Monday, July 31, 2017

Love is the Sweetest Ingredient

Well, the ladies at John Samuel's church gave them a lovely shower yesterday.  Just lovely.  It was held in the fellowship hall of the small town Mississippi church.  The fellowship hall is the social hub of any southern Baptist church, you know.  It's where all things involving a punch bowl and butter mints take place.  It's always a glorious spot of celebration and confections.  Sunday was no exception. 

The flowers, the cakes, the punch, the hospitality......all were perfection.  It was a lovely afternoon spent in the company of the ladies who've helped teach, raise, and likely even rocked my soon to be son-in-law. 

Over the course of the afternoon, I was reminded that church ladies function like a well oiled machine when it comes to showers, receptions, banquets, and such.  They have it down to a science. You give a bunch of church ladies a couple of days and they could plan a couple of funeral meals, a church potluck, a retirement reception, an ice cream social, and a presidential inaugural dinner with time left to spare.  You see, every woman has her own talent or niche and each is known for that specialty....whether it be the gift of the punch ring, flower arranging, beautiful handwriting, or the ever so revered gift of Italian cream icing.  When all of these come together, it is a beautiful thing.  Whatever the gift, whether it be organization or hospitality or beautification or a strong back, church women seem to hold an embarrassment of riches in event planning. 

I was penned up in my bedroom today with the dog while new carpet was being put down in our family room.  I actually accomplished several tasks on my list that would only get done if I.....well, were locked up in a room and forced to do them and so today was that day.

One of the things I'd been putting off was going through Davis' mom's recipes.  She's in a personal care home with advanced Alzheimer's disease and I'd gotten her recipes to make recipe books for her granddaughters.  For a couple of hours, I thumbed through stacks of recipes.  Some handwritten by her.  Some she'd typed.  Some clipped from newspapers or magazines.  Some given to her by friends. 

Year after year, they accumulated.  The recipes she loved others with. Those recipes she made for us.  For her friends.  For the church socials.  For the sick and bereaved. 

Some of the cards were splattered with grease.  Some were so old that they were tattered and bent.  Some were passed along to her by friends....likely after she'd sampled their dish in a fellowship hall somewhere and then asked for the recipe.

Bottom line is that, here in the South, we love with our food and our hospitality.  It's the extra ingredient in the strawberry cake.  It's the warmth of making others feel at ease when they're in your presence.  It's making them feel at home when they're not.  It's the crystal platter and the doilies and the greenery around the punch bowl.  It's the poppy seed chicken on a table loaded with casseroles and pies of every kind for a grieving family.  It's the cake under the cut glass dome for Sunday night company. 

It's the little extras.  The things you didn't have to do but did them anyway. 

Because of love. 

It's the busy women who spend the afternoon showering a young couple with the things they'll need to keep that same kind of love going.

The kind they were shown on Sunday. 






  1. A beautifully written tribute to southern women showing the Couple To Be their Grace of God in the fellowship hall. So true about what goes in the hall, many of meals and bible study at my sister's church. When I was visiting last month, that same wonderful welcoming group of women always made me feel at home:).
    John Samuel and Blair has a loving God base to start their marriage.
    I think the recipes from your mother in law will be very special:).
    Couple more months to go Joni!
    Kathleen in Az

  2. Yes, Southern women know who to get it done, and quickly if necessary, when it comes to showers and such.