Shy Miracle

I found this saved in my WordPress file box from 6 years ago!  Might as well publish it.

654C4D88-323F-4A35-94EC-25823B2017BB

First, can I just say how much I miss WordPress, and writing in general?!  I’m rather surprised that I haven’t drafted a story or checked-in for almost four months.  Shame on me.  But before you turn your cyber-nose up at me, I have a pretty good reason for not checking in, and some miraculous news.  I’m pregnant.  Four months pregnant to be exact, or as they say in the world of obstetrics – 16 weeks, which is another way of saying I’m in my second trimester.  Why is this all so miraculous you ask?  Well, I’m 42 years old and I have never been pregnant.  In fact, I thought God had determined that I would not have children at all.  I was an aunt, godmother, sister, cousin, friend and daughter, which are all blessings in themselves.

In truth, I have always wanted children, ten to be exact.  I’ll never forget the day I told this to my boyfriend (now husband) as we discussed our future.  “You want ten children?!”  Sure, why not?  I love kids, always have.  He opted for just one.  “That’s because you’re an only child,” I said lovingly.  Granted, I was only 21 when I wanted as many children as I have fingers, and I had yet to discover the heartache of not being able to conceive one child, let alone ten.  As I look back at that young, bright-eyed girl, I can’t help thinking, why ten?  Perhaps I wanted to make my own family and leave behind the hurtful clan I’d been born with.  Of course this is not God’s plan and I can honestly say (now) that I’m grateful for the family I was born into, and especially for the Mom He gave me.

After several years of being married, attending numerous family and friends’ baby showers and praying God would bless us, He chose not to.  So we upped and moved North to Oregon and away from Alameda, CA to start a new life with our two Boston Terriers.  My husband was totally fine not having children.  He liked it being just the two of us, but after 15 years of marriage I still couldn’t give up on my dream of being a mother and loving a little baby of our own.

When blood tests showed that I had ample pregnancy hormones, and my husband was told he could be a “donor,” I finally decided to try adoption.  But first, I did what I was taught, reading about the Old Testament prophets – I completely prostrated myself on the floor of my closet, door shut, and cried out to God!  In my tearful prayer I made a hasty promise; (those of you who read scripture know this is not a wise thing to do) I promised the Lord that if He blessed me with a child, I would raise them up in the Lord with all my heart.

A couple of months went by, and out of nowhere my sister, who lives in TN, asked if we would foster her youngest daughter until she could get back on her feet.  At first I thought this was God’s answer, but something inside of me (the Holy Spirit) said no.  Still, we wanted to help them both, but things got ugly when my older sister stepped into the scene and decided she wanted C.  Also my husband, who is a peace officer did not like the fact that C’s mom was using, and was afraid she would pop up one day and dramatically take her daughter back.  Hypothetical fears and drama plagued his mind, and since he was not at peace with it, we asked if we could adopt my 2 year old niece instead of fostering, and was told maybe. This brought my Dad into the scene, and he expressed his thoughts.  Although his words felt cruel, he was right. We were wanting it all or nothing.  After praying about it and struggling some more with family, the Lord changed things.  My TN sister was going to allow us to adopt.

All this time I was openly discussing things with C’s social worker, telling her everything that was going on.  She was great.  A woman of faith who’s heart was truly for the best interest of the child and cared for all involved.  She told me rather surprisingly that my older sister had ‘serious issues’ and was not an option for C.  She understood our concerns about my TN sister wanting her daughter back, and also our desire for a child of our own.  In her sweet TN accent she said, “Let’s just do the paperwork for adoption and see what happens.”

She sent us a picture of C sitting on a chair in the social workers office, holding a teddy bear. It was like a heartbreaking adoption add, with my own little niece as the subject.  A niece I’d never met, but loved.  My heart broke for her.  I just wanted to bring her home and love her and protect her and give her a good life.  So we began the arduous process of adoption with joyful vigor.

Two weeks of being ill with a mysterious bug, I was working what would end up being my last Brookings farmers market.  I had made my piece de resistance – rum raisin brioche rolls with French custard, when I felt that God had decided it was time. I was pregnant.  My husband and I and our doggies were driving to Alameda, to work on our Pearl Street home when I shyly told Tony my feelings.  He didn’t believe me. Arriving at the house he made me take 2 different brands of pregnancy tests and I laughed and praised God through them both. They were positive. He was scared, but happy. I was elated!

After the ultrasound showed twins it was my turn to be shocked and a little scared.  When I excitedly told my Mom then Tony’s Mom, and I heard the thrill in their voices, I realized how far away I was from them and all of our family.  It’s impossible to move back now, I thought (limiting God big-time), so I tightened my bootstraps and prepared to do it all by myself, with just the help of my husband.  Yet again, this isn’t how it’s supposed to be (later I would suffer physically because I ‘did it on my own’, instead of trusting and obeying God).

Talking to C’s social worker about everything, she congratulated us then asked, “Are you still wanting to adopt C?” Of course, I answered without even a thought.  She paused.  Then I asked her why?  She sent me another picture of C, a more recent picture.  Apparently she’d found a pair of scissors and cut off all her hair and suffered cuts as well.  Then she told me that she had ‘serious issues’ – violent behavior was making it difficult for her to foster.  Abuse and rough living made it difficult for her to speak normally for her age.  Well, I thought, God can do all things (Philippians 4:13).  He can heal her issues, he healed mine!  The social worker was gentle yet adamant.  “Just have the babies God has blessed you with.  Don’t risk their well-being and take in a troubled child who could possibly hurt them.”  I was torn.  Of course my husband agreed completely with her, but I loved and wanted to help little C.  So I prayed about it and He told me through the story of Joseph to let her go.  He was with C and He would never leave her or forsake her (like I felt I was doing).

Spoiler alert: She is now happily living with her sweet Mommy, who is recovered and living her life for Jesus.  God is truly merciful, always!  He uses our trials to bring us back to Him, if we’re truly His; and the fruit or proof of this, is love.  When I last spoke to my sister in TN she was so loving and humble and grateful to God that she has her C again, and I’m so happy too!

After the smoke has cleared and the long-distance family trouble has died down, the Lord continues to give me peace.  I am so excited to be a mother at long last!  I do wish I lived closer to family, but God will give me strength and wisdom to be the best Mama to His little blessings.

A New Creation in Christ Jesus

C0DBCF83-88CE-493D-807B-77B207E62F0B

I was going to start a new WordPress page and ditch this old one, but I chose to ‘keep it real’ as my husband likes to say, and keep it.  Plus, I love these old stories!  They’re fun, and they show me how much I have changed, yay.   In 2017 the Lord shook up my life pretty dramatically, and made me realize that even though I was a “Christian,” I had never understood the importance of making Jesus Christ LORD.  He was more a permanent figure in my life, like a Dad, that I knew loved me and wanted me to be happy.  Making Jesus Lord simply means being obedient to His Word, the Bible, and loving Him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, which is only possible to do with His Spirit – the Holy Spirit.  Through His Word He revealed my lukewarm heart, and even though I was “saved” at 14, meaning I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and to come into my heart, I never honestly put Him FIRST in my life (Deuteronomy 6:5).  Another truth I never understood, because I had never experienced it, and He has mercifully shown me is, that despite agonizing pain and suffering – His grace truly is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).

I am extremely grateful to my Lord for His incredible patience with me, His forgiveness, and His faithfulness.  In truth, the only reason I am reopening this page is to “like” the writing of a woman in my new hometown.  So thank you Lord for Kris! whom I have never met (hope to soon), but talked to on the phone one early morning about the homeschooling community here.

Who knows? (God knows) Maybe I’ll take up writing again.  But be warned, the stories will be very different or little like the previous posts herein; a lot has happened since living in Brookings.  One day, God willing, I will put it all out there, piece by piece, like a giant puzzle.  For now, I’ll just say that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him (and “hate everything else” – Luke 14:26), to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).   Continue reading

How an Old Chihuahua Stole My Heart

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Just this past winter our buddy Norm asked if we could feed his three cats while he and his daughter went away for 12 days. Sure, no problem, have a great time. Then the day before they left, Norm called to ask if we could also feed his ex-wife’s dog. Otherwise, as Norm put it, “I’ll have to leave him in the garage all day with the cats.” Animal abuse was the first thing that came to my mind. Cats are one thing, they’re kind of naturally independent, whereas dogs are more like people; they can’t be fed and then left alone all day, they need human companionship too much. “Oh yeah,” Norm continued, “We also have a parrot and two fish tanks.” “Oh, okay,” was my husband’s kind reply. “The more the merrier!” I’m afraid my response to the situation was less gracious.

You see, I would be doing the feeding and the watering and the walking and the visiting, not my sweetie. He has a job, while I have become a homemaker by proxy. This makes me available for all sorts of odd tasks. It’s all good, the dog’s name is PT, he’s an ancient Chihuahua with a 2.54 centimeter black tumor in-between his eyes and foul breath. When we arrived the first morning and opened the kitchen door that led to the garage, PT sprang out rather stiffly with his feline brothers and sisters thinking we were his family. After realizing we were strangers, he showed us his yellow fangs and stood his ground near the front door. I tried talking to him sweetly but he snapped at me, twice. When he did this my husband picked him up, held him close and tugged his neck skin while saying, “Hey, PT, it’s okay,” in a kind, but very alpha-male tone of voice. Just like that, PT was fine. While he was doing his “business” out back, Tony and I straightened up the garage (I forgot how rank cat boxes are!), fed the cats, the parrot and the fishes, then we let PT back in, fed him and left. Later that afternoon I was to come by to take PT for a walk, but to be honest, my first impression of him was not great.

When I opened the front door at around noon everyone greeted me: The parrot screeched like crazy, the cats meowed and swirled around my feet, even the fish splashed about at the tops of their tanks. PT, however, was sitting in the middle of the living room looking away nervously. “Hi PT!” I chirped. He didn’t move. As I approached him I heard a guttural growl, much stronger than I ever imagined could come from such a little dog. I tried my husband’s trick – using an alpha-male tone of voice, but it came out too deep and he lunged towards me with all his might. Shocked by his response, I fell over one of the cats and landed on my butt. “PT!” I protested, but instead of keeping his distance, he came in for the kill. As I sat there holding myself up with my hands, watching to see what he’d do, I started laughing. Then he bit my finger. It wasn’t a very hard bite, but it surprised me. That’s when I pulled the bacon out of my pocket.

For lunch I’d made a BLTA sandwich and saved the bacon crumbs in a paper towel, specifically for PT. I had a feeling the lack of Tony’s presence was going to give him airs, and it did. The power of bacon never ceases to amaze me. It can awaken a snoring household from the deepest slumber, bring a smile to a hungry man’s face, and appease the most disgruntled animal. Within minutes PT was my best friend, and we were to have the greatest 12 days together.

On our first walk PT showed me all his haunts, which were many, but the best was an abandoned field about three blocks from his domicile. This field had fewer trees than the rest of the neighborhood, which gave one a birds-eye view of the Pacific Ocean and the tiny houses below. After a long pause at this spot I tried to continue our walk, but PT’s little skeletal frame fought my tug relentlessly. He must have liked the sunshine, or perhaps the view, so I sat down on the grass and put PT in my lap. Together we watched the fishing boats float past and various wild animals do their routine. All the while, the sun’s rays beat down on us and we soaked it in graciously. We were to perform this little ritual every day, unless it was raining. On those days PT didn’t really want to walk, so he’d do his “biz” out back, then we’d sit together in a heavily padded swivel chair. I would either read my book or write in my laptop and he would curl up next to my hip and groom himself. That’s when I noticed how stinky he was.

Unfortunately PT’s missing several teeth, and the ones he has are on their way out, so his breath is pretty foul. Grooming himself merely spreads the funk all over this coat like butter. When Tony came home from work, I asked him to assist me in giving PT a bath. After all, I wasn’t sure how the old dude would react, but I was pretty sure soap and water were a foreign concept to him. I needed Tony to hold while I lathered. Surprisingly, PT took it well. It probably felt good! After we blow-dried him completely (Didn’t want him to catch cold), we set him down on the floor and to our surprise he danced around as if to Haircut 100’s Boy Meets Girl! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2cat4kykzI It was awesome.

Since Norm doesn’t live too far from us, I stopped by to visit PT and his siblings quite a bit – three, sometimes four times a day. It was kind of fun over there with all those creatures. I didn’t know the names of the cats, so I gave them my own: There was Cry Baby, a corpulent, light orange tabby with a tear duct issue. Fats, a podgy black cat with tiny eyes and a skittish nature, and Tiger, a silver tabby who ran from Tony as if from the Plague, but loved me. Every night Tiger cleverly eluded us by hiding behind one of the gigantic fish tanks, which meant he never had to sleep in the garage with the others. PT and Cry Baby were very simpatico. They rolled around together a lot, and PT would let the cat bite him rather hard on his neck. Fats didn’t like anyone, and she was always hungry (of course); she’d even eat PT’s food if I didn’t watch her. The fishes were…fishy, not a lot of personality there, and their tanks made the whole house swampy, which I think pleased the parrot.

The parrot was the only creature that drove me nuts. He was loud, he bit, and he repetitively “dominated” his wooden ladder while I was there. It was disturbing. Plus, he liked the door to his iron cage open, so he could jump down amongst the cats. That was a bit nerve-wracking, watching three felines circle him like prey, but Norm said not to worry about it, so I didn’t. Actually, I was secretly hoping they’d eat him while I was gone, but each morning he screeched at me at the top of his lungs until I fed him or sprayed him with water. He liked that.

Through it all, PT remained his same congenial self, and I honestly began looking forward to our time together each day. It was like hanging out with a seasoned, elderly man – they always make you feel welcome and the conversation is great. When the day came for me to relinquish my duties it was with a sad heart. What started out as a burden had become a complete joy. It’s funny how attached we become to these furry little creatures, and I don’t even like Chihuahuas.

About three weeks after Norm returned from his trip, Tony stopped by his house to fix something on his motorcycle. I thought I’d tag along. Of course Tony knew that I wanted to see PT. As we walked into the open garage, and before Norm could say a word, I asked, “Where’s PT?”

“Who? Oh, Petey? Uh, he’s outside in his house I guess.” Norm said. Petey! Oops. I gave Tony a reproachful glance and he shrugged innocently – PT/Peetie, same thing. After saying hello to Norm’s daughter, I opened the back door to see the little dude. I wasn’t sure if he’d remember me, but the moment we clamped eyes on each other he did his little Boy Meets Girl dance and ran towards me. It goes to show, you can’t always trust first impressions.

Sleeping With Electronics

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

Just…one…more…search.
photo courtesy of foxnomad.com

I’m going to admit something that I’m not very proud of. For the past three nights I’ve been sleeping with my laptop, and my cellular phone.  Both items have been accompanying me to bed every night while I’m away from home and my sweet husband. I guess you can say these two electronic devices are similar to those very special friends that you don’t see very often, but when you do, you easily pick-up where you left off. Usually when I’m home my laptop sits coldly on the kitchen table, and my cell phone is dead somewhere in a long forgotten jacket. The moment I leave home however, I treat them with the utmost respect, making sure they are properly charged and sleeping snugly on the pillow next to me. Fickle woman.

My cousin LOVES her iPhone possibly more than good wine, good conversation, and our Elvis Christmas album. Could this happen to me?

Now, perhaps if I had an iPhone, I wouldn’t be so hot and cold, but I’m terrified of getting one. I think I’m afraid I’ll become obsessed with it and turn into one of those people who are constantly taking pictures of humorous labels at the grocery store. Gasp. Still, deep down inside I know that one day I’ll cave. I did with the DVD player. Of course, it took me years to accept this electronic device, because I was happy with VHS, still am. I see very little difference in picture quality and sound, and we watch a lot of movies. A good story is a good story, no matter how you dress it up or present it on the screen. For example, I can watch The Maltese Falcon on VHS and I’m instantly enthralled. Watch it on DVD and I’m just as caught-up by the story, not the clarity. Then again, I am due to have my eyes checked. It’s been three years.

Remember those 80s mixed tapes? Yes, I still listen to mine. photo courtesy of broken20.com

Frankly, I’m grateful to be with a man who doesn’t take stock in such things as DVDs and gigantic TVs. Still, I’ll never forget my husband’s face when he opened his Christmas present in 2001 – a new Sony DVD/VHS player and a Sony 19” screen TV – he was ecstatic. Little did I realize the consequences of my actions, as ever so slowly we started replacing our perfectly good VHS tapes with DVDs. Next thing we’ll be expected to replace our DVDs with BluRay, then BluRay will be replaced by something else. It’s a vicious cycle that doesn’t give, but takes: your time, your money and the environment by storm.

A mountain of VHS tapes. Photo courtesy of treehugger.com.

Landfill – which once swallowed up vinyl records, then 8-track tapes, then cassette tapes – is sighing, as it swallows up VHS players, VHS tapes and CDs. And what about Don Johnson’s cell phone and the millions like it? Or Samsung phones. Landfill. Wow, I’m ranting now. What’s my point? Oh yeah, that one day I’ll cave in and get an iPhone, and truthfully? I can’t wait! Gasp.

Will Work For Butter

Tags

, , , , , , ,

In my very first post I mentioned how the transition from working girl to housewife/property manager/writer has been a strange, yet surprisingly easy one. Well, it’s still a bit strange. I think perhaps it’s because the farmer’s market is closed for the winter, so I’m not busy creating culinary delights for my townsfolk anymore. I miss my customers, and the amazing people I worked with: Julie, Sylvia, Michael, Linda, and Virgil; but mostly I miss the learning. Baking for the market was a bit like attending my very own private culinary school.  Days before the market, I would read and re-read complex recipes, pour over countless cookbooks, including Linda Dannenberg’s fabulous book – Paris Boulangerie Patisserie – Recipes from Thirteen Outstanding French Bakeries, and plan my menu.

When I was living in the city, and working 9-5 I never had the time to sharpen my gastronomic skills, nor the proclivity to master such delicacies as Bouchons (chocolate “corks”), Croissants aux Amandes (almond-filled croissants), Tarte Normande (apple and custart tart), Gougeres (giant gruyere cheese puffs), Sables a’ l’Orange et Raisins (orange and raisin cookies), Tartes aux Framboises (raspberry tartletts with pastry cream), Coco au Miel (coconut-honey cakes), pizza dough, ham and Gruyere bread, or my apple pie – or even piecrust for that matter! The five months I’ve spent working for the market has been an invaluable education, that has not only opened the door to my culinary imagination and shown me tangible ways in which I can make a little cash; it has made me realize how very blessed I am to have such opportunities as these (thank you Lord!).

Women gardening. Courtesy of oldpictures.com

Another blessing the transition from city life to rural bliss has uncovered, is the opportunity to volunteer. For a few months after the market ended, I was volunteering for my friend Linda on her farm. What a joy! I’m looking forward to helping her harvest potatoes, garlic and more when spring approaches. Then, these past few months I’ve been volunteering at St. Timothy’s soup kitchen. Curiously it was my sweet, unbelieving friend Linda who told me about St. Timothy’s. When I asked her if she knew of ways in which the community was helping its low income and homeless population, she said that St. Timothy’s was the first church (out of ~27 in town) to start a soup kitchen. Then shortly thereafter, six other churches stepped-up to the plate and started their own programs. So now the city of Brookings, OR offers one good meal every day of the week for those in need. It’s a good thing and I wanted to help.

My buddy Linda also told me about The Gospel Outreach Mission, which is where people may buy donated clothing and small pieces of furniture – for cheap. Growing up, I remember my mom and grandma used to shop at St. Vincent de Paul’s in Oakland, CA procuring a lamp, a couch, end tables. Then when I was a teenager my friends and I used to hit St. Vincent’s, for vintage dresses and men’s wool pants to wear with our Doc Martins. I never realized it was generational, but for the past 20 years I’ve been donating to St. Vincent de Paul’s. Then we moved to this little seaside town.

So now it’s The Mission on HWY 101 that gets all our stuff. When I dropped-off my first donation I asked the man there, Mario, if he knew about St. Timothy’s. “They have THE BEST meals.” He said, straight-faced. “How does one go about volunteering?” I had no idea how to get in the door, and couldn’t imagine they would “hire” me based on my enthusiasm. He told me to ask for Carla. The next week I did just that, my husband came with me and we scoped it out.

What an amazing smile Carla has, it’s so big and welcoming, I knew I was on the right path. My first day volunteering I arrived at 9am sharp. I think Ron, the director of the soup kitchen, could see I was very eager to help, so he didn’t have the heart to turn me away, even though I couldn’t remember Carla’s name and I called Mario, Martin. Still, he gave me the rundown, then he gave me the task of setting up tables and chairs, “Which is normally Rich’s job.” When Rich arrived he quietly fixed what I’d done, then I got to work on the salad, “Which is normally Angel’s job.” When Angel arrived she kindly let me continue making the salad, even though I asked, “Where are the band-aids?” After I bandaged my finger as discretely as possible and put on a plastic glove for good measure, I blurted out, “You know if you want, I can bake. I bake for the farmer’s market.” What was I thinking? “Oh really!” Rich said excitedly. Ron looked at me thoughtfully and said, “I would like to use-up the frozen pears and peaches that I have in the storeroom. How about you make something next week?” “Great!” I chirped. Talk about exciting, my hands were itching to be covered in butter and flour once again.

1912 photo courtesy of thesisterproject.com

When I left the soup kitchen that day I came straight home and perused my cookbooks for a good fruit crisp recipe, but only came up with pie recipes. Two days later, I found an old crumpled up card in my recipe box for a fruit crisp that sounded good, because it used freshly grated lemon and orange rind, only it served 8. I needed a recipe for 100!  Eh, I’ll just multiply everything by twelve I thought, that makes sense. Ha!

The morning I was to make my crisp for the soup kitchen, I felt like I did on finals day at Berkeley, scared but hopeful.  “Today I’m going to make the biggest dessert I’ve ever attempted, so step back, and pray that it turns out beautifully!” I told my husband.  When I arrived at St. Timothy’s, Ron had faithfully purchased everything I asked for, except I brought the old-fashioned oats. I wanted to make a small donation just in case it was a flop. Also, I grated the lemon and orange rind at home to save time, since I wasn’t sure how long this dish was going to take from start to finish.

After I’d opened and drained ten gigantic cans of sliced peaches and thawed about ten cups of chopped pear, I realized this project was bigger than I’d imagined. Still, I kept my cool and continued working, even when Rich, John and Ira began needling me about the gargantuan mound of chopped butter I was enthusiastically trying to incorporate into the topping ingredients. “Julia would be proud!” Rich said, patting me on the back, “You should have a sign on your back – Will Work For Butter. HA HA HA!” I had to laugh. It was a ridiculous amount of animal fat. “I only use butter when baking.” I informed them. “It’s easier to digest, it’s better for you than margarine, plus butter makes everything taste good!” I said, half-joking. Thing is, six pounds of cold butter is hard to handle, so Ron came over and helped me with the final mixing, and then I spooned the fruit into the three metal pans I was given. After sprinkling each dish with the topping, I noticed two of the pans were shallow indeed. I’m sure you can guess what happened.

photo courtesy of vrchristensen.com

As the topping began to melt in the ovens, the pans began to overflow, and burning butter = smoke, lots and lots of smoke.  Before you could say, Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, all the kitchen staff were outside coughing and gasping for breath, and I was left virtually alone to ladle off the excess butter, which floated on top of each pan like a golden pool. When Angel arrived I told her what had happened and she miraculously fitted higher sides to the pans using tinfoil. Ingenious woman! Once the excess butter was removed and the higher sides were in place, I went to put the pans back into the ovens to continue baking. When I opened the oven door, I got hit in the face with so much smoke it scorched my eyeballs in their sockets. I almost dropped the pan but somehow slid it in safely (thank you Lord!). That’s when the ovens plotted their revenge against me.

Due to high heat, the ill-fitted racks began to shrink and fall down. Each time I pulled out the pans to spoon or blot off the excess butter I had to very gingerly place the pans back on the racks, otherwise they would fall. Talk about nerve wracking. On top of this, I had to endure a Monday morning quarterback from another soup kitchen, whose remarks were rather trying. “You have no idea what you’re doing, do you? How long have you been volunteering here? You should have known better than multiplying the quantity of butter.” It went on and on. All I kept thinking was, “What would Jesus do, what would Jesus do,” so I took it on the cheek and kept working. He went away eventually; when he did Ron said, “Lady, you’ve got rhinoceros skin.” “I can take it,” I said feigning a smile. “My pride is completely squashed, and I just want you to know that it was really nice knowing you all, since after today you’re no longer going to want me here.” He just laughed and patted me on the shoulder. Mercifully, by the time our patrons started to arrive, the smoke had cleared and people began commenting, “Wow, that smells good.” Carla said it smelled like caramel, which makes sense as the ovens had just burned off enough butter and sugar to make a pound of caramels.

This is not the actual crisp, but it looks a lot like it! Photo courtesy of fromsmilerwithlove.com

It’s amazing how something so catastrophic can turn out ok. God was truly merciful; my crisp was a hit. My husband, who came to see me on his day off (he got a BIG hug from me), sat with Ron for a bit and all he heard from our patrons was, “Great dessert.” “The best dessert they’ve ever served.” “It’s called a crisp, a crisp! Amazing.” Praise indeed. A woman who works in the free clinic even asked me to e-mail her the recipe, so she could make it for her family.

Can you believe that even after this drama, Ron still wants me to volunteer?  Of course I get the occasional poke from my fellow kitchen staff, “Got Butter Katherine?” “This needs more butter, don’t you think Katherine?” “Don’t forget the unsalted butter!” But it’s always followed-up with praise for my “amazing crisp.”

I feel so blessed to be volunteering at St. Timothy’s. Not only do I get to help those in need; I get to wet my culinary whistle every week, and I’ve found an amazing group of people who enjoy volunteering as much as I do.  Let’s see, I’ve made chicken pot pie, spaghetti Bolognese, rice pudding, tapioca, herbed hard rolls, lots of salad; and this week I will be making bread pudding, which will require the ovens, so say a prayer for me!