Thursday, August 21, 2014

~ Buttermilk-Mexican Chocolate Pound Cake ~



Buttermilk-Mexican Chocolate Pound Cake Recipe
Recipe from Southern Living ~ years ago!

If you've had Mexican chocolate, you'll love this. Have you tried Mexican coffee? Divine!  


  •  1 (8-oz.) package semisweet chocolate baking squares, chopped * or  Nestlé Abuelita Mexican Chocolate
  • 1 cup butter, softened 
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • large eggs 
  • 1/2 cup chocolate syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Garnish: powdered sugar 
  1. 1. Microwave chocolate baking squares in a microwave-safe bowl on HIGH 1 minute and 15 seconds or until chocolate is melted and smooth, stirring every 15 seconds.
  2. 2. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating 5 to 7 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears after each addition. Stir in melted chocolate, chocolate syrup, and vanilla until smooth.
  3. 3. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan or a 12-cup Bundt pan.
  4. 4. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes; remove from pan to a wire rack, and let cool 1 hour and 30 minutes or until completely cool. Garnish, if desired.
  5. *2 (4.4-oz.) packages Mexican chocolate, chopped, may be substituted for semisweet chocolate baking squares. Omit ground cinnamon, and proceed with recipe as directed. 
I'll be happy to come over for a taste test if you'd like!  :)

Joining: 


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

~ Prayers Please ~



My kids' step-mother is having surgery this afternoon ~ very, very serious!  Her name is Joyce and I really believe that "where two or more are gathered in my name...." has unlimited power.

My chemo buddy, A, is also scheduled for surgery sometime this week. Dr hasn't determined the exact day. For those that are unaware, I volunteer with Chemo Angels. It is an incredible support system for those going through treatment...any age, any gender. There is also a support group for Seniors.  They don't have to be going through treatment...some are alone, whether at home, retirement center, nursing home, etc. Many do not have families or their family members live quite a distance from them and rarely visit. They love getting mail and knowing someone's thinking of them!

I so appreciate your lighting a candle, thinking good thoughts, whatever your choice might be for these two women.  May I also suggest that we all pray for Ferguson, MO ?  I can hardly watch the news on a good day but this is so sad. It makes me wonder what country I'm living
in ~  :(   The situation in the Middle East is heartbreaking too!  There are so many angry people, violence that is unbelievable and lives lost for really no reason. 

I'm so grateful for my health, a safe place to live, fresh water, food, utilities and of course, freedom!

UPDATE:  Thursday
I wanted to advise that Joyce came through the surgery well ~ thanks to each of you for your kind words and prayers!  A has not advised me when her surgery is.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

~ Silent Sunday ~



"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
Matthew 21:22  (KJV)

Friday, August 15, 2014

~ 30 Signs You Grew Up In Texas ~


Growing up in Texas was awesome. Here are 30 signs that you did.

1. There Was A Piñata At Most of the Birthday Parties You Went To

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I’m --- years old and I still have Piñatas at my birthday party. You’re never too old to have one.

2. You know what “Raise The Flag” means

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Seriously though. All restaurants should have a little flag on the table. It’s probably the best restaurant idea ever.

3. Eating Twang Pickle Salt out of your palm was a regular occurrence

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My mouth is watering just looking at that picture.

4. Shortly after learning to walk, your Dad taught you how to get him a beer (and open it)

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This is what your parents mean when they say “it’s time for you to start pulling your weight around here.”

5. You learned at a very young age what this means

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No explanation needed. If you need one, you belong in New Jersey.

6. You learned how to two-step at Garner State Park

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Summer night dances at Garner State Park should be mandatory for all Texans. It’s the first place you dance as a kid for many folks. If you did, there’s a good chance you grew up in Texas.

7. You spent your summers at a Astroworld / Fiesta Texas / Six Flags Over Texas

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RIP Astroworld, but long live Six Flags. Getting your season pass when we were kids was a rite of passage.

8. Your summer wasn’t complete until you had a scoop of this

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Seriously though. It’s the best ice cream in the country.

9. THIS was the only way to get Whataburger Ketchup when you were a kid

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When I was a kid, you couldn’t buy Whataburger Fancy ketchup at the store. We had to walk uphill both ways in the
snow fire ants, to get it.

10. You have at least one photo your parents took of you dressed up western

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Long. Live. Cowboys. (and Cowgirls)

In Texas

11. You learned about this in school

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Texas History is amazing. It’s a story of freedom and awesomeness. If you grew up in Texas I don’t need to tell you that though. You already know.

12. This was your reaction when your Mom or Dad brought home Whataburger

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Seriously though. Who the heck wants McDonalds? Gross.

13. Against the wishes of your parents, you had a collection of these

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Having a collection of Whataburger numbers is part of being Texan. Just don’t tell Whataburger I told you that.

14. This was your parents’ idea of a baby swing

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Texans are problem solvers, which is why this swing just makes sense. When you’re not driving the truck around, it’s just sitting there not being used. Why not use it as a swing?

15. You were always jealous that you never got to build a real snowman as a kid

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This is about as close as you’ll get to a real snowman, unless you live in the Panhandle.

16. You heard the story about the school bus and train accident and the supposed haunting

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We all heard it as a kid. A school bus stalled out on some train tracks. A train was coming. It hit the school bus and killed all of the children instantly. Now, if you go park on the train tracks at night, the ghosts of the children will push you across. It’s been studied by ghost hunters, and regular folks alike. I heard the story as a kid, and so has everyone else who grew up here.

17. You still have nightmares of sliding down one of these during the summer with shorts on

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3rd. Degree. Burns. Metal slides should seriously be banned in this state.

18. You can’t believe people in other states don’t do Homecoming Mums

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Yeah. It’s true. Texas is pretty much the only place that does mums. Let it soak in. It was devastating to hear when I found out too.

19. You know how un-fun it is to have a tube that is too big for you

Landscape
If you grew up in Texas, you probably spent some time in a tube floatin’ down a river, which means you know how un-fun it is to be in an adult sized tube as a kiddo. You spend the whole day makin’ sure your rear doesn’t scrape rocks.

20. Your parents have pulled over and made you take a picture in a field of these

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Bluebonnets are as Texas as Pecan Pie and George Strait, which means when they start sproutin’ up, our parents LOVE to make us take pictures in them.

21. You knew more about gun use and safety at age 9 than folks in other states know at age 79

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Gun safety is the most important part of gun ownership. With a state that exercises the right to bear arms as much as ours, most of us learned a lot about it as children.

22. You would terrorize other children by putting these down their shirts

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June bugs are hilarious. They seem to have the worst sight in the insect world. They bounce around randomly and bump in to nearly everything, which makes them the perfect terrorizing insect as a kid.

23. You have manners

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Before spankin’ your kids was politically incorrect, some of us had one, or two, or three red bottoms growing up. It has translated to us having manners and knowing how to mind our parents. We say yes ma’am/sir, no ma’am/sir, and please/thank you.

24. You’ve heard of “Ima” and “Ura” Hogg

Ima_Hogg_(Wikipedia)
A lot of folks have heard about Governor Hogg who named his two girls Ima and Ura. Most folks believe the story to be true. Well, it’s only kinda true. There was an Ima Hogg, but she never had a sister named Ura. Regardless of what’s true or not, it’s a sure sign you’ve grown up in Texas if you’ve heard it.

25. You were terrified of the Chupacabra

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The one sure-fire way my parents could scare me in to acting right, was to talk about the Chupacabra. That weird mythical creature scared me a heck of a lot more than a whoopin’ did.

26. You recognize this

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This little book was the first step in getting your license to drive for a long time. Unfortunately they recently changed the cover.

27. Pickles and Pickle Juice are some of your favorite snacks

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I don’t know what it was about pickles, but any time we needed a snack, pickles were the first choice of a lot of us.

28. Going to Schlitterbahn during the summer was like going to Disney World

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Disney World doesn’t have anything on Schlitterbahn. Miles upon miles of water rides and outdoor carpet…yes, green outdoor carpet, made it a summer time oasis for us Texans who grew up here.

29. Friday Night Lights is like one long flashback to your days in high school

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Watching this TV show is seriously like watching home movies of our high school years.

30. You could play with your Christmas presents outside because, well…Texas weather is always hot

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One fact of life in this state is that the weather is super unpredictable. Despite that, if you’re a bettin’ person you can bet on it being warmer than usual. December is one month that falls in that category. It might randomly get cold, or rain, but it’s generally always warmer than you’d expect, which means your parents could buy you things that you could enjoy outside, and you’d actually get to try them out that day.
You know, there's  often "embellishments" when describing our great State, i.e., #4 and 14 ~ just a gentle reminder!  Basically, all true ~ :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

~ RIP Robin Williams and A Wonderful Article by Anne Lamott ~



 Sharing a beautiful article by Anne Lamott ~

This will not be well written or contain any answers or be very charming. I won't be able to proof read it It is about times like today when the abyss is visible and we cannot buy cute area rugs at IKEA to truck out the abyss. Our brother Robin fell into it yesterday. We are all staring at the abyss today. 

I called my Jesuit friend the day after the shootings in Newtown, stunned, flat, fixated, scared to death: "Is there any meaning in the deaths of twenty 5 and 6 year old children?"

Tom said, "Not yet."

And there is no meaning in Robin's death, except as it sheds light on our common humanity, as his life did. But I've learned that there can be meaning without things making sense. 

Here is what is true: a third of the people you adore and admire in the world and in your families have severe mental illness and/or addiction. I sure do. I have both. And you still love me. You help hold me up. I try to help hold you up. Half of the people I love most have both; and so do most of the artists who have changed and redeemed me, given me life. Most of us are still here, healing slowly and imperfectly. Some days are way too long. 

And I hate that, I want to say. I would much prefer that God have a magic wand, and not just a raggedy love army of helpers. Mr. Roger's mother told him when he was a boy, and a tragedy was unfolding that seemed to defy meaning, "Look to the helpers." That is the secret of life, for Robin's family, for you and me.

I knew that those children at Sandy Hook were caught in God's loving maternal arms at the second each crossed over, and the teachers were, too. I believe the shooter was too, another child of God with severe mental illness, because God loves, period. But this is controversial. 

I know Robin was caught too, in both the arms of God, and of his mother, Laurie. 

I knew them both when I was coming up, in Tiburon. He lived three blocks away on Paradise drive. His family had money; ours didn't. But we were in the same boat--scared, shy, with terrible self esteem and grandiosity. If you have a genetic predisposition towards mental problems and addiction, as Robin and I did, life here feels like you were just left off here one day, with no instruction manual, and no idea of what you were supposed to do; how to fit in; how to find a day's relief from the anxiety, how to keep your beloved alive; how to stay one step ahead of abyss.

We all thought after Newtown that gun control legislation would be passed, but no--not one new law. We think in the aftermath of Robin's death that there will be consciousness raising about mental health, but I doubt it. The shock and awe will pass, like it did after Phillip Seymour Hoffman's death. Unless...unless we take action. But what? I don't have a clue. Well, here's Glenn Close's astonishing organization to raise awareness and diminish the stigma of mental illness, where you can give OR receive help: http://www.bringchange2mind.org/ Go there, OK?

In Newtown, as in all barbarity and suffering, in Robin's death, on Mount Sinjar, in the Ebola towns, the streets of India's ghettos, and our own, we see Christ crucified. I don't mean that in a nice, Christian-y way. I mean that in the most ultimate human and existential way. The temptation is to say, as cute little believers sometimes do, Oh it will all make sense someday. The thing is, it may not. We still sit with scared, dying people; we get the thirsty drinks of water.

This was at theologian Fred Buechner blog today: "It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life's story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others' lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling."

Live stories worth telling! Stop hitting the snooze button. Try not to squander your life on meaningless, multi-tasking bullshit. I would shake you and me but Robin is shaking us now.

Get help. I did. Be a resurrection story, in the wild non-denominational sense. I am. 

If you need to stop drinking or drugging, I can tell you this: you will be surrounded by arms of love like you have never, not once, imagined. This help will be available twenty/seven. Can you imagine that in this dark scary screwed up world, that I can promise you this? That we will never be closed, if you need us?

Gravity yanks us down, even a man as stunning in every way as Robin. We need a lot of help getting back up. And even with our battered banged up tool boxes and aching backs, we can help others get up, even when for them to do so seems impossible or at least beyond imagining. Or if it can't be done, we can sit with them on the ground, in the abyss, in solidarity. You know how I always say that laughter is carbonated holiness? Well, Robin was the ultimate proof of that, and bubbles are spirit made visible.

Monday, August 11, 2014

~ The Pope’s 10 Tips for a Happier Life ~

I am not Catholic but I just love this man! He is so "real" and seems to always speak of love, not fear or dogma.
In a recent interview with the Argentine publication Viva, Pope Francis issued a list of 10 tips to be a happier person, based on his own life experiences.
The Pope encouraged people to be more positive and generous, to turn off the TV and find healthier forms of leisure, and even to stop trying to convert people to one’s own religion.
But his number one piece of advice came in the form of a somewhat cliche Italian phrase that means, “move forward and let others do the same.” It’s basically the Italian equivalent of, “live and let live.” You can check out the full list below.
The Pope gives a thumbs up to an audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. (Photo: CSV)

The Pope’s 10 Tips for a Happier Life
1. “Live and let live.” Everyone should be guided by this principle, he said, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, “Move forward and let others do the same.”
2. “Be giving of yourself to others.” People need to be open and generous toward others, he said, because “if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid.”
3. “Proceed calmly” in life. The pope, who used to teach high school literature, used an image from an Argentine novel by Ricardo Guiraldes, in which the protagonist — gaucho Don Segundo Sombra — looks back on how he lived his life.
4. A healthy sense of leisure. The Pope said “consumerism has brought us anxiety”, and told parents to set aside time to play with their children and turn of the TV when they sit down to eat.
5. Sundays should be holidays. Workers should have Sundays off because “Sunday is for family,” he said.
6. Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people.“We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs” and be more vulnerable to suicide, he said.
7. Respect and take care of nature. Environmental degradation “is one of the biggest challenges we have,” he said. “I think a question that we’re not asking ourselves is: ‘Isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?’”
8. Stop being negative. “Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means, ‘I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down,’” the Pope said. “Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy.”
9. Don’t proselytise; respect others’ beliefs. “We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyses: ‘I am talking with you in order to persuade you,’ No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytising,” the Pope said.
10. Work for peace. “We are living in a time of many wars,” he said, and “the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive” and dynamic.
Courtesy of the Catholic News Service.