Thoughts on life from Pat Oaks
I am sure that most of us have heard the story of the loaves and fishes in the Bible. Actually there were two different occasions where Jesus multiplied loaves and fishes to feed huge crowds of people. (Matthew 14 and Mark 8)
However, have you ever heard of Bread and apples? In II Kings 4 (The Message version) we read the story of Elisha taking 20 loaves of bread and a few apples feeding a hundred people, with leftovers. That's a story we don't hear often.
How many times have you planned to feed a certain amount of people and suddenly there were more people there than you had counted on? When the evening was over, there was enough food for all, and you even had leftovers. In our family we always say "loaves and fishes" when this happens.
From now on, I think I am going to say, "bread and apples."
Diet Doctor Enuf is one of my favorite drinks. The only place you can buy them is Upper East Tennessee - Elizabethton, Johnson City, Kingsport, Bristol, and Erwin.
We have been staying at Appalachian Church camp this weekend, and went to Erwin to get a few groceries. As we were leaving the store, a semi trailer was parked in the parking lot with one man sitting in it all alone. It was a collection site for Goodwill.
When we drove by, John boy said, "I feel like the Lord is telling me to buy that man a drink." We pulled up to the Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Enuf machines, sitting in a row outside the store. John thomas tried the coke machine first. It was out of coke. Then he tried the Pepsi machine. It was out as well. Third try is a charm, right?
He punched every button on the Dr. Enuf machine. The last button produced a Diet Dr. Enuf. The only one left in the machine!
When we took the drink to the man sitting in the back of the trailer, he thanked us, then looked at the label. "Oh good," he said. "It's Diet. I'm a diabetic."
3 machines. 1 drink. Hm-m-m-m!
When I was a little girl and made a face or had a "sour" expression my Mother would say to me..."be careful. Your face may just freeze that way!"
Of course I didn't believe her! Now I do!
Sometimes when I look into the mirror I see that parts of my face have "frozen". Especially my lips!
I told John boy the other day that I think my lips are disappearing! He said "well, Mom, that does happen when you get older!"
As I looked this morning and tried to put lip balm on them (forget lipstick...there isn't enough lip for that!) I noticed that they seem locked into a perpetual "purse".
I looked up purse in the dictionary. Besides being something you carry, it also means "to pucker or contract, typically to express disapproval or irritation."
I remembered all the times I had looked at my boys growing up with disapproval, or irritation....especially in church, of all places! Ask them how many times I reached over and pinched them for misbehaving in church! I also "pursed" my lips while doing so.
Now, 50 plus years later, my face has "frozen". My Mother was right!
Now I have decided to work on unpursing my face! I am going to practice smiling more..looking with approval rather than disapproval or irritation. I am going to try and work on looking for the good in people rather than the things I don't like about them. I am going to try and make my eyes send forth rays of joy rather than storm clouds!
It matters what your face looks like! I don't mean all of us are beautiful...at least on the outside...but all of us can be full of beauty! I used to avoid grouchy old people when I was a child. I want to draw children in! I need to unfreeze my face! Or at least freeze it into something beautiful!
I also want my lips back!
Our bathroom has two lights. One in the ceiling and one over the sink. I never turn on the one over the sink. Tommy always turns the one on over the sink.
There is a very simple reason. The sink light shows everything. The ceiling light mutes everything. Sometimes I actually think I look pretty good when using only the ceiling light! (That was a joke!)
I guess I shouldn't worry too much though. According to an article I read recently in Decision Magazine, I am supposed to be dead! The author of the article was Kenneth Cooper M.D. He stated "In America, the average life expectancy (pre-pandemic) for women was 81 and for men it was 77."
I should be dead! I will be 82 in September! Tommy still has 2 years to go!
SO----the next time I brush my teeth or dry my hair, I may just use the light over the sink! For a corpse, I think I look pretty good!
I have known Cynthia since she was about 14 years old. She always came to our week of church camp in Unicoi, Tennessee. When she was too old to be a camper, she started working as a counselor. We did Senior High camp for 35 years in Unicoi.
As most of us know, friendships come and go. Some friendships last for a season and for whatever reason, people move on and aren't as close as they once were. Some are what we call forever friendships. Those friendships last even if there is time and distance between those friends.
Cynthia is a forever friend. Her friendship is based on loyalty. I can even be hateful to her and treat her in an unloving way, and she is still my friend.
Many years ago, Cynthia studied to be a nurse. This was after she graduated with a teaching certificate and couldn't get a teaching job. Instead of giving up, she just went back to school and got a nursing degree. (BTW--she paid her way both times.)
When it came time for her state board exams, she had to come to Knoxville in order to take them. She lived in Elizabethton and we lived in Knoxville. She asked if she could stay with us. Of course!
The day of her exam, we had to be gone part of the day. While we were out I saw an old cabinet top on the side of the road, so picked it up and brought it home. We had to leave again so I put it in the yard to clean later. When we came in that evening, Cynthia was so proud of herself. "I cleaned the cabinet top for you that was out in the yard!" (She knew the propensity I had for picking up stuff on the side of the road!)
Instead of saying, "Oh, thank you! You are SO thoughtful, Cynthia." I said "Oh no!. What did you use?" She replied that she had just used my dish towels!
What happened next was NOT pretty! I "lit" into her! I bawled her out up one side and down the other!
"WHAT????? How in the world could you do that Cynthia! You know how particular I am about dirt and germs. Now I will have to throw all those dish towels away!" I went on a rant for about 10 min before wearing down! I fumed and stomped and let out several irritated breaths before finally finishing my tirade.
Cynthia never said a word. Just stood there grinning, like she always does.
Later, I told Tommy what I had done. Cynthia had gone home by this time, and I was starting to feel pretty rotten about the whole affair. Tommy said, "Well, did you apologize to her?" I said, "No". He said, "Well???"
So, with a heavy heart I called Cynthia on the phone. I really did NOT want to apologize. I was in the wrong and knew it, but I didn't want to admit it.
When she answered, I started telling her how sorry I was for the way I had treated her. Guess what she did?
She LAUGHED! She said "Oh Pitty Pat (what she calls me). I didn't give it a second thought. I know how you are about dirt and germs. All is forgiven and all is forgotten.
Actually, if she reads this, she probably will say to herself..."I did WHAT???"
FRIENDSHIP - Not a word I take lightly.