Sunday’s Psalm

I love the Psalms.  Always have.

Even as an unbeliever the poetry and passion arrested my restless attention and drew me  to take a closer look.

The Psalms have taught me to pray.

They have been my pattern of praise.

And they are a sure guide into the human condition, standing before God.

I have read them for pleasure, for instruction, by assignment.

I have read them piecemeal and in huge gulps.

And I’ve dissected and studied them.

I taught a class on the Psalms that lasted for over a year, culminating in us writing our own psalms and putting together books to keep them in for a memory.

It was a great class.   And I was looking through my notebook yesterday and decided to share some of the insights and lessons we learned .

Basically, we had a list of questions that we answered about each psalm, and then finished by sharing what that particular psalm meant to us.

Before I gave them the questions, however, I challenged them to take a big gulp.

To read the entire book through once to get the style and language.

Then to read it again looking for attitude and placement in history.

And then to read it once again, just to look at the names of God this book revealed.

I gave them a month to accomplish these tasks and during that time I decorated notebooks for them with a pocket on the back that had a card with 10 questions on it.  This was our analysis card- each psalm was looked at according to this criteria and then prayerfully considered with the last question in mind.

These are the 10 questions:

1)  Who wrote it?

2)  What are the circumstances? ( historically, personally, nationally?)

3)  Are there questions asked?  Identify them.

4)  Are those questions answered?  By whom?

5)  Can I pray this psalm?

6)  What names for God are used by the psalmist?

7)  What is the relationship between the psalmist and God?

8)  Are there any New Testament references ( or any other Biblical reference)?

      Do the references make the psalm more clear?

9)  Whose voices are heard?  (ex. psalmist, God, unbelievers, nations, etc.)

10) What does it mean to me?

For the forseeable future, I am going to embark on this study again and post them on Sundays.  You are welcome to study along with me and post your observations in the comments area- you are also welcome just to read along and enjoy- letting me know when you agree or think I’ve gone off the deep end.

If you are not interested, skip the Sunday portion of my blog, because I am headed for a journey into the Psalms.

Storm watching.

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I like storms.

A book that starts out, “It was a dark and stormy night” has my attention immediately. (Although other than Snoopy in the Peanuts cartoon, I don’t believe I’ve ever actually seen a book start out that way!)

But you know what I mean.

There is something in the air- and electric tang to the atmosphere right before a storm…. the light changes its quality…. shadows intensify until they almost disappear…. and suddenly, I’m running from window to window until I can bear it no longer and I run outside…. looking for the storm on the horizon.

Only I live in a suburb in Ohio and the horizon is not visible for all the houses and trees.  So I take pictures of the sky and the trees and let the wind and the mist of the moors stay in my imagination. 

There was a storm brewing the other day.  It was rather ominous in its approach and I was sitting in the kitchen talking with Cynthia when I could stand it no longer and I jumped up with my camera and ran outside.  Cynthia is pretty used to my ways , so she stayed there drinking her diet Coke whilst I ran about taking pictures . 

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The skies were all over the place, dark turbulence approaching from the west, brave sunshine in stark contrast from above, and the blithe blue skies in the NE
scuttling away before the oncoming storm. 

It was magnificent!

I wish my emotions would give me the same degree of warning. 

Out of nowhere it seems I am dumped into a morass of depression and self loathing.  I am skipping along and suddenly, the bottom drops out and there is no longer a path ahead and I am clinging to the promises of God’s love and protection.   (Don’t get me wrong, the promises and the FACT of His love are very satisfying and real- and I don’t doubt them.)

Clinging is not a bad thing in these circumstances.  It helps me keep my balance and gives me a focus when everything seems to be futile and without hope.  I have been fighting these battles since I was a young girl and I know that these emotions are an attack and that they are based on lies propagated by the evil one and I am more prone to them when I am sick and tired and stressed.  But they are so real when I am in the midst of them that I sometimes falter and fall.

Right now the sun is shining in my windows and the birds are singing so cheerily from the arborvitae trees in the yard behind me, – there’s not a storm cloud in sight.  But the forecast is for more snow and falling temperatures and I know everything can change in a moment.

That is why I am so thankful for the constant prayers of those that love me.  They are the storm watchers in my life.  They keep me in their thoughts and go to our Father with the love and concern that they share for me and I feel and know that the love and thoughts for my welfare are a web of protection that surrounds me daily.  Our lives are lived in community- we are NOT alone- we have each other.  We have a spiritual connection through the Body of Christ and through the bonds of His love and I am aware of our commitment to each other.  You pray for me, I pray for you, we hold each others hands, commiserate with each others sorrows and encourage one another to good works and stronger faith.

So, in the midst of the storm, I just wanted to say Thanks – I’m happy to know you are there.

Scotch Egg Meatloaf- recipe

Scotch meat loaf

It really is quite lovely.

And the taste is just perfect.

Especially if you love Scotch eggs.


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Nor only is it covered with bacon, but it is stuffed with boiled eggs!

And it is totally delicious.

I saw this on a blog from OZ and just decided to make it my own.

I was not thrilled with the recipe they offered, but the concept- I took it and ran!

So here is my adapted recipe for Scotch Meatloaf.


1 lb. ground round

1 lb. ground pork

1 lb. ground chicken(or turkey)

1 onion, medium, diced

3/4 cup chopped parsley

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp coarse ground pepper

1 cup bread crumbs

1 egg (raw)

1 tsp gravy magic or Worcestershire sauce

4 large boiled eggs, peeled

7 slices good quality bacon


Boil eggs- place in cold water and bring to boil.  Cover with tight fitting lid and time setting for 20 minutes.  Then pour out hot water and immediately immerse eggs into cold water.  You want them to cool off as soon as possible.

Boiling the eggs in this way insures that the yolks will not turn color and that the shell will release easily without tearing up the egg.

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Peel  at least four of the eggs and set aside.

Mix together the first 10 ingredients in a large bowl.

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You can use a strong wooden spoon- or just wash your hands well and mix together with your fingers.  Either way- make sure everything is well mixed- the best meatloaf needs a thorough amalgamation of ingredients. 

Optional: you may wish to add a bit of sage or fennel seed to the mix if you want a more sausage flavor.  I didn’t and it turned out very well- but I think it would be fun.

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Now- divide the meat in half and put the first half into the bottom of your loaf pan and make an egg size trough down the center.  Put the eggs into the trough next to each other in a line.

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And then, using the other half of meat, cover the eggs and pinch the sides together so that it is a solid loaf of meat.

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Cover with thick slices of bacon and bake for at least an hour at 375 degrees.

I covered the top for the baking time and then turned the oven to broil and uncovered the loaf so that the bacon could crisp. 

Broil another 5 minutes- until bacon looks crisp enough for your taste.

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This is a recipe that you will make over and over again, if you like meatloaf and eggs and bacon.

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Add a salad and some sugar snap peas-

And dinner is served!

No one can be uncheered with…

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Pink and teal plaid boots!

OK- I know Piglet actually said ” … a balloon!”

But then, Piglet had never seen my boots.

I bought these during the Nor’easter in November, and when I went back in December they were waiting to cheer me up!

They are waiting there for me to return and walk on the beach in them, possibly in February. 

I am feeling particularly uncheered right now.  The sore throat and aching head and ears, plus a very annoying cough are bedeviling my days and nights and I can’t seem to shake them off. 

But when I was looking through the pictures in my album, these boots winked at me and said “Cheer up”.

I wish I had a pair here in Ohio.

Turtle Tea for Three- dedicated to Meredith

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I told you about the tea we had at The Sailors’ Rest.

And I showed you pictures and shared the menu and a recipe.

Here is another tea I went to recently, in Columbus.

Meredith bought Aidan this great turtle towel at Pony Tails in Chincoteague.

She bought him a HUGE stuffed turtle in Hawaii and he loves it, so when she saw this towel she just picked it up and bought it!

And Aidan loves teapots!  Really, really loves them.

So we found him an aluminum teapot and added some Asparagus biscuits and you have a tea party.

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Did I forget to mention how much he loves to peel Clementines?

So- towel, tea, biscuits and tangerines.

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These all added up to a great tea!  Especially when you add Aidan, Grandma and Willow to the equation.

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franklin conservatory 021 Because we had a LOT of fun.

F.R.O.G. Jam-two recipes

This is a reprinting of  two recipes from August-

F.R.O.G. Jam-

3 oranges juiced

2 (3 oz) packages of raspberry gelatin

4 cups mashed ripe figs

4 cups sugar

4 TBS. orange zest

4 TBS. fresh ginger, finely diced

Over medium heat, stir OJ and gelatin until dissolved.

Add chopped figs, sugar, orange zest and ginger. Let come to boil on med heat,

reduce to low, stirring often. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, continue stirring until mixture thickens.

Pour into sterilized jars, seal and place in canner filled with hot water. Process 15 minutes.

My version of FROG jam-

3 oranges juiced- about 1 cup liquid (add water if needed to get 1 cup)

1 (3oz) pkg. of raspberry gelatin (JELL-O)

1 pkg low sugar sure jell

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup splenda

4 cups chopped figs

1 Quart of fresh raspberries, cooked and reduced to liquid after you smash it

through a sieve to remove seeds.

4 TBS orange zest minced fine

4 to 5 TBS fresh ginger minced fine

In large saucepan, stir together OJ, raspberry juice, gelatin and pectin (surejel) until dissolved over medium heat.

It will take a while with a whisk but just keep stirring until there are no lumps. Add sugar,splenda , figs, orange

zest and ginger and bring to boil on medium heat. Reduce to low heat, but keep on a low boil and cook for about

25 minutes. Stir often or it will burn on the bottom or stick. When the mixture thickens, Pour into sterilized half pint

jars, and seal with rubber tops and rings. Place in hot water bath and process for 15 minutes.

Sugar is a preservative. Since I have taken so much out of this recipe, even when the jars are sealed, I would store in

the refrigerator and try to use within 6 months time.

-one of my most frequently requested recipes.  Because I just revisited the FROG  jam that I made ( at a tea in Chincoteague) and it was really, really good.  It was so good I wish I had made more- LOTS more.

So if you didn’t make it or copy it the first time- here’s another opportunity.

If you did- let me know how yours turned out.

Akron Art Museum- an open window into the world of art

I can’t believe that I’m writing a review of the Akron Art Museum, but have you been there lately? 

The renovation is finished and it is amazing how great it looks and how easy it is to access this very REAL museum right in the heart of Akron, Ohio.

Just recently it has come home to me how helpful and informative this relatively small museum has been in my life.

We went to the Baltimore Art Museum for a couple of hours whilst waiting for Blythe’s plane to come in the week before last.  They had an interesting perspective on Edgar Allan Poe- mostly of the illustrations done by Manet and a drawing by Henri Matisse of Poe that captures the brooding melancholy the author and poet manifested. You can see much of it online here.

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(not quite Manet- these are MY renderings of the Raven on an envelope I had in my purse!)

But I was so happy to see my old friend, The Thinker, in his largest form displayed there.  I was first introduced to Auguste Rodin’s sculpture through the deep and intellectual show- “Dobey Gillis” in the early ’60’s.  If you are too young to remember, each show would begin with the troubled Dobey sitting in front of this statue and contemplating the woes of his teenaged life.  ( It was really  a kind of goofy show- not deep or intellectual- I just realized that MOST of you reading will have never seen this show and not get the tongue in cheek humor I was attempting.)  Over the years, I discovered that this statue was not a stage dressing but an actual work of art- and I have always been attracted to the story behind the statue. 

The Akron Art Museum, ( or is it called institute?)  had a wonderful show of Rodin’s work several years ago and we spent an afternoon there looking and reading and discovering much about this artist and his work and innovations to the art world.  Originally it was commissioned as a piece of a larger work by the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris.  Based on the characters of the Divine Comedy by Dante, the Thinker was originally entitled,” The Poet”, and was meant to represent Dante himself.  There are three sizes of this bronze sculpture, small, original size and monumental- the molds were made by Rodin and there are quite a few pieces that were cast by him and his family.  I learned all this and soaked in a lot of atmosphere in Akron, so when I saw “him” in Baltimore, it was with a feeling of meeting an old friend.   DSC_0217

I just sat and thought with him at first,


and then I played around a little- since I couldn’t look over his shoulder, I just looked through his folded arm.

Anyway- last week when I was in Columbus, we went to the Franklin Conservatory- read about it here.  And there I ran into the art of

Dale  Chihuly, premier glass artist- displayed throughout the gardens and displays throughout the gardens.  I again felt like I was encountering an old friend, because I had seen his work first in Akron.

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So I just wanted to give some long overdue credit to Akron- not often perceived as a city of culture- for offering some very interesting and in depth programs on art and artists over the years.  If you get a chance- come to Akron and take a look for yourself.

( I bet you thought all I did was bake and babysit, didn’t you?)

It is Sunday- again!?!!

My life is in fast forward.

Last Sunday, I woke up in Chincoteague-

we went on a tour of the Naval Academy in Anapolis-

and drove home in frigid temperatures through the hoar frost in Pennsylvania.

(AND I got to say hoar frost one more time! )

The week whizzed by-  Dr.’s appointment Monday- then on to Columbus!

Three Aidan-filled days – then a quick trip to Grandpa’s Cheese Barn and home.

A funeral on Friday-

Dinner at a young couple’s home last night

(Thanks again Adriel and Belen)

And here it is Sunday, again!

The Naval Academy was worth a second mention- I got some great pictures of Meredith, Cynthia and Blythe- and I love the pictures from the Chapel in the Academy.

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Here’s a picture you won’t see again- Meredith at the Naval Academy.

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And LOOK- she’s smiling!

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Here they are by the statue of  Tecumseh.

Blythe, Aidan, Meredith-2010 046 And in front of the Chapel-

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Which is really quite beautiful inside.

And here is a great shot outside-

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Of  Blythe and Meredith in front of a huge anchor.

It is mid January!  I have to kick everything into high gear just to catch up.

And, right now, my gears are grinding pretty slow.

Moving on-

franklin conservatory 070 While in Columbus this last week, Willow and Aidan and I went to the Franklin Conservatory and enjoyed a stroll through the gardens.

It was really beautiful- the gardens are FULL of orchids- there were orchids everywhere!

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And Chihuly art festooned all over the gardens!  Flowering from the greenspaces,

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Overhead in cave-like spaces,

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In boats, and floating like big easter eggs in the greenery-

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And then there was a lot of child interactive fun-franklin conservatory 051 franklin conservatory 062 -AND-

The train village set up in the entrance-

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where we spent a lot of time looking and ooh-ing and ah-ing as the trains went toot-tooting by! 

We spent the entire morning enjoying the gardens and art- and Aidan  played and   looked at the ponds and trees and structures and we ALMOST forgot that Winter was still holding a firm grip outside.

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Brrr, it’s cold around here.

Blythe, Aidan, Meredith-2010 056 I have the shivers.  I’m trembling and feeling like an old lady who needs a shawl to keep the drafts away, and I keep shifting from hot to cold.

I’m sick, again, sick still, just sick, and tired of it!

Driving home through Pennsylvania on Sunday, the temps were in the low teens and the trees were covered with hoar frost. ( I love saying hoar frost- it comes out sounding as cold as it really is outside!)

Right now I feel like I’m covered with hoar frost inside and out.

A lingering cold was joined by a new one and now my throat is tight and sore, my cough even deeper in my chest, and I keep shivering with the cold.

Add to that the cold I felt at my brother’s graveside and I am talking sub-zero temperatures.  A cold service in the winter’s cold and feeling like a stranger among strangers- I’m so glad my oldest brother and some of his family was there.

There are some frozen territories that cannot be crossed alone.  Someone has to meet you at least part of the way.  My brother tried at the end to include us, but it was too little, too late.


In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,

That is how I feel- cold and bereft and unforgiven for offences unknown.

This is a time for grief.

A time of sorrow.

A time for memories.

I’m looking forward to healthier times, more forgiving climates, and the surcease of sorrow.

Our God, heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.

Achoo.  I mean Amen!