Do I Have a Story To Tell?

Welcome  I hope you enjoyed your weekend.  Today I want to share some thoughts that have been plaguing my mind for several weeks, especially this past week, regarding my writing and purpose for this blog.  I encourage comments and feedback that are constructive and helpful.  I will conclude today with a story about hushpuppies and a recipe for Hush Puppy Cakes.  Thanks for stopping by.  Note-I may receive a small compensation from advertisers and affiliate links found on this blog.  For additional information, please see my terms and disclosure page.

Food For Thought  If you have followed along from the beginning, you know that I attended a Christian university for my undergraduate work in education.  My final Bible class at the university was titled “Religious Speaking for Women.”  I had heard many great things about this class and found the description of the class to be most interesting for that time in my life.  Our first assignment for the class was to write and present our “Come to Jesus” story.  I grew up going to church, had basically attended the same church my whole life, and had been baptized into Christ at the age of 10.  I’ll admit it’s not much of a story, but it was meaningful and special to me, nonetheless.  I gave my presentation on the assigned day, with what I thought was joy in my eyes and enthusiasm in my heart.  I looked out to the thirty or so peers in the class and saw blank stares.  The best way to describe my instructor’s face was that “meh” emoji.  Obviously not the reaction I was hoping for.  The grade was also lack-luster, especially for someone who strived for straight A’s.  I asked my instructor about it, thinking maybe my delivery was weak.  She said my conversion story lacked drama and excitement!  What?  I thought Christians considered all conversion stories exciting and important.  No, it wasn’t dramatic like the girls in my class that talked about their lack of self esteem that led them to sleeping with any boy in high school, but then the Lord saved them, in various scenarios.  And very fortunately, I wasn’t abused or in a situation of violence that I had to overcome to find my way to the Savior, like a few of the girls shared.  I would never want that for anyone, no matter how dramatic the story!  I also wasn’t one of the two girls in the class that were saved due to the works of heroic missionaries in foreign lands.  All of these stories are very important and I am thankful for every soul that confesses their belief in Christ.  But I was disappointed and hurt that my own story was not considered special, even to the point that it lowered my grade!

Fast forward almost 20 years–I start a blog, attempting to write spiritual encouragement, inspiration, and advice to improve our daily life with scripture study and prayer.  All I can think about is that class and how my “Jesus story” was ill-received, because it wasn’t exciting enough.  So I have these nagging thoughts about what I write and if I even have a story worth telling.  I think about some of the inspirational authors I love reading so much–Lysa TerKeurst, Sharon Jaynes, Pam Farrell.  They are writing engaging stories and encouragement that I eat up like fresh buttered bread!  They’ve sold millions of copies of books and have millions of fans on social media and sell out speaking engagements.  If I am to be honest here, I’ll openly admit that I would like to be a lot like one of these ladies.  God, as always, hears my concerns.  Earlier this week I started a new book, A Woman’s Secret to a Balanced Life, which is written by TerKeurst and Jaynes together.  This is actually one of their older books, copyrighted 2004.  On page 18, Sharon writes “One thing I love about traveling and meeting new people is listening to their stories.  Everybody has one.  You have a story, your neighbor has a story, and I have a story…”  I highlighted this because it seemed to be addressing specifically something that was weighing on my mind regarding my current dream and goal.  But then, as if to emphasize my doubts, chapter three is Lysa’s story about her, in my words, extremely difficult life.  She has a lot of those dramatic experiences to draw from that seem to pull people in and think wow, she’s so strong, what a good model for us all!  I do not know her personally, but I love her writing and Proverbs 31 ministry.  I do not wish to have any of the experiences she has had to extract my own drama from.  But what it makes me question is if my stories are engaging enough.  Can people relate to me?  Do I reflect real life enough to gain an audience?  Do I bring the lemonade out of life’s lemons?  Is there too much drama, or not enough?  My story makes sense to me, but does it make sense to anyone else?  I don’t know how the rest of their book goes because I haven’t read any further, yet.  What I do know is this:  I enjoy writing for my blog.  Writing is therapeutic for me.  I feel good when someone tells me they were encouraged or inspired by something I said in a particular post.  I knew going into this I would not become “rich and famous” from of my writing.  I started this mission almost three months ago, I need to be patient with myself and the process.  And, most importantly, a story about our Lord and Savior is always worth telling!

reflecting on my writing
Reflections of a Christian lifestyle blogger

Today’s Scriptures  For my personal Bible study today I read Romans chapters 9 and 10.  I would like to share a couple of passages from my study today.

Romans 9:16-18  “It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.  For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: ‘I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’  Therefore God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy and he hardens whom he wants to harden.”

Romans 10:9-11  “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.  As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

Today’s Recipe  I love a good story, including good food stories.  I have a vast collection of cookbooks and my favorite ones are those that have stories that accompany the recipes, sharing history, legends, and trivial tidbits with the ingredients and directions.  As a Southern-Girl-at-Heart, I am especially fond of the stories behind southern classics.  Today I’m going to share some background on Hushpuppies and a variation of the classic recipe.  I just love hushpuppies…little balls of seasoned and fried dough, how can you go wrong?  The interesting thing about the Hushpuppy is, no one is for sure where it originated.  Some say they were invented in Georgia, others say Mississippi, and even residents of Alabama want to lay claim to the birth of the Hushpuppy.  One theory says a mixture of hash and batter were combined to form a “hash puppy” that later evolved into the recipe we know and love.  A more commonly known legend says that some men were enjoying their fish fry when their dogs started whining and begging.  They fried up some of their cornmeal batter from the fish and then passed it to the pups, saying “Hush puppies!”  Honestly, I have no idea which story is true, if either, but it’s fun to think of how some of our favorite foods got their names. (Source: Southern Living Heirloom Recipe Cookbook, Copyright 2011, Oxmoor House)  Here’s my recipe for what I call a Hush Puppy Cake…sort of a cross between hushpuppies and hoe cakes.

Hush Puppy Cakes (makes about 18 cakes)

  • 2 cups self-rising corn meal mix (I used Aunt Jemima)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 cups peanut oil

Heat peanut oil in electric skillet (can also be made in iron skillet) to 300 degrees.  Mix corn meal mix, onion, and buttermilk until a soft dough forms.  Drop dough by tablespoons into hot oil.  They will spread out a little making a more cake shape than the classical spherical shape of a hushpuppy.  Fry about 3-4 minutes per side, until golden brown.  Remove from oil and drain on paper towel-lined baking sheet.  These are yummy served with honey or a remoulade sauce, depending on if you want sweet or savory.

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