Jeremiah 29:28 – He has sent this message to us in Babylon: It will be a long time. Therefore, build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.’”
Gratitude Day 770
This beautiful box of veggies arrived at our house this week. A friend stopped by and brought these to me. Full truth – she had them organized so lovely in the box. I started to take them out and asked if I could snap a picture of them, well, just because I wanted to show them to you.
It was a wonderful act of Christian kindness all from my friend’s heart.
She knows that Hubby Rick grows a garden. He has been harvesting cucumbers and peppers regularly. The lettuce has regrown a bit tough, but we enjoyed it while it lasted. We had our first few tomatoes this week. Every day or two, he comes in with a few handfuls of green beans. I have not found time to can or freeze anything yet. This is the month that my part-time job is more than full-time. Rick always tells me that just having fresh things to eat is enough.
And he is right.
However, I come from this longtime family tradition of canning and freezing and preparing food for the winter. Growing up, we have a HUGE garden; way bigger than we had time to properly attend. Every summer, we shucked peas, froze beans, and ate fresh lettuce and radishes right out of the garden. My Mom taught me how to can tomatoes, fruits and veggies. During summer visits to my grandparents, my sisters and I helped her freeze and can using the kitchen she had set-up in the basement just for this purpose. There is something personally rewarding about looking in a cabinet and seeing rows of canned tomatoes and pickles and peaches that drags me back to childhood. In the winter when I open up another jar of homemade spaghetti sauce, its smells like our garden and makes me smile. It has been years since I have bought spaghetti sauce or salsa or tomato juice. Every year when I go through the process of turning fresh veggies into something that is prepared for use at a later date, I wonder if my time is well-spent doing the work. Yet, every year, I return to the same time-tested recipes and procedures that my Grandmothers and Mother taught me.
Gardening and canning and freezing food is part of the blueprint in which I was raised. Part of my heritage. It is how my Mom fed our family for years. These days, food preservation is more about doing something you enjoy and having locally sourced food. It’s enjoying the taste of something raise just outside of your backdoor. And being able to share fresh veggies with neighbors, friends or the local food pantry.
A couple days ago, another friend who has historically had a huge garden shared that she has not been able to do any food preservation this summer. This is a woman who has historically canned hundreds and hundreds of jars of food. Things are different this summer. Priorities have changed. She is needed in a different way to support her family. The pickles and tomatoes can be bought this year. It will be okay.
Whether you have a garden or not, please, please, please enjoy the fresh fruits and veggies of the season. Visit a farmer’s market. Stop at a roadside stand. Buy local and savor every bit of something grown right outside someone else’s backdoor.
Now, for a few things that are inspiring me this week.
This song. It’s been a full couple of weeks at work. I listened to this video multiple times Friday night. My heart and soul just needed these words. The words are so good.
This photo. I did not take it and only wished I had. It was taken by a dear family friend, Marian. Her daughter shared it on social media. It’s a quintessential Wisconsin farm in the summer. And so lovely.
One Last Thought:
The music video includes these words, “God knows who you are. You’ll never quit on me … because that’s the kind of God you are.”
I’m not sure who needs to hear these words today. But they are real. This is the kind of God that God is. There in the realness of life, when life gets dirty and difficult. And yet, able to turn those dirty challenging times into seeds that get planted. Then, they grow and turn into beautiful fruits and veggies within our lives. Produce that lives within us and outside of us in how we touch other people’s lives, just like my beautiful friend who dropped off that box of veggies this week.
“When heaven feels beyond our reach, God is turning ashes into art because this is the kind of God that God is.” God does amazing things. You are amazing because God created you. God can and will do amazing things in our lives today, this week, forever when we walk right along side of God. Look at the simple things of your life. Find God. Love God. Be thankful that we have a God that is a God that is always, always there.
May you find some fresh veggies today … and remember that our God is a God that will always love the amazing you that you are.
For the beauty of an amazing God that comes into my life every day (even when I do not see it or am too busy to take notice), I am very grateful.
Dear God – It was a small act of kindness and one that was knitted in Your never-failing love. A friend just dropping off a few veggies and sharing her bounty. Holy God – thank you for being an amazing God. Thank you for the amazing things that You do over and over again in my life. Amen.
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