A Saturday Hodgepodge

November 14, 2015 | My Jottings

I’m taking it easy in our brown leather living room recliner this evening, with the television tuned to America’s Test Kitchen on PBS, and our aging Schnauzers Edith and Millie nearby. I’m a bit tired and sore from Rug Doctoring my living room carpet today. In my younger years I used to steam clean our carpets every other year, but it’s been 3 1/2 years since this carpet has been done. It needed cleaning badly. We don’t wear shoes or even dirty socks on the carpet, and we have one of those ridiculously expensive and powerful vacuums, yet the dirty water in the Rug Doctor container was almost black when I finished.

I took a few Ibuprofen for my complaining joints, soaked in the tub while listening to the relaxing hymns station on Pandora, and then made myself a cup of tea to sip while the sun goes down and the shadows on the front deck lengthen.

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For dinner tonight we’ll have a wonderful Chicken Curry Stew, made with Yukon gold potatoes, carrots, peas, coconut milk, and other delicious ingredients, served over basmati rice, and I like mine sprinkled with a few cashew pieces, raisins, and a handful of fresh chopped cilantro.

I read a great book yesterday, called Newlyweds Afloat by a fabulous local writer named Felicia Schneiderhan. Felicia and her husband Mark spent their first two years of marriage living on a trawler in Chicago. Her memoir of their meeting, romance, adventures on his boat Mazurka, and eventual move to Northern Minnesota was wonderfully written and I couldn’t put it down. Highly recommended.

I also just finished Susan Branch’s newest book called The Fairy Tale Girl, and it was a visual feast and so enjoyable to read.

I have about six other books on my nightstand and am not sure which one will be opened next; should I finish Elisabeth Elliot’s book on discipline and surrender? I could use some of both. Should I read the book about visiting Ireland as a “creaky traveler” who is mobile but not agile? That’s appropriate too. Or I could finish Beth Moore’s new book entitled Audacious, which I had to set aside because it made me sob and sob.

My youngest daughter Sara has been gone a month, traveling solo through Ireland, England and Scotland, and she returns tomorrow night. She basically took the trip of my dreams and I’m excited to have her home again so she can tell me about everything and cause my internal yearn-o-meter to spike to new highs.

A couple of Netflix movies I’ve seen recently are The Drop Box and the new documentary about Glen Campbell called I’ll Be Me. I recommend both.

I’ve been asked to do an opening at Community Bible Study next month so I’m working on that a bit. The opening is 10-12 minutes of one person’s sharing, right before we go to discuss our lessons in our Core Groups. I know what I’ll be speaking on, but as always happens, the closer I get to the time to speak, the more oatmealish my brain becomes. I hate that phenomenon in my life. I am happy to be asked to share, feel grateful for direction from God on what my topic will be, and then soon things get dark and thick and blurry, like I’m navigating through porridge. It makes me second guess myself each time, but I just pray, cry, prepare, and go.

Speaking of second guessing, Sara Groves has a new CD out called “Floodplain” and it’s on repeat in my car stereo. I love it already. Her song “Second Guess Girl” is one of my favorites, and if you like, you can listen to it here. I love Sara Groves’ humility and transparency. She shares in liner notes and in clips online about how she’s been paralyzed by anxiety and depression these past several years, and how friends came together to help her get this album out. I like people who tell the truth about their lives and don’t act like life is a merry skipping down the path called Tra-la-la. I think real bonds can form between people when they’re honest with each other.

All of our autumn color is gone now, and the bare trees provide a beautiful view of Lake Superior each day. Big snowflakes, the first of the season, blew around for a few hours the night before last, but nothing stuck on the ground in my neck of the woods. It will come soon enough.

Michael has been gone for 271 days now. The waves of grief are still huge and they knock me down, but they are coming with less frequency now. I still watch the slideshow Sharon created for his funeral, at least every other day. If you’ve never seen it, click here and turn your speakers up. It fills me with so many strong emotions to watch it. I wonder if I will watch it off and on for the rest of my life?

This will be our first Thanksgiving without him. And our first Christmas. All the empty firsts.

Thank you for stopping by….I’d love to know what you’re reading, what music you’re enjoying, or any good movies you’ve seen lately.

In His grip,


  1. Nancy says:

    Music a friend of mine recommended called Grace by Jim McCann. Based on marriage of Grace Gifford and Joseph Plunkett who was involved in Easter Rebellion in Ireland. Reading the Martian by Andy Weir. Holidays are tough. God never leaves our side nor the love of those who have gone before us home.

  2. Just Julie says:

    Thank you for sharing these titles, Nancy! And yes, I know you know how this hard path is. Thank you for your encouragement. xoxo

  3. Helen in Switzerland says:

    You sound like you are so cozy in your home in Minnesota Julie. I hope Sara will come home having had a fabulous trip and full of stories of adventures. Thinking of you…love Helen

  4. Just Julie says:

    Thank you Helen. Sara returned last night and it has been good hearing about her trip — she was so struck by the beauty in so many places. Hugs to you dear Helen… xoxo

  5. Ganeida says:

    Sorry I have been MIA recently. You have been very much on my heart knowing this is your first Christmas without Michael & how hard that will be. This month saw Libby home for one brother’s wedding & his twin’s graduation from bible school as well as a host of interstate relies for the wedding. My introversion is saying *enough. Can we be quiet for a bit now?* Big cyberspace hugs for you.

  6. Just Julie says:

    Nice to see your note, Ganeida! You’ve had some things to rejoice over lately, it sounds like! Libby home, a wedding, a graduation! I understand the need for quiet now, however. Introverts understand each other. 🙂 God bless you dear friend…. xoxo

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