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The baking exchange


Welcome to the Dorie's Stories {devotional} Blog!

Happy Thanksgiving!!! I love how Thanksgiving brings us all together and reminds us to be grateful for all we have been given -- surrounded by food (and most likely sales flyers if I'm being vulnerably honest!)

It also seems to be the kick-off for the Christmas season. I try to limit my husband to Christmas music to the after-Thanksgiving through Christmas Day window since the time I caught him playing Christmas music in July! My daughter's birthday is Thanksgiving week each year and she keeps us to the please-don't-decorate-for-Christmas-before-my-birthday contract.

So, post-Thanksgiving is the Christmas catatlyst in our home. That's why I thought I would post this Christmas-baking-based devotional story today -- enjoy! And may your Christmas baking go better than mine did!

From my book, Hope Looks Good on You!: a Comedian's Joy-inducing Daily Devotional for Women

. . .

Chapter 14: Baking Exchange

Have you ever heard of a holiday baking exchange? Well, I hadn’t. And I’m pretty sure it was the last one our family did since this fateful one...unless they are doing them secretly and I just haven’t been invited, which is a definite possibility.

One of my husband’s relatives had suggested that in lieu of Christmas gifts one year, we would all mail each family a tin of holiday treats. You read that correctly — emphasis on each family (i.e., all the 10-15 of them).

I was newly married into this very Southern family with some of the best bakers this side of the Mississippi...well, either side really.

I knew I needed to up my baking game and that my boxed Little Debbies® probably were not quite what they had in mind.

I hurled myself into a whirlwind recipe search for the most impressive of holiday fare.


It’s a classic...and I was convinced it had to be my ticket into the Family Dessert Hall of Fame!

I bought all the ingredients; I followed the recipe.

I didn’t, however, notice that the recipe called for cream cheese and that it was also a no-bake recipe. How would I send this chocolate-flavored cream cheese that I made unrefrigerated through the mail?

It was a bust. I went back to the drawing board, empty tins beckoning me from the counter.

Five days left until send off. I still had time.

I found a recipe for some honey-glazed nuts. There are lots of nuts in Christmas songs...chestnuts and all. I didn’t consider the crazy cost of filling multiple tins with nuts; instead, I justified the investment.

I bought the ingredients; I followed the recipe.

But...I read things out of sequence.

I read the recipe like this: take pan of honey-glazed nuts out of oven, let cool, break into pieces.

Instead, I should have read it like this: take pan of honey-glazed nuts out of oven, get nuts off pan immediately before they harden to the pan like mortar and necessitate hours of chiseling and eventual emotional breakdown and throwing said pans into the garbage.

You get the idea.

Two days left until send off. I’m running out of time.

How about a family secret? I enlisted my aunt’s help in sending me her time-tested gingerbread boy recipe.

I bought the ingredients; I followed the recipe.

I had to quadruple this recipe and the mound of spices and flour and molasses created a high dome atop my largest bowl.

As I stood in my kitchen trying to figure out how to stir it, my husband came in to heat up his coffee in the microwave.

He grabbed the mug in one swift motion and I watched in horror as the mug hit the top of the microwave, slipped out of his hand, and poured itself directly into my bowl of gingerbread bliss.

It would have been impossible to recreate that mishap if we had tried.

Some say I could have made coffee-flavored gingerbread boys, but they weren’t physically present to tell me that, now were they?

I sat down on the kitchen floor and laughed so hard. It was a kind of cry-or-laugh choice moment and I chose the latter.

Then, in my delirium, I asked myself, “What do I have a lot of?”

There were no more days. Today was send-off day.

My answer: popcorn...microwave popcorn.

I had no choice and no pride left. I really did it. I sent all the families a batch of microwave popcorn — in a metal holiday tin.

It probably would have been better and less stale if I had sent them an unopened microwave packet of un-popped kernels!

I wasn’t surprised when I never received accolades or a request for my popcorn recipe. I did, however, enjoy receiving tins of actual holiday treats.

Sometimes you might feel like you’ve done it all’ve bought the ingredients; you’ve followed the recipe, but life is still not turning out like you expected.

One of my favorite verses in Scripture is one found on many-a plaque, mug, and bumper sticker:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

But sometimes I like to see the context and look in front of the verse and behind the verse to see what is really going on.

Right before this often-quoted verse, is part of the setting of the story...

“This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again.”

Jeremiah 29:10 NLT

The Israelites were exiled to Babylon. They had been deported from Jerusalem. Not quite the outcome they were expecting as members of “God’s people.”

They had bought the ingredients; they had followed the recipe. But things did not look like they were working out.

Some prophets were giving them false hope and proclaiming their quick victory, but Jeremiah had heard from God; it’s gonna be a while.

Seventy years, in fact.

God has a plan. It might not look quite like the recipe.

But He makes us promises...promises of hope and a future, of good things and not disaster.

He promises that He will listen when we pray and that if we look for Him wholeheartedly, we will find Him. Promises that He will end our captivity and restore fortunes and bring us home.

Now that sounds like an exchange I wouldn’t mind being a part of.

“In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”

Jeremiah 29:12-14 NLT

Reflect & Journal:

Have there been areas of your life where things didn’t go as planned? Take a few minutes to write them down and then write next to them: “God has a promise of hope!”

. . .

I hope you enjoyed the devotional excerpt! Feel free to share it with someone you think would enjoy a devotional story involving recipes-gone-wrong and God's plan of hope for their life!

Here’s the link to share:

With hope & joy, Dorie Mclemore

P.s. next time, I’m planning to post another brand new devotional story I wrote for my next (currently unnamed) book! Make sure you are subscribed to get the notification in your inbox! P.p.s. If you want a copy of the full devotional book, Hope Looks Good on You!, use the button below!

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