With a heart for youth, Scott Moody shares thoughts on fatherhood

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By Ann Cipperly

As Father’s Day approaches, Scott Moody shares his thoughts on fatherhood, as he sips a cup of special coffee from Rwanda at his business, Chirpwood, on South 10th Street in Opelika. While Scott and his wife, Trish, have two children, he has been a father figure to hundreds of children in Lee County as a teacher and is now teaching youth twice a year in the Bridge2Rwanda group, with fifty percent of profits from his business going to the program.

During tough times in Scott’s childhood, the kindness of adults made a difference in his life that he continues to pass on to youth.

“There were three people in particular who poured themselves into me,” he says. “These three were Christian writer Barbara Joiner, Lt. Col. Bob Hume and Minister of Music Tom Stoker. They introduced me to Christ and so many other aspects of life that I would not have gotten otherwise. Soon after, I realized they had poured literally thousands of hours into my life and the lives of others, and that had made all the difference.”

Scott attended Auburn University after high school, graduating with a degree in electrical engineering. “After I went to work at IBM in Montgomery,” he says, “I felt this real call to try to give back what had been given me during those difficult years in my life. For me, that took the form of teaching.”
He left IBM and attended AUM for a master’s in secondary mathematics education. Scott met Trish, who is from Andalusia, while they were students at Auburn.

After they married in June 1986, they honeymooned in Vermont. They liked it so much that they moved to Woodstock, Vermont after he graduated from AUM. He began teaching high school, while Trish worked at Dartmouth Medical Center. Their first child, Bill, was born while they were living in Vermont.

After four years, they moved back to Auburn in 1992, and Scott taught at Auburn High School. Their daughter, Kate, was born in 1993.

After two years at Auburn High School, Scott began teaching at Lee-Scott Academy where he taught for 19 years.

Scott feels that while there are a lot of issues to deal with in America today, children who lack fathers and father figures is a huge issue. “There are so many young people without fathers in their lives,” he says, “and young women need their fathers as much as young men.

“Because people were so kind and good to me,” he adds, “I have attempted to model my life on their example. One of the blessings in my life since I retired from teaching has been having weekly get-togethers with a few young men. Many of them have great fathers, but most appreciate an additional advocate in their life.”

With his own children, one of the main things he wanted to do was simply to be present in their lives.

“If you want your children to experience a real faith growing up,” Scott adds, “you need to be a part of that. I am not remotely the poster child for the perfect anything. My kids know that, but they know their flawed dad’s faith is real.

“What I do hope can be honestly said about my fathering is ‘he always showed up,’” he adds.

A highlight of spending time with his children was Trinity Methodist’s annual Mexico mission trips. Scott went five years in a row and worked alongside both his son and daughter.

While Scott enjoyed being involved with his children when they were growing up, they were not always excited having their father for math classes at Lee Scott.

The night before Kate went to AP calculus class for the first time, she told him that in class she would just be another student, not his daughter. “The next day she walked into class up to my desk and took a big swig from my coffee cup,” he says. “I told her the other students did not do that.”

“Scott is a great dad,” says Trish. “When our son was a student at Auburn, Scott started making French toast and cooking Conecuh sausage for Bill and two of his friends on Sunday nights. “They called it French Toast Night and talked about issues of the day. The funny thing is, they still talk about it and the memories.”

“It doesn’t matter what you are eating,” adds Scott, “as long as you are sitting at the table spending time together.”

“I am thankful for Scott,” remarks Trish. “He has been there for ball games, staying up late when one of the kids wanted to talk or whatever, he has been there. I think that one of the most important things is being there. He says three quarters of life is showing up.

“Now that they are grown, he texts the kids often and prays for them,” she adds. “He asks them what is going on that he can pray about.”

Son Bill graduated from Auburn and worked for the Young Life Ministry for a few years. He is currently attending Dallas Theological Seminary and will be getting married this summer.

Their daughter Kate, who graduated from Vanderbilt, lives in Washington, D.C. and works for The Atlantic magazine.

Trish, a third generation forest landowner, volunteers at various ministries for children and women.

After teaching for 25 years, Scott decided to do something else with a purpose. He opened Chirpwood, a wood product business that focuses mainly on picture frames. It has an art gallery featuring local artists and a coffee meeting space called The Nest. The business has a strong presence online with their patent-pending TwoStick frames.

The shop provides the opportunity to donate half his profits to a mission that tugs at his heart, Bridge2Rwanda.

“Bridge2Rwanda is a gap year after high school residence education program for some of the smartest and most capable young people in eastern Africa,” says Scott. Once the students finish 15 months in the program one hundred percent of them receive scholarships to universities, most of them in this country.

Scott spends between four and five weeks a year in Rwanda. “That’s a God thing,” he adds. “The thing I need to do there is exactly what I can do.”

At home and at The Nest in Chirpwood, he serves Westrock Coffee from Rwanda, which can also be found in a local grocery store. The coffee is called “life changing” because it provides jobs for people in Rwanda, who have to pay for their children to attend school. The owner of the coffee company works with farmers to select higher quality coffee beans.

When Scott is not in Rwanda or at Chirpwood, he enjoys walks in the woods. “It helps me get perspective and focus,” he says.

“The word I would use for Dad is ‘sneaky’” says Bill, “that is, Dad is sneaky smart, sneaky thoughtful, sneaky ‘cultured’ and sneaky competent at nearly everything he does. He’s traveled a ton, he has accomplished a lot, he’s knowledgeable on any issue under the sun, but you would never know that because his life is one of humility. Students gravitate towards that.

“You want to know that your role models and teachers are human, and Dad has a certain vulnerability and humility that comforts people. He’s not an ivory tower professor full of head knowledge, but a real person who relates to people on an individual level.”

Kate adds, “I’ve often had trouble describing Dad to those who don’t know him. He’s a man who might spend a morning hand-finishing wooden frames at Chirpwood, but he’s also a man who listens to literary classics on audiobook on his drive home, a man who initiates a needed heartfelt talk after dinner.

“He’s a dad who taught me to work hard and have grit, but he’s also a dad who loved helping me pick out my prom dress, a dad who’s let me see him cry watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’

“The varied aspects of who he is, though,” Kate adds, “are all rooted in an honest search to understand others. He is driven by making them feel loved, known, welcome and enough.”

Cipperly can be contacted at recipes@cipperly.com.

Recipes:

Scott’s Ten Minute Breakfast
1 or 2 links Publix’s Greenwise Chipotle and Monterey Jack Chicken Sausage
2 slices Dave’s Killer Bread Raisin the Roof
1 small red or yellow pepper
A handful of mushroom pieces
2 squares white cheddar cheese.
Heat pan and coat with cooking spray.
Use steak knife and paper plate as cutting board for mushroom, peppers, and chicken sausage. Cut all into very small pieces
Add finely chopped pepper, mushroom and chicken sausage to hot pan; stir while cooking.
Put raisin bread in toaster oven on toast setting.
When pepper is cooked to taste, transfer contents of pan to paper plate.
Add 3/4 cup eggbeaters and 1 real egg to pan. Break yolk.
Sprinkle sausage/mushroom/pepper on top and press into mix.
Flip egg/sausage/mushroom/pepper once.
Turn off stove. The omelette will finish cooking while you remove raisin toast.
Cut omelette in half. Add small square white cheddar cheese to each half. Fold each half to create quarter circle with cheese inside.
Serve open face on toast-two portions. Easily feeds, two, but I eat it all by myself.

Scott’s Quick Dish
Place a frozen rice and black bean bowl meal in the microwave to cook.
In a skillet, sauté onions and peppers and add desired about of chicken pieces. When chicken is cooked, add fresh salsa from the refrigerator section in the grocery store. Continue to cook until thoroughly heated. Serve with rice and beans on the side.

Overnight French Toast
Scott made this dish on Sunday nights for their son Bill and his friends.
8 (3/4-inch thick) slices French bread
4 eggs
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp. orange juice
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, divided
Powdered sugar
Place bread in a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish. Combine eggs, milk, orange juice, vanilla and salt; beat well. Pour mixture over bread slices; turn slices over to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet; remove 4 slices bread from dish, and sauté in butter 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Repeat procedure with remaining butter and bread slices. Sprinkle toast with powdered sugar. Makes 4 servings.

Mac and Cheese
4 cups dry macaroni
16 oz. grated sharp cheddar
4 cups milk
4 eggs
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Boil macaroni in salted water as directed on package; rinse with cold water. Can cook the day before,
Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish and layer half macaroni, sprinkle with salt, then add half cheese. Add remaining cheese.
In a bowl heat the milk in the microwave a little to warm. Add beaten eggs and stir well. Pour over mac and cheese to cover the casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for about one hour or until bubbly.

Old-Fashioned Grits
4 cups water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup uncooked stone-ground grits
2 Tbsp. butter
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Bring water and salt to a boil in a heavy saucepan; gradually
whisk in grits. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 20 to
25 minutes, or until thick, stirring often.
Remove from heat; stir in butter and pepper. Makes 4 servings.

Sausage and Croissant Casserole
The Moodys’ involvement with Rwanda included helping about 30 students attend the three-day Passion conference in Atlanta. Trish cooked breakfast for the group, including making several of these casseroles.
1 lb. hot ground pork sausage (such as Jimmy Dean)
1 1/4 cups (5 oz.) shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
6 green onions, sliced
1 (13.22-oz.) pkg. mini croissants (about 24), torn into
bite-sized pieces
Vegetable cooking spray
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese (about 8 oz.)
Cook sausage about 8 minutes in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring to crumble. Toss together sausage, Parmesan cheese and next 3 ingredients; arrange mixture in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Whisk together milk and next 2 ingredients; pour over the sausage mixture. Cover and chill dish for 8 hours.
Preheat oven to 350. Uncover casserole, and sprinkle with Gruyère cheese. Bake 45 minutes or until golden. Let stand 10 minutes.

Easy Microwave Chili
“All four of us love this easy chili recipe,” says Trish, “and Scott likes it served over tortilla chips. The best part is that you can make it in one dish and can refrigerate and warm again – all in the same dish.”
1 lb. extra lean ground beef or ground turkey (works well w/3/4 lb. also)
1 medium onion, chopped small
1 can (about 15 oz.) black beans, undrained
1 can (about 15 oz.) tomato sauce
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. cumin powder
In a large round bowl, cover and microwave on high ground beef and onion for about 6 minutes or until meat is done and no longer pink. (You will need to stop a couple of times to stir the beef and break it up so all is cooked thoroughly.)
Add remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly. Microwave on high 6 minutes. Stir thoroughly. Microwave another 6 minutes. Let cool. Serve.
Can add garlic to the ingredients.

Scott’s Favorite Pecan Pie
½ cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1 unbaked 9-inch pastry shell
1 to 1¼ cups pecan halves
Combine butter, sugar, and corn syrup; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Let cool slightly. Add eggs, vanilla, and salt to mixture; mix well.
Pour filling into unbaked pastry shell, and top with pecan halves. Bake at 325° for 50 to 55 minutes. Serve warm or cold. Makes one 9-inch pie.

Wassail
When the Moodys lived in Vermont, a friend served this at a Bible study, and the house smelled wonderful. It is one of their favorites.
2 quarts apple juice
2¼ cups pineapple juice
2 cups orange juice
1 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 (3-inch) stick cinnamon
1 tsp. whole cloves
Combine all ingredients in a Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Uncover and simmer an additional 20 minutes. Strain and discard cinnamon and cloves. Serve hot. Makes 3 quarts.

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