My friend Catherine was in a thrift store when she noticed a couple placing batteries in a “Tickle Me, Elmo” doll to see if it worked.
Elmo had an infectious laugh. He would fall over kicking his legs & pounding the floor. One could not help but laugh with him.
Studies show that laughter has many physical benefits, and scripture confirms that “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” Catherine began her own hunt for an Elmo doll because as she put it, “We need a ‘little happy’ around here.”
I met Reverend George and Catherine is the midst of a very difficult time. George had a life limiting illness and Catherine was his primary caregiver.
Once a robust pastor who loved to work with his hands, this faithful man of God was slowly losing his physical strength while his mind stayed sharp. He had chronic pain. He depended on Catherine and others for all of his physical needs.
Every so often, Catherine and George would exchange a look and decide “we need a little happy around here.” Elmo would come off the shelf and for a few moments his antics would lighten the mood, and this couple married just shy of 50 years would laugh together.
All who entered this home could see their faith in action. George always prayed for you before you left the bedside. He cared for the souls of others, even leading two of his nurse’s aides to the Lord as THEIR Savior in the time they cared for him.
Visitors noticed the Elmo doll, and began bringing other versions of this toy to the home. Catherine said they had five of them all sitting on a shelf waiting to ‘bring a little happy’ to get them through a rough day.
One of the attributes of a mature believer is the ability to ‘suffer well.’ Jesus said, “In the world you shall have tribulations, but be of good cheer I have overcome the world!”
When you live out your faith when times are difficult the glory goes to God, and as Catherine and George can attest, He WILL help you to overcome.
Today I’m sharing a Pumpkin Bread recipe from Catherine. It’s been in her family for 4 decades. Catherine says a cream cheese frosting takes this recipe ‘over the top.’
3 cups sugar
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 & 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
1 C vegetable oil
2 C pumpkin or 1-16oz can pumpkin
1/2 c milk, warmed
Mix all together well. Spray a 9×11 baking pan with non-stick spray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 60 to 90 minutes. When done, cover with foil. (This will hold the moisture in.)
Note: This recipe was discovered by Catherine’s step grandmother when she worked for a school district. It has been a family favorite for over 40 years. It is a most requested recipe, especially when Catherine’s sister offers it for sale when her time allows.
PS: Here is a little back story as to how I met George and Catherine:
I had been recording Confectionately Yours for about 2 years, then doing some live on-air for the morning show for several weeks when my ‘real job’ positioned me for a home visit with George. It was December 5, 2013. I called the home to set up a time to visit. Catherine informed me she wasn’t going to be home, but caregivers would be with George. As we were about to end the call, she commented that I sounded like a lady they listened to on the radio.
I had had a few voice recognition incidents before, but I always get a little thrill when it happens. This radio oportunity was never on my radar and was such a ‘God thing’ that I still marvel at how He arranged it all.
I admitted to Catherine that I WAS the lady on the radio.
Catherine told George that “someone from the radio station was coming to visit.” I arrived and did my ‘real job’ stuff. There was a picture collage hanging on the wall and I asked Rev George about it. These pictures were reminders of several highlights of his ministry over the years. (I love hearing folks life stories!)
As the visit was coming to a close, Rev George said, “I thought someone from the radio station was coming.” Sheepishly, I admitted that I was that person. (Never think more highly of yourself than you ought! LOL)
George held my hand and prayed the MOST beautiful and heartfelt prayer for me that day. There was a lightness of spirit that came after that visit that I had not had since the sadness of my husband’s death 3 years prior. I had actual joy for the upcoming holiday season.
I would see Rev George and Catherine off & on as I did my ‘real job.’ It was a joy to know and interact with them. Catherine is now a widow like me. She and I have had several talks about how we are navigating this life now without the godly men we married. We both are relying on God to direct our path. We have complete trust that He will!!