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!”

Sunday, October 31, 2010

What About Halloween?

Many Christians are very concerned about the meanings of Halloween customs, the seeming glorification and celebration of witches, ghosts and other spiritual beings, and the whole idea of having a holiday related to the dead. I am one of them.  So I thought I would do a little research and learn about the holiday I loathe the most.  I actually went back and took a look at Halloween history, customs, the dead and the question of Christian involvement in the celebration. I was startled by some of the surprising things I learned. What Is Halloween? The word comes an abbreviation of "All Hallows Eve." This is the night before All Hallows (All Saints) Day, when the Church honors the past (dead) Christians. All Saints Day is also known as the day Martin Luther nailed his protest of the Catholic Church and began the Protestant movement. There have been different dates for All Saints Day. It's commonly believed that November 1st was chosen to coincide with pagan celebrations and festivals in order to more easily assimilate these cultures into the Church, just like the dates for Easter and Christmas celebrations. It's this assimilation of festivals that makes Halloween a confusing holiday. Where Did Halloween Customs Come From? When All Saints Day and the pagan festivals were combined, the rituals and customs were also combined. Wearing costumes, ghosts, witches, carrying lighted ornaments to represent spirits, the whole trick-or-treat thing, harvest parties, etc. got combined over the centuries with what had been a somber event in the Christian calendar. Some of these rituals had been sacrifices to pagan gods before the pagans were Christianized. And there's the rub! Christians, who have no problem with the Christmas Tree or Easter Egg (pagan rituals), seem to draw the line when it comes to the Halloween pagan rituals and customs...particularly those involving the dead.  Boy is my face red.  This would be me.  I seem to not like ghosts and goblins....yet have no problem with a fat man and fuzzy woodland creature.  BUSTED! What Does It Have To Do With The Dead? Actually, All Saints Day and Halloween share the idea of honoring the dead...they just differ on the methods. Many of the pagan rituals include tributes to the dead. That's probably why ghost costumes and tombstones have become Halloween classics. I don't understand the discomfort many Christians have with the idea of spirits being everywhere, or of spiritual life beyond physical's the cornerstone of Christianity as taught in the Bible. Why would we be so frightened of what's on the other side of death? Many are so afraid, they keep their children from participating in the fun of Halloween.  Ok....I have to say....this is NOT me.  My kids a point.  So let me ask you, "Should A Christian Refrain From Halloween Celebration?" Once, early in my Christian walk, I believed it was a sin to have anything that had represented a belief in any power but God. I got rid of 4 leaf clovers, horseshoes, totem poles...symbols of pagan these things would have no power over me. After I grew a little in Christ and read the Bible a little more, It hit me...nothing has power over me because Christ is in me. In fact, by thinking these things had power, I was giving them the very power I opposed.  Well let me tell you all that it's the same with Christians and Halloween. Carving pumpkins, setting up witch statues, wearing ghost costumes, going to people's doors to collect treats...all of these rituals are mere games as long as we don't make anything more out of them. As a Christian, the most powerful being in all eternity lives within you. There is no power that can harm you. I'm not denying that evil spirits exist but when we Christians live in fear of them, we're giving them power they don't have.  So, should Christians take part in Halloween? Yes...and no! If you believe it's a sin, pagan worship or anti-Christian in any way, you should refrain. Spend some time in Bible study and prayer to grow your faith until you have confidence that He who is in you is greater than all. If you've already reached that point in your spiritual growth, go have fun! Let your kids have fun, too! While you're at it, don't forget to teach your kids about All Saints Day and about the power of Jesus in them, protecting them from all harm...even from goblins.  You can also when you give out candy....slip in a Christian tract.  What a great way to witness.  One of the ladies at the trunk or treat last night had the kids recite a Bible verse before they got their candy....Why did I not think of that?    You know if celebrating Halloween or some of the customs associated with it scares or concerns you some I know of a ton of churches that offer some "Harvest Festival" as a healthy alternative for celebration so you won't get left out of the fun.   Even Mr. James Dobson was asked once by a group of Christians...."What About Halloween."  His reply was,
"Halloween is a rather different story. Whereas it can be argued that Christmas is a Christian holiday with Christian origins that has suffered the effects of growing secularism, Halloween can be traced to distinctly pagan sources. It is reasonable, then, that many believers would find some aspects of its celebration disturbing. I agree with them in that regard. The traditional emphasis upon the occult, witches, devils, death, and evil sends messages to our kids that godly parents can only regard with alarm. There is clearly no place in the Christian community for this "darker side" of Halloween. Even here, however, there is a place for some harmless fun. Kids love to dress up and pretend. If the Halloween experience is focused on fantasy rather than the occult, I see no harm in it. Make costumes for your children that represent fun characters, such
as Mickey Mouse or an elderly grandmother, and then let them go door-to-door asking for treats. This side of Halloween can be thoroughly enjoyable for the little ones. Let me add, again, that I¹ve given you my personal opinion. I realize that the topic is controversial among committed Christians, and I¹m sensitive to the reasons for their misgivings. My final word to parents on the subject would be "Stay true to your own
convictions." I have said it several times over the past few days....I am not a big Halloween person.  It is not a holiday I enjoy one little bit.  Frank's sister. Ann and her two grandsons came to see us today. Ann came down to Warner Robbins, GA via Greenville, SC to keep the boys so that their parents, niece Kelly and her husband Ronnie, could go to the races in Talladega.  She was just going to come for a visit and when we told her about trunk or treat she said they would come and spend the night with us. Nicholas is in the 3rd grade and very smart.  He was a ninja.  Trevor, almost two was the cutest puppy dog ever.....the problem arose here.  Trevor was terrified of Nicholas when he put the ninja mask on.  Mask off....fine....mask on....not fine.  My sweet Frank dressed up as a clown (minus the white paint) and Trevor thought he was funny.  We got to the church a little before 5 and set up.  I put some webbing on the trunk of my car and there we were....the Rock Mills Methodists and Baptists in the parking lot having Trunk or Treat.  It was fun seeing the little ones in their scariest and prettiest costumes.  After an hour we were out of candy and we went to see a couple of church members so the kids could get some more candy.  We got back home about 7 and both boys were on a sugar rush. The adults sagged in the recliners and watched the guys ping off the walls for the next two hours.  We called it a night a little after 10 and Ann and the boys left for Warner Robbins a little after 9.  Today was Youth/Children Sunday and I put together a program called "God is the Glue That Holds Us Together."  Our kids were amazing.  The talked about Laminin and then they sang Our God and Come Now Is The Time To Worship."  I have never been so proud.  Frank preached on Halloween....and finished his sermon with the cutest little story and I just had to finish my blog with it today. Laurie Beth Jones tells in her book, Grow Something Besides Old. She talks about one Halloween night when she had underestimated the number of children who would come to the door to trick or treat, and she ran out of candy. In desperation, she began giving out quarters, nickels, and dimes. (I know this has never happened to you....and it reminds me of Dobby and her pennies when I used to trick or treat.)  One little girl about 5-years-old dressed as a fairy princess came to her door. She had the little crown and wand and everything.  Jones dropped two quarters into the child¹s sack, and said to her, "I¹ve run out of candy, but tomorrow you can take these coins to the store and turn them into real candy." The little girl stepped back, looked at the two quarters, looked up at her, and said, "Lady, this isn¹t a real wand.  Have a safe weekend.  Don't forget that the drawing is October 31st at midnight.

50's Halloween Sock Hop Revisited

Sunday, October 31: Creepy, Crawly Creations

Create a post describing something that you’ve created for Halloween. Anything qualifies…costumes, recipes, crafts, party invites, treats, decorations, whatever you can come up with!  Well, I bowl on a league and Mike, the alley owner always has a big Halloween Party the Saturday night nearest here we are...the 50's revisted girls.  It was great fun to revist a time from my early past.  I was born in the 50's and was 6 years old when they I am more a product of the 60's but the 50's have always had a draw for me.  I love the concept of soda shops, sock hops, penny loafers, and so get my drift.  Happy Halloween to you all....and Happy Birthday Ann, Debbie, and Stan....all my friends who were born on Halloween.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Memories

My blogger friend Linda, over at Mocha with Linda is doing a Friday Flashback on Halloween and I thought I would share it with you and my responses.  Her questions were interesting and caused me to really pull out the dusty files on days gone by.

What was Halloween like when you were growing up? Did your family participate? If not, was there a substitute activity? Did your school or church have a fall festival or carnival? Were there stipulations regarding costumes? What sorts of activities did they have? What about Halloween parties? Have you ever bobbed for apples or been on a hayride? What are your memories of "haunted houses"? (I'm not referring to the ultra-scary, secular ones, just the fun kid ones, with bowls of grapes and cold spaghetti!) If you went trick-or-treating, what were the rules, both for trick-or-treating and for candy consumption? What types of costumes did you wear? Were they store-bought or homemade? Did you carve a jack-o-lantern? How are your children's experiences similar or different to yours? And the most important question: Do you like candy corn? What is your favorite (and least favorite!) Halloween candy? I thought long and hard and this is what I came up with to respond to her prompts on Halloween.
Halloween was a good, clean, fun thing when I was a child. I lived and breathed for the day and planned my costume from Sept 1st on.  Belvedere Elementary (my primary school) would host a Carnival and the kids would all dress up in their costumes, line up by classes and have a fashion show for all the parents. There would be games, prizes, and food. I think it was there that I fell in love with cotton candy, popcorn balls, and caramel apples. One lady in our neighborhood would make homemade shaped sugar cookies with sprinkles on them.  Kids just don't know what they are missing now.  One year my best friends Carol, Kathy, Donna and I dressed up like the Beatles. We were precious in our white shirts, black pants, homemade guitars and Beatle hair dos. Parents would go around with us while we trick-or-treated in the neighborhood. Two blocks over on the hill (if you can imagine a hill in South Florida) was a house that made homemade snow-cones. Dobby always gave us pennies. It was not unusual to get homemade foods and apples and stuff….but then that was back before the day that meanness entered into the world. When I was a youth we would have a Fall Festival and bob for apples (I hated this) and have a hay-ride. I am not to fond of those either….I am allergic to hay. I really am not a fan of Halloween. Frank and our daughter, Amy have taken me to a couple of haunted houses and I was terrified before the end….but then that is the whole purpose behind the things. I have worn costumes varying from hobos to princesses as a child and they were always homemade. My mom was an excellent seamstress. My children’s experiences have been a wee bit different. We lived in the country and did not have a lot of neighbors so they went to church Fall Festivals, trick-or-treated the few neighbors we had, and/or went with friends. I love candy corn…plain old candy corn….not the new and improved ones with weird flavors. I love the bag that has the pumpkins shaped ones in it. I also loved the caramel candies and the caramel ones with the white stuff in the middle. I don’t like licorice flavored candy in any variety. My mom always collected the candy and then doled it out to me a small amount at the time. I did the same with my kids because my kids were chocoholics….all but Eric…he was never a big chocolate fan…unless it was Reese’s. My dad usually carved a pumpkin….I got to draw the face he carved. I have carved pumpkins with my kids. I think it is one of the grossest things you can do and actually like pumpkins as they are intended to be….pumpkins. I do a fall yard arrangement every year and have a ceramic jack-o-lantern I set out at Halloween. I teach Dia de los Muertos in my Spanish classes and they think the fact that the people honor the dead is weird… much weirder can it be than what we do? If I had my druthers….I would not celebrate this holiday at all….but that is not going to happen… church is doing a hayride for the kids this year and trunk or treat in the parking lot. That will be a first for me and I am looking forward to it. Have a Happy Halloween.  Enjoy my musical tribute to Halloween.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Caramel Apples and Me

I was sitting here at my desk basking in the fact that I was featured on Alabama Bloggers today when I thought about caramel apples.  The thought was so vivid I could taste one and as I sat there enjoying my moment with the caramel apples I laughed out loud and my intern looked at me as if she thought I had lost my marbles.  What I am about to share with you I know you will not believe.  I cannot make caramel apples.  I don't mean....I don't like to, or I never have, I mean I CANNOT make the things, yet love them dearly.  When my son Eric was in first grade he volunteered me to make 36 apples for their Halloween Carnival.  I was new at the mom bit....not even 22 yet.  I thought to myself, "I can do hard can it be?"  Well...little did I know it would take an Act of Congress for me to master this one.  I went to the store, bought the stuff, came home and thought I would knock these puppies out while Eric was at school.  That was at 10:00 in the morning and six hours later, I was still scooping up caramel and trying to make it stay on the apples.  We did not have air-conditioning at the time and my face was blood red from trying to do this.  My MIL came by and could not understand why I was having such a difficult time.  She went back to town, bought some more caramels, came back and showed me how to do it.  Guess what....the caramel would not stay on those stinking apples.  Now I had 288 melted caramel pieces running all over my table, down my arms, on the floor....they were invading my house.  I finally got wise.  I had to have these stupid apples by 10 the following morning and it was now 10p.m.  I had been working on these things for 12 solid hours.  I loved caramel apples...but believe me I was fast losing interest in this "mom" project.  My son hugged me and told me it was ok if he did not have the treat he had promised.  Great!  Not only can I not make stupid caramel apples, I was a let down as a mom.  It was at that moment that I figured out how to remedy this situation.  I took plastic wrap and tore pieces big enough to wrap my apples in, put a huge wad of the nasty caramel stuff in the center, placed an apple on a stick in the middle of the mess, and pulled the plastic up....thus sealing the fate of the apple and the caramel.....and you know what?  They looked gorgeous!  I was so proud of myself....especially when I finally made it to bed after midnight with 36 caramel apples waiting to be delivered and a clean kitchen left behind.  The apples were a hit, sold for 50 cents a piece (50 cents?  If they had charged for labor those bad boys would have cost a months wages).  We called them surprise caramel apples....the surprise came when you took off the wrapper and the caramel fell in plops all over the school.  Needless to say....I never had to make caramel apples for my kids again!  Ever!  I have to interject at this point and tell you....I am not a big sweet cooker.  I cook what I like to cook well in the sweets department...but I am a cook....not a baker...I have a friend, Deborah, who bakes...and when I need something baked....I get it from her!  I learned early on in my children's lives....during LBD (life before Deborah)...that the grocery store pound cakes can be made to taste just like homemade if you take it home, wrap it in plastic wrap, and nuke it for about 2 minutes, let it cool slightly and serve it!  Sneaky huh?  Anyways, in honor of caramel apples whose lives have been spared because I hate making the things....I thought I would share the very EASY recipe I used to make them 35 years ago.  It does friends have all made them....using my recipe.....and the reason the caramel did not stick....the apples were polished.....and slick.  While I was digging out my caramel apple recipe...I found a recipe I have not tried...but thought I would share it with you anyways....enjoy my caramel apple stuff:  Happy Thursday to all....and don't forget to enter my still have til the 31st!

Caramel Apple JamIngredients:
• 6 cups dices, peeled apples
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/2 tsp butter
• 1 package powdered pectin
• 3 cups sugar
• 2 cups packed brown sugar
• 4 half pint jars
• large kettle
• In a large kettle, combine the apples, water and butter. Cook and stir over low heat until the apples are soft. Stir in the pectin and bring the heat up to a rolling boil. Stir constantly.
• Add the sugar and brown sugar and return to a rolling boil. If you would like to add a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg, now is the time to do it, but it is not required. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly.
• Remove from the heat and skim off any foam. Ladle the hot jam into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Adjust the caps so they are on tightly. Submerge the jars in a boiling water bath for ten minutes. You will hear pops as the jars are sealed shut and the safety buttons suck in.

Caramel Apples:(The No Fail Kind).....Yeah right!
• 5 to 10 normal sized apples.
• 1 Tablespoon of water.
• 5 to 10 Popsicle sticks.
• 1/2 chopped peanuts.(optional)
• 50 caramels or just 1- 14 oz package of caramel.
•Once you have everything. You want to place the caramals and water into a microwave safe bowl.
•You will want to microwave on medium for 2 1/2 to 4 minutes stirring after one minute, or until caramels are melted completely.
•If you have to use the stove top , you will want to melt the caramels with water in a medium sized saucepan over a medium flame, don't stop stirring until the caramels are completely melted.
•Now go to your apples and insert the Popsicle sticks into each stem of the apples about 3/4 much into the apple.
•While holding on to the Popsicle stick dip your apples into the caramel until they are completely covered. Let each apple drip the extra caramel off so it doesn't make a mess over the bowl.
•You will want to set the apples the are dipped in caramel on a platter with wax paper that has been greased with butter. Now this will make sure the apples wont stick to your platter and sprinkle chopped peanuts on them if you would like.
•Once that is all done refrigerate for at least one or 1 1/2 hours until you want to serve them.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday's Word - Peace

My bible reading today was from Isaiah 43:2-3:  "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…"  Today I am focusing on the fact that my inner peace and joy should not depend on the circumstances of my life. Instead, they should be based on what God has done for me.  They should be based on my personal relationship with him and his never-changing love for me. I should be realizing his all-encompassing graceand the fact that my sins have been replaced by the righteousness of Christ. No matter what challenges I may face or tragedy I may suffer, these things will never ever change.  For that one thought I am extremely relieved and grateful.  God has promised me that he will be with me in every circumstance. He has promised me that I will not be destroyed by the trials and circumstances of life. He is my Protector, my Deliverer, my loving Father.  Blessed assurance is what that is....or should I say Blessed insurance.  I have talked to you all about my singing partner/sister/cousin Amanda and her husband Randy.  Randy has ALL (it is a form of leukemia) and right now they are waiting on the bone marrow donation process to take place.  They have found the match and the match is now it is just a matter of when and what will happen after that.  I have difficulties in my life....and I am sure you do too....but right now...I am focused on them because my problems just don't seem  as big as theirs.  Since the diagnosis and treatment began in late June I have found that I am reading the Word more and more and in my readings I have found that  God has never promised us a problem-free life here on earth.  The thing we seem to miss is that although He did not promise us a problem-free life he did promise to be with us. He has promised to keep us and to comfort and help us.  Let me tell you from experience that when I am suffering, I find it is so easy to slip into despair, fear, and turmoil. It is at those times that I usually call upon my prayer warrior friends Carolyn and Kathy and instead of wallowing in my despair, with their prayers and support, focus on Jesus.  Usually after a prayer with either of these two I am not overwhelmed. The Bible tells me in Philippians 4:13 that "You can do all things through Christ."  It is knowing that one simple truth that keeps my head afloat and tells me that I truly can experience peace amidst the storm. I have that Blessed Assurance and want to tell you all about it this morning with the help of Mac Powell and Third Day.  Now all I have to ask you all this morning is...."Can I Get an Amen?"

Don't forget to visit my anniversary post and enter.  The drawing will be on October 31st at midnight.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Expecting a Delay

I hate least I did.  I have come to find that they do not bother me as much as I thought they did.  In my devotional time this morning I read in Psalm 130:6 these words:  "My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning—yes, more than those who watch for the morning."

Patsy Clairmont (one of my favorite Christian writers tells a story about a trip she once took.) "When the gentleman put up his hand to stop me from going through security at the airport, I complied. I already had stripped off my shoes, jacket, and purse to be scanned. Finally, the man waved me through and then immediately began wanding me. The wand sounded like a loaded Geiger counter that had just struck pay dirt as he whisked it around my chubby anatomy. The woman on the scanner then pointed out that my purse and carry-on needed to be searched.  I bet the Israelites never anticipated that it would take forty years to reach the Promised Land. Talk about delays. Enemies, rebellion, war, sickness . . . there was always something slowing them down and delaying their arrival.  What looked like sheer inconvenience and man-made barriers actually had been orchestrated by the hand of God. He knew the exact moment they would reach their destination. Delays were as much in his plan as manna and quails.
I remind myself of that when a flight is canceled, a mistake is made, an order is lost, a doctor’s report is delayed, or a request is misunderstood. We don’t know, but God might be protecting us with these delays. They may be God’s way of helping us realize our need for trust, patience, adaptability, and relinquishment."  Several years ago, the year 911 happened I flew to Bangor, ME to my friend Mary's sister.  We flew through Logan and it was a nightmare.  I was tired of traveling by the time I got there.....and grumpy.  Nothing was going as flight was dropped.....I was 5 hours later leaving....lines were long, people were scared, it was a bad day to be traveling.  I finally made it to Bangor....and on the return flight encountered problems of a grander scale.  Flights were cancelled, we were rerouted, replaned, on three different airlines....I was just hoping my suitcases would arrive with me.  We should have landed in Birmingham at 6 that evening....and 6 hours later we were touching down.  I was fit to be tied.  I had to be at work at 7 and was still an hour and a half away from my house.  I had not gotten the lesson God was going to have to reteach me this one.  In 2009, I flew to Ireland with some kids.  We actually got on an earlier flight and got to Chicago 3 hours ahead of schedule.  I loved this....I love Chicago.  The airport in Chicago is a travelers delight.  Chicago smells permeate every single square foot.....oh yes this was heavenly.  Later....we discovered that the flight we were supposed to be on.....was cancelled...period!  God was definitely in charge here.  Have you ever left home, forgotten to unplug the iron, turned around and were later leaving?  Did it irritate you?  It used to irritate me.  It would actually take the joy out of my trip.  Until....once....down the road there was a wreck.....and I missed it.  I have learned that delays are not all bad....and I have also learned in my travels that God is my co-pilot....whether I am in the air or on the ground.  Oh just FYI I am not completely there yet.  I still get irritated when I have a doctor's appointment and have to wait for hours before being seen.  I have to keep working on that one!  Happy Tuesday to all.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Whirlwind Sunday

Wow...what a great Sunday we had.  Church began and when it was time for announcements Betty Jean said she had one and I had to go to the front with her.  The church had a special appreciation for us and it was so sweet.  I stood there and tried not to cry and then Frank spoke and thanked them all for everything....I was so excited I spoke after all.  After church they had a luncheon for us and let me tell you the Rock Mills ladies can really cook.  Thank you sweet people of Rock Mills for making us feel so much a part of your lives.  We love you all very much!  While we were at the luncheon I really  tried to watch what I eating because at 2:30 I was going to sing at Charge Conference and I absolutely cannot eat and then sing.  We got home about 1:30, let the dog out, and then it seemed it was time for Charge Conference.  We left and got to Roanoke First UMC in time for the District Superintendant to tell me that the other singers were not going to make it and could I sing a few more.  Heck....I am a never ask us to sing a few more....I left Frank and the D.S. standing there and ran back to the house and grabbed another couple of C.D.'s to use.  The Charge Conference thing....was so long.....I sang three songs, we had communion, there was a message, a meeting, reports and we finally walked in the house at 4:30. To make it worse.....we did not have enough people we have to go to another one....or have one at our church.  Griefus....don't these people have anything better to do with their Sunday's?  What ever happened to that fine institution called the Pastoral Nap?  Sigh!   I had such big plans for this day....and they were not panning out.....we had to be at the church again at 5 for Bible Study and choir practice.  Finally home at 7.  I was so the time I packed up all my stuff for Monday at was past bedtime...yet, sleep did not come easily.  I will be tired tomorrow for sure.  Frank's sister, Ann is coming this weekend and she is a great housekeeper/cook.  I have to try and impress her.  Wish me luck.  I will spend the rest of the week checking out new recipes.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Karen's Little Corner of the World

I have a bloggerversary coming up on Halloween. (I thought it would be fun to do a giveaway so if you want to help me celebrate my special day click this link and enter) I thought.  I also have become part of the Alabama Bloggers so in order to introduce myself to you guys I thought I would take you back on a trip in time.  My very first post was on Wednesday, October 31st, 2007.  I was a newish preachers wife and learning about life as a pastor's wife.  Frank becoming a preacher is kind of a funny tale.  I had a dream.....and name is not Martin Luther Korb....but in my dream we were in seminary somewhere in Texas and poor....very poor.  I dream a lot and some of my dreams actually have come true.  My mom used to tell me I had a third eye like her and could sometimes see the future.  I always thought that was poppycock.  I shared my dream with Frank the next morning and laughed....thinking he would too....but he didn't.  He had a most perplexed look on his face.  The next day in the Walmart parking lot he told me he had something serious he wanted to tell me....Come on I thought....serious conversation in the Walmart parking lot!  Truthfully I thought he was going to tell me my parents had to go.  I was braced for that....what I was not braced for was what he DID say.  Frank told me that my dream had hit close to home and it was time to stop running from God.  He had talked to our Associate Pastor at the First United Methodist Church and he had sent him to the District Superintendent.  Frank was going to licensing school to become a Local Pastor.  Huh?  And what was the time frame of this going to be I wondered.  Visions of seminary in Texas flooded my brain.  Licensing school would take a week and then MAYBE he would get a church the next June.  Appointments were already in the works for this year. I would have a year to digest holds true to form with my life...that was not the case.  Frank's first appointment was that very June in 2007.  The church was a small church in Waverly, AL just outside of Auburn, AL.  It was a part time appointment so he would still have to have a full-time job and at some point go back to school.  My very first post was about my life from June to October as a pastor's wife and it looked like this:
"Wednesday, October 31, 2007 -Wow! Today is Halloween and I have been a preacher's wife since June. It has been an interesting ride to say the least. Who would have ever thought that at age 53 I would be putting my walk where my mouth is! My husband Frank is the pastor at Waverly United Methodist Church and we are loving it. Sitting on the second row every Sunday as he delivers the message to his congregation is really exciting. I have learned so much just being quiet and still. Here is my thought for today. So many times we get to caught up in the busyness of the world that we miss the business of doing God's work. I truly believe that God put me in Waverly to teach me that lesson. He knows that for one hour on Sunday morning I am still and know that He is God. God is Great! See you soon, Karen" 
Three years later I am still a pastor's wife, sitting on the second row of a different church, Rock Mills United Methodist, and still loving to hear my husband deliver the message each and every Sunday.  There is a slight difference.  Rock Mills is a bigger church AND I am now a certified lay speaker and can fill pulpits myself when needed.  Last Sunday was laity Sunday at our church and I delivered the message.  The congregation had never heard me speak and when I was through one of our little ladies told Frank they were going to fire him and hire me.  That was a big boost for my self-esteem I can tell you.  I am a huge Beth Moore, Patsy Clairmont, et al. fan and being in the pulpit was exhilarating to say the least.  I am a story teller by nature, teacher by trade, preacher's wife by design, a singer, traveler and blogger by desire.  I love my life and love what I do.  Have not read my blog yet?  Well there is a lot of stuff there.  I share my life (living with a dad dying from cancer, a mom with dementia, children, teaching, stuff), I share photos (I love to be behind a camera....not in front of one), I share silly stuff, I share recipes, I share things that will make you cry or think, I share my sermons for you to comment on and help me improve, I open my home and heart to you and let you take a walk through.  There in Karen's Korner there is a little something for everything.  Hope you will stop in and have a cup of coffee with me and become my new bloggy friend.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Then Sings My Soul Saturday!

I was reading a blog I follow, Mocha with Linda, and she had a small post today about a particular hymn she loved by the Gaithers.  I listened to her video clip and it made me decide I wanted to post one today myself.  Frank and I went to a book sale to help the Humane Society this morning early, then went to Awbreys to look at their Christmas stuff.  Awbreys sells feed, seeds, plants....and stuff.  It is the stuff I love.  It has wooden floors and smells like my grandfather. It is amazing what memories smell can evoke. When we finished there we headed to Newnan to the Halloween Superstore.  I am not a big fan of Halloween (I loved it when I was a child....but things were different then and mean people did not exist).  Anyways,  our church does a hayride and Trunk or I felt like I had to do a little something for the kids.  We got some web stuff to put on the hatch of my HHR for the Trunk or Treat thing next Saturday night and I bought myself a butterfly tatoo for my eyes...with pink sparkly eyelashes...and a black and pink spiked wig that looks like Alices hair in Twilight....I plan to wear all black.  We bought Frank and clown get up and it is so cute.  "SQUIRREL!"  My ADD kicked in somewhere between the beginning of this post and now.  My HYMN for today is "Be Thou My Vision," an 8th century Irish hymn.  There is something about this hymn that is just beautifully unique. I mean, all hymns are good, worshipping and glorifying God, but this song is just magical. First off,the tune is energetic, while at the same time breathtaking, which isn't common among energetic tunes, if you know what I mean. Usually the breath-taking tune is this slow, steady and a very focused tune, while this is rampant, powerful, and to be honest it is ridiculously beautiful. It just seems to offer something different than any other true hymn.  This is one hymn I've never been able to sing to it's end without sobbing and I truly believe that because this hymn is so dramatic in tone and presentation that it has the ability to touch people's hearts.  I know it does mine everytime I hear it.  The version I am sharing with you today is by 4Him.  Enjoy it and I hope you have a glorious Saturday.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Me and You Giveaway!

My blogging anniversary is in just 9 days.  I am so excited.  I never knew when I started this in 2007 that it would become such an important part of my life.  I have enjoyed having this outlet to vent frustrations, share my faith, tell about my family and friends and just meet some really cool people.  I am going to draw for the prize winner on Halloween.  The basket is modge podged(I did not get it done for my picture) and it will be filled with all kinds of goodies:  a book, some music, foodie items, and surprises.  It is simple to enter. If you are a follower...bang you have one entry.  If you tell about my giveaway on your blog....bang yet another entry.  If you leave a comment...bang another entry.  If you don't want to be a follower...that is fine....just leave me a comment...and you still have a shot at the prize.  The winner will be announced on Halloween night.  When you are notified I will need a snail mail address so I can get it packed up and in the mail to you....unless you are Trina....then I will just walk it across the hall!  Good luck to all and may the best man/woman win!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Random Dozen With The Help of a Friend

Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee had a rough week and Linda at Mocha with Linda jumped in and helped her get the Random Dozen questions out for the week.  It is nice to have good friends like that....don't  you think.  I loved this weeks questions.  If you want to yourself.  I even included the definitions of the personality types at the end....which one are you?
1. Do you prefer to read the book or see the movie? I love a good movie….but I am a book reader….AND I want to read a real book….I like the smell of the pages. I am a weird-o.  All my friends have Nook's and Kindles....and I still love the feel of a book.
2. What is your favorite holiday and why? Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday…because I love this special time of being thankful for all I have.  I really love anytime family is together.  I am a family kind of girl.
3. Which do you like better - the mountains or the beach? I love the beach in the fall, or during a storm….and love the mountains in the fall and spring.  My middle name is it does not matter to me where....just shut up and drive.
4. If money were no consideration, what vehicle would you drive? A convertible something expensive.
5. What is your favorite cold-weather beverage? Hot cocoa made by my friend Rhonda Blythe…she makes me some mix every year and I love it.
6. How do you communicate most often with your friends: phone, email, text, face-to-face, or Facebook? All of the above.
7. How do you receive your mail? Mailbox on the porch, at the end of the driveway, down the street, or post office box? Mailbox at the end of the driveway.  It has a "K" mailbox cover on it and looks so cute.
8. Of the four basic personality types - sanguine, phlegmatic, melancholic, and choleric - which is your strongest? Which is your least evident? (See definitions below.) Sanguine is my strongest. I am almost purely Sanguine. My least evident is Melancholic.
9. What do you miss the most about being 20? Absolutely nothing! I love being 50 something. I get a discount at Ross Dress for Less on Tuesday.
10. How long from the time you get up, does it take you to get ready to walk out the door in the morning? 30 minutes from start to finish.  I have everything laid out the night before so I don't wake up Frank.
11. Who handles the car maintenance and pays the bills in your family? Frank and I share the responsibility. 
12. For those in the US, how many states have you visited? For those outside the US, how many provinces/other countries have you visited? I have visited 48 of the 50 states. I lack Alaska and Vermont (still not sure how I missed that one.) I have been to all the Canadian provinces, all over Mexico, the UK (minus Scotland), Italy, Germany, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, the Bahamas….so little time and so many more places to visit.
Personality type definitions courtesy Wikipedia:
Sanguine: The Sanguine temperament personality is fairly extroverted. People of a sanguine temperament tend to enjoy social gatherings, making new friends and tend to be quite loud. They are usually quite creative and often daydream. However, some alone time is crucial for those of this temperament. Sanguine can also mean very sensitive, compassionate and thoughtful. Sanguine personalities generally struggle with following tasks all the way through, are chronically late, and tend to be forgetful and sometimes a little sarcastic. Often, when pursuing a new hobby, interest is lost quickly when it ceases to be engaging or fun. They are very much people persons. They are talkative and not shy. For some people, these are the ones you want to be friends with and usually they become life long friends.
Choleric: A person who is choleric is a doer. They have a lot of ambition, energy, and passion, and try to instill it in others. They can dominate people of other temperaments, especially phlegmatic types. Many great charismatic military and political figures were cholerics. They like to be leaders and in charge of everything.
Melancholic: A person who is a thoughtful ponderer has a melancholic disposition. Often very considerate and get rather worried when they could not be on time for events, melancholics can be highly creative in activities such as poetry and art - and can become occupied with the tragedy and cruelty in the world. A melancholic is also often a perfectionist. They are often self-reliant and independent; one negative part of being a melancholic is sometimes they can get so involved in what they are doing they forget to think of others.
Phlegmatic: Phlegmatics tend to be self-content and kind. They can be very accepting and affectionate. They may be very receptive and shy and often prefer stability to uncertainty and change. They are very consistent, relaxed, rational, curious, and observant, making them good administrators and diplomats.
I hope you enjoyed this random dozen.  I know I like the challenge of them and look forward to them each week.  Have a wonderful Thursday!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I just have to laugh...or else I would probably cry.  I went to see my mom on Monday...after school and before helping to make hundreds of cheese balls.  We were lucky today and we got to have the private visiting room. I like this room because it has walls the color of mocha, a beautiful painting, some fake plants and actually comfortable chairs.  They allow us to go in there and shut the door and visit....and there is no one else looking at me with that all-knowing look.  In that little room....for just a few mom is normal....or as normal as she can be in a geriatric psych ward.  BUT...Monday....I went through my standard pattern questions....and the responses she gave me made me want to laugh out loud.  Here are some of my favorite momma-isms from psych ward:
Me:  "I love this room don't you?" (talking about the visitation room we are in for the umpteenth time)
Her:  "Oh it is so pretty....I have never been here before."
Me:  "Momma, do you remember when you were born?"
Her:  "I sure do....1929 - July 9th!" (Hope rises....this is actually correct).
Me:  "Do you remember when I was born?" (Not a biggie here....I am an only child)
Her:  (sighing heavily) " Of course, you were there....1930."  (I nearly fell out of my chair)
Me:  "So how old were you when I was born?"
Her:  "I was exactly 55." ( the math people....I am currently....or at least until April 15th....56 years old.  My mom would be 111 years old.  I think that is some kind of record.)
Me:  "Frank is working or he would be with me." (Actually Frank lives an 1.5 hours the opposite direction.)
Her:  "Are you and Frank still living together?  Did you ever get married?"  (You do remember that my Frank is a preacher....right?)
We sing a few songs, I hug her, and head home....I still have a 1.5 hour drive before I rest.  On my way home I actually cried.  I am so tired.  When she was at Adams (and she will return)....I could run over and see her during my planning period and after school if I wanted to.  It was almost walking distance from the high school.  Now she is 30 minutes further West from me....and it adds another 1.5 hours to my day.    So I leave my house at 5:45 and get home around 6:30.  BUT....I have to admit....God is in control.  On my way home....on XM radio....there he was....the King himself....singing "Peace in the Valley."  I hate it when Elvis sings that song....but on my way was a moment of pure pleasure.  I won't have my mom with me forever....and one day we will both have "Peace in the Valley."  Can I get an AMEN!

Monday, October 18, 2010


My girlfriend, Laura, sent me the cutest email today and I just had to share it with you all.  I can so see me doing these things with my gal pals and I am sure some of you can envision the same thing.  Have a Happy Monday and a Hearty Laugh!  A group of 15 year old girlfriends discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally, it was agreed upon that they should meet at the Dairy Queen next to the Ocean View restaurant because they only had $6.00 between them and Jimmy Johnson, that cute boy in Social Studies, lives on that street and they might see him and they can ride their bikes there.
10 years later, the group of 25 year old girlfriends discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally, it was agreed upon that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the beer was cheap, they had free snacks, the band was good, there was no cover and there were lots of cute guys.
10 years later, at 35 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally, it was agreed upon that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the cosmos were good, it was right near the gym and if they go late enough, there wouldn't be too many whiny little kids.
10 years later, at 45 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally, it was agreed upon that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the martinis were big, and the waiters there had tight pants and nice buns.
10 years later, at 55 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the food there was reasonable, the wine list was good, they had windows that open in case of a hot flash, and fish is good for your cholesterol.
10 years later, at 65 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because lighting was good and they have an early bird special.
10 years later, at 75 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because food was not too spicy, the restaurant was handicapped accessible and they even had an elevator!
10 years later, at 85 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because they had never been there before.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Living Free of Unforgiveness

Today was laity Sunday in the Methodist church world.  What that means is that a lay speaker delivers the message.....and at our church that was me.  I prayed over my message and worked hard on it....and then was not the words God wanted me to share with the I thought why waste a good message....I will use it on my Sunday blog. So here is the sermon that wasn't.  I am glad I listened to God on this one....the one I did deliver was so powerful.  I truly felt an out of body experience with I know the Holy Spirit was in the house for sure.  Whenever I have to apologize for something I need to hear the person I have wronged say, “I forgive you.” I don’t just do this just because I need to hear it….but because the other person needs to say it….to be completely released. Did your parents ever make you tell someone, “I’m sorry” or “I forgive you?” I have to admit...mine did....and I did the same thing as a parent.  I remember my son mumbling the words, "I'msorryIdidn't meanit" to his cousin Brandy once.  He was right...he didn't mean it and you probably didn’t even mean it at the time either – or say it whole heartedly….but eventually it worked its way to your soul. It is best, of course, when we do mean it….and say it without someone telling us we need to say I am sorry….but that doesn’t always happen and it is far better to say, “I’m sorry” half heartedly and grow into it…than to do nothing and wait for forgiveness to occur. “Forgiveness is a choice you make” and if you don’t forgive it brings death into your life in some form or fashion. The best way to become forgiving is to pray for the person you need to forgive. Even though it may seem hard at first, once you get into it and discover more things to pray about you will discover your heart becoming soft toward that person. I’ve discovered the hard way that in families there are those who wait for forgiveness to happen. You know the ones who don’t forgive until they feel like forgiving. The result is more often than not serious rifts between family members. When this happens hurtful things are said to or about each other, or even worse – SILENCE!  In Ephesians 4: 31-32 tells us to "31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."  Matthew 6:14-15 follows with "14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."  I don't know about you....but I like the fact that God is going to forgive my sins....and who am I to think I am better than God and don't have to forgive.   Lack of graciousness and appreciation occurs and THIS undergirds ever word and deed because of unforgiveness. Whole families can suffer because of one persons unforgiveness. I am a Christian and part of a church family (one small nuclear family) – part of one extended family the United Methodist Church organization. We have all kinds of families in our lives, our church, our community, and our work place. Forgiveness is the key to all these areas. We need to forgive those in all our families for their imperfections and things that have been done….hurtful things. This may even involve forgiving ourselves. If we are not forgiving the consequences can be serious.  I know of a woman who had a horrific fight with her mother.....about her mother's lifestyle choices.....the mother was going on a trip and left right after hateful/hurtful words had been exchanged by the two.  Somewhere during the trip a semi-truck T-boned the mother and she died instantly.  The daughter carried this guilt with her for years. Unforgiveness can so easily become part of our lives that we take it with us wherever we go. We never even notice the excess baggage we are carrying. Forgiveness does not make the other person right – it makes you free. Forgiveness is trusting that God is the God of justice. He says He is and saying, “Father, I won’t hold that person to myself with unforgiveness anymore.” It is acknowledging that God knows the truth and allowing Him to be the judge, because He is the only one who knows the whole truth. Is. 30:18 says, “The Lord is a God of justice, blessed are all who wait for Him.” We are blessed when we confess our unforgivenss to Him – pray for deliverance – and then we can sit back and wait for God to do the right thing while we enjoy His blessings. Doesn’t that sound more enjoyable?....Ok…So now I am sure you are asking....or at least thinking in your head, “How does a child forgive an abusive parent? How does a family forgive the drunk driver who killed their daughter? How can anyone show mercy for the merciless?” Well, without coming into the presence of the Lord, they can’t. In the presence of the Lord one understands complete forgiveness. This understanding is sweet release – it’s life giving because it renews our entire being. In Phil. 3:13-14 we are instructed "13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." We cannot get on with our lives and all that God has in store for us as long as we are tied to past injustices.  I learned the hard way that you have to give it up and let it go.  You cannot be an effective person....much less and effective Christian if you are carrying around this kind of baggage in your life.  Matthew 5:7 – takes it even a step further with, "7Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." This verse instructs us that we need to show mercy so nothing limits us or God’s mercy towards us. We need to say , “I forgive you, “ whenever the opportunity arises. We need to prevent bitterness and unforgiveness from becoming a wall between us and God – hindering our prayers or our walk. We don’t have time for this because there is too much praying to be done. – I don't know about you....but I don't need anything hindering my prayers.  How about you?  Is there someone you need to tell you are sorry to today?....and mean it?  If so...get on it!  There might not be a tomorrow.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

In The Woogump Woods

Every year the Youth and Children of Rock Mills UMC have a haunted hayride.  I was asked to write the story for this year and was excited about the concept.  The theme is Woogump Woods, which is a story one of our member's grandfather used to tell.  My story is not his....he is dead....the only clue I had is that Woogumps have red eyes.  I am putting it here so that you guys can give me some ideas or constructive criticism.  Enjoy the read! 
Once upon a time in a pasture not so far away lived the Woogumps.  The Woogumps were red-eyed creatures that no one wanted around.  They were not allowed to walk the streets with normal people.  They had to live in the woods and take care of themselves because they were not even allowed to go to Wal-Mart for food.  Well…let me tell you ….one day the Woogump leader decided that this was not fair!  He encouraged the other Woogumps to stage an uprising…  right here… Rock Mills, AL.  The took over the woods around Ms. Alice’s pasture and began stealing cows for food.  When it would get very dark they would slip out of the woods and the only thing you could see was their red eyes shining.  The would find a pasture and pick out a nice juicy cow and slurp it up….all that would remain was the hide of the cow.  Small children began to disappear all over Randolph County and the parents were very concerned… they formed a possee of Woogump hunters and went in search of the dreaded Woogumps…..but they had no luck….the Woogunps were smarter than the humans….and hid well… deep in the woods near Ms. Alice’s pasture.  Children kept disappearing…..parents kept searching and worrying……and the Woogumps stayed hidden…..deep in the woods.   The sheriff and his deputies combed the woods…..and found not one single trace of the Randolph County children.  Not even a tiny shoe or hairbow….nothing…. One day though….a young boy was out in the woods looking for his lost baby calf….and he came upon a baby Woogump caught in an animal trap.  His heart went out for the trapped Woogump and he rescued her and took her to the Woogump hiding place……the Woogumps were so thankful that they made him the human keeper of the Woogumps.  He was the only human who was allowed into the woods after dark without fearing for his life.  Children kept disappearing and cow hides kept being found…and years went by….the old Woogumps were replaced by younger….meaner ones….who began to terrorize the people of Rock Mills even more… day the young boy…..who was now an old man….went to the Woogumps and made them promise… limit their activities to only one month a year…..that month was October… was a great time for the Woogumps…..children would dress up as scary creatures….gather candy….and the Woogumps would lure them into the woods and take them….and their candy…..all that would remain was their costumes…..lying in the ground of Ms. Alice’s pasture.  One night, near Halloween….a group of Rock Mills United Methodists…..took a hayride in Ms. Alice’s pasture…..and listened carefully to their story teller….when he finished his story….he looked up at the people on the hayride….and they realized…..something very important….there were costumes on the ground…..and they were in the presence of the Keeper of the Woogumps..

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pumpkins, Stuffing, and Relish....Oh My!

I have several favorite fall recipes that when I have the time I love to cook.  The cheesecake recipe I have not made in a long time but it is relatively easy to prepare, cleanup is a breeze and eating is to die for.  I watched an episode of a cooking show on TV one fall for this one...and wrote down the recipe as they cooked it.  I have made it many times and it is always a hit.  Poor Frank...I have never made it for him....maybe this year since I am on a pumpkin kick.  Now I will be quite honest, I love the taste of pumpkin and use it a good bit during the holidays....Pumpkin Pie is my all time favorite....and even though I live in the south....did not grow up eating Sweet Potato pie....we had Pumpkin with homemade whipped cream.....I have had people tell me you can't tell the difference in the two....that is a bald faced lie...yes you can!  I do not eat sweet potatoes....any way, form, or fashion!  I am a pumpkin kind of girl!
Pumpkin Cheesecake
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
For crust:
In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
For filling:
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs(one at a time), egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.
Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours. I top mine with whipped cream.  If I am lazy...I use the store bought kind...if not...I make my own.  Either way, trust me...this is Slap Your Momma delish!
When I was in Maine visiting my friend Mary's sister Noel, I looked through one of her cookbooks and found an awesome pumpkin bread recipe.  It is another one of those awesome recipes....personally...with the pumpkin I think it is the nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon that really float my boat.  This one is easy and makes three loaves.
Pumpkin Bread
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (If I want to fancy it up I ice it with a can of cream cheese frosting once it cools...or a glaze of powdered sugar and water.)
I also am not a big dressing eater.  I grew up on stuffing and I love the stuff.  My mom would stuff the turkey, stuff big squash, stuff pumpkins, stuff anything and I could eat it hot or cold.  I took my mom's recipe and added cranraisins to make it my own....I am also crazy about them.  It is really good and we eat it year round....with pork or poultry.  I personally could eat it as a meal.  Daughter Amy, introduced me to the Harry and David dried form a few years ago...and although it appears to be seasonal there...I love it as much as the homemade.  Thanks Amy!
Cranberry Stuffing
1 cup butter or margarine

3 medium celery stalks (with leaves), chopped (1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
9 cups soft bread cubes (15 slices) or the equivalent of the Pepperidge Farm dried
3/4 cup dried cranberries or golden raisins (I use the cranraisins...that covers both.
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup of chicken stock (if you bake it...and don't stuff something with it.
Heat oven to 350.  In 10-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Cook celery and onion in butter, stirring frequently, until onion is tender. Stir in about one-third of the bread cubes. Place in large bowl. Add remaining bread cubes and ingredients; toss. If you bake it alone....put in 1/2 cup of chicken stock to keep it most. If I bake mine alone...I keep it in the skillet and bake it.  Serves about 18
Now, neither stuffing or dressing is complete without cranberries.  I don't care for the canned stuff so I make my own.  It is not jellied...I think that is a bit gross.  I make a cranberry relish.  It is very tasty and pretty in a cut glass dish!
Cranberry Relish
2 bags cranberries
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp orange rind - grated
Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes or until berry skins pop. Chill and enjoy!
My neighbor, Miss Gloria called yesterday and wanted us to come over and reap some of her pear trees bounty.  I am going to be canning for the next couple of days.  I plan on making pear preserves and pear relish.  I love pear preserves on homemade biscuits and on pancakes.  I love pear relish on black-eyed peas.  Yummmm Yummmm....I hope they turn out well and I am not getting them done sitting here blogging.  Have a Wonderful Friday and wish me luck as I can.  I will post pictures of the end results. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cades Cove to the House

Yesterday was my Random Dozen day .....(and if you read mine before 1:25 today....look at it again....I added some pictures)....anyways...I am telling you about my wonderful day in the Cove on Wednesday and trip home today.  What a great, relaxing trip I had.  I came home so very happy.  We got up early and went to Cades Cove via Townsend (The Quiet Side of the Smokies)....Wares Valley road is one of my favorite trips.  This is the view that met us....
is that not to die for.  This picture was taken off Wares Valley Road just before we got into Townsend. 

The rest of that part of the trip was full of anticipation....would we see any wild animals in the Cove???  Oh I could hardly sit still until we saw the Entering Cades Cove sign....I immediately rolled my window down and took a huge gulp of Smokie Mtn. air...and it was good!  The first creatures we saw were some turkey's strolling on the roadside.  I actually got out of the car and walked pretty close to them to get my pictures.  I think I took nine of them....but don't won't have to suffer through them all.  I call this picture the three amigos.  They never seemed to leave each other's sides.

Not far from the turkey we found our first good deer siting.  There was a number of them just off from a wooded area.  I love it when I see means someone has spotted something good!  My deer pictures I cannot share with you today because I took them on my 35mm....with real film.  Imagine that.  I can't wait to get it developed.  On our way out we were behind a man I teach when he stopped to take some pictures with his new Nikon D90....we stopped a chatted a bit.  It is a small world.  As we headed to Sugarlands Visitors Center we passed another guy and his girlfriend that I work with too.  I knew Don and SueEllen were going to be in the mountains....they come every fall.  We got our National Park Passports stamped (yes, I am a nerd)...and we headed back via Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge and I got a couple of cool shots from the car...we stopped at Five Oaks and did a little shopping and ran into another friend of mine from Church....then headed back to Susan's. Wednesday night is church night in the Price house and we want to go with them.  We ate supper at their church and went to prayer meeting.  Headed back to the house, cleaned the guns, visited, and went to bed.  We left Knoxville this morning about 7 our time.  The ride home was lovely and we enjoyed ourselves listening to XM32 (The Message). We have found a new route and really had a great time on it.  Have a wonderful Thursday....tonight we are bowling....I hope I can lift the ball....we shot on Tuesday night...and I fired a 12 gauge...and it kicked into my right shoulder pretty still is sore.  See you all tomorrow!  God Bless!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Random Almost Dozen

It is Wednesday and time for my weekly Random Dozen from Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee.  You will notice something a bit odd this week.....there are really only 11 questions.  It appears that number 4 went AWOL.  Oh well we will get along the best we can without him.  I am on vacation this week and on a mobile if pictures were asked for....unless if happens to be on this won't get them.  Enjoy the read.....laugh if you must.
1. Is there a word which you initially mispronounced? Were the circumstances in which you made the faux pas embarrassing? By the way, that's not "foax pass." (I know you know that. Just jokin' with ya.) Cinnamon was my big word....and I stumbled over the word English class and the more I tried to say it right....the worse it became.
2. How do you feel about the use of texting shortcuts and trends? (ex: "I've got ur notes. Get them 2 u 2morow.") Texting shortcuts are long as you use universally accepted ones.  I have a friend who makes them up as she goes and it could be any word....any time.  I have missed meeting her...because she took way too many shortcuts.
3. Tell me about your high school senior picture. Please feel free to post.  It had to be made twice.  The first time I had had pneumonia and was ghostly white....the photographer put too much make up on me trying to make me not so white and it was worse.  I went back two weeks later and had the ones we used made.

5. Share a high school or college homecoming memory.  I was in Youth for Christ.  We worked hard on our float for homecoming and several of the "service" organizations said we didn't stand a chance of winning best float....ours was Little Bo Peep says her prayers.....and we built a little girl saying her prayers at the foot of a four poster was awesome...and the judges thought so too....cause we won!  (The picture is of all of homecoming....ours is the bottom center pic).

6. Linda at Mocha with Linda wants to know: "Do you prefer sunrises or sunsets?"  I like them both equally as much....especially if I have a camera in my hand and I am in the mountains or at the beach.....I am headed to Cades Cove this get some sunrise pictures.
7. Lea at Cici's Corner asks, "What is something you have not done that you desire to do?"  I want to go to the two of the fifty states I have not been to yet, Alaska and Vermont....and then I want to go to Scotland and Germany.
8. Carol at Wanderings of an Elusive Mind ponders, "If you could come back [in another life] as an animal, which would it be?"  A a cat lovers house....because I want to be taken care of...and I love the attitude of a cat.
9. Joyce from The Other Side of the Pond is curious: "Where were you 10 years ago?" Please feel free to elaborate more than just your physical location. I was single with a daughter in college, working three jobs trying to make ends meet.
10. When you are proven to be correct in any contentious discussion, do you gloat?
Only if it is Frank.  He is always when I am is a red letter day and we party.  Actually...that is not entirely true....I don't challenge unless it is something that is going to matter in say....10 years.  Being right is not that important to me.....the person is that important....and so I usually just say, "you could be right....and leave it alone."  BUT if it is something that will matter in 10 years....I will argue it til the cows come home.
11. What is your favorite food which includes the ingredient "caramel?"  Caramel to dip apples in, caramel cake, chocolate covered caramels, caramel sauce on ice name it....I love it!
12. From my 17 year-old daughter to you: "If you could be part of any fictional family, which family would you choose and why?" (She's so cute. And clever.)  I AM....or WAS part of a fictional family growing up....My mom's name is Wilma, My dad's name was Fred....and everyone called me got it...."Pebbles!"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday in the Smokies

I have a short post for today because I am beat....but Oh What a great day.  Today we got up and headed to the Smokies.  We stopped for coffee at Starbucks at Five Oaks Outlet....then headed on to Gatlinburg and breakfast at the Flapjack place.  It was yummy.  After breakfast we went to the Craftsman's Fair at the Convention Center and then headed to the Knife Outlet and Museum in Sevierville.  We stopped at the Beef Jerky outlet and I bought a couple of Christmas gifts and some jerky.  Frank and I nibbled on it all the way to the knife place.  Frank got a new Buck knife he was not expecting while we were there....he smiled a huge smile when I handed him the bag after a mysterious bathroom trip.  I love surprises....don't you.  We went back to Chuck's and Sue's house and got ready to go to supper.  While we waited on Chuckles to get home I finished writing our Churches Christmas program and wrote the story for the Haunted Hayride at Woogump Woods.  I think it will be a hit.  Before going to eat, and to give Jan and Keith a chance to get to Knoxville we stopped at Chuck's parents firing range and fired guns for a while.  I love target shooting.  I shot my dad's 410, 12 gauge (it packs a wallop and my shoulder is killing me at the moment), and a rifle.  We also shot some was fun.  I did pretty well with the 410.  It was just like the gun my dad taught me to shoot with.  After we ran out of ammo it was off to supper was at Pancho's and then we headed back to Chucks parents to see them.  I have not seen them in the past couple of years and enjoyed the visit with them.  I had planned on meeting my bloggy buddy Mary tonight....but this could not be helped.  I am glad I got to see them.  We got back to the house and I am tired....tomorrow is Cades Cove day and we are starting out early and doing the Wares Valley road way.  It is my favorite way to go.  I can't wait to post the pictures from there.  It is by far one of my most favorite places.  Happy Tuesday to all!  I hope you had a great day!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Knoxville Here We Come

My dad was buried a year ago today and Frank is taking me to one of my happy places.  We got up early, finished some chores and drove off into the sunrise for Knoxville, TN.  We took a different route this time.  We went up 22 to 27 and took it through Rome, GA and picked up 53 to Interstate 75.  Talk about a beautiful drive....four lane roads....not much traffic.....and we did not have to drive through Atlanta....we picked up 75 in Calhoun, Ga and we were about an hour and a half from Susan's at that point.  We ate a sandwich at the Subway across from the Knoxville Airport on Alcoa Hwy and headed on to Susan and Chuck's house.  We crashed for a bit and watched a little television......I took a brief power nap. Chuck would be home around 5ish and we were going out to dinner then.  I wanted to take Frank somewhere I had been and he had not....bless his heart...every single time we go anywhere he sees a restaurant and I say, "Oh it is good I have eaten there and we will have to go so you can try it......"......and it never comes to pass.  So....we ate at Ye Olde Steak House last night.  It is one of my favorite steak houses in the area......heck...honestly....period.  We all ordered skewered steaks and when they brought out the cheese we enjoyed it on crackers.  I love this place!  After dinner we went back to their house....rearranged the vehicles according to who was leaving first in the morning and settled in for the night. I am beat.  Tomorrow we are going to Cades Cove....whoooo hoooo.  I have my camera ready and waiting.  I hope you had a great Monday.  I know I did.  Frank made sure of it.  Thank you baby for loving me so much.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dinner with Max - Priceless!

My big day arrived and Frank and I took off for Columbus by 1:00.  Mr. M.L. had agreed to teach the Revelation class tonight so it was all lining up.  We got there a few minutes before 4:00 Columbus Time and checked in.  The letter said that dinner would be served precisely at 4:30.  We could hear Third Day, Toby Mac and Michael W. Smith having their sound checks in the auditorium part.  More people started to arrive and finally a line began to form.  We found a table and were joined by Martha Murphy, Steve Pemberton, and Bridget and Dee Dowdy, all from Alex City.  We had a scrumptious meal of Caesar Salad, a Chicken and Penne Pasta Dish (that was so good), and killer chocolate cake.  While we were eating the cake the MC began his introduction of Max Lucado.....and I looked up and there he was.  He was younger than I thought he was....and that surprised me.  He looked like a baby.  He talked about his book. Out Live Your Life  and then began to talk about his big plan and the reason for this tour, the Make a Difference Tour. World Vision and the tour want to get children sponsored. They showed the most adorable babies on the screen.  Talk about your hard sell.  I am a sucker for kids who look hungry.  I could adopt the world.  Dinner finished up about 6:30 and Frank and I took our tote bag of goodies to the car and came in and found our seats for the concert.  The auditorium was kind of bare at 7...not so much.  Josh Gray kicked the concert off with three or four would you like to open for TobyMac and Mac Powell?  Dream of a lifetime I tell you.  TobyMac and his band Diverse City opened the concert up.  Now let me tell you, I don't like rap music....but I love me some TobyMac.  The civic center was rocking and it was a high energy performance.  I stood the entire time, waved my hands, sang, and danced.  Are you familiar with TobyMac?  Well let me tell you this young man is amazing.  "Having climbed the mountain once with the group dcTalk (4 Grammys, more than 8 million albums sold), TobyMac knows how difficult the journey can be and how much work the process actually takes. Rarely does an artist get to soar to great heights for a second time, but soar he has. He took home his first Grammy as a solo artist last year after receiving Grammy nominations for each of his first three solo projects (Momentum, Welcome To Diverse City, Portable Sounds). And last year TobyMac topped 2 million in total albums sold during his solo career. He has done it with a combination of talent, hard work and humility which has produced songs that resonate with people from all walks of life."  He is also a new author.  His book, City On Our Knees is just out.  We got a copy at the dinner in our goodie bag.  I can't wait to read it.  After his part of the concert the middle of the floor was a B stage...and the spotlight was Michael W. Smith and Mac Powell....they sang several songs while the stage crew set up Third Days instruments.  Toby Mac joined them and Max Lucado spoke about the children.....then...Third Day....the band I had been waiting for....took the stage.  I love me some Mac Powell too.  His gritty voice just touches my heart.  Third Day is a Grammy award-winning Christian rock band formed in Marietta, Georgia during the 1990s. The band was founded by lead Mac Powell and guitarist Mark Leeand former member Billy Wilkins.The other band members are bass player Tai Anderson and of course the drummer David Carr. The band's name is a reference to the biblical account of  Jesus rising from the dead on the third day following his Crucifixion.  The band was inducted in the Georgia Music Hall of Fame on September 19, 2009.  After their concert part, Max spoke again....and Frank and I were deaf.  There was a 20 minute intermission and since we are leaving in the morning for Knoxville, TN for a few days,  we decided it was time to go.  We got home about 9:30 our time and I sat down in the chair for a few minutes....and fell sound asleep.  Frank woke me and told me we had to I did.....and then went to bed.  I am so sleepy.  Who would have thought that all that activity at the concert would make me so tired...or was it that I missed my Sunday afternoon pastoral nap?  Ya think?  Tomorrow we are Knoxville bound.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What A Day....Glorious Day!

I have been dreading today for awhile.  Today is the anniversary of my dad's death and I really wanted to just dig myself into the bed and not wake up until today was over....but Frank had other plans.  Our first stop (after a Walmart and Mickey D run) was the White Plains Country Fair just outside of LaFayette, AL.  I had been hearing people talk about this for sometime and I was expecting a huge arts and crafts thing....the weather was beautiful and the crafts were too....but it took us less than an hour to do the thing from start to finish.
After White Plains we took Hwy 50 to Co. Road 11 so we could hit the Waverly Annual BBQ.  It was good to get all the great hugs from our Waverly family.   We bought our stew and bbq, visited, went to see a precious new addition to the Waverly family.  David and Kayla have adopted a precious little girl.  Her name is Ella Grace.  Kayla was working the BBQ and told us to go see her.  It did not take any arm twisting on my part.  She was all pink and pretty....she weighs 4 pounds and 14 ounces.  While I was standing there looking down in her bassinet I was reminded of a story on my SIL.  When my own granddaughter, Hannah Ruth, came home from the hospital she too only weighed 4 pounds.  She was so tiny and Roulain asked Brian if he wanted to hold her.  Brian's response was, "Is your hair on fire?"  The whole family has laughed over this....and while I was standing there....David asked me, "Do you want to hold her?"....but when I looked....his hair was not on I declined.  Babies that are that little make me so nervous.  I enjoyed myself a lot at Waverly today.  I got my Barbara, Patsy and Kayla fix of hugs and 3 pounds of bbq and 3 qts of brunswick stew.  Did you know I did not even eat brunswick stew until I moved to Waverly and tasted theirs?  What a waste of time.  They cook this stuff all night in a huge cast iron pot...and stir it with a boat paddle.  How cool is that?

After Waverly we were on a mission to find Woogump(red eyed mythical creature) eyes for a Haunted Hayride.  We were meeting Kat and Brian for lunch so we headed to Auburn.  The day was so much fun.  Now...I am NOT and I repeat...NOT a Halloween person.  I personally hate the event....but can be a sport about it for those who really like it.  This year I am helping with a haunted hayride and participating in Trunk or Treat.  I feel I will be in Halloween overload.  We just knew that Party City would have some...either glasses with eyes, or red glowing eyes.....but to no avail.  So we went to the Halloween store, conveniently located in the old Books-A-Million store....and no luck we thought....we will paint the faces white and take red grease paint and outline their eyes in it.  I am writing the story that will be told on the hayride and cooking chili to eat after the maybe my participation is limited....but it is still important.  Frank is reading the story I am writing to the people on the hayride....he has a big booming voice....and I can imagine it will scare several of them.  After the costume part search ended we drove back to Tiger Town to check out an IPad at Best Buy...(don't tell Frank but he is getting one for Christmas).  When we finished with the IPad explanation and demonstration it was time to meet Kat and Brian for lunch.  We chose Moe's Southwest Grill.  I love this is the Subway of Mexican food places and the food is always fresh.  I also love it when you walk in and they shout, "Hi!  Welcome to Moe's."  We had an hour and a half lunch, talking, sharing, shedding a few tears, and catching up on the past couple of months.  Kat and I have been so busy since school started in August that we have not seen each other.  We talk just about every day....but we just have not been able to get a visit in.  I got lots of Kat and Brian hugs and that made my day.  It was now 3:30 and we had been gone since 8 this morning.  With a few tears and a lot of sadness on my part we left Kat and Brian in Auburn to head to Alexander City and sell my dad's truck.  This was going to be hard.  From Waverly to just outside of Alexander City I could not stop the tears....I did not cry out....but they just kept escaping from my eyes...I was selling my dad's truck.  We pulled up in my uncle's yard and went in.  I had all the paperwork he would need to get a title and tag for the truck....signed the papers, took the check, visited a while and headed back home.  It was now....4:45 p.m.  Poor Beau (our dachy)...I am sure he was dying.  Once inside the Rock Mills limits we had one more stop.  We stopped at Marcie's to drop off a qt of the stew and pound of the bbq.  Yes, I shared....Marcie had surgery on Thursday and I had been wanting to do something nice for her....and this was it.  We visited a few minutes and drove the last few feet to our house.  Beau was so glad to see us....and not just to go to the bathroom.....Frank brought him some rawhide treats at White Plains.  The day had come full circle and I had survived.  Frank achieved his goal....keep me so busy I did not have time to dwell on the day.  WTG baby.  I fixed some of the stew and bbq for us for supper, we ate, and I was history!  Tomorrow Frank is taking me to see Max Lucado, Third Day, TobyMac, Michael W. Smith.  Monday we are going to Knoxville to spend a few days with one of my childhood friends and her husband.  I mean...can it get much better than this???? Do I have the best husband or what?  I will tell you all about the dinner and concert in my next post.  I am turning in.