Fish and Loaves

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all.

-Mark 6:41

This weekend I did a thing. It may not be big to most, but it felt like the blessing my soul needed in all of this crazy. And by crazy, I mean quarantine, in case I read this decades from now and just thought “regular life” was crazy. Ha. I hope one day, I think that again.

This past Thanksgiving we ended up getting three turkeys. I know, my cup already runneth over, but it wasn’t necessarily planned. Well, one of them was. I bought a turkey on a “buy turkey, get the ham for like minute 17 cents” sale – the type that would make my penny-saving, pork-loving, coupon-cutting Dad the happiest ever. Additionally, my wonderful sister in law, who works for a grocery chain, provides us a coupon for a free turkey each year. Then, starting a new job this year, a co-worker cottoned me onto the idea that Popeye’s sells frozen, pre-deep-fried (yes, you read that, leave me one okay people?!) turkeys that you just have to heat up.

So yep, there we were. Three turkeys. We already had Thanksgiving. Then we shared the Popeye’s one at a Sunday dinner we shared with our best friends and well, here we are, quarantine, and I’ve got another big bird. Just to be clear – not the yellow one who lives on Sesame Street.

And let’s be honest, the only thing we’re doing nowadays is grocery shopping and it seems every time I start a list, I just keep adding this and that and one-extra, because who knows when the world is ending. and before you get on me, no, I’m not buying in bulk, it’s just the fact that I’m blessed enough to get to cook for my family every night – not only because I get to eat at a table with my family, but also the stress relief of communing with me and a skillet – remember this piece I wrote? – makes for mental peace.

So I had green beans, and a HUGE can of “cream of something” bought in our very first panic shop very early on in the quarantine. Then I had squirreled away some hashbrowns in our box freezer that I always had on hand in case we had overnight guests at the last minute. Then, I unearthed dried cranberries – pre low-carb diet days – and then I had a whole quart of buttermilk because the hubs couldn’t get just a pint at the store.

Green bean casserole – maybe not perfect without the crunchy canned french-fried onions, but there nonetheless. My Mom’s cheesy hashbrowns – literally lava hot as they came out of the oven. I reconstituted the cranberries into a “jam like something” – and trust me, they were cranberry sauce, maybe not the jellied ridged beauty we typically have, but, it was there! I used rosemary out of my garden (a phrase I never really get to use) and I smoked a turkey on our patio, while we sipped coffee and enjoyed the day. I made cornbread stuffing from the scratchiest scratch, and it was soft and perfect. I made a coconut buttermilk pie using all the “pieces” of leftover baking things that I never took the time to use before given aforementioned crazy life. In short, Quarantin-Giving was born.

I realize there are a great many people out there struggling to get by, and as we prayed, my heart thinks about those who are doing without – just as we pray during Thanksgiving. I prayed for first responders and healthcare workers. I am blessed with us having work-from-home jobs that are still providing paychecks and safety for our family. I am blessed that after 6 weeks of being home, I’m not having anxiety attacks or the need to “bust out”. Admittedly, there are days of stress, but overall, this has been an overhaul for my mental peace, and I know I will not forget this time easily – and that I am forever changed by it.

Thank you God for providing our table yesterday, and the table You have provided every day. I am grateful for the life you have given us in this chaos, and will continue to be. I will remember, going forward, whatever the chaos, to find the table You lay before us.

Happy Quarantine.

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