Tag Archives: friendship

Angels in our midst?

30 Apr

The beginning of April found me flying to Guanajuato, Mexico with four friends from the Ashland Rotary Club. We are working with the Rotary Club of Guanajuato to bring fresh water to the rural areas of the region.

school for the deaf

In the week there, we also toured the School for the Deaf in San Miguel Allende, planted trees at a preschool, and met with many selfless people who are dedicated to serving others. I was honored to be a part of that team.

Here I am with my friend, Angelica, and my wonderful hosts, Oscar and Marta.

OSCAR AND MARTA
While in Mexico I got a message from my sister that my Dad was once again in the hospital, so instead of returning home at the end of the week, I took a plane from Los Angeles to Florida to visit him.

At first, he spent a few days in the ICU and it was very hard to see him suffering. What helped make the situation bearable was that my sister and daughter were with me and the fact that my Dad had several amazing nurses. My favorite nurse, Nicole, hailed from Kentucky and made the experience much easier to handle.

me with Dad
Nicole had such a gentle way with Dad (and with us) and I wanted to show our thanks so, of course, I made her and the night nurse each an apple pie.  It was really fun to see the happy smiles when we delivered them!  Surprising people with pie just happens to be one of my favorite things… (Sound of Music soundtrack anyone?)

apple pie
After ten days in Florida, with Dad stable and in rehab, I was ready to go home. I went to the airport for my flight with United and saw a huge crowd at my gate. The details are too long to go into, but the final result was that I gave up my seat in exchange for travel money and a flight home the following day. I was happy as I’d see my Dad one more time and the travel credits will come in handy, but what blew me away was that the gate agent, Beth, booked me in first class all the way home!  If I could have, I’d have made her a pie too but instead I gave her a pretty shell and thanked her for her grace and calm under pressure.

A few days after I was home, I realized that I had a couple of gift certificates from Shooting Star  Nursery that had expired during my extended trip. When I called and told them what had happened, an employee told me that he thought the owners would likely be understanding and jokingly added “especially if I brought something I’d baked myself.”

Clearly he didn’t know who he was taking to!  Yesterday I walked into the office and surprised a few employees with a warm pie. When I shared what I’d been told on the phone the young man in charge said I didn’t have to do that… But really, I did!  Later the crew sent me a sweet text message thanking me for the pie. I was so glad to receive it.

Life is full of challenges and every one of us has “stuff” to deal with. I think we all do the best we can… but still, life can be hard. That’s why it’s nice when every now and then we get a helping hand with that “stuff” thanks to the kindhearted strangers (or are they angels?) who we meet along the way.

“We are each of us angels with only one wing; and we can only fly by embracing one another.” ~ Luciano de Crescenzo

Imagine…

20 Nov

 

Two weeks ago, I attended a Jennifer Knapp concert at Southern Oregon University.  Ms. Knapp is a singer/songwriter who as a young woman made a name for herself in the Christian music scene, and my church (along with a few other churches and the Queer Resource Center) helped bring her to Ashland.  And while her music is riveting, it was not the only reason for her visit.  You see, Jennifer Knapp was adored as a Christian “rock star” until she came out as gay.  Then things changed.   The “Christians” that had loved her music before, now turned their backs on her.  She was no longer considered one of them.

Ms. Knapp shared her spiritual journey with the audience.  She explained how she tried to leave Christianity behind, but felt that the teachings aligned with her core beliefs… and came to the conclusion that even though she was “gay”, she was also a Christian.

After the concert, Jennifer took questions/comments from the audience.  The one that moved me to tears went as follows.  A woman in her forties shared that she had recently come out to her family, and that since that time her son has had nothing to do with her.  She asked what she could do to and Jennifer said, “Love him.  Whenever you see him, love him.  You can’t change him… but you can love him.”

Jennifer sounds like a Christian to me, by golly.   But wait, she’s gay?  So the fact that she is loving, accepting, and forgiving doesn’t count then, right?  Right.

A few days ago I saw on Facebook that it was the one year anniversary of this post, I am Christian, unless you’re gay.  It’s a great article, and if you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to do so.  The author, Dan Pearce tells us about his friend “Jacob” who is gay… and he goes on to say that his article is not about homosexuality, instead – It’s about love. It’s about kindness. It’s about friendship.  

Jacob had asked Dan to share with his audience (Dan writes the blog, single dad laughing) how it feels to be gay in a conservative Christian community.   Here is a quote from that article, “You don’t know what it’s like to have your own parents hate you and try and cover up your existence. I didn’t choose this. I didn’t want this. And I’m so tired of people hating me for it. I can’t take it anymore. I just can’t.”  

After reading the article, my heart ached for Jacob and the fact that he is virtually being shunned by the community in which he lives for being who he is – the person God made him to be.  My head raced with questions: Who are we to tell another person how to live their life?  What gives us the right to judge them?  What part of that kind of this behavior is “being Christian?”

From all the stories that I have heard about Jesus, I just can’t imagine him turning his back on anyone.  One story that many are familiar with (and one of my favorites) is the about the woman who is to be stoned to death for being an adulterer (according to ancient law).  Jesus does not question the law, but instead says “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

It seems that we are still acting like those ancient people – wanting to find fault with others (and throw stones) because they are not like us – or they’re not acting like we think they should act.   And when we are focused on others, we remain blissfully blind to our own shortcomings.   But try to imagine what the world might be like if we tried to be more like the man from whom we have the word “Christian”?   I think it’d be pretty amazing… don’t you?

Yesterday I brought a Chocolate Cream Pie to the Queer Resource Center at SOU to thank the people who helped to bring Jennifer Knapp to our area… and to recognize them for all they do to make the university a welcoming place to all students.

You may say that I’m a dreamer, But I’m not the only one.   I hope someday you’ll join us,  And the world will live as one.   John Lennon

 

Day 350: Helping a Friend

21 Mar

As sometimes happens, I was thinking about my pie of the day this morning and was thinking about a certain location.  I had not yet begun to make the pie when my telephone rang.  It was a friend and she asked if she could recommend someone for a pie… or perhaps a quiche.  The person she wanted to recommend was someone I knew whose family has had some challenges lately.

Once I heard about the situation, I jumped at the chance to help.  I asked what kind of quiche might me appreciated, and she told me that a Quiche Lorraine would be most welcome.  And so, of course, that is what I made.  I sauteed the onions, cooked the bacon, and grated the Jarlsberg cheese.  When all of that was done, I rolled out the crust, placed the cheese, bacon, and onions inside and poured the custard over it all.  Into the oven it went, and in about an hour, it was done.

Tonight, before I delivered the quiche,  I thought about how I might feel in my friend’s situation, and so I put together a small salad, some homemade dressing, a tiny bit of cookie dough, the quiche, and a bottle of wine.  I want this friend to feel totally supported and know that if help is needed, it will be there.  Isn’t that what friends are for?

Friendship makes prosperity more shining and lessens adversity by dividing and sharing it.  Cicero

Day 188: Mike and Mary

11 Oct


We met Mike and Mary many years ago because they are friends of our neighbors. We knew them for years before I realized that I had worked with Mary’s brother at a restaurant when I first came to Ashland in the eighties. It always surprises me when things like that happen; finding those little clues that prove how connected we really are.

About six years ago Mike came to my aid when I was working on a project to send blankets to Pakistan after the earthquake in Kashmir. With the help of Ashland residents I had collected almost 400 blankets and needed to get them overseas. The Consulate General of Pakistan in Los Angeles told me that if I could get them to him, he would include them in a shipment to his country. That’s when Mike asked his company, Oak Harbor Freight Lines, if they would ship the boxes to Los Angeles without charge. It was a very generous act on his part and most appreciated.

More recently, I have had the pleasure of catering the weddings for each of Mike and Mary’s daughters. It was a joy to work with Mary on the menus and other details and I was thrilled that everything came together so beautifully. I loved seeing their friends and family on those occasions and felt honored to be a part of it all. I especially appreciated Mary’s faith this past summer. She did not doubt that I would be able to cater Ali’s wedding three weeks after I had broken my rib; her trust meant more than I can say.

This afternoon I made a Mushroom and Sausage quiche for Mike and Mary. They are both pretty busy and I thought it would be nice for them to have dinner waiting when they got home… a small gesture to thank them for the gift of their friendship.

Friendship isn’t a big thing – it’s a million little things. ~Author Unknown

Day 108: Being a friend

23 Jul

It was a hectic, crazy day for me.  There was still a lot of prep work to do for the wedding that I was catering and yet I definitely wanted to be sure to make a pie.  This is such an important part of the day for me – sort of like a meditation.  It begins with taking the pie dough from the fridge and then considering the possibilities in my pantry and the myriad of pie recipients in the world.

Today, my mind was centered on a friend who was feeling sad because it was the anniversary of her father’s passing.  Her family has had a lot to deal with in this past year and that has not made it any easier.  Losing someone dear to us is difficult enough without the complications of family issues.  Today I made her a quiche with chicken sausages, swiss cheese,  and red bell peppers.  I wanted to let her know that I am here for her and that she does not have to be alone with her sadness.

This morning I called my friend and asked her if she could stop by for a moment.  I had too much yet to do to make a special delivery and so I told her I needed her help.  When she asked why, I explained my predicament – and told her about the quiche that I had made for her.  Her response, “You didn’t have to do that!” Yes, I know, but that’s what makes this project so great – I don’t have to do it at all.  I want to – and that makes all the difference.

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
Albert Einstein

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