A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (30)Good people do live in my midst!  We’re getting ready for a garage sale later this month and spent a day preparing the garage for the tables, racks, etc.  The worst thing that can happen at a garage sale is when someone wants to buy something that you are not selling.  The solution is to cover everything that you want to keep with a tarp.

We were working in the garage when along comes our neighbor.  He’s a very pleasant man, friendly and hard-working.  He owns a farm just outside Wichita as well as a home in our little community.  He asked if our riding lawn mower was for sale.  My husband told him it was.  They worked out the details and our big -ticket item was sold.

Seems cut and dried, doesn’t it?  We get money and he gets the rider to use out on his farm.

The story’s not finished.  Here’s the cool part.

Yesterday was the open air market at our extension office.  Most of the vendors have stopped coming because summer is over.  We stopped to look around a bit, not expecting to find much.  There was our neighbor with the last of his vegetable crop – and it looked delicious, I must say.

Without saying a word, he bagged up most of what he had left and handed it to us.

He has absolutely NO idea what he did.  We have vegetables to put in our freezer for winter.  Our freezer was empty – now it’s full.  I think I know what the squirrels must feel like – collecting and filling their little homes with food for the winter months.

He told us it was a bonus payment on the mower.  We laughed.  I wanted to cry tears of joy.

But here’s the thing…  my dad had a garden every year and grew all the vegetables our neighbor does.  We’ve been buying vegetables at the market – but let’s face it, they just are not homegrown.  They don’t taste the same.

I’m sitting here now eating fried okra, crying tears of happiness.  It’s like a taste of home, to be honest.  This small gesture touched my heart and took me back home for just a little while.

This journey called life is filled with a little pain and a little sorrow, but once in a while, a neighbor does something that renews your faith in humans.  I could never thank him enough for that – not without crying, anyway.  It’s more than okra – it’s closing my eyes and going back to a late summer / early fall meal with my parents.  How do you thank someone for that?it-is-more-than-just-okra

I know it’s just a simple little story, but isn’t our life here on the planet about paying it forward?  It’s about sharing your bounty with those who are not farmers or gardeners.  Our neighbor would certainly have not had to do that.

I thank him not only for the food, but also for the wonderful memories that food sparked in me.  And as always, I’m so very grateful to God for making it all happen!  🙂

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NATIONAL GOOD NEIGHBOR DAY

tl-9-28-national-good-neighbor-day-2WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?  An earnest lawyer asks Jesus this question in Luke 10:29.  Basically, Jesus replied that our neighbor is not just the one who lives next door to us.  A neighbor is a fellow human being on this planet.  It’s anyone who shares the oxygen on earth.  Our Lord desires that we all be GOOD NEIGHBORS and show mutual respect, helping one another along the path.

hands-for-jesus

I’m certainly not suggesting that we lay the burdens of the world on our shoulders.  Nobody could handle that – it’s why we bear one another’s burdens by giving them all to the One who can shoulder and care for us, Christ Jesus.let-us-be-a-light

So how can we be a good neighbor?  Something as a monthly charitable contribution is being a good neighbor because you are helping someone less fortunate along the path.

Always remind people of their worth.  It hurts when it feels like you’re being forgotten.  That small gesture can mean a lot.  – Bobby Fulks

It means we’re not selfish and self-absorbed in our thinking, rather we consider the needs of others before our own needs.  Again, it does not mean that we do not take care of ourselves as we should.  We just share something as simple as a smile or hold a door open for someone.  It  doesn’t have to be a monetary donation.  Give creatively to your fellow-man.give-a-lift-when-needed

The denomination I was part of growing up had a place called THE GOOD NEIGHBOR CENTER.  It’s much like the Salvation Army.  They take donations and distribute clothing and other goods to the less fortunate.  Something as simple as donating to such a place is being a good neighbor to your fellow-man.plant-a-garden-of-love

Do you know someone who is struggling?  Say a prayer for them.  It doesn’t seem like you’re actually “doing much”, but it’s not what we can do for them that really matters.  We know we serve a God who gives exceedingly above anything that we can ask or think.  That’s powerful and when we take a moment to talk to the Father on behalf of another person, that’s putting feet to your faith for them.  When I hear someone say, “I just don’t know what else I can do.  I guess I’ll just pray”…  it makes me shudder because prayer really should be our first resource instead of our last resort.

someones-burning-bushIn this political season, it’s so easy to get caught up in the fight for right.  As Christians, we really need to be careful about becoming too angry because nothing is worth going against our beliefs, values and principles.  We don’t have all the answers about how to care for the truly needy among us while still keeping taxes lower and assuring we have plenty of jobs to go around here in America.  We don’t have answers about how our life-saving medications can become reasonably priced and more assessable for those who must have them.  There are so many unanswered questions.success-begins-with-youI don’t have answers.  I’ll let you in on a secret – those running for the office of President of the U.S. don’t have every answer either.  Here’s what I do know.  EVERYBODY is my neighbor – no exceptions.  In order for America to be the great nation it once was, we NEED to get back to basics.  We NEED prayer.  We NEED to ask the God of the universe, the One who made us, to make our paths straight.  It is only as we read our Bibles and pray on a regular basis that this country will be great again and we will all be the GOOD NEIGHBORS we should be!  🙂

 

PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD

TL 12-1 PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORDDo you have a neighbor that doesn’t receive many visitors this time of year?  Loneliness is at epidemic proportions during the Christmas season.  It’s sad that some folks are overly busy while others are just seemingly forgotten.  😦

Most of our neighbors are surrounded by family – and often!  Our little circle drive is crammed full of cars almost every weekend – and that is a good thing!  We see the signs of life all around us in our neighborhood – everyone is alive and well around here.

But I have to ask myself – who is my neighbor?  Is it just the family on my immediate block?  We all know the answer to that question – of course it isn’t.  Our neighbors are everyone around us.  There is a senior living complex less than five miles from my house and it’s fun to go there to sing Christmas Carols.  Seniors are often alone and it means so much to them to be remembered.

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As we prepare our hearts and minds for the birthday of Christ, we will obviously remember the youth in our lives with gifts and good deeds.  Shouldn’t we also remember the aged among us just as much?  Yes, Christmas is for children – but it’s also for the elderly.  It’s for everyone!

A CHRISTMAS EMBRACERemember the story of Simeon?  All he wanted to do was see the world’s Salvation before he died.  He got to hold the Christ Child – and he said that he saw Him and could die in peace.  Let’s show the seniors around us the ways of Christ – His joy, love, mercy and peace.  Let’s show them the fruits of God’s Holy Spirit:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  – Galatians 5:22-23

As we prepare our hearts and minds for the birthday of Christ the King, let’s include all of our neighbors of every stage of life in our celebration.  God loves us all so very much – that’s why Christ was born!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART 35

ATLAS FOR LIFE

Read your Bible, pray every day and you grow…  grow…  GROW!!!

I see me gettin’ blessed while reading my atlas… er… I mean my Bible.

 We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.  – Oswald Chambers

When some folks read fine print, they have to take their glasses off. I’ve always found that to be a bit amusing because when I read fine print, I have to look through that bi-focal for all I’m worth – there I am, head tilted back and squinting… and most of the time I still can’t read it!

We enjoy traveling and find it to be very relaxing, especially if we have a serious case of Cabin Fever. Yes, that Atlas gets a lot of use and he studies it as if there will be a test later. Well, in a way I suppose there will be – once we’re out on the road!

We as Christians have an “atlas” of sorts as well – our Bibles.

Our very good friend, Harold McKay used to say, “Pray and read your Bible if you want to know how to live.” He was right! Jesus is our example and nobody showed more love and compassion for people than He did. When we are in constant contact with Him through prayer and Bible study, there is no doubt that we will be learning how to take the better roads as we drive along through life.

 I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.  – William Penn

Learn to pray and read your Bible every day. Pray for others instead of criticizing them. Be helpful instead of judging a person’s circumstances. God knows the whole story about them, you don’t need to know it. Just help them where they are. More listening and less talking would be great. God will put you on Compassion Street from time to time. If you pass that test, you’ll be led to drive down Love Your Neighbor as Yourself Avenue.

Just keep driving… keep that “atlas” handy.   😉

NATIONAL SOUP SWAP DAY

TL 1-25 NATIONAL SOUP SWAP DAY

When the weather is cold, isn’t it tempting to make a big pot of soup or stew?  Well, in our house, it never gets eaten up in a day.  Since there are just two of us, it takes several days for us to eat it all, and we are sick of it by the time we’ve finished it.  It takes so many days to finish off the Potato Soup – ugh…

Today is NATIONAL SOUP SWAP DAY!!!  They make it clear that even though this is the official day to swap soup, it is not by any means the only day you can do it.  All you have to do is find a friend who thinks this is as good an idea as you do and coördinate, then SWAP!

I’ll make you some great German Potato Soup if you will fix me some of your grandma’s Chicken Noodle Soup.  See how simple it is?  All you have to do is find a partner (or two or three).

There are a couple of things I would suggest, just to make the whole process easier and avoid some hard feelings down the road.

  • It’s okay to make the soup in your best pot or crock pot, but I wouldn’t transport it in the same pot.  Pots grow legs and walk sometimes.  It could lead to some hurt feelings if you have to go out and buy a new one because it does not come back home.
  • Be sure you and the one you are in cahoots with share the same kinds of tastes.  If I make a mild lentil soup for you, don’t make your four alarm chili for me.
  • This can be a hoot at first, but take a break from it once in a while.  Sometimes people just want to eat something besides soup or stew.  I know it’s hard to believe, but on occasion I like a steak cooked on my George Foreman.
  • If you swap with someone and for any reason do not like, or are unable to eat what they give you, don’t tell them.  That just hurts the person and puts a strain on your relationship with them.  I’m not saying you should lie, just say, “My the stew you made was quite remarkable.”  Or, you could just say “Thank you” and leave it alone.  If you over-state, you will undoubtedly get it again…  often.
  • This may or may not work, depending on your partner.  You could plan to meet with cookbooks and make a list of soups or stews that you think you and your family would like.  Leave your list with your partner and that would ensure that you don’t get an unpleasant surprise.  For instance, if there is a recipe for Turtle Soup in her cookbook, just don’t put it on your list if you don’t want to try it.  I mean, that’s what I’d do.

WORRIES GO DOWN BETTER WITH SOUP

Give it a try this winter.  It could be a fun time and a great learning experience.  You’ll never get bored with soups and stews again!  Wink!  😉