Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, 'I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.
Again I will build you and you will be rebuilt...
They will come and shout for joy on the height of Zion,
And they will be radiant over the bounty of the Lord--
And their life will be like a watered garden,
And they will never languish again...
For I will turn their mourning into joy
And will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow.
I will fill the soul of the priests with abundance,
And My people will be satisfied
with My goodness,' declares the Lord...'
There is hope for your future,'
Set up for yourself roadmarks,
Place for yourself guideposts;
Direct your mind to the highway...
For I will satisfy the weary ones,
and refresh everyone who languishes.'
At this I awoke and looked,
and my sleep was pleasant."
Selections from Jeremiah 31


I awoke today and my sleep was pleasant.  Of course, my man was up hours before me as usual.  He accomplished much while I was being refreshed by sleep and now by the promises of Scripture.  Of course in Israel, rockets are raining overhead and these promises are for their future as well as mine in my calmer world without bomb shelters.  It gives a new meaning that the rain will fall on the just and the unjust. 
I want my life to be like a well watered garden with an abundance to share.  There is hope even for the weary ones, refreshment, joy even.

We have a special friend, close to our age, who has been in and out of the hospital.  A doctor even told him he needed to get his affairs in order.  Since he nearly collapsed on his release, they sent him to a place of convalescence.  When my husband went to visit him, this comparatively young man (that means close to our age) was busy playing bingo with the older women.  He was finding refreshment even in the senior setting.  He no longer was languishing.  He has a hope for his future.

I hope your sleep was pleasant.  Direct your mind to the higher way and be satisfied and refreshed.


Monday, July 28, 2014

When it's hot, stay out of the kitchen!
But if you have to cook, don't touch the oven!

Hints: cook in a ballerina outfit when it's hot
and Ken should definitely shed the sweater!
Menu for the week without using the oven:

Monday: tostados platter with refried beans/salsa/cheese/onion/avocado/sour cream/lettuce/tomatoes & serve with tortilla chips

Tuesday: spaghetti with salad and wheat sour dough bread (toasted in toaster-not oven)

Wednesday: shrimp (seasoned with curry,cumin, chili powder) stir fried with bell peppers on rice.

Thursday: BBQ skirt steak, potato salad, pea salad (froz peas/celery/onion/lettuce/cheese/mayo/

Friday: breakfast for dinner (sausage & eggs) toast with homemade jam

Saturday: pizza (already cooked) take-out with BLT salad

Sunday: chicken salad (cooked and cubed chicken seasoned with curry; combine with celery & Thompson grapes & slivered almonds & mayo & sour cream to taste.)*Have you ever stopped to read the historical marker on the way to Colusa about Thompson Seedless Grapes?  I haven't either. Hmm.

Oh, and ice cream doesn't require an oven either!

"She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar."
Proverbs 31:14
Wait a minute...did it just say a good wife brings her food from afar, like take-out?
Sounds good to me!  Scratch the above menu for the week.

There's a new baby in the house, one with soft fur and silky ears.  She plays hard and sleeps long.  We are letting her cry herself to sleep at night with a little mournful howling in the dark from her cage.  In spite of our vigilance, the little critter has accidents that require us to follow with the paper towels occasionally.  Now that there are the other dogs to play with, she is not so eager to seek our attention, satisfied to be the puppy that she is.  The week of vacation bonding with the little thing was sweet.  She did not seem to miss her mama even though we had robbed the cradle taking her at seven and a half weeks.  She has been learning her name and coming when called.  Miss Maggie's biggest adjustment is the heat: the thermometer has gone up considerably from her Oregon home, and she would much rather stay inside with the A.C.



God is longsuffering with us as well.  He says,

"I have called you by name; you are Mine!...
Since you are precious in My sight,
Since you are honored and I love you..."
Isaiah 43:4, 7
"'Is Ephraim My dear son?
Is he a delightful child?
Indeed, as often as I have spoken against him, 
I certainly remember him;
Therefore My heart yearns for him;
I will surely have mercy on him,'
declares the Lord."
Jeremiah 31:20-21
God has called His people sheep; Ephraim a calf; Jesus, a chick under His wings.
I don't think it's a stretch to let the puppies antics be a reminder of how longsuffering God is.
You are precious in His sight.
He knows and calls you by name.

 "Be still and know that I am God."
Psalm 46:10 


 "Come, behold the works of the Lord..."
Psalm 46:8

What did I carry away from five days of camping in a campground (called cheater camping from the way I was raised)?    I've never seen so many women in one place who were growing out their grey gracefully going back to their natural roots evidently in more than one way.  Very few women were concerned with make-up.  The perfume was the pleasant whiff  of the odor of a campfire which I sadly washed out of my hair and clothes upon returning home.

The sand that has infiltrated my purse will take longer to be rid of than that which I washed out of my hair.  The weather was pleasant, even the fog, the drizzle, the wind, and of course the coastal sunshine which  puts to shame this sizzling valley heat.  Perhaps that is what I miss the most, the cooler temperatures. 

Nothing beats fresh fish at the harbor, which for me was grilled cod, not battered fish and chips, our biggest splurge.  My husband is of the mind that coffee is not a destination, except when introduced to Starbucks in the mornings via gift cards: he almost admitted he might become an occasional convert. 


A simple meal roasting hot dogs over a fire made life easy.  Of course this was followed by the boys roasting marshmallows.  When the coastal temperatures dropped at night, hot chocolate or hot lemonade was our cup of choice (Have you tried that?  That's a childhood camping favorite for me.)  We went to bed when it was dark time, and rose slowly with our creaking bones in the morning, not too early, not too late, but just right.  (I will skip the part about getting up with a new puppy to walk her at least twice during the night.)

We choose each day what to do with little planning ahead, but captured precious moments whether it was the Jedidiah State Park and the Smith River, Harris State Beach, the Indian Museum at Paul Bunyan's tourist stop, or reading in the car while the boys went to a movie, a rare treat for them.

A willing model...
an unwilling model...
and a brief glimpse of him Big-Footing it away...

Miracle of miracles, I wasn't even tempted to shop in any stores, not even the multitude of thrift stores along the way.  All this to say, it was a perfect choice for relaxation.  I must admit, the boys are good travelers with less fighting on the trip-even in the car-than at home.

After the up close viewing of the herd of elk with two majestic bulls sporting huge racks and their harem of cows with calves, miles down the road Al and I looked at each other and finally said, "Is your heart still beating fast too?"  I've seen lots of elk, mostly in Colorado, but never this close or with more magnificent antlers.

Driving along on a cliff with an ocean view, I was amazed to spot a whale far below.  It was still flipping its tail by the time we pulled off for everyone to enjoy the sight.  On another day we saw the spray and watched the huge bodies rolling in the ocean.  They seemed to enjoy playing in the water as much as my young'uns.


What have I taken home from this vacation?  A deep breath of fresh air, a fresh perspective, a camera memory card full, and sand, the confetti of the sea.  I've been saving this poem to share this summer by e.e. cummings...


"Maggie & Milly & Molly & May
went down to the beach (to play one day)
and Maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles, and
Milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;
And Molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles: and
May came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as  large as alone.
For whatever we lose (like a you or  me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea."

Our Maggie at the seashore
"How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I should count them,
they would outnumber the sand..."
Psalm 139:17-18

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Stranger Danger...

Taking your family on a vacation makes you more vigilant about strangers.  In a campground of like-minded back to nature wanna-be's in their $50,000+ RV's, well, okay, KOA rustic cabins, there might lurk a stranger in the herd of campers.  With a darling soft new puppy to lure them, we felt like perhaps we were the stranger danger as children came to pet and beg to hold our new puppy or wandered freely while we kept a tight reign on our own.  Didn't their parents warn them? 


Yet, when we got home and read the papers, a friend--a nice mother of a family who, for a while, faithfully brought her family to church, her children to VBS and children's church--was arrested for attempted murder shooting the gun she held to her husband's head.  Somehow, she had become a lost sheep. Even in that condition, prior to her crime, she had shown up one Sunday distraught, needing prayer.  Drugs and being one of the flock don't mix well.  We are greatly saddened for all concerned, her children and grandchildren especially who were once part of my little flock of children to teach.

Jesus told a story of a sheepfold, a measure of safety for his herd.  Even up to modern times, stone walls are stacked, sometimes up to twelve feet tall topped by barbed mesh of thorn bushes, to keep the flock safe.  But in the Good Shepherd's time, what was to be found to be a gate?  The shepherd Himself would lie in the opening.  Nothing or no one could go in or out except over His body that was laid down for His sheep.  Robbers and thieves could not penetrate His manner of protection.  There is only one way in or out.  He even said to BEWARE of wolves in sheep's clothing. (Matthew 7:15)  We saw a wolf's hide in a museum that was almost as big as the bear hide mounted next to it, big enough to put the fear of God inside you.

Jesus also said His sheep know His voice. He says that His sheep hear His voice, and He calls them by name. He leads them.  The Shepherd goes before His flock.  Scripture also says that He goes after the lost sheep who have wandered off defenseless in this world of danger.  Jesus gives the picture with Himself as the Good Shepherd carrying them on His shoulders when they are too weak to walk even to follow Him on their own. (Isaiah 40)

There was an article on the news a few months ago of a mother who literally laid down her life for her toddler twins.  They were buckled safely in their car seats yet when she got out of the car, it started rolling down a dangerous slope heading into disaster.  The woman threw herself down as a human speed bump to slow the car down.  It was enough for a neighbor to be able to stop the car and remove the children.  She suffered multiple broken bones, but her babies were uninjured.

Jesus warned us of stranger danger.  He is willing to lay down His life for His sheep.  He calls us enough so that we should know His voice, hear His voice in His Word.  He loves us enough to call us by name.  He also leads us.  "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want...His rod and His staff, they comfort me." (Psalm 23)  So even when we stray, we should find comfort in His crook of correction.  We are His people, and the sheep of His pasture" who should "Enter His gates with thanksgiving..."
(Psalm 100).

We took care of a "bummer lamb" once and kept it in our bathtub feeding it out of a big bottle for a friend who had a small flock.  It needed constant care as its mother had rejected it, a lost lamb who needed a shepherd.  We helped out for a weekend being a surrogate mother to the motherless lamb.

In all of this, Jesus reminds us of His perspective: "Are not two sparrows sold for a cent?  And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Therefore do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows." (Matthew 10:29-31)

The good news is that while we were on vacation, darling babies were born, little lambs, proof God is not done with this world.  We must be His flock to help to raise these lambs, to be an example, to follow Him. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I'm sorry to have missed posting, but we have been very busy relaxing, going to Jedidiah Smith State Park to walk through the redwood grove and laze by the cleanest river in California while the boys swam for hours,

going to see Paul Bunyan and his blue ox where, little did we realize there was the largest privately owned collection of Indian artifacts on display--more than in the Smithsonian Indian Museum in Washington, D.C.--

did I mention that we were relaxing even in a day of drizzle, waking to go to Harris State Beach in the sunshine (and wind) taking shelter in a driftwood dug-out bunker (much to Hank's delight) and watching whales? 

We've been bonding with Miss Mattie, our new springer spaniel pup who we have utterly fallen in love with.   So, I haven't had much time to come over to the internet access area here at the KOA apart from our little log cabin.  The fires at night have kept me away as well mesmerizing us as the boys spear their hot dogs and marshmallows. 

Did I mention relaxing?  reading? walking the puppy?  going to town to let my men watch the "America, What it Would Be Like Without Her" movie while I puppy-sat?  eating fish and chips at Moe's in Florence, OR, and Brookings? (The cook at the Brookings Harbor restaurant did not believe he gave me enough gf grilled cod so he sent out a whole other box full for us to share)?   I've even seen banana slugs in our campsite.  Did I mention that we are relaxing?

This morning, using our Starbucks gift cards for breakfast, we ran into a one-armed salty character who talked our arm off, or was it our leg?  He was a gold miner in our neck of the woods in the '70's for ten years until it got so violent that he had to pack a gun.  So the mechanic before that went back to college and became a teacher in Oregon for twenty years.  Now he's a whale hugger.  He informed us that in the 60's there were less than 300 grey whales on our coast.  After hunting was prohibited, now there are tens of thousands.  The mothers do not migrate with their young to Alaska and stay here along with their young bratty nephews who they have to pound once in awhile into shape. We saw a whale quite close to the shore frolicking, rolling, flipping its tail on our drive down from Florence, Oregon.  The old timer said that on the west coast of the Pacific where Russia and China and others still whale hunt, there are less than 300 left.  He was so salty, I almost licked him (not really.  You didn't seriously think I would do that now did you?)  Who needs the internet at Starbucks with entertainment like that.  He won Hank over in spite of all his anti-military and environmental extreme diatribes.  And yes, he had a beard.  And yes, he was working on a book showing us his notebook of memories.
These are the Codfathers.  He looked a little like the one in the middle...

Our KOA neighbors were a clan of Hawaiians who played non-stop Hawaiian music the entire time, but not so loud as to be obnoxious.  The boys knew the menu they served every night and looked at us like we were ready to be kicked off the island for our fast food or cup a soup dinners.  Two cousins liked to come pet the puppy begging us to let them be our puppy sitters.  One looked just like Elsa? from Frozen with her beautiful blonde braid while the other was tanned with an obvious Hawaiian flair of beauty.  Derrick thought I had super powers when I asked her if she was Hawaiian.  "How did you know that, Mom?"  He obviously had not been doing the hula to their music.

In the morning, we will hug the coast and head south
and be home in our snug little beds.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The setting for the country wedding was lovely.  Close family for the intimate outdoor wedding then a reception for family and friends as well as the wandering peacocks and roaming deer in velvet. 



There was a creek and fallen logs for the children to play on and "Love is Sweet" candy for them to enjoy.  The natural arch of the oak tree stood even though the other arch blew down before the ceremony.  The bouquets were made of book pages as well as the table runners.  Who knew that our Mandy would be such a reader who then wrote her own love story.  Actually, it was a match made in heaven.  The newlyweds sat and washed each other's feet as their first act of marriage.

It was attended by those who have known Mandy and Scott from their infancies and by those who have made heaven more dear who looked down and smiled.  I had to find a Kleenex for my husband who choked up at such love on display and missing the father of the bride, his brother in heaven.  Will, you did really well with your girls and by marrying sweet Charlotte.