Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week
with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

It’s been a fairly quiet week. Sometimes those are the hardest in which to find something to share for FFF—not because they’re bad. In fact, I generally prefer quiet weeks! But because they’re fairly routine and ordinary, nothing stands out. But there are blessings in ordinariness.

1. Feeling good. We finally turned a corner with these colds last weekend. I’ve had worse cold symptoms, but this one seemed to last longer and the sore throat was harder to relieve than usual. We’re glad to be done with all of that, hopefully for a long time.

2. Self-serve nights. Ever since my kids were old enough to make a sandwich or run the microwave, Sunday nights have been “fend for yourself” meal nights. I make a big breakfast and lunch that day, then I am happy to be “off” the rest of the day. We often just heat up leftovers. Jason and Mittu will come over sometimes on Sunday nights and raid the freezer–I keep some gluten-free heat-and-eat meals for her and Timothy. We had such an evening last Sunday.

3. A cute new cartoon. Timothy wanted to show us a new cartoon he’s been enjoying called “Bluey.” It’s on Disney +, but there are a few episodes on YouTube. It’s about a little dog family in Australia. I thought the few episodes we saw were good. But what I enjoyed the most was that the daddy dog’s voice and personality were very much like our pastor’s. The accents are a little different–our pastor is from South Africa rather than Australia. But the whole time we watched, I kept “hearing” our pastor and chuckling over the similarities.

4. A trade. Just about the time we were going to shop for a bed for our new guest room, Jason and Mittu asked if we would like theirs, as they want to buy a larger size. We also asked them if they wanted the mini-fridge. It used to be in my mother-in-law’s room, then we kept it in Jesse’s room. But he didn’t want to take it with him when he moved. We figured they could use it downstairs for drinks and snacks or to store cold food when they were eating on the patio.

5. A storage closet. We figure most guests aren’t going to need much closet space, so our guest room closet is a place for some extra storage. I have shoeboxes of photos from pre-digital days that I need to do something with, off-season clothing, and a few other things–and still have some room. It’s been fun to get that set up and ease space in other areas.

Hope you have a great weekend celebrating your dads, husbands, or father figures!

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week
with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

We’ve been a little low this week with head colds. Jim finally started feeling better mid-week, so I am hoping my turn comes soon. But there are always things to be thankful for:

1. Timothy’s end-of-first-grade party. His mom texted us that he wanted everyone to come over “for a dance party, kabobs, a Star Wars cartoon with popcorn and sugar cookies.” 😀 We didn’t have the dance party, but Mittu and Jason made kabobs that were really good. We ended up watching the first episode of The Mandalorian instead of a Star Wars cartoon. And we did have sugar cookies! We also played a couple of rounds of Earwax (Timothy’s favorite) and Facetimed with Jeremy. A fun evening!

2. Meals from my daughter-in-law. She made a couple of dishes I could just heat up for dinner this week–very helpful since I didn’t feel like cooking.

3. Meal delivery. Jim was out of town one night this week, and I had a craving for a nearby Mexican food place. But the closer it got to dinner time, the less I wanted to go out. Then I remembered this place had a meal delivery service–problem solved!

4. Cough drops and Tylenol have been my mainstay this week. I can’t take decongestants due to heart rhythm issues, so I have to make the best of it with these and rest. I also had a big pot of chicken soup made early in the week, with enough left over for several lunches.

5. Young people’s get-together. Our church is small–about 40 people. There are three young adults, with two more guys in college (one just starting this year). Someone had the idea of getting the young single adults of a few small churches together for a game night once a month or so, with the churches rotating hosting. They had the first one a couple of weeks ago, but I forgot to mention it. Jesse really enjoys games and people, so he had a good time and is looking forward to the next one. He has a lot of online friends, but I’ve been hoping for some in-person friends for him, too, especially as he lives alone now.

How was your week?

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week
with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

It’s the first week of June! Here are some of the best parts of the week:

1. A productive Saturday. We had talked about going all together to a park on a lake with a roped-off area for swimming. But rain was in the forecast, so we moved those plans to Monday. Instead, Jim and I spent Saturday afternoon moving all the wall decorations and shelves from the old sewing room to the new one. Then he began to tape off the old room to ready it for painting, and I planted some new flowers in the front planters. We ended the day with Dominoes pizza.

2. A long weekend. Jason, Mittu, and Timothy came over Sunday night to camp out in the back yard. Jason and Mittu tried out the RV, and Timothy and Granddad were out in the tent–at least until about 2 a.m. 🙂 Jim made a big “camp breakfast” on the grill. Then Jesse met us at the park mentioned above for a cookout. Unfortunately, the park was so crowded, we couldn’t find a parking space. But Jason had noticed a sign for a picnic pavilion, so we backtracked there. We weren’t near the water, but we had the area mostly to ourselves until the last half hour or so.

3. A radio interview. I mentioned last week that I had an opportunity for a radio interview to discuss one of my blog posts. It went very well. God gave great grace, and the hosts were very gracious and easy to talk to. Unfortunately, my segment was not in the excerpt link on their web site. But thankfully a good friend thought to record it for me, and I was able to send it in an audio file to Jim and the kids, who were working during the time I was on live. That was so thoughtful of her!

4. Cracker Barrel take-out. I forgot to mention this one from the week before last. Jim had to go out of town one day and didn’t expect to be home until late. So I splurged and got Cracker Barrel take-out. That’s one of my favorite restaurants, but no one else in the family likes it much. Takeout meals often contain enough for dinner and leftovers for lunch the next day. But this had the biggest portions I had seen for takeout, and I got an additional lunch out of them. And the best was their double chocolate Coca-Cola cake.

5. Grocery store pick-up. Unfortunately, Jim has been sick since the weekend with a really bad cold. He went for a COVID test just to be sure, but it was negative. Then I woke up Thursday morning with a sore throat and sinus pressure. 😦 I spent much of Thursday sleeping, so I hope I’m heading off the worst of it. We needed some things at the store, but I really didn’t feel like going, and I didn’t think he would, either. The main store we use doesn’t have online ordering, but one near us does. I remembered it just in time to get an order in for that evening’s pick-up.

This weekend, we’re planning to celebrate Timothy’s completing first grade. Hopefully we’ll both be over whatever we have by then. What are your plans for the weekend?

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week
with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

It’s been another good week. Here are some of the best parts:

1. Family dinner and games. With my youngest moved out now, sometimes it takes a little coordination to get everyone together. He asked to come over for dinner and a haircut (his dad has cut his hair all his life). We asked Jason and Mittu if they were available to come, too. We had spaghetti and flourless applesauce cake and played Jackbox games. Fun!

2. Monthly Ladies Bible study. We met in person, but seated at a distance from each other. Thankfully the place where we meet has a conference room that works nicely for this.

3. Retirement home ministry. Our church has just started a retirement home ministry one Sunday afternoon a month. Last month was the first one, and we chatted with a sweet lady from Germany named Esla. We hoped to see her again this time. But when we got there, only a few people were gathered. One of them said the folks at the home hadn’t announced that we’d be there. But as we got started, a few more people trickled in—and Esla was one of them. So we got to talk for a good while afterward. And as we left, she called to us from her balcony to say goodbye.

4. Hot dogs and s’mores at my son and daughter-in-law’s house. Jason and Mittu invited us over Sunday evening. They are blessed with both a deck upstairs and a patio downstairs under the deck. So we had hot dogs on the deck and roasted marshmallows for s’mores on the patio.

5. The Picture This app. My oldest son had told me about this once when he was here and I wondered what a certain flower in an arrangement was. Then, at Jason and Mittu’s, we used it to identify some of the trees and plants in their new back yard. It was helpful not just for identifying, but we found that one plant that seemed not to be doing anything was a plant that didn’t tolerate the heat we get here in TN. That helped them in the decision about whether to keep it.

Bonus: An unexpected opportunity. I mentioned this in my end-of-month post yesterday, but I know some of you are only here for the FFF post. So I wanted to mention here, as well, that I was asked to do a radio interview about my Faithful in Obscurity blog post. It’s set for Wednesday morning at 8:10 a.m. EDT. On Tuesday I’ll post a link to the radio program’s site. It has a “Listen Live” button if you’re interested. It also has some recordings of previous programs, but I don’t know if my segment will be recorded since it’s just a small portion of their program. I am excited but also nervous as I have not done anything like this before. I’d appreciate your prayers!

I hope you have a great weekend. Here in the US we have a long weekend to celebrate Memorial Day. I am so thankful for those who gave their lives for our freedom.

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week
with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

I’ve had a great week! Here are some of the best parts:

1. Lunch with a friend at a restaurant. I haven’t eaten inside a restaurant since the pandemic started, though we’ve gotten lots of takeout. But last Friday a friend and I arranged to go to lunch at a restaurant on a lake that has a patio. A rowboat regatta was scheduled on the lake for the next day, and we watched people setting up for it and teams practicing. The setting, the food, the fellowship were all just wonderful.

2. Dinner and cicada sightings. My grandson sent me a voice text asking if I wanted to come over and hang out with him. Well, of course! 🙂 My son and daughter-in-law got take-out Mexican food for us all. Then we went outside while they planted some newly acquired flowers. Jason kept hearing something that sounded like Rice Krispies popping. Then he noticed scores—maybe hundreds—of Brood X cicadas (the ones that hatch every 17 years) molting in their yard. They’d crawl around, find a place to molt, and then squirm out of their old bodies (looking a bit like shrimp at that point). It was interesting and cool and creepy all at the same time.

3. Our first excursion in the RV. Jim wanted to take the RV for a test drive, so we packed stuff for hot dogs and drove about an hour away to scout out an RV park for possible future camping.

We had a lovely view of the lake, which included a roped-off area for swimming.

4. Combination church lunch, baby shower, and graduation celebration. We had bring-your-own lunch at the pavilion next to where our church meets and used the occasion for a couple of celebrations as well. Someone brought cupcakes for the honorees.

5. Mammogram over with. I was scheduled for a mammogram somewhere during the beginning of the pandemic, but put it off as unessential until we saw how things were going to go. It was rescheduled for this week, along with a bone density scan at the same facility. I’ve already heard back that everything looked fine with both scans. That’s always a relief, and it’s nice to have those things done with for now.

Although I enjoyed the outings (well, except for the last one . . . ), I luxuriated in having the rest of the week at home with nothing on the calendar.

That wraps up my week. How was yours?

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week
with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

It’s been a great week. Here are some of the best parts

1. Time with Timothy. Jason took Mittu out for a date lunch last Saturday, and Timothy stayed with us for the afternoon.

2. Mother’s Day. My family always goes the extra mile to make me feel special on Mother’s Day. Jim grilled his wonderful teriyaki chicken, Jesse made cheesy potatoes, Mittu made a salad, and Jason outdid himself with his first-ever Chocolate Pretzel Pie.

The pretty plates and napkins, flowers from Jason and Mittu, thoughtful gifts and sweet cards, games, and a FaceTime call with Jeremy in the evening made the day wonderful.

3. Energy. Monday and Tuesday, I kept falling asleep almost any time I sat down. On Monday I had just a mild case of chills and nausea, so maybe I had a little bug of some kind. Thankfully, symptoms didn’t get worse and I felt more energetic and awake later in the week.

4. A guest post. I mentioned this on Saturday’s Laudable Linkage, but wanted to share it with folks who might not have seen that post. I was able to submit a guest post to the Almost an Author site called Sculpting a Masterpiece. It’s exciting to submit something and have it accepted.

5. Take-out from a favorite Asian restaurant. You know I love take-out. Jim surprised me Thursday night by offering to pick up dinner from a place we hadn’t bought from in some time. It’s a little farther away than most restaurants we frequent, so we don’t get it often.

As a bonus, I’m thankful Jim found gas this week. All the stations had long lines, but he found a little place that people seemed to have forgotten about. Yesterday most stations had signs up that they were out of gas. I had an almost full tank, so we should be fine for a while. Most of the places we go are local. The long lines reminded me of the gas shortage in the 70s. So weird–you truly never know what a day will bring forth. But, thankfully, God does, and we can trust Him for our needs.

How was your week?

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week
with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

Let’s end the first week in May by thanking God for what He has provided.

1. A housewarming party. We had a family housewarming party for Jesse to congratulate him on his new apartment and give him some odds and ends he didn’t have yet. He even made dinner for us! Or the main dish, anyway. It was good! Mittu made a side and I made dessert. It was a fun evening. I told him getting excited over a new skillet was a sure sign of being an adult. 🙂

2. Jesse’s new coffee table. Jesse made this coffee table by finding a photo he liked and having it printed on wood at PhotoBarn. Then he and Jim built a frame for the legs to screw into, attached the legs, and Jesse got glass cut to fit the top. It turned out nicely.

3. Replacement parts. A couple of things I had ordered arrived damaged. Reporting the damage and arranging for replacement parts was relatively painless. One arrived today; the other should soon. I was also thankful they just sent a replacement part and not a whole new item, so I didn’t have to box up and send back the items.

4. Safety in the storm. We had some pretty heavy thunderstorms this week. Jim and Jason both had to be out, but were safe driving. Thankfully there was no rain when I had to go to the store, even though it was forecast. We didn’t lose power–it didn’t even blink.

One night the rain stopped, but clouds were still out. I noticed this one from the kitchen window, and called Jim to come and see. We went outside and watched it for several minutes. I don’t think I have ever seen so much lightening within one cloud formation. This isn’t even the worst of it.

5. A Hobby Lobby excursion with gift cards. This is only the second or third time I’ve been into Hobby Lobby, one of my favorite places, in the last year. I have several gift cards to the store and used part of one for some card supplies and items for the new guest room. Fun!

Hope your week was good.

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week
with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

The last Friday of April! I love these opportunities to press “pause” and reflect on the blessings of the week. It’s too easy to let them slip by with hardly a notice. Here are some from this week:

1. A new retirement home ministry. Our church just started a once-a-month service at a local retirement home. I was surprised they were allowing services, much less random visitors—I’ve heard so much about even family members being restricted from visiting in some places. I don’t know the circumstances—maybe they’ve all been vaccinated. Anyway, this was to take place on a Sunday afternoon, when Jim and I are usually zombies until we take our afternoon naps. We talked off and on about whether we should go, and finally decided to just the night before. I’m so glad we did. After the short service, which seemed to go well, we fanned out and talked with some of the residents individually. Jim and I talked with a lady from Germany whose name sounded like Isla or Isala. At first the conversation was general introductory pleasantries, but then we felt like we got to know each other a little. I so enjoyed it. I was involved in a nursing home ministry in college, but have not done anything like that since except for the years when my husband’s mother lived in facilities nearby and then with us.

2. A free and quick lunch at the park. Our church and the retirement home were far enough away from our house that it wouldn’t be practical to come home for lunch and go back. We’re still not quite to the point of feeling comfortable eating in restaurants yet. My husband suggested we get take-out from McAlister’s Deli and take it to a nearby park. We hadn’t gotten anything from them for more than a year, so that idea was welcome. When we placed our order over the phone, they said they couldn’t offer curbside delivery: one of us would have to come in to pick it up. As I waited for Jim in the car, I wondered what was taking so long. As it turned out, they were short-handed: they only had two people working, and Sunday lunch is one of their busiest times. They gave us our lunch for free because we had such a long wait. We only had about 15 minutes to eat when we got to the park, but it was enough. We watched people setting up a massive event tent while we were there (probably for a wedding reception). They were working on the top part, and we were hoping we’d get to see how they got it up on top of the main part before we left. That didn’t happen, but we enjoyed the quick break before heading out to the home.

3. A break from cooking. I was running late getting dinner started one night, and Jim suggested bring home Arby’s Then a grocery shopping excursion ran late, and I suggested pizza delivery. Then the next night, Mittu offered to come over and make dinner Friday night. Then we got McAlister’s Sunday. Good food, and a nice break!

4. Dinner and movie night. Jason and Mittu suggested having a movie night, which was the occasion of her making dinner for us all. We streamed Scoob with the family, a remake of the old Scooby Doo cartoon. We hadn’t watched that one regularly, but we were familiar enough with it to appreciate some of the nods to it in this movie. It was cute in places, meh in other places.

5. Outfitting the RV. Jim’s desire for the RV is to have it set up so that all we need to do to use it is buy whatever food we’re bringing. I had extra sheets and a bedspread, so he made up the bed. We went out last Saturday and got a couple of towels, hot pads, some kitchen items, etc. He found a small collapsible dish drainer online. Our first excursion will probably be somewhere local as a test drive—in case we forgot something essential. 🙂

How was your week?

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week
with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

We’re having another cold snap—but I hope it’s the last one! We enjoyed a much-needed quiet week. Here are some of the best parts of it:

1. A day with no agenda. After a couple of busy weeks, it was nice to have a Saturday with nothing on the schedule and nothing that had to be done that day. I slept until 7 for the first time in I don’t know when (though it’s a little sad to think of 7 as “sleeping in!”) I enjoyed a leisurely start to the morning and caught up with computer stuff. I don’t even remember what else I did, but it was a pleasant day! And we ended up with Wendy’s take-out for dinner, so I didn’t even have to cook.

2. Pretty gifts. My daughter-in-law’s mom brought me these when they came to visit for Timothy’s birthday. We had them here for dinner their last night here on Friday.

3. Roasted vegetables. I tried roasting squash and zucchini before, but it was hard not to get them too mushy. I tried roasted broccoli in the oven last Friday and then in the air fryer this week. Then I tried roasted cauliflower Wednesday night. I made extra to try loaded cauliflower—because isn’t that the American way, to take something healthy and load it with cheese and bacon. 🙂 We enjoyed all of them.

4. Air fryer pork chops.I hadn’t done much with my air fryer since I’ve had it because the basket is small, and doing several batches of something for the whole family took longer than other methods (while the first batch got cold). But I figured I might use it more often now that just two of us are here. I tried these Air Fryer Pork Chops. They were so good! I usually just use seasoning salt, pepper, garlic powder, and minced onions for pork chops and love them that way, but it’s nice to have al alternate recipe.

5. A surplus. My husband had solar panels put on the roof a few years ago, and the energy they generate is subtracted from our electric bill. Sometimes enough has been generated that we get a check back—two whole cents this month! 🙂 I’ll take that over owing any day!

What’s one highlight from your week?

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week
with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

It’s been a full week at the Harper household. Here are some of our blessings.

1. A used RV. My husband has been dreaming of this for years. We were originally thinking of getting an RV when he retired. He’s been researching them and looking at used ones for some time. We wanted one small enough to be easily maneuverable but big enough not to feel claustrophobic. When he found a good deal on this one in great condition, the time seemed right. We’re still figuring it out. They took him through a three-hour orientation, but it still takes going through the procedures on one’s own a few times to get the hang of it. We’ll probably try it out somewhere nearby at first. And then, who knows? One goal eventually is to visit our oldest son in RI.

2. Timothy’s birthday! Our little grandson is seven! And not so little any more! On his birthday, numerous Facebook memories popped up about his premature birth and God’s faithfulness to bring him and our family through that time.

3. Timothy’s birthday cake. My daughter-in-law is amazing. Timothy is into the Minecraft video game, so his birthday used that theme. This Minecraft-inspired cake used cake squares, Rice Krispie squares, and Jello squares.

4. A clear day. His parents had planned to have lunch at a park on Timothy’s birthday, and then his birthday party would be in the evening when everyone was off work. Rain was forecast that day, but it held off until later in the afternoon. I know there were multiple reasons for the weather beyond one boy’s birthday, but I was so thankful the rain was delayed.

5. Timothy’s other grandparents were able to be here from OK for a few days this week.

It’s been a beautiful spring week here in TN. Even with rain one day, the weather has been gorgeous, and so many trees are blooming. That makes for pollen and allergies . . . but nothing is perfect. 🙂 The weather this week has been pretty close to it, though.

How was your week?