Blogging in My Head

My last post here was in February.  But I’ve posted lots of blogs since then…in my head.  They’ve been really good, captivating, thought-provoking. Some of them are controversial.  Some are funny.  In my head!   

Trouble is, it seems these “best” blog posts occur when I’m:

–  at work  – doing laundry  – in the middle of the night  – driving  – etc.

By the time I’m logged on here, the “anointing” I felt for a particular message seems to have vanished.  I decided I’m not going to let that stop me tonight, though, so, for your perusal is a cross-section of random Serious Whimsey from my head:

* I’m writing a cookbook.

* I changed my hair color (see photo in About Me, which page is also about to be updated since I am now an official Empty Nester. )

* I just spent over a week being very sick – lost seven pounds in three days.  At one point, I was so weak it took all my strength to send a text to my son, asking for Ginger Ale.  No lie.

* God is teaching me to take my thoughts captive.  (Occured to me just now that maybe I need to apply this to my blogging as well.)

* Just finished reading an incredible set of books – the Refiner’s Fire series by Lynn Austin – historical novels set in the Civil War era.  I am considering doing a review on them.  I just can’t stop thinking about them…such has been their impact on me.

* I want a vegetable garden this year.

* My iris’ are up.  My lillies are up.  My bleeding heart is bushing out.  Even my peonies are sprouting.     

* I am seriously considering starting another (separate) blog for mothers of boys.

* Our nation needs to turn back to God.  It is critically evident that we were not brought into existence to operate successfully apart from Christ.   

*  Am I ready for Jesus’ return?

I told you it was random.   

 

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Fresh Bread

 

That’s it!  I keep hearing so much lately about homemade bread…I’m breaking out my stainless steel bread bowl…the one that’s all pock marked with dents from marbles being whirled around in it back in the ’80s. 

 

Is there a better fragrance in a home in the fall? 

 

 

I love the feel of working with the dough…kneading by hand…

 

 

 …gently coaxing wonderful ingredients in, like honey, wheat bran, oat bran, wheat germ…

 

 

…and making a simple meal of it while it’s warm and fresh.  A  little butter…generous swirls of Apple Butter… 

 

  Thank You, Lord.

 

~~~~

Memorial Day Birthday

 

      For most of my married life, my birthday has been lost in the shuffle of Memorial Day weekend.  Time and again it got overlooked because we were out of town or busy with other activities.  So my birthday has become basically a non-event.  Not that we didn’t acknowledge it, it’s just that it was never much of a celebration. 

 

         About this time last year, I was with my sister reminiscing about the simple two-layer cakes our mother used to make for us eight siblings on our birthdays.  “It has been so many years since I’ve had a ‘real’ birthday cake,” I told her.  I couldn’t even remember the last time.

 
     As we chatted, I got excited.  I got bold.  I decided I was done ignoring my birthday.  I determined that I wanted to have an old fashioned two-layer birthday cake once again. 

 

     My heart’s desire was to celebrate with my siblings but we live 4 1/2 hours apart and that didn’t work.  So, after my birthday, one sister emailed asking whether or not I got my cake wish.  I wrote back:

 

Dear Sis, 

 

      Yes, I got my two-layer cake.  I made it myself.  I used a Duncan Hines yellow cake mix.  Not quite as homemade as I’d originally envisioned, but both layers baked fine. 

 

       For the filling, I chose Smucker’s Seedless Raspberry Jam and Orange Marmalade.  I planned to put one flavor on each layer and then put the two together.  Then frost the whole cake with orange whipped cream, and beautifully display my masterpiece on Mom’s vintage cake stand.

 
      As I worked, trying to get the right flavor mixture for the whipped cream topping, I pinched a bit of the cake out of the center of one layer to taste with the frosting and fillings.  I did that three or four times while trying to get the orange flavor just perfect.

 
      I placed the bottom layer on the cake stand and applied the Raspberry Jam.  Then I picked up the top half on which I’d spread the marmalade, but it stuck to the waxed paper I’d set it on.  With fingers spread wide, I attempted to balance the whole layer with one hand while peeling the paper off with the other.  However, because it was weak in the center from my taste tests, it broke in two.  One half plopped on the counter.  The other was still in my hand, stuck to the waxed paper. 

 

         “Well, no problem,” I thought.  “I’ll just put the two pieces up there and cover it with whipped cream; the break won’t even show.”   I picked up one half and positioned it on top of the bottom layer. 

 

       Now, as you know, a nice two layer cake is mounded highest in the center.  And mine happened to be a nice cake.  So before I could get the second half off the wax paper and on the top, the first half started moving.  The jam and marmalade fillings made perfect conditions for an avalanche.  With great glee, that first half started down the slope and was picking up speed.  I ran to the cupboard for toothpicks. 

 
      I finally got them to stay put.  But even impaled with all that wood, those two pieces would not stay together.  There was definitely a Grand Canyon divide down the center.  Jam and marmalade oozed out the sides and down the cake, puddling around the edges of the cake stand. 

 

       I got out my specially-formulated Orange Whipped Cream and tried to camouflage the whole mess with the creamy topping.  Have you ever tried putting whipped cream on a porcupine?

 

       My original idea was for a nostalgic “like-Mom-made-when-we-were-kids” birthday cake – the kind with a simple buttercream frosting.  The whole problem occurred when I decided to embellish.  I have learned my lesson.  No more fancy, schmancy two-layer cakes for me. ”

 

       Love, Your Older Sis

 

      Well, here it is, a year later, and  Memorial Day Weekend to boot.  Wouldn’t you know, we’ll be traveling.  Again.  On my birthday.  Which is the 28th.

 

     I still want an old-fashioned two-layer birthday cake like mom used to make.  Still looks like I’m going to have to make it for myself, too.  Wish me luck.

 

~~~~

Friday Feature

 

I am an explorer.  I love discovering new places in the blogging world.  Once in a while, I come across a treasure which absolutely compels me share it: 

 

 Meet Heart to Heart   The first time I read this Midwest Farmer’s writing, he had me laughing out loud, and wanting to send Christmas cards to a pig. 

 

DM is also a general contractor – a manly man – who happens to have the eye of an artist, a tender heart, a riotous sense of humor, and an adorable wife who looks so young you’d never dream they’ve been married thirty years – unless they took their vows when she was, like, six.

 

I came across this blog while I was surfing WordPress, and happened upon an hilarious post about a girl pig named Winston, (named after Churchill), who has her own Facebook:  Yes Kristina, Pigs Really Do Smile   That’s on DM’s other blog, “I Also Live on a Farm.”   I swear, I was captivated. 

 

 DM and his wife have apple orchards, a Bed & Breakfast…  Oh, and he’s on a search for the perfect Cinnamon Roll recipe: In Search of The Perfect Cinnamon Roll 

 

                  Please welcome my first Friday Feature  blogger!

Avoiding the Flu – A Very Casual Chicken Soup Recipe

 

Hero was out of town on business most of the week, so naturally I was glad when I received his call yesterday afternoon telling me he was on his way home.  Yippee!  I thought.   I’ll see him in four or five hours. 

 

Sure enough, I was in the kitchen, dutifully preparing healthy slash hearty comfort food for supper when I heard the front door open.  My hands were gooey with Italian sausage, so I didn’t immediately rush to meet Hero. 

 

While I hastily washed my hands, I listened to hear him call out a greeting.  But there was none.  I wiped my hands, straightened my apron, and touched my hair, a la Lucy Ricardo, (okay – I do wear aprons but, forget the hair primping), and headed for our room where I knew he’d be setting down his suitcase.  I only got halfway through the living room before Hero appeared in the doorway looking pasty white, and holding out one hand at arms length. 

 

“You don’t want to come any closer,”  He groaned.  “I am really sick.” 

 

The poor dear.  He hadn’t wanted me to worry so he didn’t tell me on the phone.  Guess his long drive was pretty miserable.  He changed into sweats, claimed the nearest sofa and pulled a blanket up close. 

 

Nausea, chills, fever, all-over aching.  It’s that season, folks.  But just because one family member gets sick, doesn’t mean we all have to.  A few simple steps can go a long way toward staying healthy.  Here’s what generally works for us: 

 

1.)  Eat healthy.  Duh.  I know.  But I’ve been amazed to discover how many people don’t yet realize that sugar compromises the immune system.  Is it any wonder that colds and flu seem to follow Halloween?  When we’re fighting anything in this household, the first thing to monitor is our sugar intake. 

 

 But living a lifestyle of healthy eating goes a long way toward prevention.  (You don’t want to read my two posts, on “Candy Corn and Peanuts.”)  Concerning sugar, you might want to take a look at this:

 

http://www.mercola.com/article/sugar/dangers_of_sugar.htm        

 

2.)  Stay hydrated.  Drink plenty of water.

 

3.) Get enough sleep.

 

4.) Keep short accounts with God and people.  Anger, stress, worry, criticism, unforgiveness, bitterness, etc. can wreak havoc on our immune systems. 

 

5.) Nurture gratitude.  To program your thinking in that direction, start making a daily list of things to be thankful for.  It really helps. 

 

6.) Find things to laugh about.

 

7.) Chicken soup really does have therapeutic value.  For a quick and easy recipe:  Get a rotisserie chicken from Wal-mart, or wherever.  While it’s still warm, remove the meat from the bones.  Discard the skin.  Set meat aside.  Simmer chicken bones in 4 – 6 cups of water for about 1 1/2 hours.  While it’s simmering, cube the chicken meat.  Peel and shred a couple carrots; chop a little onion, cut up some celery, and maybe one clove of garlic.  When simmering is complete, pour broth through sieve into another container.  Don’t pour your broth down the drain!   Discard bones.  Add chopped veggies to broth and bring to gentle boil just until they begin to soften.  Add a handful or so of egg noodles, or a little rice and cook until noodles are done.  (Note:  Noodles absorb lots of the broth so sometimes I cook them separately in water flavored with Watkins Chicken Soup base.)  Add salt, black pepper, and/or a bit of poultry seasoning according to your taste.  Add cubed chicken last.          

 

And now a few disclaimers:   

 

a.)  Hero did not pig-out at/after Halloween.

                                                 

b.)  I am not a doctor.

                                                 

c.) I know none of this is new information.