Mid-summer growth

Over-grown garden

The zucchini is nearly buried in weeds.

The garden is growing and that is not an exaggeration. By this time on other years, we might be a little closer to picking a zucchini or peas or even a handful of beans, but I am not really sure how many vegetables we will get from this garden this year unless we top it off as a greenhouse later this fall. We have found out in no uncertain terms the benefits of rain water and sunshine. We were watering every morning and not much was happening, and the day that I fertilized, we had three or maybe four straight days of nice rains. Yes, we also had some winds and for a time, I didn’t think the one sunflower plant would stand up straight again, but the garden is still too wet to walk in or even think about getting into it to do any weeding and it is growing like crazy. We will need to get there before Monday afternoon, as we are headed to the coaches clinic for the week, but I think we will get in the garden tomorrow afternoon or evening for sure. In the meantime, we intend to enjoy the twins as long as they are here and awake.

Sophia on the computer bag

Roger embarrassed to be caught guarding me.

I usually don’t announce that we will be away from the house until we get back, but Paulina will be home so it isn’t like the place is empty. We are getting to the point where we cannot be away from the cats without someone taking care of them on a daily basis. Sophia with her special diet makes it a little tough to even depend on others to take care of her. Then of course my sister Kathy has to watch her one time and decide that the food is easier to eat if it has been heated and now we have to zap her food to warm it up every time she eats. Grrr. Why are pets so spoiled? I swear on that picture to the left, she is about to fall off, but she is so into textures as of late that I have to be very careful what I leave laying out. Roger on the other hand is either following me around outside or standing guard over me as I work or sleep, almost creepy.

Sailboat tour

I realized that I have more pictures from our Baltimore trip that have yet to be shared. On Sunday when we took the Water Taxi tour to Ft. McHenry we were fortunate enough to take a tour of a sailboat moored there. I believe it was named the Pride of Baltimore. It is an older ship and still in service, in fact it had just returned from winning a race from Boston to one of the islands in the Atlantic, or so I remember. Some of the crew members were on deck answering questions and a couple were up on the masts trying to get the sails tied up. It was interesting and the view from the boat was beautiful. Here are a few of the shots that I took there.

The twins are here

Chilling on grandma’s bed

Today James and I went to Jamestown and picked up the twins. The trip here was good and so far we have been figuring each other out. When they seem a bit apprehensive I just tell them not to worry because their mother will be here tomorrow night. Hope we are able to get a little grandparent and aunt time before she gets here. Aide stopped over tonight. She and Paulina both have tomorrow off. Yippee!

Another morning rain

Rain clouds

Rain on the driveway

It rained again this morning. It was soooooo very nice, except for the part where we were drenched. I woke to sounds of thunder and flashes of lightning then stayed in bed to see if it would pass. Finally I got up, made coffee and decided it was passing, so I showered and got ready to go to the office. About the time that James and Paulina headed to the pool to grab the list of children in lessons so that Paulina could call the parents if necessary, it started to pour. At the same time my sister Adie called to say it was hailing in Selby, and she was concerned that it would hit here, so she asked that we try to get her cats to come inside.

Hollyhocks in full bloom

Grass may green

While Paulina was rounding up cats, James and I grabbed all of the solar lights and breakable flower pots dragging them under the porch deck for safety. By the time we were finished, we were soaked. I ended up putting our shoes in the dryer and changing what I was wearing. It never did hail, but that was ok, too. I would rather put the stuff away then leave it out and have it damaged. When I finally came home from Eureka, it was hot and humid. I put everything back to its place and hopefully we don’t have to do it all over again tonight or tomorrow, though we would gladly take a little more rain. It might even convince the grass to come out of hibernation. Some of it was so done with growing that it had turned white.

Well off to the softball game. Catch you later!!

Day after the mini-storm

Sunflower

Potatoes

It finally rained last night. One gauge said 1.25″ and the other correctly said .75″. James has always been complaining about that first gauge, and I finally agree that he is right. There is something weird about how it is marked and it almost always shows double what the rainfall is. Before we went to bed, we knew that rain was coming and it would not be a pleasant easy gentle rain. We opted to leave everything outside rather because we were relatively sure that there wouldn’t be any hail. I don’t think that hail happens early in the morning. It seems to me that it has to be a pretty hot day for that to form. Anyway, the wind was awful. The system was coming out of the southwest, but in our garden the plants seemed to get blasted north to south. I think it has to do with the way the wind was swirling around the buildings here. The potatoes were laying nearly flat in some spots and on the south side of the garden they were poking out of the fence. Our tallest sunflower plant still is not in a standing position, and the willow tree dropped a few of the smallest branches which is pretty much the course anytime we have a little wind.

Raspberries

Milkweed

On a happier note, the raspberries are really taking off in a few spots. Yesterday I noticed one of the older branches was producing fairly well. I am thinking that the ones we cut off the first year are the ones producing the best. This is the first time that I have picked 5 at a time and these are the largest berries I have ever gotten. Also in the north side flower garden the milkweed is in bloom. I hope that means we will see some butterflies soon. The cosmos are starting to bloom too, so that should also start attracting pollinators.

Hosta

Echinacea

I also took a picture of both the hosta and Echinacea that are now in bloom. The Echinacea is finally spreading out a bit and is really a pretty color at this time. I feel bad about how the columbine are being eaten up this summer. They used to fill the space beside the hosta. It seems we neglected the entire north flower garden a bit this year. I think it is because the lights were missing. The solar lights that go in that area were missing for the first part of the summer. James finally found them under a chair in the basement. It seems that is usually where things are found. Perhaps it is time to remove some of the boxes of junk from there so we can find what we want. Hopefully when we move Paulina to college this year, and she is going into an apartment, we will be able to get rid of a few items!! Yipee!!

Message from July 16, 2017

Following is the message from this past Sunday. The scripture focus was Matthew 13:1-9 and 18-23,  and Isaiah 55:10-13, though I backed up and started from verse 6. Also read was Romans 8:1-11, but I did not reference that one in the message. The title was, “Open to the Word.”

Our message from Matthew is one of Jesus’ parables and should be a fairly familiar one for us. I am sure we all remember the parable of the sower, but the truth is the point that Jesus makes is not about the sower, it is about the soil that receives the seed. The  story is really about how we as the hearers accept the words that Jesus offers. The point of the lesson today is if we are open to God’s words.

In the parable of the sower—the one who scatters the seeds—is Christ, or at the least someone working on behalf of Christ, perhaps his disciples, or maybe, hopefully even one of us in today’s world. The seed is the word of God, the gospel, the teachings of Jesus. The soil—and this is the variable part of the story/the soil—is the one to whom the word is spoken, and scary but here is probably where we can say, this is us.

In the first case, the seed doesn’t even have an opportunity to take hold. The word goes out to this person, but before it can even enter the mind of the listener something interferes, as the writing here says, the powers of evil causes a distraction and takes away the message. Perhaps this is the person who doesn’t even find an opportunity to become part of a faith community, the second seed, the one that falls on rocky soil sprouts, but because of the lack of roots, it withers and dies. According to the explanations of the parable, these are the people who hear the words of Jesus and get all excited about it, but they either don’t know how to nurture this new found joy. Or maybe they do find a church home, perhaps they even join a congregation of believers, but they just are not able to get that involved. There are just too many things that pull them away from any commitments of any kind and so they just are not able to follow Jesus as he would have them do. Either way, these two types of seeds, these two types of potential believers produce nothing.

If you are talking strictly seeds and growing, we have some peas that fit the bill of either of the first two situations this year. James thinks those that would be of the first type were likely pulled out by one of those pheasants that lives in the hay field across the dike between us and the creek. He probably snuck up over the dike for a snack, but was disturbed before he could get all of the seeds. He scratched them out, but didn’t have time to eat them all. Those that weren’t eaten up lay on the top of the soil and because they had a little moisture and a lot of heat they germinated, but they were not in the soil far enough to take root and grow. The bottom line is that there are no plants, and no peas from these seeds.

The cosmos acting as weeds in the vegetable garden.

The third type of seed falls on good soil, but for whatever reason all sorts of weeds grow up with it. I can really relate to that business this year with our garden and all of the extra volunteer plants. As you noticed coming through the door this morning and with what is on display up front here, we have been busy pulling out lots of extra cosmos and anyone who wants some are certainly welcome to take what they want. If someone wants some but doesn’t want them today, let’s talk and I can arrange something for you later because I have this feeling we will need to take out more this week. The cosmos and the other volunteer plants that we have like the pumpkin and the sunflowers are all pretty harmless. We might consider them weeds simply because they are in the wrong place, but the way weeds is used in the scripture lesson today the meaning is more of a noxious plant. We are to understand that this plant is not good for any reason at all.

In fact, according to the Tyndale commentary, the worst sort of weeds in the days of Jesus was a very poisonous plant that looked much like the wheat plants, but with a much stronger root. Let’s consider that in terms of the metaphor that this parable seems to be. If the actual weed is poison, the symbolic weed is a person who is poison, or a situation that is poisonous. The seed in this case is someone who hears the word, and it takes root in them, and they are growing and flourishing maybe even as part of a church congregation, but they are also surrounded tightly by bad influences. They are tangled up with people and situations that are “poisonous.” The explanation says that they are so much a part of the world that they cannot live their lives as Christ would have them live.

Now in essence that could be anyone of us. We are here, we are believers, we participate in our congregation, yet we are still part of the secular world. I think the hardest part for me in this area is that I leave here on Sunday mornings, or Wednesday evenings as the case may be, and I drive out of town. And I will be honest; sometimes I forget where I have just been and what I have been doing. And sometimes, I just plain act like these are two different lives, and they are not, and I need to stop thinking that way. Maybe if I would get off my lazy couch and contact the conference office about going into what they call discernment and taking steps towards full ordination, maybe then I will begin to see my life, as really being here as a permanent commitment and not just a temporary thing like others jobs I have had.

The final part of the seed story is about when the seed falls on the good soil and it sprouts and grows and is harvested with very good yields. This is the soil that I am thinking we all want to identify as being. We come here each week listening to the stories of Christ and the word that God has for us, we participate in the liturgy and the music and the prayers, we put our offerings in the collection plate hoping that it helps someone who is really in need and then we leave with the idea of facing another week of sharing what we know with those around us in whatever way we can. That is what the good soil is about in this story of the sower. We know that, and I feel pretty confident is saying that we all want to be that.

But maybe we want to ask if there is more than just the soil and the seeds. Is there more than just the word or the message being spoken to fall where it may fall? We know that sometimes growth and harvest is connected to the elements as much as to the soil. This year is our area we all know what farming in a drought it all about. Now more than ever it is important to keep vigil, to take steps of precaution, to use good practices that protect what is already growing be it crops or animals. I go outside into the garden and look at the parched soil, and it doesn’t matter how much water we pour on to it at 6 a.m., by 10:30 parts of it are powder dry. And some days I catch myself asking if there is a connection between the physical drought and a spiritual drought, like there was a connection in the parable. I don’t have that answer. But, I do not believe that God sends drought to punish us. You know that old statement of: well they get rain because they live right.

Jesus wants us to all be the good soil that accepts the seed/the word of God. Jesus wants us to grow amid a field of fellow believers and produce an abundant harvest. Maybe our question today should be: what is that harvest? Is it simply more members in our pews? Or maybe it is a continuation of being the ones who share Christ’s love with those around us whether they are right here in our community or someplace around the globe. Maybe our harvest is as simple as sharing a “cup of water,” in the form of a bag of school supplies, a tub of items for the home, a financial donation to someone in need, a quilt for a college student or a …. You fill in the blank, and let me know sometime what it is you would put there. Amen!!

Health benefits of coffee

Coffee leads to longer life and better health A study responsible for these findings was led by Veronica W. Setiawan of the University of Southern California. The National Cancer Institute funded study followed 180,000 people of different races for an average of 16 years. The second study, led by Marc J. Gunter of the International […]

via Want to live for 100 years? Coffee may be part of the answer. — Town

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