Country Club Muffins

I attended the Abilene Women’s Club last month and had wonderful little bread/muffins, that tasted more like cake (imho). This month, they were served again. This time, I asked about them and Jean G agreed to send the recipe! She came through with that promise and I am putting the receipt here.

Abilene Country Club Muffins

2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
¼ tsp. salt
4 scant Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. melted butter

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Beat eggs until thick and lemon yellow in color. Mix remaining ingredients in order. Fill greased miniature muffin pans ¾ full and bake 25 to 30 minutes until lightly browned.
Yields: 2 dozen.
These freeze well.

Dream House

Found a remodel project that could have been my dream home–mostly untouched (though some ugly stuff) for 90 years… But the lady they brought in to do the auction bid it out from under me.

Here are pictures of what I would like… Though I didn’t know I would love the sleeping porch, but I did.

These are all from different restored Craftsmen.

Craftsman 6

Craftsman 5

Craftsman 4

Craftsman 3

Craftsman 2

Craftsman 1

craftsman kitchen detroit

This is from a Victorian (later) home, that just needs the fussiness reduced:
1916 Victorian dining rm take out ornate = beautiful

And this is a Tudor Revival that has the same sort of feel:
1916 Tudor revival like

KC said that there are LOTS of homes in Abilene that have this and aren’t painted. They have friends two blocks down from N3 house that bought cheap and put $100K into the house… It’s not finished yet, but she said it is beautiful. So there is hope.

Dream house wish list:
Craftsman or Craftsman-type
Should be well-built
Door frames not painted, wainscoting not painted, trim not painted.
hardwood floors, at least recoverable.
unpainted built-ins with leaded glass or some kind of cool glass.
Original fireplaces and/or originally updated gas fireplaces work.
Original windows and storm windows.
At least 10 ft ceilings (probably not going to find higher in a Craftsman)
red color (mahogany?) over oak, though oak is nice.
Trim that is more detailed
Sleeping porch (converted or not)
Cool outside details
Grand, eye-catching
General house:
4 bedrooms (at least)
lots of closets and/or big closets
at least two bathrooms, preferably large (which would be unusual)
2 car garage
large kitchen with gas
room that would be a good/great media room
open living/dining (and preferably kitchen, but I can deal)—big enough for all our furniture easily and a bit more
big pantry
good size yard with mature trees, preferably a mix of live oak and pecan
good neighborhood

Zucchini Bread

This is Bev’s recipe for dense zucchini bread.

Zucchini bread – dense version
2 eggs
2 c. sugar
1 c. veg oil
2 tsp vanilla
3 c. flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3 cup zucchini, grated
1 c. nuts, raisins, coconut or combo (optional)

Put in 2 greased loaf pans and bake 1 hour at 350.
(Still takes about an hour in 4 smaller loaf pans.)


Raquel’s Sandies


This is Raquel’s (from TCK) recipe.



1 cup butter, softened

2 1/4 cups flour, divided

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup pecans,chopped

1 tbsp water/milk

1 cup powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit (180 degrees Celcius.

Cream butter for about 1 minute, just until whipped.

Add 1 cup of the flour, the sugar and the vanilla extract. Beat until completely combined.

Add the remaining flour, the water and the pecans. Mix thoroughly.

With your hands, form 1-inch balls and place on cookie sheet about 1/2 inch apart.

Bake for 20 minutes.

*When just warm enough to touch, remove from the cookie sheet and roll in the powdered sugar.

Let cool completely, then roll in sugar again.

*or just let cool completely and roll once.

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Stolen off Facebook. This is our Austinite fire-fighting, homeschooling dad, missionary friend’s recipe.

He says they are easy to overbake, which will make them crunchy.

Makes 6 dozen cookies

Preheat oven to 375°F

Beat until creamy:
3 sticks (12oz) softened unsalted butter

Add and beat until fluffy (about 3 minutes):
1½ cup light brown sugar
1â…“ cup white sugar

Beat in, until well combined:
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla

Combine in a separate bowl:
4½ cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sifted flour
1½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix dry ingredients into butter mixture with a spatula or wooden spoon until just combined.

Stir in (optional):
3½ cups dark seedless raisins or 3½ cups chocolate chips

Drop tablespoon-sized balls onto un-greased baking sheets. Smash, with 1” between mounds. Bake 14 – 16 min. until edges are golden brown. Centers will be pale!

Cool 2 min; transfer to rack.

A Different Take on a Blessings List

For several years, I kept a blessings list where I wrote down each day something I was grateful for.

I still wish I had done it every day.

Today (just past the first day of the new year), I saw a video on the 365Grateful campaign from the woman who started it all.

She took a photo each day of something she was grateful for and wrote down why she was grateful for it.

Thankfully I already took photographs yesterday, so I can start with those.

I am thankful for my nieces–who love me with open arms and hearts, who spend time with me willingly, who help me in my poetry projects, who look at my photography/book projects, and who want me to cheer them on in their lives, too.


You protect what you fall in love with.

A ten-minute video from Louie Schwartzberg who has created time lapse photography for 24/7 for the last 30 years.

“Happiness Revealed” from 3:45.

Imagination…you want to go deeper in.

Today is the one day that is given to you. It’s given to you. It’s a gift. It’s the only gift that you have right now. And the only appropriate response is gratefulness. … Cultivate that response. Learn to respond as if it were the first and last day… Then you will have spent this day very well.

Begin by opening your eyes and be surprised that you have eyes you can open.

Array of colors for pure enjoyment.

Look at the sky. Note how different it is from moment to moment.

Everyone’s face tells a story. Not only their own story, but the story of their ancestors.
… It flows together and meets you here.

Open your heart to the incredible gifts that civilization gives to us. Electric light. Cold water, warm water, drinkable water.

Enormous number of gifts to which we can open our heart. Open your heart to these blessings and let them flow you, so that everyone you meet this day will be blessed by you… just by your presence. Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you.

Then it will really be a good day.

Moving Art at Upworthy

Men, Premarital Sex, and Divorce

National Survey of Family Growth

The researchers released information about the effect of having sex before marriage increasing a woman’s divorce rate. Clearly this study doesn’t show causation, but simply correlation.

However, the researchers didn’t say anything about men and their relationship to premarital sex.

This survey (2006-2010) did not ask men and women the same questions. That seems to me to be a significant problem with their data.

My son went through the raw data trying to determine the correlation between men, premarital sex, and divorce.

In the study, there were a total of 10,403 male respondents. 1,773 were virgins at the time of the study. That means 8,630 were not virgins. (About 17% were virgins.)

Age distribution of this sample:
average age is 28 (That is a very young population.)
I am surprised it is that young. If you are making correlations about divorce rate, I would want to have a little bit older group.
The 10,403 men ranged in ages from 15 to 44. There is no clumping of age, but the average for the study was 28. (Twenty-nine years span, for equal distribution, average age should be 29-31.)

Also, I went to find out what the average age of marriage is.
For men for 2006-2010 in the US, the average age 27.5 (2006) to 28.2 (2010). For women the average marital age is 26 for the same time period (25.9-26.1). So that married men were included in this study at all is actually surprising, because men’s average marital age at the time is 28.

That gives 8,630 who were not virgins. When did they first have sex?
320 married
63 engaged/living together
106 engaged not living together
76 living together in asexual relationship, but not engaged
3858 going steady or going out with her
967 going out with her once in a while
2248 just friends
694 just met her
298 some other relationship
Total of 8,630

How many are married at the time of the study?
2824 were currently married
207 were separated
499 were divorced
15 were widowed
188 have been married and are currently living with someone, but not married to them (Does not say if these are divorced persons or widows or whatever)
For a total of 3,733 men in this sample who have ever been married. (This includes folks who have been married more than one time.)

3,733 men have ever married
434 have been married 2x (This could include the 15 who were widowed.)
55 3x
6 married 4 or more times

So the set for those who had no sex before they were married was very small; 3% of the 10,000 guys waited till marriage.

My son wanted to see what the implications for men having sex before marriage had on their divorce rate.

No sex before marriage:
divorce rate for men = 4%
So, if a guy is a virgin, it is a super good signal for a durable marriage.

Sex with their engaged partner:
divorce rate for men = 16%

For engaged versus married (men), p = .00193, that’s the largest p value. For men going steady versus men engaged, p = .000392. P value is the significance. Statistical significance is usually about .05.

Using the pi squared set (two data sets compared): If there were no actual relationship, you would get a .05 (2%) chance of getting a false positive. That is not the same as the odds of it being correct or incorrect.

The chance of getting the difference between the two sets of engaged v. married is .2% (10x less likely than the p value for a false positive). This indicates the results are VERY significant (one in 500 times would happen randomly).

In fact, there is a correlation between having sex before marriage and a reduction in the success of marriage for men.

Istock photo elderly couple holding hands

Based on the numbers, women’s premarital sex has less impact on their divorce rate.

For women:
The study included 12,279 women. 1,674 of the women were virgins at the time of the study. That means that 10,605 women were not virgins at the time of the study. The average age for women in the study was 29.

Seven women said they have never been married (as current status) and said they had been married once in answer to a different question. Obviously these 7 will skew the numbers. Which answer was incorrect? Probably the one of current status. (I would think that people would easily say how many times they have been married and not necessarily notice that a negative is permanent, not immediate.)

Even if the 7 skew the numbers, however, they don’t do much skewing for a study of 12,279 women.

The original study looked at women having sex with their first sexual partner and asking what their relationship was at the time (asked of men) and asking what the relationship was now (not asked of men–so you can’t look at that number for men).

When did women first have sex?
760 married (110 divorced) which is 14.6% failure rate
328 engaged (90 divorced)
3198 going steady or going out (981 divorced)

divorce rate for women = 14.9% based on the study parameters, 15% reported
Using the same data and same tests my son used, the divorce rate for women who had no sex before marriage was 14.56%, which would still be 15%. The difference may be because my son did not include the separations as failed marriages (since not everyone who separates gets divorced), but the study did.

Looks like the difference between having sex with a guy you are going out with versus engaged to is not statistically distinguishable. Since this sample is so large, that is very significant.

Comparing men and women:
About half as many men who had ever had sex waited for marriage, compared to how many women had ever had sex waited for marriage. (3.7 v 7.2%).

Even if virginity is not a cause of divorce rate lowering for men, there is a high correlation. Because of that high correlation, it is still a good metric to determine whether the male partner will stay married.

So, basically, the divorce rate for men who wait until marriage to have sex is significantly lower, 10% less, than for women who wait to have sex before they get married.

Prayer and Rhetoric

I began reading Spiritual Modalities: Prayer as Rhetoric and Performance by William FitzGerald. It’s a fascinating book and I am highlighting too much. I thought I might put it in some of the things I highlighted that I want to ponder more. Maybe I can do that here in this space.

“the most profound problem we face with respect to prayer is not that it goes unanswered but that it goes unsaid” (28).
This, I think, is the most important. God, teach me to pray. And when I pray, let my words and my thoughts be shaped into who you want me to be.

“God grants requests appropriately performed.” (2) ?Really? Or is he saying, perhaps, that we feel that this is so. If we can figure out the formula we will get the cave of wonders opened and we will be rich beyond measure.

“words and deeds communicate an essential attitude of their performers” (4).
That’s a scary idea because, unfortunately, too often my words and deeds do not connect with the person I want to be and the person I see myself as. (Think of the grumpiness with the whiny student who sends texts about every assignment, two or three or four, and on my day’s off as well.)

“prayer serves as a counter to rhetoric, perceived as insincere or self-serving speech” (5).
If you believe like Plato that rhetoric is so much hot air, then prayer is the opposite. It’s not hot air let loose, but used to blow up the balloon or the air mattress. It’s focused. Even if the focus has become as rote as “doing the right thing.”

“prayer aspires to ascend the ladder of language to discover a purer language, even transcending language altogether to achieve a state of perfect, wordless communion between human and divine beings” (6).
Yes. This is why when my student wrote and said that no one believes in dream visions anymore I wanted to write her back and say that I do. But I didn’t, because I am a coward and because I didn’t want to crack a golden calf or fracture the foundation of her temple–one of those.

“rhetoric distilled and abstracted to allow for its application in extraordinary contexts. It designates core functions of discourse that make communication possible, and it acknowledges the impulse toward purity and perfection in prayer. Indeed, “prayer” is a name assigned to practices of a better rhetoric” (6).
I love the idea of prayer itself as an extraordinary context. Prayer is a situation in which we place ourselves to find/create/revel in communication with God.

My work involves studies that relate to prayer:
“invocation, or the calling upon some unseen presence or power, is prayer’s definitive speech act” (9)
“identifies prayer as a rhetorical art of memory… argues that prayer is a socialized craft of both communication and commemoration” (9).
“Never are we more ourselves as linguistically enabled, embodied beings than when we perform appeals to our counterparts in diving beings as manifestations of the real” (10).

“prayer is a complex encounter with the real through the virtual, the spiritual through the material” (10).
God is real; this life is the virtual. (Ha! Platonic reality. God is spiritual; I am material.

Where we belong
“prayer is appropriately understood as the most intimate and honest means through which an understanding of our place in the universe can be achieved” (Wirzba, “Attention and Responsibility” 88)
Oh, wow. The most honest way to figure out where we should stand and how we can stand there. I love that as a definition of prayer.

When I am praying for my friend’s marriage, my place in the universe is as an intercessor? as her shield wall? as the gap-stander? as the words for when she is too weary for them? as the faith when her faith has emptied?

Prayer defines
“In the case of prayer, the objective is not to discover the available means of persuasion in a given situation, but, rather, the situation itself” (12).
Yes. We seek in our prayers to reach an understanding of God’s will. It is why we struggle to say, “Heal him” when we know that healing may mean his death. It is why we struggle when others say, “God healed her.” and we wonder why God did not heal her. But really for one God gave temporary healing and for the other, God gave permanent healing.

“prayer expresses a sense of place in an ordered cosmos by negotiating between different orders of existence” (21).

“the understanding that prayer in general situates human and natural events in a larger drama by acquiring perspectives even more accurate” (like Serenity Prayer) (26).

Prayer Marks
“A summons to prayer, even at its most informal, marks a ritual moment” (13).
“Not least among prayer’s purposes is to mark occasions as significant” (13).

Before we eat, when we pray, we are pausing at a ritual moment to be grateful. When we stop and pray with a friend at a meal out, we are saying that this is a special, significant time–a time which needs a rite to grace it because it is so important.

We pray at weddings. We pray at funerals. We pray at baby blessings. People pray at football games and memorials and standing in God’s living room at the foot of a mountain.

Modernity, Impossibility, and Prayer
“Rahner identifies the situation of modernity: for many, prayer, a language of possibility, has become impossible” (15).
“Rahner imagines a kairotic opening in a radical receptivity to God’s love. Experience of need opens one to prayer, and prayer becomes an experience of blessing. Discovering prayer is equivalent to discovering our real situation in the world” (15).
See also the note on page 12.

Functions of Prayer
“prayer performs ceremonial functions associated with the epideictic in expressing shared values and forging collective identity; the critical functions of the forensic in discerning causes and conditions; and the persuasive functions of the deliberative in influencing future actions of people and of deities” (16).

So we celebrate in prayer, coming together at AA with the Serenity Prayer, at church with sung prayers, at home with bedtime prayers.

The forensic I will have to think on more.

I think for the deliberative, God is most likely to use prayer to change me; as I think about how to express what I want to say, I am forced to reveal why I want to say it and sometimes the how shows flaws in my thoughts and hopes and I see that all is not well with my soul because I am trying to move it in the wrong direction.

Singing Prayers
“prayer is at once a communal act … and a dramatic rendering of a universal condition of dependency” (19).

“’Standing’ articulates a devotional commonplace—one always stands in the need of prayer—to be given lip service or embraced as an experiential truth. Such commonplaces are an inventional resource for discerning and performing situations” (20).
Sometimes what I sing is not true, but it calls to me to remind me, perhaps, that it should be true. It is a self-summoning to the reflective aspects in prayer elicited from the corporate worship with prayer and God uses it to speak to me in the bass/tenor/alto/soprano of the church.

Ceaseless prayer
“prayer is itself a frame—a space we may enter and leave and within which we may abide” (21). I Thess. 5:16-18

“prayer is more state than statement, a matter of ongoing condition” (21)

“’The express activity of formal prayer overflows to communicate a quality of prayer in the whole of one’s life’ (21). John Wright, qtd in Giardini 336

genuine, ongoing, not a last resort “Payer is thus imagined as a basic orientation toward the source of one’s being” (21).

“The charge ‘to pray without ceasing,’ to be fully present in any communicative act, requires considerable effort” (21).

“prayer is a timeless space irrespective of immediate occasion” (21)
“prayer is bounded as discourse performed in time” (21)

“the call to pray without ceasing is a call to inhabit an alternative frame—an extraordinary space (with otherworldly beings and distinct rules of engagement)” (22).

I really want to think on this more. Pray without ceasing. Let the words of my heart and the meditations of my lips be acceptable in thy sight. Every move I make, every step I take, I’ll be loving you.

Prayer forms us
prayer = a child’s imagination, “to play in this way is not to pretend; it is to imagine through topoi of possibility” (23).

“Prayer takes place in a space of performance essential to the formation of individual and social character” (23).

When we pray, we are changed. God changes us in the context of our prayers, in the situation of our contemplation of our words.

What about Abilene is Fun?

What about Abilene is fun?
Searching for new things to do and trying to find out what Abilenians might be doing this weekend.
Found the Garageband Woodstock 4 that way.
Went to the Cowboy Action Shooters’ Christmas in July shooting at the range, where I shot pictures.
Good Shakespearean plays at ACU, done as musicals.
The longer playing musicals at McMurry.

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

This might be good to make for my dad.

Banana Pudding Poke Cake~
1 (10 oz.) box yellow cake mix
ingredients needed to make cake (eggs, oil & water)
2 (3.4 oz.) packages instant banana pudding
4 cups milk
1 (8 oz.) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
20 vanilla wafers, crushed

Prepare cake mix according to package directions for a 9×13 cake.
Once cake comes out of the oven, allow it to cool for just a couple of minutes.
Then, with a wooden spoon handle or some other similarly-sized object, begin poking holes in the cake.
You want the holes to be fairly big so that the pudding has plenty of room to get down in there.
Be sure to poke right down to the bottom of the cake.
In a bowl,whisk together instant pudding with 4 cups milk.
Stir until all the lumps are gone.
Let the pudding sit for just about 2 minutes, so it has just slightly begun to thicken but not fully set, it should still be easily pourable.
Pour pudding over cake. Taking care to get it into the holes as much as possible.
Spread it all out and using the back of the spoon gently push pudding down into the holes.
Put the pudding into the fridge to set and cool.
Once your cake has completely cooled, spread on whipped
If you haven’t done so already, crush your vanilla wafers.
I just place mine in a ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin.
Leave some of the pieces big. It’s nice to have a bit of a crunch when you eat the cake.
Spread crushed wafers onto the top of the cake. You can do this part immediately before serving the cake if you like.
This will ensure the wafers are Crunchy when you serve it.
I think this cake gets more delicious over time.
To me, it’s even better the next day so it’s a great dessert to make ahead of time.
Serve with freshly sliced bananas. Keep refrigerated.

Cordon Bleu Chicken recipe

from WeightWatchers

4 spray(s) cooking spray, or enough to coat chicken
1 pound(s) uncooked boneless skinless chicken breast(s), four 4 oz pieces
3 oz cooked lean ham, four 3/4 oz slices
3 oz low-fat Swiss cheese, four 3/4 oz slices
1/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup(s) honey mustard
1/2 cup(s) seasoned bread crumbs, Italian-style

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray.

Place chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to 1/4-inch thickness; remove plastic wrap. Arrange 1 slice of ham and 1 slice of cheese on each chicken breast.

Starting from shorter end of chicken, roll up breast into a tight pinwheel. Tuck in ends. Secure with toothpicks.

Place flour, honey mustard and bread crumbs in 3 separate shallow bowls. Add chicken to flour; turn to coat. Transfer chicken to honey mustard; turn to coat. Place chicken in bread crumbs; turn to coat.

Transfer chicken to prepared baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. Bake until chicken is golden brown and cooked through, about 40 minutes. Remove toothpicks and serve.

Pineapple Cheeseball Recipe

Wonder if I can make it without the green peppers?

Holiday Pineapple Cheese Ball
Serves 4-5
16 oz cream cheese
2 tbsp chopped green onion
2 tbsp chopped green pepper
¼ c drained, crushed pineapple
2 tsp seasoned salt
2 c chopped pecans
Soften cream cheese. Add onion, pepper, pineapple, seasoned salt, and one cup pecans. Mix well. Shape into ball(s) and roll in remaining pecans. Chill several hours. Serve with crackers.



I was going to write “Stressed” as the title, but I’m not generally stressed. I’m just stressed right now.

M sold his stock and made $$$. He’ll have enough to pay for 2.5 years of grad school, if they don’t keep upping the price too much.

Our house was looked at twice this week, but we haven’t heard from them, so I am guessing that was a no. I’m still praying that it will sell at the right time for the right price.

I’m having a hard time being rational about money right now. I need prayers for that.

I haven’t done my syllabi. I guess I’m just going to go with Nancy’s for linguistics, since I’ve got no clue what else I would do right now and I don’t have the emotional energy to figure it out. (Or maybe I won’t. Guess I should look at it.)

Haven’t done any of my syllabi.

Have my paper for Saturday written. It’s not great and amazing, but I do think it has some good points.

My blog for my honor society isn’t visible. I haven’t sent the emails out yet. I need to do that, but I would like the blog to be visible, too.

I’ve taken more than a week off and now I am feeling panicked. Guess instead of being panicked, I should just work on the stuff I need to get done.

Words of Wisdom from Seth

Apparently there is someone out there blogging as Seth (perhaps Seth?) who is saying things I should have thought of or am thinking of or am glad to be pointed in the direction of thinking. Here are just a few of the more recent nuggets of wisdom.

A friend asked me the other day, “…given the sorry state of so much in the world, what’s possible to look forward to?”

The state isn’t sorry. It’s wide open.

from “The Chance of a Lifetime” at Seth’s Blog

As soon as you accept that just about everything in our created world is only a few generations old, it makes it a lot easier to deal with the fact that the assumptions we make about the future are generally wrong, and that the stress we have over change is completely wasted.

from “It’s Always Been This Way” at Seth’s Blog

Is the weather the only thing you can think to ask about? A great question is one you can ask yourself, one that disturbs your status quo and scares you a little bit.

The A part is easy. We’re good at answers. Q, not so much.

from “Q&A” at Seth’s Blog

How little can I get away with?


How much can I do?

Surprisingly, they both take a lot of work. The closer you get to either edge, the more it takes. That’s why most people settle for the simplest path, which is do just enough to remain unnoticed.

No one can maximize on every engagement, every project, every customer and every opportunity. The art of it, I think, is to be rigorous about where you’re prepared to overdeliver, and not get hooked on doing it for all…

from “The More or Less Choice” at Seth’s Blog

A wrapped present is transformed when it is opened. Anticipation turns into information, and frequently, one is worth far more than the other.

Too often, we overlook the value of imagination and dreams and the _____. We figure, as marketers or managers or leaders or engineers that all we have to do is meet the spec, fill in the blank and we can prove we did a good job.

Often, though, the story a person tells herself is worth more that the object itself.

from “Gift Wrapped” at Seth’s Blog

[T]he purpose of an elevator pitch is to describe a situation or solution so compelling that the person you’re with wants to hear more even after the elevator ride is over.

from “No one ever bought anything in an elevator” at Seth’s Blog

Thanks-giving V and W

violins, especially when they are fiddles
Vues (Saturn Vues)
views, out the window, of the world, of the sky and moon and trees…
variables, so that not everything is the same
variety (see above)

weeping willows
weeping cherries
Williams family
whole wide world
wishful thinking