Road Tripping

Be back soon to visiting your blogs. Enjoying quality time with our family on the west side of the Cascade Mountain Range. This side of the mountains is still in Stage Two of the COVID-19 re-entry guidelines. Our town in the northeastern corner of Washington State is in Stage 3. Uploading photos has been so wonderful here in broadband dream land. See you soon!

Photo taken somewhere along highway two in Central Washington heading east towards the Cascade Mountain Range.

Some Gave All ~Memorial Day Hodgpodge

1. The US of A celebrated Memorial Day this past Monday. Does your family have any military ties? If so, tell us about them.

We do not have any family member who died in combat but we do have Veterans. Our daughter has educated us on the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. Memorial Day is not a day to honor anyone who has served but it is for military members who have died in combat. Our son in law is a non-active Marine who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan. He saw some of his Marine buddies die. The collage above shows Marines who were serving the same time as Andrew and who died while serving. These are those who we honor on Memorial Day. My father in law served in World War II. My brother in law served in Viet Nam and it took a toll on his life. My father-in-law and brother-in-law are both buried at the same cemetery, Riverside National Cemetery in California. They were buried 30 years apart. 

2. Cole slaw, potato salad, baked beans, potato chips, mac and cheese, macaroni salad…your favorite BBQ side? How many of these do you make from scratch vs. buying from the deli?

Does opening up a can or a box qualify as scratch? 🙂 I enjoy potato salad from scratch but I’ll go for Coleslaw from the deli. I have never made potato chips. I’ve doctored up a can of beans. 

3.  I enjoyed asking this question back when the Hodgepodge was a regular thing…Lake Superior State University posts a list each year of words they think should be banished from the Queen’s English for misuse, overuse, and/or general uselessness. The 2020 list includes-quid pro quo, artisanal, curated, influencer, literally, I mean, living my best life, mouthful (word used by foodies to describe texture of food in their mouth), chirp (basically an insult, you can read more on the website), jelly (short for jealous), totes (short for totally), vibe, and OK Boomer (internet response from millenial to older generation).

Of the words/phrases listed which would you most like to see ‘banned’?

Well I’m happy to say I haven’t heard most of these. Something about Living my best life doesn’t ring true to me. It seems like something that comes out of the mouth of health and wealth false teachers/charlatans.

4. I’m sure next year’s list will be filled with words springing out of this weird season we’re all in currently. What word or phrase associated with the Corona would you be happy to hear less often?

“Social Distancing” “Self Quarantine”

5.  The month of May wraps up in just a few days. Bid her adieu in ten words or less.

May, thank you for opening welcome doors back to normal. 

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Here in Northeastern Washington where the population is low and the COVID-19 numbers are low, too, we have some normalcy returning. Dear and I went to a local eatery on Sunday for a burger and it felt as if things were normal in the establishment except for a table here and there that they had a sign on that said “Governor’s Table”. Made us chuckle. Something that is not normal yet is my COVID-19 hair. Oye and ouch. My mop needs a lot of help!

Photo from Mother’s Day with some gifts from our kids.

Thank you to Joyce for asking the questions and managing Hodgepodge.

Use It or Lose It Hodgepodge

I’m combining Wednesday Hodgepodge with the A to Z Challenge for the letter S today. Strength, Survivor and Sinner are enough S’s to qualify. Sigh and snicker…

1. What’s something you resolved to do this year? Have you done it?

My motto for the the next few years is “Use It” or “Use It Up”. Ribbons, paper, stationary, stickers, paper napkins, paper plates, etc. etc. Instead of stashing these things away and forgetting about them I want to use them. If I have no intentions on using aforesaid items then I want to give them away.

2. Where do you go to find quietude?

The place that I go for my quiet time activities is our office at our big oak desk that sits in front of our bookshelves. I like being surrounded by the books we love. Bible reading in the Old Testament, a chapter in Proverbs, and finishing up in the New Testament. Then I move on to books written by authors I trust like Spurgeon or MacArthur or Sproul or some of the Puritans to dive deeper into understanding Bible truths. One thing I want to improve on is being more faithful in prayer.

3. A friend asked this question on her Facebook page and said I could borrow it for the Hodgepodge…you’re only allowed to buy 5 things at the grocery store, and all must start with the first letter of your first name. Whatcha’ buying?

I was surprised to find a lot of things that start with the letter E.

  1. Eggs
  2. Enchiladas
  3. Elderflower Cordial
  4. English muffins
  5. Eclair

4. The television show Survivor, the Gloria Gaynor song ‘I Will Survive’, survival mode, survival of the fittest…pick one and discuss.

Survivor, the television show. It has been a show I’ve watched since the beginning. That’s a lot of seasons. I am fascinated by how the human race interacts in this setting. I’d love to reference this show to that professor of mine that wanted us to write a paper on how all humans are inherently good. Haha…no, Mr. So and So, all humans are not good but they are sinners in need of a Savior and I’m one of the chief sinners. So thankful that God provided a way out! I also know I’d never survive on that show. If I ever made it to the island I’d probably be voted off first thing if I didn’t collapse and have to be medivaced out of there!! To other Survivor fans…wasn’t last week’s show one that was so emotional and amazing to see all those children that they flew in!? I was in tears and a little concerned on the welfare of those kids having to leave their parents behind…

5. Share a favorite quote or saying about strength.

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1

6. Insert your own random thought here.

This little guy turned 1 last week and we had fun with a lumber jack photo shoot. I will be posting 1,000 photos as soon as I can upload them all. We had his social distancing party last Thursday and then when the weather warmed up on Sunday we managed a social distancing photo shoot. You have been forewarned.

Thank you to Joyce for coming up with the questions and to all who read my answers! Click here to read more Hodgepodge answers.

Wednesday Hodgepodge~ Music (A to Z)


I’m combining the A to Z with Wednesday Hodgepodge on this tax day that isn’t really a tax day. Our taxes were filed but we won’t be sending that big fat check until July 15th. How nice to have that delay! Hopefully we won’t have to delay the Hodgepodge and Joyce will have her internet up and running in time. For A to Z we are on the letter M and Music is my M in this Meme.

1. In Monday’s post I mentioned I would incorporate the word I was given for letter K into this week’s questions. That word was karaoke. On a scale of 1-10 how excited would you be to find out there was karaoke happening at your next gathering/outing with friends? 10=gimme that microphone!, and 1=I suddenly remembered there’s somewhere else I need to be. Have you ever actually done karaoke? If you had to perform karaoke what would be your ‘go-to’song?

I’ve only done Karaoke once. I have been on stages singing with a mic right up to my face several times, long ago and far away. If I was on stage doing karaoke with my friends it would be a 10. If it was a solo it would be a 1. The photo above is of the Christian “Rock” group Dear and I were part of in the 70’s.  I’m the one on the right and Dear is next to me. I am not a soloist except for in the shower and in the privacy of my own home. I love the idea of Karaoke. My go to song would be…

2. How do you listen to music these days? Favorite app or do you listen the old fashioned way? Do you have music playing often in your home? Is there still a CD player in your car?

This is my old fashioned playlist and my CD changer. I’m so thankful to still have a CD changer that works and is connected to nice speakers so I can hear my music from anywhere in our country bungalow. We have a relatively new 2019 Highlander and I’m also thankful to be able to say it does have a CD player. I know most new vehicles do not have a CD player as standard equipment. On road trips we enjoy listening to books on CD.

3. The HP lands on US tax day this year. Or what used to be tax day before everything including filing your taxes was cancelled, delayed, postponed or extended. FYI- filing your taxes has not been cancelled, only delayed for a bit.

Besides staying away from anyone and everyone, what have you found taxing lately?

I have found it is hard to know what day of the week it is.  Concentration has been taxing.

4. You’re without power so no oven, and you can’t open your frig or freezer in order to keep what’s in there from spoiling. And you don’t have access to take out. What will you make us for dinner?

I will go to the outdoor barbecue that is powered with propane and use the side burner to heat up a can of pinto beans, a can of black beans, a can of green chilies, a can of chopped tomatoes all together, add some chili powder and cumin. I’d serve that in a bowl with tortilla chips unless I had a fresh package of flour tortillas that haven’t been opened. I’d toast those tortillas on the grill. If I had an avocado and tomato in my fresh basket I’d cut them up to add on top. It you don’t have a propane powered barbecue you could do this over an open fire.

5.  I’ve seen this exercise going around Facebook and thought it would be a good one to include in the HP…what are five things everybody seems to love and go crazy for that you personally don’t care for?

Don’t Judge!

  1. Sushi
  2. Cruises
  3. Protein Drinks
  4. “Facebook Chain Letters” example “If you love your sister copy and paste”
  5. Women in Power (I could explain this better in person)

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Speaking of old school/old fashioned this is an album that some of our family and friends were part of.

The Russian Sacred Singers of Los Angeles are a group of California young people of Russian background. They sing in English and Russian under the inspiring leadership of director Leonard Wozniuk. The unique bi-lingual choir responded to our challenge to record their selections for radio use. Today, their joyful singing is heard world-wide over several short-wave radio stations and over local broadcasts in North and South America.

Hymns of Praise was recorded in stereo in the Lorin Whitney Studios with the creative accompaniment of organist Bill Fasig and pianist John Innes of the Billy Graham Association. Tom Keene on guitar and Paul Stilwell on bass add their distinctive sound to several selections. ~ Andrew Semenchuk, Producer.

The songs sung in Russian include: The Lord is my Light, Like a River Glorious, Jesus Name I Love, Hallelujah What a Saviour, The Good Shepherd, What A Friend, Glory in the Highest, Blessed Assurance, Submission, Let the Beauty of Jesus, Praise Ye the Triune God, Why Not Now, and Peace Perfect Peace.

Five of my cousins and two of my sisters sang on the album along with a future cousin-in-law and the director became my brother-in-law. 

We now have the album on CD so we can listen to it more easily. We don’t have a phonograph anymore.

Music has been a big part of my life and it has enriched my life in so many ways. Being part of music groups I met some of the most important people in my life namely my dear husband. Music took me across the pond to Great Britain. I would have never traveled as extensively as I did were it not for music. Music that honors God and is true in lyrics moves  me to worship my God and Saviour. I hope to be singing when my time comes to leave this earth. I know I’ll be singing when I get to heaven.

Thank you to Joyce for coming up with the questions! Click here to see more answers.

Favorites

Today is the letter F and it took a while to settle on a theme or a word starting with F. How about Favorites from Easter’s Past or Flashbacks from Easter Past. These photos were from a cooking class the Mennonite Girls Can Cook taught at Lepp Farm Market in Abbotsford, British Columbia in 2014. The class was for Mennonite Heritage (Russian/Ukrainian) foods we enjoy at Easter especially Paska (Kulich-Russian Easter Bread), Seernaya Paska (Sweet Cheese Spread for the Paska) and other Mennonite foods.

Paska (Kulich) a very traditional Russian/Ukrainian Easter bread that is frosted and sprinkled!

Our daughter Katie traveled with me to Canada for this cooking class and took most of the photos during the class. This will be an Easter where our family does not gather to bake Russian Easter Bread together.

This is what our family’s Easter bread looks like. We bake the bread in old coffee cans we’ve saved from years past.

And here’s a flashback to the fifties, a family photo in our Easter finery. I’m in yellow with my classic Buster Brown haircut!

Back to the present. Today is Tuesday April 7, 2020. Yesterday I started the process to try to make a couple face masks. Pray for me because sewing has gotten me into so much trouble in my past. I was sent to detention in 7th grade because of something I said to my sewing teacher. OYE! My sisters are more talented in the art of sewing than me. My mother was a great seamstress, too. Me…not so much! I hope I can finish a mask today!!

Elastic is so hard to come by these days and look what I found in my sewing bin! A new package of the right kind of elastic for making masks!

I can’t remember why we bought this sewing machine but there it is and here I am hoping the threading is right and the tension is right and the stitching will go without the bobbin thread getting all backed up, etc. etc.

But…look at my delightful fabric that I’ve kept in my sewing bin for over 40 years now! Our firstborn’s room was themed after Peter Rabbit/Beatrix Potter and I bought this fabric thinking I’d sew curtains or something. Now I’ll be able to use it for Covid19 masks!! Who would have fathomed!

Forging Forward full of faith forever founded in Father God the author and finisher of our faith!

Looking forward to fun family and friend fellowship in the future!!

Do you sew? I’m sending my excess elastic to my sister Vera who has received requests for her to sew face masks for them. Eeek but now I have to make sure and finish a mask before I head to the Post office to mail that elastic to her!

Happy Tuesday y’all!

A to Z Challenge ~ Burn Pile

B is for Burn Pile.

In our part of the country we do not have any yard waste pick-up. There are times during the year that we can have burn piles. When the fire danger is high there are burn bans. There are limits to the size of our burn piles. We were in compliance.

There are different methods to get the fire going. Before we start we connect a hose and we make sure the water is turned on and ready to spray if the fire gets out of hand. I’m happy to say we’ve never had a fire get out of hand.

Once we get the fire going we watch it all day long and keep feeding it with the rest of our gathered brush. If you look behind back to the fence you will see the pile we hope to get through.

For several hours we added limbs and cones and anything else we trimmed around the yard. We made it through the big piles we had. It was a good productive day and we did not have to worry at all about social distancing. We were bushed by the end of the day!

We hope to borrow our son’s tractor sometime and take care of more brush on the property that needs to be cleared.

Life in the country is very different from life in the city. My life went from City mouse to Country mouse in September of 2018 and so far it’s been a joy.

We are complying with the President’s guidelines, 30 days to Slow the Spread.

Wednesday Hodgepodge

If you are visiting from the A to Z Challenge please scroll down below Wednesday Hodgepodge. Cheers!
From this Side of the Pond

1. Has spring sprung in your part of the world? How can you tell? Did March come in like a lion where you live? Going out like a lamb or something more ferocious?

March is definitely going out like a lion. I was in Southern California for the beginning of March and it was calm enough except for the escalating worries over COVID-19. Panic shopping and hoarding had begun. In our part of Northeastern Washington Spring comes slowly. We see some green poking up and there are buds forming on some bushes. Our best sign of Spring is our granddaughter who was born on the first day of Spring in 2017.

She’s busy with Spring clean-up!

2. The last thing that caused you to spring to your feet?

Springing to my feet might be a thing of the past but something that made me get up as fast as I could to my feet was our grandson. We have a room at our country bungalow that has been designated as the playroom. It is one of our guest rooms so it has a queen size bed and two nightstands and a dresser and bookshelf besides some toys. I was reading to our granddaughter (sitting properly on the floor as per her instruction) when I saw grandson had walked around the bed to the flimsy lightweight nightstand and the lamp was tottering. I shifted Addy off my lap and got up as fast as I could which is hard from a sitting on the floor position. I got to him in time and moved him away. I then put a sturdy chair in front of the nightstand to block his access to it. Tragedy averted. Next time we are playing in there I will be prepared by moving the chair to block that nightstand forthwith.

For those of you Hodgepodgers who don’t regularly follow my blog, this is our grandson who was born in April of 2019 which is one of the best things that happened during the Hodgepodge hiatus since September of 2018. His older sister just turned 3 and he will turn 1 on April 16th with no huge 1st birthday party because of the virus. He won’t care but it’s tough on the adults in his life.

3. Do you have a spring clean to-do list? What’s one chore on the list you’ve already managed to accomplish? What spring clean chore do you most dread?

I do not have a Spring clean to-do list. We go with the flow.

We managed a good head start on cleaning up our fall brush pile and getting the yard ready for Spring growth. Using my hedge trimmer to clean up leftover dead growth around the former pond and throwing everything on the burn pile was very satisfying.

This winter we had a huge amount of branches and pine cones fall from all of our trees in the front yard. We finished picking up those branches along with some of the cones and they went on the burn pile, too.

I’m not dreading any Spring cleaning chore because I don’t have a big list of things I only do in the Spring. Should I make a list? Maybe I should clean out my closets and drawers??

4. Tell us something you’ve learned about yourself or the wider world as a result of social distancing/the virus crisis.

I’ve learned that concentrating is harder these days. Even though I don’t feel like I’m anxious the uncertainty of where this is all going is unsettling. I’m a person who can get a lot accomplished if I have an incentive like a dinner party, or a trip coming up, or company coming to stay. There’s none of that kind of planning right now so one day just flows into another and my concentration has gone out the window. Hodgpodge helps and blogging helps and having my music on helps, and listening to sermons online helps, too. By the way y’all today is Wednesday just in case you were wondering. Anyone else having to ask, “what day is today?”

5. Something you love that’s the color pink?

My Lenten Rose (Hellebore) that I had to leave behind at our former home in Kenmore. It brought me such joy year after year when it would bloom during the season of Lent. Speaking of leaving things behind, here are my pink rhoddys that I hope are still thriving in Kenmore.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Some good quotes from trusted authors/pastors/Bible that I’ve read this week:

“Faith is not a power which you possess to create your own future. Faith is a God-given ability to trust the future that God has promised you.”~ John MacArthur

“Because of Christ, death is not final. It is a passage from one world to the next.” ~ R.C. Sproul

“Judas heard all Christ’s sermons.” ~ Thomas Goodwin

“Bene orasse est bene studuisse” To have prayed well is to have studied well. ~ Luther

Proverbs 3:25, 26(ESV) ~ Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.

Linking up with Joyce at From This Side of the Pond for Wednesday Hodgepodge. I’ll add the direct link on Wednesday.

The Time is Right

When I learned last August that one of my neighbors was given 3 short months to live I felt the urgency to share and knew this wasn’t a time for sugar coating. I feel the same about this time we are all finding ourselves in globally over the danger of COVID-19. Here’s what I wrote to her:

Dear ****,

Greg and I (Ellen) were so sorry to hear that you were given such a short time to live on this earth. We have prayed for you, especially that you can die in peace knowing you will spend eternity in heaven.

We believe in the one true God who made heaven and earth and all of us. We believe the Bible is the true Word of God. The Bible tells us about what Jesus did for us-

“Jesus Christ came into this world and did the greatest thing that will ever be done. As the perfect Son of God, He died in our place, absorbed the wrath of God, paid the penalty for sin, provided the righteousness of the law, and rose invincible from the dead–all in a vapor’s life of thirty three years.”

Jesus Christ wants a personal relationship with you. He wants to be your Savior. In order for Him to be your Savior you need to admit you are a sinner (need a Savior). Our sins separate us from God. God provided the way for us to be forgiven through Jesus Christ and His death on the Cross, paying for our sins. We cannot save ourselves. We need to come to Jesus personally and cry to Him to have mercy on us. When we ask He will forgive our sins.

God is in charge. “This then, is the gospel our Lord sends us forth to proclaim: That Jesus Christ, who is God incarnate, humbled himself to die on our behalf. Thus He became the the sinless sacrifice to pay the penalty of our guilt. He rose from the dead to declare with power that He is Lord over all, and He offers eternal life freely to sinners who will surrender to Him in humble, repentant faith. This gospel promises nothing to the haughty rebel, but for broken, penitent sinners, it graciously offers everything that pertains to life and godliness.”

We pray that God will have mercy on you and draw you to Himself through forgiveness so that you can be born again.  It’s too late to sugar coat this message. Ask God to show you right now the truth of His Gospel and the way to eternal life.

With concern and hope for your eternity,

Ellen and Greg

Our neighbor left this earth in October of 2019.

We will all spend eternity somewhere. I’m grateful to be able to say I will spend it with my Savior. Do you know where you will spend eternity?

John 14: 1-4, 6 ~ “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going…Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Father and Daughter

These images our daughter-in-law captured of Addy working with her daddy put a big smile on my face.

We had some decent weather this weekend to work outside in. Getting those Spring cleaning chores done before new growth begins full speed ahead.

Hope you all are coping well with staying at home. My computer is exhibiting charging issues so I hope things don’t digress. If you don’t see new things from me you’ll know my computer is a mess.

Some comforting words from Psalm 27;

One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock…

I believe that I will look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Kitchen Before and After

We decided to change up our kitchen by painting the majority of the cabinets white. Some of you might cringe but our eyes have not enjoyed oak lately, mostly on cabinets.

We are keeping the island as it was.

The pantry has not been painted yet but is next on the list.

The process is not easy but Dear found it a good job to do while the temps are freezing outside which makes it hard for him to work the construction of his shop.

We are pleased with the new look. I’m thankful for a husband who is not afraid of hard or tedious work.

I showed you the wheel barrow that we bought our granddaughter for her 3rd birthday. Her she is hard at work outside. This photo was taken yesterday by her mom.

This family works hard together and they are not afraid of dirt! Anybody else out there who calls a wheel barrow a wheel barrel?

And yes, it is still cold outside here in Northeastern Washington State!

Stay safe and keep the Faith!