Last year, I didn't realize until it was too late what those nasty, purple, gooey spots on my car were. I thought they were a nuisance! It wasn't until closer inspection that I saw they were mulberries. Mmmm... mulberries... I remember my mama making mulberry cobbler out of those rich-tasting berries from the tree by the barn. Sadly, I let the berries go to waste last year except for one sandwich size Ziploc bag full.

This year, however, I was ready. I kept an eye out. Each day checking the ground for evidence.

And, finally, that first purple splatter showed up on my car. (This mulberry tree happens to be close to where we park our vehicles.)

Each day for the past week, I religiously picked up mulberries - searching through the leaves on the ground, picking up every last one that wasn't already squished or chewed on by some bird or squirrel, I even put a tarp down to catch them. I didn't want to miss out. I would stay out for about an hour at a time, hunched over picking them up. At times I could hear them plop down in the leaves or on the dirt beside me. Sure enough, if I went in the direction I heard it fall, I would find my treasure. One day, as I was hunched over, I even got hit right smack dab in the back with one. Mulberries are sticky things and this one stuck right to my shirt!

All that picking and scavenging was hard work, but I ended up with exactly the amount I needed for one batch of jam.

But as I gathered those berries day by day, and especially when I was hit with one, I couldn't help but think about blessings...

The LORD promises good to us. He doesn't say it will be easy. He doesn't say it will be painless. We might even have to work for it; keeping our hearts, minds, and attitudes in check and letting His spirit lead us... which is not an easy task for our human selves. But if we follow His will, die daily, and give ourselves to Him, blessings will begin to fall and if we aren't looking, we may miss them... or we may get hit with them head on unexpectedly, but, oh, so gratefully.

As I type this, my jars full of mulberry jam are resting on the counter. I jump each time one seals with that happy, "POP!" I know they are going to seal, yet it still startles me. How much are we like that when the LORD blesses us or works a miracle for us?! How many times do we pray for something and when it comes to fruition are surprised? Did we think He couldn't handle it? Are we surprised our faith actually makes things happen? Silly me. Silly us. We are more than conquerers the Bible says! Yet, we are shocked when the LORD does what He says he is going to or dumbfounded when what we have fiath will happen actually happens.

I've heard at least four pops now. I'm waiting on two more... though I expect them to seal, they may not and I might have to start over on those two... I'll let you think about where I'm going with that one...