Just toast... with grape jelly

Toast with grape jelly has become quite the symbol for me... the symbol of comfort, adding in a bit of chuckle - I 'll explain in a minute.  I know, growing up, my mom fixed toast with grape jelly for me.

 (Except for that year in high school when I decided I didn't like any breakfast food.  My wise mother asked me what I wanted to eat [you have to eat something in the morning 😏].  I suggested chicken noodle soup, to which she agreed.  So, for that school year, I enjoyed a bowl of chicken noodle soup every single morning.)

So, after Frank and I got married, my sweet momma attended every birth of each baby along with  every traumatic event (most of them medical craziness) in our family.  In the midst of them all, she graciously served toast with grape jelly.  I don't remember us talking about it, or even me requesting it, the toast just came, and it was good.

When our four-year-old Katie had heart surgery, Frank and I both stayed at the hospital the first night.  Katie was in ICU, so we could only go in the room every four hours for 5 minutes.  The "family" room was filled to overflowing, and we were so exhausted.  The waiting room chairs were connected with bars at the armrest, so there was no way to even lean over to rest.  A thoughtful nurse saw our plight and brought us sheets, blankets and pillows, so we literally set our "campsite" right there in the middle of the waiting room, yes, on the floor.  We finally got settled, thinking we might close our eyes for a moment:  I popped straight up and said,
 "Frank, I need some toast with grape jelly!" 

After much discussion with overwhelming emotion and delirious laughter about the fact that is was 3:00 am, I agreed to wait until morning really came.  Frank graciously delivered the toast and grape jelly from the cafeteria around 6:00 am.

One morning this week, as I enjoyed some time at my kitchen table with the Lord, my journal, some study materials, and my Bible, I had a little time to just ponder... to think through the events of the past weeks:  beautiful wedding day for our youngest daughter and son-in-law, sweet news of coming grandbaby from another daughter, challenging circumstances for several friends, unexpected diagnosis,  births and deaths for some close to us, unrelenting pain, celebration of Easter Sunday and the HOPE of Jesus through His resurrection.  Your list goes on just like mine.  I felt a simple overwhelming swirl of chaos.  I haven't had toast with grape jelly in years... I was surprised and thankful to even find the jar in the refrigerator..

It was sweet and brought comforting memories.  As I sat back in my chair and pondered this kitchen table scene, I was so gently reminded of where my "comfort comes from", where my "peace that passes understanding" begins and ends, where my "strength and refuge" firmly stand.  I do enjoy my toast and grape jelly, but beyond any shadow of a doubt, I know my Redeemer lives... Jesus.

And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.   Isaiah 9:6

...that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lor,d to the glory of the God the Father. Philippians 2:10-11

On the way...

I rarely meet a stranger.  Frank would say I never meet a stranger.  Striking up a conversation comes easy most all the time.

So here we are March Madness in Kentucky.  Chris, our son-in-law has been coaching boys' high school basketball for six years, and this year marked his third trip to the high sweet sixteen.  Frank and I had tickets that were great - just three rows from the floor.  As we sat down, we realized we were very close to the opposing team's fans.  It was clear that we were surrounded by the "other" team.  Now, Frank (and I, occasionally 😏) are excitable and sometimes a bit vocal in our cheering for the team.

As I assessed our seating, I realized the couple sitting next to us looked about our age and weren't wearing the opposing team's colors.  I knew that wasn't a guarantee, so I decided to simply "strike up the conversation".

"So, who are you cheering for tonight?"  I asked.

"No one really, just watching."  He replied.

Enter my opportunity to gain a fan for our team....

"Well," I pointed toward the players' bench, "See the guy in the blue coaching shirt... that's my son-in-law.  He's a great coach.  He's a fine young man.  He and my daughter have been married almost ten years.  They gave us our 3 precious grand boys.  Did I mention he's a wonderful coach?  Yes, I did.  Well, I hope you will cheer with us.  We'll try to keep ourselves in control."

He smiled and congratulated me (and the team) for making it to this second round of the tournament. And then he pointed, "See that guy down on the floor with the camera.  He's my son-in-law, and he's a great guy, very talented.  He takes the pictures for state high school athletics."

The game began... our new friend actually cheered with us for our team.  He gasped right along with us as our team struggled to to rebound and shoot.  t was reasonably clear by halftime, that this just wasn't going to be our game.  Once again he congratulated "us" on making it to the second round of the sweet sixteen tournament.  As we slipped out of our seats headed toward the door, I was gently reminded... it was very easy to strike up that conversation about that "guy over there in the blue shirt".   You see, I know him well... I am comfortable talking about him, because I know about him.   I've spent time with him -  He's a part of our family.

Just stopped to think about that... Tell Someone is a great book, written by Greg Laurie.  His challenge:  tell someone about Jesus... you know Him; you spent time with Him - in His word, in conversation with Him through prayer; you know about Him.

It is really good news that our son-in-law coaches a team that made it to the state tournament.

It is the gospel... the good news of Jesus, that we have the privilege to freely share with others.  That news is the life-giving, eternal and forever, best news that we can tell.

Honor Christ and let him be the Lord of your life.  Always be ready to give an answer when someone asks you about your Hope.  1 Peter 3:15