Thursday, September 26, 2013

When Life Gives You Brown Bananas

One of the 5,214,697 ways that South Texas differs from Montana is the rate at which fruit ripens as it sits in my fruit bowl. I find myself with many, many overripe, brown bananas. I don't think we've made it through an entire bunch yet without at least a couple of them ending up in the freezer.  What to do with a bunch of brown bananas???  Make banana bread, of course!

For all of you who may actually be experiencing fall temperatures (it was in the 90's in Houston today) and for my Montana friends who are under a winter storm warning, here is our family's favorite banana bread recipe.  Happy Baking!!!!

Banana Nut Bread

Cream together:
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar (I usually add less than this.)

Blend in:
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups mashed banana

Mix in separate bowl:
2 cups flour
1 heaping tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt

Add flour mixture to banana mixture alternately with 1/2 cup buttermilk.
Optional: 1 cup chopped pecans

Bake in 2 greased and floured loaf pans.
325 degrees for 1 1/4-1 1/2 hrs.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


(image via Pinterest, unable to find original post)
A natural antioxidant and powerful anti-inflammatory, turmeric (circumin) is getting a lot of press in holistic circles at the moment.  After taking it for a time, I can attest to it's healing properties.  It has definitely helped me with a health issue.  Though I originally took a turmeric tincture, I now just include it in my diet.  In case any of you are interested, I thought I'd share a couple of easy ways to incorporate more turmeric into what you eat.

If you are someone who believes in eating pastured, local eggs, a great way to eat turmeric is to sprinkle it on your eggs. It adds a yummy, subtle flavor and it's a lovely yellow color. :)  (Beware--it REALLY stains clothing!)   A second easy way to eat tumeric is to add it to your green smoothies.  Since turmeric is a fat soluble nutrient, be sure to include a healthy oil like coconut or hemp.

 Spicy, flavorful, and fragrant, Middle Eastern and African cuisine is an absolute favorite around our house.  Nothing smells more amazing than a simmering curry or tagine.  Oh my goodness gracious. Not only does it smell and taste fantastic, it's also full of herbs and spices that can help improve health.  Sounds like a win-win situation to me. So make a trip to your local Hallal market.  If that's not an option, many supermarkets are stocking a bigger variety of interesting spices nowadays.  I'll share with you one of my family's favorite dishes and a great spice rub for roasting chicken.  Enjoy!

Beef Kofta Curry

1 lb ground beef
3 T finely chopped onion
1 T fresh cilantro, chopped
1 T plain greek yogurt
4 T flour
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 fresh green chili (seeded and finely chopped)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ tsp black mustard seeds
1 egg
Salt and pepper

For the curry sauce:
2 T butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 T curry powder
4 green cardamom pods (you can take these out after it is finished cooking. Pretty nasty to bite into!)
2 ½ cups hot beef stock
1 T tomato paste
2 T plain greek yogurt
1 T fresh cilantro, chopped.

Put beef in large bowl, add remaining meatball ingredients and mix well with your hands. Roll into small balls and put aside on a floured plate.
To make curry sauce, heat butter over medium heat. Fry onion/garlic about 10 minutes or until soft.
Reduce heat and add curry powder and cardamom pods. Cook for a few minutes, stirring well.
Slowly stir in stock and then add paste, yogurt and cilantro. Stir well.
Simmer for 10 minutes.  Add meatballs a few at a time, allow to cook briefly and then add a few more, until all of them are in the pan. Simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through.  Avoid stirring, but gently move meatballs around. The curry should thicken slightly, but you can add a bit more stock or some water if it gets too dry.
Serve hot with rice.

                                      East African Spice Rub for Roast Chicken

Mix together:
2 Tablespoons soft butter
3 crushed garlic cloves
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp dried thyme
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
4 Tablespoons thick coconut milk
4 Tablespoons dry sherry
1 tsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp salt
Sprinkling of chili powder

Recipes from The African and Middle Eastern Cookbook  by Josephine Bacon and Jenni Fleetwood

Friday, September 13, 2013


One of my best friends just found out she is pregnant with twins and is now so sick she can't get off the couch.  She already has 2 little ones to care for. Oh how I remember those days.  When I had my Maddy, Shelby was only 4 years old, Kyra merely 2. ( My goodness--what were we thinking???  Obviously, thinking wasn't at the top of our priority list. ;) ) Definitely a crazy few years.  I recall not being able to get off the couch myself when I was pregnant with Maddy, and I have a very vivid memory of these 2 tiny faces staring at me as I was lying there trying not to lose my lunch.
Shelby looked at me, shook his little head and said, "Mommy, are you EVER going to get off the couch?"  To which I replied, after I had started sobbing, "Nooooo, I don't think so!"
Oh for Pete's sake.
Thankfully, we survived. Maddy was born, and now my cute little munchkins are so grown up.

To all of you who are parenting little ones, navigating your way through pregnancies and piles of diapers--hang in there. These days, full of things that seem so never ending and exhausting, are fleeting.   There are many things I wish I'd done differently, you'll someday feel the same.  While it would be nice if each kid popped out with his/her own manual, this isn't how it goes and so we will all make mistakes. It's life.

Here are a few things I've learned over the years...

~Hug your kids...a lot!  Hug them, kiss them, squeeze them tightly.  Stop whatever you are doing and take time to let them sit in your lap. Tell them you love them, even if they they roll their eyes and say, "I know, Mom. Geez!"

~Let them be goofy.


~And be goofy with them.

 ~Let them sleep outside on the trampoline...making a big mess with every single blanket, pillow and sleeping bag you own. When you hear them at 2am, running around the backyard, just be thankful and try to go back to sleep.

~Let them play outside and get dirty.  After that...let them bring home bugs and sticks and rocks and dandelions. When they offer you the gift of a gravel rock that they painted, accept it with a smile.

~Let them paint the graffiti on the wall, play dress up, and make a mess baking cupcakes.

~Love them enough to let them go through the tough things, and be thankful for every single day that you are blessed to be with them. 

~Play ball, build a snowman, cherish the laughter, and play in the yard.


~Coach that team.

~Love every handmade birthday card and Christmas gift. Put those sweet little drawings and paintings on the fridge.

~Love them for who they are, each so different from the other, with special talents and gifts.

~Laugh.  Laugh.  Laugh.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Love is Here

Yesterday...just a normal Monday, full of laundry and floor scrubbing, the continuing Harry Potter marathon playing in the background, and a big pot of chicken and dumplings on the stove.  Just an ordinary day around the Pierson house, but my God showed up, making it extraordinary. I love it when He does that.

I received a text from a sweet friend, asking for prayer.  An amazing woman, this beautiful friend of mine--full of love, life, compassion and laughter.  I've known her only a short time, but she is a permanent fixture in my heart.  As I was lifting her needs up to the Father, I kept getting a picture of Elisha and his servant. (If you've never read it--2Kings6.)  It bugged me for the next couple of hours, this picture in my mind's eye of the battles fought over us in the spirit world, and so I prayed. I knew in my heart that what my friend was going through was from the enemy of her soul. You see, my friend is one of the bravest people I know--stepping out in faith against oppression and reaching out to share Jesus' love with those who believe He could never love them. The enemy hates people like her, those who embody the heart of Christ, those who don't just speak it--they truly live it. 

A few hours later, a message from her brought me joy.  Not only was she delivered from this attack, another woman, without knowing that there was a struggle going on, spoke the same words to her that I had earlier in the day. So my friend was able to move on last night and speak love, mercy, and grace to a group of people who so needed to hear it.  Amazing love.  

If today is a struggle, the Father knows.  The victory is already won, you only need to claim it.  

To my just keep on being love.  Keep walking on this path He has put you on, with His hand in yours and His angels encamped around you. 

Love is here.
Love is now.
Love is pouring from His hands, His brow.
Love is near, it satisfies.
Streams of mercy flowing from His side.
tenth avenue north

Monday, September 9, 2013

My Answer to the Worry

As lovely on the inside as she is outwardly, my precious girl leaves in a few short weeks for her second international trip. From the time she was a tiny little thing, we've known her heart was on another continent--that God had called her to a place miles and miles from her home. I know, have always known, that when the Father formed her heart, He made a big space there for Africa.  The stories I could tell you of this girl...of tears running down her sweet 5 year old face as she learned of other little far away girls who've never known the love of a mommy or daddy, who've never had a dolly to play with, who've lain awake nights trying to ignore the pain of an empty belly.  I could tell you of a day when she came into my bedroom, her most-loved doll in her bitty hand--an offering, a gift for one of those far away girls, a precious sacrifice carried by one of our dear friends to the hands of a sweet little Namibian girl.  So many stories, so many memories, countless times when God has given my own heart confirmation of His call on her life...and He continues to do so.

My girl, having barely turned 18, will  leave in November for the country of Rwanda, a place mostly known for violence and horror.  Our Father has given her an opportunity to combine her love for photography with her love for children--a photography trip with Visiting Orphans. Many have asked me, some reproachfully, how we could possibly let her go.  Aren't we afraid for her safety? What if something terrible happens?  This is my answer to you...

How can I not let her go?  Who am I to keep her from following this burning in her heart? Who am I to say No to God when His word continually reminds me that we aren't given a spirit of fear, but of love?  My God faithfully keeps His promises.
 "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear or be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."
Every decision, every trip possibility, every worry we could possibly have has been prayed over and let go.   In those moments when worry starts to creep in, the evil one is rebuked in Jesus' name. Truly let go...standing on the promises, rebuking the lies.

The Father has a beautiful plan for my beautiful girl. He doesn't promise an easy path, but He does promise to be with her every step of the way. The God of the Universe is traveling with her...what more could I ask than this?

Sweet girl, this is only the beginning.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Magnolias of Mine

Before beginning the Herculean task of awakening the teenagers this morning, I took a few moments to be still.  Just still. My heart hurt as I lifted up my friends to the Father--my precious friends trudging through the shock and grief of a lost loved one. It occurred to me then how incredibly blessed my life has been to be full of  loving, strong women such as these. So very blessed.

First and foremost is my mama-- moving to South Texas to care for aging parents, keeping the faith through seven long years of alzheimers, surgeries, hospitals, nursing homes, and so many trials. She, along with her sisters, are true Steel Magnolias. I come from a long line of strong women--big shoes for me and my cousins to fill.   (Beebs, you are my hero and I pray that God gives me the grace to take care of you so well as you deserve when your time on earth draws to a close. Don't worry...we'll pick out a nice nursing home for you...:-) )

To all of the rest of you, my very own Steel Magnolias ( I know some of you are Yankees, but that's ok--we'll just ignore that for now)  I want to say thank you. You have enriched my life more than you could possibly imagine,  encouraging me to push through the discouragement of the mundane on to the joy. You've shown me that life goes on despite heartbreak and loss. I've watched as some of you fought for your marriages when everyone told you it was hopeless, and others of you, with grace and prayer, worked through the grief of a marriage ending.  Because of you, I know that there is grace enough to survive the loss of a child or a spouse--that there is hope for peace.   Many things you do seem simple...preparing meals or cleaning house for a sick or grieving friend, bringing groceries to a family going through hard times, or babysitting for a tired, worn out young mother.  Some of you have opened your hearts and homes to precious children who had no one, while others of you would, at a moment's notice, drop everything to be there for someone who needed you.  True servant hearts.

Prayers, tears, laughter, joy, worship, strength, grace, and love unconditional. You are all so amazing. My heart overflows.  

"I find it amusing. Men are supposed to be made out of steel or something. I just sat there. I just held Shelby's hand. There was no noise, no tremble, just peace. Oh god. I realize as a woman how lucky I am. I was there when that wonderful creature drifted into my life and I was there when she drifted out. It was the most precious moment of my life."