Lemon Meringue Pie


From Better Homes & Gardens (New) Cookbook circa 1980 approximately


Wise Words: Overheard a College Student


You never know where the next words of wisdom will come from.

I was with our adult daughter in a bookstore. One of our favorite bookstores in the world as it turns out. Our husbands were playing golf together at that famous St. Andrews golf course in Scotland and we were walking around this college town; seeing the sights and tasting the food. The name of the bookstore was Topping and Company and I highly recommend you pop in there (they serve you tea or coffee on a darling tray with real china tea cups (not paper) on a cozy couch or chair while you look through the books).

And that’s when I heard it. One student talking to another about whether or not to participate in the upcoming graduation ceremony. He said “Graduation is a moment. That’s the point of graduation. To provide moments for you parents to look back on.” Bam! Wise words from a college student.

The Answer to “God, what do you want me to do?” 2018 New Year Focus


The Message Romans 12:1-2, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

Gingerbread Biscotti Fail


I started with this recipe.  But I didn’t have Gingerbread Spice so I made my own blend by doubling the spices from this other Gingerbread Biscotti Recipe.

I was concerned that the recipe didn’t call for any form of fat. My favorite Biscotti recipe has a decent amount of butter in it. It called for a higher oven temp (350 instead of 325) and had instructions to cook for 30 minutes. I set the timer for 15 minutes and then check the two pans rotating them front to back and changing bottom to top racks for even cooking. Set the timer again for 15 minutes. All of a sudden I smelled a burning scent so I looked and my inside oven thermometer said 400 degrees and both logs were overcooked, one burnt on the bottom as you can see below. The Parchment paper even stuck.

I cut off the burned part and hoped to salvage the tops (I like the flecks of oats in the dough).

The pieces I salvaged looked like they might survive.

They were not very sweet and were drier than I had hoped but it just seemed like something was missing.

So I added this lemon glaze (1/2 cup powdered sugar, zest from 1/2 lemon, aprox tsp lemon juice)…it helped but I’m disappointed…biscotti is too much work to not love them. Maybe I’ll try again.



I’m anticipating our family arriving for Christmas weekend but of course I am not just sitting around waiting. There is planning and preparation to be done. Yes there is some work involved but it doesn’t feel like a burden. With joy I clean (or pay someone to help 🙂 , cook, shop, decorate, wrap gifts, and think about what I can do ahead of time so that I can do the most important and my favorite part of the Holidays…..just be together: Eat our favorite foods, play a few games, watch some holiday movies, talk and talk about what’s going on in our lives, what’s coming up next and how we hope it will go. It reminds of me Advent season (minus the fasting). I am waiting but I am not inactive. There is preparation and focused attention. Christ’s first coming brings solid hope of His second coming….the older I get the more I anticipate the day that the worst of this life will seem like light and momentary suffering and the best will be seen as merely an appetizer to the eternal banquet feast.  But I’m sure whatever that New Heaven and New Earth will be like the best part will be just being together with our Father God, Savior Jesus and those adopted into His family.

A Trailer Home Beside a Country Road By T.D. Bayless



I just viewed a lonely place

While leisurely driving around.

Although I tried, I couldn’t keep

Sad tears from flowing down.

A scene where once dear friends had lived

And welcomeness bestowed.

But now an empty Trailer Home

Beside a Country Road.


I even walked up near the door

But it didn’t open wide.

And someone say, ‘Come in and sit

It’s kinda warm outside.

Have some coffee or a coke

While we sit and chat.’

Oh no, this didn’t happen,

Deathly silence instead of that.


As I viewed in front of the trailer home,

No garden graced the scene.

Where once had grown lush vegetables

Tall grass and weeds now teemed.

But I saw and heard familiar things,

That brought back memories.

Mocking birds still sang with glee

Up in the cedar tree.


As I departed the lonely site,

Deep thoughts engrossed my mind.

As I gazed up toward azure skies

I wondered, if that in time,

I would meet my friends again

In a glamorous, gold-decked abode,

Or will it be in a Trailer Home

Beside a Country Road?


By T.D. Bayless

T.D. (Theodore Debs) Bayless was married to Iva who was my Paternal Grandfather’s Aunt. T.D. wrote this poem about my Grandparent’s (Furman and Edith Lytle) last home in Shafter California not far from where I grew up. T.D was one of the co-writers of the song “The Pill” copyrighted  1973 and recorded/released by Loretta Lynn in 1975.

Persimmon Drop Cookies


(My mom’s recipe – she found it in the newspaper, my notes are in parenthesis)

1/2 cup shortening (some recipes call for butter, could also do half and half)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup persimmon pulp

1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

1 cup raisins

Cream shortening and sugar. Add beaten egg. Sift together dry ingredients. Add alternately with persimmon pulp, stirring well between each addition. Stir in nuts and raisins. Drop on greased cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 15 minutes (or less depending on size of cookies).

(One recipe called for mixing the baking soda into the persimmon pulp instead of with the flour…I use a stick blender to do that, making the pulp and soda lump free. I would also add that you can just mix in dry ingredients in one step, being careful not to overmix as it will develop the gluten and make the cookies tough. I like to make small cookies and slightly undercook them. Parchment paper keeps the bottoms from getting too brown. My other recipe call for 350 oven temp for 10 minutes. You can test by lightly touching to see if they bounce back (cake like). They do get more moist the second or third day but after that you might want to freeze them, especially in a humid climate. They could mold more easily since they are so moist.)

I also recently tried this recipe I found on Pinterest. It was very good but the added allspice made the cloves seem too strong so I would cut that back a bit. Interestingly it added baking powder and vanilla (which my mom’s didn’t have). It would be fun to do a side by side comparison of the two recipes.





“May all your expectations be frustrated,

May all your plans be thwarted,

May all your desires be withered into nothingness,

That you may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child,

And sing and dance in the love of God

Who is Father, Son and Spirit,


Brennan Manning, at the end of  his sermon “God loves you as you are, not as you should be”, quoting his Spiritual Director Larry Hine

Thanksgiving 2016: Planning


It’s time to start planning for our Thanksgiving weekend meals.

I’m starting with my previous post Thanksgiving Menu 2010 and will make adjustments as needed.

I’m thinking maybe adding an Apple Pie and excluding the Pumpkin Pie, although it does seem like a violation of the holiday to do that.

The Menu:

Turkey, Dressing (or Stuffing)

Mashed Potatoes & Giblet Gravy

Yam & Cranberry Casserole

Potato Rolls

Cranberry Sauce

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

Pies: Mixed Berry, Texas Pecan, Apple or Pumpkin

Here is my beginning grocery list:

  • Fresh Veggies – celery, carrots, onions, flat leaf parsley, curly leaf parsley, russet potatoes (& maybe yukon golds – 2 lbs), fresh cranberries, fresh mixed berries (or frozen), 2 – 10oz bags brussel sprouts, walnuts,
  • Canned and boxed goods – quick cooking tapioca, canned evaporated milk, canned pumpkin, canned cranberry sauce, shortening, dry yeast, canned sliced or chopped mushrooms, canned sliced black olives, chicken stock, corn meal or cornbread mix, stuffing mix, kitchen bouquet, 2 – 17oz canned yams, miniature marshmallows,
  • Refrigerated and Frozen products – butter, margarine, whole turkey, turkey breast, turkey bone parts for broth, eggs, heavy cream, fresh berries, bacon, vanilla ice-cream, milk,

Nanna’s Bookshelf


I’m staying a few days with my husband’s mother after a few hard weeks in and out of the hospital. When she has the energy we have great conversations reminiscing about the amazing work of God in our lives. Our brokenness, His grace, mercy and sovereignty.

As I think about the years of loving and being loved by this dear woman, who adopted, loved  and raised my husband, the thing that bonded us the most (after loving the same man) was our love and benefit from the same books.

We took turns finding and sharing the recommendations. We spent hours discussing their challenging and encouraging truths. Here’s a sample of her bookshelf.