True mother-love never fails to point her child to the Author of love. Susan L. Lenzkes

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Frankly Phyllis

For The Love of God!

Does anyone know where the expression "For the love of God!" originated? I can't find it. When I hear people of varying ages say it -- people who I know love the Lord Almighty -- I focus on His love, above all others. I've taken to saying it to myself as a reminder of that very thing in trying moments. I must confess, however, I don't say it out loud because it can sound like taking the Name of the Lord in vain, something against which He adamantly advises!

Just in time for Valentine's Day, something new has entered my way of thinking. I shall call it an example of the love of God that's missing among us. A number of my friends through the years have "graduated to heaven," as Woman to Woman® guest David Maier put it on the New Year's weekend show. And as I've attended events since their passing in which they were major players, I notice things aren't quite as lovely now as they were then. And it's because a particular person who shared the love of God in them before is gone. This is not a slight to anyone but rather an observation that caught me by surprise. And since it's happened more than once, I do want to think further on it.

For example, to give you an idea where I'm headed, the church dinners, bazaars -- especially the soup-and-salad fund-raiser -- are just not the same anymore. I finally figured out what's missing. It's Shirley's homemade soup and her marvelous and varied bread loaves, which she cut with an electric knife. And her jams and jellies aren't there either, much less her pickles. Gone are Margaret's little potted aloe plants and other starts from her summer cuttings, all neatly rooted for others to take home. Dare I even mention her homegrown elephant garlic and generous bunches of fresh basil? Now we have good enough rolls from the bakery and no one says anything about the soups, but we all know the difference. We're in a bit of a pickle.

I did inquire once to see if Shirley's recipes went missing. No, I was told, she did them from memory and never wrote them down! Now she's forgetful and that's that. I left it alone and moved on and then one day it hit me. Shirley and Margaret and the others carefully, dutifully, endlessly and joyfully shared their gifts quietly through the years. To these generous offerings we'd all say, "Mmm, wonderful!" and "Thank you for taking the trouble to do all this," but who ever wondered what would come next?

Well, that's what I'm wondering right now. Who will? Part of my answer came rather too quickly. "You will!" I heard very clearly in my head. I've enjoyed serving the Lord by loving people with other gifts than those that are missing. But as I'm getting older, wouldn't it be a nice way to love by performing some of those replacement duties that are missing? I do pick my own berries and fruits all summer and put them up. How much trouble would it be to do a few more batches? I used to make all our breads before the best bakery in the world came to town. I could do that again, just for special church occasions. The aroma alone would be worth the effort! And maybe I'll even buy an electric slicing knife. I give friends slips of my garden plants all summer long. I suppose I could pot a few to put out for others to buy and raise some money for charity. And about those soups ... why I could cook up some favorites from the Woman to Woman® website recipe column. And this just hit me, I'd forgotten how my sister and I used to trail the gargantuan pickle truck over to Bear Lake, Mich., from the cottage and wait until it loaded up all the right-sized cucumbers. After it was loaded, we'd buy the bushels of odd sizes to take home and pickle. I still have those mason jars!

Thanks for accompanying me on this brief mental detour! Does it make you wonder how you can restore some of the loveliness that's missing in your little corner of the world? Maybe that's where the saying "For the Love of God!" came from. It was someone pondering, "Now what shall I do to share it?!" Frankly, could it be your turn?

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