Posted tagged ‘cookies’

The Unsettledness of Settling

December 29, 2014

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                    December 29, 2014


Growing up in a southern family living in the Appalachia I was “wised up” by many aunts and uncles about things I was not aware of. Many of those things became suspect in their truth years later. For instance, anything that one of my aunts felt I was not yet old enough for they would attach a Surgeon General’s warning to it: It will stunt your growth! I’m sorry that I did not make a list of all the things that had “growth stunt hormones” as part of their chemical make-up.

My mom was big on “settling.” That meant I needed to let dinner “settle a little bit” before I ran like a wild six year old around the backyard. Settling was like a punishment for a young boy…worse than having to do homework! I would rather have read about Dick, Jane, Sally, and Puff than settle. It never occurred to us in those days that reading and settling could be done at the same time. I could have been multi-tasking before we even knew what it was!

“Settling” was a brief time period where we evidently needed to let the mashed potatoes head to one part of our stomach, green beans to another, and the meat loaf to another. It was like a time of “sorting out” for the food creatures in my tum-tum, like they were in a logjam at one of the intestinal curves. Knowing how much Velveeta Cheese we were consuming in our Kentucky-recipe casseroles there was a better than even chance of that happening!

I’ve never been a good settler. My Aunt Irene would look at my fidgeting body and ask me, “Well…Billy Dean, do you have ants in your pants?” And then she would chuckle, and her chuckle in some odd way had a calming effect on “the ants.”

I remember those days like they were yesterday. They were good days…days when a kid felt fully alive and carefree, when an afternoon was going to be punctuated at some point with a sugar cookie that was carefully “lifted” from the cookie jar when no adults were in the room.

As I age a little less gracefully than fine wine I find myself thinking about the past perhaps even more than the future. I suppose it is an aged form of settling. I sit and remember and am thankful. I sip coffee and think of the aroma of Maxwell House that was always percolating in my parent’s kitchen in the morning.

I settle into a time of writing and get pictures of my dad, sitting at the kitchen table, preparing the Sunday School lesson he was to teach, the carefulness of detail, the importance of imparting scriptural truth to a class of moms and dads that needed some insights to help them travel through another week.

Settling has new meaning for me!

My six year old grandson is a the reincarnation of his granddad. He often has ants in his pants…and the ants have mutated into a more hyper form since I was six. I find myself starting to say to him, “Jesse, let’s settle down a little bit!”

And then I bite my lip, and here the chuckle in my head of my Aunt Irene!


Life Ain’t Fair!

June 25, 2014

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                    June 25, 2014




   Today’s mini-story is part of’s Writing 101 challenge for the month of June. Today the writer is to take the view of a twelve year old boy watching Mrs. Pauley being evicted from her house across the street.


Mrs. Pauley baked me the best chocolate chip cookies in the world. She’d see me across the street and shout in that sweet high voice of hers- as sweet as her cookies, in fact- “William, I got too many cookies! Can you take a few off my hands?” She made me think I was doing her a favor.

Then Mr. Pauley died out of the blue. I could hear him coughing all hours of the day, and then he was gone. He was a hard-working hard-talking man who didn’t deserve Mrs. Pauley, but she was his anyway. He treated her poorly, and I could tell from my distant stoop on the other side of the street that she was afraid of him.

They had six sons…all grown up and gone. Three were wearing uniforms like my G.I. Joe play figures. One disappeared right after he got out of high school and had never been seen of again. One was a low-life living in jail, and the last one lived in a big city somewhere. I couldn’t figure out why none of them came home to check on the one who birthed them.

And then a Cadillac pulled up, followed by a police car, and I could hear Mrs. Pauley crying “Please…no! Please…no!”

I saw the man from the Cadillac, who was wearing a suit that looked all snug and proper on him, hand Mrs. Pauley a piece of paper and then her head dropped like she had been cursed or something.

I knew it wasn’t good, and I could tell God wasn’t in it either. My Sunday School teacher had taught me how to see what was good and what was of the devil. This was of the devil, and I watched…wishing I could do something, but I couldn’t. When you’re twelve it’s hard to help elderly women who have had their hearts broken.

I knew this was worse then bad. I crossed the street and went up the front sidewalk. I didn’t know what I was doing, or what words I might spit out of my mouth to make things all okay, but I quietly approached.

One of the policemen asked me what I wanted and I said I wanted to make sure Mrs. Pauley was okay. At that moment her eyes looked up from the depths and met mine and  she said, “William, I guess I won’t be baking you any more cookies.”

And then I knew she was leaving, that life isn’t fair even to those who deserve a double portion of blessing. The sweetest sometimes get handed the most bitter verdicts.

All I could say was “That’s okay, Mrs. Pauley!”, and we stared at each other for a long moment before the man in the suit started reading her more of his paper of bad news.

That day I lost some faith in mankind and became cautious and questioning just as I was entering adolescence.

Saltines and Sandies

August 25, 2011

WORDS FROM W.W. August 24, 2011

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34:8)
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.” (Psalm 119:103)

My favorite cookie has always been the Pecan Sandie. It’s not that I don’t like others; it’s just that I have history with the Sandie. My Aunt Irene used to have a stash at her house in a cookie jar. Aunt Irene had no children, so I could feast on cookies the whole time I was there. A Sandie has good memories for me.
But cookies in our house growing up were up high. It demanded that a little guy, like me, had to do a bit of cabinet scaling to obtain one.
On the other hand, the lower shelf that I could reach with no effort had the Saltine cracker box on it. Saltines were there for the taking.
Perhaps you think differently, but my thinking was “How many Saltines can a kid eat?” I’ve never heard a parent say, “You’ve had enough crackers! Now put them away!”
If you go into a restaurant and request crackers, they will bring you a basketful, but if you ask for a chocolate chip cookie check your bill. Restaurants give crackers; some even give pickles, peanuts, and popcorn…but no one brings a plate of cookies to the table for free.
In terms of the leadings of God in our lives, are we munching on Saltines or reaching for the Sandies? In other words, do we obey the God-leadings that never demand too much, or allow ourselves to stretch to reach what demands all of who we are?
Another way of saying it is, do we “dull-ify” the things of God in order to not risk being disappointed? I can remember reaching for the cookie jar, pushing the “in peril meter”, only to discover that it was empty. It was disappointing!
And there were the Saltines! Multitudes of them, easily within my safe reach!
A follower of Jesus is always settles for the Saltines will never taste the richness of God’s calling.
There are times when a Saltine is what we need. It’s usually when we’re in the midst of some kind of stomach illness. We’ve overextended, and we need to settle for a time. Think of it as a sabbath rest, a centering experience.
Honestly, though, how many of us are reaching for the hand of God so often that we need a “Saltine break?”
Personally, it occurred to me this week that most of what I’m about, and most of what I’m leading my church in, is cracker-based instead of cookie-reaches.
“Lord, I pray for power to reach for the Sandies, the sweetness of Your favor as I pursue the risks of Your calling!”