Monday, July 21, 2014

Decade Launch- When God Blesses a New Beginning

Yup- This guy- 60 years old today.
As the new decade unveils  
we give thanks to God
 for the years of blessings.
For good health.
For kind heart.
For gifts of hope.
For a laugh.

For the willingness to walk alone.
To carry the weight.

Or the compassion to work on a team in Haiti.

or this- the patient waiting-
 learned with living for a good share
 of the 60 years with 4 women

We actually celebrated with all the kids
 at the beach earlier this month.
 Not so easy getting the troops 
together anymore.

We "girls" had an idea from Pinterest.
Old mismatched playing cards.
With some old book paper added-
(our stash happened to be French),
 and then painted over.
And 60 squares for adding what
We Love about YOU, John.
Or snippets of the stories.

Holes punched.
 O Ring added.
and of course- the jute twin 
and colorful yarn.

We divided the stack and each of us took 15 cards.

And here are just 10 of the things we love.

Some stories only make sense in our family.

So today we give thanks to God for you.
And as we celebrate we pray:

“The Lord bless you and keep you;

The Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”’

Numbers 6:24-26

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Waterlogue- When God Blurs the Edges

A favorite app on my iphone is Waterlogue.
 It amazingly makes some
 average photos spectacular.

It takes a bit of trial and error.
One time it is a smush of color 
and you cannot tell 
what the image is suppose to be.

And the next time it scores into highlights
 the way the sun hits the image.

I have shared this app
 with a number of friends- 
and get notes back that there is a problem-
 it is addicting.

The mulberry tree on my growing up Indiana farm.
 photo by Lee Ann Siples

Race swimmers ready to compete- Troutman, NC.
 photo by Jessica Meier

As I continue to play with this app
 and my photos I keep coming back to this prayer.

Heavenly Father,
blur the edges of my life.
When I long for crisp and clear-
 and strive for that daily-
make me malleable.
Fluid to move as you need me to,
each and every day to Spirit whispers.
Give me a sense of 
"not finished yet."
When I am dull and absorb light,
shine in the corners to make them brighter.
Give me a sense of peace that in this 
time of daily living without seeing
the lines that mark the edges,
you are filling all the spaces with 
your grace that paints
the day brilliant.
May the gift of your Son,
 bear upon my interactions
so that others may see YOU.
In the name of Jesus,

"Show me your ways, Lord, 
teach me your paths."
Psalm 25:4

at the Graft farm--summer 2013

photo by Lee Ann Siples

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dessert Dreaming- Oreo "Freak Out"

I don't really post much food things here-
 especially with-- like a recipe……
 We have a saying in our house that
 what ever you eat in our home
 is probably a once in a lifetime experience. 
The likelihood that the same exact things
 would be in the refrigerator at the same time again----
 is probably slim. 
Don't really make many desserts any more
 with just the two of us….
But, when the troops are slated to show up,
 and at least 2 of the 3 son-in-laws
 are ice cream fiends, well ……

My mom had a recipe for an ice cream treat
 called "Oreo Freakout". 

 I have often made this to satisfy
the ice cream cravings. 
 Then Pinterest arrived. 
And "Freakout" sort of became
 "Freakout" on steroids.
And some additions were made.
Coupled with the fact that I am always rushed
 a bit in the kitchen…. oh- OK, I am a lazy cook.

So one night about 12:30 AM
 and I was trying to get this done to go to bed…..
and this is what was in the larder.

Sort of the Recipe:

Getting ready to make this?
 Earlier in the day- pull a Reg size
 Low-fat Cool Whip
 out of the freezer into the refrigerator.

Layer ice cream sandwiches
 on the bottom of a 9 by 13 pan…..
 (think you used to be able to use 12 sandwiches
 but they have really made them smaller
 so might need a couple more)

Spread one carton softened ice cream-
 this one was Vanilla with Heath Bars.
(You can use any flavor here)

Then take whole oreo cookies
 and push into the ice cream- 
Like a grid, fairly close to each other.
(OK - it was late 
and I was too tired to crush them up)

Drizzle one jar of Hot fudge sundae topping
 over the top- 
( warm in the microwave for maybe 30 seconds
 or so till it pours easily - but don't burn it)

Place the pan - covered- 
in the freezer till morning.

Next am-
 Spread the Cool Whip over the top
 of the set ice cream layers. 
Then sprinkle at least a half bag
 of Heath pieces over the top,
 and place in freezer for about 12 hours.

Well, to let you know just how "forgiving"
 this concoction is----
 I asked one of the dear daughters
 to put it back in the fridge. 
And she did. 
So imagine 12 hours later
when I went to the freezer
 for the grand reveal of the dessert
 for all those who had been waiting--
 and there it was- right in the fridge.
The refrigerator part- not the freezer.
    Well, good sports all around,
 we ladled the dessert into bowls
 and sort of slurped it up
 and put it back in the freezer. 
 Next day it was good to go…
 even if the layers were a bit askew. 
Tasty…slanted….. and no…
 the name of the daughter will not be revealed. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Friend Indeed

Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort
 of feeling safe with a person, 
having neither to weight thoughts
 nor measure words, 
but only to pour them all right out
 and just as they are,
 chaff and grain together,
 knowing that a faithful hand
 will take and sift them, 
keep what is worth keeping,
 and then with the breath of kindness
 blow the rest away.  
                     George Eliot

Friends here on earth are a real treasure.
 They come and go as the Lord sends them
 into and out of our lives. 
Enriching our days and bestowing memories 
that keep our days filled with light.

photo by Jessica Meier

For my Heavenly Father loves me even
 when earthly friends disappoint, move away, 
find other focus, or turn away.
 But, we also stand together to encourage
 each other in times of happiness and trial.
 To carry the burden,
 to walk and hold each other up,
 to laugh and cry together.

photo by Lee Ann Siples in Waterlogue

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, 
you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown,
 stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
Phillippians 4:1

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Ordination Anniversary

Trinity Lutheran Church- Auburn, Nebraska
John Richard Denninger

Giving Thanks today for God's
 grace and gifts to His servant- John.

May the Lord continue to bless
 the use of
of a man set apart to bring 
Him Glory 
Make Him Known.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Ocracoke Island and Hurricane Arthur

On the day before the projected arrival
 of Hurricane Arthur- 
we quickly tried to get in all the things 
we wanted to do- 
in case our vacation time was cut short.
After the Hatteras Lighthouse-
it was time to check out the island of Ocracoke.

The free ferry takes you from Hatteras Island
 to Ocracoke.
It's run by the North Carolina Ferry system.
Because of many shallow areas-
 the trip is not a straight shot- 
takes about 45 minutes to get there.
Plus plan on a wait line for the ferry
 both ways in the summer months.

A view from the water

ripples and rows of waves

A little bit of the history------Google Image

Once on land again,
 it was time to feed the hungry crew.
Something iconic to fit the bill of island life.

A great place to eat on the island- 
where stories abound about
 the ties to the pirate- Blackbeard- Edward Teach.
Ocracoke is where Blackbeard met his death in 1718.
He was killed by British
 Lieutenant Richard Maynard of the HMS Pearl.

Our view while eating super FISH TACOS
 and outdoor dining at the Jolly Roger Pub.

Big and little friends

Some cool rides here in Ocracoke

Sought after transportation
 is really the two wheel variety.

A laid-back community and ready for the 4th of July.
 There are about 1000 full-time residents on the island.
The economy is supported almost totally by tourism.

The Ocracoke Lighthouse has been in
 continuous use since it was built in 1823.

The inlet that is part of Ocracoke Island--------------------Google image

Much more to see on this little island
 but we just kept getting side-tracked.
We did comply with the mandatory evacuation
 of Hatteras Island the next day.
And Hurricane Arthur roared in,
The hurricane was the first
 to make landfall in North Carolina
 on record this early in the season,
 dating back to 1851. 

NC 12 and some of the Hurricane Damage-
 the bridge to Pea Island--Google Image

The previous record was July 11, 1901.
Arthur was also the first Category 2 hurricane 
to make landfall in the U.S. since Ike in 2008.
The worst effect from Arthur
 was the sound-side flooding
 Friday morning July 4, 2014,
 on northern Hatteras Island, 
along with Roanoke Island and the Dare mainland.

Last report things are up and running again,
 the crowds have returned,
 and this spunky island
 goes back to "Island Life" living.
And once again the seas have been calmed- 
by the Master.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse- Before the storm


You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;

    my God turns my darkness into light.
   Psalm 18:28   NIV

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest in the nation 
and a famous symbol of North Carolina. 
 The beacon from the light can be seen
 some 20-miles out to sea. It has warned sailors
 for more than 100 years
 of the treacherous Diamond Shoals, 
the shallow sandbars which extend some 14 miles
 out into the ocean off Cape Hatteras.
This tower was built in 1870.

It is said that the engineer who was originally assigned
 the task of painting North Carolina's lighthouses,
 got the plans mixed up and the diamond-shaped figures, 
suitable for warning traffic away from Diamond Shoals, 
went to Cape Lookout and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
 received the spiral striping,
 thereby forever gaining the nickname
 ''The Big Barber Pole.''

It was built with 1,250,000 bricks baked
 in kilns along the James River in Virginia
 and brought in scows into Cape Creek 
where it was hauled by oxen one mile
 to the building site in Buxton.
 Its walls at the base are 14 feet of solid masonry
 and narrow to eight feet at the top.
 Weighing 6,250 tons, 
the lighthouse was built with no pilings under it -
 just a foundation built of heart pine. 
Towering 196 feet from the base to the top brick
 and then topped with an iron superstructure
 it become the tallest brick lighthouse
 on the American coast at 208 feet
 and at a cost of $155,000.00.

In the summer of 1999,
 as the ever-encroaching waters of the Atlantic Ocean
 threatened this stalwart structure,
 the Cape Hatteras Light 
was moved from its original location.

The day we visited we were one of the last tours
 to gain access as the lighthouse was closing to prepare
 for Hurricane Arthur.
 Wednesday-- July 2, 2014- a storm is coming.

Made me sing all day-
 My Lighthouse- Rend Collective
That God's protective hand- holds steady.
Word after the storm -- all is OK.