Monday, May 18, 2009

Hungry and Homeless

Our family has tried to focus on gratitude this year. I wanted to use a dinner celebration to increase our gratitude and teach my children a bit about the world they live in.

The evening started a bit rough. Briz was not too excited about my plans. In his defense, he was concerned about his family's safety and worried that my good desires would cause me to do something foolish, as in the past. After we came to an understanding, we had a sweet sweet experience.

My achievement girls helped me make cookies this afternoon. We had a quick (low carb) dinner. A sandwich assembly line taught sandwich basics such as: mayonnaise goes to the edges of the bread, and mustard only goes on one side.

We toured our house, noting our full pantries, our extra rooms, our huge yard, our library and so on.

While driving we read Lilly and the Paper Man. That started a beautiful discussion. My children asked, "Why are people poor? Are they born that way? Did they lose their jobs?" We answered as honestly as possible, trying not to trivialize a very complex problem. They were fascinated and the discussion lasted till we reached a very poor and dangerous neighborhood. We drove through slowly, pointing out blanket covered windows, tiny unkempt yards, security chains on fences etc. Questions arose such as, "Why don't they take care of their yards?" and "Do they want to live somewhere else?" and "Are there good people who live here?"

A woman slept against a pole, obviously beaten and utterly spent. We knew she needed a kind thought and left a brown bag lunch next to her. We continued up and down the roads looking for those who needed food and a shot of caring. Our takers gratefully grabbed the brown bags and immediately began munching our cookies, apples, and sandwiches. One gentleman said, "God Bless you. I could eat six of these." We left him with two.
One man shivered as he wrapped his blanket around his head. He had the sandwich eaten before Briz and Sunshine returned to the car.

When we reached a lull and did not find homeless at the usual places, we gathered the children around for a quick prayer. We asked to find those who needed both our lunches and a bit of hope. Within ten minutes our remaining seven bags found grateful and gracious homes.

As we drove home, we read and discussed Mosiah4:16-25. Some of it reads as follows:

Ye will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain.

Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just. But I say unto you, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent. For behold, are we not all beggars? do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God for all the substance which we have?"

As we drove out of town, we passed the lonesome battered woman once again. She had moved away from the bag, fearful of its contents perhaps. We stopped and reassured her. Her red eyes, puffy face and defeated demeanor deeply disturbed my girls.

Around and around the car we went, sharing our gratitude lists with each other. My heart warmed to my grateful and sensitive children. They prayed for each recipient of the brown bags, and hoped that along with the food, their hearts would be full, that they would walk a little taller knowing that we cared.

Little Mother said, "Can we do this again and again?"
Ladybug asked, "Who feels good inside right now?"
Sunshine just kept spouting her gratitude list and Briz.... he just reached over and kissed the back of my head three times and said, "That's for nothing."

Here is the lunch bag cookie that my kids were sure others would just LOVE. I must admit, they are so chewy they are addictive. They remind me of a chewy chocolate chip cookie that is peanut butter flavored.

Chewy Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter, peanut butter, brown sugar and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the corn syrup, water and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the peanut butter mixture. Fold in chocolate chunks. Drop by 1/4 cupfuls 3 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the baking sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. Yield: 2 dozen large cookies


  1. What wonderful ideas! Thanks you sharing your creativity and insights on your blog. You inspire me!

  2. We are all beggars...and it is so amazing to see you teaching your children to have love and compassion! God bless! This totally inspired me today!

  3. I see that you know the difference between telling children to love others and teaching them!

    We just sampled this lovely cookie at Camie's birthday party. It is a very good taste-combo and one that is worth repeating!! Thank you.

  4. You are amazing -a true instrument in the Lord's hands. I might not comment as much as I read, but you are always motivation and inspiration.