Sabbath Word… Voice


Voice jer 33-11


A couple of years ago we had a big scare in our house. My husband and his heart.  Then his throat was irritated and scratchy for weeks. Finally, after visits to the specialist, it was determined not to be cancer or anything particularly serious. Medicine and total voice and throat rest for 6 weeks was the prescription. No clearing of the throat, no murmur, no nothing! And definitely no singing.

He loves to sing. But the voice was gone now.  Singing around the house in his bass voice had been a familiar sound but not for several years. It had finally become to hard to sing.

Show tunes were his favorite and he knew them all from the 60′s back, all the classics. During is years at West Point he was part of the famous choir, touring the nation. Naturally they sang the patriotic songs.  All the verses.

We missed the singing.

Yesterday when I got in the car “If Ever I Would Leave You” from Camelot by Robert Goulet was playing.  Beautiful love song that is one of his favorites.

Then the big news…he had been singing in his strong bass voice last week in church.  It made my heart sing and feel relieved and peaceful….he signed up for the church choir!

He has his voice back in full!


the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring thank offerings to the house of  the Lord:

“Give thanks to the Lord of hosts,
 for the Lord is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!’                                                                                                                                         Jeremiah 33:11



Fabulous Side for Labor Day Celebrations


Grandpa's Hash Brown Casserole



It is Labor Day weekend. Kids are home. Football season starts and it is time to put away the white shoes.  White pants and jeans too. Last weekend to go to the pool and time to gather family and friends for the last summer gathering.

Grandpa’s Hash Brown Casserole is the perfect side for this farewell to summer weekend gatherings. A hot side dish for picnics and BBQ’s.

It’ one of our family tired and true dishes that everyone likes.  The kids took this recipe with them in Mom’s handwritten cookbook.  If Rob couldn’t find it, he would call.

It’s one of those workhorse sides.  Double and freeze the extra. Travels well and holds the heat. Heats up well if there are any leftovers. Delicious well liked side dish.

We call it after my daddy, Grandpa, who was made sure it was made just right without any shortcuts!  Delicious with both breakfast and grilled meals.


What food plans do you have for this long weekend?  

5.0 from 1 reviews
Grandpa's Hash Brown Casserole
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6-10
  • 1 32 oz bag defrosted hash brown potatoes (cubed style)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 medium onion chopped fine
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 12 oz grated block American or mild cheddar cheese
  • 2 sticks of margarine or butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups crushed corn flakes
  1. Spread evenly defrosted hash brown in 12x9 casserole dish.
  2. Mix together well: soup, onion, sour cream, salt, cheese and one stick of margarine / butter melted Spoon over top of potatoes spreading evenly.
  3. Optional: mix all ingredients together before putting in dish.
  4. Top with crushed corn flakes and drizzle with 1 stick melted margarine / butter.
  5. Bake 40 -45 minutes at 350.


Enjoy the weekend! 


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Family Easy Meals Linda’s Beef Vegetable Soup


Weekends with family coming and going.  Lazy days, catch up on sleep, homework and with friends.  It’s fall and school started this week.


I could be preparing food and doing dishes all day long!


Though I enjoy preparing delicious food for family and guests, I do not like making what can seem like endless meals.   I have a repertoire of just that kind of recipes that are tasty, easy preparations and cost less.  A dish made in large qualities that reheats well.

The  girls are old enough now they can take care of weekend lunches on their own.






Soup on the weekend is a perfect.  It’s also great for a busy week day.



We love Jiffy Corn Muffins or traditional with this.

Linda's Beef Vegetable Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
easy one dish meal to make in soup pot or crock pot
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6-8
  • Small pieces beef stew meat
  • 1 med onion chopped
  • 3-4 stalks of celery chopped
  • 1 package of Lipton Onion Soup Mix
  • 2 32 oz cartons beef broth
  • 1-2 large cans crushed or diced tomatoes, 1 sm can tomato paste
  • 1 large bag frozen mixed vegetables without onion, celery, potatoes
  • fresh baby spinach
  1. Use large soup pot with lid.
  2. Simmer 1 lb or less chopped stew meat until cooked
  3. Add remaining ingredients
  4. Season with salt, black pepper and Italian herbs.
  5. Simmer covered for several hours.
  6. minutes before serving add frozen mixed vegetables
  7. hands full of fresh spinach
  8. Simmer to heat throughly prior to serving.
  9. : Make in crock pot and extend cooking time for several hours



How do  you plan meals for weekends? 



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Sabbath Word…Careless




Have you ever been careless and broken a favorite cup or vase?

A dear friend or loved one?

I have.

Today my heart is aching over carelessness in a relationship. It is a difficult situation. Has the harsh angry vindictive words brought it to the point of no return?  The heart attitudes

Often “bathing with prayer” is the only help we can give in a seemingly unsolvable situation with stubborn hurt people. Years ago, my mom told me when loved ones were “having words”, she would keep on her knees until there was a change. She knew there was no other way. You know what? It did change.

Hearts and speech can only be changed as we chose to lay aside ourselves and act in humility.



We need to cultivate a willingness to be quick to listen, to be slow to speak and to be slow to anger.  Heart change, humbling ourselves for the good of the other person, for the good of the Body can only come from our surrender and His Spirit working. For the good of ourselves.

To be like Christ can be humiliating. Do we need to recall that He Himself was willing to be humiliated for us? Do we need to be reminded He prayed?

Being a boss or friend or elder or leader or  mom or follower means being careful in our words because we just might break a heart, inflict a wound or stir up trouble.


The breaking of a heart may even include our own. 


Gently moving forward praying all the while that words of grace can be spoken and heard.

Careless is never a good. Careless is an action of a person who is not intentional and careful; maybe just don’t realize the impact of their words. Sometimes, we do speak too quickly, We are tired or hungry. Preoccupied. Still isn’t that only an excuse? Overcoming the habit is not easy.

Intentional, deliberate, carefully, softly as soft words can turn away wrath we must discipline ourselves to speak just so. How many more ways do we need to be told? Over and over evidently judging by how often it is addressed in the New Testament.

May you have many words of grace spoken to you and words of grace that you speak to others.


Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for the building up, as fits the occasion, that may give grace to all who hear. Ephesians 4: 29



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Summer’s Ending


summer's Ending too soon


The sounds of the band practicing wafts through the air.  We can hear them while sitting on the front porch. Traffic of parents dropping of and picking up increases.  The stadium is full of activity with cheerleaders, track and football players. Passing the soccer fields show field hockey and soccer players hard at work too..


Signs of summer’s end. 


Having supper with both girls is tricky with Amy’s 5 -8 PM cheer practices. Evening fencing lessons start in October for Meg.  Figuring out how to adjust for daily connecting is not easy.  Hum. Snack then late supper?  Once school starts we’ll adjust again because that is what we do. Connecting is very important to us.

The girls are checking the mail in anticipation of their class schedule arriving.  FB and text exchanges will be full of discussion of details.

Summer required reading pressure is on to finish. I had to make a quick trip to the book store to get Red Badge of Courage yesterday. All copies were checked out of the library.  There is still a need for books, not e-readers in classes that refer to the books. I think that is probably a good thing.


It is a big transition year for me  the girls.  Both are in high school!  Oh my!  


Amy leaves for cheer camp next week. Meg is getting in one more amusement park outing with her BFF.  Hershey Park website says August is their busiest month.

And the shopping.


There were some shoe and clothing size changes. Thankfully we can wait on new tennis shoes.  Whew! Spreading out big ticket items helps.  We hit the sales for needed items of clothes and a lunch box.  Meg’s was torn and worn out.

Email notices help me monitor sales and coupons for  our favorite stores.  After pawing through bins and alley shopping for years in China, I don’t get too thrilled with overcrowded bins and racks.  Sale shopping works for us very well.

Hopefully, weather will cooperate for a few more days at the pool.  Between rain, cool weather and travel we haven’t had too many pool days.  Perfect for making s’mores after dinner by the fire pit.  Even in the heat, we head out for S’mores when the little girls are here for dinner.


Who would have thought marshmallow, Hershey bars and graham crackers were pantry staples?


Then there is what to pack for lunch…coming up next!  Life with all teens is gonna be really different!


How do you get you and your family ready for fall?  What’s your plan for family daily time when kids are here and there? 



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Teen Room Redo Beginnings


teen room redo


Meg, let’s redo your room.  Mom code for  “please can we please declutter!!”

Hmm, okay.  She’s been asking for black out curtains. I couldn’t just buy new curtains without redoing. It’s the if you give a mouse a cookie syndrome.

Fast forward.     

Mom, I know what I want but you will never let me do it.

Hmm, try me.

She knew exactly what she wanted. It included a chalkboard wall.

“First Honey, we need to do a little sorting.”


Meg's built-ins

Mid decluttering break



Okay Mom.  Honey, it means throwing away stuff.  Okay Mom.

We are talking childhood mementos and stuff and junk.

It was hard at first.  Today she was getting the hang of it. Maybe it was the lure of that extra big trash can!

Two bags out to the trash and 2 bins in the attic.




meg's bed pre redo

Sorting piles


It has been a slow process.

Mom, can we get rid of that pink cabinet you picked up for free? I do not like it

no matter what color you want to paint it!

Okay Honey.

This will be a 2 month long project.  LONG!

Our goal…by 26 August, the first day of school.

It’s summer. We had trips and movies and other stuff going on too!

To encourage her, truth be told, me too, we went to Home Depot for

Rust-Oleum black chalkboard paint.

Anyone know if the white board paint works?

Meg gathered up the paint supplies and set to work!  The FROG Tape from HAVEN 14 swag to tape off the wall and secure the newspapers sure came in handy.

There is definitely touch up needed.


Before we are done

there will be more painting of walls, trim and furniture.

Before we are done,

there will be beautiful arranged shelves with great color backgrounds.

Before we are done

she’ll finish the quilt she is making.

Before we are done…well

        it’s gonna look great!


More to come…


Meg painting black board

Happy Girl Hard at Work


More to come as we make our way to Meg’s teen redo!




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Beautiful Window Vignette

Beautiful Plate Vignette


Plates are an easy way to create a beautiful vignette.

Plates often attract my eye in the markets, Home Goods and yard sales.  Sure, I have sets of dishes and I also have individual plates and platters collected from years of homemaking here and abroad.  I like to display our souvenirs from homes abroad and stateside.


A beautiful vignette pleases the eye and is not jarring. Here are some of my rules

but they are not hard and fast!



large plate & jar



I. Use plates of various sizes with complementary colors and designs.  

2. Have multi-sized plate stands on hand.  

I prefer wood ones over plastic.  Pier 1 and Home Goods and other home decor or craft stores usually have these vignette necessities.

3. Add other elements of varying heights, shapes, colors and sizes.  

In this one, I used a tall candle holder and a lidded jar.  The jar is a neural element allowing the intense plate design and colors to stand out.


small plate detail

4. Vary height and sizes of elements.

5. Usually group in threes.

Why the candle stick or jar? I had the preverbal  three in this deep window setting but needed a place for the tall chunky candle stick while I was making some changes in another room.  So I stuck it in the back and loved it so much, it has stayed.  It helps fill the space.  So even it is!

6. Consider the scale of the spot you are placing the vignette. 

This spot is deep and tall, the bottom half of a window is the back.  Vignettes that are too small or too short are lost in the space.


LR plate vignette


Enhancing the beauty of our farmhouse living room is a plus.

Don’t you just love the intense colors and amazing designs?  They shine in this space!

Plates  Central Asia markets

Candlestick & jar  Home Goods

Plate stands  had for years

Ivory candle  AC Moore

This is not a sponsored post. 

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Finally Hydrangeas


finally hydrangeas


Finally, hydrangea.  Winter took it toll and I helped.  Yes, I broke of the sticks, a no-no.

I am hydrangea sad too like Karen here .  She gives pruning directions and I’ll remember next year.

I broke the sticks off. I wanted to make my front porch and the beds around it to look fresh and renewed. How can that happen with sticks sticking out?  I wish I had a picture of the sad, sad looking bunch of sticks with barely a green leaf showing.

I thought I was helping.  Pruning is supposed to be good, right?

Several weeks later Jim realized what had happened and told me “Don’t do that again”.  Could this be why the only gardening I do is to pinch dead blooms like my momma did every morning.

Weeks ago many were posting beautiful pictures of a spectrum of colorful blooms.




This morning sitting on the porch wrapped in a blanket, mind you, it was cold, I spied rich beautiful blooms nested deep in the foliage.  Hidden.  Finally!




I cut them.  And they look spectacular on the dining room table.  Nothing else is needs to supplement their splendor.


Perfect with the newly painted aqua walls.

No wonder these big full bloomed flowers are a favorite!





The colors are absolutely beautifully stunning and rich.

I am hydrangea happy!!



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Mama Influence: A Different Kind of Cheering for Adult Kids



With adult kids we parents have to learn a different kind of cheering.  For years there were games and performances.  We cheered.  We clapped. We encouraged and helped you.

Then suddenly, one day they need help moving.  OUT.  This is our third major move, not counting the college ones with our kids.

We helped our daughter move when she was so pregnant we thought it might not happen before baby.

Jim helped Robert move to his graduate school apartment.

Will put his things in his brother’s car and took off for a new city. New everything.

Now Robert moved from another apartment to a new house that needed lots of help.  Lots.

So we helped. That’s what parents do. Help, cheer and stand beside in case we are needed.  Or wanted.

Most of all we pray.   We never stopped.  And we pray for their future spouses.  I read in a Catherine Marshall book years ago about praying for our children’s spouses. We started right then and there.

Often we express how thankful we are for God’s answer for our daughter. She has a good man for a husband.

Cheering you onward Honey.

A small letter for you…


Dear Son,

It was a good time with Nancy, Will, Jessica and you working together in your new place.

Tag teaming with Daddy so one of us could be home with the girls is what we do.

This past weekend, the girls couldn’t wait to see you and Jessica. And the RING!

It is beauuu tiiii fullll !

Helping to pack and other moving kind of stuff.

This is what parents do when the days of driving to games and appointments are over. That is what family does, help.

Of course, you had to work those Saturdays. Then there was that pesky deadline to get out of the apartment last Sunday.

We haven’t stopped cheering you on. The praying over you never stops.

Those Iraq years, well, we prayed a whole lot. I’m pretty sure we held our breath just a little all the time back then.

And now…

A girl.  A woman.  She has been prayed for all of your life. Which means all of her life too.




Another daughter to love. She is a terrific woman. I think she’s got your number. She’s good for you. You’re good for her.







You’re going to be a great husband and some day, a great father too. You’ve had wonderful godly men surround you all your life starting with your dad and Grandpa. Examples worthy to be followed.

Many have loved and prayed for you since you were a baby.  Too many to name here.  Now Jessica too…because she is family.

We love you Son.

May the Lord continue to bless you and be gracious unto you and give you peace.



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Stylish Game Table for the Family


Game table chair details


The long search was finally over!

I could just see it in my mind’s eye but never found chairs that matched, were the right size and affordable.

Recently, this French style of chair has popped up at  bridal rentals and on blogs. If only I could find one. I came up empty handed on my forays into auctions, consignment shops and yard sales




The “library” table that has moved with us from home to home for years is the chairs I have always wanted since we first got it from Jim’s dad. It was part of Aunt Daisy’s library.

I’ll be really dating myself here…in TV and movie homes there was often a game table set under a window with side chairs, ready for chess or checkers. Bridge any one?



Library Table fit for Games



Surely Luckett’s would have some!  My daughter and I took the day to drive down.  It was beautiful weather meaning not hot yet.

The big rain storm left huge puddles bordering on pond status.  Vendors and organizers were rearranging.  The wait in line with the other early birds was pleasant.  Nancy and I were women on a mission.  She wanted a china cabinet.

We both found exactly what we wanted even though I didn’t know I wanted chairs with arms. I soon realized my big guys would never go for those tiny seated girly chairs.  Nancy and I sat and chatted in several pairs of chairs before deciding on these  charming linen covered one.





My dream for the “library” table was finally coming true.


PS. Yes, I’ll be painting the table.


Have you had a “dream” space come together?  What was it?  


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