Showers for Singles

At a recent wedding shower, while watching the bride-to-be open a tissue-stuffed box filled with her brightly-patterned dishes, I considered that she already has plates in her cupboard.  I was at her apartment recently for dinner and her plates were just fine. Yet here are lots of new ones.

She’s 34 and has lived on her own for quite some time, so owns many of the standard items she’s now receiving. When she really needed the gift shower was after her college graduation as she moved into an apartment.  Instead, she, like me, got pans from her mother’s cupboard (her mom’s wedding gifts, in fact), hand-me-down cooking utensils and old, chipped serving platters.

God Moves in a Mysterious Way

A friend of mine shared her recent journey and struggle in discerning what God is doing in the midst of a challenging work situation.  She doesn’t understand why he hasn’t moved her on to something else yet, but He hasn’t.
Waiting for the Breakthrough
It’s been quite difficult accepting this and she anticipates a hard few months as there is much work to be done and her heart is not currently in what lies ahead.  While grateful for a job and for serving with so many gifted people, she prays that her heart is right, that God uses her for His purposes, and that she learns what she needs to.
As I thought about and prayed for her in the place she finds herself, the Holy Spirit continued to bring to mind the first verse of a hymn I learned at Wheaton College when I joined Women’s Chorale: “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” by William Cowper.
Women’s Chorale circa 1984
There’s a choral version of it here you may want to play as you continue to read:
We sang the first verse again and again while our director, Dr. Mary Hopper, placed each of us in just the right spot for the best blending of our voices:
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

She’d listen and then ask one of us to move next to another. We’d continue singing the first verse–not stopping–and she’d move a soprano from the back down one row:

Bless This House

While house blessings are a tradition in many religions, the idea was new to me when I moved into my first home and wanted somehow to mark the occasion and ask for God’s protection and peace. After talking to friends, researching the idea, and remembering a sermon about how Joshua walked the perimeter of his property and asked for God’s blessing (Joshua 24:15), I decided to do the same for my new home.

I discovered that Los Angeles pastors reported a rise in house blessings, especially following an earthquake or natural disaster. Although earthquakes weren’t much of a threat in my Texas town, I gathered a few friends and family and prepared a simple ceremony using Bible verses and hymns.

The Quilts of Gee’s Bend

They’re mesmerizing—these quilts of Gee’s Bend.

Created by hand in a small rural community nestled into a curve in the Alabama River southwest of Selma, dozens and dozens of stunning covers were pieced by women who mostly share the same last name—after Mark Pettway who bought the Joseph Gee estate in 1850. Following the Civil War the freed slaves took the name Pettway, became tenant farmers for the Pettway family, and founded an all-black community nearly isolated from the surrounding world.

Sleep Sweetly

Two friends of mine have been fighting sleep for weeks. Desperately wanting to drift off as their heads hit the pillow, they just can’t.They’re in misery. Our bodies are designed for rest and quiet to restore, replenish, and recharge. They’ve tried warm baths, herbal tea, SleepWorks (great stuff, normally), and reading. But at 2 a.m. they’re still awake–minds darting to and fro.

Their bleary-eyed tossing leaves me sad. I’ve prayed for their rest and shared with them this little poem, which has been a gentle reminder for me throughout the years when I’ve found myself desperate for sleep but allowing my worries and fears to swirl untethered.

Homemade Granola

From my friend Nicole F. (via Pam Anderson–Losing Weight & Eating Great)

  • 2 C. old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 C. wheat germ
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/4 C. maple syrup
  • 3 T. vegetable or Canola oil
  • 2 T. warm water
  • 1 t. vanilla

EXTRA INGREDIENTS (your choice of any or all):

  • 1/2 C. chopped walnuts or almonds
  • 1/2 C. sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/4 C. sunflower seeds
  • 2 T. sesame seeds
  • 6 T. your choice of craisins, dried apricot slivers, dried cherries, and/or dried currants

Minestrone Soup

From my friend Jill Duggar.

 

I’ve made this many times. It’s delicious topped with grated parmesan cheese and a dallop of Greek yogurt.

  • 6 C. water
  • 3 T. chicken base
  • 1 C. onion, diced into ½” pieces
  • ½ t. (1 clove) garlic, minced
  • 1 ¼ C. (2 whole) carrots, cut into ½” slices
  • 1 ½ C. (1 squash) zucchini, cut into ¼” half-circle slices
  • 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1-lb.can kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 14-oz. can garbanzo beans (my addition)
  • ½ C. (2 oz.) uncooked macaroni

List Yourself

If you dream of leisurely, sun-filled afternoons for jotting your thoughts in your journal  but spend more of your time racing from one activity to the next, maybe try “listing yourself” instead. Just like making a grocery list or recording what you have to do today, list making is easy.

You don’t have to pour your heart out, record your days, or pass judgment. Yet you can quickly open the doors to your soul and reveal your deepest thoughts. For starters, try writing down everything that comes to mind with some of these lists:

  • the best gifts you’ve ever been given

A Time to Dance

It stared back at me from the glossy pages of the dance costume catalog–a gold lame and sequin-encrusted number with a fitted, bejeweled bodice. Its long sleeves and crystal-edged skirt would be the perfect backdrop (so said my tap dance teacher) for the accompanying feather boa, completing the ensemble. 

He had selected the outfit for our two numbers in the upcoming recital.  Since one was the big production song “Buenos Aires” from Evita, he had made a good choice. I just wasn’t so sure how I’d look in this get-up.  And I still couldn’t believe that this class of adults actually would perform…in a recital.  Aren’t recitals for kids and their camera-toting parents?

Talk About a Game

We didn’t watch much football at our house when I was growing up—maybe if the Ohio State Buckeyes played in the New Year’s Day Rose Bowl game or if our family invited friends over to watch the Super Bowl championship. 

So I was like a fish out of water after college when friends gathered to watch the sport. Mainly there for the fun and interaction, I didn’t pay much attention to what was happening on the field.  But everyone was into it, and I was left out. Listening to what my friends said while spectating, I started asking questions about why they said what they did. Not surprisingly I began to learn more about the rules…and actually enjoy the game.