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Never Have Liked Goodbyes

25 Apr

I remember being a little girl and traveling from Alabama to Kentucky to visit all of my grandparents (and aunts, uncles, great-grandparents, and cousins, too!). It was usually around Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas and we would stay for several days, sometimes a week I think. We slept on pull-out sofas or cots in a small house that only had one bathroom. But I didn’t mind. Well, I take that back. The only time I minded was when Dad would try to follow through on his threat to fold us up in the pull-out sofa if we didn’t get up. Haha!! Oh, how us girls loved (still love??) to sleep!

rachel-1973

This is me around 3 or 4 years old – in the aftermath
of Christmas at my grandparent’s house.
I’m pretty sure those pants weren’t supposed to be
cropped pants, but hey – I was rockin’ them!

Whenever we got into the car to go home, I would cry because I didn’t want to leave them. Even as I grew older, as a teenager, my eyes would tear up as we pulled off that gravel drive and headed down the street to travel home. I always felt like a part of my heart was staying behind.

Barry and I visited my parents a few weekends back and I experienced the same feeling as I hugged their necks and got into our car to go home. The tears started to form and I tried with all my might to choke them back refusing to let them leave my eyes. But then as we drove down the driveway, I saw my folks standing there waving goodbye. And the tears came.

I’m not a kid anymore, and I still don’t liked goodbyes. Most of us don’t, I suppose.

My sweet cousins are having to say a very difficult and painful goodbye to their dad this week and my heart hurts so badly for them. I want them to have more time, give more hugs, and create more memories. But, sadly, that is not to be.

tears

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
Psalm 56:8

Goodbyes just stink. And it seems like our hearts are never ready for them.

Those who believe in God and have accepted Him as our Father have hope. That hope can lessen the pain of loss because we know that although the goodbye feels permanent, it is not. But today, hope is struggling to break through their pain. Right now, the pain is fresh and harsh and breathtaking at times. And it hurts.

If you are someone who prays, would you mind saying a prayer for my cousins today? It would mean so much to me.

Blessings,
♥Rachel

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The Gardners of My Soul

15 Apr

charming-gardners

[This beautiful print is available in Katie Daisy’s Etsy store.]

I have numerous people in my life who bring me happiness – even joy – and I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for their presence in my life. My husband is one of them. My parents are two others. I got to spend time this weekend with my husband and my parents and the garden in my soul is blooming with beautiful, vibrant flowers today!

There’s something about holding my husband’s hand, looking at my mother’s beautiful face and feeling my dad’s hug that just simply makes my heart smile. I realized how truly blessed I am and what a treasure it is to know I am loved.

If you are blessed to have people in your life who bring happiness and joy into your life, please do two things today: 1) say a prayer of thanks for them and 2) let them know how much they mean to you.

Hope you have a beautiful day!

Blessings,
♥Rachel

Mama Turner’s Sour Cream Pound Cake

6 Aug

I saw the doctor on Friday, and wouldn’t you know it – my neck felt the best it had in weeks while I was in his office.  It’s just like taking a car in for service – the problem all but disappears when the mechanic starts to check it out!  We determined, my neck was feeling better because of the steroid pack he had me taking last week.  I explained all of my symptoms and their locations and we talked about possible causes.  Given that the pain sometimes radiates down my shoulder and into my arm, he’s thinking it could be disc degeneration or arthritis in my spine.  Not at all surprising because my mom has and my grandpa had lots of back issues.  What we decided is that I would finish the steroids and see how long they give me relief.  Once the pain increases again, I’ll call him and he’ll probably order some other imaging tests to take a closer look at the spine itself (the MRI only looked at my brain).  So…for now, we wait and hope that the pain stays away for a while.  Saturday was a pretty icky day painwise, but Sunday was very good – no headache and just mild neck pain.

Last week’s Pound Cake Round Up gave me a hankering (can’t remember if I’ve ever actually used that word before now!) for pound cake this weekend.  One recipe I didn’t include in the round up was a pound cake recipe from Barry’s Grandmother.  Mama Turner is a great Southern cook.  You know the kind – she mostly cooks things from scratch, uses generous amounts of bacon grease, salt, butter, sugar, and throws in plenty of love to hold it all together.

This sour cream pound cake is not a “from scratch” or what I would consider a traditional pound cake recipe because it’s not as dense and heavy as most pounds cakes.  But it’s good.  And easy to make.  Which means it meets both of my requirements for baked goods!  {grin}

To start with, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Cake mix, oil, eggs, sugar, sour cream, and water.  That’s it.

The recipe calls for a Duncan Hines Butter Cake Mix, but I am partial to Betty Crocker.  Betty Crocker just sounds so much more “homey” and good tasting.  Duncan Hines sounds a bit like a grumpy old man, or at least some man who doesn’t know the first thing about baking a pound cake.  I don’t trust him, that Duncan Hines, whoever he is.

Sour Cream Pound Cake

1 All Butter Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix
4 Eggs
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Crisco Oil
1/4 Cup Water
8 Ounces Sour Cream (don’t use fat free or low fat)

Preheat oven to 375.  Lightly grease a tube or Bundt pan and set aside.

Mix eggs and cake with a mixer until well blended.  Add sugar, oil, and water and beat until smooth.  Fold in sour cream.

Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Note: I’ve also tried this using a Betty Crocker Dark Chocolate cake mix and it was delicious.

And that’s it – simple as that!  Hope you enjoy.
♥ Rachel

Peach Cobbler and Other Delicious Things

11 Jun

Hey friends.

source: thinkstockphotos.com

It’s Monday and I’m hungry.

I’m hungry because I’ve been thinking about recipes.

I’ve been thinking about recipes because we are going to a family reunion this weekend and I haven’t decided what to make & take.

Because I haven’t decided what to make & take, I need your help.

Help.  Please.  :)

Do you have any good great recipes for family gatherings/picnics/reunions?  I prefer baking to cooking “real” food unless it’s an easy salad or something like that.  I also prefer s.i.m.p.l.e. to complicated.  A simple recipe that WOWs would be perfect!  Demanding much??  :)  I tend to accidentally  skip over important instructions in complicated recipes and end up with an item that doesn’t resemble at all the picture in the cookbook.

Here are a few that I am considering:

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

Mom’s Peach Cobbler (see the recipe at the bottom of this post)

Pound Cake – who doesn’t love pound cake???

Or maybe these Fudge-Filled Bars.

What about a fruit salad?

I’m also considering the lemon cheesecake bars that I made a couple of weeks ago.  They are supposed to be kept refrigerated, so I’d have to take them in a cooler, but I could still make it work.

I could take a pie – apple, chess, oohhh, maybe a chocolate chess pie….  That would be good.

What do you think?

Here’s the recipe for my mom’s peach cobbler that I mentioned above.  It has lots of buttery crust.  This is my mom’s recipe and my favorite peach cobbler ever.  I learned a valuable lesson after making this cobbler one time…and it had nothing to do with the recipe.  I don’t remember how old I was, but I must have been a teenager or in my early twenties.  I made this cobbler – might have even been my first time making it – and sat it on a stove burner to cool.  I started to make something for dinner and turned on a burner – the wrong burner – by mistake.  Not long after that, I heard a cracking sound and watched as the casserole dish shattered and peach cobbler oozed everywhere.  I mean e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.  :)

Easy Peach Cobbler

1 stick margarine
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1 (29 ounce) can sliced peaches and juice (also very good with fresh or thawed frozen peaches)

Melt margarine in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.  Sift flour, sugar and baking powder into a bowl.  Add milk and mix well.  Pour onto melted butter in baking dish.  DO NOT STIR.  Pour the undrained peaches over the top.  DO NOT STIR.

Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

I would love some new ideas for what to take to the reunion!  What would you take if you were going?  Do you have a classic go-to recipe for things like this?  If not, what would you want to eat if you were going?

It Means More

28 May

I may have mentioned before that I was a military kid.  My dad served in the Air Force and my family lived in a variety of places, including some foreign countries.  I have two sisters and we were all born outside of the United States.  I’m proud of our military heritage and especially proud of my dad for serving.

I also have numerous family members who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and the pride I feel extends to all of them.  Military life demands a lot of its servicemen and women, and their families.  The sacrifices are great, sometimes too great.  That’s why we have a day like Memorial Day where we pause to reflect on and remember those who gave their lives serving our country.

source: thinkstockphotos.com

My Uncle Charlie is one of those who lost his life fighting in WWII.  He left in 1942 to go fight in the war and he was only 23 when he died in battle.  His body is laid to rest at the Epinal American Cemetery in Epinal, France.  His mother didn’t get the opportunity to bury her son.

My dad lost his brother.  My uncle and our family lost the possibility of what could have been.  But we are not alone.  So many families have experienced the same type of painful loss.

Today means more than barbecues and picnics.  More than a day of boating on the lake with friends.  More than a day off from work.  It means thousands of men and women have given their lives in an attempt to preserve our freedom, our rights, and our security.

Today is not about politics or who’s right and who’s wrong.  It’s not about whether you believe in war, past or present.  It’s about people with a job to do who went to work one day and were required to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Today, I’m remembering the uncle I never knew, saying a prayer of gratitude for the gift he gave, and praying for the safety of all of those serving in the United States Armed Forces.  I hope you will join me.

♥ Rachel

My Sister’s Debut

13 Apr

One of my sisters is doing something new today and I am really proud of her!  She and several other artists are having Mixed Media Art Exhibit tonight.  The theme is April in Paris and they have all created a variety of mixed media/altered art/collage pieces by taking ordinary items and turning them into beautiful new creations that are full of texture, depth, and history.

If you don’t mind, I’d like to share a few of Jennifer’s pieces with you today.

This one is called Paris is Always a Good Idea.  I love that she incorporated a picture of our parents in it from their time living in France.

The name of this piece is Paris II.  I love the colors in it.

This next piece is especially meaningful as it is named after one of Jennifer’s friends, Ginny Rylak, who passed away from cancer on February 12 of this year.

And this last item is one of several cards she made using dogs, roses and great quotes.  Isn’t that the sweetest face?  I love it!

I especially love that the exhibit will benefit the Gentle Giants Rescue & Sanctuary, Inc.

Jenn’s a little nervous about the show tonight.  Art is all about expressing yourself and sharing part of your soul with others.  Creating art and sharing it with others requires courage and I’m so proud of her for stepping out of her comfort zone, trying new techniques and styles, and being brave enough to put her work on display.  If you have any words of encouragement or wisdom for her, please share!

Claudia – If you are in town, you should stop by HeartStrings in downtown Clinton tonight between 6:00 and 10:00 and say hi to Jennifer!  She’d be tickled to meet you.

Have a happy Friday, a wonderful weekend, and be sure to eat something healthy!  We didn’t learn all about those superfoods this week to let our new knowledge go to waste!  :)
♥ Rachel

3.10.63

9 Mar

If you missed yesterday’s post about the study suggesting there is a link between a chemical in certain sodas and cancer, be sure to check it out.  The comments so far have been very interesting – I’d love to get your thoughts.

Tomorrow is my husband’s birthday.  March 10, 1963 was the day little Barry Turner entered the world in Nashville, Tennessee.  Interestingly, that’s where we met even though that’s not where he grew up or lived most of his adult life.  Funny how God brings things full circle like that.

On this birthday, he’ll be…shhhhh…49.  That’s pretty old.  Glad I’m not that old.  Yet.  :)

This is a picture of him at age 4.  Is that some kind of cute, or what??

Barry: Age 4

Ya’ll, I have to tell you. I am so blessed to be his wife. God knew exactly the type of person I would need to get me through cancer treatments. He’s been my rock. So solid and reassuring. I was an old woman when I met him.  I had accepted that I might never get married. And then came Barry and everything changed for the better.

It’s his birthday and the gifts should be all for him, but the truth is he is the gift and I am the recipient of a lifetime of love with my best friend.

Source: Pinterest

Happy Birthday, Honey!! I love you so much!!

It’s been a really good week.  The side effects from maintenance chemo were almost non-existent except for a small amount of fatigue.  I feel like I’ve really turned the corner toward better days.  I hope you all have a wonderful Friday and a beautiful weekend!

♥ Rachel