Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Jello Salad

This weekend was sure to be a fun one! We had our first cross country meet of the season. Child #2 was running this sport for the first time. We were going to visit my parents after the meet and spend the weekend with them. We had lunch plans in Charlotte with my cousin and her family after the meet as well. But you know what they say about "plans!"

Right before the race began, my cousin's husband found Hubby and me at our team's tent. I looked around for his wife and didn't see her. He told me that 20 minutes earlier, she had called him and told him that her dad had passed away. My precious uncle ,who was 89, was called home to be with the Lord. They didn't tell their son, who was running, until after the meet. Y'all, I was broken-hearted. I loved my aunt and uncle so much! I would spend weeks at their house with my cousin in the summers when we were growing up. They had a lake house, and that's where I attempted to learn to ski--never could get up! They took us to Nashville to the Grand 'Ol Opry when we were little girls and even bigger girls! My uncle had a garden and would let us pick fresh beans and squash for dinner. He simply loved life and lived it to the fullest. They were like another set of parents to us.

I was so blessed that 3 weeks ago, after She Speaks, I had the opportunity to visit my aunt and uncle who are now in assisted living. It was a short visit, but one that I treasure. I was concerned about my uncle's health then and conveyed this to my parents. They went for a visit the following week--another blessing.

Sunday afternoon, on the way home, I spoke with my cousin. We cried and remembered and laughed over the phone. Then I asked her what could I do? The funeral was going to be where I live, and I wanted to help. Then these words came out of my mouth, and I have no idea from where!! (Actually, I do know!) I told her that I would do the lunch after the funeral. People, I do not enjoy cooking at all--eating, yes, cooking, no! Boy, was God taking me out of my comfort zone!! As soon as we got home, I went straight to a 2 hour Bible Study at church. Then, Hubby and I flew over the Publix and ordered a meat tray. Thus the basis for our meal. We were planning on 35 people to attend. I even told my cousin that we could do it at my house! Hubby looked at me and simply shook his head "no!" Y'all, our house is not tiny nor is it's just right!! But not to seat 35 people. So, back to the church I go and find the minister. Yes, the fellowship hall is open and yes, we can use it! Praise the Lord!

Monday, I spent my time in two grocery stores and subbing half a day. I made some desserts, and I could do no more until daybreak on Tuesday. I had people praying for me, and God was listening. The scripture that He showed me yesterday was perfect. It's from Paul. When we are weak in an area, we have to allow God to work through us. It makes Him strong and gives Him--not us--the glory. (2 Cor. 12:10)

While planning the menu for yesterday, I started thinking about all of the foods that my uncle enjoyed. He was a wonderful a gardener and fisherman--I wanted to make him proud. The menu was fruit salad, fresh veggies and dip, potato salad, sandwiches,and a slew of desserts. I pondered as to what was missing. What else could I fix? (That I was capable of!) Then, like a light bulb, it hit me smack in the face! Jello salad! What southern funeral--or any funeral anywhere--is complete without a jello salad? So, back to the store I went! By daybreak on Tuesday, everything seemed to be in order! Hubby took the day off, and helped me cart everything to the church kitchen where we would assemble it all. Lettuce flying, strawberries chopped, broccoli prepared...done! Then, I got ready to do the jello salad. (This is NOT a congealed one! It's just orange jello, drained pineapples, cool whip, and marshmellows.) Hubby was putting it together. Everything was there...except the jello!!!! People! I knew I had bought the jello! I even remembered what aisle it was on! No jello! Back to the store one more time!

I am happy (relieved??) to say that the meal went well. No one got sick. We had enough of everything (even extra potato salad!) The jello salad was a hit and quite tasty. All of this showed me that even in the busyness of life, God will be there in the big and the little--if you simply call out to Him (which I did!). Spending time with my family and friends was so enjoyable. My uncle was the only one missing from this celebration of life! And...he would have loved my jello salad :).

BTW, I found the 2 boxes of jello in the mama mini van under the overdue library books late yesterday afternoon.

Sweet Blessings,


elaine @ peace for the journey said...

You are a good soul, Susan. Thank you for opening up your heart and life to these family members in their time of need.


Danielle said...

How precious you are, girl. Seriously. God honors those that are compassionate and willing to be open to His leading... which you were. And He did bless. I'm so glad everything went wonderful. Just imagine the feast your uncle is having everyday now. Mmm Mmm Mmmm, bet it's good!!!!

Danielle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marci @ All Things Wonderful said...

You are so sweet! I know lunch was great. My favorite part: the jello with the library books! :)

Paula (SweetPea) said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm sure the effort of cooking, which I dislike, was a blessing to all, what a sweet gesture.

You are so funny with your flying lettuce, chopped brocolli, and jello hanging out with the library books. you make the jello or do you put the dry mix in the coolwhip, like a fluff dessert. Let me know.

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

What a blessing you were to your grieving family Susan! I know God will bless you back even more! In our neck of the woods though when there is a funeral, all the friends and neighbors bring in covered dishes, cakes, pies, cokes, coffee...everything you can imagine....for the family's dinner. That makes it seem so much more HUGE in my eyes that you did this all on your own even though it was your uncle who had passed away and you were grieving yourself.

By the way....that Jello salad you refered to is one of my favorites! Have you ever made it with strawberry jello and frozen strawberries instead of the orange/pineapple kind? And somtimes I even throw in a few chopped pecans or walnuts. Yummy! Mississippi

Yolanda said...


You literally bring JOY to many people. Inside your family as well as outside.


PS: Am thankful for your sweet memories!!

Sharon@JoyInTheTruth said...

Oh, Susan....The Lord will bless you for opening your home and being so hospitable to your family. :)

Glad you found the Jello!

Kelly Combs said...

I'm sorry for your loss, and so glad you were able to help.

I now know (I think) exactly what your comment at my post about hospitality and not grumbling was about. I know you did GREAT!!!

elizabeth said...

I am so sorry for your loss.

I love the way you were able to rise to the occasion and go outside your comfort zone. This is a very inspirational post.

Andrea said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Your uncle sounds like a fantastic man! ;o) I know you did him proud!!! ;o) SO impressed you did the jello salad, not one I have attempted. ;o)

Gotta Run..Gotta Ride said...

Hugs! Thank you for my message and I hope we can chat today sometime.

Sorry sorry for your loss!

Sassy Granny ... said...

My condolences, too.

The jello salad saga made me think of my mother. She could use jello in ways that defy the imagination. I loved her raspberry jello w/fresh rasberries, cream cheese, sour cream, nuts, and ???? best.

Now I'm thinking about SPAM, and all the ways she used to fix it. Oh my goodness.


Mary Singer Wick said...

Dear sweet Susan,

I'm so very sorry for your loss, but praise God for how He uses you to bring joy to so many people!

May the refreshment you have shared with others come back to you in full measure.

You are a treasure!

Sending a hug your way.