By Kathi Macias –
I can’t remember if the “eggrolls” title above was a book or a movie, but my dad was famous for saying it every time he took us out for Chinese food (which wasn’t often, as people ate out a lot less often in those days—took too long to harness the horses to the buggy, you know).
Seriously, with Mom and Dad in the front seat and us three kids in the back, we’d have the “eggrolls” discussion long before we arrived at Hissing Dragons. “Let me do the ordering,” Dad would say (as if that were a novel suggestion). “I know how to get the most food for the least money, including free eggrolls. So just keep your mouths shut until the food arrives.”
Since all I really cared about were the fortune cookies, that wasn’t much of a problem. But fifty-plus years later, I realize how much of my dad’s training has stuck with me. My husband absolutely adores Chinese food, so we go out to eat it fairly regularly. The minute we sit down and open the menus, I start looking for specials—two-for-one, buy-this-and-get-that-free, etc. I can’t tell you the times I’ve ordered something I don’t even like just because something else I don’t dislike quite as much comes with it.
Old habits die hard, as they say, and my 90-year-old mom is the proof of that. In the facility where she now lives, she shares her meals with two table-mates, Rita and Laura. The three of them compare notes about health, families, activities (or lack thereof)…and food. That, of course, is a big one. My mom actually called me the other day to complain that they served liver and onions for dinner, something she refuses to eat.
“So are you still hungry, Mom?” I asked in response. “You know, I left some sandwich items in the refrigerator in your room. You can ask your caregiver to help you make a sandwich.”
“Oh, no, I’m not hungry,” she assured me. “I seldom eat what they serve for dinner anyway because I’m still full from lunch.” (That’s not surprising because they finish lunch at 12:30 and go back down to the dining room for dinner at 4—just long enough in between for an afternoon nap.) “It’s just the principle of the thing,” she explained. “I hate liver and onions, and I thought you should know that’s what they gave us for dinner.”
Sigh. I’m never sure how to handle that sort of situation, so I usually just change the subject. But as much as she despises liver and onions, there is one meal at the facility that ranks at the top of her favorites list: eggrolls. At last twice a month they serve eggrolls (along with a few other items) for either lunch or dinner, and Mom always calls me to rave about them. But the last time she had them, she also had a revelation that really rocked her world.
“They give eggrolls to everyone,” she said, amazement evident in her voice.
“And why wouldn’t they?” I asked.
“Well, I just assumed I got them because I share a table with Rita and Laura, but today I noticed there were a couple of people sitting at tables by themselves, and they got eggrolls too!”
It was nearly too much for her to comprehend, though she quickly added that it wouldn’t be fair if they didn’t get them. After all, it was sad enough that they sat by themselves at mealtime; there was no reason to punish them further by depriving them of eggrolls.
I’ve learned a lot watching my mom age, and not just about eggrolls and who’s entitled to them. I understand a little better now that the Scriptures tell us that the death, or passing, of God’s people is precious in His sight. And it isn’t limited to that one moment in time when a believer takes that last breath and departs for heaven. It is the sometimes lengthy process, that cutting of earthly ties so we can finally soar into God’s presence. Barring some unexpected event, Mom will probably get there ahead of me, but I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if, when I arrive soon after her, I find she’s already sitting at the banquet table, sharing eggrolls with my dad. Something tells me they won’t mind if I join them.
By Carin LeRoy –
My mom told me the story of a friend who called one morning and asked if she would meet her for lunch. Having a busy schedule and trying to prepare her Sunday School lesson for the week, my mother barely had the time to go. However, while talking with this friend, she had an overwhelming urge that God wanted her to go. She went.
At lunch, the friend admitted that she had become emotionally attached to another man at a weekly meeting and was planning to leave her husband. My mother read Scripture and admonished her not to consider it because of the personal and eternal consequences of her actions. Two weeks later the friend told her, “My suitcases were packed in the trunk of my car, and I was leaving to join the other man after lunch unless you gave me a reason to change my mind.”
What if my Mom had not listened to that prompting from the Lord? Because she listened to the Spirit’s urging, a marriage was saved and grief and pain averted. Later the friend told my mom how thankful she was for her advice to stay with her husband. Who would have thought that a simple lunch with someone would save a marriage?
How many times do we receive inner promptings from the Lord? How often do we brush those thoughts away?
“Take a meal to Sue’s family. They need the encouragement with their child in hospital.” I’m so busy right now. Maybe soon.
“Go apologize to your son for losing your temper.” I am the parent. I’m not humbling myself to my child.
“Invite your neighbor to church.” She’s so grumpy; she’ll never go.
“See that old man, help him load those groceries in his car.” I don’t have time, Lord, I’ve got to get to my appointment.
“Spend extra time talking with that student.” I teach 100 kids; I can’t meet every child’s need.
How many times does God speak to us and we fail to listen? We can ignore those inner promptings, brushing them off as a silly thought or something we needn’t obey. Yet imagine what change we might make in the life of another if we choose to respond. Maybe we should listen to those inner promptings. Let’s remember that God might choose to use us to impact a life.
PRAYER: Lord, help me to listen to Your inner promptings. Help me to be sensitive when Your voice speaks to me and give me a willingness to obey.
BIBLE VERSE: “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground” (Psalm 143: 10 NIV).
By Peter Lundell –
I grieve with many others at the triple tragedy in Japan, where I lived for eight years. How does a loving God allow so many people to suffer and die? Though the nuclear problem is man-made, the question is still painful. But we can get a good perspective.
Many people seem to have the idea that God’s purpose is our well-being—or that He is concerned about our happiness. Our happiness is important to us, and we naturally think it’s important to God too. But the Bible doesn’t say much about being happy. And God never promises to make us happy. That’s what heaven is for, and we’re not there yet.
Throughout Scripture God lets, even causes, people to die in astonishing numbers: 14,700 in Numbers 16; 24,000 in Numbers 25; 185,000 in 2 Kings 19; then there’s the Book of Revelation.
But God also says He cares for us and promises to bless us. Jesus came, showed endless compassion, and even died for us.
How do we reconcile those two extremes?
Here is my attempt: Yes, God cares for us and will bless us. But whether we’re blessed or not is secondary. I don’t mean God doesn’t care; He does. I mean our physical well-being is not His main interest. It appears to be secondary to God whether we even live or die. That’s hard to swallow, but both the Bible and the daily news tend to agree.
What’s primary then? Relationship. God is primarily concerned about our being connected with Him. And He will allow all things to happen if it helps to deepen that relationship. Throughout the Bible, God is focused on people turning to Him and growing in that relationship. When someone, anyone, cries out, “God!” He zeros in and says, “Yes? I’m here.”
May the whole world meet Him in its suffering.
PRAYER: Lord, open my eyes to see past hardship, to see You. Whatever I endure, I choose to draw near to You, never apart. And may I be Your witness to help others do the same.”
BIBLE VERSE: “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. . . . It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. . . . I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me” (Psalm 119:67, 71, 75 NIV).
By Susan Dollyhigh –
Drew, my two-year-old grandson, wobbled into the living room with his daddy’s size eleven gray Nikes on his small feet. I watched as Drew held up his short arms for balance while his toothpick-looking legs shuffled one large shoe in front of the other. Beneath his blonde curls, his smiling face said, “Look at me, I’m walking in my Daddy’s shoes.”
Like most small boys, Drew wants to walk like his Daddy walks, talk like his Daddy talks, and mimic his every action. My son, Eric watched Drew struggle, stumble and even almost fall as he made his way across the room. But Eric never took his eyes off of Drew; he was ready to catch him if he fell. Drew finished his journey, and stood in front of his proud Daddy where he heard, “Good job, Drew!”
Major decisions, financial concerns, and family problems sometimes leave me feeling like I’m wobbling through life while trying to shuffle through problems that are way too big for me.
Yet, like Drew, I want to walk like my Father walks, talk like my Father talks, and mimic His every action. I know my Heavenly Father is watching as I struggle, stumble, and sometimes almost fall. But He never takes His eyes off of me; He is ready to catch me if I fall. So, I need to put a smile on my face, shuffle along, and focus on my Father. Someday, when I complete my journey here on earth, and stand before my Him, I hope I too will hear, “Good job!”
PRAYER: Father, I know my help comes from You, the Maker of heaven and earth. Thank You for keeping me from all harm and watching over my life.
BIBLE VERSE: “He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalms 121:3-4 NIV).
By Julie Morris –
We are all sooo busy these days and it’s easy to shovel down fast food when we’re exhausted. Over 25 percent of Americans consume fast food every day. Not all fast food is unhealthy, but most of it is. Do you want to learn some quick tips so you can develop the art of eating out without widening out?
- Almost all fast food restaurants have nutritional info on their websites. Check them out and make a healthy choice before hitting the drive-thru.
- Don’t super-size!
- Ask them to hold the cheese.
- Stay away from sugary soft drinks.
- Limit sauces such as mayonnaise, tartar sauce or salad dressing. Order sandwiches without them or on the side so you can add your own. Choose low-fat or reduced-fat options when possible.
- Salads are usually a healthy option, especially with a low-fat dressing.
- Limit fried foods. Choose items that are grilled or baked.
- Order from the kids’ menu. The portions are smaller, and you can usually make substitutions.
- Get a to-go box to bring half of what you order home.
- Choose from the items labeled as “healthy” or “light.”
Here are a few of the worst fast foods. (Keep in mind that most people aim to eat less than 2,000 calories a day.)
- Hardee’s Monster Thickburger 1420 calories
- Dairy Queen’s Large Choc. Chip Cookie Dough Blizzard 1320 calories
- Burger King’s TRIPLE WHOPPER Sandwich With Cheese 1230 calories
- McDonalds’ Deluxe Breakfast 1140 calories (not including butter and syrup)
- Arby’s Meatball Toasted Sub 1000 calories
The following are some lower-calorie fast food options:
- Burger King’s Whopper Jr. 290 calories.
- McDonalds’ Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad 220 calories with Newman’s Own Low- Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing 40 calories
- Panera Bread Banana Nut Muffin 230 calories with fruit cup 70 calories
- Subway’s 6 grams or less menu sandwiches 330 calories or less (hold the cheese) with honey mustard select sauce 28 calories
- Taco Bell’s Fresco Style Chicken Ranchero Taco 170 calories or Bean Burrito 350 calories
- Wendy’s Mandarin Chicken Salad 170 with Fat-Free French dressing 80 calories
- Chick-fil-A Icedream Cone 140 calories
Whether you’re eating by yourself, with your children or friends who are watching their weight, make a game of finding the biggest fast-food “bargain.” Develop the art of making healthy choices no matter where you are, and you’ll be able to eat out without widening out!