Monthly Archives: November 2013

My Crazy Cake

I’m not a good cake baker and I know it. But every once in a while I get inspired to bake a beauty. Why not bake a cake for my son’s 45th birthday? I had visions of how wonderful it would look and, even better, taste. A caramel cake to top all caramel cakes! He and his family are coming in on Thanksgiving night and I wanted this glorious cake–that I had baked!–to crown the evening.

So–I hunted up a recipe that sounded possible for me, none of your soft-ball stage icing or cake that took all day to put together! I gathered materials. I set eggs out to come to room temperature. I measured the milk and had it ready. I sifted the flour and resifted the flour so my cake would be light as a feather. I was amazed at how soon I was ready to put batter in pans. The recipe said pans, not how many. I stood in indecision. I have three pans. Three layers would show off that delicious caramel icing better than two. I made three layers. Mistake number one. I put the layers in the oven and set the timer only a couple minutes short of what the recipe said, since three layers would be thinner. Mistake number two. The timing should have been shorter than that!

The layers came out a little bit crispy around the edges. I wasn’t too worried. Until, with phone under my chin as I worked, I tried to pry the layers out of the pans. One came out perfectly, the next tore all to pieces, and the third was kind of ugly.

I didn’t give up. That may be mistake number three, time will tell.

The icing turned out wonderfully. I was encouraged. But after icing those three puny little layers, piecing the fallen apart one together like a puzzle and wedging it between the better ones, I stood back and knew this was no glorious cake. This was a puny, pitiful cake! What to do? Make another one and add it to the first one.

This time I set the timer for only fifteen of the prescribed twenty-four minutes. Mistake number three (or four!). The layers were nice and soft but showed they were done when I gave them the toothpick test. But taking them out of the pans was a disaster. One came out pretty well, the other two in tender crumby pieces. Again, I did not give up. Mistake number five? I made icing batch number two and diligently worked patching that poor cake to make it stay together. It was sort of like forcing relatives to be nice to each other when they good and well don’t want to be.

I had enough icing to go over the top but not the ugly sides. With pecans for garnish the top really looked nice. The whole thing looked like a combination of the leaning tower of Pisa, a condemned house, and a beautiful crown!

By now it was 9:00 at night. Near to my bedtime. My body felt as if I’d been in a fight all day. My feet were screaming for relief. My brain was shutting down. But I couldn’t give up. When Charles came through the kitchen looking wistful I told him I’d invested too much in this project to give up on it. The only thing left to do was make icing batch number three!

By now I knew the icing recipe by heart but I also had been reminded of how disastrous it can be to be too hasty or, heaven forbid, too cocky, so I carefully went by the directions. The icing was perfect.

Beginning to think of the cake now as a living thing, I lovingly pasted that icing all the way around it. I went around it three times with spatula and icing, creating a masterpiece. It truly began to bloom! Only I know how it’s pieced together inside. If it shows up all those mistakes when we cut slices, I think I will have to laugh. It is the only way out.

I wonder if I’ve learned my lesson. That I should simply buy a cake if I want one. And stick to baking pies. But somehow I think that line my mother used to quote is going to come back again one day and I’ll be at it again. Her quote is, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.”


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“Come with me…”


“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31

Have you ever known someone who felt incredibly guilty if they ever sat down or lay down to rest? Maybe you are even like that! But God never intended for us to punish our bodies, minds, and spirits by continual motion and trauma. Why do you think He started us all out by saving one day out of every seven for a day of rest?

Jesus said, “Come with me,”  “by yourselves,” “to a quiet place” and “get some rest.” The disciples who had beenso stressed by the crowds clustering around Jesus were being invited by their Lord to “come with him”–with him!

“By yourselves”–church retreats usually give us opportunities to have quiet times just for ourselves. You need a chance to “be you” with God, ask all those stupid questions you wouldn’t want to ask even in hearing of your spouse. But it doesn’t have to be a church retreat. It can be your own retreat. I find great “rest” and strengthening from an hour spent in a nearby cemetery where I sit under a cedar tree while I read the Bible, listen for His voice, and talk to Him. On family vacations it may be hard to find those “times alone,” but try getting up ahead of everyone else, or excusing yourself for a quick walk down the beach alone. Use your imagination to make it happen. I really like it when our motel has a balcony. Even if Charles and I both resort to quiet times at the same time, we know what the deal is and we give each other space.

“To a quiet place”–I’ve already mentioned “my” cemetery. I seem to have always had an affection for pretty cemeteries. I don’t mean the sterile, overly marble ones with no sign of plants except containers of plastic flowers. I’m talking about old cemeteries with gnarled cedars and pines where birds have a place to sing and where you can almost hear Jesus’ quiet footsteps only a few feet away. But, of course, there are many quiet places, maybe just a corner in your own living room, or on your knees beside your bed. That’s one of my favorite places when I’m really “praying through” something or feel extra concerns about someone.

“And get some rest”–it may be that you’ve gone through a grieving time, a particularly stressful time in your job or in your family, a nightmare experience of some sort, or just an extremely busy time. You may need to carefully explain to your loved ones that you need “a few days” just for yourself, either away from home or nearby. This would probably be impossible if your family is still very young. I do not recommend your abandoning little children! I remember reading about a woman who locked herself along with meager supplies in her extra bathroom and simply wouldn’t come out for a week. She had pillows in the bathtub, some crackers and cheese, and plenty of water.

Physical rest is important. Mental rest is important. Spiritual rest is very important, not struggling but snuggling in the Lord’s everlasting arms. Try it! For Jesus’ sake!

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I Will Pass Over You

Exodus 12:13 And the blood shall be for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt.

Do we really care whether or not our loved ones receive their tickets to eternal life?

My grandson, nine years old at the time, insisted on going with me that Sunday to the adult class my husband and I teach. He loves his own Sunday school class and I was puzzled at his insistence that day but finally gave in. My husband had to stay home that day with a severe backache but young Charles Douglas helped me carry materials to our upstairs class. It was pretty nice to have him along!

He was very attentive and quiet but stayed right at my side like an egg under a hen. I am easily distracted so I really had to work at turning him out and concentrating on the lesson.

Based on scripture from I peter, the lesson concerned being courageous in the face of ridicule and even persecution. A culminating moment in the lesson presentation involved red paper hearts. These I invited Charles Douglas to pass out to the members. I was relieved I had enough for everyone except for Charles Douglas and me and whispered to him that I’d give him one at home. That was supposed to take care of that.

But Charles Douglas kept whispering something at my side and then sticking little scraps of paper in my hand. All the time I tuned him out, intent on making the important point that if our hearts are wholly committed to Him we will be prepared for the unthinkable, will have the right words when we need them, will be strong for every trial and opportunity. Each member was to use their paper heart to make a recommitment of their life to God and drop it in a basket as they left the class.

Later, at home, when I prayerfully drew out the hearts, I found three white lopsided hearts placed there, I knew, by Charles Douglas. When I talked to him about them he said there was one for me, one for Grandaddy, and one for him.

“I didn’t want us to be left out,” he said seriously.

Charles Douglas had gotten the point. He didn’t want any of us to be left out. God doesn’t want any of us to be left out. But we do have to choose to whom we’ll be committed for eternity. Have you made that choice? Don’t be left out!

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I’ve been thinking of so many people, circumstances, beauties for which I’m thankful. Another one came up a couple of days ago. I’m not only thankful for family, friends, missionaries we know, the beautiful young woman who keeps my hair trimmed month by month, the teachers in the school, particularly teachers of our dear grandson Charles Douglas Reeves–not only am I thankful for all of those but I’m very grateful for folks at our bank.

Two nights ago I received a call from a representative of our bank inquiring if I’d been in Florida recently, specifically Miami Beach. No, I answered cautiously, thinking What is this? The next question was whether or not I’d shopped at Walgreens that very day. No, I hadn’t been in Walgreens in a couple of weeks. Turns out, some card thief had stolen my debit card number–somehow!–and had made new card(s) with which he was charging up to $332 in Miami Beach. But the bank/card police caught on to what was happening and called me to verify. Yesterday I had to go to the bank and sign a paper releasing them to follow up on reimbursing my account.

It is frightening and appalling that thieves can do such things to us without ever leaving a fingerprint or strand of hair behind. But how wonderful that there are people watching out for us! Last night on the news I saw a security camera picking up on a woman’s using a stolen card in a store. How they detect these things is beyond my feeble brain to understand. But I’m so glad they do! The bank clerk to whom I spoke assured me my funds would be reimbursed. I thanked her as we bemoaned together on how terribly sharp these thieves are. They’re always devising new strategies, she said, so we have to work hard to try to counteract their evil.

So–one more group of people to add to my long list of folks to be thankful for. I haven’t here mentioned doctors, dentists, nurses, veterinarians, radiology technicians and all those health related people. But I’m thankful to them too!

Thank You, Lord, for the many unthanked heroes in my life!


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November 13, 2013 · 3:20 pm

“He that dwells…

“He that dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1

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November 8, 2013 · 9:17 pm

The spicy aroma of freshly baked pumpkin pies, better known as “punkin'” pies, fills the house. I love to make punkin’ pies and it helps having several people in the household and nearby who love to eat them! My recipe is from a dear friend whose mother used it many years and I’ve used it since 1975. You can use it for potato or pumpkin either one and it handily files under the p’s either way!

For making two P pies:

  1. 1 cup milk
  2. 4 eggs
  3. 1 1/2 cups sugar
  4. 1 stick butter melted
  5. 3 c. potato or pumpkin cooked and mashed smoothly
  6. 1 cup coconut (optional)
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  8. 1/2 teaspoon each of cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice

Mix all ingredients and pour into unbaked pie crusts. Bake at 375 degrees for forty minutes.

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Farming In Town

Charles and Brenda enjoy their sheep and goats and the neighbors enjoy seeing them too! Thirteen blocks from downtown Cairo.

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November 8, 2013 · 8:15 pm

Welcome to my new Blog! When I first heard about blogs I thought folks were talking about some kind of yucky muddy something! A blog? Combination of fog and mud maybe? Oh, well—!

I’ve been writing stories, poems, and essays since I was able to hold a pencil. I just love to write! I intend for it to be worth reading too! God gave me a love of words that I can’t disregard even though some days it feels as if I should “hang it up” because I’m no whiz on a computer. In fact, my computer repairman and my software guru both look with great pity on me! They sigh a lot and try so hard not to become impatient!

When I consider the spiritual gifts as St. Paul described them in I Corinthinans, I wonder if I have any. Have you ever felt that way? But I know God has given every child of His at least one spiritual gift. So I’ve studied a lot about what mine is and this is what it seems to be: I’m an encourager. I think maybe that’s what God handed me when I was six years old, though I was too little to know what to do with it. Now it seems like the gift that comes natural to me. I really do love to encourage people. I dearly love to make folks smile! But I’m not a comedian. I get really mixed up telling jokes. In spite of that, I was invited yesterday to speak to senior citizens because, I was told, “you will make them laugh.”

I’d just like to encourage each reader of this blog to look to Jesus when you’re in trouble. I’ve been in a long line of rough patches in the last two years–a house fire, breast cancer, and the sudden death of my 42-year-old daughter, to name the worst ones! And I can testify that God has floated, wrestled, pulled, hauled, lifted us through each one. I’m so thankful for my husband of almost 48 years. One of our little sayings when things get “hairy” is “heart to heart we can make it if we try,” words from an old country song.

I hope to share devotional thoughts, tips of the day, recipes, and a few small knitting patterns for things like Christmas bells. Consider me your back-fence neighbor!

Question of the day: What is something unusual you’ve seen today?

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November 5, 2013 · 8:20 pm