Sunday, December 9, 2012

Somehow... I'm Thinking About Summer Foods...

It’s Saturday morning and I hear our chihuahua, Peanut, barking with mini-canine wild & happy abandon in the little “mudroom” entryway from our carport.  Although it’s the other side of our rambling South Carolina brick ranch house, I can hear my grandmother’s merry laugh and the sounds of Mommas’ weekend things and crackling sacks of groceries being carried into the kitchen.

At this point I contentedly stretch, lie back in the cool sheets and smile to myself.

The weekends that Mommas – our mother’s mother - spent with us were always the best.  They were full of mouth-watering smells issuing from the kitchen and – if it was summer time - lighthearted conversation in the den mingling with the sounds of a southern summer night drifting in through the open screened door to our back yard where gardenias perfumed air in the waning heat.

Freshly baked biscuits would tug me unresisting from bed and I would wander into the kitchen to be hugged and kissed by Mommas.  The smell of Ponds cold cream scenting her cheek and a soft floral bath powder fragrance in her crisp cotton dress was always a reminder that there are places in the world that can be soft, peaceful and brimming with acceptance.

Quite possibly a basket of sun-ripened peaches would scent the morning air if Mommas and Mother had found the time to make a visit to the farmer’s market and there would be a bowl of deep burnished ruby red tomatoes.  Mommas might already have cucumbers sliced to immerse in a sharp combination of onion bits, a pinch of sugar and salt and pepper.

A pan of cut corn would already be shaved from newly-purchased ears and simmering in a pan on the stove where they would be stirred into creamed corn to heap on the fluffy biscuits and the pressure cooker would be trembling on its stovetop eye filled with Kentucky wonders.

Our Saturday lunch would be made up of these delights but they would eventually find their way the next day into a sublime Sunday lunch.  Slipping into comfortable clothes after church and stepping back into the kitchen my mouth would water at the smell of fried chicken heaped on a heavy crockery plate and feather light chicken gravy being ladled into our old weathered gray gravy boat.

I regret to say that I didn’t pitch into assisting this intense kitchen culinary activity.  Mother and Mommas had it down to a science that was best viewed from a stool at the kitchen counter where I could watch the stirring, slicing and Mommas’ skilled “pinch of sugar” that she swore made everything taste better.

I loved that spectator seat as it was often rewarded with a buttered biscuit half, a frosty glass of sweet tea with a mint sprig and a stolen glimpse of the fresh peach cobbler growing a deep golden brown in the oven.  Mother and Mommas managed to fill a table with a flower-aproned grace that looked easy but was the stuff produced by years of experience turning summer gardens into provisions that both sustain and delight.

The women of their generations made simple fare wonderful!  During the Depression when money was scarce or WWII when rations were severe, Southern women took the produce of hot, dusty summer gardens and stretched them into full tables and happy family stomachs and somehow managed to additionally put up enough of their harvest to fill out cold & dark winter suppers.  The current Fresh Market & Whole Foods generation has variety that is marvelous and varied but the perfection of simplicity and the ability to work with what was local and fresh was a talent that the Southern woman had honed into a delicious art form.

Did I know these things as I lifted a forkful of rice & creamy chicken gravy to my mouth or speared savory green beans, making sure that I included a wedge of small potato cooked in their pork-flavored depths?

No.  But I knew that I loved the cooks!  And still do.

Auntie J

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fashion Show in Darlington

The Methodist church in Darlington had a ladies luncheon as a fundraiser today with clothes from a local boutique, make-up and jewelery.  Some of my friends and I were invited and then asked if we could model some of the clothes from the boutique.  We met with the owner of the boutique last night to pick out the clothes we were going to model and it was a lot of fun.  She is about SanFran S's age and she owns  two stores in the area.  As she was putting together outfits and jewelry for us together to try on, it made me think of SanFran S.  I could invision her owning her own nearby clothing store and putting on shows around South Carolina.  Just a thought... (Hint Hint SanFran S!)
These are the two outfits I modeled.  I liked the jacket and top so much and talking to the audience afterwards convinced to get them both. Early Merry Christmas to me!
I have been so busy with the boys, Lee's surgery and the boys that I haven't had much blogging time.  Hoping to see Pamela's Girls soon!
Love, Mommy M

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Blueberry Lemon Breakfast Roll

Yesterday Bo, Baby M and I went on a church field trip to a blueberry farm.  I thought it would be a great chance for Bo to run around and get some energy out while picking fresh blueberries.  Unfortunately it was raining so he only got to pick a handful of berries, but I was able to use the berries to make Auntie J's recipe for Blueberry Lemon breakfast rolls.

They were so delicous!  I shared some with Cici... I sure wish all of Pamela's girls were closer so I could have shared them with everyone!

Love to Pamela's girls!

Mommy M

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.
 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

When Pamela passed away some 29 years ago, …and then Mommas - I was left with an inward craving for “motherly” mentoring.  To have the full ear and attention of a woman who was a little ahead of me on this walk through life was something that I realized early on was a rare and precious thing in the busy world through which we negotiate.

CiCi is probably fortunate that I lived so many miles away from her because I am sure that I would have become a nuisance hanging about her warm & comforting Carolina kitchen table lapping up sweet tea and advice.

But I found that – as He always does – the Lord provided.  Mainly through informal means at church, He raised up several women who were faithful in meeting with me over dinner, or coffee or even welcomed me into their homes to just listen to my hopes and fears and pray with and for me.

Some of these women have passed out of my life for one reason or another by changed proximity or current needs, but I suspect that the Lord had them in my life and me in theirs for just the right amount of time according to His plan.

One of these precious women was Becky F.  I first saw Becky with her handsome husband and two young, lovely daughters at church and felt immediately drawn to them as a family.  As a matter of face, on one of our church retreats, I made so bold as to saunter up to them and come right out with an unabashed “I really want to get to know you guys!!!”

And we did.  I relished Becky and husband, Ed’s, teaching through a small home group, shared time at church, suppers that I sneaked into with them and times that I was able to get a one-on-one chat time with Becky.

Becky has always been the type person that a young woman would sigh and think; “I’d love to be just like her!”  Beautiful, full of energy, a great cook, highly creative and intelligent and also possessing a wealth of scripture knowledge made her a Woman of God ever encouraging to have in your life!

On the day that I got married, Becky and Ed drove more than 50 miles through snow and ice to pick me up and take me to have my untamable hair done and get me to the church.  I felt their sweet support that day as I had during the time that Uncle R and I were dating and became engaged and knew that they were absolutely a gift from Him.

Then after I was married and Uncle R and I had gone back to the church where we met – young married life got in the way and Becky and I pretty much lost track of each other for many years.  I missed her all of that time.  I missed her wise remembrance of scripture, cheerful heart and - also as an avid reader - her excellent book suggestions.

Well – we have reconnected and now wonderful Becky and I are having lunch on a regular basis.  It’s usually at our favorite meat & 3 with southern vegetables and lots of nonstop chatting.  But it’s precious, precious time to me.

In the last few years I have come to realize that I want very much to give back what my kind and loving mentors have given to me.  When you feel the Lord’s blessings in your own life it somehow lights a little fire within to share what you have received in such bounty with others who have the same need.

Over the years Uncle R and I have seen various young people come through our lives and we have enjoyed breakfasts out in local eateries with long conversations over coffee, listened to tears and prayer requests over our phones and have been thankful to keep these younger ones in our prayers.

We love that our church is so predominately young.  Nashville is such a major draw for the creative-minded and the ambitious career professional that it seems that there is an ever-growing number of twenty and thirty-somethings who are located here with few friends and family to call upon. 

Our pastor’s wife, Kim, has created a new ministry that I am very excited to be taking a part in.  It’s the “Let’s Meet For Coffee” women’s ministry.  Evidently there were so many young women in our church who have asked Kim about whether there were mentors available – that she seized that need and created an outlet for women to have someone to meet with and just talk to.

So far I have been meeting with a wonderful young woman who is fresh from graduate school and is stepping out into a new life, including an upcoming marriage and numerous employment opportunities that could keep both she and her husband here in Nashville or send them as far as Spain or France.

I am still meeting weekly with Carmencita – as we have done for several years – and occasionally my little songbird, Hilly.  I love these three young women and am so thankful that the Lord brought them into my life.

He is so kind to bring us into families.  Some of these families we are born into, some we choose ourselves – but we nest securely in the happy knowledge that He is the Father of all of these.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?
2 Corinthians 2:14-16

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.
Ephesians 1:18-19

I am including two photos here below. One is Becky F. and me on my wedding day and the other is from a recent lunch!

Isn’t the Lord good!!!

Love to my Pamela’s Girls!!!
Auntie J

Friday, March 2, 2012


We are so happy that you were born!
You are a blessing to all of us!

I have so many wonderful memories of you growing up!
You have made it so much fun to be an aunt!

Love you!
Auntie J

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Top 10 Ways My Life Has Changed in 5 Months

10. I now have 3 precious boys to care for!

9. I am the mother of a preschooler.

8. Bo turned 3 years old and is learning so many new things every day.

7. Baby M is now 5 months old. He stays much busier these days playing with his toys and is very close to crawling and sitting up.

6. I was the President of the Darlington Cotillion Club in January.
5. Cici and I qualified for our Concealed Weapon's Permit with the help of SS.
4. Daddy L is now the Assistant City Administrator of Darlington.
3. I have decided to apply in the Darlington schools, and possibly start teaching again in the fall.
2. I am getting more sleep at night.
And the number 1 way my life has changed in the past 5 months...
1. I can now bend down to pick up toys and paint my toe nails with out being in pain.
As you can see, it has been a very busy 5 months, but I am thrilled with the changes that have taken place in our lives, and anxiously await more changes to come in the upcoming year.
Happy New Year full of possibilities Pamela's Girls!
I love you!
~Mommy M

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Two Birthdays

Happy Birthday, Auntie J!!!

I was thinking this weekend about 2 birthdays. The first, and most important, was Auntie J’s birthday. We love her so much and wish her many, many more.

When SanFran S, SS, and I were babysitting the boys on New Year’s Eve, I couldn’t help but admire how straight Mommy M keeps her house. Of course Bo has his little toys all around, but in every room in their house everything is so neat, with no clutter. In looking at my very cluttery house, I made an excuse for myself, thinking “ Well we have lived here for so many years accumulating stuff.” Then, I thought, “Wow, we

moved here January 3, 1983, so it’s been 29 years!” That is so hard to believe! So I had to go pull out pictures, first of our house on Friarsgate Blvd in Irmo.

Then, thinking about how SS had to start working in Darlington in August 1982, while I stayed in Columbia with a 3 year old and 5 month old during the week, and he just came home on the weekend. After looking for houses for a couple of months and not finding the right thing, our lot on Tennessee Drive came available. We bought it and found a builder in October, these pictures are in November, and then it was ready to move into in January.

Everything was done in such a hurry, but it has always been such a good

little house for us. I thought that once I had a dining room I would enjoy having company and entertaining, and I did try, but it has always been stressful and not really enjoyable to me. But I started a little notebook, describing dinner parties we went to, what was served, and who was there. And guess where the first party was – on January 9, 1983 at the home of Dickie and Carolyn Bryant, future home of Mommy M and Daddy L!

Wishing all of Pamela’s Girls a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!

I love you all, CiCi