Ruby Tuesdays: A Mighty Woman (part seven)

Ruby Tuesdays: A Mighty Woman (part seven)

“She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.” (Proverbs 31:14).

In 1957, my mom walked across the stage of Bob Jones University and received her degree in “home economics.” You heard me … “home economics.” She would later go on to share her wealth of wisdom with less than appreciative junior high and high school students. She wouldn’t teach long, at least not within the walls of a school building.

But today, some fifty years down the road, class was, once again, in session. Mom still teaching; a student still learning. The classroom? Her kitchen. The subject matter?

Freezer jam.

Strawberry jam. Jam that’s been rolling around on my taste buds for the past thirty years. I suppose that I should have learned her techniques earlier. Heaven knows, I’ve been ringside to the canning process on multiple occasions. But rather than learning her secrets as my own, I’ve been content to simply “borrow” from the fruits of her labor and to stock my freezer accordingly.

She’s always been willing for me to do so. That’s what mother’s do … feed their children, at least they should. My mom has been faithful to that doing for forty-three years now. I can always count on her to give me her best when it comes to both the bounty of her table and the overflow of her heart. She is generous on both counts.

Mom has always had a knack for making the most out of our dining table. Undoubtedly there were seasons throughout my growing up years that required her creativity alongside a fledgling budget. Meals were always balanced with ingenuity and, on occasion, were beautifully decorated by some extras. But the jam? It was always in ample supply at mealtime.

I am thankful for that. We all need some staples in our lives—some things around our nightly tables that can be counted upon to be in attendance. The main course might vary, but the “sure and the certain” should remain. Why? Well, because we are a people in need of some sure and some certain.

When we arrive at the end of our “9 to 5’s” and gather up our “empty” for the “feeding”, it’s good to imbibe the comfort of some certain. A mighty woman … a woman worthy of a ruby’s bestowing … is a woman who brings some sure and some certain into the lives of those who sit under her influence.

She searches for it; watches for it. Runs to the market for it; banks on it. The intention behind her labor springs from a heart that understands that her table serves better when it is dressed with the comfort of certainty.

My mother gave that to me; she still does. She did so today as she watched and hovered and taught and sowed some of her wisdom within the soil of my understanding. Every now and then, I saw a glint in her eye; I certainly heard it in her voice. There was something insistent and purposeful about it all, and I was blessed to sit under her tutelage.

After the process was finished, I found a scrap sheet of paper and began to write down all the “extras” that weren’t scripted into the recipe. Extras that add to the mix and make for a better outcome. Extras that belong to a mother’s wisdom and a mother’s love that are willing to share tips and secrets and “how to’s” for the dressing up of an extraordinary table. Extras that I hope to one day share with my daughter when, in a season to come, she sits in my kitchen to receive her heritage—

the sure and certain of a family’s faith that’s been sitting down at the table of grace every night with the sure and certain of some jam alongside.

Jam and Jesus. An acceptable conclusion to a day’s doing. An ample seeding for a night’s rest.

May it be so for each one of us this day. Thus, I pray…

Bring us, Father, the sure and certain of heaven’s wisdom and truth as we gather our hearts in worship around your table in this hour. Teach us for we are stubborn in our learning. Show us for we are blind in our seeing. Sow into us all of your extras that make our lives shine with the witness of having sat under your tutelage. Thank you for bringing us your “food from afar” and for feeding us with all the tender care of a Father’s great love. Strengthen our hearts to mirror the same for our families, our friends, our country, our world. Amen.

Copyright © May 2009 – Elaine Olsen

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PS: Please join us for more Ruby Tuesdays’ post over at Refreshmoments. We’d love to see more participation. Mary explains it all over at her place. Also, the winner of Celia Whittler’s “One Wish for You” is skoots1mom. Please send me your snail mail, and I will get your book/cd to you in swift order. Shalom.

32 Responses to Ruby Tuesdays: A Mighty Woman (part seven)

  1. What a beautiful post! My grandmother and my mother made and make pepper relish and I have helped mom make it a time or two but I need to do the same thing you did and really get the particulars of it because it is so good on a dish of beans!!

    Don’t suppose you’d share your mother’s recipe and secrets with those of us who love Strawberry jam??


  2. What a lovely (and fun) reflection. Forever your Mom will be connected to the tasty items served by her caring hands. Forever your own children will do likewise.

    How like mothers to feed & nurture. It is then that we are so like the Lord.

    I can hardly pull out the mixing bowl that Mom doesn't show up.

    Jam and Jesus … may our mothers, and we ourselves forever be so intricately linked.

    Be blessed,

  3. My mother makes strawberry freezer jam, too. Don’tcha just love it? It is absolutely delicious, especially when used to top a hot, buttered, flaky, homemade biscuit! Yummm…I’m drooling just thinking about it!

    I have sat under the tutelage of my mother for years. I, too, take notes. But somehow, when I cook the same recipes mine NEVER taste as good as hers! My sis and I joke with our mother, asking her if she purposefully leaves out certain ingredients when she gives us the recipes. In reality, I believe that what we miss in our own cooking is our mother’s love. Her dishes are lovingly prepared for her family.

    How I yearn for the day to sit at my FATHER’S table…the table which HE has so lovingly prepared for us!

    Thanks for a great post, Elaine!

  4. Elaine,

    This was an awesome post! I just shared last Friday in a mentoring session with two younger married women to be learning from their Mom’s while they can. I would give much to have a session of noodle making with my Mom. She’s with Jesus, and while I watched her many times, it is not something that I picked up on. Freezer jam, yes, noodles, no.


  5. I know the intent of this post was not my reaction…Elaine…my Dad made freezer strawberry jam every year…until this year…and I never took the time to learn how…

    I can’t ‘borrow’ this year. What I thought was a “sure and the certain” is no longer.

    How I long for another opportunity,

  6. This post brought tears to my eyes because it reminded me of a “mother’s wealth” and how fortunate we are to still have ours. Love in Christ, Paula

  7. What a fun post. How neat to have this connection with your mom (and your daughter next?). I love how family food traditions bind generations together. Even God used food connections (Passover, communion, etc.) Enjoy your bounty!


  8. Oh how I loved this post. It triggered all the memories of my own younger years. I used to can and freeze every kind of fruit and vegetable that my husband and I grew ourselves or bought from the local farm market. Those were the days!! Jars and jars of pickles – sweet and dill and tomatoes coming out our ears! I also taught ladies how to sew because they wanted to make their own clothes. So I started a small class in my home and taught them myself. They all learned to sew and began caring for their families with that learned task.

    Oh – sometimes I wish we could get back to those days of doing things ourselves. Today’s women are so “instant” oriented that they have no idea that applesause comes from apples.

    You might laugh at that statement and wonder what I mean. One young women stopped at my home [ten years back] while I was making a large batch of homemade applesause. She actually said, “What are you making?” When I told her it was applesauce, she said, “Oh, I thought it only came from jars, you mean you can actually make that stuff?”

    Your post is not only a good example of a Proverbs 31 women which your mom obviously was – but also your post is such a perfect example of that Titus 2 passage of the older women teaching the younger women. Not only do we need to teach them spiritual truths – but household and practical truths as well.

    I loved this post. Bless your Mom for her faithfulness to her the teaching!

    Choosing JOY,
    [JESUS – the One I Worship]

  9. What a beautiful post, my friend. Thank you for sharing with us the literal fruit of your time with your precious Mom. Looks like a special and memorable day for both of you.

    I've been thinking about this lately…with regard to quilting. Though previously, I've been content to enjoy the fruit of others efforts — my Mom, my Grandmothers and my Aunts…I'm beginning to think differently. My Mom has wanted for years to teach me but I've always been resistant to learn. Now, with more time on my hands, and the realization my Mom won't be here forever, I'm feeling a desire to keep that precious gift alive.
    How I'm grateful for the lessons God teaches us through our Moms.

    When it comes to God, my prayer is to be (at all times) a willing, eager student.

    Love & blessings,

  10. My mother in law also graduated with a degree in home economics and taught in a high school many years ago. And she is the best homemaker I know… always gifting us with the extras!

    Thank you for your lesson about the comfort of the “sure and certain.” From now on, homemade strawberry jam will make me think of Jesus.

  11. What beautiful “rubies” you have stacked on your kitchen counter today!! Your family will enjoy that so much!

    I never took the time to learn all my Mama’s cooking secrets and then she passed away when I was sixteen. So, I actually learned a lot of the gardening and canning processes from my mother-in-law who was a great proficient in them!
    A great heritage to pass down from generation to generation.


  12. Jam looks great!!! I can almost taste it now! I too hope to pass down a heritage of faithfulness to my children and my grandchildren (now I am thinking ahead!!).

    Thanks for a wonderful addition to this series you have been writing on!]

    Blessings on your day Elaine!!

  13. Loving it…that I was included in the prayer at the end…’stubborn’..thanks my friend for making me feel worthy of reading this blog today…hehe!

    This is a great post about being with Jesus in the everyday and passing Him on in the everyday. Your words are more preciuos and beautifully written than mine!

    Girl you have a gift!

  14. This post was bittersweet for me. I remember many summer days my mom spent in the kitchen canning a variety of veggies from her garden and making jams and jellies of all yummy concoctions. I can almost taste each memory as if the morsels were melting in my mouth.

    Sadly, however, those days have long since passed. Mom was an amazing cook and keeper of the home. The kitchen was her domain and she often preferred to operate alone. I, regretfully, didn’t pursue the treasury of wealth she contained. Now, age, poor health and a wandering mind have stolen the opportunity to retrieve such jewels.

    Wishing for more but resting in the sure and certain of my memories.


  15. What a wonderful tribute to your mom, Elaine! You wrote, “A mighty woman … a woman worthy of a ruby’s bestowing … is a woman who brings some sure and some certain into the lives of those who sit under her influence.”Whew! What a beautiful discernment. I pray that my daughter will think of me that way … even if she doesn’t articulate it that way. 🙂

    Wish I had some of that strawberry jam, too, girl! As I was reading your post, my mouth was just a’waterin’ from those luscious photographs!

  16. This was beautiful! First, I love jam–and secondly, I love that your mother still is able to share her skills with you like that. Precious precious memories in the making!

  17. Beautiful post Elaine! Those pics are making me hungry! 🙂 It’s always a delight here at Peace for the Journey!

    Blessings to you,

  18. It sounds like it was a delicious and priceless experience. Thanks for allowing us this peek into the special relationship you have with your mom.

  19. You’ve given each other a gift here, right?

    It seems that your mother delighted in sharing the heritage with you, delighted in being asked by her daugther for a mother’s wisdom. That’s a gift, I think.

    There’s a lot of ‘sure’ and ‘certain’ LOVE in the exchange you’ve shared with us today.

  20. wifeforthejourney:

    A great post about gifts handed down from one mighty woman, to another. You and your mom are quite a pair, and our family is so much the better for the gifts you have both shared.

    The jam IS very popular around our house. Jadon and Amelia will have nothing to do with PB & J unless it includes "Granny's jelly" – and they know the difference. So it is with love – the closer we grow to the Lord, the more we "taste and see" the better we become at telling the difference between the love of God vs. the love of man.

    Thank you for all the "extras" you give to us every day. The huge stash of jam is a plus too!

    Love you,
    PS – I love the comments this post has generated.

  21. Oh my gosh…my tasted buds were on! I love that stuff.

    That I would be that kind of a mother…

    In His Graces~Pamela

  22. What a beautiful day you spent with your dear mother, and what a beautiful life she has given you!

    I love strawberry jam! And your mother’s jam looks absolutely perfect! My mouth is watering for a taste.

    God is so good! What a lovely legacy you and your mother are giving to your family. You are both wonderful women of God, true women of Proverbs 31.

    Much love and blessings to you as always. I appreciate you.

    Your friend,


  23. WONderful reflections and a powerful lesson. Thank you so much, Elaine, for sharing.

  24. I grew up on strawberry freezer jam, too. So good. Our patch died out for some reason last year, but the plants are trying to come back. It may be another year or two before I get enough berries for freezer jam again. Enjoy!

  25. Oh my goodness, Elaine, I ADORE freezer jam. My Gram made it for years and now I do. Every bite makes me remember my Gram and our time together. It’s so easy but best of all it’s FRESH tasting all year long. LOVE it! LOVE those family traditions.

  26. Hello, my friend!

    What a precious gift your mother gave you today!And how wise of you to write down the “extras”. It’s the extras that make the table, no?

    I’ve been neglecting my bloggy friends…still trying to recover from church stuff.

    But God is good and things are healing. In fact, this may be the thing that brings us all close together again.

    I don’t remember if I thanked you for Alicia’s new book, but I do! So much! I”m saving this one for the beach this summer! I know it will be one to savor.

    Sending love,

  27. Homemade jam is not easy to find these days. Not too long ago, my grandmother passed away and I moved into her home with my family. I discovered mounds of all kinds of jellies and jams that she had made. we have devoured them all. We definitely were taking part in her heart and gifting as we enjoyed every ounce of them.( all gone now!!) ;(

  28. I like this post, Mrs. Elaine. That looks like fun making all that jelly:) You are cuteness in your pic:) I thank the Lord for you:)


  29. What a precious post Elaine! I walked across the same stage of the same university for the same degree. (Just a different year!)

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