Bare Cupboards 


This is the day I help relieve hunger in our city. Our church is located downtown, so we are at the heart of our community. A heart must feel and beat for the ones who live near it, not just for the ones who attend it. It’s about time to shop again, as our cupboards are getting bare. This is both good and bad news: we’re relieving needs, but not changing the system which keeps people poor. 

Some of that is human indifference and weakness: if your spouse runs off with the kids because you get a dread disease diagnosis, we most likely can’t change this. We can be there for the one left behind. It’s not just food we hand out, but prayers, consolations, and a steady presence in people’s uncertain lives. 
If you’re stressed and struggling in your own life today, stop and think of the ones on the margins of our society. Find a way to be a constructive help in their lives. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities waiting for everyone.

“Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, “Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.” ~~ Deuteronomy 15:11

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School of Hard Knocks

Some of us have advanced degrees from this esteemed academic institution. Frank Sinatra was known for doing things “My Way,” but for most of us, this is only the “Hard Way” or the “Worst Way.”

The Better Way isn’t the easy path, it doesn’t promise quick results without making changes, and there is no magic pill or drink supplement to transform us into a different person. The people who sell us these items only change us into poorer or less wealthy persons, and we don’t get the results they promised. In ancient times they were called snake oil hucksters, since no one knew exactly what was in their potions.

Today is Sunday, the first day of the week. This makes it an auspicious day to begin anew the journey to the person you want to be: the whole person who is healthy in body, mind and spirit. At Cornie’s Kitchen, we believe in “Whole Food for Whole People.” Of course, we realize most of us are “going onto wholeness” just as my Methodist brothers and sisters have faith we’re “going onto perfection, by god’s grace.”

Throw out those fad diets, green tea pills, and super low calorie diets (anything under 1500 calories per day puts your body into starvation mode and resets your metabolism to gain weight). Take up an exercise program: walk. This is weight bearing and uses all your muscles. Go down the block or down the driveway if that’s as far as you can make it at first. My first attempt was around the block before I threw in the towel. It’s a starting point.

You mark your progress from there. You can only improve.
If you get sick, like I did one year, you lose ground. Then you find the new base level and start over from there. You can only improve. Illness is only a setback. Learning the hard way for many of us is just a series of setbacks. We now have a new baseline from which to start anew. This time, let’s do things “A New Way.”

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BRING BACK THE BEES 🐝 

Bees are a major pollinator of the food we eat, with 1/3 of all we consume affected by their work. Bees are also the only insect to produce a food which humans eat: honey. Pooh knew a good thing and he’d get every drop, even if he had to get his head stuck in the hunny pot on occasion.

The link below includes a TED TALK on the reasons for the decline in bee populations around the world, plus one for free wild flower seeds. Hint–if you’ve been around for the BUTTERFLY discussions here in the kitchen, you have a heads up on the talk and the flowers will attract both bees and butterflies!

Our personal health is interconnected with the health of all living things around us. We don’t exist in a vacuum. We are in relationships, personally and with the world around us. This includes our environment and all creation itself. This may sound “new age” to some of you, but Christian scripture tells us in Romans 8:19-21–

“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”

We don’t wait for a magic hand to reach out and make this good happen. Also, we don’t go out and despoil the earth while believing God will redeem it in spite of our destructive habits. To live in harmony with our calling to be free, we also need to free the earth, keep our home from harm, and execute justice for both the land and her people.

Bees have been with us for 100 million years, whereas we humans, or our early prototypes, have been around for about 2 1/2 million years. We might learn about survival from our elders, and they might continue to share their sweet treats with us.

This link gets you free wild flower seeds : http://www.cheerios.com/bringbackthebees/

Link to Ted talk: https://bringbackthebees.ca/

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Party People Party Hearty 

Today is Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day. We Americans like to celebrate odd and unusual days, not because we’re just a party people, but because our DNA demands it. The first settlers wouldn’t have made it through their first year on their crops alone. The native population had to show them the bounty of the land. They had a party, the first thanksgiving. We will party at the drop of a hat, and if you aren’t a party person, well, you probably don’t like chocolate either. 

Sproutzels with chocolate and almonds

I went to our condo Super Bowl Party last night, ate a bunch of home made snacks, and then stayed up late talking to one of my neighbors. I woke up too late to eat ice cream for breakfast, but I might have it for lunch. Who says we have to follow this day as it is written? I’ve already managed my “beauty sleep,” so now this ten o’clock scholar is writing at noon, and I should get down to business. 

Spinach Basil Pesto with Mozzarella on Toast

One of the wonderful aspects of this presidency of drama all the time, versus the past years, and I include most of my long lifetime, is our presidents seem to be above the storms which swirl in this world. Our current occupant seems to be the source of the storm. Yet I always have hope, for the storms of life always pass, and there’s always a limit to the storms concocted by human beings. 

Lame Duck

Yep, I’m celebrating, for today is the anniversary of the ratification of 20th Amendment to the US Constitution. It shortened the time between the old office holders and the new ones coming in. With our modern world and 24 hour news cycles, our politicians are now campaigning as soon as they win, even before they take office. Midterm elections even now could change the face of the Congress: all 435 House seats and 33 Senate seats are up for reelection. 

How to celebrate Lame Duck DayLame Duck Day is best celebrated by researching the history of those people you support politically, and find out just how accountable they really are to their constituents. 

Have they consistently voted their conscience in the past, have they worked to promote the things they were elected to support? 

It is especially important to pay attention to that period following a re-election, a choice to retire, or when their office has been eliminated, it’s this time period where they will most clearly show their true colors. 

If they remained true to their principles during this time period (their professed principles, odds are good that they’ll stay true to their constituents when the hammer comes down.

Remember your middle school civics lesson: the American government works on a process of checks and balances, with powers and responsibilities given to Legislative/Congress, the Executive/President, and the Judicial/Courts. 

The things you learn at the kitchen table in your family home stick with you for a lifetime. All great leaders have a formal cabinet, but also informal “kitchen cabinets ,” the people they really listen to for advice and moral direction. Information might get provided in this first realm, but the inner circle, the informal and intimate space, this is where the real work is done. 

So it is with our hearts and minds: if we don’t retire to a quiet place every so often, we’ll never hear the wisdom of the great counselor in the midst of the storms. 

The people’s power is in our voice and our vote. You won’t hear our American churches endorse candidate, for we enjoy benefits for being out of the political fray. You will hear our churches speak up for the needs of the weakest and most vulnerable among us, and for the stranger who seeks to sojourn among us. Welcome to America, eat some ice cream and be glad! 

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COFFEE WITH ABBA JOHN

The sayings of the holy figures of early Christian monasticism were gathered in various collections across the ages. This one is from Abba John the Dwarf, who was small in physical size, but a spiritual giant. 

17. One day when Abba John was going up to Scetis with some other brothers, their guide lost his way for it was night-time. 
So the brothers said to Abba John, ‘What shall we do, Abba, in order not to die wandering about, for the brother has lost the way?’ 

The old man said to them, ‘If we speak to him, he will be filled with grief and shame. But look here, I will pretend to be ill and say I cannot walk any more; then we can stay here till the dawn.’ This he did. 

The others said, ‘We will not go on either, but we will stay with you.’ They sat there until the dawn, and in this way they did not upset the brother. 

While drinking coffee this morning, two scriptures speaking to Abba John’s insight on maintaining good relationships came to mind:

1. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. ~~ Romans 13:10

2. Do not plan harm against your neighbor who lives trustingly beside you. ~~ Proverbs 3:29

Positive and negative statements together help flesh out our faith walk, for we don’t live in this world alone. Our lives are interconnected: our families, neighbors, communities, states, countries, and even the natural world and its flora and fauna. 

Moreover, we are all connected to God, even those of us who are nonbelievers, for God believes in us, even if we can’t believe in God. We will all believe in something, even if it’s “I believe I’ll have another cup of coffee” or “I believe I can!”

We wouldn’t have our coffee without others in the great relationship chain of grower, producer, buyer, roaster, seller, coffee shop, and barista, not to mention the tree farmer, the logger, the pulp millers, the paper millers, the cup makers, and the truckers who bring all the beans and cups to our favorite java joint. 

We might only believe in another skinny caramel macchiato to get us through our day, but how many of our neighbors have helped us to get this solo cup of solace? If we need to sit, collect our thoughts, stop doing for a while so we don’t get further lost, then I know a good place in my hometown with excellent coffee. Or your own couch or chair would suffice. 

Take a moment to count the connections of the food you eat, the clothes you put on today, the people you meet. We are not alone–we live in God’s world. 

Edward Hopper: Automat, 1927, Des Moines Art Center. 

Posted in Coffee, coffee, love, Ministry, Relationships, sharing, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Work | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love is All We Need

Oscar Wilde said, “Who, being loved, is poor?” If no one else tells you “I ❤️ U ” in this shortest month of our year, let me be the first to say, “I love you! And I think you’re great!” For my Cornie’s Kitchen peeps, a quote from Mother Teresa: “The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.” 

The psychologist and philosopher Erich Fromm believed “Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.” Carl Sagan, the noted scientist and producer of the acclaimed series “Cosmos” remarked, “For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.”

In these difficult times (really, what historic age hasn’t been difficult for humanity?), how can we keep an optimistic and open heart? How can we live lives of love, faith, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, patience, kindness, generosity, and self control when the world seems to be sucking into a cesspool of darkness around us? Where is our hope? Nothing will separate us from the love of God…god’s steadfast love will endure forever. These are the promises of every age to God’s creation, to the people of God’s own image. 

If god’s love flows into our hearts, we’ll have joy, not withstanding what the world throws at us. As Mother Teresa reminds us, “A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love.”

This short poem, almost a decade old, seems timely:

The Quiet World by Jeffrey McDaniel. 

In an effort to get people to look 

into each other’s eyes more, 

and also to appease the mutes, 

the government has decided 

to allot each person exactly one hundred   

and sixty-seven words, per day. 

When the phone rings, I put it to my ear   

without saying hello. In the restaurant   

I point at chicken noodle soup. 

I am adjusting well to the new way. 

Late at night, I call my long distance lover,   

proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.   

I saved the rest for you. 

When she doesn’t respond, 

I know she’s used up all her words,   

so I slowly whisper I love you 

thirty-two and a third times. 

After that, we just sit on the line   

and listen to each other breathe.

(Jeffrey McDaniel, “The Quiet World” from The Forgiveness Parade. Copyright © 1998 by Jeffrey McDaniel. Source: The Forgiveness Parade, Manic D Press, 1998)

February Holidays, Happy February!

CIVIC HOLIDAYS

February 1: National Freedom Day

February 12: Lincoln’s Birthday

February 20: Presidents Day (3rd Monday)

FOOD HOLIDAYS 

February 4: National Homemade Soup Day

February 5: World Nutella Day

February 5: Super Bowl  

February 6: National Frozen Yogurt Day

February 7: National Fettuccine Alfredo Day

February 9: National Bagel Day

February 11: National Peppermint Patty Day

February 11: Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day

February 13: National Tortellini Day

February 15: National Gum Drop Day

February 17: National Cafe Au Lait Day

February 18: National Drink Wine Day

February 20: National Cherry Pie Day

February 21: National Sticky Bun Day

February 22: National Margarita Day

February 23: National Chili Day (4th Thursday)

February 24: National Tortilla Chip Day

February 25: Open that Bottle Night (Last Saturday)

February 26: National Pistachio Day

February 27: National Strawberry Day  

February 27: National Kahlua Day

February 28: Mardi Gras (various) pancakes 

LOVE IS THE ANSWER

February 1: Spunky Old Broads Day

February 3: National Wedding Ring Day

February 3: National Wear Red Day (1st Friday in Feb)

February 4: Thank a Mailman Day

February 5: National Weatherman’s Day

February 7: Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbor Day

February 7: Send a Card to a Friend Day

February 9: Read in the Bathtub Day

February 11: Satisfied Being Single Day

February 11: National Make a Friend Day

February 13: Kiss Day

February 13: International Condom Day

February 13: Get a Different Name Day

February 14: Extraterrestrial Culture Day: (2nd Tues in Feb)

February 14: Read to Your Child Day

February 14: Valentine’s Day

February 15: Singles Awareness Day

February 16: Do a Grouch a Favor Day

February 17: Random Acts of Kindness Day

PET HOLIDAYS 

February 2: Groundhog Day

February 6: Lame Duck Day

February 14: Pet Theft Awareness Day

February 20: Love Your Pet Day

February 23: National Dog Biscuit Day 

February 27: International Polar Bear Day

February 28: World Spay Day (Last Tuesday)

OFFICE HOLIDAYS 

February 3: Working Naked Day (1st Friday)

February 7: Safer Internet Day (Various)

February 8: Laugh and Get Rich Day

February 13: Clean Out Your Computer Day (2nd Monday)

February 17: My Way Day

February 19: Prevent Plagiarism Day 

February 21: Single Tasking Day

February 18: National Battery Day

February 26: For Pete’s Sake Day

February 27: No Brainer Day

February 28: National Public Sleeping Day

OTHER HOLIDAYS 

February 4: World Cancer Day

February 8: Boy Scouts Day

February 8: Kite Flying Day

February 9: National Toothache Day

February 10: Umbrella Day

February 23: Curling is Cool Day

February 25: Pistol Patent Day

February 28: National Tooth Fairy Day

February 29: Leap Year (observed every four years, not this year)

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SURVIVING INAUGURATION DAY 

img_3736Once every four years, the peaceful transfer of power in our national capitol takes place. Lots of marching bands show up, but no floats or inflated balloons. This is how we know it’s not a football bowl game or holiday parade. If Rick Perry wanted to get a leg up on renewable energy sources, he’d look into ways to harness and recycle the hot air from all the speeches and toasts at the various balls (only three of which President Trump will attend).

The television pundits watching Trump at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and at the Lincoln Memorial remarked how “he seemed to be settling into the mantle of the presidency as he entered these hallowed spaces.” They hope, but forget our new president’s true self, which is “reality television star.” He can act any part well when he needs to. The rest of America isn’t fooled.

Half of America is already dialing 911 for the trauma response team, while the other half is hoarding the last of their pills and/or guns. These latter ones have yet to decide if they have full on Buyers’ Remorse or just a touch of the Russian Flu. I think if we approach this day from a different point of view, we’ll not only survive, but thrive. On the calendar, January 20th is also Penguin Awareness Day and National Cheese Lovers Day.

img_3732Although the Libertarians didn’t get 4% of the popular vote in the 2016 election, a penguin is an unofficial symbol of the United States Libertarian Party. Evidently, more people loved the movie “Happy Feet” than adhere to free thinking political views. Penguins have equality in relationships. In some species, it’s the male penguin which incubates the eggs while females leave to hunt for weeks at a time. Because of this, pudgy males—with enough fat storage to survive weeks without eating—are most desirable. This may explain America’s fascination with our newest tuxedo wearing presidential icon.

While pudginess might describe many of our politicians, equality of relationships isn’t their usual style. This is why over 200,000 women and their supporters marched in protest this Weekend, and why many singers and celebrities were a no show to the festivities. President Trump probably needs to eat more cheese.

For instance, the average American eats almost three times as much cheese today as in 1970. The report’s dairy chart tells us the average U.S. consumer is, at 23 pounds per year, eating more than the occasional cheese dip. In 1970, the number was about eight pounds.

Given President elect Trump’s aversion to Mexico, he could make nice by eating more Taco Bell steak quesadillas, with cheddar, pepper jack, mozzarella and a creamy sauce. “The item used an average of eight times more cheese than other items on their menu,” the Agriculture Department said in a report, extolling Dairy Management’s work — without mentioning that the quesadilla has more than three-quarters of the daily recommended level of saturated fat and sodium. This way he could help Make America Grate Again.

Everyone in Washington will be dressed up in the fancy pants, or the tuxedo. Penguins spend several hours a day preening or caring for their feathers. If penguins don’t keep them well maintained, their feathers would not stay waterproof. For extra protection, penguins spread oil on their feathers. The oil comes from a special gland near their tail feathers.

img_3734This year the Republicans hold sway in Washington., so we’ll give them the honor of being the penguin with the highest number of species: the Macaroni Penguin (approximately 11,654,000 pairs). Macaroni Penguins (Eudyptes chrysolophus) get their name from the long, orange, yellow, and black feathery crests above their eyes. They were named after “macaroni dandies,” whose hairstyle was fashionable in the 18th century.

I hope these Macaroni Republicans have ideas more suited to the 21st century, or they’ll find themselves in the minority in two years. The Trump supporters who need to keep their health insurance will want to have their pledge kept, or they’ll defect in a heartbeat.

I’m eating my way through the day, making delicate dishes with unusual flavors for my ordinary meals. It’s not every day we install a new president, even if it’s not the one for which most of the American electorate voted. He may not even be the “one for whom his own supporters voted,” since his mind seems to be fluid, at bes

Finally, an A list singer, but with his lyrics scrambled into a new version just for the occasion will help us get through this very long day, for we will all need some love out in the hinterland:

“Shower The People” by James Taylor, with lyrics rearranged for Inaugural Festivities

TRUMP AND FAMILY:

You can play the game and you can act out the part,

even though you know it wasn’t written for you.

You can run but you cannot hide, this is widely known.

Tell me, what you plan to do with your foolish pride when you’re all by yourself, alone.

Things are gonna work out fine if you only will do as I say, just

shower the people you love with love, show them the way you feel.

Things are gonna be much better if you only will.
Tell me, how can you stand there with your broken heart ashamed of playing the fool?

One thing can lead to another; it doesn’t take any sacrifice.

Oh, father and mother, sister and brother, if it feels nice, don’t think twice,

just shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel.

AMERICA:

Once you tell somebody the way that you feel, you can feel it beginning to ease.

I think it’s true what they say about the squeaky wheel always getting the grease.

Better to shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel.
Things are gonna be just fine if you only will what I’d like to do to you.

Shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel.

Things are gonna be much better if you only will.

EVERYONE SING!!!

Shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel.

You’ll feel better right away.

Don’t take much to do, sell your pride.

They say in every life, they say the rain must fall, just like pouring rain, make it rain.

Make it rain, love, love, love is sunshine, oh yes,

Make it rain, love, love, love is sunshine. Everybody, everybody.

Posted in Comfort food, Depression, disease, Food, Generations, Grief, Penguins, politics, presidential inauguration, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment