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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The Dressing Blessing ~ Thanksgiving 2016

THANKSGIVING is my favorite holiday and has been for many years now. I love Thanksgiving because it is a simple holiday that focuses on faith and family. We make time to be together around good food and make time to count blessings. This year my parents, Tom & Lois Maloy (who just celebrated SIXTY YEARS of marriage yesterday) shared stories of their courtship and early marriage. It was a good, good day.

Today I am sharing yet another favorite recipe and this one is extra special to me because it’s my dad’s recipe. He taught me how to make cornbread dressing several years ago. I loved spending that Thanksgiving morning in the kitchen with him and wrote down everything he did. Since I was given the dressing blessing, I wanted to share the recipe with you today. It’s simple, Southern, and very traditional. I don’t know to make just a little bit – but I guess you could half everything to make just one pan of dressing. We have 20-22 people at our table, so I make plenty!

Southern Cornbread Dressing (makes 2 9×13 pans)
Ingredients:
A large pan of cornbread (recipe below – you will need 8 cups of crumbled cornbread)
Four pieces of white bread (allow to dry out or lightly toast, tear into small pieces)
Two cups (1 small bag) of Pepperidge Farm Herbed Stuffing
One can of Campbell’s Herbed Cream of Chicken soup
Two medium onions, diced well
One cup of chopped celery (I like to use the small tender pieces)
One stick of butter
Two teaspoons of poultry seasoning (more or less to your taste)
Salt/Pepper to taste
Three eggs
Chicken Broth (can make your own or used store-bought, you need 8 cups)

Instructions:
1. Make cornbread first – I usually do it the day before, and this is a larger than average skillet.cornbreadCornbread Recipe
2 1/4 cups White Lily self-rising cornmeal
3/4 cup of White Lily self-rising flour
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups of buttermilk
1/3 cup of oil
Crisco shortening to grease cast-iron skillet

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and grease a large cast-iron skillet, and then dust it with cornmeal. Set aside. Now mix oil and egg and add buttermilk, mix well. Add cornmeal and flour and mix together with buttermilk mixture. Pour into the greased skillet. Bake 20-25 minutes until nicely browned.

2. Make your chicken stock early so it can simmer a couple of hours, unless you are using store-bought chicken stock. I fill a stock pot with 3-4 quarts of water. I add 3-4 chicken thighs or if you’re roasting a turkey use the turkey neck, 2 onions quartered, 2-3 stalks of celery with leaves, 1/2 stick of butter, salt/pepper. Simmer.1

3. To begin making the dressing, first combine the crumbled cornbread, dry white bread and the Pepperidge Farm herbed seasoning crumbs together in a large bowl. Set aside.
34. Melt a stick of butter in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the diced onion and celery together until it is soft, transparent – but do not let it brown! Pour the onions/celery over the cornbread mixture.
25. Next, add in the can of Herbed Cream of Chicken Soup and the 2 teaspoons of poultry seasoning (add more to taste if you like a stronger flavor).

6. Now strain your chicken stock (broth) so you just have the liquid (not the meat, celery, onions). Pour the hot broth over the whole mixture and stir well. You want the dressing to be the consistency of oatmeal, not too soupy, not too thick. TASTE NOW BEFORE ADDING RAW EGGS!  This is where you can taste the dressing and add salt/pepper or more seasoning if you’d like.  We say Less Is More when it comes to sage/poultry seasoning.
47. Add 3 beaten eggs and mix again.

8. Pour the dressing into 2 buttered/greased 9×13 casserole dishes and bake at 400-425 degrees until browned on top, 30-45 minutes.

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I forgot to take a picture of the “browned/baked” dressing, but I found two pictures that show it among the Thanksgiving spread (and my delightful grandchildren) our family enjoyed. It is in the oval dish on the far right and in the partially consumed dish below!

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Cornbread dressing is a staple at Southern tables. We don’t say stuffing, we say dressing. You can also sprinkle a little paprika on top for color, or add some chopped pimentos for color if you’d like. Dressing is not a pretty dish, but it is a delicious dish!

One last thing! I make the dressing the day before Thanksgiving and leave it in the fridge in a big bowl. The next day I put it in my casseroles for baking. I think it helps the flavors all meld together – but actually it also gives me time to do all the other cooking I have to do for Thanksgiving!

Counting my blessings this Thanksgiving Day!

GranJan-BlogSignature

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Scripture Memory Team Verse 13 – July 1, 2015

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Having just spent a week away at the wonderful “forgotten coast” along the Gulf of Mexico in Florida (Cape San Blas), my verse selection was very special…

Psalm 95:5
The sea is His, for it was He who made it

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This beautiful view was from the porch of the home we rented for the week. There is something peaceful about the ocean for me. I love the sound of the waves and the constant breezes.

But my favorite view of the week was the precious faces of my five grandchildren. I loved having uninterrupted time with them last week. Waking up to see them all in their pajamas and playing together all day until they went to bed at night, and then beginning that over again and again each morning. Thankful!5Grands-July 4 2015

Thankful to know the wonderful Creator of that beautiful ocean, and thankful that He knows my Name!

GranJan-BlogSignature

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Cream Cheese Pound Cake – Recipe

Yesterday was my sweet husband’s birthday and that man of mine dearly loves a pound cake, so I made a special one for him using my heart-shaped pan. You can order one for yourself by visiting this Williams-Sonoma Site.IMG_8978

RECIPE
Cream Cheese Pound Cake
3 cups sugar
2 sticks butter (softened – room temperature)
1 8-ounce block of cream cheese (softened – room temperature)
6 large eggs (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups plain flour (sifted)
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Butter and flour the pan generously. [I used Butter Flavor Crisco.]
IMG_8993

2. Whip sugar, softened butter and cream cheese well.
[I LOVE THIS MIXER. It literally makes me so happy to use it. Baking becomes an EVENT, not a routine thing. And celebrating my wonderful husband’s birthday and love for pound cake is an event in itself! AND did I mention it was also Valentine’s Day while I was baking?]IMG_8990

3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

4. Add vanilla.

5. Lower mixer speed, and slowly add sifted flour and salt.

6. Pour batter into pan. (It is a thick batter, so it is more of a “spooning” into the pan.)IMG_89917. Place in a cold oven and set temperature to 300 degrees. Bake for 1 and 1/2 hours.

For some reason this cake began to rise over the top of the pan…  WOW! It rose so high I literally sliced the top off before I turned the cake out of the pan! Gary loved eating that buttery crunchy top. IMG_8992

8. Let cake cool about 10 minutes in pan and then gently turn onto a platter or cake plate.

Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband, Gary. I love him so much and I’m so thankful he loves my cooking and is enjoying his pound cake. These are the beautiful pink roses he gave me for Valentine’s Day. He had them waiting at the table when we went out to dinner.IMG_8979

I close with this beautiful picture of the clouds set in the shape of a heart framed by the valley and mountains. Enjoy your loved ones, make time to bake their favorites and celebrate love and family. Each day is a gift and treasure from the Good Lord.IMG_8994

Job 37:16 (NLT)
Do you understand how he moves the clouds
    with wonderful perfection and skill?

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40 Days – Lent 2014

Today is Ash Wednesday and marks the first day of Lent. Growing up Southern Baptist, I never heard any mention of “Lent.” However, this marks the third year I’ve been intentional during this “40 Days” time.  Intentional for me in that I focus my mind and heart on why we as Christians celebrate this time of year.  For those of you like me, who did not grow up in a church that formally practiced this tradition, here is a definition of Lent:

Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Holy Week/Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ – His suffering and His sacrifice, His life, death, burial and resurrection. Lent runs from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday and so includes 40 weekdays.

We may not have observed Lent, but for over 20 years my church (under the direction of my wonderful husband Gary) presented “The Warner Robins Passion Play” for our community. Through music, worship, and drama, we depicted the life of Jesus, His crucifixion and resurrection.  Some of the most wonderful times as a worship ministry have been during this Holy Season.  I love this time of year – everything shouts NEW LIFE!

I want to share the devotionals that I have used during the 40 days of Lent.  The first one is free and is from Ann Voskamp’s blog, “A Holy Experience.” Click here on “The Trail to the Tree.”  It is a beautiful devotional. This is how Ann describes Lent: “It’s the preparing the heart for Easter. Like going with Jesus into the wilderness for forty days, that we might come face to ugly face with our enemy. Our sacrificing that we might become more like Christ in His sacrifice.”

Another one is a book entitled Reliving the Passion by Walter Wangerin, Jr.  It is a 40 day devotional from the New Testament gospel of Mark.  It’s poetic and dramatic and I loved every page.

This year I am reading a book entitled Draw the Circle, by Mark Batterson. It is a 40 day prayer challenge that his church (National Community Church) in Washington, DC has used during Lent.

Please let me share that I don’t see Lent as anything “ritualistic” or a way to garner favor with Jesus.  God’s saving grace is free and I can’t do anything to cause God to love me any more than He already does.  I won’t “give up” anything – He gave His all for me. And another thing – my faith is a daily faith – experienced minute by minute.  These 40 days are special to this time of year and the significance of Easter in the life of a believer – but EVERY DAY is a gift of grace to me!  I especially love this song by Keith & Kristyn Getty – “The Power of The Cross.” Here is the first portion…
Oh, to see the dawn of the darkest day
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men, torn and beaten then
nailed to a cross of wood.
This the power of the cross
Christ became sin for us!
Took the blame, bore the wrath 
we stand forgiven at the cross.
I pray you will seek daily solitude these next 40 days – in prayer – in worship, thanking Jesus for His supreme sacrifice on the cross for you.
Gran Jan
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Giveaway Winner – The Women of Christmas!

Congratulations to comment #2 – “Heather.” YOU WON THE BOOK!

Please email me [granjan@comsouth.net] your mailing address so that I may get your book “The Women of Christmas” in the mail!

Congratulations to Heather and God bless everyone! I thank you all so much for taking the time to leave a comment here.  

Blessings, Jan 

 

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Thankfulness Giveaway!

ThankfulPumpkinThanksgiving is very special to me – so wonderfully uncluttered…if you don’t count my kitchen while I’m in there cooking up a storm! (I’m a messy cook, but a good one…according to my husband and sons).  I treasure the simplicity of what Thanksgiving stands for: thankful hearts, grateful hearts, family time, and delicious food. Thanksgiving isn’t ruined with commercialization by the media (only because marketing for Christmas begins in August and that is where their focus is). I love to celebrate one holiday at a time – and I want to savor Thanksgiving before I begin the countdown to Christmas.

I celebrated my birthday last Saturday (November 16) and it was a good one! While counting my blessings I decided to host a giveaway here on my blog! The gift is a wonderful book by Liz Curtis Higgs entitled “The Women of Christmas.”  I’ve given copies to my mom, by dear friend Lanie and I have one for YOU too!TheWomenOfChristmasTo enter the giveway, all you need to do is leave a comment below and tell me about your favorite Thanksgiving tradition or food.  I will take comments through Thanksgiving Day.  A winner will be randomly selected, and I will get your book in the mail right away! I want you to be able to savor this joyous time of year that we celebrate Emmanuel, God With Us.  I’m so thankful He is with us every moment of every day.  Another reason I love Thanksgiving: EVERY DAY is Thanksgiving when you live with a grateful heart and count your blessings and realize it’s all grace.

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room,

Thankful

 

 

Jan

PS: Make sure to leave your email in your post so I may get in touch with you if you WIN!

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