full to overflowing

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We have reached our limit for plums!!

There is a wonderful plum tree in the garden here, and this year it has been heavy with plums. The freezer is full; we have had to reinforce the cupboard shelf to hold the number of jars of jam, syrups, jellies & chutneys (including some beautiful bottled plums still there from last year!); the ice-cream has been made; curd is stored in the fridge; and cakes have been made, eaten and frozen! It’s been a good harvest!

I have loved the days when Andrew & I have gone out and worked together to pick and sort the plums, with a ladder and bowls (and A sent hurriedly for saucepans & bags when bowls were exhausted), and intrigued hens pottering round our feet.

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I love the way our glut of plums gave T & I an excuse to go and chat with the neighbours here, and to spend time finding out how they are. Andrew has also taken plums a bit further, to friends in church.

The (seemingly endless) task of cutting and cleaning plums for jamming has given me times standing chatting with B; rather orange fingers if I’ve done too many all in one go; and quite a few giggles with my girls whenever we found a wriggling pink grub inside one!

It has been fun to search out new recipes – and to taste test some – the plum syrup is pretty good in a fruit salad, and yes it is good on pancakes. B & I have also enjoyed naming some adapted recipes – my favourite this harvest ‘plumentine marmajam’ (perfect name for a chunky, just sweet enough clementine & plum jam).

I am loving the fact that we have now reached our limit of picking and storing too! Now over to the birds, the insects, bats & hedgehogs to forage and harvest. And we will gather in the last few ripening blackberries, elderberries, and hazlenuts – and hopefully a butternut squash when it is ready & a few late corgettes.

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Can’t help but feel very keenly just how full to overflowing our store cupboard is, especially in the light of watching the news with B, A & T this morning finding out a bit more about how the convoy of aid trucks was bombed on its way through the fragile ceasefire to those besieged & desperate in the cities of Syria. And reading about the growing food crisis in Sudan, and the affects on families of the troubles in Yemen. The material I am preparing this half term for our pre-school sunday group is ‘God made enough’ – so I can… share, be careful with all he gives me, trust him, have all I need…

B & I read tonight:

Do you know how God likes to be introduced?

His name is the Lord … Father to the fatherless, defender of widows (Psalm 68:4,5 NLT)

Our Almighty God who sifted stars through his fingers, stands not with kings and princes, but with the weak, the powerless, the poor…

He hears their cries. He fights for them and defends them.

(from ‘God’s title’, out of Thoughts to make your heart sing, Sally Lloyd & Jago)

And I find myself singing this prayer quietly as I wait for her to get to sleep:

Oh God, help me to keep our eyes and hearts open, to see the ways you fill our lives to overflowing so that it can flow out to others. Spirit help me to keep us feeling the compassion and love of the Father’s heart who hears the cries of the hungry, lost & forgotten. Help me Lord, to live generously and open heartedly; to model the opposites of ‘grabbiness’ and ‘looking after myself first’ for my children as we all grow in faith, learning life driven by faith and hope, not fear or despair.

For you are the God of the broken, the friend of the weak. You wash the feet of the weary, embrace the ones in need. I want to be like you Jesus, to have this heart in me. You are the God of the humble, you are the humble king.

 

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