Crowded House

Butterscotch-Oatmeal cookies

My students LOVE these cookies–which bewilders me because they don’t have chocolate chips!

I lean over the kitchen counter, serving warm butterscotch-oatmeal cookies (healthy ones) to a crowd of students. The cookies disappear as soon as they hit the cooling rack—despite my warnings that they’re still too hot to eat.

It’s Friday night, and my husband and I have decided to experiment with inviting all of the *students over—only we didn’t realize that forty of them hadn’t checked out for the weekend. I start another batch of cookies and field questions from curious kids.

“Hey, Mrs. Ojeda,” one calls out, “did you make these cookies yourself? What did you put in them?”

“Of course she made them, dude,” someone else answers for me, “she just took them out of the oven.”

“But did you mix all the stuff up and actually make them?”

I turn to the wheat grinder and pull out the drawer and begin to measure flour into the mixing bowl. I smile and motion for the doubting Thomas to come closer and take a look at the process. I hear a crash and giggle from the living room, but I shrug and keep on dumping ingredients into the mixing bowl. Pedro has it covered, I think.

I like this kind of crowd, one I can disappear into by silently serving and observing. I pull another gallon of milk out of the fridge and find more clean glasses in the cupboard. I glimpse through the windows into my students’ lives as they socialize and chatter and interact.

It’s been a long week, and if you had asked me earlier in the day if I felt like entertaining forty kids between the ages of eight and 18, I probably would have said, “Absolutely not!”

But God knows me better than I know myself. In choosing to serve cookies to kids who need to relax, I get to know them in ways I never see in the classroom. I find out who has never had a birthday party before; who has never eaten a homemade cookie before, who hates chocolate (I didn’t realize that this was possible!), and who doesn’t want to go home next home leave.

After we’ve cleaned the messes up and the students have returned to their dorms, I sink gratefully into bed and turn to Pedro, “Next time, let’s not invite ALL the students!”

*My husband and I work at a Christian 1-12th grade boarding school for Native Americans.

Five Minute Friday

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • Loved this post. Beautiful descriptions-I felt like I was there with you guys.
    shalomshannon recently posted…whisperMy Profile

  • God Bless you for what you and your husband are doing. Feeding cookies and milk to 40 kids would have been a fun night! (I think)
    Paula recently posted…A Visitor At Our HouseMy Profile

    • Chaos can be fun…but now we invite them over in small groups so that we can pay more attention to each one ;).

  • I love this story! It reminds me of what you did for me and my friends when I was growing up. I always remember with utmost fondness those wonderful Friday nights and Saturday afternoons and random weekdays when we had people over and you cooked for them. God’s gift to you of liking the kind of crowd that you can disappear into is one of the (many) best gifts you have 😀
    Laura Melchor recently posted…The Chapel CrowdMy Profile

    • Yep, I’m pretty sure that baking cookies is one of my spiritual gifts ;).

  • Isn’t it amazing how God can work in the most incredible ways from the simple things like sharing a cookie and a smile? We shouldn’t be surprised, our church began in homes just like you are doing now. God bless you for your gift of hospitality and teaching, and for the ministry that I’m sure is also mixed in there. You are leading them to Christ.
    Kim Adams Morgan recently posted…My Top 13 Kitchen DesignsMy Profile

    • That’s the beauty of following God, isn’t it? He finds ways to GENTLY stretch us and teaches us new ways to serve. Thanks for stopping by, Kim!

  • I love this… and how you open your home and your hearts to those students and let them feel right at home! What a ministry you have!
    ~Karrilee~ recently posted…From Crowd to Community – Five Minute FridayMy Profile

  • Girl you are much braver than I could be. I am not a cookie maker. So glad there are hearts like yours that reach out in such a way.

    • I love making cookies…unfortunately, I love eating them, too (but only homemade ones) ;). I love my students, too–more than cookies!

  • Beautiful post, Anita! It is amazing what we can learn from our students just by being there…listening…and serving food!
    Holly Barrett recently posted…CrowdMy Profile

    • That’s the truth! There isn’t much time to listen in the classroom because they’re supposed to be on task–it’s the out of classroom times that really build my understanding of what makes them tick.

  • Beautiful, beautiful post! Amazing what we can learn in the crowd & from the crowd! I am so glad I stopped here this morning! Blessings!
    Joanne Viola recently posted…Of Character, Roads & ForgivenessMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by, Joanne! Have a beautiful day :).

  • Wow, it’s such a beautiful post. I felt like I was right there in your kitchen, watching you make those cookies.

    • Thank you, Catherine :). Have a wonderful day!

  • Pingback: Cookies, Shoes & the Cross | Days & Thoughts()

  • I loved this. God bless you and your husband for how you open your home to these students whether it’s all of them at once or in smaller groups. That is truly wonderful.
    Beth (@SimplyBeth3) recently posted…Friday Randomness (Vol. 20)My Profile

    • Thanks, Beth :). I love ‘our’ kids and I love how feeding them cookies frees me to just listen!