Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Planting vs. Gardening

I just spent some time sweating up in my garden attempting to remove all the unwanted plants that have crept into my plots. It only takes a few days for small weeds to become large weeds and take over the plants that I am seeking to cultivate. As I looked around our community garden at the other plots that people have I was struck by the difference between planting and gardening and the connection between gardening and the Christian life. Everyone in the spring becomes zealous about planting vegetables and seeing the fruits of their labor. People sift through the freshly tilled soil to rid their space of all weeds and seeds so that they will only have the plants that they desire growing in their oversized rectangle. The six packs and 3 1/2 inch pots are easily selected off of the greenhouse shelves and seem to slide into the dirt with ease. The peas and beans fall perfectly into place as one invisions what their mini-farm will look like come July. The sprinkler feels light and playful in one's hand as they moisten their young plants and seeds while the air is still fresh and the rain is in ample supply.

All of this seems to change as the summer schedule becomes hectic and the mercury rises outdoors. As the weekend approaches you have to choose between the lake and the weeds, and the lake always wins. After a long day of work you can head to the grill or up to the garden where immature weeds are doign their best to suck up your gardens nutrients and water. Once you return from a week of summer vacation you realize that some of your seeds have not come up, a few plants have been eaten by bugs, varments, or deer, and you can hardly see your tomato cages through the thick cover of weeds. Now it is decision time! Do I give up on the garden and call it a loss, or attack the neglected space like a hungry teenager on a cheese pizza? Your veggies want to produce and will bless your table with a bounty of goodness as long as you put in the time and effort.

In the same way that there is a large difference between planting and gardening, living a life for Christ is markedly different than accepting Christ as one's Lord and Savior. So many Christians are only concerened about "praying the prayer" or the four Spiritual laws, and not on a living faith that is difficult and messy. It is easy to walk down the aisle and affirm that you are in fact a sinner, but it is entirely different to live a life in Christ. There are certain weeds in your personal garden that require you to put on the leather gloves to uproot. Your spiritual journey requires daily watering, fertilizer, and lots of weeding. Just because I think that I have ridded my garden of all the visible weeds does not mean that the garden is actually weed free. Those thistles that you think you have pulled may have left some roots in the ground that will fester and develop over the next few weeks or months. If you desire to produce maximum fruit you must be watering, weeding, and tending to the garden of your life. Don't just plant seeds along your spiritual journey, but really dig in and get good at gardening your heart and soul. You will not be dissapointed.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cold Sheets

Why is it that somethings are so enjoyable one time of year and irritating others? The other night I crawled into bed with cold sheets and was giddy! I love to crawl into a cold bed during the summer and feel that brief chill before drifting off to sleep. The great irony is that in four months I will be changing out the plain cotton sheets for a cozy flannel that will never provide the icy evening shock. The seasons in Minnesota provide you with so many joys that you only are able to fully cherish when you do not have them for months at a time. When we used to live in New Mexico it was always sunny and warm with rarely a chance of rain. This seems to dull one's senses and appreciation for the little things in life. If we had access to egg nog all year we would not look forward to that first day in November when we do a double take in the dairy isle to discover that creamy carton of bliss. If pumpkin pie were always on the dessert menu the post Turkey day delight wouldn't demand the reverence that it does. Why is it that people are so obsessed with Girl Scout cookies, the NFL, and Shamrock shakes? They are only around for a short time every year. I purpose that we look at limiting more items in our life to particular seasons so that we enjoy them more. Those cold sheets become unrecognizable when they are at your toe tips every night!

Friday, July 17, 2009

One Way

Yesterday I had to spend some time in downtown St. Paul with my beautiful wife and two adorable children. As we were attempting to find the building we were headed to I had an epiphany...I despise "one way" streets. The first time that I really encountered the labyrinth that is one way streets was in downtown Lincoln Nebraska. My older brother and I were attempting to find the state capitol of Nebraska and ended up driving the wrong way down a one way! This was quite an experience and has left me scared for life. Yesterdays experience reopened my one way wound and caused by blood pressure to rise. What is the value of the one way? Why can down towns not have streets like the vast majority of streets in the U.S.? I ended up having to drive an extra 4-6 blocks because of the inability to simply turn around on the street I was driving.

Once I successfully navigated the web of one ways I encountered the second thing that I despise in a downtown area, parking meters! When you are not used to using parking meters you never seem to have the change that you need to cover the meter. Since we did not know how long we were going to be in this particular space we were at the mercy of the change in my wife's purse. Why is it the amount of change that you place in the meter is never enough and you have to come back and the most inopportune time? There we were with only five dollar bills and no change machine insight. It is the only time that I have been glad that 20oz. sodas now cost $1.50. The soda machine allowed me to put in a five and get out $3.50 in quarters. It saved me a ticket and reduce the ache in my head, even if it was only slightly.

I am certain that hell will be paved with one way streets and parking meters!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Blog in my Head

I have spent a lot of time working by myslef throughout my life. Whether I have been mowing someone's lawn, working in a camp office, or acting as a campus security guy I always find myself working alone. In addition, the amount of time that I have logged running down the road has resulted in more than enough time to ponder life's questions. I started this blog as a way to get some of those thoughts out, but have found it hard to sit down and type on a regular basis. It is not that I have not had anything to say, or even thought to myself, "This would make a great blog post."

I wonder how many people who have blogs don't post all the blog ideas that they come across? This past weekend was the celebration of our countries independence, which brought on more ideas to blog about. Why do we spend so much money on things that we blow up or burn down? How much money is spent by communities and cities across the country on fireworks displays? What could we have done with the money that was "blown" on fireworks to aid those who are suffering financially in this soft economy? Antoher topic that came to mind was the outrageous cost at movie theaters. How can movie theaters get away with charging what they do for popcorn and soda? What will be the top end cost of going to the movies?

Some other ideas that I have overlooked have been: guided fishing trips, gardening, the relation between weeds in your garden and weeds in my life, death and dying, saying goodbye, eternity vs. human life, weight loss and self control, and many more. I am attempting to find a way to make this a more regular practice, but who knows. How does one become a "professional blogger?" What do I need to say on a daily basis to get people interseted in my blog so that I can be payed for ads? All of these thoughts that swirl around in my head, but never make it out.

Is this the start of something new?