Tag Archive | Spirituality

Velveeta Really?

In the past few months, I have become interested in baking.  Primarily, because our family wished to reconstruct our mother’s recipes.  She was an excellent cook.  One of her sure fire hits was mac and cheese.  Well you know that mac and cheese is just about a cult happening in its self.  So, I  did some research during the holidays into good mac and cheese recipes,  Several of them used Velveeta. As the holidays unfolded, and I attended family gatherings, mac and cheese was almost never omitted from the bill of faire.

At one particular gathering, the conversation turned to mac and cheese and the fact that many restaurants were including it, even making a mac and cheese hamburger! As we dug into the dish provided at this event everyone weighed in about how great it was and discussed the possible combinations of cheeses and spices used. Well, true novice as I was, I asked if anyone used Velveeta. Two of my family members looked at me in sheer disdain, and pronounced that they used a combination of real cheeses.  I felt like a defendant in the court of Judge Judy with Martha Stewart as the the bailiff.

Many days after this encounter, I was searching the “fridge” and came across a box of Velveeta.  My mind went back to the mac and cheese episode. Upon examining the ingredients, it was clear why these ladies dismissed my question about Veleetta.  Velveeta is not real cheese.  Now, I have to say, the recipes for mac and cheese using Velveeta are much easier than the ones using  real cheese combinations, and the preparation time is more shorter. Is the taste that different?  Can the ordinary person really tell the difference? Does it really matter that much?

Of course, my mind took me to the question of the real deal in my christian life. My answer may  lie in this analogy. A genuine christian life requires time in preparation, study, meditation, and sacrifice.  Or, we can take some short cuts and create some very convincing looking christian lives. But upon close examination, do we stand up? Does it matter that much? Can anyone really tell the difference?

God can.

Velveeta, Really?





So, Oprah is 60?

Last week the world cheered, awed, and some even moaned  in surprise.  Oprah Winfrey joined the millions of us who are sixty and beyond.  It is funny ( funny strange not funny ha ha) how the sixty set is viewed  by the rest of the world.  Just after the big announcement about Oprah’s milestone, I received my copy of one of my favorite magazines. On the cover was the caption “reinventing yourself at 30, 40, 50, and 60”.  Wow! so this is it. The last chance to reinvent myself. I briefly spinned into a bit of a panic.  So for most of us in the sixty set the die is most definitely cast. If we have not found the  right place for ourselves in history, we have missed the mark.  Indeed is there really , I mean real life after sixty? Even Oprah shared that she was observing her birthday, quietly! Quietly, Oprah, really?

Of course we have been celebrating the vast number of baby boomers who are vital, fit, and living life fully by the phrase,  50 is the new 40. So is 60 the new 50? And exactly what does that mean?   If 50 is our mile marker for the home stretch, is it all down hill from here? How are we sixty-something’s embracing this part of our journey?   Are we filled with the wealth of wisdom that the years have poured into us?  Is anyone listening to these pearls of wisdom? Does anyone really know we are in possession of this much-needed wealth? My husband laughed at himself recently when he finished a conversation with a longlong friend. He said they spent the majority of their time talking about how they were preparing their breakfast oatmeal and the various medications they had in common. It has soberingly come to my attention that it takes me a very long time to get started in the morning.  By the time I do the essential preparations for the day, the day is half spent. Let’s not mention the toll physical activity takes on the sixty system.  After my yoga tape, I could use a nap.

Well here is my challenge to all my sixty sisters and brothers.  Wake up! Get out into the world.  We are needed.  Our journeys  have some more turns and bends to maneuver.  What is more exciting is that we have something to sow into the spirits and souls of others.  Not necessarily, just the younger set.  But also those just like us, who need to know that full life is not reserved for the young ; nor are pain, loneliness, and despair  the description for older people. If you have a job, keep working. Your place of employment probably needs an encourager. If you are retired, volunteer. Social agencies have suffered from lost of funding and would welcome your help. Share some victories.  Encourage everyone.  Look outside your own circle for opportunities to enlarge your territory. Spend a day in a nursing home.  Your gratitude meter will go through the roof.

Let’s get going. Post your activities on Facebook. Upload a picture of yourself hugging a new friend on Instagram. Tweet an encouraging word to the universe. Take the power of God’s grace  to a powerless world.  If there is one thing we know, it is how to turn things around.  We have lived through national tragedies, divisive wars, space exploration, and cultural revolutions…..And through it all, we have learned to trust in Jesus; we have learned to trust in God.  Share that trust. Share your story. Risk a little, and receive a lot. Sixty and beyond is another opportunity for personal involvement and growth .  Everything we have learned through education, experience, and observation is the right mixture for world-changing and contagious service.

I have decided that instead of a bucket list, I will have a balloon list.  I intend to live each day as though I am prepared to fly away. Soaring! Giving it my all! Taking each day a little higher!   Let’s soar in our sixties.  After all, the sky is the limit!

Sunny Side Up

Recently, a very dear friend and my pastor passed away. The loss was sudden and shocking. During the same time I was experiencing one of the most difficult personal struggles of my life as the parent of an adult child. So much was happening,testing my faith and my ability to see things in light of a “child of the almighty”. It was very curious that people kept saying that everything
happens for a reason and that there was something in this to give God praise for.

As friends and family gathered to celebrate the life of our pastor, I came across one of his business ventures with the name Sunnyside-Up. I thought about the many words of comfort that remind us to look on the bright side of everything. Of course, I knew in my heart that God is wise and makes no mistakes, but when I looked at all that was going on in my life, I just could not see any bright side.

Seriously considering my faith and all I had come to believe and trust in, caused me to ask some scary questions. Am I building a place of false security when I force myself to reject looking at the circumstances around me? Should I realistically face the facts that now things are very bad, and searching for the bright side does not change the facts?

Really, where is the bright side of terminal cancer, drug addiction, unemployment, loss of your home, or even death? I struggled to find any solace in the bright side. My soul was in severe agony. The weight of loss and disappointment was overwhelming.

Ironically, I am one who usually is the person calling for the positive spin on things. I could hear myself wanting to say “things will get better”. “We can make it through this”. But, I just could not make it to the bright side. As a child, I loved to pretend I was on stage. My favorite song to perform was “The Sunnyside of the Street”. The words went like this,

Grab your coat and get your hat
Leave your worries on the doorstep
Just direct your feet
To the sunnyside of the street.

The words came back to me as though I could will myself to leave the painful circumstances and embrace the promise of light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Was my faith strong enough to remember even now that I truly had a bright future inspite of the terrible pain I was experiencing?
Jeremiah 33:3 says that He knows His plans for us. So as I struggled with my questions and fears, I was taken back to one indisputable fact. God was still God.

When I wrapped my mind around that statement, God is still God, my heart was reassured that in all things we can give God praise because He is good and His mercy endures forever. What can separate me from the Love of God…not disappointment, heartbreak, addiction, nor death. Wow, the sunnyside of the street. No matter where I find my lot in life, God is in control.

The marvelous light of God’s love is more than enough to direct my feet to the sunnyside of the street. Will you join me?

Ready for Worship

As I prepare for worship, I am mindful that I need to set my mind on God. It is no easy to settle in to the familiar of church attendance. What to wear…what Sunday emphasis is this….is there a special program?

But am I really preparing my min for an encounter with Jesus? Romans 12:2 teaches us to renew our minds. We know that our hearts should be focused and given wholly in worship, but can we do that without having a mind set to worship?

“Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants….”
We were made to worship Him. We transform ourselves when we enter into His presence and receive the blessing of His love. This is no small matter. It takes serious preparation.
Our minds must be renewed and free from distractions of worry, fear, doubt, and self.

Oh blessed God, may we enter into your presence ready to worship you.
May your favor be shown to us because You are pleased with our praise and adoration.
Help us to put aside all the hinderances of this world so that we can fully experience your blessings of worship.

Thank you, merciful God. Amen