Monday, 29 February 2016

What are we doing?

Do we really have it all figured out? Am I going through life simply to fit in because I have made a conscious decision to do so, or am I just not putting the effort and energy into figuring out what I really want? The real me, what does it desire? I often ponder these thoughts. (Sometimes I wonder if I should’ve gone into philosophy, I’m sure I would’ve found it fascinating)

We go through life so fast, not thinking about what we’re really doing, what is really happening, what really matters. Is it more important that someone ate up the last lemon, or was it worth it that that person got hurt when you yelled at them? What should’ve really happened in that situation? It’s just a lemon, and yet it meant so much to you in that moment that yelling at him and making him feel bad was the most important thing. We all do that. It’s why so many people hate themselves and find no self worth. They only have degrading things to say about themselves and so bring others to look down on them and that continues the downward spiral into depression and suicidal thoughts. That’s not the way Jesus views you. What does Jesus see? Isn’t it about time we started viewing ourselves and others the way Jesus looks at them? A daily prayer I try to make is “Father, give me your eyes to see people the way you see them.” Jesus said that he only did that which He saw His Father in heaven doing. I think that’s a pretty good model.

It’s so easy to look at where we are in life, single, married, parents, jobless, starting a career, retirement, whatever it may be and be dissatisfied with where we are. We assume that given time, we will change our character, we will change the habits we want to break, and yet, on our own strength and will we so often find ourselves doing the same things over and over. Age 25 we’re married and have a kid, and we’re yelling at the child like we saw our Dad do to us. We take another drag on the cigarette, thinking, I’ll get off it next week. We put of exercising and say next week I’ll try to cut back on my food and try to get to the gym. But here’s the fact, putting something off doesn’t make it any easier, it merely causes more stress. We push our fears aside, but never really take the time to figure out why we have them. We’d rather go around with bandaids covering up broken legs than actually get to the root issue and find a lasting solution. It takes self evaluation. It takes quiet time and reflection. It takes asking specifically for Jesus to step into your life in specific ways; and it also takes discipline. Start with something small. We all do things in life we’d rather not do. Getting out of bed is often not what we want, but we do it anyway. Pick up the Bible and read a chapter, not to get a list of what you should today or how you should act, but to get to know the one who wrote the book. You see, if we become bogged down with reading the bible or going to church to help us, we’ve missed the point. It’s not some self-help book with positive thinking. It’s getting to know Jesus. It’s reading about the God who has made all of history and finding out his character. How He treats people, why He loves us, why He’s created us. It’s to have a relationship with God. Where we talk to Him, and He talks back. Where we come to Him with questions, and he responds and gives us answers. Not always in our own way or time, but He is a God who never lets a promise go.

We expect change to happen, without us having to put any effort into it. That’s not the case. But we can’t pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps either. By diving into the word of God, spending quiet time listening to the Holy Spirit and actively changing the way we think and act is how we will change. God tells us to be perfect, as he is perfect; Holy as He is Holy, and I don’t think He would say this, if He didn’t give us the tools to do so. The tools are a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ and communion with the Holy Spirit. Aligning our lives up with the way God wants us to live. You can be a loving person who seeks the good of others before thinking of himself. You can be someone who is blessed with favor in order that you can bless others as you have been. You can be someone who reaches out to others and seeks to sit with the lowly and walk along side the poor. You can be the person that others look up to and give wise counsel and encouragement as a warrior in Christ. 

I just want the world to know what true love is. Because if they really understood it, all our problems would be gone. Even Christians don’t fully grasp it. True love, the love that Christ gives us transforms every part of our lives. It is the power that will change nations and start revivals. It’s the weapon that will break demonic strongholds over cities and regions. Love is what matters. It defeats the big and the little. We need it to get through every day life, seemingly doing the same things over and over again. We need it to get through the big hurdles in life, too. The mile markers and commitments. In the end, without a relationship with the Father, all if for naught. You will never experience what He has for you, and life will always come up short, never feeling like you are quite satisfied.

English Vintner

Monday, 1 February 2016

The Next Chapter

It’s been a long time since I’ve written, I guess you could blame it on a number of things. Juggling lots of things with my time, getting ready to transition, and the fact that I don’t always know what to write from or about. Anyhow, I expect to be writing more in the coming months, as I’ll have more time to myself and missing my family often increases my writing about my life to or for them to read.

I am moving to Chattanooga in March, the 15th to be exact. I don’t have a lot of concrete things I’ll be doing, except that I’m going to help start a garden CSA with my cousin Jether. 

There are lots of other things I want to do or I am thinking about, but just how many of those other things I do will depend on my determination and what I prioritize. I’ve fantasized about starting an artisan bakery because I’m very much into artisan bread right now. I’ve always been fascinated by bread making, and have been doing it for years off and on, but it wasn’t until I got some bread making supplies for my brother as a birthday gift that things started to change. He picked up the book Flour Water Salt Yeast, by Ken Forkish which is undoubtedly the best book I’ve read for home baking artisan breads. Simple, yet basic and traditional ingredients to create rustic loaves that taste wonderful and look beautiful. I’ve gone through most of his breads in the book and have a pretty good knowledge of baking, and I’ve already had years of experience working in a kitchen. So, I fantasize about starting a bakery in Chattanooga, but they already have a good artisan bakery and it’s hard to say if I could compete.

I still plan to roast coffee; offering it in our CSA. Once again, I’d love to start a coffee shop in Chattanooga, but they’ve got several great roasters and the completion could be tough. Having something to set yourself apart would be essential. Sometimes I just have to remind myself I’m only 22 years old, and most people don’t start a business until much later in life. I’ve still got time.

I’m pretty excited to be farming and can’t wait to see where it will take us. I can’t wait to be a living example to people of how great permaculture design and growing really is. To build a system where you’re not losing anything to waste. A garden that can feed 50 people a year and not use a tractor. There is so much to explore and I can’t wait to get started. I’m not looking forward to the business side of things. I’m a bit of entrepreneur, as if you needed me to say that by now, so there is a side that loves starting a business, but I’m also one who doesn’t like spending hours on a computer. I want to be out feeding chickens, planning a garden, or planting beans. I am labeled the Business Manager this year, and while we don’t have a lot of shares, I’ll be keeping track of money and figuring out everything that goes into a business. 

I’ve almost finished recording an album. I have a couple hours left to finish recording, and hopefully will have that out before I leave for Chattanooga. I played at a show in December and I’m playing again next month. Hopefully I will continue playing in Chattanooga as well. While I’m not sure how much I want to get into music, it’s definitely a part of me. I like the challenge of exploring music and finding something that’s your own, not riding on the notes of someone else. It’s always a challenge for the artist to use the same thing as everyone else (paints/brushes/music/instruments), make it different , yet sound similar enough to be able to say who the artist is.

I don’t know everything about this next chapter of life, but who does? We only get one shot at this, so I guess I’ll give it my best.

English Vintner