Spice of Life: Life is still full

by Jody Stottlemyer

Do you worry? My mother did. If people could be paid for worrying, my mother would’ve been filthy rich.

Since the pandemic situation interrupted our normal routines, I’ve found myself thinking of Mom and, to be honest, feeling somewhat relieved that she didn’t have to deal with it all. For starters, she had severe COPD. For years we avoided visits with her if anyone had so much as a sniffle. This coronavirus would have killed her, no doubt. Plus worrying about social distancing and toilet paper and money problems and the health of all her grandkids— well, all that worrying would’ve done her in just as quickly as old COVID-19.

You know, even if you’re not normally a worrier, the current situation is enough to make you feel unwell. We’re all of us a little topsy-turvy. Even homeschoolers like me who are used to being home with the kids have had to change routines. My children are bemoaning a lack of new library books while I am missing gathering together with my church family each Sunday. My husband, a pastor, has been scrambling to figure out the best way to shepherd his congregation.

Yes, these times are more difficult for most of us, and worry comes too easily. We have been told that worry cannot add a single hour to our lives, and I know it is true. Otherwise, my anxious mother would still be alive. But she is not.

But we are alive, and that, my friends, is important. If you open your front door tomorrow morning, the birds will tell you all about it, if you’ll listen. So will those spring peepers (if you’re more of an evening person). Listen to them.

Turn off the television, the smart phone, the radio, and the computer, and listen right now. What do you hear? Do you hear your children laughing or maybe whining or perhaps jumping on your bed despite the fact they’ve been warned three times already? Life.

Or maybe you hear your husband turning the pages of his newspaper or making your morning coffee? Life.

Maybe you hear the cat sitting on the ledge outside your kitchen window meowing for some food? Life.

Even the faucet dripping, the toilet flushing, and the dishes clinking in the dishwasher are all sounds that accompany life.

Right now we have an opportunity to be still and listen. We have enough time in a way we’ve never had it before. There are no meetings, no school, no sports practices or games.

In a time when we feel helpless to help, try listening. Listen on the phone to your friend tell the same story for the third time. Listen to your child or grandchild read from a book or recite the times tables. Listen to your spouse sing in the shower or chop up vegetables for supper. Listen to your dog snore on the rug in the evening.

Be still and soak up all the wonderful sounds of life until you are full, so full of the joy of it all that there’s no room left for useless worry.



Speaking of joy and life and an end to all need for worry— Easter is approaching, and Easter means eggs. At our last church potluck, I had the supreme joy of tasting smoked deviled eggs for the first time. If you have a smoker and like deviled eggs, you simply must make these for your Easter dinner. No arguments; make these!

That being said, I haven’t made them myself, so I don’t have a tried-and-true recipe to share with you. However, my friend who made those lovely eggs told me how she did it (she doesn’t use a recipe), and that is what I can share with you. My directions assume you know how to hard-boil and make deviled eggs.*

Smoked Deviled Eggs

First, hard-boil eggs. Next, peel the hard-boiled eggs. Then smoke the peeled eggs in your smoker on the lowest setting for half an hour to an hour. They will be a light shade of brown.

After eggs are smoked, follow your normal recipe for deviled eggs. I don’t follow an exact recipe for the egg yolk mixture, but I do add mayonnaise, mustard, and a little of something sour like vinegar or pickle relish. My friend adds some horseradish. And don’t forget to sprinkle paprika on top; my family says it’s not really deviled eggs without the paprika on top!

*If you’ve never made hard-boiled eggs or deviled eggs, you should be able to find a basic recipe in most cookbooks or online. Or you can send me an email, and I’ll walk you through it.

Jody Stottlemyer, a pastor’s wife and homeschooling mother of seven, lives outside of Hancock. She enjoys cooking, gardening, reading and writing. She also writes two online blogs – “Spice of Life” and “Books for the Boys.” Got a recipe she might use in her column? Send it to The Hancock News or email her at