Virginia Pillars

Not your usual pie

This past week, many people celebrated March 14  (3.14) as National Pi day. I’m not a math nerd, but I like a reason to celebrate, and so, Pi Day fits the bill.

In the past, I’ve made pies: pumpkin (hubby’s favorite,) blueberry (our granddaughter who happens to stay with us most years on this day loves this kind,) and apple (my favorite.)

Last Wednesday, Pi Day, I went to the cupboard, but the cupboard was bare. No pumpkin on hand – what was I thinking? I can’t make pies without making at least one pumpkin. Then, I remembered a silly poem:

Roses are red, violets are blue. Poetry is hard. Bacon.

I had bacon in the refrigerator. So, no dessert for us that day. Instead, we enjoyed…

Bacon Cheeseburger Pie – serves 4 – 6 people (at our house – it’s 4)

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound frozen southern style hash browns or 1 1/4 pounds fresh potatoes, shredded (I use fresh)
  • 1/8 teaspoon  black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed oregano
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 pound ground beef (I use ground round)
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder or 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 Tablespoon flour (I use whole wheat)
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • dash of black pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4-6 sliced bacon, fried, drained, and broken into pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degree. Melt butter in large skillet. Add olive oil and potatoes. Cook until the bottom is browned and the potatoes cooked. Cook til second side is browned. Remove from heat. Stir in salt, oregano, 1/8 tsp pepper, and 1/3 c. shredded cheese. Cool about 3 minutes. Add beaten egg. Press into greased pie plate and bake 15 minutes or until golden brown.

While this bakes, prepare filling. If using chopped onion, add 1 T. olive oil and saute onion until soft. Add ground beef and brown. If using onion powder, brown ground beef and then add onion powder. Drain and return to skillet. Mix flour with water; add to meat with tomato sauce, seasoned salt, and dash of pepper to taste. Cook and stir until thickened. When potato shell is browned, remove from oven. Fill hot potato shell with meat mixture. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Return to oven until cheese is melted – about 3 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with bacon pieces. Let sit 3 minutes before cutting into wedges.

I’ve adapted this recipe over the years. Feel free to adapt it to your taste. Enjoy!

Virginia

 

Advertisements
Virginia Pillars, Virginia's Reviews

But I don’t want to invite him…

Even though this newly-released book by Jeanie Egolf was written for children, it sends a message to all of us. If we are honest, we can all identify with the thought process illustrated in the fictional character, Molly McBride.

She doesn’t like an individual and the idea of inviting him to her birthday party makes her cringe. She “conveniently” loses his invitation.

Jeanie Egolf writes the story in a way that a young child can identify with Molly’s feelings. Loving adults in her life help her understand the reasons to include the undesirable with an invitation. It’s explained in such a way that leaves Molly with a resolve to do the right thing.

Molly wants to grow up to be a nun, so her role models in this story are religious – a priest and a sister. It puts both vocations in a favorable light for the young reader. They are portrayed as people who can help guide, not someone scary.

The illustrations that accompany this story are well done and engaging.

Jeanie did a wonderful job of presenting virtue in a sweet story in a way a child can understand, plus help the adult who reads it with them to reexamine their own attitude.

Share this book with a child in your life.

Find Molly McBride and the Party Invitation on  Amazon.

 

Gratitude, Virginia Pillars

I have the gift of today.

I feel like I have a day that is a pure gift. Let me explain. My hubby had an appointment yesterday and today for a medical check-up with possible surgery for today. At our second-to-the-last appointment in a day filled with procedures and tests, he received his walking papers. The doctor went through all the test results and pronounced, “You don’t need surgery. I canceled your consultation with the surgeon that was scheduled for later today.”

Music to our ears. We high-tailed it out of the clinic, jumped in our car, checked out of the motel that we’d booked for the night, and drove the two hours to home. I could have had a meal out, but I just wanted to get home. I like my home and I enjoy my time there.

Which brings me to today – I had a different plan for today and now I have a gift – a day to do something else.

To some, my new plan might seem boring, but to me, it’s a blessing. I will go help my mom for a few hours, attend a funeral that I thought I would miss, go get some groceries that our household needs, and relish the day.

As I thought about today, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why don’t I look at every day as a gift?”

In reality, it is. I woke up. Some don’t. I can walk to my kitchen and make coffee. Some can’t. I can drive to visit my mom or to church or to the grocery store without giving it much thought. I have a dependable car, money for fuel, and the ability to operate it.

Here’s to each day that awaits me to open, to enjoy, and to be grateful.

Happy days are here, again.

Virginia

 

ABOUT, Author In Training, Faith is important to me., Gratitude, My thoughts about Mental Health, Virginia Pillars

Podcast on the Curiosity Hour

A huge thank you to Dan Sterenchuk and Tommy Estlund for the invitation to join them for a podcast on the Curiosity Hour.

Unless you come to hear me speak, you only know me through the words I type on Facebook, on this blog, on Pinterest, Goodreads, and comments on Amazon. Here’s a chance to hear my voice.

 

I love to talk about our story, mental illness, and my faith. I speak with libraries, organizations, churches, and book clubs.

Contact me to schedule an event.

virginiapillars@gmail.com

Virginia Pillars

Why? I don’t know, but, woot! woot!

Every once in a while, I check different sites for my book. Since many readers go to Amazon to post reviews, I frequent it. (Thank you to all who have posted reviews!)

I just checked and Amazon put my book on sale for the lowest price I’ve seen. Today Amazon offered it for $8.90! That’s less than half-price! Broken Brain, Fortified Faith.

I’m not sure why, but I love it! I know that readers can benefit from this. So, feel free to share the link or buy the book and give it to anyone who you think may want to learn how one family coped with mental illness. Recovery can happen. It was hard, but oh, so worth it!

Thank you, Amazon!

 

Gratitude, My thoughts about Mental Health, Virginia Pillars

Gifts …

In the past twelve hours, I’ve received gifts that didn’t wait for later in the month.  These gifts lifted my spirit.

There were so welcome after the past of days of my melancholy attitude. It started with a phone call that left me disappointed in someone and then morphed into a giant of oppressing sadness. I couldn’t shake the “poor me” thoughts that pounded at me.

Until the gifts from yesterday…

First, I spent part of the afternoon with people, which always lifts my mood. Yes, I’m an EXTRAVERT. I get my energy from people. The past twelve hours recharged me and changed my attitude. I needed a major gratitude adjustment.

First I sat next to a friend as I watched a Jr. High Basketball game. I hadn’t expected to see her there, so we chatted and caught up with each other’s lives. Pure gift.

From there I went to a holiday party with my local NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) chapter. I spent the evening with friends I’ve known for years, and the new ones I met as I taught a twelve-week class, Family to Family, this fall. The best part of the evening came as I heard about the successes of their loved ones. I rejoice as I hear the words, “doing well,” “has a job,” “great relationship between us.” So many times I’ve heard, “The class changed my life. It was the best thing I’ve ever done for my loved one and me.” What a gift!

This morning when I checked social media, I approved the tag for this Facebook post, Free the Strange by Andrea Berns. This courageous woman shared her journey to wellness. Her talents shined through her words, as well as her determination to work towards recovery. She asked me to write the forward for her chapbook. What an honor! Congratulations to Andrea, and to all the success stories that we need to tell and celebrate with them.

Gifts come in all shapes, sizes, and look different to everyone. I received good news all around me yesterday, and I am grateful for them.

 

Gratitude, Virginia Pillars

Gratitude – November 30

At the beginning of this month, I gave myself two goals:

  1. To write a daily reflection on gratitude. I think it’s an important method to happiness . To look around and feel grateful. It’s too easy to fall into a negative thought process because things don’t always go in the direction that I’d like. I came up a few days shy of making my goal. But, I accomplished what I wanted – to look around for reasons to feel thankful.
  2. To take the NaNoWriMo challenge. I wanted write a novel during the month of November. I needed to write a minimum of 50,000 words. I hit my goal on Monday,  the 27, but I guess I’m too wordy. I need more than 50,000 words to finish the story. I plan to continue until I finish my rough draft. This puts my New Year’s resolution in place – to edit it and get it ready for another set of eyes to read.

My December plans include sewing a few gifts, plus Santa gave me a list to complete for him as one of his elves. In other words, back to my day job.

I thought it appropriate on my last day in November when I concentrated on gratitude to find a note in my messenger inbox. A new review for my book posted yesterday on Amazon. My heart overflowed as I read her thoughts about my book. Each time someone takes the time to read, write, and post a review for my book, Broken Brain, Fortified Faith, I am filled with gratitude. Thank you, Colleen, and everyone who posted a reaction to our story. Here’s few of her thoughts:

     This is a powerful and compelling autobiographical account of one mother’s journey through the nightmare of mental illness. Virginia Pillars’ daughter, Amber, developed schizophrenia in her early twenties. As Virginia, her husband, Roy, and their sons became aware of the alternate world Amber was living in, they reached out to her. But where to begin to help her out?
…Virginia’s account is honest, compelling and revealing. It is painful as you journey with Virginia and her husband as they look for the treatment Amber needed. The disturbance that severe mental illness causes in the home life of family members is very challenging. The Pillars’ journey, like so many families, is not one of instant success…
. ..The story is very well-written. Once you start reading, it is hard to put down. There is a natural curiosity and hope that the Pillars can find the mental health professional with the right treatment for Amber.                                                                                                                        …There are many out there with family members who suffer from mild to severe mental illnesses. Virginia’s honest account opens the door to what one family experienced. It is not unique. Many families are suffering in this way. Her book does a great service in sharing the challenges and pain and the hopes and victories in navigating the road to recovery. I encourage everyone to read it and share it with others.

For the complete review and others, you’ll find them at Amazon, and Goodreads.

Thank you to all of you who followed along for my month of gratitude. May your December be a season of preparation and joy.