Making each day meaningful


In my girlhood years, Mom always did her best to make our birthdays special. Not only did she help sing Happy Birthday for us and bake a cake; we also got to choose what was on the menu for our birthday supper. To our childish delight, we didn’t have to help with the dishes that evening.

Now I look at my youngsters and ask them what they’d like for supper and who they’d like to invite for the occasion. Months before the event, they are already making plans of who to invite or what to eat. Then, of course, the children love to hear the story of how they first came to our house through foster care or of the day they were born. Elijah glowed as I again told the story of that day before Valentine’s Day six years ago. In passing, I had asked God if we could have our baby on Valentine’s Day.

That evening, I returned home after being at Mom’s for the day. It wasn’t long until the children were sent back to Grandpa’s.

Twenty minutes after midnight, Daniel delivered little Elijah Courage in the comfort of our home. While the rest of the world slept, we were in ”dreamland” with our newborn son. Never will I forget that unforgettable Valentine’s morning; indeed, God answered much more quickly than we imagined he would!

Six years later, we again celebrated Elijah, now a rapidly growing boy learning to read and write.

Last night, Cousin Owen and our new neighbors, the Nissleys, joined us for his supper. Elijah was excited to have the new neighbor boys for his party.

As the guests were arriving, Elijah came and whispered, “Mom, I’m so happy.”” My heart melted. Sadness, even in a child’s life, makes joys richer.

He had debated on a hot dish; dessert was a no-brainer for him. He took after his daddy with his crush on homemade cinnamon rolls with caramel icing. He preferred it over a cake.

Now, when I was a girl, we generally chose something like pizza, ice cream, and cake. Our children enjoy pizza, yet trends change. The latest ‘go to’ at our house is Frogmore Stew.

Elijah was impressed when Austin had it for his birthday supper last fall and decided that he also wanted it for his supper guests. The first I recall hearing about it was when Uncle Paul and his family prepared this one-of-a-kind stew for the workers in their country store. I was intrigued by it, especially by the style of serving and eating it- no spoons or plates of any kind are used.

Now, scooping the steaming stew on the table, I thought of Daniel and how we used to, together, reflect on precious memories of bygone years. It hurt, yet knowing God’s ways work, there was joy within. The children’s eyes filled with delight as they watched the array of veggies and meat tumble on the table before them. We passed a cloth for the children to wash their hands and thanked the Lord for the food.

Following dips were passed, the children had fun making little ponds on the tablecloth where they were seated. Halfway through, we ladled more stew throughout the center of the table, interesting how the shrimp disappear first at some parts of the table, and usually where the younger children are seated, you’ll find onions and mushrooms left long after the little smokies and chicken have been picked out.

When everyone has had their fill, we scoop up any leftovers, then starting at one end of the table, we roll up the messy tablecloth. By then, bowls and spoons are a welcome sight for dessert.

Turning out the lights, we lit the candles in the caramel-covered cinnamon rolls and sang Happy Birthday to him. Ice cream cones with homemade horse tracks ice cream finished the meal.

Another year is on the horizon for little Elijah; soon his childhood will only be a memory. What are we doing today to make the day meaningful for this portion of another’s journey of life?

Frogmore Stew


1 cup ketchup

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup vinegar

1 package 3 ounces of crab boil

3 /4 cup salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

16 cups water

Mix together


6 pounds of chicken (tenders or breasts)

5 pounds link sausage

2 pounds shrimp

12 unpeeled potato wedges

1 1 /2 pounds baby carrots chunked into 2 – 3 inch pieces

18, 3 ” pieces of corn on the cob

1-2 green peppers chunked

2 – 12 ounces mushrooms

3 large onions, cut into wedges



Leave burner on high at all times

Five p.m. Put broth to boil

Five thirty: Add potatoes and carrots

Five forty: add sausage

Six ten p.m. add chicken, mushrooms and onions and corn

Six twenty p.m. add shrimp and green peppers

Six twenty-five p.m. Turn off burner and let set 5 minutes. Drain off liquid and serve at once.

Tip: have everything cut up and ready before you start.

Suggested sauces for dipping: catsup, barbecue sauce, sour cream and ranch dressing.

This recipe is large enough to feed 20 people. Recipe may be divided; adjust cooking time accordingly.

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