Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Work, Home and Family - "God, our maker, Does Provide...."

One of the things that is very frightening to me about our upcoming Internship Year is how on earth we're going to make ends meet financially.  We are SO VERY GRATEFUL for this season of "practice" and getting ready and being prepared. 

I have always believed that God really and truly does provide for what we need. 

This summer I have redoubled my efforts as a homemaker as well as a wife, mother and all the other hats I wear to make sure that we are truly good stewards of what we have been provided with.  This year that includes making sure we eat, preserve or otherwise use all the fresh food that we are granted, no matter how it comes to us.  I know that I will need to do this so we have enough to eat in the future and I want to make my mistakes now, while I have wiggle room, rather than when I don't have an extra nickel to spare!

As I was shredding zucchini by hand this week to make zucchini bread (I don't have a whole lot of kitchen gadgets and strong arms are a good thing!), I started singing this hymn:

Come, You Thankful People, Come
Text by Henry Alford
Tune by George J. Elvey
Come, you thankful people, come;
Raise the song of harvest home.
All is safely gathered in
Ere the winter storms begin.
God, our maker, does provide
For our wants to be supplied.
Come to God's own temple, come,
Raise the song of harvest home.
All the world is God's own field,
Fruit unto His praise to yield.
Wheat and tares together sown,
Unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade, and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear.
Lord of harvest, grant that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.
For the Lord our God shall come
And shall take His harvest home.
From His field shall in that day
All offenses purge away.
Give His angels charge at last
In the fire the tares to cast,
But the fruitful ears to store
In His garner ever more.
Even so, Lord, quickly come
To Your final harvest home.
Gather all Your people in,
Free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified,
In Your garner to abide.
Come, with all Your angels, come,
Raise the song of harvest home!
What a wonderful reminder that our Heavenly Father provides everything we need - not always what we want, though He does provide us with some of that too!  I am so very, very blessed by what I have.  And in turn, I need to respond by being a good steward.   A steward is a caretaker - someone who cares for the things owned by another.  Since the Lord is the owner of everything, it means we are the stewards of what we "own" in this earthly life.
In trying to be a good steward of what we have been given, I have been making more of an effort to blanch and freeze what we won't eat in a week and cook with what we have, rather than what just sounds good that day.  
 So far this summer I've frozen:
* 4 meals of cabbage rolls
* 4 meals of peas
* 3 meals of broccoli
* 2 meals of zucchini-potato pancakes
* 2 meals of green beans
I have also this summer:
* dried basil, oregano, sage, dill, and cilantro for cooking with during the year
* dried mint leaves for herbal tea
* made mango salsa (we ate some, but some went in the freezer for later)
* made mango Popsicles
* made mango sorbet
* made 2 jars of pickled beets (for my dad!)
I have also made arrangements to borrow a canner and hope to can tomato sauce later this summer. 
I often hear from Mom's who work outside of the home that they don't have time to cook and preserve.  I usually tell them that they need to change what they're cooking if that's the case. 
Meals don't have to be elaborate and the crock pot is often my best friend during the school year!  I usually blanch and freeze when I'm making dinner, when I'm already using the stove and working in the kitchen. The longest part of blanching and freezing is boiling the water so it works out well.  Canning takes more time but you don't have to do it every day and you don't have to do a lot at one time either. 
I usually make soup, stew or roasts in the crock pot and freeze the leftovers for both lunches and future dinners (if you have a larger family, this might not work as well, but for our family of 4 it works great!).  I can usually get dinner that night, two lunches and another dinner out of one crock pot meal.  Sometimes I can get even more meals, depending on what a pair things with.
Remember you don't have to cook a Thanksgiving style dinner every night and using your resources that you have already been provided with may just be a healthier and cheaper option too!
The Lord really and truly does provide for us and we just need to respond accordingly. 
How are you wisely using all that the Lord has provided for you this summer?

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