The beauty of the little miracle

There’s a beauty to the little miracles. The ones that, to someone else, may not even seem like a miracle because that’s how personal they are.

These are the moments that show me who God is. These are the moments he speaks into my heart: I’m listening. I know you. I love you. I’m here. These are the moments that form the foundation that enables me to say, I know God.

Does that sound crazy to you? Reading what I just wrote, it sounds crazy to me. That I don’t just know about him. I haven’t just read the stories. My life is one of the stories.

I flew to California the other week with baby Isaac, now (!) 6 months old. (And isn’t he delicious?)

In the Uber on the way to the airport, just a few minutes into the trip, he started crying. I took a deep breath and popped a pacifier in. Instantly, peace.

Does this story seem unremarkable?

It would, if you didn’t know that Isaac had tongue tie and, when his frenulum was clipped at 3 months old, he stopped taking a pacifier.

It would if you didn’t know that I’d been trying to get Isaac to take a pacifier for weeks in preparation for this particular trip–and failing. I’d put it in, he’d spit it out. Repeat. Pretty much, there was no way I was convincing this kid to like it again after a 3 month lapse.

It would seem like nothing if you didn’t know I’d been praying about flying with an infant, which despite having 3 kiddos I’d managed to avoid until then, and specifically praying that Isaac would not cry at all during the flights. (I know–an ambitious prayer. I like praying ambitiously.)

It would seem like nothing if you didn’t know that Isaac, when tired and ready for a nap (which happens after a mere 90 minutes of being awake), became a shouter. A non-pacifier-loving, shouting baby.

Add those things together: a shouty baby who would absolutely not take a pacifier, on the way to the airport for a trip I’d been anxiously praying about, suddenly begins to love the pacifier. And proceeds to get through both flights with no crying.

Like, no crying. None.

Isaac taking that pacifier ten minutes into our big trip was a little miracle. Specifically given to me. That meant something only to me. Because God is the God of the big and the small, the whole world and also each moment in my life.

So . . . yes. There’s a sweetness to the little miracles. The personal ones, that no one else will quite get. Like this one–or a hundred other examples I could give you. And, I’ve been thinking recently, the needier I am, the more little miracles seem to happen. Maybe because being needy drives me to pray more–or maybe because my eyes are just more open.

It’s the little miracles in my life that have made me cry, and smile while I’m crying, and know–it’s going to be okay. He’s here.

Cookbook review (Giveaway closed): Fresh Tastes

It’s Tuesday, it’s way too cold outside, and therefore (by the rules of logic) it’s time for another cookbook review. With a giveaway! To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below by Tuesday February 13th at 9am Central. If you need inspiration about what to say, here’s a question: what is your ultimate comfort food? I’ll use a random number generator to pick a winner, and you’ll get a free copy of this lovely cookbook zipped off in the mail to you.

{Update: GIVEAWAY CLOSED. The winner is . . .

. . . comment #4! TWINKY! Congrats, Mama.)

Now: why do you want this cookbook? Let’s get down to it.

This cookbook is Lee Clayton Roper’s second. Here’s what I love about Fresh Tastes: it feels like a hug from your mom. Which makes sense, considering a lot of Lee’s recipes are from her mom.

To me, there’s a huge comfort food factor here. A blurb I read describes her recipes as “timeless classics,” and I couldn’t agree more. Her 170 recipes include all kinds of familiar dishes that I imagine on the table of a gracious, older Midwestern woman who has perfected the art of hosting and has prepared a spread to Feed Them All. What kind of offerings might you find on her table? Think Pimento Cheese Spread, think Chicken Pot Pie, think Potato Salad–all recipes Lee has included in her book.

(Also, I want to be this woman. At ease, confident, hospitable, and with plenty of food for everyone, always.)

A lot of her recipes include mayonnaise. Luckily, I love mayonnaise. Bring the mayo ON.

This soup looks particularly lovely:

Want to make it? You’re in luck, because I have the recipe right here in a nice printable format:

Italian Sausage Spinach and Orzo Soup

Also, though there’s no image to go with it, the mere name of this recipe speaks to me: Banana Caramel Baked French Toast. (Click to access the Word doc, and if you make it before I do, let me know how it turns out.)

Whenever I review a cookbook, I always try to make a recipe first, because that’s the proof in the pudding. For this go-around, I decided to make Lee’s meatloaf recipe, which if I remember correctly, came from one of her mother’s recipe cards. The ingredient list looked nice and traditional–milk, breadcrumbs, eggs, ground beef, sage, grated onion, with a ketchup-based sauce on top. And I was in the mood for traditional. Nothing fancy, nothing terribly innovative–just nice, plain, meatloaf.

And that’s exactly what it tasted like. And I mean that in a good way. Standard, good, meatloaf. I love a cookbook that has standard, good stuff in it.

On a side note, has anyone figured out how to photograph meatloaf in an attractive way? I have not.

As you can probably tell.

There’s something about comfort food that is just . . . ugly.

Ugly and delicious.

Anyway, I served it with brussel sprouts and potatoes.

Yum. I went back for seconds.

Now brussel sprouts–there’s a food that photographs well. Let’s have another look.

They almost make the meatloaf look good.



It’s a lovely cookbook for anyone who enjoys cooking traditional American fare. The recipes are simple, the ingredients easy-to-find, and it’s just one of those cookbooks that makes me feel warm inside. Because, as much as I sometimes want to make a complicated curry recipe with about a million steps to it and a level of spice that will burn a half dozen holes in my tongue, sometimes I just want a nice, warm spinach dip with crackers.

Or meatloaf with ketchup on top.

Here’s a link to the cookbook on Amazon:

And good luck to those of you participating in the giveaway!