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 hope you all are still doing well through our current circumstances. FFF is always a good practice to look for the good things God sprinkles through our days: otherwise we might miss them or easily forget them. Here are a few from my week:

1. My husband going to the store. He’s always willing to go, but I’ve done most of the shopping since he works long hours. I don’t want him to have to take on this task on top of working 8-12 hours a day. But he’s been working from home, and one day he offered to go to the store just to get out of the house and see how things were out there. Then later he said it might be best if just one of us goes out for now, so he has been doing the shopping ever since.

2. Store hours for at-risk people. Many grocery stores are trying to dedicate early morning hours for shoppers in at-risk categories. They can’t really restrict others from coming then, but they appeal to others to set aside this time if possible.

3. Enough supplies so far. Maybe not the brand or size we’d normally get, but we haven’t hurt for anything.

4. Successful new recipe. A few weeks ago I found some cubed steak for $1.93 a pound and got a couple of packages for the freezer. Trying to decide what to do with them, I thought of beef and broccoli, a favorite I sometimes order from Asian restaurants. I tried this recipe for the instant pot, using only half the sugar called for. It was so good, and Jim and Jesse liked it, too.

5. Camouflage scraps. My husband wanted me to make him a face mask, and he specifically wanted it out of camouflage fabric. I wasn’t sure if I had any, but he found a good sized piece in my stash. I was thankful for his sake that I had kept it on hand. I used Laura’s instructions and links. He was pleased. 🙂 He said he’d probably continue to use it after the virus scare for yard work in allergy season.

As a bonus, I was thinking this week of how many things we had done in the couple of weeks before the virus impact started: going on our Biltmore visit, having lunch with a friend, my son getting his cat, even buying Easter basket things. Most of those would not be possible now.

I hope in the midst of changed schedules and new concerns, you’ve seen God’s hand at work as well. What’s one good thing 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.

What a week! In these times where there are so many causes for concern, it’s more important than ever to consciously note the blessings God has graciously sprinkled through our days.Earlier,  I wrote a specific list about what I am thankful for during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are some other blessings:

1. Pi Day. We celebrate Pi Day because the date, 3.14, is the value of pi. And any excuse to eat pie is a good one. 🙂 But then my husband noticed that the value of pi written backwards also spells pie!

Pi dayWe had Hamburger Pie for dinner (no crust, but a meatloaf-type texture on the bottom topped by mashed potatoes and cheese), and Mittu brought a great salad. Then we had Chocolate Pretzel Pie for dessert.

Pi Day dinner2. Spring is here! The signs of spring are heartening—daffodils coming up, flowering trees blooming. But knowing that we’re now officially in spring boosts my spirit.

3. Pink heart bird feeder. I found this in a bargain bin a while back, but stashed it in my closet. Now that the weather is nicer, I need to figure out where to put it. I probably won’t use it as a feeder–I’d have to refill it several times a day.

4. Supplies. Thankfully we were pretty well set for most supplies when the mania hit. I try to buy one or two ahead of most toiletries and some nonperishables anyway. Two stores were out of TP, but my husband found some at a local discount store and my son found some for his family at Walgreens. I found most of the grocery items I needed this week. Hopefully by the time we start running out, the stores will be replenished. I’ve seen notices that most stores will limit the purchase of certain items to combat hoarding.

5. Providential reading. I’ve had Breaking Anxiety’s Grip by Dr. Michelle Bengston on my shelf since September. I picked it up several weeks ago, then set it aside for some Easter reading. When my regular Bible reading ran shorter than usual this week, I picked this book up again. It was just what I needed this week! The truth that dealing with anxiety, worry, and fear is not a one-time event, but a process, and several paragraphs on relinquishing control to God especially hit home. Also, she quoted Psalm 131:2. I was used to the KJV version, which says, “I have behaved and quieted myself,” but other versions say “I have calmed and quieted my soul.” Reading it that way reminded me that “calmed” and “quieted” are actions verbs, and that we can and should remind ourselves of the truth and comfort of God’s Word.

That’s 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.

Things are uncertain now with the corona virus. But I am hoping that all the measures being taken will reduce the spread. I’ve heard it will die out as the weather gets warmer.

Meanwhile, I’m taking a few moments to appreciate the good gifts of the week:

1. My husband’s birthday. Always a joy to celebrate his special day!

2. A new cat—not for us: Jason is allergic to them. My oldest son, Jeremy, has wanted a cat for a while, but his former landlord didn’t allow them. Now that Jeremy is settled into his new condo, he felt the time for a pet adoption was good. I’m enjoying hearing about and seeing pictures of the new family member, Tabitha:

3. Lunch with a friend. We hadn’t seen each other since before Christmas due to illnesses and scheduling conflicts. It was so good to catch up.

4. A trip to Joann’s is like a field trip for me. It’s not that far away, but it’s far enough that I can’t just drop in on a whim like I can Hobby Lobby. After my lunch out, since I was halfway to Joann’s, I decided to head there. I like shopping for home things in the spring because that’s when they have the pinks and blues I love. I found some cute dish towels on sale:

On top of that, I had an old Joann’s gift card that I thought only had a couple of dollars on it had $19!

5. Chocolate pie. I had a craving for chocolate pie, so on my way home from my lunch and Joann’s excursion, I stopped by O’Charley’s and got a slice of their French Silk Pie to take home. Getting home, relaxing with my feet up, and enjoying pie and coffee was a lovely way the end the afternoon.

What’s something good 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.

Here we are into our first week of March already and 1/6 of the way through 2020. On Fridays I like to pause and think through what I have to be thankful for, lest those blessings slip past me.

1. A Biltmore ornament. I’ve started collecting ornaments as souvenirs when we visit places. I had planned to look for one when we visited the Biltmore House and the Downton Abbey exhibit the week before, but we ended up not having time between visiting the house and the exhibit. My son and daughter-in-law stayed an extra day, and I texted them to ask if they could look for one. But it was too late. Unbeknownst to me, after they got home they looked online and ordered one for me and brought it this week. Not only was I glad to get the souvenir after all, I was touched that they would go to that effort to get it for me.

Biltmore souvenir2. Two dinners. My daughter-in-law came over and made dinner not once, but twice this week! The first time, we watched Frozen 2 together as a family. I didn’t think it was as good as the first one, but it was a fun evening.

3. Light fixed. We have some under-cabinet lights that were attached by a Velcro-like fixture. But lately they’ve been falling off, so we had to put them aside. Last week my husband attached more permanently the one I depended on most.

4. A new iPad mini cover. My old one was a thicker cover that was starting to split along the spine. I found a new one in rose gold that’s the standard iPad cover.

5. Safety. You’ve probably heard about the tornado that hit TN. That was 3 hours to the west of us. I was so sorry to hear about the devastation there. Here, we just got  severe thunderstorms through the night until our phones went off with a tornado warning around 4:30 a.m.

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.

I may be jumping the gun a bit with the spring FFF graphic, but I’d rather see flowers than snow right now. Here are a few of my favorite things from the last week:

1. Visiting the Biltmore House and the Downton Abbey exhibit. I wrote more about it here. This was my daughter-in-law’s request for her birthday in lieu of presents.

2. Daffodils blooming, the first sign of spring around here! I’ve seen some robins in the yard as well.

3. New spring dish towels. I like dish towels that are pastel colors and fluffy rather than flat. It’s hard to find both features. I found these at Kroger. They are not as fluffy as I usually like, but they are really absorbent. The flat kind get soaked after just a couple of uses.

4. Ready-made sandwiches. I don’t have diabetes, but my blood sugar will drop in the mornings if I don’t have something substantial for breakfast. It’s not usually a problem in the afternoon. But one day this week while at a grocery store, I felt like my blood sugar was plummeting. I usually keep some cheese sandwich crackers on hand to tide me over if that happens, but I had eaten them while on our Biltmore trip. Thankfully the store had some sandwiches packaged and ready at their deli counter. I got one and ate half of it in the car and was fine. (Yes, my doctor has known about this for years and keeps an eye on it.)

5. Safety. All of us were on the road in some capacity this week, some several times. The weather and road conditions are iffy this time of year, but Thankfully we were all safe and had no trouble.

What’s a favorite thing from your week?

Friday’s Fave Five

friday fave five 12It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week
with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

And another week is nearly down for the count. Time passes so quickly, I enjoy slowing it down for just a bit by pausing to remember some of the best parts of the previous week.

1. A successful new recipe. This was actually from the previous week, but I forgot to mention it. I wanted to make something different for a church potluck, searched online, and tried Crockpot Honey Teriyaki Meatballs. I used frozen gluten-free meatballs, as we have a number of gluten-intolerant folks. I only used half the sugar called for and used canola oil instead of sesame oil (the latter was expensive, and I didn’t want to buy a whole bottle for one teaspoon). It tasted great and was easy to put together. There were only half a dozen meatballs left, so I consider it a success. I’m looking forward to making it again some time.

2. Valentine’s Day. One of my favorite holidays.

3. My husband making a return. I just hate taking things back to stores. My husband had errands to run in the vicinity of a store I needed to make a return to, and I asked him if he’d mind taking care of it for me. He gladly did so. As much as I LOVE the cards, flowers, candy, balloons, gifts, and expressions of love on Valentine’s Day, these kinds of things show love to me even more. In addition, Friday I walked into the laundry room to discover an odor like something burning. To me it smelled like rubber or a belt with too much friction. Thankfully my husband was working from home that day and came over to investigate. He spent Saturday morning taking the dryer apart, checking out all its parts, vacuuming out the lint.

4. Sleeping in Saturday. I woke up about 2:30 a.m. Saturday with a raging headache. Once I finally got back to sleep, I didn’t wake up til after 7. That’s rare for me: I’m usually up between 5 and 6 even without an alarm clock. I stayed in my pjs til mid-morning and basically took it easy. It took all day for the headache to abate. The only downside was missing our every-other-month ladies’ Bible study. Thankfully I had gotten a lot done earlier in the week, so I could rest up without feeling I needed to take care of other things.

5. Christian music and programming. Thursday I woke up around 4:10 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep. I had a good time of prayer, but later in the morning was in a funk—unusual for me. I couldn’t pinpoint what was wrong. Everyone else was out, so I couldn’t blame another person. I usually listen to an audiobook while getting ready in the morning, but decided to finish the last of the Revive Our Hearts podcast series with Valerie Elliot Shephard, Elisabeth Elliot’s daughter. I turned on the Christian radio station while peeling potatoes for the crockpot. I came across this post in my Feedly account talking about the use of music in our quiet time. I clicked on several of my favorites and a couple that were new to me. All of that worked together to tenderize my heart and change my perspective. Later in the afternoon I got a bit of a nap in and felt much better, so lack of sleep was probably a major factor. But I was still thankful for the variety of means available to minister to my spirit.

Bonus: My daughter-in-law’s birthday! Actually, as I am writing on Thursday afternoon, we haven’t celebrated yet. So this is an anticipatory fave. Their family is coming over tonight for dinner and cake, if the “wintry mix” we received today doesn’t cause problems. Then we have some special plans over the weekend that I look forward to telling you about next week.

Update: the snow and slush did melt and we were able to get together. Always a joy to celebrate Mittu’s special day. Timothy, as you can see, is at the age of mugging for the camera. 🙂

And that’s my week. How was yours?

Friday’s Fave Five and Happy Valentine’s Day!

friday fave five 12It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week
with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you! I hope you have a wonderful day sharing love with others. This has been a busy week, but here are some of the bright spots in it:

1. Phone battery restored. My phone’s battery seemed to be slowly dying. I needed to charge it up increasingly often until it got to the point of having to keep it plugged in any time I wasn’t using it. I asked my son if he had any advice short of getting a new phone. He said making sure my operating system and apps were all updated might help a little. So I did that. Then one night when I noticed the phone was nearly dead, I let it run all the way out before I recharged it. The battery has been doing great since then, going all day without a recharge.

2. Laptop doing well. I get along better with my desktop than my laptop, but I do need my laptop sometimes. But it had been having a number of problems. Two of my sons worked on it around Christmas, putting all the files on a CD and then taking the computer back to factory reset. This is the first week I have used it extensively since then, and it did great.

3. Rain stopped. I mentioned last week we had rain and flooding. We had even more rain this week. It finally stopped yesterday, and we’re supposed to have clear skies the next few days. We’re even supposed to see the sun later today! I am also thankful the temperatures were moderate during all the rain (mostly 40s during the day). If they had been below freezing, we would have been in even more of a mess with all the precipitation.

4. Podcasts with Valerie Elliot Shephard. If you’ve read here long, you know I love the ministry of Elisabeth Elliot and considered her a mentor from afar. This week Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been interviewing Valerie, Elisabeth’s daughter, on the Revive Our Hearts radio program every day this week. The Christian radio station I listen to doesn’t carry that program, but the ministry made the interviews available via podcast. I enjoyed listening to them while making Valentine cards. I don’t listen to podcasts much—I usually listen to music or audiobooks. But now that I know ROH has them, I might tune in more.

5. Valentine’s Day! One of my favorite holidays! I’ll be making heart-shaped cupcakes and mini meatloaves later today, and I’m looking forward to celebrating with the family tonight.

Valentine's DayAre you doing anything special for Valentine’s Day?

Friday’s Fave Fives

friday fave five 12It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week
with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

Our February has begun with rain and flooding. Thankfully, the rain looks like it will hold off until next week, so hopefully some of the impromptu lakes will recede. And, thankfully, for my family, the worst result was extra navigation due to closed roads. Here are some others causes for gratefulness this week:

1. “Pretend camping.” There’s been much talk of going camping for Timothy’s birthday in a few months. We watched Timothy Friday night so his parents could have a date. While I made dinner, Timothy wanted to pretend camp with Granddad. They put drinks in a cooler, turned off the living room lights, turned on lanterns, made a pretend fire, had Alexa play forest noises. Timothy got out a little tent that he had played in when he was two (and which is now way too small for him–his legs stuck out.) He was most impressed that Granddad got out his real camping pans to cook their catch of fish.

2. Rediscovering a sweater. My regular sweater needed to be washed, so I dug out a different one to wear until it dried. This one was fairly new, but I hadn’t liked how it looked or fit. So it’s pretty much hung unused in the closet. But I discovered it is much warmer than my everyday sweater. My usual one is just right most of the time, but this one is great for some of the 20-30 degree weather we’ve had and keeps me from bumping up the thermostat.

3. Rediscovering a purchase. I keep some of our Christmas packaging on hand for a while in case anything needs to be returned. As I cleared that out of my closet, I discovered this little “Our nest” sign I had bought before Christmas with a Hobby Lobby gift card. I hadn’t had time to put it up with all the Christmas activities, and then I forgot about it. I enjoyed putting it up in the spot I had envisioned for it, above a cross stitch I did a few years ago and a Karla Dornacher print, both having to do with nests.

4. My own tool box. I often either can’t find tools when I need them, or they are dirty when I do find them. Some years ago I bought my own tool set–pink, hopefully to deter any of then men of the house from borrowing them. 🙂 I had to look this up when I couldn’t find the regular hammer in its usual place when I put the sign up, and it did the job just fine.

5. Lunch with a friend. It had been a long while since we had gotten together, and we’ve even been missing each other at church lately. We ended up spending three hours over lunch catching up and laughing. Thankfully the restaurant wasn’t so busy that they needed to shoo us out.

Bonus: not getting sick after all. I woke up with a sore throat and congestion earlier in the week, and thought for sure I had caught whatever is going around. I tried to rest throughout the day, and was fine the next day except for sinus pressure and tiredness. By yesterday I felt back to normal.

So, all in all, despite ups and downs, it has been a good week here. How was your week?

Friday’s Fave Five

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

Here we are at the end of January—one-twelfth of the way through 2020 already! I enjoy these little pauses on Friday to savor big and small good things. Here are a few from this week:

1. Cake. My husband had to have a work-related dinner out this week. He bought home a piece of chocolate cake for me. Yum.

2. More cake! A while back at the store I saw this little mix for a six-inch, one-layer cake. I got one and made it this week. It was good! It’s a nice size for just the three of us. If I have a 9×13 cake in the house, I tend to cut little slivers off and on through the day. So I try to avoid a full-sized cake except for birthdays, when there are multiple people to eat it.

Then later in the week, Mittu brought over a similar gluten-free version: a Godiva Flourless Chocolate Torte. It was good as well.

3. Not cooking. If you’ve read here long, you know I love a night out of the kitchen. I think I set a record this week: I only made dinner twice! Jason and Mittu brought Chick-Fil-A over last Friday night and made dinner here Wednesday night. One time we were out on errands and ended rather late, so we stopped nearby to eat. One night Jim gave in to my craving for hamburgers (Saturday—which I might not have asked for if I had known I’d have so many other nights off). Monday Jim was out-of-town, so Jesse picked up pizza on his way home from work. Surprise offers of dinner are always welcome, but it’s especially nice to know earlier in the day that I don’t have to cook: somehow I get so much done in that extra hour or so.

4. Fingerless gloves. For some reason, my hands have started getting cold when I am at the computer for long. My youngest son has some of these gloves, so I decided to get my own pair to try. I’m still getting used to them. The wrist is tighter than I’d like. But they do keep my hands warm while allowing me to type.

5. Timothy and jokes. Timothy has been able to “get” jokes for a while now. His originals don’t always make sense, but he’s getting there. I had previously shared with him what few I remembered from my kids’ childhood. This week he was telling knock-knock jokes. I searched for kids’ knock-knock jokes on my phone and entertained him with several. It’s so fun to see and hear him giggle at them.

And that’s my week so far! If you haven’t seen it yet, I am giving away a copy of The Shop Keepers by Nancy Moser—click and comment here if you are interested. Also, tomorrow begins the Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge here.

How was your week?

Friday’s Fave Five

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

Here we are halfway through the first month of the year (and the decade, depending on how you count it). I love these weekly stops to reflect on what’s gone before. Here are some of my favorite things from the last week:

1. More light. I usually walk my youngest son to the door as he leaves for work to say goodbye and lock the door behind him. It has still been dark when he leaves, until this week. Or at least this is the first week I noticed the light shining that time of morning. I know the days have been getting longer since the winter solstice, but this is the first time it has been noticeable.

2. Mending done. I order almost all my clothes online, and when you use the same companies, you get used to their sizing. Until they change. Somehow the last few dresses I’ve bought have been baggy, and not because I have lost weight (because I haven’t). I felt I could just take them in a little on the sides and they’d be ok, but hadn’t gotten to it in … months. I finally made time to do that this week.

3. Organizational ideas. I love when some better way to do or arrange things just comes to me out of the blue. I had received some Instant Pot accessories as gifts last year. As I hunted for one of them this week, I thought, you know, it would be a good idea to keep all of them together in a box. Then at a store other than the one I planned to go to for said box, I found one just the right size, saving me another stop.

4. Recipe book update. A few years ago I made a scrapbooked notebook of recipes I’d torn out of magazines or had recipes cards for, etc. It was nothing fancy or decorative—just the scraps of paper or card stock glued to pages and divided into categories. My “main dish” notebook was breaking up, so I got another. Instead of just transferring everything over, I thought it would be a good time to weed out those recipes I didn’t think I’d ever really use and add in a few I had printed from the Internet. For instance, I had three chicken and stuffing casserole recipes, and the one I use wasn’t even in there. It got a little more involved than I had anticipated: after pulling some recipes out, then I had to rearrange what was left. I’m not entirely done yet, but it feels good to have them in a fresh new notebook and arranged more efficiently.

5. Kindle deals. I follow a couple of sites that share Christian books on sale for the Kindle app for 99 cents to a dollar or so. I love trying out new authors that way or finding other books by authors I already love. Both of these have a broad umbrella—I wouldn’t endorse everything they share. Discern is always needed. But I appreciate their services combing through Amazon deals for those labeled Christian.

What’s one good thing from your week?