Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Then God said, “Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear.” And that is what happened.     God  called the dry ground “land” and the waters “seas.” And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:9-10

There is just something about the sound of waves rolling in that is calming to my soul.  It almost feels as if when each wave rolls in, I can throw my concerns into the water and they all wash away. I'm so glad that God created the oceans and seas and called them good.

I always seem to encounter Jesus when I'm near the water.  The Celtics have talked for many many years about thin places - those places where the "veil" is so thin between this world and the next world ... Or between this world and the spiritual world.  I think being near a massive blue green body of water bordered by sugar white sand beaches and blue sky is a thin place for me. God's majesty is awe inspiring and I believe HE is so close I can almost touch him. 

Are there places you go where you experience the presence of the living Christ more? Have you experienced a thin place?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sumptuous Saturday . . .on Monday - EEK!

Let me tell you about a wonderful and easy cake!!  This is a recipe for Carrot Cake that is one of the best I've ever tasted. . . so I'm classifying this recipe as Sumptuous!!  Yes, I know it is not Saturday - life just got in the way of blogging!!!  Do you see the picture of my old timey grater?  It works so well!!!  It was Mark's grandmothers, I believe!!  I guess you can tell from the other picture that the last time I made Carrot Cake was on the fourth of July. 

Carrot Cake

1 1/2 cup oil

2 cups sugar

4 eggs separated - jumbo

Sift these ingredients together:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour - I prefer white lily

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp nutmeg


1 pound carrots grated very fine to make 3 cups grated


Put oil in bowl of mixer. Add sugar and mix. Add egg yolks one at a time mixing after each one. Add carrots next. Add flour mixture about  a third at a time. Beat egg whites in a clean bowl with clean beaters until peaks form. Gently fold into cake batter. You need three 9" pans - grease and flour them and cut out wax paper circles and put in pan and divide batter between the three pans. Bake in preheated oven - 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes then cool on rack completely before icing




2 - 8 ounce blocks of cream cheese - let soften

2 tsp vanilla

2 sticks land o lakes salted butter - softened (no other brand is as good!)

2 boxes powdered sugar

1 cup chopped pecans (if you like nuts)

Enough pretty pecan halves to decorate bottom of cake


Mix butter and cream cheese in mixer. Add sugar and vanilla . Stir in nuts. Ice cake. Decorate with pecan halves. You will have extra icing - be generous between layers. Mark likes to dip pecan halves in the leftover icing.  This recipe is actually a "double batch" of icing -- one recipe (which would be half of this one) is not enough . . .so since we have double icing, I definitely think this classifies as sumptuous!!


Happy baking!!



Sunday, September 8, 2013

Live Love Laugh

Today was one of those extra special days.  We celebrated Nancy's birthday and it was a surprise for her!  Nancy and Nathan teach a young adult Sunday School class and the class planned a "get-together" following church today.  Nancy even signed up to bring the buns!  What Nancy didn't know was that Suzan (hostess with the mostess) sent invitations to some family members and close friends.  We all arrived and those of us who were "surprises -- meaning not class members" were ushered into the party room.  Meanwhile, families and little children were playing and chatting and cooking!

These decorations are sooooo cute!!!  The tables were lovely and all the decorations were so cute!  I  had been wondering how to hang those tissue paper balls from the ceiling . . .Suzan hung them with scotch tape.  I need to email her this week and ask if the tape made marks on her ceiling!!  I was afraid to do that so I can't wait to hear from her!

Suzan and her mom own all of these wonderful chair covers and sashes.  They told me the name of the online company . . .I must get that info (because of course, I have forgotten it!!)  It is something that ends in "rite."  She said they purchased the covers and sashes for a ridiculously low price and have used them multiple times!!  Everytime they put the sashes on sale, she said they order another color or two!!

So, Nancy is notoriously late.  If she is reading this, she knows it is true :-) and we love her lots!  Today it worked out well because we were all able to arrive and be in the room when she got to the party.  The funny thing is that they didn't tell her husband, Nathan, about the party.  He said he found out when he was walking in and there were friends walking in with him . . .friends that are not in that young adult class!  He and Nancy were in separate cars so that was a good thing!! 

Alice and Grace (above) looked so pretty today.

Here is the guest of honor.  Nancy is one of my heroes.  Nancy is a survivor.  I've know Nancy for more than 30 years.  Nancy introduced Mark and me via a canoe trip many, many years ago . . .I knew Nancy from a young adult Bible study and Mark is Nancy's first cousin.  We've raised our children together.  We've spent most Christmas Day evenings together for 30 years.  We've taught VBS together.  We've spent hundreds of hours on the telephone.

Nancy was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago . . .and is still fighting that nasty, horrible disease.  I rarely use profanity.  I abhor it actually.  I remember vividly the day that Nancy called to tell me that she had her first recurrence.  I was standing in the kitchen and backed up to the kitchen cabinet and slid down to the floor .. . .all while saying, "Sh*t, Sh*t, Sh*t, Sh*t."  But Nancy is a FIGHTER!!!!  Nancy has three beautiful daughters and lots of friends and family and we are all so glad that she is a fighter!!  Here is a picture of Nancy and her youngest daughter, Charis, who is a freshman in college this year!!!


When Nancy came into the room, she made a little "speech" and it was a tearful speech.  She was trying to tell all of us how much we mean to her . . .and we know that and we sure do love her!!!!

Nancy and her three wonderful daughters -- Lydia, who is working as an interior designer for a local company; Miriam, who is a United Methodist Minister and Charis, a college freshman.

In the blue jacket is my mother-in-law who just happens to be Aunt Susie to Nancy.  In front of my mother-in-law is Nancy's mom.  Two beautiful women of the older generation . . .who have taught us many things!!  (Claire, Nancy's long time friend, is behind the ladies)

There were some men at the party, too!  George is on the left.  He had surgery on Friday.  Mark is in the middle and Guy is on the right.  Aren't they cute??

The centerpieces were lovely - peonies (right?) in Mason jars and balloons - can't get any better than that!!  Looks like a party to me!!

The class members provided lunch - burgers and dogs and sides - and then there was cake!!  All the children gathered 'round to help Nancy blow out the candles.

This cute little fellow in the orange shirt was amazing to Mark (who was sitting right behind where he is standing).  He was using the camera on his parent's phone . . .and he videoed and zoomed, etc.  I laughed and told Mark that I think children come into the world these days knowing how to operate all electronics!!

Nancy and all the children blew out the candles together . . .except for adorable orange shirt boy . . .he is still shooting video!!

Friends and family are so important.  Phella, Nancy and I have been friends for more than 25 years.  Back during the day when we were all stay-at-home moms, I cannot tell you how many hours we spent on the phone.  We talked about all the ages, stages, and quirks of being a stay-at-home mom and if I remember correctly, we NEVER complained about our husbands. hahahaha!   I can remember vividly the day that I found out Nancy was pregnant with Charis . . .we were in the K-Mart parking lot!!  I think we had been at the church during VBS where we were both working as teachers that year.  Over the years, I've called Nancy hundreds of times to ask medical questions.  You see, she is a nurse . . .and a good one.  After my hysterectomy, she came and helped me several times.  I trust her!!  I love her!!  She and Mark have always been close.  He sure does love her, too!! 

Today Nancy said that she wished she could write down how much everyone has meant to her, etc. but she didn't think there were words that would work.  I would like to tell you how much Nancy means to me . . .but I'm not sure there are enough words.  I just know that I love her . . .and I know she loves me.  We are friends, we are cousins by marriage, we are sisters in Christ.  We are there for each other.  That is a good friendship.  I feel so blessed by both of these women.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Savory Saturday . . .but next week might be sumptuous or even satisfying!!

Satisfying, Sumptuous, Savory Saturdays
Today's recipe is a savory one!!


There is no real name for this recipe . . .maybe we can call it Tomato Relish?  There may not be an official name but I can promise you that it is savory and delicious . . .and actually quite satisfying!!  I was so excited that my friend, Robin, from Texas, posted a recipe.  She has a great blog and you can check it out here: http://myquiltednest.blogspot.com.
I would love for some more folks to link up and share recipes this week.  Most all of my favorite recipes originated from friends or family!!
So . . .here are the ingredients for this week's recipe:
2 cans petite diced tomatoes (or any other kind you like) or you can even use fresh tomatoes, chopped and seeded (It would probably take 5 or 6 nice sized tomatoes to equal two cans)

chopped onion - I usually use a whole one - chopped into small pieces but not minced

optional - a little chopped green pepper (I didn't have any this morning)

optional - a little chopped celery (I added maybe a third of a cup - chopped pretty fine)

about 3/4 cup sugar

about 3/4 cup vinegar (equal parts vinegar and sugar)

a shake of salt and pepper

Bring all this to a boil and allow to slowly simmer until cooked down - don't cook on a temp that is too high - the sugar will burn to the bottom of your pan . . .yes, that has happened to me)

It will take a while - so don't wait until dinner time to prepare this.

The beauty of this recipe is that you can make as much as you want.  The sugar and vinegar just need to be the same amount . ..so if you are feeding a lot of people, you could use more tomatoes and onions, etc. and more vinegar and sugar.

This is what it looks like when you first start cooking it.  The color will turn darker and most of the liquid will evaporate/cook into the tomatoes (however that works??) when it is done.  When mixture has thickened and onions are tender, etc.  Remove pan from stove.  Put mixture in a glass jar (if you do put it in a glass jar and the mixture is hot, it will break the jar . . . so put a table knife down in the jar to absorb the heat and then add the tomatoes.  I have no idea why this works . . .but it does work for any hot liquid, etc.).  Now put it in the refrigerator and let it chill until mealtime.

Now are you wondering what I'm going to do with this tomato relish stuff?  Our kids are coming over for dinner tonight and I plan to serve these (of course, I'm going to cook them first).  You serve the tomato relish on top of peas, butter beans, etc.  It is delicious on all kinds of beans . . .it is so good you could almost eat it with a spoon. 

I have to put a commercial in here . . .if  you live anywhere in the greater Birmingham area . . .we now have a wonderful veggie/fruit farmer's market in our church parking lot on every Tuesday and Thursday.  Mr. Davidson arrives early - around 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. and he stays until he sells out or has to drive back home.  His fruits are veggies are reasonably priced and they are fresh and delicious.  I bought peaches and cream corn, baby limas, peaches, tomatoes, okra and new potatoes from him on Thursday (all for about $23!!!!) and that is what I plan to serve my family tonight along with some grilled beef tenderloin.


While I have been writing, the tomato mixture has been cooking.  It is not done yet, but you can see how the color is getting deeper and you can see that the onions are beginning to get tender.  I think it still needs to cook at least thirty more minutes.

I would love for you to link up with me and share a recipe.  If you try my recipe, I would love to hear back from you.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Did Jesus make PB&J's?

Isn't it amazing that something so simple - something most of our children eat every day (unless they have allergies) - something so basic . . .can show the love of Jesus to others?

We always talk about being the "hands and feet" of Jesus. I love the quote attributed to St. Teresa of Avila -- "Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world."

There are many ways to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world . . .in this city . . .in our state. People in our class are involved in all types of ministry and missions from working at the Firehouse Shelter to staffing MPower to helping with an after school Bible club and tutoring to international mission trips to building Habitat Houses to baking desserts for the Tuesday night group at our house . . .the list goes on and on. We are a large class though so it is rare for us to all participate in a project together.

This was a great Sunday for a project.  Mark was out of town so we took all the supplies to the church and set them up on Saturday night.  That was such a huge help!  It would have been hard for me to get all of the supplies up to the classroom by myself.  It helps that I work there so I have a key!!  It is sort of weird going into the church when no one else is in the building!
The "hands" at this table were all male . . .except for one sweet lady who stacked the completed sandwiches in the boxes.  I know I told you that Mark was out of town . . .so no, that is not Mark on the left . . .it is his identical twin brother, George.  People worked with people they had not really met so in addition to the end result of sandwiches for the homeless, the mission project day fostered new friendships.  What is it about working together that forges friendships?
Do you have a favorite mission project or a favorite ministry?  How are you the hands and feet of Jesus?  When?  I would love to hear your story!!