Archive for April, 2009

In God We Trust

A friend emailed me a link to a current MSNBC online survey which asks if the United States motto, “In God We Trust,” should be removed from our country’s currency. Snopes.com states that this particular survey has been around since November, 2005, and that as of August, 2008, with 7,054,407 responses, 22% said to remove it and 78% said to keep it. Today, seven months later, response numbers have doubled to over 14 million, with 13% saying no and 87% saying yes to the motto.

“In God We Trust” first appeared on the 1864 United States two-cent coin, and all U.S. coins have carried the inscription since 1938. “In God We Trust” became our country’s official motto in 1956, and the motto has appeared on all U.S. paper money since 1957.

I realize that the MSNBC online survey does not qualify as a scientific poll, but it was satisfying to click “yes” to retaining those four, powerful words on our money.

Click MSNBC “In God We Trust” Online Survey if you want to vote.


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100 Things

Elementary school students celebrate the 100th day of school by bringing a 100 items to class, and Americans are scrutinizing President Obama’s first 100 days of office. Today I join the blogging tradition of posting 100 things about myself on my 100th post.

1. I am a devoted follower of Christ

2. I am a fourth generation Texan

3. I have been married for a quarter of a century (in July)

4. We have a 22-year-old son

5. and a 16-year-old daughter

6. Gray, overcast days energize me

7. I like history

8. because it tells His story

9. I like to picnic at cemeteries and read tombstones

10. because each tombstone tells a story

11. I am an avid reader

12. a condition which I inherited from my father

13. I love libraries

14. and used book stores

15 and hardware stores

16. and office supply stores

17. I am a bird watcher

18. I love to listen to classical music

19. especially the music of Ralph Vaughn Williams

20. and the sacred music of John Rutter

21. My husband took me to Carnegie Hall

22. and gifted me with the experience of John Rutter conducting “Gloria”

23. I used to have a motorcycle

24. I like to garden

25. and recycle kitchen scraps into compost via earthworms

26. I’ve been “green” for a long time and didn’t even know it

27. I love to visit nursing homes

28. I am a morning person

29. I thought that college was hard

30. but I thought that earning my master’s degree was easy

31. I have matured since I was 18

32. My mother led me to Christ in our bathroom when I was 10

33. I don’t swim well

34. I like water aerobics

35. I like sailing on lakes

36. But not in the bay because I turn green and want to jump out of the boat

37. I have blue eyes

38. I like cats and some dogs

39. I have one sister

40. I have two brothers

41. I would dearly love to live near each of them

42. I am a champion vomiter

43. My oncologist said so and my mother agrees

44. I love my children with all my heart

45. I like to cook

46. I didn’t learn to cook until I was in college

47. My mother taught me to cook over the phone

48. and by providing me with many cookbooks

49. I like Mexican food

50. Chips and salsa are the best part

51. My favorite flowers are sunflowers

52. I love children’s literature

53. My favorite hymn is “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”

54. The congregation sang it at our wedding

55. I would love to visit England

56. and Scotland

57. and Israel

58. I wear cotton socks to bed

59. We were married by my uncle

60. I didn’t attend kindergarten

61. instead, God sent me to preschool when I was an adult

62. I learned a lot

63. I am a better mother for having taught preschool

64. I like pie much better than cake

65. I have been to the Grand Canyon

66. and Carlsbad Caverns

67. I have memorized more than 100 nursery rhymes

68. I memorized them to keep my toddler sister occupied on car trips

69. If you are still reading this, thank you!

70. I enjoy radio more than television

71. I know sign language

72. I am a slow signer

73. I have mainly lived in Texas

74. except for brief periods in Oklahoma and New Jersey

75. A New Jersery deer tick gave me Lyme disease

76. An Oklahoma restaurant and hard-working parents paid for my college education

77. Chemotherapy turned my hair gray

78. My children insist that I color my hair brown

79. Sometimes I forget, but they always remind me

80. My favorite author is the Scotsman, George MacDonald

81. My birthday is September 30th

82. God’s grace amazes me!

83. I like genealogy

84. I like the challenge of tracing my ancestor’s geographical path

85. I like to study how my ancestor’s made it through what we loosely call “life”

86. I am the eldest of my siblings

87. My husband is the oldest of three brothers

88. My children are six years a part, putting them in the first-born category

89. A family of four first-borns makes life interesting

90. Ivory is my favorite color

91. I like to name things

92. I named my laptop “Abigail”

93. and our house “The Haven”

94. and our first burr oak tree “Taurus,” after my husband’s ship

95. I didn’t enjoy learning how to type in high school but am so glad that I did

96. I love to wander through antique stores and Good Will stores

97. in search of treasures made in the USA

98. The fragrance of Joy perfume brings me joy

99. as does the fragrance of lemon thyme

100. I love comments

Thank you!

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God Bless Susan Boyle

I will always remember the first time that I heard Susan Boyle sing “I Dreamed a Dream” from the Broadway play of Les Miserables. I didn’t know that she was participating in Britain’s Got Talent because I had missed CNN’s introduction, but my heart soared right along with her angelic voice, pulling me to my feet.

Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables is one of my favorite books. I liked it so much that I bought the Focus on the Family Radio Theatre audio dramatization of Les Miserables for Hannah. What good memories we have of listening to this engaging dramatization on the way to the Grand Canyon, and again on the return trip. The cast includes Brian Blessed, one of Britain’s finest actors, as ex-convict, Jean Valjean, and Gina Beck, and Valjean’s beloved, adopted daughter, Cossette.

In the Broadway play, “I Dreamed a Dream” is sung by the mother of Cossette, in response to being left alone, impoverished, and unemployed. What an appropriate song choice for the 47-year-old, unemployed, single, Susan Boyle to sing to the world! One-hundred million people have tuned in to YouTube to hear her sing, making it the most successful YouTube in history.

Here’s a Scottish interview where she talks about taking “baby steps” in her new life. May the Lord bless and protect her as she walks a new path.

I do love those Scottish accents. 🙂

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Focus on Focaccia

The ciabatta sandwiches that Tina served to family Tuesday afternoon were exceptional, and eating just one of them has propelled me into a season of bread baking. Although Tina usually bakes her own ciabatta, she purchased it for this occasion in consideration of the number of hungry people gathered at her house.

I’m eager to make Tina’s ciabatta, but, currently, it’s focaccia all the way. This Italian flatbread is so simple to make that children can have successful results with some adult help. Yesterday I made an Onion Focaccia from Jeff Smith’s The Frugal Gourmet, and there’s not a crumb left.



2 packages dry yeast, dissolved in 1 cup lukewarm water
3 cups unbleached flour
Olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
6 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
Fresh cracked pepper

Place the water and yeast in a mixing bowl. Add half the flour, 1/4 cup olive oil, the sugar, and salt, and mix with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the remaining flour, and blend in by hand. Place the dough on floured board, and knead for 5 minutes. Place the dough on a Formica countertop or on plastic wrap, and cover with a large metal bowl. Allow to rise about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

When it is doubled, punch the dough down, and knead it for 1 or 2 minutes. Roll the dough out to fit a greased 9—by 13—inch shallow pan, and place the dough in the pan. Let the dough rise until not quite doubled in bulk, and then punch holes all over it, using a fork. Brush the top of the dough with some olive oil and then the tomato paste. Mix together the yellow onion, green onions, and garlic; use to sprinkle top of dough. Sprinkle with the pepper. Preheat the oven and bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until lighted browned.
I placed the dough on my granite countertop and covered it with a large metal bowl, but the dough rose outside the bowl. Next time I’ll coat the dough with olive oil and let it rise in the actual bowl.

A mixer and a rolling pin are not necessary.

The tomato paste was difficult to spread. Perhaps thinning it with a teaspoon of water would help.

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“A Tribute to Toby”

Our dogs, Jude and Toby, spent last Wednesday afternoon in the backyard with me. They played while I dug up a sago palm. They also chewed on a sago palm root. A short time later, when both dogs became extremely ill, a quick Internet search revealed that all parts of the sago palm are toxic to dogs. Jude died at the vet’s office at midnight, and Toby died a few hours later at the Texas A & M Small Animal Hospital.

My dear friend, Cherrye, who knew and loved Toby, like one of her own dogs, wrote the following tribute for Toby. She gave permission for me to share it.

Every so often God gives us a blessing of pure love to brighten our lives.   Toby was such a gift.  From his exuberant greetings, his licks of love, his nestling hugs and his shining eyes, Toby brought joy to those around him.  I delighted in watching him learn new experiences.  With delight he mastered the swinging doggie exit on our back door, occasionally getting a nudge as the flap swung back in place.  Going up the stairs was a snap, and he quickly conquered coming down the stairs with his short legs on his long body just churning.  He would silently pose as a frozen statue as he watched the neighbor’s horses graze at the fence line, knowing that he did not need to disturb those giants.  He would grab a fallen twig from our cottonwood tree and shake it determinedly as if to show it that he was certainly the boss.  He would rise up on his hind legs into a sitting position, and, with his front legs turned down, he waited patiently for a treat, which he gently took from our hands.  Toby gave his love unconditionally, and we were blessed in the short time that he was with us. 

Hannah created the slide show from collection of pictures and some of Cherrye’s text. We’ll post a tribute to Jude soon.

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