Category: Creation Care

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan has a bad reputation for geography. People make jokes about driving through it at night because there is nothing to see anyway. People think of it as merely miles and miles of flat grassland now turned into wheat and now canola fields. […]

Miss. Ann’s Zinnia’s (The Kingdom of God is Like . . . )

 
Sunday afternoon I left my husband with seed packets of Zinnias and Dahlias and walked up, across the yard, to look for a spade in our overflowing garage.  The planting of those flowers, four packets, was what I requested for Mother’s Day this year. 
I don’t know why planting seems, for me, an impossible task.  Maybe it’s that simple act of letting go and watching the impossible seed fall into darkness; maybe it’s the familiar struggle of facing an unknown future.  Whatever it is, my husband plants the garden each year and I, in time, tend it. 
Walking up from the garden, across the green expanse of lawn, I looked over at our neighbor’s yard.  They have a small, fenced in, vegetable garden and the wife, Ann, has a separate flower garden.  Their garden, like most in early spring, is a miracle waiting to happen – a tilled expanse of soil, a pregnant pause.  My eyes saw the emptiness there, the open waiting space, but in my mind I remembered the Zinnias. 
During our first summer here, we planted a good-sized vegetable garden filled with the practical means of nutrition.  Our neighbors did the same in their fenced-in plot, but around the outside edge of the fence grew large, splashy, red, purple and pink flowers – a fiesta of color that started blooming in late summer and stood strong into the fall. 
Oh how I envied Miss. Ann's Zinnias.  I eyed her flowers hungrily and finally, in September as the flowers were beginning to fade, asked if I might over and cut a bunch.  From that moment on, I was hooked. 
The following summer, I bought a packet of seeds and grew my own riot of reds and pinks.  I cut them and filled our house with vases.  I carried them to friends’ houses.  Everyone loved the Zinnias. 
Then, last year, we made a farm stand for selling fresh, free-range chicken eggs.  I again planted my Zinnias (or rather, my husband did) and, when they grew and bloomed, I started cutting large happy bunches of purples and pinks, oranges and yellows and selling them in old tin cans at the farm stand for $1 each. 
It was a real steal for fresh cut flowers and they flew off of the farm stand’s two tilted shelves.  A friend suggested I should charge more.  But I refrained. 
I was already making a profit, but, what’s more, I know what it’s like to not be able to afford fresh flowers.  I know, also, how beauty feeds the soul.  I also know the feeling of finding a wonderful deal, how it opens our hearts and minds, makes us feel the expansive mystery of goodness and provision in the world that’s so often buried in layer after layer of unmet need. 
I wanted people to feel what I felt in my garden, the sensation of wonder and delight, the absurdity of so much color available for mere ornamentation.
Returning to the garden with the trowel in hand that Sunday afternoon, I thought, the kingdom of God is like those Zinnias.  The Kingdom of God – heaven in our midst – blazes and waves in the place where it is planted.  It attracts the eye, captures the heart, fills those who are awake enough to notice, with longing.  The Kingdom of God is like a packet of seeds, bought for $1.49, that yields one hundred fold.  The kingdom of God is color cut and watered in an old tin can, bright joy on the side of the road bought with a handful of change – a deal too good to be true.

Trump, Climate Change, and the End of the World

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will last forever.” Those are strange words from Jesus in Mark 13, except that we’re living in a time where the earth is, literally, passing away. Climate Change due to our treatment of the planet is consistently spoken of in apocalyptic terms. Weather disruptions, animal extinctions,

A New Season (#SmallWonder Link-up)

(an example of a chicken with feathered legs and feet)
This past spring I caught a bad case of Chicken Fever.  Not to be confused with bird flue, Chicken Fever causes its victim, usually already a chicken owner, to desperately desire more chickens.  One friend, eager to aide me in my distress, told me that her neighbor, an Amish farmer, would be happy to hatch some eggs for me for free. The price was right, but the timing did nothing to satisfy my urgent need.  It would take about a month for the eggs to hatch, then it would be another four months before the hens started laying.  Deep in the throes of fever as I was, I couldn’t possibly wait that long. 
A few days later we found a flock of twelve laying hens for sale and within a week they were ours.  My Chicken Fever broke as I faced the demands of the new flock, but in the early days of recovery I still sent a secret text to my friend who knows the Amish farmer. 
“I still want some chicks,” I typed. 
“How many?” she asked. 
“Four or five?” I suggested. 
That was back in May.  Time passed.  We lost the matriarch of our flock to a predator and our baby Polish hens grew up.  Then one day last week, my friend pulled into our driveway and popped open the trunk of her SUV.  I ran out of the Little House like a child on Christmas morning as she lifted a small cage to the ground. 
I was happy to see three white birds.  Then, as I walked closer, I got a better look.  “They’re the chickens with pants!” I cried. 
Inside the cage, three petite, fluffy white birds walked in circles.  Each had feathers running down their legs, sticking out on either side, giving them the appearance of wearing cowboy chaps.
I carried the cage down to our smaller coop and lifted the hens out one-by-one.  Their feathers were soft as silk and they rested gently in my hands.  When the kids got home that day, I surprised them as they came off the bus, holding a white chicken in my arms.  “They’re the ones with pants!” I proclaimed and we oohed and aahed over them.
 
I had no idea what kind of chickens we might get from the anonymous Amish farmer, but I never expected these fancy girls.   Now we have a total of seventeen hens and one rooster roaming the yard.
New things around the farm are pretty common - new pets, new plants, new equipment and work to be done, but this week I also have some big writing news to share with you.  First, I'm starting a monthly newsletter which will contain exclusive content (essays and poems not appearing here on the blog), links to great content around the web and information about upcoming resources and events.
And the second piece of news is even bigger and more exciting . . . but you'll have to sign up for my newsletter to be one of the first to find out more.  Thanks for being part of the #SmallWonder community! 
Just enter your address here to sign up!
 
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Welcome to the #SmallWonder link-up.
What if we chose to deliberately look for small moments of wonder, the small sparks of presence, of delight or sorrow, of true humanity in which we meet God?
That's my proposal - that we gather here each week to share one moment of Wonder from each of our days.  You're invited to link-up a brief post about a small moment of wonder.  Don't worry if your post is too long, too short, or not just right - you're welcome to come as you are.
While you're here, please do take a look around and encourage at least one other blogger with a comment.  Thanks for being part of our community!
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