Pat Layton Pat Layton Pat Layton: Sweet Tea for Surrendered Sisters
California Here I Come!!

Let the packing, and the airplane prayers begin!!!

By the end of this week I will be flying the friendly skies from one side of this great nation all the way to the other. 

Oh Glory!!
I am always intrigued by flight routes as I realized today, although my reservations have been settled for a while, that I will be going from Tampa to Chicago to Sacramento, the short route right?? My destination is Crossroads Community Church in Grass Valley, California. 

It just sounds fun doesn't it?
I am certain that it will be, when I land!!

As thrilled as I am to be with these ladies, getting there and back is not my favorite part and it is not my spiritual gift!!

One of my biggest travel challenges (and I have many) is figuring out WHAT to pack and what to pack it into. 

If it is hot in Tampa, which it usually is, I have a tough time getting my head on burrrrr. The result usually is, I take everything. When I do not, like my last trip to Kentucky, they inevitably have the first snowfall of the year, unexpectedly. Or, I only have sweaters and the temps soar. Hot Flashes do not make for a very calm, cool and collected speaker. 

As a result, I almost always have to pay for extra luggage. A fact that just tickles my honey pink!

Of course, I could be like the other 99% of my fellow fliers and try to cram everything I own into an overnight carry on bag that wobbles down the airplane aisle causing a line that backs all the way to security and taking the skin off any elbow that dares to be draped over an armrest along the way. 

Then there is the little matter of the parts of the body that we get to enjoy in front of our noses as travelers of every shape, age, gender and level of modesty reach to the heights of heaven to lift their luggage the size of a small cars, up into the storage bins that are positioned just above our seats. We see tummies of every physique and texture (or worse, backs, equally as appealing), undies that leave nothing to the imagination and of course, the armpits of our worst nightmares. 

Far be it from me, however, to hold any airline grudges. No siree!

As a matter of fact, I have been known to pray for the flight crew the entire time I am in the air.

I have recently added birds to my prayer list.

I am always smiling and making my body as small as possible to accommodate all needs around me.
Ever the example of a happy traveler.

A simple brief case carryon and always clean shaven, thank you very much, just in case I am called upon for some heavy lifting!

Tasty Tuesday
It is another Tasty Tuesday sponsored by my favorite Blogger-in-Law, Kim at Foreverwherever!

As a woman who was born and raised (that cliche' kind of dates me doesn't it!!) in Salty Savannah, Georgia, it is a requirement that I love Seafood, Smelly Marsh and Paula Dean.

Can you say..."lotz uh B-U-D-D-E-R!!!??

That southern sister has more cook books that Carter has pills (oooppps, I did it again). Anyway, I have been enjoying her "Quick and Easy" Cookbook/Magazine for a few years now. Paula is fun to watch and uses recipes that are not only easy for me to follow but use lots of my household "staples" like Shrimp and Grits.

Here is a little something I whipped up for Honey last week. It took all of 20 minutes!!

Shrimp and Asparagus Stir Fry (Sweet Tea Version)

1 pound of asparagus with the tough part on the bottom broken off and rinsed
2 cups of water
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice or a few good squeezes
Fresh Red Bell Pepper
some salt and some sugar
some pepper
a bunch of green onion with the rubber band taken off and thrown away, then chopped
1 pound of shrimp shelled and cleaned

a package of brown rice that cooks in the microwave in about 90 seconds right in the bag

Bring water to a boil with a little salt and BUDDER!! add the Asparagus and boil for about 3 minutes. Pour off the hot water and cover with cold water so it stays crispy.

In a large skillet melt 1/2 stick of BUDDER, green onion, chopped red pepper and shrimp and chicken broth.
Cook until shrimp is PINK adding lemon juice to taste as you go.

When the shrimp is pink, drop the cooked Asparagus on top and mix it all up.
Pour the shrimp stir fry onto the top of the brown rice.

Add a glass of SWEET TEA and enjoy!!

If the Shoe (or Jeans) fits...wear them!
A post of my sweet little sister, Lysa Terkeurst a few days ago made me laugh! 

She was talking about the SIZE battle that us girls go through that leads us to wear clothes are are too small, just so that we can claim a size that feels acceptable to us! 

She hit the nail on the head with this one!!

I have gone through this battle myself as well as with my daughter who was mortified when she moved from a size 2 to a size 4! 

It is funny, my boys were the opposite, they always wanted to wear sizes BIGGER than they really needed!

While reading Lysa's story I was reminded of a post that I meant to do at Christmas time and forgot, or got too busy to finish! One or the other. (I have admitted how I tend to "blast" through life if I am not careful.)

Lysa's post said these words:
"Why do I care what size my pants are?
It's not like the size is printed in a place for people to see. Only I have privy to such knowledge."

Well, sweet little sister, that is not ALWAYS true.

The post that I was going to share during Christmas was the story of the day that THIS happened to me!!

I had bought a new pair of  jeans and had even had them hemmed, for goodness sakes!!

One day during a Holiday shopping mission, I slipped into my jeans and headed to the Mall. 

I shopped all day, met a "girlfriend" for lunch (I use that term loosely after what happened--you know who you are sister!!) then continued with my Christmas list. When I returned home that night and was standing at the kitchen sink preparing dinner, my honey walked in and noticed my little jeans sticker. (Don't even get me going about how or why HE immediately noticed this)...Anyhoooo...

Everyone in the ENTIRE UNIVERSE!!!! saw my jeans size that day. The only GOOD part of this story is that the event took place BEFORE my Christmas Holiday s-p-r-e-a-d, and my size was at least in my "presentable" range. Today however, these jeans are in the consignment shop!!

Along those same lines, I have had a similar battle with SHOES!! 

I have just recently broken down and gotten a half size larger shoe just so that I can continue WALKING!!!

Sorry ladies, you know that I am all about "Surrendering Secrets" but everything has a limit!!

When Life Feels Messy

Has your LIFE ever been more than you could take?
Have you ever had so much on your plate that you feel like you want to just curl up in a little ball and be invisible?
Have you ever asked God, "How do I keep getting into this mess?"
Do you ever just want to scream to the top your your sweet lungs "I just can't do this anymore"?

My sister has a plaque on her wall that says "I have one nerve left and you are standing on it"

Sometimes I do a "Balanced Life" better than other times. Actually, this has been an area of struggle in my life for as long as I can remember. As far back as being a teenage single Mom right up until today, this has been a place of challenge for me and in fact, a place of sin.

Yes, I said SIN!

Jesus says in Matthew 11:30 "My Yoke is easy, my burden is light". I think the reason that Jesus could say those words and offer that same option to us (verses 28-29) is because He had a clear purpose. He knew what He was supposed to do and not supposed to do. He knew, because He put His time with God FIRST!! He heard from God and did what His Father said to do.

Luke 4:18, 19 says
"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, He has anointed me to PREACH the GOOD NEWS. He has sent me to proclaim FREEDOM for the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind. To set FREE the oppressed. To proclaim the year of our Lord's favor"

In Luke 4:42-44 Jesus actually said NO to someone who wanted ministry!!

I so often SIN in this area by doing things or saying yes to things that I have not heard God tell me to do, I just do them because they need to be done, or because someone else is not doing them well enough for me, or because I am impatient to see them get done. 

Then, before I know it, my LIFE is MESSY!!! I seem to be doing nothin' good for nobody, or at least I feel that way!!

Last night, I had to spend some late night time with God. I had to pull myself away to ask God;
Where have I missed you? 
Why am I so burdened? 
Where did I get off the path.

My Abba Father met me in the dark hours of the night, just like He always does! 

He always comes when we call on Him.

This is what He said....
Go back to the last thing I told you to do and do it!!
Stop doing anything I have NOT told you to do.
If you don't know what I told you to do, slow down so that you can hear me tell you again.

"God will not ask how many books you have read (or written) or how many miracles you have worked; He will ask if you have done your best for the Love of Him!"
Mother Teresa

"I have learned that balance does not mean we are good at everything. it means that we do what we do well and get help with the rest. It means that we do not make the mistake of burning the candle at both ends and lighting a match in the middle. One of the definitions of balance is the power to decide. We all have that."
Liz Curtis Higgs

So, here I sit. Still in my prayer chair.
Getting it again!

LOVE LIFE LUNCHEON!! Tampa, Florida February 14th 11am-1pm! Last Chance to Reserve your Place!
I have been surrounded by "sisters" all of my life. I have 3 natural born ones. We are all quite close in age which makes life fun!! As a matter of fact, one just celebrated a birthday and although I am the "oldest daughter" she will be the same age as me for 3 weeks!! 

I never realized what a challenge this must have been to my Mom until I had 2 grand babies this close together. 

WOW!! We are hopin' with these 2 babies! But LOVING LIFE more because of them!

Anyway, I digress...(they cause me to do that..can you see why?!) 

God, in His GOODNESS, has seen fit to allow my life to be surrounded by "Sisters" of all ages, backgrounds, cultures and life stages. I can not imagine having had a greater blessing. One of the things that I love the most about being in Women's Ministry is that fact that we LOVE TO P.A.R.T.Y.!!! 
We love a get-together that allows us to dress up, SIP SWEET TEA and hear what God is doing in the lives of other sisters around us.

We are about to have one of those special sister Saturdays!

We are preparing our ministry to serve our sisters on Valentines Day with our "LOVE LIFE LUNCHEON! 

I am excited beyond words about our Keynote Speaker, Lisa Welchel!! She is 100% SISTER!! and is blessing this little ministry in Tampa, Florida with a morning of girl time. Lisa is a much sought after speaker and in fact has a FULL CALENDAR for the remainder of the year. 
We are dizzy with delight at having her all to ourselves.

Lisa spent lots of her younger years in front of TV and Movie cameras. She is best know for her starring role as Blair in the TV sitcom "The Facts of Life". She has spent the past many years being a Wife, a homeschooling Mom, an Author and a Speaker. I met Lisa a few years ago at a Lifeway Woman's Ministry Author event.

She is FUN, FUNNY and a preciously genuine sister! (DID I SAY??? We are thrilled to have her?)

If you would like to join us you have just a day or so to RSVP!!! Contact Bethany at (813) 931-1804 or go to the main website for Life Impact Network in Tampa, Florida to get details!!


I am off now, to set myself up to SERVE A FEW SISTERS!!! I hope that you are one of them!

Tasty Tuesday
In the name of being a good Mother In Law, I could NOT miss another Tasty Tuesday.
Tasty Tuesday Button

If you saw my last post you know I did me some cooking over the weekend. My culinary delights ranged from fresh salsa to sweet tea. 

I know, Cookbook Publishers get in line!!

Anyway, I have been following this blog faithfully (not because my son created it but because it is AWESOME!) I have also checked out most all of ForeverWherever's blog friends. 

Some of your blogs cause me to sit at my laptop for HOURS!!!! The Home decorating, the cooking, the crafts, the colors!! You are all amazing.

That said, I wanted to "WOW" the Crowds today with my latest (self created I might add) secret family recipe.

Here Goes:

Homemade Half and Half!! (Hey, when a girl runs out of Half and Half, a girl needs a plan!!!)

That is exactly what happened to me recently. My honey has the morning coffee hot and ready for me when I wake up each morning. Somehow, Someway, on this dreadful day, we discovered that we had NO HALF and HALF!! Normally, I would just stop everything and trot, up to Starbucks for my "White Chocolate Mocha" but this morning was to be filled with writing deadlines and I knew if I got out of my pajamas I would not be able to THINK!!!

Emergency measures were called for. 


Then, it came to me....
Out of Nowhere.....
You have CREAM!!!
You have MILK!!!!
How about if we MIX them together, You know, about HALF and HALF of each.

The BRILLIANCE, the CREATIVITY,  the JAVA JUICES of the day had begun! I literally jumped up and down in my kitchen!
I knew that I was about to experience a WRITING BONANZA!!!

I feel that the only good Christan Girl thing for me to do is share my glorious discoveries with you. After all, that is my mission statement:

(I know that my Tim is reading this, I do allow an occasional "Renaissance Man" to come along for the experience!)

So, here you go Tasty Tuesday Bloggers....Read it and Weep!!!

Find a can of REALLY GOOD EVAPORATED MILK. Pour about 1/2 into a cream holding thing.

Fill the thing that you found, the rest of the way up with Milk!


ps....Darling Kim, Can I get a Cupcake to eat with my coffee?? 
(or, actually, I would rather have the CupCake EATER in the photo!!!)
Have a Wonderful Day!

Those were the days my friend, I thought they'd never end.....
We just enjoyed a fun weekend with our daughter and two of her college girlfriends. They were bussed into Tampa to serve at the Superbowl breakfast with a large group from the school.

The weekend went something like this: 

Girls each throw some clothes into a duffel bag at 3:30 pm on Friday.
Jump into a van full of college students at 4pm. Head to Central Florida from Southern Florida with very LOUD music keeping the driver alert.
Stop three times to eat. Arrive at your 4 hour destination 8 hours later due to food stops and getting lost a few times.
Stay up until the weeee morning hours chatting with the gang on the Church gym floor that is tonight your bedroom. (not sure how they separated guys from girls, I forgot to ask that part. However, it is a Christian college so surely....)
Anyway, wake up at 4am to be at the USF Sun Dome at 6am.
Serve breakfast to umpteen thousands who came to see Tony Dungy and a few other FAMOUS jocks.
Call Mom at 10am instead of the expected 12:00 to pick you all up (NO PROBLEM, I can be ready in 5 minutes)!!
Drive to Mel's Hotdogs to treat your friends to a FAMOUS Chicago Dog in Tampa.
Go home and SLEEEEPPP, all three together in one bed even though our home has 3 available.
Wake up to Mom's kisses at 3:00pm and spread out to all the bathrooms in the house to shower and get dressed for a Basketball game at University of Tampa that your home team is playing. Pile into the car with Mom and Dad and head to said game about 30 minutes late through Tampa Super Bowl traffic, no worries.
Game was fun, not a winner but fun nonetheless.

Mom and Daughter at University of Tampa on a different outing since Mom was the one taking photos on this one!

Go home to the dinner that was requested last week that includes the following favorites:

Slow Cooked Pork Roast smothered in BBQ sauce that has been filling the house with anticipation all day
ARMY sized pot of home made mashed potatoes that Mom whipped up while we were napping
Fresh Tomatoes/Mozzarella Salad
Buttery Sweet Corn
MOM's famous SWEET TEA!
Red Velvet Cake for dessert (Store bought as you can see by the cardboard on the bottom)

served at the Dining Room Table WITH Candles!

Sit around the table after dinner and tell dorm stories that TOTALLY freak out your mother!!

Decide at the last minute to find a sporting goods store that stays open all night so you can buy Super Bowl T-Shirts.
Grab the keys, head to the car, come back in and ask dad for money to buy the shirts for everyone!!

Get home from shopping with many more bags than would be needed for 3 T-Shirts, and trot back upstairs to pile on the bed and begin telling the other parts of the stories that Mom CAN NOT hear!

Fall asleep long after Mom and Dad have called it a night.

Wake up in the morning to Mom's kisses and crawl down the steps to eat the scrambled cheese eggs, bacon, sausage and OJ, that Dad has whipped up.
Take over all 3 bathrooms in the house (AGAIN) to get ready to head back to college.
Pile into the car to be driven to the airport using tickets that Dad purchased for all three of you!
Drag all 10 bags out of the car and into the airport while Mom asks about drivers license and boarding passes.

Hugs, Kisses. Blessings and See you laters....11:00 am.

Mom and Dad drive away....Dad's cell phone rings....11:10 am
"Mom, I have your cell phone. I am so sorry, it was in my purse and I forgot"

Mom and dad turn around and go back through Departing flights (NO small feat!!)
Mom sprints into airport to find beautiful daughter coming her way with cell phone extended.

Hugs, Kisses, Blessings and See you laters.....11:20 am.

Mom and Dad arrive home.
Mom plops on couch to rest and Dad goes into his office to balance his checkbook.

Both are reflecting on the precious days that have just ended.

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