Sweet gift of song…

Sweet gift of song…

My heart melted, and tears came to my eyes, as I thought about what a gift this sweet child is…and how different his life might have been.  I’m thankful beyond words that God picked this precious child to be a part of this family…all the way from Ethiopia.

And I’m especially thankful for his sweet gift of song…

Note:  for the “re-enactment”, it is “Bob the Tomato” playing the lead role.  My little grandson believes in giving all of the actors a turn at their five minutes of fame.

He loves Curious George!

He loves Curious George! (age 3 & 1/2 here)

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time at all, then you know that I dearly love my grandchildren.  I found this little post gem while browsing through my previous blog of four years, My Southern Heart.  My little charmer is five & a half now but just as loving and entertaining as ever…

Mama’s teacakes…

Mama’s teacakes…

Sharing a nostalgic post today from My Southern Heart.  Originally published October 12, 2009.

When I was growing up, there was only one car which my Dad took to work.  This meant, of course, I walked to school.  Granted, we didn’t live on a farm after my toddler years and it wasn’t a five mile walk through blizzards, but there were some cold, rainy, snowy days on my .31 tenths of a mile to and from school.

One of my sweetest memories is coming home from school to find my Mama there and the wonderful smell of something baking.  Sometimes, there were sweet potatoes baking in the oven as part of our supper or Mama’s special meatloaf that I’ve never been able to quite duplicate.  Often there were cupcakes…warm and ready to be iced.  My favorite, however, were Mama’s vanilla teacakes…a bit like a sugar cookie but fatter and softer like a cake.  Often they were iced with Mama’s special chocolate icing.

One day this past week, we were watching an old episode of The Waltons (I love the Waltons!).  Grandma Walton had made her special sugar cookies or teacakes.  Right that moment, I wanted one of Mama’s teacakes more than anything in the world.  After the show, I searched through Mama’s cookbook which I had compiled until I found it…the recipe for her teacakes.  I baked them on a Pampered Chef baking stone instead of Mama’s old cookie sheet which is long gone.  I also “dropped” them on the cookie sheet instead of rolling them out.  I dipped a slightly moistened juice glass in sugar then “flattened” each one out.  Next time, I won’t flatten them so they’ll be fatter and softer, but they were still delicious.

Just one bite of that teacake, and I was a teenager coming home from school again to find warm teacakes in the oven…

Mama’s Tea Cakes

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

1 & 1/4 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten well

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup milk

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 & 1/2 cups flour

Cream the butter.  Add sugar gradually.  Add egg, milk and vanilla.  Sift dry ingredients and add to first mixture.  Roll out mixture to about 1/4? thickness.  Cut with round cutter and bake on a greased baking sheet at about 375-400 degrees.  Delicious iced, especially with chocolate, or sprinkle with sugar.


Read here to find out when and how I discovered that I had actually NEVER lived on a farm!  

That was an identity crisis!

One fun visit…

One fun visit…

This time last week, I was enjoying my first out-of-town company since moving into the condo.  Penny, my sister-in-law of 39 years, and her sweet husband Mike had arrived about 9:30 p.m. the night before in the midst of a typically severe Midwest thunderstorm.  I greeted them with hugs and a “welcome to Iowa”!

The photo below of (L to R) Mike, Penny, me and Bill was taken sometime in the mid-1970’s.  When you’ve been together since 1966, there is a storehouse of memories and a strong bond.  I’m sure Bill was looking down from Heaven…reminiscing along with us and laughing at the three of us. 



We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and lunch together each day.  In the afternoon, we headed over to my daughter’s house for a fun visit and delicious supper.  The grandchildren love Aunt Penny & Uncle Mike!  It was all so much fun.

As a superb craftsman and “handyman”, Mike found several things around the condo that needed repair and attention – and fixed them!  I had been living with having to plug/unplug the lamp in the living room each day…trying not to trip over the exposed cord!   (The condo was built in the 80’s and does not have a plug in the floor).  Among other creative fixes, Mike devised a method of hiding a new cord under my large area rug and plugged it in behind the entertainment center.  No more exposed cord and no more tripping over it!  Oh, so much better that I did a little happy dance!  😉

One day, we headed to Lowe’s where we picked up brown felt feet for all my bookcases, entertainment center, table and chairs (Mike’s super idea).  Since they came in their dual-cab truck, we also picked up a glass-topped round table and  two new chairs for my porch – in keeping with the blue & green theme of the pillows which my daughter selected.  I also found another inexpensive table to elevate my other fern.  Mike arranged all the furniture on the porch and it looks great!  Penny says he’s a “keeper” and I agree!

They had been searching for a travel trailer and actually purchased one here!  It’s a 24′ one that can sleep 6, complete with television, stove top, microwave, bathroom and table & banquet!  It looks so comfortable – a home away from home in the Smokies or wherever they journey.  My grandchildren loved it – especially since they had to store it at my daughter’s house while they were here.

After the Monday night storm on the evening they arrived, the weather turned cool and very much like Fall.  The porch was a very pleasant place to be.  They enjoyed sitting out there and Penny especially enjoyed reading there.

All too soon, our visit was over and they made the long trip back to Memphis – this time pulling a 24′ travel trailer!  Thank you, Mike and Penny, for the fun visit and all the help.  I miss you guys already.  Come back soon!










Time in a bottle…

Time in a bottle…

Remember the old Jim Croce song, “Time in a Bottle”?  Time is flying by.  I see the changes in my children, my grandchildren and especially myself.  I didn’t expect to stay young forever and, truthfully – in my heart and mind – I still feel like the young woman my daughter is today.  Too bad the rest of my BODY didn’t get the memo!  😉

In a couple of months, my high school graduating class will celebrate our FIFTIETH high school reunion.  Unfortunately, I will miss it.  I have a hard time believing that FIFTY years have passed since I graduated from high school.  It seems like last week!  I think I can explain that rationale.  After six decades and a few years, our long term memory is actually better than our short term memory!  Go figure.

In the spirit of nostalgia, I’ll share a few photos from yesterday – uh, I mean yesteryear…

My first two children (fifteen and a half months apart) and I were out shopping one day.  Here, they were about two and a half and four years of age.  I decided to snap some photos of them in a Photomat.  I love their expressions!  Priceless photos and memories. 

They’re all grown up now.  He’s a physician, happily married and the father of three daughters.  He was a missionary doctor in Peru for almost 7 years but thankfully they’re back in the states now.  She’s happily married and the mom of two sons and two daughters.  She has a degree in fine art and is a wonderful artist but has little time to paint between homeschooling and managing everyone’s busy schedule! 

Where did all that time go?

 I love this photo.  This is my youngest with his beautiful strawberry blonde hair.  We had been camping in the Great Smokey Mountains that week.  Here, he was walking across a beam that was about two feet above the ground…that’s a lot when you’re barely three years old.  What you can’t see in the photo is that his dad and brother and sister were cheering him across.

He’s all grown up now.  Happily married and the father of a beautiful 18 month old baby girl (and they’re expecting their second late summer).  He has always been an entertainer…for as long as I can remember.  Now, he’s the executive producer of a successful television show. 

Where did all that time go? 

 In the three photos below, my sisters and I were having our usual “four sisters” photo taken at one of our gatherings.  The first photo was taken about 1961.  The other two in the mid-1980’s.   As always, there was plenty of kidding as we lined up.  The lower two priceless photos were taken at my late sister Gerry’s house on the hill.  Sadly, two of my sisters are now in Heaven.

Where did all that time go?  

Parts of this post were originally published in My Southern Heart

Looking more like home…

Looking more like home…

It was Summer in Memphis in the photo above…a few years ago.  I’m guessing that my niece Sharon (left) and I were about 3 and 5 at the time.  She is my oldest sister’s only child and we grew up more like sisters.  If you’ve read my other blogs, then you’ve read about our adventures.

Sharon is an artist and an amazing interior decorator.  I wish she were closer so she could help me decorate this apartment.  In a way, she does help for I have three of her wonderful “snow” paintings.  After the recent move, I couldn’t find the largest one.  I searched and searched – finally during the “work party” on Saturday, I found it!  I was so relieved and happy to see it.

I hung the paintings yesterday on either side of the fireplace.  It felt a lot more like home then.

The top painting below is an original watercolor by well-known Memphis artist, Lafayette Ragsdale that I purchased years ago.  I’m sure I couldn’t afford one of his originals now.  The other three watercolors are by my precious niece.  (I have no idea why that smudge appeared on the photo – there’s nothing on the glass!)

 I have now been here for three weeks – making progress but still boxes to unpack!  Will eventually post pics when I’m a little further along but here you see the result of the multitude of book boxes – unpacked!  I never feel at home until I can see my books!   And, yes, those are cookbooks on the lower half of the left shelf – there is also a bookcase of cookbooks in the kitchen!


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