Saturday, August 29, 2015

Whachabendoin? My Week at a Glance

flowers at the public library
It's a laid-back Saturday morning. We have had our breakfast and stacked the dishes by the sink. For an hour on this morning every week, Beloved and I like to sit at the table, each with our laptop, and check email in companionable silence. 

Today I have made a little photo-log of what's occupied my calendar and my thoughts since last week at this time.

Denver International Airport
On the weekends Beloved and I enjoy just getting out in the car and driving around. We use Jan's line from the Toyota TV commercials, "Let's go places!" We are very blessed here along Colorado's Front Range that there are lots of places to see for the price of gas and nothing more. 

We heard that near one of the parking lots at Denver International Airport there is a big field of sunflowers, and so we trekked out there to find them and take some pictures. But alas, we never did see them! In spite of carefully watching all the exit signs, we somehow missed the very one we needed and never saw a single flower.

We did, however, see the horrid blue stallion that greets people as they approach the terminal. He is an eyesore and a topic of critical conversation in the Denver area. I snapped this picture from a distance while the car was moving, not wanting to give him any more glory than that. He is not even white like the white horse mascot for the Denver Broncos (named Miles, since Denver is a mile-high). 

Blucifer (not his real name) looks like he's from the pit of .... with a dark blue body, glaring red eyeballs, and reared up on his hind legs. His creator was killed while making him -- Blucifer fell over on him and somebody else had to finish the project. And still the ugly thing is the greeter to DIA's visitors. 

a gluten-free pizza crust mix
Most Saturday nights for the past nearly 45 years we have had pizza for supper. Of course that habit got complicated after I learned I was gluten intolerant. I've tried all manner of things for our pizza crust, but this is my current favorite. I wish I could show you my plate from last Saturday night, but I was eating in front of the football game and completely forgot to snap a picture!

friend preaching the morning sermon

On Sunday we did not go to our usual church but visited instead a congregation we used to attend. A dear friend of ours is a seminary student and was the guest preacher that morning. I trust he will forgive me for cropping off his head in this picture... I did not ask permission to post his picture on my blog... He did a fine job and shared a message from God's Word that we all needed to hear.

recent sewing accomplishments
Sewing is one of my favorite pastimes, and this week was no exception. The autumn-themed fabrics are out in the stores now, so I've had fun playing around with them in various combinations. The Kandy Korn fabric was my theme and then I chose others to compliment that.

a good book from the public library
Reading cookbooks is another favorite pastime I've enjoyed all of my adult life. I spent a lot of time this week capturing the recipes from this book about salads.  Beloved even commented a night or two ago that I can make "a mean salad."  I give this book a lot of the credit for that.

a Happy Meal for Beloved
While I make homemade gluten-free waffles for us on Saturday mornings, we also have "Waffle Wednesday" around here. That's when, due to the brevity of time, I toast a pre-made wheat waffle for Beloved. Let's just say that I like to play with food!

Granddaughter Number 5 enjoying her breakfast
Surfer Girl sent me this picture of one of our granddaughters enjoying her very first green smoothie!! It was made of spinach, peach, and banana. Start 'em young and they will love healthy eating!!

Speaking of my grandchildren, we have heard reports recently that Grandson Number 1 is doing well with his trumpet lessons, has a bent for creative writing(!!) and is not shy of donning a pair of lederhosen for a costume party. Granddaughter Number 1 can pass for a good Alice in Wonderland and has been making her own printing press with styrofoam. Granddaughter Number 2 is studying about Stonehenge and made her own version of it with Rice Krispie Treats. (Her siblings then ate her homework!). 

a new perspective of Stonehenge

Grandson Number 2 has plans today to make Armenian Gata with his mother in the kitchen (a sweet pastry, similar in taste to coffee cake). Grandson Number 3 is making great strides with his handwriting and Grandson Number 4 loves his new school teacher this year. 

Granddaughters 3 and 4 and Grandsons 5 and 6 have all been very busy, too, although details have not been made available as of press time (smile). 

Have I thoroughly confused my readers? To sum it up, I have 11 grandchildren ranging in age from 15 years to 4 months (as of today!). Some attend a private Christian school, some are homeschooled, and some just vie for constant attention while the siblings are studying. I seldom post pictures of the older ones for reasons of privacy and security -- you understand.

in bookstores now

Sue texted me on Thursday to say she was getting ready to settle in with some tea and a good book. I liked that idea, so I ran out to buy the same book and read the entire thing in 2 days. (It was an intense read, so I added some dairy-free chocolate chips to the experience)

I highly recommend the book, and will conclude this discussion by saying that the sooner you read it, the better. 

the process of dehydrating apples

On Friday I multi-tasked with reading the above-mentioned book and drying 13 Pink Lady apples. I like to put together my own trail mix, which includes fruits from my dehydrator. That green tool pictured above is a handy gadget recommended by Sister for making the task faster and easier. After coring and slicing the apples with this thing, I then cut each of the slices into 4 thinner slices (discarding any imperfections along the way) for faster drying. 

heading down to the basement
This exercise was not without exercise! We keep the dehydrator in the basement because the motor drones on for hours and one doesn't want to have to listen to it on the main floor. This batch of 8 trays of apple slices took 7 hours to dry and many trips down and back up these stairs to get the job done. 

more flowers at the public library
I've now come full circle with my week. Beloved has some work to do in the office this morning, but blessedly, his employer prefers people to work from home all the time, so he will just be down the hall. 

We have leisurely plans for the rest of the weekend, which includes church tomorrow. I hope my readers have a strong Gospel-teaching church as well.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Endings and Beginnings

Quilt by Diana and Flowers by her sister Karen
This week's Hodgepodge is about endings of many kinds. I'm thinking now is the time to enjoy our summer flowers because September will soon be upon us, and for those of us along Colorado's Front Range, temperatures can suddenly dip, a dusting of snow can show up, and the gardens take on dramatic changes. 

(please excuse any variations you may see in font sizes within the paragraphs of  this blog post -- some Internet Gremlins seem to be afoot this morning and it appears I had best leave well enough alone!)

1. It's hard to believe, but next week's Hodgepodge will find us in the month of September. What's one thing you want, need, or hope to do still before summer officially ends?

I think I've done all I wanted to do in this season. It's been good overall, but I prefer the cooler months, especially the clothes and the holidays.  As stated above, I will miss the flowers!

2. When were you last at ‘your wit’s end’?

I won't share the last time I was at my wit's end, but I will say that getting around in my relatively small town with all the road construction is a trial to my sensibilities. It is almost as though the city planners are purposefully trying to make it a puzzle for just as many people as possible.

3. Describe a time when you were figuratively thrown into ‘the deep end’?

I'm not a big risk-taker, so I've become pretty good at avoiding circumstances that might get me in over my head. 

4. Does the end always, ever, or never justify the means? Explain.

I think all things need to be done within obedience to the Word of God, so that answers the question pretty well in my mind. I will go on to say that many times we have to experience hardships to get to where we need to be, but sinning to achieve an end is never God's will.

5. What makes your hair stand on end?

Hearing about the evil taking place in our world...

6. I read an article on the website Eat This! Health, that listed 11 foods we can eat to help end bad moods. Basically it’s a feed your brain so you’re less anxious, grouchy, and lethargic. The foods are mussels, swiss chard, blue potatoes, grass fed beef, dark chocolate, greek yogurt, asparagus, honey, cherry tomatoes, eggs, and coconut. Which of those do you think would most help end your own bad mood? Which do you fear, if forced to eat, would put you into a bad mood?

I eat the following: mussels, swiss chard (often), blue potatoes (will try these as soon as I can buy some), grass fed beef, dark chocolate (often), greek yogurt (I'm lactose-intolerant, so I don't eat dairy of any kind), asparagus, honey, cherry tomatoes, eggs (seldom), and coconut.

Nearly two years ago when I began eating a gluten-free and dairy-free, mostly vegan diet, the dark feelings of depression lifted and I no longer have to deal with it as I did for many years. This may not be a real issue for some, but for me changing my diet has been the biggest boon to my physical and emotional health -- ever!

When I am tempted to order a big juicy burger or delve into a frosting-laden birthday cake, or cook up a big batch of bacon for myself, I remember the hopeless feelings of depression, the headaches, and amount of painful time spent in the bathroom. The temptation to eat those things vanishes. Sometimes you have to hit the bottom before  you can become truly convinced of the necessity for change.

7. What project around your home, office, or life in general feels like there is ‘no end in sight’?

Thankfully, nothing comes to mind right now. I tend to tackle problems shortly after they become an obstacle because I don't like to have unpleasant things hanging over my head.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Granddaughter Number 5 and me
I shared this photo earlier in the summer of me holding one of my granddaughters while she slept for nearly 2 hours. It was heavenly. This picture reminds me of what Elizabeth Elliot used to say on her daily radio programs, 

"You are loved with an everlasting love. 
And underneath are the everlasting arms." 

(taken from Jeremiah 31:3 and Deuteronomy 33:27)

If you would like to see how other bloggers have replied to these same questions, go to From This Side of the Pond on Wednesday, August 26th. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Food for the Soul

flowers in my back yard on an August morning
This is the lovely sight out our back windows this summer. The tallest flowers on the left are called Veronica Speedwell and all the others are Cosmos. As we move into autumn we should be able to see some Chrysanthemums, too.

While their striking colors catch my attention first, I am especially intrigued in the early morning hours with how the faces of the Cosmos flowers are turned in the direction of the rising sun. The taller bush of flowers don't seem to be quite as inclined to follow the light.

This reminds me of a verse my sister and I memorized as young girls in a missions education program in our church:

Arise, shine; for thy light has come,
and the glory of the Lord 
is risen upon thee.
Isaiah 60:1

May we all turn ourselves toward the Lord to see His glory and to learn from His illumination on our circumstances.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Mid-August Hodgepodge

Gladiolas at The Brown Bungalow

It's that time of week when I answer the Hodgepodge questions on Tuesday and then on Wednesday I link up with other bloggers over at Joyce's blog, From This Side of the Pond. This is Hodgepodge Number 232!

1. At what age did you feel like a 'grown-up'? What keeps you young now?

I felt like a grown-up at the age of 19 when I got my first secretarial job at a stock exchange in downtown Denver. I got to dress up nice, worked in a beautiful building, had all weekends off, and brought home a paycheck bigger than what fast food paid. 

Now I feel young when I eat well (mostly vegan) and can shop for clothes in the Petites section.

2. When did you last buy a vehicle? Was this by design or because you had no other option? Was the car/truck purchased for your own personal use or was it bought for someone else to drive? On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being delightful and 1 being 'pass the Excedrin') how would you rate the experience?

We bought a used Ford Escape for me last December. Beloved took care of the details while I pretty much just signed my name when told to. It was not at all painful but the paperwork took a long time, as it always does.

3. Corn bread, corn chips, corn pudding, corn on the cob, cornflakes, corn chowder -- your favorite of the corn-y foods listed? What needs to be served alongside your selection?

(This question makes me hungry!) I like all of the above, but my most frequent corn-y dish is corn tortillas used for making quesadillas. Since I'm gluten- and dairy-free, I use a soy cheddar cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and chopped green onions in the quesadillas and add a generous serving of a green salad on the side. I often enjoy this on Saturday nights for supper.

Quesadillas with a green side salad

4. What's something in your life that regularly requires you to 'put your thinking cap on'?

Deciding which route to take to get to the grocery store!! My town is growing very fast and we have just an awful lot of road construction going on. Depending on the time of day, the day of the week, and how much time I have, important decisions about my route need to be made before I leave my driveway!!

5. Share a favorite movie set in a school or classroom, or whose theme relates to school days in some way.

Anne and Gilbert

The Anne of Green Gables TV series had a lot of schoolroom scenes that I enjoyed.

6. Reading, writing, and 'arithmetic' are commonly referred to as the three R's. What are the three R's in your life right now?

Rob, Rachel, and Rebekah -- 3 young people very dear to my heart.

7. What's something you've learned or tried recently you can say was as 'easy as ABC'?

I tried being on the Worship Team at church this past weekend for the first time. It was my first experience holding a microphone and it was easy.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

from our TV on Monday evening
Since I began today's post with flowers, I'll end with this one. At the Denver Botanical Gardens the Corpse Flower is expected to bloom just any time (and may have by the time this piece is published). If you don't know about this, it's this huge flower that grows at a phenomenal rate and rarely blooms. But when it does, watch out because for 48 hours it releases a terrible smell, like rotting flesh, is what we were told. 

One cannot help but wonder why our Creator made such a thing (along with mosquitoes and rodents...). Surely before The Fall in the Garden of Eden all these things had a wonderful, edifying purpose, don't you think?

As I said at the beginning, on Wednesday I'll be linking up with my blogger friends (from all over the USA and other nations!) at From This Side of the Pond. Feel free to join us! Click here:

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Reviewing the Resource of Time

It is a Sunday evening. Beloved is watching an old World War II movie on TV because whatever they are showing on Hallmark is a much-repeated re-run. I have the desire to create a blog post but with the movie on in the background I can't think deeply enough to write serious stuff. 

A simple solution is to review this past week's activities. As a result you, my reader, are in luck. This post will be mostly pictures!

Oatmeal cookies
I'll start off with a treat that is good for anyone, but most especially for my gluten-intolerant friends. This is a wonderful oatmeal cookie made up of gluten-free rolled oats (use Bob's Red Mill brand). The recipe came from 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes by Carol Fenster. I highly recommend the book because in the few weeks since I purchased it, I have made several of the recipes that were very satisfying to my palate. 

Due to copyright laws, I cannot give you the recipe, but look up the book. It's a great resource for the gluten-intolerant. (you might find it in your public library)

projects-in-process on the design wall
This has been a very productive week in the sewing room, too. Autumn fabrics are easily found in all the stores right now, so I spent a gift card on several cuts and had a lot of fun making table toppers.

morning sunlight in my study
A few weeks ago I completely rearranged all the furniture in my sewing room and then this past week I hung some of my pink quilted projects on the wall. Yes, yes, I know it's "busy" looking, but it's my personal retreat and I love it like this. 

Mornings are my favorite time of day in this room, with the sun shining in through the shutters. I try to arrange my schedule to be in this room when the sun is out.

a fun idea
In a public waiting room, I thumbed through a magazine and saw several good ideas. Rather than rudely ripping out the pages for myself, it occurred to me that I could snap pictures of the ideas with my phone camera. These handy cameras are good for all manner of things!

how to properly hold a microphone
This was my first week to attend the rehearsal of our church worship team. Although I've been in vocal choirs and ensembles  most of my life, it occurred to me that I had never held a microphone before. I contacted a professional in my family and asked several questions to help me prepare. Her advice served me well.

the project of installing under-cabinet lights in the kitchen
We decided that although the black cabinets in our kitchen are strikingly beautiful, more light would be very pleasing. Beloved did a lot of research and bought the supplies at IKEA. Then he enlisted the help of his namesake to install them on Saturday. I emptied the cabinets and cleared the countertops so they could do  their work. It only took them a couple of hours -- Beloved's careful pre-planning made everything so  much easier.

Completed project
Light is a beautiful thing, making a multitude of tasks so much easier.

A new week has begun, the gift of the resource of time. How will we use it?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Making New

the old barn

My family has pleasant memories of this barn. We married into it. My brother-in-law milked many cows within these wooden walls from his youngest years and well into adulthood, with a break for a few years to attend the state university for his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees.

When my sister married into the family, we would get letters about the newest calves and how she had named them. We lived on the opposite side of the country at the time, so our visits were infrequent and very special. My children's uncle gave them rides on the tractor and they were allowed to help in the barn. 

We made all sorts of memories, including the time when Son Number Two, as a kindergartener,  slipped and fell into cow manure and got you-know-what all over his only winter coat brought for that visit. (thankfully it was all machine-washable!)

As time passed, my sister and husband moved into town and eventually the barn was no longer used for milking cows. Now the structure has become so old that it's going to be a hazard and the time has come for decisions to be made about taking it down.  

A few months ago another family member was given some of the wood from the barn. He is a retired industrial arts teacher, so he was well-qualified to do something truly resourceful with the old timbers. 

He made this beautiful picnic table for his granddaughters (my great nieces).

In hearing this story and seeing the pictures, I was reminded of the verse in Revelation 21:5 where God Himself said, 

I am making everything new!

Indeed, that is exactly what He is doing! When we invite Christ into our lives, He makes us new. II Corinthians 5:17 says, 

If anyone is in Christ,
he is a new creation.
The old has passed away;
behold, the new has come.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

An Early Hodgepodge Response

from one of our evening walks alongside the golf course

1. When was the last time you relocated? Did you move yourself or leave it to the professionals? Are you happy staying put or is there a move in your future? Best thing about moving to a new city or town? Least favorite and/or hardest thing about moving house?

The last time I relocated was in 2013 when we moved to The Brown Bungalow. We moved because we are near retirement age and were tired of climbing steps to go to bed.

We did much of the packing ourselves and had a moving company pack the dishes, the garage, load and deliver the furniture.

loading the moving van in 2013

The best thing about moving is the closets and basement get cleaned out and (in our case), everything that came with the construction of The Brown Bungalow was entirely brand new.

The worst thing about moving is getting used to new traffic patterns and finding the stores that carry the necessities of life. (and the picture on my new driver's license is absolutely horrible...)

We think we will be happy staying right here, but of course anything can happen to change that.

2. When were you last 'moved to tears'? Explain.

Music will move me to tears. Here's one:

In the Presence of Jehovah

3. Do you have rules about eating in the car...any forbidden foods? What's the last thing you consumed in your car? Your go-to car snack when traveling long distance?

I don’t have rules about eating in my car but I do have one friend that apparently has a reputation for spilling her coffee in any car she rides. Sure enough, she did it in mine, too. So she is definitely forbidden to have any food or drink in my car ever again. I like to eat Trail Mix in the car when we are traveling cross-country.

4. Share a favorite song relating to cars and/or driving.

5. What's your most frequently visited drive-thru...Starbucks? the bank? the pharmacy? some other window?

I don’t go through any foodie drive-thru windows since I’ve got food allergies that are often not addressed at fast-food establishments. We don't tend to use the bank drive-thru, either. 

6. "He who hesitates is lost"...would you agree? When it comes to making decisions do you generally act quickly or do you more often than not fall into the 'lost' category?

I tend to make decisions too quickly and it’s been my downfall many a time.

7. When was the last time you got lost? Was it stressful or an unexpected happy adventure?

On our road trip a month ago our GPS app failed us three times!!! But we managed to get ourselves back on track fairly quickly. (I never mind getting lost with Beloved.)

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Pizza made with gluten-free Bisquick
Recently I've made the happy discovery that a good pizza crust can be made with Gluten-Free Bisquick. (they also have a boxed mix made specifically for pizza)

I made it for the first time this past weekend, adorning half of the crust with my gluten- and dairy-free ingredients and putting Beloved's favorites on the other half.

I used sautéed onions and fresh tomatoes with Daiya mozzarella cheese. Daiya cheese is a soy product and stands in pretty well for dairy cheese when your body is lactose-intolerant.

These are my answers to this week's Hodgepodge Wednesday questions. To see how others have responded, go to 

on Wednesday, August 12. I'll be linking my answers there tomorrow.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Food for the Soul August 8

Yellow Gladiola and Russian Sage in a flower bed at The Brown Bungalow

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
for brethren to dwell together 
in unity!

Psalm 133:1 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Simple Woman's Daybook for Tuesday August 4

Joyce is taking this week off from the usual Hodgepodge questions, so I'm linking up with the bloggers and the questions found at The Simple Woman's Daybook. 

For Today…Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Outside my window... 

the sun has slipped behind the Rocky Mountains and the clouds have a gold lining against a pale blue sky. The Lord blessed us with a beautiful day that got up to about 86 degrees with no rain.

I am thinking... 

how much I enjoy Colorado weather (most of the time). It is not at all unusual to have rain come in over the Rocky Mountains in the summer afternoons to freshen up the flowers and trees. Then by early evening the rain is gone and the twilight hours are cool.

I am thankful... 

the weight I lost well over a year ago (18 pounds) after going gluten- and dairy-free continues to be a thing of the past -- and I feel great!!

I am wearing... 

off-white capri jeans, a short-sleeved floral print knit top, beige sandals, and pale pink hoop earrings lined with gold.

I am creating... 

a blog post! and also working on an appliqué project ...

I am going... 

to stay home tomorrow to wash towels, clean bathrooms, and (hopefully) complete the sewing project.

I am wondering... 

nothing at the moment but that is always subject to change! (smile)

I am reading... 

through the book of Acts in the Jeremiah Study Bible.

In my garden... 

photo collage created this past weekend when the flowers were really showing off

In my kitchen... 

this evening we had salads for supper. Mine was made up of quinoa and three kinds of beans (chickpeas, kidney, and edamame), with diced bell peppers, dried cranberries, and a vinaigrette.

A favorite quote for today... 

“God places a high value on what we do with our bodies since we are His temple.” 
(see I Corinthians 6:19) 
from the blog titled Deep Roots at Home

A peek into one of my days...

just one of MANY displays at IKEA
Denise had never been to IKEA, so today I swung by her house and we spent a couple of hours wandering through the huge store.  We had planned to have lunch in their cafeteria, but she was not in the mood for Swedish Meatballs and the only salad they had was pre-made with cheese in it, so at her suggestion, we got back into the car and ate at Mad Greens instead. Wonderful idea!

One of my favorite things...

My daughter posted this on Face Book a few days ago.  This is my grand puppy taking a nap on the arm of her couch, on the quilt I made for my granddaughter (age 6 months this coming weekend). I love it when those who are dear to me enjoy the quilts I have made.

Post Script
Here is a thought-provoking quote that came my way today from Susie Larson:

"May you step back from the things that frustrate you 
and consider what God might be saying to you here."

Snapdragons on my deck

To see how other bloggers have responded to the Daybook questions, click here:

Sunday, August 2, 2015

An Early Departure

a stem broken by the wind in my Gladiola flower bed

Just a few days ago and all too soon, the man's earthly life came to an end; he was immediately in the Presence of Holy God. He was an announcer on our local Christian radio station. Over  the past many years, we were in the habit of hearing his pleasant voice every weekday from 2 - 5:30 pm.  

This came as a shock to all.  It appears that he died of natural causes.  I don't know the intimate details, but he probably went to sleep one night and woke up in Heaven, slipping away so quietly that his loved ones were not immediately aware of what had happened.

This was a man who devoted his life to many good things spiritual, material and practical. The evidence of his pure heart was easy for all to see and we were grateful for this man's contributions to our own lives. 

Even though we did not know him personally, when a certain voice accompanies you day after day, year after year at home, in the car, on the Internet -- you feel like they are a close acquaintance. 

a close examination of beauty

Why would God take the man to Himself in the prime of his life, when he was immersed in good works and expected many more years of productivity?

No human can answer that question with complete certainty but it has been suggested perhaps a Christian is called to Heaven early so those who remain can examine his life and learn valuable lessons from it. 

After his death, it came out to those beyond his immediate family and working associates that  he was known for his attention to detail, getting assignments done both promptly and well, a very dependable person who often stepped in to help when others were at a loss.

Search me, O God,
and know my heart:
try me, and know my thoughts...
Psalm 139:23

A sudden departure like this also reminds us of the brevity of life. We have no assurance of our next heartbeat. Yes, we are to make plans for the future, but at the same time, we need to be living in such a way that we are "ready to go" when the Lord calls us.

... see if there be any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the everlasting way.
Psalm 139:24