Just What Every Holiday Table Needs

Every year like clock work she’d pull out the hand crank grinder weathered dull by time and use. We’d pour in cranberries and turn, crimson spilling the bowl full. Sisters near quartering oranges and apples adding to the berries until the room wafted bright of citrus oils while we sang Over the River and Through the Woods, only we knew grandmother was coming to our house not us to hers. Sometimes snow danced and other times just bare branches with a few lone leaves, but whatever the weather we’d have this to grace our table.

imageYears later, and with another generation, I pull food processor off the shelf throwing in the same tantalizing ingredients. And this heart bursts full with each bite. Memories in every spoonful.

image

Cranberry Salad

1 bag of whole cranberries

1 orange quartered, rind on

1-2 apples cored and quartered (I like Granny Smith or honey crisp or a combo)

1/2-3/4 cup of sugar to taste

Place all the ingredients in the food processor except the sugar, and pulse until the right consistency. Some like it fairly chunky and others like me prefer it finely chopped but not puréed. Add your sugar and pulse to incorporate. Store in the fridge for at least 12 hours before serving to chill and flavors to marinate. Serve cold with turkey or any chicken dish….or by itself a spoonful at a time.

Advertisements

What I’ve Learned About Love Suffering Long

image

She’s a single mom who just lost her job and yet it just keeps coming.

The meals and the texts and the running to grocery stores just for me…for us…and this cup is clean spilled over, humbled low by love.

Because love suffers long.

And it’s those who have been through fire that are often the ones who understand it most. Who know without a doubt that love isn’t always convenient, or to be rationed until all is neatly wrapped
in a package and tied up in a bow.

Love is in it for the long haul.

Love simply suffers long.

And as one who has been through deep waters again and again, I’ve found comfort in those precious souls willing to journey through the hopeful and hopeless days. Through the bloody mess until beauty rises. Who have said they are  waiting with me until Monday, or until the treatment starts working, until a doctor figures it out…or doesn’t.

No matter they’ll be there.

image

And what I want all of you dear ones to know, you are bearers of light in the darkness. For when I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, you believed for me. You stood in the gap when I couldn’t even whisper a prayer.

And it’s you who have taught me it hurts less when friends cry with each other than when they say “it will be better soon” or try to rescue from pain. And I know all this because you hoped for me and saw a place where suffering ends…and there were days I needed you to remind me of that…but it soothed my weary heart when you quietly hoped and believed when I couldn’t, because you knew that it’s often in the laboring, not the rescuing where beauty is born.

And in case you didn’t know? Some of the kindest things you’ve given are simply sweet words of affirmation. Words that remind me of who I am apart from illness. Words that uncover truth when I was shrouded in sadness. I have bottled each and every single one to hold onto in the middle of sleepless nights or tedious tests and loooooong doctor visits. Because there is nothing more beautiful than the one who bears good news in the middle of suffering.

And you friend? The one who just showed up with meals or a car, to clean or simply to listen? You are a beautiful soul who gave brave when I who was too weak to know what I needed but I found courage in each act of kindness. In each reaching out, I did not feel alone.

imageSo go out there and be bold. Be brave. Be the beautiful self only you can be because you never know just who’s life you might change by all this love suffering long.

Raw Unedited…a Campfire Hymn

HYMN

How great the tale, that there should be,
In God’s Son’s heart, a place for me!
That on a sinner’s lips like mine
The cross of Jesus Christ should shine!
Christ Jesus, bend me to thy will,
My feet to urge, my griefs to still;
That e’en my flesh and blood may be
A temple sanctified to Thee.
No rest, no calm my soul may win,
Because my body craves to sin;
Till thou, dear Lord, thyself impart
Peace on my head, light in my heart.
May consecration come from far,
Soft shining like the evening star.
My toilsome path make plain to me,
Until I come to rest in thee.

A Burglar In The House

I woke out of my fevered state to crashes and bumps in the night, but since it seemed not to have roused anyone else I assumed it was a mere result of my less than great physical condition…or the meds giving me the distinct pleasure of hearing things at all hours day or night.

Anyways, I did my best to reassure my blood pressure that it was simply a phantom of the night, and began drifting to the all healing sleep when “Bang CRASH rattle….” it began all over again.

Needless to say I was all ears and fully awake at this moment heart beating full throttle. I grabbed slippers and a healthy chunk of brave because it was my turn to save the day. My fearless leader and partner in crime had done his night shift too many times over the past week fetching drinks and thermometers and meds and I would feel anything but guilty awakening him once more, so I slipped out the door and down the stairs.

The noises got louder and my imagination ran wild. Who was in our house? How did they get in? Crime scenes from too much news and a few scary movies flashed through my panicked brain and I yanked the pantry door open be
fore one more thought would send me screaming all the way upstairs. (Which I’m sure that would have gone over real well for everyone after the week we’ve had….)

I took a double take through the dark closet filled with boxes and cans and there I began to laugh hysterically.

Fancy this.

A hamster.

Our hamster stuck in the crockpot and as hard as she would push up the lid to squeeze out, it would bang right back down on her again.

Shocking….and yet not so shocking as our family has the most incredible way of  attracting drama at all hours of the day and night…so why in the world would we expect to have a normal hampster?

Never in a million years would I think I’d have a rodent being the cause of bumps in the night. But I caught her. Boy did I catch her and she’s locked up safe now. (At least until the next night….)

image