Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Field Notes #42: Janet and the Chocolate Ministry

Today, I had a unique ministry experience. I wasn't the one doing the ministering. After going to Gastonia's Shrimp Boat (which, ironically (the actual definition of "ironically"), is famous for its chicken) for lunch with Amber, I went back to her parents' house and spent the afternoon making chocolates with her mother, Janet Tatum.

Janet and her husband Lee are two wonderful members of Hill's Chapel. I've gotten to sing with both of them (and Amber) in choir and have had the privilege of interacting with them regularly over the summer. Janet is a master baker/confectioner, and I quickly learned that any event at which she is in attendance--whether a potluck, choir practice or Sunday School--will be met with something delicious. My first experience of Janet's baking involved mint chocolate chip cookies. I've also thoroughly enjoyed her Butterfinger blast, and I even liked her white chocolate chip cookies (I hate white chocolate--er, hated?).

Making chocolate with Janet was fun. Not only because the whole time Amber was there with Tyler, the 3-year-old she's watching for the month (who is super adorable and spent most of the day wearing firefighter boots and overalls), so there was plenty of background noise and action. But it was a creative process in and of itself. We had materials in plenty--chocolate, homemade caramel, malt balls, peanuts, Rice Krispies, pretzels and more. We just had to decide how to combine it.

Sitting here now, I can't even remember all the combinations we came up with, but they're all in my fridge in various bags and boxes (including one cute floral gift box). The purpose of the afternoon wasn't getting the chocolate, anyway--it was learning and spending time with Janet. She told me that chocolate became her therapy when she was going through chemo (Janet is a breast cancer survivor, and it actually hasn't been that long since she was diagnosed). She would bring chocolates to the doctor's office with her because, as she told me, "A nurse with chocolate breath is a happy nurse." She rattled off to me a list of people who like her confections--the vet, her pharmacist, the employees at Showmars, and so on. "So you give chocolate to everybody, huh?" I asked.

I like that. Something that has brought Janet joy through a fight with cancer and which brings her even more joy because she is able to share it with anyone and everyone. She didn't even need to call a committee or launch a ministry; she's just doing hospitality. And it is delicious.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Field Notes #42: Janet and the Chocolate Ministry

Today, I had a unique ministry experience. I wasn't the one doing the ministering. After going to Gastonia's Shrimp Boat (which, ironically (the actual definition of "ironically"), is famous for its chicken) for lunch with Amber, I went back to her parents' house and spent the afternoon making chocolates with her mother, Janet Tatum.

Janet and her husband Lee are two wonderful members of Hill's Chapel. I've gotten to sing with both of them (and Amber) in choir and have had the privilege of interacting with them regularly over the summer. Janet is a master baker/confectioner, and I quickly learned that any event at which she is in attendance--whether a potluck, choir practice or Sunday School--will be met with something delicious. My first experience of Janet's baking involved mint chocolate chip cookies. I've also thoroughly enjoyed her Butterfinger blast, and I even liked her white chocolate chip cookies (I hate white chocolate--er, hated?).

Making chocolate with Janet was fun. Not only because the whole time Amber was there with Tyler, the 3-year-old she's watching for the month (who is super adorable and spent most of the day wearing firefighter boots and overalls), so there was plenty of background noise and action. But it was a creative process in and of itself. We had materials in plenty--chocolate, homemade caramel, malt balls, peanuts, Rice Krispies, pretzels and more. We just had to decide how to combine it.

Sitting here now, I can't even remember all the combinations we came up with, but they're all in my fridge in various bags and boxes (including one cute floral gift box). The purpose of the afternoon wasn't getting the chocolate, anyway--it was learning and spending time with Janet. She told me that chocolate became her therapy when she was going through chemo (Janet is a breast cancer survivor, and it actually hasn't been that long since she was diagnosed). She would bring chocolates to the doctor's office with her because, as she told me, "A nurse with chocolate breath is a happy nurse." She rattled off to me a list of people who like her confections--the vet, her pharmacist, the employees at Showmars, and so on. "So you give chocolate to everybody, huh?" I asked.

I like that. Something that has brought Janet joy through a fight with cancer and which brings her even more joy because she is able to share it with anyone and everyone. She didn't even need to call a committee or launch a ministry; she's just doing hospitality. And it is delicious.

 

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