Chuckle for Today…

09.30.15 Kid ResponsesOut of the mouths of babes?…


The Sunday School teacher was describing how Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt, when little Jason interrupted.

“My Mommy looked back once while she was driving,” he announced  triumphantly, “and she turned into a telephone  pole!”


A Sunday school teacher was telling her class the story of  the Good
Samaritan. She asked the class, “If you  saw a person lying on the
roadside, all wounded and bleeding, what would you do?”

A  thoughtful little girl broke the hushed silence,  “I think I’d throw
A Sunday  school teacher asked, “Darrel, do you think Noah did a lot of fishing when he was on the Ark?”


“No,” replied Darrel. “How could he, with just two worms?”


A Sunday school teacher said to her children, “We  have been learning how powerful kings and queens  were in Bible times. But, there is a Higher Power. Can anybody tell me what it is?”

One child  blurted out,  “Aces!”


Nine-year-old Joey was asked by his mother what he had learned in Sunday School.

“Well,  Mom, our teacher told us how God sent Moses behind enemy lines on a rescue mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. When he got to the Red Sea, he had his army build a pontoon bridge and all the people walked across safely. Then he radioed headquarters for reinforcements. They sent bombers to blow up the bridge and all the Israelites were saved.”

“Now, Joey, is that really what your teacher taught you?” his mother

“Well, no, Mom, but, if I told it the way the teacher did, you’d never
believe  it!”

A Sunday  School teacher decided to have her young class  memorize one of the most quoted passages in the Bible – Psalm 23. She gave the youngsters a month to learn the chapter.

Little Rick was excited about the task – but he just couldn’t remember the psalm. After much practice, he could barely get past the first line. On the day that the kids were scheduled to recite Psalm 23 in front of the congregation, Ricky was surprisingly calm.  When it was his turn, he stepped up to the microphone and said proudly, “The Lord is my  Shepherd, and that’s all I need to  know.”


The preacher’s 5 year-old daughter noticed that her father always paused and bowed his head for a  moment before starting his sermon. One day, she asked him why.

“Well, Honey,” he began,  proud that his daughter was so observant of his messages, “I’m asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon.”

“How come He doesn’t answer?” she asked.


A Rabbi said to a precocious  six-year-old boy, “So your mother says prayers for you each night? That’s very commendable.  What does she say?”

The  little boy replied, “Thank you, Lord! He’s finally in  bed!”


During the minister’s  prayer one Sunday, there was a loud whistle from one of the back pews. Tommy’s mother was horrified.  She pinched him into silence and, after church, asked,  “Tommy, whatever made you do such a thing?”

Tommy answered soberly, “I asked God to teach me to whistle, and he did!”


A pastor asked a little boy if he said his prayers every night.

“Yes,  sir.” the boy replied.

“And, do you always say them in the morning, too?” the pastor asked.

“No sir,” the boy replied. “I ain’t scared in the  daytime”


When my daughter, Kelli, said her bedtime prayers, she would ask God to bless every family member, every friend, and every animal (current and past). For several weeks, after we had finished the nightly prayer, Kelli would say, “And all girls.”

Eventually, it became part of her nightly routine to include this closing.  My curiosity got the best of me, and I asked her, “Kelli, why do you always add the part about all girls?”She responded, “Because everybody else always finishes their prayers by saying ‘All Men’!”



Little Johnny and his family were having Sunday dinner at his
grandmother’s house. Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served.  When Johnny received his plate, he started eating right away.

 “Johnny!  Please wait until we say our prayer.” said his mother.

“I don’t need to,” the boy  replied.

 “Of course,  you do.” his mother insisted. “We always say a prayer before eating at our house.”
“That’s at our house.” Johnny explained.  “But this is grandma’s house,  and she knows how to cook!”
“God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God” (Psalm 53:2).
“How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings” (Psalm 36:7).

Stratford-not-upon-Avon but Almost as Wonderful

Stratford-upon-AvonAlthough Stratford-upon-Avon has a good 750-year head start on Stratford, ON, Shakespeare's birthplaceand certain decided advantages,
most importantly (at least to me) the birthplaces of Shakespeare Anne Hathaway Cottage & Anne Hathaway, with all the quintessential charm of ancient thatched roovesBirthplace of Shakespeare  and half-timbered buildings brightened by many tiny, paned-glass windows Avon River, ON …still, the Stratford that resides upon the Avon River in Ontario, Canada, Perth County Courthouse. Stratford. ON is a city of many charms and gardens, and when Alan and I visited last weekend, Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon we found that even the Shakespearean plays were as creatively re-enacted as any we’ve seen in England (such as the one we saw at The Swan a few years ago). Muse at Festival Theater We visited during “Culture Days,” Sign on Park Benchand so there was not only art in the park along the Avon River, Gallery Stratford  but the Gallery Stratford (and other venues) were free to the public, Listening in The Gallery along with many special events, Alan in Garden by Normal School such as a free Scottish dance class at the Normal School. The Old Rectory, Stratford We stayed at a gorgeous B’n’B called The Old Rectory Kim and Alan at the Old Rectory where Kevin (professionally trained chef from the U.K.) and Kim Creamy Eggs and Salmon at The Old Rectory. Stratford have been dazzling guests with their gourmet breakfasts Garden behind the Old Rectory and the warm ambiance of their historic home for the past 19 years. Shakespearean Gardens. Stratford, ON We spent our days wandering through Stratford’s many gardens and shops, Salmon Salad feasting at their restaurants Butternut Soup and Shepherd's Pie(Bentley’s had [relatively] great prices and good food; their butternut soup
with maple syrup and traditional Shepherd’s pie were both exceptional), Feeding waterfowl along Avon River and meandering among the waterfowl who live along the Avon River. Swan on Avon River. 9.25.15+15 At last count, Lots of Ducks on the Avon RiverI think their numbers may rival that of Stratford’s voting population! Festival Theater, Stratford We spent our evenings enjoying brilliantly acted plays and musicals. Sound-of-Music-Stratford-Festival My favorite was a flawless performance of The Sound of MusicBust of Shakespeare along Avon River although The Taming of the Shrew
showcased a husband-wife team in the leading roles,
which somehow lent the mad comedy even more tongue-in-cheek levity. Swirls in Avon River However funny the premise
that a woman can be tamed through severity in the name of love, Jesus Knocking I have to say that my Lord, Jesus Christ, conquered this wild-hearted Kate, Canoeing at Sunset on Avon River not through severity, but through unending, patient kindness. Sunset on the Avon River Has your heart been conquered by love? Stratford, ONOr, are you waiting for a severe mercy to overcome you?Avon River“Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip” (Psalm 18:35-36). Stratford City Hall

(All pictures were taken during our stay in Stratford last weekend, except for the first 4, which were taken in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, several years ago [when I also took the picture of the Swan Theatre].)

Niagara by Night: Blood Moon and Moonbows

Cory Snoek's Eclipse Picture 2Did you see the eclipse last night (September 27, 2015)? Cory Snoek's Eclipse Picture 1 After an appropriate hesitation while arranging her veil of clouds, the moon blushed red and passed through Earth’s shadow in trailing robes of glory. Cory Snoek's Eclipse Picture 3 Isn’t the moon radiant?! Rainbows around moon at Niagara Falls  Alas, Alan and I missed it, although we saw the moon veiled in misty rainbows Moon over Niagara Falls as she hung above Niagara Falls in Canada this past weekend. Horseshoe Falls with Lights The thunderous falls sent billowing cascades of spray heavenward, Horseshoe Falls Behind Trees so it was (and always is) impossible to get a clear view of the sky Light through the mist at Niagara Falls anywhere close to Horseshoe Falls, Silhouette of Alan at Niagara Falls as it always gives the sensation of being enveloped in rain clouds.Kathi at Niagara Falls Still, I wouldn’t have missed the chance for romance at Niagara Falls Moon through mist at Niagara Falls for a clear view of the moon, much as I love the moon. Alan and Kathi at Niagara Falls Last weekend Alan+I had a “Fall Kickoff” to celebrate our being Empty Nesters. American Falls and Rainbow Bridge It may be a bit like making lemonade to celebrate free ice after a hailstorm Wet sidewalks at Niagara Falls (not that raising children has any similarity to surviving a hailstorm…), American Falls with Colored Lights but the fact is that our children are grown and gone, Misty Rainbows at Niagara Falls and so the fall season of our life has undeniably begun Lights for NIagara Falls…and therefore needs to be celebrated! Night scenes at Niagara Falls My children like to teaseFlood lights at Niagara Fallsthat I sing “Happy —” [whatever] no matter what the occasion.   🙂It always seems rainy at Niagara Falls I’m not celebrating that we’re now alone and miss our children, Horseshoe Falls at Nightbut that our children are grown, thriving, and also missing us Mike's Fam in Venice (at least a little bit, I hope!), Night Lights at Niagara Falls even if they have been scattered on the winds of the world. American Falls And, wonder of wonders, Family Together! we do have our son Daniel and his family close by us in GR.Night Scenes at Niagara Falls 6  How cool is that?!Night Scenes at Niagara Falls 5 God is good. Life is good. Moonbows at Niagara Falls May we celebrate rainbows in the mist Mists at Niagara Falls at Night and light in the darkness, Night Scenes at Niagara Falls 4 whether it’s a honeymoon to begin again or an eclipse of the moon in our lives. Night Scenes at Niagara Falls 3“At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee” (Psalm 119:62). Dan and Brianna Moon Eclipse 3(The first 3 pictures of the supermoon eclipse last night were taken
by my dear friend, Cory Snoek, and used with her blessing.
She said she didn’t need to be credited, but I think she did!!)         🙂Dan and Brianna Moon Eclipse 1These last 2 were taken by my GR kids. See how cool that is? 🙂

Rise Up, My Love (154): Is it Enough?

god-fresco-handsJust realized I accidentally skipped over this mediation
and should have published it last week! Sorry about that… 😦

Song of Solomon 5:4 “My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.” So, first the bridegroom appealed to her on the basis of their relationships, but when she did not respond, he did not criticize! Instead, he reached out to her. He did everything within his power to reach her…but he could not. Interestingly, it was not his power and success that moved her; it was his failure.

Have you ever heard this song?

“He could have called ten thousand angels
To destroy the world and set him free.
He could have called ten thousand angels,
But he died alone, for you and me.” (—Ray Overholt)

The bridegroom was none other than King Solomon. He could have broken down her door and gained entrance! He could have demanded her to get up and open the door. He could have done whatever he chose to do, but he chose to love her, to give her freedom, and to suffer the effects of unrequited love. He “chose” to “fail” in a sense, because he loved her and allowed her to be free, with no constraint but that of love. It was not truly his failure; it was her test. He approached her with love; she answered with silence. He demonstrated meekness; she responded with indolence. He reached out with his hand—but was it enough?

The hand of Jesus reaches out to each of us. Is it enough? The mighty hand of God that hung the stars in space and dredged up enough earth out of the sea to form the dry land. The right hand of El Shaddai that holds us and leads us. The outstretched hands of Christ, nailed to the cross for us, crushed and bleeding. Is it enough? Look at his hands, his beautiful, nail-scarred hands. Is it enough?

He reached in his hand and tried to open the door, but it was barred in such a way that he could not unlock it. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).

Like Christ, the husband reached in his hand, but he would not force the door that separated them. He reached out…but could not reach her. She had to reach out to him.

Is it enough? Dear husband, are you reaching out in tangible ways to your wife? Do you feel barred from the inner sanctum of your wife’s heart? If so, then are you literally, physically trying to meet your wife’s needs so that she will respond by opening the emotional door that is keeping you outside? Look at the patience and example of Christ. He appeals to us in terms of deepest relationship and highest praise; He patiently refrains from criticism or rebuke, demands or force; He reaches out to us in tangible, physical ways. Christ died for us, and it is his nail-scarred hands that he extends. Do your hands bear the marks of your suffering to provide for your wife?

I remember when my husband and I were first married. He was working at his father’s garage and fuel oil business, and every night he would come home with such grimy hands and black nails that even a thorough scrubbing would leave them tinged with brown. But, I loved to look at those hands! They were strong and manly…and I knew they were stained to provide a living for the new “us.” My husband was giving his life…hour by hour…to provide for my needs as well as his. That is the Biblical pattern, and although all too few families have such a blessed arrangement, in families where the husband works outside the home to insure a safe “nest” for his wife and children, there is a deep sense of gratefulness and security that wells up within the heart of the wife, because she senses every day that her husband is loving and caring for her.

He reached out to her with his hand, but could not reach her…and at last her heart was moved!



Bless Your Baby: (Ideas for Week 30) Rolling, Grabbing, Standing

Family with Baby205. Caring and Sharing

“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.” Ecclesiastes 4:9

PRAYER: Dear heavenly father, I know that you explained to us from the beginning of your Bible that it isn’t good for man to be alone. Even you are a mysterious, holy trinity—three in one—a little like the three leaves on a clover. Thank you for setting the solitary in families. Thank you for making all who believe in Christ into an incredible family of God…brothers and sisters. Thank you that in Christ there is no distinction between male or female, poor or rich, black or blue or white. In Christ, we are all equal in position, in goodness, in favor, in blessing. We all sit with you in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so may we learn to be kind here on earth! Bless us, dear Lord! Help us to experience the reality of the unity you desire for your children. May we remember that “ if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Bind us together, Lord, in a threefold cord of love within our family, with others, and with you.

THOUGHT: At moments when you’re at odds with Baby (or your husband or other loved ones), ask the Lord for supernatural grace to resolve your problems. Keep in mind that two are definitely better than one, even though it’s tough to stick together!

ACTIVITY: If Baby’s toy collection is getting to be old hat for him, consider arranging a toy exchange with a trusted and healthy friend. Try exchanging X number of washable toys (not Baby’s very favorites, of course) for a given period of time, maybe one or two weeks. If you both return the toys in good condition (while taking responsibility for sanitizing your own toys after they’re returned), then you might have a good thing going that could be tried again on occasion. Books and music are also good for sharing.

Playing with ball206. Arm’s Reach and Harm’s Way

“The LORD will perfect that which concerns me: Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever: Do not forsake the works of your hands.” Psalm 138:8 (NKJV)

PRAYER: Dear patient Father, thank you for your everlasting mercy! Thank you for not giving up on me even though I’m often grabby and want whatever I see around me…even if it’s not mine, and even if it wouldn’t be good for me! I am so much like Baby! Bless us both, dear Father. Help me to be patient in training Baby and patient when he makes messes and cries because he can’t have something he shouldn’t have. Help me to learn more about my own selfishness and immaturity as I work with Baby. Please help Baby to trust and obey me when I tell him “no!”…and please help me to trust and obey you when you tell me “no!” May both Baby and I mature in goodness and godliness.

THOUGHT: On this day in Aaron’s infancy, he snagged a mop head out of an aisle while we were shopping, and that night he grabbed a whole box of Q-tips and dumped them in the toilet before I even knew he had them! Once Baby starts to grab, try to keep harmful temptations out of arm’s reach and harm’s way, at least until he learns to respect “no.”

ACTIVITY: Grabby, grabby! It might be time for a squeeze toy that lets out an exuberant squeak when squeezed! Toys designed for cats and dogs but indestructible and safe for babies are fun, although toy stores that cater to babies will have lots of options too. Our kids had a rubber porcupine squeeze toy that survived all seven children and never seemed to lose appeal due to its extremely bumpy surface. Keep giving Baby interesting tactile opportunities…but keep to the middle of the aisles when you’re shopping, or you may end up with lots more items than you want in your cart (or on the floor)!

Big Eyes!207. Imitating Sounds and Rhythms

“My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass.” Deuteronomy 32:2

PRAYER: Dear God Almighty, who has his way in the storm and in the whirlwind, you are omnipotent. You can make the terrifying thunder roll and the lightening flash, but you can also calm the storm “so that the waves thereof are still.” Please bless us, dear God, with a mighty revelation of your truth through your word. May I experience you as a covert from the storm and the rain but still soak in your doctrines like gentle showers on the grass. Help me to teach Baby your truths day in and day out by living a life of integrity and goodness and showering her with love like “small rain upon the tender herb.” And, may she learn goodness by imitating me, even as I attempt to imitate you.

THOUGHT: Ah, the Golden Age of Imitation, that marvelous advent that every eager professor-parent awaits with great expectation. Now you can begin to have a field day with making expressions and verbalizations that Baby will imitate, catapulting her into the world of language and music. Go for it! But, be careful! Remember that you have a little student who will imitate everything, including language, actions, and even attitudes.

ACTIVITY: Often babies will start to show signs of natural rhythm as well as the ability to imitate during the sixth and seventh months. Visit a music store if you have time. For very little you can buy “shaker eggs” that make a pleasant sound when shaken. For nothing, you can load an empty dish soap bottle with several clothespins or other large but light objects that make interesting sounds when shaken together. Be sure to reseal the top and secure it with duct tape. Voilà! Baby’s first musical instrument.

Piano lessons?208. Drummer Boy

“Better is a handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.” Ecclesiastes 4:6

PRAYER: Dear Father, thank you that Jesus was both a “man of sorrows and aquainted with grief,” but also the Prince of Peace. How wonderful that in the midst of tears, crying, and grief, we can have peace in our spirits! Please bless us with a home filled with peace and quiet joy despite living in a world filled with strife and conflict.

THOUGHT: Having a peaceful spirit can make you more tolerant of noise. Don’t be afraid to allow your children to be exuberant! Let Baby make some good, old-fashioned noise sometimes too. Allowing Baby to develop a sense of rhythm and an ear for music is a great gift and will provide many wonderfully creative experiences for him!

ACTIVITY: How about some “piano lessons?” Or, if you don’t have a piano, give that baby some drumsticks…literally! If you aren’t inclined to provide professional drumsticks for your budding musician, you can always use two wooden spoons and let him beat on the rim of her highchair tray. Or, if you’ve really got noise tolerance, let her beat on an overturned cake pan or cookie sheet. Another simple percussion instrument is a wooden block. If you have two, teach how him how to clap the blocks together in his hands or set one on top of his tray and teach him to make a sound by hitting it with the one being held in his hand. Two blocks can be used to begin teaching him how to stack also. See if he can learn to stack one block on top of the other one. If you have a wide-mouth plastic container with a top, teach him to put the blocks into the container, pop on the lid (you’ll have to do that), and shake the bottle. Musical instruments abound!

Getting away from diaper changing time...209. Diversions While Diapering

“And they have turned unto me the back, and not the face: though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction.” Jeremiah 32:33

PRAYER: Dear Lord, do I keep trying to roll over when you change me out of my dirty diapers? Am I just like the Israelites in Jeremiah, or just like Baby? Please help me to lie still and allow you to clean me up when I get dirty, and please give me the patience and ability to work with Baby when he keeps rolling over or trying to get away when I need to change his diaper or get him dressed!

THOUGHT: There’s a lot of truth to the saying that the best defense is a good offense…

ACTIVITY: Try rigging your changing table with a device that provides Baby with a diverting toy to try to grab and play with while you change his diapers. Another trick is to place an interesting picture on the ceiling or wall where he might look. Also, consider keeping a music box that plays a particularly appealing tune right by the changing table so that a happy melody can be part of the freshening up experience. For your benefit as much as Baby’s, you might consider taping a Bible verse close to the changing table…one you can both read! You can recite it to Baby and “practice” memorizing together. If you’re animated and excited, he’ll like it too. Yet another idea (which can be used anywhere…seat backs during car trips, near the crib, etc.) is to make two very similar pictures to put on the wall to let Baby practice extra discrimination. Make the two pictures as identical as you can, but change something. It could be two balls, one red and one green, or two Easter eggs, one with stripes and one with checks, or two faces, one with an addition of a mustache and beard. Give Baby lots of things to keep him occupied!

Fun at the beach210. After a Hard Day’s Night

“When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? And I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day.” Job 7:4

PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of sleep. Please bless both Baby and me with the gift of being good sleepers. When Baby is sick and isn’t sleeping well, please give me the grace to be kind and patient, and keep me at least alert enough so that Baby is safe any time he’s in my arms!

THOUGHT: Sometimes—perhaps most of the time—it’s really hard to get a good night’s sleep. On days when you and Baby are particularly tired, it can be very helpful to have a low-key day at home. But, if you’re restless and need to get out, trying finding a friend to join you on an adventure to some place beautiful that will lift your spirits.FlowersACTIVITY: Having a friend to grow with is a good thing and really brightens up the day, especially after a hard day’s night of trying to take care of a crabby baby! If you haven’t developed a somewhat routine friendship with another young mom and her baby, look around for such a friend. Additionally, it is fun to plan some simple “field trips,” which can be done just with Baby, or with another dynamite mother/baby duo. If you haven’t been to a flower shop or plant nursery, consider stopping in. If it’s winter and you can, indulge in a flowering plant to brighten up your home, and then you will have a friendly plant to grow with too! Visiting a greenhouse can be as breathtaking as walking through a garden. Make sure Baby doesn’t grab or damage any of the plants, but give him some opportunities to smell the delightful fragrances and touch a texture or two with one chubby finger.

Standing Practice 1211. Standing Up

“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15

PRAYER: Dear Holy God, as Baby learns to stand, help him to always stand up for what is right and good! Please bless us all with the ability to stand firm in our faith, trusting you in all things and at all times. Standing Practice 2THOUGHT: Learning to stand is a great milestone. Learning to stand for Truth is an even greater milestone for each of us! Standing Practice 3ACTIVITY: At this stage, Baby will love to practice standing: from lying on the floor, to sitting up, to a full stand. Have you ever tried “Bouncey-Bounce”? Hold Baby with your hands supporting him just under his arms. He can be “standing” on your lap or on the floor. Lift him just a tiny bit and let him down, saying, “Bouncey-bounce!” See if you can get him to bend his knees and try to jump a little in rhythm with you. Next, teach him to anticipate what you’re going to do by saying, “Bounce high” (while lifting him slightly off the ground), “Bounce low” (while pulling down a little to try to get him to bend her knees), “and up we go!” (while lifting him a foot or two into the air, as if he’s bouncing up on a trampoline). In a week or so, after he gets the hang of the game, see if you can get him to bounce up and down on his own just by saying, “Bouncey-bounce” and bouncing your own body a little. Practice with him at times when he’s standing and hanging on to the edge of the couch but without your support. Of course, if he really likes the game, after he bouncey-bounces for you, he’s going to want to you play bouncey-bounce with him so he can “fly” up in the air again. Playing with Mama is even more fun than showing off for her!

And, for Those of You with Spirit, Here’s some Spirit Food

10565194_10152663744923023_7062053781297625002_nWe all know we have souls, and most of us enjoy soul food,
but I hope you also have lots of spirit. -13 As a matter of fact, in the U.S.A. today, 99% of people say they are “spiritual” in the sense of believing in some higher being. C.S. Lewis So, today I wanted to share some honey for our spirits: -8281919_162782020462415_100001918552313_365274_214235_n-1211013308_10153256918183879_7285842076580803535_n-9Proverbs 4.23-14Rich Mullins

But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
(2 Corinthians 3:14-18)

Soul Food

Loving Each Other GentlySo, last week I shared a few favorite cartoons Self-Help that made me smile, Catholic Christian wall photos. Kathy Littler but today House FM's Photo shared by Gwenn I want to pass along How long is the journey? a few inspirational quotes Coffee and friends and thoughts Fall in loveabout love France thoughts and caring for one another … God's Powerjust a little food for the soul. William Arthur Ward, Walk the Talk I hope you find them thought provoking Angeland worthy of reflection…Family“soul food” to share around the table of our “family” life together. 🙂

“A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soulmate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soulmate is the one who makes life come to life.” -Richard Bach

“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3).

ArtPrize and Autumn Mist

Misty morningToday is the first day of autumn: 20 Autumn-Winter Scenes copy Happy autumn to you! End of summer Today is also the first day of ArtPrize. Dew drop Sadly, I was among the 400+ entrants who didn’t find a venue.  😦  Mural Pictures 400 copy  So, unless I can find some venue that would like to display a 33-foot
by 7-foot mural for the next six months (Do you know of any place?), 04 Waterfalls copy

my ArtPrize entry will lay fallow in our basement until next spring, when I have a contract with Leep Art Gallery to display the 20-piece mural as 20 individual collages.16 Exotic Animals copy Being a total novice, and completely naive, I thought all I had to do was produce a work of art and that all applicants would connect with a venue…and then it would just be up to the half a million visitors to decide which artworks were most compelling. Cormorant on our kayak                          Not so! Life is much more complicated than it appears!sanjucc84sangen-docc84-10 It probably didn’t help that I was touring Asia during the artist connection time11181306_740275077128_480536648704360237_n    and working in Africa and Europe with refugess during the venue connection. Cormorant ruffling feathers What I’ve learned is this: Producing and finding a voice are two distinct steps in the process of expressing creativity.Cormorant swimming I could just give up and hang the pictures in my home, but I’m pretty driven to find some way of sharing my joy with those around me. Sun reflectd on lake This morning our Blue Water Writers Group meets at Schulers (want to join?), and one of our exercises is working our way through The Soul Tells a Story: Engaging Creativity with Spirituality in the Writing LifeSun reflected on lake 2 I particularly identified with this paragraph: “…make your creative-spiritual process an offering to the world. In doing this, you assume that what you create can be beneficial to others…Your posture toward the creative work becomes that of service. You open your hands and heart, willing for the work to develop as it needs to for a greater good.” Sunshine on lakefront Amen. I want my photography—and my writing—to be an offering to God first, but then also to people. Mandevillea “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40) Mandevillea flowers

Where to Go for Great Food (Up North)

Baby sleepingTruly, the list is too long for one post. Big Hotdog! I will say that our personal favorite for burgers since childhood has been Clyde’s in the Soo and St. Ignace. Our favorite pasties are from Jean Kay’s in Marquette, Fish dinner at Tahquamenon Falls Camp 33 although (also in Marquette) Vierling’s white fish luncheon is regal, Spaghetti dinner at Tahquamenon Falls Camp 33 and the Casa Capri has pretty much divine (or should I say heart-stopping?) pastas (my fav is “lasagna on a cloud”) and garlic bread fried in butter. Sunrise in the U.P. However, on our roots tour of da Yoop last summer, Toddler coloring  we had two wee ones along Snack time at the Mackinaw Bakerywho preferred the hit-and-run method of ingestion (Where did Amé go?), Shopping for Groceries so we hit a lot of grocery stores Breakfast in the RVand ran right out to the camper to eat much of the time. (Where did Amé go??)With Papa at the Big Boy Still, we did corral the girls a few times, Important deliberations at the Mackinaw Bakery and they were particularly cheerful about Pooh-bearish Elevenses Baby Cakes Bakery when they included Mackinaw Bakery…shall we say… Panera Bread has good sweet rollsa smackeral of something sweet from a bakery.   🙂 Baby Cakes in Marquette Speaking of bakeries, our favorites are Babycakes in Marquette Mackinaw City Bakery and Tea Company and Mackinaw Bakery and Tea Company in Mackinaw City. Restroom SignAlthough all of our restaurant experiences were memorable and fun, Tahquamenon Falls Camp 33 one of my favorites this time was our dinner at Tahquamenon Falls’ “Camp 33,” where every last one of us thought our food was exceptionally good. Keeping busy before dinner Of course, it took a while to prepare everything, Playing games and so there was a lot of “rock, paper, scissors” going on (and other games)Playing paper, scissors, rock to keep the girls occupied, Eating dinner at. Camp 33 JPGbut once the food arrived, Spaghettiboth the girls chowed down like there was no tomorrow! Father knows best (what to eat)On course, Daddy’s food tasted the very best, which makes sense,
since we all know that Father Knows Best…right? Coloring with DaddyI think our heavenly Father knows bests too. Panera Bread is yummy! He not only knows where to go for great food, Panera has good coffeeHe knows just what we need all the time  Walking around Mackinaw Cityand promises to walk with us throughout our lives, if we’ll just hang on! Peek-a-BooHow about it? Shall we let God drive and trust him to provide great food
…and everything else we need?

“Even to your old age and gray hairs
    I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
Isaiah 46:4, NIV)

“There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god. I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt:
open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:9-10).


Back to School

Talking around the fireBy now I think even the latest-to-begin schools are in full swing,
at least in America.  Are you in school this year? Talking with Friends I know many of you are students, but that the majority of those who read this blog are already finished with their formal education and are 20+. Roasting a hotdog on a stick     However, I want to encourage all of us to keep learning…for our entire lives! Campfire My husband, Alan (who’s a physician),
used to say he learned something from every patient he attended.

Fellowship One of my daughter-in-laws has a mother (my age) who just signed up for a class to learn the Norwegian language at her local university in Germany. Can you believe it? She’s one of the oldest students. Fun talking Her eldest son and his family live in Norway, and she wants to be able to communicate better when she visits. That’s really gutsy, I think, but I got so inspired that I signed up for a computer seminar on photography in GR. Chatting with Friends                   This is only a tiny step in the right direction, but at least it’s a start! Potluck Supper What about spiritual growth and learning? Even if you don’t have time for a class, what about a Sunday school class? Last Saturday night, Alan and I attended the kickoff bonfire and potluck fellowship for our Sunday school class. Roasting hotdogs around the fireWe now attend a very large church, and there are about 120 members in our Sunday school class. Our present teacher is doing an outstanding series on the historicity of Jesus, but no matter what the topic, I am constantly inspired and challenged by our teachers, as I am with the ministry of our pastor. Discussion Yesterday his message traced the history of Jericho…from Israel’s first encounter, where Rahab (a “harlot;” a prostitute)—by faith was rescued from the destruction of the city…all the way through the Bible to Luke 19, where Zacchaeus (a “publican;” a tax collector) believed and was rescued by Jesus. It would take an hour to recount the entire message, but in all my years, I’ve never heard such a complete, compelling message on salvation by faith based on insights from studying events that occurred in the city of Jericho. Sunday School Class If you haven’t done so yet, I encourage you at the beginning of this new school  year to join a Sunday school class where you can enjoy fellowship with other believers and grow in your faith. Potluck If you live in GR and don’t have a church home, please consider visiting my church and our Sunday school class! Calvary also has a live stream of their services  for those who can’t attend in person.

Grandpa and baby But, whoever you are and wherever in the world you live, Friends I hope you reach out and find fellowship. Lots of good drinks!May we all continue to grow—body, soul, and spirit—throughout our lives!

“But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him. (Matthew 21: 28-32)