A Burger for Church

Woman in ApronUsed to be, any mention of fast food caused nose wrinkles among Lutheran Ladies. We’re talking about women who were taught how to cook  as soon as they could waggle a spoon in a bowl without slopping the ingredients in a two foot radius.

Of course, they were wore aprons. (Old aprons for everyday use and nice frilly aprons for fancy-dress events)

Of course they learned from older women who threw handfuls of flour into bowls. When asked how many cups a recipe needed, the white-haired ladies would shrug and tell you “Until it looks right.”

These teaching-women didn’t know if the recipe was correct until they felt the dough, or tasted it, or watched it drip off a spoon (or bounced it on the counter—which Grandma liked to do when making noodles—I’m not sure why, but it was fun. Wa-hoo!)

So you can see why the mention of a fast food burger would make one of these ladies say: “I think we can do better than that.”

And then things changed…

Barbie_McDonaldsYou can blame it on:

  • More women working
  • Families loving hamburgers more than spinach
  • Being worn ragged by figuring out what to have for dinner, going to the store, prepping it, cooking it, serving it, listening to kids complain about it, and cleaning up the whole mess, hoping to fall on the couch by 8pm.
  • Doing the whole thing again the next day
  • And the next
  • Burgers were available AND cheap!!!

Note: (the original McDonalds was a burger shack in 1940 where two brothers cooked. It went corporate in 1955 with a franchised opening by Ray Kroc who later bought the McDonald brothers out).

Every bitty town had a burger place. And you were really a big city if you had a couple of burger joints AND one was a McDonalds.

BURGERS WERE TAKING OVER THE WORLD!!!hamburger

And then…Lord bless the Roman Catholics.

(Yes, I know this is a Lutheran Blog, but if it weren’t for our Catholic buddies, we’d be buried in burgers).

They obeyed Vatican II mandates and didn’t eat meat on Friday.

So McDonalds came out with a HULA BURGER for those worshipful Friday folks. It was

  • A slice of pineapple.Hula-type burger
  • A slice of cheese.
  • On a cold bun.

YummY!

 

Soon, everybody was going to the Catholic church for the Friday Fish Fry instead of the local burger barn. At McD’s the Hula burger was discontinued in less than a year’s time and morphed into Filet-O-Fish burger.

If you’re like me, after the holidays, the remains of burgers and fish patties are still hanging around (on hip, belly, and bottom).

So…it’s time to turn to the famous Lutheran specialty….

SALADS

Jello saladOkay. Okay, we’re most famous for gelatin salads…not green, healthy salads….but that’s still a diet plan, isn’t it?

  • Just leave out the marshmallows.
  • And add pineapple. (In honor of the deceased Hula Burger)
  • Stir “Until it looks right,”
  • And be sure to wear your pretty apron.

 

 

(photos: litlnemo,Thomas, The Bees Knees)

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Before You Die: Regrets of the Dying

LutheranLadies.comAn interesting list appeared while I was doing research for the next Lutheran Ladies Circle novel. It comes from a palliative nurse, Bronnie Ware, as she worked with folks who were catching the bus to the next world.

It was a LIST OF REGRETS OF THE DYING

That makes sense.  Death doesn’t wait until we’ve watered the plants, put the mail on vacation-hold, and paid all the bills. It comes, when it’s time. And it’s not necessarily synced with our personal schedule.

Some Regrets of the Dying…

*)” I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
This was one of the top regrets, and easy to see why.  We worry about what others will think of us and then we make decisions based on fear of their judgement.   Later….we ask ourselves, “Why did I do that?” or promise, “I’ll be smarter next time.”  And sometimes we are…if we don’t run out of time.

*)” I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
Most  folks don’t say, “I wish I would’ve done more laundry and washed more dishes.” However, constant work would NOT have been my ol’ German grandpa ‘s regret. He was a hard-driving man. Every moment (besides sleeping and eating) had to be spent productively.   He said it kept away his fear of being hungry. I suppose, not every person has the same regrets. Granddad was certainly an exception to this one. At a very old age, he  toppled to a stop  while pitching hay  onto a wagon.  His heart thumped to a halt a few moments afterward and I bet his last thought was,” I wish I could’ve finished getting the hay in.”

*) “Why didn’t I stay in touch with my friends?”
We let go of friends for so many easy reasons.  Our interests don’t run in the same circles anymore. Our politics don’t match. Our personalities don’t match.  We get busy. Soon friends (and sometimes relatives) are relegated to the Once-A-Year Christmas card.   And then the end nears, and the ghosts of those old forgotten relationships haunt the heart.

*) “I wish I’d let myself be happier.”
Hindsight  is twenty/twenty they say.  How many times have worries curled around my feet like a slinking black cat, tripping me—only to end up never happening and thus wasting uncounted hours of cursing the cat?

When standing at the end and looking back…

  • It’s easier to see the line-up of catastrophes that never appeared
  • Or how life seemed to work out, even when problems fell.
  • And then there are even more regrets for wasting that time and encouraging early-appearing  white hairs.

My research was to gain insight into a outspoken character, Aunt Ula, who takes off on a wild trip, gathering  the pieces of her past. But as I read the list, I found myself making new rules for my own life.

REGRET  can be a strong motivation for CHANGE.

There’s a joke that goes: How many Lutherans does it take to change a light bulb?
Answer: We don’t know.  We don’t like change.

Perhaps it’s the same for Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Baptists and others. But hope still beckons. Sunrises, kindnesses…even the cute but irritating cat are reminders not to allow the past to dictate NOW.  We remember that we live in a state of forgiven grace—warts and all. We make adjustments and move forward.

Because even in the last twilight of life, we’re all still moving forward.

Twilight near dresdenNote:  OKAY, Okay. I received you emails. I turned the comments back on. It’s just that I know I can’t always get back to reply to every comment. But some of you emailed me. Your admonitions made me snort root beer out my nose at the predicament I put all of you in by tethering your talk-back . I’m sorry. Please don’t take offense if I don’t reply to every comment.

Oh…never mind. You can be as offended as you want. I’m changing so I can avoid Regret #1 above.  “Stop worrying what other people will think.”
AND…..Regret #3:  Losing touch with friends.

Let ‘er rip. Tater chips. Comment to your heart’s content. I’ve missed you.

AND….please, please come back and check the progress bar at the top, right-hand side. I’m sequestered at the keyboard this month knocking out the initial draft of Book 3 in 30 days. (National Write A Novel Month). I could use your support or a swift kick in the patoot every now and then. Thanks.

(List source: The Top Five Regrets of Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departed,  Photos: clock-Marsmet546  , man-Shanoor Habib, cat-Doug88888, Sunset-Wikipedia )

The Smell of Serenity

This Scent has real “Animal Attraction.”

Let’s say you get spritzed by those lab-coated ladies at the cosmetic counter. (Why do

they wear those coats?  Surely they aren’t flinging powder around or saying, “Oops, How do I keep getting lipstick on my sleeve?”

Anyway….a year later, if you had to identify the smellum they sprayed, you’d be able to recall it, with 65% accuracy. Smells are processed by the same brain department that files away your emotions and memories.

This explains why you can walk into a school and be transported to the day Billy puked at his desk which was right behind yours.  And even after the janitor threw that red-sawdust looking stuff on top, you still dry-gagged the rest of the afternoon.  But Mrs. Lockhest, the teacher wouldn’t let you go to the nurse’s room.  Oh no she didn’t….instead, she scolded you, attempting to make you feel sorry for Billy, and then

These desks had convenient flip-up seats to easily clean the floor after Billy

she sat you in a corner, giving you and your fragile stomach extra math problems to do.  But you spent the time figuring out how to get Billy back for spreading his gross mac & cheese regurgitation in a 180° arc. Good grief, couldn’t he have been a tidy vomiter and kept it under his desk? No siree. You’d get Billy—as soon as he got out of the nurse’s room where he was lounging on a cot and skipping math.

Like I said….smells evoke a lot of memories.

Know Your Nose (Helpful facts)

  • Your sense of smell is weakest in the morning, growing stronger as the day wears on.

So whether in church or an office in the mornings, all that perfume, deodorant, and hairspray everyone coats themselves with is less likely to affect you. But by noon…your olfactory nerves will be popping…see the last suggestion.

  • A recent study showed that people in a citrus-scented room cooperated more and
    This image shows a whole and a cut lemon.

    Cooperate!!! Life hands us lemons…we’re fundraising them into a citrus-scented pipe organ.

    offered to make more charitable donations.

Good to know. So during your next fund-raiser, lemon-Pledge the table or walk around swinging a bag of lemons through the air and ask for donations.

  • Your sense of smell becomes sharper when you’re hungry.

Which explains why even sometimes McDonald’s smells good to me. And heaven forbid the late service runs long on a pot luck Sunday.  All those smells wafting from the kitchen will cause a pastor—even a Lutheran pastor—to only sing one verse of the closing hymn rather than cranking through all 114 verses—as usual.

  • The more estrogen you have, the better sniffer you have

Any pregnant woman has experienced this.  One time I thought the smell of the pipe organ was going to make me sick.

  • If you’re in space, you’ll likely loose your sense of smell.  The lack of gravity allows sinuses to back up like a clogged disposal, snuffing out your ability to smell.

See…clogged sinuses can come in handy. They can save you from over-abundant perfume sprayers, sneaky bags of lemons, or Billy and his “shared” macaroni and cheese.

Because mood and medication affect our sniffers from hour to hour, it’s believed we never experience a smell the same way twice.

Chapel of Holy Cross, Sedona AZ, by Dougtone

This doesn’t hold true for me. Most sanctuaries and chapels smell the same. I breathe in the scent dust, extinguished candles, old hymnals, and hopeful prayers.

The tiny part of my brain that processes these clues kicks out the same message each time: Lay your troubles down. Rest. This is the scent of serenity.

What smells take you to a place or event?

How To Stop A JawFlapper

My Roman Catholic friend jokes that:

“…when church is over—people burn rubber getting out of the parking lot.”

Lutherans would do this too if we didn’t talk so slowly. By the time we’ve mulled what we

I like mice like the ones at: All Saints Allesley. Each pew is carved by Robert Thompson of Kilburn North Yorkshire and has a little mouse carved on it somewhere.

truly wanted to say through 15 filters—so it’s not offensive, flamboyant, or overly pigheaded—it’s lunchtime and we’re ready to get in our cars and forget about it until the next time we meet.

Except for me….

My family says it takes a good 20 minutes for me to get from the pew to the car because I talk to everybody—even the church mice. Well…I’ve got stories to collect and another book to write…but if you truly want to escape…then….

How To End a Conversation

For the love of silence, Kris. Give it a rest.!

Here are some tips for ending a conversation with me or someone like me who’s flapping their jaws.

 STRATEGY 1: Make a positive ending comment.  This is the UNIVERSAL signal for wrapping up.

  • DOs:    “I’m glad we talked.”
  •             “You’ve given me some things to think about.”
  •             “I enjoyed our conversation.”
  • DON’Ts: “Kris…isn’t that your husband…driving out of the parking lot?

 STRATEGY 2: Review and Plan.  Again, this is another signal indicating you’ve heard the person and the conversation has come to a close.

  • DO:    “Thanks for letting me know the details. (The review of the conversation).  “I’ll get back to you and let you know.” (The plan.)
  • DON’T:  “Kris!!! My eyes are rolling in the sockets with all these details. (The Review). Just e-mail me (so I can delete it as soon as I get it.)” (The Plan)

STRATEGY 3:  The Excuse AND Reason.

You’re allegedly ending the conversation NOT because the other person is making your brain  go to sleep and you want to run away, pulling at your ears and screaming, but because you have something else that MUST be done.

The excuse and reason must be used together...as you see in this bad example.

  • POOR EXAMPLE:  ”Hi…can’t talk. Gotta go.”

This response doesn’t work as my kiddos will attest. Without an excuse, it makes the other person feel unimportant. (And adding a wave, while walking away doesn’t make it any better…are you kids listening?)

  • BETTER EXAMPLE: “Sorry, Kris. Gotta go. I’m late for a meeting.”

HINT:  If you’re using the Excuse Strategy, at least make your reasons believable.

  • “I’ve got to wash the chickens.”
  •  “Clean out the fridge before the milk expires.”  or
  • “I’m late for a meeting that we didn’t invite you to.”

Are not acceptable excuses. Put on your thinking cap or another mouth filter.

So…there you have it!!

BONUS TIP:

Of course, the best time to escape is when there’s a lull in the conversation; but if you’re visiting with someone like me, who can talk as I breathe both in and out, you’ll have to interrupt. I know …I know….you hate to do it.  But believe me, it’s quite helpful. I appreciate it every time I’m interrupted with:

“Sorry, Barb. I’ve got to let you go.  Your husband is driving out of the parking lot.” Smiley

PhotoCredits
amadabslater, :Mollypop, Thirdculturejb