Helping Out, with Bakery Goods (#BestOf)

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, Thursday, August 3, 2017

Almost everyone loves baked goods! This post reminds me of spreading the caring around, being kind with extra baked goods. Especially in cases like this one, where I can show caring and be kind to some friends at the YMCA where I also go to the gym regularly. God bless these guys!

Helping Out, with Bakery Goods (#BestOf)

Posted on August 4, 2014 by chaplaineliza

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, August 3, 2014

Baked goods photo

Helping Out, with Bakery Goods

Today being Sunday, we had church service. And, we celebrated Holy Communion. I am so grateful to Rev. Kris Ronnow for assisting me with Communion. (Thanks, Kris!)

The good folks at the church I serve love to get together and eat. Have coffee. Talk together in the fellowship hall after the service. Plus, the church has some great things to eat, every Sunday! Meier’s Bakery, only a few blocks from the church, sends over some of their day-old bakery goods to the church. They are so kind to do this! Thank you, thank you, Meier’s Bakery!

But wait, there’s more! Several dedicated ladies from the church serve the coffee and pastries each and every Sunday. They prepare the coffee and make sure there’s a pitcher of ice water. They put out all the baked goods, and they see that everything happens smoothly in the coffee hour after the service. I am hesitant to mention the ladies’ names, because I would be sure to forget someone, and I would be so sad to omit someone’s name. Ladies, thank you one and all! You have a wonderful ministry to the congregation at St. Luke’s Church.

Sometimes, the bakery sends over a good many baked goods, more than the people who attend coffee hour can eat. So, individuals from the congregation take home things. For example, someone works at a retirement home, and took pastries for the residents. Another time, someone took things for a senior center, for a function later in the afternoon. And on occasion, I take some baked goods over to the YMCA near my house, for the gentlemen at the men’s residence.

I know I’m repeating myself. This is just such an awesome thing that Meier’s Bakery does! And, I wanted to mention something that happened today, too.

One of the wonderful ladies was cleaning up in the kitchen, after almost everyone had left the fellowship hall. I came into the large serving area to pick up several bags filled with buns, loaves of bread, and a number of doughnuts. She stopped still where she was. “Really!” she said. “You are so kind to do that for those men at the Y residence.”

She then told me about an older relative of hers, staying at a nursing home some distance from here. She would go to visit, and see a number of older veterans at the home. An outgoing person, she talked with some of them. She found out that many of the veterans had next to no money, even no resources. She felt so badly for these veterans. I agreed, and told her that some of the men at the Y residence were veterans, down on their luck, or on disability, or some other terribly sad story. All true. And sad.

Yes, I was able to bring the men some baked goods today. God, I hope I was able to bring a smile to a few hearts when I went to the YMCA, too. Both are important. And—both are so needed.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Suggestion: visit me at my blog: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers– where I am doing a meditation journey through Easter and beyond. #PursuePEACE. Pursuing Peace – Thanks!)

(also published at ayearofbeingkind.wordpress.com .   @chaplaineliza And read my sermons   from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er – Thanks!)

Being Thoughtful, Choosing Books, Being Kind (#BestOf)

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, Thursday, August 6, 2015

I wanted especially to repost this blog post. Yes, I still read to the preschool at my work on Tuesday mornings. However, this particular post means a great deal to me. Last August, I read a book to the preschool about two immigrant children coming to the United States on a steamship from Europe. Just like my grandfather did, when he was a boy. I count this as a proud part of my heritage. I thank God that my grandfather had so many opportunities in this new country. He always strove to impart the importance of education to his children and grandchildren. He is still remembered with great love. God bless the memory of Joseph Recht!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, August 7, 2014

statue-of-liberty-27

Being Thoughtful, Choosing Books, Being Kind

I chose some books today at the library. Picture books.

I read to the preschool at my work on Tuesday mornings. This is my joy as well as my opportunity of being kind. So, I now make a habit of periodically going to the library and choosing some good books to share. Tonight was one of those times. I happened to find a book that I read to my children, some years ago. (They are now ages late teens to thirty.) And—I simply had to take this book out again, to share with the preschoolers.

The book is called “Watch the Stars Come Out” by Riki Levinson, illustrated by Diane Goode. It features a girl and her brother coming from Europe on a steamship, to America. The date, I believe, is the late 1800’s. The touching story, paired with the poignant illustrations, shows some of the trials as well as the excitement of the immigrant journey. And then, they are greeted by and reunited with family once they arrive in New York City.

I love when the two children finally see the Statue of Liberty from the deck of the steamship. Such a beacon of hope and welcome to so many, over the years. Just as everyone in that book was so grateful to see Lady Liberty, so was my grandfather. I know, because he told me so, more than thirty years ago.

My grandfather was the oldest child in his family. They came here from Europe, too. From the far eastern part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, at that time. Just after 1900. The small town—village or shtetl, really—is now in eastern Poland. After the map of Europe has gone through some major revision.

I specifically asked him about coming over on the steamship. He was in his late eighties, and his glance got really wistful. Far away, and long ago. Yes, he could remember seeing the Statue of Liberty as they approached Manhattan. (They stopped at Ellis Island, first.) He told me everyone on the ship pressed up against the rail, or as close as they could get. And looked at Lady Liberty.

I think it’s wonderful, how children’s books feature such important things as going on a long journey, traveling to a brand-new place, discovering a whole new world. This book is a great representation of all those things, and a marvelous beginning for talking about people of different cultures, who speak different languages, eat different foods, and sometimes wear different clothes. Yet, they are all welcomed here to America. Under Lady Liberty’s lamp.

What a wonderful thing it is to let the preschoolers know about the opportunity and freedom so many people have today, in this new country. Where they can worship God as they please, too. I am so glad I can share this important story with the children.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Suggestion: visit me at my daily blog for 2015: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers.   @chaplaineliza And read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er – Thanks!)

(also published at ayearofbeingkind.wordpress.com

Where I am of Service on Christmas Eve

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas-Candles-and holly

Where I am of Service on Christmas Eve

I planned a Christmas Eve service for tonight. A candle-lighting service. A service where we sang Christmas carols, read from the Bible, and—lit candles.

I know how special a Christmas Eve service is, for many people. Accordingly, I made a particular effort to do my very best planning for this service. I was at my friend’s Christmas open house a week and a half ago. Her son was home from college. He is a baritone, a music major (vocal performance emphasis). I had the brain storm to ask him to sing some special music for this Christmas Eve service. Of course, he said! (His mother assured me he would be there. And, he was!)

I prepared a short message. More of a meditation than a sermon. I laid it out, in clear fashion. I mean, why Jesus was born in Bethlehem. I tried to make it straight-forward.

Here’s the situation. I’ll state it in plain words. Humanity was in a mess. (Still is, without God.) I mean, people going this way and that, doing what they want, not acting or thinking in a way that is pleasing to God, or living the way God wants them to live. Like the prophet said in Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned, every one, to his own way.”

But God didn’t want humanity to be left out in the cold, or separated from God for eternity. There was no way for me or for you to get back to God, on our own. We were separated by sin. What could we do? Left all by ourselves, we were in a terrible situation, a horrible mess!

But, God.

God loved us. God wanted to reach out. To bring us back to God. But, not in a mean or angry way! Not in a fearful way, either. Instead, God wanted to reach down to earth in love. And how better to communicate to earth than to become one of the frail human beings God intended to reach? Yes, that same God wanted to reach to earth—reach to each of us, to all of us, in love. With love. Through love.

That was an important point I wanted to get across this evening, when I preached. After church, one of the people who attended the service told me that they had never quite understood why Jesus became a baby—until tonight.

God, I have a feeling I know at least one reason why You wanted me to say what I did tonight. Thank God for the leading and prompting I had as I prepared the service and my message. And thank God for the Baby born in Bethlehem.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(also published at ayearofbeingkind.wordpress.com

Someone Being Kind—to Me. Thank you!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, August 12, 2014

THANKFUL always something to be thankful for

Someone was kind to me today. I appreciated it so much!

But that was later on. Earlier in the day, I went to work. I took care of some necessary business in my office, and several important emails, too. Just about all were things that I needed to handle in a timely manner. And calendar items. Planning for events coming up. I still have several more immediate things on my desk, but that’s okay. I can take care of them in the morning.

This being Tuesday, I read to the preschool and kindergarten children. The children are really enjoying my reading books, and get all excited when I come into the classrooms. I enjoy it, too! But my time at the church was getting short. I had a luncheon appointment.

My oldest daughter and I had arranged to go out for lunch today, several days ago. But you could have knocked me over with a feather when she told me she was paying for lunch today. Wow!

I mentioned here, some days ago, that I took care of my daughter’s cat. My oldest daughter and her roommate have an apartment not far from where I live. While the two of them were out of town, I stopped by and visited the cat every day. I gave her food and water, and took care of the litter box. My daughter very much appreciated my attentiveness to the cat. I never expected my daughter to give me anything like a nice lunch! (I told her so, too.) But, no. That’s what she wanted to do for me. So, who was I to say no?

Afterwards, later this afternoon, I was reflecting on acceptance of gifts. Gracious acceptance, and saying thank you. This is not a skill that I learned easily. No way! Believe me, it was an excruciating, gradual process. I never learned it from my parents, when I was a small child. (They seemed to do all right, socially, but didn’t pass on the information to me.) I got a little bit of instruction in manners from a kind older lady at church, but not much. This was when I was in the middle and upper grades of elementary school. I was a naïve teenager. Intelligent in terms of book-smart, but woefully unprepared for life, in terms of manners, social graces and street smarts.

I have improved greatly, since then. That seems like several lifetimes ago. Now, I can easily thank people for their kindnesses towards me. When others go out of their way to be helpful, I so appreciate it. I know how to say “thank you,” and do.

And of course, God gives me regular opportunities to say “thank you.”

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Being Thoughtful, Choosing Books, Being Kind

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, August 7, 2014

statue-of-liberty-27

Being Thoughtful, Choosing Books, Being Kind

I chose some books today at the library. Picture books.

I read to the preschool at my work on Tuesday mornings. This is my joy as well as my opportunity of being kind. So, I now make a habit of periodically going to the library and choosing some good books to share. Tonight was one of those times. I happened to find a book that I read to my children, some years ago. (They are now ages late teens to thirty.) And—I simply had to take this book out again, to share with the preschoolers.

The book is called “Watch the Stars Come Out” by Riki Levinson, illustrated by Diane Goode. It features a girl and her brother coming from Europe on a steamship, to America. The date, I believe, is the late 1800’s. The touching story, paired with the poignant illustrations, shows some of the trials as well as the excitement of the immigrant journey. And then, they are greeted by and reunited with family once they arrive in New York City.

I love when the two children finally see the Statue of Liberty from the deck of the steamship. Such a beacon of hope and welcome to so many, over the years. Just as everyone in that book was so grateful to see Lady Liberty, so was my grandfather. I know, because he told me so, more than thirty years ago.

My grandfather was the oldest child in his family. They came here from Europe, too. From the far eastern part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, at that time. Just after 1900. The small town—village or shtetl, really—is now in eastern Poland. After the map of Europe has gone through some major revision.

I specifically asked him about coming over on the steamship. He was in his late eighties, and his glance got really wistful. Far away, and long ago. Yes, he could remember seeing the Statue of Liberty as they approached Manhattan. (They stopped at Ellis Island, first.) He told me everyone on the ship pressed up against the rail, or as close as they could get. And looked at Lady Liberty.

I think it’s wonderful, how children’s books feature such important things as going on a long journey, traveling to a brand-new place, discovering a whole new world. This book is a great representation of all those things, and a marvelous beginning for talking about people of different cultures, who speak different languages, eat different foods, and sometimes wear different clothes. Yet, they are all welcomed here to America. Under Lady Liberty’s lamp.

What a wonderful thing it is to let the preschoolers know about the opportunity and freedom so many people have today, in this new country. Where they can worship God as they please, too. I am so glad I can share this important story with the children.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(also published at ayearofbeingkind.wordpress.com:

Being of Service on the Telephone

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, August 4, 2014

PRAY healing prayer

Being of Service on the Telephone

I made a number of telephone calls today. I talked with a number of people, some of them extended conversations. The most important, most significant part of several of these conversations? I joined in prayer with the person on the other end of the line. Feeling the fellowship that prayer brings.

Prayer is supposed to be a natural, everyday thing. For some people, it certainly is! I can tell, just from the ease, the confidence, the eagerness that some people bring to prayer. For these people, it is truly a conversation between them and their Best Friend. Between them and their Heavenly Parent. And, amen to that! I wish things could always be that way between God and me.

Today, I know that several people appreciated my prayers over the phone. And, I visited one person in the middle of the day, who even said my prayers hit the spot! I am glad. I used to pray much more often, as a chaplain working in an urban hospital (in Chicago). It seemed like I was doing much the same thing today. Many of the calls I made today ended with prayer. I hope I was an encouragement and support to several of these friends I talked with on the phone today.

Now, I am going to switch gears for a few moments. I went to yoga class this evening, and had a great time. I am progressing in core strength, and am feeling better and better as the weeks go by. When I came back to the locker room, I took the lock off my locker and started to shuffle through my stuff. I had the urge to go to the bathroom, so I did. Without putting the lock back on my locker. The locker room was almost empty. Only four other women, three in other areas. One young woman, about twenty, was halfway dressed and about twenty feet down the way at the lockers facing me.

I hurried to the bathroom around the corner, came back, and met my yoga instructor. She and I had a brief conversation. The young woman had left the locker room by the time I opened my locker again.

I pulled on my street clothes. For some reason, I pulled out my wallet from my pants pocket. I checked it again, to make certain. Sure enough, there was a twenty dollar bill missing. Earlier, I had gone to the cash station and taken out forty dollars. I stopped for lunch this afternoon, and spent a few dollars. So, the ten, five, and one dollar bills were in my wallet, true. But the twenty was gone. I did not fly off the handle. I did not get all upset. However, I did feel badly for that young woman. I don’t know for sure, but I strongly suspect she did take the twenty.

I found myself praying for that young woman. As I remembered her standing by her locker—I had just a glimpse of her—I remember thinking that she seemed sad. Possibly with low self-esteem. It was how she held herself and the sad, almost pinched expression on her face. All this registered with me in a flash as I turned and busied myself at my own locker.

God, I do pray for whoever took that twenty dollar bill. I hope and pray that they are blessed—nurtured by whatever they buy with it.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Can I Be of Service Even Though My Mouth Hurts?

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, May 22, 2014

red flowers at sunset

Can I Be of Service Even Though My Mouth Hurts?

I laid low today, for the most part. Yup. I recuperated from a root canal yesterday.

(Caution: what is going to immediately follow is mundane and not very pleasant. If you are squeamish about dentistry, be warned.)

A number of weeks ago, a part of an older filling fell out of one of my back molars. I tried to take extra special care of the affected tooth, and keep it extra clean. Coincidentally, I had a root canal done on the other side of my mouth about seven weeks ago. (Expensive!) So, I wasn’t too eager to get back in the dentist’s chair.

However, I knew I needed to get that lower molar refilled. Accordingly, I went back a week ago, Tuesday. Had the dentist root around in the tooth, clean it out thoroughly, and put a nice new filling in. Problem: increasing pain over the week, into the weekend, even more so as this week started. By the time Tuesday evening had arrived, I was writhing on the floor, in agony. I suspected that roots were dying in the tooth I had just had filled the week before. Sure enough, it was true.

Long story short, I needed another root canal. Another trip to the specialist—an endodontist. (I did not even know what an endodontist was before March . . . and I thought one time seeing him was more than enough. Little did I know . . . )

So, I recuperated from the procedure today. Yes, I did go to work, but I moved slowly. Carefully. Yes, I did help with the bulletin for this coming Sunday, and emailed the music director to make sure that she had appropriate music for Memorial Day. (Some of the friends in this congregation are veterans, or are related to veterans. This is an important weekend for them.)

I met with some friends tonight for a brief time, since I was not feeling one hundred percent. But that’s okay. Who said I was supposed to feel good all the time? Unrealistic expectations.

But I can feel good about making certain I did my best for those who will be missing loved ones and friends this coming weekend. God’s special blessing be with all those who have served, or miss loved ones who have died. Especially those who died in active service to our country.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.