Southern Supper – Pork Chops and Baby Lima Beans featuring One Screw Loose Jelly 

I love bartering with my pickled veggies…especially when I get One Screw Loose jellies in return!  One Screw Loose jellies are made in small batches in Morrow, Georgia with fun ingredients that are great with cheeses and even more exciting in recipes. I’d heard their ‘Balsamic Vinegar Jelly With Vidalia Onions’ was especially yummy with pork chops so I gave it a whirl!

First, I sprinkled both sides of my pork chops with black pepper and a seasoned salt from Beautiful Briny Sea. I love the ‘French Picnic’ variety!  


 Next, I heated my frying pan to medium high heat with bacon fat and browned the pork chops in the bacon fat 2 minutes on each side. These were thin chops…so 2 minutes per side was plenty for this recipe.  Then I removed the chops from the hot pan and placed on a plate.  


I added 1/3 cup chicken broth to the hot pan and deglazed by whisking up the yummy bits on the bottom of the pan.  Then I added 1/2 a jar of One Screw Loose Balsamic Vinegar Jelly With Vidalia Onions. I stirred the jelly to help it melt into the broth and then turned the heat down to a low simmer. Once the jelly and broth started thickening, I added the pork chops back to the pan…turning them so both sides were coated with the sauce.  I let the pork chops simmer in the sauce for 3 minutes and they came out perfectly.  

  I served the pork chops with baby limas seasoned with country ham and brown rice …for a family pleasing supper…. With our pickled okra and pepper vinegar ’cause that’s just how we roll. 
 For more information about my friends’ yummy jellies….their website is: and to follow more tasty suppers and fun lifestyles…I’m on Twitter at and Instagram at 
Eat Good Food, y’all! 


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Finding Grace Over Spilled Milk


The kitchen floor had just been freshly mopped clean of a weeks’ worth of crumbs, dog hair, dirt…. and this happened …at 11pm. I kicked into off-my-rocker mode screaming at my middle child….. and then while cleaning up the milk and fruit loops from the counter, the inside of the kitchen utensils drawer, and the floor….a feeling of peace came over me. My screams and impatient feelings quickly turned to feelings of gratitude and love and we ended up hugging and talking about God’s grace through His son, Jesus. I think God just loves to add spilled milk to our perfect days every now and then to bring us back to CENTER. My middle child is 13 now and one day not too far from now…I bet I’ll remember all his spills and breaks and ooopsies …and I’ll smile knowing I shared my faith with him …and I pray he remembers it!  ….and really…it IS just milk on the floor. 

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Smith Brothers Grand Opening – Savannah, Georgia


Savannah friends,

Don’t miss the Grand Opening celebration at Smith Brothers Butcher Shop on East Liberty Street! I’ll be there Thursday, May 28, 4:30-7:00 sharing nibbles of my pickled veggies and my new cheese spreads, ‘Hot Mess’ and ‘Southern Charm’ pimento cheese. 

I’m looking forward to chatting with all of you!                                                          

Your Friend with PHUN benefits,



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How was your day, Honey?


I had a little surgery last week…which has led to a longer recovery time than I expected. It’s nothing to worry about, friends. It’s just not fun to be lying around while life goes on without me. Heck! I’m missing the Willie Nelson concert tonight at the Georgia Theatre…but it’s true. Things have a way of working out for good! My husband’s gonna take his daddy to the concert…which will be really nice for them. They haven’t had time like that together in a long time. The last time I saw Willie Nelson in concert, I went up to the stage at the end to get Willie’s autograph and instead… Willie reached down from the stage, picked me up, kissed me…then put me down. Then he gave me a crazy look.. you know, an ‘I gotta kiss you now!’ look. And he picked me up and kissed me again. I didn’t get his autograph…just a WET WILLIE! …kinda gross but AWESOME!

And if anyone deserves a night out, it’s my husband. Yesterday, I asked him: “How was your day, Honey?” …and I actually got out a notepad to document it. You see… while I’m recovering from the surgery, he’s doing all the things I normally do to keep our family life going + he’s doing all the things he normally does for our family business too. Here’s what he said:

I got up, tried to crank the van…but didn’t have enough gas, took the trash and recycling to the curb, then drove Rosey and Billups in the other car to school, picked up quart sized jars from the store, then went back home to pick up Kat, drove Kat to school, went to the pickle facility (our family business,) Janet (our employee) said we needed garlic, more jars, “everything!’, I labeled five cases of pickles, loaded them into the car, delivered the pickles to a store in Lilburn, then drove to Atlanta to get 50 cases of jars, then I went to pick up 2 boxes of beans, 1 box of dill weed, some blueberries, and carrots, I shoved all that in the car with the jars, then drove back to Athens. I stopped by Sam’s and picked up a container of peeled garlic and a TV, then went to the pickle facility, unloaded produce and jars, took the blueberries to the house, then grabbed an Arby’s coupon and ate at Arby’s before picking up Billups and Rosey from school, Took Billups to the YMCA, then Rosey and I went to Hilltop Grille to pick up payment for pickles, then we went back to Sam’s because I forgot vinegar, We got gas at Sam’s too, took vinegar to the pickle facility, then picked up Kat from school at 4:30, then drove out to the bank in Madison County to make a deposit, then dropped Kat off at CVS to get hair color and nail polish, then picked up Billups from the YMCA, then picked up Kat from CVS, then picked up pizza to take home.
See why I got out the notepad? Phew!

I guess what this post is about is… I am feeling grateful. On top of all that…he has also been doing all the home-cooking and playing with the kids. Last night…it was a ping pong tournament… Sunday, he made a balancing beam in our front yard for Rosey. I hope our kids know how fortunate they are to have a daddy that plays with them…especially in spite of his crazy schedule. For me…today will be another day of social media. The good things that’ve come out of this dang recovery time are that I’m appreciating my husband a lot more and he’s hopefully seeing how much I usually do for our family ….and with nothing else for me to do but network …I’ve managed to make a lot of new potential customers for our pickles!
Yes, lying around isn’t fun…but I’ve found that when I look for the silver lining, I find it! Don’t magnify the bad—instead magnify the GOOD! The more we talk about good, the larger good becomes. So friends, let’s be positive in our thoughts, moods, words, actions, and how we see others. A tiny part of my mind goes to thinking that maybe my husband’s getting tired of me being in recovery….but if I let my mind stay there…I would be depressed. Instead, I’m focusing on the good things…about how blessed I am to have a husband who has given me so much grace this past week.

20130130-115521.jpgLet the redeemed of The Lord say so, whom He has delivered from the hand of the adversary. ~Psalm 107:2 So…. How was your day, friends?

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If you need a giggle today….watch this video….from my home! HAPPINESS :)

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A Bit Of Inspiration


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Open Your Heart


I’ve done some pretty seemingly crazy things ….spontaneously…without using my brain …only my heart. I’m sure we all have…. Like the time I gave a homeless lady the shoes I was wearing …on my way to lunch with friends. I felt crazy …afterwards …walking into the shoe store barefooted. Noone was there to see that good deed… I got no prize. In fact, the new shoes I purchased to replace the ones I gave away were cheap and ugly and the only walking shoes I had for a decade there after. And that cold, homeless lady snapped at me and made me cry. …which made my toddler daughter in the back seat of my car cry too. haha! Where I’m going with this is: Our faithful daddy in heaven sees all our good deeds and He promises that when we give, we will be given to — “in good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over: ~Luke 6:38. This is also true for the LOVE we give others. I believe the love we give …even if it isn’t received the way we wish it would be at the time… will come back to us. So… don’t give up on people. …and give God the glory for your victories. That’s what this whole life thing is about. I love this quote for today: “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” ~Robert Heinlein

So…. Open the door to your hearts, friends. ….or at least wear your heart well…like the welcome basket that hangs on my friend Meg’s door in the picture above.


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TIME is on my side

The mama across the street sits on the steps with her little girl… practicing flash cards …and me? I can barely keep my eyes open. A smidgen feeling of guilt comes over me just for a minute as I pass by the mirror and catch the vision of myself…still in my nighties. It’s Sunday…and usually by now…I would’ve already taken the puppy out, spent time with God, posted an inspiring post on facebook, made breakfast, showered, dressed the kiddies and myself & be putting lunch together after Church. But…not today. Today…I need time to stand still. I need rest. I need I need I need I need I NEED! It’s just one of those days…when the whirlwind of busyness and overload has to be shut out and if I could…I’d spin myself into a cocoon…and not break through the web until I was ready for everyone who depends on me… ’til I was ready to give them the proper energy they need from me.

With a full email inbox, orders, deliveries, events and my creativity all mixed in with my kids being out of school for the summer…with no real schedule… I’m realizing that there really is no allotted time for rest. Relaxing just doesn’t get penciled in on the calendar…and so I’ll just have to fit it in when I can. So…my husband sped out to find some crickets, loaded up the kiddies and our new puppy, and headed out fishing. And…for a second…I wished I was going too. But now…with the house quiet and the sun shining in through my cobweb covered windows…I’m already feeling a little rejuvenated. Maybe it’s because there’s noone here to see me doing nothing. …and maybe I need to give myself permission to just do nothing more often…even smack dab right in front of them. <;-That would feel so weird to me though! 😉

Ha! Just look at my littlest in the above picture. She can conk out anywhere…even under a table on the asphalt at a festival. I think we all should try and be like kids more. Everyday my kids awaken is another day of endless possibilities and even in the midst of all the fun …they can still manage to just zone out and recoup.

Time alone is crucial for being able to spend enough time with yourself to face yourself. …to see yourself and all the components of your life spinning around you…permeating you. I’m thinking today about things that’ve happened to me and how I’ve reacted to those things. In every event… the times I’ve looked inward and given God room to work instead of reacting to people who’ve hurt me… those times have worked out for my good. And vice versa…when I haven’t given room for God to work…things often work out not the best for me. We all have a soul. It is who we are. It gives power to our personalities. I believe we are all perfect…if we’d just reach inside our hearts, grab the love, and throw it out to everyone in every circumstance. Of course…that’s a difficult thing to do…especially when someone does something …be in words or actions…that hurts us. I try to be better all the time…and remember that to God…we are ALL the apple of His eye. And so…I have to be careful with how I react to others…no matter what…for even if they’ve hurt me…they are still just a soul like I am… and that karma thing that I call God will take care of everything. ….if I could just learn to REST in Him and give Him room to work.

With an over-analyzing mind like I have… I have to constantly re-focus and remember the good things. As I uncluttered my ottoman to put my feet up….my Athens Magazine fell to the floor and reminded me that while I’m feeling less than good enough today…there is at least one person who thought enough of me to include me in the cover story featuring… ‘Athens Rising Stars.’ While it seems a bit not-true to me…that I’d be thought of this way…especially that I’d be grouped with the others like Hugh Acheson and Rebecca Lang… it does perk me up a bit. I have to admit…it’s also a little embarrassing! I mean…really? a star?? Well…today, I need this little perk me up and I’ll take it! So….for this I am thankful and I am feeling better now…about doing nothing for at least a little while. Although…the sun is terribly alluring…and I might just have to take the bait and move my lazy self outside to the porch!

So…if you too are having one of those Not-Enough-Time kinda days… re-focus and think back to all the TIME you have spent already…and give yourself a little break. …even if it’s just a few minutes. Pick up a book, your ipod, a photo album…and sit yourself down and look, listen, and reflect a bit. TIME is on your side…really. Trust me! If I could get through the last few months…and still be sorta sane…I know you can too! haha …and also, remember…we are all in this thing called life together. So…OPEN your eyes to the big picture …to the really important things. And…rest in God’s arms a bit. He loves giving hugs!

…& if it’s raining on your day…put on some silly & make it a great day!
Love y’all,

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Patience Is A Must-Have

Have you been experiencing challenges…little weighty words said by others…rocks in life that have left your praying knees scraped up? Well…you’re not alone.

Be happy…anyway. For a rough spat in life is like potting soil for patience. Sit in your circumstance for a bit…and let your patience take root. Eventually….with faith, your patience will push up through the muck and feel the warmth of the light and sprout and bloom! And then…your innerds will be ready to face the stuff happening on the outside. If you want to know what God wants you to do, just ask Him. And remember…nothing in life is wasted. Every experience is one for learning…for growing….for enlightening….for glorifying.

I often forget who’s really in charge. I try to analyze and figure out how I can fix what’s broken. Day by day…I am getting better at just being still and practicing patience. It’s been said that patience is a virtue. I say it is a must-have! Without patience, marriages crumble…teachers can’t have a positive impact on their students, children’s spirits are broken….and without patience…the proper time needed for a person to change isn’t allowed. And for all who say people can’t change. I believe differently. When going through difficult times…if we open our eyes to what’s really at the root of it all…what God wants to say…we allow Him to rearrange the stage…and the scene of life plays out divinely. I’d rather be the link that holds souls together than the one who refuses to patiently wait, pray, and believe…and end up making a mess of the work God is busy with. So… here I am, Lord. Use me up! I’m sure there’s someone in my life He’s using to work on me too….and that is just fine. I get those God Winks all the time.

20120427-084223.jpgStole this pic from a friend’s facebook…I just loved it!
“Of all powers, love is the most powerful because it alone can conquer that final and most impregnable stronghold which is the human heart.” ~Frederick Buechner

And…while it is unrealistic to never face people and circumstances and deal with stress and experience grief, anxiety, loss, and pain… we CAN be patient and target those not-so-fun areas of our lives with LOVE. …and like the Wilson Phillips song goes… Hold On For One More Day!

20120427-084833.jpgLove IS Patient!

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Cheer Up!

We’ve all had one of those Daniel Powter ‘Ya Had A Bad Day’ days…. but we all CAN climb up out of the dumps. We may not all climb up the same ladder to rise up out of our gloom…but all of us can find a way to build some steps out of whatever is weighing us down.

I do a good job (I’m told) of masking over my woes. ….a trait I’m pretty glad I have as I’d rather spread joy than gloom anyway. But…I have to be honest. There are some things I’ve got going on in my world that …if I don’t renew my mind…and get my focus right on track… they can really get on my nerves! …like the bricks that cover my home. I’ve always despised brown brick. It is just boring…and is hard for me to decorate around. So…when I walked outside to find that my littlest chicklet had cutified them…well, I had to giggle! And…now…I’m thinking about encouraging her to finish the whole wall! Why not? I mean…who cares?! I sure don’t! I like a little color… Who am I kidding? I like LOTS of color…

Just LOOK at me… Before meeting Chef Patric Bell in person the other day… I just HAD to send him a little pic of me in his favorite color… yellow. This pom pom is the first thing I could find…and I found it by tripping over it in my stairwell…one very cluttered stairwell. …cluttered with folded laundry, kids school papers, framed art waiting to be hung up….you name it. It collects there. But yay! I was looking for a way to send a little cheer across the cyber waves…and there it was! So…of course…I tweeted him the picture. He had to adore me already…right?! …and just like that…all my frustration I was feeling with my cluttered home…was like POOF! GONE! Yellow is a nice, uplifting color… hehe!

Oh look…. There are those boring brown bricks again. ….right behind those adorable children! Yes… how could I ever stay down in the dumps when I have these three cheerful, fun, creative, loving children?? And…why are they smiling in front of those boring bricks with their arms wide open? Well…that was a BIG day for us. After five long months of living here with no grass…just hard, red clay…we got sod! …and they had just gotten home from school and were over-joyed to see the surprise of green COLOR. So yes…again… Color brings JOY!

And then there are people that inspire me…that help keep me grounded…that remind me that no matter what…I am loved and always have been. I have a box full of letters from my grandmother. We were very close and shared our lives with each other through letters and phone calls all my adult life. She’s looking down on me now…all happy in heaven with my grandfather. And…that is a happy thought for me. When I’m feeling like my work load is too large and all woe is me like….I remember my grandmother…and how selfless she was. I have never met another person to top her generosity of time. Just remembering her and all she did during her life for everyone she came in contact with …and for me… is therapy enough for me to get up and get back to work! …with a little more pep in my step. …and look closely at her letter to me in the picture above. She was dotting her messages with smileys long before texting and the whole cyber world of messaging. Gotta love that! 🙂

And…then there are FRIENDS! Friends that know just the right time to call. Friends that know just the right day to treat ya to lunch. Friends that reserve tables in the very very back of one of your favorite eateries….just to be sure to create the perfect environment for ‘fixing’ the messes that have popped up. So…friends, no matter what you may be going through…I hope you all can find a little color to focus on for a minute…and if not…well, then… CREATE SOME COLOR IN YOUR LIFE! It really is true… in the long run… The good things DO out-weigh the bad. Keep on the sunny side!
And…how ironic…that on the day after a really down day…when I needed a pick-me-up… I sat down to good old-fashioned friend therapy…in front of a sign on the wall next to our special ‘secret’ table …that says: Cheer Up! Isn’t it ironic…don’t ‘cha think?!

I love my life!


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