Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wise Words for my Frazzled Heart

"To live content with small means, 
to seek elegance rather than luxury, 
and refinement rather than fashion, 
to be worthy and wealthy, not rich, 
to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly, 
to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart, 
to hear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never - 
in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, 
grow up through the common. 
This is to be my symphony."

William Ellery Channing (1780-1842)

Wow, what great words as my anxious heart does not want to settle down in this time of transition.

On the way to Granite Park Chalet a month ago.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What Happens When Your House Sells

So, we decided we should "downsize" since we are truly empty-nesters and our life is in a time of Great Change.   And what I didn't really expect to happen (getting an offer on the house) happened less than a month after it was listed.  So, that's good news.  But I started to wonder what on earth I was thinking.
Where should we live?  What kind of place?  How can we find something by the time we are to close on our current house?

The great truth, however,  is that all through our married life we have seen the faithfulness of God to guide and provide and we do trust him now with the Next Steps for us.

I am busy going through all our belongings.  Which has led to some interesting finds.

The funniest was a "report card" Angela made for me when she was six.  

She gave me a grade in 3 categories:  
(Everything was spelled phoenetically, which interestingly enough, I don't know how to spell.)

     "snacks: needs improvement"
     "Behavior: horrible"
     "love: needs improvement"

I burst out laughing when I read this.  She was obviously upset about something, right?  When I called Angie to tell her I had found it, she had no memory of this.

So, I guess my behavior and love must have improved, because I found a letter she wrote some time later, with much more positive thoughts about me.

"Dear Mom,
I love you.  Thank you for being the best mom in the whole world! 
 You do so much for me!  
You brighten my day with your personality!  
You give me so many presents. You and dad are the stars of my life.  
Your loving daughter,

And I love her, too.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Recent Read

This is my favorite read of the summer.  Not that I have read much the past few months, I have to admit.
But this was an easy read with a little intrigue, a little romance, and a little cultural and ornithological education.

"For the past three years, Mr. Malik has been secretly in love with Rose Mbikwa, a woman who leads the weekly bird walks sponsored by the East African Ornithological Society. Just as Malik is getting up the nerve to invite Rose to the Nairobi Hunt Club Ball (the premier social occasion of the Kenyan calendar), Harry Khan, a nemesis from his school days, arrives in town. Khan has also become enraptured with Rose and announces his intent to invite her to the Ball. Rather than force Rose to choose between the two men, a clever solution is proposed. Whoever can identify the most species of birds in one week’s time gets the privilege of asking Ms. Mbikwa to the ball. Drayson's charming descriptions of the Kenyan wildlife and his sharp take on the foibles and follies of the people and politics sketch a rich picture of contemporary life in Nairobi. Fans of Alexander McCall Smith will delight in this transporting and witty novel."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


So, I've been Missing in Action since April.  Had a few things going on, like the wedding...

The reunion...

And hanging out with Bowman and his parents.

It was a wonderful summer and I am blessed.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

This week's diversions

So, if I do watch TV (not often) I always check to see what's on PBS.  And in the past few months I caught a few episodes of "Doc Martin," a comic drama about a London surgeon who moves back to his home town (a beautiful Cornish village) to become the GP.  He has a fear of blood and has no bedside manner, which makes me like him in some strange way.  I mentioned to some friends that I had started watching this show and they said they had gotten "hooked" and had ordered the DVDs.  Would I like to borrow them?  Indeed.  So, last Sunday I did something I have never done before: watched a DVD on my laptop.  And I got so engrossed that I watched three episodes in a row.  Have had no time since then to watch any more, but am hoping for some time soon to watch some more.

I also started reading Unbroken while we were away in Montana a month ago.  It was a great compelling read, but I had to return it to the library before I had finished it.  Fortunately, my name came up on the list again last week, so I got into it again.  I almost always read at bedtime but shut the light off at 11 or so.  This book had me so hooked that I was reading to well after midnight every night this week.  Laura Hillenbrand is a great writer and this story of an American GI in WWII is one of the most gripping books I have read in many months.  Thus book is not for the faint of heart as it records the torture Louis Zamperini experienced at the hands of the Japanese.  It will probably be on my "Top Books of 2011" list.  

Monday, March 21, 2011

March Getaway

Most people like to head south for a winter getaway 
but Doug and I decided to catch a bit of winter 2 weekends ago.  Just a wee getaway.
We had not had 2 days off together since vacation last summer. Headed north (Montana and Glacier Nat'l Park) on an Allegiant Air flight (those less expensive flights out of smaller airports) on a Friday evening.  Left 88 degree weather and found ourselves in freezing weather in a few hours.  
We had 2.5 wonderful days of doing something very different from our daily routine.  We reflected on life and the future and the amazing creativity of God.

We stayed at a cute little cabin in Martin City, where we were told, "People are renegades."  The cabin was really cute.  Unfortunately, the leg of the bed frame gave way as Doug sat down on the bed that evening.  "Well, never mind, I'll sleep on that side.  It shouldn't be that bad."  Well, it wasn't so easy to sleep at that weird angle, trendelenberg-like, so we pulled the mattress onto the floor at 5 the next morning for a couple decent hours of sleep.
But never mind, because we had this to see the next day. 

Doug enjoyed quite a few cups of his favorite brew.
We didn't make this snowman but he had no face when we found him and his arm was dislocated to we set that right.
We enjoy reading aloud to each other (especially on vacations) and started reading the book Unbroken, the fascinating and well-written account of a WWII American GI 
who was captured by the Japanese.
A few other weekend memories we came home with: the breakfast waitress whose name was Electra Omega ("my parents were a little weird"), the Irish band playing at the Belton Chalet, the spicy supper that Doug couldn't enjoy so the waitress replaced it and refused to charge him for the meal, the sound of geese flying north over Lake McDonald, the clear water of Snyder Creek flowing through the ice and snow.
We were blessed and refreshed.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Do you have a "Dementia Mentor?"

We all need mentors in our lives. I have many (and many of them aren't aware that they are mentoring me). In the past year I have been privileged to care for a beautiful woman with dementia. When I have dementia I want to be just like her. Why? She always had the sweetest disposition, never complained, was always thankful for something or someone, and always spoke kindly to everyone.
While I was away last weekend, she passed away. I don't always cry when my patients die, but I cried when I heard she had died.
Daughter Trisha sent me this poem which speaks so poignantly of the dementia process. 
Forgetfulness by Billy Collins
The name of the author is the first to go followed obediently by the title, the plot, the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of,
as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain, to a little fishing village where there are no phones.
Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets, something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps, the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.
Whatever it is you are struggling to remember it is not poised on the tip of your tongue, not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.
It has floated away down a dark mythological river whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall, well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle. No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war. No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.
 (This is where I was last week-end. More on that later.)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Simple beautiful things in my life this week

Tulips from friends...

blueberries on my Apple...

a strawberry on my Apple...

And other beautiful things:  
playing Mexican Train with friends,
lunch out with co-workers (patio dining in March),
working on a project with a friend,
mentoring a new nurse today,
keeping up with my Bible reading and prayer,
Skyping Bowman and Trish,
a little wedding planning with Angie,
knowing God Is In Control.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Improving my mental health

I read an article about mental health that said people who "work" with their hands have markedly  better mental health than those who don't.  
This can take many forms: playing piano, gardening, sewing, decorating, cleaning, 
baking bread, woodworking, painting, fixing a car, dusting (okay, maybe not dusting).
So to improve my mental health and that of my sweet sister-in-law Loraine last Saturday, we made whole wheat bread.
She had never worked with yeast before.
And she did a wonderful job--totally "got" the kneading technique and the bread was seriously the best whole wheat bread I have made in years.  
(Okay, truth be told, I don't make bread all that often.)

Here she is.

And here is the delicious result.

Best Whole Wheat Bread

A slightly sweet, healthy half-whole-wheat bread

1 loaf

1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)

1 tablespoon milk

2 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
 (I did use King Arthur flour this time)
2 teaspoons instant active dry yeast – I always use quick rise (bread machine) yeast.

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; stir.
2. Add flours and yeast, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10-15 minutes.  Shape into a loaf and place in greased loaf pan.
Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled; about an hour 
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. If loaf starts browning too soon, lightly place tin foil on top until bread is done.
5. Remove bread from oven and allow to rest in pan for a few minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cover with a cloth. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Just a short post saying how blessed I am with my amazing daughters.
#2 (birth order, not value) was home again from Lubbock this past weekend, bringing joy to our lives and making me smile.   Angie is one of the funniest people I know.
(And a killer Scattergories player.)
I am proud of her for doing a challenging thing -  living apart from her fiance' and
 working nights on a busy med-surg/oncology floor, making new friends and a new life.
  Learning some of life's hard lessons 
and growing in grace.
It was also great to see her sweet, handsome fiance as well.
109 days until their wedding.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Talking about China

I had forgotten how much I love to talk to kids about China.  When we returned from our 5 years there I did presentations on China in Trisha and Angie's  school classrooms.  It's been quite awhile since I did it but I had the chance to talk with the elementary age kids at church on Sunday.  We talked about panda bears and how to say hello in Mandarin and why their roofs curl up on the ends and that Chinese children are taught in school that there is no God.

Trisha and Angie in China in 1989.

Looks like Doug & Trisha are headed to class.

At the market with Angie.

Maybe we'll go back someday.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A long love....

It's getting close to Valentine's Day so thought I would post about my parent's long love affair.
It started when a Minnesota farm boy met a city girl visiting the farm.  Love bloomed across the miles.
She was working as nurse in new Jersey and later Seattle.
He was working the farm in the Red River Valley of Minnesota.
I have several boxes of my parent's love letters.
They wrote constantly, sometimes more than once a day.
It was during WW II when their love affair started and grew.
They talked about their work and the weather and their families and the farm and the war 
and the economy and their love for each other.  
I have not read through them all but each one I have read touches me in some way.
They had a long, deep, committed love and were married for 56 years.
"Their" song was "As Time Goes By," 
"Their" movie was "Casablanca."
They loved the Lord and their kids (and spouses) and grandkids
We all miss them so much and are so glad for their long love affair...

These boxes are filled with their letters.  Wish I could transcribe them all and make a book for the family.

As Time Goes By

You must remember this
A kiss is still a kiss
A sigh is still (just) a sigh
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by

And when two lovers woo
They still say: "I love you"
On that you can rely
No matter what the future brings
As time goes by

Moonlight and love songs - never out of date
Hearts full of passion - jealousy and hate
Woman needs man - and man must have his mate
That no one can deny

It’s still the same old story
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by 

© 1931 Warner Bros. Music Corporation, ASCAP

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sister Love

"There can be no situation in life in which the conversation of my dear sister will not administer some comfort to me"
Mary Worley Montague

My sister Peggy came from Calgary this past week-end, so we had just a short time together.  We see each other quite rarely but she is one of my favorite people.  

She reads and sews and leads women's Bible studies and is a great cook and quilter, among other things. And she doesn't own a cell phone!  
 These are a couple quilt projects she has given me...(I know, lucky me.)

There was a hard frost predicted the first couple nights she was with us so at 10 PM she helped us harvest our fruit crop.  Here are 4 of the 8 bags we picked in the dark.

On Saturday we hiked the Heiroglyphic Canyon trail in the Superstition Mountains.
One of the rockier trails she has hiked, she reported.

She's game for anything (as you can see) and we had a great time walking and enjoying lunch and God's creation.

These may look like graffiti left by kids. But they aren't.
Archaeologists aren’t sure who left the petroglyphs in Hieroglyphic Canyon, but most think they were drawn between 700 and 1100 A.D., during the Hohokam habitation.

We saw hundreds of saguaros (or was it dozens; I wasn't counting). 
They have a relatively long life span and take up to 75 years to develop a side arm. 

Enough of the travelogue. 
 This posting is about my amazing sister.  So glad she came and look forward to seeing her again in 4 months, at Angie's wedding.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

"What's for breakfast?", said Pooh

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh.  “What do you say, Piglet?” 

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.   “It’s the same thing,” he said.  
  – A.A. Milne

This is the breakfast Doug made for his Integrity Group a few weeks ago.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lightening the LOAD

Trinity's  annual yard sale is happening this Saturday.  This event has mushroomed into a mega-sale over the years.  It's a wonderful chance to lighten my load of stuff. 
 Gone, gone, gone are all my dusty artificial trees, unworn ties and jackets, 
pictures, packs of notebook paper.....

Here's the stack that Doug took over on Monday.

No, the book case isn't going, but see that empty shelf?  That held our 20 year old World Book Encyclopedias. (Sent to us, free from the World Book Company when we lived in China.)
As Doug said last night when bagging then up, "It's the end of an era."  Guess that could mean a lot of things.  It got me wondering if anyone even sells encyclopedias any more?

It feels good to lighten the load.

"Don't store up treasures here on earth,
where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal.
Store your treasures in heaven....
Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will be also."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Signs that made me laugh

Funky signs and notices always make me smile.
Saw this sign hanging in a coffee shop in Duluth a year ago .

It was hanging here at Dunn Brothers Coffee, Duluth, MN.
Isn't this cute?  LOG, inside and out.

And this struck us really funny when we lived in China in the 80s.  It was a good idea, though, to help prevent a slip on the sidewalk in the mornings, especially.

This is probably just humorous to a nurse.  This was at Buca de Beppo in Mesa.  Saw it in December when out with the Ladies Book Club ladies.

Friday, January 21, 2011


I pretty much like things in symmetry much of the time, so it kinda tickled me to see how hubs had arranged the furniture in preparation for the carpet to be cleaned a couple weeks ago.

And when I saw this it got me thinking about how exciting it would be to pack everything up and be free of the "stuff" of life, which is the way I felt every time we have packed up and moved somewhere new.
But, alas, a day later it was all back where it was prior to  Oxyclean Man's work.
Not to say that I don't really like where I live.
It's just exciting to be on a new adventure sometimes.