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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pre-Thanksgiving Chaos…
So…my however many “Days of Thanksgiving” Blog has been tabled for now, and I am replacing it with   “Oh my GOSH- tomorrow is Thanksgiving and our entire family is here to celebrate Cody’s birthday” blog… Hang with me, it should be entertaining.
Tuesday, November 20th,  was Cody’s birthday.  I am not going to go into WHAT birthday, however, I will tell you that last year was a big one…and we were limited on celebrating because we had just moved…and because I had a head injury…all that being said- I wanted this year to be special!!! So- we went to eat at Pignetti’s where we were joined by some of our closest friends, including the owners, Clinton and Ledia Harwell…now having Clinton and Ledia along for any event means there will be some good wine, and Tuesday was no exception.  We had a fun night…good food, good wine and great fellowship!  Not to mention an incredible slice of chocolate cake…
Then my plan was to have our kids over Wednesday night for homemade chicken strips and fries (one of Cody’s favs) while we all did some pre-Thanksgiving cooking together!  Karen and Bobby came over as well, so that Karen and I could make cornbread dressing together.
Because our Thanksgiving Day is going to be spent at home with our kids and no extras, I knew that I had to step up my baking this year.  For those of you who don’t know- I don’t like to bake. (Refer to my previous blog “Baking for My Boy” from December 2011) Something bad always happens when I bake…always.
I left work early.  Picked up GoGo Mini Cupcakes for Cody’s birthday dinner (delicious, but expensive…however, if I had to bake cupcakes all day long, mine would cost twice as much, not be as tasty, and I doubt I would deliver them over to my customers with a smile.); picked up the Thanksgiving food I had ordered from Schoepf’s (I cheated a little bit this year) and braved an afternoon before Thanksgiving shopping trip to H.E.B…I came home and did a rush clean up job around the house and by 3:30 I was in my kitchen cooking! 
Now, here is a problem I have, it is more like a huge flaw and my family and friends know it…and I really believe it is the root of the reason I hate to bake…I try to do too many things at once, and I plan to get way too many things done in the time allowed.  Let me tell you what I planned to get done yesterday, and I think you will agree.
Bake cornbread and prepare dressing. Bake sweet potatoes for sweet potato casserole. Bake 2 pumpkin pies, 2 coconut pies, and a brownie bottom cheesecake. Make one dozen deviled eggs. Boil chicken for giblet gravy and dressing. Fry chicken strips and homemade fries and sweet potato fries, make broccoli with cheese sauce and a salad to feed the 10-15 people who would be at my house for Cody’s birthday meal. (By the way, somewhere along the way, I gave up the plan to have salad.  A huge concession on my part, but a wise one, I think).
Things were really rocking along pretty nicely for awhile.  I had made the cornbread, and the brownie bottom of the cheesecake was in the oven baking.  Chicken was boiling and the eggs were done. I had enlisted the help of Aubrey and Katherine for the peeling of the potatoes and breading the chicken for frying and turned the deviled egg duties over to Allie.  Lynnsay and H.B. came in, and I put them to work frying.  First snag was not enough vegetable oil- so Dave went on a quick run.  Second snag- Allie uses real mayo and black olives and green chilis in her deviled eggs- Allie and Kat made a quick run.  I had added the cheese cake top to the brownie bottom and it was baking.  I was now preparing pumpkin pies and coconut pies.  Karen had come in and taken over the job of washing dishes as we worked, and helping Lynnsay keep an eye on the fries.  H.B. had taken over the chicken frying duties and had added aggravating everyone in the house to his list of responsibilities. The house was loud and chaotic. Just the way I like it- but not the best environment to try to follow directions while baking. (Clue as to why I am not good at baking) Something had to give…I was paying close attention to my baking, but I had not been paying the best attention to the dinner preparations…Cody had long since broken into his mini cupcakes…and Aubrey was in full hungry mode…but dinner was FINALLY ready… Everyone gathered in the kitchen and I began to put all of the food onto the island.  I picked up the Pyrex pan that was piled high with the yummy homemade fried chicken strips and turned to place it on the island when the whole pan exploded!!
Yes.  It literally EXPLODED in my hands. The chaos turned to a brief moment of silence and then Cody broke it, by saying, in a somewhat irritated voice, “Well what do y’all want to go pick up for dinner?” Everyone was immediately shocked into action… Glass was everywhere, and I mean everywhere.  All over the stove, all over the cabinets, down my shirt, all around bare (yes- bare)feet…As everyone began to jump into action and I was taking stock to make sure that I had only received small cuts and scooping chunks of glass from  my clothing, while being given orders by my children of where to go and how to get there-suddenly Jacob came and carried me out of the kitchen. Aubrey was crying (she hates messes). Cody was irritated and I was still in shock…
After being commanded to change clothes, I came into the kitchen to help as Cody gave Dave money to go pick up Bush’s Chicken and overheard Cody tell Bobby that I had dropped the pan of chicken… I defended myself by telling him that I had not dropped it, that it had exploded.  Thankfully, H.B. and Rory had witnessed the whole thing, and confirmed that it had indeed shattered in my hands…
I am thankful that there is a Bush’s close by.  I am thankful that all of the food I was preparing for today were either covered up or out of the range for taking on shrapnel. I am thankful that, once again, as I looked down at my feet and around me at the huge mess I had made, my family and friends were there to immediately start picking up the pieces. Everyone was fed…food was prepared…pies and cheesecake were baked…and it is Thanksgiving morning.
We are preparing to meet people from our church to deliver meals to shut ins in the community and we will come back here for our Thanksgiving meal…it might not be the best we have ever had; the pies and cakes could possibly be sub par…but it will be a blessed, happy event because at the end of the day we all love each other, we have food and we will have fun no matter what!
I am so thankful that I have a wild, fun, chaotic family that loves me no matter what mess I have dragged them into...which can be anything!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hello World!!

Blogging…back burner past time for me since my 2nd grandchild joined forces with the first and took custody of my free time…
Actually, in all honesty… summer freedom, Bible study, Bible reading, my family and all sorts of other events/issues/situations have loomed largest in my “spare” time robbing me of any free time to sit and write coherently, much less creatively. (And, as long as I am being honest- the time spent watching “our” t.v. shows with my hubby have definitely crept into my “creative writing” time…)
So…highlights since my blog for Mother’s Day…
My husband, with the help of my son, David, made me a garden for the summer… I have grown herbs, lettuce, peppers, cucumbers, okra, squash and tomatoes.  I have also helped raise a generation of rabbits with this garden, and according to my father-in-law, one large snake was spotted enjoying it. 
We spent a weekend in Lubbock enjoying much needed family time with my in-laws. 
We spent a week in Lubbock/Muleshoe celebrating my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary with family and friends.
We spent a fun-filled weekend in Austin and at the Lake house with Bobby and Karen Luckett…we also got to go to San Antonio with them to celebrate Kevin’s (Luckett’s son-in-law) 30th birthday…as well as enjoyed some R&R alone time.
I facilitated a Beth Moore Bible Study with some of my favorite women- Karen Luckett, Katie Schindler, Kaylenn Henderson, Katherine Stewart, Lynnsay Macey and Haley Brent.
I have been reading through the Bible with Prof. Horner’s Bible Reading System (I am on Day 175 of 250!!!) I have read three or four books on my Kindle! I have gotten more involved in our church. I have started a “cooking group” with my daughter and 2 others.
And work.And work.And work… Summer months are always our busiest; and God has really blessed our business which has been struggling for a while now…so as I told my employee this week, when we received an order and he made a face, “Do you not like money?  You don’t enjoy your paycheck? You do?  Then when I tell you we got an order, you say to me, ‘Thank you Jesus!’ That is all, just, ‘Thank you Jesus!’” And every time I create a new bid, or start a new job folder, I say, “Thank you Jesus!”
Summer turned to fall, and my life has continued to race at an amazing speed…We had an overnight visit from my Aunt Debbie and Uncle Paul, who is fresh out of cancer treatment, and looking very well, I might add! We have waited anxiously for football score updates every Friday night from the Shallowater Mustangs…and I am happy to say that we are still waiting for them as the Mustangs secured the District Champ titled and have now earned the Bi-District Champ one as well. We are so proud of our brother-in-law, Kyle Maxfield and his team of coaches and football players!
 A tragedy struck our family, when our 25 year old nephew, William van Zielst, died suddenly of heart failure last month.  Watching my incredible sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Katy and Maarten, live out their faith has been heart-wrenching and heartwarming all at the same time. They are an amazing family.  And the community they live in, Seminole, TX, has proven to come together and be the body of Christ for them.
I am now looking up and it is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving!!!! YIKES! 

Today marks the one year anniversary of when we moved into our new home…a major change for us that has proven over and over to have been a major blessing.  Our lives look a little different today than they did on November 19, 2011…a little calmer, a little easier, and little less stressful. I have learned to trust more in my faith and less in my “gut feeling”.  I have learned to seek God first and depend upon my husband’s strength less- a lesson which I believe has taken pressure off of my husband’s shoulders while strengthening my faith.

The days are shorter, the weather cooler and the smell of the heater being turned on in the back of the shop all lead me to the conclusion that ready or not…the holiday season is here!!