Over the Top Ranger Cookies

My favorite cookie.  For one of my favorite people.

Yesterday was a day to celebrate a dear friend’s life.  Our church always gathers close to a family that has lost a loved one.  Churches are good at this.  They have practiced it often.  A plan is made, and the sign up sheet makes its rounds.  All the needs are quickly filled…. main dishes, sides, salads, desserts… cookies.  I made my favorite cookie.  These are for Melvina.  Let me tell you about her.

Small in stature, it wasn’t like I saw her coming that day to speak to me.  It was as if she just appeared out of nowhere.  (She’s kind of stealthy!)  I looked down beside me to notice this little lady with gray hair and glasses, and a sweet voice saying, “Hello, I haven’t gotten to meet you yet.”  She asked me about life, about my son and my husband.  We talked about my faith, and how God had brought us to Washington.  Melvina made me feel welcome.  I instantly knew she cared.

I have spoken with a few friends, who, like me, did not grow up in this church.  Melvina was a first point of contact for most of us.  As we compared notes, there was a general consensus.  Our summary would be as follows:

Melvina had a way of getting to the truth.  Not that we were trying to hide anything, but she seemed to dive right into our lives (or our “business”… if you know what I mean!);  she intuitively tapped into areas in which we struggled, or in which we hoped and dreamed.  Week after week,  she sought us out, wanting to touch base and let us know she was waiting to see us each Sunday.  Because of her consistency, we got to know her, and she got to know us.

I swear, God put a “homing device” in that woman for newcomers, and he used her to touch all of us with his truth for our lives.  She talked to everyone.  I wonder what secrets she knew…  I would bet that she talked to at least 5-10 people  every Sunday.  I wondered if her special mission was encouraging young married women.  No, I bet it was to talk to every person God put in her path – or every path she could cross (remember… she’s kinda stealthy…).

There have been a few people whom I have met that I have thought of as “truth-tellers.”  Melvina was definitely one of them.  She would not compromise God’s truth for herself, or for us.  She held us to a higher standard, she encouraged us to greater faith.

This past year, I had the joy of being in a Bible study with Melvina and many other amazing women.  One Monday night, Sandee came in and told us so honestly how her day had gone.  She may have mentioned a grumbly-ness in her attitude, and might have been a little growl-y about it yet – but she was trying.  Really, she was.  She told us the whats, and the whys, what she had done wrong and how (she knew) she did what she should not have done.  Melvina wasn’t having it.  Sandee agreed in an Eeyore-kind of voice, “I know, Melvina.”  Melvina shared more wisdom,   Sandee said again, “I know, Melvina.”   The conversation continued, Melvina did not seem 100% convinced that Sandee was on board.  We all laughed and laughed.  I loved that moment.  I still chuckle when I think about it.  It was new to me, but it obviously has been played out many times over the years and years this Bible study group has met.

At Melvina’s  service, I enjoyed hearing about her life and seeing her family honor her.  In the middle of photos being displayed, there was a brief video of Melvina talking about her family, commending them for living lives that honor and serve God.  The beauty of that moment, the heritage of faith being passed on, and the sound of our dear friend’s voice, struck me hard.  The tears began to fall.  All the times that voice has spoken to me, to my heart, to my faith… I don’t want to forget the voice of this little woman who served God so faithfully.

Her voice will forever remind me to not compromise God’s truth for myself, or for others.  Thinking of how she made a point to talk to me so often, I will seek others out and hear their stories.  I will listen to their hearts.

Over the Top Ranger Cookies         Bake at 350 degrees, 12 mins

(recipe adapted from Lorraine Dally-Briggs)

  • 1 Cup Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Cup Oatmeal
  • 1-1/2 Cup Sweetened Flake Coconut
  • 2 Cups Rice Krispies or Corn Flakes
  • 1-1/2 Cups Butterscotch Chips
  • 1 Cup Pecans

  1. Cream butter and sugar
  2. Add eggs and vanilla
  3. Mix in flour, baking powder, soda and salt
  4. Add coconut, cereal, butterscotch chips, and pecans
  5. Do not over mix
  6. Bake at 350, 12 mins
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Squirrel Cookies

I love everything nutty, chocolate and nuts, nuts and berries, nuts and nuts… I even like life to be a bit nutty.  My husband might go as far as to say I am nuts!  I am a kindred spirit with the squirrels in my backyard.

Growing up in Michigan, there were squirrels everywhere.  There were black squirrels, gray squirrels, and red squirrels, and even the occasional gray squirrel with a red tail.  I would watch them from my upstairs bedroom window as they played high in the branches of the towering maples that dwarfed our two-story Victorian home.

After college, I married and moved to Oregon with my sweet husband.  That was 25 years ago!  Where we first lived, I did not have squirrels in my backyard.  I really don’t recall a squirrel at all.  Maybe I was too busy starting my life to notice.  In 2000 we moved to Washington, and I was thrilled to make the acquaintance of three squirrels who had claimed my backyard as their own.  As I watched them play, I felt as if they were saying, “Welcome home.”

Squirrels are a constant blur of activity.  As I see how busy they are, I know I need be busy, too.  Scurry!  Scurry!  I am so happy with a day that is full of accomplishment.  I do often wonder how they find the nuts that they hide everywhere.  Then I laugh at myself.  After 10 years in this house, my treasures are also buried everywhere!

Our dear beagle, Chipper was with us when we first moved here.  We lost him a few years ago.  It gives me a chuckle to remember how the squirrels would play and tease Chipper.  They would get close, allowing him the thrill of the chase. As he bayed at them in the trees, they laughed back, twitching their tails.  I like to tease and play also.  Gently teasing my husband and son brings joy and laughter to our days.

As the squirrels are gathering nuts for the winter, they remind me to be preparing for what life will bring.  I am dependent on the Lord’s provision.  We all face hard things in life.  Whatever the battle is, experience has taught me that the Lord will provide, and the strength I need for those moments is in a constant gathering.  Each morning, I am gathering wisdom for my day and seeking God’s direction for my life.  His provision will be more than enough.

Be busy, be joyful, trust God for his provision, gather his wisdom for your life, and let me know what you think of the cookies!

My cookies, and the little squirrel hubby gave me when we were dating. 

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“Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”  Acts 14:17

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Squirrel Cookies       375 degree oven, 10-12 minutes

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mapleine flavoring or 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1  1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut (island squirrels)
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips (honest, they like these)
  1. Cream butter and sugars until fluffy
  2. Add next eggs and maple flavor, beat until smooth
  3. Combine dry ingredients
  4. Add dry to wet
  5. Stir in coconut, oats, hazelnuts and butterscotch chips.
  6. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet
  7. Bake 10-12 minutes or until brown
  8. Transfer to a wire rack to cool

Makes 3-4 dozen