I Decided to Listen

Nancy Williamson Gibbs, Colorado, USA

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    Years ago I began having a persistent nagging feeling that I needed to put together a family cookbook, including recipes from my extended family. I dismissed the idea. I often thought to myself, “I don’t have time to make a silly cookbook! I have six busy children! Making cookbooks is for the bread-making, cinnamon-rolls-from-scratch type of moms. I don’t have time for that!”

    The compelling feeling stayed with me for years until one day I finally decided to consider it seriously. But I wondered who in my family would even want to participate. I was the only member of the Church in my family, my parents had passed away, I had no siblings, and most of my extended family lived far away. However, I decided to listen to the prompting anyway.

    I contacted my family, explaining that I was compiling a family cookbook and inviting them to send recipes. Over the next year, I received several recipes. Some relatives even sent family stories and photographs. This prompted me to interview my oldest living relatives and gather our family history, which I decided to include in the book also.

    In putting the book together, I realized I did not even know many of the family members who had submitted recipes. For this reason I decided to include a family tree. I asked for everyone’s information, wrote out the family tree, and put it in the manuscript.

    As I took one last look at the completed book, I turned to the family tree page and became overwhelmed with the Spirit. Tears ran down my cheeks as I became keenly aware of why I was to put this “silly” cookbook together. It had very little to do with recipes. I had gathered names and dates of generations of my ancestors. All these people could now have their temple work done. Additionally, I had preserved wonderful stories for future generations.

    Today I am in contact with several of my cousins on a regular basis and enjoy a wonderful relationship with my extended family. When I look at my cookbook, I often think of the scripture, “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33). I am still amazed when I stop and think of all the joyous and wonderful things that came out of heeding a prompting and putting together a simple cookbook.