He Just Can’t He’p It!

My husband’s friend Ken is a godly, hardworking man with a heart of gold, and his heartfelt joy (even in the midst of difficult situations) can make even the gruffest of men break into a grin. He loves to chop wood in his free time, and Joe and I envy his multiple, evenly chopped stacks of firewood! Ken originally hails from Kentucky, and his Southern drawl is definitely on the “twang” end of the spectrum!

Several months ago now, Joe was talking to Ken on his way out of church. As the conversation was ending, Joe said, “God is good, Ken.”

Without skipping a beat, and in his wonderfully authentic Southern twang, Ken replied, “Joe, He just can’t he’p it.”

Sometimes we wonder in amazement…

…that a holy, perfect, all-knowing God could love us. But it’s His nature. It’s who He is.

…that the wise, powerful, creator of the universe could care about our simple needs and our desires. But it’s His nature. It’s who He is.

…that the merciful, grace-giving, wonderful Savior could forgive the sins we feel are unforgivable. But it’s His nature. It’s who He is.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 136:1, ESV).

“For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations” (Psalm 100:5, KJV).

“Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes” (Psalm 119:68, KJV).

The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made” (Psalm 145:9, ESV).

For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you” (Psalm 86:5, ESV).

Because of His steadfast love for us, because He sees the big picture, because He is a good God, what He does—even when it might not seem like it from our human viewpoint—is always good.

After all, my friend, “He just can’t he’p it.”

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My Flight Operations Manual, Part 2

The Captain’s Corner

In my previous post from “The Captain’s Corner,” I discussed the similarities between the Flight Operations Manual (FOM) and the Bible, God’s Word to us. As flight crews we were governed by FOM procedures in order to operate the airline safely and efficiently. We memorized some of the procedures; others were easily available; all required knowledge of where to look quickly in the manual for guidance. Just as the FOM helped us to operate the airline, God’s Word to us helps us live as children of God by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior.

Thankfully, the Bible is complete and sufficient.

“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness,
through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises…” (2 Peter 1:3–4). 

God’s all-sufficient “great and precious promises” are His Word, by which we gain knowledge of Him and learn how to live godly lives in an ungodly world.

How did we study the FOM? We read it, re-read it, and read it again! So what should we do with God’s Word?

Read it.

Have a regular time for Bible reading. Various Bible-reading schedules are available online or through your local church. I have personally used a schedule that allows me to read through the Bible each year. Take as much time as you need or as much time as you have available each day for this important exercise of reading God’s Word.

Re-read it.

Early on, back when I was in college, I would read five Psalms each day. In a thirty-day month, you can read all of the Psalms! Reading the Psalms helped me to worship and praise God. That is why I have continued to read this book over and over again through the years.

Retrieve it.

Scripture memorization takes effort, but it is an effort that is well worth it. Taking the time to memorize God’s Word equips us to more readily fight the battle against sin when temptations arise.

“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:9–11).

Rely on it.

In a thirty-one-day month, you can read one chapter of the book of Proverbs each day. Proverbs is powerfully practical with precepts for daily living. These “wisdom topics” provide guidance for earthly relationships.

Research it.

As you read the Bible, you will find various ways to study: topical studies, word studies, book studies, biographical (character) studies, etc. A well-known preacher, Clarence McCartney, would preach sermon series on unique subjects, such as “Great Questions of the Bible,” “Great Mountains of the Bible,” and “Great Men/Women of the Bible,” and these would make great topics for personal Bible study as well.

As you study your Bible, find a good translation and stick with it. You may want to reference other translations to help you in your understanding of difficult words or unfamiliar passages. A site such as BibleGateway.com will allow you to simultaneously reference several translations to assist you as you study. Additionally, Bible commentaries abound—many of them online. These are good reference tools, but they should never be used in place of—or with a higher priority than—reading God’s Word itself.

Just as the Flight Operations Manual assisted each member of the crew with the essential elements necessary for operating the airplane (and the airline as a company), we should view the light and lamp of God’s Word (see Psalm 119:105) as an essential daily element for all that pertains to “life and godliness.”

_______________________________________

Joe Henderson, Brenda’s husband, is a retired international airline captain and now blogs in
“The Captain’s Corner” on a regular basis.

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I Am Grateful for the Day That Never Was – Repost

Note: This post was first published three years ago today, on August 9, 2014. Much in my life (besides my hairstyle, which, by the way should not be the focal point of this post!) has changed since then. In particular, I am now joyfully married to a godly man whom I will love gratefully “for all of our tomorrows” (as we like to say to each other daily)! But the truths I learned on this date (in 1986) and shared publicly on this date (in 2014) are just as true today. And had I remained single, God would have been just as good and kind and holy and loving and sovereign as He is today, because what God does is always good. As I read this post aloud to my husband this morning, he said, “You need to share that again.” And I agreed.

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“Any regrets I may have over that which I have lost are swallowed up in relief over that which I have escaped.” ~Unknown 

That quotation has been my annual “mantra” on August 9th. However, I take it one step further and use it to realize that it is because of the goodness and wisdom of God that I can view this day in that way.

Some may read what I am about to share and think that I should “be over it by now.” I am.

Some may read what I am about to share and think that I am in some way bitter. I am not.

Some may read what I am about to share and think that I must somehow despise men. I do not. Unh-unh, no way, no how!

I’m going to share it anyhow—but not to prove anything or to defend myself against those whose thinking couldn’t be further from the truth. I share this because somewhere there is a girl, a family member, a coworker, a friend whose life plans just changed, and I want her to know that she’s not the only one, that joy will come again, and that hope will return.

With my wedding plans nearly finalized for my—you guessed it—August 9, 1986 wedding date, I received a call mid-April that changed everything. The wedding was off, and the reality of an uncertain future loomed before me, taunting me with its emptiness and lack of hope. I had cancelled my contract for teaching the following year (and my replacement had already been secured), and there I was, twenty-five years old, with every well-laid-out plan beyond that minute suddenly erased with the giant pink eraser of “there will be no wedding on August 9th.”

Before I continue, I will be transparent and tell you that it hurt deeply, and that for several months, when I looked at what I was “missing out on,” I was bitter, angry, and, quite honestly, a little ticked off. But when I looked at how God used that one single moment in time to change my life—and my heart—I became grateful, encouraged, and comforted. God knew best. The man to whom I was engaged married not long after, and his wife is the perfect match for him. They faithfully serve the Lord together, and the choice to put an abrupt end to our plans—in the long run and in the big picture—was the right one.

When I was finally able to take the blinders off of my view of things, I saw so clearly that I was in love with love, and he and I both deserved more than that. God’s love runs so much deeper than anything we can “muster up” just because we long for marriage.

Sadly, I primarily received the empty platitude from so many people that I had probably even said more than once myself: “God’s got someone better in store for you.”

First of all, just because he chose not to marry you does not make him a bad person. Though many people use that expression to “console” someone who is sad after a breakup, it’s not a great expression. In fact, it’s kind of tacky and lame to attack “the bad guy” or “the bad girl.”

Secondly, maybe God has singleness, not “someone better,” in store for you. But be careful here. Don’t follow my poor example of saying (as I did more than once at that time) that “I’m never going to get married. No one’s going to ever hurt me like that again.” I feel that I can say this because I’m single, but I can generally recognize the woman who is bitter or desperate because she is so verbal about her singleness—and usually in loud and brash ways, accompanied by sarcasm about the subject. I long to go whisper one simple thing to women like that: “Shh.”

Am I tickled pink about not having an earthly life companion? No, I’m not. Am I thrilled to be exactly where God wants me to be at this moment, in this place? You bet I am! Because His way truly is perfect. God didn’t bop Himself upside the head that April morning of my phone call and say, “Oh stink, I forgot all about Brenda.” He knows what’s best for me. He allowed me to learn things that I would never have known otherwise.

So be careful about the “consolation” you give to others:

“It’s good to be single. Think of all the things you couldn’t do if you were married.” “It’s better to not be married than to be married to the wrong person.”

And on the opposite side, when someone becomes engaged:

“Oh, you’ll love married life. Being married is the best thing ever!” “There are so many more ways you can serve as a married couple.”

Instead, we as the body of Christ need to joyfully serve in whatever way—at whatever time—God has for us. Perhaps what we should simply say (and what we should simply teach our children and those in the church pews) is:

“The best thing you can be is what God wants you to be today, in this moment, in this place. His way is perfect.”

When we view life through that lens, we can, with sincerity and a joyful heart, be thankful for the day that never was because it has been a vital part of making us who were are today.

How to Build a Home

Today’s post comes from one of our favorite ladies, Lorraine Strohbehn (Brenda’s mom)! Though she has lost much of her vision, Lorraine has an ongoing monthly ministry of encouragement to over thirty widows. Her posts on Petals from the Basket, which can be found in the “Ask Grandma” and “Thoughts from Grandma” categories, are reader favorites!

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Last year, I memorized much of Proverbs 22, 23, and 24. This was the passage my husband had used for his book The Words of the Wise. This year, my son and I are reviewing those passages, and we recently focused on Proverbs 24:3–4: “Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

Wisdom

A couple with marriage in mind should implore wisdom as they choose a lifetime companion. I recommend that you ask yourself these four questions: First, is he or she a believer who is continuing to grow spiritually? Next, do you like that person? Can you respect the other person? Finally, do you love that person with a First Corinthians 13 love? If you can answer yes to these, you are ready to proceed toward marriage.

With my sweet mama, whom I love and admire!

Understanding

Recognizing marriage to one another as God’s will for your lives, you can work together to create a foundation based on loving the Lord, loving each other, and loving others. Your similarities will create a bond between you (understanding), and your relationship will be strengthened by your inevitable differences.

Knowledge

When it comes to establishing your home, consider your needs and the testimony you desire your home to have and then choose your household furnishings accordingly. In his premarital counseling with couples, my husband often advised them not to spend money they didn’t have to buy things they didn’t need to impress people they didn’t know. I believe that buying a good quality item (with no intention to replace it) demonstrates knowledge and wise planning.

Lord, use these principles of wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to establish homes that reflect the perfect love we receive from You!

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My Flight Operations Manual

The Captain’s Corner

On my bookshelf is a large three-ring binder titled Flight Operations Manual (FOM). It’s about two-and-a-half inches thick, with subject tabs that cover topics such as emergency procedures, weather, passengers, baggage and cargo, maintenance, reports and forms, etc. The list is extensive. As a pilot, I had to know, memorize, or at least know where to find the information necessary to conduct the flight. I carried this manual with me while on duty, which included having it by my side in the cockpit.

Thankfully, God has given us a similar “flight operations manual” in His written letter to us, the Bible. It contains the topics we need to know about (and apply) as we journey through life: the facts of creation, the sin of all humankind, God’s plan of redemption through Christ, guidance for daily Christian living, etc.

Consider the promises of Scripture:

2 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV) – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” God’s Word is valuable and sufficient!

Psalm 119:105 (KJV) – “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” God’s Word gives guidance and direction for our lives!

Just as it was important for me to know and study the FOM, it is supremely important to read and study God’s matchless, unchanging Word to equip us for godly living.

_______________________________________

Joe Henderson, Brenda’s husband, is a retired international airline captain and now blogs in “The Captain’s Corner” on a regular basis.

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My First Year As a Second Wife

Expectations. That’s probably one of the most common threads that has run through my first year as a second wife—unfulfilled expectations, unrealistic expectations, and most importantly, beyond my highest expectations!

Communication. That’s probably the key element that I have relied upon during my first year as a second wife—learning to listen, staying consistent to who I am, accepting truth, talking freely, remaining silent, speaking up, laughing often!

Uniqueness. That’s probably the greatest gift I’ve been given in my first year as a second wife—having a husband who understands that I’ll do things differently, accepting the fact that we are both in a new season of our lives, knowing that what works for us may not work for others because what worked for others most likely would never have worked for us!

Yes, my husband was married before. His first wife, a friend of mine and my father’s former secretary, passed away in 2015 after a long-term struggle with heart disease. They were married for over forty years and had a love that ran deep.

He has, on rare occasions, called me by her first name. From the very beginning, I did not find that awkward. It was a habit of his, and I understood that. For over forty years, when he spoke of weekly activities or talked with friends about something he and his wife had done, he would use her name. He loved her. Using her name was an expression of that. In replying to him when he rapidly apologized for using the wrong name, I did not tell him, “That’s okay.” It’s not okay to be called by someone else’s name. Instead, I replied with, “I understand.” It’s very rare for it to happen, but I, as a second wife, have chosen to understand that when love runs deep, habits die hard. There’s actually a sense of security I receive from knowing that because Joe loved his first wife so intently, he will do the same for me. His character has not changed. In fact, if I arrive in heaven before Joe, I want him to remarry quickly (he would NOT make it well on his own…and he knows this!), and…sorry, but I hope he calls her “Brenda” at least a few times because of the depths of his love for me!

As for family adjustments, I count myself blessed. My husband’s only child is a grown daughter who is married and has two children, ages ten and thirteen. I am “Brenda” to all of them—by my choice and theirs. We have this amazing, growing, compassionate respect and understanding for all that has taken place over the last year, and I could not have handpicked a family any dearer to call my own. But like any good relationship, our family relationship is intentional: Joe and I have made a great effort to visit them often, and they have spent time here as well. We communicate freely; we respect the past and find hope in the future, and I couldn’t have mapped it out any better than it is. My husband’s grandsons have amazing grandparents on their father’s side, and I am grateful that they are not only the boys’ grandparents, but they are also our friends.

Joe’s brother and his family live out of state as well, and we are eagerly anticipating a trip to visit them. I respect them highly though I do not know them well yet at this point. However, I am already looking forward to getting to know them better when we are with them in person again! My siblings had the advantage of being family friends with Joe and his first wife for many years, so they love him as one of our own and have welcomed him in the same spirit of love that I have received. Sweet Mama considers him one of “her boys,” and that means a great deal to Joe—and to me.

My husband’s first wife’s family lives nearby, and we have enjoyed lunches and special celebrations with her siblings and other relatives. When Joe and I began dating, we often spoke of the “Ruth and Naomi” connection because of my living with my mom to assist her prior to my marriage to Joe. In the Bible, one of the verses Ruth speaks to Naomi is one whose words I have also spoken to Joe: “Your people will be my people.” For more than forty years, these dear ones were “his people” and his daughter’s “people.” Therefore, they are part of my circle now as well, and I am thankful that there is a connection there that is ongoing.

We live in the house where my husband and his first wife lived. We received adamant counsel from some friends to buy a new house, new furniture, new everything. We received adamant counsel on the other side as well. We chose what worked for us. I’m too practical to toss aside a beautiful home that serves our purpose and our location well. As a gift, I’ve been given amazing neighbors who have welcomed me with open arms! An even greater benefit is that Joe and I have had fun “repurposing” some of the furniture to new areas of the house. We’ve become HGTV groupies, gathering the latest ideas to help us “tweak” the next room in the house. In our bedroom, we got a new mattress and box springs, and we rearranged the room to make it “ours.” We followed this pattern in the living room, dining room, and family room as well. Our dishes were a wedding gift from my mom and brother, and the contents of the kitchen cupboards reflect our streamlined style of organization.

As for church, we attend the church where Joe has a been an active member for many years. I love the church and am now a member there also. Perhaps because these dear people knew Joe’s first wife so well, it is taking a little longer to forge lasting relationships there. Additionally, I have cut way back on my involvement because adjusting to married life was thrown a curve ball when both of us spent several weeks (as in seven, in my case) sick with colds and flu, and I have found that I like the role of wife far better than any other role I could add into my schedule just for the sake of being busy!

Here’s the bottom line: It was not a surprise to me that my husband was married before. I came into this knowing that there would be changes, adjustments, and new ways of doing things. But I also spoke my promised vows at the wedding from a heart that knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the words of Psalm 118:23 were true: “This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” I love Joe Henderson, and I know that Joe Henderson loves me. And that turns every question mark that has arisen in this first two-thirds of this first year of marriage into giant exclamation points of God’s grace!

Recipe: “Come on Over” Salad (and Dressing)

It’s currently 85° in central Indiana, making it a perfect time to call a friend and say, “Come on over for a fresh summer salad!” However, in the spirit of honesty, the first friend I invited to enjoy this salad out our deck with me was my husband—mostly because I needed to get some pictures for this post! This is a great, no-fuss salad that probably seems too simple to need a recipe for, but my husband tells me that the dressing recipe alone is worth it all, and I think the arrangement of the ingredients is what makes this extra fun! So here you go!

But first, a disclaimer/explanation: I dislike salad dressings…all of them…and eat my salad “as is.” That’s probably why I always forget to buy salad dressing at the store and why I had to come up with a quick “stuff-I-already-have-on-hand” recipe of my own! So here’s the biggest tip I have for you on this recipe: Whatever spices you use to marinate or grill your meat should be added to your dressing—the “marriage” of flavors across the meal is a very pleasant result!

“Come on Over” Salad (and Dressing)

Prep time: 30 minutes-ish
Cooking time (chicken): 25–30 minutes-ish
Serves: 2
From the kitchen of Brenda Henderson

Ingredients (salad for two):

  • 1 red tomato, sliced and cubed
  • 3 stalks of celery, sliced and cubed
  • 10 mini carrots, sliced and cubed
  • 1/3 cucumber, sliced and cubed
  • 2 slices onion, sliced and cubed
  • 1 clementine, sectioned, then sliced (approx. 3 slices per section)
  • Green leafy lettuce (approximately 3–4 large lettuce leaves per person)
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (marinated and seasoned to taste)

Directions (salad):

  1. A few hours before cooking the chicken breasts, marinate them in the dressing recipe below by simply placing the chicken breasts in an airtight container and pouring the salad dressing over the top. Cover. Place the container in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
  2. Prepare vegetables as described in the ingredient list. DO NOT MIX. These may be prepared ahead of time and kept cool in individual sandwich bags or airtight containers.
  3. Thirty minutes prior to meal time,** cook chicken on stove top or on grill. (Approximately 10 minutes per side, using medium-high heat.)
  4. Arrange all vegetables but the lettuce in small, separate mounds around the outside of each person’s plate. Try to alternate colors to bring out the variety of colors used (see photo).
  5. In the remaining open space at the center of the plate, shred or cut the lettuce to create a “bed” for the chicken.
  6. Place grilled chicken in the center of the bed of lettuce and serve. (Note: You may serve the chicken breast whole or dice into half-inch squares for bite-sized pieces.) Guests may blend ingredients together and add their own dressing.

**You may wish to serve the chicken cold, in which case you may cook it ahead of time and cut it into half-inch squares to place on the bed of lettuce. (Cold chicken is best served in cubes rather than as a whole chicken breast.)

Ingredients (salad dressing for two people; duplicate recipe for marinade for two chicken breasts):

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (fresh-squeezed or bottled)

NOTE: The remaining ingredients are the spices we enjoy. Feel free to substitute these with your own favorites!

  • 1 tsp Montreal Steak Seasoning (optional, available at Sam’s Club)
  • ½ tsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

Directions (salad dressing and marinade):

  1. Mix together duplicate recipes in separate glass jars or dressing cruets.
  2. Pour one completed recipe over chicken breasts to marinate prior to cooking.
  3. Serve the second completed recipe with salad at the meal. (For a fun twist, I like to place a one-serving recipe of this dressing in a mini “Mason Jar” and have it above the fork at each place setting.)

Happy entertaining!

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Be sure to watch for my next post, “My First Year As a Second Wife.” I am sharing some of the joys and exciting transitions that God has entrusted to me these past (almost) nine months, and I encourage you to watch for this helpful, Joe-approved article!

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Guiding Lights in the Dark

The Captain’s Corner

It’s a dark, murky, rainy night. The cockpit crew members are intently following the flight instruments while descending on the approach to landing. Outside the windshield is nothing but blackness. At two hundred feet above the ground, the co-pilot is now looking outside the cockpit: “I have the lights,” he calls out.

The pilot looks up from her instrument panel and quickly discerns the bright approach lights leading to the runway.

“Lights in sight. Landing,” the pilot states.

The landing is accomplished safely through the final guidance of the approach lights extending a half mile out from the end of the runway.

You may wonder what these lights look like from the viewpoint of those in cockpit. Rows of red and white lights looking like rungs of a ladder are laid out one after another, starting from the end of the runway. About one-third of the way back from this point a horizontal row of lights—designed to show that the runway is fast approaching—extends beyond the vertical rows, forming the appearance of a lowercase letter T. This arrangement of lights is the same across the world. By simply following these guiding lights, a pilot can easily recognize the approach of a runway that he or she has never landed on before.

What I find fascinating and meaningful about this standardized system of lights is not their color or brightness but their configuration. The approach light system is shaped like a cross, pointing toward the end of the runway. This reminds me of Christ’s words in John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Hymnwriter Jessie Pounds affirms this truth with her hymn, “The Way of the Cross Leads Home” (public domain):

I must needs go home by the way of the cross,
There’s no other way but this;
I shall ne’er get sight of the Gates of Light,
If the way of the cross I miss.

Refrain:
The way of the cross leads home,
The way of the cross leads home;
It is sweet to know, as I onward go,
The way of the cross leads home.

I must needs go on in the blood-sprinkled way,
The path that the Savior trod,
If I ever climb to the heights sublime,
Where the soul is at home with God.

Then I bid farewell to the way of the world,
To walk in it nevermore;
For my Lord says, “Come,” and I seek my home,
Where He waits at the open door.

What a wonderful truth from these guiding lights in the dark!

_______________________________________

Joe Henderson, Brenda’s husband, is a retired international airline captain and now blogs in “The Captain’s Corner” on a regular basis.

Be sure to join us back here on Thursday for one of Brenda’s “Come on Over” recipes for entertaining.

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But I’m Not a Mom

This post first appeared on the blog on May 9, 2014 and again on May 6, 2016. Though I have removed one paragraph and tweaked a few words because my marital status has changed since the original post, my prayer is that it will once again serve as a reminder to all of us this Mother’s Day weekend.

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With my sweet mama, whom I love, admire, and respect!

There is only one way for single and childless women to view Mother’s Day—the right way. There is no other option. So what is the right way? Let me partially answer that by first sharing what it is not.

On my sister Marcia’s birthday, it would be foolish for me to be upset, stay home from her birthday celebration to watch a sad movie, and eat ginormous amounts of Hot Tamales (my comfort food of choice) just because the celebration isn’t about me.

On my sister Karen’s wedding anniversary, it would have been obnoxious for me to have written a blog post in the years prior to my own marriage, asking the world to stop celebrating wedding anniversaries just because I didn’t have one to celebrate and telling them to be sensitive to my lack in their time of celebration.

Therefore, my single friends and friends without children, this coming Sunday, let’s celebrate our own mothers as well as mothers everywhere for the amazing work that they do. Do you seriously think that when the pastor of the church has mothers stand up to recognize them for their all-too-often thankless role in shaping the generation of the future that your spiritual leader is, in actuality, saying, “What I really want you to do is turn around and take note of all the women not standing and inwardly laugh hysterically that there must be something horribly wrong with them since they are either childless or, worse yet, without a spouse altogether”?

As harsh as it may sound, get over yourself. This is not about you. [And in you, I include me!]

Too often, as singles or as those without children, we turn situation after situation into what we think is a time of “permissible whining” because we are spouseless or childless. Well, stop it! Right now! Because whining is not permissible, and it is not attractive!

We say that we trust God’s leading, but then we fail to trust Him enough to obey His commands:

“Do everything [yes, everything!] without grumbling….” —Philippians 2:14, NIV

“Give thanks in all [yes, all] circumstances….” —I Thessalonians 5:18, NIV

“Rejoice [yes, rejoice] with those who rejoice….” —Romans 12:15, NIV

WAIT! Don’t say it yet! Because I know what some of you are thinking: “But, Brenda, the second half of that last verse you posted reminds believers to ‘mourn with those who mourn.’ So I expect the street to go both ways!”

And you would be right. It should go both ways. But what if it doesn’t? Does that excuse you from rejoicing on their behalf, particularly, in this setting, as they rejoice in the role of motherhood? You know the answer.

So is it wrong to be sad that you are without a spouse or that you still don’t have children after many years of trying and praying for a child? Of course not. Just remember to keep it a desire and not a demand!

And more importantly, remember to rejoice with those who have been given what you long for. Focus on others this weekend. Applaud those amazing females when they stand in church during their far-too-brief moment of recognition! Look beyond your own garden and see the beautiful array of flowers that we all get the opportunity to celebrate this weekend!

I’m throwing in this final paragraph, even though it may seem to slightly contradict all of the above…well…because I can! One of my nieces calls me or texts me every year on Mother’s Day and thanks me for being “a woman of influence” in her life, knowing that my desire for motherhood is not one that will ever be fulfilled at this point and choosing to lift me up on a day when the evil ick whispers in my ear more often than he should be allowed to do! So let me encourage you—both married women and single women—to think of a single woman or a childless woman you could encourage this weekend by thanking her for her influence in your life. No, you’re not trying to make it a “substitute Mother’s Day” celebration for her—she’s not a mom. You are simply using this widely celebrated weekend that honors mothers as an impetus to celebrate women who have impacted your life! (In the process, it just may serve as a means to remind you that you’re not the only one who is not a mom.)

The bottom line? To my friends and family who are moms, I wish you the most joyful of all Mother’s Days! To my friends who, like myself, are not moms, I wish you a day of joy as you look outward and celebrate those who are!

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Be sure to join us back here next Tuesday for another installment of The Captain’s Corner!

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“Come on Over” Recipe

Okay, so I’ve always been honest with you. Really honest. So I’m warning you from the start that this is not your average, everyday “recipe.” In fact, this week’s “Come on Over” recipe for entertaining and meal ideas was supposed to be for a yummy summer salad and my own homemade dressing. That recipe will wait for a future blog post. This one…well, I need to share it with you right away. You can thank me later!

This week’s recipe is not edible. Nor is it original with me. In fact, there are literally thousands of DIY recipes online for this concoction. I heard about it from a relative whose office staff utilizes it, and I simply had to try it after hearing about its “effectiveness!” Let me just cut to the chase on this one, because there is no simple way to further procrastinate discussing this or sharing this any longer.

When you say to someone, “Come on over,” whether it’s for a meal, a yummy snack, a dessert, or all of the above, he or she will most likely need to make a little trip to use the facilities available in the restroom in your home. And well, sometimes, things happen, and—well, odors linger. [Oh my heart, my mother is going to blush at the very thought of my discussing this in a blog post! I know this because I am already blushing as I simply type the words!] As a gracious hostess whose desire is to make her guests feel comfortable and relaxed, you want to have “preventative” sprays, candles, or other good-fragrance-making tools readily available to help your guests avoid embarrassment.

The original product on which today’s recipe is based is undoubtedly the best there is. It’s called Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray. It’s available on their website or via Amazon, here. Compared to other sprays, it’s not horribly expensive, so you may want to avoid the homemade version and just order yours online. However, here’s the simple, inexpensive recipe for making your own:

“Come on Over” Bathroom Spray

Compiled from Other Suggested Recipes and Shared by Brenda Henderson

Items and Ingredients:

  • 1 small spray bottle ($1.00 at the Dollar Tree)
  • 22 drops of the essential oil of your choice (ex., Thieves, Wild Orange, Lavender, etc.)
  • 2 TBSP rubbing alcohol
  • Distilled water
  • Optional: mini chalkboard; chalk pen

Directions:

  1. Drop 22 drops of the essential oil of your choice into the spray bottle.
  2. Add 2 TBSP rubbing alcohol.
  3. Gently swirl open bottle to mix well.
  4. Fill almost to top with distilled water. (I use the water from the dispenser on our refrigerator door.)
  5. Place cap on bottle and shake well. (When it’s mixed well, it’s “cloudy.”)
  6. Optional: Make a mini chalkboard sign to explain how to use it. You could just as easily print the “directions” out on a piece of paper and frame them in a cute decorative frame to set next to the spray bottle.

Basically, before you “use the facilities,” you spray the mixture about three or four times directly onto the water in the bowl. When you’ve completed the “task,” you’re done, with no lingering odors or harsh fumes to announce that you were there! We set ours directly on the lid so that people will be able to see it (and use it) before it’s too late.

So there you have it: your very own DIY version of Poo-Pourri®!

You’re welcome.

Now…let’s change the subject. And please, please, please come back to Petals from the Basket in the future for truly devotional blog posts and for some honest-to-goodness delicious “Come on Over” recipes!