Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Hodgepodging With A Smile

 Sunrise, January 24
View from our front porch

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1. Speaking of your wit's end, at loose ends, a dead end, burn the candle at both ends, all's well that end's well, or no end in sight...which 'end' phrase might best be applied to your life lately? Explain.  
'No end in sight' is what I'm tempted to choose, mostly because the others don't fit, and also because about this time of the year it seems that there's no end in sight when it comes to winter. It was -12F yesterday morning and we still have March and April to endure before spring has actually arrived. And yes I know I've complained about that before. But really. You know it would seem unnatural if you came here, asked that question, and didn't find that particular answer. I didn't want to disappoint you.

Haugen's Village Grocery
2. What was a must have accessory when you were growing up? Did you own one? If so tell us what you remember about it.

Shoes. Well seriously, I was a kid during a time when no one was into name brand anything. Or if they were, our family and friends were oblivious to it. We had shoes, book bag, bought school clothes once a year, and everyone else was in the same boat. And no, I wasn't alive during the Great Depression. But my parents were, and I think that had a lasting impact.

There's a reason why I don't blog as often as I used to.

3. Something that made you smile yesterday?

There are many times a day that I smile over many different things. Yesterday's smile got lost in the crowd. I smile over some particular blessing that I've observed, some stupid joke someone has told me, hearing of the antics of the grandkids, watching the kitties snuggle together (is that redundant??), a particularly good point in a book I'm reading, something funny that I think of at an inappropriate moment, a comment on an Instagram post, etc. etc.
 Maybe those horses should look for a different shelter.
Photo taken at a nearby Amish farm
This photo is for Carla
(From the River Flowing blog) 

Do you see a theme here?
And BTW, the above photo was not taken in January.

I'm pretty sure you've seen this one before,
but this is what January looks like. :-((

4. January 30th is National Croissant Day. Do you like croissants? Sweet or savory? We're having chicken salad for lunch...would you rather have yours served on a croissant, a wrap, a bagel, bread, or a roll of some sort?

I rarely eat croissants but love them. My favorite are strawberry/cream cheese. And I've not eaten one for years. I'd always rather have my chicken salad on a croissant than any of the other choices - and with almonds or pecans and berries mixed in.
But I did eat a blueberry/lavender/lemon scone yesterday morning and it was worth every single moist, delicious, carb-filled morsel.
 Beef stirfry, lots of peppers and onions, salad.
My favorite food.

5. Sum up your January in fifteen words or less.

Cold, colder, coldest. January can't leave soon enough for me.

6.  Insert your own random thought here. 
 An interested audience provides incentive to eat one's lunch.
Visiting grandson and ratty. 
This little guy makes me smile (the grandson, not the rat)


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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

It's Positively Hodgepodge!

 I'll take the tree off the porch
as soon as it stops looking like
Christmas out there!

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1. January 24th is National Compliment Day. Is it easy or not so easy for you to accept a compliment? Share a recent compliment you've given or received.

I'll let you know. (but seriously yes, and easy to say thank you.)
But I don't hesitate to give compliments, or I guess I should say that I like commending people for things they've done well, happiness they've brought to others, or beauty they've created. It is good for people to be acknowledged and helps them become happier people. And why on earth not? If it's not sincere, then of course it's just flattery. But contrary to what some seem to think, commending someone or giving a compliment doesn't detract from you in any way, (an attitude that just boggles my mind.)

 Big snow storm yesterday.

2. Ten little things you are loving right now.
Tommy & Smokey (except that Tommy just crashed my Bridger shrine photo and broke the candelabra doing it.)
Fire in the stove
Thoughts of spring
Good coffee
Snow that won't stay more than three more months
A good snowplow and a man who loves to push snow around
Good books that arrive in the mail
A PayPal account that I hope will increase soon
Book of Common Prayer
A not-so-little thing, Mr. C. who keeps that miserable long driveway plowed after snow storms and who is a cheerful and fun companion.

 I'll pretend that Tommy didn't do this on purpose.

3. Would people describe you as a positive person? Do you see yourself that way? I read here  a list/description of eight things positive people do differently-

I don't know. I hope they would. I certainly see myself as a positive person. I positively hate winter, so even that should count, right? But I love May, (except for a few years ago when we got a May blizzard with 18 inches of snow) and I think of the beauty of May awaiting me.

Positive people find something to look forward to every day, they celebrate the small stuff, they're kind, they stay busy, accept responsibility for their actions, forgive themselves, know when to move on, and resist comparisons

Which action on the list would you say you do regularly? Which action could you add to your life to give you a more positive outlook? If you're a positive person, what's something you do regularly that's not on the list?

I would say that I've got most of that list covered, but there's room for improvement in the area of kindness. Of course I have to be out among people in order to be kind to them, and I mostly find myself being kind to Tommy & Smokey, who are the ones here at home with me, staying warm beside that ever-hungry stove. And yes, I am kind to Mr. C., but that occasionally takes more effort.

To add to the list, I'd say that spending time reading and praying (see Book of Common Prayer) and in general reading good books regularly is really important for staying positive.   Also, worrying less about decluttering the house (my daughter will cringe) and instead enjoying it during the long winter months helps me stay positive. There's so much fun stuff around me - Did I mention books? and dark chili chocolate? and replays of Endeavour and Lewis?

 I did get rid of the clutter, I want you to know.
And it's not my fault that Mr. C. brings home bits and bobs from job sites! 
BTW You can get a Church of England Daily Prayer app for your Kindle or smartphone. 
It's the best habit. I love it.

 4. Homemade chicken soup, beef stew, or a bowl of chili...what's your pleasure on a cold winter's day?

A bowl of chili - about 5:30 in the afternoon. Love it!

 Hospital pics from last week.
Daughter (left) knitted that darling hat! (Scottish Blackface sheep, my favorite)
Little patient and brother getting a ride in the wagon, thanks to Gpa.
Tommy & Smokey & Tuppence getting a drink 

Little Patient
upon being discharged from the hospital
Pure joy.

5. The best part of my day is....

That would be morning. I am definitely a morning person. And Anglophile that I am, starting the day with my version of a Full English Breakfast: (I did say my version).

 Black coffee and a protein bar
and my Kindle, of course
And morning Scripture and prayer with BCP (see above). Yes, I have the app. So handy.
Why did some churches stop kneeling for prayer??

6.  Insert your own random thought here. 

 New book and fresh attempt at liking tea.
Book a huge success,
Tea an utter failure.
(the part of my Anglophileness that I regret)
But I love my 'Robins in a Starry Night' mug.

“Being a disciple of Jesus is not primarily a matter of getting the right ideas and doctrines and beliefs into your head in order to guarantee proper behavior; rather, it's a matter of being the kind of person who loves rightly--who loves God and neighbor and is oriented to the world by the primacy of that love. We are made to be such people by our immersion in the material practices of Christian worship--through affective impact, over time, of sights and smell in water and wine.” 

 “Liturgies aim our love to different ends precisely by training our hearts through our bodies.” - James K.A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom

 Snuggling during the blizzard


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Friday, January 19, 2018

Just to let you know, dear bloggers, Lucy gets to come home today. Thank you all for your prayers! And I can't believe I'm able to do this from my phone!!


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Hodgepodging a Sneaky Cat and a Sick Little Granddaughter

That basket is supposed to contain a towel only.
vintage clawfoot tub,
vintage windows
vintage McCoy pottery
vintage wallpaper  :-)
year old cat

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1. What keeps you blogging?

Right now, what keeps me blogging at all is Joyce's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Thank you, Joyce.

2. Some people like to travel in the winter months. Do you enjoy the beach in winter? According to Southern Living the best U.S. beach towns to visit this winter are-

St Simons Island (Georgia), Hilton Head (South Carolina), Bald Head Island (North Carolina), Seaside (Florida), Bay St. Louis (Mississippi), Cape San Blas (Florida), South Padre Island (Texas), Folly Beach (South Carolina), Chincoteague (Virginia), Duck Key (Florida), Nags Head (North Carolina), and Fairhope (Alabama)

Have you been to any of the towns listed (in any season)? Which on the list appeals to you most this winter?
Is this some kind of a cruel joke? We've got at least 3 more months (okay, maybe 2 1/2) of winter to endure, and there are no hopes of heading south, let alone to a beach. But if I could be teleported to any of those listed, it would be Chincoteague. I've read about the ponies on Chincoteague and would like to see them.

 Winter in a wee village in Wisconsin

3. What's a song you're embarrassed to know all the lyrics to? Are you really embarrassed or do just think you should be?

Love Potion No. 9. But then I'm not actually embarrassed. I probably should be embarrased to admit that I know all the lyrics to most of the Saturday morning cartoon TV shows from the late 50s, early 60s. Really. Still. And someday when if I'm in the nursing home in the Alzheimers Unit, I'll probably be singing them to the top of my lungs. Just a fair warning.

 Beautiful Wisconsin Barn on Hwy 29
4. When you were a kid what's something you thought would be fantastic as an adult, but now that you're an adult you realize it's not all that fantastic?

Being older.

 My favorite photo from my journals
(see below)

I told Mr. C. that I want to live in York Minster Cathedral. He says they'd probably put me in charge of scrubbing the tile floor. Would that be all bad? I mean if I get to go to Sunday morning worship and Evensong services? He says he'll buy me a one-way ticket. Should I be thrilled...or worried??
5. Share a quote you hope will inspire you in 2018.

“Worship works from the top down, you might say. In worship we don’t just come to show God our devotion and give him our praise; we are called to worship because in this encounter God (re)makes and molds us top-down. Worship is the arena in which God recalibrates our hearts, reforms our desires, and rehabituates our loves. Worship isn’t just something we do; it is where God does something to us. Worship is the heart of discipleship because it is the gymnasium in which God retrains our hearts.”  James K.A. Smith, You Are What You Love:  The Spiritual Power of Habit
 “Our essential embodiment will keep interrupting our Platonic desire to do away with the body, will keep insinuating itself into our dualistic discourses to remind us that the triune God of creation traffics in ashes and dust, blood and bodies, fish and bread. And he pronounces all of it “very good.”  - James K.A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation

6. Insert your own random thought here.

 Photo from New Year's

The sweet little granddaugher standing next to Mr. Blue Eyes grandson was admitted to the hospital on Sunday night and has pneumonia. She is on an IV of antibiotic and steroids, is being given a nebulizer treatment every three hours around the clock (it was every two hours until Tuesday), and will be able to go home when her oxygen levels have been high enough for an entire day/night. So far that's not happened. Please pray for Lucy and for her exhausted mama. (She's the daughter who put her back out the beginning of last week.) I returned home on Saturday and Lucy was admitted to the hospital a day later. We will probably be heading over there on Thursday.

And full disclosure: my Christmas decorations are not down yet. Possibly tomorrow, likely not. Maybe February. When I got home from our daughter's on Saturday evening, I continued working on my England photo journal because all of the photos, ephemera, etc.were STILL strewn across the entire kitchen table and I had to get that done and the table cleaned off!  So 96 pages later, my two-volume photo journal is finished. So you see why I can't possibly do a Shutterfly photo book. It would cost me a fortune!

I'll admit that I got a little sick of the whole project before I was done.


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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Hodgepodging Mentors and Weirdness

 January 6, 2018, from the porch

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1. January is National Mentoring Month. Have you ever had a mentor? Been a mentor? How would you rate the experience?

Yes, I'd say that I've had several mentors. I've never met any of them in person, but I've learned a lot from them: Francis Schaeffer, John Gerstner, R.C. Sproul, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, and N.T. Wright, mostly.
Uh, yes, there are more.
2. What current trend makes no sense to you?
Why Tommy & Smokey are so fascinated with the bathtub makes no sense to me. That is a recent trend. If trends are not occurring in my house in front of the fire during this cold January, I'm not aware of them. I don't watch TV, only YouTube lectures and British mysteries on Acorn, so I'm not aware of trends. I hope to get out more in the spring. :-)

3. I saw a cartoon on facebook highlighting a few 'weird' things that make you happy as an adult. The list included-writing with a nice pen, having plans cancelled, freshly cleaned sheets, eating the corner brownie, cleaning the dryer lint screen, and sipping coffee in that brief time before anyone else wakes up. (Credit for the cartoon goes here) Of the 'weird' things listed which one makes you happiest? What is one more 'weird' thing you'd add to the list?

None of those things seem weird to me. Fresh air-dried sheets and pillowcases are a favorite thing when it's not minus 20 degrees F. Of course, we're currently experiencing a heatwave and it's in the 20s today. Of those things mentioned, that is probably my favorite (the line-dried sheets). My  next would be a really good pen, and I happen to love a black TuL pen. I was tempted, when recently at Office Max, to purchase a set of TuL pens of many colors. Maybe later in the winter.
Okay, but I don't think this is weird either: opening a new book. You'd think I have a crush on the UPS guy for as often as he brings me 'presents.'
 From the archives

4. What's the last good thing you ate?

Probably the last good thing I ate was a hamburger patty with coarse ground mustard, a large green salad, and fried onions and peppers. Supper, last night. I would have said my morning coffee and food bar, but Mr. C. insists that it's not actually food. What does he know.

5. Describe life in your 20's in one sentence.

I'm trying to figure out how to get naive, ignorant, foolish, selfish, impatient, and young in one sentence. But I had a good husband, two sweet and cute little ones, wonderful parents and parents-in-law, and a merciful, patient, loving God.
Now that I look at that list again, I'm hoping that some (any!) besides 'young' can be crossed off for a current description. Have mercy, O God, according to your lovingkindness. 


6. Insert your own random thought here. 
I might not get to anyone's blog tomorrow (I'm writing this on Tuesday) because I just found out that my daughter in Wausau threw out her back in a major way and I'm going over there within the hour to spend some time doing what I can to help - maybe to help get her up off the floor! Anyway, please understand if I don't get back to you. This young woman has a three year old and a 7 year old, is currently in a lot of pain, and prayers for her would be appreciated. Thanks.

 In Bisbee, AZ

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

When Did We Do That, Lord?

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.  

"Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;  for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’   

"Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’   

"And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ - Matthew 25:31-40 NRSV

Lord, help us to see others through your eyes, 
and to spend more time doing 
and less time analyzing. Amen.

The First Sunday After The Epiphany.


'Thy Kingdom come Thy will be done on earth as in Heaven.'

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Let's Unpack the Hodgepodge

Q:  How many men does it take to tend a fire?

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A quick word here to once again thank Joyce for her dedication to the weekly Hodgepodge. We all appreciate it, Joyce. A very happy new year to you and to all the Hodgepodgers out there!

1. It's that time of year again...time for Lake Superior University to present a list of words (or phrases) they'd like to see banished (for over-use, mis-use, or genera uselessness) in 2018. You can read more about the decision making process and word meaning here, but this year's top vote getters are-

unpack, dish (as in dish out the latest rumor), pre-owned, onboarding/offboarding, nothingburger, let that sink in, let me ask you this, impactful, Cofefe, drill down, fake news, hot water heater (hot water doesn't need to be heated), and gig economy

Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word not on the list you'd like to add?

UNPACK. I am so incredibly sick of the word 'unpack,' and I'm not referring to the act of taking the clothes out of my carry-on and either washing them or putting them back into the closet. Did preachers/teachers/lecturers all 'get the memo' (another bad one) to continue to overuse that term in 2017? Let's get rid of both of them, please.

 Grandpa getting popcorn ready
Toesies thawing by an open fire (think Mel Torme')
Tommy enjoying all the affection
Joe and boys playing with dominoes
THE FIRE (okay, so it's not open)

2. What's something you need to get rid of in the new year?

I've already started, although I fell off the wagon a bit during Christmas and New Years, but getting rid of all sugar (including fruit, except berries) and sugar substitutes, even those that are natural. That, along with eating more salt, has made a big impact on how I feel (for the better). And yes, you read that right, eating more salt. Oddly enough, many of us don't get enough salt in our diets. You can Google it.

No idea.
But they needed my kitchen counter to play it
because the little kids had the table occupied.

3. Where do you feel stuck?

I don't feel stuck (bearing in mind that this is only January 2 as I write this) in any area, I guess, except maybe in finding ways to get through the long winter ahead. However, I am much more optimistic about this winter than I probably have been in the past several winters. What I read, what I think, how I worship, is immensely influential over those feelings. And January, although it can be (and currently is) bitterly cold in NW Wisconsin in January, it is usually very bright and sunny - which helps a lot. So, a new year, a new calendar, and a bright sunny day helps me to be full of optimism. 

What Tommy and Smokey do best...

4. January is National Soup Month. When did you last have a bowl of soup? Was it made from scratch or from a can? Your favorite canned soup? Your favorite soup to make from scratch on a cold winter's day?

The last bowl of soup/stew I ate was at our son's house in Minnesota when we returned from Arizona. Our daughter-in-law had made it, it was delicious and hit the spot! It was from scratch.

I don't have a favorite canned soup. I haven't met one that isn't poisonous. I do have a go-to, from-scratch soup recipe for chicken/black bean/tomato/vegetable, which I often make and let simmer on the stove all afternoon. With a string of days that start out at MINUS-20-or-colder-something degrees Fahrenheit, it's probably a good idea to get one of those going again this week. We're definitely keeping both wood-burning stoves stoked up.

Two dozen piping hot popovers
and every last one gone.
I love it when that happens.

5. Tell us one thing you're looking forward to in 2018.

I'm looking forward to visiting our son in Arizona again, to possibly accompanying our daughter to Italy sometime this year, and always looking forward to having the family gather here, as we did this past weekend. Also, a couple other things, possibly better not to mention.

The most delicious, melt-in-your-mouth carrot cake with cream cheese frosting! was sent to us by a sweet friend in Oregon, in memory of his dear wife Bonnie, who made a ton of these every Christmas to give away. It was delicious, Tom, and it went so fast it basically evaporated! Thank you. (The second one is in the freezer, waiting until some time in mid January, when we'll take it out as a special treat.)

Fall of 2012

6. Insert your own random thought here.
Most of the photos in this post were taken this past weekend, when the family gathered here for New Year's. 

Did you realize that the game Clue Jr. is more complicated than the original??

 Me too, Oliver.

Happy New Year, everyone!

And a thought as we all enter this new year of 2018:

"As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him,  rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily..." - Colossians 2:6-9

Thanks to all of you who have read my very intermittent blog over the past year. I do appreciate your nice comments.

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