1st of Spring Favorites

The first of my early Spring favorites is our granddaughter Addy who turned 2 years old on the first day of Spring. We enjoyed a meal out this week with her and the people who love her most in Colville and Kettle Falls. Her birthday bash is on Sunday after the one’s who love her most and live on the other side of the Cascades fly in to celebrate.

Extra space that I’m enjoying with our new counter depth refrigerator is another favorite this week.

On Wednesday after working outside for several hours with Dear, breaking up ice, I came inside to wash some dishes . I heard Dear doing something on the deck and then he came inside and said, “would you like to join me on the terrace for drinks?”. He had brought a couple lawn chairs and side table out of winter hibernation and set them on the deck. It was so nice and refreshing to be in the fresh air enjoying our view. You can see the snow covered landscape in the reflection off the slider.

When we drove into Spokane last Friday we stopped at Sonnenberg’s Market and Deli, “the oldest meat market in town, since 1891”. We picked up some deli items, some house made sausages and one porterhouse steak. Dear and I cooked and split that steak on the first day of Spring and oh my goodness it was the best hunk of meat we’ve enjoyed in a long time. We used a new to us cooking method for it, too, which we’ll continue using when we are only making one steak for the two of us to enjoy. I lightly oiled the steak, seasoned it with Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and Pepper then put it in the oven at 220 degrees  with a meat thermometer probe in it until the meat reached 120 degrees. Took it out of the oven and out of the pan onto a plate and let it rest for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes I put a little oil in the pan and heated it to smoking and seared the steak on each side and then we enjoyed it. Delicious, melt in your mouth meat!

Even though it hasn’t happened yet another favorite is the fact that we will be driving to the Spokane airport this evening to pick up 3 of our kids flying in for the weekend. It’s been a while since we’ve been able to see them face to face and we are looking forward to lots of time with them this weekend. We have two birthday parties and a baby shower this weekend. One party for a 60 year old and one party for our 2 year old granddaughter and a baby shower for our grandson who will arrive in April.

I am thankful to God for His kindness and generosity to us because of what Jesus Christ sacrificed for us.  I’ve already pulled out my Easter décor anticipating my favorite holiday of the year.

The son of a friend of ours made a drawing about Easter and she shared it on Facebook. It had a cross on a hill and these words written on the bottom of the drawing, “Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins. 😦 It was a sad three days without him.” then on the bottom right corner of this drawing it says, flip the page. On the other side of the paper he drew the stone rolled away from the tomb and wrote these words,  “It’s the greatest day in history… Death has been beaten and Jesus rose from the grave.”

Out of the mouth of babes! Love this little one sharing the Good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Linking up with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story for Friday’s Fave Five.

Almighty Hodgepodge

It’s time to ponder Joyce’s questions and find the answers. This Cafe is on the main drag that runs along Lake Washington through Bothell, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, and Lake City. This is the 522 bus route that goes to downtown Seattle. We haven’t tried the cafe yet but Dear has read many a book on that 522 route to Seattle and back.

1. April is Lawn and Garden Month. On a scale of 1-10 what’s the current state of your lawn and/or garden. (10=a showpiece, 1=send in the professionals). Tell us about any lawn or garden plans you have for this month.

Haha! As I was mowing on Monday of this week the thought came to my mind that we really could use some professionals to come in and totally redo our lawn. We have more moss and weeds then actual grass. I had the thought that it would be great to meet that guy at the big box store who would come up to me and say “can we come and do a yard project for you?” So I’m saying 1!

We have made some improvements on the walkway and planters since this photo was taken but the lawn remains a mess! This next photo is what things look like since 2016.

2. “Many things grow in the garden that were never sown there.”~Thomas Fuller  What does this quote mean to you?

I’ll take it literally and say I never sowed those weeds but there they are.

3. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about God?

Almighty

THE APOSTLES CREED
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit; Born of the Virgin
Mary; Suffered under Pontius Pilate; Was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into Hell; The third
day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven; And sitteth on the right hand of God the
Father Almighty; From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit; The Holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints; The Forgiveness of
sins; The Resurrection of the body; And the life everlasting. Amen.
4. If we were chatting in person, how would I know if you were nervous?

If I was talking too much.

5. Do you like the color yellow? Would I find any in your home or wardrobe? Daffodils, tulips, roses, sunflowers, day lily, black eyed susan…which yellow bloom on this list is your favorite?

Not much yellow in my home or wardrobe. I do like lemons. Daffodils are my favorite yellow bloom.

6. Flip flops or bare feet?

Bare feet. Flip flops don’t agree with my feet.

7. Tell us about any Easter plans, celebrations, or traditions you’ll carry out this month.

This Easter will be different because we are headed east to spend time with our kids and our granddaughter Addy. We will celebrate but not in the usual way. We love Easter and we generally have a baking day before Easter to make Russian Easter Bread, Kulich/Paska and our yummy sweet cheese spread for the bread called Seernaya Paska. Lamb is the protein of choice for our Easter meals. We are going to have a post Easter celebration when we are back on this side of the mountains and we will celebrate our son-in-law’s birthday, too.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I owe everything that I am and everything I will ever be to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for my robe of righteousness afforded to me because Jesus took on my sins and the sins of the world. I am washed clean by the blood of the Lamb.

Linking to Hodgepodge Wednesday with Joyce From This Side of the Pond.

I’m recuperating today from 2 days of hard labor. Monday was yard day and yesterday after a nice walk with Katie, Dear recruited me to help him finish a shed project at our son and dil’s  that took us till 7:30 last night. They are very happy with their spiffy new shed and we were happy to put it together. I’m a bit behind this morning. Hope to catch up with everyone shortly. Happy Wednesday!

Good Friday ~ How Deep the Father’s Love For Us

How Deep the Father’s Love For Us

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

~Stuart Townend

Luke 23:44 ~ It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

Luke 23:49 ~ But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

All these images are from Monumentale Cemetery in Milan, Italy.

X is for…

So here we are at good ole X in the alphabet. This is a letter for ABC Wednesday that takes a little creativity. Thank you to the ABC team for managing this meme and to Denise Nesbitt the founder.

Did you know that X stands for Christ and Cross and other stuff, too?

At Easter I make a Russian sweet cheese spread called Seernaya Paska that we spread on Russian Easter Bread that is called Paska by a lot of people and Kulich by my Russian relatives. In the Russian alphabet X is the first letter in Christ. We decorate the sweet cheese spread with an X and a B. X for Christ and B for arose/risen. Christ is Risen.

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If you are a regular on my blog you know I like to wander around very old cemeteries. There are always a great variety of crosses to photograph. Here are a couple.

Bellefontaine 026Bellefontaine 021

Windmills have a natural X visible from the formation of their rotor blades.

IMGP0229This windmill is located at the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada.

P1030918This Windmill is located at Roozengaarde Tulip Garden in Mount Vernon Washington State.

That’s it for my offerings on the letter X. I’ll be curious to come around and see what you found for this challenging letter.

Summer has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere. I’m still watching all the World Cup Soccer I can fit in. Our bathroom renovation is progressing. Never a dull moment at this old house. Someone mentioned and I’m in agreement that we don’t seem to have ordinary weeks or days anymore. I’ll have to cling to the verse in the Bible that says…

“This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Can’t Imagine…

…the sorrow those who loved Jesus Christ felt on the day in between his death and resurrection.

IMGP9403

I can imagine Angels were guarding His body as it laid in the tomb.

I’m so thankful we know the rest of the story and we are not of those who despair.

1 Peter 1:3-9 (ESV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Looking forward to Easter Sunday and celebrating our hope with millions of people around the world.

Good Friday 2014

Alton to Cotswolds 282

From C. J. Mahaney’s, Living the Cross Centered Life

Knowing the hour for His death is fast approaching, Jesus has come here in need as never before of His Father’s comfort and strength. Instead, hell – utter separation from God – is thrust in His face.

We hear Him cry out: Father – is there an alternative? Is there any way to avoid this? If there’s a way this cup could pass from Me, would You please provide that to Me?

Silence. We can see it in His face – Jesus receives no answer to this desperate entreaty.

A second time He pleads for an alternative to that horror of abandonment by His Father. If such an alternative existed, the Father would most surely provide it. But the obedient Son’s plea to his loving Father is met with silence. Why?

Listen to this verse again for the very first time: For God so loved the world…that He is silent to His Son’s agonizing appeal.

This is what bearing our sin means to Him – utter distress of soul as He confronts total abandonment and absolute wrath from His Father on the cross, a distress and an abandonment and a rejection we cannot begin to grasp.

In this, our Savior’s darkest hour…do you recognize His love for you?

~~~~~~~~

The following song by Stuart Townend is so fitting in describing what God has accomplished for us through His beautiful Son, Jesus. May God fill all of us full and fresh with these truths this Easter weekend and let us “recognize His love for us”.  Blessings on your thoughts of Him!

 How Deep the Father’s Love for Us

by Stuart Townend

How deep the father’s love for us,
how vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son,
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns his face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold a man upon the cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no powers, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

P1010179

April Note Cards

It’s time for Vee’s Note Card party.

Thank you Vee for hosting this monthly party!

Wild Ginger3Sunset over Lake Washington in Kirkland, Washington.

2014-04-07 Tulips1Rows of spent daffodils in Mount Vernon, Washington during the Tulip Festival.

tulips-easterApple blossoms on our apple tree taken this past Saturday.

2014-03-027Russian sweet cheese spread served with Russian Easter Bread (Kulich/Paska).

Христос Воскрес!

Воистину воскрес!

Wild Ginger4Here we are in the middle of April and we’ll finally be celebrating Easter this coming weekend. I’m looking forward to our Good Friday service and Easter service. After services on Sunday some of our family will be coming over to celebrate an Easter meal here. We are having rack of lamb, rice, asparagus, salad and Italian Easter bread (Colomba) with strawberries for dessert. Our annual Kulich/Paska baking day is not happening this year so I was happy to find a source for the Colomba. It tastes and smells very similar to Kulich/Paska.

How are you celebrating Easter this year?

O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing ~ Hymn

Wesley wrote this hymn to com­mem­o­rate the first an­ni­ver­sa­ry of his con­ver­sion to Christ. This or­i­gin is re­flect­ed in the lyr­ics, “On this glad day the glor­i­ous Sun of Right­eous­ness arose.” The stanza that be­gins “O for a thou­sand tongues to sing” is verse seven of Wes­ley’s orig­in­al po­em. This work first ap­peared in Hymns and Sac­red Po­ems in 1740.


O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!

My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad
The honors of Thy name.

Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease;
’Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
’Tis life, and health, and peace.

He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.

He speaks, and, listening to His voice,
New life the dead receive,
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
The humble poor believe.

Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb,
Your loosened tongues employ;
Ye blind, behold your Savior come,
And leap, ye lame, for joy.

In Christ your Head, you then shall know,
Shall feel your sins forgiven;
Anticipate your heaven below,
And own that love is heaven.

Glory to God, and praise and love
Be ever, ever given,
By saints below and saints above,
The church in earth and heaven.

On this glad day the glorious Sun
Of Righteousness arose;
On my benighted soul He shone
And filled it with repose.

Sudden expired the legal strife,
’Twas then I ceased to grieve;
My second, real, living life
I then began to live.

Then with my heart I first believed,
Believed with faith divine,
Power with the Holy Ghost received
To call the Savior mine.

I felt my Lord’s atoning blood
Close to my soul applied;
Me, me He loved, the Son of God,
For me, for me He died!

I found and owned His promise true,
Ascertained of my part,
My pardon passed in heaven I knew
When written on my heart.

Look unto Him, ye nations, own
Your God, ye fallen race;
Look, and be saved through faith alone,
Be justified by grace.

See all your sins on Jesus laid:
The Lamb of God was slain,
His soul was once an offering made
For every soul of man.

Awake from guilty nature’s sleep,
And Christ shall give you light,
Cast all your sins into the deep,
And wash the Æthiop white.

Harlots and publicans and thieves
In holy triumph join!
Saved is the sinner that believes
From crimes as great as mine.

Murderers and all ye hellish crew
In holy triumph join!
Believe the Savior died for you;
For me the Savior died.

With me, your chief, ye then shall know,
Shall feel your sins forgiven;
Anticipate your heaven below,
And own that love is heaven.

ht: Cyberhymnal

Happy Palm Sunday everyone! Hosanna in the Highest!

March Moments

I’m joining Cheryl at Thinking About Home in Gathering the Moments.

At the end of each month she offers a link up for anyone to add their post on gathering the moments of the month. How amazing it is to look back and see all the events that happened in 31 days. March is my birthday month which added a lot to the moments…

Collages6March brought flowers once again in the yard.

Anthony's1

The opening of  the MLS Soccer season and a 90th birthday celebration on the 8th of March. On March 11th Katie and I celebrated her and Andrew’s 3rd wedding anniversary. Andrew is serving our country in Afghanistan. Hopefully this will be the last anniversary for many years that they spend half a world apart.

2014-03-018March brought some traveling adventures, too. Katie and I visited Snoqualmie Falls and then Dear, Katie and I traveled to Eastern Washington on my birthday (March 14th) to spend the weekend with our middle son.

2014-03-17 Dan's March6It’s fun to visit Dan’s country world. We had a nice meal out to celebrate my birthday. This would be one of three different celebrations I was treated to.

2014-03-26 paska class6March brought the Mennonite Girls Can Cook class on preparing Paska and an Easter meal at Lepp Farm Market in Abbotsford, B.C. Katie and I traveled across the border to be part of this event. It was nice to start thinking about Easter.

Wild Ginger1Lots of good food was consumed in March!

Wild Ginger2Last night we were able to enjoy my third birthday celebration with Josh and Laura. We caught up on our lives over a great meal at Wild Ginger in Bellevue, Washington. I’ll share more about our time later and the meaningful gifts they gave me.

P1040987

It’s time for the sun to set on March.

What highlights did March bring your way?

 

Paska, Easter Bread, Kulich

paska class 001Paska brought the Mennonite Girls Can Cook together and it continues to play a big role in our cooking story. This past Tuesday we taught a cooking class at Lepp Farm Market in Abbotsford, British Columbia (Canada) on Paska and a traditional Mennonite Easter meal. My daughter Katie had a ticket for the class and she was able to be our photographer as she watched.

So much was going on this evening at Lepp’s and I’ve created some collages of the different parts of the class.

2014-03-26 paska class1Paska, it’s what’s for Easter!

Paska is a slightly sweet Easter yeast bread that is traditional in the Ukraine and Russia. My Russian relatives call this bread Kulich. My mother and relatives always made dozens of loaves in the cylindrical shape using coffee cans or large juice cans.

2014-03-26 paska class9Lots of work goes on behind the scenes right up until Lovella introduces us to the guests and gets the evening going. Judy and Kathy helped coordinate this class and had all the timing and shopping lists ready ahead of time along with recipes to hand out to our guests.

2014-03-26 paska classLovella showed us her process in getting the dough ready to rise for her Paska.

2014-03-26 paska class3Julie talked about the products that make gluten free baking easier these days. She prepared her gluten free Paska and brought it to the class to share. She also demonstrated a delicious mustard sauce for the Easter Ham we would be serving.

2014-03-26 paska class5Kathy demonstrated her Cheesy Scalloped Potato recipe and also showed the ingredients she uses for a gourmet scalloped potato recipe.

2014-03-26 paska class2Judy demonstrated her delicious coleslaw dressing and mixed up a large batch of fresh coleslaw for the class. My daughter Katie is not fond of store bought coleslaw. She really enjoyed Judy’s homemade variety!

2014-03-26 paska class4Bev demonstrated how to make Pluma Moos or Plumi Moos. This is a traditional fruit dish served in Mennonite homes at Easter and other holidays, too. It can be served cold or warm. People use different varieties of fruit for the dish.

2014-03-26 paska class8Bev also demonstrated how to carve a ham with the bone in. She really did a great job.

While we started plating the food for our guests Lovella started working on her dough that had been rising during these demos.

2014-03-26 paska class7She showed us a variety of pans that you can use and how to pinch off small portions for sweet little petite paska buns made in muffin tins. She also showed a loaf variety and a twisted loaf.

2014-03-26 paska class6I had brought a completed Seernaya Paska, sweet cheese spread from home since it has to sit in the refrigerator having all the liquid pressed out for at least 24 hours. I plated it and showed one of the flower pots I use to mold the cheese and the heavy stone wrapped in plastic wrap to weight the cheese and force the liquid out. We used fresh viola blossoms to decorate it. I made an error in the pronunciation of this dish in our first cookbook. It is called seernaya paska not seerney paska . I’ve always had a hard time with Russian grammar. Growing up we always had this spread to serve with our Easter bread.

Lovella finished off the demonstrations showing us how she makes the Paska Icing.

2014-03-26 paska class12

While our guests ate their main course of ham with mustard sauce, cheesy scalloped potatoes, and coleslaw. We started plating the paska, sweet cheese spread and a dollop of frosting to serve. We also served up a small bowl of pluma moos.

paska class 309

paska class 311These classes are always so much fun to participate in. The wonderful thing is knowing that the profit generated from our classes goes to Matthew’s House in Abbotsford. Lepp Farm Market partners with us in donating the profits from our classes to this worthy non-profit that is a respite home for children with complex health care needs. You can see and read about Matthew’s house here.

2014-03-26 paska class10

paska class 005Because the class was all about Easter I have to explain what the X and B on my Russian Sweet Cheese Spread is all about. On Easter the greeting that we always express to one another is

Christos Voskress! Voistinu Voskress!

Христос Воскрес!

Воистину воскрес!

Christ is Risen!

Truly He is Risen!

So the X (the first letter of Christ in Russian) stands for Christ and the B (the first letter of risen in Russian) stands for Risen, Christ is Risen. This is what Easter is all about.

2014-03-26 paska class11I stole this next photo off of Kathy’s blog. Hope it’s ok, Kathy. If you click here you can see Kathy’s post about our time. Here’s Katie getting ready to take photos of the class.

Lepp Kt

Katie and I wrapped things up and hit the road back to the U.S.A. at about 9:30 P.M. We were happy to make it home at 11:40. I’ll admit that I was a zombie on Wednesday and I might or might not have spent the whole day in my robe.

All the recipes for these dishes are in our cookbooks or on our blog.