view from the ridge

  • Maggie Wallem Rowe

1- The winner of last week's giveaway of a new copy of Holy in the Moment is Jennifer of South Dakota. Congratulations!

2- And a special giveaway & request. To celebrate this week's six-month birthday of This Life We Share, I’m giving away two hardcover copies inscribed to anyone of your choice. (Christmas gift, maybe?) If you have a personal copy already and have read enough to form an opinion but have not yet added a review to the Amazon page, could you please do so to help us reach our goal? Thank you!

3- But here’s what I really want you to know on Election Day 2020: Either way, we’ll be all right.

I’m posting this just before I head to our polling place here in North Carolina. We may be in for a long wait surrounded by folks with a short fuse. Or not. But here’s what I know for sure: Regardless of whether we learn whom the next President will be tonight or early tomorrow, next week or next month, we’re going to be alright.

Despite the dire predictions cast by both parties, life as we know it will not end in the next four years if their candidate is not elected. It’s been a tremendously difficult year for millions, but most of us we have access to food, shelter, and clean water. We also have a biblical mandate to care for those who lack those resources. The God who loves the world chooses to work through us to meet the needs of others. What a tremendous privilege!

You’ve probably heard about the musical blessing that has become the anthem of God’s people since the pandemic began. Take a moment to listen to this global rendition.

Close your eyes and let the words of Numbers 6:24-27 wash over you in languages from around the world, reminding us that the One in charge of the universe is still on the throne.

I have so much else I had planned to share with you today: Words of encouragement on getting your stamina back when you’re living with a slow drain (of energy, not your sink), and what to do when you’re caught in a daily grind that feels endless. Those will keep for other weeks.

Please do leave a comment if you’d like to win one of the two personalized copies of This Life We Share, or if there is anything at all I can pray for you personally.

And then take another moment before you click away and click here instead, joining me in worship to the words of this anointed offering by Andrew Peterson:

Do you feel the world is broken? (We do) Do you feel the shadows deepen? (We do) But do you know that all the dark won't stop the light from getting through? (We do) Does the Father truly love us? (He does) Does the Spirit move among us? (He does) And does Jesus, our Messiah hold forever those He loves? (He does) Does our God intend to dwell again with us? (He does)

Either way, beloved friends, it's going to be alright.

Copyright 2020, Maggie Wallem Rowe

  • Maggie Wallem Rowe

Photo credit: New England Autumn, October 2020, Adam Wallem Rowe

Could you use a mental break today, or would you prefer a long, sober post about the gravity of COVID and the need to vote and the threat of natural disasters and the rising price of groceries in Albania?

Thought so. You’re already up to speed on everything except maybe Albania.

So please come sit by me here on the porch at Peace Ridge and let me pour you a glass of sweet tea. A college friend was visiting yesterday from California and we made Michael a mountain breakfast: a big old pot of cheesy grits, fresh banana bread, and Carolina sausage balls. You’re not here to help us eat the leftovers, so here’s a recipe along with 4 other cheery mentions of some of my favorite things lately!

Carolina Sausage Balls

1 lb. ground country sausage
2 1/2 cups biscuit baking mix (approximate)
12 oz sharp Cheddar, grated (it’s better when you shred it yourself)
1 tsp paprika or to taste
Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine crumbled up sausage, baking mix, paprika and cheese. Form into small balls a bit larger than a walnut and place on baking sheets. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown. So good! Makes a bunch, and you can freeze the leftovers and reheat them at 375 for 10 minutes.

(2) Want to know how to make your skin look young(er) and glowing even when you’re not and it isn’t? (Now that sounds like an ad, but among the many things I am not, cosmetics saleswoman is one of them. I leave that to the pros.)

Last year I discovered MILK highlighter, and it’s amazing! A one-ounce swivel-up tube has lasted me 18 months already, as it only takes a tiny swipe across the cheekbones. It’s hydrating and light-reflecting, which is great for those of us with dry skin. I love this product!

Dahlia garden at Peace Ridge yesterday, with longtime college friend Michael Gregory

(3) A book that’s feeding my soul this fall (more satisfying than sausage balls), is Ginger Harrington’s Holy in the Moment: Simple Ways to Love God and Enjoy Your Life (Abingdon).

Given the difficulty of making future plans during this pandemic, it’s more important than ever to live mindfully and intentionally. Ginger’s writing teaches us to live in the power of the Spirit, and to bring God glory moment by moment in the choices we make.

· "When difficulties threaten to derail your faith, make one holy choice to believe God is with you.
· "When the world glitters and entices with all the pretty things, make one holy choice to love God with all your heart.
· "When you feel alone and it’s all on you, make one holy choice to abide in Christ and receive His life as your source.
· "When you struggle and strive for control, make one holy choice to surrender.
· "When you are weary from trying to do it all, make one holy choice to rest in the provision of God.
· "When the needs of the day overwhelm, make one holy choice to pray.
· "When your thoughts and feelings elevate perception, make one holy choice to embrace truth.
· "When temptations beckon, make one holy choice to obey.
· "When issues arise in your relationships, make one holy choice to forgive." - Ginger Harrington

JUST ONE CHOICE each time, friends…we can do this!

4) Looking for a simple craft that costs almost nothing and that you can do with the kids or grands? Here’s what I’m planning to make with ours: a winter twig

wreath! You can find simple instructions at the link to one of my favorite inspy sites, Thistlewood Farms.

5) Grit & Grace! My favorite group, Balsam Range, recently released a new single that has become stuck in my brain in the best of ways. Even if you’re not a bluegrass fan, take a listen to the video here, and pay special attention to the chorus:

“With one part moxie, another part mettle
I found mercy refusin’ to settle…
In sacrifice and second -guessing, finding strength in every blessing,
Through all the tears and fears I had to face,
I supplied the grit, and God supplied the grace.”

Friend, you've GOT the grit, and I can tell you right now, God's got the grace to go with it.

{And because sharing good things is just plain fun, I have a copy of Holy in the Moment to share with you! Please leave a comment after the post, and we'll draw a name!}

The wonderful realtor who sold our home in Wheaton gave us this personalized vase. Makes me smile every time!

Maggie's first book, This Life We Share, has just released from NavPress.

If you are reading it, please consider leaving a brief review on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, and/or Reviews and recommendations help get the message into more hands, hearts, and minds. Thank you!

That question looks as if my hands got lost on the keyboard, doesn’t it?! But do you know where they’ve actually been? Grubbing around in nature’s general store.

In English, Nv Wok Ti Tsa La Gi means “Cherokee Medicine Plants.” Since I’m determined to stay enrolled in the School of Lifelong Learning, I took a second class through the Smoky Mountain Field School. The first, on the habits and habitats of our native black bears, gave me a healthy regard for our furry neighbors. The second was a fascinating tutorial on the native plants that the first human inhabitants of these mountains used as their pharmacy.

Ila, our instructor, married into a Cherokee family and moved onto the Snowbird reservation, where she learned traditional methods of treating illness and injuries from her husband’s grandmother. “Granny women” are greatly respected in the hills and hollers of Appalachia, and medicine women are more common among the Cherokee than medicine men.

Did you know you can treat high fevers with the inner bark of the dogwood tree? Or that sumac berries can be brewed into a tart thirst-quenching beverage or warmed to sooth a sore throat?

Sassafras is useful for high blood pressure, wintergreen treats inflammation, and yellow root, which flourishes near riverbanks, can be brewed into an antibacterial tea soothing to mouth or stomach ulcers. Use it cautiously, though.

Ila holding yellow root picked by the bank of the Oconaluftee River

“The Cherokee would never give yellow root to a woman expecting a child,” Ila commented, “because it contains berberine, which is harmful during pregnancy. Indians did not use plants known to be abortifacients. Children were always wanted and would be raised by the tribe.”

But do you want to know what native plant the women in our class clamored after? Spicebush!

“Spicebush berries can be ground like pepper and used like allspice,” Ila noted as she pulled some from a nearby tree. "And brewed with the limbs of the spicebush tree, you have an anti-inflammatory tea that keeps your hair from going gray. Most Indians don’t turn gray until they’re in their 80’s!”

Holding a packet of spiceberries and a jar of scuppernong jelly, made by our teacher

Ila reminded us that the plants indigenous to an area are always best for the environment.

“We have an invasive plant problem in the Southern Appalachians,” she pointed out. “We all know that kudzu is ‘the plant that ate the South,’ but you also don’t want to introduce ailanthus (tree of heaven), or multiflora roses into your yard. Some of them emit harmful chemicals that negatively impact native plants, and they’ve even been linked to ozone pollution. Use plants on your land that are native to this region instead.”

Our neighbors Richard and Patty have this sign in their garden

Ever since my class with Ila, I’ve been pondering invasiveness.

Though I’m now a year-round “local,” I’ll never be native to this beautiful region. I don’t want to come in like an invasive plant, taking root and taking over.

Instead, I’m asking God to root out that which is potentially destructive - insidious diseases like racism, perfectionism, legalism – all the isms that negatively impact the spiritual soil around me. The only thing I want to have invasive about me is my faith.

Faith that glorifies the Creator more than his creation.

Faith that hopes greatly and loves generously.

Faith that knows that Earth was never intended to be our native soil.

A faith so long, so wide and so deep it can never be uprooted.

“And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself.” Eph.3:17-19 LB