Thankful for safety from the storm

Nor'easter 058 That means that we are here and made it safely. 

Here is Chincoteague.

A friend called us when we were in Pennsylvania and warned us about the severity of this storm.   It is a nor’easter and it is a doozey!

It was 10 AM when she called and said the storm, plus the high tide was going to make it hard to get onto the island today.  In fact, she said that they were going to close the causeway in the afternoon.  High tide was at 4:00 PM and we raced all the way here to get here by 3:15- and we were just about the last  car to make it across before the causeway was closed.

The water was really high.  The waves were washing over the road and the wind was wild, and the rain was pelting down so hard that our visibility was bad.

We didn’t stop for lunch or potty breaks.  We got gas and got back on the road within 8 minutes.  And Allyson drove heroically!   The water is still rising in the parking lot- the streets are impassible.  But we are in our hotel room and the rain is pelting against the window and we are safe, slightly frazzled and damp, but safe.

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Lots of stress come with the driving conditions.

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The Chincoteague Bay was washing over the road.  These carsare of people trying to escape being stranded on the island.

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And here we are – on island.  It is a huge relief for my driver.Nor'easter 064 Nor'easter 065 Nor'easter 066

And here is a view from our second floor Nor'easter 067

this pier is now submerged.

I’m thankful we’re on the second floor. 

Just plain thankful

I’m not here, I’m on the road somewhere between Ohio and Virginia.

Allyson and I are driving down to Chincoteague-

Where they are talking about another Nor’easter!

Hah!  I get to say it again!

I’m hoping it won’t rain the entire time we are there-

I’d love to spend some time on Assateague  at the beach walking in the sand.

But that isn’t going to happen if a nor’easter is hanging about pelting us  with rain.

Anyway- I’m thankful for car trips with people I love.

And new adventures.

And happy endings.

And jobs well done.

I’m thankful for an understanding husband,

and a sister that supports me in whatever venture I find myself.

And to God who is forever faithful.


Thankful for family and tradition

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This particular post is dedicated to my brother, Bruce.

In fact, it is his idea.  Almost his idea.

I didn’t even know for sure that he read my blog.

But when I spoke with him last he asked me to do a blog on making fruitcake.

That’s right.  Fruitcake.

My family likes fruitcake.

Our mother had a great recipe that is chockful of nuts and candied fruit.

No raisins or dried apple slices or spices.

Fruit and nuts.

My mom would make it in early November and wrap it in cheesecloth soaked in brandy until Christmas.  So it is fruity and nutty and a little boozey.

The recipe – typical of ALL of my mother’s recipe is basically a list of ingredients with  temperature and baking times tacked on the end.


2 cups flour

1 3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 pint marachino cherries

1/2 lb. candied pineapple

1 lb. dates

1/2 lbs pecans

1/2 lbs. walnuts

1 lb. candied fruit mix

5 eggs, beaten

BAKE at 250 degrees F for 2 1/2  to  3 hours

I love looking at all my recipe files.  It is almost like visiting with Robin and my mom when I read their notes and recipe’s.

Fruitcake 005 and getting together is a good reason  – so gather up your ingredients.


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Just smell the deep and festive mix of  fruit and nuts!   Fruitcake 008


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Add flour, sugar and baking powder and stir until all of the flour and sugar is incorporated.

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This smells so good!

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add beaten eggs  to mixture  and stir well.


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The dough is thick and looks very sticky.

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Grease pans liberally and use wax or parchment paper to keep mixture from sticking to sides of your pan.

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Now you can decorate the cakes, using candied pineapple and the red and green glacee cherries.  Cut the green pineapple into leaf shapes and the red into petals- pop some cherries in for the centers and you have bright and happy little fruitcakes!

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You can make them in smaller sizes or in a large loaf pan- just make sure that you use parchment or wax paper and lots of Pam to keep them from sticking.

Fruitcake 023 And then after you have baked them at a low temp (for the smaller cakes- bake them less time but not less than 45 minutes.  They get darker, but what you are looking for is a fairly firm texture.)

In my family-fruitcake is always a treat.

I like the mug- but if you like nuts and fruit- you will like love this cake!

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Thankful for plenty

Aidan's early Nov. visit 001 Apples and Aidan! 098

We live in a land of plenty.

There is abundance all around us.

Sometimes it is beyond our reach, but often that is because we aren’t really intent upon stretching for it.

But when I look in my pantry, and on the shelves of my canning cupboard – and in my freezer, I see such bounty set aside for use this winter.  Strawberries and cherries, apples, and apples, and apples, blueberries, and pesto and jelly, and dried and canned tomatoes.

And in my flour cupboard, rye, whole wheat, pumpernickle,pastry, white and graham flour- all ready to make countless loaves of bread.

And quarts of broth – frozen and ready to be the base of marvelous soups.

I think I must know how my grandmother felt after a summer’s work and the fall’s harvest. I feel well prepared.  And blessed.


Thankful for the daughters…

My husband and I have two wonderful sons.  They are loving and wonderful men and I am thankful for every moment I have with them.  But they are going to be a different post.

Because, although we don’t have any biological daughters, God has gifted us with many beautiful young women who have fulfilled my desire for daughters.  And I am so very thankful for the love and memories and hopes and joy we have shared through the years. 

I really started to engage with these women before I was married.  I started with my nieces and have developed deep relationships with some of them.  I love all of my nieces and nephews dearly, but with some of them there was a resonating desire for more than a casual friendship and they pursued the relationship as actively as I did.

Elizabeth and Allyson  and Meredith fit into this daughter category- because we played together when they were young and have only grown closer as we have matured and taken on adult responsibilities and burdens.  I love these young women- and I admire and love their  real mothers and appreciate the love they have shown in sharing their daughters with me.

Willow is the daughter of my heart as well as my daughter in law.  I am so VERY thankful for the friendship we share, for the love we have for each other as well as for Luke and Aidan.  I didn’t have much of a relationship with my mother in law.  She was not open or allowed to spend much time with me.                                           

And although my mother was a wonderful woman who loved the Lord and her family, she was not a good role model for being a mother in law.  So I was worried that I would mess up in this department- but God is so gracious and He has given me the opportunity to become a better woman through these women who have allowed me  a place in their lives.

I also have been gifted with the friendship of young women that I have mentored through the years.  Jen and Johanna came into my life when they were in their teens and have remained close in many ways, coming to visit when they are in town and staying connected by prayer and Facebook. 

Aidan's early Nov. visit 051 Aidan's early Nov. visit 032 Hot Joe and a visit with Elizabeth 007 Meredith and Cynthia at River Styx 012 image image

I love all the women in my life- but these just qualify for a place in the “daughter”

category.  Thank you Lord for providing for the desires of my heart.

Praise and Thanksgiving


There is a Thanksgiving carol sung in rounds that  has been running through my mind lately.

Praise and thanksgiving let everyone bring

Unto the Father for every good thing.

All together joyfully sing.”

It is a sweet little tune,so it isn’t driving me crazy like some songs do when they become lodged in my brain. 

But, I’ve been reading around in Blogland and have become inspired to be a little thankful in print, as well.  Thankfulness should be a natural state for believers.

James 1:17  says that ” every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father above” and my thankfulness abounds for all the gifting and giftedness and gifts that He has provided for me.

Some of the gifts are spectacular- some small blessings- and others are area of  unexpected joys- but they are all good. 

Even pain is a gift.  Without it I could blunder into areas of danger.  It slows me down and helps me to take account of my actions and make decisions that are wise and calculated to build up strengths rather than to tear down or injure already weakened systems.

And so I am thankful.  And I am rejoicing. 

And I’m inviting you to joyfully sing.

All together now!

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(You didn’t really think I was going to write about thankfulness without mentioning Aidan or at least posting a picture, did you?)

When all else fails- bake bread

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I have been getting no where fast.

Lots of stuff is going on- but nothing is happening.

I’m frustrated.

In my life that means make and bake some bread.

It is satisfying.

It works.

We end up with bread.

So today was a marathon bread day.

I made sourdough rye, old country rye and peasant bread.

And I mixed them all together and made a braided loaf,

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and a marbled loaf…………………………………

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and a couple of plain sourdough rye loaves.

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Sourdough Rye is my favorite sourdough bread.

You add the deep flavor of blackstrap molasses the tangy sourdough and the slightly sharp rye and caraway seed flavors and you have a masterpiece!

Here’s the recipe-

1 cup sourdough starter

1 1/2 cups bread flour

3 cups rye flour

2 tsp salt

1/4 cup molasses

2 TBS butter,melted

1 cup very warm water

2 TBS yeast

Add yeast to water and proof for about 3 minutes ( you may add 1/2 tsp sugar to get everything moving faster).  Mix together flours and salt in large bowl.  Make a well in the center of the flour and put the starter, butter, molasses and proofed yeast together and mix the flour into the center, drawing it down from the sides.

You may need a little more warm water or a little more bread flour depending on the way your dough starts to set up together- if it looks dry and like there is too much flour- add water.  If it looks too sticky and the flour is all incorporated – add flour.  The dough should be tacky to the touch, but not sticky. 

Flour your counter and dump dough onto flat surface.  Knead for at least 10 minutes and then put dough- gathered together into a ball- into an oiled bowl and cover.  Allow to raise for about an hour and a half and then shape into desired loaf.

 Sourdough Rye 003Sourdough Rye 009

Sourdough Rye 004 Sourdough Rye 007 Sourdough Rye 008 To braid -roll three different doughs to the same length and thickness and attach at one end then braid them together and pinch at the other end.

Sourdough Rye 024 To make a swirl or marble loaf-

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Roll out three different doughs and layer them on top of each other and then roll them tightly together, pinch ends and put into a loaf pan and let raise for about 45 minutes, then bake in 375 degree oven until brown , about 40 minutes.

If a thing is worth doing, then it’s worth doing well.

So many lessons can be learned from children. 

They are born learners and mimics.

Whenever my life gets confused and out of focus, I spend time with children and pay close attention.  They repeat everything over and over until they remember what they have said.  ( I try to do the same thing with new words or people’s names so that I can remember them.)

Children are also task oriented.  They will do repetitious  movements until they become automatic.  And they spend lots of time working with things hands-on.

Hot Joe and a visit with Elizabeth 009

Ally and Aiden and I went to Mansfield for a visit with Elizabeth today.

We had a great time talking and playing with Thomas the Train and enjoyed lunch. 

But when it was time to go, Aiden noticed Elizabeth’s sweater.

It has BIG buttons on it.


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And many of them were unbuttoned!

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So, Aiden decided to help her with them.

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He buttoned,

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and buttoned,

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AND Buttoned some more.

( He was getting very heavy and

Allyson  couldn’t hold him anymore.)

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But that was all right with him,

Because he was real busy-

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Hot Joe and a visit with Elizabeth 017

And we weren’t going anywhere until Aiden finished his task.

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Buttoning Elizabeth up tight in that sweater!

I go through my days giving things a lick and a promise.  Not quite finishing up any of my chores, or rushing through them in a haphazard way- wandering from this task to the next.  And watching Aiden work so diligently at those buttons made me aware of my lack of diligence. 

And made me think of the jobs I need to do well.