Category Archives: Soul Food

Peer Pressure Is No Respecter of Age

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It all started out innocently enough.  I was sitting in my usual chair at the nail salon.  I say “usual” because every 3 weeks for the past 3 years Viet has manicured and polished my fingernails.  I flipped through the basket of nail colors not really expecting to make a change from the palette of pinks or reds that are my norm.

A murmur of voices filled the air as three other customers quietly chatted with their nail techs.  I said, to no one in particular, “Who in the world would ever paint their nails this turquoise blue color?”

Much to my surprise, several women in various stages of manicures turned towards me to see the blue nail tip I held in my hand. “Oh that is a gorgeous color of blue,” one of them remarked.

“What a fun color for spring that is,” said another.

“But it is BLUE!” I said as I placed the colored tip over one of my fingernails, to show just how ridiculous the blue nail looked.

At that moment the three customers and the three nail techs all chattered at the same time.

“Colors like blue are fun for a change,” they said.

“You should do it, go for it, have some fun!” they said.

“Everybody is wearing all sorts of nail colors these days,” they said.

Just then, Viet arrived at his station.  “Oh, fun!” he said, “that is a beautiful color on nails, especially with a layer of glitter!  You will love it and besides … it matches what you are wearing today!”

“Oh, no, no, no” I exclaimed.  “Do you even know me?  I am pretty conservative, fairly modest and do you remember I just turned 62?”

“That is exactly why you should choose the blue today!  Step out of your comfort zone, live a little!” he said, laughing loudly encouraging the others to join in. Besides, it will only last a couple of weeks and then you will change it back to your old standby, pink or red or something boring.”

Boring?  Is he calling me boring?  Ah, peer pressure.  Just then all my little gray brain cells went on vacation and I said, “Yeah, you are right.  I wear this color a lot and what is the worst that can happen?”  Next time I am going to have my nails painted blue!  Next time.  Not today.  Next time.  In a couple of weeks.

I had exactly three weeks for my brain function to return.  Sadly, it did not. I made the decision and without any further thought, I planned to pick out the turquoise blue nail color upon my return to the salon.

Three weeks later, Viet’s sister, Tu, squealed with delight as I handed her the blue nail tip. “This is the one,” I said, “with a coat of glitter, please.”

“Oh, you are going to love this, it is so pretty,” she said as she readied my nails for the polish.

The minute the first stroke of polish hit my nail I knew I had made a terrible mistake. It was as if all my little gray brain cells, that had previously been on vacation, came rushing home just in time to scream out, “What in the world have you done?!” I sat speechless and immovable. One finger, then two turned blue. Three and four followed closely behind. Wow, the thumb looks really BIG when it’s blue. Ten blue fingers later I said a quick prayer of thanks that I hadn’t also committed my toes!

Tu, the owner of the salon and my nail tech for the blue fiasco, was so intent on the beauty of the blue nails she never saw the horror on my face. She encouraged me to wear “lots of turquoise blue” this week and to stay away from wearing anything green!

“Oh brother,” I thought, I am in deep trouble. I usually don’t put that much thought into what I am wearing.

My sous-chef dish-washing mom was with me at the nail salon. She is too kind to say anything other than, “Oh, that’s a pretty color, Dear.” However, I’ve had some fun with my trendy, sparkly, blue manicure mostly because of the shock factor.

During dinner, my darling husband exclaimed, “What happened to your hands?”

I had a manicure today,” I said with no particular excitement, as I held up my newly painted nails. With a twinkle in his eye, he set down his fork, took my hand and said, “Are you cyanotic or psychotic?”

“No,” I replied, twinkling right back at him. “Just a little blue today.”

As I read scripture after scripture this week it seems I kept running into characters with peer pressure problems. Peter certainly had a peer pressure problem when he told Jesus he was the one who would be loyal and faithful to Jesus when he said,  “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” (Mark 14:29 ESV)  And yet, before the rooster had crowed in the morning, Peter denied having anything to do with his friend and leader.   Peer pressure got to Peter, as it seems it was more important to fit in with strangers than to publicly identify with God’s only Son.

Having just celebrated Easter, I can’t help but think about Pilate who succumbed to peer pressure when the rantings of a mob convinced him to have the Son of God put to death.  Crucify him! Crucify him! Crucify him! (Mark 15:13-15)

I haven’t done anything wrong painting my nails blue. But I am disappointed in myself that I painted them blue because of what others thought and said.

Dennis Wolfberg once quipped, “There’s one advantage to being 102. There’s no peer pressure.”

I’ve only got two more weeks until I return to the salon. Next time I think I will choose something quite boring like pink, red, or even peach!

Happy Spring!

Christ Has Risen! Happy Easter 2018

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Happy Easter! Christ has risen! Christ has risen indeed! Easter is my favorite holiday of the year. Spiritually, Good Friday is always heavy for me with the reminder that Christ died an awful death on a Roman cross for sins he did not commit so I can be forgiven for the sins I do commit.  Nothing fair about it for Jesus and full of grace and mercy for me.  But, Sunday’s coming and celebrating Christ’s Resurrection is what makes this my favorite day of the year!

Yesterday, my friend Gaye Hughes wrote an inspiring and emotional blog post, “Why is This Day Called Good”.   She says, “Yes, it was a horrible Friday around two thousand years ago today, but it was also a glorious day for the millions of believers in the ages to come.”

My faith in Jesus Christ would be meaningless if it was only about his virgin birth and the miracles he did while on earth.  What makes this faith worth living is that Sunday’s coming!  The grave could not hold Jesus Christ!  Tomorrow, along with millions of other believers I will celebrate the risen Christ.

God’s own words given to us in the Bible say it best:
“Then God released him from the horrors of death and brought him back to life again, for death could not keep this man within its grip.” 
Acts 2:24 TLB

What makes Easter worthy of celebrating for the last two thousand years is acknowledging that Christ rose from the grave, ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father.  In doing so this gave all of Mankind the hope and promise we have as Believers that this life on earth isn’t all there is.  Our hearts are hard-wired to want to be with our Creator.  Through the risen Christ we are given the opportunity for eternal life.

My friend and author, Mary Jane Miller, wrote an exceptional blog post that is worth every minute of the time it takes to read it.   What’s the Point of Easter? Mary Jane asks, “Are your eggs in your basket or still on the lawn?”  She has an incredible gift of sharing The Word of God through analogies that are easy to understand and fun to read!

Physically and emotionally Easter in the springtime helps me reset my thinking and my attitude.  It helps me see that the world is not gray, dark, and dead at all.  But underneath the layers of dried grass, piles of muddy snow, or buckets of rain there is new life!

I will spend a little time in the kitchen today. My happy place!

Today’s special – Strawberry Pretzel Salad – A Spring Favorite!

Tomorrow, my Sous-chef Dish-washing Mom, my faithful Christ-following husband and me will attend Easter service — also my happy place!

Thank you for being a part of My Daily Bread Body and Soul.  May you find peace and joy this weekend in the newness of life brought forth by spring and the gift of eternal life given to us by Jesus’ resurrection!

Christ Has Risen!  Happy Easter,
~Blessings, Catherine

A Sweet & Peaceful Retreat – Oasis Christian Center & Retreat

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Can I just say, “Wow?!” Have you ever been to the Oasis Christian Center and Retreat in Kentucky? I had not even heard of it until I was invited to join a Community Bible Study leadership retreat a few weeks ago.

I knew before I even left the center that I wanted to share this little place on earth with you, my faithful readers!

My sous-chef dish-washing mom and I traveled the 100 miles from our home in Middle Tennessee north on I- 65 to Kentucky. It was an easy drive; the sun was shining and the frigid temperatures of the previous days were a distant memory.  As we made the turn off Highway 100 onto an almost-two-lane road we were captivated by the serene country vistas.

Dormitory and Large Gathering Room

A few miles of curvy road later we saw the retreat center. Multiple buildings were neatly sitting on the top of a hill surrounded by pastures from the farm it used to be. Immediately my mom remarked, “It sure looks neat as a pin!”

For the next twenty-four hours, we were cocooned in a restful and peaceful retreat from our busy lives of the outside world. The center has twenty-four individual rooms that are incredibly clean, sweetly decorated and within an easy walk from the main event center, chapel, and dining room. Additionally, they have a large dormitory that sleeps forty-eight!

After meeting up with our group I was introduced to “Andy” who would be my technician for the two times I would be presenting during the retreat. Immediately I was drawn to Andy because he is very kind, high-energy, and full of techie-talk!

Andy quickly assured me he could handle my PowerPoint, the sound system and any special requests I may have. True to his word, he handled everything with expertise! During my first presentation that evening I neglected to advance my PowerPoint slide as I spoke – he caught it and had the slide up before I even realized I had made a mistake!

Andy and his dad, Robert, cooked our meals, set up the dining room, put together a lovely serving table and waited on us hand and foot. I felt totally at peace, cared for, and really spoiled!

Saturday morning I spent time walking around a lovely pond that was set up as a prayer walk. Cards containing a variety of scriptures were placed on the poles that decorated the path around the pond.  Even though the sky was threatening rain and the winds were picking up, it did not take away from the precious time I had reading scripture and being in prayer. It was awesome!  Even this dreary winter weather didn’t douse my enthusiasm for being at Oasis Christian Center.

This retreat center is family run. In 2001, God gave Robert and Janet McClung the vision to start a Christian retreat facility where churches could bring their people to connect and grow.  Five years later in 2006, God opened the door for the McClungs to buy 75 beautiful acres in Franklin, KY and start Oasis Christian Center and Retreat.  They sold both their businesses and “dream home” in Hendersonville, TN and started construction in 2007.

Today, son Andy and his wife Courtney live on site and love to welcome guests to this beautiful place.  Andy’s brother Chad, rounds out the management team. Chad calls himself the “outdoors guy” and loves building and maintaining the various structures at Oasis.  He keeps a sharp eye on grounds and wants them looking perfect for guests.

Oasis Christian Center & Retreat is easily accessible from many locations in Kentucky and Tennessee including Franklin, Scottsville, Bowling Green, Westmoreland, Nashville, Portland, Gallatin, White House.  While most of their retreat guests come from Kentucky and Tennessee, they aren’t just limited to those states.  They’ve had guests from all over the United States and from other countries as well!

As Andy and I were doing some blog-talk I learned that five years ago he started the blog and website Today, it is the #1 leader in camp and retreat planning resources. I have only scratched the surface of reading information from the site but I already have downloaded some free sources for game planning, themes, and retreat checklists. I can already see how this is going to help me in our family reunion planning for this summer!

When I told Andy and his father how much I loved the place, Robert said, “Oh you should be here in the spring, summer, and fall. It is stunning!”  I can only imagine that it is!

Blessings, Catherine

P.S.  I plan on sharing my recipe for Sticky Biscuits with Andy!  I think they would be an awesome addition to their breakfast buffet.

Breakfast featuring Sticky Biscuits

Top Posts for 2017

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It is not my nature to spend a lot of time looking back.  I love the present and always get excited about the future.  But today, the last day of 2017 I think it is appropriate to look back to the top blog posts of the year.  This list is based on top views for 2017.

Bacon Wrapped Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts takes the top honor again this year with 97, 184 views this year.

Oh my goodness, this is a great recipe and others think so too!

Second place honors with 26, 306 views goes to Easy (And Delicious) Homemade Chicken and Noodles!

This recipe caused a little stir this year when a reader pointed out I wasn’t using “homemade noodles.”  I corrected the error and quickly included my favorite homemade noodle recipe along with the post featuring store-bought Amish noodles!  From my midwest roots, we always serve chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes.

Pickled Vegetable Sandwich Slaw

Third place weighs in at 25,152 views for this Picked Vegetable Sandwich Slaw. This is a surprise for me.  I first posted this recipe in 2013.   I know it is an awesome addition to any sandwich or hotdog and apparently, now there are a few others that think so too!

It is no surprise to me that the Cheese Frenchee holds the 4th place of honor.  This recipe is a walk down memory lane from my childhood. Growing up in Nebraska Cheese Frenchees were available at Kings Restaurant.

I asked my sister-in-law, Jeanne, where she still eats them these days in Nebraska. She immediately responded with all kinds of information including this picture!

9 Can Vegetable Soup

9 Can Vegetable Soup comes in at number 5 most viewed posts for the year.  If time prevails homemade vegetable soup can’t be beaten, but having said that, this is an amazing blend of flavors that never gives away the simplicity of the recipe!

Scripture Cake rounds out the top 6 most viewed recipes for the year.   This is a recipe I adapted from one I found on the internet in 2013.  It’s a fun recipe to make for a group and then put them to the test of Bible knowledge to come up with the ingredients!

In 2017 I have had the extreme honor and blessing to step into a new role at Community Bible Study.  As an Area Director in middle Tennessee, I am privileged to walk beside 3 middle Tennessee classes and shepherd their Servant Teams.  This probably sounds like strange lingo to anyone not familiar with Community Bible Study.  But suffice it to say that in-depth Bible study has transformed my life and the more I study the closer I walk with God.  In-depth Bible study brings the character of God alive and truly allows for a personal relationship to develop.

The Mission of CBS is: To make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ in our communities through caring, in-depth Bible study, available to all.”  

For all the new year’s resolutions people make, studying the Bible and having a truly meaningful relationship with our Creator is the one change that can and will affect all others.  One resolution that is worth keeping!

It is my prayer for 2018 that I become even more intentional in discovering the plans the Lord has for me.  My prayer is also that you will discover the joy waiting for you as you get to know God personally.  If you do not know how to get started or make this happen, send me an email through the Contact link and I would love to share with you.

Having Abby Hughes join My Daily Bread Body and Soul this year has been a wonderful blessing! From both of us, we wish you a Happy New Year and a wonderful and joyful 2018!