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The Best Tuna Noodle Ever

A family favorite became a memorable meal in 2011.  Many readers will remember the November when my husband, Dave, had open heart surgery.  As Thanksgiving came around this year, my mind went back to 2011 when, instead of hosting my  family for a couple of days of celebration, Dave and I spent Thanksgiving Day in a hospital room.

We had traveled 3 1/2 hours to the Cleveland Clinic on November 1 and hoped to be back home by the ninth, giving us a couple of weeks for recovery before Thanksgiving.  But surgery was postponed from the fourth to the seventh so our surgeon could do a heart/lung transplant.  Then, when Dave’s post-op experience included complications, the hotel I was occupying became my home-away-from-home for nearly a month, and the Clinic’s Au Bon Pain did most of the cooking.

Dave’s heart valve disease had been detected 25 years earlier when our first son was just 3 months old.  By the grace of God, the surgery was not necessary until a point in our life when our boys were grown and it was possible for me to park the car at the hotel and spend the days at the hospital with Dave.

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View from the Heart Center

On November 7, Dave underwent a very successful heart surgery to replace two defective valves.  He was only 50 years old and in good health, yet he developed atrial fibrillation that kept him in ICU for a week.  Then, 10 days post-op, we heard the words tamponade and pericardial effusion for the first time and found ourselves back in ICU receiving plasma to thicken his intentionally thinned blood.  The same excellent doctor was able to get to the sac around his heart and drain off the “fluid” (blood) with only a tiny incision.  Dave went from feeling “lethargic” and being in considerable danger to giving me a thumbs up immediately after surgery.  That evening I found out what a true sigh of relief feels like!

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Normal Heart Rhythm – a Beautiful Sight

After the emergency, our cardiologist told Dave that he would learn why he’s called a patient, since it was necessary to very carefully and slowly thin his blood again to the level that would keep him safe from clots and strokes.  He hoped to get us home by Thanksgiving.  Dave had told me prior to our journey that he only needed me to do 3 things – be there when he needed me, pray, and get him back home.  With energy and an unsinkable optimism that could only come from the Lord, I became his cheerleader.  The encouraging visits, messages and prayers from precious friends and family members meant more than they could know.

We were patient, even when Thanksgiving came, because we did not yet feel confident to leave the watchful eyes of the doctors and nurses.  And we were OK – and thankful, even as I ate something from Au Bon Pain and Dave picked at the hospital version of a Turkey Dinner.  Later in the evening, our niece who works in the Clinic came by with some homemade pumpkin roll.  What a blessing!

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My Black Friday purchase from a Clinic boutique.

Circumstances prevented our sons from being with us on the holiday, but three days later we were on our way home where our younger son was waiting to welcome us.  The  day included a delay in discharge, a long wait at the local pharmacy, and some prescribed stops on the way home, and we arrived at dinner time.  But, rather than feeling exhausted, I was energized by the victory and offered to make a Tuna Noodle Casserole for the three of us.  What a joy it was to prepare and share that meal.

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Where I Come From

It’s the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  I will be going “home” this week, back to where I’m from.  Back to where my mom, sisters, and brother live.  Back to Upper Sandusky.

So far today, a good friend and my chiropractor have asked me what I’m doing for Thanksgiving and I’ve replied “going to my mom’s” ( thinking “here we go again.”)   “Where does she live?”  “Upper Sandusky”, I replied, adding “It’s not Sandusky, which is up by the lake.”  Each then mentioned Cedar Point or something about a day spent at Lake Erie.  I just smiled.

Sometimes when this happens, I attempt to share an Ohio geography lesson.  I say something like, “Upper Sandusky is in Wyandot County.  It’s near Findlay.  It’s between Columbus and Toledo.”  If their eyes glaze over, I stop.  But if they seem interested, I explain that my hometown is named UPPER Sandusky because it is located on the upper part, or headwaters, of the Sandusky river which flows north to Sandusky and into Lake Erie .  On the rare occasion that the person is still following me, I reveal that there is also a town of LITTLE Sandusky, but have never explained that the Little Sandusky River is a small tributary of the Sandusky River.  Confused yet?

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Technically, I’m not from Upper Sandusky, but from “out in the country” of Wyandot County.  I grew up with the mailing address Rural Route 1, Upper Sandusky, Ohio.  Our mailman didn’t need a house number to find us.  Our mailbox was located beside the spirea bush at the end of our driveway.  We lived among a few people in a little neighborhood called Lawrenceville.  Don’t look it up, or you’ll be in the wrong part of the state again.

My two younger sisters, little brother, and I moved with Mom into the county seat when I was 16.  Upper Sandusky’s seven square miles are home to about 6,500 people.   Anyone from outside the area that knows where “Upper” is may have been through at Christmastime to see the light display at Harrison Smith Park.  Or, they may be a fan of “The Shawshank Redemption” which was partly filmed  in my hometown.  A fellow who lives down the street from me knows Upper Sandusky because of Thiel’s Wheels motorcycle shop.

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Wyandot County is rich, not only in farmland, but in early Ohio history, and its county seat displays markers of events dating back to the late 18th century.  Here are five of the sites that every fourth grader in the school system likely still visits.

  • the seat of government for the Wyandotte Indian Nation, the last organized band of Indians to leave Ohio. They moved to a reservation in Kansas in 1842.
  • Battle Island Monument where Colonel William Crawford  fought a losing battle with the combined Indian and British forces in 1782.
  • The Wyandotte Mission Church, found in the Old Mission Cemetery  among  Indian graves.  The first Christian Mission for the Indians was established in 1816 by John Stewart, the father of Methodist Episcopal Missions.
  • monument honoring Chiefe Tarhe, the first Indian Chief to sign the Treaty of Greenville establishing the Indian territorial boundaries.
  • The Old Indian Mill which was built by the government in 1820 for the Wyandotte Indians

old-misson-church Old Mission Church.  Dear family members were buried in this cemetery.

Upper Sandusky is a pretty cool place to come from!  And its a great place to go home to, not so much because of the geography or history of the city, but because that’s where Mom lives.

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What Seems Best

Or, Decision Making Part 2.  Or, When Its Not Black and White.

My mind goes to three scenarios today.  The first is from a lesson taught at the Love & Respect Parenting Conference we attended.  Dr. Eggerichs made the case that parents discipline their children according to what seems best to them.  This involves reasoning and decision making, not out-of-control punishment.  As a side note, if you can see your parents as having done what seemed best to them, you may be able to forgive their mistakes.  Eggerichs suggested that Mother and Father should work out an agreement about discipline in private and present a united front to the kids.  The decision may not be perfect.  Someone may have had to compromise in order to reach agreement.  However, being wrong, but united, says Eggerichs, will do the kids more good than seeing yourself as right and remaining divided as parents, giving the kids the opportunity to play one parent against the other.

If you read my post about decision making, you know that I try to follow the Lord’s leading.  When I have a decision to make, I would LOVE for him to clearly point me in the right direction every time.  But, he allows us to make decisions in areas that are not black and white in his Word.  I recall a  decision from several years ago that I struggled to make.  I wanted to step out of a leadership position at church, but could not tell whether or not it was the right thing to do.  After agonizing and pleading with God to make it clear, he showed me during my Bible reading that He would be with me in either direction.  “You decide.”  So, I let go of that responsibility, and soon realized that God was leading me into an opportunity to minister to marriages.  We walk by faith, not by sight.  We do what seems best.

What seems best to one person may seem like a mistake to another.  As an American Citizen, I was called on to vote in the presidential election.  What a privilege!  During the primary season, I chose a candidate, made some donations to his campaign, and purchased some yard signs.  However, his run for office ended before our primary.  By November , I lacked excitement for any of my options.  I easily ruled out the third party candidates and one of the two main hopefuls.  Should I leave that race unmarked?  That seemed like an opportunity missed. Should I vote for someone I knew little about and write in the name to make a statement, or should I vote for the other main candidate?  To some Christians, this decision came easily.  Good friends of mine presented their opinions for and against him.  I did not hear God say, “Lisa, I want you to vote for …”  The day came, however, when I just needed to do what seemed best.  As soon as I decided, peace came.  I marked my ballot and dropped it off the next day.

Americans are individuals with varied experiences, worldviews, and passions.  Interestingly, even Bible-believing Christians have differing views.  And each of us did what seemed best.   Sadly, we seem unable to accept that truth.  The decision has been made.  Christians have clear instructions about how to treat each other and how we respond to authority.  We are to love, not judge each other.  We are to submit to and pray for those in authority so that it will go well with us.

Group of Diverse People's Hands Holding Word Respect

 

 

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Father, forgive us.

This week I’m sharing a poem that I penned about 15 years ago.  It’s still very thought-provoking and humbling to me. 

Father, forgive us, for we know not what we do.

We read your words; make them fit our beliefs

 without ever hearing you.

Father, forgive us, for we know not what we do.

Won’t turning the other cheek make us seem weak?

You wouldn’t want that, would you?

 

Father, forgive us, for we can’t help how we feel.

Doesn’t love have to start with a throb of the heart?

Can doing good make our love real?

Father, forgive us, we’ve been taught and we’ve learned.

Stand up for our rights; sometimes we have to fight.

What’s ours we should keep; it’s been earned.

 

Father, forgive us, but did you really say

we’re to love you with all our heart, soul and mind?

And that if we love, we’ll obey?

Father, forgive us, but what you ask is tough.

Do those who would beat us, badmouth and cheat us

really deserve our love?

 

Father, forgive us, but how can you expect

us to not only give up the right to get even,

but also forgive, love and bless?

Has this method been proven?  Can it be done?

Does loving one’s enemies work?

What’s that?  You want us to look at your Son,

and the mission you gave Him on Earth?

 

The world that you loved, that you sent Him to save

was full of darkness and pride.

Though He did not condemn and spoke only truth,

he was hated by foes; by friends, denied.

And the one who was tempted, but never gave in,

lived only to serve, not be served.

Greater love has no man than he lay down his life.

Could anyone claim it deserved?

In silence He bent his back to the whip,

took the mocking, the sneering, the crown.

Between two thieves he was hung on the cross

till with love his life He laid down.

But, Christ did not die without speaking his mind.

He had words for the crowd and us, too.

“Pray for those who mistreat you” had been his command.

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

By Lisa Frisch

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