Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Corn, Cabbage and Celebration

Well, autumn arrived last week bringing with it all the fruitfulness of the summer's labors.  I've said it before...I love this time of year.  The cool, crisp evenings, the smell of leaves in the air, cinnamon-clove scented candles and, of course, the comfort foods of the harvest.  Whether we find those in the local market, grocery store or in our own gardens, this time of year is especially fun for the cook!

I always marvel at what God reveals to us in the various seasons of our natural world.  I grew up on a "small farm".  We had (at different times) a small calf, geese, an obstinate turkey (I once put a plastic garbage can over his head to keep him from pecking me!), ducks and lots of chickens.  (The chickens remain in my memory vault as not being my best friends either-I had to get rid of my dog because one day while I was at school, he got into the chicken coop and proceeded to prey on the white meat....not a good thing).  And we did have a very large garden, issuing forth everything from carrots, tomatoes, squash, green beans, cabbages, kohlrabi (what a name and to me, not a nice taste...of course, those are childhood taste bud memories :)  

Our house was always busy on the autumn weekends - the pressure cooker going, water bath boiling and canning jars aplenty.  I remember many hours spent husking corn, cutting cabbages and pulling off ends of those wonderful green beans.  I didn't even know what green beans out of a can tasted like (yuck, by the way!) until I was in my 20's and away from home.  My mom canned the best green beans with bacon, dill pickles and bread and butter pickles - oh I miss those meals. 

About 3 years into our married life, we acquired a double-wide mobile home with a little plot (and I mean little) of land.  I planted a garden and became my mother!  My home was a buzz with canning tomatoes, pickles, applesauce and peaches.  I loved it!  When I began homeschooling our children, they participated in the canning and we made it a school "project", combining math and science, as well as studying the senses (taste was a big one!).  I have such incredible family memories from those years.

Harvesting is a time for celebration...but it also is a lot of work.  We reap what we have sown through the spring and summer months.  The condition of our fruit shows the work and effort we put into the sowing, planting and cultivating.  

Jesus tells us in Luke 10:2 "the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into the harvest field."  There may be a lot of produce, but in order to enjoy it in the cold months of winter, we must work hard to bring it in and put it away.  Autumn colors and smells are relaxing, but these months are hard-working months for the harvester and farmer.  There is no rest until it is all out of the fields and into the pantry!  But even as we work, and I am speaking spiritually at this point, and labor among those lives God has called us to touch, there is a sense of joy, fulfillment and celebration at what He has put into our hands!  

The harvest is at hand.....the fields are ripe....and Jesus is giving us the fruit of our labors from months of planting and sowing.  As you enjoy these coming weeks and months, ask God to "open your eyes" to where you have sown seeds of prayer, serving, touching lives, Bible studies or small groups, reaching out to those who are the poor and needy that cross our paths.  Work diligently to bring in that harvest and do not grow weary - "whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men."  Col 3:23

Pray for your children, for your families, for your unsaved friends and co-workers.....those prayers are the seeds that one day reap a harvest.  If you are not "seeing" fruit right now (in farming, every year can be different in the condition of the fruit....dependent on weather, water, irrigation, laborers, etc.), ask the Lord of the harvest, to give you glimpses of fruit that may still be growing and taking seed.  Ask Him for encouragement!  Trust me, His Spirit is always working as we pray for those we love!

We celebrate the harvest because it comes from GOD.  His faithfulness is to be celebrated.  We rejoice in the bounty He gives us in the natural, but we rejoice even more in the spiritual harvest.  Even out of our broken lives God brings forth fruit of his kingdom.  Out of the tree of your life, from your branches, hangs the sweet fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  

Lessons are learned in the sowing field, changes come about, relationships are healed.  Hope is being restored.  And it is all HIS DOING!

Celebrate this season (naturally and spiritually)...make the connection between the two as you savor the flavors, smells and sights of this unique time of year.  

For those who delight in visuals.....

And what is harvest without bread...

I made these incredible Rosemary Rolls for easy and fun
in a cast iron skillet!

And what is autumn without keeping this jar full...

Home-made oatmeal cookies; I resisted buying the "oatmeal raisin cookie" candle @ Bath & Body Works....figured the real thing was far better :)

Celebrate the Season as you labor in the harvest!


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