On the lighter side this month since it's that pumpkin time again!
It’s That Pumpkin Time of Year or Just When You Thought it was Safe to Eat a Bratwurst
Don’t get me wrong; I love pumpkin! I have eaten more than my share of pumpkin pie over the years. This time of year we see pumpkin coffee, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin cookies. All good American, patriotic things to eat in the fall. However, things have gotten out of hand.
You cannot go to any grocery store or commissary * without being bombarded with pumpkin items. At our local Market District I even found “pumpkin tortilla chips.” Being the open-minded person I am, I threw the bag into my cart and decided to make a turkey taco salad for dinner. This actually turned out pretty good, although it was the first time I had cinnamon and salsa together.
Some ingredients go together; everyone knows that. Tomatoes and cucumbers. Chocolate and peanut butter. Apples and caramel. Pumpkin and turkey. Even the Plymouth Pilgrims carried pumpkin seeds in their pockets in the trip over the Atlantic and upon landing on Plymouth rock, ran to the nearest patch of ground , planted it, then proceeded to kill wild turkeys in preparation for Thanksgiving. Actually, that is a myth. They brought the turkeys over with them on the ship, two-by-two, like Noah.**
However, I do believe there are some things that should not be eaten together -pumpkin and bratwurst is such a pair. Yes, I kid you not; I saw pumpkin bratwurst at the Market District. I have to admit I rarely, if ever, eat a bratwurst or its first cousin, the hot dog.
In high school we were required to read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, which is an example of social criticism fiction such as Charles Dickens’ novels in the 19th century. The consequences of the novel The Jungle were increased factory safety and the passage of child labor laws.
On a personal level, The Jungle affected me as I did not eat hot dogs for about 20 years after that, and it was an organic turkey dog to boot, which for some is not really food and certainly not something you could eat while, for example, watching the Steelers play. Another 20 years passed and I was just getting to the point when I felt it was safe to eat some non-turkey hot dogs and/or bratwurst when I saw the larger than life sign” Pumpkin Bratwurst.”
Whoever designs the signs in the Market District really knows what they are doing. They are always colorful, huge and accompanied by stars, smiley faces, doodles and any number of devices making you think this item will solve all your problems, or at least make you feel good for a few minutes if you buy it.
I had enough courage to not buy it, but have to admit I have never met a pumpkin cheesecake I didn’t like. Add to that a pumpkin latte, pumpkin cookie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin taco, pumpkin pasta….
Does anyone know when this will end!?
*For those non-military types out there, a commissary is a grocery store for military personnel. The items are about 30% less than a regular grocery store, and provide military , active, retired, and dependents the opportunity to shop with people of like-mind and haircuts.
**That is a myth, also. I doubt the Pilgrims had time to chase turkeys on the ship since they were too busy trying to keep their triangular hats on in the wind.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 2 says:
” To everything, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;”
Everyone experiences death, but everyone mourns in different ways. When I lost both my parents within 16 days of each other, one of our pastors, Pastor Mariana, sent us a booklet entitled A Time Grieve by Kenneth C. Haugk, one of four that I will receive every 3 months for a year. I highly recommend these booklets. I also received information from the funeral home, Cahalls of Mount Orab , Ohio, who took care of both my parents’ services.
You will inevitably receive advice on how and when to mourn. No matter your religious affiliation or lack thereof, in American society, many times the initial corporate mourning takes the shape of a funeral and/or memorial service. This will serve as a vehicle to help you and your family process and share your sorrow over your loss and your celebration of the loved one’s life and influence.
If the deceased has not left explicit directions on the funeral or life celebration service, the family and church must decide together the how, when, where, and why. The bottom line is what my dear brother-in-law, Pastor Marvin Haught, who officiated at my parents’ services said, “Ask yourself-will this honor my loved one?”
To Cry or not to Cry
The answer is unanimously: cry and cry some more. Haugk says, “ If a good cry is helpful, then two good cries, or three or four or twenty or thirty—are even better. Each good cry lets a little more of the pain out of your system.”
Easy to say, but for some people, crying denotes weakness and does not come easily, and let us be honest, we all have jobs and responsibilities where bursting out in tears would not be helpful. Barbara Johnson gave advice to a woman who found it hard to continue her job after losing a child. She shared this scripture:
“Happy are those who are strong in the Lord, who want above all else to follow your steps. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of springs where pools of blessing and refreshment collect after rains! They will grow constantly in strength and each of them is invited to meet with the Lord;” Psalm 84:5-7
Johnson encouraged her to set a time aside each day to cry, set a timer, and each day set it one minute less. This idea worked for the woman and she was able to work without crying knowing she would have her “crying time” later.
I just talked to one of my dear friends in Texas, Sherry, who was a ministering angel to me when I had three small children and no family around. She also lost two loved ones in the past year- her husband and a sister. She said, “I know I should be getting over this, but his memories are everywhere.” I told her don’t let anyone tell you when you should be finished mourning and finished being sad. There will always be sad moments if we miss the person.
Last Sunday at our church, we recognized the contributions of a man who donated in memory of his wife to the restoration of “The Barn”-- a building used for events and activities supporting the church and advancing the Kingdom. Pavilions, park benches, books, and Gideon Bibles dedicated to the loved one are all other ways to mourn your loss while at the same time helping others.
Here are some less expensive things we have done to mourn/commemorate (although this blog does not have ads and we receive no remuneration from companies, I will name them in case you are interested in pursuing the same type of activity).
To see photos, go to : http://www.nevelsnotes.com/commemorating-a-loved-one.html
*A locket with my Mom’s hair and photo (from Etsy.com/shop/locketinyourheart)
*Ornament with photo and engraving (Things Remembered)
*Journaling memories and thoughts
*Website (there are many free websites to choose from such as Wix and Weebly)
*Drying flowers from the funeral (I put some in a hollow lamp)
*Christmas ornament (from my friend Lori who is a master glass blower)
Lori said she even was commissioned to make ornaments for an entire family to be distributed at a funeral once.
*Copying letters and writings of the deceased and distributing to others-at my father’s service, I met with the family members and gave each one writings and copies of some photos, along with a letter from myself. I laminated some of these.
The ways are endless. Please share any ideas/comments you have with others by responding to the blog.