Friday, May 24, 2013

Melissa K. Norris: Seeing God's Fingerprints In Every Day Life

Everyone' s Story welcomes author Melissa K. Norris. Melissa is establishing herself as a get-back-to-the-basics woman, but with a twist: this wife and mom advocates that by slowing down to provide healthy foods for the family, one can also see God working in our lives. Please join Melissa as she shares thoughts on this subject. Melissa also is offering a very nice Book Giveaway. She looks forward to seeing your comments.

Book Giveaway:
Melissa is offering to one randomly chosen commenter an e-version of her book PIONEERING TODAY. The winner will be announced here on Friday, May 31st, between 4-6 PM EST. For convenience, please leave your contact information within your comment. Thanks!

         Do You Need to Simplify? by Melissa K. Norris

Driving through towns and cities these days, we see convenience stores on every corner, bakeries, candy shops, coffee shops, and restaurants tucked in between buildings on paved streets. Half of the time we don’t even have to leave our cars to place our order and receive our food.

We’re a society who seems to thrive on getting it our way and getting it faster. But have we lost something by living this way? I believe we have.

Our great-grandparents rarely went out to eat. They didn’t consider grocery shopping purchasing some food in a box where you just add water, oil, and eggs. They either knew the farmer that grew their food, owned the dairy, and raised the chickens, or they did it on their farm.

Were their lives harder? I think we should ask ourselves instead, were their lives more rewarding? Since when did harder become synonymous with bad?

Is it harder to bake your own bread from scratch than purchasing it at the store? It takes a little bit more time, but the flavor, cost savings, and health benefits, far outweigh the time it takes. Of course, if you use my no knead bread in less than 5 minutes a day recipe, it’s probably faster than fighting traffic and running to the store.

There are lessons to be learned from raising our own food, growing a garden, and cooking from scratch. It forces us to slow down and when we slow down, we learn to hear God’s voice. When you tend to your plants, you get to see up close and personal what a complex and amazing thing God created.

A small seed becomes a plant, a blossom becomes a piece of food to eat, and the fruit holds a seed to start the process over again. We don’t appreciate that when we grab it off of a shelf in the grocery store.

In my book, Pioneering Today-Faith and Home the Old Fashioned Way, I explain practical and easy methods to cook from scratch, garden, preserve your own food, and see God’s fingerprint in your everyday busy life. Whether you live in the middle of the asphalt jungle or on the side of a mountain, you can experience the pioneer lifestyle and start your own homesteading journey.

The simple life isn’t lost, it’s waiting for you to come and embrace it.

 Because I believe so strongly in learning to grow your own food, even if you live in an apartment, I’ve written a 40 page eBook called, Heirloom Gardening Guide-Plant to Save Money, that’s FREE on my website for newsletter subscribers. Learn what GMO’s are and the benefits of heirloom seeds.

Questions for Melissa:

Although a good cook, my mother enjoyed the “new” conveniences of boxed instant mashed potatoes (not recommended!) and the new hamburger place, aka McDonald’s (today, no-thanks). Did your childhood make you rebel or wizen you up to healthier foods?

I wouldn’t call it a rebellion, but a slip into taking the easy route. It was so easy to grab a box, open a few cans, and heat something up. But I didn’t feel so great when I ate this way, I gained weight, felt really sluggish, and it wasn’t very frugal. When I became pregnant, I really started educating myself on nutrition and quickly became a cook-it-from-scratch kind of woman. It’s amazing what becoming responsible for someone else’s health will do for your own.

As a mom of young children, is it any easier for you to get your kids to try new foods because they know it’s from the garden or prepared fresh in the kitchen? Any tricks to share?

It’s so much easier to get my kids to try new foods when they grow it and help cook it themselves. One thing I like to stress when cooking and gardening with kids is not to worry about getting it perfect. When my kids were toddlers, I gave them their own patch in the garden. If they pulled up a plant when weeding, it wasn’t a big deal. They could do whatever they wanted in that patch. It turned out better than I would have thought. My daughter had an awesome pea and bean plant and she could pick and play to her heart’s content.

Same thing applies to kids in the kitchen. If something gets spilled (and it will), just have them help clean it up. Remember you’re teaching them healthy life tips and bonding, not being Martha Stewart.

What’s the most impressive or wackiest meal you’ve dared to try using these from-scratch methods?

Hmm, I think our favorite from scratch substitutes would have to be my healthy homemade crunchy granola bars. They’re super easy and taste better than the stores. When I told my husband I wasn’t going to be buying bread any more, he kind of raised his eyebrows, but it’s been a year and a half and he loves the scent of warm bread in the kitchen, not to mention the taste. I use this recipe for the no knead bread (see link above).

What’s next on the pioneering front?

I’m really excited to begin working on a new book, Pioneering Today-Preserving the Harvest. It will include canning tutorials and recipes, freezing, root cellar techniques, and dehydrating. Tentative release date is October 2013. Also, I now have my own radio show, Pioneering Today, and am waiting for the producer to give me the release date for the shows. They’ll be available as podcasts on my website and I-tunes. 

Melissa's Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Meet Melissa K. Norris: Faith and Home the Old Fashioned Way. (Tweet This)

Melissa K. Norris: has society lost value in the craziness of life? (Tweet This)

Melissa K. Norris: raising food, gardening, and cooking from scratch? Who has time? You! (Tweet This)

Melissa K. Norris on Everyone’s Story: God’s fingerprint in everyday busy life. (Tweet This)

Author Bio:
Melissa K. Norris is a Christian novelist, newspaper columnist, and non-fiction writer. Her stories inspire people to draw closer to God and their pioneer roots. She’s a skilled artisan crafter, creating new traditions from old-time customs for her readers. She found her own little house in the big woods, where she lives with her husband and two children in the Cascade Mountains. Her book, Pioneering Today-Faith and Home the Old Fashioned Way, explains practical and easy methods to cook from scratch, garden, preserve your own food, and see God’s fingerprint in your everyday busy life. Read the first chapter here.

You can connect with Melissa at:


  1. Great post. I'd love to win that book.

    1. It's always a pleasure to see you here, Connie. Do check back for Melissa's reply :)

    2. AnonymousMay 25, 2013

      Good luck Connie. I've got Lot's of recipes and tutorials at my website yo get you started.

  2. AnonymousMay 24, 2013

    I would love to win this book. I'm trying to get back to the basics myself.
    Sandi Coughlin

    1. Sandi, welcome to Everyone's Story. You're now entered to win Melissa's book. Do check back for her comments and next week to see who won. Meanwhile, Melissa has a few more fun freebies on her website!

    2. Sandi, it's so important and I hope this helps you out.

  3. Elaine, what a fun interview!

    Hi, Melissa!

    I loved what you said about giving your kids a plot of the garden when they were young. What special memories you must have created!

    I used to make a lot of baked goods from scratch. I've gotten out the habit lately, but should probably return. When we lived in southern California, we had a plum, lemon, orange, and apricot tree in our back yard. I was always amazed at how different--more flavorful--than the fruit I purchased in the story. Yum!

    1. Thanks, Jennifer. Glad you enjoyed Melissa's Q&A. I hear what you're saying about returning to the satisfaction of baking homemade treats. I've been working in a bakery/cafe these past 8 years and admit that after standing on my feet all those hours selling sweets, I cannot bring myself to bake. However, with only a 1x easy-meal, one thing I really try to do despite the low energy and desire is to make a nutritious meal for my husband & I. We really are what we consume.

      I always appreciate your visits!

    2. Jennifer I've always been a little envious of those who can grow citrus. We're much too cold up here in Wa state. I can't wait to here about your return to baking from scratch!

  4. Fun interview. Love the smell of bread baking in the over. My memory of a garden includes hundred-foot rows...sixteen of them. :-) But I do love growing things.pat at ptbradley dot com

    1. Lovely, Pat, that you visited. Not only did your garden provide you with fond memories, but of also a good and healthy foundation for you to grow and prosper!

  5. My Mother always cooked from scratch & so do I. I love knowing what I am feeding my family. I'm always looking for more ways to live healthier.

    A fabulous post thank you.


    1. Nice to see you again, Mary. Sounds like Melissa's book is perfect for you :)

    2. Mary I look forward to sharing tips with you. So glad you enjoyed the article. I love chatting about wholesome old fashioned living. :)

  6. Elaine,
    What a great interview and interesting subject! Love the get-back-to-basics idea...
    My husband and I are gardening more in the summer and it's wonderful to bring in fresh lettuce, tomatoes etc. from the garden to add to our meals. We'll have to get more serious about this and work at it more. Much healthier!

    1. Cynthia, I'm glad to see you today--you brightened my rainy day! It's so nice that you and your husband can share the joys of the outdoors and benefit from it come meal time.

    2. Cynthia,
      Vegetables we grow at home have more nutrients in them than the ones we purchase at the store, so you're absolutely right on more healthier! And doing it as a family is so rewarding.

  7. you had me knead bread in less than 5 minutes a day recipe, it’s probably faster than fighting traffic and running to the store. I would love to do this..used to do it the old fashioned way, but my back can't take it anymore, though it was satisfying...and though I grew up with fresh veggies and milk....the new world has inserted itself. time to get back to the

    1. Virginia, thanks for visiting Everyone's Story. I'm glad you enjoyed Melissa's segment. I love your enthusiasm expressed here and am happy that this may gently push you back to returning to the things you once enjoyed. Blessings.

    2. Virginia, the 5 minute bread is so quick and easy. I can't wait to hear what you think and how it turns out for you.

  8. I find that I go through spurts of doing better at slowing down and appreciating things and then when one part of my life picks up speed, it's like a domino effect in the rest of my life and everything ramps up. But I do try to recognize this and slow things back down when I can. And I've gotten very good at not falling back on the fast food option even if we do sometimes eat some strange combinations based on what I have made previously and what I find in the freezer for emergency nights. ;-)

    1. Hi Kristen, and welcome to Everyone's Story. I admire your attempts at slowing down to appreciate life that always seems to zip by in this crazy faced-pace world of ours. One can only do the best they can and I applaud you for trying!

      Hope to see you again.

  9. Thanks everyone for visiting Everyone's Story this past week. It's been a wild weather week here in the Northeast. We jumped from winter to summer within a span of days and even had a small tornado touch down a little ways off, nothing like in Oklahoma, but yet I feel sorry for those who suffered home & business damage. Loss is loss. I hope you may have an extra prayer for anyone in the path of a storm, whether by nature or any other ominous force.

    Melissa, you've certainly did not suffer any stormy interference in viewer hits. You've received quite a few international hits and I thank you for appearing as my guest this week. Thanks too for you lovely Book Giveaway offer.

    And the winner of Melissa K. Norris' PIONEERING TODAY is:

    Kristen. Congratulations, Kristen. Both Melissa & I will be contacting you in private emails.


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