“God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars.” There is some dispute to whom to credit this simple bit of logic. Which seems appropriate to me, because God can be many things to many people. Chef Louise Mellor of the food blog Satisfied, finds comfort and meaning in the protection that clouds offer. Leaving room for her mind to wander and her heart to heal. GREG
Clouds, Coconut, and Summer S’mores
My therapist once told me that part of the reason I was feeling so worn out by parenting my children was because I had been parenting a child my whole life, me.
When my new friend Sup! asked me to do a guest post about a summertime childhood memory, I happily accepted and then quickly pushed the idea to the back of the fridge. You know, way back there… with the old sour cream and the lost jar of olives. I did this because I knew thinking about being a kid would stir deep waters.
I have heard friends express that as a child they discovered things about themselves that as adults they still believe to be true. For example — some say, “I remember painting at 6 and knowing I would be an artist”, “I have loved music for as long as I can remember”, or “I started singing at 3”. I, however, don’t remember a whole lot of anything about myself. I grew up in a home with a father who was completely absent and traveled more than 99% of my childhood. I vaguely can see his face in a few, faint, broken memories, but never a complete thought that paints a clear picture. My older brother and I were left home alone with my mother who was ill-equipped to parent alone. At a very young age we moved from Colorado to a small town in the suburbs of Chicago. My mother, away from the security of her family back in Colorado, immediately began to suffer from a number of anxiety disorders including depression. Without much of a choice, I was very alone and had to be responsible, toughen up, and grow up. I had to be my own parent. The one distinct thought I had as a child and now as an adult that I still believe to be true is: I have always had a sense of God and that He is with me.
Last week, driving home during a long road trip, I had plenty of time to reflect on what childhood memory I was going to write about. I had spent four days with my family up North and during the tear-filled ride home, I began to wonder if I was going to write anything at all. I gazed out the window and lost myself in the majesty of the cloud-filled sky and was filled with a great sense of peace and comfort. There was something in those clouds that felt very personal to me. It was then that I began to remember all that was carefree and playful about summers in Illinois. Two specific memories came to mind.
Like most kids I got teased about my name. It changed from Louise Samora to Louise S’more, you know, the graham cracker treat girl scouts eat around the campfire? I have such adventurous memories of Girl Scout summer camp. Long hot days hiking deep into the wooded plush forests, star lit nights around the glowing campfire singing, and eating gooey toasted marshmallows flattened between crispy cinnamon crackers and oozing warm sweet chocolate. Marshmallows kind of look like little puffy clouds, don’t you think? Okay, well maybe not, but it works with my story.
This second picture of summer was divinely prompted by the clouds and I considered not telling you about it, until this happened.
We pulled over during our road trip, and there she was… Mother Teresa pumping gas. Not only that but if you look closely there are clouds reflecting in the window! It was clearly a sign that I had to tell you this part of my story. Don’t laugh; I’m not one of those people looking for Jesus on a tortilla, but come on… coincidence? I don’t think so.
I can remember riding my bike down the tree-lined streets of our small town. The hot summer air was sticky and dense with humidity, making the wind in your face so thick that it was hard to take a deep breath. Alone and determined, my destination was the Billy Graham Center in downtown Wheaton. There was, and still is a room there called the cloud room. A dark, barely lit hallway leads to the brightly illuminated room lined with mirrors from the floor to the ceiling. The mirrors reflect a breathtaking blue sky with white puffy clouds and in the background there is beautiful praise music playing. For a brief moment the mirrors play a trick on your eyes and you feel as if you are floating in the sky. I can only imagine it was meant to reflect the glory of Heaven.
It’s fascinating to think about who we were as children and who we are now. Did those childhood experiences shape us into the adults we are today or are we just a more grown-up version of who we always were? You can still find me under the stars around a fire in the summer, with marshmallows in hand… and I still get lost in the clouds and feel most comforted when I know God is near… I still believe He is. Louise
- ¾ oz powdered gelatin
- 6 oz water
- 6 oz water
- 2 cups white granulated sugar
- ¾ cup light corn syrup
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- 1 Tablespoon coconut extract
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ corn starch
In a kitchen aid bowl add 6 oz of cool water and gelatin. Gently stir and allow blooming — about 5 minutes.
Place the kitchen aid bowl over a small pot of boiling water (Bain Marie) and stir to dissolve the gelatin – about 3–4 minutes.
In a separate nonstick medium pot add 6oz of water, sugar, and ¾ cup of light corn syrup. Stir gently just to combine with a clean spoon. Over medium heat bring the sugar mixture to 240 degrees without stirring.
Remove from heat and add in remaining ¼ cup of corn syrup – stir to combine.
With the mixer running on low, slowly pour hot mixture into the kitchen aid bowl with the gelatin that has been dissolved.
Once the hot sugar has been completely added, whip with the whisk attachment on medium-high for 12- 15 minutes or until light and fluffy.
Whip in 1 Tablespoon of coconut extract.
Combine powdered sugar and corn starch in a small bowl.
Spray a 9x13 in metal pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust lightly with cornstarch mixture.
Pour marshmallow into the prepared pan and smooth out with a lightly sprayed spatula.
Allow to cool uncovered over night or for at least 4 hours.
Turn marshmallow out onto a surface dusted with remaining cornstarch mixture and cut into desired shapes.
Store in an airtight container.