A Time For Everything

I’ve been reading through the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, and the first verse of Chapter 3 may be the most well known passage, “For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.”  Everything – all of life translates to seasons. From the beauty found in the four seasons of a year to the way the seasons of our lives change.  Everything.  To everything there is a season. 

Autumn may be my favorite season on the calendar, but I look forward to Winter and the joy the Christmas season brings, then there is the anticipation of a new year in just four weeks. I really love gardening in the Spring and Summer too. Each season brings its own beauty and joy. I want to savor some family memories here on Gran Jan’s Joy, so I’m going to post some pictures from our lives for the past several months…seasons and times for which I am so thankful.

Summer Family Breakfast with Four Generations at the Table!

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Zeke and Madie in the cornfield across the road from our farm.

Corn

Sweet Emery in a dress I made for her…

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A trip to the Farmers Market with the bounty of summer fruits and vegetables…

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Gran Jan’s JOY – all five of them!

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Riding backroads…Georgia Red Clay

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My oldest son and his family enjoying time at our pond…

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My youngest son and his son fishing…

Jonathan-Jackson-Fishing

Grandyounguns…there is nothing sweeter!  I love that they are all so close in age.

Lineup

Moonflowers from my summer garden…it was dark by the time the bloom unfurled.

Moonflower

Sweet peach ice cream on a hot summer evening…

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Summer storms and rain puddles for grandsons to jump!

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Homemade Fig Preserves…

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Front Porch Swings on Summer Saturday Mornings…

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My dad and my youngest grandson Abe…I love this picture so much.

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Zeke’s First Day of Kindergarten…that season came too soon!

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Sitting by the pond and the firepit my husband built for me on a cool summer evening…

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Sweetest (and best) little soccer player…Jackson Morton!

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A ride with my parents and this…the house my Dad lived in when he was 15…a true memory lane trip.

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A painting party with some sweet friends…girlfriend therapy…

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Baby quilts I made for new grandchildren born to two special friends, Pat Boutwell & Joan Falldine…

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Emery’s Minnie Mouse 2nd Birthday Party…Delightful! (I made her shirt, made me so happy!)

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My youngest son ordained as a deacon at our church…no words to describe my joy.

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1 & 2 Thessalonians Bible Study, “For not all have faith, but the LORD is faithful.”

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A trip to the beach in October with my sweetie…it was so special!

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While at the beach we attended Sunrise City Church – a highlight of the Fall Season for us.

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Meeting Eric Metaxas at Covenant Care’s fundraiser and getting my book signed…

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A text with grandgirl Miss Madie sporting a GranJan creation…day made!

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White violas in a strawberry jar…one of my Fall traditions…

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Coming home to find love notes from my husband all over the house…what a blessed woman I am!

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Fall cotton fields…I love living in the country…

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Christmas dresses for my grandgirls, made at a weekend sew-in with my BFF Lanie!

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Babysitting our youngest grandchild, little Abe, two weekends in a row this past month!

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These pictures cover lots of time from this past Summer and Fall and each one is a sweet memory for me. I’m so thankful for my family and the JOY they bring to me. I’m also thankful for this season of my life…grandmothering these young ones. I can truly say I’ve loved and learned in every season of my life and I pray that continues to hold true for me as long as God leaves me here. He is so faithful.

GRANJAN

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Happy 30th Birthday Jonathan – Your Mama Loves You!

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Happy 30th Birthday Jonathan!

October 22, 1984! A beautiful October morning in Athens, Georgia 30 years ago today when you made your entrance into the world! “I bet you’re hoping for a little girl,” folks at church would say.  I would answer back, “No, I’m hoping for a healthy child and God knows exactly what his Daddy and I need.” Yes God knew, and he blessed us with YOU – a beautiful healthy baby boy we named Jonathan.  Jonathan means “God has given, God’s gift.” Indeed. IMG_8106You were a good baby even though you had your “days and nights” mixed up for a while…I enjoyed those peaceful days taking care of you and your 3-year-old big brother Jeremy, and your sweet daddy got up with you most nights.IMG_8105Sunday, December 30, 1984 was the day we publicly dedicated you to the Lord and declared to raise you up in a Christian home. This was Central Baptist Church where your dad served as the Music & Youth Pastor.  Dr. Ben Glosson is holding  you in this picture. IMG_8104You loved music at an early age and would sit at the piano and play softly – never banging on the keys, just moving your chubby little fingers up and down the keyboard.  As you grew older many nights you would go to sleep listening to music. God put the gift of music in your heart at a very young age.IMG_8103You started walking at 9 1/2  months old. Your brother was so excited he insisted we call your daddy to come home from the church so we could all celebrate! And so we did! IMG_8102Your big brother loved you so much – and he still does! Psalm 133:1 was our brotherly verse – “Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity.” IMG_8081

IMG_8097Here are some of my favorite pictures of you…you were such an easy child to raise, with an easygoing temperament and you especially  loved your sleep! [I believe that is still true!] Many nights you would say, “I go night night,” and you’d get your blanket and go to bed…”IMG_8100IMG_8099IMG_8098Your daddy was so proud of you and this picture was taken at church one Sunday. You loved to come to “big church” and find your daddy there. Just like your kids do today…IMG_8101You were definitely a mama’s boy for a good while…and I loved every minute of that season, it was just too short!IMG_8089We moved to Houston County Georgia when you were just a little over 3 years old, so really this is home to you and your dad and I have thanked the Lord many times for the privilege to raise you and Jeremy in one community, in one church…  This is you with our Bassett Hound Beulah.  You loved that dog so much!IMG_8094You always made friends so easily and loved going to school at Second Baptist Kindergarten and Bonaire Elementary when you were young. Here you are on your first day of Kindergarten!IMG_8095IMG_8082IMG_8096Sports were a big part of your life early on and you easily won the “50 yard dash” on Field Day every year [except one…and we won’t talk about that]! You could run so FAST! Here you are with friends and neighbors Jackie and Miles Bell .  I love that Jackie is now our dentist…another joy of living in a community for a long time – lifelong friends!IMG_8092Birthday parties with the Morton family tradition of a “Giant Cookie!”  You remind me so much of your son Jackson in this photo!IMG_8093Your 13th Birthday – October 22, 1997 – officially a teenager! You were a Bonaire Middle School student and getting more handsome every year – loving life which included sports and friends and family time!IMG_8107IMG_8090Football, Basketball, Soccer, Track…you played them ALL and excelled! You were the first “Mr. Jaguar” at BMS! I loved it – because your good grades counted too! [I’m a proud mom – still am!] BMS SPortsHunting season was a good time for you and your dad and brother – love this of you three in camo!IMG_8091You started showing more interest in music and began playing guitar – and we are so proud of your musical gifts! IMG_8085High school years came with more sports! Your dad and I LOVED watching you run up and down the field like the wind…and especially when you caught a pass and scored a touchdown!IMG_8080Such a handsome young man – all dressed up in his tuxedo! Still handsome today!IMG_8083Lifelong friends with the Nash Family – this was a quail hunt with Jack, your dad, Jeremy, you, & Ben Nash. Good times – your dad always said you were a good shot..Quail HuntYou and your brother on the blue sofa – the one that y’all finally BROKE from flying down the hall, turning and landing on it in mid-air.  This was one of those rare occasions when you decided to share…[Psalm 133:1]IMG_8088High school graduation, Warner Robins High – Class of 2003! Happy times and with none other than your buddy Tal Talton! More good times to celebrate! IMG_8084I always believed that God had someone special chosen just for you…and this beautiful young woman came into your life at just the right time…Miss Erin Lee Hutto, the answer to our prayers for your life and future. IMG_8087Your wedding day came before your dad and I were ready to let you leave the nest, but what a beautiful day it was! June 7, 2008 – and we loved that you wrote a song especially for your bride and sang it to her…Erin&JonathanHere we are celebrating YOU today – your 30 years of life, but now you know the JOY of celebrating life. because on May 24, 2010 YOU became a daddy when your son was born! You have embraced that role with more passion than I ever imagined – you are a wonderful father to Jackson and Emery! We are so proud of you!JW&JHere you are at the Morton Farm teaching your son how to fish.  My boy and his boy – pure JOY!PhotoSweet Emery Caroline – your girl! We love her so much and she adores her Daddy too!EMERY-JWYour beautiful family – a wonderful wife and two awesome children, a son and a daughter – God has blessed you so much. It has been a JOY to see you grow into the man you are today.  Yes, you are a man, but you will ALWAYS and FOREVER be my baby boy. JonathanFamily-2013

IMG_8113Happy Birthday Jonathan – I LOVE YOU SO VERY MUCH!

~Mom

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Pastor Appreciation at SBCWR!

October is Pastor Appreciation Month! Second Baptist Church Warner Robins is blessed with seven awesome pastors and they are all featured in the video below! As a Pastor’s wife, I say thank you to everyone that had a part in this (Kevin Cher, Lindsey Myers and others).  

I wanted to share this video to introduce them to you! I am married to wonderful worship/executive pastor Gary Morton and he has served at Second Baptist, Warner Robins, Georgia for over 26 years.  WE LOVE OUR CHURCH! Thank you also to Pastors Jim, Mike S, Matthew, Dawson, Jimmy, Mike D, and Ben! You are a blessing to so many folks! Thank you for leading and loving us!

Love & Blessings,

Gran Jan

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The Best Yes, by Lysa TerKeurst

I’m in a new job – I started June 1, so tomorrow will be four months. It’s a great job but a hard one. I’ve been working with my current employer for 25 years, but this is a new position – working as Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent of Schools. Even the title is, well, long. It has been so hard yet at the same time so rewarding. I’m learning so many new things and although it is challenging, I’m discovering that being stretched means I’m still flexible…and that is rewarding in and of itself.

I received a gift card a couple of weeks ago from Tammy Slayton for the Lifeway Bookstore. (Tammy was the Event Coordinator for the recent Priscilla Shirer Live conference recently held at Second Baptist Church, and she is a delight!) I went to our local Lifeway store and purchased a new book with my gift card. The title appealed to me because of the busyness of my new job and all that accompanies long hours… The book is by Lysa TerKeurst entitled The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands.  Click on the title here THE BEST YES to read more about the book and order one for yourself.

This list below was featured on K-Love radio one morning last week with the author herself reading them. She is a marvelous speaker and I hope to hear her in person one day.  This book, along with what the Lord is speaking to me in my time with Him is more of the “Sacred Echo” in my heart and life.  I pray it encourages you too…I love her use of the word “seasons.”  And as I said, I’m in a very busy season of life right now.  Good, strong, blessed, healthy, and thankful – but busy.

TEN WAYS TO GRACIOUSLY SAY NO WHEN YOU FEEL PRESSURED TO SAY YES:

Personal:
1. While my heart wants to say yes, yes, yes, the reality of my time makes this a no.

2. I am honored by your request but I’m in a season of refocusing my priorities and have committed not to add anything new right now.

3. After living at an unhealthy breakneck pace for too long, I’m learning to realistically assess my capacity. Though I would love to say yes, the reality of my limitations means I must say no this time.

4. I so appreciate you asking me, but I must be brave and decline this opportunity. Saying no is hard for me but necessary in this season. Thank you for understanding.

5. I’ve promised my family not to add any new commitments to my schedule right now. Thank you for our friendship that allows me to be honest with my realities.

Professional:
6. Thank you for thinking of me. Your project sounds wonderful. However, as much as I would love to be involved, I can’t give your project the attention it deserves right now.

7. While I would love to connect about your new project, I’ve discovered this is one of those activities I must give up while trying to ____________________ (write my book, start my business, stick to my project, etc.) Saying yes would just enable my unhealthy habit of procrastination. Thank you for understanding and helping me push through to the finish line.

8. There is nothing more that I love than helping others in my field get started. Unfortunately, I get so many requests for this that I’m no longer able to meet in person. So, I’ve created this attached document with my best advice. (Create a standard PDF for instances like this so you only have to type out your advice one time.)

9. While I don’t have time for a lunch appointment, I’d love to connect for a few minutes over the phone. I can talk from 8-8:30am.

10. Thank you so much for caring enough about me to want my involvement. Unfortunately, I’m not able to participate this time. But I’m certainly cheering for your continued success.

Blessings to you on this last day of September. We are entering the sweetness of my favorite “season” on the calendar…Autumn. I hope earlier nightfall and cooler temperatures will find me reading more of this book and embracing the truths Mrs.TerKerurst so wonderfully shares.

GRANJAN

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Priscilla Shirer – Beyond Beyond!

psl - church signI still remember what I was doing that beautiful Spring morning (April 2013) when I “got the call” from Lifeway! “Hello, Jan? Would Second Baptist Church Warner Robins, Georgia, be available as a host site for a Priscilla Shirer Live Conference in 2014? ” Let me think….YES! I had been working in my garden and I was taking a little break to drive around our pond in my golf cart.  I nearly drove the cart into the pond with excitement as I called to share the news with my friend and women’s ministry team partner, Cindy Schult. I even asked her if she was sitting down! Our team had been praying for a couple of years about hosting an event and the time finally came when we decided it was time to move on…God’s timing is always perfect. What seemed a long time away from the call actually occurred last weekend (August 22-23, 2014) as 2,000 women gathered to worship together and hear the teaching of one of God’s gifted servants, Mrs. Priscilla Evans Shirer.

I wanted to give a recap here and also share what a joyous journey it was for me, Cindy Schult and Teresa Thomas, women’s ministry leaders from Second Baptist.  Our Lifeway Coordinator for the conference was Tammy Slayton, and we loved her within 3 minutes of our first meeting. (I can’t say enough about how wonderful every single aspect was for our team. Lifeway was a JOY in every way!) Cindy is a woman of  great detail and handled every detail to the fullest. Teresa was our Prayer Coordinator and she was amazing. Her weekly prayer updates were a highlight for me and many others. I’ll never forget the night we met to pray over every seat in our church! We also had two young women, Kala Raines and Lindsey Myers who helped with all things social media and Google docs.  Love those two girls!!! Many many many of our ladies served in so many ways – hospitality, food service, encouragers, bookstore, and on and on.  God knows who they are and I pray He rewards them for their faithfulness to serve.

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All the tickets were GONE several months before the event, so Lifeway asked if we could seat women in the choir! YES! This is a view from the choir loft. (Our awesome photographer was Keith Thomas, husband to our prayer coordinator Teresa.)

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We had a sweet time of fellowship with Priscilla during the break Saturday morning. She is so kind and genuine. She even expressed how at home she felt among us and she loved the diversity of the women attending the conference!  We loved on Priscilla and showed her true Southern hospitality! (That’s Cindy and me standing, and Teresa, Priscilla, and our pastor’s wife Stephanie seated.) 

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I love this picture so much! Priscilla also enjoyed the worship led by her brother Anthony Evans.  My favorite song of his was “The Mercy Tree.” His energy in leading worship was contagious – it was so awesome to hear 2000 women singing praises to Jesus!

Me and Priscilla - first arrivedHere’s me and sweet Priscilla right as the event was beginning Friday  night! She is adorable. Look at that smile!

psl - from sound boothHere’s a view from the lighting booth way up high that my friend Amy Yaughn took. I loved seeing the church “full to the brim” with women praising and praying together.

Priscilla shared “THE FIVE P’s OF BIBLE STUDY” Saturday morning.  She uses this as she studies the Word of God for herself and in her devotional time as well.  Here they are:

1. POSITION yourself to hear from God.

2. PORE over the passage and PARAPHRASE the major points.

3. PULL out the spiritual principles.

4. POSE the questions. 

5. PLAN obedience and PIN down the date. 

Here are also some “nuggets” that I wrote in my notes:

  • God does not just speak to be heard, He speaks to be obeyed.
  • God’s sovereignty allows us to be in the place where He can use us and show us His power.
  • God Margins: the space between my experience and His majesty!
  • The enemy tries to keep us from what God has for us because He knows our position in Christ.
  • Fear causes us to forget the faithfulness of God.
  • The enemy can’t form the weapon if we don’t hand it to him.
  • From Exodus 14:13-14 ~
  •      BE FEARLESS – do not engage in fear in any way
  •      BE STILL – plant your feet – stand firm
  •      BE WATCHFUL – see the salvation of the Lord all along the journey
  •      BE QUIET – train yourself not to open your mouth in complaint

There are dozens more pictures and comments on the Priscilla Shirer Live Warner Robins Facebook page!  Click on this link to see them: PSL – WARNER ROBINS

I am so thankful to the Good Lord for allowing me to be a part of this event and to serve the women who attended.  I pray still that lives,  homes, marriages, and families will be impacted for eternity as a result!  

Ephesians 3:20-21
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,
according to the power at work within us,
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations,
forever and ever. Amen.

GRANJAN

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My Story – Blessed Assurance – Jesus is Mine!

Today is the 29th anniversary of the day I became a believer in Jesus Christ (July 7, 1985). One of my sweetest memories is the day my Granny Maloy shared her story of salvation with me – so today I am re-posting from my blog archives below where I wrote “my story” five years ago on July 7, 2009. I want my grandchildren (and everyone who will) to be able to read about the day Gran Jan met Jesus. Because I love to tell this story…

Jan Morton

Please let me share the wonderful day that Heaven Came Down for me! It was 24 years ago today, on July 7, 1985. I was 27 years old…a young minister’s wife and stay-at-home-mother to two little boys who were not quite one year old, and not quite four years old, and the absolute joys of my heart. Here is my story… It was a Sunday morning and our routine was the same. As was his custom, my early-bird husband was already long gone to the church, and I was home getting myself and my two little fellas ready for church. Another “sameness” to the routine was the nagging doubt that had filled my heart for quite some time. I knew deep inside that something was just not right. My heart was heavy and unsettled. I was lacking peace…but I had lots of pride. After years of being a church member and A.G.G. (Always Good Girl), the realization that I was trusting my goodness and not His grace were ever before me. For you see – I had never seen myself as lost. To be found you must first be lost. I was a card-carrying, rule-following, obedient hypocrite. But on that hot summer day of July 7th as the Sunday morning service was nearing an end, I could take it no more! The plagues of doubt were destroying me…but the Holy Spirit of God reached down that morning and brought the deliverance I was desperate for. I quickly slipped out of the choir and made my way to the front of the church. I took the Pastor by the hand. I told him that I had been going through the motions – and that I had never truly accepted the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross as payment for my sins. I had lots of “cranial” knowledge but no “cardio” knowledge. My head was full – my heart was empty! The surprised Pastor told me to have a seat on the pew and fill out a card to “join the church!” I gently told him that was what had gotten me off track years before…and this time I wasn’t joining the church, I was joining with Jesus! I turned aside and knelt down at the altar of that precious church and for the first time in my life realized my lost soul needed a Savior – a Redeemer – not a religious experience. I remember praying and asking Jesus to forgive me and come into my heart. My heavy heart was lightened, and the pride in “what would the church members say when they discovered the Music & Youth Pastor’s wife wasn’t even a Christian?” would worry me no more! Heaven came down and glory filled my soul! There’s an old hymn of the same title by J.W. Peterson that I absolutely love. Go here Heaven Came Down to listen to the festive melody that reminds me of a carousel at the fair!

1. Oh what a wonderful, wonderful day, day I will never forget.
After I’d wandered in darkness away, Jesus my Savior I met.
O what a tender, compassionate friend, He met the need of my heart. Shadows dispelling, with joy I am telling, He made all the darkness depart.

Chorus: Heaven came down and glory filled my soul! When at the cross the Savior made me whole. My sins were washed away and my night was turned to day. Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!

2. Born of the Spirit with life from above into God’s family divine.
Justified fully thru Calvary’s love, O what a standing is mine!
And the transaction so quickly was made, when as a sinner I came.
Took of the offer, of grace He did proffer,
He saved me, O praise His dear name!

3. Now I’ve a hope that will surely endure after the passing of time.
I have a future in heaven for sure there in those mansions sublime.
And it’s because of that wonderful day, when at the cross I believed.
Riches eternal and blessings supernal, from His precious hand I received.

So on this my Spiritual Birthday, I wanted to share my joy with you. The joy of knowing Jesus and the blessed assurance that it isn’t about what I do – but about what He did! It isn’t about my works, but the wondrous exchange of His death for my life! Born on November 16…Born Again on July 7! (Pastor’s wives make such better church members when they get saved!) :)

Because He Lives,

GRANJAN

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Anniversary Week & Blackberry Cobbler Too!

It’s been a great week – Gary and I celebrated 37 years of marriage this past Wednesday on June 11th.  I’m thankful for my sweet husband…for the way he leads and loves. I had no idea as a young 19-year-old bride what a great man he was. I just knew I loved him and wanted to be his wife. God in His great plan for me unfolded a happy home that now includes two sons, two daughters-in-love, and five amazing grandchildren.  All because two young people fell in love and got married.  Here we are…about to begin our journey.  We’d only just begun…  I wish you could see Gary’s baby blue leisure suit because it matched the baby blue Pinto car.  He was also very proud of his white patent leather boots that matched his wide white belt.  And the platform wedge shoes I had on? They are back in style today!

PINTO

Today before church the discussion turned to cobblers as a group of us ladies were in the choir room.  Some of us cook the fruit, some don’t, some of us sweeten the fruit, some don’t.  All I know is last night I made a blackberry cobbler that my husband told me was the BEST I HAD EVER MADE! So I wanted to share my recipe that happens to be the way my mama and my Granny also made cobblers.  Starting with these beautiful berries right from my garden sure was wonderful!

Blackberries

BowlofBerries

I have posted my recipe for CHOCOLATE COBBLER on my blog as well as my recipe for PEACH COBBLER if you want to see those recipes.  The blackberry cobbler recipe below is identical to the peach cobbler recipe, but I didn’t take pictures while making it last night as our “Father’s Day Celebration” grew and Gran Jan had to hurry! [First it was just me and Gary and my mom and dad.  Then my younger sister Jo called and had a change of plans, so she came.  Next we heard from our son Jonathan and he and his wife and two children came, so the party of four quickly turned into a party of 9!]  It was great except for I sure missed my Cartersville Crew…

BLACKBERRY COBBLER

9 x 13 casserole dish
4 cups of fresh berries
4 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
1 stick of butter
1 cup of self-rising flour
1 cup of milk (not skim)
1 cup of sugar
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Rinse berries and put in pan on stove with water and sugar to make a simple syrup.
Bring to a boil and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Melt 1 stick of butter and pour in casserole dish.
I use a wire whisk and mix sugar and self-rising flour well, then add the milk.
Whisk sugar, flour and milk until creamy and pour over butter.
DO NOT STIR!
Now ladle the cooked berries over the batter so they are evenly placed.
DO NOT STIR!
Slide into pre-heated oven and bake until bubbly and browned (about 45 minutes).
Serve warm topped with vanilla ice cream.
This has been a great weekend that began Saturday morning with coffee on the front porch and ended this evening with sitting in the swing by the pond while Gary fished a bit off the bank. There was also blackberry cobbler making, an awesome time of worship at church, playing with grandkids, honoring my dad and husband for Father’s Day today, and even weeding the garden!  Life’s simple pleasures really are the best, so don’t forget that vanilla ice cream on the cobbler… 
GRANJAN
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