“A Good and Perfect Gift”

God, faith, family, love, and tradition…..

A while back we gathered as a family to celebrate the baptism of our precious granddaughter.

The world we live in can be very challenging. Knowing our grandchildren are being brought up in the faith…..means everything to us.

Every good and perfect gift is from above.” — James 1:17

 

Savoring Sea Pines ~ HHI

My school system scheduled a fall break, so M. and I decided to take a short trip out of town.  We found a beautiful condo for an even more beautiful (low) price so we decided to visit Sea Pines in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

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We loved the tree-lined streets where huge old oak trees are scattered about.

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I could not wait to eat breakfast each morning at the Harbour Town Bakery and Cafe.

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The food is simply delicious and is located in the old lighthouse keepers cottage.

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I failed to capture the absolute charm of this place.  There are two fireplaces at each side of the small room.  The breakfast and lunch selections, pastries, and the coffee (my favorite is the pecan coffee) are hard to beat anywhere.  You can dine inside or out.

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Harbour Town is right across the street.  It has a few shops, a couple of restaurants, a lighthouse and a small harbor with some pretty impressive boats.

Three of our grandchildren (the baby was napping) were visiting at the same time so we got to spend a little time with them too! There are two parrots, Cherokee and Kiwi, on display each day at South Beach Marina Village.  It was fun to hear them say hello and goodbye.  They were putting on a show this afternoon because uninvited guests (a squirrel and some other small birds) were doing their best to steal some of their food. The parrots were not interested in sharing so the squawking got pretty loud.

During our visit we were treated to some beautiful sights of nature. The photo below was taken just after sunset of some egrets settling in for the night (I believe it is called roosting) among the branches of trees encircling a large pond. The lighting was not good but there were probably 500 – 600 egrets perched.  It was an amazing thing to see!

IMG_6716Side note:  After taking a couple of photos I happened to glance over the pond and there was an alligator in the water about 15 – 20 feet away quietly observing me.  I only saw the tip of its snout and its eyes.  Once we made eye contact it went under water and I high tailed it back to the car!

The next morning we headed out for breakfast and saw the egrets were interested in eating their breakfast as well. This photo does not do this scene justice. There were hundreds of egrets along this pond that extend beyond the boundaries of this photo.

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One evening we took a “Happy Hour” cruise and saw a few more wonderful gifts from nature.  Before we set sail the captain pointed out a Bald Eagle circling perhaps 50 feet above the surface of the water. It floated and glided and suddenly extending both legs it swooped down and captured some sort of fish from the sound. Wow!  You can barely see the eagle in the photo below.

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A lovely sunset…..

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and the rising of the moon….

fullsizeoutput_225fNeither M. nor I had ever seen the moon rise in this fashion and it was incredible!  My photo just does not do it justice, but this is about the best photo I took out of the bunch. I especially love the reflection in the water.

After our boat trip we enjoyed a light, late dinner at the Salty Dog Cafe listening to live music.  In between songs we enjoyed sharing our thoughts on what a wonderful trip we had and hopes of returning again someday.

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Sea Pines sits on 5,200 acres of land and there are many things to do here.  We mostly took it easy but you can golf, play tennis, go horseback riding, swim, fish, shop, and go boating.  A favorite activity is biking. There are miles of mostly shaded bike trails all over Sea Pines and people are out riding all day, everyday.

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Outside of Sea Pines there are lots of other restaurants, shops to wander through and other things to do on the island. Disney has a place there as well. We even took a side trip to Beaufort where The Big Chill movie was filmed.  If you have never been to Sea Pines it is worth a visit.

“Once a year, go someplace you have never been before.”  Dalia Lama

I also shared this post at:  Senior Salon/  Please take a minute to read what some of our other blogger friends have written.

40 Years

That is how long my brother worked at Southern Bell/BellSouth/AT&T before he recently retired.  The company changed names several times in his career, but he was a consistently faithful employee. He worked his way up from climbing telephone poles to district manager.

I wanted to celebrate this milestone, by hosting a very small dinner party.  We were so busy having fun I forgot to take many photos.

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A few weeks ago I reached out on the blog asking for some main course ideas and I did receive a few suggestions.  Mostly I received positive support that I would ultimately find the right recipe.  Well I did and I am happy to share the results!

After searching through my files I found this recipe I had made a few years ago. I served Anniversary Chicken from Allrecipes.com.  I like this recipe because you can prepare it ahead of time and pop it in the oven when you are ready. It is not a pretty dish so I borrowed a photo from the website.  Don’t let the ingredients scare you away, they blend together beautifully!  It may not be pretty but it tastes absolutely delicious!

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I served it with basmati rice and this delicious green bean recipe.  I regret not taking a photo of these beans because they looked as good as they tasted. I used Allen (canned) green beans because they are my personal favorite instead of fresh.  If you follow the directions as they are written, even storing them in a glass jar, you will wind up with a delicious side dish.  I loved that it was also a recipe I could prepare in advance. Side note: My BFF and I catered several Christmas holiday luncheons over a seven day period a few years ago and this dish was an unexpected hit and the recipe was requested daily by the ladies.

For dessert we enjoyed champagne cupcakes.  Mine don’t look near as fancy as the ones on the link I posted, but they are amazing!  Moist and delicious!  I used this recipe for the frosting.

SWEET CHAMPAGNE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

  • 3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons champagne, at room temperature

I don’t mind sharing the photo I took because it is hard to take a bad photo of cupcakes!

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The dinner was a success and it was great fun catching up with my siblings and their spouses.  We joked and teased as well as planned and dreamed.  None of us are the type to dominate the conversation so we all got a chance to share our thoughts with each other.

As the evening grew dark the room filled with a soft, warm glow we began to reminisce about the days long gone.  We sometimes got teary eyed as we reflected how lucky we are to still have each other and how blessed we are to have had such wonderful parents.  Some of those tears were from laughing so hard at funny memories that our cheeks hurt from all the smiling.

Life lessons have taught us that moments such as these are to be treasured as we never know what tomorrow will bring.  All that really, truly matters is that we are together as a family.  As we hugged and kissed goodbye before heading our separate ways we vowed to get together more often.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  Luke 12:34

I also shared this post at:  Senior Salon/  Please take a minute to read what some of our other blogger friends have written.

Any ideas?

I am giving a very small dinner party for six to eight people in about 11 days.

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I am absolutely out of ideas and was wondering if anyone out there had any suggestions on what I could serve as the main course?  Ordering something already prepared has occurred to me, and is not ruled out, but I would like to prepare it myself.

There are no allergy restrictions and we all love to eat so almost anything can be on the menu. If you would like to include the recipe I would  be most appreciative and if you offer only a suggestion I would be happy with that as well.

It can be gourmet, quick and easy, baked, grilled, (not fried), healthy or extremely fattening.  I just want it to taste delicious!!

This post may save you some time in regards to what is not going to be served Bone Broth

THANK YOU in advance if you are willing to help me out.

If not, I will find something, just thought I would put it out there.

Gotta Go

I’m done.  Our relationship is getting out of control. Although my husband has not said anything, I think he notices the changes in me. How can he not?

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You have been in and out of my life for years.  I was able to resist my urges for a total relationship with you until recently.  For months, you wooed me with your charm until you got me under your control.  Now, I have grown tired of you forcing me to decide between choosing you or choosing something else that is actually better for me.  I get so frustrated that I often indulge in both.

You demand that my place is in the kitchen searching through cookbooks for the perfect recipe, slaving over a hot stove or mixing up delectable sweets.  You insist on interfering while I roam up and down each aisle at the grocery store. Your badgering is relentless and I give in just to make you stop. Once we get back home your sweetness tempts me to the point that all I want to do is devour every. single. part of you.

I admit, there are so many occasions when you bring me joy and make me smile. There are no boundaries, no limits, no end to the pleasure.  But honestly, sneaking around to enjoy the mid-morning, mid-afternoon and pre-bedtime indulgences have got to stop.  Not to mention the midnight rendezvous!

This may not be the best time to end this since the holiday season is right around the corner. You beg for more time.  You try to convince me we could have so much fun together during this special time of the year.

Yes, it has been fun, lots of fun, but (this is not as hard to say as I thought it would be) it is time for you to go. It won’t be easy, but I figure I have eight good weeks to work you out of my system.  At that time, I know you will try one last trick to tempt me back into a relationship with you ~ one last fling during the holidays.

In all honesty, the way things have been going between us lately, just looking at you makes me feel disgusted and provides plenty of self motivation. Waiting to start over in the new year is just not an option.

You are toxic. There I said it.

The choice is mine – Goodbye …fullsizeoutput_223c

… time for some changes.

 

Religion, Politics, and Football

“There are two things you should never discuss with other people ~ religion and politics ~ remember that,” said my dad as we sat around the table one evening after dinner.

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Over the years this phrase always comes to mind when I am in the company of people who don’t share my religious or political views.

In today’s digitally driven world, we declare our views and state, “My blog, my social media page – if you don’t like it, you know where the unfriend button is.”  Being passionate about your beliefs and knowing where you stand is as American as baseball, Uncle Sam or apple pie.

People will get set off by something on CNN, MSNBC, CNBC or Fox News and post their opinion.  Before you know it, there is a huge fight.  Some folks respond to the post typing thoughts they might never actually say if the discussion was face to face.  Shutting out those who disagree with us even slightly  ~ is hard to watch/read.

Acting like adults and having mature conversations about religion and politics is plausible.  We attended a dinner party recently and these uncomfortable topics were brought up for discussion.  The bantering lead to great conversation, but only because everyone followed the one cardinal rule: respect other people’s opinions. These topics are just not worth losing friends/family over.  The conversation gradually changed and we began to talk about the things that bring us together ~ our children, grandchildren, and the memories of our cherished friendships.  I wish more Americans could act this way.

Regardless of what political party we support we are all Americans.

I read an article that inspired this post the other day and I enjoyed the way it ended so I am going to borrow it.

“People are really going to be fussing and fighting and slinging mud in the coming months,” said the gentleman. 

“With the midterms?” she asked. 

“No,” he replied.  “College football.” 

And that should be what we really argue about.”– Sudie Crouch

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Images are from free clip art on the internet.