Ten Blogging Years


Hello Blog Friends– This August marks my tenth year of typing away on this blog.  Really it’s more of a scrapbook of recipes and thoughts I want to hang on to.

I’ve been thinking for a while that I would use this anniversary to close the site down.  Life is full. And there are so many things I want to give more time to–people we love and projects we never seem to get done!

But when I then I thought about now much I would miss it–especially keeping in touch with old and new blog friends (that means you– Lacey, Mollie, Kat, Marcia, Daisy, Suzanne, Lisa, Mary, Carol, Lilly, Cindy, Brigid, Vero, Ursula and Susie!!)

So I’m cutting back to once a week– less recipes, more of life and faith and family.  I think that will fit just fine.

And to mark the happy event of Ten Blogging Years, I thought I’d link to my favorite posts (just click on the blue letters to link through):

 

FAVORITE RECIPES — DISHES FO FAMILY & FRIENDS


Chocolate Cream Cake with Ganache Frosting


Creamy Lemon Parmesan Chicken


Books & Breakfast– A Morning with Friends


Beef Barley Soup


Swedish Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce


Bacon Ranch Potato Salad


Moroccan Spiced Chicken with Apricot Couscous


Overnight Orange Rolls

 

 

FAVORITE THOUGHTS ON LIFE AND FAITH:


True Home


Waiting


My Notebook


Rethinking Christmas


Enough


Aging Well

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FAVORITE BLOG MEMORIES WITH THE FAMILY:


Christmas With the Crew 2015


Wonderful Woodsy Wisconsin Wedding Weekend


Good Times in Big Bear


Grammy Camp 2017


Cambria with Kids


Sweet Times in San Francisco


On Being A Mom

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FAVORITE BOOK POSTS OVER THE YEARS:

     
     
Booklist Page (Notations of books I’ve read the last 3 years)


Five Favorite Children’s Books!


At Home in the World (& Other Travel Books)

  
Books For A Special Baby

 
  
30 Years of Books (Lit Group favorites)

      
Favorite Books (October 2009)

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FAVORITE TRAVELS FROM HERE TO THERE:


Family Trek Through the Sequoias!


Beautiful Kyoto


Vancouver Days


Wet Market in Lijang China


Lunch in Paris


San Francisco with the Grand-Girls (or Fun in SF with kids!)


Wisconsin Part #2– Off to the North Woods!!

 

Whew! That’s a whole lot of posts.  It wasn’t easy narrowing down to very favorites!!  And if you, by chance, are still reading this overwrought posting– thank you!!  It’s been a joy to send out posts for the last ten years to dear people like you.  I remain thankful.

Waiting


Hi friends– Here’s a bit I wrote for the Women’s Blog at church.  It means a lot to me– Thought you might be waiting on something in your life too…

WAITING

I am not a patient “waiter.” I think you know what I mean. Waiting in line at the market in the 5:00 afternoon rush—or waiting on the phone, way beyond reason, to be connected the person I need to talk to. It gives me the fidgets.

Right now Larry and I are waiting on a matter of much greater magnitude. At times, it’s kept me awake in the night. And made my mind run to the worst outcome. The wait has stretched long beyond what we had hoped.

But in waits of consequence, I do find myself coming to God with my impatient prayers—taking him up on his “cast all your cares upon him” offer (I Peter 5:7). He knows me– my hopes, my needs, my impatience with the lengthening wait. I can rest and trust him in that.

On the back page of my Bible, I’m making a growing list of verses that talk about waiting. Exodus 12:40 recounts the Israelites waiting 430 years in Egypt. Yikes!

It heartens me to read “morning by morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation” –Psalm 5:3. Expecting God to hear and help.

And I love Psalm 33:20-22. “We wait in hope for the Lord; … for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” Hope and unfailing love—It’s what he gives at times like this.

C.S. Lewis said, “I am sure God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait.” Got it.

And Elizabeth Elliot understands the depths of waiting—“Waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting hearts to God about it whenever it intrudes upon ones thoughts.”   She’s right. It’s the uncertainty that’s gnawing at me and the lifting it up to God that makes it bearable.

So I’m trying to find contentment , even joy in the wait. I don’t want to foolishly miss the good in “now”. The wait could be time to reconcile myself to news I don’t want to hear when the wait is over, to be ready. It could be a rest in the road—to read or quilt or play with grand-kids or care for friends who have their own waits. I think it’s called “living in the moment” even as I impatiently wait.

This I know. God’s love is unfailing and that is where I put my hope. So for now, I’m waiting.

P.S. photo from a park walk this evening with our Wisconsin kids.

Don’t Give Up


Hello friends– We are on a continuing journey here.  Working through a daunting situation.  Just wishing it were finished.  And these words are just what I needed to hear. There’s Hope in the middle of it all.  I thought maybe they would encourage you too.

“Our job is to be obedient to God.  God’s job is everything else.  Don’t give up dear friend. Don’t give up.”   –Lysa TerKeurst  (author, speaker)

“So let’s not get tired of doing good. At the right time we will reap a harvest blessing if we don’t give up.”    Galatians 6:9 (NLT)

P.S. Photo from last summer’s walk in the Iowa woods.

Walking Each Other Home

Hello all–  Thinking through blessings this November, reasons for thanksgiving.  And what comes to mind are the people around us–friends near and far, who share life with us.

Love what Tim Keller wrote:
“Spiritual friendship is eagerly helping one another know, serve, love and resemble God in deeper and deeper ways.”

It’s Jenni handing me a worthwhile book and some sage advice, Jackie stitching up a “family blanket” for us, Lynn walking with me in the mornings sharing her studies, Jenon texting early morning encouragement. It’s Joanne talking though daunting medical concerns and trusting God in it all and Kim rounding us up to make meals for foster kids.  It’s friends (& family) who trekked to Wisconsin to celebrate our Laurel & John’s wedding.

These are the people I want to spend a life with.  I recently heard a TED talk with Anne Lamott– she told about people “walking each other home.”  That’s it.  So thankful to walk my way home with the people God has given us.

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love… Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.”   Romans 12:10 & 15

P.S. photo of Wisconsin farmland from last summer.

 

Being Known

“The beautiful thing about God is that even though we cannot fully comprehend his love, he fully comprehends us.”       — Morgan Harper-Nichols  (Daily Life Devotional)

It’s true– we all want someone to truly know us, to understand us deeply.

I had a older woman friend in Spain.  She would have us for coffee and spoil our little kids like they were her own grandchildren.  We would walk arm in arm to the plaza for pastries.

And one day in her kitchen, she told me the story of her marriage to her husband.  She had been in love with another young man, but her parents arranged for this marriage.  He had provided well and it had been a fine home for two sons over the years.  But she ended telling me,  “I just wanted someone to know.”

We want someone to know…  The wondrous thing is that there is one who knows us profoundly and loves us fully– it’s an enormous comfort.  So thankful for the love and understanding of God.

Search me, God, and know my heart;”  –Psalm 139:23

photo– Marin headlands hike

Unwavering Trust

Hello friends–  Some times life seems heavy, too real.  We have three friends facing very serious medical treatments.  They don’t know how things will end, but I’m thankful they all have a tenacious hope is God’s goodness and mercy.  They are prepared.  And we are praying with them…

It reminds me of a note I received a while back from a friend in the middle of her chemotherapy–

“No one warns which days will forever change our lives.  No one wakes us that morning and says, “This day will require you to have an unwavering trust in the sovereignty of God.  This day you’ll need to be prepared with all truth.” (Chuck Swindoll)

So every day, we all must be prepared, ready knowing who God is and how we trust him.  Because we will all face unwelcome troubles. It’s our hope in God and trust in his care that will see us through.

–photo from drive across New Mexico with Laurel

Between You & God

From Mother Teresa (1910-1997)  Catholic nun and missionary to Calcutta.

“People are often unreasonable and self centered.
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

I you are honest, people may cheat you.
Be honest anyway.

If you find happiness, people may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good.

Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.
Give you best anyway.

For you see, in the end, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway. 

 

Ran across this and loved it, thought you might too.  Reminds me that I walk with God in who I am and what I do day by day.  Thankful.

Worry & What I know

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Hello all– Do you remember that story of Jesus and the storm?  When a squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, his friends cried, “Don’t you care if we perish?!!”  And Jesus stood and with a few words calmed the storm.  And turned to them and asked, “Why are you so afraid, do you so have so little faith?”

We’ve been through a bit of a storm these past weeks, some uncertainty about the future.  I wish I could say I didn’t worry a bit.  But there have been a few sleepless nights when I want to cry, “Don’t you care if we perish?”  Uncertainty.  It’s just hard.

But someone reminded me of this story and who is is “in my boat.”  That’s been a comfort and a stay in these weeks.  I’m afraid my faith is still small.  I’m prone to worry.  But this is what I know– Jesus is in my boat. That is enough.

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Thank you laurajames.com for the picture.

Easter Hope

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“Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father.  Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.”
John 13:1

Hello friends– This year for Lent I determined to pull out my little concordance and track down scripture that tells of the love of God for us– his abounding faithful love.  I wanted it to wash over me for these 40 days.

And in these weeks, three heartfelt prayers answered, brought a joy of feeling loved and held in his hand.  It was glorious.

But in this last couple days, I’ve had to trust in God’s love in different ways as unexpected troubles have clouded life and obscured that joy.

That’s where Easter is our hope, our stay.  Jesus came to show the “full extent of his love.”  Loving enough to die for us– loving us through every bit of life, in joys and when things look grim.  I am thankful.

Hoping you have a wonderful, worshipful time with friends and family on this Easter.  Blessings.  xox

Peace on the Roller Coaster

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“Thank you, God, for this good life, and forgive us if we do not love it enough.” — Garrison Keillor

Good old Garrison Keillor.  We’ve enjoyed hours (mostly on the car radio) of his folksy insights.  And thankfully, usually I do love my life.

But the last couple weeks our usually placid life has become a unexpected roller coaster ride.  There have a couple of the best “ups” and some truly disheartening downs– a friend’s cancer diagnosis, drastic changes at school…  I’m woozy.  And clinging to what I read in Philippians:

“Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for what he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything you can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”   — Philippians 6-7 (NLT)

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P.S. Photo from Mom’s birthday weekend at Hume Lake.

Psalm 73

DSC03548Hi friends — This weekend as we were traveling home down the interstate, I listened to a TED talk on the subject of death.  Not something we think about a lot.  I thought what most of the speakers tried to say was that considering death, gives you a perspective that allows you to be more intentional with the life you have left–time with family, travels, conversations you mean to have.   That is so valuable…

But what I didn’t hear was how to think of death itself, and what lies beyond.  That is the blessed hope my faith gives me– hope in God’s presence now and forever.

I like this little vignette from Psalm 73.  It seems a picture of a life (and of a death) to me.  I have it written on a pretty card and read it most days– God the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  It’s a comfort, a joy.

“I am always with you, you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?  And being with you, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart 
and my portion forever.”    –Psalm 73:23 to 26

P.S. photo from our trip through upstate NY last summer.

The Light of Faith

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“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen — not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

Source: C.S. Lewis — “Is Theology Poetry” (1945)

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“The Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory”  –Psalm 60:19

So very thankful for he clarity of faith, for the ways God speaks to our souls and helps this sometimes unwieldy life make sense. What would I do without him?

Known & Loved

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“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”

–Tim Keller (pastor, author, Redeemer Church, NYC) 

Hello friends– This man always makes me think.  We do have people we truly love, who do love us.  And that’s a comfort.  But the true sustaining, constant love of our lives is the perfect love God has for us.  I’m deeply thankful.

“But I trust in your unfailing love.”  — Psalm 13:5

Aging Well

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That’s my mom, Lorraine, on the right and my daughter Ani with her precious little armful of a niece. 

Hello friends–  I spent the weekend with my mom.  At 84 she’s still bright and intrepid.  We drove up the state to San Francisco so she could meet her newest great grand-boy. I can’t say how much I love and admire her.  She’s aged so gracefully.

It made me think back on this list I had started earlier– about aging well.  It seems easy to become one of those grumbly little old ladies.  But I’d rather be one of the bright and vibrant kind.  So here’s my current list to help me through my 60’s and beyond…

Twelve ideas (more suggestions that rules) to help me “Age Well.”

1.  Eat a little more healthily than I would want to (more lima beans, less chocolate cake?!).
2. Stay active– even my puny little morning exercise gets the day going.
3. Befriend younger people– You have a lot to give them and they keep you young.
4. Continue to be productive every day–bake a cake, write a poem, paint a picture, stitch a quilt, plant a garden, write a letter…
5. Read widely –and keep on talking over those books with Jenni & the Lit Group
6.  Pray– for my kids, for friends, for people afar who I don’t even know, quiet my soul every day before God and honor him.
7.  Make plans, Big plans!! (right Laurel?)– travels, adventures, house projects, days with friends…  Fill all those days and years.
8.  Forgive completely– choose grace and love and joy over bitterness.
9. Use the gifts God gives (baking, growing flowers, reading to children, organizing, taking all those photos, teaching???) and use them to care for other people.
10. Always show more and more kindness to the people I love in what I do, in what I say.
11.  Be open to change (this one is hardest for me).
12. Know and love God more with each passing day, find my rest in him.

Here’s a quote I’ve posted before– Edith Wharton, on living intentionally, living well into an old age.  A lot of wisdom:

“In spite of illness, in spite even of the arch-enemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ones.”

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”  Psalm 90:12

P.S.– and thank you Alexa for the photo.  You summon up the most tender, brilliant portarits.  And especially love this one.

 

Psalm 143:8

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Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.    –Psalm 143:8

Hello friends– I’m depending on these words to carry me through the next few weeks.  School is starting up and this year it’s looming like a mountain I don’t quite think I can climb. Last night I even had one of those crazy “teacher dreams” where everything in room #2 goes from bad to worse!   I won’t bore you with all the daunting new complications ahead, but just want to say I’m hoping to not lose sight of the kindness and joy of teaching children, seeing them flourish and grow.  That’s what I’m there for.

So I’m starting my days with this Psalm in mind.  Resting, trusting in the all encompassing love of God and lifting up my soul to him each morning to see me through.  Lord have mercy.

Keep Going

4e56b5a4053166b033718e3d00fbe3d5Hi friends– Is it just me, or is this the craziest time of year?  So much, so much, so much of everything .  I had a melt down on Saturday.  Poor Larry had to stand in the kitchen and listen a good long rant.  That helped.

Do you ever have weeks like this?  (Please tell me you do.)

So I’m staggering under the load of my to-do list.  And then I remembered (perhaps later than I should have):

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”    — 1 Peter 5:7

There’s a God who actually loves me in all this mess and want to help me carry to load, who will give me moments of sweet rest in the middle of it all.

So for now I have to “keep going.”  And to keep remembering his ever near presence through the day by days ahead.  I couldn’t be more grateful.

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Thanks for the graphic — gallery.mobile9.com

Anchor for my Soul

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“In order to realize the worth of the anchor, we need to feel the stress of the storm.” –Corrie Ten Boom (Author, Dutch Christian who helped escaping Jews in WWII)

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”  — Hebrews 6:19

Grateful all over again tonight to have an anchor, that holds me close to what is real and true and eternal.

 P.S.- photo from our travels up the Interstate 5 to SF a couple weeks ago.  Glorious.

Faith in Things Unseen

Hi all– Been thinking so much about faith in these days–with so many friends facing difficult times, and seeing God’s goodness to them through it. It makes faith all the more precious, even more sustaining.

So I looked in the front fly leaf of my old Bible.  This is what I have written there….

st-augustine1“Faith is living for what you do not see–the reward of faith is seeing what you believe.”  
— St Augustine (340-403 A.D.)  Early Christian theologian, bishop and writer.

“Faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the assurance of things unseen.”  Hebrews 11:11

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen in temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  I Corinthians 4:18

The older I am, the more real and true and dear these thoughts are to me.  My faith is is in that I can not see, but in it, I have a real and true hope.  So thankful.

The Sense of the Beautiful

images“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.”

― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832 German writer, poet  and statesman)

It is one of God’s magnificent gifts– the sense of the beautiful that he has given us, the appreciation for all that is sweet and true and beautiful in this world.  Beauty in the brightness of the zinnias in the side yard, the smooth dark skin of the plums on the kitchen counter, beauty in the long jumping-dancing legs of the grand-girls, beauty in the 83 year old face on my mom…

I’m hoping to search for the beauty in my days, and to trust the maker of beauty with my worldly cares as they come.  God help me…

Thanking God

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Hello friends– I’ve been thinking about worshipping our God. It seems some other more saintly people, that I know and love, just have that constant flow of worship to God.  But stopping to praise him, to worship– It seemed too monumental, too important.  Well, and I’m so easily distracted pulled away by the immediate things around me…  Where to begin?  How to do it well in the moments of my day?

But reading recently I was given the idea to simply thank God for two things: Who he is and What he does.  That is the heart of worship. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just sincere thanks.  There’s a lot of joy to be found in those times of simple thank yous.  God is good.

“Worship is the believer’s response of all that they are–mind, emotions, will, body– to what God is and says and does.”   –Warren Wiersbe (pastor, writer born 1920)

“Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; …Remember the wonders he has done.”
–Psalm 105:1 & 5

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P.S.  Photo from an evening in San Francisco last year