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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



     Last week I spent my evenings at Vacation Bible School doing my best as the storyteller to teach each day’s lesson to the kids. One of my favorite lessons happened to be on the power of God and in order to help teach the story, the material suggested telling the story about the loaves and the fishes. Not only did the kids take to the story right away, but it was the one I was most proud of them remembering. Any one of those kids, from the smallest preschoolers to the bigger kids, could tell you with gusto that there were two fish and five loaves of bread and that Jesus fed five-thousand people.

     Over the weekend as I was thinking about that story and reading where visitors to the Iowa State Fair put together Meals from the Heartland packages, it made me think about how very fortunate you and I are to live in a place where food is plentiful. Even in this time, when our food pantries are so desperately needed, it is hard to imagine that any of us would go without food for long.

     I remember a few times as a child when food was not necessarily sparse, but there wasn’t much in the cupboards at home that I would consider making a meal of. Yet my Mom, like many farm women, could take a cupboard full of the strangest ingredients and make meals that kept my brothers and I from going hungry. I remember meals of Spanish rice and an even stranger taco salad made with a bag of Doritos, a head of lettuce and a can of chili beans. And who among us hasn’t tried to doctor plain old macaroni and cheese with a can of tuna and some peas?

     Somewhere along the line we’ve forgotten what making a meal really is about. Today, we want instant food. If it isn’t ready at a drive through window, then it needs to be packaged and ready to slip into a microwave oven on onto the table in minutes. We want it ready now, and tend not to pay attention that it doesn’t end up tasting very well most of the time.

Sometimes it is in the journey of cooking that we find something that suits us uniquely. It may be a bit of that old style of cooking that causes me to enjoy having the kids around to cook for. After a bowl of cereal being eaten over the kitchen sink, it is fun to mix up a tator tot casserole and watch the kids as they scarf it down, leaving just enough for Dad to take in his lunch box the next day. And although I love Casey’s pizza, isn’t it more fun to make your own? And how about that package of hamburger buns that probably will go to the trash? Add a little pizza sauce and some toppings and presto!

     So this week as your finishing up your summer and trying to get the kids into a routine, try slowing down a bit and look around your cupboards and find the fish and loaves to feed your five thousand. And while we are thinking about it, don’t forget to take some time and donate to your local food pantry. Although many have weathered the economy and are starting to see things improve, there are still many struggling and those pantries need your help still. It’s our duty to give back, and you might just understand the “power” that comes from helping to feed others.

See you next week…remember, we’re all in this together.