Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Dinner: Easter Sunday

I love this picture. We were trying to get all of Grandmother's greatgrandkids together for one shot. They were all under five and trying to get them all to stay in one spot long enough to snap a nice picture proved to be impossible. One was always running away, crying, or trying to get into everything. My brother, Randall is trying to entertain them. Notice he has his arms around my daughter, Amanda. She was ready to find Easter eggs.

Can you see the Easter egg blue house in the background. The picture doesn't do it justice. In real life it was even brighter than it is there. And you can see the power meter up against the house, where invariably a blue egg would sit while the kids would walk right past it.

Easter is a time for family. A time to remember what Jesus did for each and everyone of us. My grandmother made sure that we went to church. I wish I could thank her for the faith that she helped instill in me.

With several other women on Monday nights, I help with a Bible study for women living in the local mission. They are there because they are at a point in their life, where the mission is their only hope. Some are there for financial reasons, others for drug or alcohol abuse, and many other reasons. Invariably when asked, most answer that their grandmothers were the most influential person particularly in matters of faith.

Grandmother Rodgers

For me Easter not only celebrates what Jesus did for us, but it also celebrates the woman who made sure that I knew about it.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


From the Publisher:

Conceived in love and possibility, Bonaventure Arrow didn't make a peep when he was born, and the doctor nearly took him for dead. No one knows that Bonaventure's silence is filled with resonance—a miraculous gift of rarified hearing that encompasses the Universe of Every Single Sound. Growing up in the big house on Christopher Street in Bayou Cymbaline, 

Bonaventure can hear flowers grow, a thousand shades of blue, and the miniature tempests that rage inside raindrops. He can also hear the gentle voice of his father, William Arrow, shot dead before Bonaventure was born by a mysterious stranger known only as the Wanderer.
Bonaventure's remarkable gift of listening promises salvation to the souls who love him: his beautiful young mother, Dancy, haunted by the death of her husband; his Grand-mère Letice, plagued by grief and a long-buried guilt she locks away in a chapel; and his father, William, whose roaming spirit must fix the wreckage of the past. With the help of Trinidad Prefontaine, a Creole housekeeper endowed with her own special gifts, Bonaventure will find the key to long-buried mysteries and soothe a chorus of family secrets clamoring to be healed.

My Review:

I first saw it on facebook, where someone tagged it as the book that will change your life. Of course this intrigued me. I have been an avid reader since those first See Spot Run books. The art of telling a story fascinates me. I love to see where authors work. The "A Room of Her Own" feature on the She Reads blog is one of my favorites. I also like to hear the story behind the story. Every novel begins with a thought, a character, a scene, something that compels the author to put the story down on paper - in black and white - to share with others.

A mute boy who has wondrous hearing, but how can he communicate? Bonaventure and his doting mother and Grand-mere Letice find a way.

Bonaventure lives in his father's childhood home with his mother and paternal grandmother. The house harbors three secrets - one in his mother's closet, one in his grandmother's prayer room, and the ghostly father of Bonadventure that only he can hear and communicate with that is until Trinidad comes to work for the family.

Trinidad and Bonadventure are drawn to one another - a celestial bond - Trinidad guides Bonadventure helping him bring peace to the guilt, mystery, and grief that his mother and grandmother each harbor in their heart. 

He also helps bring healing to his Grandmother Roman, the local postmistress, who feels it is her job to monitor the mail and packages of those around her. Sometimes a letter just needs to be misplaced - never to be delivered. She has a mission to heal her grandson for she feels his muteness is his choice, something he could easily overcome.

This year, She Reads has picked some excellent books for their selection of the month. In January, there was THE ART FORGER by B.A. Shapiro. In February, Julie Kibler's CALLING ME HOME, which has been picked up by Warner Bros. Could it be the next SECRET LIFE OF BEES or THE HELP? 

I hope you'll join us at She Reads this month for giveaways, blog posts, recipes, and our online discussion on Rita Leganski's THE SILENCE OF BONAVENTURE ARROW.

I am excited about making the Shoo Fly Marmalade featured by Ingrid at Edible Tapestry.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Dinner: Remembering Mama's Homemade Easter Dresses

The Thompson Kids in 1973
When I was a child, the weeks before Easter, Mama would be working fervently at her sewing machine making our new Easter dresses. Sometimes my sister and I matched exactly and other times our outfits complimented one another. I loved that blue and white checked dress, but it sure did itch.

On Easter Sunday after lunch, we would all go outside looking for the Easter eggs. There was always a blue egg hidden on top of the power box. Grandmother's house was painted Easter egg blue. When asked why she chose such a bright color, she said that it didn't look that bright on the swatch and she was too embarrassed to ask the painter to change it.

Today I'm taking it easy. We're having a taco bar, where everyone can assemble their own tacos or taco salads. For dessert, my little brother Dennis' favorite, banana pudding.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Remembering Mike

Connie and Mike Summer of 2008
Four years ago today my husband Mike passed away. Mike was diagnosed with cancer in March of 2008. The doctor gave him weeks to live. We prayed for a miracle — we prayed for more time, and thankfully God granted that request and we had 336 more days.

What I have found since losing Mike is that we cling to and appreciate the memories. Mike was fond of saying that it was just the average ordinary days that tended to be the most extraordinary. We spent our time sitting at Cleveland park watching the ducks, sitting at the small local airport watching the airplanes take off and land, and countless hours on the deck out back listening to the crickets chirp and enjoying the evening breeze. And for all those moments, I am forever thankful.

My mother-in-law, Jan Kuhn is also a writer. She has written a book, Hi Mike It's Me Mom about Mike's journey with cancer and the days after. It is now available in paperback from Amazon and the Kindle version will be available soon in the coming weeks. I think she portrayed what our family went through beautifully. It is a story of one man's quest to honor and glorify God with the days he had left.

The last chapter of the book, she gives advice on how we lived with cancer and the things that we found that worked and things we wished we had known.

When Mike was first diagnosed I searched for books that would help me, but they were all about these profound miracles of people beating the disease — I needed to know how to live with disease and how to make the most of things. The book I read that helped me the most was Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture. "Even a wounded lion needs to roar," Pausch wrote and that line helped me to quit hovering.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday Dinner: Grandma Downs Lemon Cake

Grandma Downs' Lemon Supreme Deluxe Cake
Last week Sunday dinner was cancelled due to illness — mine. My grandson had a cold, which he shared with me. I believe it was the worst cold of my life, it kept me down completely for three days and I'm just now getting back to normal.

I've been wanting something with lemon, but I didn't want to make a pie. My future mother-in-law, Shirley sent me a cookbook with Vincent family recipes over Christmas. What a treasure that book is for  family recipes preserve our past and heritage. There was a recipe for a lemon cake that Chuck absolutely loves and I had to try it.

Yesterday as the cake was baking, Chuck kept saying "That smells good." It smelled so good and I needed a picture for my blog so we just had to have a piece last night. I added some fresh blueberries and all I can say is that it was truly delicious.

Did you catch the future mother-in-law? Yes, there is now a ring on my finger and Chuck and I will marry sometime this year. We're not sure when since we plan to elope.

As for the rest of Sunday dinner, I'm serving pot roast with carrots and potatoes, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, and brown-n-serve rolls.

When I serve those rolls I can't help but think of Damascus, the little girl in Kimberly Brock's novel, The River Witch. Damascus is putting on a feast for her family and it won't be complete without lots of those little rolls. She is adamant about it. Reluctantly Roslyn hurries off to purchase them. So if you're looking for a wonderful novel that will make you laugh and cry, then The River Witch is what you're looking for.