The Shetland Islands, Lewrick

The seas were so rough this day we were unable to stop in these islands. We were disappointed as we wanted to see the many ruins that dated back to the Iron Age. The swells were about 8 feet and the captain was not comfortable docking us. This was a day to take sea sick pills!

So here is the trivia for the day:

Traditionally, early houses in Norway were painted red, yellow or white. Why?  The easiest colors for them to make. Red was for those structures owned by the commoners or poor.  Barns too were painted this color. The middle class would paint their homes in yellow and the wealthiest class used white paint.  Today, Norway has added shades of blue and green that give homes their signature look.


It’s Friday and that means, I get to watch our youngest granddaughter, D. She has a delightful, vibrant personality that continues to unfold week by week. On this particular day, she managed to get a hold of her sister’s dolls and the fun began.

Apparently you first had to love Baby and smother her face in kisses.  Lots of slobber was required. Once Baby knew she was loved, D tossed her aside and grabbed the other doll. Attention span is short with a 10 month old!

In no time at all, the new Baby was placed on the ground and D began pushing on the doll, just like when giving CPR. Funny thing was, she placed her other hand over the dolls face, effectively smothering the victim! I think D needs a refresher course in life saving techniques!

It is always an adventure spending time on the floor playing with little D. Retirement is such a blessing. I can’t imagine not being able to spend these unique and special moments with her.

Grandpa Babysits?

When your grown children call and ask you to watch the grandchildren,  you jump at the chance and say, “Well, of course!”  Perhaps you are more seasoned at watching two kids at a time than we are, but at first it seemed a bit daunting.

Turned out to be a great evening for Grandpa. He really dug in and started his new retired life with energy and enthusiasm. First job, re-learn how to play Candy Land. “C” had just learned the game, but was eager to teach Grandpa how to move the Gingerbread Man. The conversation went something like this, “Now Grandpa, see first you get a card and see the color. Then you move your man, just like this!” Not bad for a 3 year old!! Of course, grandpa had to carefully watch just how many green squares she moved through! It was great fun to be in the other room and over hear and watch this precious interaction.

As the evening went on Dan settled in to watch TV. Ha! Not without a kid. Grandpa and little “D”  got comfy and watch football. Good times had by all!

Dan also had the privilege of reading the bedtime story (Jungle Book) and helping with bedtime routines. The girls were asleep by 7:15 and Grandpa was snoring by 7:45. Babysitting can be so grueling!  What a blessing to live right down the street so we can share in these sweet moments. Grandma Katie waited up for mama and papa to arrive at 9:30. Retirement is grand 🙂

Giving to God

The Christmas celebration is behind us and yet it is just the beginning of God’s redemptive plan for us. It is truly a time of celebration and reflection on His greatness.  I want to challenge myself to intentionally set aside time to be in His Presence and give back by serving in a new way.

His glorious creation

Giving God my time is important and yet I often find myself getting so caught up in daily life that I put off spending time with Him. You know, things like laundry, errands, phone calls, computer time, busyness with grand kids and even some church related activities. But these are not spending time in His holy presence, listening for His voice, soaking in His peace, hearing His commands or simply meditating on what it means to be His child. I need to do more than give Him Sunday and my mid-week Bible study.  It’s time to prioritize my life so that He is number one in all that I think and do.

God has given each of us talents and riches beyond our wildest dreams. In humility I need to go before others to serve using the gifts I’ve been blessed with. I must begin to ask myself some questions like, how can I give back to my community?  Where or who in my community can I offer a helping hand?  I hear God asking me to use my teaching ability to help others. But how? I’ve retired from classroom teaching. Perhaps I will look into a literacy program and see if I can help second-language adults learn to read. I’ll keep you posted.

Let 2017 be the year you and I share His love with someone in need. Let us put God first in ALL we do.  Let that be our New Year’s Resolution.

How To Bible Journal – Part 2

This is the second post in my series about the joy of spending time with the Lord while Bible Journaling. In Part 1 I talked about getting basic supplies and the why of illustrating your Bible. Now, if you have your supplies you’re ready to begin.

Matthew 13

I start with prayer asking the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts and open my heart to His leading. What is it He wants me to hear? Then as I read and meditate I wait for inspiration to come. Once I have an idea to bring a passage to life, I use my pen and just draw right in my Bible. I’ve read that many people sketch on paper first and then transfer ideas and or draw in their Bibles with pencil. I just go for it, as I’m trying to let go of those ‘perfectionist’ tendencies.  Next you can add color. I also underline the passage I’m illustrating. At the bottom of the page I put the date. On this Matthew Scripture about the Sower, I used pen, colored pencil, watercolor pencil, gelato stick and then embellished with some little yellow enameled dots in the center of the big red flower.

A cool thing I started doing was to take the first page of a new Book in the Bible and write the name along the margin with a few words that sum up the Book. For example I put PSALMS: Poetry to the Lord and I did Genesis: The Creation Story. You get the idea.

Genesis 1

Most of the time I ink first then I use color over the ink if I want it bolder. The last thing I do is use my gelato sticks to soften the background. Gelato sticks are my favorite way to make a page pop with color and look finished. They are like an oil pastel; soft and creamy. They blend so nicely (with a tissue), especially if you are using the pastel array of colors. In this Creation Story I’ve used pen, watercolor pencils and gelato sticks. After a while you will find your sense of style and then you don’t have to spend time with so many decisions. You just create.

Isaiah 40

At this point, you are really free to praise God while you are working and can meditate on the words you are bringing to life through illustration. It is such a joyful and peaceful place to be!

The Isaiah illustration at the right came as inspiration from a Sunday sermon. The picture is done mostly using a gelato stick, blending  colors to give the illusion of the eagle in flight. I couldn’t draw a bird so I sketched only the head and top of the wing span! I let the color do the rest. Another cool thing about the pastel gelato stick is that you can go right over Scripture and still read it just fine.

Mark 12

Using words, squiggles, dots, dashes and loops is another way to decorate a page.  It is very simple and yet, in this Scripture it highlights the most important command the Lord gave us. To honor Him with our heart, mind, soul and strength. This page was done with a thin black pen and then a broad brush pen for the thicker lines. Words are highlighted with a colored pencil. Very quick and easy!

So, what are some good Scriptures you might want to illustrate to practice? Try Genesis (stick figures work great), Psalms 139, Isaiah 55, Romans 11, Galatians 5 or John 14.

From time to time I will post more of my Bible Journal ideas along with my thoughts. I’d love to hear your ideas!  I’m still a novice at this, but have found it brings me a step closer to the Lord as I create.

How To Bible Journal- Part 1

I LOVE spending time with God! I love spending time reading Scripture. I love being creative too, so I was excited when I discovered the art of Bible Journaling. You may know it as Bible Illustrating. But either way it’s another opportunity to be in Scripture; sharing your heart with the Lord. It has becomes such a special time for me that sometimes I fail to complete household tasks because I just want to do a little bit more!

Matthew 7

I know Bible Journaling has been around quite a while, but I started this activity about a year ago and it’s been super rewarding. I thought I would write a few entries about what it is, how to create great pages, and some of my favorite tools that allow me to interact with the Scripture. This will be Part 1 of a 2 part series on How To Bible Journal.

Is This for Me?

There are a few basic things to keep in mind as you decide whether or not you want to undertake this kind of thing. For instance: Are you OK with writing in a Bible? Do you have the money to buy a new Bible designed specifically for journaling (margins on sides that allow for illustrations)? Do you enjoy doodling, drawing, and sketching? Is it OK if your drawings aren’t perfect? If you answered yes to these questions, you are ready to move forward!

Purchase a Journaling Bible

I have an ESV version of the Bible that I love, but there are a few others available. Right now there aren’t any specific Catholic translations, but you may find one that has wider margins than others, or you may be fine with using an NIV version for this purpose. I know many folks are hoping that a Catholic Journaling Bible will be printed soon. Once you have your Bible, it’s time to select tools that will help you decorate.

Markers, Pencils, and Embellishments

Caution! You can spend a fortune on these things, but you don’t need to!! Search your house for colored pencils and crayons. Use what you have and spend money on a few things you might really need. You will most certainly need a good writing pen that will have minimal bleeding. NEVER EVER US A SHARPIE pen as they seep through thin Bible paper. Sharpies are great for some things, but not Bible Journaling. You might like brands like Zig Millennium, Micron or Faber–Castell, as they work quite well. I like a very fine pen for writing .005, but many people are happy with a thicker line like a 0.3 or .05. My favorite brand is Micron for thin lines. If you think you might like some really bold lines, try the Faber-Castell Pitt artist pen brush (awesome). Most store have paper you can try line size out on to help you decide. Supplies can be found at local artist stores, craft and hobby stores, on Amazon or even at your local Target.

Pen, colored pencils and crayons are your basics. If you want to add more to your diversity, you could try my favorite, Gelato pastels by Faber-Castell. You might even want stickers with pictures or letters. Sometimes I even use little raised dots. Pick whatever inspires you! As you get better and more confident, you can branch out and get more things like Mister Huey’s Misting Spray, Washi tape, Distress ink pads and watercolor pencils. The list is endless.

Final Thoughts

Revelation 19

Journaling is for connecting with and honoring God. It is a way of expressing your love for Him. As humans we can get caught up in perfectionism and pride. Don’t allow yourself to think your work isn’t good enough, pretty enough, bold enough, or realistic enough. God is pleased with your expression of love and the time you are spending meditating in His Word and finding ways to personalize them. Bible Journaling is like any other diary or journal. It is PERSONAL. There is no reason to share it with others if you choose not to. I like to get together and journal with friends from time to time and share ideas, but mostly I like to settle in and praise him privately. Do what suits your style best.

That’s it for now. Part 2 will list some great Scriptures you might like to try if you’re feeling a bit intimidated (remember, you’re not supposed to) and some more picture ideas.

Family Blessings


I am so very blessed to have 2 wonderful sisters! We may not live in the same towns, but we are within a two-hour drive, making visits possible. In today’s busy world not a lot of people our age have managed to stay living near one another. It seems like career opportunities, college relocations, marriages, housing affordability, etc. split siblings from one coast to the other. We love our time together now that our busy schedules with kids sports, recitals, etc. are behind us.

img_5040This summer we gathered together to celebrate one of our children’s weddings. It would have been so great if Mom and Dad were still alive to see not only their grandson’s wedding, but to see their great grand children and all the family. Our parents raised us to keep family close, to love one another, and to give thanks for all that we have. We thank the Lord for all he has given us and for opportunities like weddings to gather together and share memories past, present, and to dream of the future. Love you all!


Sorry I didn’t get all of the family in the pictures, but here are a few candid shots.

Thanksgiving Thankfulness

Being retired has many perks if you take advantage of them. I’ve had a few years experience with this now, so I think I may have gained some wisdom. One key is to let go of some old traditions and embrace new ones with gusto.


Thanksgiving is about family. Whether they are about memories of past family times together or about spending time with friends, it’s all about being thankful and humble for all that we have been given. We were all raised with family traditions at Thanksgiving that seem ‘sacred’ to the way the holiday should be spent. But this year amongst the joys of new babies and the sadness of loved ones passing, the busyness of trying to sell the business and retire, and gather 20 family members in one locale, the task was just too big and unrealistic. You see, the reality is, grown children have other families and the need to make their own traditions. The younger crowd has begun racing in a Turkey Trot before the massive amounts of food to be consumed. Little ‘C’ ran/walked (maybe some stroller time?) and got her own medal. You go girl!


Even as grandparents we have to learn to share…and for me that is as hard to accept as it is for a three-year old with a favorite toy! But this year we managed to gather all but 4 of the clan! Pretty good considering one couple lives in Illinois! And, it was all rather unexpected. Dan and I had planned to celebrate with my sister Beth, as everyone else had other plans. Talk about Thanksgiving Thankfulness!

First off, I let go of the traditional sit down dinner with the family china and preparing enough food to feed two other families. I was to plan a ‘low key’ holiday meal. I have to say, some family members were skeptical I could do this. Next, I ditched the extensive bowls and plates of appetizers. Guests were to come at 1 pm and we would eat a supper at 2 pm. Finally, since there was no sit down dinner where we could share what we were thankful for the past year, I came up with a new idea. Instead, everyone filled out a tiny card with what they were thankful for and we placed them in little acorn place setting cardholders and put them around the serving counter. Festive looking!dsc00790

This Alternative Thanksgiving may just become a new tradition. Babies crawled and played, football was watched while eating, and turkey sandwiches with all the fixings became the main meal. Everyone was spread out eating wherever they felt most comfortable. dsc00778Beer flowed, wine tasted, water guzzled, and sparkling cider bottles were emptied. The only tradition we could not do without was Aunt Beth’s Pumpkin Pie (s). Four pies were just right!

We thank God for all our family and friends. We give thanks for all that He has provided for us and ask for opportunities to serve those less fortunate. Dan and  I are especially grateful for our newest granddaughter. What a joy she is and we look forward to seeing who she becomes. The two little girls are the bright spot in our lives! Blessing to you all.


Three Year Old Birthday Fun

Is there any birthday more fun to celebrate than that of a little kid?  We had so mucimg_6588h fun watching our granddaughter turn a big three years old. Family and two other youngsters rounded out the party. Little fuss and frills, but super fun. Sheer joy on her face as she bounced on the little borrowed bouncy house. “Look, Grandma! Watch me jump high!”

Listening to her little “ooh” as she peaked into each wrapped gift was so adorable. She loved each item and was not overwhelmed by stacks of gifts. Animg_6605d who doesn’t want their own special Bundt cake for dessert?  Grandpa Dan even managed to sit in a tiny chair to eat with her. It was a perfect time for everyone to catch up. img_6593We even managed to have four generations present. Now how cool is that!  In attendance was Little sister D at 2 months old and our great-grandma V at 87!  The rest of img_6591us ranged from the 30’s to 60’s. How blessed we are to be able to still see one another and for great – grandma to see so many generations of her family. Family is so special and we look forward to more family gatherings.

When you turn three you get a big girl haircut complete with bangs! Our little baby girl is so grown up now. Where does the time go?  Looking forward to many more parties and adventures with these little angels girls.