Perfect Peace


Last weekend we took a drive out to my brother’s home in Winchester, VA. The ride in itself is peaceful, and I always enjoy seeing the hillsides dotted with dairy cows and sheep along the way. As we crossed  over the Shenandoah River, the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains came into view, revealing the slightest hint of fall colors beginning to show along their peaks.

Hidden Treasure

The highlight of my visit is a short walk down the winding path to a hidden gem, a treasure tucked behind a grove of hickory trees. I’ve named it Peaceful Pond, because that is what it is to me. Tranquility. Serenity. Peace-filled.

It is a tiny farm pond, probably only 6 feet deep at its center, and less than an acre in size, but it has abundant life within it and along the muddy banks.

What I most treasure is the sound of the pond . . . a beautiful melodic blend of birdsong and leaves fluttering in the fall breeze. It is the very sound of nature.

And there is an abundance of colorful wildflowers and weeds rimming the pond’s edge, with pink, purple and yellow petals, and plenty of cattails.

We’ve seen turtles and frogs, geese and Red-Winged Blackbirds. The pond is teaming with Largemouth Bass and Bluegill. It is the perfect place to spend an afternoon casting and reeling to your heart’s content. And if you take time to look for them, you will also see the tracks of raccoon, squirrel and deer left in the mud where they stopped for a drink.

We all need a spot like this . . . a place for peace, a getaway when life becomes overwhelming, as it seems to be most days of late. It serves as a reminder that there is peace in the simplicity and perfection of God’s creation.

☁️🌥⛅️🌤☀️

Yes, these are unsettling times. There is so much uncertainty, so much anxiety and so much stress. Behind our masks, there is fear and anguish. We have lost our way and we each need to find a place of peace.

I am reminded of a verse from the prophet Isaiah:

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” — Isaiah‬ ‭26:3‬ ‭

Where can we find “perfect peace”? Is there such a thing?

When I find myself lately being drawn into despair, I turn my thoughts back to Jesus, my Rock and the source of all peace. It is a peace found not only beside quiet ponds in the woods, but in the midst of the chaos around us. His peace is steadfast and ever-present. Be still and trust that God remains in control.

Growing Anticipation

For a month with only 28 days, February sure seems to be the longest month of the year. We’re all hunkered down, hibernating until warmer weather arrives.

Growing Pains

This is a month of anticipation for gardeners. In our house that means starting seeds!  Discussions have begun about what to plant and where to plant it. Much like life itself, that entails addressing successes and failures from the past.

I am not the gardener, so I can only brag about my husband, Neil’s successes. They included his delicious crops of lettuce, cucumbers and Delicata squash. The biggest failure, however, almost proved catastrophic. Because we had such a wet summer, the rain saturated the ground, then splashed pathogens up onto the leaves above. This caused a lot of disease and premature rot, particularly on the tomato plants.

Planting Plans
Max loves his oat grass!

Undeterred, Neil has spent months planning this year’s garden and has a plan in place to avoid similar issues. He is also taking full advantage of our “grand-bunnies”, Max and Charlie.  Throughout the winter he has been collecting their bunny beans. There is also a worm farm in our basement. Bet you didn’t know that worm castings are amazing fertilizer. From the outside, our home looks as normal as the others in the neighorhood, but there is a lot growing on inside!

While winter has kept my hubby from his vegetable garden, it hasn’t prevented him from trying out some indoor growing. We have enjoyed a variety of sprouts in our salads — radish, mustard, alfalfa, cress and mung bean. All were delicious. And now, he is harvesting . . . (wait for it) . . . mushrooms! Neil did a lot of research and has tried out two varieties: Shitake and Grey Dove Oyster. He is like a mad scientist with his “fruiting chamber.” But that is a post for another time.

Sowing Seeds of Love

Today as I was thinking about spring and the upcoming growing season, I marveled at the amazing abundance that comes from one tiny seed. What an awesome creation that sustains both man and beast!

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. (Genesis 1:11)

God was and is the greatest gardener of all time.

Have patience. The warmer weather will come, and with it the beautiful flowering buds and songbirds returning to nest. What a glorious gift that we can anticipate during the rest of the wintry days!