This week, my hubby and I played miniature golf with our middle daughter, Bethany. The course had a Congo themed decor that included waterfalls, caves and quicksand. It felt like we were on an exotic adventure. I typically putted first to offer the others a line, and to give them a preview of the trick shot outcome. There is always giggling behind by back for some reason- most likely the choreography by my husband with a putter. I always try to navigate the obstacles and my hubby plays the straight and narrow. Bethany is the putt putt pro who sinks the most holes-in-one. Although there is an element of competition, mini golf tends to be more about improving one’s personal best, because it is played without interference or dependence on the other players. This course, however, had a spin dial at some of the holes that offered exciting options such as: hit the ball “stork style” while standing on one leg, or with one’s eyes closed, or stand to create an additional obstacle for the other players. My option was to switch my ball placement with another person after we all teed off. That was the hole that Bethany scored a hole-in-one. My shot was boomeranged off the edge and the rocks and was far from the cup. I switched with her, of course. I really did not feel good about stealing her best shot. How could I take away that sweet moment from my own child? When family members compete, it should be strictly for teaching the finer points and getting practice. It should never be about winning or causing the others to feel inferior. Games we play can build confidence and teach humility- both are elements of sportsmanship. I have always loved the concept of win-win situations. I know that is not possible in professional sports competitions and gaming. We passionately watch our favorite teams and claim a personal victory when they win. Curious. The “everyone gets a trophy” games are under ridicule lately because that does not reflect reality or teach people to accept a loss graciously. Jesus sets his disciples straight when they compete among themselves to be the favorite and win a place on the Lord’s right hand in the heavenly hierarchy. Jesus explains, the greatest, are those who serve and are slaves to all. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ if we accept the gift of salvation that is given freely through his sacrifice on the cross. There is no competition or reward for all our good deeds. We all have equal responsibility to use the measure of talent that we have to improve the plight of people in need. Victory comes when we work together. Stealing the glory of someone else’s success is no victory. Bethany must have forgiven me for my ‘mean mama moment’ because we bounced across the final bridge over the waterfalls gleefully. We know that time together is always the best time of our lives. Winning isn’t everything, it isn’t the only thing, it is how you feel when you love without measure. No competition.
Yesterday, I cleaned out the refrigerator for breakfast. I had a few mushrooms, a slice of onion, half a red pepper, a bunch of asparagus, and a couple eggs. Aha, a frittata sounds good. I chopped and threw the veggies into the no stick pan with a little coconut oil and started to sauté. When I grabbed the asparagus, the tips were all mushy and slimy. How could this be when I just bought them this week? Organic foods must be used quickly before they transform to rotting goop. I hate to waste food, no matter how revolting it may appear in parts. I have learned to salvage cheese from the fuzzy mold exterior, cut around worm holes in the apples, revitalize limp celery and make soup from forgotten remnants in the back of the fridge. So, off with the heads of the asparagus and down to the next level for my recipe. I am happy to say that my hubby and I have never gotten sick from our home cooking. We both enjoy whipping up delectable dishes and repeat many of the recipes that I learn from Taste and See gatherings. My Totally Fit Friends and I get together every month to cook with fresh whole foods that are all plant based. These meals are filling, delicious and fun because we each bring two items and crowd into the kitchen to prepare a full meal in one hour. The second hour is sitting down to eat and chat. Ask me about my healthy chocolate mousse made with coconut milk. The golden frittata included eggs which disqualifies it as a vegan meal, but it was very pleasing to my palate. So, back to that forgotten food that decays and looks unusable. We sometimes make this mistake with people who look old, battered, withered, and maybe a little messy. We discount them as no longer of value or past the prime stage of desirable. Some of them are quite valuable for their stories and wisdom. Others, we have to peel away the outer fuzz with our hearts to find a lovely person that values us. When I am lonesome or feeling a lack of meaning in my life, I know where to go to find the forgotten. Going to the nursing homes and rehab centers may feel like reaching to the back of the fridge for the unknown, but the banquet comes together when I follow the voice of the Holy Spirit that has set the table for us. Food and love, both bring people together in wonderful ways. As my mama would say everyday before dinner, “All who are able, please come to the table”.
This week, I retrieved the garbage can from the curb and left it outside the garage until later. Remember when they were actually little cans with a lid, and all we put in them were brown paper bags with a week of kitchen waste so the bears at the garbage dump could snack? Our laundry pile must have been bigger because we used cloth instead of paper products. Boy Scouts would pick up our newspaper stacks, the milkman replaced our milk bottles with full ones for the week, and we made huge bank rolls returning pop bottles to the grocer as we collected them from construction sites. Hugs and kisses to y’all who recycle and reuse your refuse successfully. Well, I was pulling the car out of the skinny garage watching the left side carefully when I heard a strange sound on the right. Oops, I crunched the plastic waste container against the brick wall. It only has a little wrinkle and the car went unscathed. Naturally, garbage was on my mind the rest of the day. Why we collect so much only to put it out with the trash is hard to fathom. If we don’t throw stuff out, we are leaving quite a mess for our children to deal with some day. Our daughters and their husbands have environmentalist tendencies, so I believe they will tackle the issue of garbage with some promise for the future. I am reminded that the children hear the garbage that comes out of mouths, and must find ways to deal with that too. They hear us complain and worry and rant about things that could only cause stress that builds fear until it festers. I don’t propose recycling in this case. I suggest substitution. Replace worry with worship, complaints with compliments, and rants with rational action plans. The garbage disposal has worked wonders at reducing kitchen waste. Buying fresh fruits and veggies to put in my reusable shopping bag has helped to eliminate throw away packaging. Now, what to do with the junk mail- an art project? I will be more careful in the future to not compact my own garbage can, and also to reduce the garbage that pours from my lips, and speak more words of life instead. I apologize for the times when I have spoken without a filter or forethought. Please beware when I am backing out, I am much better at moving forward.
Yesterday, I was at the hospital doing nose transplants and delivering the dumb joke of the day. Suddenly, a man jumps out of the ambulance and says, “I need one of those free hugs”. This is always a possibility when wearing a hat that has a “free hugs” pin on it. I have hugged more strangers than I ever expected. So, I gave him a big hug and his buddy said,” Quit clowning around”. Naturally, I gave his buddy a clown sticker and big red sponge nose. My room visits were mostly teenagers yesterday. They can be a tough audience because clowns elicit a mixture of emotions. When the mission is to bring merriment, I have found a dumb joke like, “What does a thesaurus have for breakfast”, can be a great icebreaker. Thank you to Bethany and all my readers who send your favorite puns to me. Most people want a little company and a chance to chat with DR SING A SONG. On some occasions they will sing with me. Another rare moment yesterday was a request to sing something classical by a young man who plays and teaches the viola. I nearly dismissed that thought and then remembered learning “Caro Mio Ben” in college. There I was singing an aria in the ER while the handsome young man played his “air viola”. Two unexpected events in the same day. Hospitals have a sense of urgency about them. How can we prepare for the unexpected? I have three suggestions: Be aware of the signs, have a first aid kit, and practice your skills often. The signs can range from body aches to a signs on the wall. A first aid kit might have bandages, magic tricks, balloons, a bible or any variety of metaphorical medicine. Our myriad skills can be a cure many ailments, so don’t ever discount their value. Oh, the answer to the dumb joke of the day is “synonym buns”. Also, I don’t want to forget to add some nutritional advice for the week. As I exit the hospital I leave people laughing; because the pin on the back of my hat says, “Eat a prune, start a movement”.