Monday, May 23, 2011


You visit the earth and water it,
   you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
   you provide the people with grain,
   for so you have prepared it.
                                      Psalm 65:9

It is a well-known fact that God has sense of humor.  In fact, it is showing up in green on my deck.  It has taken the form of some yummy Bibb Butterhead Lettuce.  I tried to grow this lettuce last summer and my harvest was half of a salad to split between me and my husband.

This year, I learned better.  Having discovered that lettuce is a cool weather plant, I stuck the seeds in the dirt during the cold of early March.  My planting ritual was no more than that.  I did no preparation of the soil.  My planting involved no more than poking a finger in the potting mix, dropping in seed, then running back into the warm house.  My care of the plants has been negligible. 

My lavish harvest mocks me.

I have worked much harder with the tomatoes, herbs and all the other plants that I hope will one day be dinner.  I have been careful to mix the right things into the soil, to note the light requirements, to water at the proper times.  I have treated my new transplants as gingerly as you could possibly imagine.  The results to date have been mixed and are mostly yet unknown.  But my amazing crop of lettuce – grown from seed practically thrown into a bucket, then ignored – would seem to ridicule my effort, except for the one word God whispers in my ear.  “Grace.”

We unknowingly live in a world of grace.  In spite of the many ways we can hurt and be hurt, we are granted an abundance of the things we really need:  air, sunlight, soil, and people around us to help bring in the harvest.  Most of these things we couldn’t do for ourselves no matter how hard we tried.  Still we continue to act as though we were self-made, insisting that the fruits we enjoy must be of our own labors.  I believe God would beg to differ.

Whether we recognize it or not, we are a people who are saved and who live by grace.  If we work a lot or only a little, our very existence depends on the benevolent Sustainer who has created a world that will feed us.  We are called to give our best effort, but our work alone will not guarantee our sustenance.  Our task is not, however, to work less hard but to accept with gratitude that our God has given us the tools that we start with.

We experience grace in both our wildest successes and our worst failed efforts.  And every now and again, God will completely surprise us with undeserved riches.  My riches even came in green, though not the usual kind:  thick succulent lettuce leaves.  This is grace.  I’ll take it any day.

I haven’t used recipes when I’ve eaten my lettuce, so I’ll include a yummy soup recipe that I ate along with a salad.  Enjoy.

Blessed eating!

Chicken Enchilada Bisque
2 quarts water                   1 ¼ c. corn meal
1 large onion, chopped    1-2 lbs. chicken, shredded
1 t. ground cumin             1 t. chili powder
1 t. garlic powder             1 can chopped green chilies
2 c. sr. cream
Spray 4 qt. pot with oil.  Add water and corn meal.  Stir until all lumps dissolve.  Bring to a boil.  When mixture starts to bubble, continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add chopped onion, chicken, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and chilies; let mixture simmer on low, stirring occasionally.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add sr. cream just before serving.  Cook, stirring occasionally until heated through.  Makes 6-8 servings. – Diane Taylor

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