Two Atlanta Recipes & Early Poverty Martha Memories

Martha and Dianne and the BeachToday, August 21, 2013 is my 70th birthday and I have never had a better birthday in my life, nor have I been happier!!! This is the best decade of my life!! I think I have bigger plans for the next 10 years than I have ever made for any 10 year period in my life! I praise God for the blessings he has showered on me!

Dear Sewing Family,

My friends, Dianne Napier-Wilson and her husband, John Wilson joined us for two days at the beach recently. Dianne and I taught school in Atlanta together for one year a long time ago. Dianne and I both left school teaching. She entered the business world after two years of teaching school and retired as President of Acquisition Optimization Nortel Networks which was a Fortune 500 Company. In her division of Nortel she had one billion dollars of sales with 2500 employees, 300 directly under her. During this exciting business career she took time off to get her MBA from Harvard. I might add that her company gave her the time off and they paid for it!!!

She shared two recipes with me for appetizers that I thought were fabulous and she has given me permission to share with you. Dianne and John own Wilson Farms which is a beautiful equestrian farm on a picturesque 30 acres in beautiful Alpharetta, Georgia. ( Both were corporate executives with Nortel before they retired. They entertain frequently and she says her guests love these two very easy appetizers that can be made ahead of time.

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Sausage Puffs
1 pound hot pork sausage
(1) 8 ounce cream cheese
Rosemary to taste (1T or more)
1 Package crescent rolls

Brown sausage and drain really well using paper towels for final step to pat dry. Return to skillet and add cream cheese to melt. Add rosemary to taste, cool and form into two-bite size balls. Wrap and seal sausage balls with crescent roll dough. Bake at 350 until brown, approximately 12 minutes. Serve warm or let cool and store in zip lock bag. Puffs reheat well in microwave for approximately 2 minutes for whole recipe.

Shrimp Spread

This is popular at Atlanta, Sea Island and at Kentucky Derby parties Dianne says. I knew you would love knowing that also.

(1)8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 pound shrimp, chilled and diced
1 small bottle zesty cocktail sauce
1 bell pepper, diced
1 medium tomato diced
Cilantro to taste, chopped

Spread cream cheese onto medium platter and layer with cocktail sauce. Add diced shrimp and continue building layers with bell pepper, tomatoes and cilantro. Serve with crackers. Dish can be made several hours or up until the day before serving. Keep refrigerated. Let stand twenty minutes before serving if refrigerated.

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I have a “memory story” to tell you about Dianne and me in our very early days. We met the first day of school; I taught senior English; she taught junior English. We each had a classroom in a trailer outside the school building since the school was overcrowded. The trailers were not the best in the world; actually mine had a hole in the roof which leaked in the rain requiring a bucket to catch the rain. This was in Cobb County Georgia in 1969. I was a divorced Mom with two very young little boys. Dianne was a single teacher just out of college. We cleared $385 per month teaching school. We certainly had to car pool because we did not have enough money to buy gas to drive to school if we drove our cars each day. We did not have enough money to buy lunch at the lunchroom so we had a system. One week I would buy 20 chicken legs or thighs, and bar-be-que them on Saturday. I would put wrap them (two in one wrap) and freeze them. Each day I would take two packs so Dianne would have two for lunch and I would have two for lunch. The next week Dianne would cook the chicken legs and bring our lunch. That was all we could afford. I might add that both of us were very skinny and had really great figures. I have always said that prosperity has not been good for our figures. We became very close friends sharing hopes and dreams. We both loved our students; we were both good teachers.

Dianne left the next year for a career in business. I left for a job developing curriculum and attending graduate school at the University of Florida. We both discussed all during that year that we could not live without health insurance and without gas to drive to school for the rest of our lives. Both of us knew we had to either get more education or leave education. Dianne left education and I headed for more education. I had dreams of getting a Ph.D. and becoming a college professor and writing books. I felt pretty sure that college professors had health insurance and that one had to have a PH.D to be able to write text books that would sell. OK so much for those plans as I look back on them. Well I did get my Ph.D.

I will tell you more stories about the poverty I chose to get that Ph.D. and actually it was not bad at all. I had a dream and I was determined to make it come true. I was determined to get that Ph.D. I sold my house in Florida and moved back to Tuscaloosa to live $61 a month student housing so I could go to school full time rather than just take one course at a time at night as I had to do if I kept my nice house. I had an assistantship of about $350 a month and I could make it just find as long as I had that $61 rent and utility housing. I have more sweet and fun stories about our time at the student housing-my two boys and me-but I’ll save those for later. Actually we really did have a good time there. But I’ll give you the fabulous ending now. We had only lived there for about 6 months and WE MET JOE!! I married Joe in December after having moved to the $61 a month student housing in May and we moved to Huntsville where I commuted for the rest of my Ph.D. Sometimes I think Joe insisted on marrying me so soon after meeting because two of the window panes in my “apartment” were out and covered with cardboard pieces taped in the holes.” Truly. More later in this saga.

May God Bless You,


Matthew 18: 21-22
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I
forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

The perfect number is seven. Peter asked our Lord if one should forgive seven times when someone sinned against him. Our Lord answered that one should forgive seventy-seven times. It seems to me that means that we should forgive and not even keep up with the number of times we forgive someone who sins against us. The Bible says that God has forgiven all of the sins of believers who have repented. If God has forgiven us then we should not be guilty of non-forgiveness of those who sin against us.

Peter refers to “brother” in verse 21. I believe Peter means “mankind” with the word brother. From my own experiences in my own family and in my circle of friends, I believe there is more non-forgiveness with real family members than I would like to believe. After Amberly wrote me the letter below, I thought I would beg and plead for all of us to forgive all family members who have “wronged” us. The Bible says we must forgive everybody seventy-seven times. If you would like to read further about forgiveness, please go to the web site, click on the inspirational message section, and read my ideas about forgiveness.


Thank you for urging your readers to make peace with their parents and family members while they are still living. Both my parents are now gone and though we had good relationships, there are a few things I wish I’d said to each of them.

Daddy passed on in ’96, and I lost Mother last year. Her last months were the most precious. I know you cherish each moment you have with your mother. It breaks my heart when I hear a friend complain about her mother, I want to shake her until she understands how short time really is. I realize I am fairly young to have lost my parents (I’m 26), and most of my friends really don’t know what they have, and won’t for some time now, but please keep telling your readers to cherish the time they have, it doesn’t last forever.