Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Learning from King David

Ark of the Covenant 
Image from UnSplash.com

In my annual read-through of the Bible, I came across the account of David's efforts to move the ark of the covenant from Kiriath Jearim to Jerusalem when he became king of Israel.

The ark was designed by God and was important in the Hebrews' worship. David's intentions were honorable. He talked his plans over with his leaders and others. The narrative has no mention that he asked God for guidance.

The ark's moving day started with celebration. It ended with the death of a man who escorted the ox cart carrying the ark. When one of the oxen stumbled, he reached out and touched the ark to steady it.

The man's death was the consequence of not following explicit instructions that God had given Moses about transporting the ark. King David had done his homework before his second attempt to move the ark. 

The Biblical account sparked an examination of my own decision-making process. Good intentions were not enough in David's case and certainly have not been enough in my own life.

I, too, have learned. There have been times when I sought God’s direction before acting. Other times I have forged ahead on a path of good intentions.

At best, results of proceeding on my own did not fulfill what I intended, even if it was intended for good. That was when misunderstandings, hurt feelings, wasted resources or wasted time often resulted, inevitably accompanied by a burden of guilt. 

I am now in my 70s. Age comes with a world of experiencing answered prayer and God's care. You would think that I would not ever neglect praying before making major decisions. 

I'm getting better but definitely still a work in progress!

Blessings to you all in these turbulent times.

 The account of King David's ark experience is from 1 Chronicles 13:1-14 and 15:1-15.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Attic Art

 A spot-on post from a fellow blogger prompted my contemplation of "attic art."

Upon our move to a smaller home, we challenged ourselves: Abandon the urge to add more to all the lovely things we have accumulated in 50-plus years of marriage. 

We have wonderful framed prints of Hubby's photos plus paintings by local artists and others we encountered on our travels. 

Alas, most of the photos and original art we have collected now reside in our attic! 

Our "downsized" home has more windows and French doors that make it feel like we are living in nature. The downside is that there is limited space for hanging art.  

We do have room for three of our favorite paintings. We are at a stage in our lives where we are mostly content with that.

I have, however, found wall space for a few treasured family photos--on the wall above our washer and dryer. 

I spend a lot of time in that small "laundry nook," and I love having those photos as company!

 We are not alone in our art challenge. 

Friends close to our age are having the same problem concerning beloved "attic art."



Friday, January 21, 2022

Travel Challenges

Spectacular view

Hubby's Oct. 4, 2021, snapshot shows me stuck along a walkway above the Pacific Ocean. I had enjoyed the walk, the view and the atmosphere created by those wind battered trees. 

But I confess. I was not up to the challenge presented by the route back down to our van. 

I don't remember now how I actually made it up the walkway by myself. But I definitely remember the anxiety when I faced the downward trek. After Hubby snapped the pix above, he helped me back to our van. 

We continued south encountering more coastal environments, communities and dwellings new and old. Some of what we observed was beautiful, some not so much, but all fascinating.

It is a good thing that Hubby loves being behind the wheel and driving. Since my 2011 hemorrhagic stroke, it is also good for our mutual enjoyment of travel that I can treasure seeing what comes next from my perch in our van. 

Gone are the days when we fulfilled our mutual interest in getting out and experiencing everything up close on our jaunts. Thanks to my thoughtful spouse, though, we are still enjoying travel. 

We are well aware that birthdays herald changes in our lives as we age. But we are also committed to Hubby's mantra, "We'll go as far as we can as long as we can."


Tuesday, January 18, 2022


Carmel rest stop

The selfie above of us resting is evidence of changes in our travel experiences as we have aged. 

We have enjoyed visits to Carmel, California, numerous times in our travels though the years. 

Some of our simple Carmel pleasures "back then" included 

--ambling down Ocean Avenue, 

--window shopping, 

--occasionally buying, 

--enjoying temperatures comfortably cooler than coastal Mississippi's heat and humidity, 

--the food,

--the people.

On this trip, though, the stroll down Ocean Avenue was a challenge. I sat down at every bench I came to and even some stone walls along the sidewalk. 

Window shopping was out. Keeping my eyes on the uneven sidewalk in order to maintain my balance was paramount. I found that even going into the shops was daunting.

Changes in elevation as well as those rough spots in sidewalks eliminated safe use of my rollator. I also tired quickly. 

Hubby, however, had the greater challenge with me hanging on his arm. 

The entire trek he kept me balanced so I wouldn't fall. He was a trooper. We eventually stopped at a restaurant with outdoor seating. 

With a heater close by the temperature was just right. We were happily chowing down when the sun eased above the eatery's roofline and right into my eyes. 

Owwwwwwwch! My eyes had turned extra light-sensitive more than three decades ago. 

Hubby saved the day and our dining experience with the offer of his ball cap.

Thanks, Hubby!

Rested and refueled we headed uphill to our lodgings for the night. I needed one last rest stop. We shared a bench and conversation with a talkative 17-year-old. 

He was gracious, spending part of his weekend Carmel visit answering our questions about his school, his life in the Carmel area and his dreams for the future. In turn, he quizzed us about our travels.

We completed the trek back to our motel room. After several nights of van camping, I enjoyed the amenities, especially a hot bath. 

And the comfort of being able to snuggle up to Hubby, instead of sleeping on separate bunks in our van, was priceless. The bunks are comfortable, but just not as good as his comforting presence. 

There were only two more California coast campground reservations left that Hubby had made for the final segment of our trip.

But surprise, surprise! 

Hubby pronounced that we were going to just let those final reservations go and head home the next day. My formerly hot-natured spouse had had it with cold night-time temperatures. 

The next day Hubby drove through residential areas of Carmel to satisfy one of my travel pleasures--seeing the different architectural styles of lodgings large, small, old, new, town, country, inland or coastal.

And then . . . heading east for home. Whoopee!!

We were five days on the road from California to Mississippi. As much as we enjoyed our 31-day trip, we were ecstatic to be home. 

It has been almost two months since we arrived home, but we are still in the recharging stage that always follows travel for us these days.

Does anyone else have a similar need for down time to recharge their "get up and go" after travel? 


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Food Memories Both Gross and Good

As a small child I had regular bouts of earaches that alternated with days of throwing up. 

As a result, my parents went to great lengths to spark my appetiteTheir worries were heightened by the fact that their many siblings had spawned a bunch of robust, plump kids. 

But as an only child, my having those dozens of healthy cousins was a joy.  

As I remember it, I went my merry way playing with my cousins and enjoying a diet of berries of any kind, fig preserves on buttered toast, and occasional bites of meat.

With parents who loved to fish, at some point I must have succumbed to the lure of mother's fried fish. During frequent fish fries with family and friends, I was surrounded by cousins and adults who approached the meal with unbridled enthusiasm. 

They consumed the fish and hush puppies accompanied by sides such as coleslaw, field peas, fried okra, fresh creamed corn or all of the above.

The meal was served with tall tales and stories from the adults' pasts with lots of jokes, kidding and laughter. I think those extended family gatherings seduced me into liking fish. 

Oh, and developing a love of catsup. Growing up in that extended family, catsup was one of the major food groups.

When I was about nine years old, though, some internal switch activated, and I turned into a voracious omnivore. 

I still failed to gain weight. The upside for me was that on summer stays or day visits to relatives who had farms, my anxious aunts and uncles plied me with fresh foods from their vegetable gardens, orchards, chickens, milk cows and smokehouses.  

On winter day trips to relatives' homes, it was delicious preserves and veggies they had canned, or in later years preserved in their freezers. Like my mother and father, they had mastered what worked best to maintain fresh flavor and texture from nature's bounty. 

Fast forward to early motherhood when Hubby, our two sons and I joined my mother in a summer visit to Uncle Levi, my mother's oldest brother. He watched my two sturdy offspring romping with their young relatives and exploring Uncle Levi's barn and extensive garden. 

Later, as I was rounding up those two happy, sweaty kids, I heard him tell my mother, "I never thought that little girl would survive. Just look at her now with her boys."

These days I still love fresh veggies, fruits and most other foods. But my desire to keep blood sugar in a good range without medication guides my food choices now.

December holiday gatherings among our friends and families present major temptations. The fact that everyone brings delicious contributions makes it difficult for a food-loving Type 2 diabetic. I try to taste but not binge. 

I also pray a lot, too--for help in exercising restraint!

May your 2022 be filled with daily blessings.  


Saturday, January 1, 2022

Not My Daddy's Strawberries

California strawberry field

The strawberry fields Hubby and I encountered on our Fall 2021 adventures in California had no resemblance to the four rows of strawberry plants my father nurtured in the back yard of my childhood home.

His strawberries were pristine red jewels.

They sparkled among the rich green strawberry plants on garden rows heavily mulched with dark brown pine straw.

On early spring mornings I would dash out the back door barefoot and in my pajamas to pick the ripe, bright red strawberries. I would hustle back inside with my bucket of freshly picked strawberries.

Mother would send me to my room to get dressed for school while she meticulously pinched off the green leaves and stems.

Those leaves and stems were part of my love of strawberries. To me they looked like cute little caps for elves. 

By the time I made it back to her side, she had washed the berries and used a fork to mash them. She added generous sugar, mixed well, put two of those store-bought shortcakes in a soup bowl and poured the smushed berries and juice over the cakes.

I was well into middle age before I stumbled upon the concept of "maceration," the official word for what I thought of as Mother's magic: her creation of that abundant, delicious red liquid that appeared when she added sugar to the mashed berries. 

That magic liquid thoroughly soaked my two shortcake cups and sent my taste buds into ecstasy. And usually there were enough ripe strawberries that my parents and I could enjoy the strawberry magic for dessert after supper. 

My parents had vanilla ice cream in their cupcakes with just a spoonful of strawberries on top. I, however, once again scarfed  down two cupcakes drenched with abundant strawberries and juice.

As I typed this, it occured to me for the first time ever, that their smaller strawberry servings were so that I could pig out.  

Yes, I admit it. I was definitely a spoiled--and happy--child.