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About Eric’s Wife

I am Eric’s Wife. I am also mother to two teenagers on the very cusp of adulthood, the founding director of Scripture from the Heart, an avid world watcher, bold and insecure at once. I serve a merciful God and I love a guy who makes my knees weak. This is where I write about it all.  Thank you for reading!

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2011 List of 100: Things That Make Me :)

November 28, 2011

When I started to do a list of 100 for this year, I decided to complicate it by giving it a narrowed topic.  This made the list become a real monster to write.  I cannot believe how much effort it was.  It was also a lot of fun.  I highly encourage anyone to attempt such a task.

If you see me with a smile on my face at any given time, it could be caused by any number of things. To help you in your sleuthing, here are 100 things that make me smile.

  1. I always try to smile when I am leaving messages on people’s voicemail because I want the person I am calling to hear it in my voice and you can’t fake the sound of a smiling face.  You just can’t.
  2. There are a lot of reasons why we got rid of the television.  One reason is Tyra Banks.  The day I sat through an entire episode of her show is the day I realized that I had a problem and needed to get off the junk.  The episode that I watched was about how to properly apply make-up.  Two lessons that stayed with me forever:  powder is a must AND smile when applying blush to just the apples of your cheeks.  I’ve tried to do it without smiling and it doesn’t work.  There’s no guessing where that apple is.  Sometimes, when I am putting on my make-up, I think with shame about how I came across this information and it is hard to smile, but I soldier on.  Tyra Banks makes me smile (to properly apply blush.)
  3. Having all my nails the same length brings a smile.  My sister-in-law, Tonya, showed me this marvelous past time and I am happy every time I look at my hands and see that order has been restored in one small corner of my tiny kingdom.
  4. Having sister-in-laws that I talk about nail care, among other things, with is smile inducing.  It is a real treat to know that I do not have a single in-law I would change.  Love, love, LOVE them all.
  5. Walking into the laundry room right as the load in the washer or dryer finishes brings a grin.  This makes me feel like a homemaker ninja.
  6. Picturing myself as a ninja righting the minor wrongs that occur in my loved ones lives is a fond daydream.  You’re just wrapping up a story with me about how your neighbor parks on your lawn and I’m lost in a fantasy about me as a ninja stealing his garden gnome.  I’m pretty sure that I’d be an awe inspiring ninja.
  7. Floating in the pool always makes me happy.  I could just lay there all day.  Getting onto the float is graceless and mortifying, so once I’m locked in to that bad boy I am pretty committed.
  8. A precisely made bed is heaven.  When I see a bed that is not just made, but made with pristine lines and a certain crispness, I feel immediately relaxed and smiley.
  9. Vacuum lines on carpet invokes ordered peace.  Nothing says, “Top notch cleaning happened here” more than lines in the carpet from the vacuum.
  10. While I’m on this train, I also LOVE a clean and dry kitchen sink.  Dry says that someone is on top of their game.  Don’t mess with that person.
  11. Spell check make me happy.  I would have gone my whole life spelling it vaccum instead of vacuum if it wasn’t for spell check and its angry red squiggle lines.
  12. Back scratchers are fantastic tools that you never appreciate until you get one as a gag gift and then it turns into a prized possession.  My back scratcher makes me unitchy and this makes me smile.
  13. My husband smokes a pipe.  This makes me neither happy nor unhappy.  However, when he makes an especially brilliant point and then smugly clamps that pipe between his teeth for emphasis?  This makes me giggly.
  14. Paying less than three dollars for an awesome wardrobe piece makes me over the moon happy.  I LOVE to shop and I especially love to shop at thrift stores on sales days.  There’s nothing like a huge bag of retail therapy for under twenty bucks.
  15. Dental floss picks.  They made flossing a reality for me and I can’t make a list of 100 things that make me smile without giving them a shout out.
  16. Knowing that Oprah Winfrey’s network, aptly named “OWN” is floundering.  She doesn’t know this, but she is my chosen nemesis and I’m just enough of a jerk to grin when I read about her low viewership.
  17. I met some real life ladies one time who were on Oprah’s Favorite Things one year.  They both got cars and Ipads.  I asked both of them if their lives were more awesome today than before and they both said, “not really.”  Having my long held suspicions proven makes me smile.
  18. My wedding ring tan line makes me happy.  Even my skin cells are committed to this marriage.
  19. I like buying those cute little stickers for my finger and toe nails.  When I look down and see that little white flower on my big toe, I first get confused and wonder what on earth it is on my toe, but then I look closer and remember the white flower sticker that I glued on there the night before.  Remembering my fiscal cleverness makes me smile.
  20. When Facebook first introduced the “like” option, I thought it was lame.  But now I smile every time I see that I got another “like”.   I don’t “like” as often as I should.  Serious Facebookers might appreciate it if I did.
  21. I am not a serious Facebooker.  But, I totally am.  I’m not.  Well, maybe a little serious.  Socializing on Facebook makes me smile.  Seriously.
  22. Gum that whitens teeth AND freshens breath.  I feel like I am multi-tasking when I chew gum like this.
  23. I know that my Dad hates my brussels sprouts so much that I am only allowed to make them if he is in Alaska and I am not in Alaska.  His complete honesty, even at the risk of offending me, makes me smile.
  24. I also do not like my brussels sprouts.  Being a grown up and eating them anyway makes me smile.  In a gaggy kind of way.
  25. When something ridiculous is said in a large gathering of people and I can get a girlfriend’s eyeballs from across the room and we can say, “Did you see that!?” “Yeah.  I am so offended and also amused!” with only our eyes, that makes my heart grin.
  26. I like it that my husband sends me regular texts that say, “I love you”, but when he gets all romantical and writes something from the heart I get all giggly and smiley like a teenager.
  27. I really enjoy using words that aren’t words and not explaining myself, but rather assuming that my reader or listener appreciates my creative use of the language.  Fake adjectives are way awesomer than real ones.
  28. Anytime I am in a car or a plane and I get a glimpse of some awesome view that belongs on a calendar or a puzzle, I feel like God has given me that view as a special present just for me and that always make me smile.
  29. One time Mackenzie and I were going for a walk and we came up over a little hill that exposed a beautiful view of the city just as the lights were coming on.  Mackenzie gasps and stops in her tracks to take it in.  “Just look at it, Mom,” she says.  Sharing something I love with someone I love makes the something I love and the someone I love even more cool and that makes me smile.  You know?
  30. After militantly sweating out every Texas summer in my adult life in jeans (because I am a cutter of a different breed, evidently), I announced that this summer would be the summer of the skirt.  Aside from looking a little like a devoted Mormon, I have stayed cool and comfortable all summer.  Skirts that don’t make me look like a devoted Mormon make me smile.
  31. I do not enjoy watching any of the “Star Wars” movies.  My kids have a fantastic working vocabulary of every one of them because they have a Dad devoted to their well rounded cultural education.  Parenting with someone different than me makes me happy.
  32. My kids diligently avoid saying the b-u-t-t word around me and likely suspect that I’d never say it.  Their adorable belief in my virtue makes my heart smile every time I hear them stammer and say, “uh, bottom”.
  33. When the weather starts to get a little bit cold, but the sun is still shining, I smile and feel all sorts of cozy to climb into a hot car.
  34. Big, feminine hats make me very happy.  There are no words than can describe how awesome I feel about myself when I get to strut into a room wearing a fabulous hat.
  35. I like to wear big, chunky heels, but they have to be very light weight for me to manage them.  When I find such a pair priced under twenty dollars I happily take them to the register with a glow about me.
  36. Any time I wake up in the morning already knowing what I am going to make for dinner I float through the day in a haze of happy.
  37. I am always happy to offer unsolicited advice to strangers I meet along the way.  I walk away feeling like I have made the world a brighter place.  They may not feel the same way, but I wouldn’t know because they are an unknown stranger and ignorance is bliss.
  38.  I don’t know who it is, but there is a member of my household whom I can always count on to replace the toilet paper when it runs out.  Having a family that produces such diligence can only be a good thing.
  39. Due to poor packing for a recent trip, I now have two toothbrushes in play.  When I go to brush my teeth and have my pick of the brushes, I feel quite luxurious and that makes me happy.
  40. My family just received season passes to my high school’s sporting events and the encouragement that, “Any time a Dodd walks on this campus, it’s a good thing.”  Being one of the Dodd kids has always made me smile.
  41. I ran across my high school drama teacher a few months back.  When I told Mackenzie who she was, Mackenzie says, “You were taught to be dramatic?”  Mackenzie is my biggest believer and my biggest fan.  She makes me smile.
  42. When I was a senior in high school my friends and I would pass notes back and forth about our senior government teacher and joke that we were all dating him secretly.  We tore those notes up after each class and threw them away.  He NCISed us, read the notes, and began making sideways comments about them during class to make us squirm.  I can smile about that without blushing bright red now.
  43. I have a pet goose named Gertrude and my neighbor has a pet goat named Snickers.  Gertrude and Snickers get into honking/bleating back and forths that can go on for more than ten minutes.  Animals communicating about living conditions and escape plans is funny to me.
  44. Eric bought me Gertrude as a Mother’s Day gift because I thought she was the cutest thing ever and I guess my smile made him think that I HAD to have a pet goose.  Having a husband who diligently reads my face to see how he can please me makes my heart smile SO very big.
  45. We have a chicken that we thought was a girl until “she” began cockle doodle doing.  His face is so earnest and his need to belt it out so desperate that it makes me smile.  When it stops making me smile, well, people eat roosters for less.
  46. Our hens make the exact same clucking sound as the Cadberry Bunny every time they lay eggs.  You cannot not smile when you hear that.
  47. My three year old niece, Avery, often says, “Yeah!” in the affirmative like Wayne Campbell on “Wayne’s World”.  Sometimes I ask her questions with an obvious answer just so she will say it and I can smile.
  48. I live a literal stone’s throw from my parents and also from my younger brother and his family.  Sitting outside in the common area and having random family and kids come by to sit for a visit is a highlight of every day and it makes me and everyone who gets to come and visit this place smile.
  49. Living as we do has given us the freedom to run to the grocery or out for a quick lunch date with no worries about the kids not having a grown-up nearby.  It can’t last forever, but it sure makes me smile while we’ve got it.
  50. Here in a minute, I am going to say to my kids that it is time for bed.  They will brush their teeth, put on pajamas and go to bed with no parental intervention until it is time for prayers.  Getting kids to this age would make anyone smile.
  51. I have made life long friends on the internet.  Finally coming to terms with the fact that I am one of “those people” makes me smile.
  52. Whenever I get asked a question about something I am an expert in (like parenting, for example) I always get a smug smile across my face before I answer.
  53. My smug smile is almost always followed by an, “I’m sorry.  I had no idea it was combustible.  I’m sure your Grandma will understand” smile.  It’s a weak smile, but a smile nonetheless.
  54. When Mackenzie says, “Mommy?” I cringe because I know she is about to ask me to do something that will require me to get up.  When Mackenzie says, “Mama?” I smile because I know I am about to hear something very interesting.  She doesn’t know that I know the code.
  55. When I’m feeling blue and in the dumps, I have girlfriends who will dare to look me in the eye and say, “Seriously!?  Get up!  Let’s do this!”  Friends like that make me smile.  A few days later.  After I kicked them out of my house.
  56. I like bright and colorful knee high socks, but they can’t look like something Kenzie should wear.  This makes finding such socks a very difficult chore.  When I find them, I smile big.
  57. Holy cow, America!!  Are we only on 57!?  This is going to take me FOREVER.  That reminds me:  My kids recently saw “The Sandlot” and have since only said “forever” like the kids in the movie.  “For-eh-vur” makes me smile.
  58. My brother-in-law (I only have one) is a hipster and this means that he brings all things cutting edge into my life.  I’m too much of a doofus to be a hipster, but because of David I have the inside scoop on their music and coffee.  Drinking my super good, hipster approved coffee makes me smile.  Smugly.
  59. David is the one who showed my kids “The Sandlot” and I am pretty sure he caught that segue.  Smart, hipster brother-in-laws make me smile.
  60. My current Facebook profile picture really bugs Eric; but it makes me smile, so it stays.
  61. Eric is rarely very active on Facebook or my blog, but when he does come on to give me a little praise, I get all kinds of smiley.
  62. The start of a new school year means that it won’t be long before the college underclassmen start posting their Facebook pictures of their super awesome tattoos and/or piercings.  I smile when I see those pictures because I got one too and I remember what it was like to be unique and clever.  Just like everyone else.
  63. I presented Isaiah 51-52 to a ladies group recently.  A baby believer told me that she was going home to read Isaiah like never before.  That is why I do what I do.  That baby believer made me smile and still makes me smile.
  64. Any time I go to present memorized Scripture dramatically, there is always one person in the room who whips their Bible out to read along.  Those people used to make me break out in a cold sweat and cry a little inside because I know that they know when I mess up.  Now, I smile while I break out in a cold sweat and cry inside – and that’s progress.
  65. I smile when little toddlers do the long stumble and fall down.  And then I immediately wipe the smile off my face and say, “Aww.  Poor Baby.”, even though I am still smiling in my head.
  66. Angry teenagers loaded with piercings, cigarettes, and black nail polish make me smile.  Mostly because I want to hug them and smiling just seems like the safer alternative.
  67. Tiny little dogs are just about the cutest thing ever and they make me break down into a puddle of smiling.
  68. I just spent a whole hour of my life that I will never get back trying to put a funny picture of Oprah on number 17.  I failed at getting it centered and finally gave up.  Being honest with my ability level make me smile.
  69. Sometimes, while I am working on this list, I think about certain people reading it and I smile because I know they are going to be smiling.  Working on this list is making my face hurt.
  70. Read Isaiah 61:10 out-loud and with a thick Southern drawl.  Do this without smiling.  I can’t.
  71. I have Febrezed my dog.  Confessing to tiny crimes makes me smile.
  72. Confessing to the really deep dark ugly sins (like lust, envy, gossip and greed for example) doesn’t usually make me smile right away.  The confession itself is very uncomfortable.  Repentance follows confession and I smile a whole lot about that.  I prefer to stay there.
  73. One day I was feeling especially blue and I went to the Salvation Army for a retail therapy session.  I found a t-shirt that said, “Happy Camper” and bought it right away because I was not a happy camper and the irony of it made me smile.  I am now a happy camper and I have the t-shirt to prove it.
  74. Another time, when I was looking for some retail therapy, I found a fabulous blazer from Nine West for only four dollars.  Listen y’all, I think I could do a whole list of 100 deals I’ve gotten.  Being fancy and looking cute makes me smile.  Doing it for pennies on the dollar makes me smile even bigger.
  75. This past summer I decided to go ahead and own the fact that I am Miss Fancy Pants.  I like to wear blingy jewelry and cute pants.  I am a daughter of the King (real talk, y’all) and it is okay if I sometimes dress like it.  Owning the truth of who I am makes me smile even to type about it.
  76. I had a George Clooney crush back in the days of ER.  I happened to marry a fellow whose eyes crinkle JUST like George Clooney’s when he smiles.  When his eyes smile, I smile.
  77. I remember well how smugly I smiled when I got the pre-marital advice that, “Marriage is a lot of work” from well meaning old people who had no idea how much I loved Eric and that Eric and I were going to be different.
  78. Can I use one of these to repeat that smug smiles lead to chagrined “my bad” kind of smiles?  This is always true.  No smug.
  79. Being married is not a whole lot of work – being married happily is.  I freely give that advice to all beaming young girls with fresh faces and clean engagement rings that haven’t seen real duty yet.  I forgive their smug smiles because I know.  I know.  Knowing makes me smile.
  80. Anytime a camera gets pointed at me, I always smile in this super fake, very uncomfortable, awkward way.  I don’t know why.  It’s a sad condition that I have never been able to shake.  This concerns me when I think about my plans to be the next Oprah (What!? Yeah.  I said it.)  Imagine the unflattering covers on National Enquirer.
  81. Two weeks ago my son made the leap from reading because I said so to reading because it is an activity he enjoys.  It was a long road with him and I smile every time I walk in the room and see him cross legged and lost in a book.
  82. Ian asked me a few days ago if he could please have a job because he needed some money “real bad.”  Why was he jonesin’ for cash?  “So I can put it in the bank.”  Being the next Donald Trump’s Mom makes me smile.
  83. I recently developed a case of trigeminal neuralgia, related to the multiple sclerosis.  This causes me to have an occasional and excruciating face tic.  Smiling can bring on a tic.  Also?  A breeze, a love pat, the brush of my hand to move my hair, the pulling on of a sweater, a big yawn, and also, smirking.  I continue to smile, though a bit like Popeye.
  84. I am certain that multiple sclerosis is not going to be the undoing of me.  I am so very certain of this, that sometimes I imagine myself running to the tune of “The Eye of the Tiger” and I smile real big because I feel pretty confident that could happen.  “It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight…”
  85. Right now though, I don’t run.  I don’t even walk very pretty.  This might make some people frown, but I get the joy of wrapping my hands around a cane handmade for me by a dear soul because she wanted me to know that she is rooting for me.  I’ve got stands full of people rooting for me.  My whole life is one big high five and “atta girl!”  There’s no reason not to smile.
  86. Let’s use number 86 to revisit “The Eye of the Tiger”.  See if singing it in your head doesn’t make you smile.
  87. I recently got to make a phone call to a hospital in Israel.  Because of the time difference, and having to get my phone plan changed to allow international calling, it took me 24 hours before I was able to get through and do my two minutes or less of chatting.  I was SUPER pumped.  Here I am, some poor little Gentile kid, calling ISRAEL.  It really wasn’t that a big of a deal, but having to wait gave it a sense of huge something.  I’m pretty sure I sounded like a grinning doofus when I said, “My name is Amy Peterson and I’m calling from Texas, USA.”
  88. This summer, my Eric planned a two week road trip for our family that was lovely and smooth from driveway to driveway.  It was a dream of a journey and he was the best captain ever.  I smile every time I think about sitting there beside him while we drove through the midwest.
  89. On our Christmas trip to WI some years back, Eric and I started a silly car game where we competed to see who could say “Iowa” with the least amount of mouth movement.  We crack each other up every time we pass through that lovely state saying it over and over.  “Eye-Yuh”
  90. Eric has a collection of hats that he wears according to weather and mood.  I love walking around with a fellow in a smart geezer cap.
  91. A recent visit to a physical therapist has me doing some crazy weird daily stretches and eating (gag) bananas.  I dislike exercise AND bananas.  Knowing that I can do my body a solid favor by giving it good food even though I dislike good food makes me smile.
  92. Why on earth would I consult a physical therapist? Deciding to get off my rear end and do something about this multiple sclerosis makes me smile.  Like Popeye.  Take that, MS!
  93. When I’m not busy eating bananas, I enjoy the occasional Dove’s dark chocolate.  I’m always embarrassed if the cheesy little Dove’s message of celebrated mediocrity makes me smile.  “Flawed is fabulous!”  Yay!!  Boo!!?  I’m so confused.  Maybe flawed is simple bearable, Dove’s.  Did ya think of that?
  94. One day I would like to see a more engaging Dove’s wrapper.  “Congratulations on not getting eaten by zombies.”  That’s how you grab the public’s eye, Dove’s.  That’s how you make the people smile.
  95. Sorry about the above rant, but boxing against giant, faceless, corporations makes me smile.  Occupy Dove’s!!
  96. Being as sedentary as I’ve become over the past few years has meant that my son has an easier time pinning me down for an hour long play by play of something funny he saw or read.  Right now, I smile and nod even though I can only understand every third word through his rushed, high pitched retelling.  I smile and nod because my son is spending his time telling me about something that matters and my crushed body is just the thing I need to force me to sit and cherish it.  Thank you, crushed body.  I mean it.
  97. Eric just sat down beside me with a delicious sandwich made with Thanksgiving turkey.  He makes the best sandwiches hands down among anyone I know.  He is making me a sandwich now and I’m totes smiley face.
  98. Seeing old men who are old school gentlemen to their little old ladies makes me smile.  I just love seeing that.
  99. My three year old niece walked into the room recently and said this sentence, “Guys, I’m not wearing any pants and I’m sorry about that, but my Mommy is going to get me some new pants and when she does I will be wearing pants, but right now I am not wearing pants and I am just really, really, so very sorry about that.”  When I am ninety, I am pulling that bit in a Burger King.  Thinking about that plan cracks me up and gives me something to live for.
  100. My 83 year old friend told me some time ago that, “You don’t have an inner child.  You have an inner old lady and I suspect she smokes.”  I think she’s on to something and that makes my inner old lady smile.  And wheeze for a breath.

On Memorial Day

May 26, 2008

My maternal Grandpa served in the Philippines in World War II. He came away with bullet wounds, soul wounds, and a desire to never again see any creature suffer.

Today is Memorial Day and I would like to share with you a bit about Grandpa’s war experience. This is a real treat, because it is not I who wrote this, but my dear Grandma. He first told her what he saw in the Philippines nearly forty years after it occurred. This is her account of what he told her, taken from her book “After the Darkness of Night Comes the Dawn”.

After we finished our meal, he pushed his plate back, looked very serious and spoke with a highly shaky voice, “I need to talk to you. I think I know now why I got the Silver Star.”

He began his story with Saturday, March 24, 1945, when they took the town of Santo Tomas and drove the enemy out. They had to go house to house, store to store, running all the Japanese out.

The Filipino people had fled to the hills after the Japanese came in. He said it gave him such a funny feeling going into those homes with his rifle. Not only was he afraid of running into Japanese soldiers, he felt he was invading these people’s privacy. Their homes were just as they left them, with pictures of their loved ones sitting around.

One Japanese soldier ran out of the house, and several Americans shot him. Jimmie said it was a gruesome thing to see. As he was going to the front of one house, several Japanese began running out the back.

He said, after capturing the town, they spent the night in the cemetery where Japanese soldiers were buried. One man dug a foxhole and struck a Japanese soldier’s body. It rained all night that night and they stood for hours in deep water. Of course, he never slept a wink.

On Sunday, after a restless night in the cemetery, they had a mission to accomplish. The sergeant revealed to them a few Japanese soldiers were nearby in the woods and had plans to take the town back. Their mission was to hold them back.

Jimmie was made to feel sick by one of the men he had to spend time with in the foxhole. He had been in the war for some time and had become hardened to it. He kept a pouch around his neck where he kept Japanese soldiers’ teeth that he pulled after they were dead. Jimmie said that the first time he saw him pull out the pliers and pull the teeth, it made him literally ill. He did not want to be with him on this mission.

There was a schoolyard next to the cemetery with swings and other evidence of a happier time when children played there. Jimmie sat down to eat his k-rations and a kitten that had spent the night with him stroked his legs. He shared his meal with the kitten and patted it a few times.

As he was talking he would choke up, tears rolled down his cheeks and he would have to regain his composure.

He said there were eighteen men on the mission, and they started out on foot away from the little town. They continued walking and came upon a bridge with a peaceful river below.

The battle started and soon after, the soldier with the Browning automatic was wounded. Jimmie said the Browning automatic drew a lot of fire as the Japanese soldiers wanted to take it out of commission first. The sergeant picked Jimmie to take over the weapon. Things were really getting rough, and the Japanese were gaining ground.

The Americans had artillery fire that came over them for support. A round was too close and caused what they call a tree burst because it caused the trees to flare. The men were down as low as they could get on their stomachs, but the artillery was getting too close to the ground and was not going over them. Jimmie said that, in short, it scares you to death. Confusion and fear had completely engulfed the men. They had to radio the artillery to raise it or they would kill their own men.

The battle was raging and the situation was not good. Jimmie told me that when Sergeant Price said it was time to go, it was already too late. The withdrawal plan was that the man with the Browning automatic would be in the middle and three men at a time on each side would drop back simultaneously, with rifle fire continuing until they were withdrawn. Jimmie was the last one as he had the Browning automatic and was spraying bullets back and forth until he ran out.

He threw his gun down as quickly as he could and was moving out. On the way out, Jimmie was wounded and two soldiers helped him back to safer ground. They helped him onto a litter and he said his Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Master Sergeant were there.*

His Lieutenant lit a cigarette, gave it to him, patted him on the shoulder and said, “Cummings, that was a job well done.”

Tears were streaming down his face as he talked. He kept repeating over and over, “I just did what they told me to do. I was just following orders. I was just following orders.”

After he was sent to the hospital in New Guinea, he had a lot of time to think. He realizes there were other battles he went through that were probably worse, but they were always on the move and he didn’t have time to think about them. This battle went over and over in his mind. He tried reading his New Testament and he prayed, but the memory was still with him.

He remembers being next to a Japanese soldier who was a prisoner of war. He was in a wire cage and was able to speak English, so Jimmie was able to talk to him, give him cigarettes and so forth. He realized this man was away from home also. This man had a family and wanted to be home with them also.

He doesn’t know when his memory left him, but I’m sure he was grateful when it did.

Here was this gentle farm boy who never wanted to hunt or fish because he didn’t want to kill anything. I thought of how, through all of our married life, he would not kill a mouse that ran across the floor or even swat a fly. He always said that they have just as much right to live as we do. This gentle lover of all creatures was given a gun, sent overseas, and told to kill humans.

When the horror of war was more than Jimmie could take, his mind blocked it out until such a time as he could handle it. Although he hates war, he tells me he knows cruel dictators have to be stopped. “It’s like seeing your neighbor beating his kids or another neighbor, or trying to come into your home to make your way of life unbearable.” He said he is proud of his country and wanted to keep it free. Maybe someday men will find a way to live in peace.

*Grandma wrote this a few years before Grandpa passed away. It was also written before he was able to bring himself to tell her about the two days he actually spent waiting for those soldiers to pull him off the battle field. That’s a story that she told me the last time I ever spoke with her. I wrote that one down and will share it another time.

Only Because I Love You (Now with chocolate chips!)

May 22, 2008

I have only three recipes that are all mine. This means that there are three things that only taste the way they do when I make them. This is a big deal to me. I guard these recipes and only share them on very rare occasion with dear friends who are in great need.

I’m not going to tell what two of those items are, but I let it leak that I make the best peanut butter cookies ever and I think it is only fair that I shared my much tweaked, and highly prized recipe.

Why am I sharing this recipe and risking the very real possibility that you will no longer need my friendship because now you can make your own cookies? Because I want to say thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting.

You may never know just how much I get out of this writing thing, but I hope that having a taste of the very best peanut butter cookie ever will in some way convey to you my gratitude.

Are you ready?

Preheat (duh) oven to 375

1 and 1 half cups of flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 quarter teaspoon salt

mix these three in a mixing bowl and set aside.

in a larger mixing bowl, blend together:

1 half cup of shortening

1 half cup of peanut butter

blend well and then add:

3 quarters cup of brown sugar

1 quarter cup of white sugar

1 egg

1 half teaspoon vanilla

1 Tablespoon milk (if you like them soft)

Add flour mixture slowly. You may find it works better to mix by hand rather than with a mixer. The cookie dough will have the consistency of soft play doh.

Here is where it gets tricky and we separate the cookie purists from the average cookie eaters. If you want the best cookie ever, you’ll do exactly as I say. If you want to hurry up and eat the cookies already, feel free to cut out a few of these steps.

Working with about two Tablespoons or slightly less of dough at a time, roll the dough into a ball and then shape it into a patty. I know that your average recipe says to flatten it with a fork, but this leads to cracks on the dough and I find the crack unattractive. We want attractive cookies, no?

After you have it shaped like a patty, dip the cookie on both side in white sugar. You want the cookie covered. Trust me. It is as good as it is bad for you.

You will be placing the cookie on an UNGREASED cookie pan. No grease or spray is needed because, hello?, did you see all the grease that is already in the cookie? They will be fine.

After you have your cookies all lined up on the pan, you will want to add the fork marks. I made them once and skipped this step. They weren’t the same. It just isn’t a peanut butter cookie without the criss cross fork pattern.

Bake the cookies for 7-10 minutes. You want them to be golden, but NOT golden brown. Golden brown cookies are too crunchy.

When you take them out of the oven, they will be very fragile until they have been allowed to sit for about two to three minutes. When they are slightly cooled, take them off the cookie sheet and put them on a cookie cooling rack (I only recently acquired an authentic cookie rack, you can put them on a plate.)

This is when you have a large variety of options. You can eat of one of the cookies, for quality control purposes, but I must warn you that one leads to two and two leads to three and then before you know it you are back to the part of this post when I asked you, “Are you ready?”. You can share the cookies, but you may wind up in the same predicament.

IF your cookies survive to the point where they can actually be stored, I recommend storing them with a slice of bread. The bread makes the cookies tender and keeps them fresh longer (this trick also works with store bought cookies).

This is where I store my cookies:

Odds are that your Grandma did not leave you with a cookie jar as awesome and fabulous as mine. I am very sorry about that, but you can take comfort in knowing that I have the best cookie jar ever.

Now you have my recipe and my thank you for reading. This is the part where you leave me a comment that says, “You’re welcome”. Get to it.



My dear friend Sarah reminded me in my comments about the chocolate chip cookies she recently made. She totally pwns chocolate chip cookies.

*Edit 2*

Eric tells me that my cookie jar is the ugliest cookie jar ever.   I’m not saying that I would have picked it up on its own merits without the sentimental value attached, but really?  Ugliest cookie jar ever?  Also he thought “Get to it” was harsh.  So, scratch that.  And he loled at “pwns”.