Monday, August 4, 2008

In the Kitchen

This past Saturday was busy, busy in the kitchen! Leah made a delicious apple crisp which we very much enjoyed . . . unfortunately it disappeared all too quickly. ;) Fruit desserts are some of our favorite types of desserts and they never seem to last long!

Other things happening in the kitchen were the grating of more zucchini for the freezer, making yet another cucumber salad (we are getting a lot of cucumbers!), and I canned my first pickles! Canning is getting a bit easier and everything went pretty well this time, only I learned after making them that it is best to use whole spices (not ground) when canning pickles. Anyway, one of the spices I used was ground and as a result, the liquid in the jars is not the most attractive, but at least the pickles should still taste the same. I hope. ;) Regardless, it was a wonderful learning experience! And I am looking forward to attempting to can some more garden produce (using whole spices next time! :).

On a different note, I have been slowly making my way through the book Homemaking by J. R.
Miller, and this particular section stood out to me in regards to home life:

". . . only the spirit of Christ in a household makes a truly Christian home . . . There are some fields of grass from which in summer days rises a sweet fragrance, although not a flower is anywhere to be seen. But when you part the tall grass and look down among its roots, there, close on the ground, hidden under the showy, waving grass, you see multitudes of small flowers, modest and lowly, yet pouring forth a delicate and delicious aroma filling all the air. There are homes in which there is nothing remarkable in the way of grandeur or elegance, yet the very atmosphere as you enter is filled with sweetness, like 'the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed.' It is the aroma of love, the love of Christ shed abroad in human hearts." (Homemaking J. R. Miller pg. 231-232)

This beautiful word picture brought the thought to mind that a house, a home, can be kept sparkly clean, have a fresh baked pie cooling on the counter, fragrant flowers adorning corners of the rooms, beautiful canned goods lining the pantry shelves,
colorful afghans, quilts and other homemade items decorating the home, and it can look like a picture perfect house out of a magazine. . . but if Christ, His Word and a heart after Him is absent . . . what is all this worth? Absolutely nothing. It may be beautiful to the human eye, but without the foundation and the fragrance of Christ which lasts and endures, all of this is naught but like the grass that fades and the flower that falls off (1 Peter 1:24). It was a good reminder to me that in the midst of being busy around our home and striving to help make it a haven for my family, to not forget about what the foundation of the home needs to be . . . that is, centered around the Lord and His Word. May we never forget where the focus of our hearts, our minds and our actions should be placed . . . as the apostle Paul exhorts: "set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth" (Colossians 3:2). As we seek to set our minds and hearts on the heavenly things, the things of the Lord, may our homes truly become a place of refuge and peace for our dear families; a place of refreshment, strengthening and fellowship in the Lord; and when others come to our home, may they not see so much the physical . . . but may they truly see and recognize that Christ is the foundation, the fragrance, of the home . . .

"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing . . ." (2 Corinthians 2:14-15)

11 comments:

  1. Sarah, this is beautiful. The Lord has been speaking to my heart lately on this very subject. How easy it is to get caught up in the outward parts of making a home! I keep praying that He would show me more and more what it is to truly honor Him in our home.

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  2. Oh, such wise words...thank you.

    love, Tina :)

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  3. It sounds like you have quite busy in the kitchen lately! My sisters and just made some pindo palm date jelly today which was a new experience. :)

    Thank you for the quote and encouraging words!!

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  4. Sarah- I've never heard of a cucumber salad. What is it??? Much to mommas grief we did not plant any cucumbers this year and we aren't sure how we missed doing so. We might try to get some plants and get a late crop in.....
    Thank you for the reminder to keep our homes centered around the Lord. I hope that others can see Him in our "everyday lives".
    ~Ashley

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  5. Dear Sarah,

    Thank you for this beautiful post and for sharing your encouraging thoughts. I love reading Homemaking, it is such a beautifully written book.

    Sarah, I agree with what you said about keeping a beautiful home, "but if Christ, His word and a heart after Him is absent... what is all this worth? Absolutely nothing." That is so very true.
    This is a wonderful reminder for me too, as I keep my home and make it lovely for my family I need to seek the Lord first, and set my mind and heart on the things of the Lord.

    I am so glad the canning is going well. The apple crisp sounds wonderful.

    The Lord bless you!
    Paula

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  6. Thank you for sharing your heart on this, Amber! Your thoughts were a blessing to me. :)

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  7. You're welcome, Tina! :)

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  8. How fun to make the jelly with your sisters, Emily! I am sure that it will be wonderful! And that your family will very much enjoy it. :) Are the dates ones that you grew yourself?

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  9. Here is the recipe for the cucumber salad, Ashley:

    Cucumbers in Dressing

    --1 cup mayonnaise
    --1/4 cup sugar
    --1/4 tsp. salt
    --1/4 cup vinegar
    --4 cups sliced cucumbers

    Stir together mayonnaise, sugar, salt and vinegar. Stir in cucumbers. Chill for at least two hours and then enjoy!

    Very simple, yet very delicious! This is one of my Dad’s favorite things to eat during the summer. :)

    I hope that if you do plant a late crop of cucumbers that they do very well for you!

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  10. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic, Paula!

    I would agree, Homemaking is a beautifully written book! Whenever I read it, I am inspired and convicted.

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  11. My friend's home is like that, everyone that goes there is so welcomed of all ages and you feel so welcomed and loved going inside her home and with her.

    The kids I had looked after would beg to go to her house, they loved going there, it felt like a sanctuary for them and very loved and safe.

    I loved going there too.

    You can feel it when you go into someone's house.

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)