The Mother’s Day Dreamer

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There’s plenty of days in the year, but only one has been set aside to honor that one person in each of our lives who did the most and had the greatest impact: the ladies who carried us and nurtured us; who encouraged us to succeed, and who wiped away our tears when we failed; the women who are lovingly called MOM! That day is Mother’s Day, and since it’s this Sunday, we wanted to do a special Diet for Dreamers about the lady who helped establish it as a nationally recognized holiday.

Anna Jarvis’ campaign to make Mother’s Day a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her own beloved mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, passed away. Anna’s dream was to honor her mother: first, by continuing her mom’s work as a peace activist — Anna’s mom had cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War; and secondly, by creating “Mother’s Day Work Clubs” to address public health issues. Anna also had a goal to establish a national holiday paying tribute to mothers throughout the country.

The FIRST modern American celebration of Mother’s Day was in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial service for her mother in Grafton, West Virginia. Afterwards, due to Anna’s tireless campaigning, several states officially recognized Mother’s Day, West Virginia officially recognized the holiday in 1910. Several more states quickly followed. Ultimately, in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation making Mother’s Day — always to be on the second Sunday in May — a national holiday honoring mothers.

Anna had achieved her goal. Her dream to recognize and celebrate “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world” had become a reality.

Anna Jarvis hoped the holiday would become an ocassion for people to honor their own mothers and demonstrate their appreciation by writing personal letters expressing their love and gratitude. So she was actually saddened when Hallmark started marketing pre-made Mother’s Day cards in early 1920. She felt the commemorative holiday she’d worked so hard to establish, was being commercialized. Perhaps. But today it’s easier to be on Hallmark’s side: not everyone’s gifted with beautiful handwriting or the creativity to produce homemade gifts. Some of us want and need other ways to express our feelings; and besides, giving pretty cards has become as much a tradition as Mother’s Day itself.

Mother’s Day has since been adopted by other countries and is now celebrated all over the world. What a wonderful idea — because our moms are wonderful people!

“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” (George Washington)

“She is clothed with strength and dignity…. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her.” (Proverbs 31:25-28 NLT)

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Cloudy, with a Chance of Meatballs (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Meatballs! Swedish, Italian, or sweet ’n’ sour — we love them all! And there are so many wonderful ways we can use them! Spaghetti and meatballs, meatball subs, meatballs sliced and layered in lasagna, tiny meatballs on toothpicks as appetizers….

We have three favorite recipes. We make traditional Italian meatballs using ground beef, veal, breadcrumbs, grated parmesan and Romano cheese, tomato sauce and seasonings. These are great in a variety of Italian pasta dishes, but especially spaghetti and meatballs!

We’ve also made chicken meatballs by substituting shredded chicken and cheddar cheese. We like to serve these with rigatoni, instead of spaghetti. And we frequently make Swedish meatballs for get-togethers. Our Swedish meatballs are seasoned very differently, of course, and are served in a brown sauce made with sour cream and no cheese. These are to die for, especially when served atop a plate of egg noodles!

Although we’ve never tried these other recipes, we find it interesting that meatballs can be made from ground sausage, venison, or other meats, and seasoned in a variety of ways. What makes a meatball is not so much the ingredients as that beautiful round shape. One day we were making meatballs — lots of meatballs — for a gathering, when a friend dropped by unexpectedly. We invited her to join us in the kitchen, and talk to us while we worked.

As she watched, we’d scoop out a portion of the meat mixture, and gently but firmly shape each meatball by hand. She was amazed that we had it down to a science: but no real measuring; we’d just guesstimate the portions and roll them each into an almost perfect ball — quickly and efficiently — placing the nearly uniform meatballs on a large tray. We were like potters working with clay, molding, shaping, creating little culinary ornaments.

In a manner of speaking, each of us is a potential meatball in the making! No, not a “meatball” in the derogatory sense of “a foolish or stupid person!” But God wants to shape and mold each of us for His purposes. Once we become the right “shape” spiritually, God is best able to use us to serve His Kingdom and the people around us. And like the great variety of meatball recipes we stated above, God is able to use whoever and whatever we are today, “season” us with the influence of His divine Holy Spirit, and then gently but firmly shape us into something beautiful.

Trouble is, many of us don’t allow God to do the shaping. We refuse to be flexible, pliable…. Many of us are rigid  in our thinking and our habits; and most of us are determined to “shape” our own destinies! In other words, many of us refuse to place ourselves, who and what we are at present, into the hands of the Master Chef, in order to allow Him to mold us.

God wanted His followers to understand this important truth, so He told His prophet Jeremiah to go to the potter’s workshop. Once there, Jeremiah observed that often the vessel “…the potter was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.” (Jeremiah 18:4 NIV) Then God told His prophet, ask My people “…Can’t I do with you as [the] potter does with clay? …You are like the clay in the potter’s hands.” (Jeremiah 18:6 GOD’S WORD)

Are you allowing God to mold you? Are you soft, flexible, pliable, willing to place yourself into the hands of the Master? To be good clay (or ground beef), we must be teachable, willing to learn from God, the Bible, or anyone who shares a truth with us. To be flexible, we need to be receptive to new ideas (as long as they don’t countermand God’s sovereign Word). To be pliable, we need to be willing to surrender to God’s will, and give up our “right to be right.” (We can’t expect to get every thing our way!)

We may all start out as a pile of raw hamburger, with our prospects looking cloudy, but there’s always a chance of meatballsif we allow God to shape our lives.

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