Monday, August 26

melonjolly

And we have a.........

WATERMELON!

Only one lonely watermelon about six inches in diameter with watermelon vines all over filled with blossoms.  Time to nip those blossoms in the bud so that this little watermelon has a chance to grow into something we can all eat. The end-of-the-summer heat wave we are currently experiencing is perfect for it. Grow, little watermelon, grow!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, August 24

jarred with joy

I love those unexpected crazy kind of moments of joy that God brings in my path totally out of the blue.

Let's just say it's my least favorite time of gardening as we hit the end of the summer.  It truly is a love/hate relationship that my garden and I have as it is producing wildly but so much more than we could ever eat in one meal.  So much more than I can even pass on to others.  My garden is ALIVE with abundant food waiting to be eaten fresh from the plant.  And I even planted a lot less this year and am still dealing with this dilemma.

The solution.....eat as much as we can and begin the process of canning. NOW.  Doesn't matter what else is wanting your attention right NOW because you have to do the garden canning when it's ready.  Like NOW!

AND it's evident that I'm not the only one in this position because Walmart was out of their small canning lids. Completely sold out.  ARGH!

So off to the local hardware store to buy my small canning lids. They were on sale which was blessing number one.

Here's blessing number two:


I know that it may not seem like a blessing to you, but honestly, I almost whooped out loud loudly in the store when I saw these treasures.  

For years I've enjoyed this size jar that came from my mom. But I didn't have a lot of them and I haven't been able to find them anywhere.  It was always a decision between pint jars and quart jars while saving the pint & half jars for only special things.  That decision was especially harder this canning year because our family keeps shrinking and pints are too small while quarts are too large.

And then there were those beauties were sitting on the shelf waiting to bless ME!  It truly felt like one of those "I'm God's favorite" moments. 

Life can be so hard sometimes.  Be sure to open your eyes to the little ways God is looking to bless YOU today with His abundant caring just-for-you love!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, August 19

blooming beauty


My favorite part of gardening season is when the zinnias start blossoming.  I realize they aren't vegetables, but I sure love walking through the garden and smiling every time I walk past them. 


Although I was late buying seeds and missed out on some of the different varieties of zinnias since they were already sold out, the ones that are blossoming are not disappointing me in the least. 


In fact they could refuse to blossom if they wanted since a row over are the onions.  I mean really, who wants to be planted by onions?  The aroma in that part of the garden isn't the most pleasant unless, of course,  you love onions.


But they seem to want to prove their beauty despite where they are planted.  How blessed I am to be on the receiving end of such blooming beauty!



"God plants His saints in the most useless places.  We say—God intends me to be here because I am so useful. Jesus never estimated His life along the line of greatest use.  God puts His saints where they will glorify Him, and we are no judges at all of where that is." ~ Oswald Chambers

Sometimes God plants us in what feels like a useless place.  In fact, it often feels like a very unpleasant useless place.  And yet, it is usually right where HE wants us.  As He moves in our lives, He takes us to a place of growth.   He doesn't abandon us there; in fact, He's only always a whisper away.  Through these very places where we learn to trust Him completely, comes beauty.  Beauty that could be obtained in no other way.  He reveals things about us that we never knew before and develops within us an inner strength through our faith in Him.

A useless place? Hardly.  A place where we can glorify Him as we bloom with the beauty that comes from Him.

If you find yourself by an onion patch, let go, let God, and grow into glory!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Thursday, August 15

blooming season

Somewhere tucked in a book I have a cross-stitched bookmark that my mom made for me that says, "Bloom where you are planted."  But it's more than just a saying in my yard....
....as I have a sunflower plant growing in one of the basement window wells.  Even the cat is curious about it.
Even more interesting is that there's a new sunflower plant growing in the basement window well further down that wall. 

Neither sunflower plant was intentionally planted where they are growing.  I'm guessing there were some unexpected circumstances in the lives of the two sunflower seeds that landed them in unpleasant growing locations.  Perhaps a chipmunk or bird dropped the seeds into this hard rocky spot as they were flying from the bird feeders with their snack?   Yet, they've been able to receive the rain water and sunshine that they need to grow and bloom.  

Isn't life like that sometimes?  We find ourselves dropped into some unexpected circumstances that are quite unpleasant and very hard.  The tears we cry soften the hard shells that we'd prefer to stay inside and the Sonshine - Jesus - gives us the light and warmth our hearts need.  Sometimes we are surprised to find that we can still smile, laugh out loud, and BLOOM as we keep our focus upward.

No matter where your life is at the moment, I'm here to remind you that, Yes indeed, you can bloom where you are planted. God is faithful in providing everything you need to grow if you keep your eyes on Him!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, August 12

go beyond grow

We've had a different kind of summer here this year.  Odd weather.  Cooler than normal but rather moderate.  Not a lot of rain.  And the oddities are more noticeable in the garden where some plants still don't have blossoms and others are producing abundantly.

Like my broccoli.

I've been watching the five plants grow.


They seem to be in a tallest to smallest kind of line-up with the tallest plant growing quite big.  It's loving the soil it's growing in.  Soaking in whatever rain is coming.  Capturing each ounce of sunshine coming its way.

The oddity, however, is that the plants look more than ample to be producing large heads of broccoli.  Especially by now.  So I took a closer look at the biggest plant.


Yes, there was a bit o'broccoli growing.  But ohhhhh so small. Hardly noticeable really without getting a close-up look.


And the close-up look is not pretty.  An odd head of broccoli is growing very slowly.

The broccoli has been given all the right things to grow. Moderate temperatures.  Good soil.  Rain to soak in.  Sunshine to capture.  And it has been growing growing growing.  But little to no fruit.  It's not taking all that good stuff to grow good stuff.  

Don't you love the spiritual lessons found in the garden?

We can be given all the right things to grow in our faith.  A healthy church fellowship.  Good teaching and preaching to soak in.  Worship that captures our heart.   And we may be growing growing growing.  But there's no noticeable fruit.  

It's easy to be always taking in, isn't it?  The hard part can be taking all of that good stuff that is "in" and applying it "out". Taking the steps of faith to actually live it out loud.  When you do that, your faith will be tested and fruit will grow from those experiences.  

Remember what the fruits of the Spirit are?  Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)  It's hard to actually grow in those qualities if you are within your little garden unless your own little garden is filled with people, particularly small children who can challenge you to grow in EVERY fruit of the Spirit.   

Often the best fruit growing happens when taking a step of faith to be involved in the lives of others -  especially the others who haven't been in good soil, are lacking a soaking rain, and have been living in darkness far from the touch of sunlight.  It is during those contacts that you have to draw from the Holy Spirit to extend love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  It is those moments when you realize it isn't about growing growing growing in your own little garden, but growing through the Spirit of God who lives in you as you realize it isn't about you at all.  It's all about Him.  It's about being His hands, feet, and heart in the world that is His garden.

Soooo, are you just gonna grow or are you gonna go?  

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, August 8

more than a penny


Remember these?


It's been a LONG time since I've seen one.  A real long time. Half dollars. The clerk at the post office handed it to me as part of my change from buying stamps and we both wondered aloud if the person who used it earlier had emptied an old piggy bank to come across this almost non-existent coin.

But this almost non-existent coin triggered a memory for me which took me back to when I was about 14 years old during a Christmas time which wasn't full of plenty.  My parents dug into a stash of rolled coins to share among us to spend on Christmas gifts.  Rolled half dollar coins which were carefully spent on each other making it a Christmas of more meaning than I realized at that time. 

An almost non-existent coin for today which reminded me of years gone by and how God has so faithfully and abundantly provided for myself and my family's every financial need through the years - sometimes in unusual ways - and how He will continue to provide - perhaps in more unusual ways - for all my financial needs in the future.  Definitely a reason to be thankful, I'd say!

A penny for my thoughts?  Nope, I'll take 50 cents today!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~  

Monday, August 5

Simple Woman's Daybook for August 5


For August 5

Outside my window.....the skies are cloudy gray with some rain in the air. Hopefully it will rain all day as we really need it.

I am thinking.....about college applications.  Not for me, for my daughter.  I think that filling out those applications has to be one of my least favorite processes at the end of a homeschooling journey.  

I am thankful.....that my son has completed his commitment to the military and can begin a new life with his beautiful new bride.

I am wearing....khaki pants, a light peach colored top, and my white fleece hoodie because it's cool in the house this morning.

I am hearing.....rain falling on the leaves of the trees outside my open window.

I am wondering.....how God is going to work out some details in my life as I patiently wait upon Him for the next step.

I am creating.....a calendar for our upcoming school year.

I am going.....to hopefully get our car back tomorrow as its been in the body shop for a week now.

I am reading.....a "day" from 31 Days of Praise by Ruth Myers each night before bed.

I am praying.....for a family who lost their son in an accident.  
I am remembering.....how much I love late summer days as I start sensing a bit of fall in the air.  

I am hoping.....to get caught up on all my ironing this week. I'd love to have the laundry area all cleaned up.

On my mind.....is a friend who will be leaving a ministry as she returns back to college to get her master's degree.  What an example she has been to others as she has taken giant leaps of faith learning new things over the past year.

From the learning rooms.....I've written out our curriculum needs and am in process of ordering everything today.

I am learning....how to use an iPad. That is a BIG thing for an older mom! 

Noticing that.....the cooler weather is wonderful for running in during the evenings.

I am looking forward to.....seeing wedding pictures!  I hope the preview is ready soon.

Pondering these words....."Don't be put off immediately when others seems to question your lifestyle or ask combative questions. They are probably trying to find out who you really are and what you believe.  Always be armed with the gospel." ~ Charles Stanley

From the kitchen.....I'm trying different combinations of the Greek yogurt, oatmeal, and fresh fruit combo to find one I really like.

Around the house....are boxes of this and that as I'm sorting through things that my children are outgrowing.

One of my favorite things.....are fresh flowers picked from the garden.

A few plans for the rest of the week.....include a follow-up chiro appointment for a daughter, Bible study on Esther tonight, a couple days of work, mowing the lawn, soccer practice for the youngest, a meeting at the end of the week, and continued work on my summer to-do list.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you....
A bunch of cherry tomatoes just waiting to ripen for eating. Yummy!

Thank you for stopping and visiting my daybook on this day. If you'd like to visit others who are participating in the August daybook or write a journal yourself, please stop over at Peggy's at Simple Woman's Daybook

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, August 3

rampant raspberries

Many many many years ago when we were first married and started our first garden, my mom shared some raspberry bush cuttings from her garden.  We planted them at the end of our garden and were so excited when they took root multiplying like crazy through the years.



Unfortunately, that multiplying became an issue when we made additions onto the garden because they were suddenly in the middle of the garden popping up everywhere.

So, a decision was made to remove them from the garden and transplant them near the woods where they could grow to their heart's content.


It was not a good move for those precious raspberry plants. Their heart was to be in the garden and not in the woods. They withered and died.  And soon we were all missing those wonderful raspberries that we had grown accustomed to eating over the years.

A few years ago I bought a few new raspberry plants and planted them at the end of the garden.  It's taken a little time, but they have finally begun the multiplying and filling out process.


This year's crop is simply wonderful!  We keep picking bowls full of raspberries with plans to make a pie or a crisp and the raspberries never make it to a dessert menu because they get eaten up almost as soon as they get into the house.  How thankful we are for this wonderful healthy treat!


YUMMY!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, August 2

watch for the bite!

We did a lot of hiking, walking, and running during our travels. In some areas we grew accustomed to seeing the regular signs and didn't really pay attention to them much after awhile.
Then one day a man and his family were stopped by one of these signs.  We stopped, too, and became quiet like they were as he pointed out the sound of the rattle of the nearby rattlesnake. Suddenly we realized how important it was to be watchful in areas we had grown comfortable hiking in.

I thought of that when I read this recently:  "The areas in which you feel most comfortable or most learned are the very areas in which we ultimately will prove most vulnerable.  Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes." ~ Charles Stanley

Ahhh, the old pride comes before the fall thing.

When we do know how to do something well through experience or learning, it's easy to become comfortable and go with the flow.  We're not concerned about failing or falling because we've become mini-experts.  Our attitude can become one of humbleness for being blessed with that giftedness in that area OR our attitude can become a bit arrogant thinking we know it all.  That usually reveals itself when someone offers a tip or suggestion to help us do it better and we totally reject it.  IF that's the case, may you be discerning enough to recognize the close-up sign of a possible BITE of the rattlesnake.  

Perhaps this is a lesson that becomes clearer as you get older? It does seem that the older I get, the more I realize I don't know.  There's more of a willingness to admit that I don't know everything and my mind is always open to suggestions.  I want to learn knowledge that is helpful. 

More importantly, it has become easier to seek God's wisdom. "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." ~ James 1:5  God's wisdom really is the best because HE knows ALL things!

Seek Him in ALL things you do, even those things you do well comfortably, and avoid the BITE!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, August 1

share with all

Hard to believe, but here it is....August!

The Bible verse for this month is from Romans 10:12 - "The same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on Him." 

It's a lonely verse that really does need the next verse to give it more meaning - "For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

Our Creator God did create all people, yet not all people know Him.  In fact, they may not even know to call upon Him and without calling on His Name they won't be saved. Guess we need a few more verses to help us - "But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?  And how are they to preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'" (Romans 10:14-15)

People can have an opportunity to call out to the Lord when those who know the Lord share about Him.  That sharing isn't necessarily only from the pulpit of a church or on a street corner, but could perhaps be a simple conversation on a park bench with another mother as you talk about your own testimony of who the Lord is in your own life.  A simple conversation that reveals the hope, forgiveness, and abundant love that is generously found in Jesus Christ.  

Sound like a good challenge for the month of August?

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~
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