HEalthy living


 A BLOG ABOUT LIVING LIFE TO THE FULLEST

Life Marches On

Posted by Mary Jo Hudson on OP6er @ 6:37 PM

Life Marches On

 

In July, we welcomed new life into our family.  She is our first grandchild and I’ve written about how she brought me to my knees as her mother labored to deliver her.  We have visited her, cared for her ill mommy, and welcomed her to our home.  

 

Her visit to our house was brief and unexpected.  It was so welcome, to meet her grandfather and uncle for the very first time.  She smiles and loves to snuggle, so it’s the perfect age and stage to be introduced to new family members.

 

Her first long trip (6 hours) came because her great grandmother was about to exit this life. She was on her ‘last lap of 90 years’ as my husband aptly described.  It was our daughter’s desire to make the introduction of the new generation to the passing generation.  She was successful in achieving that goal.  They made a visit to the hospital where the Great grandmother was receiving care in time for Little Lady to meet and greet.  The Great grandmother was thrilled to have the opportunity to hold and meet this treasure.  She never thought it would really happen. 

 

This is a bittersweet season in the lives of our children.  It is also a wake-up call for them to realize with experience the passing of the baton from one generation to another.  For me, it is the opportunity to watch the fruit of the spirit evidenced in a reverse.

 

This woman, about to leave life as we know it, has spent her life serving others.  She abandoned what she loved doing to devote her energies to rearing four amazing individuals and serve their father.  Her natural talents and love were for radio broadcasting.  If you have met her, you know her distinct voice clearly qualified her.  But in small town Iowa, few were the opportunities for her to use her skills. 

 

Instead, she used the skills her mother modeled as a homemaker.  She cleaned, cooked, organized, and served for the many years her babes grew into adults.  She never complained though I know weariness often overwhelmed her.  She was the epitome of submitting what she wanted for what was required.

 

When her children were grown, she returned to the university where she earned her degree before her marriage and to the radio work for which she was so perfectly suited.  In her last years, she has learned the skills of electronic media to maintain contact with children and grandchildren spread across the country, traveling in and out of the USA.  It has broadened her skill set and kept her active.

 

Now she faces graduation. She has earned her degree in living well, loving deeply, and serving long and hard.  She is about to be birthed into eternity.  She will soon be held in the arms of her Savior, beaming from ear to ear.  There will be no more pain from holding twin boys on each hip, carrying them to keep them out of trouble.  The pain and suffering of enduring divorce, watching her only daughter survive cancer several times, and seeing a grandson’s life changed in a heartbeat will seem like a fog compared to the glory and grandeur of heaven.

 

And I get to watch her children suddenly turn into the care takers, who administer gentleness, kindness, long suffering.  They rise up and call her blessed for they look around them and suddenly see the sacrifices their mother made were the very essence of their existence.  She is the reason they have been successful. For she is the one who taught them moral courage, to laugh at themselves, to give up one’s life to benefit another.

 

We should all be so fortunate to have an example like my mother in law, Frances.  She is one in a million.  If you met her, you know.  If you have met my husband, you can see a glimmer of all that was good and kind in this woman. 

 

Frances Leone Whisler Hudson Nathanson:  December 3, 1927-October 8, 2018. 

Master Chef

Posted by Mary Jo Hudson on OA10er @ 10:44 AM

Master Chef

 

Maybe you have watched one of the two versions of Master Chef on television:  the adult and junior division.  They fascinate me.  I’m introduced to techniques and ingredients which baffle my mind.  Children as young as seven compete against other youth with skills and culinary abilities far beyond me.  

 

Each one seems to have an innate sense of what ingredients work together, balance one another, compliment, contrast and work well together.  Via the television or computer screen, the scents and flavors escape the viewer.  But, I trust the main chef, Gordon Ramsay to judge whether his palate is delighted.

 

Some of the culinary tricks of the trade are unveiled in a book I recently read.  On one of my recent trips south to visit my New Mama daughter, she showed it to me.  I could not read more than a paragraph at time between baby snuggles, so I just wrote the title of the book in my mind and procured a copy at the local library. 

 

If becoming a better chef with a few simple techniques interest you, it might be worth a visit to the library for you, too.  SALT, FAT, ACID, HEAT by Samin Nosrat is the name of the book.  The author details minute changes one might make to bring balance and contract to dishes.  She takes each of the title elements one at a time to discuss how it affects the outcome of a recipe; when one should consider adding it; how to determine the variety to use.  

 

It's fascinating to me. It’s scientific but not so overwhelming the layman cannot comprehend it.  As an example, she discusses WHEN to add salt.  Short beef ribs should be salted 24 hours before cooking.  Chicken breasts need to be salted 10 minutes before cooking.  She explains why.   Likewise, she dictates differences in fat and how and why they affect the outcome of the recipe. From balsamic vinegar to lemon juice, she addresses what acids bring ‘brightness’ to foods, enhancing and clarifying the blend of flavors. I thought the HEAT would be spicy, though she addresses heat as the temperature and duration to which foods should be cooked.  

 

At our daughter’s wedding, our niece, the dietetics major, commented that the reception food had the right balance of sweet, salty, sour.  I thought about it often after the fact.  It wasn’t intentional on our part, but it made me think of the combinations of food we often find pleasing.

 

Lemonade:  a combination of sweet and sour; peanuts and raisins:  the combination of salty and sweet; salt on rhubarb:  the sour and salt blend sure to pucker your lips.  You can think of different combinations that satisfy your taste buds, too.  A meal that combines the 5 senses of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami delight and please.  

 

If burgers and fries please your palate, you don’t need this book but if higher culinary achievements interest you, it’s worth a read.  You might even want to try some of the recipes in the last half of the book.

I'm Not From the South

Posted by Mary Jo Hudson on OA10er @ 10:36 AM

Not from the South     

 

I am a born and bred Iowa farm girl.  I have visited the southern USA several times but I’ve never developed a flavor for some of their favorite vegetables.  Maybe I didn’t stay long enough or maybe what I ate wasn’t prepared in a mouthwatering manner. I’ve heard about these delectable vegetables and decided I would give it a try.  My first attempt created slime.  I was not a fan.  So, I never tried it again.  Though I’m fond of fried foods, we generally avoid frying most of our foods.  The rave reviews I had were of the fried version of this vegetable and I have to say I cannot even imagine it.

 

When I was in elementary school we had several kinds of ‘make it stick’ products:  jar paste the teacher scooped out of gallon jugs and put on a plate in the center of square tables that eight children shared.  The other ‘glue’ was mucilage.  It came in a brown bottle with a rubber ‘cap’.  The cap had a slit in it so when one pushed on the tip, the slit opened and the sticky, liquid came out a drop or many at a time. It was slimy and sticky and brown as the bottle that held it.  It was like rubber cement without the odor.  

 

So, the slime in the vegetable applauded all over the south and the slime in the bottle have something in common:  mucilaginous qualities.  It’s gel-like.  It’s sticky. It’s slimey.  So, vegetables with that texture have never ranked high on my ‘appealing’ list of veggies.

 

But as I began to cook through this new cookbook that came highly recommended, over and over, said vegetable was recommended.  The interesting part of it, though, was the author always indicated her children hate this vegetable but LOVE the dishes made with it.  Sound like a contrast?  I thought so, too.

 

The key for using this ingredient is to blend it into a liquid.  This masquerades what the vegetable is but takes advantage of its ability to hold all the ingredients together.  It’s like starch without the carbs and calories.  In fact, I’ve become a big fan of using this vegetable.  It’s not available in all stores, but I’ve found a store near me where it is in the freezer section.  And, I might even try my hand at growing it in my garden next summer. Might as well…I use plenty of it these days!

 

What is this mystery vegetable?  Okra. Little green pods full of seeds. Cutting it open gives a liquid similar to the aloe that comes from the leaf and is recommended for burns.  The health benefits of okra are being lauded and applauded.  It seems to soothe the digestive tract:  moving things along because it is rich in fiber and yet binding together what needs to be bound. 

 

It's highly recommended to even out blood sugars and diabetics are encouraged to include it in their diets.  It is supposed to be heart healthy, guarding against clots and atherosclerosis, relaxing arteries and blood vessels.  It’s good for eye health preventing macular degeneration and cataracts.  

 

Okra does increase oxalates, so it should be avoided if one is prone to kidney or gall stones. Oxalates are like magnets for these maladies.

 

You might be surprised to hear that my favorite recipe and the one that convinced me to love okra is my ‘Cry no more brownies.’  They are like fudge and decadent.  I kid you not.  Healthy brownies.  That is an oxymoron!  I might not eat okra as a vegetable served with my meal, or even fried, but I’m consuming plenty in casseroles, soups, and desserts.  It’s not detectable but I feel fortified and energized knowing I’m eating what is good for me so painlessly.

The Storm

Posted by Mary Jo Hudson on OA11er @ 11:26 AM

The Storm

 

When I cannot make it to church because of work, I often ‘tune in’ to the sermons online.  When I’m caught up on those, I go to my daughter’s church and listen.  Sometimes, my son in law has the opportunity to preach, which is a real treat for us.

 

One of those sermons recently told an amazing story of an experiment in Arizona.  It was an eco-system that had been built under a dome. It was expansive and there were many climates, controlled and sustained by specialists:  everything from deserts to rain forests.  In one area, a particular tree would grow to mature height and then just fall over.  It puzzled everyone.  In the outside world, this variety of tree withstood strong winds and was anchored by a deep root system.  What was the difference?

 

As scientists explored the differences in the man-made environment vs. the ‘real world’, the only difference was the wind.  Outside the controlled environment, the wind whipped the small sapling, forcing the roots to anchor the tree by growing deep and wide.  In the absence of the wind, the root system was unable to develop.  The foundation of the tree (the root system) was faulty and unable to balance upright growth of the tree, causing it to topple at a particular height.

 

On to another example, found in my kitchen.  Late on Friday night, I looked at the 3 gallon bucket full of ripe tomatoes and realized that the best approach to them was to ‘get ‘er done’.  Years of food preservation have taught me to divide the steps over two days to avoid fatigue.  So, after dinner, that Friday evening, I turned on the boiling water and submerged tomatoes one steamer basket at a time.  I skinned the tomatoes and put them in my trusty roaster, where they would simmer all night with the warm peppers which had abundantly grown in the garden.  

 

The next morning, I awoke earlier than usual and realized I could get the canning started and be done before the football games began.  Motivated by the impending ‘rest’, I hopped out of bed and jarred the Ro-tel tomatoes into lots of little jars and submerged those jars into boiling water.

 

The heat of the boiling water in the canning process drives the air out of the jar, creating a vacuum or ‘seal’.  This preserves the food for later use.  If the water around the jars isn’t boiling or if the jar isn’t left in the boiling water for enough time, the jar doesn’t seal and the food spoils.  Because we feel as if we have been in ‘boiling water’ circumstances through the last year, I was keen to relate these two examples to our spiritual growth and development.

 

We have had a few storms at our house over the last decade or so. The winds were about to blow us over on many occasions as we faced elements we had never imagine nor planned to see. The water has seemed turbulent and hot to us.  We have sweat more than we wanted over things we could not control.  Each storm; every kettle of hot water into which we were submerged gave us a choice. 

 

Would we fret and try to find safe shelter far from the storm?  Would we clamor to higher ground to avoid the tempest?  Would we scamper far away from the boiling water or would we sit and steep in it?  We had to choose our attitude.  We had to decide if we were about to trust a wise God to see us through.  

 

We did not do this on our own and we have made sufficient mistakes in the trek.  But, I do think the windy weather and the boiling water have sent our roots deep and forced a new level of trust.  We have needed to humble ourselves over and over to develop deeper roots.  We have had the air taken away from us to preserve us from the contamination of bad attitudes.

 

This is not us. Because WE would have run to a cave to avoid the storm.  WE would have moved from the hot springs to the cool shade of the beach.  But HE has seen us through.  He has held us in the storm and driven our roots deep.  He has turned the temperature on high and put a lid over us so we have no choice except to bubble in the adversities of life to be preserved despite the circumstances.

 

Without the storms of life, we are weak.  This is why we are to rejoice in all our struggles.  The struggles:  the winds and waves of life; the heat and boiling in which we find ourselves develop strong character and bear the fruit of the spirit.   This is not an individual application:  this is a corporate application.  Each of us within the body of Christ must learn to withstand the difficulties which come before us.  And, united, we stand together to withstand the elements of our culture and make a difference. 

The New Challenge

Posted by Mary Jo Hudson on OA11er @ 11:18 AM

The New Challenge

 

A lady in my Bible study introduced me to a new cookbook she had been using.  I’d read and cooked my way through two previous volumes by the same authors, so I decided to give it a fling.

 

One challenge I face at our home is cooking the proper amount.  When all the children are home, it’s a challenge to remember what quantities I need for hungry boys and girls.  When they are not here, the opposite is true:  I make too much.  

 

As you may remember, I’ve had a few trips south of here to first, visit my new granddaughter, and second care for her while her mother made subsequent trips to the hospital for issues relating to her birth.  Having frozen meals in the freezer was a big boon to my husband and his sister, who comes to stay in my absence.  She is the ‘emergency’ back up, ready to run for a prescription or an errand if need arises.

 

They have feasted on the frozen meals.  There is a list attached to the side of the refrigerator.  All the frozen meals have been placed in the same freezer section so all they have to do is find the item of their desire on the list and then locate it in the freezer.  It’s a little like ‘grab and bake’ menu.

 

So, as I have been cooking my way through recipes that feed 6-8 people (enormous servings sizes). I’ve done one of two things: either I make the recipe as it is written or divide it in half.  The deciding factor is usually the quantity of the ingredients.  It’s harder to divide a 10 oz. jar of Rotel tomatoes, so I would likely just make the entire recipe.

 

Now, I have to decide how to preserve what we will not consume in a meal.  I could make the recipe in two separate containers, dividing it equally.  Or I might make it in one and then transfer it to another container.

 

My children have suggested that in heaven, my mansion will have two things:  shelves covering one wall of every room; and storage containers filling each shelf.  The fact that I like organization is no surprise to my family, who may not have the same tendency.  I abhor looking for something when I need it.  I want it to be in its proper place, to be found, and used.

 

That said, I have lots of storage containers for freezing but not nearly enough that move from the freezer to the oven.  So, I’ve had to become creative in manners of storage.

 

I’m not keen on using aluminum (including foil) containers for much, whether it is cooking or storage. So, I’ve learned to line my glass or plastic storage containers with parchment paper, add ingredients, freeze, then transfer to a freezer bag.  

 

Obviously, parchment paper lines the container.  I’ve experimented with a couple of manners to get the corners to fold just right.  The two favorite ways to make a flat piece of paper into a square is to cut a square shape out where the corner is, fold up the ‘edges’ and voila, a ninety degree angle forms a corner.  The other way is to cut slits so the corner edges fold around one another creating a corner.  If I have something very liquid, I use the latter method, creating more support at the corners.

 

I freeze my food in the parchment paper lined container.  Once it is firmly frozen, I put the frozen container in warm water for just enough minutes so the parchment releases from the container, remove it, and put it in a freezer bag for storage.  This preserves the food item; forms it into a shape for stacking in the freezer and/or returning it to the appropriate container for defrosting and reheating; and it in leaves my container for another project.  I try to use standard sized containers:  8x8; 9x13, etc.  

 

When my apple tree is in full production in the fall, I use a similar system to make frozen apple pie. I put the desired quantity of apples plus the seasonings into a plastic bag, lay the bag in a pie pan and freeze it. Once it is frozen, I remove the pie pan and stack the ‘pie ingredients’ in the freezer.  When I’m ready to bake, the frozen fruit easily slips into the pan, now filled with crust, ready to defrost and bake. 

 

These, folks, are my fast food options.  Dietary restrictions prevent our family from ‘eating out’, so eating in, with quick and easy options are our modus operandi.  Maybe you can glean from what we need to do to have fast food on hand, ready to go.

Everbearing

Posted by Mary Jo Hudson on OA11er @ 11:12 AM

Everbearing

 

Our yard has several kinds of strawberries in it.  One variety is called ever-bearing.  The idea is that fresh strawberries are supposed to arrive through the season. They should start in June and create blossoms which develop into fruit till fall.  Sometimes that works.  Other years, it is not as dependable, because of the rainfall and other elements.

 

Last year I made a big mistake when I planted my garden.  I had decided to try my hand at pole beans.  These are green beans that vine.  I bought bamboo stakes and anchored them in a tepee arrangement and dutifully planted seeds at the base of each of three poles.  I also grow bush beans.  These grow slightly less than knee high, like a mini-hedge.  I decided more bush beans would be a good idea in the last 4’ square, waiting for deposits of seed.  

 

I used my hoe to create trenches in which to lay the beans:  four rows spaced about a foot apart.  The beans were buried a few inches apart, with visions of a nice little plot of green beans that would produce enough green beans for weekly enjoyment.  

 

I finished covering the seeds pushing the dirt with my hoe, and turned the top of my seed packet down, only to realize I had just planted 16 feet of pole beans.  I contemplated whether or not I should dig all the seed back out of the ground.  It must have been the end of the day because I decided leaving the seeds in the ground would be a good experiment.  Besides, fencing was on two sides of this particular corner of the garden.

 

Fast forward many weeks and considerable growth.  It became apparent more support by way of fencing would be necessary for the vines meandering in the air, searching for support to climb.  I found a big piece that could umbrella over the rows and another to create a stop at the end for the vines.  

 

Through the course of the summer, the pole beans bore so many beans, we could not keep up.  We ate them often.  My neighbors enjoyed them.  I froze them weekly.  Still the beans kept producing.  The more I picked the more would be there the next trip to the garden.  

 

They were delicious and we are going to enjoy beans all winter long!  At one point, as I was picking beans, I thought, ‘these are ‘ever-bearing’”.  They didn’t stop.  They just kept on giving and growing and blossoming.  As the blossoms developed less frequently, I decided to prune the vines and let the plants slow down.  They had done yeoman’s duty in production.  Eventually, the cooler temperatures stopped them altogether.

 

These beans reminded me of God’s economy.  The more we give, the more He seems to give us to use to bless others; to produce more; to share and to experience.  It’s the kind of economy I want to grow into.  My little experiment was productive .  But next year, I’m going to pay more attention to the label before I plant 16 feet of green beans!

Inconvenience

Posted by Mary Jo Hudson on OP9er @ 9:15 PM

Are you ever irritated with the mundane, the little things that can go wrong in your life?  Everyone experiences those little inappropriate timings, bumps in the road that raise our ire and make us feel sorry for ourselves.

 

It happened last week at our house.  I came home from my Bible study to learn we didn’t have water.  I wasn’t worried.  We endured the flood of 1993 with no water for what seemed like a long time. We have a 40 gallon water heater in the basement from which we can draw water for washing dishes.  We found a case of bottled water for drinking.  We reserve the dehumidifier water for watering plants and I suppose if I boiled that and let it cool we could use it for handwashing.  I was thankful I’d done the last load of weekly laundry just that morning before departing.

 

It was an inconvenience really.  I hoped the men who were working to fix the problem were not clock punchers who were keen to get home on a Friday afternoon…a weekend without water would be a bigger inconvenience.  They were able to remedy the problem before the weekend arrived.

 

And then, I sat down to check my email.  I’d sent my Hollywood son a package with 3 newly tailored shirts to him.  They were not delivered on the day the USPS promised they would be, so I was keen to know if it happened just a day late.  And, my email account would NOT turn on.  My saved password didn’t trip the right switch. When I typed in the security code I use, it did not work.  Technology baffles me so in my head, it either works or it doesn’t.  Restarting the computer didn’t fix the problem. 

These little bumps in my road are nothing compared to the life of Paul:  shipwrecked; whipped; despised for what he believed and feared by Christians. Do you ever stop and consider the biggest inconveniences we experience in our lives are nothing compared to those of the persecuted?  And, are we so comfortable we never give a thought to scripture memorization so if the Word isn’t available to read, we have it memorized to give us courage and strength to travel whatever road is before us?  

 

It gives me cause to ponder. It makes me think when our lives are so full of conveniences like running water and electricity to operate our gadgets and electrical equipment, we don’t have a clue what is really important. 

 

I don’t know what your week or your weekend holds.  I don’t know what mine holds either.  But, I do know this.  I want to spend a lot more time with the Lord today while I am able.  I want to spend more time hearing his voice.  I want to spend more time reading and rereading His Word so it is inscribed on my heart and mind.  I want to be prepared for the days ahead so even minor inconveniences are nothing more than a bump in the road.  Only He can infuse me with the patience I need for those disruptions in my life that are nothing more than an inconvenience.  Only He can prepare me for the urgent issues that may come my way. Only He is the source of my every need. He is the Living Water.  He is the Message I want to emulate.  

Delicious

Posted by Mary Jo Hudson on OA9er @ 9:39 AM

Delicious

 

I don’t know what your favorite dessert or meal is.  I don’t know that I have one.  I’m fond of anything that ‘melts’ in my mouth.  Something that has a smooth, delicate texture on my tongue and slides over the taste buds like melted butter.  I like silky textures that inspire  repetition for the tactile and flavor of a bite.

 

So when Rebecca R. said to me, ‘Isn’t it DELICIOUS?’  All those sensory issues popped into my brain.  Smooth.  Silky. Soft.  Pleasant.  Long lasting. Repetitive.  

 

I had been in the church nursery in a far-away city, holding my sweet nugget of a granddaughter.  She is soft and sweet, cuddly, and precious. As I held her near my chest and her head snuggled into my neck, there was a secure feeling in my heart.  She was relaxed and trusted my embrace to keep her warm and safe.  There was an innate trust in every fiber of her being.

 

Just the day before, it had been less calm.  Something created a tummy ache which caused her to flail her arms; pull up her legs and push them out over and over.  Her cries were pathetic pleas for someone to make her feel better.  She wanted to achieve that nirvana of peace and quiet but she could not do it on her own.  We took turns rocking, soothing, comforting, bouncing, jiggling, swaying to settle her upsets and do something, anything to help her succumb to calm and peace. Whatever ailed her seemed to disappear in time.  Sleep, once found, smothered her cries and the next day, all the dismay had disappeared.

 

As a grandmother, I want to protect her; teach her the ways of the Lord; be gentle and kind, patient and silly with her.  But right now, in the very vulnerable moments of infancy, I just wanted to hold her and enjoy her scent.  I wanted to cradle her head in my hand and be reminded of the silky texture of new hair. I never wanted those moments to end. 

 

As we rocked, it occurred to me that the posture of my granddaughter, eyes closed, peacefully resting in my arms is the same posture God wants me to take with Him.  

 

But the reality is that when things seem out of whack from my perspective, I might be the one flailing my arms and crying out, demanding, never ceasing that He fix what troubles me. I may not really know the root of the problem, but I know I want SOMEONE ELSE to fix it.  And, once I find my sense of peace and calm, I can relax and know that He will take care of things from His perspective.

 

He wants to hold me securely near His heart.  He wants me to trust his grip.  He wants me to feel safe in His arms.  He also wants to be patient and gentle with me.  He will pick me up when I fall if I let him.  He wants all the things for me that I want for my granddaughter AND MORE. 

 

 

He wants more because He can see more.  He wants more because He offers more.  He wants to savor our trust in Him.  We are a sweet fragrance to Him when we take the ‘I’ll trust you wherever you lead me.’ 

 

‘Taste and see that the Lord is good.’    Indeed, He is delicious.

 

 

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Posted by Mary Jo Hudson on OP11er @ 11:14 PM

Leaving on a Jet Plane

 

Our little miss arrived in late July.  We have had the daily ‘grandparent fix’ via text message.  Pictures of our daughter passed out in fatigue on the couch, baby in her arms, in a milk coma.

Photographs of wet hair, post bath.  There are dozens of new outfits and several different sleep positions from surrender to side sleeping.

 

My jet leaves early in the morning for a few days ‘south’ to see our little granddaughter.  I’m not certain what to expect.  I’ve never been a grandmother before.  I hope it involves lots of holding and rocking.  She is too little to know or remember and I’m old enough to never forget.  The memories will linger long after I’ve returned.  

 

Life has been chaotic at our household.  If you read the paper, you know what has been happening in our life.  One thing leads to another.  An interview lead to an article.  The article lead to a host of phone calls and more baton passing to keep up with Matt’s daily schedule and cares.  We have had drop in company and more requests for interviews.  Political candidates have found their way into our living room and even Matt’s bedroom.

 

There are no complaints because all our efforts, whether near or far are for the higher good of someone in our family.  I can hardly wait to do things for my daughter so she can get more than an hour of sleep here and there.  Of course, taking a turn holding the baby will be high on the list, but I envision yard work, dusting, dish making, dish washing, clean up, laundry, and comforting my own little girl, now a mommy.  And, I have baby socks on one set of knitting needles and dish cloths on another for the girl who has her own apartment for the first time.

 

Back home, David will continue to field the requests for information and single handedly care for Matthew.  The laundry is completely done.  There are more meals in the freezer than he and his helper can possibly eat in the few hours I’ll be gone.  The garden has been closely harvested so they should not need to worry about anything.

 

So, what?  We are family.  That’s what we do.  We give. We move.  We encourage.  We share. We might laugh or cry together or apart. We roar for the needs of each one in the family.  We see needs and we meet them.  We work together.  We don’t stop.  We find new ways to communicate and express our love.

 

The real church is also a family.  We are forming new family units in just a few days.  Whether you are single, a couple, or somewhere in between, you are welcome in our family.  We will embrace you with open arms and open hearts.  We will empathize with you and show the Light of Christ in our words and ways. We will roar for your needs, pray for you, rejoice with you in times of good news and cry when there is pain.  We stick together because we are family.

 

Mark the date:  August 29 at the church.  Plug in.  Find your family.  You will be glad you did.

 

 

Foot and Mouth Disease

Posted by Mary Jo Hudson on OA7er @ 7:48 AM

Foot and Mouth Disease

 

Our two year old nephew recently contracted hand and mouth disease.  Who knows where he found it or where it found him?  I only know it comes with blisters and discomfort.  My children never experienced it and I was very little help on what to know, do or expect.

 

Yet, I find that Christians suffer from a similar disorder.  It isn’t intentional and it often comes from a big heart and a desire to comfort.  It’s called ‘foot in mouth’ disease.  We have probably all done it.  I could lead the pack of those who have said things I wish I could retract. My mind is full of embarrassing comments I’ve made, with great intentions but poor results.

 

Words spoken are like toothpaste squeezed out of a tube.  It isn’t easily returned to its proper place.  This is the time of year it is good to work with children on how to phrase comments in a positive fashion and even practice before returning to school.  

 

As we love one another, we must also learn to listen to the heart behind words.  I’ve often MEANT one thing but said something that could be understood entirely different.  

 

Having had medical tragedy in our family, here are a few of the things we heard:

 

  •  “Everything happens for a reason.”
  • “This is God’s plan.”
  • “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
  •  “At least it’s not cancer.”
  •  “Just think positive thoughts.”
  • “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.”
  • “At least you have other healthy children.”
  • “I know exactly how you feel.”

Somehow, the Lord protected our hearts from the words and we understood people were trying hard to express their care and love to us.

One of my dear friends had the best comment, one I have often repeated, ‘I don’t even know what to say.  There are no words.’

So, let me give you some additional suggestions when you don’t know what to say.  Here are some others:

 

  • “I care.”
  • “You’re so strong.”
  • “I have faith that you’re going to get through this.”
  • “I’m here for you.”
  • “My story that is similar shows I have a glimmer of what you may be going through.”

If you know someone who is going through a difficult time (tornado, flood, medical tragedy or diagnosis), hugs are always welcome and convey great love and compassion.  Shared tears do as well.  Assurances of prayer are kind if they are done.

Practical ways of love:  meals, yard work, repairs that your skill can offer, encouragement, a card indicating you are thinking of them.

These skills we need to hone and use regularly. Our family of Lifehouse is excellent at stepping up to the plate and hitting a home run.  Let’s remember that ‘neighboring’ can involve any and all of the above.  It’s the hands of Jesus at work in our body?

 

 

 

 

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