The Recipe Box

The recipe box.

I’ve always loved everything about it.

There is something comforting and memory making about it.

It’s stands so complete. The outside wooden, metal, or decaled; an array of exteriors depending on the owner’s personal flavors.

It might even hint at the type of contents; home cooked meals, Amish, Mennonite, French, soups, sandwiches, pies… secret recipes handed down from generation to generation, hoping to fill the generations to come with tasty recipes for their bellies… and their hearts of course… for they go together.

I’ve owned a few recipe boxes in my lifetime, each card handwritten with attempted precision as I was contemplating each one being taken out and read long after I was gone, for my children and grandchildren.

I say this, for I too have opened those handed down Pandora boxes and lovingly caressed each handwritten card with their contents of “gold” as if speaking from the past, yet still alive in my hands and heart.

As my eyes devoured some old familiar recipes, I could almost taste it and my nose tingled as I could almost smell it.

Some brought me back to my mother-in-law’s wooden farmhouse country table where the magic of the homemade Saskatoon pies, with extra sugar dusted on top, and the homemade buns were lovingly hand-rolled and formed to create the most perfect bun on the well used farmhouse tabletop. A light tap on the top of each bun once rolled seemed a wonderful signature made by my mother-in-law… one that still lives lovingly in my heart.

Then there were the treasures I found in my mother’s recipe box, handwritten with such elegance as had my mother-in-law, taught from an era that had firmly required it; now a treat for my eyes and heart.

My mother’s recipe box brought me back to a kitchen once again, at a very different table in a very different house; a small house, a small arborite table, chrome legs and chrome trim surrounding the tables edge all the way around.

As I kept enjoying the recipe card, I envisioned my mom at her old stove on Hanover Street in the 70s, hand stirring with a metal ladle the fresh summer borscht… all contents from her yearly massive garden. The aroma was intoxicating to say the least.

It still warms my heart as I write this.

The expectation of a recipe box is just that. Recipes of required nourishment, to nonessentials but treats nonetheless…to memories. Yet what I found in my mom’s recipe box after she passed away recently caught me off guard somewhat.

There, tucked between coveted recipes of present and past, not quite so eloquently written because of life’s hardships on her whole body and being… were two cards.

One from my mom and one from my dad, filled front and back, edge-to-edge… corner to corner.

End-of-life celebration wishes.

The lump in my throat didn’t swallow away easily.

My mom’s funeral had gone as planned as per her wishes so the requests on the card didn’t surprise me, but the simplicity of it all, matter of fact instructions of her and my dad’s heart, left my heart gaping with emotion.

All the recipes in that box would have spoke of much life through the years depending on the recipe. From the early days being newlyweds to the last days before mom passed away.

52 years of recipes.

52 years of life lived represented by the recipes in that box.

It told a beautiful story, and now this “recipe” of end of life celebrations would tie together a lifetime of recipes… moments in this one box, a celebration no matter the different recipes of life that had been experienced over the years .

It now seems fitting; not morbid,

not anything else but beautiful.

The recipes of every season of our lives say so much .

How those blueberry pies and buns were made.. the gentle taps… the extra sugar. . the pot of garden fresh ingredients, creating a soup that transcended not only our taste buds but our hearts and where it would bring us back to.

All ingredients of recipes made with love.

Substitutes for original recipes usually left the tasting short of what the true recipe would have offered. Yet nonetheless tasty, warming the belly and the heart.

We are all God’s recipe box and the recipes life has written on our hearts are meant to be made exactly as He has written in His Word and on our hearts, no substitutes. It will always leave us wanting and not completely satisfied.

If we replace bitterness for forgiveness, hate for love, fear for faith etc. because the ingredients might seem less expensive or more readily available, it will leave that soup… that pie… those buns… less tasty to anyone you serve it to including yourself.

Sprinkle some Revelation seasoning He has opened to your heart of healing, forgiveness and most of all love.

Add…stir thoroughly.

Our family recipes are meant to be shared with others and so too the recipes of our lives. But how those recipes turn out and get passed on good or not-so-good, will depend on how the generations to come will follow our same recipes in hope of making those most delicious pies and most wonderfully flavored soups.

If we live in unforgiveness we will pass on the recipe of unforgiveness. If we live life in fear, we will pass on fear. If we live in anger will pass on anger and so on.

The original recipe of forgiveness, healing, faith and most of all love, if followed according to as He reveals to our heart in our all our life’s moments, will bring many generations to come, a flavour of the lives we’ve lived and they will not only taste the recipes and see that they are good, but also taste and see that our God is good. The main ingredient for all recipes in each of our recipe boxes.

The end of life celebration cards from my mom and dad may have seemed out of place tucked away in her recipe box among all the other recipes, yet I believe they have a rightful spot there as it was a recipe of wishes and how her and my dad wanted to end well in a celebration of life, tying together all the recipes that reflected all their moments no matter what flavor they had added over the years.. all stored in that simple little box.

It’s a good reminder that it’s never too late to celebrate well no matter if every recipe stuck to the original recipe or not. It spoke of a life lived, memories passed on and always trying to get back to the original recipes of God’s heart for us amidst the tweeked recipes along the way….

a journey back to the original recipe of Hope and healing … with the MasterChef ingredients of God’s unconditional love …

The underlying, ever solid foundation present in the recipes of our lives…

In the recipe box.

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