Following Dreams and Other Good Stuff


A young woman who used to work on the staff at Resurrection has taken a big step recently and stepped out as a professional food blogger/freelance writer and food photographer and several other related things.  Anyone who has ever visited her blog,, won’t be surprised.  It’s one of the best food blogs I’ve ever read, and every recipe I’ve tried from her posts has been delicious and easy.

I really admire people who are willing and trusting enough of God’s provision in their lives to step out and follow their dreams, whatever they are.  It seems like I know a lot of young people who are in that category.  My own kids are all following what they feel is God’s call on their lives, both in their personal lives and professionally.  They amaze me every day and make me so proud (even though I’m not sure I actually have much to do with it). I work with a group of young pastors and other people who are doing the same, as are wonderful close friends of our family, who touch my heart by calling me Mama, or MomC.    A young woman named Amanda Dye has started orphanages in Africa.  You can read about her work and amazing stories of the children her organization is saving

I have never been very brave about following dreams, but one of the things that encountering “Herman” does is makes you take some serious looks at your life and think about what you want to do with it.  I am so blessed in that I love my job and feel like God gives me new gifts for it constantly, but I also want to do some other things – write more, spend more time creating on paper and also through artwork.  I want to learn more about new materials and techniques for sculpting, drawing, painting, creating.  I’ve always been too shy about my abilities to want to take classes or join a writer’s group, but between my age and fighting cancer, I’m kind of over that.  If I like it and it feeds my soul, then it’s good.  If someone else like’s it, especially if something I write feeds someone else’s soul too, that’s even better.  It’s not exactly up to par with saving orphans in Africa, but maybe I can find ways to support those kinds of thing through writing or art.  When my health improves, maybe I will step way out of my comfort zone and go help in Zambia!

Today I finished my third round of chemo, so I’m halfway done!  Feels good to be on the downhill run.  It went pretty well, but I’m pretty dopey, so this is probably not my best blog.  But I wanted to get it done because…..

On Gimme Some Oven, Ali is sponsoring a recipe exchange for the next 8 weeks, for recipes using tomatoes, a favorite food I consider to be one of God’s gifts to Summer.  This recipe exchange is actually being held in partnership with the International Justice Mission and their efforts this summer to provide education and resources about how to empower our nation’s tomato farmers. I was not aware until recently that the tomato farms in Florida, where 90% of our country’s offseason tomatoes are grown, used to be labeled as “ground zero” for modern-day slavery in the U.S., but thanks to IJM and some other great organizations, amazing strides have been made in advocating for healthy working conditions and fair wages for our tomato farmers.

You can enter this fun Recipe Exchange, too!  Come share in the tomato love at the Tomato Love Recipe Exchange, hosted by Gimme Some Oven & Bake Your Day, and sponsored this week by Kitchen Aid.  Also visit Recipe for Change to learn more about how to support tomato farmers.”

So, as my first offering in the Tomato Love Recipe Exchange, my version of one of my Mom’s 1950s party appetizer staples, Tomatoes Rockefeller:

2 10 oz packages frozen chopped spinach, cooked according to directions, drained and water squeezed out.

1 clove garlic, pressed or grated

1/2 sweet onion, chopped fine

2 sticks of butter

1 3/4 cups bread crumbs

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1 cup shredded smoked mozarella or smoked swiss cheese

1/2 tsp ground chipotle pepper or cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp thyme

1/ tsp black pepper

3 eggs, beaten

12 fresh tomatoes (small to medium sized), sliced 1/2 inch thick

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

After spinach is drained, add garlic, onion and butter to the hot spinach. Stir in bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and seasonings.  Cool, then add beaten eggs. While spinach mixture is cooling, slice tomatoes and put slices on paper towels to drain for a few minutes.  Grease a cookie sheet.  Arrange drained tomato slices on the cookie sheet.  Using a spoon heap spinach mixture on to of tomato slices and top with shredded smoked cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Let sit for a minute or two before serving as a hot appetizer or dinner plate garnish. Makes 36-48 slices, depending on tomato size.




Take that, Herman!


Good news on the Herman front, at least I think so. The original surgeon and the surgeon I went to for a second opinion agree that it is worth one more try at the less drastic approach to getting those evasive clear margins – another lumpectomy. I could dazzle you right now with my mastery of breast-cancer related acronyms and technical terms, but they are pretty annoying and confusing even to me, so I think I’ll keep it to myself.

The bottom line is, please pray for a successful surgery on February 15 and lovely clear margins so that I can quit being a frequent flyer in the outpatient surgery recovery room at St. Luke’s South and get on to the last part of Herman’s elimination, which will be six weeks of radiation followed by some medication for a few years. Which really doesn’t sound bad at all.

Thank you for your prayers. Before the weekend is over I am going to write about something more interesting on this blog. You can only take shark-watching too far. Bless you all, my friends! You certainly bless me.

Bad Shark!


Well, Herman is being difficult. I had my second lumpectomy surgery last Wednesday, but the margins still weren’t clear. That means that there are still some cancer cells in there somewhere. The next steps aren’t completely clear yet, but it is quite possible that we’ve reached the end of the minimally invasive road, and it may take a mastectomy to send Herman packing.

I’m not thrilled about this, and I’m a little bit more scared, well, let’s say respectful of Herman and his destructive potential. I’m frustrated because I thought I knew the plan, and now there are a pile of decisions that must be made and I don’t even understand most of them yet.

Some things haven’t changed, though. I am still blessed by wonderful family and friends who pray for me, give me hugs when I need it, and let me have meltdowns in their offices (you know who you are), or on their shoulders. Wonderful people who make bad jokes (only the women, though – I’ve discovered that men are generally afraid to make breast cancer jokes. This is probably just as well.) God still makes his presence known every day in dozens of ways, and I am never alone.

So, on to the next round of Herman fighting, armed as I have been with love and prayers, humor and hugs, and the power of learning to be still and let God work. Thank you all. We’ll keep shooting at Herman until he gives up and swims away!