Friday, June 29, 2007

Family Reunions and Fine Art

Donna queried yesterday. "What tells you it's summer?"

While there are many things (like homegrown tomatoes) that say *Summertime* to me, the loudest one right now is *Family Reunion*. In two short weeks, we will gather for the 16th year in a row at Callaway Gardens. We had gathered annually for years (ten) at my parents' home until we outgrew their accomodations.

Futhermore, when I was a child, we gathered around the Fourth of July for a family reunion on my father's side because his father's birthday was July 2nd. This line of Jordans have been gathering in Cullman, Alabama for over fifty years. It's always the third Sunday in July

So, reuniting as a family is a deeply ingrained tradition.

Here's the first invitation to Cousins Week at Callaway (CWAC). The poem and illustrations were done by my mother.

Your Christmas gift for '91
Is lots and lots of summer fun.
To Callaway Gardens we will go
For sport and games and circus show.

All DanDan's clan plan to be there
And we'll build memories later to share.
Spouses, offspring, siblings, cousins together
We'll have a great time - no matter the weather.

So, when you're nestled all snug in your bed
And voices of sugar plums dance in your head,
Dream some dreams of Callaway and things we will do,
When we get together in August '92.

There is no more valuable investment than that of spending time and energy with and on your family. See more of our family at our webpage.

And I'll leave you with a quote from Kin Hubbard which pricks my conscience in an ironical way because I'd rather learn to get together peacefully than never get together in order to have peace.

There is plenty of peace in any home where the familiy doesnt make the mistake of trying to get together.

Does that make sense?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Alexis de Tocqueville

For some thoughtful, provocative thinking on this summertime Thursday, I want to bring to your attention some misinformation.

Here's a quote I copied from Caleb Hayden's blog. He was writing about Vision Forum's Quadracentennial Celebration at Jamestown and one of the speakers used it. It is a misquote. De Tocqueville never said this.

I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers — and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests — and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce — and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution — and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteous­ness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.

Here's a link to an article which explains the fraud.

Often we quote others and post verses. I always like to leave the reference. And so, in this case, I leave you with a real quote from Democracy in America, Book 2 Chpt 12, by Alexis de Tocqueville.

If I were what the singular prosperity and growing strength of that people (the Americans) ought mainly to be attributed, I should reply: To the superiority of their women.

If you don't own Democracy in America, look for it in Bartlett's Quotations under Tocqueville.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Art + Authors = Devotional

Today's Slice of Infinity essay by Betsy Child's entitled A Vivid and Separate Thing is particularly good.

I commend it to your attention.

It begins with chalk.

Each day I read a devotional from a different source, drawing on a variety of authors and sources. For example, Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, the One Year Book of Hymns, Oswald Chamber's My Utmost for His Highest, The Book of Common Prayer, Valley of Vision, Elisabeth Elliot, and Slice of Infinity by Ravi Zacharias's ministry.

Who are some of your favorite devotional writers?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Marriage Mondays

December 27, 2006

O God of love, Thou hast established marriage for the welfare and happiness of mankind. Thine was the plan, and only with Thee can we work it out with joy. Thou hast said, "It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a help meet for him." Now our joys are doubled since the happiness of one is the happiness of the other. Our burdens now are halved, for when we share them, we divide the load.

Bless this man. Bless him as provider of nourishment and raiment, and sustain him in all the exactions and pressures of his battle for bread. May his strength be her protection, his character her boast and her pride, and may he so live that she will find in him the haven for which the heart of a woman truly longs.

Bless this woman. Give her kindness that will make her great. Give her a deep sense of understanding and a great faith in Thee. Give her that inner beauty of soul that never fades, that is found in holding fast the things that never age.

Teach them that marriage is not living merely for each other; it is two uniting and joining hands to serve Thee. Give them a great spiritual purpose in life. May they seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and the other things shall be added unto them.

May they not expect that perfection of each other that belongs alone to Thee. May they help each other in their weaknesses, be swift to praise each other's points of comeliness and strength, and see each other through a lover's kind and patient eyes.

Now, Gracious Lord, bless them and develop their characters as they walk together. Give them enough tears to keep them tender, enough hurts to keep them humane, enough failure to keep their hands clenched tightly in Thine, and enough success to make them sure they walk with Thee.

May they never take each other's love for granted, but always experience that breathless wonder that exclaims, "Out of all this world you have chosen me!"

When life is done and the sun is setting, may they be found then, as now, hand in hand, still thanking God for each other. May they serve Thee happily, faithfully, together, until at last, one shall lay the other into the arms of God.

This we ask through Jesus Christ, great lover of our souls. Amen

What a great prayer for our marriages, as we celebrate others who have sons/daughters marrying this June/summer.

A few more photos are available at the photographer's blog.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sermon Recap

Having enjoyed a delicious Sunday dinner, I'm ready to review my sermon notes. The Scripture was read from Acts 15:1-31 and the title of the message: *What it means to be a presbyterian*. I'll modify that to *Church Government Primer* and list below the seven main points.

1) A church elects her own officers, as opposed to the King (or State) appointing such.

2) All elders are bishops. All bishops are elders. The original word is interchangeable and they have pariety of authority.

3) Local churches should have a plurality of elders. No one man shows are allowed. Within the US, three basic forms of church government exist: episcopalian (which includes the obvious as well as the Roman Catholic); congregational (which includes the obvious and baptists); and presbyterian or representative.

4) Ordination is an act of presbytery. One cannot self-appoint or unilaterally establish. To ordain is an official act of admitting one to church office. Here's a definition of presbytery.

5) Church members may appeal to presbytery. This is the precise topic of Acts 15.

6) Jesus Christ is THE ONLY head of the church. Therefore, all ministers, elders, deacons, preachers (whatever office) are His subordinates.

7) Representative (presbyterian with a small *p*) church government is the purest expression of ecclesiastical heirarchy taught in Scripture.

In conclusion, we were encouraged to read Fair Sunshine, a compilation of essays about Scottish Covenanters, who understood these points, and therefore, were willing to die for their faith. Finally, we were treated to a reading of a fine poem by Thomas Buchanan Read entitled the *Arising*.

Do you know what type of government is practiced in your denomination?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Historic Jamestown

I was there in 1971!!

It's been interesting to read about the Jamestown quadricentennial celebrations including but not limited to Vision Forum's week-long event. I followed the Queen's visit, read most of what Carmon wrote, just found the Shepherd family pictures, and took issue with one of C S Hayden's de Toqueville quotes.

But really what I'm doing here is making note of the facts that I 1)found this picture, 2)figured out how to scan it, and 3)posted it for all to see.

My! A lot has changed. Including me :)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Fifty Years Old

There may be lot of truth in the popular book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, but I’ve never read it.

 Now that I’m approaching the big Five-O, if I want to read it, I’ll need to order it in the Large Print Edition.

I think I’m afraid to read it because I already know I have trouble with *sharing*, a standard kindergarten lesson.

So, despite my advancing years, I may not be as mature as I think. Futhermore, I’ve discovered a new list by which to judge my abilities.

Check out this article in the AARP magazine.

 I can’t even believe that I’m admitting to reading this type of literature in the first place. Would you believe it came to the office? And that’s how I stumbled across it?

 Hah! Yeah, right!?

Nevertheless, run down this list and see how you fare.

Fifty Things You Need to Know by Fifty

1) How to have great s*x after 30 years of marriage.
2) How to forgive.
3) How to refrain from flirting.
4) How to know your abilities.
5) How to save money.
6) How to lose weight.
7) How to look like you’ve lost weight.
8) How to find the bathroom in five languages.
9) How to find your keys.
10) How to speak in public.
11) How to know your place in the world.
12) How to die.
13) How to fire someone.
14) How to sing in public.
15) How to give a compliment.
16) How to take a compliment.
17) How to ask for a date.
18) How to make an amazing dish.
19) How to give a gift.
20) How to play the lottery.
21) How to grieve.
22) How to get a law passed.
23) How to respond to a letter from the IRS.
24) How to deliver bad news.
25) How to choose a radio station.
26) How to rear teenagers.
27) How to travel without getting sick.
28) How to navigate the company picnic.
29) How to amuse grandchildren.
30) How to score an upgrade.
31) How to choose a good book.
32) How to talk.
33) How to save a life.
34) How to save the planet.
35) How to say *I'm Sorry.*
36) How to know how much is enough.
37) How to shoot a Skyhook.
38) How to surf the Web.
39) How to make peace with your parents
.40) How to take a fall.
41) How to rate pain on a scale of 1 - 10.
42) How to stay married.
43) How to make friends.
44) How to schedule a day off.
45) How to tell a joke.
46) How to stop smoking.
47) How to be afraid.
48) How to divide the heirlooms without a will.
49) How to have *The Driving Talk.*
50) How to say *No - thank you*.

Remember, fifty is young.....if you're a tree.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Portion Distortion

This post is nothing but a bookmark for myself. I have struggled to keep my weight in line ever since I was a teenager. I learned some good lessons early on and they continue to help me wage this battle.

Every now and then I have to regroup. So, this morning I took this quiz on portion control and calorie-counting. I guessed right on the calories all the time, but misjudged how much time it would take me to burn up those calories. Guess I need to review Covert Bailey's Fit or Fat.

Another source of irritation is the way foods are marketed: with pictures of larger than life portion sizes, which distort our perspectives.

Just remember....that morning bagel?

At least four servings (of bread/grain)!!

Dinner is the most difficult meal for me to keep in proportion.

What about you?

Monday, June 18, 2007


It all started with the gift of the zucchini in the picture.

And you cant really see the eggplant in the back.

But if you've never tasted this marvelous vegetable stew, I'm here to encourage you to prepare it this summer.

Whoops......out of time this morning.

I'll be back with recipes and commentary. Although you can read my Xanga entry.

Finished product!


And I'm not talking about the new movie!

Grilled Italian Sausage

for those meat-loving men around my dinnertable.

The Xanga link above contains my Father's Day Menu.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Ratatouille a la Ackart

1/2 cup olive oil
2 large onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium eggplant, cut in 1" cubes
2 green peppers, chopped
3 zucchini, cut in 1/2' slices

1 2-lb can whole Italian tomatoes, drained (reserve liquid)
*I used a combination of fresh and canned for my recipe
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp sugar (omitted)
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme

Assemble and prepare all ingredients.

In 6 qt casserole, heat oil and cook onion and garlic for 5 minutes.  Add eggplant and cook for 5 minutes. Add peppers and cook for 5 minutes.  Add zucchini and cook for 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes and seasonings, simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.  If vegetables look dry, add some tomato liquid.

Robert Ackart's Cooking in a Casserole recommends serving this vegetable stew with Italian sausages,  a tossed green salad and a red Bordeaux wine.  I think the meal screams for a baguette or two and perhaps a chocolate mousse as a finale.

BBQ Ribs

Last June I blogged about some of the things I have learned from my father (see June '06 archive). Today I am adding to the list by detailing his method of grilling baby back pork ribs: a summer holiday tradition.

Here he is getting ready the *secret* BBQ sauce. We have used a variety of concoctions over the years, usually some combination of a vinegar-based sauce and a tomato-based sauce.

Also, before hand the grill must be prepared. We have upgraded from the old-timey real charcoal bricks to a fancy gas grill. Either way, using heavy aluminum foil he creates trays which sit on top of the heat and below the grates. Not only does this contraption collect the drippings (which cause flames) but also it diffuses the heat (which promotes even cooking).

Once the grill is preheated to a medium low heat, he carefully places the racks on the grate.

Then he paints BBQ sauce on top of the ribs, generously applying with a mop-like brush. Note to self: find a picture of that!

Close the top of the grill and head for a comfortable chair.

Dont forget a book.

Here's a suggestion, Portrait of a Father, by Robert Penn Warren.

My dear old dad reads voraciously. And while I'm not sure what he's reading right now, I plan to ask him tomorrow. I could never hope to keep up with his pace. But I'm not afraid to interrupt his reading and that's how I learned to grill ribs.

But wait!

Before you sit down, prepare frozen margaritas for everyone.

However that requires another entry with instructions for his special blend.

But I'll need to tie him down to get him to tell me the secret.

Stay tuned.

Over the course of the next several hours, DD hops up and down tending to the ribs. Turning the racks over about every half hour and coating them generously with more BBQ sauce. Those six racks you see spent over two hours on the grill. After which time, we placed them in the oven on *200*, while four more racks were cooked.

This oven-time is key to the cooking process and must be calculated into the overall timing. It is based on our use of Adele Davis's Slow Roast Method described in her book, Let's Cook It Right.

Here's the finished product!

Along with a link to the menu.

Yum! Yum!!

Did you learn any special cooking techniques from your father?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Ruth Bell Graham
1920 - 2007

May she rest in peace.

Only lately have I been interested in Mrs. Graham. And not so much for her theological positions but as for her matriarchal status and the way she handled her family. Passing It On: Four Generations of Graham Traditions was the first book I acquired. It has great photos. Right now I am reading Footprints of a Pilgrim, which tells her life story in her own words through prose and poetry. Here's what I wrote about her last Fall.

Anne Graham Lotz is the only Graham I have heard in person. I am still on her mailing list, AnGeL Ministries. Be sure and read Anne's comments about her mother's death and the list of her mother's quips and quotes.

Do you have a story about the Graham Family?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Feast on Thursday

In all my years of playing along at Donna's and answering the five questions she posts early every Friday morning, I have never (until today) googled the site for her inspiration. And now I found out the gal's a cook! Funzies!!

Ok, so, here's yesterday's dinner plate:

grilled pork tenderloin
steamed asparagus
summer squash (compliments of a patient's garden)
sauteed with a Vidalia onion
and penne pasta with homemade Vodka sauce.

Now for my answer's to last week's questions:

What do you consider to be the ultimate snack food?

I like snacks which are crunchy and salty, just about any kind of chip or nut. On Sunday evenings, I indulge in a huge bowl of parmesan coated freshly popped popcorn, while watching an old movie or TV show.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 as highest), about how popular is your last name?

My married name is not very common in the US. In fact, we are the only ones in our area. The name is much more popular in the UK, Canada (DH's birthplace), and Australia. It has only four letters, but most people mispronounce it

Who is your all-time favorite sitcom character, and why?

Ya know, I just never can come up with answers for questions about TV watching. The first thing that came to my mind was DH!! He's my favorite sitcom the sitcom of our family life. He's the star! Plus he knows more about TV and movies than I ever will be able to retain.

Main Course
Do you shop online? If so, name some sites you like to browse for goodies.

Yes, I shop online more and more. The normal places: Amazon, LLBean, Lands End, Talbots, Coldwater Creek, Macys….wherever. Most recently I found and ordered an item not usually available in the US. Just with the click of a mouse!

Fill in the blank: I think ___________ should be ___________.

I think abortions should be illegal.

And here's a link to a very good website promoting a bill here in Georgia. We're trying to create a groundswell of support for this bill, so that when it comes to committee and a vote during our next legislative session, it will pass and we will be the first state in the Union to be pro-life.

And here's a spoonful of sugar to help that medicine go down.

Homemade Pecan Pie
compliments of DD#3

There are a couple of slices remaining. Drop by and I'll serve you some with a cup of coffee.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Chicken Salad

While there are a myriad of recipes for chicken salad, here I offer one which is rather plain. There is nothing which says *ladies luncheon* more clearly than chicken salad. And indeed, my strongest memory of chicken salad is associated with my grandmother's bridge parties.

Chicken, cooked and diced
Mayonnaise, Duke's Brand (no sugar!)
Celery, diced
Pecans, chopped and roasted
Lemon, one (or 1/2) freshly squeezed

Let me know if you need exact measurements. For serving purposes, you'd need 1/2 cup chicken salad per lady. Presentation is pretty important. Serve it on a bed of lettuce. Or on a croissant with thinly sliced tomatoes and some alfalfa sprouts.

I could make these instructions longer by discussing the merits of cooking a whole hen versus boneless, skinless breasts, but you'll have to email me if you really want those details.

Maybe one day I can post recipes like the Pioneer Woman.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Homestead Trail

On Saturday DD#3 and I headed out for a dayhike on the Homestead Trail at Red Top Mountain State Park just a short 30 minute drive from our home.

I had walked this trail with DH about two years ago, so I was comfortable *going it alone.*

Here's a view of the trail, which you can tell is well-traveled, shaded, and not too hilly.

The books classify it as easy.

It is a loop of about 5.5 miles with off-shoots if you want to head down to the lake and cool your feet.

We saw some interesting wildlife: a doe sitting on the top of a hill.

I will have to learn how to enlarge and crop, if you're going to be able to see her in my picture.

And, here's DD#3 catching a tree frog!

Again, I have a picture of the frog but he blends in so well with the leaves that I'm afraid you wouldnt be able to see him without some *photoshopping.*

Where would we hike in your neighborhood?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Dr Kirby and Friends Discover Penicillin

This is Dr Lelias Kirby's story of how he discovered penicillin and is copied from an article which appeared in the Birmingham News (AL)on (enter date). The information is significant to me because my paternal grandfather (J S Jordan) is mentioned. I'm guessing this story took place in the late 1920's as my grandfather finished medical school in 1925.

At long last, I feel free to reveal my secret about the wonder drug, penicillin.

During the depression years, the people poured into the Woodlawn Hospital by the wagon and truckloads, mostly miners and farmers. One day, a family from a mining community came with several children sick with diarrhea.

The father's doctor in Walker county had given him a quart jar filled with some yellow liquid that smelt to the high heavens but didn’t taste too bad. The father said his doctor told him to give each of the children a tablespoonful every three hours. I told him I could not do it, because I didn't know what was in it.

The father said, "I have used it many times before, and it worked." I asked him why he didn’t give it to his children this time. "Because I have hospital insurance," he replied.

I told them I would try a little of it if he and his wife would sign the chart. They each made a cross mark for their signatures. I told the nurse to keep the bottle hid from the other doctors and we would call it S17 on the chart.

The following day the three children which had been give the S17 were crying for something to eat; they had no diarrhea - no fever.

Dr J.S. Jordan noticed that the sick children he was treating were no better. He looked at my chart and asked me what S17 was. I told him I didn't know, but showed him my jar of it. He secretly used some, and his children perked up. We tried in on pneumonia and a ruptured appendix - it was a miracle.

We contacted the doctor who sent the medicine, and he told us a black woman had made it for him and he would here make us some more. He said he didn't know everything she put into it, but he did know she soaked bread in water, then put it in a dark room and let it mold. Then she ground it through her coffee grinder, added a little paregoric, some assifidity, some sorghum syrup, and buttermilk. Sometimes she adds some other things - I don't know what all - but those were the principal ingredients.

Well, Dr Monroe Somerset, Dr Jordan and I figured that molded bread was the principal ingredient. We wet some slices of bread, placed them in the dark basement of the Woodlawn Hospital, and when it got a good mold, ground it up in a sausage grinder. We added a few other things to give it a better look and taste.

We kept our S17 a secret. We were afraid the medical society might throw us out.

One day, the courts of Alabama declared the Woodlawn Hospital Insurance illegal. Dr Jordan, Dr T. L. Smith, Dr Somerset and I began using the South Highland and West End Baptist Hospitals, but we continued to make S17 in the x-ray dark room.

About six years later, the miracle drug, penicillin, was discovered.

Leave me a comment if you have a story about how a major discovery impacted the lives of one of your ancestors.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Welcome Home

My hikers are back safe and sound :)

DD#4 may not be pleased with this photo, but I highlight it to help me realize that I cant just condition myself for hiking by walking 5 miles around the track at the park! I have to be able to carry a pack. Hmmmm this is challenging. Note that the pack is not securely fastened. She had already taken it off and I requested that she put it back on for the photo shoot.

Years ago I traveled through Europe with my belongings on my back, alternately staying in hostels or with friends. I wish I could post a picture of me from 1978 and that 26 pound orange pack. You would laugh: I was wearing a matching skirt and jacket and clogs!

What a difference!