Monday, September 29, 2014

It's funny how  small things can make you think back about a memory in you past. This is what happened to me this morning. I was having a sweet tooth fit and there was absolutely nothing in the pantry to help me out.  I thought about how Mama would make me cinnamon toast after school for a snack.  I don't know why we continued to call it cinnamon toast because she would leave the cinnamon off for me. I didn't like cinnamon in my childhood years. She would place several pieces of toast all in the long pan and then create her magic. She would dab on butter, sugar and then the vanilla flavoring. I can still see her holding the top of the vanilla flavoring bottle in her hand with one finger over the opened top letting out just enough flavoring to make it good, but not soggy. She didn't have to use a spoon to make sure she got enough on because she was my mama, the creator of all things tasty and good. Then she would place the pan of  slice bread inside the oven just enough to toast it a light brown. When she opened the door of the oven the aroma would fill the entire kitchen with a sweet smell that made me feel all warm, happy and content. The cinnamon toast didn't last long with daddy and my sisters. Mama would always wait until everyone got the amount they wanted and then she would pick her a  warm piece of  cinnamon toast and enjoy it with her cup of coffee. After making mine this morning, I realized you can never duplicate childhood memories no matter how hard you try. Mine came out of the oven  smelling  and looking like Mama's but it didn't taste like  hers. I sat eating my cinnamon toast trying  hard to relive the time in mama's kitchen feeling the love she had for me. That was easy, but the taste left me empty. I finally broke the toast into small pieces and tossed it to the birds. They seem to enjoy my cinnamon toast without the cinnamon. I have decided not to try to duplicate any of mama's recipes again. Mama had a way of making everything she did whether it was cooking , sewing or putting a bandage on our skinned knee feel magical to us.  All this takes a special person and that is what Mama was to me and everyone that knew her.  Thank you God for letting me still hold on and remember special moments in my life.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

This picture holds a very sweet memory for me. I can remember the first time I held this flower/weed in my hand with Mama's hand wrapped tightly on mine holding the flower close to my lips. She whispered in my ear, "Close your eyes, make a wish and blow all the white wishes from the top." I loved the thoughts of the top being white wishes all for me. I blew as hard as I could but no matter how hard I tried they wouldn't all blow away. Suddenly, I felt the warm breath of  Mama blowing against the side of face. She was helping me and all my wishes soon filled the air around us. My  next memory of these flowers was when I was older and running through the cow pastures with my cousins. We would gather as many of these in our hands as we could. Each of us were trying to see if we could out do the other in collecting the most. We would be very careful picking them so the wishes wouldn't blow away before we had the chance to close our eyes, make a wish and blow them ourselves. Innocent times, innocent play and a life time of memories that make me hurt for more time to share  with others.  So, if during a hike in the fields or pastures, if you are lucky enough to come upon these flowers, pull it gently, close your eyes, make a wish and blow with all your heart. Maybe if your lucky your wish will come true just as mine did as a child.

Monday, May 5, 2014

                                                                  The Dinner Bell

 I love my dinner bell. I had always wanted one just for decoration, but  soon learned that it was good for the purpose it was invented. My son looked high and low and finally found one at a neighborhood yard sale. I couldn't wait until my husband put it on a  pole and placed it in our side yard. I was eager to cook a meal and then ring the bell as a signal for everyone to come and eat. Soon I was ringing that bell when I baked a pie, ringing that bell when I made cookies and ringing that bell when I wanted everyone to come into the house. My grandson and his friends even got into the act. They would gather at our home to play ball and I would get busy baking cookies. Just as soon as I pulled them from the oven I would rush out and ring that bell. I will always remember the smiles on their faces when they knew it was time to come inside and eat warm cookies. The kids are growing up and it doesn't seem as much fun to listen to the ringing of the dinner bell but they still enjoy eating my cookies or my chocolate cupcakes. There isn't as much action with the old bell anymore except for the birds landing on top and resting awhile in the sun shine before they continue their journey. I still have my memories of all the kids running around in my back yard with pleasurable expectation of my cookies. The dinner bell will continue to get a fresh coat of paint each season and yes, after the paint dries  I ring that bell for old times sake.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

This week we had a wonderful vacation at one of our favorite spots- Myrtle Beach, SC. Each morning we would wake to a beautiful sunrise while sitting on our balcony sipping sweet tea and coffee. God knew exactly what he was doing when he created the ocean and the beach. He made very many people happy when His creation was made. Sometimes it is hard for me to just sit back and take it all in. Thank you God for allowing us to enjoy such beauty.
 I love taking pictures not only of the waves beating upon the shore but the ocean wheat  and weeds that grow alone the banks that is used to help protect the shore lines. Many little creatures make their home in these weeds.
 Our favorite pier to fish on is the State Park Pier. You can meet some of the nicest people there. Sometimes the fishing is not that great especially when the temperature of the water hasn't warmed  to meet the fish demands. They refuse to take the bait unless the temperature of the water is just right. That is when you can just lower your line into the water and meet and greet people. I am a typical Southern lady that never meets a stranger. I made 2 friends while sitting watching my husband fish. One was a sweet lady named Judy and the other was a Vietnam lady named Anna. When I meet people and I know I will never get to see them again I call them "my in the moment friend." This means they were there and I was able to talk to them. I will never see them again but they will remain my my heart.

I enjoy taking pictures under the pier. Sometimes it is scary to look straight out toward the ocean beating up against the large poles that holds up the pier. I always wonder how much pounding these poles can take from the storms that occur occasionally.
I enjoyed taking pictures of my book "The Southern Belle Breakfast Club." I carried around the book taking all kinds of odd pictures,. Those are the most fun. People would stop me and that gave me an opportunity to chat about their lives as well as mine. Life can be so much fun if you just let go and enjoy it. The people that you make friends with while just strolling down the beach might become your very best friends.

Another month has come and gone and now we are into May already. I love the month of May. So many things happen in this month. The flower bulbs that I had planted earlier in the year tries to pop their little heads up from the hard earth. Flowers are for sale in all the stores just waiting for me to purchase them. We plant our neighborhood garden and mowing grass is a must do once a week. It  does bring more work but it is fun. It is like life is taking on a new leaf and we have to do everything we can to make it better.   

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

                                                             My Thought For Today

                                          Today I am pausing and counting my blessings.
                             I am blessed with a wonderful family, great friends, and good health.
                      I look forward to waking up each day and conquering what ever is before me.
                                   Over the last two months I have lost some very dear friends.
                                          They have made that final journey into Heaven.
                                     God has blessed me with their friendship for many years.
                             Now, I have memories so I accept and rejoice in that knowledge.
                                    I continue to count my blessings that I am able to grow old,
                                       but it would be nice to keep the body and mind that I have now,
                      but just let the years roll on without creating wrinkles and mindless games.           
                                                          Now, what was I doing?????
                                                      Oh yes, counting my blessings!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

                                                                       Is It My Fault?

                                Grandmamma, is it my fault that Mama and Daddy got a divorce?
                                   If I had been different would they have made another choice?

                                        Maybe if I had brushed my teeth until they shine
                                              Done my homework always on time

                                 Maybe if I had kept my room clean and done my chores
                              Maybe I asked for too many toys when we went into stores

                                         I promise I went to school and did my best
                                               I tried to pass every spelling test

                              I just know it was my fault, Grandmamma, so what do I do?
                                   I heard the whispers and they said they were through

                                        Are they through with me or just each other?
                           I can't stand the thoughts of not having a Daddy and a Mother

                             So, Grandmamma, you say in no way it was my fault
                                     And I should never give that another thought

                                       You tell me that in time it will get better
                          But for now, Grandmamma, I think I will write them a letter

                            So dear Mama and Daddy, if it was something I have done
                                  I promise I will change and I will be a better son

                                 I promise I will not ask for a single Christmas toy
                                  In this whole wide world I will be the best boy

                    So, if you can see in your hearts to change this thing called divorce
                            I know in MY heart we could figure out another choice

                                       Well,  Grandmamma, I wrote them a letter
                                       But I don't think  things will get any better

                                     Grandmamma, please wipe away all my tears!
                               Will you hold me tight and squeeze out all these fears?

                       You tell me adults sometimes do things that is silly and dumb
                  I guess you are right cause just look what Mama and Daddy have done

                            No, it wasn't my fault but Mama and Daddy are to blame
                                  Now, I'll no longer hold my head down in shame

                                   No, it's not my fault my family isn't together
                                   So, I will love them equally forever and ever

                         But when I say my prayers and then close my eyes at night
                   I will still wish that things were the same and everything was all right

                                             Poem by Phyllis f McManus
                                                 Art by Jenny Zovein

                                     Copyright 2011 by Phyllis f McManus

Monday, April 21, 2014

There are times that I think would be wonderful if I could just slip back into my childhood and relive some of those wonderful, carefree days. This is one of those days that I wish I could turn back time. I have several good friends that will soon be making their final journey to Heaven and even though I know there will be no more pain and suffering my heart still hurts for the family.
If you were lucky while growing up you are surrounded by nothing but dreams of what tomorrow will bring. Simple dreams of running in the fields and playing in the creek was what I was blessed with as a child. My biggest concern was which tree I was going to climb and conquer. I played hide and seek with cousins during the day and dodge ball in the afternoon with Mama and Daddy.
Yes, I was blessed as a child as I am blessed as an adult. I have wonderful memories of my childhood and blessed with a loving family and friends in my life.
I thank God for every minute He gives me with them.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

This is one of our favorite places to eat when we are at Myrtle Beach, SC. Trust me, it can get crowded so you need to pick your time to get there. It is located on 900 North Ocean Boulevard. Peaches Corner is a cornerstone for the city of Myrtle Beach. It has been around since the late 1930's. The name Peaches Corner came from the family name Peach. The name was catchy so they decided to keep it Peaches Corner. Hot dogs were sold for 15 cents or 2 for 25 cents and beer was 10 cents back then. Don't expect to pay that how, but believe me the amount you pay is worth it. Just being there and knowing you're at the beach and eating at Peaches Corner is a thrill in itself. Peaches Corner is now owned by Pam Crutchfield. It has with stood the test of time and is proud to be a landmark in Myrtle Beach.
My husband, Don and I had quite an experience when I tried to take a picture of the establishment. It was Spring break so you can imagine the people that were on the street cruising and yes, we were right in the middle of the madness. I told my husband I wanted a close up picture. He told me to stick the camera out the window and take it from the car.  No way! I jumped out of the moving car and raced up the sidewalk to get me a good picture. I had to dart in and out between people all the time trying to make sure I could jump quickly back in the car. I took what I thought was a perfect picture, turned around to find my husband and he was no where in sight. I looked ahead and up the street and there he was but unable to stop to pick me up. The cars were bumper to bumper on the street and no one was giving an inch. I took up a hefty trot toward the car and almost reached my patient husband when the light turned green. He was trying to wait for me to catch up with him and jump in the car but the blasting of the car horns behind him helped him realize he had to keep moving and fast! I just waved bye while holding my camera with my perfect picture of Peaches in my hand.  Knowing my husband the way I do after 45 years of marriage, I knew he would against all odds come back for me. So, I stood on the corner of the street waiting. I looked hard in the distance and there he was coming to pick me up from this adventure I was having.  I waved real big to let him see me in the crowd. He brought the car to a stop making all the cars behind him realize he wasn't giving in until I got in the car. I jumped in the car still holding my camera tightly. Impatient to look at the picture I clicked the button and to my surprise NO picture. In my impatience to get the perfect picture I had hit the wrong button on my camera.  Don shook his head, laughed  and said, "You never cease to amaze me."  Well, I have learned never to jump from a moving car no matter how slow it is going and always make sure your camera lens is open in order to take that perfect picture.
Well, I got that perfect picture on the morning we were leaving to come home from Myrtle Beach. There were no crowds to dart in between , no cars to stop for, but the worst part of getting up and out that early was that Peaches Corner wasn't open so I could get me one last hotdog before leaving the beach. Oh well, I got my perfect picture anyway.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Even though I call my self an author, lately I am finding I am becoming interested in a lot of other things in life that is occupying my time. I have baked so many pies, cakes and cookies lately that I should open up a bakery. I also have been carrying around a camera taking pictures like there is no tomorrow. This is a black walnut pound cake that I baked for my brother in law. I have had many requests for the recipe so here it is:                  ENJOY !

                                            Pound cake

                                  3 cups sugar
                                  3 cups plain flour
                                  1 tsp. baking powder
                                  1/2 cup vegetable oil
                                  1 1/2 tsp. vanilla flavoring
                                  1 1/2 tsp. lemon flavoring
                                  6  eggs
                                  1/4 tsp. salt
                                  1 cup Crisco shortening
                                  1 cup Pet (evaporated) milk

                 Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl for at least 4 to 5 minutes. Pour into greased and floured tube pan.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Ovens may vary.
                  What I like about this recipe is that you can use black walnut flavoring instead of the suggested flavorings and add black walnuts and thus you have a black walnut pound cake. You can use all orange flavoring and quickly have an orange pound cake. The cake can be changed in many ways and is so delicious!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

                                                             Sausage Muffins

                                                             1 cup Bisquick
                                                     1 lb. cooked sausage, drained
                                                              4 beaten eggs
                                                     1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
                                                             3 Tablespoons milk

                                               Mix all and pour into greased muffin tins
                                                       Bake at 350 for 20 minutes
                                                           It makes 12 muffins

This is super easy to make and it is delicious. I made them for my Southern Belle Breakfast Club meeting today and they were a big hit. I've been asked to make them again for the next upcoming meeting.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

 It's almost time for my husband and me to take a quick weekend trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Even though we live in North Carolina we always visit South Carolina beaches. There is only one conclusion of why we prefer this beach and  that's because  our parents took us there as children. Just another way of saying we followed in our parents foot steps. At this time of year  the water is still quite chilly but  I really don't like to play in the ocean water anyway. I have always had the fear  of a shark inviting me to dinner and me being the main course. I also have the fear of  slimy jelly fish. So, we play in the pools and walk up and down the beach line looking for shark teeth that have washed ashore. As a child my daddy would tell me that the shark dentist would pull the teeth from the shark and then at night spread them in the sand so silly tourists could bend over all day looking for the teeth. I believed what he said and why not, daddy was my hero.
 I truly think my favorite time of the year at the beach is when there are very few people around. There is no skimpy bathing suit sun worshippers lapping up the sun or joggers running up the beach in their custom fit, name brand jogging outfits. It's not that I am getting old, but I love the scenery that God has created in a quite afternoon while sitting on a large blanket spread out on the beach. I look out over the waves and wonder just how God came up with His creation. When I get to Heaven I have a long list of questions I want to ask Him and one does pertain to the beach and the mountains. Something tells me I want care about the questions when I get to Heaven.
I love watching the sea gulls  running from the waves and then rushing back to see what little creatures were left behind that they can enjoy for their meal.  They won't get to enjoy the privacy of being alone on the beach when the summer brings in the swimmers. Enjoy it while you can birds!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I certainly find this true in my case. For example: I am attempting to write a sequel to my "The Southern Belle Breakfast Club" book and I need a new character to bring in for a possible  love connection. I find myself looking at different people in hopes to catch their individual actions, personality or moods swings. I carry a writing pad and pen around with me to jot anything down that might be interesting.  I am very careful not to let people see me stare - after all mama raised us to know that staring is rude.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

                                                                  Art by Jenny Zovein

This art work reminded me of a sweet memory of my past. A mailbox can contain bad news or news that can delight the heart and soul. I can remember when my husband was in the army and I would wait patiently every day for the mail to "run." (Has the mail run yet?) This is a statement that is still used to this day by some of us in the South meaning has the mailman delivered the mail. My husband would write me one or two letters every day while he was stationed at Fort Sill. Some times his letters would arrive all in one day. I would go to the mailbox, grab out those letters and head toward the house opening them as I walked. I could never make it back to the house before stopping and relaxing under the big shade tree reading each and every letter over and over.   GREAT MEMORIES!
After my post about eating apples at my Grandmothers house when I was a kid I was immediately inspired to bake an apple pie. This is how my inspiration turned out! While I was cutting up the apples my mind went back to climbing those old apple trees at my grandparents farm. I am sure no matter how delicious this pie is going to be it will never live up to the ones my grandmother used to make.
I love  going back to my childhood even if it is only in my mind. I honestly feel I had the best childhood that anyone could have. I had cousins living within rock throwing distance of me. We played from sun  up to sun down. There were about 12 of us  ranging from four years old to sixteen. We all played together regardless of age. Our favorite place to gather was my grand mamma's house. It had big barns, old tractors just sitting in the fields for us to climb all over and corn fields we could actually get lost in while playing. There were apple tress all along the back side of the house. Grandmamma would ask us kids not to pull the apples from the tress because she was saving them for canning. We liked that idea cause we knew that would be apple pies in the winter time. Regardless, we couldn't resist eating an apple or two a day from the tree, but we had to obey grandmamma and her rule or we knew what would happen. So, we would climb the tree and eat apples while they still hung firmly on the branches. We figured that would not be "pulling" apples from the trees and we would still be obeying her rules. I can remember to this day seeing nothing but the apple core hanging from the branches of those old apple trees. I often wonder if Grandmamma knew what we had done. We cousins kept our mouths tightly shut and would declare up and down that some old bird was picking away at those apples until he had his belly full. After a while we began believing our stories but deep down I still felt guilty and decided I wasn't going to do that anymore. It also takes a lot of skill to hang by a branch and eat an apple with outstretched mouth and not touch the apple with your hands. That was another reason I gave up apple eating from a tree top. My boy cousins teased me that I should be able to do it perfectly because I had the biggest mouth of all.  We also loved to play hide and seek but that is another story  that I will save for another day.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

I enjoy taking pictures of the blossoms on my crab apple trees. It was a fight this time between the bees and me. I soon realized there was no sense in waiting for the bees to leave. There were just too many of them trying to enjoy the nectar from the blossoms.  I gathered my courage and put my camera into the blossoms as far as I could and snapped- picture taken. I won this time but it was a stand off until I got just the right picture I wanted. After taking the picture I ran. I guess you can say it was a tie between me and the bees today.
Spring is trying very hard to help flowers grow here in my little town of Monroe, North Carolina. We have daffodils growing all along the side of the highways around my house. I can't resist stopping the car, pulling over on the side of the road and clipping me some to bring home and put in an old quart jar. Yes, I have vases that I could place them in but I can still remember my mama placing her wild flowers in an old canning jar for display. I can't resist letting a memory creep into my mind. So, as I look at my daffodils sweet memories flood my heart.  This picture is the only flower I have from Mama's flower garden. She loved  flowers and they must have felt the work she put into them. They grew all over her yard. I pulled one single iris bulb from the ground and planted it at my home with the feeling it would never come up. I was wrong . It has grown greener and bigger every season. I call it "Mama's Memory Flower."  Keep growing my dear iris cause as long as you grown I still have a little bit of Mama down here with me.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

 Allison turned to see the casket  slowly being lowered into the ground.
              "Well, Mother, you said you would take the secret to your grave and so you did," she softly muttered under her breath.

This is taken from the first page of my book "The Lie That Binds." The ones that have read it knows the  mystery that followed the families in the book  Shhhhhhhh....  don't tell the secret.

                                                     The Southern Belle Breakfast Club

I am privileged to belong to this group. We meet every Thursday for coffee.  Today we are having a book signing and a meeting to discuss my sequel of The Southern Belle Breakfast Club. I've been asked is the book about us. No, but it sure is fun when people ask which character are we when they read the book. We often tease and say "Guess."  What a joy to have a group of woman you can tell everything to and know it won't go any further than the kitchen table. We share so many things as a group. Our lives have been as exciting and mysterious as the women in The Southern Belle Breakfast Club so I guess each of us does have a little bit of the characters in the book hiding away inside us.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I realize I am having trouble with my blog. I am so sorry that some of you cannot post and some that want to follow me can't get my blog to work for them. I am trying very hard to get all the bugs out of this but honestly I don't know where to start. If you are reading this and are having trouble doing either one of these things please let me know. I am on Facebook and you can notify me that way or  by email - singncountrygirl@aol.  Thank you, Phyllis

Monday, March 31, 2014

I live in the South where being a Southern lady is an honor. I lost both my parents in a car accident in 2002. A part of me died with them. My spirit and drive for life was no longer with me. My doctor advised I start writing for therapy. I did and soon writing became a passion. I have written five books at this time. They can be found on, Kindle and Barnes & Noble. I am enjoying this new journey in life. I know that my mama and daddy are looking down from Heaven  saying, "Go daughter go." This keeps me going and I write on and on and on.............

This is a shirt that my group, "The Southern Belle Breakfast Club," has created just for us. We meet every Thursday at one another's house for coffee and laughs around the kitchen table. We always tease that what is said around the kitchen table stays at the kitchen table. We consist of 7 ladies that share many things. We pray for one another in bad times and laugh with one another in good times. This is actually how I came up with the idea of my book The Southern Belle Breakfast Club.  We had been meeting for a long time and I told them I was going to write about a group of ladies and "bingo" the plot thickened. I had my manuscript done before I knew it but didn't have a name. One of the ladies said her husband had asked her when was she having coffee with her SBBC  again. She didn't know what he was talking about and thought at first he was making a joke. He then repeated the question but this time said ,"When are you going to have coffee with The Southern Belle Breakfast Club?"   With his sweet teasing he had delivered me a great name for my book and a terrific name for our group. Thus, we are know as The Southern Belle Breakfast Club.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

That is certainly the truth. There were times in the past that I would hear someone say something that I felt would make a good statement in a book or I would see something on TV that I knew would be perfect to slide into one of my unfinished books. I wouldn't write it down feeling I would certainly be able to remember it by the time I got back to the computer. No, within 2 minutes I was trying to think just how the statement or remark was said.  So the words were lost never to be remembered by me. How I carry a little pad and pen inside my pocketbook and if I think of something that I might use or see something that I think would fit in  my books I will quickly jot it down. That way it is there for me to ponder over using. It is not that I am getting old and can't remember - It is that in these days and times there is just too much to have to remember.  That makes sense to me and makes me feel a lot better about growing old.   :)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

  Here in the South we are always subject to a storm creeping into our daily activity and today was no different.  When I saw the sun popping through the dark clouds I just had to capture the moment. Thank you God for always giving us hope of a better day.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

                                                  Art by Jenny Zovein

     I can honestly remember plucking away at an old typewriter just like this. My typing teacher told me over and over that I would have to cut my long fingernails because she could hear each time I clicked on a key. The clicking sound gave me pleasure as I kept time with the music on the radio.  I would trim just a little but never cut them the way she wanted me too.  After all, my nails were my pride and joy in my teen years.
     Then came the electric typewriters and the hum covered up the click, click, clicking of my nails. This not only made my teacher happy but the students that were seated around me. This way I was able to let my nails grow as long as I wanted while applying fresh nail polish on them everyday.
      I thought I was on Cloud 9 when I purchased my first electric typewriter. I would type love letters to my sweetheart, Don. Oh and by the way, we continued to stay sweethearts and have been married for 46 years. We still have our old love letters packed in a box in the attic.
      Well, enough of that and back to my story.There would be no more pencils or ink pens in my future or at least that is what  I thought. Soon, the electric typewriter got boring to me and I went right back to the pencils and ink pens. I realized I could add flair to my penmanship using just the right ink pen.
      Then up popped the computer world. I fought this new gadget  with tooth and nail. I wasn't about to learn the evils of a computer and after all it wasn't going to last for long. Well, I ate my words on that statement cause here I am using it every day and enjoying every minute of it.
      So, I have learned that you never say never. After deep pondering over the situation I realized this Southern woman was never going back to the click, click, clicking of an old typewriter no matter what amount of joy it gave me in my younger years.

Monday, March 24, 2014

This is the latest of my books. It was fun to write. We made a trip to the mountains so I could take this picture for the cover. Then visited people that had an apple orchard for some quick research about apple farms. My grandson enjoyed having his picture taken.