Connie A Thompson

Author Archives: Connie

My One Word For 2015

I love the beginning of a new project. I get excited. I make plans, detailed plans. I plunge in to do the work and then somewhere between the half-way and three-quarter mark, I lose interest, and it sits there untouched.

I went through a phase where I loved to crochet. I have an afghan that is two-thirds complete, and this wasn’t a huge afghan. It was for a baby. The baby turns three next month.

I began cross-stitching a wedding sampler for my son and his new bride. They’ll celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary this year.

My novel in progress (I have three) patiently waits for my return. My characters still mired in the catastrophes where I’ve placed them. They wait for me to write their happy endings or at least out of the muck.

I’m not making New Year’s resolutions I’m choosing a word to help guide me throughout the year. I first heard about My One Word (myoneword.org) last year. In 2014, I chose the word “focus.” It did help, but, of course, in my usual way, by July I didn’t give much thought to my chosen word except when glancing at the frame above my desk.

2015 will be my year to focus on finishing what I start.

Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 2 Corinthians 8:11 (NIV)

Sunday Dinner: Peach Cobbler

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When my husband and I first met, cooking was a major topic of conversation. I was surprised when he claimed to make an awesome peach cobbler. I thought cobbler was reserved for the South. How could a California man possibly know how to make cobbler? His mother taught him. She’s not Southern either. She’s originally from Kansas.

Today, my husband has offered to make dessert. Peaches are one of South Carolina’s primary exports. If you’ve ever been to South Carolina, perhaps you’ve passed by the giant peach water tower.

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Vincent Family Peach Cobbler 

4 C. pealed and sliced peaches.

Mix with 1/4 C. sugar and sprinkle cinnamon over the top.

Place in a 9″ pie pan and dot with pieces of butter.

Topping:

1C Bisquick

1/4 C. sugar

1 egg

Mix together and put on top of peaches. Sprinkle 2 or 3 tablespoons of water over the topping mixture and bake 25 – 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Top should be nice and brown.

Chuck also left a couple of the peach pits because his Grandma always said that it adds flavor.

Sunday Dinner: Happy Birthday Ethan

 

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Maybe his mother is right and he does need a haircut.

Born on the first of July. On Tuesday my nephew will turn twelve. He is the youngest son of my mother’s youngest son. All his life he has heard, “You look just like your Daddy.” And he does. Auburn curls, brown eyes, freckles, and extremely skinny. He isn’t short like his father. He is tall like his mother’s family. He caught up to his older sister quickly. He’s a funny kid. When he was about two, he learned he could make people laugh. He continues to be hilarious.

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At Ethan’ request, we’ll celebrate with BBQ chicken and orange cupcakes with orange icing (also his uncle’s favorite). I’ll also be serving stewed potatoes, green beans, macaroni and cheese, cornbread, and fried okra.

Celebrating Our First Anniversary

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No Sunday dinner today. We’re off celebrating our anniversary.

I thought I would be alone. I had given up hope of finding someone to share my life with. I had accepted it to be my reality, and then I met Chuck.

My first thought was that he had kind green eyes. my second thought was Oh Lord, a cowboy hat?

We met on a dating website. We talked for two weeks before we met in person. He had to pass my tests: double dates with my friends, Sunday dinner with my family, and answering my long list of incessant questions. He claims it was the longest job interview of his life.

He supports me. He encourages me, and I try to do the same for him. He’s wonderful with our grandchildren.

Yesterday, we went to Andalusia, the home of Flannery O’Connor. My senior thesis is about the use of place in the works of Southern women authors. We toured her home, sat on the porch, looked at the peacocks, viewed the milking barn, and spent a small fortune in the gift shop. In my mind, her stories came to life in rolling visions as I considered “The Enduring Chill,” “A View of the Woods,” and “Greenleaf,” just to name a few.

On our drive down, I read “A Good Man is Hard to Find” to Chuck. He was surprised by her sense of humor and the dark ending.

I’m thankful to be married to such a wonderful man. To the first of many more anniversaries.

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Review: THE GLASS KITCHEN

Glass Kitchen

 

Portia Cathcart was born with a gift, a knowing. She dreams of food and when she wakes she feels compelled to make it. It is a gift she shares with her grandmother and soon Portia finds herself working in the family restaurant, The Glass Kitchen. She always seems to know just what to put on the menu, the dishes offering comfort to those in need.

Portia has abandoned her gift opting for a life as a politician’s wife. She refused the gift until it seems she’s lost it. After her husband’s betrayal, she heads to New York to live in the apartment her beloved aunt willed left her. Images and dreams of food begin calling to her. Her sisters live in New York. She meets Gabriel and his two daughters. After years of fighting her gift, she succumbs to the knowing and begins cooking. She wants to open a restaurant, but she has no money, and the knowing keeps giving her images of a special meal, Gabriel’s meal.

Lee’s book is a delightful summer read that will keep you turning the pages to see what happens next. There is mystery, betrayal, sisterly love, and romance. Follow Portia as she begins to understand her gift and searches for her identity, learns to accept the loss of a life she thought she wanted, helps Gabriel and his daughters connect as a family, and struggles to bring Texas cuisine to New York City.

The cover calls for you to pick this book up. I loved the glass jars so much I searched Pinterest to learn how to make my own. While I love the purple, it wasn’t the right hue for my decor and I opted for shades of green.

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Sunday Dinner: Father’s Day 2014

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Years ago my Dad dubbed Father’s Day as the best holiday. My brothers love to agree with him. Don’t be alarmed, they aren’t misogynists, just great teasers, that’s just the way they are.

My Dad became a father for the first time at 18. I remember when my youngest brother was born and my father was 36. I thought he was ancient. He had no business having another baby. I can only laugh at how perspectives shift as we age.

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I have Dad’s customary gift of golf balls. I once tried to surprise him with what I considered a more thoughtful and sentimental gift. I could see he was thankful, but he missed his golf balls. My Dad is extremely pragmatic, quiet, and slow to anger. He was always the calm parent. Hearing him say I’m disappointed in your actions was worse than any punishment. He always encouraged me to go to school. It took me a while, but I finally did it. Last year when I received my degree, I was happy to have my husband and family there. I was so pleased to have my Daddy there to celebrate that milestone in my life.

Today I’ll be serving one of my father’s favorites, white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. My sweet husband, Chuck volunteered to man the grill and we’ll be serving hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, corn, chips, watermelon, and also banana pudding. I went a little crazy with desserts today.

I hope you have a wonderful Father’s Day!

Sunday Dinner: Elizabeth’s Birthday

10371506_10202750036051078_951464394170597344_nWe celebrate another birthday today, Elizabeth is fourteen. When Elizabeth was a baby, my brother called her “Miss Serious.” She would stare at you through those brown eyes. She always seemed to be pondering something important and couldn’t be bothered with baby talk.

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I’m not sure who began the birthday picture traditions, but my aunt would force the birthday person in front of the cake and gather all the children around. We’d sing, she would take pictures, and the birthday person would blow out the candles. This picture was of my Mom’s birthday. Elizabeth is the baby sitting on her lap.

Today we’ll be having a Mexican fiesta: tacos, taco salads, quesadillas, corn, and refried beans. We’ll have brownie sundaes to celebrate Elizabeth’s 14th birthday.

Writer Wednesday: Writing Prompts

photo-14I used to hate writing prompts. They were always so specific having little to do with the ideas swirling through my mind. My mentor, Leslie Pietrzyk this semester at the Converse MFA program happens to love them. It only took one workshop with her and now I love them too.

Leslie doesn’t give long prompts, they are simply a word or object. You have fifteen minutes to write. Our first prompt was the word, exhausted. Our second prompt was an object, an ivory rhinoceros.

I enjoyed listening to my fellow students and mentor as they shared how they worked rhinoceros into their work. One chose ivory rather than the animal and one had his character stomp like a rhinoceros.
Here is my rhinocerus example.

Bree watched his thick fingers as he maneuvered the knife scraping and gouging the wood. He claimed it was his third attempt at making a giraffe. Their necks kept snapping before he could finish.

She surveyed the other animals: elephants, zebras, gorillas, rhinoceros or would it be rhinoceroi. Two by two. These were a gift for his great-grandson, Noah. Brie couldn’t fathom a girl her age being married and have a baby.

She picked up the rhino, feeling the weight of it, her fingers felt the rough areas.

“I still have to sand it. Make it smooth. Can’t have him getting splinters,” her grandfather chuckled.

Bree didn’t remember the old man as kind. She remembered him as cranky and always smoking cigarettes, a Pabst blue ribbon beer always by his side while some sports show played on television. There was an ashtray on the front porch so she suspected he still smoked. A sweating glass of tea sat near his side. The television was dark and silent.

On the walls hung a multitude of pictures. There was no organization, it seemed every time her grandmother received a new school picture, she bought a frame and found an empty spot to hang it. Brie saw her first grade picture as well as her high school graduation picture among the collage.

I’ve found these prompts to be an excellent way to get the writing started. So often, beginning is the most difficult part. The small goal of fifteen minutes of writing while focusing on an object or word gives me freedom to experiment. Check back every Wednesday where I plan to offer a prompt.

Today’s Prompts: Green and the photo at the top of this post. You have 15 minutes for each. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Celebrating Five Years and Counting

dsc_9076Many years ago a boy and girl first met at the local skating rink. She broke his heart. Years later they met again and they have been together ever since.

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Five years ago on a sunny day they said “I do” on the sands of Jamaica.

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Today we’ll be celebrating the fifth anniversary of my son and his lovely bride. I am so proud of these two. Ryan’s studying to be a chiropractor and will graduate later this year. Casey is a licensed massage therapist. They plan to work together once he graduates. For most couples, this would lead to the end of their marriage. I have faith in these two. They not only love one another, but they genuinely like each another as well.

I am so proud of them. Happy Anniversary! I hope you have many more.

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Today for Sunday dinner, Casey has a special surprise for her husband for dessert. I’ll post a pic later.

I’ll be serving barbecue chicken, macaroni and cheese, green beans, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, and rolls.

May Birthdays

IMG_0783We only have one May birthday in my family. My nephew came to us quite unexpectedly nineteen years ago yesterday. He was due in August. There were many stressful moments as we waited. He was so tiny and covered with downy hair. He remained in the hospital until around his due date. His parents were persistent following all the doctor’s recommendations. His Mom was meticulous and my nephew always exceeded every test. He was extremely smart. Doctors warned he might be short. The rest of the family is so it wasn’t a concern. At nineteen, he towers over his father. He visited from Canada a couple of weeks ago and we celebrated his birthday then. Today we’ll celebrate in his honor. My brother’s birthday is in April and he didn’t get his favorite, so today I’ll serve an orange cake with orange icing.

Yesterday was also my father’s in laws birthday. He passed away three years ago and I did not have the fortune of meeting him. When I first met my husband, he shared this story with me: http://normcrisp.blogspot.com/2011/08/chucks-last-fishing-trip.html?m=1

I lost my mom several years ago and this story touched me. Grieving is a universal language. While we don’t grieve the same, once you’ve lost someone, you have empathy for the loss others are enduring. Yesterday we watched Heaven Is For Real. I had read the book and I knew what to expect. I hoped my husband would find it comforting. He did.

Today I’ll serve pot roast with potatoes and carrots, macaroni and cheese, green beans, mashed potatoes, pinto beans, creamed corn, and rolls. We’ll spend time around the table having dinner, talking, and reminiscing. The grand babies will be here. Daniel will delight in the cake. Carson will be content in the arms of whoever is lucky to be holding him at the time. And I will be thankful for my husband and family.

When I was a child, I thought Sunday dinner to be such a chore for my mom and grandmother. It is a lot of work. I was up at 7 this morning putting the roast on and baking a cake. And I’ve come to understand that more than anything, it is a blessing which I am thankful for.