Big yawn…

The sky has been gray all day long, with a fine mist falling at various times. The hum of a space heater and the growl of my father’s outdated computer tower have been the white noise for my day of rest.

I spent an hour answering questions in my grandparent’s reflections book that I am filling out for the four grands we currently have, the one in the oven (idiom for our son and his wife’s pregnancy), and hopefully more grands and greats to come. Once my honey woke, we talked politics as he read through the newspaper, then talked about our plans for celebrating the Feasts of the LORD out on our property once we are done building. The smell of Marie Calender’s mushroom chicken pot pies filled the house with warmth as the conversation meandered through upcoming birthday celebrations, the visit we had with friends last night and the ugly clock sitting in our living room that belongs to my father.

My father and I spent a bit of time finishing out one of our Scrabble games. I won, 353 to 322. And then I settled in to do some Bible reading and praying for our children, our grands and the body of believers we call family. My eyes began to feel like sandpaper and I dropped off for a five minute snooze. My honey went upstairs to take a nap, and here I am now, blogging about my uneventful, yet satisfyingly restful day. My mind is at peace. My body is resting up to begin another week.

There is something special about the Sabbath. I have taken other days off to rest, but it is never the same. God meets with his children on the Sabbath in a special way. Try it. It can change your life once you give yourself permission to jump out of the rat race for 24 hours and spend time with the Creator who made you and loves you. Shalom.


Now I understand…

A few month back, we had a round of inspections with the shop and house we are building. One inspection was to make sure our electrical panel was ready to energize. The inspector was friendly and helpful with suggestions. At one point, he asked me “so, you’re going to pull the wire?” I answered in the affirmative, and he repeated the question. I laughed and repeated my answer. At the time, I found it funny. Apparently I must look like I would not be capable of “pulling” wire.

Fast forward to this morning. The sun had just risen around 7:00am, but was hidden behind heavy clouds. It was light but cold, around 32 degrees. I headed to the property and met up with a friend who is coaching me through the project. We decided to take on the big project of pulling the main power wires between the master panel and the sub panel. We needed to run the wire approximately 225 feet. When I say wire, it turned out we were pulling three huge 1″ around, wires and one small through the underground conduit. At the same time.


Five hours later, the three of us, plus his wife who came a bit later, and a car finally finished the job. I pulled for a while, then shoved the wire into the conduit. I was so cold that I didn’t notice how sore I was getting. We went through one and a half bottles of wire lubricant. By the time we were done, my gloves were so slimy, I couldn’t hold anything. But, now I understand the inspectors repeated question. I could not have done that alone, and am humbled that our friend and his two older children took an entire day to help with the monumental task. And, his wife and other children also came out to help for a couple hours.

After we finally finished that task, we all took time to refill the carb load for energy, and went inside to run more wire and drill holes to help the process. When I say inside, it’s not like it was warmer inside. There are still open soffits, open walls into the garage, and a couple windows missing (they were broken when they arrived). Every now and then I would remove my gloves to shove my hands into my pockets to warm them.

When I finally returned home at 4:00pm, I took time to fix a warm, protein recovery drink before hopping into a hot, epsom salt and essential oil bath. It was while I was soaking that I noticed the dark purple bruise at the base of my thumb, and the slight swelling on the top of my other hand. I can only guess the bruise was from the sheer pressure of working the large wires. The top of the hand was when I was drilling a hole and hit a knot and the drill locked and threw and twisted my hand at the wrist and the top of my hand was slammed into a stud. One hip hurts, probably from bracing my body during the pull. Hopefully that is all, but we will have to see what the morning holds.

It feels good to have that big project out of the way. The rest should feel like a piece of cake comparably. I must admit, I feel confident now with working with the electrical. I feel satisfied to be able to say “I did that”. And I have enjoyed most of the process. Stripping wire and stapling is a fairly mindless job, which helps me relax. As long as I’m not shivering too much. I plan to take it easy physically tomorrow. I have some purchases to make, sub contractors to meet with and errands to run. Hopefully my hands won’t hurt too much to put in a full day of work on Tuesday.

My Birthday!

Today is my birthday! I am turning 54 years young. When I am asked what I would like for my birthday, my answer is always, spend time with me. Take me to coffee, come over for a visit, invite us for dinner. I think it was sometime in my mid forties that I came to the conclusion that I really didn’t want people buying me things. I want relationship with those I love. This world has become so anti relationship with hectic schedules, everyone working overtime, gobs of homework, civic commitments and more. I just want to slow down and sit (or walk) with family and friends, face to face. Ask questions, listen, learn and love.

Maybe it’s because as we age, we begin to see our own mortality looming on the hopefully far horizon. Maybe it is because the death of a loved one has clarified what is truly important in life. Whatever the reason, I got to have dinner at a local burger joint with my son’s family on Friday, and I get to have brunch with two dear friends this morning, maybe followed by a walk downtown to visit a local coffee shop and take in the beautiful fall foliage.

What does your perfect birthday celebration look like?

A whirlwind…

Have you ever been caught up in a whirlwind? I have. My daughter has been visiting with her two little ones for the last month. She has been at the center of my life since then, and everything about my life has revolved around her. My daily schedule has revolved around when she needed my van to go visit lifelong friends. The wind around this visit has swept away any spare time I have, as I have was called upon to watch those sweet munchkins almost daily. Barbecues with family and friends, sightseeing with a friend who came from another country, and trying to keep up with the laundry, poopy diapers and dishes. The apples on my two trees began falling off the branches, seemingly the moment she arrived, and I haven’t had the time to pick them up, let alone preserve many. I finally started calling friends to come pick them, and gathered as many as I could to donate to our local food bank. Next year, I will preserve.

Today, I will tickle the three year old, and chase him down the halls to tire him out for bed. Tonight I will rock the nine month old back to sleep when he startles because he is in a strange place. I will pray for them as we rock. For a good night sleep for them, for him not to be afraid, today or as he grows, for so many things. I will pray that she is blessed with time to visit friends. As we drive them to the airport, I will tell her what a wonderful mom she is, how terrific her kids are, what a great job she and her honey are doing with them. And then, when we have to finally part ways at the airport security line, the tears will flow, cheeks will be kissed, and silent hugs will be exchanged. They will disappear into the masses of people. We will walk back to our car to start the long drive home, which will give us time to process the mixture of emotions we will be feeling. Sadness they are gone for another year or two, happy to have our home and time back.

The whirlwind will have passed. Life will go back to some sort of a slower normalcy. Until the next visit. It was too long a visit, but too short at the same time. We are so grateful though that she comes home, no matter how far between the visits. And in the in between times, there is FaceTime and Skype. Another thing we are thankful for.

May you start a whirlwind of happiness that catches others in it and changes today for them!

Getting ready…

Start pulling outfits from the closet, make sure to remember something warm, just in case. Don’t forget shoes for semi formal dress, and pack Spanks slimmer for sheath dress. (I may look pretty good for my age, but a slimmer just helps with the confidence, as long as it is not too hot to wear).

Set toiletries out on the counter so I don’t forget anything.

Make time to polish my toenails.

Touch bases with the construction foreman about being gone, and what I need to do before I leave. Make sure to write paychecks.

Get key to our friend who will be entertaining the cats while we are gone. Make sure there is food on the counter, and put the favored toy where he sees it when he arrives.

Write notes in calendar to harvest all blueberries the morning we leave and freeze.

Trim an inch off the ends of my hair (where did all that grey come from?).

Put the suitcase out where the cat can see it and get used to the idea that we are getting ready to be gone for a few days. (Make sure she doesn’t puke in it between now and when we leave).

Eat leftovers for the next couple days to clear out the fridge.

MOSQUITO REPELLENT WIPES!!! Don’t forget those!!! And make sure to pack your Apis and Lavender oil, just in case they sneak past the barrier.

Favorite things…

There I was. Sitting at the kitchen table in my jammies, a bowl of oatmeal sitting in front of me. As my teeth crushed the first fresh blueberry, I thought, “picking fresh blueberries for my oatmeal is one of my favorite things to do.” Immediately following that thought, the famous song lyric “these are a few of my favorite things” began whirring through my mind. It will now be an ear worm for anyone who has seen the movie “The Sound of Music”. You are welcome. I hope it brings a bit of happiness to your day whenever you find it skipping through your brain or humming it.

So, what are a few of my favorite things? Down days due to my van (Grammi’s truck I like to call it) being in the shop. Seems I need a new tie rod due to too much motion or something like that. Hopefully that fixes the rattling that has been progressively worsening. I may take a mid afternoon snooze, I may try to work on a photo album. I will most likely be answering calls from our contractor to answer a few questions.

Sitting on the back porch, under the warm yellow lights on our pergola on a warm summer’s evening with friends. After a birthday dinner out the other night, our friends came back to our house for ice cream sundays. We visited as the evening light waned, and enjoyed a game of Sequence afterwards. It’s usually guys versus girls. We “let” them win the first set, a birthday gift, then won the second, they the third.

First thing in the morning when the grandkids wake up. Since they are still groggy, they will typically come down the stairs and plop on a couch. I will join them, wrap my arms around them. Our granddaughter will chat. Our grandson will usually just sit quietly leaning on me. When there is silence, I will often find myself praying for that child. It doesn’t last long before hunger sets in, or the other one comes down and the tickling, or poking begins. But those brief moments of quietly getting to know them is life giving to my soul.

There you have it. “These are a few of my favorite things”. They bring peace to the chaos that life often is, joy to my mind when I think of them. I think that we humans can often forget how healing it is to think of our favorite things. Scripture says, ” Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8). I hope that today you will take a few minutes to reflect on a few of your favorite things, and enjoy the peace that comes with remembering.

Favorite recipes…

When I was old enough to move out on my own, I did what most young people do when it came to cooking. I called mom for some of my favorite recipes. Since my early years were lean financially, I couldn’t fit lasagne into the budget for many years, and often had doctored up top ramen as a meal. You know what I’m talking about. Ramen with egg stirred into it, maybe a cut up beef hot dog, broccoli if I had it, etc. our kids loved the taste and it was cheap.

Fast forward to the early teens. Our financial picture was more stable, and lasagne and many of the other family recipes were now obtainable. These were a staple for many years. Of course there were the periodic recipes gleaned from friends that I added to my repertoire also. College Bread is a staple recipe I was given by a friend 30 years ago, for when I have excess zucchini. Make ahead, freeze and pull out a beautiful loaf for company, or maybe breakfast.

That was 15 years ago. We have been empty nesters for quite some time. Until my father moved in with us a few years after my mother’s death. He loves to cook, and try new recipes. He has been good for me. I had been feeling in a good rut for quite some time. And so, my recipe search began. After trying a delicious pot pie our daughter in law made for us, I bought the recipe book it came out of, flagged every recipe I wanted to try and we have tried them.

But I must admit, a few of my favorite recipes have come from unusual places. Our local grocery store sends out coupons based on what we buy regularly. They often come in a booklet with a recipe or two. My favorite soup recipe came in that form

Then there is the recipe for Spiralized Sweet Potato Chicken Enchilada Cassarole. This recipe came with a spiralizer we bought. We love the recipe made as is, but we found it can be made with thin slices of gently cooked delicate squash also. We did this for a friend who is horribly allergic to potatoes. We also made a vegan version for another guest by removing the chicken and cheese from the recipe.

The recipes I get from friends are my favorite for sentimental reasons. I always write the name of the giver on the recipe. Sometimes when I see their names, it reminds me that it has been far too long since we have talked, sometimes it reminds me to say a prayer for them. Sometimes, it just makes me smile to think of them, and the friendship we have had over the years

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Tonight, we dine on the enchilada casserole. The recipe is on the fridge, my dad is at the store getting all the ingredients while I weed the backyard with the cats following close behind.

Hope you have a great day and find some fun recipes to help you out if you are in a recipe rut! Bon a petit!


I have two choices today. One, I can be annoyed by the fact that my grandchildren are such good sharers, and left their cold germs behind when they visited last week. Or I can choose to look at my raging sore throat, sore ears and lack of energy as an opportunity to take a down day. I am definitely torn by these two decisions. Being a type A personality I want to continue to tough it out and get done all the things that are on my l my list for today. However, I know that since I am not hungry, and I do not feel energetic, I should probably crash on the couch with a good book, a fuzzy blanket, and a cat on my lap. Taking it easy is sometimes the best route for getting better, but also the hardest.

That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the two days with our grandchildren. My dad, their great grandpa, came to COSTCO for a shopping trip. We had fun browsing, and topped the trip off with hot dogs and pizza for lunch. The rest of the afternoon was down time, read books, take naps. The oldest had arrived with a cough and stuffy, yet runny nose. The youngest was extremely emotional , and a bit demanding all afternoon. I could tell he was tired. Baseball practice was cancelled due to rain, and after a healthy dinner, we all went to bed at a decent hour. I let them sleep in as long as they could. After eating the delicious banana chocolate chip pancakes, we drove to a nearby citywide garage sale. Each child was given twenty dollars to spend however they desired, with my veto power intact.

It was interesting to watch their two personalities at work. Our granddaughter who is almost 12 chose to spend her money on a travel alarm clock that came housed in an adorable pink gray and white case. Her large purchase ended up being a set of two pieces of luggage in a nice magenta color. Both were in excellent condition. The wheels and handles worked, and they were fairly clean. That was her treasure for the day. Our grandson on the other hand, who is almost 9, chose to look for baseball cards and Pokémon stuff at every stop. He came home with a couple Pokémon manuals (?), two small stuffed animals, a baseball clock, two brand new computer mice, a baseball bat and a huge box of baseball cards that he bargained for all by himself. I was pretty darn proud of the way he handled that. It went something like this: He had gone up to the man with a couple small stacks of cards and asked how much they were. The gentleman said,”that is a good question. Would you be interested in buying the whole box?” My grandson answered in the affirmative, and was then asked how much he thought he would like to pay for the box. He answered quickly and decisively, “five dollars.” The gentleman said he thought that that was a fair price, and then said, “I hope you find a million dollar card in that box”. I so appreciated his generosity.

Lunch at Subway, as planned, ice cream at Baskin Robbins, as planned. Since it had been colder than we expected, we were all a bit chilled, and our grandson had begun to show signs of the cold his sister had, we headed home for some down time before baseball practice. This gave me time to pack some snacks for them to eat beforehand. Baseball always seems to be during the dinner hour. Hopefully the snacks would tide them over until they had a late dinner at home.

They both went home happy, I went to bed that night happy. Our love tanks were full. So, I honk that I will choose not to be annoyed at the sickness. I am so grateful for each moment I get to spend with them, healthy or sick. Time passes way to quickly. So, I am grateful for the down day. I choose to see the silver lining. I hope you will also as you face the challenges of each day.

Bleary eyed…

Early morning, once again, arrives way to soon for me. The minute she saw me at the top of the stairs, the old cat PK started howling at me “feed me! Let me out back! No feed me!” I like to imagine that there is a please somewhere in the yowls, but I know better. A quick scoop up of her fragile body stops the noise, and I pet her until she says enough. Feed the cats then check the phone for messages.

My phone is set for do not disturb between the hours of 9pm and 8am. Although I don’t want to hear the alerts, I know that there are things happening on the shop/house build this morning that may require my attention. Sure enough, there is a request for me to call the cement company to pay for two extra yards of concrete that was ordered for this morning’s 6am pour. Insert the ear buds, make the call and let the foreman know it is done. Check.

My eyes still feel heavy as I step into the kitchen to begin my morning chores, when I hear my honey open the bedroom door. Breakfast now takes priority. A banana and greens protein smoothie should do the trick for the man. As for myself, I will stick with no sugar/stevia vegan protein and greens for mine.

Breakfast has been consumed, along with a few supplements and the daily comics. Once I finish with the chores, I get to pick up two of our grandkids for a couple days. I cherish the time we get to spend with them, knowing all too well how fast they grow up and get busy. The sports schedules have already reduced the visits I used to get. Once there are work and social schedules, time with them will be at a premium. The weather today is not great and we are expecting rain. If so, a bowl of buttered popcorn and a game of monopoly may be on the table for the afternoon. Literally on the table!

Tomorrow, we are going to a neighborhood garage sale in town. I will give them both twenty bucks to buy whatever they like. I do get veto power, but that will be reserved for extremes. Non modest clothing, or inappropriate decor. They are good kids, and I have yet to have to have to use the veto. We will have Subway sandwiches for lunch, and Baskin Robbins ice cream for a treat. I love sitting down to a meal with them and just listening to them talk. I try to just listen and ask questions, and toss in a few teaching comments in the midst. Serious lectures are reserved for the serious, which does not often come up. This is becoming an annual summer event with them. A close friend who has never had children is joining us. She loves them, they love her. Again, her company with them every now and then is becoming a tradition also. We will probably go out to dinner with Grandpa after work too, and then we will watch Who Wants to Be a Millionaire together. The kids love trying to beat Grandpa at trivia games. Before bed, we will probably read a few more chapters of the book in the Little House series that we have been trying to get through whenever they spend the night. I think we are on book three?

Of course I will have to answer building calls and questions, and I definitely plan on taking everyone out to the site to see what has been done so far. And I will have a few household chores to do. But the days with the kids fill my love tank to overflowing. I pray that I am filling theirs too. I want it to be about them, about their growth, about loving them. Loving and serving others has always brought me great joy.

May you discover what type of service brings you great joy in life, and may it fill your emotional tank to overflowing.

Random thoughts…

I am so thankful to the creator of the universe this morning. For sustaining my life through the night once again, so that I may live another day, and somehow be a light to others, showing forth his love for them.

I am so grateful for insect repellent!! I have an awesome essential oil recipe I use. Smells good, is natural, and works! I brought a pack of baby wipes soaked in it to a friends house last night. We went for dinner, they live in the woods, last time I was there I came home bumpy and itchy. I felt the first “landing” on my arm around 8pm. I quietly slipped to the foyer where my purse was, wiped down all exposed skin, and enjoyed the rest of the night “landing, bump and itch” free.

Our permits to build were approved this week! So exciting. It took a month to get something that should have taken a week. Our area is definitely experiencing a building boom. Monday, my honey and I, go into the community development department, sign our names in front of their notary, pay our fees, and “poof” we are official! Let the framing begin! Ok, let the cement pouring on the footings begin first.

On a related note, last night my husband was sharing about feeling very unprepared for teaching at church this morning. He hates that feeling. We both do. Both of us like to feel in control and prepared. I have also been feeling very out of control with the whole building process. Everything seems to be happening so fast. We need to order wood so the guys can prep window headers while waiting for the permits, but the companies I asked for bids from are still working on them, so we buy from the company we think will have the best pricing. Our DIY in floor heating has taken an interesting turn too. We have hired a guy/consulting company to prepare the schematics of the system for us, and the control panel. We will lay everything, and connect it to the main panel, etc. however to get the permit for the mechanical, I have to provide “calculations” about capacities, oem something, and lots of other techie words I know nothing about. When I asked if they do that, or could help me with that, they said that the HVAC contractor usually does that, and asked if I had one. Ummm. No. Doesn’t DIY mean do it yourself, or, in other words, you won’t need to hire and pay an HVAC contractor for this project? At first I was angry, really angry. However, after a drive to the big city thirty minutes away, with my calm me down music by Brian Crain playing softly in my ears, I came off that ledge and began to think about how we could solve the issue. Was that a moment of personal growth? Oh my! This old dog is not too old to learn a new trick!!! Another thing I am thankful for.

I think my homeopathy regimen is beginning to show results. Last night I had some key limeade with dinner, a few bites of sugar laden rhubarb pie and a very cheesy chicken enchilada casserole. All delicious, but dairy gives me a gassy tummy and sugar can exacerbate the hot flashes. Yet, I slept well. Really well. In the past I have battled dealing with adrenal fatigue. My hormones have been out of whack, I get exhausted, but too wired to sleep soundly, often waking four or five times a night. Pretty much the only remedy was stopping everything and spending a month at home, in jammies, doing only things which are emotionally non stressful. But, in spite of the house stuff, I seem to be doing better, handling the stress better, handling life better. Again, I am thankful to God for his mercies and provision of all that we need in life, including homeopathy. I started this part of my journey after reading a blog I can across on She is a great educator, and all of her stuff is downloadable and a lot is free. She also has classes you can take, which I will when life slows down a bit (meaning when the building process is done). I would add the link, but I haven’t yet figured out how that feature works yet, sorry!

Oh! I am thankful there are no bees buzzing around my food!

Last thought. I am thankful for summer Sabbath mornings. Cold sweet potato pie, breakfast on the shaded back patio, colorful blooming flowers, cats eating long grasses so they can go into the house later to puke it up in a location I won’t see until my bare foot lands in it. Crickets are chirping, doves are cooing, and the neighborhoods resident pheasant chimes in periodically with his distinct voice. My soul is at peace.

May you also find the confidence and humility you need to stay teachable during your journey on this earth, and may you find your “Sabbath morning” peace for your soul.