Weekend! Go….five favorite finds for this week:
1) Food Anthropology – Anthropology is the study of cultures and peoples – their behaviors, values, etc. The TEDx talk below was a walk down the lane of pleasurable food memories for me. Syrian-American food writer Tony Tahhan talked on What Syrian Cuisine Can Teach Us About Humanity. In his talk, Tahhan gives sweet details about growing up in a Syrian home in Venezuela (?!). Then they immigrated to the US, blending more cultures. His stories of Syria itself center on food and culture.
Our first experience of Syrian food culture was when we lived in Cairo, Egypt, for a few years. Our friend Amal, a Syrian-American, often hosted us in her home. She and her husband reflected their culture of gathering and generous hosting of friends and family. Egyptians also have that wonderful hospitality as well..and their own yummy food. Still, being in Amal’s home and at her table was unique. So much food! So much preparation…chopping, blending, baking. Distinct flavors. Beautiful colors. Healthy and satisfying. Dessert, too…not healthy always (unless it was the huge bowl of fruit) but incredibly memory-making. Can you say baklava?
I took lots of food pictures in those days but couldn’t find them for this blog. The image below will have to do. This gives a good idea about Amal’s table. Beautiful and bountiful. Full of love.Photo Credit: Flickr
There is much we can learn from peoples and cultures through their food. Syria has been so traumatized by war. Still, I’m completely positive, that if anyone had an opportunity to sit at a Syrian table, whatever their hosts had would be presented sumptuously for the guest. That’s a lesson for us all.
Thank you, Amal, for the food and the friendship.
The 9 Most Important Things I Learned in Cooking School – Jesse Szewczyk
2) The Punisher on Classical Guitar – Nathan Mills arranges another beautifully haunting piece – the theme Frank’s Choice from the TV show The Punisher. In the show (which I’ve never seen – too violent for me), Frank Castle has the horrific experience of watching his family be murdered. He then becomes a vigilante, hunting down those responsible. Then he seems not to be able to escape that life, going after other evil criminal types. Nathan (Beyond the Guitar) takes composer Tyler Bates‘ tortured theme (pointing to the “dead man walking” Frank Castle character) to a different place. A quieter, sad longing of a place. Beautiful.
3) Pastimes – The stuff of life outside of work. Hobbies, shopping, classes, volunteering, family/friend time, and desultory activities – being lost in the moment, wanderings.
With social distancing thanks to COVID, our pastimes may be altered somewhat. Before March, I spent a lot of time gone from the house. Now, not so much. Dave also presently works from home.
So when work is done, what do we do? What do you do?
We’re slow adopters. The Mandalorian, the web series on Disney+, wasn’t on our watch-list although we’re huge Star Wars fans. In fact, we didn’t know much about it except for the hype. Oh, and the piece Nathan arranged and performed, of the show theme.
This week we signed up for Disney+ and are “bingeing” The Mandalorian. It’s a first, the whole binge thing. Such is some of the strangeness that COVID has brought to our socially distanced lives.
Now, watching movies is definitely a favorite pastime. This past week (including the weekend), we saw three “small” films (small in that they weren’t huge boxoffice hits).
I loved them all and recommend them. Lots of heart in these films. Heart and humor.
A few weeks back, I watched the 2020 Netflix documentary 13th (about the abolition of slavery) and I hope to watch another 2020 documentary Uncle Tom soon. Anybody seen either of these?
During COVID, Dave and I have taken up playing Bananagrams after supper. It’s a quick game – he wins usually.
Just being outside in the back yard with a book, my camera, or a friend is also even more special with the press of COVID.
One favorite verse of mine in the Bible is: “Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Outdo one another in showing honor.“ – Romans 12:10 It’s not about competing with one another for God’s favor (He loves His children purely and freely). It’s just an encouragement to be as generous as we can loving and showing honor to each other. out of the love we already enjoy from God. This “outdoing” a pastime worthy of making a skill/habit.
A dear friend dropped off some of her summer bounty for us this week…so for days, we enjoyed that sweet gift.
Then another friend dropped off a card from her little girl to our little granddaughter (these little ones are missing their friends, too). So special.
Finally, I got to be on the dessert delivery list of this amazing baker friend. She just drove pieces of cake around to different fortunate ones of us. Lemon pound cake. Yum! Right?
On the flip side – another friend has a birthday this week but was also heading to the beach…so no opportunity to gather. She is amazing at reaching out to people, always and also during COVID. For one time, I got a jump on her with some beach reading. Happy birthday, Karen!
What pastimes do you enjoy lately? Especially those that lift your heart or others.
4) Life Has Purpose – A friend of mine introduced Ryan and Bethany Bomberger to me via her Facebook post. They are pro-life adoptive parents. They are Christians. Give them a listen whatever your worldview…you’ll be drawn in to their hearts. They are not mush-minded (as some think of those with descriptions like this). Rock-solid people. Their podcast is Life Has Purpose.Photo Credit: Life Has Purpose
They are authors, and Ryan is a songwriter. He wrote Meant to Be as a tribute to his birth mother who conceived him in rape. He was adopted by parents who would adopt 9 other multi-ethnic kiddos.
Photo Credit: The Radiance Foundation
Part of what make finds favorites is that often there’s a beautiful ripple effect – finding favorites of the finds. Neil and Christina Shenvi came along with “Life Has Purpose”. Check them out. Fascinating.
5) Community – This comes up in my Faves from time to time, because it continues to just boggle the mind how essential it is and how deep it can be…even with COVID. [Our community group – so dear]
However…and there is a big HOWEVER here…social distancing can really do a number on community. When we think of how it has affected us as adults, we need to think also how it can affect our children (littles and bigs).
Earlier this week, this short film by 15-year-old Liv McNeil came to my attention and it surprised me with emotion – what it can be like for teens who are isolated by the COVID experience.
We must watch out for each other.
Shared Hope: Friendships Are Life-Saving Medicine – Jane Jayroe Gamble
That’s it for this week. Hope you get some rest and get some time with folks you love and who love you!
SummerPhoto Credit: Kathryn Visneski
How to Declutter Your Closet with a Single Box – Olivia Muenter
YouTube Video – TEDx Talk – Everyone Has Hardships – John Guyon
The Real Secret to Aging Well & How to Feel the Luckiest About Growing Older Into a Deeply Meaningful Life – Ann Voskamp
Here’s the Science That Explains Why Drinking Diet Soda Makes You Gain Weight – Minda Zetlin
Negative Effects of Sugar-Free Carbonated Drinks – Erica Kannall
Thirty Minutes with the Perry’s – Podcast – Preston Perry & Jackie Hill Perry
These Four Phrases Will Make Life Easier for Teachers and Parents This Fall – Laura Milligan
This Dad and Pastor Has Advice and Calming Words for Overwhelmed Parents – Erika Sanzi
The Nonconformist – Thomas Sowell on Race, Poverty, and Culture – Coleman Hughes
Two of my heroes at Southwood Community Resource Center: