June 26, 2016

 

 


























































I have sunlight in the morning 
in shades of gold and red,
And the songbirds serenade me
before I'm out of bed
I have flowers in my garden
fit for a queen's bouquet
And I know that God has blessed me
before I kneel to pray.
I have food for my table 
and some that I can share.
God's goodness and His mercy
follow me everywhere.
I have a family to love me
and friends to see me through,
But best of all, God's promise...
All this, and heaven too!
~Clay Harrison

I've had this poem tucked between the pages of my Bible for years and years.  Although many things have changed in my life, this poem was true when I first read it, and it is still true today.  

My tiny postage stamp sized garden has already given us peas, radishes, tons and tons of salad greens, strawberries, and loads of broccoli (which I spent one sunny morning harvesting, blanching, and freezing--enough to last us the whole summer). We just planted some seeds and seedlings for a summer harvest:  tomatoes, green beans, two kinds of cucumbers, banana peppers, and zucchini. It's a very small garden with a small number of plants, but it's easy for me to manage, and it produces an amazing amount of food.

But, of course, if I could grow only one thing it would be roses. 🌹  (Although, I could be a very happy girl with just some sunflower and zinnia seeds, too.)

I haven't posted much about the piggies lately. Honey and Blossom are big girls now. They love to play outside in the dappled shade of the trees and eat watermelon. The other day a big bunny came by and said hello while they were out. Do you remember the nest of baby bunnies in my teeny tiny strawberry patch last summer? There are new babies under the bushes in our front yard. We love to watch them come out and nibble the clover. Everywhere in the neighborhood there are rabbits hopping and munching. It's like heaven for me.

Here's a little video of the piggies munching a big lettuce leaf from the garden:

video

For breakfast today I made blueberry corn cakes. This is a recipe from Susan Branch's newest book, Martha's Vineyard, Isle of Dreams. This may be my favoritest book ever. It is so beautiful, the story of her life so captivating, and it is filled to bursting with Susan's sweet watercolor illustrations, photographs, vintage postcards, inspiring quotes, and simple, delicious recipes. 

 Here's how to make blueberry corn cakes:

Add 1 egg and a 1/2 cup of milk to a package of Jiffy corn muffin mix. Stir until just combined. Gently fold in 1 cup of blueberries. Spoon batter onto greased skillet and sprinkle corn cake with cinnamon. Fry slowly and flip when edges are golden. Serve with lots of butter and warm maple syrup. Makes 8 pancake size corn cakes.

 ♥♥♥

June 24, 2016

Today I went into the woods for the first time in a month. My, how it has changed! The wild roses have already bloomed and dropped their petals. I missed that. Do you see the robin there on the ground to the left of the big tree? You can see its red breast and its yellow beak lit up by sunshine. The woods are full of small lovely things scampering through leaves and fluttering through trees busy, busy gathering and gleaning. 

Thank you for your kind comments on my last post. It took me awhile, but I have replied to each one of them. Your prayers and good thoughts have lifted my spirits. Amy is feeling so much better. She was able to start her new job this week. I am relieved and grateful and happy. I believe that: 
The eyes of the Lord are on those who love him;
He is their mighty shield and strong support,
A shelter from the heat, a shade from the noonday sun, 
A guard against stumbling, a help against falling. 
                                      Sirach 34:16


 
And I believe that prayer is love. When asked how she was able to love people whom others considered to be rejects of humanity, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta said, "My secret is very simple: I pray. Through prayer I become one in love with Christ."


In the woods life is simple, interconnected and prolific from microscopic organisms to the mightiest oak tree. Life sustains life. Life gives purpose to life.



This afternoon, my son showed me this list: 


It made me wonder about a lot of things. The media warns us constantly about the problems of gun violence and narcotic addiction. To be sure, these are important issues. But, where is the cry of alarm about alcohol abuse--which kills 9 times as many people as guns? Or the failure of sex education and contraceptives to prevent pregnancy (which we have been told is The Answer by science and big pharmaceutical companies)?  Why are so many more lives lost through abortion in the United States than by any other cause?

I looked up abortion and learned that more than half of all abortion patients in the United States are 20-30 year old women. Shockingly, 59% of abortions in 2014 were obtained by women who had at least one previous birth. I was surprised that only 12% of abortions were performed on teenagers. I was under the impression (by the media? by my own delusions?) that teen pregnancy was responsible for the high abortion rate. It was especially interesting to me that 51% of abortion patients said they used contraceptives in the month they became pregnant. Clearly, there must be another Answer beyond the ones given by science/corporate medicine. 

We tend not to use the word heresy much these days as if it were a thing of the past, but Anthony Esolen believes a new heresy--a fatal error--is corrupting the integrity of Christianity and modern society. He has written an excellent, short piece about it for Touchstone magazine that every Christian should read.  

♥♥♥ 


June 13, 2016


  



 
  

The view from the pediatric ward on the 18th floor of Massachusetts General Hospital is spectacular. I spent a lot of time contemplating it last week and drinking tea from a paper cup and writing a letter to a friend while Amy slept. It was her fourth hospitalization in twelve months. Sometimes my life doesn't seem real even to me. So I almost understand when people make insensitive remarks. I can only say that I wish I were making up my circumstances "for attention" rather than living them. I really do. Because, on a single day last week my washing machine died, my brother-in-law Joe had a heart attack, and Amy had to be rushed to the hospital (for the second time in a week). But, I am thankful, because even though the unemployment has run out the washing machine can be replaced, my brother-in-law's surgery went well, and my Amy is back home. That is enough. Yet even so, the roses are blooming, the weather is blessedly mild and cool, and God put a rainbow right over our house.
*♥*
While I was in the hospital with Amy, I was thinking about my very early childhood and playing in the back garden of the house in which I grew up. I think I've written before about that house and its ghosts, but I'm not sure if I've ever written about the wonderful old back garden with it's cherry, pear, and sassafras trees, the pussy willow bush, the big, shady Norway maple (who was such a good friend to me), and all of the sweet flowers where the fairies hid: crocuses, jonquils, white bluebells, tulips, forget-me-nots, and wild phlox. My parents did not care for gardening, so there were weeds aplenty, including deadly nightshade with dainty purple flowers and bright red berries. As a very little girl, I loved the nightshade best of all. But, my mother sternly warned me not to eat any part of that plant, as it was highly poisonous. So, I never did. Not even when my cousin taunted and dared me. I believed my mother and trusted her with my whole heart.

Adam and Eve, the first man and first woman--the every man and every woman--lived in the Presence of Love, and chose to believe a liar and a lie. It poisons our very souls.

In the past few years, the circumstances of my life have changed in profound ways, and there was nothing I could do about any of it. I had no choice at all. The culture chirps a lot about choice, as if the point of free will is about your career, your health club, your car, or your handbag. But, I have come to understand that free will was given to us to answer one question only: Who will you follow: Love or Evil?

"I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God, obeying his voice, and holding fast to him."   Deuteronomy 30:19&20

Choose life!