CrossWise Friendships. Part 2 of “A Simple Feast of Friendship”

CrossWise Friendships Mandy Thomas

I would like to introduce you to my friend Mandy Gervasi Thomas—photographer, nurse, poet, wife, and mom. I asked Mandy to collaborate with me on Chapter 9 of CrossWise Living: Navigating Transition. I pick up the chapter where I left off last time and Mandy’s voice will finish it.  


The Story Continues

A few years later, the phone rings and I hear the voice of Mandy, one of my visitors that pleasant evening. Married now for two years, she’s back in San Diego with her husband David for a short visit and wants to drop in for a few minutes that morning before they leave town.

Mandy and David arrive a few hours later with their new baby Judah, who has both a full diaper and an empty tummy. Things always seem to be going crosswise when there’s a new baby, and they’re running late. I suspect they might be hungry, as it’s way past lunchtime, and I’m pleased that they accept my invitation to join Jeff and me for a quick bite before they have to be on the road again. Fortunately, I’ve developed a new habit now that I’m cooking for just two—whenever I make soup, I double the batch and freeze it.

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Simple Feast of Friendship

Simple Feast of Friendship

May the meals that I prepare, be seasoned from above,
With Thy great blessings and Thy grace but most of all, Thy love.
So bless my little kitchen, Lord, and those who enter in,
May they find naught but joy and peace and happiness therein.
— Kitchen Prayer


A Simple Feast of Friendship

It is the day after Thanksgiving. What will I be grateful for at the end of this day? Hordes of bargain-hunters have set their alarms for the wee small hours of the morning and have arisen with a mission. I’m not above such frenzied commerce, but today I nod in its direction and am able to pass it by. Today is a blank check, and I will not spend it in spending.

What business would you have me about today, Lord? I’m mindful of the message from last week’s sermon: what will I choose to do today that will outlive me? The rest of my family members all have specific plans today—to see, to do, and to accomplish—and I’m now alone and wondering how to best use this treasure of an unscheduled day.

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Starring the Sun

Starring the Sun

 

For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory.
Psalm 84:11

 

They call the high cost of living in San Diego a “sunshine tax.” We pay for the privilege of hearing virtually the same weather report everyday—70 degrees and sunny. The downside is that we face a looming water shortage, and many of us are now having to transition from lush green lawns to water-wise xeriscapes.

I’m not going to lie; I’m mourning the loss. I grew up in New Jersey, where playing on the soft and fragrant lawn lingers in my memory as one of childhood’s most sensual pleasures. There is something in me that recoils at the sight of rocks and bark and scraggly native plants. But times change, and so must we.

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Nighttime Prayers

Nighttime Prayers: Irene

Today’s guest blogger is my beloved brother, Dr. Ed Nelson. He is a research chemist by profession, but has the soul of a poet and the heart of a servant. He and his wife Janis demonstrate what it means to live a life of love as they selflessly care for their aging parents.

The piece featured below is especially meaningful to me. Many years ago, Irene prayed for the salvation of her daughter’s boyfriend, and then later, his wild -child sister. I am eternally grateful for the role she has played in my life as a spiritual mentor.


Nighttime Prayers

by Ed Nelson

My wife Janis desperately needed a night off, and so I encouraged her to take our daughter Corrie out to a movie. This left me with the job of putting my mother-in-law Irene, afflicted with Alzheimer’s, to bed. I pointed her toward the bathroom where she dutifully went in and brushed her teeth. It was sort of a messy business— I had to help her turn on the electric toothbrush and clean it and turn it off when done. Old age was taking its toll on her mind, and she was becoming less able, less aware, more confused with each passing day. I reminded her to put on her pajamas, and I went to repair her toothbrush.

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Stitching a Work of Art

Stitching a Work of Art

When I say I’ve been a quilter, I mean I’ve enjoyed the social aspects of meeting together with other women in the church basement, learning how to turn old scraps into something warm and useful. During the years when I was home with small children, I enthusiastically churned out a succession of amateurish patchwork quilts­ for friends and relatives.  I loved doing it—I just never got good at it.

My husband and I still cuddle up under a now-ragged patchwork quilt I made nearly 20 years ago. It was never flawless enough to be mounted and displayed, but its blunt and unmatched points never prevented it from keeping us warm and cozy. They say Amish women would deliberately sew a mistake into their quilts as a reminder that God alone is perfect. I never had to be that intentional about it.

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