Christmas 2010 Family Photos

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas
from the Mortons!
 
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6
*Gran Jan*

Cookbook Giveaway Winner!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Congratulations to Terry of the Ater-Price Family Blog!  Your cookbook, "Christmas in the Country" will soon be on it's way to you!

Thank you to those of you who shared your thankful thoughts.

I am also very thankful to each of you who visit this blog, which is basically the rambling thoughts of a blessed woman...

So thankful!
Gran Jan

My First Giveaway for You!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Good Morning!  While the coffee is brewing and I'm listening to the wonderful sound of the rain coming down on the metal roof of my home...
and while thanking the Lord for all His goodness, I decided to celebrate with a giveaway on my blog.  It's my first one and since today is my birthday, I wanted to give something to someone elseI am a blessed woman indeed!

So...all you have to do is:
  1. 1.  Go here to "The Gooseberry Patch"  and pick out a cookbook you would like to own. I love this website and their products are great, and I love to cook! I had a cookbook published in one of their cookbooks...this past year. It's the recipe for "Gran Jan's Chicken Pie."  Go here to read the post!
2.  Come back and post the 5 things you are most thankful for.
3.  Also tell me which cookbook you would like to receive.
4.  Do this by Tuesday, November 30th, two weeks from today!
5.  I will randomly select a winner on December 1st and have your cookbook sent to you in time for Christmas if you want to give it to someone else!

Happy Birthday to Me! Happy Giveaway to YOU!

*Gran Jan*

HIDDEN IN MY HEART

Friday, November 5, 2010

Oh.my.word. I have found some of the most blessed and peaceful music I've heard in a long time. Breakway Music is a record company devoted to producing quality Christian music for children.  They say on their website that their "goal and passion is for kids to have a relationship with Jesus."

If you need a gift for a wee one in your life, or if you just want a blessing for your own quiet moments, order this CD, Scripture Lullabies, Hidden In My Heart, a beautiful lullaby journey through scripture.  You can even get a free download here.  (About the time I have decided on a favorite, the next song begins.)

I bought one for each of my two precious grandbabies (Master Jackson and Miss Madie Ruth), who will both be celebrating their very first Christmases this year! I will be placing a CD in each of their stockings.
Your word
have I hidden
in my heart,
That I might not sin
against You.
(Psalm 119:11)


Hashbrown Casserole ~ Comfort & Joy!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cheesey Hashbrown Casserole
  • 1 lb. bag of shredded hash browns
    (I prefer the type that are not frozen, "Simply Potatoes."
    I buy these in the refrigerated
    section at the grocery store.)
  • 1/2 stick of melted butter
  • 1 eight-ounce container of sour cream
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
  • Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees
  • Melt 1/2 stick of butter and pour in large mixing bowl.
  • Add sour cream and cream of mushroom soup - mix well!
  • Stir in potatoes.
  • Stir in cheddar cheese.
  • Scrape all into an 8 x 8 casserole (or 2 quart casserole).
 Top with shredded parmesan cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and done, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

This is a family favorite and my sons Jeremy and Jonathan especially love it!

Happy Birthday Jonathan!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Twenty-six years ago today, God blessed our family with a gracious gift!  Today, October 22, we celebrate the birthday of our youngest son Jonathan.  I asked myself "where did the years go?", so I began sorting through family photos and selected a few to celebrate Jonathan's journey!  This momma's heart was sure blessed as I reminisced the memory of each picture. God did graciously bless us with Jonathan, which is of Hebrew origin and means "God's gracious gift." 

Dear Jonathan...

Here we are getting ready to leave the hospital in Athens, Georgia...ready to go HOME!
 I've told you dozens of times before, but it was a "record hot day" that day...88 degrees.
I should have realized we were headed for fun times...the picture below was taken
literally minutes after we brought you home.  Check out the dart gun in Jeremy's hand!
You were a beautiful baby and a good baby!  Although you had your
days and nights "crossed up" for the first 2 weeks, once you got your schedule
straightened out, you were a dream...easygoing and laidback.
You were about 8 weeks old in this picture.
You loved your big brother so much, and I'm thankful you still do!
This picture was made while we were at Jeremy's soccer practice.  I love it because
you are wearing a "G.I. Joe" shirt - and those were your favorite toys for many years. 
This was your 5th birthday picture, and may well be my favorite of all times. 
The Olan Mills folks thought so too, because it was on display for a long while!
Your Dad and I loved all the years of T-ball, baseball, soccer,
basketball, track, and football! 
 You've always loved animals, and Beulah the bassett hound was one of your favorite pets.
 Fun times on a deep-sea fishing trip with your friend, Jackie Bell.
You were always taller than all your friends, and
stood 6 feet tall in the 7th grade. 
This is one of the last pictures made of you and your brother when you
both still lived at home before Jeremy went to college and seminary.
Raising you and your brother have been my life's greatest joy.
You always have been a handsome young man. Knowing that you
are also a man of ingegrity means more than anything to me.
 I loved watching you catch the football and RUN like the wind!
Although you've never LOVED school, thank you for being diligent!
This is from your Senior pictures and I've always loved it so much.
 God led you to a fine young woman to marry. 
I love this picture of you and Erin Lee.
I
 06-07-08 - handsome groom on your wedding day.
 The Morton Four - how blessed I am.
We loved every moment of your wedding day.
I'm so glad you love the family farm and look forward to you and your
brother having fun times here with your children.  
We are so thankful for the heritage we have.
 
I added this baby picture of you here at the end...
because the one below this one is your son Jackson at the same age.
You have cloned yourself.
 Jackson Evan Morton
You are such a good daddy and there is no greater joy than
watching you be a daddy.
Your precious family.
Jonathan, Erin, Jackson...God is so good!

I love you son! Happy birthday and thank you for being a joy to my heart. Your life is a gift straight from God to our family. Your dad and I are so blessed to have been chosen by God to raise you...you have brought us so much JOY!  And Jackson will be the same JOY for you and Erin as you raise him up in the Lord!  I can't wait! 

Love, Mom

10-10-10

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Good Morning Friends.  I am writing this Sunday morning from the balcony of a beautiful condo in Sandestin, Florida.  My husband and I are here for an extra long weekend, a time of rest and renewal.  As my sweet daughter-in-law Carrie told me before we left, "this will be a vacation, when the whole family comes, it's a trip!"  There are times for both, but she is right...this has been a vacation, long awaited.

I am on Day Eight of one of Beth Moore's devotionals entitled 90 Days With JESUS The One & Only. I should complete this one around Christmas. This morning's reflection was from one of my favorite passages in scripture, the verse from Luke 2:19, "But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart."

As I was writing in my journal and took note of today's date 10-10-10; and since I have time and haven't posted in a while, I wanted to do a "Ten" List. Very unorginal, but I'm inspired with the whole Ten-Ten-Ten date today.  This list is not a Top Ten, but rather ten things I have often pondered in my heart.

Ten Ponderings
1.  The amazing grace of God and why He loves me like He does...
2.  The blessed gift of a long and faithful marriage with the love of my life...
3.  How absolutely right all my friends were about the sheer joy of being a grandmother...the inspiration for Gran Jan's Joy
4.  The great delight it is to be friends with my boys, now grown men...and the thankfulness that their wives are taking such good care of them...
5.  How I absolutely love to garden and wonder if those things are truly inherited and if so, then it came from my maternal grandmother...
6.  Sometimes at night when I slip outside I marvel that God really gave names to all the stars and that He knows my name too... Psalm 147:4 "He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name."
7.  After my trip to South Africa last year, I think of the beauty there, but also the devastating poverty in the shanty towns, and I especially ponder a little boy that used a plastic bread bag as his hat. My South Africa journal for that day is here...
8.  How some songs are so anointed and touch me every single time, and how thankful I am to have my own music man for a husband and that I know I am and have always been his favorite choir member...
9.  When God allows me to serve other women even with all my flaws, His mercy overwhelms me...
10. The older I get the more I understand the peace of being quiet and listening more...and often wonder why I didn't glean this truth earlier in my life, but the ways of God are a mystery...

Well, 10-10-10 is here and I'm getting up to enjoy my last day on the glorious Gulf Coast of Florida!

Blessings,
Gran Jan

P.S.  10-10-10 is also some mighty good garden fertilizer.  I'm just saying...

TWO YEARS OF PURE JOY!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged."
Proverbs 17:6

I started this blog two years ago last month during a time in my life I call the "waiting room" a definite season in my life.  I desperately needed an outlet to share the pure JOY of becoming a first-time grandmother.  Now I am a grandmother three times over!  My sweet friend, Deborah  was so patient and helpful to me in my early blogging days.

Today is the birthday of my first born's first-born...Ezekiel, my first grandchild we all call "Zeke."  For one who never finds herself at a loss for words, I simply cannot describe to you the pure joy that springs from my heart because of Zeke's life. This little boy LOVES life and LIVES with pure joy! 

Here he is trying to catch raindrops on his tongue when a nice summer shower passed through at his birthday pool party Friday night!
More evidence of his joy-filled personality:
Zeke, I love you with all my heart.  You are such a sweet boy, and Gran Jan is not the only one who sees the special way you touch lives.  You love animals, you love music (your favorite song is still "How Great is Our God" by Chris Tomlin), you love books, you love strawberries, you love tractors, and most of all, you love your baby sister Madie Ruth! 

You have touched my heart way down in the deepest parts, places I never knew existed.  I am so thankful for your life.  I can't wait to teach you all that God is teaching me.

Happy Birthday to you Zeke!
I love you,

Gran Jan 

She Lived 25 Years...She's Been Gone 25 Years

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sisters are Different Flowers From the Same Garden...

I am the oldest of four girls all named by our parents with "P.J." inititals, Pamela Jan, Phyllis Jean, Patricia Joan, Peggy Jo; all called by our middle names. This picture was taken back in 1981 as we celebrated our parents' 25th wedding anniversary.  (We are standing in birth order, with me on the far left.)

This past January 18th would have been Jean's 50th birthday if she had lived. But God had other plans, and my sister died on July 19, 1985, 25 years ago.  She was only 25 years old when a tragic car accident took her life instantly.  She's been gone for as long as she lived.  Some days it seems like only yesterday...and other days I mourn every one of those 25 years. 

I have scanned in some photos from our early years.  Every memory I have of my childhood includes my sister Jean as we were so close in age.  This could well be one of our first photos together.  I was 2 years, 2 months and 2 days old when she was born in January of 1960.
 This photograph is one of my favorites of Jean and me with our mother.
I was a brown-eyed brunette (still am), and she was a blue-eyed blonde!
 Here we are on Christmas Day - I especially love my memories of Christmases with Jean.  We loved this kitchen set, and always played "house" with our baby dolls.
We played outside for hours with this old dog.
Even though I am older, she was often my defender in squabbles.
Here we are all decked out for Easter with matching hats and dresses. 
I was 7 years old, Jean was 5, and our baby sister Joan was 9 months old.
Jo was born the very next year on Good Friday.
 This is Jean and I in front of our home in Hawaii.
Our Dad was a career Marine, and our family lived in Hawaii during
his duty there. We loved our years in Hawaii and the timing was
great as we were teenagers and we loved the beach!
A few months ago when the thought resonated in my heart that Jean had been gone as long as she had lived, I asked my mom if us girls could spend the day togther to remember Jean and celebrate her life. So that is what we did this past July 19th.  My sisters and our mom went to the cemetery and put flowers on Jean's grave. 
There is a quote that Jean always loved, so her sweet husband had it carved into her beautiful pink granite tombstone at the bottom.  It says:
With each rising sun,
think of life as just beginning.
Show kindness and love today,
for tomorrow's chance may be lost.
It was extremely hot that day, and we didn't tarry too long.  But we did what we came for. We talked about how much we miss Jean, and we shed some tears. We visited our paternal grandparents' and great-grandparents' graves, and many of my Dad's siblings' graves too.  After we left the cemetery, we had lunch together and did a little shopping.  It was good to just be together.  We wanted to remember her, but not to mourn as those who have no hope! Jean had a little girl, our sweet niece Amy, who was not quite two years old when her momma died.  I texted Amy and told her what we were doing, and she was so glad.  She lives out of state or she would have joined us.  She is so much like her momma.  It is absolutely uncanny when I watch Amy and see Jean's hand motions and facial expressions.  She did not get the privilege to raise her girl, but she lives on in her every day.  Amy is so beautiful.
This picture of Jean and Amy was taken not long before Jean died.
I cannot tell you how Jean's death devasted our lives. The morning of her funeral was the darkest day I have ever known.  My heart was broken for my parents more than anything. Jean's death remains the greatest loss in our family.  But this I know! Jesus gives grace and He is so faithful.  We turned to Him for comfort and He met us every time.  We miss her every day, and when the family is together, we are not complete.  But I know beyond doubt that a day is coming when we will be together again in Heaven!  Because of the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross and our faith in Him as Lord and Savior - we will see her again one day, alive and whole.

Blessings to you all.  Love your family every day, for tomorrow's chance may be lost...
Jan

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