September 20, 2013 | My Jottings

Dearest friends,

I’m taking a little break from the blog and am not sure when I’ll return. Very soon I will be on my way to this lovely scenery for The Second Annual Lupi-Soo Convention, and I am so excited.


The car Denel and I rent will be transported across Puget Sound in a ferry much like the one above, and we hope to have a few restful, memorable, laughing days together in Seattle and on Bainbridge Island. My dear family members have gathered around to help make sure things go well here at home while I’m gone. I couldn’t enjoy my Lupi-Soo reunions without them.

If you’ve never read about the First Lupi-Soo Convention that took place last year 9,000 feet above sea level in the Rockies, you can click here.

I’m always a little surprised to find that people stop by my blog at all, and I want to thank you again for making time in your life to visit, and especially to say hello in the comments!

God bless you all, and I’ll be praying for you while I’m gone….

More Wonderful Children’s Books

September 18, 2013 | My Jottings

These are a few more favorites from my at least six shelves of childrens’ books. My younger grandchildren go back to these again and again, especially if they know I’ll read them out loud for them. I do the best I can using different voices and gestures as I read to them. They crack up when I read them this book, especially by the last page when I open my mouth wide, throw back my head and bellow, “Whhhhhaaaaaaaatttt?”  🙂


This is always a hit, and I love this quirky family myself:


And this one is funny and ridiculous:


We love almost all the Jan Brett books — have you seen them? Her illustrations are rich and detailed and can keep me poring over the pages for an hour. My granddaughter Mrs. Nisky wants me to read this again and again, and she likes the way I do the trolls’ voices:


I think this is my favorite of the “If you…” books by Laura Numeroff:


And this older book is something Audrey likes to have read to her repeatedly. She doesn’t understand how someone could swallow the sea or grow legs hundreds of feet long…


And I love this book probably more than the grandchildren. My friend Carole told me about it and it’s profound for adults.  🙂


Have you read any of these books to the little ones in your life?

What are some of your favorite books for young children?

Still Mine

September 13, 2013 | My Jottings

Oh, it feels like fall here this morning. I love it. I had to get up in the middle of the night to close some windows because our top sheet, thermal cotton blanket, quilt, and top blanket we use so the dogs don’t make the quilt dingy weren’t enough to keep us warm. It will be time to turn on the furnace soon, and it was only two days ago that we had the central air on. Years ago when we had to be aware of every dollar, I would try to delay turning on the furnace until the first of October each year, but I rarely made it that late. The final weeks of September almost always turn cold in northern Minnesota, and this year seems like it will do the same.

The dogs are noticing the temperature difference too, because for the first time in months they’ve both wanted to burrow down under the covers at night instead of sleeping on top. They’re our own personal little space heaters. I have no idea how they breathe down there.

Michael and I took our Fosters out to dinner last night and to a movie. We had fabulous Vietnamese food at one of our favorite restaurants, and brought so much home we’ll have it again tonight. Michael had Spicy Beef Cashew, HOT, and I had Spicy Chicken Cashew, mild. And how could we not share an order of Spring Rolls, dipped in tangy fish sauce?

We saw a movie last night that I absolutely loved. You may remember that I like slow, meandering, nuanced, meaningful movies, and this one fit the bill. If you like action and explosions and lots of laughs, Still Mine would not be for you. It was beautifully filmed in rural New Brunswick and I got the itch to become a Canadian about ten minutes into the movie. I’m not sure children should see the movie because of some unexpected and jolting language and one scene of intimacy between husband and wife (not graphic), but please watch the wonderful trailer by clicking here.

When I told my friend Su we were going to see a movie about an older man making all the changes necessary to care for his wife who has dementia, she asked me, “Why would you want to see that?” and I understood what she was saying. She wondered why I would pay to purposely see something that was probably going to be sad. I answered, “Because I want to be encouraged.” I knew from seeing the trailer that the man loves his wife and wants the best for her, and struggles to make adjustments to her disease. Each day Michael and I walk this path of Parkinson’s, I need help. I need help because I don’t like him hovering when I’m getting meals ready, unable to tell me why he’s there. I don’t like him blurting out two-word phrases to me that make no sense, that I’m supposed to interpret and can’t, even after 10 frustrating minutes. I don’t like that we are now couch potatoes since watching television is what we can do together. I don’t like that I have to tell him when and how to brush his teeth. I don’t like that I have to tell him fifty times a day “Take big steps!” because he forgets how to walk correctly, shuffles and almost falls. I don’t like that there’s a walker sitting in our living room, waiting for Michael to change his mind about using it. And do you see? All these “I don’t likes” are a big problem aren’t they? That’s why I need help. I need the Lord to change my attitude every day, sometimes many times a day, so I will whip the selfish-poor-me lenses off my face and put the look-how-blessed-you-are-to-be-able-to-pour-out-love-on-your-husband lenses back on. Sometimes I do look through those latter lenses, and everything comes into focus. How much Jesus loves Michael and wants to show that love through me. How fortunate we are that we work in our home with two remarkable Fosters who are like family. How rich we are to have the history we have, the children and grandchildren we have. How the Lord is a refuge to us and a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46).

So I loved the movie. It portrayed the frustration the husband Craig had with his wife’s forgetfulness and diminishing personality. We saw him snap at her, feel so remorseful, and lovingly apologize. We saw the fruits of decades of faithfulness. We saw how he realized that this was going to be their road, and all the practical (if not misunderstood and quirky) things he did for Irene to smooth it out for her.

Yes, I cried. And I also felt very encouraged. I want to be like Craig (played by James Cromwell, who was amazing). If you aren’t daunted by a slow, thoughtful and touching movie, you might want to see it!

Changing topics now, lovely little Louisa will be arriving in a few minutes, and I’ll be watching her today. She is walking all over the place at fourteen months, eating up a storm, being a fan of peanut butter, red bell peppers, all pastas and tomato-ey things, laughing easily at her three older siblings’ antics, and reaching for Grandma every time she sees me. I like that just a little bit. 🙂

Here’s a picture of Michael and me, taken last week. He’s still mine. And I’m still his.


And here’s a quote I read recently that applies to the movie we saw last night, to our own situation, and maybe it will apply to something you’re experiencing as well.

Love is not a vat that you fall into randomly. Love is saying I see everything about you, good and bad, and I am still committed to you. ~~ Tim Keller


I hope your weekend is blessed, dear family and friends. What are your plans?

Thank you for stopping by here….

Considering Your Scapula

September 7, 2013 | My Jottings

I don’t know if it’s because I just had surgery on some bones, but lately I’ve been thinking about bones. That would stand to reason, wouldn’t it? I mean, my right femur will never be the same. My right tibia and fibula are forever changed. And my patella, that little round disc of a bone? Thirteen weeks ago it had a piece attached to it that will never come off.


Anyway, for some reason the other day I was thinking about the scapula. You know what that is, don’t you? It’s your shoulder blade, your chicken wing. It’s that place on your upper back that feels so good when someone massages up under the inner muscles that surround it. Most of us have two of them.

Be honest with me now. Have you ever in your life carefully considered your two scapulae? I hope after you read this blog post, you’ll think about your scapulae in a new, awe-filled way. Because when I started thinking about what an amazing bone a scapula is, how odd and astoundingly complex and supremely functional it is, I was filled with awe. I sat there considering my scapulae and I said, “God, I can’t even get over You. You are amazing. You are brilliant. You are so kind! To carefully form such a wonderful bone so we can move our arms and shoulders and paint and hug and wave and stretch and be protected and gesture and swim! Thank you Lord. Thank you! I think the way You made scapulae is so marvelous I can’t think of anything else to say! Except thank you. And Lord, I want you to know I noticed today.”

If you have never seen exactly how the triangular scapula bone sits in a body, click here first before reading on.

Now take a long look at this illustration of the scapula, from three different angles:


Did you see the Glenoid cavity? How about that Acromial process? And the Supraspinous fossa? Wow! Who could design such a wonderful thing, if not God? Whoever knew that a weird looking triangular bone could inspire worship?

If you’re like me, you have a lot of things to think about today, aside from your shoulder blades. Bills, children, Syria, health concerns, troubles aplenty. But I invite you to consider your scapula. Take a moment right now and give thanks to God for thinking up such a bone, and carefully forming it as you grew in your mother all those years ago. Thank Him for the things you’re able to do just because you have two scapulae that help support other more notable bones.

That’s all. I wanted someone to join me in my thanks and awe today.

Have a wonderful weekend!

The Bad Lady

September 5, 2013 | My Jottings

Every three or four months we take our Schnauzers to The Bad Lady. This is what they call Joyce, the groomer who has bathed and clipped our dogs for years.

Edith and Mildred call her The Bad Lady because she does things to them they don’t love. She pours water all over them and puts stinky smelling shampoo all over their hair (Schnauzers don’t have fur). She stands them up on a grooming table and keeps their chins lifted by a suspended collar so they can’t sit down or jump off. She squeezes them in humiliating places to empty certain glands. She uses a very loud buzzing thing all over their little Schnauzery bodies to take all the warm hair off. She uses a clipper on their nails and it snaps loudly when the bits fly. And she plucks the hair from the insides of their ears. Edith and Millie prefer not to visit The Bad Lady.

But alas, their mama and daddy want them to go. They come back smelling clean and fresh. They always look a little too severe sleek at first, but in a couple of weeks their hair will grow a bit.

When eleven year-old Edith (below) gets too fluffy, we think she looks like the Sesame Street wolf. When she comes back from The Bad Lady, we think she looks a bit alien, and has bat ears. Here are before and after pictures:


And seven year-old Mildred (below) always looks the same, whether fluffy or shaved: disturbed. Millie is our troubled dog, with multiple personality quirks that make her simultaneously hysterical and annoying.


They always zip around jubilantly when we pick them up from The Bad Lady’s house. They’re so thrilled to be home, and they whisper to each other when we’re not looking, “Whew! Now we can relax for another three months!”

Do your pets talk like ours do?

Wednesday’s Word-Edition 106

September 4, 2013 | My Jottings


“Today we sing songs that are so dishonest that I sometimes hesitate to sing them. Yet when we sing the average hymn, if God Almighty compelled us to be entirely 100 percent honest, we simply could not sing them because their words would not be true of us…it is only by a charitable adaptation of the truth that we are able to sing most of the hymns we sing.”

– A.W. Tozer, Living As A Christian

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To be perfectly honest, when I read this quote by Aiden Wilson Tozer, I had to admit that I’ve thought the same thing when I’m in church. Singing songs about my devotion to the Lord when my flame is burning pretty low…

Have you ever had similar thoughts?