Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy Anniversary

All four couples in this photo share the same anniversary.

My parents started the trend in 1955. I copied them in 1980. Brother Will and his wife, Cynthia, married in 1985. And last, but not least, our daughter, Giles and her husband, Dean, honored us by choosing December 27, 2006 as their wedding date.

Do you know who shares your anniversary?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Menu

Honey Baked Ham
Corn Casserole
Brussel Sprouts
Beet Salad
Relish Tray

Iced Tea or Shiraz


Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Postcard

Here's a link to the original artwork for this postcard.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stamp Art


A virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name Emmanuel, God with us.

Isaiah 7:14

The 2008 Christmas stamp features a detail from a work by the Italian master Sandro Botticelli, entitled Virgin and Child with the Young John the Baptist. This painting, tempera and oil on wood, dates to around 1490 and is now in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. It presents one of the most common figural groups in religious art. (

I like stamps. But I dont have a collection per se. I just like to buy and use different ones. Does that make me a philatelist?

Philately is the study of postage stamps, revenue stamps, stamped envelopes, postmarks, postal cards, covers, and similar material relating to postal or fiscal history.

Probably not.


Most definitely.

At any rate, this beautiful stamp is the one which will frank the envelope of the good tidings I'm mailing early next week.

Do you send Christmas cards?

Or a letter?

Once on a holiday tour of homes, I saw an attractive arrangement of framed Christmas cards in the foyer. Of course, they were the ones sent by the homeowner, not like a Hallmark museum exhibit.

So, I'm saving mine.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Good Tidings

Our mailbox is ready to send and receive the good news of the season.

Alas, the front door needs the obligatory wreath.

But I cant decide -




That will be today's mission.

The household is more quiet than in the past with two married daughters living *far away* and two daughters away at college. So, this year, I've been decorating for Christmas s.l.o.w.l.y. and savoring the moments, meanings, and memories.

Readings about the creation of Handel's Messiah have been the overarching theme for this year's approach to celebrating the birthday of our King. Today's devotional from Roger Bullard's Gospel According to Handel's Oratoria is from Isaiah 40:9

O Zion, that bringest good tidings , get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings , lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up , be not afraid ; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Messiah on Mondays

Dedicated on January 5, 1868, this Romanesque-style brick structure was the location where Messiah was sung thrice over the weekend.

While this photo pictures the church on a pretty Spring day, in reality we were there on a cold, snowy winter evening waiting almost an hour for the doors to this historic sanctuary to be opened.

It was a perfect setting for this Christmas tradition.

When we stood for the Hallelujah Chorus as did King George II in 1743, the congregation at College Baptist Church in Hillsdale, MI gave the conductor reason to glance over his shoulder. He seemed to feel our enthusiasm.

The Hillsdale Collegian had heralded the three upcoming performances in their Thursday online edition, but we knew we wanted to be there in person because we had two daughters singing.

One had been selected to sing three recitatives :)

In addition to the choristers, the Hillsdale College Orchestra complete with authentic harpsichord and pipe organ combined to make this a most stellar occasion that we will remember for many years to come.

Both flash photography and audio recordings of any kind were strictly prohibited, so we are looking forward to a promised DVD.

Who in your family is singing in a concert or playing at a recital?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Messiah: Benefit Concert

Susannah Maria Arne Cibber

1714 - 1766

Celebrated English Actress and Singer

The following is a newspaper report which appeared in almost identical form in the Dublin Journal, The Dublin News-Letter, and the Dublin Gazette, after the first performance in 1742

On Tuesday last (the 13th) Mr Handel's Scared Grand Oratorio, the MESSIAH, was performed at the New Musick-Hall in Fishamble-street; the best Judges allowed it to be the most finished piece of Musick. Words are wanting to express the exquisite Delight it afforded to the admiring crouded Audience. The Sublime, the Grand, and the Tender, adapted to the most elevated, majestick and moving Words, conspired to transport and charm the ravished Heart and Ear. It is but Justice to Mr. Handel, that the World should know, he generously gave Money arising from this Grand Performance, to be equally shared by the Society for relieving Prisoners, the Charitable Infirmary, and Mercer's Hospital, for which they will ever gratefully remember his Name; and that the Gentlemen of the two Choirs, Mr Dubourg, Mrs Avolio, and Mrs. Cibber, who all performed their Parts to Admiration, acted also on the same disinterested Principle, satisfied with the deserved Applause of the Publick, and the conscious Pleasure of promoting such useful, and extensive Charity. There were about 700 People in the Room, and the Sum collected for that Noble and Pious Charity amounted to 400 pounds.

Clearly, this first performance was not church-related per se. From my point of view, it sounds like a gala event, slated around a holiday, and designed to raise money for a good cause by having *big name* performers, musicians, and conductor.

Mrs Cibber was one such attraction, despite the fact that she required prolong coaching.

Make note of the *Gentlemen of the two choirs* as commenter Kelly has been inquiring about the involvment of female roles/parts in Messiah. My guess is that because the choirs were under the auspices of the church, that indeed, there were no women in those choirs.

However, that said, the chancellor of St Patrick's, one of the choirs, was in the audience and had only praise for Mrs. Cibber's performance. According to late 18th-century tradition, when Mrs Cibber sang 'He was despised' the chancellor (Delaney), seated in one of the boxes, exclaimed,
Woman, for this be all thy sins forgiven thee.

quotes taken from pages 127-128 of Handel's Messiah: A Celebration by Richard Luckett

Monday, December 01, 2008

Messiah on Mondays

The Ravished Ear:

The Music of the Messiah

Chapter Four

by Richard Luckett

If I focused briefly on the text and the librettist last week, then this week I am paying more attention to the music itself. While there is an overture or preface, the work is then divided mainly into three parts. To listen to the entire work requires two hours time.

In this fourth chapter, the author discuss the technicalities of singing solos, recitatives, choruses, and meditations and where Handel might have used the music in an earlier composition. Apparently, Handel wrote the score over the course of a mere six weeks....not like a letter per se, but as sketches:

Each is in the nature of an outline but germinative subject, a phrase of music,
emerging from words, tested back against those words. From such
sketches, Handel could begin to compose at length, writing the music in outline
first, then adding words, and completing the infilling last of all.

Frankly, reading Mr. Luckett is over my head when he says

Messiah is not an oratoria a chiave, sustained by particular significances for
given keys: it is constructed in blocks of keys, which establish their
local centres, and work through these, rather than according to any overriding
rules of reference.

But the author grabs my attention with the plain statement:

It is important to ask to what extent the work is governed by any general
principle of musical unity.

And he explains:

The unity of Messiah is a consequence of nothing more arcane than the quality of
Handel's attention to his text, and the consistency of his musical imagination.

Now that I can understand and grasp.

With repeated listenings and practice, I can hear what Mr. Luckett is trying to explain, but his book is very detailed and more useful as a reference book.

Nevertheless, I press on.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Centerpiece

This wine complimented our menu delightfully.

Roasted Free-Range Turkey
Cornbread Dressing
Mushroom-Pearl Onion Gravy
Cranberry Sauce
Green Beans Almondine
Sweet Potato Souffle
Roasted Cauliflower

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Pumpkin Pie
Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mushrooms and Onions in Wine

By far one of the most delicious uses for pearl onions I've ever tasted.

This recipe is easy, elegant, and special.

I cant say that I've prepared it for any other meal than Thanksgiving.

Try it!

You'll like it!

Start by peeling lots of pearl onions.

I was listening to classical music and enjoying a glass of wine.

It took about 40 minutes to peel 60 onions.

Then I washed and quartered 3 lbs of mushrooms.

Here they are getting ready to be sauteed in butter.

Notice the sweet vermouth.

And the turkey (or chicken) stock.

Now for the acutal recipe.

After peeling 60 pearl onions, cook them in a glass dish in the microwave on high until done. It took about six minutes. After three, I stopped the oven and shook the dish. Set aside.

Wash and quarter 3 lbs of mushrooms. Saute in 1 1/2 cups butter in a large frying pan for five minutes. Add 6 tablespoons flour. Stir to coat, cooking some to brown the flour, but do not overcook.

Add 1 1/2 cups bouillon or stock. Cook and stir until a smooth gravy is created. Add 2 crushed bay leave and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg. Stir well.

Add the pearl onions. Add 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley. Stir until combined.

Add 3/4 cup dry sherry, Madeira, or sweet vermouth. Bring mixture to a boil, not allowing it to boil tho.

Remove from heat.

Transfer to a serving dish.

Remove from heat

Monday, November 24, 2008

Messiah on Mondays

Which came first the chicken or the egg is a common rhetorical question.

I propose that the same is true for the librettist versus the composer.

Nevertheless both components are equally important and necessary. And so, as I delve deeply into Handel's Messiah for the next six weeks, I dont want to overlook the vital contribution of Charles Jennens.

From the G. F. website:

The libretto for Messiah was designed and selected from the New and Old Testaments with utmost care by Charles Jennens (1700-73), a literary scholar and editor of Shakespeare's plays who was educated at Balliol College, Oxford. However, despite his merit and ability, Jennens never gained his Degree or much recognition from society because he was a non-juror, refusing to acknowledge the Hanoverian dynasty as legitimate heirs to the throne of England. Yet Jennens could not be a Jacobite (i.e. a supporter of the deposed Catholic Stuarts) either because he was staunchly Protestant. Such figures are often forgotten by the over-simplification of history, but Jennens' upper-middle class background enabled him to live in some comfort at a fine house in Gospall, Leicestershire, and devote his time to artistic pursuits in the absence of a prominent public life.

This fascinating background on Mr. Jennens substantiates the importance of support personnel. I can so relate :)

But today I want to focus on the power of words. Mr. Jennens took Scripture and rearranged the words without changing the meaning. Just reading the text of the score is powerful. Hearing them sung is spiritually moving.

From Chapter Three of Richard Luckett's Handel's Messiah: A Celebration:

The text of Messiah is profoundly religious. (Whether the same can be said of what Handel made of it is another matter.) It will command the assent
of many (but not all) Christians; it requires the suspension of disbelief in
non-Christians. pg 77

How can one sit through a performance of Messiah and not be encouraged to know God?

Also, from Luckett:

Early word-books of Messiah are today extremely rare; issued roughly stitched in sugar-paper wrappers, they were both fragile and, evidently, intently read.

The words were seriously pondered by Messiah's early audiences at least, a fact voluminously attested to by the Reverend John Newton, who in 1784 and 1785, preached no fewer than fifty sermons on the subject. pg 80

I'm reading through the text before the performance I'm attending on December 5th purely for the purpose of being able to understand the words being sung by the chorus. I do this also when I attend a play, especially Shakespeare. I dont know if it's my aging hearing or what, but it greatly enhances my ability to understand, if I know AHEAD OF TIME what is being spoken.

Do you have a favorite text from Messiah?

Portrait of Charles Jennens is by Mason Chamberlin the elder

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fashion Brooches

Sitting in my jewelry drawer is this gaudy looking pin I bought about five years ago in the gift shop of a tea room.

I wore it boldly then.... on the lapel of a purple flannel wool jacket. I should find y'all a picture. It looked good :)

But it's time to wear this brooch again.

Have you noticed how prevalent pins/brooches are now that Michelle Obama wore them so fashionably on the campaign trail?

Even if you resist wearing one (just because), I'll bet there's one in your jewelry box.

There's probably a story behind it.

Did it belong to a grandmother?

Pray, tell!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


November wears a Paisley shawl
To keep ker sagging shoulders warm.
Her bonnet's decked with rusty flowers,
An apple basket's on her arm,
And with a dusty, rustly sound
Her wide skirts sweep along the ground.

She trudges up the sunset hills,
In spite of winds a-blowing,
To seek a shelter on beyond -
She must know where she's going -
For, wrapped in Paisley red and brown,
She rustles, rustles through the town.

Hilda Morris

Aside from the fact that I like red and brown together, I was taken with this short poem found in Favorite Poems for the Children's Hour (1967).

The line that I am pondering today is *She must know where she's going*

I do.

Do you?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Messiah on Mondays

'Tis the season. Everywhere I turn, my blogging buddies are talking about music and which CD's they want to buy... for themselves or for others. So, in typical sheep-like fashion, I'm joining the crowd (herd).

No, really and truly, listening to music is new for me. I dont own a huge collection of CD's. I dont hum while driving or sing while showering. In fact, I struggle to remember the words to a song. And recall the name of the artist/singer? Never.

When I was ten though, I won the music class award and received an LP of Camille Saint-Saens Carnival of the Animals. I listened to it over and over again. I wanted to understand it. It took some practice, but I have a special place in my musical heart for this composer.

All that to say that I'm planning to study Handel's Messiah in this fashion over the next six weeks. I heard it before, sung portions of it myself, and love hearing my daughters sing in performances of it.

Next one will be December 5th, d.v.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fashion on Fridays

Last month I attempted the great *switcheroo*. That is, reworking my closet for the new season and storing the off-season clothing elsewhere.

While I did not complete the task, I did discover some fine additions to my Fall wardrobe that had not been worn in years!!

Highlighted is a paisley jacket from Orvis, a hand-me-down, from my clothes broker. I've worn it with a brown skirt to church and brown corduroy pants for those weekday errands.

Be entertained by this link to a poll about Michelle Obama's style. I cant say that I would buy any of her outfits, but I'm going to be watching her fashion and her parenting..... like a hawk.

Perhaps I will wear more brooches :)

What do you think?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Idols that provoke Jealousy

that cause me to sigh and groan:

National calamity has fallen on the people of God in OT Judah. God has abandoned His temple because *they were doing detestable things* (from Ezekiel Chpt 8)

1) mixing the religion of Jehovah with that of Baal - the Canaanization of the worship of the Lord, if you will.

2) church leaders portraying all kinds of creepy things on the walls of the Temple - hmmmmm, like icons or extra decorations in the sanctuary.

3) women mourning for Tammuz; historically when the women in a society lose their way, it is a sure sign of the demise of a culture.

4) ordinary members worshipping the gods of their enemies.

These acts of rebellion against the God of Israel by his own people are repeating themselves in our society today. Examples are clear to me. Do you see them?

It is unrealistic of us to think that there have not been nor will be consequences.

Look to Ezekiel 9 for some hints.

God sends seven angels to destroy the city. One is sent out ahead to mark certain citizens. Six others follow and are commanded to kill without showing pity or compassion.

Lord, this deterioration in our churches (and therefore, our nation) grieves me greatly.

Give me strength and grace to bear witness to You.

For Your Name's Sake.


Listen to the entire sermon here.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Billy Graham

Since today is his 90th birthday, let's tell stories of how or when this famous preacher influenced our lives.

Unfortunately, I have a critical nature, and so, I tended to pick at Mr. Graham's theology. Then I became intrigued with his family, particularly Anne Lotz, and later his wife and her poetry.

I never went to one of his crusades.

But one of my life goal's is to be influential for the Lord in my 90th year.

Maybe I should take a second look at Mr. Graham's approach.

What do you think?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Election Day Sermons

Just wondering, ladies?

Did you hear a good sermon yesterday?

I did.

Here's the link to ours.

It made me think a lot about *undecided voters* who generally perplex me. HOW can one not be decided?

NPR did put a face on one in a radio segment I heard last Friday. She's a 35 year old white woman, single mother of two, working for the TN Department of Corrections and she voted in the primary..... for Huckabee.

I wonder how this undecided person would digest the information in this sermon.

Hearing this exposition of Ezekiel 11 gave me confidence to cast my vote with a clear conscience.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Frances Lee Ila

Oil on Canvas by Vera Holcombe, 1916
14 x 12 inches

I just love this portrait! And the story behind it is revealing.

As it goes, the artist is the older sister of the model. I have written about her paintings here and here. In this case, Frances Lee Ila aka *Peggy* refused to remove her red coat, even though the weather was warm.

The word *headstrong* comes to mind.

*Peggy* was my godmother, my maternal grandfather's office manager/nurse, shopping buddy/friend to my grandmother *Dee*, and second mother to my own mother. Her influence in our lives contributed to the naming of DD#4.

Frances Lee Ila (Holcombe) was the third daughter and her father had proposed the name *Peggy* for the first two, yet was *overrruled*. When *Peggy* was born, he again proposed the name. Again he was overruled. Finally, he retorted.

You can name her whatever you like, but I'm going to call her *Peggy*

I did not learn her real name until after she died.

Is there a special story behind a painting or photograph in your home?

Thursday, October 30, 2008


This is posted at the request of DD#3, but also found here.

In a large stock pot, I brown 1 lb ground beef and drain it, leaving it in the colander while I prepare the other items in the same pot.

2 cans light kidney beans, undrained (15 oz)
2 cans dark kidney beans, undrained (15 oz)
28 oz can diced tomatoes
30 oz tomato sauce
8 oz V-8
2 pkgs chili seasoning (Kroger)

Stir together. Add browned meat.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 - 20 minutes.

Serves 6

Freezes well.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy 150th Birthday

Oil Portrait of Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

Artist John Singer Sargent painted Theodore Roosevelt in a pose worthy of the president’s bold manner. In 1901 President Roosevelt issued an executive order changing the official name of the Executive Mansion to the White House, and proceeded to redecorate it in 1902. While the original exterior of the White House was preserved, the interior layout changed dramatically. Roosevelt wanted the house to reflect its historical nature instead of a home filled with “modern” furniture.

Credit: White House Historical Association (White House Collection)

From a 2005 NYTimes article:

Mr. Allman, curator, then pointed to what is considered the best portrait in the
collection, a John Singer Sargent of a forceful, irritated Theodore Roosevelt
that hangs in an East Room corner. Sargent took up residence in the White House
in the winter of 1903 for portrait sittings, but soon drove the president to
distraction by chasing him around trying to decide on the right pose. The final
portrait captures Roosevelt in a particularly exasperated moment with the
artist. "I don't think the president wanted to share as much time as Mr. Sargent
was hoping to have," Mr. Allman said.

And from John Milton Hay (1838–1905) American statesman, diplomat, author, journalist, and private secretary and assistant to Abraham Lincoln, a poem -

To Theodore Roosevelt

Son of a sire whose heart beat ever true
To God, to country, and the fireside love
To which returning, like a homing dove,
From each high duty done, he gladly flew,
Complete, yet touched by genius through and through,
The lofty qualities that made him great,
Loved in his home and priceless to the state,
By Heaven's grace are garnered up in you.
Be yours, we pray, the dauntless heart of youth,
The eye to see the humor of the game,
The scorn of lies, the large Batavian mirth;
And, past the happy, fruitful years of fame,
Of sport and work and battle for the truth,
A home not all unlike your home on earth.

Christmas Eve, 1902.

John Hay

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fall Favorites

Fresh Starts - new academic years are more invigorating to me than the beginning of the calendar year. This year we sent our fourth daughter to Hillsdale, freshly starting her collegiate experience.

Leaves - yellow patches showed up first in our backyard of trees. Blogging buddy, Carol, has an especially beautiful picture of yellow. Even before the temperatures got cooler the leaves began to manifest the change of the season. Right now the red leaves on our many dogwoods are the prettiest to me.

Football - a confession....I actually like watching football. Hubby and both brothers played highschool and one year of college ball. Professional teams do not interest me.

Festivals - not being a crowd lover, I tend to shy away from attending festivals. Especially when my children were little, I hated taking them to festivals: too many temptations to overeat and spend money on unnecessary trinkets, or temporarily *losing* a child, which happened to me more than once :( Of late, I have gone to a couple....for historical interests :)

Cooler Temps - not only is the dropping mercury amenable for outdoor activities, but I also like covering up with lots of blankets and sleeping in a cool room. Update: as of 10/27 I still havent turned on the heat.

Sweaters - can be fashion statements, but I've yet to knit one. Do you wear seasonal sweaters?

Pumpkins - in addition to Jack-O-Lanterns, I love food made with fresh pumpkin, especially soup. Here's a link to my recipe.

Reformation Day - such a better holiday than the scary one on the 31st. One of my favorite books is Ladies of the Reformation by J. H. Alexander. I just finished reading about Marguerite de Valois.

Politics - it's in my blood, since I started knocking on doors for a candidate when I was a mere thirteen years old. LOTS of stories here.

Thanksgiving - food, family, and the signal that Christmas (winter) is just around the corner. I never tire of the ritual of gathering the family for special meals. Here's a link to last year's celebration. During Thanksgiving weekend, I refuse to decorate for Christmas and decline opportunites to shop at reduced prices. You may find me working on a list though :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lord Willing and the Creek Dont Rise

Fort Mimms, AL
Colored Engraving
19th Century

The phrase originated with Benjamin Hawkins (1754-1816), Creek Indian agent around the time of the War of 1812.

It should be correctly written as 'God willing and the Creek don't rise'.

Hawkins, college-educated and a well-written man would never have made a grammatical error, so the capitalization of Creek is the only way the phrase could make sense.

He wrote it in response to a request from the President to return to our Nation's Capital and the reference is not to a creek, but The Creek Indian Nation. If the Creek "rose," Hawkins would have had to be present to quell the rebellion.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Two Version's of The Knight, Death and The Devil

Engraving by Albrect Durer, 1513

Under the unreal helmet, the severe profile is cruel like the cruel sword waiting poised. Through the stripped forest rides the horseman unperturbed, clumsily, furtively. The obscene mob closes in on him: the devil with servile eyes, the labyrinthing reptile, and the ashen old man with the hour glass. Iron rider, whoever looks at you knows that in you neither the lie nor pale fear dwells. Your hard fate is to command and offend. You are the brave and you are certainly not unworthy, German, of the devil and death.

There are two roads - that of the man of iron and arrogance who rides firm in his faith through the doubtful woods of the world between the taunts and rigid dance of the devil with death. And the other, the short one, mine.

In what vanished, long-ago night or morning did my eyes discover the fantastic epic, the enduring dream of Durer: the hero and the mob with all its shadows, searching me out and catching me in ambush. It is me and not the paladin whom the hoary old man crowned with sinuous snakes as warning. The future's water clock measures my time not his eternal now. I am the one who will be ashes and darkness. I who set out later will have reached my mortal destination. You, who do not exist, you, rider of the raised sword and the rigid woods, your pace will keep on going as long as there are men: composed, imaginary, eternal.

by Luis Borges
Argentine writer
1899 - 1986

I transcribed this poem by listening to it on YouTube. I feel sure I have butchered the dynamics, but will come back to correct whenever I find it.

It was just too good to pass up.

Hey, Cindy! Do you know this poem?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fashion on Fridays

The weather is cooler and calling for outerwear.

So, this weekend I'll be involved in the great *switcheroo*.

That is - putting away the summer and spring clothes and hauling out the fall and winter.

To give me some direction as I sort through my belongings, I'll be looking for ten items to undergird my wardrobe.

I'll build and coordinate around these.

1) Stitch Interest Sweater (seen above *new* with *old* T-shirt)
2) Purples
3) Unique Print Top (I use scarves here)
4) Vest
5) Crisp White Shirts (link to *how to iron a shirt*)
6) Animal Print
7) Jacket
8) The Suit (i.e. Sunday clothes)
9) Denim

The real test for me this weekend will be how much of what I havent worn in the past three years I can actually part with. Goodwill has a store just around the corner. It is not out of my way to drop things off!

BTW Did you find any purple, mulberry, aubergine, or grape in your closet?

I've been wondering?

So has Emily Dickinson.

Purple — is fashionable twice —
This season of the year,
And when a soul perceives itself
To be an Emperor.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Soup, Sandwich, Supper, or Specialty

Sometimes the thought of eating leftovers leaves me cold (lol) and at other times sparks my creative juices and a fresh meal is born. Knowing that DD#1 has a freezer-full of leftover turkey and chicken, I have culled a few suggestions for planned-overs from my recipe box.

Soup: Turkey Noodle or Mexican Chicken

Sandwich: Turkey Salad or Hot Turkey

Supper: Turkey Tetrazzini or Chicken a la King

Specialty: Pizza with BBQ sauce as base or Pesto

Sunday, October 05, 2008


There is a


between these legs

and the ones

posted in

Friday's entry.

Mine are (still) in the kitchen.

As previously stated, I was never planning to vote for Senator McCain and his choice of running mate didnt change my mind. It did, however, heighten my interest in a race that otherwise would not have been on my radar screen.

Hence, I watched the Vice Presidential debate and had a radically wonderful time live-bloggin' with friends at Dominion Family. I love sharing my opinion. Usually you dont have to ask :)

So, here's what I want to say:

Presidential elections are all hype - mainly rhetoric - much like Spirit Week preceeding Homecoming. The debates are like the pep rallies. And while those events serve their purposes, we all know that the practicing the football players perform during the season and the strength-training they grunt through during the off-season make all the difference in the world as far as outcomes go.

In my analogy, I see the in-season practices akin to the bi-annual congressional elections; and the off-season grunt work akin to the voting records of same legislators. That's where the real discipline takes place. That's where true information about political candidates is found.

I have campaigned, walked neighborhoods, made phone calls, stuffed envelopes. I have also worked on Capitol Hill for my congressman. I learned to vote for the candidate, not the party. And I learned that the elected official swears to uphold the Constitution, which does not necessarily mean that s/he will be voting the way his constituents would like. Furthermore, I learned that most politicians dont uphold that vow.

Look for the ones (shoes) who do.

Footwork comes in all sizes, styles, stations, and seasons.

Red heels are in.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Fashion on Fridays

Are you

bold enough

to wear red shoes

with a black suit?

I never would have thought of it, but I think it reflects positively on Governor Palin's personality.

I'm intrigued.

I do have some red croc pumps in the closet.

I think I'll wear them to church on Sunday.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Mad for the Lord

King David supposedly feigned madness before the king and secured release from his enemies. We may wonder whether he wrote Psalm 34 afterwards or actually spoke those alphabetic verses ad lib. But I know that when I hear someone *talking crazy*, I tend to distance myself. I would *let him go.*

Fortunately, the rest of the Bible proves that David was not crazy, but a God-fearing man. Does that make him *mad* (insane or demented)? Over and again David reminds us in his poetry that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It is practically an injunction to fear God.

Today God-fearing men are rare.

Furthermore, God-fearing men are not noticebly welcome in the pulpit or the pew. I am thankful that our preacher will admonish us to fear the Lord. Here's a link to such.

Obviously, they are not found in the political arena.

Or in the government colleges and schools.

In fact, the main characteristic of the our society today is the post-Christian man (or woman) who admits no fear of God.

Did you learn in childhood that certain things exist which we ought to fear? Who taught you things like *it is a mark of manliness to hate what is abominable or to fear to commit evil.*

From Russell Kirk's essay -

A God-intoxicated man, knowing that divine love and divine wrath are but
different aspects of a unity, is sustained against the worst this world can do
to him;

while the good-natured unambitious man, lacking religion, fearing no
ultimate judgment, denying that he is made for eternity, has in him no iron to
maintain order and justice and freedom.

I hope the current financial disaster brings to consciousness a remnant of God-fearing men and women, a renewed knowledge of the source of wisdom. What raises up heroes and martyrs is this fear of God.

Yup, David was *mad* - intoxicated for the Lord.

I'm *mad*, too.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Taste and See


the Lord



Psalm 34:8

Fed at church by a rich sermon based on David's poetry written when he was *insane*, we came home to enjoy tasty flavors and good conversation too. Physical and spiritual nourishment on both fronts.

The psalm (34) is well-known to me, but was revitalized by the sincere preaching of our minister. I loved the personifications of the Lord in verses 15 - 17, when David talks about God's eyes, ears, and face. Furthermore, I plucked this week's memory verse (Jer 9:23-24) from an association with verse 2 about boasting in the Lord.

In the same way, the ingredients for our dinner were a motley melange taking up room in the refrigerator for almost too long :) Over the weekend, I was challenged not to use any gasoline due to the shortages we're experiencing as a result of the Texas refineries being damaged by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

All that to say that I determined to prepare Sunday's dinner without going to the grocery store.

The menu below went through several modifications over Saturday as I hunted through cupboards, tossed out spoiled foods, and used *mad* cooking skills. Not exactly insane, but as creative as David before Abimelech?

Italian Baked Chicken
Steamed Broccoli
Sauteed Peppers & Onions
Orzo with Parmesan
Pesto Rolls

Breyers Vanilla Ice Cream with
Homemade Chocolate Sauce and
Roasted Georgia Pecans

Iced Tea and Coffee

How are you showing your *madness* for the Lord?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Boasting in the Lord

This is what the LORD says:

"Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom
or the strong man boast of his strength
or the rich man boast of his riches,
but let him who boasts boast about this:

that he understands and knows me,

that I am the Lord,

who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness

on the earth,

for in these I delight,"

declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 9:23-24

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fashion Find Friday

Purples & Gray





Fall is in the air and despite the tumbling prices on Wall Street, I'm looking forward to incorporating the latest fashion splash into my closet.

Purple has never been one of my favorite colors....but it is clearly taken the front seat in fashion. From overcoats to accessories, it's everywhere.

Here's a link to a scarf I wrote about last year. See the purple leaf?

Furthermore, there's a grape-colored wool skirt/jacket in the deep recesses of my closet. I think I bought it in 1993? Can you say packrat?

Time to revive that *old* outfit!

How are you updating your wardrobe for Fall?

Just tried on that grape skirt. Looks like I'm going to have to step up my exercise, if it's going to fit well :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Writing the Government

Here's a copy of a letter I sent to my Congressman today. I think I was ten years old when I first started writing letters to members of Congress. When I was twenty years old, I worked on Capitol Hill for my Representative and kept track of letters and faxes like the one I mailed today.

Have you ever written to your Congressman or Senator?

From: (yours truly)

The Honorable Tom Price
424 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515

VIA FAX 202 225 4656

Good Morning:

This letter is sent via fax in order to communicate my opinion on the upcoming legislation designed to save various financial institutions and prevent a crisis in the US economy.

I strongly oppose government intervention in this case.

It is time for Congress to put down its foot and reject the Administration’s proposal. Please just allow the bust to work itself out.

I am willing to suffer through this hangover to keep politicians from shielding CEOs and their companies from the consequences of their risky actions.

Feeling fleeced in GA, I am

Your constituent,

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Women Civil Magistrates

Today's sermon was based on Isaiah 3 and used as a jumping off point to explain what the Bible has to say about Sarah Palin and her involvement in civil government.

Here's a link, if you want to listen to the full hour of preaching.

JCMIII carefully explains the importance of God's order in society: the family, the church, and the home. I understand and affirm those Scriptural positions as a Christian.

But since I was never planning to vote for Mr. McCain in the first place, I was not tempted to reconsider even after he selected his vice-presidential candidate. I will admit to paying more attention to the media coverage of the race because I thought adding Gov. Palin to the ticket was an ingenious idea. And I may even watch the debate scheduled for September 26th on the campus of Ole Miss.

Nevertheless I am dismayed at the way Christians are using Mrs. Palin. There are women involved in local, state, and federal governments everywhere we turn. I propose that if churchmen are truly concerned about reversing God's judgment on society that they challenge the legitimacy of the ones right in their own counties and churches.

In a recent Xanga post, I recorded how many women hold public office in my area. Not so many, because I live in a *conservative* state.

But wanting to end on a positive note, I leave you with my selections for Goethe's quotidien duty of *hearing a little song, reading a good poem, seeing a fine painting, and speaking, if possible, a few reasonable words*:


Over my morning coffee, I hear the songs of the birds who come to my feeders.

penned by John H. Gurney, 1838 and sung as our closing hymn (#621 Trinity)

Great King of nations, hear our prayer,
While at Thy feet we fall,
And humbly with united cry
To Thee for mercy call;
The guilt is ours, but grace is Thine,
O turn us not away;
But hear us from Thy lofty throne,
And help us when we pray.

Our fathers’ sins were manifold,
And ours no less we own,
Yet wondrously from age to age
Thy goodness has been shown;
When dangers, like a stormy sea,
Beset our country round,
To Thee we looked, to Thee we cried,
And help in Thee was found.

With one consent we meekly bow
Beneath Thy chastening hand,
And, pouring forth confession meet,
Mourn with our mourning land;
With pitying eye behold our need,
As thus we lift our prayer;
Correct us with Thy judgments, Lord,
Then let Thy mercy spare.


See Tissot's above.


After church I spoke a few reasonable words with a fellow member, who was present at a Palin/Schlafly meeting.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fashion on Friday

September is a hot month in GA and so I have yet to put away this favorite summer outfit.

I got a lot of mileage out of this *old* skirt by updating it with a new french blue blouse.

Notice that my favorite yellow sandals made a perfect compliment.

By this time of the summer tho' I am ready for a change, even if the weather is not.

In anticipation of Autumn, I tend to wear the navy blue or olive green T-shirt with the summer suit instead of the white or pale-colored one.

Also, I've read that purple and gray are the fashionable colors for Fall. To date, all I have is some purplish lipstick and some gray pants in the closet.

Since I've actually spent more time looking at Presidential Fashion rather than shopping that's how I know that the lipstick is important. (giggle) Or maybe a brooch.

Check out the galleries at this link. In case it doesnt work, search for the Entertainment Section of the LA Times. Their photo galleries have some fun pictures of Cindy, Sarah, and Michelle's outfits.

Last, but not least, the wedding pictures are up.

Leave a comment with your email address and I will send you the password.

Fine Art Friday entries have been on Sabbatical, but I suppose this entry could qualify. In the background is a pencil drawing by DD#1. For a while she took lessons, one of the first of which was to copy this Harnett.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where we you?

On this fateful day seven years ago, I was visiting my father-in-law in the hospital.

He'd had a stroke on August 25th, and was still on the ventilator.

I was talking to him and watching the image on the television at the same time.

When I saw the blackness and smoke, it was difficult to decipher what I was seeing and what was going on.

The newscaster's voice relayed the message: an airplane had flown into the World Trade Center.

I scurried on over to the office where I told the others of the news.

We were able to work *normally* that day, but only because we werent grasping the real issues.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Psalm 128

This *wedding psalm* was the basis of the sermon delivered by Reverend Joseph Morecraft, III at the marriage of our daughter,

Margaret, to Patrick McCarthy on Saturday, August, 30, 2008.

1)Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.
2)For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.
3)Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.
4)Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.
5)The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.
6)Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel.

Complete audio version will be available soon at

Here's the link.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Walk Aerobics

When I'm desperate for a walk and it's raining, I call Leslie.

I have other walking buddies, but this one never says she's busy :)

Tropical Storm Fay hit Florida last Monday and she finally made it to Atlanta this Monday. Last week was a tad cooler (90 instead of 95) because the wind blew constantly. Today was cooler still. The rain started yesterday; we lost power for an hour; and the weatherman predicts Thursday for clear skies.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Baked Ratatouille

The recipe for this side-dish is an adaptation of my squash casserole recipe and the ratatouille was leftover last summer. Here's the link for the Ratatouille adventure. I just defrosted it (sans sausage), drained it a bit before proceeding with the eggs, butter, cheese, and cracker crumbs.

This recipe is a keeper.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Dinner

Chicken Marsala
Baked Ratatouille
Green Beans Almondine


Barefoot Chardonnay

Raspberry Ice Cream Pie


Dinner discussions centered around the sermon on Psalm 31 and the details for Saturday's wedding.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Chicken Marsala

I love this recipe!

It is sooooo easy.

This time I used muscadine wine.

And baked it in the oven for the final ten minutes, because my frying pan wasnt big enough.

Credit goes to the Olive Garden Restaurant.


4 ea Chicken half-breast, boneless & skinless
1/4 cup(s) Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
Pepper to taste
1/2 tsp Oregano, dried
4 Tbsp Oil
4 Tbsp Butter (or margarine)
1 cup(s) Fresh Mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup(s) Marsala wine


Pound chicken breasts between sheets of waxed paper until about 1/4" even-thickness

Combine flour, salt, pepper and oregano, blend

Dredge chicken pieces in the flour, shake off excess

Heat oil and butter in frying pan over medium heat.

Cook the breasts on medium heat for about two minutes on the first side, until lightly brown

Turn breasts over to second side to cook, add the mushrooms around the chicken breasts

Cook breasts about two more minutes, until lightly browned on the second side, stir the mushrooms

When lightly browned, add Marsala around the chicken pieces, cover and simmer for about ten minutes

Transfer to serving plate.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Summer Menu

Salmon w/Banana Glaze

Steamed Broccoli

Vidalia Onion sauteed w/Yellow Peppers

French Roll

Pinot Grigio

Raspberry Sherbert
w/raspberry sauce

Chocolate Vodka Cake


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Vodka Cake
from Being Dead Is No Excuse

1 box Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
1 (3.4 ounce box) AND 1 (5.9 ounce) box of
chocolate pudding mix
4 eggs at room temp, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup Kahlua
1/2 cup vodka

1 container store-bought chocolate fudge icing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine, in the bowl of your mixer, the cake mix, chocolate pudding mises, and eggs.  Mix until creamy.  Add the oil, Kahlua, and vodka, and twirl around until there are no lumps.  Pour into a prepared (buttered/floured) bundt pan (8 cup size) and bake for appox 45 minutes.

Take it out of the oven and allow it to sit a minute.  Flip it out onto the serving plate and while it is still hot, spread store-bought chocolate fudge icing.

Serves 12

PS  I did not ice mine.  I served it with raspberry ice cream.
The cookbook recommends cinnamon ice cream.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Summer Menu

Ham Quiche
Steamed Broccoli
Sliced Cantaloupe

Pinot Grigio

Chocolate Muffins

Quiche recipe adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook:

One 9" deep dish pie shell (unbaked)

Cover the bottom of the shell with 1 1/2 cups of grated swiss cheese. Add any type of meat or vegetable filling on top of the grated cheese - from 1/2 - 1 cup. If using veggies, it's better if they're already cooked. In the blender, combine the wet ingredients: 4 eggs, 1 1/2 cups half 'n half, 2 Tbs flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp dry mustard. Pour into crust. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 375 for 40 -45 minutes. Allow pie to rest 30 minutes before serving.

Excellent made ahead.

Freezes well, too.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Feast on Saturday

If you learned today you were going to die tomorrow, name three things you would do?

1. Contact the preacher.

2. Wash my hair.

3. Take the pecan tassies out of the freezer.


What is your very first memory?

Earliest memories for me are located on Beachland Drive in Sandy Springs, where we lived from the time I was three until five years old.

But you asked for just one...

I remember being very sad that I'd left my Chatty Cathy doll outside overnight....and it rained :(


Name one service you are willing to pay for and one you're not.

I have always been willing to pay to have my hair cut/trimmed/permed/whatever.

I am unwilling when it comes to late fees.

Main Course

Do you make your bed every day?

Shamefully, *no*

My excuse? (stop reading now, if you dont like excuses)

For twenty years, I left the house BEFORE DH was out of the bed and I've fallen out of the habit.


Name the most significant thing you learned this week?

That the *Sort* function on my new word processing software doesnt work the same way the old one did. So, inadvertently, I sent a jumbled list of names and addresses to the hostess of an upcoming party. Thankfully, she recognized the mistake and called me. I was embarrassed.

Read more fun answers at the home of one of my favorite muses, Quiet Life.