Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas

The beauty of HOLY SCRIPTURE from to-day's mass readings: 

31 December 2014, The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas

2 John 2:18-21

Children, it is the last hour;
and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming,
so now many antichrists have appeared.
Thus we know this is the last hour.
They went out from us, but they were not really of our number;
if they had been, they would have remained with us.
Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number.
But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One,
and you all have knowledge.
I write to you not because you do not know the truth
but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth.

Psalm 96:1,2,11 - 13

 R. (11a) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name;
announce his salvation, day after day.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the LORD.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
The LORD comes,
he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us.
To those who accepted him
he gave power to become the children of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.

A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.

And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son,
full of grace and truth.

John testified to him and cried out, saying,
“This was he of whom I said,
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’”
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father’s side,
has revealed him.

From Jesus Caritas Est 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Splendour and Majesty

I praise our LORD for the beauty of His creation regularly.
Mornings are particularly meaningful to me: the quiet of the day before its busy-ness  steamrolls me into a self-imposed stern and task-oriented focus.  Driving east out of our neighbourhood approaching US-23, I am near a large lake to the east, and can see the horizon almost all the way to the north and south. Each day is a new landscape exposed there. Each day a different blend of colors and temperatures creates a new greeting from God.
 Why only yestreday, the entire eastern sky was pink, before turning orange and yellow as the sun peeped up over the lake. There was enough haze in our atmosphere to allow me to see the red-orange ball of the sun without any glare; a huge, shadow-casting disc, then half circle, then waxing, ... then I began my drive north and the trees (as well as the distraction of being trying to navigate a vehicle moving at 75 mph in morning traffic) prevented my watching any more. Oh how beautiful!! Oh what a wonderful God we serve! Oh His glorious creativity!! He put that sun there! He created the conditions which resulted in me seeing that sunrise yestreday, and the brighter, more fantastic yellow one to-day. He allows me to see all the trees and meadows and farmlands and golf course and water every day on my way to Brighton. He gives me that each day!

Thank you Lord, for Your infinite Gift, and for Your daily gifts. 
I praise You for Your goodness.
I praise You for Your creation.
I thank you for Your presence and care.
Help me to grow in Your love to-day, and help me to bring Your good news to others.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Pumpkin Cheesecake

At butterknife-point, I forced my sister to peruse the archives of her recipe-box until she was able to produce the following oh-so-delicious cheesecake recipe. Thank you, Nancy!!

1 3/4 c graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c walnuts chopped fine
1/2 tsp cinamon
1/2 c melted butter

24 oz cream cheese softened delicately
3/4 c sugar
16 oz pumpkin
5 eggs
1/4 c coffee cream
3/4 c brown sugar packed
1 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Mix all crust ingredeints and set aside 3 tsp for topping.

Press remainder into bottom and side of 9" springform pan.
Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually add sugar and bet well. Add eggs 1 at atime until beaten light and fluffy.

Beat in pumpkin and spice and cream - mix until smooth.
Pour in pan and add topping.
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Allow to cool sensibly.

Refrigerate for a good amount of time and then clut into slices for sharing.

Grandma Mare's Sugar Cookies

This recipe was most generously transcribed by my dear niece Isabelle Anna, at my request, on CHRISTmas day.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

3 1/2 cup flower
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon extract

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in one bowl. Set aside.

Mix butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and lemon extract in another bowl.

Combine ingredients and knead.

Form into galaxy-shaped discs and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350, keeping a vigilant eye on the cookies for done-ness.

Saturn's Day

O come let us adore Him: Christ the Lord!

In the Church year, yestreday was the feast of St. Stephen, martyred for his faith. Message: O come let us adore Him, but it will cost. Forgive me, Lord, when it doesn't cost.
To-day is the feast of St. John the Apostle. He outran Peter when he heard that the tomb was empty three days after our Lord's crucifixion. Message: Each of us can, and should, outrun even the holiest to Christ. Forgive me, Lord, when I am slow to You.

Moni is ringing out these last few days at our Kroger, where she knows everyone and where she needs a paint stir stick to press down the donations in the evening - God be praised. I have a cheesecake in the oven (if it turns out, I will post the recipe) and am doing a beer can chicken with mashed potatoes for dinner. I will also, with my wife's approval, follow the directions on a box (or two) of Stove-top Stuffing, for the most part. I intend to add, not in any particular order: green pepper, garlic, corn, Christmas stuffing leftovers, chicken broth (from the beer can chicken), and perhaps even a can of green beans just waiting to be eaten.

My other jobs to-day will be setting up the television with our new cable box in the bedroom, and cleaning out the fireplace.

Father, I confess to You my shortcomings and lusts. I confess my self-ish-ness and narcissism. Forgive me these and all my sins, bring me back into full communion with You; may Your name be praised forever!!!


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Adeste Fideles

Up early on Christmas morn and made my cranberry sauce before Mass. Home for a nap and then a quick improvised Clair Robinson Dressing dish before the trip to Garden City to see family.
Wonderful afternoon with sister and brother in law, the niece and nephews, and mom and dad. Turkey and ham and all the fixings, with the best rum punch after dinner. Sweetie put together a basket for them which was a hit; we watched 1951 Scrooge and said our good nights.

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia,
Christ the Savior is born!
Christ the Savior is born

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, Love's pure Light
Radiant beams from Thy Holy Face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth


I hope to have already gone to see the final Jackson Hobbit movie by the time this is published; reviews and thoughts will certainly be forthcoming.

Until then, relax and allow yourself to be entertained with the following feel-good story... one which I absolutely adore.

Peace, love, joy and Kit Kats to you!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


40 degrees and rainy but I will not complain at all. Last winter provided enough, enough, enough snow I say.

Rest your mind in our loving Father.
Rest your heart at the cradle of the baby Jesus.
Rest your soul and let the Spirit overwhelm and purify you.

Heavenly Father, 

You have deemed it good and right to have created us in Your image. We chose sin, so You had to come up with a plan - a plan to cover our un-righteousness, our filthiness.

We praise You for Your plan!

We praise You for Emmanuel!

We praise You for the virgin birth of Your Son - the Redeemer of the World!

Let all that has breath praise the LORD!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Arabian Proverb

From my daily flip calendar for 23 December:

A friend is one to whom one may pour out all other contents of one's heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.

What Child Is This

What child is this, who laid to rest,
on Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
while shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
haste, haste to bring him laud,
the babe, the son of Mary.

Why lies he in such mean estate
where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear: for sinners here
the silent Word is pleading. Refrain

So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh,
come, peasant, king, to own him;
the King of kings salvation brings,
let loving hearts enthrone him. Refrain

Words: William Chatterton Dix, c. 1865 Music: Greensleaves
Meter: 87 87 with Refrain

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Wisdom from on high,
who orderest all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go. Refrain

O come, thou Rod of Jesse, free
thine own from Satan's tyranny;
from depths of hell thy people save,
and give them victory over the grave. Refrain

O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death's dark shadows put to flight. Refrain

O come, thou Key of David, come,
and open wide our heavenly home;
make safe the way that leads on high,
and close the path to misery. Refrain

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
who to thy tribes on Sinai's height
in ancient times once gave the law
in cloud and majesty and awe. Refrain

O come, thou Root of Jesse's tree,
an ensign of thy people be;
before thee rulers silent fall;
all peoples on thy mercy call. Refrain

O come, Desire of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid thou our sad divisions cease,
and be thyself our King of Peace. Refrain

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear. Refrain

Words: Latin, twelfth century;
trans. John Mason Neale (1818-1866), 1851 Veni Emmanuel (fifteenth century plainsong)

Meter: 88 88 88

Friday, December 19, 2014

Racing Advent Thoughts...

End of the week, trying to close loans, pay bills, and buy presents. God is good and faithful and may His name be blessed forevermore! 1937 Scrooge with the Lockharts last night and my free Amazon Prime 30 day trial is letting me 'watch' A Christmas Story while I work.


 God is love. Sunny now in the afternoon but icy cars and roads this morning. God is all. Up at 4:30 this am and then to Kohl's for a quick shopping excursion with my sweetie this morning. Praise the LORD! Praying for children today, all children all over the world, that they might grow up in a safe and nurturing home to know and love God. Praise His Name. Praying for Francis and all the priests and bishops who shepherd the Church all over the world. Glory be the Father. Praying for Stan, Rita, Stanley, Charlotte, Kathy, Justin, Dana, Joey, Ryan, Emily, Stacy, Stosh (RIP), Carter, Terry, Jeanie, Tye, Sofie, Trent, Carolyn, Doug, Pam, Ken, Kenny, Kendal. Glory be to the Son. Praying for Kevin, Justen, Michael and his mom, and Kaley, Kristine, and Tori, Moni, Bob, Jon, Jay (RIP), Jen, Joslin, Liam, Denise, and Meridith. Glory be to the Holy Spirit. Praying for Mom and dad and Nancy, Ruben, Ray, Rick, Alex, Carlos, Bennie, and Belle, Gary, Susie, Joshie, Jeremy, Taylor, Ron, Jeana, Cas, Nina, Sofie, Mike and his family, Mike and Drake and his mom. God became Man. Praying for Jim and Donald and Paul and his brother and mom and dad and for the team and candidates of LVCCM #83 and the two guys i sat at table with last year and Tommy and Shelly, and Vic and AJ and Peggy and Ninny and John and Betsie and their kids. God knows our hearts. Praying for Kurt and Bob and Vic, Dave, and Dana and Gray and Wendy, Adam, the boys, Jerry, his wife and kids, Doreen, Bill, Arlene(RIP), gramma(RIP), grampa(RIP), grandma(RIP), grandpa(RIP), Sue (RIP), Jeff, Dawn, and their kids, Cathy, Jeff and their kids, Kim, Mario and their kids, Bill, Nancy, Nancy's mom and brother, Brad, Brenda, Blake, Brooke, Bilbo, Kelli, Doug, Maren and Marina, Steve, Francis, Charley and his wife, Mary Ellen. God is Father. Praying for Marty and Denada and Aaron and Anna, Roger, Sheri, Benjamin, Kevin, Hilda.
Praising the Father, the Son, and the Spirit!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Humanity Was My Bus-i-ness

Oh so busy this past several days... **thinking back**

Our PT Cruiser started leaking brake fluid badly so urgent phone calls all over the county on Saturday to see who was open. Ended up getting a diagnosis from a tire company which happened to be open on Saturday but they closed at 3:00 and couldn't finish the job until Monday. So we got a quote and said thank you very much and dropped it off at the garage down the road, who couldn't work on it until Monday, but they were going to do the work for a much better price. So I made some turkey soup (recipe to follow) and hung out with a nice fire blazing in our living room fireplace.
My sweetie wanted to get back down to her mom and dads because both are dealing with health issues and she likes to help out when she can. Her current boss is very understanding so that wasn't a problem - the issue was then her getting a ride downriver. She asked me so nicely I couldn't resist!

We left about noon and got there without a hitch. I unloaded her and proceeded north to visit my parents for a quick visit, not knowing if they'd be home or not cuz I like suprises. Grabbed a pizza from nearby and stopped in Westland but alas mom and dad were out doing various social events. So I had to drive all the way home with that pizza smelling so good (and, as I soon found out, tasting so good) in the Taurus next to me. I also got to listen to the Lions on the way home - that (the Lions winning) made the trip seem so short.

So I was alone again (Sierra the Wise Malamute and Otis the Quat don't really count. They do not talk as much as Monica, although they eat much more, but still not as much as I do.) with my guitar to play and nothing in the fridge but pizza pieces that survived the trip home (Moni took the turkey soup to mom and dad's.) I got the garbage out and did all the laundry and dishes and stuff and read my Narnia books.

We've been working on very difficult loans at work and I think the stress causes me to over eat. I don't know. I bought a loaf of bread Monday night and some lunchmeat and had six sandwiches for dinner with a little Red Stag. I worked on my songs that I've been practicing and read a bit more.

I picked up a free tv by the side of the road and hooked up the VCR but the cable would not work. Turns out I need an adapter of some sort that I can pick up at my local cable office.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and now it's Thursday and I'll need gas on the way home and probably another loaf of bread. I'll finish The Last Battle tonight before I close my eyes.

It got down to 17 degrees F when I woke up at about 3:00 am to let the dog out. I fed her breakfast, then thought I needed one also so I made a turkey sandwich. I let her back in and tried to sleep but couldn't so I read and listened to the podcasts from my Laudate phone app.

I think I'll try a Sudoku now...

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Magician's Nephew

About halfway into the 6th book of CS Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia titled The Magician's Nephew. The story begins almost two generations before the Pevensie children, Scrubb, and Pole found a way out of London and had their adventures in Narnia. One main character Digory, will turn out to be the old professor uncle of the Pevensies, where they first encountered the wardrobe, allowing the commute between worlds. So, in a sense, this is a prequil; but it is much more. It will tell the tale of Creation in Narnia, and why things turned out the way they did. I remember the last time I read through all seven books admiring the brilliance of this, in light of the history already revealed by the first five.

My wife has been gone for two weeks helping her parents, who are dealing with various infirmities, and I miss her. We talk and text every day, but it's sooooo quiet in the evenings without her.

Many of the top ten college football teams play this weekend for my entertainment.

Friday, November 28, 2014


Sunday, 5 April 2015 is opening night with a Cards-Cubs evening matchup.
Monday, 6 April 2015 is opening day.

Recipe # 61: Thanksgiving Dressing

I originally watched Clair Robinson's 5 Ingredient Fix show on an early autumn day in Bear Lake Michigan in 2010. I immediately tried out this dressing recipe she gave me, and loved it, and determined to use it again.
Well, the again happened yestreday, Thanksgiving Day 2014.
I made this and took to mom and dad's. Mom does a pretty good stuffing herself, so I didn't want to compete. I did holler several times though, up and down the table, 'Hey niece/nephew/cousin, try that dressing in the white bowl.'
I added a couple of items so mine's not a 5 ingredient dish any more, but you can pretty much do whatever you want with turkey dressing.

8 brioche hamburger buns, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 pound breakfast sausage
4 cups chicken broth
8 ounces diced mushrooms
1 small sweet onion diced
1 can whole kernel white corn
about half of a green pepper diced
4 celery ribs diced
1/4 cup chopped sage leaves
2 cloves garlic diced
salt/pepper to taste

Items for our Thanksgiving dressing

Place the brioche cubes on trays and bake at 400 for about ten minutes, or until most are golden brown. Mine were actually starting to brown well before ten minutes so keep a watch on these...
Place cubes then in a large bowl.
Add the broth to the bowl so that all liquid is absorbed into the bread.

Cook the sausage in a frying pan; I used a potato masher to break these patties up. When the sausage is cooked, use a slotted spoon and add to the brioche bowl.

Saute the garlic and vegetables and garlic in the grease from the sausage for about 10 - 15 minutes, or until everything softens up a bit.

Add the corn and sauteed vegetables to the bowl.
Stir gently so you have a good mixture and place in a baking dish. Clair uses a 9 x 13 pan but I used my white baker.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Then, cover with foil, and bake another 20 minutes, or until the top pieces of bread begin to crisp just a bit.

I actually made mine a while before we ate, so it cooled off a bit before dinner. We put it in a 250 degree oven for about 20 minutes right before dinner and it came out tasty and hot.

Be blessed in all you do.

Give thanks with a grateful heart.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How Thankful Am I

That I got up this morning on my own, with no aches or pains
That our hot water worked and the heater worked and the electricity worked
For so much food in our kitchen and for cold water to drink
For friends and family and acquaintances and contemporaries and peers and bosses and nieces and nephews and aunts and uncles and moms and dads and grandparents and son and daughter in law and grand babies
Joslin Mia and Liam Jason

Joslin posing on the porch

Smiling, always smiling: Liam
who could not possibly be any cuter and associates and president and mayor and representatives and police and fire people and paramedics and neighbours, and other people who like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and our fireplace and our shed and our vehicles and jobs and pens and clothes.
For this special day of the year when I get to see people I don't get to see much and for the food and fellowship we share.

"Come Ye Thankful People, Come"
by Henry Alford, 1810-1871

1. Come, ye thankful people, come;
Raise the song of Harvest-home.
All be safely gathered in
Ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied,
Come to God's own temple, come;
Raise the song of Harvest-home.

2. All the world is God's own field,
Fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown,
Unto joy or sorrow grown;
First the blade and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear.
Lord of harverst, grant that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.

3. For the Lord, our God, shall come
And shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day
All offences purge away;
Give His angels charge at last
In the fire the tares to cast,
But the fruitful ears to store
In His garner evermore.

4. Even so, Lord, quickly come
To Thy final Harvest-home;
Gather Thou Thy people in,
Free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified,
In Thy garner to abide.
Come with all Thine angels, come,
Raise the glorious Harvest-home.

Hymn #574
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Is. 9: 3
Author: Henry Alford, 1844, cento, alt.
Composer: George J. Elvey, 1858
Tune: "St. George"

Thank you to

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Yes, that is what we believe.
Yes; He is Whom we believe.

Jesus is King!

Praise His name!

Beautiful mass this morning; Gospel reading was from Matthew 25 and it says nothing about those who 'accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour'. This passages says in part

He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
'Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Then Deacon's homily told me other ways that I could 'clothe', 'visit', 'care for', give food and drink - not just the literal ways...

Then during the Lord's Supper, organist and soloist did How Beautiful Are The Feet from Handel's Messiah

God was sure talking to me to-day I tell you.

I went rejoicing to Kroger (along with half of those from church:-) and got our ingredients for yet another White Bean Chicken Chili version going in to the crock pot to-day. The bag of canned goods I left in the store so Moni offered to go back and get it. I also forgot the broth (actually I forgot that I used it to make soup last night) so she's picking that up also. I like when she shops without me because she always comes home with treats 'only in case your sugar goes low'. :-)

Home putzing to-day, cleaning and fixing and getting ready for family here on Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday is Here, the Weekend is Upon Us

Looking out my window here in the offices of Livingston Lending, LLC in beautiful downtown Brighton, I see the bright sun reflecting off vehicles, buildings, and the pavement. But my little desktop gadget reminds me the actual temperature is a balmy 23 degrees Fahrenheit. I turned up the heat while the boss is away this mid-day and must remember to turn it back down to 58 before his return. (My conscience would not let me continue without, at least, a parenthetical expression here. 58 is a slight exaggeration. He keeps it a little warmer in here than that. It's just that I work near a drafty window and it feels like 58 up here... :-\)
Upon his return, I will ask to be dismissed for 'lunch'. My real purpose for leaving is to obtain insulin, toilet paper, a box of fireplace logs, food storage bags, and a host of holiday foodstuffs.
I am in charge of the cranberries for Thanksgiving. But I am going above and beyond because I want to make my brioche sausage stuffing and also bring one of my wife's best pumpkin pies - the ones she makes with the sweet milk. Oh yummy yummy yes.
Actually, I saw in the Aldi's ad that they had cranberry 12 ounce bags for like $1.29... I wonder if they're any good.
B1G football at noon and 3:30 tomorrow...

Thursday, November 20, 2014

an evening rhyme

pm in the evening at home in whitmore lake
i like potatoes better when they're fried not baked
michigan at home hosting ud mercy titans
nothing 'bout the maize and blue seems too frightnin'
crock pot full of meat and carrots and lotsa taters
house smells so good right now and it probably will later
sierra out in snowy yard without a leash to stop her
lookin for a movie tonight: george, mary, mr potter
1951 a CHRISTmas carol starring Alistair Sim
my favorite scrooge, he is, sometimes i'm just like him

my sisters birthday is to-day, she's all of 49
why i remember turning that, two years ago was mine
i made a little song for her, i put it on you-tube
maybe tonight sometime later I'll try my rubiks cube

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How Many Syllables in Texts???

My sweetie just texted me, while she was ringing her Salvation Army bell in front of the Brighton Kroger. The message ended with a :-D!.

I love that she would take the time out of her 9 hours of solid ringing (she doesn’t take a lunch for fear of missing donations during the period when the kettle is un-manned, and she absolutely hates having to use the restroom because of the thousands of layers of clothes she has to wear) to let me know she’s thinking of me.

I am blessed.

Thank You, Father, for bringing Monica and I together all those years ago. Forgive me when I take her for granted or become short with her. Help me to always see her through the eyes of Christ, with love and self-less-ness. Thank You for all the time we have been able to spend together these last two years. Help me to continually seek new ways to build relationship with her, for she is my soul-mate. Amen

Sunday, November 16, 2014

How We Make Our Guacamole Dip (And How You Can Too!)

It was about ten years ago that my sister brought me a carry out from a Mexican restaurant in Detroit. It was just a huge serving of nachos with vegetables and meat and cheese, but the green concoction in the small plastic container intrigued me. 'Ooh, what's this?', asked I.
'Guacamole', said sis, 'Try it, it's good.'
And I've loved it ever since.
I don't remember what it tasted like that dark evening in Allen Park with a couple of ice cold Miller Lites, but I do know that we've evolved how we make it here at home over the past few years, and we both love it termendously.
Although I do still experiment, the blend that we appreciate most (and can devour quite handily) is like I made it this afternoon:

2 ripened a avocados
2 diced roma tomatoes
quarter of a sweet onion diced
quarter of a green pepper diced (although we had none available to-day)
cup of Kroger's Private Selection Mellow Black Bean and Corn Salsa (mild)
dash or two of Frank's Hot Sauce
tsp garlic powder
corn chips for dipping

Add to to mixing bowl the onion and tomato; remove skin and pit from avocado and add


Add hot sauce, salsa, and garlic (two or three minced cloves are preferable, but again we were out)
and mix with your favourite spoon. 

The corn and beans contained herein bring even more flavor to this dish

Stir it, stir it good

 We usually prefer white corn chips, but any will do. I've been on a Paqui Tortilla Chips kick - beware the roasted habernaro variety!

Friday, November 14, 2014


Growing up in Detroit, we were blessed to live within blocks of both of my parents' parents.

Gramma and Grampa Frank lived one block west and two blocks south of us at 16609 Rutherford, in the home my mother and her two sisters grew up in. We spent much time over there (for we could walk there if dad was at work with the car): eating, watching tv, playing with the cousins, shooting pool, getting grampa a beer from the basement refrigerator, eating, playing cards at the kitchen table, playing kickball in the backyard, looking at the cutouts of scantily clad women that grampa had on the laundry room wall that I knew we were not supposed to look at, and eating. They seemed to always have lunch meat over there, wrapped in white paper secured by a type of masking tape. Always good, and always with some spicy mustard, cheese similarly packaged, and between two slices of bread - real bread that was dark and soft and smelled of caraway and rye and melted in your mouth. Nothing like our nefarious choices at home: Wonder or Hillbilly.
Also, this huge chunk of butter sitting on a plate, soft and ready to be applied generously to anything we wanted, was always out on the table. Gramma called it 'oleo', but we didn't know what that meant. At home, we had margarine, which had to be kept in the fridge, which meant it was always rock hard, which meant my Wonder slices got absolutely mutilated during the grilled-cheese-building process.
Also, when we were fortunate enough to spend the night there, eggses cooked in the morning were fried or scrambled in butter - the same butter sitting soft and ready for me on the table! At home, mom cooked eggs in bacon grease, which wasn't bad, but oh how i loved Grammas soft-scrambled eggs done up in butter. (Mom liked to cook everything quite well, and the eggs were usually crispy if fried, or brown and hard if scrambled.)

My mouth is watering as I think about these things, from some 40 odd years ago...

16609 Rutherford, where the butter was always soft

Grandma and Grandpa Baldner lived almost exactly a mile away - to the north and east - in the home my dad grew up in, on Coyle. They had a two-story home with a dining room we all fit in at Thanksgiving and CHRISTmas-time when we were young; as the families grew, we needed more and more kids tables strewn about the living room and den. But no matter how many tables we sat at, it always smelled like Thanksgiving from when we walked in the side door, an aproned Grandma always greeted us with a hug and kiss, and Grandpa always looked sharp with a sweater and bow tie.
The cousins here we did not get to see as often as we did our other cousins, and we always seemed to be dressed up here (not like going to Rutherford) and so we didn't do as much playing. We sat and listened to the big people chat politely and drank our Vernors and didn't burp.
Summer time was different. Grandpa would grill burgers outside and we'd have a picnic in the back yard with corn-on-the-cob and potato salad. When we finished the meal (and were granted permission to leave the table), I remember us rummaging through Grandpa's old things in the garage as a form of entertainment. As the big people finished eating, they would retire to lawn chairs to continue conversations of divers natures, with laughter spontaneously erupting frequently. At the end of the day we would lower and properly fold the American flag, not letting it touch the ground ever.

There was no fence around Grandpa and Grandma's corner yard on Coyle, where we ate often and played jarts once

I do not remember ever going upstairs here. The front room facing the street was the living room with a couch and several chairs, where we would chat together after meals. The back of the main floor had a den, where there was a couch and two very comfortable chairs, magazines, toys and games in cupboards, and a small tv (actually, every tv back then was small, compared with to-days'). I remember watching The Wizard of Oz on that tv in the den with the cousins more than once after a filling Thanksgiving meal. And Uncle Elton always seemed to be sitting back there reading something or other - he didn't care much for the chatting in the living room with the other big people.

Thank You, Father, for family. Thank You for the memories we all have, for the people we have memories of, and for the time that we were able to share with these people. Thank You for the traditions and the love. 
Thank You for loving us so much. 

Fabulous Friday!!

Jeepers has the cold moved in already and we're only in mid-November! Last night down into the twenties but we had a warm fire while we watched 1951 Scrooge with Alistair Sim (my all-time favourite version!). Alas I fell asleep even before the very jolly Ghost of Christmas Present showed up, but I did force myself to finish Prince Caspian in bed before I moved into rem sleep.

The music during this scene from Scrooge, where Tim is enjoying the toys in the store window, is almost magical

Caspian fleeing his murderous uncle, the Telmarine king

Trufflehunter, Trumpkin, and Nikabrik

Tonight I'll be moving on to Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third of his Narnia books.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wonderful Wednesday

Well, well, well... what's been going on, precioussss?
Lots and none at all, isn't it, my preciousss???

I am reading the Narnia Chronicles once again.

We misplaced The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe so I started with Prince Caspian, which begins approximately one year (England time) after the Pevensies' first encounter in Narnia. I have not read this since seeing (quite a few times) the Hollywood adaptation, which includes a night attack by the free people of Narnia - led by Caspian X and the High King Peter - which fails miserably and leads to many lives lost. Very sad, and I'm glad it's not in the book. But I can see why Walt Disney would add an action-packed battle scene early in the picture: this second book in the series takes quite a long time to get rolling, if you will. I am already just past halfway through the book, and the Pevensie siblings have still not met Caspian, Reepicheep the Squirrel, Nickabrick the Dark, or Wimbleweather the Giant.
But, they have indeed met Aslan, or rather, are in the process of meeting Aslan, in the chapter I fell asleep in last night. Lucy finds Him one night while she is out alone, but the others are having a more difficult time seeing Him. Susan the Practical One will see Him last of the children, Trumpkin the Red Dwarf - their fellow traveler throughout most of the first half of this story - will meet Him for the first time at the end of the story.

We were blessed to have a facecord of firewood delivered this past weekend; it is now stacked and covered with a reversible (green or brown you know) tarpaulin, and we have already burned a great deal. I am thankful for Nick and his bigass F250!

Cold Michigan November evenings demand a warm fire

MSU lost a tough one to OSU on Saturday night, and that is all I will speak of this.

We tried a new crock pot chicken soup recipe and both of us love it. Less greasy than Pioneer Woman's Chicken Soup with Rice, but more carrots to be sure. Broth made from our frozen store of cabbage core and celery ends, along with fresh thyme and gave this almost a sweet flavour.
Just had a small bowl for lunch; keeps getting tastier!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What the World Needs Now Is Love, Sweet Love's the only thing that there's just too little of.

Cold and cloudy on this beautiful Thursday the 6th of November {OHHH I FORGET TO REMEMBER REMEMBER THE FIFTH OF NOVEMBER YESTREDAY!!!!!!!!!!} and my daily flip calendar has this:

Count your nights by stars, not shadows.
Count your days by smiles, not tears.
And on any birthday morning,
Count your age by friends, not years.


Listened to an interview with U-M basketball head coach Jim Beilein yestreday and am excited now for B1G basketball. The ACC - B1G Challenge is early December and B1G season starts in late December.

Concerns, prayer requests, etc...
Gary and his situation, Moni's vehicle, paying bills, keeping the pipes un-frozen this winter, getting firewood without having a truck (first time in many years!), loving like I should, work concerns - peoples' lives on hold, Carolyn's health, Tiger off-season acquisitions, ...
Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Glory be to Jesus

1. Glory be to Jesus,
Who in bitter pains
Poured for me the life-blood
From His sacred veins!

2. Grace and life eternal
In that blood I find;
Blest be His compassion,
Infinitely kind!

3. Blest through endless ages
Be the precious stream
Which from endless torments
Did the world redeem!

4. Abel's blood for vengeance
Pleaded to the skies;
But the blood of Jesus
For our pardon cries.

5. Oft as earth exulting
Wafts its praise on high,
Angel hosts rejoicing
Make their glad reply.

6. Lift we, then, our voices,
Swell the mighty flood,
And with saints and angels
Praise the precious blood!

"Glory be to Jesus"
Italian, 18th Century
Translated by Edward Caswall, 1814-1878

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #158
Text: 1 Pet. 1:19
Author: Italian, 18th Century, cento
Translated by: Edward Caswall, 1857
Titled: "Viva! viva! Gesu"
Composer: Friedrich Filitz, 1847
Tune: "Wem in Leidenstagen"

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Beauty in God's Creation

Sunrise last week the morning of the Total Lunar Eclipse

And then Monday morning; it was unseasonably mild, breezy, and beautiful!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

We Praise Thee, O God, Our Redeemer, Creator

 This hymn come to my mind in the fall, near Thanksgiving time.

"We Praise Thee, O God, Our Redeemer, Creator"
by Anonymous (Dutch)
Translated by Julia B. Cady Cory, 1904

1. We praise Thee, O God, our Redeemer, Creator,
In grateful devotion our tribute we bring;
We lay it before Thee, We kneel and adore Thee,
We bless Thy holy name, glad praises we sing.

2. We worship Thee, God of our fathers, we bless Thee;
Through life's storm and tempest our Guide hast Thou been;
When perils o'ertake us, Escape Thou wilt make us,
And with Thy help, O Lord, our battles we win.

3. With voices united our praises we offer,
To Thee, great Jehovah, glad anthems we raise.
Thy strong arm will guide us, Our God is beside us,
To Thee, our great Redeemer, fore'er be praise.

They just don't write 'em like that anymore.

Hymn #568
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Ps. 26: 12
Author: unknown, 1626
Translated by: Julia B. Cady Cory, 1882
Titled: "Wilt heden nu treden"
Tune: "Kremser"
1st Published in: "Nederlandtsch Gedenckclanck"
Town: Haarlem, 1626

Courtesy; thanks!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Recipe #6 Beer Chicken and Sausage

This crock pot dish ended up reminding me more of jambalaya with a ton of flavor and was quite enjoyable with not a ton of carbohydrates (actually, I did not eat it with any rice at all - even though it would be delicious served over a bowl).

Here's what I included:

2 -3 boneless chicken breasts chopped
1 pound of smoked turkey sausage sliced
1 bottle of ice cold Miller Lite
1 onion chopped
1 red pepper diced
1 can of diced tomatoes
2 tbs hot sauce
1 tbs chili powder
1 tsp paprika
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
pinch of salt

And here's what I did:

Layer the crock pot insert with the onions, chicken, sausage, peppers, tomatoes and seasonings. Cover all with the beer. If you need more liquid to submerge the meat, add more beer or you can use chicken broth.
Cook on Low for 7-8 hours or High for 3-4 hours.
Enjoy with bread or rice


Thank you to for the recipe this is based on!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I love my android phone

My Sweetie and the birthday basket she put together for her sister this past weekend

I was going to do a time lapse series of the sun rising over Brighton this morning but I got impatient and only took 5 photos

These two angels have captivated our hearts. They live with our Airman in Wyoming

Mom and dad in Westland on the Fourth, 2014. Mom is wearing her flag shirt

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

With the Lord Begin Thy Task

The Lutheran Hymnal #540

1. With the Lord begin thy task, Jesus will direct it;
For His aid and counsel ask, Jesus will perfect it.
Ev'ry morn with Jesus rise, And when day is ended,
In His name then close thine eyes; Be to Him commended.

2. Let each day begin with prayer, Praise, and adoration;
On the Lord cast ev'ry care, He is thy Salvation.
Morning, evening, and at night Jesus will be near thee,
Save thee from the Tempter's might, With His presence cheer thee.

3. With thy Savior at thy side, Foes need not alarm thee
In His promises confide, And no ill can harm thee.
All thy trust do thou repose In the mighty Master,
Who in wisdom truly knows How to stem disaster

4. If thy task be thus begun With the Savior's blessing,
Safely then thy course will run, Naught thy soul distressing.
Good will follow everywhere While thou here must wander;
Thou at last the joy wilt share In the mansions yonder.

5. Thus, Lord Jesus, every task Be to Thee commended;
May Thy will be done, I ask, Until life is ended.
Jesus, in Thy name begun Be the day's endeavor;
Grant that it may well be done To Thy praise forever.

Fang dein Werk mit Jesu an
German author unknown, 1734
Re., W. Gustave Polack, 1937

Fand dein Werk
Peter Frank, 1657

Friday, September 19, 2014

Ear Fodder

Learning to play this on my new little acoustic guitar - I have always loved the chord progression and bass line of (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais by The Clash. So, for your weekend entertainment, I"ve included my favourite version, the one on the green album I owned so many, many years ago.


Friday, September 12, 2014

What is Via de Cristo??

From the Good News! Via de Cristo's web (

What is Via de Cristo?

Via de Cristo, a Spanish phrase meaning "Way of Christ," is a spiritual method for the renewal of Christian Life.
The Via de Cristo method includes an inspirational three-day weekend designed to strengthen and renew the faith of Christians and bring them to a new awareness of living in God's grace.
The purpose of Via de Cristo is, above all, to see the world reconciled to Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:20). The Via de Cristo method assists individual Christians to actively be the Church. Laypersons are encouraged to strengthen their partnerships with their pastors, to be "extensions," building up the body of Christ.
Via de Cristo is a movement within the Church of Jesus Christ. The focus is not on Via de Cristo, but on the local church -- your church and my church. The objective of the movement is to inspire, challenge, and equip local church members for Christian action in their homes, churches, and communities.
Through the Via de Cristo method, we are encouraged to persevere and grow in our faith, to become an effective channel of God's love to others, and to strengthen a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
To attend a weekend, you must have a sponsor - that is, you have to be invited by someone who considers you a leader or potential leader in your environment. The weekend begins Thursday evening and ends late Sunday afternoon, and is very spiritually, intellectually and emotionally intense.
The weekend is centered on a series of 14 talks given by folks who have already made a weekend. Each talk is followed by a table discussion, and at the end of each day, the tables share the main points of their discussion with the larger group.
Time is spent together in the chapel, in prayer and meditation, and while eating meals (a highlight for me!)
All the folks involved in the weekend have already attended a prior weekend, and each Participant is encouraged to help in any way on future weekends. The weekend 'team' meets several times during the months preceding the actual weekend to clearly define each members' role, and to build community.

There are two Via de Cristo movements in the Great Lakes State: Lutheran Via de Cristo of Central Michigan, based in the Saginaw/Midland area (, and Good News! Via de Cristo, based in South East Lower Michigan (

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Beauty All Around

I'm always so thankful for the cooler temperatures whenever they arrive. So much of our summer has been muggy 80's and even muggy 70's, which when the sun is shining can be uncomfortable (unless, of course, you're on a lake, and Lord willing we will be soon.)

It still doesn't seem like autumn in our corner of south-eastern Lower Michigan; so very much foliage is still green and the flowers are holding their vibrant colors. Soon though, we may leave off the air conditioning for good, as we prepare for the winter that is to eclipse even last winter in intensity.

We are not afraid though!

We are Michiganders, after all! (Or Michiganians, if you don't prefer the goosey nomenclature.)


We've had two of our four team meetings for the Good News Via de Cristo Weekend #55 coming the second weekend in October. (Please sign up to pray for the Participants at No meeting this weekend but brats on the grill are calling my name loudly I believe.

Our Tigers have jumped up into a tie for first in the AL Central by beating the Royals two nights in a row. Max got the win last night and Sloppy Joe the save.

Dad's getting more comfortable at his new place of employment, Abbey Floor and Design.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


IN the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit

Dearest Lord, please protect those who are fighting to eliminate evil in this world. Guide them, give them wisdom and peace in all their decisions, and help them to fight the good fight.

Dearest Lord, please grant rest to those who are tired.

Dearest Lord, please grant comfort to those in pain.

Dearest Lord, please grant a renewed enthusiasm to those who believe life is dreary.

Dearest Lord, give purpose and meaning to those who don't see their calling just right now.
Give a renewed hope to those who are desperate, despondent.

For the sake of Christ's sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world.
Father, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.


Friday, September 5, 2014


It's never a bad time for G.F. Handel.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the 'Messiah'.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty

I had this hymn on my heart this morning as I drove to work. We sung this also at our wedding some18 years ago, loudly and with guitar strumming...

"Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty"
by Reginald Heber, 1783-1826

1. Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!

2. Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Which wert and art and evermore shalt be.

3. Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see,
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.

4. Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #246
Text: Rev. 4:8
Author: Reginald Heber, 1827
Composer: John B. Dykes, 1861
Tune: Nicaea