When the wedding ceremony is over and the reality that two becomes one, enlightenment sets in. There is a ‘No duh’ statement for you. Within hours you’re in the world of couples, and some can look a lot different.

Shortly after my marriage, I came to know a lady I’ll refer to as Plain Jane; as that is how she saw herself.  According to her, the  love for her husband is real and when they married, all she wanted was for them to grow old together. As time went on though, it seems that was not enough. She found herself comparing her life with others, and in her eyes, fell short of the ideal.

“The two of us together were fine at first, but then I got to wanting a baby; and that wasn’t happening fast enough to suit me.” Eventually, it came to be. We were close enough for me to see she was over her head in motherhood. “I’ve got the child, but now what do I do with it?”

That was when I realized what was going on with Plain Jane, or PJ for short; but not pajamas. The woman was always wanting something. Life was perfect, except for ____________________. Filling in the blank could be anything at any given time. Nothing seemed to satisfy her.

I recall one time her lamenting that she would like to work outside of the home. Just to talk with grown-ups and feel like she was making a contribution to her family. Having a purpose meant a lot to her. She had a few more kids as the years went by and they needed her. But that was not fulfilling to her.

More than once, I told her she was contributing. This was before there was such a thing as playdates for the children; like-wise no Moms Day Out at the local church either. I suppose being unable to change her circumstances made her feel stuck.

Our relationship continues and find ourselves more comfortable now. We are more than two peas in a pod. We are one and the same. I’m not the same person I used to be.  Time and experiences make a difference.

I’ve learned that I am loved by more than just my family; God does too. He he has a plan for my life and considers me precious enough to care about things that concern me. He has let me know that I shouldn’t compare myself with others as that is dangerous to my well-being.

There is more. It is a mistake for me to worry over things out of my control, that’s infringing on his turf. Miracles are his specialty. He has my back and promised to meet my needs. I can vouch that he does. Maybe not when I think he should, but seeing how he also created the universe, I have to concede that he knows more about timing than I do.

Here is the thing that can boggle any mind. He loves everyone. Even those who least deserve it.  He provides for folks that think they have complete control of their life. If the proverbial rug has pulled out from under you, its recipe that provides a chance to get to know him better. Opportunity awaits.

Not Lookin’ Good

© jb katke

Today I made chicken pot pies. I must think things through. There is nothing I hate more than looking as bad as I am.

Have you read the back of a prepared food item to see not only how many calories it has, but, the ingredients?  There is way too much salt and some things listed I can’t even pronounce. I prefer to know what I’m eating.

That was my driving force behind making these pot pies. What a process! I had to cut the chicken into small pieces and parboil them. Peel the potatoes and parboil them as well. Onions got chopped and fortunately the frozen vegetables were user friendly. I avoid using salt in my recipes to keep from consuming too much.

Uh-oh. I just read the label on my canned chicken gravy. Note to self: make your own gravy from chicken broth next time, that is, if there is a next time. More ingredients I can’t pronounce. Pardon me while I bang my head on a brick wall.

I got started right after I mopped up the vitamin E oil I accidently spilled after my shower. Just as soon as I sort laundry and get a load washing. I always strive for efficiency.

Oh yes, don’t forget the pastry I had to make and roll out. Darn! Flour spills on my clean kitchen floor.

The process was interrupted several times to switch laundry from washer to dryer. Again to put clean clothes away.

Then, a lunch break. But I got back to it as soon as I fished the lid to my olive oil out of the pan of water.

Into the freezer they go for future meals. Go figure, I have more chicken filling than I do pastry to put it in. But I’m done, my enthusiasm is gone. They were a lot of work, and they don’t even look appetizing. All this just to know what goes into the food I eat.

Was it worth it? That remains to be seen.

This I know. Jesus made humans, not for consumption, but with a purpose in mind. Was it worth it? Looking at our world today makes one wonder. But in his scheme of things, yes.

How do I know? Because he did it. Twice. A whole lot of years ago, he got disgusted and did away with almost all his creation. Then he started over again. So those individualized plans of his must be huge!

Admittedly I wasn’t there, but feel certain his creation wasn’t as time consuming as the pot pies were for me. I’ve read that he wants his people to be the salt of the earth.

I have sneaky feeling my pot pies are going to need some salt, pepper too.



Altered Moms

Julie and Alyssa
© jb katke

My life was to be forever changed and I was not pleased.

I had come to the end of my rope, all I could do is hang on for a very rough ride. My daughter Cindy, was pregnant. She had become a statistic, joining the ranks of teen moms.

Let me say right up front, too many others didn’t understand my turmoil. The era was rampant with young people making adult decisions that the rest of the family had to deal with. So I admit, it wasn’t a new concept, but one of those ‘everyone is doing it’ mindset.

But not us, not our family! We loved Jesus and my husband Dave and I did all we could to spread the love of God to our children. On second thought, why not? We’re not perfect parents.

Unfortunately, several families in our church were dealing with much the same situation. At the time it felt as though an epidemic had hit. We mothers rallied around each other, offering support and encouragement to the best of our ability.

I dubbed our group Altered Moms. Each of our lives were to be forever altered. The situations varied among us, but the concerns were the shared. One had a teenage son that fathered a child, another had a son so rebellious that his mom claimed he would get pregnant if he could! That named a few, but…what now?

We talked out circumstances that we couldn’t change. Mostly we prayed. Prayer is a funny thing. A person of strong faith may very well ask for God’s will, but that is a potent prayer. God hears our heart, but it also puts a spotlight on future words and actions.

Can I accept his will?

Think about it, this all powerful God could have prevented these crises, right? Is it possible that this unasked for dilemma be part of his plan? Not just for me, but for our kids too? I have come to believe the answer is ‘Yes, yes it can!”

I continued going to church and gosh darn if every message preached hit home. Even though our minister was clueless to our crisis, mentioning our names from the pulpit was the only thing missing. Every Sunday put me in tears because I knew it was me that needed the changing. Broadening my mind and heart was required.

A side effect is the relationship with my future son-in-law. We all have a part to play in what life hands us. These things take time. I am pleased to tell you it is well between us all now. Each of us in our own way had some growing up to do.

The beautiful little granddaughter put into our lives continues to bless us in ways we could never have imagined. A couple years later a little sister joined the fam. Our lives have become enriched over what initially seemed so hard to deal with. God knew what he was doing after all.

That is history.

I would be foolish not to mention the altered lives we are living under now in 2020. Too many have lost loved ones through this insidious COVID 19 virus.

While there may be finger pointing blame, what does that accomplish? We are where we are and at best we must move forward to what lies ahead.

Here is a mind-boggler for you:

It’s the same Guy that allowed my personal crisis and this current time we are living in. Again prayer comes into play.

Can we accept the pandemic we are in as God’s will?

What choice do we have? This isn’t over.

Experience teaches us things. We have learned staying home isn’t horrible. ‘Someday’ projects turned into accomplishments. Discerning what is important and what isn’t took center stage. Others have learned to cook. We have found creative ways to entertain ourselves. Better yet, how to relate with each other.

Bottom line: My mom was right, life is what we make it.

But I will say this with it, good things can come from bad situations. I’ve come to believe it’s one of Gods specialties.