Thursday, October 20, 2011

Peanut Butter Pie

Late Sunday afternoon, I stopped by a local grocery store to pick up a few things. I was dutifully placing my items on the conveyer belt. A young man at the cash register, Mansur, asked me how my experience had been in Kroger and if I had found everything I had been looking for in the store. I commented that I was a little disappointed because they seemed to be out of the Oreo cookie pie crust; but I did manage to locate a graham cracker pie crust that I could use instead.
The young man at the cash register looked at me quizzically, slowly repeating what I had said out loud. I nodded, saying that was correct. Our conversation was interrupted by another young man, Sheldon, who was putting my groceries into bags at the end of the counter. Sheldon asked what I wanted with an Oreo cookie pie crust. I said that I was going to make a pie. Sheldon asked what kind of a pie I was going to make. I said that I thought that I would make a peanut butter pie. Sheldon said that he really liked pie, especially peanut butter pie.
Listening intently to the dialogue, Mansur politely asked, “What is pie?” I asked Mansur where he was from and if he had ever had pie before. He said he was from Africa, and shook his head no. I asked Mansur and Sheldon if they would like a piece of peanut butter pie. Mansur, still uncertain of what we were talking about, looked at Sheldon, who was nodding his head enthusiastically. Mansur said yes, and I asked them both when they were working again. Mansur said he would be working on Tuesday evening. I promised that I would be back with pie.
Mansur said to look for him when I came back to the store with pie. He said that he was easy to spot because he was the only guy in the store with a Mohawk, and he was black. He grinned. I thanked him for pointing that out, adding that I hadn’t noticed that he was black. He laughed. I looked at Sheldon and asked if he would be in the store on Tuesday evening as well. He pointed to Mansur and said, “I’m with him.” As I was walking away, I could hear Sheldon singing, repeatedly, “I’m going to get some pie…”
I stopped at the grocery store on Tuesday evening, during the designated time frame. Mansur was so excited to see me that he hugged me and said “You came back.” Sheldon was not at work that evening, but Mansur promised that he would get Sheldon’s piece of pie to him. I told Mansur that I would check back with him later to see what he thought of pie.
What a privilege it was to introduce Mansur to pie, and to remind Sheldon of how much he enjoyed pie. Mansur’s excited surprise at my return also was a sad reminder that we live in a culture where promises are plenty, but follow through is often lacking. Clearly, I don’t have any idea where this story will go. God has yet to set the stage for the next scene.
So, what about you and your life? What new friends have you encountered in recent days? How are you engaging the culture with expressions of love and care? How has God used you to bring surprise and joy into the lives of those around you? What promises do you need to keep?
You know, we are reminded in Psalm 34:8 to “…taste and see that the Lord is good…” How grateful I am to know a God who always keeps His promises.
Mary L.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Remembering Dr. Keefer

Notes from Home is intended to send you verbal snapshots of life from the various centers of Ashland Seminary.  In some ways this post is a departure from that intent, but in another way it's right on track.  Dr. Luke Keefer was a treasured part of the Seminary community and touched many lives, so please - read on:

As you may know, the seminary community lost an exceptional teacher, spiritual mentor, and devoted friend last December when Dr. Luke Keefer died.  Dr. Dale Stoffer, Academic Dean, has been asked to write an article about Dr. Keefer in his role as a teacher.  The best way to capture Dr. Keefer's gift of teaching is to have his former students share their stories of how he impacted their lives in the classroom.  If you were a student in one of Dr. Keefer's classes and have a special memory of him in this role, please post a memory or tribute to Dr. Keefer here on the blog where others can enjoy it (and it will be forwarded to Dr. Stoffer) or email your tribute to Dr. Stoffer directly (  Thank you for sharing your memories and for your assistance in presenting an accurate picture of  Dr. Keefer as a teacher.