Coffee-and-donuts is recent to the parish activities roster. Joyful Hermit intermingles twice, and each time a widower mentions he’s not been able to eat donuts for 35 years. Says if he did, he’d taste them for three days. Joyful receives an idea. Why not offer to bake and bring healthy, scrumptious muffins?
[What might be a simple offering can become a logistical ordeal. JH makes phone calls and after various contacts is granted official approval. Muffins join the coffee-donut fare. On coffee-donut day, JH awkwardly finds that the volunteer head of this ministry is uninformed of muffins, despite JH’s attempts to do right. Patience and temperance! JH apologizes, explains, and decides, with effort, to laugh off a faulty donut command chain.]
The next step: Consider what type of muffins. Blueberry seems right with the rich purple coloration, and most people love them. Why not bake an augmented mix version and use last summer’s plump, fresh-frozen blueberries? (The tiny cans in the mixes don’t seem joyful enough.) Consider nuts; some can eat them and some cannot. Let’s try chopped almonds in the topping. Spread topping on some; add nuts to topping for the rest.
How should one present these Lenten Blueberry Muffins? Nut allergies are serious consideration these days, so best to serve separately: nuts and no nuts. Plates? Dinner plates–JH has purple–will hold 7-8, but breaking a plate ruins a set. Paper products? Waste of money and wobbly. Baskets lined in Lent-colored fabric? Good idea, but muffins tend to smoosh in baskets unless tray-type. Stumped, Joyful Hermit stops by Tuesday Morning [store] after Mass to see what God might provide of quality and style, for less.
Therein Joyful discovers thick glass plates: rich purples with peacock blue design, hand-blown from Turkey. The purple tones dramatize Lent and Advent; the blues evoke the Virgin Mary. Many uses. The manager and JH find no food use warnings. But at the hermitage, while removing stickers, a barely discernible clear one states: Not for food use. Accept reality! But first JH consults the internet and a human source. Not for food use means just that. Toxins lurk. The lovelies are returned next trip past the store.
Later, after Mass, Joyful swings by TJMaxx. Prayer and penance! Attention to details! We find but two possibilities, both white. #1. Only two identical, square pottery platters with handles; 9 muffins will fit easily; clearance, $10 each. #2. A round and a square 8″ china plates on bases; black-and-white polka dot ribbons weave in slits around the plate edges. Cute but not much actual muffin space.
While pondering these options, a bright idea springs forth: Engage another shopper in the decision. Choose one who looks promising for such a venture. Kindly ask. …Only if they have time…would they mind giving an opinion–since they look “with it” or “so creative” or “experienced in such matters”? Briefly explain mission; add that you know they are customers just like you, and we are in this life together, having fun, helping one another, injecting joy in our shopping missions. Two heads better are than one, etc.
In this mission two shoppers separately state they prefer the square platters even though the height on the cake plates are appealing for buffet. But food-goo will gunk the edging ribbons and bother to remove/replace. The white squares have intrigue but are: White. Ah! The lavender sale ribbon bought earlier at Tuesday Morning ($1) adds Lenten-purple-appeal in bows tied to the square platter handles. Sold: two all-purpose platters usable in any season, varied by ribbons, rick-rack, raffia, fabric, doilies, edible flowers, shells, stickers or what-have-you.
Making the muffins is a cinch…but one more stop at grocery for white muffin liners. Note: Keep on hand. Finally the muffins are baked: flax seeds, lecithin granules, buttermilk, steel cut oats, extra egg, thawed blueberries, and for half the topping, almonds. Denote in purple ink on paper: Lenten Blueberry Muffins (with or without nuts). Lavender ribbon-bows conclude the offering. A widower is pleased, and Joyful bags left-overs for delighted elderly couples.
Lent is a time to practice the virtues as well as do penance. It is a time to die to self and rise to a holier way of thinking and doing. Many simple projects test our charity, patience, temperance, and fortitude. It helps to remember that even little offerings in life ought be enacted as if one is serving Christ Himself…for we truly do in each detail.