Friday, August 21, 2020

How are Your Roots this Summer?

How does growth come to a plant? How did these cucumber plants grow to overflowing our garden this year?

How did these sage, basil, parsley (and more) herb plants grow so lush this summer? Producing so bountifully that this is the year that I am trying out preserving them with my new dehydrator?

And these impatience flowers on our patio, how did they grow to be so beautiful, overflowing their planter, filling us with their beauty each day?

And how about me, and how about you ... how are we doing this summer?

It has probably been the most unusual time of our lives for each of us. We've gone through five months now of a global pandemic with all the repercussions that have affected many or all of us in some way or another. And on top of all that, just when we were maybe starting to catch our breath, we have seen unrest on our streets. And in our land.

How are we doing with all this? Is it possible to not only survive, but also to thrive and grow, even in the midst of this intense heat?

I've been reminded often. I've needed to be reminded often. That bitterness, anger, and complaining do not bring results, and do not bring the beauty that we all long for in our lives. Bitterness and anger lead to more bitterness and anger. We've seen that happening.

There is a better way. In our efforts to help, to survive these challenging times, and in our need to be healthy and productive, we need to be sure to nurture the soil of our hearts. Daily, each day. To let our roots grow down to keep us strong.

Let your roots grow down into Him,
and let your lives be built on Him.
Then your faith will grow strong
in the truth you were taught,
and you will overflow with thankfulness.
(Colossians 2:7 NLT)

But how does this happen; what is it that feeds our roots, and what brings growth?

I have found that it is in the daily, in the moment-by-moment living of our days ... turning towards the Son, reaching towards the life-giving water. Picking up His Words, reading with our minds and our hearts; pausing, responding, receiving His love. To pause, be still, and receive.

To be still is to receive.
To faithfully pause, to soak up His love and His Grace.
The soaking up, the receiving, is what brings growth.
To still our souls is to open the door to receive.
To be what we were created to be.
To grow into something beautiful.
By His power alone.
Becoming beautiful and fruitful. For Him.

It's what I see in our gardens; our veggie garden, our herb garden, our flower pots on our patio. I see stillness. A receiving. A depending on the Creator to bring the growth.

But blessed are those 
who trust in the Lord, 
and have made the Lord 
their hope and confidence.

They are like trees planted
along a riverbank
with roots that reach 
deep into the water.

Such trees are not bothered
by the heat or worried
by long months of drought.

Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop
producing fruit.

(Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT)

Lord, may our roots grow down into Your Truth, Your Words, each day.
May we rest, even in the midst of the heat, 
as Your Words settle down into the deepest places of our hearts.
May our roots be strong, and our fruit be honoring to You,
bringing beauty and growth that will spread to a needy world.   

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Easy Refrigerator Pickles


We have had an overflowing harvest of cucumbers in our garden this summer! It seems that many others are having the same experience in their gardens, too. 

In fact, it seemed by mid-July that our cucumbers (planted on the north end of our 10 x 30 foot veggie garden space), were on their way to take over the entire garden. We decided to put up a wire garden fence, stopping their path right before they overtook the tomato plants (in the foreground in the photo above). You can see the multitude of yellow flowers on the cucumber plants! 

We've been picking cucumbers for about four weeks now, and I knew I needed to try to preserve some of them. I ended up preserving about 23 small containers of cucumbers ... about half were put in the refrigerator, and the other half I've put in the freezer.

Click here for the Easy Refrigerator Pickles recipe that I used from Taste of Home (recommended to me by one of our sweet daughters). Several of the comments with the recipe mentioned that they do very well in the freezer, so besides using them as refrigerator pickles, I'm trying out the freezer option this year, as well. (Note: I did double the amount of brine suggested, just as our daughter also did, and as others had mentioned in their review of the recipe.)

They are really delicious, and have already been adding a tasty touch to some of our summer meals. We especially like using them on sandwiches that we often have for lunch.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

My Daily Delight

Make God the utmost
delight and pleasure of your life,
and He will provide for you
what you desire the most.
(Psalm 37:4 TPT)

Lord, may You be my delight
above all else, today ...
may I keep You always
before me, all through this day,
filling my heart with Your truth,
and Your unfailing love.

In the midst of all this day
will bring, may You be my
utmost delight, all by Your
grace and power alone.

I have always loved this verse,
and sometimes, reading it in 
a new translation brings even
deeper clarity ... may Psalm 37:4
be an encouragement to you
today, as well.

(Photo taken on our Pacific Coast Trip 2016)