…I know the secret of living in abundance and of living in need. Philippians 4:12
Ok, that verse isn’t entirely true…except for my tomatoes. We have been trying to grow a great crop of tomatoes for more than a decade and between bad soil, blight, weather and the year the cattle got out and trampled the garden, it just hasn’t happened. Up until last year, I’ve been lucky to have good friends with great gardens offer their surplus so I could always have at least a few tomatoes to can. Those precious jars were used sparingly like they were red gold! Last year though nobody had any to spare because the blight took out everyone’s tomatoes.
Last fall after the Clinton County tomato disaster I decided to call in expert reinforcements. I called on a good friend, Catholic Mom blogger and author Margaret Rose Realy, who is a gardener extraordinaire and she taught us a thing or two (or ten) and we put in a big raised bed with new soil and compost from the compost bin she helped us create. When spring came we carefully planted, watered and waited! As the weeks progressed the plants got HUGE! Then the blossoms started popping out and then those long-awaited tiny green tomatoes…we were so excited! Then we waited forever for the lovely green to turn to red! They say God has perfect timing and I suppose He does but waiting until the week before school started to can tomatoes was not my definition of perfect timing! But…we are so happy to see the pantry shelves fill up; there won’t be any complaining here!
For some reason, the Roma tomatoes aren’t any bigger than my thumb. Tomatoes that size pose a bit of a challenge. They take forever to pick and standing at the sink peeling those tiny little things is chewing up a hunk of time but I’m so happy to have them I decided to alter my perspective! I realized I was going to be canning tomatoes at least every two days for the month of September so I needed to find a good way to use that time and focus on the abundance of tomatoes and blessings; that’s when God stepped in and showed me a thing or two. I thought I’d share my tomato lessons!
*Still is a good thing to be! Peeling tomatoes is not a high-action sport so He gently reminds me I can pray and peel at the same time.
*Sometimes the most beautiful things are hidden a bit and need a little effort. Pearls are protected in a shell; gold is preserved deep in the rock and those little red tomatoes are hidden deep in the center of those giant plants. If something great is worth having, it’s worth a little work.
*The big tomatoes heap over the tops of the buckets and look a little overwhelming but they are peeled, cut and in the jars lightning fast compared to the tiny ones so I guess things aren’t always what they seem at first glance.
*When I’m done picking and walk in to the sink my fingers are stained, but as the soap starts to foam up on my hands it turns green and washes down the drain. Sometimes I have to make a second or third attempt before the dirt and stains are washed away. That reminds me of the second chances God gives me and the loving way He hangs with me just waiting to wash me clean in His infinite mercy.
*As I look at the dozens and dozens of jars of tomatoes in my pantry I realize we started with six-inch plants and I am amazed. Each time I take another batch of freshly-canned jars down to the basement I am reminded that God can do anything he wants!
*We serve a mighty God! The tomatoes in my garden are His creation and so am I, but I don’t stop often enough to consider what an amazing thing it is to be His creature.
A Seed To Plant: Spend the week picking out amazing things God has created and just marvel at the work of His hands.
Blessings on your day!
Copyright 2015: Sheri Wohlfert
Image Credit: Sheri Wohlfert