365 Writing Prompts, by thinkingwritten.com – Day 005 – Food

The complete list of 365 writing prompts can be found at thinkwritten.com

A big meal.  A small snack.  A quick bite of breakfast as you run out the door in the morning.  A raid of the fridge in the middle of the night.  Working all day to prepare a family feast.  Feeling no shame in feeding your family something from the drive-thru.

We all have to eat.  Some enjoy it more than others.  Some find joy in the preparation.  Others find joy in the consumption.  But nobody likes doing the dishes when the meal is over.

Food is a central part of life.  Not just for physical survival.  Think about all the times when you ate when you weren’t hungry.  My family has a favorite frozen yogurt shop that we visit on Saturday nights.  They have a huge variety of FroYo flavors, and every topping you could ever imagine.  The three of us make our FroYo sundaes and we sit at a table and laugh, talk, and share bites of our treats.

At our church we share  meals together in our small groups, and together as a whole church.  Sharing a meal is about more than eating.  It’s about fellowship.  It’s about sharing time with each other, getting to know each other, growing closer together.  So much can happen over a burger, chips, and lemonade.  Yes, a group of people can just hang out in the same room and talk, but think about how much more open and relaxed a social setting is when there is food involved.  Catered food is good, but the best food for social settings potluck.  Tell everyone you are having a potluck and watch everybody show up with their best and favorite culinary offerings.

Last Thanksgiving we had a potluck at work.  One person brought the turkey and everybody else brought the sides and desserts.  We all piled into our conference area and anticipated diving into the bounty laid before us.  We prayed over our meal, and then stuffed ourselves silly.  We spent the rest of the day grazing on the leftovers.  As we all crowded around our conference table with our plates piled high, we set aside every thought of work for an hour.  We laughed.  We talked.  We told stories.  For a short moment in time we were not co-workers.  We were a family sharing a Thanksgiving meal that was prepared with love by every person that sat around that table.

We use food to show joy when we have a party.  We show food to show sympathy when a person is sick or grieving.  So many events in life are not just events to be experienced, but instead are events to share a meal with those we care about.  It’s no coincidence that some dishes are referred to as comfort food.  Those dishes are made with more than just cheese, seasoning, and broth.  When we cook for those we love we pour our heart into those dishes.  We prepare those dishes to make others happy because we know those same dishes make us happy when we need them.

I love to cook.  I love preparing new recipes for my husband and son.  I enjoy finding out that they enjoy and what they don’t.  I enjoy bringing new foods into our home that we have never tried before.  The world is a great big place, and I doubt I’ll ever be able to explore it all.  But I can bring the world into my home through my kitchen.  Yet no matter how culinarily adventurous my family gets, there is something simple and comforting about a good old fashioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Some things a person just never outgrows.

For the record, I am 40 years old and tonight for dinner I enjoyed a bowl of Froot Loops.  There is never a wrong time of day for cereal.

Here is a sneak peak at the topic for day 006:  “Eye Contact: Write about two people seeing each other for the first time.”  I’m excited about this one.  I already have a mental picture working.

Until next time . . .

Advertisements

365 Writing Prompts, by thinkingwritten.com – Day 003 – The Vessel

The complete list of 365 writing prompts can be found at thinkwritten.com

Traveling is one of my favorite things to do.  To get out and explore this great big and all of its tiny hidden corners.  To visit a small town and eat where the locals eat, shop where the locals shop, do what the locals do.  To stay away from the bland and sanitary tourist traps, and instead to find the true personality of a location.  There is a great big world outside of my little corner of western Kentucky.  There are adventures to be had.

That brings us to the topic of day three of the 365 writing prompts.  Today I am to write about “The vessel.”  The directions for this writing prompt are as such:  “Write about a ship or other vehicle that can take you somewhere different from where you are now.”

Right now I am not near water, so a boat is out of the picture.

Right now I am in a small town, so planes are also out of the picture.

Right now the most easily accessible modes of transportation would be a car, or good ole Amtrak.  I am not averse to either option.  I love land travel.

Some of my greatest memories have been in a car.  My husband and I took our son to North Platte, Nebraska about a year-and-a-half ago for a vacation.  Don’t laugh at the location.  It was a lovely little town that is sustained by the world’s largest freight rail yard and the visitor’s center associated with it.  Union Pacific owns Bailey Yard and the Golden Spike Tower visitor’s center.  Thousands of railfans visit Bailey yard every year just to see the 8-mile-long freight yard that operates 24-hours-a-day.  My husband and son are both HUGE railfans.  So we made the 900 mile roadtrip to Bailey Yard in my husband’s Kia Optima.

bailey panarama

golden spike tower

We laughed.  We sang.  We got lost.  We bought too many souvenirs.  We ate snacks from rest stop vending machines and seedy gas stations.  We explored the unfamiliar.  We bonded as a family.  All of that happened withing the 4 doors of the brick red Kia Optima.

museum

We depended on it to get us safely to our destination, but it did more than that.  It created a cocoon around my little family that forced us to focus on each other.  It took us across long distances with little to no cell phone service.  We actually had to turn our attention away from Facebook and YouTube and interact with each other.  We played road games and looked for odd and interesting landmarks . . . my favorite was a huge covered wagon that turned out to be a golf store.

covered wagon

We forever changed our outlook on corn after driving across Northern Missouri and Nebraska and seeing corn EVERYWHERE.  We were modern day explorers setting out across the country and into the unknown, and the car was our covered wagon.  It was our space shuttle into the the cosmos.  It was our ship across unknown waters.

The car did not make the memories, but it was the vessel as the memories were made.

nebraska sunset

Until next time . . .

Who would have your four corners?

4 corners

Just a few evenings ago I was sitting in the living room floor of my pastor’s house.  Around me were some of the most amazing people at my church.  It was our weekly small group meeting.  The group that I am part of has been together for quite a while.  We know each other.  We feel comfortable around each other.  We are way past that “I-have-to-be-careful-what-I-say-because-I-don’t-know-if-I-can-trust-you” stage.  We are a group of males and females.  We are diverse in age and personality.  We are all in different places in our walks with Christ.  But when my group comes together on Sunday evenings, I feel like I am sitting right in the middle of Matthew 18:20 . . . “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” (verse text courtesy of biblehub.com)

A church is not a place.  A church is not a building.  A church is the people who come together in the name of Christ . . . to worship Him, to praise Him, to learn from Him, to learn about Him, to grow in their relationship with Him, and to encourage others is their relationships with Him.  The place where the worship happens is not important.  The church, Christ’s church, is the people who come together for Him.

My small group is a church.

We have laughed together and cried together.  We have prayed for each other and prayed over each other.  We have shared stories and experiences.  We have taken each other by the hand and said, “let’s walk this path of faith together.”  It was right in the middle of my small group that I found my true salvation through Christ last November.  We are friends.  We are family.  We are followers of Christ together.

Sunday evening the leader of our group asked all of us a question that has really stuck with me in the days since that evening, and have given me cause to evaluate some of the friendships in my life . . . “Who in your life would have your four corners?”  The question was a reference to Mark 2:1-12 . . .

Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Five friends, one of whom was paralyzed . . . Jesus was in a home with many others, so many others that the five friends could not even get in the door to see Him.  So the four able-bodied friends tore a hole in the roof of the home, put their paralyzed friend on a mat, then each of the four grabbed a corner of the mat, and together they lowered their paralyzed friend into the home where Jesus was.  Why did they do this?  Because they cared about their friend.  They wanted to help him in his time of need.  They wanted to do anything they could to make sure their friend got to see Jesus.  They had his four corners.

Who has your four corners?  Who can you go to when you are paralyzed?  Who will lay you on a mat and lower you down to see Jesus?

Now flip that question over . . . whose corners do you have?  Is there anyone in your life right now that needs you to grab one of their corners and lower then down through the roof to see Jesus?

Until next time . . .

Making Church a Priority

The Isaiah 53:5 Project

From Josh Lowrance at Authentic Christianity

image

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and food works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

– Hebrews 10:24-25

Church is a non-negotiable in my house. If the doors are open, we are there. I don’t ask my kids if they would like to go to church, I tell them they are going to church. When we go out of town we will find a church to attend or we will come home in time for us to attend our home church. The best thing about it is that church is never argued about in my home. My 4 year old loves going to church. She loves the people, she loves the worship, and she loves learning about Jesus…

View original post 492 more words

A birthday gift from God

Today is my birthday.  At 4:20 this afternoon I will officially be 39 years old.  I am not stressing over my age.  In my opinion age is a state of mind.  Physically I may be be 39 years old, but mentally I am much younger.  I am young at heart and always hope to remain that way.

I have no special plans for my birthday.  There will be no wild night out with friends or family.  No streamers and cake ablaze with too many candles.  No torrent of flying wrapping paper as gifts are torn open.  No trip down the memory lane of birthday’s past.  Tonight I will join many from my church family as we continue work on our new building, and I could think of no better way to spend my birthday.

Today, more than any other birthday, I find myself very reflective on the blessings in my life.  I woke up to my husband and son with smiles on their faces simply because today is my birthday.  I got to work to find cards and well-wishes from my co-workers.  Several listeners have called to wish me a happy birthday.  But more than the attention that the anniversary of my birth has brought is the evidence of my place in this world.

I am, for all intents and purposes, a very insecure person.  I have a bad habit of doubting what I mean to others and my necessity in their lives.  Today I woke with the certainty that I am secure in not only God’s love and grace, but that of so many people in my life.

Today I woke up with the gift of another day in this world.  I woke up with breath in my lungs, a roof over my head, a family that is filled with love, friends that fill my life with joy, a place in church that continues to lead me on my walk with Christ, and the ability to do my job for another day.

The sun came out today for the first time after several grey, rainy days.  The sky is bright blue, and their is a gentle breeze in the air.  I stood outside at work this morning, closed my eyes, and could feel the warmth from the sun, the breeze as is wrapped around me . . . I could feel God in my life, and that is the best birthday gift in the world.

Until next time . . .

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 30 – Something You Are Excited For

image

There are lots of things to get excited about.  When you were a kid you got excited about your birthday and Christmas.  When you were a teenager you got excited about school dances and first dates.  As an adult you got excited about your wedding day, the birth of a child, landing your dream job, and buying your first home.
Things to get excited about are around us all the time.  Sometimes they slap us right in the face, like a surprise pay raise.  Sometimes they are an event down the road, like a planned vacation.
We get excited over things we care about.  And today I am very excited about something.

Day 30 – Something you are excited for

My dear friend, Brian, is getting baptized in a little over a week.  He told me yesterday afternoon, and the joy of his news brought me to tears, because he is no longer just my close friend.  Now Brian is my bother in Christ.
Knowing that when God calls us to Heaven our friendship will continue, knowing that my friend recognized that he had a hole in his life that only God can fill, knowing that through God’s amazing grace my friend is no longer lost in Satan’s grip . . . how could I not be excited?
Yesterday, after he told me the news, I was practically bouncing off the walls.  I made frantic calls to my husband, and to my friend, Jenny.  I could barely get the words out to them because I just wanted to scream in praise and joy to our Almighty God.  Even now I just want to jump up and down, clap, sing, laugh, and shout praises of thanks to the One who saved my soul, and has saved the soul of my friend and brother.
My God is mighty to save!
Hallelujah!
Until next time . . .

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 29 – The Night Of Your 21st Birthday

wpid-fb_img_1445386704020.jpg

The 21st birthday is a right of passage for a young man or woman.  At 18 they are considered, for all intents and purposes, an adult.  They can enlist in the military and sign legally binding documents.  But the 21st birthday comes for many people with a night of binge drinking just because at 21 they can legally buy alcohol.  My night was a bit quieter but no less memorable.

Day 29 – The night of my 21st birthday

On December 2, 1997, I turned 21.  I chose to spend that night with my mom and my aunt.  In my family it is tradition that the parents buy their children their first legal alcoholic beverage.

My mother and aunt took me to their favorite Mexican restaurant.  We sat there for a couple of eating chips and salsa and drinking margaritas.  That night was my first encounter with tequila, and I liked it very much.  In the years since that night I have spent many an evening with my friend, Jose Cuervo.  We laughed and giggled and behaved like girlfriends.

My mom gave me a gift that night that I still treasure.  She had spent months putting it together and working to keep it a secret.  Keeping anything a secret in my family is no mean feat, and everyone knew about the gift that she was putting together because she had to enlist help from everyone.  Everyone gladly and eagerly pitched in.  My mom toiled for months to put together a scrapbook of my first 21 years of life.  It is a beautiful book.

She started it with pictures of her and my father as children and teenagers, pictures from when they dated, graduated from high school, got married, my dad in basic training for the Air Force, and their move to Myrtle Beach (back when Myrtle Beach had an Air Force base).  There were pictures of my mom as she was pregnant with me, and then there were pictures of my mom holding this tiny, dark-haired baby.  There were pictures of me in a bouncy seat while my mom fed me with our pet cats watching her.  There were pictures of me in front of the Christmas tree, and playing with our dog.  There is an adorable picture of my dad bent way over, leaning down to kiss his tiny daughter with her face tilted up to meet him.  (A few years ago I attempted to recreate that picture with my son.  I collaged it with the picture of my dad and I, and sent it to my dad.)

Then there are the pictures of my mom and I in St. Louis, where she was from.  She divorced my dad when I was two and she moved back home, taking me with her.  There were pictures from my grandparents house, pictures at day care, early school pictures, pictures of my mom’s second marriage to my sister’s dad.  There were pictures of me with various family members, doing various activities, and just steadily growing older.  Pictures from my years in band.  Pictures from high school in homecoming dresses, and Valentine’s day dance dresses.  There were pictures of my first car, my 1986 Toyota Pickup truck.  All throughout this scrapbook there are notes, passages, descriptions . . . reminders of moments throughout my history.

My mom worked for months to put this book together not just for me, but for herself, as well.  For her it was a trip down memory lane, and a way to let go of some hurts that she had been hanging onto.  She poured her history, my dad’s history, and my history onto those pages.  When I hold that scrapbook I hold my heart.  When I flip through its pages I see my parent’s love for me.  When I read it’s memory-filled passages I hear my mom’s voice telling me our story.

So, how did I spend my 21st birthday?  I didn’t spend it getting crazy, stupid drunk simply because I could.  I spent it celebrating the years that got me to that night with a personal history book put together with love by my mom.

Until next time . . .

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 24 – Something You Miss

image

Things in our life come and go.  Ultimately everything in life is temporary, no matter the length of time it spends in your life.  Even physical life itself here on Earth is temporary.  It is only when a person who has found salvation through Jesus Christ gets to Heaven that they will find eternal and permanent life.
With as easily as everything passes through the fingers of time in our life we tend to occasionally look back over the years and reminisce.  We think about what is no longer in our life.  Some of those things make us happy that they are gone.  Some things we would be happy if they were back in our life.
It is just that which today’s writing challenge is about.

Day 24 – Something you miss

I miss several things in my life.  In my 38 (almost 39) years many things have come and gone, some of which I would love to have back.
1.  My grandmother, Mary – She died of lung cancer in 2003.  I never got the chance to tell her goodbye before she passed away.  It took me a very long to get over that.  She never met my husband, stepdaughter, or son.  She never got to see me finally come to Christ.  She was an amazing, smart, strong, beautiful woman, and I can not wait to see her in Heaven when my time comes.
2.  The simplicity of childhood – coloring, juice boxes, riding bikes around the neighborhood with your friend from across the street, cartoons, the only responsibilities you had were your daily chores, waking up wondering what the day would bring, and then being tucked in at night by your mom, a life with nothing but possibility and dreams in front of you, never having experienced a broken heart.
3.  My clarinet – I started playing when I was 9 years old in the 4th grade.  My mom rented and instrument for me so that I could join the school band.  My family never had extra money, so after a couple of months the clarinet had to go back to the store.  My mom just could afford to rent it any longer.  She was having to choose between clarinet rental or paying utilities.  When I told my band teacher he lent me a school instrument.  I used that old, ugly clarinet until I finished my time in elementary school at the end of 6th grade.  My dad bought me a clarinet to use for the remainder of my band career, which lasted until I was 22 years old.  That clarinet saw me through varsity band, concert band, marching band, jazz band, pep band, and pit orchestra.  I loved to play that clarinet.
4.  My first car, a 1986 Toyota Pickup truck – Her name was Baby (I name all of my vehicles).  I always wanted a Toyota pickup truck, and my dad bought one when I was in high school.  When I got my drivers license at 17 years old my dad gave me his truck.  I loved that truck.  She was blue, with tri-tone silver stripes.  She was made when a/c was still an option, and her original owner opted to not get it.  She had big aftermarket wheels and tires.  Her stereo was an old-school turn-dial tuner with no even a cassette player.  She broke down a lot.  She leaked oil, which is what finally did her in.  I was bad about not checking her oil level.  Eventually all of her oil leaked out and the engine locked up.  I couldn’t afford a new motor.  In June, 1999, after 186,000 miles my Baby went to the junk yard.  I had my first car accident in that truck.  I got my first ticket in that truck.  I made out with a boy for the first time in that truck.  I discovered the freedom of the open road in that truck.  I loved her.  Every once in a while I see old Toyota Pickup’s that look almost exactly like my truck, and I smile.

Until next time . . .

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 23 – A Family Member You Dislike

image

Family.  We love them.  They drive us crazy.  They share some of our most meaningful moments.  They lift us up when we have fallen.  They know our history and share in our future.  But, let’s be honest, despite how much we love our family, there are certain members of family tree that we just don’t like.

Day 23: A family member you dislike

Some people will see this post topic and immediately think, “oh you shouldn’t hate anyone, especially your family.”
There is a huge difference between “hate” and “dislike.”
To hate someone you have to actually put forth effort to have no love for them in your heart.  By hating a person they have control over you and your life by the way you feel about them.  You go out of your way to avoid them.  You may berate them, or gossip about them.  They, and your feelings for them, are in control of you.  Hate is an ugly beast.
To dislike someone means that you still love them, but there is some aspect of their life or personality that you just don’t mesh with in such a way that makes you need to distance yourself from them.
I love all of my family.
I dislike a few family members.
My uncle Scott and his wife, my aunt Melanie . . .
My dad is a recovering drug addict.  His road of addiction and recovery has been long and painful.  His addiction addicted everyone around him to the point that almost everyone felt that it would be best to cut themselves off from him.  I understand that need to put distance between them and him, but I couldn’t do it.  He’s my dad.  I cared too much about him to throw away the last familial relationship he had left.
My aunt and uncle, my dad’s sister-in-law and brother, informed me one day that they no longer wished to associate with me because I still had a relationship with my dad.  They put me in a position to pick between them and him.  I chose my dad.  He needed support.  He needed somebody in his corner to see him through his addiction and recovery.  According to my aunt and uncle I did not make the correct decision.  They have spoken to me in 3 years because I wouldn’t turn my back on my father for them.
I love my aunt and uncle.  I miss their kids, my cousins.  But I dislike my aunt and uncle for turning their back on me because I wouldn’t turn my back on my father
Until next time . . .

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 22 – Your Morning Routine

image

Once again I have gotten behind on my daily posts for this 30 day writing challenge.  I don’t have commitment issues.  If anything, I overcommit, and thus never have time for anything.  Busy, busy, busy.  I started this challenge with the clear intentions of making one post one each of the topics for the allotted thirty days.  Instead what has happened is that last weekend and this weekend I am having to make a gazillion posts to catch up with where I have fallen behind.  Maybe I should wake up a few minutes earlier and add post-writing to my morning routine.

Day 22 – Your morning routine
5:45 a.m.  Shut my alarm clock off; get out of bed; light a cigarette; go to the bathroom; check email; check Facebook
6:00 a.m.  Get in the shower
6:20-6:30 a.m.  Get out of the shower; dry off, get dressed
6:45 a.m.  Wake up my son, Nathan
6:50 a.m.  Get back into the bathroom to tame my hair and put my make-up on while fighting for space with my son while he brushes his teeth and combs his hair
7:15 a.m.  Leave house
7:23 a.m.  Drop Nathan off at school
7:33 a.m.  Stop at gas station for my morning Dr. Pepper
8:30 a.m.  Arrive at work

Until next time . . .