Kris Clark and Alicia Kragthorpe are a mother-daughter team who founded The Homestead Baking Co. When Alicia was diagnosed with celiac disease back in 2016, they went to work baking their family favorites completely gluten-free.
Kris and Alicia take incredible pride in their recipes and product, and are passionate about helping create a world where people with food sensitivities never feel like second class citizens at any table, one delectable treat at a time. Their recipes have been passed down through many generations, and they hope that people can feel the love that originally went into these desserts all these years later. They are passionate about serving people through serving Jesus.
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” Colossians 3:23
I will never forget my mom repeating this verse, day in and day out, as I tearfully drove home from a job that was wonderful in title but horrible in almost every other way. I was fresh out of culinary school and had just moved 2,500 miles across the country to take my first big girl job as a head pastry chef. The 16-hour days and less-than-kind boss made me think that maybe I was a bit too sensitive and a bit too soft spoken to cut it in kitchens, or the real world for that matter.
God doesn’t make mistakes. Even those of us who are “sensitive” or “too gentle” or “cry on the drive home sometimes” have a calling to honor the Lord with our work. Some days, that may just be praying your way through a bad day with the kids. Other days, that can look like talking to a coworker about a part of your testimony. God never puts us in situations or workplaces accidentally.
God never puts us in situations or workplaces accidentally.
Fast forward nearly 10 years and 6 states later, I have the distinct honor of baking with my mom everyday as my job. My mother is the best coworker I could ask for. She always sees the best in me and reminds me to be prayerful in every decision. She reminds me that the sensitive 21 year old version of me is still so valuable in finding other introverted, creative types that are emerging from their shells.
One of our Homestead Baking Co. cakes
The same verse she used to pray with me echoes in my ears daily. Do this work for Christ, not for the praise of people, or money, or accolades.
In our home, feeding someone was one of the most tangible ways to show love. It became very easy to have that same zeal baking for perfect strangers when our mindset shifted to working for the Lord rather than someone we had yet to meet. When we do finally meet our customers, may it be through farmers’ markets or elsewhere, the goal is for them to feel our passion for our work, but most importantly, who we work for.
Our world is so achievement oriented; it can be so easy to long for a promotion, or the next step, instead of making the most of what’s right in front of us. Often times, what is in front of us is a coworker or customer or a child or a friend that is watching how we respond or who we are when no one is looking.
Therein lies our opportunity to show the love of our Savior in small ways that can have a huge impact.
I think there are times for all of us where work is frustrating, and it’s difficult to even see the point in the tedious task we are doing, much less how God is intertwined in it. Sometimes just listing the ways that God has been faithful can give us the most subtle shift to look up and feel his presence, instead of dwelling on our own thoughts.
Not to say we have this perfected, far from it, but we hope to be people who point to Christ in our subtle actions. If you are going through a season of work, be that motherhood or a career outside the home (or both!), that feels fruitless and draining and just awful, I offer you a prayer that was taped to my vanity mirror by a close friend in Christ:
A Prayer of Unknowing by Thomas Merton
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone. Amen.
Written by Kris Clark and Alicia Kragthorpe for The Anchor Journal