The Option To Survive Despite Trepidation.

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Fear and struggles in life can leave a person empty. No doubt about it. Sometimes, the smallest struggle can seem monumental. Sometimes, the smallest fear can seem monumental. We have all felt this way. Worry about small happenings can border on behavior that considers only ourselves. In light of recent occurrences in our world, I think that we need to broaden our scope. 


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Take the time to look at the big picture. Think of a way to help someone in need. Most likely…there are families in your own town that are struggling to survive.


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Find them. Help them. Talk to them. Survival can be a gift. A gift from you. 

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Share a message of hope…just one step towards a sense of peace. What else can we personally do at this moment in time? Take the first step.


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Your Actions Reflect Who You Really Are. So…Why Not Make A Good Impression?

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Charm School was an important class for twelve and thirteen year old girls in my hometown. We grew up knowing that Charm School was most likely going to be a part of our middle school years. The class was not associated with our regular school classes at all. Charm School was taught so that we would know how to make a good impression on others…to know what is right and what is wrong…to grow up to be “proper”.


Now I know that many people needed and still need to learn how to be “proper”!


Charm School was just like taking tap dance or piano lessons. Only in Charm School, we were expected to be total young ladies at all times…not so easy when you are still playing baseball with all of the boys in the neighborhood! Plus…playing in the creek…the ultimate un-ladylike place in town.


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Poor, poor teacher…she had her work cut out for her with our group! The same lady had been teaching the class for years and she was the epitome of decorum. The teacher gave us a quote on the first night of our class and we repeated it every week. It happened to be a favorite quote that my mother told me many times from before I even started elementary school. She must have thought that I might need some assistance in the charm area someday! I had a big brother so I was going to stand up for myself…no matter what!


So…THE QUOTE helped!




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Our Charm School Quote…


The world is like a mirror

Reflecting who you are 

And what you do.

So give to the world 

The best that you have…

And the best will come back to you!



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Words for anyone to live by…especially in  the world we live in today!

A Catalyst and A Catapult. My Teacher.

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Funny how you can remember certain moments in your childhood just like they were yesterday. I remember my entire Fourth Grade year at Pinewood Park Elementary in Longview, Texas. In my mind, I can see the classroom on the first day of school and my name in cursive on my desk.

I know who sat beside me (Jimmy) and who was in my reading group. I still know my friends and what has happened in their lives…Kathy, Barbara, Grace Anne, Georgia and so many more…some in my class and some in another class. I can still see my mother helping at the Halloween party and the ghost cookies that she made. I remember that I got to help put up the flag every day. I still know how to fold the flag and the rules to follow. I remember so very much.



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All because…

My teacher was fun. My teacher told us how much we meant to her. My teacher made us feel smart and wise beyond our years. She called us her SHINING STARS. We believed her and she believed in us. 



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My teacher was the important catalyst and the catapult that pushed us on to be what we needed to be…at that time and later on in life. I am thinking that all children truly deserve a teacher who loves teaching and truly loves children. When I began teaching school, I thought about my Fourth Grade teacher, but I was teaching the little ones in Kindergarten. Still…I decided how to teach by following her example. Later, I taught Third Grade and I started seriously thinking about my Fourth Grade teacher.


And then…I had the opportunity to teach Fourth Grade. On the first day of school…I knew what my teacher was able to achieve. She gave a class of talkative Fourth Graders a real idea of what school could be like…what education meant. She told us that she believed in us…she told us that we were her stars…she told us that we could be anything that we wanted to be.


Thank you, Mrs. Pruitt for teaching me how to teach…long before I even thought about teaching school. You taught me that a child could learn and have fun at the same time.



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I remembered that you let us paint at easels when we finished our work. I still have one of my paintings. The painting that I saved is the reason why I asked for an easel for my own Fourth Graders. Guess what! Your teaching method still works!





Seemingly Adrift. Why?


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As the sea swirled untamed above the oblivious seaweed

Water engulfed every small crevice of the hidden coral reefs… 

Even though the wordless storms battered the wary Earth,

The reef’s ledge offered the assurance of tranquility and peace

To a world adrift in the seemingly illusive search for solace.




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Tamale Pie & Green Chile Cornbread! Texas Style Home Cooking!

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Tamales were sold on Friday afternoon at a bilingual school where I taught in Fort Worth. The school didn’t prepare the tamales...mothers of children who were students made them. Orders would be quietly taken earlier in the week.


Que tipo de tamale quieres? Cerdo? Pollo? Queso? Cuantos? Dos Docenas? Muchas Gracias!


We could hardly wait until Friday afternoon to get our tamales. One teacher (and surprisingly it was not me!) admitted that she had four tamales while driving home… just a little snack, you know! The principal of my school at that time didn’t approve AT ALL of the mothers selling tamales in the school. So…the tamales would be delivered right after the last bell rang and brought to the teachers by the children. There was usually so much chaotic talking and running after school on Friday that the principal never seemed to notice the sales transactions. Or maybe she was in her office waiting for her own tamales! Who knows?!


The tamales would be warm and wrapped in foil. The sheer anticipation of those tamales helped us to get through many a Friday! I still crave tamales on Friday afternoons!


I have never learned how to make my own tamales. One of the parents said that her church made tamales to sell at Christmas. She invited me to help out and in the long process…I could learn all the tricks of making tamales. Alas…we were going to be out of town that weekend. I really need to call the parent and invite myself to help next Christmas! Tamales take a long time to make and the following slow cooker recipe tastes close to the real thing! I found the recipe several years ago in an East Texas regional magazine!


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Tamale Pie & Green Chile Cornbread


8 oz dried pinto beans

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 lb. ground beef

1 cup diced onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons oregano

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 14.5 can diced tomatoes

1 cup frozen or fresh corn

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 recipe of Green Chile Cornbread batter (see recipe below)


Soak bean in 3 cups of water in a saucepan overnight. Add baking soda to pan and bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Skim and discard any foam from top. Drain beans; reserving 1 1/4 cups liquid and place into a 4-6 quart slow cooker.

Saute ground beef, onion, garlic, cumin, paprika, chili powder, salt, oregano and cayenne in oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until beef is cooked through. Drain drippings and transfer mixture to slow cooker, do not stir. Cover slow cooker and cook until beans are creamy and tender on high setting, for about 3 hours.

Add tomatoes and  corn to slow cooker, stir in tomato paste to combine. Top filling with cornbread batter (see recipe below). Cover slow cooker and cook until a toothpick inserted in center of cornbread comes out clean, about 1 hour on low setting. Top with cheese and chives, cover until cheese melts for (about 5 minutes).

Green Chile Cornbread


3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

3/4 shredded pepper jack cheese

3/4 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1 4.5 oz. can green chilies

2 teaspoons fresh chives


Combine cheddar and pepper jack cheese in a small bowl. Whisk together cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of cheese mixture, buttermilk, egg, and chilies. Stir dry and wet ingredients until combined. Pour into slow cooker.

***Follow Tamale Pie directions above Cornbread recipe for adding the cornbread batter to the slow cooker. Remember to top with remaining cheese and chives after the cornbread cooks with the Tamale Pie ingredients for one hour. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes.







What Goes Up Must Come Down. So Says Sir Isaac Newton.


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With other words, we might say…what ascends must descend


This is gravity. Gravity is a force that we are not able to see. Gravity is like a magnet attracting objects back to Earth. When we throw a tennis ball up into the air, the ball comes right back down. When we are hiking and encounter a large hill, we might find hiking quite a bit more difficult. Why? Gravity brings the ball down, gravity makes it harder to walk up an incline.  The Earth’s gravity is pulling the ball back down and trying to pull us away from climbing the hill. If we did not have gravity, the ball would continue upward and float away to outer space…and so would we. 

Gravity literally pulls everything towards the center of the Earth. When the object is heavier and solid rather than hollow, gravity attracts the object back to earth with a stronger force.


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Why do you think that we need gravity besides the fact that we would not want to float away into space? There are two more reasons why we need gravity…


1. Gravity makes certain that the Earth revolves around the sun. Therefore, we can survive on Earth because we are warm and not freezing.

2. Think about what other important property descends to Earth…water that arrives as rain and snow. 


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So…how do we know so much about gravity? Thank you to Sir Isaac Newton for his discovery of gravity! Newton was a brilliant, eccentric and at times mentally stressed English scientist. 



“I have no new ideas for my science book. I’ll be the laughing stock of the scientific community!”


Suddenly an apple fell on his head. He began to wonder, “Why did the apple fall down and not go up?”


Just then, an idea struck Newton. “I’ve got it! Some force must be pulling it down! I’m going to call it GRAVITY.”


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1939 Recipe for Lemon-Cream Doughnuts! From American Cookery Magazine!

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Published by the Boston Cooking School, American Cookery is a like a slow stroll through yesteryear. The January, 1939 issue is a favorite that I have found on my recent antique mall search and rescue expeditions! It better be one of my favorites…I tried to balance on a stack of books to reach the old magazines. I could not find any salespeople at all. I finally found a yardstick to try to knock off just a few of the magazines. This 78 year old American Cookery magazine was the only one to fall to the floor. 


I sort of had to buy the magazine after I pushed it on the floor and then proceeded to (by accident!) step on the magazine. Since I was receiving stares from shoppers and becoming rather notorious…I bought the magazine and rushed to my car.


I think that I will wait a few more weeks before going back to that particular antique mall. I think that there might be behavior rules posted…like…do not get any items down by yourself.

Ask for help immediately!!??!!


A Delicious Recipe from American Cookery Magazine

January, 1939


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Lemon-Cream Doughnuts



6 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice plus enough Carnation Milk to make 1 cup

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

4 1/2 cups cake flour or 4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons cream of soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg



Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. Gradually add sugar, beating while adding. Add Carnation Milk and lemon rind. Sift dry ingredients together and add to first mixture. Place in refrigerator for five hours. Roll out 1/4 inch thick and, using a doughnut cutter, cut into doughnut shapes. Fry in deep fat (365 degrees). Yield: 3 1/2 dozen doughnuts, 2 1/2 inches in diameter.



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Doughnuts pictured above have also been dipped in sugar. Cinnamon may also be used. The amount of sugar and/or cinnamon is your choice! This addition was not included in the original recipe!