Thursday, April 21, 2011

A fresh breeze of encouragement

1:28 p.m. Today's project was to break up my indoor routine and get back out to the garden. I admit that I woke up with the start of a stuffy nose and a little weepy over recent disappointments in my life, but my mind was put right by reading the wonderful recounting of Joseph's forgiveness toward his brothers for selling him to slave traders. His testimony in Genesis 50:20 has bolstered millions of believers over the centuries when wronged:

As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good...

Lord, that I might have such a loving, tender heart of forgiveness and blessing towards others!

Moving in the right emotional direction now, I was further encouraged and cheered when my friend Kay called to get some pointers before she made her first batch of canned produce: pickled corn relish. She was so excited, and I was too, because she had attended our Heart to Home canning class last month, had taken very careful heed to instructor Cindy's directions and then purchased a canner after talking over some fine points with me. As we closed the conversation, she promised me a jar, what a blessing!

It's like God was saying through her, "See? I will use whomever I choose to show you how much you matter to me!" I could truly sense Jesus' heart expressed in Jeremiah 31:3,

I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.

How do people live without the Lord?

After a couple of additional uplifting phone conversations with old and new friends, and seeing that Steve was finished with his chores, we both went out to the garden to weed and plant some green beans. It was so cool and nice this morning, with a cloud cover and breeze, that I would have made up things to do! As it was, we ran over to Parkview Nursery to purchase 6 small bags of sand for cantaloupe and cucumber mounds, a jalapeno pepper plant, and three more varieties of tomatoes--Roma, yellow pear, and yellow heirloom. My dad had dried out some cantaloupe seeds from last year, so I planted them after mixing sand into the mounds I created.

Then came the task of putting in the tomato plants, and even digging up and moving a well-established one I'd planted a month ago for better spacing. Even though I love a jungly look in the tomato garden, perhaps I don't need quite as many plants this year! And I still need to purchase Bell and chile peppers and tomatillo plants. But I may wait until the spinach "bolts" (goes to seed) before I change that bed over to the summer vegetables. And since I have no clue what the carrots are doing--whatever it is, they're doing it s-l-o-w-l-y--I will plant some top of the ground crops among them.

Steve finished his lunch and then came out to help me clean up the plastic pots and bags and take to be recycled. He then took the shovel and "turned" the compost in its bin. We'll need to add a layer of soil to that soon--next payday! I love that we can turn our non-meat food scraps into nutrient for future gardens, no cheap, so natural, so healthy!

There is something about being outdoors, whether working physically on your property, walking with your spouse and kids, or just swinging in a hammock, that allows our heart rate to slow down, our senses to come alive to the little buzzes and chirps of camouflaged creatures in the trees and flowers, and our tension to melt away for a bit while we appreciate what God thinks about all that He created, Genesis 1:4, 10, 13, 18, 25, and, after the creation of man, verse 31:

Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed, it was very good.

And that includes you and me!

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