A Gift…Refused

As I listened to a rebroadcast of this talk on Monday morning, I found myself in a bread-baking mood. I mixed together the easiest, yummiest, moistest (is that a word?…I’m really tired this morning) bread, which makes three loaves.  As they came out of the oven, the glorious smell of deliciousness filled my home like the warm feeling of a hearth on a winter’s day.

I allowed them to cool, shared one with my family as an after-school snack, and wrapped the other two to take to neighbors.  We delivered one that evening.

The next day, I still had one large loaf of beautiful, golden, crispy-on-the-outside, moist-and-delicious-on-the-inside, homemade bread to share.  I sent one of my kiddos to another neighbor who doesn’t speak much English.

My little one came back with loaf in hand.  “She didn’t want it.  She said, ‘I have bread.'”

I felt a little deflated.  In all my years of baking and delivering goodies to friends, family, and neighbors, never have I been refused.  Now, I am not angry or upset; I realize we come from different cultures and generations, which gives me a little bit of peace with the hurt.

Another moment of peace came this morning, after a long night with a sick child.  I walked into a dark, 4 a.m. kitchen to get medicine for one of my little people and noticed the loaf of bread, still carefully wrapped to preserve moisture, sitting on the counter just on the outside of the beam of light over the oven.  The thought that came in that moment was that I made that bread for me.  🙂

I couldn’t have done it today for myself, but the act of service that I did in the spirit of sharing with others came back to me.  I felt a moment of sadness that I took my neighbor’s refusal of the gift personally, while, moments later, I felt the relief of bringing a gift to myself and my family on a really hard day.

And I was grateful.


And, in case you are interested in making bread, here is my *favorite* bread recipe, delivered once to me on another hard day out of the blue by my friend, Kim.

Kim’s Yummy Bread Recipe

8-9 cups all-purpose (or bread) flour
1/4 cup oil or shortening
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons instant yeast
1 Tablespoon salt
3 cups warm water

Mix and knead (about 5 minutes). Let rise one hour. Shape into 3 loaves (I like to roll them under a bit, like French bread), and place in greased loaf pans. Let rise 30 minutes. Bake @ 400 degrees for about 24 minutes.

photo credit

Love & Sugar Cookies

Sending love this Valentine’s week! Hope you are feeling love sprinkled over your life like a yummy heart-shaped sugar cookie!

And, speaking of sugar cookies….here is my favorite sugar cookie recipe EVER, courtesy of my dear friend, Jenn!

2 cups sugar
1 cup margarine
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
6 – 8 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Cream together the sugar and margarine. Add the sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Add 3 cups flour, baking soda and salt. Add 3 -5 additional cups of flour to make a soft dough. Roll out to 1/4″ thick (or a little more).  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes.

This makes A LOT of cookies. If you are just making them for your family, half the recipe. I like to frost them with a cream cheese frosting. You’ll need to double the frosting recipe if you are making the full batch of dough.

Cream cheese frosting:
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1 tbl milk
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese, milk and vanilla together. Gradually add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until smooth and of spreading consistency.

Hugs, Happy Baking, and Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!!