Welcome Guests

It has been a busy couple of days. I still have my class, of course, and then yesterday afternoon our friends Rich and Laurie arrived for a visit. Rich and Laurie are some of our “old” friends that we rarely see. They are missionaries in Zambia and are currently on what used to be called “furlough” as they visit friends in the US and Canada.

I have only known Laurie for thirty years or so, but I have known Rich since he was a preschooler, since he, like me, grew up in Zambia. So it is always nice to have a chance to catch up with them, in this case after five years.

Today they got a personal tour of the campus courtesy of my husband while I was busy teaching my class. After my class ended but before they got back, I managed to make another batch of chai mix (the seventh), which I think will be the last in this particular round of fund raising. The response from people willing to help Mercy on her way to Russia has been very heartwarming!

This afternoon we enjoyed a brief visit from Jennifer, one of Lina’s good friends from college days. She came to Texas for her brother’s wedding and has been trying to get around to see all her friends here.

6-29-17 Jennifer

It was good to visit with her for an hour or so before she had to move on.

This evening we got to see Rich and Laurie’s photos of the youth center they oversee in Zambia. Tomorrow they move on to their next stop and I teach my last paragraph class of the summer!



Busy Week

I see I failed to post again last night. This is my last super-busy week of the summer. I think. Since the last time I posted I got to go out to dinner for my birthday and I received beautiful flowers from my children. I also was given funds to buy new azaleas bushes for our front yard, which have already been planted. On Sunday we had the official birthday dinner but of course no cake. Everyone else had strawberry shortcake and I had, well, strawberries with some cream.

Yesterday was my two-class day, and since I goofed off so much on my birthday I ended staying up till 1:00 a.m. Sunday night finishing my grading. Today’s class went pretty well and we have only three days left. After that it will be just one class a week for the next five weeks.

Tomorrow, we have house guests arriving. No time to get bored, that’s for sure!

My critique group met this evening and once again I received some good suggestions for improving my manuscript. Those ladies have been such a help to me!



Only Trust Him

Only Trust Him

John H. Stockton

Come, every soul by sin oppressed;
There’s mercy with the Lord,
And He will surely give you rest
By trusting in His Word.


Only trust Him, only trust Him,
Only trust Him now;
He will save you, He will save you,
He will save you now.

For Jesus shed His precious blood
Rich blessings to bestow;
Plunge now into the crimson flood
That washes white as snow.


Yes, Jesus is the truth, the way,
That leads you into rest;
Believe in Him without delay
And you are fully blessed.


Come, then, and join this holy band,
And on to glory go
To dwell in that celestial land
Where joys immortal flow.


O Jesus, blessèd Jesus, dear,
I’m coming now to Thee;
Since Thou hast made the way so clear
And full salvation free.



Birthday Memories

Sorry for my silence the last two days. On Thursday night I was heading for bed until I remembered I needed to mix and bag a new batch of chai mix in order to be ready for Friday. By the time I was done it was past my bedtime!

Last night I was on my way home from Dallas, watching a spectacular lightning show the whole way. Again, by the time I got home it was well past my bedtime and in fact it was already my birthday.

My daughter Lina says there are two kinds of people in this world: celebrators and non-celebrators. Like my mother, I am a celebrator married to a non-celebrator. As a kid, the birthdays that involved some sort of celebration were the ones that stood out–except for the ones that stood out for other reasons!

My eleventh birthday began a string of memorable birthdays. The day I turned eleven, we were camped in a crowded campground in the Netherlands. The plan was to celebrate my birthday by spending the day at a nearby amusement park. Instead, we huddled in our tent and played board games while the rain came down in buckets all day long. The trip to the park could not be rescheduled and we never went.

My twelfth birthday involved a broken arm, absent parents, and a grumpy grandparent. My thirteenth birthday was celebrated aboard a Greek freighter in New York harbor, right before we set sail to return to Africa. My fourteenth birthday I think may have taken place while camping on vacation. My fifteenth birthday was spent in solitude, listening to show tunes on my parents’ reel-to-reel tape player, and my sixteenth birthday was a little surreal because I spent the day with two total strangers. They were very kind, but they really didn’t know me at all.

I mention these earlier birthdays because my seventeenth birthday was such a sharp contrast. I may have written about it before, but if so it was quite a few years ago, before I switched to WordPress.

My seventeenth birthday was my first birthday away from home and family. Although I had gone to boarding school for years, my birthday had always fallen in the long dry season (winter) vacation when I was at home with my family. Now, as a junior in high school, I went to a school which used the “trimester” system, so my birthday fell during the third and final term of the school year.

I went to bed the night before my birthday quite sure that no one at school even knew it was my birthday and that I wouldn’t even get a “Happy Birthday” greeting from anyone. (I was not the type to go around telling people that my birthday was approaching.)

On the stroke of midnight, I was woken up by the sensation of something touching my chest. I opened my eyes to see a cupcake sitting on my chest. I could see it because it was topped with a lighted candle, which also illuminated the grinning faces of several of my friends in the senior class who had tiptoed in and gathered around my bed. They whisper-sang Happy Birthday to me to avoid disturbing my roommate, and insisted that I blow out the candle and eat the cupcake instantly.

That one thing would have made my day. I was so tickled. Yet in the morning when the rising bell went off, my roommate Beth puffed into the room with a breakfast tray for me. It was a tradition in our dorm that you made breakfast in bed for your roommate on her birthday, but I hadn’t thought Beth knew it was my birthday. (Maybe she hadn’t been as asleep as she appeared to be at midnight!) The breakfasts weren’t fancy, because we didn’t have access to fancy food, but it was a thoughtful tradition and in fact this is what led, many years later, to our family tradition of breakfast in bed on your birthday.

Warmed inside by these tokens of my friends’ affection, I slid into my seat for my first class of the day, which was English. Our English teacher, Miss Platt, of course had access to our information, so to my horror she announced to the class that it was my birthday and they all burst into a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday to You. While they were still singing, a boy from the senior English class next door dashed into our classroom, laid a piping hot pancake on my desk, said, “Happy Birthday, Linda!” and dashed out again.

I had no idea what the protocol was for dealing with a pancake which was delivered to one in the middle of a class, so I just stared at it in disbelief. “Don’t just look at it,” said Miss Platt. “Go ahead and eat it!” What else could I do? I ate it while my classmates snickered.

That afternoon I was invited for tea to the principal’s home. I thought nothing of it because my friend Lynnae and I went there every week to have tea and plan the Sunday School lesson with the principal’s wife. The toddler 3-5 year old class was held at her house every week and three of us had to entertain the kids for two full hours, so planning was essential.

This time Mrs. Entwistle had made a special birthday tea, including a whole chocolate cake which she insisted that I take back to the dorm to share with my friends. Full of joy, I headed back to my room, to find a beautiful angel food cake sitting on my desk. Worried that I’d be cakeless on my birthday, my mother had sent money and instructions to my friend Pam, who had made me my favorite kind of cake.

Staggered by all this generosity, I was further surprised when yet another whole cake arrived courtesy of my dorm mother (who would later also provide me with a lovely birthday dinner). I had three cakes on my desk, and although I offered it to all and sundry, I didn’t have many takers. What to do with all that cake?

Someone suggested that I call over to the boys’ dorm and let them know I had cake. By now it was evening. My roommate Beth was already in her pajamas and doing homework on her bed, but the lounge downstairs was still open, so if I could get a couple of guys to come over, I could take some cake down to them and they could share it in their dorm.

I made the call (each dorm had only one phone). The phone was answered by Steve, a boy in my class. I asked if he was interested in some cake, and he said, “We’ll be right over.” I waited to hear someone call me from the lounge, but the call never came. Instead, two heads suddenly appeared in the window of our second-story room. (Our windows had two panels that opened, and no screens.) One of them belonged to Steve, and the other one to his friend Jim. They had climbed up some pipes to reach our window.

Poor Beth ran screaming from the room, yelling down the hallway that there were men in our room. (Not technically true—it was only their heads.) The boys soon realized they had made a grave error in their calculations. They wanted cake, but they could not hold on to cake and also climb back down the pipes. So they climbed back down to the ground and then instructed me to throw the cake down. Picture me tossing half a chocolate cake out the window and having it be caught bare-handed by a teenage boy. Having tossed each boy half a cake, I watched them swagger off, covered in icing. By the time Beth returned with witnesses to prove our room had been invaded, there was no sign of any boys.

Best. Birthday. Ever. (When you’re seventeen, at least.)

Our Uptight Northern Neighbor vs. Me

Today of course I had class in the morning. After lunch I had very stressful visit to the post office. I had to mail a letter to Canada. I have mailed stuff all over the world, but mailing stuff to Canada stresses me out than all the other countries combined. Every time I have to mail something to Canada, I kind of want to just nuke it out of existence so I don’t have to deal with it again.

Don’t get me wrong. I actually love the country of Canada, and have many Canadian friends whom I love dearly. What makes me want to scream is the red tape involved in sending anything there. It took half an hour and multiple forms (and a horrifying amount of money) just to send one letter by priority mail. Grrr!

I was able to work out at least a little of my frustration in the gym afterward, and since then I’ve been busy mostly doing paperwork and paying bills. Because sending something to Canada wasn’t enough fun for one day.

A Long Day & A Dinner Guest

Today is the summer solstice. This is a happy occasion for me, because it means that the days will start getting shorter again, and three four months from now we might have enjoyable weather again.

I got up feeling so much better than yesterday. What a relief! I was able to prepare for my class and teach without worrying that I might pass out.

This afternoon I had some errands to run and some baking to do, because our friend Lee was coming for supper. I made a batch of my famous molasses spice cookies (his favorite) and a spice cake. I tried a new chicken recipe for supper and tweaked it a little to make it better. It was a hit!

We always look forward to Lee’s annual visit. He comes down from Illinois every summer to teach science camps here. As the years go by, there are fewer and fewer of us to enjoy his visits, though. When the kids were young he would always bring a science activity for them to do and it was so much fun. Tonight it was just Spencer and Jasper here.

I haven’t heard from Lucy so I have to assume she is enjoying her week at camp. Three more days until I have to make the trip to pick her up.

Dallas & Dizziness

Yesterday was a long day. We went to church as usual, but as soon as we returned home it was time to load the car and get ready to leave. We left later than I had planned on, but I had allowed for that.

Lucy and Mercy went with me, and our first stop was the college in Waxahachie where Lucy’s arts camp is held every year. After five years of going as a camper, Lucy is now on staff for this camp–but she still has to pay her own way.

After we dropped Lucy off, we headed up to Love Field, where I had a few last minutes with Mercy before she had to get in line for security. It was hard to let her go, knowing we won’t see her again until next summer. She will be in Colorado until she leaves for Russia at the beginning of August.

Once I got a grip on my emotions, I drove to the north side of Dallas to visit my friend Susan. Susan and I have been friends since our college days. She is in the process of selling her house, so she took me to see her new place, which is still under construction. I can’t wait to see what it looks like once she moves in!

After having supper with Susan, I headed home. By the time I made it, I felt both dizzy and queasy, and the feelings did not go away overnight. Most of the day today, I had to stay off my feet as I felt so much dizzier standing up. It was quite a challenge to get through teaching two classes, but I survived. Shortly after my second class ended, the dizziness began to ebb. I sure hope it stays away as I am teaching every day this week and next!

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Martin Luther

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.


Early Celebration

Today we had to celebrate Father’s Day a day early, because Mercy is here and because tomorrow I will be taking both Lucy and Mercy to other destinations, and only Jasper and Spencer will be here to celebrate with their dad.

I had a very busy day in and out of the kitchen. I harvested a bunch of basil and washed and froze it. I cooked two whole chickens in my Instant Pot, and of course since I did that, I had to make bone broth after I had picked the meat from the chickens.

I also made the custard for ice cream and roasted some walnuts. I also had to take Lucy to work and go pick up prescriptions and buy ice for making homemade ice cream. I was so glad Mercy arrived in time to help me put the enchiladas together.

I have avoided making homemade ice cream for a long time, because of course I can’t ever have any for the rest of my life, but I wanted to make something my husband would really enjoy, and he has always loved my homemade cinnamon walnut ice cream. It certainly seemed to be appreciated!

After supper we watched a movie with Mercy. This is her last evening at home for probably at least a year. Tomorrow she flies back to Colorado, and at the beginning of August she flies to Russia. Even though she hasn’t really lived at home for a couple of years, she’s been nearby for most of it but now she lives in Colorado and soon she will be across the ocean.

I finished the evening working on hymns for tomorrow. It’s going to be a long day, with lots of driving in it.


There. I admit it. I’m a loser. I’m frighteningly good at losing things. A couple of years ago, I lost my “little” camera that I liked to slip into my handbag when my “good” camera was too bulky. I thought I knew where my camera was. Over time, I tore the house apart looking for it. It was not to be found.

A few months ago, I was sorting through and tidying up my study area, when I found the long-lost camera. It was quite safe, nestled in the corner of a basket I had searched at least a dozen times.

There was just one problem. The battery was dead, and during the camera’s long absence, I had lost the charger. So I put the camera into a little zippered case and did nothing.

A few days ago, I thought I’d just check and see how much it would cost to replace the battery charger. Not much at all, it turns out. The charger arrived yesterday and I immediately put the battery in to charge.

This morning, I put the newly-charged battery back into the camera and to my delight, it turned on! I had to reset all the settings on it but I didn’t care. I was just glad to have the thing back.

Then I had to get ready for today’s class and I set the camera down instead of putting it back in its case. I have no idea where it is. I was not trying to hide it so it should be in plain sight, right? Nope. So now I have a charger and a memory card reader, but the camera is once again missing! *sigh*

Why couldn’t I have lost something else—like diabetes, for instance?