Wednesday, April 28, 2010

An Explanation for My Silence

These last few weeks have left me with very little to say.  That is why my posts have been sparse.  Remember when I used to post faithfully everyday?    I could share all the hard stuff about daily life in our world, but that somehow doesn't seem appropriate.  I could share new and exciting recipes, but I am not cooking things like that now.  I am back to my grandmother's roots of just plain and simple Southern food.  It keeps the grocery bill down that way.  My mother once told me that there was a Chinese curse that said, "May your life be interesting."  I have to admit that I can't stand the roller coaster ride of life that we have found ourselves on during these past few months.  I like things simple, and these days have been anything but simple.  They are down right stressful. 

I know that we aren't the only family feeling the pinch and uncertainties.  We are better off than most because we know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Michael will be starting work as soon as his clearance is approved.  How long will that take?  A few weeks, a month or two...we don't know.  If we had some answers to our many logistical questions, that would help a lot with the stress levels.

I have missed the hope of my garden this year.  Planting a garden for me is more than harvesting food.  It is the anticipation of what will grow in just a few weeks.  It represents hope as well as beauty.  My garden has always been my sanctuary and quiet place.  Kids don't usually follow me down to the garden because they know I will put them to work.  The garden also brings delight to the taste buds.  My broccoli and cabbage and lettuces are all doing well.  I just don't know if we will be here to enjoy much  of their production.  I have put a halt on other garden plans for this summer.  I can't bear the thought of doing all of the work and not having hope that we will be here to enjoy it.   

I never want to be a downer for people who come here to read.  I have spent my whole life encouraging others.  I believe that has been a gift given to me from the Lord.  It is very unnatural for me to complain or wallow in self pity.  One of my mottoes in life is "Take your lemons and make some lemon aide."  Some days that is easier than others. But for today, that is exactly what I plan  on doing.

grace and peace,

Monday, April 26, 2010

I Want a Weekend Redo

The highlight of my weekend was that I am now fast walking over three miles up and down hills once again. If you know me very well, you know that means my weekend wasn't the best that I have ever seen. Let me tell you about last night...

I was tired and had put on my ugly jammies.   These are the jammies that are so comfortable that I don't care what they look like.  I had gone back into the kitchen to visit with my oldest son while we were waiting on the second son to arrive home.  My husband and two other kids had been gone to baseball games all day.  They weren't expected in until close to midnight due to all the rain delays that made the ball games get so off schedule.  I had the big wooden front door open so I could see when our second son pulled into the driveway.  All of the sudden the gentle English Mastiff started barking in such a way that I had never heard before.  She was mad, and I just knew that some dumb shmuck was trying to break into the house.  I ran into the living room to find that the English Mastiff had seen her reflection in the glass storm door.  She was about to tear down the door to get to the evil dog on the other side.  I quickly opened the glass door so she could go bark her head off at the imaginary intruder.  My oldest son and I were laughing at this time, and then all of the sudden he looked at me with his face all wrinkled up and asked, "What is that awful smell?"  I too smelled the foul odor and I remembered that I had smelled that smell once in my childhood.  I looked down on the floor and I saw little droplets of liquid, and it all came rushing back to me.  Dogs are designed with anal glands that drain off foul smelling liquid.  I grew up with poodles and my mom used to deal with all of that nasty stuff.  I suddenly realized that I was the mom and I had better do something about the mess quickly.  When Missy barked so hard at her reflection, I guess her anal glands drained in the middle of my living room.  I quickly cleaned up the mess, but the smell had already permeated our upstairs.  Think about a skunk and add enough body weight to make it 200 pounds.  That was the kind of foul smell that I am talking about!

My oldest son decided that he couldn't stay in the house so he promptly ran to the deck for some fresh air.  In a matter of minutes, he threw open the door and asked me if I had called the police!  "No, I didn't think they would want to smell that smell so I most certainly didn't call the police.  By the way, why do you ask?"

Two police cars were coming down our road with blue lights on, but they were driving slow.  We live out in the middle of the country and we don't see police lights often.  I don't think we have ever seen them out here.  Then I realized that our second son was actually being escorted home by the police cars.  I knew this probably wasn't good.  I had to walk out front in my ugly jammies to address the policemen.  I knew I had no credibilty in such ugly jammies, but there wasn't any time to go change.  When our son pulled in, the policemen continued to drive down the road.  I was never so thankful to see cars drive away in all of my life. 

On the drive home, my son's headlights went out.  He couldn't get them to come back on so in all of his 16 year old wisdom he decided to drive home with his parking lights in the dark.  He said that the policeman pulled him over.  Apparently we didn't go over with this child how to handle being pulled over by a policeman so Josh gets out of his car to shake hands with them.  Let me just say I am so thankful that they weren't state troopers.  Josh probably would have been shot!  They were very kind to him and told him that they would escort him home. 

I was so relieved that Josh hadn't done something to cause him to be in trouble.  As I was turning around to go back into the house, I saw one police car coming back.  He had turned around in our neighbor's driveway and was heading back out by way of our house.  Missy was still outside and she must have been feeling much better so she runs full steam ahead to chase the police car.  I am horrified because I can't do anything with her 200 pound self when she is really wanting to do something.  Plus I wasn't about to run after our rebellious dog chasing a policeman in my jammies!  To make matters worse, this policeman had a K9 unit.  He had a loud barking shepherd in the back of the car.  Missy was going to take down that dog.  I guess she just knew it was the same dog that she saw earlier in the storm door!  The guy was trying so hard not to hit Missy with his car.  He stopped and then he would drive a few inches and stopped again.  I just knew we were going to be ticketed for having an unruly dog!  I was yelling at my oldest son to do something with his dog.  I never saw how that one ended because after he went out to rescue the policeman from Missy, I promptly went back into the house and went to bed. 

The last thing I heard before falling asleep was our second son closing and locking the front door and yelling, "What is that awful smell?"

grace and peace,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Broken Days and the Promises of Rainbows

Some days everything just seems to be broken.  That was yesterday.  I was so glad to finally be able to bury my head in a pillow and close my eyes for the night.  I could bore you with all the melodramatic details, but that would just be reliving all the frustrations of the day.  I am just ready to have some questions answered concerning this move thing.  I hate it when my kids whine, and I don't want to be a whiner either.  No, I want to throw an outright fit and scream and yell at the top of my lungs, but I don't.  That isn't what is needed so I will refrain...for now. 

  I had my windows opened during the night last night.  This morning I awoke to the singing of birds.  Instantly I was reminded that if the Lord takes care of the birds, then how much more will He care for me.  I smiled and crawled out of bed and knew that His promises are still  alive and well.  It has been said so many times that to have a rainbow we must first have the rain.  During both the time of rain as well as the beauty of the rainbow, God is still in control.  I hope I remember that throughout the day!!!!

grace and peace,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Apple Pie Filling Just for Kay!!!

I have had a request for my home canned Apple Pie Filling Recipe.  It has taken me awhile to locate it since it was packed away with my canning supplies.  Thanks for waiting on me Kay.  I am sorry it has taken so long!

Apple Pie Filling

6 Quarts Blanched (1 minute) sliced apples

Combine the following:
5 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup clear jell
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
2 1/2 cups cold water
5 cups apple juice

Stir and cook the combined ingredients until thick and bubbly.  Add 3/4 cup bottled lemon juice to boiling mixture.  Boil 1 minute and stir constantly.  Fold in apples.  Place in hot quart jars.  Remove air bubble.  Process in boiling water bath for 25 minutes. 

grace and peace,

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tea Party Rally

Yesterday I loaded up our youngest child and went to a TEA Party Rally.  I was impressed and so very glad that I went.  I am not that outspoken politically, although I will be more than happy to share my views when asked.  I am frustrated about many things taking place in our country, and I wanted to take a stand and let my voice be heard.  There were over 400 people that attended the rally on our local courthouse steps and lawn.  There was fantastic music along with great speakers that I agreed with wholeheartedly.  Jeff Cobble, a local lawyer, challenged us to read the Constitution to find out its meaning for ourselves.  (Amen, brother)!  He addressed the notion of it being an outdated document, and he brought many wonderful quotes from great men of the past that had a hand in the forming of our great nation.  I would have taken it a step farther...Let's teach the Constitution to our children so they KNOW what it says!!!!!  If you don't know your rights, then you are more likely to give them away.  My kids may not know the Constitution up and down, but they have a good understanding of what it says.  We will continue our lessons of this document.

TEA stands for TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY.  I had to agree again wholeheartedly!!

I saw this today on Yahoo News.  I thought it was worth sharing:

Obama, speaking Thursday night at a Democratic fundraiser in Miami, told supporters he is amused by the protesters' complaints about taxes because, contrary to their claims, he's cut taxes. "You would think they'd be saying thank you," the president said.

I don't have a clue what he is talking about.  I know that the last two years my husband has been self employed, and our tax percentage was outrageous!!!  I don't think this is what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the Constitution. 

Click on the link to read the story in our local newspaper!!!

grace and peace,

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Baptist Pound Cake with Strawberries and Cream

I am not a lover of Pound Cake, but I did happen to like this one.  My mom said that this is the best pound cake that she has ever eaten.  She gave me the recipe.  Of course I don't want pound cake unless you add sugared fruit in this case strawberries.  I also like a dollop of fresh whip cream.  (No cool whip for can keep that in the plastic bowl it came in)!

My next  piece of advice for serving the perfect pound cake is to watch the English Mastiff.  I know she looks like she is sleeping, but it is a ploy.  She is really waiting for all of us to get sidetracked and forget about her.  (Ask me how I know)!!!  She ate HALF of the whole pound cake.  She would have eaten it all, but her tongue was too short to reach any more of the cake.  She wanted me to let you know that she doesn't care if you want to add Cool Whip instead of Whipping Cream.  She likes either, but she prefers that you don't add the sugared fruit on hers! 

Baptist Pound Cake

1/2 cup shortening
2 sticks butter
3 cups sugar
5 large eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream butter and shortening until light.  Add sugar gradually.  Add eggs, beating well after each addition.  Sift flour and baking powder together.  Add alternately with milk to creamed mixture.  Stir in vanilla.  Pour into a greased and floured tube pan.  Start cake in a COLD oven.  Do not preheat oven.  Bake at 325 for about an hour and 5 to 15 minutes.  (I baked mine for an hour and 15 minutes).  Bake until golden brown and tests done.  Let cool in pan on wire rack for about 20 minutes.  Turn out of pan onto serving platter and let cool.  Serve with sugared strawberries and homemade whip cream.  Above all, keep the English Mastiff away from the cake!

Recipe Disclaimer:  It is called a pound cake for a reason.  History says the name pound cake came from a pound of butter, a pound of eggs, and a pound of sugar.  I disagree with that.  I think the name comes from the fact that when you eat it you will gain a pound for every bite!  Don't call me with your complaints of weight gain after consuming this cake!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Want to Buy Our House?

If you want to see our home and farm for sale, follow the above link!

grace and peace,

Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome

These three cows have brought many smiles to my face these last few weeks.  Let me explain...

Remember our baby calf that lost his momma?  He is the small brown calf in the picture.  We fed him a bottle for about three days after we lost his momma.  One day we went out to give it to him and he didn't want it.  This started happening at almost every evening feeding.  Then he didn't want his morning bottle so we  knew something was up with him.  We really started watching him and realized that he had started getting his milk from our Black Angus Cow.  We call her Agnus and she is the mother of the smaller Black Angus cow in the above picture.  Her "baby" still nurses so she still had some milk left for our new calf.  If you look close at the above picture, you will notice that the black calf is nursing from her momma while Stew Baby is using the smaller black calf as a pacifier!  He does this often. 

When he finally clues in that the little black cow is useless in producing milk, he too goes to the big cow and drinks.  Agnus has been very good with him.  We have bumped up her feed to support her milk production.  We are also happy because the grass is green and they are enjoying the bounty of it.  We have left a bail of hay out for them if they want it, but it has lasted over the last two weeks. 

Did I mention that I love Spring on the farm?

grace and peace,

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Praise Report

I just got back from taking Seth to the eye doctor.  We have been working with his eyes for a year now, and the difference is amazing.  The Dr. said that his vision is still getting better.   He was able to read one letter on the 20/20 line with his glasses on using his right eye.  That is a miracle.  His left eye is still the weaker of the two, but it is getting better.  He did change his prescription to get him an even clearer image, and I can't wait for Seth to see even better!  He told us that he didn't want to see him until next year.  We are so very thankful for the improvements!  Thank y'all for your prayers!!! 

grace and peace,

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Have you ever finished reading a book to find that you where sad to see the story come to an end?  You didn't want to say goodbye to your "new friends", and you really wanted to know what the next part of their life would be like.  Then you found out the author was writing a sequel to the story that you loved so much and you just couldn't wait until it was published!

Well, that is how I feel about my own life. I know that the Author and Finisher of our faith has a wonderful story to complete in us, but I am ready to start the new book! 

Let me start at the beginning...My husband lost his contract this past November.  He found work locally with a long time friend who is building a training company.  We have struggled financially for the past several months.  We believe this training company is an awesome opportunity that will grow into a fantastic company, but with the size of our family and our bills we are unable to wait until that happens.  The Lord has opened up a job with TVA that has been Michael's dream job since he first joined the Navy over 24 years ago.  We are so thankful for this opportunity.  His 12 years of Navy service time will count towards his retirement.  We are excited about the pay as well as the benefits that this will provide for our family.  Michael is thrilled about the work that he will be doing.  He will love his job, and that means a lot to anyone who works.  This is the oh so sweet part of our news.

The bitter part is that this new job requires a move for our family.  Our farm has just been put up for sale by a local real estate agent.  All of the work that we have put into our home and our farm will be enjoyed by some other family.  We are still in the process of finishing up the inside of our house.  (This will explain why I haven't been cooking such nice meals the last few weeks.  My hands have been full with paint brushes and various other tools)!  We will be leaving the community that we have grown to love over the past 9 years.  We let our roots go down deep because we never expected to be transplanted again.  Our oldest son will not be moving with us.  He will move up to his college and finish out his degree there.  I never dreamed that he would be leaving our home so soon.  I can't imagine Friday nights without him at our dinner table.  Our second son also leaves my heart aching.  He will come with us, but we are asking him to give so much at such a crucial age in his life.  He will be starting his Junior year of high school in August.  He will be leaving his friends and his comfort zone behind when we move.  He has worked so hard at football these past few years.  He says he won't be playing for the new school.  We no longer will be hosting his football friends for Friday night dinners.  My heart is so heavy for this child, but we really have no other choice in the decision.  He understands, and he is quick to let us know that.  There isn't any anger on his part about the situation although we know it is something that he wishes didn't have to happen.  Our third son is not happy about the move, but he is alright with it.  He is still at an easy age, and for that I am very thankful.  Our daughter is not thrilled, but she too will adjust to a new place easily.   She too is young enough to transplant without much root damage.

As much as I love this farm, my heart is heaviest over the fact that my family will not be together on a daily basis.  My kids are so close with one another.  Our youngest child will be devastated when he realizes that his oldest brother will not be with us.  This is the oh so bitter part of our news. 

Time will tell what the new book will be like for our family.  I am ready to see what the Lord has in store for us.  I am ready to say goodbye to the life we have known here for the last 9 years, and to start the next chapter of our life.  I wish it could be different, but it is what it is.  I am thankful that we have this opportunity.  The next few months are going to be full of lots of work.  I can't even imagine keeping our house in show ready condition with the English Mastiff living in our home!  I am sure that there will be stories to tell and laughs to be had during this transition time.  I hope you stick with us as we journey into this new life. 

grace and peace,

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Come Sit a Spell

You can sit here...

and I will sit here.  We can put our feet up or scoot the footstools out of the way and just gently rock in the beauty of this spring day.  Would you like some Sweet Tea or do you prefer coffee?  Perhaps ice water with lemon would be more to your liking.  Just let me know what you need and I can get it for you. 

I have so many things to share with you, but I still have to wait just a bit longer.  I want to make sure all the loose ends are tied up before I say too much.  I can say news is bittersweet.  There are some parts of it that make my heart very heavy, but then there are some parts of it that will make things so much better for our family.  When I am at liberty to do so, I will share more.  Until then...let's enjoy the beauty of this day.

grace and peace,

P.S.  These pictures were taken yesterday at a friend's house during a Bible study.  It was so beautiful out on her porch that we held the Bible study out there.  She has a beautiful home and I love the way she has decorated it.  My favorite area may very well be her porch.  She has made it such an inviting place!  I was thankful to get to spend some time with her yesterday and enjoy the beauty of the day sipping some lemon water out of her special crystal glasses!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Benefits of the Farm

Yesterday I went to the  butcher and picked up our cow.  My freezer is once again full of ground beef and other beef products.  We have eaten almost all of the hog that we purchased this past winter.  We still have plenty of sausage to last through spring, but there isn't much else left.  Slaughtering of animals is my least favorite part of farm life.  I can't participate with any of it.  I am so thankful that we don't actually kill the animals here. We have a good facility that we take them to, and then I can pick up the meat in nice little packages.  It works best that way for me.  In the event we had to slaughter our own animals, Michael is well able to handle that task.  It is just much simpler to take them to the butcher.  My kids do much better with this whole process than myself.  They don't even bat an eyelash at it all.  I guess that is the benefits of being raised with this lifestyle!  They know their food.  They have helped raised it and cared for it.  They enjoy the benefits of their hard work.  Our table will once again be full of roasts, steaks, and hamburgers.  Did I mention that my kids really like that?

grace and peace,

Monday, April 05, 2010

Weekend Recap

Weekends are for working in the garden.  Seth is my go to watering man.  As you can see, he is dressed in the latest fashion...shorts and cowboy boots!

Weekends are for resting and holding the lap dog!

And of course, weekends are for baseball.  Seth started his baseball team this past weekend.  He so enjoyed it! 

Weekends are for eating family dinners together and drinking sweet tea!

Weekends are for fun and smiling!  Hope you enjoyed your Easter weekend as much as we did!!!

grace and peace,

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Resurrection Day

 Happy Resurrection Day... From our family to yours!

grace and peace,

Friday, April 02, 2010

Easter Preps

I have been running around all day thinking it was Saturday!  I was thrilled when I realized that it was just Friday and I had a whole extra day before Easter Sunday.   We usually have company come over for the Easter holiday, but this year we are keeping it simple.  It will just be the seven of us around the dinner table.  We didn't color eggs or participate in baskets this year.  (The above picture was taken several years ago).  We didn't make our traditional spring sugar cookies either.  What are we doing to celebrate?  We will be heading to church and then back home again for a nice dinner together.  We are going to RELAX and enjoy the warm weather by spending time outside without working.  I am looking forward to the day, and so is everyone else in my family.  I like it when holidays can be simple and peaceful.  My kids enjoy it too.  We also love going all out and having large celebrations for the holidays, but just not this year.  How about you?  Are you keeping it simple or are you going to enjoy a large celebration? 

grace and peace,

Thursday, April 01, 2010

I'm Walking on Sunshine!!!

The sun has been shining and I have been busy as a little bee.  I have enjoyed time in the garden as well as the house.  I have been cooking and baking a lot here lately.  It is amazing what a little sunshine will do for a person's attitude.  It makes me feel so much better!!!  My kiddos are all on Spring Break this week and we are all pitching in and getting some much needed things accomplished.  Hope y'all are enjoying some sunshine wherever you happen to be!!  Keep an eye out for some new recipes coming soon. 

grace and peace,