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November 21, 2014 | 0 comments

It’s been a couple of weeks since we returned home from South Africa, but we’re still talking about the many things we enjoyed. 

Sua du Plessis from Christian Arts took us to Moyo, a restaurant across the street from the hotel in Melrose Arch.  Moyo is Swahili and means “soul”.   Sua ordered for us, knowing we were all eager for a foodie adventure. The evening was a feast of the senses; African music, the cool evening air, the stars coming out, the smell and taste of great food. 

For starters, we  had peri peri chicken livers bunny chow – pan-fried chicken livers in a spicy East African sauce, presented in home-made bunny chow bread rolls; moyo samosas – three deep fried triangular pastry pockets with chutney; wors, vetkoek en sous – bits of beef, ostrich and venison in fritters. 

For the main course, I had oxtail braised with butterbeans and carrots in red wine beef au jus.  Rick and Karen had...

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November 14, 2014 | 0 comments

Chris and Ems Johnsen of Christian Art Distributors flew Karen Watson, Rick and I to Port Elizabeth, where they rented a van and we drove an hour to the bushveld of Shamwari.  Oh, my, we saw giraffes in the distance!  I didn’t expect to see animals so soon.  In fact, I thought we would be fortunate to see animals at all.  As we pulled up to the gate into the compound, I noticed the electric fencing and thorn-bush mounded as another barrier.  There were springboks grazing in the field! 

We checked in and our luggage was delivered to our beautiful room with a veranda over-looking the South African landscape. We grabbed jackets, gathered in the tea room at 3:30 p.m. for refreshments and headed for the all-terrain vehicle for our first outing.  We hadn’t gone more than a couple of miles and there was a tower of giraffes dining on thorn trees.  Did you know they have purple tongues?  I didn’t!  We gawked.  They glanced our way...

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November 2, 2014 | 0 comments

Seeing South Africa has been a dream of mine for a long time.  Rick has been there three times, always on business, and never saw more than the airport, scenery flashing by a taxi window and the inside of a hotel.  When we received an invitation from Chris Johnson at Christian Art Distributors to come for a visit, we jumped at it. We have had a long-time, long-distance, friendly relationship and looked forward to spending time with those we’ve met.  The beginning of October we climbed aboard an Emirates A380 (a bucket list experience for Rick)  and flew to Johannesburg where we were met at the airport by Sua and Johan du Plessis.  They helped gather our suitcases and whisked us off to the beautiful Villa Anna Sophia in Vereeniging where Tyndale senior editor and friend Karen Watson was already in residence.  Rick and I dropped our luggage in our room and joined Karen, Sua and Johan for dinner.  We felt immediately at home.

After a much-...

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October 31, 2014 | 0 comments

Five minutes of watching a news program or reading a newspaper and one thing pops out about people.  Americans are drunk on worry.   The list of what we fear is long and varied:  climate change, illegal immigrants coming over the borders, terrorist cells popping up like tares among the wheat.  We worry about the rising costs of health care, housing, food.  Californians worry about the drought, while other areas of our country are suffering record snow fall and floods.  We fear pain and discomfort.  Just watch the commercials coming at you during your favorite shows.  Feeling a little pain, pop a pill.  Have a drink. 

Over the past month, it was fear of public speaking that haunted me. I’ve heard I’m not alone in that fear.  Some claim the fear of public speaking is second only to the fear of death.  I always want God to be glorified and listeners to take something away from my personal story that will encourage...

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October 24, 2014 | 0 comments

I’m having trouble watching the news these days.  I am so tired of men and women commentators trying to talk over each other.  Interrupting someone used to be considered rude; now it’s the name of the game.  Each side is so busy trying to get their viewpoint across they never hear what the other side is saying.  It’s not a discussion; it’s not even a debate.  It’s a free-for-all. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if one side had two full minutes to present their position, and then the other side had two minutes to present theirs?  No cross-talk, as in interruptions or snarky comments or commentary or derisive laughter or rolling of the eyes.  Let’s see some mutual respect.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  I’d love to hear both sides!  Please!

Someone recently visited our state capitol and was able to view the legislature “in session”.  One man stood in the room giving a speech.  No one else bothered to attend because...

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October 17, 2014 | 0 comments

Rick and I live in town.  It takes five to ten minutes to drive to the supermarket, the mall, post office, bank and hospital (a nice thing to know with the march of time and years).  One of the main boulevards people use to get from one side of town to the other is two blocks away.  Few seem to care about the posted 35-40 mph until John Law is on their tail flashing his or her red lights.  Cars aside, lots of people are out walking their dogs or by themselves.  Some are running or cycling up and down the hills, getting or staying in shape.  Even with all this human activity, there are a surprising number of wild animals among us.  

We had something (a raccoon, perhaps) that took up residence in our attic space until the local pest control set up a trap and said raccoon decided to vacate the premises.  We screened all possible entry points to prevent his/her return.  We’ve had woodland rats, a rattlesnake, and gophers, though...

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October 15, 2014 | 0 comments

One idol that periodically troubles me is food.  Or maybe it’s weight.  My mother got on the scale every day of her life and adjusted what she ate according to the numbers.  It sounds obsessive, but she was health conscious because she had been very ill with tuberculosis in her twenties.  I saw a picture of her in a bathing suit and said, “Wow, Mom.  You were so slim.”  Her response:  “I wasn’t slim. I was sick and skinny.”  She wanted to maintain a healthy weight. 

What is a healthy weight?  The new fad is for a woman to have gaps between her thighs.  Really?  All through grade school and high school, I didn’t want gaps.  I wanted my thighs to meet and be toned and tanned.  I’m laughing as I write this.   I finally got the meeting part.  Forget toned and tanned.  And now that I’m in my late sixties, I don’t give a hoot.  Well, I do, but I’m not willing to diet and exercise or lie/...

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October 3, 2014 | 0 comments

I got into the “Life of Moses” BSF class!   I am so jazzed!  The class was full and leftovers (like me) packed into several pews hoping the wait-list would not mean waiting too long.  I finished the eight year course a few years ago, “graduated”, and was therefore (rightfully) at the bottom of the list, along with others I’ve known and loved from previous classes.  (We’re all eagerly anticipating the new, upcoming class next year:  Revelation!)  The newbies were squeezed in to other existing groups, but the leaders needed to find and train another facilitator.  One lady, an experienced leader – bless her! -- had planned to move out-of-state (but her house didn’t sell in our down market) decided to return and voila – we had an answer to prayer!

The new group is packed with graduates, though no one ever really graduates from studying the Bible.  And BSF will allow you to...

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September 26, 2014 | 0 comments

I read a story the other day about an expedition that traveled the Colorado River into the Grand Canyon.  About halfway in, the explorers hit dangerous rapids.  Some of the explorers were thrown from the boats and died in the turbulent waters.  Others managed to make it to the riverbank.  The river ahead looked threatening with more rapids.  The decision of what to do was split.  Some decided to turn around and go back.  Some decided to forge ahead.  The two groups went their separate ways.  Those who went forward did meet more dangerous rapids – but only for a short period of time before the river calmed and the rest of their exploration proved calm and safe with gorgeous vistas.  Sadly, every member of the group who turned back died. 

This story has a spiritual message, too.  Stay the course.  Don’t give up.  Keep walking the walk with Jesus.  Times may get harder, but stay in the boat.  Ride...

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September 19, 2014 | 0 comments

Every now and then, I go out and wander around.  It helps me think.  Sometimes I window shop.  Sometimes I buy.  After wandering around today, I came home with two new pillows in vibrant turquoise, hoping they might add snap to the wheat-colored sofas and the other (eight) pillows of subdued colors.   Rick’s cheek gave a little telltale tick. “Do we really need more pillows?” Translation:  “Time to commit you to the loonie bin.”

Rick hid the navy blue pillow with metal studs behind the red leather corner chair.  Another pillow has gone missing.  Rick swears he didn’t do anything with it.  

You may wonder why I’m suspicious…

It’s a family legend how I went to Oregon for a visit with my folks and came home to find an empty living room. Not totally empty.  There were two metal folding chairs where a big sofa and two wing chairs had been.  Huh?  The first thought that popped into my head: ...

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