It’s Crawfish Season, Y’all!

It's crawfish season, y'all!

Crawfish season is here, and I promise, you don’t want to miss it. 

It’s crawfish season, but to be honest, if I saw a crawfish in the wild (aka a swamp or muddy pond), I might get a little freaked out. Sure, I might watch it crawl around. I was a Girl Scout for a long time and have a serious appreciation for outdoorsy things. But never, even if I were starving, would my first thought be, I should pick up that crawfish, cook it, and eat it. 

I know John the Baptist ate locusts and Bear Grylls has eaten all kinds of bugs, but that’s just not my style. I’m not even excited about the chocolate covered crickets at the Insectarium in New Orleans.

That said, I can look past the bug-ness of this critter to enjoy some fresh and spicy crawfish.


The Power of Reflection

How looking back helps us see the way forward

You don’t realize the power of reflection until its impossibility becomes a reality. It’s a truth that falls along the lines of you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

This weekend the need for reflection became crystal clear to me when a friend and fellow writer and I headed out to the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference near Ashville, North Carolina.

Road Trip!

We set out at 6:11 a.m. My little Jeep Patriot was up for the challenge with new tires, a recent oil change, and even a new horn (that story is for another post). With coffee, snacks, and my Gypsy Soul playlist queued up, we were making excellent time on some beautiful Texas backroads. Seriously, the wildflowers are amazing!  

Everything was looking good until we came upon a wake of buzzards snacking on some roadkill. Four or five of them were standing around their middle-of-the-road buffet, NOT paying attention to the fact that we were zooming toward them at 70 miles per hour.


Skillet Biscuits & Snow Days

Skillet Biscuits on Snow Days
Turns out skillet biscuits are pretty tasty!

Who would have thought we would have multiple snow days in a year down here in Central Texas, never mind in a week!

But here we are with back-to-back days of ice, snow, freezing rain, and more predicted in the forecast. Thankfully, that forecast also has Texas returning to its normal mild winter weather soon. And yes, 50˚F counts as winter weather when you’re from a place where it’s over 100˚F almost a third of the year.

Do you know what kind of tracks these are?

I’ve seen so many friends posting updates between power outages about bursting water pipes, 40˚F temps INSIDE the house, and no way to cook. The outages, depending on where people live, have lasted anywhere from an hour to a time to several days. I went to bed warm last night, feeling guilty that people I love are shivering inside their homes.

Waking Up to the Illusion of Independence

The last few days, heck, the full past year, have had me thinking about independence. I’ve never been an alarmist or put stock in conspiracy theories (from any side of the aisle or scale), but all the craziness, upheaval, and unrest have made me think about how much independence we really have in a country that boasts “freedom for all” in its tagline.


Home Is Where . . .

I walked into my cousin’s house in Germany and felt as if I’d been there a hundred times before. Even though it was a different house in a different country, and it had been at least a  year since I’d last seen Annie, her home was just as I remembered. The buffet that belonged to our grandparents, the cabinet she’d found and re-fabbed, the decorations in the kids’ rooms . . . each item that had been packed and shipped across the ocean helped to make this Army family’s house a home.

Of course, we all know that stuff isn’t what makes a home. It’s the people (and sometimes animals) that make the cliché true: home is where the heart is. That obligatory concession aside, whether you have lived in the same place for decades or tend to move every few years, there are probably a few things that make your house feel like home. Seems obvious, right? Maybe so, but it took me years and countless moves to understand that while home may very well be where you hang your hat, that hat and even the hook it hangs on can make you feel a little more at ease at the end of the day.


Reminiscing, Roux-Making, and Ridiculously Good Gumbo

Raise your hands if you love New Orleans… and gumbo!

(My hands are actually on the keyboard, but I’m raising BOTH hands in my heart!)

Yep, I love New Orleans. Our whole family does. We crave the food (because food is one of the best parts of traveling), and marvel at the music, Jackson Square, the historic streetcars, and the city’s characters and blend of culture. The resilient and rowdy city on the Mississippi River offers a lot to love.


The Best Cheeseburger

A Tasty #GetLostFriday Find

When you see a string of signs in the middle of nowhere promising “Fresh Made” food, do you stop in for a bite?

Well, if it’s a #GetLostFriday, ya just might!

And if you’re lucky, you might find the best cheeseburger of your life.

While out for a drive on Friday, my oldest son and granddaughter and I stopped in at Whitehall Cafe. Located in the historic Whitehall Cotton Gin, the place looks like an old metal barn, and not at all like a place you’d expect to find impressively tasty food.


Where Do You Get GOOD Fajitas?

I don’t know who comes up with national celebration days, but today is one day I am happy to support: National Fajita Day! (Seriously, I think this day was named with me in mind!!) And as it just so happens, I already had Chicken Fajita Salad on the menu for dinner. Coincidence? More like SERENDIPITY!

In honor of such a delicious day, it seems appropriate to reminisce about this Tex-Mex favorite that’s been part of my life since… well, at least since I was 9 or 10.


A West Texas Day Trip

What’s better than getting to celebrate a graduation without having to actually go to the graduation ceremony? Not much, from my point of view. When my cousin’s daughter graduated from high school this year, the ceremony attendance was limited to maintain social distancing suggestions. That meant I got to help celebrate her well-earned achievement—without enduring the ceremony itself. (Sometimes you don’t have to search all that hard for silver linings.)

Going to the graduation party required a roadtrip, and if you know me at all, you know I started packing the car as soon as I opened the invitation. The trip was a great way to kick off this crazy COVID-19 summer of 2020, and BONUS, I came across a couple of fabulous finds to share with you!

Whether you’re in Abilene, Lubbock, or Amarillo and are looking for a day-trip excursion where you can maintain your social distance, or you are heading out on a trek across the state, add these places to your itinerary for a relaxing West Texas Day Trip.


Simple Summer Squash Casserole

I grew up loving squash casserole. My Grannie made it whenever we visited, and the cheesy, crispy goodness made it easy to enjoy. My boys, however, never developed a taste for it. Rather than battle it out at the dinner table, I stopped making it except for our larger family get-togethers where it’s sure to get eaten.

Dad has been working on a garden this spring, and although it’s only May, the squash is growing like crazy. I’ve been sent home with a few squash or zucchini each time I’ve visited in the past few weeks. I really don’t know what else to do with squash besides make this casserole, so my husband and I enjoyed the whole thing ourselves!