Sunday, May 10, 2015

Bakin' Bacon

May 10, 2015

It's been roughly four years since this post was written, and I find it hard to believe that Mother has been absent with us and present with the Lord for two years and almost three weeks. Mother's Day is bittersweet now. I'm so thankful for her life and her influence that manifests itself in my life more and more as my life speeds so quickly by.

Mother showed us how to live and she showed us how accept the inevitable changes that come, whether we are ready for them or not. And she showed us how to let go when it was time - with courage and hope and peace. I will love you forever, Mom. Heaven is so much sweeter and hope-filled knowing you and Dad and finally "Together Forever."


I must disagree, at least somewhat, with the notion that “you can’t go home again.” For the past month I’ve been living under my mother’s roof, two or three days at a time, as my siblings and I rotate in 24/7 to care for her. Mother’s move to an assisted living facility is approaching, and this special home setting will be gone.

God has given us time with Mother as she meticulously sorts through old Bibles, antique books, pictures, crochet books, and other memorabilia as she secures the things she wants to keep with her. I find myself listening more closely to her advice and helpful household hints. I’m blessed to have the 88-year-old hands of a master craftswoman to patiently show me how to crochet.

The simple housekeeping chores and putting three home-cooked meals on the table at regular intervals feel so natural in her home. The same activities in my home are sporadically wedged in among other priorities that are given much more importance than they deserve.

Mother’s gentle spirit fills each and every room, yet her dogged determination to work at regaining more mobility, inch by inch, is inspirational. She is maintaining her maternal presence as she accepts the major change that is approaching all too quickly. Her calm faith and resolve are keeping the emotions of each one of us intact. Mother’s presence in her new home will only add to the gracious atmosphere of the genteel residents who await her arrival. And, her recipe for cherry cream pie will join the delicacies introduced by new residents.

Have you ever baked bacon? It’s one of those wonderful helpful hints of Mother’s: Place the bacon strips in a loaf pan equipped with a drip pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Your house will smell wonderful and there are no greasy splatters. The bacon is tender and absolutely delicious. Believe me, the end results are worth the extra time.

An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.

Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future.

She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children rise up and bless her;

Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates.
Proverbs 31:10, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 31 (NASB).

Thank you, Lord, for blessing my life with this Jewel of Encouragement I call “Mom.”

Re-posted from Nancy K. Sullivan at
Nancy K. Sullivan

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Dad celebrating his 21st year in Heaven today. To say I still miss him would be like sharing that the sky is blue.

Marion Walter McCall ("Mac")was a quiet, yet strong presence in our home. Hardworking and so steady. We could set the clock by the time he arrived home from work each and every day. His word was the final say. Mother may have coached him in some of his decisions, but any attempt to change his mind would have been useless, probably because of his strong character and his sense of conviction when it came to the protection and rearing of his four children.

Dad quit school during the depression so he could work to help my grandfather support their family and other relatives who managed to find their way to my grandparents’ tiny home in Oklahoma City.

When WWII broke out, Dad enlisted in the Army. A young husband and father of two would be on a ship, with many other soldiers who left their loved ones behind. While they were en route to Japan, and being chased by a submarine, the war ended. But Dad would still spend 11 months away from home, first in the Philippines where he drove a truck and dodged snipers for three months, then back to Japan for occupational duty guarding prisoners of war put to the task of rebuilding war-torn roads. Those first three months must have seemed like an eternity for him because there were 103 letters waiting for him when he finally reached Japan.

Dad was a self-taught musician. He learned a few chords from his dad and, in the early years of getting to know my mom, he sat on his front porch and played his guitar. Mom sat on her front porch --- next door --- and listened. Guess they were both a little shy. That subtle courtship led to almost 54 years of marriage, four children, nine grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

Music was such a strong connection with Dad. It was so natural to see him sitting in the living room, guitar perched on his knee as he played and either whistled or hummed songs like “Blue Skies,” “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?” or my favorite, ”Little Coquette.” He loved the more jazzy sounds of “Kansas City Blues” and many others that I never knew had a name.

We have precious few pictures of these moments in time. Photographing him playing the guitar would have been like taking a snapshot of someone brushing his teeth or eating dinner. He made the decision early on to choose family over seeking the world of entertainment, though he surely would have had great success with his talent. Sunday lunch was prepared to the strains of “Amazing Grace,” “Just a Closer Walk” and any other requests spoken by the busy kitchen brigade. Sometimes my sister and I managed to slip away from our assigned jobs and into the living room to sing with him.

The photo below is of the band Dad played with on a local radio show in Oklahoma City. He is standing, second from the left.

His “real” career began as a delivery boy for Veazy’s Drug stores. He delivered prescriptions, first on a bicycle and later on a Harley. That job, briefly interrupted by the war, eventually led to managing shipping and receiving departments for two similar chains. The constant lifting of heavy boxes kept his muscled shoulders strong until they were ravaged by the lung cancer that would end his life three months before his 74th birthday.

Along with music, Dad’s legacy was his faith and love for his family. He was a deacon, Sunday School teacher and, in his later years, a choir member. Mom remained his sweetheart until the day he died. He required very little for himself --- an occasional new guitar, his favorite TV westerns, a couple of Studebakers (and later Fords) and lots of bowling. Those strong shoulders were meant for that sport.
Marion and Goldie McCall
50th Wedding Anniversary
August 22, 1990
I thought I would stop breathing at the same time as Dad. But God just gives us the strength to carry on and the hope that makes us long for our eternal home with each of our loved ones.

Love you, Dad
See you soon.

"How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night
He will be like a tree planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.”
(Psalm 1:1-3, NASB)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Philippians 4:4-9

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentle spirit be known to all men.
The Lord is near.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer
And supplication with thanksgiving let your requests 
be made known to God.
And the peace of God, 
which surpasses all comprehension,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, 
whatever is honorable,
whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is of good repute,
if there is any excellence and 
if anything worthy of praise,
dwell on these things.”
(Philippians 4:4-9 NASB)


Saturday, December 13, 2014


Three years ago we pulled some of our family favorite recipes together to preserve and share traditional foods prepared for generations of the McCall’s and Anderson’s. You may recognize them as part of your own collection or find something new to try. Wishing you a blessed Christmas Season and the warmth of memories – past and present.

1 12 oz. Bag of Cranberries
1 Cup Sugar 1 Cup Water
1 Large Box Cherry Jello (Sugar Free is fine)
8 oz of Mini Marshmallows (about ½ bag of miniatures)
2 Cups Chopped Celery
2 Cups Chopped (Peeled) Apples
1 Cup Chopped Nuts

Cook cranberries, sugar and water in saucepan until all cranberries pop open. Stir in Jello until well blended. Add marshmallows and stir until melted, then let cool. Add celery, apples and nuts. Put in mold or in bowl and refrigerate.

1/2 lb LARGE Marshmallows cut into pieces. (You do not want to use mini marshmallows because they do not soak up the juice of the pineapples.)
1 Large Can Crushed Pineapple in syrup, not juice.
1 Pint Whipping Cream (add sugar or sweetener to taste)
OPTIONAL – chopped pecans to taste.

The night before serving, use kitchen scissors (dip blades into glass of water to prevent sticking) and Cut marshmallows into 5 or 6 pieces. Stir in pineapple. Cover and refrigerate.
The next morning, beat whipping cream until peaks form, add sugar (or sweetener) and gently stir into marshmallow/pineapple mixture. Add pecans, if desired.
Keep refrigerated until served.
Can be enjoyed alone or as topping to your favorite pie or cake.

1 14 oz. Bag of Caramels        
2/3 Cup Evaporated Milk
1 Box German Chocolate Cake Mix        
3/4 Cup of Margarine (not butter) Softened
1 Cup of Chopped Nuts (Optional)
6 oz. of Semi-Sweet Chips

Combine caramels and 1/3 cup of evaporated milk in double boiler. Stir until melted and set aside.
Combine all other ingredients mixing by hand, not with a mixer.
Grease and flour a 13 x 9 baking dish.
Take approximately 2/3 of the batter and with teaspoons drop brownie mixture in bottom of pan like you are making cookies. It will blend together when it cooks.
Bake at 350 deg. for only 8 minutes until bottom of pan is covered.
Then pour melted caramel over the top and sprinkle chocolate chips over the caramel.
Take the remaining brownie mixture and, using teaspoon, place over sections of the top.
Bake another 15 minutes.
Do not overcook!

LEAH’S YULE LOG (Bouche de Noel)
6 Egg Whites at room temperature
6 Egg Yolks
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Cocoa
1 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
Dash of Salt
Confectioner’s Sugar

1 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream – Chilled
1 1/2 Cup Confectioner’s Sugar
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Teaspoon Vanilla

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9 x 13 jelly roll pan.
 Line the pan with wax paper and grease it also.
Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form.
Add 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time until thick – about 4 minutes.
At a low speed, add cocoa, vanilla and salt until smooth.
With a wire whisk, fold yolk mixture into the egg whites until blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, lay out a kitchen towel and sift confectioner’s sugar on it – as big as the cake pan.
When the cake has finished baking, remove it from the oven and carefully invert the pan over onto the prepared towel.
Remove the pan and wax paper, carefully.
Roll the cake in the towel and place seam side down on a cooling rack for about 30 minutes.
While the cake is cooling, mix all the ingredients for the filling until thick.
Unroll the cake. Spread the filling on the cake and roll it up.
Reserve some filling for the outside of the cake.
Place on a serving plate and frost the outside of the cake.
To make the cake look like bark, drag a fork down the length of the cake.
Garnish with holly and finish with sifted confectioner’s sugar before serving.
(Nancy’s note: It’s beautiful and light. One piece is never quite enough!)

4 1/2 Cups Sugar
3 3/4 Cups Flour
1 1/2 Cups of Wesson Oil
6 Eggs
3 Cans Canned Pumpkin
1 Cup Water
1 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
3 Teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 Teaspoon Salt 1 Cup Pecans Sift dry ingredients.

Make a well in the middle. Dump in the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
NOTE: Use a very large pan to stir everything.
Then put in the large electric mixer bowl in increments (because it is usually too much to put in all at one time) and mix on slow speed just to be sure it is mixed well.
Grease and dust with flour 3 loaf pans (11 3/4 x 5 5/8 x 3 1/4 )
Bake at 350 deg for one hour or until done.
Recipe makes 3 loaves.

AUNT JOYCE’S CHILI (This recipe is huge. If you’re expecting a large crowd for an event or want plenty to graze on for 2 or 3 days, this one’s for you)
8 Pounds of Lean Hamburger Meat
4 Packages of McCormick’s Chili Seasoning (Joyce uses 3 regular and 1 hot)
4 Packages of McCormick’s Taco Seasoning (regular)
1 Large Onion, diced 1 Green Pepper, diced 2-3 Cans Regular Size Tomato Sauce, depending on how thick you prefer your chili to be (Joyce prefers Hunts)
2 Cans of Ranch Style Beans (Joyce uses one with peppers and one without. Adjust to your taste) LARGE PAN FOR COOKING

NOTE: Some of the Chili Seasonings call for 2 lbs. of meat per package. Be sure you do not use 4 packages for 2 lbs. of meat. This recipe is for 8 lbs. of beef.

Brown meat and drain, if necessary. (90% lean doesn’t need to be drained) Add onions and green peppers to meat while it cooks. When meat is done, add tomato sauce, then the seasonings. Mix well. Add beans. Cook slowly on low heat. Stir occasionally. It it’s thicker than you like, add water or more sauce.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Everyone's Pro Life by Ann Garboczi Evans...

Welcome, Anne!  Thank you so much for sharing at A Softer Voice...

Everyone’s Pro-Life
Everyone’s Pro-Life. I mean everyone supports some people living. Many Pro-Abortion activists care deeply about saving the lives of domestic violence victims.  Even Hitler, evil personified to 21st century Americans, was Pro Aryan Nazis living long, healthy lives.
What should distinguish us as Pro-Lifers is that we care about all lives, not just some. But that’s a difficult task we set ourselves. I think a lot of Pro-Lifers believe if a pregnant mother would only say no to abortion, the battle for life would be won. For some women, this is the case. For example, a forty-year-old married mother of two teenagers gets pregnant with a change-of-life baby. She considers abortion because the baby is inconvenient, but then changes her mind. No abortion, problem solved, the baby will grow up in a loving home and go on to greatness.
But rejecting abortion does not solve all problems for many unborn children. When I was pursuing my Master’s in Counseling, I interned in a juvenile jail. You might not know this, but a large percentage of incarcerated teenage girls are pregnant, have a child, or have had an abortion. As I spent hours counseling the girls, they opened up about their lives and kids.
Most of the girls came to jail addicted to drugs or alcohol. Few were on the track to graduate high school, and when they talked about how they earned money, many mentioned prostitution. Yet, as they talked about their children, there was love in their voices. Even the ones who aborted talked about the dreams they used to have of holding that child.
But these girls were no more going to properly raise a child than go to college. The children who hadn’t been aborted were either with grandma, or placed in foster care by the state. The baby daddies had long since fled town, if the girl even knew which man (many of the 14-year-olds slept with 30-year-old men) had fathered her child.
Infant adoption, that’s the key, most Pro-Lifers say. There are hordes of infertile American couples longing to adopt a healthy infant and willing to pay through the nose to do so. These parents-in-waiting are usually well-educated, on the wealthy side, loving, and exceptionally well-prepared to be excellent parents. Perfect solution for incarcerated, drug-abusing, or teenage pregnant women, right?
Wrong. I know the drug-abusing teens I worked with in the jail. They aren’t going to give their baby up for adoption. First off, you need the fathers’ consent, and most of those men are too irresponsible to sign away their rights. I counseled one girl who got an abortion just so she didn’t have to deal with the birth father.
Second, it takes a strong woman to sign away her rights before even seeing her child. The teens I worked with were too immature for that. No, they’ll keep their baby while its snuggly, neglect it some, skip the pediatrician visits. The baby will turn one and start getting into trouble. Maybe they’ll leave the baby home alone while they go a party and social services will get involved. The terrible twos may inspire substance abusing mom to physical abuse or perhaps her latest boyfriend will sexually abuse the child. The child will be taken away to foster care.
At this point, the child’s been neglected, abused, and “damaged” in the eyes of the wealthy, well-educated, exceptionally well-prepared couples who fund domestic infant adoption.
Twenty-five percent of children admitted to foster care are ages 0-3. Many are drug-exposed infants admitted to foster care directly from the hospital. No one’s lining up to foster these babies. Foster care usually doesn’t pay for daycare, so if you accept children who aren’t in school yet, you probably can’t be a working mom. Babies are expensive: diapers, formula, outgrow clothes every few weeks. Foster care stipends may cover the expenses of a school-aged child, but they’re unlikely to stretch far enough to cover all of an infant’s needs. And though most young children admitted to foster care end up needing an adoptive home, foster parents have no grantees. You put everything on the line by loving a child whole-heartedly and yet still may have to give him back to less than stellar birth parents.
Is it any surprise that not many adults are signing up for the job? Since there’s always a shortage of foster parents, social workers are forced to accept less than ideal foster families. Perverts have been known to sign up for foster care so they can have a stream of children to abuse. There are terrible stories of foster children being emotionally, physically, or sexually abused by foster parents.
So what’s to be done? Pro-Lifers need to be more involved in foster care. It’s easy to be Pro-Life if you’re only worried about saving some lives, cute infants, healthy babies. Hitler could do that. But to fully embrace every life takes even more than passing a law against abortion or talking young girls into keeping their babies. Being fully Pro-Life demands an all out, self-sacrificial overhaul of society where we really do embrace the “least of these” no matter their age, problems, criminal history, or substance abuse.
Being Pro-Life requires talking about foster care.

          Anne holds a Master’s in Counseling and Bachelor’s in Classical Liberal Arts. She has had a passion for writing historical fiction ever since reading Rosemary Sutcliff’s novels as a preteen. She wrote her first full length novel at fifteen. She is a military spouse and mother to a little boy, “Joe-Joe.”
          Her inspiration for Scorched Earth came from moving to the Colorado Rockies. She loves reading Christian fiction and wanted to weave a lighthearted tale about love, rivalry, and the taming of the west.
          When not writing, you can find Anne reading Dr. Seuss for the 100th time, vainly attempting to potty train Joe-Joe, or working on her fixer-upper house with her husband.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Christian Women's Voice

     Christian Women's Voice has been an unexpected blessing in my life. One that I could never have known to seek or imagine would come to me.

     Debbie Dillon and I met in Patty Wysong's Clearing the Blog Fog class a few years ago and, for reasons I could never explain, the Lord placed me on Debbie's list of contributors as she took this giant step of faith. It is my joy to be included, stretched, and challenged when each semi-monthly deadline rolls around.

     I would be remiss not to take advantage of our "C" week to publicly thank Debbie and to acknowledge her faithfulness to the calling of her amazing ministry to women of all ages, all walks of life. Each issue is lovingly set in place by Debbie, and the results confirm that she has been called to this special outreach. 

     See for yourself at what obedience and God-given ability can produce at  . If you have a business or writing project to promote, you'll find a beautiful place to advertise and at a remarkable value in Christian Women's Voice.

Has God place something bigger than you on your heart?

"In God I have put my trust, 
       I shall not be afraid..."  
       (Psalm 56:11, NASB) 

 "Commit your works to the Lord
  And your plans will be established."  
          (Proverbs 16:3, NASB)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


     This past week’s meme is almost too easy. October is the month that brings me to Beautiful Branson. The second week of this month is pretty phenomenal in the Ozarks, and we’ve been setting this vacation week aside each year for many years.

     The crisp air and beautiful sunshine make for a great place to recharge after a toasty Oklahoma summer. And the foliage is usually reaching its peak, although the leaves were being a little stubborn in giving up their summer green this fall. But, belated fall colors aside, you just can’t spoil the atmosphere there this time of the year. Fall decorations complete with smiling scarecrows and pumpkin patches affirm that fall has definitely arrived. The aroma of cinnamon and fall spices can get a reformed carb addict in serious trouble here.
Sight 'n Sound Theater

     Sight ‘n Sound Theater has such amazing productions. Jonah was the story told in unforgettable fashion this year. The music. The actors. The set. And the special effects? Just … WOW! A new show in town at Hamner’s Theater is a great variety event of talented musicians, acrobats, magicians, and dancers. And the magician is also a minister who leads in Sunday morning services at the theater. It was a little sad to see that Jim Stafford did not return to his theater this year. And the passing of Andy Williams is a huge signal that things just don’t remain the same in our lives.

Bridge at Dogwood Canyon
Built by the Amish

Dogwood Canyon
The highlight of this year’s trip was spending time with family and having the opportunity to introduce some of them to our favorite faces and places. The one that has moved to the top of my list is Dogwood Canyon, a 10,000-acre park with trails for walking, biking, and hiking, streams for trout fishing, waterfalls and stately trees for photographing. And, if you’re in the mood for some up-close-and-personal face time with buffalo, elk, and long-horn steers, a 2-hour tram ride will make that happen. Personally, I prefer walking for that two hours. It's a slice of Heaven on earth to this former country gal. But, next year I may even try the Segway! FYI: It's located about 30 miles south of Branson and you will need a map or Siri to get you there.

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