Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Hospitality

On any given day

Death knocks
Each time I blink
Or turn around
To answer the door
Or look the other way

An incessant drizzle
Muffles the sound of
A clock chiming hours
Now gone forever. . .
Steals through pores
In skin and brain
Takes up sweet residence
Pays no rent and
Leaves no tips
For the next occupant

Today I’m off to the kitchen to make a big pot of lentil/veggie soup for my hungry soul. I’m comforted by the thought of death intermingling with life. It doesn’t make it any more attractive. It does, however, make sense of the passing away of each moment.

It also suggests ways to acknowledge its presence instead of wasting energy ignoring it — or trying to lock it in the recesses of a large closet to be opened only upon my death.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 8 May 2019
Image found at fotosearch.com

How I set my table


As few utensils as possible
More than enough room for everyone
More than enough food for everyone
No pre-ordained seats for the chosen
No reserved seats for the religiously correct
No throne at the head of the table
No place-cards for the righteous few
No special utensils for the wealthy
No printed program at each place
Just a welcome sign of hospitality

Back in the early 1970s, when I was beginning my theological training, the term ‘evangelical’ was in the air. Many conservative Christians saw this as a dangerous distortion of the Gospel.

I saw it as Christianity focused on difficult issues such as poverty, social justice, racism and sexism. Not just praying about them, but marching in protests and becoming part of local efforts to raise awareness and push for change.

I knew I’d found a home. Nonetheless, after identifying myself as an evangelical Christian, some judged me as a betrayer of true Christian faith.

Back then, evangelical Christians also reached out to other denominations and faith-based organizations to maximize their impact on issues of common concern. This meant we were ecumenical. An additional betrayal of ‘true’ Christian faith.

Times have changed. The press and some Evangelicals have politicized the term over the years. We who are not part of the religious right wince when we hear ‘Evangelicals’ used in political discourse.

Statisticians now tell us Mr. Trump would not be president if it weren’t for white Evangelicals. According to the latest statistics, 80% of all white Evangelicals voted for Donald Trump. Without them, he would not have won the electoral vote. For many of them, he’s still the answer to their desire for an overtly Christian nation. Not simply in numbers, but in political realities that matter to them.

I won’t and can’t distance myself from my Evangelical friends. Nonetheless, I’ve decided it’s more than enough to say I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I also happen to be white, female, a wife, mother and grandmother, musician, poet, writer, and a Christian theologian who cares deeply about the way I live as a follower of Jesus each day.

The list at the top expresses my continued commitment to focusing on truth about myself, about Christian faith as I see it, and about this world God loves so much. It also expresses my commitment to listening to others around the table. Especially when we don’t always agree.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 19 October 2017
Image found at pinterest.com

Daily Prompt: Express

An unexpected gift | Recipes

At 11:00 am yesterday I left my house and walked two short minutes to my next-door neighbor’s house for a show and tell cooking lesson. A simple Indian dish he concocted of quinoa and garbanzos. He wanted to cook something that would fit my health needs, and thought this might fit the bill.

I sat on a kitchen stool watching as he started from scratch and put it together, checking each ingredient with me as he went along.

There weren’t any mysterious ingredients or fancy maneuvers at the stove. Just water for the rinsed quinoa (2 cups dry), cooked first (about 4 cups water, no salt) and left to sit when done, covered, while he prepared the flavorings in a large frying pan.

Here’s what went into the frying pan:

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil, heated, to which he added
  • Sliced fresh garlic – 6 or 7 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon each, cumin seed and mustard seed
  • Turmeric powder to taste
  • Chili powder to taste
  • About 1 teaspoon ground coriander

When the seed were popping and the spices fragrant, he added prepared caramelized onions and let things simmer. Next he added the drained garbanzos (a large can) and let the mixture simmer in the olive oil. Finally, he added another smaller handful of chopped coriander and one chopped yellow onion. Then it all simmered until the onions had lost their bitterness but not their crunch.

Finally, he added the flavorings and beans in the frying pan to the pot of cooked quinoa and mixed everything together.

Then the moment of truth! He served up small portions for everyone present—his twins and their nanny, and me, of course. Delicious. Nourishing. Easy to make.

This unexpected gift came because the day before he’d seen me out walking, asked about my health, and wanted to do something that would be good for me and easy to make for myself. I brought most of it home and had some for lunch today. Yummy!

For me, this was a big event. Nonetheless, it doesn’t take much to make my day. Just bits and pieces here and there. A note or email from a friend, a smile from the clerk at the grocery store, seeing friends when I’m out walking, a lovely song on the radio, a late afternoon walk with D, evening birdsong or a call from a family member. Small things that let me know I’m not alone, and that I matter.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 1 June 2017
Photo found at betazeta.com, not the dish described above, but similar

Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Portion

Simple food simply cooked

I’m not a foody, but I love down-to-earth delicious simple prep dishes! It’s just past 10:30 am, and my trusty old slow cooker is already hard at work on one of my favorites. It should be ready to eat by supper time.

Why a simple recipe today?

I’ve been thinking about simple actions I might take as a citizen of these United States. I want to do my bit in these next difficult years. Simple food prep popped into my mind because it leaves me free to take other simple actions.

Makes sense to me! Besides, it’s ‘Simply Great’ isn’t it?

So here it is, my simple recipe for today’s simple supper and the next 5-6 days, too.

Winter-Time Vegetables Chili – slow cooker, 4 to 5 quart round works great

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, peeled and sliced or diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1-4 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 15-ounce cans of diced low-sodium tomatoes
  • 1 4-ounce can of chopped mild green chilies
  • ½ tsp salt (optional – I don’t add any)
  • 1 cup fat-free, low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 16-ounce cans of low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

Optional additions after cooking: balsamic vinegar, fat-free sour cream/plain Greek yogurt to put on the top

Directions

  1. In slow cooker, layer each ingredient in the order given—Don’t stir!
  2. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until vegetables are tender.
  3. Stir before serving.
  4. Top individual servings with sour cream/Greek yogurt or nothing at all.

Comments

  • Don’t worry if it looks thin at first; after you stir it up it thickens.
  • Store leftovers in refrigerator. I don’t know whether it freezes well.
  • Try serving it with a side of steamed greens. Yum!
  • If you’re feeling simply brave and grateful, try giving some away.

Here’s to a simple day made up of simple things that mean a lot to you or someone else!

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 26 January 2017
Recipe submitted by Maricarol Magil, Freehold, New Jersey, USA
Found in 
Fix-It and Forget it Lightly: Healthy, Low-Fat Recipes for Your Slow Cooker, Good Books 2004

Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Simple

A Quiet Ovation

stand_of_eastern_hemlock_and_white_pine_in_tiadaghton_state_forest_pennsylvania

~~~Eastern Hemlock and White Pine, Tiadaghton State Forest, Pennsylvania

No applause and no honors
Just the ignominious grinding
Of metal on wood
The thud of heavy bodies
Hitting the ground
Two old warriors
Honor intact
Upright as ever
Hospitable and welcoming
Home for the homeless
Food for the penniless
Grubs for the grubbers
Free and plentiful
Now deemed dangerous
Too unpredictable to ignore
Lest they do irreparable harm
Not of their own choice

This morning at 8am sharp the execution squad arrived. No ovations for them, be they ever so skillful. They came to take down two loyal friends who stood by me day and night for decades. Quietly and gracefully they shared their beauty, their shady branches and their contribution to the ecology of my life.

Their health, despite insect attacks, became their downfall. Too tall, too massive and too dangerous to stand between neighboring houses. And yet…home to squirrels, any number of small native and migrating birds combing their trunks for insects, and their branches for cone seeds. Eastern (Pennsylvania) Hemlocks.

I didn’t keep count of how often I woke up to a catbird, cardinal or wren perched on a limb just outside my bedroom window, singing a morning song. Or squirrels chasing each other up and down their trunks, chattering incessantly. Or the times I was up in the night during windstorms, watching their branches swaying to and fro, huge trunks tilting with the wind—dancing in it, unafraid.

I gave my towering friends a small ovation this morning—even though they were about to be taken down. I’m not a card-carrying tree hugger, but I have hugged trees in my lifetime. Large trees just like these. The kind that never get replaced in a lifetime.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 December 2016
Photo found at wickipedia.org
Response to WordPress Prompt: Ovation

My Mini-Adventure with D

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Glen Eyrie Castle, where D and I stayed – at the heart of the conference grounds

Imagine being dropped into gorgeous Colorado Springs autumn weather, on the grounds of Glen Eyrie Conference Center with about 90 other people, all of whom know your name but not your face. That’s where I was from Thursday through Sunday—with David (aka D), my husband of over 51 years.

The occasion? Read the rest of this entry »

Life Lite | A Dream Revisited

dream-crusher

~~~A woman free of her heavy load, trusting.

I can’t stop thinking about my dream, Life Rearranged. Especially the part about that awkward load I was carrying around. It wasn’t even in a bag. I was carrying it in my hands and over my arm. The way I carry folded and unfolded laundry upstairs to put it away. Read the rest of this entry »

Life Rearranged | A Dream

dream-crusher

My dream, right before waking this morning:

I’ve just arrived at the home of a woman I met somewhere but don’t yet know. She invited me to come and see her. I brought along a few things to show her and talk about—though she didn’t say exactly why she wanted me to visit. Read the rest of this entry »

Coming down from a high | Day 2a Photos

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Mitchell, Oregon (pop. 130) looks like a town that forgot about time. Read the rest of this entry »

A Child’s Prayer

Children's Garden cropped, 035

Near to me,
not far away,
lies a world
where we can be
all that we
were meant to be.
Won’t you come
and go with me?

* * *

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 7 February 2015
Photo credit:  DAFraser, April 2004
Children’s Garden at Longwood Gardens, PA

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