Living Simply | July 15, 2015

Deeply rooted, tassels in the breeze

I grew up surrounded by Midwestern farms— oceans of corn and soy growing as far as I could see. My childhood summers included many a game of hide-and-seek among corn stalks, and treks over a mile of rows to get ice cream. We even planted corn in our backyard garden, spacing the seeds so they would grow into mazes and forts to play in.

Corn is a simple starch, but a complex carbohydrate. It’s delicious when eaten right off the cob, of course, but also when popped, or ground into meal or flour for bread or tortillas.

Corn is a perfect vessel for butter and salt, sour cream, lime zest, and crushed red pepper—so versatile in its simplicity.

But more than flavor, the way corn grows is perhaps what makes it stand out the most. My parents’ pastor uses corn as an illustration for the way we ought to grow as followers of Christ. Sending our roots deep into what grounds us in scripture, we can hold fast, even when the fiercest winds push us every which way. Reaching high, stretching toward to the sun, we can offer our prayers to a God whose face shines upon us. Waving our tassels in the breeze, we can offer praise to a creator who made each us unique. And as we grow as individuals, we can grow close together, reaching out to touch each other and build one another up through every season.

As the corn fields turn green this summer, and the stalks work to be knee-high by Annual Conference, may you be inspired by the way they grow up, down, and out—so simple, steady, and strong

Chef Russell’s Maque Choux (Pronounced “Mock-Shoe”)

Those of you from southern Louisiana will recognize this tasty, one-dish wonder that overflows with summer in every bite.


4 strips of bacon, diced
1/2 red onion, small diced
1 red bell pepper, small diced
1 green bell pepper, small diced
1 jalapeño, minced
1 stalk of celery, small diced
3 red potatoes, peeled and small diced
6 oz. chicken or vegetable stock or broth
2 tsp. sugar
8 oz. heavy cream
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups frozen or fresh sweet corn
6 scallions, thinly sliced
6 basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 plum tomato, small diced
salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste


Sauté bacon in a large pan over medium heat. When crisp, add onion, peppers, and celery and cook five minutes. Add potatoes, stock, and sugar, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about five to eight minutes. Add cream and simmer, uncovered, on low heat until reduced by half and thickened, another five to eight minutes. Stir in garlic, corn, scallions, basil, tomato, and seasonings. Simmer on low for another five minutes, just long enough to incorporate the flavors. Serve hot like a a summertime stew, or over rice or pasta, or on a bed of lettuce for a delicious salad.

Amanda J. Garcia is a freelance writer living in Elgin, Ill. Visit her online at