Bee News & Old Friends

Several weeks ago, Spencer’s friend Britton surprised Jasper by giving him some money for his beekeeping endeavors. That was such an encouragement to us today, when we went to get the rest of the stuff Jasper will need for his new hive of bees, which he hopes to get within the next couple of weeks. He was able to replace the frames that had molded, and get a new “deep” box with frames and a queen excluder. I hope he learned enough from last year’s experience to keep this year’s bees alive!

After Walter got off work this evening, he and I headed to the north side of town to meet our friends Tom and Donna for dinner. We had not seen them for several years, and I was so glad it worked out for us to get together while they were in town. Tom is yet another friend I have known since third grade at Sakeji. He and I used to compete in class to see who could read out loud the fastest. We ended up at the same university, which is where Walter got to know him, and later after we were married, we were all in Africa for a while–Tom and his family in Congo and us in Zambia.

Do you understand how incredibly fortunate and blessed I am? To still have multiple friends from grade school days, not to mention high school and college! It was so much fun to get caught up with Tom and Donna tonight. I wish their time here could have overlapped with Don & Gwen’s next visit–that would have qualified as a class reunion!

3-30-16 Tom & Donna Wolford

Tragedy Strikes

It was just over a year ago I rejoiced in the acquisition of the perfect mug. I had scoured the labyrinth that is Etsy, looking for the exact perfect combination of features that I prefer in a mug, and I found it.

2-12-15 new mug

It wasn’t cheap, but it was the right size, the right shape, the right thickness–everything. I have used it almost daily since it arrived. This afternoon, after my cup of tea, I took my mug into the kitchen and set it on the table. Then, inexplicably, it leapt off the table right before my eyes and crashed on the floor. The mug itself survived but the handle broke into four pieces.

Poor Lucy had to take a very grumpy old lady out for driving practice. I still don’t understand how or why it fell off the table. I can’t afford to replace it anytime soon. I will be forced to choose among the 100+ other mugs that we own in the days to come. There went my quality of life . . . .


Easter Weekend

Our Easter traditions were all messed up this year. Normally we dye eggs on Good Friday, but that didn’t happen because of all the other stuff that went on. I thought maybe the egg dyeing would happen on Saturday while I was in Dallas, but it turned out that most of the family were not around then either. So, it finally took place on Easter Sunday afternoon!

We did manage to have our traditional Easter breakfast, though Spencer had to go to church for worship practice and then come back! Mercy missed her sunrise service due to an alarm malfunction, so she went to church with Spencer and Lucy.

Our church broke with tradition by actually mentioning the fact that it was Easter and having an Easter sermon. Normally Christian holidays are not observed in any way, so that was a nice surprise. Despite plenty of practice, I flubbed up playing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.” It’s actually pretty challenging, and I wished Lina was there to play it on the piano!

Two of our three “adopted” college students made it over for our ham dinner and pavlova dessert. The college students are feeling the pressure as there are only five weeks left of the semester.

Today was a more or less normal school day. Walter texted me this morning letting me know that the accountant had figured our taxes, and they were somewhat higher than anticipated. We still have a couple of weeks to scrape it all together, but it’s disappointing after saving all year to pay taxes and thinking we had saved enough!

I finally got around to making Lucy’s birthday breakfast this morning. I should say it is more of a breakFEAST in bed! This year’s menu:

3-28-16 Lucy's Breakfast in bed

Sausage/cheese omelet

Hash browns

Cottage cheese with mandarin oranges (Lucy’s request)

Cinnamon roll

Orange juice



In just a few more years my breakfast-in-bed-making days will be over. I wonder if I will be sorry?


This afternoon I took Lucy out driving and she drove way out into the country and then back again. She is progressing nicely!

Hallelujah! He is Risen!

Christ the Lord is Risen Today

Charles Wesley

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Lo! the Sun’s eclipse is o’er, Alleluia!
Lo! He sets in blood no more, Alleluia!

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal, Alleluia!
Christ hath burst the gates of hell, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids Him rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious king, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Hail, the Lord of earth and Heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to Thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail, the resurrection, thou, Alleluia!


In Which Google is a Big Fat Liar, I Get Hungry, & I Win Something

I had plans for today. My plans involved driving to Dallas to attend a free seminar put on by the writers’ group that will be hosting the DFW Writers Conference next month. I didn’t have to go to Walmart this morning (oh happy day!) because I went yesterday, so I slept in a little and then after breakfast I worked on editing one of my stories that I hope to enter into a contest.

I had Googled directions to the restaurant where the seminar would be held, and Google said it would take about two hours to get there. Knowing how optimistic Google can be, I actually left by 11:15 for an event that started at 2:00. For backup I had Nigel, my phone’s GPS.

By the time I reached the Dallas area, it was clear that I’d be at least a few minutes late. By then I was very hungry and I hoped I would still be able to get food once I arrived. I faithfully followed my Google directions (backed up by Nigel) to the address of the restaurant. There was a Mexican restaurant there all right, but it was shifty in the extreme and there was only one car parked in front. No way was there a sold-out seminar going on there.

So I had a little talk with Nigel and this time instead of asking him to find the address, I asked him to find the actual restaurant. He led me back in the direction from which I’d come a good 15 miles. Sure enough, there was a restaurant there, but it is part of a chain and I was quite sure it was not the right restaurant since it was so far away from the address given on the website.

By the time I pulled into the very full parking lot at 2:30 I was both ravenous and lachrymose, but I figured I might as well go in and have lunch before going home in disgrace. When I walked in, I asked the hostess if there was a writers group meeting there, and guess what? There was! And they hadn’t started the seminar yet! And I knew it was the right group because they had my name on their list. Whew!

The meeting room was packed with forty eager writers plus the presenters and organizers. I ended up at the very back with two ladies named Stephanie and Isabella. Everyone else had already ordered their food. There was only one waiter working the entire room. When he brought everyone’s drink orders around, I asked for water and he soon brought it, saying he would return to get my meal order.

Then the class started and it was very engrossing. It was almost 4:00 before we took a break and the waiter started bringing in everyone’s food. Except mine, of course, because I hadn’t had a chance to order. Stephanie was very concerned about this and made sure the waiter came my way and took my order. He assured me he’d bring it to me as soon as it was ready.

We plunged into the second workshop while everyone (except me) ate their very late lunch. This one was all review for me, so I had plenty of time to sit there and think about how hungry I was. By the time that class wound down, it was 4:45 and the waiter came to me and said he was so sorry my food was late. They were making it as we spoke, and the manager would be the one to bring it to me because it was so late.

The next (and last) thing on the agenda was an activity during which we pitched our books to each other for practice.  I thought if my food came I just would not participate in that activity, but my food did NOT come so I went ahead and did the activity. (More about that on my writer’s blog.) At 5:20 we put our filled-out forms in a bowl and the organizers pulled out three at random for a coveted prize–an extra free pitch session at next month’s conference. Believe it or not, mine was one of the three chosen!

During the pitching activity, Stephanie had sought out the waiter and told him I still didn’t have food. She had offered to go to bat for me since, as she said, she is a naturally bossy person! Soon afterwards a very apologetic manager showed up. My food was being made, she said, and it would be on the house since it was so late.

So I waited. The pitching activity ended and most people left. My food finally arrived a few minutes before 6:00, delivered by the manager herself. I sat all alone in that big room that had held 40 people and ate my free lunch/supper while the lone waiter patiently cleared all the dishes the others had left behind. I felt pretty sorry for him. He had been run off his feet all afternoon trying to take care of 40 people and I have a feeling he got in trouble for letting my meal slip through the cracks, as it were. So yes, I tipped him and wished him a happy Easter!

It was a long, tiring drive home and I still had to stop at Walmart for a few last-minute items before getting home and cutting Walter’s hair! Then I still had to figure out what hymns we are singing in church tomorrow and practice them. It’s been a long day . . .


Hot Cross Buns and An Outing

Today I got up at 6:00 a.m. to make the hot cross bun dough. I didn’t want to. I really, really didn’t want to, but I didn’t see any other way to get the buns made so we could have them later in the day, and I had more or less been told that I’d be a total failure as a mother if I failed to carry on this longstanding tradition.

So, I got up and made the dough. While it rose, I did other things and had breakfast with my husband when he got up. He did not have to go to his main job today, but he and Spencer and Jasper had plenty of extra work to do at the two properties they maintain out by a nearby lake.

Mercy had spent the night here, and shortly after she emerged the men left for their day of work. I had to do a Walmart run to get medicine and a few other necessities, and then stop to fill the car with gas. Then I came home and picked Lucy up and we headed up to get her friend Martha.

Lucy had her birthday on the 13th, and Martha a few days later, so this was a birthday outing for the two of them. We drove to the town of Shreveport in Louisiana and had lunch at a restaurant of Lucy’s choosing. Then we continued on to the riverfront “boardwalk” area.

I parked in a parking garage and the girls went off on their adventure. I have never actually explored the boardwalk, but it sounds to me like a place completely devoted to parting people from their money, and I did not want to be tempted, so I stayed in the car. I took a nice long nap and called my parents on the phone. I had plenty of knitting and reading to do too, but I didn’t get to it before the girls came back!

They had a good time and Lucy spent some birthday money on a necklace she really liked.

We drove home through the brilliant spring sunshine, dropped Martha off, and then hurried to our own house to heat up our hot cross buns and make tea! The guys were already home, and soon Mercy joined us so we could sit down to our traditional Good Friday teatime. Because of today’s schedules, it ended up doubling as supper. Also because of everything else that went on today, we will be doing our egg dyeing tomorrow. Well, someone will be, I hope. I have a busy agenda tomorrow also.

I forgot to mention the other day that Jasper had a fall on his bike and had a HUGE scrape on his leg. It didn’t occur to him to mention it to me at first. When he did mention it, it was because he was concerned about the swelling and pain in his leg that apparently came about as a result of the fall also. I was rather aghast when I saw the injury, but wrongly assumed that it was not a very deep scrape.

Well, he has been having trouble sleeping the last couple of nights because of the pain. Today I made him wear long pants to work to protect his wound, and Lucy put a dressing on it when we got home from our outing. After his shower I dressed it again and we will make sure it is well protected when he goes to work tomorrow. It looks pretty bad but it does not appear to be infected and we hope to keep it that way!

Even though I was busy today, I did take time to ponder the amazing sacrifice that God made for us and to thank Him for it. I hope your Good Friday was “good” in the sense that you felt grateful and blessed as I did.


East Africa Day

The last two Geography classes, we learned about North Africa and West Africa. Today we finally got to parts of Africa that I have actually been to, so that was fun for me. We had a Kenyan meal. One of my students made irio, a vegetable dish:

3-24-16 irio

And I made a bean stew:

3-24-16 Kenyan bean stew

I also made mandazis.

3-24-16 mandazis

We followed it up with real Kenyan chai, of course.

After class I had a brief break before taking Jasper and his friend Sam to the local beekeeping meeting. I got some knitting done and saw one of my former students there too.


That Moment When . . .

Well, yesterday was so long that I never got around to blogging! I taught class all afternoon (we wrote a pretty good vocabulary story!) and then I rushed off to my critique group and writers meeting. Then, the minute I got home I took Lucy out to practice driving. I was very tired after that.

And now it’s time for Aldi stories with Linda, the part of the blog where Linda sits down and tells you an Aldi story. It seems like so many of my interesting encounters happen at Aldi these days.

So this morning I was pushing my cart through Aldi, and I saw there was a couple headed toward me. I smiled at them. They smiled at me. The more I thought about it, the more the wife seemed a little familiar to me. I looked at the still-smiling husband, and he kind of looked familiar too. I didn’t think that much about it, because at my age pretty much everyone on earth looks like someone I know. This is why when I’m out in public and I see someone that I think I know, I virtually never go up and speak to them, because there’s a very high probability that they are total strangers.

So anyway, while my brain was still trying to figure out if I actually did know these people, the wife spoke up. “Are you Linda B.?” The fact that she knew who I was didn’t help at all!  Once I admitted that I was indeed the person she thought I was, they put me out of my misery by explaining who they were. I felt a little better for not recognizing them, because I haven’t seen them in 18 years! They used to work at the university where my husband works, so he and Walter were co-workers. We also went to church with them so we actually knew them quite well. However, people do change over 18 years and I had no reason to suspect that they had moved back to Texas! In fact, they actually bought their old house back from the lady they sold it to!

After Aldi I picked up Lucy and we brought the groceries home and had lunch before heading out for another practice drive. This time we went a lot farther afield and I let her drive several miles on country roads before heading home. She drove all the way home and did a great job!


A Musical Monday

Mondays are not my favorite. I never feel like jumping into the day on Monday. Today we did manage to get going in spite of universal lethargy, however.

I had to leave at lunchtime to drive the one and a half hours to my autoharp lesson. This time I was sure to down an energy drink before leaving the house! At this time of year, it is a very beautiful drive. There were bluebonnets lining the road in many places. How I love our state flower!

My lesson went well. I have plenty of new songs to work on, plus some old ones to continue polishing. I keep waiting for the day to come when I don’t really feel like playing the autoharp, but it hasn’t happened yet!

My teacher and I also like to spend time talking, so it was late when I got home and I was overcome with weariness. I wonder if maybe these spells of exhaustion are related to the medication I’m taking. Regardless, they are inconvenient.

Tomorrow’s one of my “long” Tuesdays, so I have lots of preparation to do . . . .

Palm Sunday

This was our headmaster’s favorite hymn when I was in boarding school as a young girl. At least, it was the one he requested most often. I grew to love it too. I love the contrast between the solemn tune and the joyful refrain, Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Philip P. Bliss

Man of Sorrows! what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
“Full atonement!” can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in Heav’n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!