Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!  During our normal evening television watching last night, Jerry had the thought that we had not bought Valentine cards for our babies!  We are not very good about sending birthday cards, etc.  but we always send our grandchildren Valentine cards.  Until this year.  

When I got up this morning with "Plan B".  I decided because there were no cards, that I would make Valentine cupcakes.

I think the cupcakes turned out great!  They are chocolate with chocolate frosting.  On top there are red and pink sugar sprinkles and a homemade heart pick in the center. 

Hope you have an awesome Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New babies!

I logged into my blog today and was shocked to see that I haven't posted to this site since February 2011.  There has been a lot that has happened since then.  We have two grandchildren that haven't been introduced here.  Can you imagine?  A grandma that is behind with baby pictures.  That is a sad, sad thing.

So, without further ado, meet Maya!  She will be 2 in June and belongs to Leah and Nick.  She is one of a kind.  She is beautiful with big brown eyes and lots of personality.  My mom is happy; she finally has a brown-eyed child in her family.  The rest of us have blue eyes. 

Then there is Levi.  Levi belongs to Rebekah and Josh.  He was born in September 2012 and is simply the happiest child I know.  He is always smiling.  He looks just like his daddy until he smiles.  Then he looks like his mom.

We are so blessed to have healthy, happy grandchildren whose parents love them beyond measure.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Laundry Day

Laundry. It never goes away. More matter how many loads you wash, dry, fold and put away, there is always more. One shower and you have another load.

As I was growing up, Monday was always laundry day. We washed load after load and hung them on the clothesline. When we remodeled the upstairs in 1972, Mama got a dryer! No more baskets of wet clothes.

Today, when I sort our laundry I sort the clothes into whites, darks and towels and that is the order that I wash them. Until recently, I didn't understand why.

Jerry was building a rail on my Mom and Dad's basement steps last week. As Jerry was working, we were talking about things in the basement during my childhood. I mentioned the old wringer washing machine and the rinsing tubs.

Dad just happened to mention that you used the water in the machine for EVERY load of your laundry. You just washed one load after another in the same water until you were finished.

Then it hit me! Using the same water over and over is the reason you wash the white clothes first. They are washed in the cleanest water, then the darks and then the towels. Who knew? Not me. I never got it until that moment!

Now on the day I do laundry (not just on Monday anymore), I know that I can wash the darks first if I want too and I don't even have to feel quilty about doing so!

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Second Class Down

I am going to college. Bethel University is a very old school dating back to the 1800's. They diversified a few years ago and now they have satellite schools all over Tennessee. The one I am attending meets at the Holiday Inn Express in Murfreesboro. We meet one night a week for 4 hours. Each class takes five weeks. When the time is done, you have three credit hours. Simple.

I just finished my second class, Issues in Management. We had a character for a teacher. Dr. Kraus is the father of Jennifer Kraus, who is the anchor on the weekend for WTVF in Nashville. He is well traveled, very educated, funny and a great teacher.

We didn't open the book once and that wasn't a bad thing. He teaches an interactive class with everyone taking the issue he is communicating and adds comments from their own experiences. We learn so much more from life lessons than any book could offer.

As a cohort, we bonded during this class. Dr. Kraus took us all out to dinner, his treat, so that we could share our class in a very casual atmosphere. Personally, I think all of our future teachers should follow his lead.

Six hours down, thirty-six more to go. One week at a time, one class at a time. If you need to finish a degree, call me. I'll get you connected with Bethel.

Monday, April 26, 2010

What a Weekend!

Saturday was a day of watching and waiting. We spent the majority of the day with the television on watching first channel two, then channel four and finally channel five. There isn't anything more tiring than waiting, whether it is in a weather situation or in a hospital room.

We were blessed that the really bad weather didn't come anywhere near us. We had a storm or two but nothing to be worried over. Isn't that just like us to worry over something that probably won't even happen?

The biggest blessing of the weekend is that we got to spend some quality time with each of our daughters and their families. Rebekah, Josh and Maggie came to ride the storms out on Saturday. Their house is on top of a hill in Woodbury and when the weather is threatening, they come here. If the need arose, we were will headed to Mom and Dad's basement. Thankfully, that didn't happen. Maggie and I took a "nap" while watching television in our bedroom while the rest of the group literally took naps in the living room. We topped it off with dinner at the benefit at the community center.

Sunday afternoon, Leah, Nick, Allie and Elijah came for lunch and we spent the afternoon playing in the yard. Allie learned how to hit a baseball while Leah and Nick played catch. Elijah and I did some sliding (I just barely fit) and later Allie, Elijah and I did some trampoline jumping. Today I am feeling the effects!

Lazy afternoons spent with family members are precious gifts. I should be so blessed to get to unwrap them more often.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Lesson

Here's a video I thought was worth sharing!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spring Cleaning

I have made it no secret that I was born the creative one in my family and my sister, Martye, was born with the "cleaning" gene.  Martye's house is always spotless, although she would argue that it isn't.  Her standard is higher than mine, apparently.  She can see dirt and grime when I see nothing.  It is a good thing that she is not judgmental, because if she was, she wouldn't come to my house.  She couldn't eat off of my floors, although, you can eat off of hers.  My house tends to be cluttered more than dirty.  Creative minds create clutter you know.

Yesterday was a strange day in the Bryan household.  Jerry is laid up with the reoccurring "goat" injury for a few days.  Since we had nowhere to be or nothing that had to be done, I decided I was going to do some cleaning in our bedroom.  The original goal was to change the sheets, vacuum the floors, dust and maybe, just maybe clean out my closet. 

It all started when I took the sheets off the bed.  I looked at the dust ruffle and noticed it was dirty.  Off it came, along with the blankets and the bedspread.  My laundry room floor looked like my linen closet had thrown up in it.   I decided that since the linens were all getting cleaned, that I would take the mattress and box springs off and vacuum under the bed.  While I had the bed out to vacuum under it, I noticed the windows were dirty and that led to taking the curtains down and washing them.  While all the laundry was being done, I took all the drawers out of my dresser, cleaned them out and rearranged them.  I moved the dresser and vacuumed the floor where it had been sitting.  I moved the night stand, etc. until every surface in the room had either been washed, vacuumed or dusted.

Jerry asked me if I was taking prednisone!  He thought I must be taking something because of the rate of speed that I was getting things done!

Last night, I laid my head down on a clean pillowcase in a clean bedroom.  Although everything was clean and fresh (except my closet), the best rewards that came out of my cleaning frenzy were all the things I found in the process.  I found Mother's day cards from my girls that were so sweet, I found pictures that had been hastily tucked away years ago that brought back wonderful memories and I found the mates to some of my socks that had been missing for a while.

Maybe Martye didn't get all the cleaning genes after all.  I still believe that she is creative, she just doesn't want to admit it!

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Being productive

I decided last Sunday that I would have a productive week this week.  Since business has been slow because of this goofy economy, I have found myself spending more time on the computer than I should.  I can tell myself that I am researching new products for my embroidery business or that I need to update the church website, etc.   The reality is, I am bored.

One afternoon while on Facebook, I saw a picture of carved birdhouses that were made by Jerry's cousin, Randy.  Randy is an artist.  He paints, he carves and draws.  Aren't they pretty?

Within thirty minutes, I had several requests for his phone number and my Facebook friends were wanting to order birdhouses from him!  Just because I posted his photo, he was getting orders.  Really.

I decided that the concept might work for me.  I posted some of my photos of my finished projects and I started taking orders!  I sold enough stuff within two days to buy our weekly groceries!  

Amazing, isn't it.  You advertise, you get orders.  Simple.  Why didn't I think of this sooner?
Check out my Facebook page, Leabek Creations or my website:  I will be happy to work with you on special orders.


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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What a Blessed Day!

At 7:34 this morning, we got a call from a cell phone number I didn't recognize.  When I answered, it was Rebekah.  The first thing she said was, "mama, I am okay."  Then, my mind begin to race wondering what had happened.  She had just crawled out of her car after having had a rollover crash.  The car flipped twice, and landed on it's top in a field off of East Compton Road.  She was sitting in the truck of one of her dear friends who just happened to hear the call over his fire department radio.  He was one of the first people on the scene.

There are so many blessings to be seen in this accident.  First of all, she is okay (not counting bruises, a bloody nose from the airbag, and a cut on her knee from crawling out through broken glass).  Second of all, Maggie was not with her.    It could have been so much worse, but God protected her.  We are so grateful.

Cars can be replaced, but people can never be replaced.  Her Nissan Rogue held up well under the circumstances and she said when all of the airbags deployed, it sounded like the fourth of July.

Join us in prayers of praise that she is okay.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day Two of Twenty Ten

oday has been a calm day.  I slept late and didn't eat breakfast until about 11:00.  I guess you would technically call that lunch. 

One of my goals for the year is to exercise at least three times per week.  Well, it is day two of the new year and I have exercised twice already.  I know that probably no one cares how much I exercise or don't exercise, but I will feel that I have to do it if I have publicly committed on this blog to get it done.  So far so good.

I know in my heart that I need to take better care of myself than I have in the past.  Starting Monday, Jerry and I are doing the Atkins diet.  I have gotten my start weight as has Jerry.  I was not thrilled with my number at all.  That, however, is not the point.  The important thing is not where I'm "at" but where I am "going". 

I will keep you posted on how the new eating plan is going.  I cannot imagine that cutting out bread and sugar is going to be anything but hard.  But, I know it can be done.

I also started Beth Moore's Bible study, "Breaking Free" this morning.  Although she has updated this study, I am doing the old one.  I have had the audio CDs for about four years and never got the study done.  I know that there are a lot of things that I need to break free from so I figure I'd better get started now.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Well, 2010 (or twenty-ten) has arrived.  I am really glad that 2009 is over!  Having said that, yet again, I will move on.  This is the beginning of a new decade and a fresh start.  Each day is actually a fresh start but we usually only focus on the calendar flipping.   

I have a few changes that I want to make in 2010.   
  • I want to finally weigh a normal weight for my height (not for a 6'2" woman).
  • I want to celebrate more.
  • I want to move closer to God through prayer, Bible study and community with other believers.
  • I want to exercise at least three times a week to aid weight loss and to become stronger with healthier bones.
  • I want to be nicer to people. 
  • I want to work smarter.
  • I want to develop my digitial pictures as I take them.  I have over 1000 pictures that need to be printed.  If you hear of an amazing photo deal, email me!
  • I want to rid myself of unneccessory stuff.  It is time to organize.
  • I want to have more fun.  Life is too serious to not have some fun.
  • Most of all, I want to have some peace.  I know that life will never be perfect, but I can find peace in all the chaos.
Happy New Year, everyone!  I pray that 2010 is a healthy, peaceful and prosperous year for you!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The End of 2009

My mother says "don't wish your life away", BUT,  I will be glad to see 2009 come to an end.  This year has been filled with challenges for almost everyone. 

For us, the economy did a number on church contributions and therefore effected our business greatly.  Although our business suffered, we have been blessed beyond measure.  We have been reasonably healthy (nothing serious) and haven't lacked for anything we needed.   God has taken really good care of us all year.

We do not plan to stay up to watch the new year come in.  We are going to stay up to make sure 2009 goes out!  We have faith that 2010 will be a better year for everyone!

Happy New Year!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Deja Vu.....all over again!

Yesterday, I experienced deja vu, again. I know that deja vu is a feeling that you have been there or done this before. I will explain. :)

In 1997, we moved our oldest daughter, Leah, into the dorm at Lipscomb. Not only was she moving all of her stuff, she was on the third floor of the dorm, with no elevators. Up and down the steps we went for the majority of the day.

When we got her stuff all upstairs, then came the task of organizing and putting it all away. Her new roommate, Iris, arrived with all her stuff and boy, did we have a pile of "valuables".

We quickly found that we were short several extension cords, coax cables for the television, a little tool kit and a bulletin board not only for the wall, but the door as well. The board on the door was there to get messages from friends who came to see you and you were gone.

Finally, we had accomplished everything that parents can do and it was time to go home. It was very hard leaving Leah, by herself, in that tiny, cold dorm room. I confess, there were tears on the way home.

In 1999, we did the same thing with Rebekah, except she and Leah were sharing a room and we moved them both in. Their bedspreads had to match and they needed curtains. We still needed more extension cords and coax cables. I am not sure where the ones we had bought earlier had gone. When we left the two of them there, in the tiny, cold, cold dorm room, there were tears yet again.

Yesterday, I had deja vu again. Julie Anne, the freshmen that I am a mentor to, moved into her dorm room at Lipscomb. We showed up just after the moving boxes, bags, tv, etc. had just made it up the stairs. We didn't get to help. :)

Sitting on her bed and watching her parents try to help her put her new room together was quite interesting. There were no arguments, nothing. Julie Anne handled the whole thing with grace. I was proud of her. I am sure that after we left, everything got moved into a totally different spot. Girls have to nest, you know.

Here's the good part: when we drove off the campus, there were no tears. Not one. We stopped at Sonic to celebrate and thank God that we didn't have anyone living on campus in those tiny, cold, cold dorm rooms.

Then, it hit us. In 14 years, Allie and Maggie will start college. I know that sounds a long way off, but in reality, their moms are still kids, not 30 and 28 years old. I really hope that by the time they get to college that I am still able to climb the stairs with an armload of stuff that belongs to them. I know there will be tears.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Julie and Julia

Last night twenty five of the ladies from Stones River Church and their friends went to see the new movie "Julie & Julia" with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. We met in the lobby for a little chatting and catching up and then hit the refreshment counter for the $1.00 popcorn and coke. Have you priced the popcorn lately at the movies? The large box was $7.75! For popcorn! Orville Redenbacher is spinning in his grave. A family of four would pay about $75.00 to get into the movie and buy refreshments, can you believe it? No wonder we don't go to the movies very often. We planted a 150' row on popcorn in our garden this year. If we sold it at the same rate as the movie theater does, we could probably have a great retirement fund.

I helped myself to two boxes of $1.00 popcorn because they were about as big as a pint bag. There wasn't much popcorn in the bags for the popcorn lover.

I really enjoyed the movie. I love cookbooks and watching cooking shows. I have never cooked anything out of Julia Child's book because I don't own one. I am more of a Martha Stewart, Paula Deen fan. I learned to make a pie crust from Martha. If you follow her instructions, which include real butter, very cold, it will turn out just right. I have trouble with the rolling it out part. I am never satisfied with my results as far as looks go. It tastes fine, but it looks raggy at best.

I love Paula Deen's recipes. They are usually practical and I have most of the ingredients on hand already. She, too, uses lots of butter. Julia Child did too. Makes you wonder. Did Martha Stewart and Paula Deen get their love of butter and cooking from Julia Child? Who knows.

I recommend seeing the movie. I like the big screen but watching it at home when it gets to video would be fine, too. My popcorn, that was supposed to be buttered, was not up to par. I couldn't even taste the butter. Maybe the refreshment counter should follow Julia's lead on the butter. I bet they would sell a whole lot more popcorn.

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Buckets and Bushels of Cucumbers

This has been the week of the cucumber! Monday morning we picked cucumbers and came home with two, two gallons buckets. My first thought was "Wow, that is a lot of cucumbers. I bet we won't get any more this week." Boy, was I wrong! Our friends, Lydia and Steve, picked cucumbers on Wednesday and they got several in their buckets.

I took our cucumbers and made 14 pints of bread and butter pickles. I hope that they taste good. I can't open them for six weeks according to the recipe.

Friday afternoon, Jerry and I decided that we would just go check on the garden to see what, if anything, was ready to pick. Just out of curiosity, we checked the cucumber vines. There were several, so I went and got a bucket, and Jerry grabbed another bucket, and on and on ....... We picked two bushels of cucumbers. Can you believe that? I bet, in all this week, the garden yielded at least three bushels of fresh cucumbers.

What to do with all those cucumbers? Share, of course! We took a bushel to the Auburntown Church and a bushel to Stones River Church along with lots of grocery bags. I hope everyone who left with a bag full of cucumbers will enjoy them or even make their own pickles!

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Leah's 30th Birthday

Today is Leah's birthday. She is thirty years old. It is unbelievable to me that she could be that age. It really seems that I should be only 30. I was a young mother :) .

The day she was born was a long one. I had been told my chances of having her naturally was almost zero. I think Dr. Smith knew this but wanted to give me an opportunity to try. They started trying to induce my labor at 8:00 a.m. in the morning and I took pitocin all day without one labor pain. They gave me an enema and made me use a bedpan when the bathroom was less than six feet away. Anyway, by 7:00 that night, they decided that a c-section was necessary and away to the operating room I went! Of course, Jerry didn't get to go with me. The year was 1979 and dads didn't do c-sections!

They strapped me to a surgical bed with one of my arms extended straight out. I had to lay on my right arm for some strange reason. Maybe they thought I would want to help with the surgery if my arms weren't tied down!

When it was almost time for the surgery to begin, they gave me a shot to make me happy. When Dr. Smith was ready to begin, he turned to the anesthesiologist and said: "is she ready"? The anesthesiologist said "she is ready". I was in happy land but I could hear it all and couldn't make a sound or move. I had an oxygen mask on my face and of course, my arms were tied. I was laying there thinking, "I am not going to be asleep for this surgery".

Dr. Smith raised the scalpel to cut me, the anesthesiologist shouted "no, she is not asleep! I thought you meant is she ready to go to sleep, not cut". He then looked at me and said, "you are going to sleep now, count backwards from 10". Out I went. When I woke up, I had a baby girl who looked like two baby girls because of the pain medication! I am a cheap drunk.

Leah had fuzzy brown hair and big blue eyes. Boy, could she cry! She and her daddy bonded quickly and he became her caregiver while I was in lala land from the pain medication. He was so wonderful with her and knew just what to do to make her happy.

Leah was born on Thursday and by Sunday, the three day rule for surgery set in and I was miserable from all the air they pumped in me in the operating room. Needless to say, the Sunday afternoon company came in droves. My roommate and her family (about 20 of them) had a watermelon feast in our room and I thought I would blow up!

We took her home on Tuesday and laid her in her own bed to sleep. It was amazing and scary all at the same time.

Today, Leah is a wife, mom, daughter, sister and aunt. She is a writer and soon to be a teacher. Her little family is precious and she takes good care of them along with her husband, Nick.

Happy Birthday, sweet girl! I am so proud of you and I love you very much. May God's blessings rain down on you!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Morning Glorys

Jerry and I went to the garden late this afternoon to do some work. It has been too muddy this week to do a whole lot up there. We decided we had waited long enough. We put on our old shoes and took off up the road.

Jerry's first project was to stake the tomatoes. There are fifty seven plants and they are growing pretty fast. I am excited about having buckets and buckets of ripe tomatoes to share with our family and to can! Leah and Rebekah want to learn to can and I think tomatoes will be where we will start. The day that they are predicting frost in the fall, we will go to the garden and pull all the green tomatoes so that we can make chow-chow. Our chow-chow is so good, we have an unofficial fan club!

My job tonight was weeding. I have decided that there are morning glory seeds wrapped up in the corn seed. For every stalk of corn we planted, there was a long morning glory vine wound up the stalk from the root to the top. My first impulse was to jerk the weed but when the corn started wanting to rip out by the root, I figured my method would have to change.

In order to get that pest of a plant away from my corn, I had to go straight to the root of the problem. I had to trace the vine to the root and pull it all out of the ground and then unwind the vine from the corn to keep from damaging the corn stalk.

I guess morning glory weeds are like the problems we all have in our lives. In order to either solve the problem or make it go away, we have to start at the root. We can't start in the middle or at the end-just at the root unless we want to do some real damage.

Next time you see a morning glory in your garden, rip that sucker up from the root. It will give you great pleasure!

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It pays to do a little price checking.......

It seems the older I get, the more medications I need. If you looked in my medicine drawer you would see several orange bottles. High blood pressure, thyroid issues, etc. plague me and I have to medicate them. The cost of taking care of yourself has skyrocketed in the last few years along with everything else.

I got my doctor to give me generic prescriptions that are on the $4.00 list at my grocery store. There is no need to pay more for the same drug in the name brand. I found out today how my grocery store and the others who offer discount prescriptions can do it. They are not just being nice to their customers. They are making the difference up with other generics.

I had been perplexed about the cost of a generic medication that I buy regularly. The cost had jumped about $45.00 a month to $183.00 for 30 pills. It seems that every time I refill the prescription, the cost is more. I called the doctor to see about an alternative and there wasn't one. I don't know about you, but $183.00 is real money in our house.

I went to sleep praying about this last night. If you have to buy it, you have to buy it, but dang it, that is just too much money.

I got up this morning with a clear direction as an answer to prayer: call the local, home owned pharmacy and do a price check. As soon as I was finished in the garden, I came home and did just that. I made the phone call.

When the clerk answered the phone I told him I needed to check a price. I gave him the name of the drug, the dosage and the name of the brand name. I told him I wanted the generic version. He was gone a few minutes and when he came back he said: "the price on that drug is $14.92". I was in shock. I asked him to check it again. I spelled the name of the drug and I could hear him talking in the background to his boss. He again said, "it will be $14.92". I asked, "are you sure?" I know he thought I was crazy and he asked, "Mrs. Bryan, what have you been paying for this drug?" My reply: "I don't want to tell you, I am afraid." He laughed. Then I told him: $183.00. Needless to say, he was now the shocked one.

I asked him why the big difference in the price. He said that the big box stores have a corporate office telling them what they have to charge for their medication. The price they pay wholesale isn't always reflected in what they charge the customer. He said that his store adds their profit by their standards and they don't have to deal with anyone but the store owner. He said my refill would be ready by 11:00 a.m. tomorrow.

I am very excited about taking my $14.92 into the drug store tomorrow and walking out with a bottle of medication that I have been paying almost $200.00 for. Just think, if I had known this nine months ago when I first started buying this drug, I would have saved $1521.27. Enough money to pay for a nice trip to Disney World.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009


My new motto is "Simplify". Yeah, right. My question is this: "Why does it take so much effort to simplify"?

I love the show, "Clean House". Niecy Nash, the host, drives Jerry straight up the wall. Her voice is like fingernails on a chalkboard to him. The flower in her hair puts him over the edge. In all fairness, golf on Sunday afternoon does me the same way.

It is unbelievable how much stuff one family can accumulate in a small space. I don't see how they cook a meal, do laundry or even sit down to watch television in some of those houses. I like stuff as well as the next person, but really? The lady on the show yesterday collected monkeys. She owned 297 stuffed monkeys and three live monkeys....who live in the basement. Bless her heart. She was looking for love in all the wrong places.

When yard sale time came, they made $4,100 on their stuff! I have never seen them make more than a couple of thousand at any yard sale. The clean house gang painted, organized and made that house look great in a few days time. I wouldn't dare (even if my house looked like the one on television) invite them to clean my house. I am so sentimental that if one of the team members carried out a precious object, somebody would get hurt.

I do believe that simplifying my life would get rid of some stress I experience when I can't find something that I need or want. "A place for everything and everything in it's place" is a quote I have heard all my life. I just need to put it into practice.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

From this to that.....Blackberry Jam

Well, I guess by now you have figured out that I am staying pretty busy in the garden, cotton patch and blackberry patch. I have picked more than a gallon of blackberries already and I haven't even touched the majority of the berries!

I have been picking the berries and freezing them getting ready to make jam. Today, I had some berries in the frig that I forgot to wash and freeze. So, I thought I would work on my jam making skills. I have never made blackberry jam before but I have vivid memories of jam being made at my house as a child.

I will never forget my Granny standing at the stove making jam. She would cook the jam and keep it hot as she lifted the jars out of the boiling water and filled them. She would always fold a flour sack down lengthwise to match the height of the jar. She would wrap that cloth around the hot jar and then roll the leftover cloth into a handle to hold on to the jar. One day when she was filling the jars the cloth slipped and dumped hot jam all over her forearm. She was burned pretty badly and Mom had to take her to the emergency room to get it cleaned and wrapped.

Since that day, I have a respect for hot jam. I don't use Granny's "cloth" method of holding the jar. I set the jar on the counter and use a canning funnel to fill it. Today, while experimenting using baby food jars for the jam, I dropped one and spilled jam all over the counter. I was blessed it wasn't my arm or my foot that caught the hot jam. I have decided that I won't be cheap any more when it comes to jars. Nine dollars a dozen for jam jars is cheap compared to an emergency room visit.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Planting Cotton

I love to see cotton growing in the field. I like it even better when the blooms start to pop open to reveal the pure white cotton in the pod. It is just one of the prettiest things in this world to me. I guess it is because I am Southern. I enjoy reading about the things of the Civil War period and the women in that time. Parties, hoop skirts, big hats, amazing food and ladies being ladies. Everyone had been taught good manners and how to act in public. They certainly didn't wear white shoes before Easter and never after Labor Day. It wasn't "fittin".

What I would not have enjoyed during that time was no air conditioning, no washers and dryers and no stove and refrigerator. Times were harder then than I could possibly know.

I love to make wreaths out of cotton. Every year I try to find the owner of a cotton field and beg for some cotton from his field. So far, every one I have asked has let me invade their crop.
Since I have had several people wanting to buy wreaths from me and since I would feel guilty if I begged people for cotton for free and then sold it for profit, Jerry and I decided that this year we would plant our own cotton crop. Bobby Dutton, a good friend of ours, generously loaned us about 1/2 an acre of his land to plant cotton.

There were several challanges to planting this field. First, we had to have a tractor. We were blessed to turn Leah's college car into a 1959 Farmall tractor. Jerry has worked hard to get the tractor into good condition to make this crop.

Second, you have to have seed to plant. Have you priced cotton seed lately? The seed is $500.00 for 50 pounds! We were not expecting it to be so much. We asked the guy at the Co-op if there was any cotton seed that was a little cheaper. He told us about cotton lint seed. What makes cotton lint seed so cheap is that it hasn't been hulled. It is cotton seed right out of the plant. Farmers who plant large amounts of cotton use stainless steel planters to put the seed in
the ground. This cotton lint seed won't go through the planter, so it is cheap! We bought 10 pounds for $10.00!

The first round of seed came up, but we didn't get the crop we wanted. So last week, Jerry plowed under the few plants we got and we replanted.

We live in a small town and this cotton crop was been the talk at the liar's table at Dutton's Market. We were trying to get the field replanted without any one knowing but we were "caught" by Bobby Dutton in the act. We haven't been back to check on it yet because it takes it about a week to break through the ground and it is not time yet.

Planting cotton by hand is back breaking work. I am sure that using the hoe in that patch will also hurt my back. I know, however, the end result will be worth it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson

The entertainment world has suffered two great losses today, Farrah and Michael.

Every girl wanted hair like Farrah's. My hair was too fine, couldn't happen. Every boy wanted that famous poster of her hanging on their wall.

Everybody wanted to dance like the Jackson Five. They had perfect rhythm and great voices. I liked them right behind the Osmonds and my number one fav: David Cassidy. I liked Michael Jackson the best when he was young; before he started all the skin altering procedures.

Rest in peace, Farrah and Michael.

Blackberry Pickin'

Jerry and I were blessed with a three acre field so that we could plant a large garden. Our garden is on the old Donnell farm in Auburntown. It is owned by Marsha Donnell Ayers who inherited it from her dad, Jim. We only planted 2/3 of an acre.

My step-grandmother, Lillie Donnell Harris, owned a large part of this farm when I was a child. It was the farm where she was raised. Every year we would go to the farm and pick strawberries in the late spring. We would have a garden up there as well, so I spent a lot of time on that piece of ground. We would work all morning and then go to the house for lunch. Granny's sister, Aunt Mary, would always have a huge lunch cooked for us. I remember sitting at that table like it was yesterday. It was a long, walnut harvest table with a drawer at the end with a glass knob on it. Uncle Hugh would sit at the head of the table. His false teeth would rattle when he ate and it was funny to me. I got in trouble with Mama more than once about those teeth!

Since the garden spot hadn't been used in more than 30 years, Jerry had to bushhog the land before we could do anything else. After that was done, he proceeded to work up the ground to get ready for planting. Of course, I am afraid of tractors so Jerry couldn't be up there by himself (at least in my opinion). One afternoon I was bored so I got in the truck and rode around the fence line trying to find the old gate. I not only found the gate but I found that almost the whole fence line was filled with blackberry bushes! I love blackberries in cobblers and jam and they are hard to come by.

I have been watching those blackberry bushes for weeks now. Slowly, a few are getting ripe. I have picked about 2 quarts to date, but when they all get ripe, look out! Chiggers love blackberry bushes too. I found out the hard way.

I have also heard that snakes love to take up residence in those bushes as well. My mode of operation for picking blackberries is this:

1 Put on jeans, long sleeve shirt, shoes and socks, hat and gloves. (I look like an old lady)
2. Drive truck up to the fence row, leave it running (in case you see a snake and have to flee).
3. Get hoe from back of truck just in case.
4. Pick the berries that are ripe.
5. Move truck and repeat.

As crazy as this sounds, it is really fun! Work, but fun. There is something about working with your hands that is very rewarding. It is the same feeling you get when you mow the yard and then sit down in the rocker on the front porch with a cold glass of water and admire how good it looks!

Ecclesiastes 3:13 says: That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. (NIV)

I intend to find satisfaction in every cobbler and jar of jam that comes from the blackberries in that patch!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Allie and Elijah

Jerry and I had the pleasure of taking care of two of our precious grandchildren Friday night and Saturday. They love to come to Camp Grandpa/Grandma every opportunity that presents itself. We love for them to be here. Allie is almost four years old. Allie looks like her mom, Leah, who looks like her dad and his twin sister, Deanie. Allie has a very compassionate heart. She is an encourager and a comforter. She watches Elijah like a hawk. As long as Allie is around, Elijah is safe and so is everyone else.

We have a fish pond in our backyard. Before you get bent out of shape about an open body of water in the yard, I must tell you it is behind a locked gate. I even have trouble getting it open because of it's weight. I know, however, that it won't be long until they will leave me in the dust getting it open and running to the pond.

Anyway, Allie and Elijah were sitting on the rocks with their toes in the water playing with the fish. Elijah decided that the water looked fine for swimming and he jumped in, feet first. He loved it and it scared Allie so badly that she cried. She was so afraid he was hurt. Jerry and I were standing right there and I immediately grabbed him and pulled him out, soaking wet of course.

A few hours later we were back outside for another round of play time. Elijah wanted to go back to the pond, so Jerry took him over there for a minute. Allie went to Jerry and said, "Grandpa, PLEASE get Elijah away from the pond. I just know he is going to get hurt." She was so upset. Jerry quickly got Elijah and brought him back up to the deck, behind the locked gate. It took Allie several minutes to calm down and to know that Elijah was okay.

Allie would hurt someone who tried to hurt her little brother in any way. She is his protector and he is so precious to her! She doesn't hesitate to show him how much she cares. However, the two of them have their own "moments" and it is funny to watch them go at each other.

Elijah is all boy. We have never had a baby boy in my family. My dad, who is 75, was the last boy born on the Harris side of my family. Elijah's middle name is Harris to at least keep the Harris name somewhere in history.

Elijah knows no fear. He is a jumper and he will jump over/off of anything. You have to watch him very closely or he will be gone! He is a big eater and there is not much he won't eat. He has the biggest blue eyes and he will melt your heart. He has already told me that he is going to take care of me when I am old. Just ask him!

Jerry and I are so blessed to have three of the most delightful grandchildren in our lives. We are excited to see where God leads these precious children as they grow up.

Happy Father's Day everyone! I know that Jerry is a blessed dad and grandpa and that his family loves him very much.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Maggie's Birthday

Today is Maggie's fourth birthday. It is hard to believe that she could possibly be that old. It was only yesterday.......blah, blah, blah. But the truth is, it was only yesterday.

It was a Tuesday morning. Rebekah was running a fever and was in labor. She was miserable. Not only was she sick, but when her spinal block wore off, she had no epidural. Somehow they missed the spot in her back and she was feeling everything.

Leah and I had been assigned to be her assistants during the pushing and the birth. Poor Josh was in a chair in the corner looking like he wanted to run, but knew better.

Leah and I were a strange pair to be helping in the birth of a baby. Leah was five months pregnant with her first child. Despite the fact that I had two babies, I had never seen a baby born naturally (or any other way-I got knocked out for C-sections). I even faint at the sight of blood, mine or anyone else's. Not a good place for me to be. However, Rebekah invited me to witness the miracle of childbirth and Lord willing, I intended to be there.

Poor Bekah. She pushed for three hours. Leah and I hung with her until it was time for Maggie to be born. Josh joined us stationed at Rebekah's head for the event. It was amazing. We were in the presence of God. Time stood still and no one said a word. It was like nothing I had ever seen. It almost seemed like I was experiencing it in third person. I never felt faint or sick.

Someone who had witnessed childbirth shared this suggestion with me just days before Maggie's birth. "When that baby first comes out, touch it. The last person to touch that baby was God." Humbling.

So, Happy Birthday Maggie Moo! Grandma loves you!