Cooking, Cataracts, Corrie and the Circus

March 4, 2016 | My Jottings

Every Friday, one of my foster gals crows, “TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday!” and we all heartily join in with her. I like Fridays too. I have a nice day planned and I hope you do as well.

You might never guess by the sun streaming into the windows on the front of our house that a big snowstorm is making its way toward us. Beginning around noon, we’re supposed to get up to three inches today, and I guess this might be our “March comes in like a lion” storm. I told Vivienne and Audrey yesterday while I was driving them home from school that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb and suddenly there was quiet in the back seat as they both contemplated what the heck Grandma was talking about.

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I’ll be driving out into the country today to have lunch at my friend Lana’s new house. She and her husband John have retired to a lake home and I haven’t seen it yet. I have no idea what she’s preparing (except she knows I am not a tuna or lima bean fan) but I know it will be a restful, refreshing time. That’s the way Lana is. Have you ever met anyone whose presence and home and way of speaking and listening ushers you into a state of calm and grace? Aren’t they wonderful people? Lana is like that.

I tried to watch part of the Republican debate last night and was able to endure about five minutes. I have no idea why I subjected myself to even that amount of time. I guess I’m just hoping I’ll eventually see some respect, humility, reasonable ideas, dignity and true leadership. Those who had any of that to offer have already dropped out of the race, and what we have left are supposed Christians who are now reduced to talking about genital size and yoga. It’s like a political circus and I keep waiting for the lady on the trapeze to swing down from overhead or the clown to drive up in his mini-car, honking his horn, while this music plays. This American presidential election is an embarrassment, and it makes me feel sad. It makes me wish I could be an expat and buy a little cottage in the Highlands of Scotland and move. I sound like a traitor saying that probably, but I guess all of us have said things out of discouragement at one time or another.

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A breath of fresh air in all of this is the book I’m reading right now. I’ve read it twice before years ago, but I’ve picked up the newest edition (with new photos) of The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. Oh, there’s such beauty in that book. True, elevating, aching beauty, that inspires me to pray and praise and repent. If you have never read The Hiding Place or haven’t read it in years, I encourage you to pick it up again. It seems more appropriate than ever, with all that’s going on in our world.

We’ve been eating delicious soup for two nights now. My friend Carey is a wonderful cook and baker who actually enjoys it. I like to cook and bake if I’m having company, but it has become something I don’t look forward to as much as I used to. Maybe I miss Michael’s oohs and aahs of appreciation when I used to cook for him. Anyway, Carey comes over every couple of weeks after Community Bible Study, and cooks a big pot of whatever I ask her to make. While she cheerfully chops and stirs, I sit at the dining room table and catch up on my piles of paperwork, and we chat. And laugh, and cry. And then I have at least three nights of dinner to serve to my happy campers that I don’t have to make myself, and is truly better than any restaurant fare.

I asked Carey to make a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen recently, and it was definitely moanworthy. Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup, with a variety of fresh mushrooms, Minnesota wild rice, chives, a bit of tomato paste in the rich broth. Here’s a photo from the ATK website, and ours looked just like it:


On Sunday I’ll be taking my two foster residents dogsledding. One of them has been obsessed with the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon her whole adult life, so when I learned of an organization which takes folks with disabilities on dog sled rides through the snowy woods of northern Minnesota, I signed my gals up.

Here’s our powerful and indefatigable sled dog.

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Her name is Mildred Virginia Sizzlelorum and she dashes through the snow in her dreams, while she’s stretched out in “her” plaid wingback chair in the living room, her closed eyes rolling with REM sleep, those schnauzery eyebrows twitching, and adorable muffled barks puffing out her little doggy cheeks.

I went to the eye doctor yesterday since my distance vision has become remarkably blurry, and learned why. I have cataracts. Oh yay. I won’t schedule surgery quite yet, because as I age it takes me a while to mentally process big things. I’m noticing other quirks of aging too, that make me laugh at myself. That might be a blog post for another day.

I have one more recommendation before I post this and start my day. Audrey Assad has a new CD out called Inheritance, and it’s beautiful. She says she made this CD with these particular songs, to help her pray. She calls it “a soundtrack for prayer.” I bought it and understand why she said that. It’s a worshipful CD that helps me put my mind on the Lord, rather than perseverate on all the situations that beckon me down into the ditch of despair. If you need an occasional hand out of the ditch of despair, you might consider this CD. Here’s a sample with video, and here’s another one I love.

What are you listening to these days? What wonderful book have you read more than twice? And more importantly, how are you doing today?


  1. Valerie says:

    I’ve known of Audrey Assad since 2008. Her songs back then were very healing to me when my sister died tragically at the age of 48. I read the Hiding Place back in grade school. It makes me curious to think what I might think about it nowadays. I love making soups.There really is something very Zen about it. With regards to the candidates running for the Presidential election…It makes me feel like I’ve taken crazy pills! What in the world??? I mean, what?!? What is happening here? It scares the beejeebuz out of me. Trump is scary and hateful like Hitler used to be. Or Mussolini. Why are people allowing this to go on??? Jesus please save us all! is the only prayer I keep repeating to myself.

  2. Just Julie says:

    Hi Valerie — I was nodding at each one of your comments! I think there’s something very healing and powerful about Audrey Assad’s music too. I’m so sorry you lost your sister. 48 is so young. 🙁 And yes to the crazy pills — every day I wonder what has happened too. I pray a similar prayer as yours, Valerie — Jesus, have mercy on us, have mercy on me, etc. Thank you for stopping in…I’m enjoying getting to know you on your blog too. xoxo

  3. Mariah says:

    I love this post. So newsy and chatty, as if we were across the table from one another sharing a pot of coffee (or some of that delicious looking soup!) discussing weather, grandchildren, books, music, pets, cooking, and everything! I do wish we could do that one day…I feel that we’d have much in common. The internet is weird like that isn’t it? I may have mentioned this before…but weird in the sense that you begin to feel like you know someone when you’ve never actually met. Weird in a good way, though…if you know what I mean. Anyway…just checking and catching up before I go to bed. I should have been in bed long ago, but it’s Friday and we stayed long at Bible study tonight, which was nice…but now…before I turn into a pumpkin, I’m off. Thanks for writing, and sharing slices of your life!

  4. Just Julie says:

    I also love other people’s writings where small details of their day are shared. Other readers might say, “Get to the point!,” right Mariah? Hahaha. I love the same thing about the internet you’ve mentioned here. I have friends I deeply care about that I’ve never met. Perhaps someday we’ll meet in person, Mariah. God bless you, friend, and thank you for stopping in to comment. xoxo

  5. Diane Dick says:


    Thank you for your delightful meanderings. I enjoyed every morsel. Don’t ever feel that you have to “get to the point.” Your thinking about life is the point for those who come to your blog.

    I love that your wonderful friend Carey comes to cook for you. That is such a lovely testament to the depth of your friendship! What a gift of love.

    Some responses to your questions:

    I just this week took out my tattered copy of The Hiding Place and set it beside my bible in anticipation. Thank you for pointing to it!

    We just began listening to the Sons of Korah–I cannot adequately describe the effect of their approach to the psalms on our household, so I will just share a link to just one of their songs, and leave the rest to your joy:

    Looking forward to trying that soup recipe–and hoping to see you within the next few days?



  6. Just Julie says:

    Thank you for your kind comments, Diane. I would love to know how The Hiding Place impacts you again. I want to be like the ten Boom family, which is pretty much completely impossible. It’s a good thing that nothing is impossible with God. I listened to the Sons of Korah and immediately bought their Psalms CD. Thank you for sharing them with me! I can tell it will play and play and play here. My love to all in your home… xoxo

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