23 May 2011

The glory of graduation

"Not well traveled
not well read
Not well-to-do
or well bred

just want to hear instead:

well done good and faithful one."

- Nichole Nordeman, "Legacy"

This weekend I reach a long-sought goal: I graduated from seminary! I remember first entertaining the idea of seminary when I went to a month-long seminary "summer camp" type experience in 2003. 8 years later I'm filled with nostalgia as I look back on that summer and marvel at how God has lead me on this journey. I am blessed.

With Mom and Dad before the ceremony (nervous smile!)

After the ceremony: with my brother Wes and his girlfriend Kaitlin.

Me and my handsome husband John!

Our seminary president delivered the perfect address during the commencement exercises. He spoke about glory.


A seminary graduation is a strange event, glory-wise. After years of long lectures and late-night study sessions that so often result in very unglorious grumbling, stressful moments, and sometimes a frustrated tear or two, you suddenly dress up in a fancy robe and hood and put on that telling graduation cap and participate in a very dignified ceremony. After you've walked across the big stage and received a firm handshake and "congratulations" from the president people clap and cheer and even give you a standing ovation.

You get to hear about what an amazing thing you've done: you have your master's degree! You're a big deal.

Receiving my diploma and a "Congrats and God bless you" from the seminary president.

But it didn't really feel all that impressive when you were doing it. Mostly it felt normal, like you were just plugging along, completing one assignment after the next. Sometimes it got exiting and others times it got frustrating, but it really wasn't all that glorious.

In his address, the seminary president reminded us that it was in Christ's moment of weakness that he was glorified, that his death on a cross was his ultimate moment of victory. Jesus received glory, but he did not seek it. He sought faithfulness and glory was a by-product. He also reminded us that when Moses saw the glory of God, his face shone but he did not know it. "...he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD."- Exodus 34:29.

That was his prayer for us and now our prayer for ourselves: that we would not seek glory in our ministries, but faithfulness. That we would plug along in our tasks, receiving glory only as a by-product.

And that when our faces glow with glory, we would not know it.

It's nice to wear to wear a fancy robe and receive a standing ovation, but in the end what we really want is to hear these words from our master: "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful..."

10 May 2011

Sprouting before their time!

Eep! Despite the directions clearly reading, "Plant outside in 2-3 weeks," my radishes and sunflowers have sprouted and then some and my green beans are catching up fast! Obviously I am not equipped for the "ya-gotta-sorta-feel-out-your-plants-to-know-when-their-ready-to-plant" aspect of gardening and I'm still about two weeks from building my garden in the backyard. So I have no place to put them!



I called a friend last night for advice and she suggested re-planting in a plastic container (wish I would have saved those old margarine containers like Grandma did...) until I can get them outside in two weeks.

Since it takes a village to raise a child garden, I'm looking for more advice. How long can I keep these plants in their little soil pods? Should I replant them in a bigger container like my friend suggested?

05 May 2011

A prayer for planting

Father in heaven,

This is our food and our drink, and it is all yours.
And we ask now, help it grow and that nothing would happen to it.
May the animals not take the seeds, not the blackbirds or the blue jays.

We know you give us this food, and also food for these animals too.
In your Word it says this.
We know you created the animals and birds
and that you give them food also.

We ask, by the goodness of God,
that our corn grow over the mountains and valleys.

We don't have the power,
you have the power,
and all is in your hands.

- Domingo Coc Ico, Se'mesche', Alta Verapaz, Guatemala


John and I have been in our new house for almost two weeks now and are slowly unpacking. We are repainting and refinishing our hearts out, but there is one aspect of our new life as homeowners that I am very excited about: having a backyard!

Alright, so it's not much right now... but I see potential and am on my way to fulfilling it!

Last spring I took a class called "Shalom" at school and, as they say, it changed my life. The class impacted me in many ways, and specifically in the area of ecology. I went from being a person who believed in caring about the earth because it was "a good thing to do," to being someone with a deep and steadfast biblical conviction about my God-ordained role in caring for the earth.

Since that time, John and I have been slowly and surely looking for ways to make good changes in our lifestyle. We started buying our meat from a local farm (where we know the animals were humanely raised), we try to eat vegetarian more often, we switched to eco-friendly cleaning products (probably the easiest change), we just bought a High Efficiency washer, and now: I'm going to try my hand at vegetable gardening!

When I first started toying with the idea of gardening I felt a bit overwhelmed. I'm more of an indoor person and I'm not big on getting dirty, so gardening seemed like a pretty big challenge. Then I remembered a local urban vegetable garden that John and I used to walk by in our old neighbourhood. Their beds seemed so orderly and manageable. If I could have a garden like that, I was ready to take on the challenge!

Enter google. A few searches later and I had discovered "square foot vegetable gardening:" a method of gardening that uses square/rectangular boxed beds to intensively plant a garden.

As you saw in the above backyard photo, I don't have my beds built yet, but this afternoon I took the first step toward growing my garden: I planted my seeds!

Don't tell anyone, but I had to take the easy way out and get one of these starter kits:

... because last summer I tried to grow cilantro in a flower pot and failed terribly. Like I-only-grew-three-lousy-sprigs-of-cilantro-even-though-I-planted-four-pots-full kind of terrible. Seeds + dirt = I can't do it. But seeds + little packaged soil pods + a detailed instruction manual = YES I CAN!

So this afternoon I grabbed hold of my confidence, my starter kit, and my watering can and got to work.

As you can see on the starter kit package, I'll be growing 12 things: radishes, lettuce, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, pumpkin, green beans, peppers, cilantro, beafsteak tomatoes, sweetie tomatoes, and cucumbers.

Step one: open the kit and read the instructions.

Step two: place the little soil pots in the "green-house" and water.

Step three: run out of water. Get more water.

Step four: open seed packs and admire them. Hard to believe these tiny little babies will become my summer lunch!

Step five: plant the seeds.

Step six: cover, pray A Prayer for Planting, and watch them grow!

In two weeks they will have all germinated. According to the directions.
Another couple weeks and it will be time to plant outside!

Stay tuned for my "we built our gardening beds!" post in a few weeks.