Next Step Took Me To Nawlins


The jewelry had been sitting in a drawer at my mother’s house for the last 18 months.  Engagement ring, wedding ring, diamond anniversary band, a right hand ring, a 21 stone tennis bracelet: I enjoyed wearing them when I was still connected to the giver, but that connection no longer exists, so I took a road trip yesterday.

At a place filled with high quality diamonds, a bride’s dream, the stones in the pieces I brought were popped out, the gold tested for weight and quality and a check was handed to me. It’s amazing how tiny a loose diamond really is outside of its setting. Puts a 30 year marriage damaged beyond repair into perspective.

The ones who were with me yesterday were concerned that I would be upset of letting go of the pieces of jewelry. Nah! As I’ve said  I loved wearing them while I was loved by their giver. That’s changed and I’m good.

Proverbs 25:4 talks about silver being refined and the dross removed so the silversmith can turn it into a worthy vessel. The jewelry was dross in my life. God is the refiner. I want to be a vessel that can be used for His glory. I let go of the last bit of the past.


My birthday is Monday. My first grandson arrived  last Tuesday. We celebrated everything at Dragos in Meterie, Louisiana. Go! Go! Go! Beautiful meal. Great service. If you love oysters, it’s your place.  I had the Lobster Mac and Cheese appetizer, the Shrimp and Grits entre and Bread pudding for dessert.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

Brentlee Gabriel





Isaiah 54:5 and 6

I read a blog last night called God is in the Parking Spaces: A guest post by Joanne Camis Cain. She had trouble finding a parking  spot and asked God to have one open up for her and He did.

The post got me to thinking. Trials in our lives are like parking spaces. We’re often not going anywhere, during episodes of transition, thus we are parked, waiting for something to happen.

If any of you have read my earlier posts on theexileskitchen, you know that I am recently divorced. It took 18 months to go through all of the process and I have been parked.  During this time, I have had to learn to do things, handle things for the first time in my life: buying a car, preparing taxes, looking for a place to live, etc.

Being overwhelmed has often flooded my life. These were things that my exhusband had taken care of. I read a verse of Scripture about a year ago. Isaiah 54:5-6 described my situation.

‘For your Maker is your husband-

the Lord Almighty is his name-

the Holy One of Isreal is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.

The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit-

a wife who married young, only to be rejected, says your God.’

That’s me. Deserted and distressed. That’s me. Married young and was rejected. Coping with everyday life was beyond me some days.

I began to ask God to be my husband- protection, provision which should have come from the man who pledged to be my husband till death, started coming to me in mini miraculous ways. I would pray the simple prayer: “Lord, be my husband. I don’t know what to do (insert whatever situation I was coping with). You are going to have handle this for me.”

Paths were cleared. Difficult decisions were resolved. Godly men of true integrity handled some of my problems or  just simply helped me, protected me.

I praise God for working through these people and situations. His glory alone. Parked. God has been in the parking spaces. And with Him guiding me, I am ready to put it in gear and drive into my future.

(This is a homework assignment for blogging 101)

Trying To Keep Busy

Waiting is something I have never been good at. Waiting for my first grandson has really been a challenge. I’ve made sure my phone stayed charged, so I wouldn’t miss the call. He was due Sunday, but he didn’t want to make his appearance on time. I guess he wants to make grand entrance.

This weekend to keep busy, on Saturday I made a lemon meringue pie.20160213_184309

On Sunday afternoon, with the help of my youngest son, I planted two huge pots of Spring bulbs. Warmer weather is another thing I have hard time waiting on. Not on the same level as waiting for a grandchild, but you know what I’m getting at: I don’t like to wait.

I placed empty soda bottles I  the bottom  of the container. Less potting soil will be needed and it makes the planter easier to move.
Spring bulbs: purple gladiolus, bright yellow day lilys and lily of the valley.
Peeking out of the soil are the yellow day lilys and pips of lily of the valley. Under the soil, ringed around the pots inner edge are the purple glads.

My middle son, the expectant father, called me this afternoon. The waiting for Brentlee will be over tomorrow, as my daughter-in-law will go to the hospital early in the morning to be induced. Come on Brentlee, Grandmother Mandy can’t wait to meet you!

Tea and Bacon Bits

It is Lent on the church calendar. Mardi Gras was Tuesday (Fat Tuesday) and at my mother’s small Methodist church, to prepare their hearts for Easter, they meet for a meal and to listen to a speaker. Most speakers are pastors from area churches, but sometimes it will be someone in local government. I think that’s where she learned about the recycling program (see Bread Pudding:the Best Kind of Recycling). So, on Mom’s kitchen calendar each square for Wednesday has a short list of what her contribution will be for the week.

My mother is the “Tea Lady” and makes three gallons each week for the Lenten Lunches: two of sweet and one of unsweetened. Last week, Mom made old fashioned tea cakes, too. The kitchen table was covered with these simple, but delicious cookies Tuesday night. The next day she brought home very few tea cakes and only half a pitcher of unsweetened tea.

Later in the month, she’ll make red beans and rice one Wednesday and then on another jambalaya. There probably won’t be left overs on those days. And I will be sad about that. The last Wednesday of Lent all Mom has to take is the tea, of course, and Bacon Bits. I believe they will do a salad bar that day.

The Lenten Lunches foster a connection in the church and in our small Southern community. It’s tradition to do these luncheons and can be counted on like Spring following Winter.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.14553918598621673971736



Waiting For Brentlee

This afternoon, my oldest son stopped by where I work. I hadn’t seen him in over a month. It was good to catch up. While we talked, we both got messages from my middle son; his wife is expecting and contractions had started. That was at 2:37. It’s now four hours later and we’re still waiting for Brentlee Gabriel to make his appearance.

To say I am excited just doesn’t do justice to how I feel right now. I cannot wait to hold him for the first time.

Of course, that wheezing pacaderm that followed us around the college campus last August will be showing up at the hospital, while we wait for Baby Brentlee to arrive. The night my middle son Lee was born I never thought that his father and I would be divorced  24 years later. But that is what has happened and as I am excited about my grandson, I am something else about seeing the grampa and his -ahem-

Oh, well. Such is the life of divorce.

Pray for me.