Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

I would like to announce the recipient of last week’s giveaway of an autographed copy of Plain Wisdom: an Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. I used to pull the winner, and that winner is Eugenia. Congratulations!

Today’s post is from my friend Sherry Gore. She’s posting here once each month. I know that you will enjoy getting to know her through her posts as much as I have enjoyed her friendship through the years. She has a beautiful magazine called Cooking & Such, as well as a cookbook called Taste of Pinecraft. You will find Sherry’s bio and a link to her website after the article.


The No Comfort Zone

“If we put them in the freezer first, they won’t wiggle in the frying pan.”

My stomach flip-flopped when I saw my son’s “catch of the day.” Hanging from his closed fist were the legs of the enormous bullfrog he’d speared in the pond behind our house. How he knew thisculinary fact was beyond me. I swallowed before forcing myself to smile.

He looked up at me with a hopeful glimmer in his eyes. “You’ll cook ’em for me, won’t you, Mom?”

At seven, he thought I could move heaven and earth. And at times he made me feel as though I could, even though I was a single mother.

In that moment, I had a choice to make: let my squeamish feelings prevail or put on a brave face and light the cookstove. I didn’t want to even touch those frog legs. You may as well have asked me to stick my head in a bucket of crabs, with my eyes open. But seeing the smile on my son’s face evaporate in disappointment would be even worse than that.

“Okay,” I told him matter-of-factly. “Let’s wash them first. Then you can wrap them and freeze them for a few minutes. I’ll get the stove going.”


Six little hands waved frantically in the air when I asked my Sunday school class, “Where would you all like to go for a field trip?”

“Let’s have a tea party at your house,” one of the girls suggested.

Four little heads bobbed up and down in fervent agreement.

I had been thinking more along the lines of something adventurous, like fishing or exploring some new place. A tea party never crossed my mind. I’m not a “sugar and spice and everything nice” kind of girl. Oh, I love pretty things. I adore pink things. But I’d much rather discover the character of a roadside barbecue shack than that of a tea house.

I looked to the boys for backup. Both of them mentioned fishing. Ultimately I agreed to both. First a tea party for whoever wished to come and then a fishing excursion to the beach.

I made tea party invitations and borrowed all the dainties necessary to pull this off, hoping not to give away that it was my first time hosting such a gathering.

When party day arrived, four guests came with plates and dishes of sweets they’d created in the kitchen with their mothers. Each wore a flower-adorned hat and fancy little sandals; something they’d collaborated on ahead of time.

I arranged the treats on the lacy cloth-covered table set with flowered teacups and saucers. A bowl of sugar cubes and miniature silver tongs sat beside the teapot.

I took pictures of the girls between their giggles. Then, I daintily sipped my raspberry tea. I ate sugar cookies that looked like they’d been sprinkled with pink fairy dust. Then, one by one, we went around the table and made up stories that brought more giggles. It was a lovely event. Not one I would rush into again too soon, but a time I would come to treasure, later.

Our afternoon of fishing began in the parking lot of our church house. After filling the car with sandwiches, cold bottles of water, and fishing poles, I drove the two boys and all the girls to the Key, stopping for live bait on the way. Everyone chatted about who would catch the first fish, and who’d get the biggest one. One of the boys had never been fishing; the other’s experience was strictly pond fishing.

Once at the lake, the girls knotted the skirts of their dresses up and headed for the water. The boys eagerly prepared their lines. When I tried to hand one a shrimp to bait his hook, he put his hands behind his back and refused to take it. “Shrimp are for eating, Miss Sherry, not fishing. That’s gross.”

Hiding my humor, I told him, “If you want to catch a fish here, you’ve got to use shrimp.”

He reluctantly put out his hand, took the shrimp, and wrangled it onto the hook. His expression changed from disdain and skepticism to accomplishment when he landed a whiting.


 Thousands of years ago, Moses had to step out of his comfort zone. When God asked him to speak to the Israelites, he likely cringed before answering, “But my Lord, never in my life have I been a man of eloquence, either before or since you have spoken to your servant. I am a slow speaker and not able to speak well” (Exodus 4:10). According to the Bible, Moses had a speech impediment. But he made the right choice. And God blessed him for it.

The greatest example of someone placing himself outside his comfort zone was Christ. Matthew 20:8 tells us the Son of Man had no place to lay His head. He did without material goods while doing His Father’s work. Because of His unfettering love for us, Christ allowed Himself to go even further than being uncomfortable. In His innocence, He was subjected to verbal abuse, whippings, scourging, and a slow, agonizing death on the cross to take our sins upon Himself. All in the name of love. If Christ hadn’t been willing to step into the most uncomfortable circumstances of all time, where would that have left us? Without a Savior. And without a hope for eternal life in heaven.

Each of us faces choices that could potentially bring great joy into another person’s life, but only if we go outside our comfort zone. By saying no, we may be passing up a blessing God intended for us. Moses didn’t have to speak. But he showed his trust in God by agreeing. More than two thousand years later, Jesus’ willingness to step out for us made assurance of salvation through Him possible if we are willing to step out of our comfort zones and accept His gift.

Compared to Christ’s loving sacrifice for us, what are a couple of frozen frog legs in a frying pan? Just remember to freeze them first.

Sherry Gore is a scribe for the national edition of The Budget newspaper, author of Taste of Pinecraft: Glimpses of Sarasota, Florida’s Amish Culture and Kitchens; contributing writer for Ladies Journal and editor-in-chief of Cooking and Such: Adventures in Plain Living magazine. She makes her home in Sarasota, Florida, with her children and is a member of a Beachy Amish Mennonite church. Sherry is the owner of a nonresistant double-barrel shotgun and an official pie contest judge. When not writing, she can often be found discovering tempting things to eat at Yoder’s Amish Village. She learned the hard way one spring day not to wear ChapStick while driving an open buggy behind a shedding horse.

Sherry Gore’s website
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Some Housekeeping

Next week’s blog will be something a little special. There will be no scheduled post next Monday. Instead, I will post on Wednesday. I will spotlight another author and her new book in celebration of its release. The author will share a story about how she got the idea for her latest novel and there will also be a giveaway!

Curious about this author and her newest book? Be sure to join me next Wednesday!

I also have another very exciting announcement! My first Goodreads giveaway will begin Monday, April 23 and will run for two weeks. I will post another announcement on the day it opens. Be sure you do not miss out! Tell your friends. Tell your family. Spread the word!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms by Cindy Woodsmall

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms

by Cindy Woodsmall

Giveaway ends May 07, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


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