Friday, May 29, 2009

The Book Thief

On the website '' there is a featured review of 'The Book Thief.' It is excellent, and I agree mostly with the author. I also didn't want to finish, because I knew how it would end and I had found myself cheering on the young heroine, and I savored every last page, hoping against hope the end would change. It certainly cries out to be read by every English and History class because of its realistic description of everyday life for children in Germany during WWII. I think every parent, that still has kids at home, would find it an inspiration; and what a unique gift for parents to read the book to or with their kids! ENJOY!

This afternoon, Gram and I, will be driving to the biggest city in Michigan to see some of our grandkids. We got word last night that our southern kids/grandkids arrived home safely in Alabama after spending time with us this week, and we thank God for their traveling mercies!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Great Mystery of the Bird Feeder

Over the past week we have noted that our bird-feeder, just outside the north window of my wife's study, has been consumed every night by a mysterious guest. Regardless of how full it is during the day, its empty the next morning ... and now we are noticing the wood ledge around it is also being stripped ..... evidently our ghostly visitor is not just satisifed with just the seeds inside it ... I've half a mind to stay awake one night to spy on the guilty party ... except the other half of my mind is insisting on going to sleep, and rules the night! Perhaps if I start taking the bird-feeder in at night our mysterious guest will be forced to appear during daylight hours when it's more likely to be exposed ... but that takes away the mystery. On that mysterious note, I went to the Library today and brought home the book 'The Heretic's Daughter,' a historical novel about the Salem Witch Trials.

'Follow truth wherever you find it,
even if it takes you outside your preconceived
ideas of God or life.
Even if it take you outside your own country
into most insignificant alien places like
Bethlehem.' -George Macleod

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Slower Lane of Life

'Sadly we have interpreted the slower lane of life as the poorer lane!'

We teach our children how to measure
and how to weigh.
We fail to teach them how to revere,
how to sense wonder and awe'
-Rabbi Abraham Herchel

'All of earth is crammed with heaven, and every brush
aflame with God,
but only those who see take off their shoes.'
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning
[how few times I've bothered to take off my shoes and observe
spell-bound! -Eutychus2]

What is this life if, full of care,
We have not time to stand and stare-
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows;
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass-
No time to see in broad daylight
Streams full of stars, like stars at night
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance
A poor life this if, full of care
We have no time to stand and stare.
-Wm. Henry Davies

[most of these poems were found on the terry hersey link.]

Nothing Like Family

Tonight, at the Adult Bible Study, we are focusing on Mark 3:31-35. This is where Jesus is confronted by the religious leaders and accused of being under the influence of Satan; Jesus' family comes to rescue him, and Jesus refuses their help. In refusing their help, many have interpreted Jesus has being caustic to his family's efforts - and nothing could be further from the truth. As I think about how instead of DIMINISHING the concept of family Jesus is instead ENLARGING the family, I give thanks for my spiritual family. ThE past two year's journey for my Masters in Spiritual Formation was truly one of the 'highlights' of my life! In addition to all my learning, spiritual forming and new perspectives, I have to say one of the greatest benefits were my cohort-mates. Hopefully we have formed bonds that will last through eternity. Kathy, Kendra, Sylvia, Becky - the last queen of Indiana, Don, Cal, Ryan, Matt, Martin, Rodger, Arvin, Craig, Brian, David, Rudy & James are friends forever.

Sometimes I believe it is as easy to forget, and take for granted, the preciousness of our spiritual family as well as our dna family. Today, my Alabama side of the family leaves for home in the deep south, after a family pit stop in Illinois. The blogs that some of my friends have listed on this site are quite interesting, especially the ones that talk about their families!! [As you've already noted I have a tendency to jump from subject to subject without warning or introduction] Time to go, guess I'll call my mom and see how she and grandma are doing today. They only live two hours away and sometimes I'm not a very attentive son; I'd hate to hear what the Apostle Paul might say about that laxity.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Day After

Good Morning....
Wow, what a wonderful Memorial day weekend with the kids from Alabama. By the way, the town they live in has 300 people, even the county-capital has fewer people in it than Hastings, so anything we do here is bigger! For example: in Hastings you can watch numerous traffic lights instead of the same ole one all the time.

For Memorial Day we all got up and went to the parade - we sat on the curb [on Broadway] across from Tyden Park ... had a great time. It was sweet, my five year old grandson made sure everyone had their little American flag held high right before the parade got to us! Then we came back home and packed a picnic lunch and went to Pierce Creek Park and hiked ... it was a beautiful day for that! Then we came home and got rested up. During the rest four gentlemen from church [Ernie, Randy, Tim & Robert] came and mowed the church/parsonage lawn. With four men it went pretty fast and they did an excellent job. I had to rope off a patch of lawn where we discovered a mother rabbit had hid four babies - my one granddaughter, who is in love with ALL creatures made sure Gramps cautioned them! I looked out in the backyard one time and all four lawn tractor were in a line like they are starting a race across the campus - my grandson thought that was cool and waited for them to 'take off.'

Later we had a birthday meal for my other granddaughter, and immediately after supper, Gram had a surprise for us all .... we went to the movie theater downtown to watch 'The Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian!' - it was excellent! Then we came back and had cheesecake and ice cream and birthday presents were opened.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Arrived with Gifts!

The kids [and grandkids] arrived safely last night, just in time for Gramps to put corn and hamburgers on the grill! Then they gave Gramps some graduation gifts ........ a Starbucks gift card and 'The Pilgrim's Progress in MOdern English.' This is excellent, it includes an audio excerpts CD. Every chapter of the book is annotated with scripture and notes, then in the back there is a study guide for each chapter. Wonderful.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day weekend.

On May 3, 1915 a Candian physician Lt.Col. John McCrae wrote a poem after he witnessed the death of a close friend. Later McCrae rejected his own poem and tore it out of his notebook. A fellow officer saw him do it and rescued it, later it was published.
"In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Below the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved, and were loved; and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

This weekend, in particular, we honor all men/women who have given their lives for our freedom in all parts of the globe. It is also appropriate that we honor those who have served in some capacity in protecting our nation; and particularly those who have life-long wounds because of their service.
In my wallet I carry a military patch that designates the unit I served with in the Army from 1969-1972. USARPAC, USSAD, ACSI

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My favorite movies:
The Soloist
Night at the Museum
Night at the Museum: Battle at Smithsonian
Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Dances with Wolves
Field of Dreams
Dr. Zhivago
Polar Express
The Village
The Sin-Eater
The Notebook
Message in a Bottle
Night at Rodante
Big Fish
Brush with Fate[Hallmark]
The Love Letter[Hallmark]
Dance with the White Dog [Hallmark]
My favorite historical figures:
Abraham Lincoln
Benjamin Franklin
John Wesley
My hobbies:
Spending time with my wife
Camping, fishing and hiking
Being outdoors
Future Dreams:
Get a Doctor's degree
Write a book

White Feather Press

This owl is not the official symbol of White Feather Press, I just thought it looked good here! Skip Coryell
Skip, Whitefeatherpress's owner and publisher, has some great novels about partriotism, second amendment rights, and family values - check out his books!
I have every one of his novels.
Tom Sprague: 'From Poverty to Glory: Growing up in the Great Depression .. a time for faith and family....' 2008. 181 pgs.
This is a tremendous website by Skip. I just wanted to say a word about the book, 'From Poverty to Glory,' is a book by Tom Sprague [a member of our church family] who talks about how God helped him and his family through the Depression era. Its a great book, particularly appropriate for our current economic times .... and Tom is always careful to give God the credit.
Its also an excellent book for parents to read a chapter a day at family time, or around the dinner table before eating. ENJOY.

Uncle Will Riley Hinton: "Lonely are the Hunted" 2008. 206pgs. My uncle Will is writing a 'cowboy trilogy' and this is his first book - excellent! The second book is about to be published by whitefeatherpress. Those of you who like good Christian western fiction will find many reasons to praise God in this story. ENJOY.
Uncle Will's second book in his Christian western trilogy is now in print; its called 'Rocky Mountain Odessy.' Check it out at

Mary Mueller: Stargazer: The life of Mary - Mother of God. 2009 This is a wonderful historical fiction about the life of Mary, earthly mother of Jesus. The author brings many things to light that Protestanism threw out when they rejected the worship of Mary; and I am glad that Mary reminds us of them - they are rich and faith-building. ENJOY.

The Devlin Diary

The Devlin Diary [Book Review]
Christi Phillips: The Devlin Diary. A Novel. Simon & Schuster, Inc., N.Y, New York. 2009. 427pgs.
From the flycover: 'This is a novel of intrigue, passion, and royal secrets that shifts tantalizingly between Restoration-era London and present-day Cambridge.' This is a unique novel of historical fact mixed with fiction. There is no bad language or graphic sexual material. The story smoothly transitions beween historical London and modern-day Cambridge, and keeps you guessing right to the end. Matter of fact the end is totally unexpected, in both historical and fictional aspect. I found it delightful in how the author integrated the personalities of the historical heroine and the professor that has found the diary; both in their careers and compassions for others. This was an excellent read and well worth your time.
I read it shortly before I read the Guernsey Society book, and it was neat how one book read from a diary and the other from letters. If you like history, which I do, you will like this book also.

The Guernsey LIterary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary [Book Reveiw]
Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. A Novel. Dial Press; subsidiar of Random House Publishing, 2009. 290pgs. [Questions for discussion on last page]

The first thing that attracted me to this book was its title; what in the world was a Potato Peel Pie? It is a remarkable historial fiction story told in letters and telegrams about an island, and its people, belonging to England that was overtaken and controlled by the Nazis. The characters of the story continue, through their letters, to grow on you.
The style in which the book is written leaves a lot to one's imagination to fill in the blanks, making it a story in which the reader participates more than usual; and in my case wish to one day visit the island of Guernsey. The author leaves just enough of each character's personality for you to fashion them in your own thoughts, and from your own experiences with similar people. I think the book also encourages each one of us to realize that no matter how trivial, or uneventful, we think our lives to be, there is someone waiting to hear our story.

Favorite recipes

Roast pork loin .... by the Neely's.
This is a great recipe. I cooked a pork loin for my wife. Then tried it out on my mom and grandma; then cooked one for a church picnic. Everyone seemed to like it. I've discovered that baked apple slices, covered with some honey, are fine compliments to the pork. ENJOY!

Spiced Rubbed Chicken Breast Tacos .... by Bobby Flay
This is probably some of the most 'tasty' chicken I've ever had ... my wife claims its the best! The spice rub is excellent. Since I don't like hot foods [except in my Jambalia] I didn't use the poblanos and only used half the chili powder the rub called for. The grilled sweet onion was excellent, but be sure to cut the splices thick or they will not come out well on the grill, and go easy on the sauce or it will overpower the taste of the onion! ENJOY!

Grilled Cabbage
Today, Tuesday, June2nd, Paula Dean recipe.
Paula grilled a cabbage today and it looked mighty good, so I'm going to try it out and we'll see!
*5 slices bacon, cut into 1/4 slices
*1 cup chopped onion
*1 medium green cabbage
*1/4 cup barbeque sauce
*1 tablespoon House seasonings
..Parboil cabbage 20/30 minutes
..Add bacon and onioin to skillet and cook until just beginning to brown but remains soft; about 3/5minutes. Drain bacon and onion in a strainer over a bowl and reserve the drippings.
..Cut core out of cabbage about 3-inches down towards the center and in circule about 3-inches in diameter. Sprinkle and rub House Seasoning onto cabbage. With pastry bush, brush the reserved back drippins all over cabbage. Set aside
..Add barbeque sauce to the bowl w/bacon and onions, mix together. Fill cabble with mixure...Crumble a piece of aluminum foil into a ring about 3-inches in diameter. Place ring on top of grill and set cabbage on top.
..Allow to cook for 20/25 minutes. Quarter cabbage with knife when ready to serve
House Seasoning
*1 Cup salt
*1/4 cup black pepper
*1/4 cup garlic powder
mix ingredients togther ans store in airtight container for up to 6 months.

This a good dish, however some changes I would make would be to go a little lighter on the potatoes, unless you make them as a 'side' dish [this idea from my wife]. Also I would put some asparagus spears [just the spear tips] in with the beans [and cut the fresh green beans in half (not in quantity but length)]. The rub for the shrimp is simply genius, don't fudge on the ground fennel seed [course I would add shrimp - I can't get enough shrimp]; on the nicoise vinaigrette I left out the anchovy paste simply because I thought it might be tooo salty, because there's already kosher salt in the recipe, and I don't care much for anchovies anyway. If one wanted to get a little carried away, for additional taste and color, you might have some red bell pepper strips. With Cranberry Sparkling drink, this is an excellant meal and a healthy one! Some garlic bread sticks also are a good bread addition. The next time I make this I am also going to add scallops!!ENJOY.

Firecracker Grilled Alaska Salmon
8 [4 oz.] fillets salmon
1/2 cup peanut oil
4 tblspns soy sauce
4 tblspns balsamic vinegar
4 tblspns green onions, chopped
3 teaspns brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspns ground ginger
2 teaspns crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspns sesame oil
1/2 teaspn salt [use Kosher salt]
1. Place salmon fillets in a medium , nonporous glass dish. In a seperate medium bowl, combine he peanut oil, soy sauce, vinegar, green onions, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, sesame oil and salt. Whisk together well, and pour over the fish. Cover and marinate the fish in the refrigerator for 4 - 6 hours.
2. Prepare an outdoor grill with coals about 5 inches from the grate, and lightly oil the grate.
3. Grill the fillets 5 inches frm coals for 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measured at the thickest part, or until fish just flakes with a fork. Turn over halfway through cooking.
I think the next time I fix this I will add just a touch of cummin, and a sprinkle of ground fennel seed. But you don't want to overpower the salmon taste.

Fruit Soup ..... I got this recipe from the Paula Deen food website.
1/2 cantaloupe, seeds removed
1 cup fresh pineapple
1 cup peaches
1 cup Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced [approx. 1 apple]
2 cups strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 tblspns sugar
2 tblspns honey
2 cups water
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup orange juice.
Combine all fruit: cantaloupe, pinapple, peaches, apple, strawberries in large mixing bowl, along with sugar and honey. Add fruit mix to pot on the stove and add liquids of water, pineapple, lemon and orange juice.
While fruit mix is simmering on stove, cut bottom of your cantaloupe half [so as not to rock] and with fruit baller dig out 2 cups of cantaloupe adding it to rest of fruit in pot. Reduce heat, and simmer for 15 or fruit is soft
Allow fruit to cool down. When ready pour half of mixture[not liquids] into blender. Blend until smooth; and chill until ready to serve.
Cheesy Peanut Butter Fudge
1/2 lb. easy-melt cheese [recommend Velveta]
1 cup creamy peanut butter [ recommend a creamy - honey peanut butter]
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans [or whatever nut you prefer]
1 confectioners sugar
1 and 3/4 sticks butter
*Lightyly spray the bottom of a 9x2inch square pan w/nonstick cooking spray.
*In a saucepan over medium heat, melt cheese and butter together; then add peanut butter and
stir until smooth. Remove from heat and add vanilla and nuts.
*Empty confectioners sugar into a large bowl and pour mixture over sugar. Stir briefly, then coat hands with butter and knead fudge.
*Remove fudge from bowl and press evenly and firmly into spray coated pan.
*You may want to press paper towel on top to remove some butter.
*Place into refrigerator until fudge is firm.

send me your favorite recipe and I'll give it a try!

My favorite links

[these are not necessarily in any order]
htt:// [if you go to Google, or type this in it will take you to the site; you just can't get on it from here]
[an extremely strange book site]
a blogspot I just discovered that is very interesting...

please know that just because these links are suggested, it does not mean that I agree with everything on these sites. but I often find valuable discussion, encouragement and disagreement on each one; plus many of them have beautiful photo's.


This is my first time of venturing into the world of 'blogging,' so have patience with me. Any tender-loving criticism will be welcomed with open arms ... for those of you who are annoyed or frustrated just switch to another blog - in which case I would heartedly recommend one of my links. If you don't like any of them, stick with your own. My plans are to begin with a couple of my favorite cooking recipes from the cooking channel; a few book reviews on the most recent books I've read. Any conversations you would like to start will be welcome also. Perhaps there will even be the facsimile of an open diary ... who knows. I probably won't be sharing information that is too personal, and certainly not any family names or photo's. But let me say that I am my wife's greatest cheerleader and love my two girls and son. [and each of their spouses] This summer, Grandma and I are expecting our 13th grandchild!!