Cookies and Compassion

A few days ago my husband said, “You haven’t made any of those white chocolate cranberry cookies lately.”

“That’s because it’s the wrong season,” I said. “I add pumpkin pie spice to them. They taste like fall.”

He nodded and dropped the subject.

Later that day, I felt a gentle nudge in my heart to make the fall-weather cookies. Feeling a little foolish, I ran to the grocery store–in 95 degree heat–for dried cranberries, walnuts, and white chocolate chips. 

When Rick came home that night the house smelled like October–as if the trees should be full of red and yellow leaves. He was happy, but there’s more to the story.

The next day my mother and I had appointments with our rheumatologist. She’d been having knee pain and had started wearing a knee brace. Before I left to pick her up, I sensed that same soft Voice talking to me.

Take your mother some cookies. 

She won’t eat them. She’ll say she doesn’t need the calories. And they’re not chocolate. She loves chocolate. 

Take them anyway. 

Convinced I was wasting my time, I tossed three cookies in a baggie and headed out the door. Mother and I arrived a few minutes early at the doctor’s office.

“I brought you a surprise.” I handed her the bag expecting her to politely decline them. “It’s July and they’re fall cookies.”

“Oh, good! I’m hungry. I didn’t eat breakfast.”

She took a bite. “Oh, Julie. They’re incredible. Best cookies I’ve ever had.”

She picked up a second cookie–one for each hand–and ate two at a time. Even though her leg hurt, she shoveled food in her mouth and got tickled.

The doctor spent a lot of time with her so she gave him her last cookie. I don’t know how many of his patients give him treats, but I think the cookie made his day.

On the way home, I told Mother I’d make her a whole batch. 🙂

That night, it seemed God had a message for me about the cookies. 

There were rational reasons why I didn’t want to make (or share!) them. 

1. It was the wrong season.

2. It was too hot for fall cookies.

3. I’d have to go the store for the ingredients. 

4. I’d made chocolate chip cookies a few days earlier.

5. I didn’t think my mother would want any.

But His Sweet Spirit kept pressing on me, tenderizing my heart–

Make white chocolate cranberry cookies.

Such a small thing.

And I almost said no.

When God touches our hearts to give, we can trust Him with the results. Click to tweet.

…show mercy and compassion to one another Zachariah 7:9 NIV

Here’s the recipe link All Things Heart and Home.

Has God touched your heart to do something small with great love? Please share!

P.S. Thank you for praying for me as I rewrite the novel. I’ll be sending it to my agent this week. 🙂 🙂 I’m working on some new writing ideas and praying about my blogging schedule. I’m posting almost daily on Instagram.  I love it!

So much love,




  1. Julie Gilleand says:

    Hi Julie! So good to see you here! I put on my “to-do” list the dates when I know you are planning to publish a blog so I won’t miss it. I wouldn’t anyway. I see your posts and get it in my email, but when I see it on my to-do list I see it coming! And I look so forward to it.

    First of all, I admire your gift for cookie-baking. I have never been able to bake good cookies. Always burn them and they turn out hard. It’s like needing a green thumb for plants (which I don’t have either). You need someother kind of thumb for cookie-baking and I do not have it!

    You are so sensitive to hearing and feeling those little nudges and the still, smal voice. And every time you listen, something great happens. I’m glad you listened that day. Your cookies became a blessing at home and to your mother and even her doctor! Who knew?! God did, of course.

    Exciting to hear that your novel is being sent off this week. What a wonderful feeling that must be. Prayers for God to take it and use it to His glory and to bless others. I look so forward to reading it one day 🙂

    God bless, Julie!!

    — Leafy

    • Testing….

    • Hey, Leafy. I’m having internet issues. I’ve written 3 comments and they aren’t showing up so I’m going through my phone.

      So good to hear your voice!! And thank you, thank you for praying. Means more than you can imagine.

      I’m so thrilled about your new home. So very happy!! And you seem happy too.

      You have to try the cookies. I promise. They’re no fail.

      It made me so happy to see your comment as first.

      Leafy, Other Julie

    • Elaine says:

      I have started something new this year for me, I send out cards. As you say if you just listen, it comes to me who needs a card. I get a lot of happiness sending them but the best part is the cards I send out are so appreciated. My mother-in-law was a card sender, I never thought much about it but it really is a good thing for me as it was for her.

      • Love, Love, Love this idea, Elaine!!!!!! You have to be listening for His voice and then obey!

        Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  2. Anna Haney says:

    Oh, Julie. Yay! I am so happy to see this on this overcast morning. I’ve missed you terribly.
    God nudges are the best, though I’ve argued with Him about them.
    “You want me do what? That’s dumb. I don’t have time. It won’t make a difference.” The list goes on.
    I’m thankful He overrides my whining.
    Love you

    • Hey Anna!

      From my perspective I see you as following so many God nudges. Just think about your world- what you do every day. You’re such a giver. And you’ve been my virtual cheerleader!

      One day, before heaven, we will meet. God was so kind to bring us together.

      Let me know if you try this recipe!!


  3. sandy Coffey says:

    Oh Julie, love the pic of your mom eating those delicious “fall” cookies. So many times when your heart tells you to do something you know God is talking whether it be baking, sending cards, helping someone at the grocery and when you hear the voice or the instinct follow it through. Makes a lot of people’s day. Again thanks for sharing.

    • Hey Sandy,

      And the thing is, His voice is sooooooooo soft. And He’s a Gentleman. He never forces us to listen.

      Thank you for reading and for your encouragement.


  4. Marjorie Hill says:

    As always, Julie, you brought alive a gift of love. Thanks for sharing!

    • That means so much, Margie. With my word for the year being LOVE, God’s been stretching my heart. Wish I had the freedom to write about all of them.


  5. Anna Haney says:

    My first post was on my phone. I thought of something else—another God nudge. It was 6 years ago yesterday that I started this job as a prenursing advisor at the community college. I had been an elementary teacher, a job that I believe God led me to pursue and live. Once I got married and moved to the next county, I could not find a teaching job. I was having a yard sale at my old house and I had two Rubbermaid containers of teaching materials that were gathering dust. A neighbor had just graduated from college and had gotten a job teaching second grade. “Give Sarah your teaching materials,”He told me. “You don’t need them any more.” I argued a little, but I had been praying about my job situation so long, I obeyed. Later that week, I got the call I had received the job I currently have. What’s strange about all this is that I had been an academic advisor for pre nursing students at a large university when I left to be an elementary teacher. And He led me right back.

    • Goose bumps!!!!!! I’m so glad you shared this, Anna. What is it– that twinge of hesitation we feel when He asks us to give?? Maybe it’s another piece of ourselves we’re letting go of. Giving up a little more control.


  6. Monica Henson says:

    Julie, this piece spoke to me so much because of my experience deciding to give a Chromebook for back-to-school at 12Stone. When I saw it in the program, I initially thought, “That’s what I ought to give,” because I don’t have kids at home anymore and I don’t have the usual parental back-to-school expenses. After church, I went over to Target, and by the time I parked my truck, I had gone through all the reasons why I really didn’t need to spend $160+ dollars on a one-time donation when I could buy hand sanitizer and magic markers instead and fill a whole box with each for a lot less money.

    **I have $800 expenses against my medical deductible from the end of the past fiscal year to pay this month.
    **My daughter’s college textbooks will run at least $300 the first week in August.
    **I am supposed to guard against impulse. That’s what Ron Blue teaches in his book that 12Stone bought for all of us last year.
    **Etc., etc., etc.

    But as I walked into the store and got my red shopping cart, I heard a still, small voice reminding me of Kevin Myers’s message this year about John Wesley and how he “capped his lifestyle” so he could give more to the less fortunate. The list in my mind was edited as I waited for the manager to see if I could at least get the Chromebook for wholesale cost.

    **A child’s dream will come true when s/he opens this.
    **God has blessed me professionally beyond most people’s wildest hopes. I can afford this.
    **A family will experience the unconditional love that God shows us all by receiving my unconditional gift to someone I don’t even know simply because God told me to give it.

    While the manager was unable to give me the wholesale cost outright because I was an individual purchasing the item rather than a nonprofit entity doing the buying, when I showed her the church bulletin, she said, “What I CAN do is give you a gift card to reduce the price at the point of sale.” I ended up paying wholesale cost anyway.

    Thank you for reminding us all, and me in particular, how important it is, after we’ve gone through all of our own reasons not to act on a particular impulse, to stop and listen to the Lord. He will bless and multiply our gifts, first of all to the recipients, but also reflecting those blessings back to us.

    Love you, my sweet friend!

    • I’m crying, Monica. Holy goosebumps. First of all, you’re an incredible writer. And your words went straight to my heart and showed me that people are just people. We all (I think???) may struggle with sometimes being slow to obey.

      But ohhhhhhhhh the joy that comes when we do. It’s not worth doing it our way, is it? Convincing ourselves that God wasn’t talking to us.

      Thank you for sharing. You have the gift of giving.

      I love you too ❤️❤️❤️

  7. Jan Olson says:


  8. Julie,

    It has been such a pleasure to feel well enough to catch up on blog reading. I was joy filled to see your link first thing this morning. I love how God showed in the small things of life, and you listened. Look at how the joy spread out from when your instinct said the cookies weren’t in season, but it seems that love is always in season. Thanks for the lesson. How wonderful to read your words!

    Much love to you,
    Vicky ❤️❤️❤️

    • Love what you said, Vicky! “Love is always in season.” Great takeaway! You nailed it!

      I’m hugging you from here. I hope you can feel it. I love hearing your voice and your heart.


  9. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Wow, I’ve missed this…although having the writers conference in the midst of it and getting to attend with our youngest daughter gave me something to look forward to even more! And what a great time we all had! Thanks for your prayers, Julie! It delighted me to meet B.J.!

    Doing “small things with great love” fills me with pleasure. Taught to me through the examples of my grandparents and parents, loving people in small ways, whether through gifts or service, continues as a legacy in our daughters.

    Most recently, I surprised a woman at Montrose by the simple offer of trading a book I’d bought for a different book because she mentioned not knowing such a book existed. A “small thing, done with great love” for this lovely lady I admire and respect!

    A day later, one of the instructors who I so enjoyed talking with surprised me with a copy of one of her books for free! A “small thing, done with great love” just because I had made a comment about her voice bringing joy to others.

    And then there is Jesus, who delights in surprising us with great and small things, with more love than our hearts could possibly hold! Today, our youngest daughter, who had to quit a new job because of illness, lost her dream of a dance ministry team, and began losing her peppy spirit, has her third training day and will see if the offer comes to join the staff of an Arthur Murray Dance Studio! I don’t know which of us is more excited! <3

    • Cathy, I just love you. I’m so thrilled for you about Montrose. I talked you B.J. Last week. She loved getting to meet you. I can’t believe it!! Two of my friends got to connect– and you and I haven’t yet met.

      I’m with you on the giving thing. God seems to work in the heavenlies when we let go, doesn’t He?

      Love how you started the sentence… “and then there is Jesus…”

      Let me know about your daughter!!!!


      • Cathy Mayfield says:

        Faith is officially a ballroom instructor-in-training! They don’t pay while she trains, which could be as long as 8 weeks, so please pray she does well and is moved to a paid employee asap!

        I’m looking forward to someday meeting you this side of heaven! 🙂

  10. Elaine says:

    I want to make them for our female pastor, she has to have gluten free. She is really allergic.
    Make a great hit with her for Christmas with the cranberries in them. I love any cookie with white chocolate chips in them. Thanks for the info on the other websites.

  11. Julie, love the reminder to pay attention to those gentle nudgings. Love those pics of Marion, too!!!

  12. Sweet Julie … I love this. Do you and your mother both have RA? My hands have been bothering me so much lately … it’s scary. I don’t know what’s wrong with them. Maybe over-using? I don’t know. Or arthritis coming on. And I’m so glad you are on Instagram. I love seeing you there. <3

    • Ditto. I love seeing your IG pics. You’re so talented at spotting beauty.

      I don’t have RA. I have Sjogrens (which can affect your joints). You might want to see a rheumatologist if you haven’t.

  13. Nancy Griggs says:

    Bless you Julie and your wonderful mama. I pray for both you and Marion as you write for the Lord!

  14. Marci'a says:

    It is so great to have you back, and the simple little everyday lessons, we all can learn from. You have been missed. It sounds like, with other projects you may have to rethink how much or when to Blog. I do hope, even if it is not as often, you will be able to continue. So glad to hear that your book is ready to send now. A true appreciation for authors and what they go through. To have you write you back writing your blog and just read one of the entries in D.G.P, by your mom– what a treat.
    Oh those times when God gives us a simple task and yet we don’t want to do it! I understand that, and even giving God all the reasons why not. but He doesn’t give up. And I am always glad that I finally did what he was nudging me to do all along.
    How nice to have those cookies now! Sometimes– as the song goes, “We need a little Christmas, right this very minute…..” Your blog made me think of that song!

    God Bless you dear Julie!

    • Oh, you’re right Marci’a! That song!!! Perfect! That’s exactly what happened!! Christmas in July!

      You’ll never know how much your encouragement has meant–and still means to me. The prayer shawl. Such love, my friend. You have a heart of gold. So gentle in your ways.


      • Elaine says:

        I have two prayer shawls given to me when I had major surgery two different times. The ladies of my church were so gracious and praying for me. I treasure them and take them out when I need to really really pray hard. We were at a different church upstate Florida and I am getting ready to join the crafty ladies here at church and think I will show them off and suggest we make some. I will never forget those women in our church and bless them. I keep in touch through Facebook and emails. Such Christian ladies.

  15. Those little nudges (or Voice) are so important to listen to. I think of nudges as angel wings fluttering me into the right place, the right direction, the right thoughts and frame of mind.
    Praying for a good week for you in all regards.
    P.S. I no longer have a picture that pops up. Boo hoo.

    • How in the world did you think of that?? Nudges are angel wings fluttering me into the right place, the right direction, the right thoughts and frames of mind. Absolutely beautiful, B.J.

      Where’d your picture go????? We need to see your smiling eyes!

  16. Kim Palmer says:

    Yes Julie. Our church is really hurting right now. I followed through on such a prompting and the response from many individuals is so beautiful that I keep being brought to tears. Not for the thank you accolades, but that God took words and used them to help others. That was my prayer when I wrote it.

    Anchor of Hope

    Shock, sadness, hurt, anger, disappointment, questions…
    whatever any of us may be feeling.
    In the wee morning hrs,
    while sleep persistently eluded me,
    and with thoughts and emotions fractured and many,
    a word suddenly descended into my heart. 
    I have had to lean hard on Hope many times this year.
    This words descent
    was accompanied by the prompting to share. 
    So, I am obeying,
    trying to convey
    what Real, True Hope means.
    Hope does mean to wait,
    and waiting can be hard. 
    But, Biblical Hope is closely tied to Trust.
    when we put our Hope in the Lord,
    Christ becomes the strength
    that helps get us through times of trouble, stress and heartache.

    When we lean on Him,
    we are joined together with Christ in the waiting
    and Jesus becomes our Anchor of Hope.  

    Kim Palmer – (Hope is my word for the year.)

    • Kim. Kim. Kim. This is so beautiful. Straight from His heart to yours. I love this. And right now, I’m saying a prayer for your church, lifting the hurt to Him.

      So sorry it took a while to respond. We just got back from Florida. Internet was patchy. And difficult to respond from my phone.

      So much love to you and yours~~~

  17. How many times have we missed out blessing others because we don’t listen to God’s voice. I’m glad you shared this to remind us. May God continue to use you to bless the world.

    And thanks for sharing the recipe. They look yummy.

    • And He speaks so very quietly, doesn’t He, Lux.

      Thank you for being you….for your sharing heart.

      Much love,

      • I’ve shared this on my FB page and Twitter. More people should learn about how God communicates. 🙂

        • Thank you, thank you, Lux!

          Sorry it took me a while to respond. I got a new computer last week and have had a learning curve. 🙂

          • Congrats on your new computer then. Hope it helps you write more valuable life lessons for the world to read. Happy September, my friend.

  18. Patricia Martin says:

    Hi Julie,
    Thank you for the beautiful post! I love the pic of your mom with those delicious looking cookies! I am sorry I took so long to respond but things are busy as this summer has had a few unexpected medical and family appointments! Still praying for your bestselling novel and know it will bless multitudes of people! How is Katie, Thomas, and Jaime doing? How are you and Rick? Say hey to them for me?(:

    • Patricia! I’ve missed you~~~~~

      Thank you for your kind words. I pressed send last week on my novel. 🙂 🙂

      All are doing well here. Hope you make these cookies sometime. They’re soooooooooooooo good.

      So much love, my friend,

  19. I am always so amazed at the outcome, when we listen to and obey the Holy Spirit! I am also amazed at how the Holy Spirit uses such simple things to accomplish His work in our lives! Thank you for sharing.

  20. Julie says:

    Thanks so much, Lux! I’m getting the hang of it. Took about a week. 🙂 🙂

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