LIFE IS A NEW DRESS ISN’T IT?

Once in a while, I will hear from a reader who had the experience of a post really touching them. This is why I write the blog as it is not for fortune or fame, it is for moments like this one. I decided to bring it back to the forefront and see if more of you enjoy its meaning as well. Please feel free to comment on this or any blog that moves you or inspires you in your dreams…..Until We Read Again….Arline Miller, blogger

Photo courtesy of PROMGIRL
LIFE IS A NEW DRESS is the topic for the blog. I had a recent opportunity to share this thought with a young person about relationships and life. As I usually do, I compared relationships to something I can easily relate and felt you may enjoy this true to life analogy too.

Have you ever seen a dress or other piece of clothing in a store and thought immediately  this had to have been made with you in mind? As you looked at it hanging up, it was perfect. It would hang on your body exactly as it should and would compliment everything you liked about yourself. The length (or height) was a compatible match. The color was one that made you feel good about yourself and lightened your mood. It was dazzling on how easy it was to put on. It simply was the best dress and even though it was expensive and you might have to sacrifice to have it as your own, the sacrifice seemed worth it. You might have had to wait a time period before you could actually acquire it to take it home to be yours and yours alone.

While this thought may seem the ideal analogy of a relationship of love, I am not quite finished with this life lesson. Let’s go back to the store and acquire that relished dress. We buy it and with the highest anticipation, we leave the store where we first encountered this dress. The dress was placed in a bag to protect it but it got somewhat wrinkled from the bagging. You are disappointed by the wrinkling as this dress was perfect and a little resentment toward the clerk who should have taken better care of your prized possession. A little of the glittering desire seems to diminish and you have to consider how to get the wrinkles out. That is okay and once the dress has had a little time to hang, the wrinkles disappear and all is well again.

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You take painstaking effort to present yourself with proper hair, makeup and accessories to show off your newly acquired beautiful dress to anyone who will look and hear about how it was made for you. If anyone compliments your attire, you beam. If anyone doesn’t think it is the best thing you have ever put on, you write them off your friend’s list forever……and then it happens!

By accident, someone spills a drink on your beautiful dress. The stain, even though it is small, seems to take center stage and that is all you can see. You forget how the dress fits you to a tee, how everyone thinks it is wonderful, and how you feel in the dress. The stain, that dreadful stain has “ruined” your dress. Even though the stain is reversible and can be removed, do you let it spoil that perfect moment you first laid eyes on it? Do you allow this awkward moment to overwhelm you? Do you feel like throwing it away since it can never be pure and stainless again?

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Now, for the life lesson and how this moment and experience is similar to a new relationship in life. We meet someone and we feel they are perfect. That same desire and longing is present and we will sacrifice and do whatever we can to have the relationship we have longed for all of our lives. We begin to spend time with this person and even if it has a wrinkle or two, we overlook them and even hang them up for a while by backing away for a little space to give our hearts time to realize we still like this person and maybe even love them.

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You introduce them to your friends and some of your friends think they are the best thing that ever happened you. You beam from the compliments and sorely disagree with those who don’t click immediately with your newly found love.  And then it happens……it can be a multitude of life accidents that put a stain on your new relationship and many times, it is a misunderstanding or circumstances you cannot control. The stain appears and it is exactly the same as I described with the new dress. The same feelings can arise. You doubt if it was that perfect. You question if it fit that well after all and in many cases, you may consider throwing it away.

Final Thoughts: All of us will experience the stains of life. We have to learn to move past those episodes in our lives to remain excited and encouraged. The dress of life or a deep relationship can survive many stains and we have to remember that we would never feel true love or existence if we shy away from acquiring a love to protect ourselves from true reality of life. A good stain remover is having a great sense of humor and not to embed our minds in disappointment but invest ourselves in those fun and loving moments A NEW DRESS can bring. LIVE LIFE; LOVE LIFE; AND KEEP A GOOD STAIN REMOVER OF LAUGHTER ON HAND.

(C) COPYRIGHT 2012-2019 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material if source is known is referenced for credit. All photos are not exclusively the property of Sipping Cups unless stated.

ARE BLESSINGS PROOF OF GOD’S LOVE?

THIS WAS MY FACEBOOK POST THIS MORNING AND INSPIRED ME TO WRITE THIS BLOG

How do you perceive blessings? Are they gifts from above? A reward for faithfulness? Or if you don’t receive a blessing from a prayer request, do you see the lack of a blessing as some form of punishment?

Let’s dive in and have a good thought provoking moment with this idea?

I thought I would not try to think for anyone as we all have minds to ponder and to feel and think for ourselves. These questions will get the mental juices flowing and perhaps more understanding of how you perceive blessings:

  • When you receive a blessing, do you stop and thank God for it?
  • When you pray and you don’t get an immediate answer, do you feel you are not loved by God?
  • When you see another receiving a blessing, do you get excited or feel a pang of jealousy?
  • When you wake up to another day, do you consider yourself blessed or is it just another day?
  • When you are sitting quietly and are practicing “Be Still and Know that I am God,” do you realize that every blessing comes from God?
  • When you have gone through a difficult time or loss, do you realize you have received the blessing of survivorship or do you feel non blessed because you had to go through this time?
  • When you receive a blessing after waiting for a while, do you see it as a true blessing or feel slighted because it took longer than you thought it should take?

Note from a person, me, who does feel blessed both in the good times and the difficult times. I feel each blessing, large or small, immediate or long awaited, reward or survivorship, more or less, and for each one I feel God’s love. LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by having the wisdom to have a personal relationship with God. We need God for the good times and blessings and we need Him more when times get tough to get us through. Arline L Miller, blogger and author.

(C) Copyright 2012-2019 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced, if original location is known, for credit reference.

GIVER OR TAKER, WHICH ONE ARE YOU?

 TODAY THE WORDS are A GIVER OR A TAKER, WHICH ARE YOU? Every so often, I have a thought which may not be a popular one to some but I feel obligated to put it out there and as people say, “Let the chips fall where they may.” I see people who fall in both categories sometimes in a give and take position and that is not all bad. As long as there is some giving and not all taking; it can be a win-win situation. Let us ponder this thought….Which category do you see yourself falling into? Do you give and give and others take and take?  

King James Bible  2 Corinthians 9:7Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 

Are we cheerful givers? Do we give willingly? Do we love to see others achieve and succeed? Do we give when it hurts to give or do we only give when it is convenient or something we no longer want? As much as I have a distaste for people who only use others and never give back, I have seen the begrudgingly givers. My philosophy is if I give; let me give it with my heart without expectation of anything in return. I love to give and it has been a blessing each and every time when I see the person’s expression. That is my “return” gift and reward enough.   However, I have seen the takers come and go in my life and in others’ lives too. It is hard to watch how they disregard people who love them and want to help them out of a difficult situation. They keep taking and taking without taking into account, they need to help themselves. When does a taker feel a need to stop taking; stop abusing their families with hurt; and in other words as this ole gal will say…..Get off your selfish hind end and do something with your life. Life doesn’t owe you a living; neither do I. This may sound like I am a grudgingly giver; not! I love helping people who help themselves and who still give when they can. That brings me to the next focal point of this message.   Why do people who are down on their luck or their efforts feel the only thing they have to focus on is feeling sorry for themselves? How many of my readers have been to the bottom? I have, most of you have at one time or other in your life. There is nothing wrong with this situation. It is what we do when we are at the bottom. You can figure out ways to pay others back as this develops pride and integrity. If you borrow $20 and if you have never had to borrow money, drop to your knees and Thank God; but if you do and if you know you will never pay it back. If you can mop a floor; clean out a cabinet; babysit; cook a meal; BUT DO SOMETHING IN RETURN…In other words become a giver!  

Now for the deeper thought…..I am a sinner saved by Grace of God. I sin and have to repent. I have to ask forgiveness and I have found myself unworthy so many times. I am not saying this message like I am a perfect person by no means. We are all humans but sometimes a preacher has to knock us beside our heads to get our attention. What I am saying in a nutshell is Give when you can give freely but if someone has given to you and even though they don’t expect anything in return….Return the gift by appreciating and giving back of your spirit and do what you can to repay it. You are the one who will feel great and Life will start to change.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T what it means to me.

I am revisiting a blog post since I am seeing so many signs of disrespect, I thought we could use a jolt of what it means to be respectful. Here is the blog post from a couple of years back as well as the FB post I posted this morning. R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

Ladies, remember if a man disrespects you, and even if he says he is sorry, he had that negative feeling about you to say it for the first time. If he says it the second time, he didn’t mean the I am sorry in the first place. Ladies, this goes for you too. Disrespect is disrespect in all forms and is not love.

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I keep this picture of Mother Theresa and I can’t remember where I saw it first but it keeps me in check about the meaning of true love. Also I have learned about respect for fellow human beings from her. If you have never read her background, google her story and it will astonish you of her dedication to serving others. I thought about the word respect and thought I would share some of my feelings about respect with all of you.

I come from a different generation than most of my readers but not all so some of you will remember having some of the same memories. I am not advocating a return to the world I grew up in but a few of those life philosophies could be revived to create a better world of respect and harmony. Before I visit my childhood, I found an excerpt about Respect for the Parent which is based on Respect for Themselves.

Respect For You, Respect For Themselves

When you earn your children’s respect, they also learn to respect themselves. Respect is so important because, without it, children can’t value themselves or others. Children who don’t respect themselves are more likely to drink alcohol, take drugs, have sex, and treat others badly. Children who lack self-respect simply don’t care about themselves or anyone else.

Children who have self-respect treat themselves well. They’re less likely to do harmful things, they make good choices, and they tend to act in ways that are in their own best interests. The benefits of teaching the value of respect early include children who:

  • Are happier, more successful, and have healthier relationships.
  • Are unselfish, considerate, caring, and generous.
  • Respect you and other influential adults.
  • Honor reasonable boundaries placed on them.
  • Are more likely to trust you and abide by your directives.

Contrary to the assertions of popular culture, when you act like parents you engender healthy respect, encourage caring relationships, and foster their positive development.

Be the Parent

Popular culture tells you that to be a good parent, you should be friends with your children. You should hang out with them, tell them anything, and treat them as equals. But when you’re friends with your children, you actually detract from the strength of your relationship and surrender your influence over them. When you become friends with your children, you give up your unique relationship with them because they have many friends, but they have only two (hopefully) parents.

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Now, back to the good ole days which were filled with fun and laughter, tears and fears, but also with a lot of respect to parents, family, neighbors, friends, traditions and conditions. Oh yes, there was discipline if disrespect was shown. It was usually quick and probably without much thought given. It worked off the theory, that it only takes one time if you put your hand on a hot stove to teach you not to touch it again. No, our parents didn’t stick our hands on hot stove but they worked up some heat on our rear ends. You, as a parent, can make the decision whether or not you will use discipline or not…..not my circus! What I can say, is whatever you say as a response to disrespect will forever implant the future actions of your children. If it is nothing but a verbal reprimand or time out or however you deem “respectful” of your child’s action, mean it and claim it. Do not be indecisive; be firm but respectful.

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I have made it a practice as I am sure many of you have practiced the same thing; I do not call a child stupid or even an adult. They may, and I may, do stupid things but to say someone is stupid is an insult to those mentally challenged and their actions out of their control. The person or even yourself can control our actions, words, and/or responses. We have the mental capacity to exercise R-E-S-P-E-C-T when interacting with others, both children and adults.

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To prevent hate is not to exercise hate. Who do we ever think we are in life that we can exercise disrespect for another human being? If someone is down on their luck, unhappy, unhealthy, or any other state of life, show respect and compassion. Count your blessings that you have been spared of this discomfort. In other words, Put A Little Love in Your Heart as the song says. Put A Little Love In Your Heart (1969) lyrics:   Think of your fellow man Lend him a helping hand Put a little love in your heart You see it’s getting late Oh please don’t hesitate Put a little love in your heart And the world will be a better place And the world will be a better place For you and me You just wait and to see Another day goes by And still the children cry Put a little love in you heart If you want the world to know We won’t let hatred grow Put a little love in your heart And the world will be a better place And the world will be a better place For you and me You just wait and to see Wait and see Take a good look around And if you’re look in’ down Put a little love in your heart I hope when you decide Kindness will be your guide Put a little love in your heartAnd the world will be a better place And the world will be a better place For you and me You just wait and see Put a little love in your heart Put a little love in your heart Put a little love in your heart Put a little love in your heart

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Music

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Suggested by UMG

Annie Lennox – Memphis In JuneClick on the link below for the video and enjoy a little love in your heart.Put A Little Love in Your Heart       

I leave you with a little love from my heart to yours so don’t be selfish and pass it around. Live Life; Love Love; and Live Life to the Fullest by loving and giving until it hurts…..Arline Miller, blogger and Lover of Life  

(C) Copyright 2012-2019 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced if known to original location for credit references.

YOU WANT MY ADVICE UNTIL I GIVE IT

As a blogger I receive a lot of atta girls on certain blog messages in which I tell it like it is, or at least how it is to me. I have received comments however, that I may have been too blunt or critical. I see it as neither. Why? I found out that most people what your advice until you give it to them. If it is not what they want to hear, they feel it was too critical. Okay, so do you want advice or not? Straightforwardness is my way of life. It serves me well to be direct in my thoughts as well as my words and most importantly, my actions. Let’s dive in on why it is important, even if it is not well received, to tell it like it is.

Why You Want to Give (and Receive) Brutally Honest Advice

By Ali Luke on April 27, 2011 

Here is an excerpt from a great article on Brutally Honest Advice (click on underlined text for link for full article.

How to Give Brutally Honest Advice

The flip side, offering brutally honest advice, is obviously much trickier than asking for it.

And as we will see in the next section, no matter how valuable brutal honesty can be, it’s not always the best approach. But it usually is, and here’s how to maximize your chances of getting a positive reaction when you offer it.

#1: Tell them you’ll be honest

Let’s say a friend, colleague or client comes to you, outlines their latest idea or shows you part of your work in progress, and eagerly asks, “So, what do you think?”

You want to be honest with them. So tell them that. Say “I’m going to be completely honest with you,” or ask them “Is it okay if I’m totally honest?” Make the terms of engagement clear, right from the start.

#2: Start and end with the good

Even if you think your friend’s idea is pretty unworkable, there’ll be something good to say. Whenever you’re offering feedback, it’s good to start and end on a positive note. (The Toastmasters do this with their speaker evaluations.)

If something is basically good but has a few flaws, make this clear right at the start. Say “I think this is a really solid business plan” or “I loved reading this blog post.” Don’t ever assume that people will knowthat their work is fundamentally sound: you need to tell them this, explicitly.

#3: Be constructive in your criticism

Don’t offer advice like “No-one will ever want to buy from that sales page” or “Your ebook will make people fall asleep.” Point out specific problems and, if you can, suggest solutions:

“The design makes the page look a bit scammy. Perhaps you could cut out the yellow highlighter?”

“The writing style seems very academic. Perhaps you could talk to the reader directly, using “you”, and bring in some personal anecdotes?”

#4: Tread very cautiously when offering unsolicited advice

Let’s say you spot that your friend has created a website where she’s selling handmade furniture. You might have all sorts of ideas about how she could improve everything from the site design to the shopping cart software.

If she’s not asked for your help, though, proceed with extreme caution. Few of us like to get brutally honest advice when we’ve not requested any feedback at all. If you’re in a situation where you feel like you absolutely, positively must speak up, you might want to check with a mutual friend first…

#5: Accept that they have the right to make their own decisions and mistakes

I was recently reading a thread on reddit with a man who was planning to speak up at the “speak up now or forever hold your peace” part of his brother’s wedding.

The reason? He thought his brother’s fiancee was not the right woman for him.

Now, the first obvious problem is that you should bring up something like this before the wedding, not during the ceremony.

But the man did that. No less than 5 times. And his brother heard the brutally honest advice, and still insisted on marrying his fiancee.

That would be a good point to stop and forever hold his peace. Because no matter how convinced you are that you are right and your friend is making a mistake, they have the right to make their own decisions.

So when you offer brutally honest advice, understand that your friend might not follow it. That’s okay. You can only make sure that they have all the relevant information when making their decision. The actual decision is up to them.

Once you’ve dispensed your brutally honest advice and your friend has acknowledged it, move on. This will help you remain a valuable advisor instead of turning into a pestering nag.

When Brutal Honesty Is Not The Best Approach

With all of that in mind, brutal honesty isn’t always the best approach.

When I (Vlad) did my first ever prepared speech at Toastmasters, I was, frankly, atrocious. My structure wasn’t very clear. I spoke too fast and mumbled. I fidgeted around. And the list goes on and on.

But that’s okay. Most people suck when they try giving their first speech in front of an audience. And the whole point of a place like Toastmasters is to get together and practice in a safe, friendly environment.

And so the feedback I received consisted mostly of pointing out the things I did right, with one or two points for improvement.

This helped reinforce the things I did right, and gave me something to focus on improving next. And it kept me motivated, instead of bringing me down by listing the dozens of things I did wrong.

So, sometimes, helping and encouraging your friends really is more important than pointing out every flaw in what they’re doing.

But next time someone asks you for feedback, or next time you need advice on something big and important, ask yourself whether it’s a good opportunity to practice brutal honesty. If money, health or relationships are on the line, it’s generally a good idea to speak up rather than to keep your doubts to yourself.

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I thought about giving advice and I am not sure we should freely give advice and my reasoning is how many people actually take the advice you give them. I feel people hope you are going to agree with the decision they have already made in their minds. To prove this point, how many times have you offered sound advice only to find out the person did the exact opposite. How many times have we actually taken another’s advice, very few times, right?

LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by considering if it is worth the effort to give advice, solicited or unsolicited to someone who is probably not going to heed the advice given. Just sayin’

(C) Copyright 2012-2019 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location if known, for credit reference.

WHAT’S TO EAT IN HELEN GA?

My recent blog post was focused on Mully’s Nacoochee Grill in Helen GA and to further explain why this was such an incredible dining experience was a call I received shortly after notifying the owner, Greg “Mully” Ash called me to thank me for writing the blog. See what I am talking about…The Over and Beyond Service. Please check the previous blog for all of their goodies they offer. Now, on to the other restaurants for their specialties and good dining experiences.

Second on our list of a great meal and I will have to say, we have eaten at Pauls Steakhouse on a trip previously and it was of such great merit, we made a return visit. True to form, we were not disappointed the first or the second time eating here. We will be making a return visit when we go back to Helen, GA. We love seafood and my husband loves a steak cooked right. We visited Paul’s on Friday night and they have Seafood Special of Crab Legs by the pound. We ordered enough so Greg and I could share them along with Shrimp and Oysters. Oh man, I can’t even start to tell you how scrumptious, juicy, perfectly seasoned and cooked those crab legs were. They were so good, I barely ate the green beans or coleslaw but they were also delicious but I couldn’t get away from those crab legs. For those of you who love crab legs are usually masters of cracking the leg without using the crackers and I had shown Greg years ago how to crack them without breaking the meat inside and how to pull the desired meat out in one piece. To do this, the crab legs have to be cooked perfectly to pop them at the right spot. I would give the crab legs 5 Stars. Greg said his shrimp were excellent and huge. Paul’s makes its dressings homemade and it is obvious. For Steak and Seafood dining, you cannot go wrong at Paul’s Steakhouse.

You have to try the Crab Legs at Paul’s! Best I have had in a restaurant and I am not kidding.
If you are looking for a great steak or seafood, make arrangements to eat at Paul’s Restaurant. It is a busy restaurant but they seat you as soon as possible.

COWBOYS & ANGELS, HELEN GA

I have to say we have eaten at Cowboys & Angels on a previous trip and it was exceptional for many reasons, but this place knows how to make french fries which will make you forget about how delicious the other menu items are. The first trip we had burgers and fries and even though we were breaking our low carb diets, we both ordered entrees with fries. I had a BLT with piles of smoked bacon on Texas Toast which was toasted (I do prefer a thinner bread, but that is my personal taste) and Greg had a ribeye steak which he said was very tasty. What we ordered for an appetizer was a first for us…Portabello Fritters….have you ever had them? I wish I had taken a picture of them as they are different that fried mushrooms. Interesting is the best word to describe them. For us, the next time we go, it will be for burgers and fries as that was what brought us back but we are into trying new things. Make a stop to Cowboys & Angels on your next trip and be sure to let us know your favs.

Cowboys & Angels in Helen GA is a great place for burgers and oh wow, what delicious fries.
Lots of great choices to try at this restaurant and this is a small sampling.
We arrived during a rain down pour but it didn’t stop our good lunch.

I am stopping with these two places in this blog post but I have some more and interestingly, I will be writing on Huddle House The Dawg Haus. That’s right and I look forward to covering the next segment of What’s to Eat in Helen GA soon.

Here are the websites for you to visit until you can actually visit Helen and some or all of the wonderful places to walk, see, and enjoy.

Paul’s Steakhouse: http://paulssteakhouse.com/

Cowboy’s & Angels: https://www.cowboysangels.net/

(C) Copyright 2012-2019 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material, if known, is sourced to original location for credit reference.

Mully’s Nacoochee Grill

As I promised, I would post some of our eating and adventures during our Fourth of July vacation in Helen Ga. I thought I would start with Mully’s Nacoochee Grill for several reasons. This visit was the most pleasant in a lot of ways. We had great meals at other places and I will cover them in another post but this was the ultimate dining experience we enjoyed.

What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday lunch. The touch of wood smoking on the grill tickles the nostrils upon arriving.

We arrived at the restaurant at lunch time after our regular visit to the Nora Mill Granary to pick up some stone ground grits, fish fry seasoning, jams, apple butter and other items. The added treat is to walk outside and see the water which powers the grist mill with nature at home with the water. I am including some pictures Greg took while I shopped. This place offers samples for those visitors who may never have eaten grits. This southern gal offered a lesson in cooking slow cooked grits to a couple who had no clue but appreciated the lesson. Here are the pictures from Nora Mill and then I will tell you our delightful visit to Mully’s.

Watching the grist mill in action. A history lesson is offered to anyone wanting to know how it works.
Amazing to know this water powers the milling wheels.
Nature’s power in action
Ducks fluttered in the water and felt relaxed. I understand there are fish available at nature’s table for the ducks.
An up close at the grinding wheel.

I wanted to show our trip to the granary as we worked up an appetite and Mully’s was close by and we hadn’t eaten there. From the time we opened the door, we were welcomed by a young man who seated us as well as a shout out by the owner, Mully. Greg “Mully” Ash is a personality within himself. He came over to our table and welcomed us. I felt special and so did everyone who came in the restaurant. He made a point out of greeting and making each guest feel they were a celebrity. I understand from conversation he was formerly the mayor of Helen but I was impressed with his current status of being the warmest host we have met.

From the front door entrance to leaving, southern hospitality at its finest, Mully’s is a great place to go.
Mully meeting while seating diners with a wit and welcoming touch while telling them they would have a real server, he was just the owner.
Sean was our server and top notch in every way. I kidded him that I write a blog and he asked what I would say. I told him Five Stars and I got a thumbs up. Food is only as good as the service and I will say, Service and Food were exceptional.
When ribs fall off without help but have maintained the taste of smoked perfection, you have a winner along with delicious coleslaw and sweet potato chipes.
Greg’s ribeye and steak fries were cooked perfectly. Look at those grill marks. It was a perfect medium rare and great smoked taste.
No words needed as the proof is in the New York Cheesecake or lack of it after we shared its luscious flavor enhanced with a cherry sauce and whipped cream topping. I told Sean this got a Six Star and I was serious.

If you are in Helen, Ga. place a spot on your calendar to stop by Nora Mill Granary and find your way to Mully’s Nacoochee Grill. Neither place will disappoint you.

Here is the website to Mully’s to find out more info:

http://mullysnacoocheegrill.com

I hope you enjoyed our little insight to some great places and the good news is there are more places to visit, relax, and enjoy your time in the wonderful town of Helen, GA.

(C) Copyright 2012-2019 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced, if known, to original location for credit reference.

FIREWORKS IN THE SKY, FIREWORKS IN THE HEART

My husband suggested a trip to Helen Georgia, a great mountain escape for both the Fourth of July and my 70th birthday celebration. I laughed at the idea of climbing and walking a lot as the perfect way to realize life can pass you by if you don’t give it a robust fight so off we went. This week, I will be writing a series of posts to recount our visit to Helen.

I wanted to share my husband’s firework photos as I love to see him in action. Years ago, one of his gifts was a new camera. I found if I support his hobby, he will give it more time and then it is a double win as I have the pleasure of enjoying his gifts of love….his photos and smile when I tell him how good they are.

I had such a great time sharing time with my wonderful husband who made our trip priceless with the aid of his camera and all his spoiling of me and our furbabies. Thank you Greg Miller with my love!
I hope you had a great time watching fireworks this holiday. Thank you Greg for our collection of our time in Helen.

My thought for this topic: Most of us grew up loving the thrill of fireworks and they do something exciting for our hearts and spirit. I thought if we choose to keep fireworks for the love of life in our hearts, it will explode to the world. If we can do gifts of kindness and even those explosive gifts of love when they aren’t expected, what a thrill to the recipients.

Be on the lookout for this week’s blog posts as we pay tribute to restaurants, places, and historical sites. We had a thrilling boost of life, relaxed in the mountain air, and gave thanks for all of the beauty surrounding us while we found fireworks in the sky and in our hearts………Arline Miller

(C) Copyright 2012-2019 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. All third party material if known is sourced to the original location for credit references.

1990 WHEN I MET LEE IACOCCA

Early this morning, July 3, 2019, I saw a post about Lee Iacocca, age 94, passing. I hadn’t thought of this automobile giant in many years. I did however jog this gal’s memory to the year 1990 or the first of 1991 to being chosen to participate in Chrysler’s milestone program, Customer One in Detroit Michigan. Yes, I met Lee Iacocca during the week our team of top dealer representatives but it was brief and somewhat unnerving.

First, allow me to give you a little background of my former “life” as a car salesperson and on to a finance/insurance manager which was my status at the time of having the honor of being chosen to participate in forming an innovative customer service program for Chrysler. I would like to say we were the “A” team (slight play on a running joke when I assemble a team) but it was definitely an “I” team. From the moment we landed, our entire trip was scrutinized down to the minute. We were shuttled and given a small amount of time to unpack since we were there from Sunday night to Friday. Accommodations were nice but not frivolous and all of the support team who supervised the week were efficiently cordial.

The week started with a speech from one of the VP’s giving an overview of what Mr. Iacocca wanted and expected to be accomplished from our team. We were to evaluate every question formulating a questionnaire for each Chrysler new owner at intervals. We were involved in the time schedule the questionnaires would be sent and the follow up phone calls complete with a proposed script. The purpose which the leader of this company was to produce a loyalty to brand by giving the customer a warm and fuzzy feeling that a car manufacturer really cared about them. We created rewards for the customer’s feedback and how we would use this information to improve customer relations.

On the last night, we were treated to a wonderful dinner with Mr. Lee Iacocca present. We had an opportunity to meet him prior to him speaking to us as a group. We were given a wooden box engraved with the designation of being on the pilot team and a Chrysler Silver Piece custom made for the event. I still have these pieces but would have to unpack them so I will produce them for a later post on all of the adventures which I have been a part during my life.

What my thoughts are on this morning after learning of Mr. Iacocca’s death are simple: We do create a presence in this life. Some are larger than life presences such as Lee had when he entered the room. He stood tall even though he was not a tall man. He spoke loudly with his words without a lot of volume. He was capable of making quite a splash in the pool of life without having to get everyone dripping wet but a chosen few to swim with him. RIP Mr. Lee Iacocca, you made a big impression on me and all of the group with you during that time in your life. You made a big impression on those who felt your presence.

(C) Copyright 2012-2019 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material including photos published on internet/google are sourced if known for credit reference.

HAVE YOU BAKED YOUR LIFE CAKE?

If your dream is to bake the perfect cake, start mixing the batter. It may take many attempts to get it perfect and you may fail several times. Sometimes, those failures teach you lessons about preparing before actually baking. Sometimes you get anxious and even overly excited and not give the cake time to properly bake or even cool off after the cake is pulled from the oven. So many factors come into play and some may or may be out of your control. But once in a while, the prep work is exact, measurements are precise, oven bakes properly, and you wait the proper amount of time to put the icing on it. You step back and look at the dream come true cake…..Wow! It was worth all of the attempts, trials, practicing, and finally, the goal has been met! Side note for all life participants….This is how life works! Keep trying as you may be on the last failure before you bake the perfect life cake. The lady Leah Chase who was famous for her pound cake (which the one I baked from her recipe is shown here) has passed away, but her recipe lives on.

 Leah Chase’s Butter Cake
Makes 12 to 16 servings

Ingredients
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled but soft to the touch
1 pound powdered sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
2 2/3 cups cake flour, sifted once after measuring
1/2 teaspoon salt, if desired
2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions
Place a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch tube pan with vegetable shortening or soft butter, and dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour and set the pan aside. (If the eggs are straight from the refrigerator, place them in a large bowl of warm water to come to room temperature).

Cut the sticks of butter into 6 to 8 tablespoons each, and place all the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high until the butter is in one mass, 1 minute. Stop the mixer and add the powdered sugar. Drape a kitchen towel over the top of the mixer so you don’t get showered with sugar. Start on low speed and blend the sugar to incorporate. Then increase the speed to medium and let the mixture beat until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Crack one egg at a time and add to the butter mixture, beating on medium-low until blended. Add another egg, beating again, and stop the machine after every two eggs are added, and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Repeat with the remaining eggs.

With the machine off, add the flour to the mixture. Add salt, if desired. Mix on low speed to incorporate the flour, 30 seconds. Add the vanilla, and on low speed blend 15 seconds more.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl with the spatula, and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Place the pan in the oven.

Bake until the cake is well browned and the center springs back to the touch, 58 to 62 minutes. A toothpick inserted should come out clean. Remove the cake from the oven, and let it cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Then run a knife around the edges, shake the pan gently to loosen the cake, and turn it out once, then again onto a rack to cool right-side up. Let cool 30 minutes to 1 hour before slicing.

It is a recipe filled with love and history, perfect for spring and summer entertaining no matter where you live. And it marries well with fresh local strawberries and summer’s peaches. When I bake it, the smell, taste and sight of it all take me back to that day in New Orleans, conversing with a legendary Southern lady in her restaurant’s kitchen, where the sounds from the fryer blend with stories of the past, and culinary diplomacy still reigns.

*Photo of Leah Chase by Blake Nelson Boyd via Wikimedia Commons
*Photo of Leah and “Dooky” Chase with President Bush at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans: Public Domain

LET’S BAKE A LIFE CAKE is inspired from a previous post BAKING A LIFE CAKE from 2015 on my blog but a good friend of mine are baking cakes like the one in the photo below to raise money for her granddaughters and another friend baking for her little dancers and it struck me how important this message is to realize we bake our life cakes every day. So, how is your baking skills? Life is waiting so fire up the oven.

TODAY THE WORDS are BAKING A LIFE CAKE. I have been seeing a lot of luscious cakes baked for a silent auction and it gave me some inspiration on how life can mimic baking a cake. I posted the following message on FB last night and felt I should share it as a blog message.  

My night’s thought: Life is like baking a cake. First you have to gather a lot of ingredients (childhood, school, work, marriage, children, etc.) some of which are sweet and others which are sour by themselves.  It takes a lot of mixing everything and even cracking some shells with sifting to make things smoother. Some separation has to be done (college, military, volunteer work, training) by putting the layers into individual pans. Then life gets hot and trials and opening doors and shutting them while turning the heat up. Once the heat is off and a cooling down period is completed (arguments, compromise, sorting out problems, overcoming life’s difficult moments) it is time to put the cake together by layering them (remembering good times and bad times in memories and pictures of great events and sad losses) and then comes the icing, the sweetest part by seeing your children and grandchildren  who want to sit next to you and say I love you and you look at the finished cake of life with your spouse and you both smile that special smile of love and you think we baked a pretty doggone good cake this life. Sweet dreams of life my friends…Sending a dab of frosting to give you sweet thoughts.  

Life can give you a layering of mixed up layers.

This may not be a visual for all of you but to me, it gives me a good picture of how we layer our lives and how our lives are mixed together and sometimes certain separations occur. Some of life’s ingredients are pretty sour if tasted individually but blended together, life becomes sweeter and more meaningful. We are bakers of our own destiny but we find ourselves using the trial and error method. How many of you have looked at a recipe and thought I am not sure if I want to use a certain ingredient and you choose to substitute something else in its place. Unfortunately, the substitute can cause the recipe to fail and you have to start all over but you usually learn from your mistakes. What about the times when you see a recipe contains an ingredient you love and your thinking evolves into “what if I add a little more, well maybe a little more, etc.” and you end up with a mess? Haven’t we all been guilty of overindulging? They make diets because we tend to add more and more when we should be satisfied to keep the original amount intact.   Here is some additional advice from Chef José Andrés in a commencement speech:

Life Advice from a Chef: Don’t Follow a Recipe

When Chef José Andrés took the stage to address the graduates of George Washington University at their commencement May 18, even he seemed surprised to have been the one chosen for the honor. “Wow,” Chef José said after the crowd had offered its perfunctory applause. But after humbly introducing himself — “My name is José Andrés and I am a cook” — the Spanish-born chef, who made his name and popularized small plates at restaurants like Jaleo, in Washington, D.C., gave a speech that built an instant buzz in the food world and beyond.

José’s speech, which began with a funny video showing some of his more famous pals (Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Owen Wilson, Al Roker, Eric Holder and others) turning down the gig, was as inspiring as it was amusing. It included advice like: “There will always be critics and naysayers telling you what you cannot do, that it is impossible. There will always be more people bringing you down than lifting you up. It seems that way sometimes. But let me tell you: Get a cocktail shaker (if you are over 21). Add your heart, your soul, your brain, your instinct and shake it hard. Serve it straight up, but let me give you a secret ingredient. Add a dash of the criticism on top because those naysayers play an important role too. They motivate you to rise above, to challenge yourself, to prove them wrong.” Chef José continued to say, “What could you do when life takes an unexpected turn? Friends, my advice: Don’t follow a recipe. Funny coming from a cook, no? When we go by the book, we lose our ability to adapt, to be creative. Sometimes you will find yourself without an ingredient or two. It will seem like everything is going wrong. If things don’t go as expected, make the unexpected work in your favor. Change the name of the dish.” The grads and their guests seemed to devour every word of José’s advice, and when he wrapped things up, 25 minutes later, they stood and cheered for the humble chef who advised them to work toward making an impact on the world.

You can watch José’s entire speech here.

Now for the deeper thought……We have our recipe, God’s word, and the recipe uses only pure ingredients but it has helpful hints on how to fix our mistakes or proper substitutes if we find ourselves lacking a certain ingredient. When our recipes fail because of our human weakness; God offers us a second chance and hopes we learn from our mistakes or bad ingredients. We can layer our lives with love, integrity, charity, forgiveness, compassion, and loyalty. Then we have the icing of happiness to top off our cake of life. Live Life; Love Life; and Live Life to the fullest by baking the best cake of life using God’s directions. Life will be yummy!

 FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:

1 Kings 14:3ESV   

Take with you ten loaves, some cakes, and a jar of honey, and go to him. He will tell you what shall happen to the child.”

(C) Copyright 2012-2019 Arline Miller Property with all rights and permissions reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location if known for credit reference.