My Favorite Recipes for Life — Part 1

Recipes provide consistency in the production of a menu item.  And the most essential part of any recipe is the ingredients list.  Ever forget to include the salt?  Added baking powder when it called for baking soda? Or used self-rising flour when regular flour was needed.  A culinary disaster in the making, for sure.

My file of family recipes is growing, and nothing tastes so good as food that recalls the good times of the past. My taste buds start dancing at the mere thought of Mexican Chef Salad and Kentucky Chili, recipes that have been in my family for decades if not generations. Variations in recipes are acceptable at times.  Depending on my mood, I may use garbanzo beans instead of red kidney beans or both in my Mexican Chef Salad recipe.

Taking a bite of an old family recipe can transport you through time. Years ago, my cousins shared the recipe for our grandmother’s yeast rolls.  When she died at 103, we joked that St. Peter had already ordered  a batch.  One nibble of her rolls always flooded my soul with a cascade of memories.

Over the years, I have collected a few “other” recipes, that are an encouraging reminder of what is required for contentment, success, and the good life.

This blog post addresses a recipe for contentment.  You may also say happiness, but I have always felt happiness was a fleeting emotion that comes and goes based on the circumstances of the moment.  Whereas contentment is that deeper, longer-lasting sense of peace, gratitude, and satisfaction that remains despite one’s daily ups and downs.

To be honest, these recipes are not my sole creations.  Over the years, I have collected them from anonymous sources, modified them, even adding a few ingredients of my own — like when I tweak my chicken salad recipe with pecans and cranberries. 

It is our sense of taste that drives us to choose certain foods and prepare delicious recipes. Likewise, our sense of taste — generically speaking — prompts us to behave and act in certain ways. While we may choose a delicious meal to satisfy our hunger and delight our taste buds, we also make choices in the things we do and say to, ostensibly, brings us pleasure and happiness.  Just as we should exercise discernment in the foods we eat, should we not also exercise good judgment in the pursuit of contentment?

Looking for a recipe for a year of Contentment?  

Taste and see.

Recipe for a Year of Contentment

  1. Take twelve whole months. Clean them thoroughly of all bitterness, hate, and jealousy.  Make them just as fresh and clean as possible.
  2. Cut each month into twenty-eight, thirty, or thirty-one different parts, but don’t make the whole batch at once. Prepare it one day at a time out of the following ingredients.
  3. Mix well into each day one part of faith, a pinch of patience, a hefty dollop of courage, and one part of work. 
  4. Add to each day one dash of hope, 2 cups of faithfulness, a gallon of generosity, a bountiful portion of prayer, and one good deed. More than one good deed seasons the meal, while unceasing prayer enhances the flavor.
  5. Season the  whole with a dash of good spirits, a sprinkle of fun, a pinch of play, a spoonful of laughter, and a cupful of good humor.
  6. Blend all ingredients with 3 tablespoons of forgiveness and a cup of thoughtfulness.
  7. Pour all of this into a vessel of love.    
  8. Cook thoroughly over radiant joy, garnish with a smile, and serve with generous portions of quietness, unselfishness, and cheerfulness.    
  9. Serves multitudes.

This is NOT a recipe to be guarded and kept hidden.  Instead, it is one recipe that can be lovingly passed on to future generations and graciously shared with others.  

Sadly, there are those people who reject the idea of a true contentment recipe.  They want to throw together their own do-it-my-way narcissistic stew, never realizing that the end product is only a tasteless, unsatisfying, bitter version of the real thing. For example, here is one “miserable” recipe. 

Recipe for Narcissistic Stew, aka Lifelong Misery

  1. Take a large bowl of entitlement and add equal portions of hatred, grudges, jealousy, envy, selfishness, and lies.
  2. Mix well with a critical spirit.
  3. Grease the pan with a spirit of unforgiveness.
  4. Ignore the counsel of others.
  5. Never add forgiveness.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees in the oven of resentment and bitterness.
  7. Garnish with more complaints than compliments.
  8. Serve cold.
  9. Slowly sip the stew of sadness, frustration, and unhappiness.
  10. Then blame others for any mistakes.

I think I’d rather follow the recipe for Contentment.  A supersized order, please!

The hope of the righteous ends in gladness, but the expectation of the wicked comes to nought.”  Proverbs 10:28 (RSV)

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