Family Pic Hollywood 1

How would you define family? I’ve sat here for thirty minutes trying to express everything that word means to me. Since I thought “ya’ll” might like more than a white page filled with a stick-people representation of my crew I checked the dictionary.

“Blah.” That definitely won’t cut it.

In desperation I googled it.

“No way.” Ninety percent of what flashed before me didn’t come close to what was in my mind.

Finally…an epiphany! (And it would only make sense that the revelation had to do with food.)

Family is like umami.

If you’ve never heard of umami, here’s a culinary side-bar. Umami is the mysterious fifth taste. It’s that “thing” that you can’t quite put into words but it’s as real as salty and sweet. According to  “…taste buds are equipped to experience four basic flavors: sweet, salty, sour and bitter.” However, here’s the news flash. Research has proven that the mythical fifth taste isn’t mythical at all.

I have family umami. I know, sounds a bit fantastical doesn’t it? But it’s true.

Oh sure, my family’s Salty. We lean toward the sarcastic side. We love humor. We like to jib-jab one another, but we know when to quit and be kind, so I guess that also makes us——–

Sweet. When it comes down to brass tacks the affection in our crew runs deep. Ordinarily you’d think of sweet as flowery and sugar coated words. It’s not like that in my tribe. Our brand of sweet is more like the relief you get from a sugar cube in a dark cup of coffee, cause darn it all, sometimes life hands you——–

Bitter. This pack has been through its share of hard. I suspect there will more of those days ahead. If you live long enough that’s simply the way it goes. But the funny thing is, any bitter we’ve ever encountered was always remarkably palatable. Humor, loyalty and faith has always peppered even the hardest of seasons with joy. Consequently, we’ve never felt——–

Sour. Have there been regrets? Of course! If someone tells me they don’t have regrets it takes restraint for me to keep from raising my eyebrows. These are also the people I would never ask, “Are my jeans too tight?” (Unless of course I didn’t really want an honest answer.) The greatest gifts God has ever given our family were the ones mined deep from the shafts regret.

But my goodness! The brightness with which God shone from those pits has always been staggering! He has never failed to reveal His goodness to us in the contrast of our “not so goodness.” How He does it is an enigma. I guess that’s part of what makes Him God.

At the end of the meal my empty plate showcases the unity, fracture, joy, agony, order, and chaos that define my family. And to me they are——-


My family is what it is because of the mystery of Christ.

The work He does in and through us as He uses life circumstances and our unique personalities to draw us closer to Him, and to each other, is a mystery. It’s something I can’t comprehend or communicate (at least not very well.)  However, I can attest that the end result is something indescribably wonderful. And. I. Am. Grateful.

“Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—how good God is.” Psalm 34:8 MSG

{Hop over to Suzie Eller’s #livefree community today for more stories about family! You’re sure to be encouraged!}

Your DoAhead Friend,


  1. I love this! What a unique take on the word family. <3 You are brilliant, wise, and funny. That's another definition of umami. <3

  2. Cindy, you are brilliant! I absolutely love reading your words, because they are always humorous and touching and…. brilliant! Love this! #livefreeThursday #family

  3. Since a great meal requires all these flavors mixed together to be satisfying I’d love to site have dinner with you family! I’m certain it would be a delictible treat!

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