Gran Jan Camp – 2017

The second GRAN JAN CAMP is a wrap! I went from one camper to three, so it was BIG BIG BIG! Here are my campers, my three oldest grandchildren, Madie, Jackson, and Zeke! Zeke attended the inaugural Gran Jan Camp last summer, so he was a great helper and co-director and “watch me, this is what we do” guide! He just finished 2nd grade and Madie and Jackson just completed first grade, the only prerequisite for attending, besides being my grandchild!
The theme for our camp this summer was “ENCOURAGEMENT!” Our focus verse was I Thessalonians 5:11:

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Our focus was that our WORDS MATTER! We talked about encouraging people we don’t know and people we do know, most especially our families. We started this year with a Scavenger Hunt! I had the best time putting this together. I had 15 clues that ended up at the firepit by our pond. I worked on the clues and enjoyed putting them out all over the place… Clue 1 started inside our home, and the next clue led to another spot, to another, to another! These are some smart grandkids, I tell you that. I had to run to keep up with them and I don’t run. 🙂

So our big project was “encouragement rocks.”  Each grandchild had 4 rocks to decorate with words of spiritual encouragement, and they did amazing! Just look at these rocks! We encouraged folks we don’t know with words of hope and healing. We then went on a field trip to place the rocks in three different stores. We prayed that just the right person who needed to be encouraged that day would find the rock meant for them. We had a blast and talked about the joy that was ours to be an encourager to someone else.

We made snack necklaces to enjoy from all our hard rock placement that morning! 🙂 Zoom in close to see the “snack necklaces.”  They used pretzels, cheerios, fruit loops cereal, and gummies and enjoyed munching on these. Zeke had almost eaten his before I could take the picture!

When you live in the county without a swimming pool and it is over 90 degrees you buy a “slip and slide!”  They had a blast on this thing during the early evening and Pop and I enjoyed watching them.  After they had slipped and slid they wanted to play in the pond, and off they went. Pop even got in on the fun in the pond with them and then our lab, Copper jumped in with them too.

One of my favorite things we do is bury a time capsule on the last day of Gran Jan Camp. Jackson and Emery wrote letters to “their 18-year-old selves.” Yes they did! We will unearth these in 10 years and I pray we can all be together to do so. “Lord willing,” as my Granny Maloy always said about everything.

Madie and Jackson each added a “fidget spinner” to their time capsules.  It’s a recent new toy that is all the rage now. You basically just hold it, twirl it, and watch it spin. Jackson wondered if in 10 years if fidget spinners would even still be around. Stay tuned!

The time capsules were placed in the ground right outside Pop’s shop in Gran Jan’s zinnia garden.  Zeke’s was already there from last year and so we know exactly where they will be. I printed some pictures from the week to place inside, and I also wrote a letter to Madie and one to Jackson to place inside the time capsules too. Pop wrapped them up tight with plastic and sealed them well.

The joy of Gran Jan Camp is all about memories and family legacy. I loved having uninterrupted time with my grandchildren these three days.  Time to just be with them, praying and playing together. What a joy to be able to share in the lives of these precious little people.  I love them so much it hurts. You grandmothers out there know exactly what I mean by that.

I’m already getting a folder of ideas for next year’s camp and will enjoy this season while it lasts.  To everything there is a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1), and I know my campers will eventually outgrow Gran Jan Camp, but prayerfully they will never outgrow the memories.

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Our 40th Wedding Anniversary

40 Years!!!!

June 11, 1977
14,600 Days
350,400 Hours

2,080+ Choir Rehearsals
2 Sons
2 Daughters-in-Love
5 Marvelous Grandchildren
 

All because two people fell in love…this family!!! 

Here we are, on our way, married just a “minute!”
Married now for 21,024,000 minutes!

Thank you Gary for leading and loving well.

There has been much JOY in the Journey and I look forward to

walking with you as we walk out this life together!
This rolling pin is also 40 years old…
It’s rolled out lots of biscuits, pie dough and dumplings…

I love the way the flour fills in the etching of our names and wedding date.
I pray one of my grandchildren will cherish this old rolling pin as much as I have.

I’ve loved my life as your wife, Gary. I’m thankful for the man, minister, husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, and friend you are. God blessed me with you and I’m thankful for every minute (over 21 million of them). The hard times and the good times have blended to make us stronger together. You are a gift straight from the Hand of God to me and I’ll love you forever. After all, we’ve got 40 years invested in each other…let’s keep on going!

Jan

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2017 Scripture Memory Team – June

June, how I love June! This month brings so much gardening JOY for me in my zone 8 garden. The daylilies and hydrangeas are at peak and so are the blueberries. The tomatoes are ripening and so are the peas and peppers.

June also brings my wedding anniversary and this year was extra special because in ended in a ZERO! Seems as if the celebrations and milestones that end in FIVE or ZERO are extra special, although we know they really are not!  Every celebration in life is special because life and family are gifts.  JUNE 11th WAS OUR 40TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!

I am posting about that next, but wanted to share my two June memory verses here. The theme is God’s tender CARE and COMFORT of us. I read the Isaiah 46:4 verse recently during a Bible study and it immediately resonated with me. Something about being married 40 YEARS…you ponder about how long that really is – 14,600 days plus at least 10 more for leap years! This verse has ministered to my soul. I’ve shared it several times with friends. We may change (and you’ll see that in the pictures in my next post…) but GOD IS THE SAME always and until my old age he will bear me up when I turn gray (it’s happening). He has made me and He will carry me. PRAISE HIS NAME!

Psalm 38:9 is especially tender too. He understands, he knows, he cares. My heart’s desire, my groaning. They are not hidden from Him. Sometimes I don’t even know myself, do you get that too? But He knows…and His Spirit interprets and intercedes on my behalf.  I know one thing, I want to make it to the 50th and 60th anniversaries with my sweet man!

Celebrating the JOYS of JUNE!

 

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2017 Scripture Memory Team – May

May is here and has been delightful in many ways. The weather today is so nice. Right now it’s a beautiful 77 degrees with a nice breeze blowing. My favorite kind of gardening weather.  Two of my wonderful grandchildren have May birthdays and were born exactly two weeks apart back in 2010, Madie on May 10 and Jackson on May 24. They both just finished first grade and are Gran Jan’s JOY! The time is flying by.

Another fun event in May was our annual Worship Ministry Picnic for our choir, orchestra and technical team workers. We hosted it at the Morton Farm the first Saturday of May and it was a lot of fun. The families enjoyed having the room to roam and see the cows and chickens, and fish in the pond. Grilled hamburgers and hotdogs with all the trimmings filled the menu.  Everyone pitched in and helped serve one another in love. The fellowship was sweet. That brings me to my May 1st memory verse. It’s quick, it’s simple, and it’s necessary! Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. Offering hospitality is a way to show love. Doing it without grumbling is icing on that cake you may serve! We had over 150 folks and we enjoyed each one.  I pray I will always be kind and hospitable…without grumbling.


This next verse jumped out at me during a recent sermon by my Pastor, Jim Perdue. I love the Psalms and when he announced his text I was eager to turn there in my Bible. The Lord IS righteous and he LOVES righteous deeds. The best part is He gives us the righteousness through His son Jesus to do those deeds. We can’t be righteous in our own strength.  He will take care of us with His fellowship, protection and with the favor of a loving father. One day we will be in His presence and enjoy those blessings for eternity. But aren’t you thrilled to know those blessings now? I need Him every hour of every day.

It seems as though our society is getting darker and darker, people getting more and more evil. I believe it is because of quick news and media and the way we hear about everything so quickly that makes it seem this way.  This verse helps me press in to my heart the truth that God is in control. He sees and He knows every single deed being done, whether righteous or unrighteous.  I don’t need to keep any score pads in my purse (or in my mind and heart either). He’s got it all in His Mighty Hands. Let’s remember that He will take care of us as we trust in Him. And one glorious day, we will BEHOLD HIS FACE! Wrap your mind around that truth for a moment.

Gran Jan

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Biscuits & Sausage Gravy

A week ago my friend and ministry partner Jan Hamil and I hosted the Spring Session of our Tasting Grace Mentoring Ministry. We went Southern all the way with homemade biscuits and delicious sausage gravy.  Tasting Grace is a “mentoring-in-the-kitchen” ministry of encouragement. It is our passion, and we have loved every single moment we’ve spent in the kitchen with the women who attend. All ages come and that is part of the joy!

This past Saturday I was blessed to serve by teaching two sessions on Tasting Grace at the 2017 Georgia Baptist Women’s Spring Event.  I had the absolute best time! My husband Gary came and supported me and ran the book table. He was so much help and we sold 70 Tasting Grace books. I pray each and every attendee caught the JOY of Tasting Grace and will use it as a ministry outreach in her church and community.

I wanted to share the recipes here with anyone who happens to stop by.  As I shared with the girls last week, this is a moderation meal. Not something you eat often, but definitely enjoy on those occasions you prepare this delightful Southern combo.

BUTTERMILK BISCUITS – Doubles easily!
(This makes about 10-12 medium sized biscuits.)
2 1/2 cups of White Lily self-rising flour
1/2 cup of Crisco shortening
1 cup of buttermilk

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease a cast iron skillet or baking sheet pan w/Crisco.
  3. Mix flour and shortening together until the mixture resembles crumbs. You may use a fork or pastry tool, but I just use my hands and squish the flour and Crisco together.
  4. Next, pour in buttermilk and mix well. (I hold the bowl with my left hand and use my right hand to mix everything together – but you can use a large fork to mix if you prefer.)
  5. Now wash and dry your hands well and then “dust” your hands with more flour.
  6. Pinch off some dough, enough to fit in your palm  (you’ll get the size down as you make more and more biscuits) and roll it by cupping your hands with your palms sufficiently floured. Don’t handle the dough too much – my Grandmother always told me the biscuits would be tough if you overwork the dough. Just a quick knead is all you need! You will get better each time you make biscuits.
  7. Place the biscuits on the pan so they touch each other – this makes them softer.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter and serve.

The Fine Art of Biscuit-Making ~ “Roll & Cut Out” Biscuits OR “Pinching & Patting

  • Accurately measure ingredients. Flour is measured by the “SPOON & LEVEL” method – spooning into a measuring cup and leveling off with a straight edge (like a butter knife). Sifting is not needed.
  • Shortening should be packed into a measuring cup so there are no air pockets. Then it is “cut” into the flour mixture using a pastry blender, two knives or a fork. The result should be pieces the size of coarse crumbs.
  • Mixing the liquid ingredients into the dry ones can be done effectively with a fork. First, make a well in the center of the flour. Using a fork to gently blend in the milk or buttermilk lessens the chance of over-mixing.
  • Turn dough onto a lightly floured pastry cloth or other surface. Knead gently only until dough holds together and can be rolled out – about 10 to 12 strokes or less. Do not add too much additional flour when kneading and rolling.
  • Roll dough to about 1/2-inch thickness to ensure a biscuit with good height. Cut biscuits with a sharp-edged cutter. Cut straight down without twisting cutter to ensure tall, straight biscuits.
  • Place on a baking sheet 1-inch apart for crusty sides or almost touching for soft sides.

SAUSAGE GRAVY – doubles easily!
(Serves 4-6)
1 lb. Jimmy Dean pork sausage (mild, hot, sage flavored or a mixture)
[I like to mix the mild and sage and double the recipe by using a pound of each)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3-4 cups milk (whole or 2% milk)
Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Crumble sausage and brown the sausage over medium-high heat until no longer pink.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  3. Sprinkle on half the flour and stir so that the sausage soaks it all up, then add more little by little. Stir it around and cook it for another minute or so.
  4. Pour in the milk, stirring constantly.
  5. Continue to cook the gravy, stirring frequently, until it thickens. (This may take a good 5-7 minutes.)
  6. Sprinkle in the salt and pepper and continue cooking until very thick and luscious!
  7. If it gets too thick too soon, just splash in another 1/2 cup of milk or more if needed. Taste and season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper.

Spoon the sausage gravy over warm biscuits and serve immediately!

My friend, you will love serving your family this comfort food.  I plan to make this for breakfast when my family is together for our beach vacation this summer. I know my boys will love it and I hope to teach it to my daughters-in-law.  I’ve taught them both how to make biscuits, sausage gravy is next!

Happy May Day to all,

Gran Jan

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2017 Scripture Memory Team – April

It’s the last day of April and this month brought joy to my gardening heart. I planted flowers and fixed up some containers on the front porch for ferns and red geraniums. In my raised bed vegetable garden, I’ve planted tomatoes, three kinds of peppers, sweet onions, butter peas and pink-eye peas. Everything is up and growing. In fact, we just got home from church a little while ago and I couldn’t wait to get in the garden to check out how everything was doing. I let my hens out of the chicken house to free-range for a bit and just enjoyed the last few hours of this last day of April. The two verses I am working to memorize from April are in the New Testament, I John 2:6 and Ephesians 4:32, both of them have to do with our walk, our behavior.

Our beliefs dictate our behavior. We behave what we believe. If we claim His Name I just believe folks ought to see that in our daily lives. Do I mess up? Of course, every day. But my aim is still to walk in the manner Jesus walked. Shining His light, listening for His voice throughout the day and walking in His Spirit. I can do that by praying, reading His Word, and by just being kind – as stated in Ephesians 4:32. I want to be known as a kind woman, and for the law of kindness to be on my tongue (Proverbs 31:26).

I love the tenderhearted word in this verse. To stay tenderhearted we have to forgive, be kind, forgive, love people, forgive. FORGIVE. As we’ve been forgiven. If you’re hurting due to unkind behavior from someone, as hard as it is to do – pray for them and ask God to help you forgive them. The more you pray for them the more tenderhearted your heart will become. And tenderhearted folks are a joy to be around.

Signing off now, expecting some April showers tonight…my next post will be my May flowers.

Blessings,

Gran Jan

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2017 Scripture Memory Team – March

March is a month for change. Change in the weather, change in time (daylight savings), and even change of season. The Vernal Equinox – when both day and night are each 12 hours long.  The old English proverb “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb” is surely holding true here in Georgia with such varied temperatures! March also brought the “time change.” Springing forward is challenging to us non-morning folks. However the trade-off is worth everything because dusk, eventide, twilight…is my favorite time of day, and I love more light in the evenings.

My verses for March brought some change too. A sense of challenge to recognize some of His amazing attributes. Loving and obeying Him more, and recognizing His faithfulness in everything.

March 1: My Pastor, Dr. Jim Perdue is preaching through 1 John and I have really been encouraged and strengthened through these sermons. This verse is one of those “jump off the pages of the Bible” verses. I have been taught from childhood to obey His commandments. Love and obedience walk together. I always wanted to please my parents and be obedient. I’m a rule follower, truly. The joy in this verse is the second half ~ His commandments are not burdensome. You know how your heart rests and is at peace when you are obedient. You don’t carry the burdens of guilt and fret over your poor choices.  Isn’t it good news to know that His commandments are not burdensome? Thank you Jesus for being our burden-bearer and commandment-giver.

March 15: Girl, you better get your hopes up! I remember hearing that quote at a conference from Thelma Wells. She rolled it off her tongue like this…Girrrrrrrrrrrlll, you bettah git yo hopes up. That challenge to remain hopeful has stayed with me for years. We must always have hope and our hope must be in Christ. Not a wavering hope, but steadfast hope. And why? Because He who promised is faithful. The older I get the more I see His faithful ways. It’s because I have more days to look back on and see His faithfulness in my life. I’m confident in my confession of unwavering hope. Not because I’m strong, but because Jesus is, and He doesn’t break His promises.
I hope you are resting in the truth of these two verses…whether you’ve ever read them or not.

  • His commandments are not burdensome.
  • He who promised is faithful.

The Solid Rock is one of my favorite hymns.  I love this first verse especially:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

Believe, hope, obey, and celebrate!


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