Category Archives: Just for Fun…

Prithivi Highway: The Longest (and Most Memorable)110-Mile Bus Trip I’ve Ever Taken

Most of the time we flew between destinations on our tour of India and Nepal, but on one occasion we took a scenic bus trip  along the Prithivi Highway through the rugged terrainbetween Chitwan and Pokhara in Nepal.  It was “only” 110 miles, and according to the literature,  we were supposed to enjoy the ride during the morning,  then arrive at our hotel in time for lunch and spend the afternoon touring. NOT!  It took us 8.5 hours to travel the 110 miles with only two brief bathroom breaks. The temperature was approximately a million degrees out,  and between the heavy traffic,  aftermath of the devastating earthquake in 2015  and intensive road construction,  the air was so full of dust that trying to make out what was happening outside the windows  took considerable concentration and creative imagination… which was particularly taxing considering the state of our bladders on such a rocky road!   (My friend Deb said the bus ride was so bumpy that her Fitbit recorded her as walking 10,000 steps although she didn’t think she’d really walked even 500!) In fact, Alan had to sit in the front seat and also concentrate on not throwing up, since the 600 hairpin turns we’d traveled on Hawaii’s Heavenly Hana Highway had been but scant practice  for surviving this rollicking ride balancing on the edge of the steep gorge overlooking the Narayani River Basin through the foothills of the Himalayan and Annapurna Mountain Ranges,  which are home to eight of the world’s fourteen highest peaks!  However, this trip was not only memorable for the twists and turns as we progressed at a blistering twelve miles an hour  through unbelievable clouds of dust and dirt,  it was also remarkable for a never-ending stream of gorgeous views  that would have taken our breath away  had we had any (which we didn’t, due to elevation and air pollution).  Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the most dangerous road trip I’ve ever taken  —although it possibly was! (Well, maybe my all-time scariest bus ride was in China back in 1995
when our bus’s transmission gave out in high gear)! 😦  And, it might not have been the dustiest ride I’ve ever been on  …although I really can’t think of anything to compete!   On the bright side, we had great air-conditioning, and we were definitely in the mountains much of the time (like, most of the time), which was cooler.  Our driver was amazing, and although he drove as furiously as Jehu, he allowed emergency roadside stops once or twice (but what’s that between friends?). We were also granted two real stops during the 8.5 hours (but what’s that between friends with post-60-year-old bladders full of breakfast coffee?).  Well, we all survived, and as far as I know, nobody threw up or wet their pants. It was also a ride I’ll bet nobody ever, ever forgets  (unless they develop Alzheimer’s).  Would I do it again?  Yes, although with my eyes open and an entirely empty bladder.  Would I recommend it for others? Absolutely!
(Possibly not for those who get motion sick
or have breathing, heart, G.I. or bladder issues.)
Did I learn anything? Yes!  And, if you’re willing, let me share a few of the meditations of my heart  while we bounced along:  Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
(Matthew 5:8, it’s hard to see when the windows of our hearts are dirty.)   “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience,
and our bodies washed with pure water
” (Hebrews 10:22). I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom  concerning all things that are done under heaven:  this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.” (Ecclesiastes 1:13)Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness
unto them which are exercised thereby
” (Hebrews 12:11).  (The Prithivi Highway is going to be one of the world’s most beautiful
when it’s finished!)   “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal,
proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb
” (Revelation 22:1). Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst;
but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water
springing up into everlasting life
” (John 4:14).  What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?” “I have seen the travail,
which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. 
He hath made every thing beautiful in his time:  “also he hath set the world in their heart,  “so that no man can find out the work that God maketh “from the beginning to the end” (Ecclesiastes 3:9-11).

Birthday Bliss (or Not)

Alan has taken me somewhere very special and unusual for my birthday (out of town sans cell phone), so I won’t be home to soak up all the kindness of friends and relatives, chat on the phone, or even hit the “like” button on Face Book! Still, I wanted to let you know that you’re ever in my heart and prayers, and so I decided to prepare a few jokes so we could share some smiles today anyway!

YES!!This is in honor of all my friends who—like me—struggle with weight!This is especially for my daughter, four daughter-in-laws, nieces, and all young friends who are bravely rearing babies today! This one is a direct hit for me. Don’t know how the rest of you feel!  Here’s one for my hubby and all you health-care professionals! This one’s not so funny with all the hurricanes disrupting America’s millions of alligators. May you meet no crocodiles or alligators either later or in a while. 😦(This in honor of my son Stephen, who just passed his PhD comprehensive exams in musicology. Way to go, Stephen!)This is especially for my son Joel, who works as an editor, my daughter,  my writers’ group buddies and all fellow writers, lovers of good books and movies! Never thought of this one, but doesn’t it make you laugh?! …In honor of all my fellow Baby Boomers
who are developing gold-fish brains like Alan’s and mine. Anybody singing in a choir these days?  🙂 Here’s another one for the birthday girl (me).And, for all you fans of super hero movies…and Jesus!

 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16-18)

Ready for a Coffee Break?

I woke up this morning with a headache, which is extremely rare for me, but I wondered if a cup of coffee might cure it. However, my health insurance requires a fasting cholesterol, which was this morning, so there was to be no coffee or tea for me until after my blood draw! I survived, and I’m feeling fine without any socially acceptable chemical dependence, but it reminded me of all the funny coffee jokes my friend Sarah E. puts on her Face Book page. If you love coffee as much as I do, I hope you’ll take a two-minute coffee break and enjoy these!… . Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.
(1 Peter 4:8-10)

(Thank you, Sarah E., for sharing so many fun things to make others laugh! Truly, laughter is good medicine!)

The Great British Baking Show: Opera Cake Anyone?

Have you ever heard of the Great British Baking Show? I hadn’t until our son Joel introduced it to us last spring by showing us the final “round” from one season where the three contestants were to make “opera cakes.”  If you enjoy baking, you might enjoy this program, although they make things  that are way too complicated for me, as one who is a bit on the pragmatic side. I’d never heard of opera cake before, but on the show, the women dreamed up amazing cakes with seven tantalizing layers, everything from lemon to lavender, and peanut butter to chocolate. I was probably drooling while watching, but I didn’t think much about it until we were on a cruise of the Adriatic Sea the next month…and, guess what?! We were actually served a piece of traditional opera cake, which is a French cake made from layers of almond sponge cake soaked in coffee syrup and layered with ganache and coffee buttercream, then crowned with a chocolate glaze. It was one of those kiss-your-fingers desserts, and after I returned home, I thought sometime I should try it. However, I never have, but I’m still enamored with the idea, and sometime when I’m in a very festive mood and want to celebrate (and think I can afford the calories), I will definitely attempt it. Seven layers…what would you have? Mine would have layers of chocolate, peanut butter and strawberry cake with cherry, peach, and buttercream fillings topped with chocolate glaze. On The Great British Baking Show, the cakes were obviously supposed to be thin (and two of the three turned out too thin), but mine would look more like P.F. Chang’s Great Wall…and I wouldn’t mind that it wouldn’t win a prize on their show! If you ever make one, please send me a photo! If I ever make one, I’ll add it at the bottom. Happy baking.  🙂

2 Samuel 6:19, where David is celebrating the return of the ark: “And he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to every one a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. So all the people departed every one to his house.” There are times when it’s good to celebrate!

Church Ladies With Typewriters

This came as a forward from a cousin. It really made me laugh, so I’m going to share it with you, although I don’t know who the original author is. If it’s YOU (whoever you are), please let me know so I can give you credit or link it to you. Thanks!

They’re Back! Those wonderful Church Bulletins! Thank God for the church ladies with typewriters. These sentences actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced at church services:   

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The Fasting & Prayer Conference  includes  meals. 

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Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children. 

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The sermon this morning: “Jesus Walks on the Water.”
The sermon tonight: “Searching for Jesus.”

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Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.

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Don’t let worry kill you off – let the Church help. 
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Miss Charlene Mason sang, “I will not pass this way again,” giving obvious pleasure to the congregation. 

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For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs. 

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Next Thursday there will be try-outs for the choir. They need all the help they can get. 

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Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days. 

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At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be “What Is Hell?” Come early and listen to our choir practice.

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Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

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Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.

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The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility. 

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Pot-luck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM – prayer and medication to follow.

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The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon. 

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This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin. 

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The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday. 

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Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet  Thursday at 7 PM . Please use the back door. 

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The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespear.

Gotta love ’em, right? At least they’re trying! 🙂

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, ESV)

Writer’s Block, Jokes, and Such

Do you love to write? If so, you’ve probably experienced “Writer’s Block” at some point…a time when you just can’t concentrate on what you’re doing. Usually I have so many ideas bubbling in my brain that I can’t write fast enough, but this morning I felt rather zombiesque so concluded that it might be time for a pick me up…which usually sends me to my friend Dave’s Face Book page, because Dave always posts jokes that make me laugh! Okay, so not all these are from Dave’s page, and some of them are more inspirational than laughable, but I’m shamelessly sharing some favorites from FB, because I figured if I am feeling a bit sad today, then you might need a little good cheer as well. I hope they brighten your day as they have mine. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). I’m not personally experiencing the shadow of death, but I’m attending a funeral today, and a friend is having surgery for cancer next week, so I’m definitely feeling the weight of loved ones passing through the shadowlands.

Homemade, Gourmet Caramel Corn

Do you ever find yourself wishing for the perfect salty/sweet snack?  If you keep popcorn, brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup around (…and maybe a bag of chocolate chips), there’s no need to rush out to the store for a salted caramel ice cream sundae!Try making homemade caramel corn instead. Even Weight Watchers says popcorn is a reasonable treat, and if you go a little light on the butter and caramel…well, I’d be lying to say it’s good for you, but it might not be as fattening as many store bought snacks!

Homemade Caramel Corn

8 cups popped corn (salted and buttered however you like it; make sure all the unpopped kernels are removed so you don’t break your teeth while you’re eating it later.) Place into two or three pans with lots of room left over for stirring in the sauce.

Caramel Sauce:

1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup (this is the “secret” ingredient and is necessary for best results)
1/2 cup water
1. Boil until the medium-ball stage (not soft, but not yet really hard if you drop a drop into a tiny cup of cold water).2. Turn off heat and add 2 teaspoons baking soda.
Stir quickly; it will become frothy. Pour it immediately over the popped corn in your pans.
Mix thoroughly with a big spoon.3. If you like peanuts or mixed nuts, add them at this point (8 oz. or less)4. If you want to be really gourmet about it, spread the caramel corn out on a cookie sheet and finish by drizzling 12 oz. melted chocolate chips (takes about 1 minute in the microwave) over the top.  Of course, if you do that, your kids will love you, but they might get fat! 🙂
5. Enjoy right away. You can store what ever is left over (if there is any…there might not be, because it’s pretty addictive) in air-tight containers. If I’m making it to take on a trip, I spread it on cookie sheets in a slightly warmed oven (like 150°F) for an hour or so to let it dry until it’s brittle, but I actually prefer it a little softer.)

“Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good” (Isaiah 7:15). I used to wonder what this verse means, but I believe it’s saying that if we are given good things and give good things to those we love—physically and spiritually—we will be discerning enough to choose what’s good and refuse what’s bad. If we’re not treated to what is good, we may not understand just how bad the sawdust of this world really is!