May 5th was a special day for me! Bethany Louise had come home the day before and she joined me in running my usual Saturday errands. We picked up the church bulletins and did some shopping for some things she needed for the summer. Our last stop was the grocery store. I stopped by the bakery to price a large sheet cake for Samuel's graduation open house (did I really want to make homemade cakes for 75 people?). The bakery employee said that they could make the icing in Sam's school colors and I mentioned that we homeschooled. A lady, shopping nearby, said, "Excuse me, I overheard that you homeschool."
This began a sweet conversation with Kimberly - my new, God sent, friend. Her pastor husband, two daughters and she moved to the next city over in January from Raleigh, North Carolina. They had homeschooled for years and her husband had just been named head teaching pastor for the first time. I knew that David and I could encourage them in many ways since we left a large church 15 years ago when David took his first church as lead pastor. So I got her phone number and told her that I would call her so we could all get together after Samuel's open house.
I went home and excitedly told David about Kimberly and Joel and mentioned that she reminded me of my Arkansas friends. I looked for her on Facebook and when I found her I discovered that we had mutual friends from Arkansas! She had actually lived in Arkansas and knew people that we knew!!! As we have gotten to know each other we have discovered that not only do we have the "Arkansas connection", but she also lived in Coral Gables (where I went to college) and her mother went to the church I went to, David and Samuel had been reading about her daddy in a book they are reading together (a former college football coach), the woman that introduced her to her husband, Joel, was a good friend of mine and was in our wedding and we have mutual friends from Raleigh. We have so many things in common. The Lord truly intended for our paths to cross that day in the grocery store. Kimberly said that she had intended to go to another store; but went to the one we met in because they had a Starbucks. : ) God had BIGGER plans.
Last Friday Kimberly and Joel came for dinner. We enjoyed such sweet fellowship in the kitchen while our husbands fellowshipped and discussed ministry around the grill and then we all enjoyed time around the table and our backporch.
For dessert I made Pioneer Woman's Blackberry Cheesecake, except I made mine with blueberries and I made the traditional graham cracker crust. David said it may be the best cheesecake he's ever eaten. You bake the cheesecake first and once it has cooled you add the cooled, cooked berries (you can use any type of berry - I just happened to have two pints of blueberries in the fridge). Another tip is to throw in a handful of berries into the cooked berries before pouring it over the cheesecake. I made it the day before I served it and placed it on the serving dish before I unlatched the springform pan. The blueberry sauce ran down the sides in a most beautiful way!
I do hope many of you will bake this cake - so delicious!!!
Source: Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman
1 Cup graham cracker crumbs
2 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine all and press into a 10 inch springform pan. Bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees.
3 packages 8 oz. bars of Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
For the filling, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs one
at a time, beating after each addition. Add sour cream and mix again.
Pour mixture into crust, smooth the top, and bake for 1 hour, 10
minutes. Turn off oven and open door and allow to sit in the oven with
the door opened for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
2 cups blueberries (you can also use blackberries, raspberries or strawberries)
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons water
For the topping, add blueberries, sugar, and water to a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 4 to 5
minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly. Throw in an extra handful of whole berries to the pot of cooked berries.
Pour berries over the cheesecake and place pan into the fridge
to cool and set for at least 2 hours---overnight is best.