We’re Not in Kansas Anymore–Taste and See Sunday


As Dorothy said, “. . . we’re not in Kansas anymore!”

Tim and I are back home after spending the past couple of days in the small town of Fort Scott, Kansas, preparing for and participating in the wedding of our youngest son, Trevor, to his beautiful bride, Jordan.

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While we were in Fort Scott we had the opportunity to “taste and see” God’s goodness in so many ways. This little town is such a treasure. It’s filled with some of the greatest people in the world. People who seem to go out of their way to make us, complete strangers to most, feel welcome and at home instantly.

So if you ever have a chance to visit Fort Scott, it’s just an hour or so away from Kansas City, I hope you can take some time to “taste and see” what a deliciously wonderful place it is by checking out places like:

levine house
The Levine House Bed and Breakfast–Our stay here was the best! The Levine House sits on National Street right across from the better known Lion’s Twin Mansion. Under new ownership, The Levine offers four rooms upstairs and our extended family shared the space with us while they were here. Our host, Glenn, did everything possible to help us and our family enjoy our time with privacy and comfort. The rooms were spacious, comfortable and we were provided with everything and anything we needed at an affordable price.

Ms Jamie’s Restaurant–Ms Jamie is a bit of a celebrity in Fort Scott and as a friend of Jordan’s family, we called her to do the catering for our rehearsal dinner, and we weren’t disappointed. We felt like family (even by those on her team who had no idea who we were!) Ms Jamie’s restaurant is open every day with great food, a fabulous staff and some of the most delicious treats ever. Her little place, tucked in neatly next to the State Farm office, does big business and is definitely worth a stop in.

Kelli Woodring–Kelli doesn’t have her own place, but she does make some mean cupcakes often sold at. . .you guessed it, Ms Jamies. Kelli, and her husband Tim, is a pastor, but he also helps out at Ms Jamie’s, and he and Kelli are servants at heart. Not only did she make the most amazing cupcakes for the wedding reception, but when we were in a pinch, Tim made sure that we had what we needed to bring technology to our gathering allowing Trevor’s brother Connor come to us from Russia via video to offer a toast to Trevor and his soon to be bride, Jordan.

sugar foot and peaches
Sugarfoot and Peaches BBQ–The little place is nestled near the edge of town (well, it seemed like it anyway, but I am a bit directionally challenged) and quite simply the place is not to be missed. The BBQ was so good, the ribs-yum!, the smoked sausage-uh huh!, sweet potatoes fries-ohhh, and the sauces–so, so, so saucy! The owners were friendly, gracious, helpful and made our meal even better. If you are in town, be sure to stop in and tell a friend.

community christian church
Community Christian Church–As a children’s ministry director, I rarely attend a service alone or with the husband. So it was a great treat to get to attend CCC in Ft Scott. We got there a little early and were greated and made to feel welcome. The minister, Kevin Moyers, is a guy I happened to go to church with as a teenager, and it was pretty cool to sit by his lovely wife, Cindy and hear him preach/teach/share such a solid message on the truth of Christmas and our need for a Savior. It was honest, sincere, and Biblical, and if you are ever in town on a Sunday you should certainly consider checking out one of their services.

Everywhere we went, we saw God’s goodness. Everywhere we ate, we tasted God’s goodness. In every person we met, we experienced God’s goodness. And I think part of the reason is because Fort Scott, Kansas, is one of those towns like the one I live in that, although not perfect, is still filled with really great people with a desire to make a difference.

And when we slow down long enough, we get the chance to see the things that are actually always right there under our noses. That way we don’t have to just taste and see that God is good, we can “sense” it, too.

Preserving a Legacy–Taste and See Sunday

jerky 2

My husband is a deer hunter. He would be a hunter of other things if time allowed, but during this season of our lives, deer is about all he has time for. In each year that he has hunted, the Lord has blessed him with success. Buck or doe, it doesn’t really matter, each year the Lord provides food for our freezer for another year.

We have always been thankful for that provision and enjoy passing on the blessings to others. Recently one of our favorite ways to do that is by making and sharing jerky. The boys and I got Tim a dehydrator a couple of years ago, and then one of them followed that up with a jerky gun! Since then my dear and I have been having a blast with our deer.

The thing about jerky is basically you are preserving it. After soaking it in a salt bath of marinade, we begin the dehydration process. When the jerky is done, it’s time to share, and so in essence we are preserving the venison, but we are also preserving a memory, a habit, and a legacy.

Giving and sharing–generosity–are things Tim and I want to be remembered for. We want to leave that legacy to our children and the children we minister to. We want to give back for all we have been given and we want others to know the generous God we serve, in part, by our decisions to live generously.

I have to be honest, it’s not something that has come naturally to me, but it is an area I have enjoyed growing in. We used to make jerky to take down to Ozark Christian College to share with our sons and their friends. Now that the boys have graduated, we find ourselves still making a batch or two before we head down that way. In fact, we recently made a new batch because we knew we would be seeing some of our favorite college students very soon.

Of course there are a lot greater ways to pass on a legacy of giving that sharing your venison. But on the other hand, when we begin to share in the small things we learn to share the bigger things. It’s when we learn that all we have comes from God that we begin to understand that He means for us to use what He has given us, big and small, to help meet the needs of others.

What kind of legacy are you leaving? What kind of legacy do you want to leave? As we head into the holy-days and another new year, why not take some time to consider the legacy you want to preserve and share. Ask God to show you how He might have you make a mark in big or small ways to help someone else know Him.

In the meantime, let me share with you the recipe we use to preserve our harvest and our legacy of sharing with those around us.

Farris Family Jerky Recipe
5 lbs meat trimmed into thin strips (beef, venison, steak, burger. . . )

1 1/2 t. black pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. onion powder
1 t. seasoned salt
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. ginger
5 t. crushed red pepper (you might want to use less of this for a less spicy jerky)
10 t. liquid smoke
1 10 oz bottle soy sauce
5 TB Worcestershire sauce
10 TB Teriyaki sauce

Marinate your meat of choice in the fridge for 24 hours then layer in a dehydrator. Our dehydrator takes about 6-7 hours. You can also use an oven set for about 200F. Part of knowing if it is done is that there should be no pink in the meat. An internal temp of 160F is good, but it’s hard to check. Part of knowing when it’s done is preference as to how chewy you like your jerky. So at around 6 hours start to check it frequently.

Taste and See. . . .the Lord who provides is good.

A Lame Man Walks–Taste and See Sunday

lame man (bear)

You may look at the picture above and see a Teddy Graham on a graham cracker. But when I look at that picture, I see Jesus at work.  This little snack speaks volumes to the little hearts who come through our doors on Sunday mornings because this little snack reminds them that Jesus healed a man who couldn’t walk. He could only be carried from place to place on a mat covered with a blanket. His friends would put him on the blanket and take him to town where he would beg for money because he couldn’t work.

But one day Peter and John came to town and changed all that. (Acts 3) He asked them for money, but they didn’t have any. But they did have something else they could give him. They had the power to meet his needs.  It was easy to see that the man needed to walk, but even more than that, he needed Jesus. This little snack reminds us that Jesus loved him so much, and that Jesus loves us so much, that He came to help us, to meet our needs and to save us. And on this day, He did that through Peter and John.

As our lil HiSKidZ taste and see the goodness of the snack, we are also helping them taste and see that the Lord is good. (Psalm 34:8)  That He loved us so much that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him, will receive eternal life. (John 3:16)

It’s cool indeed that not only do we help them see how God’s power was at work in Peter and John’s life, but even more, we help them to see how God’s power can be at work in their lives as they grow up to love and follow Him.

And that’s some pretty tasty teaching!