Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday......Getting Ready for the Weekend

If you're ever in the neighborhood, stop in!!
The door is always open!

Flood Waters

This week's Bible reading included Psalm 61...one of
my favorite psalms - especially verse two
"From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I."

The dictionary defines overwhelm as "to submerge or to bury...." something that completely covers us - usually with a negative outcome, such as raging waters from a flood.

Every year hundreds of people are drawn to these waters of the Potomac River...and every year, there are reports of boaters, swimmers, tubers having to be rescued because the waters that are often calm and rather shallow become high, strong and even deadly. And it can happen so quickly!

Life is like that - and, for me, life as a grieving mom, is like that! Many days are calm and even peaceful. The waters are smooth and enjoyable. Some days the waters start to churn a bit...but I think of the times I've been white water rafting. With a good guide along with me, these times on the water can actually be exciting or even rewarding! However, there are times when the waters threaten to overwhelm - and I feel I am drowning. These terrifying waters usually appear suddenly and when I least expect them.

During these times, I often cling to Psalm 61:2. And my Heavenly Father rescues me....pulling me to the safety of a higher rock! Sometimes those rocks are just below the surface and Christ sets my feet back on solid ground. And sometimes I tend to be lifted high above the water to those cliffs along the shore! However, He has never left me in the dark waters that threaten to overwhelm me!!

Oh...and one cool note about that photo above. It was taken from Harper's Ferry in West Virginia. Looking at the photo, you see Virginia on the left, Maryland on the top right and West Virginia at the bottom! How cool is that!! Have a great - calm waters - day!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Thanks Cyndie

Not much time to post today...but just wanted to say I'm a winner!! Amazing, yes and oh so much fun!! I won a drawing over at my friend, Cyndie's blog - and just for asking too many questions!! Imagine that!
That is her sweetheart of a little girl, Elle, in the picture! Check out her blog to see how she gets her hair so cute!!

And thanks for all the interest in the muffins - I know one more thing we girls all have in common!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Just One Muffin, Please

This morning was such a pretty one - nice enough for Hubbie and I to enjoy our morning coffee on the deck...usually our deck is best enjoyed in the afternoon. And what would have been perfect with that morning drink?? A fresh homemade muffin straight out of the oven...with just a bit of butter melting over the middle!!

Sounds yummo to me - but making homemade muffins always means baking a dozen....and I only need one (or two!) but you can't just make one!! UNTIL NOW.....

I'm tellin' you, I learn the coolest things in blogland!! Jennifer at http://smellingcoffeetoday.blogspot.com/ has such an enjoyable blog - you really should check it out - and not too long ago, I got this recipe from her for Six Week Bran Muffins! Yep, you make up the batter and it keeps in the fridge for six weeks - and you can make as many...or as few..muffins as you need!! How cool is that??

And, trust me - that are delicious!! I even made two last evening when my daughter stopped by on her way home - she loved 'me too!! I did half the recipe because I don't think I have anything big enough to mix up all that batter or store it in my fridge...but halving worked great! Hope you try 'em soon!

Six Week Bran Muffins
15 oz box Raisin Bran Cereal
3 cups sugar
5 cups flour
5 t. baking soda
2 t. salt
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 qt. buttermilk
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. cloves
1 t. cinnamon

Mix dry ingredients into a big bowl. Add liquid ingredients. Keep covered in refrigerator.
To bake muffins, fill muffin cups 1/2 full. (Batter is very thick.) Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes.
Will keep for 6 weeks in refrigerator.
(You can "healthy" these up by using wheat flour and Total Raisin Bran if you really want to.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thankful Thursday - a reminder

I am thankful today that my God is the same yesterday, today and forever. When it seems as if Satan has won a great victory, the promises I know about God are the same today as they were yesterday. God is our shield, our strong tower, a counselor and He is the Prince of Peace...offering hope and comfort in the midst of any trial. Yes, Satan might be rejoicing but God is still in control.

Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever."

I have a very heavy prayer burden today....if you think of it, lift it up in prayer today. Thanks.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wordless Wednesday....A Birthday Party!!

Birthday Girl, Indeed!!

Cake, Presents......and Chaos!!!

Mommy, Daddy and Miss Roo!

Life is GREAT when you are one!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pizza Man Wisdom

Proverbs 14:4 "Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox."

I know this verse has much to do with work ethics, laziness and being productive. Certainly, the farmer without oxen does not have the worry and chore that comes with mucking stalls; however, he also has no way to plow his field or harvest his grain! But this verse is also a reminder to check our focus. Yes, many blessings we enjoy simply because we have a Heavenly father that loves us. But, often, our blessings come with much effort, long nights, sacrifice or even tears. And if our focus is on the stalls to be mucked, how quickly we can lose sight of the blessing of the harvest!!

This is true for all of us....but this morning I was thinking of mommies with little ones. This story comes to mind - when our three were little we often made road trips to visit my parents. Somehow, it became our little tradition that whenever we returned home, we would unpack the car and then order pizza delivered. Such a small thing was such a big deal for my little guys!! The three of them would wait anxiously for the pizza man to arrive and then squeal with delight once he knocked on the door!

I greeted the pizza man, after one such trip, with my children squealing and giggling, feeling just a bit too travel-weary! And I will never forget what he said. He smiled, "I love the sounds of a happy house!" Happy!?!? I sorta thought the kids were overly wound from being in the car for eight hours, too loud, and even starting to aggravate my last nerve....how quickly that pizza man changed my focus! My children were playing, laughing and happy (and I didn't even have to cook! :) )

Time does fly. Certainly I don't want to miss the joy of my blessings today because I am focused on the dirty stalls....or other inconveniences that may come with those blessings!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Simply A Phone Call

Today I am joining the discussion At the Well.......

In the past, how has God lead you to serve someone in a way that was not quite how you would have expected?

What can you do today to serve someone else without spending a dime?

How have you benefited or been blessed by God after serving someone else?

I think of the easiest (and least expensive) ways to reach out to someone…to be a blessing…is (this is deep!) the telephone – to actually call someone! – followed, closely by the handwritten note. In this day of fast technology and instant communication, often, while we may be “in touch”, we are more and more isolated. This is especially true for the older generation…but not exclusive to our senior friends. There are lonely folks everywhere or even those who simply feel alone.

One of our most basic needs is companionship – and receiving a note and, especially, sharing a phone call can be a tremendous blessing…to both ends of the line!! Usually while I am having my quiet time, I ask God to give me a name of someone I might contact during the day….He often brings to mind a couple folks. I make a point to call them before I get involved in my day and what a blessing those few moments on the phone are to me.

One unexpected circumstance….I dropped a note to a senior lady from our church…told her I was praying for her and her family and asked her to be sure and let me know if there was anything at all I could do to be a help. When I called her a couple days later she said there was, in fact, something I could do – pick up their new vacuum cleaner!?!? Apparently it had been ordered before her husband had surgery, and now she had no way to get across town to pick it up and it was certainly a worry to her! It was no problem for me but, my goodness, how happy she was!! That small errand has led to a sweet friendship that is a tremendous blessing to me!

Serving others doesn’t have to cost us a lot but, goodness, the rewards are abundant! How would you answer that second question above? I would love to hear your ideas.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

To All the Dads.......

Friday, June 19, 2009

One More Father's Day Wish

I have had a good time this week thinking about the different dads I know and love - and I hope all of them have a wonderful Father's Day this weekend! Just one more I want to mention....my brother!!

My brother is the good-looking one in our family. He is also, by far, the brilliant one in our family. Growing up, we both did well in school; however, I studied - and studied hard - for my grades while he glanced at his books and got the best of grades (and, no, I still haven't let go of that fact after all these years!) He has Mom's charismatic personality. He is easy to like and everyone likes him! He has Dad's strength of character.

Isn't it funny how family members each seem to fill certain roles in a family? I've always been intriqued by that. My brother has always been the peace-maker in our family...and wants everyone to be happy - often at the expense of his own desires. He is a great dad...very devoted to his two boys. I admire how involved and "hands-on" he is with my nephews.

Scott - I hope you have a wonderful Father's Day!! I love you, little brother!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Roo-Roo!!

UNBELIEVEABLE...can it really be one whole year that, early one morning, our daughter nudged her hubbie and whispered, "Now, don't get excited but I think I might be in labor!?!" To which he promptly bolted out of bed! And several hours later, God introduced us to Miss Riley Jane!! At the risk of sounding old.....my goodness, time goes so fast!! But, its true...Riley - affectionately known as Miss Roo - is ONE today!!

Let's see - she has her momma's smile and zest for life, her daddy's feet! and always "thinking" attitude and the the prettiest blue eyes that she must get from her Poppy!! She fills our hearts to full and overflowing with love and real joy!!
Just a few of my favorite pictures..................

Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl!! We Love You!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Blizzard

Still thinking about fathers this week...and for my walk down memory lane today, I have been remembering my own dad! So many memories - of easy, carefree days...of special life events....of perfect vacations....of great advice....the model of a true gentleman and such strong character! Not doubt, my sweetest memory is the evening I spent with my dad in the hospital's hospice wing. Dad's cancer was hurting and he slept alot from the medicine but when he was awake, Dad was very alert and we had much time to talk - and to just be together. I wanted so much to know for sure that Dad was confident about eternity. Although he was a "good" man - a very good man - I had never really heard his testimony. I had asked him about it and he said he knew he was going to Heaven but I wanted to hear his testimony.......and God gave me that privilege that night in the hospital. Such a clear, Bible testimony of putting his faith in Christ and accepting Him as his savior. I KNOW my dad is in Heaven...no doubt lovin' on my boy!!...and I know I will see them both again!!

One favorite memory that came to mind this week was a really "old" one...back from my pre-school years! (Honestly, this is probably as far back as my memory goes - I really don't remember much of anything before this one!) We moved from Norfolk to Fairfax the winter before I turned four. We were staying in a small motel (The White House Motel..no kidding) not far from my dad's new office while waiting for our moving truck to arrive. There was snow in the forecast....a first for me!! I remember - vividly - waking up to not just snow but a blizzard!! Two feet of snow (this detail I did look up on the internet...how cool that you can do that!)!!

The city was completely shut down....except for one small diner across from the "White House". I remember Dad carrying me on his shoulders (Mom was carrying my little brother) and forging a path across the deserted highway to that diner so we could have breakfast. I wish I could remember more details...like what we had for breakfast or even what we did later that day?!?....but I totally remember the sense of adventure - and nothing to fear or fret about - as I rode up on my Dad's shoulders!! My dad - my hero!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Its Father's Day week...and I have been thinking (much) about the different men in my life who are dads....my own dad, my sweet husband, my brother, my son-in-law....and I love each of them in a special way. I hope to recognize each of them this week while I blog and hope they each have a wonderful Father's Day this coming weekend!

Today....I am thinking about the wonderful father of my own children - my sweet hubbie! His dependability, his practicality, his loyality have been the rocks of stability that all of us - all of the kids and especially I - have clung to...especially during these last three years of grief. Dads are often "forgotten grievers" but he has managed to support each of us..and has grown himself along the way. He is even becoming somewhat of a "softy" in his old age! :)

I thought I would share one of his favorite recipes. It is so incredibly easy that I almost hesitate to share it - but he loves it! Shepherd's Pie!! Just the name of this dish can make my children cringe....it is NOT one of their favorites but, growing up, they knew every time it was Dad's turn to pick dinner, there was a good chance, it would be shepherd's pie for dinner! Hubbie just loves any dish that mixes everything together - the rest of us, not so much!

This dinner is definitely a complete meal in one dish deal! But it does taste yummy!

Shepherd's Pie

Brown 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef in a skillet. I season my ground beef with salt, pepper, garlic salt and some dried onions. Season yours to taste. Drain the beef and turn the heat to low. Stir in two cans of golden mushroom soup and 1 to 1 1/2 soup cans of water (depending on how soupy you like it). The soup turns into a tasty gravy so I tend towards more water. (I believe a more traditional shepherd's pie would have mushrooms added here....but we are not big mushroom fans - especially Hubbie so that would really ruin it for him!) Simmer on a low boil while you make your mashed potatoes.

Make mashed potatoes your favorite way. I do not care for "homemade" mashed potatoes - a lot of work and not as tasty. I also do not care for the potatoes flakes but usually use fresh mashed potatoes, such as Ore Ida in the refrigerator section, that you microwave. I season these to taste with milk, butter, salt/pepper and sometimes sour cream.

When the potatoes are ready, transfer the ground beef mixture to a casserole dish. Layer on top of that a favorite vegetable of your choice. I have used peas, corn, peas/carrots or even mixed vegetables. This is often a good time to use up leftover veggies in the fridge. Spread the mashed potatoes on top of the vegetables.

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 375 until the potatoes are golden brown and the gravy is bubbly. If your pan is shallow, you might want to put your casserole dish on a baking pan to catch boil overs. Serve with fresh dinner rolls or biscuits and it is a complete dinner.

If your hubbie is a real meat and potatoes kind of guy....don't be surprised if he takes "too many" helpings!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Is that Legal??

Another recipe for a great day….
Take six friends who share a love for the Savior, as well as good dining and hunting for a bargain
Add in one positively adorable baby – just for sweetness
Stir in a lot of laughs, good food and, even some coupons
Top it all off with a beautiful, sunny summer day
And you have a really good time had by all!!

Yesterday, my girlfriends and I spent several hours at the Yankee Candle Flagship store – thousands of square feet of treasure to be found as well as, I have no idea how many, candles….definitely a nasal sensory overload (I mean delight!) We also spent a few hours in downtown historic Williamsburg – a lot of browsing and even a few treats. In the Wythe Candy Store, we discovered just about anything dipped and coated in chocolate….including chocolate covered twinkies!?!? Is that even legal??

Speaking of legal….when one girlfriend (who graciously offered to do all the driving) comes to a fork in the road and takes the road to the right (granted it looks like a right turn but is really a road with its own stoplight straight ahead) and stops at said redlight – and then drives right on!…..that can’t be legal??? But it sure was funny?!?!

We really did have a great time yesterday. We had lunch at Chownings Tavern and, then, dinner at Pierce’s BBQ – does it get any better? And not a thunderstorm all day…finally. I'm so glad we do these every month!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thankful Thursday......another morning when I am out the door early - but not to the dentist! yeah. Once a month, a group of friends from church get together for "ladies day out" or grown-up field trips!! Always a good time - and today, we are making a day trip of it and off to colonial Williamsburg. The "colonial" is nice but I totally go for the shopping!!

So, once again, not a lot of time to blog......and SO much to say :)...but I certainly didn't want to miss a thankful Thursday and the chance to thank the Lord for a new SON-IN-LAW!!! So exciting!!

What are you thankful for today???

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

All in the Attitude

We came across this car at two different rest areas on our way down I-95 last week.....

You know...with the right attitude, this Empty-Nester phase of life could really have some perks!!

Could this be my hubby and I one day???

I don't know...but the ride sure was sweet!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


FYI: I don't know what clock blogspot is set to....maybe Tokyo time. I did leave early but not 3:30 in the morning! HA...I am nuts but that's a little much! :)

Note to self:

* I do not have to go to work
* I do not have kids at home that I have to schedule around
* My time is very flexible
* That said, there is no earthly reason to schedule any appointments - especially dentist appointments - at pre-dawn hours!!
* It is WAY too early....and I'm off to the dentist!?!?! Have mercy.

Monday, June 8, 2009

We're Back!!

Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home!!

Such true words for me....Yes, we had a WONDERFUL trip! One of our best ever! The wedding was beautiful - more than I had anticipated, even - and we spent four days with our sweetheart of a granddaughter and even had a couple days at Hilton Head...our first "just the two of us" vacation. It has been a wonderful week and I'm sure I will have lots of stories and memories - and, hopefully, some good pictures in the days ahead!!
But as great as the week was, I am always happy to be home. Yes, it is humble....but its home! Being at home just makes me feel happy inside!! Thanks to all my blogging friends for your kind comments while I was gone...and for your prayers for the wedding - it was wonderful!! I hope to get caught up soon....looking forward to checking in with everyone.
Don't have the wedding photos yet...but I did have a grand time with this one......