Thanksgiving 2020

As I’ve shared before, every year I make homemade egg noodles for Thanksgiving, the old-fashioned kind from scratch, kneaded, rolled out and dried enough to cut into strips. It’s a tradition passed down to me from my mother and her mother before. Noodles are made up of just lots of flour, eggs and chicken broth, but my family loves those noodles. I don’t know about you, but this Thanksgiving is different. Instead of joining other family members and friends around my daughter’s lovely decorated tables, we’re celebrating by way of Zoom. But I’m not unhappy. I have so much to be thankful for. I still made those noodles. And, guess what? I got a delicious turkey dinner in exchange! My daughters rescued my Thanksgiving! God’s blessings to all!

Oodles of Noodles

As I kneaded the dough, I thought of my mother and my grandmother and her mother before her who did the very same thing. It gave my good feelings! Every year a day before Thanksgiving I make egg noodles from scratch, following the recipe written in my mother’s beautiful cursive handwriting. Making noodles for a large family is messy and time consuming and not the healthiest food choice, so I make them only once a year. Although this year our family won’t be dining together face to face, we are making our traditional dishes. May we all find a way, even this year, to share God’s blessings with family and friends and those not so fortunate as ourselves. We have so much to be thankful for!

Avoiding Pain

“We’re not doubting that God will do the best for us; we’re wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” This quote from the collected letters of C.S. Lewis hit home. Your will be done, Lord, just don’t let it hurt! Have you ever prayed like that? I have. It’s not so much physical pain I dread, though I don’t like that either, but mental pain. We live in a world where bad things happen to good people. None of us or our families are immune. So I believe most of the bad that happens to us comes from the evil world we live in and from our own human weaknesses and bad judgment. In my experience it’s not God who brings the pain; I’m the problem and it’s God who comes to the rescue with his healing and redeeming grace. (What! Did I just disagree with one of my most favorite authors!)

Staying Focused

Life goes on. The sun rose today. God is still on his throne. No matter if our preferred candidates didn’t win this election year, we can make the best of the coming four years. It’s not easy, I know. We have chosen sides in this politically divisive country and follow our preferences much as we do our favorite sports teams. (And, unfortunately, even this year, I can still get excited about the Dallas Cowboy games!) The political choices we make are much more important, and affect so many more lives. But, we have to remember we are followers of our perfect Savior, not followers of imperfect political leaders. No matter the winners, they are not going to fix everything that’s wrong in this country. As much as they might like, they can’t. Our only hope is in Jesus Christ.

Fire Ant Frenzy

Went out to water my plants on the patio without noticing fire ants on the hose. Yikes! Now I have stings on both hands, which means tiny blister-type pustules, which means after the sting goes away, my hands will itch like crazy for several days. When I was transferred to California many years ago, we heard fire ants were on their way north into Texas. It was much like we hear about murder hornets these days. So, when I retired and moved back, the tiny buggers were here to greet me. They love my big yard where they can build their mounds. The mounds are easy to find but those nests down in the grass aren’t. I fight them all the time, but I never totally get rid of them. Really, weren’t mosquitoes, chiggers and every variety of poisonous snakes enough!

Giving Is a Given

When it comes to giving, this year has been more stressful for me than most. With people out of work and needing help feeding their families, I’ve leaned more toward donating to the food banks. I don’t neglect supporting my church, that’s a given, but for other donations I have concentrated on giving to the Salvation Army and local food banks more than to other organizations. It’s hard, because I receive so many requests for money. And it’s not as if they’re not good causes, but the thought of families, especially children, going without enough to eat breaks my heart. Yes, I know one should be practical when giving, but I also notice our Savior seems to have no boundaries in his generosity to me.

A Salute to Church Ladies

She was leaving her car as I drove past the church second-hand store. She’s a church lady volunteer, going over to help out at the store. It made me appreciate church ladies again. The majority are not ordained or on church payroll, but they have the service mindedness of Christ in their hearts. They’re the ones who can be counted on to supply food when needed, to visit the sick and first to sign the volunteer lists. If you’re old enough to remember, the TV show Saturday Night Live made fun of church ladies years ago. Yes, church ladies can be a force but church pastors know who to go to when something needs to be done. So I salute all the white-haired ladies who tease their hair and wear red, red lipstick (at least in Texas) and, when the need is there, show up.

Born to Be King

The Man Born to Be King is a play written by the late British author Dorothy Sayers, a friend and contemporary of C.S. Lewis. It was written to be performed over radio. I’m reading it for the first time and enjoying how she portrays the various characters right down to their individual personalities and accents. In England, before public television, people’s accents identified how educated they were along with where they were from. The disciples’ accents were different from the priests and scribes. And the Roman soldiers’ accents were different from their leaders, although all the dialogue was in English. The play includes her stage directions as well so the actors knew when to portray different emotions throughout the scenes. Though no one knows all the details of what happened, reading her play made me thankful again our King Jesus rules with mercy, justice and sacrificial loving care for those he rules, not like this world’s leaders and politicians.

Watch Your French!

When she read what I wrote about struggling to learn Spanish, my friend Donna told me about a time she and her husband were visiting Montreal, Quebec. They heard two people outside an art gallery having an animated conversation in French.  Donna’s husband remarked, “French is a beautiful language.” When they heard him, the two burst out in laughter. As it happened, the one was cursing and the other was admonishing her to watch her language! That’s a funny story, and it reminded me how important words are. Whatever the language, the Scriptures warn about the use of the tongue. Our words can encourage, comfort and heal, but they can also discourage, ridicule and deeply wound. We can bless or we can curse with the same mouth. It may be impossible to totally control our tongues, but let’s keep trying! Adios!