Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Watch Where You're Going

Watch Where You're Going
Bev Smith
June 30, 2010

Tim had changed the oil in our van and happened to leave the containers of oil that he had drained out of the van sitting in the middle of the garage floor. One of our kids had driven to work and upon finishing the shift that they were scheduled to work, drove home. It was an exciting time for them. This happened to be day 2 on a new job, a new job that meant some income and independence. It was a good day!

What this child of ours didn't realize was that the oil that had been drained from the van remained in the middle of the garage floor neatly in containers. The young driver made it home safely from work and pulled into the garage to park the car, pulling forward slowly, carefully maneuvering the car to be clear of the garage wall and anything that was stored in the garage. What the teen didn't see was the oil and drove squarely over one of the plastic gallon jugs, exploding the container and sending oil all over the garage. Oil went everywhere - all over the extra freezer that we have stored in our garage, all over the steps, all over the van that was parked in the garage, all over the wall, all over the garage floor! There was nasty, brownish-black, slick, slimy motor oil everywhere! It was an awful mess! The clean-up was time consuming and tedious.  It took far longer to clean the mess up than it did to make it.

Is there a spiritual application, you ask? As a matter of fact, there are three that I've come up with and probably many more that you can come up with.

We have to watch where we're going. We must always keep our eyes on the goal. If we don't watch where we are going, our lives can become a spiritual mess.

Don't be a stumbling block to others. We must live our life in such a way that we would never be the reason or the source of someone doing wrong. Had the oil been put away, the mess never would have happened.

We can be careless and make wrong spiritual decisions in a matter of a split second. It doesn't take long at all but those who love us and care about us can suffer for a very long time as a result of our decisions...even a lifetime. We must NEVER believe that our actions affect only us.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Turkey/Pineapple/Swiss Cheese Sandwich

Looking for an easy, somewhat different sandwich to go with a bowl of soup? Well, I've got one for you. It's kind of a spin off of the basic grilled cheese but it's a lot better! Try it. You'll like it!
sliced turkey breast
sliced swiss cheese
pineapple slices
sliced french bread
onion and chives flavored cream cheese
spread butter

1. Butter one side of two slices of bread.
2. On the opposite side of the 2 slices of bread, spread a layer of cream cheese
3. Assemble in this order: 1 slice of bread (buttered side down), 2 slices of turkey breast, 1 slice of pineapple, 1 slice of swiss cheese, 1 slice of bread (buttered side up).
4. Place on griddle and cook until bread is browned. Flip and cook until 2nd slice of bread is browned.
5. Serve with soup. (We like it with tomato soup.)  Enjoy!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Learning How to Shine From the Young and Old

I've been thinking about young folks and old folks lately.  We have several young folks at the Kelly Spring Rd. congregation where I worship in North Alabama - good young folks.  Kids that are trying their best, I think, to do right and to encourage each other to do right. I've had the privilege of knowing a lot of these kids for most of their lives. They're the kind of kids that you just enjoy being around. When one of them gets up for the first time to give a talk, or lead a song, lead a prayer, wait on the Lord's table, or teach a Bible class, I'm confident that God, in His heavenly place, is smiling. I know I am.

Over the years, I've sat in the audience as my boys led the congregation in praise to our Creator or as they led a prayer or gave a talk. I've stood from a distance while my girls prepared to teach a Bible class. As a parent, it just doesn't get any better than that.

I've been thinking that sometimes, young folks put us to shame in their zeal and desire "to do" for the Lord.  We get tired or discouraged or have other things that we allow to take our time instead of teaching that Bible class or giving that talk.  I believe that we can become spiritually sick from the "been there, done it's someone else's turn" syndrome.  While it is admirable to sometimes take a step back and give others an opportunity to develop their talents and grow, I don't understand from the scriptures that a Christian can take a vacation from the role that he should be actively engaging in as a child of God. I just don't find it.

Elderly folks as well as young people who are trying their best to serve God make me want to do better.  They bring insight and wisdom to situations that only age can bring. When I see an older woman who teaches by her example, one who comes to encourage the saints in spite of physical difficulties, one who is thrilled to be there, I'm encouraged.  When I watch elderly gentlemen read the scriptures, lead the congregation in praise to God, or lead a prayer, I'm encouraged. You know the ones I'm talking about. They're the ones whose bodies may seem somewhat frail and whose steps may be slow as they walk. It's the ones whose voices may not be as strong as they once were when they read publicly from God's word. I give thanks to God for those Christians!  They are such valuable members of God's family.

Whether we are young, old, or in between, we need to serve the Lord to the best of our ability. We need to continue to use the talents and abilities that we've been given. God doesn't expect more of us than we're able to give but He does expect us to do what we can.  If we will just do that, the light that we shine will be so bright that neither the inexperience that comes with youth nor the frailties that come with old age will be able to put it out!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Put on a Happy Face

Let me set the scene for you. The time was about 7:00 a.m. on a Monday morning and our 3 oldest children were returning to school after the Thanksgiving holidays. Their ages at that time were 13, 11 and 8. They were all 3 sitting in the back seat of our van. You see, I had become very tired of listening to them argue about where they were going to sit in the van and I finally decided that I was going to solve that issue. They were all moved to the back bench seat of the Toyota van for the remainder of the calendar year. Our youngest daughter would ride in the front seat with me and the middle bench would remain unoccupied!

On this particular morning, we were on our way to school and as I looked in my rear view mirror, I saw complete unhappiness on 3 faces. I, being somewhat concerned, asked them what the problem was. They informed me that they had been out of school for 5 days and were not at all thrilled about going back! When my urging for them to cheer up didn't work, I softly began singing, "Bright skies are gonna clear up. Put on a happy face." as we droved down the road. The further we drove, the less softly I sang as I tried to encourage the kids to smile. My attempt at cheering them up wasn't working.

As I turned into the middle school parking lot, still no luck. I did not have any happy campers riding with me that morning! So, I proceeded to roll the windows of the van down and continue singing the song. Only this time, it was just a wee bit louder, well, maybe a lot louder.  "Spread sunshine all over the place and put on a happy face!" Needless to say, my 13 year old and 11 year old were trying every way known to man to get me to stop. Everyone would be able to hear me and then when they got out of the van everyone would know that that looney woman was their mom! Nothing could be worse for a middle schooler! When I told them all they had to do was smile, they couldn't get smiles on their faces fast enough!

Oh, by the way...They also couldn't get out of the van fast enough!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Let Me In!

When our two girls who are now 20 and almost 17 were much younger, I was in our den relaxing for the evening, reading the newspaper and heard a "commotion" going on upstairs. You see, our two girls lived upstairs and our two boys lived downstairs. The master bedroom was on the main floor of the house. (We planned it that way for a reason!) The commotion was not coming from where I would have expected it - the basement where the boys were but from the upstairs. KT was banging on the bathroom door yelling, "Let me in!" She would have been about 8 or so at the time. On the other side of that bathroom door was the youngest member of the family, her younger sister, 5 year old Mikayla. For some reason, Mikayla was not being very cooperative with her big sister's wishes of letting her in the bathroom. KT continued to bang and yell, "Let me in!" After a while longer of pounding on the door, Mikayla opened the bathroom door, and in a not-so-soft voice, said to KT, "That's for all of the things you've done to me!"

What words would be used to describe us? Would the word kind fit into that list somewhere? How we treat each other does matter...even to a 5 year old.

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

Friday, June 18, 2010

Frosting Paradise

If any of you love the fluffy, white, 7 minute frosting that is normally made on top of the stove in a double boiler, let me encourage you to try this recipe out. I discovered this particular recipe this morning, made it and there just may never be any going back to the double boiler again! It's light! It's fluffy! It's creamy! It doesn't require a double boiler! And best of all, it's easy! This recipe came from an online search at I mixed some coconut into the frosting and used it to frost the coconut cake that I made earlier this morning.
Now, if there's just one cup of coffee left...

"No Cook" 7 Minute Frosting
courtesy of

3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup boiling water
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
3 unbeaten egg whites

1. Mix sugar, cream of tartar, vanilla and egg whites together in a glass mixing bowl.
2. Add boiling water.
3. Beat on high for 5-7 minutes until the mixture forms
4. Frost cooled cake.
5. Refrigerate.

To use in frosting a coconut cake, stir in 2 cups of coconut after beating the mixture for 5-7 min.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Tea Cake Man

My Dad, in his younger days, could do or fix just about anything. There was very little that he wouldn't tackle. He's reached the point in his life now when he doesn't fool with fixing things much anymore. He taking the easy road and letting others do the work. I'm sure he feels that he's put his time in but there is one thing in particular that he really enjoys doing. He loves baking tea cakes. Now, let me clarify a few things. He does not cook period. He does not bake in general. What he does is bake tea cakes. And I must say, I think he's mastered the art.

If you know my Dad very well, you've probably had some of his tea cakes. He usually takes them to any family gathering, sends them to softball and basketball games with my nieces and brother so they can hand them out to the players after the games, and gives them to folks just because. He bakes and finds a way to get them to just about anyone who has an interest in them. He even sent some to Iraq! The son of a co-worker of my sister-in-law was the recipient of that batch as he served our country in Iraq.

I believe this is an old recipe, one that he probably would have grown up on made from ingredients that people would have typically had around the house. It's easy to make but when I asked him for the recipe a couple of years ago, he said to me, "I'll give you the recipe but they won't be as good as mine." Well, I've made them a few times and they're good, really good, but I'm probably not quite there yet. Hope you enjoy them!

Dad's Tea Cakes

1 cup of sugar
1 stick of margerine, melted
2 T. vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups of self rising flour

1. Put sugar into large plastic bowl.
2. Melt margerine in a cup and pour margerine into sugar leaving a small amount in the bottom of the cup to use later.
3. Mix sugar and margerine, then add vanilla. Mix, then add egg. Mix well.
4. Gradually stir in flour until mixture gets fairly thick. When the mixture begins to "turn loose" on the sides of the bowl and balls up in the middle, you have the right amount of flour and the mixture is ready to be spooned out.
5. Spray a 10x15 baking pan with Pam.
6. Spoon out with a teaspoon into 24 equal parts. Gently pat each cookie with 2 fingers that you have dipped in the melted margerine that was left.
7. Sprinkle tops with sugar. Cook in the middle of the oven at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.
8. Let cool for 8 minutes, then insert spatula between cookies to separate them.
9. Place on a wire rack to cool. Yield: 24 teacakes.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Clear Head

One Wednesday afternoon, several years ago, Tim came home from work about 5:15 which was typical. He told me upon his arrival that he was going to go for an afternoon run (about 2 miles) before dinner and church. Our Wednesday evening church services at that time started at 7 p.m.. In a somewhat spirited way, my response to him was, "Uh-uh! I don't think so! We do not have time for you to run 2 miles, eat dinner, and get a shower before we have to leave for church. There are just too many things to do on Wednesday afternoon for you to go jogging." Tim then replied, "Well, I just wanted to clear my head for a while." After having a somewhat difficult day with 4 children at home, I replied, "A clear head? A clear head? What right do you have to a clear head? NOBODY around here has a clear head!" ha!

Note to readers - At that time in my younger adult life, it could probably be said of me that I was a little bit more animated, a little bit more high strung, a little less patient than I am now. I'm confident that I overstepped my boundaries at times with Tim out of lack of patience and general frustrations of being a mom with 4kids. That's something that I'm not please about. But Tim and I have lived to laugh about some of those past frustrations and have remained happily married for 27 years because of his patience.

Tim reminded me often that I had the most difficult job there was, that of being a mom. If you are one, you can relate. It's a difficult, 24/7 job. You never get away from it...but 99.99999999% of the time, you wouldn't change it for the world. It's just where you want to be. If you're not a mom, but are married to one, take some time to let her know how important her job is. When she's having those days that are frustrating, encourage her in her role. Trust me, she needs encouragement just as you do. Realize that you and the kids are her cheering squad and it just might be that if she doesn't get it from you, she won't get it at all. You'll be surprised what a little "propping up" can do for her overall outlook on not only today but tomorrow.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mom, do you have the recipe for....

Just got a call from KT, my daughter at The University in Tuscaloosa asking for a recipe for Chicken Tetrazzini that I have thanks to Southern Living Magazine. I told her I would post it in her honor. This one's for you, KT. Go to the recipe link above and you should be able to find it there. Good Luck!

White Barbeque Sauce

This is BBQ season and here in North Alabama, we have a vinegar based white sauce that is delicious on bbq of any kind. We love to eat it on our pulled pork sandwiches after piling some coleslaw on them. It can be purchased at some local bbq restaurants and even the local Walmart but you can make it for a fraction of the cost. Once it is mixed together, pour it into a "squirt bottle" and refrigerate.

White BBQ Sauce

2 cups mayonaise
1 1/2 T. salt
2 T. black pepper
6 T. white vinegar
6 T. lemon juice
4 T. white sugar

Mix well and refrigerate. I make mine in a blender. This will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sweet Fragrances and Sweet Memories

Spiderwort from my Mom

I've been working out in my yard quite a bit for the last couple of years. I've never thought that I had much of a green thumb but my thumb seems to be getting a little greener as I get older. Maybe it's just that I have a little bit more time now that my kids have gotten older and can spend the time necessary to fertilize, weed and water them. Whatever it is, my plants don't seem to be dying on me nearly as quickly as they used to.

I don't know a lot about shrubs and flowers and vines although I do know for certain what poison ivy looks like now. I came in contact with that little plant about a month ago at my oldest son, Nathan's, place in Auburn and had my first allergic reaction to it. That plant left a lasting impression on me and not a pleasant impression either. Contrary to the feeling that I have when I see poison ivy, many of the plants and flowers that grow in my yard conjure up thoughts and feelings about special people who have been in my life; folks like my Grandmother Sutton who had the greenest thumb I've ever seen, or my Mama. My Grandmother Sutton and my Mama worked hard in their flowers. It was truly a labor of love to them. I didn't understand as a young person how anyone could find digging in the dirt and sweating in North Alabama pleasurable. We have what I'll call "yuggy" weather here. That's yucky plus muggy. It can be 90 degrees outside but when the humidity is factored in, it feels like 105 to your body. That's "yuggy"!

My Mom
I've come to realize though that beautiful plants and flowers don't just happen. They require time, proper growing conditions, and God's hand. I think my Mama and Grandmother Sutton were just tickled when they would walk outside each morning during the spring and summer months to see what beauties God had surprised them with on that particular day!   While I do love the beauty that the flowers bring,  I've probably come to appreciate even more the fact that the beauty lies not only in the flowers as they bloom but in  the memories of the ones who gave them to me.  Those flowers bring both a sweet
fragrance to the air and sweet memories to my heart.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Gaining courage from others

A couple of months ago, I received a phone call from a young mom named Brandy over in Albertville, AL, a town about an hour and 15 min. or so from where I live in Huntsville. She had gotten my name and phone number from a mutual friend of ours and had called to asked if I would be interested in teaching one of four Ladies Bible Classes that she would be having in her home over the summer months. Would I be interested?!!! Would I be interested?!!!! I was tickeled to death that she called and asked!

That class took place this past Tuesday at Brandy's home and a group of about 15 ladies primarily from the Albertville area were there. There were kids galore that played together outside while we had the class inside. The lesson that I presented was centered around the concept of encouraging one another and based on the Bible character, Barnabas. Although I was probably there to encourage them, I walked away from that class feeling as if I had been the one who had received the encouragment. A sweet group of ladies, young and old, trying to do right, welcomed me into their presence with open arms and loving hearts, eager to listen to what I had to say. How could my courage not be strengthened?

I read a short story to the ladies that exemplified encouragement to me. I'll share that story with you.

A few years ago, at the Seattle Secial Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100 yard dash. At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win. All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry. The other 8 heard the boy cry; they slowed down and looked back. Then, they all turned around and went back...every one of them. One little girl with Down's Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, "This will make it better". Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line.

Isn't that exactly what our family in Christ should be like? Shouldn't we be linking arms and helping one another get across the finish line? God didn't put us here to go it alone. He gave us each other. Lets love each other enough to make room in our busy lives for each other. Let's love each other enough to say, " I won't leave you behind."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

So glad you dropped by!

Hey there!

My name is Beverly and I currently live in AL. I've been married to my college sweetheart for 27 years and together we have 4 biological children, 1 child through our son's marriage plus 1 child through our heart so that's 6 in all!

I graduated from The University of Alabama many years ago with a B.S. in Home Economics Education. Yes, I am a big fan of Bama football! Roll Tide! My goal at that time was to teach Home Ec but while in college, I met the love of my life, Tim, and the rest is history. We married and had our first child a couple of years later. I have been privileged to be a stay-at-home mom, since the birth of our first child, something I am extremely grateful for. I did work outside of our home before we started our family and have worked some outside of our home as our kids have gotten older. I'll fill you in on those parts of my life a little bit later.

I go by several names, Bev, Beverly, Mom, Mama Bev, Miss Bev. I guess most folks who know me would say I'm an outgoing person. I love people, young and old. I enjoy crocheting some, home decorating some, crafting some, flower gardening, animals and nature as long as it's not too hot and humid outside. (I love Alabama and have lived in Alabama for most of my life, but hate, absolutely hate the humidity here!) We have 2 cats, about 22 or so fish and about a zillion birds. Yes, pictures will definitely follow as I figure out how to post them!

I am very new to this arena. I've never blogged before but some sweet friends of mine have said to me several times that I needed to write a book on my life experiences, lessons learned, growing through mistakes, child rearing, etc. You get the picture. So this is my attempt. A lot of the posts on this home page will be found on other pages of this blog. For example, if the post is a recipe, I'll also put it on my recipe page.  I'm using the "Home Page" as kind of a hodge-podge for now.

You'll soon realize if you choose to read any of these blogs that I am not a true author nor was I an English major in college. I know enough to get by usually.  You will find errors both in grammar, punctuation and sentence structure.  Hopefully, most of the time, I will remember to use Spell Check so I won't have a story full of misspelled words. I would welcome comments but please be kind if you choose to leave any. Remember the golden rule...Matthew 7:12, "Therefore whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." In other words, if you can't say something nice, keep it to yourself.

I guess that's it for now. (That wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be!) The week has been a busy one so far and it doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime in the near future.  I'm glad you dropped by and hope you enjoy reading a little bit about the Smith clan and some of our life experiences.

Today's gonna be a good day.  Hope your day in your world is a good one also. More times than not, it's all a matter of choice.

Welcome to my world... in a nutshell.