Five in February…

Linking up with Amy for Five on Friday and with Susanne for Friday’s Fave Five!

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1.This is the time of year that we I prune the apple tree. See all those branches growing straight up. They all need to be cut. It took me a few weeks to complete this task as I do a little on dryer days because it is hard on my neck and shoulders. I’m happy to say that I finished this week and I’m patting myself on the back. It was hard to get a good photo but in the photo on the right you can see that all the branches that were growing straight up are gone now. I’m thankful to have the strength to still do some yard work.

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2. This week my Lenten Rose is making a great showing. I love this humble plant and the fact that it blooms during the season of Lent.

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I’m thankful for my Lenten Rose and that it reminds me of my savior who humbled himself for all of us and died in our place.

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3. The Primroses are blooming. So nice to see them appear and our littlest and youngest rhoddy looks like it will have more blooms this year than last. I’m always surprised and thankful when they pop up all on their own again and again.

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4. and 5. On Wednesday I went to See’s, Macy’s, Costco and Hobby Lobby to do a little shopping for myself and others. At See’s I bought 3 small boxes of candy handpicked from lists of our families favorites. Our oldest son’s office is across the street from the mall so I delivered his and our dil’s box early. I went to Macy’s because I was ready to replace my purse. My everyday purse has to be light to start with, not beautiful heavy leather. I like pockets on the sides that my sun glass case and phone will fit in. Two main compartments to keep my wallet separated from other stuff. I had this exact purse in black and this time I went with this lighter color combination. By the time the sales person gave me some extra percentages off it ended up being half price. I also bought some items for Dear that he requested. At Costco I was happy to see they have my favorite jeans so I bought 2 pairs. They were $14.99 each! The sweater was $12.00. Then at Hobby Lobby I found three puzzles for my dear old pop. At almost 93 he enjoys his puzzles. They help his days fly by instead of drag on. I was on the hunt for bright and light pictures because the darker backgrounds are hard on his eyes. I’m thankful for such a productive outing and that I have the shekulkie (money) in my pocket to make these purchases.

Dear and I are having an early Valentine meal together on Friday. Rain is forecast for many days in a row now so we aren’t going far from home but far enough to get to a good steak house for our midday meal. Hope you all had a good week. On this Valentine weekend may you feel the unconditional love of God and pass it along to those around you…

Good Fences

This fence is in the town of Coupeville on Whidbey Island. Coupeville is on the shores of Penn Cove. We enjoy the Penn Cove Mussels in this little island town in Washington State. Truth be told it’s the sauce that makes a mussel dish good in my opinion. We’ve enjoyed eating at Front Street Grill in this little town and they serve mussels in a variety of very tasty sauces. One of my favorites is Coconut Green Curry Mussels!

Linking up with TexWisGirl for Good Fences #99!

Soon I hope to take a drive on this island again. We’re having a “sisters” weekend early March and my head is spinning with fun things we can do together. Two sisters in Washington state and the other two sisters in Southern California. We are meeting up in the northwest.  I never tried mussels or oysters or much fish to speak of until we moved to the Seattle area. Fish was not something my mother was too familiar with in the kitchen. We also ate kosher growing up so shell fish was taboo.

Hope you have a good Thursday!

Signs, signs…

Here are some more signs we saw on a recent trip to Snohomish.

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We spent a few hours on the main drag of historic Snohomish shopping in the antique stores and having a meal.

Linking up with Lesley for signs, signs.

Today is the beginning of lent (Ash Wednesday). We didn’t grow up observing lent. In recent years I’ve set aside time to do some readings and try different things to prepare my heart and mind thinking of the sacrifice made for me and for the grand celebration of Easter, the resurrection of my Savior. I read this quote today that made me think a bit deeper on this season of lent. I posted the quote below this collage of my Lenten Rose.

The spirit of penitence in which we enter Lent is not sheer negativity, breast-beating, self-loathing or penitence for its own sake; rather, it is a belated recognition that as friends of Christ, called and loved, and bought with a price by the Most High, we could and should start to grow up into a better way of living and a closer walk with our Saviour. – Malcolm Guite

Do you observe Lent?

E is for…

Early posts on the letter E! This post was from February of 2008 with some additions.

E is for…

This is a sitting room in a Model Home in our temporary neighborhood in Camarillo when Dear was working in Thousand Oaks from 2006-2010. I was tempted to nab the pillow with my initial on it but I controlled myself and resisted my Evil side…

 Ellen b. and one of our favorite Saturday walks at Emma Wood State Beach in Ventura, California during our sojourn in Camarillo.

E is for the Ebb of the tide

E is for Edinburgh

Dear and Ellen B. in Edinburgh in 2006. Ten years younger and 20 pounds lighter!

The elephant house in Edinburgh of author J.K. Rowling Harry Potter fame.

An Epitaph for J.R.R. Tolkien and his wife in Oxford, England. This was during a trip with our daughter in 2004. This was part of a literary tour that we put together as a graduation gift for our daughter. It was excellent!

I’m adding an early photo of ellen b. from 1958 where I would soon be seven years old.

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I’m on the rug in front of my sister Vera, sister Kathy holding our new baby brother Tim and our brother Fred with the accordion. Love my goofy expression! Our family grew from 4 kids to 8 kids from 1958 to 1963. Number seven and eight were twins, a boy and a girl!

Don’t want to forget to acknowledge that today is Shrove Tuesday, also called Pancake Day and the day before Lent begins. Here in the states it’s Mardi Gras. I think I’ll make some pancakes for breakfast!

I’m linking up to ABC Wednesday started by Mrs. Nesbitt and carried on with the help of Roger and others.

I’m also linking up to Tuesday’s Treasures with Tom the Backroads Traveller with these treasured memories and destinations.

Super Lunar New Year!

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We had a fun celebration on Super Sunday starting with a exhilarating church service. Two of our pastors squared off with a sermon duel with the theme of finishing strong. Quarter one was about Solomon and his varied appetites that kept him from finishing strong. Quarter two was about Moses and his anger that kept him from finishing strong. Quarter three was about Judas and his greed that kept him from finishing strong. Quarter four was about Jesus and although it seemed that He wouldn’t finish strong because of his crucifixion he rose again to victory over death and sin. In order for us to finish strong we need to follow Him. There were penalties thrown and commercials in between quarters, a half time show, and Bibles with football binding given out to kids in the end zone after touchdowns!  In the end and maybe a bit prophetic Pastor Alexander with the help of his stand in after his injury on the field (sprained tonsils), pastor Goetze, edged out Pastor Wolfgang for the win.

We came home pumped up and started a few preparations for our Super Lunar New Year Bowl party.

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It was fun to gather up goods to set a Chinese New Year themed table for our party. This inspiration started in January while I visited San Francisco’s Chinatown with an old friend of mine.

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These three wine covers were the instigators for the table. A large variety of these were offered for sale in every shop Alice and I went into on our visit to Chinatown. I kept handling them but walking away. Finally in the last shop we visited my resistance was depleted and I bought these three. Look at those little hats with the braid attached! They were only $1.99 each!

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Now I was in search of more items to complete my table and room decor. There are several large Asian stores around our area and I went to one where I found the Lucky pockets, candy, almond cookies and fortune cookies.

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The lanterns, dragons, plates and napkins came from a party store.

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Before hand I queried each of our guests for the party about their favorite Chinese take out dish. We ordered each of these dishes and picked them up just before our planned start time. This take out idea really made hosting the party easy peasy. We heated up the Panko shrimp from the frozen section at Costco that went real well with sweet chili sauce. We would recommend it if you ever need an appetizer for a party.

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The one thing I prepared from scratch for our party was this Egg Flower Soup. You can click over to Mennonite Girls Can Cook to get the easy recipe today!

Happy New Year to all our Asian friends who are celebrating today!

My Testimony ~ In Evil Long I Took Delight- Hymn

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Ellen’s simple version of her testimony, March 29th, 2007

I accepted Christ (was spiritually born) in the summer of 1963 at Hume Lake Christian Camp. I was a reluctant, stubborn, proud, follower of Jesus for many years. Similar to the birth process, I was comfortable in the womb (when God was calling me), but at birth when I had to get up and walk down an aisle and be singled out I howled like a baby. (Why do they say down the aisle instead of up the aisle?) I thank God He didn’t throw me back! I was a colicky baby. I fussed when anyone called attention to my bad attitudes, stubbornness, sin. I became more of a pharisee than a lover of God and my neighbor. I had my moments of obedience and peace. I had a long way to go and still do in the sanctification process. It has dawned on me more and more what an amazing thing Christ did for me and the dirty rotten sinner I am. I still need to go deeper in this reality. I’m so glad God keeps after me and loves me. If my memory serves me correctly I cooperated more in the sanctification process after my baptism in high school. I’ve had periods of growth and periods of “being asleep in my faith”. BUT – GOD IS FAITHFUL and His promises are true. I want to follow Him for the rest of my life. Every day I want to say, thank you for saving me, I’m yours Lord. Every day I want to seek Him. More and more, I’m looking forward to seeing Him “face to face”.

I read this classic hymn by John Newton (In Evil Long I Took Delight) in Living the Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney and felt it appropriate to include with my testimony.

In evil long I took delight
Unawed by shame or fear;
Till a new object struck my sight
And stopped my wild career.

I saw one hanging on a tree
In agonies and blood;
Who fixed his languid eyes on me
As near his cross I stood.
Sure never till my latest breath
Can I forget that look;
It seemed to charge me with his death
Though not a word he spoke.

My conscience felt and owned the guilt
And plunged me in despair;
I saw my sins his blood had spilt
And helped to nail him there.
Alas, I knew now what I did
But now my tears are vain;
Where shall my trembling soul be hid?
For I the Lord have slain.

A second look he gave which said
“I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid
I died that thou mayest live.”
Thus while his death my sin displays
In all its blackest hue;
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too.

With pleasing grief and mournful joy
My spirit now is filled;
That I should such a life destroy
Yet live by him I killed.

Olney Hymns, Book 2: On Occasional Subjects (London: W. Oliver, 1779).

Sunlit and InSPIREd

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When Dear and I arrived in San Francisco January 20th we checked into our hotel and then braved the walk uphill to the Mark Hopkins hotel on Nob Hill. On the way we passed Grace Cathedral. Grace Cathedral is a beautiful church that I’ve posted about before when I did a more thorough visit in 2008. I’ll leave a link to my full posts at the end of this one. We continued on to the “Top of the Mark” for some small bites and a drink. This next photo shows a view of Grace Cathedral from above.

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On our way back to our hotel (all downhill this time) we stopped in at the Cathedral for a quick view of the inside and then I took some photos from the outside during sunset.

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To see more from the inside and outside and to read some history of Grace Cathedral click here and here.

Later today I’ll link up with Sunlit Sunday hosted by Karen at My Little Home and Garden and InSPIREd Sunday hosted by Beth and Sally.

I’m having a carefree Saturday with just a little shopping excursion planned to pick up a few last minute items for our Lunar/Chinese New Year Super Bowl party tomorrow. Dear vacuumed for me yesterday and I dusted and sorted out a lot of junk piles so our house looks crisp, neat and ready for fun. While I prepare this post I’m enjoying some Barclay’s Premier League Soccer on the telly. Yes, I’m a fan of soccer. Dear and our son-in-law are off to our near son’s home to do some hard labor with a jackhammer! I suppose I better have a hardy meal ready for dinner for the workers! Hope you have a good weekend.