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June 2016
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August 2016

52 New Books in 2016 | 42


The Storied Life of A.J. Fikroy

Such a quaint, likable, and quotable book. I laughed out loud quite a bit the first half of the book, although not so much after as the characters had less to laugh over and as the book revved through time. Yet, it is the passing of time, and people aging and evolving; and evolve as they age because they experience - life. All the very warm,likable, endearing characters experience such transitions from the main characters A.J., his adorable sweet adopted daughter, and each supporting cast member. While I truly liked this book there were just enough hiccups, when I went from laughter to - huh; or the first time I got caught flying through time. And the next time - that I cannot give it a 10 rating. But, a rating of 8 will do.

august menu plan

August 2016 Menu

For August's menu it's all about bringing back the old and introducing some new. 

A couple old favorites that we haven't had in a very long time, maybe even a half a year or so is Evil Meatball Subs. These delightfully decadent and evil subs are made with ground chuck and - wait for it - wait for it -


Smothered in a peppery, spicy tomato sauce on crusty rolls, these subs are truly evil.

Chicken Enchiladas is another favorite we haven't had in months. So long ago the men in my house are asking, "When are we going to have chicken enchiladas again?" I promised to put them on the menu this month. They're an old favorite filled with chicken, green chilies, sour cream, and cheese smothered in more cheese. They are delicious!

Shrimp and Grits with Andouille sausage and red eye gravy. This is mostly an old favorite of mine. Jeff likes it and the boys will eat it (they eat the grits separate from the shrimp and sausage gravy - they're nuts! But, I still love them). This is a Diner's, Drive-Ins, and Dives highlighted restaurant recipe that I was so glad it was posted on Food Networks website. I made little change to the original recipe because it is just so good as is.

Spaghetti. I know, right? It's crazy, but we hardly ever eat spaghetti anymore. Just plain, ole spaghetti with meat sauce. So it's back on the menu.

Not surprising, I have one new recipe each week to look forward to: Smothered Green Beans, smothered with bacon and onions, of course; Funeral Potatoes. Seriously, I've never made this old time traditional side dish that people take to funerals - so I'm told. I do remember a wonderful dish served at Jeff's Dad's funeral that was yummy! I think it had cream cheese in it. It was a rich and cheesy potato dish. Wish I had the recipe. Balsamic Honey and Mustard Pork Chops, an exciting mix of flavors but very simple to make. Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Chicken, I mean - come on, bacon and jalapeno and cheese - YES! And, finally, Blackened Shrimp with Cajun Garlic Butter. You had me at blackened. And if that wouldn't have done it - Shrimp!

the other side of Marah.


"Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?” Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink. There the Lord issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test. He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.” Exodus 15: 22-26

At the time I was completing Beth Moore's study, A Woman's Heart and the day of study I was introduced through the word of God to the Jehovah-Rapha, the God Who Heals, I was experiencing my own Marah. Or, in fact, I had already drunk from the waters of Marah, those bitter waters that offered no refreshing quench. My thirst may not have been for the physicality of water but bitterness, anger, and toxicity needed cleansing. I needed someone to throw a piece of wood into the bitter water. Like Moses before, I cried out to the Lord. I waited, craving something cool and sweet and refreshing to drink. Craving peace.

I waited.

And I waited.

When I feared it was too late...

Then, "Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink," - a piece of wood was thrown into the bitter water.

Those bitter waters full of anger and toxicity was made sweet. Jehovah-Rapha heals. God demonstrated His power over the most common disease from which I was suffering - bitterness. Moore writes, "Bitterness is spiritual cancer, rapidly-growing malignancy that can consume your life. After it consumes the soul, it begins to eat away at the body. It is so contagious that we can pass it to our amount of distractions can treat this disease." This was me. It was a malignant cancer consuming me from the inside out.

"Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water." Exodus 15:27

On the other side of Marah came my Elim. Refreshing, abundant, sweet, overflowing waters. Jehovah-Rapha, the God Who Heals. Psalm 147:3 says God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He does. Oh, yes He does!

On the other side of Marah - peace!

stories 2016 | celebrating freedom


Seriously quick little one-page of my granddaughter Ella and grandson Noah of pictures Elizabeth posted of their 4th of July, which like ours ended up being - working around the house and staying around the house. Our own plans were to head down to Riverstreet for our traditional fireworks but we didn't even do that. Elizabeth was getting the house cleaned and ready for a visit from her mother-in-law so no fireworks for them either. This is ok. Thankfully, we have the freedom to take it easy once in awhile.

Love these photos and so glad to see Noah - still growing - still a cutie patootie!

For the digital products from a designer named Dunia Designs and a template by Debbie Hodge from Get It Scrapped.

Read a book published before you were born (and 52 New Books in 2016 | 41)


One of the categories of Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2016 Reading Challenge is to "read a book published before you were born". I knew this would be a difficult category so I intentionally made it my first selection within the challenge. I do have several titles on hand in my library of growing book titles I haven't read yet. This is also another new book in my 52 New Books in 2016 challenge with less than 10 new books to read before I accomplish that goal. Pretty cool!

For my first selection of this challenge and for this category I chose the beautifully sweet, The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery (translated by Katherine Woods). It was originally published in 1943, twenty years before I was born. At almost 53 years old and reading for the first time this slim 83-page treasure is fraught with profound pearls of wisdom of what really matters in the course of life, friendship, and, of course, love. While I am sure there is specific meaning to each of the vignette's offered within the story, I believe each person can find a piece that is their own, meaning within the meaning: time spent on others is what makes the time spent and the others, both, valuable and not wasted; we see things as they truly are if we see them from the inside out, "One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes"; is a desert beautiful (or anything) only if someone sees it in its' deserted glory; grown-ups are strange, they only care about numbers (grown-up things) and they lose their sense of wonder, a seeing things as a child see them (have you ever read a picture book to a child and you'll see what I mean). "And no grown-up will ever understand how such a thing could be so important."

I loved the lessons gleaned on leadership from the visits to the planets near the Little Princes' planet; and since we will all be a leader in some way through our life, these short pieces are fitting for everyone. For instance, "I know a planet inhabited by a red-faced gentleman. He’s never smelled a flower. He’s never looked at a star. He’s never loved anyone. He’s never done anything except add up numbers. And all day long he says over and over, just like you, ‘I’m a serious man! I’m a serious man!’ And that puffs him up with pride. But he’s not a man at all!" Oh, pride! How sneaky are you, pride?

This book is a healthy, reminder to look at things from a different perspective. As a Christian, its a good reminder to look at the world and its people through the eyes of God.

Rating: 10

Digital products used: One Little Bird


stories 2016 | make time for the great outdoors


I love the way this page turned out. Granted, I used a digital template (modified), but the cleanness of the page with limited embellishments makes the photos the main attraction. Because it is the photos of Ella that make the page special. I love that Elizabeth, along with her mother-in-law, and Ella were able to explore the area where she's living now. It makes a temporary place seem more like home. Exploring, new pursuits, finding fun and adventurous joys. How fun was this!

52 New Books in 2016 | 40


A.W. Tozers', A Crucified Life...A-mazing! A page was not turned without a note written, a line underlined, a paragraph bracketed, or an entire page dog-eared. This book. Life-changing. It has moved swiftly to the top of my all-time important Christian non-fiction books, hugely impacting the way I approach life, relationships, loving, being, and God. This book is hard-hitting and confrontational. I will come back to this book again and again. Plain-spoken, tell-it-like-it-is, non-religious, but very Christ-focused, Tozer speaks about what the Church, the Bride of Christ, is supposed to look like to the world as a whole and individually.

Without an reservations I can give this book...

Rating: 10

Friday, with a cup of coffee | 5


Grab a cup of coffee and join me for a delightful, intriguing excursion around the world-wide web:

A kind of miracle happens when we don't label people but love people - Ann Voskamp.

A couple weekends ago, we went to the funeral of a very dear friend of Jeff's from the military. This man was a godly, inspiring man and truly made an impact on those in his life. We drove in the lengthy funeral procession from one side of town to the other side to the old cemetery.  After an already emotional-filled celebratory, worship-filled service because Eddie is with Jesus, I cried even more as we drove the long journey slowly through town. While a few random cars ignored the funeral procession, so many stopped and even pulled over to the side of the road. Or just stopped in the middle of the road. Until the last of the funeral procession passed by. I understand it is not the law. But, man, it is honorable and respectful. To the many, many Savannah drivers who were honorable and respectful that day, Thank You!

A new book, The Last Punisher, I need to look at getting for Jeff.

A couple great reasons to put Philadelphia on my places I want to visit bucket list: Best Things to Do and Best Things to Eat. I want to go some place just to visit. To see. To travel.

Oh, my! Delightful. A Drone photography contest. An enjoyable excursion.

"The stability of the world depends on the rejoicing in God's works..."(John Calvin) The #1 Secret to Squashing Anxiety This Year...and every year hereafter. I'm visiting Ann's A Holy Experience regularly and occasionally finding my way through her archives of grace and goodness.

How and what we define as 'good'. I'd have to agree that what is good for one may be just okay for another. Interesting perspective and healthy reminder.

recent pages for friends.













1. Doctor's Orders. Call me crazy but making albums for friends is such fun. Tucker and Silas are the bomb diggity! I dug way down into my old stash of digital products for the few pieces of 'ouch' embellishments to accommodate poor little Tuck's surgery. He did so good. 

2. Storytime. Tucker, again! I seriously try to be fair with pages of Tucker and Silas, with singles of each as well as both in the story - for individuality-sake. Loved this one of Tuck sitting in his favorite chair 'reading' a book. I used One Little Bird products. Love the Chapter products.

3. Summer Days. All Silas here. I love this double page which highlights the photos first and those sweet Ali Edwards brushes second.

4. First. These last three are the Trumps. I've shared about them before. They're the family who adopted 5 brothers and a sister. They've since moved and have moved again over these past 7 months. I want these kids to have these memories. It's pretty much that simple. They had a rough, and I mean rough life before the Trumps adopted them and photo albums, and memories are normal for a home. I want them to be able to see where they were and how far they've come as individuals and as a family. This one - First - is a part of those memories, what was, what is now, and I imagine as they look at these pages, they'll be able to see what might be, too. Oh, and I used all Ali Edwards' Story kit FIRST.

5. One Year Fam-iversary. Seriously awesome. They celebrated their one year anniversary of becoming a family. Their official adoption date. So cool! I love scrapping pages for this family. More Ali Edwards Story kit, from her ROOTS collection.

6. Silver Dollar City. Love pages with lots of photos + story+ few embellishments (Ali Edwards Story Kit TOUGH) and Yin Designs template, modified.

I've completed quite a few more pages for both families as well as another friend's family too. I have a couple pages of my granddaughter Ella and grandson Noah but I'm waiting on journaling from Elizabeth (if you're reading this, read this: send me words, baby!)


Currently | July 2016


Plowing through A. W. Tozer's The Crucified Life, as if lead by an hard-working aged mule. Slowly. But, effectively.

Studying A Woman's Heart by Beth Moore with John and Jarrod for our weekly Bible lessons. 

Rejoicing with Joan that she has a place of her own and she seems to be adjusting well.

Celebrating John and Jarrod's birthday this month.

Planning a painting project for my bedroom. Something similar to this, but in these colors.

Creating needs to be apart of my life again. I have an amazing Pinterest board called CREATE52. I'm heading over there and finding something to create.

Laughing hard at our church's summer dinner theater, Arsenic and Lace. Jeff, the boys and I, with the boys' friend Kirsten attended Savannah Christian Church's re-make of the 1941 classic, Arsenic and Lace. It was loads of fun. Good food, good company, good play.

Swimming needs to be apart of my life again, too.

Believing without a doubt there is but One Hope for our lost, battered, broken world. And His name is Jesus.

Waiting anxiously for a pair of lamps for our living room.

Hoping, seriously hoping, my sons get jobs soon!

Loving more pain-free days than painful days. Except for mild hip and low back pain, like a 1 on the pain level scale, for about three weeks I have been pain-free. It has been glorious! I still can't do too much but I have been able to walk without a hit of pain for much of the day. It's been sooo good.

Pinning Traveler's Notebook Inspiration, Mugs I love, and of course Project Life inspiration.

Watching Bones (just began Season 6) and Castle (we're at Season 5 - I think). We have a family pizza and a movie night this Saturday and we'll be watching the movie Allegient - the last of the Divergent series.

Scrapping albums for the Trumps, the Dentons, and the Adkinsons - all gifts. The Dentons are on a whirlwind 6-month US traveling vacation. For the Adkinsons - it's all about Tucker and Silas (1) I'll finish the year out, and (2) I'm not sure what I'm gonna' do after that now that they're having another set of twins. And the Trumps, I'm getting as many pages in for them with their adopted 5 kids - the highs and the lows - because with time they'll be more highs then lows. Regular facebook posts from all of them with journaling makes it easy to grab the photos and put pages together.

Beginning in August, I will be challenging myself for 30 days of...(I'll share in August:)