Nothing Planted, Nothing Gained

SeedThere were no “ideal conditions” to garden in this year.

Our plan of action was to keep throwing seeds in the ground in hopes that something would grow.

So I sowed abundantly – despite the mud and the weeds and the nasty weather.

If I had veggies for every seed I put in the ground this year I could have started my own farmer’s market.

But many didn’t germinate.

And some of the ones that did were drowned out or overtaken by weeds.

But at least they had a chance to grow.

Unlike the many seeds still in packets that never even got planted, like the herb garden that never got expanded and the new flower bed that didn’t get dug up.

I had every intention of planting them.

But those seeds are still sitting here – at the end of July – with no chance of growing because they were never sown.

This week, as I worked my way through the forest of grass that is my garden, I thought of all the other “seeds” that I have not sown.

The note of encouragement that never got written.

The get well gift that never got delivered.

The offer of help that was never extended.

The word of counsel that wasn’t given.

The time in prayer that wasn’t taken.

The invitation that was never extended.

All those seeds that will never have a chance to produce fruit, because they were never sown.

Good intentions.

Noble thoughts.

Seeds of kindness and love and faith.

All waiting for ideal conditions that never came.

There can be no harvest when the seeds are never planted.

So I ask you – what seeds do you need to sow today?

Sowing Seeds Part 2

DSC_0097Buddy and I have been watching our flats of seeds very carefully to see any signs of life.

The broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and eggplant came up quickly, followed by the tomatoes.

But the entire flat of peppers remained barren.

There was no change.

A niggling of concern entered my mind.

Another week passed.

No sprouts.

Concern turned to worry as I envisioned an entire year without jalapeno and fresh peppers.

Every day we studied the dirt filled holes searching for any signs of life.

Finally – today – we saw our first tiny sprout.

And then another, and another.

Such a relief.

I was powerless to make those seeds sprout.

I had done all I could do. I planted. I watered. I kept them warm. And I waited.

It’s the waiting that’s hard.

God understands.

He said in Mark 4: 26-29 – “…This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

“All by itself the soil produces grain.”

I can’t break open each seed and force the spouts out.

I can’t pull each sprout into a stalk or create a head.

I cannot create or ripen one piece of fruit.

But I can plant.

I can prepare the soil.

I can water.

And I can wait.

Because the soil itself will produce the grain.

Everyday we have the opportunity to sow seeds of kindness, of love, of grace, of forgiveness.

But we cannot make those seeds sprout.

Or grow.

Or produce fruit.

Sometimes we want to dig in the soil a little and see if there’s any life. We want to force growth, create change.

But we are powerless.

We plant the seed.

And wait.


Sowing Seeds

I’ve been sowing seeds this week.

Hundreds of seeds.


Tiny little bits of black, white, or brown.

Tomato, pepper, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage.

The first of thousands of seeds that I will sow this season – beans, corn, radishes, lettuce, kale….the list goes on and on.

Not every seed will grow.

Seed flats

Of the ones that do – not every one will produce.

Some will be eaten by varmints, ravished by bugs or destroyed by weather.

But still I sow, knowing that some will grow and flourish and bear much fruit.

I sow in faith, believing that in these tiny seeds there is a potential for an abundant harvest.


These aren’t the only seeds we sow in life.

Everyday I have the opportunity to sow seeds of kindness, of love, of grace. Seeds that could have eternal impact. Seeds that could change lives. Seeds that could bring the gospel to hurt and needy people.

Not every seed will sprout.

Not every seed will grow.

But still – I must sow knowing that some will grow and flourish and bear much fruit.

And I must have faith, believing that in each seed of kindness, each seed of love, each seed of grace, there is a potential for an abundant harvest.

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Storm Damage

We had quite a storm blow through last week.

Black skies. Strong winds. Horizontal rain. Flying shingles.

When the worst of it had blown over,  we ventured out to survey the damage.

Shingles littered the yard.

Corn stalks from the neighbor’s fields hung in the trees.

One skylight on the workshop was broken.

Branches and sticks were everywhere.

And one huge silver maple tree was ripped from the ground by the roots.


That storm left a mark that we will be cleaning up for sometime!

But as we started to pick up sticks and sharpened the chain saw, we noticed a common theme.

The shingles were all from the old house. They were old, worn and not well attached. The limbs that had blown down were mostly dead branches.

And that big old silver maple? It was totally rotted inside.

The storm did the most damage to those things that were not well grounded or secure.

But the tree didn’t look rotten from the outside. It was big and beautiful and fully leafed out.

And we never saw all the dead branches and limbs hiding in the foliage.

But when the storm hit, it didn’t matter what they looked like on the outside or how well hidden they were.  The strong winds found and destroyed them.

There’s a lesson here.

The storms of life will come.

The winds of adversity will blow hard and you will feel deluged by the realities around you.

And when they do – will you stand firm?

Is your faith solid to the core?

Can you stand secure in your heavenly Father?

Dig your roots down deep into the bedrock of His faithfulness and let it rain!


Fire at Midnight

We were sleeping hard when Dagmar woke us up last night. It was almost midnight.

“Hey Dad – they just called the ambulance out. There’s a fire at Heartland.”

The news took a minute to sink in.

Heartland is the small wind turbine company where Jan works.

We laid back down – in shock.

Mentally I gave Jan fifteen minutes to decide to drive in and see what was going on. He only took twelve and half. As soon he jumped out of bed – so did I. There was no way I was letting him go to this fire alone.

We scanned the horizon as we drove through the blackness of midnight. The last time we were speeding through the dark at that time of night – I was in labor. We both wondered if this event would be as life-changing.

The smoke was heavy in the air as we pulled up to the building. No flames could be seen – just thick heavy smoke and lots of flashing lights.

The fire was in the second building, where the blades are manufactured.

Volunteer firemen from 3 different communities were there.

Yes, volunteers. Risking their lives with no pay. I will never again look at the firemen tossing candy from the pumper truck in the local parade the same way again. Those guys are heroes. Just saying.

We carefully maneuvered our way through the labyrinth of fire trucks and hoses to the small huddle of Heartland employees, watching the scene with shocked expressions.

It was a little surreal.

And sad. Very, very sad.

What would this mean?

How can a small 6 year company recover from a blow like this? How much damage would there be – not just to the building but also to the equipment?

This is special equipment – much of it designed and made by the guys themselves. Six long, hard years of labor.

As we watched the firemen cut a hole in the roof and lower themselves down – I had to take a deep breath and remind myself that God was still in control.

And there was peace in the midst of the chaos.

We managed to get a few hours of sleep last night but Jan was back at Heartland early this morning when the firetrucks were called back in to put out a flare-up.

Before he left, he held my hand and prayed over his hastily prepared breakfast, “Lord, we know that none of this is a surprise to You. We know that you are in control. We trust you.”

And there is still peace.

A Gentle Reminder Part 1

In the midst of a week in which I spent a great deal of time stressing about things that I had no control over – God sent a beautiful reminder.

Several weeks ago I was given some free bulbs. Since it was the end of January – I knew it was a little late to plant them outside, so I stuck them in a planter in the mudroom.

They were pretty much forgotten, occasionally got watered, and frequently had hats and/or mittens thrown on them.

FlowerBut look what happened!

All I did was push them in the ground and throw them a little water. Then I left them alone.

And one bloomed. Beautifully.

I didn’t fuss, worry, or stress over those bulbs – I just left them to do what God had designed them to do.

I was faithful with my part and God was faithful with His.

Does anyone see the lesson here?

How many times do we worry and fuss over things over which we have no control?

I could never make those bulbs grow on my own – never.  I did what I could do – and left them alone.

Notice only one bulb has bloomed. There are others that look like they might- and still others that don’t even look alive.

No matter how many times I look at them and wring my hands in frustration, or how many nights I lose sleep worrying over them – I can never make those other bulbs bloom.


Just like so many other things in life.

What are you stewing about today? Is there something you need to commit to the Lord and leave it alone?

Matt 6:27 “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” 


Facing My Fears – Or Not

I’m terrified of heights.

Really. Really. Terrified. As in “panic and freeze” scared of heights.

I don’t know what I was thinking when I agreed to a trip out west. I knew there were mountains – but I guess 14 years had dimmed the memory of how high they were.

It started coming back to me as I watched the kids climb around the Veduvoos and later as we traveled down the pass from DuBois into Jackson Hole.

But the real terror hit when we took Teton Pass into Idaho. I went into full panic mode. Traveling around those sharp curves as we climbed up and down the mountain – I freaked. My foot kept slamming the imaginary brake on my side of the Suburban.

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When I looked out the window I saw steep mountain sides – and thin little guard rails. I tried to close my eyes – but I soon discovered that not knowing what was coming next was worse than knowing.

Then my dear wonderful husband stopped at the top.  He thought we needed some pictures.   He actually allowed my sweet babies to get out of the suburban and walk to the edge of the guard rail.

But wait. There’s more!

He then let our children go down a trail to a snow field and have a snow ball fight – in flip flops.

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They were having the time of their lives – just making memories.

Mom, however, was not.

All I could see was the height – the danger. They were on the side of a mountain. Do you see the dark line near the top of the snow ?! That’s where they were!

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To say I was scared would be an understatement.

But I somehow kept it all together the entire week. I even managed to climb a mountain, and endure the mountain passes in Yellowstone (you know the ones that hang you out over nothing while supported with steel posts?) without totally losing it.

(Although I would tremble at the sight of the steep grade signs and often go to my “happy place” as we careened around the steep curves.)

Yes – I managed to keep it together – until we hiked Harney Peak – the highest point east of the Rockies located in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The hike itself wasn’t that bad – after all – we had just finished a mega 9 mile hike in the Tetons just days before. This was nothing.

Until we got to the top.

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The views we spectacular! I guess. If you weren’t hyperventilating from fear. The rock look-out at the top was really cool – if you like rock structures perched on top of rock cliffs at 7000 feet.

I was doing fine – very proud of myself for accomplishing the hike when I looked out and realized that my children had left the relatively safe rock walls of the look-out and went exploring on the surrounding rocks – with their father.

They were prancing like mountain goats at 7000 feet.

I had a meltdown. I yelled over to them “You better come back – that’s illegal!”

The guy next to me said, “Actually it isn’t illegal.”

I looked at him and said, “I’m the mom.”

He said, “You’re right – it’s most definitely illegal!”

Little Buddy yelled back, “It’s okay Mom, just go to your happy place – we’re having fun!”

It didn’t help that complete strangers would be enjoying the view from the Look-out and suddenly exclaim, “Whose crazy kids are out there on those rocks?!”

Umm… they are mine.

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Oh yes. They are mine.

Those are my sons – the little dots on the rock with their arms stretched in a victory sign.

And they are having the time of their lives.

They were doing what God intended for them to do – climb rocks – conquer mountains – explore their world.

What was I doing? Freaking out. Holding them back. Trying to tuck them back in safely.

I failed.

I let my fears win. I sat in a miserable heap on the stone steps overcome with panic and worry.

Where was my faith?

The Almighty God created those mountains. The Almighty God created my precious children. The Almighty God – that I love and serve  – had everything under control.

But I didn’t trust Him.

Psalms 111:6-7

“..a righteous man will be remembered forever.

He will have no fear of bad news;

his heart is steadfast trusting, trusting in the Lord.

His heart is secure,

he will have no fear…”

Another life lesson learned.

I’ve linked this post up at Friday Fails over at My Blessed Life.

False Peaks on Mount Courage

New Mexico Mountains

My son Matt learned his own lessons during his week at Teen Pact Survival Camp.

One of their tasks as a team was to navigate their way up 3 different peaks, aptly named Mt. Courage, Mt. Endurance and Mt. Followthrough.

At the peak of each mountain they were to retrieve a flag before descending and beginning the next climb.

All of this had to be done in a certain amount of time.

Matt’s team started out strong – heading up Mt. Courage. They soon got weary as the altitude began affecting them.

They kept their eyes on the prize though – keeping the peak in sight, only to be disappointed to discover when they reached it – that it wasn’t really the top.

It was a false peak. From their vantage point it looked like it was the summit, but when they got there, they discovered there was still mountain ahead of them.

How discouraging!

But they regrouped and started out again – with the new peak in sight. Sure enough, when they got there, it still wasn’t the summit – it was yet another false peak.

This happened again and again – until they finally reached the true summit – exhausted and behind schedule.

After a brief rest, they started back down, and then up the next peak.

It was there – halfway up the next mountain that they turned and could see where they had been.

It was all so clear from another vantage point.

How true in life. We climb up the mountains put before us – struggling to get the top, only to find that we still had more mountain to conquer. We get discouraged and want to give up.

Many times we can’t see the forest for the trees. (Or the mountain peak because of the mountain in front of us.)

That’s where faith comes in.  We need the faith to stay on the course, and courage enough to not give up even when it seems hopeless.

I don’t know what mountain you are climbing now – financial difficulties, marital problems, struggling to lose weight, infertility, parenting questions, a job loss, or maybe health issues.

You think you have it conquered.

You think you have it figured out.

But you have only reached a false peak. There’s more mountain waiting. And the higher you go – the harder the climb. You’re weary. The altitude is affecting you.

Don’t give up. Don’t get discouraged. Keep climbing Mount Courage.

In time, you will be able to look back from where you have come and be blessed to see how the Lord has led.

Trust me – the view from the top is amazing!

Isaiah 40 : 28-31 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary and his understanding no one can fathom.

He give strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youth grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall.

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar like wings on eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

On Planning and Wood Floors

Poppa Sanding
Poppa Sanding

We are in the final stages of a massive home renovation. Eight years ago we moved a large beautiful old farm house to our land and have been slowly fixing it up.

We gutted it, rearranged the rooms slightly, replaced windows, put in a ground source heat pump, replaced the roof, redid the electricity and the plumbing, all before finally dry walling, painting and now refinishing the floors.

Eight years worth of hard work and we’re down to just a few more tasks before we can move in. Yet these few tasks have been very frustrating. Everything is taking longer than it is supposed to and not going according to plan.

We “planned” to spend 2 weeks on the floors. We’re now on week 3 with work still to be done.

We “planned” to just sand the pine floors upstairs, stain them and use them as is. We ended up spending days painfully removing the glue-like gunk from those floors before we could even think about varnish.

We “planned” that the varnish would seal in the stuff between the cracks in those pine floors- but it didn’t. It keeps floating up and coming out. Yuck.

We “planned” to be moved in by November 1st.  Not gonna happen.

Our new plans include carefully removing the gunk from between the cracks and varnishing them again.

We just added it to the to-do list that gets longer every day.

I was telling my woes to my brother the other day and he very wisely said, “Plans are what you make while real life happens.” So true.

He also said, “The best battle plans only last until the enemy army approaches.” Thanks, Tim.

I think it’s time to stop looking at my to-do list that never gets any shorter and start looking to my Heavenly Father who knows all things.

He knows my needs, my desires, my dreams. He knows my frame- He designed it! He knows our schedule, our finances, our strength.

He has great plans for me- He promised.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future.”

Tying Shoes & Trusting God

Untied Shoes

My lovely niece Sarah sent me this recently. It touched me and I thought you would appreciate it, too. So I’m letting Sarah be my guest blogger today. Enjoy

I read a verse that made me laugh this morning.

It was in Isaiah 26:12 and said, “Lord, you have established peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us.”

What a way for God to point out the humility I need to have! EVERYTHING I have ever accomplished was really God doing it. And it isn’t even the work through me like I used to like to think —  it actually was God doing it for me.

Like a little kid who needs help tying their shoes. It definitely is still their shoe that gets tied, but it is the adult who does the tying.

What a crazy humble God who lets me think I am doing so much when it is only Him doing anything.