Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass- it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


The Tree

The mantle

The Santa Collection

The mess

Cover pictures over mantle with gold foil
Find lights and garland to go over windows in living room
Set up Nativity
Clean up!!

My goal was to finish...but I did fairly well for one day's work.

*Apologies for multiple posts. Every time I try to place pictures, it goes bonkers!!!
THANKSGIVINGWaiting patiently, or not!

Definitely, no one was waiting

And later that day with all the cousin...third cousins if I count correctly.
(These are grandchildren of first cousins, that makes it third??)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Yep!! I went to Missouri and went Croc hunting!! Caught some too!! They have really good Crocs here. More than at home. More styles, more colors! So we're having Croc for Thanksgiving down here. And they should last fine to have Crocs back home too. The pickin's waz good. They didn't even put up a fight. I purty much jest went and got the ones I thought looked the best!

So, I got me a pair of tan Crocs, a pair of black ones and a pair of blue. Ha!

You didn't really think I had taken a gun after crocodiles?? As far as I know the reptile kind of crocodile doesn't quite get this far north. Southern Arkansas, maybe. Not central Missouri.

And I'm thankful to have two pair of pumps that I can wear without being crippled within an hour....seriously, shoes are a real problem. I've had these tan ones on most of the afternoon and I can still walk.

Monday, November 24, 2008

In class last night we were asked to make a timeline of our personal bilinguality. It occurred to me later that the first time I taught a class in Spanish, I could barely speak. It was a Sunday School class in the jungle city of Santo Domingo de los Colorados. There had been no class for the littlest ones, only for older kids. So I decided to start a class for pre-school. I probably had a few first graders as well.

First, the church met in a storefront building that opened by a metal pull-up door (garage style) right onto the main street of town. The older children met out back in the patio area.

The only place for the young ones was a dark room off to the side that was intended as an office, if the space ever became a store. It was tiny, lit by only one 40-watt bulb. The walls were concrete block, unpainted. The floors were unfinished cement.

In this dank, dim prison-like room, I added a straw mat for the floor. I also purchased some small plastic toys, cars and other vehicles mostly along with a few other odds and ends all of which made the “Happy Meal” type toy look like something from FAO Schwartz. And like every good Sunday School teacher, I always brought cookies.

Word got around through the neighborhood that if you came to listen to the story there would be toys to play with and cookies to eat. So in addition to my own two boys and a couple of little ones of the church members, the neighborhood little ones began showing up. They were dusty and bedraggled, but arrived ready to sit and listen long enough to get a cookie and play for awhile

All week I would struggle with the lesson, looking up words in Spanish that I would need. When it was Israel and the wall of Jerico, I could not remember the word “muro,” so I ended up using “pared” – which is an inside wall. Really “muralla” would have been better for a wall around the city. And those are the things that I remember. The errors I KNEW I made. Lord knows what I really said.

But as they sat there for a few minutes with their little eyes wide open listening to this crazy gringa woman who let them play with toys and eat cookies, I realize that it wasn’t what I SAID that reached them. I so badly wanted them to remember that Jesus loves them.

And now, looking back 35 years, I wonder. Did any of it take? Did they get it? What do they remember about the crazy gringa woman who gave them cookies, let them play with toys and talked bad Spanish? Is that all? Or do they sometimes realize that there is a God who loves them and wants to relate personally? All I can do is wonder.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Loser

You'd think that with the advent of computers and search engines including a google tool which will search my own computer, that I wouldn't lose things anymore. Nope. I am an expert "loser." Now I don't mean that in the comic/dramatic sense of The Loser as a failure at everything. I mean I am a certified expert at losing things. I even have saved on my computer some instructions about how to find things.

Maybe I'll post that tomorrow.

But for today, I lost Thursday's post. I saved it on one of four computers. My desktop computer, my laptop computer, the desktop at work (probably not, I don't usually have time to write there), or the laptop from work that I take to class. (Possible. I do sometimes write extraneous stuff sitting in class. In my defense, I also write class note, look up websites mentioned in presentations and email the stuff to classmates for the benefit of all.) But I can't find it. I can't even remember what it was about. So in lieu of Thursday's post, I'll write what's going on today.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Starting at 3 AM on Friday, I've been sick as a dog. First I emptied my stomach, then the rest of me. After turning my digestive system upside down into the toilet bowl every hour on the hour for about 15 hours, I sat in a chair and stared at the wall for another 8 hours. Are you fascinated yet?

Finally today, I'm on the BRAT diet, although the bananas haven't stayed down yet. And I've had enough strength to watch 57 made-for-tv Christmas movies, cried my eyes out over them and finally stumbled to my computer to communicate with the world.

Today, I'm totally relieved there is not a webcam on my computer. Believe me, the sight of me still in my pj's from two days ago would send you running for the Zanax, if not Thorazine!! Oh no. I'm the one who needs the Thorazine, if I don't start feeling better soon.

With that cheery thought I leave you. Don't you wish I could have found the post I wrote on Thursday??? I'm sure it was happier than this one!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Christmas Angels

Someone emailed me recently about Christmas angels and I began to think. We've had a few Christmas Angels through the years.

About twenty years ago, it had been a difficult year when on a Saturday morning in December when the doorbell rang. A man stood there, not anyone I recognized. When I answered he handed me an envelope.

"A few years ago I was really hard up," he said. "I came by and your husband helped me. I'm doing well now so I thought I'd come and pay it back." And he handed me the envelope.

I said "Thank you." And afer he left, I opened the envelope. It held five tweny dollar bills. I was so relieved. That was enough to get presents for the boys and food for the meal.

This year there have also been several miraculous answers to need. Mostly it's not something that I can talk about. But the church is getting new gutters, just because one individual said he'd buy the materials and another (who isn't even a member here) volunteered to do the labor. There have been several of those lately.

God's blessing always arrive just in time. nd dozens of peopl.

God is SO good!

Bob's birthday was today. The kids prepared soup and pie (Hubby doesn't like cake, but loves pie!) So early this evening we went out there for supper. (That's Southern for a light evening meal.) After supper we were sitting around the table and began talking about the neediness of many people this year -- at my school, the food pantry, etc. The talk went from there to some specific situations. By the time we left, there was a written plan...scribbled on a calendar and an eager participation of all of us. Both DIL's said to ignore the Christmas wish list I had requested and received earlier. They'd really rather help others. I won't toss the list, but we will be adjusting expenditures in order to minister in a greater way to those around us.

But on the way home, I began thinking about how blessed I am. Our birthday dinner turned into a ministry planning session led by one of my DIL's, with the other kids being willing participants. And I realize this is the answer to my prayer.

For years I've prayed that God would lead our children into ministry. We're getting older. Someone must take the torch. All of them are involved in ministry positions within the church that we pastor, but none of them are doing it the way I would have planned. But tonight a plan for practical ministry was developed for the Tuesday Bible Class. (The class was already scheduled to read Jack Hayford's The Purpose of Christmas.) This fits beautifully. Plus, we'll be having a giving tree in the Narthex besides some plans for our family to provide assistance in other areas.

Suddenly, I have this epiphany moment. This is exactly what they are doing: taking the lead in ministry. Accepting the call of God into the next generation. Not in a pastoral capacity the way I had envisioned, but they are accepting the Call. I am grateful beyond measure.

Thank you God for the way you work. Your ways are higher than my ways.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

God brews the coffee, not the cups

A group of alumni highly establish in their careers got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and
an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee.

In most cases, it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups... And then you began eying each others' cups.

Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of Life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided us.
God brews the coffee, not the cups... Enjoy your coffee!"

"The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything."

unknown author

Thank you God for inspiration, for those moments in which things make sense. For people who provide food for thought.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lidna's final Fall Into Flavor

This soup is a fall and winter staple in our menu. There are a number of variations possible. In the day when we often had unannounced guests arriving, it was also something that could be stocked in the cupboard and fixed at a moment's notice. With a loaf of fresh bread (That's what teenagers are for - - send them to the store for the bread!), it's a meal in a minute, okay, actually about 30 minutes. Twenty if you work really efficiently.

Tortellini Soup
1 can chicken stock
1 large V-8 Juice (Or just tomato juice if you prefer)
1 box cheese tortellini
1 small onion, peeled, diced
2 carrots, peeled, diced
2 stalks celery, remove strings, diced
1 bell pepper, remove seeds, diced
1/2 stick butter (optional)
Cooked diced chicken (optional)
(Double or triple for large crowds. Guaranteed crowd pleaser)

Rippin' Hurry version
Toss all the vegetables in a pan, add the broth and V-8 juice, on high heat, bring to a boil. Lower heat and add tortellini. Cook until tender. About 20 minutes (Less if you use fresh tortellini)

If you have time for a bit fuller flavor:
Lightly saute the diced vegetables in the butter (or us a little olive oil). Cook only until onion turns translucent. Do not overcook. Add V-8 juice and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, add tortellini. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until tortellini is tender.
Add cooked diced chicken during last 5 minutes

For a heartier version: Omit the chicken broth. Add one can of diced tomatoes.
For a lighter version: Omit the V-8 juice. Increase the chicken broth.
For a more gourmet version: use the fresh tortellini from the refrigerator case rather than the boxed one.

Great for emergencies. Keep a box of tortellini, a jar of V-8 juice and a can of chicken soup in the pantry. They'll think you're a miracle worker.

Today I'm Thankful for The Joy of the Lord. I will rejoice in the Lord, no matter. It is that which gives us Strength to draw from the Wells of Salvation.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Silently Serene Sunday
Hillbilly Style

Today I'm thankful for serenity (and humor).

Saturday, November 15, 2008

In the presence of Jehovah

Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

I ran across this quote out in the blogosphere. I need to make it my motto.

Today I'm thankful for good health, for the power to fight off an infection, for the blessing of having availability to a doctor and medicine I can afford.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


(Read with the tune of the “Dragnet” theme song in the background.)

I know how the inmates in a mental institution feel just before the take down. It happened Tuesday night. I could sense someone moving in on both sides of me. A shadow fell across the work I was doing. Innocent work with a really sharp Cutco knife.

You know, the ones that are advertised to last for a lifetime, and they do too. The scissors are demonstrated by cutting a penny in half and mine still will, even though they are about fifteen years old. This sharpness is recommended for cutting bones in half, bones of chickens and ribs of beef or pork, not fingers of people. Once I tried the knife on my finger, quite by accident. It didn’t actually cut the bone, but then I cheated and moved my finger when I felt the blade, so it didn’t have a chance, really. However, ever since that incident which took me to the emergency room in the middle of my son's 18th birthday party, the men in my family turn into lurking bodyguards whenever I pick up a sharp knife.

So I have this very sharp knife in one hand, a knife with a record. With the other hand I’m holding this little plastic gadget. I’m only cleaning out the veggie fragments from between the plastic squares on this little plastic dicer…with the sharp knife.

Just as I sense the presence of two men, one on either side, I look at my fingers in relationship to the sharp knife. And realize that they are coming to protect me from that villain of a knife. My fingers are in danger from that darn knife.

My imagination can see the men exchanging glances. You know the look, one nods at the hand holding the offending knife, the other responds with a nod in turn. Then one of them mouths, “on my count: one,”

But before he can finish, I laugh, and say, “I'd better get something not so sharp to clean this before I slice off a finger."

My son says, “Good idea mom. I think a butter knife would work better,” and backs away, while his father looks relieved and turns back to his task of wiping down the counters.

Yep. They were about to tackle that knife. Might not have been pretty!

And today, I'm thankful for a loving husband and children. And for granddaughters who like to cuddle and read me books -- even while I'm posting a blog!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thankfulness Entry

I’m thankful for a job that provides for basic needs; (even if it occasionally raises my stress level into the stratosphere) and that my children also have jobs.

This year, need has hit our children at school harder than usual. There are more needy children this year. Two weeks ago, my son purchased a lantern-type flashlight with extra batteries for a family here who didn’t have electricity. The little girl was unable to do her homework after the time change because by the time they had eaten and tended to the little ones, it was too dark to read and write.

Over the weekend my daughter-in-law gathered up clothing from my granddaughters that didn’t fit any longer, and I brought those to school on Monday. Along with donations from other teachers, they are sorted and stacked in a metal cabinet designed for books and school supplies in the social worker’s office. Today the social worker told this story.

Two little girls with opposite problems ended up waiting in her office at the same time. One child has been the caretaker for an alcoholic mother who is now in rehab. The child has been staying with relatives nearby, but a favorite aunt is going to take her over Thanksgiving and they will go to a mall to shop.

The other little girl is one who has been without gas and electricity for more than a month. Her mother just had a new baby. The child has come to the social worker for referrals for food and clothing as well. Both girls asked if they could peruse the clothing.

When they discover some new underwear they think is “cool” the child anticipating the mall visit begins to talk. She’s so excited that she will be in a mall. She can’t remember ever visiting a mall before. She wonders aloud what it will look like and what the stores will look like. For as long as she can remember, she and her mother have always shopped at resale shops. She wonders aloud if there will be things as cool as the stuff here, except more?

The second little girl finds a Gap logo sweatshirt that she likes. Holding it up to herself she responds that she’s never been to a mall either. She says she thinks it has nice stuff like this, but very expensive. Then she discovers a Dora blanket that she thinks would be very nice for her three-year-old brother who’s a bit jealous of the new baby.

I don’t know how the social worker kept a straight face as she told the pair to come back right after school and she’d have a bag ready for each to take home. I got teary when she told me about it, and again now.

With tears running down my face, once again I repeat:

I’m VERY thankful for a job and that my children have jobs.
And I pray: God, please help us to remember the people who REALLY need Christmas presents this Christmas.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fried Spaghetti

1 lb spaghetti
3 eggs
1/2 cup parmesan or romano cheese, grated
1 tablespoon basil
Olive Oil
Your favorite spaghetti sauce

fresh vegetables, (your choice) my favorite: Green pepper, onion, carrots, mushrooms

Put the spaghetti on to boil. Cook al dente. Do not overcook. Drain and rinse with COLD water. (Needs to cool off so as not to cook the eggs when you mix them in.)

While spaghetti is cooking, saute vegetables in 12-inch iron skillet (or any other skillet you like to use) in olive oil.

In very large bowl place eggs, cheese and veggies. Mix together, then add cooled spaghetti. Toss together.

In the skillet add 1 more tablespoon of oil, heat to smoking and add spaghetti, egg, cheese, veggie mixture.

Keep heat on medium and cook 15-30 minutes until bottom is nicely brown and egg is set.

Turn out onto plate -- brown side up -- cut into pie-shaped pieces and serve. (Serves 6)

I like the fried spaghetti without sauce at all, but I always serve warm spaghetti sauce for diners to add. Sometimes if I have guests or lots of hungry men-people, I'll add meat to the spaghetti sauce.

P.S. I made it tonight served with toasted French bread with a fresh mozzarella, olive and tomato salad and added Lidna's Apple Crisp for dessert. Yummy!

Today's Thankfulness: I'm thankful for a loving, caring church family. Love Y'all!

I'm thankful for a restful Sunday. And it was. In spite of being busy. We went to church in the morning, celebrated my older son's birthday with a nice lunch (and ate some yummy food -- the chicken pot pie was really, really good). The remainder of the afternoon I spent with my Granddaughters -- all three of them! We played dress-up. At one point, I was the minister since they decided to get married, mermaid costume and all.

This is officially my Sunday thankfulness blog. (I know, it's Monday already.)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I accepted the challenge to post one thing I am thankful for every day between now and Thanksgiving.

Today, I am thankful for hearth and home. Sincerely. I'm not just sayin'. (There's a story there for another day)



And I'm off to class!! It''s Saturday morning. Where does the time go?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A Creative Afternoon

First the art gallery and the artist

Then the author and her book
"The Kind New Girl"

It was the first day.Someone was sad.

I asked her what was the matter.

I broke my bone. (She said)
Do you want to be friends? (I asked)
Sure. (She replied.)
The Author with her book.
(Age six. Written completely without assistance...
Captions in this blog interpreted for your reading pleasure.)

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