Friday, October 29, 2010

Praying Mantis

Soon after setting up the greenhouse both a male and female female praying mantis moved in.

One day we couldn't find the female, and I told Bode to look for her.  I said that she might be laying some eggs.

I'm not sure why I said that.

He found her.

And she really was laying eggs.

Right then.

And it only happens once a year.

The whole process took about an hour, and they won't hatch until spring.

Here she is, hard at work.

I did some googling to find out more, and it seems that sometimes the female eats the male, starting with the head first, after laying the eggs.

And sure enough, about ten days later we saw this.

Poor guy.

So now we're down to one pet.

But in the spring, we should have hundreds more.

Evidently the babies might eat each other too.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sometimes I'm a Little Slow

Early this year at a church conference I was offered a free copy of this children's Bible and I didn't take it.

A few months later everyone at church was raving about it, but I wasn't interested.  

I already have a great children's story Bible, and besides, I really didn't like the cartoon picture of Jesus on the cover.

Then my best friend starts telling me about this great children's Bible and even buys me a copy.

Ok, I've read it now.

I think I understand what all the fuss is about.

The introduction made me cry.

It's beautiful.

Even if you don't have kids, you need to buy this Bible.

Here are just a couple paragraphs from the intro to whet your appetite:

"No, the Bible isn't a book of rules, or a book of heroes.  The Bible is most of all a Story.  It's an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure.  It's a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne - everything - to rescue the one he loves.  It's like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life."

"It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story.  And at the center of the Story, there is a baby.  Every Story in the Bible whispers his name.  He is like the missing piece in a puzzle - the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture."

(Oh, and for you Tim Keller fans, he was evidently very influential in the writing of this book, as noted by the author.)

My kids love it too.  They never want me to stop reading it.  And when I do, they keep looking at the pictures.  For hours.

Here you go - you can click here to buy it now.

Hopefully you're not as slow as I am.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

There Should Be An App for That

I want to give more.  I want to teach my kids that it makes a difference when we skip that trip to Jamba Juice and give the money to those really in need.

But I need help.  While I want to give, I'm still an impatient American used to instant gratification.  So I have a great idea.  More about that in a minute.

You know that Jesus cared about the poor, right?  And they should be one of our highest priorities in life.  It's not the government's job or someone else's job.  If you are a Christian, it's your job.

If we are generous and share our food with the poor, we will be blessed.

If we give to the poor we will lack nothing.  But if we close our eyes to them we will receive many curses.

When we are kind to the poor we lend to the LORD and will be rewarded.  (This one really amazes me!  It's all God's money anyway.)

But if we shut our ears to the cry of the poor, we will cry out and not be answered. *

I think there are a lot of people who care about the poor and still do nothing because they are overwhelmed with the magnitude of the problems in this world, and they feel like their small contribution won't make much of a difference.

This is not true.

Every little bit helps.

I learned recently that we spend $62 BILLION each year on soft drinks.  If we gave up just a third of our soda, we could provide clean water to all 884 million people in the world who lack it.

So back to my need for instant gratification.  Yes, I could tell my kids that we're not going to have soda with dinner because it not healthy, and that we're going to send the money to help someone who really needs it.  I'm not sure how much they would get that.

But if I pull out my phone and had an app that allowed me to quickly and easily show them a picture of the baby chicks we're going to send to a family in Africa to start a small business, and really sent the money right then and there, don't you think that would be effective?

So to all my favorite charities - those that meet physical needs and give eternal hope through Jesus Christ - this is my request!  I'd like your "gift catalogs" to be made into iphone apps.  I will download it, and it will be so fun to see how our money can be better used.  And really give - then and there - to make a difference!

*Proverbs 22:9, 28:27, 19:17, 21:13

Disclaimer:  This type of giving is not tithing.  As Christians we should order our finances in such a way that we are tithing to our local church, paying our taxes and bills, providing for our family's needs, and giving generously regularly.  This is just an extra way of giving a little more.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Greenhouse

My fortieth birthday present from my husband was a beautiful silver bracelet from Tiffany's and a fabulous party.

My fortieth birthday present that I connived/guilted him into was the greenhouse of my dreams.

I asked him how he would feel if it was football season and he didn't have a TV or a computer.  Cause that's how I feel when I can't garden during the winter months.  And somehow, after all my years of pleading for a greenhouse, that was what got through to him.

But he's actually really gotten into it.  We feel like we're officially an "old couple," since we spent a Saturday afternoon at Home Depot and working on the greenhouse instead of going out to dinner for a date.

It's been pretty warm lately, making the temp in the greenhouse at least in the 90's during the middle of the day.  My thermometer reads over 100 at times, but I'm not sure how accurate it is.

We're starting veggies and herbs and flowers from seed.

Saving some plants that would normally die once the first freeze hits.

And coming out here for some quiet moments.

I feel like we've added another room to the house.

We also have a few new pets -- that have moved into the greenhouse.  More about them next time.