Thursday, November 26, 2009

In Everything Give Thanks

Sometimes when we are struggling with burdens and circumstances of life, it is hard to find anything to be thankful for. Today I'm thankful for the simple things, like easy access to fresh, clean water. Here's a story that I was recently given persmission to share, along with one reason I'm feeling thankful and reflective today.
And if you are looking for something to do with the abundance of leftover turkey from today's bounty, maybe substitute it for the chicken in this tasty recipe from noted author, Kay Marshall Strom. Her recent release, The Call of Zulina, is a novel with accurate historical details regarding slavery in Africa. Below is a recipe and first-hand recollection of Kay's own real-life interactions at the well in Africa.


This warm, mellow soup from Senegal, West Africa, can easily incorporate any extra turkey you have on hand. Just substitute it for the chicken.
You will need:
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
cup diced chicken (or turkey)
1 cup yogurt
juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
fresh chives, washed and snipped

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the curry powder and flour and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually blend in the chicken broth and bring to a boil, continuing to stir constantly. Add diced chicken (or turkey).
Remove the kettle from the heat and cool the soup slightly. Gradually stir in the yogurt, a small amount at a time. Squeeze the juice from the lemon half and add the juice to the soup.
Garnish each bowl of soup with a dash of fresh chives.

The Women at the Well
by Kay Marshall Strom
In Senegal, West Africa, I sat beside the community well, because thats where the village women gathered. Out of the dusty wasteland they came, from every direction, their babies tied to their backs and their water containers balanced on their heads. They were glad to rest beside the well, for they had to walk many miles to get there. The average woman in the world, we are told, walks seven miles a day in her quest for water. When you factor in those of us who only walk to the kitchen to turn on the faucet, you can see that some must trek much farther than seven miles!
At the well, the women have a chance to catch up with the goings-on in neighboring villages, to air their complaints with one another, and to share their own news. And so I sat by the well with Obei and Helene, two Christian women in a country 98 percent Muslim, and waited to meet the women as they came for water.
And come they did.
A young woman came, sobbing over her baby son who was burning with fever. We prayed together in Jesus name that her baby would be healed.
A girl came and whispered her wish to learn to read, but said she could not because she walk to the well and back took her all day. Obei offered to teach her a little every day when she came for water. She started with: For God so loved the world.
A woman came with terror in her eyes and confided that her daughter must surely be a witch. Helene prayed for the girl, but also for the mother. Do not believe what others tell you, she warned the distraught mother. Believe in the power of God.
And Songa came. Obei and Helene had prayed with her before in Jesus name, and Songa had seen a miracle as her seriously ill son was healed. Now she too, was a follower of Christ. My husband ordered me to renounce Jesus, Songa told us. When I would not, he threw me out of the house, but he kept my children. Please, please pray for my little ones. Pray that they too will know the God of mercy and love.
This holiday season, I am thankful for the women at the well in Senegalall three of them, for Songa has joined the other two. Im thankful for the lives they are touching in the name of Jesus. Most of all, I am thankful for the Living Water that flows freely for every one of us.

Author Kay Marshall Strom has two great loves: writing and helping others achieve their own writing potential. Kay has written thirty-six published books, numerous magazine articles, and two screenplays. While mostly a nonfiction writer, the first book of her historical novel trilogy Grace in Africa has met with acclaim.
Kay speaks at seminars, retreats, writers conferences, and special events throughout the country and around the world. She is in wide demand as an instructor and keynote speaker at major writing conferences. She also enjoys speaking aboard cruise ships in exchange for exotic cruise destinations. Learn more about Kay at her website or contact:

Kathy Carlton Willis Communications
1324 S. 10th Street Raymondville, TX 78580 | | 956-642-6319 |

Ever read stories like this and feel helpless. "What can I do about the lack of fresh water a world away?" Unrelated to the above book, I recently came across the Mocha Club. The idea is simple. You give up two "mochas" ($7) a month, and instead use that money to help someone a world away have access to fresh water and other life-saving aid! Find out more at

Another great idea is The TreeWell Project, using the proceeds from Christmas tree sales to fund African wells. :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Choice

I've mentioned my sweet friend Holley Gerth more than once here. Today she posted a story I've heard from her several times in the past, but it never fails to move me and challenge me in my choices and perceptions. Please enjoy with me Bitter or Better from the (in)Courage website. :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Breast Cancer Support Resources

I must be honest and say upfront that I don't have personal experience with, nor even personal recommendations for, any of these resources. But having known several friends who have survived, and having the reality brought home even more personally as I've talked with chemo patients while visiting the hospital for weekly infusions, I have been searching for resources offering support through the battle of cancer. Many of the links here are specific to breast cancer (though some are general cancer support resources) as that is the journey many of my friends have faced. Simply by being born female, my "odds" are 1 in 8 of facing breast cancer at some point in my life as well.

If you know of other resources, especially ones from a Christian faith-based perspecitve, please share with me and my readers!!! I am also looking for resources available for other cancers, in general or specific kinds, as well.

Outreach of Hope Dave Dravecky's ministry "to serve suffering people, especially those with cancer and amputation, by offering resources for encouragement, comfort and hope through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ."

The Lydia Project "Spreading faith, hope and love to women facing cancer." This is a must-visit resource! I have a soft spot in my heart for women's ministries named after strong Biblical women, so this website caught my attention from the get-go. But when I realized what their ministry did, it brought me to tears. What beauty from ashes! I won't try to describe it, just go see for yourself.

An Uninvited Guest: One Woman's Journey from Cancer to Hope (book by Jeana Floyd)

Finding the Light in Cancer's Shadow: Hope, Humor, and Healing after Treatment (book by Lynn Eib)

Cancer: Longterm Survivorship Issues message board forum through the Rest Ministries Sunroom, offering supportive understanding and dedicated to issues of long-term cancer survival

Stepping into the Ring: Fighting for Hope Over Despair in the Battle Against Breast Cancer (book by Nicole Johnson)

Nicole Johnson has also written three short "pieces" on breast cancer that are well worth the time to read:
Stepping Into the Ring: Round 1
Stepping Into the Ring: Round 2
Stepping Into the Ring: Round 3

Laura Jensen Walker Christian breast cancer survivor and author of multiple books including Thanks for the Mammogram!: Fighting Cancer With Faith, Hope, and a Healthy Dose of Laughter

Lump to Laughter, "a ministry-driven, non-profit organization committed to conquering breast cancer and supporting those affected by it."

Cancer Resource List from Focus on the Family

Hope Navigators - Cancer Support Blog This resource is helpful for "burden bearers" longing to come alongside a friend with cancer, while the parent website offers resources for cancer fighters themselves.

Cancer Patient Advocate "is dedicated to helping people provide emotional and spiritual encouragement to patients and their caregivers, especially those facing cancer."

Breast Friends, "a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for breast cancer patients." Please note that this resource does not seem to be faith-based and may or may not be "faith-friendly". I am adding it to my resource list because it does seem to offer extensive support information both to patients and their supporters.

Have a story or resource you want to share? Please let me know!