Saturday, December 18, 2010

Emmanuel - God with us!

The stable was the first place God dwelt with us in the flesh, because first things first.

A king was born one silent night,
Not in a castle, but out of sight
In a cobwebby stable that smelled of hay
God ushered in a brand new way.

He came as a babe, for as we all know,
To learn to obey is the way we should go.
He humbled Himself and came as a son
Who went on to be the Obedient One.

He says the humble shall hear
And the humble shall see.
Humble yourselves in the sight of Me.
I'm looking for room, in hearts, don't you see?
Please humble yourselves and dwell with Me.

Let's join Him in the manger...
The manner of His entrance into the world was known and orchestrated. It was not impromptu.
As He stepped into time, He was also conducting the orchestra of His life.
He chose every word and action to perfectly reflect His Father, and ours.
He did not dodge any aspect of difficulty that being a true son of His Father might give rise to. He was a man, in the truest sense of the title. He was also "God with us".
In order to experience His abundant life, we need to follow Him, and be in all points, as He is.
He was born into impossibilities... no room in the inn, a king set to kill him, appearing of not only doubtful, but shameful parentage.
May we surrender the "impossibilities" in our lives and hearts to Him, who is so able to turn dirges into dances, cold dark nights into bright sunny mornings, and all that is meant for evil into astonishing good!
May we know, in the deepest recesses of our hearts, just WHO our Saviour is.
May we grasp in an ever-deepening way, what "God with us" really means, experiencing it every day of our lives.
Happiest and most Blessed Christmas to each of you!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Corn Maze Fun

One of Abe's organic hay customers tried something new this year. They did this HUGE corn maze. He gave us free tickets to go thru it. Somehow it didn't seem that exciting and the days kept going by...
Then one Saturday Abe was out hauling hay and he called and said he would be coming by there, and if we wanted to meet him there, we could check it out. So we did.
This picture is the view from up on one of the stairs/bridges they have in the maze.

I must say it was a lot more fun than I expected. The girls really enjoyed it! The air was brisk and fresh. They had a bunch of points where there was a sign with an early American history question, with multiple choice answers. Each answer had a corresponding arrow, giving you a clue of where you should go (that is, if you got the right answer!).
We never got majorly lost, and for another time it might be fun to go in without a map, and see what happens! :)

There was actually three mazes. The kid's one was pretty easy and small. The two others were much more involved. We went thru them all.

They had a bunch of other family fun things to do, mostly involving corn. Cornhole game, and this big slide where you go flying down into a "corn" box (like a sand box). That was a big hit! They had a small train pulling barrel cars for the kids to ride, numerous campfires to sit around, and old-fashioned, cooked in a big cast iron kettle, stew, also hamburgers and hot dogs. They had a teepee set up with a fire pit in the middle that was pretty neat, too.

All in all, it was well worth going, and the girls enthusiastically said they'd want to go again next year.
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Come Forth Gold

There is this grove of trees close to our house. Somehow I have never yet determined what species it is. I sure do enjoy them though!

They are gloriously gold right now. When the sun hits them in the evening, it creates such a glow.

These leaves, I believe, are from a tulip poplar.
When they caught my attention, and I snapped this picture, I did not realize that there were actually two leaves.

When my life is done
This is how I want to fall.
Two, better than one.
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More Fall Glory

Going up our drive...

Almost bare... a few leaves with a tenacious grip...

Home Sweet Home!

Today is your day.
Blaze your heart out, young maple,
It's your time to shine.

Thinning leaves create
Opportunity for sun
Light to penetrate.
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Fall Glory

Here are a few pictures I like, from this month. It has not been the most colorful fall on record, but I find I am enjoying individual trees more. Certain ones stand out, each with a glory all it's own.

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October Sunset

The evening of the 17th, we had the most beautiful sunset! Of course photos do not do it justice...

It changed so rapidly and varied so much from beginning to end.
Pictures taken from one moment to the next, were different. It's like a show going on, and if you look away, you miss part of it.
This show is one of a kind, never to be duplicated exactly the same way.

For some reason, it occured to me to wonder... What do the colors come from?
I can not remember ever hearing (or reading) anything about it.
What is the scientific explanation?

I love WHO colors it for us!

What a lovely way to say goodnight to a day!
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

No Vision

The creativity that went into this flower causes me to stop and contemplate...
People who create anything, whether it be a tasty meal or an object of art, usually have a goal in mind. Something they are trying to say, or portray... something that has significance to them, that they wish to communicate to, or share with, those around them.
Creativity comes from cannot be conjurred up.
Behind true creativity, I believe there is vision.

It requires inspiration to capture emotion in painting a picture, etc.
If that is required to put on paper a replica of something that already exists,
how much more inspiration (or) vision, did it take to make the original?
Can you imagine the joy and satisfaction experienced in creating a flower like this?!
To set up the process in which a flower buds and grows to full flower?

I have been thinking lately about this statement:


I see many lives that are evidence that this is a fact.
Some folks live their whole lives like sleep-walkers, just going thru the motions.
No vision.

Then there are those that scorn the sleep-walkers, knowing enough to know that this is no way to live.
Still no vision.

You can fill your days with deciding, most determinedly, just what your life will NOT be about.
Yet still no vision...
Still perishing on the inside...

It's not that hard to decide what you don't believe in.
It's all too easy to curse the darkness.
No vision.

Even trying to "go light your world" somehow doesn't cut it.
Your light is too weak, too feeble to be effectual.
The problem is too big for you.
The darkness is too dark for you.
No vision.

The Creator that created the flower, and us, has vision.
His creations are imbued with life and light.
They effect us, because they are meant to.
There is vision and purpose behind everything.
We are made to have a vision, a purpose, to believe.

What do you believe?
Does your belief give you purpose?
Or does your unbelief darken your vision...

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Monday, September 13, 2010

As it seems?

A few nights ago, I snapped these pictures of the sky. It was a beautiful evening, and these poor pictures in no way capture it.

As I looked at them on the camera screen, I was struck by the thought that if you turn the picture upside down, it looks like you are on top of the clouds, like when you're looking out the window of a jet...

it looks like the ocean.

A song I heard recently came to mind, by Lifehouse.


How long have I been in this storm?
So overwhelmed by the ocean's shapeless form
Water's getting harder to tread
With these waves crashing over my head

If I could just see you
Everything would be all right
If I'd see you
This darkness would turn to light

And I will walk on water
And you will catch me if I fall
And I will get lost into your eyes
I know everything will be alright
I know everything is alright

I know you didn't bring me out here to drown
So why am I ten feet under and upside down
Barely surviving has become my purpose
Because I'm so used to living underneath the surface

If I could just see you
Everything would be all right
If I'd see you
This darkness would turn to light

And I will walk on water
And you will catch me if I fall
And I know everything will be alright
I know everything will be alright

There are a lot of wordless thoughts rolling around in my heart. It feels like it's not necessarily my business to tame them into words. I will just say that I trust God that everything will all be made right one day. What feels like an ocean we are drowning under might turn out to be the sky, because after all, things are not always...
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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lean Not

We are creatures of habit. I've heard it said that a habit is something we do without thinking. I have a notion that we are just as much creatures of habit in our ways of thinking, as we are in our actions. I'm glad we have the opportunity to rely on Someone whose wisdom is much greater than ours. We can trust the One who formed us in our mother's womb to lead us away from leaning unto our own understanding.
It can be very enlightening to see things from a new, or different, perspective. I pray for open minds and hearts, that we could invite our Creator to renew our minds... and create in us, clean hearts.

The same thing... just from a different angle...

When we start to see something from a different angle, pretty soon it opens up a whole new world.

The possibilities are endless.

I have also noticed, from behind a camera, that it is good to not be afraid to get up close, and personal,
even maybe getting wet or dirty (ie: uncomfortable).
I think the same is true when it comes to viewing our own lives. There is more to be gained, than lost, if we have the courage to do so.
Just some thoughts I had while snapping these pictures...

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Friday, September 10, 2010

2010 Fair Fun

The fair is a much-anticipated event in our household. Sister-in-law Miriam tagged along with us with her two girls. Our girls enjoyed the rides with their cousins. Abi and Amber still really like the little ferris wheel. (Amber in the green shirt facing left and Abi beside her)
All the girls were very pink-cheeked by the end of the day, and I was pretty worn out! Standing in the hot sun, in high humidity has a way of doing that to a person!
Front row seat on the Crazy Bus held (l to r) Chloe, Hadassah, and Lexia.
The Farm Service Agency had some fun things for the kids to do. They made "Soil Sam's", which they are still enjoying. They involve soil and lawn seed in a nylon stocking, decorated with a face. The lawn seed sprouts and becomes "Sam's" hair. The girls now have fun giving regular hair-cuts!
They also had this neat section of culvert painted up on the insude to show what is going on underneath the ground. Not that the girls studied it much, they just like the neat fort it made
Left to right in the front is: Chloe, Lexia, and Abi, with Hadassah and Damaris in the back. I think it's a pretty good snapshot to remember the day by.
I enjoyed the fair too. I love the sense of community that I felt as the long day went by. I saw so many people I know, from so many different walks of life. The best part of the day was looking down on it all from the top of the ferris wheel, and being struck by the way God sees us all, individually, not as a faceless crowd, and with so much compassion in His gaze...
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

15 Years!

Fifteen years of yesterdays ago, it was our wedding day... Time has flown by. It is incredible to think of who we were then, and who we are now. I wouldn't change us back... oh, yes, Abe had a bit more hair and I had a few less pounds... :) ... but in the things that matter, we are so much richer. Our feelings for each other have been tested, and have grown.
I like to think back and remember. We sang a song together at our wedding, and while I knew the words to be true then, I never knew it to the extent that I know it now. It goes like this:
"I could never promise you
On just my strength alone,
That all my life I'd care for you
And love you as my own.
I've never known the future,
I only see today.
Words that last a lifetime
Would be more than I could say.

But the love inside my heart today
Is more than mine alone.
It never changes, never fails,
It never seeks it's own.
And by the God who gives it,
Who lives in me and you,
I know the words I speak today
Are words I'm going to do.

So I stand before you now
For all to hear and see
And promise you in Jesus' name
The love He's given me.
And through the years on earth
And as eternity goes by
The life and love He's given us
Are never going to die."

I am so glad that the love of God never fails. I know it to be a sustaining power!
If the next 15 years are anything like the first 15, I will say it has been an amazing ride! The enormity of the volume of growth and change that I know has gone on inside of me is almost shocking for me to think about. And yet in some ways, nothing has changed. What I saw to be true then, what I knew I could depend on, is the same today. As life happens, what was once new and fresh and beautiful gets tested by the fire. It either emerges purified or proven false and better abandoned. On the other side of testing, it is stronger, more durable. A butterfly's wings harden and strengthen after it emerges from it's cocoon, making it ready to fly to places it only dreamed of, as a caterpillar.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pictureless Catch-Up Post!

I just noticed that my last post was in May! Help!! This whole summer has just been flying by! I have enjoyed less gardening and canning than last year, and a lot more "people".
Our computer was having some problems...getting slower and slower and then the browser wasn't working and I had so little time to address the problem I was just making do without it.
Thanks to my brother Justin, it is back in working order and we also upgraded our internet access so it is speedier than ever!
We had two young friends spend 2 & 1/2 weeks with us, from Columbus. That was fun! Victor is 14 and Mukami is 12. Mukami was born 6 weeks after Carolie, so having her here was like a taste of what it would be like if she was still with us. It was lovely and I'm grateful to Charity for sharing her children with us. Mukami was a great big sister to our girls. It did my heart good to watch them all together. She is such a sweetheart!
Victor gave the girls a glimpse of what it would be like to have a big brother. He was really good at tolerating all their "girl" play. They like to have wore him out one evening with all the piggy back rides he gave them! He hung out with Abe a lot too, doing the "guy" stuff, like hunting for groundhogs, farmin' and such. He has quite the humor, and kept me in stitches. Nephew Austin and he were quite the pair! They both have the same random funniness when you are least expecting it. The girls liked to tease them and call them "Austina Ballerina" and "Queen Victoria"! :)
Our next-door neighbors have welcomed us to use their outdoor swimming pool all we like, and since this has been the hottest, most humid summer I remember in a while, we have done just that! The girls have made good progress at learning to swim, and we are all a bit more tanned than we usually get.
We had a long-time friend, Lois, visit us from Canada for a few weeks. She split her time between my sisters and Mom and me. We tried to all hang out together as often as possible. Took her to Berlin to do a bit of the tourist thing... visit Heini's Cheese and taste the gazillion kinds of cheese they make... Oh, and let's not forget the fudge!
We also went a couple times to Mohican State Park with picnic food along and just spent hours. It's so beautiful there and the creek/river is warm and fun for all ages. Dropped by Landoll's Mohican Castle so she could see what she remembers hearing us talk about years ago... Memorable times!
Harvey (Abe's brother married to my sis Monica) put out a small field of produce this year. Since I have basically no garden this summer, I have hoed a little corn and pulled some weeds, and lately, picked watermelon and tomatoes, over there. Whoooeeee! There's a lot of tomatoes! I have been putting up some in various ways. I did some with green chilis to use in Mexican type dishes. I have some I need to work up tomorrow into spaghetti sauce. I have a bunch of yummy ingredients to work with and I feel a little like Remy in "Ratatouille"! I have no recipe I love, so I plan on winging it. I love how that kind of stuff makes the house smell!
Harvey and Monica went on a trip to Idaho to a family reunion. They will be gone a week. We entertained the thought of going, but ended up feeling like it wasn't the time for us. Maybe next time. While Harv's are gone, Mom and I are keeping an eye on the produce and of course the sweet corn was ready today. What was estimated to be about 10 dozen ears that should be ready, turned out to be more like 30 dozen! Many hands make work light, though! Between Mom and I and another friend, Christa, and my girls helping with the husking, and it is all in the freezer! We did what Monica needed, 10 pkgs. for me and also some for a neighbor. I still am persuaded that "Incredible" is the best sweet corn out there!!! New kinds keep coming along, but Incredible is my absolute favorite!!! (Needless to say, we ordered pizza for supper!)
This week is the fair! The girls are all excited about the prospect of helping tomorrow evening to dip and sell ice cream cones for The Dairy Boosters. Chloe and Abi were distressed about not being able to help, so Hadassah came up with the idea they could take their children's ice cream maker along to Grandma's and they could pretend to make and sell ice cream and Grandma could be their customer. What they don't know, is that Grandma is going to make some homemade ice cream and help their fun along a little bit! :)
Wednesday is the day they have a good deal on unlimited rides for kids, so we'll plan on pretty much spending the day there. If it is like it usually is, it should be incredibly hot! I remember the days when you have a baby in the baby carrier and the sun was so hot, you feel like your brains are surely about to the boiling point! :( Since my "baby" is rapidly heading towards 4 , it is much easier now! Today the weather was absolutely balmy... humidity way down and a cool breeze. Doing all that corn in the garage was so much more pleasant because of it!
Well, Abe went to the tractor pull at the fair tonight, which is why I'm on here. Kind of a guy thing, he says... but really he loves the fair 'cause he hangs out with the farmers in the beef barn, and checks out exactly how fat and prime the steers are (and how his measure up, or not), then with the farmers in the dairy barn, and with the neighbors in the pig, or sheep, or turkey, or whatever place. Then through the course of the evening, and successive evenings, he bumps into everyone in the county that he hasn't seen in a long time. (Probably since last year's fair!) A fair truly is a melting pot!
Anyway's, I am going to close this hoping you all have been enjoying your summers equally as much as I have! We just "have this moment to hold in our hands, and to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand"! I am really feelin' the sand thing for sure! Savor it all!
Goodnight all! - Janelle

Monday, May 24, 2010

Under the Gray & Behind the Black

When the fog burns off

You'll see what was always there

Hidden by the gray.

I have been thinking about this... Often times we settle for living our lives with lots of gray areas, kind of like ostriches burying our heads in the sand. We are afraid to acknowledge things because we will then have to do something about it. All along we are just fooling ourselves. It is what it is, and not acknowledging it does not make it go away. When we bring it to the light, the gray burns off just like fog. The surprising thing is how much better we feel and how much beauty there is, hidden in ashes.

I have no picture to post with this haiku. I was driving when I noticed this...

Lightning reveals that
Behind the black of darkness
The sky is still blue.

It is a most comforting thought. Take heart! The sun always burns off the fog, and morning always comes.
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Monday, May 10, 2010

Dandelions & "Someone Else"

"Someone else!" her heart did cry.
"This should not be mine to bear.
The ridicule, the scorn, indifference,
Responsibility and blame,
Should be someone else's game."

She longs for someone else
To bear the brunt, remove the scrutiny.
"Why should I be singled out?"

("Someone else!" He must have cried. "Remove this cup from me!")
Someone else, to step up to the plate.
"Someone else" will seal your fate.
Life will pass you while you wait
For someone else.

"From the throngs that crowd life's lanes,
I have selected you.
Not someone else."

(He still looks for someone else, with whom to share His life.)
Someone else! I know this cry.
I've heard it in my heart.
Surely there is someone else
Who's not afraid to die!
Some One else - He steps right up.
"I'll be the first.
I'll be the way.
I am the Truth and Life.
I'll be your "Some One Else"."

Let me be like a dandelion that is blown by the wind, wherever it listeth. Soft, and susceptible to the tiniest puff of Your breath.
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