Monday, 15 November 2010

Cry freedom!

Unfortunately not taken this year, this was November 16th
last year at sunset. I haven't had the chance to take many
photos this week. Sorry!
Sometimes I forget things I should mention and last week was one of those weeks. I forgot to mention how God had been really reassuring to me even though I didn't think I specifically needed the reassurance. I think he knows me better than I do myself and so I guess I was more worried than I thought I was. Three times in one week I heard or read the verses from Matthew 6:25-34 in different places with no connection. 

    25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
   28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Memories of sunnier times but also an expression of
the freedom from worry of what to wear, what to eat,
the freedom to soar high above the cares of this world.
What was concerning me was providing for our future, what steps should we take. What should we set aside and what should we use now? I felt that whatever seems sensible now will not provide for our future and that God would work things out and I should leave it in his hands, but was I being naive? Was I just being silly? In the world's eyes - definitely! I felt reasonably peaceful about it but my thoughts would keep returning to the issue and so I think at the back of my mind I was worried and God's reassurance the other week was comforting for sure and something to hold onto in the years ahead.

No this wasn't the car when I got it back to Ian, it is our
Lada, our workhorse on the land. No frills this car. Looks
fantastic in black and white.
Now back to more recent events. Last week I borrowed the car and went to a meeting at one of the regional Rural consultancy offices, here in Latvia. It is a big event when I use the car as Ian and I have completely different set ups for the seat and he always moans it takes about a week to get comfy again but he graciously let me go on my own, he had things to get on with anyway (this is where sniggering emoticons would come in really handy). It is funny organising my own field trips to do with my course and all feels a bit surreal, on the one hand I am just a student doing a bit of research, on the other hand I am learning to do a professional job and this is my research  for professional development purposes, learning to ask the right questions in the right places. My trip last week was to start to make contacts with professionals in the forestry field, trying to find out how the system works here in Latvia. It was very informative and I got pages of notes and also a glimpse into some of the challenges of working in the forestry field. Forestry is a big issue in Latvia and so it should be with over 50% of the country covered in forest of which roughly 50% is owned by the state and 50% by private forest owners and that is a lot of land, Latvia isn't small, the numbers of Latvians maybe small ie 2.3m but they occupy an area which is only slightly smaller than the Netherlands and Belgium put together ie Latvia 64,589 km2 Belgium 30,528 km2 and the Netherlands 41,848 km2. Latvian private forest owners are fragmented though and not many are motivated to actively manage their forests for a complex number of reasons but fascinating nonetheless. Latvians do not cooperate well on projects it would appear but often that is due to mistrust - trust issues raising its head yet again. It is so sad that the recent and not so recent past holds this nation back and stops it being more progressive. 

Memories of last year too, no less wet and our polytunnel
not finished. This time it is our barn that is not finished.
It is progressing but they are now working in mud too.
It has been rather wet here which means it's towing season once again, it was rather a regular feature of our year last year. This season started with an early morning call from our neighbours to our land - their car was stuck and the guy with a tractor was unreachable, could Ian help? No problem, Ian went to tow the car out of a rather deep hole created by a ditch dug earlier in the year to lay new pipes which hadn't packed down well enough yet and performed a rather good attempt at trying to swallow a car. For his trouble he got a bag of apples but even better was when the neighbour who speaks very very little English shouted across and said "Good friends!" - a precious comment indeed. 

Our certificate

Later on that evening our English class came to our house to eat an English meal, pie, leeks with white sauce, mashed carrots and swede and mashed potatoes followed by apple sponge and custard. They brought the typical gifts that Latvians do when they come to a house for the first time of flowers, honey, a whole rather large box of chocolate marshmallows and also another precious gift of a certificate of appreciation for our English lessons (see picture). So sweet and so thoughtful. I would just like to underline the headline at the top though that we are their first English teachers and they are just on the simpler stuff at the moment and I shall not be sending the certificate back with red lines through it, well not yet anyway (laughing emoticon here!). I do really love the fact that they have gone to a lot of effort to make the certificate and try to write some thoughtful lines in English, it makes us feel thoroughly appreciated, well that and the invitation to a reciprocal meal in about a fortnight. 

An arty photo from earlier this year. I
was reminded of this on a blog
where an artist loves to post pictures
of rusty objects because they are so
interesting. Check out the site here.
This is a photo of a hoe after dredging
out pond weed.
I said it has been wet this last week and our allotment at our other apartment is under water in places and so when someone posted a link facebook on how to build an ark I couldn't resist posting it myself and having a good laugh with another friend planning on how to build an ark - thought we might wait until it stops raining first though before commencing the building project. Just in case you need some directions here's the link to the plans for building your own ark. Our other allotment does look in a sorry state with so much water and we half wondered whether to just leave the plants that are left to rot away as many of the plants were put in a little too late to be ready for picking and we had too many cabbages all ready at once, at least by leaving them it would return the nutrients back to the soil. We changed our mind though after Ian had been working up at the other apartment and looking out over the allotments of ours and our neighbours made him think it actually reflects rather badly on us, planting things that we don't harvest even if the cabbages do look past their best. The Latvians plant their gardens to feed them over the winter and even if I have a freezer full of veg, loads of chutneys, and lots of dried food, it does not look good to let food go to waste - our neighbours probably have enough for themselves and probably would not appreciate soggy cabbages but it still looks wasteful. We decided to go and collect the remaining cabbages and was surprised that once we removed the outer sogginess they actually weren't too bad at all. Now we have the challenge of trying to process them somehow, so some are drying and some will freeze now I have made a bit of space by making some cucumber, apple and orange marmalade (it's not as bad as it sounds, honest! In fact it is quite tasty). Any other suggestions on what to do with a bag full of actually reasonable cabbages gratefully received.

Another memory of summer but also another symbol of
freedom. I like this one as it is in such an incongruous
place, makes for a nice contrast of natural amongst the
industrial rather like the beauty of freedom in the midst of
It has been an exciting week this week with the twin announcements of the release of captives, the British couple released by Somali pirates and Suu Kyi in Burma released from house arrest. It really feels like a cry freedom week, a cry coming up that cannot be contained. Even though the situation seemed hopeless there was something that could not resist the cry of freedom. May that cry of freedom echo throughout the world into the very recesses of power, bringing release from bondage of many, whether that bondage be to banks charging excessive interest rates to claw back their profits, or release of slaves sold into prostitution or the burdened people under corrupt regimes. More Lord is what I want to pray! Let the cry of freedom rise! 


  1. Hi Joanna, thankyou so much for your comment. I am so sorry it has taken me this long to get back to you, I have had internet problems. I hope you are well and thanks again, Karen

  2. Your blog is an inspiration Karen to keep going on my embroidery.

  3. Love that rust! It's a really nice image. Have you any more ? (rust that is!) And ... the word to type into the box (usually a nonsense word) is this time "richness". God is speaking!

  4. I don't think I have any more pictures of rust but I will be looking out for them from now on. I have pictures of old doors which look quite cool but I cannot find the picture, I thought I had posted, I will see if I can find it again and post it next week.

    I like the "richness" funnily enough the one to post a comment on your blog was satina - spoke to me of a rich fabric. He sure is speaking.


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