Gathering Graces 2/20/2017

*Today was a nice and relaxing President’s Day off from work.  I enjoyed the quietness of the house, and the chance to think and meditate on things.  I also read a lot today.
*One thing I finished reading today was the book Laura Bush:An Intimate Portrait of the First Lady.  It was interesting reading about her life while in the White House, and how President Bush dealt with some things that our current president is dealing with, such as being called a fascist, legitimately dealing with fake news reports.  But the way they handled these accusations was much different.  They seemed more private and gracious, despite their treatment.  I have now started a book about George W. Bush by Frank Bruni titled Ambling Into History: The Unlikely Odyssey of George W. Bush.
*Sister Christy hosted our weekly family dinner tonight.  We went and picked Mom up at her house next door, and she four-wheeled it over to Christy and Everett’s with her all terrain walker.  We enjoyed a lovely meal of barbecued pork steaks, a Mediterranean salad, petite peas, and a delicious applesauce cake for dessert.  We enjoyed some good conversation, and Christy was able to show Mom her “portal” from our local clinic to see what medical information was on there about her.


Gathering Graces 2/19/2017

*One of the verses from my morning Bible reading was in Luke 6, where Jesus says, “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”  Then, when I get to church, our pastor shares these verses from Matthew 5, where Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor, and hate your enemies’.  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of you Father in heaven.”  Who am I becoming?  How will I respond to people that don’t deserve my care or compassion?  What will I say or do to the one who has disappointed me and to who I feel justifiable anger?  Christ brings love to a broken and hurting world.  As a Christian, I am to share that love to others just as Christ did.  Am I loving my enemies, or just tolerating them and respecting them?  Some serious words to meditate on this week.
*After church Paul and I went to see Joan Ross at her home.  What a delightful time we had visiting with her, as well as  her sister Rachael, and her son Rob and my friend Nikki.  Later, while we were there, Bev Jacobs arrived with her son and daughter Ron and Sharon.  It was nice to visit with all of them.  It was a lively time of conversation and laughs.
*I had a quick conversation with Molly on phone about couches.  Even though is was quick, it is always nice to talk to one of the girls.  Then later in the day, Zoe called, because she had been doing research on names in the Bible, and had sent her dad an email about the name Nimrod, and how the meaning of that name had changed because of a Bugs Bunny cartoon.  It was nice catching up with her, and we are excited she will be coming home for her spring break at the end of March.
*There is a show on Netflix called The Royals that focuses on different aspects of England’s royal family. One episode focused on weddings, one focused on funerals, and one on being a teenage royal.  There was much said in the wedding and the funeral episodes about Princess Diana.  It is such a tragic story.  They referred to Elton John’s beautiful song Candle in the Wind that he sung at the funeral, so I had to listen.  If you would like to as well, here it is.


Gathering Graces 2/18/2017

*Earlier this week, brother Bill shared about making a tuna casserole with potato chips on top.  That got me thinking about my favorite casserole from my childhood, Potato Chip Casserole.  I knew I had some of the beef left over from the sandwiches made earlier, so I sent Paul to the store to buy a bag of potato chips, some green onions and a can of cream of mushroom soup, and I cooked up a delicious Potato Chip Casserole.  The photo of the recipe above is a copy of the recipe off the Nalley’s Potato Chip box that Mom used to make this recipe.
*I am cleaning bottles to start working on some projects to sell items made from empty bottles.  One thing I got done today was soaking and cleaning labels off of about 10 bottles, and another 10 or 12 washed out.  I hope to work on some more tomorrow.  The secret to getting the labels off is soaking them in hot water, and putting a mixture of dish soap, baking powder and white vinegar in the hot water that helps break up the glue holding the labels.  It worked really well!!
*Paul and I wanted to watch a movie last night, and, as I was flipping through options on Netflix, found Finding Dory. What a fun and touching movie to watch.
*I continued listening to What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell on my Kindle while working on my bottle project.  Today I listened to a story about hair color, and how an advertising copy writer came up with the slogan for Clairol Hair Color “Does she or doesn’t she?”. and how another copy writer years later came up with the L’Oreal “I’m Worth It”.  It was a fascinating story of how these two women in the advertising business changed the way people looked at women who color their hair. The Clairol ad slogan focused on how others saw the woman, and the L’Oreal ad slogan focused on how the woman saw herself.


Gathering Graces 2/17/2017

*Since reading the book American Wife, I have been interested in learning more about George W. and Laura Bush.  So I put some books on hold at the library.  They arrived this last week, and, since my sister Christy is now one of the librarians, I was able to have her take my old books in to return, and she delivered my new books to me while we were over at Mom’s having dinner last night.  The two books I got are Laura Bush: An Intimate Portrait of the First Lady by Ron Kessler, and Ambling Into History: The Unlikely Odyssey of George W. Bush by Frank Bruni.  These are two books Curtis Sittenfeld used in her research when she wrote the fictional novel American Wife.  I think reading these books will add to our book group discussion about American Wife in a couple of weeks.
*In keeping with the George W. Bush theme, I also borrowed the movie W from the library.  This is an Oliver Stone movie made in 2008 that chronicles the life and presidency of George W. Bush.  It was very interesting, especially the parts leading up to the invasion of Iraq and the aftermath of that decision. 
*Last Monday I was in a discussion about what we used as stress relievers in our lives.  Household chores was on the top of many of our lists.  I wasn’t stressed by any means yesterday, but I did enjoy taking some time to empty and fill the dishwasher, wash some dishes by hand, and clean up the kitchen.  I have a big project I want to work on in the kitchen this weekend and I need a clean kitchen to do this project.
*Last time as I was searching for ways to cook London Broil in the crockpot, I noticed you could cook this particular cut of meat in the crockpot, and use it for French Dip sandwiches.  So that is what I did today.  After seasoning the frozen London Broil with Montreal Steak Seasoning (my favorite go-to seasoning), I cut up an onion and put it on the bottom of the crock pot.  I put the meat on top of the onions, then added two cups of beef bullion and a bay leaf, and let the crock pot do its’ magic.  And it did.  By 4:30 p.m., the meat was nice and tender, and I cut it up, strained the juice and got as much fat off the juice as I could, and headed over to Mom’s house.  I toasted some sourdough bread, buttered it, and added the meat and some sharp cheddar cheese.  I put the juice in small bowls so we could dip the sandwiches in the juice.  I threw together a bagged Italian chopped salad that was in Mom’s fridge, and we had a wonderful meal. 


Gathering Graces 2/16/2017

*I spent part of my morning visiting Pinehurst Elementary to check out the rooms I will use once I start the Drama Class as part of the PASS after school program.  I will begin this on February 28th.  It has been quite a while since I worked with elementary-aged students on a long term basis.  I am looking forward to the challenge.  It was fun seeing the bustling halls with students and teachers.  Pinehurst Elementary is a very inviting building to walk through.
*When I got home from work, I pulled up President Trump’s press conference.  I wanted to watch it for myself, before I read about it through other people’s impressions.  I was actually impressed with the way he had command of the room.  I am realizing our President conducts himself in a manner different than previous Presidents, and I think we just need to get used to it.  And I don’t think he will change.  He will share things that are not true.  He will sidestep or refuse to answer questions.  He will be rude to the press.  But that isn’t any different than he was throughout his campaign.  But yesterday I saw the Donald Trump that was so appealing to so many of the people who voted for him.  It reminded me of seeing Hilary Clinton speak at a conference back in 2009.  She was a commanding, passionate speaker in person.  Yesterday, I didn’t feel like President Trump was ranting and raving and out of control.  This is his normal.  And I think I need to get used to his normal.  I don’t have to like it.  I don’t have to agree with it.  But my conclusion is, this is who he is, and he isn’t going to change.  And I need to spend time fact checking everything he shares from the podium.  It has been hard for me to show grace toward our current President, and today I think that changed a little bit. 
*Paul and I went up to the Sixth Street Theater to take photos of the cast and get some information on them for some publicity for the upcoming play, Escanaba in da Moonlight.  It opens March 3rd, and you won’t want to miss it.


Gathering Graces 2/15/2017

*Taxes done and submitted!!  Woo Hoo!!!
*Had a nice P.E.O. meeting tonight at Sandy Scott’s house.  Carolyn Gibbs did an interesting program on blood typing, and talking about donating blood.  It was fun to hear the comments from the ladies in the room talking about how interesting the topic was, and how smart Carolyn is in her field of expertise!!
*I have had an unusual week of being showered with unexpected gifts this week.  My friend Anita sent me a calendar and three new cookbooks, I received a coloring book and colored pencils and some chocolates from the secret pal at work, Christy brought me back a scarf to thank me for watching the cats while her and Everett were on their recent trip, and Jane brought a lovely bouquet of flowers to dinner Tuesday night.  I am thankful for each and every one of these lovely surprises!!


Gathering Graces 2/14/2017

*I had three very special Valentine’s presented to me by my husband and the three different KHS drama classes.  I was sitting in my office and one of the students came in and said she was to escort me to Mr. Roberts’ class.  I was then handed off to another student and taken to the front of the room.  The music began as 8-10 young men were snapping their fingers and swaying back and forth.  They parted, and Paul started singing Nat King Cole’s L-O-V-E.  Toward the end I danced with him and joined him for the ending.  Fourth period, I was escorted upstairs again, and this time Paul started out singing “How To Handle A Woman” to me, and the music began, and we both sang “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”.  The Technical Drama students also had me come up, and they performed “Somebody to Love”, with me joining in at the end.  These were the best surprises, and the best Valentine’s EVER!!!! 
*After posting the video (found here https://youtu.be/4TV7nvYZvtM ) of the second Valentine, is was fun to read people’s comments.
*The day ended with a wonderful dinner at my house with Mom, Christy, Everett and our friend Jane.  We had Chicken Thighs in a Creamy Mushroom, Bacon and Thyme sauce, four bean salad, bread and Champagne, with homemade Cream Puffs for dessert.  It was a wonderful evening.