Advice to the Graduates….

As the calendar moves from May to June a large segment of our population takes part in their own proverbial turning of the page.

It is graduation season and millions of high school and college students will begin a new phase in their lives.

As these young people start moving on, I thought it would be a good time to get some sage words of wisdom from a member of the “seasoned” community in advice to the young whipper-snappers who are about to take over the world.

Without further adieu, allow me to introduce this honored statesman, intellect and philosopher who will depart these words of wisdom…….


OK, sorry to disappoint but that is the best I could do on such short notice, after all I have only known graduation day was coming for the last 364 days!

Instead of statesman, intellect and philosopher, I’ll just do the best I can.

While not words that will change the world, I do believe these brief thoughts can change a young person’s direction and help make life a bit easier and more enjoyable.


DREAM HUGE – this is your moment, don’t let any dream be too big.  Dream your dream and then find a way to make it a reality.  Don’t mistake wanting to do something with making it a reality, dreams take planning and work to come true, but when you make it happen, the hard-work required is worth it…. go for it!

CHANGE YOUR MIND – nothing says that you must have your entire game-plan laid out the day you graduate.  Try something, if you don’t like it don’t be afraid to change your mind…. often!

FIND YOUR TRIBE – as someone who didn’t always fit in during my high school years, I found my “tribe,” during college and my 20’s and these are the people who shaped my life and led me into adulthood.  Find the people who make you your best and then embrace them.

RESPECT YOUR ELDERS – trust me, you will be an elder before you even imagined it possible.

ERASE “I WILL NEVER” FROM YOUR VOCABULARY – I will never be fat, I will never let my kid do that, I will never work weekends, I will never get fired, I will never, I will never, I will never…… yes you will so erase the thought!

GO ON AN ADVENTURE – find something you are passionate about and then drop everything and chase the passion.  Join a campaign, backpack the countryside, run a marathon, just do something.  You will have your entire life to do what is expected of you, do something for a purpose greater than yourself or a challenge that will change you forever.

LEARN TO COOK – no explanation is necessary, just learn to cook.

MAKE MISTAKES – there is nothing wrong with making a mistake, there is nothing wrong with making many mistakes.  The best way to handle a mistake is apologize, move on and try your best not to repeat the mistake again.  We are humans, not perfect, so don’t be afraid to screw up.

LAUGH – every single day, find a reason to laugh.  If for no other reason, than it just feels good!

DON’T FORGET WHERE YOU COME FROM – all I wanted to do when I was young was escape where I came from.  As I got older all I wanted to do was come home.  The people you grew up with will be there when life gives you joy and sorrow.  Don’t forget the people who shaped you and supported you and above all else, shared a common experience that will be looked back on with joy for the rest of your life!

That’s it, sorry I couldn’t find a great philosopher and intellect, just words of advice from an old guy at a keyboard.

Congrats on your graduation, there is a big, beautiful, amazing world out there waiting for you……  go conquer it!

Christmas Playlist…. Mary Did You Know performed by CeeLo Green

Sunday Supper – Recipes

I cook Sunday Supper most weeks for my family.  It’s a time for us to get together and talk, laugh and catch up on what’s going on in our busy lives.

I enjoy cooking for the family and having everyone at my house.  I get that from my parents who both enjoyed having family around for a meal.

This Sunday, I had two dishes on the menu that got recipe requests.  The Chicken Casserole was my grandmother and then mother’s recipe.  This recipe was often on our table or my grandmother’s table for Sunday Supper and if there was a family reunion or large gathering, it always made an appearance.

The applesauce cake was reminiscent of one my grandmother used to make, but I got the recipe off


2 c. cubed, cooked chicken

1 c. diced celery

1/2 tsp salt

dash pepper

3 chopped hard boiled eggs

mayonnaise to moisten

1 can cream of chicken soup

potato chips or sticks


Combine chicken, celery, salt, pepper 1and eggs.  Moisten with mayonnaise.  Add undiluted cream of chicken soup.  Pour 1/2 of mixture into greased casserole dish.  Put thin layer of crushed chips or sticks over the top.  Add rest of mixture.  Top with crushed chips or sticks and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

(I added mushrooms to my casserole.)



applesauce-cake1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups applesauce
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
Powdered sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream the butter. Add the brown sugar and continue mixing. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla, then mix until well blended and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the applesauce. Fold in the raisins and walnuts. Pour batter into a greased and floured loaf or tube pan and bake until firm to the touch, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in the pan, then turn it out, and dust with powdered sugar.

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Sunday Supper, My Favorite New Tradition

When I moved back to God’s Country, one of the things that was most important to me was being able to spend time with my family.

I had missed out on so many wonderful moments while living in Florida; I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss out on any others.

Immediately after moving back, I implemented Sunday Supper.  The entire family is invited, 6PM at my house.

I cook and we all sit down together and enjoy a meal.

My love of cooking and these family gatherings were passed down from mama and daddy.  I think they were at their best when cooking a big meal for those they loved and then sitting down at the table to enjoy.

Sunday Supper has quickly become the highlight of my week.

I have done numerous meal combinations, last night was reminiscent of what we grew up on, supper direct from the garden.  (Not mine, but a friends.)

What’s on the menu…..

7.19.15 SSBaked chicken breast with mushrooms

Corn on the cob

Squash and onion

Butter beans


“Pink” salad – mama used to call this “Ken’s Salad” because it was my favorite.


Homemade banana ice cream

Man vs. Hog

Daddy is an excellent cook. He is self taught and can cook almost anything.

I am sure he will tell you the only things he can’t cook, are the things he doesn’t want to eat.

With mama in the hospital a lot when we were younger, he often had to cook and clean to keep us on a regular schedule. It wasn’t easy, but daddy did it. I don’t think I ever heard him complain.

The kind of cooking daddy did in those days was out of necessity, to keep the family going. The kind he would do in the kitchen with a black frying pan, preparing the day to day basics. Daddy tolerated basic cooking, but daddy loved to get outside and cook……cook over an open flame, like a man cooks!

Turn daddy loose on the grill or with his deep-fat fryer and he was in his element. However, if you ever wanted to see a man revert back to his inner-caveman, give daddy a fire pit and a wild hog and you have the makings of an epic battle of man vs. beast.

It would usually happen at least once a year, it didn’t matter if it was an occasion or just a reason to cook, but once a year or so, daddy would cook a wild hog. When I say a wild hog, understand, I mean the WHOLE hog! Weeks of preparation would go into the battle of man vs. hog with the outcome always the same…. man won!

When daddy cooked a hog it was a spectacle. The pit had to be just so, temperature of the coals exact, the hog prepared for cooking with affection, cooking timed to the exact minute, daddy was the king of the fire pit and his audience appreciated his efforts.

As you can imagine, cooking a hog wasn’t just a meal for the family. No, when you cook a hog it is an event, for the masses. I have seen daddy cook a hog in the blazing heat of a 4th of July; on top of Black Rock Mountain with snow falling from the sky and along side a small fishing pond while games of football were played in the fields nearby.

Daddy loves being in a group, his personality is at its best when he is the center of attention and cooking a wild hog over a pit has a way of putting that attention square on the guy in charge…. daddy. He would entertain friends, neighbors and family for hours on end during the cooking process with story after story, each tale growing bigger as the night went on. Oh yes, the night went on, you see, cooking a hog in a pit isn’t a couple of hour process, no,  it begins in the late evening of one night and continues until supper time the next night.

Hour after hour, daddy would stand by the pit,turning and basting and rubbing and watching that hog turn to a perfect golden brown. Meat falling from the bones ready for the masses to enjoy.

Daddy always loved those moments when the hog was presented and everyone begin to dive in and enjoy the fruits of his labors. Congratulations were abundant, praises for the chef and slaps on the back, daddy was the center of attention and he loved every minute of it.

Recently, I started thinking about daddy and those hogs once and realised there was an analogy there that sums up daddy’s life. Some parts of the pig roast aren’t a lot of fun, the staying up all night, constant basting and turning and rubbing, it is tiresome work and often lonely. But when the meat is presented and the crowd is enjoying the fruits of that labor the hard work must all seem worthwhile as the man provides for his family, Man vs. Hog….. everyone wins!