“What could be better than this? Dinner in the great outdoors, a river trip, and camping under the stars?” Nancy voiced out loud to her now-grown sons who were preparing dinner over a campfire and outdoor stove.

Over her sons’ growing-up years, Nancy had prepared many meals around a campfire.  Campfire-roasted corn on the cob. Sizzling steak. Baked potatoes steaming with melted butter. Buttermilk pancakes drizzled with syrup or jam. Browned hash topped with pouched eggs.

“This will be good!”  Her voice echoed off the wild riverside canyon.

So far, their mom was impressed. In their first season as river guides, they’d proved they were skilled raft-handlers in dangerous waters. They tied necessary and safety gear on the raft securely for the sometimes-rough ride. The men had been trained to use rifles for protection against bears.

She was convinced Bert and Tom could leap tall pines in a single bound, setting up tents at the same time. Inside the cozy domes, the bedding inside was thick and comfortable.

Would the young men’s camp cooking pass muster?

“This has to be good,” Nancy mused, thinking over the great pleasure the men in the family got from creating gourmet meals indoors and out. Ah, the Dutch oven masterpieces!  She sniffed the air for a hint of camp cooking aroma. There was none.

“The first course!” Bert announced as he handed his mom an enamelware cup full to the brim.

“And this is?”

“Tang orange drink!”

Not long after, Tom handed her the second course. “Here, Mom. My favorite!”  Spaghetti noodles were red with sauce straight from the jar.

After the main meal, Bert tore the cellophane bag containing the third course: red licorice sticks.

Though the three-course meal created from jars and bags wouldn’t make it to the chef’s hall of fame, it was a start.

Nancy had great expectations. It would only get better from there. And over time, it did.

God does smiles at our beginnings and progress, for He knows the whole journey of our lives.

“O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. When know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar…you are familiar with all my ways.” Psalm 139:1-3.

So stand up tall, all of you who burn the bottoms out of your tea kettles, who only know how to incinerate eggs just now, or who don’t know how to season cast-iron cookware. God isn’t finished with you yet. It only gets better from here!

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and  website, buttontogod.dev. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]



About Jo Russell

Jo’s humor, inspirational stories, articles and devotionals have spanned more than 40 years, with several national writing contest awards for humor. She's a contributing author in Chicken Soup for the Soul—Shaping the New You and Heavenly Humor for the Dieter’s Soul.

Contact Jo

Find Jo on Twitter and Facebook. To schedule Jo as a speaker or to discuss your writing project and receive a free quote, call her at 928-536-2479. Or contact her using the website Contact Form.

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