Wednesday, September 30, 2020

End of September Hodgepodge


 Yes, it's Wednesday again and we're rolling toward the end of the month.   It's time for the Wednesday Hodgepodge, where Joyce asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers.  It's always a lot of fun -- though sometimes a challenge -- and a great way to come up with an interesting blog post.  If you'd like to join in,  just head over to From This Side of the Pond and get the questions from Joyce, then answer them on your own blog. Here are the questions for this week:

1. When is the last time you experienced nostalgia? 

Probably this morning.   I was outdoors taking a few fall photos and noticed my old blue bike (I got it when I was 12 and spent countless happy hours riding it) propped against a tree.  My hubby found it in our garage clean-out and we thought it would make good outdoor decor, although we've done nothing decorative with it yet.  If  he replaces the tires as he promised to do, I might even ride it occasionally.

 2. September 29th is National Coffee Day. Do we need this? Ha! So are you a coffee drinker? If so how many cups per day, and tell us how you like it. Is there a recipe you enjoy that calls for coffee as one of the ingredients? 

I am a coffee drinker.  I didn't start drinking coffee until I was in my 40s, but now I really enjoy it. I probably drink 2 cups a day, some days 3.  I like it with just cream, no sugar.  I remember a recipe for a sort of spicy frosted bar cookie containing coffee.  If I can find it, I'll add it to the post.
 3. Do you find praise or criticism to be more motivating? Explain. 
I would say that I find praise, or, more accurately, encouragement, to be more motivating. Criticism, far from making me say "I'll show them!" and try even harder, makes me feel like not trying at all.  When someone gives me a bit of encouragement, though, I am much more apt to work harder at whatever I'm doing, or seek to make it more better or more effective, or whatever the situation happens to be.
4.  What's a television series you keep coming back to and re-watching? 
The Andy Griffith Show.  Mayberry is a good time and place to revisit when life in the real world is tough. It reminds us of what America used to be and could still get back to.

(If you like the 5x7 print being displayed below, you can buy it here: Raising up Rubies.  Jaime has loads of other gorgeous items for sale in her shop, too, so you may want to check it out.)

5. As the month of September draws to a close give us three words to describe your mood. 
Hmmm ...  how about Trusting in God?  That's really the only answer for me right now.  
And, not an answer as such, but don't you love the way God puts unexpected colors together and they look so beautiful? 
6. Insert your own random thought here. 
In our clean-out of the homestead,  not to mention our own garage, we found many items that qualify as hazardous waste.  Usually in our area, household hazardous waste collection days are held in May.  This year, the dreaded pestilence caused those to be cancelled.  We were pleased when we learned that such a collection would take place in September.  My hubby set aside that morning to deal with it (such collections are typically well attended and wait times can be lengthy).  Until, that is, we read this:
"Okay, that does it.  We'll wait until next year."  Hubby wasn't jumping through all of those hoops, and I didn't blame him one bit.  A mask inside a closed vehicle that you are in all by yourself and cannot get out of, in a situation in which you personally interact with no one other than by "visual signals"?  Small-town government overreach at its finest.  I have a feeling that if other people looked at those rules in advance (those who failed to comply with these and other regulations would be turned away), the line may have been quite a bit shorter than usual.

And there's the Hodgepodge for the last day of September.  Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Monday, September 28, 2020

Monday musings


 It was a busy weekend and I didn't find time to post a Friday five or even a Saturday six.  But I don't want another week to go by before counting a few blessings.  

1.  A lovely hike on Tuesday to the top of a local mountain, for a very special reason.  Our granddaughter was playing in a little concert with her orchestra group.  So much fun to see how far she's come in just a few short months of lessons!

2.  The fall foliage popping out almost overnight on Thursday.  It's so dry up here, and I think that's why the foliage is early.  We need rain very badly, but I think that if it comes, it will knock most of the beautiful leaves off the trees.

3.  A wonderful day with friends in Vermont on Friday.  I want to blog more about this, but it included a lovely walk around a historic site.  This is the view from our friends' back yard:

4.  Getting to meet up with my nephew and his family on Saturday.  They were up here from MA spending time at the extended family's cottage on a remote pond.  It was good to catch up with my nephew and his wife and also to see their 2 kids, ages 3 and 6 and busy as bees.

Photo from inside a covered bridge on Friday

5.  A wonderful time with other friends in another part of Vermont on Sunday afternoon.  We attended the afternoon service at their church and then went for a walk on a nearby hill.  We didn't have our camera with us, but the foliage was surely camera-worthy!  (Photo below is from Friday.)

Just one more musing on this Monday afternoon: 

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  My help cometh from the LORD, who made heaven and earth."  (Psalm 121:1-2)

It seems to us that the autumn foliage is unusually bright this year.  Once again,  it seems that God is pointing our attention to Himself and His amazing creativity and power.  He is truly in control of all things and it is such a blessing to look to the hills and be reminded of this!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

C is for ...

 I just learned about Ellen B's A to Z Bible Verse Challenge over at The Happy Wonderer.   Ellen is hosting this every Thursday, and what a wonderful idea it is to help us stay our hearts and minds on God and His Word during these crazy uncertain times. Today is the letter C, and, although there are loads of words beginning with C in the Bible -- including, most importantly, Christ -- I chose the word Courage.  

"Have not I commanded thee?  Be strong and of a good courage: be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."  (Joshua 1:9)

I'm going to borrow a bit from a January 2019 post in which I chose Courage as my word for that year.  The part within the ====  and ==== is my older post.


 Below you see a dictionary definition for courage.

I thought it would be a good idea to also look this up in a Bible dictionary, since I would be approaching this word from somewhat of a spiritual perspective.

Here is the definition from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary: "the strength of purpose that enables one to withstand fear or difficulty.  Physical courage is based on moral courage -- a reliance on the presence and power of God and a commitment to His commandments."

I like that definition quite a bit better,  don't you?  The standard dictionary definition leaves out God, His presence, and His power!

Several years ago, I studied Joshua 1:9 using the simple SOAP method of Bible study, and thought I would just share those very simple insights here.  The "S", of course, is for "Scripture", and I have written that out above, so we will just go on with the rest of the acronym and see what I found.

O= After Moses' death, God spoke to Joshua, who would be the new leader of the children of Israel.  How amazing it must have been to be encouraged by God Himself!  He assured Joshua that every inch of the promised land was theirs (v. 2-4); that He would be with him and not fail or forsake him; that no man would be able to stand before them (v. 5).  He encouraged and commanded Joshua to keep His Word in the forefront of his thinking, to meditate on it and obey it (v. 7-8).

Here in v. 9, God reminds Joshua to be strong and courageous: "Have not I commanded thee?  Be strong and of good courage."  This is the third time God has told him this: verses 6 and 7 record the same command.  He expands on it here:

* Be not afraid
* Be not dismayed

And then He tells him why: "for the LORD thy God is with thee wherever thou goest."  What possible need could there be for fear?

A= This is the perfect day for me to be meditating upon this verse.  Things are changing in my life.  There are many things I could be fearful about, from family concerns to legal matters.  Literally,  things will never be the same as they were before.  And yet ...

* I can be strong
* I can be courageous
* I need not be afraid
* I need not be dismayed


* The Lord my God is with me wherever I go and whatever I face.

P=  Lord, how I thank and praise You for Your Word!  I thank You today in particular for this powerful verse.  What a great reminder!  Because You, the all-powerful, all-knowing God, are with me, I can be strong and very courageous.  There is no need for fear or dismay.  I pray that you will help me to keep this verse firmly in my mind as I face the unknown, and thank You for all You will do, in Jesus' name, Amen.


 This verse, and the need for courage, is even more important to me (and all believers) today, in September 2020.   We are facing so many unknowns, but God is with us wherever we go and we can take so much courage from that!  I hope that my readers will forgive the copy and paste and that these simple thoughts and this precious verse will be a blessing to someone today.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Falling for the Hodgepodge


 Yes, it's Wednesday again and a brand new season -- my very favorite! It's time for the Wednesday Hodgepodge, where Joyce asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers.  It's always a lot of fun and a great way to come up with an interesting blog post.  If you'd like to join in,  just head over to From This Side of the Pond and get the questions from Joyce, then answer them on your own blog.  (Photos in this post will be from previous autumns, because I have so many beautiful ones.)  Here are this week's questions, based off this change of seasons:

1. It's fall y'all. What's something you love about this season and also something you don't? 

I love nearly everything about this season.  Really, the only thing I don't like about it is the fact that it means winter will inevitably follow.

2. When you think of the colors of fall, which one is your favorite?

I think that my favorite may be orange, though I love red leaves also.  I always enjoy finding unusual leaves that have a lot of colors in them.   When I do, I scan them. Pressing doesn't show or preserve the colors as well.

Ketchup mustard relish leaf (terminology borrowed from Vee)

Red & green leaf

Polka dot leaf

Yellow diamond leaf

Is there somewhere you could easily day trip to see the leaves in all their glory? Will you? 

I think that our trip to the Monadnock region of our state for a couples' retreat will fit the bill for this question.  The colors there are always glorious.

3. What's one thing you've let 'fall' by the wayside during this season of staying home and staying away? 
Grocery shopping.  My wonderful hubby has been doing it all ever since he retired.

4. If you're wearing a sweater is it most likely a cardigan, crew neck, v-neck, or zip up hoodie? 
Probably a crew neck; occasionally a cardigan.
5. What's your secret to dealing with change? 
For me, there is only one secret to dealing with change: holding fast to the God who does not change.  I think of the words of the hymn: "Change and decay in all around I see; O Thou who changest not, Abide with me."  And if we have trusted Christ as Savior, we don't have to ask Him to abide with us.  He just does!

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Let's see ... well, this afternoon my hubby and I did something different and fun.  One of our granddaughters is involved in an orchestra class.  This afternoon the class hiked up a mountain with a lovely scenic view of lakes.  It's actually this view:
And against the glorious backdrop above the orchestra presented a little concert.  Mr. T and I hiked up too along with a number of other spectators.  It was simply delightful!  I am hoping to be able to blog about it at some point, as we got some pictures and video.

And so ends this Hodgepodge for the second day of Autumn.  Happy fall, everyone!

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Late to the Hodgepodge

 Yes, call me late to the Hodgepodge, where Joyce asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers.  It's always a lot of fun and a good way to come up with an interesting blog post.   Since I haven 't blogged since last Friday, I thought I would jump in, better late than never, and answer this week's questions:

1. What's one thing you learned at the ripe old age of whatever age you are now?

Something that I already knew could happen in one's personal world, but never thought I would see in the world at large: everything can turn upside down in a moment.  However ...

Oh, and I learned a new game this week: Quiddler.

2. I read here a list of foods that can help you look younger-

extra virgin olive oil, green tea, fatty fish, dark chocolate, vegetables, flaxseeds, pomegranates, avocados, tomatoes, spices, bone broth.

How many of the foods listed have you tried? How many do you eat regularly? Your favorite from the list?

I eat nearly all of those on a somewhat regular basis.  I've tried them all.  My favorite?  It would be a tossup between dark chocolate and avocados.  Sounds messy, doesn't it?

You can't tell at all, but this is an avocado omelet from Happy Corner Cafe in Pittsburg, NH

3. Something you miss from the 'good old days'? When were the good old days anyway?

The good old days were as recent as 2019.  I miss liberty and common sense.

Graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings

4. What are two or three of the most rewarding things to be found in growing older?

Julia and Josiah

It would have to be these, and others in the same category, plus many not pictured:





5. What's your favorite part of your life right now?

See above.  Also, that we are retired and don't have to restrict our activities to weekends.   If we want to take a weekday getaway or do an important errand, we can go whenever it works for us.  

 6. Insert your own random thought here. 

So thankful for a getaway up north Monday through Friday!  We enjoyed lake time, visits with friends,  yummy food, peace and quiet, being out of cell and internet service, and much more.

A corner of our cabin on Back Lake

A Back Lake sunset from last year
So ends my belated Hodgepodge post!  I have lots more to share so hope to get back to blogging next week, but we will see.

Friday, September 11, 2020

A prayer on Patriot Day

Meaningful graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings

It was 2017 when I first posted a link to a prayer for hope and healing on Patriot Day.  I seldom repost things, but this is so pertinent and meaningful that I've shared it a couple of times since.  It's meaningful  not only for September 11,  but for the current troubling times in which we find ourselves.  Today I would again like to just share that prayer and quote a few lines from the accompanying post written by Paige at Again this year,  I was so encouraged by this post: A Patriot Day prayer for hope and healing that I just need to share it.

Paige wrote:

"On this 17-year anniversary of that sad day in our history, we honor the memory of those who lost lives and loved ones. And, we give thanks for those who had the courage to serve in the face of danger.

"And, while Patriot Day (9/11) is recognized as the official day of remembrance for this tragic event, we know that any day is a good day to lift those most impacted up in prayer.

"Dear Loving Father,

We pause to remember the great losses and courageous acts of September 11th. We lift up those who are still affected -- Families of the victims, police officers, firemen, first responders and all who were involved. We pray for the light of Christ to flood the hearts of people everywhere. We believe you desire to redeem all your creation, and we trust that beauty will continue to come from the ashes of our darkest days. Surround us with your mighty angels of protection, give us compassion for one another in all life’s circumstances, and the courage to answer your call.


"So when we ask ourselves, even today: What is happening to our country? Are we safe? Is it going to be ok? Here‘s what I know: God was there in the chaos, and He is with us in this moment. His heart may break for His precious children, but He is never surprised by our struggles. He goes before us; He can be trusted with every detail; and He is our safe place today, and for all eternity."

So I exhort my friends today: oh, let us all take courage from those facts!  As His children understand, God is with us in chaos, as He is in each moment of our lives. And just as Paige pointed out so beautifully, "He goes before us; He can be trusted with every detail; and He is our safe place today, and for all eternity."

And I'd say to my readers and friends again today, that we need to be reminded of these facts now, in 2020.  Our country is in trouble and in chaos once again.  We need to trust fully in our God, and we need to pray fervently for our beloved country.

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Laboring over a Hodgepodge post

Yes, somehow it's Wednesday again, and time for the Wednesday Hodgepodge, where Joyce asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers.  It's always a lot of fun (and sometimes challenging).   It's also a good way to come up with an interesting blog post.  If you'd like to join in,  just head over to From This Side of the Pond and get the questions from Joyce, then answer them on your own blog.  Here are this week's questions, based off Labor Day and work:
1. Something you've done in recent days or months that might be described as a labor of love?  

Cleaning out the old homestead.  Doing so, and working at selling the contents was something I was required to do by the terms of a trust, but it was still a labor of love since I have worked very hard to be a good steward of the things I've found and also to pass on to family members things I think they would like to have.

Like vintage hats to little girls, and a whimsical pitcher set to a cousin.  (My grandmother collected pitchers.)

2. Last time you 'worked your fingers to the bone'?

See above.  And below.  That's the dining area.

3. According to a recent survey people named the following ten jobs as the hardest-nurse, doctor, paramedic, police officer, firefighter, surgeon, healthcare worker, bomb squad, farmer, and prison warden. Of the jobs listed which would you say is the hardest? The one you'd most like to do? Least like to do? What's one job you would add to the list?

I'd say the hardest job right now is police officer.  On a national level, the police officers' jobs have become so much more dangerous than ever before.  On a local level, they're expected to to enforce unenforceable town ordinances which they don't even agree with.

The job on the list that I'd most like to do -- well, it's still not an easy one, but I think the one I'd most like personally would be farmer.

The job I'd least like to do -- oh, it's a tossup.  Almost any of them.  Police officer, probably.

A job I would add to the list -- right now, teacher. 

4. A recipe you make that is labor intensive, but worth it?

 Cheese Danishes.  I usually only make them now for very special occasions, like Easter, but I used to make them on a regular basis.  There are just a lot of steps to making them, and you have to start the day before, but they certainly are delicious.  The photo below is from Pixabay.  I have never tried topping off the cream cheese filling with fruity ones, but you know, I think I will try that!
Image by pixel1 from Pixabay
5. Last job you did or task you completed that required teamwork?

See #s 1 and 2.  I couldn't have done it without my wonderful hubby.  Yes, every last storage area (and there are many) is completely emptied.

6.  Insert your own random thought here. 

Speaking of my wonderful hubby, Labor Day was his birthday!  Appropriately, he spent the day working with our son-in-law and grandson on a carpentry job, then we celebrated at night with family.   (I took along the Never-Fail Chocolate Cake, always a sure hit for his birthday or any occasion.)  This photo is from several years back, but he hasn't changed much (although Arielle sure has -- that's a recent photo of her, in the hat, above!).  So thankful for this wonderful, godly man and the blessing he is to everyone who knows him.
Oh, and much more random -- look at this gorgeous red leaf I found in the driveway today ...

And this labor-intensive Hodgepodge is a wrap!  Happy Wednesday, all!

Saturday, September 05, 2020

A company meal at our little camp

Yes, we got things in good enough shape at our little camp to invite supper guests!  I thought it would be good to write a post about it, so we can remember what we did to make things work.  I love the welcoming look of lights spilling from the windows!

As regular readers know, we have been working on this renovation for several months.  I will write a detailed post about that, probably when we finish.  We began by using the shop vac (via generator) to remove a lot of dust, dead insects, and grime in the three rooms.  Then we painted the walls and ceilings in the two smaller rooms.  Our daughter and kids (see the kids below) painted the kitchen cabinets, and their family put down new flooring in those two rooms, actually as a Father's Day surprise for my hubby.  This was all done with the help of a generator.  Finally, a few weeks ago, the power got hooked up.  So thankful!

Interestingly, and thankfully, the vintage fridge that is there still works.  It actually freezes ice cubes!  There is still no water, no kitchen stove, and no plumbing, but we pulled off a hot dog roast and potluck meal with our daughter, her hubby, and family, who live next door.  We had invited another family but they were unable to join us that night.  There will be a next time, however!

I brought along paper plates, paper napkins, plastic cups and plastic "silverware".  We planned a very simple menu of hot dogs, baked beans, salads, chips, and desserts, plus iced tea and bottled water.  Since the fridge works, we could keep the salads and drinks in there.  I brought the baked beans in a crockpot, and of course the hot dogs were cooked over the fire.

When they were cooked, we piled them on a plate,  with hot dog buns on a second plate, and condiments at the ready, and put them on the kitchen counter "buffet" along with the salads, chips and baked beans.  I love the arch doorway into the kitchen!  Sam and Julia are filling their plates, below.
For dessert, Carrie brought brownies she had made and a small cheesecake someone had given them.  I made Blueberry Lemon Zucchini Cake which turned out to be amazing!

There's lots of work still to do in the living room/dining area.  My dad had begun paneling it with pine, but never finished.  Mr. T will finish the job, but for now don't look too closely at the corners.  We recently rearranged the room.  We've taken out many old musty items and replaced them with things from our house or the homestead.  You can see below that the paneling is not in place on most of the walls, just the studs.

 Arielle and Josiah enjoying their supper.  Those are nifty vintage paper placemats under their plates.  Such wonders used to come in packs of 100.  I wonder if they can be found anymore.  So thankful I kept these!
When I was growing up, we always had the table over on the side under two of the big windows, as it is here.  During the whole time we've been renovating, the table (a different one than in my childhood) has been in the center of the room.  I really wanted to at least try putting it by the windows, and wow! What a difference it made.  It really makes the room seem much larger.

The photos below show some of the living room side of things.

 The kids ate at the table and adults sat wherever they chose.  Jim and Carrie chose the couch, although they are not visible in the photo below.
 The photo above shows the pine paneling on one wall and part of another.  That bookcase, as I mentioned in a different post, was one Mr. T had made for my sister's apartment.  Since she has passed away, the bookcase was at my parents' house and we thought it would look nice here.

After supper, we put all of the paper dishes, etc. in a trash bag which we took home with us.  I didn't want to leave anything in the camp to attract mice or chipmunks.

We all sat around the campfire for awhile after supper, enjoying the new fire pit and celebrating with some extra large sparklers we had found at the house. 

What a wonderful evening it had been, as our daughter put it, making fun new memories in this special old place!