Bread to Strengthen

The following post is part of Ann Kroeker’s Food on Fridays series.  She’s a good lady. You should visit her.


You cause the grass to grow for the livestock
and plants for man to cultivate,
that he may bring forth food from the earth
and wine to gladden the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine
and bread to strengthen man’s heart.

Psalm 104:14-15

It is how the South comes to visit your newborn, like the wise men bearing rich gifts. Friends come substituting gold for lasagna, frankincense for garlic mashed potatoes, and myrrh for Framboise. They know he’s not the savior of the world, mind you, but they treat him as if he were manger born. Maybe they are entertaining an angel, unaware. It’s best to think about infants and strangers this way.

…wine to gladden the heart of man…

There’s this website where church ladies enlist for meal duty after the birth of a baby. The address reads “,” which I appropriately read as “take the ma meal.” Amber asked, “don’t you think it’s read ‘take them a meal’?” To which I replied, “only if some Yankee created that web-site.” She laughed as if she were not the one raised in Mayberry, as if she were a Harvard educated, blue-coat sympathizer. “Yanks are easily misunderstood,” she said.

…oil to make the face shine…

Visitors ask to hold Titus, our newest who breathes double-time, compensating for a bit of a heart hole. They place hands on his chest and pray for strength and healing. They pray that he’ll be a strong man of faith, that he’ll be lion-hearted. He whimpers an infant’s amen, staring wide-eyed into the face of his newest friend. Love becomes tangible when baked into a homemade apple pie by the hands of a fervent intercessor.

…and bread to strengthen man’s heart…

Bless us, oh Lord, and these your gifts which we have received from your bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

**A tribute to those of you who graced us with bread, wine, and prayer over the last few weeks. Thank you, friends.

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14 Responses to Bread to Strengthen

  1. Kelly Sauer says:

    Oh this post – almost a prayer – makes my heart glad. Thank you. And we will be praying for your little guy’s heart too – Pete’s little sister was born with a hole in her heart.

    • sethhaines says:

      Thanks, Kelly. It’s good to know that this is a condition that the Docs can fix/deal with. It’s also good to hear stories of those who’ve had the same condition and have had it repaired (either by the docs or God himself).

      Thanks for the prayers. We know they’re effective.

      • Betsy says:

        Seth, is baby Titus okay? Been praying for all of you as you embark on your journey as a family of six. Let me know if there’s something else I can be praying for. Love to you, Amber and the boys.

      • sethhaines says:


        He has a hole in his heart that is “moderate sized.” We are waiting for more information, but he’s a strong little guy and blessed by many prayers and grace.

        I hope the NO family is doing well. I think about you all from time to time. Tell Chuck I said “hello.”

  2. annkroeker says:

    Humor, art, gratitude, awe, and a little bit of a jab at us Yanks…I’m so glad the world gave us you. And Amber (Ma). And Titus. And all the wonderful people who bring their gifts of sauce-laden love.

    Thank you for linking to Food on Fridays with this piece of art!

    • sethhaines says:

      I love your Food on Fridays bit, Ann. I try to stop in and gander at what your people do with it. This morning, it made me hungry for biscuits and gravy. {mouth watering}…

  3. Man does not live by bread alone, but it sure comes in handy sometimes…prayers for Titus. Amen.

  4. stephindialogue says:

    Beautiful reflection, thanks for this! It’s the simple things, bread and wine and meals from friends, I think, that nourish us the most.

  5. Lindsey says:

    I love this post. So sweet and so true. I laughed at the “Take the ma meal” comment, because when people loved on us and brought us meals through that website, that’s what we called it for a long time! We both got a good laugh out of it when we read it again, “Oh ‘take THEM a meal'”!!
    Too funny 🙂


  6. Y’all are amazing. Such beauty and wit and southern charm …and pie!

    Thank you.

    Titus the Lion-Hearted! Won’t he have great stories to tell!

  7. Carolyn says:

    Praying for Titus and those who love him.

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