Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saturday Update

Don't forget to visit The She Writes Southern Writers 4th of July Countdown Blog Tour as the tour continues today. We've got some terrific writers sharing and all kinds of new blogs for you to check out.

I'm out of pocket this weekend, as dh and I are participating in facilitator training for a marriage seminar. The program is called United and is done by Family Dynamics Institute. All day yesterday, today, and 1-7 tomorrow! Good stuff, though.

On a final note, we are dealing with record breaking temperatures here  out area. Please pray for all those dealing with weather related issues -- heat, storms, and fire.

Blessings and peace, as always.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Flavors of My Childhood

flavor |ˈflāvər|
1 the distinctive quality of a particular food or drink as perceived by the taste buds and the sense of smell.

Memory is triggered by so many things -- sound, sight, smell, and flavor. How many of our memories are enhanced by flavor? My husband always photographs our meals on vacation, and it is remarkable how quickly the memories come back as we relive the food we consumed.

My childhood is alive with flavors. I grew up in the south where food ranks only second to religion. Sundays were defined by flannel boards in Sunday school; my daddy preaching from the pulpit; hymns, and maybe a baptism. But the highlight of the day was food. Were we eating at home? Was there a church covered dish dinner? Were we eating at a church member's home? Or maybe with my grandparents?

The flavors of my childhood are replete with fried chicken, biscuits, buttered corn, and green beans cooked with fatback until they are falling apart amid the swirls of fat. The salty crunch of the fried chicken leg as I bit into. The memory of it can still send me into paroxysms of ecstasy. Fluffy, lard based biscuits slathered with butter and homemade preserves. I could eat my weight in my great grandmother's biscuits.

On my mother's side of the family, it was always thin sliced ham that my great aunt had prepared. And Nana rolls. Tiny little yeast rolls ladened with butter. I think one holiday I ate 18 in one sitting!

Covered dish dinners were a pantheon of options! More fried chicken to be sure, but barbecue and macaroni and cheese (which is a vegetable in the South, thank you very much) as well. Desserts that would make your jaw hurt just to look at them. Chess pie! My favorite. The way the sugar and butter have blended together and been layered into that flaky, light pastry. It was a thing a of beauty as it dissolved into my mouth with hints of every flavor available on my tongue for just a moment before it slid down my throat leaving my mouth begging for more.

It's funny now, but we never went out to eat back then. I know some of it was money, but I think it was more about people and food. The two went hand in hand. I have often heard it said that sharing a meal is the most intimate of experiences. I think of the film Babette's Feast, and the scene in Chocolat where they all gather for Armande's birthday dinner. I think of Christ's last supper with His disciples and the memorial of communion we observe today. 

I had a therapist tell me once that he had clients who could only talk to him if they all ate together. What is it about eating and food and flavor that ties us together?

What I wouldn't give to taste a Nana roll again.

More stops on The She Writes Southern Writers 4th of July Countdown Blog Tour:

Tour Date: Sat. June 30
Blog Name: Delani Bartlette’s Travel Blog
Blog Owner: Delani Bartlette
Guest BloggerStacy Allen
Title"Changing The Past, Inventing The Future"

Tour Date: Sat. June 30
Blog NameEmily Kennedy, Author
Blog OwnerEmily Kennedy
Title"Southern Gentlemen"

Tour Date: Sun. July 1
Blog Name: Ryder Islington, Author
Blog OwnerRyder Islington
Guest BloggerDeidre Ann Banville
Title"New Orleans Caulbearers"

Tour Date: Sun. July 1
Blog NameA Penny and Change
Blog OwnerPenny Leisch
Guest Blogger: Trisha Faye
Title" the moon goes on shining"

Tour Date: Mon. July 2
Blog NameZetta's House of Random Thoughts
Blog Owner: Zetta Brown
Title"Texas Tornadoes and Other Memories"

Tour Date: Mon. July 2
Blog NameReflections of a Mississippi Magnolia
Blog OwnerPatricia Dorsey
Title"A (Southern) Life in Poems"

Tour Date: Tue. July 3
Blog NameA Penny's Worth
Blog OwnerPenny Leisch
Guest BloggerNancyKay Sullivan Wessman
Title"Books & Business & Reality: No magic bullet"

Tour Date: Tue. July 3
Blog NameThe Novelette
Blog OwnerLaura Gschwandtner
Title"Southern Living with True Grit"

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

diary of 5

I am seeing... a red cardinal on my lawn chair

I am hearing... birds chirping as I enjoy
the last of the cool morning air

I am smelling... my home -- that
special scent that let's me know
I'm home

I tasted. . . chocolate cupcake ice cream
on date night 
I didn't just taste it,
I devoured it!

I am feeling. . . tired
I slept "hard" last night
and did not want to get up 
this morning.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . June 26, 2012

Outside my window . . . it is beautiful! We've been in a heatwave, but today we are getting a temporary reprieve. Our high is predicted for the mid-80's with lower humidity. Sure beats yesterday's 101*!

I am thinking . . . about the improvements I'm seeing around the house. Dd has really embraced FlyLady and is leading the charge.

I am thankful . . . for the amount of time my ds and his friends have been spending at our house. They leave for college in the fall, so it feels as if I'm stocking up on time with them all.

In the kitchen . . . stir fry chicken and veggies over rice last night. Tonight is Squash Souffle, black eyed peas, and tossed salad.

I am wearing . . . my favorite yoga pants, a grey yoga t-shirt, and my trusty Sole sandals.

I am creating . . . a pink afghan for a little girl. It's a commission from the spring that I've recently picked up again to try and get finished. I have another one to do after this for her twin sister.

I am going . . . to make an appointment for a mani/pedi today. I have a Groupon!

I am wondering . . . how my first ever colonoscopy is going to be. I have to schedule one. Blech! I'm posting about it here so I will HAVE to make the appointment.

I am reading . . . The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey (The Mysterious Benedict Society #2) by Trenton Lee Stewart
and Toxic Parents by Susan Forward
I am looking forward to . . . enjoying this cooler weather today. I may try to work on the carport some.

I am hearing . . . birds and my dd getting ready in the back of the house.

Around the house . . . decluttering continues. Dd and I took a stack of books to our local used media store yesterday. Between the 2 of us we got close to $40 in store credit. Nice!

I am pondering . . . the word stalemate. I read this definition:  a situation in which two opposing forces find that further action is impossible or futile; deadlock.

One of my favorite things . . . is hearing my windchime in the breeze. We have a lovely breeze this morning so I'm hearing it a lot.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . more FlyLady, swimming, sunning, and a 3-day marriage workshop for dh and me this weekend.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
my bedroom looking fresh and orderly

for more visit The Simple Woman's Daybook

Monday, June 25, 2012

Made by You Monday -- Roasted Veggies and Cheesy Grits

Summer is in full swing, which means lots of fresh veggies from the farmer's market.
The other night I decided it was time to cull through some of those veggies and use the ones that might be getting a little sketchy. I decided to roast a big pan of them and make a big pot of cheesy grits. It was quite lovely.
Here's what I did:
First, I chopped a bunch of veggies (Vidalia onion, broccoli, squash, zucchini, Campari tomatoes, garlic) and tossed it all with a liberal dose of olive oil, coarse ground black pepper, and garlic salt. I roasted it at 400* for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, I heated 2 cups organic chicken broth, 2 cups cool water, and 1 cup fresh milled grits in a pot on the stove. I brought it to a boil and then turned it down to medium low. I let them cook, stirring them each time I wandered by the stove. 
While all that was cooking, I grated the remaining chunks of artisan cheese (I think it was Paprika Jack). Once the grits were close to being done (about 20 minutes, I think) I stirred in the cheese to melt.

I let everything cook another 10 minutes or so and served it up in bowls
with a side of fresh sliced strawberries.
A delightful summer supper.

link up at Skip to My Lou

June Joy Dare #4

"Enter the password: 'Thank you!" . . . Thank Him. Worship Him!
--Psalm 100:4

June 19th -- 3 gifts you became today in serving
1. encouragement for my daughter
2. appreciation to my son
3. beauty for my family by cleaning

June 20th -- a gift bent, beautiful, loved
1. my spirit, in obedience
2. fresh vegetables roasted in olive oil
3. an unexpected kiss from my husband

June 21st -- 3 gifts found in light
1. quiet time in the morning
with my own thoughts
2. watching plants grow
3. self-confidence bloom from
shining light in truth

June 22nd -- 3 gifts that are difficult
1. watching my son work through
a break-up
2. tense discussions with hubby
3.seeing people I'd rather not see

June 23rd -- 3 gifts found around the table
1. sharing needs
2. laughter
3. the joy of sharing food with friends

June 24th -- a gift in water, in words, in white
1. my shower this morning that
perked me up for worship
2. "He does it not by pushing us around
but by working within us,
his Spirit deeply and gently
within us." -- Eph. 3:20
3. the white hot anger I released

June 25th -- 3 gifts today in someone older that you
1. humor from my friend, Carole
2. kindness to self from my therapist
3. grace of spirit from my surrogate mother,

Saturday, June 23, 2012


I have been in a dark place of late.
I have been down a path I knew I was going to have to travel, but I kept putting it off. Pushing it aside and choosing to walk different, less difficult paths. Not that the other paths were easy, just not hard in the same way as this one.
I was right, this last path was hard, but part of the difficulty was my own unwillingness or, perhaps, inability to face some hard truths.
There is a saying I love -- The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off!
Crass perhaps, but I have found it to be oh, so true.
I've learned a lot through this process -- about me, about my husband, my friends, and my family. Not all of it has been good, but not all has been bad either.
I have been reminded that people will fail you. But people will surprise you as well.
Relationships change -- constantly. People grow, or don't, but choices must be made and re-evaluated sometimes. 
I don't know the end version of anything. I'm letting go of absolutes, but I'm also letting go of lots of expectations. I think that means I'm growing. Moving out of that stuck place I got to when the abuse started.
That little girl (I call her Lucy) needed comfort and security back then, and I've had to retroactively share it with her as I've learned. That won't change. She's always going to need me, and I'm always going to love her.
Not absolutes. Just possibilities.

Friday, June 22, 2012


I took a risk years ago when I first told my parents about the abuse I had suffered as a child and the rape in college. I took a risk in presuming that they would love me the way I love my kids. I took a risk that it would hurt them so badly to see me hurt.
It didn't play out that way. They didn't react in love and support. They didn't pound me into the ground either, but it wasn't good or positive or helpful.
I'm taking a new risk. I'm standing my ground. I'm continuing to do what I believe God wants me to do. I'm trusting that the fact that I feel calmer and more peaceful is God's way of letting me know it's okay.
Later I may take the risk of letting my parents back in to my life on a daily basis. I may agree to talk with them again about what happened, how they failed me, how it's impacted my adult life, and what I want going forward.
Right now I'm all "risked" out. 
I'm looking toward a risk free summer and I'm liking the view.

link up at Five Minute Friday

Active Anger

The words coming from his lips devastated her. How could he sit and calmly speak these things. “We’ve had to accept that you are very sick. It is the only explanation for your behavior.”

So that was how he organized this situation in his head? She was “sick”. She looked up the definition of sick -- mentally, morally, or emotionally deranged, corrupt, or unsound. Really?

Well at least she knew where she stood with him now. She was enraged by those small sentences. What was it about that one comment? The anger poured from her in a palpable current.

link up at Red Writing Hood

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The She Writes Southern Writers 4th of July Countdown Blog Tour

The Southern Writers of She Writes cordially invite you to The She Writes Southern Writers 4th of July Countdown Blog Tour.

The purpose of this tour was to give as many of the members in the Southern Writers group a chance to offer their hospitality by having others visit their home blogs.

During the week leading up to the 4th of July, two blogs will be featured every day sharing their interpretation of the tour’s theme: “Southern Living.”

People who leave insightful comments on the blog post(s) during the tour will be entered into a random drawing to receive a special Southern Living-themed prize (worth $50) donated by Zetta Brown and Author/Publisher Services.

The more blogs you visit and the more comments you make throughout the tour, the more chances you get.

It would be nice to turn this into an annual event if interest warrants so come on out!

Tour Date: Wed. June 27
Blog Name: Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge
Blog Owner: Ramey Channell
Title: "Evolution AND Creationism: The Birth of a Southern Novel"

Tour Date: Wed. June 27
Blog Name: My Writing Journey
Blog Owner: Charity Bradford
Title: "Hospitality, Welcome to the South"

Tour Date: Th. June 28
Blog Name: Ruminations and Reflections
Blog Owner: Rebecca Elswick
Guest Blogger: Natalie Parker-Lawrence
Title: "Patrice Melnick: Louisiana Poet, Festival Muse"

Tour Date: Th. June 28
Blog Name: Holly's Narrative Dream
Blog Owner: Holly Raychelle Hughes
Title: "Pictures and Words"

Tour Date: Fri. June 29
Blog Name: Musings & Meanderings: Thoughts on Life and Healing
Blog Owner: Melanie Pennington
Title: "The Flavors of My Childhood"

Tour Date: Fri. June 29
Blog Name: The Full-Bodied (Book) Blog
Blog Owner: Zetta Brown
Guest Blogger: Dera Williams
Title: "Not Your Storybook Southern Belle"

Tour Date: Sat. June 30
Blog Name: Delani Bartlette’s Travel Blog
Blog Owner: Delani Bartlette
Guest Blogger: Stacy Allen
Title: "Changing The Past, Inventing The Future"

Tour Date: Sat. June 30
Blog Name: Emily Kennedy, Author
Blog Owner: Emily Kennedy
Title: "Southern Gentlemen"

Tour Date: Sun. July 1
Blog Name: Ryder Islington, Author
Blog Owner: Ryder Islington
Guest Blogger: Deidre Ann Banville
Title: "New Orleans Caulbearers"

Tour Date: Sun. July 1
Blog Name: A Penny and Change
Blog Owner: Penny Leisch
Guest Blogger: Trisha Faye
Title: " the moon goes on shining"

Tour Date: Mon. July 2
Blog Name: Zetta's House of Random Thoughts
Blog Owner: Zetta Brown
Title: "Texas Tornadoes and Other Memories"

Tour Date: Mon. July 2
Blog Name: Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia
Blog Owner: Patricia Dorsey
Title: "A (Southern) Life in Poems"

Tour Date: Tue. July 3
Blog Name: A Penny's Worth
Blog Owner: Penny Leisch
Guest Blogger: NancyKay Sullivan Wessman
Title: "Books & Business & Reality: No magic bullet"

Tour Date: Tue. July 3
Blog Name: The Novelette
Blog Owner: Laura Gschwandtner
Title: "Southern Living with True Grit"

Thankful Thursday #24

" A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one's heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away."
-- Arabian Proverb

This week I am thankful for friends. True friends. (Which for some reason just made me think of Peter Cook's line in "Princess Bride" -- mawwage!
But I digress. Back to friends.

I've poured out a lot of grain and chaff lately. Much of it has been redundant (perhaps ad nauseum), but it has been received with such depth and insight (as one friend commented). I have been blessed with kind and loving words. Helpful and uplifting scriptures (although there was one amusing typo), and untold prayers. 

I am blessed beyond measure in these friends, both old and new. 

So today finds me lifting my hands in adoration of God -- the Father, the Son, and the Spirit -- who has provided for me in ways I could never have imagined. These friends, who have held me up for so long and provided directions and encouragement on this arduous journey, are tangible, skin-on evidence of God's love for me.

link up at Grace Alone

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


For years my identity was based on family connections.
Growing up, I was my father's daughter -- the second one. He was well known and well liked (as far as I knew), so there were worse people to be. The stress came from needing to be perfect so as not to disappoint him. I worked hard to say the right things, think the right things, be interested in the right things, do the right things. A lot of my struggle and confusion came from not knowing who determined the "rightness" of everything.
Later I became my husband's wife. I moved from my father's house to "our" house, but I was still playing a role. Trying to be the model wife I saw growing up, and at the same time trying to be the wife I thought my husband wanted me to be. It was tough trying to merge what turned out to be somewhat opposing pictures.
Then I became their mother. First my daughter -- a precocious red head. Then my son -- the premature, squalling baby. Everyone seemed to think I could read these babies' minds. If there was a problem or discord, I was supposed to know what was wrong and fix it. I couldn't do it.
Eventually all that striving caught up with me. I shut down. 
I went to talk to a counselor.
I found out I had to quit hiding behind other peoples' lives and live my own. 
It meant digging through some really nasty rubble.
It took thinking that rubble was my identity for a while to get to where I am now.
The truth is, my identity is made up of all those things that I survived, all the people who have walked through my life, all the people who have stayed in my life.
My identity is who I am today -- a child of God, a survivor of abuse, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend. Not different people, but pieces of one whole person.
link up at imperfect prose on Thursdays

diary of 5

I am seeing... new growth on my 
miniature rose bush

I am hearing... quiet --
the hum of the house
and my hands tapping 
on the keyboard

I am smelling... Pledge
I've been dusting

I tasted. . . English Breakfast tea

I am feeling. . . melancholy
and unsure regarding
the future
of a relationship

Wordless Wednesday -- Stripes!

for more images go to Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . June 19, 2012

Outside my window . . . it is sunny with wispy clouds. Already 78* and muggy.

I am thinking . . . about the benefits I am receiving by being more open with people. Truth is a wonderful thing when shared with people who genuinely care.

I am thankful . . . for the routine I am establishing for myself. I am making exercise a priority, BECAUSE it makes me feel better. Not guilt, no judgment. Focusing on how good I feel.

In the kitchen . . . salad, salad, fruit, salad, salad, yogurt -- summertime food!

I am wearing . . . gray yoga pants, a teal tank top with a black racerback over it.

I am creating . . . my wonderful stripy afghan. I just LOVE it! 

I am going . . . to FlyLady the house today. Dd and I have divvied up the list and schedule our day. Here's hoping! 

I am wondering . . . why it is so hard to accept that some people are unwilling/unable to change, or at least be open to to discussion.

I am reading . . . The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey (The Mysterious Benedict Society #2) by Trenton Lee Stewart
and Toxic Parents by Susan Forward
I am looking forward to . . . puttering around the house today, after our Home Blessing.

I am hearing . . . Toto singing "Rosanna"

Around the house . . . we are continuing to sorting, organizing, and cleaning. Ds is helping me in the backyard. We are setting up a little patio/conversation area. Pictures to come.

I am pondering . . . the possibility of looking for a part-time job. I'd like something maybe 3-4 half-days each week.

One of my favorite things . . . is feeling positive. I realized last night while sitting on the sofa with dh that I was feeling pretty good about myself. In the past that kind of thing has triggered anxiety, but not this time! I think I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing, as it seems to be working : )

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . more FlyLady, more pool time, more talking/emailing/Facebooking with friends and support staff, more summer pleasure : )

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
the stripy afghan . . . 

Monday, June 18, 2012

in gratitude

This weekend I found myself realizing over and over again how  grateful I am for my husband. I know I talk about him a lot here. Some of you may get tired of hearing how amazing he has been in helping me with my recovery from abuse. 
Let me be clear, he is no saint. He is irritating at times. We argue (although not like we used to). He leaves stuff lying around, gets annoyed when his laundry's not ready, and has been known to be in a bad mood on occasion. 
But, and this is huge, he has carried so much of my burden for me. Not only has he dealt with his own issues and struggles in coming to grips with the fact that his wife was abused, but he has consistently done for me all manner of great and small things -- from putting up with fairies all over the house, and stuffed animals, to holding me as my body processed the pain of abuse even though I had wakened him from a sound sleep. He has turned on lights (literally and figuratively) when I couldn't. He came home from work in the middle of the morning once because I couldn't find a quilt I needed. He has listened and listened to the stories from my childhood. He's researched. He's talked to my parents trying to get them to "see" what I need from them. He is my compassionate witness.
Yesterday was Father's Day. I wanted to make it special for him, because he is so deserving, but I was still processing some recent conversations and comments. When we got home from worship. I talked with and told him I needed to get away from everything for awhile and do some writing. He smiled at me and said, "Go." That's my husband. My needs supersede his so often and he is generous about it.

Care to share a single gratitude that's most present in your heart this morning? If you feel inspired, join along in the comments here today....

inspired by SouleMama

June Joy Dare #3

"Enter the password: 'Thank you!" . . . Thank Him. Worship Him!
--Psalm 100:4

June 12th -- 3 gifts full
1. my heart because of my husband's
care and concern
2. my pantry from a trip to the
grocery store
3. my belly from wonderful
fruits and veggies

June 13th -- a gifts smelled
1. 20 herb tea
2. chlorine at the pool
3. puppy breath

June 14th -- a gift unexpected, unwanted, unlikely
1. peace while awaiting results
2. validation of expectations
3. laughter in sadness

June 15th -- 3 gifts in His word
1. Ps. 78:4 -- God's fame and fortune,
the marvelous things He has done.
2. Deut. 30:10 -- But only if you listen obediently
to God . . . Nothing halfhearted here
3. Prov. 1: 3 -- A manual for living,
for learning what's right and just and fair

June 16th -- 3 gifts moving
1. my heart by music from
the "Joyful Noise" soundtrack
2. my son and his friend out
for a long, unexpected bike ride
3. my husband and son
at the climbing gym

June 17th -- 3 gifts in your Dad
1. love for the written word
2. a desire to write
3. interest in theater

June 18th -- 3 gifts from your heavenly Father
1. my husband -- Fate
2. holy Scripture to bring me
a clearer understanding of God's
nature and character
3. openness to aid in my healing
from abuse

Saturday, June 16, 2012

16 :: june

"Have you considered the possibility, Reynie, that wickedness is simply more noticeable than goodness? That wickedness stands out, as it were?" from The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart.

"For when you come frequently together in the same place, the powers of Satan are destroyed, and his fiery darts of sin fall back, worthless." -- Ignatius of Antioch.

"We often say with our bodies what we can't or won't say with our mouths." from Toxic Parents by Susan Forward.

and how was your week?

inspired by beauty that moves