Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year!

The old year will soon be over. As a whole, I'd say that this was a good year. We were able to take our dream vacation, a cruise to Alaska. That memory will live with me always. I had some medical tests done which came out showing healthy results. All year, I got to spend time with my grandson and watch him grow. He went from being an older baby to being quite the little boy. He talks, he plays games, and we have a special relationship going.

My daughter got a good job and she and her husband moved to Tennessee. They are enjoying the good weather there. Our other son is doing well and he and his wife have become pretty good cooks.

My husband successfully came through a knee replacement. He is much better. I had a year of learning a lot about myself and where I want to be with ministry and the Lord. He was so faithful to teach me so many new ways of growing. I am desiring to increase these lessons in the New Year.

I just read an email about the future which contained a dark cloud. I know the Lord's words don't change no matter what the situation. "Fret not." He has been my help from birth and I know that He will see me and my family through anything that is in the world. We belong to Him and that is such a comfort.

I believe the Lord wants us to expect good things. We can be prepared and should be, but He has the ability to care for us and all who come to Him and are under His sheltering arms.

So with these thoughts in mind, I'd like to give one last line from a carol, Joy To The World. "He comes to make, His blessings flow, far as the curse is found." Have a Happy New Year.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Praise Time

A few weeks ago, I was just starting to get into the Christmas spirit. I had my music on C.D.s and I was happily singing along. When I got to my grandson's, he was playing with his advent calendar. He loves to play with the baby Jesus puffy decoration that goes on Dec. 25. He was putting it various places. I told him he had to treat it with respect. I said, "He grew up to be a very important man. In fact, He grew up to be ... and then I just started to sing the Hallelujah chorus. "King of Kings and Lord of Lords forever and ever..."

I looked at him at he was smiling. I sang it again and he raised his hands like I did and sang King of Kings, forever." We had our own little praise party, there in Ty's little bedroom.

On the way home I was listening to Hark The Herald Angels Sing. I love the line from the Amy Grant version "Come Desire of Nations come, fix in us thy humble home." Oh, yeah. And in O Come All Ye Faithful "Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing." Think about that one. And one more, in Joy To The World "Son of God, loves' pure light." May that light, sent by the Father, fill your heart, your home, and your world...forever and ever.

Merry Merry Christmas - Nancy

Friday, December 16, 2011

Remembering Birthdays

Do you have trouble remembering birthdays? Are you always sighing as you buy yet another belated card? I have a system that I hope can help you. Even if you are not delinquent, you may get a good tip. About this time of year, we throw away our used calendars. Take that back blank page and rip it off. You are going to make good use of this. (Cut off the spiral holes. You don't want to mess with that.) Go through your calendar and note on scrap paper any birthdays, anniversaries, or yearly occasions to remember. Look in your address book for more. If you don't have these, sit and see how many you can do from memory and write them down.

Now you are going go put these in order by months. When your list is right, transfer it to your calendar page. Leave spaces so you can add others that come along. You have a good starter list. Put these dates on your new calendar. I even put the birth date of young children from my address book so I can subtract and get a card with a big "2" or "5" or "8". Here's another trick. I put the date a bit ahead and write "get card" and "send card" about two or three days before the big day so they will be on time. If this sounds a bit much, remember that this can be a ministry and people love to be remembered.

Keep your list handy so you can add a name when someone happens to mention their birthday. They will say, "How did you know?" Be sure to look at your calendar often. It doesn't do any good to have this material on the wall if you don't look at it. This all takes time, but I think it is worth it.
New years is a good time to get deals on stationary. You may find some cute boxed assortments. They are much nicer than they used to be. Well, have a great week and enjoy every little thing God has given us at this wonderful season. Nancy

Friday, December 9, 2011

Are You Done Yet?

Are you an early shopper or a last minute shopper? I used to be a "middle shopper." I enjoyed going to stores when the Christmas music was at its height, but before the stores were depleted of all of the good stuff. Usually, I liked to start around the second week of Dec. and be finished by about the third week. If I had to do some last minute shopping because "someone" didn't have their list ready on time, well that was O.K. I was basically done and could enjoy the experience.

This year, nearly all of the people on my list have gift wish lists on the Internet. One day in early November, I started ordering gifts. They began to arrive and I ordered more. It turns out that I had most of my shopping done before Thanksgiving! This had never happened to me before. I also got busy and had a wrapping spree so that a day or two after putting up my tree on Nov. 25, I had lovely presents displayed beneath. Again, this was totally unheard of from me.

Well, my wonderful scheme went off track when one of my gifts wasn't arriving on time. This threw me off emotionally. And then I discovered new gifts that needed to be purchased. This caused me to be frustrated, not because of the gifts themselves, but because I thought I was done. Done feels so good.

Right now, I am mostly done and I do have a couple of last minute gifts to do. I don't mind. Remember, I enjoy doing those.

The reason I wanted so much to be done is that I love to just sit and look at my tree and enjoy Christmas music. I know we will have important occasions in Dec. and I don't want to be stuck shopping in the midst of them. I just want a little time to ponder the true miracle of Christmas without all of the extras. I must learn to be a person who snatches up little pieces of time and makes a special occasion of it. So in the end, I don't really care if I shop early, late, or some of each. I do enjoy the process of giving and I guess I just got stuck on the "done" thing. I don't want any more of that. The season is here to enjoy and I intend to enjoy it, shopping or not.

What about you? Are you an early or late shopper or somewhere in between? Do you have to be done to be happy? Not me, not anymore.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Frankenmuth, Michigan

Since I first arrived in Michigan, I have known about Frankenmuth. My parents and I took a quick side trip on my first arrival. It was very different then, very quaint. As you pass the beautiful covered bridge on your right, you see two large restaurants, one on each side of the road. Though they look very different, they are both owned by Zehnder's. The one on the right, (see picture,) is the German or Bavarian style of architecture and inside decor. Across the street is an American home style look, somewhat colonial, inside and out. They both serve the same family style chicken dinners.

You get the plates of chicken plus noodles, mashed potatoes, relishes, fancy rolls and bread and for dessert, ice cream. My family always loved these family meals. I do too, but I also love to go to a small room on the German side and have a great sandwich with Frankenmuth cheese.
There is a hotel in the Bavarian style and many of the shops all along the street have this theme. There is a cute cheese shop and a carving shop called the Schnitzelbank Shop. Down in the bottom of the restaurants are large gift shops and foods like breads and candy from all over.

Another great thing to do in Frankenmuth is shop for Christmas decorations and ornaments. That company is Bronners. They used to have three stores downtown. One had little tags and things, the large one had outside displays and bigger items, and the third one had just Christmas balls. There were so many to choose from. Back then, in the 70s, this was a new thing and quite a treat. Now Bronners has a huge store as you come into town. You see signs for it all along 75 North. Just get off at the Birch Run Exit, turn right and there you are.

If you turn left at Birch Run, you can go to a huge outlet mall where good stores have great prices.

There is so much to see, you may want to stay overnight and taste all there is to enjoy. Shop the mall and the Christmas store, eat a good dinner, or just look around. You are sure to find pleasant things all along the way. Just one warning, it gets very crowded near Christmas so be prepared. It's lots of fun at this time. Next year, you may want to make a return trip in early fall. Have fun.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Stillness Speaks Of His Goodness

Sitting in a darkened church on Thanksgiving Eve, I see candles on the altar. Lovely fall blooms are displayed profusely. Only a few decide to soak up the atmosphere. The organ plays. Then we begin to sing "We Gather Together," a hymn about bounty and provision. I can see the Pilgrims at their table and the loving thanks on wearied faces.

We sing "Come Ye Thankful People Come," about the Harvest Home. I am full to overflowing. I will long remember the beauty and sweetness of this time.

To all of you who have made my life richer with your online friendships, new readers, and all others, I wish a Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Food and Then Some

"Food, Glorious Food:" that is the cry of the orphans in the play Oliver. These little cockney boys drool over all of the imagined goodies they can think of.

Sometimes when I give thanks for my food before eating it, I stop and truly think about its many wonders. We have so many varieties. In the store recently, I saw three or more types of just lettuce. I was an adult before I discovered the wonders of romaine. We have delis where I can get just a few slices of ham for my lunches. That way, I don't waste any food through spoilage.

You can watch those survival shows on television where the adventurer eats small snakes, moss and the like. I turn to my own dinner and have meat and potatoes and bread and butter.

Because there are so many people who are hungry at this time, I am thankful for my own food more than ever. I think about the farmers who grow the food. My grandparents grew wheat, oats and corn. There are the people, also many times the same farmers, who plow the grain and get it to granaries. There are the truckers and other transportation companies who get the food to us. There are store keepers who make wonderful displays. How did you feel when some needed ingredient was missing from the shelves? I bet you appreciated it when you got it the next time.

It may be a cliche, but I am so thankful for the wonderful food that is available to me. And the prices have been stable more than other goods. When we were married, it cost about $10 for a bag of groceries. That was in 1973. If I count bags that aren't full, I am close to that on a good day. (Not every time, for sure.)
I am thankful for the four food groups: macaroni and cheese, pizza, fries, and Caesar salad. We have so much bounty and so many choices. I wish for you and your family a happy and blessed Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 18, 2011


When I was a little girl in school, all of the patriotic songs touched my heart so much. I didn't know much about my country then, but the songs took over and helped me as I learned. I loved Battle Hymn Of The Republic, God Of Our Fathers, America the Beautiful, America and others.

Then my family and I took trips and I saw Independence Hall and The Statue Of Liberty. Later I was privileged to see Old North Church and the Freedom Trail in Boston.

As a teen, I sat on our new green wall to wall carpet and watched a political convention. It was so interesting. I got to hear all of the speakers. Even now, I love the gavel to gavel channels and not the talking heads that tell what people said.

More travels showed me the beauty Of America. I have seen the rocky shores of Maine, the southern moss covered trees, the red rock of Arizona, the glaciers of Alaska and the lushness of Hawaii. The farmlands of Indiana and Ohio, to me are wonderful to see and not boring at all. And then there are the many sparkling lakes that make my home, Michigan.

I'm so thankful for the Founding Fathers and our form of government. We have so many conveniences and aids to happy living. I'm thankful for all of the soldiers who strove and still do to keep our country free. And I am thankful for the kind people I meet every day, who help me with difficult things and are so happy when I can do something for them. What a wealth of riches this country is, flaws and all. And so I now say: "God bless America."

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanks - For Family

This is the second in my series of things I'm thankful for. This one is so dear to me, my family. My husband is such a caring person. He takes me out to eat several times a week and lets me watch shows I like on a regular basis. He was truly a good find and I am grateful for him.

I am also thankful for my children. Here we are on a riverboat at Disney World. That's Joe, the oldest, peeking through the window. He is an adult in his 30s now and so witty and smart. Little Ben is in his early 30s and he is so sweet and smart. Dawn, the baby, is now in her late 20s. She is hilariously funny, crafty, and well just Dawn.

How I recall the days of their youth when we went to the zoo or on bigger trips like Disney World. It's hard to leave that behind.

I am blessed to have three more: the spouses of my children. There's Rebekah, Ben's wife, who does many things well and Sandra, Joe's wife, who is a lovely singer and Dave, Dawn's husband, who is also a great singer. Now I also have Tyrus, Ben and Rebekah's son, who is totally and cute and adorable.

I'm just thinking that this Thanksgiving, I don't want to take any good thing for granted. Family, I love you. You mean so much to me. To my extended family, I say the same. I give thanks for the good thing of family in my life.

The other picture is from one of our Arizona trips. It is just about my favorite pic of the kids when they were younger.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Giving Thanks

I want to start my thanks (as in Thanksgiving) early. First, I want to thank God from whom all blessings flow.

There was a time when I was in college when a girlfriend and I talked to a young man at our opponent's school. He took about one half hour discussing how he felt that there was no God. They seemed logical arguments and in that time, my friend and I were "lost at sea." We talked in the car on the way home and soon, both of us were on our way back.

Logic has nothing to do with God. He works with the heart and soul. During the "lost" time, I felt such a deep sorrow. It was if my best friend were gone. In fact, if this guy's logic were true, I had lost the only irreplaceable thing in my life. I felt like the kids in The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis who were under a similar spell and one said something like: even if there is no Narnia, I am going to love it and live like there were. And then when my sorrow was greatest, I recalled things God and I had done together, our lovely relationship, the fact that I needed Him as the air I breathe, and then He was there smiling and welcoming me back.

Since that time, I have had many more intimate times with The Lord, reading His Word and building the kinds of things one has in a relationship.

So let me say that I am thankful for God, His son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. And I am also thankful for my church, the churches I have previously attended. I learned so much from each. I am thankful for the early church, the leaders of the reformation, the heroes of the first and second Great Awakening, and for all of the church past and present. The whole of God's Kingdom is so glorious and I am truly blessed this Thanksgiving and always.

This lovely church window is inside a Lutheran church in Frankenmuth, Mi. More on that city later.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Searching For Nancy Drew

Some time ago, I did a post on a Nancy Drew experience. I had been reading the yellow books at our library and then discovered a whole set of new paperbacks that had recently been done, updating her for modern teens.

I had read a few of these yellow books as an adult. As a teen, I had fallen in love with Nancy Drew on my first encounter in seventh grade. It was The Secret Of The Wooden Lady. I was off. For Christmas I got The Clue Of The Tapping Heels. I also went to the store with birthday money and searched among all of the gorgeous books, all with full-color covers, to find the best, The Haunted Bridge. I don't know how I lost those books.

About a year ago, I found some old Nancy Drew books at another library. These were reproductions of the original books from the 30s, which had the lovely paper covers. I was totally in love. I read the few they had and tried to get more.

I searched the Internet and found that these could be purchased. They were from 1996. Yes, they could be purchased but they were quite pricey. There was also a set, the ones from the library, that were cut down from the original 25 chapters to 20. And they were updated in the 60s with all new covers and internal art. For instance Nancy's cute roadster became a convertible. And last of all, I recently discovered that there are old books "out there" that are the old ones, but the covers aren't paper but printed and the ones I found have been updated with yet a second, less well known artist. Are you confused yet?" That's how I feel trying to navigate the world of Nancy Drew. There are also other end papers and changes that seem to have no rhyme or reason.

Well, yesterday, my dear friend had seen some books in an antiques store and she took me there. I was able to get the original Haunted Bridge, although not the original cover. We went to several stores and I was able to get a few more of the old ones in pretty good condition.
One thing that helps me feel better that I don't have any of the original art is that I got a book called "The Lost Files Of Nancy Drew at Borders on sale for $5. It's a fun pop-up book and shows how Nancy evolved from the 30s to the 70s. And as a bonus, there are 7 or 8 of the older covers as postcards that I can enjoy.

Now, even the yellow books are disappearing from library shelves. I have 14 books now. I could get them on the Internet, but I am having fun in the hunt. I don't think they're going anywhere, though. From the time my friend told me about the books until we got there, about two weeks later, half of them were gone. No advertising, just a bunch of Nancy Drew fans like me out there grabbing them up. That girl has staying power.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Blue Ribbons and Other Things

This autumn time of year reminds me of my dad and the great mum shows which he participated in. All summer long he nursed his babies. He built a wooden box with a top to shade them just so. He was always pinching and fixing up and nourishing them in one way and another.

He was greatly rewarded for his efforts. First he conquered the Mansfield Garden show in Ohio where he lived. He won many of their best prizes and then he went to Columbus. Here he was no second best either. He often took first prize in many categories and a few times he even got best of show. That means that one of his entries was the best of all the different venues.

Lest you think that this doesn't look like too many prizes, let me tell you that he had a hand made glass case in the basement with row upon row of ribbons. When he passed away, we had boxes and boxes of them saved. I wish I would have kept one. I guess I was just too busy or upset to think about it then. I'm so glad I have these pictures. My dad was an excellent photographer, woodworker and gardener. His one sad point was that he couldn't write. He thought he couldn't, but he wasn't that bad. He just felt nervous when he had to type a letter to somewhere important. He was very nice to say how much he enjoyed my stories about him.
I see flower beds everywhere and I think of how he loved gardens everywhere he traveled. It's wonderful how we all have different gifts. His gift was that he was not an artist but a craftsman and he worked very hard to make sure that his offerings showed the best that he had.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Big And Small

One of the things that helps me to remember the majesty of God when I need that memo is to think of big and small. I once had a great book that showed that perfectly. It was called Powers Of Ten. In it, we see the stars in all their massive beauty and the picture is far out in space. The next series of pictures is a bit closer as we go from vast swirling stars to the galaxy to the planets and then a gorgeous blue earth, stunningly alone. Then we zoom closer as each page gets us nearer a couple napping in a park on a blanket in the grass.

Then we zoom in on a closeup of them and then to one of their hands and then to a patch of skin. The next set of pictures is where I find myself in awe of God and His wonders. We go to cells and in page after page we go outward in tiny specks that rival the stars until the last picture is almost identical to the one in deep space.

If the stars don't impress you, the intricate make-up of the human body should do something for you. Our God is not small, but He can do small. He is HUGE. He is a God of great details. He creates both small and large.

So whether you need God for something truly important or something small or for tiny details, He is the one who knows all about it and can help like no one else can. I do praise Him for He is truly deserving of the word AMAZING.

Monday, October 24, 2011

God Speaks In An Anecdote

Today I was vacuuming the kitchen floor and I saw my Vitamin E pill I had lost a few days ago. That morning, I had put three vitamins on my plate so I wouldn't forget them, and went about getting my breakfast. I had my bagel and almonds with raisins and an egg on the plate. I picked up the plate quickly and swished it to the opposite counter, forgetting about the pills. They went flying off onto the floor. I looked around and found my two calcium tablets, but search as I might, I couldn't find my Vitamin E.

So as I was vacuuming way over by the side opposite where I first had the plate, there was the pill on the floor. I was happy that it was found so that it wouldn't get squashed. I thought, "Lord, do you have a message here?"
"After a time, I felt that He said something like: "Well that pill rolled, the others didn't." I know He has a delightful sense of humor. I said, "No, really, does this mean anything?"

He said, "You have to go a little farther, reach a little more. Everything you want isn't right at hand. Go over to the other side and look for it. You're trying too small, try bigger. There are big fish out there. You have bait. Go get some."

Well that conversation reminded of the book Rocket Boys where Homer HIckam and his friends tried to build a rocket. After finally getting one to work, they entered it in a local science fair. Even though they made it to the next round, one judge called them dangerous and mostly they just didn't "get it." At the higher level fair, they won easily and the experts were amazed and totally understood what they were about.

So I feel I am led to try some things that I might not have done before. Maybe some of you can enter a higher market. Those enlightened experts just might be impressed.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Play The Name Game

Here is something I found when I was looking for an old article. My writing friend and I had fun with these kinds of activities. This one is about naming. Do you have fun naming your places and things?

Thing To Be Named -Serious Name - Funny Name

  1. Writer's Magazine - Writer's Talk and Tidbits - Dream Big Digest
  2. Band - Up and Comers - The Howlers
  3. Sailboat - Good Winds - Stayafloat
  4. Detective Show - Firearms and Fingerprints - He Gets His Man
  5. Beauty Parlor - Designer Cuts - Nice Hair
  6. Twins - James and John - Billy and Bob
  7. Small Town - Little Haven - Missit City
  8. Dog - Bernard - Flyscratcher
  9. Motel - Mayfair Motel - Last Place Inn
  10. Restaurant - Maria's Table - Unida Bib

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Importance Of Placement

There's an old play/movie called The Odd Couple where a very neat person lives with a sports slob. The neat one, Felix, has just made a plate of spaghetti. Oscar, the sports guy, gets in an argument of some type. He says, "See that spaghetti. It's dinner." He throws it against the wall where the sauce splashes all over and noodles drip down. "Now," he says, "Now, it's garbage."

I have always remembered that scene because it was so funny and interestingly enough, profound. Things in one place can be great, but in another, not so good. I love eating salads in restaurants. If I get some lettuce, especially with dressing on the table, it bothers me. I don't want to look at it. I try to push it under my plate or hide it with a napkin. It's just lettuce, I know.

Words we speak can be like this. You can't cry "FIRE" in a crowded room unless you see one, but it you are witnessing a real fire, you better scream all you can. When a person is sad, you don't want to tell them the latest joke. You want to console them and pray. Words I may say in one situation to a person on a certain day might hit the mark and be all wrong on another.

Placement is important. When the time is right, even criticism can be good. You can correct a child lovingly or exhort a person who asks for help. You can't just speak against anything at anytime. The Bible says "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Pr.25:11 NKJ.

I want my words and my actions to be given with wisdom and discernment. I'm reaching for this. I want my offerings to be food, like good home cooked spaghetti, not garbage.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ohio Treasure Basket

We have had about 5 days of the most beautiful fall weather anyone could want. Fortunately, I was able to get out and enjoy it just a bit.

This warm spell reminds me of the lovely fall walks we three girls had with my father on my grandmother's farm. There was a great unknown woods out back of the farm and we grabbed a bushel basket and went looking for treasures. The first stop was the sheep field. They were always so cute and cuddly looking. Then we went through a gate. This put us directly into "wild" territory. We stopped to visit a well where the water was so cold. It smelled of eggs, but to this day, I think it was the best water I have ever tasted.

If one of us found brightly colored leaves, we tossed them into the basket. This was in Ohio and the red leaves were gorgeous. Going on a little farther, we found a beech tree. They have beechnuts. There is an outside prickly shell and then a smooth shell inside. You have to peel this with your teeth. Then you get a tasty treat. We roamed here and there seeing the step stone type of fungus on a tree. Then we hit a clearing. The sun was just piercing the trees. Its rays landed on an old stump and butterflies were dancing around it, doing their fairy dance.

The girls and I were getting tired. We found the traditional buckeyes, shiny mahogany seeds in their shells and some on the ground. You couldn't eat them, but I just loved having one for the joy of its beauty - until it dried up and then it didn't look as nice. My dad found an unusual fruit called a paw paw. He put one or two in the basket. When we were home, he cut it in half. In it nestled beautiful purple seeds. He said it tasted somewhat like a banana.

On our journey home, we took turns carrying our treasure basket. This trip was such a little thing to do. My dad was the type of person to do things like that - to make a memory.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Just A Few Of My Favorite Things

I enjoy decorating for fall. I put my fake leaf garland up on my curtain rod, put out my pumpkin salt and pepper shakers and my new tan and brown stoneware pumpkins. I also add some lovely yellow, blue, and brick red flowers in my large ceramic jar. These aren't real, of course. My mom loved fresh flowers and tried to have everything real. She and my dad had very green thumbs, a trait which was not handed down to me. I have killed more plants and flowers than you can imagine (and you can probably imagine a lot.) I start out well with them and then somewhere along the way, they seem to get over watered. I don't know how that happens.

So that's about the extent of my fall creations. I do add my favorite Toby mugs. These are little British men in tri-corner hats. They are so cute to me. Some people think they are ugly. Well, I guess I can see it, maybe, but I love them anyway. The figurines just seem to go with fall.

What about your house? Do you go to extensive decorating gyrations? Tell all.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Do You Smell That? Ummm.

When I came inside my grandson's house, I detected a lovely aroma. He was perched on his little stool and was busy pushing doughy blobs into disc-like medallions. Yes, close scrutiny revealed that he had discovered Play-Doh. He had so much fun pushing out images of Cookie Monster and Elmo. Not too many days later, he was sitting there as neat as you please and was single-handedly pushing a blob of dough into a channel with an arm. He pushed the arm down and a perfect row of "bricks"came out of the little blue hole. He could then cut them and build, if he chose. I was amazed at how well he could do all of this by himself at 2. He played for a long time, sometimes using the device that made long spaghetti tubes. We were both so happy playing together. Well, it was because of the smell.

When I was a little girl, we got a Play-Doh Factory, almost like grandson Ty's under our Christmas tree. Open a can and it smelled heavenly. We also had the brick maker. The sturdy toy has changed little over the years. How many toys can be so creative? My sisters and I made jewelry and had a store, we made cakes and cookies for our bake shop, and we could always use cookie cutters.
In one of my pictures here, you can see Baby Bear which I made for Ty, who is going through a bear phase. He loved it. He squashed it and I made two more which met the same demise. What a fun was to use and use again. Play-Doh Factories, you rock. Did you have a factory or other related items? Are you enjoying them again with little ones?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Miracle Service

Dear Friends and readers: Recently, my husband had a knee replacement. He is still at the hospital but is coming home today and is doing much better. I wanted to tell my readers ahead of time that I was going to be gone a week, but something happened to my blogger mechanism and I couldn't publish. What a bummer! I couldn't connect with you and it felt awful. My son, Ben, fixed it for me. On Wed, before the fix, I was able to use the hospital computer and blog from there. That was fun. Then hours later, I logged in and saw 4 responses. That was such a great thing. You do have to nearly lose something to know how important it is to you. I later got 4 more cheerful comments. Thanks for all of the love you sent my way. And you didn't even know that I needed it.

Last night was one of those rainy nights where you just want to stay home. I had been to the hospital and didn't want to go out again. But my son, Ben, was going to play guitar and sing at a small walk-in church near me. I just had to go. It was so lovely. His songs were like little praise stories. Such a sweet spirit came over me. When I first arrived, I met someone from my past. This wonderful lady had prayed a prayer that turned out to be answered in a wonderful way. We both remember it. She was so cheerful and she prayed for something similar that was going on in my life now. Then I almost giggled. Here was my wonderful God sending my gifted son to minister to me and this lady who always means so much to me, all rolled in a package of hope. While the evening wore on, I saw that even though my prayers weren't all answered right now, that they would be. I felt I had the answer now, as the Bible says you are to pray and believe (Matt.21:22) I'm sending this to any of my friends who are discouraged. I was totally "undone" my pastor calls it. Just being obedient and going to fellowship with the Lord and worship Him gave me the answers I needed to go on to more of what He has for me. What He's done for others, He'll do for you. Love, Nancy

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Life At The Traffic Stop

In Michigan, there’s a law that you can turn right on a red light after you have stopped and checked traffic. That is fine for small intersections and country roads. I don’t like it at major intersections because the traffic is farther away and you just never know who might be speeding along in a lane towards you. So I like to just wait at these stops for a green light. Then the people behind me honk and expect me to turn, even when I’m not comfortable doing so.
So I was going to be at one of these stops and I prayed for a green light. Well, as I got near, I could see that two cars were stopped at a red light ahead of me. As I paused, I relaxed. Their blinkers weren’t on so they were going straight through the intersection on green. I hadn’t thought about that possibility. It worked out splendidly and I made my turn on green as I like to do.

Several times I have told the Lord how to answer my prayer. I have a finances problem right now. I asked Him to work it my way. He declined that suggestion. He does promise to meet my needs. I know that He will provide in another way, a way I am not expecting.

That little incident at the light was the highlight of my day. I had much frustration trying to find some things shopping that I couldn’t find. All I could do was smile that The Lord met me and showed me He has everything covered, but in His own way. I just love it when He does that.

Monday, September 19, 2011

God's Garden

"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin: and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." Matthew 6: 28,29.

I like to think of the lilies when I'm planning to dress up. They come in so many pretty colors. There are white ones, yellow and orange ones, even purple ones. And they are dressed up with their little freckled dots that makes them dear to my heart.

I'm sure that the Lord meant we are not to worry about clothes or provisions. And yet I believe we can also think that He wanted us be be as colorfully arrayed as His flowers. Does that mean that we can't wear blown, black, or neutrals? I know many heavenly minded people wore just these for a very long time. I don't see that in this scripture, though.

God made the gorgeous silhouettes: the black scrubby tree against the pearly moon. He made cactus and palm tree to stand out against sunsets, too. I think He loves these contrasts. We can enjoy them, too, when we dress.

So I'm putting on my sunset colors today - coral, black and blue. Tomorrow there will be something else to wear from His garden. And I will remember to trust in Him and let Him take care all of my toiling and spinning.

Friday, September 16, 2011


When you watch the Oscars or the Emmys or Grammys, do you think, I wish I could win one of those? What award do you dream of?

I’m sure that my writer friends who write only in one genre have a specific high and exalted award that they aspire to. I wonder how many there are and what they are called.

The only award that I would love to win is called the Newberry Award - the best book for children in a certain year. It usually goes to books for the 8 to 12 age. If I did aspire to one other award, it would be the Caldecott. This goes to the best picture book of the year. It has always been my dream to do a picture book and do my own illustrations. That’s probably not going to happen. Most of the winners have an artist and an illustrator.

To win any award, you have to work very hard, to be the very best in your field. That takes much dedication. Any time and effort you put into your dream takes time away from something else.
Many of my friends will reach their goals. I believe in them. I also had a goal of some child finding my book in the library and reading it and loving it the way I loved my books.

Many years ago, I had another dream. I was lonely and I just wanted a family. It didn’t seem like that would ever happen. Finally, by the grace of God it did. Now I am so blessed with the big 9 (like The Fellowship Of The Ring.) I even have more than nine people as you move outward from my circle of love. So I may not get any awards. I may not write another book. I could, but I don’t have that drive anymore. Time is so precious, but I am open to whatever God has in store for me.

If you're in the writing process right now I'm rooting for you. I'm just having fun exploring possibilities.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Season For Dolls

Do you play with dolls? I did until just a few years ago. I didn't actually play with them. I did enjoy displaying the fancy ones and changing clothes on my American Girl dolls to match the holidays. I even put "back to school" clothes on them. "Molly," one of the first three American Girl dolls, has a little red school bag that is nearly identical to one I had in the fifties.

When I was young, as you can see in this picture, I was doll crazy. My favorite thing was to line up all my dolls, from largest to smallest on the bed and put all of their clothes at their heads and them change them according to where they were going. They always went to church or to school as that was just about the limit of my world back then. They all had clothes, even cheap little dolls from the five and dime store, because my mom was very clever at making them for me.

As teens, we three girls accumulated a small doll collection. It started with what are called Story Book Dolls. These were about 6" and had pretty dresses. As the name suggests, they depicted stories from fairy tales. We also got small dolls from our trips. My world expanded when my parents took us places. New York City, Pittsburgh, Niagara Falls. So we put our collection in one window of a four-tier set of barristers, rectangle cases with glass fronts.

As soon as my daughter, Dawn, was old enough, I got her Molly and I got Felicity, another American Girl doll. We played together. Again, I just dressed the dolls. Once in a while, I would do a doll voice and pretend to be a doll, but not often.

As Dawn got older, she lost interest in the dolls. This is when I just dressed the two dolls for the holidays. Then, I got to where I didn't want to bother with it. The dolls are now in my cedar chest. I'm the caretaker until Dawn can have a girl of her own to play. It's funny, when I see doll displays in stores, I'm not even tempted. I guess everything has a season, even my fascination with frilly, pretty, little dolls.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Fashion Rules - What Do You Think?

Sunday I was greeted by a friend at church. I wore a tan and white jacket, white T and a white skirt. We got to talking fashion and I said I wanted to wear my white skirt one more time. I laughed and held up my basket purse. "I'm going to switch this to my black one for next week."

She looked at me sort of funny and said, "Why?"

I then explained that I liked to start dark colors in the fall. She said, "Oh, do they still do that?" I said that I knew it was still summer for a while.

That conversation got me to thinking. I believe she meant, do they still do the white from Memorial day through Labor day" thing? Or maybe she meant do they still do dark and light colors at all?
Being able to wear white sandals as long as you want or white skirts, or summer purses is probably a good thing. It is funny though because I wore that same skirt in the spring with a flower blouse and I got a "you're early" comment. I guess I can't win.

Do you put away summer clothes in early Sept.? I do. It's one of my favorite things to do. I love fall clothes and of course I have quite a lot of pieces that stay all year. What I want to know from you is: do you find it freeing to have fashion rules or do you like the 'anything goes' thing?

For me, and I admit I'm a traditionalist, I like to know some things are for summer and some are not. I still wear dresses and skirts to a church where nearly every lady wears slacks or jeans. I guess that's just one more place where I'm over the hill.

One more thing, I do like some of the new freedoms. I am thankful that I can wear gold and silver together, brown and black together, and that my purse doesn't have to match my belt and shoes. That is freedom to me.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fun Tiramisu

Here is the recipe some of you have asked for. It is handy for Christmas, birthdays, showers, etc.

Time: about 20 minutes.

(1) 8 0z. pkg. of cream cheese. Take this out early.

(2) pkg. 1.5 0z. Vanilla instant sugar free pudding

(1) 8 oz. whipped topping

(48) Vanilla Wafers

(1/2) cup instant coffee, divided

(2) oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips, ground in the nut grinder and divided

(3) cups cold milk

Beat cream cheese on medium in large bowl and then add milk slowly. Add the pudding mixes slowly. Stir in two cups of the whipped topping.

Set out 24 wafers and line a 2 and a half quart bowl (use the kind on a stand if you have one) on the bottom. The rounded parts should be up. Line the sides having the rounded part facing outward. Put 1/2 of the coffee over the bottom wafers. Scoop 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the wafers. (Be careful. Take two spoons, a large one and a small one. Scoop one big scoop and push it with the small spoon against two or three standing wafers. Do this all the way around setting the wafers up if they fall down. Then put the rest of this portion in the center and smooth it out nicely.) Top this with 1/2 of the chocolate. Then do another layer of wafers, coffee, mixture, and chocolate. Put the rest of the whipped topping on top.

If you want a bit of color, you could drain a few strawberries or raspberries for the top. I added fake holly once. Tie a pretty bow to the stem to match the event and Voila! What a surprise for someone. A bonus - with the sugar free puddings, this desert is lower in sugar grams than most.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Kid Games

This post falls under the "Boomers" part of my blog. I can't believe I've done two years plus and haven't tackled the topic yet.

Well, I had a fantastic childhood. We went outside and played all the time. One game I loved was called 7 UP. You would take a large rubber ball and throw it up against the wall and catch it 7 times. Then you had 6s. Here, you let the ball bounce before you caught it. Each number had a different activity. The thing you only had to do once was: throw the ball to the wall, turn around and let it bounce, push it up against the wall and catch it. If you missed on any activity, you had to start over at 7s. I got so I could do it perfectly. I must say it took a lot of time. I also did the same thing with a small India rubber ball that I held in one hand - a game called 12 UP. Here the throws were much more difficult. I managed to do a few perfect ones. This game taught me something, I'm not sure what.

My favorite indoor game was Jacks. We had these nice heavy steel jacks. They don't make them anymore. You have a little ball and go from picking up one at a time to all 10 at once. I loved the way the jacks swept away into my hand on the linoleum floor. I could also do all ten here, but playing with a partner, I usually lost. Jacks was very competitive in my day.

We had a game called Spud. "It" threw the ball into the air and called "freeze." Then he took three steps toward the nearest person and threw a large rubber ball at them. If it hit them, they were "it" and got a letter "S." If they caught the ball, the thrower got the "S." The last person to get SPUD was the winner.

We also played jump rope across a street that had hardly any traffic. We held the ends while the big kids jot to jump. Our mom said not to play with the big kids if they acted that way, but we always did. We got very few turns, just enough to keep us going.

Hopscotch was another game where the big kids ruled. If we ever finished a set, we were doing great.

The last game I want to share about is Hide And Seek. We played this outside, just we little kids and got so dirty. I remember the feel of the long days turning to evenings and the smell of the "toils of the day." We slept well after our great warm baths.
How I long for those days, when just a few little materials could last us all summer. Did you play any cheap kid games? I bet it was memorable.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Me...ffom A to Z.

I got this cute idea from Diane Estrella over at She does great book reviews, especially for young people, has handy tips, and good giveaways. Diane encouraged us to have fun with this.

A. age: 64

B. baked goods: coconut cream pie

C. Chore you hate: I hate cleaning that plastic shower of mine. Scrub, scrub, scrub - yuck.

D. Dogs. I had a cute mixed breed named Buffy when I was a little girl. Then we got an ugly dog names Irving. Now we have no dogs.

E. Essential start to your day: I always make my bed. First chore, always.

F. Favorite color: blue, blue, and oh um blue.

G. Gold or Silver: I like gold in the winter and silver in the summer.

H. Height: 5'2". I'm too short to get the coffee cups in most cupboards.

I. Instruments you play. I used to play piano. My students loved my marches. They were just chords mixed up.

J. Job. I take care of my adorable grandson, Ty.

K. Kids. Joseph and wife Sandra, 35, Benjamin 31 and his wife Rebekah 30, Dawn 27 and her husband Dave 36, and grandson Ty 2.

L. Live. I like in Michigan. I was born in Ohio.

M. Mother. Lillian

N. Nickname. Never had a nickname until recently. I can be Nan or Nance.

O. Overnight hospital stays. I've had three - one for each of my childdren.

P. Pet peeve. The worst one - not putting paper etc in the garbace cans. I also hate spitting.

Q. Quote. "This is the hour of the Shire-folk, when they arise from their quiet fields to shake the towers and counsels of the Great. Who of all the Wise could have forseen it?" from The Lord Of The Rings, The Fellowship Of The Ring. by J.R.R.Tolkien. That book has so many great quotes. It was hard to choose just one.

R. Right or left? Right

S. Siblings. An older sister and a younger sister.

T. Time you wake up. I wake at 6:30 to work, 9:00 on off days, and 8:30 for church.

U. University you attended. Bowling Green State University - that's in Ohio.

V. Vegetable you dislike. I dislike very much asparagus, broccoli (cooked), brussel sprouts, and peppers, all kinds.

W. What makes you late? I am almost never late. I am almost at least 10 minutes early. If I am late it is because I had to do a new activity beforehand and didn't know how long it would take. I think it is rude to be late.

X. X-rays. Just had a chest X-ray. I don't like them very much. Do you?

Y. Yummy food. Well, I love pizza, fries, and mac and cheese. Also, love, love, love corn on the cob. (I never eat it anywhere except at home because it's too messy and gets in my teeth.)

Z. Zoo animal favorite. My favorite is the bird house. I can make bird noises and once startled the birds at the Toledo zoo with my fine initation.

Now you know me from A to Z. Have a great day.

Monday, August 22, 2011

I Have Calmed My Soul

King David said, "Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother." Psalm 131:2 NKJ

I have read that scripture so many times, letting it sooth me and picturing a tiny baby, safe in his mother's arms. Then one day, I noticed the word "weaned." I think I had been picturing an infant. The image changed for me in an important way. Children in the Bible probably weren't weaned until they were about two or perhaps a bit younger. But this verse says "child." Why was he supposed to bring such comfort as apposed to the baby I had imagined?

The weaned child no longer goes to the mother for nourishment. He goes because he wants to be in his mother's arms for love and and strength and assurance. He has a bit of independence and yet knows right where to go to calm his soul.

We believers had been given nourishment quite easily as new Christians when He gave us such grace and favor like the new babes that we were. Now we are weaned. With the Bible and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can get nourishment from these sources as we grow to be mature adults in Christ. How great that even as we grow, we can go back to the Lord for comfort as the weaned child did, as David did.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Little Help Getting Started

For some time, I have been have trouble getting started in my prayers. I don't mean the quick ones I pray when I think of someone. I mean the kind where you sit in a comfortable chair and pray for some time. My Bible has always been easy to pick up and read. I enjoy fresh insights every time. And I love to talk to God and let Him talk to me, but it has been so difficult jumping in.

Well, when I was cleaning, I ran across a list, The names of God. You can find these easily on the Internet as well. The ones I found were: Jehovah Nissi - The Lord My Banner, Jehovah Rapha - The Lord That Heals, Jehovah Shammah - The Lord Who Is There, Jehovah Tsidkenu - The Lord My Righteousness, Jehovah Jireh- The Lord Will Provide, Jehovah Shalom - The Lord My Peace, and Jehovah Raah - The Lord My Shepherd.

One day, I just read these names and thought about each one. Then I praised God for some other names I knew and soon, I was getting into his attributes. By this time, I had passed from that first initial wall into a wonderful time of praise.

Now, I start with greeting my Father and the Godhead. I may thank Him briefly for the good things of the day, and move into the names I listed and the others. Then, it is so easy to move into prayer for those on my list because we are already in the heavenlies having a wonderful conversation together.
Perhaps you don't have the problem I had. Even so, the Names are a great way to add joy, praise, and comfort to your prayers. Blessings on this beautiful day.

Friday, August 12, 2011

It's All Done!

Done! I got my house cleaned one week early. I had one more big room to do and just couldn't let a small room and a closet go till next week. So I rushed and finished all three in a little over three hours. I have been sorting like mad. So far, I think I have been able to get rid of 1/2 to 1/3 of the paperwork. What a relief. I still have at least eight more folders, files, and notebook type things to do. I can do these on the weekends, at odd moments and on days when I have a few hours off.

It seems like a lot of my readers are unplugged, at conferences, or busy. So I'll leave it at that for now. See you next week with a new idea for prayer. Have a great weekend.

Oh, we are going to Tennessee (eight hours each way) to see our daughter off. That should be tiring and fun.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

City Mouse, Country Mouse

I was recently looking over the cute story of The City Mouse and The Country Mouse. In that story, the little old-fashioned mouse gets bored and leaves her home to travel to the city to visit a relative who lives there. She is delighted and envious until a big cat spoils the party and she hurries home, glad for her quiet life.

I thought a lot about that story. People who know me would probably say that I prefer the country. I was raised on a farm in Ohio. Well, I wasn't really, I only visited my grandparents so often that if feels like I did grow up there. Oh, it has its charms, the rolling fields and the fall woods. I loved all of the animals. The sheep, pigs, chickens, kittens, and cows. One time in the winter, I petted a cow and her rough tongue pulled my mitten off. What a giggle that was.

Other people who know me would know that I love big cities, too. I have been to New York City at least four times and I love it. On various trips, I visited the lights of Times Square, saw a Broadway show, twice visited the Statue Of Liberty, rode up in the Umpire State Building, ministered to the homeless in Harlem, and was part of a peace rally. I know the "cat" is there. We saw him messing with the poor people in the soup kitchens and on the street. But I still love the energy and opportunities of the city.

Other cities I have visited and enjoyed very much were: Paris,Vancouver, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Boston, and Cleveland, Ohio. So how about you? Are you a City Mouse, or a Country Mouse? Or, are you like me, a person who enjoys the blessings of both?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Nerd Games

It used to be that when my family all get together, after dinner we would play games. The games popular then were interactive games like Taboo, Balderdash, Pictionary, Apples and Oranges, Catch Phrase, etc. I love these and all of the trivia games. I'm pretty good at them, too. Lately a trend has started. Nerd Games.

First my second son Ben got a few and then My son Joe. Soon, their spouses were putting up with them and we would all play after eating. Now, my daughter has caught the bug and her husband. She is asking where to buy them. They are very expensive.

If you are not familiar with this term, I'll try to describe it. You get a board and pieces, but not like the ones in Parcheesi. These moving pieces are "cute." If they aren't, you can buy extra ones that are. The goal of most of the games is either to get the most money or to get the most territory, in one form or another.

Now in my own defense, I tried to play these games. I even won once. Well, I thought I did. Everyone cheered for me, but then when the money was counted I had lost by a few dollars. You need strategy. You need to think for a very long time. That you have lots of since, with 4 or 5 players or more, you don't get your turn for say 15 to 20 minutes. You think up a great scheme and the guy ahead of you makes a move that throws you off and you have to do something quick. It looks like you were just sitting there twiddling your thumbs.

I can see why the kids like them. They have clear thinking and they can plot and plan. I don't do that very well anymore. I can think of a quick answer to some obscure fact in a hurry, but that doesn't count here. No, I just let them play and go get my grandson and a big pile of blocks and we make a city. Lots more fun.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Always Good

While I'm still having fun cleaning, I feel it only fair to tell you of the more difficult things as well. First, more good things. My daughter just got a teaching job in Tennessee. So she and her husband will be moving away from us. This is a great opportunity for both of them. That helps when I think of how I am going to "lose" my daughter, shopping buddy, and best friend. I also will be getting some money that I had not anticipated. I had two medical tests which showed normal health for me in those areas.

I gave a praise report at church because I believe it is important to give God credit and it also encourages others who are struggling to see how faithful He is.

Now I am in my third week of cleaning. I did my files and managed to discard at least 1/2 of the paperwork. The less than fun part happened today. The first time I did my curtains I managed to take the curtains off, wash them, and put them back on. I couldn't find a snap to release the curtains so I unscrewed the ends. What a pain. Well, when I did that today, the whole rod broke at one end. Then I realized there was a release mechanism, the other one just didn't work. So I struggled to tape the rod to the holders. I tried several times. Finally I had success. This is only a temporary measure, I will get a new rod. But I thought I was big stuff when I did the curtains the first time. I am humbled. I also may have to go to a doctor's again to check on something. Bummer. I thought I was done "doctoring" for the year. Yet, you know what? I have recently realized again how loving and good and generous and awesome God is. He has made me promises and I believe them. I just rest in His love.

Hope this is a good day for you. If not, I know tomorrow will be better.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Different Kind Of Fun

Recently I passed a couple of medical tests, one of which I had been putting off for a long time. That gave me such a surge of energy. Then I have time off from watching my grandson, so I decided to deep clean our house. That, too, is giving me lots of energy. I took several days ridding the house of all of the things I don't use. I was able to give 10 bags to Purple Heart, a Veterans group. That clearing, as always, gave me a huge boost of go-power. It isn't that I am not working hard. I told you I was doing something fun and free. I am. Cleaning, when you get out your little attachments and do all of the baseboards, that kind of thing, I love it. And sorting, well it's my fav. But today I was taken down a peg. I thought I'd be able to clean the laundry room in an hour. Hah! It was so dirty and every time I thought I was about done, I'd find some other little dirt hole place to clean. Not fun. But it's done now and I love the way it looks. I love the way it feels when you know the place is clean.

I can think when I do this sorting and cleaning. That is fun, too. I am thinking of even more purging. I want to cut my paperwork: files, writings (yes, those too,) prayer note cards and all kinds of notes on paper, boxes of "letters" from God (He already told me I could get rid of any paperwork I wanted to and He would always give me more,) magazine files, and Christmas cards etc. I want to get rid of 2/3 of this stuff, or at the very least, 50 %.

So now I'm pumped because my drawers are not full, I can see what I want when I want it, and I just plan to keep this up as much as possible. I always read Don Aslett's book Clutter's Last Stand before I do my ridding. It helps get rid of the excuses. I recommend all of his clutter books. You can probably get them at the library or try They have lots of old books.

Well, I probably let you all down. Hey, this is my fun when I'm not traveling. I don't have hardly any hobbies anymore. So "keeping neat" is my fun. Hope your day is great.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

And We Go Home

We went on our last excursion to Ketchikan. Here were many totem poles. This was our best day, weather wise, and I got some great blue skies totems. We also visited a Salmon hatchery. Here we saw real live bald eagles up close. One fun thing about this trip was that our guide looked like our son, Ben. I'm fascinated by the young people who come to Alaska in the summers to be tour guides. Very few are natives. They have to learn the lore for whatever tour they do and they have to learn how to maneuver and parallel park a huge bus. That's quite a feat. Plus they are so friendly. I'd say they are America's next generation of hard workers and adventurers.

We had a great last day on board the ship. I tried to stare at and remember each beautiful thing that was now familiar, because I was going home and who knows if I'll ever get to touch such extravagance again.

We got off the ship and ended up in Vancouver, B.C. I love this city. There are museums and little shops and parks. Lovely. We stayed at our last luxury, The Four Seasons Hotel and had a fancy dinner due to our anniversary. During the day, we saw all of the area from mostly the blue trolley and for a little bit the red trolley. This was one of our excursions. You could get off at Chinatown and a few other places, but my husband refused to move and we had so much fun just seeing all over and taking pictures. My pics look like I was there anyway. The picture on the blog of easels is art work down by the pier. They are a collection of other photographs and things.

Well, we spent a long day the next day getting home as we had to wait in customs lines for a very long time. Our plane was delayed just enough so the extra time didn't bump us off our ride home.

I know that I am privileged to take this trip. It's one of those things that one sometimes gets to do when all of the children are out of college and married. Anyway, thanks for coming along with me. Next time, I want to tell you of my newest adventure. It's free and I'm having so much fun.

Friday, July 22, 2011


It was finally time to get off the ship and go to a port of call. Our destination was Skagway. We got on a bus, but our first stop was to a recreation of a miner's camp called Liarsville. The name came from the fact that when the gold rush happened, the press came this far and didn't want to go on to the other gold sites, so they let it leak that there was gold here. There wasn't any, but the ruse worked. We saw a cute skit and poems about the Gold Rush. It was here that we panned for gold. We each got a pan with sediments and gold already in it. We were shown how to do the process. It was fun. The actors helped us get all of our gold. I was very disappointed we didn't do it in a stream where where gold was natural, but as the man said, "there's no gold in Skagway." I ended up with several sequin sized pieces of 18K Klondike gold from Canada.

We went on to the main part of Skagway and in a visitors museum and bookstore, we saw a film about the treacherous trip the miners made up a very long hill to get to the gold site.

The next time we left ship, we went to Juneau and got a catamaran to take us whale watching. Of course, everyone on board wanted pictures of the whales. Me too. I went to the head of the boat when they spotted their first whale and then I moved quickly to the outside area so I could see better. This first whale put on a show for us. He breached and did a sort of flip. The guide was excited. She said this wasn't the time or place they usually did this. I did see it, but not as well as I could have because I had just gotten to my spot and was trying to get my camera all zoomed up and ready when the whale performed. Still, what a sight. I got a great tail shot later that is my pride and joy. It looks pretty good when I had it cropped and enlarged a bit.

Well, that was exciting. We saw 6 whales in all. I got some great pics and had a wonderful experience.

Next time, one last excursion before we leave the cruise.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Simplicity and Beauty, Glitz and Fun

Here are two glaciers which we saw from the boat. The bluer one is Hubbard Glacier as we were just approaching it. It is my favorite picture of the whole trip. It is true that this is a trip for those who are willing to wait for the good stuff and who are willing to travel, because Alaska is a huge state and you need a lot of patience to see anything worthwhile. Yet, for my money, these few views, the gorgeous mountains we saw, and the roaming wildlife are so worthwhile.

The second day on board, we spent watching the glaciers from my sister's balcony. It was cool and we stayed only long enough to get the views. It takes about an hour or so for the boat to pass a glacier from the first end to the last tail of it. I think that at the right season, you might be able to go and sit on board to do this.

Evenings were lots of fun. We "dressed for dinner." That's a joke because we didn't have enough room to take the fancy things I would have liked. Some people did. On "Formal Night." we were in the swing music area and a very old couple were dressed elegantly and doing a fancy two step. Then a couple come on and did the fox trot. (The music actually was from other eras, too.) They were perfect. They moved as one. Larry thought they might be the dance instructors on the ship. Whatever they were, they were great.

Another evening we saw a ventriloquist. We saw a very funny comedian named Scott Wyler. He had material that made me laugh out loud and it was pretty clean, too. We also enjoyed his act on the last night, an all different routine. There was a LasVegas style show with someone who used to be on T.V. and the movies. (Sorry, I forgot the name.) We saw a Motor City show, too. It was the 50s part of these shows that I liked best. The rest was good singing and dancing, but the costumes were too glitzy for my taste.

Each day, there was a ship newspaper with all of the events listed. We also played a trivia game (and won, or I should say, tied.) played Bingo, and enjoyed the shops that were on board.

Everyone wants to know about the food. Here's the deal: If you chose "anytime dining" as we did, you could eat at the buffet on the top of the ship and have lots of just about everything. The desserts were best and I did give up my "no sugar" for the cruise. There was a fancy place for evening, but you could have lunch there, too. Here we had elegant waiters, and that cute food I can "play food." They drizzle something on the plate and put a square of meat on top. But you get lots of courses and you can order whatever you want. I enjoyed halibut and salmon several times and even lobster. My favorite was when they finally got to Italian night and I had spaghetti.

Next time, I'll tell of going off the ship for two of our excursions. I'll leave with this tease. "Liarsville" What could that mean?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

On Board

We had just gotten on the boat and were anxious to put our two suitcases away when the intercom said that we were shortly going to have a muster drill. We were to read the directions on the door, grab two life preservers in the cupboard, and follow the arrows as soon as we heard seven short blasts and one long one. We got our things ready. I was so glad Larry was with me because finding my muster station when I had just boarded was not one of my gifts. We waited and finally the room steward said we could go on ahead. All of the people in our area were there waiting. We got instructions and each had to put our life jacket on. I did it! I was so thrilled. No one wants to think of fire or hitting an iceberg on anything like that. but it is good to be prepared.

We finished and then we got to our rooms and dressed for dinner. It was very late, but good. The next morning, we had time to eat a hearty breakfast at the top floor buffet and then look around. I took pictures of all of the fancy stuff you don't see everyday. I got pics of the outdoor and indoor pools. I was so excited about the outdoor one. There was a place where movies were shown in warmer weather. It's to to right of the people in the picture. We had time during the week to swim at the indoor pool. Here, you could get pizza and ice cream. The water was warm and we had fun.

Lar and I found the library and he spent a lot of time reading and looking out at the water. I got a book and finished it in a few days. The author's last name was Cruise so I thought that was appropriate.

Next time, I'll tell about the entertainment and show you some beautiful glaciers. Thanks for touring with me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Denali Wilderness Trip

We got up very early in the morning to catch our bus that would take us to the train to Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge. It was about a four hour trip. We were in a double-decker train with skylights. You could see out the windows and all along the top. We were seated four to a table. We got pictures of the wilds of Alaska and then went down to eat a lovely meal at the only operating kitchen on a train in Alaska. There was crystal and china and silverware. My sister and I went out on the observation car so we could get a picture of the train as it went around a curve. This worked because we were on the last car. We got to the lodge in the evening and had a family style dinner at the Music Of Denali Dinner Theater. I enjoyed the musical number very much. It was about hikers who attempted to climb Denali Mt. McKinley. Denali means "The Great One."

The next morning, we went on a bus to the preserve. We were to call out any animals we saw and the driver would put them on the TV screen with his zoomer. These pictures then would be at the end of our video. The first animal called was a snowshoe hare. Then someone saw some Dali sheep who like to hide in the mountains. My husband called out the first Caribou. We were on the right side of the bus on the way into the park. It seemed like all of the good scenes were on the left. We had to excuse ourselves to get pictures. The trip was 62 miles into the park and then we turned around.

We were entering a place I remembered from the way in which was very narrow and someone called, "Caribou." The driver stopped the bus. We were directly over a steep ledge. I had visions of the bus toppling over when the people from the other side came for their pictures. Fair is fair, but I was frightened. I am O.K. with airplanes, elevators, even glass ones. and some ledges, but this one just seemed to be too much. No logic would tell me I was being silly. It was over soon and we had a great time. I love the way Alaska tries to keep this area pristine, as free from man-made intervention as possible.

Next time, I'll tell about the cruise. You'll never guess the first thing we had to do when we got on board.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Rare Father's Day Treat

The next day was Father's Day. We were supposed to ride a jet boat but neither of us wanted to do that. We decided to try fly fishing. Then our guide told us about how bears came into bathrooms and moose could be out in the wild. I suddenly pictured myself alone in a stream with a huge line and reel and nobody anywhere near me. So I prayed that no bear or moose would come near us. Well God answered that prayer so well that none of us saw any bears on the whole trip. Six of us ended up back trawling from a boat on the Talkeetna River (We never did do fly fishing.) Our guide put Larry and I in the back. We hadn't started fishing for five minutes when I got a pull on my line. Larry was yelling what to do. I reeled as well as I could. It was on the left and very hard to turn. Finally the fish cleared the water and Shannon, our guide, scooped it up in the net. It was about an 8 lb salmon. Then the show started. He yells, "lines in." He pulls the chain and anchor in. He moves the boat to shore and I get out in my big waders and we lay the fish down. Someone took my picture with the fish. I didn't want to keep it so I was not allowed to hold it up. In fact, the fish's belly had to remain in the water at all times. Then we let it go and it swam away. I got back in the boat feeling like a celebrity. He put me in the back of the boat so someone else could have that good spot. It turns out that all of the spots got fish and everyone caught a fish. A young couple each caught a huge King Salmon. Then it was Larry's turn and he caught a 35 lb King Salmon. He also got a picture and released it. The young couple were the only ones to keep their fish. I have six pictures of Larry with that fish. I don't think he could have experienced a more exciting Father's Day than fishing in the Talkeetna River in Alaska and catching the record fish with his adoring wife looking on. That turned out to be our favorite day of the trip.

Next time, I'll tell you about the wildlife park at Denali and I'll let you in on the one moment of our trip where I was truly frightened. See you then.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Quest for The Perfect Picture

Here I am on my post, trying to get things going again. We got back from our cruise on Thursday evening.

During the trip, we traveled on 9 different forms of transportation: car, airplane, bus, dogsled, jet boat, train, shuttle bus, catamaran, and trolley. Praise God, He kept us safe on all of these.

My husband, Larry, and I got to Anchorage in the evening. We were more tired than hungry, so got a small bite to eat of salad and bread. Sourdough bread is big in Alaska, and it is yummy. The next day we met my sister, Jean, and her husband, Bob. We ate in a great little cafe where Bob got reindeer sausage and I had sourdough french toast. We saw the Captain Cook memorial and decided to see The Anchorage Museum. Here we learned the names of the native groups and saw artifacts. One interesting one was a whole parka made from animal intestines. It was white and filmy looking. We visited the Ulu factory. Ulus are curved knives uses by native Alaskans and apparently made famous by Rachel Ray. We bought a few as gifts for the cooks in our family. That evening, Larry, Jean, and I saw a movie called Aurora. It was shots of the Northern Lights set to music. Beautiful. Later, we briefly met our land tour director, Tahnee.

Early the next morning, we boarded a bus and traveled to the place where they raise dogs for the Iditarod Trail race. I am holding a cute black puppy. This is where Jean and I had a dogsled race. At the word, those dogs raced off and I felt like I were flying through the snow. What a ride. Then we got on the bus and Tahnee said we were blessed because it was a good day and we should be able to see Mt. McKinley. Only about 30% of the people who go to Alaska get to see it. It is so clouded over most of the time. We got out and took pictures. I got a few, but they weren't too great because it was sunny and I couldn't see what I was filming. The picture I'm showing was taken near that time. Then it was a race for us to try to get a great picture of Mt. McKinley. After that, it clouded over and was never as clear. Some of us got off the bus at Talkeetna, a tiny town. We had pizza and shopped in the cute shops. Then we took the shuttle to McKinley Princess Lodge. We sat at dinner by a window with a view of the mountains. It was so funny, one time you can see mountains, the next time you visit the same site, they are gone. The famous disappearing mountains. We had great food here. I had fresh salmon and a gorgeous Caesar salad. Next time, I will tell about our fishing adventure and the wildlife park.

Thank you all for your prayers for safety and for my hair. The shampoo, serum, and scrubby my doctor recommended plus lots of prayers helped so much. I still have hair and it seems to be doing better already. I missed all of you. It's good to be back.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cruise News / Father's Day

Here is my big news. My husband and I are going on a cruise to Alaska this Thursday, June 16. We begin with a land tour starting in Anchorage. Then, after a week, we get on board the Princess Cruise ship and a week later, end up in Vancouver. We are going with my sister Jean and her husband. This is the sister who went with me to New England in the fall. We have been preparing this all year. Now, finally it is almost here. We are all very excited. I will not be blogging for that two week time period. I'll miss you all, but I know I'll be busy. When I return, I'll have a few travelogues to share with you.

This Sunday is Father's day. It should be celebrated with as much enthusiasm as Mother's day. I fear that it is not. Most dads are so faithful. They sit and let Mom get all the glory on her day and when the kids do well. I'm ashamed when dads are ridiculed on T.V. They are so smart. They always know how to fix things around the house and all the little troubles. Well, my dad and my husband and his dad are all so great. They make it look easy. For them and all of the dads out there who have ever felt unappreciated, I salute you! Have a very Happy Father's Day.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Quotes to Love

Thank you readers for your comments on my hair problem. Your encouragement inspired me greatly. I feel that I have the best group of blog friends and readers there can be. You are tops.

Here are some more quotes from my bulging envelope:

"God's not interested in your press clippings." Dr.Laura Schlessinger, from the radio 3-14-02

"The fire that kept Seabiscuit frustrated and unruly fueled a bounding will to win." from Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand

"Thou hast only to follow the wall far enough and there will be a door in it." from The Door In The Wall by Mauguerite De Angeli

"The good God destined a place for each of His creations. Give yourself a chance to find yours." from Heir of Kiloran by Rosemary Sprague

"Sometimes it seems as if life had picked out one day and said, 'I will give you everything.' " from Seacrow Island byAstrid Lindgren

Most of these quotes were found when reading children's books. All were while listening or reading. Hope you found something to encourage you on your way.