birdc.jpg2017 right now is like a bird ready to take flight and be gone – and if 2017 were a house guest, I would miss the delightfulness of her company.

2017 was not just a year of abundant blessing – it was more – it was like a year of jubilee – “a year of liberty, restitution and simple living” (biblestudytools.com). I’ve never had a year like this, though I have had moments like that in every year.

As I’ve mulled over 2017 these last few days, I remember in its very newness talk of it being a biblical jubilee, that Jesus would return during this jubilee, so I didn’t think about it affecting my ordinary everyday; I thought it about jubilee more on a world-political scale. Maybe very similar to how the Jewish people thought Jesus would return – as a king who would affect their place in the world, not as a king who would affect their everyday. This jubilee has affected my everyday – with big things, little things and all the inbetween things.

As I started to inventory 2017, I had to sit down to list the goodness of it because it gave me an awe pause because this year has been more . . . and how more has shown itself in the fullness of God’s grace.


benbabyDreams, like a trip to France, that turned into a family trip to France – mixed in to the everyday ordinary of Sadie, the retriever, catching butterflies, and


Grandgirlies in tutus and owl masks and mouse house play

A Woodland baby shower for my lovely DIL and son in anticipation of a baby boy

. . . and Henry Leo arriving to so much love

Answers to prayers walking themselves out.

Watching two sons being kind, gentle dads

coffeeMuddy Cakes

Friends sitting at my kitchen counter, sharing cups of Wild Apple Ginger Tea with honey or coffee

Grilled cheese and bacon twists

muddycakeMorning phones calls with my mom and aunt

Zinnias in the garden, baskets full of lavender

cardinals reminding

praying God’s plan for others instead of my plan.

The 4th son’s graduation

a boy receiving more than he prayed for

Soccer becoming more than soccer

Joan of Arc, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lion-hearted

History at our fingertips

Choir members walking in to a centuries old church, one singing loudly, joyfully to God, and one son saying that maybe that moment . . . . that was the best of all.

The holiness of Omaha and Utah Beach

Nightly games of Spades in Paris

Ordering escargot and the boys bravely leaving me just one

doorstairwellMy camera and I lagging behind my herd at Chateau de Chambord,

The boys discovering they had misplaced  their mom

my husband offering a 5 euro reward to find me, and when I couldn’t find them, I settled in faith at the outdoor cafe just outside the castle, ordered a delightfully decadent coffee and a crepe with chocolate and chantilly cream, only to be found to a chorus of, “Mom! MOM! moM!” (How many ways can that title BE said!)

My boys flanking me unasked, keeping me safe, as though they were afraid to lose me or let others hurt me.

gradboysLoved ones finding, believing, trusting Jesus

Being able to walk more than one mile again.

The long climb to Notre Dame’s Bells with those whom my heart loves.




New Birth

A solar eclipse celebration

Homemade buttermilk dressing in a mason jar.

Faith, once the evidence of things hoped for, becoming substance of things seen.

Being invited to Speak about Feeding My Sheep to a group of lovely women

Hamburger and Hot Dogs Thursday

Each story – the hard ones, the sweet ones, the wise ones, the laughing ones, the inside ones that just want to burst out.



muddygirlsIt was a year that asserted the truth that blessing isn’t earned or justified by the depth of suffering or even faith. The idea that blessing must be earned by the crosses bear belies what Jesus did for us on his cross – giving to us redemption and salvation that never could be earned.

Focusing on the blessing rather than the challenges doesn’t diminish the weight of the challenge, nor are challenges to be worthy measured. This is not a post focusing on the hard parts of 2017. I want to look back on my life and remember the goodness, the blessing, sweetness. I only want to recall the challenge a step to something greater and better.

No, I will not try to justify God’s immeasurable blessing this year. Justifying blessing has the same results as trying to philosophically persuade someone to have a relationship  with Jesus Christ: both result in failed results.

Ma York in one of my very favorite movies, “Sergeant York,” often said, “The Lord works in mysterious ways” whether in times of challenging or disappointing outcomes or times of abundant, spilled-over blessing – regardless of the outcome, the Lord’s mysterious ways lead to redemption, salvation – even his jubilee – where God lavishes us with his abundant goodness that we surely don’t deserve.

Good-bye 2017. Thank you for bringing jubilee with you. I would like the spirit of you to come again and again and again! You are always welcome!

Thank you, Father, for the abundant blessings of this year that seems like a jubilee. Thanking you for the lavish blessing of hopes and dreams coming true, for the lovely in the ordinary daily, for God-designed answers to prayers, for each of my sons, my daughters through marriage – and those sweet grandbabies. Thank you for the wives my other sons have yet to meet who will have a heart to love our family as passionately as they love their own – and thank you, father, for the husband you gave me 34 1/2 years ago – and creating love that is deep, abiding and true. Thank you for walking, standing and carrying us through the hard of 2017, for each story – the salty ones and the sweet ones and those in between. Thank you for your open-handed generosity that I cannot ever earn or repay. You, Lord, have blessed me and kept me. You have made your face to shine on me and are gracious to me. Thank you for turning your face toward me and giving me peace – and blessing – and jubilee! In Jesus name, I pray this thanks!


http://www.missionalwomen.com/     Faith-Filled Fridays
http://arabahjoy.com     Grace and Truth
http://www.janiscox.com/ Sunday Stillness
Porch Stories – http://kristinhilltaylor.com/
Trekking Through – http://www.trekkingthru.com/
Woman to Woman – http://www.w2wministries.org/
Searching for Moments http://www.lorischumaker.com/better-wife/
http://www.richfaithrising.com/    Unite the Bloggosphere
http://purposefulfaith.com/     Cheerleading #RaRaLinkUp
http://www.messymarriage.com/  Messy Marriage
http://holleygerth.com/     Coffee for Your Heart
http://3dlessons4life.com/     Thought-Provoking Thursday
God-sized Dreams http://www.godsizeddreams.com/
http://donnareidland.com   Mondays @ Soul Survival
https://faithadventures.me/ #TeaAndWord Tuesday
The Modest Mom The Art of Homemaking Musing Mondays
Purposeful Faith Tea & Word Tuesday Talk  
 Blessed But Stressed
 Embracing Everyday Glimpses
Fresh Market Friday:  Fresh Market Friday



If Only . . .

rosesccIf only . . .
I lived in a French cottage where roses grew in bouquets over a garden wall,
and there were more movies with Nick and Nora,
And D. E. Stevenson could write more books where nothing really happens but everyday faith and overcoming with time working the living knots out nicely.

If only . . .
summer gazpacho and German Pinks tasted as good in December as they do in July
and chocolate cake with homemade ice cream had no calories
and that a size 9 left room to grow

If only . . .
I could go back and say the right words that wouldn’t come in real-time in moments and regret wasn’t a cataloged memory

If only . . .
people didn’t misread my words, my heart, my soul
my intent
my truth

If only . . .
I weren’t so literal
or that my sons didn’t remember my fail moments,
and that I could match the mismatched socks.

If only . . .
some days I could go back to when I was a rock star mom – at least for an hour
Or to the courtship days when true love was beginning and young and full of exuberance

If only . . .
naps or coffee left me energized,
that I listened better,
that my heart didn’t grieve its sores

If only . . .
I could swing again with grandmother on the front porch,
that grandfather and I could walk hand-in-hand like the time we walked away from the pool – and I wanted that walk to last forever because there was not only belonging in that hand-holding time but of being a treasured child,
and that mom and I could relive chasing a fly at midnight

If only . . .
I’d understood that God can take the heart moments of treasures that are like crumbs to some
and weave God-designed dreams out of a little girl’s heart who met him in the back of a closet when my mama said, “God knows what you’re thinking even when you’re hiding” because I was mad because mama was making me clean my room and I didn’t want to clean my mess.

(5 minutes Mark)

If onlies . . .
are like strings on the footpath of my God-designed journey,
that try to trip me, leave me sprawling, and wanting to give up.

If onlies
live only in the past as things lost,
out of reach, or as failures
failures not allowing God
to redeem each broken moment
that I made or those in my story made
or those if-onlies not meant to be part of my story

Those if-only moments
sometimes prepare my heart
for God’s plan
but sometimes they catapult
straight into God’s plan.

If only . . .
I had realized earlier

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

If only I’d had some Wild Apple Ginger Tea earlier, or life had slowed down sooner, maybe I would have been able to join 5 Minute Friday more often lately. Won’t you join me over at Kate’s Place for 5 Minute Friday? Sit down, pull over a cup of Wild Apple Ginger Tea, and see what everybody else is writing about the word . . . “Only” Maybe you can join in – it’s just 5 minutes.



Chocolate Chip cookies, Muddy Cakes, Hamburgers and Hotdogs, chili, chicken soup and beef stews, bacon twists and grilled cheese – and tomatoes and lettuces: Kale, Spinach and Chard, even chocolate mint leaves! Turkey, stuffing, oyster dressing, mashed potatoes with sour cream, cream cheese, parmesan cheese, butter and garlic, homemade salad dressings – Feast Day and Everyday kind of food – mostly the everyday kind of food.

I love cooking for people, making sure they’re filled up, that they don’t leave my house hungry – but I have no efficiency for keeping a pristine kitchen. If you came to my house, you’d find me behind the kitchen counter. I’d ask you to pull up  a stool while I poured you a cup  of coffee or a glass of sweet tea, offered you some honey or creamer, maybe a smackeral of something if I had it – and we’d talk while I tidied up my kitchen. Most likely, my sons who are students and sons who work might pop in, might even pull up a stool for a small bit, weave themselves into the conversation and out again.

A homey diner with one short-order cook? Sometimes it feels like that. By the time you’d leave, you just might notice the kitchen still needed cleaning and organizing, and you might wonder how it wasn’t with the time I was behind that counter – and at the same time understand why it wasn’t.

When you left, I hope you would have found yourself filled up, found comfort and understanding of brokenness in challenges, maybe like you’d found a place to belong – a place that had a stool just for you, an outpost on your journey where you can re-store your soul supplies and that you’d leave a bit merrier, a bit steadier, more ready for the challenges outside the door.

We all have our little soul re-storing “outposts” – the places where we feed the sheep and lambs. But the kitchen isn’t my only outpost. My outpost – your outpost – is wherever we walk in the daily – and by whom our souls pause in the daily.

Our outpost is where the lambs and sheep are that Jesus asks us to feed.

 “When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’

He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’

He said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.'”  ~ John 21:15

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about these sheep and lambs. Just who are these sheep and lambs he tells us to feed? Aren’t they the ones I was born to? The ones I gave life to? Am I to feed more than these . . . MORE? 

When my youngest was baptized, I wrote, “Joining a bigger brotherhood,” saying the following:

“Today, precious son, you publicly receive a mighty inheritance. You become a Son of the King. You were born into a remarkable brotherhood, the youngest of 5 brothers. Today, you publicly join a bigger family, a bigger brotherhood that includes Peter, James and John, an amazing, miraculous brotherhood. I am so proud of you!”

The day we said, “I do” to Jesus, we joined a bigger family, not blood relatives, but soul relatives with God as the Father of this big, ever-growing family – the lost and found relatives.

Jesus tells Peter, you and me to feed his sheep and lambs – the lost and found relatives of our family, but who are they? How can I recognize them? Do they come with ear tags? Are they good sheep? Easy sheep? Spotless sheep?

All 2,000+ students at my son’s high school? The thousands at our local college? Plus every single person in the borders of my county?

Sometimes we make it so much harder than it really easy. We are to feed those God gave us in our daily. It’s that simple. I sat down to make a list of those God gave me and where I find them in my daily.

  1. My husband
  2. My sons, their wives and my grandchildren
  3. My parents, aunts and uncles, cousins
  4. My husband’s family who became my family, too, when we married – my mother-in-law and father-in-law, my husband’s sisters and brother, my nephews, their wives and children.
  5. My friends, my knitting group, my bible study group
  6. Those to whom I say, “Good morning!”
  7. Maybe even the fellow driver on the road who irritates me (you don’t have to have a conversation to pray for someone).
  8. The grocery store greeter and checker, the product stocker, the deli lady slicing my country ham, the bookstore clerk, the school’s attendance office volunteers and employees, the receptionist at the doctor’s office – where have you been today?
  9. Anyone my boys bring through the door.
  10. The person sitting next to me at church, the soccer fields, at a play, or the ballet.
  11. The disagreeable person in a check-out line. God doesn’t always give us the easy to love. Sometimes he wants us to pursue for him the challenging, the rebels, the ones who think they don’t want him.

“He said to him a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ 

He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’

He said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.'” ~ John 21:16

isheeponecWho are your lambs and sheep to feed? Look through your FaceBook Friend list. If we accepted Friend requests as if accepting them as someone God gave us, a sheep of his to be fed, a soul in which we are to plant seed and water – would our Friend list be smaller? Are you willing to feed all those sheep you are friends with in Facebook? To love them? To make room for them at your table? At your kitchen counter? In your prayer time are you willing to pray something deeper, more interceding than a “bless his/her heart” kind of prayer – but a warrior prayer sent out to save? Are you willing to lay down your life for every friend on your Facebook Friend list? Shouldn’t you be willing – in a feed-my-sheep kind of way?

 “He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ 

Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ 

and he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’

Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.'” ~ John 21: 17

Maybe you are praying the prayer of Jabez, asking God, “Oh, that you would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me,” (1 Chronicles 4:10a). Maybe you have a heart for missions, a heart for feeding the lambs and sheep in Uganda? Haiti? China? Romania? If you aren’t seed planting and watering seeds either you planted or others have planted in those God gives you in the daily – how can you do it across the world in another country? God will not enlarge our borders to take care of sheep in other places if we neglect the sheep God gives us where we walk every day.

“Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.  And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’  His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’” (Matthew 19-30).

Has God given you lambs and sheep that you need to make room for at your table? Love is a choice – and love invites both the easy and the hard to our kitchen counters, our tables to share a cup of coffee or a glass of sweet tea – grilled cheese or a feast. As we lay out our plates this week and set the table, think about who is coming, who isn’t – and who your lambs and sheep are?

You might be thinking, “How can I feed more when I have trouble feeding the ones I have? Stop by Monday for how God prepares and provides for us to feed his sheep.

Feed My Sheep Part I: When Kitchen Living Becomes God-Radical
Feed My Sheep Part II: Living a Lifestyle of Making Room at the Table for One More
Feed My Sheep Part III: Which Sheep are Mine to Feed
Feed My Sheep Part IV: How do I Feed All these Sheep? – Monday, December 12

Linking up at Journeysingrace


Chateaubedroomcc“She’s not talking. If she’s not talking, she must be uncomfortable,” my husband told the anesthetist after the birth of our 5th son via C-section. The anesthetist told my husband that if I felt stressed as they sewed everything up, he could just put me to sleep. Apparently, silence from me is a sign of stress.

Sometimes after a big challenge, I need silence to sink into. It is in the silence where my healing begins.

When the house spilled over with 5 boys, and the schedule stretched and contracted, and emotions popped like corn at 3 p.m. every day, after filling the inside things like tummies and hearts, after they were all tucked in bed, I’d stay up and soak in the silence. In the silence, I would find the Father – and he would help me find the scattered parts of myself to pull all those parts of me back together into the right places.

Silence after the challenge. Silence after the stress.

I just returned from three days with my aunt who is so very dear to my heart – and to my story. She’s struggling. Words like dementia are floated around. Dementia is a silent thief who steals an unsuspecting soul’s big and little stories, the silly stories and the sacred stories. Some tough choices had to be made this week, and she is not happy – and my heart is so very sad. She would ask the same questions – over and over. I would answer them, every time, “We love you. We want you safe.”

Each night I tucked her into bed, kissed her forehead, “I love you,” I would tell her.

“I love you back,” she’d say – at the end of the challenges of each day, when the quiet had crept in and the dusted up chaos had settled into an unnoticed corner – until the next morning.

***5 Minute mark

I drove home today – a 3.5 hour drive – to a house full of my son’s college friends for my weekly Hamburgers and Hotdogs Thursday, except today it was pizza – and a friend brought it over – so this Thursday tradition we started this year could continue. It was a joyful noise – blessing overflowing. I needed the joyful noise in a house full of hope.

The pizza boxes emptied, my bags unpacked, I need to meet God in the silence, and let him help me still to find the scattered parts of myself to pull all those parts of me back together into the right places.

It is in the silence where the broken parts of my heart are redeemed and made whole.

“May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

bakerycakegirlcc5 Minutes of Writing. Just 5 Minutes – unless you just cannot stop yourself.  Won’t you join me over at Kate’s Place for 5 Minute Friday? Sit down, pull over a cup of Wild Apple Ginger Tea, and see what everybody else is writing about the word . . . “Silence” Maybe you can join in – it’s just 5 minutes.

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” ~1 Samuel 16:7b

If a man’s work ethic could once be judged by the callouses on his hands, I imagine God can judge a man’s soul by the exterior condition of his heart.

Evidence of suffering, brokeness, sacrifice, love that filled it up only to spill out leaving stretch-heart marks? Laugh lines? Etched names? Love stories written in the skin of it? Callouses of a heart never gave up?  Bunions where it stood in faith? Limberness where it has learned to bend to the will of the Father? Tenderness where hurts taught to love better?

What’s on your heart?






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Last week and today, I’m still setting the table. The law would have us exclude so many who need to come to the table, but Jesus came, extending an invitation of grace to come to the table, to sit with him, to sit long and talk much, to drink living water, and eat the bread of eternal life. If Jesus lived his life making room at the table for more – shouldn’t we? Whether it’s the dinner table or kitchen counter?

My grandmother taught me a lot about making room for more in her home and at the dinner table. After all, when my parents divorced, my grandmother and grandfather made room for my mom, brother and me.

Sitting around that table, I learned a lot about making room for more.

Muddy of the Corn Fritters lived her life making room for more. When my great-great grandmother came to live with Muddy, my grandmother – Mary Edna’s room was moved to the hallway.

Making room for more sometimes required uncomfortable sacrifice with a joyful heart.

When Mary Edna grew up and married, she made room for Uncle Deck when nobody else would.

When my uncle died, Aunt Joyce made room for more to fill up the empty, lonely places. She invited family and neighbors often to dinner.

I learned making room for more at the table holds blessing.

Mary Edna had strong opinions. At the table, we listened to her opinions. Year after year, she expressed her frustration when traveling family members would leave one family home hungry – because they weren’t feed enough to fill them. When they arrived at her house, they’d be starving. They would eat and eat and eat because no one had filled them up.

I learned to never let anyone leave my house hungry.

When I married, Mary Edna gave me her copy of Amy Vanderbilt’s book of Etiquette – the law for gatherings and behavior at those gatherings. It contained Rules for Safe Order, how to include and exclude, hedge-building to prevent social uncomfortableness. Yet, Mary Edna’s story gave me examples of how room had been made at the table for those who broke the rules, a way to redeem people and relationships by making room for more at the table. She might have been an old-testament girl at heart – wanting to live comfortable in the rules, but her actions bespoke a woman who offered a place of grace to those the law excluded.

I learned that while the law excludes, grace does not. Grace always makes room for one more at the table.

Amy’s book grandmother gave me talked about event living – not the everyday ordinary living. Yet, that is where the most important things happen – in the everyday ordinary.

Graduations might be celebrations of achievement, but they achieved because the graduate didn’t give up in the challenge of the everyday ordinary. Weddings might be extra-ordinary events, but falling in love happens in the everyday ordinary. Baby Showers and Birthing Days might be extra-ordinary events – but it is in the everyday ordinary where lives are shaped and hearts grow. Baptisms happen because of seeds were planted and watered in the everyday ordinary.

Making room at the table isn’t a Feast Day thing or an “event” thing like baby showers, graduation parties or even Friday Night Small Group Gatherings.

Making room at the table doesn’t mean more work, dressing nicer, minding the Ps and Qs. Making room at the table isn’t about showing ourselves off at our best. It’s about letting people come into our everyday ordinary – where the kitchen might be a mess, the laundry might need washing and folding, hand and nose print smudged all sorts of everywhere.  That pile of shoes? The stinky soccer cleats someone left right by the door? Yeah! They’re there, too.

Perfect makes it too hard to live making room for one more at the table. God doesn’t call us to be perfect. He calls us to feed his lambs and sheep.

Making-Room-for-One-More-at-thetable-kind-ofliving isn’t just about filling bellies. It’s about filling souls.

34 years, 5 sons, 2 daughters-in-law, and 3 grandchildren later, what I learned around the table growing up was just a tiny seed planted that has become something so much more.

“Who do you think Paul is, anyway? Or Apollos, for that matter? Servants, both of us—servants who waited on you as you gradually learned to entrust your lives to our mutual Master. We each carried out our servant assignment. I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow. It’s not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow. Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wages. What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving. You happen to be God’s field in which we are working.” ~ 1 Corinthians 3: 5-9

I just finished setting the table for my series, Feed My Sheep. Won’t you join me next week to find out who God has given each of us to feed?

Feed My Sheep Part I: When Kitchen Living Becomes God-Radical
Feed My Sheep Part II: Living a Lifestyle of Making Room at the Table for One More
Feed My Sheep: Which Sheep are Mine to Feed



Muddy’s Corn Fritters

Last week, I pulled out an old recipe. It my great-grandmother Muddy’s recipe – her corn fritters. I don’t know why I hadn’t made them in such a long time. For a season, Muddy’s Corn Fritters were a dinner-time staple. . . until they weren’t.

The old recipes, like Muddy’s corn fritters, handed down for generations mother to daughter, from Mary Francis to Sue Eva to Mary Eva to Mary Edna to Linda to me – Maryleigh –  always reminds me of this scripture: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6: 16).

There is comfort in the old ways – in handmade quilts that Nanny made, canning tomatoes and pickles like my husband’s grandmother taught me, in walking the same paths to church on Sunday morning, and meal-time prayers . . . and recipes handed down. The old ways aren’t adventuresome. They comfort and are comfortable.

My youngest son walked in – the one who last Spring had stood in the kitchen telling me, “Mom! You’re slipping. You used to make the BEST breakfasts. What happened? You have only two more years before I’m gone, ” he said, waving two fingers at me, moving into his oration zone. The zone where it’s time to just take a stool and listen because there’s no entertainment better in tow. “Mom! Mom! You need to push through. You need to start making all those awesome breakfasts you used to make: the eggs and bacon with ketchup on toast, the chocolate chip pancakes – and those things with the chocolate chips and the stuff that’s in the box with the man in the white wig!”

That gave me pause – who was this man in with a white wig in my  kitchen. Then I remembered.

The man in the white beard is the Quaker Oats man – and, he was talking about my granola bars.

I’d felt hugged and loved in the kitchen that night.  I pushed through the rest of the year to cook up some good breakfasts – with the old and true recipes.

Last week, he walked into the kitchen, saw Muddy’s Corn Fritters and didn’t remember them. The older boys did, though. That inspired look came into his eyes.  He drew himself up into his oration stance. It wasn’t those beautiful corn fritters that inspired him, though.

It was the deep-fryer.

I tried to steel myself against the effectiveness of this son in his oration zone. Really! I did!

“Mom! Mom! You need to make some deep-fried Oreos,” he said, waxing eloquent about the country fair’s deep fried oreos. He felt sure I could make them.

Dazed, I almost regretted enrolling him in a school a few years ago where he learned about logic and its fallacies, Socratic circles and argument development training, and oration.

There I stood with Muddy’s Corn Fritters stacked high on a plate. It was such a good thing – those corn fritters. An old way of doing things – and he was asking me to do something different. Something I’d never done before. Something radical.

Not just radical – I wasn’t sure Deep Fried Oreos was something a mama should  do: Unnutritional Decadence beyond anything I’d ever done.

“I don’t have a recipe,” was one excuse I used.

He found one on the internet similar to the corn fritters I’d just deep fried. I had the eggs. I had the pancake mix. Too late to hide them! Drats!

Really – wasn’t one deep fried dish enough for one day?

“I don’t have Oreos,” was another excuse I pulled out.

“I’ll go get them,” he said. Double Drats. (The silver lining of my son being able to drive himself to soccer practice betrayed me at that moment).

I tried negotiating: “How about I do them tomorrow?”

“You already have the deep fryer out,” he said. “Besides, aren’t you the one always telling me, ‘Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today.’”

I cannot explain the combination of annoyance and pride I feel when these boys to men of mine throw my words back at me.

Exasperated and wise enough to recognize I’d been out-maneuvered, I threw out: “I don’t have any cash.”

“I have $5,” he said. “Mom. Mom! This is the best time to make them. You can do this,” he said – and he was out the door, triumph oozing.

Drat! Drat! Drat!

I’d made a stew with chuck roast, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and and turnip greens, which they thought were carrots, potatoes and spinach (laughing emojis here if I knew how to put them), and Muddy’s Corn Fritters. Wasn’t that enough?

Did good moms even make Deep Fried Oreos? Words like nutritional negligence, deep fried imprudence, fatuous fatty-liver enabling came to mind.

About 40 minutes later, those Deep Fried Oreos fried and bubbled happily in my kitchen. I wasn’t going to eat one – really I wasn’t. Who wants to fully participate in something they’ve been run rough-shod into, cornered and corralled?

But I wanted to take a photo of what the inside looked like. Just one bite – for the photo.

It was delicious. I ate more than one. It was a beautiful thing.


Deep-Fried Oreos

Someone I loved had walked into my kitchen on an ordinary everyday with a radical recipe. Maybe not radical to you, but it was decadently radical to me. Radical is not something I easily step in to. As a matter of fact, it makes me want to settle back more deeply into the comfort of what has become everyday ordinary – even if right now my everyday ordinary was once a radical idea (Let me just insert here, 5 sons was a radical way of living at one time. Now it is my everyday ordinary. That would be fun to do – to list what we do today that is everyday ordinary but was once something radical to our experiences).

Those Deep Fried Oreos aren’t a God-radical thing, but God calls us to radical living. Radical living is where we let God take our ordinary and turn that everyday ordinary into something extra-ordinary. As we draw closer to God, God draws us away from comfortable into a different way of living – a new way of living. New things are always uncomfortable. God-new things are worth being uncomfortable for.

Feeding my family is something everyday ordinary. Yet, God wants to turn the dinner table or kitchen counter living into something radical, something extraordinary.

He wants us to feed his sheep.

 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” 

He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.”

He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 

He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” 

He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.”

He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” 

Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” ~ John 21: 15-17

Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to talk about living a lifestyle to Feed God’s Sheep by making room for one more at the table. We’ll discuss who our sheep our, our responsibilities to those sheep,  and how to feed them.

Let’s turn the dinner table or kitchen counter living into something radical, something God-extraordinary.

I hope you’ll join me.

Deep Fried Oreo Recipe
(Modified from Lil’ Luna’s recipe my son found)

1 home-friendly deep fryer (size determines how many you can fry at one time)
1 large egg
1 cup Milk
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup pancake mix
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup powdered sugar
One package double-stuffed Oreos or any other cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies. This recipe does not use up all the cookies.

  1. Heat oil in deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Whisk together the egg, milk, vanilla, and 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a bowl until smooth. Stir in the pancake mix until smooth.
  3. Dip the cookies into the batter one at a time, turning them 2 or 3 times until the tops and sides are fully coated.
  4. Carefully place into the hot frying oil. Avoid over-crowding. How many depends at a time depends on how the size of your deep-fryer. 
  5. Cook until the cookies are golden-brown, about 2 minutes.
  6.  Drain on a paper towel-lined plate before serving.
  7. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Feed My Sheep Part 1: When Kitchen Living Becomes God-Radical
Feed My Sheep Part 2: Living Life Making Room at the Table for One More.
Feed My Sheep Part 3: November 7

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