Sunday, February 25, 2018

Cheerful Roadsides and I'm Halfway to Somewhere ~Daybook for February 25, 2018

Looking out my window... it's a beautifully quiet Sunday morning. The rain is coming down steadily, forcing some of the early spring blooms off their branches prematurely and saturating the roots of other trees that are just pretending to be asleep. My favorite spring sights are not outside my own window (I need to do something about that), but I am loving the forsythia, the Bradford pears, the redbud trees, the daffodils. I especially love the daffodils that have snuck away from their original homes and cluster randomly on the roadsides. Evidently, such cheerfulness could not be contained. As fascinating are the flowers that still pop up in places where the ramshackle homesteads have been swallowed by time. The house may be completely gone from the eye of passers-by. Perhaps even a careful search will only reveal a few old bricks where a fireplace used to be. But there, all around, are the great-great-great-great-great "grand-children" of the original plants, put out by a long-forgotten housewife who wanted a "spot of color." 

I am thinking... "You're halfway to retirement," Nathan said. It was one of my why-am-I-homeschooling-anyway moments. We're into our eighth year, and just typing that, it sounds ridiculous. With just two kids two years apart, I only have fifteen years of commitment to this job. I have a few friends with many, many more years due to more kids and more gaps. Blessings on your heads!!!!!!!!
"What are you going to do, Mom, when we're in college and grown up?" asked the kids. Good grief. Why is everyone trying to imply that I'm on the verge of empty nest? I'm actually not. I have some 7.5 years to go. "Are you going to fall apart, Mom? Are you never going to want to cook again? Are you going to give up and just eat junk food? Are you going to be depressed?" Seriously. These are the questions I get asked. 
What will my life look like in 7.5 years? Truthfully, I neither know nor am trying to picture that. If 7.5 years ago I would have caught a vision of myself now, I wouldn't have recognized that person, nor could I have imagined the many, many tiny acts of Providence that would place me here, doing this, doing now. It seems a waste of time to do anything more than short-term planning for a long-term obedience. That. That is my plan, kids. To keep obeying God. To keep loving people. To keep letting Him shape me. 
I am halfway to somewhere though. That somewhere, if God grants me the years, is age 72. My mother-in-law told me (before I even turned 20), "There is a prepared place for a prepared person." I thought that just applied to college degrees and such, but it is much more than that. To be useful in the kingdom, to be a kind and wise old person (my goal!), also requires preparation. (I wrote this section a few months ago, if it feels totally disjointed ;o)

I am thankful... for good health. We had a little scare recently, causing us to have to wait a few months for results. This waiting, it clarifies things. It shows how fragile we are. It causes us to reevaluate what is true, good and lovely. Results turned out fine. Thankful.

One of my favorite a flowering weed. What are they really but flowers that grow where we don't want them? They are also the most beautiful things brought in childish hands, and the only reason I own a 'bud vase.'

I am creating... a list of parenting tips for littles based off recent conversations with young moms. Thank God I'm past that stage, but somehow, young moms think I'm one of those 'older' moms with a brain to pick for ideas. I know that's biblical, etc. to encourage young mothers/wives, but when did I start this transition? I suppose everyone is older than someone. Moms of teens, get on FB and share your gems with me, please.

I am reading... novels to teach in class. Recently, I got to return to an all-time favorite, The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli. It is the story of how a physically handicapped child prays/wishes for wholeness, only to find wholeness of spirit matters more. He ends the book leaning on a crutch, but standing oh-so-tall. Love, love, love! Also I have just finished my first time through Pride and Prejudice. I truly hated the first half of it, because it was so inane and fluffy. Blech. Others encouraged me to continue, so I did. I was pleasantly surprised by the second half. Was it worth the torture of the first half? I am undecided.

I am hoping... many will benefit from Nathan's latest lesson, "Biblical Faith."  It may be the most life-altering lesson he's written. He taught the first half on 2/11 (the theology side) and will be teaching the second half on 2/25 (tonight- the practical side). It will be live at 6:00 p.m. at and archived there for later viewings.

I am learning... Colossians. Bit by tedious, slow bit, I am memorizing this amazing little book. It is rich. I am getting wealthy by my time in it. God bless the creators of

In the kitchen... a dog is sleeping. That is truly all that is happening at the moment. The sink is relatively empty of dirty dishes. Yay for me.

Sunday Morning Reflection:
"Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week." ~H.W. Longfellow

Sunday, March 12, 2017

2/3 of an Apple Pie, Latin, Seam-Rippers, & Riding in a Sidecar  ~ March 12, 2017 Daybook 

Looking out my window... it’s still quite dark. At 6:50 a.m. This first day of the spring time change is always a bit bizarre, isn’t it? 

I am thinking... about sewing an apron. It takes a while to psych myself up for the process. It has always in the past involved some quality time with a seam-ripper, many minutes of staring fixedly at the pattern, turning the material this way and that. 3-d work is definitely not my forte. I always failed that section of standardized tests. You know the only with the flattened out shapes that said, “What shape will be created by folding on the dotted lines?” I don’t know. I still don’t know. 

I am thankful... so very, very thankful for Nathan. A good man- who can find? :o) He is that man. Every year, a little more like Jesus. Every day, a little more passionate about the Word of God. I can trust him, and that’s a huge deal to a woman. 

One of my favorite things... is a Jan Karon book. I drop into the world of Mitford whenever I need a break from the ‘real world.’ Just some time with Father Tim and his gigantic dog (controlled by Scripture), Cynthia, and Wordsworth drain all the day’s stress away. It’s like a massage in paperback. All that to say, there is a NEW ONE coming out this fall. 

I am wearing... pajamas. Specifically, I have now crossed the line into having to buy ‘moisture-wicking’ pajamas for the blasted night sweats. It’s some precursor, I’m told, to getting old. 

I am creating... a safe place for my husband and children. That may sound silly, but I’ve found that to be a huge part of my role, and one I’ve been working on for many years. They shouldn’t have to tiptoe around any family member who is holding everyone emotionally hostage. They should always feel that the door is open to any conversation, any time.  The children should see boundaries that are clear and consequences that are obvious. Love that is always present. As Karon’s latest book was titled… “Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good.” In the more concrete sense, I am creating… um… nothing. I hate crafting. 

I am reading... a huge stack of variety right now. For starters, I’m in Deuteronomy with It’s pretty much one huge farewell sermon from Moses. I’m trying to figure out a way to bring up the idea of Facebook Live to Nathan for one of our family Bible discussion times; we have such fun every night. He’ll never go for it :o). On my bedside table, I’m reading Tolkien and Dekker in translation. Reading others’ works in Spanish is one way I keep my skills sharp. I also have Hero by Stoeker, Mother & Son: The Respect Effect by Eggerichs (awesome!), Living a Beautiful Life by Stoddard, a couple of cookbooks from the library… Did I mention we are a house of BOOKS? We love them. Love being surrounded by them. God bless the Hoover Library!   

I am hoping... that my depth-perception test at the eye doctor’s this week will give me some answers. I’ve come to believe I have NO depth perception. It makes me quite clumsy, but it makes driving very tricky. I spend a good deal of time telling my brain, “What you think you see is not real… it’s all good.” Nathan has come to realize that it’s an eyesight issue, not just paranoia. He says when I ride as passenger that I always feel he is hurtling me to my death. Which is true. And he’s probably the safest driver I know. I seriously feel like I’m sitting in a sidecar. Nights are the worst. My brain only perceives as much road as the headlights can reveal. If I’m tired, I fight a bit of panic as it seems I’m about to hurtle off a precipice. Fun? Not so much. 

I am learning...  Latin. Yep, Latin. I’ll be teaching it next year as part of the Classical Conversations Challenge A curriculum. I spent some time yesterday musing over the literature selections, etc. We are going to have a blast. Not to mention that these are seventh-graders- my happy spot :o). I’m also learning the fine art of being a mom to an almost twelve year old girl. This is a tricky thing. Delightful and totally overwhelming as the hormones strike, and strike hard (I’m sorry, Mother. Yes, I’m sorry for ever being twelve.) She’s excited about being old enough for Youth Camp this summer. Is that possible? That’s how I met Nathan. He was my youth camp counselor when I was twelve.   

In the kitchen... there is a homemade apple pie. OK, there’s actually 2/3 of a pie. As everyone knows, they’re always best piping hot with vanilla ice cream on the side, melting into a dipping puddle. So, we celebrated NOTHING with a pie last night. It was lovely.

Sunday Morning Reflection:
My God, I thank Thee, who hast made
The earth so bright,
So full of splendor and of joy,
Beauty and light;
So many glorious things are here,
Noble and right.

I thank Thee, too, that Thou hast made
Joy to abound;
So many gentle thoughts and deeds
Circling us round,
That in the darkest spot of earth
Some love is found.

I thank Thee more that all our joy
Is touched with pain,
That shadows fall on brightest hours,
That thorns remain;
So that earth’s bliss may be our guide,
And not our chain.

For thou who knowest, Lord, how soon
Our weak heart clings,
Hast given us joys, tender and true,
Yet all with wings;
So that we see gleaming on high
Diviner things.

I thank Thee, Lord, that Thou hast kept
The best in store;
We have enough, yet not too much
To long for more:
A yearning for a deeper peace
Not known before.

I thank Thee, Lord, that here our souls
Though amply blessed,
Can never find, although they seek
A perfect rest;
Nor ever shall, until they lean
On Jesus’ breast.

-A. Procter, 1858

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Fears, Steve Green and Crunchy Ice
I have the old Steve Green recording "Woven in Time" in my car. Its music is especially contemplative, and I use it for such moments. Yesterday, I was listening to the song "Whatever It Takes." Its lyrics remind me very much of one by the same title I've sung in church since I was just a little, little girl. At the bottom of this post, you can read them both for comparison/contrast. You know the one. "I'll trade sunshine for rain... whatever it takes to draw close to you, Lord..." Frankly, the lyrics always scared me more than a trifle. It didn't help that occasionally song evangelists would pause and say gravely, "Do you hear what you're singing? I want you to not sing the next verse unless you REALLY MEAN it!" And I would go silent. How could I know if I really meant it? My conscientious heart considered all the fearful unknowns and decided I couldn't sing. At some point, my pride probably kicked in, and I may have chimed in with silent "watermelon, watermelon, watermelon"s. Maybe.

I still have a lot of fears. I like to say that I'm not afraid of death, just of what may get me there. In the past, certain fears have utterly paralyzed me. I can lie in bed and imagine a gazillion possible tragedies that could befall my family at a moment's notice. In fact, I find that I'm quite talented at coming up with scenarios. Nothing like using my creativity to scare myself half to death. My children, like most mini-people, struggle with the same. "Why are you sleeping out here?" or "You went to sleep with your light ON? Why?" is often given the answer "I scared myself."

I rode through McCalla yesterday, sipping on the Coke Zero that disguised the real treasure in that Chick-Fil-A cup- crunchy ice! Steve Green sang the song, I skipped back and he sang it again. And then again. And again with me, a not very tuneful me, but me. With my whole heart, I can sing these songs now. My kids weren't along (as I like to say, "The best part of homeschooling is being with my kids all. the. time. The worst part of homeschooling is being with my kids. all. the. time." They so despise my grocery trips that they chose dishes over accompanying me. I was fine with that). If they had been along, and if they had not been distracted by their backseat goofiness, they would have piped up and said, "HOW can you sing that?" I know them.

How? Age, for one. Knowledge, for two. Relationship, for the win. I'm older, I've seen scary, and it hasn't 'kilt' me yet (as we say here). In fact, I have enough notches in my emotional gun handle to prove that in every moment of death and life conflict (and every minute of casual fear), God's grace has been present in an incredible way, and I have overcome. On the knowledge end, and beyond experiential, I know my Bible a lot better than I did at ten. My theology of grace and suffering and heaven is a lot more complete and that helps, a ton. Trust and faith must be built on truth, not "experiences" alone. I have found two life themes to say to myself when Nathan is thirty minutes late coming home or I hear a creak under the bed: 1) There is no grace for the imagination & 2) There are no lapses in the goodness of God. These are part of my arsenal, and I keep them sharp with use. But there is no substitute for relationship. The more I know Him, the more I trust Him. To contemplate handing control to anyone is terrifying. To an omnipotent Being, even more so. To a completely GOOD best friend, who's always come through, a completely different story. There are still a few butterflies that flitter about internally when I sing, but I affirm truth instead.

Steve Green: Whatever it takes
To keep me tender toward You
Whatever it takes, Lord
I beg You to do
Whatever You must lead me through
Whatever it takes, Lord … do
At times I hear your voice and try to hide
But patiently you draw me to your side
I may not always see
That Your words are life to me
So many times I’ve missed You
Help me, Lord, to not resist You
Sometimes my heart gets hard and I can’t see
That Your correction is protecting me
But as I look within
The darkness of my sin
Breaks my heart and leaves me tender
Gratefully I then surrender

The other one:
There’s a voice calling me from an old rugged tree
And it whispers
“Draw closer to Me
Leave your world far behind
There are new heights to climb
And a new life in Me you will find”
For whatever it takes to draw closer to You, Lord
That’s what I’ll be willing to do
And whatever it takes to be more like You
That’s what I’ll be willing to do
Take the dearest things to me
If that’s how it must be to draw me closer to You
Let my disappointments come
Lonely days without the sun
If in sorrow more like You I’ll become
I’ll trade sunshine for rain, comfort for pain
That’s what I’ll be willing to do
For whatever it takes for my will to break
That’s what I’ll be willing to do
That’s what I’ll be willing to do 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

I find that rewriting/personalizing parts of Scripture really aids me in meditation.  Not only do I read more closely, but I find my heart responding to the truth that really speaks to me.  God is not silent; His Word is not a mere historical document.  It speaks today.

A paraphrase of Psalm 91 for my own heart on this Lord's Day:

If you choose to stay close to me, you can.  I am more than willing to be oh-so-close to you.  You can be so close that you stay in my shadow.  That will make following me a lot easier.  Choose to say to me:  "You are my only protection in this life, and I trust You to be enough for me.  I bow in submission to Your lordship in my life."

There will come moments when you'll think you've been snared by that "fowler", Satan, who seeks your destruction.  In that moment, I (like a great bird that cannot be caught), will rescue you.  You will hide under my feathers.  The enemy will seek and not find you.  I am faithful always, and My faithfulness is forever your trustworthy shield.  I will not let you down; I will not fail you.  I cannot. My faithfulness stands. 

There WILL be destruction and terrible things that you will see all around.  But I'm in control, and you're with Me, so don't be afraid for yourself!

Because you have chosen to make Me your home and to place yourself under My protection, I will watch out for you.  I will even send my angels to protect you.  Things that could destroy you and things that are sent to destroy you, these you will trample down and leave in the dust behind you.  You will be victorious because you are Mine.

"Father, we hold fast to you in love.  Deliver us!  We know Your name.  Protect us!  Be with us in times of trouble.  Rescue us!  Honor us!  Satisfy us!  Save us!"

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Daybook Entry for Sunday, 6/21/2015

Outside my window it is quiet.  The early quiet of Sunday morning.  The cars that normally are filing by to the office or the factory or the mines are still.  The sun's rays are bit by bit dispelling that summer morning fog.

I am thinking about Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes, the two books featured in this week's reading.  SoS is such a celebration of marriage and sex as created by our loving Father for us.  I'll admit it:  I love these books!  But SoS comes with a strong warning:  don't wake love up until the time is right.  Somewhere along the way, I heard this illustration that I've used with my kids and many others:  Sex is like a fire in the fireplace.  It gives beauty and warmth and ambience and all things good to a marriage.  But God created it to do this only within the bounds of the 'fireplace':  marriage between a man and a woman for life.  In the same way that lighting a fire on a living room rug will burn a house down, sexuality outside the 'grate' is nothing but eventual destruction.  I've found this to be both dramatic and 'sticking' for young audiences.  And Ecclesiastes- what a cool book!  I asked Alex last night before they listened to the daily reading, "Tell me about Solomon."  He said, "He was a foolish man.  (after prompting) And he was a wise man.  (more prompting) And he liked food, wine, and women and sex.  And bellydancers. (??  Upon which, he arched his back, stuck his belly out and danced in his Sonic the Hedgehog pajamas.  Obviously he's never seen bellydancers- which is a good thing ;o)  It was not sexy, but it was funny ;o)  Here's the summary of Ecclesiastes for kids:  This man had enough money to do whatever he wanted.  He was curious like you, but about everything.  Whatever you're curious about, Solomon knew what it was like.  He said, "Been there, done that, and the T-shirt reads:  'Vanity, vanity, all is vanity!'  Just serve God and enjoy what He has given you and avoid all the misery I created for myself."  Yep, we keep it simple around here :o)  

I am thankful for a new car.  Not only did God provide for our needs, but He also threw in a whole bunch of bells and whistles.  Honda Crosstours are being discontinued, hence a huge discount.  Its name (the kids christened it) is the ENRAMERE.  You must read the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson to get it.  No, you must read the Wingfeather Saga either way.  It is amazing!!!

I am wearing my walking through the woods clothes.  On Sunday mornings, I walk through the woods behind our house to the local cemetery, circle around it twice and return home.  It's quiet and perfect for praying through the pews of our church.  And your churches, too.  Last week, I saw a rabbit.  I have surprised a deer recently, as well. 

I am creating a restful Sunday environment.  Intentionally.  This is a good thing.  No hustle and bustle to church.  More on that later.

I am going to Pell City Camp in a week!  Woohoo!  The kids are pumped, the shelf stable coffee creamer thingies are bought- in french vanilla, and Italian sweet cream.  I am ready.

I am wondering why June is the wedding month.  It's blistering hot down here, and sweat is hardly romantic. 

I am reading  Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon.  Again.  And then I'll read it again later.  Because it's so good.  In fact, maybe I'll start with At Home in Mitford and go through the whole series again just for the sheer joy of it.  God bless Father Tim, the leading citizen of Mitford.

I am hoping that Nathan is not serious about buying a brush goat for the backyard.  Sometimes, he surprises me with his level of strangeness ;o).  I'm trying to dissuade him.  I'm trying to keep the kids from finding out, b/c they will be on his side and I will be outnumbered and the backyard will be denuded and there will be poop.

I am learning that three things feel really good.  Increasingly good with each year that passes:  eating great food, going to bed, taking hot morning showers.  Just saying.

In my garden you mean the little pots on the back porch.  Things are dying.  As usual.  In my pots.

In my kitchen  Sunday is prepared.  That intentional thing I mentioned.  It's about preserving this day of rest.  Recently I realized that Sunday was my least restful day.  Why?  Masses of dirty dishes.  Big meals.  Hurriedness.  So, I'm making this intentional effort to preserve my rest, too.  Everything is ready to throw in a pot and walk out the door.  Even the garlic and bay leaves and peppercorns and thyme and parsley for the roast are measured out and waiting.  The potatoes are cut and submerged in hot water and then refrigerated to keep them from browning (thank you, Mom, the scientist for the method that works).  The clothes are ironed, the car is gassed up.  It is a challenge, I will not lie.  But now, it is quiet and good.  It is my offering to the Father for giving me this day to rest in Him.  

In the homeschool room it is summer.  Hallelujah!  But I DID go to the CHEF Alabama homeschool conference exhibit halls this week.  It reminded me just how much I love homeschooling and how incredibly fun the homeschooling community is.  Alex won a fishing pole from the Trail Life exhibitor.  He is delighted!

A favorite quote for today from Jan Karon's aforementioned book.  One that made me smile:

“Hugging the slightly built, highly metabolized Harley Welch was like grabbing on to a field hare that smelled, curiously, of cologne.”
One of my favorite things of summer is a delicious tomato sandwich.  Salt, pepper, mayo, bread and luscious tomato.  That's all.
Have a blessed Lord's Day!


Isaiah 58:13-14 English Standard Version (ESV)

13 “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
    from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight
    and the holy day of the Lord honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
    or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
14 then you shall take delight in the Lord,
    and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Summer Feet and Melting Roads

When I was growing up, every summer Tuesday was bookmobile day.  It parked for a couple of hours in front of the United Methodist Church where the fifth Sunday shape-note sing was held.  The songleader had some kind of palsy, it seemed to me, and the stuffed bobcat in the community center next door was losing its fur.  Oh, and the peach icecream at the meetings there was amazing.  Just saying.  Back to the bookmobile.  The selection wasn't huge obviously, and the children's section had my favorite check-outs, the Boxcar Children series.  The driver had a 'desk' of sort behind her driver's seat.  She just twisted around and stamped cards right there.  Those cards that let us take home our treasures.  This was the beginning of the huge book stacks.  See, I have a problem.  It's called underestimating the number of books I want to check out.  I inevitably waddle from whatever library with a ridiculous number of books, peering over the top and hoping I calculate the curbs correctly.  The children are useful for picking up the off-size ones that slip, slide, uh, that one's a goner.

These days, I meander carefully through the Hoover Library parking lot.  In shoes.  When I was a kid, I went  uphill both ways in two feet of snow.  Just kidding.  Actually, I went a mile or so from home to parking lot and then back the other way.  There was a method to navigating Nixon Chapel-Douglas Rd. in the summer, barefoot.  First, one had to watch out for the crazies zooming down the road in front of the bookmobile, cross quickly, and race to the shade of the auction that only opened on Saturday nights.  There was a prize waiting in that shade, a Grapico and Sunkist machine.  Cold.  So cold.  So if quarters were jingling in any of our pockets, we saw the last of them right there.  Then off we went.  The caffeine and sugar helped us meet our goal:  to walk quickly.  Not for exercise (we got plenty of that in the garden with my granddad).  No, the road was melting.  Literally.  Potholes were fixed occasionally, but the mixture would melt down and ooze on the surface of the road.  You had to hop around those spots if you didn't want to wish you were dead.  And just when you couldn't stand it anymore, there was that lovely stand of pecan trees in front of Mrs. Brown's house that made the road so cool with its shade.  We stood in silence.  Any noise might cause her to pop out of the house, wearing her clothes inside out and... well, we thought she was creepy.  Then off for home.

Needless to say, our feet was tarred by the time we got home if we weren't uber-careful.  In fact, they might be feathered or furred.  You had to watch out for things like roadkill.  To wear shoes in the summer put wear and tear on school shoes.  Maybe if we had wanted shoes, my mom would have let us wear them.  I don't think they were a forbidden object.  But have you ever been a mile from home on a hot day when your cheap flipflop's strap pulled away and you had to contort your big toe and second toe to grip it as you hopped home?  I have.  Too much trouble.  Have you ever tried to balance 20 books on a bicycle handlebar?  Too much trouble. 

On to 2015, my poor feet.  My poor, poor country feet.  I used to get pedicures and let the little Vietnamese ladies here scrub those calluses.  That was before two things happened.  I "lucked" out on an interesting massage chair with rollers in the seat.  OK, it just felt obscene- who wants a backside massage?  Ew.  I'll admit it.  It took me 15 minutes to turn that selection off.  (I'm not good with machines, and I wasn't about to try to explain my problem to someone using basic English).  The second thing that happened was this:
  Yes, that would be a cheese grater.  I kid you not.  Not a rasp, a cheese grater.  And the girl had the gall to smile and say, "Now, don't move.  I don't want to cut you."  To her credit, she didn't cut me, but she cured me of professional pedicures.  So, now we move from a childhood story to a life-changing invention.  I'm even posting a link here to Amazon so you can get one for yourself.  For the cost of one, maybe two pedicures, I have entered the world of nice feet.  Using this a little every day, my feet are returning from the world of scary dinosaur feet to nice human feet.  Even Nathan has been impressed, since I have spent 14 years trying to keep my heels from touching his leg in the bed.  I tried to convince him that they were great exfoliators, that the friction helped me keep my balance, that going to mailbox barefoot was normal.  He remains unconvinced.  So, goodbye scary summer feet.  This blog post is for you, Kristi Hope.  Not that you have scary feet.  The first part.  Haha!


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Crisco in the coldest part of your fridge...
Homemade Pie Crust that Anyone Can Do!
This specific flour (I vouch for no other's performance... just saying...)  also in fridge (or freezer)

Some ice water.  Everything needs to be cold!

For a double-crust pie, 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour...

+ 1 teaspoon of salt, stir together...

Add in 2/3 c. of Crisco, carefully measured as you can see ;o)

Use a pastry blender like this or the two humble forks to the side to mix it up until it looks like...

this!  Crumblies.

Dig a hole in the middle, toss in 10 Tbsp. of that ice water (drink the rest).

Stir casually with aforementioned humble fork.

Here's where we get to my own strange method.  A big piece of plastic wrap.

Dump entire contents of bowl, even the inevitable dry flour in the bottom onto plastic and pull the wrap up around it.

Mash it (or press it) 5-6 times (THROUGH THE WRAP); this prevents extra body heat from getting into the crust and allows for clean hands.

Wrap up...

Put in fridge for at least 30 minutes.  Not 16 hours, people.  Just a little while.  You can also freeze it at this point, if you're amazingly organized and making this for later.  Or you can throw it the freezer for 10 minutes if you're disorganized and you're rushing the clock (not that I have ever done, mind...)

Wash hands with yummy soap in your incredibly messy sink, since mess is inevitable and your children husband wanted waffles and poached eggs.

Use a knife to divide your little dough ball.  See how I'm off center here, that's b/c the bottom crust has to reach the sides so needs a little extra dough.  About 60/40.  At this point I like to fold it over gently 3 times or so (maybe it gives it flaky layers, maybe not, just a theory).  Pat back into a disk and roll out...

Roll out on floured surface with floured rolling pin, generously flouring your clothes as you go.

You can lay your pie plate or skillet in the middle to estimate needed size.

Use that lovely bench scraper or a basic pancake flipper and wiggle it loose on one side and fold in.

And the opposite side...

And now the right...

And the left... put up your bundle and put it...

in your pan / pie plate.  (Cast iron does amazingly well at EVERYTHING, including pies...)

Here is an example of why I say I make good food, not pretty food (See Marianne Brown for pretty AND good...  yes, Betty Crocker is my sister-in-law and I love her) :o)

Patch the hole or holes or whatever flaws you've got going on.  Prick the bottom of crust 8 times or so with a fork, fill with loveliness, top with remaining crust rolled out the same way, brush the top with an egg yolk you've mixed with a Tbsp of water, and bake.  I always put a cookie sheet under my pan, because loveliness is no longer lovely when it drips down and burns in the bottom of your stove.

The scraps from the ugly pie crust are mine.  A little turbinado, a little cinnamon and a little real butter is the consolation prize for my success in not eating the pie that's coming out of the oven.  No white sugar for me these days.  And if Evie's Christmas music is playing, I can take a bite and close my eyes and suddenly my mom is giving me the end pieces of her Christmas morning cinnamon roll dough roll... roll..  that sounds funny.  Enjoy your pie crust making.  Cheap and scrumptious.  Recipe compliments of Taste of Home years and years ago, method compliments of my beleaguered Home Ec. teacher + my own adaptations...