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 – 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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Grace Gifts 15 to 49 [2016 Favorites]

Just a little under three hours left in 2016. Twenty sixteen was a really good year for me, more highs than lows and for that I am thankful. Especially for the knowledge that the consistency and faithfulness of my Heavenly Father never changes. He is always with me and I rejoice in the good times and trust Him in the bad times, knowing that He is ordering my steps.

I’m going to post pictures from every month of 2016 – a list of grace gifts for sure! These pictures make me so happy – they are just full of simple joys and to this simple woman it just doesn’t get any better.

JANUARY
January began with an appearance on Wheel of Fortune, America’s Game – with my friend Jan Leary for “Girlfriend Getaways!” It was a highlight of not only 2016 – but of my life! A dream come true. Team Jan WON and I wrote a post about it here on the blog. You can search and find it posted in February 2016.
FEBRUARY
A trip to the North Georgia Mountains in February with our boys and their families was delightful. We stayed in a beautiful cabin and spent quality family time together. Plans are already made for a repeat of this blessed time!My mom and sister and I enjoyed a Paint Party together as a Ladies Night Out at our church.  Luke 1:50 “His mercy is for those who fear Him from generation to generation.”

MARCH
We celebrated my Mom’s birthday and I’m always thankful to celebrate her life! She is a gift to everyone in our family.

These are my Praise Team people! I love them. We love to sing together and we really love each other too. Most of all, we love Jesus.
Three little grandsons [Jackson, Abe, Zeke] in plaid shirts and khaki pants on Sunday morning. Little church boys. I love them!

An app on my phone to show my distance (almost 7 miles, woohoo!) and route when I ride my bike. I love riding the country roads near our home. I miss it now that the cold weather and early sunsets prevent me getting outside. Spring will be here soon!

APRIL
April marked a blessed event that has been prayed for by Pop and Gran Jan since our oldest grandson Zeke was born 8 years ago.  We witnessed our son baptize his son at Cartersville First Baptist. We are so thankful Zeke has professed faith in Jesus Christ!

We celebrated my Dad’s 82nd birthday with a big family BBQ. Here is my Dad doing what he loves best – grilling, and my three menfolk enjoying themselves and I couldn’t be prouder of them!

MAY
Our grandson Jackson graduated from Kindergarten in May and our hearts were full as we reminisced our son Jonathan’s graduation from the same Kindergarten 26 years earlier.
I spent Mother’s Day weekend with Jeremy and his family and we had a Mother-Son picture made at the church. I’m so proud of this preacher son of mine!

Two fig trees for Mother’s Day. My husband knows me well. I told him I look forward to teaching my granddaughters how to make delicious homemade fig preserves one day.
JUNE
The highlight of June was another awesome all clear cancer free report for my husband as we spent the day in Atlanta. We celebrated with lunch at Pappasitos, one of our favorite restaurants. We also celebrated 39 years of marriage on June 11th.

June is the best month for gardens here in middle Georgia. The weather is usually not yet blazing hot and my flower gardens and vegetable garden are so pretty! My grandchildren Jackson and Emery helped me plant these green beans during Spring Break. They were bountiful.
A little Father’s Day love…my husband loves his boys! And they are such good daddies too. They were raised by the best, their own Father!June was the month for the inaugural Gran Jan Camp. I had one camper this year – my oldest grandson. He had just finished first grade so he met the “requirements.” 🙂 Next year I will have 3 campers. This is Zeke during our early morning devotional time together. It was a week I shall never forget. We loved our time together.
JULY
July is the month for the Morton Family Vacation and we had a great time at Cape San Blas, Florida this year. The cousins played so hard together and that made mine and Pop’s hearts so happy! I made their matching shirts and that made my heart happy too.

My son Jonathan and his wife and children were all in a Hutto family wedding in July. It was beautiful! My daughter-in-law’s brother Jared married his beautiful bride, Deanna. Isn’t this a beautiful family? AUGUST
August brought about another awesome event for me – my first published book. I was a co-author of Tasting Grace, a book about the mentoring in the kitchen ministry that my friend Jan Hamil and I began back in 2014. This is Leah Adams, my friend and published author of several other books. The book idea was hers and I’m thankful she brought me along for the journey. It is the most fulfilling ministry for me. Thankful to my friend Beth Moore for writing the foreword for us.
SEPTEMBER
I made a “Frozen” quilt for my granddaughter Emery’s 4th birthday. It was fun to go to her party and see the JOY as she celebrated with family and friends. This is one amazing little girl!

Our Women’s Ministry and Second Baptist Church hosted the Jennifer Rothschild “Fresh Grounded Faith” Conference the weekend of September 23-24, 2016. It was life-changing for many women and our joy to serve. Nearly 2 thousand women attended.
OCTOBER
October brings the Georgia National Fair which just happens to be held not too far from our home! I braved the Ferris wheel again this year for Zeke and Madie. We had a blast!
Three of my grandkids stayed a few days with us during Fall Break and granddaughter Madie enjoyed our miniature donkeys here at the Morton Farm so much. They are named Maybelle and Moses Morton.

NOVEMBER
I love Thanksgiving so much. The simplicity of food, family, and faith – without all the trappings of other holidays appeals to me so much. This year was extra special as my parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on November 23, 2016, the day before Thanksgiving. The family gathered for a big photograph.

I enjoyed a sweet Thanksgiving school lunch with my son Jonathan and grandson Jackson at Jackson’s school the day after my birthday. I sorta think we three look alike in this picture and of course, I love that too.

I made a quilt for some sweet family friends, Laura and Hamp Jones, and they came by the house to pick it up Thanksgiving week. It was an overdue wedding gift and I hope they enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it for them.
DECEMBER
It was so sweet to see Jackson and Emery in the Children’s Christmas program at our church. Emery was “THE STAR” and Jackson portrayed Joseph. I pray the JOY of Christmas will be in their hearts as they grow older and realize just exactly what this beautiful season means.
I love this ornament…1977, our first Christmas together. This was our 40th Christmas as husband and wife. 

It was our great joy to have Keith and Krystyn Getty at our church for their “Irish Christmas” musical. Our choir sang and they sang and played. It was an amazing night of worship. Beautiful!
My five grandchildren who bring me more joy that I can adequately express!
It also brings me such joy to see my boys spending time together with their families. They got together just this week at Stone Mountain, GA for snow tubing and I know the cousins played hard.

This picture was made just a few hours ago at my mom and dad’s home next door to mine. It’s the Maloy girls. My sisters. I love them so much. we laugh easily with each other, we love our parents, and we love each others’ families. Having sisters who are also friends is a great gift I don’t take for granted.
As 2016 comes to a close and 2017 is dawning I want to just say how much I love my Lord, my family, my church, my friends, my life. God has been so good to me and it isn’t because I’m good, it’s only because He is good. All the time. I look forward to 2017 because I know Jesus Christ is already there. He goes before us and He is so faithful!

Happy New Year from the Mortons!

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Gran Jan Camp – 2016

The inaugural Gran Jan Camp was a long-awaited event for me. Before I was even a grandmother I heard Mrs. Esther Burroughs speak at a women’s retreat. She is a great mentor to many women.  She shared about her “Nana Camp,” and I decided right then I would do that one day. Well that day came last month, the week of June 20-24, 2016. I talked with a couple of other grandmas and decided the requirements for Gran Jan Camp would be completion of first grade. So this Inaugural Gran Jan Camp 2016 was one-on-one with my oldest grandson Zeke, who just finished first grade.  (The 2017 Camp will include Madie and Jackson as they are both about to enter first grade, then it will be a couple of years before Emery and Abe will join their camper cousins.)

Having this uninterrupted time with Zeke for a solid week was very special to me and to my husband Gary (Pop).  We are thankful for his parents who shared him with us for a week and for the opportunity to invest in his life without the distractions of a quick visit or a hurried schedule.  I’m going to share some pictures from our time together.

We met my son Jeremy and his family after church on Sunday afternoon June 19 (Father’s Day) in Atlanta at a family favorite restaurant, THE VARSITY, to get Zeke and bring him home with us for Camp. When I sat down next to Zeke at the table, he said, “FINALLY!” Almost as if he knew how long I had been anticipating this event myself…even before I was a grandma. We stopped for delicious peach ice cream at Lane Southern Orchards on the way home from Atlanta. We were off to a sweet and delicious beginning!Lane

CampGranJan

We enjoyed early morning coffee on the porch, a tradition Zeke and I began when he was a toddler (his coffee was mostly milk with a splash of coffee…still is).  We would have our journal and prayer time after breakfast, and then we just played and enjoyed the day.  My friend Mary Perdue told me to keep in mind that time together was the priority, not the theme or the plans.  She was exactly right.  Zeke told me right away he didn’t want it to be like school, he just wanted us to play and have fun!  So that’s what we did, and I have no regrets.

This is Zeke sitting in my chair in my quiet time place. The first day of camp was actually the Summer Solstice that included a full moon, an event that won’t be repeated in my lifetime. The longest day of the year, how much better could it get? The day with the most daylight and I got to share it with Zeke! We read from Genesis every morning about God’s creation and of course on Day 1, God said “let there be light.” The significance of all of that was not lost on me or Zeke. So we talked about His Light and the longest day of daylight. I will be honest – this was Gran Jan’s favorite time because we prayed and shared together and I was able to speak into his heart and life. We memorized Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of our God stands forever.”  I kept his journal and next year he will add to it. I will give the grandkids their journals when they graduate from Gran Jan Camp, which I hope is when they are about 30… 🙂GJCampOne afternoon we drove to an animal farm out in the country and bought a new miniature donkey for the Morton Farm, actually to keep our little girl donkey, Maybelle company.  Zeke named him Moses Morton and they took to each other so quickly. Moses seemed to recognize that Zeke was a little person too. Moses

We  enjoyed our time at this farm out in Eastman, Georgia. The farmer had every type of bird, duck, goose, chicken…and even peacocks! Have you ever heard a peacock? They are extremely LOUD and beautiful!Camp2

On Wednesday afternoon Zeke and Pop and I went to see the movie “Finding Dory.”  It was a great way to escape the heat and enjoy an outing.Camp1

After the movie we went shopping and Zeke told me he wanted some new pajamas with sharks on them. I was so hoping we could find some because we had also had some learning time at Camp about sharks, orcas, whales and big sea creatures…at the request of Zeke. I will admit I actually learned way more than he did because he already knew everything we studied. He is one smart boy! Guess what? Kohl’s had 2 sets of pajamas in Zeke’s size and they BOTH had sharks on them.  God is in the details, oh yes He is! CAMPfun

After shopping for pjs, we went to church and Zeke went to choir rehearsal with me. I enjoyed that so much. Then of course he wanted to play around in the inside playroom – it was way too hot to be outside and he was way too big since our last visit there, as shown in the above picture…he is growing up so fast.

Every evening we enjoyed rides around the farm in our trusty golf cart. I let Zeke drive and he did an excellent job. This was taken at dusk when we were way way out in the big 25-acre hayfield. I pray these memories will hold in both mine and Zeke’s heart. It was really a special week.Farm

We also enjoyed some time by the pond in the early evenings. Zeke and Pop did some fishing and we made s’mores by the firepit too. No big agendas, just quality uninterrupted time…two-way conversations with lots of listening on both sides, truly priceless. Time to actually hear the things on this little fella’s heart. He is mighty special!Camp22

Camp5

On our last day of Gran Jan Camp, Zeke wrote a letter to his “18-year-old-self” and we buried a time capsule. Pop picked out a great spot with room for the next 4 time capsules and a place we could find and remember. 🙂 Zeke put some items in the capsule and we decided we would dig it back up when he turned 18.  I read the letter Zeke wrote and one of the things he included was memorizing Isaiah 40:8.  He wrote, “I hope you still remember this…” I do too little buddy, I do too!Camp3

Pop-GJ-Z

We had a wonderful week and I’m already looking forward to the next year, and the next and the next…Lord willing as my Granny Maloy always said about anything she was planning for the future.

If you’re a grandmother, I hope you’ll consider doing something similar with your grandchildren. Make it your own, do whatever works for your family. But just do it! You will not regret the investment of time. And when it’s over you can take 2 Advil and enjoy a long nap…

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Appearance on Life Today with Beth Moore

LifeTodayBethI’ve had some wonderful opportunities in my lifetime – blessings straight from the Hand of God. This privilege I am sharing today actually happened back in October 2015. I was a guest on the Life Today show with my amazing friend Beth Moore. We taped on October 9 & 10, and then the episode aired December 21, 2015 and has also repeated a couple of times since then. I wanted to share this blessed opportunity on my blog to preserve the memory for my grandchildren. I know my grandmothers’ stories of faith and I want my grandchildren to know mine!

It came back to my heart again recently through a connection via “the Internets.” 🙂 A friend at church, Debbie Shepherd – told me she had seen a post on Instagram where a woman was talking about “seeing this lady on TV talking about having an Audience of One.” Debbie knew about the Life Today program and she shared the Instagram post with me. I checked it out and lo and behold it really was from the Life Today ministry program where I had shared my story. So the sweet connection in cyber space with Becky Strahle was another blessing and an answer to my prayers that the Lord would use this amazing opportunity He had given to me.  Becky makes these awesome cuff bracelets and graciously sent this one to me. You can find her at Farm Girl Paints

Audience of One

It all began when I received an email from Beth Moore’s assistant, Mrs. Kimberly McMahon. She said that the Life Today show on which Beth Moore regularly appeared as a guest was looking for someone to come on the show alongside Beth to help introduce a revised study entitled Fully Alive. She knew I could suggest some women that had been touched, blessed and encouraged by the Bible study ministry from Beth and Living Proof Ministries. As I pondered for a while some ladies came to my heart, so I asked for their permission to submit their names and contact information to the folks at Life Today.

Fast forward a couple of days, and I myself received a phone call from a producer at Life Today, Mr. Steve Baldwin. He interviewed me and several other women and then later that day called and actually offered ME the opportunity to fly to Dallas to appear on the program with Beth! I was a bit shocked and also very excited, all at the same time. Arrangements were made quickly and before I knew it, I was headed to the Atlanta Airport for a whirlwind trip. I pulled out of my driveway on Friday morning October 9th in the wee hours of dawn and returned home the next evening on Saturday about 9:30 PM, about 38 hours of fast-paced delight! Every detail came together with no effort. I was even off work on that Friday so there was nothing but open doors for the wonderful privilege to share my story with Beth on Life Today – of how I discovered the JOY of Living Free. Freedom through salvation in Jesus Christ!

I’ve shared my testimony of coming to know Christ here on my blog before.  Last summer, July 7, 2015 actually marked the 30th anniversary of the day He Called My Name.  So as Beth so clearly stated in our time on the Life Today program, my story wasn’t as messy as hers, but we both desperately needed His Saving Grace.  The link below, “More Than a Good Girl,” is the entire program from that wonderful day:

MORE THAN A GOOD GIRL

Here is also a promotional video that capsules the program:

I am so thankful thankful thankful for God opening these doors and I pray that He will continue to use our stories of salvation in Christ, our testimonies of saving grace – to point people to Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, the Life! Know your story, be willing to share and as the Word of God says in I Peter 3:15 says – be ready.

1 Peter 3:15
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts,
and always be ready to give a defense
to everyone who asks you
a reason for the hope that is in you,
with meekness and fear;

John 14:6
Jesus told him,
“I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one can come to the Father
except through me.

Jan-Beth

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Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe!

Cookie

Like many Southern women, I love to cook with cast iron and have a nice collection in my kitchen. I have two cherished skillets that were given to me 30 years ago by an elderly woman at our church back in Athens, Georgia. They are very old and very special to me…seasoned to perfection. I love old cast iron and that just confirms I’m Southern to my bones.

Most of the time I use my cast iron pans and skillets for cornbread and biscuits. This deep-dish cookie recipe is sweet and good and I just had to share. When my boys were growing up, we rarely had birthday cakes for them. Instead we always ordered giant chocolate chip cookies from the Cookie Store at our local mall. The boys just preferred those cookies and we did too. They were delicious!  The Cookie Store closed and I’ve tried without success to duplicate the recipe…until now!  I hope y’all enjoy this Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie as much as we did when I made it last week! [I used my stand mixer.]

No, grandson Abe had not just eaten Gran Jan’s chocolate chip skillet cookie, but the sweet chocolate smile on his face made me so happy. I will make one for him the next time he comes to visit!FullSizeRender

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • vanilla ice cream, to serve (optional but not optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and sift/whisk together, set aside.
  2. Place the softened butter and both white and brown sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix butter and sugars together on medium-high speed until they’re light and fluffy.
  3. Scrape down the paddle and the sides and bottom of the bowl, then add the egg and vanilla extract. Now mix again until the egg is fully incorporated into the butter. [Using an egg that is the same temperature as the other ingredients really speeds this process along, which is why so many baking recipes call for “room temperature eggs.”]
  4. When the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla are mixed together, you’ll have a lovely fluffy, mixture.
  5. Add the dry ingredients you set aside earlier, and turn the mixer to low speed. Mix it just until the flour disappears into the batter. Stop the mixer as soon as you get to this point so the cookie won’t be tough.
  6. Add the chocolate chips and stir them in by hand. Give the sides and bottom of the bowl a good scrape to get all that delicious dough!
  7. I rubbed a very thin layer of butter into my cast iron skillet, then scraped the cookie dough into the pan and smoothed it out to an even layer.
  8. Bake the skillet cookie at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until it is golden, and the edges have nicely browned. I always look to see if it has started to pull away from the sides like in my picture. It is better to undercook a wee bit than overcook!
  9. Let the skillet cookie cool until it’s warm to the touch, not hot. Use a knife to cut it into wedges or squares like I did with this square skillet.
  10. Serve with ice cream!

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