Truth in Advertising

Truth in Advertising

With all the filters folks use on their photos these days, you really can’t believe everything you see. But no matter how you or I look at it, I’m a vertically challenged black woman. All I have to do is ask myself: “Can I reach the ketchup on the top shelf?” The resounding “No” isn’t good or bad. It just is. But if I think less of myself because I can pick only low-hanging fruit, that’s something else altogether. That thought involves judgement, and experts would say it reflects a poor body image. Body image. That phrase rears its ugly, self-centered head in our house quite often. For instance, once Maven wouldn’t wear a sleeveless outfit because her arms are too toned. Too toned, my ten-year-old gymnast and track star. Songbird won’t leave the house without earrings, as if they’re the feather that keeps her aloft. I’ve been to the grocery store in pjs, but I’d never go without my lip gloss. Go figure. Even our boys spend precious time picking out their curls or working on their six-pack, and Hubby wonders whether growing a beard makes him look debonair or elderly. The world says this is all part of having a healthy self-image, but for believers, a “healthy self-image” is an oxymoron, ranking up there with “self-empowerment” and “self-seeking.” These words point you in the wrong direction, putting the focus on the man in the mirror rather than the Man on the cross. But is it really that big a deal? Yes! A thing’s image isn’t its essence. It’s not real. Appearance isn’t everything. It’s not even the real thing....
All to Pieces

All to Pieces

Everything was all set for dinner: quiche—spinach, eggs, baked chicken, cheese, half-and-half, heavy cream. Well, everything but the crusts, whole crusts, that is. When I unwrapped the frozen pastries, I realized someone must have dropped them at some point, for two of the crusts were in oodles of pieces. Ugh. Hubby was all ready to grab his keys and head to the grocery store, but after a minute I determined this looked like a job for…our puzzle man! Think Tank had answered this call before, though things didn’t look quite this dire. He studied them for a few minutes and set to work, and by the time I finished preheating the oven, cutting up the chicken, and mixing together all my ingredients, Think Tank had put together all those broken pieces. What he couldn’t fit together, he pressed into place, since they’d defrosted a little. Actually, now I didn’t have to bother piercing them with a fork since the cracks would allow the steam to escape. Problem solved. I baked them a little, sealing any cracks. Then I poured in my quiche mixture, sprinkled on a little cheese, and cooked them another 45 minutes. The result? Yummy goodness. I sliced them, no problem. They served their purpose. And you’d never know how ugly the frozen crusts were when we first removed the plastic. Broken crusts. Usable for a specific purpose. It just took an expert to mold and shape, a little patience, creativity, and some heat to make them fit for consumption. Just like my life, your life. Broken, but not crushed by the twists and turns, disappointments, and hardships...
June 4, 2017

June 4, 2017

Chocolate chips. Blueberries. And now, honey butter, the latest addition to our waffle recipe. This morning we learned if you just stir in a smidge of honey to softened or melted butter and smear it across your hot waffle, you’ll be in…okay, not heaven, but transported to a comfy seat at our table, right beside a very satisfied Maven. While the batter sizzled we talked about Proverbs 4, focusing on verse 7: “Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.” That’s an important reminder to us, in our scramble for college degrees, paychecks, publishing contracts, healthy food, friends, peace, exercise routines, sleep, recognition, or even just a Krispy Kreme doughnut to call my own. In all our getting, get understanding. Get Jesus. Jesus—one of the four “main characters” at the feeding of the five thousand. The others were the disciples, the crowd, and the boy with “five barley loaves and two small fish.” (John 6:9) Today, in his message at Central Church of God, Dr. Paul Conn helped us picture ourselves there in this Bible story by asking, “Who are you?” Do you overstep into your Father’s role, taking responsibility for sowing the seed, watering the seed, growing the seed, and reaping the final harvest? Are you one of the crowd, hungry for a Word, in need of a healing, searching for a miracle or just a crust of bread? Perhaps you’re an obedient disciple, anxious to protect your King, ready to obey, grateful to sit at His feet and spread His message. Or you might be “the lad,” holding something precious and willingly giving it up, seeing it multiplied and...
Blood Thirsty

Blood Thirsty

So I had a tick on me today. We’d just parked and Hubby was helping me from the car. In the process, my dress moved just enough to reveal a little brown…thing…on my upper thigh. “What’s that?” he asked. When I looked at it, I assumed it was a mole; they’ve seemed to pop up any- and everywhere in my old age. He took a closer look. “Nope, that’s not a mole.” At that point, I freaked out. Folks who know me know when I say, “I freaked out,” I mean I. FREAKED. OUT. Right there in the Potbelly’s parking lot for all the world to see. And I continued to shiver and shake for the next…well, I’ve still got the heebie jeebies, so I’ll update you on that timeline. Sweet Songbird reminded me that I should focus on “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8) That didn’t include thinking about that six-legged creature digging into my skin, sucking my blood, passing along all manner of disease. Nothing lovely or praiseworthy in that. But there is something lovely about my girl pointing to scripture, even in—especially in—that moment of abject, completely grossed out, I’m-going-to-lose-it terror. She knows I don’t do ticks, spiders, bees, or basically anything that grows or crawls in the space between the house and the car. That includes plants, remember? There is something praiseworthy in Hubby who scooted across the lot to ask a stranger for a lighter so he could heat tweezers and who didn’t laugh...
May 28, 2017

May 28, 2017

We suffered a casualty in the breakfast wars this morning: one of my favorite orange dishes bit the dust. Personally, I thought it was a high price to pay for sausage and cheese balls; it was part of a set that was gifted to me. But I held back the tears, angry words, and hugged the guilty party who was feeling (almost) as miserable as I. Before the “crash,” we talked about the meaning of this Memorial Day weekend and the life application of these passages: “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.” (1Corinthians 7:23) “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36) The little people listed some of the liberties they enjoy—freedom of speech and the press; the right to educate, live, and travel how and where they want; the opportunities to worship in a church or right here at home. We appreciate and remember all those who died to ensure those freedoms. Most of all, we are grateful to Jesus for dying on the cross, to God who gave up His only Son and Who resurrected Him on the third day, and for the gift of the Holy Spirit Who ever abides. Our sermon continued our holiday observance. Today, Pastor Livingston spoke on Romans 8:28-33: And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also...