Wednesday, July 28, 2010

down south

I couldn't resist posting a few pictures of our weekend in Santa Barbara with Christian's parents.

Annike found a new best friend... and pillow.

"SB" is the dog's name, but Annike likes to call her "SBC". I think the alphabet has confused her.

We also met some dear friends on the beach, and Annike found a playmate that looks a little like her mirror image.

They aren't sisters, but future college roommates!! Hopefully they will be wearing more clothes by then.


Here I am with my college roommates, and lifelong friends. I hope that Annike will have lasting relationships one day, with women that will uplift her as these women have done in my life.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

fruit

There is quite a bit of fruit in our orchard this summer. It seems that finally all of that hard work we have been doing over the past year is coming to fruition. I don't have to be the gardener in the family to recognize that fruit trees need care all year round in order to produce a good crop. We water, fertilize, prune, and mow that orchard, and then we wait, anxiously watching the green nubs on those trees turn colorful. Life is like that sometimes... you have to work a while before you see fruit.


One thing that strikes me about our orchard, is that to an untrained eye, all of the trees look remarkably similar for most of the year. It isn't until the fruit on each tree begins to appear that I can distinguish the trees. Did you know that all plants with a flower on them, also have a fruit?? We can't eat every type of fruit, but most plants produce something that is classified as such.


Our church is doing a series on the fruit of the Spirit this summer. I will admit that we have been gone quite a bit, missing most of the sermons. However, the things that Jesus says about fruit in the Bible have none-the-less been on my mind.


"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23


It seems that fruit is a metaphor for the way we represent Christ. Just as the fruit on a tree tells us what type of tree is growing in the orchard, the fruit in our lives tells others about who we are. What has struck me anew is that all people produce some type of fruit, but not all of that fruit is good. No matter how alternative we dress, or how allergic to stereotypes we are, we represent something in our lives.


What is it that I represent? (rhetorical question... no need to respond!)


"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit." Matthew 12:33


What do we do with all of the fruit on our trees, or the fruit in our lives? Give it away, of course!! That's what fruit is for.

P.S. The pictures taken here are all from our property, and they are displayed in order of appearance throughout the season. Still to come: pears, nectarines, persimmons, and grapes!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

bigger

Christian's cousins from Norway came to California for a visit. They spent some time on the beach, saw the sites, and doted on Annike.



Being from a small country means that they don't have the luxury of being as ethnocentric as we do when we are from the U.S. Even the 13-year-old speaks conversational English because, as they say, no one else is going to learn Norwegian. I always appreciate the chance to glimpse my own life through the eyes of another culture.

One of the observations made over the course of their visit stuck with me. It seemed to them that everything is bigger in America. Our cars are bigger (perhaps we have farther to go?), our portion-sizes at restaurants are bigger (they so courteously did not comment on the fact that this makes our people bigger too, but it is a well-known fact, so I will say it myself), our trees are bigger (we DID take them to see the redwoods), and even our squirrels are bigger (I can't quite figure this one out.) We camped in Yosemite, so of course our "tent" (R.V.) is bigger, our stores are bigger, our milk comes in bigger containers, and even our medium-sized drinks come large. I think you get the picture.


It got me thinking about the values we practice without recognizing. I would never tell someone I believe that bigger is better, yet, I subconsciously live that value. In my mind, it makes sense to me to buy the giant shampoo bottle at Target because I get the most shampoo for my money - but after a while I begin to need a bigger shower to hold that giant shampoo, and a bigger bathroom cabinet to house my collection of super-sized lotions and soaps, and a bigger house for that bigger bathroom. It all begins and ends somewhere.

At the root of this practice of big-ness, is the inability to distinguish the difference between "want" and "need". We sure throw the word "need" around lightly. We need coffee, our cars need to be washed, we need vacations from our vacations... but somehow it all turns into a habit of consumption at large, literally. I expect it will be an on-going life struggle for me. However, I need to welcome the chance to have my views of "normal" challenged.
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