Friday, January 29, 2016

Food for the Soul

photography by Surfer Girl

But godliness with contentment is great gain.
 I Timothy 6:6

Today I'm focusing on the Ten Commandments having to do with relationships as found in Exodus 20:12 - 17.

The one that really spoke to my heart (and where I felt the most convicted) was verse 17, You shall not covet...

While I have been in church since before I was born (I come from a devoted church-going family), it is a surprise and a delight to still see truth from Scripture that I've not especially noted before. Today was one of those times.

Did you know that we honor God by having a contented heart? 

Did you know that nurturing discontent causes us to be restless in spirit?

Did you know that a restless spirit causes us to be fickle, running from one thing to another, never finding satisfaction?

Did you know that a restless, discontent heart leads us to accomplish little and even harms relationships?

Did you know that discontent can be a lack of appreciation and respect for what God has given to us and leads to thinking we can come up with something better than what God has provided?

The secret of contentment is to be 
"so satisfied with God that we are able to accept 
whatever He has or has not provided." 
Philip Graham Ryken

So the basis of discontent is that we are not satisfied with God!

After meditating on my lack of contentment, here are some of my conclusions:

-  When I am content with God's provisions, I am demonstrating gratitude for His blessings.

-   When I take good care of what God has given and entrusted to me, I show respect and gratitude to Him.

-   Prayer, Bible study, church attendance and regular fellowship with other Believers in Christ helps me to be satisfied with God and what He has given to me.

While I realize some amount of dissatisfaction is necessary if we are to move forward and progress, my guess is that more often than not, it is the sin of discontent that steers us into trouble. 

At least, that's how it is with me.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Last January Hodgepodge for 2016

foothills just outside of Denver in January
Today I am responding to the writing prompts from Joyce at From This Side of the Pond.

1. Share a winter memory from your childhood.

When I was six years old, my family moved from Oklahoma to New York. The amount of winter snow near Lake Erie was amazing. My parents bought a round metal "flying saucer" to which my father tied a rope handle and then he would pull Sister and me on the saucer through the snow. We loved it.

2. What was on your blog this time last year?

This is an interesting question because I do, from time to time, go back into my blog archives to see what I was writing about a year ago. Last year on January 24th I was asking myself the question, what am I supposed to be doing, in light of recent murders by our enemies and the expectation that it would only get worse (and it has). Others have written about this question as well. 

My conclusion was (and still is) to draw closer to the Lord in Bible study, prayer, and fellowship with like-minded Christians, and live my life as normally as I can.

3. Ellen Goodman is quoted as saying, 'We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives...not looking for flaws, but for potential.'

Do you see more flaws or more potential in your life at the start of a new year? More potential. Have you done anything specific this month to address either one? Yes. I have looked at where I am, made some decisions about helpful changes, and acted upon them. Does the new year truly begin for you on January 1, or is there some other month of the year that feels like a fresh start and a new beginning? January always feels like a fresh start for me, but I also think about such things in March (my birthday month), in September (when new Bible studies at church start up), and Thanksgiving (when we count our blessings over the past year).

4. Who's an athlete you admire or respect and why? Peyton Manning, #18 of the Denver Broncos.

Peyton Manning is a successful quarterback, a conservative Republican, and a Christian who believes in acting out his faith instead of just speaking about it (see The Political Insider). I also appreciate that he shows up to after-game press conferences dressed in a business suit and tie and chooses his words carefully, articulating his thoughts well. He appears to understand that his position is an opportunity to positively influence others and does not handle his success with reckless abandon.

5. Do you like cream in your coffee?  Whipped cream on your pumpkin pie? Cream cheese on a bagel? Sour cream on a baked potato? Cream of wheat for breakfast? Have you ever had a scone with clotted cream. Of all the creamy foods mentioned, which one sounds most appealing to you right this very minute?

Well boo! I'm lactose-intolerant, so I can't enjoy any of these things without some unpleasant side effects. But I do make a very creamy non-dairy "Alfredo Sauce" that hits the spot for me! (it's made with cashews in the Vitamix)

6. Where were you last kept waiting for 'hours on end'? Or for what felt like hours on end? How well did you cope?

I honestly can't remember when this last happened to me. Having something good to read on my iPhone makes waiting so much easier than it used to be.

7. Believe it or not, when next week's Hodgepodge rolls around it will be February. Bid adieu here to January in seven words or less.

Goodbye January 2016; we have been productive!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Is anybody else having trouble adapting to these light bulbs?It's tricky figuring out which ones to use when the old-style ones burn out. They time to "warm up" to their full illumination, and then we can't just toss them into the trash when they burn out -- and they DO BURN OUT! (they have mercury in them, which is a hazardous substance) Remind me again what's so wonderful about them???
Linking up with Joyce at From This Side of the Pond

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Where Am I?

stairs to our basement

This month I've been working hard in the basement, going through boxes I packed 3 years ago in anticipation of selling our house and moving. The move happened pretty quickly after the boxes were packed and we've had them stored on sturdy shelves that Beloved and Jr built for me.

two views of the same boxes

As of Monday, I've gone through all the boxes, eliminated a ton of stuff that we no longer need and/or want, and made several trips to donation places.  

All the boxes are numbered and I have a Microsoft Excel document on my computer where all the boxes are listed. When I packed the boxes 3 years ago, I typed into the Excel document the contents of each box. 

If you are at all familiar with Excel, then you know there is a "search" feature. When I don't know which box has the springform pans, I simply type "springform pans" into the search window and Voila! it tells me the number of the box with the pans!! 

(I know, I'm very detail-oriented and have maybe just a touch of OCD.  But this kind of diligence runs in my family and I'm happy to say all of my kids are good about keeping track of their stuff, too!)

While going through the boxes, it was very important to me to use the same size box absolutely as much as possible. They are so much easier to stack/store/transport when they are exactly the same size. Of course there were some items that would not fit into these white boxes, so they had to be packed into something bigger. I did my best to not store small items in big boxes. 
Emilie Barnes
If any of you remember Emilie Barnes, the Christian home economics gal who wrote books and gave pithy advice on home organization, then my system may sound familiar. This was all her idea. As she packed her boxes, she would record on numbered index cards the contents of each box. But as I said earlier, I record my box contents on my computer.

Now that I've disposed of so many things and consolidated the number of boxes, I need to create a new Excel document and record the box contents.  I love this kind of stuff! 

Organization is a thing of beauty! Clutter impedes my creativity. I have fun projects in the sewing room that I want to do when this venture is done, which is my incentive. 

Sooooo to get back to the title of my post today, if you can't find me, I'm probably in the basement!

For God is not the author of confusion,
but of peace...

I Corinthians 14:33

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Go Broncos!

Living in Colorado, of course we are Bronco football fans! ... Beloved much more so than me. 

Today we came home from church, donned our Bronco clothes, and settled into our recliners for the game.

Obviously, my team clothing is more reserved. I don't like to wear words across my chest, even if my team is headed for the Super Bowl, so I wear the team colors and call it done.

(However, I do wish I had bought a Bronco scarf I saw at the mall yesterday...)

Even our alter egos got into it.  

We are watching the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers play their game now. Whichever of them wins is who the Broncos will face in two weeks at the Super Bowl. 

I'm in no hurry to see that game. It's nice as things are right now. Losing at the Super Bowl after all the pre-game hype is uncomfortable and a strong reminder of the the fleeting nature of fame. Hollow and empty.

Don't get me wrong -- it's not that I think my team will lose. But I remember when we've lost the Big One in the past and it's not fun.

Go Broncos!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For today ...
Denise and I had breakfast together at the historic B and B Cafe here in town then we drove around looking at properties with a bit of acreage. (somebody dreams of having more space for her dogs to run and play)  I got some grocery shopping done in the afternoon and this evening the women's ministry at my church met for dinner at The Olive Garden. We had 32 ladies attend, and I made 5 new friends at my table!

Outside my window ...
it is dark nighttime now. We saw a few twinkling stars as we drove home. The current temperature at 9:10 pm is 28 degrees.

I am thinking ...
how gracious the Lord has been to me to give me such a fun day and interesting conversations with family and friends in person, via texting, and emails.

I am thankful ...
for the warm fleecy scarf around my neck as I sit here this evening and warm knee socks.  As my daughter said during her visit from her home in the deep South, "Mom, I forgot that in Colorado, my feet were always cold." (smile)

I am wearing ...
the scarf mentioned above, a rose pink-white-black T embellished with silver studs from Christopher and Banks, black Gloria Vanderbilt jeans, black knee socks, and black slip on shoes with rubber soles (with traction for walking on ice and snow), and silver hoop earrings.

I am creating ...
Well, as usual, I have several projects going at once, mostly embroidery. One is a dish towel with a hen and her chicks; and some red work. But this week has been too busy to pick any of that up.

I am going ...
to finish my grocery shopping tomorrow and make a new recipe for Shepherd's Pie for dinner.

I am wondering ...
... not a thing right now.

I am reading ...
Agents of Babylon by Dr. David Jeremiah. I started it last month and then got interrupted with some other books. Planning to finish it before the end of January. 

I am hoping praying...
that a property in Florida sells soon. It's been too long a burden to the owners and a sale would be such a blessing.

I am learning ...
to be at peace with the driving distance between my town and Denver, and to always allow more time in case there is a traffic jam.

In my garden ...
... the garden is fast asleep, snoring even, under a thick blanket of snow. 

In my kitchen ...
all is quiet. Since I have had two meals today away from home, there's not been much activity in there.

A favorite quote for today ...
(perhaps you, like me, saw this in the daily devotional, Daily Bread, today, by J. Sidlow Baxter. I have loved this quote for many years)

Our loved ones may spurn our appeals,
reject our message,
oppose our arguments,
despise our persons --
but they are helpless
against our prayers.

A peek into one of my days ...

Even in the depths of winter, the blue sky of Colorado is brilliant.

One of my favorite things ...
is receiving snapshots of my grandchildren. These came in this morning:

Granddaughter #5 who is also  Grandchild #10
Try to excel in those spiritual gifts that build up the church.  (This is my paraphrase of I Corinthians 14:12)


I'm linking up with other bloggers at The Simple Woman's Daybook for January.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Seasonal Hodgepodge

some of the crowd in my dining room

Today is Hodgepodge Wednesday and although my snow people may look like Christmas, they are just brightening up the cold, dark days of January.

As I give my answers to the questions, I'm linking up with other bloggers and our hostess, Joyce, at her blog, From This Side of the Pond.

1. When did you last 'skate on thin ice,' 'skate over the details,' 'encounter a cheapskate,' or just plain skate?

Believe it or not, I tend to 'skate over the details' a lot here on my blog! There are just some things that the general public doesn't need to know, care to know, or that I'm too private to want them to know!

2. What would you say is the biggest problem of people your age?

Finding a restaurant with a quiet atmosphere so we can carry on a conversation! Ha!

Well, no, that's probably not our biggest problem although most of us in our mid-sixties are losing our hearing.  Deciding what to do with retirement (when to do it, where to live and what to do with ourselves) is probably a bigger issue.

3. What's your favorite accessory? Is it something you wear every day, often, or only on special occasions?

My favorite accessories are my wedding rings and earrings. After that, it's scarves. I wear one nearly every day, even if it's just a warm one tossed over my hoodie or coat when I'm outside. Most Sundays I wear them to church. I love the look and they keep the arthritic bones in my neck warm.

4. January 20th is National Cheese Lover's Day. Are you a lover of cheese? What's your favorite dish made with cheese? Last thing you ate that contained some kind of cheese?

Daiya cheese
LOVE cheese, but it doesn't treat me nice since I'm lactose intolerant. I have discovered Daiya cheese, which is an alternative that can be used for grilled cheese, mac'n cheese, tacos, nachos and so forth. I buy it in both the cheddar cheese style and also mozzarella style (great on tofu lasagna, by the way). My local Kroger grocery store carries it, as well as Sprouts (and probably Whole Foods); but Walmart doesn't carry it. It's in the same refrigerated section as the tofu.... and the last thing I had with this cheese was quesadillas just this past Sunday night. Using corn tortillas to make the quesadillas and Daiya Cheddar cheese, the menu was entirely gluten-free.

Quesadilla wedges with a hearty green salad
5. What's something guaranteed to make you roll your eyes?

Just about anything that comes from the mouth of the highest elected political leader of our country.

6. What is your favorite book series?

I don't tend to follow [fiction] book series much because after 2 books by the same author, I usually see a predictable pattern and my interest drops.

7. Why did you choose your profession?

I always wanted to be a wife and a stay-at-home mom. That was my goal and the Lord has graciously allowed that dream to come true.  However, my parents decided I should get a diploma at a business college (a 12-month trade school for secretaries) so I could get a good job if necessary or desired. Although I have not had to work outside of the home much over the last forty-some years, that education has proved to be very beneficial to me in many volunteer situations and in helping my home to run smoothly.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

The political scene is beyond "heating up" -- it's HOT! I won't try to tell anyone how to vote but I do urge all American adults to vote.  

Even if it appears we have to vote for 'the lesser of two evils', don't let this opportunity to make much-needed changes get past you. 

Linking up today at 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Switched at the Sending

Last week I went through boxes stored in the basement - some of which I had not opened since they were packed three years ago. At first the task was daunting but I have a somewhat ruthless and very practical way about myself that rises to the surface and serves me well to get jobs like this done.

Betty (left) came to live with me in 1958; and Barbie was purchased with my own money in 1961
However, I do have my limits and standards, so when I began to open the boxes with my childhood dolls, I had to just stop and play for a few minutes. 

me with Sister's doll
This particular doll is not mine, but she has lived in my house for many years. You see, she was living with The Cook on Fifth Street with her twin, who wears a green plaid dress just like this doll's pink one. Our mother (the one I've mentioned before as being both a good cook and a good seamstress) sewed the dolls' dresses and, much like the clothes she made for sister and me during our formative years, they were just alike. But I digress.

The time came when The Cook on Fifth Street felt our dolls should live with us and not with her, so she mailed my doll to me.  But when she arrived, I knew immediately by the color of her dress that this was Sister's doll and not mine. The dolls had been accidentally switched.

As stated in a previous blog post, Sister and I live some 900 miles apart, so we have just never got around to trading our dolls. Her doll, named "Kay," has spent the years since then packed away with my other childhood dolls in the store room of our houses in at least two states.  You could stretch the truth a bit by saying she is "well-traveled" for having lived with me all this time.

My doll, "Jean," according to Sister, has spent the years in a very tightly sealed storage trunk. I mentioned recently my concern for Jean since Sister's historic house has, over the years, been invaded by the occasional misguided bat. But Sister has assured me that the doll is fine.

In the midst of emailing back and forth with Sister, I stepped out of my study for a few minutes and when I came back, I saw that Kay was trying to type out an email. However, when one has been wrapped in paper and tucked into a cardboard box for a decade or two, the workings of the Internet are a downright mystery. She was thoroughly frustrated. 

In the conversation that followed with Sister, it was suggested we really should return the dolls to their original owners. As Sister put it, if we don't make the switch, our kids will forever after be having to explain to their kids and grandkids why she ended up with my doll and I ended up with hers.  A point well-taken.

Mandy Sue (left) and Lily

In years past, Mandy Sue and Lily have made the trip to the Midwest to see The Cook on Fifth Street, who is a doll-lover, too. She has always welcomed my staff when they come to visit. Unfortunately for her, when they invade her home, they consider it a vacation and they don't do a thing to help out their hostess. They just stand around and watch everybody else come and go.

Well anyway, now you know the story of "Switched at the Sending" (as opposed to "switched at birth"). There will probably be a sequel to this story at some later date, yet to be determined. As you can probably tell, I am not the only one in my family who is taken up with whimsey when it comes to our dolls.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Homily from a Homemaker

"We are what we eat" is one of my life mottos. What we take into our body in the name of food has a huge outcome in our health. This is not a new nor foreign concept.

When I was a little girl, some people were not happy with my father, so one evening while we were in church, they maliciously put sugar into the gas tank of our car.  As we were driving home, the car didn't run well and repairs had to be made. Even cars do poorly with too much sugar! 

Younger people are a little more successful at not succumbing to the results of a poor diet, but as we age, and the effects of a lifetime of poor eating build up, the body is less forgiving of such irresponsibility.

All of this is true with our spirit as well. What we allow into our mind inevitably comes out in our speech, attitudes, and behavior. We may think we are hiding it, or maybe we even think coarse talk is cute or will win us favor; but it is just a law of nature that what goes in will come out in some form and often give us away without our realizing it.

To be safe and spiritually healthy, we need to eschew what is questionable and embrace what is wholesome and godly. This is a lesson we all need to remember, no matter what our age.

"Father, in a world filled with heartaches and sorrow
I have found Your love feeds my soul."

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Art in Fun Places Hodgepodge

Art at the car wash with colorful soap

This is that time of year when there is a lack of vibrant color in nature. Either there is a white blanket of snow everywhere, or dirty snow if it's been too long since the last storm, or most of the landscape is brown punctuated with evergreen trees.

Joyce has provided the Hodgepodge questions and one of them in particular is a refreshing splash of color...

1. Share one thing that really makes your day. 

I have to be honest, even though it reveals my vanity. A good hair day tends to launch me into a pretty good frame of mind.

2. Lots of these kinds of lists out there, but one found here says the fifteen most colorful places on earth are: 

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy
Burn, Italy
Havana, Cuba
Rio de Janiero, Brazil
Chefchaouen, Morocco
Balat, Istanbul, Turkey
Menton, France
Jodhpur, India
La Baca, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Guanajuato, Mexico
Captetown, South Africa
Valparaiso, Chile
Wroclaw, Poland
San Francisco, California
Pelourhino, Salvador, Brazil

collage of colorful places by blog author; photos from

Again, to be honest, I am not eager to travel anywhere outside of North America these days, so to answer the question, I'll opt for San Francisco. But my hunger for beautiful colors was appeased by visiting the link above, which is where I found the photos for my collage.

3. "Everything you want is on the other side of fear." (Jack Canfield) In general, would you agree or disagree with that statement. Why?

In general, yes, I agree with this statement.

4. Imagine you are stranded on a desert island and dessert appears... what do you hope it is? Do you ever struggle to remember which spelling is desert and which is dessert?

First I just have to ask, WHERE does Joyce get these questions?  What a vivid imagination she has! 

But back to eating dessert on a desert island: Assuming the island is hot and dry, I would want a Freddy's Mini Turtle Sundae. And since we're just dreaming here anyway, I'd not be gluten- and lactose-intolerant in this fantasy! This has been my go-to dessert when I throw caution to the wind (along with a chewable Lactaid tablet with the first delicious bite).

5. What song almost always makes you cry?

The hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness.

6. January is National Soup Month. Everything from soup to nuts, in the soup, thick as pea soup, souped up ... which saying most recently applies to your life in some way? Explain.

I guess my answer is "in the soup." We are making some changes here after long consideration and now the news is out. We are now "in the soup."  Or another way of putting it, we are committed to the change. 

7.  Write a two word note to your younger self. What does it say?

Beware impulsiveness.

8. As I type this, it is Tuesday night and the "State of the Union Address" will be on TV soon. Beloved and I have chosen to not watch it. The state is not good, but the speech will say otherwise.

No, I won't watch tonight's speech but YES, I will vote in the next election!
I am linking up with many other bloggers at From This of the Pond.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Recharge Review

issued too many letters?

While I missed blogging the first week of January, the time off to be quiet and do gentle things within the confines of my home was refreshing. 

January can be a tough month on the heels of Christmas cheer, but when you think about it, this is as it should be. It's wintertime, when nature is put to rest so it can come back in the spring with new growth, vigor, and beauty.

Today's post is a photo review of how I used my down time. 

The effects of El Nino made snuggling in front of good movies a necessity.

War Room is out on DVD now. We bought our copy at Walmart. I highly recommend this flick with a good story and an even better message. It's entertaining, too.

We packed away Christmas and while my back was turned, the snow people marched up the stairs and mingled in the dining room.

The last couple of years I've kept the snow people packed away until January so the Christmas season is kept in proper perspective. And besides, January needs a little fun after the other decor is taken down. 

Cold, snowy weather is the perfect time to do needlework, so I got a couple of projects started. Our unfinished basement, although heated, is still pretty cold at this time of year so my focus has been on hand work that I can do near the fireplace and the kitchen while sitting in my recliner.  I put all my work on a large tray that sits on my lap and keeps my immediate supplies close-at-hand.

However, I did decide that I needed more storage for the embroidery hoops, boxes of embroidery floss, patterns, and such. So Beloved bought this chest of drawers to keep in the family room. It was defined as a TV stand at the furniture store, which is why there is an open shelf under the top surface. That shelf is a very handy place to store the tray with my current projects.

I like the flexibility to switch out the hanging quilts, so in just a couple of days I whipped together this Nine-Patch Snowman. The blue squares were cut to 3.5 inches and the large white blocks were cut to 9.5 inches. Machine quilting is just inside the perimeter of all the white blocks, and silvery snowflake-shaped buttons are tacked down randomly. 

The month of January isn't long enough for me to embroider one of these cute guys for all of the solid white blocks, so just this one is centered in the middle. I found the pattern for him in the Winter 2015 issue of Primitive Quilts Magazine.

With the wall quilt done and hung, I then worked diligently on a wool felt candle mat for the dining table. The patterns for this project came from several sources. The candle mat was done entirely by hand.

Both the quilt and the candle mat were started and completed within about 8 days. A lot can be accomplished when the electronic devises are closed and ignored.

Friends gave me books for Christmas, so I found niches of time when not sewing to read. I recommend both books.

Amazingly, we are now speeding fast forward to the middle of the month. While I wish I could lose myself with a needle and thread every  day, there are other things demanding my attention, so I'm back now to normal life.  

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Happy Story

Sister and The Tall Blond Guy

It was just yesterday.  Wait, no, it was FORTY YEARS ago today that my little sister (also my only sister, my only sibling) married The Tall Blond Guy on a wintery afternoon.  It was a beautiful ceremony with family members and a cheerful crowd of their college friends. 

The Cook on Fifth Street (aka our mother) made Sister's gown because not only is she a good cook, but she is very skilled with a needle and thread. (she allowed me to play with her fabric scraps and embroidery threads when I was in elementary school, which led to my love of sewing)

I don't remember how many attendants they had in the wedding party (I can't easily get my hands on the rest of the pictures as I type this), but I was the Matron of Honor (already married with 2 small sons at the time). 

We girls wore dresses from the same pattern as the bridal gown that had a flavor of traditional, old-fashioned design. I loved my dress. While the wedding took place in Illinois, I was living in South Dakota at the time, so I hired a local seamstress to make my dress. Although I could hold my own with sewing, I was not comfortable with such a monumental project.  

Just days before the wedding, The Cook on Fifth Street noticed that the ruffled portion of the lower skirt on the dresses needed to be the same amount of inches from the floor so that they would look uniform (and therefore nicer) as we all stood in a line together. It turned out to be a very good thing that I arrived several days early so we had time to rip out and re-position the ruffle on my gown.

Sister and The Tall Blond Guy have turned out to be a wonderful match for each other. Both are very strong in their faith and that has proved to be the foundation that kept their heads above water when the inevitable trials of life hit. 

One of the most remarkable things they faced was after several unsuccessful pregnancies.  With their fourth attempt, we all sort of held our breath, hoping and praying for the best but understandably on emotional guard against bad news. Sister had told me an ultra sound was scheduled and promised she would call with the results. (By this time I was living even farther away, in Seattle)

I answered the phone and asked how the baby was doing. She replied that "they" were fine.  Incredulous, I shot back with "You're having twins?!"  Her reply was that it was looking like there were TRIPLETS! 

This was back in 1980, when multiple births were not quite as common as they are now, so this was huge news. You can imagine the excitement that followed.  

The babies were due to be born in November of that year but very serious complications made it necessary for the babies to come in early September. They were three tiny little girls, precious beyond belief. 

While we marveled at the teeny tiny fingers and toes, Sister's life hung in the balance for several days and we feared we might lose her while saving the babies. 

As if that wasn't enough, back at home on the farm, The Tall Blond Guy was trying to milk the cows (their livelihood!) three times a day in a state-of-the-art milking parlor AND their Basset Hound gave birth to a whopping 12 puppies! Help was brought in for the cows, but they also needed assistance in making sure all those puppies got fed. Their pastor was called into service.  In addition to  his pastoral responsibilities, he used a baby doll bottle to help feed the newborn pups.

Well, that is all a blurring memory of the past now. All the babies, all the puppies, and the mothers (both human and canine) survived the experience and even thrived. 

The faithfulness and goodness of the Lord continued. The triplet daughters (and later, their brother) have all made Sister and The Tall Blond Guy into grandparents six times over. Every one of their four children has earned a college degree and they are spread out over the country, faithful to the Lord in their local churches.

Not only have my sister and her husband raised a beautiful family, but they provided fun for my children when we visited them on the farm. The Tall Blond Guy is the uncle all kids should have. He taught my kids how to help in the barn and gave them all rides on the tractor.  One of my sons even spent three weeks of one summer living with them, learning and helping with the ebb and flow of farm life.

Sister and I are as close as 900 miles will allow with the help of emails and texting. I know she is always there for me and she knows the same is true of me for her. 

Happy Anniversary, Sister and Tall Blond Guy! It is a joy to review some of the ways the Lord has blessed your marriage that began forty years ago today.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Time Away Update

view of my neighborhood in the distance from the gas station yesterday
Dear Readers,

It's been cold and snowy here -- perfect weather to retreat to my basement sewing room where I've been blessed with great productivity. When I tired of that, I read through two books, tried out some new recipes, got fitted with new glasses, and got caught  up with reading your blog posts (if you are a blogger) and Face Book. 

To my delight, some of you have commented via email and telephone that you have missed my postings. Thank you for letting me know. I appreciate the kind words.

I will be back with a real post soon, perhaps even before this weekend is over....just need to first cross a couple more things off of my "to do list."


Friday, January 1, 2016

Connecting Dots and Recharging

Morning sunshine on the wall of my study
As we say goodbye to the old and greet the new, I am thinking about the past year and how the new year can be better. (Aren't we all?) Like everybody else, I had successes and failures of various sizes and impact. 

It's important to take some time to consider what worked well for us, what did not, and how we might do better when tested again -- because we know that will happen. 

Because I am a Christian, I include in these ponderings if my behavior was obedient to scriptural teachings. When I have messed up, it was usually because I acted impulsively and failed to ask for Divine help when I was in sore need of it. 

My prayer as this new year begins is that I have learned from experiences (both mine and those I've observed in others). 

Another plan I have in this new year is to take a few days off from blogging to sew, cook, read, and just in general to re-charge. 

I've got a couple of sewing projects I want to complete...

black candle mat with snowmen and evergreen trees;
embroidered blue snowman block for a wall quilt
and of course I'll share pictures of them after they are done.

I also received some books for Christmas that I want to read; and then there's the matter of getting back on track with healthier eating, now that the holidays are done.

I will continue to comment on the blogs of my writing buddies, so I won't be very far away!

Happy New Year to all!