Sunday, May 31, 2020

Weep with Those Who Weep

A day or so ago I was talking with my daughter Sarah about all the scariness going on, riots and violence.

I mentioned how a lot lately, I’ve noticed more verses in the bible about how God cares, and wants us to care, about the poor, widows, orphaned, the outsider. This morning our pastor Matt used the word marginalized.

James 5:4: Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.

Isaiah 1: 17: Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.

God hears their cries.

Matt gave an excellent example of this. As a parent, if one of my children was stung by a bee and cried out, I would hear and run to help him. Does that mean I don’t love my other children? Of course not.

But this hurt child cries out, and I hear and run to hold them. This is what God asks us to do as well.

Who are the hurt who are crying out right now in our world? African Americans, sick, unemployed, poor, immigrants, disabled? Yes, and more.

Read the gospels and take notice of the people Jesus stopped to talk with.

And as those who long to be more like Jesus, let’s weep with those who weep and speak for them and search for how we can help.

Romans 12:15: Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Age By Living Each Day

Something sad happened last week. A dear lady died, and I want to honor her.

As a volunteer for a local agency, I call to check on elderly people who mostly live alone. I’d only talked with this lady twice, but I looked forward to speaking with her.

The last time I talked with her, two or three days before she died at age 87, she was making homemade yeast bread.

I also love to make bread, so I asked her about it. She told me that she liked to use oatmeal for almost half the amount of flour recommended, to help get more fiber. She sometimes added onion powder for a different flavor.

My family has a history of living into their 80s, so I’ve warned my kids to be ready to put up with me that long, or longer.

My dad lived to be 80. He was born on February 29, so throughout his life he was teased about his age. Finally he was old enough to get his driver’s license on his sixteenth birthday, age 64. On his eighteenth birthday, he could at last vote, age 72.

He was in a nursing home on his 20th birthday, and he joked to the staff there that he was younger than they were.

My mother is 83, and she still lives alone on the farm where I grew up. Two of my brothers live nearby and help her with many things. But until Covid-19 shutdowns, she loved to shop on the Seniors’ bus, go to church, and join her quilting group each week. She hopes to do most or all of that again.

One Sunday morning, our pastor read about a lady who lived to be 85 or 86. At the end of her life, she was still writing out goals for the next ten years.

All of these are my role models. I hope I am baking homemade bread in my last week of life.

Psalm 118: 24: This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Thoughts on Housekeeping

I get an email five days a week from Good, Clean Funnies: - The Good, Clean Funnies List

This one came yesterday, May 21, and I wanted to share. This is some of the most insightful information I’ve read in a long, long time

Thoughts on Housekeeping

Vacuuming too often weakens the carpet fibers. Say this with a serious face, and shudder delicately whenever anyone mentions Carpet Fresh.

Dust bunnies can evolve into dust rhinos when disturbed. Rename the area under the couch "The Galapagos Islands" and claim an ecological exemption.

Layers of dirty film on windows and screens provide a helpful filter against harmful and aging rays from the sun. Call it an SPF factor of 5 and leave it alone.

Cobwebs artfully draped over lampshades reduces the glare from the bulb, thereby creating a romantic atmosphere. If your spouse points out that the light fixtures need dusting, simply look affronted and exclaim, "What? And spoil the mood?"

In a pinch, you can always claim that the haphazard tower of unread magazines and newspapers next to your chair provides the valuable Feng Shui aspect of a tiger, thereby reducing your vulnerability. Roll your eyes when you say this.

Explain the mound of pet hair brushed up against the doorways by claiming you are collecting it there to use for stuffing hand-sewn play animals for underprivileged children.

If unexpected company is coming, pile everything unsightly into one room and close the door. As you show your guests through your tidy home, rattle the door knob vigorously, fake a growl and say, "I'd love you to see our Den, but Fluffy hates to be disturbed and the shots are SO expensive."

Don't bother repainting. Simply scribble lightly over a dirty wall with an assortment of crayons, and try to muster a glint of tears as you say, "Junior did this the week before that unspeakable accident...I haven't had the heart to clean it..."

Mix one-quarter cup pine-scented household cleaner with four cups of water in a spray bottle. Mist the air lightly. Leave dampened rags in conspicuous locations. Develop an exhausted look, throw yourself onto the couch, and sigh, "I clean and I clean and I still don't get anywhere..."

A cheerful heart is good medicine... (Prov 17:22a)

PS: Did anybody besides me wonder what feng shui was? Here’s what I discovered:

feng shui, NOUN, (in Chinese thought) a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy (qi), and whose favorable or unfavorable effects are taken into account when siting and designing buildings.

Friday, May 15, 2020

One Spring Trip

Murray, Ping-Hwei and I went to visit Sarah in Wisconsin the second weekend of March. Talk of the corona virus was just warming up, and we’d planned another trip two weeks later, to visit Rebecca in Iowa and my mother in Missouri. That second trip didn’t happen.

We had a couple funnies on our drive to Wisconsin.

In a gas station, the guy at the counter sold us two sodas for the price of one. He said, “A discount, just because of the times we’re going through.”

At another gas station, I couldn’t find my way out of the bathroom. I kept walking and searching for the door. Finally, Murray, outside, heard my cane banging around, and he opened the door and called, “Kathy?”

At some points in my life, I would have been really mad about all that. Either mad at myself, because I couldn’t do something so simple as get myself out of a bathroom. Or I would have tried like crazy to come up with a way to blame someone else for it.

This time it just made me laugh.

Sarah and Murray went to Alde shopping at 9:00 on Saturday morning, and they said about 40 people were lined up waiting. When the lady opened the door to let them in, she said, “We’re all out of everything.”

I wondered if that might have been a dangerous thing for her to say, but Sarah said people laughed, and it wasn’t crazy in the store.

This was right before shut downs, stay-at-home, early hour shopping for seniors, one-way aisles. Shortages on some supplies had already begun, however.

Sarah finished graduate school this May, so Ping-Hwei took her an early graduation present, a huge stuffed dog with long ears. Murray and I wanted to provide her with a special gift for her accomplishment, too, so we brought her two 12-packs of toilet paper. We are so proud of her.

I realized this would be the last time I’d see Sarah’s apartment, which made me a little sad.

It’s probably for the best. For at least the second time, I spilled coffee on Sarah’s carpet, and she and Murray worked hard to clean up the stain. I’ll probably owe for damages to her place when they inspect it when she leaves this summer.

We’ve stayed at the same hotel several times, and Murray chats a lot with the people at the front desk. When we came in Saturday evening, Murray turned to them and said, “We’re really exhausted. In about twenty minutes, could you send someone up to tuck us in?” they laughed and said sure.

We like to visit the church Sarah attends when we’re in Wisconsin, but by Sunday, most churches had switched to online services.

Caleb called to ask what we were doing Sunday morning, and I said we were listening to our Lakewood, Ohio church in Wisconsin. He said he was planning to listen to his online too.

Ping-Hwei likes to laugh and say Sarah kicks us out so she can do her homework. This weekend, she had a really hard project to work on, so she said, “I’m going to need to kick you out before dinner tonight, so I can focus.” Ping-Hwei was delighted.

One of the things we liked best about the hotel we stayed in there was free breakfast. They usually have a nice, small buffet. By the day we left, they were no longer serving the buffet. They offered to fix us a box breakfast of whatever we wanted and bring it out to us from the kitchen. We’ll miss that hotel.

It was kind of a strange trip, but I’m glad we were able to go before things shut down.

Friday, May 8, 2020

When God Whispers Your Name

When God Whispers Your Name by Max Lucado

Max Lucado, an author, minister and speaker, is someone who has given me much peace and encouragement over the years. I’ll share a few gems I found in this book.

John 2:1-2: On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.

 Jesus was invited to the party. Why? Because he was known as someone fun. Someone they wanted there. He wasn’t famous yet. The miracle of changing water into wine wasn’t known by anyone there except the men who drew the water and Jesus’ mother.

The bible doesn’t say he preached a sermon at the wedding. He was someone who enjoyed parties, who liked to have fun. Who said Christians shouldn’t have fun?

Heroes can doubt.

John the Baptist is definitely a hero in the history of Christianity, sent to introduce Jesus’ ministry. Yet toward the end of his life, from prison, he wondered if Jesus was who he’d thought.

Jesus did not rebuke him for these doubts, but sent him words of encouragement. Matthew 11:1-15.

IN Acts 8, Philip was involved in sending Christianity to Africa, because he listened to what the Holy Spirit told him to do.

People who worship Jesus as God and hold that the Bible is the inspired word of God, sometimes have different understandings of what some of those words from God mean. If God accepts someone as his child, shouldn’t I call them my brother, my sister?

Because of Calvary, I have choices. I can choose the fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5, including peace. I can live forgiven. And forgiving.

Mr. Lucado reminded me of one of my favorite passages, Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus asks me to leave my burdens, my sack of rocks, my regrets, with him.

One day God will whisper our name, a new name he has made just for us. He must have quite a future planned for us, since he thinks we need a new name for it.

Revelation 2: 17: Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.

And all the wonder we can imagine of Heaven won’t come close to the truth.

1 Corinthians 2: 9: However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love him—

Friday, May 1, 2020

Kathy's Kitchen, Laughs and Bread Pudding

I love making homemade bread. Kneading, feeling the dough come to the right consistency, is fun for me. And when the bread turns out good—what a shot of hopefully not too much pride in myself.

But this year, for whatever reason, it hasn’t risen the last several times I’ve made it. Bummer.

A couple weeks ago, I decided to use a loaf of unrisen bread to make the bread pudding my Mom used to make.

I remembered most of the ingredients, guessed how much of each. I didn’t feel I needed to call my mom to ask her.

I crumbled up the bread, added cinnamon and vanilla, threw in some butter. I didn’t have any raisins. Finally I gave in and called Mom about the amounts of eggs and milk.

It was all mixed up; I asked Murray to pour it in the baking dish for me and smooth it out. All ready. Oven was heated. I took hold of the pan and prepared to put it in.

Whoops, I forgot sugar.

“I don’t have to put it back in the bowl, do I?”


We did. I started dumping in sugar, but Murray thought it would be a good idea to call Mom again and ask her how much. On the phone with Mom he said, “Stop, that’s enough,” as I started to add more.

It turned out great, despite everything. I’ll definitely do it again, but I hope I don’t have to use a loaf of unrisen homemade bread.

Bread pudding from Kathy’s Mom

Crumble up about a loaf worth of dried or stale bread. Add two eggs, two cups milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 cup sugar, a large spoonful of butter, raisins if desired.

Mix all ingredients and press into a greased baking dish. I used a casserole dish. You could use a square baking pan, 9 inches, or even a 9 by 13 if you've got enough bread. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.

PS: I shared this recipe with a friend, but it took me two emails to get it to her. Because the first time, I forgot to include the sugar in the recipe.

We never stop laughing in Kathy’s kitchen.