Wowsers! This year has flown past. We attended our Grandgirl’s last volleyball club tournament yesterday. Seems we just attend her first game in elementary school – or was that middle school? Well, no matter, she actually graduates in a few weeks! She will go on to play with University of Cincinnati Clermont campus volleyball team. First though is Senior prom and graduation!

I bought a pot of Asian lilies and planted them in the front garden. A sharp wind during a rainstorm one day broke off one stem of blooms. A bird had also perched in the tree above the lilies and decorated the blossoms with its waste. Yuck. Somehow in all the Scriptures about the lilies of the field and the flowers of the earth to my knowledge that event is never mentioned! Imagine.

By the time you read this we will have landed in Hawaii for our trip of a lifetime! Our one and only visit to the 50th State. We had planned to go in 2020 for our 50th wedding anniversary and our 50th state to visit. The pandemic cancelled that. At that time Hawaii said “You can come but you have to quarantine for 2 weeks.” We can barely afford ten days in Hawaii much less 24! So our trip is finally underway. Married 52 years now!

My mother always wanted to visit to see the flowers growing there, but she died having never been there. Her sister also lived there. I have two cousins living in Lihue, but we will not be able to see them. The commuter flight between islands is $115 per person. We plan to visit Hawaii and Maui. They live on Kauai.

I can barely believe we are actually going. I typed out our itinerary spelling (to us) bizarre names like Waikoloa, Akala, Holualoa, Punaluu. Realized I had misspelled Kilauea once I said it out loud! We are staying at Hapuna beach on Hawaii (not so bad) and Kaanapali on Maui. Monokalani and Kaihalulu are weird. It does not help that instead of trying to pronounce the names while we planned Bob just made up words with lots of vowels and syllables!!

So as long as we remember to get groceries on Maui at the airport city in Kahukui on Kaahumanu avenue, (oh my!) we ought to be fine?

Because every single thing is imported to Hawaii all the prices are high. We will likely return broke. Our daughter says to go ahead and spend!

Please pray for safe travels! Opening photo is by Michael Swiet.

Driven to Distraction

Many things occur in our neighborhood that are accompanied with sounds and noise. When I am writing the blog (preferable on Monday and Tuesday mornings) I pray, play music and try to tune out all the distractions. Today was no different.

Except, there was this clunk. Then later another clunk. Then two clunks in a row. The sounds were not rhythmic like a worker. Finally, I could not take it and had to go try to find the source of the distracting disturbance. What was causing this commotion?

I went outside. Okay the Royce fertilizer guy was down the street, but not making the noise I kept hearing. Nothing to the left of our house. Nothing else to the right.

I went out back. No workers there that I could detect. The trees have filled out so it is a bit harder to see the other houses. I went into the master bathroom. When I came back to the kitchen there was the sound. A Robin at the sliding glass door!

Earlier we had seen robins on the deck which is unusual. They seemed huge and likely were just puffed against the wind and chill. April 24 and 33 degrees! Go figure! One in particular seemed to be liking the rungs under the black metal porch side table. I noticed piles of gooey waste from that bird. Rinsed them off with glasses of water.

Now Lucky wanted in on the act. I told her to chase the birds off. Instead she decided to roll her ear in the most recent pile of waste. I moved the sliding screen door. I moved the lace curtain thinking perhaps she was seeing a “rival” in the door – her reflection. I put plastic planters upside down in front of the door and brought the water hose over the railing. Back to writing.

Thump. Thump. Really? I went to the door declaring, “I need cat!” and called “Here kitty, kitty.” No response though there had been an orange tabby in the yard recently.

I moved the sliding screen over the door where I thought the bird was knocking. This time I left the dog out on the deck. Of all the places in this wooded area, why our deck? Oh well. Those birds should go next door. That neighbor has a sliding glass door, too. She has a deck and no pets!

Do you know the center verse of the Bible? (These are facts that Christians like to collect.) I think the center verse is no accident as it has kept me from many troubles.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to put confidence in man.

Psalm 118:8. Another version reads “than to put confidence in mortals.” Take refuge in the LORD. Not the ones about you who you can see and hear, but who will die. The Almighty LORD, King over angel armies, He is to be our refuge.

The photo above was from online. It reminds me! We are going to make the trip of a lifetime (at least for us). When our 50th wedding anniversary rolled around we had planned to go to visit our 50th state. That was when the pandemic hit. Hawaii basically said, “You can come here, but you must quarantine for 2 weeks before you travel about.” My response was I can barely afford 2 weeks in Hawaii, much less a month!” So we put off our trip. Bob was really liking the idea of our 50th state and our 50th anniversary 😦

So this year we will celebrate our 53rd wedding anniversary and visit our 50th state! We have consulted our Hawaii experts the Cookseys. We have met several times with a travel agent. Bob is trying to overcome his discomfort about being on an island (or two) totally surrounded by water. We want to see the flowers, helicopter over the volcanoes, see rainbows, enjoy the tropics, birds, jungle plants, etc. Bob plans to eat lots of seafood. I think pineapple sounds delicious. I am even thinking about taking a vacation from writing the blog. Yikes, (Can she do that?)

We have a dog sitter. A house sitter. And by the time we return we might actually be broke! Our daughter says to go ahead and spend. We just might on this trip!

Cat Fur

Riding around lately I noticed the street gutters seemed to be full of yellow fluff, like cat fur, yellow cat fur.

We passed a street cleaner truck in downtown Batavia and Bob commented that it was a de-fluffier.

Driving further out into another county we noticed they might have been shaving yellow cats as there was so much yellow fluff and no street cleaner trucks.

Have you guessed it yet?

Fluff off the sycamore trees.

Resurrection Sunday

Sometimes when I was growing up I got to go to sunrise service on Easter morning. I think my favorite one was held at French Park in Cincinnati. The weather was often chilly and even at times rainy, but we were determined to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord as the sun came up!

My mother worked for many years at a flower shop in Norwood, Ohio. One year she brought home some purple hyacinths and plucked each flower off, wrapped it in wet cotton, wired and taped it. Then she assembled them as an Easter corsage for me. To this day the fragrance of purple hyacinths remind me of her. Though she lived a troubled life I believe her faith in Christ took her to be with Him when her life on earth ended.

None of these things help my soul celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus as much as my gratitude lists. When Ann Voskamp wrote One Thousand Gifts I wonder if she knew how the practice would revolutionize the American Christian church? Certainly it changed her life, but do we ever truly know the impact our writing will have upon others? I wonder.

Have you practiced writing down the gifts in your life that Christ Jesus has bestowed upon you? Have you given Him thanks this Easter? Here are some of my thanksgivings.

  • Sunshine
  • Rain in due season
  • Salvation for my soul
  • You give strength to hearts that are true to You
  • Your righteous shall live by faith
  • our home
  • the longevity of my marriage
  • Justice that rolls down and righteousness as an ever-flowing stream
  • God with us
  • You know the hairs upon our heads
  • The Convent of the Transfiguration
  • my sisters in Journey Together in Stitches
  • crochet and knit group at senior center
  • Your Spirit that gives me life
  • Your breath in our lives
  • My children
  • My grandchildren
  • Laundry now on first floor
  • small gardens to delight my soul
  • the bluebirds at the office window
  • rabbits in Angela’s yard
  • Grogu to make me smile
  • Noodle the Corgi that makes me smile
  • music
  • music memories from over the years
  • The Holy Spirit speaking in my soul
  • My Bible and Bible Gateway tool
  • Rheude’s small group
  • Lucky learning to play with her toys
  • Cooking
  • Great Smoky Mountains and spring wildflowers there
  • Medical care
  • freedom of religion
  • clouds
  • spring peepers
  • gifts
  • dark chocolate
  • coconut!
  • travels we have done
  • travel planned to Hawaii
  • blogging friends
  • New Mexico friends
  • Neighbors who are friends
  • running water in our home
  • crocheting
  • sewing for our home and others
  • museums of art
  • Cincinnati Nature Center
  • red winged blackbirds
  • butterflies
  • armor of God
  • Abraham’s example of faith and obedience
  • Andrew Peterson’s music
  • Learning to be a living sacrifice
  • loving husband
  • forgiveness
  • the Great I am
  • firemen
  • police officers
  • electronic books from the library
  • my sister
  • pinwheels
  • soap bubbles
  • even to old age He will keep me
  • black licorice
  • Spirit of God who raised Christ from the dead LIVES in us
  • I can entrust my soul to my faithful creator
  • iPad with keyboard
  • ear buds for listening while walking the dog
  • Living Water
  • Seashells
  • heating pad
  • ocean sounds
  • He walks with me and talks with me
  • rainbow in the sky reminds me of rainbow around the throne
  • the Psalms
  • friends serving in Nepal
  • New Covenant in my mind and on my heart
  • Jesus is made unto me wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption
  • “Pajama church” when you can’t make it to service
  • His still small voice
  • Bob’s sense of humor
  • a good fresh salad
  • piano music
  • people I know I can ask to pray – knowing they will do it
  • cellos
  • live drama performances
  • good ham salad
  • music by Brandon Lake
  • writing poetry
  • Mizithra cheese sauce on angel hair spaghetti
  • broccoli slaw, just yum
  • Spirit of God helps me write

That is my partial list. How about you? Get a little notebook and begin to list your praises and things you are grateful for! It will work wonders for you 🙂

Death could not hold Him!

Humor While Walking Lucky

Like most modern subdivisions we have a drainage pond. There are usually Canada Geese there spoiling the sidewalk with there stool. Sometimes on the water we get Wood Ducks. They are so lovely. Last year they hatched their eggs at our pond but I think the local coyotes got most of the goslings. The wood ducks seem particularly fond of one yard where they keep the feeders filled year ’round.

While walking Lucky the other day, I wondered if the Wood Ducks thought they were camouflaged? You decide!

Mr Baker, why do you have decoys in your yard? Oh, those are real!!

Just Silliness

Is a hearse on a tow truck twice dead? Not what Scripture teaches:

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment

Hebrew 9:27 KJV

“Going to hell in a hand basket.” Now wait a minute. you cannot fit very much into a hand basket! Maybe a dozen eggs; certainly not a person! If you study the idiom, it means is to be rapidly deteriorating – on course for disaster.

Sign said, “Right on red arrow after stop.” Explain that to me! Lane only goes left.

And for a snippet of poetry:
The moon smeared the cloud strips with a large brush
She used a small brush to paint through my window

Humor at Church

We recently visited an Episcopal church to worship with friends and to hear a presentation from a series on Healing. Both of the altar boys were wearing the alb.

It is not unusual to see various brands of gym shoes and jeans below the alb. What startled me was the edge of a hoodie inside the alb collar that read under armor.

 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 

Ephesians 6:10-11 NRSV

Hoping the kid knows that Scripture!

Cooking with Senior Citizens

Suddenly I was so cold I wanted to climb inside the coffee mug, not just hold it in my hands! Such is my life. Then a few minutes later I am wanting iced coffee and peeling off layers of sweater or sweatshirt. Bob says my thermostat is broken.

Years ago I bought us an electric yogurt maker. It is a great money saver when milk goes on sale. It is a small electric device. First you must scald and process the milk. I use 2% or even 1% milk. Placing 4 cups of milk in a glass measure I cook it in microwave for 9 minutes. That scalds the milk. Then pour into plastic container from yogurt maker. Chill in an ice bath for about 11 minutes until it cools to 110 degrees. Add 1 cup plain yogurt. Plug in maker. Add yogurt container. Cook 8-10 hours. Let cool. Strain if we want it more like Greek yogurt. Add berries, sweetener, etc. Enjoy!

I made some recently. After Bob had a serving and we strained it more I decided to make another batch as I still had extra milk from a sale. Went though the process and placed it in the cooker. We went to run errands for a few hours. I came home and the appliance was cold. Well, Dodo me, I never plugged it in!

Since his eye surgeries at times Bob can’t see lines on the liquid measure. Eventually he figures out what dollar store spectacles to wear so he can see the lines. He is anxious to get his refraction done so he can get new glasses. Maybe things will be easier in the kitchen then!

Bob mastered his Mom’s Blonde Brownies recipe. Then he improved the recipe by adding sea salt caramel morsels. They are a delicious hit. Everyone who tastes them loves them. And now the store quit selling the morsels? So did the other two stores! WHAT?! We bought some plain Kraft caramel pieces about the size of morsels.We will let you know how they turn out.

Notice the price of eggs lately? Unless you never go to the grocery or cook, you likely have noticed. A year or two ago I learned how to make hard boiled eggs in the Instant Pot pressure cooker. I asked Bob if he would want to learn how to do eggs in the Instant Pot. He agreed that would be good. I did not supervise him closely as I was cooking something else. I just sort of told him the steps. They eggs did not seem to cook long enough. We tried it again. I wondered if I need a new Instant Pot? Finally we took them out. I cracked one it was barely soft boiled. As we dismantled the Instant Pot I realized he had left one stainless pan inside the cooker pan and then put in the water and egg holder. I had done that once before, too. The eggs do not cook correctly with that arrangement. The water and the egg holder have to go in the stainless pot provided with the cooker. We managed to eat up those under-cooked eggs with frying or more cooking period. Frustrating with the price of eggs! I determined to buy him more eggs ( they are his favorite food). The prices are high right now, but egg merchants assure us the price will come down soon. His next batch was flawless!

We both insist on laughing together when these things occur. We are likely to make more mistakes not fewer as we age. At least for now we make it fun!

Even to your old age I am he,
    even when you turn grey I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
    I will carry and will save.

Isaiah 46:4 RSV

Humor of London Broil

When we visited California recently my sister-in-law had her husband grilling London Broil. It was quite tasty. We do not buy lots of beef, in fact hardly any. At the grocery I saw London Broil in the mark down bin so I bought it thinking, “Okay, I can learn to make this.” Looking online one woman said hers was really tough. A writer from Bon Appetit gave advice how to prepare this beef so it would not be tough.

He wrote: “Try this: Rub steak with the cut side of a halved garlic clove and liberally season both sides of your London broil with salt and pepper. Let it sit at room temperature on a rack set inside a rimmed baking tray for at least one hour. The salt will dissolve and will be absorbed into the meat. Prepare a grill for medium-high heat (or heat a grill pan over medium-high). Grill the first side for four minutes, then rotate 45° from its original spot on the grill (but don’t turn it over) in order to get the crosshatch grill marks. Continue to grill for another three to four minutes, then flip and repeat the process, until it’s charred and medium-rare. An instant-read thermometer should register 125°F when it’s ready—about 10 to 12 minutes total. Let it rest about 10 minutes before cutting, and serve it with a pat of butter (I’d say herb-lemon zest compound butter if you’re feeling adventurous).”

The instructions lay on the counter for a week. Finally, Bob asked me if I was going to make this and did I need help? I said sure let’s make it and I might be able to prepare it on my own. That afternoon we got busy on projects in our shared office. When I realized it was time to prepare dinner I had not let the meat sit for the hour! Figured I could still get it done if we loosened up what time we ate dinner. It was cold outside and a little rainy. Bob pulled the grill on the deck around. I said to put it so it was facing the sliding glass door.

He fed and walked the dog while I prepped the meat, set the table, warmed potatoes, made salad, etc. Having never done this before and not wanting to create steak too tough to eat I was following directions meticulously. I went outside to open the valve on the gas tank for the grill. It was cold out there, but the grill was having trouble getting to even 150 degrees. I asked Bob to check it. My thinking was it may be out of fuel? Sure enough, it was. By then it was dark, and cold and I said let me just cook this in the broiler. Not unheard of online, but disappointing after looking forward to the grill in January!

So I fired the broiler on low and proceeded to time the cooking. What a joke. Here I was planning this special meal and wound up cooking it in the kitchen! “The best laid plans ….” It was not seared with grill marks as nicely as if we had cooked it on the grill. Bob said it was delightful. For my taste, it was underdone but the microwave helped a bit with that.

There were two pieces of meat in the package. I froze one of them. Bob replaced the gas tank on the grill a few days later. Some sunny day when craving beef, we will try the recipe again.