Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snow in Alabama

At 6 a.m. this morning

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Healthy Eating

I've been trying to eat healthier. I've also been trying out some new recipes. So far, so good.

I love lentil soup. I make it the same way my German mother made it.

Great for breakfast - a yogurt parfait with granola and fresh fruit.

My vegetable quiche (no crust). I saute zucchini, squash, onion and red pepper
in olive oil, season as you please (I use a little of Mrs. Dash). Sprinkle grated cheese (I used Monterey Jack)
on top. Mix 2 eggs and 3 egg whites, a pinch of flour, and pour over veggies. Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. I had so many vegetables I saved the rest for another
quiche a couple of days later (see below).

This is a good way to eat your vegetables.

Monday, January 26, 2015


"If, as claimed by humanism, man were born only to be happy, he would not be born to die. Since his body is doomed to death, his task on earth evidently must be more spiritual: not a total engrossment in everyday life, not the search for the best ways to obtain material goods and then their carefree consumption. It has to be the fulfillment of a permanent, earnest duty so that one's life journey may become above all an experience of moral growth: to leave life a better human being than one started it." from Alexander Solzhenitsyn's Harvard address in 1978. You can read the full speech here.

I came across this speech recently while searching for something else. In light of what is going on in the news today, particularly in our country, Solzhenitsyn's words sound prophetic.

Let me know what you think.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Beginning of Wisdom

Originally posted on Oct. 28, 2009

Proverbs 9:10
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."

Today's daily scripture on my Facebook page made me think about what it means to fear the Lord. As a child I would attend churches where the old-fashioned 'fire and brimstone' sermons were delivered by a preacher with a sweaty brow and a thunderous voice. The man in the pulpit could definitely instill a fear of God. I remember when I was ten years old attending a little country church with my aunt. The preacher admonished us sinners to come forward and be saved. My aunt kept nudging me to go forward and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. My family was not a church-going family and I didn't really know what it meant to be saved, so I wouldn't budge from my seat. I was christened as a baby in the Catholic Church, but apparently that didn't count. The Baptist preacher got louder and louder and still I would not budge. My aunt's nudging didn't move me and so I wasn't saved that day. It wasn't God that I was afraid of, it was the preacher.

What does it mean to fear the Lord?

Psalms 111:10 -"Reverence for the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. the rewards for wisdom come to all who obey him.

Psalms 115:11, "All you who fear the Lord, trust the Lord! He is your helper, he is your shield."

Psalms 103:17, "But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him".

Psalms 115:13, "He will bless those who fear the Lord, both great and small."

Psalms 33:18, "But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love."

Psalms 25:14, "Friendship with the Lord is reserved for those who fear him. With them he shares secrets of his covenant."

Proverbs 14:27, "Fear of the Lord is a life-giving fountain; it offers escape from the snares of death."

Prov. 31:30, "Charm is deceptive and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

I really like that last scripture. When I am old and gray, will my looks really matter?

God is amazing. Look at the blessings, the friendship, the rewards that he heaps on those who fear him? He is our helper, our shield, his love remains with us forever.

And why should we strive for wisdom?

Prov. 8:11, "For wisdom is more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can be compared with it."

Ecc.7:12, "Wisdom or money can get you almost anything, but it's important to know that only wisdom can save your life."

James 3:17, "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. it shows no partiality and is always sincere."

And finally,
Job 28:28, "And this is what he says to all humanity: The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding."

Wherever you find wisdom in the Bible you will find understanding. To fear God, is to understand him.
That is the beginning of wisdom.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Images of Christmas

I hope everyone  had a blessed Christmas. My Christmas plans changed due to illness. My granddaughter was getting over the flu, so we didn't get together on Christmas Eve as we traditionally do. In fact, my son-in-law came by in his patrol car to pick up the doll beds that Santa's elves had been working feverishly on to finish. I wish that I had taken a picture of three doll beds in the trunk of a police cruiser. Who says that Santa doesn't have extra helpers? My three granddaughters begged me on the phone last night to bring them their Christmas presents. How could I say no? So I was up early this morning and loaded up the car to make my rounds. It just didn't seem fair to have all these unwrapped Christmas presents under the tree. My middle granddaughter got an art easel and promptly wrote two messages: "Thank you Santa," and "Happy Birthday Jesus!" My grandson also produced some artwork and also made his own elf on a shelf. It looks like we have a few budding artists in the family. My older granddaughter is also creative.

My grandson's drawing
My six-year old grandson's Elf on a Shelf. He cut it out and placed it on the entertainment center.

After going to see the girls and their happy faces (only because there were no fevers), I went to my older daughter's house for Christmas dinner: ham, sauteed brussels sprouts with bacon, sweet potato casserole and Sister Schubert rolls. Yummy! My grandson showed me the toys that Santa brought, such as his Doctor Who Tardis, Groot, action figure,  and Zoomer, the robot dog. My six year old grandson had also asked for a Doctor Who calendar. Each of the boys got their own little tree, such as the Grinch tree shown here.

And speaking of calendars, one of my gifts was a family desk calendar from Shutterfly that my daughters had ordered. I absolutely love it!

I stopped at my sister's house next, to drop off a few presents, as they were unable to come over, too. By the time I made it home I was as tired as one of Santa's elves at the North Pole. Now, back to work tomorrow.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Meaning of Christmas

(Originally posted on December 3, 2009)

I wait on people everyday on my job. The conversation usually goes like this: "Hello, how are you today? What can I do for you?" With Christmas just a few weeks away, it gives me something else to talk about besides the weather. I'll ask, "Are you ready for Christmas?" It amazes me how many negative responses I get. "I'm ready for Christmas to be over with" is one of the answers I hear frequently.

"Christmas is just not the same anymore. It's so commercialized" is another popular response. "I've been so busy, that I haven't had time" or "With my husband/father/mother (insert name) in the hospital, or trying to work/go to school/be a caregiver, it's a stressful time of year."

Work. Job loss. Poor health. Family problems. Loneliness. There are many things that cause people to be depressed and stressed during this time of year. My son-in-law, who is in law enforcement, told me that suicides rates are up this time of year. That's so sad, but it's true. We want things to be perfect. We want the "It's a Wonderful Life" happy ending. We want to see that hard-to-get-along-with relative of ours to have a "Scrooge"-like conversion. We want a 'White Christmas' on Christmas morning.

I think about all these wonderful things I want to do, the picture perfect decorating, the sumptuous feasts, the beautifully wrapped presents under my theme-based tree. I want to create gorgeous baskets of homemade goodies to give to all my friends. But I don't have the time to do it all, so I have to choose. For the last few years I've down-sized my Christmas decorating. I put up my table top tree and decorated it with my homemade ornaments made out of old Christmas cards that I've cut out and outlined with glitter. I hang up some simple candy canes and curling ribbon and my little tree is finished. I have a few miniature nativity sets, most which I found in thrift stores for a couple of dollars. Just the other day I found a whole nativity set: Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the three wise men, shepherds and manger animals, stuffed in ziplock bag for $2.99 and not a scratch or chip to be found. Of course I bought them.

It's easy to forget what the season is really all about. It's not about the decorating or the presents or how much money you have. It's about a baby, born in a humble stable, two thousand years ago, that was a gift to mankind, a gift from God.

Here's a photo of my tree last year.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Christmas Ornament

I shared this story originally in Dec. 2009.

When my oldest daughter was in the third grade, she became a “traitor” in our family. In Alabama there are only two football teams. One is Alabama and the other is Auburn. We were die-hard Alabama fans and my husband, Don, never missed a game. Then out of the blue, our oldest daughter decided that she wanted to to to Auburn University when she graduated from high school. I thought it would hurt my husband, but he never said a word. “It’s just a phase,” he joked, and then teased her, “No child of mine will ever go to that school.”

When Shannon graduated from high school she spent her first year living at home, working and attending the community college. By her Sophomore year, she was ready to transfer to Auburn. We packed up two cars and like thousands of other parents each Fall, tried to hide our anxiety and emotions, as we sent our oldest off to college. Shannon settled into her dorm, met her best friend on 'moving in' day, joined a local Christian fellowship group and last, but not least, bought a season pass to all the football games. That daughter of mine could talk football with the best and seasoned commentators and it simply amazed me. It amazed her father, too, that this former clarinet player in the high school band knew her football so well.

After her graduation she moved to Georgia, a few hours drive away. She and her father continued their mutual love of football. My husband and I had actually never attended a live Auburn football game, but one Fall my daughter arranged to get us tickets and she was going to meet us there. It happened to be the same week my husband had to undergo some serious medical tests. We hadn't yet told our daughters. I was worried and wanted to back out of the trip, but he didn't want to let her down, so we went. The test results came back the following week. It wasn't good. Cancer. Two weeks before Thanksgiving he started Chemotherapy.

Before Christmas that year my husband had ordered a special  Auburn football ornament for Shannon. It was the first in a series. She loved it. She came home every chance she could, now that her Dad was undergoing cancer treatments. It was naturally hard to leave each time and return to her job, knowing how ill her father was.

In March, a small package arrived in the mail. I opened it and there was another Christmas ornament, the second in a series. Had my husband already ordered another one, this early in the year? I put it away in the closet. The Chemo was taking a toll on my husband, but his spirit held strong. When his doctor told us that there was nothing else they could do, I called my oldest daughter to come home.  And I told her about the ornament that had come in the mail. I couldn't hold onto it until Christmas. I truly believed that this was God's way of letting her know that it was okay to let go.  God knew that her father wasn’t going to be there for the next Christmas.

Since then the ornaments have arrived like clockwork each year, each one uniquely designed with her favorite college colors, blue and orange. She has ten now and it is a gift from her father every year, a way of letting her know that he is still with her.