Friday, March 11, 2011
...And God will wipe every tear from their eyes. Rev.7:17
A few years ago Nikon made a promotional ad by giving out 200 cameras in Georgetown, SC, a town near me (no, I didn't get one) and posting some of the pictures on the Web. They also had a "comments" section under each photo. One of the first pictures I saw was of my friend Alton:
A lady in Sweden commented that she liked this photo because she could "really see the happiness in this man." Wow, was she right. Alton is the happiest man I ever met. What does he have to be happy about--in things and circumstances probably less than you do--it just doesn't take much to make Alton happy because Alton already is happy.
Alton is "challenged." He never had anything, except maybe love, come easy. Most of his family are now gone. His mother brought him to the church faithfully while she was alive, and now that she has passed and left Alton her nearby home, Alton spends most of his life waiting around the church, waiting for any chores that anyone can offer him. A former pastor recognized something special about Alton and made Alton the sexton, and he has served faithfully in that capacity ever since, probably spending more time in church than any paid employee--just out of love. Although the church has official greeters every Sunday, we really don't need them since Alton waits outside to greet all his friends with a "glad to see you." His friends include everybody--even the crabs and cranks.The men give Alton their cast off sportcoats, and though some of his combinations are creative, he manages to dress his best to honor God.
I have never met a purer example of agape love. My friend Carolyne is a popular speaker in South Carolina and I traveled with her to a Methodist retreat at Lake Junaluska, NC, where she gave a very well-received presentation, called "Christ's Hands," based on Alton and how Pastor Phil had recognized and put to use the spiritual gifts within Alton to be "Christ's hands" within our church. Our former Pastor Phil is often called the foremost Biblical scholar in South Carolina (and in SC knowing the Bible is indeed serious business), and Alton can hardly read, yet the Pastor once commented to me that he has a nightmare in which he and Alton die at the same time and arrive at the pearly gates together, and only Alton is allowed in. After all, Heaven isn't about the quantity of brain, but the quality of heart, you know.
Last November Alton was as happy as I'd ever seen him--Georgetown made him the Grand Marshall to lead the Christmas parade!
What is Alton so happy about--probably just that he is exactly who God made him to be and has never done anything to mess that up. He has found the purpose that God intended for him and performs it unreservedly with everything he has.
Alton is proof that we don't have to wait until after the Second Coming for the promise from Revelation to be fulfilled. Alton knows what most of the smartest geniuses in our universities, businesses, government, and media haven't quite figured out. Alton's whole life reminds me of the words of the old Shaker hymn, Simple Gifts: "...Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be, and when we are in our place just right, we will be in the valley of love and delight."
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for making Your will known to us in ways that even the little ones can understand. Please help those who are so wise in their own eyes that they make themselves into fools by ignoring Your commandments and precepts. Thank You for the examples you have sent to cross my path such as Carolyne, Pastor Phil, and especially Alton, so I can learn from them how to better follow and serve You and enjoy the well-springs of joy that come from living as closely as possible to the life You would chose for us. I ask for Your blessing, guidance, and comfort for all my beloved SparkPeople in their struggle toward good health. Amen
Sunday, February 13, 2011
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Cor. 10:31
I had an interesting life lesson. I am a crafter and started with quilting because I love the challenge of taking a pile of scraps that most sane people would just throw away and seeing how I can re-combine them in some way to make something useful. I got out of quilting but continued to seek the same satisfaction with cooking (rather than follow a recipe and buy the listed ingredients, I love to throw leftovers together in a soup or stew and see what happens) and my current obsession--yarn.
Now I know that just like the best food is made when I actually follow a recipe and buy the right ingredients, my nicest projects involve those in which I choose the right pattern, the right yarn, and the right colors--and those are what I make for gifts. However, I do not receive the same satisfaction as when I make the colorful, but not nearly as beautiful, scrap projects for myself or charity projects. I just love curling up in a granny square afghan and enjoying the curious blend of color and pattern I pulled together from other peoples' throwaways.
Recently, a friend's daughter, Pam, was diagnosed with colon cancer at an unusually young age for that terrible disease. After suffering drastic surgery and chemo, she was pronounced cancer-free, but that good news lasted only a few months--it is back. Pam is now being told her cancer is incurable but possibly controllable and the rest of her life will be spent having tests and changing chemo to deal with the cancer wherever it pokes its ugly head. From following MOMTOACAT's blogs, I have some idea of what Pam is in for.
Since I often crochet pretty afghans for friends with cancer, I have gotten lots of feedback that people undergoing chemo often feel unbearably cold and tired and a thick fluffy afghan proved to be a great comfort when they felt too cold and tired to function. I was almost finished with a granny square afghan I was going to give to charity, but since I didn't have any of my nice patterns in the works, I knew I couldn't make one for Pam on a timely basis , so I decided it would be better to just give her that granny square thing right away--it was ordinary, but it was warm.
Pam couldn't have been more delighted than if I'd given her one of my prize-winners (well, actually, I've only ever had one prize-winner.) She often feels cold and fatigued and at such times loves to curl up in the afghan of many colors and admire the unusual combinations thrown together to make up her blanket. She said she greatly prefers scrap afghans because they are so colorful and cheerful.
Then Pam verbalized the reason I love to do scrap projects--quilting, cooking crocheting,etc. A scrap afghan is a metaphor for dealing with life. Isn't the key to an abundant, happy life just all about accepting whatever scraps life offers you and making the prettiest thing you can out of them?
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your ever-present counsel and help in time of need, so even an old dog like me can still learn some new tricks. I thank you for being with Pam and her wonderful family through this time of shadows and know how you have comforted and strengthened her during her scariest times. I pray for your blessings on my beloved Sparkpeople and SparkStaff whatever their individual struggles and needs might be. In the holy name of Christ who paid a price so far above my worth to bring me blessings I couldn't possibly deserve, I raise my prayer with my praise and thanks and love. Amen.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Cor. 10:31
Like many weight-losers I tend to eat pretty much the same few things every day. So I decided to try some new things and went exploring through the grocery store. I found most of the new things I bought were made of turkey. When I have used them up, I intend to go back to the same-old same-old because they were healthier--primarily because of healthier fats and lower sodium--but it was fun experimenting. Just thought I'd share a few of my favorite things.
My favorite dinner was Turkey Sausage Scramble. Microwave a Butterball turkey hot Italian sausage link (140 cals.) for two minutes and then chop it up. Slice a huge pile of sweet onions and green pepper and mushrooms (you'll need more than you think because they really cook down) and microwave them for six minutes to pre-cook (keep the mushrooms buried in the onions--they need the moisture to cook), stopping and stirring every two minutes. Dump the vegetables and sausage together in a small non-stick skillet and saute covered, checking and stirring every minute until the peppers are cooked to your liking. I would either eat the whole thing (about 250 calories) or divide in half to use as an alternative topping to my next treat--Low-cal Pizza.
Low-cal Pizza. Place a fat-free tortilla or a flatout light Italian herb bread (90 cals.) on a non-stick or pam-sprayed pizza pan or cookie sheet, spread with 1/4 cup (1/6 jar) of pizza sauce (30 cals.), sprinkle with garlic powder, one oz. ( 1/4 cup) light mozzarella cheese (70 cals.), 1/4 cup canned mushrooms (8 cals.), a few thin-sliced onion strips, and 8 turkey pepperonis (40 cals.) or as an alternative top sauce and cheese with 1/2 of the turkey sausage scramble. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. The pepperoni-mushroom pizza is 250 calories (allowing calorie space for a salad and some grapes) and the "sausage deluxe" is 315 calories.
For breakfast I am having Turkey BLT's. Microwave 2 slices of Butterball turkey bacon (50 cals.), toast two slices of Nature's Own Light Honey Wheat Bread (70 cals.), spread with 1 TBSP. Kraft Olive Oil Mayonnaise (45 cals.), fill with romaine lettuce, tomato slices (of course I eat any left over tomato while waiting for the toast--25 cals.), and the microwaved turkey bacon. Total: 190 calories--Enjoy!
Here's one without turkey, but it is so good, I am including it anyway--Bananas Foster Yogurt. I microwave 1/2 of a small banana (refrigerate the rest for tomorrow) 45 secs. (45 cals.), stir with a few shakes of cinnamon and a splash of Torani sugar-free caramel syrup (found in coffee aisle in Walmart) and the warm banana will liquify, Refrigerate briefly to cool, then mix 3/4 of the mixture into a single serving of Plain Greek Yogurt, and use the remaining quarter as a topping.
If none of these things sound good to you, I hope they at least stimulated some great low-cal ideas of your own. Bon apetite!
Dear Heavenly Father, We have come so far on this journey together, but still have twice as far to go! It would be so easy to get discouraged, but today I realized I have not gotten this far with Your help, but You have gotten me this far with just my cooperation, so I can be sure You intend to get me the rest of the way on this journey as long as I do not fight Your will and wisdom. Not by my might or by my power but by Your spirit. I pray for Your blessing on all the SparkPeople who also share this journey and struggle with temptation with us. Amen.
Monday, September 06, 2010
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Pr. 17:17
Today I definitely decided that I have the nicest group of SparkFriends going. Don't even think about arguing with me because I am not just talking about those on my Friends list (although they are all tops) but everybody on SparkPeople--and that includes you.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for friendship and assuring that we are not made to face our struggles and adversities alone. I pray for Your blessing and support on all my SparkFriends.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
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