Friday, December 31, 2010


I just finished this book and wanted to give a shout out to all animal lovers, particularly cat lovers.  This was a delightful book and really exemplifies how animals have the capacity to lessen a depression or get you through a hard time.   And how they can teach you life lessons. I mean seriously.......just look at this little guy...what's not to love???

Adios 2010

I am not one that is sad to see the last of this year.  I hope 2011 brings some welcomed big changes. 

It is a dreary day here.  Yesterday it snowed about 10 inches and I shoveled the front driveway three times and the back four.  It gave me something to do.  I have to admit, although taking the four days off between Christmas and New Years makes good put in leave for four days and get 10 the middle of the winter there is just not that much going on.  It's probably the worst week of the year for watching TV and even reading some of my new books and playing scrabble and other games on my new Ipad, I got a little bored.  Never thought I'd say those words and it does make me wonder about retirement.  So I kept busy yesterday shoveling and I'm paying for it today with a very tender back.  The temperature was hovering around 30 so it was kind of wet, heavy snow.  Tonight some friends are coming over for dinner and games and I'm making salmon fettuccine.  I saw a recipe online that originally piqued my interest but the more I thought about it the more I began to wonder so last night I did a trial run and I'm glad I did.  The flavor was great but it was too runny so tonight I'm combining several recipes to achieve success.  I hate experimenting on company.  It's pouring down rain today, the first we've had in some time.  I hate to see all the snow laden trees shake their load.  But I guess the holiday season is almost over and we're officially on the downhill slide to spring so bring on the rain.  I hope everyone has a wonderful celebration tonight and a stellar 2011. Happy New Year! 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

If Only We Will

As a new year dawns in our lives,
It’s time to give thanks for bounty of God’s blessings.
If only we will.

It’s time to appreciate the greatest gifts of all,
The love of our God, our family and dear friends.
If only we will.

It’s time to lend a hand, to be a gift to others,
To touch some lives with our God-given talents.
If only we will.

It’s time to celebrate life,
 to give thanks for the time we’ve been given,
And to be prepared -- should we be called home today.
If only we will.

It’s time to love our animals,
Sweet kitty-cat kisses and sloppy puppy-dog noses.
If only we will.

It’s time to be grateful for our health,
To complain less, to value and cherish more.
If only we will.

It’s time to celebrate our freedom,
To give thanks and pray for the men and
women protecting our country.
If only we will.

It’s time to recognize the splendor of our creation.
To appreciate the fresh air we breathe,
the beauty that surrounds us.
If only we will.

It’s time for resolve, to challenge ourselves --
To love more, to do more,
to become all we were created to be.
If only we will.

It’s time for forgiveness, to release our hearts from bondage,
To extend the grace that is shown to us.
If only we will.

It’s a time for joyful enthusiasm and happiness,
To laugh loud and often --
the kind of laughter that makes others smile.
If only we will.

It’s a time for shedding tears, for cleansing our hearts, 
For extending compassion and kindness
to those suffering and in pain.
If only we will.

It’s a time to humble ourselves, To erase blame and to
wonder at nothing done against you.
If only we will.

It’s a time of quiet reflection, to realize our souls live on forever,
And to wonder at the legacy we will leave behind.
If only we will.

It’s a time of remembrance, for the wonderment and
innocence of our childhood,
and the many wonderful memories we’ve made since.
If only we will.

It’s time to strengthen our faith,
To worry less, to trust more.
If only we will.

It’s time for beautiful music, to lose ourselves in the moment,
To allow the shivers that run down our spine to engulf us.
If only we will.

It’s a time to be on our knees,
To pray for our world and our leaders in these uncertain times.
If only we will.

It’s time for complete surrender,
God LOVES to love us, His embrace can be felt every minute,
every day.
If only we will.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Marge Matthews

Yesterday was Mrs. Matthews' birthday.  I'm not sure how old she is but somewhere in her 80's.  She was my neighbor lady growing up and still lives in the same house with her cat, Inky for a companion and still grows flowers and a few vegetables.  She is legally blind due to macular degeneration but other than that seems to be in pretty good shape.  I have so many memories of her, she was like a second mother to me growing up.  She is a devoted Christian woman, a quiet witness and a wonderful testament to faith in God.  I had her for a Sunday school teacher when I was young and I still remember her teaching us Psalms 100....

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. 
Worship the Lord with gladness,
come before him with joyful songs,
Know that the Lord is God.

Okay, I confess, that's all I remember. She was a school teacher by profession but she was the librarian at the public library for many years. 

She had 3 kids that we grew up with too.  She has been a widow since 1975.  Our houses were very close as the crow flies but you had to walk down our lane and then down Comstock Road if you didn't take a shortcut.  I remember all us kids walking that walk in the dark, having a "flashlight party"....and Mr.  Matthews sneaking in the woods to scare us.  We thought that was great fun.  Mrs. Matthews was a bit of a prankster as well.  She made the greatest cream puffs and one year on April 1st she came driving up in  her little white Volvo just as we were finishing dinner to deliver cream puffs to Tom & me.  We were, of course, delighted, until we sank our teeth into their oatmeal middle and bitter chocolate tops.  My parents howled in laughter at the April Fool's joke while Tom and I are still plotting our revenge.

So Happy Birthday Mrs. Matthews, and may you have many more before God calls you home. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Blues

The day after Christmas always seems so melancholy.  All the excitement leading up to the special day and then it's over for another year.  We had a really nice Christmas this year.  Chris got me an Ipad and I got him a new Canon camera.  I got a bunch of really great books from my in-laws and today I discarded a book I've been trying to read for weeks now in order to begin one called "Cleo, The Cat Who Mended a Family" -- on the front cover is a picture of the most darling little black cat with green, green eyes.  I received another cat one about a cat who was born without eyes.  And two dog stories too! LOVE.THOSE!  So I decided I was not going to force myself to get through a story that didn't hold my interest when I have so many others that do.  I really hate giving up on a book though.  I also got a "Scrabble Flash" game that Carole and I played yesterday when the guys were watching the Cowboys play.  It was great fun.  And then I downloaded scrabble on my Ipad and won my first game against the computer.  I wasn't really convinced I would use an Ipad but I've been using Chris' to read when I'm on the treadmill and I have become convinced of it's many wonders.  Either that or I'm brainwashed from hearing Chris extol their virtues for the last year.  Our friends, Ralph & Carole and their daughter Jessica came over to share Christmas dinner yesterday  -- we had a feast of ham, cheesy potatoes, green bean casserole and fruit salad with chocolate cream and apple pie.  No one went hungry that is for sure.  I really love having a fridge full of leftovers.  It was snowing slightly outside and looked very Christmasy.  Good friends, good food and a relaxing day, it doesn't get any better than that!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas 1915

Chris and I watched a Celtic Thunder Christmas special last night and I heard this song for the first time.  I seriously think it's one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard.  This morning we were talking about it and he said it's based on a real event in World War I.  (I guess all those hours watching the history channel DO produce some good results!)  British and German soldiers started singing Christmas carols in their own languages.  They eventually came out of the trenches and met and exchanged gifts and celebrated Christmas together.  The next day it was business (war) as usual.  I cry every time I hear it!! I highly recommend everyone download this song, and Celtic Thunder are one of the most incredible blend of men's voices I have ever heard.

Here it is

1915 on Christmas Day
On the western front the guns all died away
And laying in the mud on bags of sand
We heard a German sing from no man's land
He had tenor voice so pure and true
The words were strange but every note we knew
Soaring ore the the living dead and damned
The German sang of peace from no man's land

They left their trenches and we left ours
Beneath tin hats the smiles bloomed like wild flowers
With photos, cigarettes, and pots of wine
We built a soldier's truce on the front line
Their singer was a lad of 21
We begged another song before the dawn
And sitting in the mud and blood and feed
He sang again the song all longed to hear

Silent night, no cannons roar
A king is born of peace forevermore
All's calm, all's bright

All brothers hand in hand
In 19 and 15 in no man's land

And in the morning all the guns boomed in the rain
And we killed them and they killed us again
At night they charged we fought them hand to hand
And I killed the boy that sang in no man's land

Silent night, no cannons roar
A king is born of peace for evermore
All's calm, all's bright
All brothers hand in hand
And that young soldier sings
And the song of peace still rings
Though the captains and all the kings
Built no man's land

Sleep in heavenly peace


My sister sent me this recipe lately and I knew as soon as I saw the picture that I wanted to make is beautiful!! So last night I tried ti and I couldn't stay out of it, it was SOOO good!! I can't wait to serve it to our friends tomorrow and it looks so Christmasy to boot!! I would have never thought to marry these ingredients together but they work perfectly.

1 bag of fresh cranberries
1 bunch of cilantro
1 med. onion (sweet onions are best)
1 small jalapeno (without seeds)
1 cup of sugar or Splenda (more or less depending on your tastes)
Juice of 1 lime

Throw everything together in a food processor and then refrigerate for at least an hour.  This allows the juices to really blend.  Serve alone or over a brick of cream cheese with chips or crackers.  Good as a salsa on your favorite meat as well.

**I got this photo off the internet because it was pretty but mine is not near as chunky as this one.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

Even in the sterile and politically correct culture of state government I heard and read many wishes for 'Merry Christmas' today.  It warmed my heart.  I'm glad some people refuse to conform to Happy Holidays.  I never have understood why anyone would take offense to it.  If someone wished me 'Happy Hanukkah' or 'Happy Kwanzaa' I would wish them the same.  I would take it to mean they were wishing me a wonderful time for a day they celebrate.  Whether or not you celebrate a secular Christmas or the birth of Christ, that day DOES exist just like Halloween or Thanksgiving or the 4th of July and it seems silly to me that people could take offense to something that is obviously a wish for happiness.  So MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone, I say it loudly and proudly and with reverence and without apology.

Peace On Earth, Goodwill Towards Men

Since I got several comments from friends on FB about missing my annual Christmas letter this year since I’m not sending cards I decided to post one here.  I think one of the reasons I was hesitant to write one this year was because it wasn’t all that great of a year.  But here goes........

A few days before Christmas last year I ended up having back surgery.  I’ve written about it before you can read here.  It didn’t take long to get back on my feet but I’m still getting back to my "normal" strength.  I can see looking back that this nerve ending on my spine had been there causing problems for a very long time and I’m thankful not to have that pain but I still have problems climbing hills.  I used to walk up the hill to 7th street in downtown Juneau 2-3 times a day and during lunch I’d walk up to the trailhead of Perseverance Trail.  A lot of that road is on an uphill slant which I never realized before.  The last time I tried that walk it set back a good month so I haven’t tried in a while.  I am, however, gaining speed on the treadmill so I’ll have to be satisfied with that.

Chris worked out at Kensington Mine for most of the year.  He would be at the office during the week and the mine usually Thursday thru Monday.  He did not enjoy that schedule much! It justified the purchase of his Ipad though and he loves that! Thankfully we did not get much snow last year so at least I wasn’t having to shovel snow while recovering from back surgery.  There were plenty of other challenges though...just carrying groceries and changing litter boxes and bags of pellets for the stove when you aren’t supposed to lift over 10 pounds.  My surgeon would not have been happy with me I’m afraid.

We had a really early spring and my garden did great (see blog pic).  It was so exciting to see things flourish like never before.  I don’t know if it was the warm, early spring or what but there were things that bloomed in my garden that had sat there dormant for years.  I’m all for that. 

In September my sister Barb came down from Cordova and spent about 10 days here.  We took the ferry to Haines to see my dad who is turning 91 in January.  We took hundreds of tulips bulbs to plant on my mom’s grave so I look forward to seeing what that produces this spring.  It is really hard to keep on top of that gravesite when you don’t live there.  My dad is doing well, he gets around fine and keeps really busy.  He turned his 14 acre farm over to the Bald Eagle Foundation this year so they are busy on site building new structures and rebuilding old ones.  He enjoys all the activity and is very happy with his decision, as are we.  He can live there as long as he is able.  We went on several long walks and he does just fine as long as there aren’t lots of roots or rocks to trip on.

In October Chris had a heart scare which turned out fine but the doctor here wanted him to be seen by a specialist so we ended up in Seattle for a few days.  What could have been a pretty awful time had the news been different, was actually a really wonderful little getaway for us.  We stayed at the Inn at Virginia Mason and the weather was spectacular.  It was like summer in Juneau! We enjoyed lots of walks around the hotel area, as far down as Pike Street Market and my sister Anne and her husband came over from Port Angeles one day and took us all around and then to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.  I also got to see my two nieces briefly whom I haven’t seen in 14 years.   They were 12 and 16 the last time I saw them and they have grown into very accomplished young women.  There is something  really bizarre about  seeing your nieces and nephews grow into adults!  I suppose that is what all you parents go through’s very surreal!

I wish everyone reading this a very Merry Christmas and a warm and prosperous new year.  May God bless you richly in 2011.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Incomparable Ed Lyness

Today I got a Christmas card from Ed Lyness.  He is an 80 something year old man who was married to my dad's cousin until her death.  They were the best of friends.  They really did have a marriage to admire and one that withstood the test of time.  I'm not sure what our consanguinity is but I am really honored to count him among my friends.  He lives a great life in Philadelphia.  This past year he started off meeting a bunch of church friends in Florida for a 20th annual reunion.  These are all folks who "snowbird" it to Florida during the winter months.  Then in April he went on a mission trip to Haiti.  His church paid for a new school and his job was install the main electrical service to the school and prepare a solar power system to light it.  This permitted them to disconnect from the unreliable and expensive Haiti Power Grid. 

When he got back he had a rotator cuff surgery and then in May he went on a annual canoe trip down the Susquehanna River.  He does electrical maintenance and construction at his church.  He attends the symphony, band concerts, stage plays and ballgames.  He plays street hockey with his 7 year old grandson and performs horn and piano duets with his son Eric (he plays piano).  He has three grandchildren and states they make his heart glad.

His own children are pretty impressive as well.  One is a country attorney in a small Iowa town.  They speak on the phone every night while she walks her dog.  His son Eric works for NASA developing software for control and data handling for an unmanned probe in 2011.  Katy is a freelance photo enhancer in NYC and takes jazz piano lessons and for fun a soil chemistry class at the NY Botanical gardens. She is also an amazing artist.  The baby of the family (Bob) lives in Washington DC and travels the world.  This last year he has been to Hawaii 3 times, Japan, England, France and NYC 17 times.  His passion is a Japanese dance form called "Butoh"  and he goes to workshops all over the world.  Ed says Bob doesn't tell him much about his job and until otherwise notified he is convinced he is a spy - but we are to keep that under our hats.

He is really an extraordinary man who has raised his children well and still lives an amazing and fulfilling life.  I find him very inspirational.  I was exhausted just reading his letter.

Blame it on the Mistletoe

I think the spirit has finally entered my soul....the spirit of Christmas that is! You can almost feel the anticipation in the air.  I love all the lights, the trees and the wreaths displayed.  On top of Mt. Roberts where the tram leads there is a blue lit cross that welcomes travelers into town every morning.  It looks like it's been hung from the sky and it's radiant as the moon serves to spotlight it.  And what about that moon folks?  I'd like to say I got out of bed last night sometime between 11 PM and 1 AM to see the lunar eclipse but sadly, it would be untrue.  I woke up once and briefly entertained the notion and then the nice warm bed versus zero degrees outside won over.  I figured there would be plenty of pictures! Most of the time, when the moon is doing special moon things, it's cloudy in Juneau so we don't have to worry about it but last night was perfectly clear.  I have been looking for northern lights lately but haven't seen any of them either.  Which means I actually have left my bed and gone outdoors in the wee hours of the morning.  I think the thing I love best about this season is "goodwill towards men" that is apparent.  Everyone seems just a little more patient and friendly and there are good tasting treats everywhere which probably helps bolster every one's disposition.  Here's wishing everyone a great rest of the week as we slide into Christmas day, 2010. Happy 'almost birthday' Jesus!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Iceberg On the Run

I keep referencing the ideal winter weather we've been having so today little Oscar and I braved the temps and walked out to the glacier by way of the lake so I could snap some shots.  I wasn't out there as long as I would have liked because the poor puppy was cold.  It didn't get over seven degrees at our house today and the glacier is two miles away so it probably hovered around zero there.  My face got cold as we were walking up to the glacier but on the way back to the car I was walking into the sun so it was very pleasant.  You do tend to get chilled though, whether it's apparent at the time or not.  I was cold all afternoon.

Mendenhall Glacier
Scene out at the glacier
Folks recreating on the lake

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Afternoon Delight

Today was really enjoyable.  First, it was my favorite winter weather, sunny and cold (around 11 degrees at our house)  everything covered in sparkling snow and bathed in sunlight.  The house was cleaned, the treadmill used and we were off to downtown for some Christmas shopping.  Chris was thrilled to find this fancy camera shop he was sure did not exist in Juneau (he is "counting his presents from Santa before they are unwrapped") otherwise known as buying accouterments for the new camera he knows is coming.  After wandering around town for a while we decided to get some lunch and blew into (and if you know downtown Juneau you know I mean that in the literal sense) an Italian Restaurant called Tarentinos.  We never eat downtown and even though I work downtown the only place I ever escape for lunch to is Bullwinkles on Thursday for a bowl of chili.  Tarentinos has probably been there a year or two but we had never heard of it.  It was nice and warm inside with just the right ambiance.  Frank Sinatra was singing in the background and my chicken fettucini alfredo and Chris' 5 cheese lasagna were to die for.  Plenty of garlic bread (emphasis on the garlic) and diet cokes and we were happy.  There was only one other table of diners so we got great service and conversation as well.  A delightful afternoon.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Finding God in Every Day Moments

This little title caught my attention tonight as I was looking at my blog.  I thought to myself, I should examine the last few days in hind site and see if I can discern the hand of God.  OK, let me try again.  Hmmmm, still no...I couldn't really find him in the 3 days I laid here waiting to see a dentist.  I was awfully thankful I had some pain pills on hand but that was just leftover from another painful incident so I'm not sure that deserves thanks.  I didn't really see him in my trip to the dentist although I was and AM eternally grateful for antibiotics.  Didn't really see him the day I got it extracted either because I really wanted to save my tooth or when it took over an hour to force the tooth out in bits and pieces although I am thankful the dentist got me in on an emergency basis and did eventually get it out. I really thought he had deserted me when I got home and was still in excruciating tooth ache and all related pain for a good 3-4 hours following the extraction.

But that doesn't mean he wasn't there.  True, I have a hard time seeing it but maybe had I not been home sick I would have gotten in a car wreck on my way to work.  Or maybe there would have been a fire in my building and I would have perished that way.  Or perhaps I would have slipped and fell on the ice and my life would have ended, or worse, I'd be in a wheelchair forever.  My point is, this is when we need faith the most.  As my post the other day stated, maybe when he was wasn't  here for me he had a really good excuse to be somewhere else.  I can't wait to ask...........

But until then Lord, please know I applaud all doctors of dental science.  I am equally as thankful for all modern pharmaceuticals but don't feel I need to experience ALL of them to appreciate them. Oprah always says we keep learning the same lessons over and over until we "get it" so Lord, before all my teeth are gone, please know I completely and fully comprehend! Can we at least move on to another body part, but not for say, 10 years??

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I haven't written for a few days because I've been sicker than a dog.  I should have known when I wrote Sinusitus, Blech that it wouldn't be anything that easy. I have a dental history that is something of a nightmare.  I have 15 crowns in my mouth and probably 9 different root canals, almost all of those 9 were the result of an excruciating toothache.  I haven't had a new cavity since high school, my teeth just die.  Who knew those years of dental assisting would serve me in the way they have!  So, my new thing is when I get an abscessed tooth it's on a tooth that has already had a root canal.  That happened a couple years ago and I ended up seeing the endodontist in Anchorage because I was up there for work.  He reintrumented the canal and left it open to finish in Juneau.  It was horribly painful in the days following the procedure and flying home once we got to altitude it became unbearable.  That hour and half airplane ride seemed to go on forever.  Anyway, on Friday when this all started I really thought it was due to my sinuses.  By the weekend I realized I did indeed have a toothache.  My dentist scolded me for not calling on Friday because the endodontist was down from Anchorage this past weekend and could have seen me.  As it is now, he put me on Penicillin and gave me pain meds and I have to wait until Jan 7th to see him.  Let me tell you how that works....I can't eat anything because the tooth hurts and seriously, I have no appetite.  I've eaten a bowl of cereal and a few bites of soup in 3 days.  All the drugs I'm taking give me a very sour stomach and I've thrown up 3 days in a row (and now I am very dehyraded).  I have a raging headache almost all the time.  Lately I've felt feverish and then gotten the chills.  My cheek is sore to touch and my tooth hurts, A LOT!! My body is just completely out of sorts.  Since my dentist wasn't all that optimistic about the endodontist being successful in my case and my dentist brother-in-law confirmed that, tomorrow I am going to pursue getting the tooth pulled.  I know I will need to do something VERY expensive to replace it (I'm thinking implant) but at least I'm not putting my money into a sinking ship.  I've already missed 3 days of work so it has already cost me enough money.  Please say a prayer for me, I could really use it!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Passwords - the bane of my existence!

It all started out so innocently, coming up with a password.  I used the same word for everything.  Because I know legions of people are reading this (NOT!) and I don't want to give out my real password, let's say I used "higgins." Pretty soon some cites wanted a number and/or a character AND they were case specific so then I had a few "Higgins" sprinkled in or some "Higgins50" and then there were "higgins50" and even a "Higgins500" -- and those are all just personal ones, at work I had "Higgins*" and Higgins5* and Higgins55* and they all change every 45 days or so.  In recent months I have been kicked out of far too many cites because I don't get the password right so I finally made a card in my roladex for every cite I have and the password.  There are google, Facebook, bank accounts, retirement accounts, PFD accounts, newspapers, Ameritrade, Alaska Airlines, Amazon, Expedia, canon, IRS, Itunes,, Pay Pal, Premera, R&B and the list goes on.  Seriously, is this all a conspiracy to make us lose our minds????

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I'm not exactly sure because I haven't gone to a doctor but I'm pretty sure I have sinusitus.  I just looked up the symptoms and I have the pressure, the headache & the tooth pain.  I certainly hope that's what it is because ANYTHING is better than having to deal with a toothache.  The tooth that  hurts the most is a molar with a crown so I'm 99% sure it also has a root canal and that would mean another visit to the endodontist from Anchorage.  My last experience with him could last me a life time, thank you very much.  All I know is I feel like crap!! I have some pain medication and that helped with the headache but then I threw up from the medicine.  I knew when I took it on an empty stomach I'd have problems but if I eat anything I stir up the toothpain.  All I can say is make it stop!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Favorite Books, Part II

A View from the Zoo
Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope
Celebrity Detox
Merle's Door:  Lessons of a Freethinking Dog
Gods in Alabama
Salem Falls
Rescuing Sprite
A Memoir:  All My Houses
For One More Day
Dangerous Surrender
Enclyclopedia of an Ordinary Life
Bel Cantro
My Sisters Keeper
Light on Snow
A Change of Heart
Eat, Pray, Love
Sarah:  How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska's Estalbishment Upside Down
The Book Thief
Mary, Mary
One Man's Wilderness
Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope
Beautiful Boy; A Father's Journey through His Son's Addiction
Here if You Need Me
Finding Faith
The Sacred Echos
The Accidental Explorer
The Shack
The Dead Don't Dance
The Choice
90 Minutes in Heaven
Multiple Blessings
The River Ends
Picture Perfect
Breakfast at Tiffany's
The Lucky One
Ghost Trails; Journey through a Lifetime
Wesley the Owl
Bad Dog
The Last Lecture
Infinite Grace
The Longest Trip Home
When I Lay My Issac Down
Nim Chimpsky; The Chimp Who Would be Human
The Associate
Sarah's Key
Friday Night Knitter's Club
From my Heart to Yours
Same Kind of Different as me
A New Kind of Normal
Handle with Care
Between Georgia
Second Glance
The Glacier Wolf
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Songs of a Humpback Whale
7th Heaven
Finding God in the Shack
Tracks of the Unseen
Alex & Me
The Penny
Edgar Sawtelle
Not My Daughter
Walking Home
The Last Summer
The Year of the Fog
The Inconvenient Elephant
Take Care of the Garden and the Dog
Litte Black Dress
Women, Food, and God
Romeo: The Story of An Alaskan Wolf
The Time of My Life
Spoken from the Heart
Safe Haven
Heartbroke Bay

Interesting Explanation

I came across this in my archives and thought I'd share it.  It addresses that age old question of why God allows bad things to happen to people.  Dave (the Sunday school teacher) was reading out of a book by Phillip Yancy where he makes this analogy:  Say you were to meet your friend at an appointed place and time and they didn’t show up….chances are (depending on the friend, of course) when they didn’t show up you would assume something happened beyond their control because otherwise they would be there or have called.  You think that based on your relationship with that person and the trust you have built and your years of experience.  So it is with God….instead of getting angry with Him when something bad happens or He doesn’t step in to save you when you think He should, maybe something we don’t yet know or understand has prevented that action. We spend so much time trying to make sense of this question and compartmentalize God and maybe it's just this simple.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

All-Star Teachers

In a post a while ago I mentioned I was thankful for some teachers in my life.  Today I want to highlight some of my favorites.

My second grade teacher, Mrs. Parker was my first favorite teacher.  I loved that lady.  To be honest I don’t exactly remember why but she was very grandmotherly.  Very nurturing.  She only died in recent years and she 100 years old so I figure she was in her late 50’s when I had her.   There is a big difference between 50 something today and 50 something then, she looked and acted quite elderly. (Or perhaps it was because I was only 7 then and now I am 50 something!!)  A couple things I remember well day she encouraged me to try the monkey bars.  I was really scared to do them until she told me she’d catch me if I fell.  So off I went and then I did fall and she didn’t catch me and I broke my leg.  You might assume that would tarnish my good opinion of her but it did not!  Another thing I remember was one day my dad came to the classroom and told me to go to the Matthew’s house after school because my mom had to leave town.  My mom NEVER left town and I was so afraid they were getting divorced and she had left me with my dad.  I remember crying at recess and Mrs. Parker comforting me and assuring me my mom would be back.

In fifth grade I had Mr. Bruce and I adored him as well.  Again, the details are a little hazy but I know he read us really interesting books and we did some really fun art projects.   I loved school in grade 5!

In high school I took algebra from Mr. Scharnbroich and I loved him.  I can’t exactly pinpoint why but he just commanded my attention and respect and I really liked algebra too.  I had him for two years and I really excelled in his class.  I still remember (and still have) a midterm test where I got 117/110 because I got a perfect score and the extra credit.  I remember also that a friend of mine took that test and showed my dad and he was very impressed until he realized the test was mine and not the kid who had it.  There just was no pleasing the science teacher!  The summer after I signed up for his geometry class he left his post at the high school and went to teach junior high.  I never have forgiven him!!

Finally there was Mrs. Pryse.  She taught typing and bookkeeping and she was the classiest lady ever.  She never raised her voice and always looked impeccable.  She wore fake fingernails and my friend Cheri and I were so enamored with her!  We remained friends after I graduated.  I saw a picture of her not too long ago and she still looks great.

There were other teachers I admired and enjoyed but those were my favorites.   There were plenty of others who were probably great teachers but they certainly could not teach in today’s world.  I remember them throwing erasers and chairs and essentially beating students.  It makes me wonder what kind of affect, if any, that had on the students on the receiving end of such behavior.  I also remember my 7th grade teacher, Mr. Hanson, who suffered the abuse of his students.  There were 4-5 boys in my class that made his life absolutely miserable.  I always felt bad for him and thought, even at the time that I would NEVER want to be junior high teacher. 
I'm sure most teachers, like parents, do the best they can.  It is not a profession one would enter into unless you had some genuine desire to make a difference. There are certainly easier ways of making a living.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My circle garden

This is the time of year that I love looking at my gardening pictures.  Oh, that's a lie, I love looking at them any time of year but especially when snow is on the ground. One garden in particular has a profound evolution from spring to fall and it's my "circle garden" a plot of dirt in the front of the house that used to have trees growing in it. 

In the Early Years.....

In Spring time

Full Bloom in Summer

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Reindeer Kitty


I don't think it takes much imagination to figure out what Piper was thinking here and I'm pretty sure it involved my name being taken in vain!

Optometrist Torture

I am not a fan of eye appointments.  I was due back in September and finally went today.  I hate the tests, the puff in the eyeballs, the bright flashes when they take pictures.  Then the doctor comes in and the real torture begins when you have to try and read the lines of letters.   I used to read off the bottom line with a bit of smugness, now I struggle with the 2nd to top line.  The "E" is the only thing I got down for sure.  Maybe that’s why I find the whole experience is a reminder of my continuing demise.  I really don’t like the “does line one look clearer or line two?”, “line two or line three?”, “which lines are darker, the horizontal lines or the vertical lines?” , “which set of lines are on top, the first or second?”  By the time I’m done I’m so confused I can’t see straight.  Today there some numbers that were high, a possible indicator of glaucoma so she put some yellow drops in my eyes that stung like crazy and then did another test with a tool right up against my eyeballs.  Then she concluded the numbers were a little high but nothing to be concerned about.  This after my eyes are watering out of control from all the abuse.  Now I just have a screaming headache.   Did I mention I do NOT enjoy the eye appointment???

Monday, December 6, 2010

Books, Part I

A few years ago I started keeping track of the books I read.  I think you can tell alot about a person by the books they read so here are some of the ones I really enjoyed:

Left to Tell: Finding God Amongst the Rowandan Holocaust
The Compassion of Animals: True Stories of Animal Courage and Kindness
The Broker
God Whispers
Marley & Me
Believing God
Inside My Heart: Choosing to Live with Love and Purpose
Girl Meets God
Memoirs of a Geisha
A Good Dog
The Purpose Driven Life
To Bagdad With Love
The Innocent Man
Lance Armstrong's War
Kite Runner
Chosen by a Horse
My Alaskan Idyll
A Deeper Sleep
In an Instant
If you Lived Here I'd Know Your Name
Inside the Kingdom
Nervous Water
The Organic God
Dear John
Nineteen Minutes
They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky
Slow Burn
The Glass Castle
Vanishing Acts
Harvesting the Heart
It's all About Him
Four Against the Wilderness
The Pact
A Grace Disguised
Perfect Match
Giving: How Each of us Can Change the World

What are some of YOUR favorites?