Friday, January 24, 2014


VISIT is the word for today and I have 5 minutes to write....
My grandma has been with the Lord now for over 20 years but how I wish I could go and visit her.She was my safe place... She is a beautiful Mennonite lady....So let's pretend we can visit her....
Today we will be visiting her in the house grandpa built her just before his death. It is a 2 bedroom brick home at the end of the lane going to the home farm. It has a 2 car garage and enclosed breezeway......The kitchen is small but can she ever cook a feast in it! The dinning room is big enough to put several leaves in the farm the end is a built in china closet with her treasures......... The living room is bright with a beautiful picture window and the view of the farm where she lived with grandpa for so long.....her rocking chair is there as is her organ.

The house smells so good......the house spotless......Grandma's specialty is Stuffed Pig Stomach......"Hog Maw"......Before you have a fit let me tell you this is a rich and moist meal. Grandma would make the stuffed Hog Maw and than put it in a beautiful covered casserole dish she got for a wedding gift. She than would grind up the crisp roasted stomach and serve it separate......Most of us mixed it up with the filling. Grandma used the sausage a neighbor made and sold or some from the meat market next to us in
Elizabethtown.....Hershey's Meat Market. It was not link but bulk.

Here is the rest of the menu.

Dumplings in Sauerkraut
Cup Cheese for Uncle Bobby
Spiced Peaches, Ginger Pears, Chow Chow, Corn Relish, Pickled beets, her home canned dill pickles, bread and butter pickles(the best ever!), 14 day pickles, and spiced red cabbage. (Part of the 7 sweets and 7 sours)
Cope's Dried Corn (Grandma made the dried corn version of the recipe)
Succotash in hot Cream and browned butter
Green Beans
Sweet potatoes, fried
Homemade Potato rolls
This was a noon till dark day for all of us....We usually ate the pies and cakes late in the afternoon. You always could have leftovers warmed up too. Our mothers were in charge of whatever we may want. Grandma was done for the day.

After the meal The lady folk did the dishes and you enjoyed them laughing and talking. We kids went to the basement to play shuffle board, play table games or work on a jig saw puzzle. Often the adults joined us.......we had baby dolls to play with, paper dolls, marble rollers, farm equipment and trucks for the boys, plastic farm animals and a train set.

The men would walk in to the farm and look at the tractors, cattle and in the last years check out the more modern pig operation.

After we ate the sweets we joined the adults and as grandma played the organ we sang hymns. Grandma's was "Mansion over The Hilltop".....I know she was thinking about grandpa for she would get tears in her eyes. Than she asked us to sit down and she wanted each of us to tell one thing we wanted to do better at.......than she closed with prayer.
Oh that I could visit there again.

Here is the recipe.....
HOG MAW.....grandma's recipe
 1 large pig's stomach, well cleaned of all fat
1 pound fresh link sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 pound smoked linked sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
6-8 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
several cloves of garlic, minced
2 grated carrots for color
a hefty pinch of saffron(You take a 1/4 cup of water and bring to a boil. Add the saffron and allow to stand 30 minutes. Than add this to the mixture.)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (or to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste (go easy on salt depending on sausage)
3 tablespoons flour, mixed with 3 tablespoons cool water until smooth to make a paste (slurry)
Mix together sausages, potatoes and onions and garlic. Add parsley, salt and pepper, grated carrots and saffron water. Sew small opened end of stomach
with cooking twine to close. Stuff sausage mixture into stomach, pressing well with each addition.
Stomach has a lot of elasticity and will stretch to almost any size necessary. When all stuffing has been
placed inside, close open end with twine.
Place stuffed stomach in shallow roasting pan. Roast in preheated 350 oven until potatoes are tender
(check by inserting thin sharp knife into middle) about 2 hours. Baste about every 20 minutes with water or pan juices.
Remove stomach from roasting pan. Drain off most of the fat. Make the flour paste in a small bowl.
Place pan on burner on top of stove. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil, scraping up all of the browned bits in
the bottom of the pan. Gradually add flour paste, whisking rapidly and constantly, until the gravy thickens.
To serve, slice stomach into 1 inch thick slices. Pass gravy separately.
I am hooking up with

Five Minute Friday

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Did you ever have a "come to Jesus" minute after reading a post on a blog or maybe it hits you between the eyes and you know you have to send the devil packing? That happened to me today. I have made a friend that has been an encourager, a teacher and a wonderful writer. She is honest, full of compassion and a lot of fun. Today I was intrigued by a post on FB. I headed over to read it....She writes on her blog called "State of the HEART Living" Caryn Christensen....... Go here and read the post that left me like she was writing it to me...Beware for I believe you too will have a minute like I described.
A Pink Slip to my Editor

I read it about 3 times and wrote this ......"Oh about hitting me between the eyes.....this did....I so need to fire that editor because I keep hearing things like nobody cares about your adoption story or who cares if you have a story about having a daughter in prison and the way mothers all over the world suffer because of this or you are 65 and nobody cares what an old lady has to share.....dare I tell any of these? I just need to do some firing and opening up......Thanks friend!"

Her sweet reply was this....."Oh my goodness! What a scurrilous editor! I certainly hope you fired her and let the Holy Spirit sit in her place! He knows the best way to proceed if we'll only listen to HIS voice. Your story is so important and NEEDS to be told Donna. Tell it my friend, with boldness and assuredness that there are indeed, mama's out there with the same story (different circumstances) that need to hear they're not alone...just as you've learned you're not alone. Love you friend"

Now I have some praying to do and I need advice.....where should I go with my story? They are woven together in many ways and yet separate......Often the adoption story and the journey I am on with my daughter have left me alone and hurting. Part of the issue is I pull away from people when I hurt most and I have found out other mothers do the same.  So my story is important. Actually all our stories are important and worth telling we just need to find the courage to do so. I need feed back....

By the way you will find many stories that are worth reading here....

Be prepared to change.....but we all know change is good. My Editor is fired and now I trust the Lord to help me find my voice.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Five Minute Friday....ENCOURAGEMENT

I am joining Five Minute Friday and the subject today is is my 5 minute post....
 To encourage makes it an action word to me.......It is a Biblical mandate.....not a suggestion. It is a gift we so often forget to share.

Encouragement takes our time and I so often see that is a gift so many are not willing to share. We have excuses....we are too busy because our schedule is full.....we are too tired....we feel what we have to share will not matter (a lie from the devil).....I could go an and on with excuses.

 There is a solution and I learned it from my precious mother-in-law (I prefer mother-in-love). You add it to your daily schedule. She would take time off mid afternoon to was about an hour and in that hour she would always write a note of encouragement or make a call to encourage......We all can do that.

 But what I loved was her basket of encouragement. She had a picnic basket that had a pretty tablecloth, cloth napkins, 2 fancy teacups from her collection, several small gifts she made, a tea pot,
several kind of tea bags and all she had to do was add cookies, muffins or yeast sticky buns and some fresh flowers. Her favorite goodies were Southern Tea Cakes and her Orange Blossoms. If she had her famous Coconut Cake (which her brothers called a soon cake because it was so moist you used a spoon) made she would sure include it. I can add recipes if you all want them. She would make a call to a shut-in or anyone that needed her encouragement and off she would go. I went with her several times and what a blessing it was. She would spread that battenburg tablecloth on the bed (or hospital bed table) and they had a proper Southern tea.....the gift might be a bed jacket if they were bed ridden or it might be a bed or walker caddy, pincushion and needle book(if they did hand sewing) or a sachet.
A note here...Nana was a heirloom seamstress and she tithed her time sewing....that meant she used time each day to make preemie gown and cap for an Atlanta Hospital or her gifts to share with others

So here is my challenge to you ..... What will you add to your basket to encourage another person?

 Five Minute Friday

Thursday, January 16, 2014



scar noun 

Definition of SCAR

1:  a mark left (as in the skin) by the healing of injured tissue
2a :  a mark left on a stem or branch by a fallen leaf or harvested fruit 
~~Merriam-Webster Dictionary 

  The weather here in Georgia has been so nasty that I did not get to take a walk for over a week. Yesterday we went back into the woods and as I always do I look for a life lesson from nature. I love to see the beauty of trees without their leaves. No two are alike. You see the strength in the trees, the age of the trees and I love to see the squirrel nests and the holes in which the owls live. But this tree caught my eye yesterday.....

The scar in this tree is deep but inside it there was no rot and it looks like it has healed.
We all have scare on our bodies from burns, cuts, surgeries, or maybe self inflicted wound. Some fade and some are permanent. They seem to remind of us that yes we hurt but that has healed from the inside out.
 The scars I want to talk about are the emotional scars we carry. They too are so very painful as we are going through them. It can be angry or cutting words from a spouse or best friend and it cuts us to the quick. We allow it to fester and it gets ugly.  It is like putting a band-aid on the sore but not treating the wound. As we all know that leads to unforgiveness and bitterness. Bitterness will poison our lives and the lives of all those around us. It is death.
I am not sure who Ernst Schroder is but he sure has a point for us to think about. We can talk to our Heavenly Father about the pain  we are experiencing and allow Him to help us heal, We can go to friend and have them pray with us and than we have it let it go.
Or we can dwell on the wound and allow it to fester. We can always remember what happened to us and refuse to move on. We dwell on it and it defines us. I do not know about you but I do not want a festering wound to define me. That means the perpetrator wins.
 I will share a short story from my life.....I was in 10TH grade at Kraybill's Mennonite School. We were in our Bible class and talking about being adopted into God's family. I was in the back row and when I saw this teacher looking at me I was filled with fear. I was different because I was adopted and was teased about it quite a lot. Sure enough he said "Donna, tell us how it feels to be adopted". Every classmate turned to look at me. I remember turning red and just wanted to get out of there. I did just that and I failed that semester because of it. As I look back I see that part of the problem was at that age we really do not know who we are anyway and I sure did not like being adopted nor did I really understand it. I did not like that teacher from than on until as a women going through a divorce I talked it out with my wonderful Christian Counselor.She helped me see I just needed to let it go. We talked about the fact my adoption had defined me for far too long. Part of the equation here is that my mom would tell me she only adopted me for daddy or that would tell people she never had children and I was quite young when I would think....what am I a dog? Mom and I never bonded at all. She would tell me I was not her "flesh and blood" and it would cut so deep. I finally saw that because of this when people would bring up my adoption I would build the wall around my heart stronger an higher. I was tired of the wounds. They never healed. They festered. I always was cheerful to others and only a few knew the pain inside of me. I knew what was under that scar and it was not pretty. 
Back in that office with Mrs. Place in Sarasota I finally let it go. She helped me over the next few months to see where it all had infected my life and finally I overcame that festering wound. I remember it but the pain is gone. She helped me see that there could be scars of hope....that just as this scar was healed I now had the hope that all the other hurts in my life could be turned to victory too. 
I encourage you to look at the scars that are festering in your life and turn them into scars of hope. 
What about your scars? Do they remind you of broken dreams, 
harsh words or abuse? Or do you see the  endurance, strength and  notice just a bit of joy mixed in there?
By the way.....this tree is strong and tall. It looks healthy and full of life. I will be watching it when spring comes.

Saturday, January 4, 2014


 My word is Nature. I looked at words others have chosen and wondered just why the word nature is not going away. It seems strange. Other have words that appeal to me to but every time I ponder what my word should be and pray nature stays with me and so this morning I decided to go with it.

 I think nature  defines me and teaches me. The problem is I have to stop and "smell the roses" as my grandma used to say to me as a child. I am a avid reader and yes I learn from books but to be honest when I am outside and take a walk back in our woods I feel closer to God than I do anywhere else.

 When I am sitting and look outside I often watch the birds or the squirrels scampering around, the hawk that sits on a tall pine tree waiting for a creature it can get or the trees as they change from one season to another.
Than I am still and I do listen to what the Lord wants to teach me.

 So this year I will share about the times I stop, look and listen to nature and how God uses what he has created to teach me. The other thing I will share is how I begin to feel creative after I have relaxed and taken the time to "smell the roses" Grandma was smarter than I thought.

I have a collection of nature quotes and will share them.

Anne Frank says it best......

"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is
     to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone
     with the heavens, nature and God.

Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and
     that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple
     beauty of nature.  I firmly believe that nature brings solace
     in all troubles."

I joined One Word 365
And the Blog Hop at:
Anchored In Love Divine

Thursday, September 19, 2013

REAL GRACE.....Mary E. DeMuth

The release of Mary's new book "The Wall Around Your Heart" will be out soon. Be sure to order it!




Take time today to read this important article from      

You will find this article called "Making Time For Me" by Jessica Turner as you scroll down a bit.
This is the place I go to renew, refresh, and meet wonderful women that love the Lord. 

She ends with this question...."What is something that you love to spend time on? More importantly, how do you make time for yourself and this passion?"

I find that I need me time because caring for a 91 year old mother that has a unique Dementia called Lewy Body Dementia hard and at times very lonely. It can be demanding 24 hours around the clock when she has flares. So for me to pull out my hand sewing and stitch gives me time to reflect and renew and feel creative.
                                                Booties I made for my new grand baby Evie

Nature is very important to me and when I get to go and take a walk in our woods I feel so free and love to learn what nature teaches me.

Or simply go to the greenhouse and let this frog entertain me.


I really agree with Jessica...."God uniquely created each one of us with passions that invigorate us"

What do you do to relax?