The Enough

Big Daddy and Big MommyTrugars from Big Mommy

“Marriage wasn’t a dish of jelly, but my teaching days only took form in a new dimension, and when God gave me his Holy Spirit to guide and teach me I could withstand it and share right attitudes and love others.  I never had experienced that before, so I am so thankful for it all.  Now I am left to enjoy a life alone that I never had with those who should have been my comfort and examples, but God knows our needs and supplies mine.

“Living alone isn’t all a bed of roses but it is freedom for me to choose and accept my lot.  I use my time making and sharing and giving what God has given me in my hand to do, hoping it is blessing someone else as I am blessed.  I have worn out body areas from ‘much hard work,’ the doctor said, but God cares for that and at my age I can cook, eat, drive and do necessary things until such time as He says, ‘That’s enough.’”

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Learning from Her Wisdom

When does God say, “That’s enough”?  In most cases, our enough comes quite a bit sooner than His.  His enough might not come until a parent dies or a friend betrays or a child loses his way.  But His enough also surpasses our furthest  imaginings.  His enough goes far beyond a comfortable home and a happy marriage; His enough is abundance.  He came so that we could have life and have it to the full.  Full and abundant is His enough, but we are too dense to realize that God’s enough comes not through ease but through character-forming, attitude-altering, mind-blowingly tough experiences.

Sometimes I wonder how many lessons we miss along the way.  Do we see the face of God in the midst of our pain and loneliness, or do we simply see pain and loneliness itself?  If we could see the face of God and experience the change brought about by His nearness, what wisdom and sweetness would pour out of us to bless and change others?  How would our sphere of influence be impacted if we were living in breathless expectation of what God will do next?

A kiss from my Marine.And along the same lines, what blessings do we miss for ourselves when we miss the face of God in the hard times?  My husband serves our country as a Marine, and sometimes that means that I’m left in the dark, waiting and wondering.  When he leaves for work, I have no assurance of when I’ll next hear his voice or see his face.  There have been quite a few mornings when I have struggled to get out of bed; I work to motivate myself for the simplest tasks.  But where is the face of God?  Is He bending over my life, waiting for me to look up and recognize Him?  Are His arms open, ready to receive my loneliness and comfort my aching heart?  What lessons am I missing by focusing on myself and my needs that aren’t being met, instead of allowing Him to meet them exceedingly, abundantly, beyond anything I could ask or think?

Finer Things Friday

Try New Adventures — Soggy Laundry

Little girl helping with laundry.

Little Girl helping Mommy!

 

 

My grandmothers always, always, always hung their laundry out to dry.  I never did.  But with an air-conditioner that is too old and to small for my house, paying for all that energy just seemed like a waste.  So, I have begun to follow tradition.  Little Girl loves to push the laundry basket and “help” Mommy, and it’s a chance for us to enjoy the *gasp* stiflingly hot outdoors together.

 

 

 

Wet laundry hanging on the line.

The rain came and the dryness went. :(

That’s my new adventure.  It didn’t seem all that exciting until I looked out my window this morning and saw this.  Oh boy.  Somehow one adventure turns into another, and I’m not sure I’m ready to tackle soggy laundry.

Hopefully the sun will come out and save me the trouble!Try New Adventures Thursday @ "Alicia's Homemaking!"

Wise Words Wednesday

All five generations of women in my family.

Five Beautiful Generations!!

Good morning, everyone!  I am so excited about a new turn of events in the life of Trugars.

Earlier this week, the Lord converged several thoughts and events (convergences seem to be one of God’s ways of working in my life!), and the result is Wise Words Wednesday!  Every week I will feature the wise words of a godly woman here at Trugars.com, since that’s what trugars are really all about–true stories that teach us about life.  The lack of mentoring, discipling relationships in the church has burdened my heart for quite some time, and the Lord has given me this idea for allowing the older women in our lives to speak to us younger women, to learn from them and grow together.

Also, I will (starting next week) be adding a linky for you to share your own wisdom or perhaps something you learned from an older woman during the week.  I’m SO excited to hear what everyone has to say!

Until then, if you have something that can’t wait, feel free to leave it in the comments here.  :)

Top Ten Recipes

“A diet is the penalty we pay for exceeding the feed limit.”  – quote from Big Mommy’s recipe book.

Yesterday I asked which recipe of Big Mommy’s I should tackle next.  Realizing that some of you were not privileged to grow up with her cooking, I have here assembled the top ten most common or well-known of her dishes (family members, feel free to disagree, add, or subtract!).  In no particular order, we have:

1. Biscuit.  Yes, the plural of biscuit is still biscuit.  At least in the vocabulary of Big Mommy’s day.

2. Louise’s Cornbread.  A staple.  Used for cornbread dressing (stuffing or filling just can’t cut it!).  Also as a base over which to pour field peas and “pot likker.”

3. “Pancakes – Big Momie Style.”  Excellent with palmetto honey and squeeze butter.  :)   Or freshly-made cane syrup.

4. “Dumplings – Chicken and.”  All I can say is, YUM.  Until her older years, when she began substituting tortilla strips for the real thing.  Never, ever substitute.

5. Guava cobbler.  If you don’t know what guavas are, or if you’ve never experienced them, don’t worry.  We’ll educate you.

6. Okra and Tomatoes.  Yes, this is a recipe.  A simple one.  Oh, so good and oh, so Big Mommy.

7. Collard Greens.  The Southern dish supreme.  Very healthy…that is, until you add the bacon or ham or turkey or other fat of choice.

8. “Louise’s Specials” (a.k.a. Oatmeal Crispies).  The cookies that were always in her cookie jar when we came for a visit.  (You have to check out the pictures of my cutie pie helping me with these!)

9. Almond Cookies.  My daddy’s absolute favorite of her cookies, and a recipe I thought we had lost forever.  Lo and behold, she recorded it!

10. Big Mommy’s Rolls.  My favorite soup accompaniment.

There are so many more; it’s hard to choose: Peanut Butter Pie, Okra Pickles, Pound Cake, Fruit Cake, Chocolate or Butterscotch Cream Pies….

What should I make?"Top Ten Tuesday"

Cooking — And a Menu Plan

Cast iron stoveTrugars from Big Mommy

We cooked our food on a big old wood stove. Wood was cut for this stove with two people cutting down a pine tree or oak with a cross-cut saw–one on each end pulling the blades across to cut off lengths to fit the fire box on the stove. All this was a process of learning. Great were the days that have allowed additional knowledge to apply when the time of electricity and new conveniences came along. I’m grateful for those days of learning and foundation formed; I grew more each day to fill my place in life, sharing and doing good.

Menu Plan from Audrey

I haven’t decided yet which of Big Mommy’s recipes to try this week (any requests? – leave a comment below! – and if you need a suggestion, here are my Top Ten Recipes from Big Mommy), but I’ll let you know when I do. I have to say that baking Big Mommy’s cookies with Little Girl last week was so much fun! :)

Our leftovers lasted way longer than I thought they would, so we didn’t get to all the meals I had planned last week. It made cooking easy, that’s for sure! Without further ado, here’s this week’s plan:

* Monday: Chef salad with leftover Buffalo/BBQ chicken, garden-fresh tomatoes, boiled eggs, and whatever else I find that’s interesting in my refrigerator. Hehe.
* Tuesday: Roasted Veggie Soup from the freezer, biscuits on the side
* Wednesday: Chicken tenders, Memaw’s green beans (she was my Memaw first!), homemade macaroni and cheese
* Thursday: Spaghetti, garden salad
* Friday: Tacos/burritos with homemade refried beans from the freezer

Weekend: Possible date night and/or eating with friends

Breakfasts: Pancakes, Omelettes, Fruit, Cereal
Lunches: Sandwiches, Leftovers, Salads

And there you have it, folks! What’s on your plate this week?

Menu Plan Monday @ orgjunkie.com

“Louise’s Specials”

Little Girl helping me bake

Little Girl loves cooking with Mommy!

My little girl and I embarked on our first cooking adveture together today.  We made Oatmeal Crispies, a.k.a. “Louise’s Specials.”  This is the recipe I promised earlier in the week, so get ready to bake with us!

 

Step one: assemble ingredients.

1 cup shortening (I used coconut oil instead…YUM!!)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda (Big Mommy’s recipe simply says “soda”)
3 cups quick-cooking oatmeal (I used regular oats; it worked fine)
1 cup pecans
1 cup miniature chocolate chips
1 cup golden raisins, cut in halves

Step two: Make sure you attach matching beaters to your mixer.  Mixers don’t like trying to whip and beat at the same time, apparently.

Adding ingredients

Adding and mixing ingredients.

Cream shortening and sugars, add eggs and vanila, beat well.  Sift flour, salt, and baking soda, then add slowly to sugar mixture.  Combine oats, nuts, chocolate chips, and raisins, and add to above mix.  (Note from Audrey: I seem to remember these cookies having Rice Krispies in them–hence the Oatmeal “Crispies”–so I added a cup or two of them to the batter at this point.)

Little Girl with the spatula.

Eating the dough afterwards is the best part. :)

 

Divide dough into equal parts and roll into a log 1-1/2 inches in diameter.  Place on waxed paper and roll into a even roll, then freeze for an hour or chill overnight.  Slice and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Remove onto a towel with pancake turner, cool and store.  (This was Big Mommy’s secret for almost all baking, including biscuits, but especially cookies.  You always had to cool them on a kitchen towel!  Let me know if it makes them better for you.  :) )

Makes large batch.

Memories

Trugars from Big Mommy

Daddy grew sugar cane and had a mill to get the juice out of it; he’d cook it in a big kettle and make syrup.  He would strain the syrup and put it in cans and bottles and sell it for cash.  As the syrup cooked, it would have thick candy-like stuff around the top edge where the juice touched the kettle.  We would get us a cane peeling that was tough, and we’d scoop up the sugar crust with our cane peeling and have a treat.

As we were kids Mama tried to do things at night for us to enjoy.  She would cook the syrup Daddy made and make it into candy.  She’d put it in a greased platter and when it cooled enough to handle she would pull it until it got brittle and made pores and she’d break it in pieces which we ate and loved.  Done this way it was not red like the syrup anymore but was a taffy tan color, and we loved that taffy.  She also cooked white sugar to the candy stage and pulled it so we had two kinds of candy to enjoy: white and tan.

Another thing we’d do at times was to put syrup in a bowl and add water and we had something special as a drink in all our odd doing of things.  It was called sweetened water but we liked it.

One neighbor hauled his cane to our place and had a couple of steers that pulled the big wagon – he’d talk to them and say, “Ge-e-e Buck – woa-ee Buck,” and whip them a little.

Those are things I remember so well.

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Trugars from Me

I remember breakfasts with Daddy, whether that meant buying a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts or making homemade chocolate chip pancakes.  I remember Christmas Eves full of food and family, mingling with the random hordes at a cousin’s house, or adopting misplaced and lonely friends into our home for Thanksgiving.  I remember building bonfires outside, knowing that a few minor burns or smoke in the eyes were worth the delights of crowning each other the Smoke King and Queen and relishing the accomplishment of a meal cooked outdoors and without Mommy’s help.

I remember going to a “cane-grinding” with Big Mommy.  There wasn’t any Buck to call “Ge-e-e!” or flash a whip; just a tractor going ‘round and ‘round and ‘round, pressing the juice out of the cane.  I remember seeing the stalks come out the other side, completely flat, like a frayed ribbon.  I remember chewing on the stalks, sucking the juice out from those fibers.  I remember the man stirring the kettle before handing me a biscuit; he told me to poke my finger into it and make a hole, and then carefully ladled hot syrup into the hole.  I was told to watch out and let it cool; oh what a treat!  I remember Big Mommy buttering a platter, pouring syrup on it, and making taffy candy for us, just like her mother made for her.  These things are a legacy from Big Mommy.  There are precious memories that were created for her, and because of that, she was able to pass them down to us.

What memories our parents and grandparents have given us!  What gifts and treasures do we not even recognize?  Oh, may we always remember and be able to share those memories with the people around us.

We have to be careful though, that memories are not a cause for further bitterness.  Recently, I talked to a friend about an issue I thought was behind me, but just discussing it with her brought out all those ugly feelings all over again.  Ugly, ugly, ugly.  I felt disgusting afterwards.  And I hadn’t done a thing in the world except remind myself of the old hurts.  Reminders of good things are, well, good things.  Reminders of what made us bitter will only continue to do so.
Why do the bad things linger in our minds?  Why is it so easy to remember how people hurt us, and not how they blessed us?  What sweet memories lie hidden back there?

I think that’s what God meant when He said that our transgressions would be cast into the sea, as far as east is from west.  They have to be far away, or our memories will retrieve every last little sin.  Forgiveness isn’t just about telling someone, “It’s okay,” but it’s about being okay inside.  It’s about forgetting.  Forgetting what pain there was and just remembering the joy.  Loving the person for who God intended them to be, and not for how they messed up.  Loving yourself the same way.  We definitely mess up sometimes, but God turns everything for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  Everything.  So our lives truly are good.Finer Things Friday

Co-oping

And no, I didn’t mean “coping.”  I’ve been considering joining a co-op, and wow, the opportunities abound!  There are two ladies at my church who are active in two different co-ops, both specializing in organic produce, meats, and dairy, AS WELL AS bulk grains, healthy snacks, supplements, etc.  Last night I went through half of the pricelist for one co-op, and there were more than 3,000 items!  Want me to get you anything?  :)

I have also found an organic produce distributor, Annie’s Buying Club, who is excited about starting distribution in my home town.  And, to top it all off, there’s a dairy that produces basically organic cheeses and butter, and will ship to me for roughly $2.00 per pound.  Not to mention all the local farms and CSA’s available.  The opportunities are endless!

That said, my new adventure is begin “co-oping,” to purchase as much fresh, organic food as I can on our budget.  With the bulk prices and cost-sharing, I think we’ll come out doing just as well if not better, price-wise.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

What foods are you particular about buying organic or local?  And do you have any good co-oping advice?

Try New Adventures Thursday @ "Alicia's Homemaking!"

A Skunk in Her Closet

Last week, I mentioned Big Mommy shooting a skunk in her closet.  Gather ’round, and I’ll tell her trugar.  I wish you could hear it from her mouth, but I’ll do the best I can.  (Family members, here’s your chance to correct me!  Comment away.)

For quite some time, Big Mommy had been hearing skittering noises in her walls, and knew it must be “pole cats,” as she called them.  We know them more familiarly as skunks.  They were aggravating the stew out of her, so when she saw one in her closet–out where she could get at it–I think she lost her head just a bit.  She grabbed her .22 and promptly shot that critter.  “That got him,” I remember her saying to me.

Well, she may have gotten him, but not before he got her…or at least her clothes.  She bathed in tomato juice and washed everything in the closet multiple times.  She aired out the house, and (so she thought) rid herself of the scent.

Then she went to church.

Not until halfway through the church service did she notice the pastor, walking up and down the aisles, spraying air freshener as he went.  Then, as she wondered what he smelled, it dawned on her that no one was sitting in her general area.  It took her a while, but she did finally put two and two together.  But my great-grandmother was dedicated.

She walked up to that pastor and said, “Preacher, that stink you’re sprayin’ for, well, it’s me.  I shot a pole cat in my closet this week, and some o’ his stench must still be on me.  Go ahead, spray me.”  After looking at her, dumbfounded, for a few seconds, the pastor meekly obeyed.  He sprayed her up and down with the air freshener, all the while mumbling apologies.  She smiled, said, “That’s better,” and sat down to enjoy the sermon.

What stench are you bringing to church this week?

Top Ten Ways to Make Family Traveling Fun

1. Start the trip with two U-Haul trailers (one overloaded by about 2,000 pounds), one SUV pulling a motorcycle on a trailer, and one car. Contents: four adults and four children under the age of six.

2. Be sure to begin driving at lunchtime, without any lunch.

3. Time your departure so that you are leaving town concurrently with 20,000 Marines.

4. Make sure someone doesn’t use the restroom when you stop for lunch.

5. Buy LOTS of drinks at the next gas stop.

6. Make sure someone doesn’t go to the bathroom when you stop for the gas and drinks.

7. Have a bee fly down the shirt of one of the U-Haul drivers, so that he can pull over on the side of the interstate to make sure it doesn’t fly into his pants.

8. Teach your 16-month-old to sign “bathroom” so that you can pull over on the side of the interstate again and let her try to go in the grass.  She’ll go, but the people who pull over to help you might be concerned.

9. Convince someone to rear-end you at a red light, then simply drive around you when you try to pull over and check for damages.  Make sure you don’t get their license plate information or the make and model of their car.

10. Arrive at your destination sometime after 10pm and enjoy having no electricity and, because it’s a well, no water.  Cleanliness is overrated.