April 17, 2010

I just HAD to cut and paste this today. It can be found Here at Homemaker Design.

A Time To Plant
by Anita Andrews

On an early spring morning, Mildred washes the breakfast dishes and gives the kitchen floor a quick sweep with her corn broom. She has big plans for today. The half acre patch of garden behind the house has been tilled and prepared by her husband. The soil lies ready for the peas, onions, and other early crops that she will plant to feed her large family.

In the root cellar, last year's potatoes are sprouting in preparation for planting. On shelves in the cellar entrance, Mildred has stored dried beans, pumpkin seeds, peas, and corn in paper bags. Her windows are full of containers where she is carefully nurturing seedling of tomatoes, lettuce and cabbage. Several months ago, she and her husband spread seed catalogues out on the table and sent away for radish seeds, carrot seeds, and anything else they didn't grow themselves.

With her large family, Mildred needs to grow a lot of vegetables. Her garden will require a lot of weeding, hoeing, and watering to ensure everything produces a good harvest. Throughout the spring and into the long hot days of summer, she and her family will spend plenty of time together, talking and laughing as well as grumbling and complaining as they watch the plants grow and mature.

As each plant gives its yield, Mildred will also spend lots of time in her kitchen. Much of the food she has grown for her family will be blanched in boiling water and sealed into mason jars. She will not only take advantage of food that grows in her garden, but she will also roam through fields and woodlands to find berries and wild apples so she can make jams and applesauce.

Because Mildred does not often go to a grocery store, most of her meals will consist of things she has picked from her own garden. Combined with milk from the cow, meat from the family farm, homemade butter, and bread from the flour she purchased in town, her meals will be simple but nutritious and something she can be very proud of.

Today, some of us still garden. However, our 'gardens' often consist of a few tomato plants tucked into a corner of the flower bed, or some raspberry bushes planted along a fence line. Only a small percentage of us still depend on the family garden plot for the bulk of our food supply.

Instead we roam through brightly lit supermarkets that carry a variety of fruits and veggies that Mildred couldn't even have imagined. We load our carts with cans and boxes, jars and packages. We read labels, compare brands, and check calorie counts. We meal plan because our families want variety and convenience. Unlike Mildred, we do not feed them meat, potatoes and vegetables every night. Much of what we eat can simply be dumped into a pan, popped into the oven, or poured into a bowl. For those of us who like to cook, we can prepare food from any country in the world. We can store all these wonderful foods in our cupboards and refrigerators to serve with a few minutes notice. And yet....

As spring arrives, there sprouts up in many of us, a desire to see things grow, a longing to put our hands in the soil and help it produce life. Like our grandparents in Mildred's day, like our ancestors long ago, we want to plant and till and harvest. We want to see our seedlings reach out to the sun, soak up the rain.

I think sometimes, that in each of us, there is a longing for that first garden in Eden, for the beauty and for the comfort that was there. Think of the beautiful smells that must have permeated the air. Imagine the colors. Picture yourself walking through the dew- fresh grass. We will never produce a garden like that on earth again, but God has given us the ability to tend His creation and produce some pretty spectacular results.

Perhaps life itself is a bit like a garden. We can plant seeds throughout our daily lives; seeds that were first planted in us by the loving hands of our heavenly Father, seeds of joy, compassion, faith, love, peace...seeds that will change the world around us and produce a yield worth more than any garden could ever give. Or we could plant seeds of anger, discontent, bitterness, and sorrow.

Ecclesiastes puts it poetically, "There is a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted..." Today in your life, begin working on planting seeds that will have lasting results for eternity. And start uprooting those seeds that don't benefit anyone. Spend some extra time in prayer and ask God to help you produce the kind of 'garden' in your life that is pleasing to Him. Remember too that God wants us to do some growing. 2 Peter 3:18 says "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Come on people, it's SPRING! Get growing!

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