remembering & a recipe

Yesterday afternoon I was preparing to have company that evening, but all the while I was missing my Granny - she's been gone to Glory for a week now.

Then it struck me....

What better way to reminisce the life of a lady I loved so dearly than to make one of her "famous" recipes for our guests!

At her funeral a couple of days ago, almost everyone who shared a memory spoke of her hospitality.  Her daughters said her simple and unapologetic style was a lesson to them, while her grandkids all remembered many, many delicious meals.  Homemade bread and jelly would have been the most traditional thing I could have served our friends last night, but I decided to pull out a recipe that she made often when the ladies of the church were required to bring "dainties" and always at Christmas time.

In my recipe book, it is simply called "Granny's Cheesecake" (though there is no cheese in it!).

I love this recipe because it's simple - no mixer required! - and light.  Like many recipes in my family book, the instructions are ....brief.  But really, brief is plenty in this case!

Granny's Cheesecake

Mix together:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (crush them yourself if you like extra work!)
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup melted butter

Press half the mixture into the bottom of a 5x7 pan. (I used an 8x8 that's teflon.  The recipe didn't say to grease it...so I didn't, but if your pan is not non-stick, maybe you want to?)

In a separate bowl, mix together:

1 can Eagle Brand milk (there was a time that this was a very popular baking ingredient!)
1/2 cup lemon juice (I used one fresh squeezed lemon to make 1/4 cup and filled the rest with bottled juice.  I know my Granny never would have used fresh lemon - too expensive, but I happened to have one on hand.)
1 tsp lemon extract

Pour into pan and top with the rest of the crumb mixture.  Lightly press.

(You can turn the pan different angles to get the filling into the corners!)

Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.  (I think I should have done 25 min in the 8x8 pan, but it still turned out great!)

I left it in the pan for the afternoon and cut it just before our guests arrived.  The crumb mixture is very crumbly (go figure) but the filling holds it together just right!

As I pressed the crumbs on top of the filling, I noticed I left a few hand prints.  I smiled as I could imagine my hands becoming Granny's hands, her rings on swollen-from-work fingers, delicately but quickly pressing the crumbs in - there are other chores to be done!  I thought about how many of her hand prints I hand eaten over the years in her cheesecake, breads, toffee, and many other specialties.

Of course I never thought of such crazy things at the time... but I guess that's what memories are for.



walking in the room
i felt drawn to her
as i always have

she would greet me with a smile
a big hug
"my girl"
something cooking on the stove

i looked at her face-
was her brow furrowed
or are the lines there from years of squinting in the sun?

her eyes laid closed
but i remember their sparkle
blue like love

i held her hand
it was warmer than the other day
her breathing has changed

i looked at her arm and asked about the bruises
i thought about her watch and
how i used to turn and stretch it as she held my hand
and i studied her skin

i stroked her hand and saw her wedding ring
such a lovely setting
her heart belonging only to him even after he was gone

i listened to her breathe
like a deep sleep
with a sense of urgency
and i prayed

we love her, Jesus
we know You do too
be her Comfort
be her Peace




Today has been an average Thursday.

I got my teeth cleaned.
I went to our weekly staff meeting at the church.
I did some laundry and tidied the house.
The kids had music lessons.
I didn't make supper (thank you McHelper).
We had some sweet couples over for our young marrieds small group.
I tucked kids in, listened to prayers and kissed soft cheeks.

But this average Thursday has had a sound track that has been running through my mind (and playing on my computer) all day.

"O Love That Will Not Let Me Go" by George Matheson

This beautiful old hymn has been my sound track as I stretched out on the dentist's chair, as I washed sheets and put away lego pieces and stacked books.  These words have rung on as I have driven to and fro, as I made coffee and waved good bye to our guests.  Lyrics have become prayer as I thought of my loved ones walking through scary and deep waters, as I pondered the coming days, weeks, months.

  1. O Love that wilt not let me go,
    I rest my weary soul in thee;
    I give thee back the life I owe,
    That in thine ocean depths its flow
    May richer, fuller be.
  2. O light that foll’west all my way,
    I yield my flick’ring torch to thee;
    My heart restores its borrowed ray,
    That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
    May brighter, fairer be.
  3. O Joy that seekest me through pain,
    I cannot close my heart to thee;
    I trace the rainbow through the rain,
    And feel the promise is not vain,
    That morn shall tearless be.
  4. O Cross that liftest up my head,
    I dare not ask to fly from thee;
    I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
    And from the ground there blossoms red
    Life that shall endless be.

And on an average Thursday, I trace the rainbow through the rain and feel - as best as I can - the promise is not vain.  I lift up my burdens and the burdens of those I love and I try to trust enough for all of us.  

O Love, You will not let us go.



I broke my promise to myself.  At the beginning of the year, I committed to reading the Bible through in a year, and this time I wasn't going to let myself get more than a week behind.

So far today I've read the scripture passages for April 27 and 28.

BUT, I'm reading and I'm thankful for the Holy Spirit whispering to me.  The kids ran out the door for school and my eyes fell on the new issue of Better Homes and Gardens that I picked up yesterday.  I was saving it for today... but I heard the whisper "do not neglect My Word."

Picking up my Daily Devotional Bible, I knew what was coming (and maybe that's why I was putting it off a little): Job.  Not exactly uplifting material. Very real life.

And yet!

I saw something today that I hadn't noticed before.  (If you have, please smile knowingly as I share my "discovery.")

You know the story of Job - super good guy, considered "the finest man in all the earth- a man of complete integrity" by the Lord Himself.  Satan assumes Job is this way because of all the blessing he has received from the Lord, so God allows Satan to take away everything - everything - except Job's life.  Job is obviously very shaken by this turn of events but never curses God...questions, yes, but never curses.

But what I noticed today was a certain longing that Job expressed as he sat with his friends and they tried to counsel and comfort him.  Two times (in the 14 chapters I've read so far!) Job speaks in "if only" terms that seem to point to someone he didn't know - Jesus.

In chapter 9, Job addresses his buddy Bildad, reminding him of how awesome and in control God is.  At the end of the chapter, you can almost see his gaze change from looking into the face of his friend, to looking far off - maybe to the sky - as he wonders aloud:

"If only there were a mediator who could bring us [God and people] together, but there is none." (v33)

Did a scripture just pop into your mind?

"For there is one God and one mediator 
between God and mankind, 
the man Christ Jesus." 
1 Timothy 2:5

Later in chapter 14, Job laments that life is all there is - he assumes there is nothing after the last breath.

"If mortals die, can they live again? This thought would give me hope, and through my struggle I would eagerly wait for release.  You would call and I would answer, and you would yearn for me, your handiwork.  For then you would count my steps, instead of watching for my sins.  My sins would be sealed in a pouch, and you would cover over my iniquity."

He dreams of time where His sins are covered and His relationship with God is clean.  

"We have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place 
by the blood of Jesus...
let us draw near to God with a sincere heart 
and with the full assurance that faith brings, 
having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us 
from a guilty conscience and 
having our bodies washed with pure water." 
Hebrews 10:19-22

He dreams of restoration and newness that we know comes when God fulfills His promise of a new heaven and new earth...all because of the finished work of Jesus.

And I couldn't help but imagine the look on Job's face when he got to heaven, after a life devoted to God in good times and very difficult times.  I picture the Father pointing to His Son, and imagine Job's face as he looked into the eyes of Jesus.  Can you just see the slow recognition, as the bigger picture came into view?  Don't your eyes burn with tears as you envision Job, his own tears streaming down his face as he slowly falls to his knees in worship.  I imagine I can hear his voice whisper through his tears, "thank you. thank you. thank you."  

For he now knows it was Jesus all along.  Jesus was the Hope, the Mediator, the Plan.

Take the whisper with you all day long: thank you.
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