Archive for the ‘family’ Category

What is Love?

March 8, 2016

“Don’t just pretend you love others,; really love them.”  Romans 12:9

What would it look like if we really loved people?  What is love anyway?  Years ago, in nursing courses, it was said “Love Thy Neighbor” meant having concern for his needs, including his physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs.  In that sense, nursing and nursing care plans are filled with love.  But does that mean all nurses love their patients?  Is it possible to look out for someone’s needs in the sense of checking off a list without actually loving them?  What does it mean to love?

If I see someone going by, or standing on their lawn while I go by, or see someone in the marketplace, do I ever look at their face?  Do I read their expression?  Do I wonder about how they are feeling?  Do I speak if I can, or smile if I can’t, or wave if I’m not close enough to be seen or heard?  Do I acknowledge that person in any way?

In big cities and crowded places its easier just not to acknowledge strangers at all, and some people remain anonymous for days on end.  Psychologists say we need to be acknowledged by others and to acknowledge them in return daily to be healthy both mentally and physically.  But we don’t take the time for it.  Is it the sheer numbers of people?  Would all that smiling or speaking wear us out while making our way to work?

What if we just acknowledged the people we see often?  Would that be too much?  Or would that smile and word nourish someone’s mind and emotions for another day?  Would it nourish our own mind and emotions for another day?

What about marriage and the family?  How much time do we spend interacting with our families?  The gift of listening without interruption is a precious gift.  And we learn more about our loved ones.  We appreciate them more.  And those gifts of being available to them nourish them, and nourish us.  What if we said “I will silence my phone for 2 hours each evening”, and spent that time in face to face conversation at home?  I wonder how many divorces would be prevented if we honored each other that way?  I wonder if we would have happier, better adjusted, higher achieving kids.  I talked to a boy the other day who said both his parents were working and going to school.  Then he sighed and said there was no one to listen to him anymore.  So I listened, even though he wasn’t my boy, because it may have nourished his little heart and soul for another day.

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Caribbean Chicken Salad

July 6, 2011

O God of Peace, we praise you and give thanks for your gentle, guiding calm in our lives. We give thanks for safety, food, shelter, and nations where we are free to pursue those things.

Caribbean Chicken Salad

Marinate chopped chicken breast in favorite marinade.

Stir fry chicken and allow to cool.

Arrange greens on plate.  Put 2 tablespoons of pico de gallo in the middle.  Arrange chunks of fresh pineapple and slices of orange around pico.  Put chicken on top of pico and crush some “hint of lime” tortilla chips over all.  Pass dressing around the table.

Dressing:

1/4 cup dijon mustard

1/4 cup honey

1 1/2 TB sugar

1 1/2 TB oil

1 1/2 TB white wine vinegar

juice of a whole lime.

Shake together and put in small pitcher.

Enjoy this refreshing summer salad with rolls, flatbread or other bread, tropical fruit punch or tea.

Mexican Summer Salad

July 6, 2011

Mexican Blessing:

Christ the bread of life, come bless our meal, Amen.

Mexican Summer Salad

2 lbs sirloin, sliced thin

1pkg. fajita seasoning (add 2/3 cup water and one Tb olive oil

Marinate meat a couple hours, then cook on a tabletop griddle (I used a George Foreman grill) 

Put cooked beef in a dish, surround with dishes of:

lettuce, shredded cheddar, sliced olives, crushed “hint of lime” tortilla chips, sour cream and homemade pice de gallo (1 tomato finely chopped, 1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped, 3 green onions, finely chopped, 2 TB cilantro finely chopped, and juice of one lime.)

Let each person put together their own salad as they like it.  Serve with warm, buttered tortillas if desired, and a glass of Sangria if desired (I buy Yago, don’t make my own).

Enjoy a fine, low carb (well, except for the tortillas) summer meal.

Fathers Day

June 21, 2011

I absolutely loved the “Peanuts” Father’s Day cartoon.  Charlie Brown admits his dad can’t golf or bowl as well as Lucy’s dad, but when he goes into his dad’s barber shop, no matter how busy it is, his dad gives him a big smile because “he likes me.”

Dad’s do two things no one else can do in a child’s life.  Dads, whether worthy or not, portray the heavenly father for their children.  A cruel or abusive dad portrays God as an angry, punitive father.  A dad who teaches the child character and morals, while patiently helping them learn to make decisions, set goals, do their best, challenge themselves, and love with real world love, gives them a picture of a God they can love and desire to know.

The other thing Dad’s do is like their kids.  Kids know their mothers love them unconditionally.  Dad’s approval has to be earned.  When Dad teaches his child what to do to be a worthy human being, forgives them when they fail, but insists they have another “go” at it to do it right, they earn his approval.  While he critiques them, he doesn’t reject them.  Such a dad gives his kids real confidence, honest and realistic confidence, and they live for his approval.  Such kids are achievers, and they are secure knowing “my dad likes me.”  They also see the model of a God who has standards, yet has compassion, and who likes them.

God of the Dark Places

March 15, 2010

Sometimes I can hardly stand to read the news.  The wars, rumors of wars, crime, violence and hatred, make everything seem so black.  But it isn’t black to You, is it Lord?  Its as though we’re in a box and the lid is pulled over the top, making it dark for those of us living inside.  But outside the box its daylight and You can be seen.  You won’t let that lid stay on forever.  You’ve set the times for just how long You’ll allow things to stay the way they are.  And the timer is ticking down.

Away from Home

February 17, 2010

My son was spending his first Christmas away from home, serving in the military.  He sounded so lonely when he called.  I felt sad for him, and I was lonely for him too.  More than anything, I wanted to go to be with him.  It occurred to me that God loves me like that.  He wants to be with me even more than I want to be with my children.  God wanted me to know Him, and wanted it so much He came to earth to be a human like me.  He wanted me to be able to relate to Him.  In a moment, these thoughts of love and longing made Christmas more real to me than ever before.

“Gods Will”

February 17, 2010

A friend lost her husband this month and someone said “God’s will.”  Another person has cancer and may die of it and someone says “Maybe thats God’s will.”  And so I realize that for me “God’s will” has taken on a very negative sound.  I sure don’t want God’s will in my life.  But what am I saying?

I think of my own parenthood.  I think of Christmas morning and how I enjoyed the delight in my children’s faces when they opened something they really wanted .  I wouldn’t give them coupons for braces for their teeth, glasses, orthopedic shoes and medical procedures.  Oh yes, I’ve given them all these things too, because they were necessary.  But it was hard for me, and I held them and helped them through it.  My real joy was giving them things to delight them.  If thats true for me, how very much more it must be true for God.  How He must enjoy delighting his children.  How He must enjoy delighting me.

The Candy Cane

February 17, 2010

What if the candy cane isn’t a cane at all, but the letter J, upside down? Legend has it that a J is what it originally was.  J stands for Jesus, “God with us”, whose birthday we celebrate December 25.  God missed us so much that He came to be with us, being born and living as a human, so that He could have a relationship with us and we humans could understand what God is really like.

The red stripes on the J represent the great love of God, who would rather die than lose a single one of us.  It did turn out that way.  He died defeating the evil one who was holding us, intent on eventually destroying us.

The white stripes on the J represent eternal life–our heavenly  home.  Anyone who has ever lost a child, and any child who has become lost from their parent knows the anguish felt until they can be reunited again and the child is safe at home.  God feels that way about us, and leans on the window of heaven day by day, watching and waiting for us.  HE can hardly wait until we are home with Him for good.

A Way to Look at Forgiveness

February 14, 2010

Forgiveness means I don’t allow a few snapshots to color my opinion of the whole film.  I may see a person during one or more bad times, but I haven’t seen their whole life.  Especially important is to remember I haven’t seen the end of the story–theirs or mine.  God still has lots of work to do with all His children, me included.

The Great Santini

January 22, 2010

After seeing the movie “Brats”, I re-read The Great Santini.  This story was written from the point of view of the oldest son of a Marine Corps officer, more specifically, a fighter pilot.  Fighter pilots in legend and lore, have been hard drinking, hard fighting, tough, unsentimental, fearless characters.  I think its mostly legend and lore, in that the days of any military acceptance of drinking or fighting are long gone.  However, some of the stories of fighter squadron parties in the early 1960s may have some truth to them.  However, was the Marine fighter pilot, or any fighter pilot for that matter a different breed of man than the rest?  I don’t think they inherently were different, although some professions attract certain personalities and some professions change the people who enter them.  Fighter pilots, along with soldiers, police and firefighters put their lives on the line at times or even daily in the performance of their duties.  This kind of  job may attract those who are addicted to adrenaline, those with a “devil may care” attitude, and those with a strong need to be heroes.  However, for those who just know they are good at what they do and who want to serve a cause they highly value, the job may still change them somewhat.  The extreme stress of these jobs may evoke a huge amount of emotion in a week, and people deal with that emotion in various ways.  Those who have trouble dealing with fear or sadness may numb it with alcohol, and although there have been problems of alcoholism in the ranks, its probably not greater than in society at large.  No, I think the ways of dealing with stress are as numerous as they are in any other profession.  A lot of people dealing with fear and sadness cover it with anger.  Anger is an emotion of power, and is therefore much easier to deal with than fear and sadness which leave a person feeling weak and out of control.  People feeling weak, out of control or insecure may alternatively act with a lot of bluster.  Again this is an emotion of power and is easier to deal with.  I think the “Great Santini” was such a person.  Because he probably always had problems with relationships, weakness, and feeling a loss of control, he had probably learned early on the tools of anger and bluster.  Because he was an angry, hard charging kind of guy, he probably found a place as a fighter pilot, where such characteristics were understood.  He could never have made it in careers where relationships and diplomacy were needed, or where control was vague.   We all have known people like the “Great Santini”.  They may have been bosses or family members, and they may not have all been male.  Women may also have these characteristics, but don’t have as many places to use them where they are as socially acceptable as the traditionally male roles of fighter pilot, soldier, police officer and firefighter.  A lot of women who use anger, control and bluster end up being labeled personality disordered or given a word not printable here.

So was the “Great Santini” unusual?  Not at all.  Was his personality over represented in the military?  Probably not.  He would have been a difficult, insensitive husband and father if he’d been in sales or management.   He had absolutely no relationships with his family of origin, his wife and kids feared him, and even his prayer life was impersonal.  Again, we’ve all known people like this, in all walks of life.