The text from youngest beeped at me, “(Lol) Sean Miller is on my flight.” The thoughts start whirring as I walk through the grocery story. The basketball coach of the University of Arizona is on the plane with youngest. The basketball coach for whom Jordan was one of several team managers a couple of years ago.
It was the road we all thought youngest would travel. Keep working for the team, continue his major in Journalism, and blaze a trail into the sports broadcasting world. An internship with ESPN, or FOX Sports News, or maybe the radio station in Timbuktu. It was the dream we all shared. Then life took a U-turn.
Youngest is now heading off into Navy Boot Camp on Wednesday. I stopped the thoughts as I stared down the aisles. First the Mexican food, then the coffees. Before I reached the cake mixes, I repeated in my mind. “God is in control. He has other plans for Jordan. His plan for Jordan is perfect, for his good, to give him a hope and a future. His plans are better than my plans.”
Breathe again. Remember the blessings. Recount the blessings God has bestowed in this present moment, day, time. I grabbed the Ghirardelli semi-sweets to make chocolate chip pancakes for youngest’s last breakfast at home. Tomorrow. His favorite.
So, I look beyond the U of A shirt and envision the Navy DEP (Delayed Entry Program) shirt he has been wearing for the past four months.
Even in these last moments and days, the destructive thoughts can still assail me although I have surrendered myself to Jordan’s decision and God’s plan. So I count the blessings.
“Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.” Daniel 4:25 NIV
To You, Oh, Sovereign Lord be the glory, honor, and praise for blessings you pour out, even when we still have a faint hold on the dream that has escaped us:
911) Texts and phone calls from youngest on this past weekend’s trip 912) Co-hosting a tea party for our prayer group friends, friends tied by love and prayer and caring for each other’s families throughout our 18 years here in Arizona 913) All the feminine frills, dainty floral teacups, bite-sized sweet treats, scones, a sterling silver tea set and brunch-like entrees to decorate our gathering of friendship 914) Caring conversation 915) Torrential monsoon rain to clear away the cobwebs–outside and in the head 916) Star balloons still dancing high in the air now delight house-bound individuals 917) The grace to wait–to hold back on sending a text to youngest; guarding the mind 918) Leftovers! 919) The Lord sustaining me in battle 920) The Lord being in my messy behavior and bringing peace 921) Meeting son’s recruiter~knowing what youngest’s future holds 922) Making youngest’s favorite dinner~beef stroganoff~ and watching him gobble down three helpings 923) Using Coach John Wooden’s quotes as a brief meditation before praying as a family. Holing on to what will soon be taken from my hand 924) Learning so much about the Navy, what to expect in these next two months and beyond on the NavyForMoms website.~Navy personnel guiding the discussions so they are accurately answered.
Where have you seen God as sovereign in your life?
Where are you still struggling to release your grip on life?
Linking with Multitude Monday and On, In, and Around Mondays
“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11 NIV
Watching the fireworks explode color across the sky filled my heart with praise for God. Patterns danced their praises to God, the Lord of heaven and earth.
Linking with Scripture and a Snapshot and The Sunday Community
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In the middle of July with the temperature roasting us at 104 degrees, you may be asking yourself, “Why would she turn on the ovens to make dinner?” For our family, these past couple of weeks have been like winter holidays for us–as far as the dinner fare is concerned. We’ve taken this opportunity to celebrate as if these were holidays, fixing our youngest son’s favorite meals and side dishes~as we all prepare for the real farewell. Farewell to the moments of having Jordan stretched long and lean across the family room floor; farewell to hearing both sons rip into the latest sports news; farewell to evenings of him wrestling with Chip, the Wonder Dog; farewell to mounds of laundry everywhere; farewell to trips to the grocery store with youngest for spicy chips and Gatorade; farewell to seeing his face across the table from mine.
Instead of focusing on the inevitable July 18 date of his departure from our home and arrival at Navy Boot Camp, where he will become a man and leave behind his childish ways and any dependence on Mom, we have chosen to celebrate! I’ve prepared everything from Aunt Mary’s Enchiladas to No Bake Peanut Butter Bars; from Beef Stroganoff to the dish our family calls “Those Potatoes.” We’ve had Popcakes with strawberries and powdered sugar for breakfast while feasting on Sweet and Sour Meatballs in the evening. We’ve also delighted in homemade chocolate chip cookies, more than once.
Tonight, we had our Thanksgiving special–“Broccoli Crumb Casserole.” I paired it with Sesame Seed Chicken (what other meat do we serve here?) and some Stove Top Dressing–an outdated box I found in the pantry. Without further adieu, we present to you Broccoli Crumb Casserole. as featured in “Better Homes and Gardens All Time Favorite Casserole recipes” (c) 1977 by Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, Iowa 1 and 1/2 ponds fresh broccoli (weighed with stems on-if you buy just the heads, buy less) 1 10 and 3/4-ounce can of cream of mushroom soup 1/4 Cup of Best Foods mayonnaise 1/4 Cup grated sharp cheddar cheese 1 TBLS chopped or diced pimiento 1 and 1/2 tsps. lemon juice 1/3 Cup of crushed Ritz crackers (about 8) Now you have to realize, I probably have not made this recipe without at least doubling it or even tripling it in the past 12 years (guys appetites have increased and then you add in the company for dinner).
|This gives you an idea of what the soup mixture looks like as you stir it in–thick|
Cut up the broccoli to have just the flowerets. You should have about 6 cups. I steam my broccoli for about 7-8 minutes, with the lid on the pan, after the water has come to a boil under the steam rack. Then I drain the broccoli, holding the lid askew and let the steaming water pour over the broccoli. Put the broccoli, which should still be somewhat firm into a 1 and 1/2 quart casserole. Mix the soup, mayonnaise, cheese pimiento, and lemon juice. Pour over the broccoli and gently mix it in. Top with the crackers and a few pieces of cooked broccoli to decorate the top. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 35 minutes (until it bubbles). The recipe says it serves 6, but in our house, it only serves 4 with a little left over. Hope you enjoy! I’ll save the Sesame Seed Chicken for another post. Linking with Food on Fridays at Ann Kroeker’s Share: Share what you have enjoyed.
The Fourth of July is long past and I’m way behind on my writing. With Jordan’s departure for Boot Camp rapidly approaching, I have been spending a lot of time gathering information about what to expect concerning his future~and ours.
Still I wanted to publish the recipe for the “Navy Star Cookies” as I now call them since we made them for our youngest’s send-off to Navy Boot Camp. Just in case some one is having a late 4th of July celebration or you would like some ideas for other parties this month. Red, white, and blue and the patriotic theme seem to serve well all the way from Memorial Day through Labor Day. I like to keep the theme going all summer.
1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla (maybe 2, depending on desired flavored) Mix or sift flour, salt, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Cream butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer. Gradually add in sugar, all the while creaming the mixture. Add the egg and vanilla, beating well. Add the flour mixture–1/3 at a time. Beat until mixed in after each addition. Do not overbeat or cookies will be tough. Flatten dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick on a sheet of waxed paper. Cover with another sheet of waxed paper. Refrigerate about 1 hour. Place dough on a floured surface and roll until it is about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick–no thicker. You will need a rolling pin with a stocking cover to do this. Dip cookie cutter and a thin stainless steel spatula in four. Cut out the design you desire, lift with spatula and put on an ungreased cookie sheet. If dough gets too soft or sticky, you may want to re-refrigerate for 15 minutes again. Bake at 375 degrees for about 7 minutes–just until delicately browned.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies–depending on cookie cutter and thickness of dough. I decorated with Betty Crocker tubes of frosting from the market. You buy the tips separately in the same section as the frosting. Butter cookies are tastier than sugar cookies because they are not as sweet nor as hard to chew. True, they take a little more time to work with but they are worth it. I make these cookies for different holidays throughout the year. Hope you enjoy this treat! Linking with Food on Fridays–even though it’s Monday. I’ll eventually catch up. Share: Share what you have enjoyed.
Nervous, as I always am before an event that I am hosting, I checked off my last minute list of goodies to be packed in the car for the party. Star-shaped cookies wrapped in wristbands, two floral centerpieces, the cake, photos of our youngest, the Navy journal, and, of course, the camera. Everyone was in the car when I glanced back and saw youngest’s jeans–they had the fashionable hole on the knees. I started fraying like his jeans, and asked, “Why didn’t you wear good jeans? You told me you wouldn’t wear ones with holes in them.” “They’re good, Mom, don’t worry,” said youngest. I sighed. It seemed irreversible.
I decided it was best to drop the subject and remember how dark it would be in the restaurant. That no one would notice. What’s important is the relationship and all of his friends and our friends who would be coming to honor him and wish him well on his new endeavor in Navy Boot Camp.
So, I cheerfully prayed (out loud) for peace, love, and a joy-filled evening for everyone.
It seemed like none of my plans for the party were working according to the schedule and pattern. The invitation was missing a capitals on a couple of letters that were the title of the party. The two-toned wristbands arrived with the front message randomly printed, lopping over from one color to the next. Then there were my white pants that needed hemming–twice–because the woman who measured them insisted on making them longer than I typically wear them.
And, I almost forgot the fiasco with the balloons. I ordered them a week ahead of time. I was so proud of myself for being ahead of schedule. The event coordinator suggested I bring the balloons to the restaurant the night before the party and she would inflate them. So, I went back to the store a week early–and the balloons were already inflated. Someone had misread the date for “pick up” on the balloons. The store assured me that they could deflate the balloons and the restaurant could re-inflate them–no problem.
I’m sure that’s more information than you wanted but there really is a point to all of this. In the midst of this craziness, the Lord blessed me in a most unexpected way. We had an outstanding event coordinator that went above and beyond her job description. Not only did she volunteer to put the decorations up herself, but she bought some flag-styled hacky sacks and drink umbrellas with a flag design–all to scatter around the tables. Her kindness made my small difficulties melt away.
When we arrived at the restaurant, none of this mattered anymore. Balloons danced high above the tables from their star-spangled weights. Tables were scattered with flag-wrapped butter creme candies I had bought and the centerpieces were patriotically waving with freshly ironed mini flags and an Uncle Same hat. Anticipation of friends stepping through the door electrified the room. There was a glow in the darkness.
I set out the cookies, arranged the cake table with photos, cake, floral centerpieces, the Navy journal, and a bumper sticker that said, “Proud Parent of a Sailor.”
Friends and family began arriving and joy filled the room as we greeted and hugged. The time to rejoice was upon us~strengthening us for the days ahead that would be marked with empty arms and tears. But those thoughts did not penetrate God’s protective wall surrounding us that night.
|Jordan fights wearing the hat|
|But his friends prevail|
|Just one happy gang of good guys|
As Jordan’s friends laughed, hugged, mingled, I captured the moments on camera and in my memory. Bittersweet moments, recalling days when all these guys were young boys climbing, jumping, shooting baskets. How blessed to have these memories even when life doesn’t turn out just like you planned it.
|I could not have done this party without my friend, Karen|
|Special Friend and Crazy Lady|
” ‘but let him who boasts boast about this; that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.’ ” Jeremiah 9:24 NIV
For such joy-filled moments and memories, I thank the Lord: 895) Jordan’s Send-Off party filled with the Lord’s joy 896) Friends and family who share these moments with us in love 897) A special friend, given by God, to help me cut out cookies, decide on frosting, and support me through the planning~I could not have done it without her help 898) Cookies that didn’t crumble and frosting that didn’t break off 899) Yummy food that everyone liked~and leftovers to take home 900) The best chocolate cake stuffed with raspberry filling and topped with whipped frosting~the bomb Jordan called it 901) Guests who looked forward to writing messages for Jordan in the journal~messages to encourage him in boot camp 902) Red, white, and blue swirling sparkles and festive mood throughout the room~there’s something about those colors that stirs the heart 903) My son the Navy recruit remembering to bring me bumper stickers for a proud Mom’s car
905) A tee-shirt that says, “Proud Navy Mom” in feminine script–with flowers
906) Tying up loose legal ends before Jordan leaves~good but hard 907) Discovering that one of my oldest son’s friends who came to the party, but whom he hasn’t seen in a while, is the son of one of the teachers at school~God is just full of joy-filled surprises 908) The sprinkler system fixed by hubby. We have green grass again. 909) Oldest coming to our rescue with the red plastic gas container, when we ran out of gas just a few yards from the station. 910) And last but not least~hubby sweeping a small king snake out of our house. It was curled up by the front door! Our oldest, Tim, quickly whisked Chip out the back door. A story for another time.
Linking with Multitude Monday and Playdates with God
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A believer in Christ, my heart is given to Him and shared with my husband, our two adult sons, family, and friends. I’m a people person with a passion to encourage and inspire Christian women and others. I write from my heart, sharing my experiences, goals, and vision for living a life centered in God.
I hope you’ll join me on these adventures and follow along as we discover the Lord’s plans for our lives and His whispers to our hearts.