Strawberry Jam Day 2015

 We are thankful to God for another abundant harvest of strawberries this year. I have determined that after this year’s bearing, I’m digging up all the plants and putting them in neat rows.

Low-sugar strawberry jam sweetened with unsweetened apple juice and sage honey

Low-sugar strawberry jam sweetened with unsweetened apple juice and sage honey

Crushed strawberries ready to be made in to jam

Crushed strawberries ready to be made in to jam

Full-sugar jam is setting

Full-sugar jam is setting

If I make jam again, this leftover strawberry juice is going to be turned in to jelly

If I make jam again, this leftover strawberry juice is going to be turned in to jelly

All About Spelling is the Best Spelling Program

I have done a lot of spelling programs with my children through the years. Nothing has improved testing scores like All About Spelling though. My one child improved by 5 stanine levels after two years of doing AAS. It is unreal to me. The first year the improvement was 30%, then this year it has been a bit more than 20% again.

If you need a solid spelling program, try AAS. It is worth it.

Doctrinal Statement of TMS

I was reading the doctrinal statement of The Masters Seminary tonight. It is a terrific way to study the fundamentals of biblical Christianity. Here is the link: http://www.tms.edu/academics/graduate/mdiv/.

When you click on About the Seminary, the first line you’ll see in the tab is Doctrinal Statement. It would be a worthwhile endeavor to print it out, grab a notebook and Bible, and start looking up the references given for the statements made. It would be a lengthy, free Bible study that I think would enrich any Christian’s pursuit of holiness and truth.

~Ann

Greens, Strawberries

The amount of thought and physical time that goes in to gardening it is always surprising to me. I LOVE it and thank God for the bounty He’s provided, but when I sit back and see all that goes in to what I love to do, I see why it isn’t for everyone.

After planning for months, there is the bed preparation. Depending on how much garden space you have, this can take several weekends. Next there is all that goes in to starting seeds and nurturing them for months. Then there is purchasing, planting, weeding, fertilizing, thinning, watering, harvesting and reading on how to better do things or when to take some sort of action. There is prayer.

After harvesting, which is often a solo game of Twister in my strawberry patch, there is washing and rewashing. This harvesting and washing (triple to quadruple) took an hour from start to finish. It needed to be done after I repaired something in the rabbit hutch, so darkness was enveloping the yard. After letting this sit out and dry, it had to be bagged carefully and labeled. My three special Tupperware containers weren’t able to hold half of the greens even.

P1160115The heat has caused my spinach to bolt (upper left), so most of it is inside now. In the center are collards and Swiss chard. The back right is a salad mix of lettuces and spinach.  Soon it will be time to make strawberry jam. Each day we get the amount of berries shown, so I will probably make some this Thursday or Friday (though I’d rather wait until Saturday!). So thankful for God blessing us!

Conviction of the Holy Spirit

Are you a Christian, meaning you have trusted Christ as the payment for your sins and you live according to the Scriptures, bearing fruit (fruit spoken of in the Bible) that it evidence of your conversion? If so, have you experienced people wrongly attributing judgment to you, which you would not (or have not) actually pass? For example, you aren’t told about the sinful choices of others because it is assumed you will lecture about the wrongful nature of the choice. Likewise, you get told only part of a story so the rest, which is a sin, can be casually mentioned like it is ‘no big deal’. If so, take heart, Christian! Realize that unbelievers or lukewarm believers usually mistake the conviction of the Holy Spirit as judgment from a genuine believer.

I recall being told by one of my best friends in high school that she felt judged by me when I became a believer. I had not said a word to her about alcohol, smoking, fornication or unwholesome speech–I only changed my behaviors. It makes no difference, it is as if people hear you saying things that they are actually ‘hearing’ in their own head.

Conviction from the Holy Spirit is a blessing. It is meant to turn us from what is wrong to embrace what is God’s way and will. One day God will remove the chastening power of His Spirit when the church is raptured; people will be left fully to their own devices.

It is a form of persecution when we are wrongly accused or wrongly assumed to be a way that we are not. Go to God and rejoice in opportunities to suffer for Him.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
Ps 91:1 NASB

Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Matthew 7:6

Pressing on,

Ann

Cucumber Trellis

Today was another beautiful day for gardening. I planted African Daisies, cucumbers, impatiens (seeds, yesterday) and catnip. I keep forgetting to plant the basil and parsley, but the thyme, dill, mint and lavender are in and doing pretty well. I’ll do a photo shoot of the herbs soon!

My son put these together for me and I finally got the cucumber seeds planted today. I’m hoping for a bush variety to eat and a climbing to make in to pickles. Both trellises are situated over the spinach and some of the lettuce in the hope of extending their growth before bolting.

Cucumber trellis'

Cucumber trellises

The watermelon, crowder beans and climbing lima beans are coming up!!

Can you see the watermelon and beans?

Can you see the watermelon and beans?

P1150915

Melon and bean trellis, made on imported bamboo from Kingsville, MD :) (thanks, Dad!)

This is blurry as the battery was nearly dead. I’m zoomed way in…

The peas are finally flowering, but it is getting hot here so I'm a little concerned!

The peas are finally flowering, but it is getting hot here so I’m a little concerned!

Birdseye view from upstairs. It was getting dark when I took this and the battery was nearly dead...

Birdseye view from upstairs. It was getting dark when I took this and the battery was nearly dead…

There really is not enough sunny space for me to plant everything I want…I’ve created this little plot for Mammoth sunflowers

This sunflower patch is on the front yard by the terrace and figs

This sunflower patch is on the front yard by the terrace and figs

Yesterday we ate the first bowl of strawberries without photographing them. This is today's harvest--thank you, God.

Yesterday we ate the first bowl of strawberries without photographing them. This is today’s harvest–thank you, God.