Monday, November 28, 2005

I'm still here!

Blogging has become such an extremely low priority in our crazy days lately, there just hasn't been time. I have to admit I miss 'meeting' all of my on-line friends. I took a few minutes to read this morning at Intent and CareBear and Livin' Forgiven', they all have good things to say.

This week has been sick children, way too many bodily fluids being flung around for this queasy stomach. Yup, the gagging and nausea still haunt me though things have gotten better this week has been very difficult. That handsome man in the pictures below has been my saving grace - keeping up with cleaning up the diarhea and vomit on a regular basis. My boys have helped with the laundry and the bathtub has seen a lot of use lately.

We're still here in our old house, it is not sold yet but maybe that will change soon. We've had two people look at it this weekend and one more is coming tomorrow.

We have a date for Samuel's heart surgery. Excited and scared about that.

Leading our Transformations group has been a huge blessing - what a wonderful group of people we've given to lead for this little time frame.

That's all for now, gotta go plan our lives for the next couple of weeks....

Friday, November 25, 2005

fresh flowers for November 25

Recipe for Success
©2005, lani wiens
a fresh flowers original

Like most kitchens I have a shelf that contains recipe books. Lately, I’ve actually found myself using those things. I rarely bake anything but bread, which doesn’t require a recipe anymore and when I cook, it is generally a little of this and a little of that, sometimes I’ve created new recipes that are actually quite good. My mother calls it ‘cooking by the spirit’. If I do look at a recipe book it is usually just to get an idea of something to make, not to actually follow the recipe.

But lately, I’ve been noting the benefit of recipes and following what they say. The results are pretty good. I’ve actually made a few new things that my family has enjoyed. The other use I’ve found is that I can put a recipe out for my husband or oldest son to follow so that they can get supper preparations under way if I’m not home.

I started thinking about all this when I saw two recipe books out on my counter that I had actually used in my cooking expeditions this week. In our Bible study group we had just completed a lesson on walking in victory over sin. There are some specific things in the Bible that sound a lot like ‘recipes’ for overcoming sin in our lives. I started to note the similarities.

There are some circumstances that we find ourselves in where we need to walk by the Spirit, seeing what God has in store for us where scripture doesn’t spell things out specifically. These are always great adventures, seeing where the Lord leads and how things will work themselves out for our good and for His glory. This is kind of like my experiments in the kitchen, sometimes I don’t quite get things right and I know that next time I will need to follow a different path. I am forging a new trail, going on an adventure to learn something that I haven’t known before. An example of this is our walk with this housing thing, we don’t know what the end result will be, maybe we won’t even move, but we’re learning a lot and will continue to bend our ear to hear what the Lord is saying to us.

Other circumstances require specific instruction where you don’t waver from a prescribed order. When I bake cookies, cakes or pie I definitely follow my recipe books’ instructions. Choosing to go my own way on these things could easily end in disaster and nasty results. God is very specific on many issues in scripture, take the ten commandments for example, pretty hard to misinterpret those. In Hebrews it tells us how we are to relate to leadership in the church. Other scripture gives us clear direction on how we relate to one another in our families, friendships and in the family of God. Not following these prescribed orders for staying out of sin leads to broken relationships with God and others, misery and other nasty results.

In the kingdom of God there is room for great adventure and room for prescribed order. Both are good and both are necessary. Of course, it is important to be aware of when to do which one, when we understand that we have a recipe for success no matter what.

I thought I’d give you one of my very favorite recipes that I follow to great success every time! This page is covered with dots of chocolate and what-have-you. Hmmmm, think I might have to go make one of these…..

Chocolate Cake (from Taste and See – a Wiens family cookbook – that we aren’t actually related to at all, Kelly received it as a gift from some people he met on a plane once!)

I always double this recipe to make a nice deep cake. If you’re doubling use a 9x13 pan if single use 9x9 – unless you like skinny cake.

1 ¼ c flour
1 c sugar

½ tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp. Cocoa
1 egg
½ c. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. Vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1 c cold water

Sift together dry ingredients. Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes – if you double it you’ll need to bake it for 10-15 minutes longer or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Friday, November 18, 2005

fresh flowers for November 18

Every Good Gift
copyright 2005, lani wiens
a fresh flowers original

While we were on holidays we celebrated Christmas with my husband’s family. It was a lovely time. My husband and I grew up a little differently where Christmas is concerned. His family asks for the ‘Christmas wish list’ and you can expect that you’ll receive something off that list. My family did not practice this, we were given gifts that my parents wanted to give us, it was always a big surprise as to what they had come up with that year. Both practices are wonderful, however, it sometimes throws me into a quandary when it comes to giving gifts. Do I honour the wishes of the person on the receiving end or do I go with the idea in my heart that was born for that person and surprise them with something unexpected and unanticipated? I’ve done both over the years but this year I felt really convicted to go strictly (almost) by the lists provided. The interesting thing is that pretty much everyone else seemed to be doing the same thing. The result was that everyone seemed to be quite delighted with all gifts received. We had all received things that we desired.

When we first got married trying to make that list for my mother-in-law was excruciatingly painful. I had such a hard time wrapping my head around writing down things that I really wanted. I was forced into thinking about what I truly wanted but was also scared of disappointment. What if my desire changed between the time I made the list and the gift-giving moment? I had grown up learning to be content with whatever I received, unfortunately, like every other kid, I wasn’t always terribly content and sometimes disappointed with what my parents had hoped to bless me with. My mother-in-law, however, had no idea of my likes and dislikes, my wants or my desires. That list gave her some clues as to appropriate gifts for me, it made her gift-giving much easier. On the other hand the same was true for my husband’s sisters, I didn’t know them that well yet and the lists gave me some idea of what they preferred.

In most gift-giving our desire as a giver is to bless and love the person receiving the gift, sometimes we hit the mark and sometimes we are a little off. We are human, sometimes we get it just right and sometimes we are dreadfully wrong. I’m sure we’ve all given or received a gift that just didn’t cut it. It can be disappointing on both ends. God isn’t like that, He always gets it right, even when we don’t think so initially.

God desires to give us the desire of our hearts, it says so in Psalm 37 and in several other places in scripture. He delights to give good gifts to His children. Sometimes they are the gifts like my parents give, a surprise, something unexpected and unanticipated. Sometimes they are the things we ask for, like my husband’s parents, that bless us and we count them as answered prayers. Then there are gifts that cause us to wonder what He was thinking, doesn’t He know that I really didn’t mean it when I asked Him for more patience? You know what I mean don’t you? You pray for patience and immediately or sooner you get a package wrapped in something that causes you to exercise those patience muscles beyond your human capacity? Like the kids dumping all the cereal boxes out on the floor just after you washed it? You ask God for more love in your heart and your package is a friend saying something that hurts beyond words and your immediate desire is to never speak to them again or hurt them back?

Yup I much prefer those gifts that fulfill the longings and desires - that don’t take much work, the blessings that get handed over without having asked for them or unexpected surprises, those are the ones that come in those great gift bags, easy to open and get at. Those other ones take some work to get at, the packing tape is hard to get through, there are multiple layers of wrapping and the gift is deep inside that wrapping, not unlike a package wrapped by my brother-in-law! No matter what wrapping the gift comes in the unpacking is worthwhile because we can be sure of this; God gives good gifts to His children. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,” (James 1:17a)

To find a few more of God’s gifts look up: Ecc 3:13, John 4:10, Acts 2:38, Acts 1:4, Romans 6:23, 1 Cor 7:7, Eph 2:8, 1 Peter 3:7 and 4:10, Rev 22:17.

Friday, November 04, 2005

fresh flowers for Nov 4

Simple Solutions
©2005, lani wiens
a fresh flower original

A few days ago our internet shut down completely. Me, being the ‘worst case scenario’ thinker that I am immediately began to assess all the horrible and expensive things that may have happened. Turns out it was unplugged. Imagine that, an easy solution. Sometimes things really aren’t as bad as they look! I hope that this is an encouragement to you today. Perhaps there actually is a simple solution to whatever it is that you’re going through right now. You see I would have found the problem if I had simply gotten down on my knees. I thought about it, but I didn’t do it. Pretty typical, huh?

In God’s word He assures us that ALL things will be made into good things for those that love Him and are called according to His purpose. It may not look like it now, but God is redeeming the nastiness in our lives even as we speak, making them into good things that can affect your current life and the life of others for a bigger picture in a positive way.

Actually, that’s all I have to say for now. My little boy needs to get out of the tub and we’re on our way to BC for holidays as a family. I won’t be here next week so I pray that all is well with your soul until next time.

The flowerlady