life, Stories from the Island

Working Like a Maniac


Dear Blogging Buddies,

In my very first post I mentioned that I would be taking 20 women to a big hotel on a small island for a weekend of teaching and refreshment.

The event is now one week away.

Needless to say, I will be working like a maniac between now and then and I expect to have no time for blogging.  But don’t despair, I will catch up with you as soon as I return.

Our group of fifty-something-year-old hens and twenty-something-year-old chicks will be stepping onto the Island Friday afternoon and departing Monday morning.  About half of my guests are women who have left a life of drugs and prostitution. They have been clean for at least three years.  They need to know some stuff.

Here’s a bit of what I will tell them:

  • Contrary to popular belief, man was not created first. God created men and women at the same time, with a joint purpose.   In this first session I am going to tell them a lot of things that will bring dignity to their lives.  I want to know how the truth resonates with them.  I want to know how they saw themselves growing up.  I want to know whether the Truth would have made any difference in their lives.  A woman who completed my Bible study a few years ago said it would have made a difference in her life.  A life that went like this:

I was molested as a child between the ages of eight and twelve years old, so at an early age I learned to equate love with men using my body for their sexual needs.  Add to that the fact that that I grew up in a world where the women were judged by the men in their life, by how many boyfriends they had and how sexually desirable men found them…

When I was about nine my adoptive mom and her new husband started going to church at a very fundamentalist church and were saved.  My mother would lock herself in her room for hours communing with God and leaving me alone with my step dad.   Most of the time, she wouldn’t even go to church.  My step dad would take me without her.  It was on the way to church or coming back that he would pull over and pull me onto his lap and “you know”….

I have allowed myself to be used and abused for as long as I can remember…

…My third son’s dad was charming and charismatic. The first time he hit me he actually convinced me that I smacked my own self upside the head with the phone receiver.

He was a child molesting meth addict who enjoyed beating the snot out of me and then having sex with me.

I spent a year and a half living one moment at a time trying to stay alive and keep my children alive.   I didn’t know that he was molesting my oldest son. I always assumed that boys were safe from that sort of thing.  My mother always told me that boys were blessings from God.   Surely God’s blessings were safe, right? I found out what he was when it was too late.

I have been hit, bit, kicked, dragged through the house by my hair, spit on and held at knife point while he tried to decide whether he wanted to slit my throat, cut the baby I was six months pregnant with or kill himself.  He is now in prison serving a sentence of 15-35 years for child molestation.  But it cost me my 2 oldest children.  Ironically, they went to live with my biological mother when the state took them from me for failure to protect…

As she handed me her typed story she said, “My mother always told me that boys were blessings from God.  My whole life I thought only boys were blessings.  I didn’t know until now that girls are blessings, too.”

I wonder whether the women I will meet next weekend know that girls are blessings, too.

  • Next I am going to show them when and how the whole man, woman, sex thing went awry.  And, as I showed you in this post, I am going show them that Adam was booted from the garden, not Eve.  Eve’s big mistake was making man her king.  I expect we’ll be talking a lot about that.
  • Because all of the women who came out of “the life” have been raped, I am going to tell them about Tamar and Dinah.  And I am going to tell them the story of my own poor heart.
  • Sunday night I am going to listen to their stories.  I am bringing a videographer to tape them.  With their permission, I will likely share them with you.

If you are the praying sort, I would love your prayers – for all the last minute preparations, for safe travel, for God’s blessing on each woman.

Keep blogging ’til I get back.  I’ll have a lot to read and I’ll have a lot to tell.



And the nominees are…

A One Lovely Blog Award nomination is sort of like a debutant ball.  It formally introduces new and up-and-coming bloggers into proper blogging society.  To be nominated, a blog must be, well… lovely.  In order to “accept” the award one must follow proper etiquette:

Thank and link back to the person who nominated you for the award.

▪List the Rules and Display the One Lovely Blog Award logo to your post and/or blog.

▪Share 7 facts/things about yourself.

▪Nominate around 15 other bloggers and let them know about the award.  This is a way to introduce others to bloggers that you love.

▪Follow the blogger who nominated you.


First I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to Pixie and stickstobricks for nominating me.  I am honored and I accept.

Here are the Seven Facts about Me:

1.  When I was in my twenties my sister and I used to go to the dress department of whatever high end store we happened to be shopping in and pick out the most expensive and fabulous formal gowns we could find.  Then we would go into a fitting room, try them on and thank the academy.  I looked amazing in sequins, back when I was young and cute.

2.  The only award I ever laid in bed and dreamed of receiving was an Olympic Gold Medal.  In track.  Back when I was young and fast.

3.  I once road a tandem 381 miles through the Canadian Rockies.  It was glorious.  You can read a bit about it here.

4.  The summer before that I rode my bike through Vermont, from top to bottom.  It was a hot, 100+ degree week.  My internal thermostat had a tough time keeping up but it was fun.  My fellow bikers and I passed around a pint or two of Ben & Jerry’s at every stop.  I rode my bike a lot back then.  I often rode it 30 miles round trip to work.  I put many miles on Old Red back when I was forty and screaming fit.

5.  Now I work from home and some days I don’t get dressed until I hear the garage door opening, signaling that my hubby is home from work.  Some days I don’t even shower.  I showered and dressed today, though, since I am accepting a nomination.   Wait, I’m fibbing.  I was going to shower and dress before accepting my nomination.  I was going to get up, take a shower, get dressed and accept my nomination.  But instead I got up, got dressed and took my friends for a walk.  I will shower after I finish accepting my nomination and after I work out in some manner.  But I am going to shower today.

6.  My daughter calls me a stay at home dog mom.  One of our two dogs came to us last October with several health problems.  So after her spleen was removed in February I started to cook for them.  I cook them a healthy, organic breakfast and dinner every day.  They eat better than most people.  But it is worth it because my new little friend is now happy, healthy and energetic.  And ever so grateful.  I like to cook for people, too.  You can see some of the food I like to make here.

7.  Hmmm, what to put for perfect #7?  Let’s see… I come from a large family.  I have lots of sisters.  Lots and lots of sisters.   I cannot tell you how many, exactly, because I am blogging anonymously and I don’t want to give out too much identifying information.  You smarties might figure it out.

Thank you for not turning up the exit music during my long acceptance speech.

And now I get to spread the love … In the category of One Lovely Blog I nominate the following in no particular order:

1.  Through Open Lens

2.   Sewnolivette

3.  A New Creature In Him

4.  IChristian

5.  At My Table

6.  Away With Words


8.  Trisha Mugo

9.  A New Day: Living Life Almost Gracefully





Okay so that’s only thirteen.   Etiquette dictates that I share around fifteen.  I have to start following more blogs.  Some of the ones I would have nominated are the ones who nominated me. Some of the blogs I follow are not new so they don’t qualify.  (Some of the ones I nominated might not be so new, either, but I’m doing the best I can.)  And scrolling through my reader I noticed that others have already been nominated by someone else.  So, instead of scraping the barrel, I’ll leave it as is.  And just hope I don’t suffer nominators remorse.

Have a lovely blogging day.

family, Food, life

Let Us Eat Cake!

I had my first literary thrill when I was about nine years old.  I don’t remember the author or the book (possibly Beezus and Ramona), but I do remember this:  As I was reading the very last sentence, the author winked at me.  She delivered her last clever line with a wink and a grin.  And at that moment I knew that she hadn’t just written a story, she had written me a story.  And I loved her.

Heartburn brought another memorable literary moment.  Nora Ephron was in the middle of telling the story of her courtship, about how she got out of bed one night to whip up a little something for her hungry not-yet-husband, when…she busted out the recipe!  I was awestruck.  A recipe in the middle of a novel?   Are you allowed to do that?  It was pure, innovative genius.  Never forgot it.

That’s fascinating, but what does it have to do with cake?

I have had a certain cake on my mind ever since The Imperfect Kitchen posted the recipe exactly four weeks ago.

I love The Imperfect Kitchen.  It is a food blog but the author does not blog about food.  Instead, she pairs her recipes with generous slices of her heart and soul – kind of like in Heartburn.  Great recipes, great photos, and great stories.  I find myself going back for more.

On September 7 she posted “Lover’s Ache / Hot Chocolate, Orange & Szechuan Pepper Cake”.  The minute I read the title I knew I would be making it.  But I had to wait.  Wait. Wait until I had time to drive to the spice store for Szechuan pepper, wait until all the members of my family were going to be home for dinner.  “Just save me some and I’ll have it later,” they would say.  No, no, no, no, no!  You have to eat it while it is fresh from the oven, while the lava is still molten and flowing.

Finally, last night, I had my peppercorns and my entire family home for dinner.  After dining on a perfect pork tenderloin with roasted root vegetables, I made a threat: “No one leaves this house until we eat cake!”  I did the dishes, made the batter and filled six darling flower shaped molds and a small heart-shaped springform pan.  The batter smelled absolutely wonderful – all chocolatey and orangey and toasted sczechuan peppery.  I clapped my hands – Jimmy Fallon style – as I put them into the oven.  They were going to be good.

My plan was to delight you with an awesome photo of a perfect little molten flower cake, but in my eagerness to take the picture I popped them from their molds too soon.  I had six premature eruptions and it was embarrassing.  My husband tried to console me by assuring me that it happens to every baker at one time or another. There was nothing to do but scoop the slop into a couple of bowls, top it with ice cream and drizzle it with Raspberry/Grand Marnier sauce.  It was disastrous and divine.

And my heart was still intact.

So I sprung it from its pan, dressed it up and took its picture:


It is not the awesome flower photo I had envisioned, but life rarely is.

If you want to see the cakes looking their flowery best, head on over to The Imperfect Kitchen and tell Susanne The Reluctant Baptist sent you.



IMG_1778If I were given a vial of truth serum, I would use it like this:

Hey Greeks, thanks for the awesome horse, is there anything in it?

Wait, before you answer, will you please drink this truth serum?

You won’t?  Never mind.

Hey, thanks for the great tip, Mr. Madoff.  This isn’t a Ponzi scheme, is it?

Wait, before you answer, will you please drink this truth serum?

You won’t?  Never mind.

Mr. President, did you know about the Watergate break-in?

Wait, before you answer, will you please drink this truth serum?

You won’t?  Never mind.

Mr. President, did you have an affair with the big Lebowski?

Wait, before you answer, will you please drink this truth serum?

You won’t?  Never mind.

Mr. President, I’m just going to come out and ask:  Were you born in Kenya?

Wait, before you answer, will you please drink this truth serum?

You won’t?

Well then, did you have your college records sealed because you said you were born in Kenya to get into Harvard?

Wait, before you answer, will you please drink this truth serum?

You won’t?  Never mind.

Hey Hitler, you biggest and fattest of liars, is that really the recipe for Passover bread?

Wait, before you answer, will you please drink this truth serum?

You won’t?  Never mind.

See?  As long as I asked yes or no questions, my vial of serum would last forever, like the third wish granted by a genie.

Hey Reader, do you like this post?

Wait, before you answer, will you please drink this truth serum?

You won’t?  Never mind.