Saturday, June 23, 2012

Who Knows the Future?

In the past few weeks, I've had a couple of conversations that had a common theme even though, at first glance, they seemed to be totally opposite from one another. 

The first one was with my 26-year-old daughter who was struggling with looking ahead and trying to figure out where she is headed in her life.  The other was with my sister (notice how nice I am...I didn't give her age!). She and her husband had been having serious conversations about when they can consider retiring now that the economy has tanked and totally changed their retirement plans.

As I thought about those conversations, I realized that, when boiled down to their bare bones, both conversations were concerned about the very same thing...what's going to happen in the future?  If we're honest, who doesn't think about that and have some concerns? 

When we're young, we want to make wise choices that will lead to happy, purposeful lives.  As we get older, we also need our choices to be wise as we prepare for our "golden years."  But it's so very hard because we don't know what will happen in the future.  So we stress ourselves out trying to examine every conceivable scenario and make every possible contingency plan.

A few days after my conversation with my sister, I was reading the lesson on a daily calendar that I have that is written by Charles F. Stanley.  It was so perfect; I had to call my sister and read it to her.  Here's what it said:

"You cannot predict tomorrow.  You cannot fully prepare for all of its contingencies. You cannot fully provide for all you'll need in your future.  God not only can, He already has!  God is never caught off-guard.  He is never taken by surprise.  He never comes up short.  So you do not have to live with anxiety about the future.  The peace-filled heart is the one that recognizes 'my times are in His hands.'"

I don't know about you, but that's an awfully good reminder for me!

Jesus Friend of Sinners

If there's one thing I can count on, it's that the musical group "Casting Crowns" will always nail it with the lyrics to their songs. They aren't always comfortable to listen to, because they always speak the Truth that's often hard to hear.  And that holds true for the song that I've been hearing lately, "Jesus Friend of Sinners." 

Listen.  Let the words speak truth to your heart as they do to mine.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cooking Lessons

I made Sloppy Joes for dinner last week.  It's been a really long time since I've fixed them and I had to stop for a minute to remember just what ingredients I needed. As I ran through the list in my head, I remembered an incident that happened many years ago.

I use mustard in my Sloppy Joes sauce.  And one night as I was serving them to my family, my husband made a comment that he wasn't all that fond of the mustard in the sauce. "Really? Well, I'm not that fond of the liquid smoke that you put in your sauce," I thought to myself.  And since my kids liked them and it was a recipe from my mother, I figured I'd just keep on making them my way... which I did.

The funny thing is that when we were first married, I stopped using my mother's recipe for spaghetti sauce because my husband didn't like the tomato soup that the recipe called for.  I looked until I found  another recipe which we liked, though I must admit that I missed my mom's recipe.  Of course all of that is a moot point, since these days, my spaghetti sauce almost always comes from a jar!

Now, before you get the wrong idea about my husband, just let me say that he is the easiest person in the world to cook for. He is very appreciative of the meals I fix and is extremely easy-going about what we have for dinner.  AND he jumps in and does some of the cooking himself.  So don't be hard on him.

It's just that as I made my Sloppy Joes last week...complete with mustard...I wondered why I had held my ground on the Sloppy Joes yet changed the way I made spaghetti. Both recipes had come from my mother and I liked them.

While I couldn't really come up with a logical reason for my choices, I did see a little life lesson.  There are times in life when we stand our ground...for whatever reasons...and other times when we are flexible and willing to change. Sometimes we sacrifice, other times we stand firm. It's all simply part of the give and take of life. And it's only when we each find the right combination of the two that we truly learn to live well with others.

By the way... last week, my husband ate a pretty healthy helping of Sloppy Joes...mustard and all!