“Hey, Uncle Bob, I know you used to be an alcoholic, but how ’bout you man the bar?” Holiday expectations are sometimes nonsensical. Upon my arrival to Thanks Giving, my four-year old grand-daughter, with joy and excitement, asked me to make a ginger-bread house with her. I listened with no response thinking, “I don’t think so.”
Ginger bread house
Three days later, with the back drop of Pandora Internet Radio, playing ‘Italian Traditional’ music, as I prepared the icing, I was lost in thought. First, I lied to myself. “This isn’t confectioners sugar, it’s Elmer’s glue!” I wasn’t tempted at all, but it didn’t seem wise to play with sugar. I also remembered a conversation I had with my litigator daughter; Who can win with her? Growing up, I called her the cruise director, always Charles in charge. So when she explained”I’ll vacuum while you help the kids make the ginger bread house!” I, of course, said, “How is that my job? I’m the one with the eating disorder! How about I vacuum, you make the ginger bread house?” She laughed with a guilty look.
Loss is a tiny word for a very large emotion.
It’s described by Webster’s dictionary as: the act of losing a possession, a person or thing. Here’s an interesting use of the word: “The team suffered a loss.” Many things come under the heading of a ‘loss’ and in fact it describes a crisis of perspective or a significant change; the loss of a job, a friend, a home one has lived in for many years, loss because of a theft or the death of a marriage which leads to the death of a family. Some times, when I’m out, taking a walk, and I see a young family: a husband and wife, and their little children in and out of strollers, I wonder if they realize how precious their little family is? And I stop whatever I am doing and pray for them.
Father God is a song written months after I learned that my mother was dying of cancer. Needless to say, I was still very upset. The song is my version of the five stages of death and dying found in the book, On death and dying by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. These stages have been used for all kinds of loss. I was in a crises, desperate to find peace in the storm of my anxiety ridden mind. Some one had told me to read this book. And I would have done anything to shake off the fear and anxiety imbedded in my thoughts as I woke each morning, rousing from sleep with what felt like a giant wave of a startling memory, ‘my mother is dying’. That same whispering thought swirled, like autumn leaves in my mind all throughout the day and then prevented me from falling asleep as each day drew me closer to the day I would lose my mother.
It was the end of yet another day when each day was precious. As I sat quietly playing my guitar, I heard my mother, across the room, praying on the phone with her friend. Carefully, I listened to her words. As she prayed, she said, “Father God…”. So that’s how my mother prays? I had never noticed that before. My mom loved the Lord and she was so confident about his care. She would often say to me, “We don’t have to worry about anything. God tells us ‘casting all our cares upon Him for He careth for you!” (1 Peter 5:7) Clearly, she had learned the art of surrendering all to her God. She was totally at peace because she was asking, believing and trusting God.
Here comes Thanksgiving! Did you know that June is ‘National Turkey Lovers’ month? Of course, by November not many people are concerned with turkey love and our interest turns to turkey legs and where to get the best deal or recipe for a turkey.
Did you know that according to the National Turkey Federation
(Are you just a little amazed that turkeys have their own federation?) that:
1. Minnesota leads the nation in raising turkey for the country and in fact the world.
2. In 2013, 240 million turkeys were raised and over 200 million were consumed in the U.S.?
3. An estimated 46 million turkeys are eaten at Thanks giving, 22 million at Christmas and 19 million at Easter! At an average of 16 pounds per turkey, this translates to 736 million pounds of turkey consumed on Thanks Giving in America.
4. Turkey is one of the top ten foods for eyes because it is so high in zinc and b-vitamins (niacin) and these are essential for the body’s energy production as well.
5. Turkey meat is a source of iron, potassium and phosphorus.
Now here are some interesting claims made on the internet that I for one am sure I don’t believe. “Regular turkey consumption can help lower cholesterol levels.” (Body and Soul) A recent study from Johns Hopkins University explains why I, for one, can not believe that!
For your maker is your Husband…
It was a long, hard day; there was the conversation with that difficult person from the past. And after two days home in bed and on an anti-biotic, I remained physically week and sporting a stomach ache. Then, playing catch up with my work and maneuvering through a day that required twice the normal patient load, it was just before my last patient. I began to move to the right lane and boom! I hit a car that was passing me in my blind spot. Ugh, a car accident.
Would I say, “Thank you, Lord?” Could I say that right now?
I dragged my thoughts to the words, with a deep pain in my soul. ‘Ok, Thank you, Lord.’ I must say it now, not later! It’s important for me to say it out loud, as a show of faith and to assert, ‘I choose to trust You in this and every thing.’ Getting to this place of saying thank you in the beginning of a difficult situation has happened in stages. In the past, my instinct would be to play the blame game: “I’m mad at you for letting this happen to me.” I don’t know why I did that for so many years. I believe strongly that God is in control and that nothing happens in His world by accident, so my knee jerk reaction has been to turn and walk away from God in anger. When I realized I was playing God and even judging God with this reaction (Wasn’t I really saying, ‘I would have done it better?’), I knew I must stop and think, at least about what my reactions are.
For a few years now, my reaction to bad things happening has been more of a conversation with God. “Really? You’re letting this happen today? Really?”
The Birth of My First Child
If you’ve ever been at the birth of a baby, you know, it’s a privilege to be present and at times, it’s hard to watch. Besides being at my own births, I’ve been at the birth of most of my nieces and nephews and both of my grand-babies. Each birth is a special memory I hold dear.
Most women tell their stories as if they are embarking on the tale of an old war story. We do that because every birth leads to a shift; a major change is occurring in the lives of any-one involved. A new family is being born. It’s no small matter. The new mother and father are suddenly being forced to grow up and every relative is about to experience a change in the dynamics of their family relationships. Our baby was the first grand child for my in-laws. I was only twenty years old when she was born and could barely take care of me. So while I was excited, there was a lot of fear.
As I look back, it’s clear that with each birth, there were huge growth opportunities; each birth held its own unique set of circumstances and I was a different person with a different maturity level as well. For today, I’ll focus on the lessons I learned at the birth of my first child.