Showing posts from 2010

Christmas in Dixie

I am a special pine cone, made with love just for you. My journey has been long, but there is still much more to do. You see I don't just come from any old tree... The place I call home is somewhere near the sea. My hope is that I bring fond memories of someone you hold dear  So that every Christmas you can feel that she is near. By now you may have guessed, and yet it is true, I came from Granny's house to share her love with you. Noel, Amy

Sprinkled with Memories

Decorating Christmas cookies is one of my favorite things to do with my girls. Last night we had a decorating party at our house for my small group of 6th grade girls from church. It was fun to watch them giggle while they worked and created their own beautiful cookies, sprinkled with memories of the most wonderful time of the year. This is the best recipe I have found for baking sugar cookies, and I have used it for years to make cookies througout the the year to give as gifts: No Fail Sugar Cookies This recipe is GREAT when using complex cookie cutters. The dough holds its' shape and won't spread during baking. Make sure you let your oven preheat for at least 1/2 hour before baking these or any other cookies. 6 cups flour 3 tsp. baking powder 2 cups butter 2 cups sugar 2 eggs 2 tsp. vanilla extract or desired flavoring (I like almond myself) 1 tsp. salt Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Mix dry ingredients

Etched in a Stump

One of our family's favorite Christmas traditions is taking a trip to a tree farm to pick out and chop down our tree. Daddy cuts off the stump, and each year one of our 4 girls gets her turn to draw a picture, which daddy then carves into the stump to be displayed in our home and etched in our memories, precious memories of Christmas past that bring joy to Christmas present. Thanks to my friend Lori for this great idea. We began this tradition in 2004. "Come my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days..." Psalm 34:11-12 Amy

Date of Infamy

Five years ago, my husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary in Hawaii and visited Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. Today we remember the attack on Pearl Harbor 69 years ago where 2,390 Americans lost their lives, a "date that will live in infamy." Never forget. Still seeping...  "May God grant His face to shine upon them and grant them peace." 

Living a Legacy

Today I had the privilege of teaching the conclusion of the Ruth Bible study at Second Baptist Church West campus written by Kelly Minter.  The theme of this study is "Love, Loss and Legacy." I taught from Psalm chapter 1 on how to live a legacy: Be firmly planted where God leads you in each season of life. Be firmly fixed on Christ and God’s Word. Be strengthened, not blown away, by the buffeting of the winds of life. I shared the journey of my dear friend Tina, a modern day Ruth, who by the age of 31 had suffered the loss of a husband and young daughter. She is living a legacy, and I am thankful to witness it. This is her story in her own words: The story of Ruth is a beautiful picture of how God reaches into a life filled with tragedy to offer guidance, encouragement, provision, and above all, love. It reminds me of His redemptive power in my own life. No matter what comes my way, God remains faithful. Newly married, we were so young and so carefree. I often

An Honor to Serve

This week George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, released his new book Decision Points , an "extraordinary memoir." As Governor of Texas, he contributed a writing titled On Family Values to the book released in 2000,  Forever Texas: Texas, The Way Those Who Lived It Wrote It: ...while the world may be changing dramatically , remember that families are the backbone of our society.  Families must endure.  In our families we find love and we learn the compassionate values essential to make us good citizens of the world.  When the time comes for you to start your own families, I hope each and every one of you will strive to build not just a house, but a home.  It takes hard work and dedication-just ask your parents.  But home is where our hearts find peace, and home is where our dreams take wing. Government can hand out money, but it cannot put hope in our hearts or a sense of purpose in our lives.  A successful career can put a fancy car in the driveway, b

Because We All Can't Come and Go By Bubble

About 12:30 yesterday afternoon, I pulled a surprise out of the mommy fun bucket and bought tickets for me and the 3 big sisters to see a 2 pm Wicked show at the Hobby Center.  We almost needed to "defy gravity" to make it downtown in time, but we made it and what an afternoon at the theater it was.  The "thank you, Mommy" responses were priceless, the tickets and souveneirs, well, not so much, but worth every penny. Thank you, Daddy, for making it possible. A few weeks ago I came across this recipe for a wickedly good peach cobbler by Patti LaBelle which I made with the peaches we picked from E and B Orchards in Navasota. WICKED PEACH COBBLER 1 Piecrust for Double Crust Pie (I used ready-made pastry crust dough) 3 lbs Medium Peaches , peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch slices 2 Tbsp Cornstarch 1 Cup Sugar 2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon , plus more for the top of the crust 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) Butter , chilled, cut into small piece

A Star-Spangled Tribute to The Forgotten Verses

USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor The Star-Spangled Banner Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight, O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming? And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof thru the night that our flag was still there. Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave? On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep, Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep, As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam, In full glory reflected now shines in the stream: 'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the b

Be-You-tiful You

Finding your identity in C-H-R-I-S-T C reated wonderful- Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. H eld- Psalm 18:16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me. R edeemed and Restored- Psalm 103:4 Praise the Lord who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion. I mage-bearer of God- 2 Cor. 2:14 through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. S ufficient- 2 Cor. 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you. T aken care of- Deut. 33:12 Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.

Mother of All Meatloaves (aka Gonzales Meat Loaf)

Meatloaf  is classic southern comfort food, and when I discovered this recipe a few years ago, I have never looked at another. Hence, the mother of all meatloaves.  This is a favorite in our home.  Gathering around the table for a good home-cooked meal with the family is a perishing art form, sadly.  It doesn't have to be gourmet.  It just has to be done.  And to be done, it has to be planned.  Take some time, grab your favorite cookbook, search for simple recipes online, make a list, get to the store, simplify your schedule, and serve your family.  It will be the simple times around the dinner table and the aroma in the kitchen that your children will remember when they are grown, more than any expensive meal out. Cherish the miracle of ordinary days, as Emily is advised in the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Our Town, when she is allowed to revisit one ordinary day from her past, "At least choose an unimportant day.  Choose the least important day in your life.  It will be imp

Remember the Dream. Remember November.

"We must act today in order to preserve tomorrow." President Ronald Reagan

Cumberland Island, Wild and Beautiful

"A grand and graceful mansion located on Georgia's Golden Isles on the state's southernmost coastal island, Cumberland Island was the 19th century retreat of Thomas and Lucy Carnegie who, in 1900, built Greyfield for their daughter, Margaret Ricketson. Converted to an inn during 1962 by her daughter, Lucy R. Ferguson, and family - who oversee the daily operation - Greyfield Inn exudes the welcoming atmosphere and charm of a family home." We had the pleasure of spending several days here celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary. Every part of our stay was charming, like stepping back in time, graced by nature at every turn. No cars are allowed on the island except for a few service vehicles and very few residents. 80% of the island is part of the National Seashore with 18 miles of pristine white sand beach. No wonder that John F. Kennedy, Jr. chose this enchanted island for his wedding to Carolyn Bessette in 1996 at the First African Baptis


Written by Laura Jeanne Allen My Grandfather and Grandmother were married for over half a century, and played their own special game from the time they had met each other. The goal of their game was to write the word "shmily" in a surprise place for the other to find. They took turns leaving "shmily" around the house, and as soon as one of them discovered it, it was their turn to hide it once more. They dragged "shmily" with their fingers through the sugar and flour containers to await whoever was preparing the next meal. They smeared it in the dew on the windows overlooking the patio where they always had warm, homemade pudding with blue food coloring. "Shmily" was written in the steam left on the mirror after a hot shower, where it would reappear bath after bath. At one point, my Grandmother even unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper to leave "shmily" on the very last sheet. There was no end to the places "shmily" w

Ordinary Days Extraordinary God

A few weeks ago a man approached my husband Matt as he was walking from his building in downtown Houston to the parking garage. He thanked Matt for not walking away and simply asked Matt if he could help him. The man never asked for money, just that he was in a desperate situation and did not know what to do. Skeptical at first, Matt asked for more information. His young son was in critical condition at Texas Children's Hospital with a clot in his brain. They are from Beaumont and were not able to get a room that night at Ronald McDonald House , so he and his late-term pregnant wife were staying in a shelter downtown. Their truck had broken down, so he was taking the train back and forth to TCH with passes the chaplain had given him. Matt felt like God was leading him, so he opened his wallet, thinking he may have at least $5, but to his surprise, there was a 50 dollar bill. He gave it to the man who was so grateful and said it was more than they needed. Matt replied "oh, no,

Operation Jolly Rancher

A third-grader at Brazos Elementary was given a week’s detention for possessing a Jolly Rancher ...thus, Operation Jolly Rancher: Send a bag of Jolly Ranchers and support the cause of common sense to: Brazos Elementary School Attn: Mrs. Jeanne Young 9814 Kibler St PO Box 30 Orchard, TX 77464 To contact by phone 979-478-6610

Something Old, Something New

It was a perfect Houston day, a blue, no cloud in the sky, low humidity kind of spring day. With a little Buble-Sinatra mix on the stereo, we set out to make something old and something new for dinner. We fried up some shrimp with my Nana's recipe that I have made time and time again, an old southern classic batter made of buttermilk and cornmeal. For dessert, we tried something we have only had in restaurants, Tres Leches. It turned out scrumptious, using a recipe from Texas Highways magazine. The girls and I "styled" our cake with strawberries and a dusting of cinnamon. The man in the house was horrified that we did so.

Remember November

"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time." Abraham Lincoln Remember November : "so that we can return America to its founding principles of freedom, personal responsibility and economic liberty. We Remember November so we, our children, and grandchildren can live with the freedoms our founding fathers intended. We Will Remember from Republican Governors Association on Vimeo .