Memory Fail

This morning I had my youngest tutoring student—an adorable ten year old. This year I feel like I’ve really hit the jackpot with all my students!

This afternoon, I went over to the campus in hopes that I’d see some missionary friends I failed to see last night. I lucked out and was able to talk to three friends who are here representing their various organizations. Two of them we have known since they were college students, and one since he was a happy-go-lucky thirteen-year-old kid (they’re all middle-aged now). One flew all the way from Kenya to be here, and another from Alaska. It was good to see them.

Later on this afternoon, I was presented with a mystery that calls into question my much-vaunted memory. My husband, talking to another missionary, discovered that she and I know each other. In fact we spent an entire summer together in France back in 1980. I just don’t remember her. I am hoping maybe we can get together so she can jog my memory. That was almost 40 years ago!

But meanwhile, I’ve been trying to practice for tomorrow’s autoharp lesson—my first lesson in a year, which I’m woefully underprepared for, because I’ve been so busy with everything else. I am afraid my teacher will feel that I regressed rather than made any improvement—but she’ll be too nice to say so.

The Brown Down Coat

Today started out with cold temperatures for Texas. Nothing like what Minnesota and Wisconsin are experiencing, but it was still hard to get out of a warm bed this morning.

I had my usual tutoring student this morning and enjoyed working with him like I always do. When he left, I had to make a quick run to the post office to mail a couple of things that I’ve been putting off. I don’t know why I put it off—I don’t mind going to the post office and I like everyone who works there.

This afternoon it was time to start making the food for tonight. Every year during their missions week, the university has an evening event where students can come sample food from all over the world. And every year we make a massive batch of Zambian food and our kids dish it out. So I had to get the “relish” (stew) going before going to my doctor’s appointment. For this event I make enough to fill my large roaster oven. I had to peel, chop, and sauté a lot of onions! (I had cooked the chickens yesterday.)

I drove off to my doctor’s appointment, after giving Jasper strict instructions to stir the stew at regular intervals. The appointment went okay. I just was mad about having to go because the problem has already been diagnosed and I hate having to spend so much more money just to be able to schedule the surgery. Haven’t heard the exact date yet.

Shortly after returning home, it was time to make the nshima, but by then Lucy was here to handle that chore, which takes some strong muscles! Then I drove her over to the campus with the food and Jasper helped her carry it in. She and Janet set up their table and prepared to serve food to the hordes of hungry college students. We pride ourselves on never running out of food.

I decided to walk over there about half an hour later, as there are several missionaries I know at the conference this year. The weather has been very cold all day, so I knew I’d have to bundle up. In fact, I did something I’ve always said I’d never do—I wore leggings in public. True, they were under my ankle-length skirt, but still . . .

Then I needed to figure out what coat or jacket to wear, and I realized the time had finally come to wear my brown down coat. There is a story behind this decision. When I finished my freshman year of college, as I’ve mentioned before, I stayed out of school and worked for a year to pay off my debts to that school before enrolling in another one.

I had a mind-numbing job crunching numbers in the basement of a bank in Indiana. To get to work, I had to walk three blocks to the bus stop in the morning and three blocks back to the house after taking the bus from downtown. Three blocks doesn’t sound like a long distance, but I did not have a winter coat or jacket warm enough for three blocks in winter in Indiana. So I scraped some money together and bought myself a coat. It was the most expensive garment I’d ever purchased—a brown down coat with fake fur around the hood. I had to get the “tall” size which cost extra, but I knew that the sleeves would not be long enough otherwise. (The sleeves on the tall size still were short for me, but not absurdly so.) This momentous purchase took place in the winter of 1978-79.

I still have the coat. I couldn’t bear to get rid of it, even though the last time I was thin enough to wear it was my Christmas break in 1979-1980. I mean, I spent so much on it! $100! I kept thinking I’d shrink back into it. Then I gave up on that and thought one of my daughters might like it. Nope.

I actually thought I had finally given it away, until a couple of months ago I saw it in the coat closet. I couldn’t resist trying it on—and it fit. This evening was the first occasion when it’s been cold enough for me to wear it. So, after 39 years, I can wear that coat again. Of course it’s not in style. I don’t care. It’s warm and it fits! And it’s still in really good shape, too.

Keeping Busy

Yesterday I skipped church to drive to Mount Pleasant and go to a meeting. It was the first meeting/cast audition of the year for the faire that I’m involved with, and I needed to be there to be able to report on it and take some photos and discuss a few things with the owner.

Most of my new acquaintances from the parade were there, plus a new girl who plays a fascinating stringed instrument, in addition to the more common mountain dulcimer. We had a potluck lunch and my keto egg muffins were a big hit! I also strolled the faire site and got a few pictures.

I had to head home while everyone else was learning a court dance because I had a pretty tight schedule. Our small group was meeting last night and I had to make pizza and dessert. Of course I had to make enough for the kids who would be staying home also. So I made massive batches of sourdough pizza dough and sauce after throwing a peach/mango cobbler in the oven.

I only had time to make the pizza we were taking, but left all the “fixings” for Lucy to make pizza for herself and Jasper. What I didn’t realize is that Lucy’s work schedule now has her working until 8:00 p.m. on Sundays.

So anyway, Walter and I took Lina with us to our small group because we have talked about her a lot and we wanted them to meet her. When we returned a little after 8:00, Lucy was just working on the pizzas for her and a very hungry Jasper. I will have to plan better next time.

Today I had my class in the morning and worked on other projects in the afternoon, including more grocery shopping, cooking and picking a lot of chicken, and doing some of the reading I have to do to keep up with my tutoring students. I can already see it’s going to be a very busy spring semester.

Since I Have Been Redeemed

Since I Have Been Redeemed

Edwin O. Excell

I have a song I love to sing,
Since I have been redeemed,
Of my Redeemer, Savior king,
Since I have been redeemed.


Since I have been redeemed,
Since I have been redeemed,
I will glory in His name,
Since I have been redeemed,
I will glory in the Savior’s name.

I have a Christ who satisfies
Since I have been redeemed,
To do His will my highest prize,
Since I have been redeemed.


I have a witness bright and clear,
Since I have been redeemed,
Dispelling every doubt and fear,
Since I have been redeemed.


I have a home prepared for me,
Since I have been redeemed,
Where I shall dwell eternally,
Since I have been redeemed.


I have a joy I can’t express,
Since I have been redeemed,
All through His blood and righteousness,
Since I have been redeemed.


A Mystery Solved

Yesterday I failed to tell you of the day’s thrilling discovery. Over the Christmas holidays, I found myself faced with a vexing mystery. For weeks, I had been buying large quantities of German goodies at Aldi, so as to have plenty to share with my family during the time when most of them were here. Some of my offspring particularly look forward to the tiny cinnamon stars that are a traditional treat in Germany, so I made sure to buy some.

However, when the time came for me to triumphantly produce my cinnamon star stash, it was nowhere to be found. I scoured all my food storage locations, to no avail. I began to think that I was going mad. Had I just dreamed buying all those things?

It’s not like we were in any danger of running out of German goodies. We still had marzipan and stöllen and pfefferneuse and lebkuchen. But the absence of the stars really rankled, because I was so sure I had bought some.

Yesterday, I was busy making a cake for Spencer’s girlfriend Jade, whose birthday is today. He was planning a trip to Waco to see her, and since her own mother is disabled, I wanted to make sure she had a cake. I finished the cake, and then needed to find a container for Spencer to transport it in, because it was in a foil pan that didn’t have a lid.

Every container I tried was too small in at least one direction. After trying several options, my eye fell on a picnic basket that I keep in a cupboard in the “schoolroom.” It looked like it might be the right size, so I pulled it out and opened the lid. It was filled to the brim with German Christmas goodies, and the packages of long-lost cinnamon stars were right on top! And just when my family thought they had more or less demolished all the German goodness . . .

Nobody knows how all that stuff ended up in the picnic basket. Nobody has any recollection of putting it there. Certainly not me.

I ended up having to go out and buy a container to transport the cake in. It arrived safely.

Today has been an ongoing attempt to catch up on so many things, with varying success. I worked on some music this morning. I am in panic mode as I finally have an autoharp lesson next week and I planned to have a playlist ready for my teacher to critique. I finally have all the chords for it and played through it this morning. To my relief it takes about half an hour to play, which is what I hoped for.

Then Lina and I made an excursion to the yarn store for the final time before the sale ends. I didn’t buy any yarn, because I’ve got a pretty good stash, but I found some accessories and a pattern book that I really like.

And speaking of the pattern book, I had a bit of a moment there. Traditionally, I haven’t paid much attention to knitting pattern books, because most of them do not include extended sizes in their patterns. The only patterns available to me were those specifically for “plus size” ladies. Today, as I started idly flipping through this book of patterns, I realized that I could pick any I wanted. They all come in my new, smaller size. Huh. Still getting used to that.

We also stopped at a health food store so I could pick up a few items, and then returned home. Most of the rest of the day has been spent reading for school, doing class preparation, doing laundry, and cooking. I made a nice dinner because my poor husband spent all day working on a vehicle and it was very frustrating and difficult work.

Tomorrow is shaping up to be very busy and stressful and I hope I manage to do everything that I need to do.

A Breather

Today was scheduled as a very busy day. After grocery shopping at Aldi, I planned to bake a cake before my tutoring student arrived, and then leave immediately after tutoring to meet up with someone in Tyler, an hour’s drive away.

As it happened, the person I planned to meet woke up sick, so the meeting was canceled. Of course I was sorry that she was sick, but I have to admit it was nice to have the unexpected free time!

I worked on some music, put more effort into the cake, and got several other things done too. And I took a nap! I had a rough walk this evening, but that’s how it goes sometimes. I am up late waiting for some onions to finish caramelizing, but I think they’re about done now . . .


My life is not slowing down. As I told my friend Darlene, I feel like I am being forced into a high-energy life when I am not at all a high-energy person!

My main task today was to get as far as possible with my editing job before meeting with the client again. It is tedious, slow work, because he is very exacting about what he wants the citations to look like and what information he wants them to contain. I’ve just about made up my mind to edit only fiction from now on . . .

But anyway, today’s meeting was shorter and quite positive, and I have hopes that I can finish the job sometime this weekend.

Then I had to put gas in the car and go up to Hobby Lobby to stock up on sale yarn. My charity crafting group was meeting tonight and I wanted to have a new project to start. I picked out some lovely yarn to make a prayer shawl for a friend who is walking through some very deep valleys right now.

I left Lina in charge of supper and drove to my craft group. There were only three of us tonight. I cast on my prayer shawl, and the other two worked on turning plastic shopping bags into “plarn” to be used in making sleeping mats for the homeless. I got a good start on my shawl.

Now all I have to do is finish making my grocery list and do a little more reading for my class. Tomorrow’s going to be busy too.


This is only the second week of the new semester and I already feel like I’m drowning. Sorry I didn’t post last night but I had too much work to do. I have three tutoring students to keep up with now, plus my regular class, and that entails a LOT of reading and preparation. And I still haven’t finished with my editing job. I worked so hard on it this evening only to find out that some pages were out of order and some information I need is missing. *sigh*

This afternoon I sneaked off with my friend Darlene to my favorite bookstore and coffee shop. I was just there yesterday for watercolors, but I didn’t mind at all going back today.

A Working Holiday

Did you watch the eclipse last night? We did. It was a spectacular cold and clear evening. We went out several times to watch the progress of the shadow on the Super Wolf Moon.

I was up late preparing for today’s class, so getting up took some effort. I know what you’re thinking. Class on Martin Luther King day? Well, I had to make the schedule fit. We had a very easy class since several students didn’t make it. I didn’t want to go over any vital information, so we did some review and watched a video.

My poor husband had the day off from work, but you know how he spent it? Working. First he spent several hours working on one of our vehicles, but did not succeed in what he wanted to do. Then he had to tackle the plumbing in the kitchen because the sink was leaking again.

Meanwhile, Lina and I finally went to see Aquaman this afternoon. That was a fun couple of hours.

By suppertime, it had become clear that the kitchen faucet would need to be replaced—again. I don’t know why we are so hard on kitchen faucets. Walter had to turn off water to the whole house. So after supper, we drove up to Lowe’s and picked out a new faucet. I think this is the third time we’ve had to replace it since moving into this house 17 years ago. That seems like a lot to me!

When we returned home, Walter had to get back down on the floor by the sink to install the new faucet and get everything going again. So far so good!

He Leadeth Me

He Leadeth Me

Joseph H. Gilmore

He leadeth me, O blessèd thought!
O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.


He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.

Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
By waters still, over troubled sea,
Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.


Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine;
Content, whatever lot I see,
Since ’tis my God that leadeth me.


And when my task on earth is done,
When by Thy grace the vict’ry’s won,
E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
Since God through Jordan leadeth me.