Saturday, November 27, 2010

O Tannenbaum

Our tree farm man was back this year!!

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Whoo Hoo.

We had to go somewhere else last year for a tree and it just did not feel right.

Like we were steppin out on our tree man.


We were so tickled to see that he was home safe and sound from serving our country in Iraq.

And more than happy to give him our business.

And so the tradition of getting our Christmas tree on the day following Thanksgiving resumes.

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Trust me.

It was much easier to get in the house, in a vertical position, and decorated than last year.

A bungee free tree.

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How about you guys?

Do you have your tree up yet?

Do you wait?


I will be linking up here.

Sweet Shot Day

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Thanksgiving 2010

How was your Turkey Day?

Did you eat too much?

Are you still working on leftovers?

Do you wish adult pants came in adjustable waist?

I do.

We had a fabulous Thanksgiving.

Even though I could have lived without the two hour drive in the rain. Each way.

I like road trips and all.

But my ADD gets the best of me and I have to keep myself busy.

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We had the standard Southern Thanksgiving spread.

Cornbread Dressing.
Cranberry Sauce
Chicken and Dumplings.
Green Beans.
Sweet potato casserole.
Pumpkin pie.

I gained at least 5 pounds just by walking in the door.

So grateful for another year with my Grandpa Fisher.

The man that used to rock me to sleep on his chest.

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I am his oldest grandchild and he is the only grandparent I have left.

He is a pistol I tell you.

Cancer survivor.

Frequent flyer.

Preacher of the Gospel.

Living life to the fullest.

He has even written and published an autobiography of his life.

An amazing story.

Thankfully he left out the time he pinched my leg in church to shush me up and I yelled out "Grandpa you pinched me!" for the entire congregation to hear.

Poor guy...he was the preacher...and we were on the front row.

No need to include it I suppose.

As many times and my grandma told it I am sure no one could ever forget.

My children do not have a huge memory of their other great-grandparents so I feel especially blessed to know that they have a deep rooted understanding of this man and his life.

And his legacy.

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I have so much respect and admiration for both he and my dad and treasure each time I get to see them.

Good food.


Four generations under one roof.

Truly something to be thankful for.

The new jiggle in my thighs?

Not so much.

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On our way back home we stopped in to see my best friend Stephanie.

We have been friends since Jr. High.

But became much closer as we went through High School.

That's us on the right our Senior year.

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And us on Thanksgiving 16 years later.

We still look good Steph. Even after 3 kids :-)

We have shared more laughs, inside jokes, and shopping bags than two people ever should.

There is something very special to me about this friend that goes far beyond sleepovers and trips to the mall.

Stephanie was the one holding my hand when I accepted Christ.

She cared about my soul enough to ask me to go to church with her.

Her entire family did in fact.

They invited me in to their home and loved on me as one of their own.

They somehow looked over the mess that I was as a teenager and saw me through the eyes of Christ.

And it made all the difference.

Only 3 little miles separated us back then.

I wish that were true today.

Thank you Steph for loving me and my small shoulders all this time.

I love you.

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Turkey Day Randomness

I have a love/hate relationship with this blog.

No matter how much I want to I just can't quit it.

Yet at the same time I don't seem to have the time to say what I want.

And then I feel frustrated with it all.

So I'm gonna try something new

I'm challenging myself to blog.

Even when I do not feel like it.

Or have the time to.

Just get something down.

Good, bad, whatever.

Melissa inspires me to.

So here goes nothing.


I've been extremely distractable lately.

I hope that's a word.

My computer is saying it's not.

But it is exactly what I am.

This time of year it is so hard to stay focused on our school schedule when all I want to do is look at blogs, take naps, eat cookies, get inspiration and plan for Christmas crafts, search through recipes and decoration tips, go to Starbucks, eat cookies, peruse gift ideas, take naps, and design my Christmas Cards.

And eat cookies.

In fact I typically reverse our Christmas school break. I do not need 2 weeks off after the holidays.

My brain has checked out way before they ever even hit.

Speaking of Christmas are taken, cards designed and ordered, and in my possession.

All before Thanksgiving.


I think this qualifies as Christmas miracle #2.


I've been drinking loads of these babies.

Gingerbread Latte to be exact.

Grande please.

This probably does wonders for my distraction issues.


Starbucks @ XMas


I prefer canned cranberry sauce to fresh.

Nothing like the sound of suction breaking as it slides out onto the plate.

Never underestimate the power of nostalgia people.

It's why I endure the sheer and utter confusion that surrounds the mystery that is Peppermint Patty every Thanksgiving and Christmas.


We now have two kids in braces.

At the same time.

Aidan needed braces, but he also needed the monstrous Herbst appliance that Maggie needed to correct an overbite.

He got both in one day.

Did I mention that we are now funding the retirement of Dr. William Taylor DDS.



Maggie and Adam attended a Daddy/Daughter dinner hosted by our local Chick-Fil-A a couple of weeks ago.

Carriage rides.


Polynesian dipping sauce.

The kind of date a girl can only dream about.

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It was the sweetest thing really.

They both dressed up.

He bought her flowers.

And opened doors for her.

And paid for dinner.

All standards she will hopefully have one day when (the little punk that will never be good enough for her) some fine young suitor becomes smitten with her.

Which her daddy personally hopes is never.

Me too.



Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I am super excited about it.

And not just because I plan on staking my very own personal claim on an entire pumpkin pie.

Not entirely.

This year we will be traveling to my dad's and my step mom's about 2 hours away.

My grandpa will be there.

He's the only living grandparent I have left so I do not want to take time with him for granted.

His body is 80 something.

But his mind is 30 something.

My mind isn't even 30 something and I am 30 something.

I'm bringing Guesstures with us and plan on kicking hiney and taking names.

No one is safe.

Not even grandpa.


I am in the middle of making cornbread dressing, sweet potato casserole, orange salad, mashed potatoes, and deviled eggs right now.

I can smell the sweet potatoes from the oven as I sit here typing.

Makes me wonder why on Earth we only cook like this once or twice a year.

I suppose it wouldn't be nearly as special if we did it any other way.

It is gonna be a late night for me.

Probably powered by a couple cups of White Tea.

Starbucks is closed.


I hope each of you that take the time to read this little blog of mine, leaving your sweet words and sharing your own experiences on occasion, are blessed beyond measure this Thanksgiving with family, food, and more memories than your heart can hold.

And may your pumpkin pie produce no fat! :-)


"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Monday, November 22, 2010

His First Dance

Do you remember yours?

I don't remember a whole lot about mine but I am pretty sure there was an entire can of Rave hairspray involved.

Slippery When Wet piping through the speakers.

And more sequins than the human eye was ever intended to behold.

Our Homeschool tutorial (LCA) hosts numerous events for the students that they would normally be a part of if in a public school setting.

Fall Dance is just one of those.

Tyler attended his first official High School dance on November 4th.

When did he grow up?

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And just who the heck gave him permission huh?!

The theme this year (this is a "dress up" dance) was "Urban Alley"...meaning anything to do with city life.

He decided to go as a homeless person.

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I think he was going for comfort.

What can I say?

It's in his genes.

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Due to a prior commitment I was not able to take Tyler to this dance.

Which meant no picture taking for me at the dance.

My fellow Homeschool mom/teacher of all things Spanish/friend Giovanna was kind enough to send this picture to me.

This is Tyler and her daughter Rachel. Rachel went as a Ninja Turtle.

So clever.

She is 16 and already a Senior this year at LCA.

I know...amazing.

See Rachel has realized that God has some big plans for her life and she is more than ready to get started with those plans. She will be leaving on Thanksgiving Day for Bolivia on a mission trip. Please say a prayer for her would you?

Tyler was a bit nervous about the whole dancing thing.

So we cranked up the music and practiced in the living room.

His size 11's are permanently imprinted on my feet now.

A sweet memory I never want to forget.

Not that he really needed my help.

Looks as though he found his wings...

And did just fine flying solo.


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"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Grandma Margaret's Orange Salad {The post I never set out to write...but needed to more than I knew}


Orange Delight.

Hawaiian Delight.

I've heard it called many different things.

And I have tried different variations.

With coconut.


With mini-marshmallows.


But there is only one Orange Salad in my world.

And it came straight from my Grandma Margaret's kitchen.

My favorite place to be from childhood on into adulthood.

I apologize for not having better pictures.

And of course for the poor lighting that comes with my strange need to cook at night.

You see, I had it all put together before I thought to grab my camera and I CANNOT make it again before Thanksgiving because I will eat it all.

Just like I did with this bowl you see here.

You are just gonna have to trust me when I say that it is heavenly to the palette.

This dish is perfect for Thanksgiving.

Although I have yet to decide if it is a side dish or a dessert.

It's both I suppose because I always make room for it on my savory main course plate...yet somehow it always ends up on my dessert plate next to the pecan pie as well.

Let's pretend that I didn't just confess to having multiple desserts on a plate at one time.

Okie dokie?

Did I mention how easy it is to make?!?!

You will not regret making this I promise.

Unless you eat the whole bowl yourself.

In that case, I cannot be held responsible.

It is a risk that comes with this dish.

**I did not bother with Weight Watchers points while making this...although they could easily be calculated. I have no plans to count points on Thanksgiving Day. Gonna make it all about healthy choices and portion control but also going to enjoy this special day with my family.**

16 oz. Lite Cool Whip (or regular..depends on if you are watching your figure)
1 package of orange jello powder (you can use sugar free if you like)
1 container Cottage Cheese (I use a large tub because I like a can use less)
1 Large can Crushed Pineapple (Drained well)
2 Cans Mandarin Oranges (more or less depending on your taste..I like a lot so I use 2 cans)
Mix all ingredients together in large bowl and store in refrigerator to chill for a while.

While writing this post I found myself flooded with emotions and had to stop and regroup.

And decide if I would keep writing.

Emotions I had not allowed myself to feel in a long time.

That old familiar sting of memory and grief.

Why did I think I could just mention her in some generic recipe post and move on?

It is never that simple when it comes to her.

You see this lady has a place in my heart that no one will ever hold.

She was more to me than just a grandma.

She was a provider.

A nurturer.



She was my safe refuge in the midst of a childhood that was at times very stormy.

My parents were just kids themselves.

Teenagers thrust into a world they did not know how to navigate.

God has graciously healed and restored those relationships and I am at a very good place with both of my parents today.

In fact it is just another example of His faithfulness in my life and I give Him all the glory for it.

Both my mother and my father are very aware of this bond that existed between she and I.

And I know they would both understand and respect my need to honor her for all she gave to me.

She helped shape who I am today.

Her faith helped me to believe.

The blessings she repeatedly spoke over my life gave me a glimpse of a plan for my life greater than I could imagine.

Her faithfulness to hit her knees and intercede on my behalf saved me I know.

"God is going to use you in a mighty way one day Talysa"

I can still hear it.

I miss her everyday.

For so many different reasons.

But this is the time of year I miss her most.

This was her time to shine.

So I do what my mom, my aunt, and everyone else in my family does this time of year.

I honor her legacy of being "The Best Cook Ever" by attempting to recreate the dishes she made famous.

Food is just food.

Unless it is an integral part of a specific moment in time.

Then it becomes so much more.

Essential even.

It is why we make the same things every single holiday.

We all have our "orange salad".

That one dish that serves as a bridge to close the gap from the here and now to days gone by.

My senses rally.

The memories come.

Like flood waters without mercy.

And it is almost as though I am there again.

Watching her small, fragile, yet strong hands busily at work around the oven.

Laughing as the steam fogs her glasses.

Listening as she quietly sings her favorite hymn "What a Day That Will Be" to herself.

Wishing dessert, just once, came first so I could have a piece of her to die for coconut cake.

Reliving memories with family I may not see again until this time next year.

Standing at the sink after dinner washing ridiculous amounts of dishes.

Praying that by next Thanksgiving someone will have installed a dishwasher.

Painfully full but somehow left wanting more.

More of her food.

More of her.

More time.

Today, as I weep for a grandma that I miss immensely, I am thankful for the hope and promise I have in Christ.

That because of the faith and trust I have placed in Him, I can take comfort in knowing that I will one day be with her again.

She will be more than a memory.

She will be whole.

She will know exactly who I am.

No more of the horrible disease that robbed her of her memory of me.

Of all of us.

She will wipe those precious little hands off on her apron and I will once again hear that fiery voice say "Land sakes! Talysa Dawn, where have you been? Well next time you don't need to stay gone so long you hear? You're hungry I'll bet. Well, come on in here and I'll fix you something to eat."

And when we have stuffed ourselves full of her coconut cake...

We will load the dishwasher. :-)

What a day...glorious day...that will be.

This was one of her favorite songs. The one I most remember hearing her sing around the house. Only now that I am older and have had my mistakes covered by His grace can I read these lyrics and completely understand why they meant so much to her. She wasn't perfect...even though as I child I thought she was. None of us are. We are all just sinners in desperate need of a Savior. Extended more grace than we will ever be worthy of.

I wanted to add this video because it is exactly the way she would have enjoyed hearing it. She was a sucker for Southern Gospel. :-)

by Jim Hill
There is coming a day,
When no heart aches shall come,
No more clouds in the sky,
No more tears to dim the eye,
All is peace forever more,
On that happy golden shore,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

There’ll be no sorrow there,
No more burdens to bear,
No more sickness, no pain,
No more parting over there;
And forever I will be,
With the One who died for me,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


She has become such a beautiful young lady.

Right before my very eyes.

Did I blink?

Was I not warned that time flies?

All I know is this...

My heart physically aches sometimes when I look at her.

I grieve that little girl that was once toddling through my halls in footed pajamas.

Drinking from a sippy cup.

Demanding "Me do it!" when I offer to help her with her shoes.

Smiling at me through chubby cheeks.

Needing me.


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I look closer.

And I see more than my daughter.

I see eyes that are wise beyond her years.

I see a heart on fire for her Creator.

Broken for the orphans of the world. Already.

I see a determined, fiery spirit set on doing something about it. Already.

I see a smile that will one day capture the heart of the one God intended for her.

I see arms that long to nurture.

I see someone that still needs me.

To keep her secrets.

To laugh at her jokes.

To help her pick out the perfect shoes.

To remind her just how beautiful she is.

To speak blessings over her life.

To pray for her.

To pray with her.

In the ten years that she has been in my life, she has become so much more than a daughter.

She is the best kind of friend.


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I'm linking up with these great ladies today:

Sweet Shot Day

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

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