Sometimes I astonish myself. You wouldn’t believe how neat and orderly my pantry is. How clean and well-stocked. All the canned fruit is on one end of a shelf, all the canned beans and olives on the other. Cereal boxes are lined up with spares behind. The canisters holding flour and sugar are full, and free of dust and fingerprints. The floor gleams, with nary a crumb or broken chip in sight.
It’s all the more impressive because 1) I have a lot of editing to do today, and 2) we have around 30 people coming for a BBQ tomorrow night. The sensible, responsible thing to do would have been either 1) to sit down at my computer and start rearranging words and rewording sentences, or 2) to clean the bathroom, then run the vacuum around the living room.
On December 5, 2012, American medical doctor Dilip Joseph and two colleagues are driving back to Kabul, Afghanistan, after serving villagers that morning at a rural clinic. Suddenly a man waving an AK-47 blocks their path. More armed men jump out of hiding. For Dilip, it is the beginning of a nightmare—he’s being kidnapped by the Taliban.
So begins the description on the back of a very exciting book—a true story describing the events that forever changed the lives of Dr. Joseph and his companions.
Recently, a friend of mine expressed his frustration about all the problems in the world, and his inability to really solve any of them. I felt his pain. We live in the “outrage” decade. Just read the comments after pretty much any news story, and you’ll see what I mean. Everyone is offended about everything. In many instances, that outrage is warranted; the world is full of injustice. This is nothing new.
Perhaps we’re more aware of it all in an age of instant communication, but people have always been mean and selfish, violent and greedy. Thankfully, most of us manage to live as civilized adults—but there are plenty of exceptions. Nature tosses in her share as well, with hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. And then there’s politics. Right.
I’ve been highly distracted for the past two weeks. Our daughters and granddaughters have been visiting, and I’ve been playing games, taking photos, cooking meals, and hugging—lots of hugging. What I haven’t been doing is writing blog posts. In fact, I totally missed last Friday, in spite of my best intentions. Instead of writing, taking time away from family that we don’t get to see nearly as often as we’d like, I thought I would cheat a bit.
The following is one of the very first posts I ever wrote for this blog. Yes, it’s listed in the archives, but if you’re like me, you rarely—if ever—hunt back through the old posts for something to read. I think my point is just as important today as it was when I wrote it almost ten years ago. I hope you agree.
“That’s all there is.”
I couldn’t believe it. Really?
I had become a believer the previous May, near the end of my freshman year in college. After spending a frustrating summer vacation back home, fending off my mother’s determined efforts to undermine my fledgling faith, I was finally back at school, eager to grow spiritually. Until two weeks prior to “accepting Jesus as my personal Savior,” I’d been a fervent atheist. I’d never even been to church. Now it seemed as if there was so much to learn about God! So I turned to the person who had answered my questions last spring.
“OK. I’m reading my Bible. I’m praying. Now what?”
And the answer came, “That’s it. That’s all there is.”
Last week I promised you some recipes for marinated, grilled chicken. This is probably one of the most frequent items on our dinner menu. Chicken is so versatile! I think that if I had to, I could come up with 365 ways to cook it!
I’m not offering 365 chicken recipes (hmmm, maybe I should write a cookbook?), but here are three of our favorites. If I ever feed you dinner, there’s a good chance you’ll be eating one of these!
For the past week, daytime highs had hovered around 100. While that may be a normal summer temperature for some parts of the country, here in Colorado, at an elevation of 7,100 feet, it’s anything but. (I’m glad we don’t live lower and hotter!) Even with our cool nights and ample insulation, the house was getting pretty warm by late afternoon. At that point, the absolute last thing I wanted to do was cook dinner.
I managed to avoid turning on the stove or oven for several days in a row. However, by the end of the week, salads were getting a bit redundant. What else could I do? Sure, there are other uncooked dishes, such as sandwiches and cold cereal, but I wanted ideas for more traditional dinner fare.