Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Family & Friends - Daddy's Garden

   During the entire fifty-four years that I knew my dad, he always planted a garden.  Until I was thirteen, we lived in town on just a small tract of land, but he managed to have a garden, along with a few chickens, quail and rabbits. Oh, and I forgot to mention the hunting dog that barked a lot at night.  I'm sure we were despised dearly loved  by all our neighbors. :)

   Later, to the relief of  most of them, we moved to the edge of town on an acre of land and my dad was in heaven!  Our plot of land was long and narrow, and the back half became his garden and orchard.  He planted tomatoes, onions, okra, squash, beans, peppers, corn, strawberries, sweet potatoes,cucumbers, watermelons and cantaloupes.  He grew apple, peach and plum trees and had a few blackberry vines along the fence.

   Each evening, he came home from work, ate his dinner and headed out to the garden, where he stayed until dark.  He plowed, hoed and watered it lovingly.  The rows were straight, the plants grew tall and strong, and it was impossible to find a weed anywhere.  After he retired, he would sometimes be out there even before he had his breakfast.  In the afternoon, with the sun bearing down, he would remove his shirt, drink a little water, and just keep hoeing and plowing that garden.

  His garden yielded enough that we had to buy a large, chest-type freezer to hold it all.  He took boxes of tomatoes and squash to church and left them in the foyer so that others could share his bountiful harvest. He took vegetables to all of our relatives and neighbors.  Our window sills were always full of ripening tomatoes and our plates were a rainbow of healthy, beautiful fruits and vegetables.

    Every year, my mom, tired from all the work of freezing and canning, would tell him that his garden was too large.  But every spring, after much planning and thumbing through the gardening catalogues, he continued to plow up the whole plot and start again.

  I wish that I could grow a garden like Daddy's.  But our soil is nothing like his rich, Oklahoma dirt.  We live on sticky, mucky, blackland and I would have to bring in a lot of dirt and build up beds to have much of a garden. But this year,  I've decided to plant some tomatoes in those new Topsy, Turvy planters.  I plan on hanging them from hooks on my patio.

  Yesterday, I went to Walmart and bought all the things I'll need. Or rather, all the things the side of the box said I'll need.  The total came to $34.00 for just two plants!  Those two plants are going to have to produce a lot of tomatoes for this venture to be profitable!

   I'm sure Daddy would be rolling his eyes and chuckling if he were alive to see this.  But that's okay, because I know he would be proud to know that I at least tried to grow something on my own. And  he did pass on some of his heritage to me.  Every year, I go out and pick blackberries, peaches and blueberries.  I fill my freezer and share my homemade jellies with friends and neighbors.

   If you check back in about sixty days (according to the instructions with the plants) I might just have some tomatoes to share with you!  Happy gardening!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thankful Thursday

   Today, I am thankful for stares.  Yes, I said stares.  You see, when we take Lilly, our special needs granddaughter anywhere, often we notice that some people do a little more than just glance at us.  Last summer, my daughter, Lilly's mother, said "I hate it when people stare at us."  I started thinking about that and these are the reasons I am thankful for their stares:
  • First of all, if people ignored a beautiful little toddler who obviously cannot see or even hold her head up on her own, they would be very calloused.  I know we read about people in big cities who watch a crime being committed and do nothing, but I choose to believe that most people are compassionate and that when they look at Lilly, that is what they are feeling.  Compassion makes us better people and is necessary in a civilized society.

  • I also hope that when they look at Lilly it makes them appreciate their own healthy children or grandchildren.   Sometimes in the midst of living our busy lives, we forget about the blessings we have.  If Lilly's presence causes one parent to say a little prayer and thank God for their own child, then she has taught a beautiful lesson.

  • Their stares might also mean that they are reminded that there will always be people who are completely dependent on others for their needs and that it is our responsibility, as individuals and collectively, to see that these needs are met.

  • They could just be admiring my daughter and her husband. and the way they handle their trials.  It might make them realize their problems pale in comparison, or it might be an encouragement to someone who's handling similar difficulties.

  • And some people are just curious about her condition.  But, they may know of someone who has similar symptoms and it could  lead us to a diagnosis for Lilly.

  • And finally, a glimpse of Lilly could make someone more appreciative of  their own sight and mobility.  It might cause them to lead a more productive life and make use of their time and energy more wisely.
  So, yes, even though I'm a person who would prefer to just blend into the crowd, I'm thankful for every stare and every person who stops and comments on how sweet Lilly is.  And even though I would never have chosen this path in life, I'm always praying that others will benefit from the walk that God has chosen for our family.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tasty Tuesday - Southwestern Breakfast Casserole

A few weeks ago, a friend emailed this recipe to me.  I love breakfast casseroles so I decided to give this one a try.  I think you'll like it!  You'll need these ingredients:

1 lb. of spicy breakfast sausage
10 eggs
3 cups milk
2 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
6 slices of bread, cubed
8 oz. (2 cups) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 med. tomato, seeded & chopped
1/2 c. black olives
1/2 c. thin-sliced green onions
* To make this with fewer calories and less fat, I used lowfat Jimmy Dean sausage, skim milk, reduced fat soup, and 2% milk shredded cheese.

Step 1:  Cook the sausage, stirring frequently and breaking up any large chunks.

Step 2:  Once done, drain, then set aside to cool.  In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, mustard, pepper and salt.  Stir well.

Step 3:  Lay slices of bread in the bottom of a greased or sprayed 9 x 13 baking dish, then cut bread into cubes.  I added a couple more slices of cubed bread.

Step 4:  Pour egg mixture evenly over the bread.  Top with the tomato, olives, green onions and cilantro.

Step 5:  Pour soup over all, then add sausage and cheese.  Place into refrigerator overnight.  In the morning, preheat oven to 325 degrees and bake uncovered for one hour or until the eggs are set.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tales From The Trailer Park

  We just returned from spending a harrowing night at the trailer.  You know, my husband's "dream come true" on the best fishing lake in Texas. Well, as I was driving over there yesterday morning in the rain I had no idea that storms were being forecast for the night.  Just before bedtime I heard on the radio that there was a possibility of storms in Dallas.  Since we were about an hour and half from there I decided to check the weather using my new iPhone. (I don't have that flat screen yet, so my only communication with the world is by phone or the trailer's built-in radio.) Sure enough, we were in a tornado watch for most of the night.
  About 1:45 a.m. it started to rain a little with some occasional lightning.  Since the window next to my side of the bed was almost touching a tree and was only about two feet from me, I was a little nervous.  So as the storm got worse, I got up and looked for a safer place.  Of course, everyone knows THERE IS NO SAFE PLACE IN A TRAILER WHEN IT'S STORMING!  Finally, I talked my husband into getting up and sitting with me in the little hallway between the bathroom sink and the door that leads to the commode and shower.
   As the hail began to hit and we could hear things blowing around outside, he jokingly mentioned that at least the water along the bank is only about three feet deep.  At that point, it hadn't occurred to me yet that we were only about 10 feet from the lake and that if a tornado did hit, we could actually be blown into it! Not a comforting thought since I'm not a good swimmer!  And if the whole thing was blown in, do trailers float or sink?
   After about thirty minutes the winds subsided and we were able to get a few hours sleep.  This morning I awoke with a new appreciation for sunshine and calm skies.   And if I can help it, I don't intend to spend another stormy night in the trailer.  That was one of several lessons I've learned in my two nights in that trailer.
   If someone offered a course called Trailer Living 101, I'd be the first in line to take it.  Did you know that the little pedal on the bottom of a trailer commode doesn't open the top like the one on a trashcan does?  It's the flusher!  Imagine that!
   And to get hot water, you have to push a switch under the kitchen sink.   Then you only get 6 gallons of hot water at one time!  That means that to take a shower you have to turn it on, turn it off, suds up, then turn it on again to rinse off.  Don't even think about shaving your legs!
   This morning I heated the water and  started to take a shower only to discover that there was no water coming out when I turned on the hot and cold handles.  Once more, I knew I was missing something and just needed a handbook to make everything right.  Sure enough, later in the day I mentioned to Mickey that I hadn't been able to take a shower because something was wrong with it and he showed me a little button on the shower nozzle that has to be pushed for the water to come out.  How was I supposed to know that?
    I did accomplish a little while I was there.  Since this is Sewing Saturday on my blog, I'll show you the finished curtains.  All seven of them are now done!

Notice the mismatched kitchen chairs?  After I finished the curtains, I started reupholstering the chairs.  They are going from country blue....

 To this.....

After I complete these, I'll be starting on the kitchen area backsplash.  Of course, that does mean I'll have to go over and spend another night.  But at least now I know how the commode and the shower work.  If I could just figure out where they put the storm shelter....

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Musings - Aged or Ageless?

  Last Friday, I attended a benefit fashion show and luncheon at a local retirement center.  The funds raised will help support the many outings the group takes in and around the Dallas area.
   While some of the models in the fashion show were young employees of the retirement center, many were actually residents.  A retired accountant who appeared to be in his early eighties looked quite charming in a pair of khakis, plaid shirt and white sweater vest while a pretty, white-haired former flight attendant showed off a coral top, matching overshirt and a flowing, flowered skirt. Both appeared in fairly good health and seemed to enjoy their moment in the spotlight, as did all the other resident models.
   As I watched them, I started to think of all the older friends I have.  What makes some seem so much younger than others?  I know there are some things we don't have as much control over, like dementia and some genetically inherited disorders and diseases. But some perfectly healthy seniors still seem to age mentally much earlier than others.
   So, why do some still seem so youthful?  Is it the way they approach life?  The desire they have to keep learning?  The health choices they've made along the way?  The socio-economic level they've  achieved?
   I'm not sure I have the answers, but I know which group I'm hoping to belong to.   What do you think?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday - Fundraising for Friends

Michael selling cookies at our fundraising garage sale to help his buddy, Austin, get  some siblings!  Please pray for the Stevens family as they try to adopt more children from Russia!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

The winner of the Amazing Hope Through Betrayal book giveaway was sponge423!  Please email me your address within 48 hours and we will get the book to you quickly.   Thanks to those who entered and a special thanks to Vonna Lovett for sharing a copy with us!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday Musings - Now Spring in Texas is Really Here!

   Yesterday, while driving home from church, I caught my first glimpse of this year's bluebonnets!  It was just a small patch along the highway but it was so exciting to see them!
   Before moving to Texas seventeen years ago, I had never heard of or seen these beautiful wildflowers.  The first time I saw a whole field of them it literally took my breath away!  The color is so vibrant and sometimes stretches over an acre or more of an open field.
   Every child in this state has at one time or another had their picture taken in a big patch of bluebonnets and many a mantel boasts a large, hand-painted canvas of this native flower. 
   Nothing says Texas like the bluebonnet!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sewing Saturday

  We just came home after a two day trip to the lake.  Yesterday, I sewed all day on new curtains and cornice boards for the trailer. I completed four and I have three more to go.  I think they look a lot nicer than the ones that were there.

Before (circa 1994)....


Next time I go over there, I'll finish the curtains and reupholster the dining chairs.  While I was hard at work on the curtains, Mickey was hard at work catching these...


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