Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Our favorite hummer enjoys resting in the dappled willow, just a few feet from the feeder

Our Joslin at a Colorado Rockies game a couple weeks ago with mom and dad

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Recipe #19: Skewered Squash

I threw these on the grill last night rather spontaneously last night, and they didn't turn out too bad.

I just used one small (about 8 inch) yellow squash, one small zucchini, and about 8 oz of whole mushrooms.

I first rinsed the mushrooms and set them on paper towel to dry. Then I sliced each gourd into about 1/2 inch wide slices and put them in a big bowl with the mushrooms. I poured EVOO all over them and tossed gently, then seasoned with garlic powder. I shoved the kabob stick into as many chunks as would fit on each.

I also had some boneless breast of chicken thawed - last night I seasoned these with garlic powder, ground black pepper, dried rosemary, and Lawry's Seasoning Salt!
Corn on the cob right over the coals, veggie kababs, moist savory chicken breast, and sliced garden tomatoes. What a healthy delicious meal!!

I've added photos from last Friday night, when the sky right before sunset was full of pastel colors, bright and ominous.

Glory to God!

Dear Lord~

Thank You for the beauty of the morning, for the cool air and the bright sunshine.
Thank You for providing us with home and water and food and air conditioning and fans and curtains and a refrigerator.
Thank You for jobs and cars to get to those jobs and for family and friends and for so much that we take for granted.

Help me to abide solely in You. Grant me the grace to allow You to lead and completely form me, and then to use me for Your will.

I praise You this morning, for You alone are worthy of praise!


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Holy God, We Praise Thy Name

I watched Heidi (1937) this past weekend, with Shirley Temple as the title character. At one point in the picture, she goes to church with Grandfather, and they sing this hymn. Heidi is the first to rise out of respect during the hymn; as 20th century Lutherans, we also used to rise at the start of the fourth verse, out of respect for the Holy Trinity.


"Holy God, We Praise Thy Name"
by Unknown Author, c. 1775
Translated by Clarence A. Walworth, 1820-1900

1. Holy God, we praise thy name;
Lord of all, we bow before Thee.
All on earth Thy scepter claim,
All in heaven above adore Thee.
Infinite Thy vast domain,
Everlasting is Thy reign.

2. Hark! the glad celestial hymn
Angel choirs above are raising;
Cherubim and seraphim,
In unceasing chorus praising,
Fill the heavens with sweet accord:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord!

3. Lo, the apostles' holy train
Join Thy sacred name to hallow;
Prophets swell the glad refrain,
And the white-robed martyrs follow,
And from morn to set of sun
Through the Church the song goes on.

4. Holy Father, holy Son,
Holy Spirit, three we name Thee;
Though in essence only one,
Undivided God we claim Thee
And, adoring, bend the knee
While we own the mystery.

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #250
Text: Luke 2:14, based on the Te Deum
Author: Unknown, c. 1775
Translated by: Clarence A. Walworth, 1853, alt.
Titled: "Grosser Gott, wir loben dich"
Tune: "Grosser Gott"
1st Published in: Allgemeines Gesangbuch
Town: Vienna, 1775

Monday, July 20, 2015

Marvelous Monday or 2015.07.20

Gloria Gaither reminded me this morning, in the form of to-day's quip from my daily flip calendar, that

Memories, important yestredays, were once to-days. Treasure and notice to-day.

I sometimes spend much time remembering things I've done, good times I've had, and often I wish things were like they were 'back then'.

I suppose others have experienced this as well - or why would the expression the good old days be heard so frequently?

Anyways, I'm listening to the first Promise Keepers (from the album sleeve: PROMISE KEEPERS is a Christ-centered ministry dedicated to uniting men through vital relationships to become godly influences in their world) tape I ever had - the one that came with your ticket to the event. I remember not liking some of the songs (too 'urban') and loving some of them (mostly the old praise hymns), but each carries a special message about our relationships with God and our neighbor.

This music also brings to my mind much that I was experiencing at that time in my life - over twenty years ago - regarding my relationship with God and my neighbor.

*** *** ***

Thanks be to God! for this new Monday - the sun is shining and we are in good health. Speaking of health, we bought about six bags of various salads to go with our bounty of garden tomatoes. Yestreday we did a very scrumptious taco salad - and I will make this again when our Jalapeno peppers are ready (never grown those before :-)

De Colores!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wonderful Wednesday

I had to run some errands this morning and the breeze coming in the Grape's open windows was wonderfully cool and refreshing. Praise God and thank Him for His provisions!

This type of morning reminds me of downtown Manistee on a weekday morning with Monica, from years ago when we used to do such things. The sun, the cool breeze, the gulls flying everywhere (well, we don't have as many gulls as Manistee).

We began going to Manistee, and the west coast of this great state of ours, when we were first married. We spent many nights at the Lake Michigan campground, in the Manistee National Forest.
Situated right on the Lake Michigan dunes halfway between Manistee and Ludington, this campground has 99 sites in four circular loops, a parking area for day trippers, and flush toilets. The sites are separated from each other so that you don't have to smell your neighbor's b.o. like most state park campgrounds we've experienced. There are trees and ferns and a small berm between you and the big lake. You can't see the lake from the campground, but all night you can hear the calming swoosh, swoooooosh, swosh of the waves on the sand. We would get up and take a brisk bath (with Coghlan's biodegradable soap) in the cool refreshing waters, and have our devotions with a cup of campfire coffee (full of sticks and ashes - and better than ANY cup of office coffee I've ever had) at our site table. We'd spend the day on the beach, or driving around exploring, or window shopping, or looking at houses and dreaming of living THAT close to the big lake - all while we were in absolutely no hurry whatsoever.

Sometimes we'd drive to one of the three public beaches in Manistee to spend the day. Each had its own beauty and amenities, and I have wonderful memories from each.

The First Street beach is on the south side of where the Manistee river empties into Lake Michigan. You take First Street west out of downtown and end up at Douglas Park, with a huge boat launch area, fish station, ample parking for your boat trailer, several picnic shelters, a large gathering building, a huge lion who has posed for generations of photos, and two piers. The southern one is the big one; there are two sections and leads to the Manistee light, which has a storied history. The northern pier, along the river, is much shorter and straighter, and has a little warning light at the end. Between the two piers is a calm beach, and you can bring your dog there.
(I see in a recent photo that the concession/band stand that served coffee and hot dogs is no longer where it used to sit, west of the boat launch and across the road from the fish station. The owner/proprietor was always hanging around outside telling stories, and on one fine summer day, he provided Moni and me with a free organ with foot pedals that worked...thankful for the Ford Ranger that day I can tell you. More on that story in another post.)

South of the big pier, is the big beach, with a parking lot, some playground equipment, and a bath house with toilets that always smelled of urine (in spite of the large, jet-like fans always blowing, which cause you to have to yell, if you need to talk to the person in the stall next to you).
The farther south you venture (away from the piers), the larger the waves get. And the farther you go out into the Lake, the deeper the water gets.

Across the road from this parking lot is the Lakeshore Motel (lakeshoremotelmanistee.com), where pets are welcome and you can watch the beautiful sunsets from your front porch. No room amenities whatsoever, other than the proximity to and the views of that beautiful Lake.

If you follow the loop southward, there is a new fenced in pet area at the southern apex, then tennis courts and softball diamonds as you head back towards First Street.
Moni and I used to play tennis there, with our jug of water, and my pack of Marlboros. That was over twenty years ago! We played tennis....together! wow

I also took a small group of alternative ed kids there when I taught in Big Rapids, to study the aquifer structure in the area, and to play football at Douglas Park.

And when I coached baseball in Onekama, we always dropped the girls softball team (who we shared the bus with) off at the diamonds, when we played Manistee Catholic Central.

ON the north side of the Manistee River is 5th Avenue Beach. This area has undergone many changes over the years - including the development of the immediate surroundings into a condo/townhouse community. As you drive through the quaint marine-themed cottages and condos, you enter the public beach area from the north. The first parking lot is the biggest one; the beach here is huge and has recently updated bath house/concessions and play equipment. There are also two tennis courts that always had tons of sand on them, but I fondly remember several sets of fun there with my bride.
Just past the courts as you're heading south, you come to 5th Avenue and the River. Immediately ahead is the new Coast Guard station. If you turn left, you're on a short dead end with three houses on it, one of which we coveted for several years. It ended up being sold, and last I knew it was a rental.

If you turn right, you can get to another parking lot even closer to the Big Lake, but again, you're near the pier and so there are no big waves. And the big waves - in my ever so humble opinion - are one of the compelling factors of this area, darnitall.

The third public beach is one you find if you take 31 north out of Manistee and immediately turn left on 110 (at the Burger King). Lakeshore Road, as it is called there, takes you north past Orchard Beach State Park (stories about this campground will definitely follow) and goes all the way up to Onekama. A couple miles north of 31 though, with Bar Lake on the right, all of a sudden the trees give way and you are gifted with a beautiful view of Lake Michigan on your left, with about 200 feet of lake-shore sand available for your pure Michigan pleasure. The shoulder on the west side of the road is a little wider than normal, and you can park right there, walk forty feet or so and be up to your ankles in cool big lake water! No signs, no rules (we had Sierra with us several times here), just four park benches and a port-a-john. Brilliant!

In the coming months I will endeavour to sort through photos from our different excursions and share them here. I am thankful for an adventuresome wife, and the time and resources to be able to visit different places in this great state of ours.

Blessed be God forever!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Alright Supertones, let's rock!

From May of 1996, (a hard year to be a godly man), the debut album for these characters from southern California.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Marvelous Monday

Glory to God and thanks to Him for allowing us such a wonderful weekend!

Moni had both Saturday and Sunday off, which hasn't happened for some time let me tell you.

We started our Saturday with a good Whitmore Lake Tavern breakfast. Now, this little hidden gem (whitmorelaketavern.com) has been a weekend breakfast favorite of ours for many years. We love their Texas toast with our omelet, and they bring you their own home-made strawberry jelly, blackberry jelly, and cinnamon-butter - each of which could be sold in jars for a pretty penny. A hot cup of coffee, rock and roll memorabilia on the walls, and a hot cheesy omelet - all enjoyed with an accompanying view of the lake - make this a thumbs up experience. The only downer is the blue block-M mugs they bring your coffee in; as Whitmore Lake is only about ten minutes north of Ann Arbor, we don't complain (we don't seriously complain, it's all in fun).

From there we headed towards Howell to spruce up the grave site of Jason Alan

We added some egg rock surrounded by a ring of hand-picked stones supplied by the nice folks at Brighton Stone and Fireplace (brightonstone.com), and we refilled the geranium pot with a few half-price annuals from the garden center at Lowe's (lowes.com). 

The cemetery sits on a lake, and is just a beautiful, calming place. The entire grounds are well-taken care of, and the lake was particularly busy on this warm summer mid-day.

Rest in peace, Jason Alan

From there, we ventured to the Howell Meijer (meijer.com) for some supplies before heading home. I needed a little bit of tomato sauce for my Rachael Ray Sloppy Joes, and the hummers needed some sugar for their feeder.

I was able to get a bit more painting done; I applied our Cordovan Brown Behr's Premium Plus Exterior flat to the shed trim and the new planter I made right off the deck. Also, the trim around our back door got a good coating that was long overdue.
I did some burgers, corn and asparagus on the grill, and replaced some of our patio stones that had crumbled.

We fed and watered all the vegetables, herbs, and flowers, and cut the grass, and whipped the weeds. I made our favorite potato salad and those sloppy joes on Sunday, and we ate well.

And at the end of the day, we slept well.

Thank You for providing for us always, Lord.
Thank You for meeting our every need - and then some!
Thank You for the wonderful weather and the time we were able to spend together this past weekend.
Thank You for jobs we were able to return to this morning;
Thank You for loving us so much!

All praise and glory to YOU!


Friday, July 10, 2015

Hits, not just average hits, but the Greatest!

Beautiful Sunny Friday

Oh the crockpot pork roast was the best ever, and it didn't matter that it got warmer outside.
It was a center cut, looked like about 2 pounds, with onion, potatoes, carrots, and mushrooms cut up chunky-like on top, and then a package each of beefy mushroom and onion soup mix over all. Maybe a cup and a half of water, cooked on LOW all day and wallah!

Dem fine meal, sir; dem fine.

I almost didn't have room for the Kroger Lite Fun Munch Cookies 'N' Cream Deluxe Churned Ice Cream my sweetie left me with, but I made room (as usual).

Tigers won, Soria got his 20th save, and I am tied with the league leader heading into the weekend in my fantasy baseball week.

My prayer on this Friday