On the whole

Food / Saturday, March 3rd, 2018

Our family was temporarily flattened by the stomach bug in the middle of last week. On the whole, I can think of better ways to spend the middle of your week, but this is the one that chose us. Five of us came down with it within 24 hours of each other, in varying degrees of intensity which I shall not describe here. And within hours, we were on the mend

But the next day I felt like a truck hit me and when I stood up, I thought I was going to pass out. I spent the entire day on the couch resting while the children played and climbed on me and asked for stuff which I got them

And that night, my friend Shaunda brought me dinner.

It was roast beef and fixings, with homemade bread and a huge tray of fresh fruit – lush strawberries, pineapple, clementines, bananas.

This is at least the seventh dinner that’s been given to me since my foster kiddos arrived seven weeks ago; and another is promised for next week. Plus there’ve been special desserts and homemade granola and snack mixes and a huge box of diapers and babysitting and you know, little stuff like that; ladies bring this and say can you use it? I don’t know how to say how blessed I am.

The fruit tray caught my eye. I mean the fruit, and then the tray itself, after we ate the fruit and cleared what was left into the fridge for later. I gave that tray to Shaunda the week before, with eight pumpkin bars on it, when her Grandma passed away. I felt sort of silly making dessert for a death in the family, but I had this tray and I thought it wanted to be given.

It came back more loaded than I sent it. It’s such a nice tray, disposable so you don’t have to return it, but sturdy, with a clear plastic cover. I got it from my friend Carla

Who sent it to me filled with frosted spice bars when our kiddos came.

I’m not returning the empty tray with the roast beef dishes; I snitched it. I don’t know who will get it next, but I love belonging to this sisterhood that knows how to give and to receive, and to recover from sorrow one week and tie on an apron the next and make more food to pass on. I can never give enough to repay what I’m given.

The whole is more than the sum of its parts, as Aristotle or one of those guys said.

Which being interpreted is, There’s an awful lot of food being cooked around here that’s not being cooked by me.


Tell me one way somebody blessed you this past week?

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5 years ago

I’m pretty sure my church and in-laws have yours beat. ☺️ It’s incredible to be part of this kind of community. We are freezing the food that we can’t eat fast enough.

5 years ago

My friend (not in my church) offered to allow me to use her facilities to raise seedlings for my garden. Then she fed me lunch when I went to her house to transplant them! She gave me seeds. She’s always giving! A good example to me.

Not telling.
5 years ago

Our dear baby was born seven weeks ago, and I’ve hardly cooked since. Even kinder– the people brave enough to come visit and break up the unfamiliar long days at home after a (hideous) postpartum lice outbreak.

5 years ago
Reply to  Not telling.

Lol about your name! 🙂 That sounds funny in retrospect and horrible in the middle of it. I’m so sorry…

5 years ago

Never under estimate the power of a dessert during grief!! It spells compassion. We came home from my mother-in-laws’s funeral to two meals in the fridge, plus breakfast foods, gift cards, babysitting coupon, and toys for the littles. We have been so blessed in the midst of grief.

5 years ago
Reply to  Aurelia Glick

Aw… I’m sorry about your mother in law, and glad for the care of your community!

5 years ago

Last week was a bit rough… our baby ended up in the hospital for half a week with Rsv… I came home to find our 3 year old quite sick… she has pneumonia… a few days later baby spiked a fever again… ear infection this time… also I was trying to survive with a doozy of a headache/ fever flu … Then in comes my friend, bearing gifts!!! 2 large pizzas, chicken nuggets, and a stunning bouquet of lavender tulips!!! Your post was perfectly timed!:)

5 years ago
Reply to  Anita

I’m sorry – that is a lot of hard things in one week! 🙁 God bless friends bearing gifts.

Shannon Shantz
5 years ago

I teared up after reading your post because it reminded me of the kindness of others after my 6 Mos old baby had open heart surgery. I came home from the hospital to having my fridge cleaned, meals in the freezer, and more meals after that. It’s the seemingly “little things” that mean soo much during a hard time. Community is a beautiful thing… thank you for the reminder to give back in return and keep paying it forward!

5 years ago
Reply to  Shannon Shantz

Yes! Those little practical things that you wouldn’t ask anybody to do – but somebody saw and did anyway… make the most amazing gifts. <3

5 years ago

Ahh… the care, comfort & love food speaks in good and bad times! I beg your pardon, but I snickered over “I felt a little silly making dessert for a death in the family”, and realized we are on opposite sides of the Mason Dixon line.:) Here in the South, food is the language of choice to express your love, comfort, and concern to the Grieving family. (Flowers will do in a pinch) Casseroles, dessserts, cold cuts, cornbread and beans… anything, really. Given to neighbors & friends, carried in person to the house. It isn’t inappropriate to take a food dish along to the funeral home, either. There it joins others on a table in a side room. Family & close friends have a ready meal after the service. In the country, it’s extended to all who came to the funeral. Everyone jammed together around beat up tables and folding chairs in a little fellowship hall or pavilion out beside the cemetery behind a tiny old country church. Food gifts in disposable containers are the best, because then you don’t have to worry about breaking that precious glass bowl, or remembering to give it back. So don’t feel silly, it speaks your love & care. 🙂

Does a complement count as something that someone gave that blessed me this week?! 🙂

P.S. I’m referring to the local customs above, outside of our Anabaptist traditions. It’s a beautiful thing how the twain are woven together for us Southern Anabaptists. As I can personally attest to since dad went on to Glory.

Blessings to you and yours!

5 years ago
Reply to  Beth

Well yes. Your Mason-Dixon line distinction made me laugh.

I guess when I’m the one giving food, I feel its inadequacy – it can’t heal anything or bring the loved one back. It’s body care for a hurting heart. But I can see how a plate of food times a whole community is an abundant blessing. When my Grandpa died, people’s kindness gave me permission to grieve. My friend Amy brought a big box containing an enormous two foot sub sandwich and some snacks for our travel to the funeral. That was comfort for me.

5 years ago
Reply to  Beth

Oh, how I love your description of the opposite side of the Mason Dixon line! I grew up there, and you’ve captured it beautifully.

5 years ago

I love this post and YOU!

5 years ago
Reply to  Shaunda

<3 You too.

5 years ago

This is one of the things I’ve missed the most about living in an Anabaptist community. I’m so glad you are loved in this way! ❤ I love the Traveling Tray–just think of all the stories it could tell!