To Smell or Not to Smell

0 comments Posted on June 24, 2021

by Davalynn Spencer

Imagine living without an active sense of taste or smell, two closely related gifts. Things could become dull—and dangerous. What if we couldn’t smell smoke?

This predicament stirred in the back of my mind early last year when I signed a contract with Barbour Publishing for a contemporary novella about a chef who lost her senses of taste and smell. Then COVID hit, and I met people to whom this was happening.

Some asked of my work-in-progress, “Are you going to put the pandemic in your story?”

A resounding “NEVER!” echoed through my heart, but I managed to politely answer with a quieter “no.” I didn’t want any reminders in my story of the unprecedented year we were experiencing.

Yet I was surprised again when one of my advisors for the novella, a former executive chef, had been afflicted with a sinus infection like my heroine and lost his senses of taste and smell as a result. Wow. I had just run into a real-life version of my fictional character.

The chef’s life eventually normalized when the senses so critical to his profession returned. But during the ordeal, and still today, he trusts the Lord to direct his life whether in a commercial kitchen or cooking for his family at home.

My character had to learn to do the same.

The pivotal scripture for my novella, “Taste and See,” is Psalm 34:8.

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! (NKJV)

I have wondered why the Psalmist linked taste with sight rather than smell, but it may simply have been his way of saying, “Check this out—how good is God!”

How good indeed, that He would give us such delight through our senses. We can see, touch, taste, smell and hear so many things in His spectacular creation. And even if those gifts no longer function, we can taste and see with our hearts the blessings of trusting Him.

Wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters, Davalynn Spencer can’t stop #lovingthecowboy. She writes award-winning Western romance, both contemporary and historical, teaches writing workshops, and wrangles Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley. Connect with her at or on Facebook at


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