Monday, November 14, 2011

A Mustard Seed Is All You Need

"A mustard seed said Jesus is the least of all the seeds. A mighty tree will grow...if a mustard seed you sow. Plant a mustard seed of faith, in the garden of your heart.
Plant a mustard seed of faith and it will grow."

This is my favorite song out of the Children's Harp. (The songbook for Sunday School).  I love the simple melody...the simple words...and yet the deep meaning behind those words. 

They are so encouraging to me.  A reminder that God really does not need me and my ideas and my opinions and my thoughts.  All He needs is my simple faith.  So simple that it is comparable to a mustard seed.  All He requires is a mustard seed of faith and He, alone, can give the increase.

How small is a mustard seed, you ask?

I too was curious so I Googled it. (I Google absolutely everything).

And this is what I found out:
  • There are many different kinds of mustard seeds
  • They are typically 1-2 mm in diameter
  • Only takes 3-10 days to germinate, if placed in a cold, moist soil.  (Sound familiar?  Cold and hard hearts???)
  • Grows into the largest of all garden plants

As most of my readers know, I am struggling with many things right now.  The number one question is "Why am I being asked to wait to move?  You told me almost 2 years ago to move...why am I still waiting?" 

I just have to remember that with God there is a purpose.  There is a reason.  I will someday understand, either on earth or in heaven.  But someday I will understand why I have been asked to wait.  And an answer to the reasons behind my many, many questions. 

When I Googled 'mustard seed' for pictures and information for this post, I came across this picture:

And it made me smile.

'Cause that's a pretty big tree.  A beautiful tree.  A strong tree.

And I realized that God can take a tiny seed of faith, one that is only 1mm in diameter, and create a large, strong, tree of faith for His children to rest under.  How amazing is that?

My dear readers, I understand that I am not the only one who has struggles.  Or stresses, or anxiety, or unanswered prayers.  But I do know that God will provide all our needs according to HIS riches in HIS time.  So keep on praying...keep on trusting...and keep having faith. Even if it is only the size of a mustard seed.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Creamy Pear Pie

I love autumn.  I love the idea of being in the house baking all day.  I love baking foods that can only be made after harvest.  Apples, pears and pumpkin pies...spiced cookies...jellies and jams...pumpkin rolls.   I love the anticipation of baking for the holidays.  I just love this time of year.

My favorite pie to make is Creamy Pear Pie.  A recipe my aunt passed on to me a few years back.  It is such a wonderfully delicious pie.  One that is unique and tasty. 

Today I made two.  One for Riley's birthday dinner tomorrow night. And one for work on Monday.

Creamy Pear Pie
(Recipe for one 9" pie)

4 cups of cored, peeled and sliced pears

In a separate bowl, combine:

1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour

Toss the sliced pears with sugar mixture

In a smaller bowl, mix:
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Scrape into pear mixture and mix well.  Pour into 9" pie shell.

In a small bowl, mix:

1/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp brown sugar

Crumble topping mixture on top of pies

Bake at 400* for 10 minutes, then turn down the heat to 350* and bake for another 45 minutes, or until the pears are tender.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Life Isn't Fair

Life isn't fair.

And I'm glad.

Because if it were fair then things would be even worse than what they can sometimes be.

I have to admit that sometimes I complain, whine and grumble about my circumstances.  I am tired from being a single mom.  I am weary from writing essay after essay and doing power point after power point.  I am exhausted from working all day to come home to fussy kids.  The list could go on and on...

But time after time I must stop and remember how good I really do have it.

I recently started working at an orchard and some things were eye openers. 

I work with some people who are very hard workers.

One day while bagging apples, a young migrant girl who hardly speaks any English, stands up and says "America. America!!" with her hands raised in the air.  She was so excited to have made it to America that she could not contain her joy.

When was the last time I was thankful for living in this land?  The land of freedoms and opportunities.  When was the last time I was truly thankful that I can practice my religion in freedom without fear from authorities?  Oh we talk about it. But do we really, really appreciate it?  When was the last time I was thankful for the opportunity to choose my career and then have the ability to go on to further education to obtain my goals?  When was the last time I was thankful that my children are receiving an excellent education...for free?  When was the last time you were thankful to be living in America?

There is another migrant worker who works very hard. Day in and day out.  Always with a smile on his face. Always polite. Always kind.  Always willing to lend a hand.  One of the kindest people I have ever had the pleasure of working with.  The other day I found out that his wife and two children are left in his home country.  He is trying to get them work permits to come here but can't.  Instead he sends home almost his entire check to support them and lives on very little here.  He gets to see them once a year. If he is lucky.  And I complain because my kids are noisy and they fight? And I complain because I have to do this alone?  I'm sure he would love to hear his children's noisy clatter everyday.  Instead he sacrifices himself for them. 

Who am I to be complaining about my circumstances.  It is easy to look around and see those who have it much easier than I do, but where does that get me?  I should look around and see all of those who have it much harder than I do and count my blessings that I am the one who in truth has it so easy.

Who am I that God should have put me in this free nation, born into a Christian home?  Who am I that God should have given me the brain and intelligence to be able to go on to college and someday have a decent job?  Who am I that God should have blessed me with three amazing children?  Who am I that God should have blessed me with amazing friends and a helpful family?  Who am I that God should have provided good health for me and my children, when so many are suffering from horrible illnesses?  Who am I that God should have protected me through the abuse my ex-husband put me through?  Who am I that God called me as His own?  Who am I that Jesus Christ thought of me while He hung on the cross?  Who am I? 

In reality, I am nothing.  I am no more deserving of any good thing than the next person.  And yet God still gave me so many blessings.  And then I complain because my life isn't what I think it should be?  Wow. Have I got some nerve...

Next time you get in the depths of despair and can only see what you don't have...look around... and see how much worse others have it and then be thankful that life isn't fair.