Friday, June 30, 2006

fresh flowers for June 30

The Treasure In Your Hand
copyright 2006, lani wiens
a fresh flowers original

I love stories. Perhaps that's why I write. I'm guessing there are other people like me out there who learn better when the lesson is couched in pictures and imagery that soften the edges of the lesson and allow it to penetrate my heart and mind. Yesterday I finished reading a wonderful story on the way home from the lake. The lessons learned are ones that will take a lifetime to live out. There were two big ones in there and I hope that I can present them to you here so that you don't all have to go out and find the book.

The two go hand in hand. The first comes from Ephesians, we have been loved extravagantly by Christ and are commanded to love like that. Christ's focus was 'the people' we need to be people of the people, loving close up without worrying about what we might get in return. The second is like it, there is a hidden treasure in your hand that is only yours to give, don't keep it to yourself.

So how do we do that? We need to 'see' people, really see them. What does their heart need that you and I can give? Perhaps it will be practical, perhaps it will be silent, ask the Lord to show you what is needed. Ask Him to show you how to love.

Then there is this treasure business. What treasure are we holding in our hand, tucked away from view that we could give to someone else today. It may be forgiveness for an old wound. Perhaps it is letting go of something that you've been hanging on to. Maybe it is as simple as a smile or a story read when asked.

Love extravagantly. Live with an open hand. Share the treasure that is in you. Those are the flowers for today.

Friday, June 23, 2006

fresh flowers for June 23

The Care and Keeping of an Idea
copyright 2006, Lani Wiens
a fresh flowers original

I am an ideas person married to a visionary. Sometimes that can spell trouble. We've had to wade our way through many ideas gone awry where flesh overtook Spirit and created a mess. I hope that the illustration that's popped up in my garden will perhaps bring clarity and hope to other visionary/idea type people who've had their noses bruised on brick walls a few too many times.

We're going to use the analogy of having a baby. I'm very familiar with the sequence of events that goes into that process so it was easy to fit this little lesson into that framework.

Our idea is conceived, quite possibly an immaculate conception because most of our ideas stem from the hand of our Father's creative juices. He plants a seed of an idea in our belly and it begins to make itself known. Some of us are very careful with our ideas, not letting anyone know about it until we are absolutely sure we're safe...Only to find out that there really isn't a 'safe' time and ideas can come to ruin at any time for any number of reasons. Some of us shout our idea from the roof tops we are so excited about it and then have to get our feet back under us while the reality of the idea that something is brewing sets in.

It is here that the arm of flesh sometimes gets in the way and we lose our focus, forgetting why we're in this thing in the first place. Since we are pregnant we know that we are going to grow bigger, our fickle mind thinks that perhaps a bigger body requires a bigger bed. After all rest and comfort are essential for the growing of an idea. We put our energy into getting the bigger bed. When that is accomplished we admire this new thing and soon we realize that the room the bed is occupying is far too small. Hmmmmmmmmmm

Do we take out a wall or would it be more prudent to invest in a bigger house all together, you never know how big that idea could get, you want it to have lots of room to grow so that it won't be hampered in any way. In the midst of that rabbit trail you wonder if you should build or buy. Building would of course require a property, and where should that property be located? Buying requires consideration of location, size and cost of the inevitable renovation and upgrades, not to mention that all of this requires financing and many long discussions with bankers and financial advisors. We won't even mention the need for accessories, helpers and deadlines. In the meantime that little idea is gestating and getting closer to its' birth date completely oblivious to our frantic efforts.

By now we are in waaaaaaaaaaay over our heads, completely overwhelmed with all that goes into having a little idea. Immense amounts of energy and time have gone into research about all the accoutrements required to have an idea. We realize it is way too expensive, there is no way we have the resources to pull this off, perhaps we need to get into fundraising. We size things up and decide the plan is to difficult to accomplish with such a small team and in such a short time frame. How is this ever going to work? (Storm clouds are gathering!) Who thought this up in the first place? How can I gracefully back out after I've announced to everyone that an idea was on the way? Is the idea even still there, when was the last time we had it checked to see if it was okay? Has it managed to survive all of this extra energy output or has all this effort going to give birth to nothing? As it says in Isaiah, will we give birth to the whirlwind? Something that sucks up everything in its' path only to scatter it abroad where it doesn't belong? For the sake of this analogy we will keep our idea alive.

And then the labour pains hit. The time has come for that idea to be born. It cannot wait any longer the time has come whether we are ready or not. Suddenly all that other stuff falls away and becomes unimportant. All our energy and focus is on this moment. We are convicted of our wayward focus, we realize where our energy should have been going. Our idea could have had a better introduction to the world, maybe it isn't quite as healthy as it could have been due to our distraction. But here it is anyway, we heave a sigh marveling at the miracle of it all. The realization of what is truly important overwhelms us. We could have been resting, trusting, anticipating with joy this idea, instead we were distracted by many things. We grieve over the loss. But there is good news...

Many are the plans of a man's heart but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.
No knowledge can set itself up against the purpose of the Lord.
Commit your plans to the Lord and they will succeed.
Submit yourself to the Lord, resist the devil and he will flee from you.
No weapon formed against you can prosper.
His plans are to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.

These are all promises from the scriptures. If God has set out to bring something forth it will happen. Much of the time these distractions are not from the Lord but a tool of the enemy to get our energies going where they don't belong so that when the times comes you can't do what you're called to do. We are too tired, too overwhelmed, we have set our mind and heart on auto-pilot and hope that no one will notice we're not tuned in.

We must be wise, listening to the Lord, waiting for Him to accomplish His good purpose in and through us. He will give us all we need to bring His ideas to birth. Sometimes the birth of an idea has to wait a very long time. The Lord is patient with us, waiting for us. His ideas are precious to Him and He will accomplish it. The arm of flesh can get in the way, it can make things difficult when we try to bring something to birth at the wrong time. We must submit ourselves to the Lord first of all. In repentance and rest are our salvation. In due time He will do it. Now that is good news!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Great Baby Race

After finding out that we are gaining noteriety through the comments section on CareBear's blog I thought that perhaps I needed to say something about the family planning issue.

Much like Firestarter and Carebear we had a long journey to get to the point we are now. We started out with that dreaded hormonal soup called The Pill. That didn't last very long since we read that Mary Pride book Camille was talking about. However, after that, nothing happened for another 3 years! No babies, but lots of praying. Kelly had to have surgery to correct an issue that seemed to be blocking the baby train. That surgery worked and we were expecting very soon after.

It was another 4 years until blessing #2 arrived.

#3 is now in position #2 and came as a result of our foster care years. He slid nicely into place between our biological children at a 2 year interval.

#4 came along 2 years after that and #5 17 months later. Those two years were extremely stressful and traumatic for us due to the health challenges of #4 and then having another baby so soon afterwards. I went into a post-partum depression and didn't want to have any more babies. We started exploring ways to stop the train.

Instead God stopped us from stopping the train. Three times we made appointments and three times He shut us down. It just wasn't the right thing to do for us at that time. There was a time when I felt very judgemental towards people who glibly cut things off. However, God began to teach me how each family is different, each one has their load limit. He has designed each of us differently and has different purposes for each family.

While we grappled with NOT cutting things off I lived in fear that I'd get pregnant again, not really good for the romantic side of married life. We finally wrestled through with God and realized that we needed to get back to a place of trusting God with our fertility and the possibility that He might want us to embrace more children. As my heart changed I got excited about the possibility of another one and then suddenly I was pregnant again, though I had an overwhelming sense of doom right from the beginning.

12 weeks later I miscarried our little Channah. I had no idea that losing a child could be so devastating. There's plenty of people who say that you couldn't really be so attached to someone you have never met, but my heart said differently. That baby (we think of her as a girl) is no less my daughter than the precious gift that God gave us after her home-going. We now have baby #7 in our midst and we felt very strongly that she was the end of our natural born children.

We very cautiously talked with our doctor and prayed and prayed and prayed. We are convinced that ending our fertile years with another bit of surgery was what the path held for us. There are many reasons for that, mostly physical ones, NOT financial ones. We are at peace about that decision. HOWEVER, it doesn't mean we won't welcome children into our home by other means. We frequently have 2-6 children in our backyard. They are part of our family. We have many nieces and nephews who are part of our family. We have friends kids who are part of our family. We may adopt, it's a dream of ours to have an international household.

So be prepared people. Just because you won't see me with a pregnant belly again doesn't mean we won't have more children...the race is still on!!!

new blog

There's a new blog in town, my friend Darcie is over in Africa and I'm helping her report on her can view Beyone Me at

check it out

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Okay, that last post was a little depressing so I figured I better get something a little more positive on here!!

In Praise of Men
©2006, Lani Wiens
a fresh flowers original

In the last couple of decades men have taken a beating. They’ve been belittled, emasculated and found wanting. The female race has declared their independence and superiority, claiming that they don’t want, need or even like men. I would like to be a voice that differs. I would like to declare that not only am I happy to have men around in my life, I need them and want them there. I cannot do life by myself.

Father’s Day is just passed and I couldn’t help but think about all the men that God has put into my life over the years. They have been supportive, caring, protecting and helpful. They have been strong, directive and influential. They have been nurturing, loving and tender. They have been warriors, leaders and providers. These men have been my husband, my fathers, my brothers, my pastors and teachers, my friends, my spiritual brothers and fathers. All of these men have profoundly affected my life and I am so grateful for them. Please note that I am not married to all of these men, just one, but I am deeply thankful for all these male relationships.

As women we may think we can do without these hairy creatures (okay so not all of them are hairy). We can’t! We can limp along and make it look like we’re okay for awhile but in the end, we are not as good as we think we are.

I’ve recently read the book, “Captivating” by John and Stasi Eldridge, in it Stasi talks specifically about men who can care for you that are not your husband in a pure relationship. I have experienced this as well through our church family. We tend to be so careful and fearful of something bad happening or being said that we cut ourselves off from these wonderful relationships.

Anyways, I just want to thank God for all the men in my life, past, present and future and to say thank you to them for their influence and input into my life!

Monday, June 19, 2006

pray for us losers!!

My husband and I have determined that we are losers! In the truest sense of the word, we have been losing things lately and can't find important things that we need for our life and livelyhood.

As well, our equipment is in need of help, restoration and replacement we have had issues with:

* our computer
* Kelly's keyboard
* my sewing machine
* our camera (that one was an easy fix)
* our lawnmower - the electric one needs serious help and the gas one we inherited with the house doesn't really work either
* our van has been in the garage three times in the past month
* my faulty serger is now completely defunct
* our living room light switch makes it look like we have a disco in here when we're trying to get the light to stay on
* the towel bar fell off the wall
* the washing machine leaks and something is stuck in the pump
* the dryer squeals like a little piggy
* our son ripped the seal off the bottom of the shower stall
* our roof still isn't completely free of drips

So add that to being losers and we're feeling a little overwhelmed with life because life is messy and trying to clean it up is like shoveling in a snowstorm. I won't even mention the backyard and it's needs.

Okay, that was really depressing, sorry....I'm sure I'll find something to be happy about in all this, I'm sure character and faith are being forged and all that, in the meantime I'm going to get my least I remembered my password for getting on here, yesterday I couldn't....

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

fresh flowers for June in general!!

Where Are Your Resources Directed?
copyright, Lani Wiens, 2006
a fresh flowers original

My children tested me on longsuffering yesterday and I even learned something from it. Here were the ingredients to their recipe...

3 days of rain followed by a sunny day
5 cabin-feverish kids
2-4 neighborhood kids
1 pile of sand/mud
1 garden hose
1 large tub
1 tub
1 shower (remove the seal from the bottom of the shower door)
0 clean towels

mix together thoroughly until each child is covered head to toe in mud/sand, place 2-3 children in large tub and mix thoroughly with clean water (reserve 1 child for an extra special coating of the mud mixture)

When the extra mud child stands hollering at the door because he is freezing cold, remain calm, continue to nurse the baby, call your husband to see if he is coming home SOON!! and don't look.

Listen to your daughter take care of her brother's needs as she gets him to the shower and helps him turn it on.

Listen to their conversation as water pours out the bottom of the shower door and they try to sop up the mess while 2 other children throw water on the floor from the tub simply because it's fun.

Thank God that your husband is pulling into the driveway. Thank God even more that he heads directly to the bathroom to assess the damage

Continue to nurse the baby and keep your mouth shut because you don't want to ruin all the fun they had even though the mess is really catastrophic.

Put the baby down while you go to see if it's really as bad as your husband's exclamations make it seem.

It's worse!

The mess is finally cleaned up, the kids are clean and tucked into bed.

The husband tells you why the mess was so bad, the shower head was pointed directly at the door of the shower. It was like Niagra Falls coming out the bottom.

The Moral of this story is:

Resources and energy when aimed in the wrong direction create a big mess. (also make sure you fix the seal on the bottom of the shower door as soon as you know there's a problem)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

fresh flowers for June 3

scattered wildflowers
non original thoughts

Getting to this spot to write has NOT been easy. Our main computer bit the dust and so did I in a manner of speaking. But God is faithful and He has refreshed me with His word and so I wanted to share some of the seeds and transplants that have landed on the soil of my heart. I pray my soil is fertile and that yours will be as well.

Wildflower 1
It is a wonderfully pleasant aroma to our Father when we exercise our faith and believe what He says. Faith without works is a dead thing, not producing life. Stacey Campbell was speaking at a conference in our fair city last weekend and this was her message. "Take it up a level!" Believe God for more of His Spirit at work in you.

Wildflower 2
We are in a war and we had better be prepared to fight. This is no time for spiritual coasting. If we are coasting we will not be in tune with God, we will cease to hear His voice (I know this from personal experience). The intimacy that comes from spending time with Him will fade. When we are actively seeking His guidance, walking through the battlefield we will meet with Him.

Wildflower 3
Be anxious for nothing and LIGHTEN UP! Not only do we need to lighten up in the aspect of not taking ourselves so seriously, we need to lighten up as in casting our cares on Him. Lighten the burden. In the words of Joyce Meyer, "There is an anointing on TODAY!" We need to enjoy this moment today because tomorrow will have something else to enjoy. I personally get way to intense and burdened with my load. I look at all that I don't accomplish in a day, and the many failures and messes that I've created and get downhearted. I miss the joys of caring for my kids (they don't seem to mind the mess - except when they can't find something). I miss the wonder of a beautiful day as I bog myself down in self-pity.

God cares for little ol' me, here in my little ol' house surrounded by my kids and all the neighbourhood kids, the laundry, the ironing and the mending. He is helping me fight the battle in my home and on my street. He is giving me faith to believe that the attack of the enemy we are currently walking through will be a war that is won by Him. He will make my hands strong for battle and give me faith to believe. He will give it to you, too!

Happy wildflower day!