Chocolate Chip Grandma

My sweet Grandma May Johnson passed away yesterday. She was surrounded by family and her death eased years of mental suffering. I feel very peaceful about her passing and I am thankful that she is having a sweet reunion with Grandpa Johnson and their daughter Maylanie.

I grew up in Texas while my Grandma lived in Idaho, and I’ve never been able to spend a lot of time with her. Still, I know enough to remember her bright, beautiful smile, her deep love for Jesus, and her chocolate chip cookies.

Grandma was always baking and sharing cookies. The day I arrived in Utah for college, my brother took me to see Grandma, who sent me to the dorms with a bag full of fresh-baked goodness. And I’m happy to say that the baking gene was passed down to me. In high school, I baked for a class or a friend or a function nearly every single week. In college I had regular cookie parties in the dorms. One of my longest lasting friendships began when I baked a cookie cake, wrote “Howdy, neighbor!” in icing, and delivered it to next door. In fact, I’m really not sure how to introduce myself without baked goods. When we moved to Alabama just a few weeks ago, I made sure we spent an evening baking as a family and meeting our neighbors, complete with a plate of Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies.

When I heard of Grandma’s death, I pulled out a little page about her to show my children and to help me feel closer to her. I will not be able to attend the funeral, and I feel a lot of grief at being so far from family. But I looked at that page and smiled when I read “My grandchildren call me ‘chocolate chip grandma’ because I always loved to bake cookies!” What a wonderful heritage she left behind, to her own 8 children, over 30 grandchildren, and a family that just keeps growing.

Well, this morning I was thinking about her again as I prayed and planned and tried to decide what I want this blog to be.

I have such a complicated relationship with food and with professional aspirations that I have NO CLUE how to present myself online authentically. So I’ve been posting recipes, taking classes, seeking mentors, and just kind of hoping that the next step would become clear to me.

And then I had a rather profound impression: I just need to be myself! People keep saying that in trainings, but I didn’t understand how to apply that advice. Now I know what it means!

I come from a family that loves to laugh. Deep, full-bellied, red-faced laughing is not uncommon at family gatherings. My family also loves music, food, being together, and service. I have inherited a crazy combination of these quirky, lovable traits, and I love who I am. Now that I know what it means to be myself, I don’t have to just put part of me online. I can put ALL of me online.

My head filled with blog post titles as I walked the grocery store aisles this morning. I must have looked crazy, stopping every few feet to scribble down another idea. From “Food label-palooza” to “Put That Treat Back Where it Came From or So Help Me!” The thoughts just kept rolling in, and all of these ideas made me smile and feel good and want to share.

So, in honor of Grandma Johnson and the rest of my amazing family, I am taking this opportunity to claim my role as the author and owner of I Crave Color. I am no longer trying to present the “right” information to attract the “right” audience. I am just going to be myself. I will share my journey, my struggles, and my insights, with a healthy does of humor, common sense, and song lyrics.

I still care deeply about my health and my family’s health. I still want to teach people about the impact Thrive Life can have on them. And I still want to grow this blog into something I can only see through God’s eyes right now: something miraculous that lifts and inspires others to enjoy a healthy, vibrant life. But in the end, I know the heritage I’m living up to. And it is more important than anything else I might achieve through blogging.

When I grow up, I want to be a Chocolate Chip Grandma.

Thank you for showing me the way, Grandma May.

3 thoughts on “Chocolate Chip Grandma

  • October 7, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    I loved this post! She was obviously a very special lady. Reminds me alot of my own grandma who also loves to bake. She once told me her cookies won’t ever be as good as mine and I laughed and said I learned everything from you! God bless grandmas 🙂 Can’t wait to see where this goes. You’re doing great!

  • October 7, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    I still remember your grandma’s glee when we visited her and made cookies with her and she was more than happy to keep the doughy leftovers. She was a sweet lady! We should really have cookie parties again! It’s been too long!

  • October 13, 2016 at 2:58 am

    This is beautiful, Jenni, and so exactly you! I think your grandma would be very proud, and you are truly a light to so many. Chocolate chip cookies are one of God’s great blessings, and your passion for feeding the masses is contagious! You really inspire me. Thank you!


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