• Lorri Palko

Feed Your Soul One Bite at a Time

In 2015, we celebrated my mom’s ninetieth birthday. Family and friends traveled near and far to celebrate my Mom, also affectionately known as Grandmom, Great Grandmom, Aunt, Futzer, and Ms. Shirley. As people replied to the evite, the comments were all different, but the sentiment was the same, “I would not miss celebrating such a wonderful lady.” While I have always known there are many who adore my Mom, I did not fully appreciate the genuine love and admiration that people have for her until now.


My Mom turning ninety is a time for reflection. My first thought was one of extreme gratitude that she is so full of life and humor at her age. Her mind is as sharp and witty as ever and she still spends most of her time in the kitchen preparing meals and desserts for everyone and anyone. Speaking of the kitchen, that is where you get to see her love in action. Her hearing isn’t quite what it used to be, so I often think “The Pioneer Woman” is in our kitchen as well. Watching the Cooking Channel is often followed by a request, can you google me a recipe?


Mom knows that I assist individuals and organizations in identifying their purpose and living more fully on purpose. She often has joked that she is still trying to figure out her own purpose. The more I have reflected and observed her over the last month leading up to the party, the more I have come to realize that while she may not be able to articulate her purpose, she sure lives it.


So what is Mom’s purpose? Friends and family may joke that her purpose has been to make sure that she keeps Weight Watchers in business. It is hard to say no when all your senses come to life as you experience one of her meals. A friend of mine recently called her a food bully. She feels offended if you only eat one piece of cake or you don’t go back more than once for every item being served at dinner.


Lately, as I have reflected and paid attention to mom in the kitchen, I have come to appreciate a new perspective about living your purpose. Mom does everything in the kitchen with such love and intention. Every onion for her famous potato filling is sautéed with just the right number of stirs until it is golden brown. Every dessert starts with the thought of the joy it brings to those with whom it is shared. Every spread of butter on your piece of toast is spread with the same stroke and pattern. Every bit of crabmeat is picked through to make sure no one gets a shell. Nothing is ever rushed, nothing is ever taken for granted, and every ingredient is important and uniquely prepared.


What does it mean to live on purpose? Do you have to have big dreams and goals? Do you need to be a doctor, teacher, preacher, policeman, or in some other noble profession? What does it mean to make a difference in the world?


Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with having lofty goals and dreams. Not to mention, we certainly need people in all of the aforementioned professions, but watching Mom has made me understand we need the following ingredients no matter what we are doing. And if we have these ingredients we are thriving on purpose.


· Be Fully Present - When we are paying attention to what we are doing, we are saying that this is the most important thing you have to do. There is no need to rush and you have nowhere else to be. You cannot rush how long it will take for the ingredients to produce what you desire, so be present with what is.


· Infuse Everything with Love – They say food is love. Every part of the process needs to be honored and loved. Make your intentions one of loving and praising the process. It takes each and every ingredient both small and large to produce the results you desire.


· Serve Others – Is the result of what you are doing serving and benefiting someone outside of yourself? Is your true intention to give to others or are you trying to get something? In the end if your aim is to serve, you will receive more than you could ever dream.


Mom, I thought all the ingredients you needed for baking was the sugar, butter, cocoa, and cream cheese that I get you at the grocery store. You have reminded me of what I tell others, we need to build from the inside out. The ingredients you show up with every day come from within your beautiful soul. Thanks for feeding and nourishing the family, your friends, and me one bite at a time.



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Smyrna, GA 30080

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