Where Faith, Food and Life Converge

Month: July 2015

A Letter to my Adult Prodigal

  To my Beloved Child, There are always two sides to every story.  Two perspectives, if you will.  Before you read anything else, know this: I love you. I will always love you. Until the day I die, nothing will change that, and I do […]

Monday Mondays 7.27.15

    And isn’t it easier to be happy than not?  Truly.  Think about it.  When you’re happy, you’re energized, motivated, focused, relaxed and relatively carefree.  When you’re not happy, you’re lethargic, you want to hide, you want to procrastinate, and it’s often hard to […]

Monday Mondays 7.20.15

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Life is like a garden, you never know what you’re going to get!  I love my little old man tomato, and the family that came before him (one of his uncles had a big chin!)  It is fun to go out and see each day’s offerings and sometimes pick oddly shaped vegetables from our garden. Even if my garden doesn’t have something, 9 times out of 10 I can just drive down the road and someone will have their pickup truck pulled over on the side with an overabundance of something their garden produced.

Having a garden is so tricky, at least for me.  Like photography and having to figure out the difference with ISO’s, aperatures, etc… to get the proper light for a photo, gardening varies so much because of the weather.  This year, we’ve had a lot of both rain and sunshine, yet I’m still struggling with growing some things like my tomatoes.  Tomato seasons seem to either be feast or famine, but this year, I have an abundance of them; they just don’t seem to grow to their normal size, or if they do, look like Grandpa Beefsteak above.

Have a great week – here are your links:

 

After the Rain

  The other evening we had an unexpected round of violent storms. For most of the day, the local forecasters were saying we’d get some rain, and maybe some lightning and thunder, but even they were caught off-guard by the suddenness and fury of the […]

Monday Mondays 7.12.15

Monday Mondays 7.12.15

  If I were related to Chewbacca, I’d probably look like one of these Mod-Squad type Wookies.  I kind of have a thing for Wookies, specifically the sounds a Wookie makes.  Our dog that passed away in December used to make sounds exactly like Chewbacca. […]

“Are you OK?”

“Are you OK?”

When did people stop saying those words to strangers in need? In person, I mean.

Even though we didn’t have a date yet, I knew the day would soon come that my Air Force son would be deploying. When he Skype-IM’d me while I was shopping in Walmart that he’s leaving this Wednesday, well, I kind of lost it. I believe he’ll be safe during his deployment to a part of the world that’s known more for unrest than not. Truly, I do. Still… I’m a mom.

A mom who – like all moms – worries about the safety of her children.

And even though the military thing is something I’ve had to learn to turn over to God (like everything else, huh?), I’m only human and my emotions just bubbled to the surface right then and there.  Oh, and I’m one of those “Hallmark” criers too.  As in, a Hallmark commercial can bring me to tears lickety-split. Suffice it to say, I wear my heart on my sleeve.

So there I am walking through the crowded aisles on a Saturday afternoon, and I get this text:

“I leave Wednesday.”

Suck in my breath. Try to let it out slowly. Fight to stop the tears from erupting, but… it doesn’t work. Attempt to breathe normally, but it sounds more like I’m hyperventilating. I can feel my eyes redden and tears form rivers down my cheeks.  I wipe my eyes with my hands, the sleeves and collar of my shirt.  It’s all I can do to get out of the store to find some time to myself and to call my husband.

I look like a fool.

I feel like one too.

And I know people saw me.  Heard me.

Once upon a time, people would’ve had the consideration to ask “Are you OK?”  or “Can I help?

Really, I felt so alone at that moment.  Alone, when I needed something.  Someone.

I wondered if the shoe had been on the other foot, and I saw a woman standing 5 ft from me in the middle of the pet food aisle, staring at her phone and suddenly burst into tears, whether I’d reach out to her. Whether I’d offer a reassuring hug.  A word of encouragement.  Something – anything – to let her know that it would be okay.

I hope I would. I think I would. But would I, really?

It seems like we’ve heard so much and experienced so much, that we’ve perhaps been conditioned by society to mind own business nowadays.

To not get involved.

Because when good people get involved, there might be unfortunate consequences:

A pizza delivery man is fired from his job when he calls the police after being robbed.  A police officer is fired after stopping a fellow officer from choking a man.  A train commuter is attacked after stepping in to stop a racial rant by another commuter against some Muslim passengers.  A Walmart manager is fired after walking 10 ft outside the store to stop a shoplifter.  These aren’t just a few isolated instances: there are more.

We’re more comfortable pressing the “like” button in a virtual world – here, for instance, or on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – than extending eye contact to someone in distress in the real world. To click on that like button offers a sort of solidarity with our fellow man that isn’t nearly as awkward as putting our arm around a stranger, or offering a smile and an understanding look.

Not one single person in that crowded store reached out to me.  And I was just a woman crying over a minor shock. What about all the people on this planet that are suffering real misfortunes, hardships and anguish?  What about them?

How did we get to the point that we stopped doing the right thing and instead do the seemingly smart thing of just minding our own business? Because to my mind, the smart thing to do is also the right thing – look after the person to your right and to your left, in front of you and behind you. Helping one person somehow helps us all.

I’m not sharing this with you because I want your pity, or for you to offer platitudes, but because I saw firsthand just how easy it is to ignore someone wounded and vulnerable. People are hurting, scared, and anxious everywhere. Not just in third-world countries, although they can certainly be found there, but also down the street.

In the elevator at the doctor’s office.

Putting gas in their car at the pump next to yours.

In the airplane seat behind you.

Even in the pet food aisle at Walmart.

Reach out to them.  Life is too short not to care.

 

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Easy Homemade Veggie Wash

I kind of live in the boonies.  No, not like the tundra of Alaska or anything, but if I want to get to a “real” shopping/dininng area (as in Target, movie theaters, Old Navy, shoe stores, froyo, Panera, fabric & craft stores, Home Depot, etc…) I […]

Monday Mondays 7.6.15

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July holiday!  We’ve gone to the same place to see fireworks for the past 10 years or so, and we thought we’d have to cancel this year because we’ve had nothing but RAIN for the last […]

Hope for Parents of Prodigals

Herman Hesse

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook.  Despite my misgivings about it, it remains one of the few ways I can keep in touch with friends and family I might not otherwise connect with on a regular basis. To that end, I still log in, and sometimes, I’m rewarded.  In this instance, a friend shared a post from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine that spoke volumes to me, and I’ll share it in full below. Beyond the post itself though, two things stood out:

First, the friend who shared it was someone with whom our family spent years involved with theirs through homeschooling. Although she and I have had many conversations through the years, and I know, I know, I know she’s faced similar struggles raising a family (don’t we all?), it was a revelation to me that she was having “wayward children” issues, same as me. She’s one of those moms who always seems so… together, you know?  Her children have, to my awareness, all been very active in the church and in missions work.  On the outside looking in, it seems as if there haven’t been any speed bumps in the road. And I’ve often felt as if every family who ever homeschooled alongside us, has perfect children. Everywhere I turn (social media, I’m talking to you…) every other family I’ve ever known in the history of forever has always had an imperfect relationship with a child.  Never had a child who messed up, walked away from their family, or who are disillusioned with God because of the Christian way they were raised. At least, it seemed like it to me, until my friend shared the post. Now I know that’s untrue.

Next, there are a LOT of us out there.  Based on the hundreds of comments after the post, Christian parents – homeschoolers and not – have raised children with a knowledge of a loving God, and yet, they’ve turned away from that awareness and understanding with a particular vehemence.  Reading through the comments, I’m struck by how much hurt there is on both sides of relationships. I’m heartened to know our family is not alone, but disheartened to know that so many of us thought we were sharing the love of Christ through our words and actions, and perhaps those words and actions said the exact opposite.  I don’t remember so many of my own generation being so antagonistic toward the values our parents tried to impart to us. I remember basically holding onto those same values, but maybe just being selfish and wanting to relax the rules a bit before I fully immersed myself in adulthood.  But the Millennials? Many are almost diametrically battling against our core values.  Is it the media? Culture?  Christianity? Satan?  What?

In church this past Sunday, the pastor discussed how so much of life is hard, and that in order to be like Christ – which is what as Christians we should seek to be – we’ll have to live like Christ.  And Jesus’ life was hard.  He was cast out, abused, threatened, made fun of, hated, beaten, misunderstood, and ultimately, made to die.

In essence, that’s what our life will be if we choose to follow after Him.  (Sorry to be Debbie Downer, here!)  I think the point is, we have to stop asking ourselves why it’s all so hard, and not try to find a reason for it being hard, but to find the purpose in the hard things.  Reason and purpose being two entirely different things. So why we think that raising our children to love and follow God will be any easier, I don’t know.  Ugh.

Lately, I’ve seen and read so many things that have made me think about what it means to be the parent of a prodigal. What it means to be a Christian and a parent of a prodigal. There are so many out there like me – like us – that are hurting, embarrassed, ashamed, weary, lost and broken by the relationship(s) with their offspring.  I think I’m hearing and seeing these things for a reason: they offer hope.  Like Jesus, the stories of brokenness offer hope in their midst. I’ll be sharing links to some of these stories, along with my own experiences and thoughts in some future posts.

Why would I do that when I still have one who hasn’t “come home” yet?  Because maybe like the comments I read from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Facebook post below, you’ll know you’re not alone.  Maybe you’ll relate to this in some way even if this isn’t an issue.  Maybe you haven’t crossed this bridge with one of your own, but you’re having doubts about your parenting, and this will give you hope.  Maybe you don’t need to read it, and that’s fine, but maybe you know someone who does.

from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Hey Mama,

You’ve heard the saying about how when your kids are little, they step all over your feet, but when they become teens or young adults, they step all over your heart. Heart pain is far, far worse than foot pain.

This is because of “the investment.”

See, all these years you had such dreams for how they’d grow up; you’d be best friends; they’d love the Lord, like you. They’d be honest, right thinkers, never betrayers. And you poured yourself into them. You weren’t perfect, but you loved them, and they should have known it. They should have the logic, the reasoning and the ability to see what you gave up (time and time again) in order for them to have everything they needed. And you didn’t just provide for their physical needs. You drove home the point forever and a day that they were loved so much by you, cherished, adored. They belonged; they were not alone.

All the heart talks. The money that wasn’t there – but you found anyway because it meant they had what they really wanted or needed. The time, the pain, the sleepless nights. All the stress that goes into being a Mama…you accepted it. You endured.

And then that season came where everything was thrown right back into your face. A slap far more painful than anything physical could ever be. The ridiculous logic, the victim mindset, the false beliefs, and worse yet, the embracing of so called friends who made things even worse. The deception began.

What you have to remember is that you gave them to the Lord so long ago. All that investment you keep thinking about – it was truly for them, not for you. It was a living sacrifice unto the Lord. You modeled an un-ending love, like that of Christ. It was for their good, so they would know one day, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they were so very loved, so cared for. But that wretched, stomach-twisting season came. For years it stayed. Maybe it’s still here. Hope deferred. Heart sick. Maybe they will soon turn a corner.

Someday they will “get it.” Someday they will see. Someday their detractors will be silenced, and someday the Lord will reveal all things and open the eyes of your wayward one. I pray it’s this side of heaven. Hope deferred. Heart so sick.

Train them up, anyway, Mama. Do exactly as the Bible tells you. It doesn’t return void, His word. You have planted seeds, sown them deeply, watered them year after year; and your great God and Savior is the Harvester. Let Him do His work; it is not yours to invest in anymore, apart from praying unceasingly. Put it down. Put it at His feet.

Faithful Mama, I write this to those who have expressed a sadness… or a desire to hear words of comfort about their older ones. Little ones stepping all over your toes and feet, rubbing their yucky noses in your hair, poking you straight in the eye while you sleep, sneezing on your plate, screaming in church, embarrassing you by loudly announcing how fat your friend is (in front of said friend)….cake walk.

Children caught up in deception…Children who walk away from you… not so cake like. You know who you are, Mama, right now. And you have to know this: You spoke the truth. You stood firm. You gave and gave. God saw it. He sees. And don’t worry; He also acts.

His hand is still on your head – and that of your wayward one’s. So pray and pray. He will not forget you. You are on His mind.