Cochabamba, Bolivia

Cochabamba, Bolivia
Cochabamba, Bolivia

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Martha's Flavorful Memory

Wow...what an emotional last few days.  Our dear friend, Martha Lamar, who was the head cook and hospitality person at the dormitory died late on Monday night.  It has really sent a shockwave through the whole ministry here in La Romana.  As I stood at the wake yesterday afternoon, there was crying, some wailing and generally a lot of discussion about the woman that Martha was.  I'd like to share one of those conversations with you now.

One of the most interesting conversations was with a group of translators.  As many of the teams know, Martha was the head cook and in charge of making sure that the dormitory had everything it needed when teams were visiting.  Having more than 60 teams this year, you can understand how much work this was!  She helped to coordinate the cooking for the teams during the day which meant that she not only had to have breakfast ready for upwards of 90 people by 7am but she also had to have their lunches ready by 8am so that they could load them on the bus for the day!  It was a lot of work but she did it lovingly and I don't think I ever saw her complain about doing it.  So, as I was standing with a group of doctors and translators at the wake yesterday, they began talking about Martha and her influence on their lives and work.  They mentioned that all of them noticed the change in flavor of the food on Monday (she was in Santo Domingo on a ventilator that day).  Each of them said that the food just wasn't as flavorful and all of them attributed that to Martha not helping with the cooking.  Incredible.  She even added her special flavor to the food each day.

I marveled at that comment because more than once I have complained about how boring ham and cheese sandwiches were after almost 12 years of seeing them daily with the team lunch (I started bringing my own lunch each day a couple of years ago).  How callously I said that!  Here was Martha and Tata 1 and Tata 2 and Margarita getting up while it was still dark to make sure we all had a delicious and filling lunch but my comment was only that it was boring!  Oh how I wish I had considered the labor of love put into those ham and cheese sandwiches.  And, I'm sure they didn't LOVE ham and cheese after putting together so many sandwiches each day for 12 years or more.  Who would?  But yet, they did it anyway and with a lot of care.  They also made rice dishes and empanadas for the teams and staff.  It was this rice that lacked flavor on the day that Martha died.

So I guess my thought for the day is this: first, consider what you say before saying it.  We have no idea where another person has been or what they have lived through or even what their motivation (or lack of it) is for this very day.  There's a well-known saying about walking a mile in someone else's shoes, and I think that's pretty important to remember before we begin critiquing a situation or a person.  Second, we should be telling the people around us HOW MUCH we care about them.  If you wait until just the right moment or wait for a special time to really express how much you love them, that moment in time may never come.  There wasn't a person at breakfast on Friday morning in the dining hall that thought this would be the last time they saw Martha's smiling face in the kitchen.  No one could have expected that and certainly no one thought they wouldn't have another chance to thank her for her service.  Finally, friends, PLEASE remember that how you live your life really does affect those around you.  The "flavor" you add to your world may be sweet and savory or it may be bitter or bland.  What flavor do you want people to remember about you?  When you are no longer part of this world, will your flavor be missed?

Each of us has such an important place in the lives we have been given, even when you aren't sure what that role is!  It is so easy to be overwhelmed or troubled by daily events and it is really easy to lose your joy in life as things just get in your way.  Don't let that happen.  Continue to be light in the darkness, hope where there isn't hope and a smile where there are only tears.  We really can make this world a better place.  Martha did and so can you!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Five reasons to reduce stress.

This is a great article with a lot of sound reasons that reducing stress can help you overcome a lot of physical problems you may have. See what you think!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hi everyone!
I recently read this really great article on fatigue and how what you eat can hurt or help the cycle of fatigue. Having just dealt with a lot of what this is saying, I thought I would pass it on and you could read about what chronic high levels of cortisol do to your system. There's some information I'm not totally supportive of, like an all plant-based raw meal plan, but the information about the physical affects of our stress and how our diet can play into this are really good. I hope you enjoy! Let me know...

Click on the link below to read about stress and how your body reacts: