Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Canning and Freezing 2016

Just a record of our canning and freezing for 2016 and
notes on what produce we bought from the auction and when.
We will add to it as we add to our storage shelves and freezer.

Green Beans - 7 Quarts (August ??)
Canned Tomatoes - 169 quarts (August 23-26)
Spaghetti Sauce - 48 quarts (August 26)
Tomato Juice - 9 quarts (August 26)
Pear Jam - 30 Quarts, 11 Pints (August 31-September 10)

August 23: 20 - 1/2 bushel boxes of Roma tomatoes @ $3 a box ($60 total)

8-10 bushel of pears between the two trees
8 bushel of apples (back tree 9/9/16)

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Christian and the Political Process

The subtitle of my blog is that life can get you down, but God can bring you up. There are times I lose sight of that. There are times when life gets me down. There are times when it is difficult to see a way through a situation. I say this to say that I am, by no means, and expert at being kept up in the hope that God provides. I am not as well versed at staying in the center of God's peace as I would like to be, indeed as I need to be.

But with that disclaimer, I think we all need to take opportunities to encourage one another to hope in God. To use prayer, giving of thanks, and letting our requests be made known unto God. This is the biblical path to God's peace guarding our hearts. The path to peace isn't a trouble free way. The path to peace isn't a rearranging of our situation or our circumstances. The path to peace lies in resting in God.

I have felt that this past week and a half as we have gone without sleep, welcomed a family member into out home, and learned that he will need open heart surgery before he is a year old. At times, I have felt like I must have disconnected myself from my life and been treating it like someone else's. You know, very objective. But I have let it sink in. I know that it is my son who will be facing this. I know Jen and I will be walking down the road that God stretches before us. It feels weird, and God's promise is that it would be. (You know, the passing all understanding part in Philippians 4)

But it seems like many Christians are losing their mind over the political process in our nation. Like the admonition in Philippians 4 only applies to some circumstances. But the political process isn't exempt from:

"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6-7
God's peace and God's promises apply to politics as well. We need to remember that it applies every time. Every time the candidate I support gets beaten in a primary or election. Every time the 'wrong' party or 'wrong' candidate gains power. Every time a law I disagree with goes through. Every time a biblical principal gets bad press. Every time the world makes it harder to live for God. Every time I struggle to understand how God could allow something to happen. God's peace applies in all of these areas and at all of these times.
So please, when you want to complain about how things are going in politics (or other areas), you need to stop and ask a few questions.
1) Have I let God know about my request with thanksgiving?
2) Am I content to accept the answer God gives? (Even if it is not what I requested)
3) Am I free from worry in this area of my life?
4) Have I gotten to the place where I feel God's peace?
Because the truth is, if you haven't done these things, you haven't used the tools that are available to you. And if you have done these things, you won't want to complain. And then, we will be able to glorify God in every circumstance, the way God intends us too.
Don't get stuck looking down. Keep looking up!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Lot to Process, But Only One Focus.

I'm a horrible blogger. In fact, if you would ask if I was a blogger, I would tell you no. Like many things in my life, I blog, but am not a blogger. I play guitar, but I am not a musician. I work on my own car, but am not a mechanic. You get the point.

I have had several purposes for my blog. I have used it to process messages I have preached to help reinforce what I learned from them. I have used it to process events our life. And I have used it to 'remember' things from our life. Things like our canning and freezing every summer, or events that stuck with us.

Today, I am using it to help process, and to help fulfill my desire that God would be glorified.

Yesterday was one of the best days of my life. I am blessed to be piling these up. Getting engaged to Jen, marrying my sweetheart, being called to be a pastor, Finding out 11 times that we were expecting, 9 births in our immediate family, 11 nieces and nephews added to our family, not to mention other weddings, children's births, and some truly awesome days.

Yesterday we also received some of the toughest news we have received as parents. Just saying that makes me feel spoiled by how easy we have had it. The two miscarriages certainly rank higher, but when the doctor says "I know this is a lot to process," I guess that makes it in the list of tough things.

The short version of what we were told is that Timothy has a couple of holes in his heart. They are not the type of holes that close up on their own. He will need surgery sometime in the next year or so to deal with it. Currently, he is on oxygen and his blood platelet count is low. These are probably related to the holes in the heart.

We are truly blessed to be able to welcome this little one. We are blessed to have the awesome support of friends and family. We are blessed to have great care given to Timothy to diagnose and move forward with any issues that arise. We are blessed beyond measure with so many aspects of what is going on.

But we have needs.
We need to glorify God. It is part of who we are. As a child of God, I need to glorify my Father or something is desperately wrong. I want God to be glorified.
We need strength to care for Timothy (and Austin, Larissa, Robert, Jeremiah, Benjamin, Abigail, Jonathan and Joseph). We so often want the strength to come from within us, but we need the strength, and grace, that God gives.
We need wisdom. I am glad I do not have a list of the choices we will need to make in the next year. Or the next month. Or even this next week. But we will need wisdom.
We need our friends and family. Thank you to each of you. We may not always say it, but we love and appreciate all of you. Those that send encouraging words, those that pray, those that have met other needs. We do our best to appreciate all you do, but we fail miserably at expressing it as we should.

And we have wants.
We want Timothy to get well. We want a good night's sleep. We want comfort and ease. We want freedom from hard circumstances. We want to be independent and handle things on our own.

I want to keep glorifying God as the most important thing. As you pray for us, please pray that we will not let our wants lie to us or get in our way of us getting our needs met. Strength, grace, wisdom? All gifts from God. Promised. In a certain sense, already met.

I always like to end these with a verse. This one comes from a sermon from a few weeks ago

And this he said to prove him: 
for he himself knew what he would do.
- John 6:6

This is why I know my needs are already met. God already knew what He would do before we got the news. Before the Dr. knew the news. Before we knew we were expecting. I may not know what this week holds, but God already does, and He already knows how He will handle whatever comes our way.

The same thought from one of my favorite books and movies.

"I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened!" (Frodo) 
"So do all who live to see such times but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world Frodo besides evil. Bilbo was meant to find the ring, in which case you also were meant to have it, and that is an encouraging thought!(Gandalf)