My Inner Fish? A Big “Fish Story”


I have a confession to make. My name is Shanna and I am a “closet” foodie. Both the irony and hilarity of this is not lost on those who know me very well. You see, I am probably one of the finickiest eaters with the absolute blandest palate in the universe. (Just ask a few of them and you will know I am not exaggerating in any way) I guess you might say I live vicariously through others who LOVE all varieties of cuisine. The way I accomplish this “addiction” is by watching LOTS of cooking shows. I enjoy observing Guy, Alton, Giada, and many other food experts cook and talk about all things food related. However, I don’t just stick to the main cooking channels for my fix. From as far back as childhood, I can remember being super excited about the cooking shows on PBS. In this same vein, I still enjoy spending a portion of my Saturday watching these shows on my local public television station.


Just this past Saturday after being completely immersed in bayou fare and preparing to witness the preparation of some down home vittles, I sat through a few commercials of upcoming programming. Even though I am fully aware of some of the “anti-creation” shows for which PBS is famous such as Nova, I must admit one of the commercials caught me off guard. At first I was completely drawn in by the great camera work and catchy music. It didn’t take long however for the jaw dropping title, “Your Inner Fish”, to grab me by the throat and stifle my breathing. I really didn’t know the appropriate way to react to the absurdity of such an idea. I mean, should I laugh as if it must be a joke, or sob when the reality of what it really meant sunk in?


What does it mean? Well, at eye level it is yet another jab at creationism. Although, I must admit, this seemed to be taking it to a completely different level. The notion that we “evolved” from the Tiktaalik, the “fish with hands,” because our hands resemble the make up of its fins is not that different than the comparisons made between us and “Lucy” and many other bogus “scientific” finds. It was the APPROACH that made me pause for thought. The difference wasn’t so much what they said as how they said it. In their own words they presented this falsehood in a way that was “enlightening, accessible and told with irresistible enthusiasm”.


What does it REALLY mean, then? It means we, Daddy, Mama, Grandma, Grandpa, Elder, Preacher, and teacher, have been handed a declaration of war. We must ask ourselves a serious question.

Psalm 11:3

“If the foundations are destroyed,
What can the righteous do?”

The answer is abundantly clear.

1 Timothy 6:12

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

We CAN NOT turn a blind eye and hope this will go away. Not only must we prepare ourselves for this epic battle, we MUST arm our children as well. Doing so is crucial in order to “lay hold on eternal life”. All battles that are to be won are built upon forethought, planning, and strategy. One of the best tactics used on the battlefield is to “fight fire with fire”. So how do we do this? We follow the lead of our foe. The exception is we have absolute truth.


1. The word of God is ENLIGHTENING

We must have light in order to successfully navigate our way through darkness.

Psalm 119:105

“Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.”

We wouldn’t dream of sending our children into the darkness of night without first equipping them with adequate lighting. Friends, we must not send our children out into this dark world without thoroughly equipping them with the light of God’s word.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works”

It is imperative that we impress upon our children the importance of Bible study. This starts in the home through modeled behavior and diligent instruction.

In order to win this war, we must recognize His light, possess His light, and display His light.


2. We must make the word of God ACCESSIBLE 

We as soldiers of Christ must be spreading the gospel on a daily basis.

Matthew 28:19

 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”

We have been given this treasure and have been charged with sharing it with others.

Matthew 5:16 

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

It is imperative that we teach the precepts and doctrine that is able to save men’s souls starting in our homes and spilling forth into the community, the country, and the world.

In order to win this war, we must combat Satan’s lies by heartily and persistently extending to  as many as will hear the life giving, God breathed word recorded in the Holy Bible.


3. We must teach the word of God with IRRESISTIBLE ENTHUSIASM

Do you remember the early days of your courtship? You absolutely gushed with joy as you spoke about the one you loved to anyone who would listen. Now I am not suggesting using theatrics and unbiblical tactics to draw people in on pure emotion. What I am saying is if we really love something and believe in it, we will shout its praises from the rooftops for everyone to hear. If we love God and His word, we will not keep silent.

Matthew 5:15

“Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.”

How can we possibly expect others to be excited about the truth when we ourselves seem indifferent and uninterested?

In order to win this war, we must whole heartedly, unashamedly live and present God’s word with the enthusiasm it demands and deserves.

We all understand that we are the workmanship of our great Creator and almost laugh at the preposterous idea that we are the evolved form of a fish. We may even find a tad bit of comfort in the “safe” confines of our homes, congregations, and small town communities. We can not be lulled into a false sense of security. Sometimes the only wake up call we may need is something as seemingly benign as watching a cooking show on the weekend. Mark Twain once said, “Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story.” I believe Satan couldn’t have said it any better himself. Our motto must be the only good story is the TRUTH. Truth will not only help God’s children win each battle it will allow them to emerge victorious over the entire war.

1 John 5:4

“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”




Foodie Friday…..Soups On!


Well, as we know all too well, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow letting us know we are going to have to trudge through this extra cold winter just a little while longer. This reminds me of two things:

1. Every season is set into place by our Creator, and He said all His creation was good. Therefore, I should have little problem finding some redeeming quality for even the coldest season of all.

2. I really believe that one of those redeeming qualities is getting to prepare and eat comfort food!I_Make_a_Good_Soup_-_Says_Potato_Pete_Art.IWMPST6080

One comfort food that my family thoroughly enjoys is loaded potato soup. It is super easy to make, but is very filling and satisfying even on the coldest of days.

Loaded Potato Soup

5 lbs. of russet potatoes

4 chicken bouillon cubes

1 can of evaporated milk

2 cans of cheddar cheese soup

1 can cream of celery soup

salt to tastepotato

Wash, peel, and dice potatoes. Place potatoes in large pot and fill with water just to top of potatoes (Do not add too much water). Add bouillon cubes and salt to taste. Boil until potatoes are tender. In a separate bowl mix soups and evaporated milk. When potatoes are tender add soup mixture to potatoes (Do not drain water!). Bring to a simmer to heat through and you are ready to serve!

Now comes the part that adds the REAL comfort- the garnishes!

shredded cheesecheese (2)

crumbled baconCrisp it

With a side of crusty bread or my home made rolls


I am so thankful that our father gave us the ability to taste and enjoy eating good food and finding a little bit of comfort therein. However, I am even more glad that He gave us a spiritual feast of “the bread of life”.

John 6:35

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

Fill yourself to receive real comfort, and never hunger and thirst again.


Photo By Unknown (artist), Stafford and Co, Netherfield, Nottingham (printer), Ministry of Food (publisher/sponsor), Her Majesty’s Stationery Office (publisher/sponsor) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Foodie Friday: Fiesta Chicken


Yay! It is Friday again and that means here at Life in the Cleft we are all about food. Not just any food. We are sharing easy recipes that quickly become family faves. Today we are featuring a recipe that can be easily adapted to your own taste. Here is the version that works for my family.

Fiesta Chicken

2-3 12 oz. cans  chicken (drained)

2 cans black beans (drained and rinsed)

2 cans  Ro-tel tomatoes (do not drain!)

1 can whole kernel corn (drained)

1 pkg. taco seasoning

Add all ingredients into a large skillet and bring to a simmer to thoroughly heat. The longer you cook, the thicker the consitency you will achieve. 

Yes, that is it. I told you…..EASY! Now comes the fun part; choosing how to serve this feast.

My family enjoys eating this as a dip with a dollop of sour cream and tortilla chips.


It is also excellent served over rice and garnished with your choice of shredded cheese.

cheese (2)

I took this to our last fellowship meal at church, and let’s just say cleaning up the ‘ole crock pot was easy. Why? There was none left!

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Let us know what variations you added, and how your family liked it.


Foodie Friday!


I am happy to announce that from today forward Fridays will be dedicated to fun and easy family recipes at Life in the Cleft! After all, food is the common denominator that brings joy to families everywhere. I want to start this new practice off with a great recipe that is relatively easy and extremely versatile. It is a crowd pleaser that will leave the impression that you exerted a great deal more effort than you really did.

Do It all yeast dough

5 cups bread flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 TBSP instant potato flakes

2 TBSP instant yeast

2 tsp salt

1/2 cup oil

Approx. 2 1/2 cup hot water

Mix dry ingredients well. Add wet ingredients. Allow to rise uncovered for 1 hour. Roll out dough on floured surface. Cut into rolls and allow to rise an additional 30 minutes.Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.

These are some of the most delicate rolls you have ever eaten. They melt in your mouth! But that isn’t the best news.

You are going to be your family’s hero!

Why? Because this is an amazing dough that can transform into dinner AND dessert.


Pizza Bread

Take roll dough that has risen for 1 hour and divide. Press out dough into a rectangle approx. 1/2 inch thick. Add shredded mozarella cheese and pepperoni. Fold edges together unto calzone like pocket.Allow to rise for 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown. Romove from oven, brush with melted butter, and sprinkle on parmesean cheese. Cut into pieces and serve with pizza sauce. Yum-o!!!!!!!!!

Cinnamon rolls

Take roll dough that has risen for 1 hour and divide. Press out dough into rectangle approx. 1/2 inch thick. Add dabs of butter and brown sugar and cinnamon to taste. Roll into jelly roll, cut with floss, and allow to rise for 30 minutes. Bake at 50 degrees until golden brown. Make a glaze by adding milk to powdered sugar until you acheive desired thickness. Your family will thank you!

Are you hungry yet?

Hope you find this recipe as delightful as my family does. What variations can you come up with? Be sure to post and let us know!

Happy Friday!