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#GlobalForgivenessDay July 7, 2021

Filed under: Family,friends,hope,Reflection — itsrebekahlyn @ 1:18 PM
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If you follow my Facebook page, you know most days I’ve posted about random celebrations designated for that day. Most of them are fun and many revolve around food, but others are more serious. Today, is Global Forgiveness Day and as I worked on the post, my thoughts went deeper than a social media post.

I see a tremendous amount of pain in the world, particularly when I watch the news. Rioting, violent crime, verbal assaults, all these stem from a place of anger and hurt. No amount of government intervention or additional policing will solve this problem. Forgiveness is needed to begin the process of healing in our homes, our local communities, our countries, around the world.

 

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.

 

That part is well known, but Jesus continued: “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

 

Holding on to hurt and anger only injures the one carrying this burden. Quite literally, refusing to forgive can damage our physical bodies. A University of Wisconsin study regarding forgiveness found forgiving people suffered less from certain illnesses. On the other hand, less forgiving people suffered a higher number of health problems. Withholding forgiveness causes stress, which can lead to physical symptoms like – anxiety, high blood pressure, and depression.

 

The amount of relief and freedom that comes when we choose to release that burden and forgive the person who has hurt or offended us is immeasurable. It’s often easy to say we’ve forgiven but much harder to mean that in our hearts and allow the healing to begin. Forgiveness doesn’t always mean reconciliation, either. There are some offenses that damage relationships beyond repair and make it unsafe to return to them. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we allow the person to continue hurting us, either physically, verbally, or emotionally. We may need to depart from those relationships as part of the forgiveness and healing process.

 

I struggled for many years with unforgiven hurt from my childhood that grew into bitterness and stunted my emotional growth. When I began releasing the pain, that process that took longer than I even realized at the time. Choosing to forgive isn’t always easy and doing so doesn’t guarantee the hurt will disappear overnight. Sometimes we need to make the choice daily to forgive the other person, to pardon them in order for us to begin our healing.

 

That early hurt shaped how I dealt with subsequent offenses until I realized I hadn’t completely dealt with it and sincerely cleared the debt of an apology I felt owed by that person. When that came to light, my eyes were opened to other hurts I had held onto and used not just as bricks to protect my heart, but offensive weapons to ward off potential offenses. Who here hasn’t used a past hurt in a current argument even if the two instances aren’t linked at all? We do that because we aren’t dealing with the hurt at the time and allowing true forgiveness to complete its healing work in us.

 

How much happier would life be if we could wake up each morning free of resentment, grudges, emotional debts we expect to be paid. Instead, we would wake up with peace, trust, and an open heart. I wish I could say I’ve reached that point, but there are still days I struggle with anger and resentment about certain things. Being aware of them, though, and making the choice to forgive them once again brings me one step closer to complete healing.

 

Learning from History March 17, 2021

Filed under: Family,history — itsrebekahlyn @ 8:15 AM
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I’m a student of history. It always frustrated me in school when each year we would only cover the same time periods. We rarely made it to World War I and never beyond. I took it upon myself to read about the events not covered in class.

The magnitude of devastation the world has seen and survived helped to keep the events of 2020 in perspective. The “Black Death” swept through most of the known world in the mid-1300s and lasted seven years killing an estimated 200 million people. There was no known cure or treatment. This plague came on the heels of a famine about thirty years earlier, which is estimated to have killed anywhere from 30%-60% of Europe’s population.

My grandmother in the garden circa 1993

Many of you have probably heard the statistics of the Spanish flu that began in 1918 as WWI was still grinding on. Somewhere between 20-50 million people died from this illness and again there was little doctors were able to do. Just over forty years later, in the late 1960s, my grandmother was stricken during the Hong Kong flu epidemic. Thankfully she survived but her lungs were damaged for the rest of her life. Treatments had progressed, though, and this outbreak’s death toll declined to between 1-2 million lives.

Most recently, in 2009, the Swine Flu swept across the globe creating panic and causing around 200,000 recorded deaths. My dad contracted this illness and was very ill. He survived, but again his lungs were damaged and he’s suffered breathing issues ever since.

Disease is not the only thing that has claimed lives through the centuries. Wars, famines, natural disasters, tyrannical leaders, unchecked gang violence, and everyday car wrecks have laid claim to millions of victims. When the media is bombarding us with one story all day and facts are evolving on a frequent basis it’s easy to get caught up in fear and become paralyzed, desperate for any action that offers protection.

I have family members and acquaintances that contracted COVID. Some were very sick, some died, but most were minimally ill. I have gone through the gut wrenching pain of watching loved ones die of incurable diseases. I don’t discount the suffering of those who have experienced loss. It took a period of anguish for me to come to terms with what my heart has known since childhood. God knows all the days of our lives. He knows when we will be born, all we will do and the day we will die. It’s an inevitable part of life none of us like to think about but cannot escape. Remembering that along with the lessons of the past helped me keep the year in perspective.

If you don’t know Jesus in a personal way, it’s difficult to see light or experience hope in this fear filled time. If you need hope, I encourage you to take time to read the New Testament of the Bible, the words of Jesus himself. Start with the book of John. If that is intimidating, watch Season 1 of The Chosen, which follows the calling of the disciples of Jesus. It makes the life of Jesus relatable, understandable, and real. Season 2 will begin streaming on Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021.

Humanity has suffered great turmoil before and we will do so again until the day Jesus returns. What a glorious day that will be!

 

Loving the DIY March 3, 2021

Filed under: DIY,Family — itsrebekahlyn @ 1:21 PM
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I’ve been pretty self-sufficient for as long as I can remember. I have put together all my furniture, even the Ikea stuff with the terrible directions. Watching HGTV demolition days always inspired in me a feeling of how satisfying it would be to take a sledge hammer to my kitchen cabinets.

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Personal Correspondence November 19, 2019

Filed under: Family,friends,writing — itsrebekahlyn @ 7:30 PM
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Re-blogged November 19, 2019

 

Over the past few years, I’ve increasingly found myself thinking about the practice of writing letters and cards. Written correspondence has been a part of human communication for centuries; a way to share the news of the day and provide encouragement. After my grandmother passed away, my mom and I spent long hours going through her papers and found letters from her sisters. My grandmother was one of twelve siblings, most of who remained in North Carolina after she moved to Florida. 

 

 

Often the letter was just a quick note to let my grandmother know they had made it back home after a visit to Florida and some kind words about their stay. Some were longer updates on what was happening with the family in North Carolina and inquires after my grandmother and the family here in Florida.

 

I have my own box of important letters that I’ll either need to deal with before I leave this world or they’ll provide entertainment for whoever is tasked with my estate. A few years ago I threw away hundreds of letters my high school best friend and I exchanged. We got to a point where we were writing so much we took to just transferring a notebook between us, using code names to talk about the boys we thought were cute. I still have a couple of those notebooks just for kicks and wish I could remember those code names. 

 

I’ve started taking more time to purchase cards to let friends or family know I’m thinking about them. Phone calls are nice and have their appropriate time, but there is something about sending and receiving a card that, to me, resonates sincere consideration and care. A card of encouragement sent during a difficult time can be held onto and pulled out when the crush of despair washes over you, a reminder that there is someone out there thinking about you and loving you.

 

It’s a shame the US postage stamp keeps rising in cost. I might consider sending letters about the mundanities of life to some of my friends and family to keep in touch in a more personal fashion, without worrying about the prying eyes of hackers or the chance a social media platform is selling my “private” messages to the highest bidder. 

 

Maybe as I get older I am becoming more sentimental, but I did come across an article in Medium a couple weeks ago advocating bringing back handwriting. The article referenced studies that show students who take notes in longhand tend to retain more information that those that typed notes. I can attest that I did better in school when I was handwriting notes, even writing practice essays before tests. I believe there is a connection between the brain, the heart, and the written word. I still journal in longhand and the act of doing so helps to calm me when I’m anxious or bring peace when I feel sorrow.

 

Working on this blog led me to pull my box of letters from the closet.

 

I opened it and found at some point I had taken time to bundle some of the letters and cards together. Those bundles were all from individuals with separate items thrown in at later dates. The oldest letter I identified came from my elementary school best friend, most likely over our summer break. I was surprised at how many letters I had exchanged with one of my high school friends who moved out of state during our sophomore year and even more shocked at the number of letters from one of my college friends. We continued paper correspondence even though email had come along (albeit recently). I loved seeing these names and glimpsing at some of the letters. I could sit for hours reading them and remembering the good times we shared. 

 

Do you think hand written notes will make a comeback?

 

My friend, Mike, is an excellent photographer who recently asked me what I thought about notecards. I, of course, told him I love them (I actually have a stockpile from days of compulsive shopping). When he showed me the prototype of some cards he was thinking about selling, I thrilled with the possibilities. By the time we finished talking, I’d given him ideas for several collections of notecards using his photos.

 

In recognition of Mike’s talent, and in an effort to bring back personal written correspondence, I’m giving away a set of his notecards.  If you’d like to see more of his work or purchase some cards, you can find his shop on Etsy at www.mtigreetingcards.com 

Enter to win these lovely note cards.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/573b0d142/?

 

Celebrate the journey August 30, 2018

Filed under: Authors,Books,Family — itsrebekahlyn @ 8:14 AM
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Time in the mountains of North Carolina is a balm to my spirit. The birds sound happier, the water is more refreshing, the air smells sweeter and I feel at peace. This trip was planned to celebrate my parents birthdays, enjoy the comedy of Jeanne Robertson and indulge in my love of Michael Bolton. At the time I booked the flight, I had no idea when my new book would be completed, so it was extra sweet to have a proof copy awaiting me when I arrived at my parents’ house. Getting to show this off to my family, particularly so close to their birthdays, was exciting.

 

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Gaines Fever July 8, 2018

Filed under: Authors,Cooking,DIY,Family,Recipes,Uncategorized — itsrebekahlyn @ 4:03 PM

I was late to the Chip & Joanna Gaines “Fixer Upper” phenomenon. I happened to turn on HGTV one weekend last fall when I needed some background noise while I cleaned house and a Fixer Upper marathon was on. I ended up spending more time taking breaks to watch the show than I spent on cleaning. I was hooked on the transformations this sweet couple was able to bring about on some of the most hopeless looking homes. I started watching pretty much every time I found several episodes on in a row and soon found myself wanting to visit Waco, TX. Every time I’ve mentioned this desire I’ve had multiple people express the same feeling. I even lived the trip vicariously through one friend’s Facebook posts.

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Keeping Dad Busy May 8, 2017

Filed under: Baking,DIY,Family,Uncategorized — itsrebekahlyn @ 8:23 AM

I’m still in the baking doldrums, although I recently purchased a jelly roll pan that I’m looking forward to using. I’ve been busy encouraging my crafty side and nurturing my green thumb as my new escape from writing and editing the past couple of months. You better believe, keeping anything alive in this Florida drought is a real challenge. I thought I had it figured out while my dad was visiting and he set up a drip hose that hit all the scattered pots. Things were going great until he left and the hose stopped dripping in all the right spots. Fixing that’s on my never-ending to-do list. (more…)

 

Memories Created February 20, 2017

Filed under: DIY,Family — itsrebekahlyn @ 7:00 AM
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This blog isn’t about cooking, but it does take place in my kitchen, so I hope you’ll pour a cup of coffee (or tea), sit back and enjoy a story.

Tea Table

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Traveling in the Clouds July 9, 2015

Filed under: Family,Fresh Foods,Southern Cooking — itsrebekahlyn @ 8:25 AM
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I had the pleasure of spending my Fourth of July weekend in North Carolina. The weather was 20-30 degrees cooler than

The rhododendrons were still blooming.

The rhododendrons were still blooming.

Florida and I basked in every minute of reprieve from the heat. Usually when I go to NC I spend most of the time working on my next book, but this time I only had time to cram in a few hours of work time.

 

 

Another Florida friend was already staying with my family and we had made arrangements to drop her off with her sister in Banner Elk, NC on July 2. This should have been about a 3-hour drive, but it ended up being more like 5 or 6 hours. I’m beginning to learn to be wary of anything that says it’s 3 hours. One day I’m going to be on a 3-hour trip and become the next Gilligan! (more…)

 

Baking Procrastination June 15, 2015

Filed under: Baking,Family,Recipes — itsrebekahlyn @ 7:00 AM
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I love baking, but not in the summer. The oven makes the whole house ridiculously hot and I can’t afford to run the air conditioning cool enough to make it comfortable. However, the past few weeks I’ve been obsessed with baking, despite the heat. It all started in May when I should have been finalizing my latest book, Spring Dawn. Instead, I pulled out a recipe I’ve been wanting to try for several months- chocolate biscotti crunch cookies. My parents were visiting and they enjoyed them so much, I made a second batch a few days later for them to take on their trip back to North Carolina. Of course, I kept a few for myself too. I made some adjustments to the second batch that made them even better than the first.

 

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