Trust and green beans

Trust and green beans

Have you noticed how life sometimes can be all marshmallows, donuts and chocolate cake? Everything goes smoothly and there are very few bumps in the road. Words and phrases like ‘blessings’ and ‘God is good’ easily flow from your tongue. It’s sunny season and everything is going well. Then at other times it seems to be broccoli, spinach and green beans. I actually like broccoli and spinach, but green beans just don’t tickle my fancy. What I’m getting at is that sometimes everything is veggies and no dessert. If feels like whatever can go wrong does go wrong and nothing you do makes the least bit of difference. Your speech is littered with words like ‘attacks’, ‘bad luck’ and ‘everything happens is threes’. Recognise it? That is how life seems to work. You might even think that God has forgotten you while everyone around you is going back for second and third portions of dessert, you are still stuck with the first plate of rapidly decaying green beans.
The good news is that God has not forgotten about you.
Deuteronomy 31:6, Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave of forsake you.
Isaiah 41:10, fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am you God; I will strengthen you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
While you are going through the hard times, God says that He is right there with you. He is strengthening you.
Psalm 46:1-3, God is our courage and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
These verses are speaking of much worse things than a plate full of veggies. To me it sounds like volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis. Disaster and destruction.
Psalm 23:4, Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
God’s rod and staff speak to me about His commands and His ordinances. The rules we have been given to live by. We follow the rules and we know that God will come through for us. In the New Testament we have the example of Jesus. Jesus died for us so that we can be saved. We hold onto Him and we know that we are going to be saved. There is no doubt.
Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
We must not disregard the Old Testament and all the encouragement it gives. Everything works together as a whole toward our good.
I just want to come back to Isaiah 41:10 where it says God will strengthen us. Vegetables might not be everyone’s favourite food, but they are vital in every diet. We get so many essential vitamins, minerals and iron from vegetables that it will be very naive to think we can exclude them from our diet and still be healthy and have the same benefits as those who regularly eat them. The same goes for hard times. There’s a regularly quoted line that says, “you grow in the valleys, not on the mountain tops”. It is so, if we don’t go through the valleys of life and learn from them we are not going to grow in character or in faith. We need to experience hard times so that we can die to our own wants and start relying on God and start listening to, and following His voice.
Just think of that plate of veggies. If you don’t just eat the green beans and empty the plate, it’s going to be staring into your face for a long time. Let us just face the hard times the same way. Face them with the right attitude and with faith in God so that we can gain their benefits and get on with life.

A hot, dry season

I am not going to say much about my garden right now.  The weather is so hot and dry, and water restrictions have been imposed in our area.  I have mulched with wood shavings which really makes a big difference, but on the whole my garden is looking like an old person with sagging skin and wrinkles.  Everything seems slightly droopy and tired.  The temperatures are going up to 39ºC. We all go through different seasons in our lives and the hot dry seasons build resilience and perseverance in our lives.  Just like the plants we learn to overcome the drought, often with a little bit of help from our friends.  Just like mulching and carrying water in a watering can instead of using a hosepipe, a little TLC goes a long way. The apple trees are looking great and that’s wonderful because they are long term.  They have to be able to withstand all kinds of weather conditions.  We just have to remember, in our own lives, that no matter what happens to us it says in the bible in Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

This little basil plant doesn’t seem to mind the heat.

This Copia tomato plant appreciated the mulch which keeps its roots cool – this is one if my heirloom tomatoes

Gluten Free Bisquick Mix
2 cups white rice flour (500 ml)

1 ¼ cup coconut flour (325 ml)

1 cup milk powder (250 ml) (Nespray)

¼ – ½ cup white sugar (75 – 125 ml) (I’m sure Xylitol or a sugar substitute will also work)

½ cup cornstarch (125 ml) (Maizena)

1 TBSP Baking Powder (15 ml)

1 tsp Baking Soda (5 ml) (Bicarbonate of Soda)

½ tsp salt (2,5 ml)

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container.
I made the pizza crust and even though it was sweet it was a really nice contrast to the savoury topping.  Here is my pizza recipe:
2 cups pre-mix (500 ml)

1 tsp Xanthan gum (5ml)

3 eggs

¼ cup of oil ( 75 ml)

1 cup water (250 ml)
Add the Xanthan gum to the flour and combine.  Beat the eggs and add together with the oil and water to the flour.  The consistency is like mashed potatoes.  I used two rectangular foil of which the inner measurements are 24cm x 14cm.  Spread the dough into the bottom of the containers. 

1 sachet Tomato paste





Spread the tomato paste on the dough and top with the rest of the ingredients.  Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180ºC for 20 minutes.

The dough must be the consistency of mashed potatoes

These ingredients are only a guide.  Use what you like to eat and as much as you need.  The dough rises and make a soft crust.  I usually prefer a thin crisp pizza crust but this was so good.  
Enjoy trying this recipe and feel free to share your thoughts and your own recipes in the comment section.

The finished product – delicious!

Moments in time

You know that feeling when your heart just seems to swell way beyond it’s normal size just because something seem so momentous that you can’t seem to contain it in your soul.  Your emotions soar and your whole being cries out to God because He is so good and so amazing.

Acts 17:24 reads: “He is the God who made the world and everything in it.  Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples.” That is how I felt at 3:30 this morning.  I woke up and after having a drink of water looked out of the bedroom window.  The sight of the night sky was so amazing it took my breath away.  The stars were so bright and they looked to big it was just too much for me to take in.  I put on my dressing gown and left the house.  I stood in the garden and stared up at the sky.  There was a crescent moon and even though the street lights were burning they didn’t detract from the brightness of the stars.  Isaiah 40:26 says “Look up into the heavens.  Who created all the stars?  He brings them out like and army, one after another, calling each by its name.  Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.”  I could feel the greatness, the immensity and the enormity of God’s power while I was watching creation.  My soul sang and my heart was full; how could anyone see this and doubt that there is a God who created it all?

night sky

My daughter took this photo of a night sky; she has given me permission to use it.


This afternoon I decided to water my garden because we’ve had a few days of sunshine.  Here where we live seasons are a little bit of a joke.  We live in between the summer and winter rainfall areas, and whether that is the reason or not I have no idea, but seasons are just a vague reference to the weather we actually experience.  People often say we can have four seasons in one day.  Children don’t really understand why they have to learn about spring and autumn at school because they last for about a week.  During winter it can get quite cold and we even have frost sometimes, but temperatures have been known to soar to the high 20’s – that’s Celcius.  During summer the same story.  I never even think of packing away clothes I won’t need for a season, because the chance that I will need them is very real.  Most of us have become experts at layering.

Ok, back to the point.  When I looked at the garden I realized that it has actually become a real garden.  When I started it from nothing – just bare earth – and the first seeds germinated I was so excited, but it still looked like nothing.  Now it really looks like a garden.  I felt so overwhelmed by emotion.  I’m just wondering what God felt like when He created the earth out of nothing …



In his letter to the Galatian church Paul says (Chapter 6:9) “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not loose heart.”  I’ve often read it and always seen it as a spiritual encouragement.  In verse 7 he says that God will not be mocked because whatever a man sows, he will also reap.  And that is so. If you fill your head and heart with rubbish that’s what will come spouting out.

Today I ate an apple and saved the seeds.  I decided that I would plant these seeds.  Once I had made the decision thought about how long it would take before I would actually be able to eat apples from my trees; assuming they actually grow!  I have no idea, but I don’t think it will be a quick process.  I have often heard people say that they wouldn’t plant certain trees because they take too long to bear fruit.  I immediately thought of the above-mentioned verse and how we would reap if we don’t loose heart.  For the first time I saw this verse in a more practical sense.


My apple seeds.



Oh my goodness! I just discovered how to do a caption!!! Never too old to learn.  So, I’m going to be planting these seeds very soon and I’ll be sure to keep you (and anybody else who’s willing to listen) up to date about their progress.  Coming back to Paul – he said that we shouldn’t give up on doing good and if we don’t give up we will eventually reap the fruit.  If I hadn’t started my garden I wouldn’t have had any beans or spinach or lettuce to eat. If I hadn’t dug over the ground and watered the seeds they wouldn’t have germinated and grown.  If I don’t remove the weeds the plants will get choked and their growth will possibly be stunted because the weeds will be competing with the plants for water and nutrients.




The peas are reaching for the sky.  Amazing what a bit of rain can do.

I think that in whatever we do we should remember Paul’s letter to the Galatians and we should learn patience.  We should think about what our goals are.  What are we aiming for?  Don’t get discouraged when things look like they’re taking way too long to happen.  Apple seeds take a long time to grow into apple trees, but once they are mature they bear apples for many years.  In the end it is worth it.  Sometimes we put a lot of effort into something (even into people) and we don’t see the results.  Just remember that the results always reflect the effort.  What you sow you will reap.  If you plant apple seeds you will reap apples.  Therefore if you invest positive time and effort in a project the reults will be positive.  The only thing you can’t always predict is how long it will take to see the results.


These are peas I harvested from my garden at home. I sowed these seeds before the seeds I sowed here at the shop.

I want to encourage you to sow.  Sow seeds, sow effort, sow love, sow whatever you have to sow and look out for the harvest that surely will follow.




My first bean harvest


I plant marigolds among the vegetables to keep the bugs away – unfortunately they don’t keep weeds away!




In the process of beginning this new blog today I have contended with slow internet speed and passwords and even a name for my blog. Space for a garden wasn’t my first choice, but in retrospect it  probably is the best name as it encompasses so many of the things I would like to share. (Now after I’ve finished writing I’m a bit confused because I’m not even sure that is the name!!!)

Two and a half years ago my husband took early retirement from the job he had been doing for 28 years and bought a takeaway shop in our hometown.  I must confess that for a long time I didn’t think it was a good idea, but I decided to go with it and do my best to make a success of it.  At that stage I was running a nursery school for underprivileged kids which was a joy to me.

I very soon discovered that running this shop isn’t a job, its a way of life.  Putting in 16 hours a day is often the norm. I started to get extremely tired after 3 months and when I eventually went to a homeopath she told me to go gluten free and sugar free because of infection in my stomach and intestines.  I had been on a gluten free diet some years previously so I knew what to do. Within a week I was a different person. So here I am, on a gluten free diet, spending most of my waking hours in a shop that makes the most amazing pies, samosas, burgers and toasted sandwiches, to name but a few!  My working hours stayed the same because I was doing all the admin for the shop (I had no idea a little shop could generate so much paper work!!) and still running the school.  Then 8 months ago I got a mild case of shingles and the doctor said it was due to burnout.  This made me sit up and take notice. I knew I would have to make a change in my lifestyle.

I decided to give up the school. It sounds easy when you say it fast but it was a heart wrenching decision. Once I had made it I really had peace with it and for the last 6 months the running of the shop has become the major part of my life. But … I’m not an extrovert and being around grown-up people in a business situation all day isn’t my idea of the ideal life.

Then I looked out of the window and discovered that behind the shop there is more than enough space for a garden.  I nagged my husband enthusiastically (that is possible) to let me start a vegetable garden. I even employ a teenage girl part time to help with the heavy work.  She loves being outdoors and doing “hard work” – those are her words.

Last week I harvested  a handful of green beans! What joy. This is how I cooked them so that there would be enough for my husband and myself:

Chop the beans into pieces of about 1.5cm

Dice one potato – cook the potatoes and beans in the microwave untill the beans are tender.

Fry 3 rashers of bacon together with 2 chopped onions.

Add the beans to the onion mixture and season with lots of black pepper, salt and parsley.  Toss to heat through.

My neighbour, who just came to buy takeaways told me to add a cup of sour cream and grate cheddar cheese over the top and them bake it in the oven.  I’ll try that next time.

I also have swiss chard, onions (and spring onions) garlic and a few miserable tomato plants in my garden. Its really too cold for tomatoes so I’ll have to see how they do. I’ll sow more seed in the spring.  My peas have just put their first leaves through the soil. I love eating peas straight from the pods. Oh yes, my garlic is also growing. I get a bit carried away when I talk about my garden, and in a way that’s my aim. Its my happy place at the moment.  When I’ve had enough of admin and staff and customers I can run away and play in the garden.

I think that everyone should have enough space for a garden.  It doesn’t literally have to be a garden.  It can be any hobby or pastime that makes you happy. Something that allows you to switch off from the stress that living brings.  I also do other things that make me happy but I consider myself very privileged to have space for a garden.