Quick Tip & Pots and Pans – Chicken Tetrazzini/Tortellini

I love chicken tetrazzini. Yesterday it was my planned dinner before I stopped by the new Lidl store in our town. Inside the freezer case my eyes fell upon a bag of frozen cheese tortellini. I had to have that tortellini for dinner too, but already had a pasta ingredient in my tetrazzini menu. I decided to combine the pastas. I halved the spaghetti amount, added in about half the bag of tortellini when the spaghetti was in it’s final minute of boiling, and mixed up all the tetrazzini ingredients. Oh my! I doubt I will ever go back to the old way of making this dish. The cheese tortellini complemented the grated asiago cheese in the recipe. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers as a side dish tonight.  Give this a try if you like tortellini.

Praise – Charles Haddon Spurgeon/John’s Doxology/Part 10 – Questions and an Answer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John’s Doxology – C.H. Spurgeon

“I pray that every professor here may have a real Christ, for otherwise he will never be a real Christian. I want you to recognize in this realization of Christ by John this teaching,— that we are to regard our holy faith as based on facts and realities. We have not followed cunningly-devised fables. Do you believe in the divine life of Christ? Do you also believe that he who is “very God of very God” actually became incarnate and was born at Bethlehem? Do you put down the union of the Godhead with our humanity as an historical fact which has the most potent bearing upon all the history of mankind? Do you believe that Jesus lived on earth and trod the blessed acres of Judæa, toiling for our sake, and that he did actually and really die on the behalf of sinners? Do you believe that he was buried, and on the third day rose again from the dead? Are these stories in a book or facts in the life of a familiar friend? To me it is the grandest fact in all history, that the Son of God died and rose again from the dead, and ever lives as my representative. Many statements in history are well attested, but no fact in human records is one half as well attested as the certain resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This is no invention, no fable, no parable, but a literal fact, and on it all the confidence of the believer leans. If Christ is not risen, then your faith is vain; but as he surely rose again, and is now at the right hand of God, even the Father, and will shortly come to be our judge, your faith is justified, and shall in due season have its reward. Get a religion of facts and you will have a religion which will produce facts by operating upon your life and character; but a religion of fancies is but a fancied religion, and nothing practical will come of it.”

People & Pages – Throwback Thursday/Shirley Temple and Dr. Seuss

Last week I purchased this beautiful book on Shirley Temple. Written by Jerome Beatty and published in 1935, the book is as lovely as the subject.

I loved watching Shirley Temple movies as a child. I still love them in my adult years. Last week, thinking back on the sweet stories, I realized that there were some scenes in the movies that would be deemed politically incorrect in our current age and state of affairs. While there are some portrayals that might need to be explained to a child in today’s politically correct climate, it would be apparent to even a six year old that no harm toward anyone was intended by what is now considered questionable moments.

I was so elated to find the book I began to wish I had all Shirley Temple’s movies on DVD. Would the cancel culture of the 2020’s rip away all evidence of her body of work? I researched buying a set of her movies, found what I was looking for, and placed it in my shopping cart to mull over a bit before I committed to buying. I wish I had bought the set right away.

Fast forward to this week.

Dr. Seuss…criticized, cancelled, perhaps banned. How can this be my world? I must have read Go Dog Go! to my sons well over a hundred times. I can still remember holding them on my lap as I read, and yelling out, ‘A Dog Party,’ at the end of the book. How could anyone sane cancel or ban Dr Seuss? They can’t…this is insanity!

As soon as the brouhaha of the Dr. Seuss fake fiasco reached my ears my indecision vanished; I went to my shopping cart to purchase the Shirley Temple DVD set. It was no longer available. My only choice was to pay $25.00 more for a similar set. Either someone bought all the available lower-priced versions, or the company itself was taking advantage of what they foresaw, as did I, would be the next sweet thing on the chopping block.

The moral of the tale: if you feel something is in danger of being cancelled, or might disappear, find a way to save and treasure it. I am happy to say, I have at least three Dr. Seuss books in the house. They aren’t the books in question, but you can be sure I will look for those in every thrift store I visit.

People, Quote – Previously Posted – Peter Marshall

Peter Marshall Quote

“Peter Marshall (May 27, 1902 – January 26, 1949[1]) was a Scots-American preacher, pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC and twice appointed as Chaplain of the United States Senate.”

Many thanks to the reader who yesterday commented on this post. She asked a question about a Peter Marshall quote from the book A Man Called Peter. Here’s her question if anyone knows the answer please comment below the post. Thanks!

“There is a quote by Peter Marshall in the book A MAN CALLED PETER that is something like this but I cannot find it: No one knows why one person fall for another but when that attraction becomes mutual, that’s God’s most potent chemistry. Anyone know where to find it? I am sure it’s in that book.” ~Jeanne

Photograph – Monochrome Monday – Delaware River Goose

It was a dreary weekend, but we walked along the Delaware River, at National Park, to pass a bit of time outdoors. A goose seemed tired of all the cold and rain too, while his flock swam, he surveyed the water and the people strolling along the shoreline. The sky was such a dismal grey, I didn’t need any filters to remove color, the landscape was monochrome all on its own. Hurry Spring! Welcome March!

Praise – Charles Haddon Spurgeon/John’s Doxology – “I Saw Him” – Part 9

Today, is the year anniversary of a person dear to me entering into heaven. I have been thinking of my Uncle John, and all my family who have gone on to Glory.

My uncle was a wonderful man, a Man of God, a preacher of the Word for decades. A great husband, father, son, brother, uncle, and friend. I have two terrific uncles, and I feel my life has been blessed by both.

Family is so important to me. When I was young, along with different combinations of sisters and cousins, I spent several weeks each summer with grandparents. Today, the paragraph from Spurgeon’s message is reminding me of my paternal grandmother through the words, I SAW HIM. Granny lived a spirit-filled life, and she taught us the same by being a great witness. She was also fun, a great cook, but instead of heating up the kitchen in the heat of mid-day, every afternoon for lunch we would have watermelon and ice cream Sundays for dessert. I have so many good memories of those hot summer days in the Tidewater area of Virginia.

One of my favorite memories is reliving the times I sat near Granny in church. Oh how my attitudes have changed! When I was a child I wasn’t all that thrilled about spending Wednesday night, Sunday morning, and Sunday night in church service, but now I look back and wish I could sit there again and say hello to Sister Crowe, Brother Gibbons, and others who were kind and welcoming to my sister and me.

For some reason, I remember quite clearly sitting near my grandmother when the church sang the congregational song of, ‘My Savior First of All’, by Fanny Crosby. Granny would shut her eyes, blocking out the world, and honestly, when I think back, I almost remember her face glowing as she sang the chorus. I like to think of her spirit shining in just that way when she met her Savior as she left this world. Because of her wonderful witness to me, I know that she SAW HIM first of all.

“I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
And redeemed by His side I shall stand,
I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
By the print of the nails in His hand.”
~ Fanny Crosby

For Granny’s Home-going service one of the suggestions for a hymn was ‘My Savior First of All,‘ and that is what we sang.

JOHN’S DOXOLOGY – C.H. SPURGEON

So, too, if we are “kings and priests,” it is Jesus who has made us so.

“Round the altar priests confess:If their robes are white as snow,
’Twas the Saviour’s righteousness
And his blood that made them so.”

Our royal dignity and our priestly sanctity are both derived from him. Let us not only behold the streams, but also consider the source. Bow before the blessed and only Potentate who doth encrown and enthrone us, and extol the faithful high-priest who doth enrobe and anoint us. See the divine actor in the grand scene, and remember that he ever liveth, and therefore to him should we render perpetual glory. John worships the Lord himself. His mind is not set upon his garments, his crowns, his offices, or his works, but upon himself, his very self. “I SAW HIM, says the beloved apostle, and that vision almost blotted out the rest. His heart was all for Jesus. The censer must smoke unto him, the song must rise unto him;— unto himself, unto his very self.

Phlowers – Flower of the Day-Bougainvillea

All summer I waited for my Bougainvillea plant to bloom. At least three years old, I expected it to be loaded with blooms as it had been the previous year. Just like so many other things in 2020, the bougainvillea refused to bloom. In the Autumn, I almost composted the Bougainvillea, but decided to give it another chance.

I’ve been rewarded with soft pink blossoms. In reality, what appears to be blossoms are really bracts, the flowers are smaller than a dime and a nondescript white. There isn’t much upkeep to these plants if you place it in bright sun. I keep it trimmed way back indoors since the thorny stems can really tear skin. Other than watering once a week, I have pretty much ignored it. Maybe that’s the secret. One funny change in the plant, outdoors the bracts are magenta, inside the house they have bloomed in a soft pink shade.

I haven’t been able to take part in Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge for quite a while; I’m glad to take part today.

Previously-Posted – Winter Sowing in Milk Cartons

I repost this every year. Absolutely the best, and easiest, and least space-consuming way to plant half-hardy annuals and Spring vegetable/leafy green crops.

Winter Sowing is the process of planting hardy and half-hardy seeds in clear or translucent containers.  The containers are sealed with duct tape and placed outdoors in the winter weather. This method of sowing seeds has been attributed to Trudi Davidoff.

Over the next week or two I hope to Winter Sow more of my perennial seeds, and later in the season some of my vegetables, annuals and herbs. A good source of information and discussion about Winter Sowing can be found on the Gardenweb Winter Sowing Forum.

“STEPS FOR WINTER SOWING (My own technique, might differ slightly from how others winter sow.)
1. Poke holes in the bottom of your container with a sharp tool or a hot screw driver. A soldering iron works too, but most folks don’t have one.
2. Cut the container in half, leaving a small tab to keep the two halves connected.
3. Add an inch of potting soil, add about two inches of seed starting mixture to top of soil. Moisten all, let water run out the bottom. Plant seeds. Label the outside of the container with permanent marker. You might need to go back over the labeling before planting time. Even a permanent marker fades in the sunshine.
4. Tape two halves together with duct tape.
5. Place outdoors in a sunny spot. DO NOT KEEP CAP ON TOP. The top needs to be left open for moisture.
6. Check periodically for sufficient moisture.
7. When temperatures warm up, open container in the daytime. Be very careful to check daily that the soil is moist after opening. Soil and seedlings dry out quickly.”

PART II

I’ve added to my cache of winter sown containers. The warm springlike weather of the past weeks helped many seeds sprout. As they are HHA (Half Hardy Annuals) and cold tolerant vegetables, I’m not worried about the possible onset of colder temperatures through the next weeks. The plastic containers work as mini-greenhouses and protect the seedlings from frost. The cold will strengthen them and keep them from becoming leggy and outgrowing their containers. I’ve had a lot of fun with this project. I also set aside a portion of each type of seed so that in the event that some of the containers fail I will have a back-up.

A view of some of the sprouts inside their containers. The above photos show my recycled orange juice bottles. These mini-greenhouses are light in weight. To windproof them I wedge them in among the heavier milk jugs. (I don’t use small containers anymore, they dry out too quickly. I try to use gallon-sized or larger containers.)

A bird’s-eye-view through the top of a milk jug. The seedlings inside are asters.

Two of my mini-greenhouses had indications of the dirt drying out. I placed these inside a plastic shoebox filled with water, a perfect fit, and let them soak up a little moisture through the drainage holes in the bottom. This worked and within a half hour they were watered.

PART III

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Poppies! I LOVE poppies, but I have some problems with poppies too. Number one on my list of loves is the way poppies develop big, luscious looking pods. When the pods begin to widen and split to reveal the color of the flower inside, honestly, I must admit I run out into the yard several times a day to see if the silken petals have opened. There is something magical in the wispy crown in the center of each flower too. Often there will be a splotch or two of contrasting color at the base of each petal. The foliage of many poppy plants glows in beautiful bluish green tones. Yes…I LOVE poppies.

One of the major drawbacks of poppies, at least in my opinion, is how hard it is to grow them from seed. For years I followed the advice on the back of the packets and on the pages of reliable gardening books and sowed them directly in the ground. This NEVER worked for me. Heavy spring rains ALWAYS washed my poppy seeds away before they could sprout. If they did grow, the delicate small seedlings would be beat into the ground by that same rain. The “experts” say poppies don’t transplant well. I agree if they are grown in the house, but I have found a way to get a head start on poppies and that method is winter sowing.

I am also including a post that shows the results of my winter sown poppies: Poppies

If you want to grow poppies this year, and have a milk carton or two on hand, give winter-sowing a try. It only takes a few minutes to create a miniature greenhouse to place outside in the sunshine. Happy Gardening!

Praise – Charles Haddon Spurgeon/John’s Doxology/Part 8 – Pardoning Mercy

Lent began this week. I was raised in a denomination that didn’t keep Lent by sacrificing a favorite item or changing a habit. Nevertheless, I decided this past week that perhaps it would be good for me to try to change a bad habit during Lent, and for me, it is negative words. I’m sure most of you living in the U.S., and all over the world, are able to understand my negative words in the current circumstances of pandemic, virulent politics, right turned into wrong, and wrong turned into right. Add into that everyday stresses and it is a heavy burden for all of us.

I wish my sincere commitment had translated into a successful attempt at keeping my words positive. I lasted only three hours into Wednesday, the first day of Lent, before I missed the mark. By noon, I had blown it big time. The trigger – I was made to feel inadequate. My failure most likely traces back, as does all sin, to Satan in the garden with Eve. He appealed to her pride, but perhaps before pride caused the fall into sin, Eve believed herself inadequate.

The trigger of implied inadequacy caused me to say things, that while true, should have remained within for Jesus to help me deal with in His time. I thank him for his pardoning mercy. I’m still trying to keep my words positive through the rest of the Lenten season, but with so many satanic attacks flying toward us all it’s hard not to become a bit dour and grumble.

I know perhaps my words aren’t uplifting, but perhaps you can relate to them. I would be false if I put out the impression that I never fail, or don’t get the blues, or have struggles of my own. Through it all, I am glad for the pardoning mercy of him who has cleansed us from our sin. He will show me the path through this time. Amen.

Jesus und der Gang nach Emmaus (Jesus and the walk to Emmaus) – Gebhard Fugel, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons (turn of the 19/20th century)

C.H. Spurgeon – John’s Doxology

So, too, with the washing from sin. It is enough to make us sing of pardoning mercy for ever and ever if we have been cleansed from sin but the center of the joy is to adore him “that washed us from our sins in his own blood.” Observe that he cleansed us, not by some process outside of himself, but by the shedding of his own blood of reconciliation. It brings the blood-washing into the highest estimation with the heart when we look into the wounds from whence the atonement flowed, when we gaze upon that dear visage so sadly marred, that brow so grievously scarred, and even peer into the heart which was pierced by the spear for us to furnish a double cleansing for our sin. “Unto him that washed us.” The disciples were bound to love the hands that took the basin and poured water on their feet, and the loins which were girt with the towel for their washing; and we, brethren, must do the same. But as for the washing with his own blood, how shall we ever praise him enough? Well may we sing the new song, saying, “Thou art worthy, for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood.” This puts body and weight into our praise when we have realized him, and understood how distinctly these precious deeds of love as well as the love itself come from him whose sacred heart is all our own.

People – Jack Hibbs

I had never heard of Pastor Jack Hibbs until recently. The Lord knows who, and what ministry, to bring into your life just when you need a bit of reinforcement. I think Pastor Jack Hibbs will have words of encouragement you might be able to relate to current circumstances in all of our lives. He doesn’t seem to be afraid to tell the truth about walking with the Lord and what’s going on in current events. There are many sermons to choose from easily available on YouTube. Here is a wonderful example of biblical wisdom.

Praise – Charles Haddon Spurgeon – Part 7/Grateful for Love

“I am very grateful for love, but more grateful to him who gives the love.” ~C.H. Spurgeon

As I write this, upstairs on the oak chifforobe wait seven Valentines, signed, sealed, and ready to be taken out the door to be delivered to children I love. My heart is full of grateful love for the presence of family in my life, but most of all, I am grateful to the Creator of love who makes this joy possible.

C.H. Surgeon – John’s Doxology

“He makes us see Jesus in every act of which he speaks in his doxology. It runs thus: “Unto him that loved us.” It is not “Unto the love of God,” an attribute, or an influence, or an emotion; but it is “Unto him that loved us.” I am very grateful for love, but more grateful to him who gives the love. Somehow, you may speak of love and eulogize it; but if you know it only in the abstract what is it? It neither warms the heart nor inspires the spirit. When love comes to us from a known person, then we value it. David had not cared for the love of some unknown warrior, but how greatly he prized that of Jonathan, of which he sang, “Thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women!” Sweet is it to sing of love; but sanctified hearts delight still more to sing, “Unto him that loved us.”

Pheathers – Robins in Snow

It snowed again this week. February has lived up to it’s cold reputation in southern New Jersey. For two years in a row we had little snow; we are wishing for those days back again as more icy rain is on the way tomorrow, and then another storm could arrive a few days later.

Recently, at the start of another bout of snowy weather, I looked out the window and spotted a flock of birds. I couldn’t tell by their silhouettes what type of bird they were, but thought I saw a flash of orange breast.

Sure enough, they were robins. Poor things, they looked miserable hunched against the snowflakes and wind. When I took a close-up photograph I chuckled, but also felt some sympathy, one robin had an icicle beard. Brrrr…I’m with the robins, I want Spring to come and Winter to quickly end.

This photograph is part of Skywatch.

Planting – Timely Soil Tip

My close focus photograph of these coleus sprouts is rather blurry, but I only took the one shot, and it is a perfect example of the problem-solving tip I want to share today. When planting small seeds, even specially blended seed-starting soil can be full of lumps, small twigs, and other woodsy debris used to create the mix. Luckily for me, only one of my coleus seeds was placed on a ‘clod’ of dirt. The seed sprouted fine, the problem arose when the small root tried to reach the moisture beneath it. The hard clod of dirt it was planted on created a barrier and the sprout withered a day or two after emerging from the seed.

To give future seeds a better chance I filled the bottom of the container with about 1.5 inches of seed starter, then using an old sifter, I added about 1/4 inch of finely sifted seed starter mix. This makes a huge difference in the success of growing small seeds.

After sifting, place the container in a shallow pan of water and allow the mix to wick up more water. If the bottom layer of seed starter is sufficiently drenched, the sifted layer will absorb plenty of water for sprouting. Make sure and cover small seedlings with plastic wrap or another type of lid to ensure uniform moistness through the sprouting stage.

Praise – Charles Haddon Spurgeon/John’s Doxology Part 6 – Unguarded Praise

Praise matters…in the Bible, although in different versions the numbers differ, the word praise occurs approximately 250 times. In my own walk with the Lord I try to praise him several times a day. So often, as in the photo of the sunset, I praise him prompted by the beauty he has created. Other times I praise him for the beauty of his Holy Word and the assurance it gives me of his love. In the times we are living in now I feel the need to praise him more. Even though circumstances around me are rapidly changing, God never changes. He is the same today as he was yesterday, he will be the same in my future. I can trust in everything the Bible tells me about his love and his divine providence.

“Divine providence is the governance of God by which He, with wisdom and love, cares for and directs all things in the universe. The doctrine of divine providence asserts that God is in complete control of all things. He is sovereign over the universe as a whole (Psalm 103:19), the physical world (Matthew 5:45), the affairs of nations (Psalm 66:7), human destiny (Galatians 1:15), human successes and failures (Luke 1:52), and the protection of His people (Psalm 4:8). This doctrine stands in direct opposition to the idea that the universe is governed by chance or fate.” Read more at GotQuestions.Org

In this paragraph from ‘John’s Doxology,’ Spurgeon is speaking of John’s praise for Jesus in Revelation 1: 5-6. I’ve highlighted three quotes from the paragraph below.

“We shall see his inmost self here, for he is carried off his feet, and speaks out his very heart in the most unguarded manner.”

“…this man of doxologies, from whom praise flashes forth like light from the rising sun, is first of all a man who has realized the person of his Lord.”

“It is a grand thing personally to know the Christ of God as a living existence, to speak into his ear, to look into his face, and to understand that we abide in him, and that he is ever with us, even to the end of the world Jesus was no abstraction to John; he loved him too much for that.”

First, let us look at THE CONDITION OF HEART OUT OF WHICH OUTBURSTS of adoration arise. Who was this man who when he was beginning to address the churches must needs lay down his pen to praise the Saviour? We will learn the character of the man from his own devout language. We shall see his inmost self here, for he is carried off his feet, and speaks out his very heart in the most unguarded manner. We shall now see him as he is, and learn what manner of persons we must be if, like him, we would overflow with praise. It would be easy to talk at great length about John from what we know of his history from other parts of Scripture; but at this time I tie myself down to the words of the text, and I notice, first, that this man of doxologies, from whom praise flashes forth like light from the rising sun, is first of all a man who has realized the person of his Lord. The first word is, “Unto him;” and then he must a second time before he has finished say, “To him be glory and dominion.” His Lord’s person is evidently before his eye. He sees the actual Christ upon the throne. The great fault of many professors is that Christ is to them a character upon paper; certainly more than a myth, but yet a person of the dim past, an historical personage who lived many years ago, and did most admirable deeds, by the which we are saved, but who is far from being a living, present, bright reality. Many think of Jesus as gone away, they know not whither, and he is little more actual and present to them than Julius Cæsar or any other remarkable personage of antiquity. We have a way, somehow, a very wicked way it is, of turning the facts of Scripture into romances, exchanging solidities for airy notions, regarding the august sublimities of faith as dreamy, misty fancies, rather than substantial matters of fact. It is a grand thing personally to know the Christ of God as a living existence, to speak into his ear, to look into his face, and to understand that we abide in him, and that he is ever with us, even to the end of the world Jesus was no abstraction to John; he loved him too much for that. Love has a great vivifying power: it makes our impressions of those who are far away from us very lifelike, and brings them very near. John’s great, tender heart could not think of Christ as a cloudy conception; but he remembered him as that blessed One with whom he had spoken, and on whose breast he had leaned. You see that is so, for his song rises at once to the Lord’s own self, beginning with, “Unto HIM.

Skywatch Friday

Pheathers – Timely Tip

Fresh water is essential for the health of backyard birds in the winter. In cold weather my usual birdbaths are retired to prevent ice damage. To offer the birds water I spent two dollars at the local dollar store. I use an oil drip pan, on top of a deli tray for stability, and place this set-up on my bird bath fixture. It works great. To keep the water flowing through icy temperatures and snow I pour a pitcher of water on top about three times a day. Even in heavy winds the plastic birdbath holds firm.

Here’s a dove during yesterday’s snowstorm, getting a drink from the makeshift birdbath. I hope you can see through my window screen. No matter how quietly I try to sneak that window and screen up to photograph the birds, they are always wise to me, and quickly fly away.

*Added this tip after posting: My water pan (oil drip pan) is a 5. This plastic is considered safe for food storage. More info can be found here: Which Plastics are Safe for Food?

Phun – Happy February/Valentine’s Decor

Valentine’s Day is a spot of brightness in the middle of winter, yet I often shortchange the house of decorations to celebrate this special day. This year I found a satisfying, but also easy and inexpensive approach to create a bit of February cheer.

I cut about 25 paper hearts out of red-toned paper, punched a hole, used leftover Christmas ornament hooks, and hung them on a lightly twisted ribbon of burlap. A little hint here: you can NEVER have too many ornament hooks. I use them for so many projects throughout the year. They are durable, near weightless, and can be twisted into so many shapes and sizes. I always keep a bag of them in my desk drawer. The green wire hooks are my favorite.

I also found some old cardstock tags I had crafted years ago with swirls of words and twirly lines. The pressed flowers I glued in place with rubber cement have faded, but still are holding on firm. I hung these on drawer pulls, clocks, light fixtures—anywhere an almost weightless tag could hang. I’m pleased with my easy and LOVE-ly decor. Happy February!

Praise – Charles Haddon Spurgeon/John’s Doxology Part 5 – Roses and Harps

“As roses are ready to shed their perfume, so may we be eager to praise God—“

Before the pandemic arrived, one of my favorite wintertime activities was visiting the conservatory at Longwood Gardens. I haven’t been there since all this craziness consumed the world. The gardens have procedures in place to allow visitors once again. If I make a reservation, I will be able to leave winter behind when I walk through the doors into garden bliss. The fragrance, and a sweet humid heaviness in the air, are what I crave most at this time of year.

As is the case in most of Spurgeon’s sermon on John’s Doxology, his descriptive words, likening roses shedding their perfume to our praise for our Creator, fill me with renewed purpose to praise my Father in Heaven even more.

” I long that our hearts may be like Eolian harps through which each wind as it sweeps on its way makes charming music.”

Johns Doxology – Charles Haddon Spurgeon
This spontaneous outburst of John’s love is what I am going to preach upon this morning. First of all I shall ask you to consider the condition of heart out of which such outbursts come, and then we will look more closely at the outburst itself; for my great desire is that you and I may often be thus transported into praise, carried off into ecstatic worship. I long that our hearts may be like Eolian harps through which each wind as it sweeps on its way makes charming music. As roses are ready to shed their perfume, so may we be eager to praise God; so much delighting in the blessed exercise of adoration that we shall plunge into it when colder hearts do not expect us to do so. I have read of Mr. Welch, a minister in Suffolk, that he was often seen to be weeping, and when asked why, he replied that he wept because he did not love Christ more. May not many of us weep that we do not praise him more? Oh that our meditation may be used or the Holy Spirit to help us in that direction!

Plants & Preserving the Good – Scents of Summer 2020

Summer of 2020 was a strange time, but I was still able to garden, swim at our local pool, and find time to try out a few new ideas. One of those projects was creating scented alcohol.

Most of the articles I read spoke of creating your own perfume, but I only wanted to preserve the scent of summer to remind me of my gardens. I used moonflowers and nicotiana in my white-flowered blend. In another blend, I used anything and everything that smelled good without looking up information first to see if they were toxic. Smelling a fragrance is usually not dangerous, but rubbing an alcohol with an essential oil infused into it onto your skin could be life-threatening if the plant or flower is toxic. If I was hoping to create something I could put on my skin, I would make sure I used only flowers and leaves that were both fragrant and edible.

The project was simple. I bought some vodka, a very inexpensive blend, which although it had no fragrance of its own, was so cheap, it assaulted my nose every time I smelled it. The harshness did eventually disappear, but when I try my scent-making again, I will use a better quality vodka.

I used mason jars. The plastic lids I have for them create a great seal. I filled the jar with some vodka, added clean flowers, and let them sit. In fact, the flowers in the photograph are still in the vodka. The alcohol helps preserve their form and color. Eventually, the nose-wrinkling properties of the vodka disappeared and a slight scent was present. I strained the first batch of flowers out after a week or so, and added more. I kept this up over a period of several weeks. Now, in mid-winter, I enjoy smelling the perfumed vodka (called an absolute) created from summer’s flowers and foliage.

Now is the time to plan out flowers and plants to place in your garden if you want to create a scented alcohol  (absolute) of your own. A few I used were: moonflowers, nicotiana, scented geranium leaves, pansies, alyssum, lemon balm, lemon verbena, rose petals and others. A few of these are non-toxic, but some are poisonous. This year I will create a non-toxic blend and see if it will work as a perfume.