Monday, November 14, 2022

"The Recipe On The Box"

 I am making chocolate chip cookies.  

My Mom's recipe.

She would say it's the recipe "on the box" but, truth is, 

it's been tweaked here and there so many times

by her baking hands that it no longer resembles the one "on the box".

(I'm not even sure what "box" it is anymore!)

I really didn't have plans to bake anything today.  

No reason to, really.

I had cleaned up lunch dishes, and although I had Christmas boxes of decorations spread

in various places around my house, 

I thought of chocolate chip cookies.

Mom's chocolate chip cookies.

I took out the recipe (although I really can do it by heart)

 to find a very used and tattered card.  

Things had spilt on it over the years and obviously been wiped away leaving 

just a stain in remembrance.  

It brought some comfort somehow.

I measured out (I don't normally do this :) the ingredients 

and listened to the whirl of the mixer

making the yummy goodness right before my eyes.  

I wanted to get these right.  I didn't want these to be one of my 

"we'll see how they turn out" batches.

I wanted them to be like mom's.  

I stopped at the idea of counting out the 5 chocolate chips for each cookie. 

Yes, it's true, she always did that.  A product of making money stretch for so many years.

 I didn't do that today but it did make me smile just thinking of it.

It's at this point, right before they went into the oven, that I realized what I was doing.

I wanted my mom back.  At 65 years old, I wanted my mom back.

I had had hard conversations all morning regarding her care.

She's in an assisted living facility with my dad.  (They just recently had a 70 year anniversary)

She has dementia.

I think over these last so many years, I had already mourned the loss of my mom-

at least the mom as I knew her -

and in the last couple years had really been able to see the humor

 in some of the situations

that dementia presents itself.

She was a different person, yes,  but still enjoyed life and added so much to ours. 

That's changed recently after a few falls that have broken bones.

New decisions to be made.  

Decisions you don't want to make for the people that have always been the ones you run to..

the ones you looked to for wisdom in hard situations..

the ones that were YOUR rock.

And now they aren't.  

It's all shifted and the world feels a bit crazy...

But, for a bit, as I mixed the ingredients of the cookies, I saw my mom's hands.

And as I took a bite of the dough, I heard my mom ask if I wanted to lick off the beaters.

And when I closed my eyes and took a bite of that first warm cookie out of the oven

it felt like I was in my long ago home. 

And all was right with the world for a minute.  

I savored that minute.

I wish my sisters were closer and we could all sit around my table eating warm cookies

and talking about our memories -

laughing and even crying as we reminisce

But finishing, ALWAYS finishing, 

with how blessed we are to have had the mom we've had 

and the mom we have.

Thursday, I'll take her some chocolate chip cookies.

Saturday, October 17, 2015


It's raining tonight.
I make note of this because had it rained earlier
I wouldn't have been there.

Mom and Dad have been out of town and,
being that the irrigation water has been shut off for a while
and that it has still been warm here
and that Dad threw some seed in some bare spots on their yard,
I went to their house this afternoon to water with the watering can.

I would have been gone and missed it all but just as I was ready to get in my car
I remembered that I forgot to check to make sure there was no mail....

I checked.  None.
I turned to leave
and as I was walking away
I heard a voice-
shaking, not quite loud enough to understand.
I turn.
 "are you talking to me?"

And then I see the face.
A young teenager.  (I found out later he was 16)
Carrying a dog who was shaking as bad as the crying boy.

"Please help me.  
My mom hasn't taken her medication and then she goes crazy.
I am scared"

I don't know what to do.
"Please, don't leave me!"

I don't know what I say but he follows me and when I ask what I should do
he tells me to call the police.  911.

I've never done that before but, then, I've never been in this situation.
I am scared too and by this time the mother has come outside.  Coming towards us.
She's angry.  I am not really sure where the anger is directed right then.
Me or him.

I take refuge with the boy in my parents garage
while on the phone with the 911 operator waiting for someone to come...
The mother stands outside.

There, of course, is more to the story.
I did talk with the police.
I did have to stay until they released me to go.
The mother did want to press charges against me for taking him in the garage!

I don't know what happened as I was told I could go before they were done.
I don't know what the real story was behind the scene.
And I don't know if I did the best thing although the police told me I did the right thing.

And on the way home I cried (actually I cried talking to the police!)
And I can't get this family off of my mind. (There is a divorce going on...)
And I wonder what is going on with the mother and son tonight.
And I wonder if he is safe.

And I now know that this is going on all over my little part of the world
and today it became reality to me.
And I cry for what we as a people have become.

And I only know of ONE hope.

If it had rained earlier I wouldn't have been there...

Thursday, September 10, 2015

5 Days - 4 Nights

For the first time in 3 years we are going to all be together.
The whole family.

It has the potential to be a glorious time.
And there is opportunity for, well, a not so glorious time.

Fourteen personalities - 9 guys, and 5 girls.
Four marriages.  6 kids.
Many different ages.
14 different opinions.
1 house.

And I am beyond excited!!!!

Being that we live in 4 different states -
 two clear across the country from the other two -
we don't get this chance often enough.
And we always love to get together.

But, we are people, and in spite of our love for each other
we must still make a conscience decision
to unconditionally love each other in confined spaces.
To look over each other's faults.
To speak kindly of each other and to each other.
To put others needs and desires ahead of our own.
To respect each others space and opinions.
To not be easily offended or hurt.

To remember that just because we are family it does not give us the
freedom to operate in the flesh
but rather the greater responsibility to live by the Spirit.

I have not really worried about us,
knowing we are blessed
to have a family that longs to be together,
but I would be naive to think that there is not a risk here.

We are living in a time when families are easily
torn apart by things said
or actions taken.
And it is, by nature, our tendency to look out for ourselves
before others.

And so I write this;
Knowing how excited we all are to spend this time together.
Wanting it to be with the same expectation that we wait for the next time.
Desiring that we miss each other when all is said and done.

And knowing that each one makes this imperfectly, perfect family.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Behind their backs

She's pretty
and has a sense of humor to die for.

She's smart and has a successful career.

She's a sharp dresser and knows how to put together "a look".

She has a family that loves her
and thinks she is the best.

But her perception of herself is different.
She struggles with, what I now know, years of verbal abuse.  Bullying.

I've known her for years.

Well...maybe I shouldn't use the word KNOWN
because when I really listened to her recently
I came to the realization that a huge part of her life
I hadn't known.
A part that shaped and molded her into who she is.

I don't know what caused her to tell her story that day.
We weren't alone so she wasn't talking directly to me.
She wasn't trying to get my approval or sympathy.
She was just telling her story.
Unexpectedly even to herself, I think.

There were a few questions here and there
but, honestly, we mostly just listened
to a woman explain
why she is who she is today.

I don't know how many years this bullying consumed
(or maybe she would say at times it still feels as though it goes on)
but in those precious years of a child's life when it matters the most
what people think
she was, in her mind, told all to clearly what they thought.
And it wasn't nice.  It wasn't loving.  It wasn't right.
Maybe, we think, she shouldn't have let it bother her - what they thought.
But it did.  It does.

Called names, ridiculed, (and maybe the worst) ignored.
At school and at church.
In the church youth group where you would expect to be loved unconditionally - or at least accepted.
At first she hoped for some reprieve when relatives
were part of the group.
She quickly quit hoping.
Their silence was as bad as the words that were spoken.

Even as she told her story I could feel the pain.
She teared up now and then
but it was as though, finally,
she could speak of it - even to herself.

She excused the kids now
by saying "they were just kids"
but in her telling of it
I came to the realization
that she can be in that moment once again simply
by a word spoken to her now that she interprets to mean something it wasn't meant to mean.
It all becomes so personal.
The gut retching pain of it all.

She mentioned how she is examining how this small portion of her life
has impacted the majority of her life.
Decisions.  Actions.  Choices.  Self-worth.
Things she does and feels even today, so many years later.

I've since cried for her -
for that young person that so badly wanted acceptance
only to be openly put down - beaten down - with words and actions.
To be judged by the outward appearance
and motives that others knew nothing about.
I weep for that person even as I write this.

And I weep for me.  For repentance.
For the times I have listened to others being put down by someone.
For the times I have been silent and in that way contributed.
For the things I have thought in judgement of others.
And for the things I have said to someone and for the things I have said  behind their backs.

Oh, forgive me Lord
 for the things I have said of people
"behind their backs."

I hope her sharing with us helped to heal.
I hope self acceptance becomes a victory in her life.
I hope she can forgive.

I have been asking the Lord to make me more like Him.
I believe He is bringing me to the realization that first I must see for myself who I am.

I know He will forgive.

Saturday, August 1, 2015


I wasn't trying to ease drop. 
And I don't necessarily think they were trying to keep it private.

I came around the corner and she was telling her husband good-bye
   as he was going to be gone for at least a week on a job related trip.

I heard the typical "I love you"
      (I knew and they knew they felt this way about each other but oh so good to say and hear!)
and then the reminder to " Drive Safely"
He started to walk away and as he turns she speaks her heart
and this is what causes me to pause;

"remember who you are"

The words made me draw a quick breath.
Such a powerful word for him and I suspect it has been spoken many a time in their marriage.

"remember who you are"

  • Don't give into peer pressure to do or say things you know you shouldn't say or do.

  • Don't join in an activity that you know isn't the best choice.

  • Don't give into the enticement of making more money by compromising your integrity.

  • Don't put things or prosperity above people.

  • Don't say things that make you look better at the expense of others.

  • Don't think you have to be right.  That you have to have the last word.  That you have to win.

  • Don't be impatient, unkind, or callous to those you work with, meet, or cross paths with.
  • Don't be unforgiving or hold a grudge.  Don't be touchy or easily agitated.
  • Don't be bitter or grouchy or vain.

"remember who you are"

A man of God.

A sinner saved by grace.

A man greatly loved by his family.

A man blessed by God.

A child of the King.

A man that someday wants to hear "well done, good and faithful servant."

 I am sure that through the years my uncle has found new discoveries of who he is and who he wants to be and, even more importantly,

God revealing to him who He want him to be.

I am also sure that he would say that there have been times he has forgotten.  Times he has been
less than who he knows he is in Christ.  Times of needed repentance.

But it got me to thinking

If I would remember who I am - who God has created me to be

would I be more careful with how I fill my time?
would I take more care to tame my tongue?
to offer my help?
to give more to others?
to praise God more and complain less?
to see the good in others rather than find their faults?
to believe more and fear less?

Someday I am going to ask my aunt what she means when she says it
 but right now

I am asking God what He meant
when He said it to me this morning
through a simple good-bye at the door...

Remember who you are, Sheri.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Blowing in the Wind...

We're planning on a move.  Soon.  Across country.  Again.

Things have changed some with our involvement in Brazil and so we have been kicking around
and praying about our future.  What is needed, what we want to do and when to do it.  

We made plans to stay in Tennessee where two of our children and their spouses are.  We were fine about staying here.  We love our church and the people there.  Can put up with the summer weather knowing that the winters are wonderful.  But work was a factor and it was becoming more of a concern with each passing month as we thought about our future.  Besides, every time we tried to open a door here it seemed to close....

And then Warren got a job offer. A good offer. In Idaho.  Around my parents and two of my sisters and their families.  Closer to our other son and our five grandchildren.  Back to the west that Warren, especially, loves so much.  We talked.  We prayed.  

We are moving toward that with the prayer that God will slam the door shut if it's not to be.  

We are growing more excited with each day although it is mixed with the realization that we have yet more hard good-byes to say.  Now we have people in so many places that we love.  That we miss and will miss. 

With these changes I am also changing this blog - the name and the reason for it. 
 I will keep all of the old posts, mainly because I want  to remember

 I will be using this blog, now, for my thoughts and insights into what God is doing through ordinary circumstances in life to teach me. 

For those of you that are not so interested in that, I am also starting a new blog.  It will be about "house stuff".  Both the house we are finishing up here in Tennessee and also about the house we hope to get and transform in Idaho.  You'll find this blog at

I have NOT posted anything on that blog yet - give me a few days!

A new adventure is just around the corner....

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Process

We are in the process of finishing a house so that we can sell it - 
I wondered if we had always done this - 
worked hard at the very end in order to get the house on the market - 
and in thinking about it, 
it IS a pattern!

Only one time had we had the house completely ready to sell when we decided we wanted to move. And we have done this plenty of times.

I'm not having a hard time thinking of selling this house, although I love it, but I hate the last couple of weeks of mess, work and stress.

It looks awful around here.

We have a family room and bathroom that we hadn't even touched until a few weeks ago.

It needed a complete gut and a window added (who would build a room without a window?!).

We have since added the window(which meant cutting through concrete block and brick),
 moved plumbing,
endured the sheetrock stage,
painted the ceiling and walls,
tiled the shower (the grout job from hell),
built a cabinet, have the cabinet painted (working on the doors and drawer fronts),
and have the tile floor down but not grouted in the bathroom (today's project).

Floor coverings coming a week from Monday.  (Yippee!)

It is a mess - 
and not just in that room.
The dirt trails throughout the lower floor of our house and even makes it's way up the stairs.

I know we are on the downward slope now BUT it still feels like quite a list...

We are meeting with a couple that go to our church who just recently came back to the Lord.  They requested that we meet with them - kind of a mentoring time if you will.

Sweetest couple with a big past.  We already love them, we really do.
Love to see them and be with them.  
BUT this last time together was not that wonderful.
As he said "it was brutal".

But as I was moaning over my list of to dos for the house today I was reminded of what Warren had told me on our first remodel

"It has to look worse before it can look better". 

He's been proven right about that.

And today God just spoke to my heart about this couple.

"It has to look worse before it can look better".

They are determined to walk the walk but there is a lot of garbage to clean up first.
A lot of remodeling.
If you've walked with the Lord for any length of time, then you've been there.
There is just a lot of tearing out and building up and the process is messy and not so much fun
but you can't get to the beauty without it.

And this week, I think I'll tell them our story.  You know, the worst
 part- before it got better.
That should encourage them.
If nothing else it will encourage me.