I found my goats!!

Ok this is just too cute. Really. How do you not just sit around and laugh.

Just how funny would it be if we had that reaction. I shudder to think of me this past weekend if we as humans did that.  


Things that make you go.... hmmmmm

So I spent some time today researching goats.  Ok that sentence in and of itself cracks me up... good grief.  I don't know if anyone out there knows anything about goats and if you do please know that I openly admit I don't know anything about goats.  Three Billy Goats Gruff is a story I remember from first grade, I have seen goats, while driving down the road but couldn't tell you the difference between a milking goat and a meat goat.  Goats are goats?  Right?  However I do plan on having goats this spring.  

I have been thinking a lot about livestock.  Here is my goal... enough goats to keep my milk guzzling kids content, chickens... lots of chickens.  You can't be a chicken herder with only a small flock.  I want lots of them.  We started talking about pigs and hogs.  If we ever got one for a pet I would name him Wilbur.  Charlotte's Web is the total extent of my farming experience.  Of course I would  name him Wilbur.  The ones that we raised for the sole purpose of making italian sausage out of ( italian sausage & bratwurst are my favorite foods hands down) those guys would have names like; Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Bacon, Sausage, and Frank... as in Frankfurter.  

Zoe is at the vet overnight tonight.  We had to have her "fixed".  She was broken all week.  We are learning about "season" and "heat" it's been fun.  So much fun that we decided that we would teach our children the miracle of birth out at the farm and not in our living room.  So say a little prayer for Zoe tonight, we are missing her.  We also learned why she was having issues pooing outside.  Apparently her previous owner kept her in concrete kennels with her K9's.  She said that Zoe may have never actually been on grass before.  Wow, that would have been good information to know.  But it's going to be wierd tonight sleeping without her next to me and her head on my butt.  She is the ONLY dog we have ever allowed to sleep with us.  She is rotten and we have only had her a week.  I am not sure how her or Valley are going to be farm dogs.  Right now Valley is curled up next to her Daddy on the couch.  

So we are spending and exciting Monday night wrapping up 2008.  Ande is working on business books and shutting down the year, Alex is in TN at an Xtreme Youth conference, Adam & Julia are playing the Wii and me well... I am just thinking that in just a couple of days 2009 will be here and my whole life is going to look different.  My eye is still twitching from the stress of the weekend... I am really thinking I need to just call it a night.  But first I want to read about rabbits.

Lord, your sense of humor is overwhelming.  Of all the woman to pick for this new life... you just love me enough to stretch me again and again.  Thank you Father.  My heart is filled with love just for you.  Always here, always protected and going ahead.  Your faithfullness leaves me in awe.  Thank you for your healing touch.  Thank you for being my defender so that I don't have to defend myself any longer.  Bless you Father, Savior & Comforter.


Farm Renovations... Day One

The Farm circa 1983

So today is truly day 1 in Operation Farm Renovation.  Let me pre-empt this blog by letting you in on a few secrets.  #1 I am deathly afraid of rats & mice.  #2 I am also afraid of snakes...  like mortally afraid.  Like heart stopping afraid.  

So we head out to the farm today to clean out the remains of a few years of no one living in the house.  You must keep in mind that when my inlaws moved from the farm to town they just sort of left.  They left food in the fridge, the freezer and the deep freeze.  There are still clothes in the closets and dressers, magazines and books on the tables.  Pots on the stove, baking pans in the over and clean dishes in the sink.  

Notice the cute sunflower curtains.  The upper cabinents on the right in this picture are full of dishes. My wonderful mother in law has the best collection of dishes I have ever seen.  That is one thing that I will never lack for is dishes.

So I decide to tackle the master bedroom.  There are still clothes on the shelves and in the dressers.  My goal is to get out the clothes and to pack up what I believe my mother in law is going to want to keep or at least go through.  I have contractor bags - I am ready to go.  Found an old boom box and some really cool cassette tapes to listen to.  So as I am jamming out to the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack I go in.  I begin to pull sweaters from the shelves in the room and all of a sudden I realize there are holes in them and that there is fuzzy stuff everywhere.  

Being so brave and full of courage, I go out on the front porch to call in the reinforcements.  "JULIA!!!" So Julia comes in and hold the bag open for me as I dump the clothes in the bags.  She is reminding me to breathe.  Apparently I had not been doing that.  We get the shelves emptied and head to the dresser.  I am petrified that I am going to open a drawer and something is going to jump out at me.  Bear in mind I was a little girl in Florida and I have opened my  dresser drawer to have palmetto bugs fly at my head... I am panting with anxiety.  I am scared to death to open the drawer.  So I open it and nothing.  Can you just see me?  The sigh of relief.  I am thinking the worst of it is over.

Moving to the next dresser I can't get the drawer open.  I happen to hear my father in law in the house and ask him if he can open the drawer for me.  He is heartbroken to be going through all of this stuff.  I feel so dadgum guilty about going through their drawers and their things.  He comes in and shows Julia the mother load drawer of her grandmothers jewelry.  Then opens the drawer.  I am so glad that I couldn't open the drawer.  We didn't find anything alive... but there had been an entire village of them at one point.  I should have taken pictures but I was too busy hyperventilating on the front porch. 

Ande has now joined in on the fun and is having the time of his life.  Leaving Grandpa and Julia in the bedroom I ask Ande to grab the cast iron tea kettle from the heater closet.  I had wanted to grab it earlier but I could see that fuzz stuff next to it and I just can't tell you how petrified I am.  So he courageously reaches in and grabs the tea kettle and pulls it out for me.  Opens the lid, closes the lid and we proceed to talk about something else.  About that time Adam, my middle child, the curious one... again opens the lid to the tea kettle, "Eww, dead rats.  I think they are decayed."  I scream and run out the front door off the porch and into the front yard.  I am bent over trying not to throw up on my shoes.  Ande meanwhile is laughing.  

By this time I am not wanting to reach out and touch anything.  Being quick on my feet and so witty I say, "Lunchtime!".  Nothing like food to change the atmosphere and give me a chance to get out of the house for a while.  After lunch I took my time walking Zoe around the property and spent some time taking pictures of Ande and his Dad working on the water reservoir.  If you are interested in seeing more pictures check here.

After a while Ande convinced me that we needed to get back into the house and try to make some headway.  We started on the back porch room and were able to make some progress back there together.  Grandpa came in and was looking through stuff.  He never really "got rid" of anything but he was really good at point out stuff and knowing where the good stuff is.  Like the brand new stock pot still in plastic, and the large crock that says Grantham on it that their neighbor's son in Florida made for them 25 years ago.  There are cookbooks, oh and canned pork sausage from when Pa Tabor was alive... Ande and I have been married for 15 years... Pa had gone on before I ever came on the scene.  There is bear in the deep freeze but we haven't gotten to the point that we can get to it yet.  Grandpa says it's been in there for about 10 years.  

Ande found some of his scout memoriabilia and the boys had a blast checking that out.  We also found the dealer slip off of his keys to his 91 GT.  We also found some really great old photos of the last 30 years of life out there.  I am going to begin to scan them in to add to our story but it won't be tonight.  

We are just thankful for God's provision... and for being a God of generations.  How humbling it is to know.  God is awesome, all knowing and He loves me enough to go ahead years to make a way for us today.  

For now though I am going to take a hint from Zoe...


Merry Christmas & Farms...

Brush Creek - I am standing on the bridge facing just right of the barn.  Ande, his Dad & the boys are in the field.

Well, we spent Christmas Eve with the outlaws and Christmas Day with the inlaws.  All in all a peaceful experience.  Now it's on to 2009 and all that entails for our family.  We did head out to the farm yesterday.  Just thought I would share some pictures so that you could get some idea of what we are looking at.  We will be heading back out there tomorrow to do some work inside the house, so expect more pictures again then.

These are the overgrown boxwoods that will have to be trimmed way back blocking the view of the house from the bottom of the steps coming up from the field.

This is the bedroom side of the house coming from the barn.  That front porch enclosure will be removed to make more room for rocking chairs.  

The barn... full of fun stuff to explore.  There are a bunch of chicken coops on the lower level that we will start using in the spring.  We will also probably adapt some of them for rabbits.

Up behind the barn is the steep part of the land.  This is eventually where we would like to build our permanent home Lord willing.

My beautiful mother in law with the kids and I down by the bridge.  There have been some heavy rains lately that have started washing out the road.  A lot of work will need to be done on that as well.  But this is the only picture in which you can see the house in relation to the barn.  To the far right just out of the frame is the majority of the flat land. 

I just had to make it through Christmas and we have... so now it's on the the adventure of a lifetime.  Swiss Family Robinson meets the Clampitts.


Puppies, poo and perfume

Zoe, just as Julia would have her.  Draped in a cute hankerchief, toddler bed blanket cuddling her little stuff animal.  Puppies are so much fun.  Really they are.  I love this pup, I promise you that I must love her.

I didn't have the best day today.  It was one of those days where you call your husband and say, "I need you, today."  Ande came home about 3 to help me finish out the afternoon and evening.  We hung here for a couple of hours and then decided we were going to head to Lowe's, maybe grab a cup of coffee and hang at the book store.  So we head out about 5:30 run to Lowe's, go across town the the book store, run by Subway to bring home subs we get home about 8.

We came home to this...

Yeah, remember the vomit story? This is so much more than that!!!  Zoe didn't like hanging in the bathroom while we were gone.  Not only did she poo, she proceeded to paw paint with it all over the bathroom.  Needless to say, I will have to go to Walmart against my better judgement on Christmas Eve to buy new toothbrushes.  

It took us close to an hour to clean it up.  I stood at the sink washing poo off of a ton of stuff.  My favorite mascara, my hair products.  I told Ande it was horrible to go in and see the stuff covered.  I mean, yeah, you can see the Redken products that I use for my hair, but I make it last FOREVER.  I take such good care of it because I know it may not come again soon.  There was just such a blatant disregard for what I treasure.  I cleaned some of the stuff, some of it was empty and I just threw away, and that rug??  Yeah, it could have been washed...but it's heading to the landfill.  

God keeps giving me these correlations... He washes me again and again.  He has cleaned up behind me so many times.  He has tried to protect me and in my nearsightedness I just made a huge mess thinking that there was no way out.  Some things he restores, some things he throws away, and some things he reminds me that I just don't need anymore.  Today I just long to lay my head on his lap, to pant in exhaustion and to allow him to love me in only the way that he can.  Sometimes, when you think you just can't do anything else... that you can't take one more step God will show you another pile of poo that needs your attention... because you can spray all of the perfume that you want to, poo stinks until you get rid of it.  There is no covering it up.

Hebrews 10:22-23 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

God, thank you for your faithfulness.  For Jesus, your ultimate clean up committee.  For the Holy Spirit... oh Lord, I long for you.  In Jesus Name.


New addition to the family...

Ande and I got on board with the whole "it's Christmas" routine yesterday.  We ran out to get a few things for the children.  They don't need a darn thing, believe me, but somehow we have a need to buy them stuff just because it is Christmas.  Our pastor was preaching last week about how we make it our birthday instead of Jesus.  How true that is.  

A few posts ago I talked about we were looking for dogs... 2 dogs in particular.  Julia wanted a huskey and I want a newfoundland.  We have been scouring our local paper for dogs for about a month.  So we get home last night and Ande pulls the paper out and heads to our bedroom.  With the economy the way that it is, Ande and I decided that we weren't going to waste money on a bunch of stuff that the kids didn't need or really even want for Christmas.  We decided that the best thing we could do for our family was to go ahead and get a dog.  Next thing I know he and I are heading to Asheville to get one.

We met Zoe in the parking lot of Toys R Us in the rain.  What a great way to meet a dog.  In the rain... ever smelt a wet dog?  Well they had just fed Zoe before they left the house so she has puked in her dog box riding in the rain in the back of their truck for 30 minutes to meet up with us.    Ever smelt a wet dog with vomit in her hair?  So we pay for her load her up in my truck and we head home.  Apparently she wasn't done vomitting.  So we are riding in the car, smelling wet dog with vomit matted in her hair, then she decides to go farther back in the Excursion and uhmm finish emptying her upset stomach.  

When we get her home, and Ande introduces Zoe to the kids while I clean out the truck.  It's love at first site.  Then the smell hits the kids and they all take a step back.  Adam who is our observant child tells us numerous times how bad she smells.  It's one of those... "Really, I hadn't noticed" moments.  So Ande puts on his bathing suit... He, Julia & Zoe head to the bathroom for a shower.  (We don't have a bathtub at our house - that's a whole different post).  About 10 minutes later we have a clean wet dog a soaked bathroom and a dripping Julia.  Zoe comes out into the living room, still smelling of wet dog and shares her shower with the rest of us.  Shaking water everywhere.  

I was reminded of how Jesus finds us.  Wet, dirty, matted, sick... He loads us up in his vehicle and we continue to vomit and stink until he can get us home and in the shower.  Even then when we are cleaned up we continue to smell and shake off the mess on others around us.  Jesus is so good to sit with us by the fire, drying us with a towel and petting us, loving us and teaching us our name.  Precious, beautiful, wanted, adopted, safe.  

Ephesians 1:5 In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—

His pleasure, like we got a new dog...just because we wanted to... He adopted us.  Just to love us, to clean us up and to provide us a safe home.

Lord, thank you.  That you don't leave us dirty and homeless.  That you nurture us and warm us with the fire of your Spirit.  Bless you, for always giving us the gift of you.  Father, Son & Holy Spirit.  In Jesus Name Amen.


Hey, Did you happen to see the most beautiful girl in the world?

There is something about her little angelic face that just makes my heart warm. Last night was the first time she has shown wear for this impending move. This little ballerina, with the beautiful face, sat here on the couch and teared up when she talked about leaving behind her friends. She can be tempted with new dogs, and the possibility of one day having a horse, but there is no way to prepare a little girl to turn her life upside down. Even as her mother, I am stumped for the great words of comfort. I just pulled her onto my lap, and loved on her.

Then I did what any good mother would do. I sent her to Nanna's.Where the rule is, there are no rules. Where peanut butter spoons justify a meal as long as accompanied by chocolate milk. Where Swiss Family Robinson is a movie favorite and where Nanna's lap can ease the heartache of a 9 year old little girl. Where shopping is mandatory and naps are relished.

Look at the smile.  That's what I love to see on my little girl's face.  I know that I can't solve all of her problems, and I can't keep her from every hurt... I can't, because in God's divine wisdom He knew that if I could I would.  Then, she wouldn't need a Savior.  Believe me I take my charge as a mother quite seriously (most of the time), I try to prevent as much hurt and pain as I can.  I send her to Nanna's for spoiling on bad days.  However, some of this is her own testimony, it's her own chance to reach out for The Comforter.  

She knows how to find Him...

And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. ~Mark 10:16

I praise you for her Lord.  I am humbled in her presense as she seeks you so diligently time and time again.  Father, put your hand upon her and bless her.  Comforter hear the cries of her mother and wrap her in your wings.  Thank you in Jesus Name.  


Life in the fast lane...surely make you lose you mind

I couldn't sleep last night,  one of those nights that you get a revelation that just leaves you sitting in the living room alone...with your thoughts.  My life as I know it is coming to an end.  That is just wild.  Not that I haven't done different before... the move here to NC was different but this is just another one of those goodbyes that you don't know what the hello is going to look like.

The response to my first post from my friends who knew me when were quite receptive... one of you wanted pictures.  They are coming... hold your horses or should I say herd your chickens?  I know this isn't anything that anyone - including myself  - would come up with.  Isn't that how you know it's God?  When it's not something that you would come up with on your own?  The fact that I am even talking about raising chickens cracks me up. 

When I began this homeschool thing, I started meeting these really weird people.  They rolled their own oats, made their own bread, ate things that said organic on them.  I remember telling my friend that I refused to give any of that unnatural stuff to my children, they would probably be allergic to anything that didn't have preservatives or at least red dye #5.  I remember an entire conversation about shaving ivory soap to make their own soap powder.  I thought they had three heads.  This city girl was not conforming to any of that mess...thank you very much.  Oreos and Little Debbies are staples in my house, like toilet paper and milk.  Hot chocolate comes in a silver packet, bread comes in a plastic sleeve and call me crazy but I LOVE Coke (Coca Cola for those of you not from Florida).  

Herbal teas... HA, tea was served over ice with sugar.  Herbal shmerbal... (as I sit here drinking my nightly cup). Next thing I know one of these women has me at the health food store and I am taking cough medicine that has horehound in it (I have no idea what it is, what I know is that it works).  What happened to the good old days of ibuprophen... no, belladonna she says and you know what, I now carry it in my purse instead of ibuprophen.  They have been slowly doing this to me over the last few years.  Like a turtle in a stew... they were heating it up until it was cooked.  I used to think country was just trucks and belt buckles, but it's so much more than that.  They have diluted the city girl and filled her with these grandious ideas of actually enjoying this stuff.  

For example, I now carry a pocketknife.  Granted it is pink, but I don't leave home without it.  I drive a 4x4, now I know it's an SUV, but it's the largest one ever made and it takes fuel (diesel for you non-countrified types) not gasoline. I own a handgun... now I know I could have done that in the city... but let me tell you... I grew up deathly afraid of guns in the city... now shooting with my girlfriends is something that I enjoy.  I have learned to make finger foods... like little pimento cheese sandwiches (I make 'em but I still won't eat 'em).  I have learned how to make grits that didn't come out of a packet and how to season greens fresh out of the garden.

So, here is what I have concluded.  Life in the fast lane almost made me lose my mind.  I love the slower pace of my life now.  I made homemade bread today and it wasn't the frozen loaves or the parker rolls that my mother and grandmother played off as homemade.  I put the yeast in the dough myself... and I survived.  My hair didn't braid on it's own and I didn't appear in a floral dress.  I had an entire day in the kitchen today... baking, making candy, cookies.  I feel pretty Proverbs Womany today.  I would much rather bake my own bread than to load up in my truck and drive to the grocery store to buy one.  This new me... I think I like her.  

Phillipians 4:11-12 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Lord, I am willing to be willing.  Thank you for your provision and your love through Christ.  Lord, continue to show me the hard places that I withhold from you.  Continue to transform me, day by day... glory to glory.  I love you Father, Savior & Comforter.


We are in the memory making business...

As mothers, that is one of our primary responsibilities and whether we do it really well or really wrong, one thing is for sure, memories will be made.  It is my hope to have substantially more good memories than bad deposited into my children.  I believe that is one of the greatest gifts we are getting with the move, the farm.  I am amazed at God's provision for us as a family, for what it takes for him to orchestrate our destiny's.  

If someone had ever told me that I would be a homeschool mother - I would have laughed.  Now it is as much a part of me as my brown eyes and my large feet.  I love knowing that my kids are with me.  I love the way they argue, the way they laugh and the way that they fill a room. Homeschooling as afforded us such a unity that I find so precious.  

Today we had some friends over to make some Christmas cookies.  This is a picture of my two boys actually working together for a common goal... I know, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity.  I broke out the camera just for proof when they are adults.

This is what happens when you get 9 kids in a room from ages 4 to 13, add cookie dough, sprinkles and just listen because the noises that come are the most beautiful.  The laughter, oh the laughter.  The older girls & Alex even cleaned up without being asked... I am telling you if I could bottle this I would be a millionaire.

They paid me to put up this picture. It was all completely staged.  I am just kidding, they really did clean up the kitchen.  They even handwashed the dishes in lieu of loading the dishwasher.  All of the sugar, the smell of baking cookies just brings out the best in kids.  Note to self... invite these kids over when we move to the farm and no longer have a dishwasher.

Being in the memory making business isn't easy.  Thank goodness for good friends to share the couch with  you.  There is already talk of carpooling to our new place, bringing these town kids to the farm and letting them do some planting of their own.  It's hard to let go and to move on when you have great things right where you are.  God is calling us though, to move, to do whatever he is laying on us.  It would be so easy to stay...to spend everyday like today.  The thing about memories is no matter where we go we take them with us.  

Unlike our friends, because well frankly... I just think it would be wierd.  Imagine having to travel in caravans like they did in the Old Testament? Can you even imagine what it would be like to walk near the "Red Tent".  I love you ladies, I thank you for putting up with my antics...but know that the blonde, the redhead and the brunette will forever be a joke just waiting to happen.  But just to settle the matter once and for all just exactly who is the coolest of all watch this clip ... 

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6


Company Fudge

My Nanny used to make this when she was having company over at the holidays because it didn't take many ingredients & took very little time to make and set up. It has never failed me.

1 12 oz bag of semi-sweet morsels
1 12 oz bag of peanut butter morsels
2 cans of sweetened evaporated milk

optional.. 2 snickers bars chopped up.

Microwave in a small bowl 1 can of milk & 1 bag of chips. Spread evenly in bottom of foil liked square pan. Sprinkle with snickers if desired. Microwave remained ingredients and spread evenly on other layers. Refrigerate 1 hour before cutting.

Cheryl's Miracle Cookies

Mix together well in a large mixing bowl:

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 bag chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts - FINELY chopped... almost to a powder.

Mix this well with your hands to the chips get coated and also so you can make sure there aren't too many chunks of brown sugar.

Whisk together 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Pour this on top of your dry stuff but don't mix yet.

Finally, take 1 stick of room-temperature butter and plop that on the top. Now mix it all together as well as you can with a spoon. Don't get too far, do you? Now use your hands. (Kids are great for this!) Make sure you get all the dry stuff from the bottom of the bowl. It's almost like you're kneading bread dough, right?

Now grab two big spoons (not serving spoons... like your soup spoons) and drop some golf ball sized cookies into your greased muffin tin. Yes, your muffin tin. Bake those babies at 350 for around 11 or 12 minutes. Yes, they'll look under done. When you take them out of the oven, let the stay in the muffin tins with a towel placed over them for about 3 minutes, THEN take them out.

MMMM.... gooey.... and soft....... MMMMM.......

***I don't use muffin tins because believe it or not I don't have any. They are wonderful just globbed on a cookie sheet. My oven gets them just right in 10 minutes. ~JL***

You can find more of Cheryl's wonderbar creations on her blog.

New Occupation: Certified Chicken Herder

It's not every day that someone gets to do a redo.  That God just sets it up where it's time to start over.  Not really start over...how about have a new start.  I don't know that I would ever want to do any of this over again.  I wouldn't change it...but I sure wouldn't want to relive it either!

This city girl...Florida girl at that...is heading west.  Well farther west in NC anyway.  It's time to make the transition to the farm, to come out of our cute little tourist trap town and head to where the turkey and hogs run free.  There are 10 acres of land just waiting to challenge me to find God in new and more exciting ways.  

There is talk of raising chickens... I have done some women's ministry meetings that were what Momma Jan said were similar to herding chickens.  However, the only chickens I have ever seen have been wrapped in plastic at the grocery store. No wait how about the ones at the rotisserie cooker at WalMart.

I have never canned a thing.  I have eaten some things that my husbands parents have canned, loved them...but my solution for "putting up" vegetables was to put them in zippy bags and put them in the deep freeze.  I was reminded that isn't a really good option on the farm.  Especially if there is a storm that knocks out power.  Because being 20 minutes outside of nowhere means that you aren't going to have service back anytime soon.  Just think of my devastation if I woke up and found all those melted strawberries.  So I am determined to learn how to can.  Ande says the only memories he has of canning is it being hot in the house and his parents fussing.  Boy this sounds like fun already.

Why did I agree to this again?  900 square feet of small house love.  This is the house that Ande grew up in...well through high school.  Mountains on all sides...one of those old barns that is the color of burnt coffee...chocked full of fun stuff.  Dogs...I am looking for a Newfoundland and a huskey.  Oh and a goat.  Ande and I had this conversation about him going to pick up the goat. He said he would just put it in the back of his truck.  Well Ande has ladder racks on his big ol' F350 and the thought of putting a goat in the back of that truck and then heading out to the farm made me giggle, but the thought of the goat in the backseat of his crew cab truck with it's head sticking out the window ears just a flapping made me laugh out loud.  Can't you just see it?  This big old truck coming down the road with a goat in the back seat?  Come on...that's just hilarious.  

So what I have ahead of me is Christmas...with all that entails to a mother of 3...then the new year is bringing change.  A new address, a new way of life...new -new - new... Doesn't anything stay the same?  Oh yeah, God does, He is the same past, present and future...it's us, His wonderful creation that must change and conform to Christ.  I wonder if Christ chased chickens? What do you do when life hands you lemons...apparently you can them in a mason jar put a dollie on top and sell them to the Florida and Georgia people who head to the mountains for vacation.   


No matter where you go...
you take yourself with you.

Respect the un-respectable
Just like you desire to be loved
Even when
your hair is sticking up &
you had garlic for dinner
the night before -

The onion has so many layers
-how does one learn to cope-
with the smell
& the tears.

Systematic theology
in a world full of mediocrity
Is like taking a pig shopping
in New York City.

Who will follow the scholar
into the halls of dusty books
When they can live life
stealing a sideways look
-at beauty
-at no cost
-without obligation
or responsibility?

Spicy Tortellini Soup

1 pkg of hot Italian sausage cut into bite size pieces & unsheathed
1 medium onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pat of butter
3 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup carrots
1/2 cup frozen spinach
2 boxes of chicken broth
2 pkg dried cheese filled tortellini
grated Parmesan cheese

In a 5 qt stockpot fry brown sausage in olive oil. After cooked through add butter, onion & carrots. Saute until onions are translucent. Add garlic and stir just for a moment, until you can smell it really well. Pour in 2 boxes of chicken broth and bring to a slight boil. Add spinach, return to boil. Add tortellini and allow to simmer for 30 minutes until tortellini is cooked through. Garnish with parmesan cheese & red pepper flakes (optional).

This will feed my family of 5 twice.

Heather's Potato Soup

5 pound of potatoes, cut & boiled
1 large onion diced
1 large bag of frozen corn
2 sticks of butter
8 oz sour cream
8 oz cream cheese
2 cups cheddar cheese
2 cups of milk
2 cups of heavy cream
season to taste

Saute onions in butter until soft. Add sour cream, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, milk and cream. Pour over potatoes & corn. Season to taste, cook until desired consistency.

Omit corn. With onion brown 1 pound of bacon. Add green onions as a garnish. Then it could be loaded potato soup.

Dreamy Peanut Butter Pie

3/4 cup JIF peanut butter
3 oz cream cheese
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
12 oz whipped topping
1 9 inch chocolate cookie crumb pie crust
chocolate syrup

Mix together peanut butter, cream cheese & sugar. The stir in whipped topping. Whisk until smooth and no lumps remain.

Pour into pie cruse and refrigerate 3 hours. Drizzle with chocolate syrup for decorative garnish.

Shrimp Cavatappi Amatriciana

1 lb.box of cavatappi or spiral pasta.
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 cans (14 ounce each) diced tomatoes in tomato juice

1 pound of clean deveined shrimp
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Romano cheese

Cook cavatappi according to package directions; drain.

Saute onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes in olive oil over medium heat till onions are soft and translucent.

Add white wine and cook till nearly evaporated. Stir in tomatoes with their juice till slightly thickened (3-5 minutes). Add shrimp and cook until just pink.

Taste, and add salt and pepper as desired. Mix into cooked cavatappi. Toss with Romano.

Chicken Artichoke Bake

1/2 box of Bowties
1 chopped onion
1 Tbsp butter
2 eggs
1 1/4 milk
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 cups cooked chicken
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
14 oz can artichokes
1 box of frozen spinach (thawed and very well drained)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cups soft bread crumbs
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 350. Cook bowties & drain. In skillet cook onion in 1 tbsp butter until tender. In bowl stir together eggs, milk, seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir in chicken, cheese, artichokes, spinach, half of the parmesan cheese, pasta and onion. Put into a rectangular baking pan. Bake covered in foil 20 minutes. In bowl mix remaining parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, paprika and melted butter. Sprinkle over pasta and bake 10 more minutes or until golden.

Antipasto Rotini Salad


3 cups uncooked rotini pasta
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
4 oz thinly sliced Genoa salami, cut into strips
1 can dark red kidney beans
4 Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives


3/4 cup Italian dressing
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 minced cloves of garlic
1 1/2 tsps course ground black pepper

Cook rotini, adding broccoli during last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain and rinse with cold water until cool. In a large bowl combine with remaining salad ingredients. Mix dressing and pour over salad. Toss until well mixed. Refrigerate 2 hours before serving.