Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Cosmos in my yard August 26, 2016

I'm taking a blogging break to enjoy the last of summer's flowers, start a new quilt, do some embroidery, and eat quiet lunches on the deck with Beloved while the weather still permits.

Blessings to you all!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sharing From Our Bounty

front of the doll house

Today I am thinking about how we get blessed from the bounty of others, from what is 'rich' in their lives. Or better put, how the overflow of our lives can benefit others.  And not just with money. We all have gifts, talents, abilities, "much" that helps to address our needs and then flows out to enrich the lives of others. 

I was reminded of this last month when we were in the Land of Corn and Soybeans, visiting my Sister, Former Farmer, and The Cook on Fifth Street. 

You've seen my fascination with dolls (i.e. my "staff") and how Sister shares that with me. She also loves woodworking and has put that to good use in many ways, one of which is with doll houses and miniatures. This has been a hobby of hers for decades and she's good at it.  She even had an article published in the Nutshell News magazine (which ceased publication some years ago).

back of the doll house

Anyway, Sister has six granddaughters, so it seemed only right that she build a doll house for them when they come to Gram's house. She used a kit, which if you have ever done this, usually has something missing or doesn't line up right.  But Sister is seasoned and was able to accommodate the inconveniences.

She didn't build it exactly as the instructions were written because of the flimsiness of the 'gingerbread' they showed on the peak of the house. She was suspicious as to the sturdiness of the porch posts holding up the porch roof, so she improvised. She did not like the gingerbread on the "sticky-out parts" (her words) of the house that would too easily break at the touch of little girl hands.

She also did not like the flimsy, thin wooden roof shingles, deciding that a nice coat of paint was enough.

Perhaps most concerning was the staircase coming down to the front of the house, which as they had instructed, would have run the dolls directly into the front wall at the bottom!  How impractical was that?! So as you can see in the picture, the stairs were redirected to the back of the house. Now the doll people can more easily access the bedroom attic from the kitchen.

Note the stair case position

Sister puts this doll house on the living room coffee table when young visitors are expected and then puts it away after they leave.

In her office she has a much larger, farm-style doll house that is fantastic. Note in the photo below the real shingles on the roof, the brick foundation, and the provisions for electricity on the white walls, later to be covered with wall paper, not to mention the high-quality, sturdy construction.

Great niece plays with the larger doll house

She's been working on it for years, making it solid and using all the materials she's dreamed of incorporating. This is a doll house for grownups, although during my visit last March, one of her granddaughters and I were given permission to play with it. My great niece supplied the plastic furniture and a cast of people.

For a long time I would give Sister furnishings for this doll house as birthday and Christmas gifts, but it finally got to the place where she had to put those niceties in storage (i.e. out of the reach of little hands) until she finds the time to complete the electricity, wall paper, flooring, water pipes, etc. I'm just kidding about the plumbing!

My sister has been blessed with a love and a talent for miniature doll houses and her grands benefit from the overflow of that bounty (I do, too!). We all see how this works in other people.  It's a principle that our Lord has instilled in mankind. Even the most needy people have an abundance of something that can be shared with others.

From everyone who has been given much, 
much will be demanded;
and from the one who has been entrusted with much,
much more will be asked.
Luke 12:48

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Book Review: Heaven by Randy Alcorn

Heaven by Randy Alcorn, Tyndale Publishing

This book has changed me. It has changed my thinking, changed my perspective, changed my expectations, and put a different light on unachieved dreams in this life. The author quotes Stu Weber on the book jacket, "Other than the Bible itself, this may well be the single most life-changing book you'll ever read."

It's a thick book of 533 pages, which includes 46 chapters, 2 appendices, notes, a bibliography, a scripture index, a name index, a subject index, and notes about the author.  This man has done his homework!

I had heard of this book a few years ago, but people said it would have some things in it that were controversial, so I chose to not pursue it. Frankly, I had done a study on heaven by another author that left me a little depressed, which doesn't seem right, but that's what happened. I just decided that heaven would be more wonderful than I could possibly imagine but my task in the meantime should be to focus on helping others get there.

In retrospect, I really don't know what led me to decide I wanted to read it. I guess I thought I've been a Christian long enough and been through so many Bible studies that I could handle whatever it said and make a good decision as to if I thought it was biblically sound or not.

At any rate, I found a copy at my public library and began to spend long amounts of time reading it every day. With 533 pages to cover and only three weeks before it would be due back, I had no time to waste.

Beloved got intrigued by all the things I learned and was sharing with him, so he began picking it up to read whenever I didn't have it in hand, so we had two bookmarks in the pages. In spite of all that time with my nose in the book, as the due date loomed close, we decided the book was good enough to go buy our own copy (about $25 in hardback), which we did.  I turned in the library copy and was so glad to have our own book so I could underline meaningful passages.  Now after three and a half weeks of steady reading, I have read it cover to cover. As I said at the beginning, I am changed -- for the better.

Part I is titled, "A Theology of Heaven." The author explains that most of us have a skewed view of heaven because of how it has been interpreted to us for so many years. We have been taught to take what is meant to be literal as something else (spirit-like, wispy, ethereal). 

I don't want to steal his thunder (or infringe on copyright), but I will say this section of the book is very lengthy, very deep (as in over-my-head in some places), and very, very interesting.

Part II is titled, "Questions and Answers About Heaven."  I was tempted to skip to that (and I confess I did peek at some chapters), but the author strongly urges the reader to complete reading Part I first so we will better understand the answers in Part II. He is right. 

But for the sake of a good book review, I will try to whet your appetite with the titles of sections in Part II:

What Will the Resurrected Earth Be Like?
What Will Our Lives Be Like?
What Will Our Relationships Be Like?
What About Animals?
What Will We Do in Heaven?

How did this book change me? 

First of all, my understanding of heaven was greatly enhanced to the place of making me genuinely 'homesick' for the day and the place when I can experience it for myself.

Second, my love for this world was put into perspective.  Some of my dreams that look like they may not come true in this lifetime, were either realized to be not that special, OR they may come true in the life to come. 

Third, I understood better the difference between heaven and hell, both of which are literal and vast extremes, the latter to be avoided at all cost. 

Now that I am finished reading the book, I am surrendering it to Beloved, so he can complete it. Then I want to go back to the beginning and re-read sections, underlining and taking notes. 

I highly recommend this book.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wrapping Up Summer Hodgepodge

thistle-rich weeds with pretty flowers at Eleven Mile Canyon

Joyce, our Hodgepodge Wednesday hostess, has given us questions this week having to do with summer's end.  I've submitted my responses and am linking up with other bloggers at From This Side of the Pond.  

1. It's National Waffle Day (August 24th)...what decision are you currently 'waffling over'? (or share one you've recently 'waffled over') 

This is interesting because I always give Beloved a waffle for his breakfast on Wednesdays!  But to answer the question, I am waffling over what to do with some fabric scraps I have -- how to design them into a quilt.

2. It's the middle of August, but I'm already seeing lots of autumn-related posts. Do you think we rush the seasons?  If so, does that bother you? 

Yes, I think American society rushes the seasons.  Look at all the Halloween and Christmas items already in the stores now.  I don't know that it bothers me, but it does seem like we are always in a mad rush to get to the next big celebration instead of more thoughtfully contemplating where we are now.

I saw an end of summer bucket list that included:

make s'mores
read a new (or favorite) book
eat something delicious and bad for you at a state fair
be a tourist for the day
have a pot luck picnic
book a last minute summer getaway
relax by or in the pool
take a hike to watch the sunset
have a day on the lake
try a new summer recipe

Which activities on the list might  you squeeze in before summer officially comes to a close?

To be honest, I've done most of these things already this year (to one extent or another), and that is good. Probably of all the things on this list, I'd be most likely to try a new summer recipe -- I'm trying new recipes nearly every week at any time of the year.

3. Your favorite summertime 'art' found in nature?

Colorful flowers, especially at some of the outdoor shopping centers where great care (and money) has been spent to create dazzling displays.

4. Steven R. Covey is quoted as saying "We judge ourselves by our intentions, and other by their actions."  Agree or no?  Do you define yourself based on your intentions, your actions, or something else?

Guilty. I probably due just as Mr. Covey has said -- after all, I can't read the minds of others. Yes, I define myself by my intentions that, again, others don't necessarily see.

5. Are you useful in a crisis? Elaborate.

If this question is asking if I have practical skills that are helpful in a crisis, no, I do not. I try my best to get out of the way of those who do have those skills, and I pray a lot.

6. What's been your go-to dish this summer? Is it something you'll continue making as the seasons change?

I've lost count now how many times I've made a berry crisp recipe this summer. It can be adapted to any fruit, so it will be useful to me all through the year.

7. Adult coloring books are a thing now. Have you jumped on the bandwagon? If not, is this something you think you might enjoy?

I have an adult coloring book, and coloring cards, too, that are fun. But I prefer to make my own designs. As a matter of fact, I was doodling just last night...

8. Insert  your own random thought here:

To paraphrase a thought from Susie Larson's Daily Blessing, she urges us to be more loving and discerning with our opinions in this season when people are especially cruel and careless.

As bloggers we have influence.  It's a mantle of responsibility we should all take seriously -- and the blogs I read tend to do exactly that! Keep it up, people! 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Shadow and Sunshine

Impatiens and Coleus in Golden, Colorado
Last week while checking Face Book, I learned unhappy news. A girlfriend of about eleven years had passed away suddenly. The last time I was with her in person was in October when we both drove a long distance to meet halfway at an Olive Garden restaurant for lunch to catch up on our lives and family news. 

time for contemplation
Blessedly, the day after receiving the news was when we went on the fishing trip where I had time to myself to remember, think, cry, and pray. The memorial service was a couple of days later, which Beloved, Denise and I were able to attend. 

Our friend was ready to meet the Lord; we are sure of that. The closing of her time on earth was sudden. This was an excellent example of the fact that we all need to make our peace with the Lord Jesus Christ now, while we have the time. 

... now is the time of God's favor,
now is the day of salvation.
II Corinthians 6:2

My weekend picked up in mood in a delightful gathering of friends with "Breakfast Under the Pergola," as the hosts called it.

back yard pergola
Members of our church have a beautiful, and exceptionally large, wood pergola in their back yard.  They invited our Bible study class to enjoy a sumptuous spread of breakfast casseroles, breads, fruit, and flavored coffee.  The weather was perfect and we had such a good time.

dressing up the reading area
Time for a little practical sewing was found this weekend. I use a cocktail table to hold my books but it needed something to soften the look. A quick trip to Walmart resulted in the perfect fabric to whip up a pleated table cloth that took less than an hour to complete.

Groomsman, Scotland Traveler, me, and Beloved
Saturday night was very special when friends from our college days came to dinner. Beloved met them on his campus and as it has turned out, we have shared a lot of life experiences with them, including the guys in ROTC, commissioned to the Air Force side-by-side, our engagements to be married, child-bearing, and more. 

Not only do we enjoy each other's company, but it's been very interesting to compare notes as we have passed through the many seasons of adulthood.  

Epic Adventure at the Philip S. Miller Park

To cap the evening off, we took them to a local park to show off what is called "Epic Adventure," a giant version of monkey bars, if you will.  People climb ropes here, swing from a horse saddle to one platform to another all while harnessed securely. No, we did not climb this thing, but for us, it's an interesting attraction to show to our out-of-town guests.


What has been emphasized to me over the last several days? Relationships should not be taken for granted. Ever. Cherish them, even the hard ones. God has something for us in every person we meet. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Fly Fisherman

Beloved begins a day of fishing at Eleven Mile Canyon

One of my favorite pastimes is watching my husband fish. 

For years he liked to say that a bad day fishing was still better than a good day at work. Well, he's retired now and so he doesn't need to say that any more.

spying a trout in the water from the bridge  above

We are enjoying getting to fish in the middle of the week, when it's much less crowded at the streams.

Beloved in his get-up always reminds me of a song
You've heard the song, 

I see by your outfit that you are a cowboy, 
I see by your outfit that you're a cowboy, too! 
We see by our outfits that we are both cowboys.  
If you get an outfit you can be a cowboy, too!

Although my hubby is not a cowboy, I always think about that diddy when he gets all his gear put on and readies himself to wade the stream. 

fishing below the bridge
Since he saw a trout hanging around near the bridge, that was his logical first place to cast his line.

Uh, where'd he go?!
But as all fishermen know, dressing the part is not a sure pathway to success.

moving on upstream

Flyfishing is not a sport for the lazy. You have to stand up to cast the line, and when a spot brings no results, you move on, either in the water, or alongside the bank.

looking for an opportune spot to re-enter the water
Although Beloved is not an old man, he is learning to be more selective about traversing the streams. Moss and uneven rocks can make him slip and to fall into the drink!

casting his line

At the same time, he does enjoy the freedom to get out into the water instead of being restricted to the stream bank or a boat.

a view of the same bridge from afar
Well, after a time I decided to leave my man to his craft and I assumed other duties I enjoy so much on these day excursions as the official photographer. (you notice that I don't fish)

looking upstream

My long-time blog readers will probably recognize some of these shots -- I always take more every time we come to this place.

Canadian geese were in abundance
On this particular day, we saw at least 17 Canadian geese out on the water. I thought they were very entertaining...

butts up!

...especially when one of them apparently sent out a memo and they all, simultaneously, dipped their heads into the water and their bottoms went up into the air!

lunch for us
Yes, the eating was good for the geese on this day, and it wasn't too bad for us, either.

dark clouds rolled in

After six hours of fishing and two that got away, dark clouds, thunder, and rain rolled in. It's pretty common that we get rain storms, often with lightning, in the afternoons here in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

We packed up the car and headed to the Cracker Barrel restaurant on the way home, where trout was on the menu. This is always Beloved's default plan when the fish in the stream don't cooperate.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Mid-August Hodgepodge

Blooming Gladiolas and Russian Sage off the porch at
The Brown Bungalow

It's time for the Hodgepodge Wednesday questions for August 17th. Joyce makes up the questions, bloggers respond,  and then we all link up together over at Joyce's blog, From This Side of the Pond.

1. Joyce read there are four creative activities to try this month. They were: calligraphy, make your own cookbook, dance or learn a new type of dance, and letter writing. Which activity on the list appeals to you the most. Will you add it to your August?

I'll go with making my own cookbook because I am doing that all of the time. Since going gluten, dairy, and egg-free, it's become essential that I collect recipes that work for me. I type them up, sometimes adding photos of the recipes or other graphics, print them, and slip them into clear plastic page protectors. They are all in a green 3-ring binder, and I'd be lost without it!!

my collection of recipes
2. Bertrand Russell is quoted as saying, 'To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.' Agree or disagree? Explain.

Unfortunately, I agree that this is true, a fact of life even. If I had everything that I want, I'd be unbearably spoiled and intolerable to all.

3. August 17th is National Thriftshop Day...are you a thrifter? If so, tell us about one of your best or favorite finds.

Oh yes, I love to visit thrift shops, second-hand stores, and antique places. I have too many fun finds to list them all, but pictured here below is one I enjoy a lot. It's a wood bench for one of my many teddy bears. After bringing the bench home, I had to re-stain it to freshen it up.

Bear on her Bench

4. On a scale of 1-10 (with 1=almost none and 10=loads), how would you rate your sense of wanderlust? What kicks your wanderlust into high gear? (note: wanderlust is defined as "a strong desire to travel")

When a family member has a need, I immediately start packing my bag mentally, even if it turns out I don't need to make the trip. Other than that, I am more inclined to desire day trips than long travels. Day trips are just easier on the body and the bank account. For several years I've had no desire whatsoever to leave my home country, and flying is definitely not fun like it used to be. Just sayin'. Oh and how to rate my sense of wanderlust? I'd give it a 5.

5. Has life felt more like a marathon or sprint so far this month? How so? 

Let's see. We are half way through August already. I can hardly believe it. Both a marathon and a sprint are faster than I usually move. I'll leave it at that.

6. What do you need to get a jump on before fall officially arrives?

Thankfully, nothing that I can think of. I had two specific goals I wanted to accomplish before summer's end, and within the last week, both of them were realized. One of them was to get all the blocks for my king-sized quilt sewn together. Below is a picture taken on Tuesday of the quilt top laying on our bed. Today I got an estimate of what it will cost for a professional long-arm quilter to do the quilting for me (~$250).

Quilt top (unquilted) using Fons and Porter's "Thank You Stars" pattern

7. What's the last thing you did with friends or family where you lost track of time? 

I tend to be kinda OCD, so I usually am aware of both the time and the day of the week; but I have to admit that last summer when I got to hold my newest granddaughter for about two hours while she slept -- I could have done that forever. It was such a peaceful experience. 

me holding Granddaughter #5, Grandchild #10
8. Insert your own random thought here.

Several of you have been so kind as to pray for The Cook on Fifth Street and to ask how she is doing after her serious hand injury on the 4th of July in the land of Corn and Soybeans. 

The Cook on Fifth Street - photo taken today by Sister
I am so thankful to be able to report she is doing very well. The Great Physician (which is the Lord, and NOT a pseudonym!) has demonstrated His power and goodness as we have watched the wound on her hand heal up with remarkable progress. 

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers for her. We are grateful!

Linking up with Joyce at From This Side of the Pond

Monday, August 15, 2016

A Gluten-Free Cookbook Recommendation

click here to order on Amazon

Last month when we were in the land of Corn and Soybeans, Beloved and I stopped at an Amish bakery where, among other things, we bought this Mennonite cookbook packed full of gluten-free recipes.

Charlene Kennell spent years developing her family's homey Mennonite recipes into versions that are all gluten-free, dairy-free,* and egg-free. Imagine that. I was very intrigued. 

While I don't normally cook casseroles or bake since discovering my food intolerances nearly three years ago, there are times when I have a psychological need to "fall off the wagon." Unhappily, I always pay for it with some kind of a physical reaction, so those rebellious times are infrequent. But now Ms. Kennell has made it possible to indulge myself with ingredients I can eat. 

I have found it a challenge to navigate her recipe index, but putting that aside, some of the dishes have proven to be very good.

Recently I made the Zucchini-Carrot Fritters on page 171:

Zucchini-Carrot Fritters
In the place of all-purpose flour, she used Brown Rice flour, which is available in major grocery chains by Bob's Red Mill.

Blackberry and Blueberry Crisp - click here for the recipe

You may remember the recipe I posted recently for Blackberry and Blueberry Crisp. That was my adaptation of a cobbler recipe inspired by Ms. Kennell. Dog Whisperer loved it (and so did I).

I've also made her Gourmet Chicken and Broccoli Casserole (page 158), Potato Puff Casserole (page 161, also known as 'Tater Tot Casserole'), as well as one or two casseroles that needed more seasoning than she listed.

I confess that I have not yet attempted her versions of chocolate layer cake, although they sound wonderful.  The cake would be more than what Beloved and I could should eat, and I am wary of preparing it for dinner guests lest it's a failure in our high altitude.

By far, my favorite recipe in the book is her Creamy Onion White Sauce (page 175). She uses 2 large sweet onions and a blender (a Vitamix works perfectly) to make the most fantastic white sauce you could ever want. It is white, creamy, and so flavorful with no milk (or milk substitutes).  She did call for 2 Tablespoons of butter.* I have used it in several recipes, both as a gravy and as a sauce in casseroles. It is superb!

my potato-ham-Daiya cheese** casserole with
Creamy Onion White Sauce

If you need to cook gluten, dairy, and egg-free, I recommend this book. Over 300 pages have something for everybody; even non-celiacs will enjoy the dishes.


*The author uses butter because it is low in lactose and therefore some dairy-sensitive people can handle it better than other dairy products. However, she has also found that EarthBalance Buttery Spread works reasonably well.

**Daiya cheese is a non-dairy cheese substitute found in major grocery store chains. (but not at Walmart)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Waking From Troubled Sleep

Cosmos in my back yard

The grass withers
and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures forever.
Isaiah 40:8

This is so true. The beauty of our summer flowers is vibrant today, but all too soon, the cooling temperatures of autumn will start moving in and those delicate petals will wrinkle up and fall.

So much around us is temporary. Beloved came across a cartoon recently that said, "It came to pass. It may  pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass." We want some things to pass while we wish other circumstances would never end.

We can depend on God and His Word to never pass, to never desert us, to always be our refuge, our instruction, our healer, to bring us hope and joy. 

The alarm clock went off this morning while I was having a disturbing dream. It took a few minutes for the sleepy stupor to wear off so clearer thoughts could take over. Years of walking with Christ have taught me to grab onto scripture as soon as possible when trouble tries to reign in my mind. 

While it would be ideal to sit down with Bible in hand to read some favorite Psalms, practicality dictates that I first rub the sleep from my eyes, visit the bathroom, and pick up my glasses.

There is always time for prayer, a quick one at that, asking the Holy Spirit to minister to my jumbled thoughts. He brings a phrase or a verse to my mind that begins to smooth down the ruffled feathers of my mind, speaking sense and comfort. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

lean not on your own understanding, 
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5

I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
I will build you up again
Jeremiah 31:3-4a

When we call on the Lord in our distress, even during the unsettling first moments in the morning, He is already there with us, ready to respond to our needs.

Yes, the flowers of summer will be fading in the next month or so, but God's words of blessing are always available to us.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Meet Me at the Fair

Quilt collage from the county fair
In spite of a dire forecast for rain, we had bought our tickets online a week earlier for the fair and rodeo, so we were determined to go.

Our first stop was to see the quilt exhibit, which included two made by my next-door neighbor (see above, top center with a BLUE RIBBON!!! and top right).

greeting the donkey
We brought with us the Dog Whisperer and her hubby, but truth be told, she has a wonderful way with all animals, with this donkey being the first of the afternoon.

We were not able to get close enough to say anything into this cow's ear, but I would have been at a loss for words anyway. 

The pigs were bathed and clean for the fair. I always marvel that their hair is not soft.  There were no piglets, which is what I was hoping to see.

That fluff-headed chicken on the middle right -- I think I've seen that one in a Disney animated movie.  She (he?) has personality.

hanging on every word
The Dog Whisperer really had the ear of this goat. He climbed up the gate and couldn't get enough of her gentle attention.

presenting the colors
Fair food tends to be pricey and a salad can't be found for types like me, so I bent my own rules and joined my companions with a supper of BBQ pork sandwiches. We then secured our seats on the bleachers for the rodeo.

By the way, when people say, "This isn't my first rodeo," Beloved and I had to say that, well, actually it was!! 

The rodeo queen departs with her princesses
If we've been to a rodeo before, neither of us remembers it. We didn't know if we would enjoy the show, but we most certainly did! The action was so fast and exciting that I took extremely few pictures. 

me 'n the Dog Whisperer
That rain finally did come, but we were prepared with our ponchos. This city girl isn't sure she wants to go to the fair every year, but when she does, tickets for the rodeo should be included.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

An Olympic Hodgepodge

morning sun reflects off windows onto my dining room wall quilt

It's Hodgepodge Wednesday. Joyce has come up with interesting questions that I will try to answer and then link up with other bloggers at

1. Are you watching the Olympics? Yes. Your favorite summer Olympic event? The gymnastics and swimming. I also enjoy the behind-the-scenes stories of the challenges the athletes overcame to get to this place. I read recently a list of the most iconic Olympic moments in history... what stands out in your mind as a great moment from some past summer Olympic games? My favorite Olympic victory was depicted in the movie, Chariots of Fire.

2. Have you ever been to Rio? No. How about the place that started it all -- GreeceNo. Have you ever been to any of the Olympic Games in person? No. Is that something you'd like to do? No. I'm not a fan of international travel or crowds. Have you ever met an Olympian in person? Not exactly. But the home of Missy Franklin, famous gold medalist in swimming, is not far from here. A few years ago she came into Panera Bread with a group of her girlfriends. I saw her walk by and thought to myself that she had a familiar face -- she should. We see her on local TV a lot. Sue and Mary commented to me, "That's Missy Franklin!" 

3. The ball's in their court (tennis), cross the finish line (track and field), on target (archery), make a splash (diving), on a roll (gymnastics), out of one's depth (swimming).... which Olympic-related idiom best applies to your life right now? Explain. "On a roll" probably best describes my life this summer. Last year at this time we were wondering what retirement would be like and this year we are "on a roll" as we enjoy having more time to do what we want.

4. What have you earned a 'gold medal' in recently? Hmm. That sounds like an invitation to pat myself on the back... hesitant to do that. Not sure how I'd reply to that anyway.

5. What is it (or who is it) that motivates you to eat right, exercise, and do what you can to be healthy? 

Surfer Girl and Beloved are my nutrition and exercise cheerleaders

6. Are you young at heart or an old soul? Explain. We just today made application for Social Security and although there are parts of me that are young at heart, I guess I'm more of an old soul.  I've been around the block quite a few times, relationship drama wears me out, and I like old music, old customs, and old friends.

7. It's National S'mores Day (August 10th)... are you a fan? Who isn't?!!  Will you celebrate with a s'more today? Traditionally, s'mores are made with graham crackers, which are not gluten-free. However, I have just done some research (as a result of this question) and learned there are gluten-free graham crackers (or substitutes) for making s'mores. So, I might indulge (that's still a lot of sugar).

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

my first Gladiola to bloom this summer

This is my 3rd summer of waiting for my Glads to bloom, and each year they wait a little longer to pop out those gorgeous blossoms. I don't know what the deal is with that.  

Anyway, I planted them because of their name, "Glads," which reminds me of a song I dearly love.  Here is the Youtube link to it, and here are some of the words:

Oh be ye glad, oh be ye glad!
Every debt that you ever had
Has been paid up in full 
by the grace of the Lord
Be ye glad, be ye glad, be ye glad!

* * *