Remembering Home + The Fluffiest Biscuits

Just like we have a longing to be loved, we also can’t shake that yearning for home. No matter where we are, we feel it. Perhaps our lifestyle leads to a deeper yearning than those who have lived in one location their entire lives, but I think it’s still there for everyone. This earth just doesn’t feel like the end of the story—it’s too broken.

In recent months, our dinnertime talks have often shifted to memories of our passport home. It’s been nearly 3 years since we’ve been back, which is a year longer than usual. Thank you, pandemic. We’re still not sure when we’ll be able to return. I think one of the coping strategies my kids use to subdue the longing is to remember. We pull up pictures on the computer and recall memories and experiences, often with lots of laughter. We piece together the full memory and experience from our various perspectives. I love listening to their versions!

Sometimes I wish I could protect their young, little hearts from the constant twinge of missing the other side. Just the other day, when my 7-year-old was complaining about not seeing her cousins since she was 4, she immediately connected that when she does get to return and play with her cousins, she’ll miss her local friends “soooo much.” “I just wish I could have all my cousins and my friends from here in the same place. I know we’d have so much fun.”

It breaks my heart a little to think that will probably never happen, not on this side of eternity at least. Yet, I know that the Lord can use these hard and different experiences to grow their seeds of faith and desire for their true Home.

Sometimes I also wonder if I’ve created nomads addicted to transition. We’ve been overseas for 12 years, since our oldest was 1. We’ve lived in 4 cities and 6 homes. (If I begin to count all the home leave abodes, we’re easily into the dozens!) I’ll never forget one time when we were on home leave and were pulling up to a friend’s home for dinner. My oldest, maybe 6 at the time, asked, “How long are we going to stay at this house, Mom?” Bless his heart—he took every move in stride as a new adventure to discover new toys. The kids often discuss which apartment or place we’ve stayed is the best and what perks came with each place. What a unique set of experiences!

We’ve been in our current home for almost a year. This home is the first in our married lives we’ve been able to paint and make small renovations to make the most of the small space. We were so happy to have a space of our own after living in others’ spaces for 3 years! Decorating has been slow, but we finally feel settled.

Yet, recently, I was reminded again to hold it loosely. This, too, is not our Home.

Our work and just being here has become increasingly difficult. The pandemic, travel restrictions, and constantly-changing policies keep our heads spinning most days. We often literally don’t know what tomorrow holds—no one can predict these swift changes—let alone where we’ll be in the next 6 months.

And so I recalibrate. I remind myself that despite spending time and money to make this home suitable for our lifestyle, it’s all just stuff. The things that matter—experiences and memories—are tucked in our hearts.

As I shift my perspective, I’m able to honestly share with my kids an eternal outlook while living on this earth: Enjoy the things given to us while we have them, be generous, and remember our everlasting Home will be better than any home we could fathom in this life.

How do you wrestle with the concept of home and Home? How you help your kids process the the comings and goings, the losses and gains?

*****

When I think of comfort food from childhood, biscuits are close to the top. I remember going to our local Bob Evans (a “home-style” restaurant) and wanting nothing else but their fluffy, buttermilk biscuits. Their crispy, golden outsides and fluffy soft insides are perfect vessels to pair with salty butter on one side and fruity jam on the other. I know biscuits have many meanings around the world, but in my opinion, these top them all!

This recipe calls for buttermilk, but have no fear if that’s not available where you are! I’ve never made these with real buttermilk! I always sub 1 Tbsp of lemon juice, then fill the rest of the 1 cup with milk and let sit for a few minutes. Done!
The dough is quite sticky, but don’t overmix or add extra flour yet–that takes away from the fluffy goodness!
A generously-floured counter helps the dough from sticking, and adds just enough extra flour to make it easier to handle while forming biscuits.
Don’t worry about rolling the dough out–just use your hands to pat it down, but keep it nice and thick for that high rise!
As you place them on the pan, keep the edges touching to keep the insides soft. Yumminess coming up!
Thick, fluffy biscuits, just like home.

The Fluffiest Biscuits

Makes: 10-12 biscuits

Ready in: 40 minutes

Recipe from: Alton Brown

2 cups flour (can sub 1/2 whole wheat flour)

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons shortening

1 cup buttermilk, chilled

Preheat oven to 450F (230C) degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don’t want the fats to melt.) Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.

Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. (Biscuits from the second pass will not be quite as light as those from the first, but hey, that’s life.)

Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.

4 Comments

  1. Michele April 13, 2022

    “Enjoy the things given to us while we have them, be generous, and remember our everlasting Home will be better than any home we could fathom in this life.” I think I should print that quote out and put it up somewhere- it’s perfect! And such a great perspective to teach your kids! I’m slowly getting better at living in the tension of holding loosely and being at home wherever I am. New Year’s Day, 2017, I heard the Lord whisper, “I am your home.” Continually remembering that has been key to being fully present where I am without any need to cling to it.

    On another note, one thing none of my Asian homes has had is an oven. I really wished I’d had one during lockdown when I started to actually enjoy cooking a bit more. So many of your recipes, like these biscuits, are pushing me toward finally making that investment! Maybe this fall! 😉

    1. Ashley Felder April 21, 2022

      He is our home—yes, such a good reminder! Hope you get that oven soon. 😉

  2. Kris April 30, 2022

    Thank you for this post and reminder of eternity!

    Wondering if others have thoughts on helping kids who feel the loss though may not be able to realize their loss or fully understand it. We are new on the field and have been gone from “home” 3 years. My mom recently visited us here for the first time, and my now 5 year old has now mentioned teary eyed how she wishes they could be here. What has helped your children when missing the relationships associated with home?

    1. Ashley Felder May 3, 2022

      Kris, it really is challenging for the kiddos, huh? I’ll never forget when one of my kids mentioned seeing grandparents and how weird it would be to see them “not in a box,” meaning a computer screen. Ha!
      I think it’s good for us to try to see it from their perspective. Their little minds don’t grasp all that we do as their parents–it’s so much more simplified. I do think that explaining (in simpler terms) why we live on the other side of the world can start from a young age.
      Practically, we try to set up special times for the grandparents and even some friends to Facetime with the kids. It actually started out of Covid, where it seems like Americans finally got the hang of meeting online! We started things like “Grammy Time” where the kids would rotate and choose an activity to do with her, or some just chose to chat. 🙂 There are specific apps–also grown out of the pandemic!–for this, such as Caribu.
      Hope this helps! Do know that your care for your daughter’s heart and feelings, yet reminders of your calling and work and the sacrifices that come with them will both speak powerfully to her!

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