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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Cooking or Baking (01/04/07)

TITLE: Onions and Sour Milk
By Virginia Gorg


Onions and Sour Milk

It was one of those days. The cat left me a gift, which I promptly stepped in – a cold mass of partially digested food. My husband, a pastor, had taken my car to work because his old truck wouldn’t start again. The coffee pot’s filter collapsed, adding grounds to our coffee. The milk had soured because someone left it on the counter all night.

Now, as I stood at the stove cooking up a pot of stew, I realized I forgot the onions, my husband’s favorite item in vegetable stew. Without a car, I had no choice but to go outside into the rain and mud and pick a few onions from our meager garden. I turned off the burner and headed outside, grumbling and complaining.

Six months ago, we moved to this tiny town from a big city, which was filled with conveniences. The grocery was close enough to walk to and friends and family were our neighbors. Here, for the first time in my life, I planted a garden. Yuck. The closest grocery was ten miles away. Emily and Bob, our nearest neighbors, lived a quarter mile down a dirt road away. My husband always wanted to live in the country, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise that his first pastorate position would put us in the middle of nowhere on a ten-acre plot of land. Adjusting to the country was difficult for this big-city girl. My husband’s patience was being whittled away by my complaints.

In the garden, I found only two plump onions. Heading to the house, I tripped over a large stone and dropped the onions in a huge mud puddle, bruising them. I scooped them out of the mud and returned to the house.

Standing at the counter, I began to peel the onions, hoping they were salvageable. Layer after layer of onion came off, and the vapors caused tears to stream from my eyes. I began lamenting. Why did we have to move here? As I continued to peel the onions, I noticed something. Each layer was more white and clean than the previous layer. Many times I had heard an onion’s layers being compared to God refining us, and now I began to understand. Like that onion’s peel, I truly began to see how God was peeling the junk out of my life, refining me into His child.

God was trying to smooth out my demeanor, but I wasn’t allowing Him control. With a giggle of glee, I gave my country living struggles over to God.

I cut up the rest of the onions and added them to the gently bubbling stew. I paused to turn the music up loud, filling the house with songs of praise. I reached for the sour milk to discard it, but realized I could use it for baking nutbread.

Three hours later, my exhausted husband arrived home. I greeted him with an affectionate hug and kiss.

“Something’s different. What happened?”

Smiling, I replied, “onions and sour milk.”

Puzzled, he said, “What?”

“They helped me see God’s purpose in my life. I’ve been complaining and fretting about country living and not giving God a chance to show me His plan. The onions and sour milk showed me that life’s circumstances are often tough and not what I always want. Nevertheless, I choose Jesus as my daily companion for guidance, strength, and encouragement.

“Onions and sour milk did that?” he asked incredulously.

“Yep. God is good.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 01/11/07
Very good! I wonder if it should just end with your narrator saying "Onions and sour milk." The rest of the lesson is perhaps a tad redundant.

I really liked this character, could totally relate to her.
Betty Castleberry01/11/07
I like this a lot. I saw myself in your main character. Thanks for this message wrapped up in an enjoyable read.
Trina Courtenay01/12/07
Awesome message here!
cindy yarger01/14/07
Good lesson on the importance of the mundane. I liked your descriptions - they are vivid and give life to your story. Well done.
Joanne Sher 01/18/07
Excellent, wonderful story with a delightful lesson. Congrats on your EC placing!