A Mother’s Anguish


Pfarrkirche St Peter Paul Oberammergau


Good Friday. Broken Heart Friday. Black Dark Friday.

Mary cried. I just know she did.

I just about what Jesus may have thought that day. I wondered more about Mary.

Our adult kids can often confuse us and we wonder. What in the world? Where did they ever get that idea?

Mary had some of those thoughts along with His siblings even knowing Him and more than likely trusting Him.  She must have wondered like moms do.

Years ago I sat up too late and read the news in the internet. We were overseas. Our adult and college kids were in the US and Iraq.

A news flash. Helicopter down in Tal Afar. Seven were dead.

My son was in Tal Afar. He rode in helicopters on occasion, not very often at all. I panicked. I was in anguish with the not knowing. I checked and rechecked that site as the hours ticked by. Hours until there was an update that included the unit information.

Have you ever had to ask your child, “Do they have the you know, do they know where we are if….?” question. I couldn’t finish it. He did. Yes, Mom, they know. Just in case he was hurt or worse. Hardest question I ever had to ask one of my children. EVER.

There were a lot of hard questions; some I did ask; some I held in my heart. If you are a mom of a solider or Marine who has been in combat you know that question.

What did Mary and Jesus talk about? What did she ask Him? Did she understand?

During those hours in the dark of the night, I prayed and though I tried to think, I didn’t. I could not. I combed the internet new services. Finally after several hours the news came. It was not him.

I breathed then I felt anguish for those moms and dads and wives and children and everyone who they loved. And I prayed. I still pray for them sometimes after all these years. Anguish.

I know why women wail in mourning and despair. Did Mary wail?

Mary was at the foot of the cross where her son hung. She had a night and day of rumors and anguish. Did she understand what was happening? Did it matter to her heart that day?  Surely she had some hope but even in the hope her heart must have been so tightly holding her love for this man, her son. I felt anguish at the possibility. For Mary, this was not mere possibility. It was happening and it took hours and hours of waiting and then the seeing and watching.

Good Friday is a day for remembering the anguish of the cross. The enemy did not win and would not. Still the battle raged until it was finished.  Mary went through it with a mother’s heart.

A fresh perception through a mother’s heart gave me a different perspective. The sorrow and grief of my sin hit me as I reflected on being a mom myself and how Mary must have felt. How God felt at His son’s death. Somehow, I gave me a new perception of my own sin and the agony it cost HIm.

I wept today.

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. John 19:25


blessings linda




Table Mix & Match for Spring


Table mix & match for spring


Each season I take a fresh look at my table potential.

This spring was no different. Rather than an entire  table, I did a sampling with the blue place mats I found at Home Goods. I have been looking for a couple of years for not only for the perfect match for my blue Haviland dishes from Mom but for enough place mats for my family table. I finally found 12!

Got to hit the stores when they put the new season offerings on the shelves!




Fresh  flowers with Mr. Bunny with a sweet blue bow for an  Easter touch. Not much is needed to make a table special for your loved ones.




I love how the sliver swirls are highlighted by the place mat design. The pure delicate white blue enhances an old world look for my table.




The blue flowers have hints of grey so I matched it with Great Aunt Daisy’s English Greek key china. Not a perfect match so it may not make the “cut”.




This combination is better. Anniversary china from my husband layered with bunny flea market nursery plate and the Greek Key china consommé soup  cup and saucer works. I’ m liking it! Add a few more accessories to help anchor the mix and match china, styles and colors.


birds  bunnies


Layering makes it possible to pull in different styles and patterns. Add a bird for a spring or summer look.. A small change for the seasons. The sweet oranges are complimentary, not jarring.  Perfect for bunny food…carrots! The blues and greys pop against the clear blue place mat. The mercy glass votive is a gentle touch.

Try and mix and match! You just never know what will look drab or fab!


Autumn    Lenox China

Blue Grey Flowers  Haviland China

Place mats    Home Goods

Flower vase    Colonial Candle glass container

Bird and cream pitcher  from Mom

Brown bunny and bunny plate    Local auction & flea market

Wineglass       Wal-Mart

Mercury votive, battery candle & votive holder     Michael’s 




How about you? Do like to mix and match; any hints for us? 


blessings linda








Sabbath Words…going up to Jerusalem


Luke 19-28


As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them,  “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.”  Matthew 20:17-19

He was always going up to Jerusalem.  To suffer for us.  He has shown us the way.

When He was eighth days old, his parents

brought Him

up to Jerusalem

to present Him to the Lord.

There in the temple, Simeon prophesied he would be “A Light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” He also had words for Mary.

“Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed and a sword will pierce even your own soul to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”  

Jesus was always on a journey to go up to Jerusalem, the place of salvation for us. It was a journey of purpose to be obedient even unto death, death on the cross. For us, our salvation.

This journey is one for us too. We must also take up our cross.  That has always been a tough thing for me to grasp. I think it is much more simple and much more profound. Take up my cross in your life and be transformed into Christ likeness. Obedience and surrender.  Forgiveness of sins. A new heart.

Going up to Jerusalem is the journey for us all who love Christ. It is part of following Him.

Paul asks a question then answers it for us.

Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death If we have been united with him in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him…Now if we died with Christ we believe that we will also live with him.                       Romans 6:3, 5,6,8


What does going up to Jerusalem mean to you today?  


blessings linda


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Quick & Easy Grilled Chicken, Pineapple, Avocado Salad




This salad is Sunday Lunch delicious!  It is easy and quick to prepare and easy and quick clean up.  Hanging out in the kitchen or around the grill is perfect for Sunday or any time for family and friends are together.

In our house we are a little tired of meals that involved the oven. Winter food is heavier; roasted vegetables and delicious soups and stews. The vegetables seem brighter in the grocery store displays.

Here is a delicious salad with grilled chicken paired with the yumminess of avocado and grilled pineapple. Perfect for Sunday lunch because it is quick to prepare for the hungry family after church.

Recipe found at  http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/grilled-pineapple-chicken-and-avocado-salad/


My variation:

I cooked on the stove top and brushed the grill pan lightly with olive oil. It was too cold to cook outside. Canned pineapple made this even easier. After draining the pineapple I tossed the chucks with a touch of olive oil. After the chicken was almost done, I put the pineapple to one side of the pan to grill. Toss frequently as the sugar will brown fast!

I served this in large soup plates. My salad makings were pretty much what I had in the fridge…yellow peppers, cherry tomatoes, mixed lettuces. I didn’t add the blueberries. I used garlic powder.

Meg’s not a salad fan so her meal was rice with the chicken and pineapple. She loved it. The rice in the rice cooker was finished by the time the rest was ready.

Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!  The extra was a delicious school lunch on Monday. As always, I put the dressing in the container first and then added salad with feta, chicken and pineapples on top.


grilled chicken pineapple avocado salas



Grilled Chicken, Pineapple, Avocado Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Wonderful main dish salad combining sweet and tangy for tasty delight
Recipe type: Main Dish Salad
Cuisine: American Fresh
Serves: 2-4
  • Salad Ingredients:
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced into 1-inch thick rings
  • (canned works too)
  • 8 cups baby spinach, lettuces
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (optional)
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • quarter of a red onion, thinly sliced(optional)
  • Honey Garlic Vinaigrette Ingredients:
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of salt and black pepper
  1. Brush the chicken on both sides with olive oil, then season generously with salt and pepper. If cooking on stove, slice chicken into strips first.
  2. Preheat your outdoor grill to medium-high, or heat a grill pan over med-high heat. Place pineapple slices and chicken breasts on the grill.
  3. (I used canned pineapple chunks and drizzled with olive oil and tossed prior to grilling in pan. Cook after turning chicken)
  4. Cook for about 10 minutes turning midway or until the chicken is cooked through
  5. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Slice chicken into strips and cut pineapple into chunks.
  7. In a large bowl, toss together spinach, blueberries, feta, red onion, pineapple and chicken until combined. Drizzle or toss with salad dressing, and serve immediately.
  8. Arrange greens and vegetables in larger individual bowls layering feta, chicken, avocado, and pineapple on top. Drizzle with honey garlic vinaigrette
  9. To Make The Vinaigrette:
  10. Whisk all ingredients together until blended. Let sit for at least 10 minutes for flavors to meld. Whisk again until blended, then drizzle over salad.


blessings linda

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Sabbath Words…dancing




Do you ever just need to dance?

Stand up and cheer but didn’t because it would be seen as unseemly or silly?

Express your joy and pleasure with life?

My Sweet Pea danced on the streets with her new friend, the mom of my son’s fiance, Kathy. They both just danced. Right there on the street! I watching with a full heart. The freedom to dance.



twirling lessons on the streets


May she never lose it.

When do we lose that urge or willingness to express joy through dancing.  Through laughter and twirling.

I know a woman who lost it in her childhood.  She is twirling with her grandchildren today for all those days she missed because she has healed and knows His joy today.  

I lost it in rules and fear of condemnation. I found it again but sometimes I hide it.  Worship can bring out the joy that can cause a person to dance in their hearts or whatever is good …

Dancing in the streets with the joy of our salvation.  Not dancing to the beat but to the joy.

I am thinking dancing should start before we get to heaven….just a thought. I don’t want to be the older son who could have been dancing all that time and didn’t.  It is not who I want to be be…a cranky, work only nondancing woman.  I want to be one who celebrates with joy. Who lives with joy….that shows!


“Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. Luke 15:25


blessings linda


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Revised & originally posted on June 3, 2013 by omega57 at WP.com blog



Comfort and Hope


words of comfort & hope


Are you going to see Noah?  That story is connected to my own story of understanding and knowing God more deeply and realistically as I began to wrestle with hard questions. Hrd questions. It began with my mom’s suffering.

The only time I ever heard my mom question God was when she was dying. “Why do I have to go through this God?”  I had no answer, to my shame.

My pragmatic response is, “We live in a fallen world full of disease and suffering. Of course we suffer. We aren’t exempt.”

She need reassurance of hope.  I couldn’t find those words, “Mom, He loves you.” 

It was the beginning of coming to grips with suffering. My pragmatism was pretty cold, true but cold. It is only part of the story.

I want to be a giver of hope, not a debate winner.  

In the university Old Testament class, the professor talked about the OT God of wrath. Students agreed. I knew that wasn’t right but didn’t know enough to articulate why.

I still wonder how my professor dealt with the SIDS death of his child that quarter. He never said.

I had missed God who is holy and cannot tolerate sin but loves us. I missed His simple plan to fixed the it; His Son on the cross.

Here is the Noah part.

A well-educated person told me he could not believe in a God who flooded the world and killed everyone. I pondered on that for months. Here’s what I came up with.

Why would anyone give themselves over to a God who was sloppy, arbitrary and undependable to say nothing about His holiness?  A God who tolerates sin and evil without judgement, accountability? A God who does not love? No thanks. 

He was dismissing God not exactly because of Noah’s story and the judgement. It seems he believed that account but dismissed God who’s powerful but doesn’t use power the way he thought God should. He didn’t know the whole character of God so he judged.

God had a fix for the sin problem all along because He is not only holy, He loves us even though we are arbitrary, sloppy and sinful.

The fix…Jesus. On the cross. Resurrection. Alive.

Check out the words of “He Lives” that were part of shaping my theology growing up. Simple words of assurance and hope.  Because He lives and because He loves us. He loves you dear one.

blessings linda

He Lives!

by Alfred H. Ackley

I serve a risen Saviour,
He's in the world today;
I know that He is living,
Whatever men may say;
I see His hand of mercy,
I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him
He's always near.

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives 
He walks with me and He talks with me
Along life's narrow way.
He lives, He live, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives:
He lives within my heart.

In all the world around me
I see His loving care,
And tho my heart grows weary
I never will despair;
I know that He is leading
Thro' all the stormy blast,
The day of His appearing
Will come at last.


Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,
Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs
To Jesus Christ the King!
The hope of all who seek Him,
The help of all who find,
None other is so loving,
So good and kind.



Fancy Jello Salad…Strawberry Pretzel Salad


straberry pretzel salad



I am making myself think about spring as I sit in my living room wrapped up and still cold, glad for the heat from the computer keyboard.  Sad. Yesterday the grandkids and girls were outside playing and tree climbing. There was frost on my windshield this morning …frost!  More hot coffee please.

Easter. Easter is coming soon. I love Easter! It is the next big holiday that involves food. For many of us it is a day of glorious celebration and a big menu!

We all know the meal is an integral part of our celebrating happy occasions. Strawberry Pretzel salad can be made the day before.  It is colorful and oh so tasty! It’s a dish for all seasons.

Yes, this is a salad.  On some web sites folks claim it as a dessert. Hey, I’m from the south and we claim jello as a salad. And we claim this one as a fancy jello salad. It does not go on the dessert table.  Honestly, I have never seen it served as a dessert. I have seen grown men and women fight over the last square but not on the dessert table.

Okay, here’s the rule with a few exceptions. Add some fruit before the jello sets; it’s a salad. Sometimes add a lettuce leaf for presentation and it up enough for its own salad plate. Add some whipped cream, especially Cool Whip and it’s a dessert.

One thing we southerners can do it make great food especially desserts and laugh at our ways including making jello salad.

This Strawberry Pretzel Salad is a must at many of our family seasonal food celebrations. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter , Memorial Day and 4th of July.

I kind of panicked one year when we were back in the states over a holiday. Will ‘s only request was Strawberry Pretzel Salad and I couldn’t find my recipe! Frankly, after all the moves, I have lost a few. My cousin, Rosemary came to my rescue. Whew!

This past Thanksgiving my future daughter in law Jessica was assigned the job of making THE Strawberry Pretzel Salad. It ranks right up there with pecan pie. Later she told us she was really feeling the pressure. I always make the dressing at my house.

I was surprised she was nervous. She is a confident woman. And  she is great cook. She is from Denver. Maybe that was it. Maybe she just hasn’t had much experience with jello.

This is no fail IF you get it in the fridge early enough! Jello not set right is sloppy and messy. Trust me, I know.

Jessica may have earned herself the new position of Strawberry Pretzel Salad maker. She already does pies. See her Apple Pie here.



5.0 from 1 reviews

Rosemary Pretzel Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Strawberries, jello, pretzel crust and creamy layers for special events
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Southern American
Serves: 12-16
  • Use 9×13 casserole dish
  • Crust
  • 2 – 2 ½ C crushed(but not super fine) pretzels
  • 1 ½ sticks margarine or butter, melted
  • 2 T sugar
  • Filling
  • 8 oz fresh whipped cream or Cool Whip, thawed
  • 1 C sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • Topping
  • 1 lg or 2 sm strawberry jello
  • 2 C boiling water
  • 2 – 10 pkg frozen strawberries or 16 oz coarsely chopped fresh strawberries
  1. Crust
  2. Crush pretzels into small pieces
  3. Melt margerine or butter
  4. Mix all ingredients together using a fork
  5. Pat into 9 x 13 dish
  6. Bake 8-10 min @ 375
  7. Cool completely
  8. Filling
  9. Beat cream cheese and sugar til fluffy
  10. Fold in cool whip or whipped cream
  11. Spread onto cooled crust
  12. Put in refridgerator while making strawberry jello topping
  13. Topping
  14. Dissolve jello in boiling water according to package directions
  15. Add strawberries
  16. Stir until strawberries are thawed and jello begins to congeal
  17. If using fresh, stir well smashing a few strawberries
  18. Pour evenly over chilled creamy filling
  19. Refrigerate for appx 4 hours
  20. Cut with sharp knife prior to serving



blessings linda








Do you flip open your mirror when you are sitting in the car at a red light just to assure yourself, you are looking good?  Because you know you forgot or have a moment of forgetfulness and need that reassurance you did put on that mascara and by golly it looks good.

James tells us about another type of look in the mirror. It is look of self check.

Are you looking good or do you need some touch ups?

James reminds us we just might need some touch ups or even a complete make over maybe in order.

Looking at the natural is not the same as looking at the spiritual. Just lip serve or “ear” service is not going to work  out. Count me a s guilty of hearing and agreeing to do something with no intention at all of follow through. An attitude adjustment is needed. I say it just so it will go away. I know better.

My kids do this too. It is the natural man. James knows this. We all do, if we think about it. We are lousy listeners. So we in turn are lousy doers. I tell my kids. “Stop what you are doing and listen to me.”  If they do, it is calmer and the doing or attitude gets right. If not, well, it’s usually downhill from there.

I like that I am in a life time of transformation into Christlikeness. There is security in that. Easy, no. Just secure. I don’t actually ever forget that but mental relapses happen.

James is putting it out there in a way we can understand in plain speak. Look at the perfect law. Look at Jesus and abide in it, in Him. “Just a reminder” I will often say to my girls after telling them something they know perfectly and I know they know.

Just a reminder.

James lets us know even more. You’re gonna be blessed if you keep your looking and hearing sharp and follow through in the doing. The 2 A’s, action and attitude.


But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror;  for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.  James 1:22-25

blessings linda

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Friday Morning Coffee




It was a quiet morning when she sipped her coffee. Hum, this feels a bit lonely. An idea came from her past. Her mom had women in and out came and went to morning coffees. It may have been for a Bible study or a meeting. Just as often it was for friendship.

It has passed out of vogue with the 21st century lifestyle. The need remains the same. Friendship and community. Differing schedule and life situation offer challenges but they are not insurmountable.

For this first time, she made it special. The next Friday Morning Coffee connection, women contributed.

Women she went to church with every week but never had much time to really engage with were invited. In the coming weeks, the faces changed but the time together was no less sweet.

Any chance to get out her wedding china brought a smile. The purple tablecloth added some polish. In a jiffy the table looked beautiful. Against this back drop, the simple food laid out looked beautiful! What was a friends for coffee became something laid with love.

It was a risk to reach out to connect. Turns out the women wanted a connection too. Why risky? Reaching out to connect can make yourself vulnerable. So many what if’s especially being rejected or ignored. This first step was the first to building some deep relationships. So worth it!






Corn chips and homemade salsa for my gluten free friend. Nothing fancy.

Jelly beans and a heart shaped dish from the Dollar Store are a nice touch.





Homemade cookies in the cut glass jar couldn’t be more inviting. Be inventive for serving!






A touch of fruit is never amiss.






Fresh flowers brought by Mom for this very first Friday Morning Coffee completed the table.





What morning coffee would be complete without a cake?  Beautiful and so tasty!

Hot Milk Cake
Wonderful all purpose cake from scratch 
from Virginia Hospitality Cookbook, Williamsburg VA

Served here with powdered sugar and blackberry jam


 revised post  March 11, 20 

How have you reached out to women for connecting?  Developing friendships?

blessings linda

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Hot Milk Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Wonderful all purpose cake from scratch
Recipe type: Cake
Cuisine: American Traditional
Serves: 6-10
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teas vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teas salt
  • 1 teas baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Combine butter and milk in a saucepan, bring to a boil (DO NOT BOIL)
  3. In a separate bowl, beat eggs gradually adding sugar stirring constantly
  4. Add vanilla
  5. Sift flour & salt together in another bowl
  6. Add to egg mixture
  7. Beat until smooth
  8. Gradually add milk and butter mixture beating well.
  9. Add baking powder beating well again
  10. Pour into well greased and floured tube cake pan or 2 8 or 9″ pans
  11. Bake 1 hour
  12. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan
  13. Serve warm with fruit, whipped cream or powdered sugar sprinkled on top
  14. Note: Half the recipe and bake in 8-9 in square pan for 30 minutes


Spring Door Arches Inspiration


making door arches


My spring inspiration this year comes from a visit to Bavaria Germany in March a few years ago.

I love how spring is welcomed there even when there’s a little snow on the ground and grey skies. But some German homes don’t need extra seasonal decorations.




Creativity and appreciation for beauty is apparent as we strolled down the streets full of spring expressions. These homes and shops are in Oberammergau, home to the Passion Play and amazing wood carvers.

Simplicity of nature shines next to traditional Baroque architecture and details.




This is someone’s home!  My husband has the branches set aside for our porches.  He’ll find the rocks to hold them steady at the base.  I have ribbon and birdhouses ready.





A closer look reveals how these arches are put together.

Bavarian blue is the color most used. Reminds me of Carolina blue. Clear mountain air must make for blue skies!




The drapes of cloth are wrapped and draped loosely with a light touch.  The natural fiber multi-sized balls dangle from the tangle  of smaller branches.





I’ll use my colorful bird houses to hang and set on the porch bench; no plants yet because it is still freezing. Meg and the granddaughters are painting three others this afternoon I bought at AC Moore using coupons and a store credit left over from Christmas.

I just can’t wait any longer for warm weather!  My bare porch is gets sadder looking everyday.  I’ll share pictures later this week.


Hope these spring arches inspire you too!  


blessings, linda

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