Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Memories 

Sometimes Christmas memories take on the form of arguments. 
As the year I heard my eight year old daughter, Krysta, singing,

"Souvenirs  souvenirs!
  It's Christmas time in the city!" 
Her older sister, Deanne, was quick to point out the error. 
"It is not souvenirs.  It's silver bells!"  Deanne explained. 
Krysta was irked.  "It sounds like souvenirs to me!"

Listening to them, I was transported back to fifth grade in
Williams, MN.  Mrs. Johnson, our music teacher, put together
a beautiful Christmas concert.  We carried candles, walked up
the aisle of the gymnasium, and sang Silent Night
I remember trying to hit the minor notes in What Child Is This?
and the tinkling sound of Silver Bells.

Deanne looked up the lyrics for Silver Bells
As I read the words I thought of sixth grade at Williams. 
The concert the year before had caused a stir in the community. 
Some people objected to the hymns we sang.  In sixth grade we had
a pantomime featuring Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. 
No Christmas carols allowed . . .

And the debate continues . . .
to wish others a Merry Christmas . . . or not.

We hear about those who believe there should be no mention of
Christmas at all.  Christmas vacation isn't Christmas vacation . . 
it is the winter break.  Some want to throw Santa Claus and
the nativity scene into one bag and pitch the whole kit and
caboodle out the window. 

A commercialized Christmas is ironic.  There's the story of a couple
who drove past a church and noticed a nativity scene on the lawn. 
"Just look at that!"  she sputtered. 
"Now the church thinks they're going to get in on Christmas, too."

Thoughts of Jesus bring conflict. 
The Bible says,
"He was in the world, and the world
was made by him, and the world knew him not. 
He came unto his own, and his own
received him not."  John 1:10,11 

It stretches our minds to think of the Creator of the universe
lying in a manger.

Mrs. Johnson taught us the timeless beauty of old Christmas carols. 
This is a memory that can't be erased. 
Can you hear the angels singing? 
Can you see the shepherds dashing to Bethlehem? 
They found the stable and the animals. 
Joseph and Mary and baby Jesus were there
just like the angels said. 

We can be comforted this year when we sing Christmas
carols and tell our children the story of Jesus. 
He was willing to come to a world full of strife.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Book Mobile

Every now and then when I'm driving around on errands
the name of a book will come back to me from long ago childhood.
That happened to me this fall.

Taste of Spruce Gum . . .

The Taste of Sprucegum . . .
it doesn't matter -
that's enough to go on.

I don't remember the author or the name of the main character.  
I just know it is about a little girl.  I can still see the art work
in the book.  I stop in at the library in our town and ask the
kind librarian if it's still available.

It is - but if it wasn't she could have looked further and requested
it from a neighboring library system.  She requested it for me as
I rattled on about reading it a long time ago  when we used to
go to the book mobile.  She thought the book sounded delightful
and mourned with me that wonderful old books are being
weeded out of the library.

 On those long ago summer days when the book mobile was coming
we hurried and scurried to wash the dishes
and make the beds
and weed four rows of carrots in the garden
 (I'm just kidding)
then piled in our car and drove to Graceton.

The book mobile was parked in front of the little store/post office.
It was like an over sized bread truck or ice cream truck.
Gravel crunched under our feet as Mom and four daughters lined up
at the door.  There was a step stool at the door.  Step up - then a couple
more steps and we were in a book lined haven.

I don't know why I remember that book above many others. 
The author is Jacqueline Jackson and even though I reread it in October
I am sad to say the little girl's name slips from my memory again.
But that's just me.  People in my family accuse me of speed reading all
the time.  It's probably true.  When I finish a book many times I want to
start back at the beginning and read it again . . . a sure sign that a lot was
missed on the way through the first time.

Maybe the story stuck with me because it is set in a logging camp.
My dad was a logger in the wintertime when we lived up north.
We have lots of family memories of picnics in the woods,
heating water and food over many a camp fire,
and helping Dad during our spring break.

What books . . .
      or libraries where you found the books
                   do you remember from long ago?


Sunday, December 1, 2013

When our plans change

Ellis got two hunting trips to MT this year.  He was tickled to hear about
a new law that lets people who once-upon-a-time lived and hunted in MT
go back and hunt without paying expensive out of state license fees. 
The first trip was the end of October.  He went out by train.  But the main
reason he went to MT was to go to an auction sale.

A high school friend was planning an estate sale with his brothers
and Ellis found out.  These two haven't seen each other for 30+ years. 
That was a great reunion even tho it was a busy day for his friend and they
didn't get to do much more than get started on catching up.

And all of this is back ground info to let you know why I was planning
to drive to the train station in the twin cities on a cloudy, damp day near the
end of October.

The train comes in around 7:00 A.M. if it is on time.  I was going to leave
at 4:00 A.M. to avoid rush hour traffic.  Then I got an e-mail notice the
evening before saying the train was late by about two hours.  Ellis was
already on the way to Williston with his brother and sis-in-law. 

"We could have kept on hunting for a couple more hours!" That was the
first reaction to the news.  Now they had plenty of time to go eat and linger
at the station with loooong North Dakota good-byes.  Ellis got on the train
at 12:30 A.M.  The train was now five and a half hours late.

There was no sense leaving at four in the morning.  I got on the way
by seven, called Amtrak and heard the newest update.  The eta was
1:45 P.M.  I stopped to talk to the bus manager to see if there was anyone
to cover my bus route that afternoon . . .  and there was. 

Next stopped at Dad and Mom's place for a cup of tea and to chat with
Mom and Krysta.  Krysta stayed overnight at Grandpa's so she could get
to school.  As it turned out she could have stayed at home and I could have
driven her to school.  Dad came home from driving bus.  I knitted,
Mom quilted on Deanne's Log Cabin Quilt and Dad drew me a map
of a back way to drive to the cities to avoid all the traffic
and road construction of I 35. 

All of the delays reminded Dad of another time and another place. 
A long long time ago Dad and a friend were driving home from
Bible School.  There was a snow storm - a heavy, wet snow that piled up
and stopped the snow plows and stopped the traffic.  Before they knew it
Dad and his friend were in a long line of cars that were not going anywhere. 
There they sat.  For hours.

This was long before common ordinary people had car phones. 
No cell phones.  No computers.
No communication between Dad and his family. 
We were in WI waiting for Dad to arrive. 
I must admit I have no memory of waiting without knowing
what in the world had happened.  All of the adults in the household
let us play and put us to bed and fed us our meals.  It was a happy
three ring circus for all of us scalawags. 
Not so much for the adults.

I have come to the conclusion we are spoiled -- completely spoiled. 
The little things that make our days easy hadn't been invented back then.   

As an adult I have been in little situations like this where I didn't know
where in the world Ellis was - for about an hour or so. 
And then he returns or calls and there is great relief. 

This delay with the late train was like a picnic in the park with bright
sunshine and good food compared to being stuck in a snow bank with
no way to communicate and let loved ones know, "I'm okay!"

I could call Ellis any time I wanted.  We could compare notes on how
the day was going.  It wasn't going quite like we had planned but we
were able to stay in touch. 

I suppose I had the best end of the deal.  I could drive to Perkins,*
order a bite to eat, enjoy my soup and sandwich, and either read or knit. 

On the other hand, Ellis could sleep, read, go to the dining car for the
complimentary meal, work on Sudoku and visit with the neighbors if he
felt like it.  Not so bad either.

The train eventually arrived shortly after 4:00 P.M.
Dad and his friend eventually got plowed out and
continued on the way home.
Happy, happy reunions!

This was another time to remember that verse: 
In everything give thanks:
for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus concerning you.
I Thessalonians 5:18

*At Perkins I can recommend the tomato basil soup
       and the hot beef sandwich with cheese
            on sour dough bread.
          And the wild berry pie. 
I got the pie in a box to take with me.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

after surgery

We were so grateful to learn that Evan's spinal cord was not severed. 
It was badly bruised, though.  The surgeon answered our questions one
by one.  Yes, he has seen people walk again after an injury like this. 
And he has seen those who don't walk after an injury like this. 

It depends on time and therapy.

And God.

The week at Duluth was amazing.  It was awesome to see how God works
in our lives - how He helps us in the middle of trauma.  We were extremely
grateful for the care given to all of us at the hospital.

-- all the thoughts and prayers, visits, flowers, etc. given by family and friends.

-- the network of family and friends on Facebook and caring bridge . . .

My favorite quote by one of Evan's co-workers --
"I'm praying for you and I don't even pray."

We felt buoyed up
        above all the trouble
                   by those prayers.

Now -- a year later we are still waiting.
We still need those prayers.

- - - - - - - - - - -
Evan and Chelsea transferred to Rochester MN in time for Thanksgiving.
A Thanksgiving Holiday in the middle of trouble . . .

That reminds me of Corrie ten Boom and her sister, Betsy. 
They were in prison for helping Jews during World War II.
In their sleeping quarters they found bunks
 - triple high -
with straw mattresses
thin blankets
and fleas. 

Corrie and Betsy decided to follow the verse in I Thessalonians 5:18.
In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Betsy started the list.
   - the Bible they held in their hands
   - they were together. 
   - the crowds of women who would hear the Bible being read.
   - the fleas

But when Betsy started thanking God for the fleas Corrie thought,
"This is a mistake.  There is no way I can be thankful for fleas."

Corrie eventually found out they had complete freedom
     to hold prayer meetings
              and times of Bible reading
                    because of the fleas.
The officers wouldn't step inside the bunk room
      since the place was crawling with fleas.

This has always been one of my favorite stories.
It is one thing to read a favorite story.
Quite another to experience hard times in my life --
 or watch a loved one go through extreme difficulties.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


(It is so much fun to write this date
which now turns out to be yesterday
since I didn't get this posted
when I wanted to.)
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
       they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
               they shall run, and not be weary;
                  they shall walk, and not faint.
                                  Isaiah 40:31
How many times has this song been sung?
Countless times!
It ends as a prayer . . . 
  Teach me, Lord,
  Teach me, Lord,
       to wait.
 One day I was typing my e-mail address which has the word blue in it.  
My fingers missed the letters and typed blur instead.
That reminds me of my days.  They pass in a blur.
Not that evening . . .  time seemed to have stopped as we watched
the helicopter fly into the night. We finished up the paper work at the
hospital and gathered up Evan's boots.  Drove back to Nashwauk
and on to the cabin where we tumbled our stuff into suitcases,
hauled them to the car then stopped in at Jerry and Trenda's place to
pick up Krysta.  Jerry was on the phone talking to my aunt and uncle
who live in Duluth.
It seemed to take a long time to decide - who would stay? 
who would go with us?   At last Jeremy and Liz, Chelsea and Krysta,
Ellis and I were on the way.  Since we had to drive a couple hours and it
had taken so long to get started I think we all expected to be able to talk
to the doctor right away and see Evan right away and find out what
what was going on right away.
It was not like that at all.  Hospitals have a different time zone. 
My aunt and uncle were there to welcome us.  A chaplain came to the
waiting room and sat with us.  She prayed with us.  She rounded up blankets
and pillows for us and showed us how
the couches could be lengthened into beds. 
And still we waited and waited and waited.  At last we could see Evan
and talk to him.  They were starting to give him pain meds but he was
still in a lot of pain.  He had been through all sorts of tests. 
They were going to do surgery first thing in the morning.
I have to say this hospital was amazing.  Every morning a psalm was read
over the intercom.  Everyone was kind and helped in the most awesome ways.
My aunt and uncle were amazing.  They opened their home to us. 
We took turns, some of us staying with Evan and Chelsea and some of us
going to Dave and Leah's place.
A person never knows when a time of waiting will come --
just like this evening.  I was waiting for Ellis to get done with the brake job
he was doing on the van.  Now he is waiting for me
to get done with this post.
On that day of surgery we found out --
There is only so much coffee a person can drink when you are waiting.
Only so much you can stand to read . . .   only so many places to walk.
Sleep -- you can try to sleep the hours away. 
         Text your family and friends. 
But everyone else is having an ordinary work day. 
They are busy while our day is standing still. 
We found out we could draw strength from our Lord
      as we waited on Him.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


November 11, 2013

One year ago today our son fell out of a tree stand
when he was hunting in the north woods.

This year (11-11-13) we woke up to snow and icy roads. 
After driving Krysta to school Ellis and I arrived at Hog Slat. 
The store truck had snow piled on it so Ellis started it to warm up
and melt off.  Next we had to deal with a tire on the car that was leaking air. 
After that Ellis discovered  the windshield had cracked in the store truck. 

Cold snow, glass and warm air meet.
We found out not one but two tires are worn out and need to be replaced. 
Such a disgruntled feeling went through me - 
I was crying in this broken world
where tires go flat
and glass and backs
and hearts break.

I remembered that evening a year ago.
There is a check list of things / events we are thankful for.
I went down the list again.  When Evan fell his phone
stayed in his pocket instead of flying off and gone somewhere.
He didn't lose consciousness; he could start txting for help right away.
We had poor reception but the call for help came thro.

Ellis, Chelsea and I had no car, so we ran out to the road and
started calling people who did.  Jeremy and Liz called the ambulance.
We  called Jerry and Trenda.  Jerry drove to the cabin to give us a ride.
John and Ladina headed out to the woods to unlock the gate.  We got
to the road and turned in only to find the ambulance  ready to
turn around because they thought they were on the wrong road. 

No no!  we will show you the way - follow us.  So we drove down
a bumpy road in the dark with those ambulance lights flashing all around. 
We pointed the way at a bend of the road where the police directed everyone
to park except the emergency vehicles.  Ellis and Chelsea flew out of the car
and ran.  I got untangled from the seat belt  and started after them,
clutching my cell phone.  I thought of Deanne
as I was running and praying.

Sometimes this is the way life is.
Crying out to God. 
Calling family and friends.
Running and stumbling over deep ruts in the road . . .
Dodging broken branches.  
The only light very faint coming from the stars shining overhead.
All the time thinking, "This is just a bad dream.
Soon I'll wake up and everything will be okay."

But I rounded the corner and saw it wasn't a dream. 
An ambulance sat in that clearing.  Strong men were lifting Evan.
The stretcher slid safely into the back of the ambulance.
Chelsea was sitting in the front with the driver.
We followed and drove to Hibbing.
There we found Evan still awake and making everyone laugh.
There was a mistake on the paper work and someone asked him
if he was 31.  He was very emphatic,  "No, I'm not 31.  I'm 25."

We arrived just in time to find out Evan would be airlifted to
Duluth.  Went outside and watched as they "used a shoe horn"
to fit him in the helicopter 'cause he is soo tall.  Clung to each
other as they lifted off and prayed together  huddled in that tight
group with the cold wind whipping around us. 

Today I thought of this verse from Psalms 51. 
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit:
    a broken and a contrite heart,
                      O God,
            Thou wilt not despise.

Friday, November 8, 2013


Sorry pals . . .

I have been knitting.

Dish cloths and slippers. 

Started a scarf 

but even though

I was careful as could be

 a mistake stares at me. 

Now the dilemma. 

Should I rip it out

and start over

or ignore it

and go on? 

Don't worry. 

I will be back. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

One of these days

There are many "posts" swirling around in my head --
they even have titles.
like - Knitting Class. 

This was composed on our oldest son's 31st birthday as I sat in a
knitting class and tried to remember how to cast on stitches. 
I found out knitting is like riding bike.  It comes back to a person
and it seems quite easy even though it has been years
since I picked up a pair of knitting  needles.

Then there is a post called Panera Bread. 
(I hope that's how it's spelled.) 
wait - I have a phone book -
a quick peek -  yes!

Ellis and I have a standing joke about that restaurant. 
One year I suggested we go there for our anniversary. 
My friend had told me lovely things about Panera Bread.
It was getting dark when we pulled up close to the door. 
As the head lights of the car shone across the building
I heard Ellis mutter loud enough for me to hear,
"I have an uneasy feeling about this."

I asked him, what's wrong, and he said, oh nothing at all. 
We went in and ordered soup and sandwiches.
We found a quiet corner and started playing a game of
Trivial Pursuit while we waited for our food. 
This is just something weird we do so we won't be like some
couples we've seen who eat the whole meal in silence. 
or worse yet -- talk on cell phones to other people.

At last our delicious food came and we started eating.  

It was wild rice chicken soup . . .  no 
chicken wild rice soup . . .

whatever it's called . . . 
and delightful homemade bread. 

While we were sitting there eating and playing Trivial Pursuit
Ellis leaned over the table and said,
"I used to eat soup and homemade bread at home. 
Now I have to go to a restaurant to get it."

That tickled me for some reason, and made me mad at the same time,
but I said he can choose the restaurant next time.

We went to Red Lobster when our anniversary rolled around again.

` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
And the last post is:   More Apples

Monday evening we all bundled up and picked the last of the apples. 
I thought we should have done it on the weekend some time,
in the day light . . . and when it was warmer.  Didn't happen. 
So it was heading toward 20 degrees,
very dark and very cold. 
We  thought there were just a few apples left, but we were wrong. 
I'm guessing at least ten more buckets. 
That's five gallon buckets, not ice cream buckets. 
We lined up the cars and pickup with head lights shining to light up the trees
and the ladders and the apples.

I offered to go inside and make soup and sandwiches.
My pleas were not heard . . .  we must all attend!   =) 

It was a nice feeling to finish the job and trick Jack Frost out of painting our apples.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Up to my elbows in apples . . .
Apple sauce, apples for pie filling . . .

- - The pie filling is mostly used for apple crisp and fruit filled coffee cakes. 
I heard a new way to use it the other day. 
Warm up the pie filling and serve over waffles or pancakes. 
That sounds delicious. 

Last night we tried again to make apple cider. 
It seems like a lot of trouble to me in many ways.

Maybe we were just a quiet, subdued bunch
because we were missing Jeremy, Evan and Deanne. 
I think they helped us last time when we made cider two years ago.

Last year the blossoms froze in the spring so we had a year of no apples.    

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Basket Case

Krysta is driving at least once a day, usually home from school in the afternoons.  That way there is no pressure to get somewhere on time.  Her mother is a basket case. 

It should be quite easy this time after going through the drivers training thing four time before. 
By this time you would think I should be the model parent.  No more gasps or clutching the handle of the door or stomping my foot on the imaginary brake on my side of the car. 

I have to keep remembering the advice my friend gave her young son who was being a back seat driver - shouting out advice to his sister when she was a new driver. 

"Be quiet and pray." 

I am dragging up all kinds of memories of days gone by to encourage Krysta.  Like this one . . . The other day we went to the library.  Krysta pulled up to the curb and thought she was stepping on the brake to stop.  Instead the car bumped up over the curb, wildly startling both of us.  Krysta managed to get her feet untangled and step on the brake instead of the gas and we stopped before any damage was done. 

That's when I remembered my friend who must have done that exact same maneuver only she was in the garage and the car didn't stop until she ran into the wall and rearranged the cement blocks.  So everything is okay I told Krysta.  You got stopped and didn't run into anything or anyone.

Krysta is filling out a log book before and after each trip.  This will greatly reduce our bill at the insurance office after she gets her license.  Here is one of the questions she had to answer the other day. "What would you do differently on this trip?"

I suggested an answer for her to write down . . .  ask Dad to ride with me instead of Mom.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fruits and Veggies

the fruits of our labor . . .

Four jars of elderberry juice, a bucket of green beans and some pears to make a fruit torte . . . 

I fixed supper at Hogslat --
hot dogs
baked beans in tortillas

Ellis and Jorgan continued on with their job of blowing insulation in the attic of this gigantic building.  They got a good start on Saturday afternoon. 

Krysta and I drove over to Dad and Mom's place and caught up on their trip to North Dakota. 
That's where we got the beans and pears.

Now we are on our way home to get Krysta to bed.  =)

Did I tell you about the experiment our school is doing?  The four day school week . . .
so far it is working quite nicely.  We are still getting used to it. 

School starts at 8:00 a.m.
Students get done at 3:15 p.m.

I am getting into the swing of driving bus again. I rode with Dad a couple days to learn his route, then I could fill in for him when he went to ND on Friday.*  Ellis and I are supposed to get our permits for air brakes and then schedule practice time and get licensed.  Bus 7 is going to have air brakes. 

Good night!  Sleep tight!   Don't let the bed bugs bite!

*Dad and Mom went to the funeral of an old family friend.  They left Friday and came home Sunday.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Authors and Aunts

"Look what I found?"  Ellis had his hands behind his back at the local goodwill store.  He started that extremely annoying trick of "which hand do you want?"  No amount of guessing did any good until Krysta twirled around behind him to peek at the prize he was hiding . . .  an almost brand new game of  Authors.  No more bent cards or ratty, chewed up edges like the old set at home that has seen many a crowd of players.  The design on the back of each card is whole, not faded out from sweaty fingers.  Each set of four is complete, all the way from Louisa May Alcott with her wavy, brown hair  to  Mark Twain with bristling white eyebrows and droopy mustache.  All 44 cards were inside a plastic case with a 55c sticker on it.  There was another sticker scribbled out with magic marker, but I could see through the blue ink that at one time it was marked 39c. 

Where else could you buy a box of memories for so little?  

We used to play this game by the hour with Leah -- my aunt going on a sister.  I can picture us (Ladina, Trenda, Leah and I) strategically seated all around a teensie tiny bedroom in the trailer house near Roosevelt.  We couldn't be too close to each other or we'd accidently see cards we were not supposed to see.  I don't remember why? we always ended up howling with laughter . . .   I just remember laughing our heads off.  Of course this is my aunt Leah I am talking about.  The one who could make up verse after verse of the poem beginning with these words: 

Help! Murder! Police!
My wife fell in the grease!
We laughed so hard
We fell in the lard!
Help! Murder! Police!

I thought at the time we should write them down but we were sure we'd remember them all. 
They are forever gone.

I'm sure sometimes she wished to ship her nieces off to Siberia or deepest, darkest Peru.  Especially when we filled the canisters in her play house with flour and sugar and stirred up cakes and cookies then left sticky paste for her to clean up after we went home.  We raided sugar lumps from Grandma's cupboard - sugar lumps that were meant for the horses.  We begged for gum.  We coaxed her to play her guitar and we listened to her sing all of Dottie Rambo's songs. 

Ellis remembers playing the game of Authors with his mom - and much later - with his students at school recess.  They taught him the nasty trick of asking for a card currently in your own hand.  That puts a whole new twist on the game. 

I think this game helps a person learn to concentrate and listen and memorize.  I love memories that get stirred up of long ago days and love to think about the little people we used to be and the fun days we had together.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Story Behind the Song

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Horatio G. Spafford

Monday morning September 2, 2013   Our group filed on to the platform at Pacific Garden Mission.  We sang this song.  The whole time I was thinking about the story behind the song. 

. . . the happy life of Horatio and his wife, Anna, and their five children -- four girls and one boy.  Everything seemed to be perfect for them in their Chicago home until their only son died of scarlet fever at the age of four.  Soon after that they lost most of the property they owned in the Chicago fire.   They helped the homeless and comforted the grieving people during that time.  They had planned a trip to Europe, but at the last minute Horatio had to stay behind to take care of unfinished business.  Anna and four daughters started out by ship.  In the middle of the journey their ship was struck by another ship and sank within twelve minutes.  Anna alone was rescued.  The four girls perished in the sea. 

When Horatio was on his way by ship to join his wife the captain called him on deck when they passed the approximate place where the girls drowned.  Later that evening Horatio wrote the words to this song. 

Now here we were more than a hundred years later singing this same song.  We sang it several times on the streets of Chicago.  Only the evening before a woman stopped and listened to the singing.  She stared at us with such concentration - when anyone blocked her view she moved to a new spot where she could see us and hear us.  When anyone approached her to talk to her or tried to give her a cd she stepped away as if mesmerized and kept on staring.

I hope she heard the words.  She is on our prayer list.  She is the one I see in my dreams and wake up to pray for in the middle of the night.

When I got home from Chicago I determined to read Run Baby Run by Nicky Cruz and look up the story about the Spaffords.  I've finished those two goals. 

When everything is peachy perfect will I remember to sing this song?  When life is full of chaos and seems out of control will I keep on singing, "It is well with my soul"?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Our Anniversary

Our wedding day - 33 years ago.  Time flies when you're having fun the old cliché says.  Not long  after our wedding we were asked to go to New York for street work . . . singing, tract distribution, etc.  We looked at each other in disbelief and, I am sorry to say, chuckled a bit at the absurdity of it all.  There was no way we could be a part of that work.  We had no money to begin with and all the other excuses showered around us as we momentarily thought about the prospect.  I don't know if we even prayed about it.  We said, "No, we can't swing it." 

I'm glad God gives us time to get used to new ideas.  He brings people and circumstances into our lives to help us move toward the work He has for us.  Back then we almost flippantly said, "No."  Even then He was at work to bring us to a place where we could say, "Yes." 

In the late '80s we began to hear of a work in Chicago.  Every Labor Day week end a group of young folks went to Chicago and sang on the streets.  They distributed tracts.  They gave a message at Pacific Garden Mission.  We listened to the stories.  We were interested but we still didn't have any money.  Finally in the fall of 1993 Ellis and I went along with this group to find out more. 
I remember seeing signs that told us Nicky Cruz was scheduled to be in town for evangelistic meetings.  We toured "The Old Lighthouse"  as Pacific Garden Mission is sometimes called.

This year Ellis went to Chicago again -- 20 years in a row.  The first few years I wasn't able to go along as often as we would have liked.  More recently when I say maybe this year I should stay home my crew looks at me as if I am hallucinating and tell me quite firmly, "You're not getting out of it that easily."  Often our anniversary ends up during Labor Day week end.  We have learned to be very flexible about celebrating our special day. If you want to find out more about this work you can check here:   

God is faithful.  He is good.  We are praising His name.  His work continues on and we are grateful.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Summer in Minnesota



Those words brought back a flood of memories.  I was back on Flag Island in a second visiting my cousins.  My aunt and uncle had a house there and we went to see them every summer. 
 I remember the older girls mowing a vast lawn while we younger ones splashed in the lake all day.  We only got out of the water for meals and some hikes through the woods and across rocks to other parts of the island. 
I don't remember why we were hiking but I do remember we were given pots and pans and told to make a lot of noise.  The adults in our lives promised this noise would scare the bears away. 
It must have worked because we didn't see any bears. 
Oh, and by the way, this noise makes a good alarm clock if you are ever in the position where you need to wake someone.  Ask my boys about that
Ah! summer time . . .
Boat rides
new mown grass
hot sunshine
warm sand
little girls
splashing in the beautiful waters of Lake of the Woods
Once I read a quote about staying on an island as a child in the summer and splashing in the water.  When summer rolls around you will always try to find an island and water for swimming.
(a very lame attempt to remember a quote . . . can't find the book or remember who said it) 
Then there was that family trip to another island somewhere on Lake of the Woods.  We loaded our pontoon boat with supplies: a tent and blankets and pillows.  We fished for our supper on the way.  Have you ever fried fresh fish in sizzling butter in a cast iron skillet over an open fire?  Sprinkle salt and pepper on the pieces, butter a slice of home made bread and take big bites of each.  mmmmm!
My sisters and I splashed around in the water and sometimes banged our shins on huge rocks that were hidden under the water.  There was an occasional blood sucker sticking to one of us when we climbed out.  That called for a lot of screaming and leaping about until Mom sprinkled salt on the nasty thing and it fell off.
In the morning some of us got up early and went fishing for our breakfast. 
A cool, crisp morning
watching the sun rise
reeling in slippery walleye or northern 
sea gulls wheeling overhead
tossing left over minnows in the air for those shrieking beggars    
blue sky
blue water
orange life jackets
running along the beach
looking for driftwood
The land of 10,000 lakes

Friday, July 19, 2013

Eating My Words

Have you ever had the uncomfortable dilemma of eating your words?
Happens to me all the time.  Like the house we live in now -- the evening
we first looked at it was cool and rainy. It was dusk when we arrived
and soon turned dark.  The couple who lived in the house were frugal folks. 
They had raised 14 children and proudly showed us a display of graduation
pictures.  Every room was outfitted with 40 watt bulbs.  Mrs. M showed me
every room and closet.  Do you know what it is like going from room to room
in a sparsely furnished house with 40 watt bulbs shining feebly in the center
of each ceiling?  It was dull and grim and cold and clammy, too.
Rain dripped outside and it was dark.

They thought such a small family as ours
(one child with a second one on the way)
would rattle around in this huge house.
(It is a ranch style - 20' by 46' - with a full basement.) 
When I settled back in my car seat and closed the car door I said,
"I hope I never see that house again."  And the rest is history.
The gears were set in motion.  One and a half years later we moved
into that very same house.

Let me back up.  Ellis and I moved to southern MN from eastern MT.
We lived near Blooming Prairie.  Ellis worked at a hog unit near
Clarks Grove.  He soon got tired of the road back and forth to work
and set about finding a new route.  The saying,  "All roads lead to Rome,"
certainly applies to southern MN.  There are many different ways to get
from rural Blooming Prairie to Clarks Grove.  You don't even have to go
out of your way.  Ellis was looking for a place to buy that
would remind him of eastern MT.  Kind of rolling grass land . . .
He grew up on the edge of the state where there are no mountains.
It could be marginal land since we weren't going to plant wheat or corn
or soy beans.

That's how he found this place, driving along every gravel road
between work and home.
Hills dotted with old oak trees.
Rolling plains around it in the CRP program.
Some pasture land -
lots of room for a garden.  A teensy tiny house and some decrepit out
buildings like an ancient falling down barn and another equally old
chicken house.  Old red sheds.  An old scary looking garage built into
the side of a hill with slanting roof.  Our boys could easily climb on
the lowest edge of the roof and then run pell mell up to the top of the
roof and fall down.

It was for sale.  It was closer to Clarks Grove.  We called and made an
appointment to stop in and visit Mr. and Mrs. M  They had it listed with a
realtor but they were soon going to take it off the market.  They
suggested we come back then and we could make a deal, like maybe a
contract for deed or something.  Oh, and it was forty acres which was
more than we could bite off.

But you remember I said those fateful words.  I think Ellis put it on the
back burner.  I couldn't read his mind.  I went happily on my way.  Our
second son was born the fall of 1987.  We heard with a bit of sadness
that Mr. M had died. and there was going to be a sale.  We actually went
to the sale and wandered around looking at the forlorn place.  Wishing
things could have been different.  Wishing we could have made some sort
of arrangements, but I was breathing a sigh of great relief at the same time.

We had a lovely time that winter with two wonderful boys.  In the spring
Ellis was moved to a different barn . . . close to Albert Lea.  A house
was provided with this job.  So we didn't need a house just then. 

We packed up and moved  to Albert Lea.  But that job lasted one summer
and we were back looking for houses again.  Ellis found a description of this
place in the paper.  It sounded like the exact place we looked at only now it
was 15 acres.  The guy who bought it wanted to farm the land and sell the
building site with the hills and oak trees.  We have been glad many times
over for this small corner of God's great earth that we call home.

I've been trying to delete the word never from my vocabulary ever since . . .

Sunday, June 30, 2013

This Little Light of Mine

"You wouldn't make a very good Amish lady."

As usual, Krysta hit the nail right on the head with this observation.
It may have been her gentle way of telling me, "I'm sick and tired of
hearing you moan and groan about that light that doesn't work in the

You see, when the florescent light in the kitchen acts up it is a SAD
day.  And this has been a SAD week with our main light refusing to turn
on every morning.  Either the bulbs need to be changed or else its the
other thing that goes wrong with florescent lights . . .  the ballast.  I
think that's what it's called.

On top of that it rains every other minute so how are we supposed to dry
clothes?  Usually the clothes go in the dryer, but now the belt is burned
out so it's back to the clothes line.  Not a cheery thought when it's
dumping rain in the back yard where my clothes line lives.  When I do
hang the clothes outside in between rains the towels end up like
rectangles of sandpaper.  I haven't figured out a softener to use in my
front load washer yet.

I will admit it.  There have been too many grumbles about the light and
the dryer and the soggy wet week!  And to think that my dream (once upon a time)
was to live back in Laura Ingalls Wilder's time.  That was before I thought about the
indoor plumbing and reading or sewing by lamp light.  All I was thinking of was
skirts that swept the floor and button up shoes. Since then I've heard those button up
shoes were a bit of a pain, too.

On a more cheerful note it often rains at night and then clears up in the day.
"Rain before seven - quit before eleven!"  Yesterday we had a picnic at the park.
 Evan got to join us since Chelsea was having a day out with her mom. 

Chicken salad sandwiches or chicken salad rolled up in tortillas,
lettuce salad with bacon ranch dressing,
chocolate cake/bars topped with cherry pie filling and whipped topping
lemonade to drink. 

It was a beautiful day!  Krysta and I bought some bedding plants, went home and planted
flowers in the pots in our back yard.  It sounds like the forecast for the coming week is for
a bit less rain. I hope so because our next project is to reroof our house.  

Here's hoping for a week filled with sun shine!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

a story by krysta

                                                     by Krysta Harshbarger
It was a rainy night.  A little stuffed dog lay in a fireplace in a public campground. The poor little dog didn't know what to do so he waited and waited and waited until morning broke and still he waited.  It had stopped raining by then and he thought he heard shouts. 
Two children were skipping towards him.  The little girl picked him up by one of his long muddy ears. "Oh, it's a teddy bear," she said, but after looking closer she decided it was a little dog. "Lets take him back to the tent," she said, talking to her older brother.
"No," he said, "He's gross and has probably been in there for a week."
"Please stop fighting and take me somewhere warm and dry," thought the doggy.
And that's just what the little girl did, with her brother tromping behind them.  She was telling the dog all that he needed to know. "Don't worry about my brother, Jorgan, he's just mean sometimes.  And by the way my name is Krysta and I'll name you ...........Catch!  If you like to catch things, do you?" 
As a matter of fact "Catch" only caught one thing in his life and that was a cold, so no, he did not like the name Catch.  Finally they got to the tent and Krysta showed Catch to her daddy.  She explained where she found him and asked if she could keep him.
"Well, I suppose so," he said, "but we'll have to wash him."  So Krysta spent a little while dunking the dog up and down in an ice cream bucket of water.  Then her mommy washed him in the washer and tumbled him in the drier.  He turned out to be the cutest, fluffiest, cleanest puppy you've ever seen.  It was worth it all.  Krysta and Catch became fast friends and had many adventures together.
                                    The End

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lambs and other furry creatures

Looking through old e-mails brings back memories.  I found a couple of dreadful poems written and spoken back in the spring/summer of 2010.  Also some comments on the weather.  It seems history repeats itself.
Krysta has a little lamb
Its fleece is white as snow
Everywhere that Krysta runs
The lamb is sure to follow.
Deanne has a twenty-two
That's going to kill the cats
Too bad they don't earn their keep
By killing all the rats.
       --spoken by Deanne in response to the lamb poem
It feels like we are in a monsoon season.  Our MN weather is day after day of gray clouds with rain falling all night long and mud thigh high. 
only a slight exaggeration . . .
that's grass thigh high instead . . . 
it makes my mind feel full of mud as well, for some strange reason.
Tearing yourself away from a place is hard no matter what.  It is amazing how our hearts stretch and grow to make room for many more people and experiences.  Life is sooo full and rich. 
Quoting Mark Twain in Innocents Abroad II . . .                                                                         
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.  Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating on one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."  
We are having a picnic tomorrow night to end our Summer Bible School.  We are inviting all the students and parents to join us.  It's a way to meet more people in our community.
~ an excerpt from a letter written to friends who were in the process of moving

I didn't remember 2010 was a wet rainy spring, too.  Here we are again getting ready for the picnic at the close of Bible School -- 2013.  We are hoping for a dry evening. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Trash and Trash Baskets

A light was shining when I woke up and I was grumpy at first.  "Why did you leave the light on all night?"  I asked Ellis.  Then I opened my eyes and saw blue sky and puffy clouds out the window and realized the light was coming from the sun.  It has been so gray and gloomy -- raining every time we turn around.  Minnesota and Iowa have recovered from drought conditions!

We have been sorting through stuff.  Deanne is tearing out the core - cleaning and pitching - nothing is safe it seems.  In the middle of this I found a prayer book. 

In it was a child's prayer --

"Forgive us our trash baskets
      -  as we forgive those who throw their trash in our baskets."

The more I thought about this the more I smiled.  When I am tempted to be disgruntled by what some one else says or does I think about this prayer again.  I needed this reminder. 

Thank you

      Dear God 

           my heavenly Father!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend 2013

My fingers relaxed.   My phone dropped on the painted wood floor beside the bed.  The noise woke me up and I looked around.  Painted walls, dark wood trim framing the window and the door, different furniture . . . I had the same feeling long ago when I woke up at Grandpa Martin's house on the first morning of vacation.  I had not a clue where I was. 

Back then I would stare at wall paper on the walls and wonder at the dormitory sized room with two or maybe three beds scattered around.  Windows poked our here and there and little nooks and crannies invited a game of hide and seek.  Each room had a wooden dresser with a mirror and there was even a huge wardrobe in one of the rooms.  When I dared get out of bed and tiptoe across the room the linoleum crackled under my feet.  Creeping down the stairs, I'd peer over the railing, as quiet as a mouse.  Yes, everyone was at the dining room table eating breakfast.  And they let me sleep in!  Now there was a dilemma . . .  I didn't really want to march down there because there were people I didn't know at that table.  Uncle Nelson and my cousin, Alvin, who was staying with Grandpa and Grandma.

By that time Mom would hear the floor creaking and see me peeking and call me down for breakfast  . . .     Soft boiled eggs still in the shell.  Mom would slice one open with a table knife and scoop out the soft insides with a spoon.  Add salt and pepper and try to eat it.  I think my choice was a bowl of oatmeal instead with natural sugar (not white or brown - a texture completely different from what we had at home.)

Funny -- I have not thought about the top story of Grandpa's house for ages.  Now all those memories flooded back when I woke up from a nap in the east bedroom of the old home place in Montana.  It was Saturday, May 25th.  I was trying to catch up on my sleep after driving all night.   


The last few years we have stayed home and our young people traveled to Michigan camp out for Memorial Day weekend.  Those of us left at home mowed lawn, went camping at our hillside camping spot, cooked over an open flame, went fishing, stopped at garage sales, got rained on and sun burned.   

This time Jorgan and Krysta shooed us out of the house.  They both told me, "You should go with dad and have a great time."  The great time began on Friday getting ready for the trip!  We both worked all day.  Ellis unloaded the store truck at 2:30 AM.  He came home for breakfast and a nap then back to work again.  Krysta stayed home and did laundry -- I went off to clean a very big house and then drive bus and then hurried home to pack and finish up my stuff while Ellis finished up his.

I think we started about 8:00 PM with a few more delays thrown in for good measure.  Rain and more rain all the way through the cities.  I wonder how many times we have driven this road to the north east corner of MONTANA?  Our plan was to drive straight through and get to Ivan and Karla's place for breakfast.  Then Ellis would jump in with Ivan and they were going to an auction sale. 

Ellis came up with a different plan in the morning.  He saw we were not going to make it in time so we went to plan B.  Look at a map of North Dakota.  Where 52 starts slanting up towards Minot  you come to a place where 52 joins Hwy 200 and goes west for a stretch.  We kept going on 200 through McClusky and Mercer over to Hwy 83.  We followed that just a stone's throw and then caught 1806.  We stayed on the south side of Lake Sakakawea and saw signs along the way telling us we were following Lewis and Clark's trail.  It would have been beautiful except it was foggy.  Every now and then the fog would lift showing us a peek at all the country side we were missing as we barreled along.  We drove through towns like Pick City and Halliday  and Killdeer on over to Hwy 85 where we drove north to Watford City.  Ellis kept saying,  "You are going to drive when we get to Watford City."   By that time we were in oil country with huge semis everywhere and Ivan's words ringing in our ears.  "There is a serious wreck on those roads every week."  So I kept reading our book out loud and Ellis kept driving.  At Watford City we turned west and drove to Fairview.  We met Ivan and Karla at Loaf n Jug . . .  a restaurant in that small town.  Karla jumped in with me and we drove to Dagmar.  Ellis jumped in with Ivan and they went to their auction sale.

There is nothing more beautiful than North Dakota in the spring.  There was green grass, blue sky and white puffy clouds after the fog lifted.  Then we drove through some bluffs.  Off to the west there were rolling clouds and what looked like a mountain range on the horizon but it was not mountains at all.  Just more clouds shaped like mountains.  I guess it is kind of a mirage. 

Well, it was a wonderful week end with visits all around and even a graduation Sunday afternoon.  I heard my yearly "Pomp and Circumstance."  This time it was a bit different -- not played by a band but played on the piano.  I did not need the usual Kleenexes so that tells me I cry only when it's played by a band.   =)   Curious and Curiouser!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

everyone said we'd jump into summer

Two weeks after the snow storm we had a heat wave . . . 90* and higher.  The bus route was extremely warm.  Wind whipped dirt into the open windows as we drove across gravel roads.  The fresh air of the country swirled in and students scurried to close the windows and then it felt like  there was a real danger of suffocating.  We survived. 

When it cooled down a bit, Krysta and I took a drive in the car without air conditioning.  We oohed and aaahed at the blue of the sky and the puffy white clouds.  We ended up at our friends' place where a new baby ~ just one week old ~ was admired and cuddled.  The baby yawned and stretched and peeked at me through half opened eyes.  We relaxed on the front porch.  A border of tulips swayed in the breeze.    

Krysta was surrounded by a flock of little girls.  They skipped around showing her calves, bunnies, and chickens.  They ended up at the swing, giggling and taking turns swishing through the air.  Krysta got a chance to hold the baby and all the girls posed for the camera in the front lawn with the tulips.  Six beautiful girls . . .

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mountains of laundry

I once made the mistake of grumbling to my mom about the bathroom in my house. Now Mom was raised in a family of twelve children - six boys and six girls. Part of her growing up years was spent in a house without indoor plumbing. She was the wrong person to grumble to - totally the wrong person. She set me straight with a couple of quick questions.
 "When you turn on the faucet do you get hot and cold water?"
 "Yes, of course."
 "Do you have a toilet that flushes?"
 "Then there is nothing to complain about!"
I got the hint. I have never growled about the bathroom from that day to this.

Stop laughing, Deanne. Okay, I try not to whine about the bathroom.
Moving on -- the subject today is not about the state of my bathroom. Today I am talking about laundry. If you have ever had the misfortune to grumble about doing laundry to me -- you will want to quietly back out of this blog and go to another blog where you will have peace and quiet.  I won't feel bad. Just back on out . . .
All right!
It was a pleasant surprise for me to discover I like to do laundry.
Mostly because there are so many things I don't have to do these days. I don't have to collect bacon and sausage grease and other cooking fats in crocks and tin pails and jars and store them for a whole year in the basement. Grease that gets moldy and rancid . . . Fats that need to be melted and strained and measured into a cauldron in my back yard.  I don't have to save ashes from the wood stove and pour water over them to produce potash, then measure that into the huge kettle - and what about the fire under this kettle? Who will chop the wood into just the right sized sticks so the fire will heat evenly? Who will stir and stir and stir so the soap doesn't scorch or get lumpy? All of this might be fun once just for the novelty of it, but how about every year? year after year?
Last but not least -- who will wash all of those greasy crocks and tin pails and jars and carry them back to the basement so they are handy when I start the process all over again? 
Nowadays I just traipse down the aisle of the local supermarket and choose laundry soap, buy it, bring it home and measure it into my front load washer. If I want a small glimpse of the old days I can make homemade laundry soap with this simple recipe.
Save a container that held liquid laundry soap. (one that holds more than a gallon so you have plenty of room)
Measure a gallon of hot water in a gallon pitcher.
Fill the soap container 1/3 full of hot water.
Measure and pour in:
1/4 cup borax
1/4 cup washing soda (Arm & Hammer Super washing soda)
Shake well.
Measure and pour in:
1/4 cup liquid Natural Castile soap
Pour the rest of the hot water into the soap container.
Shake gently.
Use 1/3 - 2/3 cup per load.  (more for a big load if needed)
This soap can be a mystery to me.
Sometimes when I make it there are lumps in it --
sometimes it is completely liquid with no lumps.
I will confess I am glad for the well in our back yard. And the pipes, mostly hidden, that bring water into the house. I am glad for the septic system that takes used water away. I am glad there is no more trauma with wringer washers. Those hair rising stories of people getting their hands and arms caught and wrung through the wringer . . . the countless warnings to never, ever, ever go anywhere near a wringer when your hair is hanging. I'll even confess I like to wash clothes with a wringer washer. When I'm doing load after load of sheets and bedding I know it would all get done faster the old fashioned way.
I haven't even mentioned washing clothes in a lake or river using a scrubbing board and hanging the clothes over bushes to dry. Or hauling water up from the river like Pa did for Ma in Little House on the Prairie. How about bringing in snow to melt on the stove like Anne Hobbs in her book, Tisha, when she taught school in Alaska? 

Today I can throw a load of clothes in the washer and go take a nap if I am tired.  If I feel like it I can read a book or do crafts while the washer swishes soap and water and clothes around and around. 

I am spoiled rotten -- I'll be the first to admit it. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Snow in May!

Last Wednesday evening I took the girls to driver's ed.  I bought some groceries then went to the library.  It was so rainy and miserable that I debated about going in . . . then I thought of a friend I hadn't talked to for awhile and gave her a call.  She was home and we had a delightful catching up.

All the time rain and sleet poured down the windows outside.  Inside the windows got all steamed up.  This is the time to wish vehemently for a proper fan that works in this elderly vehicle I drive.  I opened some windows and turned defrost and heat all the way up then drove very carefully to the driving school.  When the girls were done we headed to the first meeting place north of town about ten minutes.  The car that met us had SNOW on the hood.  Continued on north another ten minutes with increasing awful roads.  After that stop we travelled to our house. 

Let's just say snow is beautiful but when it is wet and coming down at a slant across the windshield in huge flakes then sticking to the road and building up in slushy ruts -- oh and did I mention that it was dark by this time? this is no longer beautiful but dangerous!  I was very glad to see the lights of home. 

In the morning we woke up to find a snowy world.  Ellis had to brave the wild roads with a four wheel drive.  When he got to Blooming Prairie and opened the door of the pick-up he pushed against snow.  They are saying this little town on the prairie got 18 inches of snow.  There was a five foot drift in front of the store.  Ellis and a friend started tunneling toward the door with shovels. 

This is the most snow we have had in May since they started keeping records 100+ years ago.
 --  the exciting things that can happen on May 2nd.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Today we had sewing circle.  We each brought pizza for lunch . . . either a veggie pizza or a dessert pizza.  Scrumptious!  A"banana split" pizza was a big hit.  Yummy crust with pudding or yogurt ? on top then sliced bananas on top of that and maraschino cherries and drizzles of chocolate over everything.  Maybe some nuts and just a hint of granola . . .   I must get that recipe!

 on second thought maybe not

 lovely fruit pizzas

and four or five veggie pizzas

Here is the recipe for the vegetable pizza I brought.  I found out (at the last minute) I didn't have all the ingredients so I improvised.

2 pkg. crescent rolls
Press into large jelly roll pan and bake according to directions until light brown.

one 8 oz. container of whipped cream cheese   
(original recipe calls for 11 oz. regular cream cheese, softened)
1/3 cup salad dressing (Miracle Whip)                        
1 heaping tablespoon sour cream
1 tsp. dill weed
1 tsp. powdered ranch dressing
Here's where I put on my thinking cap.  I didn't have a pkg. of ranch dressing.  I dumped in garlic powder, onion powder, lemon and pepper, extra pepper and extra dill weed.  I figured it couldn't hurt.

Spread this mixture on crust.  Top with chopped vegetables and grated cheese.

My variation for the veggies . . . 
sauté in a small amount of butter -- chopped green peppers, chopped onions and sliced mushrooms (fresh)

Cool and put on the pizza.  Add grated cheese.  Cut in pieces and serve.

I am listening to Swiss Girl  yodel in the back ground so if this is disjointed and scatterbrained you will know why.  That and this unbelievable fact . . .

Krysta  is taking driver's training.  How can that be possible?  Two weeks of three hour classes every night.  Yes, it's wild and crazy here.  She is taking the class with two friends.  I think the girls are enjoying the class.  The chairs are hard though!  The instructor told the class they can bring pillows if they want to.  Last night was my turn to drive.  I walked around the lake at the library and talked to Deanne on the phone. 

Tonight it's pouring rain.

Tomorrow they are calling for snow!!! 

It is possible.  In 1988 we had a blizzard the first or second of May.  Ellis stayed at work and I was home alone with two little boys.  And then we had a very very hot, dry summer.  We had that hot, dry summer last year so maybe this summer will be lush and green. 

Until next time --

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Vacation in Western Montana March 22nd - April 1st


     We went to MT to see Miss Dea.  She is teaching school at Trout Creek. 
                                         Krysta went horse back riding with a friend.
     Miss Jo             Miss Dea                               Krysta                  Jorgan

                                     Swinging bridge  at Kootenai Falls

                                                             Pizza supper at the park


We visited my brother over Easter week end. And here they are at a cave Sunday afternoon. 

       When we were packing Krysta said this would be her first *real* vacation. 
   She was quite small in 2000.  We were in Idaho for Hans and JoAnna's wedding.

                                          In 2003 Evan went to a boy's camp. 
                                  Jorgan, Krysta, Evan and I drove out for that. 
              Timothy was a baby - now he is 10!  Krysta was five - now she is 15! 
                      She got to celebrate her birthday while we were out west.

                                        In 2005 we had a family reunion in Idaho. 
                   All of Krysta's *vacations* were in the first seven years of her life.
                              Until now she has had to put up with week end jaunts.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My Great-Grandpa

It happened to me again that Sunday evening.  We were singing at the local nursing home.  Our leader picked Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me and as we started into the old familiar song my throat choked up.  I sang with tears sliding down my cheeks, paying close attention to the words.
A picture of a flock of little girls came to mind.  My sisters and I all had brown hair falling to our waists.  We had dresses with full swirling skirts, belts tied in big bows and puffed sleeves.  White socks and black patent leather shoes finished off our Sunday best.  We tiptoed along as we followed our aunt Leah like shadows.  We were a subdued group, quite a change from our normal hopping and skipping and chattering.  She took us to visit our great-grandpa; an old, old man he seemed to us.
An adult lifted me up on my great-grandpa's knee.  I was afraid to breathe for fear I'd be too heavy for him.  Someone suggested we sing a song.  Leah is three and a half years older than me . . . almost like a big sister to my sisters and me.  She leaned against the arm of Grandpa's chair and started singing Rock of Ages.  Grandpa's deep voice joined her.  I tried to help but I didn't know the words.
Rock of Ages, cleft for me Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood, From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure; Cleanse me from its guilt and pow'r.
Not the labor of my hands Can fulfill the law's demands;
Could my zeal no respite know, Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone, Thou must save, and Thou alone.
Nothing in my hands I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless, look to Thee for grace,
Foul, I to the fountain fly, Wash me, Saviour, or I die.
While I draw this fleeting breath, When my heart strings break in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown, See Thee on Thy judgement throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee.
-- Augustus M. Toplady, 1740-1778                           Thomas Hastings, 1784-1872
Later my dad recorded Great-Grandpa and Leah singing together on his old-fashioned tape recorder. My sisters and I loved to watch Dad set the tape player up and wind the open reel -- getting everything just right.  There was a distinct smell of the tape that is hard to describe.  (We miss all of this drama when we casually pop in a cassette tape now. . . these cassette tapes that are going out with the 8 track tapes.) 
Get ready, get set, go!   Breathless and wide-eyed we'd wait impatiently for just the right moment and . . .
there they were . . . Grandpa and Leah singing Rock of Ages just as if they were in the room with us.
I can't explain my tears. This song stirs up a lot of memories.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Spring Songs

Yesterday I heard the spring song of a chickadee as I filled the bird feeders with sunflower seeds.

Phoebe    Phoebe    Phoebe  

Almost as if that little bird was perched on my shoulder -- it was so clear.  It seemed that even Ellis could have heard it if he had been there.  This sound is just out of his range of hearing.  The stories behind his hearing loss have something to do with a big fire cracker as a child and target practice without hearing protection as a young man.  One of the jobs he had involved feeding hungry pigs that screeched for their breakfast.   But the guys used hearing protection then.  Yes, I'm almost sure they did. 

At any rate, now he can't hear the spring song of the chickadee.     . . . or half of the things I say because I mumble.  =)  riding in a car and trying to have a conversation is very interesting when he is driving and I'm in the passenger seat.  You guessed it, the hearing loss is worse in his right ear.

We have had some go-arounds about this whole thing.  Sometimes I get seriously peeved - like really irritated, cross and annoyed all at the same time.  Ellis does too.  That would classify as a pity party wouldn't it?  Both of us have worked through this and it's much better than it used to be.  By this time you would think we'd be all grown up and past this type of behavior. 

Maybe this is a continual work like the verses in Philippians 2:12, 13 . . . work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do his good pleasure.    

Since God is working with me I am trying to memorize this math *problem* in II Peter 1.  Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord . . .  giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.  For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

I am thankful -- God doesn't give up on me.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Handicaps -- continued

pet peeves and other annoying things . . .

Without knowing it at first - I may have stumbled on to some handicaps in my life.  What has God been teaching me through this unexpected turn in life?  How about those pet peeves of mine?  They trip me up too often to count.

When someone does something that *bugs* me . . .  an automatic reaction - I must correct this.  At least I will point it out so this person can quit doing this annoying thing that is bothering me before I go stark raving mad. 

Could I ignore this pet peeve instead?  Concentrate on the person instead of the gyrations he/she is going through?  Pray for this person instead of thinking things unlawful to be spoken . . .

Remember --

I remind myself -- even now at this moment I might be doing something all unbeknownst to me that is a pet peeve for some one else.  Blissfully unaware of any trouble I go on my way while the other person is quietly going into a tizzy.  (or loudly as the case may be)

pet peeves are funny like that.

I looked up peeve in the dictionary  - an object of dislike or annoyance
peevish -  1  hard to  please, fretful, cross  2  showing ill humor or impatience as a glance or remark

ooops  I guess that would be  *The Look*

I have to run   --    more later