Shavuot, Pentecost and Transitions

Cheese cake for Shavuot and Pentecost

The Quality Inn at the Halifax airport has a really outstanding selection for breakfast. Their staff was friendly and helpful so much so that they noticed what was needed without being asked. Christjanna’s last day with us was bitter sweet as we enjoyed eggs, sausage, choices of yogurt, breads, pastries, waffles, tea, coffee and juice. Our next tasks was to pack what needed to go home in her checked bag. We also continued helping Clairesse with her Youth Dynamics Stonewater Ranch letter since she still needs to raise support for her summer ministry work as a Horse Wrangler.

Lunch found us back at the Inn’s restaurant sharing the excellent seafood chowder, fish and chips, onion rings and salad. Clairesse and I escorted her to the shuttle van and kissed her goodbye. Originally we were all going to come home on Saturday. Due to using these travel vouchers, our tickets had to be purchased one way at a time. Christjanna uses an app that helps her keep track of the best prices. It was a group effort to get each leg of our journey booked. Christjanna got a good price for her ticket and suddenly the price went up. She quickly found the same price for us on Sunday. An extra day to rest and chill out was a welcome change from hurrying back to “real life”.

Clairesse and I spent the afternoon sitting in the sunshine while I worked on blogging she did some reading as well as editing pictures for the children’s book we have been collaborating on. She went and took a nap. It was a good way to prepare for our trip home.

Sunday morning was another good breakfast that had hard boiled eggs and bacon plus everything else. We spent a leisurely morning packing and enjoyed a walk upside of the motel prior to getting in the van. Our driver was friendly and asked if we were “Trump” supporters. I generally view this sort of question as a “loaded question”. I think the position of a person needs to be respected even if we don’t agree with everything he or she does or thinks. He seemed to feel frustrated on behalf of someone he knew who was not being allowed in to the USA and had to fly around to get to a hike he wants to do in South America. I responded, “It seems to me that the law of unintended consequences is alive on planet earth.” Clairesse shared that she had attended college in Abbotsford during the last election. She said there were things she liked that he was doing well and other things not so much. A young man who was apparently in training to drive the shuttle van pointed out that they have Trudeau to deal with so they really can’t talk too loudly. The driver commended Clairesse on her diplomatic answer. Not much time to talk more.

The Halifax airport security people were among the kindest I have ever experienced. My clogs set off the alarm. He calmly had me take them off and walk through again. Another security guard offered to pick up our bins of stuff after it was scanned and placed in on another counter so we could gather our things. Another man in a kiosk selling Christmas stockings with dogs on them, noticed I was on my way to fill up my water bottles and told me that the Starbucks across the way would fill them for free. Another woman overheard us talking about where to go next and stopped and offered us directions. A security guard noticed he had let us in the wrong place. He came and found us, acknowledged his error and kindly redirected us to the proper location. Generally people don’t take responsible for their mistakes and they blame others for them. It was refreshing to be treated with such courtesy.

Christjanna had warned us about customs in Toronto. She had to dump out her water and almost had to get rid of her maple syrup souvenirs she had purchased for co-workers at the Halifax airport after she’d already gone through security. We did not try to purchase anything in the Halifax airport as a result of her warning which was just as well as we did not have any more room in our bags. She thought that because she’d gone through security in Halifax, it was done. Apparently Toronto does the US customs so it is a much more stringent level of inspection.

We had an uneventful trip from Halifax to Toronto and dumped out our water in preparation for customs. We packed our extra food planning to save some money on dinner. Clairesse got tagged for inspection and got her cream cheese confiscated. I ended up getting us drinks from Starbucks and paid for cream cheese for Clairesse. We still had enough bread, cheese and sliced meats for a satisfying dinner. It is amazing what can be construed has potentially dangerous. It often seems capricious. I’m thankful for God’s care as we go through each level of earthly “security”.

I worked on the “Tea day to D-Day” post and attached more pictures to it. Clairesse helped me proof read it and get it published. A blessing on this trip is having time to do the thinking so I can write.

We entered the plane for the last leg to Seattle. They had thought we were going to be able to leave on time but a delay occurred due to the air-conditioning having a problem. We finally left and were on our way.

As we flew higher, the beauty of the sun filled sky lit up my window. Reaching traveling altitude, we encountered quite a bit of turbulence. The buffeting reminded me of Ephesians 6:10-20 and the fact that we don’t fight against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities in the heavenly places that we cannot see. I found myself praying for God’s protection and for His angels (Psalms 91) to surround our plane and grant us a safe trip and wisdom for the crew and pilot. The turbulence quieted down and the trip was uneventful.

We arrived in Seattle and made our way to the baggage claim. Christjanna had the brilliant idea of picking us up at departures as the baggage claim area was backed up so far, no cars were coming through. Jeff followed her in our van so I could go with him and Clairesse go with Christjanna to prepare for her trip back up the mountain. Jeff and I went to another Quality Inn as our next stop was to be Cannon Beach Conference Center to teach the 10-12 year olds for the annual Village Missions Conference.

Tea Day to D-Day


We arrived in Halifax and found our small and well equipped Airbnb apartment close to all things downtown. Our first night we walked and found a Tonys pizza where we ordered “donair” and shawarma. It was okay but not fantastic. As we ate, we watched the hockey game and had a conference call with Jeff and Joshua as we discussed plans for painting the interior of our house as well as the new development of Jeff being sent home from work because he now has permanent restrictions for his work. A little background for this is he had right shoulder surgery in September for rotator cuff issues and again in February for carpal tunnel on his left hand. New challenges and prayers for wisdom as we start to look more intently at an earlier retirement for him. Good news is that Joshua is going to be able to get a grant to take the CDL license training. Progress is good!

Living and working with people on the Asperger Syndrome often is exhausting as there are so many details that don’t make sense to very linear thinkers. There are so many ”zigger zaggers” that are upsetting enough for anyone that are exponentially upsetting for high functioning autistic people. It is such a relief for me when things go smoothly. Perhaps another good reason for a week off for me.

After a few more words of encouragement and coaching, we said goodbye and walked back across a beautiful park with a big fountain that was totally enclosed by a black iron fence. We found our bedding and prepared for bed.

Christjanna had the brilliant idea to look for a Tea shop. She had had Clairesse make a reservation for 11 so it would count for brunch. We decided to dress up in our dresses. Again, we found ourselves grateful for raincoats and umbrellas. As we made our way across town using the GPS rain pounded down on our car. The Tartan tea shop had a delightful assortment of tea cups and saucers. There was a lovely period fireplace that displayed elegant hats. The wall paper was a quilt like arrangement of various tartans that surprisingly went together really well. We were escorted to our table with a view of the harbor. It was a very wet view with rain drops decorating the glass door. Our hostess made suggestions for tea. She directed us back to the fireplace where we were encouraged to choose a hat to complement our ensemble. She also took pictures for us.

Canada is very accommodating for gluten free food needs. Scones adorned liberally with clotted cream and lemon curd delighted our tongues. Clairesse and Christjanna shared a three tiered assortment with sandwiches made with salmon and cucumbers, then a tier of scones and then dainty petite fours, bonbons, puffy pastries. It was a cute light meal. We were also encouraged to try different teas within fresh cup brought out for a new flavor experience. This lead to some reminiscing of when Christjanna had done her class on English Literature and History. Her class did an English Tea fund raiser in which they made the requisite crust less sandwiches, scones, and pastries. They also planned a musical program. It also reminded me of the Swiss Exchange student and the tea we did to raise funds for new dress material for the chamber choir. As we were carefully cutting off the crusts, I asked how they did English tea parties in Switzerland. She replied that they did not have English tea parties in Switzerland. They had Swiss tea parties and they did not cut off the crusts. We laughed some more as we finished our tea.

We drove back in more pouring rain and changed into clothing more suitable to the weather. We thought we would walk down to explore the waterfront. We made it about three blocks in the torrential downpour when we saw the French Bakery. We had to go in and check it out. Once again we choose three different pastries to share as well has getting hot chocolate and coffee au latte. I ordered mine in French. The rain continued to pour down. We decided to go back to our apartment.

Christjanna had noticed that there was to be a D-Day Remembrance Day as this is the 75th anniversary of this historic and important event. She was able to rent the movie “The Longest Day”. After we made gourmet cheese sandwiches with smoked havarti and cheddar cheese on fresh sourdough bread from the French Bakery with tomato soup and beef stew as was fitting as the weather continued cold and rainy. We watched about half of the movie before we decided to go to bed for our last full day in Halifax.


We got up a bit earlier and made our way back to the French bakery hoping for some Quiche. That was not to be had but other pastries made up for it. Our objective was the Citadel which is a fort and has a delightful reenactment feel to it as tour guides dress in costumes as they give the tour fort and discuss life in that period of time. Our guide took great pride in showing us the cannons as his father had helped to transport some back to this fort. He described the communication use of spares and lines with flags so that the fort was able to communicate with ships and other forts. They also used the cannon to signal the time of day. Soldiers had one hour to get back to the fort after the last cannon was fired or they would come looking for them.

Perhaps most impressive display at the fort was the reenactment display of the Canadian assault of Juno beach on D-Day.


They had created a sandy beach similar to what the sand like including bunker with a land mine field as well as the wooden and metal “Chek- hedge hogs” that were designed to puncture the hull of a ship attempting to land on one of the beaches. I had noticed these in the movie and the troops attempting to go around them or use them for cover from bullets.They showed us a helmet that was very heavy but only meant to protect from shrapnel. The guides were very knowledgeable and had personal and family stories to share with us. They told us that often there were mines in between the wooden structures that only would go off if a tank drove over them. They also said that often the solders packs weighed 100 pounds – which was as much as some of the men weighed. One story was of a man who thought the water was shallow and jumped off the boat. It was 10 feet deep so he just walked up the seabed and on out to go fight! This was quite the contrast to the Scots kit at the citadel, from 1869, that held all his gear with his wool uniform and button polishing kit that was like a box with straps on his button polisher.


Our next stop was the waterfront. Parking was $16 for the day or $3 per hour.  We had a picnic using our left overs and then wandered over the pier enjoying the sunshine.  They have many interesting statutes commemorating women who volunteered during WW2 and Mr. Cunard who did much for shipping.  We tried to get a turn on a hammock but ended up on some Adirondack chairs overlooking the bay. A women struck up a conversation with me and encouraged us to go check out Peggy’s Cove.  The day being warm and beautiful, it was our last day with a rental car and she was the third or fourth person to tell us we needed to go there, we decided to go.

It was indeed, a quiet and beautiful drive. We had really not had to deal with much in the way of crowds this whole week – with the exception of the line up for Beavertails at the warf. We did not join that line.  We went and got ice cream cones.  Again Canada provided a gluten free cone option.  I usually have to without when everyone else gets treats.

Peggy’s cove is a quintessential fishing village with some amazing art. It is clearly a tourist destination with its picturesque lighthouse and granite boulders and proximity to delicious seafood.  We opted out of competition with the crowd and found a good place a bit down the road.   We also opted to try an A and W root beer float after we filled up the car in preparation of returning it to the rental agency.  The root beer tasted different and the ice cream was shaped like a hockey puck.  We all agreed it was underwhelming and not at as we remember a root beer float is supposed to be.

At our motel, the Quality Inn, we unloaded and cleaned out the car. Christjanna drove it back to the airport and turned it in. We went and tried out the pool and hot tub. We are still a little sore from our bike ride. This was our last time for this trip to use the pool. We laughed at the admonition to not take the towel back to our rooms. We were laughing about how we would need to just drip our way back to our room if we couldn’t take the towels with us.

We ordered another poutine to share while we finished watching “The Longest Day”.

Searching for Lighthouses

When people ask me what I do for work, I sometimes tell them that I am a professional homeschooling mom.  Since I do so many things, that seems to cover it all.  I continue to find there  is always something that can be learned in whatever stage of life I find myself in.  A great joy to my heart is that my daughters were down for this trip and that all the trips we went on to “do school” have lead to lifetime learning.  I wasn’t sure what that had to do with lighthouses until I started writing this blog.

There are lighthouses on our side of the continent and it stands to reason that there would also be lighthouses on the Atlantic side.   Lighthouses are so fascinating to me.  Maybe because they are built in areas of great need.  It seems like every one has a specific reason for being placed in its space.   Lives are saved just because that particular lighthouse was placed there.   Most lighthouses today are battery operated rather than having someone living in them although the people who are helping to keep the stories alive and care for the grounds are certainly important too. The people who lived in them to keep the light burning were a special kind of  “everyday hero’s”  for a lonely and thankless job that was essential to save people lives in extremely difficult situations.

Perhaps there is connection here for those of us “professional homeschooling moms”. Most people don’t get why in the world we do what we do.  It’s often a hard and thankless job with a great deal of expectation, from ourselves and others, that is impossible to meet.  Especially if  we have special needs in our family.  Maybe with the special challenges we face, could it be that our families are strategically placed in the “water way” of life because God has placed His light in us to light the way for others to find their way to safety in Him?

I noticed that many places have tug boats that help guide ships into port.  Some have a channel way marked with bouys for the boats and ships to follow. That makes me think of the Bible, Holy Spirit, pastors, doctors, counselors, friends, therapists, mentor moms,  and other guides that help light the path for us to follow.

When the wind, rain and storms of life blow up suddenly and without warning, who or what do you turn to?  What about the hidden troubles below the surface that we can’t see?  How do we avoid the avoidable while navigating through the unavoidable?

Yesterday’s drive from Halifax to Peggy’s Cove was beautiful.  The waters sparkled in the sun. The conifer and deciduous trees played hide and seek with our view as we drove along.    We stopped at a Memorial for a SwissAir plane that had gone down in 1998.  Very sobering to see how quickly things can change for people and their families. In the blink of an eye, everything can change.  How do we prepare ourselves and our children for these challenges? I think that asking God to fill us with His Light and His Word is the only thing that really helps me deal with the ongoing challenges that my family has faced and continues to face.

As we approached the lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove, there were warnings everywhere to avoid the black rock because people could be swept off into the ocean. Many people were climbing the white rocks and taking pictures while laughter filled the air – a stark contrast to the warning signs and the fog bank quickly makings its way towards us. We took our pictures and made our way to the edge of town where there was a beautiful sculpture.

It delights me to see the smile on the angel’s face as the wings shelter the fishermen. I have always appreciated the picture of an angel given charge over me and my family.  This sculpture also depicts the hard work of the Fisher folk and others as they wrest their livelyhood from the sea. It also reminds me that there are no guarantees in this life for our futures regardless of how hard we work. Only God knows and sees what’s next.  Jesus, the light of the world, (John 8:12) who calms the sea with His voice, (Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41) promised in John 16:33, “I have told you these things so that through me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but be of good cheer! For I have over come the world.”

The world needs more “lighthouses” pointing the way to God’s plan and God’s provision.  May He give us courage to be those “lighthouses” that guide people through the storms of life by our willingness to shine the light of God’s love to eternal safety.

Who are your “lighthouse” people?

Adventuring to Prince Edward Island


A delightful journey to the land of Anne of Green Gables, white and red sands and cliffs, vast vistas of the Atlantic and Saint Lawrence river, friendly people and off season peace welcomed us after we landed in Halifax and picked up our rental car. This adventure was a result of Air Canada giving us future travel vouchers because of delays and lost luggage on our 2018 Israel trip.   We had until June 7 to schedule the use of these vouchers.  Christjanna went to work with her amazing ability to ferret out the best use of time and energy and resources to plan delightful, fun filled and restful days.  A three hour drive took us across the 8 mile long bridge that connects Prince Edward Island with Nova Scotia. Free admission onto the island and $47.50 to get off unless you choose to leave by ferry which is $79 and a 75 minute ride across the channel.

Spring is late to visit Prince Edward Island. The tulips and daffodils were fresh and welcomed us to our cottage. We stayed at a cute, two bedroom cottage in the Stanhope area of the Prince Edward Island Provincial Parks system. There are an abundance of these cabins all over the island. Tourism clearly is an important park of their economy as is agriculture and fishing.  Twenty five percent of Canadian potatoes are grown on Prince Edward Island.

Our first evening we walked out to enjoy views of the closest inlet. The weather changes quickly.  The sky went from full and warm sun to a foggy cloud bank rushing across the sky and dropping the temperature in a matter of moment. Rain dropped hard and fast making us thankful for layers, raincoats, umbrellas and a rental car. There did not seem to be much in the way of public transportation.

Our hosts found us a DVD player as we brought DVDs of “Anne of Green Gables” and “Anne of Avonlea” with us.

We watched one side each night which provided much “scope for our imaginations” as we planned our daily sightseeing adventures in search of the “Lake of Shining Waters”, “the Haunted Wood” and “Avonlea”. We discovered that we were among the very few privileged people to be staying on the island this week.  Most events start on June 9 with more starting July 2 for the summer season.  We enjoyed leisurely drives around the seaside routes as we went in search of the all things Anne.

Clairesse and Christjanna enjoying Adirondack chairs at Green Gables.

After attending the Community Baptist Church, which I found by googling “homeschoolers on Prince Edward Island”, we made our way to downtown Charlottetown and delightful seafood.  I had Maple Salmon while we shared a new set of fish and chips. A bonus of traveling with my daughters is we can all order something different and then share.

Fresh, abundant and reasonably priced seafood found us content. I got to sample Poutine which is a Nova Scotia staple comprised of French fries, brown gravy and squeaky cheese.  A surprising combo and delicious!

Each day was a “new day with no mistakes in it”.  We were all much in need of some down and unplanned time.  Most days we slept until we woke up naturally. We leisurely drove along the coast line stopping for pictures as it struck our fancy. We made up our own menus for breakfast and picnic lunches.  It is good to see we all know our way around the kitchen! We took turns French braiding each other’s hair in preparation for renting bikes.

We discovered the Delvay Hotel which was a lovely old mansion summer home converted into a hotel. They rented us bikes for a half day of riding through the park and a recommended stop at Richard’s for lobster, fish and chips and scallops.  The day started cloudy and cleared up for us.   A delightful 12 kilometer ride gave us a good workout and made the chairs by the lake most welcome. As the weather changed again, we headed back to our cottage to make our dinner and enjoy the next installment of “Anne of Green Gables” as we listened to the wind and raindrops dance upon the roof.

Writers Conference

Lets say our life has been “flying by”img_0056 with many opportunities for travel this year.  “Flying” is literal as well as metaphorical as we’ve traveled to California, Madeira, Gibraltar, Spain, Netherlands and Israel.

We’ve also been dealing with some work related injuries that have required casts as well as surgery. Life is changing and “normal” is being recreated.  Maybe retirement is much closer on the horizon than we had thought.

We spent a good portion of the summer getting an airbanb functional called “Fiddle Family Farm”AirBnb6and “A Quiet Country Lane Cabin”.  The details to attend to for those projects left me with little time or energy to write. A challenge with the septic system also prevented our attending Fiddle Camp this year but that was more than made up for from the week long visit and help of friends from Texas. (Who knew that a four inch septic pipe protruding from the cement floor in the garage would not be connected to the septic tank?!?!)

In October,  Jeff and I made the drive to Oregon to attend the Oregon Christian Writers Conference.  Since I like to write, play music with and for people, teach as well as other things and Jeff has been working for 32 years , we may well be ready for something new. At the conference, we met many people with stories to tell. I like to tell stories and I like to laugh. Somehow it helps get through the hard things of life.

One point of the conference that stood out was to get your writing out there. It is easy to feel like it is not good enough or that timing isn’t right.  Life keeps happening! Maybe we want the story to have a neat ending that we can wrap up with a bow.  Unfortunately, things like the unexpected death of a young friend or the expected death of an old and respected friend and mentor really mess up our best laid plans. Health challenges of our own or a family member sometimes make us feel inadequate and unprepared for the “job”.  Another point that was put out there is, that if God gives us a story to tell and we don’t tell it, who will?

Yet God is faithful and brings encouragement from unexpected sources. This year in my Bible Study Fellowship group, we started with the book of Joshua.  Joshua is told,  “Only be strong and very courageous. Be careful to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded you. Don’t turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.  This scroll of the Torah shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it; for then you shall make you way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.  Haven’t I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. ” Joshua 1:7-9 Coincidentally at the opening of the conference, these verses were read as part of the worship time.  Coincidence? I don’t think so.

This passage encouraged me to launch our second “airbanb” cabin in the middle of September even though it didn’t have TV or wifi and it was the end of the season. Without these amenities I was told that no one would want to stay there. Bing! Someone booked it the very next day.  People have booked it at least two more weekends and it has become a haven for a family dealing with a moldy house.

Change in life is inevitable. We have a lot to sort through.  Our goal is to listen to God’s voice on our journey through His Word to confirm the direction we are to go.

Counting my blessings and things I am thankful for also help me on my journey. Sometimes the details are so overwhelming that there are no simple answers and it feels like there is no road map to follow.  My friend, Pam Farrel, co-author of “Men Are Like Waffles and Women Are Like Spaghetti”, encourages people to “Choose Joy” when life gets overwhelming and complicated. That idea comes from Nehemiah 8:10 “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Some things I am thankful for:  an unusually warm and beautiful October and November with gorgeous leaves and flowers, my family working well together through their challenges, my husbands time off from work to heal his shoulder and his broken hand, doctors who are working to help him, an excellent Bible Study with Bible Study Fellowship that welcomes people from all over the world to come and learn about God through His Word via local classes or on the internet, the hospitality of good friends who let us stay in their house even though they are out of town, unexpected visits with other friends, hummingbirds that feed among the fuchsia bushes and the juniper in the yard, conversations with my family and friends sharing ideas, stories and ideas. I must not forget the Thanksgiving conference at Cannon Beach with my family and friends.

Psalm 27:1 was also read at the conference:  “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of who shall I be afraid?” Overall, a very good couple of months full of unexpected blessings. Perhaps the best is yet to come!

Counting Blessings

This year has been full of unexpected blessings that often have come out of disappointments and mislaid plans.

Health challenges and the blessing of a week in a cabin in California during the winter in my part of the world ended and began this year.

Opportunities to be a guest teacher and meet up with young friends I have taught music to in the past welcomed me into new and different classrooms.  I now get paid to do something I enjoy the most –  reading and telling stories and singing and playing my guitar with children.

In April, a door swung open for my adult children and I to do a transatlantic cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona followed two weeks later with a trip that included my husband and older daughter on to Israel in which we got to meet and minister to Holocaust Survivors and celebrate Israels 70th Anniversary.

Once home, we began the challenge to finish an upstairs apartment to launch as an Airbanb.  Things are never as simple as we think they will be.  Who knew that the 4 inch gray septic pipe in the garage floor was not connected to the septic tank? This necessitated a lot of detective work while my husband is recuperating from two work related injuries that gave him five pound weight limits on both of his hands. Thankfully, I have several homeschooling kids and a friend with a backhoe that I hired to help dig as we explored what we were dealing with.

Life has not gone the way that I planned this summer or fall. I am grateful that God has the greater plan and that I can trust Him to guide me step my step.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you declares the LORD. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.”  James 1:5 “If you lack wisdom, you can ask of God, who gives generously. To all without reproach.”  One of my favorite things we did this summer was to set these verses to tunes to teach children at our local Vacation Bible School. I had no idea that I would need to have these verses running through my mind as I sought answers and solutions to problems way out of my area of expertise!

I am so thankful that God directs my steps and that He provides in creative and unexpected ways.


“in everything give thanks, in every circumstance. For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Some days are easier to do this than others.  This year has been full of so many ups and downs that I have lost track of where I am at times. I am so thankful for the Word of God and my Bible Study Fellowship group and lesson that really helps to keep me centered on what is really important. When facing challenges, it is hard to be “strong and courageous, do not be terrified, do not be discouraged. For the LORD your God will be with you wherever you may go.” Joshua 1:9.

I am thankful for the creative and busy family that I have. It has been hard these past weeks because of all the doctor appointments we’ve had.  While Jeff is progressing, there are new things being discovered to deal with.  Yet the long drives give us lots of time to talk and pray, work on my Bible Study Fellowship lesson or listen to music.  Looking for answers to some of our challenges is not easy. God is guiding and directing each day. God opens and closes doors. Sometimes quickly and sometimes not.  His faithfulness and provision is something to be thankful for!

I am grateful for neighbors who will trade help or just step into help when all the doctor visits get overwhelming, are long and far away.  On one of our trips we got a call from the local dispatch operator that a man who had gone into our yard to inspect for a bid on cleaning our roof had left the gate open and our goats got out.  We were over an hour away.  Several phone calls later, I was grateful for the one neighbor who was willing to go and make sure they got put back in.

I am thankful for all the children I get to work with whether through music with the Moppet program, music lessons, tutoring, farm lessons or substituting in the public schools. There is never a dull moment. God’s mercies are new every morning and that is something to be thankful for for sure!

I am thankful for the new friends we’ve made traveling this year.

I am grateful for the sense of urgency God gave me to get our Airbanb finished this summer. With Jeff home recuperating from shoulder surgery and hand issues,   I am grateful for people who help me learn how to do things as I accidentally seem to have started a business!

I appreciate our long term connection with Cannon Beach Conference Center and the tradition that started 24 years ago when my dad told us that they would no longer be hosting Thanksgiving. All of my siblings made other plans and did not include us. I am grateful for the advertisement I heard on KCIS in Seattle inviting us to the Thanksgiving Conference and for the continued tradition that has been for our family. I am thankful that my children still want to come and for the friends we have met here down through the years as well as the opportunity to walk the beach and share burdens and blessings with other friends. How encouraging to learn that someone has been praying for us! I am thankful for the guest speakers who teach Gods Word and from experience, how to apply it.

I am thankful for the gift of music and for Christmas as we get to go and play out in our community.  We have an upcoming playout at the Port of Everett Holiday Festival on December 1 at 2 PM and we will be participating this year at the Stanwood Haggen’s “Sing from the Heart” on December 15.   We also look forward to our annual recital at a local retirement home.  The greatest gift for which I am thankful is the gift of forgiveness for sin and restoration of a right relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. “It is not by works of righteousness that we have done but according to His mercy He has saved us.” Titus 3:5.img_5594-animation

There is a a lot of JOY in Thankfulness.  Happy Thanksgiving!

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:4-5 NIV


Change and Transitions

img_2411This year has been a very full and eventful year.  We’ve traveled more that I could have imagined possible.  From the Palm Desert for Christmas, to a repositioning cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona, to Israel and back home, its been an interesting and educational year.

Added to all of the traveling, we also worked to finish and upstairs apartment and launched an AirbandB in June and another one in September. This has been an HUGE learning curve for me in terms of energy and resource management.

Another challenge is that my husband is recuperating from two work related injuries that have become increasingly not as straight forward as originally hoped or assumed. It has taken much prayer and ongoing research to find out what is really wrong, what can be done about it and what else do we need to know?  It is frustrating when health care providers are not as forthcoming with information as they could be. Last  week we had four days of leaving our home to drive an hour or more to get to the various doctors that each part of the injuries require. We are playing the waiting game for one surgery to be authorized.

Our children are also branching out and people who once had time and inclination to do farm chores are not home as much as they once were to do them. This makes communication very important.

There are several things I had hoped to get done this year. One is to record songs we do for the local MOPS group. Another is to record Christmas songs we do when we play out over Christmas. This is another learning curve for me. I am learning slowly but when days are filled with doctor and therapy appointments, some of the “want to do” gets slid to the side. img_00781

I am grateful that I know that God is charge and He is using the circumstances of my life to guide and direct us.  Who knows where we will end up next?

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the LORD. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Cruising and Healthy Eating

Traveling is challenging for anyone on any kind of special diet or medical challenges.  Something that I have discovered is that on Princess Cruise ships, they do an outstanding job of attending to special diets. A Bible verse that inspires me states, “Ask and it will be given unto you;  seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened unto you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to you children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:7-11 God opens up doors and closes others as I apply His word to my life and ask for His guidance and direction.

I am gluten, grain, dairy, soy, legumes and I-can’t-always-remember-free.  I have cleared my home out of known allergens. I also am sensitive to perfumes and scents as well as dust, mold and mildew. This is much harder to manage when I travel. On a cruise ship, the stewards do an excellent job on keeping scents out of our cabin.

About three years ago,  an auto accident in which I was rear ended,  resulted in pain from my right shoulder down my arm and prevented me from playing my guitar and violin.  I was ordered by my doctor to go and rest.  How could I do that? I have a farm to run, animals to care for, goats to milk, a garden to weed, music ministry I feel responsible for, and a myriad of other things to do and get done. In order for me to heal, It became clear I had to do something different. I prayed and asked God for a way to really go and rest. Jesus said, “Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ESV Matthew 11:28-30 It sometimes feels as if my family and farm cannot make it without me supervising everything to make sure it all gets done in the right amount of time and in the right season.  There is also the proverbial shoe waiting to be dropped. I feel like I need to do everything within my power to prevent or avoid said shoe from dropping. This is exhausting and I am still working on letting go and letting God handle His job.

Mauna Loa, Hilo, Hawaii

We found a “drop and go” cruise to Hawaii that left from a near by city and provided 15 days of rest and relaxation. This  was just the thing we both needed.  It was affordable for us and God provided the timing of an extra paycheck that was the exact amount needed for us to go. Even with booking it two weeks before we left, Princess accommodated my dietary needs.  My doctor advised me to walk up and down the stairs. He said I could “go and look at the Midnight Buffet, but don’t eat it.”  As it turned out, we were too tired to stay up that late after going dancing and enjoying other activities on board.  By following his advise, I was able to maintain my weight and have plenty of fun.  Especially as I got to learn to play the ukulele on this first cruise!

In search of sea turtles, Hilo, Hawaii


Filling out the medical diet form and choosing Traditional Dining provided me with excellent food choices prepared the way I needed them to be. While I did bring some food bars and protein bars just in case, the Maitre’d has always been outstanding in keeping me informed and still providing me with choices. It is fun to have dessert be a surprise every night and have it be something I could enjoy without fear of a reaction.

Our first cruise was such a good experience that we have since then gone to Mexico,  through the Panama Canal on a repositioning cruise which began in Fort Lauderdale and ended for us in Los Angeles. This spring we were able to go on a repositioning cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona, Spain. It was exciting to me to be able to go to Cartagena, Columbia one year and then to Cartagena, Spain the next.  They are really one of the most cost effective ways to see the world once section at a time.  If I could go back and add one thing to my homeschooling years, I would add cruising.  There are so many “hands on” educational opportunities!  Geography, Astronomy, Cultures, Languages, manners and history as well as art, cooking demonstrations and my personal favorite, music!

My advise for cruising is to ask for what you need for your diet, walk and attend active classes, enjoy Traditional Dining and have fun!  Most of all, know that God loves you and cares about the needs in your life and wants to provide what you need.  I’m continually reminded that He doesn’t always give me what I want but He always gives me what I need.


Molasses Crinkles 2018

I decided to repost this blog because of the current shortages of flour and other baking supplies. I have been adapting recipes for the past 40 years as I’ve learned about my own and my childrens food sensitivities. This blog has one of my recipes. I reallly like to make my own baking mix because of my sensitivites. This recipe is one of my family favorites.

The blustery days and dropping temperatures seem to inspire me to experiment with recipes.  I am also experimenting as I try to incorporate a new change in our food plan based on “The Plant Paradox” by Dr. Gundry.  I am once again having to redo my food plan as my doctor tries to help me deal with my food sensitivities. I am also working on cleaning out my pantry.

I saw a request on a Trim Healthy Mama Facebook group in which someone wanted to have a chewy cookie rather than a crunchy cookie.  I have been adapting recipes for years,  One of my favorite cookbooks is the “More With Less Cookbook” put out by the Mennonites. I really like the recipe for Molasses Crinkles but have chanaged it accommodate our food challenges. I also have adapted a “Master Mix” so that I have it ready for pancakes, cookies and quick breads.   A friend of mine did a workshop on making “Master Mixes”.  She said, “One mess, many meals.”

My baking experiments include using other flours. One of my favorites is to use two cups of oat flour with 2 cups of Fava and Garbonzo bean flours for Bobs Red Mill.  Unfortunately, that combo doesn’t work with the current food plan.

Mix  dry ingredients for the cookie mix

2 cups Coconut flour

2 cups of banana flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon of baking power

1 teaspoon of salt

I mix all the dry ingredients together in separate containers.

This is a practical learning opportunity for cihldren to measure and mix the ingredients. I like making math meaningful.  Cooking and baking are about as meaningful as it gets.  An additional benefit I have found is picky eaters will often eat something new that they make.

When you want to make molasses cookies:

Mix  well with a mixer. I have also let children mix it with a spoon.

½ cup olive oil

2 eggs or flaxseed meal substitute

1/4 cup of molasses

2 cups of sweetener of choice or equivalent

1 teaspoonful of vanilla extract

1/2 cup of apple sauce

Add to the dry mixture

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

1 teaspoon of nutmeg

Some add 1 teaspoon of cloves. I omit this because my son is sensitive to cloves.

Or, you may decide to omit the molasses and spices and put in chocolate chips instead. I also like raisins with cinnamon as an option.

Use ancient skills and mix by hand.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.  You may need to add a bit more flour depending on the consistency.  Refrigerate the mixture until stiff enough to form balls or to roll out.  I use this recipe for making gingerbread cookies too.

Roll the cookie balls in cinnamon sugar or plain sugar and place on a greased air bake cookie sheet or a stoneware baking sheet.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

I find that with alternative flours, it is helpful to use a pancake turner to get them off of the cookie sheet so they don’t stick. I set them on cooling racks to cool. These are useful as a surface to leave cookies on that I am decorating.

If I bake them on stone ware, take them out as soon as the timer goes off and let the stoneware finish cooking them.

This results in soft and chewy cookies. It makes the house smell wonderful!  Yum!