Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Teapots, Chicken Bog and PJs

My guest today is USA Bestselling author,Catherine Mann. She shares some thoughts that aren't new to any of us in today's world. Seems like we all have too much to do and not enough time to do it all. Catherine also shares an excerpt of her newest series on Elite Forces.

Raise your hand if you’re overworked, stressed, maxed out and need a vacation?

Okay, I’m confident hands are shooting up fast. Mine sure has been raised especially high this week. Already exhausted and irritable, I raced through chores tonight while desperately searching for an idea for this blog that’s supposed to promote my new pararescue (PJ) series.

One of my kids walked by with a question – and I shushed her as I changed over laundry loads, needing to get back to the meal cooking on the stove. She did hush (probably because of the steam blasting from my ears as hot as the pan threatening to boil over!) As she walked away with her head down, my gaze gravitated to my teapot with four angel faces.

The laundry fell out of my hands and my eyes filled with tears.

To backtrack, I have over a dozen teapots, each with a story about how it came into my life. But the angel teapot… well, it’s special.

On the surface, it means a lot to me because my husband bought it for Mother’s Day, the four angel faces representing our four children.

However, the teapot has an even deeper significance. If you’ll notice in the photo, the teapot doesn’t have a lid. And it never will again.

Years ago, a dear friend of mine – Jeri - was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. Determined to stay active as long as possible, once she became wheelchair bound, she took pottery classes. Jeri asked a mutual pal of ours to sneak the lid from the angel teapot out of my house so she could make matching teacups. Jeri wanted to thank me for the chicken bog (a Southern recipe) that I often made for her, the one food she could stomach after chemo and radiation.

Jeri’s health faded faster than expected. She wasn’t able to make the cups.
As I went to see her in the hospital for the last time, on my way I mailed a manuscript to my agent. Usually when I sent off a manuscript, I would anxiously wait to hear back, wishing away the weeks, craving that sale call. But when I mailed the manuscript that day, I vowed to myself I would never again wish away time when Jeri would give anything for one more day with her husband and children.

Later, our friend who’d snuck the teapot lid from my house called to arrange to return the lid. I told her to please keep it. And I would keep the teapot open as a reminder of Jeri and the importance of cherishing each moment.

Tonight, the pot on my stove is full of chicken bog again for another family friend with cancer, the wife of my kids’ coach. My angel teapot is open. The laundry still isn’t finished. But I hugged my teenage daughter and listened to the song she wanted to share with me.

Then, I came downstairs to write this blog. And as I thought about Jeri, I also recalled the book I dedicated to her years ago, one of my early Wingmen Warriors books – FULLY ENGAGED. It features a breast cancer survivor heroine/pilot who falls for… a PJ. A pararescueman/parajumper. ( )

Life came full circle for me in that moment as I thought about that PJ hero and how I’m now in the middle of launching an entire series about PJs. There it was. My blog topic – I needed to write about angel baby teapots, chicken bog for friends, PJ stories that celebrate heroes. How life weaves itself together if we take the time to celebrate each thread, each moment.

So right now, I’m celebrating the chance to blog (I do love to write!) I’m also grateful to have teenagers who do want to talk to me – most of the time. And I’m grateful for each of you who came over to read what I had to share today. Thank you. Truly.

  • What is something or someone you’re grateful for this week?


It should have been a simple mission…

Pararescuman Wade Rocha fast ropes from the back of a helicopter into a blizzard to save a climber stranded on an Aleutian Island, but Sunny Foster insists she can take care of herself just fine…

But when it comes to passion, nothing is ever simple…

With the snowstorm kicking into overdrive, Sunny and Wade hunker down in a cave and barely resist the urge to keep each other warm… until they discover the frozen remains of a horrific crime…

Unable to trust the local police force, Sunny and Wade investigate, while their irresistible passion for each other gets them more and more dangerously entangled… Excerpt (bottom of website page) Book Trailer
BUY: In stores or online and print or e-book.  Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million


USA Today bestseller Catherine Mann has over two million books in print in more than twenty-five countries.  A RITA Award winner, she resides in the Florida panhandle with her military flyboy husband, their four children, and an ever-growing menagerie of pets.  Find Catherine on Facebook at Catherine Mann (Author) and Twitter @CatherineMann1.  Or check out her website at:


~Sia McKye~ said...

Catherine, welocme to Over Coffee. I'm so glad you're visiting. I thoroughly loved Cover Me. It's such a well written suspense and I didn't want it to end. :-)

I'm thankful for many things in my life. Like you, I love my readers who stop by. They're a special bunch because they take the time out of their busy schedules to drop in.

Bethannee said...

What a lovely story. I love to write as well, though it's a privately passionate journal full of stories, insights, and memories. Memories, some of which are similar to yours - watching friends and family fight terminal illness and eventually passing, others who continue to survive in spite of the odds, and mostly, reminders and remembrances of the blessings in my life.

What I am grateful for this week? Compassion, love and contentment. My life. The place I'm in today. In the most simplistic way - I'm grateful to be me, and to live the life I lead.

However, my spiritual side accredits all the blessings in my life to God. He made it all possible for me. And only He knows why, in the meantime, I live in amazement.

Talli Roland said...

What a moving post and a great reminder to embrace every day. I'm grateful for my wonderful life where I can pursue my dreams with the support of the man I love!

Jo said...

Me being me, the first thing I thought of, what's chicken bog? How about a recipe?

One thing I am grateful for is the internet and the ability to make some wonderful friends.

Paula R said...

Awww, Cathy! Lovely post. It brought tears to my eyes. I am grateful for people like you who help to remind others to take that moment and savor it. Time is very precious, and I feel that, for far too long, I wasted much of mine. I have to constantly remind myself to live in the moment, rather that keep going back to the past. I missed so much of my today that way. Thanks again! The teapot is beautiful, and so are you my friend. Have a wonderful day.

Peace and love,
Paula R.

Laurie said...

Great post, Cathy! Thanks.

This week, I'm grateful for the accident that totaled my car. Yeah, it's weird -- until I add that I was having trouble making ends meet, and now I have an inexpensive car that gets fabulous gas mileage, so I'm going to be able to do more than make ends meet, all because of something that initially terrified and depressed me.

Yeah, God is good ... but He sure does move in mysterious ways.

Catherine Mann said...

Hi Sia! Thank you SO much for having me here today... You have such an awesome blogspot! Looking forward to chatting with everyone. :)

Catherine Mann said...

Well said, Bethanee! Isn't it amazing how we can find the most profound messages and blessings in the simple things in life. :)

Catherine Mann said...

Talli, I too am so thankful for my hubby at my side. His support means the world to me!

Catherine Mann said...

Hi Jo! I will asbolutely post the chicken bog recipe by the end of the day. Just need to type it up since I make it from memory. :) Thanks for asking!

Catherine Mann said...

Thank you, Paula! notes form you ALWAYS bring a smile to my face and I don't take that for granted. You are a treasure!

Catherine Mann said...

Oh, Laurie, what a scary thing to have happen - I'm SO relieved to hear everyone is okay, though, and it in a round about way it has turned into a blessing!!! Hugs to you!

Catherine Mann said...

Am running to the Humane Society to pick up some shelter dogs to go to the groomer.... will be back in a while! Hugs to all!!

Kathleen O said...

Oh Catherine, you had me at the angels.. My dear mother loved angels and everyone would always give her somthing related to these loving beings as gifts on evry occasion. We lost her this past May and your story has touched me so much. We forget sometimes when we are stressed and busy about he things that really matter.
For me this week it and every week, it is my family and friends. They have always been in my corner through the good times and bad.
Though are friends and loved ones are taken from us, they never, ever leave us. Because there are reminders all around..

Anonymous said...

What a heart wrenching story Catherine! Made me stop; and think . . . You know we must live in each moment like it were our last! Love you . . . and thrilled you take good care of ouro furry friends!

Catherine Mann said...

Kathleen, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. Thank you for letting me know that the angel teapot story brought happy memories to mind of someone so special to you!!

Catherine Mann said...

Annon - Thank you for stopping by to visit and comment! Your note touched my life too!! :)

VA said...

Lovely story, Catherine. Life is filled with the bittersweet, that's for sure.

A close friend's son died two weeks before Christmas last year; he was a senior in high school planning for college. Every time I see my daughter, even when she is driving me absolutely around the bend I remember that I still have her. And for that I smile even as I want to throttle her.

Catherine Mann said...

Va, I totally hear you on having a teenage daughter. :) Love both of mine to bits (even when they're rolling their eyes at me. ;)

Catherine Mann said...

Y'all asked for the Chicken Bog recipe.... Here it is:

Chicken Bog

Chicken Bog is much like jambalaya, except less spicy. As a whole much of South Carolina recipes (where I learned to make this one) resemble Louisiana recipes, minus quite so many spices! For me, most of my recipes have been learned from watching someone cook, rather than from a written down recipe.... just as the person I'm watching learned. So here goes, the instructions for Chicken Bog as best I can relate them.

Boil chicken thighs on med-low until the skin is falling off the bones and you have a thick, rich, chicken broth. (Add salt & pepper to taste.) Water should boil away until it just barely covers the chicken. This will take a while. The richer the broth the better the chicken bog. Once done, pull out bones and skin, leave chicken in broth. Pull part chicken into strips with fork. Add chopped onion and lots of chopped celery, boil on low for a few minutes until onions & cellery are soft. Add rice to chicken, onion, celery, broth mixture with appropriate liquid to rice ratio. Cover pot and cook on VERY low until all liquid is absorbed in rice. Final dish should be about 2/3 rice and 1/3 chicken.

Variation - can add slices of sausage as well.

Serve with side dish of cole slaw and rolls.

~Sia McKye~ said...

mmm, this sounds really good, Catherine. Easy to make. I can see the similarities to jambalaya. I love to use Chorizo it has a great taste in contrast with the chicken. My mom uses bacon.

Catherine Mann said...

Hope you enjoy the recipe, Sia! It's one of our family favorites and it's so easy to make a HUGE pot for large gatherings. I love the idea of adding Chorizo... That sounds like how my uncle JV would make his. :)

Thanks again for having me here to visit today! Your blogsite rocks!!

Jo said...

Thanks so much for the recipe Catherine, a fascinating background to it. It is a bit like jambalaya, also a bit like the way I make chicken soup, without the rice.

Anonymous said...

Nice to meet you Catherine. Touching post that tugs at the heart. Best wishes for your success!

Kat Sheridan said...

What a wonderful post, Catherine. This week I'm grateful for friends, new and old. For a group of writers who took me in and told me I was one too. For another group of writers who insisted I join their very small circle for a regular lunch and goal setting. One of those writers had a double mastectomy two weeks ago and starts chemo soon. I'm grateful I have the opportunity to be there to cheer her and help her.