top of page

The SO NOT Exclusive Invite


Last night, I watched “You Are SO NOT Coming To My Bat Mitzvah” with Andy after the girls went to sleep. No spoilers in this post, but if you are a parent to girls, if you are a teacher to middle schoolers, and especially if you are a fan of Adam Sandler’s work, this movie is a must-see. It has the emotional pull of Click, the sophomoric humor of The Waterboy, the throwback nods to The Wedding Singer, and the paternal love of Hotel Transylvania (just to list a few), but this movie isn’t a reboot compilation of Adam Sandler’s filmography. It’s Sunny Sandler’s captivating performance of coming of age as Stacy Friedman planning her Bat Mitzvah with her best friend, Lydia Rodriguez Katz (portrayed by Samantha Lorraine). It’s a story of sisterhood, of Best Friends Forever (BFFs), of loyalty, of betrayal, of redemption, and of honoring the traditions of faith. It’s about showing up to proclaim yourself to God in the presence of your community and loved ones, even if you really really really REALLY don’t want to.


But that’s the thing about God, isn’t it? God shows up when we least expect it. God shows up when we think He’s not listening. God shows up in the people we interact with every day. And you better believe it, God shows up whenever a party is called together in His honor.


The last two weekends were busy Sundays for us at our church. Last week, we celebrated Rally Day, which kicks off the Fall season of fellowship and congregational life. Participants were invited to go on a Pilgrimage through the church campus to connect to the historical significance of the space, engage in current programs or ministries that further FPCA’s story, and inspire others to see God’s loving work. Rally Day is the pass-off of seasons, not just a change in scheduling and routines. Back are the coffee, donuts, and bagels in Fellowship Hall. Back are the Sunday school classes, for both adults and children. Back are the congregants from their summer travels. Back is the choir singing “Morning Has Broken” before “Time With Children.” Back in the fall is the lively sense of returning to the swing of things now that school-aged children are in school. The dog days of sweltering summer seem to finally have broken, replaced by pumpkins peeking out from windowsills and a whiff of crispness in the air.


This Sunday was our annual church picnic. The church provides the entrees while the sides and desserts are potlucks by congregants. (We brought Hazel’s Pavlova cookies. Recipe to follow). We broke bread and shared meals and conversations. We played games outside with our children. We watched our children bond with one another. We watched the little ones follow the older ones who followed the even older children. This year, our picnic was at the beach, and as I watched my children explore the waves nipping their heels as they dug their fingers and toes in the sand, my eyes gazed at the horizon to where water and sky blurred together in a mesh of hazy blue, and I could see and feel clear as day that God was there. God was helping create new friendships and forging old friendships. God was healing hearts and building bridges. God was the heart-filling nourishment in a shared meal and the indulgence of the treat table. God was there, everywhere.


Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” I believe we show this love to God by showing love to each other. We show love to God by showing love to others even when they’re being unlikeable. We show God’s love to one another by recognizing that we are perfectly imperfect. What I imagine is God sending out His invites to everyone, period. I imagine that if He were to sound momentarily like Stacy Friedman, His invite would say, “You are SO coming to my party.”


But even if we don’t show up, God is still there. God knows our circumstances and our realities. God knows when life calls, He knows what’s going on. Yet even for us introverts (yes, as gregarious as I may seem when I’m feeling the spirit, I’m really an introvert), we need others. As human beings, we are hard-wired as social creatures. Human beings are pack animals and social isolation (for too long) isn’t good for anyone. Over the years, I have learned that God often works on us through others. God goads us and grows us through challenges, interactions, and opportunities that only come from Him. God heals us and reveals us. God does the invisible work behind the scenes that we all take for granted and is happy to include everyone in his party, including a voiceless disabled girl who kicks her wheelchair sometimes out of either frustration or the Spirit. God is inclusive. God is love, and so are we.



******

Hazel’s Pavlova Cookies



These aren’t actually pavlovas, but Hazel loves all things Australian these days and we’ve made several variations of pavlovas after watching the Bluey “Pavlova” episode. These are more like forgotten meringue cookies, but if Hazel wants to call them Pavlova cookies, they’re Pavlova cookies.


NOTE: The number of cookies will vary on the size of your dollops and how heavy-handed your optional fillings may be. Also, note that my cooking and baking style is more art than science. My timing and measurements are often a matter of taste, color, texture, and smell rather than the precision of time and exact measurements which often annoy my mathematically and scientifically-minded spouse.


Ingredients:

4 egg whites (room temperature)

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt (for a little crunch, a 1/4 teaspoon of grainy sea salt or coarse kosher salt can add an additional layer of deliciousness. You can also go for the faintly perceptive fine-grain salt of any variation you prefer)

2 cups chopped pecans (you can use other nuts if you’d like, but pecans especially lightly toasted add richness and flavor that simply taste delicious).

2 cups chocolate chips (instead of one type of chip, we used an assorted combination of toffee chips, milk chocolate chips, and white chocolate chips to measure 2 cups)

1/4 cup of assorted rainbow sprinkles (this ingredient is optional in my book but mandatory in Fancy Hazel’s opinion)


Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Using a stand-in mixer and a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until they turn white and foamy. Slowly drizzle the sugar until incorporated and ignore the stand-in mixer on medium-high while chopping the nuts. By the time you’re done chopping, the egg whites should have turned into an iridescent gloss of glowing white sheen. If you stop the mixer and use the whisk to stir the whites, they’ll hold their shape.

  3. Add the salt and vanilla, then mix until combined.

  4. Using a silicone spatula, gently fold in the chopped nuts, chips, and sprinkles. Folding is like scraping the bowl so the mixture folds on top of the fillings. This is a gentle process and your patience will be rewarded with an airy texture. Manhandle this step and your cookie will still be yummy, but it will likely lack the airy quality of a pavlova.

  5. Using the utensils of your choice (I like using two regular teaspoons with one to scoop and the other to scrape), dollop your cookie dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Do not add any baking spray, butter, or anything else to the parchment paper. Since these cookies do not contain a leavening agent like baking powder, they will not rise (the rise already happened with egg whites in the mixer), so keeping them close will be fine. They will not spread.

  6. Put your cookie sheet(s) in the oven then turn it off. Seriously. They bake very slowly using the residual heat from your preheated oven. Curious eyes can look through the oven window all they want, but if you open your oven prematurely, your cookies will be ruined. Put them in the off and preheated oven and forget about them for roughly 10 hours.

  7. After ten hours, enjoy!


4 Comments

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Excellent description of how God works! Thanks for sharing.

Like
Vanessa Forisha
Vanessa Forisha
Sep 19, 2023
Replying to

Thank you!

Like

Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Beautifully written ! Your words just flow and God‘s message is truly awesome

Like
Vanessa Forisha
Vanessa Forisha
Sep 19, 2023
Replying to

Thank you!

Like
bottom of page