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Ketchup and Mustard, Please

I stretched my hair net over my curls, washed my hands, and put on gloves. As I walked to the serving station, my eyes scanned the room. Raining and storming outside. A couple hundred people inside. People.

  • Young.
  • Old.
  • Black.
  • White.
  • Down on their luck.
  • Homeless.



A booming voice emerged out of the crowd, “Let us pray.” I bowed my head and listened. In my heart, I prayed, “Lord, please multiply this food.”


And so it began.


  • Burgers.
  • Fries.
  • Bread.
  • Lettuce.
  • Tea.
  • And ice cream.


I had the lettuce. It’s the last on the food line, so I get to hand the plate to each person. I love it! It gives me an opportunity to ask how each person is doing, smile, look them in the eyes, and joke with them about getting their veggies.


I see familiar faces every time I go to Talbot House, and they recognize me. I’m always humbled and moved when I see years of pain, bruises, and tattered clothes on God’s beautiful children.


Someone on my team set out the condiments. Ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, and all the burger fixings.


A middle-aged woman–not more than 5-feet tall–picked up her plate, turned around toward the tables, and stopped.


“Ketchup and mustard?!? That’s rich people stuff.”


She rushed over and piled the condiments onto her plate like a child unattended in a candy store.


Rich people stuff.I don’t know about you, but when I think of the wealthy, I don’t think of condiments. I see fancy cars, a huge home, and other luxuries.That middle-aged woman sees it differently. I have a car and a home. I have ketchup, and I have mustard. Indeed, I am wealthy. 

I may not be where I want to be in life. I may be facing many hardships.


  • Addictions.
  • Hurts.
  • Illness.
  • Financial troubles.


But God has promised never to leave me or to forsake me–whatever my circumstance (Hebrews 13:5). I can take comfort not in the riches of this world, but in the riches of faith, family, friends, food, and yes, ketchup and mustard.



Come alongside…What can you thank God for today? What little things have you overlooked that show how much God has blessed you?



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New Article Published: Choosing When and How To Reveal My Heart

Hi, everyone:

I have a new article that was published in Rest Ministries Devotionals. I hope you’ll take a look. Click the following link:

Choosing When and How To Reveal My Heart

Come alongside… Do you have a hard time revealing your heart?

I look forward to your comments.


If I text him, he will answer… Won’t he?

After not having my cell phone for two days, I decided I needed to catch up on texting my boyfriend, the love of my life. So once I got my cell phone, I thought I could just get to exercising my thumbs again on the number pad. Not so. First, I had to manually enter my boyfriend’s number because it hadn’t transferred on the memory card from my old cell phone. Not a problem. His was the only phone number I actually knew from memory. (Sorry, mom and dad.) So once I programmed his number, I could move on to texting….


(Oh, some back-story first: My boyfriend had been traveling for work going on 8 weeks, and he was due back that weekend. Earlier in the week, we talked about a story he had written.)


Day 1

  • 10:23 am — Sweetheart, got your message. How I love you, my prince! Can’t wait to read your story. 🙂
  • 1:53pm — Oh, love. How I miss you.
  • 10:27pm — My love… Thank you for all your love and support.


Day 2

  • 6:57am –Benj, my prince… Have a God-filled day, my love, my spiritual leader.
  • 8:34am — Mi amado, cuanto te extraño. Te veo pronto, mi querido. Tuya siempre, Daphne
  • 5:53pm — Hi, sweetness. How I love you!
  • REPLY: 5:55pm — Who is this???? I do not know u
  • 5:57pm — Huh?
  • 5:58pm — Sorry. Wrong number.
  • 6pm — So, so sorry.
  • 6:01pm — Hi, my love. Got something funny to tell ya. :p


Aah, yes…. I accidentally entered a 3 as the last digit, instead of an 8. Sigh. No wonder the love of my life didn’t respond to any of my text messages. No wonder he didn’t mention any of them in any of our conversations throughout the day or at the end of the first night during our usual goodnight conversation. No wonder I felt ignored. No wonder.


Many times, I’ve felt that God has ignored my cries for help as well, dear one. I keep telling Him how much I need Him, how much I love Him and how much I’m struggling – be it physically, emotionally, in relationships, you name it, but I don’t see Him responding. It seems I’m the only one talking, nothing’s changing, and He’s turned His back on me. Who is this? I don’t know you.


But God does know me. And He does knows you, dear one. While we are still speaking, He hears us (Isaiah 65:24). Our cries come before Him and into His ears (Psalm 18:6), and He accepts our prayers (Psalms 6:9). He will not reject us or withhold His love from us (Psalm 66:20). He is near to all those who call on Him, to all those who call on Him with all their hearts (Psalm 145:18). Who is this? Aah, yes… My child.


Prayer: “Answer me quickly, O Lord; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul” (Psalm 143:7-8).



Come alongside…. When have you felt ignored by God? How did you handle it? What Biblical truth can you apply when you feel that way again?


Are we beyond help?

“I would love to talk to someone. I have so many problems. Sometimes, I think I’m beyond help.” That was the response of a Facebook friend to one of my recent posts that I was sharing my testimony at an upcoming recovery event. My friend had asked what the recovery was for. I replied with an explanation of the 12-step program, which led to her comment above.


I don’t know her very well, dear ones, but I admire her. Her first two sentences reveal that she admits she has problems, she can’t fix them on her own, and she’s willing to talk to someone about them. Reaching out takes courage. And on Facebook – on someone else’s wall whom you don’t know too well, I’d say that takes extra courage.


Her last sentence, though, troubled me. Not because I’ve never heard or felt that way myself but because I’ve heard those words all too often from so many people. Once, twice, maybe multiple times in my life, I have felt like a hopeless cause. I remember feeling that way specifically when my husband asked for a divorce. I felt he was giving up on me, that I would never change, and that there was no reason to keep waiting for our marriage to change. I thought I was beyond help.


I felt that way again last year when I was on medical leave from work for six months and my health continued its slippery decline. Medications just kept making things worse. Again, I thought I was beyond help.


No doubt the invalid at the pool of Bethesda felt the same way (see John 5:1-15). He wanted to be healed or else he wouldn’t have been waiting for the waters to be stirred so he could be the first to jump in. But he’d also been there 38 years. So when Jesus asked him, “Do you want to get well,” his reply was – now this is the Daphne paraphrase – “I think I’m beyond help” (verse 7).


But he wasn’t. I wasn’t. My friend isn’t. And you are not. God made the invalid well. God has made me well. He can make my friend well, and He can make you well too. No matter how long you’ve been hurting, dear one, God longs to show you compassion (Isaiah 30:18). We are not beyond His help (Psalm 46:1). We are not beyond His outstretched arms (Psalm 136:12). We are not beyond His love (Jeremiah 31:3).



Come alongside…. When have you felt beyond help? What did you do to reach out? Are you there now? What can you do to reach out – to others and to God?


Affiliate Disclosure

Daphne Tarango is a participant in affiliate programs with Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, DaySpring, Church Source, Hazelden, Christian Strong (via Conversant and ShareASale). These advertising services are designed to provide a means for sites like to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to said merchants. Some images and articles may contain links to products on merchant sites. Should you choose to make purchases through those links, please understand that I will receive a small commission. Please do not feel like you need to use these links to make any purchases. The links are only for your convenience. Thank you.