Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A Port in the Storm


Just the prospect of bread and cheese and coffee was enough to make me pull out the umbrella and set out on a stormy Saturday.

Tucked into an older neighborhood I hadn’t been to in years, East End Market offers an umbrella {pun intended} for food artisans to sell their products, all under one roof. 

Locally roasted coffee, freshly baked bread and hand-crafted cheeses sounded divine.

If only I could get to it.



The parking lots were full since I suppose everyone else had the same idea to explore an indoor marketplace on a rainy day. After dodging puddles in a soggy field from across the street, I made it to the front door.

A line of people snaked single-file from one end of the hall filled with merchant stalls to the other. Tables were full, the one full-service eatery wasn’t open yet, and there weren’t any available chairs at the counters.

After wandering to and fro, I thought about juggling a cup of coffee with a slice of bread and wedge of cheese as I walked, but instead, I took out my umbrella and made my way back across the street to the soggy parking lot.

No bread, no cheese, no coffee. I left with my hands empty.



Sometimes the refuge that seems so promising on your journey is not the port in the storm you thought it would be. 

The rain pours, the wind whips, and you end up with dripping expectations and soggy jeans flapping around your legs. 

{Or maybe that’s just me with the soggy jeans.}

These stormy seasons -- they come as sure as we set off on the road to someplace new, or think we’ve had an epiphany that lights up the night, or feel sure that at last we’ve turned a corner leaving dead ends behind.

Are we sure then, that this is the way?




We wade through puddles, trying to avoid sinking down in the mud, all for the hope of something warm and fresh that fills our desires, that hunger for more that spurs us on.

Along the way we realize that storm was only a spring shower, bringing the rain to water what’s growing down deep inside of us. 

The dark, the clouds, the soaking shower, all of it is necessary for the deeper work God is growing in us.

We forget that this is the way things work. 

For every flower that blooms in the spring, there was a winter it was darkly buried in dirt as a seed, with no sign of life. There were cold spells and days of rainy weather to bring into bloom what we only see in full flower. 



Maybe you’re tempted to dig up those seeds that hold a hidden hope or a daring dream.  

Might you hold onto these tender shoots in prayerful wait for them to bloom in a future season?

Maybe they're not washed out {or washed up}. Maybe they're not caught up in the wind and blown away, never to return. Maybe as sure as the seasons change, a new season is on the way for you.

But in the meantime? Let us hunger to know more of God.
Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.Hos. 6:3
Surprisingly, Saturday's soggy expedition to the market wasn't in vain.


The next day I was perusing their website and noticed they'd just posted a new class in their demonstration kitchen: The Art of Preserving

As in fruit. Now that sounds like my kind of art.

I've never made jam before. {Or even considered it.}

But an artisanal chef that makes gourmet preserves is going to teach us how to make Blueberry Grenache Spoon Fruit (a perfect blend of blueberries and red wine) and Triple Berry Spoon Fruit (a blend of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries). And they said they'll provide the bubbles and nibbles.

Doesn't that sound delicious?

I signed up. 

Stay tuned, I can't wait to share my adventures in fruit preservation!


And this time, maybe I'll even buy a loaf of bread and a round of cheese while I'm there.



I'm having coffee with my friends at Holley Gerth at Coffee for your Heart and with Bonnie Gray at the Faith Barista. Join me there!





24 comments:

  1. Love this - There are so many promising possibilities in life, I find it funny how they are disguised sometimes! You don't always get the the positive outcome you expected, but sometimes the outcome is even better. There is a reason for a lot of things, and I feel like there was a reason you entered that market, and there is a reason you stumbled across this class!

    I cannot wait to hear about your adventure in jam making! Sounds like a blast!

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    1. Brittany,
      I'm hoping jam-making will be my new thing?! I agree -- sometimes if we look beyond what's apparent, there's more than meets the eye! :)

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  2. Don't like soggy jeans one bit but loved the story you wove. This is life, isn't it? And even in this life we can live abundant as God has promised. We're not even in our rainy season yet in Florida! Hope you write about the jam making class. It does sound fun.

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    1. Hi Debby,
      That Saturday all-day rain was unusual for us Floridians, wasn't it? At least when the rainy season hits, the shower comes quickly and ends just as fast! But yes, that is life, for sure!

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  3. I audibly sighed for you when you said you left empty handed!! Your words drew such a picture in my mind- you have a real gift Valerie! And I rejoiced at how your exploration led you to something better! ...The old teach a man to fish (or preserve..!) quote came to mind... And I have that warm fuzzy feeling that we're on the same wavelength today-- More of God is always the right path ♥ Everything in it's season. Amen? ♥

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    1. Hi Heather,
      I think sometimes we're too quick to write something off as a failure, aren't we, when it just needs a little more time to come to fruition! Yes, we are on the same wavelength today! I can't wait for the jam class -- it will be interesting I'm sure! :)

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  4. Thank you for these morsels of hope you've given us, Valerie. That necessity of darkness, clouds, and showers for God to work deeper in us. This really touches my heart - "For every flower that blooms in the spring, there was a winter it was darkly buried in dirt as a seed, with no sign of life." Beautifully written and full of hope! Have fun with the jam-making class! Blessings and hugs to you!

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    1. Hi Trudy,
      Ahhhh --- love that -- morsels of hope! You're such an encourager with your wonderful words! I can't wait to share the jam-making class, since there's always some sort of humor I encounter when I attempt anything to do with cooking! :)

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  5. Oh, your soon-to-come jam class reminds me of some of my own jam-escapades (read "rock-candy" plum jam, or "syrup" wild grape jelly) that were such fun times of sharing with friends & family. I hope you get to enjoy your class with a friend or two? But I am thankful for your sharing of thoughts in the middle of your days here; I know that Jesus is using your words to expand my own perception of where I meet up with friends! May the Lord continue to bring His Fellowship through your words.

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    1. Bettie,
      So good to hear that you enjoyed your own jam escapades! :)

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  6. I was so disappointed for your rainy, over-crowded morn', Valerie ... and then, just like the resurrection, a new opportunity arose! Can't wait to hear about your class, complete with gorgeous photos, for sure. Just too fun.

    If I lived just a bit closer, I'd invite myself along for the ride. Or at least plan on a little bite of brunch someday ...

    Simply delightful.

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    1. Linda,
      It is too bad that distance stands in the way or it would be too fun to have you along for the jam adventure! ;)

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  7. What an adventure you had, Valerie. It's true that the refuge we're expecting is not always as promising as we thought... And I love that Hosea verse. Let's pursue God while we're on the journey.

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    1. Hi Betsy,
      That verse in Hosea surprised me -- I didn't recall running into it before and I think it is just beautiful, too!

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  8. Valerie- That sounds so yummy! I would be disappointed too! I loved this line- and the ones before it- "The dark, the clouds, the soaking shower, all of it is necessary for the deeper work God is growing in us." and you are so right how we forget or want to forget that the hard things bring the beauty- (I just want to beauty ...skip those hard dark rainy things!!) But how much deeper and more real we are because of them! This was so beautiful and thought provoking- ! Cant wait to hear about our class- I just love your pictures too! so delicious and so well done! You are very gifted! xo

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    1. Susie,
      I should start savoring when things turn out opposite of my expectations because they're more entertaining that way! :) And I can't wait to see what happens in the class -- but I have high hopes for it anyway!

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  9. Valerie,
    I have found that I've needed the dreary, rainy, shower-filled seasons in life in order to truly appreciate when the sun and warmth breaks through. Had I not gone through the difficult, I don't think I would savor the taste of goodness as much as I do. Enjoy your class and all those other goodies surrounding you...your pictures make me hungry just looking at them...YUM!
    Blessings,
    Bev

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    1. Hi Bev,
      Those days do help us appreciate the sunny days more -- love that! I'm looking forward to the class!

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  10. I literally laughed out loud at the soggy pants part. Maybe this is why I love the skinny jeans so much - bad memories of flares gone mad....

    These photos are delightful; I feel as if I was there myself on that soggy day! This is so timely for me. God definitely spoke through your words here, thanks for sharing and I hope I can be patient as the seeds are growing! Can't wait to see your jam journey!

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    1. Meg,
      Oh those soggy jeans were not fun and they took so long to dry! Being patient isn't easy and I tend to lose heart, but then when you look back, you see you needed those times to bring forth what was growing! Grateful for your encouraging words!

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  11. Yum! Can't wait to hear :)
    Glad the trip wasn't wasted, but really, nothing is wasted. God sure is the Ultimate Baker. He trims and shapes and molds and that leftover bit comes in handy years down the road.

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    1. Sarah,
      Love that -- God brings good things to life! xo

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  12. Valerie,
    I don't see many men that respond to your blogs, in fact I don't see any at all. I do find that your life experiences and how you relate them to God's word is a great way to get the truth and promises of His love to others. Especially to those readers who are not yet believers.
    Keep planting the seed and watering as the Spirit leads you. I enjoy reading your blogs and pray that God continues to use your work to encourage others to use what God has placed within them.

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    1. Hi Jim,
      Occasionally a man or two may read my blog! :) But all are welcome here! Thank you for your very kind words!

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