Monday, August 29, 2011

Motel in Maine

I recently found out that this little motel where we stayed on our Maine trip,

with views like this out to Casco Bay and the Atlantic Ocean,

is for sale. I need a million and a half, take or leave a little, fast, to acquire this gem. Mike could be the general manager/yard man/fixit man/all-purpose person (like he is at home), and I could run the front and take care of the breakfasts. It all sounds so wonderful.

If I DID have a million and a half, we might be moving to Maine.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

VBS Pics. That Bring Back Memories

Last week while getting ready for the school year I found a set of old pictures of a Bible school that was my "baby" about fifteen years ago. We did a creationism Bible school, and along with the usual classes, crafts, snacks, music that a VBS has, we had five creation rooms. The children went in groups to one room each night, and we had them really well decorated. I don't have any pictures of the astronomy room (day 4, sun, moon, and stars), but I have pics of the other four. There was a teacher in each creation room who gave the same lesson each night, actually, twice each night, because there were five kindergarten classes and five elementary-age classes. The lessons were a combination of science experiments and Bible truths.

We skipped day 1 because it was just darkness and light, and because five days of creation fit our five nights of Bible school!

There was a man in our church who was quite the chalk artist and he came in and drew the pictures after we got each room lined with paper. It was a mammoth job, but turned out so well, and it was very satisfying to see how much the children enjoyed it.

This was the ocean room (day 5 - birds and fish).

The jungle room, taught by John S. (day 3 - dry land and plants). He is the kind of guy who will do anything anyone asks him to do. I remember we had such a time getting all that green crepe paper to hang from string from the ceiling.

The woodlands room for day 6 - land animals and man. Julie V. taught this very well. The "deer" in the back was easy to come up - it was Mike's target for bow practice.

I especially liked finding this picture because the older woman on the right is my friend Jean, who has been gone for ten years this fall. This isn't really of her face, but I've not found any photos of her up until now, so this was nice to find.
The weather room - day 2, firmament (atmosphere) separated from the waters. I taught this room and did experiments such as crushing a can to show air pressure. You may recognize the little lady in the turquoise dress in the middle of the picture. :-)
The other woman who ran this with me, and I, packed everything up thoroughly and labeled it well - "Do not throw out without talking to Marsha or Ann first!" - before putting it in one of the church storerooms. However, sometime about ten years ago, it was thrown out. I discovered that when someone called asking for it to use at their own church, and it was nowhere to be found. So it was a one-time Bible school, probably not to be done again, but it really made a lot of memories, I hope for the children, but definitely for me.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Totally Random Pics

. . .because I miss my kids tonight.

Graduation 2009:

Andrew in the play DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, spring 2008

My daughter a couple of years ago.

and the two of them together, I don't know when.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Everyone In the World. . .

This past week in inservice, we watched a Chip Ingram video about words and relationships. One thing he said that really caught my attention was "Everyone in the world is desperately insecure - some people just cover it better than others."

A couple of times since then I've seen or interacted with someone who might not mesh well with me, or however you want to say it, and have then thought of that phrase. It helps.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Quick Lunch

ML left for college yesterday (worthy of its own post) and Mike is out of town for the morning. Nothing really to eat in the frig, and I was hungry. I'll probably do some good gourmet burgers on the grill or the broiler for supper, so didn't want anything really big. So - I opened a bottle of V-8, added one can of green beans, one can of white beans, and a little frozen corn. Added a little onion powder, garlic powder, and parsley. Cooked it for about 10 minutes on the stovetop. Delicious! And enough for a couple more meals.

(Those gourmet burgers are at one of our nearby grocery stores - Burgundy Mushroom, Bleu Cheese, or Bacon Cheeseburger varieties. Made from scratch, and fairly high dollar, on the fresh fish and thick-cut steak counter - unless you go in the morning around 9:00 and get the marked down ones from yesterday that they've gone ahead and wrapped for quick sale and put with the regular ground beef. Same hamburgers, much better value.)

And this is what I picked this morning! Though the hot, dry weather is difficult to endure, nice tomatoes are the silver lining (red lining?).

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Turn Off Your Phone

About halfway through church tonight Mike realized he hadn't turned the sound off on his phone.

It's a good thing he turned it off then. About two minutes later, he got a call. His ringtone currently is a turkey call.

That would have sounded real cute in the middle of church.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Just made a box of Pasta Roni for ML and me for lunch, and realized once again that so much of cooking is just learning to put things together and not necessarily following recipes. But so many people don't know that. I read the directions on the box for amounts of water, milk, and butter, and realized that with putting in the spice packet, it is just making a seasoned white sauce. It was funny, though, because below the directions was a box that said "Make it a meal!" It then REPEATED the list of instructions, except at the beginning added an explanation of how to brown some ground beef to add to the finished noodles. Who needs a written recipe to add ground beef to Pasta Roni? That was my contemplation as I added cubed ham (which was not listed on the box).

Of course, it must also be admitted that a true cook probably doesn't use Pasta Roni to begin with. . .

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Loula Grace Erdman - An Author I Have Really Enjoyed

I've never been a big fan of much fiction. That is to say, fiction that is lacking in its construction - poorly developed characters or a weak plot or a not-very-worthy theme. There are fewer fiction pieces that I like than dislike.

Loula Grace Erdman is a name that became familiar to me when I gave a nonfiction book by her, Life Was Simpler Then, to my great-aunt Louise in the '70s. It was a good book describing life in the '30s and '40s for small-town Missourians. I recognized her name, that she also wrote a good book about teaching called Separate Star. Then, at our public library and also my college library, I stumbled across more books by her. Loula Grace Erdman may not be hugely well known, or assigned the title "great writer," but she turned out some excellent work that is worth the reader's time. I've re-read several of her books a number of times, because each re-reading gives up new details or twists that weren't obvious earlier - which is one of the marks of a good piece of fiction.

I've also learned much history from them. She wrote primarily about the homesteaders of northern Texas and everyday life in late 19th and early 20th century Missouri; she also wrote a couple of books with information of Order Number Eleven, a Civil War order that displaced many innocent Missourians due to the border conflicts between Missouri and Kansas. I had never heard of that order, but her book Another Spring will open the reader's eyes to that terrible time period in a way that nonfiction does not.

Her work can be found on eBay and internet bookstores, which is where I found most of my collection about ten years ago. Some of her children's books, and one adult novel, The Edge of Time, are still in print, but most are not. Most of her books available today are books pulled from library shelves as rejects, because her style of writing doesn't fit the modern parameters of books printed and read today. They are full of detail and heavy on good characterization. And though they are not prudish, they do not contain objectionable elements when dealing with sinful behavior.

My evaluation/opinion:


The Years of the Locust - Winner of an award in the 1940s for fiction, that carried a large monetary award. Very unusual format - flashback about the lives of a patriarch couple in a community, told after their deaths.

The Edge of Time - Still in print. Story of a homesteading couple that drove from Missouri to Texas to live in a dugout. The hardships were unbelievable. Makes the reader think about what our forefathers went through to open up the boundaries of the country and to live free and independently.

Three at the Wedding - Erdman thought that this was her best work of characterization, and I agree, even though this book is not as well known as some of her other novels. The story of three women at the same wedding, all of whom loved the same man at different times of their lives, and how they all came to be at the same wedding. The reader really sees the hardness of the bride's mother, and the hometown simplicity of the stepmother. I didn't care as much for the story of the third woman whose story is told, but the interplay between the other characters, as well as the way it all draws together at the end, is great reading.


Another Spring - The story of families displaced by Order Number Eleven at the end of the Civil War. This book will really cause the reader to become aware of what it would be like to literally have to scrounge for food, clothing, and everything else needed for life, because of being run out of one's home with no opportunity to take much along.

The Far Journey - Story of a woman who almost loses her marriage due to her reluctance to go west with her husband, then makes the trip out to Texas (with their young son) to join him. The events that happen to her during the trip, and the way it all works out at the end, make for very good reading. The theme of how she comes to see her error of not supporting her husband is seen throughout the book.

Lonely Passage - Story of the coming of age of a young girl growing up in a family of strong women. One of the most interesting parts of this book is how the weakest woman of the group eventually transforms into the strongest. This is a book which shows well how Erdman handles sin issues without having to resort to objectionable elements.

Separate Star - Book about a teacher in a small-town school in the middle of the 20th century. Any teacher will recognize the challenges this teacher faces. She is an excellent, caring teacher, and it is a good story. Since it was written for teen girls, it does include the obligatory romance, which is not characteristic of the other books.


These are only about half of her books; they are the ones that I think are the best. I didn't care as much for her children's books; but then, I didn't spend as much time on them either.

Loula Grace Erdman died in 1976. I think her work represents a good, clean, author who wrote fiction that is much more uplifting than some of the things available today.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Nothing Says Summer in South Carolina. . .

. . .like this flavor combination. Tomatoes and cantaloupe. I used to think it was weird. Not any more.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Middle Age Strikes - Yet Again!

I stopped by the church nursery tonight to drop something off. The couple in there asked if I knew where so-and-so was, as that person was supposed to help tonight. I said no, but would be happy to stay and help. Since there were only a couple of children they said they didn't need me - but I wrote down my phone number for them to call during church if more showed up.

Hung onto my phone (on vibrate) during church in case they called. Halfway through the service it hit me - I had written down my HOME phone number! Got up to go check, and it was good I did as there were now TWELVE children in there. And they had called the number they were given.

What a dingbat.

Some Thoughts About Christian Efforts From Thirty Years Ago

Today I was reading an old WORLD magazine while putting in my time on the elliptical at the gym. It contained the results of a contest they had where people submitted the last lines of books to be judged as to which were the best. A couple of the books included were Nicky Cruz's RUN BABY RUN and BROTHER ANDREW by, who else but, Brother Andrew. It was very interesting reading, and kept my mind off of those slowly-passing minutes on the elliptical.

What it made me think about was the activities of Christians back in the days of Brother Andrew, when the Iron Curtain was up and people were creative in their evangelistic efforts. I remember that Bible smuggling, ala Brother Andrew and others, was a real and dangerous activity (just like into China today). I remember a group of guy friends spending a summer doing that, and a group of girls who met once a week to pray for their safety.

I remember getting envelopes of various sizes and colors from some organization (can't remember the name), stuffed with Bible passage portions, and also a list of names and addresses of people in Russia. We would address the envelopes and stamp them, then mail them - the idea being various handwritings, stamps, and envelopes would help evade detection by mail authorities.

I wonder whatever happened to all those Bible portions - what percentage made it through, and of those, what percentage actually made a difference. That was thirty years ago - I wonder if anyone has a changed life due to those efforts. I wonder if one of those portions served as the impetus for events that may have started a church in a small Russian town.

It will be interesting, in eternity, to see if any good was done.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Andrew at Niagara Falls

The quartet went to Canada this past weekend - whirlwind trip to a church in Ontario - and they stopped at Niagara Falls on the way back. Loved this picture. Sure hope he's leaning on a strong fence.