make mistakes and work through them.

The Bible tells us not to store up treasures on Earth and to not put our trust in Earthly measures. Yet Jesus witnessed life here among people and “stuff”. Maybe he didn’t have Lego to pack, but I am sure there were precious “things” that belonged to Him. Did Mary save a piece of “useless” straw from the manger because she was emotionally attached to it? Maybe not.

I’ve convinced myself that God gives us things. Tangeable, hold in your hand, physical things, because He knows we need them as practical reminders of all that He has given us. Peace, Hope, Comfort, Joy, and Pain. Emotions that are stuck on stuff. I have no other words. I know you know what I mean. So, beloveds, humour me in the next few months. may morph into my personal journal of sorts as we make these transitions to “country life”. Will you stick with me? Will you share a post or two? Besides, who’s gonna listen to me talk about my new chickens? I’ll keep you updated about the goat.

Spring Planting

Happy Spring! It certainly doesn’t feel like it around here – with sub-zero temperatures and five feet of snow on the lawn, but the calendar tells us Spring has arrived!

By now we should have started some seeds indoors… but it hasn’t happened yet. The cold weather and my poor results from attempts last year have deterred me from being adventurous with my seed selections this year. Buying small plants and seedlings is easier. Let the professionals start the hard and delicate part of planting seeds. Then, I will just carry on from there. I don’t have a hothouse for tomatoes or peppers. My soil is not ideal for some of the more particular crops. And I’m too impatient for Lufas or teeny seeds like daisies and other flowers. I’m excited to try – last year we geared up in February for the first fruits. Failure makes me cautious. You’ve heard me say that growing is God’s miracle, we just plant the seed! I should just leave Him to His job.

Photo by Nikola Jovanovic on Unsplash

I watched a cute little YouTube clip from a kid’s object lesson on this topic. I love how Nature is so good at teaching even the most straightforward lessons. Jesus used them often to help His students learn. I’ll link the video in case you need a Sunday school lesson…

Seeds are dormant, hard little creatures that sit around waiting to die… protectors the “Bible mom” calls them. Keeping everything safe until just the right time at just the right moment to bloom, explode and display all their blessings. Plants and seedlings, on the other hand, are vulnerable and out there. They start out delicate. And if they get good care… well, they can become the mighty oak!

Unfortunately, last year my seedlings didn’t grow well. I let the protectors down and the producers just didn’t catch and flourish into the big plants they were intended to be. The few my mom got did pretty well at her house… she got some fruit. I guess her conditions were better.

And so it is with us. We need to be in the right conditions to flourish and grow. We need to be in a good church body with good teaching. We need to be mentored, encouraged and coaxed to grow. We need to feel confident enough to break down that hard protective shell of seed and sprout into seedlings and vulnerable plants. We need to be watered and fed and protected from the outside when we lose our shells.

And we need to be that protector for others. Those of us that are parents are all too familiar with this. We raise our kids, giving them all the attention and allowances we can. Eventually, they sprout and produce their own fruit. (Eek… am I heading to grandma zone??) But it’s true! Time waits for no one. We have limited chances to do our best. Still… it’s never too late! Even sickly seedlings can pick up with a bit of sunlight, a little water and some good food. They may never be the strongest in the garden, but the fruit is possible!

Photo via Jenni Haikonen

So let’s learn from spring buds, shall we? Encourage. Help grow. Seek it for yourself. Plant yourself in good soil. Break down your hard seed shell and bloom!

Here’s that kid’s video clip. May have to look up the “Bible Mom” again. Seems like a nice lady! 🙂 Bible Mom Lesson

Contrast and Kindness

Life is full of contrasts. We start small and grow big. We are young and get old. We have good days and bad days. We are weak and we are strong. We feel sad and we feel glad. Days and nights pass into years and decades and we continue to go through moments of contrast. The dictionary describes contrast as “ being strikingly different” from something else. You can be in a state of contrast (noun) or in the middle of it (verb). Yep, life is definitely full of contrasts.

Have you been feeling it this week, my friend? I used to worry that if all was going well, it meant something bad was just creeping around the next corner. It’s easy to feel that way because often it happens just like that…. One day you’re smelling the roses and Boom! Thorns attack and the pain is felt strong and steady.

Recently, I read a little object lesson for kids about contrast. Think about cotton balls and stones. One is soft and fluffy… like puffy clouds in the sky. Rocks, on the other hand, are hard. Rocks are solid and full. You can”t stretch a stone like the fluffy clouds. Rocks sit. Now imagine I wound up and hit you with a handful of each. How would you feel? Now pretend the cotton balls are kind words and the rocks are unkind and mean words. Which hit harder?

It’s a simple object lesson – but effective for even us big kids. As we get older, we are not immune to the consequences of our words. We cannot excuse our verbal spewing because we are older or wiser. Hard and harsh words still land solidly on the ears of others… and they can hurt. Like rocks pelted in the playground.

In contrast, kind words are soft, soothing and tend to spread wider. When we build up one another in love and affirmation, it spreads beyond the first set of ears, like the fluffy clouds spreading across the blue sky.

So, even in this life full of contrasts, we must always remember to be kind. Our words are powerful and can have a “strikingly different” effect on those who hear them. It’s wise to “think before we speak”. I hope that my musings do that each week as I share words on a page. Now, go have a cotton ball snowball fight this week!