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Tiptoe Through the Turnips

Tiptoe Through the Turnips

Recently we hosted our annual family picnic at our farm. We always pick pumpkins and any other produce on a hayride through nearby fields after a hearty lunch of hot dogs and delicious sides.

This year Vic planted turnips. Most in the guests didn’t know what they were or what they tasted like. Our dear ancestor, Lucy, could have told them. In 1890 that’s all she and her children had to eat after a killing drought and prairie fire consumed the rest of their crops in Oklahoma. Turnips were the only crop which survived. The locals dubbed that year, “The Year of the Turnip.”

If the government hadn’t sent trainloads of wheat seed, a great number of the population of the Oklahoma Territory would have starved. (To read about the circumstances, read The Late Sooner.)

Just in case you don’t have a turnip recipe handy, I’ll include one for you.

Turnip Casserole


  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and sliced 1/8-inch thick with peel
  • 1 turnip, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • 1 rutabaga, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • 1 small celery root, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • salt, to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the vegetables, and cook uncovered for 3 minutes. Drain in a colander, then immediately immerse in ice water for several minutes until cold to stop the cooking process. Once the vegetables are cold, drain well, and set aside.
  3. Cook garlic and butter in a large skillet over medium heat until garlic starts sizzling, about 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in chicken broth, heavy cream, thyme, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper; cook until mixture begins to simmer, about 5 minutes.
  5. Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil and spread vegetables evenly over the oil.
  6. Pour broth and cream mixture over vegetables and top with half of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
  7. Cover baking dish loosely with aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet, and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.
  8. Remove baking dish from the oven and top with remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake uncovered until vegetables are browned, bubbling, and tender, about an additional 30 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes.

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Four Generations that Built America

Four Generations that Built America

This picture contains three of the people I’ve written about in my historical fiction books. On the left is Sanford Deering the main character of The Late Sooner who went into the Oklahoma Territory in the first land run in 1889. The lady is Nora, The Late Sooner’s Daughter, who came back to Missouri when she was nine. The child is my father, Henry, of Hard Times in the Heartland who served in WW II. The old gentleman on the right is Henry Greenup Deering, father of Sanford Deering. This picture must have been taken about 1911.

Because my mother was a keeper of stuff, I have a treasure trove of letters, diaries, and pictures to draw from. I guess these novels are nearer fact than fiction. Perhaps there should be a classification of faction for these books.

Recently, my publisher for these books has gone out of business so I am republishing them on my own. They are available in paperback and e-book. at

Tornado Taming

Tornado Taming

tornadoAs a young mother, I remember looking out my basement window watching a tornado snake across the sky a few miles south-west of us. At the time, I didn’t know about the power of the name of Jesus. As I watched, the white tail turned black as it picked up debris from a school and a church in the suburban Kansas City neighborhood.

Years later, I learned as a believer in Jesus Christ, He had given me and all His followers authority to do the miracles He did. (“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father” John 14:12.)

Jesus not only healed the sick and cast out demons. He also stilled storms (See Mark 4:39).

I wrote the following account in my first God’s Little Miracle Book about another tornado I was in. I’ll share it with you here.

The Power of the Name

John 14:12, 13 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

Tornado sirens wailed in the dark. For Kansas residents, this is the signal for everyone to take cover immediately. This evening before sunset, the atmosphere had a greenish-tinge to it. My five-year-old, Josh, and I were the only ones home.

“Let’s go the basement, son,” I said.

He grabbed my hand.


He nodded.

“Don’t worry. We’ll be safe down here.”

I hoped my casual tone convinced him. I wasn’t as confident as I wanted him to believe. The weatherman had predicted a powerful storm headed straight for our section of the city.

“Get in that corner away from the window.”

We settled ourselves in the south-west corner, and waited for the storm to pass. I said a silent prayer for our safety.

Josh clutched my arm as strong winds whipped the trees outside. Sycamore branches pelted the house. Although I had been through tornadoes before, this one seemed particularly loud—like a freight train coming toward us.

While the storm raged, I remembered the testimony of a survivor of a tornado in Topeka.

“Josh, want to hear a story?”

“Sure, Mom.”

“There was a lady who lived in Topeka several years ago. She heard a teaching on the power of the name of Jesus at her church. She learned Jesus gave His believers the authority over storms just like He had.*

“Well, this lady in Topeka saw a funnel cloud headed straight for her living room. She pointed her finger at the tornado and said, ‘In the name of Jesus, turn.’

“It turned alright . . . right into the capitol building. It tore up the capitol dome pretty bad. I remember seeing a map on the front page of The Kansas City Times newspaper the next day. It showed the strange right turn the tornado took.

“Later, she said, ‘If I’d had my wits about me, I would have said, In the name of Jesus, lift!’”

Josh pulled on my sleeve. “Mom, the storm sounds like it’s getting worse.”

I took his hands. “Let’s pray. We’ll ask Jesus for help. He gave us authority over storms–even tornados.”

“In the name of Jesus, lift,” I said over the churn of the storm.

The train-sound stopped immediately as if someone hit the “mute” button on a TV remote. Only the sound of the pounding rain remained.

Josh’s eyes widened. “Wow, Mom! What happened?”

“We belong to Jesus. When we walk with Him, we have power in His name against anything that would harm us. Jesus answered our prayer and took the tornado back into the clouds.”

“Cool!” he whispered.

Josh is twenty-seven now. When we hear the whine of tornado sirens, we are not afraid. We grin at one another, and remember the time we learned, first hand, the power of the name of our Lord Jesus.

*Mark 4:39 “And being aroused, He rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.”

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