Monday, November 8, 2010

Counting Our Pieces

My dad stopped with a pie the other night while I was visiting friends at our local farm market.  Mom had phoned ahead to tell us she was sending her offering as a practice run for Thanksgiving-- like she needs the practice.  I have never learned to make a good pie because, in my opinion, there is no sense in settling for less when you already have the best.  And hers are.

When I returned home from the market less than an hour later--heart light from fellowship and clothes heavy with wood-smoke, my arms bearing gifts of pretty green peppers and glass jugs full of foamy-fresh milk, shiny red apples peeking out of a white paper bag, and cartons of eggs in various shades of brown and gray--my eyes were drawn to a trail of crumbs leading across the kitchen hardwood.  On the far counter sat our special delivery.  My first thought was regret for missing a hug from my dad.  My second was: Surely the family hadn't devoured it already!

Afraid to look, I unpeeled the foil slowly and let out a breath of relief.  Hmm--the smell of it was divine.  And only a quarter of it was missing.  I soon discovered our oldest had stopped on her way home from work to take some for dessert.  So the crumbs, and my smile.  Good news travels quickly.

Not able to wait for the chili to finish cooking for supper, I grabbed a knife and cut through flaky layers, just a sliver, and ate it with my fingers, the juice running down my hand and cinnamon-sweet apples melting in my mouth.  Yum.  The conclusion is always the same--nobody can bake pies like my mom.

Later, when the dishes were washed and put away, I thought about eating another piece with a cold glass of the farmer's milk--wished Dad was there to share--but decided it would taste better for breakfast instead.  When I peeked next I was shocked to find only one piece left.  It was a little wide, so I shaved another sliver, and left the rest in the dish for our youngest.  Apple is her favorite, and she hadn't gotten any yet.

Every heavenly whiff of that last wedge of culinary perfection tempted me to break down and do what I was guarding against while she worked late.  Too tired to eat when she got home, she barely heard my warning to get her pie before someone else did.  Unfortunately, I woke to the sound of her lament as she found the dish soaking empty in the sink, and she, full of regret.

Now we sit, counting our pieces, and through the process of elimination condemn the culprit--the one who ate the last bit of sweet indulgence.  (He confessed later--it was my husband.)  Since when did he start liking pie?!? 

Our youngest will have to wait until Thanksgiving to get hers.  Today I am reminded how much we have to be thankful for, continuing my List of 1000:
106. Parents who bake and deliver delectable treats.

107. Their love for each other, aging and growing deep.
108. Hugs.
109. A love that covers all our sins--even that of hoarding pie.

110. November's sunrise, brilliant through naked trees.
111. The last burnt reds and oranges of falling leaves.
112. And God's Son rising warm within.

113. Sleeping an extra hour.
114. And listening to my girls talk soft as friends.
115. Listening to a broken man share how God is faithfully walking him through the storm.
116. How his heart-story encourages mine.

117. Beloved farmers who rise early and fall into bed late so they can harvest the produce, grow the apples, gather the eggs and raise the jersey cows for milk.
118. Friend who invites and delights and hides gas-money in the dim.

119. Prayers and peace that calm life's storms.
120. A pie that tastes and smells divine.
121. Uncle who loves lemon meringue and taking care of his family--who comes to help us dig.

122. Another who cuts a tree, mows the grass, starts the water heater and joins us for tacos--sweet communion.
123. Voting with neighbors we haven't seen all summer.
124. Husband who hugs long and kisses sweet and tells me he prays,

125. Who forgives raging hormones and cooks meatloaf and parsley potatoes,

126. And gathers the end of falling leaves.

127. Daughter who gets recognized at a benefit dinner for creating a name.

128. And the money raised so hundreds of children will have clean water to drink.
129.  Sister who sweats long hours to make it happen.
130. H2O--liquid and living--that cleans and refreshes and quenches our thirst.

131. Another daughter who gives her money for a plate of spaghetti and loves a friend who lost with her mom the inspiration to go on.
132. The way another daughter works through the pain of a best friend's rejection.
133. The waiting...for pie, and promises to be fulfilled and past hurts to be heeled.

134. For counting our pieces...the graces we have been given, have yet to give others and discover for much more.
135. For family and friends--you fill my soul over the brim with joy.
136. The Giver, the Lover, the One who pulls us all together.
137. For art and words and music and baking.
138. For the ability to create.
139. And give praise to the One who made us like Him.
140. For softened hearts that give Him thanks.

I join every Monday with Ann Voskamp and the community of gratitude-givers in appreciating God's graces.  Click on the button below to read other grace lists....

I am also sharing  at (in)courage (click button to read other stories):

Click to read other stories of gratitude at One Word at a Time.

Click to read more about my Journey of Gratitude.

Photo Credit: flickr -  dailyinvention


  1. Happy Monday morning :) I just dropped by through Ann's page (you're my linky neighbor:) and thought I would say hello and thank you for such a lovely post. I love, LOVE reading how God is working in our lives! I'm praying for your family this morning :)

    p.s. I really love your made me happy before I could even get to your words :)

  2. Your list is poetry. And the pie, I can just smell it. The crumbs, what a good metaphor.

  3. nice grat list...and me some pie...i probably would have been the culprit...smiles.

  4. Love your writing! yes, the extra hour of sleep, forgot to add that. It was a gift!

  5. This is quite a tasty post! Your words, like the lovely picture, make me feel like I'm in your kitchen having a piece of that yummy pie myself.

    Thanks for visiting my blog today. It's fun to share pie stories. :)

  6. I just made an apple pie two weeks ago. And that picture made me want another. That is a huge blessing...having parents close by, who can stop by, who share like that.

  7. So enjoyed reading and seeing your tender heart. You have a gift with writing . . . and apple pie!


  8. Can I adopt your mom? Gift of food, especially beautiful ones, always make my heart glad. :)

  9. what a beautiful post! I'm so thankful I read this first thing. Your well written piece and your list of thanks has set the pace for my day!
    thank you

  10. Lovely post, and reminds me of my mom. Things weren't always very good between us, but she could bake a pie that would be like a salve to the soul. Thank you for helping bring back that (good) memory.

  11. In my family, the last piece usually sits orphaned because no one wants the guilt. Everyone wants the last piece, but no one wants to be caught taking it.

    You write with lovely sensory detail. Thanks for visiting my "crumbs" blog and commenting so I'd find you. Grace and peace from Christ on your day!

  12. simply fantastic writing.
    keep it up.

  13. How are you, friend?

    Glad to land on your exciting poetry land here.

    Welcome linking in a poem to our potluck today, Thanks in advance!

    Some awards will be assigned upon participation.

    I signed in to follow your blog.
    Welcome follow us back.

    First time participants can simply submit an old poem.


  14. Thank you everyone. I am sure my mom would love to bake you all a pie. And I would love to sit down with you all and eat pie, and share stories, and get to know each other. blessings!

  15. I'm deeply touched by your ability to relay the symbolism of a pie - something most others would simply dismiss as a dessert.

    First time visiting here. Won't be the last.

  16. I don't think I could have left that pie in the fridge... I would have hid it under my bed!

    Great list... thank you!!

  17. A blessed list. I chuckled at the "extra hour"... I look forward to that every year... and am very challenged by the one time I lose that hour, but am grateful that the daylight will last longer. Sure wish I could have some of your pie... sounds wonderful.


I welcome and appreciate your kind words and comments.