Sunday, December 27, 2009

A New Normal

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3: 5-6

"Lean not on your own understanding"--- I have put everything into God's hands this past week. I don't understand, but I trust Him and know that He has a perfect plan. His kingdom calendar--as Beth Moore says--makes no sense to humans, but He understands it because it is from Him. Our birth date is listed as is our day that we return to Heaven to be with Him.

Last Saturday began as a typical day. We had church basketball, then lunch peppered with phone calls--including one from my parents. They call and "visit" each Sunday afternoon. Saturdays are generally not a day that we chat unless Carolina has a football game, and Daddy and I call at halftime and at the end of the game. But, last Saturday, he called. We talked for a while--I caught him up on the last Christmas presents that had arrived via UPS, and we went over the Christmas menu again. Normal--things I understand. The afternoon progressed. I had running clothes on and was driving Child #2 to a birthday party when I got a call from Hubby to come back home. It's the call that sends those nerves into tingling mode--the not knowing.

We threw clothes in suitcases and began the 2 hour drive to my parents' home. I knew that I could pray..and pray I did. I sent out texts for friends to pray as well. They did. All I knew was that Daddy had gone to the church to turn on the heat for last Sunday's service. When he got back home, he told mama that he didn't feel good. He sat down in his chair, and she went to get him Sprite and a tylenol. Then, God took my precious Daddy home. After serving God for 86 years, it was time for his reward in Heaven. And what a celebration it must have been! I have visions of what it looked like! Amazing!

Still in the car, I talked to Mama. She told me that EMS had taken Daddy to the hosptial. But deep down, she said," I think your Daddy is gone." Those, sweet friends, are hard words to hear. After I hung up, I gave my Daddy to God--He loves Him more than we do. As soon as I did, that peace which surpasses all understanding flooded my heart and soul. I knew that he was not here any longer. But, the peace that God gave me was amazing. Truly wonderful.

In the past week, I have seen friends and family that I hadn't seen in years. I have received cards from all over--and am so appreciative of them :). I have helped to pick out a casket. I have eaten a thousand bites of desserts! I have loved on my mama and sister. I have seen the pain and joy of loved ones. I have been comforted by scripture. I have celebrated my Daddy's life. I have celebrated the birth of my Savior. I have seen God's handprints in this entire week. I want to continue to see this as I seek Him and praise Him for my blessings.

I want to thank Elaine for posting last week about Daddy. She is a darling, and I treasure our friendship. Your comments and cards are so thoughtful and appreciated. I pray that your Christmas was wonderful. We had a great one under the circumstances. God is good. And now we begin our new normal. Love to you all.

Sweet Blessings,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Broken Computer!

Mercy! Our computer is having major issues! I cannot check email, cannot post on my blog or read your precious comments, or even complete an order to online! I get just to the checkout cart, and bam! The computer dies!!

I spoke with the computer company today. 23 minutes the first time and 17 the second. As soon as hubby gets home from basketball practice, hopefully, he'll have his time with them as well. Other than that, we're doing great!!! I"ll be back ASAP to post with you sweet things! And, I'll share the cute idea that I sorta told you all about on Friday!

Sweet Blessings!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Another Promise Kept!

Last week, I promised to share a new yummy recipe with y'all that my friend Jennifer brought to our Christmas par-tay! It is delicious and colorful! Perfect for a dish to take to a party! Copy, paste, and enjoy!!

Jennifer's Orzo and Wild Rice Salad
1/2 cup wild rice
2 cups water
1 cup orzo pasta
3 tablespoons chopped red onion
3 tablespoons dried currants
2 tablespoons corn kernels, drained
3 tablespoons diced yellow bell pepper
3 tablespoons diced red bell pepper
3 tablespoons diced green bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Bring the wild rice and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender but not mushy, 20 to 45 minutes depending on the variety of wild rice. Drain off any excess liquid, fluff the rice with a fork, and cook uncovered 5 minutes more. Once finished, spread into a shallow dish, and refrigerate until cold.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the orzo pasta, and cook until al dente, 7 to 8 minute. Drain, rinse with cold water, and chill.
Place the chilled rice and orzo into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the red onion, currants, corn, yellow bell pepper, red bell pepper, and green bell pepper. Season with 2 tablespoons basil, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, garlic, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and 1 1/2 teaspoons basil. Slowly whisk in the canola and olive oils until emulsified. Stir the dressing into the pasta, and refrigerate 2 hours before serving.

Nutritional Information :
Amount Per Serving Calories: 566 Total Fat: 29.1g Cholesterol: <>

I promise you'll love this! "Taste and see that the Lord is good!" Our Sunday School Christmas party is tomorrow night, and I am hosting a party at the house on Monday, so I feel sure that I'll give it a try! Not sure about the currants though!! It reminds me of Peter Rabbit!

I will be sharing a simple Christmas gift that you can all make--promise!!--to share with a child, relative, or even a shut-in. Easy peasy! I'll post it on Tuesday, so be on the lookout! BTW, I have been catching up on some of your beautiful posts from this week. I am SO blessed by them!! You all are amazing! Enjoy your weekend, and stay warm--especially Yolanda!! It's -3 out there in Kansas!! Mercy!

Sweet Blessings!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Comfort Foods

Hey, everybody! Are you all staying warm? I'm wearing two sweaters today!! I am just not a cold weather person! It does make me realize that Christmas is just around the corner! (17 days to be exact!). It's about that time for me to pull out tried and true recipes that my boys enjoy each Christmas. We do the traditional sausage and cheese balls, Christmas casserole for Christmas morning, and of course, cookies! We make lots of those! And even though we give away tons, we manage to eat almost as many.

I have a recipe that I wanted to share with y'all today. It's a chocolate chip cake that everybody goes bananas over! I make it for birthdays, surprises, and for Christmas. Everybody loves it! I have a confession to make that only a few of you are aware of. I don't eat dark chocolate. Never have, never will. I simply don't like it! The smell sends me over the edge--especially when I was pregnant! So, if Mama makes one, it's for somebody she really loves!

My darlin' friend, Donita, shared this recipe with us years ago. So now, I share it with y'all.

Donita's Inside-Out Chocolate Bundt Cake

-1 pkg( 4-1/2 oz) Jello instant chocolate pudding

-1 pkg ( 2 layer size) Devil's Food cake mix ( with or w/o pudding)

-1 pkg chocolate chips ( I use milk chocolate and only 1/2 the bag)

-1 and 3/4 cup of milk

-2 eggs

Combine all ingredients except chips until well-blended (about 2 minutes). Stir in the chips. Pour into a greased and floured ( I use Baker's Joy!) 12 cup tube or bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 5-55 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Do not overbake. Cool 15 minutes in the pan. (Do not tap cake on the counter before baking--causes chips to sink.)

I wanted to be able to have Mr. Linky here to make sharing your recipes easier, but, mercy, I have no idea how to do it! I can't even find it! If any of you know how and would be ever so sweet to share this info, I would greatly appreciate it!! If you want to leave your favorite recipe in the comments, or just have us go to your blog if you have a recipe to share, please let us know! I look forward to some new and yummy things to eat!!

Sweet Blessings!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Good News and More Good News

Don't you just love some good news? I have some to share with my friends in Bloggyland this evening! (And, yes, I have the hymn with that catchy title just playing my head!!) First of all, I received two items of interest in the mail this afternoon. It truly was hard not to do a happy dance standing out in the street! So, instead, I tore into the envelopes standing in my driveway just to end the waiting.

Envelope #1 was from Nice Lady that I posted about last week...the one who had my chairs and fabric that she was going to slipcover back in January, and they burned up in her warehouse fire. Y'all, bless her heart! She sent me the sweetest card and enclosed was a check to cover my losses!!!!!! YES!!! People still make and keep promises! Love it! "I desire to do Your will, o my God; Your law is within my heart. Psalm 40:8. Praying to do His will by encouraging her and praying for her and believing her became part of my heartfelt routine. I truly want to believe the best in people.

Envelope #2 was from the State Department of South Carolina. It was quite an official looking document from the Secretary of State! I kept looking for a stamp on the paper saying"denied." But, glory! It was approved! Y'all, I have an official, real-live business license for Susan Hood Photography!!! Whoohoo! I think I'll frame it and put it over our bed! Just kidding! I'll be working on the website over the weekend.

Third--not in an envelope this time--was a beautiful gift from a darlin' girl that I met in my favorite store (Hobby Lobby). Last week, I was wandering through the decorative picks to jazz up last year's wreaths. I was admiring the pretty ribbons while chatting with the other ladies on the aisle about Christmas projects. I love getting new ideas and meeting new people! Well, this girl started talking to me about the picks that I had in my hand. Long story short, she is a PROFESSIONAL tree decorator for our town's festival of trees! She has some on displayat the Hyatt and the Hampton Inn! Impressive. I plan on checking them out this weekend.
Anyhow, she talked me into putting down my cutesy little picks and letting her create 2 wreaths for me--for free! It's the "pay it forward" attitude! Wow! A complete stranger offering to make my boring wreaths all fru-fru! I dropped off the wreaths yesterday morning and picked them up today....she's fast! Take a look at what she did:
They lead into the study which is decorated in black, pink and green. Susan colors!!
They had to match my window mistreatments (thank you, Nester!!) in paisley and embellished with hot glued fringe! No sewing there, people!
She even used fringe from the fabric department instead of garland-y stuff (which I do love!) That's being creative--definitely thinking outside the box.
OK, reflection of it in the mirror in the hallway. I just love it! She truly has a gift and is so willing to share it with strangers. This is a huge lesson that I will share and pay forward to others. But I wanted to share it with you all first. :)
Enjoy the weekend! Think of ways to serve a stranger and pay it forward!
Next week, I want to try using MR. LINKY to do a post on favorite Christmas recipes. Pull out your recipe boxes for those tried and true ones to share. I want those recipes that your great aunt Doralyn (or whomever!) passed down to you or your mom or your dad--nothing brand new!! Promise??? I'll plan on seeing y'all back here on Tuesday--maybe I can figure out the linky thingie by then---if not, I'll be hollering at some of you savvy bloggers!
Sweet Blessings!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What's on the top of your tree?

Mercy! Look at all that ribbon! This was only one box of many! My precious friend, Alice, loves her some ribbon!!! She has oodles an oodles of it stored away. Just waiting for people to put on a sad face and say, "I don't know how to make a pretty bow!!" So, "bow-making 101" class began last night after my first Christmas party of the season! Alice also hosted this! Our women's ministry leadership team got together and had food, fun, and fellowship last night. Oh, I love these ladies!

Well, Caci and Jennifer weren't quite ready to go home after the party was over...something about letting their hubbies put the kiddos down for the night! Imagine that! I NEVER would have done anything like that when my boys were little!!! HAAAA! I needed to pick up child #1 after basketball practice around 10ish, so I was prepared to chill out and visit some more. But the boxes of ribbon were just sitting there...tempting us....teasing us with their gorgeous hues and shiny glittery sparkles!!! Alice asked us if we wanted her to show us how she made her bows. Well, duh! Of course we did! She was so patient, so loving, so sweet to share her tips on bow-making 101. Unfortunately, we 3 failed the class, and Alice wound up making each of us bows!!! Mine are gorgeous!!
Alice is making mine in the picture. The ribbon came from Sam's.
So, that leads me to ask y'all...what do you put on top of your Christmas tree? I will put the bows towards the top of the tree with a star or angel on the tippy top. (I haven't found either one of them yet in my ornament boxes!!) I would LOVE to hear your stories! Please share!!
Jennifer also shared her yummy recipe with our group for orzo and wild rice. Y'all...delicious! I'll share it with you later in the week.
BTW, Beth is having a darlin' give-away at her blog! Cute, cute, cute!! Go over and put your name in the hat!!

Sweet Blessings!