Marigolds and Walnut Trees

A teacher friend recently gave me an education article to read (J. Gonzalez, author).  It got me to thinking.  

There is such a thing as companion planting.  In gardening and agriculture, different crops are planted in close proximity with each other for several purposes:  to increase crop productivity by improving pest control and pollination, as well as to provide a habitat that entices beneficial creatures.  In other words, if you place certain plants near others, it will advance their growth.  Did you know that planting garlic next to your roses will help prevent fungal disease?  Vine growers often plant roses beside their grapes as an early alert to bugs and weather changes.

Marigolds are prime examples and one of the best companion plants available.  They can shield other plants from a variety of harmful insects and weeds, and they also repel another, much larger plant predator – deer.  Grow marigolds next to your backyard garden vegetables and they will become stronger, healthier, long-lasting plants.

Is it possible that God is using nature, His creation, to provide us with a perfect example and lesson of how we should relate to those in our own life’s backyard?  I believe we need to look for and stay close to all of the “marigolds” that God places in our lives.  If we are intentional about this, we will certainly grow and flourish and thrive where He has placed us.

Better yet … you be a marigold!  You encourage others, nourish their growth, and challenge those within your sphere of influence to become their very best.  You practice the biblical traits of helping, supporting, serving, motivating, loving.  You be the kind of person that others will want to be around.

Knowledgeable and productive gardeners never put their vegetables next to walnut trees.  This is because walnut trees discharge a noxious substance that hinders growth.  Nearby plants can easily wither and eventually die.  The lesson here is obvious:  Don’t spend your time with “walnut trees” – those negative, toxic, and cancerous people which you are likely to encounter in almost any circle.  There is a high likelihood that you will be poisoned by their attitude.  Stay away!

More importantly, don’t ever choose to be a walnut tree.  Here are some qualities you might look for as warning signs that you have joined this toxic grove:  people who are focused on self, negative or hateful, arrogant, unwilling to submit to authority, impersonal and shallow, gossipers, whiners, or lacking a servant heart.  Do any of those traits sound like you?  

Now all of this may seem like a great secular principle, but is there any biblical support for the concept?  If you read Psalm 1:1-3, I think you will notice a very similar analogy when the psalmist warns against planting oneself next to the wicked (the sinners, the mockers).  Instead, there is blessing in being a tree who daily delights in obedience to the Lord, drawing from His living water and producing His fruit.  A second passage of Scripture, Jeremiah 17:7-8, confirms this principle as well.  Jeremiah speaks here of the blessed person who is willing to trust in God.  He will be a strong-rooted plant with green leaves and ever-bearing fruit, who lives without fear or worry as he presses in with confidence to the Lord.

So I bought myself a packet of marigold seeds.  I keep it in my Bible.  It is a great object lesson and wonderful reminder of the kind of plant I aspire to be.

~Janelle Weeks

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We hope you consider joining us for another incredible summer!

Dieting Tips: How to Stay F.A.T. After the Holidays (Part 4)

I originally wrote this article many years ago, but I believe the concept is still pertinent in the new millennium. So I dusted it off, revisited a few sentences for clarity, and added some new ones. Now I attempt to entice and motivate you (those who are willing to wade through my literary debris) with some “food for thought” on staying F.A.T. (Faithful, Available, Teachable).

Random Thoughts On Staying Hungry

Being hungry is a good thing. If your body never told you when it was hungry, you would become malnourished very quickly! Likewise, we all need the Holy Spirit to remind us of our spiritual hunger needs, so that we can stay in good shape.

Meanwhile, you need to feed your hunger. By this, I mean that you must learn how to make it grow, entice and tantalize it, give it more “yummy food” (Jeremiah 15:16).

There is one caution: “Don’t bite off more than you can chew!” Try digesting smaller portions – don’t overdose on quantity and sacrifice quality. That is to say, take it slow whenever you are learning and exploring spiritual truths, but always try to go deeper in your studies. Hebrews 6:1 says that we should leave the elementary teachings and “go on to maturity.”

When someone becomes dehydrated or malnourished, it is important to nurture frequently. We need a consistent, regular diet; one that is well balanced, with good nutrition and a variety  of those healthy vitamins. In the same way, a deprived and hungry spirit will need a consistent, frequent food source (i.e. daily time in the Word and in prayer).

Finally, a question for you to ponder as you go about your day: Do people who always eat right, really enjoy every single bite? Or is their satisfaction necessarily tied to the results that they begin to see over time?

As you do your pondering, here are a few additional and “yummy” Scripture references you might want to study:  Job 23:12; Psalm 102:4; 119:103; 141:3-4; Isaiah 1:19; Ezekiel 2:8-3:3; John 4:31-34; 6:27, 35, 48-58; Acts 2:46-47; Revelation 10:9-10

~Janelle Weeks

Dieting Tips: How to Stay F.A.T. After the Holidays (Part 3)

I originally wrote this article many years ago, but I believe the concept is still pertinent in the new millennium.  So I dusted it off, revisited a few sentences for clarity, and added some new ones.  Now I attempt to entice and motivate you (those who are willing to wade through my literary debris) with some “food for thought” on staying F.A.T. (Faithful, Available, Teachable).


People often comment on how they just aren’t getting anything out of their Sunday School, or they aren’t being fed at their church, or the sermons don’t meet their needs, or the Bible study just isn’t doing anything for them. I must say that this rather irritates me.  I am convinced that the truly teachable person can learn in just about any set of circumstances. I have found that if I’m listening, God will teach me amazing things all by Himself! I learn from people all the time, but I refuse to be dependent on others for my spiritual food. I can be abundantly fed by the Creator alone, through meditating on His Word, praying, and memorizing Scripture.

The teachable man King David recognized this in Psalm 119:102, where he claimed, “I have not departed from Your laws, for You Yourself have taught me.”

In Hebrews 5:14 we are told that “solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil”. Take note that the mature aren’t trained by someone else, but have trained themselves by constantly using the solid food of God’s Word. There’s that word “food” again – I just can’t seem to get away from the dieting analogy! Well, maybe it’s making you hungry (spiritually, of course). If you feed that hunger adequately, you might just end up getting FAT.

The opposite condition is mentioned in the Old Testament and is labeled TEKEL. It can be found in Daniel 5:27, where the writing on the wall revealed that Belshazzar had “been weighed on the scales and found deficient”. I guess he wasn’t FAT enough for God’s standards.

In this new year of 2017, I have two thoughts to add.The first came about because my husband showed me an article in Reader’s Digest entitled, “Why Marriage Makes You Fat” (or something similar). It got me to thinking. Does my marriage make me FAT? If not, why not? Am I encouraging my husband to be more faithful, available, or teachable by my attitude and actions? Those of you who are married might want to resolve this year to pray for faithfulness, availability, and teachability in yourself, your spouse, and your marriage.  Even if you are single, you ought to be praying for these qualities in your future spouse and marriage.

My second thought is tied to something I recently read, which added a couple of other words to the F.A.T. concept. The words were Interested and Hungry. We need to be both interested in and hungry for the things of God, or we will never stay FAT.

Now if you try adding these words to the acronym, it actually creates the word FAITH.  Hmmm… I think I sense a whole new article brewing.

During my devotional Scripture reading on the morning after I originally finished writing this article, I felt an unusual sense of anticipation for what God might have to show me concerning this topic. Sure enough, I opened my Bible to Isaiah, where I had been studying, and began to read chapter ten.

I actually laughed out loud. Concerning the remnant of Israel, the Lord Almighty says that the survivors, who return to the Mighty God and truly rely on Him (in other words, those who choose to remain faithful, available, and teachable), will have the yoke of the enemy broken and lifted from their shoulders “because you have grown so FAT.” (Isaiah 10:27). I am not kidding. It’s in there. I rest my case.

~Janelle Weeks

Dieting Tips: How to Stay F.A.T. After the Holidays (Part 2)

I originally wrote this article many years ago, but I believe the concept is still pertinent in the new millennium.  So I dusted it off, revisited a few sentences for clarity, and added some new ones.  Now I attempt to entice and motivate you (those who are willing to wade through my literary debris) with some “food for thought” on staying F.A.T. (Faithful, Available, Teachable).


The Bible reveals that there are basically just two things we are to major on and give our lives in exchange for – people and the Word of God. Not too much of a coincidence that these are the same two things which will last forever.

Matthew 6:33 informs us that we are to seek first God’s kingdom (which is people – Luke 17:21; Revelation 5:10), as well as His righteousness (which is Christ/the Word – I Corinthians 1:30, 2:16). True religion, according to James 1:27, means looking after the needs of people and staying unpolluted through resolute obedience to God’s Word. If you give your life in exchange for these two things, you will be leaving a legacy that lasts forever.

Scripture encourages us to leave behind people as our inheritance (Deuteronomy 32:9, Isaiah 43:4). In order to do this, we must be…available.

Now God does much to keep me busy, and I try my best to keep the word “too” in front of busy. Yet, I don’t mind at all complaining to people about just how “too busy” I am. (There are some who might call this boasting.) But if my objective is to be available to people, am I not sabotaging my own goal by continually reminding everyone how busy I am?

This was made very clear to me once, through my early attempts at building a relationship with a non-Christian coworker.  One Monday morning, she shared that she had spent her Friday night alone and bored.  I glibly replied, “Hey, you should have called me.  I wasn’t doing anything either.”  My friend responded with this sad, but revealing truth:  “I thought you were always so busy that you never had any free time.  I would never think to call you!”

I’m learning not to brag about how busy I am. It’s a hard habit to break.  But I want to be available for God’s use by being perceived as such by the people He has put in my life.

(I am excited to report that less than a year after this incident, I had learned enough about remaining available that God allowed me to be present when He welcomed this same friend into His saving arms of grace. God is so good, isn’t He?)

~Janelle Weeks

Dieting Tips: How to Stay F.A.T. After the Holidays (Part 1)

I originally wrote this article many years ago, but I believe the concept is still pertinent in the new millennium. So I dusted it off, revisited a few sentences for clarity, and added some new ones. Now I attempt to entice and motivate you (those who are willing to wade through my literary debris) with some “food for thought” on staying F.A.T. (Faithful, Available, Teachable).


I think I have discovered a nearly revolutionary way of remaining faithful. It is called prayer.  If you’re like I was, you’ve heard of prayer and when you have some extra time you might even do it a little.  But once I tasted the fruits of a consistent prayer life, I began to see its inevitable relationship to faithfulness.

Like most folks, I have a decent microwave (are you noticing my attempts to maintain a food theme?) that I have learned to appreciate and depend on for expediency and convenience in heating my food.

One morning, I took my getting cold coffee to a friend’s house expecting to warm it in her microwave.  She didn’t have one!  Impossible.  How could anyone survive without?

My point is this:  As I have learned to consistently appreciate and depend on a quality personal prayer time, I think – Impossible! How did I ever survive without?  Praying daily helps me to be faithful in other things, faithful to the people in my life, and more faithful to Almighty God who increases my faith by honoring  my prayers and, therefore, teaches me to be more…faithful.

~Janelle Weeks

Calling All Volunteers…

Are you looking for somewhere to volunteer your time durning the school year? Are you missing camp friends and reminiscing about the fun times of the summer? Consider helping Haven out with some of our projects! Whether you live near camp or not, here are a few things you could help us work on:
1. Mailings– We have a quarterly newsletter, as well as other mailings that go out throughout the year. We would love to have help stuffing and labeling!
2. Distributing Marketing Materials– Help us get the word out about upcoming camps by passing out postcards or putting our posters up around town.
3. Blog and Newsletter Contributions– Are you a writer? Do you have some great camp stories? We would love to consider using your work for our next blog post or newsletter.
4. Fundraising– If you want to put together a fundraiser for Haven, we would like to work with you to see if we can make that happen. We are still working on raising funds for a new bathhouse and infirmary, as well as for our general operating budget, camperships, etc.
5. Maintenance and Work Projects– It’s no easy job keeping camp pretty and operational! If you have skills in this area, get in touch with Zach to find out how you can help around camp.
If you have another idea or project that might help camp out, don’t be shy! Give us a call and we’ll figure out a way to get you involved.

P.S. If you happen to be in the Casper area, we will be preparing our Fall Newsletter for mailing on Saturday, October 29th. Call Alecia at 307-680-8227, or email for more details.

Come check us out!


Camp is fast approaching, and so is our Open House! On Saturday, June 11th, you (yes, YOU!) are invited to join us at Haven for some ridiculously fun activities, delicious food, and a few words about what it means to be involved with camp. Does that sound like a good time or what?! The festivities will begin at 10 am and wrap up around 2 pm, with lunch served in the middle. See you there!

P.S. If you haven’t seen our video yet, you can check it out here.

Summer is Coming!


It’s that time of year…Summer is near, school is coming to a close, and, of course, the camp season is just around the corner! It’s easy to think of camp as something we just do for fun, maybe to break up the monotony of a lazy summer, or to make new friends. True, camp is a blast! But did you know that it is so much more than that? Here is what staff member Shannon Griffith had to say about how the Lord has impacted her life through camp:

I have been attending Haven on the Rock for four years and have been a camper two of those years. When attending Haven, there is always an encouraging atmosphere and people are very real about their relationship with God. When I attended my first summer as a camper, the staff showed me the importance of spending personal time with God daily. It is important to desire to grow in the Lord, and working at Haven gives me the opportunity to do so. As a camper, I enjoy fellowship with other believers through various activities. Worshiping our Lord and Savior with others who feel the same way shows how wonderful God is, that He deserves all glory, whether in the hard times or the good.

After the fun times of camp have ended, you take home not only a wealth of great new memories, but also a new understanding of who God is, His love for you, and how to walk with Him daily. That’s the kind of growth we desire to see from every person who chooses to spend part of their summer with us at Haven. So whether you’re a camper, a staff member, a parent, or a volunteer, jump on board with us this summer and see how God can use camp to change your life. Camp is just around the corner…Will we see you there?