February 2009


WHEN THE CAT’S AWAY…

My Hat is Older Than You is building a House of Cards (namely, postcards), which brought to mind a few years ago when the boys and I had a fun time spoofing a friend of ours with postcards of his car having adventures.

Our college friend asked if we could keep his car for the summer, because it was too old to make the trip to his home in Colorado.  So we took a photo of the car, used Photoshop to “cut” it out, and then pasted it onto scenes of various exotic sites around this country and the world.

Here is the car visiting Mt. Rushmore

 Every whipstitch we would mail one out, with a little tale written on the back from the car itself.  What a blast we had!

He went to a big reunion in Sweden,

 

He went on a hot-air balloon ride in Arizona;

 

And he even visited Niagara Falls–getting to do something a lot of us miss out on!

VALENTINE’S DAY

Valentine’s Day was always a special event when I was growing up, because my mother always bought us a little gift and candy.  I still have the plastic pin she bought me, and each year I manage to find an occasion on which to wear it.

 

I’ve carried on the tradition by always buying some Reese’s peanut butter cups for my guys, along with making a personalized Valentine for each. For example, when the boys were into dinosaurs, I cut out red dinosaurs with something like “I’m stomping over to you to tell you I love you” or somesuch.

But this year, I was out of ideas. 

The internet showed how to make an origami heart, so midnight last night found me struggling and exasperated trying out to make sense out of those directions.  I could NOT do it!  I finally found a different heart on a different website, and finished by beating out a ragged form that was kinda like a heart; it was easy enough to think of a slogan to write on it. I decided one heart was enough, and that prize went to my husband.

 

I also broke tradition by giving him a small gift, enlarging and framing a photo recently found when unearthing old treasures.  This is a Christmas card his family sent to friends in 1961.  Chip is the youngest of the family.

 

As for myself, I snitch a bit of the others’ candy.  And Chip usually gives me flowers, which were particularly lovely this year.

 

I had a flower from another source too:  my chiropractor, who gave a carnation to each of his lady customers!

 

Supper for us on Valentine’s Day is always the same menu, simply because I looked through a cookbook 27 years ago to find something different to fix when Chip was coming to visit me on this special day.  I remember painstakingly following this new recipe, as Chip sat in a corner of my small kitchen, keeping me company.  Disney’s Parent Trap was playing on the television in the other room.

Here is what we always have:

Chicken Imperial (from Good Housekeeping Illustrated)

Mashed potatoes

Carrots with brown sugar glaze (Betty Crocker)

Company cheesecake with strawberry topping (Betty Crocker)

 
Chicken Imperial has ALWAYS been very very good to eat, even when through the years we’ve done it differently–without flour, with gluten-free flour, with rice milk, with soy milk, or with water replacing the cooking sherry.  Here is the recipe:  

Chicken Imperial

(with my comments in parentheses—as you can see, I’m not fancy!)

4 large whole chicken breasts, skinned (I use 3 lb. cut into small pieces)

¼ to ½ C. flour

½ C. butter

1 lb. small mushrooms–quartered (I use 8 oz. chopped)

1 T. minced onion (I use a bit of onion powder)

1 C. heavy or whipping cream

¼ C. dry sherry

1 ½ tsp. salt (I use 1 tsp. nowadays)

1/8 tsp. pepper

2 T. water

1. Coat chicken with the flour.In 12-inch skillet over medium heat, in hot butter, cook chicken till lightly browned on all sides.  Put aside.

2.  In drippings in skillet over medium heat, cook mushrooms and onion for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Stir in cream, sherry, salt and pepper and stir to blend well.

3.Return chicken to skillet.  Reduce heat to low; cover skillet and simmer 20 minutes or till chicken is fork-tender. 

4. To thicken sauce (which I usually skip): Blend 1 T. flour with water. Gradually add to pan liquid, stirring constantly, and cook till mixture is thickened.

5. To serve:  Spoon sauce over chicken and/or put sauce in a gravy boat for the mashed potatoes.

Now to the subject of the greatest love of all. Yesterday I had the privilege of listening to the first eight chapters of the letter the apostle Paul had written to the Romans; when you hear the Word of God in big batches, it is so fineAnd when I listened, I tried to think of what it would be like living in that time and hearing Paul say those words.  Paul points out how terribly bad we are, and how hopeless it is to try to make amends for it ourselves.  It makes you feel horrified. 

Then Paul explains how God passes over our sins, because Jesus paid the price for it.  By His grace, as a gift to us, he says. 

Can you imagine it? The people of that time knew so many gods, and these gods were so cruel; they demanded behavior and sacrifices to be just so, and you could never really tell whether or not they were going to be appeased (and isn’t that really what it’s like now too?). But here is such a different God, the real God, who is so unlike the others (who were never real at all).  A God we can cry out to like children, and He is our papa.A papa who loves us, gives us assurance, and gives us all hope for the future. 

The passage ends with such a strong and definite promise:  Romans 8:38–“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

WHO needs ANYthing else?

Old Hat is building a House of Cards (namely, postcards), which brought to mind a few years ago when the boys and I had a fun time spoofing a friend of ours with postcards of his car having adventures.

Our college friend asked if we could keep his car for the summer, because it was too old to make the trip to his home in Colorado.  So we took a photo of the car, used Photoshop to “cut” it out, and then pasted it onto scenes of various exotic sites around this country and the world.

Here is the car visiting Mt. Rushmore


Every whipstitch we would mail one out, with a little tale written on the back from the car itself.  What a blast we had!

He went to a big reunion in Sweden,

He went on a hot-air balloon ride in Arizona;

And he even visited Niagara Falls–getting to do something a lot of us miss out on!

Valentine’s Day was always a special event when I was growing up, because my mother always bought us a little gift and candy. I still have the plastic pin she bought me, and each year I manage to find an occasion on which to wear it.

I’ve carried on the tradition by always buying some Reese’s peanut butter cups for my guys, along with making a personalized Valentine for each.  For example, when the boys were into dinosaurs, I cut out red dinosaurs with something like “I’m stomping over to you to tell you I love you” or somesuch.

But this year, I was out of ideas.

The internet showed how to make an origami heart, so midnight last night found me struggling and exasperated trying out to make sense out of those directions.  I could NOT do it!  I finally found a different heart on a different website, and finished by beating out a ragged form that was kinda like a heart; it was easy enough to think of a slogan to write on it.  I decided one heart was enough, and that prize went to my husband.

I also broke tradition by giving him a small gift, enlarging and framing a photo recently found when unearthing old treasures.  This is a Christmas card his family sent to friends in 1961.  Chip is the youngest of the family.

As for myself, I snitch a bit of the others’ candy.And Chip usually gives me flowers, which were particularly lovely this year.

I had a flower from another source too:  my chiropractor, who gave a carnation to each of his lady customers!

Supper for us on Valentine’s Day is always the same menu, simply because I looked through a cookbook 27 years ago to find something different to fix when Chip was coming to visit me on this special day.  I remember painstakingly following this new recipe, as Chip sat in a corner of my small kitchen, keeping me company.  Disney’s Parent Trap was playing on the television in the other room.

Here is what we always have:

Chicken Imperial (from Good Housekeeping Illustrated)

Mashed potatoes

Carrots with brown sugar glaze (Betty Crocker)

Company cheesecake with strawberry topping (Betty Crocker)

Chicken Imperial has ALWAYS been very very good to eat, even when through the years we’ve done it differently–without flour, with gluten-free flour, with rice milk, with soy milk, or with water replacing the cooking sherry.  Here is the recipe:

Chicken Imperial

(with my comments in parentheses-as you can see, I’m not fancy!)

4 large whole chicken breasts, skinned (I use 3 lb. cut into small pieces)

¼ to ½ C. flour

½ C. butter

1 lb. small mushrooms–quartered (I use 8 oz. chopped)

1 T. minced onion (I use a bit of onion powder)

1 C. heavy or whipping cream

¼ C. dry sherry

1 ½ tsp. salt (I use 1 tsp. nowadays)

1/8 tsp. pepper

2 T. water

1.  Coat chicken with the flour.In 12-inch skillet over medium heat, in hot butter, cook chicken till lightly browned on all sides.  Put aside.

2.  In drippings in skillet over medium heat, cook mushrooms and onion for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Stir in cream, sherry, salt and pepper and stir to blend well.

3.  Return chicken to skillet.  Reduce heat to low; cover skillet and simmer 20 minutes or till chicken is fork-tender.

4.  To thicken sauce (which I usually skip):  Blend 1 T. flour with water. Gradually add to pan liquid, stirring constantly, and cook till mixture is thickened.

5.  To serve:  Spoon sauce over chicken and/or put sauce in a gravy boat for the mashed potatoes.

Now to the subject of the greatest love of all: Yesterday I had the privilege of listening to the first eight chapters of the letter the apostle Paul had written to the Romans; when you hear the Word of God in big batches, it is so fine.  And when I listened, I tried to think of what it would be like living in that time and hearing Paul say those words.  Paul points out how terribly bad we are, and how hopeless it is to try to make amends for it ourselves.  It makes you feel horrified.

Then Paul explains how God passes over our sins, because Jesus paid the price for it.   By His grace, as a gift to us, he says.

Can you imagine it?   The people of that time knew so many gods, and these gods were so cruel; they demanded behavior and sacrifices to be just so, and you could never really tell whether or not they were going to be appeased (and isn’t that really what it’s like now too?).   But here is such a different God, the real God, who is so unlike the others (who were never real at all).   A God we can cry out to like children, and He is our papa.  A papa who loves us, gives us assurance, and gives us all hope for the future.

The passage ends with such a strong and definite promise:  Romans 8:38–“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

WHO needs ANYthing else?

THERE’S LOTS OF TWOS

I’ve been thinking about My Tiny Kingdom’s Flashback Friday’s theme of

LOVE, LOOK AT THE TWO OF US

and how that could really apply to just about anything.For example, a person could post about a good ol’ friend one had way back in 1977–

I (nicknamed Spike) traveled down to St. Antonio, Texas with my friend (nicknamed Chester) and her husband, to visit her in-laws.  This photo was taken after a little foray across the border into Mexico.

 
But then I remembered some photos of my parents that I really treasure, and decided to show these instead.  

This is a picture of my dad and I taken thirty-two years ago, in front of the fireplace in the house that my parents built. Many of the rocks in the fireplace have special meaning (for example, there’s a rock from the place where he grew up, and there are also rocks especially selected by the neighbors just for this occasion).  The hurricane lamp and clock belonged to my great-grandparents. The attire Dad is wearing was everyday stuff for him, but mine was kind of special. Note the bell-bottoms on my bibs!

 
Then there’s Mom and I. Here are our feet, on the day in Gulf Shores, Alabama, when we splurged and bought ourselves something new on the market, before they were so “all the rage.”  I remember that when we wore these to a fast-food restaurant, some ladies made disparaging remarks behind our backs. They’re both probably wearing bright orange ones right this minute!

 

And here we are four years ago at Loch Lomond, Scotland, on a day that rained and rained and rained.



THE WAY WE MET

I’m joining in on Flashback Fridays over at My Tiny Kingdom, which today desires a tale of “LOVE, LOOK AT THE 2 OF US.”

It’s always fun to hear how a married couple met, and I need to remind myself not to worry about my own sons and how they might meet their future wives, because of course:  God has us in His kind and loving hands.

Even if my boys ARE commuters and don’t have roommates.

My husband Chip and I met in college and then parted ways, never to meet again.  But we did.

It all began with a house fire.And ended with a snowstorm.

When I was in college, my roommate Martha spent a summer in France on a missionary trip.  When she came back, she told me: “There was a guy on our team who would be just perfect for you!”  I believed her, because well, Martha was Martha.  But this young man went to a different college than ours, so I knew there was no opportunity to meet him.

Meanwhile, my future husband had been very impressed with Martha-and with the other students from our college.  He felt that they were getting a better education than himself, that they were well-versed in apologetics, and that they didn’t just blindly followed their faith because they had been raised that way, but that they LIVED the faith in their hearts.  He began to question his own choice of college.

While Chip was in France, a terrible thing happened-his family’s home caught on fire and partially burned down.  He decided to stay out a semester from college and help rebuild.  And when it was time to go back…he switched to Cedarville College, where Martha and I were.

Martha was excited.  “That guy has transferred here! I HAVE to introduce you, I think you were meant for each other!”  I believed her.

But Martha being Martha, she just never got around to it.  She kept forgetting and was so busy.

So I took matters into my own hands.

One day, when I passed Chip on the sidewalk, I looked him in the eye and said, “HI, CHIP!”   This, coming from a girl who was too afraid to get up in the cafeteria to get a second glass of drink during a meal!   He was startled and intrigued.

My group of friends always took turns choosing where we were going to sit in the cafeteria, and so one day when it was my turn, I chose a place right beside Chip and his friends, and took the opportunity to introduce my own self.

A few days later, when it was my turn to choose where to sit in chapel, I picked a place (you guessed it!) in front of Chip and his friends.  When chapel was over, I turned around, and– “Why, hello again!”

The next day, Chip and his roommate were talking about the college production of The Music Man, and how he should ask a girl to go with him.  “I don’t KNOW any girls to ask,” Chip lamented.   “Why, yes, you do,” his roommate said, “What about that girl you were talking to in chapel?”

So, when Chip called to ask me for this date, he was afraid I wouldn’t even know who he was.  But of course, I did:  I had been waiting for him.

So we shared our lives in college up until it was almost graduation day, the way a lot of college students do-talking and talking and talking of ideas, philosophies, religion, and ways of the world.  We were such best friends.

But then unhappiness came.  Chip wanted us to “just be friends” instead of the deeper and continuing relationship I wanted us to have.  And the “just be friends” quickly turned into avoidance altogether.

At the time, although I was so hurt, I was still calm in the face of knowing that if God had a plan for us, He would perfect it.  But as the years went by, my emotional ties for Chip were broken, and he became a part of my past memories.

I went to grad school and then got a job as a school librarian.  He went to grad school and worked in a group home for United Cerebral Palsy.

Then came the snowstorm, which cancelled my school for the day.  Taking the opportunity to really clean house, I came across the only correspondence Chip and I had exchanged after we graduated from college. At the very bottom of his letter, he had written a line easily missed:  “Please write again.”

Although it was almost two years later, I did.  We began exchanging letters, but they were so mundane.  In the summer, when I received a letter from him that contained such lines as “My golf is taking an upswing for the better” and “The peas in the garden are growing” I burst out to a friend, “I don’t know WHY we’re doing this!”and she replied, “Well then, write and tell him so.”

In the falltime, I did just that.  His response was to immediately telephone and say that he could get a ride my way (from Pennsylvania to Indiana), and could he come to visit in a couple of days?

He visited me in October, I spent Thanksgiving at his parents’ home, he came to Indiana once in January, once in February, and in March we became engaged on Easter morning.  We wrote letters to each other every single day, and tried to keep telephone calls down to every two or three.

People said, “WHO are you getting married to?!  I didn’t even know you were dating anyone!”

Martha was my matron of honor.

On our honeymoon, at Gettysburg National Park

THE WAY WE MET

I’m joining in on Flashback Fridays over at My Tiny Kingdom, which today desires a tale of “LOVE, LOOK AT THE 2 OF US.

It’s always fun to hear how a married couple met, and I need to remind myself not to worry about my own sons and how they might meet their future wives, because of course:  God has us in His kind and loving hands.


Even if my boys ARE commuters and don’t have roommates.

My husband Chip and I met in college and then parted ways, never to meet again.  But we did.

It all began with a house fire.  And ended with a snowstorm.

When I was in college, my roommate Martha spent a summer in France on a missionary trip.  When she came back, she told me: “There was a guy on our team who would be just perfect for you!”  I believed her, because well, Martha was Martha.  But this young man went to a different college than ours, so I knew there was no opportunity to meet him.

Meanwhile, my future husband had been very impressed with Martha—and with the other students from our college.  He felt that they were getting a better education than himself, that they were well-versed in apologetics, and that they didn’t just blindly followed their faith because they had been raised that way, but that they LIVED the faith in their hearts.  He began to question his own choice of college.

While Chip was in France, a terrible thing happened—his family’s home caught on fire and partially burned down. He decided to stay out a semester from college and help rebuild.  And when it was time to go back…he switched to Cedarville College, where Martha and I were.

Martha was excited.  “That guy has transferred here!  I HAVE to introduce you, I think you were meant for each other!”  I believed her.

But Martha being Martha, she just never got around to it.  She kept forgetting and was so busy.

So I took matters into my own hands.

One day, when I passed Chip on the sidewalk, I looked him in the eye and said, “HI, CHIP!”  This, coming from a girl who was too afraid to get up in the cafeteria to get a second glass of drink during a meal!  He was startled and intrigued.

My group of friends always took turns choosing where we were going to sit in the cafeteria, and so one day when it was my turn, I chose a place right beside Chip and his friends, and took the opportunity to introduce my own self.

A few days later, when it was my turn to choose where to sit in chapel, I picked a place (you guessed it!) in front of Chip and his friends.  When chapel was over, I turned around, and– “Why, hello again!”

The next day, Chip and his roommate were talking about the college production of The Music Man, and how he should ask a girl to go with him.  “I don’t KNOW any girls to ask,” Chip lamented. “Why, yes, you do,” his roommate said, “What about that girl you were talking to in chapel?” 

So, when Chip called to ask me for this date, he was afraid I wouldn’t even know who he was.  But of course, I did:  I had been waiting for him!

So we shared our lives in college up until it was almost graduation day, the way a lot of college students do—talking and talking and talking of ideas, philosophies, religion, and ways of the world.  We were such best friends.

But then unhappiness came.  Chip wanted us to “just be friends” instead of the deeper and continuing relationship I wanted us to have.  And the “just be friends” quickly turned into avoidance altogether.

At the time, although I was so hurt, I was still calm in the face of knowing that if God had a plan for us, He would perfect it.  But as the years went by, my emotional ties for Chip were broken, and he became a part of my past memories.

I went to grad school and then got a job as a school librarian.  He went to grad school and worked in a group home for United Cerebral Palsy. 

Then came the snowstorm, which cancelled my school for the day.  Taking the opportunity to really clean house, I came across the only correspondence Chip and I had exchanged after we graduated from college.  At the very bottom of his letter, he had written a line easily missed:  “Please write again.” 

Although it was almost two years later, I did.  We began exchanging letters, but they were so mundane.In the summer, when I received a letter from him that contained such lines as “My golf is taking an upswing for the better” and “The peas in the garden are growing” I burst out to a friend, “I don’t know WHY we’re doing this!” and she replied, “Well then, write and tell him so.” 

In the falltime, I did just that.  His response was to immediately telephone and say that he could get a ride my way (from Pennsylvania to Indiana), and could he come to visit in a couple of days?

He visited me in October, I spent Thanksgiving at his parents’ home, he came to Indiana once in January, once in February, and in March we became engaged on Easter morning.  We wrote letters to each other every single day, and tried to keep telephone calls down to every two or three. 

People said, “WHO are you getting married to?!   I didn’t even know you were dating anyone!”

Martha was my matron of honor.

On our honeymoon, at Gettysburg National Park

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