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food

Blog, Faith, Family, foodie, Homemaking, Marriage, Parenting

Giving thanks to God

Thanksgiving table at our house

Thanksgiving table at our house

I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving with your family and your friends this year. I’m so happy that our three daughters, Heather, Eden, and Leah, our son-in-law Craig, and all our grandkids (missing one!) came this year to eat the Thanksgiving lunch at our home–and we even had guests, Heather’s boyfriend Andy and his three kids, Kelsey, Kaden, and Eian his baby boy. This year we had a new family member join us–Craig’s and Eden’s new baby, Willow. Our family is growing!

Ray made his special, sweet holiday ham that our kids always request. As usual, it was a hit! I made the turkey, the dressing (there’s a debate if it’s called “stuffing” or “dressing”), and crescent rolls and everyone else brought a dish.¬†

Baby Willow

Baby Willow

 

Thanksgiving 2017 tablecloth, decorative plates, cups, & napkins

Thanksgiving 2017 tablecloth, decorative plates, cups, & napkins at our house

Here’s our oldest beautiful daughter Heather with her boyfriend Andy and his baby son Eian. The baby is about 4 months old and so cute! Heather adores him already. The green bean casserole Heather made for our meal was so good. I was busy cooking and serving, so I forgot to take pics of the yummy food, but people are more important anyway!

Heather, Andy's baby boy Eian, & Andy at our house

Heather, Andy’s baby boy Eian, & Andy at our house

Heather decided to also have a Thanksgiving dinner celebration at her house with her two girls and Andy and his kids. Heather’s table looks so elegant and pretty with the cloth green tablecloth, cloth napkins and napkin rings, blue plates, and decorations. They enjoyed ham, potatoes with gravy, mac n cheese, sparkling cider juice, and buttered rolls. They look happy here.¬†

Heather & her two girls Andy & his two kids Heather's Thanksgiving meal

Heather & her two girls Violet & Annabelle
Andy & his three kids, Kaden, Kelsey & Eian
Heather’s Thanksgiving meal

Here is our middle beautiful daughter Eden with her husband Craig. Their toddler daughter Piper is a busy bee, so it’s hard to get a picture of her being still!

Eden & her husband Craig

Eden & her husband Craig

 

Piper is a busy bee!

Piper is a busy bee!

Here is Ray with our youngest beautiful daughter Leah, and then me with Leah. I love this pretty plum-colored blouse on her. She made home-made pumpkin rolls for our meal and they were delicious! The kids loved them!

Ray & Leah at our home for Thanksgiving 2017

Ray & Leah at our home for Thanksgiving 2017

 

Me & Leah at our home for Thanksgiving 2017

Me & Leah at our home for Thanksgiving 2017

All our grandkids except one, our grandson Jacob, were able to join us this year for Thanksgiving. We were able to see him today at Eden’s house. He’s so adorable and getting so tall!

Our adorable grandson Jacob

Our adorable grandson Jacob

Heather and Andy bought me some beautiful, fresh flowers for the Thanksgiving family meal. I had been wanting some flowers lately, but didn’t buy myself any. They didn’t know that, but God did! What a sweet surprise.

The beautiful flowers that Heather & Andy bought me

The beautiful flowers that Heather & Andy bought me

 

Orange lily, rose & other beautiful flowers

Orange lily, rose & other beautiful flowers

I’m so grateful that all our family was together this year. The food was delicious, but God and family are what really matter.

“I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.”–Psalm 9:1, NIV

How did you celebrate your Thanksgiving? Leave your comments below.

Thanksgiving napkins

Thanksgiving napkins

Blog, Faith, Marriage, prayer, Travel, Writing

The Bonsai Tree

Today I asked Ray to go on a date with me for lunch. I’d planned for us to eat in town, but Ray suggested the Bonsai Grill restaurant in Harrisonville, MO, which his friends Matt and Kelley suggested. While it’s not traditional Japanese hibachi cooking (which was traditionally only used by the samurai and aristocrats), it was still good.¬†

Bonsai Grill restaurant

Bonsai Grill restaurant

One of the first things I noticed as I walked in were the cute bonsai trees. Now I want one. Ray said I can order authentic ones from North Little Rock, AR, where his dad Charles and his stepmom Sue live.

bonsai tree

bonsai tree

They also had a bigger one in the back of the restaurant by some pretty floral pics.

big bonsai tree

big bonsai tree

I liked some of the other art work on the walls, too. This tree is called the delicate pink sakura, or cherry blossom tree. They blossom throughout Japan every spring. 

delicate pink sakura, or cherry blossom tree

delicate pink sakura, or cherry blossom tree

Below is their picture of a Japanese style house on a lakefront setting. I’d love to stay in this Japanese style house on a lake in Maine, featured in Better Homes and Garden. I love all the open spaces in the house. It looks very peaceful and inviting.¬†

Japanese house

Japanese house

Ray ordered the hibachi shrimp and I ordered the hibachi chicken. Both came with veggies and fried rice. We ate it with our chopsticks, which is always fun. I only tasted a little of the rice, since I’ve radically changed my lifestyle, avoiding rice, potatoes, and sweets for the most part.

When one of the restaurant’s partners came over to say hello to us, seeing that it was our first time there (which I thought was impressive customer service), he asked if something was wrong with the rice! Of course, I told him no…I wanted to eat it really bad!¬†

hibachi shrimp

hibachi shrimp

hibachi chicken

hibachi chicken

The restaurant offers something unique that I’d never tasted before called yum yum.¬†It’s a mayonnaise-based sauce (it seems to have mustard in it, too), and it is indeed YUMMY! The partner said he puts it on everything, including the rice. I can see why!

Sometimes I think I should be a food writer/blogger. Wouldn’t it be nice to go around eating at different restaurants, sampling a variety of delicious foods?

This¬†reminds me of the movie Julie & Julia, when Julia was trying to figure out what to do with her life and her husband asked what she was good at and enjoying doing. She said, “Eat! And I’m so good at it!”

Unfortunately, I am so good at eating, too, which is why I’m still trying to lose 20 pounds to reach my ideal weight! (Please pray for my continued discipline to continue walking at the track, eating healthy, and drinking lots of water!)

yum yum sauce

yum yum sauce

Nevertheless, I slathered the yum yum sauce all over the chicken, veggies, and the little bit of rice I ate. This was the best part of the meal to me, other than the seeing the cute bonsai trees and taking pics for my blog.

When I told Ray that I was taking pictures for my blog, he joked¬†that he would’ve guessed.¬†Then he said if I did not take¬†pics, he would’ve taken me to the emergency room for something being very wrong with me.

Ray knows that I love to travel and go different places, take lots of pics, and then share about the traveling and the pics in my speaking and writing. 

sauce

sauce

Below is a pic of¬†Ray looking like he’s going to fall asleep at the table. Every time I’d talk (which is a LOT!), his eyes would start to half close, except when I began talking about the genres of fantasy and thriller in fiction books, and except when we were discussing his country music singer friend, Daron Norwood, only 49 years old, who tragically¬†was just found dead in his apartment from unknown causes.This just breaks my heart!

Ray hasn’t talked to him or seen him in a couple of years, but it was still a shock to him when he read about it on Fox News. He visited him at his home a couple years ago in Florida. I loved Daron’s version of Sweet Home Alabama, which you can view and hear on YouTube here. Please pray for Daron’s family and friends.

Ray¬†had a long, rough shift at work yesterday with a traumatic call. Hopefully he’ll get more sleep tonight.¬†

Ray at Bonsai Grill

Ray at Bonsai Grill

Below here I am, enjoying our date at the Bonsai Grill. You can see the larger bonsai tree in the background. I kept obsessing over wanting to take one of the trees home with us, like a stray kitten.

Ray said I can just order one online. He didn’t think the partners, as welcoming as they were to us, stopping to personally talk with us at the little table for two, would allow me to just waltz off with one of their restaurant decorations. (Of course I’d offer to pay for it!)

me, Bonsai Grill

me, Bonsai Grill

The Japanese are such a creative, artsy people. The Bonsai tree is a Japanese art, using miniature trees in containers. The tradition dates back to thousands of years. It originated from the Chinese tradition of penjing (depicting artistically formed trees, plants, and landscapes in miniature). 

Traditionally, the purposes of the bonsai are primarily for contemplation (for the viewer) and the bonsai grower’s effort and ingenuity. Initially, the Japanese used it to decorate their homes and gardens, then it became an art taught by masters.

It is something so valued that it is cared for every day of its life, like God our Father cares daily for you and me.

Bonsais were displayed in palaces by emperors. Eventually, Japanese immigrants brought them to the US. 

A story of a bonsai tells of a councilor to the shogun, and one of his favorite trees was thrown away in the garden to dissuade him from spending so much time on the trees. Despite the servant’s efforts, he never gave up his beloved art form. What, or who, is that important in your life?

Bible Studies, Blog, Faith, Marriage, prayer, Speaking, Spiritual Gifts, Travel, Writing

May be going to Longview, TX in April

blankpage‚ÄúTo travel is to live.‚ÄĚ ~ Hans Christian Andersen, The Fairy Tale of My Life: An Autobiography

I love to travel. It makes me so happy to go new places, meet new people, try new foods and experiences. Even if it’s just to a new town or another state.

I’m planning a potential trip to Longview, Texas in mid-April 2015. ¬†If you know of an event planner, an organizer, or anyone with a business organization or ministry who needs a speaker while I’m there, please contact me here.

I can speak just for 10 or 15 minutes or up to an hour. I’d love to share at a business breakfast or coffee, Christian women’s Bible study or book study, a Sunday church service, or an entrepreneur’s business luncheon.

My speaking topics include:

  • The Power of Shoes (my signature talk on walking in your God-given purpose and using your gifts, based on the story of Cinderella);
  • Share Your Story¬†(using speaking and writing your book to share God’s message burning in your heart;¬†the theme songs are Francesca Battistelli’s songs, Write Your Story, and He Knows My Name;
  • Authentic Love¬†(God doesn’t lie; His Promises are true), based on my memoir book, Promises In The Dark: One Woman’s Search For Authentic Love;
  • and more. I respect time constraints and can tailor my presentation according to the need. Let me know if you need a speaker!
Great Texas Balloon Race

Great Texas Balloon Race

While in Texas, I hope to also have some FUN. I’ll be there too early to enjoy the Great Texas Balloon Race, begun in 1979.

The colorful balloons supposedly are flown by some of the best pilots in the nation and even the world. I love seeing the bright balloons in the sky.

I’d rather ride in one, than just watch. Our daughter Heather and I both have a hot air balloon ride on our bucket list. What’s on your bucket list?

One thing I’ve always wanted to do is visit a vineyard. Longview has some. I almost never drink, but I’d like to do a wine tasting of various, fine wines with hors-d’oevres.

Enoch’s Stomp Vineyard restaurant has¬†prime rib, salt crusted, slow roasted and smoked, served with roasted garlic au jus and sauteed vegetables (that’s the steak juice and veggies in butter, y’all!). I can see Ray drooling now…my husband is a meat man. There’s nothing he likes better than a good, grilled steak!¬†

Fairhaven Vineyards

Fairhaven Vineyards

I love this pic of a woman holding a cluster of purple grapes at the Fairhaven Vineyard. The grapes are so beautiful and look so delicious. Reminds me of the movie with Keanu Reeves, A Walk in the Clouds, when the women are stomping on the grapes. 

The Los Pinos Ranch Vineyard’s menu includes:

  • a truffled spanish omelette, caviar, and creme fraiche;
  • meats and aged white cheddar cheeses served with flat bread;
  • a baguette, olive oil,¬†garlic and basil dipping sauce, sharp cheddar cheese, salami, mediterranean olives, grapes, puff pastry;
  • steamed mussels;
  • garlic shrimp;
  • lobster meat and crab claws;
  • fried calamari;
  • and more.

Doesn’t that sound just divine?! My mouth is watering. Maybe Ray and I could eat at one of these places (then we’d have to survive on peanut butter sandwiches the rest of the trip! lol).¬†Actually, the prices weren’t THAT high (high enough!).

Longview also has a Thomas Falls zipline and the Longview Museum of Fine Art. 

I’m getting excited. Do you have any recommended sites or activities for the Longview, TX area? Leave your comments below.¬†

Remember, if you know an event planner or someone who needs a speaker in mid-April, contact me here.