The Gift of Valentine’s Day


This Valentine’s Day week I surrounded myself with orchids. No, I wasn’t feeling sorry my single self or anything. You know, by your own flowers and stuff.



So no, actually, it was for our 5th Annual Widows’ Banquet. I volunteered rather last minute for the decorating and it was with the understanding that it would have to be kept simple.


I was tickled to find freshly delivered for Valentine’s Day and fully blooming and in pretty white pots locally. We go all out with china and so it really doesn’t require a lot of decoration.



Ladies from church volunteer to bring china and stemware to fill up a table. After meal is served, the owners are responsible to take care of washing their dishes. We have a small kitchen so this works good plus we don’t have to worry about breaking anything in the kitchen.


We have 2 menus that we rotate and make tweaks each year or change some things out.


Each lady had a beautiful corsage, made by other volunteers, to wear.


Our maneuvering space isn’t all that great so we have to make every bit of space count. Marcus and Sonya have been coordinating everything since we’ve started this and it’s quite organized.


These young ladies (Nicole and Kristin) provided entertainment of inspirational singing after the meal.


Each lady was given a gift when they left…. an embroidered hand towel and homemade granola.




There are many ways to bless those in the community around you. This is one of them that we have chosen to do. The ladies are so grateful and we thoroughly enjoy serving them in this way!

After helping in the kitchen all day I dragged myself home to rest. It makes a person totally forget that it is Valentine’s Day (well, almost, V Day was Sunday, not Saturday) and they are single. 🙂



Is My Font Too Small??

I’d love some feedback for those who usually read my blog straight from the website.

Is my font too small for comfortable reading?

The blog theme I use does not give me a choice to size the font and I can switch to another theme if I need to. I’m guessing if you use feedly or another blog reader or email that the theme does not affect how it looks for you.

Thanks in advance! 🙂

Montana – Part 4 – Thompson Falls

The last few days of our trip were spent in Western Montana. One of my dear friends from my days at Northern Youth Programs, Lisa, and her family live in another beautiful part of Montana. The live in a valley between two ridges. As we approached their area, we began noticing more and more dear. It was dusk Sunday evening when we arrived and the dear were everywhere!!

Backing up a bit …

Leaving the Fairfield area, we enjoyed the views of the light covering of snow that was quickly melting.

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Heading southwest we went through an area where houses are few and far between. Lois mentioned that she feels like she might be on the moon. I totally agreed.

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The closer we got to the Roger’s Pass at Continental Divide, the patchier the snow was.

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Until we started climbing to Roger’s Pass, the snow was thick and wet!

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There was pretty much a beauty overload the whole trip!

Check out the overpass below. It is for wildlife to cross the road.

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We could see a little smoke hanging in the air to the west.

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Our only full day in Thompson Falls area, Lisa took us around to see the local area, something both Lois and I love doing!

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There was a lot of vibrant colors in the towns!!

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It was quite amazing to us to see all of the wildlife just wandering around town. How would you like to eat a picnic lunch at the park, surrounded by these?

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Lisa had to drop something off for a friend, and there was a buck in a yard down the street.

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We took a walk on over the area where the hydro dam. We noticed several Bald Eagles flying nearby.

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I noticed an eagle dipping down toward the water and it was one of those moments that I was glad had my camera ready!! You can see the fish toward the bottom left of the photo. I didn’t notice it until I was editing the photos.

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He flew off to enjoy his spoils and soon there was a group of crows around him, offering him help with eating it.

Lisa’s friend, Sadie, invited us over for supper and apple cider making … brewing … pressing. Yeah, that’s it, pressing. I guess that’s how you say it. Either way, we made apple cider after supper. It was an interesting and delicious experience!

The setting of their place is amazing!! This view is from their back porch.

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And they, also, have deer wondering around the place.

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Sadie tried to get the buck to come closer but the extra people around made him a little skittish.

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The cider was SO good!! Here’s a photo of the biggest and smallest apple I could find from the boxes we were processing. This was an off year for Lisa’s trees.

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I wish I could’ve been out during a time when the Milky Way was at the best viewing location. I think this happens in the spring/early summer for the US. This is only a fraction of the Milky Way. The lack of light pollution in the west makes it a great spot to see a maximum number of stars.

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On our way out the next day, I finally saw some bighorn sheep grazing near the road.

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The ladies took us to one more hot springs in Paradise, MT. You can find out more info here: Quinn’s Hot Springs. This has a total of 5 outdoor pools, most of them only a few degrees apart, except for the one pore-closing, hair-standing-on-end one that gripped it’s icy fingers around your ankles (me) or your neck (my cousin Anne who shrieked her way through a dip every once-in-a-while).

(Photo from Visit


We flew out of Missoula, relaxed, rested up, and ready to get back home (for the most part). If a vacation feels like it could/should go on longer, it must have been a good one!!

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The View from the Back of the Church

Since my immune system is compromised because of treatments, I’m careful about being it small spaces with lots of people. It seems like there has been cold, flu, stomach bugs, etc. going on since January with my church family. It probably seems that way since I am more conscious of it. Most Sundays I skip Sunday School and then stay in the men’s nursery (which gets minimal use these days with no babies under 1 right now) during the sermon. I would rather be in the sanctuary but it seems when I do, I hear coughing and or sneezing around me and I’d just rather play it safe. I’ve had 2 colds since January and I’d rather not have anything worse.

This past Sunday after dismissal, I decided to just sit and observe for a bit. Mirrored glass allows me to look out, but no one can see in. It also means I can’t hear individual conversations where there are about 20 of them going on at the same time.

I watch the sound system guy close up the sound booth to leave. He serves the church’s audio/video needs in a most excellent way.

I saw dear people who have suffered losses, from those who have lost much of their hearing, thus making conversation in a crowd difficult, to those who have suffered the excruciating loss of a spouse or a child, and/or a parent.

As I observed one of the youth girls chatting with a Kids’ Club girl, they were joined by another Kids’ Clubber and another youth girl. The young girls gave hugs all around and they all chit-chatted some more. After a bit, the four of them walked off, arm-in-arm, “big sisters” mentoring “little sisters.”

There’s the friend who remembers I’m having a treatment this week (my last!) and requests prayer. And a sweet, nearly-two-year-old who blesses my heart over and over when she is delighted to see me and wants me to hold her.

Seeing all of the interactions, I forget that I was frustrated with the lack of enthusiasm in the singing that morning. I love to sing. I wish everyone loved to sing. I know it’s not everyone’s “thing.” Some people’s “thing” is encouragement through words, some people’s “thing” is loving up on kids whose home life leaves much to be desired, some people’s “thing” is being faithful in things that never hit the spotlight.

Every person is needed. Every person can contribute.

Sometimes it’s good to just observe from the back of the church.


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One Year

Last Tuesday was a day in a midst of days of remembering. One year ago my dad passed away… after a Saturday of frantic phone calls to family members, and 2 very short but very long days of waiting at the hospital, he slipped away from us from a massive stroke.

It seems like spring has become a reminder the last few years, of the briefness of life. We have had or been involved closely in funerals the last 4 years, all of which were sudden and unexpected.

Nearly 2 weeks ago, just a few days short of this anniversary (does one say anniversary for a death?), my uncle, the husband of my mom’s oldest sister, also slipped into Jesus’ presence after a very short illness. I was thankful to be able to attend his funeral, and offer support to my aunt and cousins. Their path of grieving is familiar.

It’s been a emotional, yet healing few weeks. Emotional in remembering the last few days of Daddy’s life here, in grieving the loss of an uncle, the death of a man who spent winters here with his family (father to several of my friends) who also joined his Maker quite suddenly, and also hearing of the death of a friend from cancer (news like this hits harder when you yourself have had a cancer diagnosis). It is a reminder to continually trust in Jesus for each day, each year.

And healing in being reminded that this is not our forever home. Heaven awaits. Randy Alcorn has an excellent blog post as a reminder to all of us, whether we are healthy or have an unwelcome illness, that leaving life here is not leaving the party, it is Going to the Party.


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A gardenia bouquet that Daddy brought us summer of 2013.