“If you’re quiet and careful you can see Him.”
In quietness and trust is your strength.”
About a week ago, I looked out onto our front lawn and saw some wild violets beginning to grow there. Because we’re a little…passionate, shall we say, about using what we’ve been given, I quickly googled to see if we could use wild violets in any culinary attempts.
Enter violet jelly, which is apparently a THING in Europe. Who knew?
I do, now.
So I polled facebook to find out if anyone knew of a local source for a large quantity of violets. A kind someone graciously volunteered their lawn. Today, I took our oldest to their lawn and made a game of getting as many violets before a forecasted rainstorm, which still hasn’t happened. Those weathermen.
We gathered about two quart-sized ziplock baggies between their lawn and ours.
We poured boiling water over our found violets, and let it sit for two (or three) hours, stirring occasionally. The liquid became a nice blue-green.
But watch what happens when you add lemon juice!
After we added the lemon juice, we stirred in liquid pectin and more sugar than I want to think about right now.
We brought it to a boil, skimming off the foam, and then poured it into sterilized jelly jars.
The jelly is cooling in our jars now.
I’m looking forward to enjoying some with some biscuits tomorrow for breakfast with a cup of tea.
We’ve taken down our Christmas tree. It feels so sacrilegious to breathe a sigh of relief as all remnants of Christmas decor are put away for another year. But the house feels so fresh and clean and void of clutter. Filled with intention and purpose, as it were.
One of our children has been having a very hard time adjusting to the idea of moving far away from grandparents. He’ll be cheered momentarily when we mention skype or that we’ll come back on visits. He’ll even perk up enough that he wants to pack right now and move RIGHT NOW. But then 20 minutes later, his heart will feel crushed, and he’ll start crying.
This is the child who has never had an afghan crocheted for him, so before Christmas he requested that I start an afghan with bright (occasionally garish) colors of his choosing.
I sat thinking about him and praying about him yesterday morning. For crocheting, to me, is a visible reminder of prayers I have prayed for people. Each stitch I bring a new request or a new burden, sometimes a new tear or two to the Father who gives good gifts. “I wish I could wrap my love and security around him as easily as I could wrap this afghan.” “Help him to experience peace and comfort.” And as I was praying for this child, the snow fell, and my tears fell along with the dusty flakes.
“Go outside.” something in my soul stirred. I don’t often feel such soul stirrings, but I ignored it for a while, because the couch was much cozier and convenient.
“Go outside. Your soul is starved.” I felt the prompting again.
It had been days, nearly weeks, since I’d been outside just to appreciate nature, because of inclimate weather and poor health in our family. I finally got up, threw a sweater on, and sat outside next to the Christmas tree that had been deposited a little unceremoniously on our deck. I watched the flakes take refuge in the dried branches and thought to myself, “I should be getting something out of this. Why am I even out here? This is crazy.”
And then I watched the snowflakes more closely. I took note of each one that landed on my jeans and melted, never to be seen again.
And words came. “Each flake, Lord. Each flake does it’s best to bring you glory. It whispers your name, your creativity. But then it melts, and who will remember it? If no one notices a flake, its memory is gone forever.”
And something deep in my soul welled up and reminded me “Does it matter? Does it matter if anyone notices? The God of the universe notices and is pleased with His creation. He is pleased when His creation does its duty and glorifies Him.”
These thoughts gave me a grander perspective of eternity. Even if no one notices the little things (and big things) our family struggles through or waits for or sacrifices, God notices. It is enough that we obey. It is enough that we are faithful. Now these thoughts may not necessarily help my child who is struggling, but they certainly gave me comfort. Our God is the God Who Sees. He sees each snowflake bringing Him glory before it melts away. He also sees me struggling to hold my child’s heart tenderly and sees me floundering and failing all too often. He sees.
And that is enough.
God’s World by Edna St. Vincent MillayO world, I cannot hold thee close enough!Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!Thy mists, that roll and rise!Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sagAnd all but cry with colour! That gaunt cragTo crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff!World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!Long have I known a glory in it all,But never knew I this;Here such a passion isAs stretcheth me apart,—Lord, I do fearThou’st made the world too beautiful this year;My soul is all but out of me,—let fallNo burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.