Snazzy Senior

This morning as I was getting all dolled up for the day, (which incidentally takes a little longer each year) several things dawned on me. For years, I use to criticize all the “old” ladies who painted their eyebrows on. Why, for Pete’s sake did they do that? Why not just enhance the brows they had? This morning, as I was examining myself in the 7x magnifying mirror to see if any new wrinkles had landed on my face during the night, I seemed to have found the answer to my question. There, staring back at me was my eyebrow, with oodles of gray little hairs sticking out from above my head. So as I “enhanced” my brown with my auburn eyebrow pencil, the gray hairs that truly must have been 2″ long were so noticeable sticking out of the “enhanced” auburn brows. I sat there and just stared at my face. Not only were there new wrinkles that I know were not there yesterday, but now I had gray eyelashes and gray eyebrows. In the past, the gray eyelashes were easy to disguise. Brown mascara always did the trick and wa-la, I would look in the mirror and think to myself, “no one will ever know I’m past 60 now. But what was I going to do with these awful gray eyebrows. If I pulled them out, there would be so few eyebrows left, guess who would now look like one of the old ladies with just painted eyebrows? That was not going to happen. So I just painted a thicker layer of the eyebrows pencil, hoping that whatever was in the pencil would help hold the gray ones down.
How can I call myself a snazzy senior when I now have this to worry about? No amount of cute little capris or blingie sandals would help. Maybe if I apply a heavier line to the eyeliner it will draw peoples attention away from my brows. Nope, tried that just now and I look like a cat burglar. Or Lady GaGa wanna be.

Feeling a little down about this season of unsnazzines (is that a word), I sprayed on a little more perfume than normal, put on the biggest hoops earrings I owned and walked out with the Lady GaGa eyeliner with my capris and diamond studding (not real of course) flip flops. Randy looked at me and ask me if we were going to a costume party? or was I taking up a new profession? He then informed me that if it were the latter, I might make more money if I charged by the pound. Apparently he doesn’t remember that he will be in the car with me for 20 hours in a few days. I told him that those 20 hours are going to be the longest 20 hours he has had in quite a while.
So today I’m off to shop. Shopping and chocolate…always a pick me up for us
“no so snazzy seniors” Will be shopping for larger sunglasses to cover up the new wrinkles and the gray brows. Think I will eat dried apricots, boiled eggs, pinto beans and a cabbage salad the night before our car trip. That will make Mr. No More Mike Ditka Look Alike sorry he spoke to me like that. Ah….the joys of growing old!

Pioneer Woman Chocolate Sheet Cake

Trying to figure out what I wanted to take to Super Bowl party, Randy ask me to make the Texas Chocolate Sheet cake. A couple of years ago, when I was looking on line for the recipe (yes, I was too lazy to go looking through all my cookbooks) I came across the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for the sheet cake. It was amazing to see how different tasting her recipe was from the one I had always made, but it was really so much better. It is lighter texture and seems like using the two sticks of butter instead of using half shortening and half butter, really made a better cake. So hats off to Lee Drummond for giving us a most wonderful chocolate sheet cake. Just google “Pioneer Woman chocolate sheet cake” and it pops right up. It is worth the couple of extra steps she gives.

Princess On The Porch? Or Golf Course

Well, this past Monday, I found myself with a dear friend, joining our community golf team. We are called the Hits & Giggles, and upon going and playing, I understand that this is the perfect team for me. Many more giggles than hits. It had been more than 15 years since I had picked up a golf club (I don’t count the times I picked one up to threaten a grandkid or Randy). But when Teresa called last week and said that she had been thinking that we had, at most, 20 years to fulfill some things before leaving this world, I began to think about that. How many years had I told myself that I wanted to get back to golf, but always had an excuse. Excuses like, “will bending over to pick up my golf ball make my butt look big?” or “What if I get on a team that doesn’t have to pick up their balls because they actually don’t need 8 times to get to the green” Or my favorite, “what if I am actually good and they want me to go on tour, how would I manage being gone all the time and leave poor Randy at home?” I decided to take a chance, leave my rocker on the porch and go for it.
So off Teresa and I go to buy some cute clothes for our first day. We both decided that because we would be so bad, that if we looked cute, maybe the others wouldn’t notice how bad we hit the ball, if we indeed did hit the ball.

We arrived at the golf course and was immediately put on separate teams! WHAT? We had counted on riding the cart together and at least knowing that we were playing together so as to have at least one other person who was as bad as each other. So off she goes to play with some friends we know. I was teamed with a lady who is 82 and has hit 2 holes in one and plays 3 times a week. Plus 2 men who play every week, for years. AND…guess who is on team 1 and is the first to hit? Yep, me. You are kidding me. I had just bought new clubs last week and had never even had them out of the box until Sunday night. And I am up first on the tee box. Well, they always say, “look confident like you know what you are doing and that is half the battle.” oh my gosh, how do I look confident when it has been 15 years. People do lie. It’s not like riding a bicycle. You do forget how to do it. It took me 5 minutes to get the stupid tee in the ground. So here we go. I bowed my head and prayed and promised God that I still had some good years left and I would gladly go to Africa to be a missionary if He would just not let me miss the swing at the ball and it would go farther than 10 feet. I leave next month for Africa. IT went about 30 ft.

About the 3rd hole, I went to get my driver out of the bag and it wasn’t there. Had I inadvertently put it in one of the other bags. So after accusing the other 3 members of not looking very good in their bags to find my driver, here comes a golf cart driving up to where we were with a man holding my driver saying, “did anyone leave this on the ground back there?” What had I done? Had I in a fit of rage thrown it down without realizing it? Had I dropped it? No, that is impossible, how do you drop a driver without knowing it? So I guess I laid it down on the ground to take the flag out of the hole. Senior moment, I never could remember why or how it was left on the ground.

All in all, I didn’t embarrass myself too much so that I am excited to go back next week. Have had little sensors put on my clubs so that if I leave one behind again, my phone will alert me. Went back to Costco for more golf shirts. I didn’t improve enough this past week not to have to look cute when playing.
Neither Teresa or I won any of the “closest to the pin or longest drive” but if there would have been a prize for dressing the part, maybe we would have at least been in the running. Thank goodness for cute golf clothes!

Apple Cinnamon Bread

This bread sounded so good, I am headed to store to buy applesauce so I can make it. It comes from a ad in Paula Deen’s magazine from Sevierville, TN where they sell this bread at the Apple Valley Creamery Ice Cream and Bake Shop. So if it is in Paula’s magazine, it has got to be good!

3 eggs
1 cup canola oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
3 cups flour
1 teas baking powder
1 teas baking soda
1 teas salt
2 table cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins (I use golden raisins as the flavor is a little milder)
1/2 cup coconut

Preheat oven to 350
Cream first 4 ingredients until well blended.
Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Pour into 3 greased medium bread pans (loaf pans)
Bake at 350 for about 45 min or until bread tests done.

*I will probably add 1 teas vanilla and 1/2 cup chopped pecans.

A jar of spiced peach jam was given to me by a dear friend that I cannot wait to spread over a hot piece of this bread (and of course a big slab of butter)!
Would love to hear back any comments after you bake this.

Friendship Follies

We were in Puerta Vallarta for 10 days. Each day brought so many memories, some with laughter, some with thoughts of past experience between the 6 of us. These couples who we are here with, have become like family to us. We have traveled to Doyle Sprigs together, San Diego and now Mexico. The evenings of going out to eat at different restaurants and discovering new places has been a joy. Relaxing in Dee and Jeff’s room to snack on guacamole and curried dip and our new favorite snack; jicama with Tejin seasoning sprinkled over it, before going out at night was something each of us looked forward. Each evening after dinner, we sat around a table in their room to play cards. Eagerly, each evening we would stand outside waiting to see what size cab would arrive to pick the 6 of us. Jeff, who is 6’7″,280 lbs and my hubbie, at 6’1 and 260 would draw straws to see who would get to sit up front, all the while getting “kneed in the back” by the one who had to sit behind him, since the front seat would have to be pushed all the way back, allowing for their knees to even just be in the car. We all laughed at the thought of their legs having to just stick out the windows of the small taxi cabs since sometimes the taxi door would not even shut completely because of their size. We actually got pretty good at trying to figure out 20% tip in pesos.
The adventures we had just trying to guess what the bus route was which was written on the bus window made us all make a goal of learning a little spanish before returning the next year. After getting on the wrong bus and having to ride in certain areas of town that, should I say, was a little “sketchy” made us decide that learning Spanish might be to our benefit. But, sitting around the pool, talking about our kids, our season of life, how the Lord was growing us and sometimes allowing us to go through certain trials, these are the days we remember the most. The times when we open up to each other. The stories which we hear from each of us just draw us closer as we know that we will be praying for one another.
Each day we found ourselves not only laughing at the new aches and pains which seem to accompanied us down to Mexico, but realizing that we were still all so blessed to be able to do what we were doing. Yes, we were still able to waddle out to the poolside and enjoy the sunshine. We had eyes that allowed us to watch whales out in the ocean (and some poolside, but I won’t go there) and read. We had ears to still hear the songs being played by the Mariachi Band that had such a strange version of “I Did It My Way”. We were still able to walk and spend our husbands money on new blouses and silver earrings. Dinner might be followed by lots of Rolaids, but the heartburn was so worth it as beautiful lobster or shrimp was set in front of us alongside a huge plate of guacamole and chips. It was wonderful to still be able to jump and run when a large iguana came close to our pool side chairs.
Knowing that we love to come home to our own beds, it was still so hard to leave these precious friends. It is amazing to think about how friendships seem to thrive when new memories are made together. The laughter, the praying together, the sharing of meals, all tasting each other’s food; exploring new places,these are just some of the things that make new memories so special. It is also what gives us more reason to do these things more often. We came home thankful for this special time we had together. The rooms are already reserved for 2019, when we will, Lord willing, once again descend upon Puerto Vallarta. Our list of restaurants which we never made it to this year is written down for next visit. We are going to venture out to a new little town about a hour away from PV. Zip lining is on my list for next year.
Friendships are so special. Wishing each of you a year of new memories with endearing friendships….it is what brings us lives of joy and blessing.

Steeples Or Strip Mall

Sitting out looking out at the ocean while in Mexico, I have been reminded of something i heard last week. There are times when we just need to feel a sense of reverence in our lives. Back some years ago I remember walking around the corner in Venice to behold St Mark’s Cathedral. The tears that filled my eyes could not be contained. The awe that was felt was something that allowed me to experience something that I don’t think I had felt in a very long time. As churches evolve and seek places in which to be available to neighborhoods, it seems that many are choosing to locate in Shopping Strip Malls. Probably due to financial or location concerns, the strip malls have attracted numerous churches. With these thoughts in mind, there are some ideas that have made me question some of our modern day decisions.
As Randy and I searched for a church home after moving to Arizona, we discovered the different “feels” that came when we walked into the diffferent churches. As a child, I remember the feeling of quietness, reverence and holiness when walking into a sanctuary. Each week as my parents and I would walk into the church, no matter how hectic our morning had been or the arguments which maybe had ensued in the car headed to church, as soon as we would walk into the church, there seemed to be a peace and quietness which drew me into a feeling that i was now in the presence of God. We were never allowed to run in the church. We never brought food or drink into the sanctuary. It was looked upon as someplace special. It was God’s House. It was a special place to be. We we were taught to honor it.
Today as we entered church after church, there would be kids running in and out, folks thinking that they might not survive if they have to go an hour without their coffee. One of the churches we attended meet for service in “the box”.
Please understand that I am not saying that God is not in these places. I know He is. But it seems sad to me that we are not teaching the next generation to reverence or honor God’s House. We are missing sometimes that part of Christianity that allows us to feel That sense of awe and reverence . The churches with the steeple seem to be a part of the past.
Maybe if we begin to enter our church, no matter whether it has a steeple with a green lawn around it or a restaurant located next to it, with a desire and determination to enter with our minds made up that we are entering God’s holy place, our hearts and minds might enjoy a little more peace, quietness and holiness that He desires to give us. Quietness… “Be still and know that I am God”

A Sweet Memory from 2013 survived the holidays. Barely. With 4 extra adult children and 3 grandchildren in our little abode, 2014 couldn’t get here quick enough. Now, we are so glad to have family here to celebrate New Years and the Rose Parade, we just wish that we had been in our 40’s or even 50’s instead of our 60’s. In the last 5 days I have cooked the following: homemade meatballs with sauce and spaghetti Creamed eggs and biscuits, hash browns, bacon, sausage Ham, scalloped potatoes, fresh sweet potatoes, fresh green beans, barbequed hamburgers and hot dogs, sweet potato fries. Salad, Sister Schubert rolls, chocolate cream pie with fresh whipped cream. 2 cherry pies. Hershey’s chocolate chip cookies Heavenly Hots, bacon and sausage Ham sandwiches, chicken nuggets, 3 frozen pizzas Filled and emptied the dishwasher 12 times. Emptied garbage 26 times.Changed poopie diapers, watched SpongeBob every morning, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse every afternoon for 4 days .Because Caleb, our 4 yr old is on a Batman kick, we were all given names of Batman characters. He named me “Joker”. I was told that I had to laugh like the Joker in Batman when I talked. But we loved the memories that were made. The laughter and card games were such a bonding time. Our kids who are expecting their first baby, our 7th grandchild, had the opportunity to announce their great news by posing in front of the float that had a baby carriage and baby yellow ducky, with a sign that said, “Baby’s First Parade”. It was an exciting week, but as soon as the last car pulled out of the driveway, we collapsed and slept for 2 hours. We didn’t even talk for 4 hours. The peace and quiet that had escaped us for 5 days was just to good to interrupt. We felt like we had been on a week long reality survival show. We barely survived. If it had been a reality show, we would have been the first ones ask to leave. We didn’t even get a T-shirt that said, “we survived grandkids for a week and all we got was this stupid T-shirt”. No, all we were left with was an empty fridge, a house full of toys that they forgot to take, sticky floors and an energy level so low that it will take us another week just to catch up on our sleep. After the last visit, we did learn a lesson. We learned that if we don’t want to loose small items, such as phones, remotes or fireplace gas keys, they had to be put up on the top shelves of closets. We are still looking for part of the ornamental grill that covers the fireplace, that disappeared last visit. Sunday was our first day without watching SpongeBob or having Caleb running through the house with his light sabor, which of course quickly cleaned off the coffee table of candles and magazines. Both Randy and I feel that we would have been better equipped to handle all this had we been a little younger, say 25-30 years old. But all of it was worth it. We have new precious memories that will last us until next Christmas. A visit any sooner would put us in the old folks home. We think that since it might take us a while to rest up, we will go to them next time. We want them to have the great experience of having house guests. It will be a learning time for them. We will demand having our favorite meals cooked. We will insist that Wheel of Fortune be played all day, at maximum volumne and insist that our prune juice be brought to us at 6 a.m. and our milked warmed around 8 p.m. We will request that our robes be warmed in the dryer and brought to us in the mornings. If we can’t sleep, we will get up in the middle of the night and watch murder mysteries to lull us back to sleep. Since we know that they are use to having cartoons blaring in the background at all times of the day and night, that shouldn’t bother them. Earthquake aftershocks cannot compare with the shock of family at Christmas. Family, you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them. It’s what keeps the holidays exciting! Share this:

Salisbury Meatballs With Alfredo Pasta

1 pound ground sirloin
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup chopped yellow onion, divided
3/4 cup panko crumbs
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tables Dijon mustard
1 tables Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 teas Montreal steak seasoning
3 tables olive oil, divided
1 (15 oz) jar Alfredo sauce
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 (16 oz) package linguine, cooked according to package directions
Garnish: grated Parmesan cheese, chopped fresh parsley

In a large bowl, stir together beef, egg, 1/2 cup onion, bread crumbs (if you don’t have panko, substitute with 1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs, such as Progresso brand),ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire and steak seasoning. Shape mixture into 1″ balls.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tables oil over medium heat. Add meatballs; cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook until meatballs are done, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in another large skillet, heat remaining 1 tables oil over medium heat. Add remaining 1/2 cup onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in Alfredo sauce and cream, and bring to a low boil. Add cooked pasta and gently toss together until heated through about 5 minutes. Serve meatballs over pasta mixture, Garnish with cheese and parsley.

Makes 4-6 servings

One Word

For a few years, I have taken the advice of Debbie Stuart and prayed that the Lord would give me a word for the year. The word which He gives you is a word that will amazingly appear in places you would least expect and you know in your heart that the word you are given is for a reason. For 2017 my word was Tenacity. I had begun to pray and ask the Lord what word He had for me for 2017. One morning in early December I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and tenacity was the word that was in my mind. I had to go look it up because I truly never remembered using it ever, nor did I know what it really meant. When I looked it up, I discovered that it meant “learning to be content with circumstances and to persevere, going forward. For the next few mornings I would wake up thinking that word. Looking back over 2017, I know why that word was the word that I was suppose to study, to take to heart and to apply to my life. 2017 came with some struggles of circumstances which I had never thought would come across my life. God was faithful and provided His grace and sufficiency to me in areas that I needed to grow up, not only spiritually, but mentally. Fast forward to 2018.
Reading an email from a friend who was talking about what she felt the Lord had given her as her word for 2018, I suddenly realized that I had not even begun to think about praying for this year’s word. So I quickly began to pray and ask the Lord what word He had for me this year. Past years’ words for me have been,
“tenacity” “restore” “serve”. So when I was praying, I expected my word to be something along those lines. But once again, on December 6th I woke up thinking about the word “kindness”. I thought about that and wondered why that word was on my mind. But again the next day, “kindness” would just pop into my mind. IT was then that I begin to ask the Lord if that was indeed my word. On December 8th, I woke up and came into the living room and opened up my devotion book as I do each morning. As I opened up Streams in the Desert for December 8th, this was the scripture at the top of the devotion, “Colossians 3:12, Put on as the elect of God, kindness.”
It was the story of an old man who went around town who carried a can of oil everywhere he went, and if he passed through a door that squeaked, he poured a little oil on the hinges. Anyplace he went that needed a touch of oil to stop squeaking or lubricating, making the hard places easier for those who came after him, he oiled them. The devotion went on to say:
“Have you your own can of oil with you? Be ready with your oil of helpfulness in the early morning to the one nearest you. (oh boy, that meant that I had to be continually “kind” to my husband for a year,) It may lubricate the whole day for him. The oil of good cheer to the downhearted one-oh how much it may mean…our lives touch others but once, perhaps, on the road of life; and then, mayhap, our ways diverge, never to meet again.
It ended with “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love.” Romans 12:10
About an hour after reading this, a dear friend from California texted me with this message;
“thought of you this morning as I was reading Streams in the Desert……….hope you have a blessed day” She had never written to me about a devotion before and here she was writing about the same one I had just read.
Then on December 13th, a blog I read from time to time called Two Chums popped up in my email. For “some” reason, I opened it that morning and this was what it opened with, “above all else, be kind”. It was at this point that i quit asking God for more confirmation and declared that my word for 2018 is Kindness. I don’t know why yet and I don’t know what circumstances will be in my life this year. Sometimes it might be hard to fall on the promises of God that “I can do all things with God’s strength” and “nothing is impossible with God” But I can rest assured that “my God will supply all my needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus”, even His strength to help me show kindness to everyone, no matter what!

If you have never ask God to give you a word, begin to pray about that. It will be amazing how He will reveal it to you and how He will use it for your spiritual growth. Also there is a book called “My One Word” by Mike Ashcroft.
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