Monday, May 4, 2015

Jenkins Girls' Retreat: 2015

We've talked about it for years.

This year, we finally did something about it.

We reserved a lodge in Branson, MO that would sleep 30 and most of us Jenkins Girls met up for a weekend of sweet fellowship and laughter.
From Left to Right: Dana, Aubree, Jana, Kathy, Brianne, Peyton, Addison,
Kristy, Camille, Kelli, Elliot, Brooke, Debbie, Delayne, Meagan, Janelle and Fonda
There were seventeen of us in all.  Three aunts. Five first cousins & cousin-in-laws.  Five first cousins once removed.  Three first cousins twice removed.

From the very first moments of our stay, the little girls were running and playing, laughing and giggling.  And it wasn't much different for us 'not so little' girls. 

I'll be sharing some of my favorite pictures this week...and maybe a few stories.

Until then, a huge 'thank you' shout out to these lovely ladies who have helped shape me into the woman I am today.  Love you all!

Friday, May 1, 2015

We Have Arrived In Our Promised Land

Yesterday at the office I found myself too busy to take a lunch.  I had brought my lunch to eat at my desk so that I could get outside on such a beautiful day to walk.  But the walk never came.  So, I took my lunch hour at the end of the day to walk.

But as I got nearer to the park, I thought to myself, "I'd rather drive on home and walk there so that I don't have to deal with the five o'clock traffic on the way home'.  So, I kept driving and arrived at home just a few minutes past five.  Jim was already home as we had a crew out clearing the place for our barn.  He was on the tractor when I arrived, but got down to show me where they had cleared the trees and how different it was looking out there. 

After we walked around 'oohing' and 'aahing' the great work they had done, Jim asked me to show him where NOT to bush-hog because of the dewberry plants.  As we walked around the property, I noticed that there were areas where the dewberries were already ripening.  I tried picking, but soon ran out of space in my hand.  So, I walked back to the house and grabbed one of my vegetable baskets, changed my shoes for muck boots, (doused myself in Skin So Soft Bug Spray) and headed back out.

About an hour and fifty sore muscles later, I had gathered about a quart of fresh dewberries.  (And I saw only one snake -- and that just a tail.  I left him that patch!)

When I showed our abundance to Jim, he commented "Dewberry pie and ice cream for dinner."  Well, I don't know how to make a dewberry pie...but I can sure whip up a dewberry cobbler.  And so, I did!

It was delicious!  (I had a small piece despite cobbler not being on my Daniel Plan approved diet.  90-10 y'all!) 

As I picked and ate the dewberries last night, I kept thinking of how the Lord was blessing us with food that we didn't cultivate.  We didn't plant them...didn't care for the vines.  They were just a gift!  A sweet reminder of home and family.  I thought of the Israelites as they took the Promised Land and were fed from fields and fruit that they had not planted (Joshua 24:13)...and thanked God for our Promised Land...our Home.

This simple dessert holds so much meaning for me.  My dad just taught me last year that these were not blackberries...but in fact dewberries.  And I used my Grandma Jenkins' peach cobbler recipe.  It was just so unexpected...such a gift.  Thank you, Jesus!

Wanna make a cobbler?  Here's how I do mine.

Grandma Jenkins' Peach Cobbler
1 cup sugar
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup milk
1 can peaches
1 stick butter
Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Place butter in baking dish and place in oven to melt.  Mix together sugar, flour and milk until all lumps are gone.  Pour over melted butter.  Pour peaches over batter.  Place in oven for 30 - 45 minutes or until browned on top.   Serve with delicious Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream.
For this dewberry cobbler, I placed two cups of dewberries in a boiler with a cup of sugar and two tablespoons of butter.  I brought it to boil for about three minutes and then turned it off to cool a bit while I made the batter.  I tasted the dewberries to ensure that I had enough sugar in them as they tend to be a bit tart.
Disclaimer: This isn't actually my Grandma Jenkins' recipe.  She didn't use a recipe.  So as she made it one day, I took her handfuls of this and that and measured them out so that I could at least have a starting point.  But it tastes like hers!!!  So, I must have gotten pretty close.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Finding Refreshment In The Unexpected Places

Back in March, I went through a spurt of activity that almost did me in.  It wasn't meant to be such a busy time, but you know how sometimes everything just lands on the same week of the calendar?  Well, it was one of those times.

Robin, Stacy and I had planned a trip to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for shopping and sitting in the Wine Garden to visit.  (We call it 'Sip & Shop' Day.)  The original plan was to go the first week of Rodeo Houston but rain!  And then rain!  And then more rain!!!  Finally on the Wednesday of the week in question, we bit the bullet and went despite the rain.  And it stopped.  And we had a wonderful day filled with shopping and wine and all kinds of fried goodness.

Then on Friday I went back to the Rodeo for Suite Night.  A large group of us went together and bought tickets to a Sky Suite to see The Band Perry.  Jim bailed on me at the last minute for a turkey hunt, but Meagan decided to be my date for the night.  She and I rode over to Robin's together where we caught the party bus for our night out on the town.  It was a grand night and we returned home about 2:30 am.  (At which time I got stuck trying to get down the dirt road to our new place.  Another story for another time.)

Saturday morning I needed to be up early to meet the ladies from church for our monthly outing.  We left the church at 10 am and headed to Brookshire, TX to have lunch at The Cafe at Brookwood followed by shopping at their gift shop and nursery.  It was a lovely morning despite the rain.  The food was delicious (Shrimp and Grits) and the dessert was divine (white chocolate bread pudding).

I dropped the ladies off at the church around 2 and headed to Bri and Josh's for their annual crawfish boil.  What a crowd they had!  It was fun to see everyone and Josh did a great job on the crawfish.  But I was tired and left around 6 pm, taking Delayne and Dayton with me so that Meagan and Derrick could enjoy the party. (At which time they got stuck trying to get down our road to pick up the kids.)

Sunday was our Girls Day at the Rodeo.  The girls had chosen to see Luke Bryan, but at the last minute everyone bailed on me except Meagan.  So she and I picked up Danielle on our way through town and headed out for a little shopping and the show...and maybe a bottle or two of wine.  We had a great time and arrived back home around 9 pm.  I spent a little time with hearing about Jim's weekend on the ranch and went to bed.

BUT I didn't get much sleep.  I was sick y'all.  All night.  All the next day.  Too much of too much!  Too much fried food.  Too much wine.  Too much activity.  My body rejected it all and revolted against me.  Since I had my gall bladder out a few years ago, I've known that I have to watch what I eat...but I had never had the effects of it be so painful.  I spent the whole next day either miserable or sleeping from exhaustion. 

And I swore...'Never Again'. 

Sometimes I think I need to be reminded that this life is not my own.  I have been bought with a price.  Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, not a dirty word. 

And so it was that this symbol of 'refresh' used on our computers and such came to mean something deeply personal to me.
It was time for me to 'refresh' my life. 

Our ladies were finishing up the Monday night study of 'Breaking Free' and the next study was already in the works.  'The Daniel Plan'.  And I'm going to be honest with you and tell you that on just that Wednesday mentioned above I had been telling Stacy how I DID NOT want to do it.  I was going to sit this one out.  But by Tuesday, I had a complete change of mind.  I knew that I HAD to do it. 

We are now three weeks into the plan and I am so thankful that the Lord got my attention in such a drastic way.  I needed this refreshment.  I needed this complete turn around.  I needed this intervention. 

What gets me about this refreshment is how closely related it is to repentance.  I remember making this mark for repentance back when I was doing Precepts studies at First Baptist West Houston.  (To truly repent we have to turn from our way back to God's way...hence that mark.)  I had never before realized that true repentance brings a refreshing.  But boy, does it! 

Once again, the Lord has surprised me with the depth to which He takes me with My One Word.  At the beginning of the year, I thought this would be all about peace and freshness.  But He knew that to get to that place there are some things in my life that have to be rooted out.

Thank you, Lord!  And Amen!