Tag Archives: family

What Really Matters?

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For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.  Who is sufficient for these things?  For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.        2 Corinthians 2:15-17

Watching the news can be traumatizing these days.  It seems the world is falling apart and no one has control over anything.  There is conflict everywhere.  War overseas, tensions amongst Americans, divorce between parents, millennials not knowing when adulthood begins, sexual confusion tearing at the seams of the fabric of creation, growing numbers of cases of disease and outright moral conflict between right and wrong.  Where in the world do we find peace and hope?  Is there any?

If you haven’t noticed, I have been out of the loop lately.  My blogging has been a bit sparse.  I blame it on quite a number of things, from loss, to health, to not knowing what to say in times of constant turmoil.  I mean, what I want to say and what I should say are not in conjunction with one another and finding the right words were not coming as easily as they normally do.  That is however, until today.  Well, that’s only partially true…I started stirring with “blogger” thoughts last week, today is the first day I’ve had time to sit down and put them on the board.

A friend and I began doing a book study together.  Something that we both were excited to start for a few months.  We finally began and I have to say, I am thrilled.  Anything that can bring me closer to the Lord in study is a joy.  It gets me out of the “what is happening in this world” mentality, and takes me to the “thank you Lord for saving me out of this world” mentality.  Those little reminders to thank the Lord for life, grace, and eternal salvation bring a smile to my face, hope in my thoughts, stamina to continue on and keep me grounded in purpose.

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.  But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Matthew 24:12-13

I often wonder what people think of when they consider their lives.  I mean, do they look at their lives and thank the Lord for what they have and for their future?  Or do they look at their lives and say, “I’m just not rich enough, happy enough, or wise enough so I need to make changes… so look out world here I come.  I don’t care who is in my way or who I destroy in the  mean time.  After all, my life is my life and I need to be happy and have it all.”  Crazy as that may sound, in my eyes, that is what I see in people when I look around.  I see it in relationships, in groups, in family, on TV and in movies.  I have wept, prayed, prayed some more and at times come close to shutting down, wanting to turn off all social media, electronics and lock the door from the world.   Right or wrong, it saddens me that the world is so brutal to human emotion.  That being said, as I write this it’s noticed that what was just said has one considering “I” and “me”.  This life isn’t about “me”, it’s about something greater than that.

The sadness I have felt over these issues however, has been overshadowed with joy in the last few weeks.  Why?  Well, its due to the simple fact that I am reminded,

For by grace you have been saved through faith.   And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.   Ephesians 2:8-10

In our study  we are reading about our purpose in this life.  Why were we created to be saved?  The answers are always present and sometimes it takes the nudge of the Lord during these times of distress to remind us of His plan for us and how we should be living.  Remembering this, takes the “me” out of living.

Am I speaking about you?  Do you have the hope needed to continue on in this life?  Consider it.  Consider where you are.  Consider how you are living.  Consider what could be holy vs. worldly.

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought  life and immortality to light through the gospel…  2 Timothy 8-11

Does suffering for the gospel mean that we are unhappy?  No.  We don’t have the need for the fancy car, the perfect spouse, the perfect house, perfect job, perfect health, etc. etc.  Looking at the fact that God called his people out of a life of sin brings joy to believers, and a peace that nothing can compare to.  Just as I said above, we may get sad over the thought of the destruction of this world that was created so beautifully by God, yet we have joy knowing that there is so much more.

Prayerfully, my thoughts will continue to swell with blog worthy writing and a sweeping message of hope will be captured for others to embrace.   Have a blessed week/weekend and enjoy the sun this summer day.

The Heart Not The Shell

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Bittersweet – adj.  pleasant but tinged with sadness

I have heard this word close to a dozen times in the last few weeks.  I guess you could say that it’s the word that fits the circumstances best.   Pleasing to the mind that we have one less wasted expense, yet sad that something we hoped for as our future and enjoyed in our past is now being passed on.

We’ve sold three homes and now two cottages, the last of which was to one day be our retirement.   It was the place we actually lived, without the hustle and bustle of everyday life, without phones and with minimal distractions.  We shared our time with friends new and old, enjoyed nearly 10 years of Christmas memories, and submerged ourselves in the beauty of the northern woods.  Hence the bitter…..

We rejoice in the plans that God holds before us, in the future we know not.  We know that His plan is greater than ours and that He will provide for us a retirement filled with even greater blessings than a house made of wood.  Ahhh…. the sweet…..

As the kids and I pulled off of the expressway two weeks ago to begin the packing and moving process, we each silently, without words, wept.  We drove the 8 -10 miles with tears streaming down our faces…. up the driveway, knowing what was yet to come.  When we first got there, we sat at the bottom of the driveway looking around at the cottage that silently waited our return, looking then to the leaves that have taken on their new look with brilliant colors of yellow, orange and red.   A memory not soon forgotten.

We managed to pack enough up that what was left over was significant enough to attempt a rummage/garage sale.  So, at 4 p.m. I went out to buy signs, put them out for the next day and we loaded up the garage.  I was stunned to see that by the next day at 4 p.m. we had sold more at that sale than in any sale I’ve had in my 20 years of hosting them.   We took the leftovers to Goodwill, filling an entire bin.   In two days we had cleaned out and packed up the basement storage room, two bathrooms, all the linens, the basement living area, one entire bedroom, 85% of another bedroom,  2 closets and all of the decorations/wall hangings except those on the mantle.  It took us one more day to finish two more bedrooms, one closet, and the garage.  We also packed a trailer, my truck and at the end of the trip another car.  There is still more to do, yet we are hoping that we will enjoy a little bit of our last week up there when we go up to close.  Knowing how much we can accomplish in such a short time, we are thinking a week will provide the closure we need to this chapter in our lives.  Prayerfully this time with fewer tears.  🙂

After we had packed up most of the house, we looked at the empty rooms and realized that it is just a shell… a beauty of a shell, yet still a shell.  The heart of the house is in those who dwelt there and the memories that were made there.

Some of the memories this trip:  Packing, rummage/garage sale on last minutes notice piggy backing on someone else’s advertisement without our knowledge, Elk farm where we saw the babies, taking senior pictures in the woods and in the beautiful leaves, leaf crafts …. we really like Pinterest! and all of the animals that came out to say goodbye!

Leaving, God blessed us with some amazing sights.  We saw the doe who gave birth to triplets this year walking through the yard, the wild turkeys walking by the driveway and in the yard (too many to count…)  we saw a beautiful orange fox with a huge fluffy tail and a bald eagle that soared over our heads.   It was as if they were all saying goodbye to us as we left our native state.

Bittersweet…a word that made it’s debut in the early 1600’s to describe something pleasant yet sad.

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The heart of the home!

End of Summer

It’s been a crazy summer. If you have not seen me lately it’s because we’ve been really busy. Praises to the Lord for the strength He gives to continue on. We are richly blessed and are thankful for every moment. As we close out summer and begin our school activities, I thought it would be fun to share a few of our special moments.

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Starting out with Summerfest and Music.  Lindsey Stirling was amazing!

 

 

 

 

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How about a glass of wine and a little Shakespeare in the park overlooking the city?  Cheese and crackers anyone?
The night market was fun.  Listening to music, walking the vendors, and watching the ice sculpture slowly melt in the 80 degree evening.
The night market was fun. Listening to music, walking the vendors, and watching the ice sculpture slowly melt in the 80 degree evening.

 

 

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Who could believe we would once again venture down to Disney.  Especially when we said we would never go during summer.  We did enjoy several aspects however, that we would not have enjoyed had we not gone….
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Frozen Festival in the summer…..
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And seeing some friends of old!  What a great night of selfies, dancing, blue blinking lights and sore feet.  🙂

 

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Learning how to make several Korean dishes while listening to friends play the kids instruments.  
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Water park with the cousins.

 

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One of the best parts of summer was attending the North American Championships in Maxville, ON.  Ten bands competed for the North American Championship in Grade II…. 

 

 

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Meet the winners of the North American Championships….Yes!!!! Greater Midwest Pipe Band.   Well worth all of the travel and the work.  Something the kids will never forget.  Next year Scotland and the World’s?  
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Who could forget session in a local pub.  Playing fiddle with friends and classmates.  
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On stage with Liz Carroll at Irish Fest.  Playing just before a monsoon of rain, constant lightning, and wind gusts that nearly blew us over.  It did end up being a great night once the rain stopped.  Took longer for the lightning, we just avoided sitting on the metal bleachers.  

 

 

 

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Our daughter celebrated her 16th birthday which was not only her sweet 16, yet also her golden birthday.  It was a day of celebration with friends, a limo, dinner and a masquerade party.  

 

 

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Yes this is me..scaring a dear friend at the end of the Jurassic World movie.  It was  hilarious… and I’m sure if she would have thought of doing it to me, she would have!  🙂 
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And lastly, a fun night with mom and daughter attending a Saucy Suffragette party with our friends and Attorney General for our stat celebrating 95 years.  Should we be worried that the only thing we had to buy in order to dress time period, were the hats?  What a great night.

I hope dear friends that your summer was as full and as exciting with thankful blessings of family and fun.  I do hope to begin blogging more consistently in the next few weeks.  I have plenty of Feline Friday pictures to post.  🙂  And a great many thoughts of God’s ever present providential care in our lives.  God’s blessings to you all and to your families

Traveling Memories

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Visiting with an old friend who was a wonderful mentor walking through my early years as a Christian.  Thankful for the afternoon spent in her new home in a new state.

 

 

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Now, the two Mickey Mouse beds are enjoyed at home and since Disney is on the itinerary it was appropriate that the beds came with.  Tell me what is wrong with this picture…. The basket was the “catch all” basket for papers, keys, etc.  Hmmmm….. I’d say it caught more than expected!  🙂

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We learned that when your car is old enough and the gear shift doesn’t shift properly all you need is a good old fashioned screw driver.

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I have a beautiful picture of my great grandfather, whom I can still remember from my early childhood, playing the violin.  The picture is of him fiddling while his sister plays the piano.  My grandmother has always shared of her joy of hearing him fiddle.  It has been a blessing that our daughter has picked up the love of the violin and has been fiddling for a few years now.  With great joy and many tears, our daughter was able to share her passion with her great grandmother.  It was a special moment to always be remembered.  A generational passion that continues to play on…. 🙂

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My grandmother is turning 90 this year and she doesn’t travel back to her home state nor up to our state to see us anymore.  So knowing that she hasn’t heard the kiddos play their bagpipes and drums in a while, it was a must to bring them down and to play for her.  Another moment or two… to be remembered.

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Eating lunch out at our favorite eatery on the waterfront.  Something grandma and I have done for many many years, every visit.  Now the kids ask if we can eat there at least once when we visit.  Who doesn’t love a good Ahi Tuna or Crab Lobster salad… Mmmmmm!

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Mother daughter picture (yes a selfie) on the pier.  Watching the dolphins chase the Jack fish toward the shore, watching the fisherman pull up their catch and just enjoying the beauty of the ocean and what it has to offer.

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And to top off the visit with grandma was learning how to make plantains!  Thank you Ken!  I have tried and failed until you shared how it is done.  We all thank you more than you know for the blessing of instruction in cooking this delightful treat.  We have made them at least every two nights and are trying to figure out where to get more.  🙂

We thank grandma and Ken for their kindness and love during our visit.  Memories made during a week of fun… We will never forget and we look forward to doing it again.

Two more weeks to report on coming up next…. 🙂  To be continued….

Winners and Losers; Character building

There are so many things that I am thinking about, yet for some reason putting them on paper (computer) seems to be an issue.  Not sure why, other than I think I am overwhelmed with thought.

Perhaps it’s because our family is going through transition, or perhaps it’s because we once again have been traveling to much, or maybe, just maybe it’s because I find myself trying to explain to my children how to deal with inconsistencies and unfairness in a fallen world.  Our lifestyle has us spending a great amount of time with so many who are not what we would call “ideal” role models.  My mind swirls in thought on how to parent in a way that glorifies the Lord.  Teaching them not to spite, not to be rude, to be the light.  In then end, I’m finding these are lessons I too can glean insight.

Let me explain.  We just returned from a weekend out of town where the kids competed in the North American Championship.  We’ve attended this event for 4 years now, and with great excitement our daughter once again placed, receiving a second place for the fourth year in a row in Amateur for all of North America.  Clearly, this is an accomplishment worth being excited about and not something to frown over.

The difficulties come in when, as a parent, you watch your child stressed over such an upcoming event that she isn’t sleeping, she’s practicing for months, spending hours with both of her instructors and confident that this is the year she will take first.  With great hopes of moving up to compete next year in the Gold.  After her competition, she was given a thumbs up by one of the judges, while many more, including the president of the event told her it was a gold medal winning performance.  All day we had to hear that “she swept away the other competitors.”  Yet, in the end, it was a fourth second place.  Disappointment…yes!  Tears…yes!  Bewilderment…yes!  Were we alone in our disbelief…NO!

In times like these, we sit back and wonder, is it worth it?  Okay, I shouldn’t use the word “we”… I wonder if it’s worth it.  I’ve spent the last 5 days considering my words to my daughter and how to continue to reassure her that her natural talent and her ability to pull off a win were there.  After all, she did meet with all three of the judges the next day and together the four of them discussed how she could better her performance next year and she was able to learn what they were looking for.  She also learned that she basically tied for first and they “split hairs” to choose a winner.

Through this I have been pondering the lessons we teach our children when they are in competitive sports or competitive situations.  As well as how we as parents respond to any injustice or defeat our children are forced to accept.

There are winners, and there are losers.  This doesn’t mean that the loser is insignificant.  It just means that at that performance, the winner had a great day and they did well.  We should be happy for them, cheer them on and just try harder next time.  Who knows, next time you may be the winner and it would be nice to have others happy for you.

Life isn’t always fair.  Learning to live in a society where there are favorites is something we all have to live with.  Learning as a child that contentment in a life serving the Lord is more important and will help you to gain perspective, strength, confidence and endurance to get through ANYTHING in this world.

How you feel you played is what counts.  If putting your best foot forward was what you gave in a performance, then you have done your job well.  Especially when you are being affirmed by others that you are their inspiration and that they enjoy watching you perform.  That should be worth more than the blue.  

Spite and bitterness are nothing more than the devils path to destruction.

Hebrews 12:15  (ESV)  15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;

Is it hard to not look at the obvious evidence that there is some bias at times?  Of course it’s hard.  However, no one said that life was going to be easy and if we are going to participate in activities that many of the “lost” are participating in, then we have to remember that we cannot expect moral uprightness.

Accept the things we cannot change. 

God’s plan is not our plan and His timing is not our timing.  Teaching patience to our children can be and is so difficult.  After all, we too struggle with patience.  It’s good to teach our children that prayer for the willingness to wait upon the Lord is important.  

Success is not measured in numbers or colors.  Blue, Red, White, Gold, Silver, Bronze…1st, 2nd, 3rd… How should we measure success?

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” – Booker T. Washington

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”  Winston Churchill

“Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.”  George S. Patton

Winter Storm 2015 KS
Winter Storm 2015 KS

In our book, she’s a winner.  Her perseverance shows success and character.  Her ability to perform in such a way is far more than her own mother could take on.  And, she is excited that even though she thought there were age limits, she is able to move up to compete in the gold next year… even though she took second.  The judges told her that it was her choice and that if she chose to stay in Amateur then she would likely take the gold but if she wanted to move up to Professional, she may not place and she will have to pay her dues (in being at that level of course.  After all, in their book, she’s just an amateur).  Her response… “I want to move up to compete for the gold next year.  I want the challenge, and I want the competition as well as the experience.”   I call that success!

Do I wonder if I’m doing okay with my “motherly” advice to my children?  Of course!  Am I always on target with my response to their heartache?  No!  Do I pray for the wisdom and the the courage to overcome, for them as well as myself?  Absolutely!  Am I encouraged in leading them when I see them persevere and continue on even through persecution, in justice, heartache and criticism?  Most definitely!  Do I still have work to do on my own reaction?  The fact I am even writing about it shows that YES…I find this is also character building for myself!  With the help of the Lord, we will all persevere and next year, I’m hoping she places in the top 5 in the professional… Or… Takes Gold altogether!  ha ha

 

Happy Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving… a time of the year when the smell of the food tantalizes the memory bank of years gone by.  From childhood memories of family Thanksgivings at a grandparents house, with cousins, aunts and uncles and laughter sprouting from every corner to the memories that we are making today.  From the turkey that baked all day to the traditional recipes passed down for generations.  The potato dumplings dance in the pot and the whipped cream salad chills out in the freezer just waiting for their hour to be presented to the mouth watering family patiently waiting for their once a year feast.  Our days are quieter than they once were, yet the joy and laughter still roars though the house bouncing off  of the walls, reminding us that what’s more important than anything is the things that we can be thankful for.

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

With times of uncertainty, we do ourselves great disservice if we cannot be grateful for the blessings that we have been given by the hand of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Some of the things I am thankful for are:  (in no particular order)

  1.  A husband who has always provided for our needs and who continues to do so with every morsel of his being.  For a man who trusts the Lord in everything he does and who loves me and cares for me ’til death do us part’.

  2.  I am thankful for my children who are growing up making the Lord a first priority in their lives and whose laughter warms their mother heart.

  3.  For family and friends who stand by us when we need them the most.

  4.  For a loving God who saved me out of the ashes to call me one of His own.  Praise God… For once I was lost, and now am found.

  5.  I am thankful for the years we have been able to enjoy a cottage, where we could hang our hats and relax while the world went on without us.  (Even though the realtor is coming tomorrow… sigh)

  6.  For the roof over our heads and the food that we enjoy at the giving of the Lord.  (Even though we had a day of cold showers due to the hot water heater having issues and the fact that the kitchen sink is broken.)

  7.  For the gift of safety when traveling.  (And for the nice police officer that did NOT give me a ticket even though I was speeding to get here…)

  8.  For the snow that reminds me of the changing over of seasons.  (Even though I got stuck in the ditch going down the driveway and then got stuck half way up the driveway due to the great amount of snow.)

  9.  For the healing in my body and movement.   (Even though I’m tired and achy…)

  10.  For the many friends that I have met through this blog.  You keep me smiling and keep me going.  🙂

The last few days have been spent working to get the cottage ready to sell.  Cleaning out closets, cleaning up after mice that thought they would take up residency since we haven’t been here in a few months, cooking and preparing for today.  Now that today is here, I find myself relaxing in front of a fire watching the snow fall gently from the sky and trees while also smelling the turkey that warms itself in the oven.  How could one not be grateful.  We are blessed and there is no question about it and no reason to complain…. about anything!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  It is with great hope that your day is filled with thoughts of thankfulness, no matter where you are or what you are doing, that you will find something to be grateful for.

 

Waking up to Snow

 

Snow is here.
Snow is here.

The Compassion of the Lord – Isaiah 55

55 “Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
3 Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
hand I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
4 Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
5 Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,
and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.
6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
7 let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but sit shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
12 “For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

Swedish Pancake Spin

Breakfast is such an important meal of the day.  It provides the energy boost our body needs after a long evening of rest and repair.  It’s too bad that in our home breakfast is usually eaten between 10-12 a.m.  By the time I wake up, wait an hour after taking my thyroid medicine, then take an hour and a half to ingest all of my Lyme meds, wait another half hour before consuming anything, it ends up being at least 10.  Then if I get creative and decide to make something other than eggs, it can be at least another hour if not more.  Fortunately for us, there is enough to do in those hours we are up so that no time is wasted and everyone enjoys waiting for a little something warm and home made.

One breakfast treat that the kids really enjoy and I rarely remember to make, gives me the warm fuzzies as I am reminded of my youth.  When I was at college, one of my grandmothers came up to visit me and she saw lingonberries in my pantry.  She told me how lingonberries go well with Swedish pancakes and she would show me how to make them.  Well, it just so happened that I had the recipe for Swedish pancakes in my cookbook “Where’s Mom Now That I Need Her”.  So we both went up to the store and bought the other ingredients and made Swedish Pancakes filled with lingonberries.  A warm memory that makes me smile.  🙂

As I pulled out that book this morning, I looked at the recipe and decided to try and make them a bit healthier with the ingredients I had on hand.  I must say, it was the first time the kids said they were like a pastry, very soft, sweet and the best I’ve made yet.  So, that being said I thought I’d share what I did.

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Swedish Pancake Spin

3 eggs

3/4 C. Organic whole milk vanilla bean yogurt

1/4 C. purified water

2 TBS Raw Honey

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

2/3 C. Sorghum flour, Sifted

Start with the first 5 ingredients and whisk them together until well blended.  Then add the flour by sifting it into the bowl and mix well.

Heat a cast iron skillet with a little butter and once hot, pour very little of the batter into the pan in a circle.  If need be, lift the pan with the handle gently allowing some of the batter to spill into a larger circle.

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The batter should look like an extremely thin pancake.  Flip it when it begins to look dry on the top.

Place onto a plate and fill with lingonberries if you have them or with fresh cut up peaches, nectarines, strawberries or blueberries.  Roll them up with the seam at the bottom of the plate.  We also like to dust them with an ever so little bit organic powdered sugar just before serving.

Can you say Yum?

Where Are My Ruby Slippers?

“There’s no place like home… There’s no place like home…” A phrase I kept repeating one night on our journey as I thought of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

We made it home safe and sound!  The journey back was long since we added in a visit to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.  I am finding myself exhausted and had a two day migraine I am hoping will scamper away soon enough.  Joyful however that the Lord found favor upon us and brought us home safely.

The trip home had one frightening moment in time, when we left Yellowstone only to find ourselves in the mountains once again, in the dark, on a two lane road with 20 mph speed limits and open roaming of cattle.  Yes, we saw two cattle on the side of the road at one point, and no we did not see many cars for over an hour as we climbed a mountain in the dark.  I mistakenly took the wrong exit out of Yellowstone only to find myself in near tears, feeling lost with my kiddos somewhere in and out of Montana and Wyoming.  In all honestly it was another one of those moments when all you can do is keep going even when you didn’t know where you were going nor where you would end up.  I suppose it’s much like Lyme Disease.  For over the last year it’s been a way of life, just keep going, there has to be light at the end of the tunnel.   My prayer as we climbed higher and higher and I was getting more and more tired was that God’s mercy would provide energy to my body, peace of mind, and a stopping point sooner than later.  I asked for safety as we were visibly unable to see what was ahead of us or around us.   When we finally did end up in a town, one hotel was out of rooms and we nearly spent the night in the car.  Fortunately, we checked the bed bug registry to find another hotel nearby and the two hotel stewards graciously gave us a lower cost on our room along with free breakfast the next morning.  Praise Him for giving us all that we needed to make it through that night.

My glass is half full attitude kept telling the kids that if we had not gone out that exit, we would never have seen the moose in Montana next to the road, nor would we have seen the herds of bison that continued to walk in front of our car near the exit.  It was quite exciting and made for more memories in the memory bank.

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I could not help to be struck once again by the beauty of our country.  From the rolling hills, to the plains, to the mountains that stretch high into the skies.  The beauty of the animals roaming freely from one hillside to another while we sat in our cars, driving around their homeland, captivated by the activity of their everyday lives.  Made me think of a song we all once knew:

Original poem (1893)
America. A Poem for July 4.

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!
O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!
O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife,
When once or twice, for man’s avail,
Men lavished precious life!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain,
The banner of the free!
O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!

 

Are We There Yet?

Well…we made it!  Across the midwest to California.  Memories that will last a lifetime.

We left on a Monday and by Tuesday we were 1/2 way across the midwest to our destination.  With a stop to see family we also enjoyed the hot springs for detoxing and an open jeep ride in the hills of Colorado.

The things we have seen thus far in the week and a half we’ve been on the road:  Glenwood Hot Springs and Glenwood Canyon, Salt Lake City, Great Salt Lake Desert (Amazing), Tahoe Forest, Lake Tahoe, Half Moon Bay, Napa, Mount Tamalpais, The Red Woods in Muir Forest, Lombard Street, Fisherman’s Wharf, the seals off of Pier 39, China Town, Golden Gate Bridge, Grand Teton National Park….

I would say that I am physically tired, however, I am also having the best time with the kids.  Sharing the driving, laughing, listening to loud obnoxious music, and watching the sights through their eyes as well as mine.   I cannot imagine a year ago that I would be doing this.  I remember being too sick to even climb the stairs of our house let alone being able to drive across country.  The blessings of the Lord are abundant and we are most content.

Today we enjoyed seeing the buffalo and a moose in the Tetons.  We have only eaten one meal out and have been creative with a crock pot and coolers to keep our healthy whole food meals cold.  We’ve been checking the bed bug registry so as to stay only places that are “clean”.  One hotel we checked into, we checked back out of 10 minutes later as there was a bug on the sheets.  From then on I checked the registry.  Of course, as all adventures go, we also checked into one motel only to have to ask for a second non smoking room because the first non smoking room they gave us smelled like smoke.  The second room they gave us hadn’t been cleaned yet, so we ended up with a third room that also had a kitchen and eating area.  This of course should have cost us a boat load more, however, they still gave us our discounted price off of booking.com.

I look forward to sharing some of our helpful travel hints that got us through our two weeks (that is what it will be when we get home) however, for now here are some pictures of our fun.  Hope you feel as though you’ve been with us:

photo 1

Selfie with the my brother and the kids in the jeep.  This was GREAT!  No doors, top off and riding on the back roads.

photo 2

Western CO near Grand Junction.  Crazy beautiful!

photo 3

Salt Lake is behind us.  (Salt Lake City Utah)

photo 4

Great Salt Desert.  This is amazing.

photo 5

Seals off of Pier 39 in San Francisco.  So fun to watch.

photo 5

Wine Tasting in Napa. (Silver Oak was our favorite.)

photo 4

Half Moon Bay where the waves were the biggest I had ever seen.  People were seriously being toppled over.  My husband went to get his feet wet on the sand when a wave came rushing in and nearly took him down.  He was soaked from waist down.  It was a priceless picture that was not taken due to all of us being so surprised over the event as it unfolded.

photo 1

Mount Tamalpais overlooking San Francisco.

photo 2

Red woods in Muir Forest.

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Snake River in Idaho before heading into Wyoming.

photo 2

Buffalo in Teton National Park.

photo 3

 

Yes, two days it hit 96 and 97 degrees while we were driving.

We still have more of our adventure to report on so we will share more when we get back to the home front.   Thanks for looking.