Hello May!

Early this morning on this first day of May I wandered around our yard and clicked away…

So full, so lush, so many shades of green to enjoy.

Our state flower is the Rhododendron and some of our bushes are blooming.

The soft pink Rose Bud Azaleas bloom later than the bright ones in the next photo.

I’ll give my lilac blooms till Sunday to completely open up and then I’ll bring them inside to enjoy their fragrance.

Thankful today and joining Susanne’s Fave Five to say…

Thank you Lord for Spring flowers and the month of May.

Thank you Lord for a yard that I can enjoy your creation in.

Thank you Lord for a home I can relax in.

Thank you Lord for friends and family and the peace we share.

Thank you Lord that you are the same yesterday, today and forever and we don’t have to fear the ups and downs of our culture.

What are you looking forward to in the Merry Month of May?!

Looking Up…

I’m joining Susanne and friends at Living to Tell the Story for Friday’s Fave Five. Five things that I can look back on that help me remember to be thankful.

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1. Dear has been down and out all week with a head cold and cough. I’m thankful that things are looking up for him. I’m also thankful that we are relatively healthy around this old house and we don’t go through many weeks like this.

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2. Signs of Spring are popping up all over and that really makes me smile.

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3. My pop is doing well. We thought he might have shingles and he got the word that he doesn’t. I’m so thankful he doesn’t have to deal with that on top of his continued loneliness without my mom. I’m also thankful that my sister Kathy and her family have moved within 5 minutes to my dad’s apartment and they are willing to be there when he needs anything.

pop and kathyMy pop always travels with his checkbook in his shirt pocket. This habit of his makes me smile.

4. We had a wonderful time with our adult kids this past weekend. Lots of great together time eating and laughing and playing games. Dan and his girlfriend made it here and back across Snoqualmie Pass and I’m always thankful when I hear that they made it home safe and sound. The pass and the roads in Eastern Washington were treacherous for them and they saw lots of spin outs and rollovers on their way home. The day after they traveled the pass was shut down for most of the day.

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5. I’m continuing in my quest to scan many of our photos. As I scan the photos the memories of times and people that added so much to our lives make me thankful to God for family, friends and life changing events.

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This is a random photo from late ’76 or early ’77. My niece Debbee was born in May of 1976 and that’s how I can guess the timing of this photo. Love that my little babushka is in the photo. This was Dear and my second home in Huntington Beach, California. Dear, my best friend Heidi, my brother Steve, my pop, my mom, my sister Vera. Next row my brother in law Nick, niece Debbee, my sister Kathy, my sister Lana, my little babushka, and my brother Leonard.

I hope to be around to see what you are thankful for this week. You could share in the comments, too.

Lots to be Thankful For…

So many blessings to think about and be thankful for. Today I’m joining Susanne at Living to Tell the Story with Friday’s Fave Five . My Favorites for this week will revolve around Katie’s trip to Southern California. For those of you who don’t visit very often our daughter Katie has been living with us since September while our Son-in-Law, Andrew is serving with the Marine Corp in Afghanistan. She will be with us until his return sometime in the Spring. When we get a more definitive return date she and I will drive their car and some belongings across country from Washington to North Carolina and try to set up some type of living arrangement before his arrival. Now I’m ready with the Five…

1. That Katie could spend some time with my dear old pop while she was in Southern California. The photo above is of the two of them from last year at the senior apartment building where he lives.

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2. That Katie was able to spend 2 fun packed days at Disneyland with some of her cousins. The goal was to see Disneyland while it was still all decorated for Christmas. Katie’s cousins have Disney year long passes and Katie was able to get a great 3 day pass for a good military discount.

3. I was talking to my pop this morning and he was telling me that he thanks God every day for his children, his grandchildren and his great grandchildren. It is so pleasing to see how well this group of cousins gets along and how much they love each other. The above photo was taken in Southern California in March of 2013.

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4. From December 3rd thru January 19th we celebrate the birthdays of four of our children. I’m so thankful for each one of them and how unique they are. I’m also very thankful that they love each other and can talk to each other and laugh at each other! Tonight we will be celebrating Josh about 9 days early but he’ll be gone next weekend serving at Junior High Winter camp so like always we go with the flow and celebrate whenever we can.

P1040734This photo is from Laura’s birthday celebration early in December…

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5. We are thankful for our son-in-law, Andrew. He is serving all of us in harms way. I like to post this photograph every so often to remind anyone who visits here that many of our young men and women are away from the comforts of home serving our country and to remind us to pray for them that they will return home safe and sound. Semper Fi!

What are you thankful for today?

Thanksgiving Comes Early…

…and continues through November!

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Dan and Jamie (upper right) drove from Eastern Washington to spend an early Thanksgiving with us. They arrived late on Friday night and we were thankful for their safe journeys. Saturday morning Dear and I met Jamie in our kitchen and knew that we liked her easy spirit. My sister Lana and her husband Steve joined us for our early Thanksgiving meal. They had just returned from the Dominican Republic where they were able to minister to the poorest of the poor. They shared their experience and we were thankful for their trip and life changing experience. We stood around the table joining our hands and Dear expressed our gratitude to God for all he has given us relationally and materially. Filled to the gills we cleaned up and Dear and I headed to bed while the rest enjoyed games around the table laughing heartily into the night. God is good to us and we are forever thankful to Him.

For those who are curious about such things, our Thanksgiving meal was very traditional. Turkey, stuffing, yams (with brown sugar, butter, and marshmallows), mashed potatoes, gravy, and rolls. Being concerned about our lack of green on our plates my sister Lana contributed a lovely green soup which consisted of pureed sauteed in onion spinach, asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, and jalapeno. It was delicious and we were happy that the green requirement was met. Pumpkin and Razzleberry pie with whipped cream for dessert and some lovely beverages all along the way…

The Five…

Today is Friday and I’m joining Susanne at Living to Tell the Story for her Friday’s Fave Five. It’s good to think back over the past week and see the good things in life that God has blessed you with to enjoy.

1. Vareniki have become traditional for my family to prepare together before Christmas and then to serve on Christmas Eve for dessert. My mom’s version are larger and fancier than these but when I don’t get my mom’s these are the next best thing. I can buy them at a European Deli not too far form my home. They call them perogies but the Russian on the upper left translates to Vareniki with cheese. After they are formed, filled with cheese and sealed they are boiled cooled and frozen. We like to serve them hot out of the oven after they are cooked from their frozen state with butter and 1/2 and 1/2. Then we plop some sour cream on top and cover them with good maple syrup. Delicious! We had these for breakfast last Saturday before we started in on cleaning out the garage loft.

2. When we crave a good meatball sandwich we drive to a pizza joint in Lynnwood. We’ve tried to find a good one closer to us but they always disappoint. These were delicious as usual. I brought half of mine home for another day. All my favorites aren’t about food but it seems the freezing snap we’ve had since last Friday made us seek out some of our favorite comfort foods.

3. Our favorite sons both have birthdays this week. We are so thankful that God blessed us with them. Each one is unique and appreciated!

4. I’m thankful for the local library where I can put books on hold and then check out to enjoy without spending lots of money. The book in the middle is co-authored by our friend Lela Gilbert. Lela has a new book out that I’ve ordered from Amazon called, Saturday People, Sunday People. I’ll share more about it after it arrives. Without Reservations was recommended to me by Susan in Switzerland after she read about our upcoming trip to Milan. The Unofficial Downton Abbey cookbook is just for fun.

5. We are excited about finally sending our chairs out to be reupholstered. They were in sorry shape after 36 years or so of wear and tear. We are looking forward to their new look and feel.

In the meantime the table is very lonely.

Looking forward to coming around and seeing your favorites this week. What’s in store for your weekend? Some of us in the U.S. get a long weekend since Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. observance. Dear’s company doesn’t give him the day off. We hope to celebrate with Josh and Laura on Sunday if they are well enough. (Lousy illnesses gripping our world!) We also are plowing forward to try to  finish the clean up in the garage. Blessings!!

FFF ~ Thankful for…

It’s time to join Susanne at Living to Tell the Story for our favorites from this past week. So many things to be thankful for. Most likely this will be the last FFF I will be able to participate in till late December.

1. Just getting ready for our Thanksgiving meal which we are having early this year makes me thankful. My decorations are very minimal this year but it was good to clean up and to decorate. I love sitting and relaxing in my home when it is really clean and organized.

2. Our son Dan drove across the Cascades on Wednesday to spend a few days and to be here for our Thanksgiving meal. I’m thankful he made it across the pass safely when several cars were spinning out in the snowfall. Our son Josh drove over to see his brother and sister for the evening. I was sitting on the couch enjoying being with our 3 adult children enjoying each other. These times get fewer and farther between with their lives going in different directions.

3. Our daughter Katie is getting to the “oh my gosh I only have this many days before I move stage” and this makes her chatter. It’s been good to take care of lots of last minute stuff with her.

4. I’ve been cooking so much for crowds these days that Thanksgiving preparations seem like a breeze in my head so I’m enjoying the relaxation of this new feeling. My family does not want surprises on Thanksgiving but just want the traditional goodies. This makes for a very predictable and known cooking process…

5. One of the biggest blessings of this last week was planning, preparing, and enjoying our daughter Katie’s bridal shower last Saturday evening. It was so great to see so many old friends of ours and Katie’s. Katie was showered with love and gifts. Prayers on her and Andrew’s behalf were so precious. At the end of our evening the power went out. Thankfully we already had several candles lit and gathered up more to give us more light. My sister Lana walked people to their cars with a flashlight because it was so dark outside with no streetlights.

What is making you thankful this week?

O Father, We Would Thank Thee ~ Hymn

“Go forth today, by the help of God’s Spirit, vowing and declaring that in life—-come poverty, come wealth, in death—come pain or come what may, you are and ever must be the Lord’s.  For this is written on your heart, ‘We love Him because He first loved us.”

~ Charles Spurgeon

O Father, We Would Thank Thee

O Father, we would thank Thee
For all Thy love has given,
Our present joy of sonship,
Our future joy in Heaven;
The life which sin had blighted
So wondrously restored
By our mysterious union
With Jesus Christ our Lord.

 Rich gifts of life and gladness—
A new and heav’nly birth,
Baptismal waters flowing
To cleanse the sons of earth;
The strength in which to follow
The steps that Jesus trod;
And love beyond all knowledge
Which calls us sons of God.

A new and heav’nly birth,
Baptismal waters flowing
To cleanse the sons of earth;
The strength in which to follow
The steps that Jesus trod;
And love beyond all knowledge
Which calls us sons of God.

O mercy all abundant
Bestowed on us today!
O hope of future glory
Which fadeth not away!
By God’s great love begotten
To living hope and sure,
May we at Christ’s appearing
Be pure as He is pure.

For all Thy gifts, O Father,
Our hymns of praise arise—
The love which calls us children,
The hope which purifies;
The grace by which we offer
A service glad and free;
The earnest of perfection,
Of fuller life with Thee.

Words: Ada R. Green­a­way, in Hymns An­cient and Mo­dern, 1904.