In the Beginning, God.

Our family enjoys homemade foods and prepares them as much as possible. We like growing our own organic vegetables and fruits, picking wild berries, and preserving canned and frozen foods for later use. We feel blessed to have our own little garden paradise. A while back, I became interested in making homemade apple cider. We started out by purchasing a small tabletop fruit press. It worked well, but was good for just making small amounts at a time. It became obvious that we needed a bigger press to handle the amount of cider we wanted to process. Fortunately, my husband is somewhat of a “jack of all trades.” He often jokingly adds “and master of none,” but that’s what a man of humility says. Anyway, plans were found online to build a larger fruit press and the wood, tools, and metal parts were purchased. After a lot of hard work and time on Scott’s part, we ended up with a masterpiece! The result was a beautiful homemade fruit press which we now use in the fall to prepare fresh apple cider!

In the biblical account of creation, the Garden of Eden is first mentioned in Genesis 2:8. In the verses prior, we read of the creation of the heavens and earth, light, plants, animals and man. God Himself planted a garden paradise; it was perfect, unlike the lovely, but imperfect garden growing in our yard. In His garden, God caused to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, along with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9).

God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:15-17). It was there in the Garden of Eden where God created woman out of one of the ribs of Adam. Sadly, in this beautiful garden which God marvelously created, man (and woman) failed. Creation became marred by sin. Through the freewill given to man by God, the choice to sin was made. With that choice came consequences – consequences which would forever affect all of mankind.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…..For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ [Romans 5: 12, 17].


Rubus Fruticosis

Within steps of our front door, a beautiful wooded hiking / biking trail can be easily accessed. Yesterday morning as my husband and I bicycled down that trail in search of shiny ripened blackberries, we took in the beauty and wonder of God’s creation. With each rotation of the bikes’ wheels, our senses were stimulated by the constant and quickly-changing sights and sounds. Nature’s amazing scenery laid out before us. The rustling of brush made by an unknown hidden creature, the splash of a startled frog into the stream, the chirping, squawking and songs of birds – never a moment of silence. The universe declaring God’s majesty. Declaring it boldly and beautifully.

Since childhood, blackberry picking has been a favorite hobby, a hobby which we’ve continued to enjoy into adulthood and which we’ve passed on to our sons. On this blackberry-picking day in the July heat, which turned out to be one of the hottest days so far this year in southwestern Pennsylvania, our buckets were slowly filled with the succulent dark purple-black berries. During the 7-mile, nearly 3-hour journey, as the sun’s rays bore down upon us, the same rays which had turned our berries from green to red to ripe, the Lord of all creation declared His majesty. The words of the psalmist filled my mind, my heart, and my being and song lyrics fell from my lips: 

“Lord of all creation, Of water, earth and sky. The Heavens are Your Tabernacle, Glory to the Lord on high. God of wonders, beyond our galaxy. You are holy, holy. The universe declares Your majesty. You are holy, holy.” (Lyrics by Steve Hindalong and Marc Byrd)

Hope Nugget: The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1) [God of Wonders, Third Day]