Monthly Archives: May 2011

Paula Deen’s Fruit Pizza

Paula Deen’s Fruit Pizza

This evening we are celebrating with family and friends the birthday of my dear friend Lisa. It is just a casual evening on the beach. I sent out an e-vite on Facebook asking everyone to gather at the beach at 6:30 and bring your favorite app or snack to share. A few of us have small tables and we set up in a circle. Everyone is supposed to bring along with them a fond or funny memory to share as we go around the circle. It is a beautiful way to get together on a hot summer evening along the ocean.

Happy Birthday Lisa!

P.S. This is what I am bringing… can go to Paula Deen’s on the Food Network and look for Fruit Pizza. Delicious and beautiful!



Notice the small tomato to the left of the larger one! Now all we need is patience.

Planting a seed is a miraculous thing. You dig a hole and place this tiny ovule that has been in dormancy deep down covering it with a protection of soil. Then you sprinkle it with water to jumpstart the germination process. All that is needed is some sunshine from above and before you know it, fine little pale green sprouts begin to wriggle their way to the surface. With continued watering and light from above, the weak little sprout strengthens and reaches for more water and more light from above. The stem becomes strong and leaves begin to form, still reaching upward toward the light. After a time a tiny bud slowly unfurls from its protected place at the base of the leaf joined to the stem. At first it is tight but it’s layers soon relax as it feels the warmth of the sun. Within days the miracle manifests itself in colorful soft petals of the flower…then the fruit.

Our Bible study group is currently working on a Beth Moore Study entitled “Stepping Up”. It is a journey through the Psalms of Ascent, a compilation of 15 psalms, 120 thru 134, and we are almost half-way through.

Last week I was sharing with the girls how clearly I recognize my need to stay in God’s Word. When our group of around 25 ladies is between studies we take a few weeks off. During that time I occasionally pick up my Bible, but certainly not daily, as I do in the midst of a nurturing study.

The studies, even when repeated, teach me so much about my relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, about myself and the person I strive to be. I am human, and often in my humanness I fall short of what pleases God. But, I have learned I can seek forgiveness and try again to be that person. There is a lesson in each failure. God will help me through it and even in the darkness He will wrap His arms around me tightly. But, there will be light again. He will be pleased, and I will be beautiful in His sight.

Everyone needs to plant a garden…..

And she moved on

And she moved on

Benjamin Moore - Urban Nature

The wedding is nearly eight months past. Most of her clothes and personal things are gone from the bedroom she occupied for the last seventeen years. The items in the closet are mostly platters and various wedding gifts being saved for the Garrity home when they have more space. It is time to move on…..she sure has.

Certainly we need a new quilt for the bed. I have been perusing the Pottery Barn catalogs for just the right look. Her antique iron and brass full bed is from the turn of the century. (Well, it is not quite “full” enough when the Garrity family including Finn sleeps over). But it is cozy. I found a great patchwork quilt with many nice colors, washable and durable. The Shabby Chic white ruffled bedskirt, shams and duvet cover will work just fine with the quilt. So, all I need to do is choose the wall color.

My brother Ernie had installed hardwood floors in the room after she let the bathtub overflow one night. We were sitting in the family room when we heard water dripping from the powder room ceiling light fixture. Lindsay ran up the stairs to find the room soaked with bath water. It was time to upgrade to wood flooring.

Then, just a few years later, he added beaded board and a shelf surrounding the room. We decided to paint it white to match the wood trim surrounding the windows and the baseboards. The look was beachy and fun and she could place the pictures of her friends all around the room. It was perfect for a teenage girl.

Funny how we pick up great ideas over the years. Like, fall in love with the bedspread before you fall in love with a color. It is far easier to find the paint then it is to find the perfect spread in a color to compliment your paint.

We still have work to do, but, the “second” spare bedroom is coming along nicely. When I walk into the room, it holds fond memories of Lindsay and her friends. Changing the paint will not make it anything other than her room. It will always be Lindsay’s room to me and her Dad.

Could it be love at first sight?

Could it be love at first sight?

“There was the hottest guy on the shuttle bus today” she beamed as she returned home from her classes at the University of North Florida. “Aunt Judi, no, he was so hot!” “And, I think he smiled at me.” That was the beginning of what I felt to be Stephanie’s first and hopefully only true love.

It happened in the fall of her sophomore year. She was nineteen and beautiful, a former Osprey swimmer. She had injured her shoulder swimming for the high school team and was forced to have surgery the summer she entered college. Although she gave it every effort, she never returned to her optimum physical condition and thus, much to her college coaches’ dismay, reluctantly resigned from the team after her freshman year.

Dorm life was fine for a swimmer in her first year. But, certainly not “down” for a sophomore. Most of her friends were teaming up to lease apartments close to campus. However, Stephanie had what her parents felt was the perfect alternative. We, her Aunt and Uncle lived just fifteen minutes from campus. She had enjoyed several annual visits her whole life to our Victorian home just a bike ride from the Atlantic coast. Her cousins Louis and Lindsay were just a few years older and they too attended UNF. So, it was all quite comfortable. She had agreed to move in with the family.

The arrangement was working out very well. She had settled into her room and secured a job within walking distance of her new home. Stephanie typically has a sweet and gentle spirit and fit easily into the family routine. Tom and I agreed she was a pleasure to have in our home. School was going along well although she did miss competitive sports. She continued to socialize with her swim team buddies. This made her realize what she had given up. But, she was busy with her class schedule, homework and job so, she resigned to the fact that she would probably not be swimming again.

Stephanie had never shown serious interest in any particular fellow. She would do as most college kids today, “hang out” in groups, never actually having a serious date. This was certainly not because she wasn’t sought after. Several male athletes had shown attention, however she never found any of them to be more than just friends. Besides, she was waiting for that one special guy, the one who would remind her of her Father the one that God had chosen for her.

Could this be him, the boy on the shuttle bus? Could he be the man who would sweep her off her feet and ask her to elope to Hawaii where they would spend a week honeymooning as her older sister had? He certainly had all of the physical requirements she had dreamed about. He was extremely handsome with his chiseled square chin and long curly brown hair. Did he have a girlfriend? What was his name? Could his personality match his outward appearance? It was all very exciting. And, had he actually smiled at me?

Several days passed and “he” would usually be on the shuttle bus taking them both to the remote parking where their cars awaited them. They seemed to be on a similar schedule except for Tuesday and Wednesday mid morning, when Stephanie would notice he was not in his usual seat on the bus. Except, one Tuesday when she climbed up the step and made her way down the aisle, he was there! She sat in the seat next to him and said “hello”. He returned the salutation with a smile and explained his logistics class had been cancelled. Wow, he has brains too, Stephanie thought as she considered the difficult class he was taking. They chatted about nothing for the length of the ride and then said “goodbye” as they both went on their way.

“Aunt Jude, remember the boy I told you about on the shuttle bus?” as Stephanie rounded the corner into my bedroom. Well, he actually talked to me. His name is John and my friend Lonaka knows him. She said he is really nice. We talked on the shuttle bus and he asked for my phone number. Did you give it to him? She smiled in an impish sort of way and said coyly…”yes?” I could tell she was wondering what I thought of such a forward action. “Well good” I replied. “Maybe he will call.”

Well of course he called. In fact, Stephanie is now Mrs. John Genre. This spring after both Stephanie and John had graduated from UNF, they exchanged wedding vows on the beach in Fernandina. It was simple and lovely and very meaningful for them both.

God has a plan for each and every one of us. He places people in our paths but it is up to us to make the connection. Stephanie listened the morning she ran into John on the shuttle.

Thank you Lord!

Mr. and Mrs. John and Stephanie Genre

The Players – 2011

The Players – 2011

Club trailers are arriving today in the lot next to our house.

As soon as the weather promises no more frost the grounds crew at the TPC at Sawgrass gets to work. They have been mulching, planting, fertilizing, pruning in preparation for the biggest annual event of Northeast Florida to unfold and the players and crowds will begin to arrive this weekend.

If you are familiar with my blog, you will know the reason we moved to this very spot in 1993 was The Players Championship. Some neighbors actually avoid being here for tournament week. They are annoyed by the traffic and the crowded restaurants and shops. They take vacations and leave the area! We often wonder why they moved here in the first place.

This is the beginning of a great week in Ponte Vedra Beach……I wouldn’t leave for anything!

Basil, flat-leaf parsley, rosemary, mint, cabbage, peppers and more!

Basil, flat-leaf parsley, rosemary, mint, cabbage, peppers and more!

A Garden update May 4th, 2011

The garden is doing great.

We were really concerned planting on the north side of the house would not provide adequate sunlight. That actually seems to be a great choice. Florida direct sun might be too hot for tender plantings. This picture was taken just three weeks after the garden was planted. ( April 12th) and our harvest thus far has been wonderful herbs and peppers.

Thanks Matthew!

Future yummies....

More fairytales come true…

More fairytales come true…

Tea with the royal family.

Last Friday – April 29, 2011 my alarm sounded at precisely 3:58am just 2 minutes before coverage would begin of the greatest event to occur in the Royal Family since the marriage of Princess Diana to Prince Charles. It was later reported by NBC that 5.21 million loyal subjects joined me.

My English bone china tea cup sat awaiting the tea kettle to whistle. My choice of tea for the important event was a blend I had ordered online from England. I selected the Queen Mum to perch upon the rim as I savored every moment of the nuptials. It was soothing and warm, just the perfect touch for this dark spring morning.

The wedding did not disappoint. I loved watching the guests arrive, especially David Beckham whom I concluded to receive the “MHA”. (Most handsome award). The hats were fascinating and the term quickly circulated, every network scooped who they thought sported the most stylish “fascinator”. What fun.

The Bride was regal and performed her role in perfect step with head held high and hand delicately sitting atop her escort, first her Father and then her Groom. She was stunning in her timeless white lace gown and simple (if Royal Family jewels could ever be described as simple) diamond tiara loaned to her by her future Grandmother the Queen, a gift to her from her Mother upon her 18th birthday.

Her young attendants were perfectly matched and led by the Brides sister Pippa who later was said to have stolen a small part of the attention from the Bride with her beauty, her slim frame in a demure white silk gown. Pippa was lovely and no DNA questions here.

The Groom was handsome in his dress uniform and appeared quite at ease. Royal Brother Prince Harry, true to character, could not contain himself and had to turn to steal a glimpse of Kate as she made the four and one half minute walk from the Abbey doors on her Father’s arm to the altar where she would become the Princess, The Duchess of Cambridge. Prince Harry whispered to his brother, “Yes, she is here”. When Kate reached the altar, the Groom/Prince seeing her for the first moment whispered, “You are beautiful.” And, after a few seconds, lightly told Kate’s Father,Michael, “We are supposed to have a small family wedding.”

The wedding was surreal. Then the procession back to Buckingham Palace and the Royal family and The Middleton family made their appearance on the balcony overlooking the mall. The first kiss was perfect ….and after a few minutes to everyone’s surprise and delight – another. But, the best part to me was the unselfish act of the proud Groom driving his Bride off in his Dad’s prized Aston Martin Seychelles Blue DB6 MKII Volante, so typical of this modern day couple….the obviously happy newly crowned Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

This is a marriage made in heaven. It was later said the weather had been overcast most of the morning, however, when Kate emerged from her hotel, to enter her limo to whisk her off to the Abbey, the clouds opened up and the sunlight streamed thru, as if Diana was smiling down in approval as Kate left to join her Groom, Prince William at the altar. I believe that too!

I am so looking forward to more magic from this beautiful and refreshing Royal couple.

Blessings to you both!