2017 Scripture Memory Team – July

Both of my verses come from the New Testament book of Romans this month.  Hebrews, Psalms and Romans may be my favorite three books of the Bible.  For today. Because truthfully, I love all 66 books.  I wonder if a there is a theme to all of my 2017 memory verses, I need to review them and see. I believe there is a theme for July. Christ is everything! Salvation is available to everyone and faith in Jesus will never ever disappoint. There are days when I strain to hear clearly from Him through all the distractions in my day, but He never disappoints. He never has. I love the simplicity of this verse. The more we get to know Him, the more we learn and know and experience His faithful love and grace in our lives.

My second July memory verse is also from Romans. Chapter 11, verse 36.  I went to a Lifeway Women’s Ministry Leadership training almost 7 years ago in North Carolina at the beautiful Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville. My friend and ministry partner Cindy Schult and I attended together. It was where we heard Margaret Feinberg speak for the first time. She was delightful and has written many books since that time. We also heard from Melissa Fitzpatrick, the beautiful and intelligent daughter of Bible study teacher and author, Beth Moore. Melissa taught a session and Romans 11:36 was her focal passage. This verse especially resonated with Cindy and has every day since November 2010. More recently this verse has been brought back again to my  heart. He Himself is everything. He is the originator, sustainer, and finisher of everything. From Him, Through Him, To Him. All things. And because he is all in all, all glory and honor is due Him forever.

He NEVER disappoints.
He is in EVERYTHING.

Gran Jan

 

Share

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! Women of all ages attend 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 delicacy.

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
1/2 stick of melted butter to brush biscuit tops when done

  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. There’s a lesson here in staying close and working together! Amen!
  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

  • I’m a pincher-patter-placer biscuit maker because that’s how my Granny taught me. I like to roll the dough and cut the biscuits out sometimes, but my go-to method is pinch and pat.
  • 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.
  • Rolling & Cutting: Turn dough onto a lightly floured counter top or use parchment paper. Knead gently only until dough holds together and can be rolled out – about 10 to 12 strokes or less. Please be careful not to 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

Share

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!

Share

Whipping Cream Pound Cake

My friend Jan Hamil and I recently held the Fall 2016 Session of “Tasting Grace,” our church’s mentoring-in-the-kitchen ministry. We love our Saturdays in the church kitchen so much. I made a whipping cream pound cake and wanted to share the recipe here. My dear friend Lanie Nash gave the recipe to me as her go-to pound cake. Every Southern woman has a go-to pound cake recipe and if you don’t, this one can now be yours! [All pound cakes start with butter, sugar, flour and eggs; variations include buttermilk, sour cream, cream cheese, whipping cream.] I promise this whipping cream version will not disappoint. I made another one when I got home Saturday because my husband had “FOMO” [Fear of Missing Out] when I brought home that empty cake plate! He also likes my buttermilk pound cake, but says he will need a taste test to pick his favorite. I think he just wants ANOTHER pound cake! He’s not fooling me. We’ve been married 39 years, I know these things…wc-pound-cake

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs (room temperature)
  • 2 sticks of butter (room temperature)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whipping cream (also known as heavy cream)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:

  • Grease and flour tube pan.
  • Cream butter and sugar until smooth (I use my stand mixer.)
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
  • Sift the flour and add to creamed mixture alternately with whipping cream.
  • Mix all until fully incorporated.
  • Stir in vanilla.
  • Pour into prepared pan and place in a cold oven.
  • Turn oven to 300° and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes.
  • Cool completely before removing from pan.

Trust me about the cold oven…just do it!

GranJan-BlogSignature 

Share

What Is Truth?

Whatsover

The woman featured in this short clip below is very special to me. Her name is Beverly Skinner. [She leads in women’s ministry at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.] God used Beverly in my life at a conference I attended last year for women’s ministry leaders called Selah: A Retreat for Women who Lead Women.  I purposefully went alone to the conference. I really wanted (needed) to have time to think and just be. The drive to north Georgia was great, providing lots of “windshield time,” lots of time to be alone, to sing, to pray, and to ponder. I haven’t ever met a stranger and was blessed to make many connections among the women’s ministry leaders who also attended. A very precious, special group for sure. The most important connection for me was with the Holy Spirit. He assured me and confirmed in my heart that I was to continue leading in women’s ministries at my home church.  I went to the retreat with eyes and heart wide open, seeking a word from The Word.

I ran across this clip on Facebook this week where Beverly was teaching at a women’s event in south Georgia. The event, Flourish, is the women’s ministry from CrossPointe Church in Valdosta where Lanelle Rogers is the Director. She also attended the SELAH retreat! It really resonated with me, and I hope it will with you too.

Truth Has a NAME! It is Jesus! The One and Only.

GranJan-BlogSignature

 

Share

TASTING GRACE – A Mentoring Ministry in the Kitchen!

Psalm 34:8
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!

Even with all the ways for people to connect through social media nowadays, nothing replaces a face-to-face conversation. And there is something REALLY special about gathering around a good meal at the table. TASTING GRACE wants to do just that! TASTING GRACE is a new ministry of encouragement for women of all ages to connect and share together while learning cooking (and life) skills. My sweet friend Jan Hamil and I are so enjoying this outreach. The book of Titus exhorts the older women to teach the young! We get together and cook and talk and laugh and share. I’ve heard many women say over the years that the “quilting bees” of long ago were good for women to share and connect, and it wasn’t all about the quilting! Women need women like never before in our social media driven society. I’m thankful to have the blessing of sharing my life’s experiences (and love for cooking) with these precious young women. When I was a young pastor’s wife I had the same blessings from older women in my life, but we didn’t know it was mentoring. We were just doing life and it happened along the way, nothing forced or organized. It was just the pure joy of coming alongside another woman to be an encourager. You can’t get that from a computer screen, or texting, or an iPhone chat. I certainly don’t want to take away from modern technology, because I sure do love my convection oven, Kitchen Aid stand mixer, dishwasher, and air conditioning! We wouldn’t have had nearly as much fun at TASTING GRACE if we’d had to chop wood to load the stove before making these biscuits! Can I get a witness? 🙂 But these are GIRLs – Girlfriends In Real Life!

These pictures are from my church’s (Second Baptist)   April 11, 2015 session of TASTING GRACE in one of our big old church kitchens. Learning to make homemade biscuits was on the menu. [Our Winter session included two different soups, cornbread, and a delicious Honeybun Cake.] Our devotional was from John 6 where Jesus talks about the True Bread of Life! We are meeting again in July and October also with much deliciousness and delightful conversations planned.

IMG_3858 IMG_8909 IMG_9391 IMG_9392 IMG_9398 IMG_9400 IMG_9401 IMG_9402

TASTE & SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD!

GRANJAN

 

Share

A Year to Remember…2014!

Here I sit on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2014. This has been a very blessed year for me and mine. We have all been healthy and strong. My husband is leading worship with more joy and passion than I’ve ever known him to, and he takes such good care of me and our home and family. Our church is growing with lots of new young families. Both my boys have experienced growth in their lives – Jeremy in ministry as a pastor and Jonathan with leadership awards and job growth in his career. My daughters-in-law are delightful – loving my sons and taking good care of their homes and children. What more could this mama desire for her family? I received a promotion and began a new job June 1st within my same organization. My parents and sisters and their families are all well. My heart is full…

Sometimes when I have the time, (or just because it brings me joy) I will scroll through the pictures on my iPhone. I did just that earlier this afternoon and picked out one (sometimes more) special favorite for every month from 2014. Letting pictures do my blogging has become common for me, so here I go again.

January 2014
Atlanta was hit with a huge snowstorm in January. This is the view from the passenger seat of my husband’s truck as we drove back home from the airport. My flight (and all flights) were cancelled for several days. I was meeting my friend and we were scheduled to fly to California to appear on the “Wheel of Fortune!” YES!!! Hopefully we will be rescheduled in 2015. We are ready to buy vowels and spin that wheel! 

January

February 2014
This is a picture of my youngest grandchild, Abe that was on the big screens in the church where my son Jeremy (Abe’s father) is the Pastor. My husband and I were there for a special service of dedication of Abe’s life. It was also my husband’s birthday. It was a great weekend – our first time to hear our son preach since he began his ministry at First Baptist Cartersville in September 2013, just one month after Abe was born. A very special weekend.

Feb

March 2012
This is my mom on her birthday! My sisters and I took her to lunch at a fun Mexican restaurant and celebrated her life and had a great time. We always do. I love my mom and I’m thankful for her faithful, consistent life. No drama! Just love and support.

March

April 2014
In April I went to Callaway Gardens with a dear friend, Sharon Riley. We attended the Birds of Prey Show and I am still tickled pink with the timing of this picture of a Great Horned Owl. I literally stuck my iPhone up and snapped the shot as this great bird flew over my head. The bird’s talons touched the top of my head as it flew over…wow!

April

May 2014
May was so special for my three oldest grandchildren! Zeke graduated from Pre-Kindergarten, and my 2nd and 3rd grandchildren (Madie and Jackson) celebrated their fourth birthdays just two weeks apart. (Each of my daughters-in-law had children born in May of 2010.)

IMG_6748 May-Madie May-Jackson

June 2014
A big summer shower produced some GIANT puddles here at the Morton Farm. The weather cleared and was great for puddle jumping and running followed by s’mores. This was a special memory and these two grandboys had a blast together. 

June

July 2014
The Fourth of July was a great week! I was off work and the weather was unseasonably cool and my boys and daughters-in-law and all five grands were here. We had a big breakfast together and then they all fished in the pond. This picture was impromptu and has become so precious. I have it framed at work and here at home and on my computer desktop. I am one blessed Gran Jan! 

July

August 2014
August 22-23 was a weekend that had been planned and prayed for since April of 2013! Our church was blessed to host Priscilla Shirer of Going Beyond Ministries for a women’s conference. All 2,200 seats of our church were filled and we had overflow seating in the choir loft. It was a glorious weekend that I will always remember. Many lives were touched and I pray that eternity will bear the results of this weekend. 

August

September 2014
Little Miss Emery, grandbaby number four, celebrated her second birthday with a Minnie Mouse themed party. Here she is with her daddy (my son), and sweet mama. (I made Emery’s birthday shirt!) It was so much fun and she is absolutely precious. She and big brother Jackson actually spent the night last night here with me and Pop. We made cookies, watched Frozen and had a big time. Gran Jan’s JOY.

September

October 2014
My sweet man and I went to the beach for a few days in October. We rested, ate delicious seafood, walked on the beach, shopped, and had a wonderful time. This time away together was way long overdue. We also visited a brand new church called Sunrise City Church in Fort Walton Beach that is being planted by two young men and their wives and two other couples that we’ve had the privilege to know most of their young lives. It was a great trip with special memories.

October October2014

November 2014
Back in September my best friend Lanie and I had a “sew-in” and I made these Christmas jammies for the grands. I gave them to all five of them on Thanksgiving and they donned them for a picture for me! It just doesn’t get any sweeter than this! More Gran Jan’s JOY!

November

December 2014
This picture was just last week on Christmas evening after our family tradition of breakfast on Christmas Day night. I love my family. As I’ve looked back over my camera roll today the themes of faith and family are everything to me. This blog is a record of the legacy I pray to leave for my grandchildren especially. I am very humbly grateful for God’s grace on my life and I sincerely mean that.

SONY DSC

No party tonight here at home, but lots of celebrating in my heart! We have always preferred a quiet New Year’s Eve. I like to think about the year that is leaving and anticipate the dawning of a brand new year. May the Good Lord bless you all in 2015 with His great love. He is so faithful!

GRANJAN

Share