Savoring Summer #31: Strawberry Babies

IMG_2285 edit.jpg“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)

Ah, I love today’s passage from Romans, with all its pointed little nuggets of instruction for living well.  It was hard to pick just one, when they’re all so good.  Seems to me you could sit and meditate on each of these verses all day long all by itself!

But I like the way this one exhorts us to action in response to evil, instead of the easier and more tempting option of pulling into our safe shells.  In battle terms, it’s not telling you to simply stay on the defensive, huddle in your fortress and keep evil at bay with a few well-placed arrows.  It’s telling you to sally forth on the offensive, right into the battlefield, and win back the ground that evil is taking.

Of course, using the correct weapon (“good”) is key here.  There are a lot of well-meaning people who somehow get the idea that they are somehow justified in combating evil WITH evil.  It starts, for example, when we’re little, thinking that slapping the little sister who took our toy is going to somehow “solve” the problem.  When we’re adults, we justify: “I can make a snide/gossipy/sarcastic/hurtful remark about THAT person behind their back, because they did THIS to me!”  It actually multiplies the problem instead of eradicating it, but that’s where Satan too often has us blinded and fooled.

Let’s take the challenge of this verse and not let him get by with that anymore!

P.S. See this original post for info about this photo challenge and more about this reading plan I’m using this summer for the book of Romans (and I’d love to have you join in!)!

About the photo: Look what I found while picking strawberries!

Savoring Summer #22: Sweet Morsels

IMG_1842 edit“If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31)

“In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)

I’m getting into some of the best parts of the book of Romans this week, folks, and it’s enough to send the chills up and down my spine.  If you want some serious encouragement, go read today’s passage.

P.S. See this original post for info about this photo challenge and more about this reading plan I’m using this summer for the book of Romans (and I’d love to have you join in!)!

About the photo: You can’t see the scale here, but these were hands down the biggest wild strawberries I’ve ever found.  They were shortly thereafter enjoyed over homemade vanilla ice cream, as all good strawberries should be.

All These Things

IMG_1042IMG_1043This is the story of a search for morel mushrooms.IMG_1055 Twice I went looking…IMG_0883Twice I returned empty-handed.IMG_1052But, in process of closely examining large stretches of forest floor in vain, I did make a lot of other wonderful discoveries.IMG_0880 Once, I sat quietly staring into a stand of fiddleheads so long, a grouse thought I’d left and started drumming his log within ten feet of me.  For just a minute, I thought my heart was palpitating—until I realized that he was really just that close.  Then he exploded suddenly off into the woods when I tried to shift to a spot with a better view, which is, incidentally, when my heart rate did increase.IMG_0891I nearly stepped on the elaborate den of some creature (I’d like to imagine it a fox den, but it more likely belongs to far less charming skunks), and happened upon a wolf track, perfectly dried and preserved in last week’s mud.IMG_0886-01 IMG_1039  I chanced upon a place where jack-in-the-pulpits preached in a woodland meadow to spears of blue flag leaves…IMG_1048…and another where the wild plums were wreathed in clouds of frilly white.IMG_0978I didn’t find what I was looking for—but I did find so much more.

The search for the elusive edible delicacies of the forest will continue.  One day, I’ll find what I’m actually looking for—and we’ll fry them up in butter and eat them—but even after that it will continue, because then they’ll be gone and we’ll want more. It’s one of those kind of searches, never ending, always new, always exciting.  The desire is insatiable.  If you don’t like morel mushrooms, I’m sorry that you won’t be able to identify with this, but if you do, you know what I mean.

And along the way, the search is always guaranteed to be fruitful.

Because, see, regardless of whether I came home with mushrooms or not, I did come home with my head and camera full of spring’s splendor flung glorious across the forest.  (Such riches!)  And I did find information to help me with future searches.  (Now I know where they’re not, sigh.)

It reminded me, in a happy, unexpected sort of way, of another ongoing search I’ve been challenged to, one in which I continually search for one thing of great value and end up with so much more along the way.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

 

 

 

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Emerging

IMG_3594It’s the best part of spring, that brief period of time when life begins to reemerge from the bare branches and brown earth.  The world is exploding almost visibly with life, and I hardly dare blink lest I miss something.  Everywhere I look there are buds bursting open, leaves unfolding, new scenes unfolding and an unending number of discoveries to make.

Across the lake, that first cloudy mist of soft green is enveloping the poplars, contrasted stunningly against the deep evergreen of the pines.

There are the gardens to examine, where I eagerly check to see if my plants survived yet one more winter, greeting the ones who do like long-lost friends.  The ones who were just planted last year and have just passed the big test of surviving their very first Minnesota winter create the most excitement.  Sometimes, I’m disappointed (never mind, foxgloves, we’ll try again); other times I’m pleasantly surprised (hello, strawberries!).IMG_0518Then, there are the woodsy pilgrimages to make, traditions dating to my childhood, like going in search of the dainty lavender and white hepaticas that are so absolutely quintessential of a Minnesota spring.IMG_0743IMG_0741And, if I’m paying attention and watching my step as I go, there is almost always something new to discover.  Something unexpected, like the strange forms of emerging horsetail at the edge of a gravel country road.  Or a pair of sandhill cranes, flapping their half-graceful, half-ungainly way out of the maze of last year’s cornstalks.  Or a fisher bounding across a lonely, narrow, backwoods road, stopping just long enough to glance back at us curiously.IMG_0494Beauty in the expected and familiar; beauty in the unexpected and unfamiliar.  Truly,

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

But I must say that I think this may be especially true in the spring.

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