September 27, 2016


Finding Perspective

Have you you ever heard of a Lepidopterist?  How about an Entomologist?

Well, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History employs people whose job it is to understand insects, moths, and butterflies. There are people who curate over 80% of the world’s bird species and millions of samples of minerals. The collections are MASSIVE and the organization of the whole thing makes me a little weepy. (The drawers are so very pretty!)

I watched this fascinating snapshot and thought of two obvious, but need-to-be-stated facts:

#1 – People have crazy jobs.

Seriously. I underestimate the variety and depth of work people have.  I recently learned an old proverb, “The clever fox knows many things, but the old hedgehog knows one big thing.”  The guys and gals at the Smithsonian are a array* of hedgehogs! They go DEEEEEP!

#2 – The world in an amazing place.

If you’re frustrated with politics or discouraged by current circumstances, step back and think about the breadth and depth of our amazing world. Get a little perspective. God deserves every ounce of admiration we can muster because DANG is this globe a mind-blowing creative place.

Just taste a little of the awesomeness for yourself.

And remember, you’re in good hands!


September 26, 2016

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Avoid Leadership Malpractice

“Before I do anything I ask myself, ‘Would an idiot do that?’
and if the answer is yes, I do not do that thing.”

Dwight Schrute, The Office


Years ago I went with a girlfriend as her “plus one” to her company party. I immediately thought I had wandered into an episode of The Office.

It was  M I S E R A B L E.

The “team” had scheduled the time together and by hook or crook they were going to have fun. The boss was running the show and he seemed oblivious to the rolled eyes when he spoke. He barely noticed people slink away to check emails or leave altogether.

Perhaps the awkwardness was terrible because the team didn’t enjoy each other, but I have seen a similar dynamic play out at home and with friends. Under specific conditions, being together feels like a forced march through mud with a pebble in your shoe on a 100-degree day.

Unfortunately, these circumstances aren’t limited to parties. We feel the “get me out of here”  at family dinners, team meetings, company outings.

There are plenty of ways to destroy fun and kill camaraderie, but the quickest are to:

  • Move too fast
  • Schedule too much
  • Put your pleasure at the center of an activity

Every leader fails occasionally, but there should be some sort of leadership malpractice when a team is in perpetual dread of a leader’s plans. If you are responsible for others, there are simple ways to counteract the drudgery and ratchet up the fun.  Begin with these three basics:

  • Set modest goals
  • Build in margin
  • Prioritize serving your team (not making them serve you)

You don’t have to make huge adjustments, just dial back the over-developed sense of urgency. In the process, not only will the results be more enjoyable, you will likely discover what’s really important.

September 23, 2016


Book Review: Everything I Never Told You

Since I dialed back writing this past summer, I dialed up reading.  I soaked in words. I bathed in stories. I swam in tales.

As you might imagine, all of my books have water stains.

So. Much. Fun.

I’ve debated where to begin sharing, but I decided to start with my favorite summer read because, well, because I’m impatient that way.

“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet. 1977, May 3, six thirty in the morning, no one knows anything but this innocuous fact: Lydia is late for breakfast.”

These are the first couple of sentences in Celeste Ng’s novel Everything I Never Told You.

If that were the only sentence I gave you, chances are you would think this was a mystery or whodunit read. You would only be partly right. Given the subject matter, it’s surprising how much I enjoyed this book, but dang is the writing good!

Beginning with the title of the book, the communication theme is easy to catch.

“The things that go unsaid are often the things that eat at you–whether because you didn’t get to have your say, or because the other person never got to hear you and really wanted to.”

There are plot twists and insights galore, but most of them are revelations the readers learn which are invisible to the characters. We find out how the father flirts with abandoning his family.

“You could stop taking their phone calls, tear up their letters, pretend they’d never existed. Start over as a new person with a new life. Just a problem of geography, he thought, with the confidence of someone who had never yet tried to free himself of family.”

And how the mother drifts in and out of engaging in the grieving process.

“It would disappear forever from her memory of Lydia, the way memories of a lost loved one always smooth and simplify themselves, shedding complexities like scales.”

The story grapples with being misunderstood.

 “People decide what you’re like before they even get to know you.”

And with what will be missed when someone you love dies. Ng is unblinking in her assessment of a family which has regrets and lives with unanswered questions.

“All of that will be gone by morning. Instead, they will dissect this last evening for years to come. What had they missed that they should have seen? What small gesture, forgotten, might have changed everything? They will pick it down to the bones, wondering how this had all gone so wrong, and they will never be sure.”

By the end of the novel, the reader knows more than the people in the story. While this might feel unsatisfying, I found it encouraging. I wish I could say more, but I’m afraid it would spoil your experience.

September 22, 2016


Always Finding The Best At Work

I have a new hero and he’s an elevator operator in Los Angeles.

You just HAVE to meet him.

Ruben Pardo has had his self-described “up and down” career for 40 years, and he loves his work. He takes pride in the precision of his skills and values the opportunity to connect with people.

I am challenged by Ruben’s positivity and am going to seek him out the next time I’m in L.A.

Whatever you do, do it with all your heart…


September 21, 2016


Enjoying Today’s Season

“How was your summer?”

I know. For all practical purposes, summer’s been over since the kids went back to school. Still, I ask people I haven’t seen since June this opening question.

More than once – three times to be exact – the reply has been something to the effect of “meh.” Apparently summer is too hot, too unstructured, and has far too little football for the taste of many people.

I get it. Really, I do.


I put football on TV at the first kick-off as a comforting backdrop noise reminding me that fall is indeed coming.

Apple pie season is around the corner.
I can let my pedicure go VERY soon.
Brussels Sprouts are going to be cheap.

Fireplaces, blankets, and soup will join the daily routine.

The summer sun will soften to a more gentle light, and if we can get out of 90 degree weather, life will be grand!
The anticipation is palpable.

If I’m not careful, I can look and long for what’s next and inadvertently look past what’s now. I can idealize what’s coming up and forfeit the enjoyment of today.

And, we all know every season comes with challenges.

Back to school routines are no joke.
Winter is, for the non-California dwelling among us, gray and icky.
Spring is a Claritin-filled fog.
Summer is — well, we’ve covered that.

Anticipation is best when it’s lightly sprinkled into a day; when it tilts us forward and makes us aware of opportunities and hope. However, today has joys and treasures, lessons and learnings for us. Being present is always a good option.

Yes, fall is happy. Treasure it.  Still, I hope you were able to enjoy summer as well!

September 11, 2016


What I Remember on 9/11

I always seem to be in New York in the middle of September and this year is no different, as I’m there next week. Still, it’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years since the terrorist attacks.

I wrote most of what’s below on 9/12/01, but first published this post in 2012.  It still reflects my feelings today and reminds me how everyone’s story changed that day.

I say that I’ll always remember what happened on 9/11/01, and of course the major details are seared in my brain like unwanted branding.  However, when I reread the email exchanges I had on 9/12-14, I see some of my facts have already faded.

My story isn’t tragic or sad, but when I think about what I’ll tell my kids, I believe I’ll hand them the unedited version of an email exchange I had with a friend from work.

So if you’re interested, this is how my story from 9/11 unfolded…{details in these brackets just added}

I had an 8 am flight to NY on Tuesday.  We were making our initial descent into NY at 9:15 – seat belt lights were on, seat backs up, etc. Then the pilot said we had traffic ahead and would have to make a turn or two before landing. Twenty minutes later he came on the speaker and said ( in a frustrated voice) that NY was currently “not accepting ANY incoming air traffic” and that we were being redirected to Raleigh, NC.  He said he “couldn’t get an answer” from Air Traffic control as to why we were being redirected, but that he’d let us know.  He sarcastically said, “it’s clearly not a weather problem”  (it was beautiful outside).

Of course, I didn’t think any of this sounded right. I pictured something bigger going on – like a crash at La Guardia or something. So, I used the airphone on the plane (which I NEVER do) to call Corrie {my co-worker in Atlanta} and ask her to rebook me into Philly or someplace closer to NY.  When she got on the phone, the first words out of her mouth were, “are you in NY yet?”  Then she asked me if I had heard what had happened – obviously I hadn’t.  As soon as she briefed me, I grabbed a flight attendant and asked her if she knew what was going on – she didn’t.  I told her and then watched her go up to the front of the plane to tell the pilots.  I got off the phone with Corrie and asked her to book me on a flight back to Atlanta – or to get me a car – or bus – or something.  Then I called David {my boss} in NY – as he was telling me the news, I started repeating what he was saying to everyone seated around me.  I was reading an article today by Peggy Noonan and she was talking about a phone conversation she had with her son that he was relaying to the kids around him – “in a crisis, everyone turns into a news anchor.”  I was the anchor on our plane.

When we arrived in Raleigh, ground crew were literally running from all over to prepare our flight for arrival.  I wondered why they were so enthusiastic – only later did I realize that they were running because a bunch of redirected planes were landing from all over.  When I got off the plane, I couldn’t get a land line out to anywhere and my cell phone only worked going to the office (odd!!)  Corrie had been trying to get me a car and was unsuccessful.  People were milling around – there was no TV to be seen (also odd) and I realized that I had better get outta Dodge!  I then ran (I kid you not – I ran) to the Hertz bus.  I see two guys sitting in the back who look normal.

“Do you guys have a car reserved?”
“Yes.” (looking at each other like I might be scaring them)
“Where are you driving to?”
“Great – do you mind taking an extra passenger along?”
“Uh – no – sure.”

I was fired up – I was going home!!!  The lines were already out of control at the parking lot.  My “driver” Steve waited an hour in line.  As I waited outside, the buses from the terminal were coming in PACKED OUT.  Soon the supervisor was outside telling the bus drivers to park and NOT pick up any more people. Again – I was just thrilled to be there.  As I was sitting around, I called Billy and my parents.  They told me about the WTC collapsing – unbelievable.   Finally, Steve and his colleague Burt and I were on the road for our 7-hour drive back to Atlanta.  They work for Home Depot in the corporate office and were really great.  We listened to the coverage on the way home – but also took breaks from it.  I didn’t actually see any footage until about 7 at night.

Steve and Burt dropped me off at Atlanta’s airport – which was eerily quiet.  I was literally the only person in the parking lot when I went to get my car.  The freeways were wide open – everyone was home watching TV.  All and all – it was a surreal day.

I know this is probably more info than you wanted to know, but it’s probably good to write it down.  Thanks for asking!!

My colleague’s reply email reminds me how fearful those first few days were.  I also notice the kindness in his words.  Everyone was so nice to each other that fall.

I am so glad that you’re safe. Your story is really something. You’re so lucky.. no make that blessed to be able to return home so quickly and so safely. Between us, what are your thoughts on the nature of our jobs with the extensive amount of air travel now? How soon will you be boarding another flight?

Take care and give my best to your family and everyone in ATL.  Respects,

My final response to the email thread, below, was written on 9/14.  I haven’t been nearly so grateful for each day as I was on that day, so it helps me to read these thoughts again.

Thanks for your note – – I realize now that I didn’t really grant God the thanks He deserves in keeping me safe.

Between us, I’m not really worried about air travel any more than normal.  I would honestly fly today. Do we need to improve security? Absolutely.  Is it risky? Yes.  However, I have always believed that we live in a dangerous world and that we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. It’s only by God’s grace that we moment by moment have the gift of life.  It’s just that all of this makes me more thankful for that gift.

I’m in mourning like everyone else.  It’s a really difficult time.  I went to a service at my church on Tuesday night and the speaker went through a great story in the Bible (2 Chronicles 20 – in case you want to read the whole thing).  In the account, the king of Israel is under attack by three nations.  He calls everyone to prayer and leads the nation in a very cool prayer (excerpts below).

“O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven?  You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations.  Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you….. if calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgement, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us……  O our God, will you not judge them?  For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us.  We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

I love that last part – ” we do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

That is where I am trying to keep my eyes (honestly – the TV is the biggest distraction for my eyes at the moment).  Hope you can make it to a place of prayer today.  I can’t wait!!!


Whatever your story is from 2001 or from today, my hope is you’ll remember and pray for those who are hurting and sad.  We should always remember to pray.

August 31, 2016


20 Habits For A Laughable Marriage

One. Nine.

Pardon the repetitiveness, but when you’re talking about marriage, 19 feels like an amazing number. Nineteen years (19!!) is the invisible line Billy and I cross today and my prevailing thought is, “Dang this is fun!

Oh sure, it’s been “work,” but let’s be clear, LIVING is work.

I mean, we have to shower and sleep and charge our phones. Those actions keep our systems on line, but that doesn’t necessarily turn the work into a burden.

No. Marriage “work” with Billy is like taking a late-afternoon nap after the demands of playing on the beach – utterly delightful.

[NOTE: I am just getting started. This post involves serious gushing.  If you have a sensitive stomach, consider this your warning.]

I imagine there are many ways to build great marriages, but I can only speak to the prevailing themes of my world.  I can most accurately represent the joy I’ve experienced with a relationship rooted in a shared faith and fueled by a commitment to enjoy each other.

In fact, the most mundane block and tackle habits are actually practices which enable us to laugh, play, and celebrate life together. Let me give you nineteen (19!) examples plus one to grow on…

#1 – Stay out of debt

Nothing kills fun faster than being stressed about money. When you live debt-free, decision-making is streamlined and creativity for fun-filled activities is heightened! While this is counter-cultural, one of the best decisions of our marriage was to prioritize giving first, saving second, and living on the balance third.

Perhaps this means keeping cars past their prime… Ah well! Spend less to enjoy life more!


#2 – Get some rest

Naps improve marriage.

I am in no way being flip. Nothing makes me less pleasant than sleep deprivation. Nothing makes Billy more withdrawn than when he needs sleep. When necessary, we adjust who takes the early shift so the other one can sleep in. Under-scheduling your life is almost as important as living without debt!


#3 – Prioritize fun

Decide, in advance, to prioritize fun. Don’t be afraid to skip school to make memories. Does ______ (activity) bring you joy? If not, ditch it! If you can’t ditch it, then do it together. This leads to the next habit…


#4 – Work together

How in the world can household work be fun? Let’s take a page from Mary Poppins people…

In every job that must be done
There is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap!
The job’s a game!

You may not be as geeky as we are, but FUN is the spoonful of sugar you need whether you’re unloading the dishwasher, cleaning up the backyard, or fishing frogs from the pool!


#5 – Hold loosely to your agenda

Billy doesn’t feel the burning need to explore the latest food spot in Atlanta, but he knows I love to, so he plays along. He battles Friday traffic, stupid parking hunts, and questionable menu choices without an ounce of resentment.

Just this week he ate a chicken liver tart at The Staplehouse for our anniversary dinner, and he loved it!!


#6 – Show up

Quality time is directly linked to quantity time. You can’t enjoy a relationship which gets the dregs of your calendar. Fun is always a factor of presence. Sure, walking the dog doesn’t feel important, but when it makes for a smoother evening routine, everyone benefits!


#7 – Pay Attention

The best comedians see humor in the mundane.

They look and listen well. Your marriage is more fun when you do the same. That means noticing how your spouse likes projects and pictures. It means not just “going along to get along,” but actually creating your own shenanigans. 


#8 – Surprise & delight

Be thoughtful.

Go out of your way to surprise your spouse. Pony up for an Amazon Prime membership and take the initiative to knock things off the “to do” list. Replace the broken soap holder, order the kid’s music book, buy better straws as a surprise.

Surprises are fun, even when they are $3.00 straws. (UH-Mazing straws I might add!)


#9 – Have a pet

No really.

Rough days are immeasurably better with the happiest dog on the planet. Sure, there’s poop to scoop, walks in the cold, window-shattering barks, but mostly there’s fun.

Sharing a pet is awesomeness.


#10 – Travel together

Wander! Explore! Get Lost! Lose your Bags! Misunderstand Street Signs!

If you can work out the stresses of travel together, you’re golden. If you find the humor in the lost bag that went to Maui and the expired passport that killed your trip to Europe (both true), you can find ways to have fun on the road.

Nineteen (19!) years in, there’s no one I’d rather travel with than this guy!


#11 – Remember the romance

Double dates are not date nights.
Having your kids with you are not date nights.

One-on-One is a date. Showering, looking good, and flirting are all part of great dates. For romance’s sake, brush your teeth, work on your appearance, maybe even Dress Up!  You are the only person your spouse should legitimately lust after, so make it worth his/her while!

Perhaps you can sweep them off their feet!


#12 – Embrace differences

There are multiple effective ways to load the dishwasher, manage money, and handle sticky conversations. There is nothing inherently noble with an extrovert or introvert. There are many acceptable ways to correct a child and talk to family members.

Differences are good things. Embrace and celebrate how your spouse approaches the world, and life is MUCH more fun!


#13 – Make amusement a goal

Fun is a muscle which develops as you stretch and practice. Billy relentlessly exercises this muscle keeping me on my toes.

Recently we stopped to put gas in my car and I gave him a $50 gift card. He used $49.99 of the card and gave me back the receipt and the card. This from a man who loves even numbers… he SWEARS he couldn’t fit in another penny, but I SWEAR he was testing to see if I’d hold onto a card worth one cent (I’m kinda cheap).

I’ll let you draw your own conclusions…


#14 – Act like a team

Problems and challenges don’t have to come between us if we decide in advance it’s not a he or she issue, it’s a “we” issue. “We” has become our favorite pronoun.

We have work struggles. We have to beat the calendar into submission. We have to figure out strategies together.

We are a team.


#15 – Tell your stories

Many times, the team fails. Many times the team makes bad calls.  Many times the team lives with messy lives. The beauty of life is sharing the messes with others.

That terrible doctor’s visit becomes a story. That epic meltdown? A story. That financial misstep? Well, that’s a story too.

The fun of the mess isn’t in the middle, it’s hindsight when you know the ending.


#16 – Pace yourself

As a newlywed I was the Queen of Terrible Timing. I wanted to wrestle every disagreement to the ground immediately and never, ever sleep on a tension. This was a horrible plan.

Sleep is a friend. Food is a friend. Waiting for space and time to talk is a good thing. (Recall the 10-to-10 rule.)

Conversations were just one of the areas where taking the long view made the days better.


#17 – Have a consistent community

Have I talked about our newlywed community group enough? We have been sitting around in circles with couple for 19 years, and it is a game changer! Marriage is MUCH richer when it’s shared.

I think I need to do an entire post on our groups…they are the best! 


#18 – Value what your spouse values

This may be my favorite picture with Billy because it represents how well he embraces my ridiculousness. I love taking jump shots. I don’t mind making a fool of myself in public. Neither of these activities are Billy’s favorites, but he does them.

In this instance, during my birthday trip, Billy endured countless jumps as we tried to coordinate couple and group shots.

He is SUCH a good sport!

IMG_8548 (1)

# 19 – Lighten up

My default in any situation is to race to analysis mode. I have spent most of my marriage retraining myself to STOP already. A light touch is always, always, ALWAYS a good option!

family beach photobooth

#20 – Pray together

Praying together is the single best thing we do.  No contest.

There is nothing more powerful than having your spouse acknowledge the hopes and dreams he has for you when he prays. I feel supported, acknowledged, and valued even in a quick, pre-caffeinated state.  Even if you’re a religious person, I  know this sounds like an awkward thing to do, but I promise you it’s no more strange than yoga… just try it!

(I don’t have a picture of us praying together so this photo booth shot will have to do!)

cargill wedding

Nineteen (19!) years of marriage to a man who makes me laugh is not something I take for granted and is something for which no amount of gratitude feels adequate.

1-4-3 sweet man of mine.

August 14, 2016

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The Best of Sisterhood

Spring break.
I am vacationing with my extended family, including my brother and sister.


We are in Utah driving through Zion National Park at sunset. Our mouths are agape as we cruise past The Watchman.


I ask Billy to pull over so we can get out of the car for pictures. I grab my sister Amy for a quick selfie in the gorgeous evening light under the steep red walls.

I put the camera at waist level so the image will show both the scope of the cliffs and our faces. This angle is a dangerous position for women of a certain age.

I adjust the camera.

Fix your chin!” I say to Amy

Oh, right!” she replies as she stretches out her neck, smoothing the wrinkles.


What did you just say??

My 13-year-old daughter busts into this exchange, aghast. How could I be so rude to Aunt Amy?


Where do I begin?

I can say ANYTHING to Amy and she understands.

She accepts me when I’m brash and direct.
She accepts any indelicate words as well-meaning.
Amy assumes good intentions.

Amy isn’t just a biological sister, she is a sister in the broadest, most gracious sense of the word. Amy is part of the greater Sisterhood where you

…have each other’s back
…accept foibles and failings
…push for the best in each other
…love unconditionally and laugh uncontrollably

Amy is what every person should have as a friend.

And as far as the chin thing goes, though I subscribe to Nora Ephron’s sentiment that “Anything you think is wrong with your body at the age of thirty-five, you will be nostalgic for at the age of forty-five,” I still think it’s worth making photo adjustments.

(Overhead is best. Sunglasses help.)


I know Amy agrees.

Happiest of birthdays sweet sister.


Thanks for loving so well!

August 2, 2016

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5 Summer Olympic Games for Your Team

WE LOVE watching Olympic events and, even though we are more than a little nervous about Rio’s readiness, we are thrilled for a family viewing event!

I originally posted this for the Summer Games in London and used it for the winter games as well, but it still works now. Here’s a few ways to have your own “Team” celebration!

1. Family Viewing Party  – Move around the furniture, pull out the bean bags, bring out the popcorn and watch the festivities together.  Sure, Bob Costas is a fine announcer (pink eye never looked better!), but making jokes and having ongoing family commentary on what’s happening is THE best!!

Cant. Wait.

2. Medal Competition – Of course we’re going to cheer for our country, but then we thought “why not add MORE countries to the mix?”  The more the merrier.  And so, we each selected five additional countries to adopt for the games.  We started by pulling up the medal table from London (here) and then picked a couple of large, medium, and small countries to put on our list.

Through the course of the games, each person will “win” every time one of their countries wins a medal.

What do you win?  A sticker of course!!!  (I hope you didn’t expect something fancy!)

3. Decorate!  After picking our countries, we printed out flags from each country.

My daughter cut out the flags so that each person had a complete set of the countries they were cheering for.  She didn’t turn them over until you could correctly match the flag with the country.
Next, everyone decorated their door.

Billy and I have an especially festive door!

When we have friends staying with us in the basement, they are drafted into the festivities.

4. Food Celebrations!  It’s no surprise that I’ll turn any occasion into a chance to have a new dining excursion. Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to experience food from at least one of EACH of our adopted countries.  I’m guessing this is why my son picked China, my daughter picked South Korea, and I KNOW that’s why I adopted Italy.  I’m already scheming on where we’re going for Japanese food from Billy’s list!  

5. Learn Something!  We’ve decided that we have to learn and teach each other five facts from our adopted countries.  This could include how to say a word in a different language, explain the meaning of their flag, talk about their athletes in the games or even, as Billy suggested, learning a local dance.

In all instances, our goal is to have fun and cheer along!

Here are my five countries ready to bring on the medals!!!


What’s your favorite thing to do during the Olympics?

July 14, 2016

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Joy’s Brownies

“I don’t usually crave brownies, but I want to take a bath in these brownies
or at least smother my face in them.”**

Fun Fact: my parents have had three different Joys live with them (one spelled her name Joi, but still…) and one of them, Joy Engler, loved to bake.

In fact, Joy made the absolutely BEST brownies and fortunately she taught me her method.  I spent years making these bad boys and almost forgot about them until I was pressed into finding something new for a dinner.

Where was the recipe? I texted Mom and my sister and eventually found close-enough approximations that I was able to piece together the recipe below.

“Joy’s Brownies” will certainly change your dessert game.

Here’s what you need:


1 box German Chocolate Cake Mix (Don’t use the “pudding” kind)
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup evaporated milk
¾- ½ cup chocolate chips
1 bottle caramel syrup*

Optional – Chopped nuts for the topping

*Substitution – if you don’t have a bottle of caramel syrup OR if you prefer a thicker, more decadent caramel, you can melt a bag of caramel candies with another 1/3 cup evaporated milk for the filling.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the cake mix with melted butter and evaporated milk.


Stir until a dough forms. It’s gonna be gooey!


Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and cover with a light dusting of flour. Then put approximately half of the dough on the bottom, pressing together to form an even layer. I try to go light on this layer to make sure I have enough for the topping, but it’s always a little tricky. (Fair warning.)


Bake for 6 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with a thin layer of chocolate chips. I prefer the small kind if/when I have them. Drizzle with caramel.


I use almost a complete bottle so the chips are covered, but not swimming.


Take the remaining dough and press it into pieces between the palms of your hands and cover the top of the caramel. The result will be a bit of a puzzle. In fact, it’s going to look like a mess and, if you’re like me, you’ll worry that the dish won’t hold together.

I have never made this dish without being convinced that I’ve ruined it.


Return the oven and bake 15-18 minutes. The result will be like this…  beautiful!! 


But still, there is some serious goo in the middle, so allow the dish to cool completely before cutting into pieces.



PRESTO!!  Joy (Engler)’s Brownies.

As tasty as ever.  Enjoy : )



**This loosely quoted sentiment is from a friend of mine who had these brownies over a month ago at my home. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long, but Summer Hours Don’t Cha Know!!