Monday, October 29, 2007
"Oh my, I think about that too in an airport, or some crowded event," I continued, " What if I just passed the niece of our old pastor? Who knows how connected we all really are?" Spouse and my brother looked at each other, totally stymied.
"Must be how women think." Well, at least these two women.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
She goes on to say that stories are sad about folks losing almost everything they own. But all the people she speaks with do not question God or what He is doing. Rather they are thankful that no one was hurt when their rooms (houses) fell.
Many agencies are surveying the damage to see what they can do to help, and some help will come, but it will be a long time until the area recovers from a disaster of this size.
No flooding here, but the rains continue ... today might be a slow steady rain. A good soaking is what we need. But let's not forget those far away who have had too much rain, and in CA, too much fire.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
It's amazing how focused we are on the weather right now. It looks so much like it could, but it just doesn't rain. There's a feeling of tired expectancy as everything withers and dies. At least we don't have to mow. There's always a positive side to anything, no matter how mundane it might be.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Last night our church called a special service to pray for rain. The drought in our area is truly serious. I still have some summer flowers blooming, but it's sad to see rotting, unfertiliized grass seed (and this was the year we needed to seed a new lawn), and dying shrubs and trees. I'm wondering when our city will put further restrictions on our water use. There are several things we're doing at our house to help. I guess it has to be one person at a time making a difference.
We were reminded last night that God in His loving providence knows our situation here. We trust Him fully.
Meanwhile, I'm remembering from our days without water in Ghana, how many things one can do with just one bucket of water!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
"I ran short of money while visiting my brother, and borrowed $50 from him.
"After my return home, I wrote him a short letter every few weeks, enclosing a $5 check in each one. He called me up and told me how much he enjoyed the letters, regardless of the money; I had never written regularly before.
"Eventually I sent off a letter and the last five-dollar check.
"In my mail box the next week I found an envelope from my brother. Inside was another $50."
Without a quickening of the heart.
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?"
Seems that every day I look forward to the mail. Even in these days of email, there's a slight rise in suspense as I walk to the box. I just don't know what all might be in it when I pull down the lid. Junk mail is a given; some can be recycled on the way back into the house. The credit card offers can be torn in half; the bills piled high; and the endless catalogs can go right to the bathroom. But very occasionally ... out falls a treat ... yes, a REAL, handwritten letter or card.
The first clue is the hand written address. True, it could be an invite, but honed detective skills quickly rule that out. The envelope can be a gift in itself. I have one friend who makes envelopes from magazine pages that picture something I love. Others adorn an envelope with a sticker. And I always know an intentional letter writer when the stamp is above average. Obviously serious about their correspondence, they looked for nice stamps, not just the usual flag stamp.
When I get mail like this, it's a "red letter mail day". I wonder where that expression came from. I may google that later. If I have the time, I'll make a cup of tea before I sit down to open the letter, which I consider a true gift.
And why is it a gift? Because someone cared enough to get out pen, paper, envelope, a stamp, look up my address and actually write some thoughts down on paper. Something for me to think about, delight in, etc. Letters can be saved ... and read again and again. The handwriting might even tell us something ... was the writer feeling happy, writing in leisure, or stressed and dashing off a missive?
The other day I got such a letter from a very old friend. In fact, we didn't know each other all that well as we sat side by side in choir practice so long ago. She was expecting her first child and we connected in many ways. Somehow we kept in touch because we both cared about such a thing. When her kids were old enough to homeschool she asked me advice and I tried to encourage her. Even though it's easy to dash off an email, she took the time to write. And ...she has eight kids! One is off to college (that baby she was expecting) and the rest she teaches at home. I figure if she can find the time to write ...
... So can I. Because I know how nice getting a letter can be, I do my best to write them when I can ... not only to people far away but even to friends who live locally. Because there's just something about getting a letter ...
("Red letter day" comes from the practise of marking the dates of church festivals on calendars in red, way back in the 1500s--i.e., a special day.)
Monday, October 15, 2007
Right now we are the sole occupants of this house. Spouse is winging his way to Europe and Resident Son is down south on a big project. Even my mom has gone out of town, so I don't need to keep track of her. It's a very unique experience for sure. Deliciously quiet, actually! I can do what I want, when I want, for a few days--other than the required hours at work. But right now, I have no choice, for it's time for us two gals to take a walk. She's passed me up in age by far and her arthritis shows more than mine, but off we'll go into the night air--two old friends. She "reads the news" at every mailbox, and I hope there isn't much news tonight, so I can get to bed.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
1 1/2 cups regular (or quick) oats
2 C buttermilk (or regular milk with a Tb of lemon)
2 Tb. canola oil
2 Tb. wheat germ
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
Optional: blueberries or other fruit pieces
Mix oats and buttermilk together in a large bowl and let stand. Beat eggs and add to mix. Add oil and wheat germ to mix. Sift together flour, soda, sugar, salt, and add to oatmeal mixture. Drop batter onto hot skilet grased with canola or pam.
3 15 1/2 oz. cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 C drained canned chopped tomatoes
1 1/4 C. chopped onions
1/2 C minced shallots (didn't use)
4 garlic cloves minced
1 Tb and 2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 stick butter
4 C chicken broth
1 16 ox can pureed pumpkin
1/2 C sherry vinegar (sometimes I just use white wine and a dash of vinegar).
Puree beans and tomatoes in blender. Cook onions, spices, and butter. Stir in bean puree. Stir in broth, pumpkin, and sherry. Season with salt and pepper. When you serve, garnish with a dolop of sour cream (and pumpkin seeds if you'd like!)
Saturday, October 06, 2007
As I look through my worn volume of "Joy and Strength" I find quite a number of quotes from Priscilla Maurice (she wrote the above), who died at age 44 before the Civil War occurred in our country. I found out she was her preacher-brother's housekeeper, but I could not determine if she ever married. Apparently she was a bit feisty and outspoken, as was her brother (a Unitarian turned Anglican). I got so engrossed in reading about her I began to wonder if she and I would have been friends. She wrote a lot about praise and being thankful ... very practical writing.
She is probably right that our prayers are mostly asking, where our praise is true worship, which God desires, and I like the idea of "hearts tuned to praise" and "praise because our hearts overflow with love to God." Kind of like "delighting in God." Something to chew on this hot, sticky Saturday afternoon.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Today it was black bean/pumpkin soup ... yum. I love days when I have time at home and can make soup. Actually we are expecting out of town guests and I am cooking and freezing stuff. We enjoyed a bowl of soup at lunch, but into the freezer it goes for next week. Very special friends are coming from up north. We all started our families together--I guess we've been friends for 30 years. We share a lot of common history, including sponsoring two Laotian families together years ago. When you work together like that, you get close. Even though we've lived apart much of those 30 years, when we meet we take up as if we've never been apart. That's quite a treasure. We'll have fun.
Monday, October 01, 2007
It's also time for soup--one of my favorite foods. Soup-making gives opportunity for creativity--like painting a picture or decorating a room. Just about anything can go into a soup and come out tasting like a five-star restaurant chef made it. The only problem is, it's hard to remember it exactly the same way for the next time. Today we just had to have soup to celebrate moving into October ... so it was sweet potato/salmon soup with some spinich thrown in for color. Yum!