Cheese, Pride, and Ageism

Do you and your spouse or significant other sometimes disagree about food choices ?

My husband was enjoying a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast the other day. I pointed out to him that the cheese he was eating was made with modified milk ingredients, and not very healthy. I invited him to smell the delicious international breakfast I was eating. It was gluten-free oatmeal with rice milk made from Argentinian brown rice, fresh blueberries, and sprinklings of cardamom from India, ginger from Thailand, and freshly grated cinnamon grown in Sri Lanka.

Yes, I know, I was being prideful, and God hates a prideful attitude. ( I Peter 5:5).

My husband responded by saying : ‘At your age, what difference does it make what you eat ? ‘

It was an obvious ageist remark, made by a fellow old person, and right at our kitchen table !

I spent my career fighting against sexism and racism, and at that point , I realized that I now have an opportunity to become an activist against another rampant form of discrimination, that of ageism.

I reminded my husband that although my heart started beating 69 years ago, all of me is not that old, since parts of the human body renew themselves. Stomach lining cells are new every 5 days or so, while the liver renews itself every 300-500 days. Thus, I will continue to carefully nourish my body, as God grants me the privilege of growing older. The Lord is pleased when we feed ourselves and others lovingly.

I also learned that I need to be respectful of the food choices my husband makes. And God reminded me of the times I have chosen to eat home-made chocolate cupcakes for breakfast.

Conversion and Theft

Have you ever felt startled when you first met someone ? I flinched, involuntarily, when Myra and I were introduced two years ago. Perhaps it was her black clothing, black eye make-up, and neck tattoos. It may also have been that I sensed an uneasiness about her.

My friend Heather and I had come to a Ladies’ Night at our local Salvation Army. Myra was the guest speaker for the evening; she had come to give her testimony about how she had become a born-again Christian.

Myra shared how her addiction to crack cocaine had resulted in lost relationships, two marriage break-ups and the loss of custody of her children. She said that she had stopped drug use, had repented, and had invited Jesus into her heart. She sang a moving rendition of ‘Amazing Grace.’

After Myra’s testimony, the ladies rejoiced with her, and we shared a time of refreshments and fellowship.

I saw Myra again three weeks ago, in criminal court. I attend court when it is in session, as a ‘Court Observer’. I go to observe, to make notes, and to pray for everyone who has come to court that day. I always pray silently, so as not to scare anyone.

Myra, according to the court docket, had broken into, and stolen , from several local establishments, including the Salvation Army.

I spoke to her before court, but we did not mention her testimony. Only God can read what is in someone’s heart. God offers us continued chances to repent and turn to Him. He loves us all, and recognizes that we are sinners, to some degree. We remember the mercy Jesus showed to the thief on the cross.

A Prayer For Roses

Do you like to buy somethings for yourself that others might consider luxury items?

Twice a month I buy roses from my friend Bonnie, a florist. The roses are beautiful, and they always remind me of the fleeting nature of life. I never did figure out the purpose of an artificial flower.

Bonnie’s roses come all the way to the seaside from Columbia. There, they are grown in huge greenhouses, in an ideal climate for producing these magnificent blooms. Most of the workers growing the roses are single mothers. During the production of the roses dozens of fungicides and pesticides are used to preserve the flowers. Theses chemicals negatively affect the women’s health, but that is of secondary concern to them when their children are hungry. The women often work in harsh conditions, in countries such as Columbia, where labour standards are difficult to enforce.

Would it be better to boycott buying roses from Columbia ? If we did that, the poverty of Columbian women would increase even more.

I continue to buy roses. As I enjoy them, I pray for the women who have grown them, and I continue to ask God for the grace to enjoy every moment of life as it passes.

Nutmeg, Boredom, and a Snail

Do you know of anyone who complains a lot about being bored ? Our overstimulated, media-rich world has resulted in many stressed, tense individuals who suffer from chronic, low-grade boredom.

This is not the case here, in our slow moving village perched on the North Atlantic.

The other day, I was busy organizing my spices. I noticed that the tin of nutmeg did not have much of a smell. I saw that according to the tin, it had expired on December 8, 2016. I experienced another brief moment of ‘housewife’s failure’, before I discarded the tin and added nutmeg to my shopping list. Thereafter, I spent a delightful time researching nutmeg, and how it is grown on the islands of Indonesia. I read about how the Dutch traded the island of Manhattan to the British, in exchange for a nutmeg producing island in Indonesia.

By this time, my laundry was finished washing, and I hung it on the line, noticing the shapes of fluffy clouds that were moving east. I saw a snail moving on the ground, and observed it closely as it carried its shell. It was moving its tiny green antlers. Snails really do move slowly !

These are just some of the highlights of a wonderful day. Christians should never experience boredom. In the words of a poem I learned in Grade 1 : ‘ The world is filled with so many good things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as Kings ‘. ( or Queens)

The Art of Listening

Do you know anyone who is an excellent listener ? Such individuals are rare, and are generally treasured by others. Of the four main communication skills, reading, writing, speaking and listening, experts in language agree that excellent listening the most difficult skill to acquire.

What trains someone to become a careful listener ?

Skilled listeners are usually people who have been listened to carefully. The greatest gift we can give to our children, and grandchildren, is to listen to them attentively. I remember listening carefully to my child’s first words, and even though I was busy, as all young moms are, I took the time to listen carefully, even when my son asked hundreds of questions, and commented about so many things. When our children are secure in the knowledge that we listen carefully to them, they generally become good listeners themselves, and communication skills are facilitated.

Let us ask God for the grace to listen carefully to others. It is an act of great generosity.

It is also likely that as we become more skilled in listening to others, we will become more able to discern the quiet gentle voice of the Holy Spirit when He speaks to us.

Tammy Put the Sandwich in the Fridge

Do you sometimes like to go for lunch, or for a coffee, or tea , by yourself ?

I was sitting in Mifflin’s, my favourite tea room, enjoying the ambiance, and the pot of perfectly brewed Spice Chai tea , served in a beautiful China tea pot. Sometimes I come here alone, for a change of pace.

I was observing Tammy, a server, dealing with the customers. Two ladies walked up to the dessert counter, and one of them asked loudly: ‘Is your blueberry cheesecake made from SCRATCH? ‘

Tammy assured her that everything is homemade at the tea room. The other woman said, without looking at Tammy : ‘I’ll take tea, EARL GREY!’

The ladies sat down and immediately looked at their phones, ignoring their beautiful surroundings.

I watched another tourist ask Tammy, in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear, : ‘ Could you please put the rest of my sandwich in the fridge? I’m just going to browse in some of the shops, and I’ll come back to finish it later.’ Of course, Tammy put the sandwich in the fridge.

We can tell much about people by the way they treat those who serve them. We always remember that Jesus came to serve, and not be served.

I finished my tea, and left a generous tip for Tammy. She is a single mom, and her youngest child is starting school in September.

Four Seasons and Petrichor

Are your mood and energy levels affected by the weather ?

Newfoundlanders joke that we can can experience four seasons in one day here. This means that the weather can change quickly and dramatically. It particularly affects people in fishing boats, who head out to sea often while it is still dark.

Our island is literally a large rock in the Atlantic, with sparse topsoil that can dry out quickly. After days of warm sunny gardening weather, it was overcast today, and the air was heavy. I accepted the fact that this was going to be a ‘slow’ day for me.

I was reading in my room and had the window open when it started to rain. Soon I could smell the pleasant earthy aroma of rain hitting the ground. Two scientists in Australia studied the chemical process that occurs when raindrops hit the ground. They named the pleasant smell of falling rain ‘petrichor’.

After the rain, the skies cleared and we experienced a dramatic display of sunshine and clouds.

Every day God showers us with blessings and favours. Let us ask for the grace to recognize the many gifts from our Father’s hands.