The Beginnings Of The Spring Garden

Garden001

Our spring garden is off to a great start! We’ve already begun harvesting a handful of different things, and I have tons of green tomatoes that will be turning red any day now.

For the past few years, I have stuck to my guns about making sure this thing was all organic and done naturally. I’ve had almost 100% success with keeping away any and all chemicals… that is, other than my very first year when my super nice elderly neighbor decided that I didn’t know what I was doing and poured fertilizer over my squash to show me how much better it would do with a “little help”. I simply had to bite my tongue and respect my elders.

But, as fun as it was to be able to do this all organic, I was slightly disappointed that my plants were always a little smaller than other people’s stuff. I longed to have a giant squash like the ones I had seen on Facebook.

Well, it took me 2 years… but, I’m confident that this is the year that my garden has finally come to life. My soil has only gotten richer each season, and this year, the plants are going crazy in it!

Over the past few years, I’ve been fascinated with figuring out how to naturally grow plants. I love being able to do something the way it has been done for thousands of years, and not depend on man-made products that lessen the quality of our food. For me, it has almost been a challenge just to see if I could do it… and through that challenge, I feel like I have really connected with our food and with the whole process.

So, if you’re just getting started and are tempted to dispair, let me just encourage you to press on. It may take a little while, but it’s worth it.

Here’s a little glimpse into what the garden is looking like in its early stages. I’ve decided to focus more on the things that we love eating rather than trying to grow everything I could get my hands on this year. We’re going with: Tomatoes (a few varieties), Squash, Zucchini, Cucumber, Green Beans, Eggplant, Okra, and Jalepeno.

000075430002Garden003Garden004000075430001 Garden006 Garden007 Garden008Canon 1v  //  Kodak PJ100 Ektapress [Expired]  //  Indie Film Lab

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Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard001

Swiss Chard is one of my favorite products of the winter garden. Not only does the rainbow chard look stinkin’ awesome (and that’s arguably one of the most important things about a consumable product in my opinion)… it also makes for a great side dish around here and frequently gets tossed into a fruit smoothie to make it just a tad healthier. 

We simply chop this bad boy up into half-inch strips and toss it into a pan with some garlic, olive oil, and a little chicken broth and that’s it.

There is something extremely life-giving about being able to grow your food in your back yard. It truly is hard to put into words how great having a garden can be.
Swiss Chard002Canon 1v // Kodak Portra 400 // Indie Film Lab

 

Adoption Day!

Today is August 20th.

This morning we dressed up real nice, loaded the family into our car and headed an hour away to a small town Texas court house.

Today is the day that we stood before a judge with huge smiles on our faces… hand in hand as one family… to officially make this boy our son.

Joshua Deondre Price

Although he will still go by Deondre, Sara and I wanted to give him a name that had meaning. We felt like Joshua was a good fit for him. Joshua was a man that feared God and that had many obstacles to overcome in his life… many battles to fight. He trusted the Lord through it all… and that’s our prayer for our boy too… that he would walk with the Lord through all of the trials that he may face in this life.

This past year has without a doubt been the most life changing for us. We sometimes sit on the couch at night and try to imagine what life was like those days before we had children in our house. Did we really just eat delicious food almost every night and then watch 24? How was that even possible?

We think back to those early days of him being in our home. Scared. Uncertain. Untamed. He had been through so much, and we had very little clue about what to do with this kid that all but fell from the sky into our living room. Each day brought new challenges that made us realize that we were clueless.

Today we celebrate all that God has done to get us to this place. How He has changed our hearts and placed a love deep inside of us for a boy that we did not know existed for the first 5 years of his life.

It’s really crazy to think about what we may have been doing when he was born. For me, I had just completed my sophomore year at Texas A&M, and was spending the summer working for an inner city ministry in Brenham. During those three months, the Lord really worked in my heart and gave me a love for kids from hard places. I spent many days hanging out in the projects with kiddos getting my eyes opened to the reality of what many people right in our backdoor experience day in and day out. I think my mind would have been blown if I had known that at that very moment, God was bringing a little boy into the world that would one day share my last name and call me “Daddy” instead of “Mr. Ryan”. Crazy how He works to prepare us for things in life.

Adoption isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. There are so many broken pieces that need to be mended together, and many of those pieces simply may never get the right fit. But, days like this are high points. Adoption day is a happy day for our family and we praise God that Deondre is excited about being adopted by us… although it’s still up for debate about whether he is more excited about getting to drink Coke on this day or being in our family for the rest of his life.  😐

We’re grateful for all the craziness that you bring into our family, little boy. We wouldn’t be complete without you.

Worship Thoughts: The Solid Rock

As a worship pastor at my local church [New Life], I get the privilege of piecing together a selection of songs each week that can be collectively sung by a group of people in worship. In a very real sense, the songs we sing together represent what we believe about God. They make up the voice of our people collectively.

As I have grown as a leader of worship, I’ve really seen the importance of what it means to tap into the voice of our particular group of people and make sure that what we are singing is an accurate reflection of what our people believe and what we are going through. This is why I am passionate about writing songs for our church to sing corporately as well as bringing in more mainstream songs.

I believe that it’s really important to make sure that we sing things that give an accurate view of what it really means to follow Christ. Yes… it’s a lot of fun to get excited and sing at the top of our lungs about how awesome it is to be in love with God… how every day is better than the last… how our joy is overwhelming. But, the reality is, if you follow Christ for more than a few years, you’ll find yourself in seasons that make you wonder, if every day is supposed to be better than the last, then why am I experiencing so many increasingly worse days right now?

I find great solace in some of the hymns of our faith that, thankfully, are being brought back into our church’s voice.

One of the hymns that most resonates with me as I lead our church body is The Solid Rock.

I had sung this song countless times in my life. But, it wasn’t until this past year that I began to identify with it.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on his unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood, support me in the whelming flood. When all around my soul gives way, he then is all my hope and stay.

On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand

As we have found ourselves on this messy journey of fostering and adoption over the past year and a half, I’ve found that I have been relating to the Lord in a completely different way than I did before. As we swim in a sea of uncertainty and deal with behaviors in our child and in our own hearts that we wouldn’t have imagined dealing with at any point in our life, I find it difficult to sing songs that tell only one side of the story.

There is little hope for me to sing “every day with you is sweeter than the day before”… because all that makes me do is doubt that this God exists… or better yet, feel guilty that my life doesn’t match those lyrics.

But, when I can stand [or lay flat on my face] and muster up the words “when all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay”, I’m reminded of the bigger picture.

I can honestly worship a God that calls us to hard things and brings us through what seems like end-of-the-world storms… and be left with nothing else to say but, “All my hope is in You. All my strength is in You.”

It has been a beautiful thing to stand in front of a group of people whose stories I know… Parents dealing with bringing kids from hard places into their family and wondering where the light at the end of the tunnel is… Couples searching frantically for jobs and coming up dry… Women struggling to see the goodness of the Lord in light of their recent miscarriage… Students seeing for the first time that this world is broken. And yet, when we begin singing this song… when those different voices with all sorts of different stories combine, I can feel the energy from our people. A desperate cling to the hope found in our Savior.

It’s a really tremendous thing to be able encounter.

May our churches be filled with sounds and words that resonate with where we are and that point us to a God that is firm through the fiercest droughts and storms.