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Vivian and Billy have been blessed with three beautiful daughters. The youngest, Madison and Morgan, are six-year-old twins who they are raising to be individuals as well as enjoying the uniqueness of being matchins.

They are training them to live by Christian principles with polite manners and good old common sense (which my husband says is not so common anymore).

            They are now in school and learning even more about the world they live in plus dealing with others who may have been taught differently.

            Recently Billy and Madison decided to prepare dinner for the family. They planned their menu and headed to the grocery store with their list.

            They gathered their items and went to the check-out. While in line to purchase their items, a woman pulled her cart in line ahead of them. Madison, remembering what she had been taught by her parents and in school, confronted the woman.

            “Hey lady, you can’t do that,” Madison said.

            The woman replied that she was in a hurry to get home and cook dinner for her husband.

            “Well my Dad and I are cooking for my Mother,” Madison said.

            The woman continued to argue with the child and remained in line.

            When I heard about this, I was so proud of Madison and her parents. They have taught their children to do what is right and to expect others to do the same no matter their age.

            The woman who would break in line and then argue with a child who confronted her was wrong, let alone setting a poor example.

I mean was she raised by a pack of wolves?

We teach our children to respect adults, but where was this woman’s manners?

I guess she didn’t know about it taking a village to raise a child or understand the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

            We who still believe in Christian principles, just plain old common sense and courtesy must not be afraid to stand our ground and help teach those who haven’t learned these principles of how to live in our world.

            When our children were growing up, we did the best we knew how to teach them these solid principles. Yes, we made many mistakes but our heart was to raise them to be good and responsible adults. I am thankful to say they are today.

            Let us all help others by remembering that actions speak louder than words and there are always little ears listening and watching how adults behave.

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I am trying to clean out some clutter, but it is hard for me. I tend to keep things that I consider special. I decided if I would throw away some things now and keep a few I couldn’t part with maybe next time I could toss more.
As I plundered through my office closet, I found a tray full of old cards.
I was able to toss a few.
A few of the ones I kept:
Happy Mother’s Day! Mom, someday I want to be just like you … a woman with an incredibly perfect daughter. Today she has three of them.
It’s Mother’s Day, and I want you to know that even when I pouted and whined and slammed my door … I never, ever stepped on a crack.
Look at it this way … without these trials, testing of your faith, working of your patience, and fighting the Good Fight … Life would be boring.
Mom. They may have cut the umbilical cord … But no one will ever get through the phone cord. Happy Valentine’s Day! Love, Terri
For My Aunt. Anyone can give things … but it takes someone who’s really special to give time, understanding, caring and love. With all my thanks for all the times you’ve been so good to me. Happy Mother’s Day! Love, Angie
A Mother’s Day card with the sender’s names perfectly written, Tammi, Paul, Brady, Courtney and Whitney. In the top left hand corner are five letters written by a kindergartener, B R A D Y.
Now how could I ever throw these away?

My mother said her mother once gave her a valuable piece of advice, “Don’t ever learn to milk a cow or clean fish and you will never have to do it.”
Mother didn’t learn and she never had to do either even though she was married to a man who hunted until fishing season came in and fished until hunting season came back in.
She never cleaned a fish and didn’t fry too many. Daddy always fried them outside.
I didn’t listen and learn from my grandmother’s piece of advice. I was eager to learn how to milk a cow when I stayed with her. She hadn’t listened to the advice herself and milked many cows during her 73 years.
Being the oldest in a family of no boys, I often helped Daddy with a project if there were no boys or men around.
Therefore, I know a little about various workings around the house and also a car.
Wayne and I have lived in the house we now call home for 17 years. We have painted walls, built a deck and laid hardwood floors, just to name a few projects.
So when I was in the main bathroom one day and noticed how bad of a caulking job someone did around the tub, I thought I could replace that caulk and make an instant difference to the looks of the tub.
My goal is to replace the sinks and tub surround before I die and put an end to my trying to make mauve an acceptable color in the bathroom that every friend and guest use.
I knew I could make it look so much better.
I don’t even remember how long it took me to get to Lowe’s and buy a tube of caulk and get in there to get-r-done.
Caulk Day finally arrived. I entered that bathroom with that trusty tube of caulk, a putty knife, a window scraper, a rag to wipe the excess, a wallpaper brush to sweep the area clean, and a small garbage can to keep my work space tidy.
I began by scraping the old clumpy mildewed caulk. The area had to be clean, dry, and free of any of the old caulk. Whew! This was going to take some time. You could scrape some off, but it was rubbery and often sprung back into place.
Nevertheless, I was determined. I would scrape, pull and deposit in the garbage can until my neck and shoulders yelled “Stop.” Then I would take a break often until the next day, and start again.
The sides looked good so I was going to leave them alone, but there was this one place … then I had to do each side.
When it was clean and dry, I started to caulk.
Rule #1 Make a tiny hole in the tube. This helps with the amount of caulk that comes out at a time.
It was easy, according to the tube directions and what I had seen done before while looking over a shoulder.
You just keep even pressure on the tube and move along at a steady consistent pace.
Trust me, not as easy as it sounded.
I always thought caulk was used to seal cracks so water wouldn’t get in behind the walls and eventually rot them. Not! There were huge-to-me gaps that the caulk was hiding.
Then came the wiping to smooth with a wet finger part. This also worked in the beginning until I had more on my finger than on the wall. I had caulk all over my hands, on my clothes and in my hair.
Thank God I had a wet towel. A wash cloth wouldn’t do.
So I worked, squirted, smoothed, and wiped for two weeks. It is not perfect, but it is better than it was.
Whoever did this job before me, I apologize for every negative thought I had about you being lazy and just in a hurry to get the job done.
I thought about my grandmother’s advice. Maybe I should have taken it to heart. Maybe I should have kept my delicate southern hands with a perfect manicure and out of this small project.
The way I see it, I would have missed some valuable lessons of life.

An article in our local newspaper by David Holliway, Food Editor, brought up the question, “Why have we dropped recipes that at one time were family favorites.”
My answer, “Probably time or fat/sugar/salt content.”
In our race to do 30 hours of work in a 20 hour span has caused many to evade the kitchen for the fast food drive through.
Sure there is a comeback to cooking, especially on weekends. We see commercials with men in their aprons around their big grills and women making salads…
During the week it is rush to work, rush to practice, dance, ball practice, gym, meetings, etc. you get or live the idea I’m trying to relay. Those activities, while good, suck up our family’s home time.
Time when we went home after school and changed clothes, did our homework, and went out to play until called in to eat.
When I grew up, supper was at home and McDonald’s was for the weekend and not every weekend at that. Now it is easier to run through a drive through to get to the above stuff.
Holloway talked last week about old favorites like Watergate Salad. This week he had a recipe from the 1966 Pilsbury Bake-off. The second place winner first introduced the bunt pan as a household necessity.
I have an old Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook I received for hosting a Stanley Party. It has many adjustments penciled in and food splatters on favorite pages and pages not only torn but worn down on the edges. I still refer to it for some of the ‘old’ recipes.
Jennie during one of our phone calls asked if my old cookbook had the recipe for Apple Betty, something she made for her kids when they were little. She couldn’t remember the recipe and wanted to make it for them again and do just like we were talking about above, renew old memories. The old BH&G came through once again.
Hey, I’m not condemning the drive through. I remember when my home town got their first McDonalds and had only sold one million burgers.
I went through Chick-fil-a just today for a milk shake lunch with my Mother. She calls it, “Connie’s Place”. The junior high school classmate of mine owns it.
For this reason, I added a recipe page to this blog because they were old family favorites or quick and easy, but always voted “Good” by my family.
Last week, I made the crock pot roast and hurt myself eating too much of it at one time.
I welcome you to send some of your favorites for additions to the page. That is what we women have done for years, share with friends secrets to being a better wife (he will eventually pick up his socks or you will just pick them up and forget about it), mother (Honey, my Joey did that same thing), sister, daughter (Your Mom means well), friend and cook (Try it. They will love it).

Momma

Momma has always been ready to help me scoop up the sometimes broken pieces of my life and do whatever I needed her to do at the time.
Has she been the “Perfect Mother,” whatever that is. No.
She said her mother always told her if she didn’t learn how to clean fish or milk a cow, she would never have to do them. Daddy always cleaned the fish he caught and we didn’t have a cow so I guess she followed her mother’s philosophy well.
She has never been the woman who had hobbies. She just worked as a waitress, in clothing at several local stores, was an assistant buyer for one, a real estate agent, apartment manager and went back to school and became a nurse.
She didn’t say the words, “I love you” when we were younger, but showed us plenty of love every day through her caring ways.
I always thought she would be the same until she went to sleep one night and woke up in the arms of God.
Instead, I am watching her slip away.
Although she has had several medical problems, her mind had remained sharp. That has changed.
She now forgets things, worries about stuff and imagines conversations that never take place.
Her once neat dresser drawers now contain many used dryer sheets and pictures still in the frames she has removed from the walls. There are socks in four drawers, all the same kind and a flash attachment for a Polaroid camera her and daddy once owned.
One day she loses the key to her safety drawer, the next day it is her glasses.
Somebody steals her watch. I look but can’t find it. I buy another one and she is so happy and sleeps in it so it can’t be stolen. Two days later I find watch #1 wrapped in a wash cloth and stuffed in a drawer. She is so happy, but says it is uncomfortable to sleep in two.
Somebody stole her favorite blouse. She had given me to see if I can get a stain out.
She hides her remote in a Kleenex box so nobody can sit in her chair and watch TV while she is away.
She thinks the people who live next door are plotting to get her thrown out so they can have her room. She tells me they have called the authorities to come and move her out of the room, which might be her reasoning behind the pictures being placed in a drawer.
We do have days when she is very clear and her normal old self. I am learning to cherish those days.
I must say, she lives in an assisted living facility, Sacred Heart Residence, a Catholic facility that is part of Little Sisters of The Poor. The staff is wonderful. They are patient and kind and take very good care of her. We couldn’t ask for anything more.
I changed doctors because the one she had didn’t listen or care. The new one has sent us to several specialists including a neurologist for tests. They take away some medicines and add others. They are searching for ways to make her life more pleasing.
She is tired of going and tells me she doesn’t want to see another doctor ever. What do I do?
I pray for wisdom, still I don’t know.
I heard a woman say once, it is hard when you become the parent and your parents become the children.
I didn’t understand then. I do now.

Momma

Last week, we paid a visit to the Friendship Oak. This impressive tree can be found on the Gulf Coast Campus of the University of Southern Mississippi along highway 90 in Long Beach.
For more than 500 years, this Live Oak has withstood the elements, including many hurricanes with their fierce driving winds blowing salt water from the Gulf of Mexico just across the street.
Some of the limbs reach upward toward the sky while others simply look tired and weighed down touching the ground.
I can imagine people lounging under the tree, spreading out a blanket and taking a rest while looking up through the limbs and leaves to the sky.
Brides and grooms have chosen to have their wedding below these branches because of its beautiful setting and to symbolize how their relationship started and grew.
A platform was once built in among its branches as an outdoor classroom. It is difficult to understand how students could have kept their minds on their studies in this majestic place. The platform was washed away by one of the hurricanes and hasn’t been replaced.
When the tree suffers from disease or a twisted branch, arborists tend to its needs by trimming off the branches and applying ‘tree medicine’ to its wounds.
Only God knows how long this massive tree will stand.
On the way home, I couldn’t stop thinking about the tree.
It began as an ordinary acorn the same size as others. Maybe it was planted by a squirrel for safe keeping. With time it sprouted, the trunk grew bigger, the roots deeper and branches reached out for more light.
Makes me compare the tree to my life.

Friendship Oak

Soup and Friends

There is nothing like homemade soup to bring comfort and warmth on a cold damp day. We all have our favorites. Mine are Santa Fe Soup and Potato. Wayne likes my Chicken Noodle best.
Every December, I set aside a day for lunch with friends.
I call two or three and tell them the date and they pick up from there by calling others. Often, there will be a soon-to-be-friend that I don’t know yet who comes. I love it that my already friends know that it is completely OK with me.
We have a good time “catching up.” It is always a surprise who comes. There have been as many as 23 and as little as 8.
Our schedule is very flexible. Friends come and go as they can with the first arriving at 11 a.m. and the last leaving about 3 p.m.
They insist that we keep the same menu, two kinds of soup, Potato and Santa Fe. They bring everything else.
Most of us don’t see each other at any other time during the year now. At some time in our lives, we saw each other often. Shelia and I saw each other daily when the kids were small. Carol and I saw one another sometimes twice a week when we were on the Women’s Aglow board in Mobile. Cheryl lives across the street. We wave in passing as we scurry to work or church, pick up each other’s mail, and keep a watch on our houses, but we seldom get to visit.
Friends really don’t care whether my house is spotless or not, they just like being together at my house.
I suggest you try some version of this with your friends, neighbors, or co-workers. It is one of my favorite times with friends.

Several have asked for ‘my’ recipe for Santa Fe soup, so it is now in the Recipe section of the blog.