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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Measure (01/10/13)

TITLE: Just the Right Amount
By Michelle Knoll


My mom's cooking abilities were superb. But she was never one to just "throw it all together and see what happens." No, my mom was a recipe queen. And she followed those recipes to the letter.

We had to stir just the right amount of boiling water into the jello powder before we added the ice cubes. There had to be just the right amount of basil and oregano in the spaghetti sauce. Even baked beans cooked on the stove had to have just the right amount of catsup added. I learned early on that brown sugar had to be packed down hard in the measuring cup so we wouldn't have too little in the cookie mix. Each ingredient had to be exactly what the recipe called for.

Rarely did my mom's cooking "flop." But there were a couple of times when disaster struck, even though she had followed the instructions exactly. I remember one particular evening when she had labored over a black forest chocolate cake. She worked so hard on that thing! And when it seemed it wasn't going to "sit still," she placed it in the refrigerator, hoping the cooler temperature would help keep the layers in place. Later on that night, we both laughed and cried as we cleaned up the chocolate-cherry, gooey "mudslide" on the fridge's bottom shelf, the results of the top layers sliding off the bottom layer.

And then there was the time I didn't read the recipe for fudge correctly, and used too much condensed milk. She laughed and said perhaps we could "pour the 'soup' into a mason jar and find some use for it. Plant fertilizer, perhaps."

So I have learned through my mom's careful tutelage that recipes should be followed closely to avoid disasters. The only problem is, throughout my life I translated this idea into another concept that was seriously wrong.

My mom's recipes were never her own, they were always from someone else. And the thought was planted into my mind that you get the recipe for your life from other people, just like you get good recipes for delicious food. And that would be an okay idea, if it didn't then translate into "others know what you should be, and you don't." Suddenly, I was looking to others for approval, for how my life should look and what I should be. I was looking for the "right ingredients" to make the perfect life. Sort of like the perfect souffle. I mean, who wants to be a flop in life? Right?

But God is the only Master Chef who has all the right ingredients for each and every life. He's created each of us to be a prize-winning concoction that exudes a pleasing aroma. And I've learned through my adult years that comparing myself to someone else, and trying to be like someone else instead of being me, is very similar to using "unjust weights" which God despises. There's no point in looking to someone else for ingredients for my life, when they didn't create me. God did, and He's placed in me all the ingredients I need, at just the right amount, to live a successful life for Him.

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This article has been read 262 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/20/13
This is a great piece. I really liked how you made it different in the end. I wasn't expecting you to go in that direction but was delighted when you did. You make some awesome points in this delightful article.
Joanne Sher 01/22/13
I was NOT expecting you to go where you did with this - but it was VERY good. I related to it immediately. Very nicely done!
Allison Egley 01/22/13
Nice job. I liked the comparison, and I liked the reminders not to turn to others for our worth.
C D Swanson 01/22/13
Special piece. I enjoyed it. Thank you. God bless~
Sheldon Bass 01/22/13
I really enjoyed this piece. It is usually the everyday things in life, like cooking, that we draw the best analogies from. I also liked the way the topic was alluded to, rather than nailed up like a sign.
Great work.
Myrna Noyes01/23/13
I truly enjoyed this well-written, sometimes humorous, thought-provoking piece! I love the very-true message you shared at the end! Great job!
Michelle Knoll 01/24/13
Thanks, everyone, for the great comments. It's good to be back in the Writing Challenge.