Frame of Mind

(If you could paint your current mood onto a canvas, what would that painting look like? What would it depict?)

Mansion Over the Hilltop

(Reviving Bricks
You just inherited a dilapidated, crumbling-down grand mansion in the countryside. Assuming money is no issue, what do you do with it?)


I’ve always loved that old house, and I can’t believe it’s mine! I’m old enough to remember how it looked 50 years ago, but not too old to enjoy restoring it. My aunt knew I loved it, and no one else in the family would want to be saddled with it. They would just sell it off to the highest bidder.

Not me. Aunt Roberta was eccentric, but she wasn’t dumb. She took good care of her fortune, and I’m shocked at how much money there is. This is like the dream of a lifetime for me, and I’m going to enjoy every minute. I don’t have to work now. I can spend all day, every day, re-dreaming my childhood pleasures.


First, I need an architect. It has to be someone who loves old houses the way I do, because  I won’t have the place torn apart and changed. I want it restored to the same floor plan, the same materials, as much as possible.  Of course, we’ll modernize the kitchen and the bathrooms and whatever else can be brought up to date without losing the enchantment of the old place.

I used to imagine I was Rapunzel, way up high in the turret, letting down my long, long hair so my handsome prince could climb and to visit me.

Or I’d dream that I was Sleeping Beauty, dozing my life away because of the spell of the wicked witch. One day I’d be Cinderella, banished to the top of the house where the mice and birds watched over me; the next I’d be Snow White,  looking for a way to escape from my Wicked Stepmother.

Hours and hours I’d spend roaming the house, poking into the attics, going through trunks of fabulous old clothes. Boxes of books, pictures, toys, keepsakes were all my playthings. Aunt Roberta didn’t forbid me anything, and I was like a shopaholic on Black Friday. No child ever had a more interesting place to play than I did. Sometimes I would take my treasures down to show Aunt Roberta, and she would spin stories of the past that circled around me like the warm arms of a lover.

I’m going to recreate all that, except of course for Aunt Roberta. But I have nieces, nephews, and grandchildren of my own now who are full of questions.  I can’t wait to turn them loose to discover all the things that are still preserved in that old house.

Work first, though. Everything has to be moved out, cleaned up, and stored while the renovations are done.  It’s going to be a labor of love. I can’t wait!


Laugh Until You Cry

Roaring Laughter
What was the last thing that gave you a real, authentic, tearful, hearty belly laugh? Why was it so funny?)

My dad was a very serious man. He enjoyed a good laugh, but he was not funny, and he could never figure out the art of telling a good joke.  When I think back at some of the things he did that made us all laugh, it was never because he did it on purpose, poor man.

There was the time we were having our family devotions, reading a passage from the Bible together. He suddenly roared out a sneeze, and his upper plate went flying out of his mouth and skidded all the way across the livingroom floor.  Very funny.achoo!

Then there was the rocking chair. We had an easy chair that he loved. It was a swivel rocker, very popular in the 1950’s. He could turn it to look out the window, or to watch TV, or however he wanted it.  He had a habit of leaning back in his chair. He was a big man. Yup. Over it went one day, and all we could see was the bottom of the chair with Dad’s feet waving at us over the edge of the seat. Roared with laughter. Took us a few minutes to get ourselves together to help him up.tipping chair

My favorite, though, is one I didn’t get to see.  Dad was having some back problems, and finally agreed to see a chiropractor. The good doctor needed an x-ray, and directed Dad to stand against the wall with his back to the screen. “Now, Preacher, take a good deep breath,” the doctor said.  Dad took a good deep breath, and his pants came tumbling down.  Right down around his ankles.  My mom nearly fainted, she laughed so hard.pants-downWish I had been there, glad I wasn’t. 

Why is it so funny when a serious person has these hilarious things happen?  I don’t know. I’m just glad they do.

Generous Genie

(Generous Genies
Remember those lovely genies who grant wishes? Well, you’re one and you’ve just been emancipated from your restrictive lamp. You can give your three wishes to whomever you want. Who do you give your three wishes to, and why?)

I usually would handle a prompt of this nature pretty light-heartedly, but I’m in genie-1 a different frame of mind today. I’ve actually spent some time thinking about this, and here’s what I’ve come up with.  I would grant a wish to:

Faith. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 11:1 that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. Faith is trusting that God is Who He says He is, and that He can do what He says He can do. It is knowing that God is active in my life. I would grant a wish to Faith so that Faith would spread among all the nations of the world.

Hope:  Titus 2:3 talks of “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” That sure hope of His return is given to help us keep on keeping on.  I would grant Hope the wish that hope be distributed in the hearts of all mankind.

Love: (charity) I Corinthians 13:13 says that the greatest among these three, (faith, hope, love) is love. Many times in scripture we are taught that if we love God, that love will fill us up and spill over onto the people around us. I John 4:18 tells us that perfect love casts out fear.  Perfect, complete, mature love overcomes fear.  I would grant the final wish to Love, that the heart of mankind would be turned to God in love for what He has done.

Faith. Hope. Love. And the greatest of these is love.   Faith Hope Love



Cat, Soup, and a Beach Towel?

(Today, you can write about whatever you what — but your post must include, in whatever role you see fit, a cat, a bowl of soup, and a beach towel.)

Well now.

Yesterday some wonderful friends surprised me with a visit. They live in South Carolina now, and I wasn’t expecting them at all. During our conversation, they told us about their OCD cat. This feline likes to keep things in order. Pete put his knife on his dresser.  It didn’t belong there. Kitty knocked it off onto the floor.  A bottle of perfume was placed out-of-order. Miss Kitty flicked it off onto the floor. They had other stories about this cat that had me laughing. Also had me feeling grateful that we don’t have a cat.

Today my son is coming to spend some time. He’s become quite a talented cook of all things gluten-and dairy-free. He makes a most savory Thai soup with coconut milk, chicken, and lemon grass along with some other goodies. Maybe he’ll make us some soup today.  He’s bringing some trout to put in the smoker.  Looking forward to that.

Yesterday there was a whole herd of kids at the gathering we were part of. Our hostess came up with some crazy games for them.  Fun to watch, fun to play. A couple of them were water games.  Of course, when the games were over the water fun continued. Drenched, screaming, laughing children and teens, and a couple of adult children,  enjoyed tossing water balloons and then buckets full of water on each other.  The moms had been warned ahead of time to bring towels and dry clothes.  I was delighted to watch the fun, and then to see those dripping kids wrapped in beach towels as they hurried to get into dry clothes before we noshed on the chicken, burgers, hot dogs, salads, and desserts.

Oh my, the desserts. Our hostess, Pam, makes a “flag cake.” The cake is there to hold up the buttery cream cheese frosting, which is decorated with blueberries, strawberries, and red,white and blue stripes. Delicious.

The best dessert was for me. My daughter makes a lemon curd cheesecake that melts on your tongue. You’re not in a hurry to swallow it because it’s such a pleasure to let it linger. It’s a most amazing blend of creamy cheesecake and tangy lemon pudding (that’s the curd) that she makes herself. No store-bought curd for her!

Now I’m looking forward to the smoked fish. Dan’s also bringing up some rhubarb and strawberries, and I have a gluten-free pie crust in the freezer. Yum.

The Fourth!

It’s Your Party
Since many are marking their country’s “birthday” in the US today, we wanted to ask: How do you celebrate yours? Are you all for a big bash, or more of a low-key birthday boy/girl?)


It really IS my party!  Today is my birthday.  I’m 67 years old today, and not afraid to celebrate.  I love having my birthday on the Fourth.  It’s always very special, in too many ways to count.  I celebrate with the country I love, with people I love, every year.

I’ve already written a post about this day, so I won’t say much more here. Just wishing you all a wonderful day, and please take a few moments to realize how blessed we all are to live in this country where freedom is as natural as breathing.

I love our flag.  Long may she wave.


The Fourth of July

My thoughts on this Fourth of July, 2014.

Linda's Bible Study

Today is the Fourth of July. For most of us, it means at least a partial day off work. Often, it means beautiful summer weather, although this year it’s a bit soggy  on the east coast so far because of Hurrican Arthur. Terry opened up the doors and windows early this morning. It’s delightful to have cool breezes clearing out the house after several days of very hot temps.

I love Thanksgiving and Christmas, but there is something so special about the Fourth. I love the true history of our nation, not the garbage that’s being taught today. Political correctness has destroyed the pride and honor, and the trust in God, that marked the true establishing of our nation. We have a President who made a world-wide apology tour for our very existence, yet he has stated he will not apologize for ignoring the Constitution and going around Congress with…

View original post 649 more words

Music, Music, Music!

(Strike a Chord
Do you play an instrument? Is there a musical instrument whose sound you find particularly pleasing? Tell us a story about your experience or relationship with an instrument of your choice.)


This just couldn’t be a happier topic for me! Life without music would be a grey and dreary thing indeed.

The very first clear memory I have of music I loved is listening to my mom and dad’s 78’s and 45’s. The Blackwood Brothers, George Beverly Shea, and many others.  Rudy Atwood at the piano.

Later, we graduated to 33’s, and that’s when I remember the classical (Tchaikowsky, Prelude in B Flat Minor; Swan Lake Ballet), the western (Tumbling Tumbleweeds, Cool, Clear Water) and too many vocal groups to mention.

Then I remember the church music, and the wonderful pianists who played for camp meetings and evangelistic meetings. I was fascinated. We had an old upright piano for a while, and I remember looking at the keys with great longing, wishing I knew what to do with them. I did plink out some melodies, but I wanted my hands to fly across the keyboard!

Mom took piano lessons for about a year while Dad was in Bible college. She kept the books. When I was ten, we moved to Oregon and, lo and behold, we got another piano!  A little spinet, and I can’t remember where it came from, but I was beyond excited. By this time I had a little better handle on singing, harmony, and reading notes. I got hold of Mom’s old piano books and began to teach myself to play. I was in heaven.

It was a long time before I got to actually take lessons, but I tried to copy what I heard other pianists doing.  I remember the first time Dad asked  told me I was playing for church. I think I was twelve. I was terrified, and I’m sure it was dreadful, but it forced me to practice playing hymns.

When I was 15, we moved back to Minnesota. There was an elderly lady in the small town who had taught piano for years, and she offered to give me lessons for free. Be still my beating heart! She introduced me to music I  had never tried, taught me some finer points I wouldn’t have learned on my own, and mostly just encouraged me.

Well, I wasn’t good enough to major in applied keyboard in college, and that was a disappointment. I’ve often wondered, if I’d had lessons right from the beginning instead of muddling through on my own, would that have made a difference?  I don’t know, and it doesn’t really matter now. I’ve played for church for many years, played for my own pleasure as well. I don’t play much any more, in public, and that’s okay too.  My fingers aren’t as supple as they used to be, but I still love to play my piano.

When Terry was just a little guy, his parents bought a pretty little piano, a Starck-ette. It’s probably 67 years old, maybe a little more. His mom’s dreams of his becoming a pianist never came true, and after we were married, his parents gave us the piano, knowing how much I would love having it.  It still sits in my dining room, and still sounds good. We just had it tuned at Christmas.  This isn’t exactly the same, but it’s close.

Lost in Philly

(Wrong Turns
When was the last time you got lost? Was it an enjoyable experience, or a stressful one? Tell us all about it.)

We hadn’t lived in the southeastern corner of Pennsylvania very long. We lived  about 45 minutes north of Philadelphia, which the natives consider to be “out in the country.” The roads here twist and turn and go around themselves, and they can be very confusing to a midwestern girl who grew up where everything was divided into sections with miles of straight, broad road stretching out to the horizon.  But Philadelphia itself?  Well, I’m convinced it was created just to keep us furriners out of the way. Really.


It’s what you don’t see that drives you crazy.  One-way streets all OVER the place. Potholes. Two-lane streets with four lanes of cars occupying them.  Huge city buses, never mind delivery trucks of all sizes.  Messengers on bikes.  Skaters. Walkers. Hoardes of them. Sigh.

An opportunity to hear a speaker I was interested in had come up.  I invited four friends to go, and I volunteered to drive. Creepers. What was I thinking? The conference was in Virginia. Amazingly, we got there with no problem at all.  We were on time, we hadn’t had any car trouble, things were going swimmingly.

Two days and several hours of sitting, listening, and eating, and we were ready for the return trip. We did just fine until we came to the place just south of the city where the signs make a feeble attempt to direct you to I-95.  Now, keep in mind that this took place in maybe 1976. All the improvements (I use the word loosely) that we have now hadn’t been made yet.  It was like unraveling a huge pile of knotted-up yarn to navigate the turns, unless you were familiar and very brave.  I was neither.

We missed the exit. No, missed the exit.Image

Several miles and lots of perspiration later, I’ll never know how it happened, but we were on the Schuylkill Expressway. Out here, we call it the “Sure-kill.” (The right way to say it, if you’re interested, is school-kull.)

By now it was fully dark, and I was completely terrified.  Terry had specifically warned me about getting the right exit, or I’d end up right where I was. Hoo boy.  Talk about white-knuckles!  Only two of my co-travelers were familiar with our position, and they calmly misdirected me a couple of times. We drove through dark, gorgeous neighborhoods as well as dark, not-so-gorgeous neighborhoods. We were all scared, all trying to act as if we weren’t.  Except for me. I didn’t care.  I just wanted to get OUT of there!

Finally, finally, I saw an exit for a route I knew would take us out of the city and into the northern suburbs. My relief was so great I actually cried. We stopped at what I hoped was a safe gas station and I used a pay phone to call Terry. All our husbands had been on the phone with each other by this time, because we were several hours later than we should have been. Terry calmed me down, gave me brief and specific directions for getting home, and even complimented me on making it out of the maze with no damage to the car. The only damage was to my nerves, which were completely shot. I was numb, which was probably a good thing.

I gassed up the car and off we went, five travelers on a journey none of us would ever forget.