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“I was in awe.” – Intermezzo Guest Blog

Parents overcome fears to welcome baby Henry, born without arms.
by Nancy Flanders, July 17, 2021 , 03:55pm

After learning that their preborn son would be born without arms, Jessika Turner and her husband doubted their abilities to parent a child with additional needs. But when baby Henry was born, life changed for the better.

2021-08-02 I Was In Awe

“We called our close family members and explained what little we knew at the time,” Turner told Love What Matters. “They had so many questions, and I was fresh out of answers. The one question I kept asking myself was ‘How in the world are we supposed to raise a child with no arms?’ At first, when I looked back on those few days after we received his diagnosis, I felt so guilty for feeling like I did. I repeated over and over, ‘How am I going to be a mom to a little boy who needs more than I can give him?’ Now, I realize I wasn’t worried about his arms, or lack thereof, at all. I was worried about our ability to care for this amazing child because I felt inadequate.”

Turner is not alone in her fears. For every child who receives a diagnosis, there are parents who wonder if they will be able to provide their child with everything he needs. When the child is still in the womb at the time of the diagnosis, doctors often suggest abortion instead of discussing how to actually help the child or the parents.

Henry’s doctors believed he had a rare genetic disorder called Thrombocytopenia Absent Radius Syndrome (TAR). According to Turner, TAR causes low blood platelets, missing arm bones, and other limb deformities. It also causes a lowered immune system and a milk protein allergy. There are two types of TAR: long arm and short arm. Those with long arm are missing the radial bone in the arm while those with short arm are missing all three arm bones. Henry has short arm TAR.

READ: ‘He’s absolutely perfect’: Mom of baby with missing limbs said choosing life was the ‘best’ decision

“Our next step was learning to adapt,” said Turner. “One of my biggest things, when we found out about Henry’s arms, was his clothes. Why does EVERYTHING have sleeves? All of the sleeveless items were summer clothes, and Henry was due in December. The feeling of being inadequate hit me like a freight train. I didn’t sleep. I didn’t eat. I screamed and cried and acted like a crazy person. I felt my soul break in half. My fellow special needs parents will know what it feels like. It’s gut-wrenching. I then realized I couldn’t stay in that dark place. I had to fight. I had to figure out how to do the best for this boy with lucky fins.”

2021-08-02 House Closing

Thankfully, Turner was able to find a support system with other families of children with TAR on Facebook. They gave Turner and her husband hope — “a life raft to hold onto.”

When Henry was born, Turner felt prepared and excited but also nervous and scared. He had a low platelet count of just 13,000 compared to the typical 150,000 to 450,000 and spent the first month after birth in the neonatal intensive care unit. He overcame a high white blood cell count, transfusions, IVS, x-rays, and five surgeries.

“The first time I got to see him with my very own eyes, I was in awe,” said Turner. “We created that! He was ours forever.”

Today, Henry is like any other toddler who loves to play with his trucks and uses a sippy cup. His parents have a mantra of, “No arms? No problem!” and his mother said she “cannot wait to see the person he grows into.”

Every child deserves to be loved the way Henry is loved, regardless of abilities or differences. No child should be discriminated against in the womb, but instead, all children should be welcomed at birth with love.

“Like” Live Action News on Facebook for more pro-life news and commentary!

Connect with Live Action here: Live Action News info@liveaction.org

My notes:
Every baby IS loved and would be welcomed into the world if we could just connect those who think abortion is the only route out of a difficult situation to those who want a baby.  There are so many childless couples who wait for years to provide loving homes that no baby needs to enter the world unwanted.
For a humorous spin on this, check out the Babylon Bee’s May 21, 2021 satire piece (remembering this is a joke website!): https://babylonbee.com/news/democrats-worry-of-dark-future-where-they-cant-murder-children-for-being-inconvenient.

Guest Blog – Hannah Anderson on Simone Biles

I do not follow sports very much . . . not at all, actually.  Unless it hits the major news outlets or affects UK’s basketball championship possibilities.  I recall reading an article in the late 70s that compared attending a sports arena to participating in a charismatic worship service.  The enthusiasm, the immersion into the object of worship, the fanatical dedication all reflected how the Holy Spirit calls believers in Jesus to experience Him.

To my surprise, Simone Biles made headlines by leaving her team at a clinching moment, disrupting the worship services of the Japan Olympics.  Caralyn, of BeautyBeyondBones, blogged on this on July 29, and presents an excellent analysis from one who has dealt with profound personal health issues.  And reading Christianity Today, Hannah Anderson gives an interesting spiritual spin to our obsession with sports.
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Simone Biles’s Critics Miss the Bigger Story of Bodily Abuse
by Hannah Anderson, July 29, 2021
Some see the Olympic gymnast as a self-serving athlete. But her withdrawal from competition is a model for how to honor rather than disdain our bodies.
2021-07-31 Simone Biles Olympian

The Olympics always hold surprises, and this first week of competition in Tokyo was no exception. On Tuesday, Simone Biles, captain of the USA Olympic Women’s Gymnastics team and the most decorated American gymnast of all time, withdrew from the team competition after uncharacteristic performances on both the vault and floor.

By Wednesday, Biles had stepped away from the individual all-round competition as well, citing the need to give attention to her mental well-being. With an almost guaranteed chance of dominating the games, Biles’s choice models something rare in both competitive sports and broader culture: the humility and courage to say, “Enough is enough.”

Although many supported Biles’s decision, others saw her choice as a failure. Conservative media voices like Charlie Kirk, Matt Walsh, and Jenna Ellis deemed her a quitter, equating her focus on “mental health” with a softness or lack of emotional fortitude. They went so far as to accuse her of failing her team and even her country. Others recalled Kerri Strug’s gritty 1996 vault, in which Strug pushed through obvious injury for a second attempt and ultimately led her team to gold.

After all, isn’t the whole point of competitive sports to push the human body to its limits — or past what we believe its limits to be? Even the apostle Paul invokes the metaphor of subjecting the body to rigorous discipline, writing in 1 Corinthians 9 that “everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. . . . I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (vv. 25–27).

Although we are called to discipline our physical (and also spiritual) selves, pushing the human body to its limits doesn’t mean that limits don’t exist. We’re required to have both the wisdom and humility to respect our limitations.

But you wouldn’t know this if you were taking your cues from the broader culture of the USA Gymnastics organization (USAG). For decades, the USAG has willfully denied such limits, opting instead to treat athletes as disposable by starving and pushing young bodies to a breaking point, then tossing them aside when they’re of no more use to the team objective.

Indeed, it was within such an abusive culture that Strug achieved her now-famous second vault. It was in this same culture that USAG coaches Bela and Marta Karolyi ran their notorious “ranch” — an official training facility closed in the wake of abuse allegations. It was this same culture that handed off vulnerable, hurting gymnasts to team physician and pedophile Larry Nassar. It was this same culture that covered up Nassar’s abuse, allowing him to continue to assault hundreds of other young gymnasts, including Biles herself.

It’s taken decades, but Biles’s willingness and ability to say no to that culture represents a sea change. As former Olympian and Strug teammate Dominique Moceanu tweeted, “[Biles’s] decision demonstrates that we have a say in our own health — ‘a say’ I NEVER felt I had as an Olympian.”

In the same Olympic games that garnered Strug a place in history, 14-year-old Moceanu hit her head on the balance beam and fell. Rather than get immediately evaluated by a physician, she continued on in competition. Meanwhile, Strug’s own injury on the vault would end her gymnastics career at the age of 18.

Such stories stand in stark contrast to that of Oksana Chusovitina, the Uzbek gymnast who was celebrated this week for the longevity of her career. Chusovitina finally retired at the age of 46, after competing in an astounding eight Olympics. She began in 1992 — five years before Biles was born. And while commentators may chalk her longevity up to her love and commitment to gymnastics, I wonder if the answer is much simpler. Perhaps gymnasts would enjoy longer careers if they weren’t abused to the point where they could no longer compete.

That, I would argue, is what Biles’s critics are missing. Soon after her withdrawal, the reality of her story became clearer, and that story is much darker than her detractors suggest.

In citing the need to focus on her “mental well-being,” Biles mentioned that she was experiencing “a bit of the twisties,” meaning a breakdown in the mind-body connection essential to performing complicated skills. The “twisties,” or aerial disorientation, causes an athlete to lose a sense of her position in the air and can lead to severe injury. It’s also a phenomenon that can be brought on by extreme stress and trauma — the kind Biles herself has endured.

“The trouble with the phrase ‘mental health’ is that it’s an abstraction that allows you to sail right straight over what happened to Simone Biles and, in a way, what is still happening to her,” writes Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins. “To this day, American Olympic officials continue to betray her. They deny that they had a legal duty to protect her and others from rapist-child pornographer Larry Nassar, and they continue to evade accountability in judicial maneuvering. Abuse is a current event for her.”

Call it what it is: Simone Biles is an athlete competing under the combined effects of mental, emotional, sexual, and physical trauma. That her mind-body connection chose this moment to misfire should not surprise anyone.

But consummate athlete and mature woman that she is, Biles also understands the danger that a disoriented mind poses. Instead of pushing through, she had the courage to reject a culture that would win at any cost and say, “No more.”

What’s damning is how many of us mistook her humility and courage for humiliation, self-serving preservation, or idolatry of personal well-being. None of us can know Biles’ motives. We often don’t even understand our own fully. But what we can observe is how she responded to human limitations in a culture that regularly abused them. When we face similar dilemmas — whether in our jobs, ministries, or relationships — we too might have the humility to embrace our own human fragility and the courage to speak truthfully about it.

Christ’s incarnation gives us a model for how to honor the very bodies that we so often disdain. Ultimately, it was his willingness to embrace the limits of human flesh — the weakness, the disease, the disorientation — that made our salvation possible. We should not be surprised, then, when embracing our own limits also leads to freedom and life.

Paul says in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” That line is often invoked to celebrate the triumph of the will, but we might learn to read it in another light. Because in the very next verse, Paul writes this: “Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.”

If humility teaches us to embrace our limits, courage frees us to share them with others. In return, we’re enabled to break cycles of abuse and receive the care we need. On Wednesday night after what critics deemed her biggest failure, Biles tweeted, “The outpouring of love and support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before.”

May we all know the same.

Hannah Anderson is the author of Made for More, All That’s Good, and Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul.

Without Christianity – A Wordy Wordless

In his newest book, Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind, atheist Tom Holland, who is not a follower of Jesus Christ, claims the morals of the western world would not exist without Christianity.  This is a really interesting read, especially coming from a historian of such repute, yet not a Christian.

2021-07-28 Tom Holland Quote

For more interesting reading, just enter Tom Holland Atheist Historian in your search engine and find gems like this: https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/religion/2016/09/tom-holland-why-i-was-wrong-about-christianity.

Life In Abundance, Even In Death

2021-07-24 Fall in Kentucky

“A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” (John 10:10 (CSB))

It always intrigues me when discussing death with some ‘Christians’ that they demur and say, “Let’s talk about something nicer.”  And I wonder, what is ‘nicer’ than death?  True, I do not look forward to debilitating disease or pains and problems of aging, but the end of this life on earth is not something awful for us to fear.  Even in death, there is abundance of LIFE!

The Christ-follower daily faces paradoxes.  Jesus announced very clearly, For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:35)  The “sermon on the mount,” Matthew 5-7, has many of these oxymorons, starting with the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:2-12).  The most pointed of these are the last two: “Blessed are those who are persecuted (?)” “Blessed are you when others revile you (?) and persecute you (?) and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely (?)  What kind of invitation is this to follow this guy!?

Far too many Christ-followers have been sold only half of the bill of goods.  Prosperity preachers abound with promises that if you just buy their books and listen to their sermons, you will have unending health, wealth and comfort.  If things do not work out to make your life its very best, it must be your lack of faith, or something wrong with you, because God only wants to do good for you.

But just thinking of how the love of parents requires them to sometimes do something painful to their children should eliminate any confusion here.  No child ever said, “Oh, goody, I get to have a vaccine shot today!”  But a loving parent will vaccinate their children against DPT (Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus) to protect them from these much more harmful diseases, no matter how much the child may scream.  Love constrains parents to make their children eat their vegetables even though the dessert cake is sweeter.

So, yes, our Father only wants what is good for us.  C.S. Lewis began to understand this as he matured in his trust in God, writing “We are not doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”  And “there’s the rub,” as Shakespeare’s Hamlet said.  The maturity to which Jesus calls His followers is not the nursery school comfort of warm milk and cookies.  It is the challenge to come to Him and DIE so that you can truly live.

The Christ-follower, like Jesus, lives in a culture of life-affirmation.  Thus abortion, the unwilling taking of an unborn child’s life is anathema to His people.  Euthanasia, the execution of those who no longer are “contributing” to society (whatever that means), is also viewed as something more demonic than beneficial.  Suicide, in societies that have honored God’s word, has always been viewed as counter-productive.  Even suffering, when viewed as a means to draw us closer to the One who suffered more agonizingly than we can imagine, becomes life-affirming and a channel for God to bring glory to Himself.  Our rewards will wait, but they will come.

Thus, we are instructed that when we are persecuted, we can move to another place (Matthew 10:23), but not to retaliate against our persecutors, but to pray FOR them (Note: NOT against them).  We are not to fear death or its agencies that try to murder us (Matthew 10:28).  Francis Chan, just as he headed to Hong Kong to set up ministries in Southeast Asia, noted, “It is crazy to me that it is perfectly normal to be a Christian in America and to be obsessed with staying alive.” (February 7. 2020)  Jim Elliot penned in a letter to his bride, He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Someone observed once, that unless one is willing to die for something they can not really live for it.  We who follow Jesus view death not so much as an enemy of life, but as a ferryman who will one day transport us out of his reach.  Following Jesus may involve pain, suffering, or apparent loss in the world’s eyes.  We may lack in comfort or have greater difficulties than those who just go with whatever cultural stream is flowing.  But there will come a day when it will all be worthwhile.

We must not serve God just for His rewards (another blog coming soon), but He does promise great rewards for those who give up their lives to or for Him.  Our confidence in Him assures us that there is nothing for the Christ-follower to fear.  He came to give us LIFE, and that promise is as certain as His resurrection!  There is no historical event more certain than that Jesus arose from the dead.

“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?”  (1 Corinthians 15:54-55)

 

 

Guest Blog – Alabastersky and Shades of Grey

A blogger presented this on July 15, 2021, and wrote in much clearer fashion than I probably write.  I have not been down all the rabbit-holes she went into, but investigated many of them including extensive reading of Vedic Literature, the Book of Mormon, prophecies of Zoroaster, the Quran, writings of Mary Baker Eddy, and others.

Altogether, the Bible is the only book (or library of books) that really tells the Truth about The God Who Is, how He has revealed Himself throughout history, and finally in Jesus, called The Christ.  Read on for valuable insights.
Thanx, Alabastersky.
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In the 1990’s, in spite of the good little church goer that I was, there was about a 4 or 5 year period where I used to be attracted to anything new-age, from music to books and everything in between. Back then, to me, everything was a shade of grey. There was no black and white, and although you would hear me say that God and scripture were true and that I believed in absolutes, I had no clear understanding of what that really meant.

I was fascinated by Nostradamus and end-of-the-world prophecies, but if you told me I should study the book of Revelation, I likely would have rolled my eyes in the belief that (at least at that time) I was not a theologian nor even a book worm, so none of that would likely make sense to me anyway. The sad truth was that angels clothed in light, things written through trans-channeling (or auto-writing), and anything that focused on a better me and learning to love myself through my own independence and “woman had more of an attraction to me than anything “holy”.

One of the books I actually do remember reading at the time was titled Conversations with God. I found it interesting that the author claimed there was no right or wrong, there was only functional and dysfunctional. Sounds somewhat logical, right? Especially when wrong and right appear so black and white, so unloving and hateful! But let me tell you why all of that is deception dressed in light – taking what is truth, twisting it, and then repackaged it in a way that is always palatable and yet never powerful.

First of all I want to say that God is so much more than just sentience (or feeling) as new-age spiritualism would have us believe. That He is “more of a feeling” and is “everywhere and in everyone and everything” is a twist on the truth that He is omniscient and omnipresent. He is, in fact, an actual living, breathing, person, and His Word is not only truth but really IS ABSOLUTE truth, and very powerful!

Featured Image -- 20182After both of my parents passed away, I learned that grief is love that has no where to go, and because love never dies, grief may subside but it always remains under the surface. So imagine when it dawned on me that I had been grieving the Holy Spirit, because at that time I was so absorbed into all of this, His love for me also had no place to go. I didn’t realize I was actively resisting Him. If you were to ask me back then, I was in such a confused state that I would have even debated that God approved of that form of spiritualism, because I didn’t understand the difference between an “angel clothed in light” and an “angel of the Light“.

Only in Jesus Christ can I find freedom to live the life I was created to live – my purpose in this life. That was a game changer for me, because all of the sudden I saw sin (which is ANYTHING that separates me from Him) as slavery (black), and righteousness in Him as freedom (white).

“Oh but Lisa”, you might say, “there IS grey! Take for example the grey lines between male and female”! Yes, the male/female thing can be a big debate and a lot to unpack for some, but I have to tell you that the black and white in me no longer sees it as a debate. Once I aligned myself with scripture, passages like Psalms 139 (He formed me in my mother’s womb, I am fearfully and wonderfully made, all the days ordained for me were written in His book…) and Jeremiah 1 (before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…) came alive with meaning! I began to realize that if I choose to become anything outside of what He has created me to be (and this goes beyond just LBGTQ, it applies to anything and everyone) – if WE, any of us, choose any other path outside of the one He has created and ordained for us, then we set ourselves up for a life focused on temporary pleasures, and in the end are left not only unsatisfied and unfulfilled, but also in a deadly deception.

True science, in the end, always aligns with scripture (whether intended or not). Why? Because Jesus Christ, God Almighty, the Creator of this universe and everything in it, is immutable. We align with Him, He doesn’t align with us. He doesn’t sanction the sin, He sanctions the sinner. Once I recognize His authority in my life, I am the one who changes as I come under it. Anything less is expecting Him to change and bend to my will instead of me bending to His – and that in itself is saying that I do not believe He is God, because I do not value Him enough to bend my will to His. Truth: the fact that He sanctions the sinner and not the sin has nothing to do with Him not loving me, quite the opposite. It has everything to do with Him loving me so much that He takes delight in me as I discover what I was created for.

I’m just glad He caught my attention enough at the time for me to allow Him to stop the soul-sucking practices, habits, and bad theology I was mixed up in and allow Him to begin healing me instead. His Spirit was continuously wooing me back to Him. As I began to respond and desire conversations with the Living God Himself rather than with just His creation, I knew more and more that He really is immutable (the same yesterday, today, forever), and that scripture really is His holy word.

So that’s where I am with holiness on my end.  It is what I call the journey of shades of grey into a solid state of black and white, because that’s what holiness does. Only those who allow His holiness to be imparted to them realize what a beautiful thing it really is to be set apart in this way. It is incredibly comforting in the chaos of this world, and touches the human spirit in a way that is far more than anything sensual this world has to offer!

Link to original blog: https://alabastersky.wordpress.com/2021/07/15/shades-of-grey/

A prayer my bride reminded me to pray.

2021-07-10 AnonymityAnonymity.  This is what most people seem to feel like when they get behind the steering wheel of their autos.  Especially those with the blackened windows, even on the front windshield (which should be illegal – it’s like driving with sunglasses on even at night!  But that’s for another blog.)2021-07-10 Anonymous Drivers

The anonymity we feel driving allows us to do things that if we knew the other driver or recognized faces, we would never do.  How guilty I feel typing this as it has often been a “clinging sin” of Hebrews 12:1.  My bride of 31 years has often tried to help me, sometimes wisely, sometimes with aggravation, sometimes with good effect, sometimes with greater frustration.

A recent conversation about this came up after some clown ran a stop sign when it was MY turn!  So I pulled forward and blared on my horn to let the redneck know HE was in the WRONG!  Of course, seeing my SUV lunging toward his open window required he give me what he felt was an appropriate “Hawaiian Salute” with a single finger.  Anita was very upset with my behavior and afraid I was going to wind up in a wreck and she wanted to go home.  But our ensuing conversation finally got to my heart.  Somehow the Holy Spirit was able to break through all the layers of anger and bitterness that lay there toward other drivers . . . who drove the way I used to drive.

Later, my mind wandered back to college as I prayed for forgiveness, first for scaring my bride, second for trying to scare the scofflaw driver, third for not listening to the Holy Spirit soooo many, many times.  “Lord, forgive [my] sins and cleanse [me] from all unrighteousness” . . . again.  A memory of Cecil was triggered.  He was a transfer from another school and had a car, a luxury in my circle of friends at that stage of our lives.

Once I asked him for a ride into the city and since he had some time free and we often enjoyed chatting, he gladly agreed.  As we got in his car, though, instead of instantly starting the engine, Cecil said, “This will just take a minute.”  (???)  He leaned his head down, closed his eyes, and prayed.  “Father, thank you for blessing me with this car and C.A.’s friendship.  Help me to remember You are in the back seat, and keep us safe on our errands.”  And with that he started the car and headed into town.

I have no memory of our errands or where we went other than another time to a park outside the city.  But I DO remember this: when we finished whatever errands we were on we returned to his car, he again bowed his head and talked for just a moment to his Lord about our trip back to campus.  And every time we got in his car, he would spend a moment communing with his Master, and asking for safe travels.  Sometimes he would pray for specific things about our travels, sometimes for other things on his mind as we would begin, but every time, BEFORE he started the car, he would pray.

So somehow the Holy Spirit brought this memory of when we were 20 years old to my mind and asked me why I wanted to be anonymous in my car.  The Lord’s prompting suggested that I was leaving Him out of the car when I would drive, and He wanted to be with me.  (Imagine, the KING wants to be with ME!?)  Alone, I wept for my hardness of heart, my ineptitude in driving, and my inconsideration of the deceit with which other drivers were dealing.

And as I prayed I recalled an encouragement from a friend in Alaska: “Most of us don’t seem to realize how we can be a testimony of God’s grace with our cars.”  OUCH!  That was so many years ago, and I still was blind to what Father has been trying to get into my hard head and harder heart.

But He finally got it into me.  Now whenever I get into my car, I first pray.  I ask Father for safe travels, for patience with those who are deceived and think they should be able to violate the laws.  I request The God Who Is to make me aware that the other drivers are people He loves, even when they are inconsiderate, even behind blackened windows and with stereos bouncing their car off the pavement.  And I ask Him to remind me from His seat in the car that I should obey the laws and show His grace to others, as my bride has so often asked me to do.

If you think of me this week, please pray that I will remember His Presence more consistently.

 

Turkey Vultures -Wordless Wednesday

A friend told me these were Turkey Vultures.  I passed them near the road, in the shade of a tree trying to get cool from the heat of the day.  I stopped my car a short distance away where I could get out and get a better look at them and as I approached, apparently it was not hot enough to keep them in the shade for long!  Just had my iPhone in hand so took what I could.  One of the buzzards returned to the power pole closest to the tree to see how long “this interloper” would disturb their afternoon siesta; kind of like he’s sitting up there, thinking, “Okay, bud, how long are you going to stick around?” 😎  Fortunately he did not have this final guy’s attitude or I might have been in trouble!

Patience

Intermezzo – July 4, Independence Day and a Picnic

July 4th came up soooo suddenly!
HALF of the year is already gone as Kentucky moves into summer.
A friend always invites us to his family gatherings and they always have fantastic food.  So this time I wanted to contribute something more than just a snack platter from Meijer. 
Thus two dishes: Cheesy Green Bean Casserole and Lobster Deviled Eggs!

Cheesy (Cheezy? 😁) Green Bean Casserole
A staple of family get-togethers, I decided to make the green bean casserole something that was my own.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon butter
48 ounces fresh green beans
1 large carrot
1/4 large onion
8 ounces of your favorite cheese (I used Monterey-Jack since we were out of gorgonzola or cheddar.)
1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Celery soup
1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1 container French’s Crispy Fried Onions

Directions: (really siimple)
Preheat oven to 350⁰F.
Start by rubbing the sesame oil into the 3 quart (3L) baking dish with butter.  Be sure to rub the sides of the dish.
Cut the fresh green beans, French-style.
Actually, this went pretty quickly after the first two (or you can purchase these canned).
Mince the carrot.  I just used my Cuisinart Smart Stick Grinder.
Slice and saute the onion until brown or clarified.
Grate the cheese.
Put the beans, onions and carrots into your dish.
Add the soups and mayonnaise and stir thoroughly.
Bake for 30 minutes after which add the cheese and cover the top with the fried onions.
Bake for five more minutes, and it’s done!

Lobster Deviled Eggs
I kept it simple even with the Lobster Deviled Eggs.  Anita cannot handle spices and is allergic to any kind of bell pepper, including paprika.  So I divided the eggs into two batches.

Ingredients:
One dozen large or extra-large eggs
8-10 ounces of frozen lobster meat; ground up
1/4 cup ground dill pickles (or relish) drained
1/2 tablespoon yellow mustard
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup ground olives drained
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
sprinkles of parsley flakes and paprika

Directions:
Hard boil the eggs and cool. If you boil them lying flat in a large pan or frying pan, the yolk will distribute better so you will not have some with very thin edges of white.  For ease I boiled the eggs the night before so they were in the fridge the next morning.
Peel and slice the eggs in half. 
Combine half the lobster meat and dill pickles and add half the egg yolks.
Add the yellow mustard and 1/4 cup mayonnaise and mash together with a large fork.
Spoon into the whites and set aside.
Combine the other half of the lobster meat with olives and add the the other egg yolks.
Add the Dijon mustard and the other half of the mayonnaise and mash together with any left over from the first batch.
Spoon into the remaining whites.
Add parsley flakes to the pickle set and paprika to the olive set.
If you boil an extra egg or two when you boiled the eggs, you can claim “cook’s privilege” and gobble up a couple for “testing.” 😉  The leftover filling can make a nice dip for crackers or chips.

Watch the fireworks and enjoy the food.