Uncategorized

"WELCOME HOME! OUR FAMILY’S JOURNEY TO EXTREME JOY"

I am interrupting my three-part series: “Three Steps to Accomplishing Anything” to share with you one of the best inspirational books I have read in a long time. “Welcome Home! Our Family’s Journey to Extreme Joy” is the chronicles of the Woodhouse Family: Dad is Jeremy; Mom, Kimberley; Son, Josh and Daughter, Kayla. From several miscarriages to the birth of Josh and then Kayla, from severe postpartum depression to the discovery of Kayla’s extremely rare nerve disorder, Kimberley led her family on a journey to find out what it means to “count it all joy.”

Kimberley writes with a passion that draws you into her family, and you will fall in love with each member. Have your hankies ready – you will cry – but you will also laugh, smile, and sit on the edge of your seat as you wait for developments in Kayla’s illness and treatment. You will be inspired to make James 1:2-4 your family’s verse to live by: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

If you had to choose only one book to read in the remainder of 2009, make it “Welcome Home! Our Family’s Journey to Extreme Joy.” You will not regret it. I promise.

Be sure and leave your email address for the drawing for an autographed copy of Kimberley’s book!

Uncategorized

Where Has It Gone?

For at least the last two weeks, I’ve been unable to write. I have lost count of how many times I have sat down at the computer, determined to write, and there is nothing. No thoughts, no musings, no inspiration. A Big Fat Nothing! And it is not just my three-times-a-week-blogs that I am unable to write, but I haven’t written one word on my current work in progress.

What is causing my little gray cells to rebel against writing? Too many things are going on in my life and family’s life and that is at least, part of the problem. I can’t concentrate because my mind is flying in a million different directions seeking a solution to situations about which I can do nothing. Why do I worry like that? Is that type of worry hereditary? My mom worries the same way. She worries over every tiny thing. I have often said half-jokingly that my mom worries when there is nothing to worry about because there is nothing to worry about. It’s like she is in a constant state of “waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

Another contributing factor is that I don’t sleep well. When I sit down at the computer, especially on a hot summer day like today, I get very sleepy. I either succumb to the lure of sleep or I have to stand and walk around for a few minutes until I can sit again, only to fall asleep — again.

I also wonder if I truly did hear God speak last year when He said I was to write. I believe so, but there were times during these two weeks when I was so completely unable to put any words on paper, I thought I dreamed hearing God’s voice on this topic.

Too many distractions can certainly cause me to lose the muse! When I write, I am at my computer. I have three email accounts and FaceBook. Need I say more? Discipline will now be the order every time I sit at my computer.

I have determined today to write. If I have to type the words “blah, blah, blah” until the page is full, I will do so. But I will not have to do that. After all, I’ve just written almost a full page. To you, it probably seems meaningless and a waste of time to read it. To yours truly, after a two-week period of nothingness, it’s a beautiful thing.

Uncategorized

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Fried chicken. Tasty. Crispy. Brown. Greasy. “Finger-lickin’ good.” KFC. Why fry chicken when some one else can fry it so well? Last night, Dave, my husband, was really craving fried chicken and loads of carbs, commonly know at KFC as creamed potatoes.

Extra crispy. Requires loads of napkins. So juicy one almost needs a shower when finished eating.

Fried chicken reminds me of my mother cooking fried chicken when I was growing up. No one, absolutely no one, could fry chicken like my mother. She would take chicken pieces and wash them off. Each piece of chicken would be dipped into buttermilk and dredged through a mixture of flour, salt and pepper. The process of dipping into buttermilk and dredging in the flour mixture was repeated and then the chicken was dropped into hot oil. Mother would fry the chicken until it was golden brown. Scrumptious! Eat your heart out, Colonel!

Although we never had a garden, my parents would buy bushels (literally) of beans, peas and corn every summer from the Atlanta Farmer’s Market. When my mother was working full-time, my grandmother would come early in the morning and she, my sister and I would shell peas or beans, or snap green beans all day long. Or we would shuck beautiful ears of corn, pulling off the green husks and silky strands to reveal the golden yellow kernels of corn. Once my mom arrived home from work, she would “blanch” the beans or peas – a procedure that required bringing the legumes to a boil and then sitting the hot pan in icy cold water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled off, the beans or peas would be placed into containers and in the freezer.

When we had corn to freeze, my mother would stand on her feet for hours cutting the kernels of corn off until nothing was left but the cob. It was quite a sight to see, as the corn kernels fell into a large dishpan and the white, milky cream dripped off the cob. Sometimes, if she cut the corn too quickly, the kernels would fly across the table, usually landing on the floor. Once all the kernels were in the dishpan, my mother blanched the corn just like she did the beans. All of the corn, every vegetable we snapped, or shelled, or sliced or cut went into the freezer so that once winter arrived, we had fresh vegetables all season long. But the corn was the best and my favorite. My mother would add a full stick of butter, salt and pepper and cook the corn until it was tender and soft. The corn would literally melt in my mouth!

I have truly missed my mother’s cooking since she has not been able to cook due to her health. Unfortunately, I did not inherit her cooking “genes!”

Addendum: I had a “Betty Crocker” Day a few weeks ago. This is what my children say when I decide to experiment in the kitchen, bake – any of those domesticated things that “Betty Crocker” would do. So I purchased corn on the cob and blanched some on the cob and froze it. Easy enough. I got bolder and cut the corn off the cob and blanched it. Not too bad. Now we wait and see how it tastes!

Uncategorized

Sunday Dinner

During my childhood Sunday dinner at my house was always a special affair. Preparations began on Saturday. I would wake up to the delectable smell of freshly baked cake layers that Mom had made from scratch. No boxed mixes for my mother! I would lie in bed and try to determine what the cake flavor of the week was just by the smell in the air. Was it her rich and moist chocolate cake? Or the smooth red velvet cake? Or maybe it was her sweet strawberry cake. By this point, I was drooling and I decided to get up and check it out. The cake layers were on wire racks cooling and I could tell from the dark color that this week’s feature was my mom’s famous Chocolate Cake with Homemade Chocolate Icing. Yes! My favorite!

Next on her agenda was preparing the veggies. Although we never had a garden, my parents would buy bushels (literally) of beans, peas and corn every summer from the Atlanta Farmer’s Market. When my mother was working full-time, my grandmother would come early in the morning and she, my sister and I would shell peas or beans, or snap green beans all day long. Or we would shuck beautiful ears of corn, pulling off the green husks and silky strands to reveal the golden yellow kernels of corn. Once my mom arrived home from work, she would “blanch” the beans or peas – a procedure that required bringing the legumes to a boil and then sitting the hot pan in icy cold water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled off, the beans or peas would be placed into containers and in the freezer.

When we had corn to freeze, my mother would stand on her feet for hours cutting the kernels of corn off until nothing was left but the cob. It was quite a sight to see, as the corn kernels fell into a large dishpan and the white, milky cream dripped off the cob. Sometimes, if she cut the corn too quickly, the kernels would fly across the table, usually landing on the floor. Once all the kernels were in the dishpan, my mother blanched the corn just like she did the beans. All of the corn, every vegetable we snapped, or shelled, sliced or diced went into the freezer so that once winter arrived, we had fresh vegetables all season long. But the corn was the best and my favorite. My mother would add a full stick of butter, salt and pepper and cook the corn until it was tender and soft. The corn would literally melt in your mouth! I complained long and loudly as a child and teen about having to spend part of my summer vacation days snapping or shelling or husking, but not one complaint did anyone hear from me when it came time to eat those veggies!

Every Sunday morning, Mom would get up very early to prepare the entrée. If we were lucky enough to have a roast, she would prepare it by adding seasonings, carrots, potatoes and onions. Just before leaving for church, in the oven the roast would go. When we arrived home, the aroma would greet us as soon as we opened the door.

If we weren’t having roast, fried chicken was usually on the menu. No one, absolutely no one, could fry chicken like my mother. She would take chicken pieces and wash them off. Each piece of chicken would be dipped into buttermilk and dredged through a mixture of flour, salt and pepper. The process of dipping into buttermilk and dredging in the flour mixture was repeated and then the chicken was dropped into hot oil. Mother would fry the chicken until it was golden brown on the outside, moist and tender on the inside. Scrumptious! Eat your heart out, Colonel Sanders!

I have truly missed Sunday dinners at my parent’s house since “growing up” and moving out. My mother is no longer able to cook due to her health. Although I can write about her fabulous cooking and Sunday dinners, unfortunately, that is as far as my cooking talents go!

Uncategorized

The Good News

“Dear Author,

It’s with a great deal of pleasure that I tell you that your entry progressed successfully from the Initial Short list to the Intermediate Short List.

Your entry has now achieved Commended status. Please accept my heartiest congratulations!

Sadly, however, your work has not been selected for the Final Short List. Nonetheless, you did remarkably well to progress this far in the judging. Only approximately 50 submissions out of the 2,000 or so received are now being considered for cash prizes and Highly Commended citations.”

Thus began the email notifying me that my short story did not make the final cut. A babe-in-writing, this was still good news to me. The very kind judge made several encouraging remarks, urging me to edit, re-write, re-tweak and re-submit, which I have every intention of doing.

The title of the judge’s email was “The Good News and the Not So Good.” The entire email started me thinking, “What if God treated us like this?” What if, at the end of every day, we had to submit a manuscript of our day to God? What would His response be?

Dear Edwina:

It is with a great deal of pleasure that I tell you I have received your manuscript for today’s activities. Thank you for your timely submittal.

Sadly, I must tell you that your manuscript did not make the Initial Short List. Your activities today were less than satisfactory. For example: The lady you cut off in traffic because you left too late to get to work on time? She couldn’t see too well because she was crying. She had just found out that she no longer had a job to look forward to everyday.

The clerk in the grocery store whose head you bit off when she couldn’t tell you where to find that special sauce you absolutely had to have? She had just started her next shift, after having been on her feet for eight hours, making minimum wage, so she can put food on the table for herself and her two children.

I could go on, but you get the point. Please consider editing, re-writing, re-tweaking and re-submitting tomorrow.

Sincerely,
GOD

Obviously, God does not require a daily manuscript, nor does He send us a daily letter. But He does expect our “daily manuscript” to look much better than mine did (both the actual written one and the one I just made up!)

I want mine to read “You have represented Me well today my child. I saw you pay for the elderly gentleman’s groceries. I heard you when you stopped in the middle of your busy day and prayed for everyone on the prayer list. You showed My love to everyone you saw. Well done, my child!” Love,God

What about you? What would your daily manuscript look like? What would God’s response be?

May all of our “manuscripts” improve every day!

blessing, faith, spinster

Love Finds You in Revenge, Ohio

“The only thing worse than being a spinster is being a twice-jilted spinster. At twenty-five, Catherine Morgan is hardly an old maid. But she’s given up on marriage and instead manages the family’s general store in the little town of Revenge, Ohio. Bound by a promise made to her mother to care for her three sisters until they marry, she’ll do anything to keep them safe. But Sheriff Corbin Hunter stands in her way. He has evidence that her sister’s fiancé is really an infamous bank robber – and the man who murdered his father. Catherine finds herself torn between saving her sister’s heart and losing hers to the man who jilted her seven years ago. Will Corbin’s desire for revenge cause him to lose Catherine a second time?”



Dishes were ignored, floors weren’t vacuumed and the family fended for themselves because I could not put this book down! Love Finds You in Revenge, Ohio is one of the best Christian historical fiction books I have read in a very long time. I will confess: historical novels are not at the top of my list of favorite types of books to read. However, the history of the late 1800’s, and the description of Revenge, Ohio (which actually does exist) are interwoven throughout the book so masterfully that I never realized I was being taught a history lesson. The suspense kept me up until all hours of the night and every time I thought I had determined “whodunit,” another surprise was mixed into the plot. And then there was the heroine and hero. Have you ever wanted to reach through the pages of a book and shake two people until they come to their senses? These two were more stubborn than the mules used to plow the fields. Above all, Catherine’s faith and that of her family was truly a blessing to behold.



Lisa Harris, award winning author of Christian fiction and nonfiction, has done it again. She has combined history with romance, suspense and faith in a book that will captivate readers for years to come. Thanks, Lisa, for the privilege of reviewing your book!

Be sure and leave a comment to be entered in the drawing to win a copy of Love Finds You in Revenge, Ohio. Leave your email address in your comment so I have a way of contacting you.