Sitting at the kitchen table that morning, I watched Mom bustle around the kitchen, prepping for the family dinner party scheduled for later in the evening. My troubled heart filled with annoyance as she pulled out her old recipe box and set it on the cupboard. She took her time, flipping through some brightly colored cards and asking me what I thought she should make for dinner that night.

                 Like I cared? All I could think about was how ugly her recipe organizer was! Pea-green, plastic, and desperately needing to be tossed into the garbage, or so I thought. Eying the box and rolling my eyes with exasperation, I silently asked, what’s the secret ingredient, mom? You don’t even use the recipe. I was in a phase back then, a not-so-pleasant time in my life, where Mom’s gentle encouragements boiled more frustrations inside me than water, and I was drowning in those flames.

                Thankfully most of the time, she pretended to ignore my hurtful behavior, probably more for my benefit than hers. She effortlessly prepared the meal and danced around the kitchen while cupboards opened and drawers closed, pulling out all the required utensil essentials. Never once stopping her methodical rhythm or missing a beat. She was like an orchestra conductor, swaying a baton meticulously around. Something that I will never forget. Mom was content and at peace, knowing that her kitchen was the heart of our home and that family dinners had good food and laughter. 

    Years have passed, and mom is in the same kitchen, using all her favorite gadgets and, most importantly, still cooking and recreating her famous masterpieces, still using that vintage recipe box. Though now, I have learned to cherish that old box, even searching for one of my own. I love the memories that come with it, all the conversations, and especially the joy.

                 I’m reminded of God’s word as I watch mom make her way around the kitchen now. The verse about rising while it is yet night comes to my mind. It’s beautiful watching someone give of themselves for the sake of others, sometimes rising just before daybreak to ensure she finished her task. Sitting in her kitchen today, I watch and breathe it all in.

                Time may have changed the color of the walls, along with the places where we are seated, but I am still a daughter watching an essential lesson from Mom.

                Mom added a little of this and a little of that to a large mixing bowl. Seasoning and spices, into a bowl, for a recipe that she recreates often. Like the seasons of life, she has a time and a purpose for everything. Mom showed us, kids, that sometimes we have to change how we do things, like with a recipe, adding or substituting the parts that were not part of God’s bigger plan. To rework the parts that were soiled. Over the years, I’ve added spice to the equation when I need to add sugar instead. However, my mom knew and was willing to share that the secret ingredient was always love.

1 Corinthians 16:14-Let all your things be done with charity.