I, The Assistant, Am Liberated on this Road

“If He’s God, I adapt to His roads; he does not adapt to me. If God was my assistant, then he betrayed me. But if I’m his assistant, all this trouble in my life had liberated me. It liberated me. I was finally ready to let Him be God.”

Elisabeth Elliot

I found this quote shortly after publishing my last post, The Driver’s Seat and Full Control. It is meaningful because it takes something I was acknowledging even deeper. The sentence, “If God was my assistant, then he betrayed me.” hit me square in the face.

In my post, I talked about the assumption we often have that Jesus is content in the passenger seat, as long as we have invited Him to be with us. We expect Him to go with us wherever we steer, because He said He would never leave us. But it isn’t His place to follow us, we are to follow Him.

Elisabeth Elliot points out here that God is not our assistant. If that is who He is, is He even God? No! That makes us boss and Him subordinate.

God isn’t looking to you and me to take Him along for the ride. He doesn’t exist to make our agenda work. He isn’t in the business of promoting us.

That would be a betrayal because He said He was all-powerful. He promised to lead and direct. He told us we can trust His plan to work everything out for our good and His glory.

That is no description of an assistant. After reading what Elisabeth Elliot said, I am even more resolute that I don’t want to take control. I need to focus every day on staying in my lane.

I belong in the passenger seat. I must adapt to His roads. He is God. I am here to serve Him.

I, the assistant, am liberated on this road.

What road are you traveling with Jesus right now? Parenthood? Medical treatments? Job search?

It might be easy to theoretically say we’re content to sit shotgun, but trusting God with real-life highways and interchanges is hard. Desire for control of the journey is real. Do you believe He knows best?

I don’t know about you, but I realize I cannot control much. My messes, like Elisabeth Elliot said, have liberated me. I’m ready to let Him be God.

“Jesus, take the wheel
Take it from my hands
‘Cause I can’t do this on my own
I’m letting go
So give me one more chance
And save me from this road I’m on
Jesus, take the wheel”

song by Carrie Underwood

Have You Ever Experienced a Chocolate Walk?

How far could you walk if you got a bite of chocolate every few yards? My husband and I could walk miles! We know because we participated in our town’s Chocolate Walk last weekend.

What is a Chocolate Walk? It is the cutest small town, hallmark movie-type event I have ever experienced! What a fun thing to do the Saturday before Valentine’s Day!

Our Chocolate Walk Experience

We purchased passports at our town’s Visitor Center last week. The $8.00 cost was a donation to the food bank. Our passports listed a total of 26 participating, locally owned, downtown businesses within walking distance of each other. The promise was that each would have free chocolate for passport holders on Saturday afternoon.

On that sweet day, we woke up to nice weather and my husband’s new hip (replaced only a month ago) was feeling good. We decided to walk the few miles to downtown. Once there, we pulled out our passports and planned our route.

It was a chocolate lover’s dream! We visited the bakery and an espresso spot in our first few stops. One would expect to find yummy treats in such establishments, right? Right! The bakery gave away brownie bites and the espresso spot had charcoal infused mochas. Both were delicious!

Brownie bites
Brownie bites with chocolate ganache from the downtown bakery.

All kinds of businesses got in on the fun. The Outdoor Surplus shop gave away samples of chocolatey energy bars. The library, fashion boutique, art gallery, and bookstore were all stops on our passports.

The Vintage Clothing store staff went the extra mile and dressed up as the characters from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The Mercantile offered freeze dried Snicker Bars. Yum!

Trays of chocolate on a store counter.
The vintage clothing store with its staff in character.
Plates of treats on a store counter
Freeze dried snickers bars!

The tea leaf shop offered sips of specially made cocoa tea with a healthy mushroom and chili pepper infusion. My husband liked that more than I did. We both enjoyed the dark chocolate balsamic vinegar from the olive oil shop.

Tiny cups of tea
Cocoa tea tasters
Small cups of balsamic vinegar
Dark Chocolate infused Balsamic Vinegar!

One of our favorite delicatessens made mini chocolate mousse cups and a local pub offered tiny chocolate milkshakes. We wondered if we were going to feel sick with so many sweet stops, but the tastes were small, and we shared many of them.

A tiny mousse cup
A tiny mousse cup from the local deli has layers of chocolate and white chocolate. The tiny spoon made it even more fun! (My husband’s hand and the passport included for size reference.)

We didn’t eat everything we were given. Many chocolates were individually wrapped, and we took those for later. In fact, we still have several in our candy dish!

Once we had visited all the stops, our last order of business was to note our favorite and turn our completely stamped passports in to the Visitor Center. I hope the winners got something good because there was one passport stop whose offering stood far and above all the others, in our opinion.

The wine bar gave out chef-made caramels infused with Tempranillo and cocoa. It was absolutely the most delicious thing! It was also incredibly unique. I have never tasted anything like it.

Paper wrapped candy and a chalk board.
Our favorite chocolate and our vote for the grand prize winner!

This event was a blast! It gave us a reason to enter and meet the proprietors of many establishments we might not otherwise frequent. There was a spirit of palpable fun in the air; people walking, mingling, enjoying the outdoors, eating chocolate, deferring to, and smiling at each other.

We walked a total of 7.7 miles to, around, and home from downtown. I may have burned even more calories than I ate. And it was so much fun!

This was our town’s 7th Annual Chocolate Walk. I am already looking forward to the 8th. Have you ever experienced anything like a Chocolate Walk?


The Thing about Making Memories is…

  • “We’re making memories together.”
  • “Our plan is just to make some memories.”
  • “We made some amazing memories this week.”

The thing about making memories is, they take time to prove.

Have you said anything like the above remarks recently? Making memories has become a common pastime description. But the thing about making memories is, you can’t measure your success in the present. By nature, a memory has to be remembered in time.

mem·o·ry: noun

something remembered from the past; a recollection.

    So, I’m wondering, can anyone say with certainty that they’ve made a memory? Is it a valid agenda to embark upon? Or is it a trendy phrase we use without thinking?

    The thing about making memories is, they are relatively few.

    “What you relish about a meal is more than just the food. It’s about being fully present, surrendering to the moment, and letting the warmth of the candles, the scent of seared meats, and crusty bread expand your soul.”

    Cheryl Loreglia, Living in the Gap

    I read this sentence in a blog post by Cheryl Loreglia called What Does Our Time On This Earth Add Up To. She was describing a meal she shared with her family on a vacation in Portugal. She also said, “Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one’s life.”

    And my mind has been buzzing ever since. (Thank you, Cheryl, for the food for thought!) What has been the favorite meal of my life? To be honest, I remember very few.

    I’ve been married for 31 years. (Our Anniversary was this week!) In that time, my husband and I have raised 5 kids, fed church groups full of people, welcomed 3 grandkids, and hosted many gatherings in our home.

    I have prepared and eaten countless meals with incredibly special-to-us people. And yet I don’t recall many of them. Time has proven which were memories made and which weren’t.

    I thought for a while about which meal I would look back on today as my “all-time favorite”. To be honest, it took me a minute to recall any which do not have videos or pictures associated with them. I decided it would be cheating to lean on recurring reminders to help me remember.

    But in time, I was able to identify 5 favorite meals which qualify as true memories. Each of them is memorable because of what I was feeling when I ate them. I thought that was interesting. It wasn’t about the place, the food, or even the company.

    The thing about making memories is, they’re subjective.

    I asked my husband about one of these meals. I wanted to see if he remembered it the way I did. He didn’t remember it at all!

    He spoke of something he remembered. It sounded only vaguely familiar to me. Our memories of things experienced together were certainly subjective.

    So then I wonder, is it really a memory made if not everyone remembers it? When we set out to “make memories,” don’t we intend for everyone present to share it? Don’t we expect to have inside jokes about it for years to come?

    The thing about making memories is, we must live them first.

    Maybe making memories requires more of us than fully reveling in our experiences. Maybe we need to engage our senses to revisit those experiences often. Maybe we should capture everything on film (eyes) and reminisce details (ears) at every opportunity.

    But then, don’t we miss out on the full experience because we are simultaneously trying to immortalize it? Don’t we become spectators more than participants when we partake from behind the camera? The thing about memories is you must live them before you can relive them.

    The thing about making memories is, I’m intrigued.

    What do you think? Is it possible to plan to make memories? Would you say your memories are forged more by emotion or your five physical senses? Do you recall your favorite meal? Please tell me about it!

    I can’t wait to hear your thoughts. The thing about memories is it makes for an intriguing topic. There is probably good science behind it, but I’m more interested in the human aspect. Please comment below! Share a memory and tell me why you think you remember it so vividly.

    Conversations Emotions Reflections

    Fur on My Clothes and Sand in My Toes

    Hello my friends! I have a question for you. Have you ever complained about something and then drastically missed it when it was gone?

    I have two right now. I am missing fur on my clothes and sand in my toes.

    Fur on my clothes

    My dog died last April. Until then, I’d been living in loose fur. It was in every corner of the house, on the furniture, and in our cars. It was even on the clean clothes that came out of the dryer. There were lint rollers in every room.

    It seemed inescapable. And now I miss it. I absolutely cherish the neighbor dog’s hugs which cover me from head to toe in fur!

    Sand in my toes

    When we lived in Hawaii, there was sand everywhere. Those tiny beach bits walked into the house on our toes daily. They stuck to everything and eluded my brooms and vacuums. I thought I’d never have a shoe, car, bed, or floor without sandy grit.

    But since I’ve moved, I relish any opportunity to get sand in my toes. And if I can track it into the car, you bet I’m going to do it! The longer it lingers, the happier I am.

    Do you know what I mean?

    Banes to Blessings

    Yes, I truly miss fur on my clothes and sand in my toes. It makes me wonder which banes of my current existence will become desired blessings in the future. What do I complain about that I should appreciate before it’s gone?

    What about you! What previous nuisances do you miss now? And what current banes might become blessings one day?

    “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

    1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
    Conversations Recommendations

    A Wonderful Winter Recipe Share!

    Hello! Thanks for stopping by the Back Porch today. I’m grateful for your company! I would like to propose a recipe share to accompany this wonderful winter season we’re enjoying.

    Our Wonderful Winter

    This is our first winter in Northern Arizona, but our neighbors tell us we’ve had an unusual amount of snow. We’ve gotten something like 60 inches in the last two weeks. It is beautiful! I have only 2 complaints.

    1. It makes my daily trail walks all but impossible.
    2. It started 2 days after my husband’s hip replacement surgery, leaving shoveling duty to my son and me.

    I must say, though, snowy weather is great for cooking and baking. And I’ve been doing a lot of that! So, I also have to say I’m grateful for shoveling duty, because it is a fabulous calorie burner while the trail walks are on hold.

    A Recipe Share

    This is where a wonderful winter recipe share comes in. What are you eating these days? Do you have any nutritious recipes to share? Could you use a few?

    My hubby likes to base his diet on protein. I prefer to center mine on plants. Because we’re incredibly creative (read the sarcasm), we’ve dubbed our eating habits “Protein and Plants”. It works. At least it reminds me where to focus when I’m at the grocery store. We both also eat carbs, dairy, and fats; we just try not to make them the stars of our plates.

    What do you think? Do you have any recipes I can try? Would you be willing to share?

    Here is one of our favorites that you might enjoy. It’s quick, simple, and healthy to boot!

    Chicken, Mushroom, and Asparagus Stir Fry

    Servings: 8


    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 pounds boneless chicken, sliced
    • 2 pounds asparagus, trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 1 large onion, wedged
    • 16 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 cup stir-fry sauce
    • 1/2 cup oyster sauce


    1. In a skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add chicken strips; stir fry 5-6 minutes until no longer pink in the center. Remove chicken from the pan.
    2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add asparagus, and onion; stir fry for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms; stir fry 3 minutes longer. Add water; cover and steam for 2-3 minutes or until asparagus is tender.
    3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix stir-fry sauce and oyster sauce. Return the chicken to the wok and add the sauce mixture. Stir fry for about 1 minute longer or until hot.
    4. Serve with hot rice, or on a bed of greens.

    Note: You can substitute any other veggies that you like and have on hand. Feel free to be creative with the protein too!

    If you have a recipe for me to try, please share! I would love to use it for two purposes – to pray for you as I prepare it, and to nourish my family this wonderful winter. Please, paste one in the comments, or provide a link if you’ve already shared it. If you aren’t excited about posting it publicly, but are willing to email it privately, use my contact button at the top of the page.

    Thank you! I appreciate you. Seriously – whether you have a recipe to share or not, I appreciate you for being here, for reading, and for being a present blessing to the Back Porch! Have a great day!


    Wisdom or Folly? The Suspense is Real!

    Good and evil, hero and villain; we’re told the best stories contain these elements. Why? Because it creates drama, angst, and choice.

    Wisdom or Folly? The Suspense is Real!

    In one of my favorite books, two leading ladies compete for attention. One is wholesome, the other is scandalous. They each make their play. The one to whom they offer themselves must choose. The suspense is real!

    Would you have guessed I was describing the Biblical book of Proverbs? It is full of dilemmas, comparisons, and right vs. wrong. In it, Wisdom and Folly are depicted as influential women. They each call out to passersby.

    “Does not wisdom call out?
        Does not understanding raise her voice?
    At the highest point along the way,
        where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
    beside the gate leading into the city,
        at the entrance, she cries aloud
    ‘To you, O people, I call out;
        I raise my voice to all humanity’.”

    Proverbs 8:1-4

    “Folly is an unruly woman;
        she is simple and knows nothing.
    She sits at the door of her house,
        on a seat at the highest point of the city,
    calling out to those who pass by,
        who go straight on their way”

    Proverbs 9:13-15

    Wisdom and folly have very different messages.

    Wisdom uses words like listen, watch, and wait. She promises a great reward for those who attune to her for the long haul. She offers life and favor from God to those who do not give up and disregard her.

    “Listen to my instruction and be wise;
        do not disregard it.
    Blessed are those who listen to me,
        watching daily at my doors,
        waiting at my doorway.
    For those who find me find life
        and receive favor from the Lord.”

    Proverbs 8:33-35

    Folly prefers her audience does not take time to think. Her appeal is to those who want to remain simple. With her, there is no requirement to work or to wait. She offers easy satisfaction from instant gratification. But her reward is deceptive and ultimately fatal.

    “‘Let all who are simple come to my house!’
    To those who have no sense she says,
    ‘Stolen water is sweet;
        food eaten in secret is delicious!’
    But little do they know that the dead are there,
        that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.”

    Proverbs 9:16-18

    Both voices call from the “highest points”. They are equally discernable. The stage is set. What will the hearer do?

    The suspense and repercussions are real!

    This is no mere entertainment.

    Fortunately, or unfortunately, this is a participatory story. You and I, dear friends, are the characters who must choose. Wisdom and Folly call to us.

    The repercussions of our decision will affect our lives for now and all eternity. Wisdom or Folly? The suspense is real! Which do you choose?

    “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
        and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
    For through wisdom your days will be many,
        and years will be added to your life.
    If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you;
        if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.”

    Proverbs 9:10-12