Gathering Graces 2/27/2019

*The snow continued to fall and blow and drift throughout the day.  Our little valley and mountains continue to receive more snow.  It really is beautiful!
*This afternoon I headed to KMS to work with the drama kids.  We had fun playing some theater games and they created some commercials.  They also put on the skit, The Wide Mouth Frog.
*Once I was done at KMS, I drove up to St. Rita’s Parish Center to continue working on my Barn Quilt.  I love how it is coming together as I continue to add colors so my sunflower.  It is also fun watching the other ladies painting their designs.  They are all beautiful and very creative. 
*Christy started watching The Masked Singer, and we were both excited to see the finale, so I went to her house to watch it.  This was a stretch for me, because it started when I was usually headed for bed.  But I figured I could catch up my sleep tomorrow.  My predictions for The Peacock and The Bee were correct.  The Monster was the big mystery.  It is still a big mystery, even now that I know who it is.  I had never heard of the winner, but it did make it fun having no clue who Monster was on the show.  I look forward to seeing Season Two!!!


Gathering Graces 2/26/2019

*Learning new crafts is always fun, so learning how to paint a “Barn Quilt” has been very satisfying.  I had never heard of them, but a member of our local Catholic Daughters group put out the word she would teach how to make one, and the proceeds would go to some of their projects.  What I am enjoying about this project is you first have to use the left side of the brain, figuring out the pattern and sketching it out.  Then you move to right side of the brain as you begin to paint the design.  I can’t wait to see how it turns out.  And it has not only been a fun project to work on, but I have met some lovely ladies who are also working on this project, as well as getting reacquainted with people I haven’t seen in a while.
*It was also fun to talk to Kate today, the woman in charge of this project, and find out she works in Coeur d’Alene with one of my Tri-Delta pledge sisters, Sue Weiss Brunner.  What a small world!!  It was fun meeting ladies who knew my mom, one I didn’t recognize who had been one of my babysitters when I was very young, and one who had worked with Paul when he was at the alternative high school. 
*It was nice to get a a text from my sister Christy saying my brother Bill’s cataract surgery went well. This was his second cataract surgery this month.  The first one went very well, and it looks like this second one was just as successful.


Gathering Graces 2/25/2019

*The snow came down.  The wind blew.  It was a blustery day here in Kellogg.  Even Clark the cat didn’t venture outside much today. 
*The Oscars played on the television most of the morning, which had been broadcast the night before.  I liked the show, and I liked not having a host.  I think this new format worked well.  I think my favorite winner was Olivia Colman who won in the Best Actress category for her portrayal of Queen Anne in The Favourite.  She was genuinely surprised and just fun to watch give her acceptance speech.  I was glad to see that one of the nominated movies I had actually seen, Spiderman:Into the Spider-Verse, won for best animated film.  I was amazed at the technology used in the making of this film, and believe it was very deserving of this award.
*As I watched The Academy Awards, I spent time planning the schedule for my upcoming trip to Seattle with Molly, Zoe and Cosette.  I can’t wait!!
*Soup making was in order this afternoon, as I chopped up and sauteed some onions and garlic, and then added some broth and the squash I had roasted on Sunday.  I also added red curry paste and coconut milk.  The curry gave the soup a nice little bite, and the coconut milk made it rich and creamy.   The perfect meal for a cold, blustery day.


Gathering Graces 2/24/2019

*What a wonderful morning at church.  It is always encouraging to hear the testimony of the good things God is doing in the lives of the people in our congregation. 
*A little after 1 p.m. I called my friend Christina Curry on the phone.  She now lives over in Seattle.  She wanted to talk about something, so I told her I would call her Sunday afternoon.  I couldn’t believe, when the conversation ended, that we had been talking on the phone for three hours!!  The time just flew by. It was so fun to have such a good talk. When the girls and I go on our trip to Seattle in a couple of weeks, Tina is going to join us for dinner one night.  It will be fun to see her!! 
*Around the time Tina and I were wrapping up on the phone, I received a text from Bill suggesting we possibly go out to dinner instead of meet at his house.  Later we found out it had something to do with Bill going to the store and forgetting his wallet.  But his forgetting his wallet was our gain, as we gathering at Casa d’Oro, (wow, we got Casa d’Oro twice this week!!) and I enjoyed great food and fun conversation.  I was in the mood for a Margarita.  I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a Margarita.  I am sure it has been well over a year or more.  But it was a perfect complement to my tamale and chili relleno.  Christy and I started talking about who “The Monster” could possibly be on The Masked Singer.  That lead to the rather off-the-wall suggestion that it could be David Soul, and how his song Don’t Give Up On Me Baby was a really bad song from the seventies.  I brought up a list someone had made of really bad songs from the seventies, and we had a little “bad song” sing-a-long while sitting there in Casa d’Oro.  What would your choices be?  As I looked at a couple different lists, some of the top vote getters for worst songs of the seventies included Debby Boone’s You Light Up My Life, Morris Albert’s Feelings, Bo Donaldson and the Heywood’s Billy Don’t Be A Hero, Terry Jacks Seasons in the Sun, Rupert Holmes Escape (The Pina Colada Song), and the top on many lists.....Rick Dees Disco Duck.  Boy did hearing the titles of these songs transport me back to grade school and being at dances in junior high.
*One of the songs that also appeared on some of the lists was Afternoon Delight sung by the Starland Vocal Band.  I always laugh when I hear this song, because is reminds me of being at Kellogg Junior High School.  In the morning at KJHS, as we waiting for classes to begin, students would gather in the cafeteria.  Music was played during this time as we waited for the bell to ring to head to our first class.  One of the songs played was Afternoon Delight., because the music played was usually top 40 hits from the time.  One day we found out this song was banned because of the content of the lyrics.  It was deemed inappropriate for junior high school students.  The funny thing about this is, we probably didn’t even think about what the song meant, or what the lyrics were even saying until it was banned.  Then we started paying attention to the lyrics, and realized what the “Afternoon Delight” was they were referring to in the song.  Before that, most of us were probably clueless.


Gathering Graces 2/23/2019

*There was some squash still left over from my big squash patch in my garden last summer, and I had been meaning to cut them up and roast them.  I finally got around to doing that today.  After they got out of the oven and cooled, I scooped out the inside of about half of them before I had to go down and teach classes this evening.  I would leave rest for when I was done with classes.  When I came upstairs after teaching, that wonderful husband of mine scooped out the other squash for me, and put them in the fridge.  Now I will make soup with the cooked squash.  Yummy!!!
*For our book group this month we are reading The Trouble With Goats and Sheep.  I haven’t figured out if I like it yet or not.  I am about half way through the book.  To me, it had a rather slow beginning.  But as I start getting more of the story, I believe it will get better.  I will just keep plugging along, and see where it goes.
*I am so glad we have a bathtub in our home.  Sometimes a warm bath is just what is needed.  I mixed some almond oil and lavender oil to put in the bathwater, and it was very soothing smell, and it was smooth to the touch as well.  After I got up from my nap this morning, I relaxed in a warm bath, and it felt wonderful.


Gathering Graces 2/22/2019

*For the past few days I have been wiped out, and I couldn’t figure out why.  I finally figured it out, and it makes me feel much better that there is a cause and a reason.  The reason is a bit TMI, so I won’t be sharing it.  But I am glad I figured it out!
*The drumsticks went in the oven and were ready to eat.  I decided to eat after I was done teaching tonight.  So Paul fixed a green salad and cooked some broccoli for dinner, and I enjoyed it before I headed off to bed.
*One of the types of classes I am certified to teach with VIPKID is called Voice of VIPKID.  Practically the whole class is singing at the top of your lungs and moving around with the student who is learning the song so they can make their own music video of the song to share with their family and friends.  This evening Yoyo and I, with help from her dad, learned the song “What Animals Do You Like?” and sang about a monkey, elephant, shark and bird.  It was so much fun!!  This is only the second class I have had of this type. but they are a real HOOT to teach!!  Yoyo is four years old.  I wish there was a way we could see the finished videos!!


Gathering Graces 2/21/2019

*What a beautiful day in Kellogg today.  The snow glistened in the yard and on the mountains.  The sky was blue and the sun was shining.  I took the above picture from my front porch.  It is a picture of the hills above Jacob’s Gulch, above Kellogg High School. I never tire of the views out my front and back yards, whatever the weather or season.
*I also took some pictures today of the promise of spring from my front flower bed under the living room window.  Yes, spring is coming!!

Signs of spring!!

*As I have mentioned before, I am a bit hooked on the television show The Masked Singer. I watched the latest episode this morning.  Two of the singers were revealed by the end of the episode.  I wasn’t too surprised by The Rabbit.  I wasn’t surprised by who The Lion was, but I didn’t realize how much performing she had done in her life.  I look forward to the finale next week.  I think I know who The Peacock and The Bee are.  I have no clue who The Monster is.  I am going over to Christy’s house to watch the finale.
*I browsed through Hulu and found an interesting show called The Wine Show that I started watching.  There are two actors, Michael Goode (I remember him the most as Finn on The Good Wife and Princess Margaret’s husband Tony Armstrong-Jones on The Crown,  and Michael Rhys (who portrayed Daniel Ellsburg in The Post).  They are friends and their “Wine HQ” is a beautiful villa in the Tuscany region in Italy.  They have some wine experts who bring them wine from around the world.  But then each week they explore Italy and bring back their favorite bottles of wine as part of a “wine challenge”.  It is a really good show if you want to learn about different types of wine, and how they are produced, and who knew how many grape varieties there actually are in the wine making process?  It was a fun show to have  on in the background as I was working on other things. Check out information on the show here.
*Another television show I found that I started watching was The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  I was laughing out loud by the first episode when Mary arrives in Minneapolis, gets her apartment in her friend Phyllis’ building, meets Rhoda, and her co-workers Murray, Ted Baxter and her boss Lou Grant.  It is priceless!!  There was some amazing television writing going on in the 1970’s.  Many of those situation comedies were very funny and entertaining.
*I thawed some chicken for dinner, then realized by the time I returned home from the drama class at 5:30 p.m., the chicken would still need to cook for close to an hour.  I didn’t want to wait and eat that late.  So Casa d’Oro it is!!  I enjoyed my Tacos Al Pastor, and Paul got his favorite, Oceana Burrito.  They both hit the spot.  I headed off to bed by 8 p.m., and Paul stayed up and watched the Kellogg Wildcats beat the #1 ranked in our district Timberlake Timberwolves to a victory in the district tournament to give the Wildcats a spot in the Idaho State Boys Basketball tournament.  This is the sixth straight year in a row the Wildcats have made it to the State Tournament.  Way to go Wildcats!!


Gathering Graces 2/20/2019

*The morning was a bit of a blur.  It was spend teaching, writing feedback, and napping.  I briefly looked at my email, and thank goodness I did.  I had received an email from VIPKID saying I had not submitted one of my student’s feedback.  I had completed the feedback but had not submitted it.  Thank goodness I had looked at my emails!!  Before I knew it I looked at the clock and it was noon.  Where did the morning go? 
*After lunch I prepared for my afternoon drama class. The next two weeks we are focusing on comedy.  It was fun working with the students playing different games that helped the student share their creativity with one another.
*When I returned home, we had the curry egg drop soup again.  I took some time to prep for my morning classes.  Then I was off to my P.E.O. meeting.  I slipped out as soon as it was over so I could get to bed before 9 p.m.  And I did!!


Gathering Graces 2/19/2019

*In a couple of weeks my daughters and I are having a “girls only” weekend to western Washington.  I made some of the final preparations today.  I look forward to spending some time with each of them and enjoying having all of us together in one place.
*As tears poured down my face, I finished the final episodes of The West Wing.  Boy do I love that show.
*For our Christmas Eve Chinese dinner, Bill had prepared a seafood eggdrop soup.  I still had one container of it in the freezer.  I thawed it out, and put some coconut milk and red curry paste and fish sauce in a pot.  Then I added the thawed soup.  I love the combination of coconut milk, red curry paste and fish sauce.  When I served it up for dinner, I added some cilantro, chopped peanuts, fresh lime juice, an a drizzle of coconut milk on top.  I made some “keto friendly” seed bread and an arugula salad to accompany the soup.  It warmed us right up on a snowy February evening.


Gathering Graces 2/18/2019

*Around 8 a.m. Paul and I were off to meet Christy, Everett and Bill for breakfast at the new cafe in Pinehurst called The Goose ‘n Tree Fresh Baked Cafe.  I had a wonderful scrambled egg dish called “The Lookout” with chorizo sausage, shredded corn tortillas, peppers, onions, with a warmed chile verde sauce and shredded cheese served with hashbrowns.  I opted for the French press coffee to drink, and it did not disappoint.  The whole meal was fabulous.  I highly recommend it.  It is on Division Street in Pinehurst, across from the U-Haul store.  It is the former laundromat building, and the former bagel bakery building.
*After we returned home, Paul drove up to KHS to preside over his play rehearsal, and I stayed home and worked on some things.  When Paul got home, we both had some lunch, then were both a bit sleepy, so it was nap time for the both of us.
*Later in the afternoon, Paul and I talked about where God is leading us.  I talked to a friend about this the other night, and we both felt the same way.  As we are now on the far end of 55, we have become on high alert, and both feel a tug of wanting our life to have meaning, have purpose.  We want to make sure we are making a contribution in life.  That we are living the life God has called us to live.  Our prayer is for God to illumine that path, and for a heart willing to walk down the path God has prepared for us.  We want to be an active part of the Kingdom of God, not just a bystander, watching the world go by.  Lord, what path are you taking Paul and I down? 
*In our daily devotions, Paul and I have been reading through Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest. Today’s reading struck a chord with a both.  I think it is such a human thing to look at our failures and dwell on that.  But that is not how we should respond to failures.  The reading this morning, titled The Initiative Against Despair, shares the story of when the disciples, instead of staying away and praying with Jesus, fell asleep. This act produced despair in the disciples.  When we experience such an act in our own life, we think “It is all up now, it is no use trying any more.”  But I love what Chambers shares regarding this story....
If we imagine that this kind of despair is exceptional, we are mistaken, it is a very ordinary human experience.  Whenever we realize that we have not done that which we had a magnificent opportunity of doing, then we are apt to sink into despair; and Jesus Christ comes and says---”Sleep on not, that opportunity is lost forever, you cannot alter it, but arise and go to the next thing.”  Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ, and go out into the irresistible future with Him
......The disciples in this instance  had done a downright unforgivable thing; they had gone to sleep instead of watching with Jesus, but He said---”Arise and do the next thing.”  If we are inspired of God, what is the next thing?  To trust Him absolutely and to pray on the ground of His Redemption.
Never let the sense of failure corrupt your new action.
As Paul and I pray and talk more about our future, I feel like President Josiah Bartlett, as he talks to his advisors in each episode, and he asks them “What’s Next?”  That is where I feel Paul and I are right now......”What’s next God?  What is the next thing?”
*The Real Women group  met tonight at our church.  It was a wonderful gathering of women, where there is encouragement and love for one another.  Debbie Holland gave a wonderful message about walls, and each lady present took some time to look back at a time in their life that represented a stone monument, a time when we knew God had done something miraculous.  We had stones of strength, faith, trust, healing, and transformation, to name a few.  If you are a Christian woman in the Silver Valley, and you are reading this, and you want to be a part of a group that uplifts, encourages and inspires one another, I invite you to attend.  I’ll come pick you up if you need a ride.  I will greet you at the door if you don’t want to enter alone. I encourage you to come and be apart.


Gathering Graces 2/17/2019

*What an awesome message Pastor Dave delivered at church this morning.  It was based on the story of Jesus being tempted by the devil in the wilderness.  Some of it had to do with our own temptations, and how all temptations are not necessarily “guilty pleasure”, but some of our temptations can be good things, such as the devil tempting Jesus with bread.  But we need to make sure that we are not tempted to put, even the good things in our lives, before our relationship with God.  That should always come first.
*Paul, who I now think of as my own private chef, whipped up another delicious egg dish with eggs, onions, Rotel Tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.  Oh my goodness, was it good.
*Christy spent some time perusing her rather large Ina Garten Cookbook collection to create tonight’s menu for family dinner.  The evening began with a French 75 cocktail and Gorgonzola crackers.  For dinner, we had a chopped salad and Beef Bourguignon.  For dessert, we enjoyed an Olive Oil Cake and some Amaretto Liqueur to dip it in.  Bill Woolum dominated the conversation tonight talking about the incredible come from behind victory that the St. Johns men’s basketball team had against Villanova.  (In fact, he wouldn’t shut up about it.)  We also talked about Bill Walton and how he got to where he is now as a ESPN sport’s announcer.  The conversation also went to talking about Chris Mullin, the now coach of the St. John’s Red Storm basketball team.  (Apparently I saw Chris Mullin play basketball back in 1984 when I attended one of the USA men’s basketball games at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.) This was referred to as “The Dream Team”.  I looked up some information on that team, and found out...
It was the last amateur U.S. team to win an Olympic gold medal in men's basketball. The team was considered one of the strongest in U. S. history as it featured four of the five 1984 consensus first team All-Americans in Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Wayman Tisdale, and Sam Perkins.[1] The talent pool for the U.S. team was so strong that Charles Barkley and John Stockton — future first round picks and hall of famers — did not make the roster.
*I had a wonderful visit with a very good friend who is going through some tough things in life.  But, if truth be told, this could describe a list of at least five of my close friends who are all going through some really tough things.......so I fall to my knees and pray.


Gathering Graces 2/16/2019

*The morning began with the “Roberts’ gang”, comprising of one geriatric Pomeranian, one geriatric black cat, one diabetic geriatric black cat and one young silver tabby cat, visiting Kellogg Pet Medical Center so they can all get their yearly checkups, vaccinations, and whatever else needed checked out.  We will find out more how things are with the “geriatrics” when the blood results come back on Monday.
*After we returned home from KMPC, Paul headed to KHS for play practice, and I, along with our four pets, took a nap.  I told Paul I was sure I would be up by the time he returned home.  But if I wasn’t, he should come in a wake me up.  I was surprised that I was still asleep when Paul returned.
*After I taught my early evening classes, I came up to a fabulous burger created by Paul.  He took a hamburger patty and put some onions in the middle.  He topped it with a slice of cheddar and a perfectly fried sunny side up egg, all on a bed of romaine lettuce.  I told him the judges on Chopped would be proud!


Gathering Graces 2/15/2019

*A little before noon I braved the not so fun roads of east Shoshone County and drove to Wallace to host some of the Kellogg Middle School students who were on a field trip today. (The Kellogg School District employees were having a professional development day today, so the students did not have school.) These students, part of the after school program where I have my drama class, spent the morning in Mullan swimming at the Mullan Pool, then ate lunch and came to the theater for a couple of hours.  What an awesome afternoon with an equally awesome group of kids.  We played games, toured the theater, acted out some Melodrama skits, and they learned what melodrama was all about, as well acting out in a few melodrama skits.  I also some some awesome volunteers who came to help.  Savannah Hartenfels, a former KHS drama student and current Sixth Street Board member, came and opened up the theater for us, and was so wonderful to have as part of the afternoon.  Four of Paul’s drama students at KHS also were there to help.  Harley Duce and Daighla Williams gave up their afternoon off from school to help volunteer, and Grant Grant Ray Turner and Garrett Miller were already helping with the field trip.  As I took half of the group upstairs to look tour the theater, Savannah, Harley, Daighla, Grant and Garrett talked with the other students about their experiences with theater at KHS, doing drama and speech competitions, doing plays, making movies and other theatrical opportunities they have had.  The KMS WISE director Scott Albrethsen can be commended for the way the students behaved and how we all had so much fun. 
*As I headed down Interstate 90 toward Wallace, the snow was falling pretty hard, and the roads were rather slushy.  After semi trucks and big four wheel trucks raced by me, I decided to take the Osburn exit and travel on the “old road” into Wallace.  I could go slow, not deal with as much traffic, and feel a bit safer.  On the way home, I drove on the old road the entire way from Wallace to Kellogg.  It may have taken me a bit longer, but I felt much more at ease driving slow and careful.
*After teaching a few classes this evening, Paul had dinner ready for me.  It tasted very good.  He had bought some sausage stuffed mushrooms and a bacon wrapped chicken breast. I could smell it cooking as the smells wafted down into the basement.

Gathering Graces 2/14/2019

*Paul and I had a wonderful Valentine’s Day dinner at the Moose Creek Grill in uptown Kellogg with Christy and Everett.  Paul and I both enjoyed steak and shrimp.  We were served by Paul’s fellow 1978 KHS graduate Christina Karst, which made it a very nice evening.  She took very good care of us!

*The students in my drama program at KMS LOVE to do impromptu skits.  I love getting to know different things about the students, so we always start with some type of question they need to answer before we get going.  Today they all come in saying, “Let’s do the question quick.  We want to perform!!”  How great is that!!!!


Gathering Graces 2/13/2019

*Another snow day for the Kellogg School District today.  When I heard the phone ring a little after 5 a.m. this morning, I knew it was probably another snow day for my husband.  And for me today, too, because that meant my drama class was cancelled for the afternoon as well.
*As Paul watched me nod off as I was writing my feedback for my morning classes, he asked me why I didn’t just go back to bed.  I told him I would, after I was finished.  So once I finished writing the feedback, I headed off to get a couple more hours of sleep.
*When I woke up, Paul asked me if there was something I wanted to do today.  I said we should go for a walk after lunch, and go get some coffee.  So that is what we did.  It was a perfect time to go for a walk.  The sun was shining, and it felt wonderful to walk in the sunshine.  After we got our coffee at The Bean, we walked to Paul’s favorite store Cat Tails, and roamed around for a bit.  Then we walked back home.  Walking in the sunshine gave us a little taste of the spring that is soon to come.


Gathering Graces 2/12/2019

*As I was teaching this morning, Paul came down to inform me that school had been cancelled today because of the snow.  There were some roads that were not safe for the buses to travel on in our school district.  I appreciate it when they put the safety of our students and our drivers first.  It isn’t worth it to put them in danger on snowy and slick roads.  I know for some, snow days can be a pain, but I am glad our school district errs on the side of caution and safety.
*Paul and I enjoyed a nice crackling fire most of the morning.  We didn’t get anything really major accomplished today, but it was nice to be snug and safe and warm in our home.  I plugged away at some projects while sitting on the couch and watch Matt Santos declare his intent to run for President of the United States on The West Wing.
*Lamp Chops have become one of my favorite meats to prepare.  It is quick, easy and very flavorful.  I guess I never prepared lamb because we didn’t have it growing up, and I was not familiar with it.  And I don’t think it was as readily available to purchase as it is now.  I buy a pack of lamb chops each month from Costco, and a pack lasts us a couple of months.  To prepare the lamb chops, I put a little olive oil in a saucepan, and put it on high heat.  I season the chops, sometimes with just salt and pepper, and sometimes I add some herbs after drying the meat off.  Then I brown each side for about 2-3 minutes, I put a lid over the frying pan, take them off the heat, and let them rest for about 6-7 minutes.  They are perfect every time.  Rare, but warm throughout.  Delicious!
*The snow continued to come down throughout the day and evening, with a little bit of a break here and there.  When I headed off to bed, it was still snowing.


Gathering Graces 2/11/2019

*Well, the thing I had been hoping wouldn’t happen happened this morning.  I slept through my first three classes.  Not a good way to start the day.  I think what happened is, my regular alarm went off at 2 a.m., which is really about 1:45 a.m. (I purposefully have the time set about 15 minutes ahead of the regular time.)  I usually turn that alarm off, then I wait for the alarm on my Kindle tablet to go off at the actual time of 2 a.m.  But I have been having some issues with my Kindle cord, so my Kindle was plugged it, but it did not charge all night, so the second alarm did not go off.  Fortunately I woke up in time to do my last two classes.  And the  first three students I had on my schedule did not use a substitute teacher, and so I will teach them either tomorrow or the next day and it will be the same scheduled class that should have been on Monday.  I was hoping this wouldn’t have happened, but it did.  I just need to be more vigilant at night to make sure both of my alarms are working. 
*Monday is my “get prepared” day for the upcoming week....at least that is what I hope it turns out to be.  I sat with my calendar and my planner and a legal pad, and started scheduling things that I want to accomplish into my upcoming days.  It continues to be a work in progress.  But hopefully this will help me get things done.
*Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist is a book I just finished listening to with the help of my Echo Dot in the kitchen.  The message from each of the books I have recently read by this author have really hit home in many ways.  I love this description she has on her website about her book Bittersweet:
“The idea of bittersweet is changing the way I live, unraveling and re-weaving the way I understand life. Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a moment of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich even when it contains a splinter of sadness. “It’s the practice of believing that we really do need both the bitter and the sweet, and that a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul. Bitter is what makes us strong, what forces us to push through, what helps us earn the lines on our faces and the calluses on our hands. Sweet is nice enough, but bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity. Bittersweet is courageous, gutsy, audacious, earthy.”
I want to be able to take the bittersweet moments from my life, and find the beauty and depth in these moments.
*On my last trip to The Dollar Tree in Coeur d’Alene, I picked up some Valentine’s decorations.  One of the signs said “Love Is All You Need”.  It made me think about love, and how I experience love in my life.  I am very fortunate and blessed to be married to an incredible person who loves me more than I can even understand or comprehend at times. Lately I have been focusing on God’s love for me, and really trying to understand it.  I don’t think I understand it.  I don’t think I live like I understand how deeply God loves me.  Through my study of God’s word, I am trying to understand unconditional love.  I haven’t felt a lot of self love lately.  And when I don’t see myself as God sees me, then, for me, I also lose the capacity to reach out and share love with others.  And my heart feels cold, and weird and somewhat closed.  I want my heart to be warm and opening and inviting.  There is a line in the Beatle’s song All You Need Is Love that says  “There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be....its easy.”  Sometimes love is easy.  With Paul, it is often easy.  But with myself, it has become hard. 


Gathering Graces 2/10/2019

*Our church service was moved into our Fellowship Hall because our sanctuary was about 50 degrees.  As we sang our worship songs, someone commented, as they looked out of the wall of windows in the Fellowship Hall, that it was like we were having church in a snow globe.  It was beautiful outside, as the wind swirled the snowflakes around before they hit the ground.
*The afternoon was spent getting ready for family dinner.  Paul and I were hosting Bill, Christy and Everett for dinner and I prepared some herb roasted chicken drumsticks, some hot chicken wings, a green salad, broccoli with lemon and butter, and some mushrooms stuffed with cream cheese, garlic and Parmesan Cheese.
*Because of the cold and blustery weather we have been having, a hot toddy sounded nice to have before dinner to help warm us all up.  It was nice to sit in the living room surrounded  by my recent transformation from snowmen to red hearts in honor of the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday.  Paul found my Valentine’s decoration as he was organizing our basement storage room and brought it upstairs for me.  It has been so long since I decorated for Valentine’s Day that I didn’t even realize I had some of these decorations.
*It was a wonderful evening.