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Monday, May 29, 2017

Life is Like Jellybeans......Most (days) are Beautiful

I had a rough day recently.  I recounted the rough parts to my special friend Jean, and the quintessential teacher (15 years retired) she got back with me to share an idea that she wanted me to use with my daughter (who calls her Aunt Jean) to illustrate a healthy perspective on the bad stuff that happens.  We discussed pretty marbles, red checkers vs. black checkers, but when the idea of jellybeans came, I knew that was the option I would go with.

Aunt Jean's life lesson plan was that I start with an empty jar, and recall the events or observations for the day with my daughter, careful to cover the wonderful and good points, and each time a positive remark is made, drop a pretty color in the jar.  I had told her that black was my least favorite color, so when I recalled or reviewed a negative from our day, I was to drop a black jellybean in the jar.  Lastly I should summarize to my daughter that life is like that..... filled with good and bad, but usually more good than bad, if we look carefully, and what are we going to choose to focus on?...the beautiful colors, or the black?

I now have a new affection for jellybeans.  Yes, I am aware that black can be beautiful.  One of my favorite shirts to wear is black lace.

Also I am aware that some people like black jellybeans.  My mom does.  Fine.  I love pretty colors.  I love to remember that most days are beautiful.  Most days are filled with good stuff.  All the more for Christians, who are just passing through in this world.  We are Heaven bound.  Looking at the events of my day, or jellybeans in a jar, I choose to look at the pretty ones.  May your days be colorful and beautiful.

Thanks for visiting Grandma Mary Martha πŸ’– 

Prayer is a Powerful and Sweet Privilege

Why do we forget?  Why do we underestimate?  Why do we not cherish  it enough?

I am happy for myself.  I recently had an epiphany.  I had been searching, looking, seeking, waiting for it to become clear to myself what I would do in my retirement years..... my re-invention years, my time to do it better years. Oh, by the way, I am aware of overwhelming need and a multitude of opportunities to serve, but my quandary was, "What shall I (Tammy Dunlap) do, at this time?"

  I  served in teaching capacities and in children's ministries for 17 years in the church.  That is not where I belong at this time.  I am wise enough to know there are are other ways to serve.  I was seeking MY DIRECTION  for here and now!   Like a calm, peaceful, life giving spring rain, the answer came:  PRAY.

Oh yes, I still hope to garden a little (roses and potatoes and my succulent ornamentals now), and I look forward to baking, cooking, hostessing family, being the best mother, grandmother, wife, daughter, mother, mother-in-law, that I can possibly be, and blogging, but until or unless the Holy Spirit reveals to me another direction or pursuit........... PRAYER will be my privilege and pursuit.  HURRAY !!   Hooray!!

What a wonderful life!  More time spent in fellowship with my Heavenly Father, and I can have a part in growing individuals towards Him, towards love, towards maturity, and perhaps towards health and peace.  I can have a part in rebuking, and defeating the enemy, and building the kingdom for the Lord's will to be done on Earth as in Heaven.

As much as anything else, I look forward to this, knowing that I too will benefit.  I need more of Him.  I am nothing special.  In fact, I sorely lack...... I am only me, but I am saved, by His mercy, provision, grace and goodness, and I desire to live for Him.

I thought this epiphany of mine, to be worth sharing, because it is worth remembering:  Prayer is a powerful, wonderful shaping  ministry that we may each partake  in anytime, to glorify and honor the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and avail ourselves for His work, as well as participate in spiritual battles unseen for the cause of Christ, and minister grace and love because of Him in us.  We can enjoy sweet time in the Father's arms, anytime!  Retirement, I'm going to LUV you!

Ephesians 6:12
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against  the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

James 5:16
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Matthew 6:10
(Lord) Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in earth as it is in Heaven.                     
               Thank you for visiting Grandma Mary MarthaπŸ’–

Grandma Mary Martha: Prayers Answered over and over, for friends....

Grandma Mary Martha: Prayers Answered over and over, for friends....:   Friendship is a natural, healthy, human need regardless of age. I have seen it happen so many times, that I will practically boast to en...

Prayers Answered over and over, for friends....

Friendship is a natural, healthy, human need regardless of age.  I have seen it happen so many times, that I will practically boast to encourage, because I BELIEVE !!  God answers prayers to build up friendships.  I believe it is in His will that people avail themselves to bring out the best in one another and seek to edify one another.  That is what a friend does of course.  

There were a few times that I was in transition with friends (because of a geographic move, or a shift in circumstances or social dynamics....) and I found myself lonely for "close friends."  At those times I prayed of course......and God brought me the most amazing, sweet, fun friends.

When in my 20's and Anna and Lory were busy with kids or other diversions, I prayed, and God brought Pamela.  I met her when she stepped into my third grade classroom early one morning.  She was seeking to be a prepared substitute teacher, and I was seeking to leave good preparations for my substitute for the day.  She was a stranger that day, but now, 25 years later she is one of my best friends.  

We had SO MUCH in common........... not the least of which was our desire to grow and encourage in the Lord.  Both of us about age 30, we each went on, in the next few years to have our first children just 3 months apart, and then our second children were born about 7 years later. We enjoyed each other in person until her husband processed out of the Navy and went on to work in air-craft mechanic field in North Carolina where they were from, and my husband worked as air-craft mechanic in Texas and surrounding states.  Snail mail and then e-mail has allowed us to continue sharing life, encouragement, support, and love.

Then when I moved, (because I married) and landed in a community 5 or 6 hours from where I previously lived, I sought to make new friends.  Because of answered prayers with Pamela, I prayed again.  Prepared to wait as long as it took, I prayed, "God, please give me a Christian girlfriend, that I can feel close to, beyond the 'Hello, how are you?'  greetings at church." 

Almost two and three years after my prayer, came Jean and Joan, and let me tell you, they were worth waiting for !!!  Jean I taught with.  I admired and respected her as I knew her professionally for more than a year, before I approached her (single) to try and fix her up with a single relative in our family..... That didn't work out, and neither did anything come of me trying to fix her up with the handsome single neighbor across the street from the house I left when I married, but through all this... Jean and I got to know one another better.  

She was the answer to my prayers and I was the answer to hers!!  She also had prayed for "better friends," because she was a new creation in Christ and was seeing that she did not fit well with her old friends, who were very much "of the world."  

Since then, she has listened to me, counseled me.  We have gone on  fun outings and trips.  She used to take my elementary (now married) son out on dates, and give him instruction on etiquette.  She went to see me when I moved for 6 months to Las Vegas area, and she helped me take loads and loads to the thrift store and to storage when we prepared to move into an R.V. while we built our new house here.  We drove each other to a few medical procedures, and I checked on her at home and tried to minister to her when she had to have her hand operated on because her horse ran and pulled the rope twisted around her hand, crushing it.  I wrote her a love poem, and bought her a study Bible which she calls her Tammy Bible, and we have talked hours that might add up to a year, on the phone!!  We exchange knowledge, and book talks, and movie reviews, and always lift one another up.  We know each other quite well, and treasure our friendship.

Joan, I met through church ministry, sort of.  We went to church together when my son was three years old.  When she was working with the teens at my church, neglecting her own home, in order to give to our youth, I insisted that she let me "clean her house."  Her heart was touched, and she drew me in to love me.  Hanging out with her and her husband soon felt like hanging with family.  Our funnest times over the next seven years revolved around us doing crafties together or working on Children's Ministry together, or just taking turns visiting in one another's house perhaps while we cleaned or folded laundry together. 

My children and I actually lived with her for a few months after our house sold, and we were waiting for the school year to finish before we moved in to our R.V. while building our house.  My friend Joan actually visited us in the R.V. and experienced taking "jug showers" as we roughed it for 13 months....... Didn't phase my friend, my children's "Aunt Joan." 

Since the 11 years ago that I moved away from my home where Jean and Joan were near-by,  we talk on the phone mostly now, but I can tell you that when we are together, the bond will be no less, and I truly look forward to times of togetherness.  I am hoping for it.  I love these sisters in Christ !!

When we moved HERE, I prayed the same prayer for a Christian sister that I can feel close to.  In my first months here, I prayed, "Lord, I don't even care if it is someone who I mentor (be the giver and the encourager) and who doesn't have much to give me....." 

I suppose God took me up on that offer because the first such friend I had when we moved here, was someone who ultimately chose to leave and loose contact with me, but not before I had the blessing of making a difference.  ...A YOUNG woman, with two kids already, she was not happy when she found out that she was pregnant again.  She considered having an abortion.  She talked to me about it.  I responded with sensitivity and persistent encouragement, (praying for God to give me the right words).  She decided to keep the baby and embrace the new gift that God was offering.  I have no doubt that God has special plans for that baby, and her family, and I feel privileged to be linked to the pivotal decision this mother made, to lovingly embrace the life that grew in her. 

Praying for FRIENDS (to come, and to BE one), I am convinced, must always be in God's will, and I am convinced it is a prayer He will always answer.  Recently, God answered the prayer for my daughter. We had prayed for years.  Sometimes, it takes years for God to work with the human hearts, because he will not intrude on our privilege of "free will."  We have choice.   Finally she has girlfriends who have fun together, encourage one another, help one another, and actually have conversations reflecting desire to serve God and be used by Him.  Praise be to the Lord !  Never stop praying and hoping for the good and perfect gifts like friendship πŸ’– 
James 1:17
Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is not variation or shadow of turning.

Matthew 21:22
And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.

** God continues to provide friends.......... Anna, Lory, Pamela, Jean, Joan, and newer friends here now, and as life evolves... my family meets this need for friendship, and through each individual, I am blessed.  May my actions and words honor them each for the blessing that they each are.  My heart is fullπŸ’–

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Do You Ever Battle with Your Grouchy Self ??

When I am tired, Grouchy-Self tries to take over.  When I am sick, and tired, (literally) then Grouchy-Self sneaks in very stealth like, and seems to chloroform  Nice-Me.  The other day, I caught Grouchy-Self, and had a confrontational talk with her.

Nice-Me said, "Why are you resenting _______(person's name) ?  Why don't you instead realize that _________ (person's behavior that is innocent though idiosyncratic) is just a result or sign that you are BLESSED with this person in your life, whom YOU LOVE?"

Well, that little talk seemed to shame Grouchy-Self to disappear into the darkness, for a nap perhaps.  With her out of the way, Nice-Me said a prayer, "Thank you God for _______ ," and peace and love and thanksgiving nestled in our home to fellowship for the evening.    

"Lord, help me remember that tactic with Grouchy-Self in the future. Thank you for sweet ____________ in my life.  Help me to be kind and loving.  In YOU is my HOPE."

(John 3:3) And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) Rejoice always, pray with out ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Thank you for visiting my Grandma Mary Martha blog.  Have a blessed day, and the Lord be with you, in battling the Grouchy-Self.πŸ’–

Friday, May 19, 2017

Party to Go...

We took the party with us, to celebrate with our loved one.  

  Before we packed, we cooked, and prepared Chili Frito Pie fixings (because that is his favorite), two layers of  cake, two icings, and party decorations.  Haha, like the dalmation sheet that covers the back of my car, in honor of my his 21st birthday?

See the crystal glass plate!  It is treasured, and from my grandmother, but you can buy similar ones at second hand junk or thrift stores if you go on the prowl.  (I shall do a blog about that!)

We started with a devil's food chocolate cake mix.  Straight from the box, just mix in 2 eggs, 1 cup sour cream, 1 cup oil, 1/2 cup milk, 1 tsp. vanilla, and if you like chocolate as much as my  son and daughter do, then also add 1 and 1/2  cups mini-chocolate chips.  I like to put parchment paper on the bottom of my pans, and I like to make this cake in two rounds and layer. Bake 350* until pulled away from the edges and done in middle.

For the icing, I mixed, with a fork, and by hand, about 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of powdered sugar, with a package of cream cheese, or rather this kind, which I can't pronounce.  It is lower in fat, and tastes great I think!

OK, after I used a fork, then I used a spatula:

Next, I poured heavy cream in my nutri-bullet mixer and added powdered sugar.  Doesn't need much sugar:

Blender turns it in to WONDERFUL whipped cream:

I mixed those two together and this was the in between layer of our 2 cake rounds, and also, what I used to pipe on the edges.  Then SOME of us used reserve on our individual pieces. (Certainly not me, slurp, licks lips.)

Here I didn't take enough pictures.  I was probably washing dishes.  My daughter took almost an entire package of oreo cookies, and smashed and crushed them to crumbs with the bottom of a glass, and then she mixed the crumbs, all the sticky messy delicious crumbs, into almost an entire large container of Cool Whip.  Let me tell you about this part of the icing.  At first it looks too white, like Cool Whip with crumbs scattered, but let it set over night, and spread it later, like the next day, and it is stiffer, and the dark chocolate color from the oreos is more evenly incorporated.  Honestly, I don't like this cake as much as my kiddos do.  I make it for them.  My son says this oreo icing is his favorite part of the cake.  My daughter has commented that she likes the cream cheese icing and she delights in the added texture of the chocolate chips.  I think we all agree that we enjoy this cake even more after it has spent the night in the refrigerator.

  In the picture are the reserve cookies which my son ended up placing on the cake for MORE decoration, because HE LOVES OREOS.  

We assembled the cake when we got to our destination 4 hours away.  The chili was packed on ice bottles.  Just in case you don't know what Frito Pie is............ You put chili with corn chips and add  your choice of other yummies.  Popular toppings are, cheese, sour cream, chopped veggies like onion and bell peppers.  It's an absolute favorite of my son's and that is why we did it! (and we like it too)

His wife made a lovely blueberry yogurt bundt cake, with real lemon juice and powdered sugar glaze.  We topped our pieces with fresh whipped cream and it was MY FAVORITE.  I had it for breakfast with my coffee the next morning.  Shame on me.

Decorations don't have to cost money, to add flare!  We used my grand-daughter's blocks to form the 21.  No one loved legos more than my son when he was a kid, so I thought it was a fitting tribute to him.  Heck, if he had time now, he'd probably play with them.

$1 table cloth, and see the gift with the green 21 on it?  It is wrapped in scraps of a previously used table cloth.  Don't waste the plastic cloths.  Use them over and over in such ways 😊

It is always a treat to spend time with family, and speaking personally, it takes commitment and choice to make it happen, and mercy and grace, and perhaps ability to overlook and forgive, in order for these relationships to endure and remain a priority.  I urge all women to strive for this unity for the sake of the children.  If the children can grow up observing adults who are successful at managing their relationships or friendships with in the extended family unit, then they are more likely to learn how.... and to continue in that functional cycle.

To me, being the mature woman of grace that God wants me to be, means LOVING above speaking, demonstrating rather than instruction, listening and praying to God, more than talking and worrying.  Commit all to Him. 

   1 Thessalonians 5:17-18  Pray with out ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Because I assert it, please don't assume that I am pretending that I have mastered it.  It is what I aspire to, and I seek the Holy Spirit to be in control, to grow strength and wisdom in me.  The Holy Spirit can work just as powerfully around cookies and cream cake, as around fish.πŸ˜ƒπŸ’– 

Happy baking.  Happy partying with family!  Happy praying🌟

Do Share the Flowers !!

Have you ever read Gary Chapman's book, The Five Love Languages ?  You should read it unless you have NO interest in reading to learn how to receive blessings from others and be a blessing to others!!  
Well Dr. Chapman writes in wonderful easy to read detail about the different ways that people may express their love.  It is true that some people appreciate, and use words, more than others.  I am one of those people, but that is besides the point.  I have never met anyone who had a real aversion to nice things being said to them.  Overwhelmingly, most of the time, everyone ,toddlers, teens, in-betweens, and old folks, all enjoy hearing nice thoughts about themselves.  As a matter of fact, words can be a powerful influence to inspire hope, set a mind at ease, share encouragement, boost self esteem or confidence.

Please share the roses, or flowers, or daisies or any positive thought. Don't hold the flowers to be your own bouquet.  Share!  Venture out of your comfort zone if it's not your norm.  Push your self to give or share one positive comment a day (past your norm) to each person in your day!!  Try to keep it up for a few weeks, and see if it doesn't create a good habit in you.  I think if you give lots of flowers away, your garden will grow. πŸ’œ

Share more flowers, with significant others, and accidental meetings.  We would love to hear (read) about happy stories that follow!

Ephesians 4:29  Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Friday, May 12, 2017

What shall I do with the leftover chicken??

We are eating again, on that chicken that I had to set my alarm for (chicken salad we ate on in the work week- blog entry "Lunches to Go").  This is how I stretched my food today:

Following no recipe, I mixed up leftover pickle juice and a couple tablespoons of cream cheese, with some chicken, for a unique, refreshing tasty salad.

Mixey mixey mixey.

Olive oil and garlic bread in the oven at 425*

With a few of our favorite other foods, it was an appreciated and refreshing lunch at home while beans cook and ground turkey thaws, for the chili I am preparing for my son.  (21st birthday party to go, post coming!)

The last of my middle of the night, alarm batch of skinless, baked chicken breasts was used to make hearty soup for my daughter and I to eat on today, and next week.  I will put some in the freezer.....
Why is hubby not included in our eating plans, daily?  Recently he is away working!  We are grateful for the Lord's provision.

I just let the chicken, broth, water, and pasta tomato sauce boil.  Then I added pasta, and lastly leftover frozen peas, because my family likes green peas.

It's pretty yummy.  We are eating some now.

That frozen bag of skinless chicken breasts cost about $9. I have only used about half of it so far, and we have had chicken salad with apples and cranberries, and then chicken salad with cream cheese and pickle juice.  Not pictured, I mixed some of the chicken with a cheap boxed Spanish rice (dehydrated) convenience food, and then the soup pictured above.  Good thing stretching my groceries gives me a thrill, since I am going part time in employment and my paycheck will take a cut!  When my husband is home he's like, "Argh !  I want BEEF.  I want STEAK!"  Not really, but some version of that....... My daughter and I are easier to please.  Every wife has to find her balance.  Keeping the people in your family happy and functional is a goal, though not always in your control.  Prayer is our life line in all circumstances.

Happy cooking for your families girls!  Don't forget to count your blessings and dare to be adventurous and creative with what you have πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™  If you stumble upon a creative leftovers success, I would enjoy reading about it in the comments.

Crafts: Gifts for my Grand-daughter:

Look what her auntie (my daughter) made for our sunshine.

It's a pull toy train.  Made primarily with boxes, duct craft tape, yarn, construction paper, the auntie took an entire day to complete this special gift.  It is among the items that waits at our house, for our sunshine to use.  It makes us happy to see her busy and happy!

Also, this little t-shirt bag is hers to fill and tote at her will.  This is how we made it, from beginning to end:

Step 1) Fold t-shirt in half and trim as shown.  You don't have to trim around the neck-line, but I like to.  I also like to curve trim the bottom.

Step 2) Cut the fringe which will be tied together for the bottom seam:

Step 3) Open up the shirt how you want it to be with inside out.  I want the words and design to be inside and not outside on the finished product, and I want the fringe seam to be inside rather than out, so I tied it with the design showing.  This way when I turn the fringe seam to the inside, the design will not be visible on the outside.

  Step 4) Tie matching ends together with square knot, starting on one end and working carefully to the other end.

Remember, I will turn it fringe and black print inward.

And lastly there is it is ready for our sunshine to tote her stuff.  I can hardly wait!

Now this cool little gift, is serving its second child.  It was made by my niece for my daughter (modeling above).  Now my grand-
baby enjoys it.  Very simple and worthwhile crafty that is easy for a kid to do with supervision.... Just visit the fabric store and for probably 5 to 10 bucks, you can have a panel to make your own fun fabric book:

It lives in this dish-tub book holder, with the other kid books including the personalized photo album (in front) made especially for her.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Healthy Lunches and Snacks to Go

For a couple reasons, my daughter and I take our lunch each day.  Our money savings is significant, and this is how easy it is.
Veggies, with dressing and sunflower seeds for dipping.  Carrots, celery, green onion, yellow peppers for me.  A few apple slices for dessert.

Daughter had carrots, apples, cheese sticks, sunflower seeds and ranch dressing.

Other variations include boiled egg, (bottom) and cream cheese roll, honey roasted peanuts, with apple slices.

I really enjoyed my roast beef roll with green onion and ranch dressing:
  Peanut butter and apple slices for healthy snack stash:

Carrots, apple, strawberries, plus wraps.  My wrap on the left was small amount of cream cheese, and chopped up boiled egg and green onion.  Daughter's on right was cream cheese and turkey slices, and bit of lettuce.

Yummy!  On this day, we had chicken salad:
Daughter had honey roasted peanuts (mostly 'cause we ran out of bread and crackers) and an orange.  I had the lettuce. 

Let me tell you about the chicken.  It was from the big bag of frozen skinless chicken breast and I neglected to put it out to thaw in good time, so I had to ..... put it in the oven at my bedtime!!  ...set my alarm to get it out of oven after a full hour of 350* in covered pan with chicken not quite submersed in water after  being doused with olive oil and sprinkled with poultry seasoning.  After I got them out of oven, I had to leave them there for hour and half to cool and then put it in fridge.  In the morning I just cubed 2 breasts and added 2 cored, chopped apples, two spoons pickle relish, about 2 tablespoons mayo, and garnished with dried cranberries.  Someday I will share more about how I eat on a main course for 2 to 4 days... with variations made.
Next day:

On left is mine, with Ranch on bottom of container under lettuce.  Chicken salad on the side, and sprinkled with cranberries.  It mixed up well and tasted great at lunch.  Daughter had apple slices, peanut butter, strawberries, and left over pancake from breakfast that was made with left over yogurt, milk from a glass, egg, flour, baking powder, almond meal and ground flaxseed.  Someday I will share more about that!  Sooner rather than later if requested.  We are just pretty thrilled that the weekend is here.
this day:

If you have never tried peanut butter and banana, you need to!!  You can mash the banana with the peanut-butter if you want to, but above, I just sliced it and arranged it.  On my oatnut bread, it was AWESOMEπŸ˜„

another week:
Mmmm.... tomato basil "wraps" with thin smearing of mayo, then nice layer of spinach and greens, and turkey deli meat.
 Pickle relish on my daughter's side, to thrill her, and two chopped green onions on my side.

A few strawberries in her lunch!  I have learned to be careful to pat dry, produce that has been washed or is moist, and to pack apple slices with skin side (less juice) toward the wrap, so that it doesn't get soggy.
I hope you are inspired to try inexpensive healthy ways to pack lunch and snacks to go!

a favorite post !

Marvelous Moments in His Word; Quietness and Confidence

Isaiah 30:15 quietness and confidence shall be your strength... James 4:8 Draw nigh to God,  and he will draw nigh to you.  cleans...