Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Easter Pics, Tennessee Ernie, and Sixteen Tons - What a Combination!

This man is my daddy!  Isn't he handsome?  This picture was taken in front of our house on Georgia Avenue in West Palm Beach, FL on an Easter Sunday morning, when I was four, and I truly believed if he would just wait for me I would marry him when I grew up.  I said earlier in the week that I was going to use the Easter theme this week and today's is a stretch so hang in there with me.  This picture was made on Easter Sunday....but from there I am going to take a different road.  Those of you who are old enough to remember might remember Tennessee Ernie Ford.  Ernest Jennings Ford (February 13, 1919 – October 17, 1991), better known as Tennessee Ernie Ford, was an American recording artist in both the country/western and gospel genres.  My daddy sang just like him.  When I was we would be in the car going somewhere and my dad would break into "Sixteen Tons."  It would become one of my favorite songs.  I remember the day I learned to play it on the guitar and sang it back to my dad...he sat there and smiled.  Tennessee Ernie was a good 20 years older than my dad but that did not matter one bit to me.  Everytime my dad would open his mouth and that velvety smooth voice would trickle out...Tennessee Ernie was timeless.  I remember when he died in 1991 I cried when I heard the news.  I never even met the man!....but I knew my dad...and to me...they had always been one and the same.   My favorite line from the lyrics is, "If you see me coming better step aside.  A lot of men didn't and a lot of men died.  One fist is iron and the onther one steel, if the right one don't get you then the left one will."  When my dad would sing that...he would ball up his broadly and shake them at you.  This man, the gentle giant would not hurt anyone.....but he sure sounded tough.  This is my first Easter without Him.  I am an Easter person...I will get through this holiday, his birthday, memorial day, Father's day (well...maybe not Father's Day)...but time will continue...and the memories will grow dimmer and sweeter....and evertime I hear "Sixteen Tons"...I will smile.  Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The History of the Easter Egg, et al.

I decided that this week was going to be all about Easter.   Thursday and Friday are easy.  That is Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, but when my kids were small one of their favorite traditions from Easter would have to be the Easter egg hunt.  We would boil, color, decorate and stuff (with candy and money) hundreds of eggs and all the grandkids would come and the men would hide the eggs in my father-in-laws pasture.  Sometimes there would be hidden under a cow patty.  You always hoped it was an old one that was dry.  Occassionally a warped male would hide an egg in a not so dry cow patty....and it would remain one would be brave enough to go after it.  I am sure all of you that celebrate Easter have egg hunt tales you could share.  Today, when I was looking at a fabrege egg at a local antique dealers I got to thinking...where did this tradition originate.  Do you know?  Well, I didn't....or if I did I had forgotten, so I went online to see.  I found out that it's pretty much common knowledge that Easter is a Christian celebration of Christ's rising, but this holiday also has pagan origins. Where did the colored eggs, cute little bunnies, baby chicks, leg of lamb dinners, and lilies come from? It turns out that "they are all symbols of rebirth and the lamb was a traditional religious sacrifice. Easter falls in the spring, the yearly time of renewal, when the earth renews itself after a long, cold winter. The word Easter comes to us from the Norsemen's Eostur, Eastar, Ostara, and Ostar, and the pagan goddess Eostre, all of which involve the season of the growing sun and new birth. The Easter Bunny arose originally as a symbol of fertility, due to the rapid reproduction habits of the hare and rabbit. The ancient Egyptians, Persians, Phoenicians, and Hindus all believed the world began with an enormous egg, thus the egg as a symbol of new life has been around for eons. The particulars may vary, but most cultures around the world use the egg as a symbol of new life and rebirth. A notation in the household accounts of Edward I of England showed an expenditure of eighteen pence for 450 eggs to be gold-leafed and colored for Easter gifts. The first book to mention Easter eggs by name was written five hundred years ago. Yet, a North African tribe that had become Christian much earlier in time had a custom of coloring eggs at Easter. Long hard winters often meant little food, and a fresh egg for Easter was quite a prize. Later, Christians abstained from eating meat during the Lenten season prior to Easter. Easter was the first chance to enjoy eggs and meat after the long abstinence. Some European children go from house to house begging for Easter eggs, much like Halloween trick-or-treaters. Called pace-egging, it comes from the old word for Easter, Pasch. Many old cultures also attributed the egg with great healing powers. It is interesting to note that eggs play almost no part in the Easter celebrations of Mexico, South America, and Native American Indian cultures. Egg-rolling contests are a symbolic re-enactment of the rolling away of the stone from Christ's tomb." Fancy that! you know the rest of the story.  Hope it was as interesting to you as it was to me.  Happy Tuesday.  Six more days until my favorite holiday!  Whoooo hoooo!

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Story of the Empty Easter Egg

 I told you yesterday that I am an Easter person.  I love every story about the events of Easter....but yesterday, a dear friend sent me the following Easter Egg Story by e-mail. I was so touched by it that I sat at my computer and cried.  I had a post ready for today....but the story was so compelling that I had to share it with you today.  I hope it touches you in the same way that it did me. "Jeremy was born with a twisted body, a slow mind and a chronic, terminal illness that had been slowly killing him all his young life. Still, his parents had tried to give him as normal a life as possible and had sent him to St. Theresa's elementary school. At the age of 12, Jeremy was only in second grade, seemingly unable to learn. His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him. He would squirm in his seat, drool and make grunting noises. At other times, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain. Most of the time, however, Jeremy irritated his teacher. One day, she called his parents and asked them to come to St. Teresa's for a consultation. As the Foresters sat quietly in the empty classroom, Doris said to them, "Jeremy really belongs in a special school. It isn't fair to him to be with younger children who don't have learning problems. Why, there is a five-year gap between his age and that of the other students!" Mrs. Forrester cried softly into a tissue while her husband spoke. "Miss Miller," he said, "there is no school of that kind nearby. It would be a terrible shock for Jeremy if we had to take him out of this school. We know he really likes it here." Doris sat for a long time after they left, staring at the snow outside the window. Its coldness seemed to seep into her soul. She wanted to sympathize with the Foresters. After all, their only child had a terminal illness. But it wasn't fair to keep him in her class. She had 18 other youngsters to teach and Jeremy was a distraction. Furthermore, he would never learn to read or write. Why spend any more time trying? As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her. "Oh God," she said aloud, "here I am complaining when my problems are nothing compared with that poor family! Please help me to be more patient with Jeremy." From that day on, she tried hard to ignore Jeremy 's noises and his blank stares. Then one day he limped to her desk, dragging his bad leg behind him. "I love you, Miss Miller," he exclaimed, loudly enough for the whole class to hear. The other children snickered, and Doris's face turned red. She stammered, "wh-why, that's very nice, Jeremy. Now please take your seat." Spring came, and the children talked excitedly about the coming of Easter. Doris told them the story of Jesus, and then to emphasize the idea of new life springing forth, she gave each of the children a large plastic egg. "Now," she said to them "I want you to take this home and bring it back tomorrow with something inside that shows new life. Do you understand?" "Yes, Miss Miller!" The children responded enthusiastically - all except for Jeremy. He just listened intently; his eyes never left her face. He did not even make his usual noises. Had he understood what she had said about Jesus' death and resurrection? Did he understand the assignment? Perhaps she should call his parents and explain the project to them. That evening, Doris' kitchen sink stopped up. She called the landlord and waited an hour for him to come by and unclog it. After that, she still had to shop for groceries, iron a blouse and prepare a vocabulary test for the next day. She completely forgot about phoning Jeremy 's parents. The next morning, 19 children came to school, laughing and talking as they placed their eggs in the large wicker basket on Miss Miller's desk. After they completed their math lesson, it was time to open the eggs. In the first egg, Doris found a flower. "Oh yes, a flower is certainly a sign of new life," she said. "When plants peek through the ground we know that spring is here. "A small girl in the first row waved her arms. "That's my egg, Miss Miller," she called out. The next egg contained a plastic butterfly, which looked very real. Doris held it up. "We all know that a caterpillar changes and turns into a beautiful butterfly. Yes, that is new life, too" little Judy smiled proudly and said, "Miss Miller, that one is mine." Next Doris found a rock with moss on it. She explained that the moss, too, showed life. Billy spoke up from the back of the classroom. "My daddy helped me!" He beamed. Then Doris opened the fourth egg. She gasped. The egg was empty! Surely it must be Jeremy 's, she thought, and, of course, he did not understand her instructions. If only she had not forgotten to phone his parents. Because she did not want to embarrass him, she quietly set the egg aside and reached for another. Suddenly Jeremy spoke up. "Miss Miller, aren't you going to talk about my egg?" Flustered, Doris replied, "but Jeremy - your egg is empty!" He looked into her eyes and said softly, "yes, but Jesus' tomb was empty too!" Time stopped. When she could speak again. Doris asked him, "Do you know why the tomb was empty?" "Oh yes!" Jeremy exclaimed. "Jesus was killed and put in there. Then his Father raised him up!" The recess bell rang. While the children excitedly ran out to the school yard, Doris cried. The cold inside her melted completely away. Three months later Jeremy died. Those who paid their respects at the mortuary were surprised to see 19 eggs on top of his casket, ...and do you know what?  Every single one of them was empty. Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday - Just the Beginning for the Easter Person

Today we celebrate Palm Sunday.  It will be the first time I have ever preached on Palm Sunday and I am a little nervous today.  Palm Sunday is a very special day for is the one time of the year that Rhonda B. and I sing the song, "Via Dolorosa".  This year I will sing it three at the Arbor, today at Waverly...and Friday at our Good Friday service.  I love this song...Via Dolorosa if you are not aware of translated as the Way of Suffering/Pain.  So what exactly is Palm Sunday in the Christian world?  Well, it is on this day, Palm Sunday, that  Christians all around the world will celebrate the Triumphal Entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem on a donkey, the week before his death and resurrection. For many Christian churches, Palm Sunday, often referred to as "Passion Sunday," marks the beginning of Holy Week, which concludes on Easter Sunday. The Bible tells us that when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the crowds greeted him with waving palm branches(hence the name Palm Sunday), and by covering his path with palm branches. In church today there will be a procession of the children into the sanctuary/Arbor carrying palm leaves that they will lay at the altar. This is a dramatization that represents the palm leavs that were strewn along the path when Christ, himself, entered the city.  On Palm Sunday, Christ was able to reveal himself as a King and all the people in Jerusalem were given the opportunity to worship him as a King. Immediately following this great time of celebration in the ministry of Jesus, he begins his journey to the cross. This is the beginning of a very challenging process that Christ was going to have to experience.  Christ knew the master plan and knew that he was going to have to die and be raised from the dead...and He began preparing for his work, with no fear, even though he knew the pain would be intense.  I have to pause and say I find it amazing how one man....could go from entering a town and having palm branches laid at his carrying a heavy cross up a hill in the space of a week.  So, I asked myself on this Palm Sunday morning in 2010, "Karen, just what are you celebrating?"  This has been a challenging year for me...and I have felt like I have lost every battle I have faced this year....and then...I stop for a moment and look at Christ, and it all seems so irrelevant.  I am a Easter Christian...and so I am going to celebrate him today regardless of the difficult times I may be experiencing. I am celebrating because Christ is my King, my Savior, and my God. In him, I have my hope.  I am the one singing “Hosanna to the sound of David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.” (Matthew 21:9)
We, the world, are more than conquerors in Him who conquered death.  Let us celebrate the victory and the freedom we have because of what Christ did. God Bless you all real good today.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Today It Truly is Well With My Soul

This weekend was one of those rare weekends when all is well and right with the least it was that way in my world.  I am a member of the Emmaus community and this weekend I sponsored my friend and collegue, Marie Parks.  I drove her to Camp Alimisco to begin her 72 hour retreat on Weds. night.  During the weekend I was in and out, attending functions which were very uplifting.  Friday night we had a singing and I loved it...the only song missing from my to ten list was, "It Is Well With My Soul."  It truly was well with my soul.  That song was my father's favorite song...when I was 12 he asked me to sing it at his funeral...I was 12...what did I I agreed.  Little did I know that 43 years later I would stand before his coffin and sing that very song to him for the last time.  The song has always been one of my favorites in the Old Hymn division.  As you probably already know I am a music fanatic and have hundreds of favorite I have taken to catagorizing them.  I love the lyrics of the song, I love the harmonics of the song,  I love the story of the song.  Have you ever wondered where hymns and songs come from?  I many years ago I researched this one and found out about Horatio Spafford.  Do you know who he is?  I didn't....but do now.  Horatio Spafford (1828-1888) was a wealthy Chicago lawyer with a thriving legal practice, a beautiful home, a wife, four daughters and a son. He was also a devout Christian and faithful student of the Scriptures. His circle of friends included Dwight L. Moody, Ira Sankey and various other well-known clergymen of the day. At the very height of his success, Horatio and his wife Anna suffered the tragic loss of their young son. Shortly thereafter on October 8, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed almost every real estate investment Spafford had.  In 1873, Spafford scheduled a boat trip to Europe, to give his wife and daughters a much needed vacation from tragedy, and so that he might join Moody and Sankey for an evangelistic campaign in England. Spafford sent his wife and daughters on ahead while he remained in Chicago, to take care of some unexpected last minute business. Several days later he received notice that his family's ship had encountered a collision in which all four of his daughters drowned; only his wife had survived.  With a heavy heart, Spafford boarded a boat that would take him to his grieving Anna, in England. It was on this trip that he penned those now famous words, when sorrow like sea billows roll; it is well, it is well with my soul.  Philip Bliss (1838-1876), composer of many songs including Hold the Fort, Let the Lower Lights be Burning, and Jesus Loves Even Me, was so impressed with Spafford's life and the words of his hymn that he composed a beautiful piece of music to accompany the lyrics. The song was published by Bliss and Sankey, in 1876.  I love to hear the Isaacs sing I thought I would share with you their version today...since all is right in my world.  Happy Saturday and God Bless You!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fly Like An Eagle

  I love eagles, falcons, hawks...all the magnificent birds.  I think they are the most majestic creature on the face of the earth.  I am amazed when I see one take flight.  They are awesome.  I discovered a verse from Isaiah several years ago (Isaiah 40:30 - "but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.") and knew the moment I read it that I wanted to be like an eagle....I want to fly on eagles wings....not walk on the ground like a turkey.  Why would anyone want to be a turkey when they have the opportunity to soar.  I invite you to soar with me. today and have a Fantastic Friday!  We only have 45 more days of school!  Whooo hoooo....I am so ready for summer.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Road Less Taken

I am a road fanatic.  I love to take pictures of roads...especially roads that have some about them that makes them unusual.  The road to the left was taken in Wales.  I loved the little tunnel that I stood on the otherside of to take the picture of the road that continued on.  As I stood there, in the freezing cold, I was reminded of Robert Frost's poem, "The Road Less Taken" and I had to think of all the times in my life I have chosen to take a lesser walked path.  Many times those choices brought me blessings I had never expected.  Other times the choices brought me great heartache.  I am someone who loves to explore optional choices. 

The Road Less Traveled by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. 15
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 55, soon to be 56, I have had a number of road choices over the past several months.  I had to decide whether my mom would remain with us and have round the clock sitters and risk the chance that she would take off again,  or live at Adams and be safe.  I took the safe road there.  I don't always.  I am speaking more and loving it more than I ever thought I the road appears....what am I going to do with this?....or what road is God directing me towards.  I love writing....another I want to write for me (which is what I have done forever)....or for the benefit of others....I have such a story to tell and I feel that God is leading me.....the deal is....will I take the right road....and listen to God...or take the road that looks pretty and easy....and regret my decision forever.  I have a Retirement Seminar to attend on my birthday....again I find myself at a crossroad and wondering which road I will take.  I love my job...I love the kids....but I will have 25 years in 2014 and can retire.  I will be 60.  What road am I going to take?  So many little time.  I want to travel them all!  I want to live my life with no regrets!  Don't you?  Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Second Chances

I'm a dreamer and I so want to share my life story of how I came to meet my sweet Savior. I have been given encouragement from my Sunday School class over the years as I taught Sunday School life lessons....but now....I am dreaming of attending a conference my blogging buddy, Deb at He Gave Me A Dream told me about called, She Speaks! She Speaks is a funny title for a conference...but it is exactly what I want to do...I want to speak, write, minister. I have some big shoes I want to fill. Deb told me that this is the creme de la creme of Christian writing conferences. She said it was "a gathering of talented writers and speakers and renowned editors and publishers. And a great place for writers at all levels to gain both knowledge and confidence in the writing/publishing process." I was so excited. I told her, YES! I want to go....but then reality hit. My husband lost his job before Thanksgiving...Christmas was tough...he did get a new job...but the pay was significantly less than we were used to...and when Deb told me how much this conference cost....I was embarassed but had to tell her I could not go. Imagine my surprise when she posted this scholarship information. There is hope yet...maybe God did NOT entirely close this door for me. I found myself a woman on a mission again. I could hardly wait to sit down and blog. Lysa Terkeurst, founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, is offering a few scholarships for bloggers who want to attend this year's conference. These scholarships are valued at $575.00 each! Right me that is like a million dollars. Wow! The link to her post that explains how to apply for one of these scholarships will be at the bottom of this post.
The conference, She Speaks offers something for everybody: writers, speakers, and those who are in women's ministry. Umm....that would be me. I am a writer, a speaker, and I am a United Methodist Certified Lay Speaker...meaning I fill the pulpit from time to time...and love it. But, my real dream is to write. Through the writing I figure the rest will come. So, I like Deb, am most interested in the writer's track. All of the session descriptions for each of the three tracks sound wonderful, but I'm very very interested in the following classes: "From Blog to Book Deal" - That is the one for me! Oh yes! I feel the title says it all. And my personal second favorite is "Magazine Writing 101" - I entered a Guidepost contest as a teenager...did not win...but I have always wondered how it would feel to have an article published in a magazine. I have been published in some obscure poetry journals, and I have been in a Blue Mtn. Arts book, but poetry is not where I feel I am being called. I want to write a book....and my third session choice is where Lysa tells you "The Power of a Story." I am shaking with delight at the possiblity that I may actually get to attend this conference...and learn! I have a title for my is called, "Have I Got a Story for You." I have pages of writings....I just don't know what to do with them to make them come together....and that may be what I need to learn at the She Speaks Conference I have to quote Deb and say, "Can you tell that this is going to be one-rocking-Concord, North Carolina-startin' a fire for Him-July 30th - August 1st conference? Such a gathering of women with words. women with strong, powerful words. I want to be part of that with all my heart! Here's the scholarship link that I promised. What? You are still sitting here? I thought you would be gone already. wish me luck on getting one of those scholarships. I can hardly breathe I am so excited. Writing...and Writing about and for Him. It does not get much better than this!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Only A Silly American Tourist....

I am a picky eater. I don't like many green veggies, I don't eat meat that is served like it lived on earth, I don't like white butterbeans, picky I tell you. Several years ago though, I found myself in Llangollen (pronounced Clan Glocklyn),Wales at the Kings Inn. It was a delightful town and so, we went down for breakfast. All week long we had toasts, cereal, Irish soda bread, jams, and juice and occasionally fruit for breakfast. Not a big breakfast breakfast time...I would grab a couple pieces of toast, some hot tea, and throw a piece of fruit in my bag for later. Imagine my surprise when...sitting on the table was a new type of toast. It was bigger than a piece of Melba Toast...and looked divine. Also, sitting right beside the toast things was some Braeburn Applesauce...the chunky absolute favorite. I got two pieces of the toast...smothered it in butter and applesauce, poured my tea and sat down with our tour guide to enjoy my breakfast. Adam Buckmaster peered at me over his morning paper as I took a big crunchy bite of the toast and asked, "is that how you eat them in the states?" I knew I had goofed and needed to save I replied, "of do you eat here?" He replied, "with a spot of warm milk and some sugar." I continued to crunch my new found delicasy with delight...even though I was mortified. My friend, Cindy, came down and looked at my plate and said,"what in the hell is that?" "Breakfast" I said smartly. When I was finished and left the dining area...I stopped the waiter and asked him what the toast things were...."Wheetabix" he said. "Wheetabix? what is that?" I asked. He smiled and told me it was similar to our Shreaded Wheat...only more compact. I could have died. Buckmaster loved my blunder...and brought it up several times throughout the trip...who would have thunk it. Wheetabix...the perfect looking toast like thing...was a shreaded wheat square...made to be eaten like cereal...and here this crazy American tourist was eating it raw with butter and applesauce. Only in America. I will say this...Wheetabix are good with butter and jam on them....and they taste like cardboard (just like shreaded wheat) smothered in milk and sprinkled with sugar. The Brits just don't know a good thing when they see it. Have you ever had one of those embarassing moments...when you did something that seemed to make sense...and it was the stupidest thing ever...tell me yours in a comment...I would love to hear about it. It might make me feel better. :-) Happy Tuesday to all!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sodderbug Giveaway

Today is Monday and we started back to school today after a week off for Spring Break. I am not feeling creative....I am feeling blah....I need some sunshine and warmth....I am all over winter. Today the high is barely hitting 40. Groans...warmth I tell you warmth....not much to do but catch up on past blogs...when...I got hit with an Oh wow...if you are a jewelry lover...and of course I need to check out the giveaway on Tatertots and Jello. It is an easy enter....and Janelle from Sodderbug has offered up an awesome prize. Janelle is a mother of two and awesome crafter. Check out her block Sew Blessed. She is really crafty! I wish I could be totally selfish...and just keep this quiet...but I can't. I am not made that way. You need to go on and check out the giveaway! Are you still here? What are you waiting for....Good luck and Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Am the True Vine

Today's sermon, delivered by our Senior Pastor Bill Etheridge, at the Arbor came from John 15:1-"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. My official title at the Arbor service at First United Methodist is Arbor decorator. I put together the altars for the service every week. It has been an amazing, and to begin with expensive, process. When I first started doing this about 5 years ago...I bought what I needed. I had no clue that there was an account for such as this. I looked at it as my I never asked for money back. I love getting the sermon topics during the week...and then praying over what the altar will look like on Sunday. Many times I have one idea...and change my mind when I get to the Arbor to put the altar together...other times the altar comes into my head...and stays there. I have scavenged through thrift stores, junk stores, antique stores...looking for just the right element to make it come to life. It wasn't until this year...that someone actually realized...I put the things together...and that they are never the same. Do I photograph them...keep a file on them? Nope! I just do them(my friend Billy took the picture I have attached today.) It was kind of funny. I have never wanted to take pictures of my altars...but this week I was singing Shackles...and had this post idea. Putting the altars together is my alone time with God. You see, I go to the Arbor...usually late in the afternoon on Saturday....don't even turn on the lights...except for the one in the storage room...and the altar comes to life. It is amazing sometimes and definitely humbling. Do I do this? Heck No! This is a God is time that God and I spend alone. I am not a interior decorator...but somehow (it's God)...there in the darkness of the Arbor ( is God) altar comes to be...under my non-artsy hands...when I step never fails (and I don't know why it surprises me...after all it is a God thing)...there it is. The altar...just as I envisioned it. God is amazing...and no matter what your talents are....or aren't....He can use you. BTW...for those of you who read my sermon earlier in the went over well. there another calling there? Who knows...we will just have to listen for the whisper and see! Happy Sunday and God Bless You All Real Good!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday Morning Charm

I love photographing tablescapes. This morning I was planning out a birthday party for my friend Debbie. She will be 50 tomorrow. I wanted my table to be cheerful and happy so I got out a incomplete set of yellow dishes my mom had up in her house and went to work. My Charm glassware is green and sits in the hutch so I wanted the yellow to kind of blend with it. I had found four green striped placemats in the hutch at mom's house too, the yellow daisies I purchased at the Dollar Tree. It took four bunches to get the right amount and the yellow pail I picked up at the Mission Thrift Store for twenty-five cents. What a find! The glasses are just a set of Walmart glasses. I think at one time I gave somewhere around $7.00 for them. The photograph is where Debbie will sit and it is a picture of she and my dad at an Old Fashioned Sunday. The white little ginger jar is going to be her gift. I bought it at Big Lots for less than 10.00. I hope she likes the presentation. I seem to be all about presentation since I started checking out Mid-Atlantic Martha, Edie Marie's Attic, and Tales of Bloggeritaville's Thursday Tablescapes. I never knew setting a table could be so much fun. It has become a treasure hunt trying to find just exactly what I am looking for, for the perfect table. As you all know I have Blue Garland China and when I did my last tablescape I used Crystal I bought in Ireland. What I am looking for is some smoky blue glasses...I think Fostoria makes a set...they would really enhance the blue flowered garland on the dish. Oh well. I am hitting some antique/junk shops/thrift stores today...looking for booth items....but maybe I will luck out and find something for me. Happy Saturday!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Small Kodak Moments

My friend over at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking blog is having a Friday Favorites link I thought I would share mine. I am one of those weird people who love to take pictures of things that just happen along. Several years ago I was driving to Knoxville from Alexander City and Kat and I decided to swing through and look at Sewanee: the University of the South. It is a small, older college,(one of the classrooms we looked in...looked very much like the classroom in Dead Poet's Society - remember that movie?) a School of Letters and a Seminary for the Episcopal Church. Yep, this is where I wanted my daughter to and God all tied up under one roof. Ahhh the best laid plans of mice and men...little did I know then that my sweet daughter was truly going to follow in my own footsteps...major in Education...and be a graduate from Auburn....and never experience living life on campus....sigh! As we were driving away from the college I noticed a cross on a hillside. It was spectacular. We began to wind our way to where the cross was located. It took several mistries to finally get the road right...and there it was. The most magnificent cross we had ever seen. The sun was shining and hitting the whiteness of the cross and making it an almost blinding experience. We both stood in awe at the power and magnitism of that huge structure. I snapped the picture...and off we went...searching for something new to photograph. This....this was truly a Kodak moment. Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Jo James - Definition of a Good Friend

Most people are lucky enough in their lifetimes to have a few good friends and I certainly am no exception. I have several really great friends. Yesterday, when I was heading home from yet another family funeral I called my friend Jo to see if she could cut my hair today. I was really feeling blue as I was driving down the road and thought the conversation would perk me did. I said, "Hey, Jo...this is Karen."...she replied..."What's wrong." I thought I was hiding the sadness, but obviously not well enough. This morning I got up and went to get my hair appointment was at 9:15. I left her house at 2:30. We ate jellybeans, laughed, joked, shared stories, and yes...when her husband Mickey was dying...I found myself singing to him at his bedside and for him later at his funeral. I remember her sadness when her parents died. Our times have not always been sad, Lord Almighty she is one of the funniest people I know. We have cruised together, we have done the Keys together, shopped, sang, eaten (she is an awesome cook), I took my first tequila shot with her, but I have to tell a quick one on night we were going to the Loft in columbus, GA for me to sing with Still Magnolias...a song came on the radio...Jo said, "I love Jim Crotch!"...The song was "Time in a Bottle" by Jim Croce...I nearly choked...we both laughed..and that is the way our friendship goes...we are not always with each other...but we know the other is there...on standby. She is a keeper for sure. I may not tell her how much I love her often enough...but she knows my heart well. Thanks for the free deep breathing session today...and the looks good. I am dedicating this poem to you.
© Natasha
Everyone should have
a friend like you
You are so much fun to be with
And you are such a good person
You crack me up with laughter
And touch my heart with your kindness
You have a wonderful ability
To know when to offer advice
And when to sit in quiet support
Time after time
You've come to my rescue
And brightend so many
Of my routine days
And time after time
I've realized how fortunate
I am that my life includes you
I really do believe that
Everybody should have a friend like you
But so far it looks like
You are one of a kind!
Even though St. Paddy's day was yesterday...I have an Irish wish for you all. I wish you all this kind of friend in your lives. They truly are the rainbows that brighten up a stormy sky. Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Erin go Braugh - Ireland Forever

Last year I was fortunate enough to be in Dublin on St. Paddy’s day at the biggest St.Patrick Day celebration ever. It was awesome and it was frightening. I have never seen so many people in one place at one time trying to watch a parade. I learned a lot about the day while I was in Ireland and thought I would share it with you today. BTW you better wear something green today or you could get pinched! Why is it so important to wear green? Well, while in Ireland last year I researched this and found a great historical poem about it called, “The Wearing of the Green.” by Dion Boucicault (1820-1890) It goes like this:
O Paddy dear, and did you hear the news that going round?
The shamrock is forbid by law to grow on Irish ground;
St. Patrick's Day no more we'll keep, his colours can't be seen,
For there's a bloody law against the wearing of the green.
I met with Napper Tandy and he took me by the hand,
And he said, "How's poor old Ireland, and how does she stand?"
She's the most distressful counterie that ever yet was seen,
And they're hanging men and women for the wearing of the green.
Then since the colour we must wear is England's cruel red,
Sure Ireland's sons will ne'er forget the blood that they have shed.
You may take a shamrock from your hat and cast it on the sod,
It will take root and flourish there though underfoot it's trod.
When law can stop the blades of grass from growing as they grow,
And when the leaves in summer-time their verdure dare not show,
Then will I change the colour that I wear in my caubeen
But 'till that day, please God, I'll stick to wearing of the green.
But if at last our colour should be torn from Ireland's heart,
Our sons with shame and sorrow from this dear old isle will part;
I've heard a whisper of a land that lies beyond the sea
Where rich and poor stand equal in the light of freedom's day.
O Erin, must we leave you driven by a tyrant's hand?
Must we ask a mother's blessing from a strange and distant land?
Where the cruel cross of England shall nevermore be seen,
And where, please God, we'll live and die still wearing of the green!
The great thing about this holiday is that you do not even have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Personally....I am of Irish heritage and have always been very proud of that fact. But...St. Patrick himself wasn’t even Irish. It turns out he was actually a Welsh slave brought to the Emerald Isle by a British lord in the fifth century. Because of his tireless efforts to convert people to Christianity, Ireland named him their patron saint. According to legend, Saint Patrick used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pre-Christian Irish people. So in honor of St. Patrick’s special day I want to leave you this blessing:
“May you always have these blessings A soft breeze when summer comes- A warm fireside in winter- And always- the warm, soft smile of a friend.”
Go mbeannai Dia duit
(May God Bless You)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Extravagent Love

I am preaching on Sunday because Frank has to work again. I love it when I get the chance to preach. There is nothing I like better than to hear a song, or find a passage, or quote and make a sermon come together. This week I knew early on that I was going to have to speak so since I was still feeling a bit tired from yesterdays excursion I thought I would work on the sermon. I put on my IPod...and waited for some divine guidance...and it came to me in the form of a song. One of the songs of my list of favorites would have to be James Taylor’s "Shower The People". One of the reasons that I love that song apart from its pretty melody is its message. It talks about showering the people that we love with flowers. Later, in the song, toward the end it says make it rain. The song is about telling those that you love how you feel when they can hear it. It is sad to see friends and family gathered at a funeral home to pay their respects to the deceased person. There are times when some of those flowers should have been given while the person was still living. We sometimes take people for granted. I cannot help but to wonder how many of those flowers the deceased might have enjoyed while they were living. The flowers do not always have to be actual flowers. The flowers might be an “I love you.” It might be a card, a letter or even a compliment. The point that I am trying to get at is that we should tell our loved ones what they mean to us while they are with us. Years ago, when I was a sophomore in college, I was really caught me off guard by an elderly neighbor, Mrs. Dobson. One night when I returned home from work, I saw Mrs. Dobson struggling at her door. I left my stuff in my car and hurried down to help her. I knew she was a widow on a limited income and I certainly was not expecting her to pay me for helping her. The truth was it was my pleasure. I loved this sweet, kind, gentle lady. When I had gotten her settled on her couch, made her a spot of tea, and brought her packages in…she said, “I want to give you some flowers”. I was puzzled because I did not see any flowers. Of course, she was not talking about real flowers. She was talking about telling me how she felt about me. She wanted me to know how much I had meant to her because it was not long before our lives would drift apart and she would be placed in a local nursing home. At that moment though it was all I could do to choke back the tears. Why? Because her flowers---her expression of love was genuine and from the heart. I have never forgotten the flowers that Mrs. Dobson gave me. I still treasure the flowers of her compliment even to this day…even though she has been gone from this earth a long time. She was an inspiration to me and for me…she taught me many great lessons of love. When Mary used that pint of expensive perfume on Jesus, she was not worried about how much it cost. What Mary was doing was giving Jesus His flowers while He was still here. One of the things that Mary was doing was expressing her gratitude. Her brother Lazarus who was dead (John 11) was brought back to life by Jesus who was and is the resurrection and the life. There can be doubt that Mary was grateful for what Jesus had done for her and Martha in bringing back Lazarus from the dead. Mary’s gratitude was priceless. Mary was not concerned about how much the perfume cost. She wanted to express her gratitude and devotion to Jesus. Her gratitude was priceless because what Mary did had come from the heart. What Mary was doing was a blessing that was priceless. She knew that Jesus would not always be there. I read an email about a missionary surgeon who once stopped to see one of the ladies in the village that he had once operated on. The lady and her husband were dirt poor. Their source of income was their livestock. They had an angora rabbit and two chickens. The woman would often comb the rabbit, take its hair and spin it into yarn which she would sell to make a little money. The chickens provided the eggs that they would eat for food. Anyway, this woman insisted that the missionary stay for lunch. He accepted the invitation. He was not gone for more than an hour and a half, while he went to check on another one of his post operative patients. When he returned he peeped into the pot to see what was for lunch. In the pot he saw a rabbit and two chickens. This woman had given up both her income and her only source for food. She had given up everything for him. He was so touched that he wept. I wept at my computer. What an unselfish expression of love. This was a true Master Card moment. In contrast to Mary and her sentiments, there was Judas, the disciple that would later betray Jesus. Judas was focusing on the cost of the perfume and not the meaning of the act of humility. Where Mary was expressing her devotion to Jesus, Judas was revealing who he was. Judas was hung up on cost. Sometimes we are like that. Sometimes we get hung up on cost. Sometimes we misplace and displace the value of things. In Max Lucado’s book, No Wonder They Call Him Savior he tells a story about some clever pranksters. They entered a department after hours and escaped unnoticed. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “So what did the steal?” Well, the truth be known they did not steal anything. Puzzling isn’t it? Listen to what they did next. They re-arranged some prices. “These clever pranksters took the tag off a $395.00 camera and stuck it on a $5.00 box of stationary. The $5.95 sticker on a paperback book was removed and placed on an outboard motor. They re-priced everything in the store. … The craziest part of the story took place the next morning. … The store opened as usual. Employees went to work. Customers began to shop. The place functioned for four hours before anyone noticed what happened. Four hours! Some got some great bargains. Others got fleeced”. In all the time that Judas had been with Jesus as a disciple, he still did not know Jesus. Yes, he knew Jesus as a person, but he never really believed in Jesus. That is like the difference between knowing about a life preserver and wearing one. Knowing about it will not save you. Wearing it will. In a similar way, knowing about Jesus will not help you unless you have a relationship with Him. At least the people in the department store only went four hours before they discovered the mistake. Judas was with Jesus for three years, but he never really had a relationship with Jesus. He never discovered his mistake until it was too late. Judas never had a relationship with Jesus because of his displaced and misplaced values. It seems that Judas was greedy. Unlike Mary’s humility, Judas’ focus was on money. Perhaps, he was thinking about what share of the money he could make his own. John 12:6 calls Judas a thief. Again, John 12:6 tells us that Judas was more concerned about the amount of money that the perfume cost, instead of the gracious act. Judas was greedy. We call someone greedy when they focus on having more than they need or more than they are entitled to. John 12:6 seems to point out the potential for greed in Judas. Mary’s extravagance stands in contrast to Judas’s greed. Mary’s act was based on her devotion whereas Judas’ protest was based upon extortion---the abuse of his position. The grace of God is a gift. It is freely given for all who will receive it. You cannot do anything to make yourself right with God on your own terms. The Pharisees had their rules and regulations, but they were relying on salvation to come through the law. The apostle Paul put it this way: “… know that a man is not justified by the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. (Galatians 2:16 NIV). … if righteousness could be gained through the law then Christ died for nothing” (Galatians 2:21 NIV). The grace of God comes through what Jesus did for us on the cross for our salvation. Jesus paid the price for our sins. Sin is what sets us apart from God. Grace is what sets us apart from sin and reconciles us to God. The Bible tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of God (Romans 3:23). The Bible also tells us that the wages of sin are death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23). God’s grace cancels the debt of sin. Colossians 2:14 tells us that Christ cleaned the record of our sins. I read a story in Max Lucado’s He Chose the Nails about a man who had a house built. After the house was completed, the builder told the owner to make a list of any flaws that he discovered. Yes, he kept a record as he began to ponder about all of the records that God keeps of the flaws of sinners. He even mentioned a few spiritual flaws. "The door hinges to the prayer room have grown rusty from under use. The stove called jealousy is overheating. The attic floor is weighed down with too many regrets. The cellar is cluttered with too many secrets". The story does not stop there. Jesus took our sins to the cross with Him. He had the list of all the sins that we ever committed in His hands as they nailed Him to the cross. He could have chosen to abandon ship, but He did not. Jesus went the distance to save us. He knew that we are sinful. But, "He couldn’t bear the thought of eternity without us, so He chose the nails". Mary’s perfume symbolizes God’s grace through Jesus because like the perfume that was poured out of the bottle, His blood was poured out for you and me for the forgiveness of our sins. Most of you know I I of course have to sing on Sunday song originally was going to be Shower the People, by J.T. But after writing for 3 hours I decided to use a Casting Crowns song, Your Love is Extravagent...which of course I am going to share with you. You may not all know Casting Crowns. My friend Justin Belyeu has actually been on tour with cool is that? Anyways, what I want to leave you with is extravagent with your love. Show people you love they are with you. I have learned this lesson the hard way this year...once they are gone...there is nothing you can do...and believe me...I don't ever want to have any regrets. I play hard, live life to the fullest...and love like there is no tomorrow, because tomorrow may never come. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday's Agenda - Colonoscopy

I bowled in a bowling tournament this weekend...and the worst part about it was that on Monday I was scheduled for a colonoscopy....which meant all day Sunday I could only have clear liquids. While my bowling partners had the breakfast buffet at the La Quinta where we were staying, I stayed in the room and ate green jello and drank green tea...sounds yummy huh? Well, I will be 56 years old in a few weeks and needed to have a baseline test to make sure everything was running perfectly. I am...first official day of Spring Break...and having a colonoscopy. You all know that cancer has run rampant in my family for the past couple of years so I felt this was a necessary choice. I was not at all sure what this procedure was all about so I went online to find out. I wanted to know exactly what a colonoscopy was. By the time I was finished reading countless articles I knew more than I ever wanted to. A colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure in which the inside of the large intestine is examined. A colonoscopy is commonly used to evaluate gastrointestinal symptoms, such as rectal and intestinal bleeding, abdominal pain, or changes in bowel habits. Colonoscopies are also performed in individuals without symptoms to check for colorectal polyps or cancer. A screening colonoscopy is recommended for anyone 50 years of age and older, and for anyone with parents, siblings or children with a history of colorectal cancer or polyps.
Now comes the fun part. At 6:00 on Sunday night I began my journey into the bowels (literally) of hell. I had to drink this ungodly lemon-lime salty 15 minute increments x 4...and then follow it with 16 oz of a clear liquid of choice. I fixed the prep...and was not too bad....the first go round. I went to bed early...and then hopped up and down all night...gross. By 2:30 this morning...I was exhausted. At 6:30 this morning I had the second round of prep....and on an empty stomach...OMG it is nasty. I would drink and gag...drink and gag...but got it all down...and the 16 oz of clear liquid of cousin, Cindy, picked me up at 10:00 and off we went to get started. I was placed in a waiting room then I was put in a little curtained area. The check in person asked me if I was hungry...what was she thinking...I had not had real food since 7:00p.m. on Saturday night. I would have sold my soul for some food...but to be honest...what I really wanted was a Diet Coke...when it was little sweet nurse,Kendra, came and got me...and set me up for all the fun to begin...the best thing she did...was give me some outstanding amnesia, feel nothing drugs....when I was over. Thank God. But...during my absence from this world Dr. Hocolmbe performed a colonoscopy. During the colonoscopy, an experienced physician uses a colonoscope (a long, flexible instrument about 1/2 inch in diameter) to view the lining of the colon. The colonoscope is inserted into the rectum and advanced through the large intestine. If necessary during a colonoscopy, small amounts of tissue can be removed for analysis (a biopsy) and polyps can be identified and entirely removed.(I had one by the way....and he did remove it.) In many cases, a colonoscopy allows accurate diagnosis and treatment of colorectal problems without the need for a major operation.
For the procedure to take place there are a few rules you must follow:
•You are asked to wear a hospital gown and remove eyeglasses.
•You are given a pain reliever and a sedative intravenously (in your vein); you will feel relaxed and somewhat drowsy. Oh Yes you will....this stuff is awesome!
•You will lie on the left side, with your knees drawn up towards your chest.
•A small amount of air is used to expand the colon so the physician can see the colon walls. (When it was over...I had this strong desire to fart...and could not stop it when I finally Burger King...fortunately we were in the playground section with Braylie and no one heard it. My young male students would have been proud!)
•You may feel mild cramping during the procedure; cramping can be reduced by taking slow, deep breaths.
•The colonoscope is slowly withdrawn while the lining of your bowel is carefully examined.
•The procedure lasts from 30 minutes to one hour.
Cindy was waiting on me when it was over...took me to Burger King for food, then home where I spent the rest of the day in la la land. I woke up, planning to cook supper...began it...and then had to fight to stay awake. I did finally manage to cook a really good meal, Italian pork chops, potatoes O' Brien, mixed veggies and whop bisquits. After eating supper I thought I would sit down and blog...because believe you me...I am not long for this world. If you are over 50 and have never had a colonoscopy...and your doctor suggests you having one...DO IT! The worst part is the prep time...the procedure itself...piece of cake. Colon Cancer is a serious matter...heck any kind of cancer is a serious matter and not something to be taken lightly. I put this thing off for 5 years and I am glad I took care of it today. Do your loved ones a favor and take care of yourselves. Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wicked in London

I saw Wicked in London last Her Majesties Theater. It was awesome. Wicked, the theater, the whole experience. I love the theater. I love the quiet before the production begins and the smell of the theater. I have since I was little. Anyways...Wicked was all that and more. If you love the Wizard of Oz...and you want to see a good play...go see Wicked. You won't regret it!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

It Is All In A Name

If you ever go to Wales in the United Kingdom you would be missing out on a good laugh, by not going to a small town called Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Many of the people are very proud of their little town and its name. If you ask one of them to pronounce the name of their town, they are usually quite happy to oblige. Most visitors would have a lot of trouble saying the name and I'm sure the locals have a good laugh at some of the attempts to pronounce the name. Many people visiting are intrigued when they hear the locals say the name. I was utterly fascinated. I have been twice and had my passport stamped twice...just because it is such a challenge to pronounce. Originally the town had a shorter, easier to pronounce name: Llanfairpwllgwyngyll. 'I think I would still have trouble pronouncing that'! Some of the locals simply call the town Llanfair. Now...I might could wrap my mouth around that with little effort. However, in the 1860s, more syllables were added to attract more visitors to the town. It is believed the name was officially conjured up by the village council, intentionally for the privilege and reputation of having the longest railway station name in Great Britain. Llanfair P.G. is not very far from Caernarfon Castle, one of the largest castles in Wales. Believe me it is well worth a visit. I loved Wales. I loved Ireland....I loved the U.K. period. It is the most beautiful place on earth. So lush and green and innocent. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch actually means; "St. Mary's Church in the hollow of white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio near the red cave." That is quite a mouthful isn't it. But...after a good bit of research....this town does not hold the honor of having the longest name in the world.Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Nope...not even close. Thailand has a town whose name has 163 letters: Try this one on for size. Krungthepmahanakornamornratanakosinmahintarayutthayamahadilokphopnop- paratrajathaniburiromudomrajaniwesmahasatharnamornphimarnavatarnsathit- sakkattiyavisanukamprasit. Now THAT is a mouthful!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Food Frenzie

Last night I was starving for something sweet and good. So I went home and started hitting the cook books. Joans' Curried Pineapple is one of my favorite things. It takes hardly any time to make and is yummy with poultry, ham, even a good steak. I personally love it withe Stove Top Stuffing....period.
Joan's Curried Pineapple
2 large cans of pineapple rings
1/3 c butter or margarine
¼ c brown sugar
1 t curry powder

Drain fruit. Melt butter or margarine and add brown sugar and curry powder. Place all ingredients in a baking dish and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
While I was looking for recipes I found a few others and thought I had to finish out my food week with these. The Pistachio Cheesecake is to die for. I am not even a pistachio fan...but I love this. It is a pretty food for your Easter celebrations...and a light summer dish too.
Pistachio Cheesecake
2 c all-purpose flour
½ c ground almonds
½ c cold butter or margarine
6 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese softened
1 can (14 oz) condensed milk
2 packages (3.4 ounces each) instant pistachio pudding mix
5 eggs
Chocolate syrup
Whipped cream and chopped pistachios, optional

In a small bowl, combine the flour and almonds, cut in butter until crumbly. Press onto the bottom and 1-1/4 in. up the sides of a greased 10 In. springform pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, milk, and pudding mixes until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour over crust. Place pan on baking sheet. Reduce hear to 350 degrees. Bake for 55 – 60 minutes or until the center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.
Remove sides of pan. Slice cheesecake; drizzle slices with chocolate syrup. Garnish with whipped cream and pistachios if desired. Yield: 12 – 14 servings.
Crunchy Romaine Toss
1 c walnuts – chopped
1 pkg Ramen noodles (w/o seasoning)
4 T butter
1 bunch broccoli – chopped
1 head of Romaine lettuce – or 2 bags
4 green onions – chopped
1 or 2 cartons of fresh strawberries sliced
1 c sweet and sour dressing (given below)
Brown walnuts and noodles (broken into pieces) in butter – drain and cool. Combine with above ingredients and toss.
1 c oil (vegetable, canola, peanut, olive – whichever you prefer)
1 c sugar
½ c red wine vinegar
3 t soy sauce

Mix into salad just before you are ready to eat the salad.
My piece de resistance is the Crunchy Romaine Toss. Laurie Sturdivant brought it to church one night....and I had to have her recipe. She uses only strawberries...but I have modified it a bit and add mandarin oranges to mine sometimes. It changes the flavor. This dish is never brought home...and it is YUMMY! I make it a lot during the summer and spring when strawberries start looking good. My whole family loves this salad...and if I am ever invited to someones house...I either have to bring this or my baked beans....but that is a recipe....I don't know...secret family ingredient and all. I hope that you will use these recipes....have a great weekend! I am bowling in the State Bowling tournament in Montgomery this I won't be posting tomorrow....see you on Sunday.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Two For the Price of One

South of the Border Salsa
2 cans of whole kernel corn (I use 1 white and 1 yellow), drained and rinsed
2 cans of black beans – drained and rinsed
4 green onions – chopped
1 small carton of feta cheese – broken into small pieces
Sweet and sour dressing (below)
¾ c apple cider vinegar
¾ c sugar (Splenda can be substituted here)

Mix the first 4 ingredients together thoroughly. Add dressing and toss. Let it sit a couple of hours and chill. Serve as a side dish/salsa/dip.
Serve with fritos, tortilla chips, or by itself.

Vegetable Pizza
2 pkg. crescent rolls
1 – 8 oz cream cheese (can use fat free)
1 pkg – dry Ranch dressing
1/2-1 cup of Mayonaise(depnding on how much it takes)
1 pkg broccoli and cauliflower mix
1 pkg baby carrots
1 pkg shredded sharp cheese

Spread our crescent rolls flat on a cookie sheet, pinching seams together. Bake according to directions on the tube.Mix softened cream cheese, dry ranch dressing and use enough mayonnaise to smooth out the mixture. In a food processor(or with a hand chopper....or you can buy them already chopped) – chop up veggies – one kind at a time. Spread cheese mixture on crescent rolls. Top with veggies and sprinkle cheese on it. Refrigerate for about an hour and cut before serving. Both of these are big favorites with my family and friends. When I take them to gatherings I never bring any of it back. They are know I am all about simple...but it looks like you really spent some time preparing this. I hope you enjoy them. Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Noel Ewing's Overnight Coffee Cake

A couple of years ago I went to Bangor, Maine for Fall Break. My friend Mary has a sister who lives there and so we went to spend some time with her and enjoy the fall foliage. Our first morning there Noel treated us to this awesome coffee cake and some blueberry cornbread muffins. The muffin recipe will be in tomorrow's post....but today...I am going to give you a little taste of heaven. You can actually make this low-cal by using Splenda instead of sugar. I hope you enjoy it.

Overnight Coffee Cake
2 c all – purpose flour
1 c sugar (or Splenda)
½ c firmly packed brown sugar (or Splenda brown sugar)
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
½ t salt
1 t cinnamon
1 c buttermilk
2/3 c butter (melted)
2 lg eggs
½ c firmly packed brown sugar (or Splenda brown sugar)
½ c chopped pecanbs
1 t ground cinnamon

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; add buttermilk, butter and eggs. Beat at low speed until moistened; beat at medium speed 2 minutes. Spoon batter into a greased floured 13 x 9 x 2 pan.

Combine ½ c brown sugar, pecans and 1 teaspoon cinnamon; sprinkle over batter. Cover and refrigerate 8 – 12 hours. Uncover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm.

Note: Cake may be baked immediately at 350 for 30 minutes. To reheat, cover with foil and bake at 350 for 5 minutes or until heated thoroughly.

BTW....we ate the entire coffee cake in two days. Poor Noel, I think she thought this would last our entire visit. NOT! We enjoyed Maine and the beautiful foliage...but personally....I came away with a bunch of great recipes done by a great cook!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Trial and Error

My women's circle, we are The Paula's, at First United Methodist is putting together a cookbook for a fundraiser. I LOVE cookbooks. I love to buy them, give them, own them....I can contribute up to five recipes so I thought this week I might try a few out of you all and see what your reactions are. I love to cook...but I am a busy person and don't have time for it to take a lot of time in preparation and I don't want it to be I have worked hard to put together recipes for the working person. Anyways, a couple of years ago I won a cake from my friends the Munzemay's place in Rockford called the Eagle's Roost. Problem was Kat and I could not eat it fast enough and I was afraid it would get I had to make dessert one night for church and this is what I did:

Death by Chocolate Trifle


1 chocolate cake (you can make it, buy, can be chocolate, pound, angel food, whatever floats your boat...I have used half chocolate and half white)
1 box of instant pudding...mixed according to package (I use chocolate...but have used vanilla, white chocolate, or just depended on my mood.)
1 large carton of cool whip
1 Butterfinger

Mix up pudding and put in refrigerator to firm. Cut cake in half and crumble half the cake in the bottom of a trifle bowl, punch bowl, or any other deep clear glass bowl. The next layer is use about half of the pudding mixture....the top that with the cool whip. Repeat with crushed butterfingers (you can use any HARD chocolate candy...Heath Bars are good too). Refrigerate and serve...let me tell you...there will be none left. You can do this with strawberries and pound/angelfood cake...I also toss in blueberries with that one...and use it on the 4th of July. This is a recipe that is meant to be played with. So...what do you think? Should I use this one in the cookbook? What til tomorrow...I am excited about that recipe too! Try this one...and I know you will enjoy it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

When You Are Bombarded With Lemons...Make Lemonade Pie!

I have really been struggling the past few months with grief, my mom, life in general....and on Saturday I took the Harley ride with Randy and for the first time since October I felt like me again...went back to school today...and started out great...but as the day progressed...I felt the sadness take hold I 4:30...before I left my give you all a piece of advice. When life hands you lemons in the future...make lemonade pie. I came home and made two for my sweetie. It is one of his favorites. Cooking always lifts my spirits...especially when it is just me...and the kitchen utensils. Since it is such a good and easy recipe...I thought I would share it with you today.

Lemonade Pie
1 small can of frozen lemonade (thawed) - you can use margarita mix, pink or yellow lemonade.
1 can of Eagle Brand Condensed Milk
1 lg. Carton of Cool-Whip
2 graham cracker pie crusts

Mix lemonade and milk together, fold in cool whip, pour into the pie crusts, chill for about an hour and serve. It does not get any better than that! Bon Appetit!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

I love Chris Tomlin and on my way to Waverly today I heard this song and knew I had my blog post for today. I have been so low for so long that being at the bottom of the barrel and seeing some daylight is refreshing. As I drove I looked into the sky and saw the vapors of two jets crossing before me...forming a perfect was at that moment...I knew all was well. God speaks to me sometimes in the weirdest way...yet everytime he does speak it is always when I am still...very still...and listening. Today was one of those rare days...I was tuned in and paying attention. Enjoy the song by Chris...listen to the words...claim it for your fits my life as it is right this very moment. I hope you can glean something for yourself from the lyrics. God Bless You Real Good Today!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Motorcycle Mama

Whoooo cousin Amanda's husband just called and asked me if I was coming to the Valley today. I told him yes, he knew my cousins wanted me to come and get some of their mom's clothing for my mom. I was glad about this too because somehow over the years my mom's clothing has become sad looking. Amanda told me that there was a striped blouse she wanted to make sure my mom got because my mom would borrow it from time to I took care of my errands and headed for the Valley. Randy called me just as I crossed the river bridge and asked me where I was. When I told him my location he told me he would meet me at the house because I was having my motorcycle ride today. Randy has an awesome I mention that I am terrified of motorcycles? My dad had a motorcycle accident when he was in the service and spent 18 months in the hospital trying to fix his leg. He always walked with a limp. The only motorcycle I had ever ridden on was with my cousin Terri...and she scared me to death. It was time...and Randy put my helmet on, went over some basic rules, got on the bike, and I stepped up...swung my leg over the back...and grabbed his sides. The bike cranked..and begin to move and I held my breath. Before we made it to the stop sign at the end of my aunts road I was relaxing a bit and by the time we returned I was loving the feeling of the breeze rushing over your whole body. It was awesome. At one point during the ride I thought I could actually fall asleep. It was so comforting being behind Randy, holding on to him, enjoying the beauty of the day...and the ride. I LOVED IT! To be honest with you...sad Karen got on the bike...the old real Karen got off. For the first time in over a year...I felt like myself again. I felt like there was some life left in this old body...I owe you big time Randy. BTW a couple of my friends, Susan and Mary, called just before my ride began...and when I told them what I was about to do....they told me to call them as SOON as I returned. I did...and believe was a natural high. I don't know if you have ever ridden on the back of a Harley...but it is an experience I am glad I was afforded....Whooo Hooooo....look out world...another motorcycle Momma has emerged!

Friday, March 5, 2010

"Be Still...and Know..."

Psalms 46:10 says, 10 "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,I will be exalted in the earth." Today is my be still day. I took today off from work because I am exhausted. I am exhausted to the bone...emotionally, mentally, and physically. I, who never sleep past 6, actually slept until close to 10 today. I have to admit that it felt awesome. I woke up feeling better than I have felt in a while. Susan and I had coffee, dressed, and ran errands that I have to take care of. We bought flowers for my dad's and brother's graves and went to the cemetary and placed them. We went to Walmart, Roses, and Longleaf and then went home and chilled until Chuck got back from his Pawn Shop excursion with Hugh (Hutch) Mask. Hugh thought Chuck might want to have some male bonding time since Frank was working and I have to admit it was great to have some alone time with Susan. After we all got back to the house we drove to Lanett for one final gathering of family to celebrate the birthdays of Ramona, Elin, Drew and Wheeler. Drew and Wheeler were actually one during the last couple of weeks...but things got tossed by the wayside because of my aunts illness and death. It was like a wake latino style. We all gathered...some 20+ of us at Del Rios and ate, laughed, cried, visited, and said goodbyes...some would be heading home in the morning. Most of us have been tied up with Bethany House for the past week and a half and it is time to return to life as we knew it. Monday...we will all return to work...and pick up where life stopped on Tuesday, March 2nd. Thank you all for your prayers and sweet comments. Happy Friday and I hope you too take some time to be still this weekend!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My House Hates Company

I discovered today that my house hates company. It does not mind small groups of two or three...but if the crowd gets much bigger than that it completely shuts down. When my dad died, the toilet AND sink in the guest bathroom stopped working. The toilet flooded like the Great Flood of Noah's time and the sink just stopped....period. We put a new flapper on the toilet and seal around the base. A plumber had to be called to fix the sink...Hey...House...we have people here...we need things working! I entertained somewhere between 50 - 75 people during that time with one completely working bathroom. We all thought that day was rather humorous...after the fact of course...BUT enough is enough. Today, Susan(my dear friend from Tennessee) and I were feeding the masses for my Aunt Shirley's funeral....and you are not going to believe this...the flapper on the the guest bathroom messed up AGAIN! It has only been four months since the last time....but...the sink was fine! Whooo Hooo....reason to celebrate....or so I thought. I had to run pick up a DVD that was being made for us...and when I returned Chuck, Susan's precious husband, was the hardward store seems the sink in the kitchen (you know the one you have to have to cook)...was non functional. We cooked yesterday...washing what we needed in the bathroom sink...while Chuckles worked on the sink. This is one of the disadvantages of an older house...stuff tears up. Oh....two of my dining room chairs broke just is not my day....but you have to laugh....This would only happen to me! Happy Thursday to All. Maybe nothing else will happen this weekend!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Portrait of a Family

What is your definition of family? Well I used to think it was related know kinfolks. But through the years that definition has changed. The definition I found that best fit my own thoughts and feelings would have to be the following: “We define family as any group of people related either biologically, emotionally, or legally. That is, the group of people that a person defines as significant for his or her well-being” (McDaniel et al., 2005, p. 2). Yep, that would be us. If you have been around for a long time...whether you are blood kin or are family...This picture is just part of my family. The three women on the back row are my Aunt Shirley, Aunt Jo, and my mom. My grandparents Emma Jean McCain and Lee Terrell Prophitt are in the middle and the two boys are my Uncle Trollis(dark hair) and my Uncle Larry (blonde). Two Uncles, Willie and Toby are not pictured in this family shot. This family has always been one of love and music. Most of us are musical, we either sing or play something. If one of the children did not...then one of their kids did. We all grew up in singing in church and at home. Amanda and I were grown and married before we realized that everybody's family was not as musical as ours. I would have to say that our motto is "Have guitar, will travel." Music is always around. When my grandparents had been married 50 years we had a huge celebration at the Alexander City Independent Methodist Church. There was a massive crowd...but as you can see from the picture most of the crowd was us. Several of us have gone on and new faces have been added. Most of the little ones in the picture are now married with children of their own. I love my family. We are a tight family for sure. Every year we do our best to get together at least once....usually in April and catch up. We talk on the phone, we facebook, we email, We are Family! Sometimes part of us have gotten together at Thanksgiving, always at Aunt Shirleys...sometimes at Christmas, Amanda's yearly Open House, weddings, and once every few years we get together on Father's Day Saturday. That was my grandfather's birthday, June 15th. When we do that ALL the Prophitts come. It is a really large event. My grandfather was one of 14 children...and a twin to boot. Yep, my family is a large one. What a family I am blessed to have. We are all livers of life, singers of songs, lovers of family. I wish for each of you the kind of love and life I have been afforded during my 56 years. It has been a great ride so far and I look forward to many more years of the journey. Bless You All today!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Life Goes...and Life Goes On

The lady on the left is my mom in better days. The lady on the right is my Aunt Shirley. My heart is broken right now and I really needed my momma to just hold me today, but that is not going to happen...for one thing she does not know why...because I can't tell her...and for another might send her over the edge and I could not bear that thought. This week we are giving the AHSGE(Exit Exams)at school. Today was my day to be a test administrator. I got up this morning and saw where my cousin Terri had posted on her facebook account that Aunt Shirley was having seizures...and it made me feel eerie. I went to work and told my boss what was going on and prepared to give the exam. We are not allowed to have our phones on us during the test, and since my friend Mary was NOT giving the test today I gave her my phone and told her to answer it if it were from Amanda. The first break came at 90 minutes and there was no news so I relaxed a bit....but the relaxation was short lived. At 10:45 they consolidated the kids who had not finished yet and the assistant principal asked me if I had seen, or talked, to Mary. I knew something was wrong then....and began making my way to where Mary stood. She told me Amanda had just called, she had already gotten a sub for me, helped me get my lesson plans together, and got me out of the building in less than 15 minutes. I actually beat the funeral home to the Bethany House. I was glad because it meant I could have one last moment with my aunt before I let her go. I sat down beside her and touched her arm, it was still warm, and whispered to her to please take care of my dad and brother. At that moment a funny thought hit is strange how humor can sneak in on grief. Since my Uncle Charlie Dad had had two wives, the one he married and the one he adopted. Once when my dad was having open heart surgery the doctor asked him which one of the lovely ladies was his wife...and both Shirley and Mom answered, "I am." What a strange thought at that moment...but now it is Shirley is the wife of two men! An era has ended...a lifetime of love, laughs, song, did I mention love is over. She will be sorely missed by all of us. She touched all of our lives in a powerful way and I am struggling right now wondering how we will continue...but continue we will...because that is what she would expect of us. My heart hurts for Terri, Amanda, Linda and Missi tonight because the tenderness of loss is still with me from the death of my father in October. My heart hurts for me because Aunt Shirley was just like a best friend/mother rolled into one package. Her legacy will live on...we will grieve for this great loss...and once again...Life goes...and life goes on! Amen!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sisters, Sisters, There Were Never Such Devoted Sisters.

You have heard me talk about them for the past couple of years....and here they are. Terri, the oldest of Shirley's girls, is the one on the far left. She lives in California. She is a year and four days younger than I am. Amanda, is the second one from the left....she is the blonde one. She is married to Randy Brown (who we all adore)...and they have David(Susanna) and Ramonda(Dustin)...and are the grandparents of precious Drew and Wheeler. I am the middle one. These are my another mother. Even though, Aunt Shirley will tell you in a heartbeat that I should have been hers too. I love everyone of these girls. Linda is the one to my left...and she is one of the middle children. She has blessed us with precious and handsome Lee. Melissa (Missi) is on the far end. She is the baby...and married to Clay Smith(we adore him too). They live in Nashville, Tennessee. This picture was taken one Thanksgiving at my Aunt Shirleys...we have a tradition...Thanksgiving was always at her house...she and my mom prepared the meal. Christmas was either at Amanda's or my house...and all the girls chipped in for brunch. Randy always has to make his delectable sausage gravy....I don't even like sausage gravy....but eat Randy's every year. That man can cook! I am blessed in so many ways. I have a wonderful husband, a precious daughter, my sisters, my mom, the ability to sing, ...I could go on for a long time...and no matter what life holds for me and my family....we have each other...and you just can't put a price on love like that. Happy Monday to All!