Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday's Fave Five, 7/29/16

LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog

1. Great evening last night with guests from both sides of my family - Uncle Chuck (Mom's only sibling) and his daughter and her husband, and Judy (cousin on Dad's side) and her hiking friend Pam (also distantly related on Mom's side).  We don't get a lot of company here from Illinois, so to have that coincidence on the same evening was very nice.  We had a great meal at the Galley (Thanks, Dad) and re-connected with many.

2. New daughter-in-law and I made a run to a fun store in the neighboring city on Wednesday.  It's a real, old-fashioned "five and dime," and they stock lots of creative things as well as some school supplies.  It's the kind of store you can't visit too often, because it's overwhelming with all the stuff packed into limited space, but once in awhile it's a fun trip.

3. Last Monday I used the "Mississippi Roast" recipe (common on the internet) with some venison stew meat in the crockpot, to make lunches for Mike for work.  Instead of using pepperoncini peppers, I used some hot ones from the local farmers' market.  Then I cooked his favorite basmati rice to go under the stew meat.  Oh, and also made some crowder peas, cooked HOT with more of those peppers.  On both Tuesday and Wednesday, I got texts from him, "Great lunch!!!"

4. Thankful for a lazy day today, in which we can kick back in this hot weather, and still get things done but not be under any pressure to do so.

5. And finally, I saw this in the paper this morning, and thought it was very appropriate, especially for a lot of the kids (and some adults) I see today!!  :-)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

"The Final Frontiersman"

Heimo Korth has lived all of his adult life in Alaska, north of the Arctic Circle.  He and his family were featured in a 1992 National Geographic video called Braving Alaska, which I used to show to my geography classes when we studied seasons and length of days and nights.  So it was a pleasant surprise to see him and his wife and daughters on a recent TV show about Alaskans - and then to discover that a book also existed about their lives.  Heimo Korth is the last person to be granted permission to live in the northern Alaskan wilderness.  The permission extends until his youngest child passes away, and then his descendants will have to move elsewhere.

This is an interesting book to see how people exist when they live in such a remote area.  They have three cabins that they live in a circuit in, so as not to put too much pressure on the animal trapping in any one area.  They kill all their meat and eat virtually every part of every animal.  Heimo's wife, Edna, and their two girls are used to making do or doing without.  But they love their existence, and Heimo and Edna have no desire to live anywhere else.  The girls, however, at the time of the writing were eager to leave, and, at the time of the new TV show, had grown up and left the wilderness.

I found their lifestyle to be an extreme version of what many people would like to do - which is pack up and live in the woods.  The book was a little difficult to read because the author (Heimo's cousin) wrote somewhat circularly - going from the current situations that the family was going through (as in planning for winter, finding food in the spring), to Heimo's history of how he got to Alaska, to the political situations that evolved that have caused living in the Arctic to be closed to newcomers.  But the book was a good summer read about a family that seems like old friends.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Regarding The Election

Like many people, I am conflicted about the election.  Out of 17 candidates a year ago, the man who got the Republican nomination would have been my 17th choice to come out on top.  So what to do!!  I am glad that there are still over three months until time to vote.  Much will happen between now and then to clarify the decisions to be made.

However, there is still much to contemplate even now.  I am conservative in views, and want the candidate most in line with those views to win.  I believe we are at a big tipping point in our country. Here are some items I have read, viewed, and pondered in the past few days:

***Matt Herbster from the Wilds wrote:

Not voting for Trump? Please be okay with people who are. Hillary is a big deal. 
Voting for Trump? Please be okay with people who aren't. A conscience is a big deal. 
Christian first. American second.

***And the following woman, Joy Sexton, issued this emotional plea as a comment to the above statement on Facebook:

As a Christ follower, as the wife of a hard working man, as a mother of many, as mother of a former Airman, as a female concerned about the future of America, as a mom of children both involved in ministry and the business world and as a citizen of this world who believes that Christ saved me to be His temple, bringing His glory into every situation of this world, I am a Trump supporter in 2016. I did not jump on any train during the primaries, watched the debates with my children, researched everything I heard in the media and then began doing my own listening to the candidates themselves. I believe with every fiber in my being that a third party vote hands this election to Hillary Clinton and I believe with every fiber in my being that she is the embodiment of everything we believe to be evil! There is not, nor has there ever been a perfect political candidate. I don't think any of us really know how many true Christian candidates there have ever been. I cannot base my vote on whether or not the candidate says he/she is a believer. I also cannot expect unbelievers to adhere to my convictions. What I must do is make my voice heard and my vote count - and sometimes it is AGAINST what is inherently evil. I also cannot base my choice on whether or not someone ever changed their minds on issues - and I would hope that grace would be extended to me over the years as I learn, grow and change. At what point do we extend grace to political candidates? I listened to every moment of the Republican National Convention and I like much of what I heard. I respect much of what I heard and I will be casting my vote for TRUMP2016 because I have HOPE that with his presidency, I as a Christ follower will have a few more years to SCREAM Jesus to this world. I fear that with Hillary I will not! Please, Please don't give this election to her.

***I found this link from TownHall to be interesting.  Have not studied it carefully yet, but the writer does make some good points.

***As they have been to many people, Trump's put-downs and crude comments have been offensive to me.  Is that enough to prevent a vote?  I was listening to Dennis Prager a few days ago, and he said (this is a loose quotation):  "There are things I don't like about Trump either.  He has been vile toward and critical of people in ways he wouldn't have needed to be.  He's said vicious things.  But he is the package we have been given.  He is our only alternative to a Hillary presidency."

***I liked much of what I heard at the Republican convention.  And I especially liked what Trump had to say about Israel.  He made it clear he is a supporter of "our only ally in the Middle East."  That has to bear some consideration.

***In a state like mine, which is very red, this may not make a difference.  But I think about a state like Ohio, or North Carolina, or Florida, which can go either way.  What if the election is very close in electoral votes, and, say, 5000 voters stay home because they don't like the Republican nominee.  What if that tips the state toward the Democratic column, which tips the entire election that direction?  

***And one more thing.  I recognize that Ted Cruz was very much the champion of many conservative Christians interested in this race.  But his behavior at the convention really disappointed me.  By speaking, but refusing to endorse the candidate, or even suggest to his followers to vote for the nominee, he did not come off as a strong independent thinker.  He came off as a sore loser.  

If you lost, and don't like the winner--just don't come to the convention.  That's what a number of former candidates chose to do.  But don't come and be a party pooper like he did.

***Some people would say that voting for "the lesser of two evils" is pragmatism.  Is that so--or is it realism?

I pray for clarity in the next few months!!

Saturday, July 23, 2016


I love to watch CHOPPED.  My husband (who does not care for the show) just rolls his eyes, because every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, I'm setting the DVR to record any unfamiliar episodes.  CHOPPED is a perfect show to watch on the small TV on the counter, while I'm working in the kitchen.

I've learned much from CHOPPED - many professional terms, dishes, and ingredients that were unfamiliar.  That's where I learned that meat is supposed to rest before serving it, or what an aioli is (a garlicky mayonnaise), or many other cooking terms.  In China, I recognized several items that had been used on CHOPPED, such as durian, a very stinky fruit!.  (People in the Chinese Wal-Mart would inspect the durian carefully, and then put several in their basket.  I sneaked a sniff of one after the other people were left.  It smelled terrible.)

The format of the show is sound.  It doesn't resort to crazy premises  to put itself across to the public.  It's a straightforward cooking competition in which the contestants are given baskets of required ingredients, usually very disparate, to include in their dishes.  One contestant (four start the show) is chopped in each of three rounds, leaving one $10,000 winner standing at the end.

CHOPPED has changed some from the early episodes, when the focus of the editing and judging appeared to focus on catching the "snarky moment."  Now it seems to be more solid in just judging the cooking.  And that is how the show is definitely NOT politically correct.  Age, color, gender, do not seem to matter in which chefs win and which are chopped.  And usually the judges do seem to make sound, objective decisions.

The creativity of the chefs is interesting to watch.  It's unbelievable how some of them can do so well at creating dishes from such disparate ingredients, which have gotten weirder in recent seasons.

It's a little disconcerting the way many contestants try to use a "gimmick" to sway the judges (who do not, however, appear to succumb to that).  Cancer survival, loss of a family member, "make my (parents, husband, children, boss, etc.) proud of me," are just a few of the pegs used by some of the chefs.  And some seem to depend on winning this show to define their existence, or to decide whether to continue as chefs, or to even determine their worthiness at life.  I find that to be sad.  It is a cooking competition.  If a parent or child or boss or whoever loses their pride in someone because he or she loses a contest, then something is very wrong.  Just cook, and win or lose, and accept the consequences graciously.

Which brings up another point.  Even the cockiest of contestants during the actual cooking, if he (and it's usually a he) leaves with a gracious spirit, leaves with a good impression made on the viewers.  And the ones who act like they were way too worthy to be chopped, do not leave the viewers with charitable views toward them.

And finally, as in so many areas of life, the principle of "words written on their hearts" (Romans 2) carries through here.  The prideful, arrogant contestants usually end up doing something foolish or being chopped for some reason.  The ones with a more humble spirit often end up winning.  The disrespectful contestants obviously raise the ire of the judges.  People know what is right and wrong even if they do not acknowledge it outwardly, and it comes out even on a television show.

So, I love CHOPPED, and its spin-off program, CHOPPED JUNIOR.  And will continue to watch it, and learn from it, and enjoy it.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday's Fave Five, 7/22/16

 LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog

1. Last Sunday my dear friend and I took off for Savannah on a 3-day trip.  We got a good deal for a hotel right on the river.  This was our view!  Watching the cargo ships go by was really a treat-- Sometimes it seemed like they were going to come right into our room.

Another view from our room without the cargo ship in view.  The bridge in the background was beautiful also.

2. We took a trolley ride - the only way to see Savannah if you've never been.  Well worth the money. And then later in the afternoon we took a river cruise, up to the port and down the river almost to the mouth of the ocean.  This pic is from the deck of the boat with our hotel in the background.

3. And you can't go to Savannah without driving out to Tybee Island.  This is one of my favorite spots there -- it's not really visible in this picture, but this beach is on the south edge, right where one of the many rivers meets the ocean.  It is a beautiful sight, and different from just seeing ocean.

4. Safe trip back after a couple of great days.  

5. On Thursday morning, when Mike was off, we got up and went out to a new place to look at some of the birds.  We saw at least a dozen great egrets, as well as an unusual new bird - a little blue heron that is changing from a juvenile to an adult.  Those are usually found at the coast, and not in our parts, so eBird flagged it as a rarity.  Then this morning we returned there and took my mom also.  I got this pic with my new camera at quite a distance.
A Little Blue Heron 
And got this pic as well.  I thought it looked a little "arty" with the birds and their reflections.
I love my new camera!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Friday's Fave Five, 7/8/16

LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog

1. Working on camera distance shots - Tuesday morning Mike and I got up early and went to a couple of our nature "haunts"--and I got to try out my new camera.  I probably need to work a little more on closer shots first, but these were taken with the 40x zoom at a couple of locations nearby.  The redheaded woodpecker shot is my favorite - and unfortunately could have been even better because there were TWO of them, just a couple of posts apart, but just keeping the camera steady to get a picture of one of them was difficult enough.  

2. A family dinner.  Son and new wife, and my folks, were here for a summer supper Tuesday night.  Chicken on the grill and lots of fresh vegetables.  I love summer food.

3. A cool house on a hot day.  More important than it may seem!!  Our temps have been in the 90s all week and today are predicted to be close to 100.

4. Ebay.  I'm not a big seller, but just keep an eye out for textbooks that can be purchased mainly by homeschoolers.  It's a way to keep my personal Paypal built up for my own "fun money" and purchases.  I have a lot of textbooks - collected from various sources - but, surprisingly, they haven't been selling very well.  Usually new workbooks, that match various high school textbooks, sell like hotcakes, but it's been slow.  I surmised that maybe after the 4th of July holiday it would pick up, and it has.  Been selling about one set per day.  And the Paypal is building up!!

5. My sister, who has been job-searching for several months, got an offer this week that she is happy about and has accepted.  I am happy for her!!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Romans 2 and Macarthur

Romans 1 & 2 are so full of good theology that they could be studied for months.

Romans 2:2-3:  "And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.  And do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment upon those who practice such things and who do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?"

The first part refers to the gross sins mentioned in the last half of Romans 1.  But the second part refers to those who have not committed those kind of sins, but who sit in judgment on those who do, as from a moralistic "I am better than you" way of thinking.

Macarthur remarks, on p. 115 of his Romans 1-8 commentary:

"Men are so used to God's blessings and mercy that they take them for granted, not realizing that they receive those things purely because of God's long-suffering and grace.  God would be perfectly just to blot out any person or all persons.  But human nature trades on God's grace, believing that everything will work out all right in the end because God is too good and merciful to send anyone to hell.  As someone astutely observed, 'There is some kind of a still little voice in everybody that constantly convinces them that in the end it's going to be OK.'  That little voice speaks from a person's fallen nature, which constantly seeks to justify itself.

"Paul sternly warns against such false confidence.  Although he was conscious of no specific unconfessed sin in his life, even he knew better than to rely on his imperfect human judgment, declaring, 'I am not by this acquitted' but the one who examines me is the Lord' (I Cor. 4:3-4).  He knew that every person's discernment is hopelessly distorted and cannot make a proper evaluation even of his own spiritual health, much less that of someone else."

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Other Than Puffins

Well - we actually did a lot more on our trip last week than take a puffin cruise.  Here are a few pics for those who are interested.

We spent the first night at the home of my old college roommate, Brenda, and family.  I hadn't seen her in 30 years.  They have a large and comfortable apartment above the church where her husband is a pastor, and we had a very nice 18 hours with them.

Border crossing into Canada.  So everything seems to be going fine - and then the officer in the cubicle announces that we have been randomly selected for a search.  Only 2-3% of people get chosen for that.  Of course we would be one of the small percentage.  We had to wait inside while an officer with gloves on went through everything in the car, including luggage, very carefully and thoroughly.

This is apparently the resident pheasant at the Inn at Whale Cove on Grand Manan Island.  We saw him several times, and saw a female with a chick also.  We were walking out of the dining room our first night there, and heard a huge commotion and rustling of feathers - he had been in the weedy area close by, when apparently we startled him!  Hadn't seen a pheasant in 30 years.

Mike got this beautiful picture of our view, early one morning.  At the time, my view was of the top side of a pillow.

This was like the "icing on the cake," seeing this beautiful bird while waiting on the ferry to leave Grand Manan.  This was taken with my new camera - the eagle is actually quite some distance away.  I've got to practice taking zoom photos, because holding the camera steady for distance shots is not easy to do.

Leaving the harbor at Grand Manan.  Not sure what those poles in the water are - we saw them in several places.

We had to take photos here, at the easternmost point of the U.S.  True confession time: we didn't go on into the town, just took our pictures and then turned around.  :-)

View from the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel balcony at our room.

This was quite the experience.  The Big Chicken Barn was a huge, huge building - this picture only shows about 3/5 of the length.  The entire first floor is antique stalls, and the entire second floor is books, magazines, and prints.  I wanted to stop.  Mike grudgingly said he'd go in also, but he knew he'd be ready to go before I was.  Which one of us do you think spent the most time awaiting the other one?

Looking straight ahead, as far as possible, is one-half of the books floor.

And the same is true for the antiques floor.

Not really sure when Mike took this picture, but we saw so much water, and so many boats, in Maine that it could be just about anywhere.

I could move to Maine!!  (I've been informed that we should visit in the winter sometime before making that "blanket" {pun intended} statement.)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Friday's Fave Five, 7/1/16

LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog.

1. Wonderful trip to Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick, and Maine.  The puffin cruise, last Saturday, is written about in detail here.  And in a day or two, as time allows, I will post more pictures of the other parts of our trip.  This is one of the pictures taken on Machias Seal Island with my new camera.  So pleased with the quality.

2. Lots of lobster!  I informed Mike that I planned to eat lobster every day.  And that promise worked out.  I can't get enough of the stuff.  This is a half-eaten "lazy lobster" meal.  Meaning - the staff picked it out of the shell and all I had to do was eat it.  This was our last meal in Maine, so I decided to do it up right.

 3. The view from our cottage on Grand Manan Island.  That is an inlet off the Bay of Fundy.  We could see the ferry as it crossed back and forth several times a day.

4. Southwest Airlines.  Their philosophy of travel is different, and it shows.  First of all, our fares were unbelievable - TWO tickets for a total of $408.  That's round trip, and the good price on the fare was the main reason we were able to take this trip.  

Then, when our flight from Baltimore to Manchester, NH, was canceled due to weather, we were able to re-route into Portland, ME, which was actually closer, and was a through flight on the plane we were already on.  However, our luggage was already checked through to go to Manchester, where it would have gone on a later flight.  Mike talked to a flight attendant, who talked to the pilot, about keeping our luggage on the plane.  During the stop in Baltimore, we could see out our window the pilot talking to the luggage crew and making sure our luggage was not put on the transfer cart.  Now that is service!!

Furthermore, on Monday morning, a reservations clerk named Rita helped us to get an earlier flight on the return trip.  There was no fee to change the reservation, and she was able to honor our original fare.

That's the way airlines ought to serve their customer base.

5. Home Sweet Home - Trips are great, and coming home is even better.

And that is my Friday's Fave Five from a very good week!