So Off I Went

Finally off to college and the world of learning, lust and various forms of sin. I participated in quite a few of those. After one year at college I ran out of money. People were telling me I could eat peanut butter and get a degree with debt at the end, or I could go to work. I chose to go to work.

Got an apartment, full time job as a key punch operator and was on my own. My mother was calling me every day. When she was questioning me one day about where I had been the night before I had quite enough. She had called. I was asleep and never heard the phone. This was way before answering machines. My boyfriend had left for California. I started contemplating moving there to help Mom cut the apron strings. Found out I could have a job as a nanny if I wanted it.

Soon I was off to California to work full time as a nanny to a Chinese family. There was not much sign of Christian life in me at the time, though I had kept my prayer book and Bible. I went into somewhat of a depression trying to reconcile what had happened to my life in Cincinnati. The niece I never knew was put up for adoption immediately upon birth. My family was splintered.

Peet’s Coffee

The best part of Berkeley California was I worked across the street from Peet’s coffee shop. They roasted coffee every day. What a glorious aroma!! After a few months I broke up with the boyfriend. Eventually I changed jobs and went to work at AAA as a touring counselor. It was fun. I even waited on Ray Kroc once, the owner of McDonald’s. I thought he was teasing me about being the owner.

While enjoying the park one Saturday I met a young man named Don William. He introduced me to his roommate, Bob. Bob was only coming to their shared apartment on weekends. He lived in Fremont with his family of origin during the week because he worked with his dad even further south near San Jose. It was literally love at first sight.

We met in July, got engaged in August and married in September. We only waited until September so the people from Ohio could get there. I knew I wanted to be married in the eyes of the church as well as the state. So we began prenuptial meetings with a priest in Oakland. The priest agreed to do our wedding out of doors at Live Oak park in Berkeley. He just wanted assurance that we planned to wear clothes! It was 1970 and a bit wild in Berkeley those days. I chose the park because I knew God was much larger than any church building.

I had a gown I had purchased for $30 from a used clothing store and had altered for $30 to fit me. Bob wore the jacket his mother had purchased at a yard sale for his high school dances. We made all the plans we could before my mother arrived from Ohio.

Bob waiting for me.

It wasn’t until five years later that the Lord got my full attention.

As we now approach our 51st wedding anniversary, I am amazed at the joys we have shared over the years. We have supported each other in times of sorrow and difficulty, too. God has been so good to us. We are forever grateful to Him.

God’s Continued Lessons to Me

As a child I was dropped off at the Presbyterian church. Loved the choir director and the church school lessons. Not so much the worship services. When I was old enough I was allowed to walk to church by myself. There were times I skipped church and went to the park. There I would talk to God and sing to God. On occasion I would find myself “singing in the Spirit” though I did not know at the time that was what it was called. I just wanted to tell the Father how much I loved Him.

Robeson Park now called Kennedy Heights Park, Kennedy Heights, Cincinnati, Ohio

What am I to do? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.

1 Corinthians 14:15

As a young adult I was finally exposed to that teaching. I had never told anyone about my childhood experience because I had never heard anyone do that sort of singing or talk about that as a possibility.

For a while during the Charismatic movement there were a few churches that actually participated in that sort of singing. These days the churches I have recently attended do not have singing in the Spirit, with or without interpretation.

You may know my story about singing in the Spirit while washing the dishes one day? My children were doing their homework at the dining room table nearby. My son finally asked, “Mom, is that how you sing in cursive?” I told Him I supposed so!

I figured since Paul said we should ask for things from God I could believe God would give me the things I needed. Those requests included the gifts of the Spirit. As an adult I have to remember to pray in the Spirit or sing in the Spirit. This is part of my discipline as a Christian woman. It is so easy to get gobbled up by the things of the world and forget the power our Lord bestows through His Spirit. Worship Him, with ALL your heart, soul, mind and strength.

Wish I had Remembered a Camera!!

We had two open house parties this past week and I forgot to have a camera ready for either one of them! Drats.

The first was an open house Wednesday afternoon for my friends from the Union Township Crochet and Knit group. Following day after day of summer sweltering heat, we had a tremendous downpour right at party time. Most guests waited in their cars for the storm to abate. Even at that when they came in they were wading through the full gutters along the street. As usual, there was much laughter and sharing. After touring the house we settled down for a small lunch with Jimmy John’s third cut sandwiches, chips, cookies, lemonade, water or iced tea. No one drank coffee. We had fun opening our home and sharing with this joyful bunch!

Then on Sunday afternoon we had another larger group. We invited 37 and about 27 showed. This group was comprised of neighbors from our old address, friends from our church of the last ten years, people Bob used to work with and others who had not seen our home yet. It was a rowdy bunch. We had lemonade, tea, bottled water, cookies and York peppermint patties. Some folks stayed the whole 2 hours. Others came and went at their leisure.

The last half hour we were left with a table full of friends who are all strong Christians. About then I realized our friends who have an adult daughter who has been ill for over 16 months had not arrived. Someone mentioned the serious turn for the worse that her health had made. Another read a prayer request for her that had arrived in the last hour on their phone. I was stunned as if someone had slammed me against the wall. One person suggested we pray right then and there as a group on her behalf. And we did. One man mentioned how we could all go from rowdy laughter at one moment to solemn intercession the next. Such a clear example of the Christian life. I was so grateful to have all those sweet folks praying with us for her at that moment.

How fitting that this house that we believe belongs to God and is on loan to us, was suddenly transformed into a prayer altar on Mindy’s behalf. Please, please pray for Mindy, her husband and children, her parents and siblings. These folks are exhausted and in need of encouragement and prayers on their behalf.

So I have no photos to share with you, but hope from the words you get an idea of our week of celebration. I failed to put “No gifts” on the invitation and people brought gifts that about overwhelmed me. Bob is out buying thank you notes now. We are blessed beyond measure.

Hurricane Ida is supposed to bring rain to our part of Ohio this week. Though our hearts are heavy for the people on the Gulf coast, we are grateful Bob will not need to water the sod and plants. Weather will likely delay the start of our deck being built, but we can wait. Ryan homes is also supposed to begin digging a drainage ditch across three lots (ours included). Hopefully that will clear up the standing water and let us use all of our lot instead of avoiding the last 5 feet due to marshy soil.

Online I did find a photo of the Hallmark invitations we used!

Locally Sourced Locally Made

My husband reads the newspaper daily. He finds all sorts of things in Cincinnati to do and see and taste! A few months ago he read about a local cheese company. We tried several times to visit and never seemed to arrive there at times or days they were open. We recently made a concerted effort and were able taste and enjoy!

Urban Stead Cheese company is located on Woodburn Avenue in Cincinnati. We had seen their truck traveling to Highland County to get fresh milk for their endeavors.

For details about obtaining the milk, testing and transporting it see https://www.urbansteadcheese.com/

Here is a photo similar to the charcuterie board we ordered, though ours was smaller. Wish I had taken a photo. Frankly, we were so pleased by it’s appearance that neither one of us thought to snap a photo! We simply began tasting and savoring.

In urban lingo street cred means credibility, reputation, acceptance and respect. Urban Stead has made their logo “Street Ched” to emphasize their production of Cheddar cheese.

One of the most unusual things for me was their “Quark.” This is a German type of cream cheese.

Another logo is “Cheddar for the better.” It was not an inexpensive date, but so tasty! And yes, we bought some cheese to take home.

80th Birthday for an Acquaintance

She speaks with almost no filter. Words just seem to fall out of her mouth, tumbling over one another, often to the surprise of the listeners.

Her life is centered in old movies. She tells us she seems to like the wicked women.

I know she has wounds she has never addressed. Some were inflicted by her father and she refuses to tell her sons because they loved him. Her daughter left without a word many years ago. Her husband died suddenly. From what we could discern from the outside there did not seem to be much trust or love in the marriage relationship. Her mother died a few years after that.

She now lives in a retirement complex with other senior citizens where the staff provide all the meals. Never has to cook or wash dishes unless she chooses to in her studio apartment.

She calls the complex a prison. There are shared meals, activities both in the building and off the campus. During the Covid-19 lock down they were confined to their rooms in an attempt to keep them well. She can now take the van to stores and places of interest if she wants, for no charge whatsoever. They have organized games, a library, board games and sitting rooms for all to share.

After her birthday party when I shared these thoughts with Bob I was reminded of a prayer my mother really liked in her later years. God, help us all!

A Prayer For Those Growing Old

Lord, You know I am
growing older. Keep me from
becoming talkative and possessed
with the idea that I must express
myself on every subject.

Release me from the craving to
straighten out everyone’s affairs.

Keep me from the recital of
endless detail. Give me wings to
get to the point.

Seal my lips when I am inclined
to tell of my aches and pains.
They are increasing with the years
and my love to speak of them
grows sweeter as time goes by.

Teach me the glorious lesson
that occasionally I may be wrong.
Make me thoughtful but not
nosy; helpful but not bossy.

With my vast store of wisdom
and experience it does seem a pity
not to use it all. But You know, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end. Amen.

Keep me grateful. Empower me to adapt to my life and health, circumstances and abilities as I age and everything seems to change. You know I still feel inside as if I am nineteen years old. I know that I am no longer nineteen.

Left to myself I would be worse than the woman I observed and wrote about. Open my eyes to my own shortcomings and faults. I know they are abundant, Lord.

Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.

Matthew 7:3-5

Hatch Chile

Have you ever visited New Mexico this time of year? From now until early October the chile is harvested, roasted, stored, eaten, made into sauces, etc. Last autumn I thought I posted about the roasting at Wagner’s market in Corrales. Cannot find such a post so I will recap!

During our very first visit to New Mexico in 2004 Dan and Betty took us to Wagner’s Farm to witness roasting and small the deliciousness of roasting chile.

This is how you find the market on Corrales Road.

I wish I could share the fragrance of roasting chile with you. Perhaps you can create your own! This year our local Kroger store was selling New Mexico Hatch chile for $.99 a pound. I have never, ever seen that before! So I bought a bag and decided to work the magic on our grill.

You roast the chile on the grill until they are charred. (Darker than this photo.) This makes for a great fragrance and easy peeling later. But wait, there’s more!!

Remove the chile from the grill and place in a plastic bag. This lets them steam and continue to cook a bit. When they are cool you can process them further. And gadzooks! our kitchen smelled like Wagner’s!!

There is just nothing like the fragrance of roasted chile. Before you place your order at Wagner’s you have to decide how hot you want the chile! Here are 30 seconds of prices and ideas from 2020.

Buy your bushel and let the magic begin! If you watch/listen to at least 1 min 37 seconds you can hear the chiles start to crackle over the flames.

Here are Bob and Dan in Corrales 2020 processing the chile after Betty broke her ankle in Colorado and Molly hurt her back.

After they cool, you MUST put on rubber gloves as the capsacian from the chile can burn your eyes and mucus membranes. You slide off the charred skin and remove the membranes and seeds. Now Betty says to taste them and see how hot they are. If you want them hotter leave some seeds in. I confess, I did not taste mine. If storing them, I lay them out on waxed paper and freeze. That way they are easier to separate later. Or just toss them in whatever you are cooking to add flavor and heat! Cuban Black beans, burritos, tacos, casseroles, toasted English muffins with melted cheddar, you name it!

When we visited New Mexico we double bagged the chile in plastic and packed in a plastic box in our suitcase. They made it home just fine.

So there you have it! Hope you can purchase and enjoy some in your home town!

Blessings from Above

We have seen a doe and her fawn in our neighbor’s yard. This was an unexpected visit from what I believe is a yearling doe. We were delighted. Not enough time to get another camera!

She was ambling on a walk and decided to check us out!

Closer
Closer yet

She walked right up to Bob who was standing inside the sliding glass door. Then she ambled over to the hummingbird feeder in front of the kitchen window. We were absolutely fascinated! What a delight from the Lord.

As the deer pants for water, so I long for you, O God.  I thirst for God, the living God. Where can I find him to come and stand before him?

Psalm 42:1-2

Signing Off for a Time

Considering the computers, tv, wifi system, etc. all have to be disconnected, packed, unpacked and reconnected you might not hear from me for a while. But wait! through the magic of the Word Press Cloud I could write and store and schedule until my strength runs out! That is how the posts usually come to you. I typically write on Monday and Tuesday morning. This week Tuesday will be running to various places like T-Mobile. Energy is not in abundance right now. So in case you don’t see posts for a while, remember to lift us in prayer regarding the move.

During 15 years a couple can accumulate a bunch of stuff. We have given away, thrown away and donated items for months now. We also know that once we begin to unpack we are likely to unload even more items. When you pack things up and get them out of sight for several months it is amazing what you can live without!

I have also been missing my wall calendar (I know, so old fashioned). The magnifying mirror from the bathroom wall has been absent since Bob patched and repaired practically every single nail in every single room.

He is such a hard worker. I have no idea how I would ever accomplish most things without him. We often debate who will die first. If he goes first I get a Corgi. They make me smile. Been told they kill sweepers with their constant shedding. Anything to make me smile during the grief of losing my husband would be invaluable. Fifty years of marriage and counting. We are amazed!

They say corgi puppies look like potatoes on legs.

Speaking of dogs, I let Lucky off the leash inside the new house for the first time last Sunday! She pranced around as if to say “Oh, I get it now!” She has been going in the house since it was just studs, no walls. Soon she will have an enormous closet in the master bedroom to sleep in when it storms! I will set up a water bowl for her Saturday before we get her from the kennel.

There she is, coming out of hallway to laundry and Master Suite!

We area moving eight miles, one zip code away, undoing 15 years of settling in this place. We are calling Platform Street our last home unless we get moved to a nursing home some day (hoping not!).

Even to your old age and gray hairs

    I am He, I am He who will sustain you.

I have made you and I will carry you;

    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Isaiah 46:4

Yes, Lord, we look to You to sustain us, carry us and rescue us from ourselves. Even as we enter our old age and lose more gray hairs! We trust You with all of our lives, Most High God.

Abraham Knew Not

I do not know much either about where we are going on Platform Street! The people we have met are all friendly. No idea where they stand as far as their faith life.

I have two other acquaintances who are moving to other neighborhoods about the same time we are. One is praying, “Lord, show me what you want me to do next,” as in Bible study, neighborhood ministry, etc. The only thing that has crossed my mind so far is to put out my garden flags that praise my Lord, thereby declaring my heart.

I have also heard of people who begin prayer ministry in their neighborhood by putting boxes outside for people to submit prayer requests. I could do that! Of course, at first all I will have are cardboard boxes! That’s not likely to work in summer rain storms.

ACTS 7: 2-3 NIV “To this he {Stephen} replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran. ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.'”

The Lord led us to the area of Kline Station when we could not find a newer house with laundry on the ground floor. Many thanks to our faith filled realtor, Taylor!

 “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” Heb 11:8 NIV

I have always been impressed by Abraham’s obedience. He obeyed. He went. He did not know where he was going. He left all control in God’s hands. I want to be like that!

I heard this song on YouTube Music and had to share it.

Into the Countdown Now!

I am writing this Monday morning, May 3. We get the keys Friday morning the 7th and close that afternoon! Then the adult kids and grandchildren help us start to move in.

Whew! so much work getting to this point. And SO much work yet to be done. Just realized I should also move the houseplants on Saturday along with the plants we hope to plant outdoors once they lay sod and define our flower beds.

Bob and I have been trying to rest as much as we can knowing this adventure will zap our strength once the adrenaline wears off! He is at the bank now arranging the wire transfer for our closing costs and partial payment. He was on the phone this morning about arranging garbage pick up and turning water to our name on Friday. His next call will be to the power company.

And yep, there is always something to go wrong. Looking under the new bathroom sink yesterday I found a small leak. Praying they repair that early this morning.

The tile work is underway in master bath, but not grouted or finished yet.

Oh tile man please finish my shower!

I finally got to see the flooring without cardboard over it. This is the view from the front door looking towards the sliding glass door. It had just been mopped, so no, it is not really shiny. And look! I got my brown front door instead of black 🙂

The screen door for the slider is torn. There is a lump in the guest room window sill they will sand down and redo.

Meanwhile Siesta Drive is becoming a box maze! Neither one of us is allowed to ask “Where is …?”

So pray for us to keep our sense of humor and patience, especially with each other! Pray for safety for all those involved with moving our “stuff.”

We are so grateful for our many blessings. I saw a sign at Hobby Lobby that said “Crazy Blessed.” Yep! that’s me.