Recipe for a Spiritual Feast!

Feeling spiritually hungry? Usually I publish recipes on Saturday, but this August I want to make sure you’re aware of two wonderful spiritual opportunities. The first comes up in just a couple of weeks— a free class on learning how to study the Bible. It’s a recipe for understanding the Scripture, if you will! Matthew Derek was a student of my son Jonathan at Moody Bible Institute but has gone on with his own graduate studies and is now helping Jonathan carry the load of teaching online courses via the Aqueduct Project, which is a ministry dedicated to sharing the Water of Life with the world.

In the Book of Acts, we read the account of an Ethiopian official who was trying to figure out the Bible. God sent Philip to come along side and help him learn. When Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” the officer said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” Then, he invited Philip to come up and sit with him (Acts 8:30-31). This is exactly what Matthew is offering you and me.

God promises to bless us for meditating on the Bible, but sometimes it helps to have others come alongside us as we learn. If you’re ready to learn more, please consider taking this 8-week class. It’s just one night a week, and I’m sure it’s going to be good, because I’ve taken several classes from Aqueduct Project already, and they are spiritually nourishing!

If you’re interested, here’s the link with more information and how to sign up:

https://www.aqueductproject.org/bible-certificate


“Study to show yourself approved by God, a workman who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, MEV).

TWA 79: Powerless in Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Here’s another travel tip we learned the hard way: take an extra battery charger and jumper cables!

We arrived well past dark at our campsite at Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

As is true in most of our national parks, there are a few modernized sites with electricity (some even with full hookups),

Historic log cabins

but many of the campgrounds are “primitive,” which means there is no power or water on the site.

Most of these sites will allow you to run generators (which are noisy and smelly) between some reasonable hours (like 8 am-8 pm).

Deer grazing in the rainy field. Cades Cove

This was true of Cades Cove, but we arrived so late it was time to observe “quiet hours.”

We dutifully settled into our dark site and went straight to sleep.

We woke up to the steady patter of rain and flashing lightning.

Smoking mountains during a spring storm

Thunder rumbled and roared.

Rains flooding road at Cades Cove Loop

It wasn’t likely to be a very pleasant day for hiking, so we decided to take the 11-mile scenic “Cades Cove Loop” recommended and beloved by all after a leisurely breakfast.

Spring flowers in the Smokies

Alas, we were running sadly short on food as we neared the end of our trip, so Alan bravely ducked out to the camp store for a dozen eggs, milk, and bread. The bag was so wet when he returned that it shredded and fell apart, cracking 7 of the eggs! Ah well, we had a biggest ever mess of scrambled eggs with toast for breakfast!

Pileated Woodpecker at Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Outside our window, a majestic pileated woodpecker busied himself pecking grubs from fallen logs for his breakfast. We have one at home who loves the suet on our bird feeder. I must write about pileated woodpeckers one of these days, as they are huge, brilliantly colored, and definitely among my favorite birds!

When it was time to leave, we realized to our dismay that we didn’t even have enough battery power to close the slide on our RV, so traveling anywhere would be impossible until we found some power.

Alan went to the ranger’s office for advice but no one was there. Theoretically, we should have been able to push the slide in by hand, but we couldn’t make it budge (found out later you have to disconnect the motor first).

Alan found a neighbor who was willing to try to jump the battery, but when he got back to his campsite, he found that his car battery was also dead!

Finally, “Ranger Pat” came and rescued both families by jump-starting our engines with a small emergency pack.

Here’s what ours looks like

(After returning home, we bought a similar emergency battery pack AND an extra battery for our RV; definitely worth it to have extra power and the capacity for being a good neighbor!)

Layers of mountains in the distance

Powerless in the Smokies doesn’t really compete with Sleepless in Seattle in terms of having an exciting ending, but our scare did help us appreciate our vulnerability and remind us that God is the omnipotent, all-powerful One! He is what we need! What if we’d been by ourselves in the middle of nowhere and didn’t even have enough power to pull in our slide?

I remembered our van breaking down in Texas once when our kids were young. Alan and our oldest son had to hitch-hike 80 miles to the nearest repair shop and come back with a tow truck (in the days before cell phones). I stayed with the five youngest in the burning sands of West Texas, where we repeated to ourselves: “The sun has ris’, the sun has set, and we are still in Texas yet.” Thankfully, we didn’t die in the heat, and our heroic rescue team returned with help before the sun actually set and coyotes prowled. I remembered praying through that incident and knew God would get us through though this one too.

Cades Cove Missionary Baptist Church

God goes with us through the good times and the hard times. He provides grace and mercy in the midst of testing and trials. All He asks from us is to be faithful and not lose heart. To keep looking up and waiting on Him.

I remember hearing the testimony of Pastor Samuel Lamb, who was imprisoned for more than 20 years for refusing to join the Three-Self Patriotic Movement in China. He said he never prayed that he wouldn’t suffer; he only prayed that he would remain faithful to God and Christ. That is what God wants from each of us in every trial—to love and trust Him . . . and remain faithful.

Cades Cove Loop

Are you in the midst of some baffling trial? Don’t lose heart! Look up! Turn to God for help! Remember that He loves you and will make a way for you!

Tunnel through the mountain
Waterfall along Little River Road


There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
(1 Corinthians 10:13)

There’s always light at the end of the tunnel when God makes a way for us!

(All the photos were taken on our trip to Great Smokies Mountain National Park in the spring of 2021 except for the photo of our battery pack, which I just took while writing this post. 🙂 ).

TWA 78: Overwhelmed by our Great Smoky Mountain Time

When I hear “Mountain Time,” I no longer think of what time it is in the swath of land running north and south through Colorado and the Rocky Mountains of America.

Charles M. Russell (1864-1926); Lewis and Clark on the Lower Columbia; 1905.
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas

I think of how much longer it takes to travel through mountains than you imagine! “Mountain Time” is sloooow, and mountains are bewildering and hard to cross!

Alan and I just finished watching Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery, a wonderful 1997 documentary by Ken Burns tracing the painful trip to explore the Louisiana Purchase looking for a Northwest Passage across the continent two hundred years ago. The hardest part of their trip was crossing the Rocky Mountains, which they calculated as taking a matter of hours but really took many grueling days!

The “Great Smoky Mountains” really do smoke!

I’d say the same was true for us on our trip through the Southeast, only we had to cross the Great Smoky Mountains. Our GPS estimated it would take 3.5 hours from Grandfather Mountain to our campsite at Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

I don’t know if our GPS was totally screwy, but it took us way in the hay out of our way east of the mountains instead of west to Asheville.

This, only after we’d lost our GPS for a significant amount of time while wandering our way through a Blue Ridge Parkway construction detour.

Did I mention that when you travel, always bring a physical copy of a map AND printed directions for how to get from Point A to Point B, so that when you lose your signal or the GPS fails you can still find your way out of the dark recesses of the endless valleys?

This has now become a cardinal rule of motor vehicle travel for us. The other tip is: Never turn off your phone’s GPS after it has programmed your course to your next destination.

It can continue to tell you where to drive as long as you keep the program up and running, but if you shut down the GPS for any reason, and you get out of internet range, it won’t retain the directions and can’t pull them up again.

We learned this the hard way, but since our trip through the Southeast, we have done so much better with hard copies of all directions and a strict never-turn-off-your-phone policy between cities!

So, what we expected to be a pleasant afternoon drive eventually turned into a grueling trial in the dark!

I will say in their defense, the Great Smoky Mountains are beautiful. They are also appropriately named. Cherokees considered the mountains sacred and named them “Shaconage,” meaning “Land of the Blue Smoke.” They often appear blue with hazy clouds lingering over them.

The clouds are fog created by VOCs (volatile organic compounds) which the millions of trees (especially pines) exhale.

The molecules in the vapors scatter blue light, creating a blue haze.

And, so it was that we left Grandfather Mountain and spent the next eight hours twisting and turning through the mountains. Had we not felt lost so much of the time, we might have enjoyed the journey more, but it’s hard to relax when you know where you want to go but have no confidence that you’re on the right road and fear you may never get there. Do you know what I mean?

Thankfully, we saw some signs along the way, not only (precious few) road signs helping us find our way across the mountains, but signs reminding us of the all-important journey we’re all on to heaven. We all want to go to heaven, right? But, do we know the right road to get there?

Jesus taught us that there is only one way to heaven: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6; if you’re not sure what that means, please click on the “Coming to Christ” icon at the top of this page).

On the way to our campsite, we had to pass through Pigeon Forge, Tennessee first. I’d never heard of it before, but it’s obviously a very cleverly engineered tourist trap, complete with all sorts of fun distractions that made me think of all the spiritual traps we have to negotiate before making it safely to heaven . . . like family feuds. (“I don’t want to be a Christian, because my Christian relatives are C.R.A.Z.Y!”)

Like all the cultural glitz that tries to tell us how to live, where to go, and what to think.

Like the endless worlds of fantasy, food, and the magic quest for fun.

Like the wisdom of the world that says it can’t possibly fail to bring us safely to our destination. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Proverbs 14:12, ESV).

On our trip, we kept saying, “Well, at least it’s not raining, and it’s not dark!” However, late in the day there was a thunderstorm, and it eventually got so dark we could hardly see where we were going. However, after the storm there was definitely some silver lining in the clouds.

It was like a hole opened up and I could almost see heaven shining through the clouds! See that black cloud by the opening in the middle? I pictured Alan and me riding on a canoe through the clouds into heaven!

How about you? The canoe changed to a winged creature carrying someone on his back, and I remembered Psalm 18:8-11, “Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him. He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet. He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water” (ESV).

View out our camper at Cades Cove

As blackness settled over the earth, we arrived safely at our campsite . . . weary and extremely thankful! God also leads us onward on our pilgrim journey to heaven. How about you? The LORD is the God who saves. He is the God who came down from heaven in the person of Jesus Christ to rescue us when we were lost . . . and continues to show us the way through the storms and darkness until He leads us safely home to heaven. Have you made Him your God too?

“It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:32, ESV).

(All photos taken on our trip from Grandfather Mountain to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.)

Snow on the Mountain

Speaking of mountains, if you’re ever looking for a great way to serve a bunch of people with varying tastes and needs, try “Snow on the Mountain.” It’s something I learned from Susie VanRyn, who’s been a friend for 30 years and heading up the kitchen at Upper Peninsula Bible Camp for even longer!

Preparing options for “Snow on the Mountain”

Here’s what you do:

  1. Make a huge pot of rice with more than enough for the number of people you’re serving.
  2. Prepare bowls of toppings in various categories: protein sources, fruits, veggies, and condiments.
  3. When it’s time to eat, serve it buffet style with big bowls; let people put their rice in first and then choose whatever toppings they want to add.
  4. Ideas for various categories to get you started—
    1. Proteins: ham, shredded cheese, various nuts, pepperoni, tofu, chicken
    2. Veggies: olives, spinach, onions, peppers, mushrooms, carrots, celery, peas, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, kimchi
    3. Fruits: pineapple, apples, berries, melons, shredded coconut
    4. Condiments: soy sauce, sesame oil, salsa

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”
(I Chronicles 16:41)

TWA 77: Grandfather Mountain—Off the Edge

Earlier in Travels With Allie, I wrote about all the shorebirds living “on the edge” of the great Atlantic coast . . . skittering along the foamy edges of the receding surf in search of tiny, tasty clams. A few weeks ago, I wrote about almost going “over the edge” the night we backed up in pitch blackness on our campsite . . . only to discover the next morning that the back end of our beloved Sanctuary (motor home) was literally hanging over the edge of an 8-foot drop off! This morning, I want to recount the sad tale of our back end not only hanging over the edge but falling “off the edge” at Grandfather Mountain.

For those of you who may not know, Grandfather Mountain is the highest peak on the eastern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Southeastern America.

It is most famous for it’s “mile-high” (highest in America: 5,282 feet) swinging bridge.

Twin peaks of Grandfather Mountain

It connects the two rocky peaks of the mountain. (The bridge is barely visible in the middle of this photo).

On a clear day, you can see a hundred miles, but we were not there on a clear day (as I mentioned two days ago when sharing about the Blue Ridge Parkway)!

In fact, it was one of those pea-soup, mile-high-in-the-clouds sort of a day. Beyond that, we should have thought twice when we stopped at the kiosk to pay for our ticket to drive to the top of Grandfather Mountain:

“How long is your rig?”

“Twenty-eight feet. Why?”

“Well, that’s cutting it close. There are lots of hairpin turns, but I guess you’ll probably do okay if you’re careful and keep your eyes on the road.”

What I really heard was, “I won’t stop you,” but what I should have heard is, “You’re taking a chance; if I were you, I might not try it.”

Seashell Azaleas growing on the slopes of Grandfather Mountain

Grandfather Mountain is pretty magical in spring—the woods full of lichens, the trees etched with moss.

White wildflowers cover the ground like frost

Carpets of wildflowers graced the woodland floors.

Starry “bluets” emerge in spring (Rubiaceae: Houstonia)

A ranger explained the delicate flowers were called “bluets,” which made perfect sense . . .

Pink Houstonia caerulea (little bluet)

until I noticed fields of similar pink flowers. As it turns out, “bluets” can also be pink! 🙂

Sphinx Rock (see the face of the Sphinx on the left edge of the rock over the road?)

Grandfather Mountain (due to its elevation) is home to 16 unique ecological communities and maintains many excellent hiking trails.

Split Rock at Grandfather Mountain

It hosts habitats for cougars, bald eagles, elk, otters and black bears (although we never saw any) and has many fascinating geological formations.

Linville Falls along the Linville River (It was so steep, slippery, and muddy
that Alan finished the climb and took this photo for me. Thanks, Honey!!)

Grandfather Mountain is the headwater for nearly a dozen streams and two major rivers. The Linville River has some beautiful waterfalls well worth the hike (although not from the mountain but accessed further down the road).

After carefully wending our way about halfway up the mountain, we stopped for a cheery picnic lunch dancing between the raindrops, and then we settled down for a short nap.

Bluets nestled at the base of a lichen-covered tree

No sense trying to hike steep, slippery trails in the rain, so we allowed the pitter patter to lull us to sleep before continuing on to The Mile-High Swinging Bridge.

This is the view from the swinging bridge on a clear day https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Grandfather_Mountain_View.png

However, below is the view we saw on this romantically rainy day:

Worth the effort? For sure! Still beautiful, don’t you think?

Parking lot for Swinging Bridge

It had been a challenging day, especially for Alan as the driver, but we really did relish the grandeur of the misty mountains! We didn’t really relish the steep, slick road heading back down the mountain . . .

but hey, if Dale Earnhardt liked to race up and down, why not???

The fog had receded somewhat, and what goes up must come down, so down we went. If you’ve ever seen Forrest Gump (I haven’t), there is a scene where he drives along a curvy mountain road. This is the road, and it really is curvy! Just about where you can see that sharp turn to the right (in the middle), we missed keeping our back right tire on the road and there was a sickening “thurump” and a jolt, where our back end fell about 14-18 inches into the ditch between the roads. We felt the tilt but by some miracle (I like to think angel wings and motion) Sanctuary bounced out of the ditch and back up on the road!

Amazingly, the battering didn’t stop her, and although it did cost multiple thousands to repair after we returned home, we were able to continue on with our trip!

Alan and Kathi with Grandfather Mountain in the background

I have dear friends and relatives who have died in car accidents or been maimed for life, so I am not suggesting that God rescues everyone who trusts in Him. I may get killed in a car accident tomorrow, but I would like to stand on record today as thanking the Lord for rescuing us even when we went over the edge, and if you’re feeling like you’ve gone over the edge—it’s not too late to ask the Lord for help. He is merciful and compassionate.


As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13).

TWA 76: The Misty Blue Ridge Mountains—Early Bloomers

America’s longest linear park and most-visited unit of our National Park system is the Blue Ridge Parkway, a gorgeous 469-mile national (free) roadway connecting the Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks.

Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

It runs through Virginia and North Carolina, mostly along the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and it’s one of America’s most scenic “All-American Roads.”

The valley below enveloped in mist and invisible

After leaving Raleigh, North Carolina, Alan and I headed north to venture along this magnificent road, although the day we traveled, the Blue Ridge Mountains were covered in heavy spring fog and the parkway shrouded in misty rain.

If you want to see how beautiful it can be on clear days, you’ll have to google images!

But, I can show you how beautiful it is when the visibility drops to about 50 feet! 🙂

Rock walls adorned with azaleas and early rhododendrons

It makes for a much more intimate tour filled with delicate springtime flowers that you might not notice as much if you were staring off into the distance!

Dogwoods brighten the Blue Ridge Parkway in early May.
The cliffs are lined with soft pink, “seashell” azaleas—
the largest collection in the world!

The roads are also lined with rhododendrons (the highest concentration in America), but if you want to see them in all their glory, go in late May or June.

Much of the day was a study in shades of black and white (although the photos were all taken in living color)!

Thankfully, by late afternoon, the rain stopped and the grey clouds lifted.

Delighted, we decided to stop at the next lookout to drink in the pastel beauty!

As Alan pulled over, I noticed the most beautiful pink rhododendrons sitting on top of the stone wall. I thought a little sadly to myself, “How is it that people pick the flowers and then worse yet, just leave them to wilt? Don’t they know it’s illegal to pick flowers in public parks? They could get a big fine if they were caught!”

All my frustration melted into delight as I approached and realized that this hardy little plant had somehow managed to grow up through the cracks between the blocks of granite!

Even though it was between a rock and a hard place, it had persevered through dark shadows to reach the sunshine and was even blooming early. What an inspiration to me that gloomy, rainy day!

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:1-5, ESV).

Southwest Salsa Bean Soup

I’m always looking for entrees that are vegan (for my now-vegan son and family) but SO YUMMY that the rest of my family also enjoys them. I really think the Lord put this one on my heart one night while praying about what to serve on their next visit. It was a hit with both teams (home and visiting), so I’ll pass it along to you. If you notice a dreadful lack of photos on any of my recipe blogs in future, I apologize, but it’s because I’m running so fast I forget to take pictures!

Southwest Salsa Bean Soup
(Makes about 15 cups)

In a large stock pot fry:
1 large onion chopped, with
2 tablespoons butter, then add:
2 large jars (24 oz) salsa (I used “medium” spicy, but mild or hot work fine too, depending on how spicy you like your soups.)
2 cans (15-16 oz) kidney beans. Add the liquid in all the cans, and I even add about 1/4 cup in the bottom of each can to rinse out any remaining sauce, so it’s the equivalent of adding
2 cups water (from rinsing the cans)
2 cans (15-16 oz) navy beans
2 cans (15-16 oz) black beans
2 cans (15-16 oz) diced Italian tomatoes
1 can (15-16 oz) whole-kernel corn
1 tablespoon garlic flakes (or fresh-pressed)
1 tablespoon parsley flakes (or chopped fresh)
1.5 teaspoons basil
1.5 teaspoons oregano
Salt and pepper to taste (I didn’t add any)

Simmering pot of Salsa Bean Soup

Simmer for an hour (or more). This is the kind of soup that only becomes more flavorful with time, so I made it, covered it, and turned the heat off until people were ready to eat it. Just before serving, I turned the heat back on for a few minutes until it was piping hot again. Frankly, smaller children can eat it quicker if it’s not too thermally hot. 🙂

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” (Proverbs 3:9-10, ESV)

TWA 75: Classic Cars and Cats

Ferarri Testarossa

While we were visiting North Carolina, Stephen and Anthony took us to a Carolina Car Show. This was my first ever outdoor car meet, so I had no clue car shows are a cult classic for car lovers.

Shelby AC Cobra

In fact, after doing a little research, I’ve discovered that: “Every single Saturday and Sunday of every single weekend there is a Cars & Coffee event somewhere in the United States” where “Thousands of automotive diehards are waking up at the crack of dawn to secure the best parking spots for their pride and joy and ‘talk cars’ with other like-minded individuals with gasoline running through their veins” (America On Wheels, who listed the 200+ events for 2021 [when we visited] here https://americaonwheels.org/cars-and-coffee-locations/).

Lotus

Yes, our car meet in Raleigh was listed: “Second Saturday of each month; 8:00-11:00 at the Triangle Town Center.” We were there, along with hundreds of other car enthusiasts and their pride-and-joy cars.

Lamborghini

I know next to nothing about cars, but I definitely recognized the names of many of the cars (when told).

2021 Corvette

Having just toured the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the month before, I sort of recognized the new corvettes, which look a lot like Lamborghinis to me!

Challenger Hellcat

To be honest, I couldn’t begin to guess the monetary value of the various cars or evaluate which ones were “the best.”

Porsche GT3RS

I was more taken with classic lines and designs . . .

BMW 3 Series

and colors! Don’t you love the color on this one?!

A huge Hummer

Of course, I could tell a car with an attitude.

MUDDDDDYYYY!

And some vehicles were definitely making a statement about red-neck macho-ousity!

After a while, I found myself doing what I enjoy most: watching people and pets.

It’s what’s in the heart that counts, right?

Classic hot cars are beautiful,

Mustang GT

but . . .

Ferarri Testarossa

after a while . . .

Ford GT

I wonder if people ever get bored with their cars. It seems like lots of car lovers keep falling in love with some “newer” or “better” model (rather like people who keep wanting to switch up partners).

Mustang GT 500

I’m thankful that my hubby has stuck with me all these years, even though I’m no longer a hot, new model!!

Pet ocelot on leash and on display at the car meet

Have you heard the joke that getting a spouse is like getting a cat in a bag?

This “kitty” was not only gorgeous but seemed sweet

I don’t think we ever really know what we’re getting “into” when we marry!

It’s definitely what’s in the heart that counts.

But it’s our job to hang on and keep loving no matter what!

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

Hand. Hand. Hand

I know everybody thinks they have the world’s most adorable grandchildren, and that’s fair. Right? Of course, I’m no exception, and I take complete delight in each of our nineteen darlings! I try to avoid spending all my time telling stories about them (which would be all too easy!), but Alan and I keep recalling one story from last winter that’s so funny to us that we’ve made it a part of our own marriage culture as an inside joke.

On one particularly dark winter night, Daniel and Brianna had taken their children out to walk in the snow and go sledding. As they passed under a streetlight, the falling snow shimmered in such a dazzling way that Daniel stopped to take a video to text us. Although the intention was to share his delight in the beauty of the scene, he also gave a little commentary, including the fact that “a heaven of diamonds shine down through the night . . .” (from one of our favorite winter songs). While he was taking that short video, what he didn’t hear amidst the muffled stillness was the small voice of his daughter: “Hand . . . Hand . . . Hand.” She never raised her voice or seemed impatient or frustrated, but she just kept repeating, “Hand. Hand. Hand.” It was obvious. She wanted to hold her daddy’s hand, but he was probably juggling the baby and his cell phone so had no hand for her just that minute.

Since I fractured my wrist, Alan has taken it upon himself to attempt to make sure I don’t trip and break something else! I appear to have a little “foot drop” now, perhaps nerve damage from my hip surgery. ? At any rate, if I’m not looking, one foot doesn’t always clear the ground if there’s even an inch of unevenness in the sidewalk or path. 😦 Alan says he wants to present me “fall-less before the throne of grace” when we die.

Apple blossoms in our woods

I tend to be a bit on the impulsive side, particularly if we’re outside and I’m trying to capture beauty in photos, so I’m apt to fail to watch where I’m going. Dangerous for an old lady!! So, he has taken to saying, “Hand. Hand. Hand” until I get organized and slide my hand into his or take his arm for support. He’s so chivalrous, and I’m so grateful! If I fall and break something, it will definitely not be his fault!

Our woods—fun to tramp through, but not exactly even surfaces!

There is a redeemer who is far more capable of keeping me from falling than even my beloved husband. His name is Jesus Christ. He extends his hands to each of us, asking us if we will allow Him to hold us up. I am thankful every day that I can slip my hand into His and feel His strong arms holding me up. He’s there for me. He is there for you too if you’ll let him!

 “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 1:24-25).

Crescent Rolls and Steak on a Stick

If you’re tired of the usual hotdogs on buns for campfires, here’s a simple trick I learned from my son Jonathan last summer.

Take a crescent roll right out of the can and wrap it around a roasting stick.

Toast over a fire that’s really burned down and not too hot, because it’s a trick to bake them all the way through without burning the outsides.

Think of them like long-roasting marshmallows.

They’re delicious by themselves, but they also pair well with chunks of cubed steak, which you can also roast over a fire!

Before roasting the steak, chop it into bite-sized chunks and marinate it for a few hours in your favorite seasonings (while covered in the refrigerator). For us, that’s a coating of:
Italian dressing
Montreal steak seasoning
Crush garlic or garlic flakes
Onion powder

Heavy pepper and light salt

Steak kabobs

If you’re really tricky, you can roast the steak for a few minutes and then roast your rolls simultaneously, but I ended up burning my rolls that way, so it might make sense to do the steak first and the crescent rolls second, or have two teams working together!

In reality, some people—especially younger patrons—will prefer the tried-and-true hotdogs to the complication of steaks and rolls, but for the adult set, it was a gourmet, festive hit!

Of course, young and old alike might need a few toasted marshmallows or s’mores for dessert, but that goes without saying! Happy summering!!!

“Keep the feast to the Lord your God at the place that the Lord will choose, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful” ( Deuteronomy 16:15).

I hope you’re having a wonderful summer with many opportunities to be with family and friends! Our Fourth of July family reunion shrank from 25 to 7 when the first family to arrive tested positive with Covid . . . probably from exposure on an airplane from the West Coast. Anyway, these are hard times, aren’t they? Still, even though we aren’t able to be “all together” as we’d hoped, we can still be “altogether joyful” in the Lord! He is our joy and strength!