Saturday, July 22, 2017

So Great a Cloud of Witnesses

The Example of Jesus

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

When visiting Westby last week, we stopped out at Coon Prairie Lutheran Church cemetery (about two miles from town) to look at the gravestones of the ancestors. It's a wonderful thing, I think, to have a graveyard adjacent to the church. Anyway, Mr. C's grandfather, great grandfather, and great great grandfather are buried there, and any ancestors before that time would have been buried in Norway.

While walking through a graveyard like the one above, the verses from Hebrews always come to mind - those who put their trust in Jesus, although their bodies are buried in the cemetery, are with the LORD now until the Great Resurrection, when Christ will return to reign on the new (renewed) earth and those who died 'in Christ,' along with those who remain at his coming, will be changed, given new, indestructible physical bodies. As someone said, 'Right now, we are mere shadows of our future selves.'* Like Abraham and Moses and David and Rahab and all the others who loved God, the ancestors who died 'in Christ' are also part of that great cloud of witnesses.

I'm posting the entire chapter 11 and then verses 1-2 of chapter 12 in case you'd like to read them. They're such an encouragement for the believer.


Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  Indeed, by faith  our ancestors received approval.  By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

The Examples of Abel, Enoch, and Noah

 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain’s. Through this he received approval as righteous, God himself giving approval to his gifts; he died, but through his faith he still speaks.  By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death; and “he was not found, because God had taken him.” For it was attested before he was taken away that “he had pleased God.” And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.  By faith Noah, warned by God about events as yet unseen, respected the warning and built an ark to save his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir to the righteousness that is in accordance with faith.

The Faith of Abraham

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going.  By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.  For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.  By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old—and Sarah herself was barren—because he considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, “as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.”

 All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.  If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return.  But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.

 By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac. He who had received the promises was ready to offer up his only son,  of whom he had been told, “It is through Isaac that descendants shall be named for you.”  He considered the fact that God is able even to raise someone from the dead—and figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.  By faith Isaac invoked blessings for the future on Jacob and Esau.  By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, “bowing in worship over the top of his staff.”  By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave instructions about his burial.

The Faith of Moses

 By faith Moses was hidden by his parents for three months after his birth, because they saw that the child was beautiful; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.  By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called a son of Pharaoh’s daughter,  choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.  He considered abuse suffered for the Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to the reward.  By faith he left Egypt, unafraid of the king’s anger; for he persevered as though he saw him who is invisible.  By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

The Faith of Other Israelite Heroes

By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned.  By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days.  By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace.

And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—  who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions,  quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.  Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection.  Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.  They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

 Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.

The Example of Jesus

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us  looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the  joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. -  HEBREWS 11:1-12:2 NRSV - copied from

 We've been visiting that cemetery for years.
The little boy and girl in the photo above
are now 47 and 43.

*C.S. Lewis or N.T. Wright, I don't remember which.

Have a blessed Lord's Day, friends!


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hodgepodging Childhood Memories

 My maternal grandma as a teen
She was at least one generation removed from the photo grin.
And I wouldn't smile either - with that stiff collar choking me!

Join Joyce and the Gang

She writes the questions;
we write the answers.
Plug them into your own blog post
and join in!

1. Growing up, were you close to your grandparents? Tell us one or two specific things you remember about them.

Oh yes, I was close to both sets of grandparents. I remember my maternal grandma bringing bananas and doll clothes out to the farm, I remember her sweet nature and her love of Jesus, her leading Child Evangelism classes in her home, and her generosity to her neighbors even though she certainly did not have an extra penny to her name. Even so, she paid for me to take a taxi from her house to my piano lesson (in town), gave me old copies of McCall's magazine so I could cut out the Betsy McCall paper dolls, fed me raspberry sauce as a treat, etc. etc. And I mostly remember that her house was cluttered and INTERESTING. (Take that, you spartans!)

My paternal grandma kept nothing extra, but she made up for it (having a kind of boring house) by making great homemade bread (and putting butter AND salt on it), teased my grandpa about the fact that he spoke Swedish when he was a kid, had a very dry sense of humor which I loved, and gave me fond memories of her - AND of my grandpa, whom I remember praying in church and crying as he prayed. Because he was an emotional person? No. He was a humble man who loved God, who was overwhelmed by the realization that God became man to rescue him (and all of us) from ourselves, from our sin, from eternal death - because God so loves the world. And I'm totally with my grandpa on that. It never ceases to choke me up.

You really got me with these first two questions, Joyce, and you can consider yourself lucky that my answers aren't longer than they are!

 Shammar looked kinda like this horse, 
with a white blaze the length of his face.

2. What's an item you were attached to as a child? What happened to it?

First, I was attached to my horse, Shammar, who kept me slightly scared of him the entire time, although I loved him. He was Arabian/Welsh and beautiful, scared of butterflies and would freak out if a fly or butterfly flew past him as I was riding. Then I had to simply hang on for dear life as he bolted back to the barn. I can't tell you how many times that happened. Sometimes I wasn't lucky enough to stay on and had to brush myself off and walk back to the barn. You can tell I wasn't a great horsewoman, but I loved that horse enough to decorate his side of the calf barn with photos of other horses, took him sugar lumps and carrots, etc. He totally didn't deserve me.  And when I was out of school, my dad sold him to some people in a neighboring village. I don't know whatever happened to him.

Secondly, I was attached to my shoebox full of baseball cards. All the best players: Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Bobby Richardson, Hank Aaron, Juan Marichal, Roberto Clemente, etc. etc. etc. And my mom threw them out the year I was in Bolivia. I've complained about this before, so I'll let it go without piling on. But they would have been worth something today. See? It pays to keep stuff.

 Henry and Mr. C. playing frisbee in the south yard

3. When you look out your window, do you see the forest or the trees (literally and figuratively)? Explain.

Literally, I see the forest. This is rural Wisconsin. Figuratively, although I love detail, I think I'm pretty good at seeing the forest, the bigger picture, and try to look at all angles of a situation and being willing to admit that I was wrong. Or that I've been wrong for years.

Greek Yogurt with Raspberries!
The raspberries in the garden are ripe about three weeks earlier than usual.

4. Do you like sour candies? Which of the 'sour' foods listed below would you say is your favorite?

No, I don't like sour candies, except for the sugared sour gummy things, whose name escapes me, but I don't go out of my way to buy them. If they happened to be the only candy in the house, I might eat a couple - if all the chocolate chips were gone.

grapefruit, Greek yogurt, tart cherries, lemons, limes, sauerkraut, buttermilk, or kumquats 

I don't think of Greek Yogurt as being sour, but I do love it - and tart cherries.

Have you ever eaten a kumquat? What's your favorite dish containing one of the sour foods on the list?

Not a fan of kumquats. I would love a tart cherry pie, but I'd probably be eating it all by myself while Mr. C. ate a bag of salty chips. So I'll pass on that one.

 The gluten-free cherry pie I made for July Fourth
I wasn't thrilled with the crust, but the cherries were good.
GF dough is nearly impossible to weave because it breaks.
And guess who ate most of the pie. Somebody had to get rid of it.

5. July 1st marked the mid point of 2017. In fifteen words or less, tell us how it's going so far.

Like every summer in Wisconsin, it's going far too fast.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

 One of my favorite places:
The Amish community near Westby, WI

 Another Barn Raising nr. Westby

 I made the mistake of draping a fresh-clean blanket over the bench.
Tommy and Smokey, cute as usual

Linking to Maggie's Mosaic Monday


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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Hodgepodging America's Dairyland

Back in Westby for the final round

Join Joyce and the Gang

From this Side of the Pond

She writes the questions;
we write the answers.
Plug them into your own blog post
and join in!

1. When was the last time you chatted with a neighbor? About what? (sharing that last bit is optional)

Who is my neighbor? I chat with people in the grocery store (mostly about increasing prices or the weather or where to find an item) people I meet here and there wherever I go (about whatever comes to mind) and with Tommy and Smokey and Mr. C., my closest neighbors. Otherwise, there are no close neighbors out here in the middle of nowhere.

Except for these lovely ladies

2. River, lake, ocean, or waterfall...which one are you most like and why?

I have absolutely no idea what this is all about. I'll take a stab at trying to answer a right-brain question with a left-brain brain, and say probably a river - because I like to be moving and like to travel - to go somewhere.  I can't imagine where a waterfall comes into this, but it seems like it would be uncomfortable and dangerous.

Red Cedar River nr. Sand Creek, WI

3. July 13 is National Delaware Day. Ever been to Delaware? Delaware is called 'the first state' because it was the first to declare independence from the British. What's your state's nickname and does that moniker make sense to you? If you were in charge, what nickname would you give your home state?

I've never been to Delaware. My state's nickname is The Badger State OR America's Dairyland. I prefer that one. If I were in charge of naming it, though, I would change it to "Wisconsin - Home of Tommy and Smokey." Can't you see that on every Wisconsin license plate!

Wisconsin - Home of Tommy & Smokey

4. What dish did you contribute to the last pot luck meal you attended? Do you have a go-to recipe for pot luck suppers?

It was probably a gluten-free chicken penne pasta casserole (delicious) or a salad. Pot luck dinners aren't my favorite thing, because there's not much there to eat. Once I saw someone bring out a wonderful green salad, and just as I got my hopes up, she poured an entire bottle of some unknown liquid substance all over it, drowning the poor greens, tomatoes, and vegetables in a long list of unpronounceable ingredients.

Looking through my 'chicken' files, I saw this and realized that I'd not made this in a long time. It's one of my favorites (so why haven't I made it recently ??): Basil Pesto Fetuccine with grilled chicken. SO good! On the menu soon!

5. What is your number one tip for a brand new parent?

You can never love, hold, or talk to your child too much. One young parent told me that she didn't want her child to become 'too attached' to her. Really?? I think that's called BONDING and what we should all want. (Yes, I was accused, when our firstborn was a wee lad, that he was too bonded to us.) Children need a sense of security that only comes through bonding.

Yep, definitely too bonded.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

The past couple days we were in Westby, wrapping up the cousin's estate. Mr. C. had to testify before a judge that he'd taken care of all the particulars of the estate and all was in order. Then the judge said to him, 'I just have one question:  Where did you get your shirt? I really like it.'  HAHA. (It's a sage green Field & Stream shirt that he got at Sam's Club and it really is a nice shirt, but that gave us all a good laugh.)

Jerseys on Bloomingdale Road
nr. Westby, WI

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!


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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Tommy's Cherry Jam and Tommy's Cherry Butter

You might have seen this photo on Instagram, but I thought I'd post it here as well. I thought the pretty Emma Bridgewater robin mug was perfect to use for my coffee with my homemade biscuits and Tommy's Cherry Jam and Tommy's Cherry Butter (from Door County). 

Although I managed to choke them down, the biscuits were terrible, more like white hockey pucks, really. But the cherry butter and cherry jam make even a hockey puck tolerable, so I persevered.

I would give you the recipe for the gluten-free biscuits, but really, they were that bad. So I'm going to just keep it to myself and try a different recipe next time. Even a Saltine cracker would have been better. But that cherry jam and cherry butter? They're outstanding! (and they'd better be, for the arm and leg they cost to purchase them).

We spent the weekend with our daughter and family who live in Wausau. It had been stormy earlier in the day, but the clouds moved out and the full moon rose to give us a very pretty walk along the Wisconsin River with a view of the beautiful sunset over the river on one side and the full moon on the other side. 

The next full moon will be the day after my birthday, but I'm expecting the family here for that weekend, so we can probably get the moon walk in at least close to the actual full moon date - if we have clear skies. It's worth trying to keep that appointment with the moon.

It's Carla's fault for getting me started on this moon thing. Thank you, Carla.

Linking to Mosaic Monday


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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Hodgpodging A Holiday


I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July, celebrating the good old U.S.A.  On the past weekend, we had family here, so on the actual Fourth, we spent without family and instead walked the Red Cedar Trail in Menomonie. It was a gorgeous day for it!

The following are a few pics from when some of the family was here and we took the kids to Sand Creek, WI, where there's a beautiful, wadable creek (about which I've written in the past.)

 Sand Creek, Wisconsin

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 312

Click HERE to join Joyce and the Gang

for Hodgepodge Wednesday.

Happy July 4th Hodgepodgers! And if you're joining in from outside the US of A, then happy Tuesday! Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then jump back here tomorrow to share answers with all your friends and neighbors.

Also, there's a little something going on with Photo Bucket right now causing my button (and thousands of other bloggers buttons, headers, content, etc ) to look a little funny. Until my IT department aka Daughter1 gets it sorted it's fine to just link to my blog without the button this week.

Here we go-

1. When and where were the best fireworks you've ever seen? Speaking of you know your hot buttons? The things people can say and/or do to set you off? When was the last time someone pushed one of your hot buttons?

Barron, Wisconsin. Because we were there with friends and had lots of popcorn and Twizzlers and the kids were playing games in the school yard. Hot buttons? People who leave their dogs outdoors in HOT or FREEZING weather and who don't provide fresh water for them and don't take them for walks. People who don't scoop their cats' litter boxes every day (or more often). People who tell me I'm obsessive about my pets. LOL  Actually, life has been pretty calm lately, no hot buttons pushed in the recent past. People are getting smarter, I guess. :-) Except for Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio who seem obsessed with gender identity, fluidity, etc. etc. etc. What is the deal anyway?? 

 And don't they look thrilled that Grandma's taking their picture!

2. Have you hosted any outdoor summer parties this year? Attended any? What makes for a great outdoor party?

When I read this week's Hodgepodge questions, I wondered if this was the week I clue you all in to the fact that I really am a boring person (in case any among you hasn't yet caught on). Parties aren't my thing. Occasionally I'll host a party, but haven't done so in a long time. A great outdoor party is one that is far enough away that I don't have to hear it and one I'm not obligated to attend. On the other hand, I do love visiting with one or two or a few people at a time.

 Tending to the bluegills,
Taking them to the garden pond.

3. What does freedom mean to you?
Freedom means, first and foremost, freedom in King Jesus, who gives me freedom from guilt, shame, and fear, freedom from sin and death. As Lord of the Universe, he lives and reigns today and forever, and I love the freedom that I have to be myself and not have to prove anything to anyone, that I am completely acceptable to God because of Jesus. And I love the joy that freedom brings me every single day.

Secondly, freedom means freedom of thought, freedom of expression, freedom of speech, etc. which are precious and which need to be protected from overzealous legislators who would like to make a law about everything.

 Yes, we need to get the lattice installed.

4. July is National Cell Phone Courtesy month...what annoys you most about people's cell phone habits?

Of course, the thing that bothers me the most is talking on a cell phone or texting while driving. The other thing is when I'm in a store and someone is walking around, getting their groceries or whatnot and talking (loudly) on their phones so that everyone is informed of their business.

5. What's your current summer anthem?

Anthem? Is this another trend that I'm not privy to?? 

6.  Insert your own random thought here. 

Over the weekend we played Monopoly with the kids. I'm not the best player because I wait to buy particular properties, such as Piccadilly and Strand and Trafalgar, rather than being strategic about the whole thing. It's why I'm terrible at Scrabble: I'm working at constructing a GREAT word while everyone else is winning because they're putting down boring little four letter words. Sigh.

ANYWAY, that's not what I was going to tell you. This little boy in the photos above wanted to play Monopoly. It ended up being played on parts of two days. He is a real trooper. As you can see in the first frame, he is quite glum about having to pay rent to a greedy, meany landlord and he has no property. He's sure he's going to lose.

The last frame shows a happy boy who is winning, who I think got all of Grandma's Monopolies (yellow and red cards) at the end. He was a delight to play Monopoly with and has an incredible attention span.

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Friday, June 30, 2017

Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies Recipe, Tommy and Smokey

Happy last day of June, everyone! It looks like we're going to have rain and thunderstorms until sometime Sunday. I'm looking forward to seeing sun again!

As requested, I'm posting the recipe for the oatmeal, coconut, and walnut cookies in the photo above, which some of you saw on Instagram. They're gluten-free and delicious.

Gluten Free Recipe, Oatmeal Coconut Cookies

This recipe makes about 3 1/2 dozen large cookies.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 c. soft butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar  (Instead, I used about half the amount of sugar called for)
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla

Slowly mix in the following ingredients which have been measured and stirred in a separate bowl first:

2 c. Gluten Free flour (I use Bob's Red Mill One-to-One)
2 c. Gluten Free oatmeal (again, Bob's Red Mill)
2 c. Coconut
2 t. Baking Powder
1 t. Baking soda
1 t. Salt

Lastly, stir in 1 c. chopped walnuts.

Drop by shooter marble size balls onto greased jellyroll pans.
Bake 12-13 minutes until they are set and not wet, but don't let them get too golden.
I always smack the pan on the top of the cookstove to flatten out the cookies a little faster and I let them cool on the pan (finish baking) before removing from pan.

 Perfect for coffee and cookies on the front porch!


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 Tommy and Smokey, yesterday afternoon
on the porch glider
These two!

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