Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fruit of the Vine

In September the wild grapes that grow on our west property line start to ripen and turn a dark purple. Some years there aren’t very many. But this year, apparently, was a good year for grapes.
One afternoon Dale picked 4, 5-gallon buckets of them. Then he spent many hours stripping the grapes off of the stems and into a bowl. I was helping with that for only a few of those hours. From there, they get cooked and mashed for a short time to open up the skins and let the juices out. Then they are strained through cloth, put into pitchers and refrigerated to let the sediment drop to the bottom. Then it is strained again. Now it is ready to be made into frozen grape jelly and juice.
A few days later after Dale picked more grapes, I canned wild grape jelly instead of freezing it. Canned jelly is easier than frozen to give to someone.

Dale is also trying grape wine for the first time. We’ll see how well that turns out.

Working with wild grapes is an awful lot of work. The grapes are quite small compared to regular grapes and also quite tart. It takes a lot of time to get them off the stems and have them ready to work with.
But, as with many things in life, it takes hard work and diligence to complete a project or see something through to the end.
Whether it’s cleaning the garage, canning jelly or salsa, or just struggling through life in my attempt to become more like my Maker, it is worth it.

I have a clean garage to enjoy each time I open up the door.

I have home-made canned goods to share.

I have a life that prayerfully reflects the image of my God whom I serve.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


The hands of the Amish auctioneer workers silently beckoned spectators to become involved in the bidding. Their eyes moved quickly across the crowd of people as they watched for interested bidders. “Yup!” they would yell and raise up their fist as someone nodded for their bid. The quick, rhythmic chant of the auctioneer continued as they tried to get the best price for the item that was being shown.
There were just over 300, mostly Amish made quilts, beautiful furniture sets and many craft items such as rag rugs, woven baskets and small wooden items to be auctioned off. For quite a bit of the day there were 3 auctioneers calling at one time at different parts of the property. It made for a day of auditory overload.

We got there early. We were there to unload some of our things for the consignment auction of tools, misc. furniture and collectibles. Dale also had brought a rocking chair to sell that he had made last winter.
We’ve done this a few times before. Get there early, unload our things to sell, put up our chairs under the tent where the quilts are sold, eat some of the delicious Amish doughnuts, and then enjoy the action. There were at least 1000 people there this time. It was the year of the buyer. Prices were down compared to other years. Beautiful quilts were going for around $150 - $250 on average. I only heard 2 that went for about $500. That’s low for the quilts.

I moved back and forth from the big tent where the quilts and furniture were to the little tent which just had the crafts and small quilted items, then outside where Dale was most of the day watching and waiting for our things to go up for auction.

We’ve now decided that it’s best if we’re not there to watch our items being sold. There are things that Dale thought we should have gotten more for. He thought about buying back a few things so that he could sell them somewhere else - glad he didn't. Then there were things that went for more than we thought that they would.

But, they are just things.
Our garage has become less crowded as we’ve gotten rid of things that we had duplicates of or just didn’t really need anymore. But, as we go through things, the thought enters the mind, “I might need that some day.”
But, they are just things and we have too many of them.
It was our day to get rid of things.
We only bought 2 hot pads and a wooden clamp, for all of $12.

Things have a tendency to hold us back. If we didn’t have all of our things, how much easier would it be to serve God in a different way, in a different place? I don’t believe that God ever intended us to have so much in the way of earthly possessions. Jesus and His disciples didn’t have much. Yes, that was a different time – different world. But, what they did have, they quickly let go of and “followed” Him. I would like to think that I could and would do the same thing. But, I know that it would be hard for me.

There’s a song out by Matthew West called “The Motions”.
I love the words.

“I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions

I don’t want things to keep me just "going through the motions". I don’t want to be held back from what God wants in my life because I’m held captive by things that fill my house and my life.
I want God’s all consuming passion to fill me and move.
To help me see as He sees.
To take my eyes off of things and onto the people that He loves.