Aug 29, 2013

Putting your life off until your deathbed

Did you know that I wanted to be a singer?  Yes, I did, and in the worst way.  I would keep my family up at night singing in my bed or waking early only to sing some more. My sister howled like a dog once while I was belting out a song. She thought she was being funny. I cried. I never thought that I was good enough to perform in front of an audience. I sang at church in the choir, but I've only sang solo twice. I remember one time when I was at choir practice and I was singing my little heart out, one of the guys walked past me. He heard me and asked who was singing.  I stood there in silence. That could have been my chance to exhibit my talent, yet, I cowered away from being noticed. What a shame!


I think that a lot of us never put our best foot forward when it comes to our lives. There is always a force pulling us back.  Especially when it comes to our "artistic" side.  Let's say that you are working with the poor people of Haiti (you are doing great work there) and then you have the not so brilliant idea of starting a new "career" in telemarketing. The universe will not try to pull you back from that decision. It is only when we are trying to use our God given talents that we have the most resistance.  It is like a sign that has been put out on the street to alert the negative patrol saying, "Come on boys, another one is trying to break free."

There are so many things that are left half finished in life.  We are excited when we start a new venture, but somehow we falter when it comes to reaching the goal. Jane Austen's writing is in a category all by itself. Vincent Van Gough's Starry Night cannot be duplicated. I feel that we have been put here to do something. If my DNA is unique, then so is my life.  And yet, we all procrastinate about moving upward, forward, or ahead. Why fight? It is easier to stay put. Have any of you felt this pull backwards when you want to move in a different direction, especially when it comes to the "artist" inside? 

Aug 27, 2013

Orange Shortbread Cookies

When I discovered orange flavored oil at the grocer, I felt like I was in bakers heaven.  There is so much you can do with flavored oils.  I found a recipe in a book by the "The two fat ladies" Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson called cooking with the two fat ladies to make orange shortbread. I used to watch their program many years ago and collected a number of their recipes to try.  I am really pleased with this recipe and shall be making it over and over again. 

1 1/2 cups of flour
1/3 cup of sugar
1 1/3 cup of ground almonds
grated zest of 3 oranges
1 tsp vanilla extract
4-6 drops of orange oil if you don't have orange rind or use both, which is what I did
granulated sugar for sprinkling on top

Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and mix until it forms a dough.  Roll the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap.  Place in the fridge and chill overnight. 

Take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for about an hour to soften. When it is a little soft roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thick.  Use a cookie cutter, I used a 2 1/2 inch cutter. Line a pan with parchment paper and arrange the cut out shapes.  Place back in the fridge for an hour.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until they are golden brown.  Remove and place on a rack to cool.  Store in air tight containers. 

Aug 19, 2013

Expanding with Photography

Last year, I bought a Canon EOS 300D, I think it is about 7-8 years old.  I gave away my Canon Powershot because I just couldn't get the kind of results that I wanted to.  When one of my co-workers lent me her husband's camera, I was hooked.  I know that the camera doesn't have all of the bells and whistles that the latest models have, but it was at least a start until I can get the camera that I want.

I have my eye on the Canon 60D and if things go well I will have it at the beginning of the year.  On more than one occasion, I have had photographers tell me that it isn't really the camera itself, but the lens that is the most important factor in photography.  I think that she is right.  

So, a couple of weeks ago, I bought a zoom lens.  I was amazed how much better my pictures have been turning out. 

I read a magazine called Artful Blogging and I have seen a lot of inspirational works of art in their publication.  Digitally there is so much one can do to a photograph.  In this month's issue there is a blogger by the name of Jamie Jamison of ala Jamie does a unique technique of using digital scrapbook paper and photographs that I really like.  I know that I need to practice, but here is my first try. 

Aug 15, 2013

Waking around Salomon Farm

The other day a group of people met at this barn for a talk on health and then we took a long walk around the farm. Luckily, I had brought my camera along and took some really lovely shots.  I photo-shopped the above picture and converted it into a sketch.  I am really pleased with the results.

The farm is not far from where I work and located off of a busy road.  You would think that it  I was way out in the country some where, but it wasn't.  

Flowers in the middle of a field

As I was coming to the end of the walk, I photographed this picturesque view of the barn from the road.

A country garden 

There were sunflowers basking in the sun

 Cleome's  filling the garden with their bright purple blooms

And the windmill lite up the summer sky.  I enjoyed my time there walking and photographing.  Sometimes, I wish that everyday could be filled with this much beauty.

Aug 12, 2013

My Heart and Words...

 My Heart and Words

My heart is real.

It is not made of wood, paper, or stone.

Words cannot break a wooden heart.

Words bounce off the heart of stone.

Words are written on the heart of paper.

Words can pierce the heart of flesh, which cause it to tremble.

Words spoken in haste are the ones which linger long after the resolution.

Words can make or break the spirit of the person for whom they are directed.

Be careful with words, for in them is life and death.

Jeannie Smith

April 16, 2010

Aug 10, 2013

Fried Cream Corn

This recipe is Southern to the core.  I think that my mother would have really liked it.  The corn is fried and then a bit of cream is added for extra flavor.  However, it is not like the creamed corn in a can, which can be a runny mess. Of course, anything with bacon in it has to be good.  I really liked this recipe.


2 -16 oz bags of frozen corn or 10-12 fresh corn, cut off the cob.
1 tsp salt
1 TBS sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
6 TBS butter
2 TBS flour
6-8 slices of bacon, browned and crumpled

Brown the bacon in an iron skillet or heavy pan over medium to high heat; I used a large non-stick pan.  Drain on a paper towel and when cool crumple the bacon into small pieces then set aside. Leave the bacon drippings in the pan.  In a large mixing bowl, add the corn, salt, pepper, sugar, and flour. Mix well.

Add the butter to the pan along with the bacon drippings, once it is hot add the corn mixture.  Fry the corn mixture until the pieces that have flour begin to brown. Flip it occasionally so that it can brown as much as possible. This could take 15-20 minutes.

 Then add the cream and mix it through the corn mixture. 

Next add the crumpled bacon, mix well. Serve with chicken, beef or lamb, a green vegetable or salad and bread.  Enjoy!

Aug 6, 2013

A Tale about a Lady and Three Little Girls

As I was making my way home from my walk last night, three little girls started talking to me. I wanted to try out my new camera lens by taking some pictures of a vine growing on the side of a house in my neighborhood . I stopped to take a picture of some flowers in front of their house.  A little girl with very short hair was playing outside in a well worn party dress and bare feet. 
 When she saw me she ran over to show me a blue glass stone that she found. Immediately, I noticed her torn dress and short hair.  I assumed that she was sick. My heart went out to her.
The three girls showed me the beautiful sea shells that they found. I talked to them a little bit and then asked to take their pictures. I took a couple of shots and then told them goodbye as I turned towards home. 
 The little girl with the torn dress ran after me shouting, "Lady, she said, here this is for you for taking our picture." I looked down and in her tiny hand was a crumpled dollar bill. Tears came to my eyes. "No sweety, keep your money, I just wanted to take your picture." I said, trying hard to compose myself. I don't know their story, but I was touched with the little girl's generosity.