1. No jury duty. (Second time it’s been cancelled.)

2. Played softball/baseball/whiffle ball for an hour last night. (Very fun.)

3. Rain.

4. My in-laws moved into a retirement center, so for the first time since my first visit (before Ken and I were married), I will not be going to the same road when I go back. And it was a beautiful road (well, the road wasn’t that great, but the scenery along the road was beautiful). Now, they’re mining the area, stripping all the trees on the rolling Pennsylvania hills and forcing people to move.

5. Just ate a fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookie. Yum!



1. A strange, good day.

2.Had a good time visiting a friend in a retirement home yesterday – she is one of the first people I met at Central – she and her husband were the pulpit committee who came to visit us in Racine. By the end of lunch that long ago day, we knew we had made good friends.

3. I like the yard – even though it’s a lot of hard work.

4. I’m watching House Hunters – two sisters getting an apartment in Tel Aviv. Cool. The thing I remember about the apartments in Tel Aviv is all the beautiful flowers – like bougainvillea hanging from the balconies WAY high up.

5. Princess Beatrice sold her wedding hat on eBay for $130,000. She’s giving the money to charity. That’s all well and good but who actually spent $130,000 for that?

6. I don’t think I have a lot of random thoughts tonight.


Well, last night was the Glory Kids Choir presentation of I Witness News Live from Jericho.

Everything went as planned: No one forgot their lines; songs were sung clearly, the sunglasses came out on cue and the walls of Jericho tumbled down including the prop-house off to the side of the stage. Then in mass, 120 kids attacked the brownies, cupcakes, cookies, fruit and juice in the gym.  Six months of hard work – but the result was excellent. All three munchkins were in the musical, but the two girl munchkins were Israelites and so were somewhat hidden by their costumes. But the boy munchkin was front and center and could I just add here – he was IN TO this!

The musical focused of course, on Jericho, which I thought was quite timely. Here were the Israelites looking for a home and this week, the home of the Israelites is once again in the news.



May 19th, 2011
Here’s an idea I learned at a Wisconsin State Preschool Education class.


You need:


Food coloring

Paint brush (if you do not have new, clean paint brushes, you can use a basting brush)

Bread (however many slices you want).  This will work with any kind of bread, but obviously shows up best on a lighter texture


Pour a small amount of milk in each cup (depending on how many colors you desire).

Mix food coloring into the milk.

With the brush, paint on the bread. You can draw pictures or write messages or some of both.

Let dry for a few minutes and then toast and you will have painted toast!

This is a safe project for kids to do themselves or for you to do for them as a surprise! (Write “Good Morning” on the toast and serve it for breakfast.)


I haven’t reviewed too many books lately, so thought I’d catch up a bit. (The numbers are where I am toward my 100-books-this-year trek.)

38. Jackie as Editor by Greg Lawrence

Anyone who knows me well, knows I collect books on First Ladies. I am not collecting this book, nor do I want to, but I did see it on CD in the library. Since I spend half my life in the car, I am always looking for books on CD.

I would not have stuck with Jackie this time around if I was actually reading the book (as opposed to being somewhat entertained while driving).

I have read biographies about Jackie Kennedy and there are many things about her that I admire – the fact that she took a job the last 18 years of her life when she really didn’t have to – is one of them.

And of course books and words are important to me. Yet, I felt there was a sameness about this book page after page and though I found various stories interesting, there were others I didn’t find interesting.

So, if you’re going on a long trip and need something to listen to and like First Ladies and books, go for it.

Otherwise read:

39. Undefending Christianity by Dillon Burroughs

This was a giveaway from the conference I attended a few weeks ago and was a pleasant surprise.  Mr. Burroughs challenges the way we live our lives as Christians. He is funny and thought-provoking. Here are some quotes.

Apathists … people who say they care but really don’t care because they don’t do anything different from the apathetic people who don care and say they don’t care.

Where are the people who sing “Shout to the Lord” five thousand times when it is time to respond to needs?

Gluttony is the most neglected sin in the American church. If our bodies are the temple of God, then American Christians are the megachurch.

The thing I liked about this book is that it is not questioning the gospel, but the way that we live.

If you get an opportunity (or find this book on your chair at the next conference you attend) read it. I think you’ll like it and I think you’ll be at least somewhat challenged.

40. Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate.

Ok, this is chick lit, but it’s chick lit with extremely good character development. If you’re looking for a book to curl up with on a rainy day (not that we would have any rainy days around here) this is a good choice.

All right. Done with the reviews for now.


Here’s a savings tip for you.

If you live near a Premium Outlet mall (hint: If you live near me, you do), here’s a great way to save some money.

1. Go to the Premium Outlet website:

2. Sign up for their VIP program. (They aren’t overly invasive with their questions.)

3. Look at the list of coupons available and the top one will be VIP COUPON BOOK.

4. Print that out and take it to the information booth at the mall.

I decided to try it since there was something I needed to get. I don’t like long, complicated sign-ups, but this wasn’t. The info booth is in the food court and immediately, I had my book which is really a brochure listing the stores and the discount.

So, I headed where I needed to go. I needed to buy 3 items. Original price $33.00, outlet price $23.00.  They also had a half price sale today, so I ended up with a total of $51.00 instead of $99.00. I then handed over my VIP coupon book and got an additional 20% off which brought it down another $10.00.

Not bad and easy to do.

And I can continue to use the coupon book – although not at that particular store.


This is the post I wrote for my other blog this week – I thought I’d add it here today.


My first day in the third grade and I was scared.

For the earlier grades, we lived in town and I walked to a school right up the street; close enough for me to eat lunch at home.

But now we lived in the country and school was an eleven-mile-bus-ride away. No more coming home midday.  I would have to take my lunch.

I still remember sitting in the cafeteria that day, opening my lunchbox and looking inside. We ate healthy foods at our house, so when I saw ladyfingers tucked in between the sandwich and apple, I was absolutely sure I had the wrong lunch. My mom didn’t buy things like ladyfingers (tiny sponge cakes – kind of like Twinkies).

Furtively I glanced at my new friend’s lunch: a peanut butter and pickle sandwich!  That didn’t sound like something my mom would give me either, so I hurriedly ate the food in front of me, fearing all the time that some big kid would find me and beat me up for stealing HIS lunchbox. I can still feel that fear that comes when you’re nine years old and something is wrong with your world.

When I got home that afternoon I asked my mom about the ladyfingers.  “I knew the first day at a new school would be hard for you, so I bought you a little treat,” she explained.

Mom didn’t tell me I didn’t have to go to school. She didn’t say she would sit in class with

me all day. She made me face the situation, but gave me encouragement in the form of a  couple ladyfingers. (Even though I didn’t recognize it as such.)

And isn’t that what Moms are for? They can’t (and shouldn’t) always take away the difficulties of life, but they give us the encouragement needed to walk through them.

A mom will stick a note in your soccer uniform reminding you to do your best or give a squeeze of the hand before you go up front to play your violin solo. A mom will send you umpteen postcards at camp just to say “I love you” and to make you feel special because the counselor who hands out the mail has to call your name umpteen times. A mom will tell you she is praying for you or remind you that Christ gives us strength to face any situation.

Many years later when I was in college, I hit a couple months when nothing seemed to be going the way I had planned. I had a lot of big life decisions to make and I wanted to do the right thing.

In the middle of all this brain turmoil, I went to my P.O. box and found a letter from my mom. Hearing from my parents was not unusual. I didn’t live that far away and was home almost every weekend. In between Sundays, we talked on the phone.  That’s why I didn’t get long letters from them. But in this letter, Mom reminded me of the good things in my life, shared some of her own decision making when she was my age and reminded me to depend on the Lord. She assured me He had everything under control and I didn’t have to worry about stuff. She encouraged me to pray about the situation and then patiently wait on the Lord to see how things turned out.  I don’t know if she remembers the letter, but I do.  I took her advice, stopped being panicky and “waited.”

I’ve always known that two of my mom’s favorite verses are Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to Him,  and He will make your paths straight.

And that’s the way she still lives her life. And that’s the way she always encouraged me to live my life, too.

So, on this Mother’s Day I thank my mom for her encouragement.

And remind all you other mothers out there to encourage your kids, too. That could be a reminder that you’re praying for them, a hug, a letter (or email), a note stuck in a pocket or lunchbag, a verse of Scripture and … sometimes a special treat like a ladyfinger.

Just let your kids know it REALLY IS from you.

Happy Mother’s Day!


You know what the Oscars are all about.

You know about the Grammys and the Emmys.

But do you know about the Higher Goals and Award of Excellence – they’re given out for the best Christian publications of the year and yes, there are tons of categories: Best interview, best two-page spread, best cover design, best editorial …. etc.

Publications themselves send in their best of the best to be judged and hundreds of articles, stories, designs, etc. are submitted.

This past week I once again attended the EPA conference (I think this is my sixth) where the editors and writers meet, chat, attend workshops and attend the luncheons where the awards are given.

Although in past years I’ve gone as faraway as Oregon and Florida to attend the conference, this year it was only nine miles away from home!  Yeah!  Nice for gas prices.

Oh, and the Award of Excellence for the best general magazine of the year?

Answers (by Answers in Genesis).

Good conference.  Good fun.