The Costco Butcher

(I know Easter has already passed. Tell that to my internet connection that keeps kicking me offline when I want to be online. I am behind, but I decided to post my Easter thoughts at this late date regardless.)

On the Saturday before Easter, my husband took me on a date to Costco.

Yes. Costco.

And yes, it was a date.

We don’t have a lot of time to ourselves, so stealing away to a place that offers free samples of tasty treats, great deals on all kinds of cool stuff, and GLUTEN FREE DOG FOOD should certainly be on the top of anyone’s Top Ten Date Ideas, right? I know, you’re jealous of my life…

So we made our way through the humongous Six Flags over Groceries and Stuff, and eventually walked through the meat department. There is something to be said at finding a pork loin that is almost three feet long…I cut it into thirds so it would fit in my pan…

But as I looked over the selection of meat, I saw the butcher walking through the meat department. He was wearing a white uniform and what probably started as a white apron. The apron was now very blood-stained, bearing the marks of the butcher’s workmanship. It wasn’t the first time I had ever seen a bloody butcher’s apron, but this time it got my mind going.

The following morning, I was again reminded of the butcher in his bloodied apron. It was Easter Sunday, and I was thinking about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As I thought about the soldiers who nailed Jesus to the cross, my mind was filled with images of them being splattered and stained with His blood. His sacrifice was not a neat and tidy job. It was truly a bloody and torturous death. And in much the same manner as the butcher bore the bloodstains of the slaughtered animals, so would the soldiers have borne the stains of the Savior on their bodies and clothing. I wondered how they felt? Did it cause them any fear? Did they feel nothing at all? Were they even aware of WHO they were killing?

My memory of the blood-stained butcher is stamped in my brain. Even stronger in my mind is the image of my slain Savior who died at man’s hands to offer the final sacrifice for sin. There is no longer any suitable offering for sin…Jesus completed His work at Calvary. Not only was the sacrifice sufficient, but in rising again and being ascended into heaven, we see the work of Christ complete as He now is seated at the right hand of the Father.

There is nothing left that any of us can do to make His sacrifice more effective or more complete. He bore the payment for sin in His own body that I might live. Freely live a life of hope and grace and mercy and love. 

Hebrews 9:11 ff

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.

For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant

For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things,
but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.
Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly
since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all … to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

 

 

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When cooking up a storm is not a good thing…

The house smells awesome…

Chicken baking in the oven…

Corn cooking in the crockpot…

Beef stewing meat being browned…

Onions and garlic sauteing…

Is your mouth watering? Are you wondering what the big occasion might be? Do you want directions to my house?

Actually, it is a very sad event that is responsible for all the wonderful smells…my refrigerator bit the dust.

We initially blamed the kiddos…all that scaling up the doors and leaving the doors open.

But…nope…it just stopped working. On a Monday morning. With a houseful of children and guests on the way and the annual Christmas caroling event at our house on Friday and the Christmas program on Sunday and getting ready for traveling North for Christmas and…

Timing, after all, IS everything. Right?

So I have cooked everything I could salvage. And it is safely stored in the freezer in the basement. But not everything made the cut and I had to throw out a LOT of food, and that just irritated the socks off my feet.

We went shopping for a new refrigerator last night…and now I must give you a lesson in compromise history that comes back to bite me big time. Again.

We moved into our house less than five years ago. It came with a fairly new WHITE refrigerator. With an ice maker and water IN THE DOOR…high tech for me.

We knew we had to buy all the other appliances at the time, and I really wanted to get BLACK. Including a NEW refrigerator. In BLACK.

Mr. Practical thought it was not reasonable to get rid of a perfectly good refrigerator just because the color was wrong. And I could not reconcile buying all new BLACK appliances.

An impasse.

I had to agree with Mr. Practical, being so practical and all, so we bought a WHITE dishwasher, stove and microwave. (If you are ever in that predicament–GET BLACK!!!)

My appliances have not been white since they entered the kitchen.

So last night we went to purchase my unexpected Christmas present. And the color dilemma reared its ugly head. Back and forth. Black or White?

In all fairness to Mr. Practical, he let me choose the model I wanted and any color I wanted.

Yeah…right. I currently have a kitchen full of WHITE appliances. I really wanted BLACK. Still. And I got a scratch and dent discount. And the identical model was available in both colors. And it was up to me. Again.

Gag me, please!!!

“I really want Black. But it will bug me if the others are white. And I just want to be able to be content to have a refrigerator that WORKS. But I really want BLACK.”

“Get what you want.”

Ummm, I don’t think all new appliances is budget friendly or wise…do you? Neither did he. And he actually made me try to determine a time-frame wherein I would not be perturbed by said mismatched appliances. He is all heart, that man of mine.

So…I got white. And I am a little bummed today, but trying very hard to just be thankful that I was able to get a new one. And I AM really thankful for it (it isn’t here yet, but I am still thankful), even if it isn’t what I really wanted.

And, of course, there are so many verses about contentment and having a thankful heart…and don’t forget about the “lust of the eyes” either…I know…I had to preach myself a sermon. And it was a really good sermon. I used lots of verses and anecdotal stories taken from real life situations to drill the point home.

I need to be a better listener of my sermons.

Never Ask Your Husband This…

I have been watching my weight for a few years…going in the wrong direction.

It started with the beginnings of the “change”… you know, that non-pregnant “pause”…

Following the “pause” came the torn ligament or tendon in my foot that occurred when I started a swimming for exercise regimen. Bummer.

So I took up bike riding. My first day out on the bike led to a fall that led to a torn labrum that resulted in shoulder surgery. Surgery followed by months of rehab.

I realized that maybe I should just take it easy, so I took up walking. About two days later I thought it would be a good idea to clean the cabinets thoroughly. Unfortunately, I hyper-extended both feet somehow and tore the plantar fascia in both feet. Uh huh…months of rehab for the feet.

I got amazing relief for my feet through an awesome physical therapist named “Matt”. Who also worked out the shoulder rehab, the low back issues and the torn whatever in my foot.

I got a new job. It was so cool. Commercial real estate and helping cool new companies launch. It required an overhaul of the filing system and all 150 four-drawer file cabinets. I was surprised at how quickly I developed a frozen shoulder in my GOOD arm. Of course, I got to go back and spend some quality time with “Matt.”

and THEN…

I fell. I fell off my front step (singular) while cleaning the window. I did not need the x-ray to tell me my left foot was broken. In four pieces. It was a very bad break. I was in casts and a boot for about 3 months.

I graduated to walking. The first day, I walked up the street three houses and back. Woo hoo! No problem. No pain.

I then walked around the house more on day two. I tripped over my grandson. Broke the same foot. I got to get hardware this time. A nice screw with imported stainless steel, hand-turned into my foot. Three more months non-weight bearing. Three more months of subsequent physical therapy. This time with “Bryan” because I still couldn’t get all the way out to see “Matt”…sigh…

I have not been the same since I broke the foot and got the screw, although this year has been the least painful since 2008.

And THAT is big news. Because now I can DANCE…every morning we (my little charges) dance to the Madagascar sound track and the Latino Party CD…I must say that I am so surprised that my daughter has not videotaped my efforts in an attempt to blackmail me for money…

I thought that all this dancing and gardening was beginning to help with the weight…my jeans were a little looser and my old, tight stuff was close to being wearable. So I got on the scale…

I had lost twelve pounds! I was so excited!!! (I have since lost more, but anyway…) I didn’t say anything for awhile. Just kept double checking on the scale…

So, I decided to go out on a limb and ask my husband if he could tell I had lost some weight…

He looked at me, head to toe, and said, “Maybe in your face…?”

TWELVE POUNDS FROM MY FACE??? REALLY??? I am still choking over that.

Never, ever, under any circumstances, ask your husband if you look like you lost weight…

(I am still trying to figure out how anyone COULD lose twelve pounds from the face…somebody, a little help?)

Say Goodbye to Chippy

Chippy

It’s a sad day at Nana’s house today. Chippy the Chipmunk had a face to face encounter with Día and Joe Bear underneath the bird feeder. Joe Bear was trapped up on the deck and just about ready to lunge down about 15 feet to join his canine friend in her excitement when I stepped outside and opened the gate.

By the time Joe had barreled down the stairs, the little chipmunk was cornered under the downspout. Chippy never had a chance. Día and Joe Bear had him boxed in completely.

While Día was the ultimate in the hunting category this time, she happily delivered up her prize to the much larger and demanding Joe Bear. You would think HE caught the poor little guy, Chippy wasn’t even as big as that hulking bear-dog’s paw.

Joe pranced around the yard as if he was showing his adoring fans what he had accomplished. And then he plopped down to toy with his fatally flawed friend.

Ummm, no, I don’t think so. I started to back Joe into a submissive stance. He reluctantly dropped his prey. But I could tell he was just waiting me out. Ha! As if!

My daughter, who has a mixed hate-love relationship with animals anyway, cannot stand the animal-side of our dogs. You know, they smell like dogs. Act like dogs. Annoy like dogs.

And they protect us from varmints like…Chippy and little birds…And the coyotes, raccoons, foxes and all the other assorted critters that like to wander in for a sneak of food…They are, after all, animals and have animal natures and instincts.

My daughter brought me a container to dispose of the remains, but oh that Joe was not going to let his fun go without a struggle. Oh no. Not for a minute. I bribed him with dog jerky…not much help. Finally I had to lock him up in the house, with the door fully latched. (He knows how to open it.)

Little Chippy sailed away over the creek bank. And Joe knows it. He tried his hardest to leap the fence. But when you are huge like he is, and old, you have about as much chance of leaping over the fence as I do. After all, Joe and I are about the same age…

But, I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that dog will find a way to jump the fence tonight and sniff out Chippy’s final resting place. He is one relentless and stubborn dog. He reminds me of someone…

Multi-tasking, right…

Even when you are mentally and spiritually engulfed in matters of true importance, somehow life just keeps rolling along. And although you may just be right in the midst of some tumult, there is that moment that still manages to reach way down inside and tickle your funny bone.

My house of cherubs is back to its normal hubbub. School is back in session and a sense of normalcy is descending slowly through the fog. Wait–the humidity.

We have had a respite from the blistering temperatures for several days this week, allowing us to spend a lot of time outside. One of the fun things for the kiddos is eating lunch on the deck.

I like them eating on the deck because my two furry friends, Joe Bear and Día are willing to clean up any spills, saving me from mopping up the floor.

As the kids grow older, they begin trying to mimic me. And apparently I am one super multi-tasker. As they master new skills, they are most anxious to try them out.

Like eating with a spoon or a fork…while rubbing your food into your hair for a deep conditioning treatment.

Thank you, Australia, for that lesson in how cheese sauce makes a great toner for your skin.

Bam Bam, you were the best example of how to dry up your runny nose with rice grains. Never would have come up with that one.

And Vesuvius–you continue to reign supreme for shoveling it in one end while it exits your diaper simultaneously. And I especially appreciate that it got Stephanie and Papa this time instead of me! Woo hoo for me!!! Although I got to clean you off. In the shower, thank you very much.

I am still trying to figure out exactly how to word what Curly Top does without grossing out all my readers. Suffice it to say, she has mastered potty training. She has mastered getting clothes on.

She has NOT mastered getting CLEAN clothes, nor getting HER clothes, nor KEEPING HER CLOTHES ON. She apparently is happiest when not wearing a single thing. Her favorite item of clothing today is a shirt she dug out of the hamper yesterday, wore off and on (literally) all day, then used it for her handkerchief, and then insisted on stripping off her lovely dress and wearing that filthy shirt today. Her multi-tasking expertise is the many ways to gross me out simultaneously. Don’t even ask.

So, multi-tasking may be the new great thing, but that really don’t impress me much (can’t you just hear Shania Twain???).

Stay tuned for more tales from my crib(s). They just keep coming…

 

Are you distracted by your food?

My husband and I celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary last week. A few days after the actual date, we went out for dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. I know…cheesy. But seriously, they have an awesome dinner menu and I really wanted some great cheesecake, since finding good pies is a bit of a challenge without Tippins around anymore.

My husband, sweet man that he is, dropped me off at the door and went to park the car. For those of you reading this blog from or familiar with the St. Louis area, you will understand that parking at The Galleria can be troublesome, and that evening was no exception.

I was seated immediately (awesome) and began looking over the menu. Ahem, it was more like a paperback novel, to be honest. I chose something from the Skinnylicious menu before my husband came in…so I was all set to order when the server appeared to take our order. She rattled off the specials, and I instantly changed my mind and decided on the Pecan-crusted Catfish with mashed potatoes and succotash.

My husband, notorious for NOT being quick about things like ordering at a drive through window, or any restaurant for that matter, was still trying to figure out how the menu worked. He asked questions about the soups offered on the specials of the day. Not just what kinds, but the quantity served. Cup? Bowl? Pot? Not really, he didn’t mention the pot.

He asked his go to #1 choice–do they serve Lasagna. Nope. I could have told him that–I had already checked for him. He then asked for his go to #2 choice–the Chinese Chicken Salad. SCORE!!! I could have, and probably should have, ordered for him. Time is money, especially in the restaurant business.

We talked for a little while as we awaited our dinner. As we are in the middle of a kitchen re-vamp, there was no shortage of topics needing our attention. It was pleasant and we just enjoyed our time. Then the food arrived.

My catfish was OUT OF THIS WORLD! Delicious. Absolutely delicious. My husband’s salad was ENORMOUS. It looked like a huge bowl with the salad wearing a top hat of crispy rice noodles. Sort of like this:

double the height of the noodles on top and it will be just about right

I was eating my dinner, thoroughly enjoying each bite. Finally, I asked my husband how his salad compared to the many other Chinese Chicken Salads he has eaten over the years. Even after all the years we’ve been married, his answer surprised me.

“Well, I don’t really know. I’m so distracted by these THINGS on top of it.”

Ok, seriously, he’s DISTRACTED by the contents of his salad so he can’t tell if he likes it more than, equal to, or less than the thousands of others he’s had? Wow. Just wow. I guess in HIS mind, the noodles added nothing of value to the salad, so just for the sake of presentation, they were not worth it.

If you look at the salad in the same way you might look at the Gospel, it makes tremendous sense. The simplicity of the Gospel is its beauty–it needs nothing else to make it more attractive or valuable. The truth of Jesus coming to die on the cross as full payment for the sins of all who would take His gift of salvation is beautiful. Complete. It stands alone without the need for anything we could even hope to add to it.

So, quirky as my husband may be, he gave me plenty of food for thought…(I couldn’t resist.) 🙂

Ephesians 2:4-10

J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

4-10 But even though we were dead in our sins God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, gave us life together with Christ—it is, remember, by grace and not by achievement that you are saved—and has lifted us right out of the old life to take our place with him in Christ in the Heavens. Thus he shows for all time the tremendous generosity of the grace and kindness he has expressed towards us in Christ Jesus. It was nothing you could or did achieve—it was God’s gift to you. No one can pride himself upon earning the love of God. The fact is that what we are we owe to the hand of God upon us. We are born afresh in Christ, and born to do those good deeds which God planned for us to do.