29 December 2009

New Year's Resolution

Hubby and I are going to try counting our calories again starting January 1st. Gotta finish up the Christmas treats first! LOL!

It should be easier to do this now that the kids aren't home. I always felt guilty not having a lot of filling food around for them because they're all SLIM!

Best wishes to all who are making resolutions and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

25 December 2009

A good Christmas day...

This was a very quiet Christmas. The first since all three of our kiddos left the nest!

Josh and Jess had planned to drive up from Texas right after Christmas, but had to change their plans, so we had a good visit over the phone instead.

Jordan spent the night and today with us. If we're really blessed he may spend the night tonight. He's lots of fun to have around!

Micah and Adam drove through the snow storm about 90 miles from Fergus Falls and are staying with Adam's dad a couple of miles down the road. They came over this afternoon and all five of us piled into the pickup, Bob put it in 4WD and we headed for Bemidji, about 60 miles away, to enjoy the Super Buffet (Chinese food) for our Christmas dinner. It was delicious and we had so much fun visiting. Then they were off to go and visit Adam's mom and step-dad. We'll see them again in the morning before they head home.

I did a lot of baking so I could send goodies home with them. I made fudge, kringla and Christmas cookies and also a German chocolate cake for us after I've given away all the goodies. =0) I should have skipped the cake, because WE don't need it. Oh well!

We're also watching a lot of movies-Christmas and otherwise. Hope you all had a blessed Christmas!



24 December 2009

A Christmas message from my son's blog...


It's almost Christmas again. It really doesn't feel like it to me because it's my first Christmas in Texas. It was 70 yesterday and even though it's pretending to snow right now, it's not really going to last on the ground.

This is a very passionate day. It's lost so much in our minds but it's the day we celebrate God invading Earth to rescue his broken children. It's much less tame than we usually think. If we're going to be like Him then we need to know what He meant by coming. Jesus came passionately, chasing after broken hearts. He wasn't willing to stand back and watch how things turned out.

Christmas is a very hard time for a lot of people. A time that's based around family is that much lonelier for someone who is alone, hurt or struggling with depression. This is the time for us to chase passionately after broken hearts, too. Be deliberate about love. Smile, share, offer a kind word. Live freely, love fiercely, and never close your arms.


23 December 2009

A favorite old book...

Some time ago I read "Surprised by Joy" the autobiography of C.S. Lewis. In it he mentioned a book he had read as a boy. It was called "Castle Blair" by Flora L. Shaw and he said it told the story of a typical Irish aristocratic family and how they lived. I was intrigued and found this wonderful copy on eBay for about $6. I think it's a real treasure and I'm still reading it. I've found several good books with the help of Mr. Lewis! =0)

20 December 2009

Haines, Alaska...

As I've been reading Heather Lende's book, "If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name", I've become more and more curious about the little town of Haines, Alaska. I wanted to see actual pictures to see how they compared with the pictures in my mind. I had to do some digging. I began to think there was an unwritten rule that no pictures of the actual town were allowed to be shown! I found pictures of the fjord and mountains surrounding the town and videos of bears frolicing in the water, but no actual buildings! Well, my labor finally paid off and I found a nice video of this little place that looks surprisingly like the one in my imagination. Heather makes it sound like so much fun to live in Haines, but I see a lot of similarities between her Alaskan village and mine in northern Minnesota. We may not have mountains, but we also aren't quite so isolated. I think I like where I am, but it's always interesting to visit other places, and it's so easy thanks to the internet!

I also found Heather's blog and an online column she writes, so I can enjoy more of her great writing after I've finished the book.

Adios and Shalom!

18 December 2009

Linus and the Annie Moses Band...



14 December 2009

I love to watch these videos!


I'm still reading a book called "If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name" by Heather Lende. She is such a good storyteller and really makes you care about her family, friends and neighbors who live in the remote town of Haines, Alaska.

The book is a mix of funny and sad stories, but the last chapter I read was full of her memories of neighbors and acquaintances who had died while flying their small aircraft to and from Haines. It's a fairly inaccessible village and flying is the only way to get in and out at certain times of the year. She has also related many stories of people being lost at sea while fishing, since many in the village make their living by fishing commercially. Suddenly, I was overcome by grief, not just for these individuals, but for the whole human race. I found myself weeping and asking God, "WHY?" I didn't feel angry at God; I was just filled with this question of why God doesn't just stop people from being born into this world where sadness, grief and death are inescapable. Why does the cycle of birth and death continue when He could stop it at will?

I don't have the answer to that one and I know His Son lived through the same experience, so he knows about our suffering firsthand. I'm confident He has good reason for allowing it all to continue and He says that children are a blessing from Him, so earth wouldn't be as blessed if we just stopped conceiving with a view to making things easier for ourselves. It's one of those mysteries that will only be answered when we reach Heaven. Meanwhile, we must trust Him for each step of the way.

Heather Lende mentioned a scripture that comforts her when she's remembering these sad events. It's in Psalm 139, and it says:

"If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Thy hand will lead me,
And Thy right hand will lay hold of me." (v. 9-10)

Another was Psalm 107, which was inscribed in a memorial to fishermen lost at sea:

"They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters, these see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep."

These scriptures remind me of the fact that God is with us in this adventure called life and He has things under control, IF we've turned control of our lives over to Him. If we haven't, life would be truly terrifying, because we have NO control over anything, much as we might like to think otherwise. We don't even control whether we draw the next breath.

Thank you, Lord, for being there with us through it all. Thanks for giving us enough answers to trust in You even though we may have to wait for the answers to some questions.

God sees death from a whole different perspective than we do. I'm reminded of Isaiah 57:1-2 which says:

"The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart;
And devout men are taken away, while no one understands.
For the righteous man is taken away from evil,
He enters into peace;
They rest in their beds,
Each one who walked in his upright way."

So, death, at God's appointed time, is His way of "taking us away from evil". Hopefully this will comfort us when we lose a loved one. Though we will grieve, we also have hope, knowing they are safe with God and we will be also when our appointed time arrives.

Meanwhile, our task is to tell others, to spread the gospel message so others won't have to live in fear and so they can have hope, also.


13 December 2009

Peace in the Midst...

As long as I'm posting my children's writings I thought I would post this piece written by my son, Jordan, (age 27) in October of 2009. I found it on the "Notes" page of his Facebook profile.

Peace in the Midst

Even when I beg You to speak, but I won't listen...
Even as I'm constantly surprised by my childish motives...
Even as I am terrified to fully trust You to protect me...
Even when I forget that Your life is on display in mine...

You are working to bring me closer to Your mark.
You are shaping me to move more freely.
You are saving me from who I would have been.
You'll whisper 'til I know Your voice.

I know that in time You'll complete me.
I desire to love like You.
Give me peace and joy during Your perfect process.
Through it let Your will be done.

You are faithful, Lord.
You are subtle and then overwhelming.
You are perfect love.
Let my days be worhsip to You.

12 December 2009

Bullet fragments...

(This is from a blog written by my son, Josh. I think he's a very insightful young man! He and his wife, Jess, live in Dallas. This was written in August 2008, before they were married.)

Bullet Fragments

I used to work with this girl. I didn't know her that well but we got along pretty well. I don't remember that many things that we talked about, but I remember one thing perfectly. One day we were talking and she just stopped and said, "You have pretty eyes". It was totally innocent and she wasn't hitting on me or anything, but I've never forgotten it. I've felt better about how I looked since she said that. My girlfriend tells me that alot but this girl was the first one who'd ever said anything like that. It's amazing how a simple kind word can lodge in your heart and stay with you. Imagine how long a hurtful word would stay! Imagine the damage done by a fragment left inside of a heart. Always think, before you shoot, about the final resting place of your words. Plant something that grows; something that heals.

08 December 2009

minus 4...

Yes, that's the temperature! Minus 4! Thanks to the Lord, our little woodstove, with the help of a couple of baseboard heaters is keeping our log cabin pretty comfortable.

Hubby left early this morning to make a 2 hour drive to Fergus Falls (MN) to watch my dd, Micah, take her semester finals for her Equine Science course. That entails spending about 6 hours at the horse ranch where classes are held. The students do part of their finals on horseback and doing various demonstrations and then take the written part of the exam. Then he's loading up 5 big round bales on a trailer and coming home. I hope he gets back before dark! I was planning to go also, but with it being so cold I figured I'd better stay home and keep the stove going. Here's a link if you want to see the Red Horse Ranch! This is a horse crazy girls' dream-come-true!

As part of Micah's Equine Science course she has to write up a business plan and figure out the costs of starting her business including buying land, building the barn and house, etc. down to the smallest detail such as hooks to hang bridles on, lumber, nails, EVERYTHING! She did a good job with some mentoring from her dad. Her dream is to have a youth ranch where she can help troubled girls. She plans to go on and get a social work degree after Equine Science.

I just found some sandpaper and I'm going to make a template for cutting out quilt squares. It's a good day for cutting flannel squares and doing a little sewing. I may not get far, but it's a start!

Better go check that stove. Stay warm! =0)


06 December 2009

a patchwork of my life...

Patch #1:
Jordan dropped by yesterday and heard "Emmanuel" (see post below) for the first time. He really likes it, too. He worked out the chords on the guitar and we agreed that he would sing it and I would do the harmony. This will probably be my last time to sing with him for a long time since he heads for Dallas in the middle of January. Sure will miss him, but I'm very glad that he's following what he believes God wants him to do with his life right now. He's single, so it's a good time to try some new things.

Patch #2:
I was pondering in church this morning and asking myself, "I wonder why I always end up behind a very tall man who blocks my view of the song lyrics on the screen?" LOL! I'm really distractable during the worship portion of the service. In addition to the tall man in front of me, the songs are usually too high for my alto voice (and I suspect for a lot of people) and lots of little peevish thoughts try to introduce themselves as I supposedly "worship". But it's all an exercise in discipline, I guess. I have a little talk with myself, reminding myself to focus on the Lord and not on everything around me. By the end of the worship I'm beginning to get myself tuned in. Corporate worship will never be easy for me because I'm so ADD. I really have to close my eyes just to keep focused.

Patch #3:
As I practice my guitar, my goal is to be able to lead singing in a small home-based worship/prayer gathering. This isn't something my husband and I have really planned to do, I just think it's good to be prepared because I think small groups meeting in homes is how this whole church thing got started and I think it's what Jesus had in mind when he told us not to forsake gathering together. It's hard to really have fellowship with people in a really large group of people. I mean the type of fellowship where you know people and their needs and can support each other in prayer and with practical help. Anyway, that's what I'd like to do someday. When it happens we'll need someone to lead singing, so I'm starting to get ready!

Patch #4:
It's interesting how married couples start out as a team. Us against the world. Then kids come and your life focuses on them. Then when they're all grown you find that it's just the two of you against the world...again! Well, actually, Bob and I never went through that first "team" phase, because he came into the marriage with four big kids, so we're experiencing the two of us for the first time now. We've always had kids to think about before ourselves, so we kind of wondered what we'd do to fill the void when they were gone. It is kind of quiet, but it's also kind of fun to see what it's like to just be "us against the world". We help each other with the firewood gathering and keeping the house warm now that it's getting colder. We're having to trust the Lord day-to-day for finances, but since it's only us it's not as scary as the old days when we had little ones depending on us. We're facing health issues and trusting in the Lord. We love hearing from the kids and having an occasional visit and seeing what's happening in their lives. It's an interesting time in our lives.

Well, that's four patches, which should make a nice square for my "life quilt". I suddenly feel the urge to dig out all the old flannel shirts I've squirreled away and cut them into quilt squares. Just one of many craft projects I have waiting in my loft upstairs. I have a couple of old quilts that could use a new cover, so hopefully I'll get around to that project this winter!


04 December 2009


Jordan and I are doing this song at church on Dec. 13. I'm hoping he'll sing the lead and I'll do the background. I like it!

21 November 2009

MORE fun with PaperBackSwap...

I've been sending and receiving books pretty steadily. Right now I'm expecting three books:

"Memoirs of a Medieval Woman" about a wealthy woman who makes a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, by herself, at a time in history when that just wasn't done! Sounds like a good book.

Also looking forward to "Breaking Intimidation" by John Bevere, which is about overcoming problems with intimidation with the help of the Lord. Something I need!

I just ordered "If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name", which is about a very small town in Alaska. I love stories about Alaska and living the wilderness life. I usually read a book like this once a year or so to get it out of my system! LOL!

Bob's gone for the evening so I'm off to the movies. Well, actually, I'm going over to YouTube to watch "Northanger Abbey". Whoo-hoo! (Hey, I get free snacks here!)


12 November 2009

Shane continues to open my eyes...

Still reading "The Irresistible Revolution" by Shane Claiborne. When I started, the thing that bothered me most was his stance on warfare, which he calls redemptive violence. But I find myself squirming uncomfortably as I read and thinking about it all from a new viewpoint. I think we all need to read this book just to awaken us to the rut we're probably in. (We may be in different ruts, but we all land in one eventually.) Here's a quote from a later part of the book:

When we have new eyes, we can look into the eyes of those we don't even like and see the One we love. We can see God's image in everyone we encounter. As Henri Nouwen puts it, "In the face of the oppressed I recognize my own face, and in the hands of the oppressor I recognize my own hands. Their flesh is my flesh, their blood is my blood, their pain is my pain, their smile is my smile." We are made of the same dust. We cry the same tears. No one is beyond redemption. And we are free to imagine a revolution that sets both the oppressed and the oppressors free.

Shane Claiborne-The Irresistible Revolution

10 November 2009

Soul Flower Power!

This looks like my PERFECT clothing catalog. I've ordered a paper copy!


07 November 2009

The Irresistible Revolution...

My sons have recently brought to my attention the book "The Irresistible Revolution" by Shane Claiborne. I haven't finished it yet, but it's such an inspiration. It's one of those things that opens our spiritual eyes and makes us sit up and say, "Yes! I know something is missing in my Christian life, but I just can't put my finger on it or figure out what to do about it!"

He's part of a community in Philadelphia who are living out the love of God by loving the poor while living among them. This clip gives you some idea and you can find out more by following the link to the community's website, The Simple Way. There you'll find links to lots of others who are doing similar work. I think it's exciting and it cuts across denominational lines: Protestant/Catholic, etc.

I believe Shane has chosen a life of "singleness", but his community consists of married people, some with children. It gives you a lot to think about.

I hope this will be an inspiration to others!

06 November 2009


Bob (my husband, for the uninitiated) is out of town tonight and I'm HOME ALONE. I came home from work at about 8:30 and let Homer, the border collie, into the house ahead of me to check things out. He was glad to oblige. He's kind of scared of the dark and likes to spend the night in the entryway. He gave the all-clear and then I banished him to the porch! I'm not really scared to be home alone. I kind of enjoy being able to mess around on the computer or putz around doing whatever I like, but it is awful quiet!

My current read is "Irresistable Revolution" by Shane Claiborne. (Not related to Liz.) He describes himself as an "ordinary radical" and proceeds to question a lot of the Christian status quo. I don't agree with everything he says, but he does make you stop and think, which is a good thing. He's a youngster, and he hasn't got everything figured out (who does?) but you have to give an ear to someone who spent a whole summer in Calcutta helping Mother Theresa minister to the homeless, the impoverished, the dying and the leprous. He's also very funny! I recommend the book to everyone! (I'm not quite to page 100 yet, so I hope I don't live to regret that recommendation!)

It's cooling off a bit so I'd better begin trying to get the woodstove going. (It takes some work to get it started.) I think I'll turn the TV on, too. It's really getting quiet in here!



29 October 2009

Surprised by Mushrooms...

I'm reading Karen Mains' book called "With My Whole Heart". In it, she has a chapter where she describes taking a class on identifying mushrooms. She took the class hoping to learn how to identify edible mushrooms in the woods, but was told right off the bat that wasn't the goal of the class. She discovered she had a child-like fascination with these fungi. After reading a bit of the chapter and her references to the many interesting names of the mushrooms I just had to go online and look for some pictures. I couldn't believe what a huge variety of mushrooms exist in the world! I came across a website of Taylor Lockwood's Mushroom Fungi Photos and was mesmerized.

She describes how mushrooms are like the flowers on a bush. The main vegetative part of the plant is subterranean, made of a mat of threadlike growths out of which the tiny "buttons" grow and emerge through the soil to become mushrooms. They have a fascinating life! =0)

God's creation is indeed incredible and, it seems, there is no end to the surprises you find when you open your eyes!


24 October 2009

Some words from "The Pastor's Wife" by Sabina Wurmbrand...

Sabina Wurmbrand is the wife of Richard Wurmbrand who wrote and lived "Tortured for Christ". They both spent years in Rumanian prisons because they were Jews and because they were Christians. She wrote about how the other female prisoners would come to the religious prisoners and ask to hear what they knew from the Bible. She wrote-

"We had no Bible. We ourselves hungered for it more than bread. How I wished I'd learnt more of it by heart! But we repeated daily those passages we knew. And at night also, when we held vigils for prayer. Other Christians, like me, had deliberately committed long passages to memory, knowing that soon their turn would come for arrest. They brought riches to prison. While others quarrelled and fought, we lay on our mattresses and used the Bible for prayer and meditation, and repeated its verses to ourselves through the long nights. We learnt what newcomers brought and taught them what we knew. So an unwritten Bible circulated through all Rumania's prisons."


I have a stew simmering in the crockpot and I made a delicious German chocolate cake so there will be something good for supper when Bob and Jordan get back from the taekwondo tournament in Grand Rapids.

I stayed home from the tournament because at my age I know longer enjoy watching people kick my first-born in the head. That actually seldom happens and he is usually the one kicking some other mother's son in the head, but I just don't have the stomach for it these days. He is awesome at taekwondo and usually wins the forms competition, unless he's competing against his brother, Josh, in which case they take turns winning. =0) He is also great at sparring and brings home a lot of wins in that as well. SO, I wait at home and fix supper!

I think I'll turn the crockpot down to "warm", then dish up some stew for myself, because I have no idea when the guys will be here. Of course, I'll have some cake, too! My easy chair awaits, along with some favorite books, and I'd better not forget to throw another log on the fire. It's chilly and drizzly here tonight.

Micah and Adam are coming to visit tonight and staying til tomorrow, so it'll be good to see them!


19 October 2009

I LOVE days off!

My TO DO list for the day:
Make chili and spaghetti.
Bake bread and chocolate chip cookies.

I started right after breakfast (homemade honey whole wheat toast with homemade tomato preserves and peanut butter with a cup of tea) making the spaghetti. Bob likes spaghetti and I like chili, so I make a small batch of each. After the spaghetti, I made the chili and started mixing the bread dough at the same time. The bread dough is about ready to split into loaves for the second rising and the chili is finished. I also just put in a load of laundry. (There usually are only two loads with just Bob and myself here.)

While waiting for the bread dough to rise and while the chili simmered I had an early lunch (burrito hotdish and iced tea) while putting my feet up and watching the news with Bob. I also went up to the loft and looked through some of my piles of photo album paraphernalia looking for the Richards genealogy that Bob's mom (Alma) gave us years ago. I didn't find it yet, but Bob went up while I was back in the kitchen and had a great time going through some old family pictures.

I also got in some reading time. I read a chapter out of "The Pastor's Wife" which is about Richard Wurmbrand's wife, Sabina. (He wrote "Tortured for Christ"). I realized that I have no decent bookmarks. I have about 5 books which I'm reading a bit at a time and using index cards as bookmarks is just tacky, right? So I went to Jan Brett's website to copy some of her bookmarks. She's one of my favorite children's book illustrators!

I also wrote some notes for a novel I'm cogitating about writing for the 10-12 year old female set. Every so often this young heroine of mine knocks on my inner-door and I have to jot down some thoughts, character traits, plot, etc. Someday I'll do something with it, when I'm not talking myself out of it by wondering what the world needs with one more book! =0)

I've been reading "I Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith. It's a fun, light book set in about the 1950's. The time isn't specified, so I'm guessing. (Ah, she reveals on p. 141 that it's the '30's!) It's about a young girl who is 17 and lives with her slightly quirky family in an old castle in England. The father is a has-been author and the step-mom an ex-painting model, and the book is written like a journal. Cassandra (the narrator) is an interesting person and their lives are fun to read about. It's good reading for the breakroom where more serious material doesn't work well, with all the interruptions.

Later today Bob and I will gather some firewood that he's cut up in the woods and then my "TO DO" list will be complete. I'd better go and take care of the bread. I look forward to more reading and organizing of the family photos and maybe a little guitar practice if all works out.

Have a great day!

P.S. Didn't get to the firewood or the photo albums, but I'm going to read some more and then get to bed. Work early in the morning!

15 October 2009

Blue jays in the snow...

Bob and I get an inordinate amount of pleasure watching the blue jays outside of our log cabin in the woods.

At one corner of the house grows an oak tree and an evergreen. I can see the oak tree from my computer out of a south window and Bob can see the evergreen when he sits in my favorite chair by the west window. SO this morning we watched the blue jays eating acorns. There are several of them and they perch in one of the trees, cocking their heads from side to side looking for acorns on the ground. They seem to prefer picking them up from the ground. I guess those are the ripe ones? After swooping down and picking one up they somehow perch on a branch and, holding it between their feet, they hammer away at it with their sharp beak. Are they just removing the cap or are they actually breaking it into pieces? It looks like they swallow it whole. They must have quite a gizzard to grind up those babies!

Anyway, this is entertainment in the backwoods of Minnesota. This is one more scrap of my crazy quilt! =0)

10 October 2009

Visiting online...

I find myself spending more and more time catching up on online friends!

Today I've visited Paperback Swap and found a "sticky post" (a post that stays at the top of the list all the time) on the messageboard called "Lester: Our Mark Twain". This was posted a year ago, but I didn't see it because I don't usually visit this particular forum because it contains lots of heated discussions about spirituality and politics that I really don't want to get embroiled in. But Lester apparently passed away from a stroke (he was in his early 80's) shortly after the post was made and one PBS member had copied all of his forum posts so everyone could read them. I personally just loved this man. He was very wise and gentle and was indeed "our Mark Twain". He, like all PBSers, was passionate about reading and loved to visit on the forums. After copying the post to my Word Pad I hit print preview and saw that there were 57 pages!! I haven't begun to read them yet, but I certainly will and I will print it out to keep. Lots of wisdom contained in those pages.

I also visit with my girl pals at Jody's Home-Made Living. Jody is a homeschooling mom from Montana who lives on a working ranch with her family. I've been a member of this messageboard for about nine years, taking a little time off now and then, but I've really enjoyed talking with these ladies over the years.

Then gotta go to Facebook and catch up on what all my kids are chatting about. Never thought I'd join Facebook, but I found out it's a great place to hear news from the family that I might miss out on otherwise. I also found an old high school girlfriend and we're getting reacquainted, which is lots of fun!

If that isn't enough yacking for me I can always come here and talk to myself as long as I want to! LOL!

I also have a You Tube channel where I collect favorite music videos and guitar tutorial videos. I don't visit there except for the occasional comment to someone whose video I appreciate, but it's a great resource for finding worship music, celtic music and lots of other stuff! EVERYTHING is on YouTube! Lisa's You Tube Channel

Bob's gone to Fargo for the day. I'm here keeping the woodstove hot and making a beef stew in the crockpot. Maybe some biscuits would be good with that. Hmmm...

It's snowy outside and I'm off to tend the stew, finish creating a quiz for Facebook and maybe read a good book.


05 October 2009

Book Review-Kabul 24 by Henry O. Arnold

As a book review blogger for Thomas Nelson I recently read Kabul 24 by Henry O. Arnold and Ben Pearson. As one who only faintly recollected stories of the Taliban kidnapping of 24 humanitarian aid workers in Afghanistan in 2001, I wanted to learn more of their experiences at the hands of the Taliban.

Here in the West it is hard to conceive of what life in a country under seige by the Taliban would be like. It is beyond our ability to even imagine. In this book we are taken on a journey that will open our eyes and educate many of us. We see the differences between various factions active in Afghanistan and how they impact each other. We learn much about the antiquated prisons and the squalid conditions which many innocents have lived in for years without hope of a fair hearing or freedom. A sad picture of what one group of humans can do to another.

Through the eyes of eight Shelter Now International workers we see what it is like to be kidnapped by the Taliban, not knowing why, and knowing that they could be killed by the Taliban or some other group looking for a way to get the world's attention.

These eight people are not portrayed as heroes, but frail and human like us all. We're shown the horrible conditions in which they lived and the fears they were tormented with. We also see how they grow in their dependency on God. How they turn prison cells into prayer closets and write songs of praise in spite of the nightmare surrounding them.

My heart was warmed toward the Afghani people as the story was told of the 16 Afghan SNI workers, who were not Christians, but who were willing to endure extreme torture to protect their Christian friends. The Afghan tradition of hospitality and protection toward their friends was an inspiration.

This book is truly an education.

03 October 2009

Goin' through the motions...

Jordan flew off to Dallas this morning about 10:00, so he should be visiting with Josh, Jess and family by now. I know my mom checks in here to get the latest news of our family. I haven't been writing as regularly lately because I've been spending some time working on songs and such and haven't had as much blogging time left.

Anyway, as my kids wander farther and farther from "home" I've spent some time thinking about the meaning of their lives. I feel honored to have been given the gift of being their mom. As a mom there is still that instinct to keep them safe and to want to have them nearby to see them and visit in person, but most of all I want them to follow the path God has laid out for them. My mothering days are behind me and my days of prayer support will go on until we're all safely in our real home. Heaven.

Life may hurt and it may not be safe, but there's no safer place for them to be than in the will of God. So, I pray that they will desire to follow Him all their days and I'm excited for them as they all go off on their "grand adventures", as Jordan described this trip he's taking.

I don't want my children to spend their lives just "going through the motions" as this song says so well:

01 October 2009

From one scarred hand to the other...

It's actually called "East to West", but that's my favorite part...

27 September 2009

Birthday evening in Bemidji...

Friday was Bob's birthday, so yesterday while Missy was spending the weekend with us, we decided to take her and Jordan out for Chinese food in Bemidji. Our favorite way to celebrate! The food at the Super Buffet was great, as usual.

Jordan had plans to go to the Cabin Coffeehouse afterwards to see Eric Bervig aka Chasing Clarence "in concert". We decided to join him to see what it was all about.

The Cabin Coffeehouse is in a small storefront in Bemidji. As you walk in the front door you enter a small, cluttered, quaint coffee shop where you can order something to eat and drink. Then you walk through a short hallway to the back where there is a room with a small semi-circle of a stage protruding from one wall. The room is "decorated" with a cabin theme. Log siding on the walls, a large painting of a log cabin beside a lake painted on what appears to be a 4'x8' piece of plywood, big windows with forest green curtains and frames, three of which look out onto a brick wall, small circular tables, a few couches arranged along one side, a kid size plastic kitchen in the corner, magazines and boardgames. When Eric and the band (consisting of Sam on keyboards and Ezra on a box drum) began playing it felt like you were at a family jam session. Nothing polished about it, just a folksy, jazz mix of musical styles and lyrics about life. Toward the end of the set Eric's two children, ages 6 and 8 joined him onstage with their violins and helped him with a song. Everything was very low-key and relaxed. We really liked it.

Today Missy and Jordan went to church with us, then treated us to Subway. Now we're back home having German chocolate cake for dessert.

Better go be sociable!

24 September 2009

One thing leads to another....

This afternoon found my husband and me (yes, that's grammatically correct...I think) rummaging around in the musty interior of an old mobile home which has occupied a place in the woods behind our house for many years. Our goal was to empty the contents of the trailer because it had been sold and the new owner planned to move it this weekend. He's a neighbor who's just gone through a divorce and needed a roof over his head until he could come up with a better alternative.

The reason the mobile home is in our woods goes back to 1999 and the specter of Y2K. My husband was an employee of the county and drove a small city bus which transported mostly senior citizens to the store and library, etc. One of his regulars asked if she might park a mobile home in our woods so that in the event of global disaster she would have a place to live. My husband, being an old softy, said that she could. The mobile home was put in place, the lady proceeded to hoard innumerable rolls of toilet paper and then she died. Before the year 2000 could even arrive. There's a moral in there somewhere.

Anyway, along came a friend who was moving out of the state. He asked if he might store some of his belongings in the mobile home since it was just sitting there empty. Being old softies, we said he could. Now, I-don't-know-how-many-years later, his belongings, in considerably sadder shape, are still in the mobile home. A couple of years ago he invited us to see if there was anything we could use and then throw the rest. He wasn't asking much, right?

So, here we were this afternoon trying to decide what should be saved and what should be thrown. Our son's drum set...save. Our other son's textbooks from tech school...save. (Why?) Now I had been through all the books and had found lots of fascinating volumes which now lived on my bookshelves, so when my hubby asked if I wanted any of the books I resolutely said, "Nope. I got all the books out of here that I wanted already."

"Not even one called 'The Life of Jesus' that's really old?', he said, holding up an obviously ancient little hardback book, missing its spine. Well, the bibliophilic maternal instincts kicked in and my resolve...dissolved.

"Well, maybe that one," I said, still trying to sound steely.

"How about a cookbook?" he asked innocently.

"Wait a minute, I'm coming to look," I replied climbing over boxes to see these books that I had obviously missed on a previous visit.

To make a long story longer, how could one resist books such as:

Gregg Shorthand Dictionary
God is Enough
Biography of James Hudson Taylor
Christ the Healer
The Natural Foods Ice Cream Book
Odd Vegetable Cookbook
The Two Covenants
Food is Your Best Medicine
Minnesota: Off the Beaten Path
The Merck Manual
The Three Battlegrounds-Frangipane
With My Whole Heart-Karen Mains
Satan's Underground
Grandchildren Are So Much Fun, I Should Have Had Them First
Lord Heal My Hurts-Kay Arthur
Nice 'n' Easy Family Cookbook
and the piece de resistance (?)
Half a Can of Tomato Paste and Other Culinary Dilemmas (The Cookbook
That Shows You What To Do With What's Left Over When You Have to Buy
Too Much)
plus a few copies of Colonial Home

Ah yes. Who could resist? I think I'll be culling my bookshelves to make room.


21 September 2009

I'm SO excited!

I just received my first book to be read as a Thomas Nelson Publisher Book Review Blogger! I ordered a copy of "Kabul 24" by Henry Arnold. As it says on the cover, it is, "The story of a Taliban kidnapping and unwavering faith in the face of true terror." It tells the story of eight Christians who went to Afghanistan as part of Shelters Now International to help Afghan refugees. They were kidnapped and held captive for 105 days. I can't wait to get into it!

On other fronts, it's my day off so I have plans to make a hotdish, cook up the last of the turnips from my garden and a few zucchinis, do laundry, do a tae bo workout, practice my guitar, fiddle and tinwhiste and read! I already did a lot of grungy work outside uprooting the sunflowers, squash plants, lettuce and anything else I found in the garden. I burned a lot of dog food bags in our outdoor barrel stove. I cleaned the pen and kennel our puppies stay in outside and watered and fed them. I watered the horses. Moved some straw inside so it won't get rained on. Just basically got dirty puttering around and enjoyed being outside.

Bob's heading for Fergus Falls this afternoon to watch Micah's Horse Science class go through their driving class (that's driving horses) and generally have fun visiting with horsey people. I'm staying home because he'll be home very late and I have to get up early tomorrow.

Here's a video of Petra singing "Take Me In", which is the song I'm currently working on with my guitar. Sound quality isn't the best, but it's old...

Here are the lyrics, since they're a little muddy on this video:

Take me past the outer courts, into the Holy Place,
Past the brazen altar, Lord I want to see Your face.
Pass me by the crowds of people,
The priests who sing Your praise.
I hunger and thirst for your righteousness,
And it's only found one place.

Take me in to the Holy of Holies,
Take me in by the blood of the Lamb.
Take me in to the Holy of Holies,
Take the coal, cleanse my lips, here I am.

I'm off. Go with God!

16 September 2009


Started to take my customary 2 mile walk and realized that the sun was only an inch above the trees (well, not AC-tually), so I thought to myself, "Self. I don't really want to be walking home in the dusk when all the skunks come out to play, do I?" And myself said, "No."

SO, after walking the .1 mile from my driveway to the walking trail I turned around and went home where I popped in my "Tae Bo Amped" DVD and did the 31 minute Core Express workout.

This is my first tae bo workout of the season. I usually do this for my winter exercise because it's too darn cold outside. It is a lot more of a workout than walking, so I'll be feeling it in the morning. Maybe even sooner.

Hi-YAAAH, y'all...

15 September 2009

music practice...

I had a little alone time and I finally got in a little practice on my guitar, fiddle and tinwhistle. I posted a few videos on my "Practice Time" blog (see link in my left-hand column) to show what songs I'm practicing. Of course, they don't sound like this when I play them. =0)

Now I'm off to make those tomato preserves! Easy recipe, so it shouldn't take too long.

Vaya con Dios, Mama!

Me on the trail.

Jordan preparing to go horseback riding with Micah!

13 September 2009

Good worship song...

Tomatoes everywhere!

We're getting a bumper crop of tomatoes off of my few plants! I've got cherries, pears and a couple of varieties of standard size tomatoes. With the cool summer we've had just a small dribble of tomatoes at a time, but as we experienced a few warmer days toward the end of summer they've ripened all at once.

I've taken a sliced up tomato with Ranch dressing to work in my lunch several times, and it's great, but I can't keep up! My hubby loves them, but they're too acidic for him to eat very many. So, I decided to try my hand at tomato preserves/jam.

Here are a couple of recipes I'm going to try in the next couple of days. I think I have enough tomatoes to make both recipes. I really like the idea of using apricot Jello in one of them! Anyone else game?

Tomato preserves

2 1/2 pounds tomatoes
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 pounds sugar
1 box Sure Jell
6 jelly glasses


Peel and cut the tomatoes into small pieces. Simmer for 10 minutes.
To 3 cups cooked tomatoes, add lemon juice and Sure Jell. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Add sugar and again bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, skim, place preserves in jars and cover. Process in hot water bath for 15 minutes.

Tomato jam with lemon or apricot gelatin

1 package (3 oz. size) lemon gelatin
3 cups tomatoes, chopped
2 cups sugar

Combine the tomatoes and sugar in heavy saucepan. Bring to boil and boil for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and add the gelatin (Jello). Stir well. Put in pint or jelly jars. Seal while hot or put wax over the jam in the jars. Store in a cool place. Try apricot gelatin for a taste treat, also.

11 September 2009

It's been an ouchy week...

School's started, without us for the first time. As I drove to work this morning and met a big yellow schoolbus, it occurred to me that we would never again have a child in the local public school. Hooray! My apologies to those who love the thought of school, but I'm so glad my kids are finally free to live their lives and make their own decisions. Even though we homeschooled for the most part, there was always the "presence" of the public school hovering in the background...watching. Or so it seemed!

Two of my children are now in college, studying things that interest them deeply. The third is considering doing the same. I'm so jealous! Someday maybe I'll take a class or two!

My daughter, Missy, came to visit last weekend. She and my husband went horseback riding on Saturday and enjoyed it so much that they went again on Sunday. Wish we could turn back the clock. Missy's horse decided to bolt and she (Missy) ended up with a concussion and fractured ribs after a bad fall. She missed some work, but seems to be on the mend. Not a great ending to what was a fun weekend!

Then on Sunday I slammed the sliding door on the deli case at work on my little finger. It looks a little mangled and is taking a long time to heal. It also effects my typing a bit, but nothing compared to Missy's aches and pains! So I'll stop whining.

Otherwise, I've been working a lot and not getting my exercise in. Maybe tomorrow?

My youngest daughter, Micah, is spending the night. She has a horse show tomorrow. (4-H Regionals) She's studying Equine Science at a community college about 90 miles away. Her husband, Adam, is studying architecture. She came alone since he has to work. It's always fun to catch up on what they're doing.

It's late, so I'll sign off for now.


05 September 2009

Man Executed in Jerusalem...

2000 years ago a man named Yeshua was executed outside of Jerusalem. Unlike most people who were sentenced to death, He died because He chose to. He gave up everything so that we wouldn't have to die, too. He died to give us life.

Why would someone have to die for us to have life? Because somewhere way back at the beginning we were broken. When this man, Yeshua, breathed His last breath the veil in the temple tore from top to bottom (Matthew 27:50-51). The temple veil had more in common with the curtain that covers a stage than the ones on your windows. It was about 60 feet tall and woven together layer on layer so that no light could pass through. It separated the Jewish people in the temple from the Holy Place where God's presence stood. It tore because He took the brokenness so we could come home again.

Coming home is a two way street. Most of us have our own veil inside. We've been broken and glued together so many times that our hearts look like a paper mache of blood and bandages. Now, we know that we can come back to God, but it's up to us to decide if He can come in or not. We may have thrown a curtain over some secret in our life that we don't want to get rid of, but don't want anyone to see. Maybe more than anything, we hang a curtain around all the pain. Everything that people told us, we believed, and everything they called us, we owned. The bandages are soaked through and they stick.

If you hurt, there's a man here who wants to treat your wounds. Someone broke you, but not this Man. He's knocking patiently on your door to come in and see you. There's blood dripping from His hands, but it's not yours. He knows all about pain. It's time for the curtain to tear. It's time for a fresh start. Our God is the God of new beginnings.

(This blog was written by my son, Josh. I thought it was kind of good...so I copied it and put it here!)

04 September 2009


My little crabapple tree yielded a 5 gallon bucket of apples! Time to make Lisa's Crabby-Apple Jelly!

Not to mention Wild Plum Jelly! (Though they're still a little under-ripe.)

My dad bought me two little crab apple trees about 10 years ago and they just started bearing fruit about 3 years ago. I was so surprised at that first crop! They are a nice way to remember him since he passed away a few years ago.

It's fun to have jelly-making to look forward to, since the vegetable garden is pretty much done for the year. I'll try to work on that Monday, on my day off. Hopefully next year we'll have a chest freezer so I can freeze more vegetables and maybe even butcher some chickens.

Happy harvest all! =0)

29 August 2009

Wow man, this is like, so '70's....

I came across this video from the '70's while looking for Celtic tinwhistle stuff. I couldn't help listening! I have no idea what they're singing about. It could even be something for mature audiences, but being a child of the '60's and '70's I just had to post it here! =0) Apparently, this is an Irish band that has been popular since the 70's. They are all relatives and are still recording and performing. They must be OLD! (About my age.)

24 August 2009

How's THIS for a sunflower?

I planted a variety of sunflower seeds this spring. Now that most of them are waning this little guy decided to burst forth!

Less blogging, more reading?

Probably not (in answer to the question in the title), but I keep finding new treasures to read, so I'll have to try a little harder to find the time for them!

Beautiful little books! Oh, joy!

22 August 2009

Sir James Galway plays "Lord of the Rings". Lovely...

Free dough!

The Lord provides in creative ways!

The deli I work in is in a 24-hour grocery store. The bakery is right next to us, so we mingle a lot. This afternoon one of the bakery girls came over with a 5 gallon bucket of bread dough (oatmeal bread, to be exact) and said it had been in the proofing room for a long time and wasn't rising. So, she left it sitting in the deli dish room (I'm not sure why) and after a short time it started to rise like crazy and crawl right out of the bucket!

Since they planned to throw it out (the bakery staff had left for the day so it wouldn't get baked anyway) a couple of us filled small buckets with dough to take home. I've got four pans rising next to the stove and I hope it will work! If I get it all baked I'll have to give some away or freeze it.

Oh, and besides the dough, one of the deli gals gave me a ham bone with lots of ham on it. Bean soup coming up soon!

Having some baking fun!

21 August 2009

Fitting in the blog...

Wow! It's so hard to actually live life and then have enough time to blog about it! =0)

Today I worked from 7-3:30, then, since I was carpooling with someone who needed to do some grocery shopping, it was almost 5:00 before I actually got home!

Then, I realized we were low on bread, so I began baking bread. Well, mixing, kneading, letting it rise. SO now, at 8:48 I just put it in the oven!

We're pinching pennies, so I'm trying to bake our bread instead of paying almost $4 a loaf at the store, and it's usually kind of dry and stale. I love to bake bread, but it's a lot to do after work.

I also had laundry to do so I have a clean uniform shirt for tomorrow. I had planned to go for a walk, but no way! My poor legs and feet need a rest!

I did get in some guitar practice, so that was good. And I put my feet up while I ate supper in front of the TV. This is when my husband and I get to visit.

So, time for a shower, getting ready for bed and then socializing with hubby while watching a football game, until the bread is ready.

I had planned to blog about what I'm reading in Luke, but I will wait until I have time to really concentrate on it.


16 August 2009

Jesus Is Your Home...

I homeschooled my kids for about 19 years. I loved being home. Boredom was never a problem for me. I really don't understand people who ask, "How can you stand to be home with your kids all day! That would drive me nuts!" Sure, every day wasn't wonderful, but I genuinely loved being around my kids, who are some of the most interesting and engaging people I know. Now that they're grown and just recently left home (all three of them in a 2 month period of time!) I have no regrets. They've grown into really great people. I'm really proud of them. I, on the other hand, didn't turn out so well.

When my daughter was about 13 it became financially imperative for me to go to work. We had to have a second income in the family. It was fine with my daughter, and my sons were already in college and working. My husband was retired and would be home with my daughter. So, I got a job. In a deli. Really stressful.

If you've ever scrolled AAAALLLL the way down to the bottom of my blog page you would see the results of a personality test I took a while back. According to that test I am 100% introverted. I think that means I live in a closet. =0) Their analysis is pretty right on. They describe me as a:

Confidant-Yes, people do seem to like to tell me their troubles. I'm good at listening without interrupting and nodding while making symapthetic noises.

Visionary-If that means I daydream a lot...you bet!

Intrapersonal-A nice way to say I think about myself too much.

Naturalist-Does that mean I like to go on nature walks? I do!

But, even without the test I would have known most of these things. After all, I'm "intrapersonal". I've been thinking about what I think about for many years. *smirk* Anyway, back to the serious stuff...

You know, oftentimes we don't know just how far we've sunk until a big change takes place in our lives and we're forced to see the truth. Like the proverbial frog in the frying pan, things heat up so slowly we don't notice we're being cooked until it's too late.

Without giving you a blow-by-blow description of my entire life, let me suffice it to say, my life has been a lot like many of yours. A happy childhood, my parents divorced, got remarried, I graduated from high school, married and became a step-mom, had three children, homeschooled them, etc. Nobody did anything terrible to me. Everyone tried their best. But despite all of that, some of us oversensitive types find we've developed the habit of insulating ourselves from the world. With all of the uncertainty in life, we're looking for a place where we feel safe. For some of us this leads to extreme introversion. But the Lord is good. He put us here to be interpersonal. To interact and develop relationships so we can effect those around us for His glory. So...

How to do that with someone who is well entrenched at home; happily hiding from the world? In my case, He pulled me kicking and screaming out into public life. It was emotionally excruciating. I didn't want to join the real world. I wanted to stay in my cocoon where nothing could hurt me! But Jesus knows that our safe cocoon is only an illusion. Just like the butterfly, we're meant to crawl out of that cocoon and fly away. To be a blessing to the world; a lamp shining on a stand. It's the enemy who wants to keep us under wraps.

My extraction from hermithood probably felt similar to the experience of a snail being pulled from its shell, with all the sucking and ripping noises that operation would entail. I spent a long period of time feeling as if my heart had been ripped out every time I had to go to work. I cried. I complained. When I came home I would practically curl up in a fetal position in my favorite chair and suck my thumb. Practically. All I could think about was that I was home at last and I never wanted to leave again. I had such tunnel vision that I couldn't see that there was anything else in the world besides the way I felt inside. (Any psychologists out there? Pulling out the white jackets yet?)

Very slowly, over a period of almost six years now, the Lord has led me through to healing in this area. What I thought was torture was actually God rescuing me from the lies of the enemy that had bound me up in fear. Fear of people.

To flash back a bit, when my kids were small and I had just begun homeschooling (which I think was definitely God's leading, and I have no regrets for it) we lived just ten miles from the North Dakota border. This was in the '80's and we heard stories of children being taken from homeschooling parents in North Dakota. Talk about fear inducing! I was so scared of school authorities and what "they" might do to "us". Even when we moved to a school district where the school was very supportive of us (where we've been most of our homeschooling lives) this fear continued. I developed an "us" and "them" mentality which sort of took in every non-homeschooler. Fear. It's not of God, and the enemy can cripple us completely if we let this deadly cancer of fear eat away at us without fighting back. Satan is the enemy, not other people.

Well, that's the lesson Jesus has been teaching me during my whole pilgrimage into the outside world. Not only is the fear of man subsiding; He's teaching me to see my coworkers and those I serve each day as people who need encouragement and who are valuable to Him. They aren't the enemy at all. They're the ones He loves and who He died for. He's endeavoring to overcome a lifetime of self-centeredness. It's not an easy task. And He's not finished yet!

Now I come home, put my feet up and have a cup of tea. After a rest break (which I need after standing up all day) I get up and get about the business of doing something to participate in the life of my home. Doing dishes and laundry, cooking and baking are things I enjoy because now they are a treat. I still feel a slight wisp of ennui at the thought of going to work, but it's worlds away from what I used to experience. Besides, going to work just makes me appreciate home all the more.

What it all boils down to is this: Jesus is my Home. And He is always with me. As this is revealed to me more and more, I become more open to what Jesus has for me to do and where He asks me to go. Not there yet, but that's the goal.

15 August 2009

Answering a pom-pom question...

Well, I'm going to TRY to answer it.

Pom-pom , who is nice enough to visit and leave comments, asked what songs I'm learning on my guitar.

The short answer to this is, not very many! So far I'm doing a lot of practice drills to get my speed and accuracy on playing chords. I'm also doing some finger stretching exercises, practicing some folkstyle picking and some blues strumming, but I'm not actually playing songs. The reason for this is that the songs he suggests to use for practice are songs I don't know, for the most part, or songs I'm not really interested in learning because he likes blues, jazz, rock stuff that isn't interesting to me.

So, how to solve this conundrum? I really just need to take the time to find some other songs. I have a stack of songs, many are Christian songs from the '70's, which I could play if I looked up a few chords I haven't learned yet, or use a capo to get them into my range (because, for me, playing the guitar is all about accompanying myself to sing). These are just things I need to get around to.

I have CD's full of songs I recorded for my mom WAY BACK in the '70's and I could sit and figure out the chords from those so I could play them again, using the new fingerpicking and strumming techniques I'm learning now.

I love music by people like Keith Green, 2nd Chapter of Acts, Selah, Honeytree, Love Song etc. I'm having trouble finding lyrics and chords for some songs I like, but I'm working on it. This is a journey which will take a while. Eventually, I want to be able to pick up a guitar and figure out songs on the spur of the moment, but I know that's a long way down the road.

My son, Jordan, is an excellent guitarist and has sung with a worship band, which has disbanded recently. I'm sure he could teach me a lot, too. But since he lives 12 miles away, I'm using this website to learn what I can. I know Jordan also has DVD's I could borrow.

I hope you'll try the guitar, Pom-Pom, if you're really interested! Life is short. We may as well try some of those things we've been putting off "'til the kids grow up"!

I'm going to put a picture of my son Jordan in the left column of this blog and I'll try to link it to a place where you can listen to him sing. (Don't worry, I won't grill you about whether or not you listened to it! LOL!)

13 August 2009

Full day...

I didn't go to work until 2 p.m. today, so I fit in a one mile walk and some other exercises in the morning. I also puttered in the garden and brought in some zucchini, tomatoes and green beans.

After a hot and hectic day in the deli I came home to an empty house at 9:30 p.m. Bob had run to Detroit Lakes to do an errand. So I took the opportunity to practice my guitar and tinwhistle.

Now I'm going to do one last check of email and Jody's messageboard.


10 August 2009

Learning patience via guitar...

You know, when I was about 16 years old I prayed for patience. I knew I really had a problem in this area and also knew that God would surely deliver this request quickly. After all, patience is a good thing, right?

Well, I'm still working on it 36 years later. Does it seem strange that it would require patience to learn patience? Hmmm...

So here I am...relearning the guitar. I originally began playing the guitar at the same age I prayed for patience. I played, in a mediocre, self-taught fashion for about 7 years, using it as accompaniment when I sang at church. Then I got married, became an instant mom of four kids at the age of 23, and for some odd reason, the guitar playing went by the wayside. Now that those four kids, plus three more that I gave birth to, are all grown and have flown the nest, I'm ready to try again.

At the age of 52 I look at this learning experience differently than I've looked at learning in the past. I've always had the feeling that I should just pick things up in no time flat or I would give up and try something else. I think this came from watching too many musicals. You know, the type where a bunch of people start singing and dancing spontaneously and they all know the words and the steps without ever having to learn them.

Over the years I've watched other people learn things and I've realized that one of my problems is that I over-analyze everything. I have to know the "why" behind everything before trying to do it. There comes a time for rote learning; blind faith in the teacher. That's what I'm trying to do now with the guitar. I'm just practicing all of the little pieces and believing that eventually it will all come together into a whole, at which time I'll be able to accompany myself in a better way than I did years ago. So, I'm learning patience once again. One guitar practice session at at time.

If you were looking for a deep spiritual lesson here...maybe next time...I'm just rambling...=0)

3 Mile Nature Walk...

Went for a 3 mile walk. The first 1-1/2 miles I kept to the asphalt biking trail, then at the halfway point I decided to walk back on the horse trail. More shade and more flowers to pick for a bouquet!

About half a mile from home there is an old cemetery which I mentioned in another post recently. I've never walked into it because I wasn't sure if it was private or not. I decided since the gates are always open and it's not posted, it might be okay. As it turns out, it's the old Catholic cemetery.

As you can see from the picture, there is a large open lawn area with a cross and a large headstone toward the back of the property. You can see it better if you click on the photo to enlarge it. To the right of the cross you can see a small white object. That's a deer's tail! It's running away from me with it's large white flag up.

I walked to where the cross and headstone are and saw that there was a small roped off area just beyond them. It contained 20-30 very old graves marked by little stones which were flush with the grass and almost covered over. The exception was one large stone next to the border fence. It looked like it had been carved using very primitive tools and the letters carved in it were very crude. It looked like something you would see in an old Irish churchyard. Very interesting. The large new headstone you can see from the trail was apparently placed there fairly recently and lists the names of all of the people buried in the little plot. It also bore the name of Our Lady of the Pines Catholic Church, which is the local Catholic church which has two larger plots, one adjacent to our land and the other across the road from us, next to the lake.

Most of the graves in the little cemetery were from the 1920's and 30's. I thought it was really interesting. I wonder if it's okay for me to go into the roped off area and take a closer look at the headstones? I'll have to check into that. There is an open space in the rope and I'm sure they go in there with a lawnmower so maybe it would be okay. I'd like to get a photo of that big stone. I never knew I was so interested in cemeteries!

08 August 2009

Ghost plant...ooo....

I found a cool little plant which I think I've only seen in my field guide before this. It's called an Indian pipe or Ghost plant. Well, I'll let you read the description below:

The Indian Pipe plant or Ghost plant is a forest floor dwelling plant that feeds upon a parasitic fungus which in turn feeds off the roots of a spruce tree. This interrelationship gives the Ghost Plant some interesting qualities. It contains no chlorophyll and appears translucent in sunlight. Once plucked the plant immediately starts to wither or melt in your hand and necrosis occurs in minutes. The prepared roots of the plant are rumored to have an opiate quality and have been used in the suppression of pain during surgery.

Here are a couple of pictures:

I picked mine a good hour ago and they haven't "melted" yet! We must make a hardier version here in the northwoods! I found it while doing my 2 mile walk on the trail. This was the only spot I saw them, and it fits the description above as far as being in a woodland setting with lots of spruce trees to feed off of.

It's one of those little discoveries that makes you feel like, "God put that there just for me to find and wonder over." One of those "suprised by joy" moments C.S. Lewis talks about.

Life is a treasure hunt!

07 August 2009

Nature walk...yesterday.

Went for a brisk two-mile nature walk down the horse trail. Up and down; down and back. I took quite a few pictures. I'll post some of them here.

There was quite a variety of speeds on this walk. I had to stop and take pictures a LOT. Then my memory card was full, so I had to stand there and delete a few so I could take more.

At the half-mile mark there is a small private cemetary plot with a large white cross. Two fawns, which had been laying in the brush to the right of the trail, heard me coming and jumped up. They went bounding across the cemetery lawn and stopped to the right of the cross where they turned and watched me curiously. You probably can't see them in the photo, but I thought I'd try. (You can see them if you click on the photo to enlarge it.) On the return trip they were still there, browsing around the edges of the lawn. They raced away with their tall white tails waving an alarm when I lifted my camera to take a shot. (Hey, that must be where the expression to "high-tail it out of here" came from!)

It's a very pretty place to walk.

06 August 2009

Oh, my aching legs!

Yeah, overdoing in the kitchen on my day off, as usual!

Today I:

peeled, diced, boiled and mashed 4 large turnips

pureed zucchini and made two loaves of zucchini bread

browned hamburger and made chili

made two loaves of honey whole wheat bread

made chocolate chip cookies

I tried to be a smart cook and wear shoes so my legs and feet wouldn't get so tired, but only stuck to that resolve for part of my kitchen time. I did take frequent breaks to put my feet up and watch Home and Garden TV. Unfortunately, I ate during all those breaks. =0)

I know. They're a little too brown.

Bob's outside working on a new chicken coop. I will go out and help him relocate the chickens when it's all ready. Hey, I'm doing my part in the kitchen, remember?

Now I'm off to practice my guitar for a while. Check my "Practice Time" blog to see if I actually got a round tuit!

Vaya con dios!

03 August 2009

Harvesting again...

Got home from work about 4:00 and after a bite to eat I helped my husband catch one of our young goats. He is giving it to a 4-H gal who has been dreaming (literally, she had a dream) of getting a goat and her parents finally said it was okay. We're cutting back on our goats, so we're glad she'll have a good home! I'm the hoof trimmer for the goats, so I gave her a quick pedicure. Then we put her in the back of the pickup, locked the topper and off she went.

After that, I grubbed around in the garden, pulling a lot of weeds. I fed a large armful to the goats, but most just got dumped over the pasture fence.

My garden doesn't have a lot of variety, but I'm getting a lot out of it for the little effort I'm putting in. With all the cool weather the lettuce is still producing like crazy. I've also gotten lots of turnips and spinach and picked some peas today, as well. Of course, there is more zucchini, but I think it's finally slowing down!

Well, I'm off to do some dishes and wash up my produce. I'll give the lettuce a soaking to plump it up and probably cook the spinach and turnips. On Wednesday maybe I'll make more zucchini bread. Some of it will go to son Jordan. Gotta fatten him up a little!


02 August 2009

Nature walk...

I haven't been walking for a few days. Okay, closer to a week. I've been trying to get over a cold and I've finally outrun it!

Today I went for a brisk two-mile walk down the Heartland Trail, which runs adjacent to our land. I walked down the horse trail for a mile. It's lush, green, hilly, bumpy and lined with woods. In short, it makes for a pretty walk.

I kept a running tab of the plants and animals I encountered, just to see how many I could name by sight.

I did the return mile on the asphalt bike trail that runs parallel to the horse trail. Then I walked a short distance back on the horse trail to pick a small bouquet of flowers which I hope to use for drawing practice. Don't tell the Dept. of Natural Resources!

Flora and fauna I saw:
black-eyed susan
bee balm (purple)
wild mint
poison ivy
red and white clover
white pine
norway pine
wild rose
hoary allysum
catpaws (?)
2 white-tail deer

And a partridge in a pear treeeeee....

Our grand-babies visit!

Our older kids, ranging in age from 38 to 47, live all over the country. Maryland, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Colorado. This week we were blessed to have our son, Trev, daughter-in-law Rhonda and grandchildren Cody (7), Kristen (5), Chloe (1-1/2) and Katie (6 months).

They were in the area for Trev's 20 year school reunion! (Boy, are we old!)

They had lots of fun riding horses, feeding goats and jumping on the trampoline.

Our grandchildren are very smart (of course) and very silly. LOL! Lots of fun!

Hope we can see them again soon.





My son Josh. Twenty-five today!

Happy Birthday hi5 Graphics
Happy Birthday Graphics

27 July 2009

Quite a "day off"!

It's a great day to be outside, and that's a good thing, because we needed to spend a LOT of time outside this morning.

Bob and I spent about 3-4 hours this morning putting up and reinforcing fences. Our smarty pants horses have been getting out a lot lately. Our yearling colt thinks it's worth getting a little shock if he can get on the other side of the fence. So, after chasing them around a few times we decided to create a small 2 acre pasture with a double electrified barbed wire. We disconnected all the rest of the fencing on our property so electricity is only going around that small pasture. Now it really zaps and I just dare him to try it again! LOL! It's nice to relax and not wonder where the horses are. We have to feed hay anyway, so there's no reason they need to have 15 acres to wander around on.

After that I helped Bob keep watch o'er our flock of goats so they could graze in the woods and back pasture. They're kind of fun to watch and I tease him about getting a harp or flute to practice while he's out there. (One of my tinwhistles, maybe?)

My next chore was to pick all of the zucchini. Some of it I will puree to use in zucchini bread. I like to have the freezer full so we have plenty over the winter. What I don't use for zucchini bread or boil up to eat tonight will probably go to the chickens or goats, since most of what is left will be kind of overgrown.

Right now I have two loaves of zucchini bread in the oven and some honey wheat bread rising next to the stove. I also made jello with mandarin oranges and am making my version of swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes for supper.

Bob is off picking up a load of hay, so maybe I'll get in some practice on my instruments.

Au revoir!

25 July 2009

We need to get back to the way the first century Christians "did church"...

or do we?

I've been known to make the above observation. It just seems like church is something we came up with so we could get brownie points with God for perfect attendance and so we could have one more thing to check off our list of "good things" we do each week. Sometimes I wonder what "they" did back in the first century, because they must have had the perfect church back then, right?

Well, I was listening to the radio this morning and got a new perspective on this. One of the fellows talking brought up the church in Corinth. He pointed out that when Paul first started traveling around preaching he was pretty much kicked out of every town he visited. Corinth was the first place he stayed for a long period of time. Things went well while he was there, but after he left the church sort of fell apart, hence the need for his letter to the Corinthians. And then his second letter. This was when he told the church to appoint bishops and other leaders to keep order and to keep people accountable.

I guess they were just humans like us. Not particularly immune to the things we face. Maybe we aren't supposed to follow the example of a church just because it existed in a time not far removed from Jesus' earthly ministry. After all, it doesn't take any of us long to run our wagons into the ditch if we aren't keeping our eyes on Him and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us every step of the way.

So...no recipe for a perfect church here. Church (as in the building where we meet) is a place to fellowship, and just learning to get along with all of our imperfect brethren (of which we are one) is a huge learning and growing experience.

You know, going to a perfect church might be kind of like having tons of money in your bank account. It would be too easy to just put up your feet and forget that you need God. What would you need to pray about? I think history will show that when things are too easy we tend to drift away from God and become lazy and self-indulgent. We need some adversity to wake us up and keep us depending on the only One we should ever be depending on.

C.S. Lewis (Jack, to his friends) belonged to the Anglican Church. He didn't think it was perfect. In fact, I think it just happened to be the closest church to his home. But he seemed to feel that we need to get into a church and STAY PUT. If things aren't going well, PRAY. Learn to stick it out and stand by your fellow members. If they're preaching heresy you could leave, but that was about the only excuse, because no matter where you go "something" will come up that will make you want to leave. Hey, life is hard. But that's what makes us grow in our dependence on God. So he (Lewis) stuck it out and faithfully attended his church with its many flaws and fellowshipped with its imperfect flock. Way to go, Jack!

We who ARE the church can only expect perfection from Jesus Himself. If we each concentrate on growing closer to, and becoming more like Him, the fellowship will get better and better.


24 July 2009

Is this why we blog?

I came across this piece on the website where I'm learning guitar. I thought it was kind of interesting:

so you want to be a writer? by Charles Bukowski

if it doesn't come bursting out of you in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your typewriter
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or fame,
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody else,
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.

don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-love.

the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to sleep
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.

unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.

unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.