Flowers are Coming Back

“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to each person according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”  – Revelation 22:12-13

Maybe it’s just me, but winter seems to linger and last forever!  My friend Kelly is a gardener.  She has had her seed packets since February and posted one cold winter day that she is going to have to wait two more months to plant her seeds.  It’s excruciating, this time between winter and spring.  Here in Kansas, even when spring is officially here, we still have rain and chilly temperatures.  We don’t trust anything we plant to be protected before May.  Winter is the longest season – and we have no choice but to be patient and wait for warmer weather.  But the watchword is…  ANTICIPATION!  We prepare, then we wait!  

Sometimes I’m tempted to feel the same way about the second coming of Christ.  I want the Lord to hurry up – but He reminds me that not everyone is ready for His return.  It makes me feel selfish, to be honest, but once that feeling passes, I realize that it’s just a reminder that I need to get to work!  The Gospel is something to be shared, not hoarded.  Our Lord wants everyone to be ready to make Heaven their eternal home!

Remember the Great Commission?

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  – Matthew 28:18-20

I like the last part of this portion of Scripture:  I am with you always, to the very end o the age.  Do we know when that will be?  Nope.  Nobody knows except God Himself.  Even Jesus won’t be privy to that information until it is time!  So, while we’re waiting for the end of the age, we need to be busy in whatever way we can, sharing and caring for the lost souls around us.

Revelation says that Jesus is coming quickly.  I’m sure you think as I do…  “You call this QUICKLY” – ???  We’re not questioning God – we really aren’t.  We’re just saying that the time between Christ’s resurrection and His second coming to earth has been a very long winter…  but we wait with anticipation, knowing that one day the proverbial spring will arrive and we will be enjoying the most beautiful garden we’ve ever seen.  The best news of all is that, we’ll never have to endure another winter again!  🙂

 

 

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (30)Good people do live in my midst!  We’re getting ready for a garage sale later this month and spent a day preparing the garage for the tables, racks, etc.  The worst thing that can happen at a garage sale is when someone wants to buy something that you are not selling.  The solution is to cover everything that you want to keep with a tarp.

We were working in the garage when along comes our neighbor.  He’s a very pleasant man, friendly and hard-working.  He owns a farm just outside Wichita as well as a home in our little community.  He asked if our riding lawn mower was for sale.  My husband told him it was.  They worked out the details and our big -ticket item was sold.

Seems cut and dried, doesn’t it?  We get money and he gets the rider to use out on his farm.

The story’s not finished.  Here’s the cool part.

Yesterday was the open air market at our extension office.  Most of the vendors have stopped coming because summer is over.  We stopped to look around a bit, not expecting to find much.  There was our neighbor with the last of his vegetable crop – and it looked delicious, I must say.

Without saying a word, he bagged up most of what he had left and handed it to us.

He has absolutely NO idea what he did.  We have vegetables to put in our freezer for winter.  Our freezer was empty – now it’s full.  I think I know what the squirrels must feel like – collecting and filling their little homes with food for the winter months.

He told us it was a bonus payment on the mower.  We laughed.  I wanted to cry tears of joy.

But here’s the thing…  my dad had a garden every year and grew all the vegetables our neighbor does.  We’ve been buying vegetables at the market – but let’s face it, they just are not homegrown.  They don’t taste the same.

I’m sitting here now eating fried okra, crying tears of happiness.  It’s like a taste of home, to be honest.  This small gesture touched my heart and took me back home for just a little while.

This journey called life is filled with a little pain and a little sorrow, but once in a while, a neighbor does something that renews your faith in humans.  I could never thank him enough for that – not without crying, anyway.  It’s more than okra – it’s closing my eyes and going back to a late summer / early fall meal with my parents.  How do you thank someone for that?it-is-more-than-just-okra

I know it’s just a simple little story, but isn’t our life here on the planet about paying it forward?  It’s about sharing your bounty with those who are not farmers or gardeners.  Our neighbor would certainly have not had to do that.

I thank him not only for the food, but also for the wonderful memories that food sparked in me.  And as always, I’m so very grateful to God for making it all happen!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (29)A

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
    whose confidence is in him.

They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”  – Jeremiah 17:7-8

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Karley holding her mammoth cabbage… wow!!!

 

That’s a lot of coleslaw…

I have the most COOL facebook friends!!!  Can you believe the size of this cabbage???  She posted this photo the other day and of course it got me to thinking about how much BIGGER our blessings are when we belong to God.

Bigger blessings???  You bet!  God has blessed His own in a big way since the beginning of time.

Have you ever heard the saying…  I’m too blessed to be stressed – ???  It’s true!  When we focus on all of the many blessings from the LORD, we just spend time loving our family and friends – instead of thinking about the things we lack.  With God in our corner, we lack nothing.  We have what we need because we know He provides for our every need.

You know, if there is something you think you need and God has not brought it your way (like, say…  a million dollars) – it’s because He knows it’s not what you need.  How many times do we hear about folks who win the lottery and have nothing but grief after they get all that money?  I’ve heard story after story about tragedy that stems from having too much money and being used – or some even lose their life over it.  God wants the very best for us – we have to trust His wisdom for our lives.

Money doesn’t solve every problem – it really doesn’t.

 The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.  – Psalm 29:11

Bigger blessings from God – of strength and peace.  Strength to face our daily trials and peace as we keep living.  🙂

NATIONAL SALSA MONTH

MAY IS NATIONAL SALSA MONTH

Homemade Salsa

  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (or a combination of tomatoes and fresh peaches, nectarines, mangoes or grapes)
  • 1/3 cup chopped yellow or white onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Put all ingredients into a bowl, toss well and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Per Serving:Serving size: about 1/2 cup, 25 calories (0 from fat), 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 150mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate (1g dietary fiber, 3g sugar), 1g protein

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Most condiments are either high in sugar (also known as high fructose corn syrup) or sodium.  Most of us attempt to strike a balance between those two extremes so we don’t make our blood sugar or blood pressure unhappy.

Thankfully, there is one condiment that has not affected either my blood sugar or blood pressure – salsa! 

Everyone in my realm of influence seems to like hot salsa, but I quickly admit that I can’t handle heat.  For me, it’s got to be mild salsa.  One of our favorite Mexican restaurants serves a mild salsa that is too hot for me!  They know me and know they will have to cool the salsa down – yes, they laugh at me – but I don’t care.

Because salsa is such a healthy alternative, I use it in some rather unconventional ways:

  • Baked potatoes taste so good with salsa on top instead of fattening butter
  • Mix salsa with mayo to save some serious calories before dressing up your burger
  • Try mixing salsa into your scrambled eggs
  • Salsa is a great veggie dip.  Have you read the label on your favorite dip?  It’s crazy!

We can’t have a garden where we live now, but as a kid my folks grew their own tomatoes, peppers and onions to make homemade salsa.  Of course, the most traditional pairing is tortilla chips and salsa.  There are typically quite a few carbohydrates in tortilla chips, so keep that in mind.  Beyond that, have a good time with your favorite salsa dish!  Ole’!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (29)A

As the weather warms up, the food we choose gets colder.  There’s nothing quite like a slice of melon at the end of a warm spring day.  It’s still a little early for the best melons, but I’m starting to see a few more varieties at my local market.  When I was a kid, my daddy grew many types of melon in his garden.  The best tasting melon in the world is one that you raised yourself.

Pepino
Pepino

Pepino is a great source of vitamin B.  If you can imagine a taste between a cucumber and a honeydew melon, that is what a pepino tastes like.  It compliments a fruit salad nicely.

Crenshaw
Crenshaw

Crenshaw melons are known by their yellow skin and oblong shape.  They make a great sorbet:  Puree flesh until smooth and pour into a metal baking dish.  Freeze, scraping and fluffing with a fork every 30 minutes, for 2-3 hours.

Canteloupe
Cantaloupe

This is a Kansas spring and summer staple food!  Some people make smoothies and other things, but in our family, we cut cantaloupe in half, scrape the seeds out and grab a spoon.  It’s chock full of vitamin A – more than a day’s worth!

Honeydew
Honeydew

Honeydew is not my favorite melon, but it is a good source of vitamin C.  According to Keri Gans, author of The Small Change Diet, you can make a dessert soup by mixing honeydew puree’ with unsweetened almond milk, honey and lime juice.

Canary
Canary

The canary melon, also known as Spanish melon or Juan Canary, pairs well with citrus or ginger flavors and makes a refreshing cold soup or drink. Like other melons, the canary melon is a healthy addition to your diet, offering a number of benefits. Not only does this melon help you keep a lid on calories, but it’s also a good source of nutrients that help you fight off disease.

Watermelon
Watermelon

Watermelon has lycopene, which may protect against cancer and heart disease.  There are seedless varieties, which I prefer, but the melons with seeds provide hours of entertainment for those of us who engage in seed-spitting contests.  Wink!  😉