May 30, 2016

Swiss Chocolate Cake



Victoria jets home today from her month in Italy and I'm so excited to see her and hear all about her trip! Today I am posting the cake we made for her birthday back in November. For the last few years,  she has requested a Swiss Chocolate Cake.  We discovered the recipe from Melissa Moore's posting on Beth Moore's blog while we were doing a summer Bible study years ago.


SWISS CHOCOLATE CAKE

For the cake:
Swiss Chocolate Cake Mix
1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1 cup vegetable oil

Mix the cake mix with pudding and eggs; add milk and oil. Bake in 3 round cake pans at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  Cool layers thoroughly before icing.  (I take a bread knife and split the layers to make 6 thin layers; but you can do a 3 layer cake)

For the Icing:
8 oz cream cheese softened
1 cup powdered sugar
12 oz. carton cool whip topping, thawed
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
2 regular size Hershey bars, grated - save some for garnishing

Cream sugar and cream cheese together until smooth.  Add cool whip, pecans and Hershey bars. Spread icing between each layer and on top only.  Garnish with grated Hershey bars.  Chill until you are ready to serve.

Notes:  We ice the whole cake!  It is pretty and tasty either way. And sometimes we garnish with more Hershey's bars as noted in the different pictures!


Pictures from Victoria's 21st birthday!

Enjoy!

May 28, 2016

Memorial Day


Thank you Rick for giving your life for our country. Thank you to all the others who gave their lives in service to our country.









 Thank you Cindy for loving and serving Rick well. I love you so much. I salute you, too.









We remember this Memorial Day.  And thank you.


May 25, 2016

Treasure

When The Salesman asked me to take a spur-of-the-moment trip this week, I searched my drafts and found this treasure to share.  May the word "Treasure" minister to you as it ministered to me when this was written in January 2015.  I was thinking of and praying for a particular friend when I wrote this piece, and how fitting it is for another friend, this current day.  The enemy is up to nothing new. And the Word brings life. Hallelujah!





"G - a -  r -  b -  a -  g -  e"

The word is carefully strung on the bow and the fingers of evil pull back the arrow and send it twirling toward its intended, specific target: the heart, the soul, the very core of her being, her belief system and rips the tattered barrier with such force as it again pierces the bulls eye.

There was a time, long ago now, that the word would have made her cry out in wails and shrieks; but, those days are gone.  The word can not deflate her beyond flat and lifeless.  The litter of her soul is like a battlefield of wounded waiting for a nurse. So fierce is the battle. So many are injured. Stretcher upon stretcher, wounded and weary.

Then another word came floating by. She'd grown numb at the sound of words. So much destruction had already been delivered. But this word had been kindly and truly and carefully knitted together by fingers of love and stitched with such intention that it reverberated:

"T r e a s u r e"

"T r e a s u r e"

Did you hear that? She turns her head immediately to the side, not even willing to believe that this word is intended for her.  The target of her being has been ripped wide open by the arrows of the evil one and, in a battle she no longer fights, she shields no attacks from her core. Can the mangled target even be made out to anyone now? She believes that she is the target and just as the opposition begins to start the victory party, she recalls the gentle word she heard:

"T r e a s u r e"

"If only you could see yourself from My perspective," and then the word so foreign to her ears, floats by again:

"Treasure"

The Nurse has arrived.  Help, healing, Truth. And like water to the weary soul, she drinks in the word to her being, to her now ripped open and exposed core:

"Treasure."


Lord,
You see me
For who YOU intended me to be,
Not the left-for-dead
In the enemy's stead.
Darkness, evil - it painted a target on me
Your loving Word and words set me free.
You heal -
It is Your will -
You heal.
Your Word speaks balm.
Your Spirit brings calm.
Your Son takes His hand in mine.
You, God, are divine.
You tend to the wounded on the battlefield
You are my hope, my life source, my shield.
You tend to the wounded on the battlefield.
Amen. And amen.


May 23, 2016

Oreo Truffles



We were introduced to Oreo Truffles several years ago at a family gathering.  Since we discovered them, they appear quite often in our home.  This recipe is simple and delicious!

Oreo Truffles

1 Package  Oreo Cookies 
1 8 ounce Block of Cream Cheese, Softened
White Chocolate Almond Bark, Melted
Milk Chocolate Almond Bark, Melted

Crush a package of Oreo cookies in the blender or food processor until smooth. (about 8-10 cookies at a time) Once they are all crushed, place crumbs into a mixer and and add one package of softened cream cheese. Mix until well blended (when no white is seen from the cream cheese).  

Roll into small balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Freeze for 30 minutes.  Remove from the freezer and use a toothpick to dip the balls into the melted white chocolate almond bark and place on wax paper until the chocolate sets.  Put the melted milk chocolate into a small baggie and snip off a very small corner and drizzle over the truffles.  

A note:  dip them in the white chocolate bark one time and let it get hard and dip them again so they are nice and pretty. 

Enjoy!

The truffles pictured are ones made and decorated by Victoria Leigh for one of Audra's bridal showers. 



May 21, 2016

A Holy Experience, Ann Voskamp


One of the first blogs my sister-in-love shared with me (way back when we stepped into the world of blogging) was A Holy Experience written by Ann Voskamp.

She has written the popular One Thousand Gifts and this post shares about her book.

Visit her blog and enjoy!

Happy weekend, friends!

May 18, 2016

His Gifts were Varied

The last few weeks I have been replacing plants that did not make it through the winter.  I have enjoyed going to the local nurseries and looking at the variety of flowers and plants and trees they offer.

Can you imagine walking into a nursery and all the plants being the same??? For instance:

All red geraniums.
All yellow mums.
All hydrangeas.
All daffodils.
All lilacs.
All tulips.

As much as I like these plants, I can't imagine every plant on all fours sides of our home being the same.  

I want different plants for the sunny spot near my front door, than the mostly shaded courtyard doors.  And various plants do better in different locations.  I am thankful for variety.


This magnolia tree blossoms in May at our home:


The following pictures are some of the variety of flowers and plants we saw in Uganda last summer:









These are some of my favorite flowers, gardenias.  They did not survive the winter though, and were one of the reasons I was out looking for flowers and plants and trees.


When I read Ephesians 4:11 in the Amplified version, the word VARIED stood out to me:

"And [His gifts to the church were varied and] He Himself appointed some as apostles [special messengers, representatives], some as prophets [who speak a new message from God to the people], some as evangelists [who spread the good news of salvation], and some as pastors and teachers [to shepherd and guide and instruct],"


So, of course, I had to look up the definition of varied:

consisting of many things

assorted

diverse

I know there are many wonderful teaching on spiritual gifts and I even thought about sharing some notes with you that I'd taken back in 2012 from a wonderful class at our church. Today though, I am thankful for the varied gifts that GOD gives. I am thankful that we are not all cookie cutter Christians. I am thankful that we look and operate differently than others. I appreciate the variety.  I am thankful that we don't all look or sound alike. I am thankful for the encouragement and enjoyment and function the diversity brings.

Just like I could not imagine going to a nursery and seeing identical plants, could you imagining opening the doors of the church and seeing all one variety?

All pastors.
All prophets.
All evangelists.
All apostles.
All teachers.
All elders.
All deacons.

I am thankful for the diversity of the gifts and the unity of the Spirt.

Sometimes I think that what the LORD asks me to do or say may look different that what I see someone else doing or saying. I am thankful that we have different giftings.  I can certainly appreciate the giftings of other believers and thank Our Father for HIS goodness to us in the variety HE gives!

Thank YOU LORD for variety,
For how YOU'VE gifted Christian friends and me.
YOUR gifts LORD make a beautiful bouquet,
Thank YOU for YOUR diverse ways!
LORD, help us as we minister in our gifts,
Of sin and self and pride, please sift,
So that what comes out or through
Is a reflection of YOU.
Amen.


May 16, 2016

For the love of salad




Lately, a salad has been my meal of choice.  Since it is not always The Salesman's meal of choice, I keep all my salad favorites on hand to add to any meal that I prepare.  Salads are quick and easy to make, in my opinion.  Today we have the option of prepared salad mixes at the grocery stores and so may options to add to make them tasty and delicious.

Here is my current favorite salad:

There are no measurements, just get your favorite bowl out and layer in the goodness:

Fresh baby spinach or any mix of salad greens
Egg, boiled, peeled and chopped
Pine nuts
Fresh crumbled bacon
Fresh parmesan cheese
Little tomatoes, cut in half or fourths
Italian dressing
Ranch dressing

Yum!

What is your favorite salad?

May 14, 2016

Link Love - Boo Mama

Happy Saturday, friends!

Last week I shared Big Mama's blog with you and this week, I want to share Boo Mama's blog with you!  I met Sophie Hudson, through my BFF, Beth Moore's blog, years ago.  I have met Sophie in person and she is as sweet as a sugar lump.

Sophie is known as Boo Mama and is a great conversationalist and writer.  Her third book, Giddy Up, Eunice comes out on the 17th.  Here is her Post that tells how she got her nickname.

Enjoy BooMama's blog. And have a wonder filled weekend.


May 11, 2016

Mother's Day Celebration Surprise Outing

All my darlin' daughter and son-in-law told me was to be dressed to go to lunch and that we would leave at 8:30 am Saturday morning. I had no clue where we were going. And believe me, I tried to find out; but no one would tell me!

I delayed our start time by a half an hour at least, because I needed to get Victoria Leigh's passport out of the safe deposit box… Yes, she was leaving for Italy and the only thing she had asked me to do was get her passport for her…and I forgot. Thankfully, I was able to get it as soon as the bank opened, and we were on our way.

Me and our oldest gift, Audra Elizabeth.

Our first stop was in Lebanon, Tennessee at Watermelon Moon Farms.  Audra and Matthew had stayed at the B&B that is there before.  I remembered how much she enjoyed staying and had actually guessed that this was where we were going.  It was lovely!

An inviting side porch.


 They had strawberry punch and appetizers on the front porch.

 Audra, her husband, Matthew and his mother.

 Are they not the cutest couple ever?!? They planned our outing 3 months ago!!!

Me and Debbie on the front porch.

My place at the table.

The lodger's room.

I love sticks…was so tickled that this was my view to the right of the table.

And this was my lovely view to the left of the front doorway.

Lunch
They served a strawberry pretzel salad that made me think of my dear mama, because she made the same salad. My dear mama went to live with Jesus in July, 1989.

Dessert...

They sent our vases home with us and mine fit perfectly in my door cup holder!

Then we headed to downtown Franklin for some shopping! I love the architecture and historical buildings in Franklin. It was a pleasant day weather-wise and we enjoyed strolling from store to store.

More sticks...

The light fixtures were so pretty!

I really liked this skirt; but my daughter said ~ no!

More lamp lights and sticks.

Audra sporting her new lace jacket.

I found a really cute handbag.

I think this moss is so pretty.

More shopping...

Vintage dishes that caught my eye.

Matthew and Debbie with pretzel necklaces!

Lamp lights...

Our youngest sent me a picture of us together.  This was the first Mother's Day in 21 years that we have not been together; but I am thrilled that she has the opportunity to study in Italy this month. I miss her. She face-timed us at 5 am this morning - what a treat!

Family picture at church on Sunday, minus Victoria Leigh.

Victoria had left homemade love on my desk. I hung the LOVE banner at my kitchen windows near the sink. I so enjoy homemade gifts.

Between the adventurous outing and the desk full of gifts, I felt totally blessed. I hope you had a Happy Mother's Day too!  What did you do to celebrate Mother's Day?