Two Celebrations in One

In Honor to our Megan, Salutatorian, 2014 High School Graduating Class

In 1st grade, Dunham has a tradition to make a time capsule that your parents hold in safe keeping until the weekend of your graduation. You are allowed to choose what goes into the time capsule, for example, stories you wrote, pictures of special memories, old school t-shirts, strings that measured your height in your 1st grade year, journal entries, etc. After the Baccalaureate every student that was there in first grade takes their boxes and opens them up while family watches. It is such a fun time, the students reminisce together about 1st grade memories while families share in the experience/teary for moms.

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Happy 18th Birthday Megan!!

Tres Leches (Milk Cake)-Megan’s Favorite Birthday Cake
Servings: 24
“This light and fluffy tres leches cake recipe uses four types of milk and is topped with whipped cream, making it extra moist and delicious.”
INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour/cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
5 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed
milk
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
DIRECTIONS:
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9×13 inch baking pan.
2.Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside. (A fun way to cheat on sifting is to whisk ingredients.)
3.Cream butter or margarine and the 1 cup sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; beat well.
4.Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tablespoons at a time; mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.
5.Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Pierce cake several times with a fork.
6.Combine the whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together. Pour over the top of the cooled cake.
7.(I do whipped cream topping day of…Don’t forget to chill bowl and mixing whisk.) Whip whipping cream, the remaining 1 cup of the sugar, and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla together until thick. Spread over the top of cake. Be sure and keep cake refrigerated, enjoy!

 

Meg’s Birthday Cake

Tracey’s Favorite Recipe Website

 

“Every Year, It’s The Same Thing”

Cat Dressed Up Like Reindeer

While our kitty friend has capped the subject of Reindeer. . .

My Aunt Gay made reindeer cookies every Christmas. I would go to visit through their back door. It was always open if they were home 🙂 Just like their family is and was to me. I considered it and still do my second home. (tears)  My cousins were more like my siblings growing up because I did not have any siblings at home. How many of us are blessed to have one home even, not two with that you are always welcome here with open arms place to secure our heart?

So, in the spirit of Aunt Gay’s open house for me,

I offer and celebrate these no stress cuties!

1. Just buy sugar cookie dough. Cut plain pretzel twists to make antlers.

2. Assemble your semi-sweet chocolate chips and we use red mms.

3. Slice sugar cookie dough and tuck antlers in, eyes and nose pressed slightly.

4. Use fingers to pinch in lower third for face shape.

5. Bake to sugar cookie directions. Bee careful to remove from oven before cookies brown 🙂

Great family fun with little kids or big kids!

To honor in memory of my Aunt, we’ll just call them,

“Aunt Gay’s Reindeer Cookies`”

Would be a great tradition to start leaving these cuties out for Santa Claus!

Reindeer CookiesThank You, Donna

My Birthday???

Bucky really wants me to write a birthday post, so here we go. I say we of course because my words cannot go anywhere without you, the reader. You breathe life into them with your eyes :}

Melba Smith Warren thought she had a virus, She was after all, 40 years old with two almost grown children: Toby was 16 years old and into football and Lucie was fourteen and into her poofy hair. My mother and father were shocked, as my mother put it, “that late blooming passion had created a third child.”

At a month “pre-mature,” my mother said I was like bathing a wet monkey with my “lanugo” still covering my little body. (Lovely image to give your baby girl 😉

I had two sets of “parents” with Toby and Lucie watching every other breath. No one knew the future would hold more need for them than their young hearts could fathom as my God-parents.

Photo from iPhone Album

Favorite birthday memories:
January 18, 1989
September 4, 1992
May 17, 1996
May 2, 2000
Our four dynamic, beautiful daughters 🙂

My fourth birthday. A party at home and I finally got the puppy for which I begged, more like nagged my mother into. . . .

A “surprise” sweet sixteen sleepover in which I was convinced my mother would embarrass me beyond redemption. “Cutie” Catherine will remember!

Sweet, sloppy kisses, knock me down hugs (Ashlyn!), large letters from hands not pencil ready (Hope), breakfast in bed (Megan) and fights to get her out of my arms (Kathleen/big sisters) are all soft water colors that make more mommy/daughter memories. (We won’t mention the memories of sick children and messy clean ups, tantrums or sleepless nights right moms :))

Recorded voice mails: The Computer could only “find” two of my four recorded gifts 😦 I’ll kept looking. . . for dear Hope (she’s the one that recorded them :)) and Megan

Ashlyn’s Young Girl Voice Memo:

Kathleen’s Toddler Voice Memo

Memories, labors of husband’s love:

50th Birthday:  Letters Porfolio of love: Beautiful Written Offerings in Relationships, I will forever cherish. “Thank you Lord, for penned expressions of love. I press into praise for the future etchings of them in you.” Amen

52nd Birthday: Dinner Celebration with a few family and friends. Spoken Offerings of Love. Life-giving freedom in the face of ALS limitations. “Thank you Lord, for the Glory you color into our family and friends gatherings in Your name. I press into praise that carry the spoken love forward for legacies that grow.” Amen

53rd Birthday: Family Steven Curtis Chapman Surprise/Jackson Mississippi 🙂 Thank you Hopie for making that happen!!! Day of. . . Blessings Extravagant in God’s Hands XO Sweeeet. Santa Claus made a surprise entrance, life-size, with my brother, Toby making an even bigger surprise visit from Auburn. :). Now, I have a happy Santa to bring in the Christmas Season. “Thank you Lord, for the fragrance of celebrated blessings of life. I press into praise that lifts it high, in pleasing aroma to and for You.” Amen

A Blush, Brush and Blessing. . .

This Post is dedicated to the up, close and personal servanthood my husband, Bucky, offers me each and every day and sometimes into the nights. . .I love you and am grateful in words that can never express my indebted devotion to you!!!

“But she got in my personal space.” “He got too close for com fort.” ” I had to keep backing away because I felt claustrophobic.”  This is a major DISCERNMENT place. Getting into someone’s personal space can be harmful, intrusive and frightening. So let’s take great care here as we inch forward with this concept. . .We all need privacy, of course. So we proceed with caution. . .

As the Body of Christ, we are meant to be up in each other’s lives. Christ, Humility and Calling must come first. But today, I want to talk about the redemptive/growth producing up in “my space” can produce with trust.

What is “appropriate” space is changing for me. My husband for example, he has to be up close, in my personal space for my physical and emotional security. Without our stance together, I will fall. His knees press against mine and it flows of grace. It gives life. Now. Before, my independence would have kept that kind of all day long contact at a distance. Honestly, it would have offended me. Interesting, isn’t it? A shift in my needs and what was always there in Bucky, has come forth to secure me. I often tell him, “I’m weaker today, come in closer as I stand?”  It gets messy and just one shift on my part, and I feel the fear of a fall. As with all of life, at times, our stands seem in perfect unison. Other times, we are struggling to get the balance solid. . .As my need shifts, those around me, some of them, are called to shift as well. . .

Do you allow your independence to keep intimacy at a distance?

I’ve noticed more cheeky contact :). It’s what people can get to “on me.” The wheel chair is a deterrent to contact. I hate that. . .A great part of my joy was an approach to someone, extending eye contact, my hands, or arms.  I am poised in more of a “waiting place” now. It’s a calling, but I resist it, every time. Everything in me wants to move toward the person. The desire is relentless. Grace, mercy and blessings come forth and people brush cheeks with me. What a loving gesture, that would not have been “as present” in the past and it comes with such ease, so often. And I receive it as God’s brush of blessing through the person with me. As my needs shift, those around me, some of them, are called to shift as well. . .

What brush of blessing are you called into?

I love our “inconsistent” tradition on Maudy Thursday of going out to eat, to commemorate The Last Supper of Jesus and His Disciples. (I am very aware and sensitive to what is experienced on “Good Friday,” Honor for His Sacrifice is my top priority. It’s not a holiday to me.) I always think of who I would want at “my table.” Well, this year our reservation numbers kept changing as teenagers kept changing plans on who, when and where. I lost count of how many times my husband called reservations to shift the numbers up or down. . .We got there and we were two chairs short because Hope had surprised us and driven in and her boyfriend, joined us too. We had family and friends, but it was a very tight fit. They offered us an adjoining table, but we were settled in and I am so glad we did not move. What a gift it was to be close. . .We were touching elbows, plates, silver ware. . .What a blessing that night was to be up close and personal. The round table allowed me to take in several conversations at once and catch facial expressions and subtle shifts in posture. I saw someone change seats to address a flushed face and tears, I saw disappointment cross a face to recover her grace, I felt my husband’s lean in affirmation of family communion, I saw corners of eyes curl before the laughter broke out in the memory of “that time,” I saw affections cross through bridges of understandings, I saw blush of emotions rise and fall, I saw taste satisfy hunger, I saw crumbs fall as bread was broken and I knew more of the blessing of living with the hour glass of time. As the needs of the moment called for, our whole table was called to shift closer, to fit our little Body of Christ around our table.

It feels like a tight fit, is it an opportunity for communion?

Needs call for a shift. Thank you Father, for the shift of your Hand in our lives. Amen

Luke 11: 5-13

5Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8“I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

      9“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10“For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. 11“Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 12“Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? 13“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

Image found:nccg.org

Image found:
nccg.org

Make a mess, leave crumbs during the breaking of bread at His Table. It’s His Life at it’s best. . .

Welcome:   Singapore and Macao Viewers. I hope you are blessed and encouraged 🙂

Melba’s Chili: Comfort Food

Chili with Dark Red Kidney Beans

Melba’s Chili
Ingredients:
2 # Lean Ground Meat (Laura’s 4%)
2 Cans Tomato Soup
2 Cans Dark Red Kidney Beans (better color to meal)
Optional: 1 Can Mild Rotel Tomatoes
Splenda Brown Sugar
2 Large Fresh Thickly Chopped Onion
1 Large Bunch Garlic, Chopped, Garlic
4 Baby Course Grated Carrots (my vitamin addition)
2 Bunch Green Onions
Sharp Cheddar Cheese
(Optional: Grated Romaine Lettuce)
Fritoes

Intructions:
Brown Meat and rinse any fat off. Drain
Put back in skillet with onion and garlic and sauté

Combine in Crock Pot: Tomato Soup, 1 Can water,
2 Tblsp. Splenda Brown Sugar
Grated Carrots
Meat, onion and garlic
2 Tablespoons Chili (to taste)
1 teaspoon Cumin (Sister Lu)
Optional: 1 can mild rotel tomatoes

Cooks on low 4 to 6 hours
Add Water as needed
Add 2 cans kidney beans
Cook until warmed through

Serve with your choice of. ..
More Chili Powder
Chopped Green Onions
Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Chopped Romaine Lettuce
Fritoes
Fresh Warm Cornbread (we use Jiffy and add creamed corn and sharp cheddar cheese)

Serve with love. I read a great tip for moms one time. It said, it you worked so hard on your meal that you could not serve it with a warm smile, you were better off serving pb&j for supper. Be present at the dinner table. We had a rule, no harsh words at the dinner table. If that occurred, they had to leave the table and ask to return after they had settled. (It worked pretty well, nothing is perfect! Sometimes, Mom and Dad forget the guidelines!) Make enough to share with a neighbor or a college student. We took some to Hope in med school this weekend.

Baked Brie

New Year's Eve Tradition with Sparkling Grape Jucie

New Year’s Eve Tradition with Sparkling Grape Jucie

This post is dedicated to my sister,Lucie,as she was the first person to introduce me to the wonderful, cheese Brie. .

Don’t you just love fun food that is easy and elegant?! Well, we have a family favorite and a tradition. We use this at many occasions with different toppings. . .

At Christmas or New Years Eve, we top it with homemade cranberries and serve with chilled sparkling grape juice at midnight (This year since I did not make it at Christmas, my husband and his friend called and drove all over town until they found fresh cranberries! I was a happy, happy girl hearing them pop on my stove. They are so pretty!)

Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Orange Juice
1 (12 ounce) bag fresh cranberries (I add fresh orange zest too)
1 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice or 1 cup water
Directions:
1 Mix all ingredients in a med sauce pan.
2 Bring to boil; simmer until berries pop.
3 Chill until ready to serve.
Read more at: http://www.food.com/recipe/cranberry-sauce-42609?oc=linkback

Baked Brie
Ingredients:
Brie Round (peel wax off)
Cresent Rolls
Egg
Cuter Shape

Instructions:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
1. Open Cresent Rolls and pinch seam to make a square
2. Place Brie Round in middle and fold rolls around it to completely cover it.
3. Use cookie cutter to cut seasonal shape, leaf, star, Christmas Tree, heart. . . And place shape on top.
4. Brush with beaten egg
5. Bake until browned nicely. . .about 15 to 20 minutes
6. If Brie cheese is not as soft as you would like, you can microwave for 30 to 60 seconds until it runs slightly.
7. Serve with your favorite crackers for cheese
Ideas for toppings, seedless raspberry jam, pineapple perserves, jezebel sauce, cranberry sauce.

This treat draws enthusiastic kids to the kitchen. They can smell it a mile away 🙂 Enjoy! twe

Happy New Year, 2013

This post is dedicated to my daughter Kathleen, as I watched her light and dance with a sparkler in her hand last night. Her movement toward maturity is so apparent. . .and to still see a moment of play in her gives me hope for all of us. We need to play, as adults. Thank you dear Kathleen, for the reminder 🙂

One of the ways our Lord lives in us in through play. As adults, play allows us to nurture the wonder we desperately need to connect with our Lord. The Kingdom Play in my life, well, it is one of the most significant life giving forces that keeps me engaged. My need for it was and is empowered in darkest of desperations and in the fullest of His love in my life.

I've eluded to it. . .Kingdom Play. . .and I am emotional today, so I'll need to leave it to be explored at depth later. But, I want to encourage you to play! Find ways that make Kingdom Investments that are fun for you. Things that bring you joy.

When was the last time you found yourself lit up like a sparkler? What ignites your life with His life? What makes you want to dance and leave traces of light as you draw letters of love into the night?

As I write, I'm listening to There's A Hero by Billy Gilman. "There's a fire inside of everybody. . .burning clear and bright. . ." That fire is Jesus Christ, and He is waiting to ignite your life this new year, 2013.

God holds a sparkler for each of you. . .How do you need the bright sparks of His life in yours?

twe