Satisfaction

When can I say that I am satisfied? When I had a lovely meal and my tummy is full?  When I’ve written a blog and it seems to make more sense to me than usual? When I did a job and I know it was well done? In Philippians 4:11 Paul states “…for I have learned in whatever state I am to be content:”  Paul wrote this letter from prison, so he has a right to speak about being “in whatever state”.  Most of us definitely won’t be content or satisfied with being in prison, especially if we didn’t do anything to deserve being there.

On Monday it rained most of the day and night. It has been really dry and the rain is so welcome.  Needless to say my garden is looking so good.  There’s a big difference between watering a garden and it being watered by rain. When it rains, plants seem to grow much faster than usual and also look so happy.

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The peas in my garden are growing at such a speed.  I need to tie string to the poles so that they have something to take hold of and grow upwards.

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These are the cabbage and onions I transplanted, looking very happy.

On Monday night I woke up several times and listened to the rain fall on our tin roof. I pictured the earth drinking up the wonderful water and the plants being nourished.  At 4:30 I woke up again and everything was quiet.  It was a beautiful stillness that I couldn’t explain. There wasn’t any traffic, there weren’t any dogs barking, just a beautiful peaceful quiet.  I could see in my mind’s eye the earth being completely satisfied and with the rain it had received.  It was such a moment of complete contentment.  That peace is the peace we ought to be feeling much more often. We would be much better people if we had more moments of being content with what we have and where we are.

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I only have a few lettuce plants but they are really beautiful!

Do we really need more stuff in our houses, more clothes in our wardrobes and more money in our purses?  The things we own don’t define who we are. The money in our bank accounts don’t define who we are.  Our relationships are the most defining thing about us. The way we treat the people who are closest to us tell people the most about us. Can we be loving towards our families when things go wrong or do we erupt like an angry volcano every time there’s a crisis instead of being content?  Things are going to change.  That’s the one thing we can be sure of in this life. Status quo is a myth.  Back to normal is a lie. We have to learn to be content and accept that things are going to change and we are going to have to learn to be satisfied.

When things start falling apart around me I am going to try to remember that moment that the earth was still an satisfied and so very, very quiet.

 

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What’s the difference?

As I was pulling up the weeds in my vegetable garden I was reminded of the parable of the tares. Matthew 13:24-30.

Some of the weeds look exactly like the plants when they start growing eg. Tomatoes. As I was working I was thinking how hard it was to distinguish between the weeds and the plants. I let the plants grow a little before I take out the weeds so that I’m sure I’m not pulling out the plants. And that is how it is with people. Some people really show all the characteristics of believers, but its just for show. At the end of the day when the genuine plants bear fruit there is no fruit to show on the look-alikes. I looked up “tares” and its a weed that looks exactly like wheat when it starts to grow.

This photo actually has nothing to do with this blog. I just thought it was so funny – my husband had been practicing his chipping and a golf ball landed in the centre of the cycad!!

Every person deserves a chance, and its not for me to judge whether he is heaven or not. I’m really grateful that I don’t get to judge because that’s a very scary assignment. Way out of my comfort zone. God will be our judge and He even set out a day for it – The day of Judgement.

On a lighter note, I have discovered the nutritional value of lentils and I’ve made a few different variations of lentil salad. What wonderful little legumes. They’re very low GI, gluten free, and versatile.

To make a salad you boil a cup if brown lentils ( the red ones become mushy) in two cups of water for 25 minutes. Let them cool for a bit and add your favorite salad ingredients. Mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, gerkins etc. Either salad dressing or mayonnaise works well with it.

This salad also has roasted pumpkin seeds and I used Ranch salad dressing that my American friend, Jackie gave me.

Have a great weekend.

Invest in your future

Audrey Hepburn is quoted as saying “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow”.  To plant a garden is definitely a long term project.  Seeds don’t just germinate overnight and bear fruit in a week.  You need to be patient and consistent.  You need to keep the soil wet so that the seeds can germinate and then you have to nurture the little plants that have developed out of the seeds.  Keep the soil damp, protect them from frost and weeds.  Mulch around them so that the sun doesn’t scorch them.  Give them the necessary nutrients to ensure that they will become happy, mature plants that bear good fruit.  Oh  yes, and keep them free from pests!

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Spinach plants with a mulch of fallen leaves

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Onions!

 

 

My onions are ready to be transplanted and I’m planning to do that on Monday.  They are going to go well with the cabbage plants I’m getting from my mom.  Apparently they are good companions.  The whole process from planting to harvesting is different for every variety.  Some plants like radishes mature very quickly and can be harvested in no time at all.  They are ideal starter plants if you’ve never had a garden but others like pineapples take two years before they bear fruit.  Its really easy to grow a pineapple.  You just take the top that you have cut off a pineapple, put it into the soil, and make sure it stays moist until you’re sure its growing.  Within a week or so you’ll see the new leaves appearing at the centre of the top you planted.  The sweetest pineapples are the small Queen variety with small tops.

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Here is a pineapple growing amid the mulch of leaves. In two years I should be able to eat a fresh home-grown pineapple.

Now while you wait for your pineapples to grow make sure that you invest in your own future as well.  Make sure that you eat healthy food, get enough exercise and get enough rest.  Take some time out to do things that make you happy.  Two weeks ago my husband and I took advantage of having the weekend off and had a picnic on the beach on the Sunday.  The weather was lovely (in winter we actually have some days that the wind doesn’t blow) and the tide was very low.  We walked across the beach and had lunch in a little cove.  Things like that are the things that memories are made of.  That is the kind of investment that makes sense to me.  Memories are something that no-one can ever  take away from you.  You can get robbed and lose your possessions, your car can get stolen and you can make a bad investment and lose all your money but memories are forever.

 

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My daughter and I recently painted some signs for my garden on some roof sheeting.

So, plant pineapples in your garden and in your soul.  Invest in your future and nurture the people you love.

Use your gift

I am listening to a CD featuring the choir of the University of Johannesburg.  I bought it today at the Grahamstown Arts Festival after we watched their performance.  It was much more than a performance though, it was an emotional experience.  Their voices carried us through a whole spectrum of emotions from goosebumps, tears and nostalgia to joy and laughter.  These young people (and their conductors) know their stuff.  These young people do way more than merely sing and entertain. https://www.uj.ac.za

We need different people with different talents to make our lives richer and more beautiful.  We also need to develop our own talents and gifts so that we can contribute to society.  The problem we often have is thinking that we aren’t ‘good enough’. When I listen to these young voices I know that their singing talents outstrips mine by far.  My family will tell you that I actually shouldn’t sing anywhere except in the shower.  But I have other talents and passions that I can use.  All of us do.  We must remember that one gift isn’t  greater that another one.  I also believe that we didn’t receive gifts, talents or abilities for use in private only.  I heard a beautiful song today that was written by a lady in a small town and only discovered after her death.  Apparently she had written dozens of very good songs  over her lifetime but had never publicised them.  I’m just wondering what joy she would have experienced if she had heard one of her songs performed by a choir?

I know that everyone who writes music, or paints, or acts won’t become world famous, but for every gift their has to be a recipient.  By that I mean if you paint a picture it should be painted to be enjoyed by somebody.  You didn’t receive that talent to satisfy yourself.  If you sing, there should be someone who can listen to your voice and be touched in som way; made richer for the experience.

Before I get too serious here, I want to share my recipe for gluten free chocolate chip cookies with you. I found a recipe for GF sugar cookies on pinterest and adapted it.  They are really delicious. This is the link: http://pin.it/BG0hSIf

This is my version:

3 cups gluten free flour (I mix equal parts of chickpea, tapioca, rice and potato flour) If you use a commercial GF flour which contains Xanthan Gum don’t add any more

3 teaspoons xanthan gum

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup sugar

1/2 – 1 cup chocolate chips (depending on how much you like chocolate)

250 g margarine (I used cordon bleu baking margarine)

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons milk

Method:

Mix the dry ingredients (except chocolate) in a bowl.  Beat the butter and sugar till light an fluffy. Add the egg, milk and vanilla and beat till combined.  Add the dry ingredients and mix till a crumbly mixture is formed (use the dough attachment on your beater, or your hands).  Add the chocolate chips and knead till a firm dough is formed.  Roll out the dough on a floured surface (about 5mm thick). Cut out shapes and place on baking paper on a baking sheet and bake at 180 degree Celcius till golden (about 10 – 12 minutes).  Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool (if you have any self control).

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Delicious gluten free choc chip cookies

In conclusion, whatever talent you have, please use it. Don’t think its not good enough. You are unique and what you have inside of you is exactly what someone else may need to make it through their day.