April 4, 2017

We interrupt our usual theological musings to bring you pictures of a cute chick. After twenty-one days of incubation, this little guy was waiting for us when we opened the nest box on Sunday morning.  We named him “Little Red.”  You can guess why from the pictures. There were three eggs.  One gave us Little Red and another didn’t hatch at all.  A third went bad, and mama hen broke it and ate the contents.  I’m not sure how a… Read more

March 30, 2017

One of our hens has gone broody.  That means that she has the urgent biological need to sit on eggs.  We don’t have a rooster, so as it is her eggs would never hatch.  But that hasn’t kept her from sitting motionless, all day, on a clutch of eggs.  She plucked her breast feathers out to expose a warm patch of skin and has generally become tetchy and bad company.  She’s broody.  Some friends gave us a couple of eggs fertilized… Read more

March 27, 2017

My son and I helped our friend Dennis plant onions.  In our minimalist technique, planting onions involved unzipping a long furrow with a rusted and nostalgic hand plow. We then crawled down the row laying the onion starts in the furrows and covered them with a thin layer of crumbly earth.  I helped Dennis start his onions in trays in the greenhouse back in January, and as we planted, my son and I gently tugged squares of onions up from… Read more

March 15, 2017

There was a time when I lost my way while driving south of Chicago.  It was in the days before GPS phones, and I took some spaghetti junction intersection and found myself on a rough and tumble street going into who-knows-what rusty suburb.  I was lost. But then–miracle of miracles!–I drove past a church in my own Mennonite tradition.  The thought came and went as fast as the traffic: I should stop and ask for directions at the church.  … Read more

March 9, 2017

Our friend Dennis discovered an ancient springtooth harrow in a hedgerow.  (It must be a requirement of all Kansas hedgerows that they have at least one worn out implement stashed in beneath the trees.)  Dennis’ springtooth had grown decrepit by long years of abandon.  It was splotched with picturesque lichens and rusted earthen red. And it was just what he needed. You see, Dennis is a retired farmer who runs what he calls the “Sharing Garden.”  It’s a bare-bones operation:… Read more

February 24, 2017

Somewhere on the road to Tucumcari, New Mexico, we got behind a semi truck painted with the question “Did you pray today?” on the back door. The sign rounded out its message with the stencil of a man pointing an accusatory finger.  Did you pray today?  You had better pray.  Or else. I wonder how many passing drivers knew what to do in response to this sign.  You see, most of us do not know how to pray.  Anybody who’s ever… Read more

February 21, 2017

Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). Shortly after moving in to our apartment in Cuzco, Peru to start a mission term, we set about getting to know our neighbors.  There we were, all nestled together at the back of a little court, brick and cement built up in tight quarters.  We were on the ground floor, and as a bonus, our apartment came with a tiny grass and garden space where our sons played.  It was our refuge from… Read more

February 16, 2017

Once, when I was a bored teenager, I invented a challenge for myself.  I was selling Christmas trees on our family’s Christmas tree farm, and in between dragging, shaking, baling, and lashing long trees on short hatchback roofs, I found myself with nothing to do.  There I was, standing beside the chainsaws and stump trimmings, idle and young.  Trouble brewing. “Hey,” I said to my friend and coworker.  “Wanna bet that I can throw this little tree stump over the… Read more

February 10, 2017

Sometime during the summer swelter, our family made the trip to a water park in a neighboring town.  It had slides and beach chairs, a lazy river and a wave pool–and a funky climbing wall angling out over the water.  Kids lined up to give it a try.  They scrambled up, touched the top in triumph, and then dropped back into the pool. I thought I would be able to handle this climbing wall.  After all, the climbing wall on… Read more

February 6, 2017

You are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:31 As the chill night has fallen this winter, a little red-capped bird has taken refuge in the grapevine wreath hanging beside our front door.  He tucks himself in behind the decorations for the night.  We don’t see him until we open the door to walk out, and then he disappears in a flutter.  This little bird reminds me of the words of Scripture, how “even the sparrow finds a home” in the… Read more

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