A Cookie Kind of Grace

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Dear Lindsey,

One mother bragged, “My son spent a thousand dollars on me, buying me a new coat!”

Another topped, “Well, my son spent tens of thousands on me, buying me a new car!”

“Really? That’s nothing!” said a third, “My son spends hundreds of dollars every WEEK talking to a therapist about nothing but ME!”

I have felt like that third mother sometimes – it might be my kids saying it one day!

Whether they were good, bad or ugly, parents leave indelible prints on our lives. Recently losing my amazing father four years after my mother has left some holes in my heart for sure. When parents pass the baton, it feels like a heavy responsibility to hold, while the foundation on which we stand has just gained a giant HOLE!  Although my dad’s public “celebration of life” is waiting out the pandemic’s ban on gatherings and traveling, nothing stops me from writing some things about Dad to celebrate! I figured I could catch up in writing a few memories to YOU!

Dad’s are important. Duh.

“In an analysis of over 100 studies on parent-child relationships, it was found that having a loving and nurturing father was as important for a child’s happiness, well-being, and social and academic success as having a loving and nurturing mother.” I have heard that a father’s relationship with his daughter may have the single most relational impact on her view of her Heavenly Father. Yet, research indicates that, among other advantages, sons who feel a closeness and warmth with their father are twice as likely to enter college and 80 percent less likely to be incarcerated. I don’t say all these things to say mothers aren’t important, but just to celebrate the man I called, “Dad,” because I had a great one!  I am grateful for his impact on my life;  he gave me every advantage in the book. I always wanted a husband who would influence my children the same way. (And God blessed me with him!).

To kick off my “celebration of Dad’s life,” let’s start with the “peanut butter cookies” story, since it’s a favorite. I have told it before when Shouting Out to Dads, but I was surprised how many mentioned it to me when hearing of my recent loss. This great memory not only makes me want to be a better person, but teach my kids what “grace” really means.


Dad Grace

It was a “bad” day when I was a teen. I had wanted to give my brothers a special treat of PB cookiespeanut butter cookies. (I was always such the perfect sister and the innocent victim in every story…because I am the one writing it today; ha! It didn’t hurt that peanut butter cookies were my favorite, too.) I prepared the dough and put the cookies into the oven, and per normal went to kill the 8-minutes of cooking time playing the piano. The piano must have been louder than the kitchen timer, because the cookies ended up burning. I had put too many in the oven, too, so most of the batch was instantly ruined. Of course my brothers came into the kitchen at that exact moment, while the stench of the burn choked any house occupants. I was embarrassed.  They laughed, asking if I was using the smoke detector as my timer again. One grabbed a cookie and headed outside, saying he was going to play hockey with it – “anyone want to join me?” he yelled back.

It was then that my father returned from his long day at work. I sat, dejected, ready to hear the words of shock from him too, as I lamented my error. My father (silently of course) walked over to the cookie trays which were still cooling (smoking?) on the counter, scanned the goods, grabbed a cookie and stated, “Great! Someone finally made cookies just the way I like them!”  He proceeded to eat burnt cookie after burnt cookie, like Cookie Monster in bliss. My face softened to a grin.  I don’t know what kind of work day my dad had had at the glass-making facility, but I know what kind of day he helped me to have.

In my adult years when I reminded him of this story, he claimed he didn’t remember it. That’s just who he was. And it’s who I want to be: someone willing to happily eat burnt cookies, taking seen and unseen burdens off of someone else. That’s grace. That was my DAD!!

Love ya, miss ya,


grace |ɡrās| noun: 

      1. courteous goodwill:
      2. (in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners through Jesus Christ .

Dad 1935-2020


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34 thoughts on “A Cookie Kind of Grace

  1. Thanks for sharing this awesome memory. So sorry for your loss. I still have both parents, but I am aware each day what a blessing it is to be able to say that. You guys are always in my thoughts and prayers. Love, Vicki

  2. Oh Terri, how I’ve missed your writing. With tear filled eyes I say, I’m so sorry for the loss of your Dad. Thank you for giving us a little glimpse into his legacy. Praying for you and your family. – Debi Johnson

  3. I was very sorry to hear about your dad’s passing. Not for him, because we know where he is. He’s won the race. But for those left behind, especially you and you family. Your grandchildren will never know him personally. I’m sure you will tell the stories and share photos. It’s not the same but it will still be very important. Love you.

  4. My parents passed over 72 days apart, 40 years ago. I still miss them! I feel like I know your Dad a little bit, just from the stories you’ve shared. He was an awesome Dad, as evidenced by his incredible daughter and the legacy he has left behind! Peace to you and your family as you wait to gather again.

  5. Thank you for sharing this. I had heard you share it in person before (a long time ago, before we had children, as we struggled with infertility). It has definitely influenced the kind of father I am.

  6. Oh Terri thanks for your post. We’re so sorry for you and your family. And also sorry for ourselves. Your parents moving next door to us in Colorado was one of the best things that has ever happened to us. We greatly miss them….happy for them and sad for us left with only our great memories. Take care of each other and may God bless us all. Sending hugs and love.

    • Thanks, Marlyn. They were blessed to have you as neighbors and “only” (haha!) friends! Now I am blessed to call you friend as well. Thanks for reading, and sharing a great life with me.

  7. Terri, what a beautiful tribute! I can just see him eating the burnt cookies. He was a very special friend since the 1960s, many great memories.

    • How in the world did you find this? Ha! But so glad you did! You knew my Dad long before I did. I remember watching videos of you with them in their early marriage years. Your long-term friendship with my parents has always been a goal for my husband and me with our long-time friends. I am sorry for your loss in my parents, your friends. They were blessed by YOU!

  8. Terri,
    You’re writing is always such a blessing! It amazes me how God never wastes anything! Not even our pain.
    Thank you for sharing your tribute to your father. It is an apt reminder of who I want to be (but struggle so hard with being) for my children.
    You and your husband have touch my family’s life in so many ways even though we’ve only met in person a handful of times in a crowd of people. We’ve seen you strive for excellence through joy and pain and are grateful for the influence that you’ve had. We’ll be lifting you up in prayer during this time of loss!

  9. Terri and your sweet Family, I think of you and your Dad dancing just before Christmas…and I think of that “picture” often. I lost both of my parents at a fairly young age…and I have missed them for about 40 years. My love to you and sympathy in the the loss of your wonderful Dad.

  10. Thanks so much for writing again Terri, & filling our hearts with your words of wisdom. We’re so sorry for your loss. So thankful that he was a believer & that we can see him again someday! ♥️

  11. Terri,
    I am so sorry for you and your family’s sad loss. Truly you learned how to live an uplifting life of love at the feet of someone who was a master at it. Your tribute to him is as beautiful as all the stories you tell about your times with him.

  12. Thank you Terri! My son is writing his Senior Thesis for Challenge IV with Classical Conversations on the importance of a father in a man’s life. Would you mind messaging me where you found your stats? I’d like to help bolster his defense and some of these are from a different perspective than what he has come up with 🙂

    • Sure! “What a difference a Daddy Makes” by Kevin Leman would be good. The sentence in quotations is from Focus on the Family. (Family.org), who has a plethora of information regarding fathers:) What a great subject for a young man’s research! Maybe I could get a copy??! Good luck!

  13. What a beautiful story to share to honor and remember your dad! I suspect that you have a library full of memories to cherish. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  14. What a wonderful story to share in honor and memory of your dad. I imagine you have a multitude of memories that could fill a library and your heart. I am sorry for your loss and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  15. That’s so awesome Terri! God has gained an amazing Angel in heaven! So blessed you had so much time together! God bless you

  16. Terri,
    I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your amazing Dad! What a great celebration of his life and a wonderful reminder to those of us picking up the baton for the next generation. It’s sobering indeed. Both of your parents certainly left an amazing impression in you, I’m sure the rest of your family and those around them.
    I too am waiting out this pandemic (what crazy times we are in) to “celebrate my moms life”, so this message really hit home. Thank you for continuing to share wisdom and truth, and for your continued desire to make a difference.:)

    May His grace, peace and presence comfort you and yours during this time! Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
    Love and miss you!

    Jeanette P.

    • Oh no! So sorry to hear your mom has passed. It IS a difficult time for so many, and you and I can be grateful for a God in control of it all. May you feel His healing hand during this time of grief. Ps 90

  17. Terri so sorry to hear of your loss. What an amazingly smart response by your Dad, to just come on in and munch those cookies! He knew stuff!!!! Do take care, you and yours, at this time.

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