Something Beautiful

      Once upon a time in my youth, I wanted to be the mom of a big family.  I think I’ve mentioned it before.  Some things hindered me from that becoming a reality.  First of all, I had such a poor opinion of myself that I couldn’t imagine anyone ever really loving me, let alone marrying me.  A friend of mine and her husband had a baby.  One evening as I held him in my arms babysitting alone in that big house, I understood how precious this little life was and I wept.  The weeping was for myself because I couldn’t imagine ever actually having a child of my own.  No one loved me and I was alone and there was no husband and no child in my foreseeable future.

Fast forward to this morning.

I was looking through my jewelry box because I was in the mood to wear a ring.  It doesn’t happen too often because I work in healthcare and washing my hands is a constant demand.  I slipped my mother’s ring on thinking about how much I love my family.  This was a good day to wear it.  It wasn’t a gift from anyone.  I purchased it myself because I thought it was beautiful.  The stones are pretty together and the colors seem to harmonize.  Placing it on my finger, I left for work, quite pleased to be wearing it. It’s very pretty isn’t it?

family ring

As I walked out to the car I thought about my past and how I never thought for a second that I would be wearing a ring with this many stones.  Who would believe that I would one day be married to such a wonderful husband!  And further, I only had one son! How did I end up with this cloud of stones?  As I drove toward the freeway, I thought “Thank you Lord, for my family. Thank you for your blessings.  I am humbled by your love.”

Resurrection Sunday and Passover happen almost simultaneously this year.  When this happens I really see the roots of my beliefs – it truly is Judeo-Christian in nature.

As I pulled into traffic and made my way to the travel lane, I heard the radio announcer on my Christian radio station say that only 1/10 of 1% of the people of Israel believe in Jesus.  It hurt my heart to think that. Imagine if my children didn’t know or love me.  So what if there were many.  It is only the love and knowledge that they are my children that beautifies this ring.

When I arrived at work, a little lady and I were talking and as usual the subject of the Bible came up and she pointed to her morning reading and said, “I don’t understand this.  Can you help me with it?”  When I read the words on the page, I could hardly believe my eyes.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see Me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’”  Matthew 23:37-39

It still brings tears to my eyes.

I told my friend that God really loves His family and they have rejected Him.  I told her of a story I once heard about men who were walking in the aftermath of a forest fire and they found a bird that had burned to death sitting on the ground.  One of those walking knocked the bird over and from beneath its wings a brood of chicks came running out into the world.  That bird protected its young even to its own death.  That is what God was saying to Jerusalem.  He was about to love them so much that He was going to die.  He wanted to love them and protect them but they were not willing. And so devastation came to Jerusalem and until 1948 the nation of Israel was scattered to every country on this earth.

One day the nation of Israel will say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”  Until then we pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

There is a very interesting thing that I noticed on my ring today that I had noticed before but felt it was silly for me to think about.  After all, I had purchased it myself.  I think the ring was meant to be a gift.  If you look at it from the side, it says in gold:  “I love you” with a tiny heart in the middle.

i love you

It reminds me of Isaiah 43 verse 4.  Go ahead.  Look it up.

Thank you Lord, for doing for me what I could never have done.  You mean more to me than many sons.  You are my God and my Love.  You are precious in my eyes also.  May my life honor you.  Thank you for my family and Yours.

An Old New Thing

Did you ever say something and as soon as it’s out of your mouth, while the little word balloon is still hanging above your head, wish you could inhale it back in?  This is a major cause of bad breath!  I have a hunch that we all suffer from this malady. The Bible is full of warnings about what we speak.

The book of James pops to mind where he admonishes us to:  let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.

I remember a time in my life when I wished that if I could only have a dot in my eye – a little cross-shaped dot that I could see all the time, maybe then I would remember God when I speak.  God is so good to me.  I have to admit that as I have aged, the ability to keep my tongue from flapping so freely has abated some.  That’s mostly because of the major repair work God has done to my character.  But it doesn’t mean I am out of the woods.  No, this week was a prime example of it.  My intention was never to hurt someone with my words.  But it would be helpful if I could think prior to opening my mouth whether the way I say the words would be hurtful.

I have a new friend in my life and we spend much time together due to unavoidable circumstances.  I found my friends words to be constantly critical.  I am such a soft hearted soul.  Everything that was said I took personally.  I found myself constantly defending myself.  Finally, something happened that I thought was without error.  I asked my new friend what she thought and the first words from her were something like, “Well some of it was good but…”  I was so deflated by this that I blurted out, “If only once you would not find fault!”

I hurt my friends feelings by that.  After all, I was taking this way too personally.  When I looked into her eyes, I knew that my words had hurt her feelings also.  I didn’t mean to hurt, but I did.

This is where being “slow to speak” would have been immensely helpful.

In Ecclesiastes there is a beautiful soliloquy about a time for every matter under heaven – a time to keep silence and even a time to speak. I am certain that there is a way to say whatever needs to be said, in a way that is helpful and not hurtful.  I also think that sometimes it is unnecessary to speak.  God is able to do much more without my “help”.  I could have just prayed about it, depending on His character and loving-kindness to all those He created, to do abundantly more than all that I could ask or think.

God hasn’t “dotted my eye” yet, though sometimes I deserve it.  We all live through many hurtful things.  I am praying that the words I speak don’t have to be among them.  I know it is in His will for that to be true.

A Glimpse at the Obscure – Bones

I love the Bible for all the obvious reasons.  Through it God taught me.  God’s word is my salvation.  It is strength and encouragement.  It yields the comfort I receive in times of trouble.  All these reasons are obvious to everyone who reads and loves the Bible.

There are the beautiful accounts of Jacob the deceiver who wrestled with God, and Ruth the gentile counted in the lineage of Jesus, Esther the queen who was born for a terrible time and did what the Lord needed accomplished.  We can’t forget about Abraham who believed God and it was reckoned to  him as righteousness, and David who was an adulterer, an inconsistent father who overlooked the terrible things his children did to his own hurt, yet God called him a man after His own heart.  These stories are encouragement to all who have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

But I love especially the obscure events recorded in the Bible.  They remind me of the depth of who God is to include tiny details that make me wonder about Him and who He is.  So for the next couple of posts, I think I will talk about a few of those places in the Bible that have always made me wonder.  Here is the first.

There are lots of places where the Bible talks about bones.  The first mention is Adam speaking of God’s creation of his wife:  “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”  Joseph asked that his bones be carried back to the Promised Land from Egypt.  In Psalm 22 it was prophetically said of Jesus that all His bones were out of joint and that He could count all His bones.  In Proverbs 3 it says:  “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.  It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”

In Ezekiel 37 there is the valley of dry bones where all the bones of the house of Israel are strewn in a valley and they begin to rattle and come together.  Sinews appear and then flesh.  Finally breath is breathed into them.  It is a prophetic passage about the raising up of Israel in the last days.  It’s the chapter from which the song “Dem Bones” was originated.  Go ahead, look it up on YouTube.

That’s a pretty strange passage.  But the strangest little account in the Bible about bones is a story about the bones of Elisha.   Elisha was Elijah’s protégé so to speak.  During his lifetime, Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit and Elijah said he would receive it if Elisha saw Elijah being taken. Elisha indeed saw and received that double portion.

Elisha’s life was full of miracles.  The Jordan River was divided.  The spring of water was healed – cleaned of pollutants.  A bear from the woods destroyed mockers.  Water was provided. There was the miracle of the oil that kept pouring from the jar. A Shunammite woman’s son was restored to her from death.  Elisha purified poisonous stew during a famine, and then there was the multiplication of loaves for food.  Naaman was healed and Gehazi was smitten with leprosy.  An iron axe head floated in a river.  Spiritual sight was given to the one who was afraid; Elisha praying to allow him to see that “those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  In this same battle he struck men blind and later restored their sight.

But his final miracle happened after he died.   The account is in the book of 2 Kings 13.  It is obscure and it is only two verses long.  The prophet Elisha is buried after his death.  It was a bad time for Israel.  The kings were idol worshippers and idolatry among the people was rampant.  Here is the entire account:

“So Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year.  And as a man was being buried, behold, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha, and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.”

That’s it!  The whole account is in these two verses.

Bones restored life to a dead man.

They say that the bones of the human body function to support, protect, and give us movement.  But bones also manufacture blood cells and store minerals.  Bones hold our body together and without bones there couldn’t be life.  Everything about God, the Author of Life, can be found in the bones of the Old Testament.  And in this account God showed how bones submitted to Him gave life to a dead man.

The Most Important Decision

When I was young I wanted to be a teacher and have a family with ten children.  I thought that was my life’s purpose.  That didn’t happen.  At the ripe old age of 21 I discovered that my purpose wasn’t something I chose.  Given to me at my creation, my purpose was something I had yet to discover.  It says in the Bible that the Lord “knit us together in our mother’s womb.”  So even though the act that begins the process is with a man and a woman, or whatever else man can come up with, it is God alone who gives life.  Don’t believe anything else.  Don’t let anyone ever tell you anything different.

At 21 I was working at the Gannett newspapers in New York and also in a parking garage next door.  Neither job was full time, but I made enough money to pay my rent and buy my groceries.  I had no idea what God was doing in my life.  To the chagrin of my parents I left the Roman Catholic Church.  I decided that if I wanted to know who God really is, I wasn’t going to find Him in rituals.  When this all began to transpire there was a rich slush of events guiding me.  I had a boyfriend who was preparing to be a minister, yet he was a terrible example.  He would say that we shouldn’t read the Bible and sin at the same time.  Yet he did.  So did I. I felt guilty and we should have known better.

There were friends I had met through work who were just plain wicked. The terrible things they did and said were for a time, alluring to me in my rebellion.  I was young and naïve and determined to embrace the culture of the world around me.  After practicing my own sort of wickedness, I decided that I didn’t want to do this anymore.  I tried desperately to change and never look back.  But I could never really shake the things I had done.  I wanted to live a right sort of life.  Of course, I had no idea how or where to get better.

My sister Margie gave me a ceramic cross that she’d made and it was in my room at the apartment.  It was beautiful but it made me feel even more guilty about my life.  So I began to truly seek God and read a Bible.  I started in Genesis.  I greedily consumed it until I got to chapter 5 and then got mired in who begat whom.  I don’t know where I heard this at the time, but someone said that I should start in the New Testament. so again I started, this time at the Gospel of Matthew and again I arrived at chapter 5.  Right there in the sermon on the mount, I got snagged by a verse about salt.  “You are the salt of the earth.”  What does that mean?  Why would salt lose its taste?

It perplexed me.  Yet it compelled me to continue to search.  I felt like I needed someone to help me understand.

At the parking garage I worked the front entrance.  A girl searching for a job approached the ticket booth where I stood.  With a smooth and buttery Pennsylvania accent, she asked, “Are they hiring here?”  I liked her immediately and directed her to the office for an application.  It “just happened” that there was an opening and as soon as she left, I went to speak to John, the assistant manager who sat reading her resume and application.

“You should hire her,” I blurted out.

He looked puzzled.  “What makes you say that?”

“I don’t know.  I just like her.”

The company hired Adrienne that week. She and I got along famously and she began to invite me to her home for a Bible study.  I was not sure what that meant but I wanted so much to understand the Bible that I said that I would do that one day.  It made sense that studying might open my eyes to something I couldn’t see on my own.  Five chapters in the Old and New Testament just weren’t enough to sustain me.

Adrienne punctuated each day with an invitation to a Bible Study.  As much as I liked her and as much as I wanted to understand the Bible, something else made me afraid.  At the time, I had no idea why fear hindered me, but it did.

They say everyone who comes to the Lord undergoes a struggle accepting His salvation.  That’s the fear that sets in.  I was, riddled with trepidation.  Finally, I promised Adrienne I would go and my own promise obligated me to her requests.  I went to a Bible study and it was on John chapter 3.  On that evening, there were two new people there who didn’t know the gospel and its power to save; a young man named Tom and I.  When Jerry, the man who taught the Bible study, explained how Jesus told Nicodemus that even though he was a Pharisee, he needed to be born again to enter the Kingdom of God, I was spellbound.  He put in plain words how sin separated us from a God who is so holy that He cannot accept sin.  He described the punishment that Jesus endured on everyone’s behalf.  If we decided to accept the offering Jesus made to God, His righteousness would cover our sins.  Suddenly I felt dirty, remembering my own failures.  I wanted to accept the offer.

Jerry asked us to pray together and accept Jesus as Savior.  The tug of war in my heart was minute compared to the fear prior to entering the house.  I had already made a decision in my heart that I wanted to know Jesus. My inner resistance was nothing like Tom’s panic.  He was saying that he would much prefer to go home and think about it and decide later.  He pulled his car keys out of his pocket and started to look like he was going to bolt.

But Jerry compassionately further explained.  Life is a tug of war between God and the devil.  We think that we make our own way and our own plans but we are not your own.  Salvation is surrendering to God because the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.  He explained that if Tom left then, he was giving the devil a foothold against the Lord.  He quoted verses that said exactly what Tom needed to hear.  I was so set on praying that I don’t remember much that was said.  I was just hoping that Tom would hurry up and change his mind.  Finally, Tom slipped his keys back into his pocket.  He got down on his knees.  Those gathered that evening joined him and we both prayed the “Sinner’s Prayer” together.

That was the beginning of fulfilling my purpose in this life.  It was a decision I alone had to make and yet the circumstances that God put into place humble me these years later.  I see a more complete picture now than I did then.  It was one of the best and most important decisions in my life and yet He prepared my life so that I could choose no other option.  God is so good.

If you pray… If you don’t…

This evening was the evening that we meet to have dinner together and pray.  We have been praying together now for so many years none of us can remember how or when it started.  Sometimes it was on Monday evenings, sometimes on Thursdays but right now it is on Tuesday evenings.  We have seen the Lord work on our behalf so often that we trust Him to answer.  We have been praying so long together that no subject is off limits.  The subjects of our prayers have ranged from our personal lives to our children and grandchildren to our employment.  We have experienced miracles.  We are three Christian sisters.  We don’t look very powerful and without Jesus we would have no strength at all.  But with Jesus we are strong.

praying together

Today is a day when I am feeling overwhelmed with the prayer needs of others.  There are so many that I thought that I could pass them on to you.

IF YOU PRAY…

To begin, my sister Marge has a great-granddaughter named Suzie who is going to have surgery tomorrow.  It is my highest priority today.  Pray for Suzie.  She is 2 years old.

I personally had a gnarly day.  Pray for me and my relationships at work.  Pray for a co-worker.

Pray for a lady who has lost both her legs, her eye sight, and has neuropathy in  her fingers.  Because of this, she cannot depend on learning Braille.  Pray for her to see Jesus.

Pray for Camden to have a complete healing or for the tests to just be wrong.  He may be in need of surgery and it is said that he won’t outgrow the disease if he has it.

Pray for an oldest brother who would not say Happy Father’s Day to his dad.  His siblings did, but when his dad said, “Aren’t you going to wish me a Happy Father’s Day?”  He just smiled and shrugged.

Pray for the salvation of family members.

IF YOU DON’T PRAY…

You might ask, what is the catch to prayer and why don’t everyone’s prayers just get answered?  Well, Jesus prayed a prayer that didn’t get answered the way He desired.  Right before His tortures and crucifixion, He prayed, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me.  Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” Your prayer has to be according to God’s will.  In other words, praying to win the lottery probably isn’t in God’s will for your life.

Sometimes, God answers prayer almost immediately. We three sisters prayed to have a certain answer to prayer a couple of weeks ago.  And when we met for dinner this evening our sister was delighted by God’s answer and praising Him.  The answer fell right into her lap.  The very thing that she was praying but could not speak, was answered by her son from his own mouth, in his own words!

An even faster example came today.  This morning I prayed with a sister and this evening she called to say that the answer had come! This was a prayer of concern for a person in her care for which she needed wisdom.  The answer again, was quick, when someone else provided the answer she needed.  God is awesome!

Sometimes the answer to prayer comes after a long time.  In this case, the timing for the answer must be right.  In my own life, I had prayed for something for so long, I was weary of praying it.  Then one day, in utter desperation, I prayed a prayer asking the Lord for some word that would help me to know that He was hearing my prayer.  The answer came from the Bible.  Here is the first verse:  “Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant?  Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.”  That is Isaiah 50:10.  Then right across from it, another verse seemed to be burning out of the page at my eyes.  “‘Can the prey be taken from the mighty, or the captives of a tyrant be rescued?’  For thus says the Lord:  ‘Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken, and the prey of the tyrant be rescued, for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children.'” That is Isaiah 49:24-25.  The details of this event are still such a blessing!  The prayer was answered within a month and the blessing was permanent.  Thank You Lord!

prayer-on-my-knees4

I have felt the weight of a burden that I carried for years.  The prayer was hindered through my own disobedience.  Don’t expect to get rewarded with an answer to prayer when obedience to God is lacking.  It’s like desiring a raise and knowing in your heart that you haven’t earned it.  There is a verse in the Bible that says, “Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.”

My obedience was corrected.  The burden was suddenly lifted from me.  I was elated, but could not help but think of this lovely gift as false.  “Okay, when will the other shoe drop?”  But then I was reminded of what Jesus said. “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”  In other words, God only gives good gifts to His children, not evil gifts.

That made me remember something else.  There’s a verse in Revelation that says that we overcome wickedness by the “blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.”  The only thing that saves me is the bloody sacrifice that Jesus made for me.  My righteous deeds are worthless to God.  He says that they are like filthy rags.  The only thing that He will accept is a perfect sacrifice – Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

And the thing that allows me to overcome temptation is the memories I have of the many, many blessings that God has given me.  They are stored in my mind.  When I am tempted to not trust Jesus for an answer to prayer, I have this long list of answers to prayers.  Jesus and the loving kindnesses that He has given me over the course of my life, give me the confidence.  The list just keeps getting longer and the telling or the testimony, strengthens me to overcome temptations.  It encourages me to tell what Jesus has done for me.  And it all starts with prayer…

prayer_warrior

Remembering Mom

Mother’s Day just passed and when all the kindnesses were over I thought about how much I miss my own mom.  I would love to sit down with her and just talk again.  We had a lot of conversations in our times but I feel confident that if I could have one more it would be different now.

I remember my mom saying her feet ached.  I had little concern because at the age I was, pain was a fleeting thing.  But now that my own hips ache, I wish I could tell her “I understand”.  I don’t think that we understand the extent of pain in old age until we begin to reach it.  I’m sure the hard working woman that she was endured pain that she didn’t complain about.

Mom was feisty.  I remember my mom and dad having an argument and dad going around closing the windows so the neighbors wouldn’t hear.  Mom went right behind him, reopening the windows and saying she didn’t care what the neighbors heard.

Mom had little tolerance for ineptness in people.  She would fly off the handle and begin a long tirade of Italian that she would tell us never to repeat.  Whenever my sisters and I catch ourselves being impatient, we will say, “Susie came to visit today” because truly our temperament came from her example in this.  It took all of us years to unlearn the behavior as born-again Christians.  And even Susie became patient after the Lord saved her at 73 years, just after my dad passed away.

Mom was a great cook.  There was never a meal that didn’t include a salad and dessert.  She would try new recipes all the time.  She liked to experiment with different foods she had not yet tasted.  But if you remember the schedule she kept from other posts, you won’t be surprised at the following:

Mom would be in the door only moments before dad sometimes and she would cut up an onion and place it in the bottom of a pan with olive oil and cook them until tender. I’m sure that was intentional.  The entire house would smell like a great meal was on the way.  Then, instead of the tomato paste, canned tomatoes and the rest, she would open 2 jars of Ragu Spaghetti Sauce and dump them in along with some water.  She would make meatballs with frozen basil that she kept in the freezer.  She added spices and other herbs and bread soaked in milk.  These she would mix into the ground meat and then float them gently in the sauce until they were cooked.  She would put a pound of pasta in a pot of boiling water.  She made a salad and pulled out some sort of pastry she had purchased and in about 45 minutes we had a meal that looked like she had been in the kitchen all day!  Dad gave her the nick-name “The 100 mile an hour cook” and I think he was right.  She did quick meals way before Rachel Ray made them popular.

Their marriage endured so much.  But after five children and a lot of forgiveness on their part we all remember fondly the long talks we did have.  We talked together at dinner.  There was a lot of teaching and learning that went on around the dinner table.  There was a pot of coffee on all the time.  Guests arrived at all hours and they would entertain, always having coffee and some left-over dessert to serve.

My mom and dad loved each other so much.  But it wasn’t the kind of love you imagined from television in the day.  It was a gritty, enduring thing that was displayed most distinctly as my dad was passing away.  Mom told dad that he was not supposed to die first.  That she didn’t think that she could live this life without him.  But as she watched him suffer with cancer, she finally told him, “Angelo, it’s okay if you die.  I don’t want to see you suffer any more.  I will be okay.”  Two days later he passed away with the comfort of knowing that she had said she would be okay.

A recent illness I endured reminded me of my mom’s eyes when she was in the hospital in the last few years of her life.  My dad had already passed on and she was alone.  She had an extremely high blood sugar level and she was very sick.  I went into the emergency room and she looked at me with the most frightened and sad look in her eyes that I had ever seen.

I know that the fact that Jimmy, Debbie, and I were there with her comforted her.  I don’t remember what we said but I remember that it was the beginning of her last days.

She needed the help that we could not give her.  So she moved back to our home town again and was in a home for senior citizens nearer to our older sisters.  Margie and Jojo were so kind.  They managed all the events in her life with care.  Making trips to her home and bringing her to buy groceries.  They took her to visit their homes at times when it was very difficult.  Later when she had to be in a care facility, they visited her and covered the problems she endured with loving care.

I would call her once a week to talk to her and pray with her.  We would read the “Daily Bread” together.  Debbie bought her a large print Bible that she would read as long as she could and I know that she certainly trusted in the Lord.

My last phone call to her is God’s gift to me.  It was a Friday.  I called her and told her that Michael and Gracie and I were coming to visit her on Wednesday.  She paused for a long time.  I almost thought that she hadn’t heard me.  Then she said, “Wednesday?”  I replied happily, “Yes”.

There was another long pause and she said, “You’d better hurry.”

I had a long conversation that day.  She told me that she prayed for Marvin and I and Michael and Sara and their daughter every night.  She didn’t know yet that there would be so many more.  We closed the conversation as she said, “God bless you, Linda.  I love you.”

She went into a coma on Friday afternoon and passed away on Sunday morning.

I worried about whether she had truly been saved for only a little while.

On Sunday morning, I was at church and it was before the second service began.  I didn’t know that my mom had passed away. Two friends were talking and I asked them if they would pray for my mom as she was dying.  They asked if she knew the Lord and I answered, “Yes”.

They quoted a verse that I will never forget.

After we prayed, I received a call from Jojo that our mom had passed away.  I sat in the Atrium at church and prayed alone.  “Please Lord, would you show me something to help me trust that my mom is okay?”  Then I opened my Bible and it fell open to a page.  I pointed to a highlighted verse.  It was the very same verse that my friends had quoted!  This is the passage from which it comes:

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.  For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.  Therefore encourage one another with these words.  ~1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

dadnmom

My mom taught me so much.  I remember many more stories that I may or may not publish.  She was really something.  I will love her forever and I look forward to our next conversation.  I bet it will certainly be different from any other.

Lentil Soup Day

sneeze

I am spending a couple of days keeping vulnerable adults safe from my cold.  I hope that I can keep Marvin from catching this, too.  It’s miserable.  I spent this morning in bed listening to the book of Isaiah.  I had to replay a couple of chapters when I realized I had dozed off or if I spent too long sneezing and blowing my nose.  I’ve finished two different boxes of tissues – the one in the bedroom and the one in the living room.  Now that I am spending time in our home office, I think I’m making quite a dent in this box, too.  Yes, it’s a miserable cold.

tissues

Did you know that once you start sneezing you can’t stop it?  It’s a reflex action of the body.  You also can’t sneeze when you are sleeping because the nerve endings that cause a sneeze rest when you are asleep.  I also learned that a sneeze travels at 100 miles per hour and can spray up to 5 feet.  A virus sure has a way of getting around.

So I made myself a gift – a pot of lentil soup.  It is one of my favorite soups. But it’s quite a trick chopping veggies and not sneezing.  I had to wash my hands often.  Once all the ingredients were in the pot, it only cooks from the boil for about 35-40 minutes.  It’s warm and easy and makes me feel comforted.  I’ve written out my recipe at the end of this.  I think I could fall asleep in any position right now so it must be time to go take a nap.  I hope you like the lentil soup recipe.

lentil_soup

Lentil Soup

2 circles of the pan with olive oil

1 chopped onion – large

3 chopped carrots

5 chopped celery ribs

1 # of lentils (washed and checked for anything that isn’t a lentil.)

1 can of fire roasted tomatoes

2.5 quarts of water or chicken stock (chicken stock makes the soup richer)

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 kielbasa sausage cut into slices and then slices cut into quarters

Let the olive oil get warm in a stock pot.  When it ripples, add the vegetables.  Cook until the onions are translucent – about 7 or 8 minutes.  Add all the other ingredients, wait for the pot to come to a boil and then cover it, turn the heat down to simmer.  Let it remain on the low heat for 35 to 40 minutes.  I’ve tasted it and it’s delicious.  Let me know if you try it.