Birthdays and Jam for St. John the Baptist

John the Baptist (right) with child Jesus, painting by Bartolomé Esteban Perez Murillo.

Happy Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist!  The best thing about having a birthday today is that I get to share it with St. John the Baptist, and psalm at Mass is this:

Psalms 139

O LORD, thou hast searched me and known me!

Thou knowest when I sit down and when I rise up; thou discernest my thoughts from afar.

Thou searchest out my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

Even before a word is on my tongue, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.

Thou dost beset me behind and before, and layest thy hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it.

Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

If I ascend to heaven, thou art there! If I make my bed in Sheol, thou art there!

 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

 even there thy hand shall lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

If I say, “Let only darkness cover me, and the light about me be night,”

even the darkness is not dark to thee, the night is bright as the day; for darkness is as light with thee.

For thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise thee, for thou art fearful and wonderful. Wonderful are thy works! Thou knowest me right well;

 my frame was not hidden from thee, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.

Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance; in thy book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are thy thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

If I would count them, they are more than the sand. When I awake, I am still with thee.

O that thou wouldst slay the wicked, O God, and that men of blood would depart from me,

men who maliciously defy thee, who lift themselves up against thee for evil!

Do I not hate them that hate thee, O LORD? And do I not loathe them that rise up against thee?

I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!

And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

 It is some seriously beautiful stuff to meditate on on one’s birthday. Because we share a birthday, I have always had a fondness for St. John the Baptist and have thought of him as a patron.
St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

For my birthday today, I asked M if he would take the morning off to can some strawberry jam. We went out to a u-pick berry farm after early Mass on Sunday and picked 28 1/4 pounds of strawberries in about 30 minutes. We did it just in time! As we finished filling our boxes, rain started, and by the time we got back to the car it was a torrential downpour.

L and I did the 12 1/4 lbs. M and G did the 16. Apparently, 5 year olds are better at picking than 3 year olds.

We crushed 14 quarts of whole strawberries and froze them on Sunday. On Monday we cut up, sugared, and froze 4 more quarts.

All the red bags are full of strawberries. Some of them have two quarts worth of crushed berries.
10 pint jars and 2 half pint jars.

Today we turned 6 of those quarts into 11.5 pints of jam. This sounds like a math problem. We only canned 11 pints of it, and the other half pint got put in the refrigerator for immediate eating. How many quarts are still in the freezer? How much jam did we make, but not can? How many sandwiches can you make with the canned jam if you use 1 tablespoon of jam on each sandwich? How much jam can we make with the crushed strawberries left in the freezer? And I am done…If you give me all the right answers before midnight tonight, you can come over and get a half pint of jam or join us for some PB&J sometime.

I decided to not have anyone bake me a cake since the one I wanted would probably take the whole day to make. Instead we bought it from a bakery, and are going to eat it after we go out for some Lebanese food for dinner:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup:Our peanut graham cracker crust layered with dark chocolate French Silk and chunky peanut butter cup silk. Topped with whipped cream, peanut butter cups and roasted peanuts all drizzled with chocolate ganache and caramel.”

The description is making me drool… and I am going to go and do my birthday run now so I can eat more pie…

2 thoughts on “Birthdays and Jam for St. John the Baptist”

  1. happy birthday old lady! and that cake looks delicious! gonna try making some strawberry basil lime jam myself for the first time! hope it works out!

  2. Sounds delish! We just did plain old strawberry. We are going to do a triple berry later in the summer when the raspberries are in season. We did a blueberry lime last year. It was good in yogurt, but M was not a fan so we might skip it this year.

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