Reflecting Back On May

British Columbia, Canada May 2018

The Seattle Japanese Garden 2017


San Antonio River Walk 2016

Chewelah, Washington May 2015

Bellefontaine 142Bellefontaine Cemetery St. Louis, Missouri May 2014

British Columbia, Canada, May 2013

I’m still working through cleaning up my blog because of the Photobucket change of policy which resulted with them replacing 8 years of photos with ugly black and grey boxes asking for money to release my photos. I’ve made it to 2010 and have miles to go before I delete all those boxes. In the meantime I have these highlights from past posts in May. So much to be thankful for over the years.

We are in a warm weather pattern right now with just one wet day predicted this week. Right now a high of 75 degrees expected for Mother’s Day! We had a nice mostly quiet weekend here. The highlights of the weekend: time with Josh and Laura on our deck after the Sounder’s game, church on Sunday morning, and an afternoon meal on Sunday with friends in Kirkland. Hope you all had a good weekend.

A New Journey…

On Monday the 18th of July nine of the Mennonite Girls and their husbands gathered at Marg and John’s home for dinner because Charlotte and her husband Tony were in British Columbia for a family reunion. It was providential that the author copies of our soon to be released book arrived on Lovella’s doorstep a few days before our scheduled dinner. The only couple missing from our dinner party was Betty and John from Steinbach.

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Marg and Judy got together ahead of our dinner and planned what we would be eating. They decided to ask us to bring dishes that are featured in our new book. The table setting was focused on the theme of our new book with small loaves of bread and jam that Judy made for each of us, stalks of wheat and kernels of wheat on the table.

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Marg and Judy got together ahead of our dinner and planned what we would be eating. They decided to ask us to bring dishes that are featured in our new book. Marg’s John barbecued a beautiful cut of beef for all of us.

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When we were done with dinner we opened the box of books together so we could all see it for the first time.


Bread for the Journey is a book of devotionals and stories of how our families journeyed (escaped) out of Russia. There are several recipes included, too. The above photo is not my photo and I’m not sure which of the girls took it. Thanks to whoever did (Anneliese?)

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It was fun to get our hands on it and peek inside.

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We strolled out to the wheat field to take some more photos. We thought the wheat was a good photo op for our book called Bread for the Journey.

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We gathered around the fire to enjoy our desserts.

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Our new book is set to be released August 2nd. On August 3rd we are having a book signing at the new Mennonite Heritage Museum in Abbotsford.


You feed your loved ones. But how do you nourish your soul?

Strengthen your relationship with God. Savor everyday moments. Deepen your faith. In this heartfelt book of meditations for women, the bestselling authors of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook series serve as friends and companions on your spiritual journey. The 90 daily devotionals provide morsels for inspiration and reflection, all drawn from God’s unending promises in Scripture. Interspersed throughout the devotional are favorite recipes, inviting us to extend our tables and share God’s blessing with others.

My Five thankfuls for Five on Friday with Amy and Friday’s Fave Five with Susanne are…

A wonderful gathering of friend’s brought together because of similar life journeys, a delicious meal to share together, a new book to be released with our author royalties again going to help widows and orphans, that Charlotte and Tony could be at our celebration all the way from Manitoba, that our book arrived just in time for the dinner that was planned in honor of Charlotte and Tony being in British Columbia so that we could all see it for the first time together. Lovella sent a book to Betty in Steinbach to open the same time we opened up the box. God is good.

Click over to Mennonite Girls Can Cook to see some more details on our book launch in Abbotsford.

Traveling With Girls…

What a fun way to travel. We had a very girly time everywhere we went. Once in a while a great guy would pop in either cooking for us, organizing something for us, taking photos for us, or getting his book signed by us. We know there are lots of guys out there that love to cook and do it well!

I’ve never flown in Canada before and I enjoyed the laid back security and fun flight attendants on Westjet.

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We are approaching summer fast and furious but there still is a lot of snow capped mountains in the Cascade Mountain Range. I was happy to get a glimpse of the Mighty Columbia River that flows close to where our son lives in Eastern Washington. He might have even been fishing in that river the day I flew by…

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I found out real quick that for Canadians Tim Horton’s is the place to stop for a coffee and snack. We girls really made a statement early on in our traveling as 4 out of the 6 of us ended up at the wrong gate in Calgary. When we finally realized it was boarding time and nothing was happening we found out our plane had boarded everyone but the 4 of us at a different gate and we high tailed it hoping they wouldn’t leave us behind! Oye! The gate agents said “you must be the Mennonite Girls Can Cook” didn’t you hear our pages for you? We laughed and said we hadn’t heard anything on the loud speakers in the wing we were sitting in. Onward and upward we went…


After we arrived in Winnipeg Betty, her daughter Alison, and Charlotte met us to take us to our first stop. We arrived at Charlotte’s home for a wonderful meal. Charlotte’s husband Tony made us his special Campers’ Stew from page 145 in our new cookbook. Delicious! We enjoyed all the lilacs that were in bloom in Winnipeg and Steinbach and we also saw lots of rhubarb plants. This one is Charlotte’s. From lunch we would head off to our lodgings for our nights in Manitoba. I’ll share about that soon.

Today Dear is at the airport waiting for the first leg of his flight to Marseille. I hope he’s at the right gate. He just called to say that they have been alerted about an impending strike at all French airports. Double oye! Now he’ll be checking at the airport in Chicago and London to see if he should continue on or book a flight right back home. Shhhh…don’t tell but I’m really hoping he has to turn around and come home…

Traveling ThroughTime Zones…


I’m a bit dizzy headed and hope to have some clear thoughts soon to share about all the wonderful people we met and places we saw while in Winnipeg and Steinbach. We arrived from Winnipeg back to Abbotsford late on Saturday night and after a quick sleep at Judy’s I drove home to Seattle. I pulled into my garage at 6:30 a.m.


A doctored up shot of the sunrise from I-5 this morning. After a full nights sleep tonight I’ll be catching up with what I’ve missed while traveling cyber free.

Afternoon and Evening…

…on Saturday in Chilliwack and Abbotsford.

Wendy at Winks along with her staff welcomed us with a most beautiful setting for our 2nd book signing of our weekend.

If you haven’t visited her store yet you really need to put it on your list and you won’t be disappointed.

Many books had been pre-sold and were waiting for us to sign so we got busy.

Anneliese’s daughters both played a part in our day here with one sharing cupcakes from her own cupcake business and the other blessing us with her lovely violin serenade.

It was so much fun to meet the “girls” families. Judy’s DIL brought her children to see their grammy. Anneliese’s granddaughter is sitting on the chair watching with interest. I’ll share more in another post of one of my sweetest moments at Winks.

The patio was filled with beautiful flowers.

How Great Thou Art was on my heart and mind all weekend.

Some of us stole away to do a little shopping.

As Anneliese’s daughter played her finale we packed up and headed to our next event.

This is the peaceful drive up to Sweet Dreams Luxury Inn in Abbotsford.

This is where we would wrap up our evening signing books for each other and for our publisher and then having a lovely dinner served to us.

We took some time to take a few more photos donning our new aprons that Julie sewed from material chosen by Lovella and Kathy.

On our way out we noticed that our Betty matched the beautiful flowers that were centerpieces on our tables at dinner.

Another full day complete we headed to our homes and hotels full of good memories of our day. On Sunday we had one more full day starting with a church service.

Today is Tuesday and I’m still trying to get back in my normal groove. Seeing how it’s noon already that groove seems to be escaping me. We started out today in a cloudy pattern instead of our several bright sunny days. The sun is breaking through as I finish this post.  Dear has one more full day in San Diego at a conference and I’m looking forward to him coming home tomorrow. Are you looking forward to anything?

A Year of Preparations…

…calls for more than one post!

Hope you will bear with me as I chronicle the events of this past weekend.

On Friday I packed up my car trying to choose the right clothes for 4 main events that were scheduled for the weekend. Of course there was a little gift for each of the other girls that had to be packed, too. I always wonder if my car will be randomly chosen at the border to be searched. I think the agents would get a kick out of the things I pile into my trunk. When I approached the window and handed off my passport I again had a nice smile and was waved on with no problems.

I arrived to Judy’s Front Porch a little after four in the afternoon. She had planned a nice meal for us before we set off to our first signing of the weekend.

She made her delicious Santa Fe Chicken salad on page 60 of our first cookbook. If you haven’t prepared this dish yet I would highly recommend that you do. I’m sorry to say I didn’t take a photo of Judy’s lovely rustic rhubarb tart that she made for dessert.

Judy and I changed into our dresses and headed to Abbotsford for our first book launch event at House of James bookstore.

Everything was all prepared for us and they even had baked treats from our book that everyone who came was able to enjoy. The ten of us were happy to finally be together again and we took our seats ready to sign our books.  House of James has been on board with us since our first book and we appreciate their promotion of our book and support. They had drawings throughout the evening and we also had opportunities to speak about the mission work our Celebrations’ author royalties will be donated to. This next photo is of the Menno Media staff that has been part of our support team, Russ Eanes the director of Menno Media is in the center flanked by Ben Penner our marketing manager and Amy Gingerich our Editor. We were happy that they could travel to be a part of the weekend.

We left with thankful hearts to rest up for our next full day of activities.

Bright and early Saturday morning Judy and I headed out for a little walk on her country road before the rest of our nonstop day. Elmer, Judy’s husband was concerned that because I was a city girl I might not be able to stand the eau de perfum wafting off the freshly manured fields. I managed just fine by concentrating on the beauty that goes along with it. When in the country it’s good to just enjoy all you get!

After our walk we got cleaned up, donned our next outfit and headed off for the rest of the day starting with an early lunch at Planet Earth in Chilliwack just down the street from Winks where we would have our next signing. I’ll share more about that on another day.

I made it home from Canada later last night and am still just sitting around taking it all in. The lawn is several inches high and asking to be mowed but it will have to wait for another day yet. I wish high school kids were still of the mind to work hard for some pay. I would hire one today! I’m slowly making the rounds on what I missed while in Canada without my usual internet connections. Hope all is well where you are…

The Reception…

Debbee and Lenny’s wedding and reception were both in Huntington Beach on opposite sides of Beach Blvd. We met up with my sister Lana at the reception venue before the fact to help Lana facilitate and do whatever we could to get things ready for the event after the event.

We worked with Lana as long as we could before the time we needed to be at the church for the family photos.  Thankfully we had enough time to get it all together.

We had appetizers and drinks while we waited for the newlyweds to arrive. They were taking photos at the beach after the ceremony.

The wedding party and bride and groom arrived with everything set up and ready to go.

The first dance happened as soon as the couple arrived and before dinner was served. The groom worked hard to find a caterer who would prepare gluten free options since his bride has a strong reaction to gluten. The caterer was great with delicious choices for all.

The flower girls being true to their title.

My father gave advice and a blessing on the couple and on the food.

It was so good to have my kids together and to have them catch up with their cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

The next family wedding will be in August when Marie (in the middle) marries our nephew Caleb in Santa Barbara, California. Marie is bookmarked by our nieces by marriage and her soon to be SIL’s who she also went to school with at Westmont College in the Santa Barbara area of California.

The father daughter dance left us all in need of a tissue!

We had a great time and headed back to our hotel knowing Saturday would be another full day of organizing and pulling off another milestone family event. More to come…

In the meantime here’s where I’ll be for the next few days!

Mennonite Girls Can Cook Book Launch for our new book Celebrations

The weather promises to be just as fine as this day last July!