Ornamentation or How I’ve Coped for the Past 3 Years


I still carry on traditions in my adult life that I had from a young age. Not picking up my room…being goofy without explanation…crying when I’m exhausted…and getting a Christmas ornament every year. Since I started buying them for myself, I have enjoyed my search for a yearly tribute item.

This year, I bought some cupcakes to honor the wedding cupcake adventure and other baking exploits. There was no scone available to commemorate the Sunday of Orthodoxy incident, sorry folks.

When I was 4, I got a rolling pin. If my mom was doing anything in the kitchen, I was her “helper.” Before the pressures and acne of middle school. Before reconstructing my sense of reality, relationships and life in Christ. Before the next 23 years of discovery…I was in the kitchen. I wanted to expertly measure the flour, stir the cookie dough, and steal any mushrooms from the can before they made it on the pizza. I even attempted to make multiple fashion statements with aprons. Much to my mother’s chagrin for never having a clean kitchen, I was always experimenting. Only once did I come close to burning down the house. I knew how to handle a grease fire, sort of.

My first pie was a chocolate meringue. My few years in 4-H cooking were adventurous as well. In looking at the flat mess that was supposed to be crackerjack cookies, there was a sudden recollection that NO flour had been added. I think after fixing that slight ingredient mess-up, they still received a blue ribbon at the county fair.

My junior year of high school, I resolved one night that I would make a better spaghetti sauce than what the jar of Ragu contained.

I have also mentioned in previous notes that I lived in the KUCC House during college. A few weeks after moving in, I reached my limit of tolerance with the disorganization, randomness, and ensuing catastrophe of the cabinets. There was going to be a war in the kitchen, and I would win.

After organizing the plastics and throwing out/recycling the mismatched lids and containers, I charged forward into the spice cabinet and introduced this kitchen to the wonder of the Lazy Susan spice rack. I was also baking banana bread and blueberry muffins. It was on this day that I declared to the world, standing on a chair in an apron:

“Let me be a woman and BAKE!”

“Domestic and PROUD!”

I think I scared my friend, Carrie, just a bit. She did humor me and laugh, however. Being a Saturday, other students and friends were stopping by at various times to hang out. Some had never seen or tasted blueberry muffins with real blueberries. I enlightened them promptly. Over the next year, the kitchen was subjected to various adventures in Crock-pot cooking, eggplant, strawberry jam, and even a salmon loaf.

Peoples’ faces light up after a taste of my biscuits paired with homemade jam or made-from scratch gravy. I received a marriage proposal from my supervisor (who is already married…and female) after she and her husband tasted the biscuits and jam. The week before most major fasting seasons is marked by a biscuits and gravy “good-bye meat” breakfast.

I love singing and making music with others along with my new adventures on the avenue of private lessons. But a part of me always wants to come home and channel my creativity by opening up the refrigerator and composing a delicious symphony of tastes and smells. Guilt and self-loathing can come easily on bad days. The “I should have known better two years ago” or “why wasn’t I smart enough to know” thoughts that I have to take captive quickly. That’s where I need to remember to be thankful for God’s grace.

When I was finished teaching, I didn’t spend a lot of time practicing. No, I watched a lot of Food Network and baked. At the end of my teaching tenure, I reveled in baking brownies and treats for each and every one of my 500+ students in Maize. One of my greatest joys is feeding people and making them welcome in my home.

I have a lot of music ornaments: the grand piano, sheet music, a flute, an oboe, and multiple angels playing instruments or singing. Music is a huge part of my life and something I understand and do well. I do not regret spending the time, money or brain energy learning the profession, skill, craft and art. It’s just not to be my means of support.

After I made the final decision to not pursue a professional music career, I remembered my rolling pin. It always found a prominent place on the Christmas tree.

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