Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Summer of Growth: Weedology and Grass Farming

A summer of growth at home includes caring for our home and yard; working with the kids in their relationship with God, academics and sports; deepening relationships in the church and community; keeping physically fit; doing a lot of learning and bearing fruit for God’s Kingdom. The weeds need pulling constantly. I have learned a lot about my life, my family, church and society grass farming. Of course there is the unending battle with the lions of dandy, those peculiar pernicious plants brought here by our European ancestors to make their beloved dandelion wine that now constantly threaten to overtake every clean green field, lawn and glade. Long and valiantly have we fought these carnivorous` slayers of uniform grassy foliage, but even worse are the sea creatures of the lawn: crab grass.
Last year I had a real rash of the horrible stuff in the back yard and weed-sprays were not even denting it. My grass farming advisors said that I would probably just have to live with it, but I just couldn’t bring myself to mow over it and cast that multitude of tiny seeds to the wind… and into every nook and cranny of my lawn. So I got Christopher and Catherine out in the yard with me--what are kids for?--and we went to work, carefully dislodging every fearsome crab. It was tedious and hot work, but not terribly hard. And with persistence we beat it: we completely eradicated crab grass from our lawn.
The interesting thing is that after a while you get to where you can see the little crabs with their legs crooking out akimbo. If there is any question about where the root center is you just touch the edge of one and it wiggles and you can see where the root center is. Then you just carefully feel your way with your hand down to the where the root comes out of the ground and gently pull the whole crab out. Often it has sent it’s little tendrils out under, over and around the precious grass plants but if you carefully and gently pull it all out you can successfully transport it to the open mouth of the waiting plastic trash bag and—voila—the end of the evil trespasser.
This hatred of weeds has spilled over to my life and my family’s life and may attitude toward sin and laziness in the church. Just as I saw and was alarmed at the weeds in my yard I see and am alarmed at the weedy sin, behavior, attitudes and influences that I see in my life and in the lives of my wife and children. It sensitizes me to them and makes me want to pull them out and deal with them. Some of the weeds I had to deal with were impurity, disrespect for traffic laws, distraction of various types, laziness, misplaced priorities, lack of love and communication. The Holy Spirit has been helping me see things and change. Every day I pray for God to put a wall of protection around me, for the spirit to lead me. God has helped me stay pure, no longer get speeding tickets, be on time and prepared, grow in my relationships and spiritual effectiveness. The children and I are having daily devotions together. I am isolating areas where my brothers need to grow and helping and encouraging them. We are filled with the Spirit singing songs and sharing our faith boldly daily.
Coming up on Liberty, Probity and Valor: Specifics on time with the kids and family, relationships, fitness, our learning projects and our outreach, and maybe a little about our business too!

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Summer of Growth at Home

After several days of relative conflict my wife and I came to a peaceful resolution today: we're staying home this summer.

We had big dreams of travelling to the east and west coasts again, as we did last year when we vacationed in Seattle (with an excursion to Victoria, BC) and New York. This year we hoped to enjoy Boston and the Northeast and also to attend a spiritual growth seminar in Los Angeles. We were both excited about the basics of the plan. The conflict arose when I came up with the, apparently, "less than brilliant" idea to drive back east and drive to LA too. Well, Tinka didn't think too much of that the present time. And, true, it could take us away from our business here for too long a time.

Truth be told, I wasn't very excited about going on a trip at all and I felt, especially since Christopher are becoming such proficient Scouting campers, that we could keep the costs way down by driving prudently in our Prius and camping along the way. Now certainly that was at least a supremely reasonable if not brilliant idea! Tinka took exception. When we flew to Treasure Island in the spring we stayed a lovely condo in Land's End and had a very comfortable and relaxing time: soft bed, ready shower and air conditioning being key elements of "comfortable" and "relaxing."

Well, I prayed for wisdom for our vacation plans and immediately she was struck with the idea for drawing lots. She wrote on three pieces of paper: "fly," "drive," and "no go." Wouldn't you know it, I drew "drive." At first she began to resign herself to the driving idea and planning went on, but the more she thought about it the more rebellious she became to the idea--exacerbated by the fact that since I took the drawing as God's will I was entirely settled on the matter and convinced that, since "no go" was not drawn but was an option, we must drive to the east coast.

Resistance and rebellion grew as the realities of eight days of driving and the opportunity cost involved in being away from home for nearly 3 weeks set in. We took a Memorial Day trip to Arkansas to visit our favorite aunt and uncle, Brenda and Paul, as well as my dad, brother, sister and their dear ones. Overall the trip went well, lovely hospitality at P&B’s, dad’s, Tiffany’s and Becky’s, outstanding fishing and dad funded hotel stay, dinner on Mt Magazine, the highest point in Arkansas…but the way home foretold potential misery as I was, unfortunately, stubborn about a few things and took a route that added two hours to the return trip, though it was beautiful.

God removed the tension as he allowed me to see that perhaps he wanted us to drive on a smaller, couple day vacation and spend the rest of the summer at home working on growing in important areas: spiritually, intellectually, financially, in family, in character and in physical fitness. And so that is what we have decided to do, led by God, and we are at peace.