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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Rejoicing (11/22/04)

TITLE: Baked Blessings
By Joanne Malley


“Mom, can I make banana muffins?” asked my daughter. We made them in cooking class and they were great!”

“Umm, yeah…sure—I guess so, sweetie,” I responded half-heartedly.

Sheesh, what am I getting into, I thought. I envisioned the kitchen being transformed into a winter wonderland, covered in fine, white, unbleached flour. I knew hyperventilation would accost me at the sight of the mess, so I slipped out of there—fast!

Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions. I’m sure I’ll be able to find the countertops under the blanket of white stuff, right? And, if I do, I’ll thank God for another miracle. It’s the little things we need to rejoice in anyway.

“Mom…do I have to clean up when I’m done?” Lauren asked.

“You bet your bippy you do, young lady,” I assured her.

“Awww, c’mon Mom,” she whined. Mrs. Purcell made Gina and me clean up all the crusty muffin tins after cooking class and it was so gross.

I ignored her complaint and steered clear of the kitchen while she created her masterpiece muffins. I was afraid to peek in. What would I find on the counters, floor and stove? I envisioned globs of batter running down the sides of the oven along with greasy cooking oil smeared on my countertops. “Breathe…breathe, was all I could say to ward off the thoughts of impending disaster.

I heard Lauren retreat to her room while she waited for her muffins to emerge from the oven. I had every hope she’d be a better baker than me. I’m the only class mother that can ruin brownies from a box.

As I folded laundry, my curiosity burned to know the condition of my beloved kitchen, or wait…was it the muffins that burned in the oven?

Just then, my daughter stampeded down the stairs to reveal the charred delictibles that begged for mercy from the non-stick tins. She forgot to put on the timer.

“Mom…my muffins are RUINED! They’re burned! I can’t do anything right! It’s not fair! I made them great at school—I really did…I’m a terrible cook!” whined my daughter.

In case you haven’t noticed, my daughter is in the midst of her pre-teen, drama-queen stage. Her performances are a daily tryst. Sadly, her life ends at every setback.

Sobs of disappointment filled the smoky air and I rushed in to survey the damage to the muffins and the kitchen. To my surprise, the kitchen survived with the exception of the blizzard-like storm that blew in.

Unfortunately, a devastating casualty occurred for twelve would-have-been moist and tasty banana muffins. I think she forgot the baking powder. They resembled small, slightly-plump pot scrubbers in a lovely shade of charcoal. What a tragedy.

Between the giggles, I realized I could make my dishwashing duty an interesting frolic at the kitchen sink. The clean up ahead of me could be quite humorous while I use one of her homemade “pot scrubbers” on the tough spots. I smacked my own hand for contemplating the idea. I wondered how effective they would be, though. Laughter at my daughter’s expense is just so cruel. Shame on me!

After I consoled my daughter, I sent her back to her room to mourn her loss. She had a reprieve from kitchen duty since I didn’t have the heart to make her clean up the charred muffin carcasses.

Luckily, there was a bright side to the whole incident. I was enlightened and began to rejoice during the much-loathed kitchen duty ahead of me. As I reached for a “real” pot scrubber, her baking faux-paux helped me to be thankful for every crusty muffin pan and pot I scrub despite the drudgery they bring forth; for it’s the endless bounty of food our family is blessed with that allows me to wash away the baked-on mess.

Who knew the burnt, inedible muffins could show me how to rejoice in drudgery and mistakes. It’s often through these things, we see the larger picture of how truly blessed we are.

The next time a flour-induced blizzard blows through my kitchen, I’ll call you. There could be a free give-a-way of homemade pot scrubbers for the asking. But, you’ll have to act quickly…supplies may be limited. Their effectiveness may be revealed and I just may save most of them for myself.

Well, I’ve gotta get back to kitchen duty. I have some more rejoicing to do.

Member Comments
Member Date
John Hunt11/29/04
I commiserate. My daugher is also in the overreactive drama queen stage of life. LOL.
Great article. Nicely done.
Deborah Anderson11/29/04
I love your humor, Jo, and your stories. God bless you.
Lynda Lee Schab 11/29/04
This was great! It's amazing what God can use to teach us a lesson. I'll never look at burnt brownies the same way again (you're not the only one who ruins brownies from a box LOL)
Great article, as usual!
Love, Lynda
Lucian Thompson11/29/04
Jo, you sure know how to make someone laugh. Very funny account of a teen dilemma. I have been there and rejoice with you.
Carol Shaffron11/29/04
Thanks for sharing-you brought a smile to my face and released me from my grumpy mood...
Kathy Cartee11/30/04
Thanks Jo this was a great story
Lois Jennison Tribble12/01/04
Good description of hazardous kitchen duty with daughters. I can vouch for the fact that it works the same with teenage sons. Get them hungry enough and they'll attempt anything! Good job, Joanne.
Debbie OConnor12/02/04
Great story -- so much fun! The drama queen whose life ends at every tragedy! Too true! Does she know you wrote this? :) Really great job!
Kevin Kindrick12/12/04
Once agian, I loved your submission. Your ability to capture life, and make any circumstance humorous continues to amaze - and your message of joy in all things rings tru in my heart.

Thank you, and God bless,