Mamie’s Brownies…A recipe.

I know I have raved about my Mamie’s brownies before, but seriously…they are The Best. You can not mess them up, no matter what you do. Believe me, I have tried. I have added everything out of order. I haven’t beaten the eggs beforehand. I never sift the dry ingredients together. And each batch? Purrrrrrfection.

Lately, I have been doubling the recipe. Let’s face it…one can never have enough brownies. I always say I am going to freeze some. Insert hysterical laughter here.

So here’s the recipe…exactly how My Girl wrote it out for me when she was ten. My original copy, written by me as dictated from my grandmother, Mamie, had met an unfortunate demise involving oil, sugar and the sink.

Love My Girl’s 10 year old handwriting and spelling

I’m so disappointed you can’t see my sweet pink nails

Bake away. And be sure to let me know how much you love them. Cuz you are so gonna! Oh, and for the record…I only use buttah…no margarine for this girl.


Catching up with The Smith’s.

I should be at CFA aka “bible study” with The Girls this morning. Instead, I am sitting on my not-so-new-anymore beloved blue couch trying to function. Fibromyalgia has won the battle after a very long and stressful two weeks of getting ready for vacation; having beach house keys in hand and receiving a phone call that My Man’s father had suddenly taken a turn for the worst; deciding to unload at the beach house and sending Russell back home at 0400 the next morning to say goodbye and finalize arrangements. Thankfully, his sister was able to drop everything and make the four hour trip to be with their father. The boys and I tried to enjoy some vacation time but our hearts were back home. Russell did show back up at the beach the very next day at 10:30 am after another early morning drive. We spent a couple days pretending to relax and enjoy the beach but honestly, when we received the call that Granddad had passed, we were all ready to pack it up and head home two days early.

The Wild Boy on his Skimboard with his GoPro 

You know you have good friends and church family on a day-to-day basis, but when they really slam your heart to a standstill is during a crisis. Friends who show up at your beach house to help you pack up and clean up. Sure, they were only half a mile down the beach, but still. Friends who call and text and encourage you to stay at the beach because we’ve got anything and everything you need covered at home. Friends lined up to provide food and meals for “as long as you want.” Friends who offer you their vacation homes so you can rest and vacation after the funeral. Friends who show up and stay the entire visitation time. Friends who say, whatever you need me to do, I will do and mean it and do it.

The Big Boy took this one of his little brother

Don’t even get me started on family. We are unbelievably blessed by our families. My sister, aka The Laundry Queen, arrived at our house the day after we did, set her bags down, rolled up her sleeves and never looked back. She and my bff from high school are notorious for doing that, without a word. I like to think it speaks more of their love and servant hearts than it does of the condition of my house and lack of cleaning/laundry schedule.

Found this heart while walking the beach thinking of ABO

Not surprisingly, my body has crashed after the adrenalin rush dissipated. My body and brain are at a stand still and I have to be honest: it is The Most Frustrating Thing. Ever. Being one who must be in control at all times…having no control over this is infuriating. Also, it is a lesson. One that, apparently, I have yet to master. I know that my body does this. I know that there are things I can do to lessen the impact of the crash. Eating well, lots of water, taking my supplements and meds and giving myself a break, to name a few. None of which I did since returning home from Topsail Beach. I pushed myself. Ate crap. Sipped too much Black Dog and refused to slow down. I jumped right back into work Monday morning and decided I could push it until Friday when I would take a day off from work to catch up on the house. I’m sure My Plans have God laughing and shaking His Holy head while He murmurs, “silly girl.

The Wild Boy took this with his GoPro

I haven’t even pulled beach photos off my Nikon yet, but wanted to share a couple pics with you from Topsail.

I’m thinking I will work from home today, from the beloved blue couch and may not even change out of my jammies. My boss knows how to get in touch with me and where to find me. He lives right next door.

In the meantime, I wanted to catch all of you up on Life with The Smith’s and thank you for loving us so well.

A rambling list of new things.

So I gave up on last week’s New Thing and have moved on to a New, New Thing.

Just kidding. But really, I know you want to know how the New Thing is progressing. Fine and dandy, actually. I’m not here to chat about that this morning, however. Today…a list.

Just for you, Di.

1. Beach week is fast approaching and I still have 50 pounds to lose. That would be 25 pounds each day so…I’m guessing this year is a no-go for the big weight-loss bikini reveal at the beach picture. Maybe For sure next year. *I promise…you will not have to see me in a bikini unless it’s that pic I just ran across from when I was 18 and even then…nope*

2. I’ve really, really had to loosen the old control reins/umbilical cord on The Wild Boy since graduation. As he reminded me a zillion few times, he will be doing what he wants in just a month or so anyway so what’s the difference now? Yep…that comment brought loads of comfort to my controlling momma bear personality.

How I long for those days, these days!

3. In other news, I’ve enrolled as a full time student at Radford University and am awaiting my dorm assignment. Already got my roommate lined up and his initials are BJS.

4. My Man and I are seriously ready to be empty-nesters. He keeps putting the ladder up to My Girl’s bedroom window and Her Guy keeps taking it down and putting it back underneath the deck. Clearly The Big Boy is never leaving either. Why would he? He has the dungeon to himself with all the amenities a twenty-something needs…a bed, a fridge a comfy chair, big-screen tv and X-Box Live.

Always a bridesmaid…but a stunning bridesmaid at that. Trav is okay, too, I guess.
We are so ready for this next stage…we adore our Ella Mac! Thankfully, she lives right next door.
5. I’ve hit that really awkward stage. Semi-menopausal with teenager tendencies. You know what I mean…when I can actually remember how old I am I try to forget by cranking up some Oldies (from the 90’s) and pull out my yarn bag to work on my crocheting.

6. I am loving shopping at Costco these days. How did I never really discover this mecca of good stuff until now? We would purchase the occasional cake now and then, but really it is just now that I shop there regularly. My other fave shopping place is Trader Joe’s. Mercy. Every time I shop there two things happen: 1. I find tons of new items to try and 2. I get into an altercation with someone driving the wrong way in the one-way lane in the parking lot. Seriously, why do people do that? And more importantly, why does it infuriate me so? I guess I’ve always been a rule-follower at heart. Except for rules that were clearly made to be suggestions like the speed limit, curfew and the number of items allowed in the express check out. But going the wrong direction in the Trader Joe’s parking lot? Capital Offense, baby, and I am always one four-letter word short of making a citizen’s arrest.

Okay, Di. I hope this satisfies your love of my lists and will hold you over until the next one. I will check in with y’all Beach-side.

A New Thing.

I’m all about new things. Starting new; starting fresh; starting over. I always seem to start on Monday. No matter what it is.

As I sat down this morning to work on my bible study lesson for the day, I felt a nudge to put the workbook aside and just open up my bible and read. I had no particular direction in mind but figured I would head to the book of Psalms: my go-to book. When I flipped open my bible, I was pulled in by the purple brackets and underlines of the following scriptures:

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43:18, 19 NIV)

Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one. (Isaiah 44: 8 NIV)

After reading each passage a few times, I closed my bible and meditated on the words for a time. Basically, it is time. Yep. Said it before. Many times before. But more and more I am realizing that I am not satisfied with who I am right now. I am not who God created me to be. Yet. And putting off the former things and the past and laying out the path before me…the New Thing…that is what I am supposed to do. Not starting tomorrow; starting today.

What does that look like? I’m not sure yet. Which is part of the adventure! I do know it includes the following, to some extent:

taking control of my physical health

I’m guessing the two will be connected and the link that will hold the two together will be God. So I will be including more of my faith in my writing, it appears.

New adventures? Scary stuff. But not with my Rock. So, stick around and watch it unfold.

My morning writing view.

Remember to Breathe.

And just like that…all three of our children are grown.

Before you read any further, take a moment to close your eyes, exhale, and embrace this very moment of your life. The loves in your life, the good things, the thankfuls, the lights. Let your mind’s eye touch on each and oh yes please do allow that smile to to creep in. Breathe deep and allow each and every thing to settle on your very soul and let it remain there.

The last three weeks have flown by. I tried to stop and take it all in. I tried not to get all worked up and stressed and snippy. I think I succeeded fairly well until it was all over and then my body started shutting down and I had myself one good hissy fit that I still regret. So not only am I suffering the consequences of pushing my body too hard, I had to make amends for letting it all get to me and lashing out. Lesson learned? Probably not. It is a part of me I am still working on. It is a part of My Girl that I warn explain to Her Guy regularly. To love us is to embrace the crazy. But, we are worth it. *if you could only see my huge grin as I typed that last sentence*

The Wild Boy is officially a high school grad/college student and has the diploma, college ID and schedule to prove it. And if those weren’t enough, just check out the smile on his handsome face.

Since graduation he has attended the all night grad party and had two days of orientation at Radford and four days of reCHARGE camp. His dad drove up to Skycroft yesterday to bring him home early  to attend a funeral today. You see, in the midst of all the good stuff...bad stuff happens. And while we soak in the joy, we also embrace the grief. Allowing ourselves to do both…now that is what life is really about. What we, my family specifically and I am positive yours also, are trying so desperately to do.

This month we are taking a week to Just Be. To enjoy some down time with each other. To look back and reflect. To look forward and plan. Each year, it seems the look of our annual beach week changes. This year we are not going to OBX. Hard to imagine, I know, but we are venturing to new places. New traditions? Maybe. You may or may not hear from me between now and then but my plan is to do some serious writing while on the beach. We shall see if that actually comes to pass.

August is going to be a time of change for us. Will be updating on that, as well.

And, finally. This.