Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blackberry Bread

I found the most delicious recipe for blackberry bread. Actually, I had never made blackberry bread before. But, I had a few bags of beautiful blackberries from my Dad's bushes in the freezer and I found this.  It is really more like the texture of a cake...but who cares!  I took one loaf to my pastors and we kept another one...and its gone.  I found myself circling the little plate I was keeping it one for crumbs.  I'm pathetic.

2 c. flour

1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 c. sugar
4 eggs, well beaten
1 1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 c. fresh or frozen blackberries, drained
1 c. black walnuts, chopped (optional)
1/4 tsp. ground allspice

Mix dry ingredients together. Add eggs, oil, blackberries and nuts. Stir just until mixed. Bake in 2 well greased 9 x 5 x 3 inch pans at 350 degrees for 60- 70 minutes. Cool in pans 5 minutes.

*Make sure your blackberries aren't too moist. I used frozen ones, but let them thaw out and drain for a while.  Also, don't mix very much when add your blackberries. This keeps them whole (relatively speaking) and makes beautiful bread.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


So I'm sitting here on couch chilling out until it's time to get ready to go church. Wednesday nights are busy, busy. Josiah has JBQ (Junior Bible Quiz-it's a competition that helps kids learn the Bible), then he has Royal Rangers (it's a kind of like a Faith-based Scout program), I'm teaching a ladies Bible study and then I have choir.  We always have lots of fun, but Wednesdays are tough! I really need to be doing other stuff...but, hey!  Why not waste time sending random thoughts into cyberspace...nobody needs really reads this except my Momma! Here are my thoughts for today.

1. I just asked Josiah to pour me a glass of iced tea.  Normally, when I ask for a favor of such world wide significance I get "wailing and gnashing of teeth." He is always too busy saving the world with Indiana Jones and a host of happy meal toys to help poor mom.  Then...out of the wild blue yonder...he made me a glass of Nesquick chocolate milk!  What a sweetie!  I almost got teary. I guess I am forgiven for smacking him over the head yesterday with his handwriting workbook.

2. Parts of our building is being painted. The sweet old fella has been perched up on one of those "lifty" things with a paintbrush in hand.  He is dressed entirely in white and has some sort of tablecloth hanging out of pocket.  He also has a moustache that would inspire any follicaly challenged young man. Somewhere Wilfred Brimely is seething with jealously. We're going to miss him and his ever beeping contraption (you know, that lift thingy).  He helped Troy look at my ailing car and assured us that he was pretty convinced it was the battery and not the alternator.  I wonder if they might consider keeping him on...He could be the resident Fella.

3. I worked out today at the Y with a friend. She happens to also be the Aquatics Director and she is making time for me every week to inspire and give me a much-needed kick in the boot-tah. Today we went into the Wellness room.  It had walls of mats, little weights, resistance bands, kick thingys and most obviously distressing...mirrors. I've never really been into working out in front of a mirror.  I found I couldn't quite look myself in the eye.  Is that a problem?  Then again, I don't think I've seen a full body reflection of myself since 1994. I had to come home and eat cheetos just to ease my distress.

4. No call about a job yet. And since my last interview was over a week ago and they needed to hire someone this week...oh well. Maybe I didn't want to work anyway. Who needs groceries and toothpaste anyway?  Yesterday I was slightly hysterical about I'm not. We have had a week filled with blessings.  God has reminded us over and over that He has it under control. It's sometimes hard to see the forest for the trees....Or something like that. Sometimes I get all my deeper philosophical phrases confused. I should have paid closer attention in my philosophy class in college. Instead of making grocery lists...and napping.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


It's a beautiful day in the Ozarks. We made a trip to Wal-mart for a prescription, ran through the pick-up window at the library for some books I had put on we are busy doing school stuff. We are doing a Unit Study on the classic "Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel." I will have to do a post at another time about some changes I made this year...Some things we've tried just don't work for us.

Oh well...Here are a few things on my brain today. 

1. Josiah told me last week after his gym day at the Y that he had made a new friend. This friend was a girl and he couldn't remember her name, but he thought she was cute. There is always a cute girl somewhere on Josiah's radar...which is a little worrisome considering he is not yet 9!  Anyhoo, yesterday he pointed her out to me. She has to be 15!  Josiah and the older ladies.

2.  I was rushed for lunch today (I am feeding my family + my nephew) so I made some spaghetti noodles, opened a can of spaghetti sauce (which I generally don't use)and threw in a few frozen pepperoni.  Topped it with a little cheese and called it "Pizza Spaghetti."  Oh, they raved!  They loved this Pizza Spaghetti. What is the deal? I would toss my favorite spaghetti sauce recipe (made completely from scratch, mind you) forever if the canned stuff didn't make my teeth hurt.

3.  Early morning is my friend. Yesterday, I got up...had my quiet time with a devotion, wrote on my blog, made a gallon of iced tea, put supper in the crockpot, copied off a few pages for Josiah's Mike Mulligan Lapbook, made whole grain (from scratch) waffles...shew! By the time that the rest of the crew got up I was ready to head back to bed..but I sure felt accomplished.

4. I am not doing a very good job proof reading. I write all of this stuff from the top of my head...which can be dangerous. I wrote a little blurb for a photobook my mom and I made my dad for his b-day.  There were 2 mistakes in it!  I need a personal editor. I also need a personal assistant. And the laundry fairy. And maybe someone to come and fix my hair every morning....I better stop there...this is getting out of hand.

5. I have a bicycle sitting in my living room. My Studly Muffin is an avid cyclist and was recently blessed with a new bike. As we live in the city in an apartment building with only a balcony he has decided to house the bike somewhere inside the building. I hope eventually he finds a nice corner outside our common laundry room, but for now it has taken up housekeeping between the bookshelf and the television. Josiah decided he needed to bring his bike in from the balcony. I nixed that idea. What's the deal? Next we are going to try parking the car in the hall.

Mexican Corn Chowder

We do soup a lot in the chilly months.  It's filling, it makes a lot and it is relatively inexpensive to make. I made this corn chowder recipe recently.  I made a lot of it. And Troy ate a lot of it. Which is good. And it was good!  I served it with tortilla chips. I'm also going to take some to our small group at Church Sunday night. Hopefully, the cool weather will last and everybody will be in the mood for soup.

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup of chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups milk (I used canned milk)
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 (14.75 ounce) can cream-style corn
1 can of mild rotel

1.In a Dutch oven, brown chicken, onion, and garlic in butter until chicken is no longer pink.
2.Add the chicken broth and season with cumin. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.
3.Stir in cream, cheese, corn, rotel. Cook, stirring frequently, until the cheese is melted

You could garnish this with cilantro, a little avacado, sour cream...whatever floats your boat!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Simple Pleasures

A Daffodil (my birth flower) from my Daddy's garden. My mom took the picture.
   Simple Pleasures. I sighed just a little bit when I typed those two words. Many things come to apple cider, curling up with a book on a rainy afternoon, a trip to the library, fuzzy socks, the smell of lemons...sushi...sorry, It's been awhile since I've been to my favorite sushi joint. 

We all have things in life that just the mere thought of them make us sigh with pure delight. I am grateful for the little blessings that come through my life each day. Some of them are just pure fun.  Like flip flops. I adore flip flops. Especially flip flops from Old Navy. Flip Flops and the wearing of them make me smile.

Other Simple Pleasures come from experiences in life that make us grateful for the start of another day. 14 years ago today I was in a major head-on collision. I crushed my left hip, broke my right hip, fractured my pelvis, sternum and a number of ribs. The seatbelt moved my right breast under my arm and shifted my collar bone to the left.  I suffered a heart contusion....Hmm. Just even looking at that list makes me catch my breath. I went into shock and my blood pressure fluctuated dangerously...for several days I struggled for my very life. Ouch.

 That kind of experience can't help but affect a person the rest of his or her life. I never anticipated the life long issues I would carry just because of something that happened in a split second on a rain-covered road. The next several years were tough. I had to learn to walk again. I struggled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I experienced survivor's guilt. I have a memory of being in the Trauma Intensive Care Unit of The Med in Memphis that still haunts me. I can remember hearing a  Doctor telling a young woman who had similar injuries to mine that it was okay to go "home." Home being heaven. She did go "Home." Why was I spared? It was difficult adjusting to my new "normal." 

So what are my Simple Pleasures?  Certainly all those things I listed...I am not hard to please, mostly ever!. But I can tell you that over the years my simple pleasures are ones that most people take for granted. I can remember lying in my hospital bed thinking about cleaning my house. Now most of us would rejoice in an excuse not to clean the included. But, I think  at that moment I realized how difficult that mundane ritual was going to be for me. It is still hard for me...but, hey!  I have a good excuse.  "Honey, I am sorry the bathroom looks like a toxic waste hip is really bothering me today."  I get a lot of mileage out of that one.

Life changing experiences like mine don't inoculate me from taking things for granted. God still reminds me daily of His blessings. I still get overwhelmed with day to day living. The bills, the housework, the homeschooling, the it is my car. But overwhelmingly He has shown me that He does not fail. That He is Faithful! So on this day...I choose to count His Faithfulness as a Simple Pleasure. And rest in Him. This morning when I got up I fixed myself a cup of something hot and chocolately (is that word?), took a warm bath, lite my favorite pumpkin candle and promised God again...that today I would not take this life He has given me for granted. He is Faithful!

Lamentations 3:22-24
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fall Fun...Finally?

My Dad grew lots 'o pumpkins a couple of years ago. Mom took this pic.

 I went to our storage building yesterday to dig for our winter clothes and my fall decorations. Now our storage building happens to be in another town and every time I go I am either thrown into fits of despair (it's hard seeing half your house wadded up in a metal building)'s usually fits of despair.  My fit of despair yesterday was triggered by the site of a badly damaged box containing my Blue Willow china perched precariously atop another box. I have so many things to be grateful for. And the fact that my Blue Willow china (amongst other things) has been banished to a town 30 minutes from where we live because of lack of space in our small apartment doesn't change the fact that we (at least) have shelter.  I didn't get a glimpse of my piano in the back of the unit...which is probably good because that would have been grounds for an immediate trip to Krispy Kreme.  

I should have had my fall stuff out weeks ago.  I am always about celebration, but I have to say that summer has been reluctant to leave the Ozarks.  It's hard to put out the pumpkins in shorts and flip flops.  But today I have big plans. I am going to put out my fall decorations and then Josiah and I are going to go to a local Harvest Festival at a park. In honor of the occasion (and to celebrate the Fall Equinox) I thought I would post a few Fall Favorites today.  Recipes and the like. Not that I plan on making any of them today! My poor family. How they suffer.

Friday, September 24, 2010

My Daddy's Flower Garden

My Dad celebrated his 61st birthday this month.  So instead of the usual movie, fruit basket (which I can tell you is one of his favs), or dress shirt...we made him a book.  Can I tell you that this was about the most fun I've had in a while?  Which might tell you how utterly sad and predictable my existence is presently...which might need to be addressed in another blog post or possibly therapy.

Mom is a very talented photographer and over the years has taken pictures of one of Dad's true loves...his flower gardens.  Yes...gardensssss. When the man does something he does something big. At one point he could have charged admission for a "look see" and would have gotten away with it.  So Mom sent me a disc of pictures and I uploaded them to Walgreens and made Dad a book of some of the favorites for his birthday. It was a hit. At least as best as we could tell. My daddy is very reserved. As was his daddy. Those crazy Wilsons.

I wrote a little something for the beginning and then filled the book with flowers and snippets of classic poetry about flowers.  Here are a few of my favorites, plus what I wrote in honor of my Daddy's 61st Birthday.

It must be something one loves. To grow things. The farm boy grows the things that can sustain his family. Potatoes, melons and corn.  He grows, too, things that will sustain the soul.  Beautiful flowers. They delight the senses and remind us of God’s great love for us.   What great patience it takes to grow a flower garden.   Bulbs that show no hint of their future glory are placed in the ground when the fall air starts to nip noses and toes. They lie dormant under the frozen winter soil.  Waiting for the first hints of spring.  Sassy Daffodils make their entrance first.  All through the spring and summer, old friends and new bloom in exciting forms and colors.  Exotic blooms like calla lilies take their place next to the old-fashioned peonies.  The farm boy, who now has grown into a man, patiently cares for his beauties.  He spends sunny summer afternoons among his flowers. Naming each one to his grandchildren. So maybe when they are grown and have a patch of dirt all their own. They, too, might plant a flower.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Job Interview

So the big (and a little dreaded) job interview happened just an hour ago. I have never had a job interview where the employer looks up at you and says, "Hey!  You are just what I am looking for!  Come work for me today!" Except when I worked at McDonald's in High School and a few of my preschool teaching jobs.  Once again, this job had 2 million applicants (at least that what it looked like from the stacks of resumes on the desk). Now I have to play the wait and see game.  I'm not sure how the interview went. The guy was really nice.  And it was pleasant. But, I have to say that the some of the best interviews I've had (and I've had a few) didn't result employment. That kind of does a number on one's self-esteem.  Anyhoo...

It is hard to know how honest to be in an interview.  When asked why I was interested in this job I wanted to say "because if I don't get it my family's menu will solely consist of Ramen Noodles" or "my next step involves a sign saying 'will yodel for food' and a random intersection."

I also don't know what to say when explaining my work history. Do you tell a future employer "Yep. I haven't worked much the past few years because I've been trying not to die from heart failure!" And I mean that literally.

Oh, the stresses of being a productive American! 

So...I will spend my day trying not to think about it and let God do all the heavy lifting.  He is better at it than I am.

God Is Still God

I'm having a bit of a restless night. So what can a girl do but do a little web surfing at 3 am? I have a job interview tomorrow. At 9am. I purposefully went to bed earlier so I would be fresh in the morning. So much for that. The best I can hope for is to apply a little more Spackle to the face and layer on the sparkly jewelry. Maybe that will draw attention away from the twitch that has freakishly appeared in my right eye! This job hunting stuff is tough. I used to be so much better at this. That was before I faced rejection and understood what it was like to go without...and have my family go without. And when I talk about going without I'm not talking about missing out on the newest Lego Indiana Jones Wii game (my son's newest want)...I'm talking about having to decide between medicine and groceries from time to time. Despite those hardships I will say that God has never failed us. He has always provided...time and again. I don't expect Him to stop. And I can only expect good things to come. The good news is that despite my anxiety, God will still be God!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

It's A Saturday Night

I shouldn't feel so accomplished. I'm sitting on my couch surrounded by the remains of a loooonng week (translation: My house is a mess). I have some stuff done and have decided not to spend the 30 minutes before bed strategizing how I can get up 20 minutes early tomorrow to get it all done before church. Shew! That was a doozy of a sentence! Anyways. Instead of vacumming up the petrified pinto beans underneath my table (you don't really want to know), I will take this time for some random thoughts.

1. I'm debating when I should do the whole "change of seasons" clothing bru-ha-ha. Of course, anyone living in a climate where it's always 72 and sunny would have no clue about the bi-yearly clothing switch-a-roo. And unless you have a walk-in closet the size of my bedroom (which isn't sayin' much) you have to pack away all the shorts, sun dresses & tanks in exchange for the sweaters, sweats & fuzzy slippers. Or vice versa. I'm really struggling with it this year. For one thing it's been like 96. I am not prepared to release my flip flops into the wild that is our storage building just yet.

2. Josiah keeps coming in to watch his favorite parts of Indiana Jones. It wouldn't be a problem, but he's currently taking a bath. Which means he keeps coming in 'in the all together'....whoops! There he is again!

3. I don't think I've feed my family a vegetable since Tuesday. Yep. Tuesday. Unless a vegetable happened to find its way onto somebody's plate at the Chinese food buffet yesterday. Or Steak and Shake last night. I did have tomato and onion on my burger, but I'm pretty sure they don't sneak veggies into the cheese sauce. And I think Josiah had at least a gallon of the stuff.

4. Tomorrow is my little sister's birthday. I'm trying decide what to get her. Yeah. I don't have anything yet. She lives Oklahoma so it's not like she'll know or anything. Unless she reads this blog post. My little sister is beautiful. And poised. And organized. I want to be her when I grow up. Sigh.

5. Speaking of birthdays. Why do so many of my friends and family have birthdays in the fall? Good grief. At least we could spread it out a bit people.

6. When Josiah and I went to Walmart today (I hate going on Saturdays - but it had to be done) we saw a little kid sacked out in his mom's shopping cart. I said, "I sure would love to do that." Josiah said, "Mom, you wouldn't fit." Thanks, Son. He's always good to point out the obvious.

7. Quick Question. Do you think Orange Juice counts as a vegetable? We have been chugging down organge juice. Does this mean I can stop feeling guilty?
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