Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Lunch Room

Much of what we practice in the Judeo-Christian Tradition centers around food. There is much to be learned about what is sacred, when a meal is shared.
A communal meal takes place daily, in many office lunchrooms.
At my place of employment, as in many offices, the same folks share the same lunch period every day. We've become like a family, sitting down together at the same table, eating with one another, and sharing food and conversation, five days a week.
We've developed a routine. We all observe and comment on what each person is eating. Most of the food consists of leftovers from the night before. One of the men always has great restaurant leftovers, which he often offers to share. None of us can resist the temptation.
The "Model" always brings a green salad and a chunk of broiled chicken. Every day, she eats the very same thing. We all watch intently as she constructs her salad, cut by cut, piece by piece. Maybe one day she will vary her diet.
There is a lot of yogurt (both the cheap, fruity kind and the more expensive Greek stuff) consumed, and some of us eat frozen, processed food. We are a bunch of Equal Opportunity Consumers.
Recently, one of the guys has been bringing fresh mangoes in his lunch. That has prompted an ongoing argument about the proper way to slice tropical fruit.
Our lunchtime gathering is generally rather informal, except for the manners of our English colleague. She routinely eats everything from pizza to cucumbers, with a knife and fork. She says eating the proper way with the proper utensils, instead of using your fingers, eliminates the need for a napkin.
Many topics are discussed, while we eat. And like most families we agree most of the time, but we have had some moments of disagreement. At those time, no one threw food or stalked off in a huff. We just kept eating, talking and accepting that we can and do have different ideas. That's what families do.

Dear Father of all families: We appreciate our work families and we treasure the time we spend together. A meal, from a plain old lunch in a sack to Holy Communion, brings all of us together.
We ask you to bless our families at home and at work. Your name is Holy.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

"Sugar and spice and everything nice."

I'm just back from a Girls' Weekend. I shared it with over one hundred of my close girlfriends, a couple of token men, and a whole bunch of teens and kids.
We were all housed at the small United Methodist University in Missouri. We stayed in their dorms and ate in their college cafeteria. I've attended this event almost every summer for the past 20 years or so, and I keep going because it's always a wonderful adventure.
I went for the very first time because my Aunt Anna invited me. She had been asked to be a Study Leader on the subject of "India". It was fun and since that first time I have gone, not only as a student, but also as a class leader, a work shop presenter, and for a couple of years, I was the Event Leader.
Why do I go? Well, it's not because of the food. College cafeteria food is, at its best, just okay. It's not because a college dorm room is as comfortable as a five star hotel. Believe me,it's not. A twin bed with a plastic mattress cover and a two bedroom/shared bath suite, is not the Ritz Carleton!
I go, because as a Christian, I never want to stop learning. I never want to say that I am too old and too tired to work for the Lord. Ten years from now, I may have to pack my walker and a breathing machine, but I plan to be there.
This weekend, I missed my soft comfortable bed. I missed my gourmet coffee with the half and half. I had to share a bathroom with 3 other women. But I prayed, sang, smiled and shed a few tears of happiness with the Girls, and I loved every minute of it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

That's What It's a All About!

Today, a truly "un-churched" man spoke to me about religion. He just could not wrap his mind around what he believed was the prevailing thought around the world, "That the only good neighbor is a dead neighbor". He asked me, "How can religious people commit murder in the name of God?"
He is right. Hatred and killing are everywhere. Racism is an issue. Nationality is an issue. Ageism is an issue. Politics is an Issue. Wealth, the lack of it and the desire for it, is an issue.
I really didn't have an answer, but I told him that not every one lives that way. A true follow of Christ tries very hard to love everyone. It's not easy. That's why we are practicing Christians.
Do I sometimes fail to show all the love that I can to my fellow humans... my neighbors? You betcha! I can be a really bad girl. But God knows, I'm trying.
I live, I forgive and God knows that I keep trying to be a better Christian.
And, in the end, the answer should be to Love God and love your neighbors as you love yourself. It sounds so easy, but it is often so difficult.

Great God, around us. Listen to our prayer for peace. We all want a good life. Why can't we share what we have joyously and without hatred?
Your steadfast love endures forever.
We praise your glorious name.

Monday, July 13, 2015


I've had my share of jobs over the years. I've worked as a concierge, herded hundreds of volunteers, taught school, sold flowers and shoes, paved driveways and above all raised four kids and a husband.
One thing that I always wanted to do, especially when I was raising three really loud boys, was to be a librarian. For some reason, the thought of a really quiet job really appealed to me
Anyway, starting at a very early age, I have always been a public library devotee. The library was a sanctuary for me. I always felt at home and safe among the smooth tables, rows of books and cool tile floors.  My sister used to walk my friends and me to the Pittsburg Public Library, every week during the summer months. We went to Story Hour on Wednesday mornings for years. We listened to Mrs. Kempster read The Oz Books, Alice In Wonderland and other classics.  I loved every minute of it.
When my kids were young, we were frequent visitors at the Public Library, where ever we lived. I made sure they went to the local story hour, too. I recall that they really enjoyed the Laurel and Hardy movies along with the oral story telling. The video generation, I guess.
So, joy of joys. One of those story hour youngsters, in my special care, is now an employee of the public library system and will be engaged in story telling at one of their branch libraries.
You never know how your dreams and wishes will be fulfilled. God only knows how and when you might be an influence on the lives you touch.

Thank you Lord, for the gift of words. You have blessed us with so many wonderful books. Allow us to be good role models and to make our each of our lives a model for others. You are our guide and shield. Watch over us.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Tenemos Esperanza!

When I agreed to be a study leader at a United Methodist Womens event this summer, I had a lot of confidence in myself. Now that the event is approaching, I am having second, third and maybe even fourth thoughts about my ability to do the task. The class that I am leading is centered around Latin America.
Number one doubt: I know next to nothing about the topic. For sure I have read a half dozen books, watched several videos and practiced my "three year old's knowledge of Spanish", but I still know very little about Latin America. Yo estupido.
Number two doubt: The subject is so vast, it is overwhelming to me.There is just so much to cover. a dozen countries, for gosh sakes.
Number three doubt: I'm having a hard time focusing on life, let alone a class about something I'm already confused about. on.
So, today (a week and a half out from the beginning of the class) I really began in earnest, trying to get a handle on the subject.
God and I had a heart to heart talk about me and Latin America. In order to make it work, I am going to concentrate on what I know and not  on what I don't know. I'm pretty good at lesson plans. I can entertain folks, and I can engage others in duscussion about mission. I can throw in a couple of art projects and I can distribute maps. Ta Da!
God is there when we need Her.

God Almighty. Thank you for your help. You are always there when we need you. Be with me this day and every day of my life. I honor your name.