Gritty Food

My introduction to grits occurred in the sixth grade.

My family had moved to North Carolina from Virginia. We were oatmeal people (at least my mother was). I never have been able to eat oatmeal without lots of sugar in every spoonful. I was so relieved when I learned you could get oat goodness in Cheerios – much easier to swallow!

My best girlfriend in sixth grade was Sue. Her mother was a grits person. I was taught to be a polite guest, so when Sue’s mother served me grits, I let her give me a generous portion. I watched the rest of the family sprinkle a little salt, add a pat of butter and spoon on a greasy concoction of ham drippings and fresh-brewed coffee. This was red-eye gravy. In the bowl the ham drippings and coffee form a dark red center, while the lighter grease from the ham separates into an outer ring. It makes a sort of bull’s eye; hence the name, red-eye gravy.

“Well, how do you like my grits?” Sue’s mother asked.

Oatmeal was never like this. Oatmeal was thick and rich and gaggy (unless it had lots of sugar). Grits … well, they had a thinner consistency, not much flavor except for the salt, butter and gravy. And they had a gaggy quality all their own. I was not a fan.

“Oh, very nice,” I replied in my best Eddie Haskell impression. “Very tasty.”

“Good. I just knew you would like ‘em,” she beamed as she grabbed the pot and gave me another heaping helping.

Somehow I made it through my first grits encounter. Sue and I remained friends for many years, so you know her mother made a special effort to serve “my favorite” grits every time I stayed there. It pleased her to see me gobble up a plateful.

I continued to eat grits without complaint, never letting anyone except my mother know my true feelings. Now here’s the strange thing. Eventually I grew to love them! I really mean it. I loved grits – so much so that when I was pregnant with my first child and very ill, one of the few foods I could eat — and that would stay with me — was grits! God has His ways.

When my son attended college in Florida, there were students from all over the country and from many different countries. You can imagine their confusion about some of the foods that were available. In the cafeteria line one day a young man pointed at the steam tray full of white-ish, solid, but liquid-y breakfast food.

“What is this food?” he inquired.

“Grits,” my son answered.

“What are grits?” he further inquired.

“Well, it’s ground-up hominy … corn. It’s good. Just put butter and salt on it.”

Anxious to try this Southern delicacy, the young man addressed the cafeteria worker, “I will have a grit, please.”

When my husband and I were stationed in Germany, he worked with people from all over the United States. On holidays and special occasions we tried to host the single soldiers, knowing they would appreciate a home-cooked meal. One of the guys received a country ham from his mother in South Carolina. He asked me if I would fix a meal around it. So I did.

We had country ham, scrambled eggs, homemade biscuits with lots of butter and jelly, grits and red-eye gravy. One young soldier from California was entranced by the fare set before him. He ate everything with gusto.

“I’ve never had anything like this. This is delicious!” he told us. Then he asked, as only a nineteen-year-old with a touch of homesickness would, “I don’t suppose you would have any avocado?”

 

“I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.” – Psalm 63:4-6 (NIV)

 

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Cookies

Ordinarily, I did not do things like this. But once or twice a year something came over me, so I did it. I invited a houseful of children to come for a morning of cookie baking.

Why would I do that? Don’t know. Just did.

It started with just one child when my son was five or six. I called the mother of his little friend at school to invite him to bake Christmas goodies. Being much- less-than-astutely observant, I had no idea this boy had serious behavioral problems. But it didn’t take long for me to figure out that I was going to be in ‘way over my head for the whole cookie-baking morning.

Undeterred, I continued the cookie madness until it became a family tradition.

Over the years we invited friends, neighbors and kids of most sizes, shapes and temperaments. We always enjoyed it. Maybe it was the sugar; the large variety of sprinkles, icings and toppers; the aromas; the fact that I didn’t care how much flour they spilled or put in each other’s hair. Or maybe it was just being together in the kitchen for the best taste-testing ever! I’m not exactly sure. I just know that I kept repeating it, and the kids kept turning up to participate. There was a whole lot of baking going on.

I was prepared. I was loaded up with gigantor cookie sheets, a rolling pin, huge mixing bowls filled with cookie dough I had pre-mixed the night before, and an odd selection of cookie cutters. I didn’t concern myself with keeping the kitchen tidy (it would have been a losing battle anyway). I just let the children create their culinary masterpieces in “managed chaos” with an emphasis on fun.

We baked several varieties of sweets: Chocolate chip cookies (of course); sugar cookies rolled and cut into stars, Christmas trees, reindeer, angels, bunnies, diamonds, clubs, hearts and spades; gingerbread men with red cinnamon-candy eyes; lemon bars; pfeffernusses; almond crescents; peanut butter cookies with a Hershey’s kiss in the center.

After slathering on a thick layer of blue, green, yellow, or pink buttercream frosting, we sprinkled them liberally with red, green, white and powdered sugars; black jimmies; candy sprinkles; chocolate chips; silver balls; cinnamon red hots; pastel flower dots; licorice; and anything else riddled with sugar and empty calories.

Each child left with a box of cookies under his arm. They took home a dozen of each kind to share with their families.

There’s always one kid that comes to mind when I think of the “happy cookie times”. His name was John. He lived across the street from us. It was January — a “Snow Day,” and schools were closed. Their parents were working, so I invited John and his older sister to come over to bake cookies.

On his way home little John was balancing his box of cookies as he tried to slog through the icy ruts and drifts of snow that came up to his knees. That’s when his dog spotted him.

He was so happy to see John that he jumped, barked, licked and otherwise distracted him until the boy, the box and the baked goods were spread evenly across the slippery street. Of course once the dog smelled the cookies, he forgot all about John and started gobbling as fast as he could.

Watching this through our picture window, I called to my children to pack up another box of goodies for John and to help his sister get him safely into the house before the tears streaming down his face froze into icicles.

 

“At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God.

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:18-19 (NLT)

 

Your Mission Should You Choose to Accept It

It was late in the evening on Christmas Day. Ordinarily my daughter would be planning her strategy for the after-Christmas sales. Not this year. They would be leaving soon for the mission field and could only take two suitcases per person with them. They had spent months trimming their possessions to a bare minimum. This was not the time for a shopping spree.

My daughter loves Christmas. Her house is always decorated by November 1, and stays that way into January – one year February. By getting an early start, she is available to help decorate at the church or for friends. It frees up her time to make December less hectic.

When she was a teenager, God always gave us a Christmas mission – a simple thing we could do for others — like the family in our church who had three small children. We would load up the gifts, bring them to our house, and spend days wrapping them. On Christmas Eve the parents would call when their kids were finally — and soundly — asleep so that we could deliver the goods. So much fun for us!

One year it was the young woman who was an alcoholic. My daughter and I knew her from the real estate company where we had both worked part-time. She was a hard worker and pleasant to be with, but she had some problems. When she felt her drinking had gotten out of control, she left the job to get a handle on her life.

I cleaned out her desk, and my daughter and I took her personal items to her house. She invited us in and talked very openly about her situation. It gave us the perfect opportunity to talk to her about the Lord.

“God could never love me,” she said.

“Yes, He could,” I assured her, “and He does.”

“No, God could never love me.”

I shared my testimony. My life had been much like hers before I met Jesus. I thought it would serve to convince her of God’s great love and His power to change hearts and lives, but to no avail. She stuck to her guns.

“You don’t understand,” she insisted. “God could never love me.”

My gentle daughter spoke of her commitment to God and His unfailing kindness to her in very difficult circumstances. Still the woman clung to her misguided notion.

“You don’t know what I have done,” she asserted. “God could never love me.”

I spoke about God’s forgiveness and unconditional love – even in the midst of our sin, but she was not persuaded.

“God could never love me,” she repeated.

We prayed for her before we left. She was so sad and so lonely and so convinced that she was beyond redemption. I hoped that God heard our prayer and would soften her heart and that she would quit being so stubborn and open the door just enough to let him in.

I kept in touch with her – very brief conversations, sometimes only leaving a message — until her phone was disconnected. When she moved, I didn’t have a new address for her. I committed her to God’s hand, thinking I would never know what became of her.

Months later I received a call. She wanted to let me know that she had been wrong.

“God can love me!” she exclaimed.

For several years I was involved in ministry at the women’s and children’s rescue mission. I went once a month to teach the children while others from our church held a service for the women. Usually I had about ten in the class, but in December one year, there must have been twenty or twenty-five – newborn to seventeen years old.

My daughter was with me. Together we quickly put together a plan to get this bunch of rowdies calmed down enough so they could participate.

Imagine what they were going through. They had no home. They were living in a room with their mothers in a house full of mothers and children, not knowing what would happen next, and remembering the circumstances (mostly violent and terrifying) that had led them to this place. And it was almost Christmas.

Always their prayers were, “Dear God, that me and my family will have a place to stay.”

That meant a place of their own, not the Rescue Mission. They didn’t pray for clothes or toys or even money — just a place to stay — a place for just their family.

I took on the older children while my daughter oversaw the younger ones. She had the newborn in her arms and was bouncing a toddler on her hip. The others naturally gravitated to her and became calm little lambs.

After crafts and snacks, they settled down to listen to the Christmas story. I went to great lengths to describe the scene in the stable in Bethlehem at the birth of the Holy Child. Most American kids today have no idea what a manger is or how uncomfortable it must have been to be in a strange place going through tough times. But the children in attendance that night grasped the concept immediately and listened attentively. They wanted to know how things worked out for the baby and His family.

To our surprise the seventeen-year-old girl became indignant. She stood up. With one hand on her hip and the other gesticulating pointedly, her head moving from side to side, she began to protest.

“Why’d they put that little baby in that food box with the cows eatin’ out of it? They didn’t have no business doin’ that. He just a baby. That ain’t right. They shouldn’t be doin’ nothin’ like that. Did his mama know they was doin’ that to him? That ain’t right. Now that just ain’t right.”

She had never heard the story of Jesus’ birth. She was born in America, and in seventeen years no one had ever told her the story of Jesus’ birth. Our hearts were broken for her.

But she got it! She understand exactly the family’s humbled circumstances and wanted to step up and protect the child, to take His part, to identify with His suffering. She spoke the words going through the minds of almost every child in the room. They liked this baby. He was just like them. He was going through some stuff. His family needed a place to stay.

Of course, they really liked the part when the baby grew up and became the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

“Uh-huh. I know that’s right,” our teenager commented. “They change they tune. He ain’t no baby now. He da king!”

Yes, we had some fine times with our God-given Christmas missions. Now it was almost time for my daughter to live it out on a foreign field. But once again He gave her a mission.

“Since you want to hit the sales so bad, why don’t you do my after-Christmas shopping?” I proposed.

Ever since she was little, she was all about shopping. She loved it! The thrill of the hunt, the pretty clothes, the shiny things, the bargains! When she was three, I took her to the dressing room with me while I was trying on a basketful of clothes. She ooh-ed and ah-ed.

“Oh, that’s darlin’!” she ooh-ed.

“That’s just precious!” she ah-ed.

From that point on when I asked, “Do you want to go shopping?” she would jump up and down and squeal, “Go choppin’? Go choppin’?” And off we would go!

“So what do you think?” I offered. “You can go and find the bargains, and I’ll stay at your house and watch the kids. And take your husband with you (he’s a shopper, too). You two can make a day of it.”

I must admit I had an ulterior motive. I am not a shopper. I don’t enjoy it at all. But I do enjoy my grandchildren. My daughter thought I was making a sacrifice, but it was really a little horse trading. I thought I got the better deal. I knew I did.

“Mom, really? You would do that for me?”

Sometimes our grown children are clueless.

“Of course, honey. I’ll make out a list of people, and you select something you think they would like.”

“Really? You trust me that much?”

“Of course. You have excellent taste. Whatever you get will be perfect.”

“Oh, Mom! I’m so excited. We’ll need to get an early start. Some of the stores open at 6:00 am … “

And off she went! Planning her strategy! Visions of 75%-off dancing in her head! She spent $40, purchased gifts for several people, and got enough paper and ribbon to last me at least three years. And she was exhilarated! The thrill of the hunt, the pretty clothes, the shiny things, the bargains!

Now she gets to do that at marketplaces halfway around the world almost every day. And she is exhilarated!

”Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” – Luke 6:38

Itching to Give Thanks

Giving thanks. That’s what Thanksgiving is. It is a time set aside to give thanks to God for His bounty.

The Pilgrims knew this. Rev. Robert Hunt knew this. Abraham knew this. David knew this. A Samaritan leper knew this. It is not a secret. Thanking God is as natural as a stream overflowing its banks during heavy rain. He pours and pours His blessings into us until there is no longer room to contain them. So we explode in joyful thanksgiving, letting it spill over to family and friends.

The true first American Thanksgiving took place in 1619 in the Virginia Colony at Berkeley Hundred near my birthplace in Williamsburg. Maybe that’s why I have such a special attachment to the holiday. I grew up with a sense of history. I also grew up with a knowledge of God — without really knowing Him.

Thanksgiving wasn’t just the amazing food or family or football. It was more than that. It was the sacredness of the day — a time to acknowledge how little we are and how big God is and how grateful we are to Him for every breath. I saw people praying and thanking God on that day that never even gave Him a nod the rest of the year. They just couldn’t help themselves.

My mother’s sage dressing was the best! I could eat it until I was just on the brink of being stuffed myself, but I always left room for the cranberry sauce, Parker House rolls and pie. When I grew up, I started my own Thanksgiving traditions, including an expanded menu. My mother and father drove from Virginia to celebrate with us.

One year as I was chopping and pounding and stirring away, I stopped briefly to ask my mother if there was anything she would like to do. She didn’t even have to take time to think about it. “No, I waited on you all those years. I’m content to just sit here and watch you work.”

And work I did. And I made the kids work, too. Their favorite thing was to whip the cream cheese into shape, stir in sliced olives, and spread it on the celery. As they got older, less and less made it to the plate.

I ran across some Thanksgiving menus recently. Here’s a sampling of what I liked to serve: Turkey, gravy, dressing, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, green beans, candied yams, cranberry sauce, congealed cranberry salad with cream cheese and roasted peanut topping, stuffed celery, carrot sticks, assorted pickles and relishes, spiced apple rings, homemade cheese bread, apple pie with extra sharp cheddar cheese, and pumpkin or sweet potato pie with whipped topping.

The running joke in our family, and I must admit that my annual forgetfulness never failed … thus perpetuating the joke, was the candied yams. I carefully prepared them, baked them to perfection and then placed the marshmallows on top for a quick run under the broiler. I would forget, leave them in too long, pull the flaming mass out of the oven, scrape off the top layer, replace them with fresh marshmallows, set the timer, put them back under the broiler. Voila! Perfect every (second) time! Year after year.

Year after year I cooked myself into a frenzy. Afterwards I looked like a self-sacrifice – fingernails chopped off with the celery and onions, burns on hands and forearms, bruises from carrying heavy pots. But I felt marvelous!

Sometimes it was just family, or family and friends. When I came into the church, it was family and church family and anybody else who wanted to come. My reputation grew. I usually served lunch between noon and 2:00 pm, but people would drop by late afternoon, suppertime and even later. We would drag it all out again, reheat it and serve it up. The children and I really enjoyed entertaining.

One time my two younger children dressed up as Pilgrim and Indian Princess to perform an original Thanksgiving play for us. One time after our meal, we packed up all the food and transported it across town to share it again with the “Great Aunts,” who were homebound. The pleasure of spending time with the children and consuming a feast gave them lasting memories.

One time we did not have enough money to purchase the Thanksgiving meal. I had been working with a family from my church to place meals in the homes of those less fortunate. The husband worked for a company who supplied turkeys and trimmings. They had given away all the boxes except one, and my list had been exhausted.

“Can’t you think of anyone?” he asked. “Surely someone has a need.”

In obedience to the voice of God urging me, I hesitantly responded, “I have a need.” “I knew it!” he exclaimed. “We’ll come over tonight.”

And they did. He and his wife supplemented the company’s offering and brought us everything from butter and milk to Parker House rolls and everything else we needed for a glorious meal! We were really thankful to God that year!

When I was in junior high school our principal called us to the auditorium for a reading of the first presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation made by George Washington in 1789. It cemented in my mind that even the president was subject to God, and willingly submitted himself to God’s sovereignty, and wanted the whole country to observe a day of thanksgiving.

I had experienced a similar thing a few years before. When I started school, we memorized the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. A year later we had to re-memorize it and add the words “under God.” Our government officials wanted everyone to know that God was undergirding our country.

Another memorable Thanksgiving Day began with the usual madness and mayhem. I had been cheffing for 3 days and was up ‘way early to throw the bird in the oven and tend to all the other dishes in the works. We were expecting several special guests, so I was paying particular attention to the way we were dressed and groomed. I wanted everything to be just so.

Flitting around in my best dress, hair and make-up perfect, I was queen of all I surveyed. The place settings were set. The children had made name cards for each person. Just lovely! That’s when my daughter announced, “Mom, my head really itches.”

“What’s wrong? Let me see.”

I parted her beautiful, long hair and peered at the scalp. Ew! There were bugs crawling all over her head. What in the world was that?

I remember when I was twelve or thirteen. My grandmother asked me about my teachers at school. “How do you like your teachers this year?”

“Well,” I answered, “mostly they’re OK, but this one woman is lousy!”

“Oh, no!,” Granny exclaimed, placing her hand over her mouth trying to hide the shock of what I had just said. “You mean she has lice?!?”

With the same amount of shock I realized my daughter had lice. I put in a call to the pediatrician. Doctors love to get calls on Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays. It has always been my practice to oblige them as much as I can.

They called in a prescription to the 24-hour pharmacy and told me that I could give her vinegar shampoos in the meantime to start getting rid of the worst offenders. So that’s what we did.

Minutes later our first guest arrived. He was a really good friend, so I didn’t hesitate to ask him to drive to the pharmacy to pick up the shampoo. He laughed, shared his story from elementary school of when he had lice. After his head was shaved and treated with a black, tarry substance, his mother covered it with a knitted cap, which remained there for weeks.

“Oh, joy,” I thought, “will I have to shave her head?”

I decided to wait until after the meal to use the medicated shampoo, so we sat and ate – sharing lousy stories — with my daughter sitting there scratching a bit and smelling like a tossed salad. This did not even remotely resemble Norman Rockwell’s picture. Later we became aware that as one of God’s creatures, the louse does have its place.

Corrie Ten Boom recounts her own lice story in her book, The Hiding Place. During World War II when she and her sister were in a concentration camp, they were confronted with lice among the imprisoned. At her sister’s insistence, they thanked God for the lice, Corrie complying grudgingly. As it turned out, because of the lice the guards did not go into the place where Corrie and her sister conducted Bible study. The word of God went forth unhindered in that dark pit of wretchedness. Hope was born in the hearts of the hearers.

The Rev. Robert Hunt arrived in 1607 with the settlers of the first permanent English settlement in America. Before they reached their final destination at what was to become Jamestown, the ship and crew came to rest at a place they called Cape Henry in Virginia.

After spending three days on the ship consecrating their hearts and lives to Christ, Rev. Hunt led the group to the shore where he planted a seven-foot wooden cross in the sand. He knelt on the beach and worshiped God, claiming the land for the propagation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Understanding the full import of the journey, he wanted their first act in this new land to be one of giving thanks to God.

An American tradition, a biblical directive, a joy and a pleasure … Happy Thanksgiving!

“You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops. You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance” — Psalm 65:9-11

Six Things

I personally believe the Baptists have a “lock” on the best potluck dinners. My Catholic friends would argue that point, but I stand firm. And I have attended a lot of potlucks over the years at a lot of churches. Hands down, the Baptists win.

When you walk into the Fellowship Hall there are at least six (sometimes eight) rows of tables. Each row has wooden signs – most likely handmade by grateful husbands – announcing: Salads, Bread, Vegetables, Entrees, and Desserts. My sister, a modern-day potluck scout, previews each serving line to see which one has the best desserts. Then she lets the rest of us know which line to get in.

The potluck is not just another meal. It is a grand celebration. All of us ladies reserve our absolute best recipes for these occasions when we get to show them off before our brothers and sisters in Christ. And show them off we do!

“Mom, that smells wonderful!” my son exclaimed. “It’s for church, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is.”

“See? I told you,” he whispered to his brother. “I knew she didn’t cook it for us.”

I have found a distinctly gratifying (and positively carnal) pleasure in being recognized for a popular potluck offering.

“Who made the ham biscuits? They’re terrific!”

“Why, that would be me,” I confess with a soupçon of humility mixed with a boatload of pride.

And I enjoy being coaxed to prepare a particular dish by a church member.

“Oh, I hope you will bring your cranberry salad. I always look forward to it at Thanksgiving.”

“Of course. And I’ll make a little extra so you can take some home with you.”

Sometimes the conversation is more like: “Oh, I guess you’ll be making the cranberry thing again this year, huh?”

And that’s a fair assumption. I’m not a particularly good cook. In fact, I only know how to make six things, so I have lots of repeats. I mean, cranberry salad is good at Thanksgiving and Christmas and maybe Valentine’s Day (well, it’s red). I have even stretched it into the Fourth of July.

Of the six things I know how to make, I must say I make each of those six things rather well. The rest of the time I microwave, chop, slice and dice, or purchase ready-made. But for those six things to be appreciated by others, well, it’s more than an ego boost. It’s an affirmation that I have attained a sublime level of culinary achievement that cannot be matched by anyone else – unless their six things are the same as my six things.

Over the years the six things have changed a bit. At one time I made my own lasagna noodles with spinach, baked sourdough bread from a 100-year-old starter, and turned out red velvet cake with mystery icing like a professional.

Eventually my endeavors descended to lows I am almost ashamed to admit. My downward spiral began with creating creative vegetable platters creatively, continued with preparing variations on store-bought items (like filling a round of bread with deli spinach dip), and my final downward plunge — buying a box of frozen éclairs.

Now I’m on a definite upward tick. I’m thinning out the tired dishes, beefing up the tried and true, experimenting with new recipes and waiting for feedback from the potluckers.

Chicken dishes have never been my forte, but I tried a new one with a potato-cheese-sour cream-corn flake-mushroom sauce mixture that almost worked. My doctored-up sweet potato and pecan casserole got raves last month. I’m trying it again this month. Well, maybe it’s too soon. And I introduced my now famous oatmeal cake with cream cheese frosting (or was that buttercream?). I forget.

Never mind. I’ll keep at it. Who knows? By the end of the year I may be able to cook SEVEN things!!

“Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him.
You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.”  — Psalm 128:1-2

 

A Lot of Ministry

Parking lot fellowship was the best. People lingered, lounged on the hoods or trunks of their cars, or opened the car door and sat with their feet on the pavement. The evening church services were so wonderful that nobody was ready to go home quite yet. Maybe it was just being outdoors, but there was an atmosphere that made people comfortable. We took time to chat and get to know each other. We were relaxed and apt to open up a little bit and share things that were of a more personal nature. A lot of ministry took place on the lot.

Kids took advantage of their parents’ lollygagging to enjoy more play time with their friends. Teenagers clumped together in a clump to do teenager stuff. The women talked of fears, loves and struggles. Men walked and talked — speaking encouragement into each others’ lives.

As the sun began to set, we said our goodbyes and piled into our cars for the trip home. It sure had been nice — kind of like sitting and swinging on my granny’s porch after a big meal. We had partaken of the Bread of Life, savored the Living Water of His presence, and chowed down on the milk, honey and meat of His Word. It was hard to break the physical bond because of the spiritual bond that had formed among us.

We were God’s children basking in the afterglow of His radiance, swapping tales of His lovingkindness, and dreaming of a city whose builder and maker is God.

Sometimes we took the parking lot home with us. One night I invited several families and even a visitor or two to come over after church for a bite to eat, forgetting that was exactly what they would find in my kitchen — just a bite — until the drive home.

“Well, Jesus fed a whole bunch of people with 5 loaves and 2 fishes,” I thought. “It’ll work out.”

Everyone was quite buoyant as they came into my house. We gathered in the kitchen still excited about the move of God in our services that day. While they talked and laughed, I placed before them a half loaf of bread, a half jar of peanut butter, a full jar of grape jelly, half a bag of Oreos and water to drink all around. I passed out some knives and napkins, and you know what? They were so intent on sharing what God had done in their lives, they never even noticed what or if they were eating or that they were fixing it themselves!

“A simple meal with love is better than a feast where there is hatred.” — Proverbs 15:17