Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The Lord Gives Sleep to his Beloved

Every time I read this Psalm, from today’s Lectionary readings, I see something new. Today it gives me much to ponder in the midst of chaotic Thanksgiving preparations:

Psalm 127

A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon.
1 Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labour in vain.
Unless the Lord guards the city,
the guard keeps watch in vain.
2 It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives sleep to his beloved.*
3 Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the sons of one’s youth.
5 Happy is the man who has
his quiver full of them.
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

November 27, 2013 Posted by | Faith, Generational, Health Issues, Lectionary Readings, Living Conditions, Marriage, Parenting, Thanksgiving, Work Related Issues | Leave a comment

A First For AdventureMan

You may think this is ‘just’ a beautiful pecan pie, but it is better than that. This is AdventureMan’s very first pie, ever. He debated even making it for the Great Gathering, because there are so many truly gifted cooks in the family, but in the end, being the courageous soul he is, he tackled it. It looks exactly like the photo of the pie in Southern Living magazine which inspired his effort. I don’t think I have ever seen a more beautiful pecan pie. :-) Bravo! Bravo, AdventureMan!

 

 

00PecanPie

November 26, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Aging, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Character, Cultural, Food, Thanksgiving | 4 Comments

For a Sunny Cold Day in Pensacola

Screen shot 2013-11-14 at 8.01.15 AM

 

Normally, I sleep my best in cold weather, but last night the Qatari Cat decided sleeping closely snuggled up to me was preferable to the snug heated bed we bought him, and which he normally loves.

 

The Qatari Cat is a large cat. When we have our delegate dinners for the GCCDC, we keep him in another room. Most often, delegates will hear him complaining and ask if we would let him out. I am willing to bet that there are more photos of delegates with the Qatari Cat in circulation than with us! All that aside, when he snuggles up, he takes up a lot of room. When you want to change positions, he is a snoring, uncooperative lump, and you have to arrange yourself around him. I did not sleep so well as I like to sleep on cold November nights.

 

Yes, he is a spoiled cat.

 

Today’s Psalm from the Lectionary Readings is a delight for a chilly, early November day, warms things right up:

Psalm 34

 

Of David, when he feigned madness before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.
1 I will bless the Lord at all times;
   his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 
2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
   let the humble hear and be glad. 
3 O magnify the Lord with me,
   and let us exalt his name together. 
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
   and delivered me from all my fears. 
5 Look to him, and be radiant;
   so your* faces shall never be ashamed. 
6 This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord,
   and was saved from every trouble. 
7 The angel of the Lord encamps
   around those who fear him, and delivers them. 
8 O taste and see that the Lord is good;
   happy are those who take refuge in him. 
9 O fear the Lord, you his holy ones,
   for those who fear him have no want. 
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger,
   but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. 
11 Come, O children, listen to me;
   I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 
12 Which of you desires life,
   and covets many days to enjoy good? 
13 Keep your tongue from evil,
   and your lips from speaking deceit. 
14 Depart from evil, and do good;
   seek peace, and pursue it. 
15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
   and his ears are open to their cry. 
16 The face of the Lord is against evildoers,
   to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. 
17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears,
   and rescues them from all their troubles. 
18 The Lord is near to the broken-hearted,
   and saves the crushed in spirit. 
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
   but the Lord rescues them from them all. 
20 He keeps all their bones;
   not one of them will be broken. 
21 Evil brings death to the wicked,
   and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. 
22 The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
   none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

November 14, 2013 Posted by | Faith, Lectionary Readings, Pensacola, Qatteri Cat, Relationships, Thanksgiving, Weather | Leave a comment

Recipe For Life

Thank you, Renee, for sending this lovely little reminder of how to lead a happy life:

Great Recipe (one of the best that you will ever read)

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate antidepressant.
2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.

Talk to God about what is going on in your life.

3. When you wake up in the morning complete the following

statement, ‘My purpose is to__________ today. I am thankful for______________’

4. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

5. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild
Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.

6. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

7. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, issues of the
past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead

invest your energy in the positive present moment.

8. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

9. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

10. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

11. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

12. You are not so important that you have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

13. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.

14. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about
.

15. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

16. Frame every snowballed disaster with these words: ‘In five years, will this matter?’

17. Forgive everyone for everything.

18. What other people think of you is none of your business.

19. GOD heals everything – but you have to ask Him.

20. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

21. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your
friends will. Stay in touch!!!

22. Envy is a waste of time. You have everything you need.

23. Each night before you go to bed, complete the following statements: I am thankful for__________.

Today I accomplished_________.

24. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

25. When you are feeling down, start listing your many blessings. You’ll be smiling before you know it.

26. Send this to everyone you care about.

“);

September 8, 2013 Posted by | Friends & Friendship, Interconnected, Relationships, Survival, Thanksgiving, Values | Leave a comment

The Blessing of NNW

“I don’t think our downstairs A/C is working right,” I said tentatively to AdventureMan, “It’s like I hesitate to even say anything, that might make it true. It seems to me that the fan is blowing, but I never hear the air cycle on, and the fan never stops.”

A quick call and the A/c people are on the way to check it out.

“Do you know how old this A/C is?” he asked. Yep. It’s twenty years old. And now it has a leak in the coils. It could be fixed; we’ve been having it fixed from time to time already, and maybe it could limp along a little while longer, but this little Alaska girl can’t take that chance; it is getting HOT in Pensacola.

New air conditioners, I learned, are more efficient, even the cheapest will save on our electricity bill, which, in the three hottest months of the summer, can soar by three hundred dollars and change. They run more quietly. With more efficiency, they can save more. They are also chillingly expensive.

Since we have another unit running upstairs, he schedules our replacement for Tuesday, AFTER the three day weekend, and oh, did I mention, it has gotten hot? Wednesday and Thursday hit the 90’s (F) and the downstairs is more than a little stuffy, even with all the ceiling fans whirling madly.

But late last night I heard our upstair unit cycle off . . . and stay off for a good long while. This morning, there is an almost-cool breeze, a freshness in the air, and what a blessing, that in the middle of what might be a long hot weekend, to have some winds from the north blowing through, blowing away the humid heat that blows up from the Gulf.

I lay awake, thinking that for us, it is only a wait until Tuesday, because, by the grace of God, we have an emergency fund to cover events like this. I think of the trio of homeless men we passed on Palafox on our way to a meeting, cheerily greeting us, but sleeping out in the heat and humidity, with mosquitos biting. I am sure I am not the only one this morning thankful for the blessings of the NNW winds.

May 25, 2013 Posted by | Family Issues, Financial Issues, Home Improvements, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Renovations, Thanksgiving, Weather | Leave a comment

Luxurious Blessing

I was making a salad to go with today’s lunch and remembered AdventureMan warning me we were just about out of roasted pecans, and needed more. It is a cool – almost cold – rainy rainy day in Pensacola, a perfect day for cranking up the oven to roast some pecans. We still have a wealth of pecans from a generous donation made by my dear daughter-in-law’s Texas aunt, who has a heart as big as Texas.

As I roast the pecans (425°F for about 10 minutes) the house becomes fragrant with that luxurious smell. I am transported back to Kuwait, where I remember paying a fortune for a small packet of pecans I needed to bake a pecan pie. Normally, we didn’t even bother looking at the prices, but the price on those pecans was so high I really had to think about buying them, it’s like paying an extortionist. But I needed pecans. I paid.

Now, we have this luxurious blessing of pecans, and not just pecans, but these fresh, fragrant, tasty Texas pecans, and as they roast, they are blessing my entire house with a rich roasty fragrance. It doesn’t take much to make me happy. This wonderful aunt gave us this wealth of pecans, and the gift just keeps on giving and giving, through the Christmas season, well into January – and we still have pecans left. I’ve paid a lot more and gotten a lot less joy from a purchase. I think of this wonderful woman and her gift every time we use them.

00Pecans

Yes, I roasted a lot of pecans, because we sprinkle them on all kinds of things, and that roasted flavor just enriches everything they touch. Yes, they keep in an air-tight container, for as long as it takes for us to eat them, which can be two or three weeks.

And here is the salad, post-pecans but pre-salad dressing:

00SaladWithPecans

It’s another luxurious blessing. About twelve years ago, when we had a posting in Germany, we packed everything into storage and just bought what we needed to live with. As days go by, however, you – or I, anyway – just need a few little things to make life nice. You pick up a few gorgeous dessert plates here, a few Christmas ornaments there . . . some cookie sheets, just a little extra, and before you know it, life is no longer so simple. To help keep it simple, I mostly bought things I could just leave behind when we left the country to head to the next country, or I transported things home in those big bags we used to be able to take on the transoceanic flights. I ended up having to rent a storage locker in Seattle for all the treasures I accumulated in our second round of overseas living, LOL.

The first year we were living once again in Germany, as we were buying some wardrobe units, I spotted two salad / serving bowls at IKEA. They aren’t costly porcelain, they are just ceramic bowls, but I love the shape, and inside each one are two beautiful purply-blue irises. I looked at them and loved their conception, their design. I pointed them out to AdventureMan, and then promptly forgot them. Because he is a very smart man, I found them under the Christmas tree a few months later, and was thrilled to recognize them. We have both treasured them ever since.

With each subsequent move, I carefully wrapped those bowls and used them again and again at each posting. We pull them out all the time, these bowls are a perfect size for a salad-to-share or a side dish, and to this day, they look like new. It makes me laugh; I’ve had much more expensive dishes which were not so long for this world; these are go-to serving bowls, and still look brand new.

So today I am feeling extraordinarily thankful for the great luxury of pecans, the wonderful aroma of their roasting, and the great blessing of serving them in a bowl which gives us joy every time we use them.

January 16, 2013 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Cooking, Cultural, ExPat Life, Germany, Home Improvements, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Moving, Random Musings, Recipes, Thanksgiving, Travel | 4 Comments

Pecans From Texas – Such Generosity!

When I was living in Kuwait, and my son married, one of my new daughter-in-law’s aunts sent me pecans from Texas. She didn’t just send me a pound or two, she sent like 15 pounds of pecans! It was a wondrous gift, and oh, we had pecan muffins, pecan date pies, pecans in everything. Pecans in Kuwait cost dear, you can’t imagine, and these pecans were TASTY, so so good. She tells me it is because they are from Texas, where everything tastes better. ;-)

00ARPecans

At Thanksgiving, she gave me a HUGE bag of pecan meats.

“I want you to have pecans from TEXAS!” she told me. Her car was packed with sweet gifts for all her nieces and nephews and all the little ones related to her in any remote way. It’s just the way she is. She can’t help it, she is wired to be loving and generous.

AR, I am so thankful you are in my life! I am enjoying every cup of pecans I use, and although I have used a lot, there are so many pecans left it is like I haven’t used any! You are so generous, and I am enjoying your pecans so much! All of Pensacola is enjoying your pecans!

December 17, 2012 Posted by | Character, Charity, Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Food, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Thanksgiving, Travel | , | 5 Comments

Signs Seen in Panama City, Florida

(This was a license plate)

November 25, 2012 Posted by | Thanksgiving, Travel | , | Leave a comment

Over the River and Through the Woods – Happy Thanksgiving!

We’re getting close to Thanksgiving, and this morning I was looking up the lyrics to Over the River And Through the Woods. As it turns out, the lyrics are from a poem that is not exactly like what we used to sing. Here is what we used to sing:

Over the river, and through the woods,
To Grandmother’s house we go;
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow, oh!

Over the river, and through the wood—
oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose
as over the ground we go.

It’s a great song for a two and a half year old. He loves singing!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here is what the original looked like:

The original piece had six verses:
Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather’s house we go;
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.
Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather’s house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
for ’tis Thanksgiving Day.
Over the river, and through the wood—
oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose
as over the ground we go.
Over the river, and through the wood—
and straight through the barnyard gate,
We seem to go extremely slow,
it is so hard to wait!
Over the river, and through the wood—
When Grandmother sees us come,
She will say, “O, dear, the children are here,
bring a pie for everyone.”
Over the river, and through the wood—
now Grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

The following verses appear in a “long version”:
Over the river, and through the wood,
with a clear blue winter sky,
The dogs do bark, and children hark,
as we go jingling by.
Over the river, and through the wood,
to have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring, “Ting-a-ling-ding!”,
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!
Over the river, and through the wood,
no matter for winds that blow;
Or if we get the sleigh upset
into a bank of snow
Over the river, and through the wood,
to see little John and Ann;
We will kiss them all, and play snow-ball
and stay as long as we can.
Over the river, and through the wood,
trot fast, my dapple-gray!
Spring over the ground like a hunting-hound!
For ’tis Thanksgiving Day.
Over the river, and through the wood,
Old Jowler hears our bells.
He shakes his paw, with a loud bow-wow,
and thus the news he tells.
(From Wikipedia)

November 20, 2012 Posted by | Adventure, Music, Thanksgiving | 4 Comments

T Mobile Flash Home for the Holidays

Thank you, Hayfa, this is glorious!

 

Thanksgiving and Christmas are some of the hardest times of the year for American expats to be away from home and family – so we gather together, create our overseas family, and celebrate. Some of our very best celebrations have been overseas, pot-lucking with friends from many nations.

November 16, 2012 Posted by | Christmas, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Music, Thanksgiving | 1 Comment

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