FUN FRIDAY

 

 
Today's guest blogger is my daughter-in-law (who is 
also a pastor's wife) Cindy.  She's right - this is the appliance 
every pastor's wife must have - a crepe maker. 
Over the years I've made crepes with a staid women's group, high school kids and any time
we had company who
didn't know each other well. (Oh, and sometimes just to have fun!) Making crepes 
always, always gets people talking and laughing.  
Thanks to Cindy and the Northern Munchkin Cooking Show Crew.

 MAKING CREPES

Due to having a pastor's wife for a mother-in-law, I got a lot of good ideas for fun entertaining.  One of my favorites is having people over to make crepes. 
(And for a bonus, Linda bought me a crepe maker and cookbook for Christmas!)
Whether you invite a few people or 30 people, making crepes is an informal way
to have a gathering at your house.  Each person makes his or her own crepe, and
you can even ask everyone to bring a favorite dessert topping, creating quite a
variety of choices.  

Here's how to make a basic dessert crepe:

2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/3 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbs butter, melted, plus 2 to 3 tsps for coating the pan


 
Toppings:  chocolate or strawberry sauce, candy (like M&M's, whoppers, peanut
butter cups, Andes candies, etc), fruit (strawberries, blueberries, bananas,
etc), maple syrup, jams, honey, nuts, whipped creme. . . .

Mix the ingrediants together, whisking until smooth.  Cover and refrigerate for 
at least 2 hours.  When you are ready to cook the crepes, thoroughly stir the
batter again.  Heat the crepe maker, butter the top, and then dip the crepe
maker into the batter. Set it back down on the counter, and wait about 1 minute,
or until the edges are turning brown.  With a spatula, slide the crepe onto a
plate.  


 Now comes the fun part.  Fill the crepe with ice cream and roll it up. (My kids
didn't take the time to roll the crepe--they just wanted to eat it.) Top the
crepe off with whatever kind of toppings you like.  

Even though only one person can make a crepe at a time, eveybody else is
talking, playing games, or watching the crepe making.  It's fun, easy on the
hostess, and everybody gets to make a great dessert.


 

JUST SO YOU KNOW …

Ken often went to funeral homes with grieving families. Sometimes because the people didn’t know anything about arranging a funeral. Sometimes simply because they wanted someone with them. 

I NEVER had to go with him when he went to the funeral home with a family, but knowing some things may come in handy for you.  (You could find yourself in a situation where a lady loses her husband and has no other relatives. Your husband may want you to come along if he’s helping her.)

Anyhow – FYI

1. All deaths must go through a funeral home whether the person is cremated, the service is at the home or at your church or if, (like Ken) you have a memorial service. 

2. Sometimes people (in their grief) spend more money than they can afford on expensive caskets and other “trimmings.” Some funeral directors will help the person chose the right one. Unfortunately, others “play” on people’s sorrow and encourage overspending. You probably can’t do much about this, but be aware, in case the person does look to you for guidance.

3. Death certificates are provided by the funeral home. I can’t remember – I think I got five free and then had to pay for the rest. The family will need a lot more than they think they do. (I think my cellphone company ended up with a whole file of them before they finally were convinced Ken no longer needed a cellphone.)

4. Here’s something many people don’t know. Obituaries are classified ads. That means that you pay for them – every line just like you would for any classified ad. (Many people think they’re news articles and free.) Obituaries often end up costing several hundred dollars.

5. Because obituaries are classified ads, you can say anything you want. You do not have to follow the template supplied by the funeral home. 

6. If the person isn’t old enough for social security, she won’t get social security. (Again, some people think that just because a spouse died, you receive social security. Not true.) However, you do need to contact the social security office because you will get a $225 death benefit. (That might not be the exact amount, but it’s close.) This will be enough to pay for the obituaries!!!

7. Encourage the person to call the mortgage company or the car loan company and ask what she needs to do. They’ll be glad to explain the process – and that’s a lot easier than showing up at the bank without the necessary paperwork, having to go home again and come back.

So – just some thoughts …

And – tomorrow – a little lighter as we do another Munchkin Cooking Show for FUN FRIDAY

WHAT TO SAY WEDNESDAY

You’re at the funeral – and you’re standing in line to greet the family – and dreading it because WHAT DO YOU SAY?

Once upon a time someone told me that a wise thing to do is relate a good memory about the person. This not only gives you something to say and eliminates the awkward what-do-I-say moment, but is meaningful to the family member.

“I’ll always remember your husband for working at the soup kitchen.”

“Remember that time your mother decorated for the spring banquet? EVERYTHING was yellow – even the food.”

“Did you know your dad sent me an encouraging note that night I messed up on my piano solo? That meant so much to me.”

I have done this many times and the family members always seem to appreciate it.

But sometimes you don’t know the person who died well enough to relate a memory. Sometimes I will just squeeze someone’s hand or give them a hug.  Or simply say, “I am praying for you and your family.”

When Ken died, a lot of people said to me, “Linda, I don’t know what to say.”  I didn’t mind that at all. That was a lot better than ignoring me (as some people did).

Sometimes I responded, “I don’t know what to say either,” because I often didn’t.

I remember a friend telling me that her mother had died and no one in her church said anything to her – not even the pastor – and that hurt.  So say something.

Let me just say that some people who talked to me at Ken’s memorial service kind of stammered over their words or what they said came out wrong. I didn’t mind. I understand that it’s hard. I’ve been on the other side of those kind of conversations often enough. So, don’t feel bad that you might have said something slightly goofy – just say something.

The worse thing I ever heard anyone say at a funeral?

An elderly looked at a young girl in an open casket and said to the mom, “Oh, she looks so healthy.”

WHAT ABOUT THE CAREGIVER?

Sometimes our focus is on the person who is sick and we forget about the caregiver. Often the caregiver is as housebound as the one who is sick and is also in the agonizing position of taking care of someone he or she loves. (And not sleeping as much as the patient.) Emotions get frazzeled as he or she desires to be the best caregiver possible.

How about a card for the caregiver or a bouquet of flowers or, if the patient can be by him or herself, a quick breakfast or lunch out.

Even a phone call to the caregiver can help.

When Ken got sick – everything in our life stopped! No longer did we go out to dinner or participate in many of our normal activities. He often would go to bed early (7:00) and didn’t want noise – so our house was dark and quiet. Because I was already emotionally edgy and dealing with the coming death of my husband, the dark and quiet house added to my despair.

Yes, I knew that the Lord is sovereign and in control and I was resting in that.  Sometimes all I wanted was to chat with someone for a little while. Yet, when people did call, they would quickly hang up saying, “I’m so sorry to bother you. I know you have so much to do.” Sometimes I wanted to scream, “STAY ON THE LINE.”

Probably the lowest moment was the night Ken wanted a foam-rubber mattress. I wanted to do what I could for him, to make him comfortable – so I rushed to Linen and Things. The night was misty and there wasn’t any music or background noise at the store. In fact, not too many people were there – and the combination of the empty store, the fogginess, the darkness and the quiet combined to make everything seem eerie.

I got home. I put the mattress on the bed and Ken immediately laid down and went to sleep. (The time was about 6:30.) The house was quiet and still and outside the fog floated against the window, isolating us. I let the dog out and instantly heard a strange bark. 

I opened the door – the silly dog had been sprayed by a skunk.Then I dumped a bunch of every kind of soap and cleanser I could find on him.  I sat on the floor and cried. I went upstairs and turned on the computer. A friend had just e-mailed me and when I e-mailed her back – she was still there. As were her husband and some other people I knew. Back and forth we e-mailed each other. Not about anything important – but that human contact was a lifesaver that night. Exactly what I needed.

So, don’t be afraid to give a call to the caregiver. Ask if it’s a good time to talk. Bring her up on the news she might’ve missed because she’s spending more time at home. Let her know you’re praying for her.

Let her know you care.

WHEN YOU FACE A TOUGH SITUATION

One of the most difficult parts of being a pastor’s wife is knowing what to say when someone is facing a tough situation – a serious illness or a death in the family. 

Having recently been through the death of my husband, I look at this issue with a little different perspective than I did when I actually was a pastor’s wife. (In the sense, that I understand what people need from a personal point of view.)

The Bible says: Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2) Sometimes we want to do that, but don’t exactly know how.

(Before I go any further though, I want to emphasize that you don’t have to do all these things all the time. Sometimes I wasn’t involved at all. (Pastor’s wives usually aren’t allowed in the ICU.) Sometimes the only part I had in a funeral was to show up to support Ken. Other times, however, I was with Ken when he visited grieving families or took a bigger part in the funeral either because the person was a personal friend or someone who had no one to care. My point is, just because I’m listing a trillion things to do, does not mean that you will always DO a trillion things.)

Every situation is different, but I think a big mistake we make is thinking that people who are ill ONLY want to receive cards with lilies and crosses and flowery, calligraphy-written poetry .  Again, it depends on the situation – but sometimes people (even though they’re sick) would like to receive a cheerful note or card or a gift like a CD, etc. 

A lady in our church had cancer and was housebound. She didn’t want many visitors but did appreciate cards and notes. During the time she was sick, I was writing the middle school curriculum at work. I often found fun facts to begin the lessons – like how many acres of pizza Americans eat each year or that the name of the person who invented the basketball dribble. Along with the more serious parts of my notes I wrote to her, (and in this case, I wrote a lot) I included the middle-school fun facts. Her husband told me several times how much she enjoyed getting my notes because they made her smile.

Again – it all depends on the situation … but here are some ideas .

1. A verse that ISN’T in Psalm 23.  (Psalm 23 is a great chapter, but sometimes it is the easy portion of Scripture to add – rather than thinking through a favorite – but not so common verse – that’s meant a lot to you and could mean a lot for the person to whom you’re writing.)

2. A CD that has meant a lot to you.

3. A picture of you and the person that brings back a happy memory.

4. A note of appreciation of how much the person has meant to you. (I cannot tell you how much these notes meant to Ken.)

5. A funny DVD.

6. A picture or poster to put on the wall (whether at home or in the hospital).

Tomorrow – more ideas

FUN FRIDAY

We have a guest blogger for Fun Friday – Allison is a pastor’s wife in Wisconsin.

Our first church in Missouri had an unusual tradition–a chili and oyster supper on the Sunday evening before Thanksgiving. It began in the early 1900’s as a wild game supper, and over the years, the menu changed to include chili, oyster stew, and fried oysters. (A thoughtful mom provided homemade pizza for the kids, too.) Many of us didn’t like the fried oysters or the oyster stew, but this chili was a hit. I was given the recipe, and I’ve enjoyed using it.

In 2006, after we had served in our current church for about a year and a half, my father-in-law was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer that would soon take his life. Our church family was so kind to us through those difficult eight months. They allowed us to travel to Montana to be with him several times, and eventually, they told us to just go–just go and be his caregivers until the Lord took him Home. That last absence lasted eleven weeks, but their support of us didn’t waiver. They loved us in practical, tangible ways that really ministered to us when we were hurting deeply. When we returned, we wanted to say thank you–thank you for being so kind, so patient . . . thank you for being you.

So I found the chili recipe in my files, and we scheduled a dinner on a Sunday evening in place of our regular Bible study. We asked people to sign up for toppings for the chili such as sour cream, hot sauce, shredded cheese, chopped onions, and even Fritos, and I made the chili. As the evening began, my husband told them how much we appreciated them and their love for us. He told them how amazed others were at their kindness and generosity in allowing us to be away for so long. He reminded them again of how much we love them. Our church family really seemed to enjoy it (there are still stories told about people who used too much hot sauce that night), so we’ve made it an annual event. This recipe was originally used in an elementary school cafeteria, so it’s pretty mild and even slightly sweet, although those qualities can certainly be altered.

Cookie’s Chili

(Serves approximately 40. The recipe is easily doubled or even tripled. I’ve made it for 120.)

10 lbs. ground beef

1 large onion, grated

5 tablespoons chili seasoning, rounded (I’ve always used more)

Salt to taste

1 gallon plus 1 21-oz. can pork and beans

1 46-oz. can tomato juice

3-4 cups ketchup

In a large roasting pan(s), brown ground beef and onion in oven at 350 degrees, stirring often to break up into crumbles. When meat is browned, drain. Stir in chili seasoning and salt. In a large stock pot, combine pork and beans, tomato juice, and ketchup. Add ground beef mixture and simmer approximately three hours.

ACCOUNTABILITY

QUESTION: What do I do when I talk to my accountability partner? I don’t use names when I’m talking about people in the church, but she obviously knows who I’m talking about.

 

In my opinion, having an accountability partner within the church would be difficult. 

You could do it – IF you’re being held accountable for something like exercising three hours a day and not eating Snicker Bars or even something such as keeping up with your Bible reading. But any time that accountability has something to do with people in the church, you could easily run into trouble.

Too much could happen to the information. Maybe that AP is standing around while others are talking about how much they don’t like so and so. How easy it for your AP to say, “Oh, the pastor’s wife doesn’t like her either.” She’s not really breaking a confidence, but the damage is done.

I remember visiting a friend’s church and her telling me. “That lady over there is a trouble-maker. Even our PW thinks so.”  

I wondered how she knew that. Did the PW go around saying the lady was a troublemaker.

Better to find an accountability partner among your friends who live far away or even a family member.

Just might be easier – and safer.