Flannel Jammies Farm

...praising God on our 1/5 acre of suburbia

Sunday, March 28, 2010

This One Week...

Today is Palm Sunday... did you go to church?  did the children process into the sanctuary waving palm fronds?  were there moving musical selections?  did the sermon stir your spirit?

For me, the answer is YES to all of the above.  But I noticed that in the midst of all this celebration, life went on as usual.  Familiar faces were recognized and greeted.  Laughs and jokes and compliments were exchanged.  Meetings were attended and service was performed.  Easter eggs were found and delicious tidbits were shared.

This is how my life can be... moments of the sacred sprinkled among the casual and mundane details of my days.  As the days wear on, I can become too busy (read: lazy) for regular quiet time.  I can become 'casual' about worship, entering as I would a luncheon with friends rather than the holy meeting place church is meant to be.  I can become wrapped up in ME and slowly lose track of the fact that it's all about HIM.

I will set aside This One Week to walk through the Scriptures with my Lord and Savior, experiencing afresh His last meal with His dear disciples, His betrayal, His prayer, His legal proceedings, His pain, His sacrifice that made my life possible, His shocking death, the loneliness of His absence, and the awe-filled wonder and joy of His Resurrection.  I will ask the Holy Spirit to give me new illumination as I study, and to lead me through the days to come with these truths in my mind and heart. 

This One Week can change everything...

John 12:12-19, The Message:

 12-15The next day the huge crowd that had arrived for the Feast heard that Jesus was entering Jerusalem. They broke off palm branches and went out to meet him. And they cheered:
   Blessed is he who comes in God's name!
    Yes! The King of Israel!
Jesus got a young donkey and rode it, just as the Scripture has it:

   No fear, Daughter Zion:
      See how your king comes,
      riding a donkey's colt.

 16The disciples didn't notice the fulfillment of many Scriptures at the time, but after Jesus was glorified, they remembered that what was written about him matched what was done to him.
 17-19The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, was there giving eyewitness accounts. It was because they had spread the word of this latest God-sign that the crowd swelled to a welcoming parade. The Pharisees took one look and threw up their hands: "It's out of control. The world's in a stampede after him." 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Great post on GMOs

So, here I am at my little desk, looking out my window onto what will soon be a thriving garden of organically grown YUMMINESS.  I'm thanking God for this bright day of sunshine and breezes.  I'm checking some of my favorite blogs.  Some make me laugh out loud.  Some inspire me to create.  Some make me think.  Most of you know that I'm very interested in and passionate about food issues.  You know that I can always be counted on for a review of the latest food documentary or vegan dish at a local restaurant.  My veggies arrive uninvited on your desk at work or the Fellowship Hall table at church.

So today, when I visited Homestead Revival, I was rewarded with a great post and follower's comments on GMOs, organics and the future of food.  Check it out.  I'll be here when you get back...

How do you travel down today's cloverleaf-strewn superhighway of food and nutrition?  Do you choose organic?  Do you buy local?  Do you nurture a backyard (or back 40) garden?

I, for one, get off the highway whenever I can, take the rural route, and buy local, organic (certified or not) food from people I can get to know.  I ask questions and share tips and request recipes.  I wander the fields and touch the dirt my shopping bag contents were grown in.  I smile and laugh and restore my soul on those days.  Compare that to a shopping day in your local megastore on payday:  YIKES!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Oh, the lessons of a little plant late for tea...

Outside our bedroom door,
In a little spot that looks out the french doors,
On a little mosaic table from long years ago,
Sits a Bible on a stand and behind it...
A Christmas Cactus.

A few days ago, I saw what looked like buds on this forlorn plant.  Surely not.  It's MARCH.  Not the right time.  Silly, disorganized and disobedient plant!

But today, there is a full-blown, bright red bloom on this silly plant.  *sigh*  Even the plants can't stay in line here at Flannel Jammies Farm!

Then I realized: would I have even noticed this riotous bloom in the chaos that is Christmas around here?  I mean, we have church activities and group activities and vegan yumminess to prepare and trees to be decorated and gifts to be wrapped and 3 grown children (yes, my precious daughter-in-law counts as my child, too) and two juvenile delinquent dogs and... just like your house, right?  I would have scrambled past this plant in December with scissors and tape in one hand and a cookie sheet in the other on my way out the door with one mascara-ed eye to Christmas Eve service, and never given it a glance.

But God's timing is always perfect.  On this absolutely stunning day of sunshine after the longest, coldest, most despairing of winters, this little Christmas Cactus is celebrating with abandon!  It's the perfect time to bloom in welcome of the long-awaited Spring!

As with most of my life, it's not the time I would have chosen.  It's not the appropriate place on my scribbled calendar for this nonsense.  But it is the PERFECT time.  It's the bright spot of cheer I needed so!  It's reminding me of newness and color and joy!  It's reminding me, once again, that His timing is so much better than mine.  His ways are so much better than mine.  His thoughts are so much better than mine.  Oh, the lessons of a little plant late for tea...

Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths,
Lead me in truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.

Psalm 25:4-5

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Get out and Grow Something!

I love to garden.  I love to put my bare hands in the soil.  I love to watch the plants grow and blossom and bear fruit.  My love of gardening passed down from my Daddy, who farmed the hills of Virginia.

Our little 'farm' is 1/5 acre of VERY SUBURBAN neighborhood, complete with the sounds of planes, traffic, and the busy lives of others.  It's the biggest place we've ever had.  But no matter how small each place has been in our journey, we've gardened.  The local-est of food grown in the organic-est way.  Perfect!

When Mom and Daddy came to share our home, Daddy dug right in and we had the most abundant harvests!  Tomatoes for everyone we knew, cucumbers maturing overnight, peppers of so many varieties, and huge, bee-loved sunflowers!

A little over a year ago, Daddy died suddenly.  It was heartbreaking.  In the time that's followed, I couldn't go into the garden.  It was too hard, too painful, too reminiscent of his work and laughter and joy.  So I let my husband and the weeds take it over.

Time has passed and God in His goodness has healed my heart, and my body is healing after my own surgery.  I felt those old feelings of wanting to get down, get dirty, and grow some stuff.  My husband is a wonder of patience and love and strength, and has been working for several days, uncovering the old garden.  He's following my plan and has pulled everything up, built new raised bed surrounds, and placed them.  We're digging and pulling weeds and filling beds with the rich, healthy soil it took us years to cultivate.  A dear friend contributed her composter, which is being happily filled and tended.  Mom is watching and cheering us on.  Here's a look at the new plan in progress, six 4x4 beds and two 2x4 beds with space in the center for a small bistro set, a resting spot while tending the garden:

Ok, so it's a little rough around the edges right now.  Within a week, with good weather, it will sing!  This year we're planting lettuces, spinach, kale, onions, garlic, peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, blueberries and maybe beans.  We've already got herbs growing: rosemary, thyme, mint, chives, borage, and cilantro is coming soon.

I'll keep posting as we progress.  What are you growing this year?  Veggies, fruit, herbs, or just a little flower or two?  Let me know... maybe we can trade recipes for all the abundance to come!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

In a moment...

Saturday morning.  Raining.  Laundry to do.  Organizing to be tackled.  Closet update for Spring awaiting.  Menu planning.  Oh, and cleaning the bathroom.  *sigh*

Into the bathroom.  Spray some cleaner.  Swish. Scrub. Lean. Pull. Wipe.  Open the window to get some fresh air flow.  And in a moment...


Outside the foggy bathroom window of a working class suburban neighborhood, I found peace.

A sweet bird song in the misty early-Spring morning air, calling to me to come away and rest.  To come aside and hear the song of peace and joy.  To breathe the fresh air and be revived. 

This has been a public service announcement of the Donna Rae Emergency Stress-Relieving Network.  Please go to your nearest window, look, listen, breathe, and behold the glory of God's creation.  Thank You.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Going Against the Flow

What a time this is!  Tragedies, sadness, illness, financial worry, exhaustion, job stress... all in addition to the things a daughter/wife/mom/friend needs to tend to each day.

But God in His goodness has opened His hands and offered an opportunity in the midst.  An opportunity to work less, to study more, to grow, to learn, to serve Him.  At first I worried.  At first I questioned.  At first I second-guessed.  Why would a sane 21st-century woman leave a full-time, benefited, close-to-home, fun job with a retirement plan?  But I am compelled (with the support of my dear ones) to lift my eyes to Him and whisper, "Yes". 

In this busy world of noise and competition and materialism, I am taking a step backwards.  I, in a rebellion of faith against the world's standards, am Going Against the Flow.

Psalm 27:4-5 {The Message}

I'm asking God for one thing, 
only one thing: 
To live with Him in His house 
my whole life long.
I'll contemplate His beauty;
I"ll study at His feet.

That's the only quiet, secure place
in a noisy world,
The perfect getaway,
far from the buzz of traffic.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Daughter's Creativity

My daughter is a wonder... she is brilliant, has traveled and studied abroad, loves and cooks gourmet food, nurtures me more than I deserve, and is so very creative.  These gloves are her own pattern, knit by her own hands.  She amazes me...