Whoopie Pie for Santa Claus

“Should I make whoopie pies for you for Christmas?” questioned my husband.

            My mouth began to water before I could even answer. “I would love that.” My mother made these special treats for us at Christmas time while growing up in Pennsylvania. Here in Minnesota if one mentions Whoopie pies, he is met with quizzical looks. So, what is a whoopie pie? It is two round mound-shaped pieces of cake with a sweet cream filling sandwiched between them. According to “What’s Cooking America?”, they have their origins with the Amish in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This dessert springs from my Pennsylvania Dutch heritage.

            Hubby was trying to explain this foreign delight to his employee, Alex, just a few days before Christmas. But an explanation of its goodness does not begin to compare with the actual taste of the completed dessert. “Can you spare a whoopie pie to give to Alex?” he questioned.

            “Of course!” I packaged one up to be delivered to him on Christmas Eve.

            Alex decided that he would save the scrumptious sweet to share with his wife at home. However, his just-turned-three-year-old son and six-year-old daughter needed to be picked up from Grandma and Grandpas before heading for home. And then the questions began, “Dad, what’s that?”, “Can we eat it?

            Alex scrambled to come up with a plan that would leave the whoopie pie for him and his wife to enjoy. A brilliant idea occurred to him. It was Christmas Eve after all.

            “How about we save the whoopie pie to put out for Santa Claus tonight?” He encouraged the young ones with a laugh.

            As bedtime approached, Son and Daughter excitedly helped carry the whoopie pie, some other cookies, and a glass of milk to the coffee table by the Christmas tree.

            “Time for bed. Santa can’t come until you are asleep.”

            Both excited children were soon tucked in bed and the adults sat talking in the kitchen. As the minutes ticked by, Alex realized that his young son had not appeared in the doorway as was the ritual that occurred on other nights. That’s strange. I better go check on him.

            The room was quiet as he approached it. Peeking into the dimly lit room, he noticed Son perched in the corner of the room with his feet tucked under him. Brown crumbs stuck to his cheeks and littered the floor around him.

            “Did you eat the Whoopie pie?”

            A vigorous shaking of the head back and forth followed the question. “No, I didn’t eat it.”

            But the evidence said it all and Alex knew he needed to have a discussion with the child about not telling the truth. A smile was poking at the corner of his lips, though, and he needed to escape the room.  His wife would have to have this discussion. He had an overwhelming desire to laugh. How his son had gotten the goodie, he did not know. What he did know was his well laid plans for Santa and a taste of the whoopie pie had been derailed by a small child.

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Book Review Of No Longer A Child Of Promise from Sageadderly

DSC01690I didn’t realize how emotional this story would be. Amanda Farmer writes about leaving her family’s farm and the backlash that occurred because of that decision. Growing up in a Mennonite household and community helped her form a strong relationship with God. Her family’s rejection and nastiness have Amanda looking deep within and wondering how to heal.

I commend her for trying so hard to mend ways with her family. Even when they were in the wrong, she repeatedly looked to forgive them. I can’t say I could have done the same. I really enjoyed this book. I think nonfiction readers, especially those who lean towards family drama, would especially want to check this one out.

Even though things don’t end up as Amanda would have desired, her memoir left me with a sense of peace. It was a strong reminder to treat others well and to love my family and my children unconditionally.

by SageAdderlyVirtual Book tour2016

Interview at Christian Television Network

041Beep Beep Beep! My husband’s cell phone cuts through the silence of the still dark upstairs room at my cousin’s house. I stumble around trying to find a light switch. Soon, we are dressed and our clothes tucked into our suitcase. The hallway is dark and we feel along the wall looking for the elusive switch. No light peeks under the doorway downstairs and I wonder about my cousin’s promise to get up and make us breakfast at this early hour. The downstairs is still clothed in darkness and we gingerly tiptoe towards the front door.

Then the room is bathed in light. “Oh my goodness. I’m so sorry. My alarm didn’t go off. I was going to make you breakfast,” declares my befuddled, flustered cousin who is still not quite awake.

“It’s OK,” I assure her. “A little cold cereal and fruit will be fine.”

Soon we are seated, enjoying a very adequate breakfast of “grown on their tree” grapefruit, cold cereal, and bagels. By 6:30 a.m., we are on the road headed for Largo, Florida and the Christian Television Network (CTN) where I am to have an interview regarding my second book, No Longer A Child of Promise. I am both excited and nervous.253

The Google directions that I printed out before leaving home efficiently and correctly guide us up Interstate 75 to Interstate 275 to US 19. The directions finally tell us to “take the exit toward 150th Ave N.” That seems simple enough. Then they instruct us to “merge onto US Hwy 19 N” and “turn right onto 142nd Ave N.”

“Why do I want to get back onto Hwy 19? We just got off of there,” declares my hubby.

I have no idea what to say. This makes no sense to me either but that is what the directions say. The cars continue to fly by us at 60 miles per hour from all directions. How does one make a split second decision in less than a second? The traffic is not tolerant of these Midwestern country folk.

I can feel the tensions rising. My husband motions with both hands extended in the air. “Which way do I go?”

“I don’t know,” I shriek. “This makes no sense. Just get back on Hwy 19.”

As we think about this, there is no way we are going to find a 142nd Ave after the 150th. We decide to get off again at the next exit. We turn right. We turn left. Now we are in a Walmart parking lot with NO idea where we are or where we are going. Why do I feel like I have just been spun in a blender? Maybe, we should have paid for that GPS for the rental car? There is nothing to do but to stop and ask for help. A clerk in the Walmart store informs me that 142nd Ave is on both side of US 19 but it is cut in half by the freeway. “I think the address you are looking for is on this side,” She says.

010Armed with this information, we start out again in our VW Beetle aimed in the right direction. We soon find 142nd Ave and turn onto it. That is a first successful step in this goose chase. The numbers are going up so that is good but soon we are stopped in our tracks. There is US 19 ahead of us and no, we cannot cross it. Great!

“Which way now?” questions my hubby.

I don’t think I have been this frustrated and confused for a long time. Maybe, I am just too old and too countrified for this city driving. I take a deep breath and try to think about this logically.

“Let’s just go down this frontage road and see if we can cross over at that next road up there,” I conclude.

I can see cars coming under the freeway in the distance. Since the number we are looking for is in the 6900 block, we should be able to turn left under the bridge and follow that road to 69th St and then make a left back to 142nd Ave. I think the theory is logical but we are met with a “No outlet” sign once we make our turn. Can I tear my hair out now? I am glad we have extra time. This is totally exasperating. All that is left to do is go back and catch the frontage road on this side of the freeway and follow it to 142nd. Hurrah!! It works and we find our destination. 705By now my muscles are tensed and my stomach is in a knot. Take a few deep breaths, I tell myself. We are here in plenty of time. I can do this. To watch the interview on utube, click on link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wpzBH0nHmk&list=PLllco-DxCjPR-GXjEyS8HmWYQk5ZOASTt&index=1

 

 

The Short Prequel to My Published Books “If You Leave This Farm” & “No Longer a Child of Promise”

Mary Ellen's Life 001I was born in Pennsylvania in the 1950s to parents who belonged to the conservative Mennonite church. My mother was a nurse, an extremely unusual pursuit for a Mennonite woman in those days, and my father was a wanna-be farmer. I do not remember the house in which I was born as we soon moved to a small farm in York County. There my father began our family’s farming career. We attended a Mennonite church located about 20 miles from the farm.

My earliest memories are of gathering around the supper table in the evening and my father reading a passage of the Bible to us. However, I do not remember discussing it. Sometimes, we passed around a small box with scripture cards and we all chose one to read. Sunday morning was a time of frantic hurrying as we rushed to get to church on time. In spite of that, I remember always being late. I loved Sunday school and there I learned the stories in the Bible and about God’s unconditional love for us. During the summer, there was Vacation Bible School. In the early years, Mama always took us to VBS though not at the church we regularly attended. I am not sure why. Once a year, our church held “revival meetings.” These meetings consisted of nightly services that lasted for a week. Different speakers were brought in and the way of salvation was proclaimed. Even as a young child I was moved by these services and they highly influenced me. Even today, when I hear the song, Just As I Am, that goes like this, “just as I am without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me, and that thou bidd’st me come to Thee, Oh Lamb of God, I come!” I am deeply moved and the stirrings of those days come back to me.

Me about 6 or 7 years old

Me about 6 or 7 years old

One day, when I was 9 years old, I came upon by oldest brother and my father kneeling by a hay bale in the manger of the dairy barn. My brother was crying as he said the sinner’s prayer with my father’s help. “I want to do that too,” I said. And so, that day, I officially accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I wish I could say that now that I had made my profession of faith, my life would be simple and carefree.

I continued to grow physically and in my faith. I wanted to follow Jesus and serve Him. I was baptized and joined the Mennonite church at the age of 10 years. My parents, though, in spite of their verbal adherence to the Mennonite faith, in many ways did not subscribe to the faith that we belonged to and I came to realize many years later, placed huge stumbling blocks in the path of our assimilation into Mennonite culture. I think this was the beginning of the sense of shame in who I am that I have carried most of my life. We only went to church on Sunday morning or for special meetings. Dedicated members were expected to attend Wednesday night prayer meetings and Sunday evening services as well. But we were busy farmers and my father did not have time for that. I remember well about this time also being refused my request to attend VBS in the summer. I loved VBS but we were now becoming old enough that we could help around the farm. My father’s priority of work over every other activity was beginning to express itself. I, of course, did not recognize that tendency for as a child, he was my father and I simply repressed those few things that I did not understand. I loved my father and loved being with him and working with him.Mary Ellen's Life 007

We were all eager to follow his lead when he made the decision to remove us from school to work on the farm. My brothers were removed from school at the age of 14 and me at the age of 15. Around this time is when my father started looking at buying land “out west” and moving all of us there to farm together. I had no objections. It sounded like a wonderful adventure to me. Here is where I want to say to parents, your job as a parent is to teach and prepare your child to follow the bent that God has given your child. It is not to determine their course in life that fits with what you want to happen. My father came from what is called a patriarchal family in which the children are simply extensions of the father. This sets the family up for huge tensions and heartache later when the young person wants to follow his or her own path in life.

#Mennonite Child in Public School

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I start out my book talking a little about being Mennonite in a public school but as I think back to previous years many different memories stand out. Even in first grade, I remember being very different from my classmates. I did not go to kindergarten so the other children were far ahead of me scholastically. I do not remember being coached on my letters or early reading skills at home. I remember feeling isolated and alone – some of that was probably my fault as I didn’t know how to relate to other children. We lived some distance from the others in our Mennonite group and so I had little contact with the children of others in the group.

There were several German Baptist families in our school district. Their manner of dress was similar to ours and their children went to public school. In my first grade class was a little German Baptist girl (I will call her Susanna) who tried desperately to make friends with me. I think she recognized what I did not – that we were of a common heritage. She would come and ask me to play and I would walk away from her. I remember pushing her once to make her go away. Maybe she would remember it differently if she were still alive. At the end of second grade, Susanna contracted Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and passed away. I was struck by remorse and guilt over the way that I treated her in those first two years. I could have had that special friendship I have always longed for at least for a couple of years, but I, in my immaturity and self-centeredness, threw away the opportunity. Sometimes, I try to figure out why I treated her like I did and I really have no answer. Maybe I saw in her what I did not want to be but was- totally different from everybody else around me. I hope that in heaven, where I am sure that she is, that she has forgiven me. I have found it much more difficult to forgive myself for treating her in the same way I hated others treating me in school.