Apr 29, 2016

Link Love



Good Friday morning friends! I want to share a website that is very near and dear to my heart and I think you will really enjoy visiting.  The site is where our youngest daughter, Victoria Leigh, blogs.  Normally, I'd just share with you the website; but today, I am going to share some of my favorite posts that she has done because I am her momma and I can do that!

Here is one of my recent favorites as she shares Her answer to what she wants to do after college.

And if you can only read one, start here first:  And read about her experience in Uganda; but once you read this one, you will camp out at her blog and read her thoughts and poems too!

So writing is part of who are family is. It comes easily to us. I believe it is part of what GOD has called us to do. Our oldest, Audra Elizabeth, just brought home a paper from college this week with the phrase of her professor written on the comments page: You are a writer!

I am at the stage of children being grown and thoughts of what do I do now with a life that I've devoted to schooling my children? Writing seems to be what GOD is calling me to do.

I seem to get the green light to write.

It's not perfect and I have worries and fears and think of grammar and spelling and syntax errors. And what does that all even mean? I do not want to live a life of fear; but of faith.  I feel that the LORD has put in me *things* HE wants me to share, so I need to press forward, without worries or care. Just sharing from my heart.

Enjoy the link love!


Apr 27, 2016

What is your this?


Do you ever wake up with your thoughts whirling in so many different directions, that you feel tired before your feet even hit the floor? It was like that for me this morning. And truthfully, it's been a season of mornings like today.  I don't want to complain; but to share the reality of where I am.

It was in those early morning hours of waking and thoughts whirling, that I heard that Still. Small. Voice.  I knew it as soon as I heard it. It was distinct from the other thoughts jumbling my mind and raring like a race horse to get out of the stall. It was a calming thought that I heard:

"Relax, God's got this. Exhale. Breathe. Repeat. Everything. Everyday."

I turned it over in mind my many times.

HE knew exactly what I'd been thinking.
HE knew exactly what I was trying to do to solve my own dilemma.
HE knew exactly what hurdle was in front of me today.
HE knew my thoughts and the intents of my heart.
HE knew that I think *things* need to be fixed.
HE knew that I want *things* to be addressed.
HE knew the worries of my early morning.
HE knew the list I had.
HE knew that it is often times easier to race out and do something.
HE knew me.

And HE said:

"Relax, God's got this. Exhale. Breathe. Repeat. Everything. Everyday."

How about you? What is your this?  What could you fill in the blank? What do you have that consumes to the forefront of and can tend to overshadow your thoughts? What could go in the blank for this?

My:

Family
Marriage
Children
Relationships
Friends
Finances
Future Plans
Retirement
Extended Family
Disabilities
Home
Stressful situations
School studies
Repairs that need to be made
Looming surgery
Things that are broken
Sorrow
Hurts
Pain
Grief

Could the list not just go on and on? But I hear HIM say today:

"Relax, God's got this. Exhale. Breathe. Repeat. Everything. Everyday."

Hallelujah friends! HE has our this! Whatever unknown or uncertainty we are facing, HE has it! Hallelujah!!!

So when my mind will race,
With realities I face,
I am going to choose to Relax
Because GOD has my back.

I will Exhale, breathe and repeat
My part in the agreement is so sweet
Everything on the list -
HE can handle all that exists!

Everyday HE beckons that I give my burdens all to HIM
And when my mind worries and races, I'll repeat the sweet cycle again.
Amen.




Apr 25, 2016

Lasagna with Spinach


Audra Elizabeth shared another recipe with me. She is following the Trim Healthy Mama plan and this recipe is from their cookbook.  The Trim Healthy Mama's call it Lazy Lasagna! Lasagna does not seem lazy to me… I  made a few changes to the recipe, as noted by the asterisks.




FEEDS 6 TO 8 (HALVE INGREDIENTS IF YOUR FAMILY IS SMALLER)
  • 2 pounds ground meat (beef and venison work well) *I used beef
  • 2 (12-ounce) jars no-sugar-added pizza or spaghetti sauce (see Note)
  • 1½ tablespoons dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon Mineral Salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 to 2 doonks Pure Stevia Extract (optional) *I did not use
  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 (8-ounce) package 1/3 less fat cream cheese *Used regular cream cheese
  • 1 (14-ounce) container 1% cottage cheese *Used 4%
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 (8-ounce) piece part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (for sprinkling over top; green can is fine)
PEARL SAYS: I've made plenty of zucchini and eggplant lasagnas in the last few years, but they call for cutting the veggies into thin layers as faux noodles, and sometimes also require pre-cooking the veggies. I'm so over that. These days my life is way too busy for those extra steps; I need ultra-easy meals, so I thought about spinach. It's super cheap when you buy it in frozen bricks, it doesn't require cutting— hmmm—couldn't that work as a lasagna noodle layer? My children are not the hugest spinach fans, but they scarf this down and tell me it is the best lasagna ever! This is my go-to lasagna now; I've ditched all the others.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Brown the meat in a large skillet over high heat, then drain off any excess fat if necessary. Add the sauce and seasonings, and simmer over low heat for several minutes.
  3. Put the spinach in a colander and squeeze and push to get all the liquid out.
  4. Put the cream cheese, cottage cheese, and eggs in a food processor and process until smooth.
  5. Layer half the meat sauce in the bottom of a 9 × 13-inch baking dish. Top with half the cheese mixture, then layer on half the spinach. Follow with half the grated mozzarella. Repeat the layers, ending with the mozzarella. Top with a good sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Bake for 40 minutes or until bubbly.
Reprinted from the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook. Copyright © 2015 by Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison. Published by Harmony Books, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.

Apr 22, 2016

Honors Chapel and NPR


On Monday I attended Honors Convocation with our youngest daughter, Victoria Leigh.  She won the women's history club award!



Victoria was voted by the faculty to one of two student presenters for chapel next year! She will write and present a lecture in 2017!!! We are so proud of her!




 We went out for a celebratory bagel for lunch. And when I returned to the table, I see a large microphone in front of Victoria and she is being interviewed about politics and the presidential election by a guy named Steve, who turns out to be one of the hosts of the most listened to news radio program in America, "The Morning Edition" on NPR.








 Little did he know the hours she spends weekly reading and researching these topics! Along with her heart of compassion for people, and her ability to effectively communicate, she gave intelligent, thoughtful responses and he was at the table about 30 minutes conversing (mostly with her). Victoria had some great things to say, just off the cuff:


"...I'm aware of my privilege as a white woman and I think it would be remiss of me not to use my privilege to help other people…"


As I sat and listened, I thought that the honor bestowed on her of being a student lecturer in chapel next year is going to go so well for her!

 ‪#‎VictoriasVoice‬ ‪#‎NPR‬‪#‎speaker‬ ‪#‎communicator‬ ‪#‎politics‬ ‪#‎GoodThoughtsToShare‬ ‪#‎ABrightFuture‬‪#‎FunAdventure‬ ‪#‎LunchPlusOhARadioShow‬



Apr 20, 2016

A Ship, A Friend

As I walked back to our home this evening, I thought about the meaning of friendship. What does friendship mean to me? What is the meaning of friendship in general?  As my thoughts meandered on the evening stroll, without the quick access to Merriam Webster, I came up with the Lora definition of friendship:

What ever ship you are in, they (the friend) are there.

And I think I will stick with my definition because it has been so true in my life.  Today was one of those days that I just needed a friend.

This afternoon my friend Vicky called at a pivotal time in the events of today, and I poured out my heart to her about a current situation and she listened.  Not long after we hung up, she called back and spoke Truth over me and spoke Hope over me and spoke Life and God's will over me.

Boy, did I ever feel better.

Had the situation changed? No. But, my ship was no longer sinking. She had assessed the damage to my vessel and came back with her toolbox, overalls and got to work. Now, she did not show up at my house and do these things; but in the realm of friendship, she repaired the leaks in my sinking ship.

Do you ever get so discouraged about a situation?

Maybe your ship has been floating on the situation waters for a long time.
Maybe your ship is battered from the rain and storms.
Maybe your ship is running low on fuel to continue on the journey.
Maybe your ship feels like you have no crew and are the only one aboard.
Maybe your ship is low on supplies and no land is in sight.
Maybe the sails of your ship are tattered from the strong winds that have blown.
Maybe the finish is worn off your ship from the waves that have consistently beaten against you.
Maybe your ship is not the newest, latest model.
Maybe your ship seems to have no anchor.
Maybe your ships rudder is needing repair.

I don't know where you are. But, this I know, sometimes, my situations, struggles and problems can carry me away like a vessel headed toward a Bermuda triangle. When life happens, and oh, does it ever happen… I tend to focus on the situations, struggles and problems. And there I can so easily go, sailing in the wrong ship in the wrong direction with the wrong thoughts, the wrong focus, getting way off course.

I thank the good LORD for always being there for me. I thank HIM for HIS Word that always counsels me correctly. I thank the HOLY SPIRIT for sticking closer to me than a brother. I thank HIM that HE sends friends to love us, to encourage us, to speak life and truth, God's will and hope over us.  Friendship can take over the wheel of a vessel headed in the wrong direction and turn the ship back to the Captain.

When my situations cause me on a precipice to dangle,
Thank GOD, HE delivers from the Bermuda triangle!
He sends compassionate, caring, Godly friends,
Who help turn us from shipwreck and dead ends!

LORD, I thank you for the gift of friendship -
That through it ministry flows and problems are nipped.
Through the high waters and the storms,
You send people to encourage and warn.

When we feel lost, or even alone, at sea,
You send a friend to encourage and rescue me.
Thank YOU LORD for friends,
That can re-direct us when we are at our end.
Amen.


The Lion, The Lamp Light, The Friend.
Me and my friend Vicky, at the Biltmore Estate this month.

Apr 18, 2016

Mother's Strawberry Pie





This is my mother's delicious recipe.

3/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons corn starch
1 1/2 cups water
3 oz. strawberry gelatin
1 quart fresh strawberries
1 baked pie shell, 9"
1 9 oz. carton whipped topping

1. Bring sugar, cornstarch and water to a boil. Boil until clear in color. Remove from heat and add gelatin. Stir to dissolve. Let cool.

2. Place strawberries in baked pie shell and pour gelatin mixture over them. Chill.

3. Before serving top each slice with whipped topping.

For variety, use:

Fresh sliced peached and peach gelatin, or
Fresh blueberries and black raspberry gelatin or black cherry gelatin.

Enjoy!

I had extra berries this last week and also put phyllo dough into muffin pans and put berries and the gelatin mixture in each tin for a tasty tiny treat as pictured above.

Apr 15, 2016

Biltmore Estate

I had the pleasure of spending a day at Biltmore Estate this last week with two of my friends………. The beauty……. The grandeur………. The glory of the LORD………

I have many pictures to share. I am not ashamed of all the lamp lights I photographed. I am drawn to them. I am drawn to HIM!

I won't comment on every picture; but I did hear the LORD speak to me through what I saw a couple times, so I will share that and of course, I'll comment on the lamp lights!

The Lion statue was my favorite! In this picture, the lamplight looks like it is a crown on the lion's head! 

The lamplight is beautiful. I am under The Lamp Light.

We did the audio tour and I would recommend it to anyone going! This is my new friend, Stephanie. She is a sweetheart.

And this is my dear friend, and mentor, Vicky. I've shared about her before. She is an amazing woman of God. And, she is a lot of fun, too! And has great hair.

This was the first lamp light I saw when we arrived to get our season passes….. I knew it was going to be a good day!

We had lunch at the stable:

Stephanie bought this fabulous dessert sampler and shared with us! Beautiful and delicious!

This was our table at the stable.


Then we headed into the house, and it was glorious! The Entrance Hall:


The glass roof in the Winter Garden:

The Billiard Room:

The Banquet Hall:

The Breakfast Room:



They were hosting a display of wedding gowns in films, so we saw many romantic gowns. This one is from Sense and Sensibility:

The artwork, oh my, I loved the artwork. Notice Renoir's Child with an Orange:

Sense and Sensibility:












 Tapestry Gallery:

Portrait of Edith Vanderbilt:


John Singer Sargent is one of my favorite artists. He did both these portraits:


Looking up in the library...



The Chariot of Aurora by Pellegrini:





Splendid...

Another John Singer Sargent:

Gowns from Pride and Prejudice:


Second floor living hall:


This picture does not do this lamp light justice...



And yet another John Singer Sargent:

Out of Africa gown:


John Singer Sargent:

The Oak Sitting Room:

Mrs. Vanderbilt's bedroom:

I was drawn to the desks as well. Such beauty.

One of my favorite lamp lights and reflections.


Another desk by the lamp light.



Love this.

The majesty:

A firm foundation:

Do you have a narrow view? Look how narrow this window is!

Bowling alley:

Are you keeping score?

Recreational areas:


I love the Italian tiles:



Modern day gym:


Kitchen:


Smoking room:



Banquet hall:

The lovely doors:

Shopping on the grounds:



Brick paved pathways:


A beautiful view:

So much about this picture that I love:



The Lion, The Lamp, The Friend:



Joy in creation:



Lamp light love:

Vicky tiptoeing through the tulips:

The most colorful begonia:

HIS light is breaking through!

I loved the look of this place setting:

Natural beauty:

Tulips, shadows, brick
HIS splendor was evident, thick.



YOU, LORD are my strong tower!


I'm looking forward to going again soon! Have you been to the Biltmore? What was your favorite?