Monday, June 06, 2005

A Shower for Joanna

Yesterday we held a Bridal Shower for my future daughter-in-law, Joanna. It was a beautiful day, although a bit on the hot, hazy, and humid side!

As the guests arrived, the married women were given a small sheet of paper on which to write their secret to a happy marriage. It was interesting to note that at least three of the women stressed that open and honest communication is of paramount importance in a marriage. Other ladies said to keep a sense of humour, to be your husband's best friend, and to consider him a gift from God to you. One of the women advised Joanna to follow her own heart...she can develop some interests apart from her husband, and does not need to feel that because they are married, they must do absolutely everything together. Some wives don't want to crawl under a car to fix the brake line; some husbands don't want to learn to knit. That's okay!!

We then gave each of the guests a quiz, to see how well they really knew Matt and Joanna. Who would have known that Joanna once really kissed a frog, or that when Matt was a baby he really wore frilly tights? (He had three older sisters, and we lived in a cold, draughty farm house!) We laughed as we shared stories about these two dear young adults who will soon be married.

Joanna then opened her gifts. She was so pleased with the variety of gifts she received. She then gave a little speech to thank the ladies for coming to the shower.

I then gave a little devotional, reminding Joanna of the importance of communication. While it seems easy to talk to Matt now, communication can become more difficult when the stresses and storms of life press in. I told her that she must sow seeds in her marriage that will reap great harvests as the years go by.

Seeds of kindness

Imagine a really hard day. The washer breaks down; no money for a new one. You have an appointment in 20 minutes and you can't find the right pair of shoes. Your spouse begins honking the horn, and you begin to fume.

How will you react when numerous little irritations provoke you?

The Bible tells us what to do: Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good for the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto your hearers. Eph. 4:29

Don't let a nasty word out! Not one! If you can't build your spouse up, don't say anything.

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31, 32

We must choose to be kind, even when we are frustrated. When our spouse doesn't notice that we have done something special, we can choose to react with kindness rather than behaving unseemly. If he is downhearted, or frustrated, or hurt, or even angry, we must ask ourselves what we can do to edify him, to build him up, to strengthen him in his walk with the Lord.

Seeds of Grace

Grace is a beautiful concept. Imagine receiving something wonderful that you never deserved or earned in any way. Gracious speech is speaking to someone with undeserved kindness, honour, and favour. Whether your spouse has done something amazing or not, speak graciously to him. Sow seeds of grace.

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt.

Speak the truth in love to your husband. Be honest with him. Make sure you have the whole story before you say anything. That necessitates being a good listener. Make sure that what you say is necessary. Be slow to speak, and make sure what you are about to say will encourage him. Gracious speech comes from a heart that is turned toward God. It comes from a life that is filled with praise, because the grace that has transformed that life is viewed with awe and wonder.

I told Joanna that she can begin right now to sow seeds of kindness and sow seeds of grace. She can set the tone for their home, asking the Lord for His help. Psalm 141:3 Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips."
The luncheon was then served. All of my older daughters had worked so hard to prepare special food. We had muffins, cheese buns, a pickle tray, a veggie tray, cucumbers with dip, a cheese tray, various cookies and cakes, and all of it gluten-free!

What a lovely day it was! Joanna reminded me that it is only 5 weeks and a few days until the wedding. I can't wait!


Thursday, June 02, 2005


This is going to be the year we have a great garden. Every other year, we start out great guns, then we get busy with projects inside the house and lose track of what is happening in the yard. The next thing we know, the weeds are waist high, we can't see the vegetables, and the ducks and chickens are eating more of the produce than we are.

This year is going to be different. Why, you ask? Because we are determined! Also, because my son-in-law, Steve, has a weedless garden, and explained his secret: do a little bit every day!

So, on May 20 we began planting. We planned the layout of the garden, then all of the children got busy. Daniel put up chicken wire and other fences for the beans and the beefsteak tomatoes to climb. Sarah planted garlic, onions and beets. Linda planted Romaine lettuce, Swiss Chard, dill, and peas. Jared planted the potatoes; Elena put in sunflowers across the north end of the garden. Tiana happily planted watermelons.

Day after day, we were out there, digging and tilling and pulling up the roots of weeds that went on for miles. Daniel fixed the fence and planted morning glories so they would climb the split rails. Patrick patiently hauled load after load of well-rotted manure to augment our clay soil.

I am happy to report that the zucchini and sunflowers are up, as are the radishes. Only two brave potato plants have made their presence known, and half a dozen bean plants. A couple of our tomatoes have been attacked, but the majority are looking fine. NO sign of carrots or corn or lettuce or watermelons or peas.

Gardening is an endeavour that takes a lot of patience and a good measure of faith, along with hard work and consistency. We marvel that these tiny, lifeless (from our perspective) seeds, when put into the ground, suddenly sprout and shoot out green stems which search for sunlight! Day after day we see changes in the size of the plants. The weeds are astounding - where do they all come from??? We attack them every day with hoes and rakes, and we are winning the battle. We know that all good gifts are from above, and come down from the Father of lights. We know that no matter how hard we work, there isn't a blessed thing we can do to make that plant grow and produce fruit. We do our part, but we must trust God to do His part, which is really the biggest part. Even what we consider to be "our" part is only because of His grace - He has bestowed on us the strength to hoe and water and carry and plant and dig. He has given us the intelligence to read and learn the best way to plant each seed and care for each vegetable as it grows. All good gifts are from Him.

I have begun a gardening journal, and each of the children is working on one, too. I hope to be able to report by the end of the summer that we have eaten much, canned and frozen some, and have reaped the rewards of our consistent, hard work mingled with prayer and faith in the God Who Provides.

I hope to be able to tell you that this, indeed, was the year we had a great garden!
So far, so good.