Archive for January 2017

I Feel for Crocodile Dundee   1 comment

Don’t let the church ever be New York City for Crocodile Dundee.  Remember the scene where, newly imported from Australia, he’s walking the sidewalk saying “G’day, mate” to every person he passes?  If anyone looks at him, it’s in the sense of wondering if he’s grown another head.  Where did he come from?

Contemporary culture seems to demand that we remain in our own little space, in our own yard, on our own block.  This is the exact opposite of what the church should be.  Even a big church.

There’s enough of that going around already.  There’s enough of us pretending we don’t see our neighbors when we are outside in the yard.  There’s enough of us staring intently at our phones in waiting rooms and restaurants.  There’s enough of us walking past people we know as if we are busily on our way to a much more important destination.

I’m sure part of this perspective is just me.  I love talking to people, and I enjoy people.  So, this morning when I was in the greeting card section at the store, I actually liked it when a friendly looking woman asked me if I knew what a pug looked like.  “Is this one?” she asked, holding up a card with a funny looking little dog on it.

“I don’t think so,” I said.

“Shoot, I’m trying to find a card for someone who loves pugs….what about this one?”

“I don’t think that’s one either,” I said, “but I don’t know what it is.  I know I’d know a pug if I saw one.”

We went back and forth laughing at the dog cards and our general lack of knowledge of dog breeds.  I loved that some woman in the greeting cards actually initiated a conversation with me.  It was fun.

So, keeping that in mind, it may be my idea of what interactions would be normal are a bit skewed.

However, I am also certain that our culture’s definition of “normal human interaction” has gotten a bit skewed lately.

So imagine Crocodile Dundee, especially in a big church.  Don’t walk past him.

What is Cooking For?   1 comment

I’ve been forced to examine this question over the past months as I have been doing the GAPS introduction diet.  The diet’s aim is to heal the digestive tract and it requires you to prepare basic foods from scratch, including yogurt, clarified butter, salted and toasted nuts, and many others.

At the same time, while my family has been doing most of their own cooking, since they are not following the GAPS intro diet, I have been managing the schedule of what they are eating as well, shopping for their food in addition to mine, and supervising the cooking and preparation to some extent.

And of course, all four of us have been dealing with the mounds of dirty dishes that are created by cooking meat stock and making three meals a day (times two!) from scratch.

I have realized that I have internalized the advertising and ideas in our culture, even though in general I fight to resist that.

I personally think that cooking should be pleasant and enjoyable.  Food should be nutritious and appetizing.  But honestly, looking at flyers from the grocery,  TV commercials, and product packaging, it’s not hard to conclude that really, the main thing you need to know about food preparation is that it should be convenient.

Recently, I got an email from Kroger advertising their Clicklist service, which is apparently now improved so that you can place your order online and then pick it up within hours, instead of having to wait until the next day.  The email conveys the view that not only should you not have to cook, you shouldn’t even have to shop.  All you have to do is place your order online, and then relax while store employees get it ready.  You drive up to Kroger and they load it straight into your car!  All this is normal, right?  This is what you deserve.  This is how things should be.

Procuring food and preparing it should be convenient–because you can’t afford to waste your valuable time actually cooking real food.

That seems to be the message.  But I wonder if this view is not realistic.  Or perhaps it’s one of those ideas which allow you to get the consequences of your choices.  I doubt that any advertising is going to tell you what those might be.

What is it that we are doing that is so important that we can’t raise, purchase or prepare nutritious fresh vegetables and fruits, locally raised meats, eggs, bread?  So pressing that we can’t cook these foods ourselves, but we must outsource almost all of the preparation of what we intake to sustain our bodies and our lives to large companies who don’t even know us?

I’m not saying that you are a moral failure if you don’t cook every meal from scratch.   I believe in outsourcing any food preparation that doesn’t drive my cost too high and that doesn’t require me to feed myself or my family ingredients that will cause us mental or physical health problems (substances marketed as “food” that do cause mental and physical health problems abound, but that is another blog post).  Also I like to cook and many other people don’t.  So if you don’t like to cook, that’s fine.

What I object to is our culture’s view that cooking is a waste of time.

When did other responsibilities become more important that sustaining and nourishing our bodies?

What is so important about our activity that we cannot utilize real foods to heal our illnesses?

When did our lives become so full that there is no time to prepare a meal and eat it together?

Why is convenience more important than just about every other quality of food that you could mention?

Cooking is not an obstacle keeping you from a better life.

Posted January 21, 2017 by swanatbagend in diet, food

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Chronic   Leave a comment

Do you have anything in your life like this?

If you’re like me, I’m sure you do.  No matter what it may be, it is something that does not diminish with time.  It’s something that does not seem to have a packaged, straightforward treatment.  It does not go to the doctor, come home with medication for pain and an antibiotic, then three days later go back to school/work.

It might be a disease.  It might be a habit you have wrestled with for years.  It may be a person you’re connected to who is difficult but whom you can’t abandon.  It might be money worries.  It might be the mess in your garage, or the yard work that never really gets done, or the pile of dirty laundry that completely covers your cracked cement basement floor.

Whatever it is, it’s chronic.  It’s not fixable today or this week.

You know what I mean?

Reflecting on my own life at the beginning of a new year, and wondering what will become of the chronic situations in my life during the course of the months to come, something else came to mind.

There’s all of this stuff, but, whatever else may be chronic, thank God that He is chronically good.

Posted January 7, 2017 by swanatbagend in gratitude, reality

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A Snow Day   1 comment

It’s the first snow day of the year for all the schools in our area.  As I write, an attractive snow of large flakes is coming peacefully down, but I wouldn’t say roads and grass are covered.  It’s pretty, but not anything more at this point.  It’s 2 p.m.–an hour or so left to go in the regular school day, and road conditions don’t concern me yet.  Earlier the roads were treated, and either a bit damp or dry, no slick spots that I saw.

I’m sure kids all over our area are longing for it to really open up and dump out the expected one to three inches.  I would be too if I were in their snow boots.

Honestly, I don’t know much about the challenges of traveling to school in bad weather since we homeschool.  When it snows, we can have both sledding and hot chocolate and our school day.  On snowy days I don’t want to go anywhere anyway, so I always hope earnestly that it won’t be snowing hard on a day when we have an appointment that does not cancel for snow.  Usually, we don’t have to venture out, so I don’t truly know what it’s like to have to deal with weather delays and worries when riding a bus route or picking children up from school.

So all that said, I still don’t think that languidly falling flakes are a reason to cancel school.  Don’t get me wrong; if there’s blowing snow, freezing rain, ice or power outages–that definitely warrants school closings.

Where I live, that doesn’t seem to be the case.  When it snows or snow is forecast, school is closed.

I’m told that it is both a safety and liability issue for the school districts who have to make this difficult call.

Here is what I don’t understand.  It doesn’t really matter if there is just an inch of snow forecast, or if there is a winter storm warning and blizzard force winds.  Most businesses and most offices and most factories and most hospitals, most of the time, don’t stop for anything.

So when school stops, the parents have to figure out what to do for their children and have to take time off work, just because it snowed.  Or they have to leave their children at home alone.

And if it is truly horrible weather, the children get to stay home, but the parents must brave the roads.

Why are the children protected from any potential danger, but their parents are not?  Why must business continue no matter the cost, while education is dropped immediately at the mere prediction of snow?

Why are children so priceless that any amount of snow must keep them at home, safe, but their parents must continue to venture out or pay the cost of lost wages or vacation days?  Why are children worth more than their parents in our culture?  If it’s worth staying home, why can’t we all stay home?

Posted January 5, 2017 by swanatbagend in reflections

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