Tuesday, November 29, 2016


We had both sets of parents along with my brother, his wife and new baby with us for Thanksgiving.  Here are a few photos.  I have been too busy to craft a really thoughtful post about Thanksgiving, as we are planning for a two week art show opening this Friday.  Here are a few photos from Thanksgiving...

The table...

The food (this is what comes from having four families making food for the day!) ... oven roasted turkey, smoked pork loin, smoked Boston butt, smoked turkey, cornbread dressing, gravy, squash casserole, creamed corn, collard greens, gourmet potatoes, green beans, purple hull peas, sweet potato casserole...

...lime jello salad, deviled eggs, Greek salad of broccoli & cauliflower with feta cheese, homemade cranberry relish, canned cranberry relish, pickled and olive assortments, French silk pies, pecan pie, and a homemade carrot cake. Abundance would be an understatement... but everyone had their favorite things!  And leftovers to go for one and all!

I am exceedingly thankful for all the wonderful blessings God has given me and at the top of the list is my family. Praying your Thanksgiving was warm, wonderful, and filled with loved ones.

Monday, November 21, 2016

It was hard keeping this a secret...

I have been waiting to post this one... such a fun super secret surprise piece. This was commissioned by a groom for his bride as a wedding gift because this was the spot where he proposed to her... under the big oak tree at Augusta National, the home of The Masters golf tournament. Congratulations to the bride and groom who are now Mr. and Mrs.!

"The Big Oak at Augusta National"
- 10" x 13" graphite

Friday, November 11, 2016

Thanksgiving is now less than two weeks away

How did this happen?  Time does march on.  With Thanksgiving in mind, I realize that I am thankful for so much -- I have SO MUCH for which I am thankful -- and yet I don't have EVERYTHING.   God continually shows me how much I need Him.  We are in the midst of one of the worst droughts in history where I live.  The lake that is our main source of water is so dry that people can walk across it.  We are at 54 days with no rain.  NO rain.  And the forecast for the next 10 days shows 0% chance of rain.

The conditions are so bad right where I live that the Water Works has issued a 400% fine on any who go over the allotted water amount for the month.  400%!  And that is the same whether you are a family of one or a family of ten.  We are a family of five adults and one fur baby.  But, we usually hover around the "fine-worthy" amount in our usage. So, we are finding creative ways to conserve even more than we normally do.  Yet, we are still praying, "Lord, please send the rain."  And, this continues to remind me that I am not in charge. 

As always with my scripture graphics, feel free to download and use this one!

Despite the recent election and the divide that we see in our country, we can be content in the circumstance and know that He is still God. So many feel that four years with our president-elect will doom our nation.  But, just as many felt that way four and eight years ago. And, here we are still plugging along. At the end of the day God calls us not to criticize those who don't vote or believe as we do. Rather, He calls us to love. Unconditionally.  Wholeheartedly. Even when it's hard. EVERY person has value to God. Including President Obama and including President-elect Trump. I pray that we can all get past this hate and division... and can find the contentment that He promises.

So much of life is beyond our control.  And so many of us are control freaks (anybody else, or is it just me and the people in my family?) When we have circumstances in our lives that are disappointing or challenging, they could be God's way of reminding us that no matter how much we try to control the variables in our lives, He is still ultimately in control.  And, I am at peace with that (well, most of the time.)  I try, with Paul the apostle, to be content in whatever circumstance I find myself.  And every time I go into my kitchen to get a glass of water, I am reminded of that.

"Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." - Philippians 4:11-13

Saturday, November 5, 2016

We need this right now...

So, I have always loved Steven Curtis Chapman's music, and so much of that is due to his rich lyrics.  He has written this song just recently in response to our upcoming election.  I would strongly encourage you to click the link or photo and listen.  It was just what I needed today, and I am afraid I may listen to it a zillion more times in the coming days. No matter what you're going through, God is on the throne...


It's not just applicable for us here in the States, but for all God's children... wherever we may be.  The lyrics are powerful, but even more so when you hear his heart as he sings them:

I hear everybody talking
on the right and on the left,
They're holding out their promises
while we all hold our breath,
and if I did not know better
I would be scared to death,
But God is on the throne.
I know that it all matters
and there's so much at stake
And I know we all need wisdom
for decisions we must make
But there's only one who's making promises that He won't break
And He is on the throne.

He is faithful and true,
everything He says He'll do,
And everything we go through,
He will go with us.
All the kingdoms of man
are in the palm of His hand
So I will not fear, I'll say it loud and clear, so my own heart can hear it
God is on the throne.

Well I've got my fears and worries
like everybody else
I love this country and it's broken
and in desperate need of help
So I'm praying to the one
who has the power to make us well
'Cause He is on the throne

Kingdoms rise and kingdoms fall,
only one stands through it all
It's the kingdom of
the God of grace and love
And I'm not worried because I know
God is on the throne.


Friday, November 4, 2016

Thankful for amazing doctors

I am one who cannot imagine being a doctor or a nurse, so I can't imagine having the courage to operate on another person.  But, I am so very thankful that there are those who are brave enough to do just that, as today it saved my friend's life.  She had an aneurysm that was fairly large and very dangerously thin and bulging. The doctor felt it could have ruptured and put her life in jeopardy at any moment.

She found out about this aneurysm because she had what she thought was a migraine ... for over a month!  She went to her general practitioner who suggested she get an MRI "just in case" and today she had a very intricate surgery to repair the aneurysm.

This was a 7 hour surgery (she was actually in the operating room that long), with a couple hours prep and a few hours in recovery.  Very long day! The doctor came out and told us that it was much larger and more serious than they originally thought and that the location of it in her brain was a very tricky spot.  Yet, he was able to repair the aneurysm, and he was hopeful that she should recover fully.

We are praising the Lord and thanking Him that someone whom we had never met before was brave enough to learn to do this kind of thing, strong enough to stand there for 7 hours (or however long it might have taken), gifted enough to use his skill and knowledge to accomplish this, so that our friend (who is in her mid-40s and has a husband and two children) will be well again.  Thank You, Lord, for doctors and for being the Great Physician, whether through miraculous healing or through miraculous doctors.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Yummo Seafood and Sausage Gumbo

I have been making gumbo for years now, thanks to a Southern Living recipe collection that I subscribed to back in the 90s, with a few personal tweaks.  I thought I would share it... this is not the quick, throw it in a pot, and have it ready in 30 minutes kind of soup.  But it is so worth the effort!

Here are the ingredients:
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 2 large bell peppers, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 14.5 oz. cans Italian stewed tomatoes
  • 2 10 oz. packages frozen cut okra, thawed
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 Tbsp. Tony Chacheres Creole Seasoning (Zatarain's works, too)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp. thyme
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 16 oz. Andouille or Conecuh Sausage, sliced
  • 2 lbs. shrimp, peeled and deveined

Once you have gathered all the ingredients, the first place to start is dicing all the vegetables. You must do this first because there is no time to do it once you have started everything else.

Next, you'll make the roux.  Be brave... this is the fun part.  In a very large and thick bottomed stock pot, put the oil and flour in and turn on medium heat. (Photo at right is how it looks when you start.) You need a long-handled wooden spoon or long-handled sturdy whisk, as this gets extremely hot and there's no sense singing the hairs off your arm!  You will stir this continuously, so be sure you will not be distracted during this step.  Continue on medium heat until the roux is about the color of milk chocolate or a tarnished copper penny.  You'll be tempted to turn up the heat to speed the process... trust me, don't!  For me, on medium heat this takes around 20 minutes.  Yes, I stir just about the entire time.  Just think of it as working off the bowls of yumminess you'll be eating later.  The mixture begins to get grainy toward the end, and particularly then you must not stop stirring. (Photo below is how it looks when it's ready for the next step.)

Once the mixture reaches the right color, it is time to add the diced veggies... peppers, onions, celery, and minced garlic.  Dump them in and stir, stir, stir for about 5 minutes.  At this point you're going to want to fumigate your house ...scented candles, fans, essential oils, whatever it takes.

Next add the 2 cans of tomatoes.  Then add the okra. 

Once you have added all that and stirred vigorously for a minute or two, it's time to add the 2 quarts of water.  You can add less if you like a thicker gumbo, or more if you like thinner.

 Next, add the Seasoning Mix, salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaves.  

Add the sausage, next, and simmer for  around an hour.
Once you have simmered and the sausage is done, add the shrimp and cook for an addition 20-30 minutes.  
You can cook white rice to go in the gumbo if you like it that way (most people do.) But, I like it without rice, like soup.  You can add Tobasco, Texas Pete's, Frank's RedHot, or any favorite hot sauce, if you want it hotter.

And last, but certainly not least, dip a bowl for yourself and dig in!

I would love to know if you actually make this and what you think!